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Last Sunday after Pentecost  Proper 29 Christ the King November 24, 2019

Jeremiah 23:1-6
Canticle 4, p. 50 BCP
Colossians 1:11-20
Luke 12:33-43

Today is Christ the King Sunday. The season after Pentecost is coming to an end, and we are looking forward to the season of Advent.

In our reading from the prophet Jeremiah, God is speaking to the people. There have been many unfaithful leaders. God is now going to be the shepherd of the people. God will lead God’s people home from exile. And, especially significant for us, God will raise up a Righteous Branch, a good and wise king who rules with justice. In these words we as Christians see a description of our King, Jesus Christ.

Our canticle for today is the song of Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist. Zechariah is looking forward to the coming of our Lord, and he is addressing his own infant son, who is going to be the forerunner, telling everyone that the Savior is coming.

In our reading from Colossians, Paul prays that we may “be made strong with all the strength that comes from his glorious power,” that is the power of Jesus. He has “rescued us from the powers of darkness.” He is the head of the Church, which is the Body of Christ here on earth, and we are members of that Body. We are as close to each other as the cells in a human body. We depend on each other. We support each other. We are his hands to reach out in love, his eyes to look on others with compassion, his feet to bring help to those in need.

In our gospel for this day, we are at the feet of our Lord as he is being crucified. He asks God to forgive the people who are doing this because they do not understand what they are doing. People taunt him, yelling at him to save himself if he is so powerful.

There are two prisoners, one on each side of him, One joins the cries to Jesus to save himself—and the two criminals. But the other sees who Jesus really is. He sees that Jesus has done nothing to deserve this punishment. He asks Jesus to remember him when he comes into his kingdom. And Jesus tells him, “Today you will be with me in paradise.”

The crowd sees Jesus as an earthly king, an earthly leader who will do anything he can to save himself. But Jesus is not an earthly king. He has come to save others. We are following him. He is our Good Shepherd. He is our king, a king like no other.

Jesus is the eternal Word who called the whole creation into being, and he will come again to complete his work of creation and reconciliation. Jesus is God walking the face of the earth. As we read and learn about the ministry of our Lord here on earth, we see how God feels about us.

God loves us with a love that nothing can stop. God gives us gifts so that we can live our lives in joy and do our ministries. Gifts of listening, healing, growing things, rescuing dogs, singing, playing instruments, keeping the books, caring for the creation, making places and experiences accessible, and on and on the list goes.

For the next two or three weeks, we will be making our offerings to the United Thank Offering, also know as UTO. Every time we are thankful for something, we put a coin in our box or other container and at the end of the year, we put it all together and give it to UTO to help people all around our country and the world. The UTO is an outgrowth of the Women’s Auxiliary of the Episcopal Church. Grace Church has a long and active history of participation in this ministry. 

Also, we will be making our pledges to God for the coming year. Our pledge is also a result of thanksgiving to God for all of God’s gifts to us. For me,  the main gift is God’s amazing love. Each of us can spend our whole life just learning to absorb that love. God knows us, knows our flaws and our gifts and our foibles. Even though God knows our weaknesses, God loves us. As Paul says, “Nothing can separate us from the love of God.”

God gives us gifts of time, talent, and treasure. Every moment we have is a gift from God. Out of all the gifts of time, talent, and treasure that God gives us, we return a worthy portion to God in our pledge. If we are giving contributions to groups like the Red Cross or the American Cancer Society, those are part of God’s gifts to us that we are sharing with others. When we give time and energy to help others, that is part of our pledge. We do this because we are so grateful to God for all of God’s blessings,

This Thursday is that very special feast of Thanksgiving—a day set apart for us to be with family and friends and to be grateful for all the many gifts God bestows on us. 

This Sunday we have two very important themes. One is the theme of  giving thanks. The attitude of gratitude is a powerful force for good. And the other theme is that Christ is our King, a very different kind of king. He is not focused on power—he has all the power in the world. He is focused on love, and he is focused on loving us. He is leading us into life in a new dimension. He is leading us in a process of transformation. He is calling us to become more like him. He is calling us to help him build his kingdom, his shalom of peace and harmony where everyone treats others as he or she wants to be treated.

