Celebrating the Communion of Saints

One foggy evening, when I was stationed in West Germany, I was driving through a fairly rural part of the countryside, when I noticed a rather eerie glow off to the right side of the road. As I got nearer, I realized that I was approaching a cemetery, and each grave was marked by a burning candle. I had passed that cemetery any number of times, but I had never seen it so beautifully illuminated. I later discovered that a local tradition was to place a lighted candle at the grave of loved ones on November 2nd – The Feast of All Souls’, or as we Episcopalians now call it, “The Commemoration of All Faithful Departed.”

Two venerable and beloved Church feast days happen this week – The Feast of All Saints’ and The Feast of All Souls’. All Saints’ Day, or All Hallows’ Day, is one of the principle feasts of the Church Year, and is set aside as the day when the Church remembers the saints of God – known and unknown. It is one of the few Feast Days that, when falling on a day Monday through Saturday, can be moved to Sunday (and, incidentally, it is one of the four Sundays especially appropriate for baptism.)

While the origins of All Saints’ Day aren’t known, its roots probably go back to the 4th Century, when a feast for all the martyrs was observed in May. It wasn’t until around 735 that Pope Gregory III declared a Feast of All Saints on November 1. While the Feast of All Saints’ celebrates the saints of God, known and unknown, who have died, All Souls’ Day celebrates relatives and loved ones (the “rest of us” faithful whose lives do not merit a day on the Church Calendar) who have died. All Saints’ and All Souls’ became inextricably connected – sometimes being called Allhallowtide or Hallowmas season, being observed on November 1 and November 2, respectively.

The Western Church began their observance of All Saints’ with a service of Vespers on the evening before, which would be All Saints’ Eve, or All Hallows’ Eve. It isn’t much of a stretch to see how simple, superstitious and pagan folk might embellish a commemoration of the departed with stories of tormented souls of the dead, demons and other evil spirits – becoming the festive day of Hallowe’en we’ve come to know and love.

The Feast of All Saints’ is especially important in the Episcopal Church. We often speak of “the Communion of Saints,” and All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day remind us of our belief that all Christians that ever lived, are living, and will ever be, are bound together in one Communion – the Body of Christ. All Saints’ and All Souls’ celebrates this bond as we continue the ancient practice of praying for the saints who have gone on before us and acknowledge that those saints in heaven are praying for us.

Please join us for our observance of The Feast of All Saints’ on Sunday morning, November 3rd, at 8:15 and 10:15. We will be observing The Feast of All Souls’ with a solemn Evensong on the evening of November 3rd at 7:00 pm. All are invited to attend this beautiful sung service, and to bring photos of loved ones who have departed this life and light a candle as a silent and visible prayer for them.

Campaign Update: 96% of Our Minimum Goal

On October 20, “The Campaign for St. Alban’s” officially launched — and thanks to our committed fellow parishioners and several early gifts, we have a big head start toward meeting our goal! There’s still a way to go, and we need everyone’s support, and, especially, prayers.

As we’re sure you’ve heard by now, the Vestry launched this campaign after years of prayer, discussion and discernment. At the heart of our project is a major renovation of our Parish Hall facilities — including a new kitchen to help enhance and expand our food ministries, parish family events, and rental revenue; new restrooms, required to comply with county codes and the Americans with Disabilities Act; and a new shower and laundry area to improve our hospitality offerings such as our hypothermia program.

In fact, you could say that “Hospitality” — to our neighbors and community, as well as our parish family — is the theme of this entire project.

The goal of the Campaign Committee is to ensure that personal meetings are held with each and every one of our nearly 200 member families. We want to discuss the goals of the campaign with each of you personally, hear your feedback, and answer any questions you may have about it. When you are contacted by a fellow parishioner about setting up a personal visit to discuss the campaign, please say yes to the visit! And we hope that all of you will continue to pray for our parish, and the success of our campaign.

Campaign Update: October 24, 2019

As of October 24, we have written and verbal pledges adding up to 96% of our minimum goal!

We have met with 63 of our 191 parish families.

Please download the October 24 issue of our campaign newsletter here.

What Do We Mean By Minimum Goal?

That minimum goal represents the least amount of capital that we believe we need to conduct the kitchen and adjoining facilities renovation. We will need everyone’s help in order to reach that goal — and, hopefully, exceed it.

By exceeding our initial minimum goal, we will be able to replenish our capital reserve — which will contribute to the church’s long-term stability and allow us to fund a number of expected capital replacements over the next few years. A full list of potential projects can be found on our campaign webpage. Please visit that webpage frequently as we will keep it updated as we go along! It also includes lots of other background information and resources, including Frequently Asked Questions about the campaign.

Patience, Persistence, Prayer, and the Proper Use of Agitation

by Trish Huheey

On October 22, the 3rd-4th-5th grade St. Alban’s Sunday School class focused on persistence as a force for change. We studied the parable of the Widow and the Judge (below), and learned how the widow prayed and approached the Judge over and over, seeking justice, until he finally relented.

We watched our Whirl curriculum video, about a group of friends who lobby their friend’s baseball coach to let him play in a game. The coach initially ignores them, but the kids persist in standing up for their friend until the coach finally lets him play. This led to a discussion about times we stood up for something we believed in, and whether or not we persisted, if we did not succeed immediately.

Finally, we made sandcastles, and observed how water wears away at a sandcastle’s base. We also observed that, when we shook our trays and agitated the water, that the sandcastles wore down even faster. One of our students said that “agitating” sounded a lot like “annoying people,” so we discussed if there was a time to annoy people for good reasons! Jesus tells us that we should not give up!

