Weekly Notes from Father Brian Murphy


  • may 8, 2019

    Dear Church of the Apostles,


    Hallelujah! He is risen!

    As we look ahead to the upcoming Fourth Sunday of Eastertide, I wanted to share two short things that may encourage you as you practice resurrection.

    Listen to an Easter memory from Archbishop Foley Beach.

    Sing along with one of my favorite songs of resurrection by Andrew Peterson.

    Peace and Hope,
    Brian+

  • May 1, 2019

    Dear Church of the Apostles,


    “When we practice resurrection, we keep company with Jesus, alive and present, who knows where we are going better than we do, which is always ‘from glory unto glory.’"
    — Eugene H. Peterson, Practice Resurrection

    On Easter Sunday I encouraged us all to practice resurrection by feasting, energizing our imaginations, and seeking truth. I want to point out three upcoming events at Apostles that will help us do these things in community with our friends, old and new.

    This Saturday (May 4) Tamara and I will host a feast (okay, feast may be hyperbole) for any newcomers to Apostles. For this first Newcomers’ Dinner we are inviting anyone who began attending Apostles after Tamara and I arrived over two years ago. Anyone is invited to join us for the meal if you bring a friend who doesn’t have a church home and is interested in learning more about our church.

    On the last Friday of Eastertide (June 7) we will gather for 8 Minutes Max. If you are an artist, consider sharing a work in progress with us. If you are not an artist, come and experience how art helps expand and energize our imaginations.

    Last Saturday we held our first of four Cross Current sessions. Practice the truth of resurrection by attending one or more upcoming sessions held over the next three Saturdays (May 4 - May 18). Join others from Apostles and around the region as we listen to God for inner healing and wholeness.

    Take a minute to checkout the details of these events here and reach out with any questions or to let us know that you plan to attend.

    I look forward to practicing resurrection together!


    Peace,

    Brian+

  • april 10, 2019

    Dear Church of the Apostles,


    This Sunday is the beginning of Holy Week. Palm Sunday is the first of many chances that we have to engage with the Passion of Christ. Each service presents a unique opportunity to consider what the Lord has done for us through his death on the cross and resurrection from the tomb.

    Please plan to join us for our Eucharistic celebration this Sunday and all of our Holy Week services including Maundy Thursday and Good Friday with our friends from Stepney Baptist and Beacon Hill, and Easter Sunday when we will celebrate the Paschal Feast at Penfield Beach in Fairfield.

    When we arrive at church this Sunday, the Greeter Team will be handing out palms for us to use during the service.  After the prelude I will invite us all to gather outside of the main doors (entering the lobby).

    There we will pray together and engage with the first part of the Passion narrative, Jesus’s Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem. Then we will process into the auditorium while singing the classic Palm Sunday hymn All Glory, Laud, and Honor as we wave our palms in honor of Christ our Passover and King.

    The service will continue with songs of worship, the reading of the Passion narrative from Luke, a short homily, and a celebration of Christ’s death, resurrection, and ascension at the Eucharistic table.

    Palm Sunday as well as all Holy Week services are wonderful times to invite friends and family to join you at Church. People are generally more open to considering “religion” at this time of year. I look forward to worshiping with you all!

    Peace and Hope,
    Brian+

  • April 3, 2019

    Dear Church of the Apostles,


    Yesterday’s Gospel reading for the Daily Office was the account of Jesus feeding of the five thousand plus their families. (John 6:4-15)

    I often think about the scene of thousands sitting on the grass while Jesus talks and the disciples distribute bread and fish. I am sure that the scene was active with children squirming and making noise, men and women having side conversations about the Good News, and the occasional cough or sneeze from those who were under the weather. If there were such a thing as cell phones, I bet one or two would have sounded off at just the worst moment.

    None of this seems to bother Jesus. In fact, he seems to enjoy and embrace the signs and sounds of life, and responds with the gracious offer of bread both physically and spiritually.

    What a great example of hospitality for us to follow this Easter Sunday when we invite our friends and neighbors to join our church family at the Jacky Durrell Pavilion at Penfield Beach.

    I am so excited to be together and celebrate the resurrection of our King!

    Please review the details of all our Holy week services here and plan to join us. Here are a few details to help you prepare for Easter on the beach.

    • I hope and pray that all who call Apostles their home church will come join us at 8 am for a “Sunrise” Service on the porch, stay for a continental breakfast, and join us for the Eucharistic Celebration at 10 am. (See below for details and times.)
    • There is no space to provide childcare on Easter Sunday. If you are the parents of littles or have friends who are parents of littles, please know that, like Jesus, we will all love to hear their voices and see their squirming. They are most welcome!
    • Amy will have activity bags for children to engage with during the service.
    • Invite you’re friends, neighbors, colleagues, family, and classmates to join us for any part or all of the morning. We expect and are totally comfortable with guests coming when they can and leaving when they must.
    • Will you help us provide breakfast? Sign-up sheets will be on the greeters table this Sunday for you to volunteer to bring food.
    • It is not too early to pray for spectacular weather. Keep an eye on the forecast and dress accordingly for the day. It may still be a little cool with the breeze coming off of the Sound.