This week, let us take time to thank God for the many blessings God is giving us. And let us also take some time to meditate on our King, Jesus, the Lord of Life, and, to quote Richard of Chichester, let us ask our Lord to give us the grace “to see him more clearly, love him more dearly, and follow him more nearly day by day.”

Let us turn to page 246 and pray together the collect for Thanksgiving.

 Almighty and gracious Father, we give you thanks for the fruits of the earth in their season and for the labors of those who harvest them. Make us, we pray, faithful stewards of your great bounty, for the provision of our necessities and the relief of all who are in need, to the glory of your Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Pentecost 29B November 25, 2018 Christ the King

2 Samuel 23:1-7
Psalm 132:1-13, (14-19)
Revelation 1:4b-8
John 18:33-37

Today, the last Sunday in the season of Pentecost, we celebrate Christ the King. Christ is the One we are following. Christ is the King of our lives.

In our opening reading from the Second Book of Samuel, we reflect on the great earthly king of God’s people, David. He was the youngest of the sons of Jesse, and, when Samuel was called to anoint a new king, David was the last of Jesse’s sons to appear before Samuel. The family had to call him in from taking care of the sheep.

David was deeply loved by the people. With great courage, skill with the sling, and most especially, profound faith, he felled the giant Goliath and saved his people from slavery to the Philistines.

But he was not perfect. Far from it. When he ordered that Uriah the Hittite be sent to the front lines to die in battle so that he could take Uriah’s wife, Bathsheba as his wife, David hit the moral nadir of his life. Yet, when he was confronted by the prophet Nathan, he was able to admit that, yes, he had done this horrible thing, and he was truly sorry.

In our reading today, the king is described in these words,”One who rules over people justly, ruling in the fear of God, is like the light of morning, like the sun rising on a cloudless morning, gleaming from the rain on the grassy land.” A good ruler is a person of light and brings the light of God to bear on every situation. A good ruler is one whose words and actions are inspired by the Spirit of God. Each of us can think of kings or presidents or other leaders who fit this description, and we can be thankful for such people.

Our reading from the Book of Revelation is a song of praise to our king, and it is a vision of heaven, where the saints and angels gather in peace and joy to sing praises to our Lord. He is the Alpha and the Omega. He is the beginning and the end. He is eternal, and his love is eternal and unchanging. This is a great comfort in times like ours, when we see so much that is the opposite of our Lord’s kingdom of compassion and peace.

It is helpful, I think to remember that Revelation was written to Christians who were living under oppression from the Roman Empire. For followers of Jesus who could be killed at any time at the whim of an emperor, this book, written in code, was a beacon of hope. The imagery which some people interpret as describing Satan or the Devil, is actually describing the Roman Empire. Our Lord triumphs over all forms of oppression and misuse of power, and that knowledge inspires us as we work to create justice in our own world.

In our gospel, we are with our King as he faces the tyranny of the Roman Empire and of the religious leaders of his time. The passage is full of paradox and many layers of meaning. Pilate asks whether Jesus is King of the Jews. but he is asking the question from a worldly point of view.

Our Lord replies that his kingdom is not of this world. How true that is. In his kingdom the last are first and the first are last. Singer and songwriter Holly Near has a song called “The Meek Are Getting Ready.” She sings about those at the margins “coasting up on empty” and we can envision our King welcoming and embracing the folks he called “the least of these, my brothers and sisters.”

At the end of this reading, Jesus says, “Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.” As we meditate on this powerful statement, we ask ourselves, what does he mean by saying “Everyone who belongs to the truth”? Is he talking about a set of facts? Is he talking about a belief system? Is he talking about truth as a set of logical propositions? What does it mean to “belong to the truth”?

Earlier in John’s gospel, Jesus says, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life,” Even earlier than that, back in chapter ten, he tells us that he is the good shepherd. He says, “i know my sheep, and my sheep know me.” And he tells us that, when the sheep hear the voice of the good shepherd, they follow that shepherd.

So, Jesus is the truth. His attitude, his way of doing things, his teaching, is our truth. That’s what he means by the concept of belonging to the truth. We belong to him in the sense that he is our good shepherd and we are following him.

Jesus tells Pilate and us, “Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.” We could paraphrase that by saying that every one who belongs to our Lord listens to his voice and follows where he leads. His life, his ministry here on earth, and his love for us, all of that is the truth that we follow.

