Table Rock Talk February 2018

The Newsletter of Lawrencefield Parish Church

Lenten Study series

Details announced

As we have in previous years, Lawrencefield will join with St. Matthew’s downtown and St. Luke’s on the Island to present an adult education series on the Wednesdays of Lent. We gather at St. Matthew’s at 6pm each evening for a soup supper provided by the host congregation. Participants are welcome to bring a sandwich or salad to complement the soup or just have soup. The clergy of participating congregations will take turns presenting the educational element, which will begin about 6:30pm and last about an hour.

Our theme this year is “Why? Making Sense of God’s Will” based on a book by the same name by Adam Hamilton. According to this book’s promotional material, this series will “bring fresh insight into an age-old question of how to understand the will of God. Where is God when tragedy and suffering strike?” Adam Hamilton is senior pastor of the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kansas and the author of several books.

The schedule of this series is as follows:

February 21—An Introduction to the Question of Why
Hosted by St. Matthew’s and presented by the Rev. Richard L. Skaggs
February 28—Why Do The Innocent Suffer?
Hosted by St. Matthew’s and presented by the Rev. Mark E. Seitz
March 7—Why Do My Prayers Go Unanswered?
Hosted by Lawrencefield and presented by the Rev. Dr. Cynthia Byers Walter
March 14—Why Can’t I See God’s Will for My Life?
Hosted by St. Matthew’s and presented by the Rev. Richard L. Skaggs
March 21—Why God’s Love Prevails
Hosted by St. Luke’s and presented by the Rev. Mark E. Seitz

A sign-up sheet for soup-makers for the March 7 session, for which Lawrencefield is responsible, will be posted in the Narthex shortly.

The Good Book Club

Episcopalians around the world will join together to read the Gospel of Luke during Lent and the Book of Acts during Eastertide in 2018. Brochures are available at church designating a brief reading (five to 25 verses) for each day during this period. If sufficient interest exists, we will form a group at Lawrencefield to meet weekly and do a Bible Study on the readings of the past week. Learn more at

2018 Visitations Announced

The Bishop’s office has published a visitation schedule for 2018. Bishop Mark Van Koevering is scheduled to visit Lawrencefield on June 10, 2018.

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

Our Colorful Worship

As was the case last month, this column takes inspiration from the “Ask the Priest” questions collected at last November’s Annual Congregational Meeting. One of these questions was: “Can you explain the significance of the altar colors? Red, Green, White, etc.”

The person who wrote this question is very observant. We change the altar hangings and priest’s liturgical vestments seasonally. The colors you will see at Lawrencefield are Blue, White, Green, Purple, and Red, and a dark Blood Red. The use of these colors is fairly consistent amongst liturgical churches with some variations. For example, in place of Purple during Lent, some churches will use a so-called “Lenten Array”, where the base fabric is an unbleached linen, recalling a funeral shroud, the trimmings are Blood Red and Black to signify Christ’s suffering and death.

Briefly and generally speaking, Blue is the color of peace and hope, White is the color of purity and joy, Green is the color of creation and growth, Purple is associated with penitence, and Red means either fire or blood. The way each of these colors brings out the themes of the seasons for which they are specified I will describe below.

Advent (Blue): Advent, which begins four Sundays before Christmas, signifies the beginning of the church year. Advent is a time of solemn preparation. For this reason, for many years churches used the same color for Advent that they use for Lent (Purple), the church’s other season of solemn preparation. During the 20th century, the less severe color Blue became popular in the Anglican tradition to distinguish Advent’s theme of hopeful expectancy from Lent’s more purely penitential emphasis, following the ancient practice of the Cathedral at Salisbury (or Sarum) in England. Because of the origins of this practice, the clear, sapphire blue we use at Advent is also called “Sarum Blue.” The Roman Catholic Church has not approved the use of Blue for Advent and continues to use Purple during this season.

