Table Rock Talk November 2014

The Newsletter of Lawrencefield Parish Church

Homecoming

Lawrencefield members convene for Annual Congregational Meeting Nov. 16

All members and friends of Lawrencefield Parish Church are joyously and enthusiastically urged to attend our Annual Congregational Meeting on November 16, following the 10:00 service. The Annual Meeting is primarily a celebration of our common life at Lawrencefield.

Reports will be presented from various officers, committees and ministries, and three new vestry members will be elected.

A Nominating Committee comprised of retiring vestry members Sue Farnsworth, Nancy Paulovicks and Fran Schoolcraft presented two candidates, Tom Farnsworth and Barb Hinkle, at the October 19 Vestry Meeting. As of this writing, the Nominating Committee is in consultation with a third candidate to round out the slate.

Vestry members serve a three-year term. The role of the vestry is to provide leadership for the congregation and manage the church's business. The Vestry usually meets on the third Sunday of the month after the 10:00 service. Meetings typically last one to one-and-a-half hours.

To emphasize the celebratory aspect of the Annual Meeting and to promote fellowship, the meeting will include a spaghetti luncheon. Parishioners are asked to bring salad and dessert. A sign-up sheet will be posted in the Narthex.

At the congregational meeting, members will be asked to draw from a basket an item that is needed for the Lawrencefield kitchen. Members will be asked to donate the drawn item as a "Gift to Jesus."

Current Vestry members will be attempting to contact every member or friend of the parish by telephone over the next few weeks to touch base, promote community in our parish, and encourage attendance at the Annual Meeting. Vestry phone calls also provide individual parish members an opportunity to communicate how the church could better serve their needs, especially as we go into the budgeting process.

Liturgical Refreshers

Sessions offered for new servers and those already serving

The following is a schedule of meetings for those who serve the church as Lectors/ Servers, Acolytes or Altar Guild. Those already serving are urged to attend to polish their skills. Anyone not on the current roster who wishes to serve is invited. All sessions take place at 9:00 (between the services) on Sunday morning.

November 9 Lectors/ Servers
December 7 Acolytes
TBA Altar Guild

Holiday outreach opportunities

This Christmas, we will once again offer the opportunity to shop for families with children using the usual "Angel tree" format. Gift tags with ages will be available early in December.

Lawrencefielders who wish to help with providing holiday food for both Thanksgiving and Christmas are urged to contact local Episcopal churches downtown. Checks for food marked "Food Pantry" may be sent to St. Matthew's, PO Box 508, Wheeling, WV. St. Luke's-on-the-Island hosts an annual Christmas dinner free of cost. Cash gifts marked "Christmas dinner" may be sent to St. Luke's, 200 S. Penn St., Wheeling, WV 26003.

As an alternative to extravagant gift exchanges, your rector suggests organizations that send animals and agricultural and health supplies in honor of loved ones to needy families abroad and at home. Episcopal Relief and Development offers an excellent program called Gifts for Life. Catalogs can be ordered at https://www.episcopalrelief.org/what-you-can-do/gifts-for-life. Heifer International is another, similar option.

The Rector's Study The Rev. Cynthia Byers Walter

Be a Barnabas

I attended a Clergy Day on October 7 at St. Barnabas Church in Bridgeport. Clergy Days are scheduled quarterly in the Episcopal Diocese of West Virginia. They provide an opportunity for all the clergy in the diocese to gather for fellowship, and for the bishop to bring us up to date on the goings-on in the church beyond our borders. Typically there is also a speaker on a topic related to parish ministry. On this occasion the speaker was the Rev. Canon Chuck Robertson. Canon Robertson is canon to Presiding Bishop Kathryn Jefferts-Schori, a seminary professor, and the author of several books. In his presentation last month he spoke about Barnabas, sidekick to the apostle Paul according to the Book of Acts in the Bible.

We don't know a lot about Barnabas, but Barnabas is the third-most-mentioned person in the Book of Acts, after Peter and Paul. According to Canon Robertson, Barnabas presents us with one of the best models for Christian ministry.

According to the first chapter of Acts, after Jesus rose from the dead and appeared to his disciples, the disciples asked him, " lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to israel?" canon robertson called this is an "insiders' question." based on their reading of the hebrew prophets, jesus' original disciples assumed that jesus' purpose was to restore the kingdom of israel. when jesus tells them, "It's not for you to know the time…" he is basically telling them they are asking the wrong question.

