This issue includes news about Sunday School & Children's Chapel, Shrine Mont weekend, Vestry & financial notes...and more

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Shrine Mont weekend is almost here! On Sep.14-16 we will gather in the great outdoors to unwind and unplug after a busy week in DC, commune with one another, and seek God in new and different ways.

On Saturday morning we'll enter into conversation with one another about the significance of Storytelling. What is the collective story we have to offer, and do we know how to tell that story? How do our personal stories make a difference in the context of God's story? Additionally, we'll have time to hear reflections from vestry members and individuals serving on the Experimental Taskforce, who have been workshopping this content throughout the Spring and Summer months. 

If you've signed up for the weekend, thank you!  For those who plan to attend, please sign up here. Deadline for registration is this Thursday, Aug. 30. Paper copies are also available in the fellowship hall or with Wil Harkins in the office. Please sign up now so we can give Shrine Mont an accurate head count.

For any questions, contact Beth, Tom Sheldon, or Linda Kelleher.  Looking forward to seeing you at Shrine Mont!

Holy Transitions
When I was a college missioner, our communal life ebbed and flowed based on the academic schedule. As a result, I spent a great deal of time thinking about our liturgical calendar, over against our academic calendar, over against the many other calendars that dictate the order of our lives. I had great fun imagining what an academic-liturgical calendar would look like. What would be our Feast Days, and how would they be appropriately celebrated?  
This all begs the question of the role of our Christian calendar. Most Feast Days are celebrations of milestones in our Christian story, while others are opportunities to remember the saints who have helped shape our tradition. When we look even deeper, worship, more generally, is the work of the people marking the seasons of life together. We are just concluding a long season of "ordinary" time, to be followed by rebirth, recognition, resurrection, and recommitment. At the end of the day, worship intends to mark as holy the transitions, celebrations, losses, and milestones of our days.  
In my mind, Advent happened over the course of summer as a college missioner. I eagerly anticipated the rebirth of my community, full of new life that came with incoming students at the start of each semester. We celebrated a "back to school" Feast Day that was equivalent to the fanfare of Christmas! The first morning of classes we ordered breakfast tacos, brought in "nice" coffee, had the holy oil ready at the ready for blessings, and took awkward back-to-14th-grade school photos. The first Sunday of worship we catered dinner from the food trucks and the ice cream shop, and named our hopes and dreams for the semester. In the sanctuary, and outside -- throughout our communal life together, we marked the transition as holy.  
Back to school is only one of the many secular transitions that you and your household may be experiencing this season. I invite you to share with me these transitions, so we can imagine together how we might mark and celebrate them as holy.  
On Sunday, September 9th, we will bless any backpacks, lunch boxes, and teacher bags at our 10 AM service. Children (of all ages) are invited to receive this blessing and use the bag tag we will provide to remind them of this blessing throughout the school year.  
Below is one of my favorite prayers that I have come across in the years of back to school blessings:  
O God, today we gather to celebrate the beginning of a new school year. It is a day filled with joy and excitement as well as uncertainty and wonder. God of knowledge and wisdom, we pray to you for all schools that they may be lively centers for learning, new discovery, and the pursuit of goodness. We pray also for our places of work, that our time laboring may be fruitful and enriching.
As students begin the year, give them open minds and open hearts to learn and to experience more fully the majesty of the world you have created. May this year be full of promise for them, and for their teachers, as together they experience new beginnings and fresh starts. Enable them to grow in knowledge and wisdom during this school year and all the days of their lives.
Blessing of the Backpacks
...and lunch boxes, and teacher bags! On Sun., Sep. 9 students of all ages are invited to bring their school bags to church for a blessing. During the 10 AM service we will wonder with the children about how we are "Blessed to be a Blessing," and how the new school year presents us with opportunities not only to grow in our knowledge, but in our faith. We will mark this secular transition by physically blessing these bags and their carriers for this upcoming season.
Children's Chapel and Sunday School Orientation

During the 10 AM coffee hour on Sun., Sep. 9, all parents and children are invited for a brief orientation to Children's Chapel and Sunday School. We'll process from coffee hour to these respective spaces, orienting children, giving a brief overview of what happens on a weekly basis, and inviting families into practices of best support for these ministries. If you are unable to attend, please be in touch with Melanie Monahan for more information.

A Letter from Presiding Bishop Michael Curry to the Diocese of Virginia
Read Bishop Curry's letter to the diocese regarding Bishop Shannon's retirement.
July Vestry Meeting Minutes

Please be aware that the content contained in these meeting minutes was accurate at the time of transcription. Some details may have since been updated.

