The Outreach Oversight Committee provides coordination, guidance and vision for all outreach activities within the church ensuring they align with vestry and clergy recommendations and support and enhance the mission of the church. The committee meets monthly and consists of twelve members each serving a 3 year term.
One of the committee’s primary responsibilities is the oversight of outreach grants. Grant applications are reviewed by a subcommittee which recommends whether a grant should be awarded paying particular attention to priorities established in the Outreach Oversight Committee Guidelines.
The Committee has been very busy with the planning of a community-wide event entitiled: It Takes Us: Stories of Gun Violence Across America: Indianapolis presented by Faith Justice and the Arts, a St. Paul’s Episcopal Initiative and Joe Quint (ittakesus.org)
Joe Quint is a documentary photographer who has been shining a light on gun violence survivors, the family members of victims, and those who have witnessed horrific acts of violence for over four years. His work has been displayed widely for the purpose of creating change.
The other day I thought to myself, “When it is going to start feeling like summer?” By that I did not mean the weather—it’s felt like summer for weeks—but the pace of life. Summer is the season when most of us feel that life should slow down a bit. Schools are not in session, vacations happen, traffic seems a bit lighter, activities go on hiatus. There is certainly less going on at St. Paul’s this summer. But for all sorts of reasons I find myself looking at the calendar, seeing that it almost July, and wondering when I’m going to get to take advantage of a more relaxed pace.
We all need seasons in which life slows down and takes a rest. This may be summer for many of us but will be different seasons for others. Those seasons might be literally seasonal or they might be seasons of life, seasons in which we either choose or are forced by situations beyond our control to rest.
On Friday, June 15, 78 musicians packed the stage at the Marian University Theater for a Celebration Concert marking the conclusion of another fantastic S&JT Music Camp. Of these talented artists, 64 were middle school students who had an opportunity to spend a week with professional musicians to explore their creativity, as well as further develop their musical talent.
Strings & Jazzy Things enables middle school students to experience playing a wide genre of music as well as be part of a full orchestra. St. Paul's provides most of the leadership for this unique camp as well as many volunteers. Larry Krauser was the Camp Director, Joyce Krauser was the Camp Administrator and Joie Kipka was the Camp Nurse. Alan Davis was the Tuba Counselor. St. Paul's 15 volunteers included: Kate Appel, Rev. Jeffery Bower, Jim Cruise, Laura Cummings, Don Hanlin, Rev. Barb Kempf, Emily Krauser, Evan Law, Desiree Rewerts, Bev Ruebeck, Sue Schlifke,Debby Rhomas, Chris Walters, Dona Walser, Ken Winslow. There were several other Episcopalians from other parishes on staff as well.
Whatever his reasons, President Trump deserves credit for signing an executive order yesterday that ends the separation of families at our border with Mexico. However, let’s temper our celebration. While this action ends the current political crisis it does not end the deepening moral crisis in our nation.
The separation of more than 2,000 children from their parents at the border is not an isolated action. Too many children are being forgotten, abused and dismissed. They are children at the border, hungry children on summer break without free meals at school, and homeless LGBTQ youth kicked out of their homes by their own families. If we think of “children” as a metaphor for the most vulnerable in our society we can include the elderly who live alone, the poor who work two or three jobs but still cannot make ends meet, and the mentally ill who cannot access adequate support and care. These “children” include Anthony Eldridge who was found dead in a vacant residence in Indianapolis, shot by a gun. A 35-year old man, his only “crimes” were being mentally ill, alone in the world and, essentially, homeless.
Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. These are, according to Paul in his letter to the Galatians (5:22-23), the fruit of the Spirit. I read this list during my prayer time this morning since the passage from Galatians was appointed in the Daily Office Lectionary. In this passage Paul contrasts fruit of the Spirit with the “works of the flesh” which is, sadly, a longer list: “fornication, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, anger, quarrels, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these.” (5:19-21)
I find myself in conversations fairly regularly that eventually turn to the expression of some level of despair. I suppose this is simply one of the realities of priesthood. People feel comfortable sharing their fears, disappointments, anger, and concerns with someone in a clerical collar. Just this week I’ve heard concerns about aging parents, the state of our nation, a dying spouse and workplace relationships. Some of these concerns are global and some are deeply personal. They all have in common the ability to create a feeling of weariness with life. That weariness arises both from a sense that the “works of the flesh” are winning and that anything one can do won’t change much, if anything.