Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Oct. 2 is Episcopal School Sunday

Dear St. Andrew's Church Community,


Sunday, October 2, 2016, begins a week of celebration for Episcopal schools.  This celebration includes the ministry of nearly 1,200 Episcopal schools and early childhood education programs throughout the Episcopal Church.  The National Association of Episcopal Schools' Episcopal Schools Celebration theme for 2016-2017 is "Behold, I Will Do Something New!". 

This is a time to give thanks for Episcopal early childhood programs, elementary, middle, and secondary schools.  Through daily Chapel, St. Andrew's Church and school staff work in partnership to encourage and nurture our students to be "doers of the Word."  Our lessons teach them to be "quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger" so that they may hear and learn from God.  We are fortunate enough to observe our efforts in the way our students live out their day at St. Andrew's School.

Please join us on Sunday, October 2 to celebrate not only St. Andrew's Episcopal School, but Episcopal Schools everywhere, all of which are vital to God's mission.  Our school chorus will sing at the 10:30 a.m. service.  I look forward to seeing you then!

Sincerely                                                                                          

Janna M. Outlaw                                                                                       

Head of School



Janna and The Rev. Katherine Gray will be sharing a dialogue sermon at all three services on Sunday, October 2. There will be no Children's Chapel that day at the 10:30 a.m. service.  The 3rd, 4th, and 5th Grade Chorus will lead the music for this service.

Here are some interesting facts about Episcopal schools: 
  • There are 1,183 Episcopal Schools and early childhood education (ECE) programs.
  • The Episcopal Diocese of Haiti has 252 schools, the most of any diocese of The Episcopal Church.
  • Texas has 121 schools and ECE programs in six dioceses, the most in the United States.
  • There are approximately 160,000 students in Episcopal schools.
  • Approximately 25% of Episcopal school students are actually Episcopalians.  This means that Episcopal schools serve a large number of students from other Christian denominations, non-Christian traditions, or no formal faith backgrounds.
  • It is estimated that $212,000,000 in financial aid was offered by Episcopal schools in 2013-2014.
  • There are approximately 28,500 administrators, faculty, and staff members employed by Episcopal schools.
  • Trinity School, New York City, founded in 1709, is the oldest continually operating Episcopal school. 
St. Andrew's Episcopal School belongs to the National Association of Episcopal Schools (NAES), an independent, voluntary membership that supports, serves, and advocates for the vital work and ministry of its members.  The NAES is the only pre-collegiate educational association that is both national in scope and Episcopal in character. 

Friday, September 16, 2016

A New Year

In and around waves of heat, we have had the stirrings of autumn lately…some trees are not quite as green, as hints of yellow and orange begin to spread, the sun rises later and the night falls earlier.  School buses are everywhere, there are long lines for haircuts and shoes, and empty local beaches.  On the plus side, the sunsets across the street from our church are spectacular.

I find myself feeling a bit melancholy, about a summer gone too soon, about endings as we say our goodbyes to David Perkins, and the uncertainties of change, as well as fears of a harsh winter.  I have never liked this time of year, as we shift from summer to autumn, and the earth begins her dying process.  When I was a child, it usually meant starting a new school, in a new place, and not knowing where, or if, I would fit in.

This autumn we will welcome a new rector, and we are starting a new program year with some new staff.  Our country will elect new leaders, a President and a Vice President, new senators and representatives.  The questions of who we are and who we will become loom large, with so much at stake, and strong, principled leadership is essential. 

It would be too easy to get caught up in the swirl of information that never seems to stop, and become overwhelmed and frightened, on every level.

A leader is a good thing to have, and our Search Committee and Vestry have been not only diligent and prayerful, but faithful.  Throughout these past 26 months, this parish has been faithful, diligent and prayerful as we have tried to discern individual calls to the ministry of this church, and amazing things have happened: many, many faithful and strong leaders!  There is a new spirit here, more people are involved, and we welcome newcomers each week. 

Let us hold fast to the Good News of the Gospel as we tread these waters of uncertainty.  We are a people of faith, a resurrection people, a joyous people in a community committed to loving each other as Christ himself loves us.  God works through all things for good for those who love him.  Do not let your hearts be troubled, and neither let them be afraid. 

We are here, we are paying attention, and we are ready to begin again.  Indeed, we already have.

