We’ve moved!

With our new website, we no longer need to maintain a separate blog. ALL of our web content can now be found at www.stgeorgesepiscopal.net, and blog content in particular, which now includes news and announcements as well as sermon and reflection content, can be found under “News and Notes.” There are still some bugs to be worked out, and the site will likely continue to grow, but if you have notifications for this blog turned on—alas, this will be our last post here.

We’ll see you on the new site. Thanks for following us during our first attempts at blogging–and we hope you like what we have in store!

~Helen Mosher
Communications and Facilities Coordinator
St. George’s Episcopal Church, Fredericksburg

Advertisements

Statement in support of our Muslim neighbors

The following statement from the vestry and clergy of St. George’s Episcopal Church, Fredericksburg, Va., has been released in support of local Muslim neighbors who are facing prejudice and opposition as they practice their faith in peace and neighborly love. It is in response to the forum this week in which these neighbors (who have been worshiping in the area for 27 years) were insulted and verbally attacked as they were attempting to have a public dialogue about their plans to build a new mosque. Christ taught us to love our neighbors as ourselves. By making that statement, we bear witness to Christ our King who could see faith even in those who were not of his religion (Matthew 15:28). Our Muslim friends have, on numerous occasions, partnered with us in serving community dinners and participating in interfaith prayer events.  That spirit of cooperation bears witness to God’s kingdom where all shall be fed and all shall be free. With Christ as our King, we are empowered to be ambassadors of wholeness in a fractured world. Here is the vestry’s statement:

In recognition that we are all children of God and that Christians and Muslims share a common faith ancestry, and in recognition that we Christians are called to love God and love our neighbors as ourselves, and in recognition that the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom was written in our city of Fredericksburg, the vestry and clergy of St. George’s Episcopal Church extend our support to our Muslim friends and neighbors who are practicing their faith within our shared community. We stand for continuing dialogue that can acknowledge our connections as well as our differences and respect the dignity of every human being.

 

The Clergy and Vestry of St. George’s Episcopal Church:

The Rev. Joseph H. Hensley, Jr., Rector
The Rev. Gay H. Rahn, Associate Rector
The Rev. Deacon Carey Dougherty Chirico, Director of Outreach
David Morgan
Earl Baughman
Anne Beals
Ann Smith
Tommy Thompson
Mary Woolls
Peggy Johnson
Peggy Conway
Michael Fray
Meghan O’Connor
Daniel Johnson
Dick Juergens

Greetings from South Sudan

A letter from Larry Duffee, a St. George’s parishioner living in Juba, South Sudan:

utovehicle
One of last year’s UTO grants helped fund this new vehicle for the Hope and Resurrection School in Atiaba, South Sudan. 

Greetings from South Sudan! I just wanted to take a moment, as I usually do every year, to encourage my fellow parishioners at St. Georges to contribute to the upcoming UTO Ingathering on November 15th. I know from personal experience how vital and important these funds are for churches around the world. I was fortunate to personally administer two UTO grants that were given to the Episcopal Church of Sudan a few years ago. One project built a perimeter wall around the Provincial headquarters providing sorely needed security as well as—by incorporating small retail shops into the design of part of the wall—income to support the ECS. A second project, very dear to my heart because I personally applied for the grant and was able to implement it, was to purchase for the Provincial Mother’s Union office a good, sturdy vehicle to allow these tireless, wonderful women to do their work—the first time they had ever had their own transport.

I can assure St. Georgians that UTO applications are well vetted and proper financial reports required for all UTO grants. I know, having made other applications on behalf of the ECS for UTO funds that were not accepted, that the selection process is rigorous. Donors can rest well assured that their funds are used appropriately.

Fail Magnificently: A Stewardship Sermon

From the Rev. Joseph H. Hensley, Jr., rector, St. George’s Episcopal Church
Fredericksburg, VA | Proper 24 Year B October 18, 2015

Text of the sermon as prepared (may differ slightly from recording): 

It is easy to laugh at Jesus’ disciples, especially in the Gospel according to Mark. They are like a bunch of clowns running around trying to outdo each other and failing miserably. James and John, the sons of Zebedee, come to Jesus asking for the seats of honor when he comes in his glory. They just don’t get it. It’s not about glory; it’s about service. It’s not about the honored place; it’s about honoring God. Ha ha! Those silly disciples.

