Weekly Notes from Father Brian Murphy

  • november 23, 2017

    Dear Church of the Apostles,

    Giving thanks is essential for restoration.

    Tamara’s family (32 people and growing) has taken an annual week-long vacation for years. We travel to a beautiful location (usually on one of the Finger Lakes in Central New York), spend the week swimming, eating, resting, reading, and… did I mention eating? We are so excited for the the time together each summer that we usually start making plans around this time of year for our next Hill Family Vacation. 

    At one of our first Hill family Vacations my father-in-law introduced us to the Hebrew Passover song entitled Dayenu as a way of rehearsing God’s goodness.

    The word Dayenu is roughly translated into English as “it would have been enough”. The song is used at the Passover Seder to give thanks to God for delivering His people out of Egypt. Two verses sing God’s praises this way, “If He had supplied our needs in the dessert for forty years, and had not fed us the manna - Dayenu (it would have been enough).” “If he had fed us the manna, and had not given us Shabbat - Dayenu.” And so on.

    The Hill Family so enjoys our vacations together that, as the week winds down and the sadness of being apart for most of the year looms, critical spirits begin to manifest in statements like “If only the weather had been better”; “if only there weren’t so many bugs”; “If only we had more time”. 

    Toward the end of the week Dad often invites us into giving thanks by singing our own Hill Family version of Dayenu. “If He brought us all together, and didn’t create this beautiful place to enjoy - Dayenu (it would have been enough).” “If He created this beautiful place, and didn't give us all the food that we enjoyed - Dayenu.” And so on.

    The rehearsing of God’s goodness leads to thankful hearts, thankful hearts lead to renewing rest and refreshed relationships. In short, giving thanks leads to restoration.

    It is my hope and prayer that your Thanksgiving is full of rehearsing God’s goodness with friends and family. I pray that the restoration of rest, rhythm, and relationships will be realized.

    God bless you and Happy Thanksgiving!


  • november 15, 2017

    Dear Church of the Apostles,

    Church of the Apostles is a regional church. We have many parishioners who travel 30 minutes, some who drive 45 minutes, and a few who travel greater distances to join us for the Sunday Eucharistic Celebration.

    The Eucharistic celebration must be part of our regular rhythm for us to be ever transformed into worshippers of Christ, engage in mission, and be equipped as Christ followers. In addition the Eucharistic service is essential for our relationships with Christ and with the Body of Christ.

    These realities have led me to deep prayer about how we can make the Eucharistic celebration more accessible to those of our parishioners who live some distance away. Therefore, beginning on December 10, we will be holding a once-a-month, Sunday afternoon Eucharistic worship service in Newtown, CT.


    • We will meet every week as we have been at 10 a.m. at Roger Ludlowe Middle School in Fairfield.
    • From January - June, 2018 our afternoon service will meet on the 3rd Sunday of each month at 4 p.m. in Newtown at the Newtown Meeting House.
    • This is a Eucharistic Celebration with the full liturgy, worship music, and sermon used in the 10 a.m. service at Ludlowe Middle School.
    • We are committed to meet for the liturgical year - seven times beginning on Advent 2 and going through the 3rd Sunday in June (Pentecost).
    • Childcare will be provided at the 4 p.m. service.

    What should I expect at the second service?

    • Think of it this way: some churches have two morning services at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m., for example. On the third Sunday of every month Church of the Apostles is going to have two Eucharistic services at 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
    • Both services will be as identical as we can make them: same preacher, same sermon, same Eucharistic prayer, same elements, and as much as possible same worship songs and styles.
    • We will offer childcare through grade 4 at the 4 p.m. service.
    • We will have a simple meal and fellowship after the 4 p.m. service.
    • Because this is the same service at 10 a.m and 4 p.m., anyone is welcome to worship with us at either service. If you live in Fairfield or the areas around it, and your Sunday rhythm is better served by attending the 4 p.m. service in Newtown, join us. We’d love to have you!

    Why Newtown?

    • This is where we have the largest concentration of people who call or would like to call Apostles their home church but for whom regular attendance is made difficult because of distance.
    • Through prayer, conversations, and planning the Holy Spirit laid the groundwork for this initiative.

    What is the motivation?

    • Love. We love our friends who live far away and we want to make it a little easier for them to join us for Eucharistic service.
    • Some years ago Church of the Apostles attempted to plant a church in this part of Connecticut. We bless and honor that attempt, but this is in no way a return to that strategy. There is no intention or plan at this time for this second service to become a church-plant.

    Are there plans to extend this service past next June?
    Three factors will need to be apparent in order for us to extend the one-time per month afternoon service past June.
         1. Regular and sustained participation - attendance, service, and

             enthusiastic worship - in Newtown by those who it is designed to

         2. Commitment by those who attend the service to join us here in Fairfield

             for worship the other weeks of the month as much as they are able. I

             have no interest in anyone attending church one time per month.
         3. A commitment to reach out to others in Newtown and the surrounding


    What can we all do to help support this effort?

