Table Rock Talk September 2017

The Newsletter of Lawrencefield Parish Church

Reservations accepted for von Trapp concert

Preference extended to Lawrencefield members until Oct. 1

Internationally known folksinger Elisabeth von Trapp will perform at 7pm at Lawrencefield Parish Church on Thursday, November 2. Seats may be reserved in advance for $10 by signing up at church or by calling Sue Farnsworth. Please leave a message with name, phone number and number of tickets if you get the answering machine.

Preference will be given to Lawrencefield Church members until October 1, at which time guaranteed seating will be made available to the general public. Tickets will also be available at the door, if seating space remains.

According to Elisabeth’s usual practice when performing at churches (which she favors because they complement her acoustic style), 10% of admission donations and CD sales made from the November concert will return to Lawrencefield.

Born and raised in Vermont, Elisabeth is the granddaughter of Maria and Baron von Trapp, whose story inspired The Sound of Music. According to her website, Elisabeth has carried on the legacy of the legendary Von Trapp Family singers while creating her own style. Her repertoire ranges from Bach to Broadway, sacred to pop.

Fundraiser results

Rummage sale a success, smaller efforts help too

Organizers of the August rummage sale report proceeds of over $1,600. Congratulations and thanks to Eleanor White, Michelle Beihl and their large coterie of helpers for this record sale! The vestry has designated rummage sale proceeds to be applied against our outstanding loan with the diocese, which helped to pay for paving and undercroft improvements.

In other fundraising news, during the last quarter, Lawrencefield earned $104.70 through our participation in the Kroger Community Rewards Program. Kroger donates a percentage of sales purchased using a Kroger Plus card registered in the name of Lawrencefield Church. There are printed instructions for how to register your Kroger Plus card at church. For help or more information, please call the church office.

Open dates for altar flowers

Dates are open in September, October, November and December for anyone desiring to sponsor commemorative flowers on the Lawrencefield altar for Sunday worship. Please contact Shirley Weaver if interested.

The Rector’s Study The Rev. Dr. Cynthia Byers Walter

Reacting to violence

As I mentioned in my sermon a couple of weeks ago, I take a strong interest in last month’s incident in Charlottesville, Virginia, where white supremicists clashed with counter protesters, resulting in violence and loss of life. I lived in the Charlottesville area for twenty-eight years, including my four years at the University of Virginia. My younger son and his young family live there, and Rich and I have entertained the notion of eventually retiring there. So my interest is personal.

On the other hand, one doesn’t have to have roots in Charlottesville to be appalled at what happened there. There are several issues raised by this episode having to do with racism and history and free speech, among many other things, but my concern in this column is the general issue of violence in our world, and what might be an appropriate Christian response.

This is not a new subject for Christian ethicists, who have for centuries argued over whether Christ’s followers need to emulate Jesus in his complete refusal to return violence for violence, or whether countering violence with violence is ever justifiable, and if so, under what conditions. For those interested in this question, I recommend research into the concept of “just war.” (Google it, or consult your friendly neighborhood librarian. This is a worthwhile area of study for all Christians.)

In this column I am more interested in a spiritual approach to violence. Hearing of violence in our society and in our world is profoundly upsetting to many of us and bears on our spiritual health. A recent column by Margaret Arms, a social worker and spiritual director in Colorado, published in the periodical Presence (An International Journal of Spiritual Direction), sheds some light on this subject.

Dr. Arms uses the phrase “Standing Differently in the World.” This is a useful concept in constructively processing awareness of the world’s dispiriting violence. What makes Arms’ approach characteristic of spiritual direction is her emphasis on “inward work” and the interrelatedness of prayer and action.

“Much of my spiritual direction work,” Arms says, “involves inviting my spiritual directees to experience a deep sense of belonging – in the Divine, in themselves, and in the world – and to notice those places and times where they lose that knowing.” This recalls the principles of the Ignatian spiritual discipline known as the Examen, where one reflects on the day just past taking note of when one feels closest to God and when one feels most distant from God. The basis of this discipline is the belief that our own daily experiences can be instructive about where God is to be found, and which of our own actions opens us to God on the one hand and which ones distance us from God on the other.

As a guide to noticing when one senses “belonging,” and when one “loses that knowing,” Arms adapts the four stages of lection divina, a Benedictine method of studying the Bible, only in her exercise the starting point is not a piece of scripture, but a piece of one’s own experience. The traditional four stages of lectio are reading, meditating, praying and contemplating a Bible passage. Translating this process to one’s own experience, the four stages are noticing (“places in our own hearts and in the community that foster violence”), reflecting on what we have noticed, examining with both honesty and compassion “how what we have noticed affects us and others,” and responding to what we have learned with gratitude to God. To these four steps, Arms adds a fifth: acting on God’s words. As she says, “return to the world and to daily life is not so much ending our prayer as it is moving to a different form of prayer.”

A cultivation of awareness of belong-ness and unbelonging builds self-knowledge and compassion, which leads to a posture of ministry to and in the world. Thus may we “stand differently in the world.”

News of violence is profoundly disturbing, easily leading of despair and feelings of powerlessness. But the Christian is not without resources, and learning to stand differently in the world is one.

Vestry Vibes

Summary of the July 30 meeting:

As this newsletter goes to press, the vestry plans to meet next on on July 30, too late for July vestry actions to be reported here. The following are agenda items for the upcoming meeting. The August newsletter will report July actions.

Audit The vestry reviewed the audit report of 2016 accounts submitted by Mary Frohme and her Audit Committee. The report recommends only minor adjustments in accounting procedures. The vestry approved the audit report, which will be sent to the diocese as required by canon.

Parking Policy The vestry approved a low-key policy for dealing with non-church-related use of the parking lot on Sundays, consisting of a dashboard notice on offending vehicles asking that owners contact the church office.

Ratification of email vote The vestry ratified its email vote to approve the November Von Trapp concert.

Updating of priority list A firm estimate for refurbishing the HVAC system has been obtained. On Dave Duymich’s recommendation the vestry moved HVAC to the top of the priority list for physical improvements to be submitted to the fundraising committee. There has been no further communication with the company that initially installed the roof about how to address leakage issues. The vestry would like to settle roofing issues before windowsill repair is made.

Rummage sale proceeds The vestry voted to apply proceeds from the August Rummage Sale to the diocesan loan.

Country Churches book Lawrencefield has been invited to submit material for a book to be published by the Wheeling News-Register featuring country churches in the area. This matter was referred to a committee consisting of Fran Schoolcraft and Barb Hinkle.

Minutes and Financial Report were approved and received.

Special election Lawrencefield will once again make the building available to Ohio County as a polling station for a special election scheduled for Saturday, October 7. Dave Duymich will open the building as usual.