    I look forward to Easter on the beach with my Apostles’ family and meeting new friends!

    Peace and Hope,
    Brian+

  • march 27, 2019

    Dear Church of the Apostles,

    On Ash Wednesday we are called to “observe a holy Lent, by self-examination and repentance; by prayer, fasting, and self-denial; and by reading and meditating on God’s holy Word.” (BCP, p 265)

    In these next three weeks, as we continue to journey towards the cross and to Resurrection Sunday with fasting, prayer and giving, we invite you to join us in these special activities:

    • Donate items to the Blessing Bags service project our Apostles’ Kids will participate in this Sunday, March 31 (the list is here).
    • Take one or two Blessing Bags with you to give out to those in need in your local area.
    • Plan to stay after church this Sunday to pray with us for the end of human trafficking in our community. And join us to pray again on Friday, April 12 at Patti Hiller’s home, 10:00-11:30a.
    • Walk and pray with us at the University of Bridgeport on Saturday, April 6 11:00a - 12:00p.
    • Sign up to join us for the Friendship Dinner at UB, Friday April 12 at 7:00p. Fran Snow will have all the details for us this Sunday.
    • Holy Week Services (details here) - Palm Sunday, April 14 through Easter Day, April 21.

    May the Lord continue to deepen our faith as we draw close to Him.


    Blessings.

    Jan+

  • march 12, 2019

    Dear Church of the Apostles,


    This week’s eNote on the value of confessing to others was written by a parishioner and friend, Rosemary Williams.

    “Have mercy on me, O God, according to your loving-kindness; in your great compassion blot out my offenses. Wash me through and through from my wickedness, and cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions only too well, and my sin is ever before me.” - Psalm 51:1-3

    I've always held a strange fascination with confession. When I was little, my Roman Catholic mother would periodically take us to her church, deposit miniature me in the church's office to be babysat, and go to the parish's confessional to confess her sins in kind and number. The Protestants in the family, myself included, engaged in no such activity; but I never stopped wondering what exactly happened in that strange and mysterious liturgy.

    Eventually, my curiosity about this strange discipline? ritual? Sacrament? got the best of me. I confessed. My priest and I sat side-by-side. She sipped Earl Grey and I read aloud the full contents of my four-page list of sins. We were facing a large cross, but I don’t recall looking at anything besides my prayer book, my list, and my brown ballet flats. It was terrifying and liberating and adrenaline-inducing, all at once. I knew I'd be back.

    My theological instinct tells me that confession is powerful because it involves naming and being re-named, which are both crucial to identity building. I name myself as a sinner, I name my sins, I name my need for mercy, and am subsequently re-named as being holy, pure, righteous. But in my experience, the spoken elements of confession are not at all what stands out. Instead, I remember the touches from each of these experiences: the weight of a priest's hand resting on my head as he extends absolution; the nearness of a friend as we squeeze into a prayer rug with hands clasped and arms around each other; the smoothness of a chrism-coated thumb-tip signing a cross on my forehead. All of these are holy touches, brothers and sisters welcoming me back into the family of God.

    "Christ became our brother in order to help us. Through him our brother has become Christ for us in the power and authority of the commission Christ has given him. Our brother stands before us the sign of the truth and the grace of God. He has been given to us to help us. He hears the confession of our sins in Christ's stead and he forgives our sins in Christ's name. When I go to my brother to confess, I am going to God." -Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together

    Friends, confession is for all Christians and not only Roman Catholics. A priest or pastor can make a wonderful confessor, but so can a friend. Why not try it out this Lent?

    Peace,
    Rosemary

  • march 5, 2019

    Dear Church of the Apostles,


    This Wednesday we will begin the season of Lent by coming together as a church family to celebrate the Eucharist, including the imposition of ashes, at 7 pm at Roger Ludlow Middle School.

    Turning from self-sufficiency and sinfulness is best done with our community. Fellow disciples and friends encourage us, challenge us, and most importantly fight with us against the loneliness that we may feel in taking up our cross and following Christ.

    Greg Goebel, Anglican priest and founder of the Anglican Pastor blog, encourages us to follow these lenten disciplines that have been practiced throughout the generations of the Church:

    • Fast on Ash Wednesday
    • Read the Bible with special attention
    • Read the Church Fathers (and Mothers)
    • Give up sweets and alcohol (except on Sundays)
    • Abstain from meats on Friday (or perhaps give up one meal)
    • Give money to help others
    • Volunteer my time to visit and assist the sick, the prisoner, or the outcast

    Below are some specific resources and ideas for how to engage with these lenten disciplines.

    Reading the Bible with Special Attention
    A Lenten Daybook at Tamara’s blog, A Sacramental Life
    The Trinity Mission: Praying the Daily Office as led by my friend and colleague, The Rev. Michael Jarret

    Read the Church Fathers (and Mothers)
    On Social Justice, by Saint Basil the Great
    Bread and Wine: Readings for Lent and Easter

    Give Money to Help Others
    Our offerings on Ash Wednesday and Maundy Thursday will be given to the Deacon’s and Rector’s Discretionary Funds. These are special accounts used to help those in need and to further the mission and ministry of Apostles. Consider donating to these funds at any time during Lent by simply writing “Discretionary Funds” in the memo line of your check and dropping it in the offering basket or mailing it to the office.

