Monday, October 30, 2017


I never met him. Yet I still remember him. I don’t know if he served at the Somme, in Belgium or somewhere in East Africa. Yet his service means a lot to me. I am yet to see his name on the rolls at Edinburgh Castle in Scotland, but his name has a special place in my heart. 

Alec McTaggart was my maternal grandmother’s eldest brother, who served in the British Army during the Great War (more commonly known as the First World War.) When he returned from the war in 1919, my grandmother was about 7 years old. He joyfully hoisted her up into his arms as he stood at the threshold of the family home in Jamaica. But he never talked about his war experience; in those days, the veterans rarely talked about it, even to their own families. About 40 years later, Uncle Alec died of a heart attack while he was running to catch a city bus. 

From an early age, I was taught to acknowledge the great sacrifice that he and many other soldiers gave, especially the ones who never returned home and who sleep in the earth of foreign lands. It is in Uncle Alec’s memory and in memoriam of other servicemen and women that I wear a red poppy. 

Every year, I begin wearing the red poppy starting on November 1, All Saints’ Day, and every day through Veterans’ Day, November 11. I like to think of those 11 days as “Remembrance-tide,” when the Church remembers our faithful saints who died in service to God, and also embraces our loved ones who have gone on before us, including the many who died in service to our country. 

We remember the saints and those who live on in our hearts the same way we remember our Lord Jesus. For example, none of us here present lived in the first century when he walked the earth as a human being. Yet we continue to recall his compassionate actions and life-changing teachings through the Gospels. We can think of our loved ones who have died by being “rememorative,” (Kenneth Leech, We Preach Christ Crucified): remembering them by standing with them and recalling their love for us and their courageous works. 

The military tradition continues in our family with the addition of Master Sgt. Todd Johnson, my twin sister’s husband, who retired from the Army a few years ago. I salute all service members, veterans and current, and thank you for your acts of courage and sacrifice. May God bless you and keep you ever mindful of God’s faithfulness. This poppy is for you.

The Rev. Lorna H. Williams
Associate Rector for Children & Youth

Friday, October 27, 2017

The Bishop is coming!

On Sunday, Nov. 5, the Rt. Rev. James Magness, Assisting Bishop of Southern Virginia will be with us at the 10:30 a.m. service. He will preach and preside as we celebrate All Saints Day together and he will confirm and receive our newest members.

A bishop's visitation is an important event in the life of a parish family. It recalls us to the reality that the basic unit of the church is the diocese, and that all presbyters (priests) serve as liturgical representatives of the bishop. The bishop's visit always includes the Eucharist. The loose offering at the service will be designated for the Bishop's Discretionary Fund, which is used for a variety of charitable, educational or medical needs of laity and clergy.

Please hold in your prayers those from St. Andrew's who are preparing for confirmation or reception on Nov. 5:
Jamey Bacon
Emmeline Batcha
Jacob Batcha
Parker Bigley
Sarah Charlock
Matthew Deller
Devin Ellis
Mary Paige Fisher
Elizabeth Harrell
Cassandra Jones
Roman Klinger
Anna Norville
Susan Sale
Leonard Sulzberger

The Laying on of Hands at Confirmation

The main symbol of confirmation for the laity is the laying on of hands by a bishop.  For a priest to be consecrated as bishop, it requires the laying on of hands by three bishops.  Up until 1783, there was no Episcopal bishop in the United States.  In that year, Samuel Seabury went to England to be consecrated as a bishop.  Since we had just recently defeated the English in our American Revolution, Seabury would not swear allegiance to the king, who was the head of the Church of England, which at the time was required of anyone wishing to be consecrated as a bishop.  Finally in 1784, Seabury went to Scotland to be consecrated.  Now we had one!

In 1787, when the atmosphere in England had become more welcoming toward Americans, William White and Samuel Provoost were consecrated in England as our second and third bishops.  Now we had three!  William White would become the first Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church.

The Bishop's Chair

At the 10:30 service on November 5, there will be a rather large chair positioned in the center of the chancel with a kneeler placed in front of it.  At other times it may be found within the sanctuary up against the wall.  It is easy to tell that it is the bishop’s chair because it has a mitre, the liturgical headgear of the bishop, carved into it.  This special seat is a sign and a symbol of the unity and authority that comes from the particular way Episcopalians have of organizing themselves.

The word “Episcopal” means “bishop.”  Bishops are the head of a geographical region known as a diocese.  In these dioceses are many parishes that a bishop oversees.  He or she does this mainly through other clergy we called priests and deacons who serve the parishes.

In Latin, the bishop’s seat is called the cathedra.  This is where we get the word cathedral; literally, the place where the bishop is seated.  Since bishops get out a lot, regularly visiting parishes, this is why we keep a seat for them.  This is a reminder not only of the authority of the bishop, but of the bishop’s prayers and presence with us.  The chair, then, serves as a reminder for us to pray for our bishops as well.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Thinking on our feet

From Hymn 594:
Grant us wisdom, grant us courage, for the living of these days… 

The Gospel reading about the Pharisees asking Jesus about the lawfulness of paying taxes to the emperor reveals a master of thinking on his feet.  How I admire people who can come up with a perfect retort, particularly when they’re responding to an outrageous statement or question. 

In our increasingly polarized society, sometimes we need to summon the integrity to respond, either quickly or after reflection, in a way our conscience can live with. 

May God grant us the wisdom and courage for the navigating of those times.

Brad Norris
Minister of Music