This is the end of the Thanksgiving weekend, a time to give thanks and share good food and lots of love with family and friends.

And on this Christ the King Sunday, we can be very thankful for our King, our Good Shepherd. He is our living, guiding truth, and we belong to him.

May we always listen for his voice.   Amen.


Christ the King — November 26, 2017

Ezekiel 34:11-16, 20-14
Psalm 100
Ephesians 1:15-23
Matthew 25:31-46

Our first reading today is from the book of the prophet Ezekiel. Ezekiel was a priest who served among the people of God exiled in Babylon from about 593 to 563 B.C. The powerful Babylonian Empire conquered Jerusalem in 597 B.C. and sent many of the leaders and others into exile. Then, in 586 B.C., the Babylonian armies came back and totally destroyed the temple and many of the surrounding buildings. Scholars tell us that this is the point when Ezekiel wrote this passage. Not only are the people in exile, but now the temple, the center of their worship, has been turned to rubble.

At this darkest hour, God calls Ezekiel to speak God’s word to the people. And God is telling the people that God will gather them up. God will gather all of God’s people from wherever they have had to flee, and God will bring them home. God will feed the people with good pasture, and God will be their shepherd.

God will bring back the ones who have strayed. God will bind up the wounds of those who are injured, and will strengthen the weak. But the fat and strong, that is, the leaders who have hurt the people and have prospered at the expense of the people, will face a time of reckoning. God speaks directly to these leaders, who in essence have bullied the people. God says, “Because you pushed with flank and shoulder, and butted at all the weak animals with your horns until you scatted them far and wide, I will save my flock….”

God says that God will set over them one shepherd, God’s servant David. We know that David had ruled several hundred years before this time in history, so, as Christians, we take this as a reference to the kingship of Christ, who was from the family of David.

In this prophetic writing, from twenty-five hundred years ago, God is calling all leaders to care for their people, not to hurt them.

In our gospel for today, as we celebrate Christ the King, Jesus speaks about the  values and actions of those who are following him and bringing in his kingdom. He tells us that, if we feed the hungry or give water to the thirsty or welcome the stranger or clothe folks who have nothing to wear, or take care of those who are sick or visit those who are in prison, we are doing those things to him.

Our king identifies, not with the rich and powerful, but with those who need help, those who are weak, those who have no power, those who are at the margins of society. When he tells his followers that they have done all these things to him, they are astonished. They had no idea. They were just trying to help a fellow human being.

Jesus is so different from our usual ideas of a king. He is not powerful in the world’s meaning of the word. He has no army. He has no palace. He was born in a stable to a carpenter and his wife. Shortly after his birth, his father had to take the family to Egypt to save Jesus’ life, so they became refugees, aliens in a strange land because King Herod was killing baby boys. Our king has suffered, and he has a special place in his heart for those who suffer.

Our king grew up in a carpenter’s home, worked in the shop with his earthly father, studied at the synagogue with the other kids, and eventually he went to the river Jordan and was baptized by his cousin John.

Wherever he went, he lived the values of his kingdom. When he went into the synagogue and reads the scroll of Isaiah, it said that he was coming to bring good news to the oppressed, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, to comfort all who mourn, and to bring God’s peace and harmony. That is what he did during his entire ministry, and that is what he calls us to do.

Today we make our United Thank Offering and we also begin to pray about our pledges. Today and every day, God calls us to help those who need God’s love and caring. The season of Pentecost is coming to a close, and this coming Sunday we move into Advent.

May we take time to reflect on the depth of God’s love for us and for all people. May we help and serve others in Christ’s Name. Amen.

Proper 29 A RCL—Christ the King—November 23, 2014

Ezekiel 34:11-16, 20-24
Psalm 95:1-7a
Ephesians 1:15-23
Matthew 25:31-46

Today is Christ the King Sunday. The season after Pentecost comes to a close. Next Sunday we will begin Advent. This is also the Sunday before Thanksgiving, a time when we think of all the many gifts God has given us. We gather with family and friends to give thanks. After our service, we will go to Frank and Priscillas to share our harvest dinner.

Our opening reading this morning comes from the time of the Exile in Babylon. At the point of our reading for today, the Babylonian Empire has conquered Jerusalem, the people have been deported to Babylon, and they have been living in exile for about ten years. Ezekiel has just learned that the Babylonians have destroyed the temple in Jerusalem, and more refugees will be coming to Babylon.

