We are looking at Thom Rainer’s book, Scrappy Church. The author shares six key transition factors that have relevance to St. Raymond.
Transition #3. From Limitations to Abundance. Our church has everything it needs. Put another way, God has given the parish all the resources we need to move forward.
That is a bold statement. Scrappy Church author Thom Rainer claims that: We have enough money. We have enough people. We have adequate facilities. We have enough people to reach. We have the right-aged people in the parish. No use complaining that we have inadequate resources. That is a “limitations mindset.” It infects leadership. It poisons the congregation.
Philippians 4:19 - “My God will supply all your needs according to His riches.” Now, let’s understand, stewardship is important. Parishioners need to provide for the mission. What is important is to move from an appearance of absence to an attitude of abundance.
Transition #4. From Despair to Joy. People approach me and the pastoral staff of St. Raymond every weekend. Some come with suggestions. Some come with offers to help. Some come with complaints. Some come with compliments. Here’s a question. What do you think is the ratio of compliments to complaints? 50 - 50? 80 - 20?
Parishioners can let the underbelly of church life bring a parish down. They focus on the negative. Instead, let’s look at Philippians 4:4 & 8. “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I say, rejoice! Whatever is true, whatever is just, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is more excellence, if there’s anything praiseworthy - dwell on these things.”
Transition #5. From Fear to Courage. Thom tells the story of Pastor Roger. Roger was leading a mediocre church. It was slowly declining. Roger felt that changes were needed. Yet parishioners made it clear that the strategy was just to keep most church members happy and not rock the boat.
Rogers's leadership style was to live in fear - until his wife Peg called him out. She said, “I would rather we lose our jobs than lose our vision. Read Joshua 1: “Have I not commanded you and called you to be strong and courageous? Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."
Roger realized that he was disobeying God because he was not trusting God. Move! Pick something. Decide something. Start something with intentionality. Step out in faith and see what the Lord can do.
Transition #6. From Impossible to Possible. Remember the book, The Little Train That Could? I have heard St. Raymond referred to as “The Little Church That Does.” Post-Covid, Thom Rainer is seeing churches that survived and are thriving in their own way. Many are small and mid-sized churches. They have “add-ee-tude.” Better said, they have an attitude. They believe. They are honest and realistic - but optimistic. They believe Philippians 4:13: “I am able to do all things through Him who strengthens me.” They have moved from human impossibility to God’s possibility.
So how did these churches do this? What is the secret sauce? Rainer sees four characteristics and something that he calls a “Turnaround Cycle.” We will begin to examine those next week.
Fr. Charles Zlock
November 11th: We Salute all Veterans!
Good Things are Happening at St. Raymond!
Congratulations to Marie Claudia, our newest American citizen!
Three decades ago, a young couple fled from a war torn Rwanda to escape the genocide that was happening all around them. For the next 20 years, they lived in Brazzaville Congo where, amidst further political unrest, they raised a family of five children.
In 2017, Marie Claudia and Telesphore’s eldest son, Irene, came to America as a URM (unaccompanied refugee minor) through Bethany Christian Services. And one year later, his parents arrived. The family settled in the Olney neighborhood, and Marie Claudia set about getting her younger children into grade school, while the older ones found employment, as did their father.
In January 2022, the family purchased a beautiful home of their own.
At last, it was time for Marie Claudia to pursue her own dream – to become an American citizen. With the continuing support of the REST team, she studied her nationality questions diligently every free moment she could find. Last week, her dream came true. And members of our REST team shared in her triumph.
“How does it feel to be an American citizen?” Dan McVay asked her. “It feels amazing,” replied Marie Claudia. “I can’t wait to vote!”
Advent Life Groups start NEXT WEEK and last for four weeks. Fliers with information are in the back of the Church. Find a convenient day and time, then contact the Life Group Leader shown on the flier. Want to know more? Call Minta Brown at 610-329-7256 or email email@example.com. Don't forget that Jesus is the reason for the season!
Celebrating Our Youth with Generation Grace
Do you have a child in grades 6-8? Please contact Brandi to get them involved in our Middle School Youth Ministry. A delicious activity is happening this week. We would love to have all our Middle School Kids involved. Brandi can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or 215-549-3760.
Sunday, 11/12 - “Give Me S’more of Jesus”
S'mores making in the School Cafeteria and reflection
Sunday, 11/19- Sorting Thanksgiving Donations with Ms. Arleen
St. Raymond Bling
Back by popular demand! St. Raymond Bling (merchandise) will be sold at all Masses the weekend of 11/11 and 11/12. We have some of your old favorites, such as hoodies and aprons. Plus, there is new merchandise, including warm St Raymond hats! Let's share the good news of St Raymond in your attire. Bling is also available in the Church office during weekdays.
Buy something for yourself. They also make great gifts!
Homecoming for St. Raymond School Alumni
Come back home to see old friends and to visit your school. The day starts with 10 am Mass, followed by a reception in the School Hall. Spread the word and RSVP today!
