Parish News November 3, 2017


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“Strangers in a Strange Land”
by Fr Bruce Swinehart
Last Sunday we began our Adult Formation series on “Caring for the Stranger: Immigrants, Refugees, and the Church.”  We are exploring the complicated issue of mass human migration across borders through the lens of the experience of immigrants and refugees themselves.
We identified concerns about the economic, social, cultural, and security impacts of legal and illegal immigration (this week’s terror attack in New York has heightened these concerns once again). We reflected on the Biblical injunction to the Israelites to treat the foreigner in their midst “as the native-born, for you yourselves were once strangers in Egypt”.  And we acknowledged that a faithful response to the situation will hold all of these considerations together in a dynamic tension.
We also grounded our conversation with a few facts. For example:
  • 42 million people living in the US – about 1 in 8 of us – are foreign-born.
  • Of those, 18 million are naturalized citizens; 13 million are legal non-citizens; 11 million are unauthorized immigrants.
  • About 2/3 of illegal immigrants have lived in the US for more than a decade.
  • 4 million illegal immigrants have US born children; more than 30% own their own homes.
  • The US Border patrol reported 6,915 deaths of migrants in the deserts along the border over the past 20 years. They estimate the actual total may be closer to 10,000.
We talked about our trip to Nogales AZ/Mexico back in June, which was a rich, moving, and complex experience on both sides of the border.
We walked on migrant trails in the desert, left water, and packed out trash. We heard stories from migrants who had recently been deported, or who had already endured an arduous journey from Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador to escape escalating violence there. They told us what motivated them to attempt the dangerous crossing, some for a second or third time (family was the most common theme).
We enjoyed extraordinary hospitality at HEPAC, a community center that has served poor neighborhoods in Nogales, Mexico for more than 30 years. We played games with the kids who came there for after-school programs. We met university students and professors seeking to better themselves, their families, and their communities in Mexico. We broke bread with an Episcopal congregation in Nogales AZ that hosts a free medical clinic every month.
Our eyes were opened to the darker side of life on the border. Migrants are forced to hire “coyotes” who work for the drug cartels to bring them across the border and through the desert wilderness, and who sometimes force them to carry drugs or extort their families when they arrive. The Border Patrol seizes millions of dollars worth of hard drugs and arrests dangerous gang members every year at the same port of entry we passed through several times during our stay.
Our series continues this Sunday, November 5th with a conversation with Ian McKinley, a local immigration attorney.  He’ll help us understand the laws governing immigration in the US, and share some of his clients’ experiences in a shifting legal and cultural landscape. You are encouraged to bring your questions.
We conclude the series on Sunday, November 12, with a presentation on Episcopal Migration Ministries, which has been operating since 1938 and is one of nine national organizations that the US government contracts with to resettle refugees.  We’ll meet folks from Lutheran Family Services in Denver, EMM’s partner agency in the Diocese of Colorado, and learn how local congregations are helping refugee families build new lives in the Denver area.
We’ll keep circling back to our spiritual ancestry as “strangers in a strange land,” as desert wanderers, exiles and captives, and as settlers seeking a home in a Promised Land.  We’ll recall our baptismal vow to “respect the dignity of every human being,” and to become boundary-crossers ourselves by following Jesus’ call to “preach peace to those who are far off and to those who are near.”
Turn Back the Clock!!!
Don’t forget to set your clocks back one hour this Saturday night, November 4.  We look forward to seeing you Sunday morning!
All Souls Day
We will celebrate All Souls Day at at the weekend services on November 4th and 5th. To honor the memory of your loved ones, before the service you are invited to bring memorabilia or photographs to place on a special altar we will have prepared at the front of the church. Contact Chris McNamara.
Women’s Treat Day
Women of SMM!  Please join us for a Women’s Treat Day on Sunday November 5th from 11:30am to 4:30pm at the church.  This gathering will be in lieu of the annual Women’s Retreat and is being done in abbreviated form in hopes of making it accessible to more of the women in our community. The focus of the day will be to develop and strengthen relationships and connection among one another while also receiving nourishment and nurture as we enter this colder season.  Starting with high tea after the 10am service, we will follow with a simple and tangible art offering, and then a session on the mind/body/spirit connection led by the Rev. Sally Bowersox, Episcopal priest and founder of the St. Benedict Health and Healing Ministry. There is no cost to the day and free child care will be provided upon request.  RSVP online or use the sign up sheet on the table near the parking lot entrance.  We hope you will join us! Contact Courtney Gambrell.

(click on event title links for details)

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CYF Ministries Winter Meeting
Please join me on Tuesday, November 7th at 6:30 PM in planning children, youth and family ministries for this winter. If you are interested in helping lead the Christmas pageant, this would be a great meeting for you to attend.  For more information, contact Sue Crowley.
SMM Book Club 
Our next book is The Light Between Oceans by M. L. Steadman.  Janet and Bob Poley will also host this meeting. at 7pm, Friday, Nov. 10.  Respond to Janet Poley.  This thrilling story is a profound exploration of morality, love and fear. Our second book is Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood, by Trevor Noah, host of “The Daily Show”.  We’ll be hosted by Marge and Ed Szoke at 7pm, Friday, January 5.  By turns alarming, sad and funny, Mr. Noah’s book provides a harrowing look, through the prism of his family, at life in South Africa under apartheid and the country’s lurching entry into a post-apartheid era.   Read the reviews here > 
Calling for Volunteers!
It’s Christmas Pageant time and CYF Ministries is looking for a high school youth leader and an adult leader to help Sue prepare for this year’s pageant.  Contact Sue Crowley for more information!
Bake Communion Bread!
Would you like to bake communion bread? The recipe is simple – making and baking takes about a half hour on Friday evening or early Saturday morning.  Deliver the bread to the church before 10:00 am Saturday.  It is nice too if you present it at the offertory on Sunday morning, but not necessary.  This is a wonderful expression of service and care for your church family!  Find the recipe here!  Contact Janet Poley to volunteer.


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Bishop: The Rt. Reverend Robert O’Neill
Priest in Charge: The Rev. Bruce Swinehart,
Children and Youth: Sue Crowley,
Music Director: Matt Witherow,
Parish Administrator: Brian Gates,
Sr. Warden: Sarah Delaney,
Jr. Warden: Jeff Cantrell,
Worship Service Times
Saturdays 5:00pm
Sundays 8:00am & 10:00am

Office Hours
Mon-Thur 9am-2pm

Priest in Charge Hours
Sun Afternoon-Mon – Sabbath
Tues-Thur – Office Hours
Fri-Sat – by appointment

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