The above devotion was written and delivered by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams. It is worth listening to, reflecting upon, and applying to our lives during this Advent season.
We began a new teaching series in our Misisonal Communities (MCs) called: “The Secret of the Gifts.” Below is the introduction and the reading and teaching for the first of a three-part series.
The story has been told for centuries of three kings who followed the star to a manger in Bethlehem where a great king was to be born. We know from reliable historical documents what they brought to the child Jesus on that day, but did you ever imagine what that encounter was like for them? How it changed their lives? What would you bring to the Christ child this season? How would it transform your life? Come, eat, listen, share, and imagine with us this Advent as we journey together in anticipation of the birth of the Savior…
Last week we met at Bill and Whitney Stafford’s home for a meal and our latest vision alignment session on Celtic Christianity. Previously during these vision alignment sessions we have discussed community, church, culture & values, and mission. As we move from our casual gatherings the past two months to a more intentional way of being and doing church in October, I will be looking at two examples from early Anglicanism: the Celtic Way and the Roman Way.
You can read the Lorica of Saint Patrick here and download the handout from Sunday’s gathering on Celtic Christianity here.
There have been a lot of powerful events that have happened the past two weeks in my life (and many more to come in the next two weeks: Ordination to the priesthood, daughters first birthday).
1- The Joint 9/11 Service - On the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks (some now refer to this day as ”Patriots Day”), myself and a couple of Evangelical pastors in Medina held a Christian prayer service. We read scripture, confessed our sins as a community, heard comforting words from pastors, and prayed for our community. I gave a challenging speech urging us to not only “reach for the flag” on the 12th of September, but to also “reach for the cross.” I wove these two images together in my story and how 9/11 was one means by which I reached for the flag and enlisted in the US Air Force. But what changed my life was reaching for the cross. My friend Tony Myles actually requested for a copy of the speech and published it in the local paper, you can read it online here.
2- Anna Rose’s Baptism into the Body of Christ - One week after 9/11, this past Sunday, Anna Rose was baptized at Holy Trinity Anglican Church in Hudson, Oh.
Over the past six weeks we have been having “vision alignment sessions.” During these times we share a meal, pray, hear how God is active in our lives, hear Scripture, and discuss a topic relating to church planting: community, church, culture & values, and most recently mission. Before we began our conversations last Sunday, we watched a video on mission and heard a wonderful testimony of how one member from our church plant was connecting with her co-workers. Below are some thoughts on mission harvested from our session.
What does this have to do with Plant Medina? Our mission is to participate in the mission of God: of announcing the redemption that is only made possible in Jesus Christ. At Plant Medina this mission looks like an intentional desire to grow (mature) in our relationships:
- with God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (upward)
- with Family: biological and spiritual (inward)
- with Neighbor: actively and intentionally loving those in our broader community (outward)
Too often IF discipleship comes up in a church setting it means a new program or a curriculum. It is a topic that every church knows is important, but doesn’t seem to really take place in most churches. Churches will say they value discipleship (and other sexy words like “mission” and “community” of course), but often this value isn’t embraced by the church culture. Discipleship is more often than not delegated to a program, a curriculum, or some class that people need to attend. Discipleship becomes a task instead of a relationship. A program to attend instead of an ongoing journey to discover.
Fortunately for me, this hasn’t been my experience with discipleship in the past and it’s not my vision for plant medina’s future. I view discipleship in the church as an invitation to a journey into Christ likeness with others. Discipleship is like being invited on a hiking trip by an experienced hiker and having this new friend show you how to use all your gear. Then actually going out and hitting the trails with you, showing you how to navigate tough spots and not just how to hike, but how to hike well.
originally posted on my personal site: www.rmkocak.com
On Sunday we continued our “Vision Alignment Sessions” focusing our discussion on Culture and Values. This session builds on our previous conversations about “community” and “church.” We weren’t focusing so much on “what is culture” and critiquing our broader secular, American culture, but wanted to think about how a church culture influences values. How do we create a church culture that allows for our claimed values to flourish? We began our discussion watching a parable on modern church culture, so I’d recommend checking it out before watching the recap below.
Father Eric Dudley, Rector at St. Peter’s Anglican Church in Tallahassee, Florida spends a little over an hour unpacking elements of Anglican worship. While some elements will be expressed differently at Plant Medina, the video gives a good basis for liturgy, worship, and Holy Communion.
With praise and thanksgiving to Almighty God,
The Heart of North America Region
The Anglican Mission in the Americas
Anglican Province of Rwanda
Joyfully announces the ordination of
Ryan Michael Kocak
To the Sacred Order of Deacons
Through the laying on of hands
And the invocation of the Holy Spirit
The Rt. Reverend Doc Loomis
Friday, June 17, 2011
Being the feast Day of Samuel and Henrietta Barnett
Remsen Christian Church
Service of Ordination:
Service of Holy Communion: