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    News from St. Francis 10/14 – 10/21/18

    At times we get disenfranchised, dissatisfied, or downright disgruntled with the world around us. The pressures that exist in the world, the preponderance of negative and depressing news, and the uncertainty of life itself weigh heavy upon us. There are moments, however, where we see a bit more clearly the wonder and mystery and promise of the world. The recent PBS Nature program on Animal Reunions is nothing short of inspired. While it may be poo pooed by some as hyperbole and wishful thinking, it offers a powerful glimpse at the connection that humans have with the other creatures of the creation. We are definitely not alone in our emotional make-up and the need for love and security. If you did not see it, this episode is well worth the viewing. You can see it here. Click here for the complete newsletter.

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    News from St. Francis 10/7 – 10/14/18

    In an old interview with the Dalai Lama, the topic of discussion moved to the issue of compassion. Central to many of the world's religious traditions, and certainly a major component of Buddhism. The Dalai Lama used an experience that he had to try and express the importance--as well as the challenge--of showing compassion. He met with a Tibetan monk who had been imprisoned by the Chinese government for a number of years. In the meeting, the Dalai Lama asked the monk what was the hardest part of his confinement. The monk responded immediately. "The hardest part," he said, "was that I feared that I would lose compassion for my captors." Click here for the complete newsletter.

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    News from St. Francis 9/30 -10/7/18

    At our most recent vestry meeting, Gene Conti offered the following reflection. It is honest, and I suspect resonates with many of us at various points in life. Thank you, Gene . . . When it was requested of me several months ago that I write a "reflection" for this month's meeting, for weeks on-end I kept asking myself "what am I going to write about"? My family and our ups and downs? My friends that are Christians and the few that SO are not? Current world events? Immigration? Politics? Our new life at St. Francis? Or our old life as "guilty" Catholics? As you can see, many choices, some comfortable, some not. So in the following weeks I decided I would take a completely different approach & tell you about my own personal and ongoing struggles with my faith. Yes, I'm going there, yes, it's uncomfortable for me, but I'm considering it a form of "confession" Click here for the complete newsletter.

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    News from St. Francis 9/23 -9/30/18

    Many of you know writer, teacher, poet, and friend, Ed Happ. He lives in Ann Arbor now but continues to participate in our life together from afar. His recent sermon is a blessing on call. . "He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. [1]" Amen. "Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away; for now the winter is past, the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth; the time of singing has come" Oh, to write such words as these. ... Click here for the complete newsletter.

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    News from St. Francis 9/16 -9/23/18

    So, I may be a bit biased, but I think the following was one of the best opening of school remarks that I have heard. It also possesses great food for thought for all of us. It is from Marnie Sadlowsky, head of Upper School at King. . . Welcome Everyone, officially, to the 2018-2019 school year! It's wonderful to have everyone together to mark this important moment - this first day of a new school year, and our first day of the last year of our Class of 2019. If the Great Class of 2019, all 96 of you, could stand to be recognized, that would be great! Thank you. We are so proud of you, and we look forward to your leadership this year. Click here for the complete newsletter.

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    News from St. Francis 9/9-9/16/18

    The following is a reflection from Claudia Bilotti's daughter, Alyssa. It is very moving and profound. I thought it well worth sharing, and I am thankful to Alyssa for her permission to share it with you. A wise man once told me that change begets change. I didn't understand it at the time, and sometimes I still need to remind myself that change is how we grow and move forward, but boy was he right! In the last year and half, I have experienced more change than I thought possible. In May of 2017, I came to the realization that my marriage wasn't going to work. It was something that took me a long to time to fully realize and accept, but when I make a decision I tend to go full steam ahead and so I did. Within a month of making this decision, I had a new job lined up in another state, a new apartment, and a fresh start. I wanted to get to know people in my community, so I joined a dating/friend finder app. Click here for the complete newsletter.

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    News from St. Francis 9/2 -9/9/18

    A compilation of the extemporaneous thoughts from last Sunday's sermon: In preparation for a recent memorial service for Richard Liesching, I discovered that the he had been a very involved in the growth of rugby at Dartmouth College. So much so that an award was created in his name. He arrived at Dartmouth from England in the mid 1950s, and he set to work almost immediately playing and coaching the rugby club. One story that has lived on was his encounter with the Athletic Director at the time regarding support for the club. The AD reportedly barked that, "At Dartmouth, we play to WIN." Richard's reply was classic, "We play to have FUN, and in doing so WE WILL WIN." Click here for the complete newsletter.

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    News from St. Francis 8/26 - 9/2/18

    While working as a chaplain at Wooster School in Danbury, a colleague lamented one day, "Why do we need to always be talking about sin? Why can't we focus on more positive things? Sin is so depressing!" No truer words were spoken. Indeed, sin can certainly be a downer. The passion behind her question, however, reflected the feeling of many that the Church makes us focus on our faults, missteps, misdeeds, misconduct, transgressions, or, as the tradition would call them, sins of omission and commission. Indeed, the introduction to the confession that the Lutheran Church used years ago did not paint a very upbeat picture of our humanity. It stated: We are by nature sinful and unclean. So much for I'm okay, you're okay. Click here for the complete newsletter.

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    News from St. Francis 8/19 - 8/26/18

    Calving season raises a complex of memories. Wonderful memories of new life, young calves kicking up their hind legs as they test out their new bodies, and the instinctual maternal care of cows toward their young. Calving season also means cold and wet late winter weather, troubled births, weakened calves, and the lengths that farmers go to keep young life alive. Click here to read the complete newsletter.

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    News from St. Francis 8/12 - 8/19/18

    I have said to many that the current place where I live reminds me the most of the farm that I grew up on. Even though I moved a fair amount early on, even though I lived in Montana, and even though Stamford is only a 45 minute express train out of New York City, the spaciousness and natural expanse of the rectory's back yard (and field beyond) reminds me the most of the acreage--the "north 40"--that was adjacent to our farmhouse in northern Minnesota. Space matters. And place leaves an indelible mark. Click here to read the complete newsletter.

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    News from St. Francis 8/5 - 8/12/18

    There are those moments when we move through life unaware of what we truly lack. We know that nirvana may be a reach too far, but we think that we are not doing too bad, thank you. In Minnesota-ese, the refrain to put every situation in perspective echoes throughout a zillion moments, "Well, it could be worse." However, this response often steels us against the difficulties of life, setting the bar so exceedingly low that we are inured to what might be, could be, indeed, should be. We push through our days. The routines become familiar, almost friendly. And though they do not inspire, at least we know them. Click here to read the complete newsletter.

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    News from St. Francis 7/8 – 7/15/18

    Food for Thought. . . Comments made at the recent Families Belong Together Rally in Stamford on June 30. . . On behalf of the Interfaith Council, the various religious traditions we represent, and our secular brothers and sisters of basic decency and goodness, we abhor the actions of this administration to separate immigrant children from their parents, as well as the lack of a coordinated plan for the speedy and thorough reunion of those separated. These actions by our government are morally repugnant. Click here for the complete newsletter.

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    News from St. Francis 7/1 – 7/8/18

    Food for Thought. . . The following is a reflection by homiletics professor, former seminary president, and pastor, David Lose. He always has helpful insights and a "gospel" orientation. The reflection is on our text for this Sunday: the healing of the hemorrhaging woman and Jairus' daughter. Worth the read. Click here for the complete newsletter.

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    News from St. Francis 6/24 – 7/1/18

    Food for Thought. . . For many, the practice of religion involves an aspect of life that moves us beyond the rational. Faith is the term that people bandy about to capture this sense of that which lies beyond reason, rationality, and the senses. One cannot prove the existence of God. Indeed, trust in God is the proverbial leap of faith. However, faith does not necessarily mean that we cease to utilize our mental faculties or that we traffic in illogic, irrationality, and wishful thinking. Faith, as it has been understood throughout the centuries, is not that which takes away from all of our problems. An elixir for all that ails you. Rather, faith is the very trust, hope, and belief that allows us to engage more fully in the world, because we have the strength and courage--borne out of faith--to meet the various issues that face us in life clearly, confidently, and utilizing our full cognition. Click here for the complete newsletter.

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    News from St. Francis 6/17 – 6/24/18

    Food for Thought. . . The following is from the Rev. Drew Williams at Trinity Church in Greenwich. It expresses well the experience of the recent Building One Community Breakfast and is well worth the read. . Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. famously preached a sermon entitled "The American Dream" in which he sought to remind us: "You see, the founding fathers were really influenced by the Bible. The whole concept of imago dei, as is expressed in Latin, the 'image of God,' is the idea that all men have something within them that God injected... that every man has a capacity to have fellowship with God. And this gives him a uniqueness, it gives him worth, it gives him dignity. And we must never forget this as a nation: there are no gradations in the image of God. Every man from a treble white to a bass black is significant on God's keyboard, precisely because every man is made in the image of God. One day we will learn that. We will know one day that God made us to live together as brothers and to respect the dignity and worth of every man." Click here for the complete newsletter.

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    News from St. Francis 6/10 – 6/17/18

    Food for Thought. . . From the Trinity Sunday sermon. . . You may be familiar with the story of the man who was caught in a flood. The waters rose so high, forcing him to the roof of his house for safety. Being a devoutly religious person, the man prayed to God to save him. While he prayed, a neighbor in a canoe stopped to help him. The man rejected his neighbor, believing that God would prevail. A short time later, a search and rescue team drove a boat by the house. The man insisted that he was okay and that God would provide. Finally, a National Guard helicopter flew over. Again, the man dismissed the help, resolute in the belief that God would save him. Tragically, with help no longer available and the flood waters continuing to rise, the man was overwhelmed and died. Instantly, he found himself in heaven before God. Comforted by the fact that he had been received into heaven, he, nevertheless, struggled with how he made it there. Click here for the complete newsletter.

