Our Brother David Allen celebrates two significant anniversaries next week. On Wednesday, 19 December he celebrates his 89th birthday and on Friday, 21 December (the Feast of St. Thomas the Apostle) he celebrates the 60th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood. Following the Eucharist on Sunday, 16 December there will be a reception in his honor. Please help to celebrate these milestones in Brother David’s life.

Presiding Bishop Curry recently invited the whole Church to take up what he calls “The Way of Love,” a series of practices that will help people to live Jesus-centered lives. “How can we together grow more deeply with Jesus Christ at the center of our lives,” Bishop Curry asks, “so we can bear witness to his way of love in and for the world?” His answer might not surprise Friends of SSJE. The answer is no less than keeping a Rule of Life!

“The deep roots of our Christian tradition may offer just such a path. For centuries, monastic communities have shaped their lives around rhythms and disciplines for following Jesus together. Such a pattern is known as a “Rule of Life.” . . .  The Way of Love: Practices for Jesus-Centered Life outlines a Rule for the Episcopal branch of the Jesus Movement.”

Turn. Learn. Pray. Worship. Bless. Go. Rest.

SSJE is delighted to make an appearance in the promotional video for “The Way of Love,” which you can watch below. We hope you’ll check out this wonderful program.

There is still time to register for the following programs being offered at the Monastery at Emery House:

  • Saturday, February 10: “Centering Prayer Workshop” with Br. Keith Nelson (9:00 am to 3:00 pm)
  • Saturday, April 21: “Completing God’s Work” (a workshop on Creativity) with Br. Mark Brown (9:00 am to 12:00 pm)
  • Tues-Sun, March 27-April 1: “Holy Week at the Monastery” (stay for part or all of the week)
  • Fri-Sun, March 23-25: “Palm Sunday Weekend at Emery House”
  • Tues-Sun, March 27-April 1: “Holy Week at Emery House”

Learn more and register for these programs here.

God’s peace is not achieved by the strong dominating the weak; such domination may bring a temporary end to conflict and war, but it will not bring about true peace. The kingdom of God is a peaceable kingdom, a transformed society in which each member is valued and treated with dignity. The weak and the strong live together in harmony, each caring for the other. There is no true peace without justice.

-Br. David Vryhof, SSJE

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The Gift of Peace

This offer and promise of Christ’s peace is here for the having. Receive it. Take it in as regularly and necessarily as you breathe. Breathe out fear; breathe in peace. Breathe out anger; breathe in peace. Breathe out sadness; breathe in peace.

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On Tuesday, 21 November we will welcome The Reverend Gregory Basker as our guest preacher at the 5:30 PM celebration of the Eucharist. Dr. Basker is a presbyter of the Church of South India and teaches theology and Scripture from a Tamil point of view at Tamilnadu Theological College, the Church of South India’s theological college in Madurai, India.

Reflections on a year with SSJE at Emery House

When I try to think of a phrase that sums up my year with SSJE, the words that come to mind are thank God.

I came to this internship year with the expectation that I would show up, meet the Holy Spirit, be filled with a sense of destiny regarding my career choice, and finally walk off into the sunset with the whole rest of my life figured out. Needless to say, this somewhat absurd image was done away with shortly after I arrived. Thank God I not only met the Holy Spirit, I also met Jesus, and the Father. I met some wonderful SSJE brothers. Brothers who have made me laugh, called my bluffs, and listened to me with open hearts. I met my fellow interns, who have inspired me by their example. It has been so life-giving to meet other young people who are also so dedicated to the life of the Church. I met my beautiful and beloved hospice patients, for whom it has been a privilege to volunteer. I met myself. I found, to my surprise, that I could like myself.

The year has brought its fair share of challenges. Finding a rhythm in a new context with unfamiliar words and a new schedule while surrounded by strangers was a difficult process. Thank God I did so, because I came to experience such a depth of well-being here. It was discovered that I needed months of physical therapy to overcome the remaining symptoms of a brain injury I sustained years ago. That was challenging, but thank God I had the time and support necessary to do that here.

I am most grateful, I think, for a new attitude to silence. When I first arrived, I confessed rather frankly that I didn’t get it. “Why would anyone want to just sit there and be silent, when they could be doing something?” I could not then conceive of silent contemplation as at all worthwhile. It has since transformed my life. In those moments of waiting upon God, and especially the few times I have experienced God directly in indescribable ways, my whole life has been flipped right side up. Knowing more about who God is has allowed me to claim with confidence the truth about who I am, who I truly am: God’s beloved child. Thank God.

I do not mean to say that I have the whole rest of my life figured out. The sunset does not yet beckon, no end credits are imminent. I only know what the next step or two will be. With my life flipped right side up and centered around God, that’s all I need.

I’ll end this reflection with a direct message to the community that has so loved and supported me this past year – thank you, brothers of SSJE. Thank you for creating this program, for accepting me and my fellow interns into it, and thank you for loving us through it. You have changed our lives by your welcome, your teaching, and your example. Thanks especially to Brs. John, Curtis, and Nicholas for the many ways you made living at Emery House a joy. Most of all, though, thanks be to God!

