The Rev. Lynn Rutledge shows St. Aiden’s the cushion cover she made for the cathedral of the diocese.
And they went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia. And when they had come up to Mysia, they attempted to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them. So, passing by Mysia, they went down to Troas. And a vision appeared to Paul in the night: a man of Macedonia was standing there, urging him and saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” And Paul had seen the vision immediately we sought to go on into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.
So, setting sail from Troas, we made a direct voyage to Samothrace, and the following day Neapolis, and from there to Philippi, which is the leading city of the district of Macedonia and the Roman colony. We remained in this city some days. And on the Sabbath day we went outside the gate to the riverside, where we supposed there was a place of prayer, and we sat down and spoke to the women who had come together. One who heard us was a woman named Lydia, from the city Thyatira, a seller of purple goods, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul. And after she was baptized, and her household was, she urged us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay.” And she prevailed upon us.
The Episcopal Diocese of Maine as well as the Connecticut, Southwest Virginia, and East Tennessee Dioceses are currently enrolled in a national program called Living Local: Joining God. Its emphasis is on listening to God and to each other beyond the walls of our church. It is not another layer of theological programs for the church to enact. It is about getting out of our own building and meeting our neighbors in the fullest sense of that word. God is everywhere. We are learning to look and listen for God and learn more about ourselves and our communities. To learn more details about this project please contact us.
Members of our “Living Local Joining God” Team are Karen Varian, Steve Colhoun, Dale Miller and Gale Peters.
There are several parts of Living Local: Joining God in the Neighborhood. One significant part is Dwelling in the Word. We are asked to turn to Scripture for our inspiration. Our initial verses were from Luke 10:1-12. Each participating parish was asked to use these verses at the beginning of every group meeting. Our new verses are Acts 16:6-15 to be used in the same way.
At St. Aidan’s, we use these verses at each Vestry meeting. The idea is to read the same verses each time you meet and reflect on the meaning then and there through a series of questions. We then turn to a partner and ask for their answers without commenting. Then, they interview us. The group comes back together, and each person reports on what they heard, not what they themselves said. This is often a real challenge. Experiences change, and our reaction to Biblical verses is often colored by where we are in the moment. Click on Luke 10:1-12 or Acts 16:6-15. See how you would respond to the three short questions. Read the same verses in a day or two. Do you dwell on anything differently?
These verses call us to go out into our communities to listen and learn. There we will find God. Our goal is to join God in our neighborhoods and be a witness. Try this experiment. Go out into your daily life and see how you would answer the questions in A Simple Neighborhood Walk or Observation Location. Take a walk around and just listen. How often do any of us listen to others? We are usually too busy projecting our own voice. Give it a try. Go out and listen. We would appreciate hearing back from you!
Living Local: Joining God in the Neighborhood is an on-going process. We will be adding more later. We will share our experiments engaging with others according to their needs and the outcomes.
Dwelling in the Word
After this the Lord appointed seventy others and sent them on ahead of him in pairs to every town and place where he himself intended to go. He said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore, ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. Go on your way. See, I am sending you out like lambs into the midst of wolves. Carry no purse, no bag, no sandals; and greet no one on the road. Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace to this house!’ And if anyone is there who shares in peace, your peace will rest on that person; but if not, it will return to you. Remain in the same house, eating and drinking whatever they provide, for the laborer deserves to be paid. Do not move about from house to house. Whenever you enter a town and its people welcome you, eat what is set before you; cure the sick who are there, and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’ But whenever you enter a town and they do not welcome you, go out into its streets and say, ‘Even the dust of your town that clings to our feet, we wipe off in protest against you. Yet know this: the kingdom of God has come near.’ I tell you, on that day it will be more tolerable for Sodom than for that town.”
Steve is a member of the Living Local: Joining God in the Neighborhood team at St. Aidan’s. This is how he has put the ideals of the LL:JG into practice by meeting people outside of our church building, too. Steve is a volunteer extraordinaire! Steve has been a member of St. Aidan’s for several years now. In that time, he has contributed to our parish. With equal gusto, he is a volunteer in the community. Steve volunteers 4 to 5 hours per week at the Down East Community Hospital. If you are interested in volunteering your time at the hospital contact Tammy Denning at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the web www.dech.org. There is superb volunteer training and those who wish to give of their time can work in a variety of departments. The time you contribute helps free up the professional staff so they can do their jobs more efficiently.
Steve also volunteers at the Jonesport Elementary School. Steve recommends that you give your local school system a call. There may be a program in place that allows community members help improve your local school. By being a volunteer you are giving the most valuable gift of all – your time. Many hands do make light work.
Come to St. Aidan’s and you might just meet Joanne Jacob. She is here most of the year but does spend some winter months with her family in warmer climes. Her part-time status in Maine does not stop her from being a very active member of the church and the community. She is currently on the Vestry and its former secretary. She has contributed so much to our church in time, talent and treasure. Joanne is also a part of Living Local: Joining God in the Neighborhood.
She lives out her faith in the community as well. She is presently on the board of Sunrise Opportunities. Sunrise assists children and adults living in Washington, Eastern Hancock, and Penobscot County who have a mental illness, intellectual disability or are in need of counseling. Their mission statement is as follows: Sunrise Opportunities shines light into our communities by providing creative services and environments in which all can thrive, enjoy a high quality of life, and reach personal goals.
Joanne is also involved with Sunrise Senior College a program for those over 50 who want to continue their education without the pressure or expense. Just for the fun of it! Joanne is on the Special Programs Committee. This is no surprise as Joanne is one very special person. A former nurse who has lived in Greenwich Village and Allentown, PA, she has made herself right at home at St. Aidan’s.