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Thoughts from the Finance Commission
It’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
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:
SILVER ANNIVERSARY OPEN HOUSE
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
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 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
Thoughts from our Associate Rector …
Even 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.
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.
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.
- National Charity League – Shannon & Elly Abikhaled.
- Created a Rice alum physicians group to endow undergrads to travel to Africa to work on biomed engineering solutions to health problems – Shannon & John Abikhaled.
- Introducing my great niece to “The Way” – Bonne Bourland.
- Ensemble VIII board; opera board emeritus – Nell Dale Sanders.
- Fund & manage family foundation; bridge board of McAllen; UT scholarships; treasurer of SMEDS – Jan Klinck.
- Board of charitable foundation; support a poor family from Reynosa; encourage Weight Watcher members; give to UTeach at UT – Sally Klinck.
- Help with grandkids; stay in touch with lonely friends; remember BDs; pray.
- Medic firefighter; BSA asst. scout master – Chris Ham.
- KW Cares board; grandmother, mother, sister, friend; St. Jude’s Life Works.
- Board President of Peace through Commerce; Co-founder and president of Austin Chapter of American Creativity Assoc.; board of U of Hawaii alums of TX; leader of St. Mi’s prayer group and Seeker book study – Phyllis Blees.
- VBS; singing – Julius Tabery.
- Soaring for Song; visiting lonely neighbors – Ron Tabery.
- Board of Ensemble VIII; WHS Baccalaureate Committee.; raising righteous boys; playing organ – Gena Tabery.
- Getting to know and share with coworkers through a small group – Sarah Doran.
- Teaching & encouraging small children.
- Started and running a company that donates 10% net profits to children’s shelter; make Kiva microloans to women – Camille Gaines.
- Hospital chaplain; NOVA.
- Austin Pets Alive – the Guesses.
- Board of VSA TX; Austin Children’s Services & SafePlace – Sarah Koestler.
- Mentor grad students; rescued senior dog – Ben Koestler.
Or, better put,
What God Does Through Us …
Several weeks ago I preached a sermon on my being pleasantly surprised by all the good ministries our parishioners are involved in, many of which I am clueless about. Some folks believe that it is not “ministry” unless someone in a collar does it or that it happens on church grounds. Nothing could be further from the truth!
In the sermon I asked the congregation to briefly write down on 3X5 cards some of the ministries they are involved in and as an outward and visible sign of offering these back to God, to drop the cards in the offering plates. I said that I wanted to share these with the whole congregation and such is below. Remember, these notes were not to be exhaustive but rather to give us a sense of the height and breadth of the stewardship of time and talent of our fellow parishioners. Sometimes folks shared their names; others are anonymous.
TO BE CONTINUED NEXT WEEK –
--The Rev. Robby Vickery
Both the gospel reading last week and this week emphasize that in the presence of Jesus believers get well. The reading this week further emphasizes that followers of Jesus are to be about this healing ministry also.
So, why do many churches today not emphasize healing more? I fear that we have become too “sophisticated” and “enlightened” for such “primitive” beliefs. And pastorally we do not want to get peoples’ hopes up and then dash them if healing in the way they want to be healed does not happen. In this week’s epistle, St. Paul himself appeals to God three times to be healed of a “thorn in the flesh,” and Paul receives a clear “No” from God. Paul, whom God used to heal others, does not get his own healing, and he has to come to terms with that. I’m experiencing a “No” or at least a “Not yet” in my own life right now.
Even if the answer is sometimes/frequently “No,” the clear witness of scripture is that God intends wholeness and health for God’s people. “You do not have because you do not ask.” So let us ask! As a seminary professor of mine put it, “Storm the gates of heaven with prayer.” I also like the way former Archbishop of Canterbury William Temple put it, “All I know is that good things happen when I pray that do not happen when I do not pray.”
–The Rev. Robby Vickery