Volume 41, May 2022
From the Rector
The poet, after his conversion, looks back over his old life, and utters this prayer:

Teach us to care and not to care
Teach us to sit still . . .
Suffer me not to be separated
And let my cry come unto Thee.

T.S. Eliot
Ash Wednesday

I thoroughly enjoyed Easter Day this year: somehow grace really did ‘prevent nature’ so that I was able to fully enter the spirit and liturgies of Holy Week and arrive Easter morning full of expectation and joy without distraction.

I have lived long enough in the ministry to take none of this for granted. Some months and years I have had a strong sense of purpose and of being on ‘the right path’. Others I have felt lost or scrambling for surer footing. Later in this Newsletter I share with you a very fine practical and pastoral book by John Pritchard. In it, he shares his own experience of the necessity ‘that God must fill our vision’ and be our constant point of reference, the One with whom we begin and
end every day. ‘Otherwise’, he cautions:

We have to face the danger that in our role as leaders [ministers] we can become so caught up with the things of God, the paraphernalia of religion, that we lose the divine enchantment of our faith. If we don’t sustain the sacred center of our lives, we could become perfectly competent religious functionaries, but not much more.

There is truth in this. Even the holiest of saints, who have lived their lives in vivid awareness of the immanence of God, have had to fight the loss of that ‘divine enchantment’. Here I am thinking of St Francis of Assisi.

St Francis, especially after his Order of Friars was well established, worried that his work and that of the Order had lost course. One of his biographers records this scene:

Leo recounted that at one point Francis arose from prayer in great spiritual distress, and did not want to have an Order any more. Then Brother Masseo went to him and said, ‘Have you never seen an apple all rotten on the surface, but when you cut it open you may find, inside, that the heart is good?’ And Francis said, ‘Yes, you’re right . . . more good than bad!’ (Bartholomew of Pisa, New Fioretti).

Anne Wroe, in a wonderful little book, Francis: A Life in Songs, has a poem meditation on Brother Masseo’s words to Francis. Entitled ‘Apples’, she writes:

Perfection grows on apple trees . . .
Shiny has soured to tarnish; firm
Proves spongy-rotten when you press;
Maggots squirm through. Ripe red twists round
To callow green. And yet, that said,
On this storm-splintered branch hangs one
Wrinkled and shrunken, starling-pecked,
Which slices white—and then exudes
The scent of the Beatitudes.

At the end of his life St Francis said, ‘I have done what is mine; may Christ teach you what is yours.’ May Christ teach you what is yours. I very much feel the blessing of those words from the saint as I endeavor, even after all these years, to yet know the Lord’s desire and will for my life and ministry.
Christ our Passover,
Pascha nostrum
Alleluia.
Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us; *
  therefore let us keep the feast,
Not with old leaven,
neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness, *
  but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. Alleluia.
1 Corinthians 5:7-8
Love First:
Vacation Bible School Christ Church Style
An Interview with Catherine Montgomery,
Director of Children’s Formation and Family Ministries
 
1. The title for CCPV VBS caught my attention ‘Love First Vacation Bible School’. Is this theme unique to this summer 2022 or have you used it every summer? How did you choose it?
I developed the Love First VBS curriculum in 2019 with the permission of author Colette Potts, after being inspired by her book Love First: A Children’s Ministry for the Whole Church. Colette’s book presented a simple, relevant approach to children’s ministry rooted in the love of God and neighbor. I felt it was a perfect foundation for vacation bible school, when we have a limited amount of time to present the Gospel to many children who do not attend worship regularly. We use Love First every year, updating with new stories, songs, crafts, games, and outreach activities.

2. Do you use a set curriculum external to CCPV or do you write your own?
I loved writing this curriculum and have been happy to share it with other Episcopal churches who have reached out to me. During the height of the pandemic in 2020, I adapted the program for an online gathering and was happy to share that as well. Love First VBS and “Love First at Home” have been used at Church of Our Savior in Jacksonville, St. John’s Episcopal Church in Tallahassee, and Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Reno, NV, and will be used this summer at St. John’s in Larchmont, NY and St. Mary’s in Jacksonville (adapted by Rev. Laura Magevney for St. Mary’s’ Summer Learning Program).