    I will praying for a meaningful lenten season for Church of the Apostles and look forward to walking the way of the cross together with you.

    Peace and Hope,
    Brian+

  • february 27, 2019

    Dear Church of the Apostles,


    In an article entitled Prayer: Rebelling Against the Status Quo, missiologist and professor Dr. David Wells writes, “Prayer is an expression of the hope that life as we meet it, on the one hand, can be otherwise and, on the other hand, that it ought to be otherwise. It is therefore impossible to seek to live in God’s world on his terms, doing his work in a way that is consistent with who he is, without engaging in regular prayer.”

    Church of the Apostles will hold two special prayer gatherings this weekend.

    On Saturday, March 2; 11 am - noon: Epiphany Prayer Walk at the University of Bridgeport in support of our missions partner Bridges International Ministry. You can park in the lot located at the corner of University Ave and Lafayette St (across form the soccer fields).

    On Sunday, March 3; following the morning service: Information and prayer time for the end of human trafficking in Fairfield County and southwest Connecticut. Our special guest will be Sister Maureen Fleming who will share about how God is working to end human trafficking locally.

    I hope that you will join us.

    Peace and Hope,
    Brian+

  • february 13, 2019

    Church of the Apostles,


    One of my favorite things about Church of the Apostles is our monthly Family Table meals. We set aside one Sunday each month to sit down and share a meal together right after we have spent the morning worshiping together. This extends our fellowship and deepens our friendships with food, laughter and story-telling. 


    This month's meal will be Sunday, February 24, and we're having breakfast for lunch! Here's what to bring: A-G a box of your favorite cereal; H-N a breakfast casserole or quiche; O-Z fresh fruit.


    Be sure to mark these important dates on your calendar as well:


    February 16 - we will begin to move the church office to our new location. We'll need a crew from 9 am - noon to move boxes, stored items, small furniture, etc. Come when you can and leave when you must. The entire job should only take a few hours.

    February 17 - plan to stay after the worship service for Apostles' Annual Meeting. Many materials and information has been sent in the past few weeks, and will be available in the lobby prior to church.

    February 20 - we rescheduled our time with Sister Maureen. We will gather at the Hiller's home for this important conversation regarding the work God is beginning in Fairfield County on behalf of those who are enslaved by human trafficking. Click here for this week's prayer guide.

    February 24 - our book discussion group, Apostles Reads, will meet at the Murphy home, 4:00pm, to discuss Walking on Water by Madeleine L'Engle.


    I hope you can join us!


    Blessings.

    Jan+



  • february 6, 2019

    Dear Church of the Apostles,


    Three things for this week…

    One, please continue to pray for the end to human trafficking. You can find a prayer guide to help direct you here. In addition, please, mark your calendars and plan to join us for an evening of information and prayer to end human trafficking in Fairfield County and southwest Connecticut (details on Home page).

    Two, the Church of the Apostles’ offices are moving to 303 Linwood Avenue in Fairfield.

    At the annual meeting I will talk more about why the Parish Council and I made this decision and how it fits well with our search for Apostles’ next worship space, but for now, please make note of two dates:

    • On Saturday, February 16 we will need a crew from 9 am - noon to help us begin moving. We will be moving boxes, stored items, small furniture, etc. on this day. Come when you can and leave when you must. The entire job should only take a few hours.
    • Tuesday, February 26 will be our first day fully occupying the new office space. Any mail or visits before that date should still arrive at our current office space at 338 Commerce Drive, Fairfield.

    Three, please remember to join to us for the annual meeting on Sunday, February 17 (details on Home page).

    Peace and Hope,
    Brian+

  • january 30, 2019

    Dear Church of the Apostles,


    One time each year we hold our Annual Parish Meeting. This year our meeting will be held on Sunday, February 17 following the morning service. An agenda for the meeting has been mailed to members of Apostles.

    To help you prepare for the annual meeting, the names and bios of the nominees to the Parish Council, proposed bylaw changes, financial materials, and minutes from last year’s meeting will be available beginning this Sunday on the greeter’s table outside the auditorium entrance.

    The Lord has done great things for us and has plans for our hope and future. I look forward to celebrating his kindness and generosity by reviewing our life together in 2018 as well as casting vision for 2019 during the morning service including updates and plans concerning property search, missions, and ministry.

    Although voting is limited to covenant members all are encouraged to join us for the service and meeting.

    It’s a big day! See you there.

    Peace and Hope,
    Brian+

  • january 23, 2019

    Dear Church of the Apostles,

    This Sunday’s Gospel passage includes these words that Jesus read at his first sermon as recorded in Luke.

