Going Deeper

Over the last year, the vestry and I have heard many express the desire to go deeper: deeper in relationship with God, with each other, even with our own selves. While more activities than ever fill our calendars and grow our number of contacts, we feel a longing for connection.

Going deeper in any relationship takes time, intention and commitment. I want to share some upcoming opportunities that will take an investment on your calendar, but have real capacity to bear lasting fruit in relationships at church, home and with our neighbor. 

Pastoral Care Ministry Training: Saturday, February 2 from 9 am -1 pm

Pastoral Care is a ministry of presence – of caring, of prayer, of listening, of time. It takes as many forms as faithful friendship can take: preparing and delivering food to those who are recovering from illness or grieving loss, visiting those who are in the hospital or other facilities, listening to those who are hurting and need reassurance that God has not forgotten them nor have we as their church community. It is our privilege to hear their stories, to walk with others on their journey through this life. We are looking for others who feel called to this ministry to join us. This half-day training equips members to accompany and respond appropriately to fellow church members. Team members will meet monthly throughout 2019 to pray for and respond to Holy Comforter members’ pastoral care requests.

Lenten Retreat: March 14-17  Cost: $375 + airfare to Boston
Join me for Holy Comforter’s second annual retreat at the Society of St. John the Evangelist, the oldest Episcopal monastery in the United States. In addition to sharing in the Brothers daily worship and meals, there will be guided reflection on our individual journeys with God. Private rooms. Limited to 12 participants. Deadline to register is January 30.

Dust and Spirit - Reflections on the Sacrament of Marriage: April 5 evening + April 6: Cost: $400/couple

Join Dr. Eddie Parish, a professional Marriage and Family Therapist, for an introduction to family systems theory and Christian reflection on marriage. Cost includes additional private session for each couple for practical application. Eight couples minimum, twelve maximum. Deadline to register is February 3.

Mission Trip to U.S.-MEXICO border in Nogales, Arizona: June dates and cost TBD

Immigration is one of the most complex issues in U.S. politics today. How we respond is also influenced by our faith. Joining with Episcopalians across Colorado, the mission team will visit both sides of the border in Nogales to learn about organizations that serve migrants, initiatives that promote economic opportunity, and arts and cultural programs. We will spend time with immigrant families to better understand their situation and their struggles, and walk along migrant trails.

Annual Parish Retreat at Cathedral Ridge, July 26-28 - cost varies from $80-$150pp, kids free

A relaxed weekend at Colorado’s Episcopal Camp and Conference Center in Woodland Park provides ample opportunity to make and deepen relationships at Holy Comforter. Cost varies based upon choice of accommodations, ranging from campsites to private lodge rooms. 

To learn more about any of these opportunities and to register, please let me know. 

- Mother Kim

We Wait in Joyful Hope

At this point in December, I am definitely waiting. Waiting for something better, something brighter…

The gift of Advent. Knowing that there is hope in a new day, a new light.

How can we be that gift for others? How can we be their hope?

When people pass me on the street, they don’t know the struggles I am facing. As I write this, it occurs to me that I don’t know the struggles they are facing, either. Does my presence reflect light? Does their interaction with me leave them with hope? Have I been a gift for them, today?

How, on earth, am I am able to reflect light and hope, when inside, I don’t feel the light? Honestly, I’m not sure. But, I do know, that I am able. I do know that I can. I can because I am. God created me in His image. And, His image is THE one of light and hope. Because of God, I can.

The beauty of Advent, for me, has always been the stillness, the solitude. By intentionally focusing on the darkness giving way to light, I have come to love Advent more than any other time of the year.

Several years ago on the First Sunday of Advent, our Rector, The Reverned Kim Seidman, extended an invitation. The invitation was simple; yet, so profound for our family. Mother Kim reminded us that Advent was a time to prepare. To prepare, she invited us to sit and wait-with patience and stillness, in order to listen. She encouraged us to spend a bit of time each day in Advent on this practice; and, so I did.

For me, this invitation became a gift. I enjoyed my Advent practice so much that season, that I continue daily quiet time today. You see, I had never really approached my day this way before that Advent season. My mornings would be filled with news, hustle and bustle, etc. Thankfully, my mornings are a bit different, now.

And, at this season of my life, that practice is truly a gift. When the depth of the darkness seems too thick to emerge from, I am reminded that there is nothing that the light does not touch. Let us prepare the way- in our hearts, in each others’ hearts, for joyful hope.

Jackson Dreiling


Peace on Earth, Good Will to Men

Yes, I am one of them and I am proud of it!

Yes, I am one of those who loads up 5 Christmas CD's on the player right after All Saint's Day and listens to Carols for a good 2 months - and I love it! I love the music, the texts, the memories, the visions it all creates. 

But every year it seems there is a carol that gets stuck in my head and keeps gnawing at me all season. Last year it was What Sweeter Music by John Rutter. I just couldn't hear it or sing it enough. But this year it is a totally different kind of carol. One that speaks to us of war, sadness, desperateness, death, of a world gone insane. 

The carol I am speaking of was written by the great American writer, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Penned on Christmas Day, 1863 while he was tending to his son's injuries sustained during the Civil War, Longfellow saw his son and other soldiers suffering and became more enraged as the war continued. During visits with families of soldiers lost in the war the conversation always come back to "Where is the peace of God"? So picking up pen and paper on that Christmas he tried to answer that haunting question. It is believed that Longfellow heard church bells tolling while writing the poem, thus inspiring the cadence of the masterpiece.

