Women of the Diocese of the Rio Grande

"Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same lord; and there are varieties of working, but it is the same God who inspires them all in everyone." (1 Corinthians 12:4-6)

As women of the Diocese of the Rio Grande we work to live out this promise in retreat, fellowship, study, and ministry.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Boldly Forward: Aug. 17-18 at the Bosque Center


Who are Mary (Jesus’ mother), Mary Magdalene, Judith, Ruth,  & Esther?

What inspiration can they offer for our lives as women of faith?

How can their witness ignite our ministry as Women of the DRG?

Let’s learn together at the 7th Annual Bosque Center event August 17-18. (5PM Friday to 4PM Saturday)

Bring your BFFs, your ‘posse’, your ‘squad’ and let’s explore this topic together (no Biblical expertise required)!

Carpools from Alamogordo, Santa Fe, Farmington are planned, or form your own.

Registration is $50, including 3 meals prepared by the Bosque Center chef. (Some 1/2 scholarships are available, contact Cindy.*)

Single rooms at the Bosque Center are $52/night and must be reserved on the registration form. (A couple of queen rooms are available for slightly more/night.) 
Some in-home lodging available*. If you live in ABQ, you may commute.   

*Contact Cindy Davis for scholarships, in-home lodging, or if you have questions. See post below or click here for more info about the event.

Register below or download the registration.


Registration

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Deepening Prayer a Retreat with Deborah Smith Douglas


All women of the diocese are invited to join the Daughters of the King for Deepening Prayer with Deborah Smith Douglas on August 4, starting at 10:30AM at the Bosque Center. Registration for non-Daughters is $15 to cover lunch.(Register below or download the registration form.) The event will end with Eucharist about 3PM. Douglas will be the preacher for the service. Copies of Douglas’s book, The Praying Life, are available from Dona Ace at St. Chad’s (acedona@gmail.com). Spaces are limited for this event.

If you are interested in learning more about The Order of the Daughters of the King ® speak to your parish priest, the president of your parish chapter, or contact Cindy Davis, diocesan president (cynthiadavisauthor@gmail.com). This international Order has 22 chapters in the diocese and includes women and girls from 7 to 107 who follow vows of Prayer, Service and Evangelism. You can find out more on the National website: doknational.org, or at drgdaughters.blogspot.com. 



Registration

Monday, June 18, 2018

Boldly Forward: Bible Women Inspire Our Lives: August 17-18

 The Women’s Ministry of the Diocese is holding their 7th Annual Bosque Center event on August 17--18. Starting with the Crazy Quilt Conversations event in 2012, we have met annually at the Bosque Center for fellowship, inspiration, and shared learning. All women are invited to join the conversation this year as we vision how to continue enriching the lives and ministries of women in the Diocese of the Rio Grande.
Entitled Boldly Forward, this year’s event will explore the lives of some Biblical women and what they can teach us about our vision for living our ministries in Christ in the Diocese of the Rio Grande. By looking at the lives of women like Mary of Nazareth, Mary Magdalene, Judith, and others, we will see that these women are much more than the meek, mild, and quiet persons, as they are often portrayed. They were obedient to God’s call and are powerful servants of God in their own right. These women are mentors and inspiration for our own day-to-day lives. Come and be inspired to live more fully and boldly as a woman of God.
Online registration for the event is below. The cost is $50 to cover supplies and 3 meals, provided by the Bosque Center chef. As always, some partial scholarships are available for registration*. Rooms are available at the Bosque Center for $52/night for a single room (shared bathroom). If you live in Albuquerque, you may commute. 

Carpools from Alamogordo, Santa Fe, Farmington are planned or form your own.
Some in-home lodging is available*

Register for Event and Bosque Center room using the dropdown menu below.
Or download the registration form and mail in your reservation.
*Contact Cindy Davis, Coordinator of Women’s Ministries (cynthiadavisauthor@gmail.com) if you need a scholarship, in-home lodging, or have questions. 


Registration

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Inspiration, Reflection, Fellowship

August 2018 is an exciting month for Women in the Diocese of the Rio Grande. 
You will have TWO opportunities for reflection and inspiration and fellowship.


