Table Rock Talk November 2017

The Newsletter of Lawrencefield Parish Church

Come one, come all

Annual Meeting November 12

At about 11:10 (following the 10:00 service) on November 12, all members of the Lawrencefield family are urged to attend the Annual Congregational meeting.

The first order of business will be to review instruction in the use of the Defibrillator we keep on hand for emergencies. Everyone who attends church should be aware of this potential life-saving equipment and how to use it.

We will then join in a common fellowship meal. Lasagna will be provided. Those attending are asked to bring a side dish, salad or dessert to share.

The business section of the meeting will then convene. Three new vestry members will be elected, and the membership will be given a first look at the 2018 budget. Reports will be offered from Lawrencefield’s various ministries.

According to Episcopal Church Canon and Lawrencefield Parish Church policy and practice, in order to vote at the Annual Congregational Meeting, you must:

  1. Be baptized
  2. Be 16 years old or older
  3. For the last six (6) months:
    1. have been a regular worshipper in this parish
    2. been a regular contributor to this parish

Giving thanks

There will be no Thanksgiving Day Service at Lawrencefield Church. However, a collection of Prayers of Thanks will once again be available at Church. A variety of prayers are offered, suitable for use at Thanksgiving and all other times.

An option for giving

Snapshot of ERD

For the past couple of months, Table Rock Talk has suggested that those concerned with responding charitably to recent disasters such as hurricanes and wildfires contribute to Episcopal Relief and Development. ERD is an international relief and development agency committed to responding compassionately to human suffering on behalf of The Episcopal Church. Their work is to “heal a hurting world guided by the principles of compassion, dignity and generosity,” inspired by the words of Jesus in Matthew 25:37-40, calling those who would be his followers to feed the hungry, care for the sick and welcome the stranger.

Of particular interest this time of year is ERD’s “Gifts for Life” Program, which supports people in developing nations with agricultural, health and educational resources. Gifts of livestock, plants and medical support may be purchased in one’s own name or in the name of an honoree, to be sent where they are most needed in the world. This makes a lovely alternative to the exchange of Christmas gifts. Gifts for Life can be accessed online at, or by phone at 1-855-312-4325. A Gifts for Life catalog is also available at church.

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

Your life as holy scripture

Recently the Diocese of West Virginia sponsored a retreat at Sandscrest about writing your own spiritual autobiography. Although I was unable to attend this workshop, it made me think about how I would approach such a task. I think I would take my inspiration from a former spiritual director of mine who suggested that a person’s life story becomes personal holy scripture for her or him, imparting identity, values, purpose and meaning just as the Holy Scripture we know as the Holy Bible does these things.

The warm response elicited by my recent sermon about the timeline of the Old Testament (October 22) further informs my thinking about how I would present “Your Life as Holy Scripture.”

If you heard that sermon, you know that I accept modern scholarship which posits that scripture was not written in the order we currently know as The Holy Bible. The accounts of creation, exodus, covenant and law-giving which appear in the first five books of the Bible were probably not the first written. Likely the accounts in these books were not written down until centuries after the events they describe, and were transcribed from oral tradition, passed down generation to generation.

In fact the oldest parts of the Bible are probably the songs and poetry, and that is where I would be inclined to start in my presentation of Life as Holy Scripture: by writing a poem about oneself using a very simple form I have used for years as an ice-breaker in youth confirmation class: the “Cinquain.” The cinquain has five lines: 1. Your first name. 2. Two adjectives describing you. 3. Three adverbs applicable to you. 4. One verb. 5. Your name again, or a synonym. It’s not Shakespeare, but it gets the creative juices flowing.

The next oldest parts of Bible are possibly the legend-like stories like the books of Ruth and Job. I might recommend reading the Book of Ruth if time permits. Ruth, according to the book which bears her name, was the pagan ancestress of King David. This account may well have been written during the reign of King David himself to add legitimacy to David’s claim to the throne. For the Life as Holy Scripture project, I might suggest recalling some family legend of a distant forbear. Whether or not the literal truth of the story can be corroborated is beside the point. If it has been handed down within the family it has helped to form the character of that family and gives insight into that particular family’s values: what they found remarkable enough to tell and retell.

In my own case such a story might have to do with the great-great-grandfather who supposedly sailed the seas and carried as ballast two wooden chests that now stand in my house. If I had to say what this story says about my family it would be something about valuing frugality and practicality and maybe a little bit about adventurousness.

In addition to legendary history, the Bible in other places attempts to relate real history with verifiable dates and details. In writing a personal scripture, this would be a story related by an eyewitness within the family, or about something that occurred within one’s own memory, especially if the story has to do with a creative new stage in the family. Examples would be how your parents met, or how you came to live in the house you currently occupy. Again, preference should be given to the stories that are told and retold within the family.

Another significant portion of the Bible was written by prophets: prayerful people who tried to communicate God’s will to the people. This would probably be the hardest kind of thing to include in a personal scripture, but it also might be the most telling. What are your dearest hopes for yourself and your family? If you could do something and know you couldn’t fail, what would it be? What do believe you were put on earth to do? If you were to make this happen, what would it look like? What kind of legacy would you like to leave behind you? How do you want to be remembered?

Following this exercise would, I think, not only be an exercise in self-knowledge, but impart a new and exciting understanding of how the Holy Bible itself came to be.

Vestry Vibes

Summary of the October 15 meeting:

Staff bonuses have been distributed as approved at last month’s vestry meeting in appreciation for the excellent work of our organist, secretary, custodian, and yardman.

Nominating Committee—Retiring vestry members Barb Hinkle, Tom Farnsworth and Airry Schultz are still working on a slate to present for the November election.

Vestry Offices—Continuing vestry members were reminded that the offices of Senior Warden, Secretary and Treasurer will be up for election and to keep this in mind as nominees are considered.

Sandscrest Fall Festival—Jennifer Duymich and Michelle Beihl will organize a Lawrencefield booth for the October 21-22 event.

Vestry Calls—Parish lists were distributed for vestry to make annual all-parish calls to invite members to the Annual Meeting.

Committee Reports—Forms for ministry reports were distributed to officers and ministry chairs. Reports are due November 1.

2018 Assessment—Lawrencefield’s annual assessment from the diocese for next year will be $26,898, or $2,241.50 per month. This is an increase of $21 per month over last year and reflects an increase in our reported operating expenses.

Education—An adult education on world religions is tentatively planned for the Spring. Youth Confirmation classes in preparation for the Bishop’s visit December 3 are in full swing.

Junior Warden—The rotted window sills on the exterior of the nave have been repaired. The HVAC replacement is complete. The painting of the exterior has been contracted and power wash will begin soon. We have borrowed from the endowment to make all these improvements possible before the winter and hope to recoup the expense through donations.

Wedding—The Rev. G.T. Schramm will officiate at a wedding at Lawrencefield on November 4. Michelle Beihl will act as keyperson.

Minutes and Financial Report were approved and received.

Christmas worship schedule—The vestry voted to observe the usual Sunday worship schedule on December 24, which is Advent 4, and the usual Christmas Eve service that evening at pm, but hold no service on Christmas Day, as attendance has been extremely light in recent years, and to give our loyal organist Marty McDonald a break. Christmas decoration ideally would not take place till after the morning service December 24, but if circumstances require it, that is what we will do, in consultation with Airry Schultz, who usually oversees the decoration.