Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Sophia's Well of Wisdom - March 2015

March 2015 Newsletter
SOPHIA'S Well of Wisdom
Meet me at the Well. . . 
Dear Loraine,

The weather has been so lovely here in the Gold Country and we are basking in the coming Spring. The daffodils our in full bloom and Daffodil Hill opened two weeks early this year. Gather with us at The Well to support your and each other's Path of the Soul. We strive to support Spiritual Community Life in Amador County. 

Mission is to serve all who come in search of Wholeness. 
As such, we endeavor to create and hold a sacred and safe place to engage spiritual community and provide holistic services to enable each person to discover Inner Light, to connect with Soul, to embody Spirit, and to encounter Sacred Wisdom in everyday life.

March's Wisdom Topic: The Ageless Wisdom
We have already covered the first two weeks of this topic and all who have attended discovered that we have been studying the Ageless Wisdom all along. Looking at some of the basic principles and concepts, we discovered the Primary Principle of Ageless Wisdom is Oneness, out last year's theme. Last Sunday we covered the Religious Impulse in the Ageless Wisdom. Next Sunday 3/15 we will explore a much misunderstood topic - Spiritual Hierarchy. On 3/22, not only will be celebrate the SPRING EQUINOX, but also look at the role of Service as a fundamental teaching of the Ageless Wisdom. I will be hosting these circle gatherings. The last topic for March will point to some of the Dangers that one may encounter along the path. Lynnea Honn will host this class. The topics this month are an introduction that will lead to the year-long in-depth inquiry of the Esoteric Philosophy revealed in the Ageless Wisdom Teachings throughout time and across cultures and religions. 

Saturday March 14
1 - 4:30pm

Join us for a fun and inspiring afternoon exploring some of the Spiritual Arts.

Rev. Patsy will share some intuitive development tools to explore the nature of your True Self, the Soul.

Shari Anderson will guide participants to a delightful voice expression.

Reiki Healing Touch practitioners will share healing work through a Healing Circle.

We will also enjoy an AFTERNOON TEA break.

Wear comfortable clothes and come to play and enjoy your spiritual life.

Do RSVP so we'll know how many scones to make for the Tea break! 

Call Patsy at 209-418-9003

Rev. Tracy Johnson
Celebrating the Spring Equinox
The annual Spring Equinox Celebration will be held onSunday March22 hosted by Rev. Tracy Johnson. This is a wonderful time to stop and contemplate the message of the Season, its gifts, inspiration, challenges, and 
opportunities to further advance on our spiritual journey. All who attend these Celebrations of the Seasons leave refreshed and strengthened. Our celebration will be combined with meditation and other activities and replace the regular Sunday Meditation starting at 10am.

Yes! The 5-week Meditation classes are still offered on Wednesdays. Lynnea Honn teaches the morning classes and Patricia Green teaches the evening classes, which are offered as often as a small group of people register for them. You can call Lynnea, the registrar, at 209-304-6174 to find out the next class schedule or to be put on the waiting list for the next class. 

Coming Soon: Intuitive Therapies
Amel Tafsout has provided Sacred Dance classes at SOPHIA's for about a year now. She's off to her annual European tour through March and most of April. When she returns, Amel has agreed to use her gifts, experience and training in the Intuitive Arts and Spiritual Response Therapy to provide services on Tuesdays. Watch for further announcements next month. She will resume her Sacred Dance classes when she returns in late April. 
We appreciate your support to maintain an Inter-Spiritual ministry in Amador County. Our programs will continue as long as people support the work through their presence and the financial support needed to operate the center. Community services are by donation and SOPHIA'S is tax-exempt through its association with Light of Christ Community Church. Individual services are fee-based at reasonable rates with adjustments made for those in need. Besides sacred education classes and meditation groups, spiritual care and holistic healing services are offered. 

Well of Wisdom
270A Hanford Street
Sutter Creek, CA 95685

Sunday Meditation 10am
Sunday Wisdom Circle 11am
 Monday Women Writers 6pm
Tuesday A Course in Miracles 7pm

Inquire for Next Scheduled Classes
Wednesday Meditation Classes 10am or 6pm 
Wednesday Sacred Dance 12:30pm

By Appointment
Spiritual Direction
Meditation Therapy
Contemplative Massage and Bodywork
Reiki Healing Touch

Spring Blessings,

Rev. Patsy Walker Fine, D.Min.
Minister, CMT/RMT

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Sermon: Hitting the Target: The Goal of Christianity - Rev. Karen Faye Siegfriedt

