Faith In Action

A good friend of mine describes a faith community’s engagement with the greater community it serves as “faith in action”. The traditional moniker for a faith community’s work on behalf of its neighbors is usually “outreach”. I believe that, while well-intentioned, “outreach” actually constructs a barrier between the faith community and the community-at-large. One by where, the faith community, with its feet firmly planted within its four walls, is extending only a part of itself, not the whole…

Talking, working and breaking bread with other faith leaders, from all denominations and across faith traditions, has shown me something. No matter who one prays to; or, what one calls the creator, there is the powerful truth that we are all called to engage with the world around us. That can be our neighborhood, our city-or, even a country half-way around the world. The common thread is that our faith teaches and calls us to do so.

Galatians 6:2 calls on those of us who are Christians to “carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ”. I don’t know about you; but, I can’t read a different way out of this verse other than to move outside of the silos of our sanctuaries to engage with our siblings of God. There is no way to carry the burden’s of another person from the comforts of our own home. Sure, we can write a check, donate to a cause online, or send a form-filled email to our political representatives with no effort at all. But, will that carry another child of God?

Mirriam-Webster dictionary defines engagement as: emotional involvement or commitment ; the state of being in gear. Herein lies my preference for “engagement” as opposed to “outreach”. Mobilizing one-self, a group, or a congregation to be “in gear” with skin in the game is no easy task. But, speaking on behalf of Christians that is not what following Jesus is all about. As my dear friend also said, “following Jesus is dangerous. It takes courage”.

As I write this, I am reminded of just a few instances I see courage working in our community. There are groups of people working together for a stronger, more just community-advocating for a diverse spectrum of housing, committing to combat food insecurity and access to healthy food, collaborating with local government to find solutions for our unhoused siblings of God who will soon be facing bitter cold and instability… These are just a few of the efforts at work in your community right now.

The engagement opportunities are here. Where will you put your faith into action?

Jackson Dreiling

An Invitation

This month marks the 400th anniversary of the first enslaved Africans being forcibly brought to North America. In August of 1619, “20 and odd” African men and women landed at what is now Fort Monroe, Virginia. This landmark arrival began what author and theologian, Jim Wallis, calls America’s original sin. “The language of ‘America’s original sin’ helped me understand that the historical racism against America’s Indigenous people and enslaved Africans was indeed a sin, and one upon which this country was founded. This helps to explain a lot, because if we are able to recognize that the sin still lingers, we can better understand issues before us today and deal with them more deeply, honestly, and even spiritually—which is essential if we are to make progress toward real solutions.”

Clearly, America’s relationship, and response to, race is still quite problematic. Headlining news in the past week: the firing of a NYPD officer involved in the death of Eric Garner, for using a department-banned choke-hold that led to Garner’s death; the firestorm surrounding the NFL’s partnership with entertainer Jay-Z - whether this was all about money or can this partnership make a difference in the league’s social justice efforts; and, California passing “Stephon Clark’s Law”, imposing tougher standards on law enforcement in the wake of Clark’s killing in 2018. This is just in the span of one week; and, is, in many ways, a microcosm of what happens every day across America. Put bluntly, we have a lot of work to do on the issue of race.

So, to address the fact that this sin of racism is ever-present in America today, how should we respond? As people of faith, we are to confront sin by repenting. Contrary to popular myth, to repent is not simply to apologize. Repentance is recognizing the wrong; and, making a turn in a different direction-taking a better path, finding a better way. You may ask, “What can I do in Broomfield?” Well, you can start with a show of solidarity and reconciliation: This Sunday, August 25 at 1pm MST, Holy Comforter Episcopal Church will be tolling its church bells, along with churches all across the country, for a National Day of Healing, remembering those first enslaved Africans landing in America 400 years ago. 

Although a small show of action, this could be a moment causing a ripple effect, sending out waves which may propel us to more fully live into our ideal that all are created equal. I hope to see you on Sunday, as we take a step toward becoming what Dr. King called beloved community.  

Jackson Dreiling

Summertime Sittin'

I’ve been sittin’ a lot this summer. Sittin’ at my kitchen table with other parents savoring adult conversation over the revelry and mayhem of our kids playing nearby. Sittin’ at the Broomfield Farmers’ Market enjoying live music and chatting with vendors and neighbors. Sittin’ in the church’s prayer garden relishing the stunning beauty of the blossoms. Sittin’ on my front porch listening to the birds welcome the morning.