Read the full report here.
Communication Deadlines
Please submit short announcements of a timely nature to Wil Harkins, parish administrator, by noon on Thursday prior to the Sunday that you'd like it included in the service bulletin. 
Longer articles and items that are not time sensitive should be submitted to The Guardian newsletter staff by the 1st or 15th of the month. The newsletter is published on the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of the month. All submissions are subject to edit and approval.
Support St. Michael's


You can make single gifts and recurring donations (pledges) through our online service  Network for Good.
Do you know how much that costs?

Candles are a stable fixture in our Sunday morning worship. They signify the light of God. Historically, "Lamps and candles were in normal use in Christian worship by the fourth century, but for many years it was not customary to place candles on the altar. The first known mention of the use of altar lights was a twelfth-century report that two candles flanked an altar cross in the papal chapel" according to the Episcopal Church website, (read for more information here.)
St. Michael's spent $900 on candles in 2017, including altar, baptismal, advent and cathedral candles. The altar candles burn about 1 inch per service, usually 9 or 10 services per candle, leaving nubs that we use at Children's Chapel and the nursing home service. Friends of altar guild have also made star shaped candles from any nubs left over. Altar candles are 51% bees wax, the rest is paraffin. Paraffin is cleaner but faster burning.
Stay tuned for "Common Cents" about our life together!
Beth Addington, Finance Committee 
Bible Challenge Buddies on Hiatus

Bible Challenge Buddies [aka Bible Challenge and Beyond(ers)] will be taking a break (for vacations and Shrine Mont!) until Oct. 12. Starting that Friday we will be reading and discussing "Loving The Questions, An Exploration of the Nicene Creed" by Marianne Micks. The first week, we will be discussing chapters 1 and 2 then one chapter each week thereafter. All are welcome to join us, starting at 3 PM and going until 4:30-5:00 PM. Contact Helen Hines if you have any questions.
A VBS thank-you!

I would like to give a huge shout-out to our fabulous volunteers who made this year's "Shipwrecked" VBS so successful! Many hands make light work, and this year was great -- I couldn't ask for a greater group of people! I get wary of naming individuals because I fear I will miss someone. But, I'll take my chances...

(Names are listed alphabetically, no preference indicated.)

Hands-on help during VBS week: Evelyn Bence, Jared Clark, Kevin Cronk, Beth Magill, Annabelle Monahan, Suzanna Monahan, Dan Plafcan, Diane Rickey, Adam Ruff, Isabel Ruff, Karen Ruff, Tom Sheldon, Genevieve White, Josie White, Molly White. (We also had a few volunteers from outside our parish: Greg Ettelt, Angie Hernandez-Cruz, Cassie Metcalfe, Vian Nguyen.)

Decorators: TJ Burnside Clapp, Jared Clark, Linda Denson, Helen Hines, Annabelle Monahan, Suzanna Monahan, Chrissie Moore, Sandra Phaup, Diane Rickey, Karen Ruff, Holly Sullivan
Ideas & behind-the-scenes help: Beth Addington, Kay-Margaret Cronk

Dinners: Julia Carter, Jane Cook, Nic Franklin & Beth Magill, Lisa Harkins, Cindy Matlack

Snacks: Kay-Margaret Cronk, Linda Denson, Lois Scott, Dawn Stevenson

Ice-cream social: Lisa Harkins, Dan Ruff, Karen Ruff
Many thanks,
Melanie Monahan
They're Back

Our stained glass windows from the nave have returned from vacation in Minnesota!  They've been cleaned, repaired as needed, re-leaded, and returned to their places ready for many more years of service to the church. The windows are now mounted with a flexible sealant that should prevent the bowing that we previously experienced with the original rigid mounting/sealing of the windows. Cathedral Crafts of Winona, Minnesota completed the work way ahead of the projected Labor Day delivery!

Are you curious about the stained glass windows and what they depict? Follow this link to our website for a virtual tour and additional information.
August Financial Report
Our income as of July 31, 2018 was slightly ahead of our projected budget by 8%. For the same period, our expenses were less than our projected budget by about 7%. But as is always the case, income and expenses are not evenly spread over the year. Our TD Bank balance (cash on hand) was $108K as of July 31, 2018. The stained glass window repair is complete and they have been re-installed in the sanctuary - the repair costs were within the budgeted amount. Our audit team of Mary Thorne and Rob Vigfusson are nearing the end of their work and the final report will be delivered to the Diocese very soon.

Read the full treasurer's report (which includes the Outreach collection figures)  here.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions.

Dean Scribner, Treasurer
St. Michael's Episcopal Church
 1132 N. Ivanhoe Street  | Arlington, VA 22205-2445

Our mission is to provide a nurturing spiritual community in Christ Jesus as the foundation 

from which we strive to go forth and serve God by the power of the Holy Spirit.