November 25th, 2014

Stay awake! That’s the message we hear from our Gospel at the beginning of Advent (Mark 13:24-37). Stay awake! It’s a familiar message - from staying awake at school to staying awake at church - but it can have very differing meanings. This time of year we’re probably staying awake for shopping lines, holiday visitors, or late night travels. It’s the kind of staying awake that can be enjoyable and festive, but it can also lead to anxiety, fatigue, frustration and worry.

Advent is a different kind of staying awake. Advent is more like the staying awake of children who don’t want to go to bed early - in case they miss something. It’s the kind of staying awake that’s fueled by wonder, anticipation, assurance and joy. Our Christmas tradition of gift-giving catches some of this flavor, but if we ever find ourselves approaching Advent and Christmas with more anxiety than joy, it may be time to rebalance the holiday scales. 

Staying awake is a great framework for Christian life and it’s also a meaningful reminder for this year’s Financial Stewardship conversation. Earlier this month St. C Warden Eleanor Fox kicked off our Stewardship season with an important presentation about “always getting ready.” From our budgets to our lectionary, we're always getting ready for God’s presence and practice in our midst. Marguerite Springer-McIntosh continued the conversation by framing Stewardship in the context of our spiritual family, taking care of one another and offering our very best to God.

These are exactly the kinds of messages that keep us awake to the wonder, anticipation, assurance and joy of Christian life. I invite you to prayerfully use the enclosed Pledge Card to help us continue building a community that’s always awake to the voice and the vision of God in our midst. Whether you’re able to give much or little, please join us in pledging. More than 70% of our income is funded by annual pledging and these cards represent a primary tool for planning our shared life of worship, education, fellowship, and service in the coming year. 

Financial Stewardship is not about franticly scrambling to pay the bills, repair the roof, or keep the lights on. It has nothing to do with anxiety, fatigue, frustration and worry. It’s about building a solid foundation and always staying awake to God’s invitation for mission in the world. Because when it comes to the God we find in Jesus - we don’t want to miss anything. 

Sincerely,
Eric+
The Rev’d. Eric M. Hillegas

Posted
AuthorEric Hillegas

Saturday, December 13th
9 AM - 4:30 PM

St.C's is proud to sponsor this family-friendly event for the entire community. The Fair features baked goods, attic treasures, and raffles. This year children of all ages can also get a picture with St. Nicholas. We are pleased to offer a chowder luncheon provided by Barefoot Bob’s Beach Grill and a performance of Christmas Carols by the Atlantic Youth Orchestra.

As always, visitors will be able to purchase unique holiday gifts at the many Fair tables and enjoy delicious food. Our own Mite Box Thrift Shop will also be open during the event. All are invited to donate their time & talents to this important St. C fundraiser. Please find a detailed sign-up sheet with opportunities in Gill Hall. Volunteers will be served a pancake breakfast at 8AM. We can also use help for clean-up after 4:30 PM. There will be a brief Fair meeting after church this Sunday. Please contact Fair Coordinator Evie Shore with any questions.

And please join us on December 13th!

Posted
AuthorEric Hillegas

On Sunday, November 2nd we celebrated the Feast of All Saints with the sacrament of Christian baptism. It was a festive celebration as we welcomed five candidates into the community of Christian faith and life. A selection of photos from the ceremony and reception may be found on our Facebook page HERE.

Posted
AuthorEric Hillegas

Saturday, November 15th, 6:30-8:30PM
Join us for a festive New England Barn Dance with Pie Social! This family friendly event will be led by Marcie Van Cleave from the Folk Arts Center of New England, providing a fun program for new and experienced dancers alike. Dances range from relaxed to lively, it is not necessary to have previous dance experience or to attend with a partner. Great for kids and adults. Come kick up yer heels for an evening of food, fellowship & fun!

Posted
AuthorEric Hillegas

From Omar Reyes, Christian Ed. Director for Youth & Families

Another Church Year has come and gone, and we are excited to announce information about our Sunday School program at St. C's.  Last year we successfully implemented the Holy Moly and the RE:Form Sunday school curricula for ages 5-11. We received good feedback from parents and children and it was a positive step forward. Building on last year's foundation, we now begin a new journey with the Whirl Sunday School curriculum produced by Augsburg Fortress Press

This curriculum is lectionary-based, which means that every week children are hearing and learning the same Bible stories in Sunday School as adults are hearing and learning in Church. Our goal is to offer children a vision of our faith that is not only worth holding on to, but also passing on to others. This Sunday we will kick off the school year by teaching a unified lesson about the role and importance of Scripture, and then on the 28th of September we will roll out our new curriculum with a lesson from Matthew 21:23-32 - two sons in the vineyard. I look forward to reconnecting with all of you and your children. Invite a friend to join you! Together we are building a strong Sunday School and a thriving Christian education department for youth and families at St. C's. 