Deepening Prayer: A Retreat with Deborah Smith Douglas for All Women: August 4


All women of the diocese are invited to join the Daughters of the King for Deepening Prayer with Deborah Smith Douglas on August 4, starting at approximately 10:30AM at the Bosque Center. Registration for non-Daughters is $15 to cover lunch, and is available beginning July 1, on this website. The event will end with Eucharist about 3PM. Douglas will be the preacher for the service. Copies of Douglas’s book, The Praying Life, are available from Dona Ace at St. Chad’s (acedona@gmail.com). 




Boldly Forward: Bible Women Inspire Our Lives: August 17-18


 The Women’s Ministry of the Diocese is holding their 7th Annual Bosque Center event on August 17--18. Starting with the Crazy Quilt Conversations event in 2012, we have met annually at the Bosque Center for fellowship, inspiration, and shared learning. All women are invited to join the conversation this year as we vision how to continue enriching the lives and ministries of women in the Diocese of the Rio Grande.
Entitled Boldly Forward, this year’s event will explore the lives of some Biblical women and what they can teach us about our vision for living our ministries in Christ in the Diocese of the Rio Grande. By looking at the lives of women like Mary of Nazareth, Mary Magdalene, Judith, and others, we will see that these women are much more than the meek, mild, and quiet persons, as they are often portrayed. They were obedient to God’s call and are powerful servants of God in their own right. These women are mentors and inspiration for our own day-to-day lives. Come and be inspired to live more fully and boldly as a woman of God.
The cost is $50 to cover supplies and 3 meals, provided by the Bosque Center chef. As always, some partial scholarships are available for registration. Rooms are available at the Bosque Center for $52/night for a single room (shared bathroom). You can also contact Cindy Davis, Coordinator of Women’s Ministries (cynthiadavisauthor@gmail.com) for a registration form. Registration is available starting July 18. 

The Women’s Council continues to look for new ways to reach all ages of women and girls. One new adventure is a joint effort of the Women’s Ministry with the Youth and Young Adult Ministry of the diocese. The Meet Esther event for teen girls that will be September 8 at St. Francis, Rio Rancho.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Bishop Elect: the Rev. Canon Michael Hunn


The Rev. Canon Michael Buerkel Hunn, Canon to the Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church, was elected the next bishop of the Diocese of the Rio Grande at the Electing Convention Saturday, May 5 at the Cathedral of St. John, Albuquerque, New Mexico. 
The slate of three candidates were Canon Hunn, the Rev. Canon Lucinda Ashby, Canon to the Ordinary for the Diocese of Idaho, and the Rev. Simon Charles Justice, Rector of Church of the Good Samaritan, Corvallis, Oregon.
Canon Hunn was elected on the third ballot. Diocesan Constitution and Canons require a majority, determined by the total number of those eligible to vote, in Lay and Clergy orders on the same ballot. You can see the totals, by ballot, on the Diocesan website.
After the bishop-elect receives the canonically required consent of a majority of the Episcopal Church's diocesan standing committees and bishops with jurisdiction, Presiding Bishop Michael Curry will ordain and consecrate the new bishop Nov. 3 in Albuquerque. Info about this, and other Transition events is available on the Transition Team website. 

In accepting the election, Canon Hunn expressed his thanks to Bishop Michael L. Vono, the current bishop for his leadership of the Diocese. "I feel a great sense of humility to be following you as God's servant in the Diocese of the Rio Grande.  I know you love your people and I want you to know I will love them faithfully and care for them with every capacity God gives me. I am also grateful to begin this ministry at this moment - when you have done so much to heal, reconcile and build trust over the course of your episcopate."
You can read more from Canon Hunn in the special edition of In the Loop.


Canon Michael & Meg Hunn at Santa Fe Walk About (photo by Jim Overton)

Sunday, April 29, 2018

April 29: Prayers for the week Leading up to Electing Convention

Pray individually and/or with your group during this week leading up to the Electing Convention, using these or other prayers. .
Sunday, April 29: Prayer for Seeking a New Bishop for The Episcopal Diocese of the Rio Grande
Holy and Almighty God our Father, You have blessed us in the Diocese of the Rio Grande in manifold ways over the past years. You have strengthened us, united us, loved us, guided us.
We thank you, Lord.
Touch the hearts of able clergy men and women throughout the Episcopal Church so that they might hear your call upon their lives to do your work among us and with us and through us.
We entreat you, Lord.
Be with our Diocesan Bishop Search Committee that they will discern your will in choosing good candidates who will be elected by the diocese to be our future Bishop.
We entreat you, Lord.
Be with our Diocesan Transition Committee as they guide us in blending our lives and our ministries with that of our new Bishop in order that we move forward in our life together.
We entreat you, Lord.
Be with us all. Give us patience and trust as we seek a new shepherd for our diocese. Be with us, Lord, for the sake of your son, Jesus Christ.
Amen

