The Hebrew reading for this Sunday reminds me of a beautiful melody we used to sing in primary school.
Below is a literal translation; the original words are written in Arabic.
“I had a bird * * in a wooden cage.
Nice looking feathers * * Sweet with a long tail.
I did not prevent her ** from eating or drinking.
She always sings ** with her lovely voice.
So, one day, she fled from me and left * * without the slightest reason.
She said, ** My freedom cannot be bought with gold.”
Despite the years that have passed, I still remember this beautiful anthem. I cannot explain why. Perhaps the author was able to express the issue that still plagues human society today through the voice of this frail and vulnerable bird, as its words firmly reside in my heart and mind.
When we look at Old Testament reading in our context, there is not much difference between us and the Israelites in the wilderness. God gave them freedom; Instead of capitalizing on independence, they cling to the past. They left behind the precious gift God granted them: “Liberty in Christ.” God gave them a chance to have a better destiny and live the life they had always dreamed of in the promised land, but they refused to comprehend.
Like the Israelites of the Old Testament, we are not so different today. Although we may be in another place and time, we share many similarities. We may think we're different from them, but we're not so different. When we look closer at the world's current political and spiritual climate, it becomes apparent that we cannot help but see ourselves in the wilderness.
Like this little bird, we must learn to break free from the anxieties and oppression of this world. God calls us to move forward, looking beyond bondage and slavery and embracing the freedom that awaits us. Enjoy liberty and democracy He bestows upon us, not bondage and dictatorship of the pharaoh. By acknowledging this truth, we can better understand our role in shaping the future of our society.
قد كان عندي طائرٌ * * في قفصٍ من خشب
ظريف شكلٍ ريشه * * حلو طويل الذنب
ولم أكن أمنعه * * من مأكلٍ أو مشرب
وهو يغني دائماً * * بصوته المحبب
ففر عني ومضى * * من دونِ أدنى سببِ
وقال لي حريتي * * لا تشترى بالذهبِ
Rev. Samson Mamour
Worship Services | Proper 21 | Sunday, October 1
Holy Eucharist | 8 a.m.
In-Person & Zoom
Christianity and Culture | 9:15 a.m.
Parish Hall & Zoom | Blessing of the Animals
Holy Eucharist | 10:30 a.m. | Blessing of the Animals
In-Person on the Courtyard
First Sunday Lunch | After 10:30 a.m. Service
First Sunday Labyrinth Walk | 5 p.m.
Labyrinth at the Vineyard | 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Christianity and Culture Updates
October 1st: This is the Sunday we bless the animals. Please bring your live pets, stuffed pets, and even pictures to church services that day to be blessed. During September we are asking our members to bring in pet supplies for our local SPCA. Please see list below. During our October 1st class we will organize these donations and make arrangements for them to be delivered the following week.
October 8: What beloved book by a Rockbridge County native was recognized in 1970 as the "most distinguished contribution to American literature for children"? How did an extraordinary local teacher of color inspire the story and another go on to share it with Lexington fourth graders, sending at least one on a life-long quest for social justice? Come to the October 8th Christianity and Culture program at 9:15 to learn the answers and to imagine together how we might use lessons learned to build a Beloved Community --that is, "A Sounder Community."
Evensong, or the office of Evening Prayer set largely to music, has long been considered a gem of our Anglican tradition—and is making something of a comeback in England notably in university chapels. With good reason, as it can promote the quiet contemplation of our gracious Lord at the close of a day which whatever its challenges is always filled with blessings. On October 15, anticipating Evensong at Grace Church the following Sunday, David Cox will describe the service itself, and also show how you can join in Evensong every day from your own home.
October 22: Sacred Ground is a film and readings based dialogue series on race, grounded in faith. This 11-part series is built around a powerful online curriculum of documentary films and readings that focus on Indigenous, Black Latino, and Asian/Pacific American histories as they intersect with European American Historie. Please join Tuck and some Sacred Ground graduates and learn more about this timely program.
October 29: Now that our Grace pilgrims have recovered from their recent pilgrimage to Israel, we are excited to have them share their experiences and inspirational moments with us. What a special way for our members, old and young, to work together to take care of God’s creatures great and small. We look forward to seeing you at these sessions of Christianity and Culture. Please invite a friend to come with you.
SPCA Supplies List
We are always in need of a variety of supplies to care for the animals until they go to their forever home.
Purina or Purina One
Purina puppy chow
Canned food–Pedigree, Purina One, or any name brand (not Ole Roy or Cost Cutter brands)
Crates (airline type) any size
Toys – Kong toys; please, no stuffed toys
Dog collar or leashes; please no harnesses
Advantage 11 Extra, for dogs 55 pounds and up.