When I stop my body, I become aware of just how fast my mind is moving. Sometimes thoughts are swirling with the events of the day, or of the headlines in the news. Sitting can be a first step in creating some mental space through journaling, prayer or meditation. Sometimes in  moving too quickly through my day I am more reactive than responsive. Pausing can help me be attentive to the present moment, whatever gift and work is before me. When I begin moving again, I am more thoughtful and deliberate in word and action. 

Sitting helps me reconnect to the natural rhythms of the world around me. I catch the breeze blowing through the trees, and follow the flight of the bumblebee. I notice the flowers blooming and listen to the birds calling. The artificial pace of technology invites us to move faster and push harder than our biology is intended. Sitting for a while helps me return to a more human pace.

Over the past holiday weekend I saw so many people sitting in lawn chairs on their driveways, chatting with friends and neighbors. Sittin’ feels good in the summertime. It’s a posture for listening and leisurely conversation. Sittin’ creates a gracious space to connect with old friends and make new ones. In a world that offers ceaseless activity, it is good to remember that God made us as human beings, not human doings. And sometimes, it can be such a gift, to just stop and sit. 

Mother Kim

Filling the Void

I have been thinking a lot about something that happened a year ago, this past Saturday. On June 8, 2018, author/traveler Anthony Bourdain, passed from this world. We know now that his death was a result of suicide. Several other prominent celebrities also committed suicide in the past year: Kate Spade, Avicii, Verne Troyer… While we know of these, there are countless others whom we never hear of. They are friends, siblings, sons, daughters and neighbors. And, our world is less without them.

Last week, I was at Fort Logan National Cemetery, at the honor burial ceremony for my father-in-law, a decorated Vietnam Veteran, true patriot and wonderful man. Gazing out upon the rows of marble headstones, in tight precision and symmetry across the rolling hills, I was reminded of the unknown stories of so many who gave their all in defense of our American ideals. I am also starkly reminded, according to the VA, of the 20 veterans who commit suicide every day...or, about one every hour of every day, leaving a void in our world.

With these tragic losses, it is difficult to find our way out of the darkness, sometimes, to find the light. How can we help? How can we save lives? How can we make this better?

I don’t have a concrete answer for any of these questions. But, they do get me thinking-about each of these souls we have lost. Who were they? What were they like? What did they show us? How can we learn from them? It inspires me to know their story. I want to know about their unique, God-given soul, and the journey that transpired. I have a hunch that each story is a treasure-trove of humanity, of love.

I never met Anthony Bourdain. But, I sure did learn a lot from him-how to treat others, how to respect culture, how to be curious about life and customs, how to love diversity-the very essence of our God-created humanity. These are important values that I want to instill in my two boys. These values, I believe, are Bourdain’s legacy, his story.

As people of faith, we are called to be our brother’s keeper. Since we were all created in the image of God, we are all brothers and sisters. So, I encourage us to bear each other’s burdens, learn each other’s stories, and let love be the light leading our collective journey.   

Jackson Dreiling

Let's Be That Village

I don't know about you, but I am tired of feeling powerless every time another child is killed in this country. For the second year in a row, our teens from Holy Comforter’s Rainbow Trail Day Camp gear up for summer camp while wrestling with recent acts of violence that have personally and directly impacted them. As we work to love and support our kids through this yet again, I continue to search for something, anything, we can ALL do to keep this from happening again. Here’s what I’ve come up with, and I hope you’ll join me.

1. Spend time on the kids and teens around you. Learn their names, and use those names to say hi and ask how it’s going. And if they want to tell you how it’s going, take the time to listen. For a kid who’s feeling invisible, having a few adults who take the time to see them and listen to them could make a world of difference. I believe it takes a village to raise a child. Let’s be that village for the kids we see at church, at work, in our families, and in our neighborhoods.

2. Fund our schools. The people on the front lines with these kids are stretched too thin. More money = more teachers, counselors and staff = more per pupil attention. Let’s trust those on the front lines and invest in them.

3. Set a good example. Children watch how adults handle conflict and they hear how we treat people with whom we disagree. If they see us engaging civilly and respectfully, they will learn to solve their problems in the same manner.

