Monday, February 24, 2020

Vestry Liaison Update – Facilities

I would like to introduce myself as the newest member of the Facilities Team. In this position I will be communicating facility-related information between the vestry and the congregation, sending updates on the state of our buildings and property as needed. I am excited to be working with such a dedicated staff ensuring that our property is safe and protected for all to use.

A few issues we are dealing with right now pertain to water seepage from old windows in the school building. We have addressed most of the water damage and are currently reviewing our next steps on the aging windows.

Our new Junior Warden Steve Howell is meeting weekly with the Warden, Rector and Sexton to identify other areas that need repair for our facility. A full walk around was completed in January and a list of projects was identified.

I always welcome new ideas and suggestions when it comes to maintaining a healthy and safe environment at St. Andrews. As I look around the church, I’ve seen areas of opportunity that need a deep cleaning and/or restoration. One idea proposed was a workday, maybe a Saturday morning, to enhance the appearance of our church. Painting party, anyone?

I am looking forward to a successful year working with our vestry and Junior Warden. 

Thank you,
Joel Duregger

Friday, February 21, 2020

The Great Litany

On the first Sunday of Lent, March 1 this year, we usually will pray The Great Litany during the opening procession at both services.  However, because the One City Marathon is on March 1, we will pray The Great Litany on March 8.

The Great Litany is an ancient form of intercessory prayer, first used in the 5th century.  Because of its penitential nature, it is especially appropriate in Lent.  The Litany begins by calling upon the Triune God to have mercy on us; continues with petitions for protection from evil and disaster; invokes Christ’s saving work; and includes many general intercessions, including the plea for God to forgive our enemies, persecutors, and slanderers.  You can find the Great Litany on pages 148 to 153 of The Book of Common Prayer.  I encourage you to spend some time with it prior to Sunday.

The Great Litany is not a prayer for the faint of heart, but it is a fabulous prayer for those who truly want to turn their hearts again to God.  May that be our aim in this holy season.


An Invitation to Confession…

Dear friends,

One of the five sacramental rites in the Episcopal Church is the Reconciliation of a Penitent, more commonly known as “Confession.”  This is the rite in which a parishioner meets privately with a priest to confess specific sins and receive absolution.  Our Episcopal understanding of this rite can be summed up in the adage:  All may; some should; none must.  In other words, no one is required to make a private confession, but for some folks the practice is extremely healing and helpful.  Naming aloud the wrongs we’ve done is hard and scary; hearing the words of absolution afterward is freeing and healing.

Reconciliation of a Penitent is available at all times, but in Lent and particularly during Holy Week, it is customary for clergy to encourage interested parishioners to partake of the rite in preparation for Easter.  Making my personal confession has often been part of my Lenten practice, and I have always found it helpful.  If you would like to include this rite in your Easter preparations, please let Marc or me know, and we will make arrangements to meet privately with you.  Rest assured that anything said during the rite is completely confidential and is never a matter for subsequent discussion unless you bring it up again. 

Whether or not you are planning to make a private confession this Lent, I encourage you to take a look at the two forms of The Reconciliation of a Penitent found in the Book of Common Prayer on pages 447 to 452.  As you do so, I hope you’ll be reminded of God’s deep and unending love for you and deep desire for reconciliation with all of us.


Sunday, February 16, 2020

There's something about Ash Wednesday

Dear friends,

There’s something about Ash Wednesday.  Every year it happens:  people who don’t come to church regularly—or, sometimes, ever—show up on that first day of Lent to be marked with ashes.  Sometimes they come to the Ash Wednesday service; sometimes they show up at a different time of day altogether to seek that ashy cross.  I’ve brushed aside thick hair and wispy bangs to make room on foreheads for those two crossed lines that form our central Christian symbol; I’ve marked smooth hairless heads of infants and wrinkled bald heads of old men.  It is holy, every time.  It is somber and humbling and holy. 

Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.  Yes.  Ash Wednesday—and indeed all of Lent—is about remembering our frailty and our worth, our sinfulness and God’s love for us.  In the prayer book liturgy for Ash Wednesday, the priest says, I invite you … in the name of the Church, to the observance of a holy Lent, by self-examination and repentance; by prayer, fasting, and self-denial; and by reading and meditating on God’s holy Word.  As your priest, I invite you to the observance of a holy Lent.  And I invite you to begin that observance at one of our three Ash Wednesday services so that you can receive again the grainy gray reminder of God’s love for fragile, fallible you.