Can You Imagine?

Ten years ago Holy Comforter’s future was uncertain.

Today Holy Comforter is a growing, thriving parish. Our average Sunday attendance is the highest it has ever been, we have more households pledging now than any other time in our church’s history, and we are financially sustainable. Our campus bustles with a multitude of groups and ministries throughout the week. We are the proud sponsors of community outreach programs like the Broomfield Farmers’ Market and the Broomfield Children’s Chorus, and we have forged strong partnerships with local non-profit organizations like Growing Home and Broomfield FISH. Thanks to the incredibly successful Growing Together capital campaign in 2015 we have added an associate rector to our staff, an exquisite pipe organ to our sanctuary, and anticipate that our mortgage at the end of 2018 will be almost half of what it was 10 years ago. The healing, hard work, generosity, dedication, and subsequent growth that we have witnessed over the last decade have truly been beyond our imagination.

Now we get to dream about what Holy Comforter will look like 10 years in the future. Who is God calling us to be, and what is he calling us to do? Who will we welcome into our midst? How will we grow and change on our Christian Journey? What opportunities and challenges will present themselves? How much of an impact can we make in our community and our world? Can you imagine?

Last week I shared the mission, vision and values that came out of our conversations last fall. If you haven’t read them yet, please do so here. With these as our guide, the Vestry is now beginning to discern the answers those big questions. In the months ahead we will be listening to leaders in our congregation, and our community about the needs and opportunities they see for ministry. We will be examining how to best grow and support members on their faith journey. We will be evaluating the existing needs and the future potential of our campus. We will be envisioning what Holy Comforter could look like if we fully live into our mission, vision and values, and we will be identifying what we will need to make that happen.

I invite you to dream with us, and share those dreams with each other. God has already done incredible things at Holy Comforter. Can you imagine what’s next?

Jamie Rumsey, Senior Warden

Beneath the Surface

When asked to describe Holy Comforter, people say we are welcoming and caring. They say we are active and generous, prayerful and spirit-filled, hopeful and resilient. People like that we eat together, we work together, and we play together. These are characteristics ingrained in our DNA that people notice when they visit, and cite for their return. But, this part of our identity is just the tip of the iceberg. What do we value that drives who we are? What do we hope to become? Why do we do what we do? The answers to these questions are our values, our vision and our mission. This deeper part of our identity is why we stay at Holy Comforter. It’s what we invest our time and resources into. It’s at the heart of all we do, and it is what will guide us into the future.  

Last fall the Vestry hosted gatherings in which members were asked to reflect on Holy Comforter’s identity and future. New and long-time members of all ages joined us, and we received many thoughtful and insightful responses. With this feedback in hand the Vestry and Executive Team gathered for a retreat in November to pour through the pages of notes. Seven common threads emerged as we worked, and those threads lead to seven values and accompanying vision statements that represent Holy Comforter at its core. We have chosen to present them to you in a circle because we believe they all carry equal weight, and they all work together to define who we are, what we do, and where we’re going.

I invite you to take some time to read through our mission, vision and values this week. They are the reason we are welcoming, caring, active, generous, prayerful, hopeful, and so much more. They are what lies beneath the surface.  

Values & VisionFinal.png

What is a Mission?

A mission describes why an organization does what it does. Our mission is that of the Episcopal Church, which is given to us in the Book of Common Prayer on page 855. Our values and vision are rooted in this mission, and all we do should move us closer to achieving it.

What is a Vision?

A vision describes what an organization does to accomplish its mission. While we already do each of these to a degree, living into them fully is going to take more time, work, and intention. These vision statements will help us focus our efforts and decide where to allocate our resources.

What are Values?

Core values reflect what is most important to an organization, and they shape the organization’s culture. Our values represent who we are, and they drive what we do. They also guide where we invest our time and resources.

Jamie Rumsey, Senior Warden

Happy Easter Season

Meditative Silence. We leave our Sanctuary in darkness and silence following Maundy Thursday and Good Friday services. Lights and candles are extinguished. Musical instruments and devices are set down. Reflective thoughts and meditations on Jesus’ journey replace our daily task list. We find the time to push away from the continuous news cycle, “social” media stories, and the need to remember “what’s next?”.  
Music during Holy Week and the Easter season have a wide emotional range. Sorrow and confusion quickly become uplifting acclamation and praise. Quiet, contemplative pieces reveal the reason for beautiful Psalms, “Alleluias” and “Glorias.” Our shared Lenten journey becomes a positive message to take to our surrounding neighborhoods, in both word and deed. Happy Easter Season!

Ben Ehrlich

Our Holy Week Pilgrimage

Holy Week, the church’s annual commemoration of Christ’s death, burial and resurrection begins this Sunday. The many church services offer a kind of pilgrimage, an invitation for the faithful to draw close to Jesus, to pay attention to this divine mystery that is our salvation.  

The original Holy Week unfolded during the High Holy Days of Passover, when Jews from all over Israel would make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Jerusalem sits on a hill, surrounded by wilderness. The faithful would journey for days, sometimes weeks, arriving to a crowded city swelled several times its normal size. Pilgrims would pass through the gates of the city and meander their way through the bustling streets to the temple complex. Built at the highest point, the last part of their journey was a steep climb up the southern steps to pass through the temple gates.

