What's Happening at St. Mary's
     June 2017              
Bill Haines, Editor

The summer solstice is just a few days away. For the South Jersey coast that means summer residents return, tourists flock to the beaches, parking is at a premium. It's vacation time! A time to lay back, relax, put your toes in the sand, except at St. Mary's. For St. Mary's, it's time to shift gears, a time to welcome home our summer congregation, to provide a summer church for our visitors, and provide activities for our community. God and St. Mary's don't go on vacation.

Cynthia and Lou Schweickhardt are chairing our first activity for parishioners and the community - The Strawberry Festival. The festival will be held on Sunday, June 18 from 6 to 8 pm. What a perfect way to end Father's Day with a strawberry dessert, ice cream, and Jersey strawberries. If you haven't already signed up to bring a dessert or volunteer to help, there is a sign-up sheet in the parish hall or you can notify Cynthia or Lou. There will be a free will offering.

Fr. Peter continues to offer a Bible Study at 10am followed by a Healing Service at 11am on Tuesdays. The Bible Study is held in the parish hall where Peter is leading us in a study of Acts, the beginning of the Christian Faith. This is a great opportunity to learn more about the early history of the church.

The Adult Forum led by Fr. Gorman meets in the chapel between services on Sunday morning. We too are studying the history of the church, but we're concentrating on the history of the Episcopal Church. As Fr. Gorman wrote, "... it seems history is being made every day ..." and it is. Wayne Conrad, a Methodist minister and his wife, Susan, join us on Sunday mornings. Wayne informed us that there is conversation between the Methodist Church and the Episcopal Church seeking possible concord between the two churches. Wayne has a friend, Bob Williams, a Methodist historian, who is willing to come and speak to the group. We'll let you know when the time and date is confirmed. Having conversation is the first step toward possible full communion with the Methodist Church.

July is only two weeks away and you know what that means - Saturday evening Eucharist on the beach at 5pm and Thursday on the Lawn concerts. The 1st of July is on a Saturday so get your beach chair ready. In case of rain, the Saturday service will be held at St. Mary's. Regular 8am and 10am Sunday services will continue as usual.

John Olthuis has arranged for the following artists to entertain us at 7:30 pm on the front lawn: July 6, Jim Bannach, July 13, The Snake Brothers, July 20, The Quietmen, July 27, Eddie's Mom, Aug. 3, Bob Campanell, and the concert series ends on Aug. 10 with Jim Bannach.

If you were at the 8am service on Pentecost, July 4, you might have noticed Fr. Peter wearing new red vestments. The church needs to replace some of the vestments. Green is the most common color of the church year and green vestments are needed. The cost of a set of vestments is less than $200. If you would like to donate a set of vestments in thanksgiving or as a memorial, contact either Peter or Janice Haines.

The reason the 10am service on Pentecost didn't see the vestments is because they were at our joint picnic with St. Barnabas at the County park. Mother Lisa and Peter did not wear a full set of vestments at the service in the park. Thank you Lou, St. Mary's liaison with St. Barnabas. It was a great day. The weather cooperated and the food was plentiful and delicious. Thank you St. Barnabas.

Family Promise just completed a week with us. Thank you Joan Langston and her crew of volunteers. The volunteers come from St. Mary's as well as other churches in Stone Harbor. Together they ensure a safe, friendly, nourishing environment for our guests.

Stewardship is year round and not just pledging. Stewardship is a three-legged stool - time, talent, and treasure. St. Mary's offers you many opportunities to donate your time and talents. Our outreach ministries, The Branches and St. Mary's Thrift Shop in Rio Grande are always in need of volunteers. A few hours of your time and talent is greatly appreciated. Inreach - The Strawberry Festival, Saturday services on the beach need greeters and ushers, Thursdays on the Lawn needs help in setting up and taking down chairs and equipment. Your presence and support of the church's services and activities is part of your stewardship. Being Christian is not a spectator sport!
Vestry Report                                                    June 12, 2017
The June Vestry meeting challenged us to address several important issues facing the parish. Our Priest in Charge, Father Peter Stube, reported on our strengths and weaknesses. Demographically, the number of year-round residents of 7 mile island is declining and the population is aging. Our youth participation in Sunday worship is decreasing and we borrowed money for rectory renovations and the lawsuit that needs to be repaid. These are significant issues to face, however we also have many strengths. Peter has found our parish has strong leaders willing to work hard. Some parish members who supported the other side in the lawsuit still feel welcomed and accepted and continue to participate in the church. We are paying off our loans, we have a strong adult Christian education program, and the Outreach Committee is working hard on organization policies and procedures towards making our ministries self-sufficient.