We laugh perhaps because we don’t understand the importance of honor in that ancient culture. In those times honor was everything. You measured your life by how much honor you could accrue. The scales of life were calibrated in terms of honor and shame, and you did everything you could to tip them in favor of honor. That is not so much how we see things today, so it’s easy to chuckle at the disciples arguing over who gets the honored seats. We have our own scales, though. Instead of “honor” and “shame,” we often weigh the worth of our lives in terms of “success” and “failure.” We praise people who are successful. We avoid becoming a failure or a “loser” (as the younger generation might say). Jesus laughs at all of us, because he has come to reverse the scales completely. He says to seek the role of a servant. Seek the lowest place, the last position, so that you may be first. If you want to become great, be a servant. If you want real honor, be ready to endure shame. If you want true success, then seek something the world would consider to be failure.

This makes no logical sense! Yet, it is a theme that runs through the whole of scripture. God’s people are often the butt of the joke, the least and the last. Even in the glorious days of the kingdoms of Israel and Judah, the best rulers were the ones who acted like servants. What, then, does it mean to be a servant? What does it mean for us to follow Christ, who came not to serve but to be served and to give his life so that we might be free of these categories of success and failure, honor and shame? We often interpret servanthood in terms of helping others. Helping others is very good, as we focus on the needs of others instead of our own. Helping others can liberate us from selfishness and open our hearts to grace. I think there can be an additional twist, though–another facet to Jesus’ call to servanthood. I think it could be expressed as a call to “embrace failure.” Embrace failure. I know that sounds crazy. The way to free ourselves from worshipping the idols of honor and success is to turn these things upside down. Become a servant. I said earlier that the disciples sometimes look like clowns, but Jesus is the best trickster of all. Jesus comes and tells us that up is down, last is first, and the order we want to see in the world is falling apart. He shows us, like the best clowns, that falling down does not have to be an ultimate tragedy. When the clown falls down, the audience cheers. Failure becomes a success. When Jesus takes the lowest place, when he is lifted up on the cross, that crucifixion ends in resurrection. The failure of Christ to become the earthly king everyone wanted becomes the greatest success story of the world as he rules in our hearts for eternity. Embrace failure. Seek the lowest place, become a servant…this is good news. We don’t have to climb and claw our way to the top. Our call is not to be upwardly mobile but downwardly mobile. What a relief! What a joy and liberating feeling. Many of you know that I went to clown school once upon a time. The lesson they taught us over and over again was, “if you are going to fail…fail magnificently.” When you fall down, really fall down. When you make a mess, make it a big, glorious, hilarious mess. Embrace failure.

I say all this as we embark on our annual stewardship campaign – inviting everyone to make a financial pledge to support St. George’s in 2016. It’s certainly not the time when I want to be making a big mess! But I have to laugh that right now the public radio station is holding their pledge drive. Maybe you are like me and try to avoid listening to them beg for money. You might have even been hearing it on the way to church, and now we are going to talk about money here too! By the way, we have coffee mugs in the back that we will just give you. You don’t have to make a pledge! But the difference between our church stewardship campaign and the public radio fundraiser is that we are not raising funds, we are raising stewards! A steward is a kind of servant, one who cares for the sacred gifts that came from and already belong to God. As we heard in the lesson from Job today, God tells Job, “Where were you when I was laying the foundations of the earth? Are you the one who tends to all this creation?!” We are raising the awareness that our gifts are gifts from and to God as an act of thanksgiving and trust.

Yes, those gifts of money will enable us to continue Giving as One (our theme this year), to GO as one body to all who seek a place to encounter the beloved community, the kingdom of God. They will support the worship, music, learning and sharing, the exploration of serving, praying and caring…all the things that go on here. And while the monetary gifts are important, it is also important that we invite each other to give them as an act of faith and trust in God. We invite pledges as a spiritual practice, not just to make the church budget.

The fear every year, in every church that I have ever been a part of is that the campaign will fail. What if we don’t get enough pledges? What if we don’t real our goal? What if we don’t…succeed? Which program or staff will have to be cut? And the fear that often operates in our hearts as we consider how much to give wonders, “What if I can’t pay my pledge?” “I can’t possibly pledge 5 or 10 percent of my income, because that will cause me to FAIL financially.” These are not necessarily unrealistic fears. I’m not making light of them at all. The good news, though, is that we do not need to be controlled by them. When we are afraid, when we are tempted to run back to the categories of success and failure as the measure of our lives, Jesus is there to tell us: become a servant. Measure your life according to service and love. In the midst of our fear we can still serve. In the midst of our failure, perceived or real, we can serve. I can’t tell you the number of people I visit in the hospital and they feel useless because their bodies have failed them. I tell them, “you can still serve.” You can still serve through your prayer, through your kind smile to a doctor or nurse, through your very presence; you can be a wonderful servant.