The carol I am speaking of is I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day. With its plea for sanity in a world often gone insane, with its hope that somehow the joy, comfort, and peace that Christ was born to offer would be realized, the song has been an anchor for millions during dark days of WWI, WWII, Korea and Vietnam. 

I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day
Their old familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet the words repeat
Of peace on earth, good will to men

I thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along the unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good will to men

And in despair I bowed my head:
"There is no peace on earth," I said,
"For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men" 

Then from each black, accursed mouth

The cannon thundered in the South,

 And with the sound the carols drowned

Of peace on earth, goodwill to men.

It was as if an earthquake rent

The hearth-stones of a continent,

And made forlorn, the households born

Of peace on earth, goodwill to men.

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
"God is not dead, nor doth he sleep,
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail,
With peace on earth, good will to men"

Till, ringing singing, on it's way,
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime, a chant sublime,
Of peace on earth, good will to men!

Peace on earth, good will to men.

Mary McIntire, Music Director

Stewardship Report

Friends,

It is with gratitude that we share the preliminary results of our 2019 Annual Stewardship Campaign.

Total Number of 2019 Annual Pledges: 134  

(Total Number of 2018 Annual Pledges: 138*)

Total Pledged for 2019: $440,315

(Total Pledged for 2018: $399,528*)

As you can see, this is a substantial increase in annual pledges from 2018. Thank you! We know many of you are stretching to make this possible, and we are very grateful. For those of you who are curious, here is a breakdown of 2019 pledges, along with comparison data from 2018.

Number of new pledges for 2019: 20 (Total increase = $24,740)

Number of pledges that increased from 2018: 74 (Total increase = $56,447)

Number of pledges that remained the same from 2018: 25

Number of pledges that decreased from 2018: 14 (Total decrease = $13,284)

Number of 2018 pledges not yet received for 2019: 24 (2018 Total  = $25,886)

Pledge range: $1-499

Number of 2018 Pledges: 12

Number of 2019 Pledges: 9

Pledge range: $500-999

Number of 2018 Pledges: 27

Number of 2019 Pledges: 23

Pledge range: $1000-1499

Number of 2018 Pledges: 26

Number of 2019 Pledges: 28

Pledge range: $1500-2499

Number of 2018 Pledges: 33

Number of 2019 Pledges: 27

Pledge range: $2500-4999

Number of 2018 Pledges: 13

Number of 2019 Pledges: 18

Pledge range: $5000-9999

Number of 2018 Pledges: 21

Number of 2019 Pledges: 21

Pledge range: $10,000-25,000

Number of 2018 Pledges: 6

Number of 2019 Pledges: 8

Total Pledges:

2018: 138*

2019: 134

*In addition to their annual pledges, in 2018 80 families are fulfilling the remainder of their three year capital campaign gift. The final disbursement of these Growing Together funds, totaling $113,755, was added to the operating budget for associate rector compensation in 2018.

Please hold the Vestry in prayer as we discern how best to use your gifts in 2019 to further mission and ministry at Holy Comforter. This is not a responsibility we take lightly, and we are committed to being good stewards of all that is entrusted to us. I will host a 2019 budget discussion between services on Sunday, January 20th to lay out the budget and answer any questions you may have prior to the Annual Parish Meeting on Sunday, January 27th. I hope you will join me at both!

With thanks,

Jamie Rumsey

Senior Warden



Thanksgiving for Being a Stranger

Last week I enjoyed walking a portion of the Camino de Santiago in northern Spain. It is an ancient Christian pilgrimage to the traditional resting place of St. James, an apostle of Jesus. Every couple of years I make an effort to travel to a foreign country. I love to encounter different sights and sounds, tastes and smells than what I am accustomed to. It has also become a  personal spiritual discipline for me to practice being the stranger.

I call it a discipline because I am not really wired for adventure. I like routine, and predictability is my happy place. International travel is a good stretch for me, reliably challenging any sense of normal and pushing me out of my comfort zone. I intentionally seek out the experience of being an outsider because it helps me become a more gracious host to those new to my country.    

I was keenly aware of my foreigner status as I struggled to communicate. I am not fluent in a second language. My high school Spanish is twenty years old, so the best I can do with Romance languages is hunt for our common Latin roots. Having to rely on others who are bilingual, and fumbling with the most basic phrases is a humbling exercise. I so admire immigrants who learn English, and was reminded to be as patient and gracious with those who are learning as people were to me. More than anything, I will remember how much a smile and gracious hospitality are universally understood.

Travel renews my appreciation for the different expressions of our shared humanity. We may eat different foods, but each culture values its local meal traditions. We may have different expressions of family, but we are all wired to love and be loved. We may have different routines and customs for how we go about our day, but we all take pride in the work we are given to do. Encountering these difference helps me sort out what is culturally and what is fundamentally human.

If you haven’t traveled abroad recently, or ever, I invite you to consider the opportunity. But you don’t need a passport to experience the gift of being the stranger. Simply look for opportunities to step outside your familiar comfort zone. Visit a faith community different than your own. Reach out and inquire as to how you could practice being a gracious guest. With the approaching holidays, there are many opportunities to experience different cultural traditions. Embrace a childlike curiosity and delight in encountering something new.

Every major world religion values welcoming the stranger. Even our Thanksgiving holiday recalls Native Americans and European immigrants sharing in a harvest feast. What gifts might we experience by extending a hand to a foreigner among us?

Mother Kim


Prepare the Way

As the seasons change and the mornings grow crisper, holiday thoughts and preparations are well underway.  Our metro area sponsors many family-friendly events, perfect for attending with your visiting friends and relatives.

