Sunday, December 30, 2012

Sermon for 1 Christmas: December 30, 2012

In order for you to appreciate this story about my friend Deborah, you need to know a little something about me in my pre-priest life: I was a very serious child. I was committed to the pursuit of knowledge, goal-oriented, rule-abiding. And as a teenager, I had a single-minded goal: I wanted to go to Yale. I wanted to go to Yale because when I was thirteen, I took a writing course, and my writing instructor had gone to Yale and studied English, and because she was the most talented writer I knew, I wanted to go to Yale and study English so I could become as talented of a writer as she was.

So I applied, and I arrived to set up my room and said farewell to my parents and then promptly became exceedingly confused: I had worked what felt like a lifetime to get to this place. What was I supposed to do now? I knew next to no one, there was a course book three-inches thick filled with classes that could occupy my imagination, and all of them seemed to vie for my attention, and I didn’t know how to choose. My dreams of being a writer flew out the window when I received my first English paper back freshman year with a poor grade and the words, “You have gotten away with writing words that sound beautiful but mean nothing for too long. Next time, add some substance.”

I was crushed. The whole thing—the paper, the new environment, the lack of direction—it was all incredibly confusing. I felt like I had no idea who I was. I had no idea what I wanted, and most miserable of all, I felt entirely alone.

Then I met Deborah. Deborah is the real-life version of Hermione. And in case that Harry Potter reference didn’t mean much to you, what I mean is to say is that Deborah is exceedingly, exceedingly smart. She’s the smartest person I know, and yet also one of the most humble. She’s got poofy, unruly red hair, freckles, just a tinge of social awkwardness, and an incredibly generous heart.

Deborah had just started seminary when I met her my freshman year and she had come directly to Yale fresh from finishing her PhD the previous spring. In English literature.

So with that scarring in hand and that stinging remark glaring at me in red ink, I picked up the phone and called her for help. I had a term paper due in a few weeks on T.S. Eliot’s poem “The Wasteland,” and I was petrified of turning it in.

“Of course I’ll help you,” Deborah said. “Why don’t you come over this afternoon?”

Deborah lived about a 20-minute walk from campus, and because I didn’t have a car, I walked there in bitter cold. My jaw was tight and my fingers numb when I arrived at her front door.

“Would you like some hot chocolate?” she asked, taking my coat.

“Yes, please,” I said, thinking of my frozen thumbs.

And then Deborah did something I’ll never forget: She took out a pot, poured in some milk, heated it, and whisked in chocolate flakes. The mug she handed me was steaming, rich, creamy and, most foreign to me—it wasn’t Swiss Miss.

To my memory, no one had ever made me hot chocolate from scratch before, and even though it was a tiny gesture, to me, it felt like a gesture of radical hospitality. I’d been eating impersonal dining hall food for months in my lonely little freshman year-world where everyone was a stranger and no one felt known, intimate, like family.

And that family part is where my story touches today’s lessons. Paul tells us in his letter to the Galatians that Jesus’ birth and life and death and resurrection all occurred so that our relationships might be radically reconfigured: No longer would we identify ourselves as members of a nuclear family or a tribe. Now we would identify ourselves as God’s children, as members of God’s family.

Indeed, one of the things that my friend and New Testament scholar Candida Moss told me the other day is that the early Christians actually left their biological families after baptism to become members of the Christian community. To become part of their new family.

We certainly don’t practice anything like that today. In fact, I would argue that our culture fights against this notion that there is family beyond those in our nuclear clan: Even if we don’t like them much, most of us spend a premium on plane tickets to see our nuclear family at the holidays. Most people bequeath whatever wealth they accumulated in this life to their children, nieces, and nephews. If two people needed a car, one of whom was your cousin and the other of whom was a stranger, most of us would give the car to our family member, not to the stranger.

So Paul’s message is incredibly challenging to those of us in modern times—if we are all God’s family, then the command to exercise radical hospitality isn’t just limited to our nuclear family. It extends far beyond that.

