Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Preaching, Preaching and more Preaching!

Well, as some of you may know, I have been hard at work on my Masters in Theology from Notre Dame for 6-7 years now. All the course work is done. I have to write a thesis (25 pages) and do orals next summer to defend the paper. No, Mom, I have not yet started the paper . The thesis essentially is what St Paul can teach us 2,000 years later about preaching. As some of you know, I enjoy preaching and take it pretty seriously.

Before leaving for FBAMC I had expressed with Fr. Kevin my desire to continue to preach while working with Fr Beiting. Well, I am here to say, there has been no shortage of preaching! In the two weeks I have been here, I will have preached at 6 daily Masses, 2 Sunday Masses and my first time street preaching!

Yes, that Is right street preaching. Today, Fr. Beiting and I put the speakers, mics, amplifier, and electric converter into the back of the van and went to two locations and did street preaching. What an experience that was. We opened up the van, pulled all the equipment out and just preached. Not sure I would have gotten that experience in Portage or Punta Gorda!

I simply did a history of the Pilgrim’s struggles of coming to the New World and their first Thanksgiving. I interjected how we need to be thankful for all the blessing which Christ has bestowed on us throughout my 10 minute talk. I was pretty nervous before starting, but once I got going all well great. As I have said many times in the past, once I get passed about 10 feet or so, everyone turns into a blob and I cannot see anyone any how!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Watch what you pray for!

There will be a very busy week coming up! The week will be cut short, as we will be leaving to visit Mike for Thanksgiving for a few days. We are really looking forward to seeing Mike and Heather!

FBAMC had its first weekly volunteer meeting last week. I volunteered us to be in charge of putting up the Nativity Scenes in the various locations. I knew I was in trouble as soon as I spoke up. Everyone else was smiling with relief and Elaine was not smiling. I found out afterwards that there are like seven locations, and maybe more! To make matters more fun, the Nativity Scenes are scattered around and some need some work. Fr. Beiting wants the Nativity Scenes up by the first week of Advent, which is this weekend.

Elaine and I had been talking about, and praying for, what we should be doing here at the FBAMC. Well, we have been asked to help with the financial matters of FBAMC (no big deal with our professional backgrounds) and placed in charge of the volunteer program! This is really what we had hoped for.

This will include the individual short-term (less than one year) and long-term (those committing for a year or more) volunteers and the groups (normally a week long). These are three different groups, with different needs and desires.

For the individuals, we would like to develop a community. This is particularly important for the long-term volunteers. We, along with Dale our housemate, have been inviting many of the individuals over for meals several times during the week. The three of us have also been working toward praying the Liturgy of the Hours together on a consistent basis. This will take a bit of time since we are running in different directions each day. Elaine and I feel that growing spiritually is as important, if not more important, then the work we can do for FBAMC. If we can grow spiritually, our work with FBAMC will be enriched.

For the large groups we are very interested in developing an evening program which will help them grow spiritually as well. Then, for the large groups, there is finding, evaluating and coordinating the work they will be doing, which is a large project itself.

Developing the volunteer program will certainly be a big job, but one we are very excited about. We will certainly need your prayers as this will be new ground for Elaine and me.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Finding our place…..

We found ourselves spending a decent amount of time with Fr Beiting this first week, just visiting the various ministries. Fr Beiting has his fingers in so many ministries here in eastern Kentucky! Right now there are three small churches he runs, four large thrift stores, the Point of Hope, Padre’s Place and so many other ministries.

The Point of Hope is a homeless/addiction center with approximately a dozen families living in small trailers around a central community center. There are several Sisters which help him run the Point. He has a brand new 45,000 square foot warehouse/thrifty store/office complex, plus a number of other buildings and small houses which house the many temporary volunteers which come all year round. He is able to house close to 50 volunteers at once!

