There was a good crowd Tuesday. Soccer on the terrace. Bananagrams for the die hards and lots of conversation.
April 1, 2014
My Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
Greetings in the precious name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
As we continue to journey in the Lenten season, particularly as we enter the Holy Week, I am sure that all of us reflect on many aspects of Jesus’s ministry and mission! Of course, each one of them is very important and vital.
One of the images I am reflecting on is Jesus washing the feet of His disciples. Perhaps one of the reasons for this is that in my recent pilgrimage to the Holy Land, someone presented me with a beautiful olive wood carving of Jesus washing the feet of a disciple. As I ponder on this image, one of the things that crosses my mind is Peter’s statement to Jesus, “You will never wash my feet” (John 13:6).
We may never know what prompted Peter to react in this way, or what was going on in his mind as Jesus approached to wash his feet. Perhaps this was a shock to Peter because in that culture washing one’s feet was not a task of a leader but of a subordinate.
Perhaps Peter was not able to understand and accept the symbolism of someone washing his feet.
Perhaps Peter was uncomfortable with someone touching his feet.
Perhaps Peter was not ready to be humbled by someone washing his feet.
But as one reflects upon this holy act on the part of Jesus, as one reflects upon the dialogue between Jesus and Peter around this issue, it becomes very clear that Christ is offering a model to all of his followers of His ministry and mission. Jesus makes it abundantly clear by saying, “Do you know what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord-and you are right, for that is what I am. So, if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you.” (John 13:13-15).
May I prayerfully suggest you ponder this thought as we continue our journey as disciples of Jesus Christ? Where is God calling us to wash someone’s feet at this hour in our homes, neighborhoods, nation and world?
Today, the opportunity may not be there to necessarily physically touch someone’s feet and wash them … but what about spiritually, emotionally, and financially?
More importantly, how do we react or respond to this dialogue between Jesus and Peter, as we journey as disciples of Jesus in the twenty-first century? Perhaps one of the reasons Peter was reluctant to accept Christ’s offer was he believed doing so might be seen as a weakness or lack of leadership. A few years ago, a wise mentor reminded me that accepting someone’s help in our journey is not a weakness, but a strength indeed! Many a time we fail in our ministry because we are too confident of ourselves and we refuse to take someone else’s help.
As we journey as disciples of Jesus Christ, the context of our ministry is much different from years ago! As disciples of Jesus Christ, we are constantly pushed into the margins of our society, where the ministry of a towel and basin is a blessing! It is not a ministry where we have all the answers as individuals, but a ministry where we constantly need to hear one another, learn from one another, and understand one another. In that context our mentors and teachers might be fellow pilgrims who are younger or older than us, pilgrims who may have a different accent or different lifestyle, BUT they too are the children of God who have the same quest as ours.
May God grant you and me the wisdom, courage, peace, and direction filled with the love of Christ and the guidance of the Holy Spirit, so that we may resemble our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, our guru, who taught us the importance of the ministry of the towel and basin.
May the power and courage of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ be our strength in the forthcoming Holy Week and always!
In Christ’s love,
Bishop Sudarshana Devadhar
In Yonder Meadows
In these fields I’ve wandered, I’ve pondered, I have grown
And my heart grows fonder, with each pasture I have known
And in yonder woods, I have followed the mossy banks
Of a trickling brook where I’ve knelt down to give thanks
These fields taught me compassion They taught me to forgive
And with mercy unrationed They taught me how to live
As a soul that’s fallen I’ve pounded my fists and wept
God must have heard me calling – For something in my spirit leapt
There’s a fog rolls in Each evening from the coast
It creeps across the landscapes like a phantom or ghost
It rolls across the meadow, the sorrells and the dales
Continues to drift even as dawn lifts Like a burka or veil
Through the mist I’m running Heart pounding against my chest
To the spirit that is coming In whose presence I feel blessed
Yes Each moment hastens toward me Impatient to impart
All that my soul craves All that saves the wounded heart
With their verdant splendor
These fields taught me to believe
And persuaded me to surrender
In order that I might receive
No matter how far I wander
Or the qualities I lack
Or the years I have squandered
These fields, they always take me back
Mike Gilman from Aquinnah Baptist Church was our guest of honor as we celebrated Labor Day weekend at Chilmark Community Church.
We’re hoping Mike will return this winter for those of you who missed him.
Summer is winding down. We thanked Ann Deitrich for her labor running the Flea Market which ended yesterday. We had 10 kids in Sunday School with summer friends lingering and back to school kids returning.
We said goodbye to all the kids from Shirley, MA.
And goodbye to Noah, visiting his grand parents, Connie and Preston:
We had a lot to celebrate this morning with Ted Mayhew back with us. We’re keeping him in our prayers. Just 2 or 3 Lobster Roll Tuesdays to go.
November 20, 2012
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
I greet you in and through the precious name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
First and foremost, let me express my sincere thanks and appreciation for the significant response and the generous contributions you have made in response to the devastating effects of Super Storm “Sandy.” In fact a team from the New England Annual Conference is already in ministry in Crisfield, Maryland. Once again, the connection of our Church is a wonderful gift in the midst of tragedy and loss. Your contributions are truly appreciated.
