Faith

My Eulogy for Wendy Vosper (Rzepkowski)

Mon, 17 October 2011

It’s been a few days now since I’ve returned from South Carolina to remember my Aunt Wendy who died of breast cancer on October 9, 2011 at the age of 46. When I went to her wake, my Dad asked if I would say a few words at her funeral because he simply could not speak about his sister through the grief. I considered it for a moment, then said “Of course”…knowing not at all what I would say at 1pm the next day. I woke up groggy from an emotional night. My wife and kids left me alone in the hotel long enough to scribble my thoughts. I broke down more than once trying to encapsulate my feelings in such a short period of time. Luckily I had a couple of blog posts to work from, and the obvious cajoling from Aunt Wendy’s spirit to guide me through. At the last minute before having to join the funeral procession, we printed the eulogy in the hotel business center. (more…)

Posted in: Deaths, Faith, Family and Friends, Life | 7 Comments »
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R.I.P. Aunt Wendy: I Miss You

Tue, 11 October 2011

On Sunday, October 9, 2011 at 3am, Wendy Sue Vosper lost her battle with Breast Cancer. Since the moment I found out about her situation almost 4 years ago I wished this would never come to pass. Her whole family did the little things to keep her spirits up, and we all awaited her every update on her condition on Carepages.com. In the end, the cancer spread to every place it didn’t belong, and put out the flame on a beautiful person. She was an inspiration long before cancer. (more…)

Posted in: Deaths, Faith, Family and Friends, Life | 5 Comments »
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Just Showing Up

Wed, 10 June 2009

When you hear things more than once in a week, you know that someone (God maybe?) is trying to send a message. First, I listened to Father Jerry Appelby’s compelling homily at his Jubilee Mass celebration this past weekend. The punchline to his sermon was that just showing up is 80% of life, and that if you just keep showing up, somewhere during that time, you will accomplish what you were meant to do.

Then, I was sent this compelling video of Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love as she spoke at the TED conference on the topic of creativity and divine inspiration. In her speech she suggests that you just show up for the job you were meant to do, and that amazing creative power will pass through you when you invite it to show up for its job too. She referenced the bullfight chant “olé” to acknowledge the inspiration’s presence.

It is so true that just showing up for anything, be it your job, your marriage, or anything you are involved in is 80% of the effort. The rest is waiting on that mystical inspiration. So with that, I’ll start today by saying olé!

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Pink-y Rings to Keep the Faith

Fri, 11 January 2008

Tricia and Kris wear pink rings to help in the breast cancer fight

We’re going pink to support Aunt Wendy’s battle against breast cancer. Tricia and I ordered up some Promise Rings to keep our minds and prayers focused on her everyday. She has swiftly gone into treatment mode, and needs the power of well-wishes more than ever. We’ve got a lot of pink wristbands as well in case anyone needs one. “Wonder Twins activate, in the form of a healing miracle.”

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Serving Like Christ Together: A Couples Small Group to Begin 2008

Fri, 11 January 2008

Serving Like Christ

Beginning in the third week of January, Tricia and I will be continuing the couples small group that we started in late 2007. The Beginning Life Together series was our first experience facilitating a small group. 3 couples got to know each other, examine where we are at with our faith and ultimately grow in our spiritual lives.

What is a Small Group?
Simple. Couples who meet regularly to discover more about themselves, build deeper friendships, and most of all relax and have a good time together.

Do I need to be Christian, go to your church, or even attend church regularly?
Nope. Everyone’s Walk is totally different. You don’t need to believe, or belong to Browncroft Community Christian Church either. Just come because you want to fill that spiritual void in your life.

Is this a Bible study? What will we be doing?
At the completion of our last session we examined new studies to guide us in the new year. The “chosen one” for this session is the Serving Like Christ Together series. There is more info about the content of the study, including a video preview on the website lifetogether.com. There is a study guide that each couple will purchase for $13 which will help lead our exploration. There won’t be any homework. You’ll come watch the DVD, chat, snack, and go home. In my mind, this really isn’t “Bible Study”. That’s way too hard-core for me :)

When will this be?
This go ’round we are thinking every other Wednesday evening from 6:30-8:30. The first meeting will be January 23rd. At that time if we want to move times and dates around to accomodate schedules, we’re definitely open. The study would last for 6 sessions (12 weeks) ending sometime end of March.

We will also be welcoming at least one new couple into the group for this session. It is awesome to be able to conenct with more and more people!

What about childcare?
The Small Group should be uninterrupted by kids (including ours). So, we will try the following:

  1. Group members with kids could bring them to our house. They can play together in the basement with Mason and Anna. If the kids can’t stay down there quietly, one of the parents would skip the Small Group on a rotation every week to watch the children.
  2. All parents pitch in on a sitter
  3. There’s other ideas, but we can work together to figure it out.

We’re really looking forward to continuing a group that everyone points to as a great part of their life.

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Beginning Life Together: A Couples Small Group

Fri, 21 September 2007


photo by hallelujah.

Beginning in the first week of October, Tricia and I will be starting a brand new Small Group. This group of 3 to 8 couples (depending on how many are interested) will meet weekly for 6 weeks for about 2 hours to discover more about themselves, build deeper friendships, and most of all relax and have a good time together.

So here’s the scoop. The Rzepkowski’s: Kris, Tricia, Mason and Anna moved back to Rochester in 2005 after a 5 year stint in Chicago. Our life in Chicago began without kids, and without any relatives nearby. We found ourselves in search of a way to connect with others outside of our busy work schedules and make some new friends. We were barely Catholics at the time, but decided anyway that maybe Church was a way to fulfill our needs.

