Vestry Nominations

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Our Parish Annual Meeting is coming up the last Sunday of this month, January 27, following the joint 10:00am service. During that meeting, the congregation will elect three people to three-year terms on the Vestry. The Nominating Committee is pleased to present to you the slate of nominees they have received; their names and some biographical information is below, as well as each nominees response to the same question: "What are your hopes and dreams for St. Michael's in the coming three years?"

Please feel free to contact any of the nominees if you have questions for them or if you would just like to get to know them better. The Nominating Committee and Vestry have determined that each of the candidates satisfies the requirements of the canons and by-laws to serve, and each nominee has agreed to stand for election.

We have five members nominated for three spots. As always, there will be an opportunity for nominations from the floor, but before you nominate anyone, please make sure you have their permission to do so, that they agree to serve if elected, and that they satisfy the requirements to serve on the Vestry of St. Michael's. 

According to our by-laws, members 18 years or older who are communicants in good standing are eligible to serve, with two exceptions - those living in the same household or who are immediate family members (parent, child, sibling, or spouse) of current Vestry members, and any outgoing member of the Vestry who has served a full term. A communicant in good standing is defined as a member who "unless for good cause prevented, for the last year has been faithful in attendance and in working, praying, and giving for the spread of the Kingdom."

I ask that between now and the annual meeting we please hold these four angels in our prayers, including prayers of thanksgiving for their willingness to serve our congregation.

 

Nominees for Vestry 2019-2022

Chuck Barton

Chuck and Holly Barton

Chuck and Holly Barton

I am a lifelong Episcopalian, husband of Holly for 45 years, father of three, grandfather of seven and a retired banker.  We moved to Pooler early in 2018 from Rhode Island, where we had lived for 35 years.  Our search for a church home led us to SM&AA last spring.  I have served on two vestries - at Church of Our Savior, a parish similar to St. Michael’s in Arlington, MA and at St. Luke’s in East Greenwich, RI where we were members for 35 years. I served 12 years on the board of St. Mary’s Home for Children, an agency serving abused children in Rhode Island.  In East Greenwich, I served 12 years on the school board, including six as chair, and two years as president of the town council.  At St. Michael’s, I am a lay reader and volunteered at the Christmas tree sale. 

“What are your hopes and dreams for St. Michael’s in the next three years?”

St. Michael’s is a wonderful place.  It attracted Holly and me quite quickly with its warmth and its sense of purpose. 

  1. I would like to see St. Michael’s attract more young members to provide continuity for the sense of belonging that new members like us feel. 

  2. Holly and I journey from Pooler to attend services, as other travel from outside the neighborhood.  St. Michael’s can think of itself as a magnet parish attracting Episcopalians and others from a wide area who are seeking to serve Christ as part of a wonderful, welcoming community.

  3. The capital campaign funds need to be well spent to provide outward and visible signs that we are a vibrant parish.



Judy Berube

Judy Berube

Judy Berube

Judy has been married to her husband Joe for 39 years this July. They have one daughter, Barbara, who lives in Ramona, CA with her husband Dorian and Judy’s grandson TJ. Judy was born in Washington, DC and has lived in several places along the East Coast. She and Joe settled in Savannah about 26 years ago, so they think of it as their hometown now. For the previous nine years, Judy was a caregiver to a very special lady whom she dearly misses now. Before that, she owned her own quilt shop, Let’s Sew. She still enjoys quilting and going to quilt shows. Of course, she can’t leave out that she’s semi-retired and that she runs the I AM Food Pantry here at St. Michael’s.

Over the next three years, Judy hopes to continue working on her strength and compassion for others that will leave a lasting and positive impact on the lives of those who walk through our doors.

David Tanner

David and Kim Tanner

David and Kim Tanner

David has been a member of St. Michael and All Angels since 2013. You may recognize him when he's holding or chasing one of his two boys, Everett and Wendell, or when he's standing next to his wife, Kim. Otherwise he's pretty unremarkable. 

David has been involved with the Christmas tree sale since 2014 and had a hand in updating the church website to its current form in 2015.

Over the next three years, David's hopes and dreams for the church include:

1. Growing its relationships with the various groups that share our space, especially our Scouting programs. 

2. Becoming even more integrated into our surrounding neighborhoods and the greater Savannah community.

3. Creating new opportunities for fellowship for our parishioners.


Barbara Medeiros

Barbara Medeiros

Barbara Medeiros

Barbara E. Medeiros is the Chief Financial Officer for Georgia Regional Hospital at Savannah. She received her BS from UC Hayward and her MBA from Wilmington College.  She has spent her financial career working in communications, environmental service, and health care.  When she is not mulling over financial statement she enjoys quilting, gardening, and being outdoors.  She currently resides in Savannah with her father and son.  She has attended the 8:00 am service at St. Michael’s for a little over a year and serves as a LEM (Lay Eucharistic Minister) at the 8am service for the past 5 months.  

She sees her next 3 years at St. Michael’s answering God’s calling in any area that is needed: continuing as a LEM, doing weekly reading, utilizing her financial experience, and serving in any area of St. Michaels that may be needed, along with growing her relationship with God and her St. Michael’s family.

Bill Steinhauser

Bill Steinhauser

Bill Steinhauser

My  family and I have been  members of St Michaels for over 35 years. I have been on the vestry 4 times, once serving as Senior Warden.  I have been our convocation’s representative on Diocesan council 3 times. I have been elected by our Diocese 3 times to serve as Deputy to General Convention, once as alternate and twice as the Deputy. I am a cradle Episcopalian. My hopes and dreams for St. Michael’s for the next three years are to grow spiritually and physically. We need to get the word out who Jesus is and how His word can help all of us be better people, people who Jesus would be proud of. We all need to bring someone to St. Michael’s and show them what just what a few of us are doing for the community.

Expansive Language Liturgies

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As we enter into the season following The Epiphany at St. Michael’s, remember that at the 10:30 service for the next several Sundays we will be using a trial liturgy approved by The General Convention last summer. The idea behind these liturgies is not to replace The Book of Common Prayer but to offer an additional option for congregations to use. Furthermore, as their title suggests, these liturgies don’t try to replace language we already use but to expand our stock of images, words, and ideas we use to describe our experience with the Living God who is beyond anything that we can say.

Our goal at St. Michael’s is to respond to the request made by The General Convention - to try these liturgies in our congregation, see what our experience of them is, and then offer our feedback to a diocesan committee, who will in turn send feedback from all congregations in the diocese to a church-wide Task Force. So, how does this work?

Starting this Sunday, instead of using the Prayer Book, we will have a booklet with the service printed in it. (See photo above). It should be a fairly seamless entry into the service; just follow along as you would in the Prayer Book. The congregation’s parts will be printed in bold text; the celebrant’s or other leaders’ parts will be in plain text. So if it’s bold, you read it. We will still have the regular inserts for the collect and readings, and will have a folded one-page “bulletin” with the order of service, hymns, prayer list, and announcements.

I encourage you over the next several weeks to pay attention to what’s going on inside your mind and soul as we pray our way through these liturgies. What about them stands out for you? Where do you notice differences? What among those differences is a help to prayer and worship? What gets in the way? The first week or two may be awkward; anything new always is, especially when it comes to church, but please stick with it. I encourage you also to take notes about your experience, even while you are in church, so that you don’t later forget things that came to you in the moment.

The Last Sunday after the Epiphany is March 3, and that will be the last Sunday we use them. On March 6, Ash Wednesday, we will return to the Book of Common Prayer. We will have some times outside of church for those who wish to discuss our experience with these liturgies. I hope you will take part in those as you can.

The Epiphany of our Lord

Note: Not an actual first century photo.

Note: Not an actual first century photo.

This Sunday, January 6, is the Feast of the Epiphany of our Lord. It is the celebration of the coming of the Magi who have followed a star to Jesus. While our tradition tells us that there were three of them - and they even have names - the Gospel doesn’t mention a number, so in truth we don’t know how many actually showed up. In any case, i’m sure it was pretty spectacular when they did.

Of central importance to the story of the Epiphany is the ethnicity of the Magi - they are not Jewish; they are foreigners, outside of the promises God had long made to the descendants of Abraham. Even so, they recognize Jesus and come to worship him. In parts of the Eastern Church, Christmas is celebrated on this day, marking the day the Messiah is revealed to the world beyond the people of Israel.

