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September 19, 2011

Monday Morning Notes

by Rev. A. J. Iovine

Before I hear it from anyone that I should not be working on my day off, I really have to get a few things finished up today because my Tuesday is a little busy:

1. I will be working – on and off – all day in the home office. This morning, I am banging through the coming weekend worship services and forwarding them to “those who need to know what we’re doing this weekend” in church. Not that our worship services change all that much, but since my voice is downright ugly right now, I am trying to minimize the use of my vocal cords the best way I can. For example, I am not singing or chanting. In place of the chanting, we’re expanding our use of the hymnody. Yesterday, we took the opening hymn and “sliced it up” three times in the early part of our worship service. We’ll be doing something similar this coming weekend. Additionally, I have to return phone calls and organize my visitation schedule this week, two tasks that are usually left for Tuesday.

2. Yesterday in Sunday School and Confirmation Class, I made it known that this year, our children’s “weekly offering” will not be monetary, but instead, it will be bringing food for our food pantry. Each week, the children in our Christian Education courses will be urged to bring a can or two of food to help stock and re-stock our newly established food pantry. But this “offering” is not just going to be for children in our Christian Education courses — those attending our Wednesday Bible Class are asked to do the same. Now, this doesn’t mean we want kids or adults to bring cases of food each week; we just want our youth to recognize the importance of showing love and mercy to those who are in need in our community.

3. In establishing a food pantry, our Elders and Voters’ Body made a rather strong, faith-felt leap, and as a pastor, it has warmed my heart. Nothing shows Christian love than to extend oneself for another. Since we are at the very initial stages of creating this pantry, everyone at Saint Matthew’s is urged to join in with our attendees of our Christian Education courses to bring non-perishable food and toiletry items to church with them. I was asked yesterday what it meant to “bring food each week” to church. As I explained, we’re not looking for everyone to break the bank each week. However, as an example, when you’re in the supermarket, maybe pick up an item or two. As a more direct example, last evening I was at the supermarket to pick up a steak for someone (I know, a vegetarian-bordering-on-vegan buying a steak for someone!), but I ended up buying a few cans of vegetables and a box of mashed potatoes for the pantry.

4. Starting this morning (even though we didn’t have Morning Prayer), we’re going to start a monetary collection for our general church fund. This is not a ‘break the bank’ donation. Instead, all I am asking is maybe place a dollar in the offering plate in the narthex. Since we didn’t have Morning Prayer today, I set aside a dollar so when I go to church, I will place it in the plate for Morning Prayer. I’ve tried to start this several times, but each time it was aborted by me.

5. As I mentioned above, the reason I am working for a chunk of my day off is because tomorrow morning, I have a Circuit 1 Pastor’s meeting at Zion Lutheran in Maywood beginning at 9:30am. Later on in the afternoon, I will be heading over to New York City for additional throat cancer tests. So tomorrow is basically shot in terms of getting church work done.

6. I’ve made a slight update to this blog page. On the right side column at the very top, I have now included a link to my Google+ 1 page that highlights news stories and other internet writings that I have found interesting and like. To look at the list, all you have to do is click on the link and it will take you right to that page. Sometimes, I comment on the stories; other times, I let the articles speak for themselves. I do include a range of stories I like, including local, political, religious, and the like. But I would like you to keep an eye out on that list for the religious stories – sometimes, there are big issues in the world of the church and it is important that you at least know about them.

OK. Time for me to actually get to work. Have a good Monday morning.

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