september2012comforter - Church of the Holy Comforter

Paying Attention
It is difficult to pay attention to anything anymore. In our era, there are a great many things we
have available to distract us. Even if we leave aside the increasing demands of work and family
life in our day, we are so inundated with media—television, radio, email, twenty-four hour
news, social networking, and all the rest—that we hardly ever have time to really pay attention,
to open our minds to truly contemplate and understand deep and important subjects.
There are three kinds of attention that human beings are capable of, two of which we share with
other animals. Orienting attention allows us to assess our environment and meet our immediate
needs, like finding food and shelter. Alarming attention allows us to be aware of danger and
escape from predators. Executive attention, which is unique to human beings, is the ability to
push those other two aside for a time and simply concentrate. It is how we are able to learn
complex math or philosophy. Author and media ecologist T. David Gordon says that executive
attention is like a muscle. It has to be used in order to grow and function properly. But in our
era of distraction, our alarming attention is constantly being activated at the expense of our
executive attention. This is why so many people do not read books anymore but simply scan for
relevant information. It is why we cannot pay attention to speakers or complex pieces of music.
And, Gordon says, in the Church, it is why we have a great deal of difficulty following a
sermon that lasts for more than five minutes.
To be sure, the problem of being able to follow a sermon is not solely to be blamed on our
inability to attend. In large measure, it is also the result of preachers who have never learned
basic public speaking skills, much less how to coherently explain biblical texts. Nevertheless,
the loss of our attention span for preaching is only the tip of the iceberg. According to Gordon
and others in his field, in the American Church today, people are far less familiar with Scripture
than they were two generations ago. There is very little Bible reading happening in homes.
Where it was once common place for even the most uneducated person to be able to articulate
the basics of Christian doctrine, today even those who grew up in the Church and attend
worship regularly find themselves unable to give even the simplest account of the Gospel.
In an effort to make up for this loss, many churches have attempted to swim with the culture by
providing more entertaining worship, eliminating churchy sounding words, playing popular
music, and focusing sermons on life coaching instead of on sin and redemption. In some cases,
this has led to rapid growth, but at the cost of true discipleship. The largest mega-church in
America, Lakewood Church in Houston, has no cross on the wall, performs no baptisms, does
not have communion during worship, and provides sermons that almost never focus on the
atonement. This is a recipe for disaster, a Christianity without Christ. And studies continuously
show that the popularity of mega-churches is unsustainable. They are big and popular, but they
also have a huge amount of turn-over as scores of people leave each year, in search of
something deeper or just the next big thing to capture their interest.
The Word of God that we find in Scripture is more than just a series of platitudes or rules for
healthy living. It is the very life which our hearts seek to be made whole. It is what we need
more than anything else in this world, more even than food and water. We do not have to be
intellectual giants to understand God’s Word, but we do have to be willing and able to receive
it. The more we are able to contemplate the Word of God, the fonder our hearts become, and the
deeper we grow into the mystery of God. It is difficult for all of us, myself included, living in
our distraction saturated culture, to exercise our executive attention to its fullest in receiving
God’s Word, but the more we are able to do so, the more our patience and perseverance is
rewarded with the love and hope that God plants and cultivates within us. Rather than trying to
accommodate our waning attention spans, our churches ought to be challenging us to truly pay
attention. “Let us attend!” says the Deacon over and over in some of the earliest Christian
liturgies. Perhaps this is a word that we need today just as much as it was needed back then, if
not more so.
At Holy Comforter, we may not have the most entertaining services, the hippest and flashiest
music, or even the most exciting and titillating sermons, but we do have the Word of God, given
to us in its fullness through our liturgy. And that Word is growing our parish, not just in terms
of numbers, but also in terms of our knowledge and love of God and each other. May we always
be so blessed.
Incidentally, if you have made it all the way to the end of this article, you have already shown a
great ability for executive attention. Next time you see me, say the words “rubber band” to me
and then give me a little knowing look. It will let me know that you read this and it will have
the added benefit of confusing anyone who has not read it who happens to be standing nearby.
In His Mercy,
Fr. Jonathan
Bricks and Mortar
Jim Gardner
Hope everyone had a great summer. Although it was hot and dry, your Property team really liked those conditions.
Although Delaware County has not been declared drought-stricken, we are under a Drought Watch with lower than
normal amounts of ground water. This is not such a bad thing for Holy Comforter. Because there has been so little
rain, the building sustained minimal water damage while your Vestry has been negotiating very reasonable terms to
pay for the new roof.
