From the Rector's Desk:
As we head from October into November we are finally experiencing some expected changes around us. There is the weather, which is becoming wet and windy. Also, we move from our Financial Stewardship Season into our planning for 2018. In the midst of all of this, we are in God's time as we continue to move through the church calendar year, which concludes soon, with Advent beginning later in the month.
With wet and windy weather the leaves fall, and more, and this focuses our efforts on our marvelous grounds. Thankfully, in October many parish members joined Jim Bradshaw in a grounds cleanup, and in early November (Saturday 11/4) Jim Armstrong hopes to have many members, from all skill levels, join him for a building "fix up" day. Again, thank you to all who participate in these efforts!
A big "thank you" goes as well to all members who had their pledges lifted up at the altar on our in-gathering Sunday last week. I was pleased to see week after week leaves become added to the representative tree in the Fellowship Hall. Many times I ventured into that space and prayed over the nameless individuals and families who made a promise for 2018 that allows our Vestry to soon create next year's budget. As someone said during the announcements, it is never too late, and he was correct. Because our parish does not have an endowment, nor do we get an allowance from the greater church (in fact we actually provide a pledge to the Diocese of Virginia so that it can do God's work on a greater level), so everything that comes in from pledge payments allows us to be God's church. If you are reading this and forgot to bring yours in, please do not wait. If it is gathered in time, it, too, can be used for budget deliberations. My hope is that sometime in 2018 I will be able to send a personal note to everyone in thanks for their pledge. So I challenge you to keep me at it!
Soon we head into Advent; in fact, it will be very quick this year. Advent 4 takes place on Sunday December 24! This means that we will have one Advent 4 service at 7:30 a.m. on that Sunday, and then continue later in the day with our usual Christmas Eve Services. I am delighted that our Christmas Eve 5:00 p.m. Service this year will include a Christmas Pageant featuring our youth and children.
Looking ahead, I cannot remind people enough that our 2018 Bishop Visit will take place on Sunday, January 14, 2018. Bishop Goff will be with us, and she will be prepared to preside over Confirmations. I already have one adult who is ready to be Received into the Episcopal Church, and one youth who is preparing for Confirmation. Since a Confirmation/Reception is not a perfunctory act, I need to know as soon as possible if anyone else is interested in being a part of this sacrament in January.
In summary, all of this information means that we are still moving ahead as the church! I hope to see many of you at our various worship and play opportunities this month, including at our celebration of All Saints Day on Sunday November 5th, our Lobster (and more) Dinner on the 18th, and significant transitions such as the funeral for Austin Lowrey on November 12th.
As with the Buildings and Grounds Cleanup/Fixing Days, ministry is not accomplished by a priest and his staff alone, but by the people. Feel free to join in with us as we live out our love to God through worship, service, and play.
From Our New Seminarian
: Hello all! I'm Brooks Boylan, and I'm excited about being y'all's new seminarian. A little about me: I'm originally from the great city of New Orleans, LA. My parents and my brother currently live in Birmingham, AL. I am a graduate of Ole Miss, which I attended for undergrad and my Master's program. I have been a youth and family minister for the past 10 years, four years at St. Mary's-on-the-Highlands in Birmingham and then at St. Mark's Cathedral in Shreveport, LA.
In my spare time, I love to cook, run, and watch movies, and I enjoy long walks on the beach and puppies.
I am truly excited to learn and grow with St. Christopher's for the next two years
Your servant in Christ,
The October Vestry Meeting was mostly dedicated to early work on the 2018 Budget. Fr. Peter was absent, and with his blessing the meeting continued without him. The Wardens Janet Bush and Bill Price led the meeting with Bill taking minutes due to the absence of May Kamalick who is still teaching in Tennessee. Due to life changes, her teaching time away, and with some exciting possibilities for her immediate future, May via email respectfully resigned from the Vestry, which the body reluctantly accepted with thanksgivings for her service, her passion and her ideas.
Thank You From ECHO:
Dear Friends, The congregation on the ECHO Board of Directors continue to provide remarkable support for families in need in our Springfield/Burke Community. Thank you for your dedication to helping fulfill the request of our clients. We are most grateful for the financial donations of St. Christopher's Church, the gifts of individual members, school supplies, food Holiday Baskets and gifts, and the additional donations of the vegetables we receive during the year for families. Every gift is vital to our success.
ECHO's program function with over four hundred faithful volunteers, many from your congregation. Through Marifran Bustion, your representative on the BOD, you are well aware of our many services and needs. Thank you to all members of your congregation for the countless ways you assist us in our mission. This general letter is sent once a year and while we try to acknowledge special projects and gifts, we apologize if anyone was overlooked.
We truly appreciate having St. Christopher's Episcopal Church as a partner and we look forward to continuing our work together. Thank you for helping ECHO help those in need in our midst.
Robert F. Diegelman, President
ALL HEARTS OPEN
You all are (to borrow from our preschool) "Unbe-leaf-able"! As we come to the end of the church year, and the end of the calendar year, we take stock of our many gifts and those things for which we give thanks. Your Stewardship Committee is grateful for all who prayerfully made a financial pledge to support the mission and ministry of St. Christopher's in 2018, and we are grateful for those who are still deciding. It is never too late.
Stewardship is, however, an ongoing process - a way we share our love and open hearts all year long with each other and with the community around us. At this time of the year, our Outreach Committee goes into high gear preparing to aide our neighbors who are less fortunate than we are. One way is to focus on the local organization which provides aid to this community - ECHO. These letters stand for Ecumenical Community Helping Others, and their building is located on the opposite side of Old Keene Mill Road next to the playground at Garfield Elementary School.
As we take time in November to give thanks for all the gifts God has given us, ECHO is preparing to collect food for Thanksgiving and Christmas baskets. We can also donate grocery store gift cards, which enable families to purchase the food they want for these holidays. AND, in addition to food, we are also going to be collecting new and unwrapped toys for the ECHO Christmas store. You can go to
and click on the link for Donate/Holiday programs for more details. And we are looking forward to the visit from Bishop Nicholas of Myra in early December, when we collect the toys.
We will also receive food donations for the children at Crestwood Elementary School who are on the breakfast/lunch program, and will not have enough food for the Winter Break unless we help. Please check the weekly bulletin announcements and the monthly newsletters for ways you can share the gifts God has given you with those who are less fortunate than you are at this celebratory time of the year.
As our hearts open to those who need us, God fills us with His love of giving what he has given.
: Do not forget, as we continue to create this Monthly Newsletter, we need your articles. Announcements as always will come via the weekly bulletin blast on Thursdays. This Newsletter is serves as a wonderful way to advertise our parish to people who want to come to know us. It is also well poised to serve those who have moved away who want to remain in touch with what is going on here at St. Christopher's. What a wonderful opportunity this Monthly Newsletter offers us to share with many the exciting events that take place here. So, if you are one who writes an announcement for the Sunday Bulletin think about also composing an article after your event in order to share how it went! Send your articles to Fr. Peter by the 25th of each month for publication in the next month's Newsletter.
Happy November all!