The disciples want jesus to restore the golden age, the glory days of the past, always a bit mythical. their attitude is not unlike that of parishioners hiring a new priest. canon robertson used strong language to describe this phenomenon. he said, "The Golden Age is a deadly myth and more harmful than any heresy. As long as we remember this mythical thing, we are often blind to what God is going to do now."

Instead of outlining a plan to restore israel's golden age, jesus challenges the apostles to be his witnesses, "beginning in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and to the ends of the earth." then he departs.

The new church experiences pentecost and explodes, attracting thousands, but then seems to hit a "glass ceiling" in chapter 6 of acts. there are now hellenistic jews (those not living in palestine, who don't speak aramaic or read hebrew) among the converts to christianity. the hellenists complain of being neglected among the charitable giving. these are outsiders to the jerusalem jews who constitute the core of jesus' apostles. this core shrugs off personal responsibility for seeing to the needs of the "outsiders'" and appoints others, like stephen and barnabas, who are themselves "outsiders," to deal with the problem. in a way, the apostles are ignoring jesus' directive to witness "to the ends of earth" themselves, hitting the "glass ceiling" and lacking the imagination to go forward. they are happy to pass this job to others.

Barnabas invites Saul/Paul into ministry to the community beyond Palestine. The core apostles had been suspicious of Paul because of his reputation as a persecutor of the church, but Barnabas sees something in Paul that the others have missed. According to Robertson, "It takes the newcomer who can see what the insiders can't see."

Robertson says that to be a Barnabas is to go and recruit others. Find the Sauls in the congregation and apprentice them. See what others may miss.

Robertson also made some intriguing remarks about the nature of the priest in the parish. He said that the role of the priest is less that of the chief of the tribe, but that of the shaman: the keeper of sacred objects. In tribal societies, shamans keep a "medicine bundle" holding sacred relics that represent the tribe's history and identity. Over time, the bundle gets fuller and heavier as more sacred objects accumulate. The shaman periodically displays the objects in the bundle so that the past and heritage may be honored, but before returning these objects to the bundle asks about each one, "Is it time to put this aside to make room for something new? Is this still who we are?" The Canon encouraged the parish priests at last month's Clergy Day to open discussion about what is in the parish "bundle."

Our recent congregational study indicated what some of our sacred objects might be here at Lawrencefield. Once the paper is graded, I plan to make it available and encourage discussion about this and any other questions that present themselves.

Notes taken by the Rev. Canon Faith Perrizo contributed to this column.

Vestry Vibes

Summary of the October 19 Vestry Meeting:

Flower Guild

Shirley Weaver will meet with Rev. Walter to review the duties of the Flower Guild chairperson. Michelle Beihl will assist Shirley if she decides to accept the position of chairperson.

Churchyard Superintendent

Mary Frohme will chair the Churchyard Committee and train Mark Seamon to serve on that committee.

Churchyard

The Vestry examined the cost of burial at Lawrencefield and elected to leave the costs at the 2011 price of $500.00 per plot for members, member's spouses, and member's children and $1000 for non-members. The Vestry decided to consult the Churchyard Committee annually to determine what amount the Churchyard fund should contribute to the General fund for maintenance.

Committee Reports

Rev. Walter distributed forms to be used by committee chairpersons for reporting of committee activities at the Congregational Meeting.

Vestry Calls

Each Vestry member was given a list of the individual Lawrencefield members that he/she is to call to encourage participation in the annual meeting on November 16, and in the stewardship and budgeting process.

Non-budgeted Expense Allowance

Vestry discussed whether a non-budgeted expense allowance should be included in the annual budget. Discussion was tabled.

Memorial Donations

Over $3,000.00 has been donated to Lawrencefield Church in memory of Bill Neer. The Vestry voted that donations in memory of Bill be placed in the endowment.

Senior Warden

Lisa Martin reported that the repainting of the signs at the entrance has been completed. Lisa thanked Scott Duymich and Dave Duymich for their work on overseeing the repainting of the front pillars and higher areas on the front of the church.

Junior Warden

There will be one more churchyard clean-up. Scott will advise later of the date.

Stewardship

The Stewardship committee will be at Sue Farnsworth's office at noon on October 28 to plan the annual fund raising campaign.

Coffee Hour

Nancy Paulovicks asked for help when we are having a larger gathering such as the Bishop's visit and the congregational meeting

Other Business

In the current issue of Dayspring there is a report written by Jay Paulovicks on activities at Lawrencefield Church.