2014/15 Stewardship Statement

WE BELIEVE:

  • We are created in the image of a generous, loving and self-giving God.
  • All that we are, all that we have and all that we need comes from God.
  • God calls us to be generous and loving.
  • We are called to celebrate God’s blessings by giving joyfully.

WE COMMIT TO:

  • Giving to God the first portion of our time, talent, money and all our resources – not merely the leftovers.
  • Nurturing an ever-deepening spiritual relationship with God.

WE WILL SHARE OUR RESOURCES BY:

  • Tithing, or
  • Working intentionally toward a full tithe, or
  • Giving in a sacrificial way.

WE INVITE YOU TO:

  • Open your heart to experience the joy of giving.
  • Dare to imagine a stronger connection with God that manifests itself in a growing ministry to and for one another and the world.

Join the Vestry, Clergy, Finance Commission and Stewardship Committee of St. Michael’s by signing this statement on the poster in the entryway.

--The Vestry of St. Michael’s Church 

 

It’s that time of year …

It is the time of year to be talking with God about how God wants you to allocate the financial resources he has put in your trust in the coming year.  Below is how the Vickerys are thinking about this. What is God saying to you?

INCOME

$

Robby’s Salary

13,589

R’s Soc. Sec. Paid by Ch.

15,000

Robby’s pension payment

18,695

R’s Housing Allowance

53,000

Robby’s 403(b) payment

22,000

Dividends and Interest

10,000

Medical Ins. Payment

10,680

R’s Health Savings Acct.

3,090

TOTAL

146,054

GIVING

$

Operating Fund, St. Michael’s

14,000

Bldg. Fund, St. Michael’s

10,000

Op&Bldg. Funds, St. Stph’s, DC

200

Operating Fund, St. Marts,CpCv.

200

Discretionary Fund & Feed Prg.

900

UT and Rice

400

Diocese of Peshawar, Pakistan

1,000

Virginia Theological Seminary

2,000

Flower Fund, St. Michael’s

250

Misc.

500

TOTAL

29,450

–The Rev. Robby Vickery

Thoughts … Fellowship


Sunday as part of our baptismal liturgy I will ask the congregation:  Will you continue in the apostles’ teaching and fellowship? I hope the response is an enthusiastic, “I will, with God’s help.”

This past Saturday we had a great example of fellowship, Trunk ‘r Treat.  Over 150 people of all ages showed up to create a community for several hours.  We ate great tacos, we paraded in our costumes, we auctioned off some marvelous Halloween cakes, we bounced our way through a Bounce House and a LONG obstacle course, and last but not least, we went from car trunk to decorated trunk picking up candy.  People were there from the church, from the preschool, and from friends of such.  You could visit with “old” friends and make new ones.  I mean, if you cannot start a conversation with a Talking Pickle, who can you do so with?
Trunk ‘r Treat happened because some folks served the larger fellowship.  As our children and youth ministers, Leslie Margerrison and Mary Conkling invested hours of planning and execution way beyond their job descriptions.  Youth group volunteers helped monitor the bouncy places.  As chief cook Andy Hines spent the whole day grilling and preparing food.  And since parents had to get little ones home to bed, there was a host of older parents and grandparents who cleaned dishes and tables and policed up trash.
This leads us into our next community celebration, All Saints’ Day.  On November 1 our choir will lead us in worshiping through Mozart’s Requiem, i.e. we shall hear Mozart’s musical settings for a eucharist for the repose of the souls of the dead. On Sunday, November 2 we shall continue celebrating the fellowship we have with all the saints who have served us before.  Come and continue in this fellowship.
–The Rev. Robby Vickery

All Saints’ Day

Mozart’s Requiem and Altar of Remembrance
 
Saturday, November 1, 7 pm
 
Come hear beautiful music performed by St. Michael’s Chancel Choir and guests while remembering and honoring those who have died. You are invited to bring pictures and other mementos of loved ones for our Altar of Remembrance.
 
 
Fall Back!
Don’t forget to set your clocks back one hour before Sunday morning.
 

Thoughts on Stephen Ministry

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For the past several years it has been my good fortune to be a Stephen Minister at St. Michael’s.  I have retired from a leadership role, so that there can be new energy and enthusiasm to carry on this special work.  As you will hear on our Stephen Ministry Sunday, the program equips lay people to provide confidential, one-to-one Christian care to anyone experiencing difficulties in their lives.  A Stephen Minister is a child of God who walks beside a hurting person sharing God’s continuing love for them by listening, caring, praying, supporting and encouraging.  It is such a privilege to be able to be a channel or conduit of the love of Christ to another.  We truly understand that it is the work of the Holy Spirit that helps love and care for someone and that we are the messengers.  I want to say thanks to Barbara Rusling who brought this program to St. Michael’s and to the clergy who support us.  I would especially like to thank Robby for his confidence in us over these many years.  The privilege of being part of this program is probably the best job I have ever had and I will always be grateful.  I plan to continue to be a Stephen Minister as long as possible.

