The Community of Celebration is one of twelve communities recognized by the Standing Commission of Religious Communities of the House of Bishops as a Christian Community, listed on page 119 of The Episcopal Church Annual. The National Association of Episcopal Christian Communities is an association that shares and communicates the fruits of the Gospel, realized in community, with the church and the world. Our vision is of a church, all of whose members realize the fruits of the Gospel in community. Bill Farra serves as its convener.
One very hopeful sign was the creation of the Aliquippa Faith-based Collaborative among five faith-based organizations to formalize and expand working relationships to better address the long-term social and economic issues that trap individuals, families, neighborhoods and communities in cyclical poverty. The groups have been providing critical services in substance abuse, life skills and job training, leadership development, civic engagement and community development activities, and we are convinced that working together will be much more effective. The project is creating a new model of individual and community recovery that has sparked interest by foundation and private sector funders.
Bill Farra also serves as the Diocesan Jubilee Officer (DJO). Jubilee Ministry is called to help the church live out its prophetic vision of empowering people to “do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly before their god” (Micah 6:8). In March DJOs from 35 Dioceses met in Cedar Rapids, IA to plan and re-vision Jubilee Ministry for the next triennium. Everyone arrived a day before meetings began in order to participate in the on-going clean up and restoration following the devastating floods of June 2008.
The Rev. Steven McKeown spends part of his time serving St. Paul’s, Steubenville in the Diocese of Ohio and even more of his time as chaplain to the FBI of Western PA, the Aliquippa Police and Fire Departments, the Aliquippa City Council, the Civil Air Patrol (teaching a course in moral leadership), and the Federal Air Marshalls.
In addition to serving as Chapel Musician at Trinity School for Ministry and teaching a course in Hymnody, Mimi Farra served St. Stephen’s, Sewickley as interim organist for six months.
The Rev. Ann Paton was the speaker at Celebration’s 24th Annual Conference in June. Her theme was The Four Gospels—Four Portraits of Christ. Celebration’s small conference facility can host and cater for groups of up to 32 people for day conferences, and with our two Guest Houses and other guest rooms we can offer overnight accommodation for 16 people.
In July we hosted a Journey to Adulthood (J2A) group of 16 teenagers and adult leaders from a parish in Michigan. The Journey to Adulthood is a complete youth ministry program of spiritual formation for 6th-12th grades. It uses Bible study, prayer, rites of passage, outreach ministries and both serious and playful activities to underscore its two guiding principles: 1) manhood and womanhood are free gifts from God, and 2) adulthood must be earned. The middle portion of the program engages youth with the skills and critical thinking involved in adulthood. The youth plan and embark on a pilgrimage together at the end of this segment. This experience is often the spiritual highlight of their youth. J2A is a great program, and we encourage parishes to explore it.
Also in July we hosted another group of 16 teens with adult leaders from a parish in New Jersey. They came for a week to help John Stanley and other volunteers from Uncommon Grounds Café with a flood relief project here in Aliquippa. One casualty of the flash flood of 2007, was a trailer park situated near a creek that overflows its banks when water comes rushing down the surrounding hills. Under the guidance of an engineer, the volunteer teams laid new drainage pipe and lined the beds with rocks enclosed in wire baskets. It was very dirty work, but the sense of accomplishment was great.
On our website – www.communityofcelebration.com – we offer Celebration’s music CDs, tapes, songbooks, Psalm collections, and anthems for sale. As our music ministry spans over 40 years, we often receive emails from people who are delighted to have discovered Fisherfolk/Celebration music which was important in their faith journey. We are also contacted by those who are new to Celebration’s unique blend of worship resources.
Worship Schedule – Chapel of the Holy Spirit
Monday through Friday: Morning Prayer – 8:00 am
Noonday Prayer – 12:30 pm
Evening Prayer – 5:30 pm
Weekly Eucharist on Saturday – 5:30 pm (Followed by a common meal to which all are welcome). Eucharist also provided on Major Feast days.
Worship in the style of Taizé – every first Sunday of the month (except for February) at 7:00 pm (8:00 pm during Daylight Savings Time).