         “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
            because he has anointed me
            to proclaim good news to the poor.
         He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives
            and recovering of sight to the blind,
            to set at liberty those who are oppressed,
          to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” (Luke 4:18-19)

    We often read these words of Christ as spiritual truths. In other words, Christ will set our captive souls free and proclaim good news to those who are poor in spirit.

    Our King is a both-and King; therefore, Jesus’s message definitely includes our souls and spirits, but he also definitely promises to bodily free those who are actually, bodily oppressed.

    We’ll hear more about this both-and promise of freedom during the sermon this week as well as through two testimonies of how God is working in our community to free body, soul, and spirit.

    We will hear from our brother Walter about how Christ has freed him through the listening and inner healing prayer ministry called Living Waters. (See more details about the upcoming Living Waters Intensive here.)

    We will also hear from Maureen Fleming, a sister from Saint Luke’s Catholic Church in Westport, about the prayer and work that God is beginning in Fairfield County on behalf of those who are enslaved by human trafficking. (See details about an upcoming prayer and information meeting.)

    I look forward to what God has in store for us at Apostles and the region.

    See you Sunday!

    Peace and Hope,
    Brian+

  • january 9, 2019

    Dear Church of the Apostles,


    My life, ministry, and the churches that I have been privileged to pastor over the years have been blessed by a listening and inner healing prayer ministry called Living Waters.

    Living Waters is an in-depth, Christ-centered prayer ministry for people seeking wholeness in every area of life by addressing the reality that we are all broken in our ability to love others well and can be fully restored in our emotions, relationships, and sexuality through Jesus Christ.

    Church of the Apostles is offering a two-day (Friday evening and all-day Saturday) Living Waters intensive on February 8-9 at our church office space at 338 Commerce Drive in Fairfield.

    The Living Waters intensive provides a safe, confidential environment for men and women to share honestly over two days through times of worship, teaching, and healing prayer offered in both large groups and gender-specific, small-group settings.

    The intensive will be led by me and Tamara; our friend Garry, who shared his testimony with us last year during a morning service; and men and women form Apostles and other regional churches. All of us have been nationally trained and formally approved to lead.

    I would like to personally invite you attend the Living Waters intensive and to prayerfully consider men and women who you could extend an invitation to join us. I have also personally invited about 15 area churches to this special event.

    The cost for this two-day intensive is $25 for Apostles members and $50 for those from area churches. The cost includes the registration and all materials. Space is limited for this intensive and registration closes on Sunday, February 3, 2019.

    You can find more information and an invitation to share with others here.

    Peace and Hope,
    Brian+

  • january 2, 2019

    Dear Church of the Apostles,


    This Sunday begins the season of Epiphany on the Church Calendar.

    During Epiphany we celebrate the events in Christ’s early life that revealed his divine nature to those around him. In a larger sense, this feast reminds us that the Incarnation involves the announcement of salvation to “all nations.” The Good News is not for a privileged group but for everyone everywhere.

    One tradition for the Epiphany season is for families to gather and ask God’s blessing. It is an invitation for Jesus to be a daily guest in our home, our comings and goings, our conversations, our work and play, our joys and sorrows.

    In addition to a house blessing many chalk the doorway to signify God’s blessing on all who visit and live in the home and to welcome everyone into the salvation God offers through the Incarnation of Jesus.

    I would be honored to come and pray a house blessing throughout your home during the Epiphany Season (January 6 - March 5) and, if you like, chalk your doorway. Simply contact Jane Jackson at the church office and schedule a time, including evenings and weekends, for me to come enjoy this time with you.

    Peace and Hope,
    Brian+

  • december 12, 2018

    Church of the Apostles,


    Some of my favorite Christmas memories are of singing - hymns at church, carols in school concerts, and family favorites around the piano in our living room. After reading Luke 2 on Christmas Eve, our family would sing 'O Little Town of Bethlehem' before opening the gifts under the tree. In recent years, other traditions have taken hold - Charlie Brown's Christmas, the Rob Mathes Christmas Concert, and the Apostles' Christmas Pageant.


    Our pageant this year will be held during our 10am worship service on Sunday, December 23, so come and sing along with the children in our parish. And before that Sunday, we have 2 other chances to lift our voices in joyful praise. Join Amy Dominguez and D.C. Washington at The Source Coffeehouse for Candlelight Carols this Friday, December 14 (see details here). Then, on Sunday evening, December 16 join the Sarris family for a night of caroling through their neighborhood (details). 

     

    We will finish this Advent season with our Christmas Eve service, Monday December 24 at 5:00pm. You can be sure, there will be lots of singing of Christmas carols and hymns. I can't wait! 


    Blessings!

    Jan+

  • December 3, 2018

    Dear Church of the Apostles,


    We can practice longing and anticipation this Advent by engaging with the Scripture passages selected to coincide with the season. As we read and pray we will see how God is trustworthy to keep his promises and to cover the transgressions and imperfections of our humanness.

    Here are four free resources that can help us engage with the Scripture this Advent season.

    The Trinity Mission works to make ancient Christian formation more accessible to the modern believer by providing the Audio Daily Office and other prayer podcasts. Scripture is has been selected from the Trinity Mission’s Daily Readings for the Christian Year, which values using readings that follow the liturgical season with special readings for Holy Days.

