Table Rock Talk December 2015

The Newsletter of Lawrencefield Parish Church

Getting down to business (and fellowship)

Members convene for Annual Congregational Meeting Nov. 15

About fifty churchpeople attended the Annual Congregational Meeting of Lawrencefield Parish Church on Sunday, November 15, following the 10:00 service.

A delicious meal of roast ham with all the trimmings was served by parishioner Ron White. Numerous wonderful side dishes and desserts were contributed by other members.

After the meal, the parish’s business was conducted. Karen Dalby, Jaci Neer and Ron White were elected to the vestry, succeeding retiring vestrypersons Scott Duymich, Lisa Martin and Aimee Stern, who were recognized for their contributions to the vestry with small gifts.

Continuing vestrypersons are Michelle Beihl, Dave Duymich, Tom Farnsworth, Barb Hinkle, Bob Luchetti, Jr. and Airry Schultz.

Jay Paulovicks and Rich Walter were reelected as Delegates to the 2016 Diocesan Convention. Tom Farnsworth and Nancy Paulovicks were elected as Alternate Delegates.

Amendments to the Parish By-Laws were passed providing for vestry elections by acclamation rather than ballot, and for a procedure for replacing vestry members who miss more than three consecutive meetings. These amendments make official policies that have already been in practice for some years.

Many reports from ministry chairs and committees were also presented.

Airman Travis Beihl and his wife Erin Beihl, before they move to Biloxi, MS, for Travis’ next posting, were collectively blessed by the assembly in a laying-on-of-hands.

Paper copies of the Meeting Report will be available in the Narthex for those unable to attend the meeting. If you want to receive a copy of the report by mail, please contact the parish office.

Christmas Kids need you!

Annual Angel Tree effort kicks off

At the recommendation of the vestry, Lawrencefield has partnered with the House of the Carpenter to sponsor twenty children for Christmas gifts. In 2014 we provided gifts for 15 children.

Tags are available in the Narthex, decorating a potted palm. Each tag lists a child’s name, with his or her age, sizes and interests. Those wishing to buy gifts are invited to take a tag to use as a shopping guide. When taking a tag, please also sign your name on the Christmas Kids list next to the name of the child whose tag you have taken, so that we know that all children are covered. After shopping, please bag the unwrapped gifts together, attaching the original tag, and bring them to church. You may provide wrapping paper if desired. We are aiming to collect the gifts by December 6, and absolutely no later than December 13.

The Angel Tree was unveiled at the Annual Congregational Meeting on November 15. As of the conclusion of the meeting, only six of the original tags remain. Act now!

Cats Meow keepsakes orders being taken

“Shelf sitters” will arrive in time for Christmas gifting

Sign up in the Narthex or speak to Michelle Beihl to order your Cats Meow keepsake depicting Lawrencefield Parish Church. These high-quality mementoes make ideal gifts for people who were baptized or married at Lawrencefield. Each Shelf Sitter is $18, and sales benefit the church. Orders received by November 29 will be delivered in time for Christmas.

The Rector's Study The Rev. Cynthia Byers Walter

Divesting and Gifting

I’m sometimes out of touch with the world around me. Here we are in the time of giving and receiving, of buying and wrapping and decorating, and I find myself thinking about divesting and simplifying.

Perhaps this is because every time Rich comes home from visiting his mother he brings a bag or a carton of belongings she wants to get rid of. She is 93 and still living independently, but she is thinking about disposing of her possessions while she still has a say in the matter. These are not inconsequential items, either. Last week Rich handed me a bag of what he called, “My mother’s tchotchkes.” It was her Wedgwood collection.

My own mother has gone through a similar phase, although because she has now progressed from assisted living to nursing care, the divestment ritual is more advanced in her case. What’s interesting is that both mothers have already been through multiple stages of downsizing, and what they are giving away now is some of their most precious stuff – possessions that have survived previous cullings: my mother’s jewelry, my mother-in-law’s crystal and bone china.

This comes at a time when Rich and I are ourselves starting to think about downsizing. While retirement is still several years off for us, moving to a smaller place may be more imminent. We’ve loved living in our circa-1916, 4-story home, but we’re both feeling the need to simplify, in order to be able to concentrate time and energy on what is most important to us.

A move is unlikely while I’m still in the throes of my doctoral project, but we’re already thinking about going through the house, room by room, and giving away, tossing or selling half our stuff. We’ve decided we’re going to have to be somewhat ruthless, in order to avoid having to do late in life what our mothers are having to do now – unloading even the treasured stuff that holds memories but also complicates our lives. After all, we don’t need the things to keep the memories.

This places us in a strange position this time of year, when our kids and others are asking us for Christmas lists. Frankly we are not really interested in acquiring more stuff when we’re trying to get rid of the stuff we have.

I plan to suggest that our loved ones take advantage of one of those outfits that provides animals and resources to people in developing countries in honor of someone, like Unicef or Heifer International, or my personal favorite, “Gifts for Life” from Episcopal Relief and Development. I love the idea of somebody abroad getting a well, or a sewing machine, or a goat, or a flock of chickens, or a hutch of bunnies they can build a living on, and all because somebody here in the US loves me.

At the same time, I know that the joy of giving a tangible gift to someone you love is not something to sneeze at. My favorite part of Christmas gift shopping is buying stupid little stocking-stuffers for my grown children: funny T-shirts, and silly games with popguns they have long grown out of, just so we can laugh together. It truly is a blessing to receive as well as to give.

I offer these reflections as hope that gift-selection, gift-giving, and gift-receiving may be done in a spirit of prayer, at least by me. Although I begin many of my endeavors with a prayer that what I am about to do be done to God’s glory, I don’t think I’ve ever done this before with Christmas-gift-shopping and giving.

Gift-giving can be very godly if it is an expression of love, generosity and empathy. If overdone, gift-giving can be gross and materialistic, and produce in us emotions that take us far from God. Perhaps, since all good things come from God anyway, the best way to Christmas-shop would be to imagine that God is not only the source, but the recipient. Our gifts, after all, are meant to represent what we bring to the manger.

Vestry Vibes

Summary of the November 8 Vestry Meeting:

Undercroft valances

No report.

Rector’s Study Chairs

Reupholstering should begin shortly. The chairs will be done in sets of two rather than all at once.

The 5K Race

scheduled for October 24 did not happen due to lack of participants. The race will not be offered again.


The Vestry suggested January 1 for the “kickoff” date. In the meantime, a clicker for electronic donations will be added to the website.

Vestry Calls

were conducted as well as could be. Some of our phone records appear to be obsolete. The next general mailing should provide a way for people to submit up-to-date phone numbers and email addresses.


met at the end of October and approved the withdrawals from the endowment which have exceeded the 5% limit.

Thanksgiving Prayer Booklets

have been printed and will be made available at the Annual Congregational Meeting.

Christmas Ad

Vestry approved the purchase of a 2X2 advertisement on the Intelligencer’s November 25th “Celebrate the Season” page at $98.

Surrounding Neighborhoods

The rector raised the possibility of visiting residents of the new apartment complex on the old Graceland property to distribute church pamphlets and invite them to worship with us. This will be more fully discussed at the next vestry meeting.

Kitchen Clean-Up

was a success. All cabinets have been wiped clean, straightened and labelled, and the stained wall has been repainted. Thanks to all who helped.


was a rousing success and the committee is looking into making a book out of the project.

Junior Warden

The vestry ratified an email vote to approve minor over-budget maintenance expenses.

Stewardship Committee

Giving cards are coming in in response to the annual mailing. A 13th-month donation will be invited at the Annual Meeting.