Monday, April 30: For the Mission of the Church
Everliving God, whose will it is that all should come to you through your Son Jesus Christ: Inspire our witness to him, that all may know the power of his forgiveness and the hope of his resurrection; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen
.
Tuesday, May 1: For the Diocese
O God, by your grace you have called us in this Diocese to a goodly fellowship of faith. Bless our Bishop Michael, the Candidates for Bishop: Lucinda, Michael, & Simon; and all diocesan clergy, and all our people. Grant that your Word may be truly preached and truly heard, your Sacraments faithfully administered and faithfully received. By your Spirit, fashion our lives according to the example of your Son, and grant that we may show the power of your love to all among whom we live; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Wednesday, May 2: For the Unity of the Church
O God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, our only Savior, the Prince of Peace: Give us grace seriously to lay to heart the great dangers we are in by our unhappy divisions; take away all hatred and prejudice, and whatever else may hinder us from godly union and concord; that, as there is but one Body and one Spirit, one hope of our calling, one Lord, one Faith, one Baptism, one God and Father of us all, so we may be all of one heart and of one soul, united in one holy bond of truth and peace, of faith and charity, and may with one mind and one mouth glorify you; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Thursday, May 3: For a Church Meeting
Almighty and everliving God, source of all wisdom and understanding, be present with those who take counsel in Albuquerque for the renewal and mission of your Church. Teach us in all things to seek first your honor and glory. Guide us to perceive what is right, and grant us both the courage to pursue it and the grace to accomplish it; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Friday, May 4: For a Church Convention
Almighty and everlasting Father, who has given the Holy Spirit to abide with us for ever: Bless, we pray, with the Spirit’s grace and presence, the clergy and the laity soon to be assembled in your Name, that your Church, being preserved in true faith and godly discipline, may fulfill all the mind of the One who loved it and gave himself for it, your Son Jesus Christ our Savior; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the same Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Electing Convention, Saturday May 5: For the Election of a Bishop
Almighty God, giver of every good gift: Look graciously on your Church, and so guide the minds of those who shall choose a bishop for this Diocese, that we may receive a faithful pastor, who will care for your people and equip us for our ministries; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen


Sunday, April 22, 2018

April 22: Missionary People in the Diocese of the Rio Grande (Pat Green)


But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8)

As I have reflected on this scripture, I have pondered what it means to be a missionary people. When the Risen Lord appeared to the disciples in the upper room on the evening of the resurrection he said, “Peace is with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” Jesus came to earth with a mission (a sending out) from his father. When he leaves earth, he gives his disciples power and authority to continue his mission (his sending out).

From the time of Acts onwards, this “sending out” or mission was delegated to the local church. The church of Antioch sent out the Apostle Paul and Barnabas to teach, preach and baptize. Every follower of Christ was to carry the mission of God into the world through every aspect of his or her life.

Jesus sends us into the world as the Father sent him. Our mission is modeled on his. Many of today’s churches have developed vision and mission statements. Here is a small sample: Knowing Christ and making Christ known; Living out our faith in Jesus through our actions in the world; Becoming a community and growing in intimacy with God; Called to share the Christian faith and by our lives proclaim God’s love. Every local church has some focal point to their ministry.

John Stott writes in his book Christian Mission in the Modern World: updated and expanded., that mission today is often depicted as either primarily evangelism or primarily social justice. Instead of choosing one or the other, mission can be understood as a partnership of both evangelism and social action. Local churches may embody one aspect more than another, but they stand together reaching out to a hurting world with the gospel of Jesus Christ.

The Anglican Consultative Council developed the Five Marks of Mission between 1984 and 1990 which have been widely accepted among Anglicans.

·      To proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom

·      To teach, baptize and nurture new believers

·      To respond to human need by loving service

·      To seek to transform unjust structures of society, to challenge violence of every kind and to pursue peace and reconciliation

·      To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth.

