The Anchor July/August 2018
A BIMONTHLY PUBLICATION OF CHRIST CHURCH, EXETER NH
Reaching Young People Through Theatre
In 2015 Christ Church in Exeter began a new program that would challenge some long-held norms and expectations about what youth ministry looks like. Here are some questions we thought were worth contemplating: Is Christ Church’s youth ministry only for “our” youth? How do we express values of community, acceptance, and welcome? How is God spoken of?
In response to these questions and the acknowledgement of changing realities, Christ Church, like many churches in New England, is finding new ways to reach young people. In today’s culture, church is not the sole Sunday destination for families and their ever-busy and self-driven teens. What’s more, the Sunday evening youth group is a fading reality for many churches today.
We realized that, in addition to offering more traditional confirmation classes and service projects that gather youth for a shared purpose, we needed to respond to the new realities. One our responses was to go where the gifts and passion were and are. We had offered youth theatre in the not-so-distant past,and this new incarnation would find its own place and voice.
“Christ Church Players,” which would later become—named for our tree-lined street—“Pine Street Players at Christ Church.” The new theater endeavor began with the 2015 production of Cinderella. Christ Church’s more modern worship architecture allows for staging and lighting to be installed while also allowing worship to continue on Sunday mornings. We are also getting out into the community with more productions at the Exeter Town Hall.
From the beginning, the program’s creative and music directors Lexi Meunier and Suzanne Jones wanted to offer quality youth theatre where all were welcomed and supported and no one was turned away for financial reasons. Participants in this growing program come from within and from beyond our parish—and that is a very good thing. We have formed a Working Advisory Group to help guide this program as it continues to grow, even as founding members of the leadership move on and/or fit into new roles. The future is bright.
Pine Street Players has received generous financial support from the Diocese of New Hampshire and St. Andrew’s by the Sea in Rye Beach. As this is our program, Christ Church has given its financial support and, perhaps more importantly, the use of space for rehearsals and prop storage.
Let us celebrate what God is doing in the life of young people and those who work with them.
The Rev. Mark B. Pendleton
Food and Love
Someone told me many years ago there are two four-letter words that can be used interchangeably —food and love. I was reminded of this recently as I reflected on the sudden and tragic passing of Anthony Bourdain.If you’re unfamiliar with Anthony Bourdain, he was a slightly larger-than-life figure. A gifted chef and storyteller, he used his books and shows to explore culture, cuisine, and the human condition. Bourdain was in France working on his CNN series, Parts Unknown, when he took his own life.
I found myself terribly moved by this news and over the ensuing days, I read many stories. One in particular stood out for me because of its title: “5 Things the Church Can Learn from Anthony Bourdain.”I’d like to touch on four of author Zack Hunt’s five points. (His article appeared on patheos.com in 2014.)
1. The World Is Much Bigger and Diverse Than We Realize.Hunt believes we in America often view our faith—and lives—through red, white, and blue lenses. Bourdain attempted to shed this outlook as he realized that this rhetoric doesn’t “endear us to our global neighbors.”We need to realize that there are other Christians in the world who live out the Christian life in distinctively different ways.
2. Embrace Difference.On his show, Bourdain went out of his way to seek out what makes us different. He wanted to meet the people the rest of us avoid, hear their stories, experience even just a small bit of their lives, and of course, share a meal with them. If we believe Jesus desires for us to carry the gospel to the ends of the earth, we must change our ways and learn to embrace difference.
3. Judge Less and Ask More Questions. When Bourdain was on the road, he chose to accept the people he met on their terms. Instead of trying to force foreign cultures and people to conform to his worldview, he asked questions about why they do the things they do and eat the things they eat, and believe the things they believe.
4. Table Fellowship Can Change the World. Anthony Bourdain’s show was a testament to the healing power of a meal shared together around a common table. More often than not, Bourdain shares a simple meal around a simple table with people we’re taught to believe we should avoid simply because of where they live or what they believe. Like Anthony Bourdain’s show, when we gather we too gather around a meal—the Holy Eucharist—and we believe this meal has the unique ability to heal the broken relationships that exist between God and one another.
On learning of Bourdain’s passing, former President Barack Obama wrote, “He taught us about food, but more importantly, about its ability to bring us together. To make us a little less afraid of the unknown.”
Jesus gave us a single commandment: “Fear not. Don’t be afraid.” And for his part, Anthony Bourdain asked us to do the same.
Christian “Education” or “Formation”: What is the Difference?
It is commonly thought that “Christian education” is about teaching information about our faith and its traditions. And that certainly is important; however, there is another aspect of Christian education that goes beyond information. We call this deeper aspect “Christian formation.” Formation is about changing people and helping us all grow in relationship with Christ. It is about character formation and developing our relationship with God.
In formation, practical life-changing practices help us apply what we are learning to our spiritual lives, letting God be the one who is primarily teaching and forming us. In this way, we continually grow in the Christian Faith. Forming a closer relationship with God is what the Christian life is all about. We engage in the practices of our daily lives and the rituals of our faith communities—through worship, mission, working for justice and peace, evangelism, and education—so that our faith may be nurtured, enlivened, sustained, and formed.
