Table Rock Talk July/August 2016

The Newsletter of Lawrencefield Parish Church

Dreaming Big

Stewardship Committee solicits ideas

Your Stewardship Committee is beginning to compile a list of off-budget ideas to offer to donors who want to contribute toward significant improvements. Parishioners are welcome to submit their suggestions to any vestry member. Items will be added to the official list upon approval of the vestry.

Projects already suggested include the construction of a columbarium (structure for the interment of cremation urns) near the entrance to our churchyard, a labyrinth for walking meditation in the flat area in front of the office wing, and remodeling the kitchen. Research will be done to determine a ballpark figure for each project.

Countdown to rummage

Annual event set for August 6

For the second year in a row, Lawrencefield will hold a gala Rummage Sale as a fundraiser in the undercroft. The date is August 6. Donated merchandise has already accumulated to such an extent that the Archives Room, where items are being stored, is full to overflowing. We are still accepting, however. Parishioners may bring used articles in good condition to church any time until July 31. Call the church to arrange drop-off times during the week or if you need pick-up. The optional rental of a table for $10 entitles you to keep the proceeds of your sales. Otherwise sales will benefit the church. Please contact Michelle Beihl or Eleanor White for more information.

Feeding Body and Soul

Sandscrest program revived

A series of programs called Feeding Body and Soul @ Sandscrest is planned at the Sandscrest Retreat and Conference Center in Wheeling.  The series reprises a similar one introduced a few summers ago. The events, all held on Sundays, feature an educational and spiritual presentation at 4 p.m., with a potluck supper at 5 p.m. and conclude with vespers at 6 p.m. Participants are asked to bring a covered dish to share.

The first program will be held on Sunday, July 24, and will feature a presentation on “Meditation through Coloring,” with coloring pages and crayons furnished. Adults will be encouraged to draw upon their “inner child” to meditate and enjoy the relaxing activity of coloring.  The second session, set for September 18, will include a presentation by the Rev. Richard L. Skaggs titled “Bad Girls of the Bible.”  The final event, planned for October 23, will have a “Harvest Home” focus.

The series, organized by the Sandscrest Board’s program committee, is open to everyone in the diocese. Free-will donations will be accepted for the ministry of Sandscrest.  For more information, please contact Linda S. Comins, chair of the program committee, by email at lcomins7 AT gmail DOT com.

Soup Kitchen news

We have almost filled our calendar for 2016! However, the St. Luke’s Soup Kitchen still needs cooks and servers for August 14 and September 11. If you can cook but not serve, or serve but not cook, we can team you up! Please contact Janine Reddy for information.

The Rector's Study The Rev. Cynthia Byers Walter

The heart of the matter

A little while ago, while preaching on the subject of forgiveness, I quoted Don Henley’s 1989 song The Heart of the Matter: “ I've been tryin' to get down/ To the heart of the matter/ But my will gets weak/ And my thoughts seem to scatter/ But I think it's about forgiveness/ Forgiveness/ Even if, even if you don't love me anymore.”

Following a spirited discussion of the familiar story of the Prodigal Son, the Friends of St. Lawrence explored the subject of forgiveness at length. In the Prodigal Son story, it seems problematic that there don’t seem to be any consequences for the younger son’s really bad behavior. Is that realistic?

I am not at liberty to divulge the full content of the FSL discussion in order to preserve the confidentiality of those meetings. But since the topic of forgiveness is so important to the Christian life, I thought I might offer a few personal reflections on the subject. These have got to be stream-of-consciousness, since, as we discovered in our FSL discussions, the matter is surprisingly complex.

  1. The forgiving father in the story of the Prodigal Son represents God and God’s eagerness to forgive us when we return after having strayed from the fold.
  2. We are supposed to forgive as God forgives: “Forgive us our debts as we forgive…”
  3. This is hard. Actions have consequences. One of the consequences when someone hurts us is a loss of trust in that person. “Turning the other cheek” leaves us open to additional hurt.
  4. Still, there must be a way to release the hurt and anger we feel if we are ever to be whole again. There is no pat formula for this.
  5. In the final analysis. The reason we need to forgive is not for the sake of the person who has hurt us, but for our own sake.
  6. It is not necessary to the other person to feel remorse and apologize for forgiveness to happen. Forgiveness is an interior activity, and ultimately a gift from God.
  7. The extent to which we can forgive others seems to be related to the extent to which we can forgive ourselves

It’s been pointed out to me that these observations don’t necessarily make forgiveness any easier, but I do know that we need to forgive in order to live. And that God’s forgiveness of us is where we need to start.

One resource that I have found helpful is the “Enright Forgiveness Inventory.” This can be found at One of the things this model points out is that a person often has to decide to forgive, and be willing to undertake the hard work this may involve. This actually reminds me of the first step of a 12-step program – “Admitting powerlessness.” Sometimes the first step to forgiveness is realizing that the unforgiven thing has become an unbearable burden.

I certainly don’t expect to exhaust this subject in 500 words. This is but the start of a conversation!

Vestry Vibes

Summary of the June 19 Vestry Meeting:

Ratification of Email Votes

The following matters, approved during the last two months by email vote, were ratified so that they might be recorded in the minutes:

  • 2016 Budget
  • $20 annual increase in Church Insurance for converting a classroom into a dorm room.
  • Additional expense of $138 dollars for a remote control for the security system (so that the system can be activated from anywhere in the building)
  • Naming Mary Frohme and Tom Farnsworth as signers for the Putnam Investment account which serves the Churchyard

2015 Financial Audit

Vestry received the Audit of the 2015 books completed by committee. It was a “clean” audit with minimal recommendations.

Emergency Plan

Consulting with online resources, the rector presented a draft for an emergency plan, calling for vestry members to notify parish members in the event of emergency, identifying procedures for disrupted services, and specifying the location of exits, evacuation routes, first aid kits and the AED, and off-site records. Vestry voted to adopt the draft.

Sabbatical Coverage

Rector will be gone the Sundays of July 24, July 31, and August 7. Retired ELCA Bishop Ralph Dunkin will supply July 31 and August 7, and lay leaders will cover July 24. Bp. Dunkin will also do July 3, when the rector is out of town for her son’s wedding. Parish Secretary Jeanne Wolfe will sort mail, check phone messages and handle accounts payable. Senior Warden Barb Hinkle will handle administrative matters. Junior Warden Dave Duymich will address anything that comes up regarding the physical plant. Treasurer Tom Farnsworth with handle payroll. Pastoral matters will be covered by St. Matthew’s.

Harper Grant

The rector has submitted an application for a “Harper Grant” for $5,000 to pay for paving a handicapped parking spot. Harper Grants are made available from the Diocese to pay for programs and improvements that benefit the elderly.

Stewardship Committee

requests that all vestry members commit to supporting the church financially by submitting a giving card. Stewardship also requests that the vestry adopt a priority list of extraordinary wants and needs. Vestry decided to solicit input from the congregation.


The July 3 Fireworks Party was removed from the calendar, although neighbors will still be welcome to watch fireworks from our hill. August 6 was added for the Rummage Sale. The Vestry voted to cancel the July meeting, and move the August meeting up a week to accommodate the Cluster Picnic on August 21.