By the Rev. Karen Faye Siegfriedt; Trinity Episcopal Church, Sutter Creek, CA
Lent 3/B    3-08-15
      If you’ve ever gone to target practice, you know that there are certain fundamentals. The stance you take is very important.  You must face the target with feet apart, lean forward, and slightly bend one or both knees.  You need to have a good grip, a smooth draw, a keen eye, good breathing technique, careful trigger control, and a clean follow through.  Aim big, miss small!  Once you have mastered these techniques, you should be successful in hitting your target, at least most of the time.
      The religious journey is all about learning to keep our eyes focused on the target and to acquire certain skills that will help us hit the bull’s eye. These skills are honed when we practice the spiritual disciplines. So we pray, we read the scriptures, we reach out in compassion to serve others, we worship together, we live moral lives, and we follow in the footsteps of Jesus by making choices based on what is honorable and true.  We share our resources, we open our hearts, minds, and bodies to God’s grace, and we strive for justice, peace, and the dignity of every human being.  The season of Lent is that time of the year when we especially focus on these disciplines.

      However, even if we practice all of these spiritual disciplines we will not reach our goal unless we know what and where the target is.  So here is my question:  What do you think the target or the goal of Christianity is?  In my experience as a priest, many folks have never really asked or pondered this question.  Some have set their sites on short range targets like “being a nice person” or “growing a parish church” or belonging to a community of faith where people are “friendly and happy.”  Others think that the goal of Christianity is to believe and say the right things like: “Jesus is the Son of God” or “Jesus died for my sins” or accept in the many dogmas and doctrines that have arisen over the years.  And while these are important in understanding the goal of Christianity, they are not the final target.

      No wonder Christians have easily fallen off track and have gotten distracted with minutia.  Just think how much time and energy have been expended in the Episcopal Church (as well as most churches in the United States) on issues like women’s ordination and the inclusion of gay and lesbian persons.   What was that all about?  What I would like to talk about today is the goal of Christianity and those things that prevent us from hitting the target.  I will use the reading from Exodus as my text.

      So let’s begin with the goal of Christianity, which has to do with unity, harmony, and peace throughout the entire creation.  Before his death, Jesus prayed, “We all may be one.” (Jn 17:21)   Elsewhere in the gospel of John he says: “When I am lifted up, I will draw all to myself.” (Jn. 12:31)  In trying to explain his key mission, Jesus said: “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”  (Jn. 10:10)  From this vision of what the Kingdom of God would look like, the Church took upon itself its primary mission:  “The mission of the church is “to restore all people to unity with God and each other in Christ.” (BCP 855)  And what would a full restoration look like?   We would become like Jesus, having the mind of Christ and being transformed into his likeness.  And when this Christ consciousness happens in its fullness, the Kingdom of God will be complete.  This is the goal or target of Christianity.  This is where we aim our sites.  So, where do we start?

      We start with Christian target practice.  We need to work on our stance by living the moral life.  Our grip on the truth needs to be discerning, pure and honest.  Our draw needs to embrace all of God’s creatures.  We have to keep our focus on the glory of God, not on “me, myself, and I.”  Our breathing needs to be healthful and calm, surrounded by an environment of clean air and water.  And our aim needs to be pointed at justice, peace, and the dignity of every human being.  And one of the ways we can improve our chances of hitting the target is by following the 10 commandments.

      In our first reading, Moses has had a mystical experience of God up on the mountaintop.  It is during this mystical experience that he discerned God’s wisdom about how the Hebrew people should relate to one another and to God if they are to grow into a healthy society. These statues were vital to the survival of the Hebrew community some 3200 years ago; a community that was transitioning from being a loosely-knit band of slaves into a settled agricultural community.  These ten essentials kept chaos from breaking out and wreaking havoc among Gods’ chosen people. They eventually became the foundation of their faith.  And since that time, Christians have also embraced these commandments as a way to live in a healthy relationship with God, family, and society.

      We all know the 10 commandments and if I were to repeat them now, you would probably start daydreaming.  So I thought I would paint a picture of what life looks like when we totally ignore the 10 commandments.  

      So let’s start at the beginning of the list:

      Instead of worshipping the one God of Abraham, why not take up company with the whole pantheon of gods.  Let’s worship Bacchus, the god of joy, whom people celebrate with devote loyalty as they eat, drink, and be merry without considering the impact of this hedonistic lifestyle on themselves or society.  Let’s keep Mars alive, the god of war, whom we serve in order to gain security, oil, or property.  Some of us have such loyalty to this god, that we allow about 25% of our national budget to support him. We pour out our treasure and lay the lives of our young people upon his military altar, building machines of destruction while relying on acts of violence to save the planet.  And don’t forget the fertility god, Baal, who has become very popular in recent times as people spend hundreds of thousands of dollars in fertility treatments while others support the multi billion-dollar sex industry.