Now I am not saying that we should TRY to fail. If you have a test to take tomorrow, I recommend that you study! The point is that when we fail (and we will fail), it is not the end. Ultimately, we face the failure of these earthly bodies, and death is not the end. Even in death, particularly in death, Jesus served. Jesus gave his life, he failed, so that he could reveal to us the way of new life. Jesus gave his life so that we could be free from our bondage. A failure is an opportunity for resurrection.

I do hope this stewardship campaign will be a success. I hope more of us than ever will experience the leap of faith that giving in and through the church can be. I hope our format will be successful as we act as stewards of the pledge card passport folders around our neighborhoods. I hope it will work, but if it fails along the way, then let’s fail magnificently and have a wonderful time doing it. I hope we will receive more than enough pledges to continue and expand the ministry of this embassy of God’s kingdom we call St. George’s. BUT…to truly succeed, to truly sit in the places of glory and greatness…it is not ours to control. God is preparing us to receive grace beyond our imagining. God is preparing us to give in ways beyond our conceiving. We may find that grace in moments of success. We will more likely, I think, find them in moments of failure and vulnerability. We will most certainly find that greatness and grace in acts of love and service, acts of generous giving and sacrificial sharing, whether we succeed or fail. May God give us what we need to receive that grace so that we might be servants and stewards with Christ.

Salty Christians: A Taste of Infinitude

From the Rev. Joseph H. Hensley, Jr., rector, St. George’s Episcopal Church
Fredericksburg, VA | Proper 21 Year B September 27
Audio:

 

Text of the sermon as prepared:

At the end of our Gospel passage from Mark today, Jesus gives some perplexing teaching: “Salt is good, but if salt has lost its saltiness, how can you season it? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another.” In Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus puts it this way as he preaches the sermon on the mount, “You are the salt of the earth.” What does it mean to have a salty faith? How are we to live out this call to saltiness? “Have salt in yourselves,” Jesus says, “and be at peace with one another.”

Here are some things we know about salt both in Biblical times and today. Salt is a seasoning for food. It is a preservative to prevent spoiling. Salt is a nutrient necessary for life. Salt is medicinal. This summer I cut my foot on our family beach trip. I went to my sister-in-law, who is a doctor, and asked her what I should do about it. She told me to go put it in the ocean, of course! That salty water heals all ills. Mahatma Gandhi performed one of the most famous acts of civil disobedience in modern history when he marched to the Indian Ocean and defied British tyranny by making salt. Gandhi’s salt march makes me think that salt can be symbol of liberation. The Chilean poet, Pablo Neruda, once wrote an ode to salt. In his poem he imagines the salt on our tables as connected with the mines deep in the earth, connected with oceans, connected with ancient ships and every meal we eat. He writes, “the smallest, miniature wave from the saltcellar reveals to us more than domestic whiteness; in it we taste infinitude.” In salt we taste infinitude, the limitless connections between all of God’s creations.

When we hear Jesus talking about having salt among ourselves, we can draw all kinds of connections with these images of salt that I have just described. We help to bring out the delicious flavor of the world with our acts of love and compassion. Our commitment to a larger communion, the body of Christ, preserves us against the spoiling of a self-centered world. When we act together as that community of faith, we can be agents of physical and spiritual health and healing. God uses us as agents of liberation and justice. At rare moments, we may without realizing it reveal a taste of God’s infinitude. I was exploring this theme with our guests from Tanzania, my friend from seminary, Bishop James Almasi and his Diocesan secretary, Canon Geoffrey Patrick. They are visiting Fredericksburg for a few days as part of a larger North American trip. Welcome! Canon Geoffrey remarked as we were talking about this passage that salt makes one thirsty. We Christians can be the salt which makes people thirsty for the living water of God. We could spend a long time imagining what Jesus might mean when he says for us to be salty.

