August 2013 Why is it that we like to complain? There’s probably something in our DNA or our social structure that has made it that way, but it seems like an odd trait to have. With all of the rain that we’ve been getting over the past several weeks, almost daily, I hear someone, often unhappily, comment on the fact that it’s raining again. For the first time in three years, North Carolina is not in a state drought. But when we were, that was our favorite summertime complaint- the drought conditions. I am reminded of part of the Second Song of Isaiah: For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return there until they have watered the earth, making it ROBERT BLACK bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the ASSISTANT RECTOR eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and succeed in the thing for which I sent it. –Isaiah 55:10-11 It seems that rain and drought are both things that we seem to complain about. But we often forget to give thanks when we are showered with the gift of life, which rain so often is. But as this Song suggests, the rain, like the word of God, has a purpose. The rain has made our gardens lush, our yards green, and temperatures milder. So let us remember to give thanks for God’s graciousness that rains down upon us. Sometimes though, it’s tough to see the soggy and muddy grass or the postponed outdoor activities as a blessing. And the same can be true for the word of God. We often lament when courts don’t give out justice, when Congress fails to protect the “least of these,” or when we get passed over for a job promotion because we took the “higher road” instead of the easy one. Sometimes it seems as if we are in the midst of a drought of God’s justice and word. It can seem that the word does seem to be returning to God empty. So when the rain of God’s word does fall, let us not put it to waste. Let’s make sure we have gardens ready to be watered and rain barrels ready to catch the grace. Summer is quickly coming to a close, so it would be a good time to examine what sort of ministries we’re getting ready to ramp up in the fall. Are they full of fertile soil and good seed, just waiting for the rain of God to start their growth? May God bless you with the gift of life-giving water and the grace to put it to good use. Blessings,
The Rev. Robert Black
O N F I R M AT I O N
As you recall, we did not have any youth confirmed this past church year as we were evaluating our process and discerning how best to move forward with Confirmation. After much prayerful consideration and evaluation, we have come up with a program that we believe will be an asset to the parish and a truly formational experience for the youth. The Book of Common Prayer defines the rite of Confirmation as "a mature public affirmation of faith and commitment to the responsibilities of Baptism." Confirmation signifies the passage into adulthood within the Church, and we want our confirmands to be able to make adult decisions about their faith and their involvement in their parish.
AMANDA HARMON DIRECTOR OF CHILDREN'S AND YOUTH MINISTRY
Taking this as our foundation, we are excited to debut a new Confirmation class beginning this fall. The class will be open to any person in at least the 9th grade. We will be using the "Confirm not Conform" curriculum, which emphasizes the need and right of youth to forge their own faith identity. This curriculum will include 16 sessions, and a retreat. We will begin on October 13th, and we will meet in the Library from noonâ€”1:30pm each Sunday. Lunch will be provided, and parents will be asked to pay $75 for the cost of lunch for the year. We will not meet as regularly scheduled on Parish Hall Eucharist Sundays (first Sunday of each month), but will instead use those Sundays as make-up days for those who have missed sessions. Traditionally, our Confirmation class has included a retreat. While the details of this year's retreat are not yet settled, parents can anticipate a retreat either the last weekend of March or the first weekend in April. I look forward to this new and exciting Confirmation program, and will be happy to answer any questions. Full details, including a detailed schedule and an outline of norms, expectations, and goals will be further discussed at the October 13th session, where parents are asked to attend with their youth. If you would like to sign up a youth for the Confirmation class, please email me at email@example.com or call me at the church office at 336-288-4721, ext.13. Blessings, Amanda Harmon 2
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In November of 2011, I sat down with Fr. Robert and shared something I had never said out loud before: that I felt a calling to the priesthood. It was a remarkable moment. I knew somehow that if I said “yes” to the possibility, I was stepping into a wild current, swelled with hope, that would carry my life in ways I couldn’t predict. The Episcopal Church sets out a formal process of discernment for those seeking ordination, and I’m now in the midst of it. Last September, I joined a group of parishioners at St. Francis to consider my past, my present, and my sense of the life and ministry God is drawing me toward. The whole of the process is rooted in the understanding that discerning God’s hopes and intentions for us as individuals is the prayerful work of community. I’m deeply grateful to those who have walked with me this far. The next step for me is internship. That means withdrawing, for a time, from life at St. Francis to immerse myself in a different place and community. St Mary’s House, where I’ve been placed to serve, is home to both the Episcopal campus ministry at UNC-Greensboro and a small congregation that has welcomed me warmly. I’m invited there to experience broadly - so I’ll be assisting with worship, preaching now and again, imagining ways to reach the community of youngadults in the neighborhood, and remembering to charge the weed-eater batteries. There is much still to be said, and considered, and experienced, but if I and the Church continue to discern priesthood to be my vocation, I will begin three years of seminary studies next fall. I’m not thinking about that all that much now, though. This whole process is about being open to possibility, open to following; my task, no different from anyone’s, is to be prayerfully awake. St. Francis Church has been a place that enabled me to act into a wondering that hovered over most of my life. You’ve made it feel possible to present myself just as I am, and honored that with honesty and support. Thank you, and I ask your prayers for me, for my family, and for those who will share in the decisions to come.
