Friday, September 29, 2006

Band of Brothers Men’s Ministry: The Screwtape Letters

This fall about 45 men from The Church of the Cross are meeting on Tuesday evenings to listen to and discuss CS Lewis’ classic book, The Screwtape Letters. In the Screwtape Letters, C.S. Lewis gives us the correspondence of a worldly-wise old devil to his nephew “Wormwood,” a novice demon in charge of securing the damnation of an ordinary young man. This is an amazing book about temptation, spiritual warfare in everyday life, and the ultimate triumph of good over evil and God over the Devil. The Screwtape letters were originally broadcast via radio. Taking our cue from Lewis’ original broadcast, we are listenning to about thirty minutes of The Screwtape Letters via an audio recording performed by Joss Ackland, followed by small group discussion about living life in awareness of the spiritual battles that surround us.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Worship: The Prayer-atorium

It's funny when I read church growth books. They say funny things like, "The younger generation doesn't care about where they worship. In fact, church buildings scare them." I have actually heard stuff like this. I guess if you had to suffer through parochial school or you where dragged into church as a kid, then church might scare you. But what about the HUGE numbers of us that never even had any exposure to church when we were young? Churches never scared me when I was a kid. I mostly didn't want to go into them because they smelled. Yeah, they smelled mostly of mildew and dust- the church smell. But I was never scared. I was scared of some bar rooms in town. I knew really bad stuff went down in those rooms. People I loved would spend lots of time in there. That scared me. But, not churches. I mostly thought churches were irrelevant, not scary.

I think "My" generation, whatever that means, is unafraid of the sacred. In fact, I think that "My" generation and all generations who are living in a Post-Christian era (where church is not the main institution in our towns) are rather interested in church. We have the same fascination with churches as we might have with Buddhist Monasteries or Islamic Mosques- "Lets visit and see what they do to connect with God."

I lead worship in a beautiful building. It also happens to double as a school gym, and a banquet hall, and a place to teach lots of people. We call it a multi-purpose room. Some of us call it a praise-nasium or a prayer-atorium. We have really big and really beautiful screens that we use to direct people's eyes to God. We have a cross, a holy table, a lectern, and some really old pews in the hall. We also have a massive fountain with Scripture on it and three crosses coming out of the top of the fountain. We have really big and really beautiful screens that we use to direct people's eyes to God. We have a cross, a holy table, a lectern, and some really old pews in the hall. We also have a massive fountain with Scripture on it and three crosses coming out of the top of the fountain. So far no has complained that they are scared. So far, since all generations love beauty, most people have just said, "Wow, this is a beautiful building."

Saturday, September 16, 2006

A New Bishop

We voted for a new Bishop in South Carolina Today and came up with a ¾ majority vote for Mark Lawrence on the first ballot. Mark is the 14th bishop elect in South Carolina and the first ever Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry graduate to be elected Bishop. Welcome aboard Bishop Lawrence!

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Lazy Labor Day Picnic

Our friend and neighbor Sarah Wright, who works as a journalist for the Bluffton Today, did a great article about our outreach event that we called the Lazy Labor Day Picnic. Bluffton is a pioneer town. Even though it has a historic downtown with traditions and a pretty set culture, the "rest of Bluffton" is brand new. We are setting the tone for the future by creating event where the community can gather, families can enjoy a day together and God can be glorified. It's called Christian community and it is epidemic.

Lazy day, big party
Church of the Cross puts together a picnic and invites the entire town on their collective day off.

Lisa Alston, far left, hands a cone of freshly spun cotton candy to Michelle McCrosson and her daughter, Olivia, 5, at Monday’s Lazy Labor Day Picnic at the Church of the Cross on Buckwalter Parkway. Kim Rowland/Bluffton Today

Lydia “The Circus Girl” Slocum, 5, balances on her father Jay’s hands in the pair’s crowd-pleasing act during the talent show.

Kaylee White, 8, gets a butterfly painted on her cheek at the at Monday’s Lazy Labor Day Picnic at the Church of the Cross on Buckwalter Parkway.

Bob Beine, far left, waits on a bench in the lobby of the church as two girls enjoy some popcorn Monday.

Children watch from the edge of the stage as they wait to perform in the talent show.

Sophia Nimmer, 4, performs a dance in the talent show.

