July 2016 Trinity Tribune
The Rev. Paul Nancarrow
As this issue of the
Trinity Tribune goes to press, Fr. Paul is away in Utah on a bicycling vacation. We mark the occasion with a reprint of this piece on bicycling from three years ago.
In the town of Elroy, Wisconsin, there is a little coffee and sandwich shop called Fertile Ground, whose proprietor is also a part-time Baptist minister serving a tiny congregation of farmers just outside of town. When Lee and I stopped for lunch at Fertile Ground, he came by our table, like a good host ought to do, asked us where we were from, talked about living in Elroy - and when he found out I was an Episcopal priest, he started to talk shop a little bit. He told us about a revival his church was sponsoring that evening; he asked about Trinity's congregation; he talked about serving God and running a business. Having learned we reside in the Valley, he put "O Shenandoah" on the sound system. All the while, Lee and I ate our paninis, which were really very tasty and satisfying.
We were in Elroy that day because Elroy is at one end of the "400 Trail," a disused rail line that the state of Wisconsin acquired and turned into a fine multi-use trail. The trail is named for the train that used to run there, itself nicknamed "the 400" because it could run the 400 miles from Chicago to Minneapolis/St Paul in 400 minutes. Now that the rails and ties have been removed, the trail is a hard-packed limestone gravel surface that is good for hiking, horseback riding, and, of course, bicycling. Lee and I were riding the trail's 22 miles together, because that is the one kind of bicycling we can do together: while I've learned to enjoy the climbs and descents of cycling in the Valley, Lee prefers her cycling flat and without competition from car traffic. Rail-trails are our shared ground, and we shared the 400 for 45 good miles that day. A panini and church conversation at the turnaround point was only one of the adventures of the trip.
The 400 Trail runs through a part of Wisconsin called the "driftless area," because for reasons no one knows the last glacier missed that area while covering most of the rest of Wisconsin in ice. That makes the geology of the region a little different from the rest of the state. There are rolling hills, meandering rivers, unexpected rock outcroppings, and rich farmland. The trail followed for a while the course of the Baraboo River, which was high and brown from a series of heavy thunderstorms that had blanketed the area a day or two before. Even with the extra runoff, however, the river looked slow and placid, and was a good companion for a gentle, placid bike ride. After the river, the trail took us by wetlands and farm fields, and at one point past a tremendous tower of sandstone that just reared up out of a marsh with no warning. There was quite a lot of beauty along that trail.
And we rode the trail with an eye to its beauty. Our goal wasn't to hit record speeds, or score personal bests, but just to pedal through the countryside and see what we could see. (Nevertheless, there was a personal best accomplished, as Lee completed more miles on a bicycle than she'd thought possible...) We saw deer, we saw scenery, we saw clouds gather and heap and darken and then clear away again as quickly, we saw families out cycling. We talked, we were silent, we commented on little towns we passed through, we thought our thoughts. At one point I noticed a little voice in my head that had fallen into a rhythm with my pedal strokes: "Glory and thanks and praise to God. Glory and thanks and praise to God." It was a little surprising: I hadn't intended to pray at that moment; it was just there. It was another little discovery and adventure of the day.
Not all religious experiences are big and bold and life-changing. Not all religious experiences come with visions and angel voices and dramatic conversion. Sometimes religious experience is just there, spontaneously emerging from the adventure of the moment, a gift that comes in the combination of sunshine and rock and motion and cool water and paninis and conversation with a shop-owning minister and time spent with someone you love. Sometimes gratitude just happens, a gift of the Spirit, and the spirit responds.
May your summer bring you adventures of the moment, and religious experience in spontaneous praise.
I am happy (and proud) to say that I now have five grandchildren, two girls and three boys. The youngest and the oldest are girls and the middle three are boys but the fact that they are all five years old and younger means that they will likely share a lot of neat experiences as they get older. I am also happy to discover that the older they get the less they are just little bundles of life needing to be fed and changed and cleaned and read to, but in fact are now ambulatory thinking feeling reasoning (and unreasoning) human beings. The older three especially exhibit these traits while the younger two, Ruthie and Andrew, are still barely one and thus still trying to figure out exactly how to walk and talk.