One of the traditions that has grown up around this feast is the “Chalking of the Door,” a manner of asking God’s blessing upon your home for the coming year. On Sunday, there will be chalk and an order of service available for any who wish to continue this tradition for 2019.

Coming Soon - Annual Meeting (and Vestry Nominees)

St. Michael and All Angels, Christmas Eve 2018

St. Michael and All Angels, Christmas Eve 2018

Okay, so the photo above isn’t exactly related to our upcoming Annual Meeting, but it is a lovely shot of our church on Christmas Eve, and I thought it was worth sharing. Hope you are having a Merry Christmas this year.

Our Annual Meeting is coming up on January 27, with one service at 10:00am, followed by lunch and then the meeting in Patton Hall. At the meeting we will receive reports on the state of the parish, present a 2019 budget, and elect three new members to the Vestry.

The Nominating Committee will present the names of five parishioners who have agreed to stand for election. Of these five, we need to elect three. Their names, in alphabetical order, are Chuck Barton, Judy Berube, Barbara Medeiros, Bill Steinhauser, and David Tanner. In a future post we will include photos and a brief bio for each nominee. Nominations may also be made from the floor during the Annual Meeting; if you wish to nominate someone, please make sure that they meet the requirements to serve on Vestry and that they are willing to serve if elected. If you have questions about that, please speak to Fr. Kevin or to Georgia Fogarty.

Weekly Update, pre-Christmas Edition

Decorating for Christmas services.

Decorating for Christmas services.

Our Pantry volunteers - some of the hardest working Angels around

Our Pantry volunteers - some of the hardest working Angels around

Last week we told you what was coming up around St. Michael and All Angels. We’re getting close to being ready for Christmas. For the last two days, our Angels emptied, sorted, stacked, and stored almost 600 bags of groceries brought in by the Callahan Food Drive. These people are nothing short of amazing! A few of them are pictured above; to them and the others whose pics we didn’t get - Thank You So Much!!!!

This Sunday is the 4th (and last) Sunday of Advent. Monday is Christmas Eve, so there’s one last big push to get ready. Following the 10:30 service we decorate the church, and we need your help. There’s lots to do, so please join in the fun!!!

It's not Christmas yet, but...

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Ok, it isn’t Christmas yet. We’re close but not quite there. That said, we are getting ready for it, both to worship our Lord and King at the commemoration of His birth and to receive Him when we encounter Him in the world outside the walls of our sanctuary. Here’s what’s going on, and I invite you to take part in our preparations for Christmas.

Angel Tags - If you picked up a tag for our Angel family, please bring their wrapped gifts to church with you this Sunday.'

Mysterious Santa - New stuffed animals can be brought into the church any time the church office is open, and on Sundays.

Decorations for Christmas Eve - December 17 and 19 at 5:30pm - we will begin assembling the window treatments and other decorations.

Don Callahan Food Drive - December 20 & 21, 9:30a-3:30p - come help stack, sort, and store all the canned goods that our neighborhoods will be bringing in.

Greening the Church - December 23, following the 10:30 service - we bring in and set up the decorations we made earlier in the week.

Christmas Eve - Solemn Christmass at 5:00pm with choir

Christmas Day - Mass at 10:30am

The General Convention and Expansive Language Liturgies

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Meeting in July, The General Convention of the Episcopal Church considered and declined to proceed with a revision of the 1979 Book of Common Prayer. Instead, the Convention authorized for trial use a set of “expansive-language liturgies” for what we now know as Eucharistic Prayers A, B, and D. The approved use of these liturgies was left to the discretion of each bishop in his or her own diocese, and all diocese were urged “to create a liturgical commission to collect, reflect, teach and share these resources with” a task force formed by Convention. Our bishop has approved the use of these prayers as of the First Sunday in Advent (this past Sunday).

I would like us to follow the request of The General Convention and give these liturgies a try here at St. Michael’s. I propose that we do so for the season following The Epiphany, beginning January 13 and going until the last Sunday before Lent, March 3. As the liturgies are only written in Rite II, we would use them only at the 10:30 service. Our 8:00 Rite I service will remain unchanged.

I know the mention of “trial liturgies” can ignite strong feelings, both positive and negative, so let me lay out the approach I want to take. First of all, the point of these trials is not to decide if we want to use them long term at St. Michael’s but to use them for a limited time, to pray them faithfully, and see how they “sit” with us. We may find them beautiful and effective means of encountering and worshipping the living God; we may not. Whichever we decide, I’d like us to provide some solid, constructive feedback to the commission about our experience. To do that means that we need to give them a fair shake.