The problem many Christians have, though, is that we sometimes get a little bit carried away with our saltiness. It’s not enough for us to bring the flavors of the dish together, we need to dominate the stew. It’s not enough for us to heal the wound, we need to make it sting a little bit. I think of the disciple, John, in today’s Gospel. John, the brother of James: the “sons of thunder.” John and James who will later come to Jesus to ask for the seats of honor when he comes in his glory. John and James who go up on the mountain with Jesus at the transfiguration. That John. He’s a salty sort of disciple, and he comes to Jesus saying that someone else, someone they didn’t know, someone who wasn’t part of their little group, has been casting out demons in Jesus’ name. The nerve of some people, right?! But don’t worry, Jesus, we took care of it, says John. We told him he couldn’t do that, because he wasn’t part of our group! You can just see Jesus shaking his head, “John, John! Do not stop him!”

Christian faith is not a game with insiders and outsiders. Christian faith is not about who has the most salt or the right kind of salt. I find it interesting by the way that these days in our cooking culture there is a gourmet thing going on with salt. Somehow the food tastes better if the salt was mined from deep inside the Himalayan mountains where it has become infused with nutrients over thousands of years. This is how we sometimes look at our churches. Which church in town has the saltiest music or theology or outreach or youth programs? You’d better believe it’s our church and not that church down the street. We are the saltiest. I’ve been encouraged by the Pope’s visits this week, because he is reaching out across church boundaries, but I can just hear some people saying, “If only he were an Episcopalian!” This is a stumbling block, the kind of stumbling block which Jesus warns against in the Gospel today. This kind of Christian smugness is just the kind of thing that makes a lot of people want to run in the other direction. They can taste the salt, and it turns them off. I don’t know that this is a big problem at St. George’s, because I think we’re trying to live our faith without having to make a big show or tell others they have to do it our way. But to the people who never come to church, we look like a big pillar of salt, and all they see is crusty corrosion. All they see is too much overpowering flavor that’s going to dry up their souls like a slug. They expect us to come out of here saying, “come be salty like us but only if you’re willing to follow our rules and do things our way.” That’s the stumbling block we have to be aware of, the stumbling block of our insider traditions that keep others on the outside and even pushes them away.

One place where I see just the right kind of saltiness is at The Table, our market style food pantry on Tuesdays. We say we are feeding people, but really we are providing a container. We put a bunch of people together, some rich, some poor, and some in between. We give them a bunch of food, some fresh, some canned, some dried. Then the most delicious dish emerges, seasoned by all our gifts. Jesus says to have salt among ourselves, and then he says, be at peace with one another. That word, peace, means wholeness and fulfillment. It means having the perfect amount of saltiness. It means all the flavors come together just so. It means that we do not have to worry about providing all that is needed. God has already provided the salt. If only the disciple John had said to the person who was also casting out demons, “hey where did you learn how to do that–and maybe we can learn from you?” It would have changed the whole equation. What if our guiding principle for evangelism (that’s the “e” word that we in the Episcopal Church are afraid of sometimes) was inquiry not inquisition? Curiosity not curatorial lecturing? God wants us to be at peace, whole and complete, which we can only know when we stop drawing lines of inside and out and realize that God’s grace has drawn a line around us all. We have all been seasoned with grace. We have all been salted with love. We have all been given a capacity to bring out the flavor in each other, to heal each other’s wounds, to proclaim each other’s liberation, to seek the infinitude, the limitless connections in and among and through each other’s lives. We do not need to try to be salty. With God’s help, we may discover each other’s saltiness. With God’s help, we may remove the stumbling blocks, the corrosive pillars of salt, and inspire each other to taste the infinitude; taste and see that God is good.

Table Talk: Renewed Energy of Fall

By Linda Carter

Tuesday was a day of pure energy. There was a definite uptick in the work in the kitchen (way too many eggs to sort); around the tables with greens, corn, apples, strawberries; damaged fruits going in to chunky applesauce and strawberry-banana smoothies thanks to Caroline of Downtown Greens. Don personally shucked nine crates of corn so that the off color husks didn’t stop shoppers from taking them. Tom was happy to show people that the purple marks on the carrots was caused by storage in plastic, but did not damage the carrot at all. We had new shoppers from as far away as Tappahannock and Ruther Glen. Carey asked for volunteers to reach out to some of our regulars who are suffering from terrible family losses and major health issues – a Table One Body Team.

We are blessed with volunteers. Sometimes it seems like we have more than enough, but we will find a place for you. We are still looking for gleaners to slot in to a weekly schedule.  If you have 2 hours in the middle of the day M/T/W/F, let me know.  We are working on setting up a monthly schedule so that gleaning rotates among a lot of people. The Table will be sending representatives to a Stafford Schools fair on Nov. 12 to talk to students about how they can volunteer in their communities. We love working with students of all ages and showing them the good that comes from helping others. Rivermont should be back with us shortly.

