Next weekend, July 7st and 8nd, there will be a special second collection to help with the upcoming winter fuel bills. The Finance Council has asked that such a collection be taken up twice each summer on the Fourth of July and Labor Day weekends. In your envelope packets you will find an envelope for Utility & Energy Cost dated July 1. We are taking up the collection next weekend because of the Visiting Missionary this weekend. We ask that you use this envelope for this special collection. If you do not receive envelopes or if you are a visitor or a summer parishioner we ask that you use the Fuel or Utility & Energzy Costs envelopes that can be found in the pews. Your envelope that is dated July 8th for the Emerging Churches of Eastern Europe and the churches of Africa, you can use on any of the Sundays in July. Thank you for your support of these special collections.
This week I am on vacation and I plan on spending time working in and enjoying my flower gardens. I have always enjoyed planting a garden and caring for it. I love the beauty of flowers and have planted gardens wherever I have lived. For many years now I have given a planter of flowers as an appreciation gift to the members of the Pastoral Council who are finishing their terms of service. At the Council picnic meeting last week I gave planters to Alice Sheerer and Patricia Berry, I thank them for their ministry of service on the Council. At the council meeting officers were chosen for next year; Shannon Williams will continue as chair for 2018/19, and Michael Miller will remain on the Executive Committee. Rita Sheils will be the recording secretary for the Council for 2018/19. Please pray for the Pastoral Council and the parish as a whole that we continue to be led by God’s spirit.
Alice Sheerer, who just completed her term on the Pastoral Council, broke her arm in a fall at church this year, when I visited her at her home she mentioned to me how much she enjoyed the article I had written about the Garden of God’s People and she suggested I run it again. I hesitated because I have run it many times in the past, but in response to Alice’s request here it is again.
The Garden of God’s People
In a garden the signs of life are all around us! Each season brings with it new signs of life as different flowers appear and share their bloom. Being a gardener I always get the itch to get out in the yard and see what flowers are budding forth. Spring first brings forth an array of color and beauty from the bulb plants as the crocus, hyacinths, daffodils and tulips break through the soil from their winter resting place. Next some of the early perennials break into bloom; the leopard’s bane, ground phlox, rock crest, and primroses. Then one by one the flowers of different plants appear. Each month seems to bring on different varieties. The garden brings forth in May and June the lupines, columbine, foxgloves, and poppies, in July the lilies, daisies, coreopsis, coneflowers, and blackeyed-susans flourish, in August the roses and dahlias. In September the chrysanthemums, and perennial asters take their turn in the sun. Some flowers bloom throughout the summer, others for only a short time, but each with its own beauty.
As beautiful as perennial flowers are, a garden is incomplete without the annual flowers that are planted each year. The marigolds, petunias, geraniums, the zinnias, salvia, cleome, cosmos, sweet alyssum, and an array of other annuals accent the perennials and provide a constant bloom in the garden. These plants are only with us for a season yet the unique beauty of each variety enhances the splendor of the garden as a whole.
When I look upon a garden, it reminds me of the beauty of God’s church. Like the many varieties of flowers in a garden our parishes are comprised of many different people, each with a unique beauty of their own. Some share the splendor of life with us for only a short time before God calls them home or they are called to another community because of their work. Others seem to bloom year after year, the gift of their lives spanning many generations, with their off-shoots filling up the pews besides them. Some share their beauty with us in their early years, then they are transplanted to other parishes to share their beauty as they enter adulthood. Other members come and go annually, sharing spring, summer and autumn with us, and then moving to warmer climates to share their lives with others. Still others visit us on occasion and are more like a bouquet than a planted flower, but the gift of their beauty and presence is still deeply appreciated. Like flowers the people of the church come in different shapes and sizes, and different colors and hues. As a garden is incomplete without the variety of beauty that reflects God’s creation, so to the church is incomplete without the variety of people who together reflect the presence of the God who has made us all. May we always cherish each flower we see and each person we meet.
Have a Blessed and safe Fourth of July. God bless you, Father Bill