Weekly Newsletter - St. Matthew`s Episcopal Church

St. Matthew’s Weekly Information
Feb. 13, 2015
St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church, 11919
Beach Rd. Chesterfield VA 2383
804-790-1211
www.stmatthewsches.org
Office [email protected]
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FROM ALLELUIAS TO ASHES
Pancake Supper and Intergenerational Activities at 5:30 p.m.
Alleluias to Ashes Liturgy begins at 7:00 p.m.
I once served a parish which was directly across the road from the local funeral home.
Its director was a jovial and wise man, and we worked very well together on those sad
occasions when we were most needed. But we often also found ourselves at the same
parties around town where we both realized that no one would ever come talk with us
when we were together. He was convinced it was the fact that together we
represented sin and death—and who would want to converse about those things at a
party??! But that is exactly what we will be doing at this year's Shrove Tuesday Party.
What has traditionally been done on two consecutive days will now be combined into
one intergenerational evening with both the usual Tuesday Pancake Supper and the
Wednesday Imposition of Ashes. Connecting them will be special activities and a liturgy
where our joyous Alleluias will be buried and the Ashes prepared. The liturgy thus
becomes a gateway that moves us from the noisy, rowdy pancake celebration towards
the quieter, more reflective season of Lent.
Our Shrove Tuesday party this year will head us straight into the truth of our wandering
away from God and our mortality—sin and death—two subjects our popular American
culture does not handle well, if at all. For our consumer oriented, pleasure seeking,
death-denying public realm has no place for the truthful and freeing language we will
use. There are no Hallmark cards celebrating sin and death; no shop windows decked
out with sackcloth and ashes. So Tuesday, we will do something very counter-cultural.
We will name and take responsibility for things about ourselves that many people would
rather overlook or deny. But by doing so we are trusting and telling a larger and more
wonderful story about the God who intends the very best for us—whose steadfast
forgiveness is dependable and whose mercy is ever present.
The Rev. Mary Hansley, Sunday Supply Clergy
Chapter 2: Open Adult Forum to Contemplate Action
I heard a very sad story this afternoon. One of my new hospice patients is mentally
challenged. His caregiver is a 60-year-old nurse who begged me to say nothing to him
about dying. I never show up with an “agenda,” especially a coercive one, so I thought
there might be a story behind her request. It turns out, almost 25 years ago, while her
father was in the hospital, some pastor happened to overhear a group of physicians
state this case was terminal. The pastor then took it upon himself to inform the man,
who merely thought he was sick, that he was going to die. The man died the next
morning from two possibly stress-induced heart attacks. His grief-stricken daughter
was not even notified until almost three hours later. Is it any wonder she was leery of
the medical profession in general, and pastors in particular?
I found myself responding as did Donald Miller in his book Blue Like Jazz, as referenced
in chapter 2 of Vanishing Grace (pages 45-47). Don was sitting with a large group who
had just finished watching a movie that satirized Christian faith with vicious glee.
During the discussion afterward, Don identified himself as one of “those Christians,” and
then said to the director, “I apologize for anything ever done to you in the name of
God.”
To this nurse, I apologized for the pastor whose insensitivity possibly caused her
father’s premature death—certainly which tore her apart emotionally—and was a
catalyst for her son’s rejecting the Christian faith altogether. “I am so, so sorry this
happened to you.” And I spent the next hour mostly listening. She wasn’t my patient—
she isn’t even related to him. But her life matters, too. And she’d been carrying
around almost a quarter-century’s worth of pain.
C. S. Lewis said, “Christians are the best reason to become one. They’re also the best
reason not to.” Someone else said, “Ninety percent of it is just showing up.”
The video series that accompanies Vanishing Grace has five segments. We will watch
the second one this Sunday, “What can we do about it?” We may touch on the wellknown story of the prodigal son, Paul’s attempt to dialogue with some Greek
philosophers, and, more recently, one Christian’s opportunity to interact with
Christopher Hitchens (1949-2011), the strident atheist. (Some may remember the
brouhaha from his 2009 book, God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything.)
As we segue from spreading the Epiphany Light to examining our own inner darkness
on Ash Wednesday, you are once again invited to join us at 9:30 (first room on the
right after the front door). You probably already know everyone there, and you don’t
have to buy the book. (But if you’d like to, I still have two copies for sale. )
This Open Forum could be the spiritual jump-start for which you’ve been waiting!