Purina Cat Chow Complete (blue bag) or Kitten Chow (yellow bag)
Clay kitty litter
Scoopable kitty litter
Canned cat food — any named brand (not Cost Cutter), chicken varieties preferred
Kitten replacement milk (can buy at Walmart)
Dawn dish washing detergent
Bounty paper towels
High efficiency (HE) laundry detergent
Fabuloso cleaning solution
Pens and pencils
Lined index cards
Staples, paper clips, push pins
Outdoor bird seed
Morning Prayer | Monday–Friday 8:30 a.m.
In-Person & Zoom
Dine In, Dine Out, Lunch, Dinner or Sunday Brunch!
Now that fall is here, it is time to begin to think about our dining clubs. They are a great way to meet and form new friendships among our Grace Church members, prospective members, and students. If this is something you would be interested in, please reply to Ruth or Drusie by September 30th (just click on their names below).
These groups each have a membership of around eight. The first name on the list will plan the first get- together. They will decide whether to host dinner at their home or in a restaurant. If it is done in the home, the hostess provides the main course and asks each member to bring a side dish. If it is done in a restaurant, the hostess is responsible for reservations.
This year we will also have a group for those who would like to meet at lunch or for Sunday brunch. Please indicate your preferences with your response:
· lunch, dinner or Sunday brunch
· prefer week or weekend
We look forward to lots of fun and great food!
Ruth Smith, 910-409-9325
Drusie Milford, 540-461-1427
Paws to Connect
We jumped back into the school year with all four paws! Join us this Tuesday and Wednesday from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on the courtyard infant of Grace!
Join us for one of two labyrinth events this Sunday!
Joanne Robblee will lead us in a session on labyrinths in the Parish Hall beginning at 5 p.m. and then take the group outside to walk our beautiful labyrinth.
Please come join us for a labyrinth walk on the hilltop of Twelve Ridges Winery.
We'll be building a labyrinth in the grass on the hilltop with cracked corn, so the birds of the air and the beasts of the field and forest can feast on it when we're gone.
Bring a picnic, friends, family, the kids (there's a playground up there!), the dog, chairs... and enjoy what I hope will be a beautiful day! Wine, cider, other beverages, and snacks are available for purchase at the Tasting Room. We were rained out last weekend, but this Saturday is forecast to be Sunny and in the 70's!
I hope to see you on the Labyrinth!
Grace Legacy Society Estate Planning Event
Lexington Golf and Country Club – Thursday October 12, 5:30-7pm, Happy Hour with appetizers. Room for approximately 20-30 people. Grace Legacy Society is pleased that experienced estate planning attorney Sarah Brownlow, Esq. of Virginia Estate and Trust Law, PLC in Richmond, will provide a presentation to interested parishioners on understanding the estate planning process, key documents, common questions and pitfalls to avoid. Her presentation will be about 30 minutes with time for Q&A. The event is open to all Grace parishioners. If your estate plans have not been recently updated, you have questions, or want to learn more about the estate planning process please come! The event is currently planned for the back covered patio at the Club. Please RSVP to David Hansen at email@example.com or Dennis Cross at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stewardship and IWC are planning a ministry celebration 5:45 p.m. Sunday Oct 22, immediately following evensong. This is a reception for all members of the parish, whether they attend evensong or not.
At this reception we want to have a large word cloud that shows all the organizations in Lexington and Rockbridge county supported financially or through volunteer work by members of Grace. To solicit this information we want to survey the congregation and get their input. "Please share all the organizations in Lexington and Rockbridge county you support financially and or through your volunteer work"
A member of IWC and Stewardship will tabulate results for creation of a word cloud and perhaps name tags "Ask me about ___________"
IWC and Stewardship will plan the menu for the reception. We will need survey results by the end of September. Contact Liz Moss with any questions. email@example.com
Plastic Bag and Film Recycling through the Trex Challenge
Around the world over 400 million tons of plastic are produced each year and the quantity is growing exponentially. Sadly, only a very small percentage of the plastic waste is being recycled, while the majority ends up in landfills and the oceans. The Creation Care Committee at Grace Episcopal believes we need to do our part to reduce plastic film waste, and we have joined the Trex Challenge to recycle plastic bags and films.