I attended the Seminary of the Southwest in Austin, Texas. We worshiped daily in the chapel where the cross was not suspended above the altar, but was instead visible through a window beyond the walls of the chapel. Every day we were reminded that the missional church does not just wait for people to come through its doors; the missional church goes out, sent into the world.

To be a missionary people means receiving the power of the Holy Spirit and then adopting or embracing a missionary lifestyle which includes the postures, thinking, behavior and practices of being sent into the world to reach others with the gospel.

Activities and Prayer for this Week

 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.’ (Acts 1:8)
 Jesus promises that we will be witnesses to God to the ends of the earth.
Discuss the points of interest to you, and your group.
Christians are called to be witnesses of Christ. How can the Diocese of the Rio Grande be a strong witness in the coming months and years?
Invite someone to join you at your church on Sunday.
Prayer: Almighty and eternal God, so draw our hearts to you, so guide our minds, so fill our imaginations, so control our wills, that we may be wholly yours, utterly dedicated to you; and then use us, we pray, always to your glory and the welfare of all your people; through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
Share: Comment on this post on the website (www.VarietiesOfGifts.blogspot.com) to share the results of your invitation to come to church, or suggestions of ways to invite someone to come to church. 


Monday, April 16, 2018

April 15: Identity of DRG (Robin Dodge+)

We are encouraged that there is a variety in the gifts of the Spirit and to each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. The Diocese of the Rio Grande is a diverse diocese – rural, urban, rich, poor, young, old, Latino, Anglo, Native, gay, straight, evangelical, Anglo-Catholic, liberal, conservative, New Mexico, Texas – and, as a result, we are blessed by a variety of gifts which we are called to use for the common good in this diocese as led and empowered by the Holy Spirit.

The diocese is not just some geographical administrative unit, and it’s not the bishop’s staff headquartered in Albuquerque, but it’s you and me and all the people that make up the Episcopal missions, parishes, and congregations in New Mexico and far west Texas. So to figure out the gifts of the diocese, we have to start by looking at what gifts we have for ministry. What gifts has God given you to share for the common good in this diocese? How is the Holy Spirit leading you to use those gifts for the building up of the Body of Christ in your own congregation or beyond? What gifts do you have to spread the love of God and the Good News of Jesus Christ to those outside the walls of our church buildings?
Our missions, parishes, and congregations are blessed by God with gifts for the common good and for the spread of God’s reign. Beginning with our individual gifts, we combine them with the gifts of our fellow sojourners on the Way of Christ in our local settings to make a difference in the lives of those we touch – to transform our lives, their lives, and the world for Jesus Christ. Some of our congregations have the gift to minister to the poor and the hungry and the homeless. Some of our congregations have the gift to serve and shelter those who are coming into our country for a better life and to reunite with family. Some of our congregations have the gift to reach out to the marginalized in our communities. Some of our congregations have the gift of providing glorious liturgies to transport worshipers in the beauty of holiness to the spot where heaven and earth meet. With this diversity in our diocese, we can rejoice in our unity as a diocese because “there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone.”
During this week of the Walk-Abouts when the candidates for our next bishop travel the diocese to meet with the good folk who call themselves Episcopalians, to see various congregations, and to answer questions about their visions for the diocese, please pray about the varieties of gifts for ministry that you think a bishop should possess for building up the Body of Christ in this diocese. Please pray for the gifts you need to support our next bishop in spreading the love of God in this world that sorely needs it. Please pray for the gifts your congregation needs to support our next bishop in sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ. And attend, if possible, the Walk-About in Albuquerque on Monday, in El Paso on Wednesday, in Roswell on Thursday, or in Santa Fe on Friday. All begin at 6:00 p.m. Or check on the diocesan website for ways that you can view the question and answer sessions. Please keep the candidates for bishop, their families, and this wonderfully diverse diocese in your prayers.

Activities and Prayer for this Week

 Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. To one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the discernment of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. All these are activated by one and the same Spirit, who allots to each one individually just as the Spirit chooses. (I Corinthians 12:4-11)
Each of us has important gifts to use in the ministries of the Diocese of the Rio Grande.
Discuss the points of interest to you, and your group.
Throughout this series, we have looked at ministries and individuals across the diocese that are important to the life of the diocese, whether because they are offering ministry, or needing to be ministered to.
List and pray for as many individuals as you know in the diocese.
Attend a Walk-about event in person or via the video links as provided by the Transition Team. (drgbishoptransition.org)
Prayer: God of all life, you give to you people many gifts. Let us use those gifts to spread your Love and Life in this diocese and beyond to your glory. For the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Share: Comment on this post on the website (www.VarietiesOfGifts.blogspot.com) to share the first names of some of those you are praying for.
 