-Friday, November 16th at 7:30pm, Chelsea Chen, an amazing organist, will perform a free recital at First Congregational UCC in Boulder. These recitals are part of a series honoring former organist, Jane Sawyer.

-In Denver’s Park Hill neighborhood, an organ tour is scheduled on Saturday, December 8th. Historic Denver and the Denver AGO will present the history and a brief organ demonstration at Park Hill UMC, Montview Blvd. Presbyterian and Park Hill UCC. Tickets are available online with Historic Denver.

-Here at home, Tuesday, December 11th, will feature the next concert in the Brown Bag series, Advent. Plan to bring your lunch to enjoy in Maglaras Hall at 11:30am, and stay for the NOON recital, featuring organ, handbells, and more. Invite your family and friends!

Choirs of all ages are also diligently practicing for holiday concerts-- please support our friends with your attendance. Blessings to you and your family as we prepare the way!

Ben Ehrlich

Blessing

Many people have asked me about my concluding words whenever I celebrate Eucharist on Sunday mornings.  Folks wish to know from where I got them, and whether they can get a copy of them.  These “concluding words” make up that part of the Eucharist I (and other clergy) call “the blessing” – the pronouncement of God's love and favor to one or more persons – and it falls after the post-communion prayer and before the dismissal.  Interesting note if you are a liturgy nerd like me, “the blessing” is mandatory when Eucharistic Prayer Rite I is celebrated, but is optional under the rubrics for the Eucharistic Prayer Rite II liturgies.  Nevertheless, I have never taken part of or celebrated any Eucharist in which the priest does not end the service with a Blessing.

To be real honest, I don’t remember where or how I came across this blessing.  Most likely, I came across it on social media – maybe in a religious “meme.”  Whatever its origins, I found it, liked it, printed and cut it out, and taped it in my prayer book (although I truly can’t recall how or when it ended up there).  What I do recall is that during my first ordination retreat at Cathedral Ridge – a retreat the Bishop has for all of those persons being ordained to either the deaconate and priesthood – Bishop Rob told those being ordained to the priesthood, that we should find one “go-to” blessing – one through which the Spirit truly speaks to us – the one we keep in our back pocket.  Of course, this made all of us start to scramble and look through the varied blessing Apps on our smartphones (yes, there is an App for that as well) to see which we should use at our ordination.

It has taken me 2½ years to find such a blessing – one that speaks to my heart and through which the Spirit speaks to the people who hear it – and this is that blessing for me.  To give credit where credit is due, through the majesty that is all things Google, I have learned that the first two sentences of the blessing comes from Henri-Frédéric Amiel, a Swiss moral philosopher, poet, and critic who lived from 1821 to 1881. Someone in the church took and appropriated Mssr. Amiel’s (as many in the church are so want to do) and crafted it into a blessing.  I have done the same, taking Mssr. Amiel’s words, added my own twist and revisions, and now share it with you.

Before I do, however, I want to share what a blessing it has been for me to have been given the opportunity to serve with you as your Associate Priest here at Holy Comforter.  I was blessed to have been called to Holy Comforter fresh out of seminary – green as green could be.  And yet, you welcomed me with loving, open arms, and for that I am forever grateful.  You are all – each and every one of you – a shining light in this world – the face of our incarnate Christ – and most importantly, beloved children of our loving and living God.  I have learned so much from each and every one of you (from the youngest to the oldest) in what seems now to be my brief time here.  Most of all, and for which I am most eternally grateful, you have taught me what it means to love and be loved, which in the end, is what we are all called to do.  Perhaps this is the reason this blessing speaks to my heart.

And so, as we all get ready to turn the page in the next chapter of our lives, and without any further ado, I give each and every one of you my blessing:

Beloved, life is short,

and we do not have much time

to gladden the hearts of those who

make the journey with us.

So… make haste to be kind,

and swift to love,

knowing that you yourselves are loved.

And the blessing of God,

who made us,

who loves us,

and who travels with us,

be with you now and remain with you forever. 

Amen

Much love to you all,

 

Fr. Bill

All Tuned Up and Ready to Go!

I love fall. The sights, smells, feel and what I hear around me. The mustiness of leaves, fires in the fireplace, longer evening time and yes, even Christmas decorations pushing out autumn at the stores. I love thinking about family time together, passing on traditions to the next generation; which, in my family includes lots of glorious food! So much to take in and savor.


But mostly I look forward to all the music offerings around us. This week, great technicians made their way to Holy Comforter and got the Hook Organ and all three pianos tuned up and ready for this wonderful season. I hope you will make time to attend these offerings and savor some of the sounds this beautiful season has to offer.

Saturday, October 27 - 7 pm Music for All Souls Concert featuring Ben Ehrlich and John Murgel-organists, Tina Lynn- Craig-vocalist and Meg Castleberry-violinist.  A non-perishable food collection will be taken for Broomfield FISH.

Thursday, November 1 - 7 pm All Saints Evensong - a powerful time of remembrance

Saturday, November 10 - 2 pm Broomfield Auditorium ASTER Women's Chamber Choir presents  A Celtic Celebration

Tuesday, November 20 - 7 pm Broomfield Community Ecumenical Thanksgiving Service - Lutheran Church of Hope

Tuesday, December 11 - 11:30 am Brown bag lunch, 12 noon-Advent Concert with Organ and Silver Bells

Sunday, December 23 - 8:30 am  Advent Lessons and Carols

I hope you take time to savor some of the sounds of the season.

Mary McIntire

A Reflection on Silence.

The weekend of October 5-7 I was at Quest with our youth; and, the theme this session was “still small voice”. Throughout the weekend we focused on using silence to connect with God. 