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The Youth Group had a wonderful time on our shortened Mission Trip! We made cookies, cards, and posters for the residents at Beacon Place, weeded and harvested vegetables for the hungry at Servant Garden, and served meals to the homeless at the Interactive Resource Center. We also journeyed to the Episcopal Farmworker Ministry, where we sorted through some of the clothes St. Francis has donated to this important cause. We were able to take some of these clothes, along with donated hats and children's books, to the farm camps to give to the farmworkers. This was truly an eye -opening and powerful experience, to bear witness to the conditions in which these workers live. Our youth left these camps with a passion for justice, and a Spirit-led calling to do more for the farmworkers in North Carolina, and we look forward to discovering how we can further serve them in the future. Lastly, the youth would like to thank all of the parishioners at St. (Continued on page 5)
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Francis who donated to our Clothes Drive! Because of this Franciscan generosity, we were able to give well over 400 shirts, 350 pairs of pants, as well as shoes, socks, belts, etc. to the Episcopal Farmworker Ministry. THANK YOU!
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Little Franciscan Summer Camp 2013 Summer camps are coming to a close. This week tops off the ever popular Pirates and Princesses camp. Aarrgh! The children have enjoyed a summer full of activities such as blasting off to space, exploring under the sea, planting in our garden, learning how to stay fit and healthy and last but not least searching for pirate treasure. Below: Ahoy mate! The mother ship has set sail in search of
Above: Thomas is ready to sail the high seas this week at Pirates and Princesses camp.
C H OO L
Above: Children painting fruit in Get Fit and Grow camp.
Above: The kids of Get Fit and Grow camp participate in a Jump Bunch class. They have fun dancing, playing games and exercising. Left: Maye, granddaughter of Mary and Bob Plybon, enjoying a snack at Get Fit and Grow camp.
Above: Karina making fruit kebabs in Get Fit and Grow camp. Left: Rachel tries to jump rope. 7
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BIBLE CHALLENGE FORUM If you're partaking in the Bible Challenge (or would enjoy the conversation), we will be holding an informal forum to discuss what we've been reading and ask questions on Sunday, August 4, from 9-9:45 in the Library. If you have any specific questions that you'd like to have addressed, please email Robert at firstname.lastname@example.org ahead of time.
JOIN US FOR A GRASSHOPPERS GAME! Please join us for fun and fellowship on Sunday, August 18th at 4pm at a Greensboro Grasshoppers game. The last day to purchase ticket is this Sunday, August 4th so get yours today! Tickets are $8 each and include a premium, shaded seat behind home plate! Checks (preferable to cash) can be made out to Greensboro Baseball LLC. Contact Andrea Pollina at 6435629 or email@example.com with any questions or to purchase tickets. And don't forget that you can get to the park early on August 18th and enjoy a pregame catch on the field from 3:00pm - 3:30pm! Stick around for the kids to run the bases postgame!
SUMMER PARISH HALL EUCHARIST On Sunday, August 25th we are having one of our special Summer Parish Hall Eucharist services at 10:00am. We will NOT have services in the Nave except for the 8:00 am service and we also will not have Children's Chapel this Sunday. This will give the Choir and Children's Chapel volunteers a well deserved break, and spice up our summer. The first Parish Hall Eucharist this fall at 9:15am will be on October 6th. Special thanks to members of the band who have volunteered to make this happen.
