From the Pastor- June/July 2024

In a recent sermon, you may remember me mentioning a lesser-known saint in our church’s history.  This figure may have piqued your interest and so I wanted to give you a bit more background on him. May you draw inspiration from his life.

The Story of St. Kevin: A Journey of Prayer and Solitude

In the verdant hills of County Wicklow, Ireland, nestled between two serene lakes, lies the ancient monastic city of Glendalough. It is a place steeped in history and legend, a testament to the enduring spirit of one man whose life of prayer and solitude shaped its destiny—St. Kevin.

A Noble Beginning

Long ago, in the year 498 AD, a boy named Kevin was born into a noble family in Leinster. From the very start, there was something extraordinary about Kevin. His name, meaning “handsome birth,” seemed fitting for someone destined for greatness. But Kevin’s greatness was not to be found in the trappings of nobility or the pursuit of power. Instead, it was hidden in the depths of his soul, waiting to be awakened by a divine calling.

As a young boy, Kevin was sent to be educated by three wise and holy men: Eoghan, Lochan, and Enna. These mentors instilled in him a deep love for God and a fervent desire for prayer. While other boys dreamed of knighthood and glory, Kevin found his heart drawn to the quiet contemplation of the divine.

The Hermit of Glendalough

At the age of 25, Kevin felt an irresistible pull towards a life of solitude. He bid farewell to his family and friends, leaving behind the comforts of his noble life to seek God in the wilderness. He wandered through the lush valleys and rugged hills until he reached the secluded haven of Glendalough.

There, by the Upper Lake, Kevin discovered a small cave. It was a humble abode, but for Kevin, it was a sanctuary. In this natural cathedral, surrounded by the whispering trees and the murmuring waters, Kevin began his life as a hermit. He dedicated himself to prayer, fasting, and penance, seeking to purify his soul and draw closer to God.

A Solitary Life

Kevin’s days were marked by a rhythm of prayer and stillness. He would stand for hours with his arms outstretched in prayer, his eyes closed, and his heart open to the divine. His connection with nature was profound; he saw the beauty of God’s creation in every leaf, every stone, every creature.

One day, as Kevin stood in prayer, a blackbird flew down and perched on his outstretched hand. The bird, sensing the saint’s gentleness, began to build a nest. Kevin remained perfectly still, allowing the bird to lay her eggs and tend to them. He stayed in that position until the eggs hatched and the fledglings flew away, a testament to his patience and his deep respect for all living things.

The Birth of a Monastery

Despite his desire for solitude, Kevin’s holiness could not remain hidden. Word of the hermit’s sanctity spread, and soon, seekers began to find their way to Glendalough. They came in search of wisdom, guidance, and a glimpse of the divine that shone so brightly in Kevin’s life.

Recognizing the need to nurture these souls, Kevin founded a monastery at Glendalough around 540 AD. The monastic community grew, becoming a center of learning, prayer, and hospitality. Kevin, now abbot, balanced his solitary prayers with communal worship, teaching his followers the importance of both personal devotion and collective faith.

The Gentle Saint

St. Kevin was not just a man of prayer; he was a man of profound compassion. He cared for the sick, comforted the sorrowful, and offered counsel to those in need. His gentle nature and deep spirituality attracted people from all walks of life. Farmers, scholars, and even kings sought his wisdom and blessing.

One of the most touching stories is of a young boy who was brought to Kevin, blind and crippled. Kevin prayed fervently over the child, and miraculously, the boy’s sight and mobility were restored.

Legacy of Glendalough

Kevin’s legacy continued long after his death in 618 AD. The monastery at Glendalough flourished, becoming a renowned center of learning and spirituality. Pilgrims traveled from far and wide to visit the sacred valley, to pray at the places where Kevin had prayed, and to feel the spiritual presence that lingered in the air.

Today, the ruins of Glendalough stand as a silent witness to Kevin’s enduring legacy. The round tower, the stone churches, and the serene lakes all tell the story of a man whose life was a symphony of prayer and solitude. Visitors to Glendalough say they can still feel the sacredness of the place, a testament to Kevin’s unyielding devotion.