4. Walk a mile in a teenager's shoes. Technology has changed how our children move through the world. You may be "technologically challenged", but spend some time talking with a kid about the best and the worst that non-stop access to technology and social media has to offer. Here’s an article to get you started.

5. Walk another mile in a teenager's shoes. Ask a junior or senior what it takes to get into a "good" college these days. You'll be stunned by what they tell you.

6. Learn about the warning signs for depression, suicidal, and violent thoughts in kids and teens, and what to do if you see them. Here’s another article to get you started:

7. Learn about the latest video games and movies all the kids are playing. Do we know how growing/changing brains are affected by the games they play and the images they see? Are we willing to take that chance? Maybe it's time to talk about it.

8. Support parents. Parenting has always been hard. Parenting in an age when everyone has access to your kids at all hours, parents are shamed and blamed constantly, and expectations for our kids are through the roof is bordering on impossible. Parents need a village, too.

9. Assume the best. For every "bad apple" there are hundreds of "good apples" trying to make their way through a big, hostile, confusing world at a ridiculously fast pace. When you see a teenager, assume they're one of the good ones and treat them accordingly. Your affirmation will pay dividends.

10. Volunteer or become a mentor. If every one of us makes a positive and lasting impact in the life of one child, together we can turn this around. At Holy Comforter there are numerous ways to support our kids: teach Godly Play, chaperone youth group outings, help with summer camps and BCC, or volunteer for Growing Home. In our community, organizations like A Precious Child, CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates), and Broomfield Buddies offer a variety of opportunities to support children and teens.

Jamie Rumsey, Senior Warden

Reflections on Consecration

The Episcopal Church in Colorado. The Ordination and Consecration of the Reverend Kimberly Danielle Lucas. Eleventh Bishop of the Episcopal Church in Colorado.

This was a humbling, inspirational and educational experience. Being new to Colorado, a new Episcopalian, I did not know what to expect.

Walking into Saint John's Cathedral the flowers were so, wonderfully, vibrant!!

After a bit of a wait the processions began...with LOUD drumming and chanting by the Denver Indian Singers.

I can still feel the chill of that moment. To me it felt like Episcopalians in Colorado were welcoming the gathering of old and new people of all nationalities to be a part of our historic occasion. The drumming continued as all the dignitaries and clergy processed to their seats.

The music throughout was outstanding. The Brass Quartet, choirs and just the voices of those gathered for this celebration.

But with all the pomp...The thunder rolled ever so gently and I knew the presence of the great "I am" was with us.

Through the Examination, Sermon, Consecration, the holy chanting of "Veni Sancte Spiritus" by everyone, Communion and the final singing of "I am the Bread of Life" by everyone...I raised my hand on the final verse just to grasp some of the Holy Spirit to my heart...I was in awe.

Thank you Holy Comforter for giving me the privilege to attend this once in a lifetime experience. Light candles and say loving prayers for our new Bishop Kimberly D. Lucas.

With love and prayers,

Nancy C. Springs

Children and Faith

A couple of weeks ago, I arrived home late on a Thursday after a Holy Week service, and my five year old was still awake in bed. Hugging him goodnight, his eyes were wide as he whispered “Mom, why did they take it all away?” He was asking about part of the church service he had seen that evening. I realized how close he was paying attention to what was happening, and how powerful religious ritual can be.

This is the first year he attended evening worship in the week leading up to Easter, when Christians celebrate Jesus’ resurrection from the dead. What we call Holy Week is full of special liturgies focusing on significant moments like Jesus’ last supper with his disciples, his crucifixion, and resurrection.

My son had attended our Maundy Thursday liturgy, that concludes with a ceremonial stripping of the altar. It is a symbolic representation of Jesus’ betrayal and abandonment. While a cantor sings a psalm of lament, everything that can be removed from the inside of the church is taken away: cushions, cloths, candles, flowers. The lights are dimmed, the space is left completely bare, and people leave in silence. The ritual creates a palpable feeling of emptiness and sadness as we anticipate Good Friday.

His curiosity about that particular moment in the service was both earnest and endearing. This is where the rubber meets the road for a parent; when a child asks a question about faith. I may be a religious professional, but; if I can’t explain what we do in church to my five year old, then how much do I really know? So I answered as simply as possible: that this was a sad service to remember what happened the day before Jesus died. We stripped the church because some of his friends were mean to him and left him all alone.

