The Messenger

January 1997

From the Rector.....

Dear Friends,

One of the great leaders of the Episcopal Church in the last generation, Bishop Stephen Bayne, had some sage words on the month we are now entering: "January, I have long felt, is a month without which life would be greatly improved. Annual reports, final days of reckoning with postponed business, new budgets, clearing out of files...to say nothing of Christmas bills and the like...it is a miserable, harassed, snivelling, crass, overbearing, worldly wretch of a month."

That may be a little harsh, but I think Bishop Bayne has the right idea. Still, at least around the parish, I see some redeeming signs of life in the depths of this winter.

For one thing, the bitter cold seems to bring out the best in people. Maybe because it's harder to get out, and harder to get together, it seems better when we do. For all the busy-ness of this month, and all the winter chill, I find the being with people on Sunday, and other times, especially rich.

I am heartened, too, in preparing the Annual Report for the Annual Parish Meeting. I am amazed by the amount of energy and activity going on in this place, and by the remarkable generosity of spirit and time with which people give of themselves.

But maybe I value January most of all because it seems like a new beginning, and that's something I can always use. I start into this new year resolved to be doing all that I can to build us into a genuinely supportive family of Christians ---finding ways for us to be together, challenging us to connect ourselves more deeply to Christ and to each other, exploring together how best to minister to the world in Christ's name.

January permits such resolutions. I guess I'll be glad when the month is over, but I hope that the good things --- the people, the community, the dreams of the year ---will carry us on as we make the snowy trek toward spring.

Peace,
James

INSTRUCTED EUCHARIST

January 26th

As our numbers increase at St. Stephen's there are more and more people who are not very familiar with our liturgy on Sunday mornings. Others, who have attended services for a considerable time still have questions concerning the symbols in our worship.

Therefore, on Sunday, January 26th at the 10:15 am Eucharist St. Stephen's will have an Instructed Eucharist. As you arrive, you will be given a special bulletin. At various points during the liturgy, the service will stop and an explanation of that part of our worship will be read. Then the service will continue until another explanation is read. In this way it is hoped that a better understanding of our Anglican worship will be given.

This 'Instructed Eucharist' would be an excellent opportunity for our members to invite a guest(s) to church. We all know how confusing our worship can be, and this would be a way of 'easing' newcomers into St. Stephen's.

ADULT INQUIRER'S CLASS: EXPLORING THE ANGLICAN ETHOS

This course begins on January 5th at 9 am in the rector's study and will meet each Sunday morning through February 9th. It is intended to introduce prospective members of our parish to the ethos of Anglicanism. It is also a good 'refresher course' in our beliefs for any member of the parish.

The study will explore our particular ethos: Anglican traits rooted deeply in the past (200 A.D.) of Britain's relatively pragmatic and moderate peoples. It explores why we Episcopalians do what we do and how our church has been shaped and is being shaped.

The course is required for all adults who wish to be confirmed or received into the Episcopal Church. Those who wish to join the congregation will be welcomed on February 9th.

NOMINATING COMMITTEE APPOINTED

In an attempt to be as inclusive as possible in nominating parishioners for elective offices, the vestry has appointed the outgoing members of the vestry as a nominating committee: Jed Dare, Susan Feyrer, and Michael DeBritz. They are securing the nominations for the four positions vacant for next year. In addition, nominations will continue to be made from the floor of the Annual Meeting of the parish. The elected offices are:

3 - three year terms for 1997 Vestry

1 - Warden - two year term

REQUIREMENTS FOR VESTRY MEMBERSHIP

Basically there are only three requirements for vestry membership:

(1) be a confirmed member of the parish church

This can be accomplished through confirmation or reception by a bishop at St. Stephen's or through a transfer from another Episcopal Church.

(2) have been regular in attendance of Sunday Eucharists

(3) have been faithful in working, praying, and giving for the spread of the Kingdom of God

This includes giving of Time Talent and Treasure

WHAT IS THE 'VESTRY'?

The vestry is a group of eleven lay representatives from the parish who are charged with the temporal affairs of the congregation. They meet monthly with the rector presiding. The vestry spends considerable time on income and expenses and on writing the annual budget. They set the salary scales and are responsible for raising the money to meet expenses. The vestry also has the important job of finding a new rector whenever a vacancy occurs. Three representatives are elected at the annual parish meeting for a term of three years. In addition, a Warden (vestry officer) is elected for a term of two years.

