Around the Parish
August 2018
The Ministry of the Interim Rector
Webster’s Dictionary defines interim as “a time between events.” In our case at St. Luke’s, it is the time between the departure of your 5th rector and the arrival of your 6th.
Since you have graciously called me to be your interim rector during this “time between events,” it occurs to me that you might be interested in my understanding and experience of that ministry.

First of all, I will be your Rector, the “canonical authority” of the parish, with all the responsibilities, duties and powers that the canons, (Episcopal Laws), Book of Common Prayer, Letter of Agreement, and traditions and practices of the Episcopal Church establish. As a priest, the interim rector will lead the liturgy each Sunday, sharing in the celebration at the Table, and the proclamation of the Word – preaching. Leading and supporting our staff of one – Wonderful Wendy Wheeler, and our faithful and gifted vestry in their respective ministries are the primary functions of the interim rector. 

I have served in parishes for almost all of my nearly 40 years of ordained ministry, more than 30 of those years as a rector or interim rector. This is my eighth interim ministry, and I believe I have gained some useful knowledge about the differences in the role of the interim as compared to that of a “regular” rector.

The overarching image that I rely on to keep me on track is this: The interim’s role is to be John the Baptist to the rector’s Jesus. John, the one who makes the rough places smooth and prepares the way of the Lord.  Luke 3:2-6
(I know this is a loaded image; so let’s not push it too far. And, yes, I remember what happened to John! And, no, Jesus is not available to be your next rector. Nor do I believe for a moment that this wonderful parish is a “wilderness,” or “a nest of vipers.”) Like John, I will be with you for a relatively short time – probably about a year - toward the end of which I will, “decrease” so that the new rector “may increase.”  John 3:30

In order to perform that ministry effectively, it will be necessary for me to carefully observe and evaluate how the parish functions, to identify the rough places and the smooth. It is much easier for an “outsider” to look with fresh, new eyes, and to see things, both positive and negative, that an “insider” would most likely miss. In this process there is the continual need for input and feedback from every part of the parish. THIS MEANS YOU! PLEASE! Nothing you can do in the next few months will be more helpful or faithful. I want to hear what you think and feel is going well and what could use some attention. Share your concerns, your hopes and your dreams for the future. Tell me in person or by phone; by letter or by email - EXCEPT ON SUNDAY MORNING!  That is the one time I will not be able to give you the attention you deserve, and almost certainly not remember what we discussed.

I will be working closely with your vestry and other parish leadership both in evaluation and implementation. The intention is to have the parish as healthy and prepared as possible to receive its new rector, with everything in place to insure a successful call, an easy and positive transition and a long, fruitful ministry. During this period it would be rare that, as an interim, I would call a major staff person – lay or ordained - except on an interim basis. Neither would I institute or end existing programs or ministries except on a provisional basis. Those decisions will be the responsibility and purview of the next rector. There are, however, some changes that the interim rector can and should do, so that the new rector will not be required to.

Very soon you will begin the Search/Discernment process of visioning, evaluating and strategic planning, under the able leadership of Ray Thompson, who will serve as chair of that committee, aided by the Rev. Canon Massey Gentry of the Bishop’s office. They will keep you abreast of their progress as that process moves forward. I will be available to the Search Committee as a resource only, playing no active part in their ministry. In the next few weeks, we will give you details of how the process will proceed and your vital role in it.

I hope you will find this little “essay” helpful, reassuring and clarifying. Please let me know any questions or comments you may have in relation to this, or about any other aspect of the interim period, my place in it, and yours. Remember FEEDBACK is one of your most helpful ministries.

Also never hesitate to come to me with any pastoral issue, as that is always a defining function of a priest. We are sometimes called, “pastors,” after all.
A transitional period can be and often is a time of anxiety and fearfulness, but I assure you that it can also be an exciting time filled with energy, growth and grace.  Change is seldom easy, but as a wise man once said, “Change is inevitable, except from a vending machine.”

I want to say again how delighted I am to be here with you, and thank God and your leadership for calling me to St. Luke’s.

Have no fear. All will be well. 

Praise the Lord! O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever.  Psalm 106:1

Fr. Rusty+
We Welcome the Newly Baptized!

Congratulations to Patrick Henry DesRochers on his Baptism. May God bless him, and his family, as he begins his new life in Christ.
Wednesday, August 1
12 Noon
Miles Chapel

It has been the custom at St. Luke’s for many years to offer this service for everyone on the first Wednesday of each month. Accordingly we will gather in the Miles Chapel at noon on August 1 st.

The sacrament of Healing, or “Unction of the Sick” as it is formally known, is one of the “Sacramental Rites” of the Anglican/Episcopal tradition. (You might want to read, beginning on page 858 of the Book of Common Prayer, a discussion of our two primary sacraments – Holy Baptism and The Holy Eucharist – and our five sacramental rites.)
Holy Unction looks back to Christianity’s Jewish roots, where prayers for the ailing in body and/or spirit, and anointing with blessed olive oil, began thousands of years ago. It has been a part of the Christian tradition from the start, and was set out in the first Anglican prayer book of 1549, and in all that have followed.

The primary focus on Wednesdays is the Holy Eucharist, and is the context of the healing portion. Worshipers may participate in either or both parts of the service, for their own needs, and/or on behalf of others.

