What's Happening at Calvary
Praying Lent This Year
offers us all a very special opportunity to grow in our relationship
with God and to deepen our commitment to a way of life, rooted in our
baptism. In our busy world, Lent provides us with an opportunity
to reflect upon our patterns, to pray more deeply, experience sorrow
for what we've done and failed to do, and to be generous to those in
For centuries, the Liturgy of the Hours and
the Eucharist have guided our Lenten reflection. Inspired by these
liturgies, we offer a brief, daily prayer for each day of Lent and the
Easter Triduum. Each day, we share the Opening Prayer text for
that day's liturgy. This prayer is simple and, in many cases,
memorable. It alone could be repeated several times throughout
May Our Lord grant us all the graces we need
The Sacrament of Reconciliation
In November 2009, I discovered a sacrament in The Book of Common Prayer called “The Reconciliation of a Penitent.” This is a “rite in which those who repent of their sins may confess them to God in the presence of a priest, and receive the assurance of pardon and the grace of absolution” (BCP, page 446).
Discovered actually implies too much initiative on my part. God led me to the rite just when I needed it most. I was scheduled to have open-heart surgery earlier this year and was seeking a process for preparing spiritually. The concept of reconciliation spoke strongly to me as a way to make right my relationship with God.
A second God-inspired discovery soon followed, when I found that the Rev. Martin Smith had written the definitive book on preparing for this rite. His book, Reconciliation: Preparing for Confession in the Episcopal Church, provided an invaluable framework for the process that I subsequently went through as I prepared for the rite.
Deciding to undergo the rite involves three dispositions: First, a desire to repent—to reorient oneself toward God—and to receive God’s forgiveness. In my case, my upcoming surgery led me to seek the rite, but the impetus for each of us may be different. God’s call to live in greater closeness with him can come in many ways.
The second disposition is an openness to taking prayerful stock of one’s life and identifying the ways we have wronged God through both our actions and our omissions.
The third disposition is a willingness to meet one-on-one with a priest for the rite, during which the penitent speaks to God from the heart about the ways he or she has turned away from God. For first-time penitents, this involves a full-life review. Powerfully, then, the transgressions are pardoned and permanently “put away,” not to be raised again at future confessions.
For me, the journey to the rite of reconciliation was a pilgrimage from my past to the present. As with any pilgrimage to a sacred place, the journey itself was also sacred.
Using Martin’s book, I first
explored my understanding of and faith in God’s forgiveness. The book invites
us to enter into one of the Gospel healing stories and identify with the sinner
in it, such as the paralytic man (Mark 2: 8-11) or the hemorrhaging woman (Mark
5: 25-34). Meditating on the second story, I experienced my own connection with
the power of the Lord’s healing and forgiveness.
The process of preparing took several weeks, involving a number of 30- to 45-minute reflection periods. When no new perspectives seemed to emerge, I felt ready to participate in the rite.
The rite took place on a late winter afternoon in the privacy and warmth of a clergy office. The service includes a time for the penitent to speak. I used prepared notes, wanting to offer up to God as much as I was able to recall. The priest then spoke words of consolation and support, laid hands on my head and offered forgiveness. The rite concluded with the following words: Now there is rejoicing in heaven; for you were lost, and are found; you were dead, and are now alive in Christ Jesus our Lord. Abide in peace. The Lord has put away all your sins.
As the brief rite came to an end, I
felt a deep peace. In the time since, I’ve noticed I get less caught up in
pains and regrets of the past and that my inner gaze shifts more naturally
toward God within—as if my unequivocal “yes” to God has opened a freer flow of
grace into my heart and soul.
Suzanne Kindervatter- See more at: http://www.columba.org/index.php/2011/newsletter/the_sacrament_of_reconciliation#sthash.ax5VThZl.dpuf
Lent is a wonderful time to celebrate the reconciling love and the healing graces our Lord offers us. Like all religious experience, it takes preparation.
Reconciliation is what God does. We prepare for it by opening ourselves up, by reflecting upon the areas of darkness in our lives into which God so deeply desires to shine a light. It might begin with the simple question: Where might God be offering me forgiveness and healing?