To be honest with you, I have a lot of questions myself about how we’re supposed to live this out given how our culture operates: Are we supposed to bequeath our wealth to strangers? To charities? Are we supposed to donate that car to the person who is not our cousin because strangers are members of our family too? If we are all adopted children of God, then should adoption be the preferred way that Christians start their families? Should we, as the early Christians did, return to living in big Christian communities instead of tight nuclear families?

All of these suggestions are radical, radical departures from how our culture operates, and I don’t know about you, but when I think of any of them, my mind kind of explodes. They require too much change; they demand far more than I know how to give.

So today I suggest that we start small, start with being family to one another in ways that are more manageable, less intimidating, whose ethics aren’t so ambiguous. Maybe we can start with a mug of homemade hot cocoa for someone who really needs it. Yes, it’s a small gesture, but whisking that chocolate into scalding milk—it’s the kind of thing you do for someone you really love. It’s the kind of gift you’d give to a family member. And as you whisk that chocolate in so that the milk turns dark and deep, perhaps a prayer will pass your lips: That all may know they are God’s children, God’s family, and heirs to that everlasting kingdom beyond.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Sermon for 3 Advent

Advent 3 December 16, 2012
Sermon by the Rev. Kate Ekrem for Church of Our Redeemer
Text: Luke 3:7-18

I was going to start this sermon with a joke. But I’m not feeling particularly jokey right now.  The church in Connecticut where I was a young acolyte and went on youth group ski trips is preparing for two funerals for six-year-old children this week.  Instead, I’m thinking maybe John the Baptist had a point when he shouted, “you brood of vipers!” at the political and religious leaders of his day, asking them, how could you let our society, our world, get like this? How could we let our world get like this? And I’m reminding myself that while this tragedy cuts very close to home – Newtown is a town very much like Lexington – that tragedies

Monday, November 26, 2012

Sermon by Bill Fortier for November 25, 2012


 copyright Bill Fortier 2012

Jesus: While I'm blabbing on-and-on up here, sneak into the hearts of Redeemer Folk and all who wander in. Even when my words fall flat, twist them into special love songs just for your beloved people, right here today. Amen. 

So, I'm ashamed to admit this: My Barbara watches Bridezillas. I have her explicit permission to confess this trailer-park-entertainment. It's pure crap. Brutal to watch. If you haven't had the pleasure, let me give you my brief assessment.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Sermon by George Murnaghan

What Being a Member of Redeemer Means to Me
George Murnaghan
November 18, 2012

A few months ago, Kate and I had a conversation in which I expressed some thoughts about what it means to me to be a member of Redeemer, and Kate offered that this topic might be worth preaching on some time.  So here I am.

But me being up here is not quite that simple.  For the friends and family who have known me the longest, the idea that I would be an active congregant at a church, let alone preaching a sermon, doesn’t square easily with the George they have known.  For while I had a church-going, Episcopalian upbringing, once I was confirmed, I had in essence fulfilled my familial requirement, and seeing no strong reason to continue attending church, I stopped going.  I guess you could call it the “13 and out” program.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Sermon by Bob King for Mission Sunday October 14 2012

October 14, 2012 Proper 23B by Bob King
Amos 5:6-7, 10-15; Mark 10:17-31

When we decided to follow our retreat experience with a focus on mission today, neither Kate nor I had yet checked the lectionary readings.  It can only be the work of the Holy Spirit that we’re given Amos and Jesus’ encounter with the rich young man.  Certainly for me, these two bits of scripture capture both the essence, and the fear of what it means to be a Christian in our world.