3. What did VBS look like June 2021 and how do you think it might look different again in 2022?
In 2021, we capped VBS at about half of our usual capacity and required masks when indoors for all participants. We did not gather altogether as a large group. This year we will not require masks, and we’ll start the day with our usual large group assembly, which is always a blast.

4. How many children are you able to register for CCPV VBS? Do you have a waiting list?   
So far we have about 125 campers signed up, as well as more than 30 youth volunteers and 30 adults. We still have room in most camper groups, and will close registration on Friday, May 27.

5. What is the profile of their parents? Are they mostly from families where both parents work? Many single parents? Are most of the children from families that attend CCPV or does your program appeal to a wider grouping in the community?
Most of the families we serve at VBS are juggling childcare and enrichment opportunities to provide a fun and meaningful summer for their children while allowing parents to attend to work and personal responsibilities. While my children are older now, I remember those days of puzzling together a good summer that works for the whole family – it’s not easy! We find that about half of our VBS families are Christ Church members, and the other half attend elsewhere or do not attend church regularly. We love the opportunity VBS provides to throw our doors open wide and welcome everyone.

6. How big a staff do you need to operate VBS? Is it a mix of those who have taught previously and new volunteers? What skills do you look for in the staff?
Providing a safe and fun week of VBS takes a lot of work! We usually have about 40 adult volunteers and at least 50 youth volunteers. We always have a great mix of seasoned volunteers and new folks, including parents and grandparents as well as other church members who care deeply about our program. We look for volunteers who love God and love children. People with warm, generous, and playful spirits tend to really enjoy volunteering at VBS. There are ways to help that suit every personality and set of gifts.
 
7. What do parents say their expectations are for their children by registering them for VBS?
Parents have shared that VBS is their children’s favorite week of the summer! They appreciate that our message is positive, loving and rooted in scripture, and that our activities are fun and engaging. They are also looking for a program their children can enjoy with their friends from school and form new friendships, at an affordable price.
 
8. What do you hope VBS will give to the children who attend?
As with all of our children’s formation programs, my hope is that Love First VBS will spark a curiosity in our kids about God, invite them into a relationship with God and their neighbor, and honor them as God’s beloved.
 
9. Anything else it would be helpful to share?
VBS is a lot of work, but it’s worth it! There’s nothing like coming together to bring kids closer to God and to each other, and their enthusiasm is positively contagious. I’d encourage everyone in our diocese to support their parish’s VBS as a volunteer. And of course we welcome everyone from across the diocese to join us for Love First VBS at Christ Church - the more the merrier!
Education for Ministry:
An Interview with Margaret Macnaughton
In 1975 the School of Theology in the University of the South was inspired to launch a four-year course to allow lay men and women to explore and answer questions about their faith and connect their faith to their daily lives and to better equip them for ministry. Since the program started more than 100,000 people from across all the dioceses of the Episcopal Church have participated in it.
 
The Episcopal Diocese of Florida has a strong EfM program under the guidance and excellent leadership of Margaret MacNaughton. I interviewed Margaret for this e-Newsletter last year when she took up the leadership in the midst of COVID.
 
I reached out to her again and asked her to share with us what EfM in our diocese looks like as we begin to feel we might be in a better place in meeting together once again in this year.
 
INTERVIEW
 
1. Margaret, remind us when you took over as coordinator for Education for Ministry (EfM) in the Diocese of Florida and why you felt called to give EfM priority in your offering to the church.
 
Margaret: I took over as EfM coordinator in April 2021, having just completed my four years in the program. Everything about my EfM experience… the faith deepened, the relationships shared, the education encountered… made me want to let others know about the joys of EfM.
 

2. From March 2020 until fairly recently, COVID greatly limited or restricted in person educational gatherings. What happened to EfM during COVID? How did EfM programs meet the challenges of the Pandemic?
 
Margaret: The dedication and resourcefulness of the EfM mentors and co-mentors of our diocesan groups has been amazing. Not even a pandemic could deter them from their missions. Groups adapted by meeting via Zoom. Mentors, who require 18 hours of continued education annually, adapted by going online for their training. Not ideal but they did what they had to do.
 