The more time I spend with them the more I realize that while there are many similarities between them, each of them is rapidly developing into a real individual. As I began to recognize that fact, I also began to notice that each of them has particular areas of strength, areas that may well develop into part of what defines them as they grow up.
I will start with Thomas. While he is still a few months shy of three years old he has been spending a lot of his time with his brother Charlie who is two years older and has learned a lot as a result. Thomas is a child of few words (probably because Charlie is a child of many words) but he can talk and he can definitely get his point across. I don't know yet if he can carry a tune but if he becomes a singer I am thinking it will be in opera because he has an amazing set of pipes. Thomas is very curious about how things work to the point of wanting to take apart all toys and to open and dump out anything that can be opened. He is also quite strong and coordinated with a stubborn strength. I suspect his best sport might be wrestling and I pity the opponent who has to deal with his relentless push forward in all things physical. Like many boys he seems fearless about most of what he encounters in his marauding, but I have seen him frightened by the sudden approach of a large and curious cow.
Thomas' older brother is Charlie who as I have already mentioned is a good talker. He has an extensive vocabulary for an almost five-year-old and an extraordinary knowledge concerning dinosaurs. He can name a hundred different types; tell you how big they were what they ate and what period of history they lived in. He can pronounce names that I can't read thus making me wonder who is actually reading to whom. Charlie is also well coordinated and fast and fearless on his scooter. His best sport will likely be light sabers. In a recent bout with him he scared me with his rapid and relentless forward attack always swinging his saber no matter what the defense. I was in full backwards retreat from the first thrust and continued so until he came down full force on my knuckles thus eliciting a few "Dan Marinos" from Grumpa (that is the curse word substitute in Charlie's household). Charlie also likes to argue and is good at it. This is not surprising since his mother is an attorney and his father argued about everything growing up. My wife says they both got that from me but I would argue that is not the case.
The third of the three older grandchildren is Violet who is now five. She is a girl of course and of course my experience with young girls growing up is limited to say the least. Violet also has shown a talent for argument especially with me and especially concerning who is the "boss" at any given moment. It turns out she is the boss unless there is some undesired responsibility involved in which case I am. Violet has a world class imagination to the point of many situations becoming a stage for whatever it is that she has just dreamed up. This leads to most of us becoming either characters or props in her productions. I have noticed that Thomas is especially willing to go along with her but Charlie not so much so. This leads to some pretty fluid play situations and you have to be really on your toes to keep up with the ways the plot is apt to change. Violet is also a really good runner. I am not sure how fast she is because after all her legs are still pretty short but she seems to love to run and run with an endurance you would not expect from someone so young. I hope that if this trend continues she will be able to experience the exhilaration of competitive distance running long before I did in my mid-thirties. She has also exhibited a real flourish with a light saber although she uses it not so much for fighting but as a prop in an elaborate interpretive dance routine.
As I pondered the fact that these grandkids of mine are already showing that they have distinctive gifts it also occurred to me that although this is something special it is by no means unusual. The part that is special for them is also special for most everyone we ever meet. Everyone has their own gifts and special traits and it is up to us to notice them. This is perhaps easier to do in the case of grandchildren because part of a grandparent's job description is to shamelessly dote on the little ones. With other people sometimes our inclination is to notice flaws (we all have them even grandchildren). But everyone also has gifts sometimes very simple gifts but gifts nonetheless. Training our eyes to see them is uplifting both for us and them.
Now it may be hard enough to train yourself to recognize the gifts of others, but it is probably even more difficult to convey that to them. But I am not sure that this is absolutely necessary. The mere fact that you see something special in someone will likely manifest itself to them even if not spoken. In the same way that people can tell when you are not happy with them, they can also tell when you are. So the task is not to make a big deal about what you have noticed but rather to make the effort to notice something special in the first place. The rest I think will work out organically.
