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The New Year and the Gift of Covenant
As we prepare to end one year, and begin another, it is often a good time for reflection.  Of course, we will all be inundated with year-end summaries and remembrances through the media in all kinds of forms.  Those of us who continue to do our best to live out our Catholic journey have two different new years to consider. 
With the First Sunday of Advent we begin the new liturgical year.  This is a time of promise and hope.     During Advent we are reminded of our covenantal journey.  Beginning with the Book of Genesis, in which YHWH enters into a covenant with      Noah and Abraham through Exodus which unites "I AM" to the people of Israel and continuing on with reminders from Isaiah, Ezekiel, and Nehemiah, that God remains faithful.  Matthew begins his gospel with a reflection on that connection through the genealogy of Jesus of Nazareth.  At the same time, we are reminded in Matthew 28:18-21 that Jesus promises that he will be with us always: 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."  While this may have been a redacted saying of Jesus in Matthew's gospel, it does not make it any less true. It is up to us to be faithful to this covenant as God is faithful to His part of the covenant.  
It is certainly an extraordinary challenge to hang on to this level of hope.  For those of us who are committed to seeing our church become all that it promises to become, these are not the most reassuring times.  Many of us who are or have been reform-minded have simply given up and walked away from the church.  I certainly cannot judge anyone who makes that choice but I believe we are called to persist through the darkness.  I hearken back to one of my favorite contemporary hymns, "who will speak if we don't?"  When the Vatican expels a prophet like Fr. Roy Bourgeois, who will speak if we don't? 
When the hierarchy tries to silence the prophetic voice in LCWR, who will speak if we don't?  When an American bishop tries to bully the Sinsenawa Dominican sisters who try to join all of the images of the divine together to seek peace, who will speak if we don't?  Now is not the time to turn away but the time to renew our resolve that this is our church, that we are the People of God called through our baptism to be a priestly people.  
We, at ARCC, continue in our efforts to bring that prophetic voice forward and to announce again that the gospel is the good news and not something to be used to oppress those gathered in Jesus' name.  Through our newsletter and our direct responses and challenges to anyone who tries to change the promise of community into one of domination, we retain the hope that the Reign of God is at hand.  As the year ends, we look forward to continuing that mission.  
So, I am asking you again to support us in our efforts to promote the rights and responsibilities of Catholics in the Church.  If you are committed to this reform you can help us in a number of ways.  Of course, you can continue to keep us in your prayers.  We also rely on your support in other concrete ways.  The most direct is to renew your membership by paying your annual dues.  If you are receiving our newsletter, we ask that you contribute now so that we can continue to bring it to you.  All of your monetary contributions are tax deductible.
We now offer further opportunities for you to support ARCC through your stewardship.  You may become a lifetime member by donating $500.  You will be recognized as a lifetime member in our newsletter.  You can also set up an endowment to be donated to the Parnassus Fund, which is a socially responsible trust fund that ARCC uses for endowments, from which we draw only the interest to maintain our long term efforts.  
You can also sponsor a workshop at your local level.  This will bring the wisdom that we have gained over the years to your local community, through which we are dedicated to empowering all who attend.  The core purpose of these workshops is to show that you already hold the power to bring about change in your church.  Through active non-violent practices, you can make that change happen.  
We remain the People of God who hold to the promise of covenant.  In our most recent board meeting, ARCC recommitted to reform in the church.  We cannot do this without you and your support.  Please think of us during this time of transition from one year to the next and allow us to continue to serve you and to call this church that we love to be what was promised from the beginning-a light to all the world.
Patrick B. Edgar, DPA, M.Div. President, ARCC
Membership options:
Life $500     ARCC-Angel $100     Regular $50  
Senior $25     Student $15
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