Monday, June 17, 2019

Summer liturgies

Dear friends,

A blessing and a challenge of liturgical worship is that the words of the service become so familiar. The blessing is that those familiar words can be a source of great comfort, and anchor in the midst of life's changes and uncertainty. The challenge is that familiar words sometimes become stale, so well known to us that we no longer truly hear what they are saying.

During worship this summer, we will be exploring some prayers and liturgies that differ from what we typically use in our worship during the program year (September - May). At the 8 a.m. service, we will prayer Eucharistic Prayer I instead of Eucharistic Prayer II. At the 10:30 a.m. service, we will incorporate wording from an Episcopal resource called Enriching Our Worship, and toward the end of the summer we will use the service of Holy Eucharist from A New Zealand Prayer Book. If you are paying close attention (and I hope you will be!), you may notice slight differences in the wording of the Nicene Creed: the dropping of the phrase "and the Son," which invites us into a centuries-old theological debate about the nature of the Trinity.

My hope is that these less familiar and perhaps unexpected words will catch your attention and invite you into fresh and deeper understandings of Jesus, who is himself the Word. In the words we hear and speak in worship this summer, may we indeed hear anew what the Spirit is saying to God's people.

- Anne+

A word about the Dismissal: Saving up our Alleluias for Easter

Did you know the rubrics of The Book of Common Prayer call for a limited use of the word Alleluia in seasons other than Easter? If you look at the rubrics on pages 340 or 366, you'll see that the words Alleluia, Alleluia are to be added to dismissals only in the 50 days from Easter through the Day of Pentecost. That's why our clergy add them to the dismissal only in Easter season and not all year through.

Why would the BCP limit the use of Alleluia in such a way? My guess is that saving it up for use only during the 50 days of Easter marks Easter as the exceptional, priceless, ultimate season that it is. We made unfettered use of the joyous word throughout those 50 days, and now we restrain ourselves so that we may celebrate more fully when Easter circles around again.

Other parts of our service, including the hymns and the "Fraction Anthem" at the breaking of the bread will still contain alleluias, except in Lent. But for now, let us lovingly store up our alleluias at the dismissal until our Easter celebrations in the year to come.

- Anne+

Thursday, May 30, 2019

St. Andrew's makes $5000 in outreach grants

The Vestry earmarked $10,000 of St. Andrew’s 2019 budget for outreach. The Outreach Team has approved the following grants from those funds, totaling $5,000. The remainder of the funds will be granted by the Outreach Team in the fall.

$500 to Foodbank of VA Peninsula - Established in 1986, the Virginia Peninsula Foodbank has been the leading hunger relief organization across the greater Peninsula region, serving the 1 in 7 Virginians who struggle with hunger in the cities of Hampton, Newport News, Poquoson, and Williamsburg, and the counties of Gloucester, James City, Mathews, Surry, and York. St. Andrew’s donation will potentially directed toward summer food service program. The summer food service program is designed to fill the nutrition gap and make sure children can get the nutritious meals they need while school is out.

$500 to GraceInside – GraceInside is Virginia’s prison chaplain service. Their mission is to provide full-time chaplains in all of Virginia’s state adult and juvenile prison facilities. St. Andrew’s donation has been designated for Nottoway Correctional Facility.

$500 to Hilton Community Playgroup – The Hilton Community Playgroup meets in our building every Tuesday and Wednesday morning, providing games and art and learning for our youngest neighbors.  Brad leads songs for the children with his guitar, and Lorna visits regularly to get to know the children and the parents. 

$500 to Holy Cross Anglican School, Belize - Francis and Vernon, two missionaries from St. Andrew’s, founded Holy Cross School in 2006. They saw the incredible need for a new school in San Pedro – the existing schools were full and then some – and, unlike many who would have just felt sad about the need, they did something about it. The school educates over 450 students from preschool to 8th grade.

$500 to Episcopal Annual Appeal – This donation to the Annual Appeal of The Episcopal Church will help support the many ways in which we, together as The Episcopal Church, witness to the loving, liberating, and life-giving way of Jesus Christ.

$500 to Together Again/Juntos de Nuevo Cuba Pensions Campaign of the Episcopal ChurchThe 2018 General Convention of The Episcopal Church voted to restore the relationship of the Episcopal Church and La Iglesia Episcopal de Cuba (the Diocese of Cuba, a missionary diocese, was ejected from the Episcopal Church in 1966). The immediate goal of this fund is to help provide for the pensions of clergy serving in Cuba. Presiding Bishop Michael Curry invites us to think beyond this – “This is part of the work of reconciliation, bringing us together across historic divides. This is not just fundraising, it’s following Jesus and finding our way back to each other.”  