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    News from St. Francis 6/3 – 6/10/18

    Food for Thought. . . From the Trinity Sunday sermon. . . This past week, Ralph Nazareth, a member of the parish and fountain of information on religion, philosophy, and literature paid a visit to the World Religions course that I teach to discuss Hinduism and his native country, India. In setting up the discussion, Ralph noted that an important way to understand a religious tradition is not always through reading about their beliefs or holy people or holy texts. Often the best way to understand another tradition is by starting with their practices. Click here for the complete newsletter.

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    News from St. Francis 5/27 – 6/3/18

    Food for Thought. . . This week has been a tough week at St. Francis. The unexpected deaths of Diane Faxon and Russ Davis in our community have left many shocked, heartbroken, and deeply saddened. Powerless is also an experience that many feel at a time like this. What can we do? What could we have done? There is so much that we want to do, and, often, so little that we can do in ultimate terms. However, the strength of community and the heart of hospitality is something that continues to find expression, especially in difficult times. I am deeply appreciative of the selflessness and willingness of so many to offer support and help with yesterday's reception and logistics for both families and services in a number of ways. While the loss is still painfully fresh, your gift in these moments is what we are called to do in life. Thank you! Click here for the complete newsletter.

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    News from St. Francis 5/20 – 5/27/18

    Food for Thought. . . Julia Wade set up the following video during our prayer service prior to our monthly vestry meeting. Her words and the video are well worth your attention. What About Jesus? A Washington lawmaker asked Jim Wallis a question over breakfast that has stayed with him. The legislator is a Christian, but was having a hard time understanding the message and motivation of the evangelical "advisers" to President Donald Trump. He posed the query, "What about Jesus?" As Jim Wallis wrote: "What do these evangelicals do with that question as they listen and talk with and for Donald Trump? Would Jesus talk this way about immigrants, act this way toward women, use such divisive language of racial fear and resentment, show such a blatant disregard for truth, prefer strong-man to servant leadership, and really say that one country should be "first?" What do we do with Jesus? That is always the right question, including when it comes to politics, and especially if we say we are followers of Jesus Christ." Click here for the complete newsletter.

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    News from St. Francis 5/13 – 5/20/18

    Food for Thought. . . Last week, St. Francis was represented by our wardens, Kim Henderson and Sue Rutz, along with treasurer, Annette Herber, and former warden, Cathy Ostuw, at a gathering of Episcopal churches in Stamford. Similar contingents from the other Episcopal churches--St. John's, St. Andrews, Christ the Healer, and L'Eglise de L'Epiphanie-- participated. The effort is a part of what the Episcopal Church in Connecticut (ECCT) calls Faithful Futures. For those familiar with the leadership of the ECCT, the driving question presented was familiar: What is God up to in Stamford? The follow up to that question was: How can we partner with God and each other to live into what God is doing? There was a palpable spirit of goodwill and a clear desire to work together to live into these questions. Click here for the complete newsletter.

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    News from St. Francis 5/6 – 5/13/18

    Food for Thought Back next week. However, the thought occurs to me that you might take the 5 minutes that it would take to read a regular post in this position and simply sit in silence, allow your mind to settle, breathe, and reflect on the ways that God's love is manifest in your life. What images emerge? Sit in silence, allow your mind to settle, and breathe. Click here for the complete newsletter.

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    News from St. Francis 4/29 – 5/6/18

    Food for Thought Last week we held our monthly vestry meeting, and we were blessed by another wonderful reflection during the compline service that begins our evening. Thank you, Dawn Randall! Many of the lessons I RELEARN working as a school counselor with 8 - 10 year olds: Their amazing energy for recess and PE should be bottled; we could all use a little bit of fresh air and "fun" running around. Making mistakes due to not knowing better...unlike adults who should know better. Pinky swearing to cement a promise. Click here for the complete newsletter.

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    News from St. Francis 4/22 – 4/29/18

    From Ralph Nazareth. This is his speech at the recent Peace and Economic Justice Rally in Greenwich. Well worth the read. My father was a coffee planter in India with over a hundred laborers. He inherited the plantation from his father who, in turn, did so from the British, who ran India as their private plantation for over two centuries. I grew up in independent and caste-ridden India where over fifteen percent of the population were untouchables and lived lives of abject misery and indignity. These people, now called the Dalits, number at present over 300 million. Many of my childhood memories are of the cruel mistreatment of these all-too-visible invisible people. The fact that they continue to be oppressed still, seventy years after independence, is a blight on the land of the Buddha and of Gandhi and Ambedker. I speak to you, then, as the guilt-ridden son of the Indian equivalent of a slave holder. Click here for the complete newsletter.

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    News from St. Francis 4/15 – 4/22/18

    Brandon Ashcraft preached this past Sunday, and his sermon is worth a look. . . "We declare to you what we have seen and heard so that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. We are writing these things so that our joy may be complete." 1 John 1:3-4 This morning we heard the opening chapter of the First Letter of John, which is really more like an extended sermon than a letter. We'll hear a passage from First John each Sunday for the next five weeks so that by the end of Easter, we'll have read almost the entire Epistle. The author's primary aim in First John is to remind his audience of the central claims and teachings of the Gospel and, in the process, shield them from misleading claims and falsehoods being spread by certain members of the community. Leaving no room for doubt as to the danger posed by these false prophets, he refers to them later in the letter as "antichrists." While the exact identity of these "antichrists" isn't clear, their teachings have resonances with a heresy that came to be known as Docetism, which was a belief that Jesus was only divine and not human. Click here for the complete newsletter.

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    News from St. Francis 4/8 – 4/15/18

    Food for Thought. . . From this past Sunday's Easter sermon. . . A searing image from the recent March for Our Lives rally in Washington, D.C., was that of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student, Emma González. She addressed the crowd briefly, and then she stood silent for six minutes and twenty seconds: the time it took Nikolas Cruz to commit the massacre at her high school. Emma's emotions were evident, as a few tears trickled down her face. Yet, the silence itself may have been the most moving part of her speech. Click here for the complete newsletter.

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    News from St. Francis 4/1 – 4/8/18

    From the Maundy Thursday sermon. . . Following on Palm Sunday's reflection: If you remember nothing else from this service, remember this: Jesus' passion teaches us what love looks like. I read Joan Didion at West Point. Her collection of essays entitled Slouching toward Bethlehem to be specific. Of course, you're going to read something in a literature course. However, for a youngster from rural Minnesota reading about Didion's exposure to the counter-culture of Haight-Ashbury in San Francisco in the 1960's would have been strange all by itself. Place this experience alongside the trappings of the Military Academy, and I didn't know what end was up. It was, to say the least, bizarre. Didion poignantly painted in language the chaos and culture-shock of the Haight neighborhood post-summer of love and the psychedelic predilections of so many seeking illumination. West Point was just the opposite. Stand up. Sit down. Regimented. Order. Fight, fight, fight. No illumination here, except for the spit shine on your shoes. The juxtaposition of the two--Didion's reflections and West Point's reality--was bewildering to say the least, and, it was the last thing that I expected. Click here for the complete newsletter.

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    News from St. Francis 3/25 – 4/1/18

    Given the crazy weather, our midweek services and reflections were cancelled twice. One of those gatherings was when Margery Irish was to offer her spiritual journey reflection. It follows. . . In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth......uh oh, somebody already wrote that., however I thought what a powerful way to begin relating one's spiritual journey. As much as we credit our parents, in our beginning, God created us, you and me, and I wonder if on occasion God thinks, "what have I wrought?" We lived in New York City, two blocks from Central Park, and one block from St Ignatius Loyola, a beautiful Roman Catholic Church, to which Peggy Casey took me daily, en route to the park. Peg, my beloved Irish nanny, held my hand as we walked down the aisle in the darkened church. We'd genuflect, sit in a pew and Peg would whisper to three year old me, "Margie Parge, do you see that man up there hanging on the cross?" I would nod and she continued, "That's the best friend you'll ever have in your life". Click here for the complete newsletter.

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    News from St. Francis 3/18 – 3/25/18

    Quote of the Week. . . The greatest enemy to knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge. AND We are just an advanced breed of monkeys on a minor planet of a very average star. But we can understand the Universe. That makes us something very special. --Stephen Hawking (Jan. 8, 1942 - March 14, 2018) Click here for the complete newsletter.

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    News from St. Francis 3/11 – 3/18/18

    While we live in a democracy, we continue to live in times where we need to speak and act as a part of our citizenship. The following was passed on from Claudia Bilotti's daughter, Alyssa. It is a piece by a student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Posted by Annalea Ricci My grandniece, Madison, wrote about the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shootings in Parkland Florida. She and her twin sister are students there. It is something I will share at the Larchmont /Mamaroneck Summit Board in a few days. It brought me to tears. We must put an end to assault rifles in our country! You know, some people say, "don't worry... it'll never happen to us." The odd thing is, I heard this two days before the shooting. We had just been discussing drills. Our school is required to have a false shooting drill at some point in the year, to practice what we would do in the real thing. The sad thing is, we never even got a practice one. I know I'm supposed to be sharing my reaction with you, but I think it's important to know what we went through before any thoughts or assumptions occur. Click here for the complete newsletter.