Ten years ago I visited Jerusalem. The southern steps of the temple have withstood the passage of time. They bear a unique characteristic: the steps alternate narrow and wide, narrow and wide, all the way up. And it’s a long way up. I asked our guide why they were constructed that way. He told us that the architects of the Temple wanted people to slow down as they entered the house of God. It would be natural to speed up in anticipation, but the alternating steps pattern challenges the natural eye foot coordination.

The eye and the brain have to work harder to navigate the alternating depth of a narrow, then wide, step. It’s impossible to jog the final ascent; by design, one climbs deliberately and with their head bowed. This physical posture of head down, eyes low, slowing down would prepare the faithful for coming into the presence of the holy.

Holy Week services are a bit like those southern steps of the temple. Our regular Sunday worship can be predictable, its learned rhythms over time can lull one into dullness and inattention. But not this week, not the liturgies of Holy Week. We are beginning our final ascent to the cross and the tomb. From waving palms to washing feet, from venerating the cross to lighting the Vigil fire, these annual rituals invite us to bow our heads, slow down and pay attention as we come into the presence of the holy. I hope you will join us whenever you are able on our annual Holy Week pilgrimage.  

Mother Kim +

We Need More Matthiases

I pretty much love the season of Lent.  This time of study, prayer, and self-examination and reflection.  In these 6 weeks, I always learn so much about myself, and I am always shaped by what I learn - much more so than any New Year’s resolution. 

One thing I particularly like about Lent is participating in what is becoming an annual event for me - Lent Madness.  The brainchild of the Reverend Tim Schenck, Lent Madness is a way of learning about the men and women who make up the Church’s Calendar of Saints.  If you are in any way familiar with the NCAA March Madness brackets, then you will find much similarity with the Lent Madness brackets.     On “Ash Thursday” - (no priest tackles anything on Ash Wednesday), 32 saints are placed into a tournament-like single elimination bracket. Each pairing remains open for a set period of time and people vote for their favorite saint. 16 saints make it to the Round of the Saintly Sixteen; eight advance to the Round of the Elate Eight; four make it to the Faithful Four; two to the Championship; and the winner is awarded the coveted Golden Halo.  This year has pitted St. Peter against St. Paul (Peter was the victor), St. Peter against St. John (again, Peter was the victor), St. Michael the Archangel, Richard Hooker (the defender of the Book of Common Prayer), musician Edith Cavell, and Quiteria (who with her 8 sisters personally engaged in guerrilla-type attacks against the Roman Occupation).  It is a fascinating way to learn all about the people (and angels) who make up the great cloud of saintly witnesses who have gone before us).  Prior winners of the Golden Halo include St. Francis of Assisi, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Florence Nightingale, St. Mary Magdalene, and C.S. Lewis.

One saint I have never seen included in the brackets since I have started participating is St. Matthias the Apostle.   He was not one of the original twelve disciples; rather, he was one who followed them around (“accompanying” them to be more specific) during Jesus’ three-year ministry, beginning with Jesus’ baptism by John until the day of Christ’s ascension into heaven, until he was called by the Spirit and chosen by lot to take Judas Iscariot’s place among the Apostles.  

Yet, although present at numerous healings, exorcisms, teachings, miracles, we hear nary a word from or about him.  Did he see Jesus turn water into wine at the wedding feast in Cana?  Did he bring people to Jesus, like Andrew and Phillip?  Did he help in the feeding of the 5,000?  The feeding of the 4,000?  Did he see Jesus cleanse the lepers, bring sight to the blind, raise the dead?  Was he present when Jesus calmed the storms, or walked on water, chased the money changers from the Temple?  Did he hear Jesus’ teachings of the beatitudes or wonder at his parables?  Was he present when Jesus was arrested, tried, convicted, crucified?   While we may never know for sure, the writer of Acts seems to think so, and for an introvert like me, this is enough. 

 My introverted self has a hard time relating to a saint like Peter or John or Paul, always on the forefront, always with an opinion, or a question, or an answer. 

I can identify much more to one who stayed on the sidelines - observing, listening, quietly doing the work to be done while simultaneously doing everything he can to not draw attention to himself (God forbid!).  Perhaps this is why Matthias is the patron saint of carpenters and tailors – the people who work behind the scenes to make sure that everything is ready for the Peters and the Pauls of the world - much like the list of people we see scrolling at the end of the movie, people we never see or know but whose work is imperative to bring that one blockbuster to the screen.

It is the quiet, dedicated and diligent work of Matthias that is needed to heal a hurting and broken world - someone who understands that to observe is the first step in understanding, to listen is the first step to healing, and to accompany someone on their journey is a sign of love, for it is when we can walk together, accompany each other, the reconciling work of God can begin.  Perhaps this is why Matthias is also the patron saint of people who need hope, such as persons struggling with addiction, as well as the caregivers.

The world needs more Matthiases – people out on the sidelines and in the trenches quietly and with fervent dedication observing, listening, accompanying, all the while understanding, healing, loving and reconciling, and bringing hope to a hurting and broken world.

As they say in the realm of Lent Madness - Happy Lent!

Fr. Bill

Embrace the Change

Ash Wednesday and the first Sunday in Lent have passed - it is time to embrace the change. 

I hope you heard it. I hope you felt it. It's kind of like that record breaking temperature drop the other day - BAM! here it is!

But I enjoy those changes. They make me think, reflect and hopefully change in some way. I like to listen to every word in our services. The liturgy, readings, hymns, anthems, sermons. What are they saying to us? How are they speaking to me? To you? Are you moved by the changes in what you see in the Sanctuary? The different, more somber tones of the organ? The mode of the music?