Luckily we started in short increments, 30 seconds which grew into 2 minutes which grew into 8. 8 minutes of silence, 8 minutes of no phones ringing, texts going, modern worship music playing-just.. silence. Imagine a room full of people just sitting and not making a noise for 8 minutes. Imagine kids 12-18 not making noise for 8 minutes. Not just mysterious silence, silence devoted to connecting with God. 

I won’t lie, I didn’t hear God most of the time. I am not good at sitting still and clearing my mind. Although, I did allow myself to focus on breathing, on being still and not needing to do 25 things at once. Even so, I became more connected with myself, with the youth and with God. I was able to step back and look at my life, and through the whole weekend I kept receiving, “breathe, it will be OK”; which, is something we all need to hear right now, a reminder to trust in God, to shut off our phones and listen to what God has to say. 

By Sunday I was exhausted and my body was begging for movement. Two other churches joined HC Youth for a “yoga” based stretching session. Three different youth groups joined together just to move, stretch and be guided in prayer. I am all for meditation and centering prayer and being still while talking to God; but, as I stated above, I stink at sitting still and talk best to God when moving. It seems some of the youth respond the same way. So, we will be integrating that into our Youth Group time occasionally!

We will also be adding "Centering Prayer". Similar to meditation, we will go through guided breaths and allow our focus to where it should be (God). This is a useful technique as our youth enter one of the most stressful times of their lives, so far! This, with practice, will become a way for our youth to reach God anytime and anywhere.

In reflection, try changing the way you speak to God. Instead of talking, listen. Instead of pacing, begging for an answer, breathe, open your heart, set down your phone and listen.  I encourage everyone to sit in silence for two minutes each day, at your desk, before you drive to work, as you lay in bed. What does God have to say to you? What does your body have to say to you? What is your heart trying to tell you? Practice stillness. Our bodies are often over worked-our muscles, our emotions, and our mind. Allow the stillness to consume you, to refocus and regain yourself mentally, physically and spiritually. You will be surprised at what you hear.

Natalie Keller

Hallowe'en: A Time to Remember Our Faith

When I was a child, I loved Halloween. I loved dressing up, trick-or-treating, and counting the candy haul at the end of the night. I loved spooky front porches: the flickering jack-o-lanterns, dangling skeletons, spidery cobwebs and simmering cauldrons. It was silly fun with friends to scare and be scared on this night that celebrated all things supernatural.

As an adult, and as a priest, I still love Halloween. At Holy Comforter, we invite kids to wear their costumes the Sunday before, and enjoy a trunk-or-treat in our parking lot after worship. I know many other churches are planning the same.

Some people express surprise that a church participates in Halloween. Did you know the celebration has Christian roots? It takes a little digging to uncover the history behind the costumes and the candy, but Halloween’s origin is every bit as Christian as Christmas.

The word Hallowe’en is a shortening of All Hallow Evening, as in, the night before All Hallow’s Day. Hallow means holy, and November 1 is commemorated in the Christian calendar as the Feast of All Saints.

This holy day has roots tracing back to the fourth century, a time when many Christians were dying for their faith. The church recognized martyrs on the anniversaries of their death. As the number of martyrs increased beyond the days on the calendar, November 1 became a catch all to celebrate all the saints of the church.

Historically, All Saints’ Day honored persons of heroic sanctity for their example. Their faithfulness in the past serves to inspire our faithfulness in the present. The Feast eventually extended to the following day as well. All Souls’ Day, November 2, honors all who have died. These feast days are a time for us to give thanks for those whom we love but see no longer, to remember that we stand on the shoulders of those who have gone before us. In its depiction of Dia de los Muertos, the Pixar movie CoCo portrayed this intimate connection between the living and the dead beautifully. We are surrounded by a community of saints who continue to love us and cheer us on from beyond the grave.

Halloween is an amazing opportunity for Christians to witness their faith. We believe that there is life beyond the grave. God has granted us the victory over death through the resurrection of Jesus. That same God is working in us even while we’re alive to help us grow in love. We belong to God, and nothing can separate us from the love of Christ. Because evil and death have no power over us, we can have fun with things that are spooky and scary.

So, bring on the ghosts and the zombies, the devils and the haunted houses. Enjoy the fright night, and when you wake up, give thanks for what is real: a community of love spanning past, present and future.

Mother Kim


The S Word

Happy fall! It’s time for beautiful colors, and leaf piles, and cooler temperatures. It’s time for Halloween costumes, and pumpkin patches, and pumpkin spice everything. And in the church, it’s time for the S word again. You know the one.

Stewardship.

It’s a word that makes many people squirm just a little, or sigh as they settle in to listen to yet another sermon about time, talent and treasure. If it makes people feel uncomfortable, or bored, why does the church devote an entire season to it? Why not just have a stewardship Sunday and get it over with?

I think the season of stewardship is a lot like fall. We can look around and see too many leaves to rake again, birds leaving for warmer climates, and waning hours of daylight, or we can take a step back and celebrate the beautiful fruits of our labor. Fall offers us an opportunity to give thanks for the blessings we’ve received, and so does stewardship season. Both also provide an opportunity to look ahead and prepare for the future. What will we need, not just to survive, but to grow and thrive in the seasons to come? What groundwork do we need to lay now to make that possible?

This year we’ve celebrated the last 60 years at Holy Comforter, and honored those whose hard work and generosity paved the way for the thriving congregation we see today. We will continue to celebrate this fall with reflections from members on Sunday mornings, and a farewell celebration for Father Bill on November 18th. At the same time, the church leadership will continue our energizing and prayerful discernment about Holy Comforter’s future, and our ever growing need to live into our name and our mission.

