Kristy Moore reflects on her Reach the Beach race and love for Camp Calumet


 
            Hello, everyone! My name is Kristy Moore. I am a member here at St. Paul along with my husband, John Christianson, and our two boys, Isak and Jordan. As many of you know, Camp Calumet is the outdoor ministry of the ELCA New England Synod. It is a beautiful, lakefront, year-round camp and conference center. St. Paul has a long history with Calumet, notably two certain former members who are now running the camp, Executive Director, Karl Ogren, and Director of Development, Knute Ogren. I remember coming to St. Paul on many occasions related to Calumet, whether it be our winter staff reunions, or hosting a Bunch of Guys concert during their Take a Breath "tour". St. Paul continues to support Calumet's ministry. 
 
            For the last 6 years, Calumet has fielded teams in the 200-mile relay race called Reach the Beach (RTB). The race runs from Bretton Woods to Hampton Beach and takes over 24 hours to complete. A team of 12 splits into 2 vans and make their way, one leg at a time, 36 legs total, from the mountains to the beach. It is also our annual fundraiser for Calumet’s campership fund. On Sept 16-17, I ran with Calumet again this year, for my second RTB. My 16 miles total were beautiful, and yes, tiring on only an hour of sleep! But, it is rewarding knowing the money we raise helps young people and families around New England (and beyond!) to be able to experience the beauty and Grace of Calumet. We have raised over $80,000 this year!
 
            I wanted to take a moment to share with you all what this place means to me. John and I met as kids at Calumet and worked on staff together for many springs and summers. This place is my tonic, my refuge, my solace. It is the place where I fell in love with the Lord, the Earth, and my husband. It is the place where my older son learned to ride a two wheeler, and where my younger son first told me he loved me. It is the place where the sun broke through the clouds the exact moment I entered the outdoor chapel with my parents on either side of me in my white dress and the lyrics of Just As I Am filled my ears. Yep, we got married in the place where we met, the place where we both learned about lifelong friendship, hard work, social justice, leadership, God's Grace, the joy of children, and the healing power of the breeze along the lakeshore.

            The real beauty of camp is that it taught me how to be ME in the midst of those confusing mixed messages of life and love and religion and morality. Are you here or there? Are you devoutly obedient or a charlatan? Are you reserved and reverent or shallow and shameful? Well, maybe I'm both and neither! Aren't we all? Sinner and saint, right? But this place, this temple, allows that paradox to have a space, and makes you feel safe to unpack it in the calm shadow of the Cross or in the glassy mirror of the lake at sunrise.

            And now, at the end of every summer I have the privilege of witnessing the next generation fall in love with it too. My friends and I get to watch our kids create, compete, explore, concede, sing, and soar like we did. As we walk down the many paths between the soccer field and the lakefront cabins, or between the archery field and the mini-golf course, or up the nearby mountain trails past all the family campsites, I watch them as they bike side by side in front of us and wonder what secrets they'll keep for each other... and from us. I delight in the fact that they will protect each other the way my friends and I protected each other. What will their camp stories be? In the meantime, I am giddy with the knowledge that my camp story continues to be written, not as a young camper, or a counselor, or a trip leader and wilderness first responder, not as a department head, and not as a leadership trainer for the next generation... but as a Mom.

            Calumet is the single most influential place in my faith formation and that is why I join the efforts in running Reach the Beach, so that campership can be available to ANYone who needs one. Many of you have experienced the joy of Calumet yourselves. Please consider a donation to contribute to these funds that allow children, who would not otherwise be able to afford camp, to go and have the best week or two of their lives! You can learn more about Calumet, RTB, and how to make a donation at: www.calumet.org/followtherace. Even though the race is over, donations are still coming in! Thanks so much.


Blessings,
Kristy Moore

Serving on St. Paul’s Intern Committee: What I’ve Learned Eric Haugen, Committee Chair

As I write this, St. Paul is in a transition period with our Vicars. Alissa is off to her first call at Good Shepherd in Quincy, and Alex Clark will join us next week to begin his intern year.  It’s a good time to reflect on St. Paul’s annual commitment to hosting an Intern and what serving on the Vicar Committee has meant to me.
 
I’ve been fortunate to be part of the committee for the past two years – one as a member during Eric Worringer’s year, and one as chairman with Alissa.  The committee supports the Vicar during their time at St. Paul while offering advice, feedback, and a safe, confidential space to share their joys and struggles during our monthly meetings. We also prepare mid-term and final evaluations of the intern for the seminary and synod. 
 
Working with Eric and Alissa has been a wonderful experience. As a relatively new (joined in June 2014) member here, I’ve had the opportunity to learn about St. Paul alongside our Vicars. I’ve been impressed by their enthusiasm and desire to move the church forward while still respecting the many traditions here. In their own way, Alissa and Eric each displayed a level of wisdom that far exceeded their age or career experience. With young pastors like them in the pipeline, the future of the Lutheran church is in good hands.
 
I’ve also come to appreciate the diverse skill set required of a great pastor. Compassion, intellectual curiosity, counseling, biblical scholarship, public speaking, and fundraising are just a few of the important gifts displayed by Ross and the many men and women who lead our churches. 
 
