This blog entry was exceptionally difficult to title, mainly due to an embarrassment of riches. But if I posted every item independently there would be three, four, or maybe more entries just for today. So I will combine them all under the general topic of changes.
It's hard to pin any one point as the beginning of changes when in fact St. Bartholomew's has been generally in change from day one (for me). Sometimes slower, sometimes faster, but always something. So I will arbitrarily pick a point 11 months ago tomorrow, when we conducted our first "facility" change on Palm Sunday before the new (to us) Lithuanian-American altar.
Since then we have seen steady growth, perhaps and hopefully most recently as an Anglican family new to our locale visited us for the third time today. During the announcements Father Davis noted that point, addressed them by name (I'm simply terrible with names, one reason I should never be a priest) with a clear jest to the effect that "on the third visit, you're set! You are one of us." It's funny, but for us it was our third visit that clinched it so long ago. We had been looking for a good Episcopal church home and visited St. Bartholomew's by accident... and we're still here.
But I'm seeing St. Bartholomew's getting to the point where we may need two Masses on Sundays. Nice for the early-risers (like me) but not for night-owls (like my spouse). The only downside of such is that, like the church wherein I was raised which had three services, at parish meetings one has multiple groups of parishioners equally devoted to the parish but who barely know each other! I cannot imagine such at St. Bartholomew's.
And this growth element showed up again two weeks ago with the delayed Welcome Party for Tanaya. During announcements that day Father Davis was going to say we were welcoming the newest member of the parish, but recognized that Don & Jan (I hope I have that right -- did I say I was poor with names?) had joined us after Tanaya's arrival from India.
Don and Jan: they went up for blessings today and we all thought "wedding anniversary." I saw an unusual little bit of discussion at the altar rail, and it turned out this was for birthday blessings: one birthday today and the other Tuesday! They were also all ears when, during announcements, Kathy talked about support for the upcoming (in three weeks) Kairos Prison Ministry weekend in the womens' prison in Purdy, WA. It appears they know others who have been involved in or led Kairos locally.
And finally I return to "facility" changes. Last Sunday Father Davis talked about the "Organ Donor" program, hoping it would be the first and last time. St. Bartholomew's organ is apparently on its last legs. I know it loses its stops settings every time the power goes out, but it seems the (gold-wire?) contacts are going too. My ears haven't heard anything, but several others more attuned to the organ have, and we apparently have a professional assessment on this. It is a ca. 70s organ and the second "real" organ we've had. (I am not including the WWI Army field or the 1888 parlor organ we used for a bit, in the early days.)
It appears the call has been met and soon after Easter we will have a (truly) new organ, built to our specifications and shipped from the Netherlands!