Maybe you can embrace the change by attending our Friday Evening Lenten Organ Series Concerts. It will be a time for you to sit, listen, reflect while taking in the visual changes in the Sanctuary. Taking time to sit and reflect becomes lost in our busy lives. Embrace this gift as you walk forward during this season of Lent.

Embrace the Change.

Mary McIntire

An Invitation to Conversations about Racism

“Which one of these is not like the others?” I stared at the pictures on the page: an apple, orange, banana...and tractor. Hmmmm: three fruits and a machine. Marking the tractor, I continued to the next question.

Looking at our Lenten offerings this year, I flashed back to a standardized logic test: a book group on a Christian classic, contemplative prayer practices, seasonal organ concerts….and a conversation on racism. Hmmmm. One of these is not like the others.

Our 5 week Wednesday evening series begins next week, 6:30-8 pm in the parish hall. “Get Woke: A Lenten Conversation on Racism” does stand out, and I want to offer some context. In 2016, the Episcopal Church in Colorado offered a workshop by Soul2Soul Sisters to learn about the emerging Black Lives Matter movement. A series of racially charged violence had dominated the news cycle: unarmed black youth killed by white civilians and police. Black men and women killed during routine traffic stops or in state custody. White police killed by black sniper. Historically black churches destroyed by arson.

Several members of Holy Comforter attended the workshop at diocesan convention, and we were deeply moved by the stories shared. We listened to Episcopalians across Colorado tell of their personal experiences with racism over the course of their lives. It got me thinking about my own encounter with prejudice: how my grandparents responded when I introduced them to my college boyfriend. Now Raj is Indian, but their profound discomfort based on his difference opened my eyes.

Our ability to notice differences is human. God created humankind to be wonderfully diverse. But when we as individuals, and as a society, assign values to human differences, we commit sin. Every person is a beloved child of God and deserves to be treated with dignity and respect.

Scientifically speaking, there is no such thing as race. Human beings of every skin color and ethnic origin are biologically the same: we are all homo sapiens. Race is a social construct, a way to group according to differences. Racism occurs when a society values one group over another. This is why racism is sin.

Historically, our country privileges white lives over black and brown. Founding documents and existing laws have served to institutionalize the sin of racism. The rising outcry to right these old wrongs is the origin of the Black Lives Matter movement.

As staff and vestry have prayerfully engaged this conversation in the last 18 months, I’ve remembered the opening scene from the movie The Ghost and the Darkness. The story begins with a husband reluctantly leaving for an extended work assignment in Africa. His wife comforts him as they say good-bye: “You’re a bridge-builder, John; you have to go where the rivers are.”

The mission of the church is to restore unity with God and each other in Christ (BCP 855). Christians are called to be bridge-builders, so we go where the rivers are. We wade into troubled waters with love and courage in order to build places of connection across differences.

Get Woke: A Lenten Conversation on Racism is our first opportunity as a congregation to have an important conversation about a sin that continues to wound our society. We welcome Lelanda Lee, an author of anti-racism training for the Episcopal Church, and William King, retired professor of Ethnic Studies at CU as guest presenters. Over the 5 week series, participants will learn about the Episcopal Church’s journey and commitment to racial reconciliation, how racism is perpetuated in contemporary law and society even after Civil Rights, and explore how we, as individuals and as a community of faith, might respond.

Let us embrace this chance to live into our name. I hope you’ll join me Wednesday: come early at 6 to enjoy a simple soup supper, and our conversation will begin at 6:30. Youth welcome. Childcare provided.

Mother Kim+

The Wonderful World of Organs

Many careers, vocations, and hobbyists have professional organizations that bring together members to discuss and promote their shared interests. In the music world, educators, performers, and therapists join builders and repair persons to improve aspects in our different fields. The local American Guild of Organists chapter supports organ, instrumental and choir music, as well as offers student scholarships for lessons. The American Theater Organ Society maintain the expansive Wurlitzer organ at the Denver Paramount, and the digital theater organs at the Lakewood Cultural Center and Holiday Hills Ballroom. The AGO and ATOS offer year-round concerts and educational opportunities for all ages.

Recently, Holy Comforter was a featured stop during the American Institute of Organbuilders convention. Participants viewed our Hook Organ from all angles, took pictures, and heard marvelous selections from Organist John Murgel.

The Organ Historical Society puts focus not only on pipe organs and their builders, but the historical spaces they occupy. A large online database has been created by the OHS, and search fields can be narrowed to cities, states, church and builder names. Our own Holy Comforter page has been updated in this database, with assistance from Jim Steinborn and Tim Seibert. You can view our new Hook organ page here:

 https://pipeorgandatabase.org/OrganDetails.php?OrganID=56622

Many musical events are happening here in our Holy Comforter community!

See Mary or Ben for more details, and bring a friend!

Ben Ehrlich, Organist

What Can I Do?

I am a do-er, and I want to do something that matters in the world.

I read the headlines, I listen to the news, and I want to fix it all. And for an occasional, brief moment as I watch the horrors flash across my screen, I believe I actually can. I start to imagine how I might go about fixing it: what I would do, where I would start. But it only takes a few moments for the enormity of the world’s challenges to bring my aspirations crashing down. SO many people are hungry, SO many people are afraid, SO many people are hurting. What can I possibly do about it? I am just one person, and I already have a life full of people who need me to keep them fed, and happy, and whole. How can I even think about tackling something so daunting? I can’t, so I stop.

