Author Archive | Megin Sewak

Attitude of Gratitude

Dear St. Stephen’s Family and Friends,

There is nothing like an “attitude of gratitude”!  With Holy Week and Easter now in our collective memory, it is time for giving thanks to God for the many blessings of our lives and to all those who gave of their time, talent and treasure to give to God and our community such a beautiful Holy Week offering.  The Altar looked beautiful and thanks go the Altar Guild for their ministry.  Thanks to all who served as acolytes, lectors, (including the excellent Passion Team for Palm Sunday), Eucharistic ministers, musicians, and clergy.  Hospitality was offered by our ushers, greeters, coffee hour hosts and by every member of our community who passed the peace and shared a cup of coffee.  Thanks to all who helped design the various services.  And thanks to our incredible staff both paid and volunteer for everything from bulletins, to cleaning, to trouble-shooting, to counting the monies.   Thank you!  Thank you!  Thank you!

Love and Blessings,

Alvin

Happy Easter!

Dear St. Stephen’s Family and Friends,

Listening to the Passion According to Matthew this morning read so beautifully by our team, I wondered what part of this story touches you the most? For years now my favorite part has been Jesus’ time in the garden and his dialogue with God and with himself about pitting his will in a challenging conversation with God’s will. Jesus clearly knows what God’s will is, but wonders if there isn’t another way that might not involve his death. And finally he simply says, paraphrased, “not mine, but Thine” and events unfold that lead to his crucifixion.

Jesus encourages us to follow the will of God. It’s not the easiest presence to grasp. Perhaps God speaks directly to you? Perhaps God speaks to you through others? Perhaps God’s voice is quiet at times in your life. More often, like Jesus, we pray, listen, and then act in accordance with what we think God has in mind and in heart for us driven always by God’s love for you and me. I don’t know how I’d do in the garden. So far God hasn’t asked. I’m grateful. Happy Easter!

Love and Blessings,

Alvin

Spring Break

Dear St. Stephen’s Family and Friends,

Ah, Spring Break. Growing up in the City of Chicago, this week was called Spring Clean-Up Week. We literally all worked together to clean up city neighborhoods. Anything was better than being in school. Eventually in Barrington, Illinois, Spring Break took place the last week of March. I remember when I finally realized I could take some time off with my family even in Lent. When Holy Week (the week between Palm Sunday and Easter) fell the same week as Spring Break, there was always wailing and gnashing of teeth because that meant a drop in attendance. Of course it took years for me to realize that just as our members were travelling to see their families, others were travelling our way to visit their families. The Easter congregation was always a beautiful and interesting mosaic, which changed every year with the ebb and flow of parish family life.

Here in Fairview Spring Break falls the week before Easter. Who needs the break more? Teachers? School Administers? Children? Parents? (Probably mixed opinions on that.) Maybe our lives need the break no matter one’s age? I think so. Leave it up to the schools to invite us to take a deep breath, look around, and witness the pouring forth of new life after the throes of winter. It’s a break, a breath, and a pause. We all know that the following Monday life will be back to what life was before the break started but for nine days we are invited to stop, drop, reflect, act, and realign. And it’s no mistake that Spring Break and Easter often flow with or near each other. The Queen of Feasts, as Easter is called in catholic Christian faith, shouts to the world that new life springs forth from winter.

Wherever your break takes you, look up a local church on Easter and if it’s your family tradition, then attend. Visitors are always, always, a blessing. So they will be for us here. So you will be wherever you go. Happy Easter!

Love and blessings,

Alvin+

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