From the Whirl website:  Every Whirl lesson follows a four-part sequence: Welcome, Hear, Respond, and Launch (WHRL!). Each week, kids and leaders start their time together by identifying where they are in the church year and watching an animated video to set up the lesson. Next, they dive into the Whirl Story Bible together, respond to the scripture lesson with creative leaflet activities, and circle up to review the lesson and pray before being sent out.

Posted
AuthorEric Hillegas

Greetings from St. C’s,

I have a reading list that seems to grow longer every year. Too many books, too little time. But it doesn't stop me from trying. As soon as I finish reading one book, I seem to find another three or four. I cannot seem to keep up with my books, but I am getting better at organizing my lists!

We probably all have lists that grow longer and longer as the days, weeks, and months go by. Whether it’s reading books, going to the gym, or even coming to church, it may seem like too many items and too little time. Wherever church happens to be on one of your lists, now’s a great time to jump back in.

Please join us for Homecoming Sunday on September 7th at 10:00 AM. Our annual Homecoming is a festive regathering at church after summer travels and summer schedules. It also marks the kickoff of a new program year. This year we are thrilled to include a special consecration and dedication of our new stained glass windows! After 64 years our final two windows have been installed. They’re gorgeous.

On September 7th we will include a consecration during morning worship as we gather in prayerful thanksgiving with the family of longtime parishioner Isabel Brugge, who passed away last year. Generous donations from Isabel's family have made these windows possible. The family invites everyone to a special luncheon in Gill Hall following our worship, where we will be happy to welcome Mr. Scott McDaniel, Art Director at Stained Glass Resources. Mr. McDaniel designed and fabricated our new windows, having designed several of our existing windows earlier in his career.

You’ll also hear about plenty of opportunities for worship, education, fellowship, and service in the coming year. On Sunday, September 14th we celebrate the Feast of our Patron Saint, John Chrysostom, followed by the kickoff of our Christian Education on September 21st. We return to the Long Island Shelter on September 21st to prepare and serve a meal for Boston’s homeless. The Mite Box Thrift Shop re-opens on September 17th, followed by a Yard Sale on September 20th. On September 26th, we look forward to a Baroque Music Recital accompanied by an Art Viewing from the Hive Gallery. And you may have heard that we are going to Consecrate a new Bishop on September 13th at Boston University. We’re entering into a festive season at church - and that’s just the month of September!

If you're new to St. Chrysostom's - Welcome.

If you've been here for many years - We're grateful & excited.

If you've been away for a while - Add us to the top of your list. We’d love to see you again!

 

Sincerely, 

Eric+

The Rev’d. Eric M. Hillegas

Posted
AuthorEric Hillegas

You make a better door than a window! It’s a familiar schoolyard cliche that basically means, “You’re blocking my view, get out of the way!” Hopefully children (and adults) eventually learn more polite ways of communicating, but at least this cliche scores points for clarity. After all, some things are meant for looking at, and some things are meant for looking through. It’s no use putting a door where you need a window. 

But that’s not the only way to look at it, so to speak. There’s a whole spectrum of transparency. On the one hand, you’ll find things like “transition” eyeglasses that become less transparent with more light. They get darker but they’re obviously meant for looking through. On the other hand, you’ll find things like stained glass windows with beautiful artwork and iconography. They’re obviously meant for looking at, but they really only work when enough light is passing through. When you get right down to it, some things are meant for looking at, and they’re also meant for looking through. 

It’s a good reminder for Christian faith. Some Christians only talk about looking at Jesus, constantly repeating his words and actions. They spend a lot of time wondering, “What would Jesus do?” Other Christians only look through Jesus, focusing on universal ideals of love and justice instead. Each of these approaches make a point, but our Scriptures seem to rely on both. On the one hand, the Gospels are very focused on Jesus. Specifically. This one person. On the other hand, they also use words & symbols that point to something more. He’s the son of Mary, and he’s also the Son of God.

When you get right down to it Jesus is meant for looking at, and he’s also meant for looking through. To use the language of John’s Gospel, he’s a kind of bridge between heaven and earth (John 1:51). And for Christians Easter is the window that makes everything clear. Jesus isn’t simply a door. And he’s not simply a window. He’s more like stained glass: a defining image of God that really only works when enough light is passing through. For Christians, you haven’t really seen Jesus until you’ve seen him through the light of Resurrection. 

Please join us for Holy Week and Easter this year. 