If my answer is, "I don't know," then I have some reflection to do. I can examine my life - what I have done and what I have failed to do - and see what graces are offered me there. If I've come through that "era" of saying that any guilt, anything that makes me feel bad about myself, is a bad thing, to be avoided at all costs, then I might have a difficult time coming to genuine sorrow for my sins. If this is the case, I need to "go to work" on my reflection, asking God to rouse a sense of embarrassment, leading to deep sorrow, for any way I may not have been faithful, honest, loving, self-less or generous - in my relationship with God, with my family, with others. I can look at each of my responsibilities - as a citizen of a city and a country and the world, a neighbor, an employee, a member of a parish or congregation, as a parent or a spouse or as a son or daughter. God will always shine light into these important parts of our lives, to help us experience remorse and a genuine desire for forgiveness and healing. The point here is not ultimately to focus on ourselves. God always reveals us to ourselves, so that God might reveal to us our need for a Savior. The focus is on God's reconciling, healing love. As John says, "God showed his love for us when he sent his only Son into the world to give us life. Real love isn't our love for God, but God's love for us. God sent his Son to be the sacrifice by which our sins are forgiven."1 John 4:9-10
It may be that I have experienced troubling guilt - coming out of deep childhood trauma or a long-standing sense of shame This may plague my ability to feel good about myself at all, and therefore to be able to reflect upon my sins - the ways I fail at loving. I can still prepare for genuine reconciliation by preparing to better trust God's love for me, based upon two convictions: First, God's love is un-conditional. It is not conditioned on my being better, or my overcoming anything, or even my being good at all. God just loves me. I am always precious in the eyes of the One who made me and desires to embrace me with the gift of complete freedom, in everlasting life. Secondly, God knows everything, including what I'm struggling with or suffering under. And, the God of all compassion, understands me and loves me. It may be that my greatest sin - the place where I need the greatest sorrow and desire for forgiveness and healing is my lack of trust in God's complete and unconditional love for me. We can be certain that that is a gift God deeply desires to offer me.
It may be that when I ask myself the question about where God might be offering me forgiveness and healing, I might first come up with a single thing that seems "big" to me. I might say, "I feel sorry for how I treat my spouse or my children." I might focus on a long established habit of self-indulgent sexual fantasy, pornography on the internet or masturbation. I may felt most sorrow for what I fail to do - all the "good intentions" that never make their way into action. It is so important not to stop there. None of the "big" things about which we might immediately feel sorry for sums up all of who we are before God and others. They may be very important in giving some clues or some leads in identifying some larger patterns. For example, if a "big" thing that worries me is that I tend to be "loose" with the truth, at times, I can ask what that means, what it reveals about me. I may discover that the real pattern of sin has to do with a deeper dishonesty or lack of integrity: hiding from God; leading a double life; not being who I really am called to be; trying to manage my life on my own terms; manipulating others for my own needs and desires. When the Light of God's love shines into this level of self-awareness, then I am touched by a powerful experience of reconciliation. Even here, in a place I might be most embarrassed and feel most naked, God is loving me and offering me wholeness and joy.
Reconciliation is what God does. Receiving it and celebrating it is what we do. For those of us who are Catholics, the Sacrament of Reconciliation is a most natural way to celebrate God's reconciliation. We used to think of this sacrament as only about "confession" - that it was like a dumping ground for my sins, where I got forgiven, and I had to "pay a toll." One of the great recoveries in our Christian history is to re-discover the meaning of this sacrament.
It is God who forgives sins. And God forgives us the very moment that we come to the experience that we need forgiveness (which itself comes through God's grace). At that moment, I feel sorrow and a desire for forgiveness and healing. In that moment, I am reconciled with God. The reunion, the bond, the connection, the joy are all there. Three more things remain: to receive it deep within my heart, to celebrate it, and to participate in the healing process.
When I experience God's forgiveness and love, I am invited to savor it and let it touch me deeply. Experiencing compassion, patience, understanding, and forgiveness is itself transforming. If I fail to appreciate what I have just received - freely and undeserved - then I will take it for granted and risk moving on without a real healing happening.
Then, I need to celebrate the reconciliation I have received. In the Sacrament of Reconciliation - individually or in common - I have the wonderful opportunity to ritualize that celebration. In the Sacrament, my personal journey is joined with the mystery of God's saving love, as seen in the scriptures, and in God's desire to save us all. There, in ritual form (even if it is just me and the priest) I "step forward" and admit that I am a sinner, express my sorrow, and I name the places in my life where God is shining a Light into what I have done and what I have failed to do. Then, God's forgiveness is proclaimed "out loud" - for me to hear and rejoice in: "May God grant you pardon and fill you with God's peace."
