This issue includes news about our Shrine Mont parish weekend, XYZ (Xtra Years of Zest), Vestry notes...and more
General Convention of the Episcopal Church

This coming Sunday, July 29th, our seminarian, Crystal Hardin, will share a summary of General Convention proceedings. We will gather in the sanctuary following the 10:00 AM service. For a preview, read Crystal's article below, which includes links to coverage of some of the highlights.

Congratulations, Tommy! 
Tommy McCall, son of Tad and Kitty McCall, graduated from The George Washington University in May 2018. He majored in Economics, with interests in History and Law. He is currently living at home, applying for jobs, and doing some volunteer activities.
Annunciation by Fra Angelico
XYZ Lunch: An Artful Afternoon
Join us, Thu., Aug. 2, for a potluck lunch and program. With her art-history background, Lisa Harkins will present a discussion entitled, Mother Mary Comes to Me: Womanhood as Seen Through the Figure of Jesus' Mother. Pretzels and punch at noon. Lunch served at 12:30.  
Note: We will gather and eat upstairs on the South Porch and have no access to the kitchen. Please bring your own table service. All are welcome, especially seniors. Contact: Evelyn Bence or Jane Cook.
June 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.
Ready for Shrine Mont?
Greetings, fellow St. Michael's parents,

Shrine Mont weekend is coming soon! Mark your calendars, if you haven't already: Sep. 14-16. Mountains. Homestyle cooking. Campfires. Songs. Games. Worship. Simple. Refreshing. Sounds pretty enticing, right?

Now, what about kids, you might ask? Because like you, a few years ago we wondered whether we were prepared to spend a weekend with two active little ones in a rather remote location. When we first made the trip, Flora was not quite one year old, and Eleanor was about to turn four. So you can imagine the thoughts that ran through our heads as we were deciding whether we were ready for Shrine Mont-or whether Shrine Mont was ready for us!

I thought, perhaps, that I could dispel some myths and offer some perspective on Shrine Mont to help you consider whether a woodland weekend is worth the while. So here goes:

1. You don't need a tent-or any backcountry experience for that matter-to enjoy Shrine Mont! You will stay in a room at one of several tidy houses on the premises, all nicely furnished and comfortable. And there's even running water! No need to take your little ones to the outhouse around back...

2. We share three square meals together at the dinner hall. When do you know it's time for chow? When the bell rings, of course! No need for hunting and gathering, that's for sure.

3. Thanks to the generous support from our parish, kids 18 and under attend the weekend for free. Scholarships are available for entire families-please contact Beth for details.
4. Bored kids? Not this weekend! There's lots to do, with other kids or with the full group. In years past, we've had a nature walk around Shrine Mont that was just the right scale for little legs. Last year, the kids organized and put on a puppet show-tickets and all! And the highlight of the weekend was the bonfire, s'mores, and a giant watermelon piƱata that spewed forth glow-in-the-dark light sticks for all to wear.

I hope that helps a bit! Shrine Mont weekend is a real highlight for us at St. Michael's. It hearkens back to a simpler time, free from the barking on social media and cable television, the rush of the morning and evening routines. At Shrine Mont, you have time to pause, to hug your children, to laugh, to give thanks, to seek and find God among the trees and atop the mountains, and to reflect on those things which matter most to us. See you there!
Tom Sheldon
News from the 79th General Convention

I recently spent two weeks in Austin, Texas, covering the 79th General Convention as a writer for the Diocese of Virginia's Center Aisle publication. The Episcopal Church convenes General Convention every three years to handle church business, and lay and ordained Episcopalians come from all over to participate. This was my first Convention, but I sure hope it won't be my last. While it was packed full of legislation, worship, church speak and people (leaving this introvert quite burned out at the end of every day), it was also bursting with creative energy, generosity, love and the movement of the Holy Spirit.

Bishop Curry set the tone at the opening Eucharist. He preached, "My brothers and sisters, I am asking us as the Episcopal Church, no, asking us as individual Episcopalians, asking us as the Episcopal Branch of the Jesus Movement before you begin your day, meditate on the life and teachings of Jesus...While we're here at Convention and before you get up to speak at that microphone, meditate on the life and teachings of Jesus...Before you go over to the water cooler and start whispering something into somebody's ear, meditate on the life and teachings of Jesus! When we leave this Convention meditate on the life and teachings of Jesus...Episcopal Church, join me, join me and meditate on the life and teachings of Jesus. Throw ourselves into him, and let Jesus take over!"

People took him seriously. Because, although difficult conversations were had, they were had in love and with respect (with very minor exceptions). The most notable resolutions debated were those addressing sexual harassment, abuse and gender discrimination, marriage rites for same-gendered couples (and everyone else!), and prayer book revision. Powerful and inspiring testimony was given on all sides of these issues. I was deeply moved by the vulnerability of this testimony, and equally moved by the vulnerability it took for those on the other side of the issue to listen with ears to hear.

On Marriage Rites: A Resolution passed on July 13 to give all Episcopalians the ability to be married by their priests in their home churches. This Resolution, which was hotly debated and amended by the House of Deputies and the House of Bishops, does allow a bishop "who holds a theological position that does not embrace marriage for same-sex couples" to invite another bishop in to facilitate the marriage. Full coverage of this issue can be found here.

On Prayer Book Revision: Episcopal News Service puts a somewhat complicated Resolution most simply: "Convention adopted a plan for liturgical and prayer book revision that sets the stage for the creation of new liturgical texts to respond to the needs of Episcopalians across the church while continuing to use the 1979 Book of Common Prayer." Convention said no, for now, to a Resolution calling for the "start of a process that would lead to a fully revised prayer book in 2030." Full coverage of this issue an be found here.

On Sexual Harassment, Abuse and Gender Discrimination: The voices of women and their allies and advocates were raised up at Convention. The Truth was told. A Liturgy of Listening was hosted by the House of Bishops during which lamentations were offered and testimonies were shared. It was a powerful event. Resolutions and memorials were offered calling for resources to be allocated and direct action to be taken to put a stop to a culture within the church that has devalued and abused women - lay and ordained. I covered these issues specifically for Center Aisle. You can read my coverage here.

Needless to say, Convention was an adventure. Beyond the testimony and debate surrounding these three issues, I also witnessed Cuba being welcomed back into the fold as an official Diocese. It was an emotional and celebratory moment! I took part in the Episcopal Church prayer service at Hutto Detention Center. Read more about that here. And, thanks to the guidance of Beth, I ate almost every breakfast taco in Austin, Texas!

I look forward to talking about my experience at General Convention with you this Sunday. Until then, I encourage you to read more about Bishop Curry's invitation to participate in "The Way of Love: Practices for a Jesus-Centered Life." Materials and more information can be found here.

Crystal Hardin, Seminarian
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.