To help us accomplish this goal, we will be taking a close look at the liturgy we’re going to be using for Epiphany season during the Rector’s Forum on Sunday mornings, starting this Sunday. There are many options provided, and I want your input on what we should use and when. We need honest opinions and feedback; it’s okay not to like the trial liturgies, but we need to be able to say what we don’t like about them and why. We also may find we like parts of them but not others. Please remember, this is only for a few weeks; come Lent, we will go back to our Prayer Book for Sunday worship at both services.

We will be producing booklets with the full Sunday liturgies for our use. You won’t have to try to memorize anything or flip back and forth through extra pages trying to find our place in the service. I promise we will make this as seamless and easy as we can. I hope you’ll take part and help produce our report for the diocesan liturgical commission.

It's gonna be a quiet week at St. Michael's... (Ha!)

Tired Angel

Tired Angel

This is what some of our angels may look like after this coming week at St. Michael’s. We have a lot to do, a short time to do it, and we need your help. Here’s what’s happening this week; jump in wherever you are able.

Tomorrow - Saturday - at 8:00am we go into high gear for the Christmas Tree lot build. Charlean Smith is heading up breakfast for the workers; we’re having breakfast casseroles, fruit, juice, and donuts. Contact Charlean if you can help buy, make, serve, or clean up afterwards. As soon as we’re well fed, we head over to Daffin to build the tree lot; there’s lots to do, and we can use you. At some point tomorrow - we’re still trying to pin down a time from the nursery - our trees will be delivered, and we’ve got to get them unloaded, counted, and sorted.

Sunday - we gather all the food to go in the Thanksgiving bags we start giving away on Tuesday. Here is what we still need, in volume: cranberry sauce, stuffing mix, cornbread mix, cake mix/frosting, and especially Thanksgiving-themed reusable grocery bags. We do have the hams we need at this point; we just need more of the list above. We’ll use as much as you can bring. Also, the 2019 Pledge Campaign Celebration takes place between services that morning. What if you haven’t turned in your pledge card yet? Bring it with you!!!!!

Monday - we fill the Thanksgiving bags. We may actually have enough volunteers to accomplish this task by now, thanks to all of you who responded to the SignUp Genius request. Still, things could change, so if you’re around Monday morning, come on by.

Tuesday - we start giving out the bags through the I AM Food Pantry.

Wednesday - 10:00am Healing Eucharist as usual. After that, we should all look pretty much like the Angel above, so we’ll collapse until…

Friday - Christmas Tree Lot opens at 9:00am. Come help sell our trees!

Of course, Thursday is Thanksgiving Day - so eat (but not too, too much), celebrate, and give thanks for all God has done for you.

 

Message from our Bishop at Convention

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Below is the text of an email our Bishop sent out to the diocese today. It mirrors an address he shared at the end of Convention in Albany today. We will certainly talk about this at church tomorrow, so please bring any questions you might have with you.

In the meantime, please keep the diocese, its Standing Committee, and our Bishop in your prayers.

To the Faithful of the Diocese of Georgia:

November 10, 2018

To the Faithful of the Diocese of Georgia:

In the last year I've had some significant health setbacks. In my rehabilitation I've not been able to get back to 100%. My doctors and therapists have recently told me I never will. To be the bishop of a diocese of this size and scope, my experience tells me the bishop needs to be at 100% all the time. And you deserve such a bishop. It has been hard for me to admit this (pride being the worst of all sins), but I can no longer physically do what the bishop of this diocese must do. Thus, I have informed the Standing Committee I intend to resign as the Bishop of Georgia upon the successful election and consecration of my successor. The election will take place next year in Statesboro, on November 15-16. The consecration of the 11th Bishop of Georgia will be, God willing, on May 30, 2020. Your Standing Committee will oversee the discernment and election process. 

When bishops make an announcement such as this, the usual script they follow is to say how wonderfully healthy the diocese now is, how leaving when things are going so well is for the best, and then the bishop subtly works in all sorts of backdoor compliments for all the great things he thinks he's done. I won't insult your intelligence by doing that, nor will I subject you to what we all know to be at best half-truths. The truth is we're facing tremendous headwinds as a Church and, as of yet, we've not done what we need to do to adequately address them. We aren't evangelizing as we must and our stewardship isn't strong enough to be sustaining in the long-term. 