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    News from St. Francis 3/4 – 3/11/18

    Our midweek Lenten services offer reflections by parishioners. The following is from Richard Leach a member at St. John's. It's well worth the read. . . How our faith strengthened us in difficult times is the theme for the speakers at these services. I take "difficult times" to mean times of trouble, times of crisis or hurt - times of trial, in the words of the Lord's prayer. Have any of us not had those times? My life has had them. I remember one I will share. It happened in 1983. I was in a terrible car accident and was in the hospital for several weeks. I was a pastor back then, and a number of my colleagues came to call on me. There was one in particular. I've forgotten his name. But I remember what he said to me. It was something like this - that this time of being bedridden, on an enforced, extended break from a pastor's normal busy days, would be a wonderful opportunity to read the Bible and pray and deepen my spiritual life. I don't know how that sounds to all of you. I found it tremendously unhelpful! My prayer was that the next time this man came to see me I would be out of the room getting an x-ray or a CAT scan. Click here for the complete newsletter.

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    News from St. Francis 2/25 – 3/4/18

    What follows is another wonderful reflection prior to our monthly vestry meeting. Thank you to Jane Lazgin for leading us. . . When Mark posted the video, "We Are the World" at Christmas, I knew I had my topic for this Vestry Meditation. I would like to offer up to the Glory of God the six adult students of English as a Second Language that Rich and I tutor on Monday nights through a robust program hosted by Literacy Volunteers in Stamford. Click here for the complete newsletter.

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    News from St. Francis 2/18 – 2/25/18

    The following is a statement from the Interfaith Council regarding the heinous killing of youth in Florida. May we work to change our culture that continues to create such violence. The Board of the Interfaith Council of Southwestern CT joins hearts and spirit with the families and community of Parkland, Florida in the face of such unspeakable evil. Seventeen innocent lives have been stolen from us and at least 14 others wounded at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Our schools, which should be sanctuaries for our most prized possession- our children, clearly and sadly, are not. Our hearts are broken with yours. The Council strongly condemns these violent acts with firearms available to those who should not have them. Now is exactly the time to discuss mental health services AND responsible gun control. Let us listen to the voices of the high school students who are insisting the time is now to address this issue and who are looking to adults -- families, faith communities, and local, state, and national legislators -- to take responsible and immediate action. Click here for the complete newsletter.

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    News from St. Francis 2/11 – 2/18/18

    Food for Thought Timing is everything, or so "they" say. Timing can certainly be beneficial, and I know that we've all been on the receiving end of when the time was just not right. We are marinated in time. Time for this. Time for that. No time to lose. Time is of the essence. Lost in time. Timeless. Time for a change. Time. When we look at a clock, we are allowed the illusion that time moves on. And, yet, the whole matter of time is elusive and complex and, ultimately, beyond us. We are caught in time as we seek to transcend time. Click here for the complete newsletter.

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    News from St. Francis 2/4 – 2/11/18

    Food for Thought I had some students view Annie Lamott's Ted Talk on "12 Truths of Life". I asked them to write their own 12 truths. The following was what one student wrote. It is quite insightful and promising. Used by permission. . . 12 Truths One: Today may seem like a bad day, perhaps the worst day you've experienced thus far in your life, but at some point, you'll have felt like this before. You'll have gone to bed thinking that that day had been utterly awful and that it couldn't get any worse...but you got through it. You got through that bad day, just like you'll get through this one, and the many others that may come. Every strike brings you closer to the next home run. Two: The days you spend at school will comprise some of the best days of your life. It may be tiring and annoying having to wake up early in the mornings, sitting through all those math classes and interacting with people you'd rather not see on a daily basis. But you'll look back and realize that those days were full of so much laughter and so many accomplishments and that they cultivated who you are as a person. Click here for the complete newsletter.

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    News from St. Francis 1/28 – 2/4/18

    Quote of the Week. . . Love doesn't just sit there, like a stone; it has to be made, like bread, remade all the time, made new. It is good to have an end to journey toward, but it is the journey that matters in the end. --Ursula K. Le Guin Click here for the complete newsletter.

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    News from St. Francis 1/21 – 1/28/18

    The following is from Dom Gautrau who offered this at our vestry opening prayer service on Wednesday. We are blessed. For the few of you who didn't see the fireworks go off last July 11 over Providence, we became grandparents again, this time of little Hannah Drew, now 6 months old. So when I was scheduled to give the vestry reflection in December I had a natural topic: her birth, tying it into Jesus' birth and working in how important grandparents are to development (can you imagine what Jesus might have REALLY accomplished if he had loving grandparents?). I was even bringing in the Magi as substitute grandparents! It would have been a thing of beauty but then the Bishop and his video preempted me so back to square one. Click here for the complete newsletter.

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    News from St. Francis 1/14 – 1/21/18

    It is hard to put together an annual report like the one you are viewing and not be overwhelmed and amazed at the sheer number of people who are involved in the vibrancy of our ministry together at St. Francis. It is also very humbling. This is a helpful and healthy reminder that I am not responsible for the richness of our life together. I, like you, play a role. The accrual of all of the people and all of the actions over the course of the year reflect what continues to be a healthy parish. Thank you for your part in making this so. It is little wonder that we focus on the individual, or, perhaps more precisely, the human. Click here for the complete newsletter.

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    News from St. Francis 1/7 – 1/14/18

    From Julia Wade. Thank you! I briefly attended a Presbyterian Church in Orange California and at 16 was baptized. Even then I was looking for meaning. My mom liked to say it didn't take, because shortly after the ceremony, I stopped going. No special reason-I simply didn't think, feel, or act any differently; and I thought, what's the point? Click here for the complete newsletter.

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    News from St. Francis 12/31/17 – 1/7/18

    Christmas Sermon. . . If you remember nothing else from this evening and Christmas going forward, remember this: Jesus did not come to change the mind of God about humanity; Jesus came to change the mind of humanity about God. We all have our favorite Christmas movies. Right? What's yours? Do you prefer the classics like It's a Wonderful Life,A Christmas Carol, or White Christmas? Or do you enjoy the absurd comedies like National Lampoons Christmas, Scrooged, or Elf? Are you a little more refined and seek out rom/coms like Love, Actually or Four Christmases? A favorite that resurfaced this year for us was The Family Stone. Much of the movie focuses on the awkward and, thus, entertaining experiences of Sarah Jessica Parker's uptight and controlling character, Meredith Morton, as she meets her boyfriend's eccentric and outgoing family at Christmas. Click here for the complete newsletter.

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    News from St. Francis 12/24 – 12/31/17

    Last night we observed The Longest Night of the Year with the annual Homeless Persons' Memorial service. Individuals who had been homeless or who continued to be homeless spoke about their lives, their struggles, and, particularly, the people in the organizations that have helped them. The event was sobering and it was hopeful. The remembrance of those who died in the past year among the homeless of Stamford--those who were forgotten or discarded by many--was a powerful moment. These were human lives. Lives filled with hopes and dreams and fears just like everyone of us. Click here for the complete newsletter.

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    News from St. Francis 12/17 – 12/24/17

    amidst the darkness of the night and the sanctuary, there appears a sea of light. The waves are the joined flickering of the individual candles, creating a movement amidst the stillness. Every so often you catch a glimpse of a face staring into the beauty of the flame before her and the hope or wonder that emanates, or you see another mouthing the words to Silent Night with eyes closed and depth of thought carried by the familiarity of the words. Regardless, it is a holy moment. Light and darkness. Hopes and fears. Dreams and horror. The wholeness of life. And, amidst it all, one wonders if the thing holding it all together and shot through it all is wonder. Click here for the complete newsletter.

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    News from St. Francis 12/10 – 12/17/17

    I've written about this before, but the image is so rich and evocative that I can't help but draw an experience during the 2004 Parliament of the World Religions held in Barcelona. Among the 4500 attendees was a large contingent from the Sikh community throughout the world. Indeed, there were so many who travelled to Barcelona that they set up their own tent community next to the convention facility where we gathered daily. On the opening night of the week long conference, a representative of the Sikh community rose to speak. He noted that after they prayed in their gurudwara, they would share a meal. All those who were present, according to their tradition, were welcome to the meal. Therefore, he noted, the whole conference--all 4500 people--were welcome to what the Sikhs call langor. That is each day of the week everyone was welcomed to a free meal. Click here for the complete newsletter.

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    News from St. Francis 12/3 – 12/10/17

    David Lose is a former homiletics professor, seminary president, and now pastor of a church in Minneapolis. His weekly reflections are wonderful food for the soul. Here is this week's Advent opener: I sometimes think Norman Rockwell is one of the most dangerous artists of the past century. I know that may initially sound a bit absurd, as Rockwell's overly cheerful, even sentimental style led many to dismiss him as a serious artist and, indeed, often to refer to him instead as a mere illustrator. Moreover, I say this as one who enjoys Rockwell's endearing style and portrait of what feels like a bygone era. Yet it is precisely Rockwell's sentimentality that poses certain hazards, particularly when it is viewed it not as sentimental but as ideal. Click here for the complete newsletter.

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    News from St. Francis 11/19 – 11/26/17

    At our recent vestry meeting, Audrey Roco offered the following reflection for our opening compline service. It is well worth the read. . . As many of you know, my daughter was diagnosed with severe heart failure in late 2015. She was hospitalized for over 3 months in the cardio intensive care unit in Philadelphia, PA. I spent a lot of that time driving back and forth between CT and PA and living in the hospital with her. I cried a lot, I prayed even more. I have to say St. Francis was a huge source of my strength then and now. I prayed, I prayed a lot. I prayed when I woke up, I prayed throughout the day - when I was driving, sitting at my desk at work, in the hospital with my daughter, at night before I tried to sleep. One of the things I constantly prayed for was God give me Heather's issue and give my daughter my health; a normal prayer for any mother, or any parent actually, in a situation like this. Click here for the complete newsletter.