A large ministry which is in the early stages is the collection and distribution of food and toys for Christmas. Fr Beiting's varies volunteer groups are putting together 800 baskets for distribution! He is also collecting food and toys for another 10,000 people who will be provided to other local organizations for their final distributions. Yes, I said that right, 10,000 people will be served through Fr Beiting. Needlessly to say, there will be an army of volunteers over the next few weeks unpacking, sorting and re-packing all that food and toys.

Elaine and I are not certain what exactly we will be doing as of yet. We have talked with both Fr. Beiting and Phillip, the new Administrator for the “Fr. Beiting Appalachian Mission Center” on what talents we can bring to AMC. That discussion will continue over the next week to finalize something. Until that time, Elaine and I are just open to the Holy Spirit. She has done a wonderful job leading us thus far, so we are open to the movement.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

We want to hear from you!!!!!

Just a quick note. Some of you have had trouble posting comments. Well, I changed the setting to allow anyone to post a comment. I believe you just have to click the anonymous button.(please still sign your name after the comment or we will not know who you are...) Didn't even know I had a choice, so sorry if you tried and were not successful. We would love to hear from you - feel free to give us your thoughts, ideas for improvement, or to just say HI. Miss you all but we are feeling really good about our decision to come here. Slowly getting more and more info on what we will be doing. Just learned today we might be helping some on the accounting stuff. God is Great!!!! All the Time!!!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A step back in time

Well, Sunday was spent traveling to two of our three parishes for Mass; St Jude, in Louisa, the largest parish and St John Neumann in Hode, the second largest parish. Travel time between the two parishes was like an hour plus.

Sunday was exciting for me, it was my first Sunday preaching assignment. Boy, what a tough Gospel to preach on, at least for a novice preacher; darkness, tribulation and the coming of the Lord (Mark 13:24-32). Why could I not have had a parable or something easier to preach on for my first Sunday preaching assignment?!

Well going to St John Neumann was slightly different than St Catherine of Siena (Portage, MI) or Sacred Heart (Punta Gorda, FL) which are both very large and new churches. St John Neumann seating capacity is probably 50. The whole Church was basically constructed from gifts from various churches. The pews, the stain glass windows, the altar, the lights, and the ambo, everything inside was donated from other parishes. The folks, all 12 of them, were very friendly and welcoming to both Elaine and me. As the old organ was pounding out an ancient hymn, I had a flash back to an old movie I love. I was waiting for Sidney Poitier to come through the doors as he did in the movie Lilies of the Fields, it was great.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Settling In

Well, the weekend is here for our first week of working with Fr Beiting. Elaine and I have been fairly busy these first few days. Partially, just getting settled in our new home.

We made a deal before leaving Kalamazoo, anything that did not fit in the back of the CRV was not going to come with us to Louisa. With just a little effort, all the items we had collected in the living room over the weeks leading up to our departure, all fit in the CRV. Elaine did a good job of packing what was needed. A few quick runs to Wal*Mart once we were in Louisa and everything was in place here at our new home.

Thus far, we have attended mass each day. I have read the Gospel each day and preached once already. This weekend I will be preaching at the Sunday services, since Fr Anthony, who just arrived from India is working on his English. Fr Beiting is gone on one of his many mission appeals out of state. This coming week, Elaine and I will be talking to a group on Marriage and I will be talking to the RCIA group on the final part of the Creed, which is one of my favorite topics.

We are excited about being part of Fr Beiting’s Appalachian Mission Center! There is much work to be done to further the Kingdom and we hope to help even it is just a little bit.

Friday, November 13, 2009

The “Eagle” (Vogel = “bird” in German) has landed!...

We arrived safely and without incident to our new home. Elaine and I were pleasantly surprised on the accommodations. We are sharing a two bedroom, one bath home with Dale, our new housemate. There is a nice size kitchen and eating area, with two large living areas. Praise the Lord, there is a washer and dryer as well! Our new home overlooks the river, with a small waterfall/rapids less than 100 yards away. The echo of the water flowing helps to drown out the numerous trains which pass close by each night.

Ok, we are still getting the hang of this new age blogger thing, so we hope to have more appealing blogs and pictures in the future ....