He took that in for a moment and then asked his next question: “So, Sunday is Easter, right?” “Yes, when Jesus is alive again.” “So they’ll bring all of it back inside?” “Yes, they’ll bring it all back inside, and more.” I promised the church would look spectacular on Sunday to celebrate Jesus’ resurrection. And that was enough for him to go to sleep. He sat quietly through the solemn worship of Good Friday. And the church did look spectacular on Easter Sunday.

Five year olds are full of fantastic questions. Their observations and queries make you realize how much you know, as well as how much you take for granted, until a child asks “why?”.

I have had the privilege of sharing in a Passover Seder, and witnessing a child’s ritual participation in that holy meal. I’ve watched children praying alongside their parents at a mosque. Every Sunday I see children receive Holy Communion with their families. I know they are taking in and trying on faith as they grow and participate in their parents’ religious practices. I give thanks for their curiosity and observations that inspire me to question and see things with childlike wonder.

Mother Kim

Culture Shock

If you have talked to me in the past few months or sent me an email in March, you would know I was traveling. Part for vacation, part for meeting an expanding family and part for my wanderlust to settle down for another year or so. I went with my boyfriend, his sisters, their families and met his half-brother and family in Thailand; which, we explored all over.

Throughout the trip I was reminded how present God is in the world, no matter the religion. I also got to see similarities in three large religious practices which I would have not known about if I hadn’t opened my eyes. In our group we had a variety of religious beliefs, myself a Christian, John’s sisters Buddhist, and his sister-in-law Muslim.

It’s easy to talk about our differences, how and who we worship, how we dress, what manners are rude. Often when one travels, those differences  are easy to notice and can lead to discomfort or homesickness. But, by opening eyes and hearts it’s easy to see our similarities. I noticed all our religions called for a time of fasting and drawing closer to the divine. Christians during Lent are encouraged to feast or fast in order to bring us closer to God. Muslims practice Ramadan to commemorate the first revelation of the Quran; which, includes fasting in several different ways. Vassa or “Buddhist Lent” is a time where monks and Buddhist practitioners practice deep meditation or give up things like meat, smoking or drinking.

Around the world different religions yearn for a time to draw closer to the divine, a time of personal and spiritual reflection. It’s comforting to know my brothers and sisters around the world follow similar habits.

We can also find similarities in the power of being reverent in holy places. Walking into temples sometimes takes my breath away, with golden murals covering the inside. As did swimming next to a barracuda in the Andaman sea, where a whole new level of reverence is learned next to God’s creation.

Traveling is magical as you get to experience different cultures, places, ways of life. The times when I travel is when I feel most connected to the stories of those in the Bible, like the Apostles spreading the Gospel, or the Israelites during the Exodus ( admittedly traveling now is much more luxurious). So next time you travel to an unknown land, see where you find God. Worshiping in a Buddhist temple, a burning bush, or perhaps as simple as seeing God’s love in your host for dinner. After all, we are all human, we are all trying to make the most of this life and make sense of the world God gave us.

Natalie Keller

The Hook

For the year 2019, Holy Comforter will celebrate the sesquicentennial anniversary of our Hook Organ, Opus 476. Brothers Elias and George Greenleaf Hook completed their third organ in 1869 for the Methodist church in Lawrence, Massachusetts, with a $2600 contract (around $48,000 today). The local newspaper reported our organ was “new and elegant” and the dedication recital was performed by J.H. Wilcox on February 19, 1869. The church building was sold in 1912 to the United Presbyterians, who maintained the organ and performed alterations to the historic inner workings. The church building was again sold in 1979, and our organ remained mostly unused until 2010. A major renovation project on their 1938 Kimball organ led St. John’s Cathedral, Denver to purchase our Hook Organ for service use. Organ builder Susan Tattershall was able to restore the damaged inner mechanisms, and our Hook played mightily from the St. John’s nave. Thanks to generous members, volunteer labor, Organ builder Jim Steinborn, and Organist John Murgel, Holy Comforter was able to purchase and relocate this magnificent instrument to Broomfield nearly three years ago. There are few existing instruments of similar quality in Colorado. St. John’s Cathedral previously owned Hook and Hastings (a later partner after the brothers’ retirement) Opus 792, but this instrument was destroyed in a 1903 fire. Pipes from the Hook and Hastings Opus 1446 (St Mark’s Episcopal on Lincoln St, Denver) are currently heard each Sunday at the First Congregational Church in Colorado Springs. Our Hook Organ is the oldest operating pipe organ in Colorado, however three other instruments from that time period remain in their original location or condition: the 1890 Farrand and Votey Organ at Our Merciful Savior, Denver, the 1876 Charles Anderson Organ at Grace Episcopal, Georgetown, and the 1899 Steere and Sons Organ at St James, Central City.