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    News from St. Francis 11/12 – 11/19/17

    As we consider pledging for the 2018 budget year and our ministry together, Cathy Ostuw helped us reflect on what St. Francis means with her presentation on Sunday, November 5. Thank you, Cathy, and thank you all for considering to support our life together. If you're sitting here this morning you are part of a very clear minority population ---that is, people who are attending church this Sunday. There are lots of statistics about church affiliation and attendance, and some of them are conflicting, but without a doubt the number of people who attend a church service on any given Sunday is definitely a minority. I've seen the number 20% but I suspect it may even be lower than that. So, WE are all people who, for whatever reason, think that a connection to a church is important, and we each have different reasons for that. I'd like to tell you a little bit this morning about why church is important to me, and in particular, why St. Francis church is important to me. Click here for the complete newsletter.

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    News from St. Francis 11/5 – 11/12/17

    As we consider pledging for the 2018 budget year and our ministry together, Frank Mastrone helped us reflect on what St. Francis means with his presentation on Sunday, October 29. Thank you, Frank, and thank you all for considering to support our life together. When I was asked to speak today it was simply suggested that I talk about what I like about St. Francis Church. I'll tell you one thing is the insightful sermons, like the one we just heard here today, that I so appreciate. Week after week, Mark and Deborah help us contextually apply the New Testament teachings of the Bible to our 21st century world. Click here for the complete newsletter.

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    News from St. Francis 10/29 – 11/5/17

    For there is no distinction, since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God; they are now justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. This nugget from Paul's letter to the Romans may not seem like a major breakthrough, but it is the insight and inspiration that led Martin Luther to nail the 95 theses to the church door in Wittenberg on October 31, 1517. Thus, 500 years ago, the Reformation began. And, one could argue, things have not been the same ever since. Click here for the complete newsletter.

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    News from St. Francis 10/22 – 10/29/17

    I want to share a moment with you that, when I looked to find what I had written about the incident, I realized happen exactly a year ago tomorrow. October 19th of 2016. Coincidence? Or a Sign? That day I had an important business meeting in NYC in an office building near Battery Park at 3pm. I boarded a train in Stamford at 12:25 pm, giving myself a good hour cushion to be there on time and prepared. The conductor announced, at about Greenwich, that the train had a technical failure, and they were going to take the train out of service. This turned out NOT to be the kind of "take the train out of service" that is to park the train at the Greenwich station, and put all the passengers on a working train. Oh no. This meant we limped along at about 10 mph for the duration of the trip. The planned arrival for 1:15 became 2:05 pm. Click here for the complete newsletter.

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    News from St. Francis 10/15 – 10/22/17

    "What about detaining a nursing mother and removing a child from his or her mother seems like a good idea?" This was a question posed by one of the presenters from Asylum Seekers Advocacy Project at a panel discussion last night sponsored by Building One Community. It was in response to a question about trying to understand and engage with those who oppose immigration, asylum, and refugee status for individuals. The question cuts to the heart of the debate on immigration in general and certainly regarding asylum and refugee status in particular. We may disagree on exactly what is necessary for immigration reform. We may hold differing views on how many asylum seekers and refugees should be allowed into the country. We can debate the best ways to encourage sensible and meaningful change. Hopefully, however, we can all agree that locking up a nursing mother seeking asylum and keeping her from her child are not one of the things that we should be doing. Click here for the complete newsletter.

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    News from St. Francis 10/8 – 10/15/17

    Given the horrific shooting in Las Vegas this past week, there is little to say. Our prayers are with those who have died, their loved ones, and the over 500 individuals who were wounded and for whom we pray for healing. Further, we pray for the leaders of our country and for ourselves that we would finally be moved to action to pass sensible gun safety legislation. Yes, may we not only pray, but may we act for a safer and saner world. As Steve Israel points out in his op-ed the response needs to change. Click here for the complete newsletter.

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    News from St. Francis 10/1 – 10/8/17

    Every spring, well, every late winter and early spring, calves populated the barnyard of our farm in northern Minnesota. It was calving season. Newborns, literally, kicked up their hooves and frolicked around the barnyard as they tried on their new bodies and explored their budding energies. As the earth moved from the darkness and cold of winter into the light and warmth of spring, brown and gold bovine bambinos embodied a similar movement into new life. Click here for the complete newsletter.

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    News from St. Francis 9/24 – 10/1/17

    What follows is the brief reflection of Deborah Meyers during a brief prayer service prior to our monthly vestry meeting. I love these moments when vestry members offer their stories, experiences, insights, and wisdom for us all to reflect upon. There is no unanimity in the style or story of these meditations. Rather, the wonderful diversity that is represented by each person overflows in the monthly ruminations. What is consistent, however, is the depth of thought, the commitment to community, the search for meaning, and the inclination for kindness, mercy, love, and grace. Click here for the complete newsletter.

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    News from St. Francis 9/17 – 9/24/17

    Yale professor, Miroslav Volf, writes compellingly about his experience while living in Croatia under Communist rule. In his book, Free of Charge: Giving and Forgiving in a Culture Stripped of Grace, he describes the psychological torture of a police officer who had detained and interrogated him for his objection to the government at the time. In the end, Volf was deeply hurt by this experience. Yet, he also came to realize how important it was for him to forgive his tormentor. Basically, Volf realized that if he did not forgive the guard, the guard would continue to hold power over him and, thus, continue to traumatize him. For Volf, forgiveness was an act of liberation fundamental to life. Click here for the complete newsletter.

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    News from St. Francis 9/10 – 9/17/17

    There, but for the grace of God, go I. The statement is a familiar one to many, dealing with the sense of our connection to those less fortunate than ourselves. The saying is often attributed to the English evangelical preacher and martyr, John Bradford (circa 1510-1555). He is said to have uttered the variant of the expression, "There but for the grace of God, goes John Bradford," when seeing criminals being led to the scaffold. I don't like the statement for the cosmology that it presents. Basically, I'm okay because of some divine intervention--grace. Meanwhile, those with whom I recognize a profound connection are in such a conundrum because, we must assume, the divine has not intervened--god forsakenness as it were. Click here for the complete newsletter.

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    News from St. Francis 9/3 – 9/10/17

    A part of the mythos of Minnesota is a phenomenon known as Minnesota nice. People are just really nice, or so the perception exists by many who visit the land of 10,000 lakes. Locals there often joke that the niceness that exists is forged by the collective suffering of Minnesotans. If you live through months of below zero weather and summers that can be blisteringly hot and humid, you become acutely aware of our human limits, the overwhelming forces that control life, and, well, why not just be a bit nicer to the next person who has to deal with the same existential bewilderment. Thus, nice, in part, relates directly to suffering. Click here for the complete newsletter.

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    News from St. Francis 8/27 – 9/3/17

    As a part of our travels through Scotland this summer, we toured the rolling green countryside dotted with sheep herds by train. In such close quarters, it is easy to connect with the others journeying with you. Meals are the best time to forge new associations. Thus, one morning we found ourselves speaking with a D.C. lawyer and his wife. For whatever reason, we moved to the topic of fishing. I quickly brought out a picture of my nephew from Montana and a prehistoric-looking northern pike that he had snagged with a fly rod in northern Minnesota. (All my fishing bona fides are transfers from my brothers and their children.) While he caught the fish in Minnesota, I noted that he was from Ennis, Montana. To which the D.C. lawyer responded, "I love Ennis." Click here for the complete newsletter.

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    News from St. Francis 8/20 - 8/27/17

    The following is the text that I offered at the recent rally to Stand against Hate in Stamford. While the reason for our gathering was despicable and inconceivable in the 21st century (Are we not better than this? Have we not learned?), the strong showing and the overwhelming commitment to stand against the evil and hatred espoused in Charlottesville was extremely encouraging. Clearly, there is much more work to do for justice, equity, and peace to be realized for all people. This is a part of our baptismal calling, "strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being." Thank you for your part in the many ways that this finds expression in your life and our life together. Click here for the complete newsletter.

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    News from St. Francis 8/13 – 8/20/17

    In the heart of summer, it is a sporting persons wonderland. Wimbledon in tennis, the Tour de France in cycling, the Open Championship and the PGA Championship in golf, and this past week the World Track and Field Championships from London. Watching the athletes compete, one is witness to the amazing grace, beauty, speed, strength, and endurance of the human species. The variety of events highlight the differing gifts and strengths that exist and excite. For example, Mo Farah the 10,000 meter winner is a wisp compared to hulkish Joe Kovacs the silver-medal-winning shot putter, and neither compare to the speed and strength of Tori Bowie, the 100 meter women's champion. Indeed, as we like to say at St. Francis, Inclusive because Diversity was God's idea. And the track and field championships has it all. Click here for the complete newsletter.

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    News from St. Francis 8/6 – 8/13/17

    We had our vestry meeting this past week, and Sue Rutz gave a wonderful reflection during our opening Compline service. . . I'd like to share a conversation about religion I had a few months ago with my co-workers when we were driving to work one morning in Thailand. In the car with me was Ajer, a Muslim from Pakistan; Nilesh, a Hindi from India, now living in Dubai; and Piyawit (whom we call Ken), a Buddist from Thailand. Overall, the tone wasn't to convert or convince anyone, it was just casual conversation, but it left me with a sense of wonderment from their different perspectives. Click here for the complete newsletter.

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    News from St. Francis 7/30 – 8/6/17

    Recently, an acquaintance shocked me with a comment that not only surprised but also angered me. Out of the blue, he raised the issue of the Manchester Arena bombing at an Ariana Grande concert in May that killed 23 and wounded 250 others. The gist of his comment was that the police knew about the plans for the bombing and, yet, allowed the heinous attack to take place. I could scarcely believe what I was hearing, and made it abundantly clear that I thought what this person said was utter rubbish. I noted that reports may have circulated that the perpetrator of the bombing may have been on the authorities radar, but that is much different than knowingly allowing an attack to occur. However angry I may have been, I was also deeply saddened that this individual was susceptible to such nonsense and felt comfortable enough to share it with a relatively new acquaintance. Click here for the complete newsletter.