Join Br. Jonathan Maury this Saturday (October 14), from 9:00 am -12:15 pm, for a special workshop on celebrating the Sacraments of Healing. “The rite of anointing the sick with oil, or the laying on of hands, by which God’s grace is given for the healing of spirit, mind and body” (BCP, 861) is increasingly being incorporated into Sunday and weekday liturgies. This practicum is for parish clergy and for lay persons ministering under their supervision. Register here.

Bishop Arthur Crawshay Alliston Hall, the retired Bishop of Vermont and former  member of our Society, died on 26 February 1930 at Burlington, Vermont in the eighty-third year of his life and the fifty-third year of his religious profession.

Born in Berkshire, England in 1847, where his father was an officer in the British Army, Bishop Hall was educated at Christ Church, Oxford. Just before his graduation in 1869 he became a postulant in our community. He remained a novice for eight years until July 1877, three months after his thirtieth birthday, which in those days was the minimum age for profession in our Society. Father Hall went to the United States in 1873 to assist at the Church of the Advent, Boston (now the Church of St. John the Evangelist, Bowdoin Street). He went on to serve as the novice master at the house we then had at Bridgeport, Connecticut. He also served as priest-in-charge of St. John’s, Bowdoin Street. In 1882 he served, together with Father Sheppard as a missionary in British Columbia during the building of the Canadian Pacific Railroad. He became a naturalized American citizen in 1885. A friend of Phillips Brooks, Hall was recalled to England in 1891 after Brooks’ election as Bishop of Massachusetts. Because of accusations of Unitarianism against Brooks, it was feared that Halls association with him would imply the Society’s approval of Brooks’ theology and of his election to the episcopate. In 1893, while still in England word was received of Father Hall’s election to the episcopate for the Diocese of Vermont. He applied for release from his obligations to the Society in order that he might accept the election. With the permission granted he returned to the United States and was consecrated the second Bishop of Vermont on the Feast of the Purification, 1894. For the next thirty-six years he ministered tirelessly to his diocese and many outside of it. Although no longer a member of our Society, Bishop Hall chose to continue living the discipline of a Religious and never sought release from his vows. He used his gifts of spiritual discernment to lead his clergy and people. Bishop Hall died having outlived two co-adjutors elected to succeed him. He is buried in Rock Point Cemetery at Burlington, Vermont.

 

As Christians, we belong to God and to one another. In the second “Mark of Love” we are called to help nurture God’s love within one another. As Br. David Vryhof explains in this introduction to the third week of the series, community is a necessity of Christian life because we are people of love who are called to encourage one another in this new life.

Activity: Well of Life


Transcript: In our baptisms, we are “sealed by the Holy Spirit and marked as Christ’s own forever.”  We belong to God.  And we belong to God not only as individuals but as a collective body.  Christianity is a communal religion.  We are joined in baptism to other believers in the Body of Christ.  We belong to one another as well.  And in this Body, we have the function of supporting and helping one another, nurturing God’s life within each individual member.

So this week we’ll be focusing on the Second Mark of Love, or the Second Mark of Mission, which is “to teach, to baptize, and to nurture new believers.”  And in a sense, it’s not just new believers, but all of us believers, who are stepping into this new way of life and who need teaching and encouragement along the way.

The life of God within us is a life to be learned, and to nurture, and to grow.  We learn from one another a different way of living in the world.  We help one another understand the different values of life in the Kingdom.  We help one another embrace Jesus’ love and life within us and to participate with one another’s support and encouragement in the mission of God in the world.

So community is never an option for a Christian, or just an alternative that we can choose or not choose.  It’s a necessity for Christian life.  And it is an important part of the church’s witness and work in the world to nurture, and to teach, and to grow believers.  This has been true from the very beginning.  Jesus gathered around him a community of disciples and these disciples formed communities of early believers who lived out the message in the world, and who demonstrated the life of God, and the ways of the Kingdom, in the way that they related to one another, in the way that they treated one another and treated others, in the way that they expressed their love for God and for one another.  We are a people of love who have been born from love and are called to live in love.  And to live in love means to live in unity and peace with one another.

And so in this Second Mark of Mission, we encourage one another in this new life.  We build up one another.  We help one another to move deeper into the reality of living in God’s Kingdom.  We are looking forward to sharing with you some of our ideas and to encourage you to think and meditate on your own participation in the collective life of God’s people, the Church.

– Br. David Vryhof

Week 3 Activity: Well of Life
This activity invites you to explore the Baptismal Covenant in prayer and reflection during your day and throughout the week. Each morning, write a short prayer based on that day’s question from the Baptismal Covenant. Each evening, reflect on how you are living into this aspect of your faith.

Watch Video Guidance | Download Activity as PDF | Sample Completed Activity