By chance, at one of those extremely awkward mixer/social gatherings we happened upon the most dynamic youth minister we had ever met. Jim Melton and his wife Kathy happened to be our same age and in nearly the same life situation as us. Very shortly thereafter, Jim proposed that we join them and some other couples in a Small Group. I didn’t even know what a Small Groups was, but I soon found it was exactly what I needed. Over two years these couples met and talked about faith, work, marriage, sports…whatever. The guys even shared – something I surely wasn’t used to.

Now, Small Groups were not something I was familiar with as a Catholic. But, I finally had found what was missing from church all along; community, friendship, challenging each other to grow. We grew so much in fact that we moved from the Catholic church to Community Christian Church where there was amazing worship music (most of which we heard on the radio all the time), and ministers who brought relevant messages to us instead of ritual.

Fast forward to today. Tricia and I now know that Small Groups are a great way to build lasting friendships in our new (old) home of Rochester. We belong to Browncroft Community Church and try hard to lead a Christian life to the limited extent that we understand what that means. I have never led a Small Group before, but I felt God call me to do so. I also have so many questions about life, love, faith that I’m just dying to get them answered with the help of friends.

OK, enough of my story. There will be plenty of time to share.

What is a Small Group?
Simple. A weekly meeting at our house where we will facilitate a meaningful discussion of life.

Do I need to be Christian, go to your church, or even attend church regularly?
Nope. Everyone’s Walk is totally different. You don’t need to belong to Browncroft Community Christian either. Just come because you’d rather spend more time with other humans than you do with your DVR.

Is this a Bible study? What will we be doing?
We will be doing a DVD based Small Group program called “Beginning Life Together”. It follows the principles of the best selling book “A Purpose Driven Life” by Rick Warren. There is more info about the content of the study, including a video preview on the website lifetogether.com. There is a study guide that each couple will purchase for $8 which will help lead our exploration. There won’t be any homework. You’ll come watch the DVD, chat, snack, and go home. In my mind, this really isn’t “Bible Study”. That’s way too hard-core for me :)

When will this be?
Wednesday evenings from 7:30-9:30. The first meeting will be October 3rd.

What about childcare?
The Small Group should be uninterrupted by kids. We would therefore hope that you could arrange babysitting. However if childcare is the one thing that is preventing you from joining us, let’s work as a group to come up with a solution. Some options include:

  1. Group members with kids could bring them to our house. One of the parents would skip the Small Group on a rotation every week to watch all of the children.
  2. All parents pitch in on a sitter
    There’s other ideas, but we can work together to figure it out.

I’m really looking forward to building a group that everyone points to as a great part of their life.

Posted in: Faith, Life | 4 Comments »
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Jesus Stories

Thu, 11 March 2004

Jesus Stories– After being profoundly affected by The Passion of the Christ, I decided to begin my journey down the path of Jesus movies. I watched Martin Scorcese’s The Last Temptation of Christ last night. It was a really weird experience. I recognized the elements in it that were controversial in 1988 when it was released, but I also found myself using it to fill in the holes in the story within Mel’s Passion. See the Last Temptation spends a lot more time on Christ’s life, breezes through the suffering parts that Gibson focused on, and then takes us down a hallucinatory path of Christ actually not dying on the cross, but instead marrying and having kids. In the beginning I was so irritated at William Defoe and Harvey Keitel with their cheesy English-speaking dialog, that I nearly gave up. But, suddenly I became so riveted in the film-making and the internal battle going on in Jesus’s mind, I completely forgave them. In the end, both movies are honestly great films. My quest continues to see more depictions of Christ’s life in film. I’ll have to spread out my viewings though ’cause it is the SAME story. The next ones to see:

The Greatest Story Ever Told
The Gospel According to St. Matthew

Posted in: Faith, Life, Movies | No Comments »
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Teen Angst

Mon, 03 February 2003

Our poor (well not really, more like well-to-do) Youth Group kids. I swear, kids have more problems growing up in a well-off area than some in poorer neighborhoods. Parents are medicating their kids, and putting them into mental institutions for no reason. I’m extremely disturbed. I don’t remember high school causing the kind of serious problems that I hear around here – depression, suicidal tendencies, anxiety attacks. I really think that there ought to be some more formal training for being a parent. Since there are no longer tribes, nor extended families living near each other, people really don’t know how to raise their kids. Kids really need to talk about what’s going on, and the last thing they need is to have some pills shoved in their face, or to be shipped off to a mental health clinic. This has got to be the best way of starting kids on chemical dependencies and a life long counseling program. I hope that Tricia and I can raise Mason without these crutches.

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Home Mass

Mon, 25 November 2002

What do you do when you just don’t want to go to church on Sunday? Have it come to you! Father Matt came over last night and said mass in our basement to 2 Quest Groups. 30 kids and a priest in our basement. How holy of me…or strange. I guess it makes up for sitting in front of the couch all day watching football.

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Readivation

Mon, 11 November 2002

I had a great conversation with Susanna and Karin on Friday sparked by my 2 month reading of the Catholic Catechism. Philosphising on religion and its merits, or lack thereof is a great way to pass a commute. I just need to finish that dern thing – one, because I’m sick of looking at it in that sidebar, and two, because I’ve got like 20 books on order from Amazon that they just confirmed are on their way. If that’s not motivation to tear through 300 more pages of gripping religious prose, I don’t know what is.

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