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A collection of thoughts, inspiration, prayers, announcements, or anything else relevant.
November 27 marked the first Sunday in the Season of Advent, 2022. We shifted over from our primary lectionary lessons
from Luke in Year C to Matthew in Year A. We have changed from the seasonal liturgical color of green used after Pentecost, to the soothing color of Advent blue. In addition we shifted the Eucharistic Prayers that we use on Sunday. At the 8:00 Rite One service we now use Eucharistic Prayer I, instead of Prayer II. At our 10:30 Rite Two service we are using Prayer B instead because it has a more incarnational tone to it than Prayer A. We put away the Gloria for a few weeks in favor of the Kyrie and at the end of communion in Rite Two we now use the second post communion prayer.
So why is there so much shuffling around with the order of worship? It’s a lot to take in for someone not familiar with the
Episcopal Church and our liturgical forms of worship. Can’t we just figure out what works and stick with it Sunday after Sunday? The quick answer to that question is…no.
We are a people of faith where the way we worship is a true reflection of what we believe. In Latin, it is said;
lex orandi, lex credendi. We tell the story of our Christian faith by how we worship together throughout the entire year. We are a liturgical worshipping community. We use colors and symbols to enhance how we tell our story to others.
Our story begins with a four-week season of preparation we know as Advent leading to Christmas Day. Like the familiar
carol reminds us, there are Twelve Days of Christmas, ending with the Day of Epiphany on January 6th. Depending on when Easter is set, the length of the Season of Epiphany varies before giving way to 40 days of Lent. Easter is determined by the first Sunday after the full Moon that falls on or after the spring equinox. Then of course there are the 50 days of Easter tide leading to Pentecost, Trinity Sunday, and the long green season after Pentecost. Which brings us right back to Advent once again.
The foundation of our Christian Story is cyclical. However, the experience of our Christian Story is cumulative. This is why
so many of us have our own family traditions connected with this time of year. Certain music must be played while decorating. Special food is cooked and shared with family and friends. People gather to watch classic movies like, It’s a Wonderful Life, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, the Christmas Story, and now this year, the Christmas Story 2.
The point is that telling the story is central to our very being. Certain repetitive acts serve to enhance our understanding of
how God became human flesh and lived among us. As we slowly move through the weeks on the calendar, we mark important events and milestones that help up tell the story. When we get to the end of the story on Christ the King Sunday, we pause for a brief moment and then we begin again. The unique narrative of the Christian story is that it is both never ending and one that is constantly evolving.
Last Sunday was the first Sunday of Advent – Year A. And so here we are. Let us begin once again.
It’s no great secret that many secular holidays and religious holidays appear right next to each other on the
calendar. The culture wars have been around a lot longer than most people realize. The Church has done its best to
obliterate the pagan roots of many holidays by instituting religious holidays close by. Thus, it comes as no real
surprise that All Hallows Eve, aka Halloween, falls on October 31st, while the Feast of All Saints’ falls on November
1st. Just to pile on a bit, next the church placed All Souls’ Day on November 2nd. It certainly makes for a crowded
three days of festivities. The religious world often competes with secular influences.
While All Saints’ Day has been traditionally observed on the 1st of November, no matter which day it might
fall during the week, the Church has deemed it to be of such importance that it should also be observed on the
following Sunday if November 1st falls on a weekday. Our Book of Common Prayer makes the designation quite
clear. So this year while All Saints’ falls on a Tuesday, we will observe our patronal feast on Sunday, November 6th.
We are also doing something new this year with the observance of All Souls’ Day. In most faith communities
All Souls’ Day is known as the Commemoration of the Faithful Departed. All Souls Day … is a time when we
particularly remember those who have died. The prayers appointed for that day remind us that we are joined with
the Communion of Saints, that great group of Christians who have finished their earthly life and with who we share
the hope of resurrection from the dead.
