Wednesday, June 6, 2018

A Prayer for St. Andrew's School Community and Church in this In-Between Time

Dear God, you are our beginning and our end, and you are with us in every beginning and ending. The closing of our school continues to be a source of sadness and challenge for us. We pray for your comfort and healing for all who grieve this ending. We pray for our students, that each one will experience a safe and happy summer and a warm welcome into new schools. We pray for our faculty and staff as they seek new positions. We pray for our school’s administrators as they carry out the business tasks involved in closing a school.
Endings precede beginnings. While we haven’t yet discerned the new beginning that will come from the closing of the school, we trust that you, who make all things new, have something wonderful in store for us and for those whom we will serve in the future. And so we pray also for ourselves, that we may listen well for your voice and be infused with the creativity and energy of your Spirit as we engage in our parish discernment process. 
Thank you for all that has been, God; and thank you for all that will be.  Amen.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

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 through May).  At the 8:00 a.m. service, we will pray Eucharistic Prayer I instead of Eucharistic Prayer II.  At the 10:30 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.


Prayer Shawl Ministry

Several years ago, I had a beloved friend in Ann Arbor, Michigan, who was a retired priest called Father Alex.  He was an alumnus and a big fan of University of Michigan football and the school colors of blue and maize.  Towards the end of his life, he became ill with COPD.  I decided to bring him a prayer shawl; and after a brief prayer, I picked a knitted one to bring to him.

As soon as he saw it, he said, “It’s maize!”  He was so happy because it brought him great comfort and also because the prayer shawl bore one of his alma mater’s colors.  He wore it about his shoulders right up until his death.

I am sure that there are similar stories of how much joy and comfort prayer shawls bring to those who received them and also to those who make them.

The Rev. Carol Chamberlain, who is one of our associate clergy, and I are interested in finding out if there is any interest at St. Andrew’s in people gathering together to breathe new life into the current prayer shawl ministry.  Please contact either of us and let us know if you would like to be part of this great ministry of bringing comfort and joy to others.


PORT - An opportunity to serve others

Matt Deller will be leading our PORT ministry for the 2018-2019 season. (Thank you, Matt!) We are seeking volunteers to assist Matt, especially a few people to coordinate/prepare the two meals for December and March.  Although it seems like a long time until December, it is never too early to begin planning for this important ministry.  Please contact Rachel Roby in the church office for more information or to volunteer, 595-0371.

What Is PORT?
PORT (People Offering Resources Together) is an emergency winter shelter that hosts an average of 100 individuals per night, for 20 weeks during the winter. The name of this program really explains it all: it’s a safe harbor, made possible by a network of 130 interfaith (Christian and non-Christian) groups that provide the facilities, volunteers, food, clothes and many other resources to homeless men, women and children in our area.

How Do We, as a Parish Help?
The shelter moves to a different church every week, and each night, there’s a new group of volunteers responsible for welcoming the guests and providing at least two  meals (dinner and breakfast) per day. St. Andrew’s serves as a Partner Church for one night/morning in December and again in March.

What Other Resources Are Provided through the PORT Ministry?
Each season, PORT volunteers and staff get involved in planning, cooking, or distributing clothes and hygiene donations. In addition to the hundreds of volunteers, a sheriff’s deputy provides security in the shelter; intake and social workers provide guests with information, job referrals, notary services, and more. The services provided in the shelter are designed to meet the holistic needs of the guests: emergency, short, and long term. Other services provided at PORT include: community referrals, case management, collection of homeless data, medical referrals, on-site medical evaluations and dental care, showers, provision of transportation, flu/pneumonia shots, information for affordable housing, job placement and job referrals, identification services, filing taxes, nutrition education, AA, N.A, life skills training, and more.

And Last but Not Least!
Thank-you to Margie Holt, Louise Ragland, and Joy Johnson who have, along with Matt, led our team of PORT volunteers for the past several years.  Their tireless efforts have made such a difference in the lives of so many!  And thanks also to the many other St. Andrew’s volunteers who have served on the team!

Monday, May 21, 2018

Bread for the World: Advocating for Hungry People Near and Far

On June 11 and 12, John and I will be in Washington, DC, participating in Bread for the World’s annual Lobby Day.  Bread for the World is a collective Christian voice urging our nation’s decision makers to end hunger at home and abroad.  For more than 40 years, Bread for the World’s members have helped win bipartisan support for measures that address the causes of hunger.

I’ve been a member of Bread for the World since 2001, when I worked as an intern in its Church Relations department while serving in my first call, at Christ Church in Alexandria, VA.  I have participated in Lobby Day almost every year since then and am very much looking forward to taking part again this year. 

Bread for the World has taught me a lot about the importance of trying to address the causes of poverty and hunger in addition to carrying out the more typical church ministry of providing assistance to those in need.  The concept is simple:  If we were actually able to figure out how to stop hunger and homelessness, then we wouldn’t need food pantries and homeless shelters.  When I get overwhelmed by the world’s problems, the faithfulness and diligence of Bread for the World staff and members are sources of hope and inspiration for me. 

If you are interested in learning more about Bread for the World, visit the website at or talk to John or me.  Perhaps next year we can have a St. Andrew’s Church contingent participate in Lobby Day!

- Anne+