You Will Be My Witnesses

By , June 11, 2011

In Acts chapter I, Luke writes of one post-resurrection meal which Jesus shared with His disciples, at which He promised them two things:  “you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you;  and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”  

 Last Sunday, the bishop laid hands on thirteen people (and received three others) and prayers were said for them to receive the Holy Spirit.  Here are some of His witnesses in Darien, and in Connecticut, and to the ends of the earth:

 “Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior.  He protects me from harm’s way and keeps me safe.  I know that he created me and the world around me.”  Sabrina Rivers

 “Before my life with Christ started, I seemed to get frustrated a lot.  I would sometimes find myself being mad or frustrated about something.  Before when I felt frustrated or mad I wouldn’t ask God to help me…I usually would start reading a book or just try to feel sorry for myself.  Now that my life with Christ has started, I feel more in control and I can always go to him for help.”  Bella Miserocchi

 “When I think of my relationship with Jesus I think of a friend who is always there for me, but also a warrior to keep me out of harm’s way and to help me fight my battles when I am in trouble.  He is also like a lover, someone who will never leave me alone, always watching, waiting, for me to be with him and to be closer to him.  In Romans 3:23 it says, ‘For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God’.  That means that your sins have caused a separation between you and God and if you don’t fix that, you, without Jesus, would not make it to heaven.  Because of Jesus, we can make it to heaven and not fall short.  Since I have started to take classes, going to youth group, and participate fully in church, my life has changed for the better and I really understand Jesus’ mission and all the pain and suffering he went through to complete that mission.”  Matthew Briggs

 “I found the Lord through an amazing program called Awana…Approved Workmen Are Not Ashamed, which is part of II Timothy 2:15, ‘Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.’ …The goal is to get you to learn your scripture.  It was a fantastic program and one night when our leaders talked to us about accepting Jesus into our hearts, we could go with one of them and pray with them to accept Jesus into our heart.  One of the women came downstairs when we were at Games and asked again who would like to ask Jesus into their heart.  Not many people like missing Gametime, but I really wanted to ask the Lord to come into my heart.  So I went up to a small comfy room  with a smiling leader for the Lord and she prayed with me.  I really wish I could remember her prayer clearly but her words are now vague.  But I remember the prayer being so powerful.  I could feel the Lord flow throughout me and fill me with his mercy and love.  I came down from that room with the most refreshed feeling in my life – I was now a believer in Jesus Christ…

He rescued me and now I’m his child.  I feel his presence when I’m at peace.  I have to admit that I don’t have a really strong relationship, because at times I slip at things, just like everyone else does, but I still call myself a Christian.  One thing I will never deny is loving the Lord with all of my heart, soul, mind and strength.  By his grace I will follow him as my Savior and Lord.  Cheyenne de la Rivera

 “Before I met Jesus I was in a world of ignorance, now I have been able to experience the power of faith.  Jesus is my savior and with his help I will be able to renounce evil spirits and share the gifts of the Spirit with others.  Amina Thomas

On the Mark June 12th

Words for St. Paul’s

By , May 30, 2010


Heard at Pentecost


In response to your request in church that we share any thoughts or guidances that come to us regarding the days ahead for St. Paul’s, something came to me right away that day while we were in church.  It was this:  “Know that you are in the house of the Lord and trust in His protection.”                                                                              from Steve Knowles

“Love one another as I love you.  Seek to see one another through my eyes and with my  heart.”  - just ask.  “Repent – come to me with a clean heart.”  “Trust me in all things.  I will work miracles.”                                                                                       from Polly Verrico

“It’s time to play ‘Follow the leader,’ and I am that Leader.  I have delegated My kingdom work to Fr. Christopher and your vestry.  I have empowered them to do the work I have called them to do, and I will empower you.  You need only to hear and obey, trust and follow.  I will speak through My Word, through My people, through circumstances, through My creation.  I am in the midst of you, never departing.  Receive My love, My goodness, and My grace.  My forgiveness for sin is ever available to you because of My sacrifice on the Cross for you.

            “’If you confess your sins, I am faithful and just to forgive your sins and to cleanse you from all unrighteousness.’  [I John 1:9

            “So, ‘confess your sins, one to another, and pray for each other, that you may be healed.’ [James 5:16].  St. Paul’s will be one of My healing pools – like the one at Bethesda [John 5:1-9].  Exercise your faith to believe this promise and you will see the fulfillment of many promises besides.  Pray, so that you will not miss the blessings.

            “In Me…the only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love. [Galatians 5:6].  Be willing to let me activate you, to energize you by My Holy Spirit, that you may express My heart to others.”                                                                       from Deacon Roberta Schneider

“I have put all things under the power of my Son.  He is seated at my right hand and you are seated with him.  Step out in confidence.  I am doing a new work and you will see things that you have never seen before.  Don’t be afraid.  Be bold.  A new fruitfulness is coming.

            “Where the river flows everything will live.  Look to me for life.  Don’t look at your own resources – at your little fish and loaves – look to me.  Come to me and have life.”

                                                                                                                        from Jeff Newton

St. Paul’s, enter into your golden years.  I have refined you…to go out.  Be sent out as pure and strong in the love of Christ.  Heal in My name.  Preach the Gospel.  Golden years, golden light, golden fields.  Gold, pure gold.  You are Mine.  Sing the alleluia.  Proclaim Me to the world.                                                                                                    from Dick Day

This vision was, I thought, just an answer to my prayers regarding Bob.  I had asked my Father to let me have a glimpse of Bob in his healthy and healed body…and I had asked the Lord if He would let me have a glimpse of what Bob is doing in heaven and to see him happy and joyful.  This is what the Lord showed me last Sunday…

During worship we were singing a song…”There is a river whose streams make glad the city of our God”…In front of my eyes I saw that river, bright blue and plush greenery all around…It is a real place and one day it will be on the “new earth”…I saw Bob walking along the river’s bank as well as a number [not the myriads] of others…they were all singing and praising…and then I realized they were singing the same song we were singing.  The Holy Spirit said that the “saints in heaven” know when the Body of Christ rejoices and they enter our rejoicing.

God’s vision was much broader than answering my requests…He showed me the “Communion of Saints” are not only joined to His body [Church] in His Holy Communion, but also in the communion of worship and spiritual life on earth as it is in heaven…Thank you Lord Jesus…Come Lord Jesus.  I am so grateful for God’s faithfulness and loving-kindness.                                                                                                                                       from Bonnie Brown

In my prayer time this morning I had this vision (in the spirit) and a word I believe is from the Lord…If after praying over it you feel it is appropriate to share it tomorrow please feel free to do so.

At first all I saw were beautiful white wings spread out over the roof of our church.  I asked the Lord to show me what it was because at first I thought it was an eagle or some very large bird….Then He showed me that it was indeed an Angel…so big that at first I could not see his face.  The Angel was intensely glowing and light illuminated from it which encompassed not only our church building but the whole property and although I could not see in the vision much beyond our church, I had a sense that the light illuminated way beyond.  Then He showed me the face of the Angel and there was a determination in his face and his eyes were intense on all the people in our church…He showed me every seat being filled and young people on their faces in the center aisle praising and crying out to the Lord.  The Glory of the Lord was falling all around us like gold dust through this smoky-like filtering light…There was such peace and sweetness that was radiating throughout our whole church.  I said to the Lord, “what are you showing me, Lord?”  And, He said, “Tell them I am with them, I am covering them with my love and my protection through this next season.  I want a deeper relationship with them – that is all I want right now…Tell them Rest in Me and watch and see, I make all things new. [He has been saying that to me a lot lately, that is how I knew it was Him!]…Tell them I love them more than they know or can ever imagine.  My Love…it is all about My Love – Loving Me, loving each other and loving the Lost…Just Love!”  And then He emphasized this to me…YOU ARE NOT ALONE…VICTORY IS ON THE OTHER SIDE!

I don’t think that was for me alone…I think it is for our whole church right now, but especially for you, too.                                                                                    from Joann Cerretani

When I asked God to give me a scripture for St. Paul’s, this is what I heard:  Isaiah 55, 56, and 58.                                                                                                           from Gaye Forbes

Father Christopher read this portion from Isaiah 58 on Pentecost

             8Then your light will break forth like the dawn,

and your healing will quickly appear;

               then your righteousness will go before you,

and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.

9Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; 

you will cry for help; and he will say: Here am I.

“If you do away with the yoke of oppression,

with the pointing finger and malicious talk,

10and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry

and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,

               then your light will rise in the darkness,

                        and your night will become like the noonday.

            11The Lord will guide you always;

                        he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land

                        and will strengthen your frame.

               You will be like a well-watered garden,

                        like a spring whose waters never fail.


            12Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins

                        and will raise up the age-old foundations;

              you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls,

                        Restorer of Streets with Dwellings

                                                                                    Isaiah 58:8-12

Pentecost’s Preface (in the Book of Common Prayer) records these words in summation:

            “In fulfillment of his true promise, the Holy Spirit [comes] down from heaven…to teach us and lead [us] into all truth;  uniting peoples of many tongues in the confession of one faith,

AND giving to your Church [members of St. Paul’s Darien] the power to serve You as a royal priesthood

AND to preach the Gospel to all nations, through Jesus Christ our Lord.”


            keeps his promises;

            teaches and leads us to faith,

            empowering us to serve and to spread the Gospel of Jesus

            by and in the Holy Spirit to His glory!

            Praise be to our triune God!

                                                                                                from Pamela Corker

On the Mark – April 11th 2010

By , April 11, 2010

Operation “In” Gratitude

Has anyone else ever noticed that when you separate the word ‘ingratitude” from its first syllable, it becomes “in gratitude”?  A 180-degree change in meaning, with the simple detachment of a prefix!

This leads me to question:  If it’s so easy to make the shift on paper, could it be just as easy to make that same shift in my personal outlook?

I think the answer is “yes”.  Like the flip of a switch that transforms a room from dark to light, the flip of the switch in my heart can make the difference between chronic misery and total contentment.

Example:  I lost my job in a layoff last October.  My husband suffered a knee injury at his job the very same week and has  been out of work ever since. By choosing “ingratitude” I could rightly say, “This economy’s a disaster, our financial outlook is grim, and p.s., I can’t believe that after 20 years in the workforce and an advanced degree, the Department of Labor is telling me I’m only entitle to xxx a week!   However, if I choose to move in gratitude, it’s just as easy to say, “Thank God I have the safety net of an unemployment check, that my husband can collect workman’s comp, and that we still have a roof over our heads and food on the table.”  (And p.s., last year’s financial setback could translate to this year’s tax return!)

My situation is minor compared to that of so many others.  I think of the hundreds of thousands in post-earthquake Haiti who are suffering beyond comprehension and yet are still praising God…

I’ll admit this “be thankful in all things” idea isn’t exactly original.  Some might even call it cliché.  But I’m convinced that when put to the test, it’s possible to grab hold of gratitude in every situation. The key to living in gratitude isn’t the stuff for which we’re grateful – rather, the key is to recall the One to whom we’re grateful.  Job of the Bible said it best:  “We take the good days from God – why not also the bad days?” [Job 2:10, The Message]  Job, who lost his kids, his entire estate, and his health, was able to step back from the horror his life had become and still bless God, acknowledging that God gives and takes away.

I think it’s that momentary detachment (just like the prefix) that enables us to acknowledge not only what we’ve been given, but the One who gives it.  The result?  Living “in gratitude.”


Lisa Schell

On the Mark January 24th 2010

By , January 24, 2010

Learn Servant-hood


Every week we pray, “Father…grant that every member of the church may truly and humbly serve You.”

Let’s eliminate “Volunteers” in the church.  Let’s do away with volunteerism.  We are more than that secular term.  (The word “volunteer” is in the Bible, but it’s a military term for those who willingly go into battle.)


There are many figures which describe our relationship with the Lord Jesus:  e.g., we are members of the body of Christ;  we are the Bride of Christ;  we are His brothers and sisters;  we are servants of the Most High God!  We are God’s workers and as Dan Mohler recently told us, we are the roster of God.

Colossians 3 has a word to say to household servants, but we can apply it to servants in the house of God as well:  Whatever may be your task, work at it heartily, as something done for the Lord and not for men, knowing that it is from the Lord [and not from men] that you will receive the inheritance which is your real reward.  You are actually serving the Lord Christ.  Colossians 3:23,24


Anything we do in the church is ministry and service to Him and to each other.  Those who work the soundboard enhance our worship.  Those who usher make possible orderly worship.  Those who serve in the nursery or Sunday School are “training up a child in the way he should go”.  Those who offer hospitality enable “the fellowship of believers”.  Name any task in the church and it will be an expression of the heart of the Lord for the people of God, as you use your gifts and faculties in service to Him.

All of these things, done for love of God and for each other, bless Him and witness to the watching world, “See how the Christians love one another.”


So let’s replace “Volunteers” with “Servants” or “Workers”.

On the roster,


The Rev. Roberta Schneider, DCN

On the Mark December 27th 2009

By , December 27, 2009

Trust in the Lord


In the Year 2009, we of St. Paul’s Darien have found joy in trusting the Lord.  It has been the Year to Trust.  The goodness of God has been lavished upon us in His Son Jesus.  We have been protected by the Lord, provided for by the Lord and stretched by the Lord to trust Him for more.

From Proverbs 3:5-6 we read, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.”  In these months of economic challenges, extra stress on family, health issues, and an uncertain future, trust is the only way forward.  Not trust in self or in others, but in God alone.

How have you been able to trust God?  Think over the last twelve months and review yourself.  Ask yourself, “Do I get an ‘A’ or a ‘B’ or worse?”

Consider finishing this year with a renewed emphasis on trusting the Lord.  The Lord is ultimately in charge and He is supremely worthy to be trusted.  Taste and see”, the Scriptures say, “that the Lord is Good!”  I wish you a happy end to 2009 and a prayerful consideration of where you have been and where you might follow the Lord.  He will make your paths straight if you trust in Him.

Your brother in Christ,


The Rev. Christopher P. Leighton


Dan Scribner - Joshua Project November 22nd

By , November 22, 2009

Dan Scribner talks about the Joshua Project.

Rt. Rev William Murdoch Hebrews 6

By , September 27, 2009

The Rt. Rev William Murdoch, Bishop of the Diocese of New England, Anglican Church in North America preaches on Hebrews 6

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