Over the next 18 months I will continue to put my heart and soul into this vocation. My schedule, however, will need some further adjustments due to my ongoing physical challenges. There will be no "lame duck" anything. If I hear: "we'll have to wait until the new bishop is here," then I will say "no" and we'll move forward. God's Mission won't be suspended over the next 18 months.

Nine years ago, you gave me a privilege I didn't deserve and that was to serve as your bishop. Other than my marriage to Kelly and the gift of our three children, your gift to me has been the most precious of my lifetime. I thank you for entrusting this office to my care and oversight. I ask your forgiveness for the many times I failed to be the bishop you needed. In all things, you have shown me grace upon grace and you have honored me in giving me this trust and responsibility. 

Always in Christ,

The Right Reverend Scott Anson Benhase

Bishop of Georgia

The Feast of All Saints

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This Sunday we celebrate The Feast of All Saints, even though the actual feast day is November1. All Saints is the only day in the calendar that the Prayer Book permits us to celebrate twice - once on the actual date and then again on the Sunday following. Without delving into the differences between All Saints and All Souls and thus between the Church Triumphant and the Church Expectant, we will content ourselves with saying that this is when we give thanks for all those faithful servants of God who have gone before, “who rejoice with us, but upon another shore and in a greater light, that multitude which none can number, whose hope was in the Word made flesh, and with whom, in this Lord Jesus, we for evermore are one".”

In keeping with this celebration, I encourage you to be thinking about who those saints might be in your own life. When you come to church on Sunday, you will find at the back of the church alongside the regular Prayers of the People, a list of those names whom we will remember at the altar. Add the names you bring to the list, so we can include all the saints in the lives of our congregation.

Two quick notes about attending this Sunday: it’s Time Change Sunday, so don’t forget to set your clocks back an hour before you go to bed Saturday night, and this is the Rock n Roll 5k this Sunday. When you arrive you will see signs saying you can’t park on Washington Avenue, but that will not be enforced until noon on Sunday. We’ll make sure to have you out of church by then, so park as you normally would. See you on Sunday!

Love in the Time of Elections

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As the upcoming elections draw nearer, our anxiety as a country grows accordingly. This past week several explosive devices were mailed to prominent people but fortunately were intercepted before they could do any harm. Except that they have harmed us. Our President calls for civility and an end to hatred and division but then continues to spread division and anger amongst his most fervent supporters at rallies. The internet is filled with unflattering images of candidates, often accompanied by falsely attributed statements or cruel, cutting comments. I suspect you have seen them. We all say that we have to do better, but it seems to me that comment usually means, “The ‘other side’ needs to be better; ‘my side’ is just fine.’”

There is a solution, of course; it’s just not the one we hear about the most. The solution doesn’t lie in winning elections or changing laws, in appointing judges or demanding Congressional investigations. The solution will not come through persuasive arguments or cutting remarks. We will not bring about a change of heart by changing the minds of those who disagree with us. The solution, as every Christian should know, is only and exactly what Jesus taught - love. Love of God, love of neighbor, love of our enemies, love of those with differing political views - this is the burden that Jesus lays upon his followers. It does not allow for exceptions, conditions, or reservations.

Love is simple in its being, but it is not always easy. It may not make us feel satisfied with the results, justified by its outcome, or even just better because we did it. None of those things is the point. Loving, especially when it requires something of us, reshapes us into the image of God stamped upon us at creation. It makes us more of the person we were created by God to be. It reveals the face of God to those around us. Love is the only power at our disposal that we cannot exhaust or misuse; it is, as Paul reminds us above, the only true debt we have, one which we owe not just to one another, but to the God who created us and taught us the meaning of love.

Our Community Cupboard

The Blessing of the Community Cupboard, given by our Girl Scout Troop

The Blessing of the Community Cupboard, given by our Girl Scout Troop

Last Sunday afternoon, members of St. Michael’s gathered with the Scouts, leaders, and parents of our Girl Scout Troop to bless the Community Cupboard that some of the girls had built as their Silver Award Project. I’m grateful to those who were able to be present and to those who planned and provided the reception afterwards.

