Open Arms

June 29, 2014

Christ Church Episcopal, Norcross, GA

Proper 8 – RCL Year A
Genesis 22:1-14; Romans 6:12-23; Matthew 10:40-42

The Rev. Jody Greenwood, with Kathy Smith


Duni at Sunset (photo by Jody Greenwood)

Good morning. It’s great to be back after spending ten days with our J2A Pilgrims in Scotland and England. It was a wonderful trip, and as you may be aware, the Pilgrims will be putting together a presentation to share their experience with you, so I don’t want to steal their thunder. Just know that it was an enriching time for these youngsters, and for those of us privileged to be their leaders on this journey. It wouldn’t be possible without the support provided by so many of you. So, I invite you to reach out to these teens and let them share their experience, especially at Iona, Scotland, where we spent most of our time. The only thing I’ll say is that sheep were involved.

The trip was a great way for me to culminate my first full year as an ordained priest and as the Associate Rector for Christian Education and Youth at Christ Church. Having jumped into programs already underway, I felt a little like I was tossed into the deep end of the pool and quickly began paddling. All in all, I don’t think I took in too much water, thanks in large part to the lay leaders of these programs, who kept me afloat! They are so vital to these ministries!

A handful of these leaders came together a few weeks ago and spent a full day looking at the Christian Formation programs for Children and Youth. At the heart of our work, we hope to convey the love of this congregation and the love of God through Christ, to these children and young people; to provide a place where they are welcome and part of our church family.
We also hope to create a foundation for facing the world as an adult. When they are faced with difficult decisions or encounter life-struggles, they will know that they can trust God to help them through, and they can also rely on us, their Christian family – not only in times of need, but we are also here to celebrate their joys in life! Read the rest of this entry »

Still We Rise!

June 1, 2014

Christ Church Episcopal, Norcross, GA

7th Sunday of Easter – RCL Year A
Acts 1:6-14; 1 Peter 4:12-14, 5:6-11; John 17:1-11

photo (8)“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you’ve imagined.” This Henry David Thoreau quote confronts me each time I open the refrigerator door. It sits as a framed, limited edition work of art, created by my niece, Kayanne. The card arrived in my mailbox four years ago announcing that she would be graduating from college with a degree in Graphic Design.

Although I’ve never asked, I’d like to think that Kayanne’s connection with this quote may have been partially inspired by a time she and I spent together just four years earlier, at the time of her high school graduation. As a graduation present, I got tickets for Kayanne and me to hear Dr. Maya Angelou when she came to Houston. Angelou had been a favorite of my older sister, Kathy, Kayanne’s mom, who had died a couple of years earlier. So, sharing this experience with Kayanne was one way of bringing her mom into the celebration with us.

During the evening we were captivated by the inspiring and poignant words of Angelou. Her message was optimistic while she encouraged each of us to share our unique gifts with the world. She attributed each person’s unique strengths to their ability to rise above the struggles in life, and she assured us that “each of us has the power to change someone’s life,” saying, “Sometimes if you just speak to someone it can change their whole day.” (1) Read the rest of this entry »

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