    • Pray. Pray for energy and creativity for me and the staff as we get this launched and off the ground. Pray that people who it is designed to serve will be encouraged and feel honored and loved. Pray for participation, attendance, outreach to begin and grow. Pray that the churches and community of Newtown will be blessed by our worship and outreach.
    • I am asking everyone who considers Church of the Apostles their home church to attend one of the services on December 10 and then one of the services on the 3rd Sunday of each month January - June. I am aware that, when we take a few families out of the service in Fairfield and move them to the second service in Newtown, the room and service could feel a little empty. That won’t be true if we all commit to one another to be together and to attend one of the Eucharistic services one time per month.

    I look forward to this new initiative and all that God has for Church of the Apostles in the future.

    Peace and Hope,

  • november 8, 2017

    Dear Church of the Apostles,

    The Boys In The Boat is a biography about the United States rowing crew that competed in the 1936 Berlin Olympics. Repeatedly, the reader is told that rhythm is the key to victory. Crews that achieve rhythm have the experience of flying rather than rowing. Crews that do not achieve rhythm are in conflict with the water and with the movements of their teammates.

    When a crew settles into a near perfect rowing rhythm, it is referred to as “swing”. George Pocock, one of the architects of the 1936 Olympic crew, wrote about the experience of settling into a "swing" with fellow oarsmen or oarswomen.

    “When you get the rhythm in an eight [person crew], it’s pure pleasure to be in it. It’s not hard work when the rhythm comes - that “swing” as they call it. I’ve heard men shriek out with delight when that swing came in an eight; it’s a thing they’ll never forget as long as they live.”

    The discipline of simplicity helps us achieve divine rhythm, or swing if you will, in our lives. One way to assess areas of our lives to be simplified is through a Puritan prayer practice called preview and review.

    First, we preview the day’s calendar in prayer and surrender all our plans to the Lord. Then, we review our day before falling asleep, noting the highlights and disappointments. In both preview and review we assess those things that God may be asking us to simplify or eliminate in order to join His rhythm for our lives.

    This is an excellent start, but like in crew, rhythm is seldom (if ever) achievable for Christians apart from relationship in Christ with one another.

    Joe, a main character in The Boys In The Boat, struggles throughout his life with loneliness due to being abandoned by his family at a young age. I could not hold back my tears while reading about how Joe finally found a home with the other boys and how these loving, honest friendships helped the entire crew settle into a rhythm both on and off the water.

    In the week to come, we will be engaging with the value of Relationship as we continue in our five-week values series.

    I look forward to Sunday!

    Peace and Hope,

  • november 1, 2017

    Dear Church of the Apostles,

    Over the next several weeks we will be considering five values that God is calling us to embrace in our worship, disciple making, and equipping of the saints in order to exalt his name, see his Kingdom proclaimed, and become a body of believers that live with one another as Christ intends.

    These five values are Rest, Rhythm, Relationship, Restoration, and Reach.

    Last Sunday we began with the value of Rest. (Listen to Sunday’s sermon here.)

    Resting is like saying a Holy ‘yes’ to Yahweh. It sets our identity fully in Christ. When we enter into God’s rest we are able to trade anxiety for peace, fear for confidence, and despair for hope.

    Below are three resources that will help us as we pursue God’s rest. I have also included one request.

    Christ reminds us as we practice rest that our identity if secure in Him and not in any other false gods or idols.In his book The Good and Beautiful God, James Bryan Smith asks us to reflect on ten Scripture passages as we practice stillness with God.

    The Rest of God, a book by Mark Buchanan, explores "the rest God bestows and, with it, that part of Himself we can know only through stillness." There is wisdom in God's own rhythm and rest - liberation-to heal, to feed, to rescue, to celebrate, to lavish and relish life abundant.

    Tamara has curated a playlist on Spotify simply entitled Rest. I have enjoyed listening to this throughout the day and in the evening as I practice rest.

    I would love to hear your stories about engaging in ten minutes of stillness each day. Will you send me a quick email (bmurphy@apostlesct.org) and tell me how the practice of stillness impacted you this week? Here a few questions that may help you form your story. How did God meet you? What were the challenges of being still? How were you encouraged? How were you discouraged? Will you continue in the discipline? Why?

    Peace and Hope,

    P.S. This coming Sunday we will engage with the value of Rhythm. See you at 10 a.m. at Roger Ludlowe Middle School.

  • october 25, 2017

    Dear Church of the Apostles,

    This week's note is a guest post from Jan Buchanan.

