On Tuesday, August 8, members of our St. Stephens community attended a Billings Mustangs game at Dehler Park in Billings. Joan Yetter, our interim rector, has a particular interest in the Mustangs. She serves as the “host mom” for two Mustang players from the Dominican Republic!
On Friday, July 14, St. Stephens hosted a movie night for children. Six kids and four adults gathered to eat pizza and popcorn, and to watch The Incredibles. A good time was had by all!
On Father’s Day, June 18 (Pentecost 2), St. Stephens was pleased to welcome The Rt. Rev. Carol Gallagher, Assistant Bishop from the Dioceses of Montana and The Episcopal Church’s Bishop for Native American Ministries. After presiding at our 5:00 p.m. service on Saturday, and the 9:15 service on Sunday, Bishop Gallagher blogged about the Gospel lesson in the lectionary (Luke 20:9-19):
Jesus began to tell the people this parable: “A man planted a vineyard, and leased it to tenants, and went to another country for a long time. When the season came, he sent a slave to the tenants in order that they might give him his share of the produce of the vineyard; but the tenants beat him and sent him away empty-handed. Next he sent another slave; that one also they beat and insulted and sent away empty-handed. And he sent still a third; this one also they wounded and threw out. Then the owner of the vineyard said, ‘What shall I do? I will send my beloved son; perhaps they will respect him.’ But when the tenants saw him, they discussed it among themselves and said, ‘This is the heir; let us kill him so that the inheritance may be ours.’ So they threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. What then will the owner of the vineyard do to them? He will come and destroy those tenants and give the vineyard to others.” When they heard this, they said, “Heaven forbid!” But he looked at them and said, “What then does this text mean: ‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone’? Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces; and it will crush anyone on whom it falls.” When the scribes and chief priests realized that he had told this parable against them, they wanted to lay hands on him at that very hour, but they feared the people. Luke 20:9-19
I am always amazed when people who been entrusted with the care of people, decide that they are going to take the place of family. That they deserve to be family even when they are not. Maybe, we in the church are in danger of this, since we like to refer to clergy as father and mother. Many of us have needed foster Moms and Dad, as well as grandparents. But boundaries are important, and knowing to whom we belong is essential. Religious leaders, all of us, lay and ordained alike, are workers in the fields, servants of the people.
In our gospel today Jesus angers the religious authority by telling a tale, a story about greed and hubris. Two things we humans are too easily persuaded by. We easily think we are better than others and more deserving. We imagine ourselves kings and queens. We are invited today to remember that we are mere servants, workers in the vineyard of the Lord.
Today, I ask God to help me remember the many blessings I have received and be humble and grateful in all that I do. May our hearts be so moved by love and compassion, that we might know our roles and be grateful for the blessings in the vineyard.
We were pleased to welcome Archdeacon Roxanne Klingensmith to preach on Saturday and Sunday!
On Sunday, May 7, Felicia Burg joined us between our 8:00 and 10:15 services. Felicia is is the Head of Marketing for Family Promise.
From Family Promise’s website:
Family Promise is a community of 26 Billings faith-based congregations and over 1400 volunteers that put their faith into action to provide meals, shelter, and a safe, non-judgmental environment for families experiencing homelessness. Our congregation “hosts” take turns on a weekly rotating basis providing hospitality and basic needs to our homeless “guests.”
Members of St. Stephens prepare a meal and stay with Family Promise families at First Presbyterian Church when First Presbyterian Church hosts these guests.