On behalf of the Northeastern College of Bishops, I am writing to provide you with an update and to make an additional appeal for your consideration. Our United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) has done their initial assessment of the situation and has determined that the recovery from this disaster will take approximately 3-4 years to complete. This means that our response will be ongoing as we provide a helping hand to those in need.
At a recent meeting of the Northeastern Jurisdictional College of Bishops, we determined that the focus of our efforts will be centered on the Greater New Jersey Annual Conference. The devastation there is significant and, after nearly a month, is still being assessed. We know already that there are critical needs that must be addressed.
For that reason, we are initiating a special offering for the Greater New Jersey Annual Conference from their sister Annual Conferences in the Northeastern Jurisdiction. This offering will be put together into one gift from the Annual Conferences of the Northeastern Jurisdiction and presented directly to the Greater New Jersey Annual Conference. When a disaster of this magnitude strikes, UMCOR suggests that an Annual Conference set up their own special fund in addition to gifts provided to the ADVANCE. This offering will be sent from the NEJ Annual Conferences to that fund.
May I request you consider taking a special offering on either December 2 or 9, earmarked for “Greater New Jersey Hurricane Relief.” These offerings are to be sent directly to the New England Annual Conference Office.
Thank you once again for your spirit and your willingness to respond to our sisters and brothers in need. My prayer is that we will come together to provide a truly significant offering as a demonstration of our support.
I look forward to partnering with you in the months ahead to provide a significant and compassionate response.
With Great Appreciation for Your Ministry and In Christ’s Love,
Bishop Sudarshana Devadhar
He added, in another email, the following:
Some may question why, if we just collected offerings for the victims of Sandy, we are sending a second offering, specifically for the Greater New Jersey Annual Conference. Personally, as your Episcopal leader, it is a sensitive issue for me since I just came to serve among you and with you, the Saints of the New England Annual Conference, after serving among and with the Saints of the Greater New Jersey Annual Conference for eight years. While it is true that we are giving through UMCOR, we also need to realize that there are restrictions on the use of UMCOR funds. Only limited UMCOR funds can be used for repairs of the church buildings, parsonages and replacement of clergy personal belongings and many of the churches do not have flood insurance coverage.
This is an email from Helen sent when her power came on Friday.
Not sure when i will be able to send this to you, as i have no internet service – nor telephone reception, nor electricity for that matter. If you have watched the news, which, trust me, none of those most affected by the hurricane have been able to do, you may have taken note that lower manhattan was severely handicapped by the surges associated with the recent weather system…The east river, which is a few blocks away, overflowed its banks – and a five foot wall of water flooded con edison, causing one of its transformers to blow up. The explosion was deafening, and rattled and reverberated throughout the area, knocking out power…Everything has been closed down and the east village has been transformed into a ghost town. Nothing is open, no street lights, no flower vendors, no stores, no coffee stands. Nothing. It is very eerie and desolate – and dark…There is also no cell phone reception or internet so it is impossible to reach anyone – or go anywhere. There is no subways service and although busses have started running, they are so dangerously overcrowded and delayed, that it is very crude – and – sorry to say this – rattling. I would easily compare it to India…And keep in mind there are no traffic lights and hundreds, if not thousands, of people strung along a ten block distance, hoping to cram into a bus…a lot of jabbing and jostling and jeers. its definitely hardcore…
i have an appointment at the hospital tomorrow – and since there was no way anyone could get in touch with me – nor could i call the hospital, i took the bus up today – just to find out if indeed the appointment was still to be honored. NYU medical center, just a few blocks away, had massive flooding the night of the storm, its generator failed, and all the patients had to be evacuated (without elevators, mind you…) When i arrived at Bellevue, the scenario was not much different. The hospital was in the dark, and though there was some generator capacity, they were not sure how much longer it would last, and there was a convoy of ambulances, and the national guard, assisting in moving the patients. No telephones there, no electricity, and no way for much of the staff to get there. Pretty grim. Needless to say all appointments have been cancelled…I am hoping that a few important upcoming procedures will not have to be rescheduled, and that things will be back to normal…I am hoping that the flooding did not do irreparable damage – as things are already shoddy in terms of medical care – the wait involved and then the bureaucracy…its a bit dour.
i also went further uptown to recharge my cell phone – though i was unable to get enough reception to make calls or receive whatever messages have accumulated. uptown is totally normal. all the businesses are open, all the traffic lights are working, and women are walking around with shopping bags. i found a whole foods with a cafe and plugged my phone in. most every one there was from down town, doing the same thing. we all look a little weathered, as its been impossible to shower or bathe…
i am happy i don’t live in a high rise. i can’t imagine what it would be like to have to walk up eleven or twenty one flights of stairs.
fortunately the temperatures are descending – so whatever food stuffs i bought can go out on the fire escape.
the trip on the bus to stop at the hospital and then to whole foods required six hours of my day. only to return to the east village to find that i can’t really make any calls anyway.
strange because there are no news stands, no bars, no televisions so we have no idea what is going on…or what the rest of the eastern seaboard experienced.
its halloween and its a little spooky…once darkness descends, no one is out on the street. it just feels too dangerous.
i am not sure where to go or what to do about getting “on line.” i need to make some inquiries. perhaps since i don’t have to go to the doctor’s tomorrow i will brave the decrepit bus service again and find a way to get this email off.