Each of my grandchildren has something very special about them that I have noticed. If you have grandchildren I bet you can say the same thing. It is also true for your children....and for you.
Notes from the Senior Warden
In late May, our Parish Administrator Laurie Clements attended a conference in Baltimore hosted by ACS Technologies. ACS is the company that provides us with the software that we use to track our membership and visitors, and also to track the financial contributions to our ministry.
ACS has introduced a new product called REALM, which stands for Real Ministry. This new product is more user friendly, has lots of applications for our staff and ministry volunteers to easily access information that will help them in their jobs, and is hosted by the company (removing the burden for us to have secure backup of data, etc.). The software also comes with a mobile app, where those who enjoy instant access to information can receive updates on schedule changes due to weather, notices about committee meetings in which they are involved, etc.
One final big advantage is the ability of members (or visitors/guests) to make on-line contributions to Trinity. Pledge payments, contributions for musical events, etc., can all be done in a secure, on-line access.
During the summer we will be converting our current software to REALM. As the staff learns more about all the features of our software, they will be sending updates to our membership through our weekly E-blasts and the monthly newsletter so that you, too, can experience the benefits of REALM. While REALM is a fairly new product for ACS, they already have more than 3,000 churches using the software, and most of them are our size (with less than 300 in average Sunday attendance). Oh yes, and I also forgot to mention: it's less expensive than our current software! YAY!
Thank you, Laurie, for summarizing all that you learned about REALM at the conference. We're excited to see all that it has to offer Trinity!
|Shirley Ruedy, Christian Formation Assistant
The Sunday School rooms are quiet and teachers are getting a much deserved break, but here in the Christian Formation office work goes on as we plan for the new Sunday School year and get ready for the arrival of our new Curate. If you have ideas about what you would like to see in our Adult Education program, now would be a good time to pass them along. Please call me at 886 9132 or email me at
. I would love to hear from you.
Helping Hands Day Camp Needs Volunteers
We are in the midst of planning for Helping Hands Day Camp - a co-operative Vacation Bible School program for ages Kindergarten through 5th grade students. I was fortunate to meet with the group (with Trinity is Emmanuel, Central United Methodist and First Presbyterian) last week that plans for this annual event, having seen last year firsthand how much excitement and energy is shared through this week! The dates this year are August 1 - 5th, from 9am - 3pm Monday through Thursday, and 9am-noon on Friday. Would you consider volunteering for an hour or more during this week? Adult volunteers are needed to assist in many areas from being a "helper" in the craft area, the cooking class, recreation, assisting with music or just helping at the registration desk. You can volunteer as much or as little as your schedule allows. To find an activity to volunteer, you can easily go online and sign up: go to our website www.trinitystaunton.org and choose "Helping Hands Volunteer" from the drop down menu under "Outreach"
or please see me in the church office! And if you have not signed up to have your children attend... do so now. They will make new friends, go on little field trips doing service projects around the community, and have a lot of fun!
- Laurie Clements
One of the most insightful and beautifully written "how-to" books on prayer I've read recently is Martin L. Smith's The Word is Very Near You: A Guide to Praying with Scripture. Readers are encouraged to begin by examining their own ideas and assumptions about prayer and what kind of prayer life they are hoping for. Smith notes that "few people talk about their prayer life without betraying their sense of shame and inadequacy" (p. 20). Too often we see God as a "taskmaster" who exacts a certain number of prayers of a certain quality from us rather than the one who, out of His abounding love, gives us the gift of prayer itself. The author next sets out some basic ideas about how God communicates with us. "In prayer," he writes, "we are continuing a conversation which God has begun" (p. 18). Smith examines our need for relationship and how God -the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost-nurtures that need.
Smith describes three ways of praying meditatively with Scripture. The first he calls "entering into the stories." He writes, "Of all the means available to God for drawing us into relationship and setting us free through the truth, stories are amongst the most powerful" (p. 92). He encourages us to identify with characters who interact with Jesus so that "finding ourselves with one of those taking part in the drama we make ourselves vulnerable to a fresh encounter of our own with the Lord" (p. 101).