Then I climb into my car and see a blessing bag the youth group assembled sitting on my back seat. A blessing bag is just a ziploc bag full of basic items: snacks, socks, deodorant, toothpaste, and all I have to do is find someone in need to give it to. That bag, I hope, will be a small blessing to the person who receives it. But in that moment, it is a big blessing to me. It reminds me that I don’t have to fix the whole world to do something that matters. It reminds me that Jesus changed lives one person at a time, and so can I. It reminds me that I am part of a church community, a larger body, a wider movement that, when at its best, can bring about great change together. That bag of crackers and tissues reminds me that I am already doing something that matters, and I’m not doing it by myself.

My husband and I have been members of Holy Comforter for fourteen years. The first time we walked through those red doors, we found something at Holy Comforter that was different from all the other places we could spend our time. We found a group of people who were working together to make the world a better place, and they were doing it with such joy and energy that we couldn’t help but to want to be a part of it. We were welcomed in, got involved, and for fourteen years we have worked and played alongside an amazing group of people. Together this congregation has overcome obstacles, tried new things, and grown in numbers, faith, passion, and impact.

As I listened at our Annual Meeting last Sunday to all that is, and to all that it yet to come, I was filled with gratitude for the people of Holy Comforter. Sixty years ago a small group of dedicated and hope-filled people rolled up their sleeves and planted a church in Broomfield. Sixty years later, a few of those same people, plus almost a hundred more, sat together to reflect on all the ways the members of Holy Comforter still roll up their sleeves today. We tend to a campus that hosts and supports multiple outreach ministries and community groups. We care for each other so we can in turn care for those outside our walls. We welcome and learn from those who have different views, or face different challenges than our own. We go out into the community and serve alongside others to improve life for all. I am proud to be a member of Holy Comforter, and I am honored and excited to serve as its next Senior Warden.

As much as I want to, I cannot fix the world by myself. Fortunately I am reminded often that when I add my time, skills, and resources to those of the incredible people at Holy Comforter, we help make a real and lasting impact for others in our world, one person at a time. I think that matters.

Jamie Rumsey, Senior Warden

Jesus the Evangelist

“Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God.” Mark 1:14.

This passage from last week’s Gospel lesson has really stuck in my brain, which I find to be rather odd. First, it appears to be in some respects what we in the legal profession might refer to as “dicta” – a non-consequential sentence that is more filler than anything – a throw-away sentence in a lesson that is much more about Jesus’ calling of his disciples than anything. But this is the beauty of Scripture, how it speaks to us differently each and every time we read it.

What perhaps impacted me the most about this passage, however, is how it allowed me to see Jesus in a new way – a new Light, so to speak, one in which I hadn’t ever considered before – the light of an evangelist. Teacher? Absolutely! Healer? Most definitely. Son of God, Prince of Peace, Emmanuel, Lord and Savior? Do I even need to respond to this one? But evangelist? Sad to say, but that caught me off guard.

Perhaps it is because we Episcopalians tend to shutter at that dreaded “E”-word (“evangelism”). We are a funny lot in that regard – people who prefer to follow the quote often associated with St. Francis: “Preach the Gospel at all times. When necessary, use words.” It could be that we are one, big collective of introverts, people who would rather let our actions do our talking for us. But, sometimes actions are not enough. Sometimes, we need to use our words to spread that good news.

“Evangelism” comes from the Greek word “euangelion” which means “Good News.” As such, logic dictates that an “evangelist” is one who proclaims good news. Which is why I don’t understand the aversion we as a faith have to evangelism? I mean, who doesn’t like to share good news?

In my experience, people are always willing and ready to share the good things happening in their lives with their family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, and sometimes, strangers on the street. We eat at a really good restaurant, or see a really good movie, we want to share it. If we look at Facebook or Instagram, people are often sharing story after story of good things happening in their lives – good books they’ve read, good food they’ve eaten, engagements, anniversaries, births, etc.

It would seem natural that people would also be very willing to share the good news of how their lives have been shaped, guided, and changed, comforted, strengthened, and blessed with God and Jesus in their lives. And yet, we don’t. We hold our faith very close to our hearts. However, I do believe that people are willing, if asked, to share their stories of their faith.

Lent is coming up, and instead of giving up something perhaps try taking on a new spiritual practice - the practice of evangelism. Share the good news of God with your family and friends, co-workers, and maybe, strangers on the street. It is fairly simple, although it takes some intentionality.

Jesus promised us, “I will be with you always, even unto the end of the age.” Matthew 28:20. So look and see. Be attentive. Where have you seen Christ-God-Holy Spirit working in your life? Where has God blessed you? Where has God strengthened you? Where has God comforted you? Where has God cried or rejoiced with you? God-Christ-Holy Spirit is here with us always, in every situation.

Once you have seen God’s handiwork, go and share this with people whom you know. Talk about why God is important to you. Why your faith is important to you. Why your Church is important to you. Use your words and not just your actions. These are important conversations to have - particularly now. People need to hear the good news of God.

I’ll share a recent experience of mine. I was heading to church, listening to an acoustic version of “All Creatures of Our God and King” - it just has a way of centering me. And as I drove and listened, I saw a flock of geese flying in formation, people walking their dogs before work. People were going on their way. And all of a sudden, they were all in sync with the music - in one big divine dance with each other and with the world. And I felt a peace come over me and all that was before me - a peace that passedall understanding. And I knew that all was okay - because God was at work in the world.

