posted on, Sep 3, 2015

Click PICTURES for information about current ministries and events

SS David's Anointing
     Children’s Ministry
Youth on Playscape
 Youth: Happening and Yes

       StM-South Altar

Mobile Loaves and Fishes, Food Pantry, Interfaith Hospitality Network

    Prayers and Pastoral
 Robert’s Ordination;
NAMI family support

Current Events Calendar

Adult Education: Sabbath,
poetry classes begin

  St. Michael’s Day School

  Celebrating 25 years at               St. Michael’s

      One Human Race                    workshops

    Women’s Dinner and                    Program


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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

More Good Things We Are Doing …

posted on, Jul 16, 2015

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! The list below continues our celebration (begun in “Thoughts” last week) of many good things (scattered seeds) that our members are doing as faithful stewards of our God-given time and talent:
  • 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.
The listing this week and last should give us a sense of the breadth of time and talent stewardship going on within our congregation.

– The Rev. Robby Vickery

What We Do …

posted on, Jul 9, 2015

 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.
  • Dell Children’s Hospital, Stephen Ministry, IHN, Women’s Storybook Project, Westbank Library – Patricia Newton. 
  • Integration helper into League of Legends Competitive Community. 
  • Prep meals for MLF, leader with Pack 30 and Troop 30, coach, Sunday school Teacher, VBC – Elm family. 
  • Bingo @ Trinity Center, registrar for Westlake Girl Scouts, acolyte, VBC service camp, helping other whites understand what systemic racism looks like to blacks. 
  • Wounded Warriors, Cub & Boy Scouts, Dell Children’s & Scottish Rite Hospital, Emergency Response. 
  • Theatre for my school. 
  • Teach Sunday school, Chair of Ducks Unlimited Austin Chapter, CAFB, coach – Hoovers. 
  • Board of Boys & Girls Clubs and TX Land Conservancy; Friend of KLRU, Little Helping Hands – Grimes family. 
--The Rev. Robby Vickery

Healing Ministry

posted on, Jul 2, 2015
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.”

  1. Use the Prayer Partners that are available at the prayer desk behind the pulpit during the administration of the bread andwine. Tell the Partner in as general or as specific a way as you want what you desire prayer for (e.g. illness, family situations, employment). They will keep it confidential. God will hear and act.
  2. Prayerfully consider whether God is calling you to serve as a Prayer Partner. We could use several more in the rotation at both 9:00 and 11:00. Training is provided. God needs moredisciples who are “Ready, Willing, and Unable.” Contact me orJanne if interested in learning more.

–The Rev. Robby Vickery


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