Table Rock Talk April 2018

The Newsletter of Lawrencefield Parish Church

Gas lease considered

Lawrencefield has been approached by a representative from SWN Production Company for the right to access natural gas under the property for five years, with an option to extend for another five years. The initial offer included a signing bonus of $5,500 per acre (amounting to a total of $30,140 according to SWN’s estimate of our acreage) plus 18% royalties on the value of the product extracted. Copies of the draft contract are available at church.

The vestry appointed a committee to study the offer and report back to the next Vestry meeting on April 15. Bob Luchetti, Jr., Marc Seamon and Dolph Santorine serve on this committee, informally known as the “Drill Team.” Interested parishioners are urged to contact them with questions and concerns.

Among the concerns already aired are the stipulation of no surface, disposal or storage use; the negotiation of both bonus and royalty amounts; the preference for gross over net royalty; the deletion of extension rights and the arbitration clause; water damage; the accuracy of acreage measurements; and the location of the actual well (which we understand would not be on our property.)

Although it is up to the vestry to approve any contract involving the church property, a contract would have to be signed by the parish trustees, Doug Dalby, Doug Molnar and Lee Paull, who are on record with the County as holding the property in trust for the Episcopal Diocese of West Virginia.

News Briefs

Bishop Van Koevering to go to Kentucky

The Rt. Rev. Mark Van Koevering, Assistant Bishop in the Episcopal Diocese of West Virginia for the last two years, has accepted a call as bishop provisional of the Diocese of Lexington (Kentucky.) His wife, the Rev. Canon Helen Van Koevering, after her election by the vestry, has accepted a call to be the next rector of St. Raphael Episcopal Church, Lexington, Kentucky.

Bishop Van Koevering’s new position, which he will assume next month, necessitates the cancellation of his episcopal visit to Lawrencefield which had been scheduled for June. Diocesan Bishop W. Michie Klusmeyer is currently working on staffing decisions and the rescheduling of episcopal visitations.

2018 Schedule of Churchyard Clean-Ups

Junior Warden Scott Duymich has announced that Churchyard clean-ups will take place on the second Sunday of each of the warm weather months: April 8, May 13, June 10, July 8, August 12 and September 9.

World Religions Series

Lawrencefield will sponsor a series on World Religions on Wednesday evenings in May taught by the Rev. Bonnie Thurston, PhD. The sessions will begin at 7pm, last about one-and-a-half hours, and be open to the public. The schedule is as follows:

May 2
May 9
May 16

In preparation for this series, Dr. Thurston suggests that interested participants may wish to read Huston Smith's The World's Religions (Paperback, Harper San Francisco.) Please contact Alan at Words and Music to order your own copy.

Lawrencefield youth achieves Eagle rank

Luke David Phillips, son of Dave and Betsy Phillips, was awarded the rank of Eagle Scout at a Court of Honor taking place Sunday evening March 18 at the Osiris Shrine Temple. Luke is a member of Boy Scout Troop 6 of Wheeling. Congratulations, Luke! Lawrencefield is proud of you!

Story of a favorite hymn

Ask your average Christian what hymn he or she most associates with Easter and you will probably be told “Jesus Christ is risen today” (Hymnal 1982, #207.) You may not have realized that many of our Easter hymns are some of the oldest in our hymnal. The words from “JCIRT” are in fact derived from a 14th-century Latin hymn. The music with which we are most familiar is much more recent, but still not what you would probably consider modern. It is adapted from an 18th-century tune. To find out more about the songs we sing in church, check out the tiny print under each hymn in the hymnal, where you may find the attributions for words, music, sources and harmonizations. There’s a story behind each song!

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

Spirited remarks

This month I continue to draw my inspiration from the “ask the priest” cards people filled out at Lawrencefield’s last Congregational meeting in November. One of those cards read, “I would like a better understanding of the Holy Spirit.”

Whoever wrote this card is not alone. Although it is a matter of faith for Episcopalians that God is the Holy Trinity (Father, Son and Holy Spirit), and we invoke this formula frequently in worship and prayer, the Holy Spirit is probably the least understood element.

Our Catechism (page 852 in the Book of Common Prayer) tells us that the Holy Spirit is “The Third Person of the Trinity, God at work in the world and in the Church even now.” In the Old Testament, the Holy Spirit is revealed as “the giver of life” who speaks through the prophets. In the New Testament, the Catechism tells us, “The Holy Spirit is revealed as the Lord who leads us into all truth and enables us to grow into the likeness of Christ.” The Holy Spirit is manifest in our own lives when we acknowledge Jesus Christ as Lord and live following his life and teaching, loving God and our neighbor and working in harmony with God to build God’s kingdom on earth. The Catechism concludes that we can recognize the movement of the Holy Spirit when what is manifest is in accordance with the Scriptures.

The study of the Holy Spirit is called “pneumatology,” after the Greek word πνευμα (pneuma), meaning “spirit” or “breath.” Interestingly the Hebrew word for spirit, transcribed ruah, can also be translated “breath.” From this we take that the Spirit, like breath, is both unseen and life-giving. Incidentally, both pneuma and ruah are feminine nouns in their respective languages, leading some pneumatologists to refer to the Holy Spirit as “she,” while recognizing that the Triune God is both, and neither, male or female.

In Systematic Theology I was taught that the Holy Trinity consists of God the Father emptying himself in love to the Son, who returns the Father’s love, and the Holy Spirit is what unites them. The Holy Trinity has thus been described as “the cosmic dance,” the fundamental community that underpins all creation and models its intended unity.

All this may seem terribly abstract. What is helpful to me is to think of the way we use the word “inspiration.” An exceptionally beautiful work of art, or an act of serendipitous love, is said to be “inspired.” The relationship between the words “spirit” and “inspired” are not coincidental in these cases. In an inspired work or act, a spirit of something (art, talent, love) infuses a person, enabling them to act creatively. This is, to me, the Holy Spirit at work. In my view, the Holy Spirit can and does work even in people who do not “believe” in the Holy Spirit when something beautiful that supports the Kingdom of God happens or is created. The Spirit of God, whether recognized or not, suffuses all of creation.

When human beings set about trying to align themselves with God and God’s purpose in the world, they have been moved by the Holy Spirit, and must appeal to the Holy Spirit to motivate, lead, guide, sustain and encourage them. Contemplative Prayer is a practice of such alignment, “listening” for the movement of the Holy Spirit. In Spiritual Direction, a director trained to cultivate awareness of the Holy Spirit assists a person in recognizing such movement in his or her own life.

In short, when you have observed (or just suspected) God’s hand in your life, or in the life of another person or group of people, that’s probably the Holy Spirit.

Although Christians are often praying for the guidance of the Holy Spirit, sometimes the Holy Spirit’s movement is only discerned after the fact. I had a friend who, when this happened to her, would exclaim, “Well done, Holy Spirit!” I have found this a helpful expression myself!

By the way, person-who-submitted-the-card-that-inspired-this-column, I suspect it was the Holy Spirit who prompted you to write it!


Vestry Vibes

Summary of the March 11 meeting:

Narcan—The information and training session with the Wheeling Department of Health has yet to be scheduled.

Budget Committee presented a budget of $176,476 for 2018 making few changes from last year except to allow for rising costs. The vestry unanimously approved the committee’s budget.

Education—The Centering Prayer Group continues to meet between the services. The World Religions Series is on track for May.

Chase CD—The proceeds from the CD, which was closed out last month has been moved to the rector’s discretionary fund. Bob Luchetti, Jr. will look for options for reinvestment at United Bank

Financial Report—Presented and accepted

February Minutes were presented and approved.