    The Jesus Storybook Bible provides a journey of wonder for the whole family this Advent by tracing the beautiful story of God’s great love for us–from the very beginnings of the universe, to the birth of the baby who would rescue the whole world.

    A Sacramental Life, which is Tamara’s blog, has been a staple of my Advent prayer times for years. There is a unique devotional post for each day of Advent that includes a work of art, a song, daily Scripture passages from the 1979 Book of Common Prayer, a short prayer, and a simple activity to help you practice the waiting days of Advent.

    Pray as you go is a 10-12 minute daily prayer podcast, designed to go with you wherever you go. A new prayer session is produced every day of the working week and one session for the weekend.

    As I mentioned on Sunday, I will also be using Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s God is in the Manger: Reflections on Advent and Christmas as a supplement to my regular Advent prayer rhythm using the resources above.

    Praying for a meaningful Advent for us all.

    Peace and Hope,
    Brian+

  • november 28, 2018

    Dear Church of the Apostles,


    Advent is the season where we settle into our reality of being an “already” and “not yet” people of God.

    We are already living in the Kingdom of heaven through the death, resurrection, and ascension of the Incarnate God, Emmanuel, Jesus the Messiah. We are grateful for all of the generous abundance we have received from our generous King.

    At the same time the Kingdom of God is not yet in its fully consummated state. As the redeemed people of God living in in a world still under the struggles and sufferings of sin, we long for the Second Advent where the current work of making all things new will be completed by the victorious return of Christ.

    During the season of Advent we choose to pay attention to and live in the tension of our already, not yet reality. We celebrate and wait, rejoice and lament, rest and act, hope and yearn.

    We have several community gatherings to help us practice this tension together. Take special note of all of the plans for the season here, making special note of the two events coming up this weekend - Parish Quiet Day and Advent Family Table. I hope to see you at both.

    Peace and Hope,
    Brian+

  • november 21, 2018

    Dear Church of the Apostles,


    I pray that we all will enjoy rest, celebration, and gratitude for God’s generous blessings this week.

    The General Thanksgiving
    Almighty God, Father of all mercies,
    we your unworthy servants give you humble thanks
    for all your goodness and loving-kindness
    to us and to all whom you have made.
    We bless you for our creation, preservation,
    and all the blessings of this life;
    but above all for your immeasurable love
    in the redemption of the world by our Lord Jesus Christ;
    for the means of grace, and for the hope of glory.
    And, we pray, give us such an awareness of your mercies,
    that with truly thankful hearts we may show forth your praise,
    not only with our lips, but in our lives,
    by giving up our selves to your service,
    and by walking before you
    in holiness and righteousness all our days;
    through Jesus Christ our Lord,
    to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit,
    be honor and glory throughout all ages. Amen.

    Happy Thanksgiving!
    Brian+

  • november 14, 2018

    Dear Church of the Apostles,

    Vocation is the common call for those of us who are in Christ Jesus to live and work for the sake of God’s purpose and plan in and to all creation.

    Callings are the the specific work, roles, talents, relationships, and gifts of the Spirit that God intends for each one to uniquely live out at different stages of our lives for the sake of God’s purpose and plan in and to creation.

    Recently, Walter Wittwer posted a story about one of his callings at The Sacramental Life blog.

    “The reason I love the work is because I love the people. The honesty, the simplicity of their love, and even their anger has taught me much about what’s important and how best to help people move through problems.”

    “Humans have human problems and sometimes, or maybe most times, need humans to help them solve the problems and celebrate the solutions.”

    Read Walter’s entire work story here.

    Peace and Hope,
    Brian+

  • october 31, 2018

    Dear Church of the Apostles,

    As a followup to Brian’s sermon on Calling and to our first conversations over lunch on God’s callings in our individual lives, I am attaching a few resources to help us all with the question: What is God calling me to in this time in my life? As Brian said on Sunday, this is just the beginning of our sharing and discovering together as a body of believers the different callings God has placed on each of us.

    First, let me share 2 YouTube video links. The first reminds us that there is no age limit on our usefulness to the Lord. He will continue to call us into new things as we continue to seek His will and desire to serve His people. Meet Bettie here.


    The second video introduces us to Sarah, a barista whose passion for communicating and connecting to people led her to follow God’s call to learn a new language. Click here to hear about it.

    Next, let me point you to Tamara Murphy’s blog series “Work Stories”. In this Ordinary Time series, she has ‘invited some friends to share a one-day snapshot into their work life that will help us see what they know to be true right now about who they are made to be.’ Read Tamara's blog.

    We invite you to enter into this discovery of Calling and to go with us into deeper conversations to see what we ‘know to be true right now about who [we] are made to be.’

    Blessings.
    Jan+

    p.s. DAYLIGHT SAVINGS IS NOVEMBER 4: SET YOUR CLOCKS BACK ONE HOUR!!

  • october 24, 2018

    Dear Church of the Apostles,


    Pastor and author Eugene Peterson went home to be with the Lord on Monday. Christians will miss his faithful, non-anxious presence and joyful voice.