3. Where is EfM in the Diocese of Florida today as many restrictions have been lifted and people are gathering again in churches, schools and in other places? Give us an update of how you see EfM currently.
 
Margaret: EfM is strong and growing in the Diocese of Florida. During the pandemic, two groups based at the Cathedral in Jacksonville, three groups based at St. John’s Tallahassee, two groups based at Christ Church Ponte Vedra Beach, and the group based at St. Paul’s by-the-Sea in Jacksonville Beach continued without missing a beat. Holy Trinity Gainesville restarted their group in Fall 2021, and St. Peter’s Fernandina Beach restarted their group in January 2022. The newest EfM group in the diocese – based at St. Philip’s Jacksonville – formed October 2021.
 
Each EfM group has found a way to meet that works best for its participants. Some are meeting entirely in person, some have stayed on Zoom, and some have found a hybrid way to meet, combining in person and Zoom. The availability of Zoom participation has opened so many possibilities! If someone lives in a remote location, or sometimes travels on business, or has mobility issues, or feels uncomfortable in close quarters, the Zoom option is there.
 
To learn more about each of the 11 groups in the Diocese of Florida, click here.

For more about Education for Ministry, including information about groups that meet online via Zoom, contact: Margaret MacNaughton through email margmacnaughton@gmail.com or call 904-808-3185.
Youth Beat 2022 
An Article by Caroline Devitt, Director of Youth Ministries,
St. John’s Church, Tallahassee

What is Youth Beat?
Youth B.E.A.T. Week stands for Youth Being Extraordinary Around Tallahassee. It is a week that happens each summer where our youth come together to serve throughout the Tallahassee community. This year, it is scheduled for June 6-10.
 
Each day of that week, the youth arrive at church by 9 a.m., and, after checking in with their group leaders, packing a lunch, and a devotion, split up into assigned groups of 8-10 and head out to their designated service sites, accompanied by two adults, via bus. Youth work at their assigned service sites from roughly 10 a.m. - 1:15 p.m. each day. Busses bring the youth and chaperones back to the church from their service sites where we have a closing devotion and wrap up until parents pick up their youth at 2 p.m.. Service sites range from homeless shelters and food banks to nursing homes and schools.
 
Is it new this year or an on-going summer event for young people?
Youth B.E.A.T. has happened every summer since 2014! It was started by a small group of St. John’s parents and has turned into an incredible week-long event with over 80 student participants this year! In 2020, Youth B.E.A.T. had to look very different due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but St. John’s was still able to orchestrate a virtual week of service for our youth. This is the first year since then that we’ve been able to return to a more traditional model.
 
Is it based at St John’s, Tallahassee or elsewhere in Tallahassee?
Our service sites are all over Tallahassee, but we begin and end the day at St. John’s.

What are the goals of Youth Beat?
The goal of B.E.A.T. Week is to love God, love others, and to see the face of Jesus in every person we encounter. Each organization that we are partnering with has different needs, so our mission is to meet the needs where God has called us to serve.
Our theme verse for the week, Matthew 25:34-36,40, spells this out so beautifully.
Each day, our devotion time will focus on one aspect of our theme verse, and we will have guest speakers touch on each of these topics, allowing the youth to tangibly see how we can apply scripture to our daily lives.
 
What attracts the young people to attend Youth Beat?
I think there are a lot of aspects that attract youth in Tallahassee to participate in B.E.A.T. Week. Our youth group is incredibly service oriented. Summer mission trips and community service projects are two of the things that our youth look forward to the most while growing up in the church. My predecessor, Caroline Allen, now serves as a missionary in Quito, Ecuador, so our students have experienced a culture of service threaded throughout St. John’s.
 
Community is also a huge part of what draws people in. We all like to do things with our friends and ending the week having earned 25 hours of community service certainly doesn’t hurt either.

However, though that may be the initial draw for some folks, B.E.A.T. week has proven to be a way to bring in and engage families. B.E.A.T. Week is entirely run by volunteers, so not only are the students engaged, but their parents are as well. We’ve seen many families join the church from their initial involvement in B.E.A.T. Week which has not only grown our youth ministry program, but our church and community presence as well.
 
