Events – Folder

Reflections on Communion

Elizabeth Ford Children's Church Music Ministries

Elizabeth Ford, Assistant Director Of Music & Director of Children’s Ministry

I have vivid memories of sitting with my grandparents in the Catholic Cathedral as a young child.  I remember the moment when all of the grown-ups got to receive Eucharist (Communion).  I don’t remember feeling awe or wonder but anxiety.  I watched these little grey-haired people leave the pews a certain way, walk a certain path, hold their hands just right, and say specific words.  I was so anxious about learning all of this procedure.  As a second grader, I began taking the Eucharistic Preparation classes—a year-long process with strict attendance policies.  My family began preparing for the day by buying just the right dress and planning a big Italian party to celebrate this milestone.

During this time, we visited my godmother’s Episcopal church.  That day, the children went to a small chapel to have their own kid-led service.   As part of the service, the kids had Communion.  When they invited me, I was faced with a dilemma.  I studied the bread and wine, and I concluded that this wasn’t really Eucharist because they gave me real bread instead of wafers and grape juice instead of wine.  Therefore, it was perfectly fine for me to participate.  After service, I told my parents about this “practice communion” that I’d participated in and they were less than thrilled.

Events led my family to leave our Catholic church, but I still attended Catholic school and went to daily Religious Education classes—that we were no longer attending Catholic church was top secret!  Somehow, my teacher found out, and she announced to the class that I was not able to receive Eucharist with the rest of my class.  I was not only mortified and embarrassed, I was totally confused.  An extremely shy sixth-grader, I stood up in my chair and announced, “Oh, that’s right!  At the last supper Jesus said, take this all you good little Catholics and eat it!”  I marched myself down to the principal’s office and waited for my parents to pick me up.  It was a defining moment in my life.

Communion became a big question in my life: Who was it open to?  When I started attending PPMCC, I loved that Pastor Wes said communion was open to everyone.  I began to revel in the fact that those around me had different beliefs about Communion.  This all came full circle when Sister Mary Colleen came to bless Denise’s ministry as our Spiritual Director.  I sat on pins and needles as our ushers invited a Catholic nun to communion.  I expected her to cross her hands over her chest to signal a blessing instead of receiving the elements.  Instead, she chose to join our community.  While Communion is still a mystery that I can’t explain, I praise God that our church celebrates God’s grace and love for all of us every Sunday.

 

Finishing the Miracle on 21st Street Six Week Update

In just six weeks, we have already pledged 20% of our total goal, or $50,000!  Additionally, we have already put over $15,000 down on the principal of our loan!  This is tremendous progress, and we have saved thousands in interest!  I want to say a special thank you to all of you who have donated and pledged so far.

To everyone else—look at what we can do!  This is your chance to join with your brothers and sisters here at our church and leave a legacy.  The $50,000 that has already been pledged only represents 25% of our congregation.  Can you imagine what the numbers will look like when we have 50% of our congregation pledging gifts to Finish the Miracle on 21st Street? 90% of our congregation pledging?  That time is coming!

I know that all of us want this to happen.  As we talked about six weeks ago, this would mean $31,000 a year that would no longer be spent on our mortgage, but that we could instead spend on making our community better!  We are the only GLBT group in Colorado Springs with this kind of potential, and we have a responsibility to use the gifts God has given us to bless others.  It is because of this that many of the gifts that we have received for the Miracle are actually from community members who see the value of an investment made in our church.  What a blessing!

So, with four more weeks left until the official start of our two year campaign to retire the mortgage, I want to encourage you once again to join with the folks sitting around you in church and make your pledge.  Pledge forms are available at the back of the sanctuary today.  Let’s see how much further we can go…all before our program even really starts!

The Purpose of Pentecost

Last weekend about 50 members of our church travelled up to Divide, CO, for a weekend retreat.  Our theme for the retreat was: “What Happens When the Spirit Comes?”  It was a question formulated out of the Pentecost story in Acts 2, and it is a story that we are looking at again this Sunday morning as we celebrate Pentecost Sunday 2012.

So what is the purpose of Pentecost?  That is a multi-faceted question; there are really many purposes of Pentecost.  Pentecost literally means “fiftieth day,” denoting the fiftieth day after Easter.  Pentecost is also considered the birthday of the Christian Church, even though the original apostles and disciples most certainly still considered themselves Jews.  Perhaps most significantly, Pentecost is the moment in scripture when the Spirit comes in a new and powerful way.  Jesus promised that this Spirit/Helper/Comforter would come after his ascension, and indeed, on this Sunday of each year, we celebrate the fulfillment of that promise.

So, with our very successful all-church retreat behind us, I ask again: What Happens When the Spirit Comes?

My answer to that is simple, just one word: Transformation.  When the Spirit comes things change.  Rev. Elder Ken Martin spoke about some of the types of transformation the Spirit brings, but really the work of the Spirit is limitless.  Sometimes the Spirit brings joy, other times comfort or peace, or conviction, determination, passion, sorrow, wonder, and more.  In essence when the Spirit comes, change happens.  The Spirit is life—and life abundant, and abundant life is life that is kinetic—moving and transforming and growing.

So, what happens when the Spirit is not allowed to come?  Nothing.  Stagnation, soul atrophy, and one might even say death.

pastor wesJust pay attention to the stories of Pentecost that we will reexamine today.  See the Spirit’s transformational work at work in the lives of those who were a part of that initial outpouring of the Spirit in fire and wind.  Then, after you witness those things again, ask yourself if you have kept your soul open to the transformational work of the Spirit.  Are you moving, transforming and growing with the Spirit, or is there some soul atrophy happening within you?  Today is the day to join with the disciples and open yourself to the Spirit once again!