    I was reminded on Monday of this quote from Peterson’s book, A Long Obedience in the Same Direction,

    "I will not pretend to invent the meaning of the universe; I will accept what God has shown its meaning to be; I will not strut about demanding that I be treated as the center of my family or my neighborhood or my work, but seek to discover where I fit and do what I am good at. The soul, clamoring for attention and arrogantly parading its importance, is calmed and quieted so that it can be itself, truly."

    This Sunday we will begin considering God’s idea of vocation and calling in the life of his people.

    Our vocation as Christians is to follow Christ in every area of our lives by living as he demonstrated and taught. This is what Peterson means by accepting the meaning of the universe as God has shown it.

    Our callings are the specific ways that God asks us to live out our vocations through our work, responsibilities, roles, and relationships. This is what Peterson means by seeking to “discover where I fit in and doing what I am good at.”

    The Sunday sermon will be about the biblical ideas of vocation and calling. At Family Table following the service (details here), we will have a relaxed conversation together in small groups about how God is calling us.

    I hope that you will join us for both.

    Peace and Hope,
    Brian+

  • october 10, 2018

    Dear Church of the Apostles,

    A group of us at Apostles have been thinking and talking about calling and work for the past few months and have been praying and brainstorming how we can make this conversation an ordinary part of our life together as a parish.

    We have a lot more praying and brainstorming to do, but one thing is for certain. The conversation will be energized by sharing our work stories with one another.

    This week I would like you to hear the work story of Amy Willers, one of our friends at Apostles and our Children’s Ministry Director. Amy wrote a blog post as part of a series at A Sacramental Life.

    What is God calling me to do to serve Him?
    “I don’t think we should ever stop asking that question, whether we are in a natural transition of life or not. So I try to consider His will for me for the future, even as my days are full of the various callings in which God has placed me now.”


    Read more from Amy here.


    Plan to join us for our Family Table (see details on HOME page) on Sunday, October 28 where we will begin sharing our stories of calling and work together. 

    Peace and Hope,
    Brian+

  • october 3, 2018

    Dear Church of the Apostles,


    Church of the Apostles will be partnering with Bridges: Friends of Internationals to host the Friendship Dinner at the University of Bridgeport on Friday, November 2.

    Along with our Missions Team, I am so excited about this opportunity!

    Did you know that in any given year 40-50% of the student body at UB is comprised of international students? Of those students well over half come from two of the hardest places on earth to reach with the Gospel - China and India. Friendship Dinners are a great way to show Gospel hospitality to these students who have left their homes and families to attend school right here in Fairfield County.

    We will be talking about this opportunity during the weeks leading up to the dinner, and will provide specific details for how we can all get involved.

    Here are a few ways you may begin to prepare.

    • Watch this short video clip about Bridges.
    • Attend a cross cultural ministry training hosted by the Bridges staff on October 19-20 at Calvary Church (498 White Plains Road, Trumbull). This will be attended by people from around southwest Connecticut and serves as a larger conversation about reaching out and welcoming in international friends.
    • Join others from Apostles for a meet-and-greet information session with Bridges staff on Thursday, October 25. This is designed to give us information and details specific to the November Friendship Dinner.
    • Participate in a prayer-walk around the UB campus on Saturday, October 27 from 10:30 - 11:30am. Park in the UB lot located on the corner of Lafayette St. and Atlantic Ave. (across from the soccer filed)
    • Sign-up (coming soon) to join us for the Friendship Dinner on Friday, November 2.

    We are not ready to begin signing-up just yet, but if you have any questions about the above activities, please ask Fran Snow (fransnow@gmail.com).

    Peace and Hope,
    Brian+

    PS Please plan to join us for a Concert of Prayer on Thursday, October 18 (details here) as we gather to seek God and ask for favor in our search for a permanent place for Church of the Apostles.

  • september 26, 2018

    Dear Church of the Apostles,


    We are pleased to announce that Bishop Breedlove was able to reschedule his visit to Church of the Apostles for this weekend. He will be preaching at our 10:00 worship service this Sunday, September 30.

    Plan on joining us Sunday to hear Bishop Steve bring an encouraging word and news from around the Diocese of Christ Our Hope.


    Also, this Sunday is the start of our two Fall service projects. For the next several Sundays we will be collecting pairs of new socks (all sizes) for the local homeless community, as well as gathering canned and non-perishable food items for Bridgeport Rescue Mission's Thanksgiving Dinner. Please join us in these efforts by generously giving to those in need. For more information on either project, please contact the church office.


    We continue to pray for all those communities affected by Hurricane Florence. If you are looking for a way to give to those in need, please visit the Diocesan website: https://www.adhope.org/single-post/2018/09/24/Hurricane-Florence-Disaster-Relief.


    Blessings,

    Jan+

  • september 12, 20018

    Dear Church of the Apostles,

    Our Bishop visit for this weekend has been cancelled.