Evangelism doesn’t mean conversion. It means sharing the good news of God. The Holy Spirit does the rest.

As followers of Jesus, let us follow all his ways - and go and share the good news.

Blessings,
Fr. Bill+

From Golden Stars Come Silver Dew

To My Sons,

Lately, I am struggling. For some reason, each time I have a tender moment with one of you, I can’t help but start thinking about when you were smaller, younger. Carrying you to bed...how much longer can I do this? What will bedtime be like when I can’t?...Talking by the fire while you curl under my arm...until when will you enjoy this and not be too cool for your Dad?...Watching you build a true snow fort, resembling an igloo, and your ability to actually fit inside...how much longer will you actually want to simply play, without a care in the world?...Dropping you off at school, with fist-bumps and I Love You’s...soon, you will want to take the bus, ride with your friends, or, oh my goodness-drive yourselves!...

These are just a smattering of interactions with you guys-don’t even get me started on the amazing, heart wrenching electronic magic that is Facebook Memories.

You see? It’s a struggle.

These reminders of tenderness beget reflection, memory and pure love, to be sure. And, just as I am wrestling with these seemingly fleeting moments of beauty, I am surrounded by all-new realizations of beauty all the time. I am seeing dedication and focus in martial arts katas; I am seeing critical thinking about current events; I am seeing growth in social interactions; I am seeing confidence evolve on the slopes of mountains; believe it or not, I am actually seeing improved self-care and hygeine!

Serendipitously, a song came on my car stereo last night that put all of this in perspective for me: From Golden Stars Come Silver Dew - by Lalah Hathaway/Mr. Jukes. For me and my reflections of the past week, the title couldn’t be more true. The little boys that I have always been so in love with; and, their perfect memories, are truly like the stars in the night sky. They are shining bright, fueling us with strength, love and hope. Like the aforementioned memories, they are fleeting, yes; but, they also give way to a new day. Each new day brings tender beauty, opportunity, a fresh chance for growth-just like the morning dew.

So, you see? It’s a beautiful struggle. I’m just thankful to be part of it with you.

Love,

Dad

 

Jackson Dreiling

 

Epiphany Proclamation 2018

Dear brothers, sisters, and friends in Christ,

The glory of the Lord has shone upon us, and shall ever be manifest among us, until the day of his return.  Through the rhythms of times and seasons, let us celebrate the mysteries of salvation.  

Let us recall the year’s culmination, the Easter Triduum of the Lord: his last supper, his crucifixion, his burial, and his rising celebrated between the evening of the twenty-ninth day of March and the evening of the thirty-first day of March.

Each Easter - as on each Sunday - the Holy Church makes present the great and saving deed by which Christ has for ever conquered sin and death.  From Easter are reckoned all the days we keep holy.  

Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, will occur on the fourteenth day of February, 

The Ascension of the Lord will be commemorated on the tenth day of May.  

Pentecost, the joyful conclusion of the season of Easter, will be celebrated on the twentieth day of May.  

And this year, the First Sunday of Advent will be celebrated on the second day of December.  

Likewise, the pilgrim Church proclaims the passover of Christ in the feasts of the holy Mother of God, in the feasts of the Apostles and Saints, and in the commemoration of the faithful departed.

To Jesus Christ, who was, who is, and who is to come, Lord of time and history, be endless praise, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Blessings to you this Epiphanytide,

Fr. Bill

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

This morning I counted the days of Christmas to realize that New Year’s Day falls on the 8th day of this short season. According to the song, the traditional gift would be “eight maids a milking.” I don’t know about you, but that’s one gift I have never asked for.  

The gift of a new beginning, though, is welcome. Every morning offers the chance to begin again, but a new year feels like an especially fresh start. The buzz around new year’s resolutions demonstrate how many take this opportunity to make a change, stopping something old or starting something new.

This coming Sunday, we will hear the beautiful prologue of John’s Gospel: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people.”

The Word is Christ - and just as Christ was present at The Beginning, Christ is an integral part of every new beginning. His life and death and resurrection in Jesus had such an impact on human history that time (BC/AD) literally turns on the Incarnation.  If you want to seize the promise of a new year, there’s no better companion for the journey.  

I invite you to join me for a January series, Meeting Jesus in the Gospel of John. John’s gospel and epistle tell the story of a God who is love and who so loved the world that God sent a Son to give us life. This Son, Jesus, became flesh and lived among us in order to reveal God’s love to us, to lay down his life for us, and gather us into a community that will share God’s love with the whole world. The gospel not only teaches us about God, but invites us into a relationship as beloved children and friends. When we know ourselves to be loved unconditionally, we can love others with the same deep love that has been shared so generously with us.

We’ll meet on Wednesdays for 5 weeks, beginning January 3 from 6:30-8 pm in the parish hall library. I’m so thankful to the Society of St. John the Evangelist and Virginia Theological Seminary for providing materials for this study to download and print. I have hard copies available as well.

Whether you have known Jesus your whole life or come to know Jesus as an adult, as we grow and change our relationship matures and opens new opportunities. With a new year just around the corner, how might God be calling you in 2018 into a more deeply abiding relationship? How can we open ourselves to more fully receive the greatest Christmas gift of all?

