Financial Updates from the Treasurer

With all of the current uncertainty in the world, I want to pass along a positive update regarding the finances of St. Michael’s. At the end of April, we had collected over 35% of our annual pledges and 40% of our budgeted open offerings. That puts us ahead of schedule as we come to the historically slower summer months.

The other income we had budgeted for, a $33,000 grant from the Diocese, does not look likely to be received due to COVID-19. However, thanks to a lot of diligent work from Dave Reilly, we did receive $89,200 from the Paycheck Protection Program (CARES Act) in May. This is technically a loan, but it will be forgiven since the entirety of it will be used for payroll.

Overall, our operating income is in a really good position.

You may have noticed on the online giving page that there is an option to make a gift for COVID-19 relief. As of May 24, $18,665 has been given! Those funds are being used to support members of the community who have been impacted in some way by the virus and/or corresponding economic slowdown. 

Operating expenses are about where we’d expect them to be at this point in the year. The Vestry and Finance Committee look at the financial reports each month. With the church building not currently being accessible for everyone and the reports that would normally hang outside the Nativity Hall not viewable, I’ll make updates like this more frequently.

Thank you for your generosity during the first four months of the year! We’re in a strong financial position. If you’re able, staying up-to-date on your pledges helps out a lot, especially during the summer months.

— Jeff Swart, Treasurer

Help for Present & Future PCC Students during COVID-19

PCC is offering virtual classes this summer for all types of students – ESL, high-schoolers wishing to take classes or earn an GED, adults returning to school to earn a degree or learn something new. If you’re a current student with questions, check out the Virtual Help tab on MyPCC. If you would like to learn more about enrolling, click here.

For basic needs during this time of COVID-19, check out the resources below for additional help with food, housing, technology and more:

Spiritual Practices in the Time of a Pandemic

“Though we may feel isolated or divided,
LOVE gives us the power to DISCOVER deeper ways of knowing,
to EXPLORE our spiritual lives,
and to TRANSFORM communities and societies
so all people can flourish.
TOGETHER, in this expanding movement,
we can create a more LOVING world for all.”

SPIRITUAL PRACTICES IN THE TIME OF A PANDEMIC

This is a pivotal time in our common life.  The world as we have known it is changed and we are living with grief, anxiety, fear and uncertainty.  We see glimmers of light in the darkness, but the future is yet unknown.  The time has not come for us to begin imagining our future.  All we have is the NOW.  As the above quote reflects, the NOW gifts us, however, with the opportunity to “discover deeper ways of knowing and to explore our spiritual lives” in this time of slowing down and paying attention to all that we are experiencing during this pandemic. As we live this time well, we will be better able to discern all the ways we are already being called to co-create the future with our Creator and one another.  I offer the following suggestions for living the NOW.

TURN TWENTY-SECOND HAND-WASHING ROUTINE INTO A MEDITATION:

  • Sing the Doxology twice while washing your hands.
  • Wet your hands, turn off the water and then, with attention and mindfulness, explore your hands, their unique characteristics and remind yourself of all that your hands allow you to do each day.  While you gently rub every part of your hands with soap, enjoy the gentle caressing of the sudsy bubbles before turning on the faucet once again and slowly rinsing your hands thoroughly.
  • Pair a simple mindful breathing exercise with handwashing while you take in a gentle breath through your nose for five seconds, then exhale through your nose for five seconds.  Repeat. Give thanks for the gift of breath!
  • Pray a favorite Psalm verse, a Mantra, a meaningful Song Refrain, a quote or if you have set an intention for your day, each time you wash your hands is a perfect time to remind yourself of your intention and deepen it within your heart and mind throughout the day.

LET NATURE NURTURE YOU:

            Life is different at a walking pace, you notice things!  Allow nature to nurture and surprise you, embrace you, hold and sustain you whatever you are feeling in your heart.  Walk without any purpose, simply let your “soul catch up with you.” For thirty minutes, walk slowly and silently.  Let your senses guide your walk.  If you are drawn to a leaf, a rock, a blossom, a fragrance, clouds above, a reflection in a puddle of water, stop and linger, thoroughly observe, feel, hear whatever has invited you to pause.  Take time to connect with its essence and hear its secrets. At the end of thirty minutes, notice what has happened to your body, mind, spirit and your sense of time.  Express your gratitude for this new awareness and the gift of this time, mindfully strolling in nature.

PRACTICE DAILY GRATEFULNESS:

            As soon as you as you awake, confirm the obvious – your eyes are open!
            Then check to confirm you are still breathing.  Inhale and exhale slowly, focusing on your breath.  Be grateful for the next breath.
            Then, give thanks for being alive as you enter into the giftedness of another day.

“Gratitude for the present moment and the fullness of life now
is the true prosperity.”
Eckhart Tolle

HAVE A BEAUTIFUL, GRACE-FILLED DAY!

