Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Jen wuz here!

My last day with you all is Sunday, August 20.  Frankly I didn't expect to like you so much.  I mean, how attached can you get in one year?

 But open hearts invite belonging, and yours welcomed me in.  I was quickly at home in the circle of the Adult Sunday School, surrounded by active spiritual learners.  I was invited to share my story with the Daughters of the King and Circle 4.  I have shared parts of my story in sermons, and many of you have thanked me for it. 

Our youth have weathered more staff changes than any other group in these interim years (except of course the staff itself).  I will be glad when they get a permanent person again!  Meanwhile they have managed to find their way into my heart, simply by being themselves.  They are loving, creative, spontaneous, accepting, and brave.  Working with their intern leaders, Maggie Mahloy and Alex Shaddock, has been a joy.  Beginning the year with Elizabeth Koerner was practically magic - sign me up to be on her team anytime.

 And then there are the children.  If you know me, you know I love your children.  I have loved when a brave little one comes to Children's Chapel for the first time.  I have loved when a multitude of last-minute angels flew around and around the star on Christmas Eve.  I have loved bringing Bible stories to life with dozens of kids at VBS.  I have loved listening to our school children sing - it is truly breathtaking.  And if I may say so, I am proud of our school children singing all 66 names of the books of the Bible by themselves!

I was here.  And I am glad.  Thank you St. Andrew's.


Wednesday, August 2, 2017

EYE17: An experience to cherish

Every three years, in accordance with General Convention Resolution #1982-D079, the Episcopal Church convenes an international youth event so "that the energy of the youth of the Episcopal Church can continue to be utilized in active ministry as members of the Body of Christ." This year, the 2017 Episcopal Youth Event (EYE17) welcomed nearly 1,400 participants, workshop leaders, speakers, and volunteers to the campus of the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond from July 10-14. Southern Virginia sent seven youth and two adult leaders to the EYE17 event. Below, Alex Devin Ellis, a youth participant from St. Andrew's, shares his experience of EYE17.

Alex Devin Ellis at EYE17.
EYE was a special experience, one that I will cherish for my lifetime. It was great to meet people from across America. I had a blast learning new games and hanging out with them. I made a ton of friends that I still talk to, though unlike one of the bishops I don't think I found my true love at EYE. Throughout the week I got to know my fellow Diosovas (other members of the Diocese of Southern Virginia) and really felt a strong bond grow between us. Nicholas Sears and I are like brothers and will be friends for life. We even have plans for a cross country road trip along Route 66 in eight years. Caroline Tyler and I had a great time playing cards and getting to know each other and our new friends. Capitalism is a great game that most other states didn't know how to play and is now my favorite card game. It was great having people that I knew there like the members of my EYC board Clare Harbin and Anthony Alfano, but it was equally as great getting to know new faces of our Diocese, like Peter Hood and Allie Sears.

Though I had a great time with friends, it was also a deep and moving week. Tears were shed but hope was all around. We went around Oklahoma City and viewed different Museums, but when we got to the Oklahoma City Memorial Museum I already knew it was going to be hard to get through. It was a very tragic event that took the lives of many innocent people. Going through the museum I saw many things that brought tears to my eyes. There was a clock that had stopped at the exact moment that the bomb went off, that Caroline had pointed out. When I saw it I just thought of how much more that stopped at that exact moment. Though as the day went on you could feel the love and hope for a better world. As we sang and praised God, in both English and Spanish, you could definitely feel the presence of God.

I went to different sessions during the time at EYE where you could learn about different things going on in the church or about God. On the first day, I went to a session where we could talk to Bishop Curry and ask him question after he talked about the Jesus Movement. On the next day that they had these sessions I went to one where they talked about Kids4Peace and how they are trying to make peace and how you can set up one in your area. Kids4Peace is a where you bring kids from different faiths together and talk about differences and similarities and what is going on the world or in our lives. The second session I went to on that day was about a reflection on the week.

I will always remember EYE17, with all the ups and downs. The pain and the hope, the tears and the love, the fact that I lost my favorite water bottle and how I met amazing people and could have them in my life.

Alex Devin Ellis

Monday, July 31, 2017

Thanks and Blessings for Jen and Travis

There will be a special reception between services on August 20 to thank and recognize the Rev. Jen Kimball and the Rev. Travis Greenman as their interim ministry in our midst comes to a close.  Jen’s last Sunday will be August 20, and Travis’ last day as a paid staff member of St. Andrew’s will be August 31.  We are so very, very grateful to both of them for their faithful, compassionate, inspiring ministry in our midst.

Jen will head off for a well-deserved break at her family farm in the Midwest as she discerns where God is calling her next.  We will miss her.  Travis will begin full-time work at Patriots Colony in September but will periodically preach and celebrate here at St. Andrew’s.  Like the Rev. Carol Chamberlain, she will be an Associate Priest of St. Andrew’s, worshiping regularly in our pews and serving at the altar on occasion.  Travis is looking forward to being able to sit next to Hal!

