Monday, May 18, 2020

Rogation Sunday celebration honors Eastern Shore's COVID-19 victims

Submitted by Betsy Seyboldt - Holy Trinity, Onancock
The Very Rev. Rick Willis at the dedication of a tree  
in memory of those on the Eastern Shore  
who died in the COVID-19 pandemic.
As a sign of our continuing commitment to Creation Care at Holy Trinity, Onancock, we celebrated a contemporary Rogation Sunday on May 17. We walked in procession around the parish boundaries with eight parishioners and the Very Rev. Rick Willis, and then dedicated the planting of a Japanese maple in memory of those on the Eastern Shore who have died in the COVID-19 pandemic. Videos of the service (Sixth Sunday of Easter, parts 1 and 2) can be found on Holy Trinity's YouTube channel.  
Rogation Days are an ancient custom observed since the 5th century. The word Rogation comes from the Latin verb rogare , meaning "to ask" and applied to the rogation days means to ask God's blessing of the harvest, earth and sea, reminding ourselves that we are the stewards of Creation. The Sixth Sunday of Easter is Rogation Sunday with the so-called minor rogations are held on Monday to Wednesday preceding Ascension Thursday, this week on May 21. An ancient custom was beating the bounds: a procession walked out the boundary lines of the village and marked the bounds with stakes. Sticks of willow and birch were used to strike the stakes; hence the name, beating the bounds. Subsequently the custom became incorporated into the Rogation Day celebration and was observed by walking the boundaries of the parish and acknowledging our tangible stewardship of God's creation.
Our dedication of the COVID-19 Memorial Tree is our way of saying each person matters, that life is precious and those who die are worth remembering. The parishioners of Holy Trinity want the friends and families affected by the virus to know that there is a place on the Shore where your loved one can be remembered; there is a safe, quiet spot where you can come and sit and pray and reflect on the good memories of your loved one.

Celebrating Graduation resources available from The Episcopal Church

The Episcopal Church Faith Formation Department's Office of Youth Ministry and Office of Young Adult and Campus Ministries have been collaborating with youth ministers, campus chaplains, and young adult ministers around the church to curate resources, ideas, and liturgies to help celebrate those who are graduating from high school and college.
Available Celebrating Graduation resources include prayers and blessings, service videos and virtual choirs, worship bulletins and scripture, as well as a collection of resources and ideas for celebrating 2020 graduates during this pandemic. There is also a special message from Presiding Bishop Michael Curry. Click here for more information.  

Resources for processing grief and lament

Finding Brave Space is a series of new videos with Dr. Catherine Meeks from the Absalom Jones Center for Racial Healing. There is also a new episode on the A Brave Space podcast on  Lament in the Midst of COVID-19. In the coming weeks Dr. Meeks will facilitate three webinars on lament.   
Grief and Graduation and Ideas & Resources For Lament & Thanksgiving *Especially Appropriate For Those Working With Youth are posts by Sharon Ely Pearson. They can be helpful in processing loss and grief with youth and young adults, including ideas for celebrating important moments the best way we can right now.   
Processing Grief And Death With Picture Books by Anna V. Ostenso Moore lists great books for helping children process grief. Sesame Street's Caring for Each Other Hub also has great resources for how to have conversation with children about COVID-19, anxiousness, and more.   
Weekly Webinars are being provided by Episcopal Relief and Development. Especially helpful is the "Addressing Isolation and Quarantine" webinar that discusses the "Emotional Lifecycle of Disaster", both Original and Elongated, in understanding what we are experiencing emotionally in this season.  

Online conversation about faith formation with EfM's Executive Director Karen Meridith

St. Martin's, Williamsburg, Wednesday webinar series, Bread for the Journey, continues this Wednesday, May 20, at 7 p.m. with Karen M. Meridith, Executive Director of Education for Ministry, the University of the South's flagship four-year program for lay theological education.
The conversation will survey how and why faith formation (and how we think about it) has changed over the years: from Sunday School in the Industrial Revolution through its rise (and fall?) in the 20th century. Our aim is to arrive at not just today's church, but to look at tomorrow and the future of faith formation. What opportunities and challenges are we facing, and who is God calling us to become? While the conversation is a theoretical one, it has important personal ramifications for each Christian. Who is God calling me to be, and how committed am I?
To prepare for the webinar, Karen suggests reading a five-part blog series, on how we do (and might do) formation in a changing church. Each short article is written by Sharon Pearson, longtime leader of Christian formation in the Episcopal Church. The webinar is free, but registration is required. Register here

Webinar May 21: Reflections & Resources for Summer Formation

Join host Building Faith for Reflections & Resources for Summer Formation, a free webinar on May 21, 3 to 4 p.m. As the COVID-19 pandemic extends into the months ahead, it is time to consider how we might offer our congregations opportunities for Christian formation in the summer months. In this webinar, Keith Anderson and Sarah Bentley Allred will provide guidance on how to plan summer formation for adults, youth and children. They will also share ideas from around the church for inspiration. Click here for more information and registration.

Invite-Welcome-Connect digital gathering June 10

Invite-Welcome-Connect invites you to a free Zoom webinar, June 10 at 3 p.m. Experienced practitioners and newcomers to Invite-Welcome-Connect will gather and present best-practices for a welcoming church in our new paradigm.
Our faith communities are navigating uncharted waters in the midst of these challenging and uncertain times, and we might ask:
  • How are we navigating the digital world in the midst of this pandemic?
  • How are we Inviting, Welcoming, and Connecting folks to our faith communities?
  • What are the best practices for redefining, reimagining, and revisioning the proclamation of the Gospel? 
  • How are we engaging, embracing, and implementing the ministry of Invite Welcome Connect?
Using God's gifts of creativity in ways that transform lives is at the core of the ministry of Invite Welcome Connect; and adaptability, flexibility, and innovation are in its DNA. Join the gathering on Wednesday, June 10, at 3 p.m. when seasoned clergy and lay leaders will share ideas, resources, and creative best practices for engaging in evangelism, hospitality, and the ministry of belonging.  
This 90-minute gathering at no charge but registration is required - click here to register. Details for joining the Zoom webinar will be sent once registration is completed and logistics have been finalized.

Love God, Love Neighbor: Episcopal Month of Action

In the month of June, join The Episcopal Church Office of Government Relations and Episcopal Migration Ministries for Love God, Love Neighbor: Episcopal Month of Action, a series of webinars to learn and advocate with and on behalf of immigrants, DACA recipients, refugees, and asylum seekers.     
Newcomers contribute greatly to U.S. communities, enriching our common life, strengthening the U.S. economy, and bringing joy as they join and reunite with families and friends. And yet, immigrants, asylum seekers, and refugees face a wide array of challenges, including federal policies and legislation that are outdated and do not address the realities of immigrants in America today. As the Episcopal Branch of the Jesus Movement, we are called to advocate with and for our siblings seeking safety and a better life in the United States.

June 7-13: Episcopal Action on DACA Week 
WEBINAR: June 9, 3:30-5:00pm Eastern Time
June 14-20: Episcopal Action on Resettlement Week 
WEBINAR: June 16, 3:30-5:00pm Eastern Time
June 21-27: Episcopal Action on Asylum Week 
WEBINAR: June 23, 3:30-5:00pm Eastern Time
Participants may choose to attend one or more of the webinars offered. Registration is required
. Click here for registration.