 The people are devastated. They have been praying and keeping the faith and studying the scriptures, but now, they feel that they have lost everything. In todays lesson, God is speaking to the people. through the prophet and priest Ezekiel. God is going to search for the sheep and rescue them, and gather them, and bring them into their own land and feed them with good pasture. God is going to search for the lost and strayed and is going to bind up the injured and strengthen the weak. God is going to gather the people and lead them home to Jerusalem.

God is going to destroy the fat and the strong,that is, the rich and powerful leaders who had gained even more power and wealth at the expense of the ordinary people. Those who abused the weak are now going to face the consequences of their actions. God is going to protect the flock. This passage from Ezekiel reminds us that God has always had special concern for the weak and those at the margins.

The people have always thought that God dwelled in the temple in Jerusalem. Now that the temple has been destroyed, they wonder where God is. We are not living in literal exile, but we are living in a time when darkness and chaos and violence are all too apparent. We may ask ourselves, Where is God in all of this?This reading from 2,500 years ago reminds us that God is right in the midst of us, leading us through the darkness to the light. This is a message of profound hope.

In our epistle, Paul tells us that our Lord has risen from the dead and is with us now; he has conquered the forces of darkness and he is the head of his living Body, the Church. Christs kingdom is growing even now, growing inexorably in the face of the darkness and brokenness that we see in the world around us. And his kingdom, his shalom of peace and harmony, will be realized when he comes again.

In our gospel, Jesus describes kingdom people. They feed the hungry; they give water to the thirsty; they welcome the stranger; they clothe the naked; they care for the sick; and they visit those who are in prison. They take care of other people, especially those who are vulnerable. And Jesus tells them, Truly, I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these, who are members of my family, you did it to me.

In a profound sense, whether we are kingdom people or not comes down to how we treat folks who are weak, folks who have no power, no money, no say in how things get done. We know this, not only from this gospel story, but also from the life and ministry of our Lord. He was constantly criticized because he associated with the wrong peopletax collectors, prostitutes, people who were considered beyond the pale. He valued women and children, who had no status in his society. He touched lepers and healed them. His love for every one of his children is our example.

As we think about this gospel, we look forward to Advent, when we prepare for Jesuscoming again and we also look back to his first coming. When he came among us, he was not born in a castle. He was born to a carpenter and his wife in a little out of the way place. They were not rich or powerful. They were what Jesus in todays gospel calls, the least of these, my family.Very early in his life, Jesus, Mary, and Joseph had to become refugees and flee to Egypt to get away from King Herod, who was killing baby boys.

This is how the king of creation came to be among us. Jesus knows what it is like to live on the margins of society, to be beyond the pale, to be despised. He is asking us to think about how that feels to folks and to treat our brothers and sisters with respect.

We have been given so much. He is simply calling us to share his many gifts with others. For the next two Sundays, we will be doing our U T O ingathering, and next month, we will be making our offering to Episcopal Relief and Development. We will also be making our pledges to Grace Church in thanksgiving to God.

Christ is our King, but he is a very different kind of King. He is the King of Compassion. He has a special place in his heart for those who are most vulnerable.

Next Sunday, we will begin the season of Advent, and we will once again plumb the mystery of our God, who created the galaxies and the planets in their courses,yet came among us just the way we came into the world, as a tiny baby.

This week, we celebrate Thanksgiving, and we have so much to be thankful for: loving families, our faith community here at Grace, the abundance of our lives, both spiritual and material, and the presence of our loving God among us, leading us and guiding us and showering us with gifts to be shared. Amen.

Last Sunday after Pentecost

Proper 29B RCL

Christ the King Sunday

2 Samuel 23:1-7

Psalm 132:1-13

Revelation 1:4b-8

John 18:33-37

Today is Christ the King Sunday. It is the last Sunday of the season of Pentecost. Next Sunday, we will begin the season of Advent.

Our first reading this morning focuses our attention on the reign of King David. David had some major personal flaws and made some bad decisions, as we do, but he is the ideal of the earthly king. One strength that David had was that, when confronted with his errors, he owned up to them and asked God’s forgiveness. Our reading says, “One who rules over people justly, ruling in the fear of God, is like the light of morning, like the sun rising on a cloudless morning, gleaming from the rain on the grassy land.”