So, what is Christian Formation at Christ Church?
Christian formation is the lifelong process of growing in relationship with God, self, others, and all creation. At Christ Church, we seek to offer opportunities to learn and grow in the Christian faith for children, young people, and adults. The pace of life today—with its increasing demands on our time and attention—requires us to be open and adaptive in the formation opportunities we offer to the congregation.
Formation opportunities for you at Christ Church:
Sunday morning remains our central formative experience. On Sunday morning, we learn and grow spiritually through our Episcopal liturgy, and we receive and give the support that Christian community offers. Together as fellow pilgrims, both young and old, we share our burdens and our joys on this lifelong journey. It is through this process that we can fulfill our baptismal vows and grow into the people God wants us to become.
- Chapel: During the school year, at the 10 am service, children (4 years and older) and youth are invited to go directly to the chapel while their parents go into the sanctuary. The chapel service and the sanctuary services are very similar as the content of the learning program in the chapel is the Sunday scripture readings. All age levels explore at least one common Bible reading each week, making it possible for family members to discuss their discoveries at home. This creates a wonderful church/home connection.
- 4th and 5th grade Book Group (time and dates to be determined): This past year we enjoyed reading Madeleine L’Engle’s novel A Wrinkle in Time together, and then, to complete our study, we saw it on the big screen. We also read Gordan Korman’s Restart and Jen Petro-Roy’s P.S. I Miss You.
- Tea Time- a “girls only” book group! (Time and dates to be determined).
- The Wonder Group: Middle School and older- meets the second Wednesday of the month from 6:00-7:30. Locations have varied from homes to downtown Exeter’s Hemingway’s café. Books we have read: R. J. Palacio’s Wonder, Adam Gidwitz’s The Inquisitor’s Tale, and Linda Sue Park’s A Long Walk to Water.
- Soul Sisters: A mom’s group that meets on the 3rd Wednesday of the month. Some books we have enjoyed are Madeline Levine’s The Price of Privilege, Brené Brown’s The Gifts of Imperfection, and John Green’s Turtles all the Way Down.
The prophet Isaiah offers the image of God as a potter shaping clay, forming humanity, God's created own. Perhaps this is a useful way to view the ministry of faith formation.
Yet, O Lord, you are our God; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand. –Isaiah 64:8
Throughout all of our doing and being, we are reminded that God's "hands" are continually present in our efforts to gain both "head" knowledge found in education and learning and "heart" wisdom discovered through prayer, ritual, and practice. So, it is indeed most fitting to say that faith formation is at the heart of what our living and being is all about; but without the potter God’s hands that guide what we are continually becoming, the process is incomplete.
The Creation Series
Parishioner Elizabeth “Bonnie” Stafford has given us a great gift. On the curved wall opposite the Dodd Room in Harris House, you can see six new needlepoint tapestries. Viewers are invited to consider the story of Creation in the Bible.
Imagine yourself as the person whose job it is to illustrate what God made happen on day one. Out of a formless void, we’re told, God spoke, creating light. What colors and shapes does that suggest to your imagination?
On day two, what forms, curves, lines come to mind hearing that God ‘created a dome in the midst of the waters’?
The contemporary British artist Alex Beattie painted the canvas design for each day of God’s creation of our world. Each reflects the colors, shapes and images evoked by the words of Genesis 1:1-2:3.
I stitched Mr. Beattie’s designs on the painted canvases and discovered as true what Mr. Beattie wrote: ‘What I love most about both designing and stitching is the fact that you’re working with pure color. There’s no mixing or preparation—it’s bright, jewel-like wools sewn straight on the canvas. There is something wonderful about the simplicity of it. You take a handful of colours and a grid of (say) 150 by 150 stitches, and from it you create a whole story. Needlepoint as haiku.’
It is an honor and privilege to give the completed series to the glory of God and to the people of Christ Church on the occasion of the renovation of Harris House.
Thank you, Bonnie!
On Saturday June 9th, PSP held its annual “Season Announcement Gala” in the new Parish Hall, revealing the Fall 2018 and Spring 2019 musicals:
James and the Giant Peach and Little Women!
AUDITIONS for James and the Giant Peach will take place August 30th-31st.
Visit: www.PineStreetPlayersCC.com/Auditions For audition requirements and more information.
AUDITION REGISTRATION will be open to MEMBERS on July 1st
Open to the Public: August 1st
NEW SEASON, NEW MEMBERSHIP!
Become an official 2018-2019 PSP Member for $50
● Exclusive 2018-2019 T-Shirt
● Pre-Registration for 2018 Fall Musical
● Waived Fall Musical Audition Fee
● Annual Members-Only “Pajamboree”
● Pre-Registration for 2019 Summer Session
● Free Admission to Season Announcement Gala
Memberships can be purchased at any time during the season, expiring at the annual season announcement gala.
Visit: www.PineStreetPlayersCC.com/Membership to purchase your new membership today!
PSP’s “STUDENT WORKING GROUP”
All PSP performers were invited to submit nominations for several new, student-run leadership positions, designed to give our dedicated and enthusiastic high school students more behind-the-scenes opportunities and involvement in various aspects of PSP.
