Monthly Archives: February 2013

Oak Creek Village Fire Relief Effort

This past Sunday’s Oak Creek Fire Relief Event was a tremendous beginning! I was overwhelmed by the way the church organized and came together in three short days to gather clothes, household items, furniture, food, and financial donations to help the households affected by the fire at Oak Creek Village.oak creek fire relief

Seven area churches came together to make Sunday a success. And we will need to continue working together if we are going to continue loving and following up with the displaced households. All Saints was joined by the efforts of The Gathering Church, Church of the Good Shepherd, Chapel Hill Bible Church, Cresset Baptist, Hope Valley Baptist, La Cosecha, and Eno River Unitarian Universalist Fellowship.

Over fifty volunteers from All Saints alone were on hand to receive, organize, and distribute donated items from noon to six this past Sunday. Our volunteers were amazing. Thank you for everyone who contributed so much time and energy!

The folks who were displaced by the fire came at  4 o’clock and took truckloads furniture and donated items back to their new apartments to begin putting their lives back together. However, they took back more than just physical possessions – they left knowing that they are loved and cared for by the body of Christ. It was deeply meaningful to interact with and the displaced families in the midst of their loss. In the last four days we have also collected over $20,000 in financial donations for displaced families!

thomas on TVThe evening news even showed up and did a little story on the event. CLICK HERE to check out the story! I have also placed a bunch of pictures at the bottom of this post.

The success of Sunday should not distract us from faithfully following up with the displaced families in the mid to long term.

Now it is time for phase two of our response! 

Phase two involves setting up relief partners with each household affected by the fire. These partners will covenant to walk with the displaced households for at least the next three weeks in order to pray with them personally in their homes, see what they still need, assess financial need, and help them to access available services.

All the residents have moved, but some in are greater need than others. We have many folks in the community who are making furniture available, but we need to know what each household still needs and we also need to work out the logistics to get the available furniture to them. These relief partners will take responsibility for one family and coordinate care and help! Many of the households are only Spanish speaking, but not all.

Would you be willing to be a relief partner? 

Would your small group take on this important role for the next three weeks? 

Do you know someone who would be good at this and who have the time to do this? 

The initial contact can be a phone call and I will email you all the contact information you need. 

This commitment needs quick response. 

If you can do this, we need to connect you with your household within the next day or so and you need to make contact by Thursday. Please forward this email on to any in your congregation that would be able to step into this important relationship.

These partners will help us determine how to distribute the money   we raised to the victims. It is also my prayer that these partners will have an opportunity to pray for and share their faith in Jesus with those they are walking with in the midst of this tragedy.

Please respond by emailing THOMAS KORTUS  ( Also -please get in contact with anyone who you think would have the gifts and time to be a relief partner! 

Any ideas or input? Please let me know! 

thomas kortus


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Filed under Community, Eagles' Nest, Evangelism, Fellowship, In the News, Local Missions, Oak Creek Village Partnership, Services and Special Events, Social Justice, Uncategorized, World Relief


Oak Creek Village Fire Response! THIS SUNDAY: Gathering household items, clothing, non-perishable food, gifts cards, and money, and furniture from 12 PM – 4 pm

apartment fire

Dear Church Family,

There was a major fire at Oak Creek Village on Wednesday night. This is the apartment complex a stones throw from All Saints Church on Garrett Rd and where we and many of you have served and invested much in over the years.

Sixteen apartments were affected; eight were completely destroyed and nothing is salvageable and eight have significant smoke damage. I met with the apartment manager this morning and most of the families affected did not have renters insurance and will have to completely start over. Praise God that no one was hurt or killed – only a dog perished on the fire. Thirty-seven adults and twenty children have been displaced as a result of the fire. Please pray for these families!

The families are being relocated to different apartments in the Oak Creek complex, but are in need of EVERYTHING.As a community we are reaching out to help the families who have been affected? Some of the families have been involved in our Eagles’ Nest after school program over the years.

Here is how we plan to respond:

1. Praying for those affected and pray for the Oak Creek Village community

2. Gathering cloths, furniture, household goods, car seats, kids gear, baby stuff, nonperishable food, anything needed to set up a new home!

3. Collecting money and gift cards to distribute to the 16 families significantly affected by the fire. Checks or gift cards. Please make checks out to All Saints Church (memo: OCV Fire Relief). Gift cards to Wal-Mart, Kroger, McDonalds, Bojangles, ect.

