How To Help A Child At Christmas

The Criminal Justice Department is working with Chicago Legal Advocacy for Incarcerated Mothers (CLAIM) and Cabrini Green Legal Aid to provide support for children whose mothers are in prison during this holiday season.
St Nicholas giving children gifts
Our first project involves filling the holiday wish lists of 13 children from four families. We are conducting the project primarily through an Amazon gift registry whereby donors can purchase the gifts or a gift card and have mailed directly to the criminal justice students to wrap and deliver. Each child has made two gift requests. We have four children with general requests (i.e., “something girly”) that cannot be accommodated by the Amazon wish list registry.

If you would like to sponsor a child and personally fill their gift list please contact Tana McCoy at tmccoy@roosevelt.edu. We ask that the gifts be delivered to Gage, Room 200 by December 20th.

If you would prefer to select a gift from Amazon and have it mailed, please use the link below. We ask that gifts be mailed by December 15th.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/registry/wishlist/1MAEIWFTLCNLC/ref=nav_wishlist_lists_3

On December 17th CLAIM is taking 70 children to visit their mothers at Logan Prison, 200 miles south of Chicago. This distance has made regular visits to their mothers very difficult. Our second project involves helping make this visit a positive experience for the children. We have established an additional registry to purchase knit caps, gloves, and scarves to keep the children, their caregivers and volunteers warm on the trip. They also need some materials to keep the younger children busy (crayons, etc.). They would need these items ordered by this Thursday, December 8th. Here is the link to contribute to the children’s visit to see their mothers:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/registry/wishlist/1GPNZSKLIW79G/ref=cm_wl_list_o_2?

Please email Tana McCoy, tmccoy@roosevelt.edu with any questions. Donation tax receipts will be provided upon request. Thank you in advance for your generosity.

Important Dates We Remember

75 years ago last week, the U.S. formally entered battle in World War II when the Japanese attacked the naval installation at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. In all, 2,403 Americans were killed and 1,178 were injured. The U.S.S. Arizona, the “pride of the American fleet” suffered the greatest number of casualties and today, it rests in the harbor where it sank on that fateful Sunday morning, December 7th, 1941.

Dates fascinate us. We remember the day of our birth, though as we mature, some of us choose not to be so celebratory about it. Perfectly understandable. We memorialize the anniversary of a loved one’s passing, as we place flowers atop their grave markers and pray to their beloved memory. For me, it is hard to forget that both my Mom and Dad passed away at the 10 o’clock hour on the mornings of December 22, 1985 and June 16, 2007. I shall not forget, as my heart reminds me each day. This is as it should be, for I love them beyond telling.

What of those other dates, you know, the date of our baptism and confirmation? Can we recall those sacramental occasions? I admit, this is pretty unfair of me to ask such a question. Still, it provides us food for thought, does it not? Truth be told, if I didn’t look at my records, I’d not remember either. And this is my point exactly. We celebrate our birth and other such anniversaries. Yet, as people of God, sisters and brothers to one another through Christ, we forget those times when we committed ourselves to serve God in worship and in ministry and be part of the body of the Church, engaged and active in the life of the Church. These events, along with marriage and ordination (marriage anniversaries may be the exception as most do remember this event) are occasions for rejoicing. Sadly, we forget and said anniversaries pass by without any recall, remembrance or rejoicing.

We are well into the sacred season of Advent. Last weekend we lit the Rose Candle, celebrating Gaudete Sunday. Translated from the Latin, Gaudete means “rejoice,” and is taken from a verse in St. Paul’s letter to the people of Philippi, Greece, “Gaudete in Domino semper,” that is, “rejoice in the Lord always.” For this is what we do as a people of faith: we watch and we wait. We continue to prepare ourselves for the anniversary of Christ’s celebrated birth on the 25th of December. This is the day chosen long ago and it is cherished by millions of faithful followers of Christ Jesus, the Redeemer. Yet and more importantly, let us continue to remind ourselves Advent calls us to prepare for the Lord’s return to our world, to once and for all bring us to eternal glory. As we wait, let us also remember to celebrate the anniversary of our ‘new birth in Christ,’ that is, our baptismal and confirmation anniversaries. It is in these sacramental exercises that we became part of this family we call Christian and members of this church we celebrate and honor as St. Nicholas Episcopal.

Incidentally, I was baptized on the 5th of October, 1958 and made my Confirmation on the 23rd of November, 1971 at Detroit Holy Redeemer. Anyone else wish to share their dates with us? After all…all are welcome…

Amen.

Presiding Bishop Curry’s Christmas Message

Presiding Bishop Curry’s Christmas Message 2016

This child came to show us how to change the world. So this Christmas, make room for Him to change us. This Christmas help us change the world.

The Presiding Bishop’s video message is here.

The text of the message is below: 

From Isaiah Chapter 9:

For unto us a child is born,
unto us a Son is given;
and the government shall be upon His shoulder;
and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

These words of Isaiah are often seen as words that foretell and foreshadow the coming of Jesus of Nazareth, born of Mary. The truth is, these words befit Him because this child changed the world. This child changes lives. This child changes us.

I remember when our oldest daughter was a baby. My wife and I were young. We were footloose and fancy-free.  It was just the two of us newlyweds, so if we wanted to go out to eat dinner, we went out to eat dinner. If we decided to go to a movie at the last minute, we just went.  We actually felt like we had money back then.  And we did have a little bit of discretionary income. We could pretty much do what we wanted to do, within reason, and we didn’t have to think too much about the consequences or impact of a spontaneous decision and what we had to do to make that happen.

And then, all of a sudden, this little, innocent human being, a little child, came into our lives, and literally gained control over our entire world. Before we could do anything else we had to think about, “Who’s going to keep the baby?” or “Is this a good time for us to go without the baby?”  We soon learned that we were not in control of our lives anymore.  Even our sleeping patterns became very different. We would stay awake when the baby was awake and we went to sleep when the baby went to sleep. Literally this child began to control our lives and the child didn’t even know she was doing it. And then we had a second one she did the exact same thing. And I’ve since learned that that’s what babies do.  When they arrive they take over!  And their parents begin to develop their lives around this child. To mold their entire lives around this precious needy baby.

Isaiah wrote, “Unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given . . . and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”  This child who was born of Mary changes everything. This child born in a manger, wrapped in swaddling clothes changes how we live. This child born to the sound of angels singing Gloria in excelcis Deo — this child to whom the wise ones came from afar bearing gifts — this child, changed the way the entire world works. 

And this Jesus, born into a world torn by strife and hatred and division and pain and poverty, this child is born anew wherever men and women say, “I’ll follow Him. I’ll follow Him as my Savior. I’ll follow Him as my Lord.”

When this child grew up, He said His reason for coming, again quoting Isaiah, from the 61st chapter, he said,

The spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach Good News to the poor, to proclaim release to the captives, the recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty all those who are oppressed, and to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.

This child, when He grew up, came to show us the way to live lives of love, lives of compassion, lives of goodness, lives of kindness, lives of justice. This child came to show us how to change the world. So this Christmas, make room for him to change us.  This Christmas help us change the world.  And make a new commitment, to go out from this day, to let this Christmas Day, be the first day of a new world.

God bless you. God keep you. Have a blessed Christmas.  A Happy New Year.  And go on out and change the world!

via Episcopal Cafe Presiding Bishop Curry’s Christmas Message 2016