The Rev. Katherine T. Gray

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Lord's Prayer Challenge comes to a close

Summer has come to a close and so has our Lord's Prayer Challenge. All summer long, members of St. Andrew's prayed the Lord's Prayer wherever they were - at home, on vacation, with family and with friends and neighbors. Kids learned the prayer for the first time. Adults learned it in another language. Rev. Travis learned it in American Sign Language! On Sunday, Sept. 11, we recognized all those who participated and got to see a short compilation video created by our Communications Team. You can check it out here:

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Everything is awesome: A letter from our Senior Warden


Dear St. Andrew's Community,

I am writing to you on behalf of the Vestry and Staff of St. Andrew's.  As you know we are entering a time of transition with David Perkins' departure after serving as our Rector in the Interim.  I know I speak for all of us in thanking David for his ministry and wishing him the best in his future endeavors. 

The purpose of this note is to share with everyone that "everything is awesome!" My family really hates it when I use that phrase.  But it's true!  Saint Andrew's is really in an awesome place.  Attendance at worship and events is up.  Pledge commitments and giving are greater than in years past.  Our staff is having fun and motivated for success.  We have two new staff members who are specifically focused on EYC and Formation.  Our committee leaders and team members are in place and new things are happening every day.  The Day School has kicked off the new year educating more students than last year.  Our new website is up and running and is truly inviting and informative.  I could go on and on about all of the great things that are happening in our community because, "everything is awesome".

It also goes without saying that we are all anxious to bring closure to the search process and meet our new Rector.  Although I cannot give you a date that this individual will be joining us, the good news is that the process is going well, the search committee is in high spirits and we are heading into the final phase of the process.  You may recall that when we began this journey, we were told the average time frame is 24 months.  We are right on that target so I hope we can all be patient just a little longer. Think of this as Christmas time. As hard as it is to wait for Santa to come, somehow we all manage and Christmas Day is even more special after the anticipation.

Some more good news is that we have a great team in place to support our worship and pastoral care needs.  In addition to Travis and Kathy, we have two other Episcopal priests engaged, our Christian Formation leader, The Rev. Jen Kimball, and The Rev. Carol Chamberlain, a retired priest who regularly worships with us.  They are all committed to minister to our community during this time of transition.

In closing, many of you may remember the slogan that we printed on t-shirts at the beginning of the interim period, "Great Things Are Coming."  I think we need to get out our sharpies and update the slogan to read, "Great Things Are Here!"

Thank you for your continued support of our community. If you have any questions, concerns or needs, please do not hesitate to reach out to me or to one of the other members of the Vestry and Staff. 

Peace,
Michael Daniels
Senior Warden

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Meet Jen Kimball, Interim Minister for Christian Formation

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not stop them;
for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs.”

My own childhood was one where church was a second home.  We were there Sunday mornings, Sunday nights for youth group, Wednesday nights for children’s activities, other time for potlucks and outreach projects and fairs and softball games.  Then the church started a school, and suddenly I was there nearly every day!

With all these offerings for children and youth, my church raised me to believe that I belonged at church, my faith was important, countless adults cared about me, other kids loved God too, and I could take God’s love to the world no matter how old I was.

I never thought I would be a minister. I just don’t like talking that much. I started out as a high school English teacher, and then worked as a librarian for about ten years before entering seminary.  I thought maybe God could use me as a school chaplain.  I’ve been lucky enough to do just that, and also to work in a few parishes and diocesan summer camps.

Our culture has changed and we no longer live at church, but that makes the worship and programs we offer all the more important.  Each time a child or teenager or adult comes to St. Andrew’s, I want the same things for you that I had as a child: You belong here.  Your faith is important.  Countless adults care about you.  Other people love God too.  You can take God’s love to the world no matter how old you are.

Whether you are two years old or ninety-two, I look forward to walking along with you in your faith journey.

Rev. Jen Kimball
Interim Minister for Christian Formation

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

A letter from Fr. David

Dear St. Andrew's Community,

As the search process for a new rector enters its final phase, you and I have been anticipating the ending of the interim period and saying farewell to each other.  The time has come for me to move on to the next phase of life and focus on some of the energizing tasks and challenges awaiting me.

I have given notice to the vestry that I am resigning as Rector in the Interim effective Sunday, October 2nd.  With two weeks vacation remaining, my last Sunday with you will be September 18th.  We knew this day would come when we began our journey together in October of 2014, but that does not make the farewells any easier.

You have been a consistent source of joy to me in our service together.  The vestry and staff and team leaders and volunteers have served together with love, energy, and commitment.  Together you have brought St. Andrew's to the beginning of a new era, one filled with inestimable possibilities.  As you join with God in God's mission of gathering all people to the experience of divine love, and do so free of concerns about institutional well being, you will be amazed at the ways in which St. Andrew's will flourish.

You--your faces, your stories, your loving embraces and encouraging words--will live on in my heart from now on. Please know that you will be held in my prayers. 

I feel excited for you.  Your new rector will be most fortunate!

God's peace,
The Rev. David W. Perkins, Th.D.