For some of our young people, our morning devotion time could be the first time they’ve thought about God and what a relationship with Him might look like. B.E.A.T. Week is a wonderful way to open that door and provide students with a safe space to explore those questions and a community of other students and adults to love and support them through their faith journey.
 
What do you hope the young people attending will discover and claim as worthwhile in attending?
I hope the students who participate in B.E.A.T. Week take what they learn during the week and apply it in their everyday lives. They don’t have to wait until next summer to serve others. They can serve others in their schools, at church, even in their own homes. When we are living in Christ-centered service to others, we live out what we say in the Lord’s prayer: “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”
 
I also hope that this week is eye-opening for them and that they realize that there are a lot of different people that live in Tallahassee. The week is ultimately about seeing the image of God in every person and coming alongside others to love and support our community in a way that is helpful.
 
Finally, I hope the youth see that they are part of the church, and that their presence is welcomed and wanted no matter where they are on their spiritual journey. I hope they leave knowing that St. John’s is a place of them to come and learn about Jesus and have fun with their friends. I was so blessed by my experience in my home parish in Sarasota, FL as a youth, and I hope that they leave wanting to come back, knowing that they are loved and prayed for just as I felt as a young person in the church.
May Quiz
The Church calendar for May includes a number of days that remind us that people
often turn to the example of the saints for inspiration and guidance when facing
health issues and mortality. Test your knowledge of some of these special men and
women by matching their name to the medical issue or problem for which they are
named patron.
Allison +

Questions
1. Which saint is the patron of pharmacists and of the dying?
2. Which saint is the patron of drowning victims?
3. Which saint was deemed ‘Apostle to the Lepers’ and contracted the disease
while ministering to lepers?
4. Which saint is the patron to reformed alcoholics?
5. Which saint is the patron of those suffering mental or neurological disorders
and illnesses and also of mental health professionals?

Answers
a. St James the Less (1 st c.)
b. St Dymphna (7 th c.)
c. St Matthias the Apostle (1 st c.)
d. St Florian (c. 250-304 AD)
e. St Damien (b. 1840)

To view the answers, please click here.
May Book Review
Handbook of Christian Ministry: for Lay and Ordained Christians, by John Pritchard, (Paperback, SPCK, 2020).

John Pritchard was the 42 Bishop of Oxford (2007-2014) and is an author whose many years of pastoral experience and wisdom make all of his books well worth reading for laity and clergy alike. Pritchard is in the Open Evangelical tradition that includes N.T. Wright and Justin Welby--- a tradition that emphasizes scriptural authority and traditional doctrinal teachings but with a mind and heart open to and conversant with the whole Church. There is nothing narrow in this good man’s scope and imagination. 

Pritchard’s Handbook of Christian Ministry is full of sound advice for those called to serve and help others in their ministry. It is a fitting companion to his much appreciated The Life and Work of a Priest (2007). The arrangement is attractive--- it is not a ‘how to’ manual but a compendium of sound advice from Pritchard and some of the authors who have informed his ministry---arranged by chapters from ‘A’ to ‘Z’, e.g. ‘A’ for Attentiveness; ‘C’ for Children and Schools; ‘E’ for Evangelism; ‘O’ for Older People, etc.

Click here for a few examples from the various alphabetical chapter headings that I hope will attract you to the book.
Archdeacon’s Corner:
Shema
In my travels with Bishop Howard, he often mentions the Jewish word “Shema.” He will use it in a sermon or in a discussion about certain Jewish beliefs and practices. Father Donavan Cain does the same thing. Now I’m not sure if they are collaborators or conspirators, but they both seem to be trying to tell me something. So, I finally took the time to look it up, and see what it means.

For thousands of years every morning and evening the Jewish people have prayed the “Shema” as a way of expressing their devotion to God. We find the Shema in Deuteronomy:

“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God
with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might…” God concludes this passage in Deuteronomy by reminding the Jewish people, “And these words that I command to you today shall be on your heart." (Deut. 6:4)

The first word of the Shema means to listen or hear, which in Hebrew is pronounced shammaa, and that’s where the prayer gets its name. Surprisingly, shammaa is a common word in the Hebrew texts.