Kate asked me to share with you my vision of Redeemer’s mission.   The most revealing way to do that is with two stories.  The first story is not mine, but had perhaps the greatest influence in my life on my sense of church.  I was brought up in an Episcopal parish not so different from Redeemer: good people, emotionally satisfying worship, and a sense of caring for children.  And yet I always felt something was missing.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Sermon for September 23

September 23 2012, Proper 20B, by Kate Ekrem

Some years ago, at another church, we were having a fair, with pony rides and a dunk tank. The bishop offered to come and take part, and when he arrived, he said, do you want me to go in the dunk tank, and I said, "oh yes, bishop that would be great." So he had brought his bathing suit and he stepped into the rectory to change and when he came out he was no longer wearing his fancy purple shirt, but a T-shirt that said....

Monday, September 10, 2012

Sermon for September 9

September 9, 2012 Proper 18B by the Rev. Kate Ekrem
 James 2:1-10, 14-17; Mark 7:24-37

I always love this first Sunday of our new program year each year because it’s so nice to see everyone and have the choir back. Lots of energy! And let me just say right now, I know you were away a lot over the summer and couldn't get to church, you don’t have to apologize to me at the breakfast downstairs. Blanket absolution for everyone. If you were away, I hope it was Sabbath time for you, time to rest and reconnect with yourself and hopefully God as well in a different way.

And now we’re back and what a set of readings to start off with. The shapers of our lectionary must have a wicked sense of humor. We have this letter from James, saying it’s just incompatible with Christian faith to show partiality to treat different groups of people differently is simply wrong, and then we have Jesus doing exactly that, refusing to heal this woman’s daughter because they are not Jewish. What gives? 

Monday, August 27, 2012

Sermon for August 26

Sermon for August 26 Proper 16B by the Rev. Kate Ekrem
John 6:56-69

Did you notice we’ve had about 6 weeks in a row of Gospel readings about bread? Maybe not if you’ve been on vacation a bit this summer, but thematically you haven’t missed much in John’s gospel. This long passage is called the Bread of Life discourse.

It starts out with feeding of 5,000. Now there’s a story about bread. And the people loved it, after Jesus fed them they followed him around, huge crowds were trailing after him, hoping in no small part for more free food, because they were hungry and poor.

Today he tells them, you’re not quite getting it. It’s not just about free food, and not even just about feeding the hungry. It’s about me, Jesus, I’m the bread of life, you have to eat and drink me.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Sermon for August 5

Sermon for August 5, 2012 Proper 13B by Kate Ekrem

Last week we had wonderful sermons from the El Hogar travelers. But a couple folks said to me after the service, “how about that Old Testament reading!” It was Bathsheba and David --  steamy stuff, that sounds just like a modern  soap opera.

In case you missed last week, our story thus far is: David is sunning himself on his rooftop deck, instead of leading his troops into battle like he should be, and sees the beautiful Bathsheba, wife of Uriah, one of his army commanders. He seduces her, and then a few months later she utters those immortal words, “ I’m pregnant.”

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Sermon by Bill Vogele, El Hogar Missioner

Sunday 29 July 2012 Bill Vogele

Buenos Días. Bienvenidos a El Hogar de Amor y Esperanza. Welcome to the home of love and hope.

My name is Bill Vogele, and I am joined this morning by Cathy Burns and Jim Bradley to offer some reflections on our recent trip to Honduras. I have been going on Redeemer trips to El Hogar almost every year since we started in 2006; Cathy has been three times, and Jim went for the first time this year. They will speak about their impressions from those perspectives. Looking back on the several trips, I want to try to put the trip in the biggest perspective.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Sermon by Cathy Burns, El Hogar Missioner

July 29, 2012
by Cathy Burns

Good morning! When I last came up here to tell you about my experience 2 years ago in Honduras, I talked about how moving it was to go to a place where I did not speak the language and was totally out of my comfort zone. I mentioned how welcoming and enriching it was to spend time with the boys and how much their spirit and energy enriched me beyond words.

Well, I just returned from my third trip to Honduras. I still can’t speak Spanish well, but I’m slowly improving. Working and spending time with the boys is still overpowering for me and I’ve come to a very special appreciation for the teachers who are so dedicated to the boys and the farm. What a wonderful gift they are to the boys and to the school. They are definitely unsung heroes in my mind.

