Governing the Church

by the Rev. Ray Hess

Governing the Church does not sound very exciting. This involves doing our finances, running meetings, making reports, overseeing our buildings and grounds, making goals and monitoring how we are doing in accomplishing them. Some people are called to this kind of work as their main ministry and love doing these things. Many others would just as soon avoid this kind of governance work.

Yet this church governance is essential to our congregation. The purpose of all church organization is to help us participate in the ministry and mission of Jesus. Without church governance, we would not be effective in our mission. This is kind of similar to our homes and families. If we don’t pay our bills and keep up our houses, our family life does not go well, no matter how loving we are in the other aspects of our lives. Likewise, if our parish does not pay our bills, maintain our building, and follow our goals, we will not do Jesus’ ministry very well.

This month, we have two events in our parish which relate to our church governance. On Sunday January 21, Bishop Beisner will visit our congregation at both the 9 and 10:30 a.m. services. Among his other responsibilities, our bishop is involved in the governance of our diocese and the governance of the Episcopal Church. It will be important to be present at worship on January 21 to hear our bishop preach and to share in the Eucharist with him. This visit will be especially meaningful because Bishop Beisner is retiring in 2019; this will very likely be his last visit with us at St. George’s.

On Sunday January 28, we will have one worship service at 10 a.m., followed by our Annual Meeting and brunch. At the Annual Meeting, we will elect three vestry members and three delegates to our Diocesan Convention. Our vestry members are responsible for the governance of our parish. Our diocesan delegates elected in 2018 will have the extra responsibility of voting in early 2019 to elect a new bishop for our diocese. Please be sure to attend the worship service and meeting on January 28!

As we enter the new year, pray that our parish will govern our affairs well, to the service of Jesus Christ and his mission in the world. I wish us all a joyful and blessed new year!

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Our Stories

by the Rev. Bob Olsen

Several years ago, I started writing my autobiography, after my dad passed away, I realized that there were many questions that I’d wished I’d asked him and decided to tell my story for my sons. If you are already wondering how this ties into Advent, it is a time of reflection and anticipation.  The last 45-50 years of my story is as a working adult.  As I reflected on my work life realized I learned a lot from the people I worked for and with. In some cases good examples and other not so good. But folks who would form me.

While most of the lessons in dealing with people came at work, they were applicable to all personal interactions.  Probably the biggest one is that everyone has a back story, and knowing it would explain why people do and say the things they do. Doing things or saying things that you might find rude or obnoxious, by knowing the backstory you realize it isn’t the individual’s intention, and in most cases, they aren’t even aware how their actions are perceived by other. I remember one fellow I worked with who didn’t do small talk, not even saying or responding to good morning. I learned that shortly before I met him, he had gone through cancer treatment. He was at most in his mid-thirties, at a time when most of us think we will live forever, he learned it isn’t necessarily so. As such he came to feel he didn’t have time for small stuff. While he was in treatment he had also found himself, by default, answering “fine” when asked “how are you?” Realizing that was dumb, he just quite engaging in small talk or what most of us would consider polite conversation before getting down to business. I don’t know if he ever went back to answering how are you or good morning (the day/week after chemo or radiation, is never a good morning). But knowing his history, made it easier for me to work with him and in turn I believe it was easier for him to work with me.

As I write this on a Sunday afternoon, I am remembering in Fr Ray’s sermon, him telling us that the Gospels and lessons are becoming more anticipated as we move from late Pentecost and into Advent. We are not just anticipating Jesus birth, which we will celebrate on Christmas Eve, but his return at the end of the age. The question for each of us to reflect on during Advent is “will we be ready?” Part of being ready is living lives that reflect that the Kingdom is here and now. As you take time to reflect this Advent Season, I would ask you to think about your story – and those whose example has helped you along the way. Especially, those who you may have initially thought of as examples of what not to do, but with time, reflection and learning their stories you realize they were doing the best they could. As I’ve been working on my “story” I believe I’ve done my best each day. However, I have also come realize that on many days the bar for “my best” was set pretty low.

Poinsettias for Christmas

Untitled-4Poinsettias for Christmas

$15 — includes all Christmas Decorations—Altar arrangements—Christmas tree—Swags —Candles—Wreaths, etc.
All gifts are gratefully received by our Altar Guild.

The names of the honorees and donors will be listed in the bulletins on Christmas Day and the Sunday following. To be listed, donations must be received by the 3rd Sunday of Advent (December 17th ).

christmas-flowers

Living more in the Reason for the Season

by Sandra Crenshaw

I cannot believe that we are already entering the season of Advent. It seems like summer just ended and here we are getting ready for Christmas. In fact, as I am writing this I already feel the pressure to decorate for Christmas and I haven’t even recovered from Thanksgiving yet!