    This Sunday, October 29 is Service Sunday for our Children's Ministry. Each class will be collecting NEW socks for children, women, and men in need in the Greater Bridgeport area. Socks are the #1 most requested clothing item at shelters across the country. There are several reasons why new socks are desperately needed:

    • People very rarely donate new socks. Most people donate worn out clothes to a good cause, but usually throw out old socks. A person asking for new clothes at a shelter will normally get everything - except new socks.
    • Numerous health problems can result from uncovered and unprotected feet: frostbite, athletes foot, blisters, and nail fungus - just to name a few! Socks provide a layer of warmth, decrease friction between shoes and the foot, and provide protection from dirt and infections.

    This is a very practical way to serve our local community with the love of Christ. We are inviting the whole congregation to join the children in this service project. Please bring NEW socks - one pair or a whole bunch - to church this Sunday morning. There will be collection boxes in the lobby and in the classrooms. The socks will be brought to the cross and prayed over before the end of worship. May the Lord bless and keep all those who will receive them. 



  • october 18, 2017

    Dear Church of the Apostles,

    Our diocesan newsletter, Anchor Lines, has published the next in a series of blog posts that expound on each of the values for the Diocese of Christ Our Hope. The Rev'd Canon Alan Hawkins, Canon Missioner wrote on our eighth value as a diocese - Hospitality. I encourage you to read Alan's reflection here.

    Peace and Hope,

  • october 11, 2017

    Dear Church of the Apostles,

    On Sunday, October 22 we will have the opportunity to hear how God is calling people to himself throughout the world. Ivan (center in the photo above) and Felicita Sikha will be visiting Apostles in two Sundays and sharing stories of God’s grace and faithfulness in India.

    After working for many years in Cru Ivan and Felicita decided to work among unreached people groups in India. These are groups of people who do not have a Bible in their own language, nor do they have any Christians to witness to them.

    In the last few years the Lord has planted churches among 7 of these groups through the Sikah’s ministry. In one group called the "Bagdi" there are now almost 90 house churches with about 2000 new believers. There are about 60 house Churches in the other groups.

    The Sikah’s find and train leaders who know the language. These leaders then go in and plant Churches. They also provide job skills for those who have come to Christ, so they can earn a living and support their families.

    We will have two opportunities to interact with Ivan and Felicita while they are here in southwestern Connecticut. Come and join us at 8:45 a.m. in the lobby area (where we usually have Sunday morning Life Group) at Rodger Ludlowe. Ivan will be preaching in the Eucharistic service at 10 a.m. Please plan to join us for one or both of these times.

    Peace and Hope,

  • October 4, 2017

    Dear Church of the Apostles,

    Today we continue to pray for the families of those killed and wounded in Las Vegas on Sunday night. We pray for strength for those serving through medicine, counseling, and investigation. We pray for the churches in Las Vegas to be guided by God as they offer Shalom. We join all in their grief and lament.

    It seems that we are bombarded daily with news of disaster, tragedy, and division that cause fear, anger, and confusion to rise up in many of our spirits.

    When I first heard the news, my thoughts turned to blame and judgement with a strong desire to detach from the story all together, to just pretend it wasn’t happening. Mercifully, God met me in my distress and quieted my spirit. He invited me to put down my fleshly reactions, encouraged me to relinquish all my attempts to sooth my own soul, and welcomed me to engage with him through prayer.

    My prayer is best articulated in the cry, “Abba Father”.

    On the night before he was to face his crucifixion, Jesus was “greatly distressed and troubled”. He said, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death.” Then Jesus prayed the same simple prayer, “Abba Father, all things are possible for you.” (Mark 14)

    To be the people of Shalom in times of distress, turmoil, disaster, tragedy, and division we must first cry out in trust to our Abba Father. Trust that He is in control. Trust that He is our deliverer and strength. Trust that He will guide or words and actions. It is then that we can join Jesus in the confident hope expressed by the words, “not what I will, but what You will.”

    Peace and Hope,

  • september 27, 2017

    Dear Church of the Apostles,

    Bishop Steve Breedlove will be with us this Sunday, October 1. In our Anglican tradition, the annual visit from the Bishop is a time for us to spend with our Spiritual Leader and to hear news from around our Diocese. It is also a time for Confirmations, for those who have been made ready. Please join us for this important weekend. 


    Here are the details for our time with the Bishop:

    • Sunday,8:45 a.m. Bp Steve will be sharing his heart and news from around the Diocese. All are welcome. Roger Ludlowe M.S. Lobby
    • Sunday, 10:00 a.m. Eucharistic Service with Confirmations. Roger Ludlowe M. S. Auditorium
    • Sunday, immediately following our worship service. Roger Ludlowe M.S. Cafeteria
    Peace and Hope,

  • september 20, 2017

    Dear Church of the Apostles,

    Our diocesan newsletter, Anchor Lines, has published the next in a series of blog posts that expound on each of the values for the Diocese of Christ Our Hope. The Rev'd Canon Arthur Going, Canon for Leadership Development wrote on our seventh value as a diocese - Formation. I encourage you to read Art's reflection here.

