Welcome to true

I love the LORD because he has heard my voice in supplication, because he has inclined his ear to me the day I called. For he has freed my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling. I shall walk before the Lord in the land of the living.

Psalm 116 – words that cut so true today. They cut through the gloom and pain of isolation and loneliness. They cut away pain and hurt. They cut the entirety of negativity away so we can clearly see what God has in store for us. Yes, each of us!

So often we feel unworthy. How can God love me? Where is He in my life? I feel so alone and abandoned.

These are not just feelings, brief thoughts that pass through our minds and cast a shadow over our hearts. They can be a reality whether we live alone or with 2, 4, 6, or even 10 other people. They exist whether we work or are retired. Young or old, loneliness, despair, and disconnection are on the rise. Seventy-five percent of Americans admit to feeling a deep sense of loneliness. That isn’t a once-in-a-while thing. That is deep despairing loneliness. The number of Americans with no close friends has tripled since 1985.

That is what today, and frankly every Sunday, is about. It is about God’s house, His dwelling place, His family, His body. St. Paul often used the body as an analogy. If one part of the body needs help, we, the church, are to work together to save it.

Sunday is not just a momentary beginning – a few hour head start on the rest of the week. Sunday is the start of continuous action – to plug-in, to connect, to form and live friendships, to end loneliness and separateness.

In our Psalm, David finds God’s rescue. He sings thanksgiving in response to Divine rescue from mortal danger and from near despair. David knows God heard his cry. God freed him and David’s heart was filled with love – he saw and got it. God’s goodness made sense to him – finally. But David does more than sing.

In response to God’s love, David pledged and confessed faith. That is always the start. If you have never done that, pray along with me: Lord, I believe in You. I accept Your salvation and deliverance. I confess that I have sinned and done wrong before You. Cleanse me. I ask You into my life and acknowledge You as my Lord and Savior. You have been truly freed. Jesus will never leave you, nor will His Church, His people. Welcome to church!


Then Peter proceeded to speak and said, “In truth, I see that God shows no partiality. Rather, in every nation whoever fears him and acts uprightly is acceptable to him.” While Peter was still speaking these things, the Holy Spirit fell upon all who were listening to the word.

Today we hear a wonderful testament to what God’s love does when, through the Holy Spirit, He opens Himself to us and calls us into fellowship with Him.

Cornelius was a Roman Centurion – Centurion, like century, meaning one hundred. He had command of at least one hundred soldiers. That means that his commanders held him in some esteem. He was promotable. Acts attests that Cornelius was also a God fearing and generous man: a devout man who feared God with all his household, gave alms liberally to the people, and prayed constantly to God. He didn’t just do these things on his own, he led others to God, his family and friends. An angel tells him to send for Simon Peter, so he sends messengers to get him.

In the mean time… Peter was praying at home, and was hungry too. God sent him a vision of a cloth full of food – all kinds of foods considered unclean and impure by the Jewish people. God tells him to slaughter and eat. Peter, of course, objects: “No, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is common or unclean.” This happens three times and God clearly states: “What I have cleansed, you must not call common.”

Peter, perplexed by all this, is then visited by a delegation from a Centurion. Uh oh… The Romans were here to get him. God reassures Peter, and Peter sets off for Cornelius’ house. We heard the rest today.

The call to Christian love is to love like God, surpassing boundaries, growing fellowship, participating in the communal life of the Body.

This is a testament to the powerful work of God who accepts us and brings us into His Church. He takes what is unclean and common and makes it beautiful and acceptable before Him. He sends forth His Spirit, not as man expects or wills, but as He deems fit and proper. He sees what we do; even small acts of faithfulness and charity, and pours out His graces on us all the more. He sets the ultimate example of love – and if we listen to Jesus, we love one another exactly as He loves us.


New York State Announces Applications Open for 2015-2017 Empire State Fellows Program

The State of New York today announced the opening of the application process for the latest class of the Empire States Fellows. Now in its fourth year, the prestigious program attracts exceptional and diverse talent from all around the country to serve in high-level positions in New York State government. Since its inception in 2012, the two-year program has begun preparing a new generation of policy-makers to help lead New York State well into the future, with various Empire State Fellows going on to serve in appointed positions throughout the administration upon completion of their Fellowship.

“New York has always fostered great home-grown talent while also attracting the best and brightest from around the world,” said New York Secretary of State Cesar A. Perales, who oversees the program for Governor Andrew M. Cuomo. “The Empire State Fellows program has proven to be an effective platform in shaping a new and talented group of policy-makers to contribute to public service. We look forward to welcoming another dedicated and diverse class to the Capital.”

To apply to be an Empire State Fellow, candidates must E-mail a cover letter, resume, personal statement, and two letters of recommendation by Friday, April 10, 2015. For more information on the Empire State Fellows Program visit their website.

The Empire State Fellows program is a unique training ground to prepare and retain professionals for policy-making roles in New York State government. Once selected, they will work closely with senior administration officials and participate in the policy decisions that will help transform our State. While working full-time in State government, Empire State Fellows will also engage in specially tailored educational and professional development programs created collaboratively by the Cuomo Administration and the Rockefeller Institute at SUNY Albany. These programs include interaction with the top leaders in State government, as well as on-the-ground experience learning from local government officials.