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    News from St. Francis 7/23 – 7/30/17

    Taking a break. Back next week. I offer up good words from professor David Lose on the text for this week and Jesus' parable on the wheat and the tares. . . Years ago, a friend of mine, speaking about his golf game, said the key to success was to care enough about the game not to care. I think there's something true about that with parables as well; that is, the best way to preach parables is to be serious enough about them to not take them too seriously. And, in particular, to be cautious about interpreting them too strictly or literally. Click here for the complete newsletter.

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    News from St. Francis 7/16 – 7/23/17

    On Tuesday, July 18, a group of individuals from various religious organizations will gather at First Congregational Church at 7:00 PM to discuss supporting another refugee family from Syria. A few years ago St. Francis helped tangentially with the resettlement of a family fleeing the war torn country. This time we will have more involvement in the work that is needed, and I know that there will be more information coming as plans emerge. With all the many and vital causes in the world, this one--refugees in general and Syria in particular--cries out for our attention and action. Click here for the complete newsletter.

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    News from St. Francis 7/9 – 7/16/17

    One of the unmistakable things that you realize upon entering any of the great cathedrals of England is that there are a lot of dead people in the world. From Westminster to Yorkminster, from Salisbury to Canterbury, and from Wells to Winchester, you encounter amazing architecture, sculpture, and paintings. You also recognize the unambiguous mortality that is our lot. Crypts, funerary statues, grave markers in the floor, and memorial plaques all remind one that amidst the beauty and wonder of the best that humans can create is the fleeting experience that we all will have. Click here for the complete newsletter.

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    News from St. Francis 7/2 – 7/9/17

    An opportunity to discover one of the strong voices in theology these days, Kathryn Tanner: Tanner refuses to see divine immanence and transcendence as a zero-sum game. The paradigm for her is Jesus Christ. The incarnation brings about the closest possible relation between the human being Jesus and God. In this union, neither the divinity of God nor the humanity of Jesus is compromised. Christ demonstrates God's capacity to be in intimate relation with the world (immanence) without compromising God's radical otherness (transcendence). Both fully immanent and fully transcendent to creation, God is neither to be opposed to creaturely reality nor identified with it. Click here for the complete newsletter.

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    News from St. Francis 6/25 – 7/2/17

    A wonderful reflection by Annette Herber during our recent Vestry Compline service. Well worth the read. . . Thank you Mark, thank you all for getting me to stop my routine and think what I would like to share in a meditation with you tonight. Many happy themes come to mind: * It's almost summer, we are outside, it's the season of spring cleaning. * A few of us are looking forward to spending time on the beach. For me, it's my annual time to return to Germany and catch up with my family of origin. And yes, we will be on the beach, too. My question tonight is what goes through my mind when I get still enough for a few moments? A wonderful reflection by Annette Herber during our recent Click here for the complete newsletter.

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    News from St. Francis 6/18 – 6/25/17

    Perhaps the difficulty of our time is to remember what is real. The assault on truth from fake news, while not new to our public discourse, certainly possesses a power and reach that we have not witnessed. Furthermore, the Down-the-Rabbit-Hole effect of real news castigated as fake news and duping people is deeply troubling. If nothing else, the need for an educated populace in a democracy has been underscored by our current conundrum regarding what is real and what is fake. While the implications of this dilemma for politics and policy are unbelievably important and our calling as citizens as well as Christians is to be vigilant (Luther's distinction of the Two Kingdoms is helpful now as it was in the 16th century), I am drawn to a different consideration of remembering what is real. However, a case can be made that this different awareness possesses even greater import and engagement with what is real and what is fake. Click here for the complete newsletter.

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    News from St. Francis 6/11 – 6/18

    Off at my niece's graduation. Here is a wonderful poem from David Whyte: Your great mistake - Your great mistake is to act the drama as if you were alone. Your great mistake is to act the drama as if you were alone. As if life were a progressive and cunning crime with no witness to the tiny hidden transgressions. To feel abandoned is to deny the intimacy of your surroundings. Surely, even you, at times, have felt the grand array; the swelling presence, and the chorus, crowding out your solo voice You must note the way the soap dish enables you, or the window latch grants you courage. Alertness is the hidden discipline of familiarity. Alertness is the hidden discipline of familiarity… Click here for the complete newsletter.

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    News from St. Francis 6/4 – 6/11/17

    At the recent CREDO conference that I attended near Asheville, NC, numerous stories of life and ministry were shared. The sacredness of our stories and how they express the deeper realities of our being was reaffirmed by this experience. There were, of course, many anecdotes laced with humor and silliness. Yet the expressions of breathtaking sadness that emerged were powerful. Faith, in these instances, is not so much a belief in a magician who can make all the difficulty disappear. Rather, faith is embodied in these moments as the very real and, at times, terrible placing of one foot in front of the other not knowing where it will lead just to walk through the day. Certainty, understanding, assurance are niceties that often do not reside on this side of faith. Rather the rawness of aloneness and the tentative reaching out for support is the body language of faith. Faith, in this instance, does not mean proof. Faith means seeking meaning in a world that, at the moment, seems devoid of it. Click here for the complete newsletter.

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    News from St. Francis 5/28/17 – 6/4/17

    The recent Building One Community Breakfast Benefit held this past Wednesday at the Stamford Marriott was a truly inspiring experience. The energy in the room with over 450 individuals attending was palpable. The speeches were deeply moving. From the testimony of a recent immigrant's determination to succeed and offer a better future for his children, to the Land of Opportunity award recipient--Russian immigrant, Yelena Klompus, who works as the World Languages and Literacy Librarian at the Ferguson--and her recognition of the important collaborations between nonprofits, public/private partnerships, and within institutions that need to take place to offer people opportunities, there was much to be impressed by the work of the young nonprofit Building One Community. Click here for the complete newsletter.

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    News from St. Francis 5/21 – 5/28/17

    Food for Thought. . . A very thoughtful and important reflection by Julia Wade at our recent Vestry meeting. Professor Peggy McIntosh was taught to see racism only in individual acts of meanness, not in invisible systems conferring dominance on a particular group. Through her work to bring materials from women's studies into the rest of the curriculum, she noticed men's unwillingness to grant that they are over privileged, even though they may grant that women are disadvantaged. They may say they will work to women's statues, in the society, the university, or the curriculum, but they can't or won't support the idea of lessening men's. Denials that amount to taboos surround the subject of advantages that men gain from women's disadvantages. These denials protect male privilege from being fully acknowledged, lessened, or ended. Click here for the complete newsletter.

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    May 2017 Messenger

    On Sunday, April 23, we said farewell to our beloved deacon, Edrice Viechweg. She was a wonderful presence in our midst over the past five years. We wish her well in her new call, and we hope to see her often in the years to come..."My heart is full and overflowing. Thanks to you and my St. Francis family, I experienced a small taste of Heaven yesterday. I must admit that I knew I was appreciated, but I truly did not know how much I was loved. My years at St. Francis have been a blessing to me, my family, relatives and friends who were fortunate enough to visit with us. From the moment I enter the grounds of St. Francis, I am enveloped with a sense of peace, and everyone whom I have invited speak of the love they feel when they enter the Church and are so warmly greeted by everyone..." Click Here for more of this and other News for May 2017.

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    News from St. Francis 5/14 – 5/21/17

    What is a normal goal to a young person becomes a neurotic hindrance in old age. --Carl Jung Click here for the complete newsletter.

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    News from St. Francis 5/7 – 5/14/17

    It is Eastertide, but this is a brief reminder of the journey. From Good Friday. . . The most recent project for director Martin Scorcese is a movie based on the novel Silence by Shusako Endo. Silence tells the story of Catholic missionaries to Japan in the 17th century. Particularly, it follows the efforts of a zealous and pious priest, Rodrigues, to Christianize Japan. However, the history of these efforts is well documented and quite violent. The Kakure Krishitan, the Hidden Christians, are persecuted by the Japanese. Initially, the Japanese officials sought to get the priests to renounce their belief by torturing them and having them step on a fumie, a picture of Jesus, as a sign of their apostasy. Click here for the complete newsletter.

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    News from St. Francis 4/30 – 5/7/17

    The following is a beautiful note from Edrice. You will be missed. . . Dear Mark, My heart is full and overflowing. Thanks to you and my St. Francis family, I experienced a small taste of Heaven yesterday. I must admit that I knew I was appreciated, but I truly did not know how much I was loved. My years at St. Francis have been a blessing to me, my family, relatives and friends who were fortunate enough to visit with us. From the moment I enter the grounds of St. Francis, I am enveloped with a sense of peace, and everyone whom I have invited speak of the love they feel when they enter the Church and are so warmly greeted by everyone. Click here for the complete newsletter.

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    News from St. Francis 4/23 – 4/30/17

    From Sunday's sermon. . . Within some of the carcasses of medieval cathedrals, the walls double as a storyboard and present major events in the life of Jesus. High rates of illiteracy, the inaccessibility of Latin, and the dearth of Bibles in that time, made these walls the reasonable vehicle for transmitting the Christian message. Among the scenes in many churches throughout France, Italy, Germany, and England, one might recognize the baptism of Jesus, or the feeding of the five thousand. Perhaps the raising of Lazarus, the Last Supper. Certainly, the Crucifixion and images of the Resurrection. However, time, inevitably, takes its toll. The images, far from clear and vibrant, are literally shadows of their early beauty. Chipped paint, the fade of color, and the weathering of time make some of the images almost impossible to discern. Click here for the complete newsletter.