    Peace and Hope,

  • SEPTEMBER 13, 2017

    Dear Church of the Apostles,


    As the fall schedule heats up for all of us, I would like to draw your attention to two events coming up at Church of the Apostles: Compline and a visit from Bishop Steve.

    In our world of seemingly constant noise and distraction, entering into silence and contemplation can be difficult. Compline is a prayer service where we accept the generous invitation to “be still and know that I am God”. The service begins and ends in silence. Prayer is led through Scripture readings and the Compline liturgy from the Book of Common Prayer. There is no Eucharist or sermon. We begin the service around sunset, and the room is lit with soft light and candles. Church of the Apostles will be gathering at the church offices on Thursday, September 21 at 7:15 p.m. for our second Compline of the fall.


    In the Anglican tradition the annual visit from the Bishop is time for us to spend with our Spiritual Leader and hear news from around our diocese. Bishop Steve and Sally will be visiting on the weekend of October 1. Here are a few dates and times that we can spend time with our Bishop and his wife:

    • Saturday, September 30 Ladies Tea with Sally Breedlove. 2 p.m. Location TBD.
    • Sunday, October 1 BP Steve will be sharing his heart and news from around the Diocese. All are welcome. 8:45 a.m. at Rodger Ludlow.
    • Sunday, October 1 Eucharistic Service with Confirmations. 10 a.m. at Rodger Ludlow.
    • Sunday, October 1 Family Table following the service.

    More details about the Bishop’s visit will follow. I hope that you can join us for both Compline and spending time with BP Steve and Sally.


    Peace and Hope,


  • September 6, 2017

    Dear Church of the Apostles,

    On Sunday, October 1 Bishop Steve Breedlove will be celebrating with us using a Liturgy for Confirmation. This Eucharistic celebration is full of grace and glory.

    According to the Book of Common Prayer, Confirmation is “a public affirmation of faith and commitment to the responsibilities of Baptism in the presence of a Bishop and the laying on of hands”. The preface for the service states, “In Confirmation, God, through the bishop’s prayer for daily increase in the Holy Spirit, strengthens the believer for Christian life in the service of Christ and his kingdom. Grace is God’s gift, and we pray that he will pour out his Holy Spirit on those who have already been made his children by adoption and grace in Baptism.”

    Two people close to me have written pieces on Confirmation that I commend to those who would like to know more about or are considering Confirmation. Tamara has written a personal reflection about her Confirmation experience. My former Rector, Cliff Warner, has written a piece entitled On Being Anglican.

    If you would like to be confirmed when Bishop Steve is here, please, contact Jane in the office by September 18.

    Peace and Hope,

  • august 30, 2017

    Dear Church of the Apostles,

    I was sitting under the cover of the pavilion at Penfield Beach when I began to get reports about the devastation that Hurricane Harvey wrecked on the Greater Houston Area and the Gulf Coast. Although I was not living in Fairfield County at the time when Hurricane Sandy rendered the pavilion useless for several years, I still felt a connection with those who have found themselves displaced by the danger and damage.

    The Anglican Church in North America is organizing a relief effort of prayer, generosity, and service to help all those affected by this storm.

    Take a minute to read a note form Archbishop Beach here and pray for all who live on the Gulf Coast and pray how God will have you help. The Archbishop’s note includes links for giving and serving.

    Peace and Hope,

  • august 24, 2017

    Dear Church of the Apostles,

    Please plan to join us this Sunday, August 27 for our outdoor baptismal service with a picnic to follow.

    In addition to being one of two Sacraments commanded by Jesus and affirmed by the Church, Baptism is a beautiful picture of God’s love for us, the public commitment of the baptized to follow Christ, and a chance for all of us to affirm our baptismal vows.

    We will also be welcoming new families into Covenant Membership at Apostles.

    Thank you, Paul and Patti, for hosting us at their home! Their address is: 2745 Burr Street, Fairfield, CT 06824

    Please check the home page for what food to contribute to the meal.

    A few important details:

    • The service starts at 10:30 am. Please allow a few minutes to park and get settled.
    • The picnic will end at 3:30 pm. Please take home any containers you brought.
    • Dress casually. Really. Shorts and comfortable clothes are completely acceptable and encouraged. 
    • Bring lawn chairs. We will have a few chairs available, but not enough for everyone.
    • Park on the street. Someone will be there to help you.
    • Driveway parking will be reserved for those with physical needs and require a shorter distance to walk. 
    • The pool will be open for the picnic.
    • Bring your own towels.
    • Please change into your suits in the designated areas in order to keep water out of the house.

    We will have a certified lifeguard on duty during the picnic; however, parents, please accompany those kiddos who are still learning to swim.

    What a big day - a baptism service, welcoming new covenant members, and a picnic! I’m looking forward to it!

