A few of our four-legged friends

posted on, Oct 1, 2015

Everyone had a good time at recent St. Francis Blessings!

St. Francis Pet Blessing 2015 - 6

St. Francis Pet Blessing 2015 - 5

St. Francis Pet Blessing 2015 - 4

please pardon the mess

posted on, Sep 30, 2015

as we work to make our website more user and mobile friendly.25d9c24f58bb5ff748c332efc0f6ffdf

During this time some links may not work as expected.

Below you will find the archive of “Thoughts from the Rector (and others) …” in chronological order, beginning with the most recent.

Thank you for your patience.


Organ Dedication and Concert

posted on, Sep 25, 2015

Sunday, September 27, 2015 is St. Michael’s Day and we have two special music events!

IMG_1109Our “new” organ will be dedicated as part of the 11 am service when we welcome Donald R. Meineke as guest organist.

Organ Dedication Concert at 1:30 pm

Donald R. Meineke, with our Chancel Choir and James Morrow, will present hymns and organ music with a theme of angelic scripture readings (it is, after all,  the Feast of St. Michael’s and All Angels) as well as show us what our organ can do and sound like! Donald is currently the Organist and Director of Music at the Lutheran Church of the Holy Trinity (New York), known as “the Temple to Bach” as well as Artistic Director of Bach Vespers, featuring the Bach Choir and Players. He is, with James Morrow, a co-founder of Ensemble VIII and well known to many in the Austin community.

Go therefore …

posted on, Sep 11, 2015
Jesus gives us the Great Commission,
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you.”
Robby Photo
So, how are we at St. Michael’s doing in obeying this command from Jesus? (Note well: Jesus says, “Go” not “Wait until they drive up the driveway at 1500 N. Loop 360.”) A major “going” to be obedient and invitational is our south altar at Covington Middle School. The South Altar Launch Team (SALT) has worked hard enabling the service to happen, but the service has had a hard time drawing new people. In six months we have added only two new families.
However, two new campaigns are coming up:
  1. On Friday, September 254-6:30 p.m. St. Michael’s will have a free hot dog booth at the Covington Back-to-School Roundup. We plan to introduce ourselves to 100s of folks.
  2. On Sunday, October 4, the Feast of St. Francis, noon-1 p.m. we shall have an animal blessing booth at the entrance to Dick Nichols District Park, 8011 Beckett Road. Blessings, treats, and St. Francis collar medals will be available to all animals. 
Contact me Robby Vickery to help with either of these events even/especially if you are not on the Launch Team.
–The Rev. Robby Vickery


Bearing Lasting Fruits

posted on, Sep 3, 2015
Thoughts from the Finance Commission

Burning MortgageIt’s hard to believe that our “Bearing Lasting Fruits” three-year capital campaign is winding down. Thanks to all of you, this highly successful program has allowed us to “burn the mortgage,” get some new equipment, bolster our Outreach (via the tithe on these pledges), begin to replenish our maintenance reserve, and reserve enough money to pay off the Crump loan. The congregation really stepped up for the campaign with a total three-year pledge of $954,772.

At this point, with four months left to go, a total of $723,258 (about 76%) has been given to this effort, and we have every confidence that by year end the balance will be forthcoming. By attaining 100% of the pledges, we will be able to complete the efforts to reserve the necessary funds to pay off the Crump loan over its remaining life and boost our maintenance reserves which will help protect us from the eventual problems associated with an aging building.
If you have any question regarding your pledge, you can check with Steve Hamilton in the church office to get the status. Completing our pledges will allow St. Michael’s to continue to do the Lord’s good work, meeting the needs of those in our congregation and in the wider world.
–Tom Allen, Treasurer