Our king, Jesus, comes from the family of David. This opening lesson places before us Jesus’ ancestral roots and the vision of an earthly king who rules with wisdom and justice.

Our second reading, from the Book of Revelation, gives us John’s vision of heaven. Angels and archangels worship Jesus and God. When John says that Jesus will be coming with the clouds, that is a way of saying that we will all be accountable for how we have lived our lives and how we have used the gifts God has given us.

Here are Herbert O’Driscoll’s words on today’s gospel: “We are seeing the meeting of two empires. Pilate the Procurator embodies the power of Rome. Jesus the prisoner embodies spiritual power….  ‘Are you the King of the Jews’, asks Pilate. The reply he receives must have been startling. ‘Do you ask this on your own, or did others tell you about me?’ It shows no sign of fear or subservience. The question is from equal to equal.”

O’Driscoll goes on to say, “Jesus is saying that he is not interested in being a worldly king but is very much interested in bringing spiritual truth to the world.”

Christ is our King. Hi kingdom is not a material or an earthly kingdom. It is not based on earthly power, yet it has far more power than the Roman Empire or any other empire could ever have.

What does it mean to say that Jesus is our King? Each of us would probably have a different answer to that question.  In some way, beyond out ability to analyze or explain, Jesus has touched our lives. He is someone we want to follow. We have read about his life and ministry in the gospels. We have seen the way he treats each person with infinite love and respect.  We have seen the way in which he has brought healing and wholeness to people, the way he has taught and lived. All of this has made us want to be more and more like him.

This means that we also feel deeply called to help Jesus to build his kingdom, his shalom. Archbishop Desmond Tutu calls this God’s dream for the world. His description of God’s shalom was read to us by Beth a few weeks ago. I would like to bring it again to our minds and hearts.

“I have a dream, God says. “Please help Me to realize it, It is a dream of a world whose ugliness and squalor and poverty, its war and hostility, its greed and harsh competitiveness, its alienation and disharmony are changed into their glorious counterparts, when there will be more laughter, joy, and peace, where there will be justice and goodness and compassion and love and caring and sharing.  I have a dream that swords will be beaten into plowshares and spears into pruning hooks, that My children will know that they are members of one family, the human family, God’s family, My family.

In God’s family, there are no outsiders. All are insiders. Black and white, rich and poor, gay and straight, Jew and Arab, Palestinian and Israeli, Roman Catholic and Protestant, Serb and Albanian, Hutu and Tutsi, Muslim and Christian, Buddhist and Hindu, Pakistani and Indian—all belong.

This is the vision of God’s shalom for which we are all working. We are also coming to the end of the Thanksgiving holiday. It is wonderful to see family gathered at this special time.  And I want to thank Frank and Priscilla for putting on a wonderful Thanksgiving feast this past Sunday with special gifts of delicious partridge soup and moose meatballs, thanks to Frank’s skill as a hunter, Gods gracious bounty, and Priscilla’s gifts as a cook. I should probably say chef. Thank you so much. Priscilla has suggested we should do this more often. I think that is a great idea.

Today we focus on Christ as our King and thanksgiving for God’s gifts, including God’s vision of shalom. These are the reasons why we will be doing our United Thank Offering ingathering this Sunday and next, why we will be giving to Episcopal Relief and Development during the Christmas season, and why we will be giving prayerful thought to our response to God’s gifts my making our pledges the next several Sundays.

Lord Jesus, may we make you the king of our lives and our hearts. May we be thankful for your many gifts to us. May we follow you always.


Last Sunday after Pentecost Proper 29A RCL November 20, 2011

Last Sunday after Pentecost Proper 29A RCL November 20, 2011

Christ the King Sunday

Ezekiel 34: 11-16, 20-24
Psalm 100
Ephesians 1: 15-23
Matthew 25: 31-46

Today is the last Sunday of the Pentecost season, also called Christ the King Sunday. It is also the beginning of Thanksgiving week. Next Sunday, we will begin the Advent season. What a wonderful time of the year, a time when we celebrate the paradoxical kingship of our Lord, a time when we focus on all the things we have to be thankful for, and a time when we are on the verge of preparing for our Lord to come again and complete the creation.