Sincerely,

The Rev’d. Eric M. Hillegas

 

Maundy Thursday, April 17th at 7:00pm: Foot Washing with Eucharist

Good Friday, April 18th at 6:00pm: Stations of the Cross, 7:00pm: Good Friday Liturgy 

Easter Sunday, April 20th at 10am: Holy Eucharist followed by Light Lunch

Posted
AuthorEric Hillegas

Follow in the footsteps of Jesus this Holy Week as we celebrate his Passion, Death and Resurrection.

Palm Sunday, April 13th at 10am: Procession w/Palms & the Passion Reading

Maundy Thursday, April 17th at 7pm: Eucharist w/Foot Washing & Altar Stripping

Good Friday, April 18th at 6pm: Stations of the Cross; 7pm: Good Friday Liturgy

Easter Sunday, April 20th at 10am: Holy Eucharist followed by light lunch. 

Posted
AuthorEric Hillegas

Please join us on Tuesday, April 15th at 6:30 pm for a parish Passover seder dinner. No Passover experience necessary! Come hear the story of how God saved his people from captivity in Egypt. Together we will learn how Jewish people for thousands of years have commemorated God's faithfulness through this symbolic meal. There will be wine, matzoh balls, and maybe a plague or two.....or ten! We will also take a closer look at how the history of the Passover informs our understanding of the crucifixion and resurrection. Space is limited and we're already filling up. If you would like to attend please R.S.V.P. to Eric Litman right away. Hope to see you there!  

Posted
AuthorEric Hillegas

An Advent reflection from our Ordination Candidate, Eric Litman:

Light Your Advent Wreaths…….and Cue the Duck Boats!

Over the last ten years there has been an interesting addition to the cultural landscape in Boston, the introduction of the “duck boat parade.”  With three World Series victories (and several other championships) Boston has become quite accustomed to sports success and the ensuing post-game celebrations.  There are few things that have become more quintessentially Boston than the image of Big Papi traveling through the streets of Boston on a duck boat hoisting the World Series trophy into the air to the joy of screaming Red Sox fans.  I’m waiting for the duck boat operators to start offering duck boat parade re-enactments.  Who wouldn’t want to travel the parade route, hoist a replica trophy in the air and participate in this Boston cultural phenomenon as if it were the Battle of Lexington and Concord?  This state of perpetual sports celebration was not always the experience of the Boston sports fan.     

I still remember the morning of October 28, 1986 very clearly.  I woke up to the news that the Red Sox had lost game 6 of the 1986 World Series to the New York Mets.  Like most Red Sox fans, I was devastated.  Losing wasn’t the worst part, it was the way we lost, the errors the wild pitches it was unbelievable and kind of humiliating.  My Met fan cousins would never let me forget about Calvin Schiraldi, Bob Stanley and of course poor Bill Buckner.  Many Red Sox fans suffered far longer and more agonizing experiences over than years than I, but part of the intense joy that we now know is fueled by years of loss, disappointment and waiting.  It does seem that now we’ve come to a point in our city’s history where the memories of losing are long gone, and we are more than happy to let the good times roll.  It’s hard to imagine that just ten short years ago there was no such thing as a duck boat parade.  This iconic cultural event did not exist.  The Red Sox are a historic team, and there is some responsibility amongst the “true” fan base to remember those dark 86 years, but remembering is difficult it’s far more fun to enjoy the success of the moment.  The anxiety about what will happen next year is far more likely to challenge our upbeat sports fandom than remembering losing to the Big Red Machine in ’75.  We live in this tension between our past, present and future.         

During Advent we attempt to employ a similar type of community reflection.  We remember what life must have been like for God’s people who had long waited for the coming of the Messiah, talk about the “dark years.”  The Church for the past 2,000 years has been spoiled.  We have only ever known victory, a world where Jesus came to dwell among us.  Now that’s not entirely fair, we’ve likely all had experiences where we have felt very far from God or have not believed in God at all and we can resonate with what it feels like to be spiritually alone.  This sentiment is part of what we are reflecting on during Advent, that we were once far from God but through the coming of Jesus we will be brought near.  In this first part of Advent we remember what it was like for God’s people long ago, and in our own experiences to wait for God to come to us.  Let’s get ready to usher in the Christmas season, but not quite yet.  Advent gives us a chance to remember why Jesus coming into this world was so revolutionary.  Let’s remember those who are far from God and prayerfully approach this season with the hope and expectation that Jesus will come to all who seek God’s joy and peace.  Advent reminds us that Jesus comes to us again and again, and that he will return to us, the liturgy recalls this weekly when we confess the mystery of faith, “Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.”  This year when we light our Advent wreaths let’s remember that the Advent season helps the church avoid the “bandwagon” (nothing worse than bandwagon fans) so before we celebrate the incarnation let’s look back, within and to the future and prepare for another victory parade.  When Christmas Day arrives we will be ready to cue those duck boats!             