Elaina Sadd, 9, from left, Devin Arrants, 7, Sabina Vaughan, 8, and Andrew Sadd, 5, watch as Lollipop the clown twists a balloon animal.

SophieAlbert, 7, far right, winds up Monday to throw her ball at a dunking booth as 9-year-old victim Garrison Dorell’s leg dangles above the water.



For Nicholas Peckich, 6, it was a chance to do some stuff he loves to do all the time anyway, but this time with an audience.
With music playing, he jumped, rolled, cart-wheeled and generally put on the moves.
For father and sonWayneand Tucker Arrants, it was a chance to play guitar and violin and sing “Cat’s in the Cradle” by Harry Chapin, inspired by a recent church sermon to put what matters most first. (Tucker, 8, also put on a premiere ballet performance with friend Emily Vaughan, 10.) But the high point, quite literally, may have beenwhen “Circus Girl” Lydia Slocum, 5, towered near the stage rafters, balanced on the palms (not psalms) of her (very tall) daddy, the Rev. Jay Slocum.
And that was just the talent show. The Church of the Cross threw a partyMonday afternoon on its Buckwalter campus, and everyone wholives on Buckwalter Parkway was invited.
Actually, everyone was invited, but the church directed volunteers to drop off postcards for the “Lazy Labor Day Picnic” to all the Buck­walter developments nearby.
“Comefor food,” the card said.
(There were hotdogs, chips, water­melon, iced tea, lemonade, pop­corn, ice cream and cotton candy.) “Comefor fun.” (There was a tal­e ent show, live band, bounce house, dunking booth, cake walk and face painting.) WhenBaylor Davis, 7, saw the invitation in her drop-box at The Farm, she knew she planned to accept.
She brought the card in to show hermom, Shay Davis, and con­vinced the rest of her family. Baylor, her older sister Brooke, 10, and her younger sister Brilyn, 4, all walked the cake walkMondayasmomand dad (Walter Davis) looked onMon­day. (Baylor’s older brother Blake, 14, was getting a second helping of cotton candy.) Baylorwona plateful of cookies.
Mission accomplished.
Slocum said the idea of the picnic was “to give people an experience of what Christian community feels like.” “Wewanted to offer a fun, safe place for everybody to hang out.
We saw the need to do something like this because both the All Saints Day (the church’s carnival-like alternative to Halloween) and the Easter egg hunt were extremely well attended both by people of the church and of the community,” said Chris Long, a church volunteer.
“Weas a community need more opportunities to get together – the broader community, not only the church,” he said.
About 3,000 invitations were distributed, Long said.
Not everyone invited attended the party, scheduled from 4 to 7 p.m., but the church’s large parking lot was full. The weather was balmy despite a downpour that wrapped up about 2 p.m.
Long said church members considered moving some activities inside, not sure what the weather would do.
“I was terrified. Iwas like ‘What’s going to happen?’” said Elaina Sadd, 9, whosaid she had looked forward to the picnic all week.
As the first of the guests arrived, Lisa Alston was learninghowto makecotton candy for the first time. The thick, sticky stuff kept glomming onto the sides of the swirling metal chamber rather than sticking onto the paper holder.
“Out of about 15 or so I got one good one,” she bemoaned.
“Sometimes you have to shut it off and take off the buildup. Let it roll,” said cotton candy coach Margie Sykes.
A few minutes later the cotton candy – and the sky – had switched to blue, and Alston was handling a growing line of eager partakers like a pro.
“I’ve got it down now,” she said.
Meanwhile, youth minis­try director Steve Chisholm was all wet. He said he found his experience in the dunking book “terrifying.” “It was pretty easy (dunking Chisholm),” said Logan Brian, 11.
“All you have to do is hit the black spot.” Mary and Miguel Sanchez brought their daughter Christina, 3, to the picnic and sawmanyneigh­bors there.
“It’s for family and kids. It’s nice.
You get to meet people from the community,” said Miguel.
Mary agreed. “This is a real nice thing they’re doing for the com­munity.
The people are so nice,” she said.
Christina bounced in the castle until she was ready to be covered in butterflies by Lollipop, a face­painting clown. The event was free to the com­munity. The Buckwalter Band jammedout “Meet with Me,” “God of Wonders” and “Jesus Paid it All.”
Contact Sara Wright at 815-0817 or