But there is something else I want to share with you that I think is equally important.

Sermon by Jim Bradley, El Hogar Missioner

July 29, 2012
by Jim Bradley

Hola Redeemer,
My name is Jim Bradley and I was one of the newbies that went to El Hogar.  From the first time I heard about the trip it was something that I wanted to do.  I had done a couple of similar trips when I was in high school down to the Appalachian Mountains in Kentucky,  and spent 6 years in the Navy, so I figured that it would not be too different than what I have seen before.

This year the stars were in alignment, so it was my turn to go, but nothing I had done had prepared me for this adventure.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Sermon for July 22 2012 by Rev. Kate Ekrem

Proper 11B, July 22 2012
Rev. Kate Ekrem

"For he is our peace; in his flesh he has made both groups into one and has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us.” That’s from our letter to the Ephesians this morning. And our Gospel says Jesus had compassion on the crowd because they were like sheep without a shepherd.

 I used to tell a story about the Good Shepherd to Sunday school children using felt, I still have the felt pieces in my office.  There is felt green pasture and felt still water and also a felt sheepfold, brown strips of felt. Part of the story is to set them up like a fence or wall around the sheep, and to show that the sheepfold has an inside, and an outside, and a DOOR, and then you show how the door can be opened.

The church has walls. But Jesus has broken down a wall

Monday, July 16, 2012

Sermon for July 15, 2012 by Kate Ekrem

Sermon for Proper 10B July 15 2012
Mark 6:14-29
The Rev. Kate Ekrem

“When he heard him, he was greatly perplexed, and yet he liked to listen to him.”

This is not a two-dimensional  story we have today about Herod and John the Baptist. Herod’s not such a bad guy. He’s really interested in John’s preaching, he’s intrigued by what the prophet is saying about change and reform, he protects him from those who want to get rid of him, including his own wife Herodias, because John’s words to Herod about change and reform are actually quite personal.

The story says, John tells Herod, it is not lawful for you to marry your brother’s wife, which makes John sound like kind of an annoying moralistic person, but Herod’s family life was seriously out of control,

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Sermon for 5 Pentecost by Bill Fortier


By Bill Fortier
Copyright Bill Fortier 2012, all rights reserved

Jesus: Now that I've stuffed myself into this two-piece ensemble, proving just how far I'll go to get attention, have a heart, Jesus. Take my words and tie them to folk's hearts. Take them beyond me and my noise, to You, Love beyond all sounds and words. Amen.

Math was never my strongest subject in school. I was a very mediocre math student. Big M: Mediocre. My low point, at least in my memory, was word problems. There probably were lower points but I've gladly repressed them. But I digress: Word Problems. A mix of words and numbers. My brain would melt as I tried to figure them out. Picture my brain sliding out my ears. Some have argued that my Big Mellon Cave has rung hollow ever since.

So let's refresh your memory, Try to follow along and figure:

If John and his traveling troop of 313 yodelers left Hoboken, New Jersey and then met up with 135 Marxist Librarians from East Lansing Michigan who were memorizing all of official flowers from each of the 50

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Uhm.. why did this blog change colors?

Because your rector is not coordinated enough to figure out how to post black text from her sermon notes into a dark background without a lot of technical fiddling to change the text color. To spend less time fussing with the blog and more time for sermon-writing, we've switched to black text on white background. Sorry if it's momentarily disorienting. Stay tuned for Bill Fortier's sermon next week! (I have figured out how to schedule it for posting while I'm away...).

Sermon for 4 Pentecost

Proper 7B June 24 2012
The Rev. Kate Ekrem

This week my parents bought our 12 year old a Nerf gun. Thus nearly 13 years of forbidding gun toys in my house goes sliding down the toilet in a fit of grandparental indulgence. They also bought Fruity Pebbles, but I won’t go into that My son is over the moon about his new toy, and the reasons he likes it and I don’t like it, seemed to me to resonate with the story of David and Goliath we have today.

