Two Churches (Holy Cross Episcopal and Ascension Lutheran) has challenged us to beat them in donating cans of soup to food pantries this year. Last year they donated more than 1,200 cans, so it will be a tough task, but we’re up to it!
Bring in your cans of soup each Sunday, Jan. 12, 19, 26 and Feb. 2. We’re keeping a running total for each “quarter.” More than 200 cans piled up in our lobby on Jan. 12!
Yes! Our Outreach Committee has decided to use any special offerings we receive at the two services on Christmas Eve to help fund the training of Max the poodle as a service dog for Evan, son of Genia and Amber LaNore. “Special offerings” means any offering in the plate not in a pledge envelope or otherwise marked as a pledge.
Why Evan needs a service dog
As you may know, Evan suffered a brain injury in a bicycle crash when he was 5. He needs a service dog to help keep him emotionally balanced, to notice when Evan is losing control of his emotions, to be a source of love, friendship and help.
The service dog training facility Genia and Amber contacted recommended a poodle puppy because they’re smart, loving, and easy to train. Last fall they found “Clyde,” born last July. Evan said his puppy picture looked “grumpy just like I get sometimes, so he’ll understand me.”
Getting Max trained
Evan goes to a special school in Farmington Hills, and Max lives at a service dog training camp about 16 minutes away. Working with Max is part of Evan’s Behavioral Therapy program so his therapist takes Evan to the training camp as part of their time together. Evan has been working with Max for a few hours once a week, and starting in January, Evan will be spending an additional evening there with Max and the trainer.
Max is doing great at learning all his basic skills, Sit, Down, Come, Stay, Place and of course potty training. In a report on Dec. 6, trainer Luke wrote:
Evan did fantastic with Max on his visit on Tuesday. Evan went over each of Max’s commands for his therapist and did a great job. Evan’s body language and hand signals were perfect and Max followed through on each command on the first ask.
Max was super focused on Evan, and it was a perfect combination of Max’s smarts and Evan having learned how to communicate with him. Max was very happy to see Evan and wanted to spend the entire visit with him. Sometimes Max wants to come sit by me or looks at me for approval, but this time he was glued to Evan the whole time.
Service dog training is expensive. By the time Max is fully trained, Genia and Amber will have spent upwards of $10,000 on training alone. Then there are transportation costs.
The facility where Evan lives will bring Evan home to West Michigan for visits, they won’t bring Max since he’s not yet a certified service dog. So, when the family wants them home together, they have to drive over (about 6 hours and a tank of gas) to get them and then again to return them after the visit (another 6 hours and another tank of gas).
Max was home for Thanksgiving and came to Holy Trinity for Advent 1. He was so great during the service! He sat up while we were standing to sing and laid at Evan’s feet when we sat, which is exactly what he’s supposed to do.
Service dogs are generally 14-16 months when they are fully trained and ready to partner with their people full time. So we’re expecting that they won’t be a full team ready to work until the end of 2020. Then, the hope is that Max will be able to keep Evan stable enough to live at home with his moms and attend school here.
If you’d like to make a contribution to Max’s training, please drop it in the offering plate Christmas Eve or send it to the church marked “Evan & Max fund.” Or, if you aren’t around but would still like to donate (just not through Holy Trinity), you can go to the Evan & Max GoFundMe page.
Bring your friendly fuzzy, finny or flying pet to church with you on Sunday, Oct. 6 at 10 a.m. for our regular Holy Communion service. If you prefer, your pets can stay in your car until the actual blessing part of the service, but they’re welcome in the Sanctuary as well. (We’re hoping to keep up our 100% no-accidents record from last year if possible, but if not, we’ll take care of it.)
Debbie Murphy is looking for members who want to embark on the “Invite, Welcome, Connect” adventure. It’s a program to really engage us in the deep work of evangelism. Which really comes down to how we:
Invite people to come to Holy Trinity
Welcome them when they walk in the doors
Help them connect with us in doing Christ’s work in the world – whether they want to be a greeter, sing, help at The Pantry, or lead Morning Prayer in our Chapel (for example).
Invite, Welcome, Connect is a wonderful program endorsed by our presiding Bishop Michael Curry. It’s a way to help us examine who we are and what we’re doing (or not doing) now to invite, welcome and connect with new people, and decide if and how we want to make changes that might open our doors wider.
To begin with, we’ll be watching some Invite, Welcome, Connect videos and thinking about what we’re already doing right, followed by brainstorming what else we could try.
If this sounds interesting to you, meet with us on Sunday, November 3 right after coffee time. If you have any questions, please contact Debbie Murphy.
Most of us know Margarita “Maggie” Gonzalez an always-smiling member of Holy Trinity, and we’re grateful for her taking care of our Facebook posts and our electronic sign for the past five years.
And now, Maggie is in place as our new Parish Administrator. She’ll be working with Father Pete to create the weekly bulletin and email announcements, in the office on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Maggie has been a member of Holy Trinity since 1996. She graduated from Michigan State University and loves being a Spartan. She has a son, Joaquin, and often comes on Sunday with her boyfriend Frank and his kids, Maddie, Avah, and Hunter. She spends her time marketing her handmade custom tee-shirt designs and thermal tumblers from her Facebook page, Crafted by Mom, Inc. And, she’s been teaching Zumba for the past five years at the Salvation Army Kroc Center.
Welcome and thank you, Maggie, for taking this work on. We heart you!
How is the Episcopal Church different from other Protestant churches?
Can you take communion if you’ve never been baptized?
What do you “have to” believe to be an Episcopalian?
If you’ve been away from the church for awhile, if you’re hoping to connect with a church community on a deeper level, if you feel that Jesus is asking you to walk with him, maybe the Inquirers class is right for you.
It’s a series of classes to prepare you for one of three types of re-dedication to Jesus:
Confirmation, the sacrament where you vow to do your best to follow the teachings and path of Jesus Christ;
Reaffirmation, for those who have fallen away from the church and wish to make a new public commitment to Christ; and
Reception, for those baptized or long-practicing in other denominations who wish to make a new committment to Christ as part of our Episcopal branch of the Jesus movement.
Father Pete is offering the Inquirers class series on four Sundays: May 5, May 19, June 2, and June 16. Email him or give him a call if you’d like to know more or are ready to sign up!
Our Sunday School kids are planning an outreach project again this year. They are
collecting small unopened, unused bottles of perfume, lotion, nail polish, hair products, deodorant, personal products, etc. and putting together “goodie bags” for the women who reside at a domestic crisis shelter. Most often, these women arrive at the shelter without anything but the clothes on their backs.
Please bring your donations to Sunday School classroom 4 on or before Sunday, May 5.