Time is important here. These families have nothing and need much in the coming days.


Please bring donated items, money, and gift cards to ALL SAINTS CHURCH THIS SUNDAY – Feb 24th from Noon am to 4 pm. We can also take donations today – Friday until 4pm.

Please plan on bringing nonperishable food, household items, clothing, baby and kid gear to church on Sunday.

We also need furniture! If you can bring it do so, but if not please

email me and we can arrange pick-up.


If you have any questions call me ASAP. Let me know if you have any

other ideas or input.


Thank you,

thomas kortus



Filed under Community, Eagles' Nest, In the News, Local Missions, Oak Creek Village Partnership, Services and Special Events, Social Justice, World Relief

A Tiny Break from the Fast to Revisit the Feast

Many, many thanks to Brad, the youth group, and all the volunteers who made our first annual Shrove Tuesday party such a fun celebration!  (And thanks to Michael Parsons and Emily Acton for the photos.)

(And now back to your regularly-scheduled Lent.)

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This past Sunday afternoon our 242 group gathered and discussed the discipline of fasting. This was an intentional topic decision in light of the fact that Lent begins in two days. The traditional practices of Lent are threefold: prayer, fasting, and almsgiving.  We have much to learn about fasting. I pray that this Lent you seek the Spirit’s leading to know how you are being invited to intentionally practice the three historic  Lenten disciplines. I also encourage you to seek out a trusted friend or spiritual director to share your plans with. It is easy to bite off more thn we can chew when it comes to fasting and other disciples… Yes – the pun was intentional. 🙂

Here is a short exhortation written by the former Metropolitan of the Greek Orthodox Church:

Fasting, in our days, has become one of the most neglected spiritual values. Because of misunderstandings regarding the nature of fasting, because of confused and reversed priorities in its use, many of today’s Orthodox Christians fast very little, or disregard fasting altogether.

The Great and Holy Council of the Orthodox Church which is scheduled to be convened in the near future has placed the problem of fasting as one of the first items on its agenda. It is hoped that through this Council the age-old practice of the Church to use fasting as one of the important means of spiritual growth will regain its proper place in the life of the Church.

Fasting was practiced by the Lord Himself. After prayer and fasting for forty days in the wilderness, the Lord victoriously faced the temptations of the devil (Matthew 4:1-­11). The Lord himself asked the disciples to usefasting as an important spiritual weapon to achieve spiritual victories (Matthew 17:21; Mark 9:29; Luke 2:37). The example of the Lord was followed by His disciples (Acts 14:23; 27:9; 1 Corinthians 7:5; 2 Corinthians 6:5, 11:27, etc.). What is fasting? Why is it so important? Why does fasting precede such important feasts such as Easter and Christmas?

The importance of fasting depends on its meaning. Many of the Fathers have written on fasting. Among others, St. Basil has left us with most inspired comments on fasting. St. Basil tells us that fasting is not abstaining from food only; it is first of all, abstaining from sin.  Grounded in the teaching of the Fathers, the Church in its hymnology describes fasting as the mother of chastity and prudence, as the accuser of sin and as the advocate of repentance, the life worthy of angels and the salvation of humans (The Lenten Triodion, trans. Kallistos Ware, London 1978, p. 195). Fasting becomes all of these when observed in the proper spirit.

First of all, fasting is abstinence from food. By detaching us from earthly goods and realities, fasting has a liberating effect on us and makes us worthy of the life of the spirit, a life similar to that of angels. Second, fasting, as abstinence from bad habits and sin, is the mother of Christian virtues, the mother of sound and wholesome thinking; it allows us to establish the proper priority between the material and spiritual, giving priority to the spiritual.

Fasting is the advocate of repentance. Adam and Eve disobeyed God; they refused to fast from the forbidden fruit. They became slaves of their own desires. But now through fasting, through obedience to the rules of the Church regarding the use of spiritual and material goods, we may return to the life in Paradise, a life of communion with God. Thus, fasting is a means of salvation, this salvation being a life we live in accordance with the Divine will, in communion with God.