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    News from St. Francis 4/16 – 4/23/17

    Eugene Burnand's painting of Peter and John running to the tomb on Easter morning is one of my favorites. The anticipation of both men is unmistakable. Yet, it is not entirely clear if it is hope or fear that drives them. For all of us who live vacillating between the two, this depiction is a helpful reminder that nothing was set in stone. However, the affirmation of Easter, "He is risen!" is a declaration of hope that the stone, ultimately, didn't have the last word. We may not be able to travel with Peter and John to see for ourselves, though we all know of the anticipation of and longing to glimpse or experience the presence of God, particularly when death overwhelms. May this Easter season hold glimpses of hope that sustain you as we continue the journey begun by Peter and John to the empty tomb. Click here for the complete newsletter.

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    News from St. Francis 4/9 – 4/16/17

    I was gassed once. It occurred during training maneuvers in my first (and only) year at West Point. To underscore the importance of a gas mask, we were marched through a CS gas tent. The gas was a mild agent (using that term with no small sense of irony), yet the impression was lasting. Try as you might to hold your breath, the cadets overseeing the exercise would force you to take a breath. Then it was all over. Throat burned. Eyes were on fire. Saliva and mucous began to flow excessively from nose and mouth. Exiting the tent, those gassed looked like human albatrosses, flailing their arms to get fresh oxygen into their lungs, saliva and mucous streaming from their faces. Click here for the complete newsletter.

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    News from St. Francis 4/2 – 4/9/17

    The following is Debra's sermon from this past Sunday. It is an important look at an old text and how we do theology. .. When I was a young professor at Columbia Law School in my 20's, I thought I had the world by the tail, as they say -- an apartment on NY's West Side, engaged to be married, a job that was interesting, and in my field of study. And then, without warning, everything changed. I became very, very sick -- so ill, that it became impossible for me to leave my apartment, barely able to teach my classes, gripped by excruciating pain, with debilitating symptoms. The doctors I visited could not find anything wrong with me. Click here for the complete newsletter.

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    News from St. Francis 3/26 – 4/2/17

    The following is Betsy Adams' reflection on the Lord's Prayer during our recent midweek Lenten service. It is well worth the read. . . When Mark sent out the email to those of us at St. Francis asking if anyone would be willing to speak about what the Lord's Prayer or the Apostle's Creed meant to us, I thought to myself, "I'm not going to touch either of the Creeds with a 10-foot pole!" Our wonderful former Assistant Priest at St. Francis, Molly McGreevy, acknowledging the difficulty the Creeds presented for many of her parishioners, used to say: "I think of the Creed as if they were written on double-spaced paper, so that when we recite them in the liturgy I can mentally insert after each line: 'And by THAT I mean... Click here for the complete newsletter.

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    News from St. Francis 3/19 – 3/26/17

    Like a crime scene, Biblical texts leave a host of clues. We do not always recognize them, and even when we do, we may not always be able to understand their meaning and consequences. Regardless, nothing is ever as simple as it might appear. Scratch the surface, and you will be surprised at what you find. Click here for the complete newsletter.

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    News from St. Francis 3/12 – 3/19/17

    From our first mid-week Lenten Worship. . . Welcome to Lent, and may your Lenten journey be one that is filled with blessings and grace. Given the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther starting the Reformation, we thought it would be good to look at the small catechism during our Lenten gatherings. The catechism includes instruction for the Apostles' Creed, the Ten Commandments, the Lord's Prayer, Baptism, and Eucharist. It may seem a bit outdated to some, and, perhaps for others, there is a good deal of motivated forgetting inspired by a less than inspiring confirmation experience. However, the catechism may be, as they say, just what the doctor ordered. Indeed, the very reason that Martin Luther developed the catechism was for a guide to parents in raising their children in the 16th century. Click here for the complete newsletter.

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    News from St. Francis 3/5 – 3/12/17

    Food for Thought…From Ash Wednesday The spacious rolling hills of southeastern Minnesota create a distinct agricultural tapestry during the spring planting season. Sections of turned earth become the rich, black, loam squares offset by the lighter fallow acres of a flowing checkerboard of fields that roll on for miles. It was near the edge of one of these plowed fields that I witnessed an early cropland communion. The encounter occurred in the mid 1980's. The wars in Central America were at their peak. Some refugees from Guatemala had been resettled in the tiny farming community in which I worked. As a part of the efforts to resettle these families, local farmers and church members collaborated to support the various needs of the refugees Click here for the complete newsletter.

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    News from St. Francis 2/26 – 3/5/17

    Whatever devotion you practice this season of Lent, either giving up something that ties you to this world or taking on a spiritual task or discipline, let it be something that helps you participate in the movement of God's love in this world, following in the footsteps of Jesus and loving one another. --The Archbishop of Episcopal Church USA, Michael Curry Click here for the complete newsletter

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    News from St. Francis 2/19 – 2/26/17

    Because of the inclement weather this past Sunday, Edrice was not able to preach the sermon she had planned to deliver. Here it is. . .After being baptized by John in the River Jordan and following the beginning of his public ministry, Jesus began a discourse of moral teachings we have come to know as The Sermon on the Mount. Two Sundays ago, we followed Jesus up the mountain and listened as He spoke about a number of blessings commonly known as the Beatitudes. Last Sunday, we heard Him say that we are the salt of the earth and the light of the world, and today we listened to his teachings in which he eloquently presented a series of specific interpretations of the Law of Moses, beginning each statement with the words, "You have heard that it was said," and concluding by saying, "but I say to you". Click here for the complete newsletter.

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    News from St. Francis 2/12 – 2/19/17

    The Avon Theater held a viewing of the documentary Sacred last Thursday night. It was an amazing visual journey that travelled the globe and our lifecycle to provide glimpses into the various ways that religious traditions mark time, highlight moments of change, and honor the sacrality of the human and the bond we seek and create with one another and the larger world. Footage shot by over 40 filmmakers around the world was used in an un-narrated film that didn't need the commentary. Rather, the documentary spoke for itself in images, movement, and the natural expression of the events and actors themselves. Needless to say, it is well worth seeing if and when you get a chance. Click here for the complete newsletter.

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    News from St. Francis 2/5 – 2/12/17

    This past Monday night the vestry met for a special meeting to discuss the recent pesidential Executive Orders and how, if in any way, we might respond. For me, part of the reason for the meeting was that my good friend, Dr. Kareem Adeeb, and his Muslim community (the American Institute of Islamic and Arabic Studies) who pray at St. Francis, were anxious about what the implications of these orders would mean for them. Furthermore, given the recent violence at the mosque in Quebec City, they were also rightly concerned for their own safety. Also, and this is not least in my mind, I was feeling that many people were on edge and uncertain about what these early actions of the new administration meant or could mean, what one could do, and the exhaustion that comes with such a heightened level of stress. Click here for the complete newsletter.

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    News from St. Francis 1/29 – 2/5/17

    It always amazes me how quickly the Christmas season seems to go by. It's supposed to be a time to slow down and enjoy family and friends, reflect upon the past year and look forward to the promise of new beginnings, but sometimes the busyness of life gets in the way of savoring all the precious moments. Click here for the complete newsletter.

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    News from St. Francis 1/22 – 1/29/17

    Food for Thought. . . With the annual meeting this Sunday, January 22, and with the completion of the 2016 Annual Report, I do not have much to write about this week. What I do want to say is that I am continually amazed at the generosity, creativity, commitment, love, grace, mercy, sense of justice, hope, insight, strength, grit, beauty, sense of humor, humility, and gratitude that meets me at every turn by working with and serving the members of St. Francis. Thank you for your part in our life together. We truly are blessed by you. Click here for the complete newsletter.

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    News from St. Francis 1/15 – 1/22/17

    I watch our rescue golden retriever, Bader, and our newest puppy, Francis, wrestle on the kitchen floor as I write. As one who is new to the rescue field, I marvel at what Bader's and Francis' engagement means. It is not just that young Francis is practicing how to fight, nor is it that young Francis is developing muscles that will enhance his growth, nor is it that young Francis is learning how to socialize in a pack. While all of these things are certainly true, young Francis is not the beneficiary of this "play". Bader is. Click here for the complete newsletter.

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    News from St. Francis 1/8 – 1/15/17

    One of the primary metaphors for life that resonates with me is stumbling. As in, we stumble into the various events and activities of life. Afterward, we make sense of whatever it was that happened. Such a perspective challenges mightily the notion that we are in charge and the agency with which we believe we live our lives. While control and agency are clearly important-and Lord knows there are so many things that we are responsible to and for-there seems an element of grace-or divine humor-embedded in the stumbling metaphor. We didn't manufacture or produce so many of the aspects that make up life as we know it. We stumbled into them. Click here for the complete newsletter.

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    News from St. Francis 1/1 – 1/8/17

    From the Christmas Eve sermon. . . A rock resides in one of the magnificent stained glass windows in the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. It isn't your normal run-of-the-mill mineral deposit that fences the property lines of the Connecticut landscape or one that you use to skip along the water's surface during a moment of lakeside reverie. This rock is from the moon. A moon rock that Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins delivered from the Sea of Tranquility during a ceremony at the Cathedral in 1974. The Space Window is what they call it. Literally, a little piece of the heavens embedded in the earth. Click here for the complete newsletter.