BE MINDFUL OF THE GIFT OF BEAUTY:

            Beauty surrounds us wherever we are if we but open our minds and our hearts to take it
                        in.  It may be in the gift of words, the smile of a child, the wonder and complexity
                        of a single blossom, an art piece, the courage and strength of another, the
                        unexpected gesture of love, a decadent piece of chocolate slowly melting on your
                        taste buds!  Look and see and notice the joy in your heart.

GRATITUDE BECOMES YOU:

            Begin a Gratitude Journal, not a superficial daily list of things grateful for but rather an opportunity to elaborate, in depth, on one experience, one event, one person, one gift at a particular moment in time. Research has shown that journaling is more meaningful and transformative when we write several times a week or at a rhythm that is meaningful for the writer, more than writing a daily litany.  Suggestions for topics might be:
            What would life be like without certain blessings?
            What is a surprise that has elicited a grateful heart?
            Who are people that you are grateful for?
            What is the blessing in the midst of a major challenge or loss?
            What is a new awareness of deep gratitude for something long taken for granted.
Find a quiet moment, perhaps a cup of tea or coffee, light a candle, open your journal and express your gratitude in words or in your favorite form of artistic expression.

BE OF SERVICE:

            We all need community, so find ways to reach out according to your capacity.  Rumi writes, “only when the ink joins with the pen can the blank paper speak.”  Our bodies are the vehicle that expresses the compassion and love of our heart to touch the hearts and souls of others and bring transformation and new life.  Be grateful for the ways you are already living out a call that in some small way allows you to participate in creating a world of greater love, compassion, justice, peace and joy.  Be alert and open to new opportunities you may be called to during this time of chaos created by the COVID 19 pandemic. 

May we all remember we are loved and remind each other that we do not make this journey alone.  May we find healing and renewed hope in each day and when we live the blessings as well as the challenges of this time, may we say with Christine Valters Painters,

When this has passed
may we say
that love spread more quickly
than any virus ever could,
may we say this was
not just an ending
but also a place to begin.”

BLESSINGS IN THE NOW, MAY IT BE SO!

Mary C. Myers, Med
Spiritual Director
MAY, 2020
mcmyers1@comcast. net

If you would like to print this reflection out at home, please click here for the pdf.

The Feast of Pentecost

Pentecost at St. Michael’s 2019

The following information comes to us from the National Episcopal Church. We are grateful to be able to share it with you.

Today we mark Pentecost, the coming of the Holy Spirit among the apostles and followers of Jesus. Celebrated 50 days after Easter (including the day of Easter itself), the name of the holiday comes from the Greek Pentēkostē, which literally means “the 50th day.”

The events of the day are foretold by Jesus in the first chapter of the Acts of the Apostles, just before his Ascension. While his followers were with the risen Christ, he tells them, “John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now” (Acts 1:5, NRSV). He goes on to say to them, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8).

The followers would not wait long for the promised Spirit. The author of Acts, traditionally believed to be Luke, recounts:

“When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability. Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each” (Acts 2:1-6).

We celebrate Pentecost as the inauguration of the Church’s mission in the world. Empowered by the gift of the Holy Spirit, we are to go out into our neighborhoods and the wider world—to Jerusalem, to Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth—witnessing to the risen Christ.

The Day of Pentecost is identified by the Book of Common Prayer as one of the feast days “especially appropriate” for baptism (Book of Common Prayer, p. 312). Because of this, Pentecost is also known as “Whitsun” or “Whitsunday” (“White Sunday”), a term used to describe the white baptismal garments worn by those who were baptized at the Vigil of Pentecost and then worn to church on the Day of Pentecost.

Collect for Pentecost

Almighty God, on this day you opened the way of eternal life to every race and nation by the promised gift of your Holy Spirit: Shed abroad this gift throughout the world by the preaching of the Gospel, that it may reach to the ends of the earth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen (Book of Common Prayer, p. 227).

A Note from Liz Klein

Dear Members of St. Michael’s,

Thank you for welcoming me as your Deacon Intern for the last year. My Field Education at St. Michael’s is ending May 31st. You have welcomed me, guided me and allowed me to grow as a Deacon Postulant. Thank you for your support, your kindness and your gentle instruction when I needed some guidance.

A special thanks to my Deacon Support Team including Rev. Charlie Foss, Rev. Carol Howser, Lynn Baker, Lynn Montgomery and Gary Davis. I appreciate each one of you and your willingness to meet with me monthly and encourage me along the way.

You are an amazing community of caring individuals. You reach out into the world in so many ways. I enjoyed participating with The Green Team and Environmental Stewardship and the St. Brigid’s Healing Team.  I will always remember all the stuffed animals we collected for the children, and the many backpacks that we filled for DHS. Thank you, 7:30 am church members who listened to my sermons and encouraged me and gave me feedback.

I have been through some tough times with you all too. I will always remember the beautiful funerals. I enjoyed walking with you in SW Portland with the Interfaith Movement for Immigrant Justice. I have learned so much from Chris and James and Matthew David in ways to preach and lead adult forums. I enjoyed your engagement at the End of Life Forum. I love your Taizé services and enjoyed playing piano for the service in February.  I have appreciated the Angel groups and the sharing among so many of you.