LEMONADE ON THE LAWN Please join the Fellowship Committee for 'Lemonade on the Lawn' after every 10:00am Sunday service this Summer in the Courtyard. Come enjoy an ice cold Lemonade and socialize with your fellow Franciscans! 8
T R E A S U R E R â€™ S Q U A RT E R LY R E P O RT The following is a brief summary of the second quarter and Year to Date financial reports for St. Francis Episcopal Church: JUNE ACTUAL
The month of June was a very good month as we received $55,511 in revenues and expenses were $42,195, leaving a very nice positive margin of over $13,000. The YTD actual for the first 6 months of the year was also good, with a net margin of a negative ($16,113), compared to the YTD budgeted margin of nearly a negative ($40,000), giving us a positive variance of over $23,000. Especially good news is that expenses were well below budget by over $21,000 through the first 6 months of the year. We hope that we will continue to spend below our budget for the remainder of the year. Please note that a comparison of YTD actual with the annual budget is difficult, especially for revenues, as revenues are budgeted to anticipate greater revenues in the last half of the year. The Day School financial report showed a positive net margin of over $1,900. They had revenues of $185,000 and expenses of about $183,000 They ended up the school year with about 79 students and had a successful 5 weeks of summer camps. They had a very good year!! Thank you Rae and the entire staff! A preliminary budget has been completed and approved for the 20132014 Day School year. A final budget for this coming year will be completed in September when we have a better idea of how many students we will have registered. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or concerns (firstname.lastname@example.org). Dennis
V E S T RY N O M I N AT I N G C O M M I T T E E Our Vestry Nominating Committee has been formed for this year. Committee members include: Ross Cox, Jane Darnell, Chris Relos, Martha Shafer, Robert McDowell, and Jim Tanner. Please communicate your willingness to serve on the Vestry 9 to a member of the Committee by Sunday, September 1st. Thank you for your consideration.
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What are Pocket Gardens? Well, they are small areas where there are signs or areas that we want to beautify and have people notice. For instance there is a sign with a map of the St Francis campus that a kind Boy Scout erected for us as his Eagle project. Rather than the bare dirt and stray weeds surrounding it, we have designated it as a "Pocket Garden" and you may have noticed some pretty flowers planted there by Anita Lindsey who will take care of that little area in each season. The Mary Magdalenes take responsibility for the gardens at the front door of the church. There are several others which have not been assigned such as the sign for the Day School and offices. Up to now the grounds committee has tried to keep these and several others in good condition, but our time is limited and we have so many other tasks, like pruning, weeding, etc. that we could use some help. You will see a map on the bulletin board outside the church on the walkway, which shows where the Pocket Gardens are located and the ones for which I do not yet have volunteers. These plots are small and shouldn't take more than a few minutes to plant or weed or water when necessary, but their impact is large and provide a welcome to our parishioners and visitors. Please check the list and let me know if you can assist us with one of these little gardens. Thank you, Brenda Hartsell Phone 644-9333 or email- email@example.com, or the Church office 288-4721 or firstname.lastname@example.org
HA P T ER S
BAPTISMS: Kaelyn Olivia Simmons Julia Rose Farney WEDDINGS: Kathleen Cruze and James Woody
IV E S
DEATHS: Ruth Holland, mother of Jane Stubbs Hugh Harrison Hayes, Jr., father of Marcus Hayes The Rev. Raby Edwards, uncle of Mary Plybon Lib Boone, parishioner 10
J OIN THE R OUSTABOUTS ! ! A few years ago when the economy took a headlong dive, the St. Francis property committee looked at the church budget to see what we were spending to keep our grounds in good condition. We were paying about $11,000 per year for more or less basic mow, blow, and go services. At that time some of us decided that we could do a lot of this work ourselves so the we didn't renew the contract for the grounds keeper and the Roustabouts were reborn. On Wednesdays a small group of St. Francis parishioners volunteer to do things on our campus that we would otherwise have to pay for. Besides the mowing and general upkeep of the grounds, we have painted Day School classrooms, changed and or installed lighting, fixed leaky plumbing and water heaters, as well as refinished cabinets and installed new equipment in the kitchen, just to mention a few things. We are blessed to have people who are skilled in these things as well as those who help with the "grunt" work. We will welcome any help from anyone who would like to join us, ladies included, on Wednesday mornings and other scheduled work days. Right now, especially since Mike Taylor has left and we don't have a new facilities manager, we are picking up on a few more tasks. There is so much satisfaction in giving one's time and energy to keep the grounds and the House of the Lord in good condition as we honor Him with our worship. We welcomed Bridgett Maxwell as our newest Roustabout a few weeks ago. Come join us!! If you are interested, please contact: Paul Crowell at 638-2944 or Philip Weathersbee at 681-4375.