Successful Empire State Fellows have continued serving New York State after completing the two-year Fellowship. Governor Cuomo has appointed more than 10 Empire State Fellows to senior positions in his administration.

“The path that took me from being an Empire State Fellow, to Assistant Commissioner with New York State Homes & Community Renewal, and now as the Governor’s Assistant Secretary for Housing, was thrilling, compelling and life-altering,” said Kisha Santiago, a former Fellow. “The program is an incubator for excellence that propels those with the passion and drive to make a real difference for New Yorkers on a career trajectory that forges the finest in public service. If you are a creative problem-solver who works hard and is ready for meaningful work, I strongly encourage you apply to the Empire Fellows program.”

“The Empire State Fellows program is unique,” said Assistant Secretary to the Governor for the Environment and former Fellow Peter Walke. “There are many leadership training programs, but no other program enables motivated individuals to serve at this level. I am grateful to the Governor for giving me the opportunity to prove my merit.”

The Empire State Fellows program is part of Governor Cuomo’ s New New York Leaders initiative that recruits experienced professionals, college graduates and student interns to serve in State government.

Hanna S. Cohn Equal Justice Fellowship

Empire_Justice_CenterApplications are currently being accepted from students entering or in their third year of law school for the 2015-2017 Hanna S. Cohn Equal Justice Fellowship ‐ an exciting, two‐year, public interest fellowship.

The Hanna S. Cohn Equal Justice Fellowship will be awarded to a talented, committed law school graduate at the beginning of her or his career in the area of poverty law. All applicants must be entering or in their third year of law school. The fellow will be placed at the Empire Justice Center in Rochester, NY and will represent low-income clients in complex areas of litigation and other types of advocacy. The fellow’s background and interests will be matched with high priority legal concerns of the poor which are not currently being addressed or that require additional resources. The duration of the Hanna S. Cohn Equal Justice Fellowship is two years; starting salary is $47,000. In addition, Empire Justice Center offers a generous benefits package.

The goal of the Fellowship is to increase legal advocacy for Greater Rochester’s low-income families in high priority areas that are currently underserved. In addition, the Fellowship is designed to attract dynamic and talented, new lawyers to the practice of poverty law.

The Fellowship is funded in Hanna’s memory by her family, as well as through private contributions and donations to a Memorial Fund. The application deadline is October 15, 2014. The fellow will be notified in January, 2015 and will begin work in September, 2015.

Please submit with this application:

  • A 1-2 page cover letter detailing what influenced your decision to attend law school, and why you want to represent low-income people;
  • Official law school transcript;
  • Resume;
  • Two letters of recommendation highlighting your ability and commitment to practice poverty law;
  • Completed application and essay.

Fellowship and Internship Opportunities

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Arthur V. Savage 2014-2015 Internship Program

Arthur V. Savage (1926-2012) was a distinguished lawyer-conservationist, with a particular devotion to the preservation of open spaces and public parks in New York State. During the last half of the 20th century, Art co- founded or led a large number of nonprofit organizations that shape environmental laws, protect natural resources, and educate the public about conservation values. A 20-year member of the Parks & Trails New York Board of Directors, Arthur received our George W. Perkins Award in 2003 for his outstanding parks and conservation leadership. To honor the life and legacy of one of New York State’s most influential environmentalists, Parks & Trails New York is proud to offer the Arthur V. Savage Internship Program.

The Arthur V. Savage Internship Program offers an opportunity for undergraduates, graduate students, and recent graduates to work in Albany with the Parks & Trails New York staff to shape environmentally intelligent policies, organize grassroots constituents and provide stewardship for parks, trails, and other outdoor recreational facilities. The program provides interns with valuable insight and first-hand experience in the environmental field.
Specific Responsibilities: Assist with a variety of program, communications, and outreach tasks related to protecting, promoting and enhancing New York’s parks and trails. Projects include: Events – assist in organizing and promoting the statewide I Love My Park Day, Canal Clean Sweep, and Park and Trail Advocacy Days; Communications – assist with print and e-publications, website content and production, and other outreach; Advocacy – assist with PTNY’s advocacy efforts for state parks funding, funding for bike and pedestrian projects, and other park- and trail-related issues.

Skills: Well organized, excellent oral and written communications skills, multi-tasker, strategic thinker, experience with Microsoft Office and web-based tools

Hours: Part-time, 15-20 hours/week. Hours are flexible in terms of days and times. Position starts in September and runs ideally through May, but requires at least a 15-week commitment.

Work Environment: Friendly and hard-working staff. Casual atmosphere. Compensation: $10 – $12 per hour. May be used for college internship requirements.

To Apply: Please send a cover letter, resume, and references (including a former employer or supervisor of volunteer work) by August 31, 2014 by E-mail with the subject line “ASI Internship.”