I need your help. I helped start a Caregiver Support group at St. Michael’s. It is a small group, at this time. I think there is a great need for Caregiver Support at St. Michael’s and in our community. Please contact James if you have interest in participating in this group.

“Historically, pandemics have forced humans to break with the past and imagine their world anew. This one is no different. It is a portal, a gateway between one world and the next. We can choose to walk through it, dragging the carcasses of our prejudice and our hatred, our avarice, our data banks and dead ideas, our dead rivers and smoky skies behind us. Or we can walk through lightly, with little luggage, ready to imagine another world. And ready to fight for it,” by Arundhati Roy.  My hope is that we grieve and lament deeply enough to imagine a better future for all.

I hope and pray that we can hold onto some of the changes that have happened as we have stayed home. I hope that people in the world who are seeing blue sky for the first time will appreciate this and be willing to make changes to help our Mother Earth. I hope that I will continue to check in on my neighbors and make sandwiches for the homeless. I hope we can continue to listen and care for each other and that we can be a little kinder to each other.  We need this. The world needs this.

I believe God is present and with us in the midst of COVID 19. I pray that you may know and feel God’s presence today, and in the days to come. I look forward to our paths crossing in the future.

Blessings, Liz Klein

Caregiver Support Group

40 million adults in the US identify as caregivers. Caregivers often find themselves overwhelmed, lonely and depressed. If you are a caregiver or know of someone who is, please consider joining St. Michael’s Caregiver Support Group.  Our goal is to make the group a supportive environment where people can talk about a broad range of issues, where people are accepted and cared for and where people can learn from each other. The idea is to help people feel less isolated and provide and receive support and encouragement and insight.

St. Michael’s Caregiver Support Group continues as we support each other through the COVID-19 pandemic and this difficult time. We are reaching out to each other with phone calls and emails to encourage and support each other and try to help each other feel less isolated. We continue to talk about good self-care and resiliency.

Please email Liz Klein, Deacon Intern or the Rev. James Joiner  if you are interested in being part of this group.

Bishop’s Visitation this Sunday

Bishop’s Visitation in May 2019

On Sunday, May 17, Bishop Michael Hanley will join us for our 10:00 am worship, which will include the renewal of our baptismal vows. He will participate in the service with Chris, James and Hannah (at a safe distance) and will preach. This is Bishop Michael’s last visitation at St. Michael’s, at least as bishop. He is retiring by the end of the year, and a new bishop will be elected this summer and will spend time with Bishop Michael getting to know the diocese.

In addition, Music Director & Organist Hannah Brewer has a musical surprise for us which will be unveiled on Sunday during the service. You don’t want to miss it!

Angel Groups Adopt a Nursing Home

A few folks from the St. Michael’s Angel Groups have decided to “adopt” Creekside Rehab & Nursing Home, a 40-bed nursing home located at SE 49th & Belmont. They are taking this action to support the staff who are working tirelessly to keep the residents healthy and safe during this pandemic. Since the residents are quarantined, the staff has additional responsibility to provide social and emotional support to each of the people for whom they provide care.

Last week, a couple of folks brought masks made by several Angels, posters, flowers and goodie bags for the nursing staff to celebrate National Nursing Week. Staff members have expressed their deep appreciation that we know they are there and working so hard to care for these residents and themselves in this challenging time.

There will be another visit this week, probably Wednesday or Thursday, May 13 or 14, to bring more masks and cheer the staff at their 2:00 pm shift change. The organizers welcome assistance and donations with this project from any Angels. If you’re interested, please contact Janet here or by text (check your directory). Thank you for your help with this.

Ordination of Matthew David Morris

Interior of Trinity Episcopal Cathedral

All are invited to the virtual (but entirely real) ordination of Matthew David Morris. Matthew David was sponsored by St. David of Wales, but he has been with us since the fall – participating in both the English- and Spanish-language services as Deacon in most of our in-person services as well as behind the scenes in the last month and a half. He has been a valued member of the St. Michael’s staff while at the same time completing his seminary training. Matthew David’s ordination is the culmination of many years of training and study, and we offer him our most sincere congratulations.

The ordination will be live-streamed from Trinity Episcopal Cathedral at 11:00 am on Saturday, May 9. Please check Matthew David’s website to read more.

The ordination is over, but the video lives on! You can watch the entire service here.

Easter Season Book Group

All are invited to participate in the next session of Rector Chris Craun’s Wednesday Book Group. It will happen at Zoom at 12:00 noon beginning May 6 and running through June 3. The group is reading How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy, by Jenny Odell.  

What better time to learn how to do nothing! Described as a thrilling critique of the forces vying for our attention, this book redefines what we think of as productivity, shows us a new way to connect with our environment and reveals all that we’ve been too distracted to see about ourselves and our world. Please read Chapter 1 for the May 6 gathering if possible.