Voting took place at the Season Announcement Gala where each nominee delivered a thoughtful campaign speech with professionalism and passion.
We are pleased to announce PSP’s first annual “Student Working Group!”:
MADELINE GLENN, President
Madeline Glenn is a rising sophomore at St. Thomas Aquinas in Dover and has been very involved in PSP since our first production of Cinderella. She has performed in every show since then, and has loved watching PSP grow and become a family. She became interested in running for the President of the Student Working Group because she has many ideas for helping the company grow and fundraise. Some of her ideas include bake sales, singing at community events, selling PSP's merchandise on social media, throwing parties, and having booths at local festivals and markets. Miss Glenn cannot wait to start helping PSP grow and develop even more.
MIA KIMBALL, Vice President
Mia Kimball is fifteen years old, and has performed in every PSP show since its inception! Theatre is her passion, and she is very active in both PSP and her school's performances. She loves to read and go to school, where she participates in all Honors-level classes. She was interested in the role of Vice President because she wanted to have a larger role in the logistical aspects of PSP. She really likes to plan things and is very excited about helping to plan events for the upcoming season. Some of Miss Kimball's ideas include a talent show, taking a poll for event themes, creating a Party Planning committee, and helping to plan really exciting fundraisers and cast parties!
JORDAN ZERCHER, Secretary
Jordan Zercher will be a senior at Oyster River High School in the fall and was recently elected Secretary of the PSP Student Working Group. She played the Stepmother in Into the Woods and Carla Schwarz in Spelling Bee, and appeared in the ensemble of Guys and Dolls and Beauty and the Beast. Miss Zercher joined the Student Working Group because she loves PSP and wants to continue to create an environment other performers and techies can call home. In the next year, she hopes to create more opportunities for the cast to bond outside of rehearsal, and to expand their knowledge of every aspect of theatre.
SARA ANDERSON, Treasurer
Sara Anderson is a new member of the PSP community, starting her theatre "career" by participating in both shows of the 2017-2018 Season. Although she has been a part of PSP for a short time, she is excited to help it grow. As the Treasurer, Miss Anderson's job requires her to fundraise and stay organized for PSP. She looks forward to helping the community that she loves to call her home! She has many ideas for fundraising events, one of which is a preview performance of this upcoming fall's James and the Giant Peach and the Stratham Family Fun Day in October, during which PSP could perform a song from the show. Some other ideas are restaurant fundraising events, as well as gatherings at the church to inform the public of PSP's overall mission. Miss Anderson is very enthusiastic about her job as Treasurer, and looks forward to a great 2018-2019 Season!
EMMA WHEELER, Publicity Coordinator
Emma Wheeler is a rising junior at Exeter High School, and she will be serving as the Publicity Coordinator this season for PSP's new Student Working Group. Emma has loved singing since before she could speak in full sentences, and when she decided to find a home theatre, she knew PSP was the place for her. Through her experiences with PSP, she was fallen even more in love with theatre and found her own voice, and she was so excited to be elected as Publicity Coordinator! Miss Wheeler will be running an official PSP Instagram account, and plans to have performers sharing candid pictures of rehearsals and performances to show what it's like to be a part of the company, all while promoting the show. She is also looking forward to exploring many avenues of community outreach, such as singing around town and at benefits, as well as at hospitals or nursing homes .She knows from experience how easily you can put a smile on someone's face just by singing! She is always a fountain of ideas, and never shies away from taking chances, and she is excited to bring that energy to PSP!
KATIE DAY, Member at Large
“HAMILTON” FUNDRAISING RAFFLE!
Don’t miss your chance to win 2 tickets to Broadway’s most popular musical, “Hamilton” in Boston this Fall!
Raffle tickets will be available on the PSP Website for $20 each, or 3 for $50.
SUMMER SESSION PERFORMANCE DATES:
Friday July 20th at 3:00pm
Friday August 3rd at 3:00pm
Friday August 18th at 3:00pm
Saturday August 19th at 7:00pm
All performances will be held at Christ Church.
Save the Date: Cuba Night returns October 13!
We will be gathering for good food, fun, and learning as we raise funds for our companion parish in Cuba. Christ Church is planning a youth focused trip during public school break in April 2019 to our companion parish in Cardenas, Cuba. Youth confirmed in 2017 and/or young people ages 16 and up would be eligible to participate. Parents are invited to travel with us as well as younger siblings, but only if accompanied a parent. Other adults in the parish are also invited to join us—the only requirement being the ability to carry one’s own luggage and have the ability to walk distances and endure warm temperatures.
Do express your interest with Mark over the coming months. Fundraising in earnest would begin in the fall. Visas would have to be applied for early January 2019.
First Cuba team in 2015!
Annual Fisher Cats Baseball Outing!
Sunday, July 22nd, 10:30am
43 Pine Street
Please plan to join us for another summer day of fun for the Christ Church community. It is the eightth annual trip to Manchester to watch the New Hampshire Fishercats take on the Harrisburg Senators. Tailgate party starts right after the 10:00 service with burgers and hot dogs!Email David Holroyd at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information