The second, "Holy reading" or (lectio divina), involves meditation on single words or phrases which have caught our attention through slow, attentive reading of a portion of Scripture. This method can be used with all kinds of Scriptural writing, not just narratives, and even for devotional material. The emphasis is on repetition rather than discursive reading-- the opposite of "skimming"--and may require more practice in our culture of superficial information bombardment and instant analysis.
The third method is the deliberate use of imagery or "gazing." Beginners in this kind of prayer should first consider "the elemental symbols which are the basic vocabulary of God's self-disclosure. Light, clay, oil, bread, wine, wind, cloud, robe, fire, crown, tree, river, fruit, yeast" are all words rich with meaning, that appear again and again in different Scriptural contexts. As Smith observes, "prayer is a way of allowing . . . deep responsiveness to be brought into play by the Holy Spirit so that the symbols can came alive for us, resonate and connect" (p. 137).
For all three methods, the author provides suggestions and accounts of real-life practice. If you are not that familiar with the Bible, Part II of the book provides a useful guide to Scriptural passages on specific themes. For example, under "Letting Go of Fear and Anxiety," the author suggests meditation on Mark 4:35-41, which describes how the disciples panic during a storm and how Jesus challenges them about their lack of trust" (p. 191).
This book is not only well-organized and clearly written-it is also wise.
Trinity Choristers wrap up another great year!
|Gen Bolena, Organist & Choirmaster
Boys & Girls Choir
Kudos to the nine dedicated young people in grades four through nine who sang in Trinity's Boys & Girls choir this past year! The choir sang ten times between October and May, which included two Evensongs, Christmas Eve, Easter Sunday and Youth Sunday. I'm very proud of the hard work and energy these choristers bring to rehearsal each week. They are able to sing much of their music in two parts and they consistently ask thoughtful questions. This year, in addition to the anthems they prepared for services, the Boys & Girls learned to sing Anglican chant and worked on hymn singing and service music leading. We celebrated the close of a fabulous year with a cook out at the end of May.
The success of these choristers is due in large part to the dedication of our three talented adult volunteers: Kristin Reichert, Kay Buchanan, and Constance Harrington. Kay accompanies rehearsal every Tuesday afternoon and also accompanies the choir in worship. Kristin and Constance assist in various ways throughout the rehearsal. Last fall, Kristin did a fabulous job directing this choir during my maternity leave. Thank you, ladies, for your leadership, enthusiasm and passion for helping the young choristers of Trinity serve the church through music.
Ten children in Kindergarten through third grade comprised Trinity's high-energy Children's Choir. Director Constance Harrington taught the children ear training, beginning music reading and the basic steps to becoming a chorister. She did all of this with her amazing style of songs and games, which the children absolutely loved! The Children's Choir sang three times throughout the year on Christmas Eve, Easter Sunday and Youth Sunday. The Children's Choir celebrated their year with a trip to the Split Banana!
Often overlooked with the choirs are the parents who bring them each week. With the myriad of other "activities" enticing our young people, I am grateful to the children who choose to come here to sing and to the parents who make it happen. Thank you!
Choir Rehearsals resume again in the fall on Tuesday, September 13.
New Choristers are always welcome!
Novel Theology meets throughout the year on the 4th Tuesday of the month at 7pm in the Foster Room. Everyone and anyone is invited to attend. The only rule is you must read the book for that month. Come and bring your friends and acquaintances. We have lively discussions.
July 26-Rings of Saturn by W.G. Sebald.
"Ostensibly a record of a journey on foot through coastal East Anglia," as Robert McCrum in the London Observer noted, The Rings of Saturn "is also a brilliantly allusive study of England's imperial past and the nature of decline and fall, of loss and decay. . . . The Rings of Saturn is exhilaratingly, you might say hypnotically, readable. . . . It is hard to imagine a stranger or more compelling work." The Rings of Saturn - with its curious archive of photographs - chronicles a tour across epochs as well as countryside. Led by Carrie Tucker.
by Philip Roth.