Recruiting should probably be added to that list – Ross is never afraid to ask St. Paul’s membership to give their time and talents to the church! I’m so grateful for all the members who generously volunteer their time to serve St. Paul. It would not be the same vibrant, energetic place without those who fill so many roles on Sunday and throughout the week on various committees.  
 
Once Alex arrives, there are several things we can do as a congregation to support him. I apologize if some of them seem obvious:
 

  • Remember Alex is a newcomer to the Boston area. He’ll be adjusting to a new city, a new home, a new job, and a new group of 500+ church members.
  • Please tell Alex your name (before being asked) each time you meet him for at least the first three months.It will ease any potential anxiety from having to remember so many names.
  • Remember that Alex is a student who is coming to St. Paul to serve and learn.Although he will be performing several pastoral duties, he is not yet a pastor.
  • Allow Alex the freedom to grow, the freedom to try new things, and the freedom to fail.

Looking Back and Moving Ahead

By Helen Schmidt
August 4m 2016


            St. Paul has been a part of my life for almost my entire life. There was a brief period of time right after I was born that my family attended a different church, but I don’t remember any of it so I don’t think it counts. I grew up at St. Paul. I remember the old fellowship hall with the mural of Noah’s Ark on the back wall, I remember singing ‘Jesus loves me, this I know’ in the old kitchen, and I remember holding Pastor Henry’s hand while we prayed during Children’s Time before the sermon, and I remember when the addition was put in and how different everything seemed. I went through Sunday school and Godly Play and confirmation and then helped teach some of those same classes. I’ve helped set up and clean up after so many coffee hours that I don’t even want to think about trying to count them. And now I’m nearing the end of my stint as the parish administrator. I think the one thing I haven’t done here so far is preach a sermon. Needless to say, being a part of St. Paul has had a huge influence on who I have become as a person.
            This is why it was so strange for me when I got to college at Texas A&M. Though I grew up and have been involved with a church my whole life, religious culture in Texas (and especially at A&M, which has been ranked as the most conservative college campus in the nation) is very different than it is in Massachusetts. One of the first girls I met there told me she wanted to be a missionary and go to India to spread the Gospel. I had never met anyone like that before. My roommate was nice enough but we had very different views on life and faith. She believed that unless you proclaimed aloud that Jesus is your Lord and savior, you would go to hell. My conception of the afterlife is much more nuanced. These two young women were not outliers. There were Bible study groups everywhere. One of the most popular weekly events on campus is a non-denominational worship service called Breakaway, held in our sports arena. Every week it is packed. And through all of this is an unspoken pressure to fit in.
            I didn’t attend church weekly my freshman year, and that’s something I hope to change as I head into my sophomore year. Being in such a different religious culture shook me. At times I felt much more religious, and at times I questioned my ties to any sort of church at all. Everyone there seemed so sure of their faith and it was so different from mine (even though we believed in the same core stories and ideas) that I found myself thinking, “If this is what it means to be a Christian, I don’t want to be one.” I was going back and forth between two extremes, neither of which felt right to me. There are a few ELCA churches in College Station and I wish I had looked into them last year. My hope for this year is to find a middle ground at one of those churches- one where people are welcomed as they are. And if I can’t find that place, I’ll make it myself.

            On another note, next week will be my last week here at St. Paul as Parish Admin. I'd like to thank everyone who has made my time here so meaningful and fun! Ross and Alissa keep asking me to drop out of college so I can keep working here, but unfortunately I would like to fulfill my higher education and get a degree, so I must leave.

New England School of Lay Ministry

By Lynn Geraci
July 28, 2016

As a recent graduate of the New England Synod School of Lay Ministry, I was asked to write a reflection on my experience. As I was preparing this, at the last minute I came across a reflection and prayer written by Joyce Rupp, a Christian author and retreat director that really resonated with my heart’s prayer, but of course, she put it much more eloquently. 

Source of my life, Home of my spiritual heritage, pick me up from the path of my fruitless wanderings.  Carry me back to you, the birthplace of loving kindness.

Be tender with my fears.  Draw me out if I tend to pull back.  When I get buried in the darkened corridors of uncertainty, help me emerge from my mud-laden shell of confusion.

Reorient me in the right direction that leads toward you.  Show me time and again how to arrive where I belong.  Encourage me to eagerly seek your presence.

Remind me often that you are my Source and true Home.”

As I read this, it really seemed to express my prayer and my journey through the Lay Ministry program.  In a very life-giving way, it helped pick me up and lead me to a deeper and clearer understanding of the direction I was supposed to be going on in my faith journey.  I found myself feeling that Rupp’s prayer had been mine for a long time.

About two years ago, I felt like that lost turtle, trying to peak my head out to find which direction to go and hoping the path would be shown to me.  Then, I saw the blurb in our Sunday bulletin about the program.  I was struck with the theme of that year being on the way Lutherans interpret the Bible. After some prayer and searching for more information on their website, I talked to Pastor Ross and began that September.  And WOW, what a journey it was.   

