Continuing Home

The ongoing saga of a Continuing Anglican church home, as seen by a member of the laity.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Vestry Meeting... on Superbowl Sunday???

The Senior Warden had set the next (post-APM) meeting of the Vestry for the Sunday following the APM, after Mass. It turns out, now, that this will be Superbowl Sunday (the Senior Warden is not a football fan) and worse -- the local team, the Seattle Seahawks, are playing.

I am guessing this will be a short meeting.

What time does the game begin?

Annual Parish Meeting

Yesterday's Annual Parish Meeting wasn't a record-setter for brevity -- an hour and a half, I think, as opposed to the recent "record" of under an hour. But there were issues in the proposed budget which needed discussion. Once again we have passed a deficit budget (as we have many times before), but this time there was a bigger effort on outreach and growth -- we are, after all, in one of the least-churched regions of the country, and we have *much* to offer.

The Senior Warden, who "cannot recall when he was last not on the Vestry" agreed to stay on an additional year ("...period" --- was that end of sentence, or only one more year? he didn't say) to help the transition.

The presence of the website, and this blog, was announced to the parish in the meeting. One hopes members will feel free to comment!

Sunday, January 29, 2006

"Tithes and Offerings"

In the process of trying to catch up with the world, I came across the Rev. Gordon Anderson's posting with the title Tithes and Offerings on The Continuing Anglican Churchman blog. I commend it for your reading.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

A long time to get through Ephesians, IV

I forgot... upon returning home I checked my e-mail and found a note from Fr. Daniel advising that due to meeting/lunch preparations in the Parish Hall, tomorrow's Bible Study class is cancelled.

I need to look at somebody's notes from last Sunday's class.

Home again and catching up

Returned home Wednesday as planned, but with far more work to do than I'd anticipated so I'm only now getting back to the blog, as well as catching up on what's been happening in the parish.

The Vestry and other members of the parish have been busy, writing and submitting their various reports for the booklet for tomorrow's Annual Parish Meeting and Potluck Luncheon after the service. Looking at the list of material in it I keep thinking something's missing, but I'm not sure what. We have:

Table of Contents:

Agenda (for the meeting)
The Heritage of St. Bartholomew's (a short history)
The 2005 Vestry (positions and terms)
Officers & Leaders of Parish Groups & Activities 2005
Diocesan Canons (pertaining to the Parish, Vestry, and Annual Mtg)
By-Laws of St. Bartholomew's
Minutes of 2005 Annual Parish Meeting
Parish Treasurer's Report for 2005
Proposed Budget for 2006
Written Reports:
- Rector
- Deacon
- Senior Warden
- Junior Warden
- Stewardship Committee
- Sunday School
- ACW Report
- ACW Treasurer's Report
- Altar Guild
- Music Program
- Food Bank
- The Faculty
- Memorial Committee

... I just stumbled across last year's agenda. We have dropped the "Servants of the Sanctuary Report." As I recall "The Servants of the Sancutuary" is a UK organization, and though it was proposed the clergy, lay readers and acolytes never actually joined.

In any event, the form of our Annual Parish Meeting booklet has developed over the year, it is now up to 29 pages at 8.5 x 11 inches. In past years it was thicker and smaller at 5.5 x 8.5, but I am sure many will appreciate the new format and larger type.

I wonder if other churches create such booklets; I have distant memories of annual parish meetings elsewhere in which the reports and proposed budget were individually passed out. This is much tidier, and is sort of an annual recap of the life our church family all in itself. It would be interesting to go back to some meeting booklets from many years past and read them.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006


Things are going to be rather quiet here for the next week. Yours truly will be away on business with very little free time.

Monday, January 16, 2006

A long time to get through Ephesians, III

So much going on, I forgot to mention: the Bible Study Class, which started at the beginning of Advent, is now just about through Ephesians, chapter 1! We're getting a lot of Greek along the way, and hearing a lot from Ambrosiaster. As Fr. Daniel noted yesterday, Deacon Ed has the right voice for reading his commentary.

Oh, and our class recently welcomed a new member.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Old Faces and New

We remembered Keith in the Holy Communion service today, a week after his passing. Along with the bulletins there were sheets with a picture, taken in December just before his decline, smoking his hallmark pipe and smiling: a great photo, not the terrible one I have.