I invite you to join us in this season of stewardship. Look around and enjoy the fruits of our labor. Offer thanks to God and each other for the blessings we have received, and share those blessings with others. Then take some time to pray about our future. What might it look like if Holy Comforter fully lives into its name, its mission and its vision? What will Holy Comforter need to make that happen, and how will you be a part of it?

Blessings,

Jamie Rumsey, Senior Warden


Resurrection in Autumn

My backyard garden and flowers were beautiful this year.  I say this not to boast or brag, but rather more as a statement of fact.  My garden consisted of one beefsteak tomato plant that had grown to nearly 4 feet in height and perhaps 3 feet around; one green pepper plant which, though not as tall or round as the tomato plant, did give me the first fruits of the season; an eggplant-plant, which was a mix of deep greenish-purple leaves and beautiful purplish-white flowers; and one zucchini plant that was so tall and had huge elephant-like ears that I dubbed it “Audrey” after the man-eating plant in the musical “Little Shop of Horrors.” 

Two rose bushes (one yellow, the other orange) planted on the east side of my house were doing the best they have done in years, as were the deep red and purple roses, and myriad of potted plant set in and around my back patio.  Even the hydrangeas were flourishing better than they had since I planted them more than 10 years ago.  My backyard was lush and green, healthy, alive and beautiful. 

Beautiful that is, until the afternoon of August 14, when a hellish thunderstorm of Biblical proportions pelted my neighborhood with fierce rain and pebble-sized hail.  The storm lasted a good 45 minutes, causing rather significant street flooding.  The hail that didn’t wash away, looked like snow piled on the ground, in my garden, as well as all the pots that were once awash with tiny pink and yellow flowers.

Needless to say, my once thriving, beautiful plants, were shredded.  There remained nary a leaf on my tomato plant, and the tomatoes that hung from the vines were visibly battered and bruised.  The same held true for my eggplant-plant.  My dear “Audrey” – the great and fruitful zucchini plant - looked as if someone took a weed-wacker to her.  The only plant spared was the green pepper plant, as it was mostly sheltered by the tomato plant’s stalks and leaves. 

My roses and hydrangeas were shredded of leaf and bloom; and what remained of my potted plants were soon freezer burned by the icy coldness of the hail that now covered them.  What was once alive and thriving, was now shredded, torn, and either dead or barely hanging on.

Admittedly, the thought occurred to me to let the plants go for the rest of the summer – forego watering and tending to them until they were ready to be pulled and composted.  “If God wants them to survive, God will find a way for them to survive,” I had thought.  Little did I know of God’s plans for these plants. 

Out of shear habit alone, I resumed my morning watering schedule – all the while thinking, “Why I am doing this?  These plants are done.”  I pulled weeds that somehow and in some way survived the storm when my beautiful plants did not.  I harvested what I could and pruned that which was the worst of the damage. 

Over time, I began to see life returning to my garden.  Small leaves began to grow in once damaged areas.  Blooms returned to my eggplant and Audrey.  My tomatoes, which never did leaf, began to ripen to a beautiful deep red.

It started slow, little by little; and it wasn’t until this morning that I truly was made fully aware.  Deep greens replaced the frost burnt color of rust on my potted plants.  Tiny flowers in full bloom.  My yellow rose a sunburst of roses (I believe I counted 50 on there this morning), and the deep red roses shown in full technicolor.  “Audrey” looked as lush and alive as she did before the storm, and my eggplant-plant and green pepper plant had doubled in their size.  Resurrection had come to my garden – and I was its witness.

We rarely talk of resurrection outside of Easter season, when the first blooms of Spring make themselves known.  Never can I ever remember talking about resurrection post Autumnal Equinox – when the leaves begin to change, the nights become cool, and the shades of darkness come earlier and earlier.  And yet, there it was.  Resurrection.  Occurring right-in-front-of-me.  Glorious and grace-filled resurrection.  All it took was a little tending to – a little watering and attention – and God’s own grace to bring these once dead plants back to life. 

The same is true for each of us.  How often have the lush and full and thriving gardens that are our own lives been devastated by the storms of chance and circumstance?  How often do we find ourselves in the darkness of the tomb – feeling isolated, without hope, and alone without any clue or idea of what to do next or how to get out. 

This is the time to tend the garden - give it nourishment – to prune that which needs pruning – to pull the weeds that need pulling – to give the garden what it needs to heal and grow once more. 

The Episcopal Church has given us a way to tend the garden of our lives - it is called “The Way of Love” – a set of seven practices designed to help us develop and follow a Jesus-Centered rule of life.  There you are invited to (1) Turn – make the decision to turn and follow Jesus; (2) Learn – spend time reading and reflecting on the Scriptures – particularly those focused on the life of Jesus; (3) Praying – make time to dwell intentionally and daily with God; (4) Worship – make all attempts to gather in community to give thanks and praise God; (5) Blessing – share your faith and selflessly give and serve others; (6) Go – cross boundaries, listen attentively, and live like Jesus; and (7) Rest – receive God’s gift of grace and peace.    

Ignore the thoughts that say “What are you doing this for?”  “Why am I bothering with this?”  “Nothing is happening!”  Stay true to your task and tend the garden.  And, as you engage in these practices, take time to remember that God is with you at every moment – walking and tending your garden with you – waiting to escort you from the tomb back out into the light of life – back to resurrection.  Resurrection will come.  All it takes is a little tending, a little nourishment, and God.  Amen.