Sunday, April 8, 2018

April 8: Thanksgivings for Blessings (Kathleen Pittman)


How is thanksgiving related to perseverance? Exactly how do those crops mature so they are ready for harvest? What does this have to do with a new Bishop, anyway?

As the people of God in the Diocese of the Rio Grande, we have had many new opportunities to grow over the last few years. We have been blessed by trying and learning. The Bosque Center is an example of being blessed by sowing the seed and reaping the harvest. We purchased an old Catholic retreat center on the west side of the Rio Grande, a couple of blocks off a busy street in Albuquerque. The building needed renovation. The building needed additions and lots of TLC. Our diocesan leaders saw possibilities and planted the seed. Now we have an amazing space that blesses us and many other groups as they stay there and worship and conference and study there. Because we were willing to plant the seed….to try something new…we were blessed. In the years since the retreat center opened, the word has spread. Now the calendar is full of reservations for groups large and small to use the center. Grabbing on to this new idea, not being afraid to invest capital and develop the center, has blessed the diocese financially, as well. Last year, we earned about $300,000 with about $150,000 going back into the center.

Think of raising children. The parents persevere in showering the child with love and gentle (I hope) corrections. Once is not enough. Children must be nurtured. And all the while, the parents are thanking God every day (most days at least) for having such a wonderful and amazing child. It takes years to raise a child to maturity. Eventually, if the child is lucky and we are lucky, that child will take care of us in our last years. So, perseverance pays off.

We have learned to plant seeds and persevere as we wait for the harvest. The coming years, with a new Bishop at the helm, we will, most certainly, be challenged to embark on new journeys. The road may be rocky and crooked, but with perseverance, the harvest will come. Let’s be open to new ways and new challenges and amazing harvests.

Kathleen Pittman, Ph.D. (President, Standing Committee)

Activities and Prayer for this Week

 So let us not grow weary in doing what is right, for we will reap at harvest time, if we do not give up. So then, whenever we have an opportunity, let us work for the good of all, and especially for those of the family of faith. (Galatians 6:9-10)

Jesus promises that we will reap good as we persevere.
Discuss the points of interest to you, and your group.
The Diocese of the Rio Grande is blessed with many ‘crops’. Individually or in your group identify some of these blessings, whether they are people, ministries, the diocese itself, or other things.
Create a blessing tree by writing one blessing on a leaf shape and adding it to a tree outline. You can get fancy and use a real branch if you want, too.
Prayer: God of abundance, you have blessed the Diocese of the Rio Grande greatly. Open our eyes to these blessings, and to ways in which we can share them with others. Amen.
Share: Comment on this post  to share one or 2 of the blessings you, or your group, put on your tree, or post a photo of the tree itself. 

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Easter: April 1: God in Action (Tom Bates+)


I read a joke in an email that I think is pertinent to the topic, “God in Action”. Paddy was desperate to find a parking space so he prayed to God. “Lord, if you’ll find me a parking space, I’ll go to church every Sunday and give up me Irish whiskey”. No sooner had he finished praying than a parking space appeared. Paddy’s response, “Never mind Lord, I found one.” I hope you’re not like Paddy, but sometimes I am. I fail sometimes to see God’s hand in whatever is happening.

God’s hand in the gospel of Mark reading for this meditation, the resurrection, is easy to see, but how about the events leading up to the resurrection? Read Chapter 13-16 in the Gospel of Mark. Are all of these events, “God in Action”? These are the events we’re talking about: 1. Jesus is anointed the burial at Bethany. 2. Judas agrees to betray Jesus. Judas goes to the chief priest, scribes and elders, not they to him.  3. Jesus eats the Passover Supper with his disciples and explains that the bread is his body and the wine is his blood poured out for many to seal God’s covenant. 4. Jesus predicts Peter’s denial of him. 5. Jesus prays at Gethsemane that he not have to go through this time of suffering. 6. Jesus is betrayed by Judas with a kiss and is arrested by the crowd. 7. Jesus goes on trial before chief priests, scribes and elders. All of them agree that he is guilty and should be put to death. 8. Peter denies Jesus thrice and the rooster crows twice. 9. Jesus goes before Pilate. 10. Jesus is sentence to death by a reluctant Pilate. The chief priests ensure that it is Jesus who is crucified not Barabbas as one of them could have been spared by the people. 11. The soldiers mock and abuse Jesus. 12. Jesus is crucified. 13. As he dies, he cries out asking why God has forsaken him.  14. He is buried by Joseph of Arimathea (and Nicodemus). 15. He is raised from the dead. Was this “God in Action” in each event or just in the final outcome?