In celebrating the history of our organ, multiple concerts have been planned throughout the year. Please join us and invite your family and friends! Sunday, March 10th at 4pm, the Sanctuary Choir and friends will present John Rutter’s Requiem. Completed in 1985, the Requiem was first performed at Lovers’ Lane United Methodist Church, under the direction of composer Allen Pote. The seven movements (sections) include five pieces with text from the Latin Requiem Mass, and two pieces with text from Psalms. Later in March, Holy Comforter welcomes John Murgel, Barbara Hulac, and Norm Sutphin for three Friday evening Lenten Organ recitals. These concerts will provide time for meditation and introspection as we continue through our Lenten journey. A reception will follow, as well as time to meet the performer. Sunday, May 19th, an afternoon organ concert is planned with “Fun Pieces you don’t hear on Sunday Mornings” featuring musicians and friends from our community. Brown bag Noon-time concerts will resume in August and December. A special concert is in the works for September, with the Denver Rocky Mountain chapter of the American Guild of Organists. Chapter Members will perform a concert featuring music from the nineteenth century; look for more details this summer.

Benjamin Ehrlich

Shifting our Gaze

In difficult situations it can be easy to focus on what’s wrong. Our brains are wired for problem-solving, and they never run out of opportunities. Focusing on difficulties and challenges for an extended time can become habitual. This so-called negative vision only sees problems that need fixing.

When I catch myself in this pattern, I consciously practice gratitude. Giving thanks for specific things that are going well. They are right in front of me, and yet my tunnel vision is focused elsewhere. It’s amazing how shifting my gaze changes my perspective. I go from seeing needs, wants, lacks and gaps to gifts, abundance, sharing and resources. I physically relax, and new possibilities begin to emerge. It is more than a simple attitude adjustment; it’s a paradigm shift.

This is a personal, individual example of what can happen through Asset Based Community Development, or ABCD for short.

Asset Based Community Development is a way of approaching shared community concerns. It is a strategy for community organizing that has three foundational truths: everyone has gifts; everyone has something to contribute; everyone cares about something and that passion is their motivation to act.

In recent years, I have witnessed ABCD effect positive change in a variety of settings. It is a template, and yet infinitely customizable. What I appreciate is that it respects and values people exactly where they are.

Faith communities, at their best, are known to be generous to those in need. Every major religion teaches their faithful to practice charity. An unintended consequence, though, of practicing charity alone is that those who have, begin to see those who lack, as a problem to solve. Even with the best of intentions, when we focus on fixing needs, wants, lacks and gaps, we become defined by the haves and have-nots. This can rob people of human dignity and build calluses of indifference and contempt.

Asset Based Community Development takes a different approach. Rather than focusing on the problem or the need, the strategy identifies what solutions a community already has, in abundance. What are its strengths? What are its resources? What do its residents care about? In practice it mobilizes and empowers citizens to work for the changes they desire. It builds relationships and creates networks and breaks down silos. Structured and organic, ABCD is long, slow work, yet the relationships formed build lasting community. The wisdom of Margaret Mead comes to mind: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed it’s the only thing that ever has.”

Broomfield is beginning to see the fruits of ABCD through the strides made towards affordable housing. I wonder what other common concerns we could address by talking to our neighbors...

On Wednesday, February 20, from 6-8:30 pm Holy Comforter will host an introductory workshop to Asset Based Community Development. Dinner will be provided and child care is available. All are welcome. If you are able to attend, please RSVP to Jackson Dreiling.

As Margaret Wheatley wrote: “There is no power for change like a community discovering what it cares about.”

Mother Kim

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


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


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. 


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