Fr. Bill

With Gratitude for Fr. Bill

I feel joy and sadness to share with you that Fr. Bill has been appointed priest-in-charge of St. Alban’s in Windsor, effective December 1. Founded over a century ago, St. Alban’s is one of Colorado’s historic churches in a town experiencing rapid growth in recent years as part of Denver’s greater metro. Their search for a prayerful pastor who can develop new programs to serve families and help the parish discern their outreach in the community is what drew them to Fr. Bill.

I’m thrilled for his leadership opportunity, and also grieve that it means saying good-bye to his ministry at Holy Comforter. Fr. Bill brings a genuine warmth into any room he walks into. His ease and heart for people makes his office a soft place to land for anyone needing a listening ear. His culinary skills have meant delectable home-baked goods vastly improving any church meeting, and his tap-dancing is one of the highlights of our Tour of Italy fundraiser. Those kinds of details never make it on a resume, but is icing on a (still warm plum) cake.

As Holy Comforter’s first full-time associate rector, Fr. Bill greatly expanded our capacity for ministry. We have a robust pre-K through high school curriculum taught by staff and volunteers called and equipped for student ministries. He’s taken risks to try new initiatives like dinner church, and consistently called us to walk the gospel talk, even getting me to my first march. You may not know that he assumed many of Deacon Linda’s responsibilities: his heart for the homeless means he’s the clergy rep for our Growing Home family shelter partnership, and he receives countless walk-ins each week who come to our church seeking assistance with utilities, rent, gas, car repairs and medical prescriptions. He even helps navigating complicated legal matters drawing on his previous profession.

As I reflect on his gifts, one story really stands out to me: about a month ago, we received an inquiry about hosting a funeral for a young father who died of colon cancer. Without a church home, and British roots, the family longed for an Anglican funeral. As I was away for a scheduled vacation week, I told Fr. Bill it was his call. He met with the family and a few days later, Holy Comforter hosted one of our largest funerals. Our altar guild and music ministries ensured the service was beautiful. Our hospitality team worked with caterers for the reception that followed on our east lawn so family and friends could linger and share stories. Jackson hosed off the porch and outdoor seating to provide a welcoming space. All of this love-in-action took place because Fr. Bill said “of course” to a funeral for a man he never met. This is one example of why he is such a good fit at Holy Comforter, because he has gently, caringly, insistently, helped us live into our name. Thank you, Fr. Bill. We are better for your ministry among us.

Fr. Bill’s last Sunday will be November 18.

Mother Kim


On Behalf of Your Faith

It’s that time of year, again. I know I have begun to notice the increased chatter-fervor even, across the radio and television waves, and across the digital streams that occupy our lives. My email inbox is filling up with funding requests and campaign newsletters, urging me to take action for a cause. I am sure most of you are right there with me in noticing this increased onslaught and jockeying for our attention. That’s right...it’s election season.

I also notice that I don’t feel enthusiasm for this time of year, for some reason. As someone who is a bit of a political nerd and is fascinated by the story that our politics tells, this is disconcerting to me. Now, you may not be as interested in politics as I am; and, that’s okay. However, I firmly believe that political issues are not in some other stratosphere that doesn’t involve us. Rather, political issues are, by nature, human issues. From education and housing to transportation and equality, these are issues that touch all of us. The question then becomes, why are we not enthusiastic about election season?

We are dogged by media outlets informing us how divided we are; how polarized our country is. In fact, it is difficult not to believe it, as the assertions of the 24-hour-news-cycle are constantly in our face. Literally, it can be impossible to escape the blitz!... How about a different way to tune in? How about an approach that is rooted not in what you hear, see, scroll by, or are told; but, in what you believe?

We all have beliefs-and, we all have shared values. We all want safety and security for our families and communities. We all want to live healthy and productive lives. We all want clean air and water. We all want our children to be well-educated in order to grow and thrive. We all want shelter and access to healthy food. We all want to be able to have sound infrastructure that allows us to contribute to the greater good of our communities and society. We all want to be treated with dignity and equality…

So, what if we tuned into these shared beliefs and values? What if we advocated and voted, not in spite of our faith; but, on behalf of it? I have a hunch that we just might view this election season a little bit differently.

This November, many of the values that we all hold dear will be on the ballot. This could be your opportunity to live the life that you believe. Holy Comforter will be hosting a four week series: How to be a Christian in an Election Season, September 30-October 21. So, I encourage you to do your research on the ballot initiatives, read your blue book, talk to your neighbors, family members and friends about their thoughts and their beliefs. We all have something to learn from each other.

Who knows, we might just be able to turn down the noise on what we are told we believe…

Jackson Dreiling


Mind, Body & Spirit-A Basic Guide

Our bodies are temples, this is repeated over and over is our Scripture, most notably in Corinthians 6:19-20:

 “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, 20 for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body."

This concept isn’t unique to Christianity. Several other religions have a similar concept. In the Buddhist Anguttara Nikaya I:43 ( a Buddhist Scripture used in Theravada Buddhism) states: 

"There is one thing that when cultivated and regularly practiced, leads to deep spiritual intention, to peace, to mindfulness and clear comprehension, to vision and knowledge, to a happy life here and now and to the culmination of wisdom and awakening. And what is that one thing? It is mindfulness centered on the body." 

I could give you hundreds of verses from religions around the world talking about this. But, let’s get back to why you should treat your body as a temple and as God’s dwelling place. Over history when temples are not of use to a society anymore they are destroyed or abandoned. A center of religion, spirituality, economy, rites, laws brought to the ground, sometimes overnight; leaving behind pain, confusion, and suffering, sometimes for centuries. Yet, when the temple is taken care of and constantly grows and adapts, it can be in use perpetually. For example, the Cathedral of Saint Dominic in Croatia was built in the 3rd century; but, is still in use today! The Cathedral has been taken care of and adapted to fit the modern worshiper, but the function is still the same.

The same can be done with our bodies/temples and the best part is that it’s never too late to start. Sister Madonna Buder is a nun who ran her first triathlon at age 52 and currently holds the record for the oldest woman to run an Ironman Triathlon at age 82. She attributes her running as a way of worshiping to combine “mind, body and soul”. 

So, how do you make this connection? How do you incorporate physical activity into your spiritual life? How do we make our bodies temples as God calls us to do? The answer, as with many things in life, is to start small-meditative prayer on walks is a good way to start. Then you can add in “prayer breath” when doing simple or complex exercise. To do this, start with a positive affirmation, i.e. “God of light” on an inhale; then, on the exhale finish your prayer, “Give me strength”. Repeat this in your head as you go through your exercise routine and feel how you will connect closer to God!

 If you want to explore this deeper I invite you to Sunday mornings at 7:45am in the prayer garden where we will have a guided meditative prayer and light yoga-based movement (you can do it in your Sunday best) to fully engage our mind, body, and spirit.

Natalie Keller

Youth Leader & Personal Trainer

Finding Your Niche

The program year is underway, and things are hopping at Holy Comforter! Our website is covered with details about programs, our coffee hours have been filled with opportunities to get involved, and our weekends have been booked with trainings, open houses, and kick-offs. All of this generates energy and excitement for those who are already involved, but it can be pretty overwhelming for folks who are newer to our community.

While there are some people who are ready to jump in on day one and get to work, there are many more people who need some time. Maybe they need time to get the lay of the land. Maybe they need time to rest, or to figure things out. Or maybe they need some time to get to know some people and make a few friends. Whatever they need, and however long they need it, it’s okay. One of the advantages of being a program size church is that there is room for everyone: from those who need to sit, listen, and be fed, to those who thrive on daily tasks to do around campus. People need to adjust their level of involvement to compliment the season of their life, and that’s okay.

One of the challenges to being a program sized church is that it is harder to get to know people, and harder to get involved when we’re ready. There are a lot of unfamiliar faces, and even for the most outgoing people, it’s overwhelming to try connect with them all. That is where all of those programs and opportunities to get involved come in. Each of those gatherings or projects is a chance for people to get to know one another in a more meaningful way, and to build smaller communities within our larger one. It is those smaller communities where people can develop friendships, get and give support, and find their home. If we aren’t careful, those small groups can become closed and unwelcoming, but if we are intentional about it, they can be niches where people are loved, fed, and empowered to do God’s work in the world.

You may have noticed an array of postcards in Maglaras Hall over the last few weeks. Those cards are invitations for us to give those who are looking for their niche. A compilation of all the cards will be printed in a few weeks in our new “Newcomer’s Guide”, but the individual cards are there for us to hand to someone who might be interested in a specific ministry or program. Please feel free to take one, put it in someone’s hand, and use it as a conversation starter. Use one to invite someone to a ministry that you’re passionate about, or use one to invite someone to a ministry you know nothing about, but think they might enjoy. It’s all about helping people find the niche that’s right for them!

Why is finding your niche important? When you have a niche, you have familiar faces to greet during coffee hour. When you have a niche, you have people around you who can support you, and you can support in turn. When you have a niche, you have ownership in the community, and the work we do together. When you have a niche, you have a place of belonging. Let’s help everyone find their niche!

Jamie Rumsey, Senior Warden

Prayer

Prayer – and praying – has been much on my mind of late.  Perhaps it is because of the feeling of uneasiness and discord that seems to be permeating our society and nation; the constant presence of uncertainty that surrounds being a caregiver for someone I love; or simply the happening of “life” with all its complexities and daily ups and downs, but prayer has been a constant companion of mine for some time now. 

Morning Prayer has been part of my daily morning routine for many, many years now.  However, at present, I find that my most serious and most intimate prayers have occurred in the darkness of the night watches, when the shadows of anxiety and unease rear their heads the most.  It is at these times that the serene words of Compline (“The Lord Almighty grant us a peaceful night and a perfect end”) or the repetitiveness of the Angelus Prayer (“Hail Mary, full of grace, blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus…), waft through my head, calming my heart of its anxieties, uneasiness, and uncertainties. 

Prayer has long been a tool that I have utilized to help ease my anxieties which, if left untended, can run their due course from mere anxiety to sheer panic attack.  Why prayer?  Well, I believe it is because through prayer I no longer feel alone in the darkness – no longer alone on this path of uneasiness – no longer alone trying to navigate the complexities of life. 

Through prayer I am connected to something greater than just me – greater than even my family or friends.  I feel connected to the one true and living God – God who, as the psalmist says, “neither slumbers nor sleeps,” who “preserves us from all evil” and “keeps us safe”, the God who “is our shade at our right hand”, who “watches our going out and coming in forevermore.”  Psalm 121

The late Henri Nouwen in his book, Here and Now: Living in the Spirit, sums it up best for me.  There he writes, “When we pray, we enter into the presence of God whose name is God-with-us.  To pray is to listen attentively to the One who addresses us here and now.  When we dare to trust that we are never alone but that God is always with us, always cares for us, and always speaks to us, then we can gradually detach ourselves from the voices that make us guilty or anxious and thus allow ourselves to dwell in the present moment.” 

Through prayer I am reminded that I am never truly alone, but that God is with me at all times - day or night – in times of surety and uncertainty, of calmness or chaos – God is there. 