An integral part of the reconciliation involves the healing process. If I sprain my ankle, the doctor will offer me a number of therapies for healing - ice, for the first 24 hours to reduce the swelling, wrapping it, elevating it, and then gradually and carefully using it, until it is healed and strong again. Part of the Sacrament of Reconciliation is to seek and practice a "remedy" or "medicine" for the healing I desire. Often that will simply be prayer. Often, expressing my gratitude to God is one of the most important steps on the road to recovery from my independence from God. Sometimes, I will need to practice a therapy that is more carefully planned - making choices about what I can practice doing and what I can practice avoiding.
May our Lord grant us all the gift of reconciliation, and may we all receive it and celebrate it well in the holy days ahead.
The plan and study is online. The City Dept. of Traffic and Transportation is recommending the adoption of Alternate #2 which converts Coming to two-way from Beaufain St. to Race street, the conversion of St. Philip to two-way from Beaufain to Calhoun and the conversion of Line Street to two-way for Rutledge to King. The entire study is online at:
The Cannonborough/Elliottborough and the Radcliffborough Neighborhood
Associations are currently supporting Alternate #2.
The folks at the Crisis Ministries Homeless Shelter on Meeting Street are delighted to receive our gifts of: deodorant, sunscreen, new shower shoes (flip flops), new men’s and women’s t-shirts, new men’s and women’s underwear, pasta, coffee, PAM cooking spray, vegetable and olive oil, breakfast cereal, #10 cans (large) of vegetables and fruit, laundry detergent, packaged socks, Dixie paper cups, new reusable water bottles, toilet paper, paper towels, and cleaning supplies. Just a can or box per week from every Calvary family can make a great difference! Please contact Ms. Marion Holmes, Little Red Wagon Ministry Leader, with questions at 884-0584.
The Little Red Wagon is our collection point on Sunday for food and non-perishable items for donation to Crisis Ministries homeless shelter. Please place your items in the Little Red Wagon as you enter church each Sunday. Ms. Marion Holmes, Little Red Wagon Ministry Leader, will ask a volunteer to roll the wagon towards the altar when the ushers bring the collection plates for blessing; and arrange a volunteer to bring the items to Crisis Ministries during the week. Think of the Little Red Wagon when you shop.
Just a can or box of food or other supplies per week from every Calvary family can make a great difference! If you would like to learn more about helping with this new ministry, please contact Marion at 884-0584 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Calvary’s HALOS representative is Mrs. Mildred Wise. She sincerely thanks parishioners and friends for their financial support when called upon and ask for your continued support. She is still collecting monies for summer camps and you will receive more information for Back to School supplies.
HALOS is the Proud Recipient of the 2011 Erin Hardwick Award for Excellence in Nonprofit Management from the South Carolina Association of Nonprofit Organizations
Every day, children across South Carolina suffer from abuse and neglect. In 2004, 17 cases on average were confirmed each day in the state. And in Charleston County alone, more than 1,800 children have open cases of abuse or neglect with the Department of Social Services.
At HALOS (Helping And Lending Outreach Support), we provide assistance to abused and neglected children in Charleston County and to their caregivers. Through a variety of programs and initiatives, we help to improve the lives of these children.
However, HALOS is only as strong as our partners, and we need your help to succeed in our mission. With a single donation, you can change the life of a child.
HALOS works hand-in-hand with individuals, businesses, civic groups, clubs, and religious organizations in the Charleston area to help children and their caregivers. Through partnerships with generous individuals and groups, we connect interested parties with children who desperately need their help. Donors can sponsor children for summer camp, supply much-needed back-to-school items, and donate gifts to celebrate birthdays and Christmas. Donors can also provide essential household items to caregivers who need them to keep children out of foster care. And through the Kinship Care program, volunteers can donate their time and expertise to support those caregivers who provide a safety net for abused and neglected children.
Imagine the relief a little boy feels when he is able to stay with his grandparents instead of moving to a foster home. Or the joy a little girl feels after years of neglect when she goes to summer camp for the first time and has a safe place to stay during the summer.
Then imagine how you can make such a difference in the life of a child in your community.
HALOS WISH LIST
Volunteers for Kinship Care Resource & Support Program:
There are some items that we cannot accept at HALOS. Please ask us where you can go to donate the following items that we do not accept here: