Monthly Archives: June 2012

An Update from Thomas Kortus

I am writing hello from Whidbey Island in Washington state. I am with my family and my dad. My dad is dying from a rare and rapid degenerative brain disease called CJD.

I have missed All Saints (you) greatly over these past two weeks. It was very difficult missing June 10 and 17 and all the activities and celebrations these days held.  I hated that I missed Kent’s ordination and especially the celebration of Steve and Sally’s ministry at ASC.

I love you all and miss you, but I know I am where I need to be. Thank you for your prayers and for your support and permission to be here with my father and my family.

For the full story visit dad’s caring bridge website and read the story. Click here. 

Here is an update I just wrote this morning regarding how my dad is doing:

I am sitting next to my dad as I type. We are listening to Johnny Cash’s album: My Mother’s Hymnbook.  Dad loves this album! Cash said it was his favorite album he ever made. It is classic, but rare. I burned it for my dad about 4 years ago.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GGNlQ88O5Kg&feature=relmfu

We are sitting next to dad day and night and his time is near. He very well may die today. We will sit, pray, and talk to him through the day.

Family comes and goes, grandkids eat meals and tell of the treasures found on the beach, and the tide comes in and out, but dad remains laying in his hospital bed in the middle of the living room facing Penn Cove. His breathing is fast and shallow and his body is motionless save his breath; the breath of life that remains. He is alive, but nothing about his presence testifies to this except the air he is inhaling and exhaling more than twenty times a minute. As I sit with him and pray I find myself clutching his arm or hand and being warmed by his body heat and I also get distracted from prayer by counting his breaths.

Dad has not eaten for over two weeks. His body looks less and less like his. The once vibrant, strong, healthy and lean physique has become shriveled, atrophied, and it is eerily motionless but still tanned by hours spent outdoors and still moving with his labored breath.

Hospice has been a blessing. The nurses, aids and whole system is an incredible gift to families and communities. We are so thankful to be home. Tomorrow we will have been here a week.

It is right to have dad in this place that he loved. When my parents were newlyweds they moved from Lincoln, Nebraska to Anacortes, Washington. Dad’s basketball coach at the University of Nebraska had a connection out here and dad starting teaching and coaching in Anacortes and mom and dad lived on Alexander Beach. A gem of beach – sandy and flat – these are not common to Washington state. They fell in love with the tall evergreen trees, the mountains, and the water. Dad loves the water. He walked the beach daily and he created hundreds of pieces of furniture, mobiles, wall hangings, and random creations using driftwood, rocks, and found items brought in my the tide. I have a cross in my office at All Saints Church made of dozens of pieces of drift wood nailed together. I will cherish that cross my whole life long just like I will cherish my dad and his love and his life. He loved sailing, kayaking and crabbing in the summers. I will cherish my memories of him. Especially last summer when he took Hudson (my son) and I out crabbing. Hudson loved the experience and loves eating fresh crabs. I know he will hold on to this memory as well.

I will miss dad terribly. I already miss him.

Death is incredibly hard, dark, and confusing. It is easy to end up in despair, but we hold onto the hope of the new resurrected  life that Jesus pioneered and offers to all who come to him in faith and repentance.

What an amazing experience to stand on this holy ground with dad and my family as dad is on the threshold between this earthly life and life eternal – new life – the glorious life in the presence of God bathed in perpetual light.

Dad’s life will not end, but change – and change gloriously for the better.

I have been clinging to this prayer in the Anglican liturgy for funerals. We come to the Holy Communion:

Through Jesus Christ our Lord; who rose victorious from the dead, and doth comfort us with the blessed hope of everlasting life; for to thy faithful people, O Lord, life is changed, not ended; and when our mortal body doth lie in death, there is prepared for us a dwelling place eternal in the heavens.

Lately death seems more and more like a mercy for dad. We have watched him become more and more trapped and limited by his diseased, immobile, and motionless body. We will miss him greatly, but he is no longer with us as he was – smiling, joking, hugging, working, creating, loving, laughing, modeling what it looks like to live well.

I already miss my dad and I long for him to be him and not the motionless and sleeping body in our living room laying in the hospital bed. I long for dad to be resurrected and restored and made new. I long to meet him on a day to come in presence of God and all his angels and to walk the beach with him in the new heaven and new earth.

Come Lord Jesus.
Lord have mercy.
Christ have mercy.
Lord have mercy.

