Apalachicola, Florida.................................................August 21, 2020
Living out our own Gospel
Here in the Panhandle

Feast of Saint Bartholomew—August 24
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ

Like being able to name Santa’s reindeer, or the seven dwarves, we all know the names of the Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. These are the ones the Church accepted as canonical, but there were many others that were rejected. There were the Gospels of Thomas, Mary, Judas, Philip, and Bartholomew. There were also many more. Most of them tell the Good News of Jesus Christ. Many only exist, or existed, in fragments or in early historians’ writings. Again, they all tell the Good News of Christ Jesus and how the Son of God changed the world.

It’s strange that when you look online and when you read about other churches, their history usually takes precedence over the Good News and healing power of one’s relationship with God through Christ. Just look at our website. The first two links tell you that we are Apalachicola’s first church and the second tells of our history. When I first arrived in Apalachicola, I listened to the outgoing message on the answering machine and it said something like, “Thank you for calling historic Trinity Apalachicola.” What I didn’t hear was, “Thank you for calling a church where the Gospel is lived out every day.” However, that is who we truly are. While we may spend a lot of time and money maintaining our facilities, we are living and writing our own Gospel here in the panhandle.

Earlier this year we sang “Onward Christian Soldiers” and “Stand up, Stand Up for Jesus.” These, because of their militaristic tone, have fallen about of favor; however, they were not written about battles. They were written about carrying the message of Christ to the world. They are about living and proclaiming the Gospel message.

Right now, and throughout our history, Trinity has been adding its own Gospel to the Church, but it really never got put down on paper. We know that the Rev. Fitch Taylor discerned a call from God to found two churches; here and in Port St. Joe. He left here and served as a naval chaplain for the rest of his life, ministering to Native Americans, officers, and sailors wherever he went. We know a little about the ministries of Dr. Chapman and of Dr. John Gorrie whose ice machine cooled rooms for those suffering from tropical diseases and who became the father of air conditioning. Our founders, Orman, Grady, Branch, etc. provided a place that served as a house of God and a hospital and place of safety during the Civil War. Or how about the ministry of our part-time resident and parishioner Tom Adams who departed this life this past week and who graced us with his presence about six months ago and contributed so much to the spiritual and musical life of this community?

Although not complete and neither in order chronologically, nor in importance, let’s see what that Gospel of Trinity would look like today and examine how the Good News is proclaimed in thought, word and deed at this place and in this time:

  • First, we have a scribe who proclaims the Good News every other Friday and sends our message out to more folks than just the members of Trinity.

  • Groups share the message on their porches every few days by being in fellowship and the Outback group carries and proclaims the message of Christ to those in the western part of the county; these groups do it more than just one day, a week, or month. Monday school, when it resumes, will do the same thing.

  • We have a compassionate caregiver who works in the public health system and cares for the least fortunate; and, throughout this pandemic, risks her life because she is living out her vocation. There is a physician who, although retired, may offer comfort to those worrying about a diagnosis.

  • We have grandparents who are helping homeschool their grandchildren. (If that’s not Christlike, I don’t know what is).

  • Trinity has individuals who are involved in maintaining our spiritual home through their financial gifts, the Tour of Homes, and working and cleaning the facilities.

  • The ministry of Penny’s Worth (when it can reopen) is invaluable.

  • An enlarged ministry due to the pandemic has allowed Trinity to donate over 5,000 pounds of food to the local food bank and to make cash contributions as well. We are truly loving our neighbors as ourselves.

  • Through your gifts to the Discretionary Fund, you have fed, housed, repaired cars, and provided medical, dental, and optical care to those who are in need.

There are other individual ministries as well, and these should also be in our Gospel:

  • There are clergy, elders, and lay leaders of the Episcopal Church and other denominations (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Days Saints, Lutherans, Presbyterians, Roman Catholics, Methodists, etc.) who are continuing to follow their original call and use their gifts for the spreading of the Good News.

  • Some members work in groups that provide grants to aid children in need.

  • Another member has a prison ministry, while a couple volunteers at the hospital in Port St. Joe, and others minister with hospice.

  • There are members who felt called to serve our nation in times of war and peace, protecting our freedoms. And there is a newly minted grandfather who is an attorney who does the same thing but in a different calling.

  • There are those of you who travel many miles to care for sick friends and loved ones.