    Peace and Hope,

  • august 23, 2017

    Dear Friends,

    I am very slow to write or speak about specific events in the news. Our focus is on the Gospel message and our mission as the Church to proclaim the Gospel message. However, there are times when these two things, the events in the news and the Gospel message, collide. As the spiritual leader of Church of the Apostles I must communicate the clear teachings of Scripture to the glory of God as well as encourage us to conform our attitudes and actions to match that which God commands.

    I am compelled by the Spirit and those in spiritual authority over me to be sure that we are all following God through his Son, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, by the power of the Holy Spirit who helps us, comforts us, and guides us in all manner of life and godliness. I have prayed, consulted with our Bishop, and have received direction from our Archbishop on what to say and what not to say about the events of the past two Saturdays in Charlottesville and Boston.

    Click here to read a statement from Archbishop Foley Beach.

    First, It is essential that God’s people are clear that racism, bigotry, and anti-Semitism are antithetical to the Gospel. Any teaching, thoughts, or beliefs that Scripture allows any room for racism, bigotry, and anti-Semitism in the Church, the world, or in the hearts and minds of those who claim to follow Jesus is heresy. It is impossible to follow Jesus in faith and justify personal and racial hatred of people.

    • Jesus’ words and actions are clear, firm, above criticism, and completely trustworthy on this matter: Matthew 5:21-48; Matthew 8:5-13; Mark 7:24-30; Luke 10:25-37; John 4.
    • The New Testament Church faced few more radical implications of the Gospel than the breaking down of racial barriers: Acts 1:8; 2:1-21; 8:4-40; 10:1-11:18 12:1-3; 15:1-35; 17:22-34; Ephesians 2:11-23.
    • The glorious prophetic picture of the Church Triumphant completely obliterates any shred of racism: Revelation 7:9-17; Isaiah 25:6-9Jesus was a Jew, ministering to Jews, calling Jews into the Church, and breaking down the barrier between Jew and Gentile. Therefore, while all racism is evil, it is particularly impossible to call oneself a Christian and espouse anti-Semitic ideology.

    Many of us are afraid. From fear come anger and confusion. Even in the face of all of the troubling events in our world, God is in control and working on behalf of his people who are called to be his voice, hands, and feet. The Scripture tells us that God has not given us a spirit of fear but he has given us the Spirit of power, love, and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7).

    Fear, anger, and confusion are tools of our enemy and cause despair. We give ourselves over to the Spirit of God primarily through worship and prayer. I am encouraging us as a church to engage in worship and prayer.

    • As we stayed appropriately informed, I am encouraging us all to make room daily for prayer and worship by engaging less with entertainment and media including but not limited to social media, cable news, and print media. Replace the extra time that you would spend with media to pray and worship.
    • I will be leading a Compline service at the Church office on Thursday night at 7 p.m. I invite you to come and spend about an hour worshiping and praying to God. This will not be a rally; there is no sermon or Eucharist; it is not a time to discuss things; it is a time of quiet and contemplative worship and prayer that will be led by the Spirit using words from the Book of Common Prayer. Compline is a time set aside for us “to be still and know that I am God” .

    Lastly, followers of Jesus are called to be agents and messengers of hope, mercy, life, love, and transformation through faith in Jesus as Savior and Lord. Our primary and fundamental mission in life is to live and proclaim the Gospel. The Scripture is clear that our proclamation of the Gospel is only affective when it is set in the context of a life lived for God and his purposes and routed in belief and actions that bring blessing and foster the Gospel flourishing of all people: Titus 2:11-3:11. We are privileged to serve God in his mission of Shalom for humankind.

    These three things - a clear belief in the Gospel message, which is void from racism, bigotry, and anti-semitism; giving ourselves over to the control of the Spirit, which is primarily done through worship and prayer; and serving God as his agents and messengers of hope, mercy, life, love, and transformation - form a Spirit-led attitude and a truly Christian response to the events in our world and keep us grounded in the message and mission of the Gospel.

    To hear Brian's sermon from August 20, click here.

    Peace and Hope,

  • august 16, 2017

    Dear Church of the Apostles,

    Once again this year Church of the Apostles will partner with Hopeline Pregnancy Resource Center to donate back-to-school supplies in memory of Lydia Thompson.  (See more information below and click here for a packing list.)

    Donating back-to-school supplies accomplishes three things.

    1. These backpacks will bless parents and children in our community who do not have the means necessary to shop for fresh school supplies.
    2. The staff and volunteers at Hopeline encourage and lead young parents and families. Being equipped to offer a tangible and meaningful gift to those who have chosen life will bless and encourage those who share the Gospel.
    3. Donating school supplies is a beautiful way to remember Lydia Thomson, daughter of Jen and Micah Thompson who were long-time members of Apostles while Micah served as Youth and Associate Pastor, as well as Interim Rector. Lydia passed away at the tender age of eight months (Read a recent blog by Micah about Lydia). Many at Apostles walked with the family through this difficult time and all experienced the mercy of God through Lydia’s life.

