Friday, August 17, 2018

Prayers as new school year begins

During worship on Sunday, August 26, we will bless students and teachers as they begin a new school year.  Meanwhile, here is a prayer for individual use: 

Dear God,
The beginning of a new school year should be a time of excitement and promise:  new clothes, new books, new school supplies, a fresh start, the joy of learning and the pleasure of mastering new challenges.  Through baptism, your Spirit gives each of us an inquiring and discerning heart, the courage to will and to persevere, a spirit to know and to love you, and the gift of joy and wonder in all your works.  With your help, may the promise of this new and exciting start come to fruition in the lives of those who teach and those who learn.  Bless, guide, and protect all teachers and students as this new school year begins.  We pray these things in the Name of your Son Jesus, who was himself a teacher.  Amen.

Monday, July 30, 2018

August update from the Rector

Dear Friends,

Happy August! I hope and pray that the summer is going well for each of you and that you and your families are able to enjoy some restful and restorative time together before summer comes to an end. There are fewer parish events and activities happening during these summer months, and I’m grateful for this slower pace that gives the vestry and staff more time for planning purposes. I thought you might be interested in the following questions and answers.

What’s happening with the parish discernment process in response to the closing of the school?

The discernment process will involve at least two components: first, a careful inward look at who we are and the gifts we have to offer at this moment in our life together; and then, based on that information, a wider conversation with our local community to determine how St. Andrew’s can best partner with our neighbors to address needs in our community.  The vestry has hired Ms. Caroline Black, recently retired Canon for Formation for our diocese, as a consultant to guide us in our planning and to help facilitate the discernment process.  Discernment takes time, and our process will continue to evolve as we listen to one another and to the Holy Spirit at work in our midst.

It is crucial that parishioners understand how the discernment process will work.  To that end, the vestry has decided to offer a Parish Discernment Introduction meeting at three different times within one week in late September:

  • 7:00 PM on Tuesday, Sept. 25
  • 10 AM on Wednesday, Sept. 26
  • 9:15 AM on Sunday, Sept. 30

The same material will be covered at each of the three meetings.  Please make every effort to be present for one of these Introduction sessions so that we can all begin on the same page.

What happened to “Being and Becoming”?

We started the “Being and Becoming” conversation before we knew that St. Andrew’s Episcopal School would be closing, and then we paused in our work in order to attend to the closing of the school and the beginning of discernment.  My sense is that our work of discerning together can’t help but incorporate at least some of the three goals of “Being and Becoming”:

  • Being Church
  • Offering intentional, authentic relationships with God and others, even across the usual divides
  • Re-engaging in our neighborhood

Once our discernment is over and our new mission(s) started, we can reassess which of the “Being and Becoming” goals, if any, still need our attention.

What happened to “Coffee and Conversation”?

John and I are still eager to have parishioners come to our home for Coffee and Conversation.  We plan to compile a list of dates and begin extending invitations once the schedule for the parish discernment process has been decided.  We anticipate resuming Coffee and Conversation in October or November.

As we walk through these warm days of August together, my prayer is that God will continue to bless and guide us, individually and collectively.  May we seek to love and serve both God and our neighbors, and may we remember that we are held at all times in the palm of God’s hand.


Friday, July 27, 2018

Vacation Bible School 2018

Vacation Bible School wraps up today. We had 121 children and 73 youth and adult volunteers having a great time on the Rolling River Rampage! This has been a blessed week of fun, learning, and worship. 

Many thanks to our volunteers: Parker Bigley, Grace Duregger, Trinity Ellis, Anne Fowler, Catherine Frey, John Herbst, Fritz Horne, Heather Horne, Joy Johnson, Anne Kirchmier, Rachel Klinger, Roman Klinger, Elaine Marshall, Helen Mitchell, Brad Norris, Mary Poole, Melissa Sale, Susan Sale, Anne Thornton-Lindsay, Carol Umbenhaur, Karen Waddill, Bill Wilds, and Lorna Williams. And thanks to those who donated food and shoes for THRIVE Peninsula, our VBS outreach.

Monday, June 25, 2018

A Prayer for Families

Lord God, you’ve got the whole world in your hands: refugees and citizens; the persecuted the entitled; people of all colors; those living safely in intact families and those torn apart from inside and outside forces.  Bless this broken world, and help us to be blessings to one another – at the borders of our country, in the center of our country, and in every other part of your world, as well.  Amen.

Youth Mission Trip: Think Globally; Act Locally for Christ

Jesus said, "What you have done to the least of my brothers and sisters, you have done to me."

The Youth Mission Trip, Think Globally, Act Locally for Christ, was held from June 18 to June 21. Seven teenagers participated: Elizabeth Boone, Trinity Ellis, Rachel Klinger, Roman Klinger, Susan Sale, Vanessa Smock, and Kenneth Thomsen. There were three adult leaders: Maggie Mahloy, our Youth Minister, Matthew Williamson, our Sexton and the Rev. Lorna Williams. 

We began by serving at THRIVE Peninsula, where we organized the pantry, and stacked plastic bags for clients to use when they receive food items to take home. We also did shredding of old papers and updated the resource folders that clients use to find local and national resources for their specific needs, for example, for assistance for veterans. While we were at THRIVE, we learned some facts about the reality faced by many of our neighbors in our communities, for example, Hampton Roads is third in the whole nation in eviction rates. 

On two separate days we served at the LINK’s warehouse, organizing donated items such as dishes, cutlery, cups, kitchen items, etc. While we were working clients came in and were very pleasantly surprised with items which were easy to find for them to take home.

Then we participated in Serve the City, which is a big volunteer event put on by the City of Newport News. The youth chose to work with refugee children from Afghanistan. Along with other volunteers, we set up coloring materials, and flash cards to help teach the kids English at a park surrounded by apartments where many refugee families live. We also occupied the little ones while their mothers learned English themselves from other adult volunteers. We encouraged the learning of the children and fed them snacks at the end of the day. Maggie and I enjoyed taking turns holding an adorable two month old baby of one of the Afghani women.

The youth, through their service to their local community, walked in the way of the disciples of Jesus when he sent them out to minister to others. And as Jesus commanded us, these young people shared their love for others. We are very thankful to the congregation for making it possible for us to act locally for Christ, making a difference in the lives of our neighbors.