The prophet Ezekiel was one of the leaders of God’s people during their time in Exile in Babylon. Ezekiel was deported to Babylon in 597 B. C. E., the first time the massive and powerful Babylonian Empire captured Jerusalem. During the time in exile, Ezekiel and other leaders led the people in much deep soul-searching, and they realized that their leaders had not been good shepherds of the people. The rich and powerful pushed the little people around. There was no justice in the land.  

The Babylonians came back to Jerusalem in 586 B. C. E. This time they leveled the temple. This was a huge blow to the people. The temple was the center of their worship, and, in some sense, they felt that God dwelled in the temple. At this time, more of the people, especially the leaders, were sent to exile in Babylon.

God spoke to Ezekiel at this most dark and hopeless time. God gave Ezekiel the vision of a people made new, the vision of a return to Jerusalem and a time of rebuilding and restoration. God gave the vision of a community of people of compassion and caring.  And God said that God would be the shepherd of the people. This helped the people to realize that God was not only in Jerusalem. God was with them in their exile, guiding them to become the people God called them to be. As we know, the people did eventually return and rebuild.

In our post- Christendom era today, many scholars point out that we are in a kind of exile, as the Church seems to more and more people to be irrelevant. This passage from Ezekiel reassures us that the vision of God’s shalom is never irrelevant and gives us faith and hope to persevere in helping to bring in Christ’s kingdom.

Our reading from Ephesians is one of the most beautiful and powerful descriptions of community in the Bible. Paul says that he has heard of their faith in the Lord Jesus and of their love toward all the saints. He prays that God may give them a “spirit of wisdom and revelation as you come to know him, so that, with the eyes of your heart enlightened, you may know the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance among the saints and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power for us who believe….” Our Lord is alive and is at the head of his Body, the Church, to fill us with all the gifts we need to follow him and to do the ministries he calls us to do.

Today’s gospel rounds out these lessons which focus on our king. Christ is enthroned as king and judge in this passage. But our king and our Lord calls us to a ministry of servanthood. We are called to feed the hungry, give a drink to those who are thirsty, give clothes to those who need them, welcome the stranger, extend hospitality, heal the sick, and visit those in prison.

God leads us out of exile into fullness of life. God leads us out of hopelessness into joy. Christ our King comes among us as one who serves and calls us to share that servant ministry. Christ, our Good Shepherd, leads us to good pasture, leads us beside still waters, and restores our souls.

We have so much to be thankful for, and that attitude of gratitude is the source of our stewardship. God has given us so much. It’s almost beyond our ability to comprehend.  God loves us unconditionally. Nothing can separate us from that love.  God gives us everything we need. God gives us all the gifts for ministry that we need in order to do the ministry he calls us to do.  God gives us the gifts of faith, hope, and love. Faith that gives us a sense of security in a world that fosters anxiety and fear. Hope that anchors us to a vision of the kingdom, the shalom, of Christ, a kingdom of peace, harmony, justice, and caring. And love, the love of Christ, who gives his life so that we may live in him and extend his love to others.

The power of his life and love is perhaps the greatest gift for which we are so thankful. He has extended that love to us and called us to share that love with others. And because of our Lord and all his gifts to us, we return to God a worthy portion of what God has given to us. In the next couple of weeks we will be making our pledges for 2012. We make these pledges from a deep sense of God’s abundance, which God has given to us.  Please make your pledge prayerfully in response to God’s love and generosity.

As I celebrate Thanksgiving this year, I thank God for this community, Grace Church, Sheldon, Vermont. Paul’s description of the church at Ephesus fits you very well. You gather to share the word of God, to be fed and energized by our risen Lord in the Holy Eucharist, to catch up with each other and support each other in your faith journey and your ministries out in the world, and then you go out and share God’s love with people in so many ways, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. I believe Grace Church is a wonderful, vibrant community doing the ministry of servanthood which our Lord calls us to do. Thank you, and thanks be to God, for your good and faithful ministry.

May we grow ever closer to Christ our King, our Good Shepherd who  leads us into wholeness and newness of life. May we continue to be a community of faith in our Lord Jesus and love to all. May we continue our ministries to those who are hungry, those who are thirsty, those who need clothing, shelter, healing, welcome and caring.  Amen