Flat Saints: Dietrich Bonhoeffer

During our month of saints, we are hearing the stories of seven different saints from Scripture and tradition and learning about the saints in as many ways as possible. Check out some suggestions here. Come back all this month, for posts about our saints and remember to share what you and your family learn about the saints this month on Facebook with a photo of your flat saint out and about and #CHFSaints.

You can find all blog posts in this series at the following links: Mary Magdalene, Saint Luke the Evangelist, Clare and Francis of Assisi, Monica and Augustine, ideas of All Saints Saint potluck.

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Dietrich Bonhoeffer (February 4, 1906—April 9, 1945)

Date remembered: April 9

Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a German pastor and theologian during the Second World War. He wrote many books that challenged the church in Germany and remain important to us now. All of his books focused on the person and work of Jesus Christ. When the activities of the church came under strict government control and Christians outside of the national church were limited in their ability to gather, Bonhoeffer ran an underground seminary that trained ministers. This seminary, called Finkenwalde, was eventually forced to close.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, 1939, Photographer unknown

We know a lot about Dietrich Bonhoeffer because he wrote quite a bit. His friend, Eberhard Bethge was the first to pen his biography. From what we know it is clear that Bonhoeffer was so resolved in his belief and trust in Christ, that Christ and cross were all that ultimately mattered. He died at the young age of 39 at the hands of the Nazis.

A timeline of Bonhoeffer’s life may be found here.

At Home Discussion

In Life Together: The Classic Exploration of Faith in Community, Bonhoeffer writes of the practice of confession: “In confession the break-through of the community takes place. Sin demands to have a man by himself [sic]. The more isolated a person is, the more destructive will be the power of sin over him […]. Sin wants to remain unknown. It shuns the light.” When we confess in the congregation, we acknowledge and bring our own sin to light.

Read the Prayer of Confession from the Book of Common Prayer together. Students may already have the prayer memorized from our saying it together in the weekly liturgy. If they do not, try to memorize a part of it: the first five lines, lines six through eight, or lines nine through the end.

Discuss the question:

Why do we confess our sins all together every week?

All Aboard to Charlotte!

By Paul Cizek, Youth Minister

In early August, a group of Holy Family youth and adults boarded a train at the station in Durham and headed to Charlotte for the day.  We spent the morning doing a Letterbox Scavenger Hunt in the old Elmwood/Pinewood Cemetery, grabbed some Chinese food for lunch, strolled around Charlotte a bit more, and then caught the train home.  Here are a few pictures from the day:

1- Train (4) 1- Train (1) 1 - Train (61) 1 - Train (28)  IMG_9197 1 - Train (23)

“Out of Egypt” VCS: Facing Pharaoh (June 24)

On Monday of VCS, we heard God promise Moses,

God promises Moses McConnells

“I will take you as my people, and I will be your God.  You shall know that I am the LORD your God, who has freed you from the burdens of the Egyptians…” (Ex. 6:7).   We saw that, “Moses told this to the Israelites; but they would not listen to Moses, because of their broken spirit and their cruel slavery” (Ex. 6:9).

Moses and Aaron confronted Pharaoh with a message from the LORD:

Moses, Aaron, Pharaoh (McConnells)

(They received some help from the Cobras…)

CobrasattackingPharaoh

How did Pharaoh respond?

Alan McConnell Pharaoh

Pharaoh is one hard-hearted king.  “Make bricks!” he said.

StafftoSnake

Even after he saw Moses’ staff turn into a snake, his answer remained, “make bricks!” And so we did.

BrickMaking1

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We also worked hard to fill the Pharaoh’s storehouses.

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Race3We enjoyed a snack recalling Moses’ staff-turned-to-snake.

SnakeStaffSnackAnd we enjoyed one another.

SillyCobrasThanks be to God!

“Out of Egypt!” VCS 2013: Holy Ground

VCS began with a story about Moses…

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… who was tending his father-in-law’s flock one day, and encountered a bush that burned, but was not consumed…

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At that bush, Moses learned God’s name…

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… and heard God tell Moses that God would send him to bring the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt.

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During VCS, we worshipped the God of Israel…

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…and we remembered God’s faithfulness to God’s people long ago….Image

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…and in our own day.

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Out of Egypt!

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Don’t miss out on Vacation Church School this year!  We’ll sing, play, pray, and respond to the story of God’s faithfulness to the Israelites in Egypt.

Here’s an overview of what’s going on throughout the week.  