— Bays & Hancock 2012, p. 128
For the past four years I have been serving on the Board of Serenity House here in Morristown. Serenity
House is part of Friends of Hospice. The mission of Serenity House is to give people a place to die with care and
dignity. We are inviting all the families who have had loved ones pass away at Serenity House for a special service,
a Day of Remembrance. The Rev. Jason McIntosh, from First Methodist, and the Rev. Sam Schaus, from First
Presbyterian, will co-officiate with me.
This special All Souls’ service is meant to be a time of prayer and remembrance. It is hoped that it will
remind us of our connectedness to one another is so strong the death is not able to separate us forever. We pray to
you for those we love, but see no longer: Grant them your peace; let light perpetual shine upon them; and, in your
loving wisdom and almighty power, work in them the good purpose of your perfect will; through Jesus Christ our
It happens twice a year here in Morristown. Well at least it happens twice a year in non- pandemic years. We have BBQ in the fall and the spring. The build up for BBQ is slow and gradual. The planning behind the scenes is deliberate and intense. So many moving pieces have to fall into place for a BBQ weekend to be successful.
We start planning for the next BBQ as soon as the last one wraps up. While the event is still fresh in our minds, we have a postmortem meeting to discuss what went right, what could have gone better, and how we might improve. Then we rest for a couple of months before we get ready for the next BBQ.
A group of 15 or so faithful parishioners have been meeting for months carefully planning for October 6-8, 2022. This year we had to order a new tent to replace the one the windstorm destroyed last spring. We also made the decision to buy shelves to store equipment inside the church downstairs. We can also use the same shelving to hold orders for our growing corporate sales.
A dozen people met a couple weeks ago on a Saturday morning to brew 110 gallons of All Saints’ BBQ sauce. We started at 8:00 AM and finished around 1:00PM. Under the leadership of Bob Harmon the whole event went off like clockwork. Bottling the whole inventory of sauce took place last week.
Careful calculations were made and then checked and rechecked to order the required 6000 lbs. of pork butts, slaw makings, beans, and all the serving containers. Here again we are grateful for Bill Connellee for his amazing attention to detail to get these orders in on time. Susie Carter is our Queen of Slaw and Brooke White is our Queen of Baked Beans. The production of both BBQ sides require the coordination of numerous volunteers.
John Hutchins and Udo Wender are the two pit masters who oversee the all-night flipping and sauce basting of the pork on Thursday and Friday. Two shifts of trustees help with the labor of turning the pork butts every hour. Countless wheel barrels full of hard wood scraps are hauled and carefully turned into coals that slowly smoke and cook the pork butts. When the meat comes off the pit there is an army of volunteer workers waiting and ready to grind the meat, weigh it and package it. Some of it is made into sandwiches and plate dinners.
Inside the parish hall cardboard has been put down on the floor to protect it from all the constant back and forth traffic. Patty Kirkley & Kathy Jones-Terry head up tracking the Corporate sales. John Litz lets us borrow his gator to haul cooked meat up the hill. There is a beehive of activity constantly bringing out food and supplies to the tent where the sales are made. Of course we’ve gone high tech with a point of sales ordering system that allows us to keep track of everything thanks to Skeet Jernigan. Inside the church office Lynne Ann Anderson has been taking orders for a couple of weeks and that weekend works overtime to account for all the sales.
Jack Fishman graciously spreads the word about All Saints’ BBQ through the Citizen Tribune and Anne Ross uses digital media and the Chamber to do the same. Carolyn Dean works with Tribune on placing our ads. The wardens of the parish, Howard Mauney and Colleen Andrews, have been tirelessly working behind the scenes for months, “herding the cats,” all the while listening to complaints and suggestions. The job is never ending and it’s always a work in progress.
At some point you begin to see that this is really much more than a twice a year fundraiser. It’s a community of faith coming together with the goal a common purpose. It’s a labor of love that serves the wider community of Morristown. It brings us all closer together and let’s people know who we are. Before coming to Morristown I never really thought that BBQ could be sacramental. Having witnessed firsthand how much goes into each All Saints’ BBQ event, I can now see it all in a new light.