Grace and peace,

Mother Kim

Magic

For me, this season has always been so full of magic. When I was young, I remember being enamored with the stories, the carols, the wishes, the food...the anticipation! Oh, my, the anticipation is thrilling. Hopes and dreams transformed into adrenaline, popping eyelids wide open until what feels like (must be) well after midnight; yielding the manifestation of all that must be good and right with the world. Ah, Christmas morning-a truly magical time. As I have grown to see this transformation take place in my own children, that magical feeling comes back year after year. And, I love it!

This year has been a bit different, however. This year is the first season for my oldest son to show true cracks in that armor of the magic. There have been numerous questions for myself and my wife; numerous statements of doubts; numerous wonderings of how… And, to see those cracks makes me yearn for yesterday when he truly viewed Christmas through the eyes of wonder.

This has had me thinking, though, about who has cracks in their armor of the magic. Is it him, or is it me? Am I holding onto those memories of anticipation through him-some sense of my own nostalgia to hold onto? Am I holding onto something unsustainable and unrealistic for my own enjoyment of this season? Am I allowing him to grow?

Mercifully, he answered my questions. And, he doesn’t even know it. You see- last month during our visit to Santa in New York City at Macy’s Santaland, he asked Santa for only one thing: that everyone in the world can have a good, hot meal for Christmas. This request was unbeknownst to my wife and I; and, as we were taken aback with his request, the magic of this season began to take form.

Since that request (and, the magic of social media) the spirit of magic alive in my oldest son has inspired many others. That inspiration has produced nearly 1,000 meals in his name, fulfilling his wish beyond our wildest imaginations (surely not beyond his imagination-the magic is strong with this one).

So, as I write this on this eve of Christmas Eve, I am awaiting the future with hopeful, joyful expectation, indeed. As is stated in the classic book, Polar Express, “the true spirit of Christmas lives in your heart”-the true spirit of Christmas is most definitely living in my son’s heart. Whether or not he continues to put his hopes and dreams in the magical, reverent being of the season or not; I know he has the magic in him.

I am thankful for his spirit; and, that his spirit has given me answers. Again, he doesn’t even know it. But, he will...because, he believes.

Jackson Dreiling

Finding Joy this Season of Advent

“Who here as ever prayed the Rosary?”

This was a question posed to several of us by Brother Jim Woodrum, our wonderful spiritual guide, during a pre-Advent retreat at the Society of St. John the Evangelist just a couple of weeks ago.  Assuming he was referring to Anglican rosary beads, with which I have prayed on many occasions, I naively raised my hand.  However, he was not referring to Anglican bead work as I soon discovered.  (What is that old saying about what happens when you assume something?)  Instead, Br. Jim was referring to praying the Mysteries of the Rosary, the contemplative prayer practice used by most Roman Catholics and many Anglo-Catholic/Oxford Movement Episcopalians.

This was something I had never done as I had always assumed (seriously, what is that old saying?) that praying the rosary was in essence praying to the Virgin Mary for intercession, a practice my Protestant heart and mind could not fathom.  Again, I was mistaken.  As Br. Jim told us, praying the Rosary is not seeking intercession through Mary but rather a way for us to ponder and meditate upon the mysteries of Christ’s Incarnation – Christ’s working in us and the world about us – through the eyes of his mother, Mary.

For those of us unfamiliar with the Mysteries of the Rosary, there are three – the Joyful Mysteries (focusing on the events leading to Christ’s birth), the Sorrowful Mysteries (focusing on the events of Christ’s crucifixion and death), and the Glorious Mysteries (focusing on the events of Christ’s resurrection and ascension, as well as Mary’s own assumption into heaven).  

As we proceeded through the first of the three Mysteries, we in the group realized that the events of the Joyful Mysteries did not always seem to be readily or clearly joyful.  Rather, they seemed to be more a time of confusion, a time of fear, a time of darkness, a time of worry, a time of anxiety – times and feelings which often mimic our own lives today.  Which is why, Br. Jim said, we contemplate on finding the joy in such times.  When we sit in quiet reflection and ponder each Mystery through the eyes of Mary, we can see the presence of God at each moment in time.  God is always there – Christ is always present.  At no time is Mary ever left abandoned – ever left alone.  And the same is true for us.  God is there to guide us when we are confused, to strengthen us when we are afraid, to be our light in times of darkness, to calm us in times of worry, and comfort us in times of anxiety.  God is our hope and our joy.  This is both cause and reason for joy – for rejoicing – for proclaiming as Mary did, “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord.”  

This Sunday, the 3rd Sunday in Advent, is often known in some churches as Gaudete Sunday.  The word “Gaudete” comes from the Latin opening words of the introit antiphon, “Gaudete in Domino semper: iterum dico, Gaudete!” ("Rejoice (Gaudete) in the Lord always; again, I say, rejoice!”)  Philippians 4:4.  We light the third candle of our Advent wreath – the candle that is pink – which represents Joy – the Joy that Christ’s coming brings to each of us.  And we rejoice in the fact that God is always and ever present in our lives, no matter our confusion, fear, darkness, worry or anxiety.  May I again say rejoice?  

And if we ever have trouble finding it, which I admit sometimes happens to me, perhaps we should try and sit, and quietly look for that joy through the eyes of Jesus’ own mother, Mary.

Peace and blessings to you this Advent,

Fr. Bill

P.S., if you are interested in Praying the Rosary and pondering the incarnation of Christ in us and our world through the eyes of Mary, please let me know.