$1,000 to Rector's Discretionary Fund - The primary use of discretionary funds is to assist the poor of the congregation and the larger community.  Discretionary Funds have been in use within the Episcopal Church for decades if not centuries, yet the Canons of the Church do not mention Discretionary Funds by name. The basis for discretionary funds apparently comes from Title III, Canon 14(f) first approved in 1814 which provides for a special offering for the poor to be administered by a member of the clergy as Almoner, the person charged with giving alms to the poor.

$1,000 to Newport Harbour Neighborhood Network Community CenterThe center provides support and services to families and children in the Newport Harbour neighborhood of Southeast Newport News, including afterschool tutoring, food assistance, and recreational activities. 

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

What is Whitsunday – Pentecost?

In the Jewish tradition, Pentecost was originally known as Feast of the Harvest, an agriculture festival. Later it became a celebration of the giving of the Law on Mount Sinai.  Jews from around the world came to Jerusalem to celebrate Pentecost.

Jesus completed his ministry in obedience to his father. He had suffered crucifixion and death, then his miraculous resurrection. Having appeared to the women, to Peter, the two on the road to Emmaus, his disciples, to five hundred and many others the tasks on earth were finished.  Jesus then ascended to the Father to be glorified and to become our great high priest. As Jesus explained to his followers, he withdrew so that he could send the Holy Spirit upon his disciples. The Ascension marked the beginning of the empowerment of the church.

Obedient to Jesus, the believers had returned to Jerusalem to wait and pray, when suddenly like a strong wind the disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit.  The Baptism of the Holy Spirit was so strong, so vibrant, so complete that it changed the course of human history.

We celebrate Pentecost and the coming of the Holy Spirit on the seventh Sunday after Easter. We refer to this holiday as the birthday of the church. Often we wear red, the color of the Holy Spirit.  Since this year we are celebrating the 100th anniversary of our church, we fill follow the traditions of our past.  Pentecost was called Whitsunday during the earlier years of our church.  Many of us remember Whitsunday as a joyful celebration with a parade with floats, costumes, music, an outdoor service on the river bank and cake. All the children were involved. I remember dressing up and riding on a float (the back of a flat bed truck).

The history of Whitsunday goes back to the 13th century. The word was a shortened version of White Sunday. In the Anglican tradition this holiday has been celebrated with the wearing of white, with bands and parades.  Celebrations sometimes continued for days. In my 1928 Book of Common Prayer, the season is called “Whitsuntide”, and the Sunday is “Pentecost, commonly called Whitsunday”. There are also readings for Monday and Tuesday in Whitsun week. In our 1979 version of the prayer book, on page 227 this special day is labeled “The Day of Pentecost: Whitsunday”.

This year, in homage to our past, we will refer to Pentecost as Whitsunday. As was tradition at St. Andrew’s, we will have a parade before the service, and a reception after the service with a Whitsunday cake. Consider wearing white and joining in the parade.  

- Peggy Woodall

Monday, May 20, 2019

Christendom Has Ended; What’s Next for the Church? Be Part of the Discussion

You may have noticed St. Andrew’s clergy, parishioners, and staff walking around recently with a book called Canoeing the Mountains: Christian Leadership in Uncharted Territory.  Written by a Presbyterian minister and seminary administrator with 27 years of parish leadership experience, Canoeing the Mountains challenges church leaders to develop new and different strategies from what worked years ago when churches were full and Sunday mornings were sacrosanct.  The author compares the experience of Lewis and Clark—who were completely unequipped to tackle the Rocky Mountains and yet somehow managed to find a way through—with the situation of the Church today, where leaders tend to keep trying old strategies in this new and unfamiliar territory. 

Our staff and vestry have begun reading and discussing Canoeing the Mountains. On May 11, three clergy and three parishioners from St. Andrew’s attended a diocesan conference led by the author, Tod Bolsinger. Two of those parishioners, newcomer Dawn Edquist and longtimer Al Roby, have graciously agreed to facilitate a summertime discussion of Canoeing the Mountains, which comes complete with a study guide.  The study will be held between services in the Parish Hall from 9:15 to 10:15 from June 16 through July 28, with a break on July 7. 

In many ways, this book and the conversations it generates pick up on some of the work we began a year and a half ago with our Being and Becoming discussions.  Now as then, I would love to have everyone who is interested take part in this crucial conversation so that we can learn and think and grow and pray together.  Canoeing the Mountains is available on for about $16.  I am happy to buy the book for you if that would be helpful; just let me know.  I hope you will join us on those Sunday mornings in June and July!

-       Anne+