Almighty God, our Father in heaven, before whom live all who die in the Lord: Receive our dad, brother, mentor, coach, husband, friend, mentor Joel. into the courts of your heavenly dwelling place.  Let his heart and soul soon ring out in joy to you, O Lord, the living God, and the God of those who live.  This we ask through Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Thank you for your prayers, your love, and your support. We are feeling your prayers and your care and are incredibly humbled by the generosity we are experiencing daily.

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A Message from Julia-Scott Dawson–Come to Narnia!

Hopefully everyone has heard about the Journey into Narnia summer program for the children of Oak Creek Village. The kick-off party last Wednesday was a huge success with 12 children attending! Several other families have said that they are also excited about their children joining us. So we are expecting between 20-25 children this week! While this is an amazing opportunity, we really need more volunteers, especially men, Spanish speakers, and people who want to lead crafts! A huge thanks to the volunteers who came for the kick-off party: Anna Sircar, Jeline Hinkson, Teresa Waggoner, Emily Windes, Carol Strecker, and Mark Dawson! Also, school age children of All Saints who want to build friendships with our neighbors are welcome to join us. Because of the large numbers, any ASC children will need to have an adult stay to help. If you would like to serve, please email Julia-Scott Dawson at allsaints.narnia@yahoo.com telling her of the Wednesdays you available 6/13 — 8/1. Or you may go to the google doc sign-up sheet:  https://docs.goEogle.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0An0O7AYUA7WqdHpXOWllajR4SDB0dGMxaGdzUjBZd2c#gid=0

We hope to see you on Wednesdays from 1:45-4:00 as we seek to love our backyard neighbors! “’What is written in the Law? How do you read it?’ And he answered, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.’” –Luke 10:26, 27

 

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Steve’s Investment as Presider Pro Tem

On Monday, June 11, at 7 p.m., our own Steve Breedlove will be invested as Presider pro tem of PEARUSA during a worship service at the Celebration Assembly at Church of the Apostles in Raleigh. This service and the 4 p.m. service are both open to the public; no registration is required. We’d love for our whole All Saints family to be there to support Steve and Sally and celebrate what God is doing in their lives and in PEARUSA.

More information about the Celebration Assembly, as well as information about how to register for other sessions, can be found on the PEARUSA website: www.pearusa.org.

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Summer in Narnia

My name is Julia-Scott Dawson, and I am a member of All Saints Church! I am also a sophomore in college at the University of North Carolina, majoring in Communications and Peace War & Defense.

I am Mexican, and was adopted as a baby. I have a huge heart for the people of Latin America, and have been on several mission trips where I acted as a VBS teacher and translator. One of the things I love about All Saints Church is how close it is to Oak Creek Village. It offers such a wonderful opportunity to build relationships with people of other cultures, and share the love of Christ with them. As a former Eagles’ Nest tutor, I have seen firsthand the immense need that the children of Oak Creek village have for good literature. Many of them have a difficult time doing their homework, simply because English is not their first language. And if they do read well, their comprehension of the material is often limited.

I chose The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe for several reasons. First, it has been one of my favorite books since childhood, and I have many fond memories of reading it together with my family, and at church when I was in 4th grade. Second, C.S. Lewis does a marvelous job of creating a fantasy novel that is deeply infused with the gospel.  And the children of Oak Creek Village need the gospel. In creating this program, I have been inspired by Matthew 19:14, where Jesus said to his disciples, “let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.”

Doing a program like this has been a dream of mine since I was 8 years old! I have always had a huge heart for international missions, but serving a need so close to home is equally exciting. In addition to offering this program, I would love to give all the kids their own copy of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe!

The summer program will kick-off this Wednesday, June 6, from 4-6. Once school is out, we will meet every Wednesday from 2-4 pm throughout the summer (June 13 to August 1). In addition to the Oak Creek kids, I would LOVE to invite any of the children from All Saints to come and participate. It would be awesome to develop friendships on both sides!

We will be reading aloud, having a Bible lesson, playing games, doing crafts, and eating healthy snacks. Periodically, we will also watch excerpts from the movie!  All in all, my goal is to share the gospel with the children of Oak Creek Village and the children of All Saints Church, with the added bonus of doing so through wonderful literature!

So I’m super excited about this opportunity to love on these kids, and hope you are too! Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions, or if you just want to talk. Join us for the kick-off party this Wednesday, June 6, from 4-6 in the Annex!

Julia-Scott Dawson 

919.884.9462

Allsaints.narnia@yahoo.com

 

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