[email protected], Hospice Chaplain 8-5 Monday-through-Friday,
well-intentioned follower of Christ 24/7
Intergenerational Activities to Prepare Entire Family for Lent
As we enter into another season of Lent, we are being treated with a unique
liturgy that will take us from the feasting of our dinner to a time of reflection when we
burn ashes and experience a time of contemplation as well as imposition of ashes. In
addition to the wonderful meal lovingly prepared and served by our youth, there will be
additional activities planned for the whole family (see below). Once you have enjoyed
feasting, the whole family can then proceed to the classrooms to prepare for the
evening.
Lent is a time for strengthening our faith, a time of reflection on whom we are
and where we are going. It also provides opportunities for us to choose to do renewing
activities such as visiting someone who is lonely, giving up something like television,
spending a certain amount of time in prayer or reading the Bible, choosing to fast,
attend church services, etc. I’m truly hoping parents can take some time to prepare
their children before Tuesday to help them be prepared for making Lent more
meaningful. Suggestions will also be available to help all of us with these decisions.
We will be making “Alleluia pom-poms,” which we will use during the service, filling
empty Easter eggs to signify what we are willing to take on or give up for Lent, Ojos de
Dios (God’s eye crosses) or crosses made of nails. (These can go home with you to hang in
your room as a reminder of what Lent is all about.) Also, we will be learning a new
Taize chant that will be used during communion time in Lent. As a church, I would like
to suggest that we save our pennies and pocket change as part of the “Penny Power”
program for the Episcopal boy’s home in Covington, Virginia. We have supported them in
the past—and this is something the whole family can do together.
What a privilege it has been to work with so many talented and experienced
servants of God who have blessed us with their presence in leading worship these past
months. Mary Hansley will be with us until the end of May. This event that she is
bringing to us is a magnificent way to truly understand and appreciate one of the
seasons of the church year, and to spend quality time with one another in celebration
and preparation. I pray you will be able to make Tuesday and St. Matthews a “must do”
activity for you and your family. See you there !!
For His Sake,
Carrie Hillman
Call for Youth Chefs for Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper
On Tuesday, February 17, the EYC will host our annual Shrove Tuesday Pancake
Supper, better known as Pancakes and Ashes. If you are a youth in our church, you are
welcome to come and cook some pancakes. Bring a friend! All are welcome.
We will start cooking at 5 and begin serving at 5:30. We also need donations of bacon
or sausage. If you can help or donate, please contact myself, Nancy
Atkinson, at nwatkins[email protected] or Sean Kelly at [email protected]
Looking forward to our last hurrah before we enter to season of Lent.
We Will Focus on Discernment Process at Lenten Soup Suppers
We have completed our retreat with our search consultant and have a much better
understanding of the two documents we need to produce (and have already done
considerable work on!) They are the Parish Profile, which is our opportunity to say
what we want to say about St. Matthew’s in several categories, and the Transition
Ministry Portfolio, which requires very specific information (and limited verbiage!)
Both are required to be submitted to the Diocese for approval before our opening for a
rector can be publicized locally and nationally.
These documents are the information candidates will see about us as they consider
whether they might be interested in being our next rector. Our consultant shared that
potential candidates will look at this information to answer two major questions: How
flexible are they (us), how ready for the future? And can I do my ministry here? As
such, these documents must be complete, welcoming, and accurate and reflect your
thoughts, prayers, and vision for the parish.
While the committee can draft much of what is needed—and will share those pieces
with you over the next few weeks—there are several critical areas where you must
provide the answers, and the Lenten Soup Suppers seemed a timely way to work
together on these. We have chosen the soup suppers as a good time for this reflection
and input, rather than trying to schedule other times for focus group meetings, as we
hope these mid-week suppers are already on your calendar. We want to make these
discussions as convenient for you as we possibly can, knowing how busy everyone is,
but also maximize your engagement and input. We will eat first (of course!), have a
discussion of the issues for the evening, and conclude with Compline.
We have already asked you to begin thinking about St. Matthew’s Blessings and
Challenges and will ask you to share those with us at the first soup supper on
February 25. At the same time, we need you to answer the first question on the
Portfolio, “Describe a moment in your worshipping community’s recent
ministry which you recognize as one of success and fulfillment.” This seems to
go along with a consideration of our blessings. Nancy Atkinson will lead the discussion
that evening.