Through prayer, we not only develop our relationship with the Divine – but we further our relationship with the Holy Spirit, being the conduit for the Spirit to move in and through each of us – connecting us with each other, with God, and with the world. 

Feeling alone, anxious, disconnected?  Give prayer a try.  If you don’t know where to begin, try looking at our own Book of Common Prayer.

The Book of Common Prayer is full of prayers for every occasion of life – births, celebrations, illness, death.  One simply has to open it up to discover its riches, something I commend you do try.  Open our Prayer Book.  Explore its beauty, its spirituality, its rule of living.  Check out the prayers found in its pages, and pray them.  Let them become part of you – your very being.  Let them be a conduit through which you may find that connection with each other, with our community/society/nation/world, and most importantly, with our God.  Let them help be your pathway to peace - that peace that passes all understanding – for that is what will happen through prayer.

Amen. 

Fr. Bill+

Love Where You're At

Earlier this week, I was sitting outside on our deck, drinking coffee in the morning. I know, it sounds quite exciting! But, I realized something in that moment of the mundane; something I found very powerful. Being in that moment revealed a value to me that I had not paid attention to in far too long; and, I’m hoping that I haven’t lost. I was in a state of being. And, it was perfect.

Too often, I am doing, even when I think I am simply being. Usually, I am sitting, drinking coffee AND looking at my phone...or reading the newspaper (yes, I still read the newspaper, and love it)...or thinking about my upcoming day.... As I started to reflect upon this habit of doing while being, a thought occurred to me: is it ingrained in us that we always have to be something? How often do we think, “be strong” or “be positive” or “be nice”? Even from the time we are young, we are asked what we want to be when we grow up; and, as we grow, where we want to be in five years. It is clear to me that we are constantly conditioned to be something.

A loved one recently told me to just be here. Those words were like a blanket for my soul. They gave me comfort, even a permission, that I didn’t have to work so hard to strive to be something. I could just be.

Those comforting words also reminded me that one’s being does directly affect those around you. Not only is it comforting for me to simply be; it is often times what those around us need from us.

No matter what we’re going through, no matter our status, no matter our health, it is part of our journey-our story. We all have a story to tell; and, I believe, as a person of faith, that joy will come in the morning. Around that corner, just over that ridge, there’s that bright side of the road, that sun will peek and bear its face. So, why not love where you’re at and allow yourself to soak it up, breathe, and be? It will make for one great story.

Jackson Dreiling

And It's A Wrap!

At 4:15 pm yesterday it was all over. All the props, music and teaching tools put away. Everyone had gone home. Lights turned off and doors locked. So ended another year of camps at Holy Comforter.

I love camps! Yes, I am tired and worn out but I love that Holy Comforter opens its campus up for 3 weeks of chaos and fun. I love it when a child who doesn’t attend Holy Comforter walks into the Sanctuary for the first time and is in awe of its beauty. I love it when they hear the Hook organ and say it’s the coolest thing they have ever heard. I love it when a child tells me that there are really nice people at this church. I love it when a child tells me they can hardly wait until next summer when they can come back again.

Thank you Holy Comforter for allowing the campus to essentially shut down during camp weeks so that our camps can take over and use every bit of space we have for programs. Thank you Holy Comforter for your generous financial support to allow all of our camps to be extremely low cost so that all may participate no matter their ability to pay the tuition. Your generosity has touched many kids over the years and it truly makes a difference in their lives. Thanks to the many volunteers who assembled snacks and cleaned up our messes – your smiles impact little lives.

So the camps are over and Joel and I are going camping!

Mary McIntire

On Faith

The average tenure of a faith leader in a Christian community is less than five years. One reason may be that after that length of time, conversations become harder as relationships grow deeper. The longer I have been a priest, the more basic the work becomes.Textbooks answers have been exhausted and a seminary education has run its course. Now I’m spending more time exploring fundamental concerns of what it means to be fully human and live faithfully.

For instance, a recurring conversation centers around the mystery of connection and belonging. I hear people wrestling with questions like: with more communication tools available than ever before, why do we feel so disconnected from each other? How do we build community in a world where we eat in our cars more than in our homes? Why are we spending more time interacting with friends and family on social media than in person? How can we support one another besides liking a post or donating money?

Underneath all of these important questions, I hear a deep longing for real relationships. A desire to know and be known, to love and be loved, as we truly are. So many factors can get in the way: FOMO (fear of missing out) can spread people thin and leave us exhausted; economic realities can keep us burning the candle at both ends; a culture that values busy-ness and rewards productivity makes it easy to over-commit. The irony is that many pursuits emerge from our desire to connect and belong, yet their practice often leaves us unsatisfied.

To say that my work as a priest is becoming more basic, I mean that I am spending more time reminding people, myself included, that God created us to be human beings, not human doings. That God made us in love, and for love. That our deepest longings to know and be known, to love and be loved, is what it means to be human. We need to be reminded of that simple basic truth again and again. And we need a place to practice.

Goodness knows a faith community can be a place where FOMO, economic realities and a culture of busy-ness can run unchecked. But at their best, faith communities exist to proclaim that God created human beings in love and for love. Practicing real relationships can be hard, messy work, but so worth it. Building a place of connection and belonging takes time.

If you haven’t visited a faith community in a while, and you find yourself longing for a place of true belonging, consider this an invitation. Broomfield has over fifty active faith communities that span multiple traditions. There is an ancient Indian fable of blind men and an elephant: each touches a part of the animal so their experience is different, yet all of them together appreciate the magnitude of the whole. So it is with human experiences of God. No one can ever grasp the whole, but each tradition touches some sense of the divine mystery.

Mother Kim