The Table buzzed all day long. Slightly cooler, less humid weather? Excitement of the Pope’s visit? Rushing to the holidays? The number of shoppers we see each week continues to hold at a higher level. We are thankful for a new grant of $12,500 from the Honeywell Charitable Fund of the Community Foundation. It is needed to sustain The Table going forward. Along with grants, we continue to look for other ways to get healthy foods to The Table each week. Take time to breathe this week and enjoy the beautiful weather we have been given.

A reflection on Holy Eucharist liturgy changes for fall 2015 at St. George’s

This Book of Common Prayer found in the Elsie Lewis Room is actually from 1977--it's a "proposed" BCP.  Its use was "authorized...as an alternative at any time or times to the established Book of Common Prayer, for a period of three years, as from the First Sunday of Advent, 1976,
This Book of Common Prayer  (BCP) found in the Elsie Lewis Room is actually from 1977–it’s a “proposed” BCP. Its use was “authorized…as an alternative at any time or times to the established Book of Common Prayer, for a period of three years, as from the First Sunday of Advent, 1976.”

When I arrived at St. George’s last January, I was immediately struck by the vibrancy of the worship life here. All the Sunday services had a distinct and wonderful energy. People ask me to name my favorite service, and I cannot do it. I love them all. In these first months, I have made a few adjustments and tried a few experiments in the worship services but have left their general structure in place. My sense is that the structure works well. We have a balance of two “traditional” services at 7:45 and 11 a.m. and two “alternative” services at 9 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. These services include the Holy Eucharist, in keeping with our Book of Common Prayer’s direction that the Holy Eucharist is the principal act of Christian worship on the Lord’s Day (Sunday BCP p. 13). We also offer compline, a simple service of chanted prayer, at 8:00 as a wonderfully traditional way to close the day. To offer this kind of variety is pretty unique for a parish our size in the Episcopal Church. Thanks be to God!

As part of The Episcopal Church we are expected to follow the Book of Common Prayer for our worship together, unless granted permission by the bishop to deviate from it. Years ago, the bishop gave permission for St. George’s to offer a service known as “Rite III,” designed in keeping with the BCP’s Order for Celebrating the Holy Eucharist on pp. 400-401. The prayer book is clear that this is not to take the place of the principal Sunday celebration of Holy Eucharist. St. George’s been using some additional resources for this Sunday service at 9:00 a.m. including “Enriching Our Worship I (EOW I)” a supplement to the BCP approved by the Episcopal Church in the late 1990’s. As we go back to our 9:00 service this fall, we will go back to a similar format with jazz music and alternative prayers. We have changed a few of the words to match what is in EOW, so that we are using words that are used by other congregations in the Episcopal Church that have adopted EOW. We are still people praying “in common” in some form or fashion. A slightly different practice will be saying a creed or affirmation of faith and a confession on alternating weeks. One week we will offer a creed and the next we will say a confession. This keeps the service a little shorter (which is helpful for getting to our classes on time following the 9:00). It also exposes us to the creeds and confession prayers in a lighter way. The 9:00 service was started, partly to reach out to families and people who might find a traditional service too heavy. Creeds and confessions can be hard for some folks. I do not want to omit these parts from the service completely, though, because they are important foundations of our worship life. At the same time, I do not want these parts to become stumbling blocks that make it hard for some people to worship. I hope that alternating their use will be a middle way.

Our other alternative service, Celtic evening prayer and Eucharist at 5:30 p.m. will stay consistent with a few prayers changed for variety’s sake. This service was started as a way to reach people for whom a gentler, quieter worship experience, later in the day, would make it possible for them to come to church. It was modelled after a similar service at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Richmond and uses language from the Iona Community in Scotland. Iona is an ecumenical, Christian community dedicated to exploring new ways of sharing the Gospel. Some people have asked why we no longer say the Lord’s Prayer at this service according to the version found in the New Zealand Book of Common Prayer. Our bishop, Shannon Johnston, has been very accommodating of St. George’s requests to have alternative worship. However, he has asked that we stick to the versions of the Lord’s Prayer found in our Book of Common Prayer for any official service of worship. As Episcopalians, the authority of bishops is important. At this point, I want respect his wishes, especially given that he has been so flexible in other ways. I do think at some point we can ask him more about his preference. He is definitely open to dialogue.