It’s just the sort of story a 12-year-old boy would love. Here is David, a young boy, not old enough to join

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Sermon for 3 Pentecost: Sabbath by Rev. Kate Ekrem

June 17, 2012
the Rev. Kate Ekrem

So, it works really well when you are working on a sermon on Sabbath time to go on retreat, which is what I did this week. I gathered with some old friends, we each shared what was going on in our lives, our challenges and joys and frustrations, trying to get some perspective on it all, and then we went for a hike. We climbed Mount Kearsarge in southern NH, and when we finally got out on top, with a view stretching from Maine to Vermont, looking down at buildings that looked like little dots, and someone said, well, there’s some perspective for you. It almost goes without saying

Monday, June 11, 2012

Sermon for the Second Sunday after Pentecost

June 10 2012
The Rev. Kate Ekrem

Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, people will be forgiven for their sins and whatever blasphemies they utter;  but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit can never have forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin"-- (Mar 3:28-29 NRS)

OK, what?? I thought this whole thing was about forgiveness, knowing God forgives us, being able to forgive others, Jesus saying we’re forgiven, so what is this? Whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit can never have forgiveness? What does that mean? And most importantly, what if I did it accidentally, whatever this blaspheming against the Holy Spirit is, and I don’t even know??

What is this sin against the Holy Spirit? What sin could possibly be unforgiveable by God?

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Sermon for Trinity Sunday by Bill Fortier

(C) Copy Write Bill Fortier
All Rights Reserved

Jesus: Twist all my words like balloon animals in the shape of each one's heart, a tailor-made word just for them. Pop the ones they don't need. Go over and around me so that, your folks, not me, feel heard and touched Amen.

 My next door neighbor, Miraj is a neat guy and hails from Pakistan. After a bunch of hubbub at his house, I couldn't contain my nosiness and, playing the part of Gladys Cravitz, I rang his door to investigate. Turns out that the President of Pakistan was his house guest. This has absolutely nothing to do with the Sermon, however. He invites me in, a guest in his home and the fun begins.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Sermon for Pentecost May 27 2012

Sermon for Pentecost, May 27, 2012
By the Rev. Kate Ekrem

Can any of you young people, I’m just asking people under 12 here, tell me what is the birthday of our country? (After some hesitation, several children said “the 4th of July” including our 4 year old baptismal candidate). Can any of you tell me what is the birthday of the church? (One child guessed Christmas.)  It’s actually today, The Feast of Pentecost.

When I was a kid my dad always made me read the Declaration of Independence on the 4th of July, it’s often printed in newspapers that day for that very purpose, and here on Patriot’s Day we re-enact the events that began our country. We do that because it’s so important that our children understand, that we understand, what our values are, what our forbears fought for and died for.

That’s the same reason we re-enact Pentecost today.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Sermon for Rogation Sunday by Kathy Mockett

Rogation Sunday and The Giving Garden
 by Kathy Mockett, Lead Giving Garden Shepherd

I need some helpers up here with me on the steps.  I have 7 bags that need to be opened.  But here’s the hard part.  You need to be patient and wait till I talk to the big kids first, then we can open the bags.

In the Gospel reading Jesus appoints his disciples to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last. To bear fruit that will last could mean to bear children, or, using the fruits of your love to help your neighbor who may not have enough to eat, or, thinking about today, Rogation Sunday, it could mean to be God’s stewards of this Earth to make sure that the plants we plant today and the fruit we harvest this summer, will also provide seeds for us so we can plant more plants the following year.  Let’s keep this thought in mind for a few minutes.

Kate asked me to give a little history of The Giving Garden and how it started.