The Parable of the Persistent Widow

Luke 18:1-8 (New International Version)

Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’

“For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’”

And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”

Shrine Mont Weekend 2019

Our annual Parish Weekend was held September 27-29 at Shrine Mont in Orkney Springs, Virginia. It was a time of relaxation and fun with new friends and old, in a beautiful mountain setting. Some folks hiked, some folks fished, some folks read, some folks napped, some folks even attended a program or two, but everybody came together for conversation, music, and a chance to enjoy the company of our parish family.

Here are just a few memories from the weekend (photos by Duncan McBride). We hope even more of our fellow parishioners will enjoy the weekend with us next year!

Get Ready for the Bazaar!

2019 Christmas Bazaar - Nov. 23, 9am - 2pmFor over 60 years, the St. Alban’s Christmas Bazaar has been a highlight of the year for our parish and our neighborhood. This year’s Bazaar is happening Saturday, November 23 from 9:00am to 2:00pm. At the Bazaar, you’ll discover a cornucopia of gifts and treasures, including toys, jewelry, books, decor, tools, baked goods, and more.

The Bazaar is an excellent place to make new friends, reconnect with neighbors and friends you haven’t seen in a while, do a little shopping, and enjoy delicious food at the café. The kids can enjoy face painting, a visit with Santa, and the moon bounce (weather permitting). Best of all, proceeds from the Bazaar go directly back into the community as we use all the funds to support our many outreach ministries and programs.

Join the Fun, Make a Difference

The Bazaar is one of our biggest annual programs and is only possible with the enthusiastic support of dozens of volunteers. From donation of goods to set-up and take-down, from decoration to promotion, we rely on the entire St. Alban’s family to make this event possible.

For additional information, please contact Nancy Calvert at billandnancycalvert@verizon.net, Sue Mairena at mairena75@verizon.net or one of the many area leads — view this document for a complete contact list.

Why do folks volunteer and help out with the Bazaar? 

“I participate in the Christmas Bazaar to get closer to all those St. Albanites I don’t see that often. The best way to get to know people is to work together.” (Ann Gates)

“I like participating in the St. Alban’s Bazaar because of the sense of community I feel while I am there. Not only from our St. Albanites – but also from the neighbors and friends that participate!” (Camille Stern)

“I was new at St. Alban’s when I first volunteered at the Bazaar. It was such a great way to get to know people that I did not hesitate when I was asked to be a co-chair a couple of years later. Working with so many fellow parishioners on the wide range of bazaar activities showed me how much everyone does to make St. Alban’s the friendly, welcoming and supportive place that it is.” (Betsy Anderson)

“I love working with our church family at the Bazaar! It is so much fun to see everyone put their best efforts in for the community of people who come to shop, eat and take in the day with us. Working at this event is a fantastic way to get to know my fellow churchmates.” (Ivy Kilby)

See even more testimonials and stories from volunteers in the October issue of The Word.

Please consider joining our band of enthusiastic volunteers! Our next meeting is Wed, 10/30 @ 6:30 pm in the Parish Hall. Everyone is welcome!

Donations Welcome!

The Bazaar closet is open for your donations! Please place items in boxes or sturdy bags marked with a description of the contents. As you choose which items to donate, please consider the sorts of items that you or others would like to buy.

All items should be clean and in good condition. Please make sure any battery‐operated items have a battery, so the customer can see that they work. For more information about donations, please contact Nancy Calvert or Sue Mairena.

Raffle Prizes Needed!

Our raffle is one of the most popular items at the Bazaar, but its success depends on the prizes being offered. Please consider donating a raffle prize, such as sporting event, theater or concert tickets; an offer of professional services (such as decorating a special cake or raking leaves or detailing a car); or gift cards, which are always popular!

To donate an item (preferred value of $75 or greater), please complete this form (you can also use the form to upload a photo, if possible). Actual prizes can be delivered to the church now or during the event set-up. Please contact Chris Peck or Stephanie Lightner for more information about the raffle.

The October Issue of The Word

Page 1 of October 2019 IssueCheck your mailbox for the latest issue of The Word, the St. Alban’s print newsletter — or feel free to download a PDF copy here. (If you’d like to be put on our mailing list, just use the contact form here to tell us you’d like to receive our mailings and be sure to include your complete mailing address.)

In the October 2019 Issue

Father Jeff on stewardship: “Just like the unmarked merchandise at your local store, there typically isn’t a price tag on the ministries and activities at St. Alban’s – but what we do comes with a price. The real cost of our ministries is difficult to pin down, but our Stewardship Committee works hard to accurately reflect the cost, and value, of what we do together at St. Alban’s.”

Father Paul on autumn activity: “As we move into a new season of ministry, there will be new challenges. Change is never easy. Now, more than ever, we need to be gracious with one another. The opportunities before us will stretch us in uncomfortable ways; but if we are bold and faithful, our work will bear much good fruit.”

Deacon Teresa on our Sleepy Hollow Nursing Home ministry: “I remember how hesitant I was when Fr. Jeff sent me to lead a service and how surprised I was that it drew me in. We would love to add new volunteers. Talk to anyone who serves there about moments that have touched them and have shown them God more fully.”

Plus the latest construction updates on our new kitchen; our stewardship committee ponders “Wonder in All”; tons of photos, and lots more!

Download the PDF here.