Keith was loved by many, judging from the turnout today. There were, of course, family. But a few former (? well, we haven't seen them in a while) members of St. Bartholomew's were present too (word of Keith's passing had apparently been widely circulated) -- and folks were so happy to see them again and catch up on life. Yet again our little parish feels like family; once you're a member here, you're part of the parish family forever.

But we also had new visitors today too, Anglicans. Apparently they found us because of an article about St. Bartholomew's, or another by Fr. Daniel, in "The Mandate" (linked from the church web page). I barely got a chance to meet them, but I hope they liked us.

Leadership Retreat

On Saturday the 14th the Vestry held a "retreat" at the church to discuss longer-range plans. (When the idea was initially raised we'd considered a weekend retreat away, but doing this early in the year is very difficult for the Senior Warden who is traveling a lot that time of year, with other pressing business at home.) With the impending Annual Parish Meeting the Vestry decided to add on a meeting, producing the following schedule:

10:00 Matins
10:30 Morning Session, Outreach & Programs
12:00 Lunch Break
1:00 Afternoon Session, Building & Grounds
2:00 January Vestry Meeting
3:00 Evensong

This was a good exercise, because we now have a good idea of how much time it will take to get through a full agenda.
Fr. Daniel led off with an interesting discussion of a flyer he had put together: "What does it mean to be a Christian within the Anglican tradition?", with a number of elements as follows: Anglicans are... and apostolic
(and concluding) Do you know any of these famous Anglicans?

For Outreach & Programs we had 18 items on the agenda, but only touched on about 6 and fully discussed only 3. For example, we discussed "Hospital Visitation" (our Deacon volunteers at the VA hospital) but noted also visiting the sick, widows, the elderly, and prisoners (one of our group helps out with Kairos Prison Ministries). All worthy programs, but some training will be required. A number of people were taking notes for the future.

Buildings & Grounds featured the initial presentation of a 5 year plan to improve the appearance of the property. It was one thing when our property was well out in the country, but the developments that have gone up around us have changed all that. It's an ambitious project, but broken down into sections it will become more manageable.

One interesting item was the discussion of adding a cupola. Some members had wanted one back when the church building was being designed back in 1985, but there was simply no money for one. It's a pretty low-priority item, but 20 years later it's back on the the table. Sadly, one of the strongest proponents for the cupola back then died in 1990 with her young daughter in a terrible car accident, but it was (informally) decided that if we erected one, it would be to their memory.

In the Vestry meeting we discussed having a longer retreat away and determined that mid-August would be a much better time (at least for the Senior Warden).

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Diminished by one

Word came from Fr. Daniel yesterday that one of our members, Keith H., has passed away.

Hang around a church for a quarter-century or so and it's as inevitable as newborns become adults that older members will pass away. And Keith was well into his 90s.

It's a bit sad to reflect on those parishioners who are no longer with us, whether due to old age, disease or horrible accident. Every one a different spark, missed by those who remember them.

Keith, now... I dug through my archives of (digital) photographs and found one --exactly one!-- of him, from Christmas 5 years ago. I'm not going to post it, though, because if you didn't know him you'd think you were seeing the absolutely most dour, sour man on earth, somebody who'd make Scrooge look like the life of the party. What you wouldn't see is the rather dry and funny remark coming up next, straight out of left field, followed by his face crinkling impishly as a laugh sought its way out to let you know you'd been had. Again.

I know, he's gone (we pray) to be with the Lord and we'll see him again in the fullness of time. But for here and now... we are diminished by the loss of yet another spark.

Pray for the soul of Keith H., gone to meet his Maker, and for Phyllis.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Being Open

In all the years I've been on (or aware of) Vestries, their work always seems to be done secretly. (I say "aware of" because I was never really aware of Vestries until the day I was asked to stand for one; they were something mentioned at the Parish Meeting then forgotten the rest of the year.)