As the American century draws to an uneasy close, Philip Roth gives us a novel of unqualified greatness that is an elegy for all our century's promises of prosperity, civic order, and domestic bliss. Roth's protagonist is Swede Levov, a legendary athlete at his Newark high school, who grows up in the booming postwar years to marry a former Miss New Jersey, inherit his father's glove factory, and move into a stone house in the idyllic hamlet of Old Rimrock. And then one day in 1968, Swede's beautiful American luck deserts him. Led by Carol Kipp.
|The Ducklings have Hatched!
|Laurie Clements, Parish Administrator
As some of you may know, about four weeks ago a mother duck found her way into our bushes by the Johnson Street entrance and laid a few eggs. She made herself very comfortable. Those that know me have learned that I came from a tiny little town, but I did not live on a farm. So I am absolutely fascinated by animals and how they just know what to do and how they exist. I sometimes wish I could live on a farm now, as I am just in awe of how God created these little creatures with the instinct to just know what to do as moms, just like we do when we have babies.
So as I saw this mother duck day after day, I watched to make sure she was okay. She seemed to be tucked in those bushes securely, Randy was often putting out fresh water for her and Tom Howell consistently took her some special duck food to keep her nourished. You would think we were duck farmers here. I was worried over the weeks that when she would have her babies how she would ever find her way back to the water - and where is that water? Being new to Staunton area, I wouldn't know where that water is! So after a call to the Wildlife Center, they assured me that mother ducks always know how to go back to the water, and they take about 3-4 weeks to hatch their eggs. (And no, I should not move the eggs myself to be near the water. Sigh... I will hope for the best, and trust they know what they are talking about.)
So weeks went by and it is now the 4th week. Monday morning, June 13th, I arrive for work at 8:00am and park my car. Getting out of my car, and glancing over at the bushes as I do every day, because I am a mom, and I am so wrapped up in this duck thing now... I see the bushes move and the mother duck is coming out. What?!? I am so excited... I see two little ducklings pop over the curb onto the sidewalk with her. I can hardly contain myself. It is time! I can't believe it. I quickly ran out of my car, but don't want to scare her and sure, enough, out of the bushes they all come... all 12 of the ducklings. The mother does not waste time walking off the curb into the street. She walks a few feet, then waits for the ducklings to catch up to her. Now the ducklings can't quite figure out how to jump off the curb - so they kind of tumble off... some just fall off. Then just find their feet and get in line. I run to stop traffic. Because there is no way I am going to let any cars run over this little family that we waited four weeks to arrive! Now that they cross the street, the mother duck hops up on the curb and only about 3 or 4 ducklings can even try to hop up with her. The curb is double the height of their little heads! They bounce and bounce and can't make it. Luckily Sally Mueller comes up behind me walking her dog and has a great idea for me to help herd the little bundle up the street, and hopefully they will all get to the alley where they can all turn left and walk together once again - which they did. Whew... Off they went.
After a few little hurdles (such as at one point two male mallards swooped down trying to disturb our mother duck with not so "polite intentions" - and she had a very difficult time trying to protect her 12 babies and at the same time squawk at the males to leave her alone, I had to take it upon myself to go in there and shooed them off myself with my keys so they ran away. Mother duck did not seem to mind me getting that close to her and the babies - hopefully she was grateful (I got rid of those two.) Finally the little family was gently herded down the alley to Lewis creek. What amazed me the most was that when we got to the creek, the mother led them to a four foot stone wall
above the creek, and she quickly disappeared, and then I saw her down in the water. Immediately she began to quack quite loudly and consistently. The little babies were all lined up on the wall above her. They intently looked at her, and shaking in their little webbed feet, they just went ahead and one after the other, just fell off the wall. Not jumped, but kind of just toppled over the wall, landing below into a little 12 inch space of grassy area, then kind of rolled into the water with her. It was the funniest thing to watch. And the mother duck would not stop quacking until each one followed and landed next to her. Sally and I just watched with delight and tried to count them as they landed in the water. It was hard to keep track of them. But eventually Mother Duck stopped quacking so we figured she had her family all together and all was well and off they went swimming in Lewis Creek...