    Thank you for showing the love of Christ to our neighbors!

    Peace and Hope,

  • august 9, 2017

    Dear Church of the Apostles,

    This week's note is a guest post by Jan Buchanan.

    Jeff and I had time with family and friends at the beach last month. The ocean, the sand, the movement of the waves, the warmth of sun: all these things allow me to stop and rest. Time away from my ordinary routine and pace of life helps me quiet my mind and focus on the Lord, in the beauty of His creation. The splendor of the mountains or the stillness of a lake can help others draw near to the Creator, but for me it's always been time spent at the beach. I need this time away, this slower paced, quieter time away, to wander and to wonder, to breathe space and time into my days for the Lord to do a new thing.


    A new thing, like seeing a familiar verse in a new way. “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you” (Isaiah 26:3) has always given me the ability to just breathe and trust the Lord in the midst of trials and tragedies. In the middle of the storm, I keep my eyes on Him, I keep my focus on Him, knowing the Lord will be my peace. How do I know to do this? How does my mind ‘stay’ on the Lord? In the midst of hard times, how can you keep your mind on anything in the hopes of finding peace?


    We practice it. We practice meditating on the Lord in the quiet times. We practice focusing on Him alone in the slower-paced seasons. We practice resting in Him and trusting in Him, as we wander and wonder in His amazing creation. We find Him in the stillness. Rest and rhythm gives time and space for us to learn how to keep our ‘mind stayed on’ Him. When trials come, those who know the Lord, who already trust in Him, who have spent time with Him, will know His perfect peace because their minds will know how to ‘stay’ on Him.


    This summer, the Apostles’ staff has been praying specifically for rest and rhythm for you, our church family. We have asked the Lord to bring rest, refreshment, and a slower or different pace of life during this season of Ordinary Time. Our hope is that in this time, He will draw each of us into a deeper knowledge of Himself and of His love, and that together we will be ready to enter into the new things that God is doing here.



  • August 2, 2017

    Dear Church of the Apostles,

    Our diocesan newsletter, Anchor Lines, has published the next in a series of blog posts that expound on each of the values for the Diocese of Christ Our Hope. The Rev'd Aubrey Spears, Rector from Church of the Incarnation in Harrisonburg, VA wrote on our sixth value as a diocese - Place. Instead of reading more from me, I encourage you to read Aubrey's reflection here.

    Peace and Hope,

  • july 26, 2017

    Dear Church of the Apostles,

    This week's note is a guest post by Amy Willers.

    Sunday will be our second "Service Sunday" and we will be collecting the giving banks from those of you that have participated in the Fill the Ark program for Heifer International (http://www.heifer.org). If you haven't joined with us this month and would still like to, there will be one final opportunity to contribute in an extra offering this Sunday!

    For the entire month of July, our children have learned how Heifer animals can help families in need. From llamas in Bolivia, Ecuador, and Peru to water buffalo to farmers in Asia, animals can be a huge hand-up to people who want to improve their family's life and the lives of those around them.

    So this coming Sunday, don't forget to bring your giving banks and set them at the foot of the cross. We will briefly discuss service in our children's sermon, and then we will all pray over the money that was raised. Then, the following Sunday (August 6), our children will vote on what animal we will buy!

    Thank you to everyone who participated, and I hope more will considering giving to this great cause on Sunday!

    Amy Willers

    Director of Children's Ministry

  • july 19, 2017

    Dear Church of the Apostles,

    An Irish prayer:

    May we arise today, through

    God's strength to pilot us,

    God's might to uphold us,

    God's wisdom to guide us,

    God's eye to look before us,

    God's ear to hear us,

    God's word to speak for us,

    God's hand to guard us,

    God's shield to protect us,

    God's host to save us

    From snares of devils,

    From temptation of vices,

    From everyone who shall wish us ill,

    afar and near.


    Peace and Hope,

  • july 12, 2017

    Dear Church of the Apostles,

    The picture that accompanies this note was taken at Kent Falls State Park. Tamara and I recently spent some time there exploring, reading, and enjoying creation together. The drive to the park was as lovely as the time we spent near the waterfalls.

    We are praying that you all are able to make time to enjoy God with friends and family. May God bless you with rest and rhythm in the season of Ordinary Time. (May I suggest a ride to Kent Falls.)

    Please take a minute to click over to the Home page to read about all that is going on at Church of the Apostles.

    Peace and Hope,

  • July 5, 2017

    Dear Church of the Apostles,

    In his book, Living the Christian Year, Bobby Gross’s writes that Pentecost is “the extraordinary inundation of presence and power that births the movement that will change the world.”