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July 2013 1. 2. 3.
The vestry appointed the following diocesan convention delegates: Cathy and Bill Sternberg, Emily Ragsdale, Kitty Baker and Claudia Reich, with Martha Shafer as alternate. An anonymous gift of tree evaluation and required services was accepted. A comprehensive property assessment will by conducted by a consultant to evaluate the condition and needs of the entire campus. 11
Y OUTH GROUP On SATURDAY, August 17th, a group of youth (Rising 7th to 12th Graders) will go to CAROWINDS for the day! This is a great time to get involved with the Youth Group. If you are interested in going, please let Amanda know by August 7th!!! The cost will be $50, and this will include both the admission price and lunch at the park. Please make your checks out to St. Francis EYC, and have that turned in by August 7th as well. (There is financial assistance available if needed.) We will meet at St. Mike's at 8am on the 17th to head to Carowinds. We plan on returning to St. Mike's by 8pm. **PARENTS: If you are interested in going as a chaperone, please let Amanda know as well.
FELLOWSHIP COMMITTEE Our newly formed fellowship committee is working to create more opportunities for us to spend time as a community, while enjoying a variety of social activities. If you have any ideas or suggestions on events, outings or opportunities for fellowship, please contact email@example.com
T H E C O N S E C R AT I O N O F T H E R T. R EV. A NNE HODGES-C OPPLE On the morning of June 15, 2013, the Diocese of North Carolina ordained the Rt. Rev. Anne Elliott Hodges-Copple as its sixth Bishop Suffragan and the first female bishop in Province IV. Over 1,400 people attended or participated in the service, held in the historic Duke Chapel on the campus of Duke University in Durham. Formerly the rector of St. Luke’s, Durham, Bishop Hodges-Copple was elected at the 197th Annual Convention out of a field of five candidates on January 25, 2013. Bishop Anne with her family as the people of In her new role, Bishop Hodges-Copple will the Diocese greet their new bishop. assist Bishop Curry in leading the Diocese into Galilee by focusing especially on ministry in higher education, young adult ministry, ministry among Spanish-speaking communities, the ordination process for the diaconate, companion diocese relationships with Costa Rica and Botswana, ecumenical and interfaith work and pastoral care of retired clergy and their spouses. Formerly the rector of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Durham, Bishop Hodges-Copple also previously served as the Episcopal chaplain at Duke University; the assistant to the rector at St. Luke’s; the director of battered women’s shelters in Wake, Orange, and Durham counties; and a community organizer in Massachusetts and Kentucky. Bishop Hodges-Copple’s consecration featured many important symbols of her office. Her brightly colored vestments, for example, feature images of water, grain, grapes and wind and serve as expressions of our sacramental life. The handmade walnut crosier she received belonged to the Rt. Rev. Huntington Williams, Jr, Bishop Suffragan of North Carolina, 1985-1989, and is a gift from Bishop Williams’ family. Duke Chapel also holds special significance for Bishop Hodhes-Copple. She attended Duke University as an undergraduate and sang in the chapel choir. She later served as the Episcopal chaplain at Duke from 1992 until 2005. Franciscans in attendance at the Consecration included Kitty Baker, Sam Doyle, Amanda Harmon, Dan and Ginger Jones, and the Rev. Robert Black. 13
B OOK R EVIEW Dear Franciscans, I recently read this review of a new book in Christian Century and thought that you might appreciate the review, or may have interest in the book. Blessings, Robert+ ————————————————————————Francis of Assisi, by Augustine Thompson Jun 26, 2013 reviewed by James C. Howell When we think of the hagiography of Francis of Assisi, Qohelet’s wry musing comes to mind: “Of making many books there is no end.” Not long after Francis died, aspirations, fantasies, power plays and all kinds of spiritualities began to attach themselves to his life. No greater flattery can be imagined than this, and yet the very allure of the saint’s story frustrates our modern impulse to know the real Francis. The average Christian would rank him as the best-known, most important Christian of the entire Middle Ages, and yet scholarly works on things medieval barely give him a mention. Now we’re getting some help. Critical editions of Francis’s few writings and of the earliest biographies of him have appeared, and level-headed reconstructions of his life are being published. At