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Job Opening

Legacy Giving Coordinator

Position Summary:

The person filling this new position of Legacy Giving Coordinator is accountable to the Regional Board of North America and provides guidance and support to the individual congregations as they work to create and build an active Legacy Giving Program in a way that is congruent with the specific interests and fundraising maturity of each congregation.

The Legacy Giving Coordinator will work with the congregations to find the resources they may require to develop their Legacy Giving Programs. To these ends, the Legacy Giving Coordinator will work closely with congregational liaisons and serve as a catalyst for conversation with and within our congregations.

The short and long term goals of the Legacy Giving Coordinator are to facilitate, encourage, guide, service, and support not less than six congregations in North America as they create, launch, develop, and build active an Legacy Giving Program in their communities over the next three years. There will be objective measurements provided to gauge the success of both this position and program on an annual basis. Read more

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Easter and the Tragedy in Boston

The events which have taken place around the Boston marathon have shaken our national consciousness and again raise uncomfortable questions about the world in which we are living. Struggling to come to terms with senseless destruction is necessary and understandable in the face of such occurrences, but equally important and worthy of our attention are the questions about the way that we experience these kinds of tragedies.

Boston makes us aware that our perception of world events is still very much geographical. Explosions in crowded public places are alas, commonplace in other parts of the world. They are not in our country. What does this mean for us? Why are the bombings in Boston so painful? Eastertide offers I think a few keys to answering this question. Read more

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International Newsletter, spring 2013

The password to access this “Report from the Regions” is easter.

[download id=”93″]

 

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How the Gospel Speaks in my Life: Easter

Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb and they asked each other, “Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?” But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away. (Mark 16:2-4)

That the women walking to the grave only realize a short distance from their destination that they cannot move the stone away! Yet, they might have bemoaned their lack of foresight and, without ever reaching the tomb, turned around. Or perhaps they could have quickly decided to search for someone who could move the stone, but instead they looked up! It is only then that they became aware: the stone has been moved already, and the passage is open to the place where they received further clues leading them to the resurrected one. Read more

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New Book by Seminary Director Bastiaan Baan

Lord of the Elements

Interweaving Christianity and Nature

Lord of the Elements cover

The four classical elements of earth, water, air and fire are present in Genesis and the New Testament. But while traditional Christianity moved away from seeing the spiritual in nature, other streams of thought — such as Celtic Christianity, the School of Chartres, medieval mystics like Hildegard von Bingen and the alchemical search for the philosopher’s stone — continued to emphasize the importance of the elements. In this unique book, Bastiaan Baan, an experienced spiritual thinker, brings these elements together with ideas from Anthroposophy. He considers in particular how elemental beings — nature spirits — relate to the four elements, and explores the role of elemental beings in our world. This is a fascinating and original work on the connections between Christianity and the natural world.

The book is available from Floris Books at www.florisbooks.co.uk  Read more

A Story of Redemption: By Fyodor Dostoevsky

This is a profound excerpt taken from Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov in which Father Zossima reflects on his life from his deathbed:

Beloved fathers and teachers, I was born in a distant province in the north, in the town of V. My father was a gentleman by birth, but of no great consequence or position. He died when I was only two years old, and I don’t remember him at all. He left my mother a small house built of wood, and a fortune, not large, but sufficient to keep her and her children in comfort. There were two of us, my elder brother Markel and I. He was eight years older than I was, of hasty, irritable temperament, but kind-hearted and never ironical. He was remarkably silent, especially at home with me, his mother, and the servants. He did well at school, but did not get on with his school-fellows, though he never quarrelled, at least so my mother has told me. Six months before his death, when he was seventeen, he made friends with a political exile who had been banished from Moscow to our town for freethinking, and led a solitary existence there. He was a good scholar who had gained distinction in philosophy in the university. Something made him take a fancy to Markel, and he used to ask him to see him. The young man would spend whole evenings with him during that winter, till the exile was summoned to Petersburg to take up his post again at his own request, as he had powerful friends. Read more

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The Mission of Failure

Failure seems like such a negation. I did not….

It points to the fact that we are imperfect, incomplete; that our reach exceeds our grasp. Yet hidden in that very fact is a positive. I did try. I learned something. Thomas Edison famously said: I have not failed; I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.

Our failures are great teachers, if we are open to the lessons. As it says in our Sunday Service for Children, we learn so that we may understand and work in the world. We are here to find truth, to expand our understanding of reality, to make a difference in the world. The fact that failure is often humbling is perhaps a lesson in itself – we are not yet all that we want to be. But we may have just found the 9,999th way that doesn’t work – one step closer to a way that does.

As Saul, St. Paul believed that Jesus couldn’t have been the Messiah. Jesus’ life ended as a failure – he was tortured and executed as a common criminal. Therefore Saul knew he couldn’t have been God the All Powerful’s Son. But what looked like a failed life became The Life, as Paul came to know at Damascus.

Christ came to the earth for the express purpose of becoming a human being. He came to experience, in the flesh, how human beings fail. How they learn. How they find truth. He explored the depths of human existence. And since he is an eternal being, what he did, he does eternally. He experiences the depths of humanity so that He, eternally present, can be here with us when we fail. When we learn. When we find truth, which is ultimately, Him.

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Christianity as Growing Wakefulness

Lo! I am coming like a thief! Blessed is he who is awake, keeping his garments that he may not go naked and be seen exposed. -Revelation 16:15

Christ’s coming again, which makes itself felt more and more as a spiritual fact, asks of individual human beings grave decisions. It does not leave us as we were before. If we sleep through the event, we are inwardly poorer – this is the point of comparison in the strange and yet realistic picture of Christ coming “like a thief”. In comparison with this is the blessing of him who is  ‘awake’.

In ancient times, the Lord gave to His own in sleep, but humanity has stepped out of the divine dream of the early childhood of humanity; mankind has to wake up – primarily at first to the earthly world. If the wakefulness is limited to the material world, however, there gradually arises the feeling: unfortunate are the wakeful. Then, we bear this adult wakefulness like a burden, and seek narcotics and opiates in order to escape the desolate reality. Rightly understood, Christianity is not opium. It means raising the power of wakefulness beyond the material world into the spiritual. Whoever shrinks back from the full adult responsibility of sober awakening in order not to lose his or her childhood faith does not yet know that all waking and knowing that could be dangerous to Christianity is always only a half-waking and half-knowing. It is precisely within the meaning of Christianity to penetrate to the full awareness and a full knowledge that includes the Super-sensible. Therefore “blessed is he who is awake”.

-Rudolf Frieling

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Gravity, Warmth and Light: Three Gifts of the Trinity

sunlight in treesThe Earth has sometimes been compared to a spaceship, a machine hurling through the black void of outer space. In this scientific vision space is stunningly cold and inimical to all life. But this simplified picture is wrong; it leaves out the Sun.

The Earth is not alone. The Sun’s gravity, warmth, and light, a trinity of forces, constantly bless the Earth. Read more

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God the Rebel

…Faith begins at the point where atheists suppose it must be at an end. Our faith begins with the bleakness and power which is the night of the Cross, abandonment, temptation and doubt about everything that exists! Our faith must be born where it is abandoned by all tangible reality; it must be born of nothingness, it must taste this nothing and be given it to taste in a way that no philosophy of nihilism can imagine. -H. J. Iwand

Christianity is the only religion on earth that has felt that omnipotence made God incomplete. Christianity alone has felt that God, to be wholly God, must have been a rebel as well as a king. Alone of all creeds, Christianity has added courage to the virtues of the Creator. For only courage worth calling courage must necessarily mean that the soul passes a breaking point – and does not break. Read more