    As you may be following, Hurricane Florence is making her way toward the Carolinas. Bishop Steve and Sally Breedlove live in the Raleigh Durham area of North Carolina; therefore, they need to remain home both due to travel delays and the need to take care of their home.

    Please be in prayer for everyone who lives in this area of the country, for emergency first responders, and for government officials to be safe and act with wisdom and hospitality towards one another.

    We will still have our Family Table following church on Sunday. I can’t wait! See the HOME page for what to bring and please plan to join us.

    The 4th-6th graders will be staying in the auditorium for the entire service. Activity sheets will be provided. All other children will be dismissed for Sunday School as planned.

    Speaking of Children’s ministry; we are still in need of a teacher and a couple of helpers for the upcoming school year. Contact Amy Willers (awillers@apostlesct.org) if you can help us out.

    Although I am disappointed that we will not see Bishop Steve and Sally this weekend, I look forward to coming together in Eucharistic Worship and fellowship as we celebrate all that God is and has done for us.

    Peace and Hope,
    Brian+

  • september 5, 2018

    Dear Church of the Apostles,


    Bishop Steve will be with us on Sunday, September 16. He will be preaching and celebrating confirmations in the morning service and will join us for our family table following. Our times with Bishop Steve are always meaningful. I hope you can join us.

    Recently, Bishop Steve was interviewed on why engaging our neighbors with questions is important. He says, “One of the biggest questions people are asking us is, ‘How do I get free of myself?’ They want to know how to keep from defaulting to it being ‘all about me.’ People want to know how to address the dark side, the fears within them.


    It’s a great interview and helps us continue thinking about the radically ordinary hospitality that Paul envisions in 1 Corinthians.

    Read the entire interview here.

    As you’re thinking about engaging your neighbors, reach out to someone and invite them to join us at the Bonfire on the Beach coming up in a few weeks. The details are below.

    Peace,
    Brian+

  • august 29, 2018

    Dear Church of the Apostles,

    A couple of weeks ago Apostles Reads discussed a book by Amy Sherman entitled Kingdom Calling; Vocational Stewardship for the Common Good. It would be hard to sum up the book in a few sentences; however, this excerpt is a good start.


    God the Father continues his creative, sustaining and redeeming work through our human labor. This gives our work great dignity and purpose. Vocational stewardship starts with celebrating the work itself and recognizing that God cares about it and is accomplishing his purposes through it.

    How may this view of labor give new hope, energy, and purpose to your job?


    In preparation for our upcoming collective pause from work, we will be celebrating our labor this Sunday during Prayers of the People by recognizing each one in their efforts at home and in the workplace.

    I’m looking forward to it! See you there.

    Peace,
    Brian+

  • august 22, 2018

    Dear Church of the Apostles,

     

    It has been a full summer for Church of the Apostles. Many of us have been away. Some have had guests come to visit. For the staff, it has been a season of rest and refreshment as well as dreaming and planning. In these last few weeks of summer, we have plans to spend time together as a church family. It is time to gather as a community for worship, fellowship, food, and fun.

     

    • Compline – our monthly prayer service is tomorrow, 7:15pm. Come pray with us.
    • Annual Church Picnic - immediately following our worship service this Sunday, August 26. Dress casually for church and meet us at Owen Fish Park, 1443 Stratfield Rd, Fairfield for the afternoon.
    • Mr. Barker Visits Sunday School – all grades will be released from the service this Sunday. Audrey & David’s grandfather will tell us about his recent trip to Rwanda.
    • A Special Art Lesson -  Adiel Dominguez will lead our children in a special art lesson on Sunday, September 2!
    • Youth Group – every other Saturday night at the church office.
    • Bishop Breedlove’s Annual Visit – plan to be at church early to spend time with the Bishop before the service on Sunday, September 16. More details to come.
    • Bonfire on the Beach – Friday, September 21. Save the date!

    Look for the details for each event on our Home page.

     

    Plan on attending, expect to be blessed, encourage others to join in. May the Lord be lifted up and glorified as His people gather in His Name!

     

    Blessings,

    Jan+

  • august 8, 2018

    Dear Church of the Apostles,


    Tamara and I would like to extend an invitation to the mothers with adult children in our congregation to join us for 6 Wednesday evenings of prayer and listening this fall. 


    Transitional seasons of life are often a mixed bag of celebration and disorientation; both tend to open us to opportunities for both reflection and growth. One transitional life stage represented broadly at Church of the Apostles is the season of releasing children into adulthood, sometimes known as the season of "empty nest".

     

    How might we be able to encourage each other in this season of motherhood if we listened to God together for the ways He wants to lead, guide, and orient us to His call on our lives as mothers of adult children?

     

    This fall, we're going to explore that question together with six gatherings of sharing and listening prayer. Our goal will not be to pray for our children (necessarily) but to pray for ourselves to be encouraged in what can sometimes be a season of unspoken concerns and burdens.

     

    Join us September 5 & 19, October 3, 17 & 31, and November 14 from 6:30p – 8:00p at Karen Hutton’s in Trumbull, CT. Please rsvp to Jan Buchanan.


    We are greatly looking forward to this time with each other and with the Lord.