Silver Anniversary Open House

posted on, Aug 27, 2015
Thoughts from the Senior Warden …
This past July 1 St. Michael’s reached a major milestone – Robby and Debbie have been with us for 25 years.  St. Michael’s likes a good party, and this is certainly worth celebrating.  When asked how they wanted to celebrate the event, they said they would love to have an OPEN HOUSE at their home if the Vestry would spring for the cost of the food and help pull off the hospitality.  We also decided that we did not want to do it in July because so many folks were out of town. 
So, come celebrate with good food and fellow parishioners:
Sunday, September 20
3:00 – 5:30 P.M.
Home of the Vickerys
3512 Peregrine Falcon 78746
You can come for 5 minutes or the whole 2 ½ hours.  This will be a child-friendly event with a big back yard that is used to having children running around.  (Their home is about a half mile south of the Westbank Library, just off Pinnacle Road.)
At 4:00 there will be a presentation of a small token of our appreciation to both Robby & Debbie.  
In lieu of any (optional) gifts, the Vickery’s are asking that donations be made to a Seminarian Scholarship Fund to be divided equally between Seminary of the Southwest here in Austin and Virginia Theological Seminary (Alexandria), Robby’s alma mater.
–Ki Allen, Senior Warden


Continuing the Tradition …

posted on, Aug 20, 2015
Robby Photo

While we grieve the retirement of Janne after 10 years of faithful and effective ministry among us, there has been a quiet but concerted effort to find our next associate rector. We need someone who can continue the tradition of Lex Breckinridge, Anne Hoey, and Janne in nurturing our community in the knowledge, love, and service of our Lord. I believe we have found such a person, and she was right in our own back yard.


I am excited to announce that the Rev. Brin Bon will be joining our staff. Brin is currently serving full time as the chaplain at our sister institution, Trinity Episcopal School on Bee Cave Road. She also serves on Sundays at St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church.

On All Saints’ Day, Sunday, November 1, we shall have a celebration of Janne’s ministry. The next Sunday, November 8, will be Brin’s first with us. She will only be very part time until the conclusion of Trinity School’s fall semester when she will join us full time.
Brin BonBrin is 30-something with one husband and three children. It was her husband’s move to a UT lab that brought her to Austin as she was raised in Utah and graduated from the University of Utah. In 2013 she graduated from Yale Divinity School. In time we shall all get to know her and her family better, but she describes her ministry objective as: ‘to build communities who are led by the Holy Spirit, find strength in Jesus Christ, and stretch beyond the walls of the church to seek and serve God seven days a week.” Her personal interests are yoga, cooking, entertaining, sewing and handiwork, reading, and writing
–The Rev. Robby Vickery

Keeping Sabbath

posted on, Aug 13, 2015

Thoughts from our Associate Rector …

 We are significant because God breathes significance into our lives. Our Creator’s abundant act of love gives us value. The call to Sabbath – to rest and worship – is a call to be still and get to know God, to wallow in the wonder of that love, to remember that we are not defined or determined by our culture  (Milton Brasher Cunningham, 2002).
We live lives bombarded by messages telling us we must have it all and that we cannot get it fast enough. We buy and consume as if our lives depend on it. Stress, guilt, and worry are constant companions. Expressing gratitude, delight, or peace becomes something we strive for rather than a way of life.
The ancient way of Sabbath keeping – of stopping everything and spending time each week – realigns us with God’s rhythm, releases our hearts from culture’s stranglehold grip, and opens us to God’s gentle care. Keeping Sabbath is an act of profound faith, allowing us to remember that we are not in charge of the world, but we rest in the arms of the Holy One who is. Sabbath properly orients our human desire: We know we must eat and work so that we can live, but the work, the striving, the busy-ness is not what defines us.
Do I observe Sabbath? I certainly want to. Many weeks it actually happens. If not on Friday evening and during Saturday, then some specific second choice time. The shabbat candles are lit and left to burn. God is thanked for bread, salt, and wine. Prayers are said. Books are read. Resting, reading, sleeping happens without schedule. No shopping, no complicated cooking (sandwiches, salads, slow-cooker meals are great), no cleaning, no television or movies, no projects. Minimal feeding of my internet addictions (really have to work on that one) and no catching up on work.                                                                      
I have learned that in keeping Sabbath I become more alert to God’s presence and understand time to be God’s precious gift rather than the slave driver I usually find it to be. I find that God’s “way of life abundant” flourishes in my life and my usual selfish lifestyle of abundance is kept in check.
I invite you to join me for a six-session study of contemporary Sabbath keeping. We will meet Monday evenings, beginning August 31 - exact time to be determined by group. Details here.
Shabbat Shalom                                                      –The Rev. Janne Alrø Osborne