PTNY is the leading statewide organization working to promote, enhance and protect a network of parks, trails and greenways across the state. We work with lawmakers to advance policy issues, assist local communities realize their visions for trails, lead bike tours along the Erie Canalway Trail and through the Hudson Valley, and work with grassroots groups to build their capacity to steward parks and trails.

Fellowship On Women & Public Policy

The Women”S Leadership Academy At The Center For Women In Government & Civil Society

Are you a graduate student or a mid-level professional seeking to strengthen your leadership skills and broaden your public policy knowledge?

Are you committed to positive social change and to furthering the well-being of women and their families?

The Center for Women in Government & Civil Society invites you to apply for its 2015 Fellowship on Women & Public Policy. The Fellowship on Women & Public Policy is a unique opportunity at the Center for Women in Government & Civil Society, Rockefeller Collegef Public Affairs & Policy, University at Albany.

Since 1983, the program has prepared public policy leaders by instilling the knowledge and cultivating the skills needed to become effective advocates and public policy leaders.

Through a balanced and comprehensive approach that combines academic instruction, field placement in a New York State-based public policy position, and personal and professional development activities, the program supports fellows to: Understand the public policy world with both theoretical and practical instruction from leaders in the policy arena; Research, analyze, and advocate for issues of concern to women, children, families and communities in New York State; Strengthen skills in writing, public policy analysis and creative and critical thinking, and sharpen interpersonal and critical skills needed to become effective leaders; Explore ways to overcome personal and professional barriers to leadership, and Develop a professional network of mentors and become part of an expanding community of alumna Fellows.

Based in Albany, New York, this six month program runs from the beginning of January through the end of June each year. Fellows are full-time graduate students in the Spring semester, and work thirty hours a week in their placement offices. A $10,000 stipend plus tuition assistance is available to Fellows.

The Fellowship invites qualified graduate students and professionals who have completed at least 12 credits of graduate coursework and possess a minimum of three years of internship/work experience to apply. The Fellowship is an interdisciplinary program that invites applications from all fields of study. Fellows are selected on a competitive basis, and must be in good academic standing at their college or university. The Fellowship is primarily for graduate students, but we also consider mid-level professionals who demonstrate commitment to the vision of the Fellowship.

Deadline for Submitting Applications for the second round is Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Applications can be found at the Center’s website. For further information about the Fellowship on Women & Public Policy, please contact Bilge Avci by E-mail, and 518. 591-8762, or Dina Refki by E-mail, and 518.442.5127.

The Center for Women in Government & Civil Society advances excellence in public service by facilitating balanced leadership; and promotes gender-responsive public policy that is shaped by women’s perspectives. The Center utilizes research, teaching, training and public education to accomplish its mission.

Soros Justice Fellowships

The Soros Justice Fellowship Program, an initiative of the Criminal Justice Fund of the Open Society Foundations, supports individuals who will further its mission of reducing the nation’s over-reliance on policies of punishment and incarceration, and restoring discretion and fairness to the U.S. criminal justice system.

All projects must, at a minimum, relate to one or more of the Justice Fund’s broad U.S. criminal justice reform goals: reducing mass incarceration, challenging extreme punishment, and promoting justice system accountability.

The Fellowships fund outstanding individuals, including lawyers, advocates, grassroots organizers, activist academics, journalists, and filmmakers, to implement innovative projects that address the Criminal Justice Fund priorities.

The Soros Justice Fellowships support individuals through two programs:

Advocacy Fellowships

These fellowships seek to identify and nurture emerging and seasoned leaders at either the local, state, or national level. Projects may range from litigation to public education to coalition-building to grassroots mobilization to action research, and must identify a clear policy goal. Advocacy Fellowships, which have two tracks, may be implemented in conjunction with nonprofit organizations. Track I supports new and emerging advocates with at least two years of advocacy experience. Track II supports individuals with a demonstrated record of achievement and expertise in their fields, including a minimum of ten years of relevant experience in their fields.

Media Fellowships

These fellowships support writers, print and broadcast journalists, filmmakers, bloggers, and other individuals with distinctive voices proposing to complete media projects that engage and inform, spur debate and conversation, and catalyze change on important U.S. criminal justice issues. The program intends to mitigate the time, space, and market constraints that often discourage individuals from pursuing important but marginalized, controversial, or unpopular issues in a comprehensive manner.

Special considerations is given to projects that demonstrate a clear understanding of the intersection of criminal justice issues with the particular needs of low-income communities, communities of color, immigrants, LGBTQ people, women and children, and those otherwise disproportionately affected by harsh criminal justice policies; as well as applications for projects that cut across various criminal justice fields and related sectors, such as education, health and mental health, housing, and employment.

Applications are welcome from individuals directly affected by, or with significant direct personal experience with, the policies, practices, and systems their projects seek to address (e.g. applicants who have themselves been incarcerated, applicants who have a family member or loved one who has been incarcerated and whose fellowship project emerges from that experience).

Application Procedures:

Fellowship application materials must be submitted online through the Open Society Foundation’s website.

Grant Details: Stipends ranging from $58,700 to $110,250 are provided.

Eligibility Requirements: Individuals

Application Deadlines: October 22, 2014.