Because of the liberating effect of fasting, both material and spiritual, the Church has connected fasting with the celebration of the major feasts of our tradition. Easter is, of course, our main feast. It is the “feast of feasts.” It is the feast of our liberation from the bondage of sin, from corrupted nature, from death.   For on that day, through His Resurrection from the dead, Christ has raised us “from death to life, and from earth to heaven” (Resurrection Canon), Christ, “our new Passover,” has taken us away from the land of slavery, sin and death, to the promised land of freedom, bliss and glory; from our sinful condition to resurrected life.

It is most appropriate to prepare for this celebration through a liberating fast, both material and spiritual. This is the profound meaning that fasting takes during the Great Lent. Let us allow ourselves to take advantage of the spiritual riches of the Church. Let us use the precious messianic gifts offered to us through its sacramental life, through its celebrations of the central mysteries of our salvation in Christ. Let us use the spiritual weapons,

“to fight the good fight, to walk the way of fasting, to crush the heads of the invisible dragons, to prove ourselves victorious over sin, and without condemnation to reach our goal of worshiping the Holy Resurrection” (Prayer of the Presanctified Liturgy).

This is the challenge of the Great Lent: to use fasting to obtain the resurrected life, to unite with the Risen Lord. Who could refuse to accept this challenge?

His Eminence Metropolitan Maximos of Pittsburgh



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A Lenten Interview with our Rector

ashes_palmsThe season of Lent begins this week with Ash Wednesday, so I took the opportunity to ask our new rector, Terrell Glenn, a few questions about the significance of the season.

Daniele Berman: What is Lent, exactly?

Terrell Glenn: Lent is the period of forty days that comes before Easter in the Christian calendar. (The Sundays aren’t counted as they have always been considered “little Easters.”) This year, Lent begins on February 13.

DB: What is the point of Lent?

TG: For many believers, Lent is a season of self-examination, fasting, and repentance in preparation for the celebration of Easter. Of course, followers of Christ should examine their lives and repent of sin on a daily basis. But Lent offers a special time when our self-examination is a bit more rigorous than usual. The intent is that the growth we experience during this season would continue for the rest of our lives and not disappear when Easter arrives.

DB: So Lent is probably more than giving up chocolate or Downton Abbey or Facebook for forty days?

TG: Right. It might be a good place to start, however, by thinking of Lent as a time to take on a new spiritual discipline like reading, joining a small group, serving at a local mission, or getting up earlier for prayer and Bible study.  For most people, adding something in life requires getting rid of something else. And that’s where real life evaluation can begin.

DB: What’s with forty days? Why not twelve, like the twelve days of Christmas?

TG: The number forty is a very significant Biblical number. The flood lasted forty days and nights. The Hebrews spent forty years in the wilderness. And most significantly for Christians, Jesus spent forty days fasting in the wilderness after He was baptized and before He began His public ministry.

DB: So why do we call the season “Lent” and not “Forty?”

TG: The word comes from the Old English word meaning “to lengthen.”  Lent is observed on the cusp of spring when the days begin to lengthen.

DB: Let’s talk about the really peculiar one: Ash Wednesday. At some churches people get ashes put on their heads. What’s up with that?ashes_forehead

TG: Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent for the Western Christian Church. Marking the foreheads of worshippers with ashes is a Biblical, ancient, and symbolic demonstration of mortality and penitence. Everyone who comes forward to receive ashes hears words reminiscent of God’s words to Adam after the Fall: “Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return.”  Church history documents the practice of associating the wearing of ashes with repentance from the earliest days in the writings of people such as Tertullian, who lived in the late second and early third century A.D. He wrote that those who repented of their sin should “live without joy in the roughness of sackcloth and the squalor of ashes.” The practice wasn’t original to the early church, however, and there is ample Biblical precedence for it. For example, when Jonah preached to Nineveh, the inhabitants manifested their depth of sorrow for their sin by wearing sackcloth and ashes.

DB: If I come to one of the services next Wednesday, will I be required to have ashes put on my head?

TG: Certainly not. There is an old saying that certainly applies here: “All may. Some should. None must.”

DB: Any final thoughts about the significance of the season?

TG:  Yes. Lent is obviously what you make of it. In and of itself, it means nothing. It has seen abuses in certain periods of Church history that make it suspect in some people’s eyes. And yet there is much to be gained from taking time out to consider the condition of our hearts, the way we spend our time and money, and the quality of our relationships. In order to dedicate our lives to God, we need to step back and get a handle on precisely who it is we are dedicating. Lent offers a splendid opportunity for that.

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