    Last week Jan wrote about Ordinary Time on the Church Calendar. It may seem like the title “Ordinary Time” and Gross’s explanation of the season as “extraordinary” are in tension with one another.

    The title “Ordinary Time” fits the season well if we think of Pentecost as the normal movement and mission of God’s people in the reality of Christ’s Advent, Death, Resurrection, and Ascension made known by the presence of the Holy Spirit.

    Author Gordon T. Smith in Evangelical, Sacramental, and Pentecostal writes, “The genius of the pentecostal vision is that we have an unmediated experience, however unusual or ordinary, that cannot be attributed to any other source than God’s very self, graciously offered and given and known… This experience of the Spirit is the birthright of every Christian.”

    In this sense, pentecostal experience and movement is completely normal in the life of every Christian and demonstrated by the Church. The regular and ordinary practice of pentecost is powerful, present, and compelling for those of us who claim to be followers of Christ.

    Peace and Hope,

  • june 28, 2017

    Dear Church of the Apostles,

    As I mentioned on Sunday, we are in the season of the Church Calendar called Ordinary Time. Ordinary Time begins the Monday after Pentecost, with the celebration of the Holy Spirit being poured out by the risen and ascended Lord. It continues until the Sunday before Advent begins. This season is called "ordinary" not because it is common but simply because the weeks of Ordinary Time are numbered. The Latin word ordinalis, which refers to numbers in a series, stems from the Latin word ordo, from which we get the English word order. So, the numbered weeks of Ordinary Time in fact represent the ordered life of the Church—the period in which we live our lives between times of feasting (Christmas/Easter) and times of penance (Advent/Lent).

    The messages for these 20+ Sundays of Ordinary Time are often used to focus on various aspects of the Faith, especially the mission of the church in the world. At Apostles, we focusing our sermons during this season on the New Testament readings of the Lectionary: Paul’s letter to the Romans.

    I wonder if you have noticed the color of the altar linens the past 3 weeks. Ordinary Time is marked by dark green, a color that has traditionally been associated with new life and growth in the church. May this season for the family of believers at Apostles be anything but ordinary, as we continue to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.



  • june 21, 2017

    Dear Church of the Apostles,

    Rest and Rhythm are two Gospel themes that may be among the most counter-cultural in our society, which glorifies busyness and equates a full calendar with a meaningful life. This summer, I will be writing frequently about the spiritual ideas of rest and rhythm as part of our presence and movement in God’s pentecostal power. 

    Often times, rest is defined as sloth and stillness as laziness. However, we are exhorted to “Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10)

    Why is stillness a Gospel value?

    In his book, The Rest of God, Mark Buchanan writes, “Without rest, we miss the rest of God: the rest he invites us to enter more fully so that we might know him more deeply… Some knowing is never pursued, only received. And for that you need to be still.”

    In our society where “busyness is a fetish” (Mark Buchanan, again), we may be tempted to dismiss all ideas of rest, rhythm, stillness, and presence while we champion the biblical values of vocation, mission and ministry. Consider this. If stillness is how we really know the presence of God in our lives, how can we engage with Him in vocation, mission, and ministry without cultivating rest and rhythm?

    I’ll be praying for us all as we consider.

    Peace and Hope,

  • june 14, 2017

    Dear Church of the Apostles,

    I have always loved summer. I love the space for rest and rhythm that is created by a slightly slower (hopefully) or at least different schedule.

    Growing up I lived within walking distance to a park. The very loud “ding, ding, ding” sound that would pierce the summer air signaling that the ice cream truck was on it’s way is kind of like the soundtrack to my memories of swimming in the pool, riding the carousel, and playing Little League Baseball.

    In celebration of Fathers Day this Sunday an ice cream truck will be outside following the service. I’m not sure if we’ll hear the “ding-ding-ding” sound, but I can’t wait to find out!

    We will also make a few small changes to our summer worship services beginning this week.

    Children in grades 1-6 will remain in the service; we will include a short children’s talk before the Scripture readings; Deacon Jan and I will not be dressed in our robes; and we will not process at the beginning nor recess at the end of the service. The liturgy of Word and sacrament will remain unchanged, but these few small changes will help create a summer rhythm as we worship God together.

    See you Sunday!

    Peace and Hope,

  • june 7, 2017

    Dear Church of the Apostles,

    One of my favorite things as a pastor is when we have opportunities for special celebrations through the liturgy, prayer, and recognizing all that God is doing amongst our church family. Occasionally, a few of these things happen all at the same time to create a wonderful picture of God’s intention for the Church and all of humanity.

    This Sunday at Church of the Apostles will be very special as we honor this year’s graduates, pray for those who will go on missions trips and serve local outreach this summer, and celebrate the Feast of the Holy Trinity during our Eucharistic worship service at 10 a.m.