I do not have to understand how God works, but this is what we think, the we, being the students in my Bible Study Class. We think dying for our sins was God’s Plan. We think the Plan was for Jesus, not Caiaphas, not Pilate, not Judas, not the chief priests, scribes and elders, not Peter and the disciples. The plan was love, not hate. Since we’re incapable of perceiving God’s intentions, we were wary of ascribing events to God’s purpose or not. We think the High Priest, Pilate, Judas, Peter and the others are reflections of human nature. The events in Mark, to us, are revealing of who we are and who God is.  We agreed the crucifixion was our thing, not God’s thing. God did not have to intervene to have us crucify Jesus, but only God could have done the resurrection. Jesus was going to die for our sins with or without the help of Caiaphas, Pilate and the others.

Activities and Prayer for this Week

When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. They had been saying to one another, ‘Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?’ When they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had already been rolled back. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man, dressed in a white robe, sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed. But he said to them, ‘Do not be alarmed; you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has been raised; he is not here. Look, there is the place they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him, just as he told you.’ (Mark 16:1-7)

Jesus goes ahead of us in all that we do.
Discuss the points of interest to you, and your group.
God is at work in all the ministries in the Diocese of the Rio Grande. God is preparing all members of the diocese for new work.
Using 1” strips of paper, write down a way God is at work in the diocese on each strip. Weave them into a grid.
Prayer: God of new life, we thank you for the work you are doing now in the Diocese of the Rio Grande. Open our hearts to see that you are leading us to new things and make us open to your action in our lives and in the diocese. Amen.
Share: Comment on this post here or on Facebook to share one or 2 of ways God is at work in the Diocese that you wove into your mat, or post a photo of the weaving. 

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Lent VI/Palm Sunday, March 25: Listen to Him (Jean Campbell+)

How unusual to be reminded of the Transfiguration in the context of Palm Sunday. Isn’t there enough to think about this day? Today we move from the exuberant shouts of “Hosanna” to the heart wrenching cry of “crucify him”. Now you ask me to ponder the words of God: “Listen to him.” But I find all these phrases remarkably linked.

In the opening sentence of the Rule of St. Benedict, one is invited to listen with the ear of one’s heart to the instructions of the master. For many years I pondered what the ear of the heart might meant. Finally I discovered the Latin word for obedience, “obedire” meaning to listen or lend an ear. “Obedire” comes from “ob” meaning “to”, plus “audire” meaning “to hear”. To listen is to receive an invitation; to respond is to be obedient. To listen with the ear of the heart invites us into a response of acting on what we have heard. Benedict understood a link between listening and obedience. To listen with the ear of the heart entails hearing, discerning, and acting.

On the Mount of the Transfiguration the Beloved Son heard and responded, and it took him to the cross. For Peter and James it meant taking the journey with him to Jerusalem. They thought that they were ready to suffer and die with Jesus, but it was not what God asked of them; and what their fear denied them. The journey never seems to be what we think it should be; it is never straight forward or easy. There are questions, sufferings, hesitations, fears, desolation, even death. Yet we are invited to take up our cross and follow; to hear, discern, and to act.

In faithful obedience, we find it is only through the cross that we discover the empty tomb. We are reminded that the Resurrected Christ will go before us. We are invited to listen, to persevere in faithfulness, to take the journey. In our willingness to enter into the journey, we find the courage, the patience, the love, the forgiveness, the faithfulness, and the obedience to move forward through the cross to find a future filled with new life and hope.

This week we will journey through the cross to the hope and promise of Our Lord’s Resurrection. As a diocese we journey together in our discernment for the next Bishop of the Diocese of the Rio Grande. In the silences of this Holy Week may we bend the ear of our heart to the voice of the Spirit. Pray that we may discern the path that God invites us into, and to give us insight, courage, and hope to follow in faithful obedience.