Christmas, Easter, Other Feasts of the Lord, Baptisms, Weddings, Funerals (White): The church uses white on its most joyous occasions. The major universal feasts of Christ’s life, Christmas and Easter, and the seasons which follow them, are obvious occasions of joy. Likewise baptisms and weddings, pastoral events celebrated in individuals’ lives, are also obvious joyful occasions. Why use White at funerals? The explanation for this is beautifully articulated on page 507 of the Book of Common Prayer, in the section on Burials:

The liturgy for the dead is an Easter liturgy. It finds all its meanings in the resurrection. Because Jesus was raised from the dead, we too, shall be raised./The liturgy therefore, is characterized by joy, in the certainty that “neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus.”

[The quotation is from Romans 8:38-39.]

Epiphany and Pentecost Seasons (Green): Although the day of Epiphany and the day of Pentecost are marked by White and Red respectively, the long seasons which follow both these major feasts use green, the ordinary color of the church. The abiding work of the church is growth in the Lord and participation in God’s great project of perfecting creation, therefore Green, the color of growth and creation, is an appropriate default color for us.

Lent (Purple) and Holy Week (Dark Red): It is likewise appropriate that we reserve our darkest colors for the most solemn and introspective season of the year, where we remember Christ’s Passion and death and prepare ourselves seriously to participate in his resurrection to new life. The association of Blood Red with Christ’s special suffering during Holy Week is obvious. At Lawrencefield, the Red we use at this time is noticeably different from the more exuberant Red of Pentecost. Some churches use Rose midway through Lent to temporarily lighten the solemnity. (Rose is also associated with Feasts of the Virgin Mary.) Black, the color of mourning, may be used on Good Friday and Holy Saturday up until the time of the Easter Vigil.

Pentecost, Commemorations of Martyrs, Ordination (Red): The bright Red of Pentecost recalls the flames of fire which were perceived over the heads of the disciples at the first Pentecost, which is considered the birth of the Church. Consequent occasions which mark the advance of the Church (Martyrs’ Days and Ordinations are marked by Red for the same reason. Red is associated with energetic power of the Holy Spirit.

So that’s the scoop on liturgical colors. We always encourage people to wear Red for the day of Pentecost to get in the spirit. I haven’t heard of people coordinating their clothing with the altar hangings for other days and seasons, but maybe we could start a trend!

Vestry Vibes

Summary of the January 21 meeting:

Narcan—Cynthia has not gotten ahold of Howard Gamble at the Ohio County Health Department about coming in to talk to the vestry yet. Personnel Committee - Karen Dalby, Fran Schoolcraft and Sue Farnsworth along with Jaci Neer met and made the following recommendations for the rector’s compensation package, given that she is signing on to her husband’s insurance at a significant savings to the church: To leave the housing allowance as is, and pay a salary raise for the year.

Budget Committee—Ron White, Jack Wheeler and Bob Luchetti Jr will serve. Rev. Walter told the group that she had worked up a tentative budget and with that and input from Mary Frohme about the final figures for pledges etc. they may meet and work on a final budget soon.

Education—Details of the Cluster Lenten Series were announced. Adult education will be held between church services during lent. Three Wednesdays in May we will be hosting a program by Dr. Bonnie Thurston on world religions.

February 4th—The rector’s absence will be covered by the retired Rev. Richard Skaggs.

Annual Report—The Vestry approved the 2017 report to be sent to the Diocese and central Episcopal Church offices.

Chase CD—This CD was taken out to provide income for the Rector’s Discretionary fund but produces only a dollar or two each quarter. It matured and needs a response by 10 days after January 18th. Vestry voted to authorize the rector to select the best option she sees fit as long as it is obviously better than the 0.03 % interest we have now.

Junior Warden

  1. Scott D. reported that a gas valve was replaced for the furnace that handles the rector’s office and the room below that space. It is working noticeably better than before.
  2. He also said that the microphone cable needs to be replaced as it broke this morning. Vestry voted to buy two at about $40 each.
  3. Lawn damage issue is being dealt with, and all parties are aware of it at this time.

Pew cards—Rev. Walter was approached by a parishioner about having the cards replaced that explained “how to prepare for worship”. Cynthia said she would look into it.

Music Soloists—Fran S. asked if it could be announced in the bulletin when we were to have soloists so that parishioners may be swayed to attend if they were so inclined. Rev. Walter will definitely post it when she has enough notice.

Pancake supper will be suspended this year unless someone steps forward to chair.

Ash Wednesday services will be at noon and 6pm this year.