If you usually park and come in from Washington Avenue on Sundays, I hope you’ll walk around the corner and take a look. The Cupboard will be stocked with snacks and other foods that are easy to open and require no preparation. It is always open and accessible to anyone who walks by. As you can imagine, the food inside goes very quickly, and I suppose that some who are not exactly in desperate need are availing themselves of it, and perhaps some others are taking more than they need. We might be tempted to let those be reasons not to offer such a thing, but the Girl Scouts were clear - they didn’t mind. They just wanted it to be there for anyone who was hungry. Sometimes kind innocence and even naivety are not such terrible responses, especially in a time when the supposedly more sophisticated and powerful in the world seem bent towards harshness and even cruelty.

When the Cupboard was first put in place, someone asked if i’d seen it, and with a shy look they said, “It’s not exactly perfect.” I thought about that for a moment and then replied, “Yeah, that’s true, but it really kind of fits with most of what goes on at St. Michael’s - imperfect, but done with love and a desire to help.”

If you want to help with our imperfect Cupboard, there’s always a basket for it at the entrance to the church building - drop off some snacks or other goodies there.

Our Patron Saint

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This Saturday, September 29, is the Feast of St. Michael and All Angels. The Book of Common Prayer permits a congregation to transfer its patronal feast onto the next Sunday, provided it’s not during certain special times of the year. As we are hopelessly in the middle of what’s commonly called “Ordinary Time,” we don’t have to worry.

Depending upon how high your angelology is, Michael is one of either one, three, four, or seven named archangels in our tradition. The Book of Daniel refers to Michael as the protector of Israel, while in Revelation he is portrayed as the leader of the armies of God against the forces of the devil, the “deceiver of the world.” The name Michael comes from Hebrew and means “who is like God.” In other words, our congregation has a pretty serious patron saint. Michael is also the only non-human to be canonized as a saint, but that’s another story.

This Sunday we celebrate our patronal feast with one service at 10:00am, followed by lunch in Patton Hall. Lunch is potluck, so we will be eating whatever you bring. Come be part of the feast!!!!

Let's read the Bible together

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For the last couple of weeks, we’ve been writing about reading the Bible. On Monday, October 1, St. Michael’s is offering a way for us as a congregation to read through the entire Bible over the course of a year. We have a program we will follow that appoints three passages per day: the first is the main section for the day, beginning of course at “In the beginning;” the second and third passages are much shorter and will come from one of Paul’s letters and from the Psalms. The intent is to make this process as much devotional and inspirational as it is informative and educational.

We’re asking folks to sign up for this, so we know how many people are going to participate; there will be a list available in church on Sunday, and you can also call or email the office and sign up that way. You can use any translation or edition of the Bible you prefer. If you’d like some suggestions, you can ask Nathan or me on Sunday, but i highly recommend this one. It’s an excellent study Bible that uses the NRSV translation, the same one we use in church on Sundays.

If you have any questions, please let us know. See you on Sunday, and in the mean time, please keep in your prayers all those affected by Florence. I’m sure in the days to come, we will have opportunities to offer additional help, but until such time we can always offer our prayers.

"The Word of the Lord"

The Book of Common Prayer opened to p. 853

The Book of Common Prayer opened to p. 853

In last week’s blog post, Fr. Kelly announced that we are planning to read the Bible in a year as a church. We will begin on the Feast of St. Michael and All Angels, which we will celebrate September 30.

As we prepare for this journey, perhaps a good question to ask is “What is the Bible?” It may seem like a basic question, but many have become so familiar with the Bible that we need to take a step back and think about a basic question like this. The Bible is a collection of writings by various and differing authors that have been gathered together and edited over the course of several centuries. Christians do not always agree what books should be included in this collection. However, all of the books considered canonical by various Christian communions come from people of God’s covenant.

In many ways, this collection seems messy. Differing accounts of events are included. The various authors do not always seem to agree. Despite this, after a reading for this collection in a service, the reader says, “The Word of the Lord,” to which we respond, “Thanks be to God.” By saying this, we are affirming that God has been at work through the whole process: the writing, collecting, editing, and reading. We believe that God uses the text to speak to us today. The same Spirit that inspired the ancient authors guides us as we read.