If you would like more information, talk with Gail Griffith or with me. Even better, join us on the 1 st to experience for yourself this channel of God’s grace.

Fr. Rusty+
Blessing of the Backpacks
Each year we mark the beginning of school with the Blessing of the Backpacks. Kids--Bring your backpacks (old or new) for a back-to-school
blessing during the 10:00 a.m. service, August 12th.

Sunday School Registration
Registration for the 2018-2019 school year will be August 19, 26 and September 2. Forms will be in the Narthex. Sunday School will begin September 9th.
McKemie Place Dinner
Please sign-up to help serve the 70 ladies of McKemie Place, the regions only shelter for homeless women. You may call the church office, 666-2990, or click on the link below to sign-up. The dinner is Thursday, August 30th.

Forward Day By Day
That is the name of the quarterly prayer resource and guide of the Episcopal Church.

For each day there is a short daily meditation on the appointed scriptures, and a suggestion or question for the reader, as well as prayers and even hints on how best to use the guide.

These booklets are provided free of charge, though a donation of a dollar or two is welcome, and are located in the tract rack in the hallway leading to the Activities Room. Large print editions are also available.

Over many decades, innumerable faithful Christians have found their spiritual lives enriched by this practice, including many of this parish. The booklets for this quarter, which begins on August 1, are now available.  
Eucharistic Visitors
I hope that you have noticed the prayer which we say after the post communion prayer, in which we send forth the sacramental gifts of consecrated bread and wine. We do this sometimes at the 7:30 service or at the 10:00, depending on which service the Eucharistic Visitor (EV) for that day is attending. Our EVs take communion to our parishioners who, for health reasons, are unable to attend church that Sunday. 

“Visitor” is a relatively new term and may not be familiar to a lot of people. Over the years, General Conventions have been honing the Episcopal Church’s understanding and nomenclature of lay ministry. Title III Canon 4 states that “A Eucharistic Visitor is a lay person authorized to take the Consecrated Elements in a timely manner … to members of the congregation who, by reason of illness or infirmity were unable to be present at the Celebration. A Eucharistic Visitor should normally act under the direction of a Member of the Clergy….” By contrast, “A Eucharistic Minister is a lay person authorized to administer the Consecrated Elements at a Celebration of Holy Eucharist. A Eucharistic Minister acts under the direction of a Member of the Clergy….” 

Generally, the Eucharistic Visitor takes the consecrated elements to a parishioner at home or in a healthcare facility, while the Eucharistic Minister administers the chalice in a church service with the clergy present. Each ministry requires a distinct license by the Diocese and functions under the direction of the parish clergy. 

If you cannot get to church for health reasons, please notify the church office and allow us to visit with you. You do not have to be extremely ill or out of church for a long time; all you need is a desire for the healing grace of God’s gifts to us. Your house does not have to be spotless; you are sick, after all. It is a personal, confidential and Holy time. Whenever I visit anyone, I always walk away having felt the presence of the Holy Spirit and pray they have as well.

Gail Griffith, Chair
Sam Fisher
Jenni Ori
Beth Snyder
General Convention Forum
Saturday, August 4
10am - 12 Noon
Christ Church Cathedral
18 W Wright St.,Pensacola

Bishop Russell and the rest of the Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast deputation to the 79th General Convention invite you to a forum offering a summary of their time at the General Convention, the actions taken on a number of key resolutions, and other details that are important for us to know about the Episcopal Church. There will be time for Q & A.

Registration not required/childcare is provided
August Propers
August 5
Exodus 34:29-35
Psalm 99
2 Peter 1:13-21
Luke 9:28-36

August 12
1 Kings4-8
Psalm 34:1-8
Ephesians 4:25-5:2
John 6:35,41-51

August 19
Proverbs 9:1-6
Psalm 34:9-14
Ephesians 5:15-20
John 6:51-58

August 26
Joshua 24:1-2, 14-18
Psalm 34:15-22
Ephesians 6:10-20
John 6:56-69
Save the Dates
1  Healing Service
12 Blessing of the Backpacks
19 Sunday School Registration
26 Sunday School Registration
30 McKemie Place Dinner

2  Sunday School Registration
3  Church Office Closed
5  Healing Service
9  Sunday School Begins
29-30 Safe Haven Weekend

3  Healing Service
5  Blessing of the Animals - School
6  Blessing of the Animals - Church
8  Church Office Closed

7  Healing Service
22 Church Office Closed
29 McKemie Place Dinner

August Birthdays and Anniversaries
1  Hubert Igou
1  Karen Goudie
2  Joseph Brandt
2  Linda Anderson
3  Donna Besch
5  Mary Meares
6  Nate Carr
8  Judy Miller
8  Mattie Easter
9  Tom Sawyer
12 Robert Anderson
17 Bryan Holder
18 Sue Betbeze
18 David Ori
19 Bob Will
19 Leighon Stone
20 Sean Meares
20 Patricia Ramage
20 Alli Kangal
26 Isabel Daniel
26 Jayne Kennedy
28 Cathy Whelton
30 Liz Brewer

10 Bob and Charlynn Will
28 Jack and Carol Solberger