The story of St. Kevin is one of devotion, simplicity, and the transformative power of prayer. From his noble beginnings to his solitary life in Glendalough, Kevin’s journey is a beacon of light for those seeking a deeper connection with the divine. As we reflect on his life, may we be inspired to find our own sanctuaries of prayer, to seek the divine in the quiet moments, and to live in harmony with the world around us. St. Kevin’s legacy is a reminder that in the stillness of prayer, we can discover the profound presence of God in all things.

Lemonade Socials Return

Summer is here and we will again hold Lemonade Socials following the worship service. This is an opportunity to relax and visit with your church family. The socials will be held in the narthex starting June 9 through Sept. 1, 2024.

Summer Hymn Sings

The summer Hymn Sings will be held on Sunday, June 16th, July 21st and August 18th.  The Hymn Sings will take the place of the Prelude on those Sundays.  We will begin singing at 9:15 am.  Come prepared to request that we sing a verse or two of your favorite hymns.  Note: you many want to check the page number for your favorite hymn ahead of time.

From the Pastor- May 2024

New things are happening around here! As we all prepare our gardens and plant new seeds, I want to plant a few seeds for things that will come to fruition this fall. Many of you have heard me speak about two things in the works, so let me share a little about them.

The first thing I want to touch on is something called “Second Sundays.”  These events happen exactly when you might expect, on the second Sunday of each month beginning in September.  This will be a faith formation event for the whole church. All ages will be involved from our very youngest to our most senior.  There will be slightly different activities every time. For instance, we may have a Bible Jeopardy one month and a service project the next month.  Some months will be tied into the holy days of that particular season and some months may be themed around a particular Bible story or faith practice.  Each Sunday will culminate in a simple community meal so that we can reconnect with each other in fellowship. So be sure to start paying attention to messaging coming out about this over the summer.  I hope you will take the time to show up and be a part of this ministry!

The next thing I want to share is some work that I have been doing over the last couple of months. Some of you who have attended our Easter Education Series got a small taste of some of that work. And if this interests you, that session is available on our youtube channel. It is the second week of the Easter Education Series.  I have been working towards a certification in Neuromeditation techniques.  Simply put, I have been learning about how different prayer and meditation techniques rewire the brain. The point of this is to find out which practices may be better than others for certain individuals, depending on their needs, physiology, and how each style of prayer and meditation impacts the brain. This fall I will be hosting a class sharing these techniques that I hope to be able to open up to the broader community.

I hope that these new ministries will be life-giving to us as a community.  I look forward to exploring these things together with you all! 

From the Pastor- April 2024

As we approach the season of Easter, a profound sense of hope fills the air. It’s a time when nature awakens from its winter slumber, bursting forth with new life, and the promise of renewal uplifts hearts. Easter is more than just a holiday; it celebrates the triumph of light over darkness, life over death, and hope over despair.

The essence of Easter hope lies in the central event of the Christian faith—the resurrection of Jesus Christ. This miraculous event is a testament to the power of God’s love and the promise of eternal life. In the resurrection of Jesus, we find hope that transcends the limitations of our earthly existence and points us toward a future filled with promise and possibility.

But Easter hope is not merely a distant concept or abstract idea; it is a tangible reality that permeates every aspect of our lives. It is the assurance that no matter how bleak our circumstances may seem, there is always the possibility of transformation and renewal. It is the belief that even in the darkest of moments, light will eventually break through, illuminating our path forward.

In a world marked by uncertainty, suffering, and division, Easter hope offers a beacon of light amidst the darkness. It reminds us that even in the face of adversity, we are not alone—that God is with us, guiding us and offering us the strength to persevere. Easter hope empowers us to confront life’s challenges with courage and resilience, knowing that nothing is impossible with God.

Easter hope invites us to embrace a spirit of reconciliation and forgiveness. Just as Christ’s resurrection brought reconciliation between God and humanity, it calls us to seek reconciliation in our relationships—to extend grace and forgiveness to those who have wronged us and to seek forgiveness from those we have wronged. In doing so, we participate in the transformative power of Easter hope, bringing healing and restoration to our broken world.

As we celebrate Easter this year, let us embrace the hope that springs from the empty tomb—the hope that reminds us of God’s unfailing love, His promise of redemption, and the assurance of new beginnings. May this season fill our hearts with joy, our minds with peace, and our souls with renewed hope.

Wishing you a blessed and joyous Easter filled with hope, renewal, and the promise of resurrection.