Is God Calling Us to Act?
I first began to ask myself that question when I saw an article about Anne Frank, the teenage girl who became famous years after her death in the Holocaust because of the diary she kept while hiding with her family in an Amsterdam attic for two years.
The article noted that Anne’s father, Otto Frank, had applied for visas to the United States when conditions for Jews worsened in the Netherlands. He had several prominent friends in this country who worked on his behalf, including the owner of Macy’s department stores.
But the frantic pleas of a father desperately trying to save his family’s life fell on deaf ears, ears that were indifferent to the plight of Jewish refugees.
The Franks’ visa applications were denied. Of the four members of the Frank family, only Otto survived.
Of course, we can’t know how Anne’s life might have unfolded if their visa application had been accepted. But there is at least a chance that she might be alive today at age 87, that she might have children and grandchildren who cared for her.
Soon after I saw that article a headline in The New York Times caught my eye. “Anne Frank Today Is a Syrian Girl,” said the piece by columnist Nicholas Kristof.
“The son of a World War II refugee myself, I’ve been researching the anti-refugee hysteria of the 1930s and 40s,” Kristof wrote. “The parallels to today are striking.”
Although a 1938 poll showed that 94 percent of Americans disapproved of Nazi treatment of Jews, 72 percent still objected to admitting Jewish refugees.
The reasons for those objections sound very familiar. We should look after Americans first, they’ll take our jobs, they’re dangerous and different.
And just as Muslim refugees today are seen as potential terrorists, Jewish refugees were seen then as potential Communists or even Nazis. There was widespread fear that Germany would infiltrate the United States with spies who came here pretending to be Jewish refugees.
We are hearing the same sort of fearful rhetoric today about Syrian refugees, or any Muslim refugees. We have a presidential candidate who not only inflames anti-Muslim fears by calling for a ban on all Syrian refugees (be they Muslim or Christian), but who has also suggested that Muslims already in this country be registered.
This kind of rhetoric is profoundly unchristian. As Christians, we are to reach out to those whom the world has cast aside.
It is so easy to turn away from the difficult stories and pictures of today’s refugees. It’s easy to give in to the fears stoked by some of our leaders. It’s easy to be indifferent, or to think that it is someone else’s problem.
But what if God is calling us to respond? Of course, we can’t solve the problem, but we can save a life.
I think God may be calling us to sponsor a family of Syrian refugees. If you agree, I invite you to join me after church on October 23 to discuss the possibilities.
To quote Oscar Schindler, who saved 1,200 Jews in Germany, “Save one life, save the world.”
Calling All Bakers
Have you ever wondered where we get our delicious communion bread? It comes from the kitchens of St. Dunstan’s parishioners. But the ranks of our bakers has been depleted. Right now we only have three bakers. We can use some help.
If you like to bake, please consider participating in this holy task. We provide the recipe, which is simple to follow. Usually a baker can make a month’s worth of bread at a time, and put it in the church freezer. The altar guild then gets what is needed out each Saturday.
If we can add to our ranks, then this is a task that would only need to be done two or three times a year.
If you’re interested please contact Tricia at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bless Those Beasts
Our annual Blessing of the Animals will be Sunday, October 2 at the 10:45 service. Bring your furry, feathered, or finned friends to church that day to receive a blessing. (Please make sure dogs are on leashes and other animals in appropriate bowls, cages or crates.) Rain or shine, we’ll be blessing. This is a perfect time to invite an animal-loving friend to visit St. Dunstan’s.
There is no Sunday School this day, but there will be a special children’s lesson about St. Francis of Assisi following the service.
We welcome Andrea and Anil Weerakoon, who have come to us from St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church in Chandler, Arizona.
We welcome Pam McInerney, who comes to us from St. Martin’s.
Flying Pig BBQ
One of the best events of the year is the annual Flying Pig BBQ, which this year will be on Sunday, October 9, at 5 p.m. in the Beech Grove. Tickets are $12.