Activities and Prayer for this Week

Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and his brother John and led them up a high mountain, by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became dazzling white. Suddenly there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him. Then Peter said to Jesus, ‘Lord, it is good for us to be here; if you wish, I will make three dwellings here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.’ While he was still speaking, suddenly a bright cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud a voice said, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased; listen to him!’ When the disciples heard this, they fell to the ground and were overcome by fear. But Jesus came and touched them, saying, ‘Get up and do not be afraid.’ And when they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus himself alone. (Matthew 17:1-8)

God tells us to listen to, and follow Jesus.
Discuss the points of interest to you, and your group.
Peter, James, and John wanted to stay on the mountain with Jesus. Instead, they followed him to Jerusalem where he was betrayed and crucified. It is tempting to want to stay in the same place, the same ministry, the same status quo.
Where is God leading the Diocese of the Rio Grande and what is your part in that, as an individual and as a group or parish? Discuss this as a group.
Prayer: God of Transformation, show us the direction you are leading us as individual members, and as the community of the Diocese of the Rio Grande. Help us to be willing to follow where you lead us in the coming days, months, and years. Amen.
Share: Comment on this post to share directions God could be leading the diocese, which you, or your group, noted. 

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Lent V, March 18: Surrender to God (Morag Smith)

"That was dumb." "Boy, I wasn't thinking when I did that." "And that's when I really #$%^ed up." I've only said the latter to my boss once, but it was a major mistake. Carelessness, lack of knowledge, overconfidence, and so on lead us into making mistakes all the time. As a professional, I've been taught the best thing is to admit the mistake and figure out how to fix it. In the short run my pride doesn't want to admit I failed professionally, but I've learned that confessing and then repairing the damage is almost always the least painful thing to do in the long run. Further, until I am willing to say I didn't know enough or wasn't careful enough, I am not able to learn from my mistake and will make it repeatedly. The most respected of my colleagues are the ones who don't need to protect their pride and instead can admit their mistakes and in doing so create trusting relationships where everyone is learning to do things better.
Do we practice admitting our failures to God? We can hide some of our failures from other people, but God's nature doesn't give us the option of hiding them from Him. He knows what happened so not admitting to it doesn't make us look better to Him. It can only increase the damage we're doing to our relationship with Him. Why then is it so hard to admit to God that we failed? Perhaps one part is that acknowledging our failures, our sins, to God hits us right at our weakest point, our pride. We were made in His image, but are not Him. Every admitted sin emphasizes the gap between God and us and between us and our images of ourselves.
The Pharisee hid behind his pride and avoided seeing the distance between him and God. The tax collector could set aside his pride and ask "God, be merciful to me, a sinner!". Acknowledging the gap between God and us, acknowledging that I am a sinner, is the opening God uses to "be merciful." Until we surrender our pride and instead offer it to God, we continue to turn away from his mercy. When we finally offer ourselves to God, He reflects our small offering in His great offering of His Son to mend the damage to our relationship with Him. 
When we "offer…our selves, our souls and bodies" including our pride to God, we open ourselves to God's mercy. We allow God to work through us to create His Kingdom. 

Activities and Prayer for this Week

Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax-collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, was praying thus, “God, I thank you that I am not like other people: thieves, rogues, adulterers, or even like this tax-collector. I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of all my income.” But the tax-collector, standing far off, would not even look up to heaven, but was beating his breast and saying, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner!” I tell you, this man went down to his home justified rather than the other; for all who exalt themselves will be humbled, but all who humble themselves will be exalted.’ (Luke 18:10-14 )

We are called to surrender our pride and our self to God’s will and work.
Discuss the points of interest to you, and your group.
Our pride (hubris) can keep us from full relationship with God. As a group think of ways that the corporate culture of the Diocese of the Rio Grande might be prideful. As individuals think of ways in which your own pride could be an obstacle to loving God fully.
Write these sins on paper and offer them to God in prayer, and/or by burning them.
Prayer: Blessed God, you ask us to humble ourselves and to be aware of our sins. As individuals and as a group, we acknowledge that we have not always been honest about our sins. We here offer those that we have identified. Take them and all others and be merciful. In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Share: Comment on this post here or on Facebook, to share  ways that the diocese might be guilty of pride that you, or your group, identified.