Hearing is one of our five senses, but Shema means more than an activity that’s connected with the ear. It means to act, as in Psalm 27:7

“Hear (Shema) my voice when I call, Lord; be merciful to me and answer me."

Therefore, so many of the cries for help in the book of Psalms begin with a call that God listen and hear our pleas.

To shema, is to ask God to act, to do something. It's like when God asks His people to listen. Think of when the people of Israel were at Mount Sinai and God says through Moses “…if you obey (shema) me fully and keep my covenant then out of all the nations you will be my treasured possession,” (Exodus 19:5).

When God asked the people to shema, what he means is that they listen and obey. That's the last fascinating thing about the word shema. In ancient Hebrew there is no separate word for obey. If you want to say, I will listen and do what you say, you use the single word shema in Hebrew, for in Hebrew listening or shema, and doing are two sides of the same coin.

Later in Israel’s history, when the people were breaking their covenant promises to God, the Hebrew prophets would say things like, they have ears but they are not listening. Israelites of course could hear but they were not actually listening or else they would have acted much differently.

Think of when Jesus says in Matthew: “Therefore everyone who hears (shema) these words of mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock” (Matthew 2:24). You must act, and not only hear.

Today, observant Jews consider the Shema to be the most important part of the prayer service in Judaism, and its twice-daily recitation is a mitzvah (religious commandment). Also, it is traditional for Jews to say the Shema as their last words, and for parents to teach their children to say it before they go to sleep at night.

So, it would seem to me in the end that listening to God is about giving Him your complete attention and time. It is about showing love and respect to Him and then acting according to His word. Doing what Jesus says takes real listening, effort, and action and that's the Hebrew word Shema.

“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God
with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might…”

God concludes this passage in Deuteronomy by reminding the Jewish people:

“And these words that I command to you today shall be on your heart." (Deut. 6:4)

Perhaps I finally heard Bishop Howard and Father Donavan.

Praying that our Lord finds you and yours well,

The Ven. Mark Richardson,
Archdeacon
Upcoming Pastoral Care Workshop for
Clergy and Laity Alike
No One Walks Alone Workshop
Saturday, June 25, 2022
9 a.m. – 2.30 p.m.
Taliaferro Hall
St. John’s Cathedral, Jacksonville
The Rev. Marsha Holmes
The Bishop’s Institute for Ministry and Leadership offers: No one walks alone, a workshop enabling you to develop a unique and tailored pastoral care program in your church for clergy and laity alike.

One objective of The Bishop’s Institute is to offer best practices from around the Episcopal Diocese of Florida. The Institute is particularly interested in offering successful ministries from our local churches. Christ Church in Ponte Vedra Beach developed a Lay Pastoral Care ministry that works in small and large churches.

This ministry enables support from the laity to the clergy to ensure “No one walks alone” in your church. Christ Church has already trained some churches in our Diocese as well as other churches across the country. Deacon Marsha Holmes will lead this one-day training to explain the process and enable your church to develop a unique process – one designed to meet your needs.

For more information and to register, email Sue Engemann: sengemann@diocesefl.org or call 904.356.1328. $20 registration fee includes lunch.
Register Today: Pilgrimage to Italy 2022
Pilgrimage to Italy: In the Footsteps of Saint Francis of Assisi,
Hosted by The Rev. Canon Douglas Dupree
& Dr. Charles Howard, Art Historian
Sunday, October 9 to Monday, October 17, 2022

Join The Rev. Canon Douglas Dupree and Dr. Charles Howard, Art Historian and Faculty member at Episcopal School of Jacksonville on a nine-day Biblical Journey in the Footsteps of Saint Francis of Assisi, Italy! St Francis of Assisi is beloved by Christians and others in every generation in every corner of the world. Assisi, the city of St Francis, still breathes an atmosphere of holiness and beauty. Come walk where he walked and enjoy the wonderful churches, the art and architecture of Assisi and
Rome and their surrounding cities and landscape!

To view the flyer, click here or email The Rev. Canon Douglas Dupree for more information: ddupree@diocesefl.org.

To register, contact Biblical Journeys:
Phone: 201-627-0117

You may also register by filling out the form by clicking here and mailing to:
Biblical Journeys
411 Hackensack Ave., Suite 200
Hackensack, NJ 07601