In the survey Vestry conducted to see what projects needed to be addressed, most people responded that we needed
a new roof on the Parish hall and the church. The Property team had done a lot of research and discovered that a
metal roof that simulates slate was reasonably priced and aesthetically acceptable. We found a company that wants
to grow their business in the Philadelphia area and would work with us to accomplish our goals.
In late Spring, we noticed our new carpet in the hall was rippling. When we investigated, we discovered that the
roof of the Sunday School building has holes in it. Water has been coming in, running along the joists and beams
under the hallway and finally making a puddle in the electrical closet on the lower level. Insurance wouldn’t help us
to fix the problem. We need a new roof on that building, also!
We mentioned the situation to Jim Szabo, the prospective roofer. He agreed to include replacing the flat roof in
return for our allowing him to use Holy Comforter in his advertising. In his words; “It is our experience that
awareness of Hi Tech - Hi Art products grows by neighborhood exposure. When people see our products, they
want them. Special consideration is given to certain properties because of their location in areas of high
demographics. Holy Comforter will be considered a “showcase” for our roofing products, and photographs of your
finished roof will be featured in future promotions. The Property team has negotiated to have our address and phone
number included in the advertisements to do some advertising for Holy Comforter, too.
To help Holy Comforter pay for re-roofing the entire property, Mr. Szabo found a slate company which will
purchase our good and usable slates. The money from the sale will come directly to the church so we can use it
toward our first roof payment. The company will even doing the hauling and has delivered pallets for our use. The
roofer will load the A and B quality slates on the pallets. The slates which are not re-usable will be the only ones
trashed. No broken pieces of slate to litter the ground... and $$ in our coffers.
August 23, 2012: Mimi Lyon, Holy Comforter
Rector’s Warden, and Jim Szabo, President of Hi-Tech
Hi-Art of Linglestown, PA sign the work order and
promissory note for Holy Comforter’s new roof.
At a special Vestry meeting on August 14, motions were made and passed to choose Hi-Tech Hi-Art as our
roofer and a negotiating committee was appointed to get the best terms possible. On Thursday August 23,
the Vestry special committee Mimi Lyon, Jack Davis, Dean Gray, Jim Gardner, and Wayne Lyon, as our legal
representative, met with the roofer and his finance team and signed the contract and promissory note. We
hope to begin replacing the roof on the Sunday School building before Labor Day. Holy Comforter has until
December 1 to make the first monthly payment on our interest-free loan of $193,487.
Time to get the Capital Campaign under way so we can meet our obligations.
Hi Tech - Hi Art is a pioneer of metal roofing systems
and has been family owned since 1946. Holy
Comforter’s Vestry chose a metal slate product, because
of the elegant design and color choices, but also
because of the excellent insulating properties of these
roofing materials. They were interested because metal
slates use less energy to heat or cool resulting in a
savings of fuel and energy bills... and hopefully,
making the upper parish hall more comfortable in
summer. In addition, these systems are designed and
manufactured to withstand all kinds of severe weather.
Zumba is being held at 5:30-6:30 pm in the upper parish hall on Monday and Thursday
evenings. For more information, contact instructor, Kristen Tirney,
[email protected] First class $5, then $10 per class or $80 for 10 classes.
Children and Youth Ministry
Ethel F. Wesley
“Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Saviour.” Habakkuk 3:18
As the new season for Sunday School is being planned, there were activities that took place
before school closed. There are also people to be thanked who gave us a helping hand.
On the first Sunday in June, the entire Sunday School was invited to enjoy an afternoon at the
Elmwood Park Zoo in Norristown. Students, teachers, and parents gathered to learn about the
animals in God’s world. We witnessed creatures that fly, glide, swim, walk, and hop. It was
great fun for all. Thank you Robert Gilmore, Mimi and Wayne Lyon, Maria and Harry
Thompson, Tina Transue, Liz Teres, David Cathcart, Nick and Donna Romero for all your
Saturday, June 23 found the Youth Group helping with the annual Pig Roast. We had an
opportunity to sell desserts at that event. We had enough sweet treats to sell on both Saturday
evening and after worship on Sunday morning. The proceeds once again are earmarked for
future outreach projects. Thanks to Reed and Drew Armstrong, Hope and Brooke Morrison
and their friend Meagan, Jacqueline and Alexis Hawkins and their friend Peter, and Ryan
McElhaney for all they did.
Friday evening, June 29 (a really hot and humid evening), found several of our Junior Youth
members at the first Delaware Deanery Night at the Blue Rocks game in Wilmington. We are
now part of the Delaware Deanery. The youth and their leaders have been gathering each
month to have lunch, to share ideas, and to play games. Thanks go to Lorraine Bechtel for
being one of the chaperones and to Anne and Bob Makim for driving their grandsons to the
game. Those who attended were Noah Baldwin, Nick Newmiller, Noah Newmiller, and
Michael Katrakazis. The evening ended with a win for the Blue Rocks and fireworks.