At the 10:30 service on Sunday, August 20 there will be a Litany of Departure for Jen, an opportunity for us to mark liturgically the close of this relationship and to send Jen off with our love and blessings.  At the 10:30 service on Sunday, August 27 we will mark Travis’ new status in our midst with a Litany of Transition, asking for God’s blessing on her as her ministry takes on a new form.

Please plan to be present at the reception on August 20 to offer your thanks and blessings to Jen and Travis.

Vestry Liaison Report: Communications Team

I am very pleased to be serving as the Communications Team leader and, in my role as Vestry members, as Vestry liaison to Communications.  Stories are powerful.  Sharing our stories – with each other and our community – creates opportunities for invitation, connection, and transformation.  Communications is a ministry that not only shares information, but facilitates the sharing of our stories.  The Communications Team has been working to better share stories and information – like our new website, blog, and the new Main Street Lobby TV.  Helping you better access your communications devices is one way we can help you share our stories.

This fall, the Communications Team will be working on creating new venues for sharing St. Andrew’s good news – including Instagram!  Mark your calendar for “Social Media Sunday” on September 24.  The team will be presenting a tour of the St. Andrew’s website, Facebook page, blog, and show you how to access the online church calendar.  Our tech tutors will also be on hand.

The Communications Team is excited about what we have accomplished, but there is still a lot to come!  If you are excited about the ministry of communication, please join us. Contact me at 407-1254 or caturner62@icloud.com.

Ann Turner

Vestry Liaison Report: Worship Team

The Worship Team gives parishioners at St. Andrew’s the opportunity to be personally involved in the conduct of our worship services.  Members of the choir, who provide music; the lectors, who read the lessons and prayers; the chalicers, who help with communion; the acolytes, who perform ceremonial duties and assist the clergy; and the liturgical dancers, who perform frequently at St. Andrew’s and other churches all participate directly in worship services.  Those who aid the clergy in the implementation of worship services include the ushers, who hand out bulletins, take up the offering, and provide assistance to the clergy as needed; and the sound techs, who maintain and control the microphone system.  The sound techs are currently implementing a hearing aid system that should benefit many parishioners in the coming months.  The altar/flower guilds prepare the church for worship by caring for and preparing all linens, hangings, communion vessels, and implements used in worship services as well as arranging flowers.

Parishioners participate in Centering Prayer on Monday afternoons and Thursday mornings.  Centering Prayer is a form of mindfulness meditation which comes to us from the earliest days of Christianity.

Those of us who participate in one or more of the worship teams find that our own worship experience is made more meaningful – there is a sense of accomplishment and it is fun to be involved in a team effort.  We encourage anyone interested in any of these activities to join us.

Dick Barnwell

Some Sabbatical Thoughts

It’s been a rich time so far, as I’m doing a variety of activities during this gracious gift of a sabbatical.  I have:
  • met with several people for ideas and advice on spirituality   (parishioners and others, including the Rev. Rob Marston, who recommended a monastery on the Hudson River – to visit, not take vows!) 
  • visited the Barnes Museum in Philadelphia (one of the most extensive collections of French Impressionist painting anywhere)
  • attended a high-quality organist convention in Richmond 
  • worked on a communion anthem that embraces the idea of presenting all aspects of ourselves to God at the rail, asking for redemptive help in areas of our lives that fall short
  • enjoyed books lent by parishioners (you know, those books that come along at the time your life needs them) 
  • intentionally spent more time outdoors, listening, looking, appreciating visited other churches (Episcopal and others) and spent a day with the Kairos ministry at Nottoway Prison
More to come later,
Brad Norris

Monday, July 17, 2017

Vacation Bible School!

Last week (July 10-14), St. Andrew's was abuzz with Vacation Bible School. Our annual VBS takes over both St. Andrew's and Hilton Presbyterian Church across the street. We had 103 children, ages 3 through 5th grade, attend this year's "Hero Central" VBS. 

Vacation Bible School began each morning with an opening in the Presbyterian sanctuary and closed on Friday at St. Andrew’s with a rousing celebration of the week.  There were 103 children and 71 youth and adult volunteers who attended.  Everyone had the opportunity to enjoy being a part of Hero Central, and learning that God’s heroes have heart, courage, wisdom, hope, and power.  The children rotated during the morning with crafts, music, recreation, refreshments, science, and storytelling.

Special thank you to our St. Andrew’s volunteers:  Ann Turner, Cheryl Zilkie, Amy Robinson, Zoe Santos, Brad Norris, Sarah Charlock, Trinity Ellis, Karen Waddill, Grace Duregger, Rachel Klinger, Roman Klinger, Leah Klinger, Fritz Horne, Joy Johnson, Mary Poole, Jen Kimball, Anne Kirchmier, Tonia Graves, Margaret Bivins, Audréana Ellis, John Herbst, Maggie Mahloy, and Bill Wilds.

Thank you again for bringing in paper towel holders, tissue boxes, and baby food jars for VBS crafts.  Also, a big thank you for those who brought in shoes and food supplies for THRIVE Peninsula. 

Rolling River Rampage: Experience the Ride of a Lifetime with God! will be the 2018 VBS program.  Due to a number of conflicts, the new 2018 dates are July 23-27.  Please mark your calendars now – and, it’s not too early to volunteer!