Sermon for Music Sunday by Bernadette Colley

Sermon May 6 2012
MUSIC SUNDAY-Fifth Sunday of Easter
Church of Our Redeemer Episcopal
Lexington MA

“Finding a fountain, and crowing…”
by Bernadette D. Colley, Music Director

Back in January, at a concert of the DeVaronistas chamber choir, I  heard for the first time a delightful spiritual, which the choir walked in singing  to open their second half. It was a catchy tune with a joyous affirmative refrain. I asked one of the members I knew for a copy of it, I went home with the song stuck in my head for the rest of the evening, and on Monday morning put the score in my “definitely use this someday” folder. The choir just sang it for you as this morning’s anthem, “His Name So Sweet.”
In mid-March Kate invited me to give the Music Sunday sermon. With a nod toward personal growth and ‘stepping out of my comfort zone’, in a moment of weakness, I said “Why not? sure I’ll do it. ”  Even though I felt honored to have been asked, less than 30 seconds after staff meeting while walking back to my office, a voice inside was screaming “WHAT were you thinking?”

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Sermon for Easter Sunday

Easter Sunday, April 8th 2012
The Rev. Kate Ekrem
One of the things we have learned, this past week as we walked in the footsteps of Jesus on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday, is that sometimes we have to just stop. We can’t fix ourselves. Our Lenten disciplines have failed to perfect us, giving up beer for Lent actually did not make me lose a single pound, I’m not a better person than I was on Ash Wednesday, in Holy Week we learn to be passive recipients of God’s love, all we can do is let Jesus wash our feet, and feed us, and sit at the foot of the cross and receive God’s outpouring of love.
But then comes Easter. You know it’s easy to get caught up in whether we believe in a real resurrection or not, was Jesus’ body raised from the dead, or was it just a spiritual thing the disciples experienced, is it literal truth or just a metaphor. But resurrection is not, really, something to believe in.

Notes on Easter Sermon

I went to Newsweek to try to find a sermon illustration for this sermon, as Newsweek almost every year prints a cover article on "did the Resurrection really happen or not?" I meant to poke fun at this habit of theirs. Instead, I found a fantastic article by Andrew Sullivan which inspired other parts of this sermon. It's an Easter sermon itself and well worth reading.


Friday, April 6, 2012

Sermon for Maundy Thursday

Maundy Thursday April 5, 2012
The Rev. Kate Ekrem
Here we come to it, the center of all we do and who we are. On the night before he died, Jesus did two things: he gave his friends bread and wine, saying, this is my body, and this is my blood, and he washed their feet. Then he told them, do this in remembrance of me, you also should do as I have done to you. It’s all right there, in this, tonight, as we remember this event of the Last Supper.

Just as our Jewish sisters and brothers remember the seminal, core event of the Passover this week, we also remember this pivotal, seminal moment, this core event of our faith.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Notes and further reading for Maundy Thursday

This was one of those sermons where I cut out way more than I included in the final version. This Lent has been a fruitful time of discussion in our various adult formation venues about good, evil, human nature, Jesus, and the Eucharist. More than one sermon’s worth! Maybe more to come during Easter as we live into our Eucharistic calling… but in the meantime, some articles that were hovering in the background for me in this sermon included:
 When the Good do Bad, David Brooks in the NYTimes
 And always when it comes to sacrifice and nonviolence, the theories of Rene Girard as so ably expressed by Paul Neuchterlein.
This Lenten conversation has inspired me to make my Easter season reading:
The Feast of the World’s Redemption: Eucharistic Origins and Christian Mission


Monday, March 5, 2012

Sermon for 2nd Sunday in Lent

Lent 2
The Rev. Kate Ekrem

“The promise that he would inherit the world did not come to Abraham or to his descendants through the law but through the righteousness of faith.”

This is important, this is a major theological moment. Where does our salvation, our life purpose, lie? Is it following the law, following the rules, doing the right thing, making correct moral choices, or is it simply having faith? A question that wars have been fought over, that people have burned at the stake for. Faith, or works?

