Living a Grateful Life
"And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful." (Colossians 3:15)
Since we were unable to conduct an in-person fully inclusive Annual Parish Meeting on February 7, 2021, materials that outline the summary of the state of the parish will be provided for the congregation to review through email and our Parish Web Site. If you know someone who will need a copy mailed, please call the parish office and leave a message.
At the last Vestry Meeting, we thanked retiring members Annette Lawrence, Kerri Frank and Nancy Edwards. God Bless their contributions. When we get closer to “Reopening” a new class of vestry can be elected.
As we approach the Holy season of Lent, I want to take a moment to write about gratitude. This year I am feeling profoundly thankful for so much. The world is struggling with a health crisis, fires burning out of control and violence. For so many reasons, it is easy to understand that collective grief and loss occupy our mind and hearts.
YET, St. Andrew’s members are the “salt of the earth.” An interrupted church life did not reduce the love and caring that was expressed in your lives, new normals, albeit reluctantly, were accepted. The saltiness of our community sprinkles hope and love in myriad ways and in so many wider community encounters. Here are some brief reflections from the Pandemic Year we did not see coming.
WORSHIP AND FELLOWSHIP
We offered well-received prerecorded Sunday services, until we were permitted in-person summer/fall outdoor services. Special thanks to Brent Johnson for his videography.
This Sunday, February 14th we begin in-church live-streaming services to be rolled out on ZOOM. If in-person service is cancelled due to icy condition, we plan to still offer the 9:00 service on ZOOM.
Thanks to Steve Carroll, Cindy Kilcoyne, Beth Wagner and Mary Maker who assist at the services in leading, greeting, screening and cleaning after the services. We can always use your help.
Amy Foster, our Minister of Music, has contributed greatly to our in-person services with beautifully selected church piano and organ preludes and postludes. She has been adept and inspired to weekly uplift our spirits. Before the pandemic, Amy was in the planning stages to start a Bell Choir. She has purchased musical chimes/ringers to start just such a Choir for youth participation with adult’s assistance and direction. We are extremely fortunate to have Amy in our midst.
Also, Donna Triplett, Parish Administrator, continues to remotely produce the weekly Service leaflet and announcements and other assigned work.
We want to include our kids in worship by making available “THE SUNDAY PAPERS,” to be downloaded from the Web Site. As our parents know the “PAPERS” are a remarkable Christian Formation tool for them to use with their kids on the weekly Bible lessons. Our younger children are familiar with it and hopefully will enjoy the spiritual formation exercise with the encouragement of their parents.
Since our time of regulations has not yet been lifted and vaccination safety is not yet completed, we have months to go before “real” regathering. So, we hope to create small group opportunities in a virtual setting for healing prayer, fellowship and sharing - especially for those who want to connect through the week. Stay tuned for opportunities and announcements.
If you are familiar with the ZOOM platform and assisting those less comfortable with computers, we need your help with this expansion to strengthen our parish community life.
With the assistance of parish Shepherds, who kept in touch with members to whom they were assigned, we were able to assess needs and offer prayers. We learned it is not always easy to find our folks as some relocated when they encountered illnesses to hospitals and rehabs. Hopefully, this shepherding project can be improved and I believe it can with the help of more volunteers.
Two folks have offered themselves to begin calling. This connection will be a saving grace for some.
To those who have been calling, thank you for caring and let me know if you wish to continue such an important ministry. If you would like to take on the ministry, let me know by email and I will be in touch with you.
At our last vestry meeting in January, we learned about the generosity of the members of St. Andrew’s who faithfully continued to make financial donations even though the closure of the campus in March, completely interrupted services and program. For those who have taken the time to confirm their continued support by email or by pledge form, we are mightily grateful. You are practicing the “Ways of Love” tending the soil of St. Andrew’s.
Sensitive to the issues and pressures during this pandemic, we adopted a rolling pledge drive in which you are still invited to participate. You may refer to the parish web site for a form or send in an email. And of course, should you have questions, simply contact us.
Thank you again to Chuck Stein our Senior Teller Captain who records the weekly contributions and prepares the Summary of Giving for our membership.
EXPANSION OF OUR DIGITAL AND PRINT PRESENCE
With the challenges of the closure and regulations on attendance in place still, we expanded our weekly parish email, enhanced and developed the parish web site specifically to enable connection for this time of closure, and Dee McRae has continued the Monthly Parish Newsletter. Thank you to Mary Maker and Dee McRae for your devotion.
FUNDRAISING IS ALIVE AND WELL
With Steve Carroll at the helm of the Fundraising team, a schedule of activities is planned. Already there has been success with the outdoor venue of campus yard sales which will continue. And on February 16, a team effort is putting together a Pancake Supper Drive-Thru to celebrate Fat Tuesday. Please support the project and order your dinner. Instructions can be found in this email message. Thank you to Steve, Bobbie Brown and Mary Larson and all who will be working on these events.
BUILDING AND GROUNDS
Our Junior Warden, John McKendrew has been at work assessing the projects that need to be addressed on our parish campus. Thank you, John.
THE THRIFT SHOP AND PRESCHOOL
Without any doubt, our parish vision to serve our wider community through the ministry of the Thrift Shop and Preschool has been affirmed. So many have inquired into when the programs will reopen. We have started discussions with the Office of Child Care, planning ahead to September for the reopening of the Preschool with new staff to be recruited. The reopening of the Thrift Shop must be determined by Chair, Jerry Frank and the Board when the campus is able to reopen and safety measures to prevent the spread of the virus are in place for the protection of volunteers and those customers who visit the Shop.
Faithfully submitted by The Rev. Beverly Weatherly, Rector
7 February 2021
Although a challenging year in some aspects, I continue to be grateful and marvel at our Church family.
In an effort to keep everyone healthy, we had a longer than usual outdoor worship schedule. The camaraderie and support among us during outdoor worship - setting up pop-up tents, hauling out speakers, power cords, microphones, a small altar and podium - and then tucking it all away after service each week; never a complaint, never a burden, just working together to make it happen, even when it went well into the fall season.
Back inside the Church, we gather in the new normal: abbreviated service, heat on – doors open, masks, temperatures, hand sanitizer, one way directional signage and receiving communion while approaching the rail singly and 6ft apart. The continued support of those faithful few, week after week, taking temperatures, wiping down pews and making this strange new normal more bearable for all of us is a gift, a generosity of spirit that makes me proud to be a member of this wonderful family.
Despite the campus closure, Greg Belvin was able to complete his Eagle Scout Project. Greg had more than the usual obstacles because of COVID and its inherent restrictions, yet he persevered with patience, kindness and complete organization. Under his care, his group repaired and rerouted the corner drainage on the face of the Parish house at the corner of the Thrift Shop rear Emergency Exit. They removed the old guttering and coordinated its replacement. Then with time to spare, cleaned and made repairs to the Parish Cemetery. It looks great and the removal of water, which flooded that corner every rain, is a huge gift to the Parish. Literally, saving us from costly future repairs.
Please be sure to thank Greg for his outstanding work and congratulate him on his Eagle Scout honor.
Without the benefit of the Preschool and Thrift Store due to the pandemic, we ended the year better than expected with a budget deficit of $9562.26.
At this time we are not creating a new budget for 2021, we are going to use the actuals from last year and move forward until we are on the other side of this extreme season.
Our expenses continue to be lower than average and we have been fortunate and blessed to have generous donations in-kind that have covered goods and services for the Parish.
Thanks to all of you and your continued kindness, generosity and love, St. Andrew’s remains strong and well-able to face the coming months.
I remain, gratefully yours,
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