Random

It's December. That means music planning, unpacking lots of boxes (I won't confess how many) of Christmas decorations, making lists, battling traffic and lines everywhere we go. So in many ways my life is random right now-but what do I like about random? I like that I can put 5 CD's of all different kinds of seasonal music in the player, hit random and I don't know what will come up next. It might be Mannheim Steamroller or Kings College, Straight No Chaser or Chanticleer, Robert Shaw or Wind Machine. So many different styles, themes, instrumentation and interpretations of the same carols but each variation brings something different and charming to those beloved carols. 

I think back when I was a kid and my siblings and I would put a stack of LP's on the console stereo turn up the bass and sing at the top of our lungs. But it was the same artists for 5 or 6 songs, sounding much the same on each song. But now with random on our devices we can be surprised! Woken up! Hmmmm.....is that helping me to keep watch and wait during this Advent season?

Mary McIntire

With Gratitude for Deacon Linda

In this season of gratitude, I give thanks for Deacon Linda’s presence among us. Her diaconal ministry at Holy Comforter comes to a close at the end of the year. Bishop Rob appoints deacons to serve up to six years in a parish, then following a sabbatical, a new call is mutually discerned.

Deacon Linda began serving at Holy Comforter in December 2011. I came in 2010, and have a memory block trying to recall the time before her arrival. She is an amazing partner in ministry.

Deacons are called to serve all people, particularly the poor, the weak, the sick, and the lonely; and to assist in the proclamation of the gospel and administration of the sacraments. She has fulfilled her ministry with distinction. These are some of the fruits of her work among us:

Early on, Deacon Linda called my attention to the Broomfield Sweep Report, published by the Broomfield Community Foundation, that gave an overview of the changing demographics of our community and projections of human need for the coming decade. She works with members passionate about outreach and strengthened our partnership with nonprofit organizations doing wonderful ministry in the area. She partnered with our Farmers’ Market for recognition as a Jubilee Ministry. She built relationships with other faith communities, ensuring that we weren’t replicating but complementing one another’s efforts to love our neighbors. She noticed a compassion for Native Americans among a number of our parishioners, and journeyed alongside to coordinate mission trips and pilgrimmages to Navajoland and Pine Ridge each summer. She has been an integral member of our pastoral care team, ensuring those in difficult seasons are remembered in prayer, visits and home communion.

Outside of Holy Comforter, she served as general manager for the 32nd Avenue Jubilee Center, mentored deacons in formation, and donned her scientist hat to teach youth at Cosmos Camp for two summers.

To list her accomplishments is one thing; to articulate the gift of her presence among us is another. She is a partner in prayer, a wisdom seeker, a careful listener, a team player, a worker bee, a community organizer, a fine teacher, a compassionate friend.

I’d be remiss to not give thanks for Jesse as well. Churches joke about clergy spouses being “two-fers,” meaning, they get two ministers for the price of one (especially remarkable given that deacons are unpaid!). Holy Comforter really did get a two-fer with Jesse. He, too, has a wonderful sense of call to ministry - that is firmly of the lay order. Like Deacon Linda, a Benedictine oblate and spiritual director, he too exhibits a prayerful presence that permeates every conversation. He’s passionate about his ministry with the homeless at St. Clare’s on Tuesdays, and began a men’s morning prayer and breakfast every other Thursday. He offered his professional expertise as a CPA helping us transition our bookkeeping in house a few years ago, and served as Bishop’s Warden for two years. Each of them, individually, and together, leave a deep imprint on this place. 

On Saturday, January 6 at 5 pm, I hope you’ll join us for an Epiphany Blessing and Sending Celebration in Maglaras Hall. Bring your favorite chili or pie, and we’ll send the Browns off in true Holy Comforter style - with good food and goodwill for their incredible ministry among us. Their last Sunday with us will be January 7. 

In the meantime, don’t miss the opportunity to benefit from Deacon Linda’s wisdom one more time as she leads our Advent Quiet Morning, Praying the Psalms in Advent, on Saturday, December 9, from 8:30-12. I will definitely be there (yes, childcare provided!) 

Grace and peace,

Mother Kim

Retreat

My apologies for the delay of this blog. To be truthful, I have been consumed with the pace of life and what’s next. This past season of my life, and that of the life of my family, has been an incredible one-a fun summer sprinting into a new school year, youth sports, camping and more-taken to another level with a wildly successful wedding season and an amazing political campaign. That being said, I feel like we could use a retreat. A place and time to step back, reflect, rest and renew. We have that planned, thankfully, as our family will vacation in New York City, taking in the magic of the season, together.

I have also been thinking about our recent vestry/staff retreat at Cathedral Ridge; and, the juxtaposition of the word: retreat. In my previous example, retreat serves as a vehicle for renewal. However, our retreat at Cathedral Ridge served to provide a place and time for work. When I say work, I don’t mean the busy-work, paper shuffling kind. I mean deep, rich, get-your-hands-dirty, forward-thinking work. The kind of work that sets the course for a new chapter, where we will more fully live into our purpose and our calling for the benefit of our families, neighbors and world.

After thinking about this juxtaposition, it is clear to me that I am in a place of true retreat. Where I need reflection, rest and renewal; but, where I know that I have work to do. This place has me thinking a lot about the upcoming season of Advent. To me, Advent is the epitome of retreat. A time for quiet, reflection and prayer to prepare for the work that will be done. Divine timing, huh?

Upon leaving Cathedral Ridge this past Sunday, Father Bill asked us to write what we are taking out into the world with us from the weekend retreat. Through all of our conversations, thinking and work, one word was a constant for me: vulnerability. When we are doing God’s work and truly following Jesus, we are engaging with the world in a risky, vulnerable way. And, that feels good.

