Table Rock Talk December 2016

The Newsletter of Lawrencefield Parish Church

Well met

Parish business conducted at Annual Meeting

The Annual Congregational meeting was held November 20 with 29 voting members in attendance. After the screening of an instructional video about how to use the church’ defibrillation device (AED), those present sat down to a splendid luncheon of roast beef, turkey and many fine accompaniments.

The business portion of the meeting than convened. Scott Duymich, Janine Reddy and Jack Wheeler were elected to the Vestry succeeding retiring vestry members Michelle Beihl, Dave Duymich and Bob Luchetti, Jr., whose contributions were recognized with gifts. Reports for our many parish ministries were presented and a draft budget for 2017 $172,114 (compared to $172,820 in 2016) was presented. Copies of the Annual Report will continue to be available for those interested.

A position of trust

Faithful servant steps down, successor sought

George Weaver has asked to step down from his role of many years, that of Trustee for Lawrencefield Parish Church. With his background in banking and investments, and his characteristic wisdom and good humor, George has served this parish in exemplary fashion as Trustee. Lawrencefield extends our deepest thanks and appreciation. As has been our practice in the past, George will be considered a Trustee Emeritus, and invited to attend future trustee meetings, continuing to offer his expertise in a non-voting capacity.

Episcopal parishes are required by canon law to have a panel of trustees, whose names are placed on record with the county to hold the property in trust for the Diocese. At Lawrencefield, since we have a modest endowment, our practice has also been to have our Trustees advise on the disposition of investment funds. Doug Molnar and Lee Paull III are Lawrencefield’s other Trustees, and will continue in that capacity to provide continuity on the Board.

Trustees are elected by the vestry. If you have some experience with investments and would like to be a trustee, or if you would like to nominate someone else, please speak to a member of the vestry before the December 17vestry meeting.

Presents accounted for

LPC joins Christmas gift project

As in the past, Lawrencefield is participating in the Christmas Kid program sponsored by the House of the Carpenter on Wheeling Island. We are sponsoring sixteen children.

Tags are available in the Narthex, decorating a Christmas tree. 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 3 and absolutely no later than December 10.

The Christmas Kid Tree was unveiled at the Annual Congregational Meeting on November 20. As of the conclusion of the meeting, only six of the original tags remain. Act now!

The Rector’s Study The Rev. Cynthia Byers Walter

What are angels?

As last month, I take my topic from an upcoming discussion among the Friends of St. Lawrence. This one, scheduled for December 4, is on angels, an appropriate enough topic for Advent and Christmas! As last month, I share some results of my research, and my observations, on the subject.

SECULAR PERSPECTIVE—The word “angel” derives from the Greek angelos, which simply means “messenger.” In the Old Testament, the Hebrew word translated “angel” is usually malak, which also means “messenger.” According to Wikipedia, an angel is “a spiritual being superior to humans in power and intelligence.”  Angels are fearsome, but basically benevolent and serve as intermediaries between God and humankind. (

CATHOLIC PERSPECTIVE—According to Catholic Online, angels are pure spirits created by God, and employed as God’s ministers. This Catholic source points out that not all angelos in the Bible are heavenly beings—some are human messengers—but when angeloi (plural of angelos) do something supernatural you can they are of the heavenly variety, usually employed by God as God’s messengers. (

EVANGELICAL PROTESTANT—The views of this branch of Christianity, as on so many things, are scrupulously Bible-based. Angels are not human beings who have been glorified at death but pure spirit, created by God, not subject to death. They appear to be in mostly male in form, never cute babies, but fearsome and awesome. There are different orders of angels. Of these only the Seraphim have wings. They are wiser and stronger than humans but not supremely so. Not all angels are good. Angels have a variety of functions, often as messengers, but also providers, protectors, deliverers, and sometimes, punishers. (

CHRISTIAN SCIENCE—In Christian Science, the word “angel” is used to refer to an inspiration from God. (

EPISCOPAL—An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church: A User-Friendly Reference for Episcopalians defines angels as “Created spirits that are understood to be sent as messengers of God to human beings.” They are pure spirit, a different creature entirely from humans. They are sort of “go-betweens” between humanity and God, announcing God’s action and ministering to people. They also attend God in a chorus of constant praise.

POPULAR WISDOM—If you believe the Christmas classic It’s a Wonderful Life, angels are dead folks who hang around to assist humans on earth as “guardian angels.” This view is not supported by the Bible or church tradition. A number of “New Age” movements have sought to communicate with angels , encouraging people to actually employ angels in achieving their fullest human potential. (This appears to me to be the height of human hubris to me. Angels serve God. They are not Personal Coaches.)

MY THOUGHTS—I read a book called A Book of Angels: Reflections on Angels Past and Present, and True Stories of How They Touch Our Lives by Sophy Burnham when it was originally published in 1990. (A new edition appeared in 2011.) I later met Sophy and she is no kook. Other friends and acquaintances of mine have had what they are convinced are angelic encounters.

Because of this, and of course , because of biblical testimony, I do believe in angels, as messengers of God. I believe they sometimes appear in human form. I believe they appear in human dreams. I don’t believe people become angels when we die: we are told we will be “like angels,” but I think the idea that we are issued wings, harp and a halo is probably a fantasy.

I think it’s entirely possible, even probable, that God has created orders of beings who do not exist on the same plane we do, and that God has given them work to do in establishing God’s kingdom, same as we have, but on a different plane according to their attributes. And I certainly love the idea of joining the heavenly chorus in singing, “Gloria in Excelsis Deo!” at Christmas!

Vestry Vibes

Summary of the November 13 Vestry Meeting:

Christmas Advertising The Vestry approved $99 for a 2 column x 2 inch ad posting our Christmas worship schedule in The Intelligencer/News Register on their “Celebrate the Season” page which will appear November 23. This is the same kind of ad we ran last year.

Pocket Mic The rector’s pocket mic is malfunctioning. Barb will ask Fran Schoolcraft to investigate what must be done.

Senior Warden’s Report Barb regrets that she is unable to fulfill her offer to paint the office entry due to mold allergies and requested that Dave Duymich ask the undercroft painter to give an estimate on this job.

Junior Warden’s Report

  • Two bids were received for painting the undercroft and kitchen: Joe Spangler for $3,900 including materials and Chris Means for $800 not including materials. Motion to engage Chris Means passed unanimously.
  • Painting the undercroft ceiling is not recommended as it would compromise acoustic features.
  • Vestry approved Dave Duymich’s request to purchase three boxes of fluorescent tubes, to improve the undercroft lighting and make it consistent, at $50+/- a box (to come out of Building and Property.) The bench outside the office entry has been brought in for the winter.
  • All faucets are now functional, but Dave is still in the process of replacing cold water faucet stems that were incorrectly installed.
  • Three Adopt-A-Highway clean-ups were held this year and Churchyard Clean-Ups occurred almost monthly. These were successful as several people volunteered.
  • There should be one more mowing before winter. Dave is attempting to contact our yardman to do this.
  • The vertical lines for the handicap spaces have been painted and the diagonal lines between the spaces will be done shortly. Dave has two signs and one post. Tom Farnsworth will provide the other post.