Posted
AuthorEric Hillegas

A Thanksgiving reflection by our Micah Fellow, Patrick Kangrga:

Q. What is prayer? 
A. Prayer is responding to God, by thought and by deeds, with or without words.
Q. What is Christian Prayer? 
A. Christian prayer is response of God the Father, through Jesus Christ, in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Q. What are the principle kinds of prayer? 
A. The principle kinds of prayer are adoration, praise, thanksgiving, penitence, oblation, intercession, and petition.
Q. For what do we offer thanksgiving? 
A. Thanksgiving is offered to God for all the blessings of this life, for our redemption, and for whatever draws us closer to God.”
-The Book of Common Prayer (The Catechism)  

 
I know many good Episcopalians and I like to believe that I am one myself.  But like many Episcopalians and all Christians, I oftentimes find it hard to pray.  Prayer is an odd thing in the church for it is a communal and yet deeply personal act.
         
And prayer though an essential part of the Christian life is not exactly something you can teach.  It is not clear and to the point like an algebraic formula or something simple that everyone can learn like how to follow a recipe.  This is probably why we do not take a few weeks out of our Sunday School or Adult Education to teach a class on how to pray.   
         
Prayer is not something that we teach and learn as much as something that we live and experience.  It’s not in the Sunday School room or in our sanctuary where we understand what prayer is and how to do it.  Prayer is birthed out of those moments where we find ourselves saying, “My God!”  My God, how awesome it is to know such joy and love.  My God, I don’t think I can bear life anymore…It’s just so hard. We learn to pray because our hearts are so full of love that adoration, praise, oblation, and thanksgiving are inevitable.  We learn to pray because our hearts are so full of grief that all we can do is be penitent and ask for God to intercede in our lives and offer petitions for others who need the same.   
         
When my prayer life is at its best, I will sit down late at night and pray Evening Prayer (BCP-pgs. 115-126).  Some of my favorite parts of the Book of Common Prayer are located in this simple but profound service that is intended both for corporate and for individual and family worship.  Like many of the forms of worship in the Episcopal tradition it contains “The Great Thanksgiving.”  I pray the following and I hope you will come to pray it as well:
 
…We bless you for our creation, preservation,
and all the blessings of this life;
but above all for your immeasurable love
in the redemption of the world by our Lord, Jesus Christ;
for the means of grace, and for the hope of glory.
And, we pray, give us such an awareness of your mercies,
that with truly thankful hearts we may show forth your praise,
not only with our lips, but in our lives…

Posted
AuthorEric Hillegas

A reflection on the role of liturgy in Christian life & worship from one of our Seminarians, Yein Kim:

I was born as the youngest daughter of an Anglican priest in a small island, called Ganghwa Island, in the estuary of the Han River on the west coast of South Korea. Twelve of the fifty-nine churches in the Diocese of Seoul are located on this small island. Growing up, I kept track of time to the sound of the church bells as I woke up in the morning or went home for meals. I would usually sit in the pew on Saturday afternoons, watching people prepare for the Sunday services. My babysitters and tutors were then deacons who later became priests. I wasn’t ‘going’ to church; I was ‘living’ in it. 

As soon as I graduated from high school, I joined St. Cecilia’s Choir at the Seoul Cathedral. In the ten years of serving as a member of the choir, my fascination (and obsession) with the liturgy grew fast and deep. It is not very surprising that I chose Liturgy as my special competency as I pursue my Master of Divinity in the seminary. However, my idea of “the right” liturgy had become rather rigid until recently. Gradually, my sense of comfort and openness grew as I experienced different kinds of liturgy in the various contexts. Last year, I was a Chapel Editor in the Chapel Committee at Episcopal Divinity School. Although daily morning prayers were pretty typical, final-year students preached on Mondays and faculty took turns creating liturgy for Thursday Eucharist. Even with the basic elements of the Anglican/Episcopal liturgy, every service was different and some were eye-opening. I also started doing my field education for the Boston Chinese Ministry during the weekdays, and regularly attended services at SSJE. I went to Christ Church, Cambridge on Sundays for my “choir fix” and to Church of the Advent for the Holy Week and other occasional services. All these experiences made my love for liturgy richer and fuller. I am still in love with bells and smells of the high church liturgy. However, I am also happy to explore the possibility and participate in other types of services with total unpredictability and unfamiliarity.  

