Weekly Newsletter

Dear Calvary-St. George's Family,

Like all of you, I was horribly disturbed this week by the largest mass shooting in our country's modern history. This last month has been tough to say the least: all of the natural disasters, government scandals, and gun violence (and this is only in the United States, have you heard what is happening in Myanmar?).  

The religious and worldly response has always been a call to exercise more control:  enforce laws, create new boundaries, regulate people. Before the age of reason, we would throw our children into the oceans to appease the sea gods, and offer some sort of corn offering in order to prevent a volcanic eruption or earthquake. We would blindly grope from regulation to regulation, sacrifice to sacrifice, in hope that our efforts would somehow appease the craziness in this world and bring about some sort of peace.  However, 2000 years ago, one man came and made the claim to be God. In his death and resurrection he broke through this fallen world and revealed that God is good and for us.  This man was Jesus Christ.  

This Sunday, we will be continuing our sermon series for stewardship titled "Continuing the Cause" where my topic will be "Our Only Mediator."  I will hope to deliver the heart of the Gospel: that the Good News is not about us and how we are going to change the world, eventually inviting Jesus to join us.  Rather that, the heart of the Gospel is Christ as our only mediator and advocate.  In the midst of a crazy world Christ was crucified, Christ is risen, and Christ will come again.

Peace,

The Reverend Jacob A. Smith

Weekly Newsletter

Dear Calvary-St. George's Family,

Fall has begun (even though it has not really felt like it outside), and October is already nearly upon us! And if you are tuned into how the calendar works at our church, you will remember that stewardship season is nearly upon us as well. But beyond just talking about how we respond to God's grace with our offerings, pledges, and other gifts, the clergy team wants you to understand the roots of why we do all of this in the first place. 

Coupled with our season of stewardship we want to also discuss our Reformation heritage this October as we approach the the 500th anniversary of Luther kicking off the reformation with his 95 Theses. Our sermon series during the next five weeks will be looking at the Solas of the Reformation. I begin the series this Sunday by looking at Our Only Foundation: Scripture Alone. Then the four weeks to follow will be on Christ Alone, Faith Alone, Grace Alone, and God's Glory Alone. These five slogans of the Reformation are the heart of everything we believe and do at Calvary-St. George's; and that is why our whole parish will be exploring them, from Sunday School and Youth Corps to Devotion Groups and the Forum. This message is for all of us! And it is not merely a history lesson; this message of God's work in Christ for us is timeless and ever present in our faith and life, and the five Solas encapsulate all of it. So I am inviting you to tune in the next five weeks as we rediscover and celebrate this message together!

Prayerfully yours in Christ,

The Reverend Jay Gardner


Listen to last Sunday's sermon:

Weekly Newsletter

Dear Calvary-St. George's,

Thank you to everyone who helped make Kick-Off Sunday a huge success.  I wanted to let all of you know about our new 5 p.m. Choral Evensong at Calvary Church. This service is especially important this fall as we celebrate 500th anniversary of the Reformation. There have been a number of articles that have articulated the growing resurgence of this service in England, and while Holy Communion is on decline in England, thousands of people are showing up to sit through the service of Evensong. 

Evensong is one of the great legacies of the English Reformation. The service has its origins in the ancient monastic (and before then, Jewish) tradition of marking the day with specific times of prayer. When the Church of England severed its ties with Rome, Archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Cranmer condensed Vespers and Compline to create this powerful service. It is a service of the word and a service, which takes a great deal of faith that God's word will do something in the life of the listener. I would love it if you couldn't make one of our morning services, that you would try and attend Choral Evensong at Calvary Church at 5:00 p.m. Another reminder is that we have Morning Prayer Monday through Friday at Calvary Church at 8:30 a.m.   
This Sunday I will also preach from the Gospel text.

We will see you this Sunday,

The Reverend Jacob A. Smith  

Weekly Newsletter

Dear Calvary-St. George's Family,

This summer (and entire year, for that matter) we've seen a great deal of turmoil in our country. The month of August alone has felt like a roller coaster on its way to hell:  racial tensions in Charlottesville, distress in our government, threats of war on the Korean Peninsula, and now Hurricane Harvey. 

Hurricanes and natural disasters cause tremendous damage and even take lives.  As New Yorkers we are no strangers to the devastation of a hurricane. Hurricane Harvey and other natural disasters profoundly remind us that as humans, we are unified by our collective need and helplessness. Hence, oftentimes natural disasters bring out the best in humans as we care for each other in acts of what theologians have called, "common grace."  

Common grace often manifests itself in our conscience and desire to care for our neighbors in need.  It is an expression of the fact that we have been created in the image of God. Our Lord works through common grace, not necessarily unto salvation, but that we as humans might live together in a generally cooperative manner.   

Distraught by the reports from friends and the media, many of you have asked how we at Calvary-St. George's might be an expression of God's common grace to the people of Houston by giving financially.  I want to encourage you to give to two very specific churches whose rectors are friends of Calvary-St. George's.  

The first is St. Thomas' Episcopal Church. This church and their community was hit particularly hard. Harvey flooded their church and destroyed their school.  Their rector David Browder, actually contributed to our discretionary fund during Hurricane Sandy so that we might help with the relief effort.  To donate to their relief effort, click here. The second is Holy Spirit Episcopal Church.  This church suffered quite a bit of damage and the rector, The Reverend Josh Condon, is at the heart of much of the relief effort going on in Houston.   You can give here.  There will also be an option to help this Sunday by giving to Episcopal Relief and Development.  There will by a flier in your bulletin.  

Finally, pray the Prayer for a Person in Trouble or Bereavement found on page 831 of the Book of Common Prayer (BCP):  

O merciful Father, who hast taught us in thy holy Word that thou dost not willingly afflict or grieve the children of men: Look with pity upon the sorrows of thy servant for whom our prayers are offered. Remember him, O Lord, in mercy, nourish his soul with patience, comfort him with a sense of thy goodness, lift up thy countenance upon him, and give him peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

We will see you this Sunday.

Peace,

The Reverend Jacob Smith