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    News from St. Francis 12/25 – 1/1/17

    December 21st has come an gone. Farewell December 21, for 2016. We'll catch you next year in your new 2017 iteration. I love the Winter Solstice. In the past, I dreaded it because of the long Minnesota winters. But now--and it's not just the more temperate Connecticut climate--I have an insight into why the ancients celebrated so at this time of year. The light is returning. Ever so slightly. Almost imperceptible at first. But the light is coming back. And there is a rhythm of hope that corresponds to the rhythm of the seasons. Darkness will yield to the light, only to recapture more real estate beginning on June 21. The rhythm may seem endlessly circular and, at times, meaningless. Though, these changes of seasons are tangible reminders--myriad reminders breaking in or breaking forth all around us, physical, elemental, earthly--that we aren't just reliving the same things again and again, but we are connected and living with the whole of creation. The Feast of the Incarnation--Christmas--is one of the seasonal reminders of this reality. God literally with us. In the flesh. Click here for the complete newsletter.

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    News from St. Francis 12/18 - 12/25/16

    The vestry met this past Wednesday, and Audrey Roco presented a reflection during our beginning prayer service. It is a wonderful lesson and expansion by her on our own journeys. Enjoy. . . I was reading my grandson a book a few weeks ago and I was pleasantly surprised at the amazing lesson at the end. I can't remember the title but I remember the lesson. In a town of Chinese rats, a rich empress dressed in fine silk stood in the middle of a crowd of simple town-rats scurrying in the muddy pavements left after a heavy rain. She would not budge from her little mound for fear that mud would stain her beautiful garb. She barked at the other rats to carry her but the more she fumed, the more obnoxious she was, the less inclined any of the rats felt about carrying her. Click here for the complete newsletter.

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    News from St. Francis 12/11 – 12/18/16

    From Daian Frese-Harless who is a constant observer of the rhythm of life together at St. Francis and participates in ways subtle, not-so-subtle, and blessedly profound: Newly returned to attending services, though not regularly, I had a problem standing during coffee hour in Assisi Hall. I espied a friendly looking elderly lady sitting near the west entrance stairs and pulled up one of those sliding chairs and was fascinated to hear of her travels any Sunday I made my way up to church. She was one of two people I canonized in my early years back at St Francis after about a thirty year lapse except for a few visits along with my parents and Fred and sometimes Alan, who lived in The City. I called her St Harriet of the Holy Welcome. I bring this up because I in turn get a kick out of talking with new people, although I of course enjoy the ones I have known for quite a while. Click here for the complete newsletter.

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    News from St. Francis 12/4 – 12/11/16

    This past Sunday, Edrice Viechweg offered the second "What St. Francis means to me." In her inimitable way, Edrice captures well the spirit here. It's well worth the read. . . Today, like every Sunday, as I pull up in front of the church, I am overcome by a sense of calm and thankfulness. It is as if I am leaving the hustle and bustle of the world behind for a few hours, and I am entering a space where I can truly be at peace with myself. A few weeks ago when Mark asked me to say a few words about St.Francis, I agreed to do so, but didn't think about what I would say until a few days later. That was actually the day when I emailed Mark to ask him if he would baptize the baby who became a part of our church family two weeks ago at our 70th anniversary celebrations. Click here for the complete newsletter.

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    News from St. Francis 11/27 – 12/4/16

    As you know, I value the collective wisdom of the leadership that is found on the vestry. Every month, a new or different insight is shared with us as members take turns giving the reflection during Compline that starts our meeting. The following is from Frank Mastrone, and continues the rich reflections we are used to: When the late night comics spoke for the first time after this years election results came in, they all said "Well, the good news is, for the next four years our jobs just got a whole lot easier. For a moment, I thought the same thing. "How lucky am I to get to do the reflection only a week after this historic decision in our nation's history." But I was wrong. This is not an easy situation to reflect upon. Click here for the complete newsletter.

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    News from St. Francis 11/20 – 11/27/16

    As we enter the pledge season at St. Francis, we ask individuals to reflect on What St. Francis Means to Me. Jim Quinn offered these remarks during our 70th Anniversary celebration last Sunday, November 13. His words are very compelling, particularly in the environment we find ourselves today. Mark asked me to kick off Stewardship season by saying a few words about What St. Francis means to me, and I'd like to state it as simply as I can. St. Francis is my bedrock foundation - this community, you. This is where I turn when I feel weak and frustrated and beaten down. You may not know it, but you restore my faith in humanity. You nurture me back to sanity and give me confidence to walk back out into the world and try to do just a little bit better every day. Click here for the complete newsletter.

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    News from St. Francis 11/13 – 11/20/16

    As I texted with my brother in Montana on Wednesday morning following the recent presidential election, he wryly responded to the query of how he was doing with, "So, the Canadian Immigration Website has crashed. . ." In response to the same question, my sister living in St. Paul, MN, offered, "Well, Minnesota elected Jesse Ventura as governor and we survived."…Clearly, there was far too little levity throughout the whole campaign. And with the election result another odd recurring theme of a split Electoral College vote and a popular vote, it is equally clear that we seem more and more divided in this country. The threads that connect us continue to fray. However, what I want to say in this piece is that precisely at this divisive moment, we need to actively engage the work of binding together the fraying of our public discourse, interchange, and action. For those who opposed the election of Donald J. Trump, this is not the end of the world. And for those who voted for him to be the 45th president of the United States, there is much work that remains so that what Martin Luther recognized as the fundamental task of government-the care of its citizenry-may thrive. Click here for the complete newsletter.

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    News from St. Francis 11/6 – 11/13/16

    As we approach our First 70 Celebration on Sunday, November 13, please remember that we will have only ONE service on that Sunday at 10:00 AM at the Church. A lunch and program will follow. Join us as we celebrate 70 years of God's grace in this blessed corner of God's creation, and help us to recommit ourselves to being God's hands in the world for 70 more. The following is an expansion of some thoughts offered in the recent newsletter. . . Seventy is an interesting number in the world of religion. In certain ancient traditions, the idea of seven was a sign of perfection. Thus, seven times ten-70-is perfection multiplied. Click here for the complete newsletter.

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    News from St. Francis 10/30 – 11/6/16

    Muslims are out to kill us all," opined the man with whom I was speaking. It was a strange statement to me within a conversation that was stranger still on a day that was truly bizarre. "All Muslims?" I asked. "Yes," came the swift reply. Then, "Well, maybe not all of them, but the majority, and they all support overthrowing us." (I'm always intrigued by what the us truly stands for in many conversations.) "Do you know any Muslims?" I asked. "No," he shot back. "Perhaps it would be good to get to know some to see what they really think and desire," was my final statement on the matter. Perhaps, it would be good to get to know a Muslim to see what he or she really thinks and desires. What a novel thought. And what a difficult thing to do if we do not find ourselves in circles where meeting a Muslim and having that conversation is very easy. Click here for the complete newsletter.

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    News from St. Francis 10/23 – 10/30/16

    Mindfulness . . . Stay in the Present . . . Take it slow . . . Put one foot in front of the other . . . Certainly good advice to achieve a calm & peaceful life. Yet, God gave us a wonderful gift: our memory. Too often, we use it to relive negative things that have happened to us, to our family members, or to the world. But, this memory would be blank except for being fed by 5 other incredible gifts from God: our senses. Tonight, let's use our memories to show our gratitude to God by reliving some good times. For each sense, I will describe my #1 memory. Then, I will have you briefly close your eyes & remember your memory. Click here for the complete newsletter.

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    News from St. Francis 10/16 – 10/23/16

    The story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden found in Genesis 3 is one of the classics in all of literature. Or more correctly, it is the basis for so much great literature that has drawn on its richness. We know the events of the fruit of the tree, the serpent's tempting, and Eve and Adam's acquiescing by the foreboding name "The Fall". Reading the Genesis narrative sequentially, many throughout the ages have interpreted that a state of original grace or utopia was the beginning of all things, and then trouble came to River City in a BIG WAY but in such a small form. Regardless, life was never the same. Click here for the complete newsletter.

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    News from St. Francis 10/9 – 10/16/16

    When our beloved golden retriever, Francis, died in August, we were inundated with a number of kind and empathetic notes from so many at St. Francis. Among my favorite pieces of correspondence was a card from Peggy Flood. Along with her condolences, she related an experience her daughter, Lizzie, had while a Middle School student at Trinity Catholic. During religion class, Lizzie was told by her instructor that dogs do not have souls. Click here for the complete newsletter.

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    News from St. Francis 10/2 – 10/9/16

    I love the reflections prior to our Vestry Meetings. The most recent reflection came from Annette Herber. It is worth the read. My Mother's Dishes She passed away 13 years ago and I inherited them... Last weekend I fulfilled my annual duty of hosting some 10 ladies living in Northern Westchester for an evening of Pokeno at my house. What's Pokeno? Well, in the Bingo category, I think of it as a card game that most of us should be able to play even as mental, hearing and/or other capacities start declining ... Click here for the complete newsletter.

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    News from St. Francis 9/25 – 10/2/16

    Here's your sermon if you can't make worship: One of my favorite descriptions of heaven and hell is that of a banquet feast. The participants gather around a massive table overflowing with all sorts of amazing foods. However, they only have bizarrely oversized wooden utensils with which to feed themselves. In hell, those gathered around the banquet feast writhe in hunger as they endlessly try to feed themselves but to no avail. The utensils make it impossible for each person to serve him or her self. Click here for the complete newsletter.

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    News from St. Francis 9/18 – 9/25/16

    It was nice to know that the public radio announcer didn't quite know how to pronounce the last name of the San Francisco quarterback, Colin Kaepernick. He clearly had other issues that were of more importance than a back up quarterback in the NFL. Kaepernick's name is pronounced with a short a rather than a long a the radio announcer used…Kaepernick has created a controversy in the mind of some and a national conversation in the mind of others by refusing to stand during the national anthem prior to the NFL games that he plays in. Click here for the complete newsletter.