THE EPIPHANY OF OUR LORD

The name "Epiphany" is derived from a Greek word meaning "manifestation" or "appearing." It is also called "The Manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles." This phrase is a reference to the story of the Wise Men from the East.

A Christian observance on January 6 is found as early as the end of the second century in Egypt. The feast combined commemorations of the visit of the Magi, led by the star of Bethlehem; the Baptism of Jesus in the waters of the River Jordan; and Jesus' first recorded miracle, the changing of water into wine at the marriage of Cana of Galilee -- all thought of as manifestations of the incarnate Lord.

The Epiphany is still the primary Feast of the Incarnation in Eastern Churches, and the three fold emphasis is still prominent. In the West, however, including the Episcopal Church, the story of the Wise Men has tended to overshadow the other two events. Modern lectionary reform, reflected in the Book of Common Prayer, has recovered the primitive trilogy, by setting the event of Jesus' Baptism as the theme of the First Sunday after January 6th.

Our celebration of Epiphany at St. Stephen's will take place on Sunday, January 5th at 8:00 am and 10:15 a.m. with Eucharist and Baptism.

HOUSEHOLD BLESSING FOR EPIPHANY

A custom from Eastern Europe that is presently being recovered in North America is the practice of blessing homes on Epiphany. Members of the household go from room to room expressing thanks to God for each room and asking God to bless the room and its intended use. Some small symbol of the blessing may be carried to leave in each room: a candle, a cross, "gifts" of the Magi.

The procession ends outside the front door where the door's lintel is marked in chalk with the year and the initials C,M,B - each separated by a cross - recalling the traditional names of the Magi: Casper, Melchior and Balthasar. The members of the household are then invited to add their own initials. Also at this time it is appropriate to pledge volunteer time or other gifts for Bethesda House or some local homeless shelter as signs of our thankfulness to God. The ritual ends with a celebration of the Eucharist.

Talk to the rector if you would like to have your home blessed.

THANK YOU......

THANK YOU.....

THANK YOU.....

....to the ICHTHUS, the high school youth group who directed the Christmas pageant and to the parents who helped it all come together

....to June Russell who accompanied the Christmas pageant and the congregation carol-sing

....to Vickie Hoshko and Sue Feyrer for organizing the potluck after the Christmas pageant

....to the Alter Guild and to brass polishers par excellence who polished all the brass in the church, and made Christmas beautiful

....to all who took time on a busy Christmas eve of the Eve to help 'green' the church

...To Tim Olsen and the Choir members who helped to make Advent and Christmas beautiful

...To the lectors, chalice bearers and acolytes who made our worship possible

...To all those who helped in the toddler and nursery rooms

...To the ushers and to the offering counters

...To our administrative assistant, Janice, who worked so hard to prepare bulletins and make other arrangements

...To Dave, our sexton who made the church shine and kept the sidewalks clear

....to all of you who do quiet things in quiet ways and help this parish to work.

EVERY MEMBER CANVASS

The Every Member Canvass for pledges in 1997 is quickly drawing to a close.

So far we have received 124 pledges for $135,000.

If you have not returned your pledge card to the parish office, please send it into the church office.

The gratitude of the parish is extended to those who have worked so diligently on the canvas, especially to Norman Hoffmann who served as Chairperson.

ICHTHUS TO SELL SUBS FOR WORK WEEK

ICHTHUS, Saint Stephen's high school youth group will again be selling submarine sandwiches for Super Bowl Sunday, January 26th. Support ICHTHUS as they raise money for their work week in Appalachia this summer.

Remember, no Super Bowl party is complete without ICHTHUS subs!

ANNOUNCING SAINT STEPHEN'S FIRST ANNUAL AUCTION

A service of goods auction is being planned for early April. All proceeds will be targeted for outreach, the senior high work week in Tennessee and local agencies. Start thinking about how you can contribute as an individual or a group. Some suggestions have already come in for service opportunities and/or items to be made: Take time in Lent (or earlier) to prepare your contribution. Take time sooner to plan it! Gathering a group together for an auction project is a great way to get to know new people and strengthen old friendships.

There will also be a silent auction with area business and restaurant offerings.

A children's auction will begin the evening. Kid's think about donating toys for the auction!

If you are interested in working on the Auction Committee, please contact Jean Kolb at 456-6156 or Kim Chapman at 384-1261.