Sunday, May 8, 10:00AM
4-16-16 Prudence Paine Funeral, St. John’s, Westwood
Rev. Jennifer Phillips Eccles. 3:1-14; 1 Jn 3:1-2; Jn.14:1-6
When as a child I listened to John’s Gospel and heard Jesus remembered as saying” I have other sheep not of this fold,” I though he must mean that he had also come to save people not of this earth: extraterrestrials, Martians maybe…since I was a kid raised on a lot of Star Trek.
So when Jesus is remembered as also saying “I am the way, the truth, and the life” I do not think he was saying, “I will only usher only those with correct and orthodox faith into the kingdom of heaven”. The community of John’s Gospel whose handed-down memories and stories of Jesus about 70 years after his death, also recalled him saying, “in my Father’s house are many dwellings”. This refers not to mansions in our sense of Downton Abbey or Newport RI mansions, but simply shelters from the storm, even lean-to’s by the roadside, or maybe cabins – lots of them. This is a roomy vision of heaven with accommodations suitable and available for the great diversity of God’s children. God’s mercy has a wideness that can startle us and stretch our hearts’ capacity to love.
So I think with much affection of Prue, whose rich and interesting life we celebrate today, and who also had a roomy expectation of heaven. She was one of several Episcopalians who have said to me whilst patting Kester, “If there are no dogs in heaven, I don’t want to go.” You will remember about her those flashes of childlike delight and mischief: the way she sat in the choir loft and winked at the small child in the pew below who turned to look up at her. That tiny child learned to wink from Prue…and only a few days ago her daughter Katie described to me how Prue winked at her the evening before her death, with that same exaggerated sense of fun that built connections between Prue and children around her.
There are quite a few stories about costumes – like a dirndl Maria vonTrapp knockoff for her stewardship talk at church, and a chicken tea-cosy she wore on her head doing the turkey dance to persuade parishioners to bring turkeys fort the pantry at Thanksgiving. Jesus also said, the kingdom of heaven must be received like a child! “Morning has broken,” as we sing today, and the child in us can still see it shining fresh and dewy from the Creator’s hand.
We remember Prue’s teaching and healing ministries over the years – all born of a determination to build up the world. The practice of virtue in the human world requires a kind of dynamic balance: wisdom to discern what is necessary , effective, prudent and helpful; justice – an awareness that to each creature, each person, belongs a share of the world’s goods just because they are God’s creatures alongside us; temperance – a commitment to not consuming more of those goods than is our own just share; and courage – the will and the backbone to live out these ideals in the real world and bear the cost of doing so. Virtue- or righteousness- as it is known in the Bible – is our adaptation to circumstances while holding to our core beliefs and values… requiring as much dedication and skill as an Indy 500 driver needs to stay on the road safely in the race. When we meet someone who has learned a good measure of virtue from hard experience, who has got the knack, who even seems to practice it effortlessly, it is a gift and an inspiration. Those who come to a point of truly knowing that they are “forgiven, loved and free” children of God, with the capacity to do right, to admit and be pardoned for mistakes and lapses, and to find strength to carry on, help those around them to do likewise.
On Monday, some of us were serving our monthly chicken dinner for homeless neighbors at Oasis Ministries in downtown Boston, and remembering Prue’s passionate concern for justice and care of those society leaves behind. She understood about generosity that it was not just about sharing what we have with people who don’t have much, but about sharing ourselves unstintingly with other people and coming to know them. Lots of us have been the beneficiaries of her kindness – comforting words, hugs, time, conversation, even words of firm discipline, and many, many biscuits and cups of tea.
Prue loved to read and be read to, loved beautiful language opening amazing human worlds. She wanted others to share that joy and adventure, and it was one of the many ways she shared her huge love for you children and grandchildren, that you can pass on to others. She could also be very stubborn, and described herself as rather opinionated: one of the side effects of a lot of reading and a bright, engaged mind. She would be thrilled to know that in her memory we are invited to support a scholarship at her old haunt, Noble and Greenough School, in memory of the beloved son she lost far too young, Ian. Her losses and struggles confirmed kindness in her.
The poet Naomi Shahib Nye wrote this about “Kindness”:
…Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night
with plans and the simple breath
that kept him alive.
Before you know kindness
as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow
as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.
Then it is only kindness
that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day
to mail letters and purchase bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
it is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you every where
like a shadow or a friend.
Prue did not dwell on her sorrows of which she had a human share indeed, but let them be transformed in the alchemy of faith, time, determination and grace into kindness with a resonant joy of spirit.
I think that what we might best carry away from the Teacher Jesus who said, “I am the way, truth, and life,” is that truth, and a path to follow, and the abundant vitality that flows from these, are not things or abstract ideas, but a person, an incarnate – flesh and blood- living person with whom we are invited to be in relationship. That relationship, that friendship, transforms us toward our better selves, draws us into meaning-making. Her friendship with Christ shaped Prue. Ours with her has had a part in the shaping of each of us.