The four weeks leading up to Christmas can indeed be a time of anxiety, pressure, and stress for many of us. We need to decorate, shop, bake, gift wrap, entertain, while worrying about staying within our budgets or figure out how to pay the bills when January and February arrive. How can we do it all and still maintain a cheerful holiday spirit?

As I was contemplating how to reduce my stress and live more in the “reason for the season,” I thought it would be nice to participate in the Morning Prayers led by Mel Rose throughout the holidays. Unfortunately, I’m not retired yet and must be at work instead. But thank you, Mel, for offering this wonderful gift to our parishioners. On All Saint’s Sunday, Reverend Anne McKeever handed out the, Living Well Through Advent 2017, a Living Compass seasonal publication which I intend on reading daily through Advent. She left a few on the counter in the back of the church if you haven’t picked one up yet. Lastly, as I was researching more Advent resources, I came across a wonderful website which focuses on St. Ignatius of Loyola’s spiritual practices. St. Ignatius of Loyola is best known as the person who founded the Jesuits and whose spiritual insights gave birth to Ignation spirituality and the Spiritual Exercises. Lesser known is the fact that a cannonball wound he received while in the military is actually what led to his conversion experience. Without his conversion there would be no Jesuits or Ignation spirituality. The website has an Arts and Faith: Advent program where you can enjoy a video commentary about works of art inspired by the Sunday Scriptures of Advent. These videos are intended to help us take a new look at this season of preparation through the lens of sacred art. Many of you artists in our congregation might really enjoy this. Accompanying the videos are reflections on using the art as a means of Ignation prayer. I already feel calmer knowing these resources are available to keep me grounded during Advent. I hope you enjoy them too.

One last, but important announcement: We would like to have a Christmas Pageant at our Christmas Eve Service and are in need of volunteers. If you plan on bringing your grandchildren to this Service, please ask them if they would be interested in participating. If so, please contact Lani Hahn.

Christmas Services

Angel star

Christmas Eve Morning

Sunday December 24 at 10 a.m.

Morning Prayer

advent-candles11Christmas Eve

Sunday, December 24th at 7 p.m

Eucharist with pageant

rejoice in bethlehem

Christmas Morning

Monday December 25th at 9 a.m.

Morning Prayer

 

1st Sunday of Christmas

Sunday December 31st at 10 a.m.

Lessons and Carols

The “Peace” of Advent

by the Rev. Ray Hess

I wish everyone a peaceful, reflective Advent Season. Good luck with that! Advent is supposed to be a time of quiet reflection and meditation as we prepare for the feast of Christmas. The world around us pays no attention to this, with the Christmas Season starting around Halloween. Deb and I have been watching Christmas movies on T.V. for weeks now!

My best sense of how to deal with this is that we run our lives on two tracks during the Advent Season. One track is keeping up with the Christmas Season going on all around us – with the buying of gifts, decoration our homes, going to Christmas parties, etc. There is nothing wrong with all of this, and it can be fun. The other track is the quiet reflective one of the church Advent Season. If we are purposeful about it, we can squeeze this in among all the other activities of the season. Our Sunday worship in Advent has this quiet, meditative quality.

I encourage us all to carve out times for reflection during the Advent Season. You might do this by taking a walk, or listening to music, or spending quality time with friends and family. Our reflection can be about the incarnation, the mystery of God’s coming among us through the life and ministry of Jesus. This is an amazing, wonderful reality – that God has chosen to live with us in a human life.

I hope that all of us will have good times in our shopping and celebrating the season, and that we will find ways to be thoughtful and reflective about the incarnation of God’s love for us through the birth and ministry of Jesus.

Our Blessing of the Animals

by Vicki Karsten

The annual Blessing of the Animals was held at St. George’s on Sunday, October 15 th in remembrance of St. Francis of Assisi’s love for all creatures. People of St. George’s, friends and neighbors brought the furry members of their family for this special, outdoor service. Dogs of all shapes and sizes were present along with a number of cats. Those who were not able to bring beloved pets brought photos to be blessed.

Leading the service were Reverend Raymond Hess and Deacon Bob Olson. We enjoyed singing hymns to accordion music played by our Music Director Tess Testeza. It was a
beautiful ceremony on a peaceful, early fall day and a wonderful way to celebrate the Blessing of the Animals.