Table Rock Talk December 2017

The Newsletter of Lawrencefield Parish Church

Welcome Bishop Klusmeyer

Annual episcopal visitation this month

The Rt. Rev. W. Michie Klusmeyer, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of West Virginia, will visit Lawrencefield on December 3. The bishop visits all parishes in the diocese at least once every one or two years.

Bishop Klusmeyer will preside at both Sunday services that day, and meet with the vestry between the services. A special coffee hour is planned to honor the bishop after the 10:00 service.

The bishop’s visitation provides the opportunity for Confirmation. Three young people of Lawrencefield, Emilee Beihl, Holden Farnsworth and Jacob Stern will make a public mature affirmation of their baptismal vows in this sacramental rite December 3. The Renewal of Baptismal Vows for all members will be part of both morning services.

Ask the Priest

Everything you ever wanted to know but were afraid to ask…

Those who attended the Annual Meeting on November 12 were asked to submit questions to the rector on any subject from Christian doctrine to the particulars of running Lawrencefield Church. On December 10 and 17, at an adult education to be held in the rector’s office from 9:00 to 9:40am, those questions, and any others you may have, will be answered to the best of the rector’s ability, or at least opened for general discussion. This is your chance to be as church-smart as you can be! Please join us!

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 fifteen children.

Tags have been available in the Narthex, decorating a Christmas tree since November 19. Each tag lists a child’s name, with his or her age, sizes and interests. Volunteers wishing to buy gifts have taken tags to use as a shopping guide. As of November 28, all tags had been claimed.

After shopping, volunteers are asked 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 10 and absolutely no later than December 15.

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

My favorite things

Those who attended the November 3 concert of Elisabeth von Trapp were treated to a smorgasbord of beautiful music, ranging from traditional hymns like “Amazing Grace” to the artist’s own settings of Robert Frost poems, to selections from the musical film The Sound of Music,” which tells the story of Elisabeth’s grandparents escaping Nazi occupation of Austria.

One of those selections was “My Favorite Things.” In recent decades this song has been taken from its original context, where the governess Maria tells the children under her care about how she gets through fear and unpleasantness (“When the dog bites, when the bee stings, when I’m feeling sad, I simply remember my favorite things and then I don’t feel so bad!”) The song has become a secular Christmas song, taking on the nature of a sort of wish list for Christmas presents.

Because of the association with both Christmas and Elisabeth von Trapp, my thoughts this month have turned to this song. The topic of this column will therefore be some of my favorites in the Bible


Jacob wrestling with the angel (Genesis 32:24-32) would certainly be up there. Because my own faith journey has often been one of wrestling with God, or wrestling with questions of vocation or faith, I am more than relieved to know that people in the Bible did this too. I also very much like the end of Genesis (52:20), where Joseph forgives his brothers, who are feeling (justifiably) guilty for having sold him into slavery. He tells them, “you intended evil, but God intended it for good.” The ability of God to redeem even wicked acts is intensely reassuring to me. I don’t think I can let a list of Old Testament favorites go without mentioning the lovely story of Ruth, in which God’s love, and human love, both triumph over all, paving the way for Christ eventually to come into the world.


Like many Sunday School students of my generation, I memorized 23 and 100, so those will always be dear to me. But more recently I have come to love Psalm 18, especially the first part, where an avowal of love for God is followed by a description of terrible, cosmic disaster overcome by the protection of the Lord. From this I take assurance that God literally moves heaven and earth to rescue his beloved. I especially love the picture of smoke coming from God’s nostrils as he flies to the psalmist’s defense!


John. Although his language is very difficult and circular, I love the way Jesus really engages people in extended conversations in this Gospel.


This would have to be the one where the weeds and the wheat grow together until God sorts it all out (Matthew 13:24-30.) This is a reassuring idea for me when I wonder why there is so much evil in the world. Ultimately God is in charge, and all will be put to rights in God’s good time. In the meantime I have some time to let God make me more wheat-like and less weed-like.


I like Paul’s letter to the Philippians, because Paul’s love and longing for his congregation, who have clearly expressed concern for him in his imprisonment. This love comes through in every paragraph, and is an effective argument against those who think of Paul as a misogynistic prig.

What are your favorites? Drop me a line (or email) and let me know!

Vestry Vibes

Summary of the November 19 meeting:

There being no quorum present, the following matters were presented for discussion only. Votes will be taken at a later date.

After-Action Discussion of recent events—All present agreed that Vestry Calls and the Annual Meeting had gone well. The Elisabeth von Trapp concert on November 3 was positively magical. The crowd, while not the capacity we had hoped for, have been enthusiastic, and Elisabeth and her husband Ed Hall were most appreciative of our hospitality and have sent the most gracious of thank-you letters.

Narcan—The vestry discussed carrying the anti-opioid drug Narcan in case of overdose emergencies. This is something recommended that Bishop Klusmeyer recommended for all churches in his address to Diocesan Convention. The rector has spoken to Harry Gamble at the County Health Department who says there would be no expense and little risk involved, but some parishioners still have questions. The rector offered to contact Mr. Gamble to see if he could meet with the vestry and address concerns.

Property Use Agreement—A change has been proposed to the Property Use Agreement. The paragraphs about the first aid kit and fire extinguishers have been combined in a paragraph entitled “Health and Safety” which also describes the location of the AED.

Crisis Management Plan—Copies of the plan, executed by the vestry in the Spring of last year, were circulated for Vestry review.

Retirement Savings Plan—The rector is enrolling in a savings plan with the Church Pension which requires a warden’s signature. There is no additional cost to the church: deposits to the plan will come out of the rector’s salary.

Education—In addition to the adult education on world religions planned for May, there will be two Advent sessions called “Ask the Priest” and a Lenten series to be determined later. The Youth Confirmation classes in preparation for the Bishop’s visit have concluded.

Minutes and Financial Report were presented but will be voted on later.

Coming events—Coffee hour for the bishop’s visit will be our usual spread with the addition of a special cake honoring the confirmands. Michelle will order the cake and Barb will coordinate other food.

The Greening of the Church will take place after the morning service on December 24. Airry Schultz will coordinate this as usual.