Likewise, our traditional Eucharist service, Rite I, at 7:45 will also remain consistent. The language in this service is the closest we have to the original Book of Common Prayer from our roots in England. In such an historic congregation as St. George’s, the fact that we offer this service is a testimony to those foundations. We might occasionally offer Rite I at another time, because we have some folks who really enjoy the tradition but find 7:45 a.m. too early an hour.

Our principal Sunday service is the 11:00 a.m. Holy Eucharist, Rite II. When I arrived here, I became aware that this service had been modified from the language of the BCP, and that these changes were not without some controversy. Some people welcomed language, especially in the Eucharist prayers that reflected more gender-neutrality or inclusion of feminine as well as masculine references to God. Others felt these changes were not appropriate for our principal service, since they did not follow the BCP. I have engaged the congregation and our bishops in conversations about our liturgy, because I am new here and want to understand more. Those conversations are still in process. For now, the response I have received from our bishops is that we should restore our principal service to follow the prayer book. Personally, I wish that the revisions of the 1979 BCP had gone farther to be gender neutral or gender inclusive. However, I am not comfortable editing the prayers of our BCP without some wider guidance from the Church. After all, if every Episcopal parish edited the prayer book on their own, we would risk losing some of our identity as people who worship in common.

At the same time, there is also a “tradition” in the Episcopal Church of pushing the envelope! I did continue the practice of editing the prayers in my first months, because I did not want to make too many changes too quickly. I love our Episcopal Church, because we are a church of the “via media” the “middle way.” I have decided (in consultation with bishops, clergy, staff, and parishioners) to make the following changes for the fall, until Advent (to be reviewed as seasons change and conversations continue). As rector, the liturgy is ultimately my responsibility, though I am thankful to share that responsibility with others. We will use the language of the BCP at 11:00 with a couple of additions where they are allowed. Pastorally, I know that many St. Georgians just want to worship using the prayer book and felt that the previous changes were forced upon them. There are also many St. Georgians who love the prayer book and traditional music but are averse to patriarchal language. There are places in our liturgy where the prayer book gives latitude for the celebrant to insert prayers of his/her choosing. One place is the Prayers of the People. There are forms provided in the BCP beginning on p. 383, but the instructions make clear that adaptations and insertions may be made. We will balance between forms from the book and prayers composed by our own St. George’s prayer guild. Following these prayers, there is a “concluding Collect,” and ending prayer. The BCP says the celebrant may select “a Collect expressive of some special need in the life of the local congregation” (BCP p. 394).

For this season, we will pray using a medieval text by the great Anglican archbishop, Anselm of Canterbury. His prayer makes reference to Jesus as a mother figure (inspired by Luke 13:34; included in the Enriching Our Worship materials). I have chosen this prayer, because I hope it will addresses a pastoral need of those in our 11:00 congregation for language that is not exclusively masculine. Another place where the celebrant has options is the blessing at the end of the service. You may hear me or others using feminine as well as masculine language or simply language that is gender neutral. Again, this is my attempt to find a middle way. I realize that there is no way to make everyone happy. Let us try these changes for a season and keep the feedback coming.

I also want to suggest, perhaps controversially, that if there are words in our prayers that make you uncomfortable, there is no requirement that you say them. If the prayer book refers to God as “him,” I am fine with individuals saying their own word quietly or simply pausing in silence. There are times when I do this myself. Common prayer does not mean we all have to walk in lock step. We pray together in our own voices, our hearts united in common respect and love.

For the fall season we will return to a chanted psalm with refrain at 11:00. This will also mean printing more of the service in the bulletin at the 11:00 service this fall. Many St. Georgians have expressed a preference to print less of the service and ask people to use the prayer books in the pews. This is the time of year when many newcomers arrive. It is an act of hospitality to welcome them with a bulletin that makes it easier to participate. We will ask people to open the BCP from time to time. Of course, you are welcome to use the BCP as much as you want! In future seasons, we may again try using less paper.

In general, these topics need more conversation and study. We have had some of those discussions over the summer, and I look forward to more in the future.

I have written a lot here, and appreciate your taking the time to hear some of the “method” behind our “madness.” I am having a wonderful time at St. George’s, and I hope this fall will be a time of continuing vibrancy in our worship life. The liturgy is where we begin and end and begin again our mission as Christians. The Lord be with us…

Your rector and brother in Christ,

Joe+