      As for false idols, well, the golden calf still holds first place in our world today where people are allowed to take advantage and step on others in the name of economics.  Who cares about the common good if we can squirrel away more money for ourselves?  So what if greed infects our politics, our financial institutions, and our hearts.  After all, we need to satisfy our appetites first and foremost!

      Using the Lord’s name in vain?  Why not use the name of Jesus to justify our prejudices or to oppress those who are different from us.  Better to blame him than take personal responsibility.

      Sabbath taking?  Huh!  Keep those stores open 7 days a week and make sure there is not one day in the week when families can come together and enjoy some much needed rest.

      Who wants to honor father and mother especially when it becomes inconvenient!  Let’s bleed them of their money while they have it and then put them away when they get too old.   

      Murder?  Don’t you know life is cheap?  After all, there are over 6 billion people on the planet.  Why not exploit children, immigrants, and those in third world countries, especially if it is to our advantage.  They would die anyway of poverty and disease so we might as well use them while they are still alive.  Kill those troublemakers in the Middle East and while we are at it, let’s get rid of the prison population.

      Adultery?  Get real. If it feels good, then do it. Who cares if relationships are broken and commitments are compromised or someone gets an STD.  People have been doing it for centuries so why stop now?

      Stealing?  Hey-junk bonds, computer hacking, stock manipulation, deceptive lotteries, Savings and Loan debacles, not honoring pension plans…these are all part and parcel of the 21st century so just get used it. False witness?  Harrumph…lie when it is to your advantage.  After all, what harm is there in padding a resume, making false campaign promises, doctoring evidence, using doublespeak, perjuring, or exaggerating and misrepresenting a product for sale.  Everyone does it.

      And speaking of products for sale, if it wasn’t for coveting, (desiring more, bigger, better, and faster), our economy would suffer.  Don’t you know that “the one with the most toys wins?”

      Whenever a people worship multiple gods, come under the spell of idols, ignore the sanctity of marriage, cheat, lie, steal, and focus on possessing what does not belong to them, there can be no unity or community.  Without some kind of moral agreement, society becomes fractured and remains in turmoil.  To miss the mark, to miss the target, to wander from the path of righteousness, to violate the divine law or to trespass against any creature of God is summed up in the Greek word, Hamartia, which in religious language is translated as sin.  And it is sin (alienation from God and one another) that prevents us from hitting our target & reaching the goal of the Christian faith.

      Before he died, Jesus prayed that “we all may be one.”  The 10 commandments are a gift to us, divine wisdom coming from above that can help keep us on this path towards the fullness of the kingdom of God.

      Listen to what the spirit is saying to God’s people!

Friday, March 6, 2015

Trinity Tidings - March 2015

New Header
Trinity Tidings
The E Newsletter of Trinity Episcopal Church, Sutter Creek

March 2015

In This Issue
Rector's Report
Vestry Briefs
Did You Know?
Lenten Soup Suppers
Care Package Project
March Fun!
Food Bank Donations
Trinity Singers Rehearsals
Birthdays this month
Would You Like to Contribute to the Newsletter
Quick Links...