Rally Day, Sunday, September 9, will find us once again beginning the Sunday School season
and gathering for the Annual Parish Picnic. Registration opens at 9:15 a.m. in the Upper Parish
Hall followed by the 10:00 a.m. service. Everyone is invited to the picnic on the front lawn.
Hamburgers and hot dogs will be served. We are asking for donations of salads, chips, desserts,
water, and soda for this event. A moon bounce will once again provide a fun activity for the
children of the parish.
As we look at the ages and new grades of our Sunday School children, two new classes are
needed this year. We have a large 1st and 2nd grade class and a definite 7th and 8th grade group.
In order for these classes to be created, new teachers and substitute teachers are needed this
year. Can you help? Do you feel called to this ministry? If these classes are to be realized,
materials will need to be ordered and classroom space will need to be planned. Please know that
by teaching in teams, you would not be responsible for the entire year. It would be a shared
ministry with another teacher.
Contact the church office or speak to Ethel Wesley or Chris Stanley if you can help. All of our
children are depending on us to tell them “the story” and to “share our Christian journey” with
them. Please keep the Sunday School, the Youth Group, and the teachers in your prayers.
September 9 – Rally Day
9:15 Registration, 10:00 Worship and 11:30 Picnic
September 16 – Opening Day of Sunday School
10:00 Children’s Chapel and 11:15 Class Time (Please note new time.)
September 23 – Youth Group Meeting, 5:30- 7:30 p.m. (Please note new time.)
September 30 – Deanery Fall Kick-Off, BBQ Lunch @ All Saints, Collingdale, 1 - 3 p.m.
The BADBOYS Senior mens' group will have its next breakfast at the Court Diner, Media,
Monday, September 17, beginning at 8:30-45 a.m. If you have never attended in the past and
would like to meet present and past members of the Holy Comforter family in an "informal"
atmosphere, please feel free to join us. Call Dave Irving, 610 566- 4851, and he’ll be pleased to
provide a quick overview of this welcoming group of men.
Women of Holy Comforter
Rosemary Davis, President
The Women’s Group is planning several great events this year, which will include opportunities
for service, reflection, community and fundraising. We are hoping that there will be something
for everyone and that all women of the parish will participate.
One of our new events will be a “Sip and Shop” Girl’s night out, which will be held on a
Saturday evening in October. We will have a select group of vendors available to provide some
great goods for fall. Further information will be available shortly. If you know anyone who
would be interested in participating as a vendor please contact me ( [email protected]).
Anyone interested in working on the committee for this, please contact me as well.
There will also be a general meeting and lunch scheduled for a weekday in late September.
Other things to look for:
 Christmas greens sale
 Annual appearance by the Encore Singers
 Dinner Dance at Springfield Country Club
 Spring plant sale
 A Lenten quiet day of prayer/retreat
I would like to
thank the previous
board, especially
Barbara Wilson
for all of the
dedication and hard
work over the past
I am looking forward
to working with you
all. Please feel free to
contact me if you have
any ideas, questions or
Thank you,
Rosemary Davis
Calendar for September 2012
Deanery Fall Kick-Off
BBQ, 1-3 pm
8a Holy Eucharist Rite I
10a Holy Eucharist Rite II
8am Holy Eucharist Rite I
10a Holy Eucharist Rite II
Rally Day and Picnic
5:30p Zumba UPH
8a Holy Eucharist Rite I
10a Holy Eucharist Rite II
Ministry Sunday
Sunday School Begins
5:30p Zumba UPH
8a Holy Eucharist Rite I
9a Lay Readers Meeting
10a Holy Eucharist, Rite II
11:30a Gideon Society
5:30p Youth Group
5:30p Zumba UPH
5:30p Zumba
7:30p Choir Rehearsal
5:30p Zumba
7:30p Choir Rehearsal
7:15p Vestry Meeting
5:30p Zumba
7:30p Choir Rehearsal
Comforter Deadline
5:30p Zumba
7:30p Choir Rehearsal
7p AA meeting LPH
7p AA meeting LPH
7p AA meeting LPH
7p AA meeting LPH
Regular Weekly Services: Monday thru Thursday, 9:30 am Morning Prayer and 4:30 pm Evening Prayer and Wednesday, HE with Healing, 10 am
Abbreviations: HE = Holy Eucharist; UPH = upper parish hall; LPH = lower parish hall; PR=Piano Room; Lib =Library; YR=Youth Room
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