Episcopal Diocese of Virginia
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September 1, 2022

Friends,

 I thank you, again, for allowing me a little time away before what will be a busy Autumn at St. Bart’s.

 We have so much happening so quickly. So here is a brief rundown:

  1. Clothing Drive and Distribution – Shelly James has brought us a wonderful opportunity to serve the families of Quioccasin Middle School. Distribution will take place on the morning of Saturday, September 10th. There is much to do between then and now so please reach out to Shelly and check the sign-up sheet on the bulletin board in the Parish Hall.
  2. Lay Liturgical Leadership – We have foregone lay leaders functioning fully in worship during the pandemic, and several of those roles will be reintroduced starting Sunday, September 11th.
  3. Parish Retreat at Shrine Mont – A group of us will enjoy the beginning of Fall at Shrine Mont over the weekend of September 23rd – 25th. Additional spaces have opened up, so if interested, please be in-touch with Randy Oglesby. 
  4. Introduction of New Programming – On Sunday, October 2nd, at 9:00 a.m. we will start in-person Adult Formation in the Library. We will spend 8 weeks exploring the apostle Paul’s evolving thought by comparing themes that run through his authentic letters.
  5.   Fellowship after Worship – Again on Sunday, October 2nd, after worship we will be able to visit and enjoy conversation with one another.
  6. Intercessory Prayer Worship – We will gather at 5:00 p.m. on Sunday, October 2nd for aa time of Intercessory Prayer. This worship opportunity will continue on a bi-weekly basis.
  7.  Advent and Christmas – They will be upon us in no time. We are hoping to shift the time for worship on Christmas Eve to later in the evening and are actively recruiting folks who will drive parishioners who don’t feel comfortable driving after dark.
  8. Stewardship – At some point, we are going to start talking about money. EEEKK.
  9. Community Garden Planning – For next Spring, and I’ll just leave that to your imagination for right now.

 
So that’s a lot of stuff – a lot of stuff into which you can invite people. Inviting and welcoming people into our life together – our life together, lived trusting in God’s presence and calling – is one of our most important goals. That statement needs some unpacking. All the stuff we are taking on is about having a new robust parish life as we emerge from the pandemic. “Having a robust parish life” has one goal – to introduce and re-introduce people to God. That goal means that none of what we do is for ourselves alone. Our aspiration is that all we do is done in response to God’s call to be who we are created to be in this world that God calls good. We aren’t engaging in busy-work. We are building a parish life that intends to meet folk’s spiritual needs and that puts God at the center of our relationships one to another.

 Sometimes it’s important to remind ourselves “Why” we do what we do. As those who dare take the name Christian, as those who have been “marked as Christ’s own forever,” we do what we do to love and serve God and God’s beloved. I need not remind you – though I will – that “God’s beloved” equals everyone walking the face of the planet.

 I thank you in advance for your enthusiasm, creativity, resilience, willingness, and faithfulness as we emerge from the parish and embrace a time of parish renewal.

 Michael