Thoughts About St. Lucy …

 

Lucy, or Lucia, was martyred at Syracuse, Sicily, during Diocletians’s reign of terror (303-304). Her catacomb tomb can still be visited. Known mostly for her purity of life and gentleness of spirit she was soon venerated and became popular throughout the church.

Lucy, whose name means light, became very popular in Scandinavia because her feast day,December 13, was for many years the shortest day of the year (the winter solstice date changed to December 21with the Gregorian calendar reform in 1582). Her feast day became a symbol of the gradual return of the light during the very short and dark winter days. Even today, Lucy’s day is a festival of light that is kept in churches and homes.

In the home version, the children dress in white (symbol of Lucy’s purity) with a red sash (symbol of her martyrdom), and carrying candles and singing, bring freshly baked breakfast saffron buns to their parents. It used to be only the girls did this, but nowadays boys join in, wearing a star hat and also carrying candles.

 You will also see St. Lucy observances in churches, schools, hospitals, care centers, and more. A procession of children and young people “bring in the light”, sing songs, including Sankta Lucia, and distribute saffron buns. The leader of the procession, “Lucia” has been chosen (it’s quite a competition) and wears a wreath crown with candles and everyone else follows carrying candles and stars.

 

On December 14, our Sunday School children will come into church in Lucia processions, carrying candles, and presenting saffron scented bread at the offertory. The Music Team and Chancel Choir will get in the spirit with the singing of translation of Swedish version of Sankta Lucia to the tune of traditional Neapolitan boating song.

– The Rev. Janne Alro Osborne, Associate Rector

Two Recent Vestry Actions

 1.     Our Vestry authorized in principle the negotiation of a lease for St. Michael’s south campus. This is part of our church community learning to be more invitational, reaching out, not just waiting for people to find us by driving up our long drive way. This campus would still be part of the ONE church family that is St. Michael’s. The idea is “two altars/one church.” Just like our four current services share clergy, one vestry, one set of financial and congregational records, a youth minister, etc., this fifth service would too. We are currently working on a lease with the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center for its auditorium complex. The lease would be for six months.  Any services in the south MoPac area are contingent upon receiving a Diocesan Strategic Mission Grant. Such a grant, with restricted funds currently held by St. Michael’s, would enable the operation of the second campus without any funds from St. Michael’s operating fund for one and up to possibly two years.  Keep this mission in your prayers. We are looking at starting this in February.  Do you know anyone who lives out south you could invite to it?  For that matter, do you know anyone you could invite to our current site this Advent?

 2.     Our Vestry authorized the acceptance of the donation of the used organ from our brothers and sisters at St. Luke’s on the Lake.  (They are getting a new organ.)  Having the option of organ music has been the desire of a significant number of people at St. Michael’s for a while, though it is still envisioned that for the foreseeable future piano will remain our primary musical instrument.  Even though the organ is being donated, there are still costs associated with it:

     $20,000     Construction of tone chambers to hold the speakers

     $  1,500     Engineering

     $  2,500     Installation

     $     250     Transportation

     $24,250     TOTAL

This cost will be paid out of the building fund. NOTE:  The first $21,500 are not specific to this organ.  Such tone chambers are a permanent improvement on the building and are necessary for this or any future organ using speakers.  Such chambers were not designed in the original construction of the building because it was not known then when and how St. Michael’s would use such an organ.

Let me or a Vestry member (e.g. Senior Warden Ron Olson or Junior Warden Ann Harwood) know if you have any questions or comments about either of the above actions.

– The Rev. Robby Vickery

cross-from JAO office
Phyllis Vaughn
 
died on Wednesday, November 26, 2014
May her soul, and the souls of all the departed, rest in eternal peace 
and may light perpetual shine upon them. 
 
Please keep her husband Daniel and their whole family in your prayers.
The Burial Service will be celebrated
Friday, December 5, 2014, 2 pm, at St. Michael’s.
followed by a reception in the church entryway.

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


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