– Patricia Newton

Look for Stephen Ministry Training Class coming in January!

Want to receive the care of a Stephen Minister?

Want to become a Stephen Minister?

Contact one of these Stephen Leaders:

Julie De Wette 

Michael Donegan 

Liz Wyckoff 

The Communion of the Saints


Sunday, November 2 is All Saints’ Sunday when we remember all the saints of God.  Saints are not just people who have been officially certified by the Church as “Godly Superstars.”  The biblical understanding of sainthood is that all members of the Church are called to be saints; sainthood comes from God’s grace, not from our good deeds or even faith.

Furthermore, we saints are united in a community that is not separated by death.  This “communion of the saints” is made possible by Jesus’ defeat of death when he was raised from death on Easter morning.  As St. Paul reminds us, faith, hope and love abide eternally, and the greatest of these gifts is love.  I do not stop loving my father, just because he has died, and my father does not stop loving me just because he has died. My love for my father has not died, and the love of my father for me has not died.  

For this reason St. Michaels has developed the tradition on All Saints’Sunday of lifting up in prayer the names of loved ones of people in our congregation. Just write down on the list, found in church entryway, the names you wish to have lifted up in prayer. Or send to Janne. And if you receive a partial list on Nov. 2, just read it aloud when directed to during the Prayers of the People.  

It is also our custom on this day to bring into the worship space the painting of all the names in the burial register of St. Michaels up to the time of the painting (2006).  We also pray aloud the names of those recorded in the register since last All Saints’ Sunday.  The Collect for All Saints’ Sundaybegins, “Almighty God, who hast knit together thine elect in one communion and fellowship in the mystical body of thy Son Christ our Lord: Give us grace so to follow thy blessed saints in all virtuous and godly living.”  Pray fervently.  Write down your names this Sunday or next. Join us November 2

– The Rev. Robby Vickery

* * *

Names to be remembered on All Saints’ Sunday

On All Saints Sunday, November 2, we will remember those who have died. 

Please add the names of your loved ones to the list located in the entryways or send to The Rev. Janne Alro Osborne 

The Labyrinth

Thoughts from the Associate Rector …
St. Michael’s has a beautifully simple, painted labyrinth at the center of our courtyard. I often see children playing on its twists and turns; sometimes I see one or more persons, young or old, walking a deliberate journey or pilgrimage. What exactly is a labyrinth walk, and how does one walk one? “The labyrinth represents a journey, a pilgrimage, a conscious taking of time to seek God.” (Labyrinths From The Outside In by Donna Schaper and Carole Ann Camp, Skylight Paths Publishing 2004, p 62)

Some may think it foolish to spend thirty or so minutes walking in circles, back and forth, in a fairly small area. But the journey of the labyrinth is more than taking one step after another: it is a spiritual discipline undertaken to seek the presence of God’s Holy Spirit. And, unlike our busy daily journeys of errands, tasks, and jobs, on the labyrinth you cannot make a mistake as there are no wrong turns. You cannot get lost. By following the path you arrive at the center and by following the same path you arrive                                                   at the exit.

So what do you do while you walk the labyrinth? A very simple practice is to simply stand at the entrance, breathe deeply, and as you take each step, allow the worries and fears and burdens and preoccupations of your life to simply fall off your shoulders. Straighten your back, lower your shoulders, breathe deeply. Arrive at the center and listen for God’s word to you. Stay as long as you wish. Then walk out, deliberately and taking your experience of the Spirit with you into your everyday life.  Walking in prepares you for the center and walking out prepares you for the world. “Walking the labyrinth is not about escaping into the center and leaving the world, it is about experiencing Spirit in the center so that you can live in the world in a more blessed way”. (Ibid. p 63)

– The Rev. Janne Alrø Osborne

Prayer Ministry

One of the most under-utilized ministries at St. Michael’s is our prayer partner ministry. As a congregation we are still too uptight about such prayer.  We need to get better about “letting go and letting God.”  The following sharing is well put by one of our prayer partners:

One of the ministries offered at St. Michael’s is that of healing prayer during communion at the 9 a.m. and 11 a.m.services. Prayer partners are stationed to the left of the altar against the back wall each Sunday and are there to pray with anyone who has a concern.

This ministry is very important to me. Why? One reason is because of this passage in James 5: 14-15: “Is there anyone who is sick? He should send for the church elders, who will pray for him and rub olive oil on him in the name of the Lord. This prayer made in faith will heal the sick person.” (Good News Bible) I believe we are called on to pray for one another.

I have heard people say that such prayer during the service is too public and they are too self-conscious. My answer to that objection is that almost everyone else is concentrating on receiving communion, corralling kids back and forth, or thinking their own thoughts. Prayers are confidential; therefore it is the responsibility of the congregation not to notice who comes for prayers. In James 4:2 we are reminded that, like any good parent, God wants us to ask for what we need: “You have not because you ask not.” You can come to the station and ask!