Please bring a side dish to share. Sign up sheets for side dishes, and to help chop meat, set up and take down the tables are in the narthex outside the church.
Good food, good music, good friends – what could be better? Please join us!
Hotel St. Dunstan’s opens its doors to host homeless families the week of October 16. We expect four families will be making our Sunday School rooms their home that week.
It takes a lot of volunteers to make this week happen. We need people to set up or take down the rooms, buy supplies, prepare and/or serve dinner, or spend the night. If you can help please go to our signup sheet at our website, www.stdunstan.net.
St. Dunstan’s will be providing dinner for parishioners at Holy Comforter Episcopal Church near Grant Park on Wednesday, October 5. We need people to cook and to serve at the church. There are sign up sheets in the parish hall, or contact Gilda Morris at email@example.com if you can help.
A Community Christmas Pageant
If you have not had an opportunity to take part in the Christmas story this is the time to do it. This year we hope to have the participation of St. Dunstan members of all ages from 3 to 100 and their friends and families. The pageant is a time for all to experience the birth of Baby Jesus up close and personal and to be present with all that happens on that first Christmas night.
Tom Gibbs has graciously offered to gift his musical talents to our story: Charis Bowling has willingly agreed to lend her commanding voice to the narrative of the story: and last but certainly not least Keith Latimore will make a guest cameo appearance as “the innkeeper.” There is “more room” for angels of all ages, shepherds, and shepherd boys, Mary and Joseph, a shepherd boy named Benjamin, Benjamin’s mother and father, and wisemen (of all ages).
The pageant will be presented during Sunday school time on December 18 in the parish hall. At an organizational meeting on November 6th, (during Sunday school) we will get our “cast” of characters together. There will also be a need for help with costuming and sound for the parish hall.
Additional practices will be: November 20, December 4, and December 11. All of these will be during Sunday school. Smaller children (3 years old and under) will not need to be present for all the rehearsals but will need to have a parent present for the organizational meeting and the pageant.
It merits mentioning that St. Dunstan’s famous choir will be adding to the heavenly music during the pageant. Don’t miss this.
Mark your calendars now for the above dates and join us for what we hope will be a special Christmas experience.
Gentle yoga classes using chairs
Monday at 6 p.m.
Wednesday at 9:30 a.m.
Both classes meet at St. Dunstan’s
A similar class is led by Laura Currie
Monday and Friday at 9:30 a.m.
Northside United Methodist Church
Our yoga classes are Christian centered Hatha Yoga. We lift up silent prayers as we breathe in the breath of God. We pray for blessings on us, on our families, on our friends, on all the people we know and on all the people we don’t know.
In addition to our Hatha yoga certifications, Laura and Gilda met in Christ Center Yoga training and were certified together.
The classes are $10 each and all are invited to join us to improve our quality of life.
A Prayer for Autumn Days
— adapted from Joyce Rupp
God of the seasons, there is a time for everything; there is a time for dying and a time for rising. We need your grace and courage to enter into the conversion process.
God of autumn, the trees are saying their goodbyes to green, letting go of what has been. We, too, have our moments of surrender, with all their insecurity and risk-taking. Help us to let go.
God of fallen leaves that lay in colored patterns upon the ground, our lives have their own particular patterns of growth. Help us to see the connections.
God of misty days and harvest-moon nights, there is always the dimension of mystery and wonder in our lives, always the need to recognize your power-filled mystery.
God of harvest wagons and fields of ripened grain, there are many gifts of growth within this season of surrender. Harvest must be waited for in faith and hope. Grant us patience when we do not see the blessings.
God of geese going south for another season, it is wisdom which enables us to know what needs to be left behind and what needs to be carried into the future. We yearn for insight and vision.
God of graciousness, you believe in us, you enrich us, you entrust us with the freedom to choose life. For all of this, we are grateful.