Weekly thoughts from the Rector of Palmer Memorial Episcopal Church in Houston, Texas, where these words remind us that Jesus’ peace goes with us into the world.
At the Rector’s Forum last Sunday, an architect reflected with us on the meaning of a real neighborhood, which is meant to bring together people at different stages of life. He was thinking of a question posed to Jesus: “And who is my neighbor?” That image of drawing together a diverse group of individuals also describes the kind of community that Jesus creates in the church, a solidarity not of our own choosing.
An example of that is Palmer’s parish retreat. Today my family and I are away at Camp Allen for this annual event with about 70 other Palmers, who are young and old, gay and straight, married and unmarried — each one of them a child of God.
Next Sunday, October 30, is Covenant Sunday, when Palmers are invited to worship together and to bring their completed pledge forms with them, indicating their financial commitment to the church for the next calendar year. After a combined liturgy at 10:00 a.m. (Choral Eucharist, Rite I, with choir and limited incense), we’ll have a fun celebration with a cookout in the courtyard and live music on the lawn. That will be another experience of true neighborliness in the friendship of God.
St. Bede’s Chapel will be open for prayer and for two services of Holy Eucharist on Election Day, November 8. That day will begin as usual with Morning Prayer in the chapel at 7:30 a.m. After the Tuesday morning Bible studies, there will be a service of Holy Eucharist at 8:10 a.m. There will also be a service of Holy Eucharist at noon. Throughout the morning and the afternoon, the chapel will be open for individual meditation and prayer, with printed prayers for the nation available. When we leave the voting booth, we’ll leave our differences behind, if only for a moment, to gather around the Lord’s Table, the ultimate level place, and to remember what unites us.
— The Rev. Neil Alan Willard, Rector