Sunday, November 26, 2017

Thank you from the Kairos Team

As one 20-year-old at my Kairos table was wolfing down one of the 1,531 dozen cookies, he asked where they came from.  “People made them for the participants of this Kairos weekend.”  The look on his face when it began to dawn on him what people he had never met had done. The placemats that the EYC and St. Andrew’s School students made had a similar effect on the Nottoway Correctional Center residents. I heard more than one person say, “Children did this for us?” 

We never know the full impact we have on others.  The 30 participants of the Kairos weekend received a measure of love they will never forget.  That love extended to the inmates who didn’t attend the weekend – each received a bag of 8 cookies. 

St. Andrew’s contributed their fair share – thank you to all who baked.  The EYC made 20 dozen.  The choir made about 50 dozen.  Special thanks to Jamey Bacon – the total from her kitchen was about 500 cookies! 

Brad Norris (with Matt Deller and Joe DuRant)

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

The last Sunday of the church year

The last Sunday after Pentecost, "Christ the King" in the Roman Church, is a summation of the whole church year where Jesus is proclaimed King of kings and Lord of lords.
In the Gospel lesson the nations are assembled before Jesus, our eventual judge.  It's the one where Jesus separates us according to what we did or did not do for others - "I was hungry and you gave me food..."
The placement of this story in Matthew is interesting - it's right before Jesus endures Holy Week.  It's in a PAY ATTENTION place.
What will our eventual judgment be like?  In Matthew 25:31-46, Jesus paints two drastically different scenarios.  Will the Last Judgment be like the Michelangelo painting in the Sistine Chapel, or something far more forgiving?
Stay tuned!  Keep loving!  Keep trusting!
Brad Norris, Minister of Music

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Giving thanks

Dear Friends, 

When I lived in Ashland, VA, I celebrated Holy Eucharist once a month in the women’s section of the city jail.  During those services, when we got to the Prayers of the People, I invited the women to offer aloud their own petitions, and they always had a lot to say. 

 “For the special needs and concerns of this congregation,” I would prompt, and fervent prayer would rise from all corners of the room. 

“We thank you for all the blessings of this life,” I would continue…and again prayer would break out all over the room: Thank you that I woke up this morning.  Thank you for the gift of a new day.  Thank you that I am recovering from my addiction.  Thank you for my mother.  Thank you…  Thank you…  Thank you… 

By so many measures, those women had nothing.  They were incarcerated, wearing ill-fitting clothes, crammed together with strangers, enduring loneliness and uncertainty, undergoing punishment.  They were separated from family and friends.  And yet, when given a chance to name the blessings of their lives and to give God thanks for them, they could not stop talking. 

The most grateful people I have ever met were those women incarcerated in the Richmond City Jail.  They taught me a lot about perspective and privilege and giving thanks to God always and everywhere, as we pray every Sunday in the Eucharistic Prayer. 

As we celebrate Thanksgiving this week, let us indeed thank God for all the blessings of our lives.  I pray that our lists are long…  and loud… and an inspiration to those around us. 

Blessings to each of you, this Thanksgiving and always.


Thursday, November 2, 2017

Trick-or-Treat night a big success (and FUN!)

Halloween is a BIG night here in historic Hilton Village. St. Andrew's gave out 1500 treat bags to trick-or-treaters!  A special thank you to all who donated candy, books, and toys for this terrific community event, and to those who were here on Halloween night to pass out treats.