I've noticed in blogs and in communications with other Anglicans there seems to be sometimes a suspicion of the Vestry, just because its work is done out of view. Perhaps this is more likely to be a characteristic of a big church, especially one with multiple "congregations" (e.g. the 8:00, 9:15 and 11:00 groups who barely know each other) than a small one, but a recent communication implied the same in a small church.

It seems a shame... and yet I realized that until recently this could have been a problem for us.

With such a widespread congregation as ours is, and having to struggle through one of the country's worst regional traffic nightmares, it's difficult to get together on evenings. So the Vestry tries to piggyback on other times they are together. For years it met in the Rector's office before the service. Although this put a firm time limit on the meeting, the office was crowded with no room for anyone else. Exclusionary.

I think it was during the time we were without a Rector that the Vestry started meeting after the service and coffee "hour", in the Parish Hall, and the practice continues. The Vestry can't wait until everyone leaves, but at some point it starts gravitating to the tables at one end of the hall. I'm still not sure whether people are aware that they can sit in -- or whether they're just being wiser in "running away."

What brought all this up was a note in the Epiphany Newsletter on our "Parish Leadership Restreat" this coming Saturday, which says: "Although the vestry and clergy are the primary participants in this retreat, anyone else from the parish (especially other lay leaders, or would-be leaders) who would like to attend, are most welcome."

Part of the message I see to our parish, in light of my recent observations, is: "There's nothing being done in secret here." And that couples well with another practice the Vestry adopted over the summer, which is to post the meeting minutes (after approval) on a bulletin board in the Parish Hall. (Though I noted last Sunday they'd gone missing.)

Especially given the list of topics before the Vestry, I hope others interested in the future of our church will take note and come.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

"Discarding Accretions" revisited

Blog readers may recall that a month or so I had mentioned a couple of items that had crept into our service. One was saying the Prayer of Humble Access along with the priest, though the rubrics say the priest says it alone. A number of you noted that it was written so it could be said either way; our Rector prefers it be said by the priest alone.

The other item was saying "Thanks be to God" after the Epistle, in response to "Here endeth the Epistle." (Are we thanking God that the Epistle is ended?) This clearly came from the 1979 BCP, where the Epistle reading may end with:
Reader: The Word of the Lord.
People: Thanks be to God.

But it is interesting to note that the '79 (at least in the place I looked; I do not know my way around it at all anymore) also allows:
Reader: Here ends the Reading (Epistle).
People (say nothing)

In any event, in the first posting on this subject I assumed that this practice would quickly disappear once a few of us became aware of the issue. It has not but then nothing has been done, either. In the overall scheme of things, it's pretty small.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

The 1940 Hymnal

One of the last now-deleted postings is worth bringing forward, in case anyone missed it.

Our Rector has written a six-part article on the 1940 Hymnal for The Prayer Book Society's bi-monthly journal, The Mandate.

Part one has just been published, and I learned a lot from it. I personally can't wait to read the rest.

I commend part one for your reading, on pages 8 and 9. (Actually, I suggest reading the entire journal in addition to this.)

Bad Habit (blog restart)

If you are a returning blog reader, you will no doubt notice something's missing.

That's right, the archives.

Yours truly got tripped up by a bad habit. I use a software tool in a manner that the authors thought would be extremely rare, and against which the user should forever be protected. As a result I have a great reflex for quickly clicking on the "Yes" response to "Do you really want to do this?" (Or some such -- if they ever make a computer game where that is the overarching skill required, I'll be a pro!)

So, after getting home tired tonight I thought I'd pop up the blog's hood and tweak it a bit. Big mistake. The "Delete Blog" button is not hard to click on (why isn't it red?); from there, reflex took over and the rest, as they say, is history. Note to self: get a different tool.

What's been lost?

The turmoil when the blog began, our search for a Rector, the Call, the particulars of the move, his installation and the consecration of the church. The new music, such as sung Evensong. The new Girls' Choir. Setting up a website. The classes, including "A Long Time To Get Through Ephesians" and the Wednesday evening class taught by the Rev Dr. Peter Toon. The requested story of how yours truly came to leave ECUSA 23 years ago to find a home in a Continuing church (that one's in a file somewhere). The writeup on our church in "The Mandate." A myriad little things about the daily or weekly activities of this church.

And all your comments.