[RivCompanions] Document #3

Sherry White sherrygwhite8 at gmail.com
Mon Apr 28 01:05:27 UTC 2014

Date:  April 27, 2014

To: Noel and Rivendell Community, Susie Danielson

From:  Sherry White

Reflections on the Rule, Year of 2013-2014


My personal journey from age 10 to 50 was to devote myself to regular attendance at services and youth meetings, retreats.
As I grew within the Methodist discipline I became aware of differing views within my own congregation about how often  we had Communion.  I loved it, graduallly memorized all the liturgy, and always wanted to have communion more often-as we did on special liturgical occasions.  As a musician, both organist and choral conductor, I was lead to minister in a number of different traditions, and
each one had special things they did better than any other group.  Yet I was never "close" to what I most desired until I came to serve in a Roman Catholic parish for four years.  Although the priests in that church (two while I was there) did not feel they should give me the
elements, though they were wonderfully generous about sending me to retreats and expensive training workshops, and at those I was often given the opportunity to share in the Eucharist with the others.  I always understood and respected my priests feelings, but I yearned more and more to be in a tradition where I was more wholly accepted.  Then came a call from an Episcopal church, and from that time on
(abut 1990 I think), I have never missed an opportunity to be blessed by the receiving of the Eucharist, with the beautiful liturgy which 
allowed me to sing all the responses musically or spoken which I had always said in my heart in other traditions.  I still appreciate the homilies which often were the most central parts of other traditions' serices, but they are only learning, encouragement and study, as compared to the most important reason for meeting together with other Christians, and that will always be to worship.

This past year has been particularly difficult for me as to always getting the Eucharist; as I have been ill, in and out of the hospital, and there were not always those who would bring Eucharist to me when I could not come.  Our priest left about a year ago, and the Eucharistic ministsers were not very well organized or responsive.  We have sinced moved our membership to the parish in the community in which we actually live, instead of 12 miles away, where there are two priests and others who regularly bring the elements to those confined either at home or in a medical facility.  I did not send in an Easter story, but I did experience something wonderful during that week, which is
 applicable both to the Eucharist and to our study on Hospitality.  I have been unable to walk any distance or stand for more than 5-8 minutes for several years without the use of either walker or electric wheelchair.  Because worship is so important to me, I used these devices and maintained seated most of the time during services because going beyond those limits caused so much pain that I was not really able to concentrate on the worship.  Priests and friends helped me to understand that the "standing up" and movements were more important done in the Spirit when I was not able to stand or walk much.  But during Holy Week, something happened!  At the Thursday evening Footwashing and Eucharist, I found that I just couldn't stay in my pew, though I did rest during the hymns, etc.  When it came time to act out what I had come to love as a wonderful example of hospitality, it was llke a spring on my seat, and I just had to get up.  I held on to the pews as I walked more than half way down the nave area, and only then did I realize that my wonderful heper and husband was NOT behind me to help.  Getting to the front, I had to climb up two shallow steps, maneuver around to the chair while someone ahead of me washed my feet.  There was kindness and patience in that lady's face, as she ministered to me, then I, to her.  Then I still had to walk  all the way back to the back part of the nave, but I was truly ABLE.  A few minutes later, I also was able to walk up to Eucharist for the first time in about three years, though my husband was with me then to go up and down those stair again.  I suppose this seems like a silly story to others, but it was a miracle for me; the Father was showing me that He would continue to strengthen and help me to grow and worship like others, to find news ways to minister to others, even though I am handicapped.

As for the future, I no longer have a church position which allows me the privilege to help find and play music for the Eucharist, but my own
being able to receive it as meeting Jesus and being filled with his love and strength is the most important of all my convictions.

 Doing the daily office is new to me, though I have long read the Scriptures of the day, used the Forward Day by Day in my daily times with The Lord.  I did use the short versions and Compline often, but the idea of doing Morning and Evening prayer daily was new to me, not knowing anyone else who did them regularly.  It has been a great blessing to me and to my marriage, for my husband does it with me most of the time.  I confess that I still get it done only once a daily, but I am getting to be more regular.  I see and feel the difference in the day when my day is surrounded with prayer and worship.  I have also really enjoyed being online on Tuesday evenings to participate with other Rivendell family members, though my iPad is not always cooperative!  My intentions are, of course, to become more regular.  Though it does sound like an excuse, I have often had problems in the morning because of my health and inability to sleep well, so my schedule is
often a few hours different, so "morning" and "evening" times sometimes are overrun,  My goal is to correct that this year, as much as I possibly can.

Planning music for liturgies in the church year made me well aware or the parish-wide participatory services.  However, other than observances which were written about in the Forward Day by Day, personal observances was new to me.  Of course, I included special prayers for certain liturgies and reflections about saintly people whose birthdays were mentioned in the BCP and DAy by Day.  But a special personal fast or feast on such an occasion is new, and I am afraid I have missed many of them.  I intend to be more organized in my devotions/Daily Prayer times so that I won't miss those opportunities, as I do recognize how looking at the Lord's work in another's life is a wonderful encouragement and challenge.  I think I would have been much helped by living near/with more of the Rivendell folks, so that it would have been easy to ask questions, get ideas of where to look for information, and so on.  RIght now, we are perplexed about
finding the Office Book which includes the post Easter worship.  I did not know we were even missing any of the Rivendell books, since I did have the "Easter" one.  This is the type of thing easily picked up when one is with a group who has been following the cycle for years: but I honestly have felt I didn't even know the right questions to ask.  Fr. Mike and Mother Martha are great resources if I knew I was supposed to ask something, and they are very good examples of hospitality in sharing whatever we ask about--when we know to ask,
that is. As for the next year, I am much encouraged because the husband and wife priests at our new parish do evening prayer several days a week at 5:15 p.m., so I may join them easily.  In our old parish, Morning or Evening prayer was used only one or two times per year when the priest had to be out of town and there was no substitute, so I never even learned much about selecting music for those events, as the priest would always do that himself

I have a burning desire to continue spiritual formation from a Rivendell point of view, and look forward to becoming a novice if the community chooses to allow it.  My gifts of discernment, encouragement, and devotion to prayer with and for others are what I hope to grow in in order to serve the Rivendell family.  I greatly desire to be accountable to the family, and to serve in whatever way I am called upon to do.  I can still offer resource, planning, and musical helps to small congregations, teaching or recording for parishes who may be without a musician for whatever reason.  But most of all I want to understand and grow more so that I will be part of that Rivendell personality--not really the right word, I know--so that the love, compassion, and grace which I have seen among you will also come to reside in me as I subject myself to your direction, teaching and encouragement.  I have a passion for the poor and for those young people at risk, and  I hope to be allowed to mentor and teach.  I spent two summers in Croatia teaching English to non-English speaking people of all ages, and we used the Bible and  its stories as reading materials.  It was then that I became drawn to be an evangelist in my own way and place.  I see the Rivendell ethic of "hospitality" as the very fertile ground for telling that old, old story in a gentle and encouraging manner.  I don't know how we would accomplish it here in the large Houston area where we are widely separated and it is difficult to even find times and places to meet, but I would love to live near, and work with our Rivendell Texas folk to provide a homely house, open to any and all who come to us.  Until then or until we findanother way, I will be busy at "becoming".

Respectfully submitted,
Sherry White

Sent from my iPad
sherrygwhite at yahoo.com

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