  • During this pandemic, more than one of you has spent days on the phone, or writing notes, ministering to those of us who live alone.

  • We all know the one who ministers and cares for God’s creatures; loving them and the environment as if they were Christ himself. Another was a Riverkeeper.

  • The ministries of Tai Chi and Yoga unite body, mind, and spirit, a practice Jesus and the Episcopal Church promote. Think of all the up and down, and of Anglican worship, and how our worship engages every sense.

  • Speaking of mind and body, we are grateful for those who take advantage of our 12 step groups and for those who promote them. Again, these are life saving and life giving ministries.

  • During this strange time many of you are ministering to your own spouse just as Christ does as a bridegroom to the Church --- another gift of self-sacrifice.

  • Throughout this time of political, medical, and social upheaval, parishioners, with the Vestry’s approval, chose to hang up our creedal statement on the side of the church, reminding us, and the town, who we called to be. You can’t walk by there without doing some self-examination.

  • Our radical hospitality has welcomed visitors to participate in our outdoor services without being afraid of contracting the virus.

  • Taking Christ’s commitment to self-offering, some are running for public office here in town.

  • There are those of you who walk every day, weather permitting, greeting friends and strangers on your way. Truly a Christ-like behavior.

  • Thousands of masks have been made and distributed by members of the church and others in town.

  • We have a group of artists who proclaim the Gospel through their art, music, and other forms of creativity. Think of our logo, our fountain, and our music programs.

  • There are groups of men who meet regularly (socially distanced of course) and groups of women as well who discuss our history, current events, and racial reconciliation. Sometimes we just shoot the breeze --- an important ministry of communion.

  • There are members who provide haircuts and nail services. Thank God for you who are keeping us “presentable.”

  • The Gospel of Trinity cannot forget those who were or are involved in education and library services. From teachers and librarians to college presidents, furthering the education of our neighbors far and near, the edification of God’s people is truly a calling and a necessary ministry. Let us not forget the ministry of providing scholarships and computers for those headed to college.

  • And let us not forget those who work behind the scenes here at Trinity who govern the church, set the altar, gather the flowers, prepare everything for worship; those who clean the buildings and, of course, our Parish Administrator.

I know I have missed the majority of your ministries and Trinity’s and this list only touches the tip of the iceberg; however, since this is getting long, I’ll conclude with one last important ministry. All of you, whether our videographer, or our part-time and full-time residents, worship at the Lord’s Table and then carry the message of Christ’s life, death and resurrection from our worship services to the wider world.

It would be nice to codify this Gospel of Trinity just as thoroughly as Trinity’s history has been documented. Today, in the midst of a truly insane year, in the life of this town and this country, lives are changed, hope is given, and comfort is provided through the life and ministry of this congregation.

I implore you all, don’t let our Gospel become a lost or fragmented piece of parchment like Bartholomew’s. Let us not be just another historical marker on the walking tour of Apalachicola; rather, let us continue to be living stones, built upon the chief and cornerstone of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

As I continually state, we are all being called to be conformed more
and more into the likeness of Christ, and as you see, as that happens,
we cannot help but spread the Gospel of Christ and Trinity Church, where ministry happens every day. Stay safe, wash your hands, wear a mask,
stay socially distant but not isolated, read your Bible, and continue
to grow into who Christ is calling you and Trinity to be.
I am your Servant and Christ’s
Notes From Your Rector

Monday School
Monday School may begin again after October 1. During a meeting with the Bishop and other clergy, we thought it best to wait a month after schools reopen to review when, and if, groups should regather. While we can have groups of ten or fewer meet in Benedict Hall, with windows and doors open, I am waiting to follow Episcopal advice.

Original Church Silver Service
I could not find the original silver from 1840 until I spoke with a parishioner who happened to be keeping it safe at her home. We are now in the process of getting it cleaned, polished, and returned into service. I will keep you posted. One piece which we are using needs to have the inside of the chalice repaired and the Altar Guild will be seeing that this is done. I am anxious to read the inscription of this original silver which was supposedly buried in the ground to protect it from being removed by Union soldiers during Apalachicola’s occupation during the Civil War.

Postcards from the Rector
Throughout this pandemic I’ve been writing postcards to many of you reminding you that although you may not be participating during in-person worship, you are still a vital member of the congregation and that I am praying for you. I also thank those of you who are continuing to keep up your pledge.