I don’t know what the work ahead of me will be. But, I do know that it will be there. And, as I continue walking through this season of retreat, I am thankful for all of it-my family, the time, the space, the reflection, the rest, the renewal and the work.

Jackson Dreiling

Stewardship

“Will you who witness these vows do all in your power to support these persons in their life in Christ?” – BCP 303

Does this question sound familiar to you?  It should.  It is the question that us priests in the Episcopal Church ask of you, the congregation, when we welcome new members into the Body of Christ – the Church – through the Sacrament of Holy Baptism.  I asked it of you this last Sunday right before Hazel, Dain, and Marian were baptized with the waters and Spirit.  And, if I remember correctly, your response was a resounding, “We will!”  

In responding “We will,” we affirm our commitment to help, support, lift up, walk with, console, care, and pray for the newly baptized and their families as they move forward in their new journey of faith.  

This is the same commitment that Holy Comforter, the Church itself, makes to each and every one of you – to be with you, to help, support, lift up, walk with, console, care, and pray for each and every one of you as you move forward in your own journey of faith.  

Throughout these past few weeks, we have heard stories from various parishioners about how Holy Comforter has helped them and their families move forward in their faith – whether it was because their spirit was nourished or uplifted by a particular worship experience, their soul was touched or released by a particular hymn, choir anthem, hand bell, violin, or organ piece, their heart was comforted in a time of grief and sadness, when they felt welcomed as they walked through the door, or when their or their child’s mind was challenged, opened, or surprised by a particular learning experience.

I believe we all have our own, individual and unique stories about how Holy Comforter has helped move us forward in your own journey of faith.  Perhaps it was when you helped donate nearly 1,000 pounds of food as part of the Broomfield FISH food drive, or when you participated in the Precious Child Fill-A-Backpack drive – filling 600 backpacks with school supplies for the children of Broomfield and Northern Adams County.  Perhaps it was when you volunteered to help set up, provide a meal, or stay the night with our Growing Home families.  Was it when you brought your pet to be blessed, or your child to participate in our Trunk or Treat?  Or, was it when you had the opportunity earlier this year, to practice the Art of Beauty, and learn to play and express your spirituality through art and play?  Was it when you built relationships with other members of Holy Comforter during our annual Retreat (sliding down a snow hill in the middle of August!)?  Perhaps it was when you saw your child grow and shine with God’s love and grace through their time in the nursery, God’s Play Place, Godly Play or Youth Group.  

Holy Comforter is dedicated to fulfilling this baptismal promise to you.  But it cannot do it on its own.  It takes you.  In responding “We will” to this baptismal promise, we acknowledge that we, each of us, do not walk this journey alone.  Rather, we walk it together as a beloved community of faith, with Christ always present in, with, and through us at all times.  This is why we have asked you to envision with us as to what the next five years will look like for Holy Comforter, the church, its people, and its community.  

This Sunday is Consecration Sunday – a day when we ask you to bring in your pledge card so we can begin turning these visions into reality.  If you have not yet already turned it in, we ask that you prayerfully consider pledging to Holy Comforter, and in doing so ask yourself, how can Holy Comforter continue to move forward, fulfilling God’s mission and purpose in the world?  How can Holy Comforter continue to help you move forward in your own faith journey?  What new stories can be made?  What does it mean for us, as a beloved community of faith, when we proclaim, “We will?”  

Grace and blessings to you,

Fr. Bill

'Tis the Season for Lists

The calendar has flipped to to November and I am making lists. The grocery store, presents, cleaning, errands, to do, Christmas Cards, plays, concerts..... 

I am getting a bit tired just thinking about it. But, I am going to do you a favor and give you a list of some great musical offerings happening close by and maybe you can take a bit of time to feed your soul with some great sounds of the season.

Saturday November 18 - 7 pm Vittoria Ensemble at Holy Comforter - 1700 W. 10th Ave. Broomfield

Tuesday November 21 - 7 pm Lutheran Church of Hope Community Thanksgiving - 1305 W. 10th Ave. Broomfield - Broomfield Children's Chorus and Broomfield Civic Chorus

Friday December 1 -  6 pm Broomfield City Center Tree Lighting - many local groups will be performing

Friday December 1 and Saturday December 2 - 7:30 pm Alpine Chorale with Orchestra - We Have Seen a Great Light - includes Handel's Messiah 4500 Wadsworth Wheat Ridge

Friday December 8 7:30 pm and Saturday December 9  2:00 pm - ASTER Women's Chorus and The Broomfield Children's Chorus presents Christmas in Scandinavia - Holy Comforter Church 1700 W. 10th Ave. Broomfield

Tuesday December 12 11:30 - 12:45pm - Brown Bag Lunch and Seasonal Music Offerings by Ben Ehrlich and Marcia Rudzik - organists and Silver Bells Handbell Choir - Holy Comforter 1700 W. 10th Ave. Broomfield. Bring your own lunch, dessert and drinks provided.

Sunday December 24 - 10 am  An Advent Service of Lessons and Carols - Holy Comforter 1700 W. 10th Ave. Broomfield

Sunday December 24 - 5 pm - Holy Eucharist with Children's Sermon

                                   7:30 pm - Carols of the Season

                                   8:00 pm - Holy Eucharist

Take time to enjoy the sounds of the season!

Mary McIntire