To meet these challenges, the vestry agreed to reach out to members we haven't seen lately. We are actively seeking capable people to provide nursery care and youth Christian education programs. And we are seeking fundraising opportunities for our outreach ministries. We want to keep our members informed about our activities and so will be reporting to you in the monthly newsletter, which was suggested to us by one of our beloved parishioners. Our vestry members are: Senior Warden Lillian Armstrong, Clerk Cheryl Barton, Margaret Bennett, Joan Langston, Sandra Lockhart, Joe Milio, Junior Warden Jack Olthuis, Kate Rodriguez, Cynthia Schweickhardt, Priest in Charge (PIC) Canon Peter Stube, and Lorraine Zitnay. We welcome your suggestions and participation in this important ministry.
                                  Respectfully submitted, Cheryl Barton, Clerk
Do you know Larry Schmidt?
Larry is a cradle New Jerseyan. He was born, raised and attended schools in Burlington County, New Jersey. He resided with his family in Riverside and Edgewater Park, and then lived on his own before coming to Cape May County.
While attending the University of Pennsylvania as a History major, Larry was invited by a neighbor to attend St. Mary's Episcopal Church in Burlington City. It was a perfect match. Where else can you find a church who shares the same birthday as yours, November 1, All Saints Day. As you would expect, Larry became very involved in the life of the church. He taught Sunday School, became a member of the vestry and - surprise, surprise - Senior Warden.
After graduating from Penn, he found employment in the non-profit field. While attending a museum conference, whom should he meet but Lynne, wearing a period costume. Lynne worked in the office of Historic Cold Spring Village and wasn't usually dressed in that attire, but for the sake of the conference she donned the dress. Being a history buff, a friend later kidded Larry that it was the outfit that gave him the courage to go over and talk to Lynne. Whatever the motivation, Lynne and Larry began to date and were married in
St. Mary's, Burlington City in April 2000. Their daughter, Alexandria (she now prefers, "Ali"), was baptised at the church during the Easter Vigil Service.
Prior to their marriage, Larry was working for the South Jersey Cultural Alliance, which was housed in Atlantic City - quite a commute from Burlington. After their wedding, Larry moved down to Cape May Court House with Lynne and Ali, where they presently live in one of the town's historic houses.
In early 2001, the family became members of St. Mary's. As is his nature, Larry became involved in the parish life of St. Mary's. He became a lay reader and later in 2004 a member of the vestry, along with Dr. Joe Milio. Do you believe Lynne goes into labor with Nicholas on a vestry night that has Joe on duty at the hospital, where he assists in the birth of Nicholas? I wonder if the vestry had a quorum that night.
In addition to serving on the vestry, Larry sings in the choir, has taught Sunday School and helped with Confirmation study, serves on the Finance Committee and is a "Jack of All Trades" to St, Mary's.
Larry was Senior Warden when Fr. John left for Trenton. He said his relationship and appreciation for the people of St, Mary's has deepened over time. Larry admires the devotion of the congregation to St. Mary's. He also said he has a sense of gratitude for the support of the congregation during his tenure as Senior Warden and at the death of his mother.
  Help Wanted: The Vestry is seeking a capable, compassionate person to provide nursery care during Sunday worship services. The hours are 9:30am - 11am on Sundays. We believe this service is essential in providing for the needs of all our congregants. Please respond to Joan Langston or Cheryl Barton (in the choir.) Thank you for considering this vital ministry!