The 255th Diocesan convention

Today and tomorrow (November 15 & 16) your clergy and three delegates are seated on the convention floor at our annual convention, representing you as our St. Alban’s delegation.  It’s awe-inspiring to think that we are part of a tradition that has continued for over 250 years.

Fr. Paul and Maddy at Convention
Fr. Paul and lay delegate, Maddy, engaged in the business of the Church

Our convention is an annual gathering of clergy and lay representatives from all 180+ parishes in the Diocese of Virginia.  So, what happens at our annual convention? It begins with an inspiring pastoral address by our bishop, this year by our suffragan bishop in the absence of a diocesan bishop.  Typically there are addresses by guest speakers, too.  This year we heard from Mr. Brian Sellers-Petersen, Agrarian Missioner from the Diocese of Olympia in Washington, who spoke about care of creation.

An interesting part of convention is hearing “stories of the diocese,” inspiring stories of how parishes, big and small, are engaging with their community, reaching out, bringing new life to their congregation by carrying out Jesus’ Gospel imperatives to serve others.

At Convention we elect representatives to Standing Committee, a 12-member elected council of advice to the bishop who also can serve as the Ecclesiastical Authority in the absence of the Bishop.  We elect delegates to our triennial national General Convention and hear reports from different diocesan committees and task forces. Essentially , we conduct the business of the church as an assembled council.

For me, the highlight of Convention is the Eucharist – where we all gather in worship, sing the praises of God, and share in the Body and Blood of Christ.

Convention is a great opportunity to see the Church in a new way and in a new light, and it looks very different than Sunday morning at St. Alban’s.  Every March we call for nominations for lay delegate to Convention.  Delegates are elected by the Vestry, and must be pledging members in good standing of our parish.  If you are interested in serving, you don’t need to be nominated by someone else… let your clergy or a member of the Vestry know.

Christmas Bazaar: Please Spread the Word and Lend a Hand

The Christmas Bazaar is next Saturday, November 23! We hope you’ll drop by and join in the fun. If you’ve never attended, it’s an excellent place to meet new friends, reconnect with neighbors and friends you haven’t seen in a while, do a little shopping, and have delicious food at the café. The kids can enjoy face painting, a visit with Santa, and playing in the moon bounce (weather permitting).
Have a few hours to spare? Volunteer opportunities this week include:
11/19/19 (Tuesday) 6:00 to 7:00 pm – Set up Jewelry Room
11/20/19 (Wednesday) 6:00 pm to 8:30 pm – Put Christmas decorations and Toys in Parish Hall, Decorate parish hall & set up Café
11/21/19 (Thursday) 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm – Bring books and all remaining items out of the attic. Full access to all rooms/stands
11/22/19 (Friday) Beginning at 9 AM – Finalize all rooms (if not already complete)
11/23/19 (Saturday) from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm – Bazaar (volunteers report at 8:00)
11/23/19 (Saturday) from 2:00 pm to 4:30 pm – Breakdown the bazaar!
Note: Food and drinks will be provided on Wednesday 11/20 and Thursday 11/21.
Please contact Nancy Calvert or Sue Mairena with any questions.

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.

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.

Day three of the Youth Mission Trip to Hurley, VA

Breakfast on day three was courtesy of Harry’s team.  Harry and crew delighted us with biscuits and gravy and fried June apples.  Landon and MacGregor picked the apples the day before during some down time on their worksite.  Most of the kids ate cereal.

Harry’s team continued their work on the bathroom project, redoing some old plumbing and working on a shower surround.

George’s team (with Allison and Liv) began working on a wheelchair ramp and plans to have their work finished Thursday.

Meanwhile, the painting crew finished scraping (thanks to Darius’ dogged determination to get every last loose bit of paint off the house!).  Unfortunately, an afternoon downpour slowed their worked considerably.

After an hour break under the shelter of the front porch, the crew was able to put a coat of paint over the entire house but weren’t able to finish the project.

Pearl, the owner of the house, was very pleased with her freshly scraped and painted house.  Today (Thursday) may be a short work day as part of our team (Ted and MacGregor) are helping load a shipment of USDA food that they’ll be delivering to the Center around noon, and all hands will be necessary to unload the truck.

 

Day two of the Youth Mission Trip to Hurley, VA

Team 2 started the day off for us with pancakes, ham and scrambled eggs.  Ted even got fancy and sprinkled little colorful candy sprinkles into the pancakes…not sure if they gave the exact effect he was hoping for.  But, it’s the thought that counts!  Thanks, Ted, Victor and George!
 

Our valiant team of painters returned to their project to finish scraping, and begin painting, their house. With rain threatening their work, the team worked feverishly to complete painting the front porch and one side of the house.

Battling wasps and the heat, the painting team persevered. Tomorrow is another day.
 

Harry’s team laid linoleum flooring.  MacGregor and Landon learned to cut the flooring to fit.

George’s team laid flooring and applied a coating of koolseal to the roof of a trailer
We ended the day with a brief service of compline on the front porch.

 

Nothing like a couple of happy missioners!

Join us for our annual parish weekend at Shrine Mont – September 27-29, 2019

Shrine Mont gatheringOur annual weekend at the diocesan retreat center in the Shenandoah’s is a great time to relax, and spend time getting to know one another over mealtimes, worship, singing, and fellowship.  While there are different programs offered, the only thing that is “mandatory” is that you enjoy yourself, have fun and take advantage of the slow pace of life over the weekend.  If a glass of sweet-tea or a tasty Anglican beverage are calling to you from a porch rocker, then that’s where you need to be!Read More

Our New Pet Memorial Grove

On June 2, after the 10:15am service, the congregants joined the clergy outside for the blessing of the new St. Alban’s Pet Memorial Grove. It’s a peaceful area on the church grounds for members of the St. Alban’s family to place the ashes of their dearly-departed furry friends (or finny or scaley, as the case may be).

Photos by Barbara Hallman