Personally having others pray for my healing and peace of mind has helped me through many of life’s crises. Please consider taking advantage of this opportunity and let God have another way of working in our lives as a parish community.
–Jackie King

– The Rev. Robby Vickery

Some Thoughts about the Eucharist …

In his daily meditation Richard Rohr wrote Monday:

The “Last Supper” of Jesus was a Passover meal of deep table fellowship–with Jesus and his closest followers–that evolved into the formatted, ritualized meal of bread and wine that many of us enjoy today. The first disciples soon came to understand it as a way of gathering, as the way to define their reality and their relationship to one another and with Jesus. It became, already in the first centuries after Jesus’ death and resurrection, a powerful symbol of unity, of giving and sharing, of allowing the breaking of self and giving the self over for the world. It was the secret ritual by which the community defined itself and held itself together in its essential message of solidarity with both suffering and resurrection.

Yes, we are to recognize Jesus himself in the Eucharist, but we are also to recognize the living Body of Christ, too (1Cor. 11:29). There is no true Eucharist without a living assembly… . The Eucharist was meant to be a sacrificial meal in which the Body recognized itself, defined itself, and declared its social identity and its central purpose, which was to continue the life and body of Jesus in space and time, to live in a new world order of true sisterhood and brotherhood (meal), and of redemptive suffering and solidarity (sacrifice). It is not just Jesus’ own sacrifice that we are recalling, but also our agreement to participate in the same! [Bold italics mine] It is not just the human incarnation in Jesus that we are remembering, but that this mystery of incarnation is continued in space, time and the physical universe itself (e.g., ordinary elements of bread and wine).

Sometimes fellow Christians in other denominations have asked me how come the Episcopal Church does not have altar calls. I tell them that we do, every Sunday, in the Eucharist. In the act of partaking of the bread and wine we recommit ourselves, our souls and bodies, to Jesus and to all in whom he dwells, to participate in his mission of bringing God’s kingdom and to participate in the sacrifice (think cross) that requires.                               

– The Rev. Robby Vickery

  

God is a Parent


I am always struck by the number of people who tell me that I haven’t seen them in church for a long time because they have gone through a really tough time in their life (e.g. death of a loved one, divorce, illness, job loss), but now things are better, and they are back. This seems to be just backwards. It is the really tough times when we most need to be seeking God. I am reminded that I heard a colleague of Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa say that the archbishop prays one hour each day, except on the days that he is really busy. On those days he prays two hours.

Remember, one of the primary symbols for God, used by Jesus, is “Abba.” Abba is Aramaic (the everyday language of Jesus and his contemporaries; Hebrew was for formal occasions) not for “father,” but for “daddy” or even “dada,” the name a small child would use for “father.” In other words, Jesus teaches us that God is a parent and wants us to trust in God’s care like a small child trusts in the child’s parent.

As a parent I want my children to share the good times with me, but I particularly want to be there for them in the hard times. Jesus asked (and I’m paraphrasing), “Hey, if you who are quite flawed parents give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Daddy give if you seek him?”

So, seek God, the parent who loves you better than you love yourself. Seek God in your personal prayers and in your personal scripture reading.  But do not neglect to seek God in God’s community, the church. We cannot do it by ourselves.  There are times when we have to receive an epiphany/revelation from God through our interaction with other people of faith. The insight/comfort/challenge might come from a line in a hymn, from the burn of port wine going down one’s throat, from putting sheets on a mattress for the homeless during an Interfaith Hospitality Network week, from putting a hard earned check in the offering plate, from an casual remark at coffee hour, or from inviting someone to join you at church. Our heavenly Parent is just waiting for an opening to break into our lives.

– The Rev. Robby Vickery

Invitation Sunday

Thoughts from our Vestry by Lee Crawford …

One of our most important ministries at St. Michaels is to become a more “inviting church.”The core idea is that we look for opportunities to invite others to share our wonderful St. Michaels family - and then we act on those opportunities when we see them.

In 2013, we participated in “Back to Church Sunday,” when we invited friends and family to come to church with us on a designated Sunday. We will participate again in that program this year, though we are now calling it “Invitation Sunday” throughout the Diocese of Texas. Mark your calendars:  Invitation Sunday isSeptember 21.

Invitation Sunday is an easy and terrific way to do something nice for people you care about. You may have heard Cameron Spoors lovely sermon this past Sunday about the power of invitation to create trust between people, strengthen bonds of friendship, and promote a sense of community. The “Good News”of Camerons message is twofold: (1) that our invitation will be well received whether it is accepted or not; and (2) that we grow spiritually just by reaching out in faith to make the invitation.

Well have more to say about Invitation Sunday in the coming weeks leading up to September 21. For now, please mark the date and think about whom youd like to invite. Special Bonus Offer: If youd like to help out with our special greeter, hospitality, or follow-up ministries on Invitation Sunday, please contact Ann HarwoodKirstie Cowan, or Lee Crawford.


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