    Blessings.

    Jan+

  • august 1, 2018

    Dear Church of the Apostles,

    Over the last several weeks during our Sunday Eucharistic celebrations we have been considering Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians. I am very grateful for men and women who have done the godly work of thinking and praying through Scripture.

    Last week I mentioned a book by Richard B. Hays entitled The Moral Vision of the New Testament. Hays suggests three “focal images as guidelines for reflection about the New Testament canon.” I have found these images to be very helpful. Each is rich with theological thought, so boiling them down to a few sentences is tricky. However, I pray that they will encourage you nonetheless.

    1. Community (1 Corinthians 1:2-3, Romans 12:1-2):
    “The church is a countercultural community of discipleship, and this community is the primary addressee of God’s imperatives. The biblical story focuses on God’s design for forming a covenant people. Thus, the primary sphere of moral concern is not the character of the individual but the corporate obedience of the church.”

    2. Cross (1 Corinthians 2:2, Philippians 3:10, 2 Corinthians 4:11):
    “Jesus’ death on the cross is the paradigm for faithfulness to God in this world… Jesus’ death is consistently interpreted in the New Testament as an act of self-giving love, and the community is consistently called to take up the cross and follow the way that his death defines.”

    3. New Creation (1 Corinthians 15, Romans 8:22-23)
    “The church embodies the power of the resurrection in the midst of a not-yet-redeemed world. In the present time, new creation already appears, but only proleptically [in a state of anticipation]; consequently, we hang in suspense between Jesus’ resurrection and parousia [second coming].”

    I look forward to continuing our sermon series through 1 Corinthians this Sunday. See you there!

    Peace,
    Brian+

  • july 25, 2018

    Dear Church of the Apostles,


    One of my favorite messages of Scripture is Psalm 126, especially the first three verses: “When the LORD restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dream. Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy; then they said among the nations, ‘The LORD has done great things for them.’ The LORD has done great things for us; we are glad.”

    Will you join me this Saturday, July 28, and pray for God to give Church of the Apostles a permanent place? Will you ask God to fill our mouths with laughter, our tongues with shouts of joy for all that he has done for our church? Will you dream together of where God wants to set our feet permanently?


    In May we fasted one meal and prayed for God to enlarge our hearts to love the things that he loves in Fairfield County and Southwest Connecticut. In June we fasted from media for a day and asked God to bring us together in his love and for the sake of others. This was strategic as we cannot joyfully pray and dream for what God has for us if we are not unified together in his love for our community and neighbors.

    Building on that, I am asking that everyone who calls Church of the Apostles home set aside one hour this Saturday and pray that God will give us a permanent place. You choose the hour that best works for your family.

    I am also welcoming you to dream and ask God for the kind of place you desire. Ask him to find us a place in a neighborhood that you love. Ask him to give us specific architectural designs that are meaningful to you. Our Good Father is big enough and kind enough to hear various joyful dreams from various thankful people. He’ll know what to do.

    Peace,
    Brian+

  • july 11, 2018

    Dear Church of the Apostles,


    Our brothers and sisters in Christ in Nigeria are facing persecution. Our communion, the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), and our Diocese, Christ Our Hope (ADHOPE), have asked us all to pray.

    Please join those around the world praying for the Church in Nigeria. Because we are told to love our enemies, we also pray for God to miraculously change the hearts of the persecutors, the Fulani and Muslim Tribesmen. And we pray for greater unity and support in the Church around the world.

    Click here for specific ways to pray for the Church in Nigeria.

    As you pray for the Church and the world, continue to pray for Mitchell and the CHS team on mission in India; for Hands Offering Hope led by Amy and Adiel, in Chiquila, Mexico; for June, Dawn, and Pria as they re-enter life here in Fairfield County after being on mission in the DR; and for Rebecca, Amelia, and Harrison who arrived home late last night after being on mission in the Appalachian region of Tennessee. 

    We look forward to getting reports from everyone during Sunday services later in the summer.

    Peace and Hope,
    Brian+

  • july 4, 2018

    Church of the Apostles,


    A church that remains playful by engaging in general fun and silliness is a church that will stay vibrant in mission, compassionate in ministry, and solid in unity.

    When we have fun together we gain perspective about the world around us, which helps us practice the presence of Christ rather than anxiously overreacting to life. Silliness fosters a wide scope of responses to all circumstances and is critical for apology and forgiveness to form in our character.

    With that said, let’s have a picnic in the park. Please join us at 4 pm on Friday, July 20 at Owen Fish Park in Fairfield. We will have a couple of grills fired up and ready to go when you arrive. Bring meat to grill, any drinks that you like, and a dish to share. Paper products, plastic cutlery, and a couple of drink coolers of lemonade and tea will be provided for you.

    While you’re enjoying July 4th festivities with your family and friends mark your calendar and plan to come and enjoy food, fun, fellowship. You can watch or play in a pick-up softball game. There is a great playscape for the kids and plenty of shade to relax in, so bring your lawn chairs. I hope to see you there!


    
Peace and Hope,
    Brian+