I need to let you know that I have stopped writing most things by hand because, with my chronic pain and mining injury, my dominant hand does not permit me to write legibly for more than a few sentences a day. At times I cannot hold a coffee cup or a pen. I have now started typing them, signing them, and addressing them by hand; however, the messages may be typed so that you will be able to read them. Do not think that the typed message is less meaningful than a handwritten one. I just can no longer write longhand without winding up in agony. I ask your prayers and understanding.
Readings for August 23, 2020, the Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost
Readings for August 30, 2020, the Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost

Vestry Conducts Church Business
at August Meeting

The Vestry met on August 10, at which time the Audit report due to the Diocese was approved and submitted. This report included the insured values of our buildings. There was some discussion about the valuation of our buildings and coverages included in our policies; this will be reviewed soon by the Vestry.

The painting of the Church has been postponed to October 1. Fortunately, we are not using the building right now, but there was concern that this be the final delay.

The Penny's Worth grounds have been cleaned up and minor repairs to Benedict Hall have been completed.

Landy Luther brought up the success of the Outback Study Group whose members are currently reading and studying "God and the Pandemic". He is going to share their success in the Bay View.

Senior Warden Lee Bettis presented a letter from Ralph Wagoner suggesting that all Committee leaders meet regarding development of a three to five-year plan for Trinity (see article below). The Vestry had no issue with this request.

-- Denise Butler, Clerk
Trinity's outdoor services continue
to provide a meaningful & joyful worship experience.
Now is a Good Time for Dreaming
and Imagining Trinity's Future
The Finance Committee, with the approval of the Vestry, has been charged with the task of assessing Trinity’s dreams, aspirations, issues, and goals as they relate to financial planning over the next three-to-five years. This time to envision our future is similar to the planning process we undertook in the summer and fall of 2017. Many positive outcomes have resulted from that effort and it is time to take stock and look to the future.

To that end, the Committee Chairs, in conjunction with committee members, will be asked to provide their thoughts/vision with the end goal being the development of a plan which will encompass the next 3-5 years:

  • What do we, the Trinity congregation, wish to accomplish and/or initiate over the next three-to-five years? 

  • What will it take to accomplish and maintain these wishes, goals or plans?

Planning materials will be distributed to Committee Chairs in mid-September. In addition, the Finance Committee will review the data collected in the Parish Profile created in the Fall of 2018 and the Congregational Vitality Survey administered in February of 2020.

Some might maintain that, given the current pandemic, this is not the best time to initiate such a “visioning” process. Our response = why not now? While social distancing is the rule, it is still possible for the Chairs of the various committees to communicate with their members by meeting and “social distancing”, email, Facebook, phone, etc. Now is a good time for dreaming, imagining, and contemplating Trinity’s future as it relates to our dreams and subsequently providing the necessary resources to accomplish those dreams.

To God be the Glory!
-- Ralph for the Finance Committee
Keep in Touch with your Trinity Family
Your Trinity Member Church Directory is at your fingertips! You can access the Directory via an app on your phone or tablet; or you can access it online, on your computer. And, the best part is, that whenever you use these access points, you will be tapping into the most up-to-date version.

In addition, an updated version, in .pdf format, will periodically be made available through the Bay View for you to save on your computer, or to print. Plus, the office will always have a few printed copies for your convenience; just call Shannon at 850-653-9550 or email info@trinityapalachicola.org.

To set up instant directory access: click on the instructions (below) that apply to your device (IOS/Apple, Android, or Computer) and follow the directions. You'll need to download the appropriate app, use your email address that is in the directory, and set a simple password. Then, you're in business.

And here is the best part -- once you access the directory via your app,
you can look up someone and tap the phone number or email
address to make a call, or send a message.

If you have questions, please call or
text Kay at 617-388-8598, or email her at kaycarson@outlook.com.
Trinity Parishioners Perform at
Farmers Market
Carol Harris & Randy Mims entertained shoppers at a recent Farmers Market in Apalachicola.

Visit the Market at the Millpond Pavilion on the 2nd & 4th Saturdays of each month,
9 am - 1 pm.
Services at 5 pm Saturday & 10 am Sunday, Eastern time

Church address: 79 6th Street, Apalachicola, Florida 32320
Office address: 76 5th Street, Apalachicola, Florida 32320
Mailing address: PO Box 667, Apalachicola, Florida 32329

Phone number: (850) 653-9550