Prue wanted to leave you all with lots of music at this service as a gift of love. She picked out about thirty hymns for this service. (The good news is that you won’t have to sing them all this morning.) She chose music that looked toward the adventure of greater life with hope, and above all with joy, for she put her trust in a Jesus who said, “I have come so that you may have joy and have it abundantly.”
And now the family members who brought her such abiding joy wish to share some memories with us….
This is St. John's Episcopal Church...
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Are you challenged with senior care matters?
Many of our St. John's parishioners have faced senior care challenges with a family member or friend. Our own family's experience has shown this is a complicated and emotionally charged matter. It involves healthcare, financial and legal planning, social and spiritual wellbeing and navigating changing family relationships. Managing all of this is also enormously time consuming and stressful.
There are professionals who help folks sort some of this out, but they tend to be experts in one specialty such as care management, law or estate planning. There is also a tendency for their advice and representation to end upon placement of the family member into an assisted living or memory care facility. In fact, the challenges have often just begun!
Even though we are surrounded by some of the greatest medical institutions in the world who conduct much of the latest research in geriatric care, it's easy to feel lost when managing these family situations. Through my own personal and professional experience, I see firsthand what is lacking and how hard it is on seniors and their children.
I am doing an independent study with family, friends and professional colleagues. My focus is on using a more holistic approach to easing the impact on families to improve their experience and the outcomes with long term senior care. I would welcome the opportunity to meet in confidence to hear about your experience and offer my recommendation if you wish.
I can be reached at church, by phone (617-413-6314)
or email VLKingsley@comcast.net.
June 14, 2015 6-9pm The Cathedral Church of St. Paul, Boston
Episcopal City Mission celebrates its new partnership of ministry with the Reverend Arrington Chambliss as its Executive Director.
Mission statement: “Episcopal City Mission is a faith-based ministry which promotes social and economic justice through partnerships with congregations, community-based organizations and people within the Diocese of Massachusetts with special emphasis on the urban poor and oppressed.”
If you’d like to attend, please speak to Rev. Jennifer within the next 2 weeks.
Living into our Membership as Christians & Episcopalians – a short course
Classes are open to all – Middle & High school youth and adults
Wed. May 18 - at the rectory 7:00-8:00pm – Episcopal spirituality and style
Wed. May 25 - at the rectory 7:00-8:00pm – Prayerways: some practices of prayer you might not have tried yet – getting started
Wed. June 1 - at the rectory 7:00-8:00pm- Refresher on our Book of Common Prayer and a waltz through Episcopal Polity – how our denomination works. How we make decisions and policies.
Sunday June 5 - Instructed Eucharist at 10 – learn more about why we do what we do in worship.
Sunday, May 8, 2016
Celebrating the Courage of Community. We hear about it every day: Senseless violence in our schools, on our streets, in our neighborhoods and in our homes. On Sunday, May 8th, 2016, thousands of people will come together for the 20th Annual Mother’s Day Walk For Peace. The walk will begin at Town Field (1520 Dorchester Ave.) in Dorchester, MA and end with a Peace Rally at Boston’s City Hall Plaza.
For more information and to register: www.mothersdaywalk4peace.org
May 15, 2016
Interfaith Project Bread Mini Walk for HungerCome, join us! Together we can show that no matter which faith we belong to, we can all come together to make our community a little bit stronger. Together we can help our neighbors in need. Together we can get one step closer to healing the world. Come and learn about the face of hunger and, by walking, help reduce the number of men, woman, and children in our community who go to bed hungry.
Our walk begins at Temple Beth David, 7 Clapboardtree Street, Westwood, on May 15, 2016, at 1:00pm. The walk is 3 miles long and will make a stop at the Westwood Food Pantry. Members and friends of multiple faith organizations will participate in the Walk. The Walk is open to everyone.
Families are encouraged to participate. All we ask is that you get some pledges and bring a donation of non-perishable goods (like canned or boxed food), toiletries, or household paper products. All financial proceeds will be donated to Project Bread. All goods will be donated to the food pantry that serves your town. Snacks will be provided to participants and there will be prizes for the walkers who raise the most money.
Please note, the Boston Walk for Hunger is Sunday, May 1st. Ours is May 15th, rain or shine. No pre-registration is required for the Interfaith Mini-Walk for Hunger. Just grab a sponsor sheet from your house of worship, raise some money and collect some goods to donate to the food pantry, and come walk. To collect sponsors online, register at: http://support.projectbread.org/goto/interfaithwalk.
Questions? Contact: Jeff Greenwald: 781-329-7542
Flowers enhance the beauty of our church and greatly contribute to our worship. We place flowers near the altar to remind us of Creation, which brings us to the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, which we celebrate every Sunday. Here at St. John’s, rather than have a general budget item for flowers, we invite our parishioners to provide the flowers in memory or honor of loved ones, or in thanksgiving for special events. There is a sign up sheet on the bulletin board on which one may select a Sunday, (or Sundays!), for a special tribute. The cost for flowers, which the Altar Guild orders, is $35. (Please be sure to note on your payment that it is for flowers.) We are grateful to Westwood Gardens Florist, which, for many years, has provided beautiful arrangements to us for a modest price.