This program helped me to become stronger and more confident in my own faith journey.  It helped to guide me in God’s call to an ever-growing faith that has not felt this strong in a very long time, if ever.  It was not only through the curriculum of the program, but also the sharing, the relationships built and the commitment experienced in so many different ways that my faith deepened. Being able to be with others who were searching and yearning for more in their faith life was so inspirational and such a learning process that I cannot imagine it being done in any other way. 

To hear more of my story, and that of Lionel Goulet’s, come to the first Adult Forum in September where we will be sharing more information and insights we gained from the New England School of Lay Ministry.

Registration for this year ends on August 15th, so if you are yearning and searching for new understanding, please feel free to talk with me, Pastor Ross, and/or check out the website to get more information:  www.nesynodslm.com.

Who Is My Neighbor?

By Alison Roberts
July 12, 2016

Dunkin Donuts coffe and a fire extinguisher

---
Luke 10:25-37
  25Just then a lawyer stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he said, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 26He said to him, “What is written in the law? What do you read there?” 27He answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” 28And he said to him, “You have given the right answer; do this, and you will live.”
  29But wanting to justify himself, he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” 30Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell into the hands of robbers, who stripped him, beat him, and went away, leaving him half dead. 31Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33But a Samaritan while traveling came near him; and when he saw him, he was moved with pity. 34He went to him and bandaged his wounds, having poured oil and wine on them. Then he put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. 35The next day he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said, ‘Take care of him; and when I come back, I will repay you whatever more you spend.’ 36Which of these three, do you think, was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?” 37He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”
---

  A couple of years ago a fire started in the apartment building where I live. There are 49 apartments in our building, but the fire started just after 4am, so nobody was awake and nobody noticed it. The smoke alarms didn't even detect anything because the fire started outside on a balcony. We all kept sleeping while the fire grew bigger and bigger.
  Luckily we live across the street from a Dunkin Donuts that opens at 5am. Staff arriving early for work that morning -- Harmoney and Mohammed -- saw the flames coming from our building and called 911. Mohammed also ran over to the nearby police station to be sure help would come as quickly as possible. Thank God for these people who saw our distress and took action when we couldn't!
  The first thing I noticed that morning was a loud commotion in the hallway around 4:30am. I woke up and called 911 when I heard someone kicking in the door of the apartment across the hall. The 911 dispatcher told me there was a balcony fire, and then suddenly I heard the fire alarm, so I put on my shoes and made my way outside... I was surprised to see so many firefighters already working on the fire -- there wasn't any smoke in the hallway yet -- but firefighters were bringing in lots of equipment and they also had someone on a huge ladder fighting the fire from the outside. By the time most of us woke up and got outside, the firefighters had already contained the fire, and it was only a few more minutes before they had it completely extinguished. No one was injured and very little property damage occurred. This felt like a miracle because balcony fires can be especially dangerous in large apartment buildings like ours.
  It was early July, so the sun was beginning to come up as we stood outside in our bathrobes watching the firefighters. When it got to be 5am, some of us walked across the street for coffee (and to use the bathroom, since we weren't allowed back in our building yet) and we heard the story of how the Dunkin Donuts staff saw the fire and called 911. We talked about feeling grateful for all the people who took care of us that morning: the Dunkin Donuts staff who called 911, the 911 dispatchers, the firefighters, and all the people over the years who had the foresight to spend time and money developing systems and equipment to make this emergency response as efficient as it was. When we heard that the cause of the fire was an improperly discarded cigarette, we started talking about how we all have a responsibility to think of our neighbors in everything we do...
  Many times when we read Jesus' parable about "the good Samaritan," we have a tendency to want to identify with the Samaritan in the story -- we say to ourselves, "God calls us to help everyone who needs us!" But I don't think this is exactly how Jesus intended for us to hear this story. Jesus was answering the question, "Who is my neighbor?" -- so, since Jesus ended the parable with the question, "Which of these three, do you think, was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?" (instead of asking from the Samaritan's point of view, "Who was the Samaritan's neighbor?") -- therefore I think Jesus intended for his listeners to identify with the man who was beaten and vulnerable, rather than with the Samaritan who helped him.
  The difference between these two interpretations is significant.
  If we focus too much on the Samaritan helper, we might end up seeing ourselves as mini-messiahs who must constantly be saving the world, which is both arrogant and unhealthy. This attitude leads to ego-superiority and compassion-fatigue and guilt.
  However, if we identify with the man who received help from the Samaritan, we might get a sense of the same gratitude my neighbors and I felt when we were saved by the Dunkin Donuts employees and the firefighters. The theme is interdependence. The answer to the question, "Who is my neighbor?" is: "You'd better hope ALL the people around you are your neighbors! Because you need them as much as they need you." I think Jesus was using this parable to tell the Pharisees that no matter how powerful or "chosen" or important we think we are, we will always need some kind of help from others. It's about learning to notice how interconnected we all are, and letting our response to our neighbors flow from that.
  The fire started in my apartment building on a Sunday morning just after the 4th of July in 2014. Since then, I always think back to it when Independence Day rolls around, because it reminds me that none of us is truly independent -- instead we are all INTERdependent, both as individuals and as nations.

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