Thursday, January 31, 2019

Our youngest chalice bearers

Have you noticed that several of our chalice bearers (Lay Eucharistic Ministers, also known as LEVs) at the 10:30 service are high school students?  According to our diocesan canons, LEVs must be confirmed adult communicants in good standing; regular participants in the worship of the church, including receiving Holy Communion; and active in the support of their mission or parish.  Did you know that the canons also say that 16 is the age at which a person is considered an adult, which is why 16-year-olds can vote during parish meetings? The Book of Common Prayer tells us that “[i]n the course of their Christian development, those baptized at an early age are expected, when they are ready and have been duly prepared, to make a mature public affirmation of their faith and commitment to the responsibilities of their Baptism and to receive the laying on of hands by the bishop” (BCP, 412).  That “mature public affirmation” is the sacramental rite of Confirmation. 

We are so blessed at St. Andrew’s to have these amazing young people who meet all of the requirements serve among us as LEVs!  Our youth LEVs are all regular participants in our worship, regular recipients of Holy Communion, and active ministers in the local community through EYC mission trips and other community service.  Each time a high school student offers you the blood of Christ, he or she is living into the mature public affirmation of faith made at Confirmation.  How incredibly blessed we are by their presence and ministry among us!


Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Vacation Bible School: A Call for Help!

The Hilton Area Churches have been hosting VBS for more than 30 years.  Over the past 5 years properly staffing VBS has become more and more difficult.  For VBS 2019, we are in crisis!  In order to safely host the over 100 children who attend each summer, we need at least 55 volunteers from 9 a.m. to noon, July 15-19. If we are unable to get the minimum number of volunteers, we will need to cancel VBS for this summer. Are you able to help us continue this wonderful tradition? Please let the Rev. Lorna Williams know by February 15 if you are able to help with VBS 2019, 595-0371 or You will have a great time!  Our decision to proceed to with VBS plans will be made by February 29.

When is... ?

Hey, it’s February and no one has mentioned anything about Shrove Tuesday, Ash Wednesday, or Lent (at least until now)! That’s because none of these occur until March this year.  All of these events are based on the date for Easter Day, which is April 21.

Did you know there are “rules” for finding the date of Easter Day?  Easter Day is always the Sunday after the full moon that occurs on or after the spring equinox on March 21, a date which is fixed in accordance with an ancient ecclesiastical computation, and which does not always correspond to the astronomical equinox.  This full moon may happen on any date between March 21 and April 18 inclusive.  If the full moon falls on a Sunday, Easter Day is the Sunday following.  But, Easter Day cannot be earlier than March 22 (which will not occur until after 2089) or later than April 25 (the next year being 2038).   For more information about the rules, please refer to the Book of Common Prayer, pages 880-883.

So, then, when are the other dates?  Shrove Tuesday (or Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday) will be March 5 and Ash Wednesday will be March 6.   While we enjoy a pancake supper and a fun evening on Shrove Tuesday, there really isn’t any spiritual focus for this day other than some parishes burn palm branches left from the previous Palm Sunday to use on Ash Wednesday.  The name comes from the English word “shrive,” which has to do with obtaining absolution for sins.

Ash Wednesday begins the forty day period prior to Easter Day, during which Christians repent, ask for God’s forgiveness, and recognize that God’s forgiveness comes at a price – the death of Jesus Christ on the cross on our behalf.  On this day, the historic churches mark the beginning of this period with special services explaining the season, calling the people to repentance, signifying repentance with ashes, by which a cross is marked on the forehead of penitent Christians.

And thus the 40 days of Lent begin, excluding Sundays.  Sundays are not included because they commemorate Christ’s resurrection on “the Lord’s day.”  There are several  significant meanings of the “forty” days of Lent: it rained for 40 days and nights during the Flood, for 40  years the Jewish people wandered in the desert after fleeing from Egypt , Moses was on Mt. Sinai for 40 days and night, for 40 days Jesus was tested by the devil in the desert, and there were 40 days between Jesus’ resurrection and ascension.

The final week of Lent is called Holy Week.  It begins with Palm Sunday (April 14) and includes Maundy Thursday (April 18) and Good Friday (April 19).

So, we haven’t forgotten anything (yet) this year.  That ancient ecclesiastical computation is just late this year!

Bill Wilds

Annual Diocesan Council is Feb. 8-9

While St. Andrew’s has its Annual Congregational Meeting, the Diocese of Southern Virginia has its Annual Council which meets each year for two days in February at the Williamsburg Lodge Convention Center.  As the business of the diocese is conducted, clergy, delegates and alternates will have the opportunity to hear the two keynote speakers, Gannon Sims (“A Future for the Church”) and the Rev. Bobbe Fitzhugh (“From Maintenance to Mission: Taking the Church Back to What Jesus Started”). Along with our clergy, Anne, Lorna, Carol, and Travis, who will be in attendance February 8-9, our delegates are Mary Wood, Samantha Howell, Al Roby, and Bob Lord.  Our attending alternates are Danny Switzer, Bill Wilds, and Rachel Roby.

Friday, January 18, 2019

Building Community… One Photograph, Name Tag, and Cup of Coffee at a Time

When someone new enters into the midst of an established group, it can seem as though everyone knows everyone else already.  Fitting in can feel like a daunting task.  When I first came to St. Andrew’s almost 16 years ago the thing that helped me feel like I belonged was that people seemed genuinely interested in getting to know me.  Now, when I look around on Sunday mornings, I see a lot of new faces and that gladdens my heart!  We all have a desire within us to know and to be known.  There are practical ways to help that process along.

Instant Church Directory Online

Did you know that we have an online directory?  It is a very valuable tool to help all of us get to know each other.  It can be accessed on your Apple, Android or Kindle Fire device with a free app, or on your computer.  It’s easy!
  1. Go to your device’s App Store
  2. Search for Instant Church Directory and download the app
  3. Enter your email as it is listed in our directory
  4. Follow the directions to set up your unique log in.  Please note: only those who are in our directory will be able to access it. 
To get it on your computer go to and click on the “create a login now” link.

It takes about five minutes to set up, but then you will have access to photos and be able to text, call or email directly through the app.  What a time-saver!  And it is always up-to-date according to the latest and best information we have in the office.  If you need help, I will gladly assist you.

Name Tags

Wearing our name tags is a great way to help all of us learn each other’s names.  If you are new to St. Andrew’s and have not received your name tag, please let me know and we will order one for you.  Everyone else, please remember to wear your name tag on Sunday!  It is a big help!

A Cup of Coffee (or juice or hot tea)

Visiting over a good cup of coffee is a great way to break the ice and get to know one another.  Thanks to a team of volunteers we have coffee and snacks between services and after the 10:30 service.  Let’s all make it a point to stop in the lobby for a few minutes to welcome new folks and begin getting to know them and introducing them to others. 

Also, our rector, Anne, and her husband, John, are about to resume Coffee and Conversation, whereby groups of 10-12 people are invited to their condo for a visit.  Be looking for an email that will have a survey to help us as we set up the groups and send out invitations.  Please take a minute to answer that brief, two question survey.

Rachel Roby
Paris Administrator