We will use large flip chart pages and provide you with small post-it notes. The idea is
that you will post your thoughts, see what others posted and then a discussion can
ensue around commonalities and differences to see where we have consensus and
where we don’t. We have been urged not to gloss over difficulties, problems, or
challenges in our preparation of these important documents, so please share honestly. I
hope we all feel we can trust one another through this process.
Let’s be prayerful and attend to where the spirit leads us in this. If we do that, I am
sure we will be fine and will be able to represent our parish in a way that calls just the
rector God has in mind for us.
Faithfully,
Lin Corbin-Howerton, Discernment Committee Chairman
St. Matthew’s Family Has a Very Busy Week
Some of Us Went Racing
Some of Went to Council
The 123rd Annual Council of the Diocese of Southern Virginia met on February 6th &
7th in Williamsburg. Kay West and I were the delegates from St. Matthew’s. The theme
for the meeting was "Awakening and the Work of Transformation". It was truly
inspiring to be with such a dedicated group of people meeting to discern better ways to
serve our Lord and our Church. There were no new resolutions introduced and the
committee reports were very encouraging. I was especially struck by the Episcopal
Relief Fund committee report about helping communities around the world by giving
them "gifts for life.” The gifts are not just monetary gifts, but gifts that will enable
these communities to improve their lives by giving them animals, fruit trees, and the
means by which to build their own independence. We were encouraged to make a
monthly pledge to the Fund by going to episcopalrelief.org. Their goal is to have 75
pledging donors in honor of their 75th year in operation. They are dedicated to "Healing
a Hurting World.” Diana Butler Bass, author of "Christianity after Religion," was the
featured guest both days and enlightened us as to what is going on within church
communities around the world and how the church is awakening to the needs of the
people today. Bishop Hollerith's messages both days were very inspiring and thought
provoking. I would encourage you to go to www.diosova.org, where you can read his
messages as well as see the videos that were presented. I think you too will be moved
by them.
www.stmatthewsbeachroad.org: Our New Website is Online!
Please check it out! You can help. Do you have photos of events and people here at St.
Matthew’s? If you have a favorite you would like to share now, or at any time in the
future, please send it to [email protected]
Rebecca Williamson, webmistress
Supply Priests
Sun. Feb. 15
Tue. Feb. 17
Sun. Feb. 22
Sun. March 1
Sun. March 8
Sun. March 15
Sun. March 22
Sun. March 29
Thurs. April 2
Friday April 3
Sun. April 5
Sun. April 12
Sun. April 19
Office Contacts
Ted Edwards
Mary Hansley
Mary Hansley
Ted Edwards
Mary Hansley
Mary Hansley
Mary Hansley
Mary Hansley
Mary Hansley
Mary Hansley
Mary Hansley
TBD
Mary Hansley
Correspondence:
[email protected] or for specific
concerns, please contact the following
individuals by phone or at their email address:
Birthday cards: Jennifer Queen
Calendar additions and questions: Carrie
Hillman
Database/parish directory: Nancy Alpine
Office concerns: Carrie Hillman
Quarterly ministry schedule: Cheryl Rivet
Sunday bulletins: Cheryl Rivet and Jennifer
Queen
Sunday’s Ministers
Lay Reader-Chalicers: 8:30 Debra Farrish
10:30 Reader 1: Nancy Atkinson
Crucifer: Roberto Mayen
Server: Jackson Queen
Torches: Juliana Queen, Becca Padgett
Vestry Rep: Nancy Alpine
Musician: Carrie Hillman
Coffee Hour: Campbell/Padgett
Reader 2: Dianne Lewis
Altar Guild: Lewis/Geracimos
Nursery: Campbell Family
Greeter: Greg Bennett
http://www.lectionarypage.net/YearB_RCL/Epiphany/BEpiLast_RCL.html
PLEASE NOTE:
Please prepare Track Two readings from now on in the liturgical cycle
This Week at St. Matthew’s
Fri Feb 13
5:30 pm: Spaghetti Dinner
Sun Feb. 15
8:30 am and 10:30 am: Worship Service
9:30 am: Open Forum
Tue Feb. 17
6:00 pm: Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper/Imposition of Ashes
Wed Feb 18
10:45 am: Imposition of Ashes at The Crossings