This may seem like a dusty old question that’s not so important to us as it was to, say Martin Luther and other people who lived 500 years ago, but I don’t think so. Just this week I was on the phone with a friend

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Sermon for Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday
The Rev. Kate Ekrem

Today, Ash Wednesday, in one small way we have a tendency to do the exact opposite of what Jesus is telling us to do in the Gospel passage. Jesus says “Be careful not to do your acts of righteousness before men, to be seen by them.” And he also says, “When you fast, put oil on your head (which is how people got ready for a party in those days) and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father.”

And yet, most of us, myself included, will walk around the rest of today with a smudge on our forehead.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Sermon for Last Epiphany

Last Epiphany February 19 2012
The Rev. Kate Ekrem

Peter is a blurter. There are so many times in Gospels where he talks before he thinks: “Let me walk on the water with you, Jesus.” And the same person who was the first to blurt out, “you are the Messiah, Jesus” was also the one who said, “I do not know the man.”

He’s gotten an especially bad rap for this blurt, “Let’s make dwelling places, Jesus.” Over the years Biblical commentators have said Peter is just wrong and bad for wanting to build a dwelling place up on the mountain,

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Sermon for Annual Meeting

Sermon for Annual Meeting: January 29, 2012
The Rev. Kate Ekrem
Well, here we are.  You’re stuck with me now!  But I can’t tell you how much I am looking forward to the year to come. This is going to be an exciting year for Redeemer. The past year has also been an exciting one, as we talked through all the things we needed to, to make our decisions. We dug deep, really deep, and we found bedrock, shared visions and values that can form the firm foundation of our ministry going forward.  
Someone asked me, what’s the difference, what will be different now that we have a rector instead of a priest-in-charge. Officially, there may not be that much difference in the job description, but the job of a priest-in-charge is to look to the past, help facilitate healing, help a parish to get their feet back under them. And the job of a rector, I think, is to look to the future, to gather the vision of what can be, what God is calling us to be next.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Sermon for Social Justice Sunday

Sermon for Social Justice Sunday: January 15, 2012
The Rev. Kate Ekrem
Over Christmas, my extended family visited Hanover New Hampshire, home of Dartmouth College, and saw “Occupy Hanover”, a collection of tents and boxes and students and signs on a street corner. My kids were curious, and asked what it was.  Now, my family does not share the same political viewpoints in all respects, so there was sort of this pause, as we thought about who was going to answer the kids, and what each of us might say.  I think they got some good answers, but it also caused some interesting conversation between us and it sort of seemed to boil down to, how are we responsible for each other? Do we just do good on an individual basis, giving to charity and volunteering, or should our government, our society, somehow be structured so that people don’t fall between the cracks, so that larger resources are there for those who need them, or does that somehow force us to take care of each other, and is that a bad thing or not?

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Sermon for the Baptism of our Lord

Sermon for the Baptism of our Lord: January 8, 2012
The Rev. Kate Ekrem
Today’s reading from the Acts of the Apostles reminds me of a great Episcopalian joke. I sort of collect Episcopalian jokes. This one is about a visitor who came to an Episcopal church, from another denomination. He loved the service and the music and during one of the particularly uplifting hymns he began swaying and waving his arms in the air. People sort of turned around and stared, and one of the ushers came over and told him, you’ve really got to stop that. He said, but I’ve got the Spirit! To which the usher replied, well, you didn’t get it here.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Sermon for the Epiphany Sunday

Sermon for the Epiphany Sunday, Transferred: January 2, 2012
By the Rev. Kate Ekrem

Now that all the parties are over, the traveling is done, the gifts are open, the wrapping paper is cleaned up, we can spend a moment, some of our first moments in this new year, considering what Christmas is really all about. It’s no secret that I sometimes get frustrated with the sentimentality of this season, although at the same time it’s fun to indulge in, too. But I think part of my frustration is that when we get sucked into the sentimentality of thinking of this as the most holy, special magical time of the year, we forget to ask, why?