Rector's Report for March    

           This past month, your vestry and I attended a Congregational Leadership Conference sponsored by the diocese. The main topic was evangelism but there were other workshops for new vestry members as well as administrative topics. It was good to spend time with other churches and to have our vestry members get a larger perspective of the diocese.
            The diocese (not the individual parish church) is at the hub of the Episcopal Church. Episcopal means run by bishops. There are over 100 Episcopal Dioceses in the USA, each one overseen by a bishop who is elected by the people and clergy of the diocese. Bishop Barry Beisner is our bishop and he oversees about 79 churches in our diocese. Each year, we send a portion of our income to support the larger ministry of the diocese that includes a summer camp, mission, education, the office of the bishop and the larger Church (both national and international.)
            What stood out for me at this conference was the practical advice offered to Episcopalians for evangelization. To evangelize is not something that seems to come naturally for us. Maybe that is because we have this idea that evangelism is about hitting people on the head with a bible or going door-to-door like a salesman. However, evangelism is simply about spreading the good news and there are many different techniques to do this. Bottom line: If the news is good, it is easy to spread! Just think about how easy it is to recommend a restaurant after you have had a good meal. The same goes about spreading good news regarding acts of generosity and compassion, thanksgiving, courage, service to others, and a meaningful experience at your home church.
            For instance, if you use Facebook, it is just as easy to post a photo of something going on at our church or a spiritually enlightening quote as it is to put a photo of your vacation or a news article that interested you. Below are some of the tips I received regarding evangelism at the conference. Since all of us want Trinity Church to thrive into the next generation, all of us need to be evangelists...at least in the Episcopal Way!
  1. If someone asks you how your weekend went, instead of just saying O.K., share with the person something that happened at Trinity like: "I went to church this Sunday and heard a great sermon on happiness." "The music was really good this week at church." "We had a fabulous coffee hour and I loved being with our community of faith." "We are collecting items for making food bags for the homeless. I am so proud of our community of faith."
  2. If you use Facebook, push the "share" button and share photos and events that are happening at the church. For instance, I posted several photos and invitations for Ash Wednesday services. Share these items on your Facebook and the word will go out to a larger audience.
  3. Think of three positive adjectives that would describe Trinity and then use these adjectives when speaking with friends and family. And even if they don't come to church, they might pass on this "good news" when speaking about our community of faith. For instance, I would say, "We are a friendly, inclusive, and fun-loving group of folks who care about outreach & healing. We love to gather together for friendship, eating, and worship."
  4. When someone asks: "What do you do?" Instead of just saying "I am retired" or "I work in an office", tell them that you are a beloved child of God or a Christian trying to make a difference or a parishioner at Trinity working at the Food Bank.
  5. There are three kinds of invitations that we can offer. They are:
    1. Front Door: The direct invitation to church. "Our church services are at 8:30 and 10:30 on Sunday. We are having a hymn sing next week and I would love for you to come. Can I give you a ride?"
    2. Side Door: Invite to a special event-not the main service on Sunday. "We are having a soup supper each Wednesday during the month of March followed by a spiritual cinema and discussion. Last week's was fabulous. Would you like to join me this Wednesday? I could pick you up at 5:45?"
    3. Breadcrumbs: Dropping positive statements about our special parish home. "Our church has very friendly folks." "I am deeply impressed with how much our church is involved in the Food Bank and feeding programs." "Our health ministry program is working to get a dialysis unit in Amador County."
 Trinity's vision is: "We are an inclusive, spiritually dynamic, loving Christian family sharing the good news of Jesus Christ with each other and the world." If we are to fully live into this vision so that Trinity thrives into the next generation, then all of us need to spread the good news. Please join me in this effort. Below are comments from your vestry leadership about what they learned at the conference.

Yours in Christ,
Pastor Karen Siegfriedt+

Vestry Comments re: Congregational Leadership Conference
(Ken Pitsenbarger): "A couple things from the conference that stuck with me. The single most effective invitation is personal, and someone you know. Our church has something that people in this world are longing for. God is preparing those people, right now, to come to our church. YOU are the link between God's call and your friend's longing for transformation. "If you're not dead, you're not done!""
(Carol Holt): "This year's Leadership conference was a time to get to know a little more about the new Canon to the Ordinary (the bishop's right hand person), Andrea McMillin. It was a time to talk to members of other congregations regarding Bible Study, Evangelism and of course treasurer duties. Paul and I have come away with an excitement for beginning a bible study group within Trinity. We decided that once we could get 4 or 5 of us committed then we would begin. We learned of resources that would make leadership of a group within our abilities. If you might be interested please speak to one of us."
(Keith Sweet): "Attending the congregational leadership conference was a pleasant experience shared with like-minded folk from around the diocese. It gave those of us from the vestry that attended, a little better understanding, not only about each other, but also about the common issues most all vestries face. There are always ways to run a more effective meeting and several of those strategies were shared and could probably be implemented in our vestry. I thought we fared very well when our website was compared to the model website.   Canon Andrea McMillin is an effective speaker with a good sense of humor and a quick mind and I look forward to hearing her preach someday soon. The food was good, the companionship pleasant, and grey hair was in abundance."
(Paul Lewis): "My experience at the Leadership Conference this past weekend was a beneficial, thought provoking, and spiritual experience. I attended 3 workshops during the course of the day: Two on being new to Vestry and what it entails, and the other on bible study.  One of the workshop leaders had the daunting task of summing up her 16 week bible study course in just an hour.  This was a huge undertaking, however, the knowledge and resources that she provided were well worth taking the class.  The two workshops designed for new vestry members were not quite what I was expecting but listening to our Bishop speak about unity and inclusivity in the greater Episcopalian community was a pleasure. Overall, to take part in a larger group of Christian leaders representing their respective churches was a gratifying experience." 
            (David Hoos): "The Congregational Leadership Conference gave me the opportunity to meet Vestry members from parishes both large and small; even smaller than Trinity! There is tremendous diversity in buildings, grounds, staffing and membership among the Parishes from Elk Grove to Yuba City to Cameron Park and Sacramento. I attended a morning workshop which focused on effective and efficient meetings.  Several ideas were presented that could be used at Trinity.  The afternoon workshop was focused around new members of a Vestry and what makes an effective Vestry.  Vestries should celebrate, embrace change and "take care of" the Rector.  Her physical and mental health are important to us and we need to insure that she makes use of continuing education opportunities and has plans for rest and relaxation. I left feeling positive; that this Vestry can support a healthy congregation, moving forward in the name of Christ."
Photos of Activities at Trinity in February:

Ecumenical Centering Prayer Workshop

Ash Wednesday Services

Vestry: Congregational Leadership Conference

Vestry Briefs for 2/26/15 (by Keith Sweet, Sr. Warden) 
The Vestry held its February meeting at the Rectory. Dinner was provided by the Rector, cooked by Steph, and heartily eaten by all. After a team building exercise and Bible study, the Rector led a discussion centered on vestry responsibilities, the churches mission statement, and the current Strategic Plan. The budgeting process and outputs were reviewed and questions were answered. Reports were made by the Junior Warden, the Rector and vestry members familiar with the activities of the Missio:Engage team. All future vestry meetings will be held in Jane's Hall beginning at 6pm. They are open to members of the congregation. The next meeting is on March 26th. The agenda will be emailed out approximately 10 days prior and will also be posted in Jane's Hall. The minutes, when approved, will also be available shortly after the date of their approval.

Did You Know? 
-Don Martin died and his memorial service was held on March 5th.
-A memorial service will be held at Trinity at 2pm on 3/15 for Jim McClenahan, the retired Health Officer of Amador County.
-Karl Kepner, Nancy Moore's father, died at the beginning of this month, surrounded by family.
-Marilyn Anderson is at Kit Carson in room 46. 
-Remember to turn your clocks ahead for Sunday.
-On March 15th, we will have a special hymn sing at both services. There will be a Celtic band at the 10:30 service and at the coffee hour following the service.

Lenten Soup Suppers

YOU ARE INVITED to join us at Trinity Episcopal Church forWednesday night SOUP SUPPERS program, discussion and fellowship, each Wednesday from February 25 through March 25
; in the parish hall, the building in the back of the parking lot, from 6 to 8pm. We are located at 430 Hwy. 49, across from Walgreens. For more information call 267-0255 or go totrinitysuttercreek.org or https://www.facebook.com/pages/Trinity-Episcopal-Church-Sutter-Creek/183379831681539facebook page. See you there!

Care Packages project
Our goal this year is 200 bags!  With all the generous hearts and hands of Trinity, we know we'll make our goal.  We are collecting items and funds for the Care Packages from March 1 through March 15.  Lists of needed items are in the back of the church and will be handed out in church on March 1 as well.  March 22 will be the assembly of the bags between the services.  Donation boxes are set up in the Parish Hall for food/non-food items and financial donations should be made out to Trinity with Care Packages on the item line.

Spring Work Days 
Our fun begins on Friday, March 13 from 9 AM until 3 PM and continues on Saturday, March 14 from 9 AM until Noon.  Coffee, doughnuts, treats on both days and on Friday, a pizza party as well!  The tasks will be listed and all equipment/supplies provided.  You just come, pick a project, and have some fun working with others from Trinity to put a special shine on Trinity for Easter. 

Food Bank Donations

The Food Bank's cart, in the sanctuary, yielded 125 lbs. of food in February.

Total giving in 2015 so far: 330 lbs. 

 Let's keep up the good work!

Trinity Singers Rehearsals
All are invited to join the Trinity Singers/Worship Team! Rehearsals are typically twice a month at 7PM. Bring your voices, your instruments, and a heart for worship and praise! For more information, please contact Carol Harper at 916-604-1872 or email carol@worshipattrinity.com. Web site: WorshipAtTrinity.com.

March Birthdays

The following members of our church family are celebrating birthdays in March!
17th- Gerry Moore 
19th- Donna Matson 

21st- Victoria Davis  
  22nd- Yvonne Draper 
   27th- Julie Lemos
  28th- Pastor Karen
  30th- Lyle Eidsmoe, Lou Narito 

If you are celebrating a birthday in March, but you don't see your name listed here, please contact our Parish Administrative Asst.

Would You Like to Contribute to the Newsletter?
If you have an article of interest to the congregation that you would like included in the newsletter, please email it to the office,office@trinitysuttercreek.org by the 20th of the month. It will be included in the next month's newsletter.