Hello Beloved of St. James,
I want to provide a little information about what is coming up this Sunday and ways to find peace, healing and connection. This Sunday is All Saints Sunday. It is a time when we prayerfully remember those we have loved and who have gone on to glory with God.
It is a time to be reminded that we are all both saint and sinner at the same time, in need of God’s grace and healing in our broken world. As the church, we are blessed as a place and people who speak honestly about death; about the pain and suffering we experience when we lose someone we love in this life. We are blessed as well to have the language and rituals that help us make meaning when we don’t understand our losses. And we place our absolute hope in the promise of Christ’ resurrection.
This Sunday we will remember our loved ones in a number of ways:
-In the children’s sermon, I will invite the children to continue the meaningful tradition of joining me outside in the memorial garden where we will lay flowers for those who now rest in peace in our garden. I will encourage the children to wear their coats at that time.
-During the Hymn of the Day, we will invite the congregation to light a candle in remembrance of loved ones. Each family is invited to come forward together and light a candle.
-In our prayers of intercession we will remember those who have died in the last year who are connected to the church. We will ring a bell for each name in remembrance of these saints.
-At the time of communion, we will name all the names that have been submitted to the office of loved ones who have died.
In conversation with people from St. James, one of the traditions Pastor Mark started, the interim Pastor between myself and Pastor Holmer, was a time of prayers for healing after the worship service. This has come up a few times as something the people crave. I am honored to continue this tradition and will offer a time of healing prayer after worship this Sunday–especially as we lean into the beauty and mourning that All Saints Sunday stirs up in our hearts. We will offer these moments of healing prayer a number of times throughout the year and especially if there is a collective need expressed.
We may be bleary eyed and a little off on Sunday as daylight saving time ends overnight (so don’t come early–but if you do, we’ll have coffee!) We may be feeling the shift in the weather and seeing the signs of winter coming all around us (snow on Halloween for one). In all things we are able to hold fast to the promise of the resurrection–that spring will come again, that life flows on and that God will make all things new.
It is such a privilege to walk with you throughout these seasons of the church year. As I round a year with you all in a couple weeks on Nov. 16th, I am reflective and grateful for all the ways I have been invited into your lives, into your dreams, your hopes, your heartaches, your houses, your prayers, your families. I look forward to getting to know you all better as we walk together.
We will be instituting a casual time to get together with me for anyone that is interested in joining for coffee/tea/etc and conversation. The first time I will have “coffee talk” with me will be Wednesday Nov. 8th around 11am. We will have Jennifer Grumhaus, Co-founder & Executive Director of North Chicago Community Partners here at the church at 9:30am to discuss their programming and how we can deepen our already thriving partnership. After that, I will be around between 11-12 to provide space and time to talk with you all. Come, join me in conversation next Wednesday. I look forward to talking with you!
Please come and join your church community this Sunday for All Saints Sunday. Come light a candle. Add your light to Christ’ light, knowing that He holds all of us together in love.
God bless and keep you,