More on Race and the Human Family

posted on, Aug 6, 2015

Robby hereEven a quick glance at the news shows that race is still an issue in our society.  In our prayerbook we have the following Collect for the Human Family (BCP, p.815):

O God, you made us in your own image and redeemed us through Jesus your Son: Look with compassion on the whole human family; take away the arrogance and hatred which infect our hearts; break down the walls that separate us; unite us in bonds of love; and work through our struggle and confusion to accomplish your purposes on earth; that, in your good time, all nations and races may serve you in harmony around your heavenly throne; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

How do we live out this prayer, walking the talk?
I urge you to put on your calendar now to be in church on Sept. 20 when Ora Houston, Austin’s only black city council member and a long time member of St. James Episcopal Church, will be our preacher at the 9:00 and 11:00 services.
I also commend to you the “One Human Race” workshop.  It is a 3-week series based upon PBS’s “Race: The Power of an Illusion.”  The workshop is facilitated by the local chapter of the Union of Black Episcopalians and uses small group sharing in a supportive, nonjudgmental atmosphere . For more information contact Teresa Chang (512.289.0428) or www.OneHumanRace.Info.
The workshop is done several times a year and the next one is:
Saturdays, September 12, 19, and 26
12:30-3:00 p.m.
St. John’s Episcopal Church
Lord, hear our prayer.
–The Rev. Robby Vickery

Christianity, the Cross, and Conversion

posted on, Jul 31, 2015
In my sermon Sunday I talked about choosing either:  The Reverend Robby Vickery
A false Christianity that seems to offer health and wealth in simplistic ways that will ultimately lead to disillusionment
An authentic discipleship that understands why the cross is the primary Christian symbol. It is a paradox–suffering and death lead to joy and life. All true faith must look through the lens of the cross.
Richard Rohr puts it this way:
Conversion is not joining a different group, but seeing with the eyes of the crucified. The cross is Paul’s philosopher’s stone or “code breaker” for any lasting spiritual liberation. God can save sincere people of faith inside any system or religion, if only they can be patient, God-trusting, and compassionate in the presence of misery, failure, or imperfection-especially their own. This is life’s essential journey. These trustful ones have surrendered to the Eternal Christ Mystery, very often without needing to use the exact word “Christ” at all (Matthew 7:21)*. It is the doing not the saying that matters (Matthew 21:28-32)**. 
 *7:21 Not everyone who says to me, “Lord, Lord” will enter the kingdom of heaven but only the one who does the will of my Father in Heaven.
 **21:31 Jesus said to them, “Truly, I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are going into the kingdom of God ahead of you.”
–The Rev. Robby Vickery

Racial Reconciliation

posted on, Jul 23, 2015

Our vision at St. Michaels is to be “an ever-widening, ever-deepening circle of reconciliation in Christ.” Such is on the homepage of our website not once but twice! And we are not making this stuff up. The Catechism, on page 855 of The Book of Common Prayer, says, “The mission of the Church is to restore all people to unity with God and each other in Christ.” St. Paul says, “All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation.”

Are the relationships between the various races of Austin what God would have them be? NO.

Is God calling St. Michael’s to do something about this? YES, some of us, including Janne and me, believe.

Since the tragic murders of nine black parishioners at Emmanuel (= “God with us”) A.M.E. Church in Charleston, there have been talks in the church community of Austin about what God might be calling to happen here in Austin. What form might this take at St. Michaels? Who knows but we shall never know if we do not intentionally pray, talk, work, and pray some more. To this end, the following is happening:

  • Some of us are meeting with local black leaders.
  • Ora Houston, the only black Austin City Council member and a long-time member of St. James Episcopal Church, will preach here on Sunday, September 20 at the 9:00 and 11:00 services. St. James is by far the most racially diverse Episcopal church in Austin, and we have a recent history of working with them on projects.
  • Also on September 20 our adult Sunday school lesson following “Hazardous Saints” will be on Sojourner Truth. She was an African-American abolitionist and women’s rights activist. She was born into slavery in New York, but escaped with her infant daughter to freedom in 1826.
If you would like to be part of a group that explores what St. Michaels can do to nurture reconciliation in our city and our world, contact me Robby.
–The Rev. Robby Vickery

ordering cialis online