James is in Kobe, Japan, working with the Mission to Seafarers through the Young Adult Service Corps. The Mission to Seafarers is an international Anglican mission that provides resources and support for seafarers across the world. James will be on mission in Japan for one year.
I will return to Virginia the first week of September, and that means I'm about three quarters of the way through the year. In that time, I've seen and experienced a lot here at the Centre in Kobe. I've visited hundreds of ships, met thousands of seafarers, exchanged millions of yen for dollars, and I've had some delicious food. Things here at the Centre are going along smoothly. I routinely bus seafarers from their ships to our Mission downtown, and assist them with navigating the city of Kobe. On weekends I try to get out and about. Japanese trains are wonderful, and it's very easy to use them to see the surrounding areas. I've been to Kyoto and Nara and Osaka frequently, and at the end of June I will be going to Yokohama and Tokyo for the first time. There I will visit the Mission to Seafarers branch in Yokohama, and see how the operation runs on that side of the country.
Interacting with a wide variety of seafarers from across the world has been very insightful; both in experiencing cultural differences, and also in appreciating our shared humanity. For all the distinctions people draw between seafarers of different nationalities, the similarities certainly outweigh the differences. Growing up in Staunton, I didn't think about seafaring or the shipping industry a whole lot. I wasn't sure what the modern shipping industry looked like until I came here. I was aware that big ships took containers all over the world and I was aware of commodity chains and the global line of production-raw resources in one country being processed in a different country and turned into a finished product on the shelf of yet another country-but I didn't think about what the shipping industry was like for the people working in it, sailing across the world. And while I have a great appreciation for the isolating work that they do, I also don't want to paint too pessimistic of a picture of seafarers. A lot of these guys are incredibly hospitable, friendly, quick to laugh. Seafaring is tough, and the Mission is here for the darkest moments of it, but by and large these guys just want to grab some McDonalds, walk through the shopping mall, and catch a bit of the normality which most of us take for granted. So the Mission here continues to welcome the stranger and the foreigner and respect the dignity of every child of God.
If you are interested in seeing more of what I have been up to in Japan, then please visit my blog,
|Thank You for the Good Friday Offering
|The Most. Rev. Michael Curry, Presiding Bishop and Primate
Dear Good People in Christ of Trinity Church,
Greetings to you in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Good news has reached my office about the out pouring of generosity you have provided through the Good Friday Offering. I want you to know how much your help means to the bishops, clergy, and people of the Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East. In their own lands they continue to be icons of the reconciling love of our Lord Jesus through their parishes, schools, medical programs which serve all people in need throughout the region. They make known the love of Jesus in a part of the world where such love is hard to come by.
I firmly believe that as members of the Jesus movement we are called upon by our Lord and Savior to create opportunities for all of God's children to live in harmony. The effort you have put forward in prayer and tangible support of Christian ministry in the Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East is a statement of solidarity which is nothing less than life-affirming.
Thank you for your participation in the ministry of the Good Friday Offering.
- A contribution was received for the Rector's Discretionary Fund by Robert R. Meyer in loving memory of his sister, Jenine Nicholson.
- SACRA (Staunton Augusta Church Relief Association) sends their thanks and appreciation for all our contributions so far this year. As of today they have: Assisted 550 families, received and spent for clients $8,457.40 more than the same time last year, and as far as they are aware, they are the only relief agency that helps clients with rent. So thank you - your support for SACRA (collection taken on the 4th Sunday through Trinity) is very much appreciated! They still need volunteers in various ways, and food contributions.
610 Woodmont Drive
Staunton, VA 24401
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Will Moore III
Stuart Brown III
Rick Cason Jr.