The goal of reading through the Bible is for us to have a more intimate connection with God. We also hope that we will grow closer with each other as we engage one another in discussing what we have read and discovered in Scripture. After all, the Bible is best read in community with others.

"to read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest..."

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As a member of the Standing Committee I regularly meet with and interview Episcopalians who believe themselves called to ordained ministry. The role of the Standing Committee in these cases, along with the Bishop and the Commission on Ministry, is to help discern what sort of vocation might have in mind for these individuals and to oversee their continuing formation for ordination. It's a daunting responsibility. I previously served in a similar capacity in West Virginia for several years, so i've met with a fair number of folks who feel called either to the priesthood or the diaconate. One of the traits that these folks often say they lack is a sufficient knowledge of Holy Scripture. While that might surprise you, maybe it shouldn't. I find that many - maybe even most - Episcopalians simply do not know our Bible as well as we could.

That's a shame, really, and I don't mean that in an emotionally manipulative "you should love Jesus more" kind of way. Immersing ourselves in the stories of our faith is an incredibly effective way for us to deepen not just our knowledge about God but our relationship with God as well. The Holy Scriptures are the Constitution of our faith, but they are also the love story between God and creation. If we undertake the process described in those words from the Book of Common Prayer, "to read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest" the Scriptures, I suspect that more than anything else we will find ourselves falling deeper into love with the God encountered within them.

To that end, this fall St. Michael's will be undertaking a year-long effort, to read the entire Bible over the course of a year. We will begin on Monday, 1 October, the day after we celebrate the Feast of St. Michael. Between now and then, you'll hear lots more about this process: how it works, how to participate, what you will need, etc. Don't be afraid - we can do this! It won't be difficult or tedious, and the process is designed to help us find our way through the more drudgerous and dry parts, like the "begats." In addition, we will be offering a weekly Bible Study at St. Michael's to go along with our year's journey through the Bible.

I hope you'll take part - stay tuned for more details!!

The Book of Common Prayer, again continued

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Recently we have been talking a lot about the Prayer Book both in our blog and around the church. This week is no different.

Last week we shared an article by Calvin Lane on how the liturgical movement shaped the 1979 BCP. This week we offer another article discussing more about the liturgical movement and how key figures of the movement thought about liturgy. A key point in the article is "the Liturgical Movement wasn’t about living in the past, but about the past living with us."

The Book of Common Prayer, continued.

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Earlier this week I was asked by our Bishop to help design the schedule and offerings for our fall Clergy Conference. Unlike recent conferences - which i always enjoyed - this one will not employ an outside speaker to present us with an idea for a new program or something similar. Instead, it's going to be primarily a time for us to worship and pray together and to meet in small groups for discussion and reflection. Each group session will be led by members of our own clergy; I have been asked to lead one on developing and maintaining a Rule of Life.

Some of those conversations, including my own, will involve delving into the richness of our Prayer Book, an exercise I truly enjoy (in case you haven't noticed that). For those of you who may similarly be enamored with or just interested in the Book of Common Prayer, we are discussing it in the rector's forum each Sunday. I wrote some about that last week, and this week i want to offer you this article, the first of two that deals with the centuries-long process that produced the Prayer Book we use now.

The Book of Common Prayer

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The General Convention this year considered several resolutions concerning The Book of Common Prayer; the one drawing the most attention was the call to undertake an entirely new revision to be completed and approved by 2030. The General Convention did not vote for a new Prayer Book but instead called upon the church to examine and study the one we currently have. (This is the shortest explanation of what happened; the full version would take far too long to discuss here.)

First published in 1549, The Book of Common Prayer is far more than just a collection of services that Anglicans follow; it lays out the rhythm of daily, weekly, and yearly prayer cycles; sets forth what we believe and why; and, if we will allow it, helps to pattern our life as faithful and effective disciples of Jesus. The current revision, approved in 1979 and now in use for some 40 years, retains much of the first version but obviously with significant changes.

I am delighted and comforted by the wisdom of The General Convention's decision, and I want us to respond to their call to move more deeply into the richness of our Prayer Book. To that end, we are studying it in our Rector's Forum every Sunday morning at 9:30. We started a couple of weeks ago with the simple question, "What are some of your favorite parts or passages of the Prayer Book?" I hope you'll come be part of that discussion and share with us your favorite parts of The Book of Common Prayer.