Family Faith Formation Sessions
"Let the children come to me”
Attention Parents/Guardians: Family Faith Formation Sessions will run September 17, 2023 – June 2, 2024.
Parents with children entering grades K through 7th grade are encouraged to attend. Sessions are held immediately following the 10:00 Mass every other Sunday in the lower church. Enrollment forms are located on the desk in the rear of the church. Contact Arleen Daniels at 215-549-3760 or email@example.com to receive a form via email. The greatest gift you can give your child is the gift of faith formation. If children do not experience how to live for God, the world will certainly show them how not to!
We Applaud You!
St Martin de Porres Mass, with Commissioning of Fr Zlock
Archbishop Nelson J. Pérez recently commissioned two additional new Missionaries of Mercy with their mandate from the Holy See. St Raymond’s Pastor, Reverend Charles Zlock, is honored to serve in the new role. This is a special ministry, focusing particularly on the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Well done, Fr. Zlock! We applaud you for being commissioned this past Sunday as a Minister of Mercy.
Men's Group Meeting
All men are invited to attend a meeting on 11/14, 7 pm, in the Rectory dining room.
11/25 and 11/26 Monthly Prayer Team after Mass (always last Sunday) Bring your prayer intentions to our prayer teams and let us pray for you!
Upcoming Special Collections:
11/23/23 Thanksgiving Offering
12/10/23 Christmas Flowers Offering
12/23/23 Christmas Offering
Feast of the Immaculate Conception
Friday, 12/8 is a Holy Day of Obligation for The Immaculate Conception of The Blessed Virgin Mary. Mass is 8 am.
Celebrate! November is Black Catholic History Month
The weekend of November 18-19, we will host a young man attending seminary class at St. Charles Seminary. Since 1832, St. Charles has been training and forming young men for the priesthood to minister to the spiritual needs of Philadelphia and beyond. The Archdiocese of Philadelphia is fortunate to have such an outstanding seminary that assists in this endeavor.
Our guest will tell us his vocation story and relate his experience at St. Charles to us. He will also ask for your generous support of our seminary. Let's greet him with a great "St. Raymond welcome."
Thanksgiving Food Bags are available in the rear of the church, as well as envelopes for monetary donations. Food donations can be left in the vestibule of the Church or dropped off at the Rectory. Monetary donations can be placed in the Sunday collection basket or dropped off at the Rectory. Please have your contributions in prior to Sunday, November 19th. If you or someone you know are in need of a Thanksgiving Food Basket, please contact the Rectory Office at 215-549-3760.
It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!
A Soulful Christmas at the Kimmel Center
Soulful Christmas returns to the Kimmel Center Tuesday, December 12th at 7:30pm. Several members of the St. Raymond Choir will join the Philadelphia Catholic Gospel Mass Choir in singing in this year's concert. A block of tickets will be ordered for ease of purchase. More information will be provided soon. Stay tuned!
Home For Christmas
This is a time to share the joy of Christmas with others. We are calling all volunteers and willing workers! The annual Home for Christmas Celebration will be Saturday December 23, 2023, noon to 3:00 pm. Additional information will be available in the weeks to come! There is much to do to make this day a success.
Candlelight Decorated Tables
Instead of decorating trees, use your imagination to decorate a beautiful and seasonal table! Join us for "Advent by Candlelight" December 2nd from 6-8pm at St. Raymond. This event for women will offer an elegant, relaxing, and memorable evening of friendship, while centering our thoughts on inviting the Christ Child to enter our lives in a new and profound way, particularly by candlelight.
We are asking women to decorate and host a table. As guests enter, they are greeted with the ambiance of soft Christmas music and the glow of candlelight. There will be time to socialize, eat, and admire the decorated tables. A guest speaker will share how “There is a Blessing Coming Your Way”.
Table Hosts do not have to be a member of St. Raymond’s Parish. A love for God and the desire to reflect on the true meaning of this most holy season is the only requirement. Fliers will be in the back of the church.
Contact Brandi, Arleen or Minta at 215-549-3760 for additional information or to sign up. Let us share the light of Christ with all!
Upcoming Community Events
Claver Awards Banquet on November 11th
News From the Office of Black Catholics
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Check out the November Newsletter for many exciting events!
New Leadership Opportunity
The Martin de Porres Foundation is offering a new leadership opportunity this Fall. The Black Catholic Service Group is forming to pray together and provide practical support for events and initiatives in the Black Catholic Community of Philadelphia. To join you just need to have a love for the Lord and be willing to volunteer at events sponsored by the Office of Black Catholics as needed. If you have 1- 2 hours a month or if you'd be willing to volunteer for special events occasionally as needed, join us on Zoom for the "Black Catholic Service Group Information Session" on November 9, at 6:30 PM, Register here.
Questions? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This Week's "Go Forth" Suggestion from Archbishop Perez
Archdiocese of Philadelphia Updates
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