    The Feast of the Holy Trinity
    This Sunday is Trinity Sunday on the Church Calendar (sometimes referred to as The Feast of the Holy Trinity). We will pause and prayerfully consider the unique and beautiful Triune God, Father, Son, and Spirit. Our Scripture readings for this Sunday all highlight the role and intentions of the Trinity. As every Sunday, our liturgy at the Eucharistic Table will celebrate God in the fullness of His triune majesty.

    We will honor those who have already or will soon earn high school diplomas, bachelor and masters degrees, and have completed professional credentialing and licensing studies. This is a special time each year where we can bless academic accomplishments and pray for the next phase of these graduates’ journey.

    The season of Pentecost is an appropriate time to celebrate and contemplate Jesus’ Great Commission done in the name of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:16-20). During Prayers of the People this week we will take time to come around and pray for the many people from Church of the Apostles who will be serving in both local outreach and international mission this Summer and beyond.  

    I am looking forward to this weekend, and I pray that you will join us for the celebration!


  • may 31, 2017

    Dear Church of the Apostles,

    Today we consider the fourth value of the Diocese of Christ Our Hope, of which Church of the Apostles is blessed to be a part.

    The Rev. Canon David Hyman writes, “Every church has a consistent form it uses for its worship services. This is liturgy… Anglican liturgy is unique. It connects us with the worship forms of the ancient Church. It expresses the theological convictions of reformed Christianity. It teaches us to pray Holy Scripture. It has a steadying effect, as it tethers us to the constancy of God during the changes and chances of this life.”

    You can read David’s full article on the value of Anglican liturgy here.

    Please be sure to check out the list on our home page of the summer ministries and events happening at Apostles.

    Peace and Hope,

  • may 24, 2017

    Dear Church of the Apostles,

    With Memorial Day fast approaching, many of our thoughts drift toward summer barbecues and days at the beach. Others are preparing for trips to visit friends and family. Many of us will embark on mission trips.

    I look forward to summer each year. The schedule gives us some space to be present to our neighborhoods, our world, and those closest to us.

    Several fun things are happening this summer at Church of the Apostles. The list here will change a bit here and there as the summer months progress, but take a minute to mark your calendars.

    Let the summer fun begin!

    Peace and Hope,

  • may 17, 2017

    Dear Church of the Apostles,


    This week the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) is launching The Telos Collective. This initiative has two objectives. One is to gather Anglican leaders who think like missionaries, who are committed to using every strategy at their disposal to reach 21st century North America for Christ.Two is to renew the Anglican church with the confidence and tools it needs to be sent into the world to joyfully make disciples.


    You can find out more about The Tellos Collective here.


    Tamara and I are thrilled to have been invited to be a part of this first gathering of The Telos Collective. We look forward to not only representing Church of the Apostles at the national conference but to help guide the ongoing missional conversations in the New York Metro area, southwest Connecticut, and New England.


    Will you pray for Tamara, me, and all those from across the continent who are gathering this week? Pray for the vision necessary to reach others with the Good News. Pray that those of us attending will clearly sense and enthusiastically embrace the Holy Spirit’s leading. Pray for smooth and safe travels.


    Peace and Hope,


  • may 10, 2017

    Dear Church of the Apostles,

    Two weekends ago Deacon Jan and I were joined by Tom and Shelli Hendrican at the Diocese of Christ Our Hope regional retreat. We had a great time hearing all of the good news from around the Northeast Region of our diocese, thinking and praying together about how God calls us to winsomely and clearly manifest the Gospel, and renewing friendships old and new. It was a sweet and meaningful time together.

    If you would like to keep up with all that is happening around the Diocese of Christ Our Hope, take a minute and sign up for AnchorLines, our diocesan eNewsletter.

    The Rev’d. Canon Art Going has written a note about our diocesan value of Heritage. To read his thoughts and to sign-up to receive AnchorLines, simply click here.

    Peace and Hope,

  • May 3, 2017

    Dear Church of the Apostles,
    A wonderful act of generous hospitality happened in the children's classrooms this past Sunday!

    Our kids spent a few minutes learning about mission and service. They then put that understanding into action by making Mother's Day cards that will be delivered to three Fairfield nursing homes and care centers.

    This is a beautiful picture of how generous hospitality is an action of both welcoming-in and going-out.

    Generous hospitality goes-out in the message that God sees and loves us in our times of need. This mercy will bless women who must spend Mother’s Day away from their homes and families. Our children were welcomed-in by faithful people who helped them make cards while teaching about how Jesus asks us to love others on his behalf. (To hear this past Sunday's sermon on Generous Hospitality, click here.)

    Thank you to all who serve our parents and children! Thank you to all of the kids who put love and care into each work of art. We pray that you are all encouraged by your act of generous hospitality.

    Please join me in taking a moment to pray that those who receive the cards will sense the love of God.

    Peace and Hope,