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    News from St. Francis 9/11 – 9/18/16

    This past week Nicholas Kristof wrote an engaging opinion piece in the New York Times entitled What Religion Would Jesus Belong To? The following quote from Kristof's piece (citing Brian McLaren) gets to the heart of what the original Jesus movement was about and how that movement has been transformed into something wholly unrecognizable in too many Christian circles today. Click here for the complete newsletter.

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    News from St. Francis 9/4 – 9/11/16

    Thank you to everyone who has been so kind to us at the loss of our beloved, Francis. We knew there were so many dog/pet lovers at St. Francis. This experience has confirmed the love of people for their furry companions, and their compassion for those who have lost such important friends on life's journey. We are blessed by you! Click here for the complete newsletter.

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    News from St. Francis 8/28 – 9/4/16

    The following is from a wonderfully insightful and thoughtful friend, Jim Mustich, who offers much for all to consider. . .  If there were an archaeology of consciousness, fieldworkers would sooner or later discover that prayer lies at the deepest layer of our urge to language. Before we knew we had selves to talk to, I'm sure our fears and longings found their expression in the supplication of unknown powers, as strange and various, and as ever-present, as the weather. To raise one's own voice in prayer, or even to consider the invocations of others, is to strip the paint of irony from the soul's abode: the effect can be startling, frightening, purifying. Click here  for the complete newsletter.

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    News from St. Francis 8/21 – 8/28/16

    ONLY ONE SERVICE AT 9:00 AM  THIS SUNDAY in The Meeting Room!!!! Join us for Coffee Hour at 10AM in the Meeting Room! While this Sunday's Eucharist will be a quite a bit different than many are used to, I think that it is an experiment that places us in close proximity to the expression of the early Church.  Our gathering in the Meeting Room at 9:00 AM this Sunday is borne of necessity; the refinished floor of the Church needs to cure, and the temperature in the Historic Church is nigh unbearable.  The worship of the early Church was also borne of necessity. Click here  for the complete newsletter.

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    News from St. Francis 8/14 - 8/21/16

    With all the craziness of this political season, the senseless violence throughout the world, and the overwhelming reality of the myriad issues that face individuals, communities, nations and the world (how's that for an upbeat opening phrase!), it's easy to be discouraged.  Yet, there are those moments where you stumble into something so unexpected and beautiful that you regain hope in humanity and, for a moment, are carried on the crest of that wave of serendipity.  Last week possessed one of those moments in my summer wanderings. Click here for the complete newsletter.

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    News from St. Francis 8/7 – 8/14/16

    Update on the Refugee Family that St. Francis and others have supported (a note from Jean Meyer):  Thank you for your continued prayers for this family.   They are adjusting to a new country, a different language, English instruction, schools, and the myriad medical appointments that are difficult.  They have made great strides in just three months.  "Our" 16 year old has been in summer school at High School, has had surgery on her ankles, is progressing very well with Physical Therapy, and is looking forward to walking some day. Four of them have bicycles now, which has brought great joy and new transportation possibilities.  Piano lessons for the 16 year old and Karate for the 12 year old have begun, with ballet lessons for the 5 year old planned for September.  Trips to parks, the Ferguson library, Stamford Nature Center and the Maritime Center have been fun.  Upcoming trips to the Bronx Zoo , NYC, the Museum of Natural History and the Metropolitan Museum are planned. Click here for the complete newsletter.

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    News from St. Francis 7/31 – 8/7/16

    From Brandon Ashcraft's recent sermon. . .Since I last saw you all in May, I've been spending most of my days completing my Clinical Pastoral Education requirement. A standard part of ministry formation across many denominations and traditions, CPE is essentially an internship in which seminarians serve for a time as hospital chaplains...I went into CPE feeling nervous and overwhelmed and, truthfully, woefully unprepared for the work. Walking unannounced into a hospital patient's room and introducing yourself as a chaplain can yield a wide range of reactions: some are terrified (thinking that chaplains only come when there is bad news), others are grateful...I just desperately wanted a script; some sort of playbook. In a throwback to last week's Gospel...my inner-Martha would rear her head and I would become worried and anxious about finding the perfect words that could ease the patient's pain and assure her that God was present, even in her suffering. Click here for the complete newsletter.

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    News from St. Francis 7/24 – 7/31/16

    As you have no doubt noticed, I have taken the last two weeks off from writing in this spot.  Sabbaths of many sorts are important, and I took a little sabbatical from writing.  Of course, one doesn't stop thinking about the various issues that are bombarding us daily, and the past few weeks have been a bit exhausting if you are paying any attention to the news. The pain and grief of innocent lives struck down in Baton Rouge, Falcon Heights, Dallas, and Nice among other places is deeply depressing and raises the sense of powerlessness in the face of violence that careens from one encounter to the next.  A well-known theologian of the past century, Joseph Sittler, coined the apt phrase for the malaise of this context.  Compassion Fatigue was the term he used to describe the exhaustion from knowing so much of the pain and suffering and violence that exists within our world.   Click here for the complete newsletter.

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    News from St. Francis 7/17 - 7/24/16

    A thoughtful and helpful piece from Frank Bruni on the tragic events of last week. “Divided by Race, United by Pain”. There's only one cause here: taking the appropriate steps - in criminal justice,  in police training, in schools, in public discourse - so that each of us goes about  our days in as much peace as possible. And the constituency for that is all of America. Click here for the complete newsletter.

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    News from St. Francis 7/10 - 7/17/16

    We continue to support Flood Victims in West Virginia with a special collection Devastating floods in West Virginia have left dozens dead, hundreds homeless, and tens of thousands without power.  These floods are the worst in a century for portions of the state. Parishioner Rich Lee, who as an alumnus of WVU considers West Virginia his second home, reminds us that this is a state with a precarious economy, due to the decline of the coal industry. If you would prefer to mail a check, please send it to: St. Francis Parish Office, 503 Old Long Ridge Road, Stamford, CT 06903 - earmarked for WV Flood Relief. Click here for the complete newsletter.

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    News from St. Francis 7/3 - 7/10/16

    A Special Collection for Flood Victims in West Virginia -- July 3 and 10 Devastating floods in West Virginia have left dozens dead, hundreds homeless, and tens of thousands without power.  These floods are the worst in a century for portions of the state. Parishioner Rich Lee, who as an alumnus of WVU considers West Virginia his second home, reminds us that this is a state with a precarious economy, due to the decline of the coal industry. St. Francis will take a special collection on July 3 and 10 to support the flood relief efforts. Click here for the complete newsletter.

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    News from St. Francis 6/26 - 7/3/16

    Reflection  WHAT DO YOU USE YOUR VOICE for?  Tonight I invite you to reflect on your own voice.  When do you speak up?  When do you choose to remain silent?  What does your voice reflect about you? We've all heard sayings about VOICE . . . what do they mean for you? I speak not for myself but for those without voice . . . Speak your mind, even if your voice shakes. Stay strong.  Stand up.  Have a voice. You don't have to have a grand platform or idea to make your words matter, to make your voice. Click here for the complete Newsletter.

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    News from St. Francis 6/19 - 6/26/16

    The evening before the Orlando shootings, the American Institute of Islamic and Arabic Studies invited the St. Francis community to their Iftar meal-the breaking of the fast for that day of Ramadan.  It was a wonderful event with such good will, graciousness, and wonderful food!  The Sunni, Shia, and Sufi Muslims who are a part of this community modeled blessed hospitality. Click here to see the complete Newsletter.

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    News from St. Francis 6/12 - 6/19/16

    The First 70 Kick off Parish Picnic June 5, 2016 was a winner. What a gang! What a fun day and what a joyous Kick Off to The First 70!  Next event: Sat. June 25 Hoedown honoring Mark Lingle's 50th birthday. Click here for the full Newsletter.

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    News from St. Francis 6/5 - 6/12/16

    This past Sunday, Deacon Edrice Viechweg, made a presentation about her work in her home country, St. Kitts-Nevis. Edrice started the Edrice Lewis Scholarship Fund 10 years ago to help deserving children get off to a good start. Click here for the complete Newsletter.

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    News from St. Francis 5/29 – 6/5/16

    We give thanks to all who have given so freely and willingly to maintain the freedoms that we enjoy.  God be with all who have paid the ultimate price.  May we work to create a society and world where seeking peace and understanding are invested in as much as weapons and war, so that we could live in a time where such sacrifice is no longer needed. Click here for the complete newsletter.

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    News from St. Francis 5/22 - 5/29/16

    Brandon Ashcraft's final sermon as an intern is well worth the read. . . My maternal grandparents did not like the word "good-bye" - in fact, they adamantly refused to say it; not at the end of a phone call nor at the end of a visit, you would never hear them utter this word. They were insistent that the word "good-bye" was simply too final, so instead, they said "toodaloo."
    Click here for the complete newsletter

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    News from St. Francis 5/15 - 5/22/16

    A favorite observation from a teaching colleague years ago rings perennially true.  The colleague was a recent college graduate in her first teaching job.  After a particularly difficult day, she noted, "The more I realize how much I don't know, I'm teaching students who think that they know everything." 

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    News from St. Francis 5/8 - 5/15/16

    The Spirit and the bride say, "Come."
    And let everyone who hears say, "Come."
    And let everyone who is thirsty come.
    Let anyone who wishes take the water of life as a gift.
    The one who testifies to these things says, "Surely I am coming soon."
    Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!

    Click here  for the complete newsletter.

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    News from St. Francis 5/1 - 5/8/16

    One Friday this past January as I was sipping my morning tea, I read a page from a book of one-minute inspirations; something I do at the start of every day. On this particular morning, I opened to a page entitled "second fiddle".

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