I attended the 40th Anniversary of Episcopal Asiamerica Ministry in San Francisco this summer. During the Closing Eucharist, Taiko drums (Japan), gangsa players (Indonesia), and lion dancers (China) led the procession and we sang Sarennam (Indian hymn) during Communion. If I had been there two years ago, I would have described it as ‘interesting’ liturgy at best. To me now, it was the perfect ending to four days of celebration and I have never felt more comfortable listening to languages that I did not understand. My hope is that I continually stay open, yet pay attention to what is happening in the liturgy of the church, everywhere and all the time. 

Posted
AuthorEric Hillegas

(QUINCY) Brass and string chamber music collide at a 12:30pm concert 

at St. Chrysostom’s Church on November 3rd, 2013. The Wenham Street Brass 

will be joined by pianist Sarah Troxler and oboist Elizabeth England, performing 

music by Ewazen, Muczynski, Brahms, and Reinecke. 

Children and families are welcome. St. Chrysostom’s Episcopal Church is 

located at 1 Linden St (corner of Hancock St.) The church is fully accessible. 


Two Trios at St. Chrysostom's was developed as a means

to bridge the gap between the brass “world” and chamber music as a whole.

November’s opens with Eric Ewazen’s Philharmonic Fanfare, originally written

for members of the New York Philharmonic. After this traditional brass fanfare,

the work of American composer Robert Muczynski, famous for his music for 

winds, is presented with his brass trio, “Voyage.” The second half of the concert

travels back in time to songs by Brahms, and Carl Reniecke’s Trio in A minor. 

All of the performers perform regularly across New England, and teach at such 

institutions as Eastern Nazarene College, the South Shore Conservatory, and the

All Newton Music School.

 

Posted
AuthorEric Hillegas

St. Chrysostom's is proud to announce the inaugural exhibition of the Hive Gallery, featuring two Quincy artists and St. C’s parishioners: Kirsten Chambers-Taylor and Kendyll Hillegas. Chambers-Taylor is a life-long photographer whose work focuses on capturing moments dynamically as they appeal to her. Hillegas is an painter and illustrator who draws inspiration from food, animals and pop culture. 

OPENING NIGHT: Work will be on display through November 22, 2013. Opening reception and wine tasting, October 4, 6:30pm. 

CALL FOR ARTISTS: All practicing, two-dimensional artists living in Quincy and greater-Boston are encouraged to submit their portfolios for consideration in future exhibits. Submit your portfolio.

Learn more about the Hive Gallery.  

 

Posted
AuthorEric Hillegas

From Church School Director, Omar Reyes: 

I love going to Jiffy Lube. My lovely wife hates that I take our car there because their prices are usually ten dollars more than anywhere else. But I explain that the service is exceptional. I always get out in under thirty minutes. And they vacuum. That's where she gives in.

I use this analogy to say this: we live in a society that is always looking for the best value. And I'm thrilled to say that we have created a lot of value  with our newly implemented Church School program.  

On Sunday mornings we are teaching two classroom modules simultaneously.  The first one is Holy Moly (ages 4-7). This is a program that takes the young children on a journey through the Old Testament using both video and crafts. The older kids are using Re:form (ages 8-12), a system of study  that teaches the Bible through a series of questions: "Who wrote the Bible?"  "Is God male or female?"  It's meant to prepare children to engage their faith critically.

Our Church School teachers were very excited to welcome new students and parents on our first day of the program. In all we had  more than 10 kids in both classes! Last week, on our second Sunday, there were even more! Holy Moly kids learned about Abraham and Sarah, and how even God has a sense of humor. Re:form kids learned how the Bible is true without being rigid.  

I want to assure all of you that we are seeking to provide families with a place where both adults and children are spiritually nourished. We are grateful for this opportunity and we will look forward to sharing about more progress In the coming weeks.  


 

Posted
AuthorEric Hillegas

Thursdays at 7pm, beginning September 26th

We are approaching the one-year anniversary of our Evensong with Sung Eucharist! Over the past year we've seen consistent attendance each week, and we're looking forward expanding this midweek service in the coming year. We are happy announce a new service time beginning this week. Instead of 8pm, we will be moving this service to 7pm. We hope this new schedule will make it even easier for people to attend. 

We invite you to join us on Thursdays at 7pm.

About Evensong: This weekly service, less than one hour, incorporates traditional and ancient rhythms of Anglican worship, including candlelight, chanted canticles, and incense. The second half of the service includes a sung Eucharist. Invite your friends and join us on Thursday evenings as we "worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness."

 

Posted
AuthorEric Hillegas