You may be aware of Trex, a company in Winchester, VA who produces composite materials for decking and other uses. Trex uses the plastic bags and film collected in the production of their products. The challenge is to collect 500 lbs. of plastic film over a 6-month period. If we meet this goal, we will receive a free bench made from Trex material. This program has been tremendously successful at Kendall where they have received 5 or 6 benches because of their collection efforts.
Our program kicks off on October 1st. For Grace to receive credit, all plastic bags and film should be deposited in the blue container under the bridge. We will collect and weigh the contents before taking the bags and film to be recycled. A listing of acceptable plastics is attached for your reference.
We ask for your steadfast support in this effort. Together we can make a difference in our environment if we all join in this program.
Wanted - Sunday School Teachers
Grace is looking for youth, college students and adults willing to help provide Sunday School for a few children each Sunday from about 9:15 to 10:15 a.m. We are willing to pay a stipend. Please contact Tuck to find out more.
Prayer for the election of the next Presiding Bishop: Almighty God, source of all wisdom and understanding: Look graciously on your church, and so guide the hearts and minds of those who will choose our next presiding bishop, that we may receive a faithful pastor who will care for all of your people, equip us for our ministries, and proclaim your word to us and to the world, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. Please pray for the wider Church and intercessions requested by our Congregants: Pray for the continued healing of The Presiding Bishop Michael Curry. The Diocese of Southwestern Virginia, and our Bishop, The Rt. Rev. Mark Bourlakas. Pray today for the Canons to the Ordinary for the Diocese of Southwestern Virginia, The Rev. Cn. Mark Furlow and The Rev. Cn. Jonathan Harris. Pray for Brendon, Michael Murphy, John Thomas, Timmy, Rick Alexander, Bradley Fairchild and Karen Junkin, Gloria June Perry, Glen Jones, Patricia Brown Boyer, Dolly Shumate, Carolyn Glenn, Jack Hershbell, Laura Stearns, Worth & Katie Burnes, Amelia Dull, Barb Ostrander, Stephen deMaria, Annie Campbell, Polly Lawrence, Betty Cadden, Jeff Mason, Joe Irby, Kent Wilson, Rosemary Phillips, Joan Wade, Don Ellis, Diana Kenney, Patrick Bowes, Ann Nay, Paula Cooper, Lucy Moise, Penny & Ned Henneman, Steve Riethmiller, David Wade, Barbara Bova, Daniel Diener, Carrie Strickland, Shelby, Edith Covard Crutcher, Anne Stenhouse, Clay Sadler, Lynn Butler, Sharon Humphreys, Eloise Adams, and those we name aloud or in our hearts. Pray for those who have died. Pray for the people of Morocco, Libya, Hawaii, Sudan, Haiti, Ukraine,
In Thanksgiving for September and October Birthdays
9/30 Mo Littlefield. Lynda Bassett-deMaria
10/2 Donnie McBrayer
10/4 Mary Katherine Lawrence, Anne Hansen
10/6 Christine Szarzynski
10/8 Rob Minor
10/9 Jerry Nay, Susan Denson
10/11 Heather McBrayer
10/16 Sharon Kurtz
10/20 Eloise Adams, Drusie Milford
10/23 Claudia Ellis
10/24 Sarah Centorino
10/25 Lily Youngman
10/26 Melissa Cox
10/27 Connie Loughhead
10/29 Jimbo Smith
10/30 Steve Shultis
10/31 Peggy Hays
We're so glad you're here! If you or someone you know is new to Grace and would like more information about Parish life, follow the link below.
The Annual St. Paul’s Mission and Monacan Indian Nation Homecoming Bazaar has been in existence for many years. As the name implies, Homecoming is a chance for St. Paul’s Bear Mountain families and neighbors to reunite, share a meal, and sell crafts and homemade goods.
The quilt raffle will start at 4pm and you do not need to be present to win. Tickets are $1 - Please message us to purchase tickets or you can purchase at the Bazaar.
There will be a gospel sing by local singers/musicians (message us if you want to participate in the gospel sing).
The event is open to the public. Come and participate in this local fall event - you won’t be disappointed!
Donations for Lisa's House – Project Horizon
Items we currently need: · High efficiency laundry detergent · Toilet paper, paper towels · Lysol disinfectant spray · Dish soap · Coffee · $10 gas cards At this time, we are only able to accept items on this list. Thank you for thinking of us!
Chill on the Hill
Habitat for Humanity Fund Raiser | Great Valley Farm Brewery and Winery | Sunday, October 1, 2023 12 – 3 pm | Food provided by: Lex Vegas Bistro and Old Lex Mercantile
Meal Ticket $20.00 | Music by Datz Us Ramblers