Sunday, June 23rd:
5:00pm – VCS Kickoff Cookout
Come at 5pm to enjoy hot dogs, veggie dogs, great food and company.  Bring a side dish to share.  VCS parents/participants:  please go to the library when you arrive to pick up name tags and t-shirts, and to sign release forms.
6:00 – 8:00 – VCS (beginning and ending in nave) with childcare for children under 3 in the nursery.
 
Monday, June 24th – Wednesday, June 26th:
5:15 – Drop-in dinner (optional) in Parish Hall 
6:00 – 8:00 – VCS (beginning and ending in nave) with childcare for children under 3 in the nursery.
 
Thursday, June 27th:  
6:00 – VCS Closing Eucharist and Feast – Contact Wren to bring an assigned food, or come with a desert in hand.

“Blessed are you, Lord our God…”

Each Wednesday during Lent, children of Holy Family take time to reflect on the story of the Last Supper.  This week, we gave special attention to Luke’s description of Jesus as he gave thanks for the bread and cup.  Luke’s words were familiar to us:

“Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he said, ‘Take this and divide it among yourselves…

“Then he took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them…”

Jesus — it turns out — was in the habit of giving thanks for all kinds of God’s gifts, even ordinary gifts like bread and wine.   It is so easy to forget to give thanks!  We took time to practice offering  prayers of thanks for ordinary gifts.  We tried out words that Jesus himself may have used.

Blessed are you, Lord our God, King of the Universe, who brings forth bread from the earth.

On waking up:  Blessed are you, Lord our God, King of the Universe, who opens the eyes of the blind.

Blessed are You, LORD, our God, King of the universe, through Whose word everything comes into being.

And we thought up a few of our own…

“Blessed are you, Lord our God, King of the Universe, because you have given me a sister.” 

“Blessed are you, Lord our God, King of the Universe, because you made the sun to give light to the world.” 

“Blessed are you, Lord our God, King of the Universe, because you made wolves.”

“Blessed are you, Lord our God, King of the Universe, because you made special flowers and roses.”

“Blessed are you, Lord our God, King of the Universe, because you gave me my mom.”

Can you add to our list of thanksgivings?

Preparing for the Feast

Our Lenten Wednesdays program for children this year will draw us into the story of the Last Supper.   We invite children ages 3-12 to join us in the Parish Hall as we prepare for the feast!  We’ll sing, tell stories, take time to create, and take time to play.  Check out the list below to find out what we’ll be doing each Wednesday evening.   Want to lend a hand one week?  E-mail or call me at the parish office.

Adults will be in the nave learning about the Creed, and we’ll have nursery care available for children under age 3.

  • February 20:  “The Lord is my light..” / Candle-making
  • February 27:  Blessing before the feast / Baking Pretzels and praying hands 
  • March 6:  Setting the table / A plate and a cup
  • March 13:  One bread, one body / Baking the bread
  • March 20:  Following Jesus / Washing Feet

A time to take root


At Holy Family during the coming six weeks, we will recall time and again that Lent is the season “for getting ready for the Mystery of Easter.”  That is, during Lent we commit together to preparing our hearts and minds, our souls and bodies to receive the gifts of new life that God brings us in Jesus.

I often hear that it takes 30 days (or 21, or 28, or 66 days) to form a habit.  Sometimes I think of Lent (which literally means ‘spring’) as a time during which we shield new, fragile habits in order to help them take root.  Perhaps Lent is a time in your family might choose one habit to practice carefully, with an aim toward allowing that habit to grow firmly rooted as we arrive in the Easter season.

Some habits to consider taking up?

The internet is rife with them of course, but here are a few suggestions to get you dreaming…

  • Reading scripture together.  Consider choosing a different passage (a parable, the beatitudes, the Lord’s Prayer)  to read daily during each week of Lent.  Lent is a wonderful time to put a beloved psalm or Scripture text to memory (work on it while walking, while driving, while washing dishes…)
  • Gather together favorite breakfast items to share with the Breakfast Fellowship at St. Joseph’s – Durham.  There will be a marked cooler in the CE Commons throughout Lent for donations (requested items include eggs, shredded cheese, breakfast meats, grits, butter, coffee, and tea).
  • Sing together.  Choose a hymn or two and mark these forty days as a season of praise.
  • Join in our Wednesday evening Lenten series.  Children will give special attention to the story of the Lord’s Supper each Wednesday of Lent, while adults will learn about the Creed

How will your family mark this season of Lent?