the top of my list is this volume by Augustine Thompson, who has also published works on Thomism, the Roman emperor Gratian and the culture of medieval Italian communes. He is a Dominican—a member of the Franciscans’ rival order—but no piety bleeds into his work. Thompson’s portrayal of Francis is intriguing and inspirational, but without the customary fluff and ideology. The author is gentle when debunking pop images of Francis, like the silliness of the biopicBrother Sun, Sister Moon and the idea that Francis wrote “Lord, make me an instrument of your peace” and said “Preach at all times; use words if necessary.” I might quibble with some of Thompson’s conclusions, but the net effect is informative and even lovely. Thompson displays occasional eloquence and his narrative is constantly clear, unencumbered by scholarly jargon. The structure of the book is exemplary, a model of communication from a scholar to a broad, nonacademic audience. The first 141 pages tell the reconstructed story of Francis’s life. Then Thompson graces us with 130 pages of the scholarly rationale for the story, presented in paragraph-length accounts of debates over whether a source is reliable and explanations for why Thompson drew this or that conclusion, with references for further exploration. Even here he doesn’t get bogged down in minutiae, and he doesn’t strive to impress with an overload of bibliographical citations. 14
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Thompson knows the lay of the land in Italy, including the buildings of Francis’s time, some of which are still standing. He reveals that Francis didn’t appear out of nowhere; he lived in a familiar though remarkable way, given medieval piety and the cultural movements of his day. And yet we do get glimpses into the humble brilliance and sheer magnetism that enabled a single person to start a movement that altered European culture. But to say Francis started a movement suggests that he was a clever strategist who unfurled a plan we might follow ourselves to reform today’s church. Far from it. Thompson argues that Francis “seemed to have none of the qualities usually found in a leader, religious or otherwise. He seemed positively averse to the responsibilities that his movement’s success forced upon him.” He refused to assume a position of authority in his own new order; instead, laser-like, he focused on each individual person he encountered, whether a new friar or a wretched leper. Almost allergic to structure, Francis jotted down some loose rules only under duress. His call to leave the world “was so intense, so personal, that he never could explain it fully, much less sketch out a program to make it practical or concrete.” His expanding projects were undertaken more out of a sense of obedience to the pope than out of personal conviction that it was the right thing to do. Francis founded his movement in spite of himself. Whether the brotherhood should grow or not seems never to have crossed his mind . . . One senses that Francis cared little about success or failure. Ironically, this lack of intentionality might be the hope of the church—something Elaine Heath, in her compelling The Mystic Way of Evangelism, helps us understand. In the face of structural tinkering and aggressive plotting for how to be a better-run machine, Heath suggests that the church finds itself in a “dark night of the soul” and in “the kind of trouble that requires leadership from those who are holy.” Institutions will be timid about embracing such a risky angle, but holiness has stood the test of time, and it is, after all, what Jesus came to create in us and among us. Francis was holy and bereft of slick leadership ability, yet we are still talking about him and his movement and writing new biographies about him eight centuries later. If anything resembling this plan is part of Thompson’s agenda, he does not tip his hand. The highest form of biography may be one that inspires simple awe, a gawking admiration for a life beautifully or quirkily lived. Thompson gets in the vicinity. My favorite on this score will forever be G. K. Chesterton’s little book about Francis, not because Chesterton was an incisive reader of medieval texts but because of his felicity of expression. Chesterton wrote with a cheeky, pithy cleverness that was entirely fitting to the puckish, playful manner of life that was the secret of Francis’s appeal. Not pretending to have the story right historically, Chesterton got to the core of why Francis’s life was such a delight. Thompson’s stellar engagement with the “real” Francis doesn’t dampen that delight at all, and it 15 provides a substantial foundation in reality for our inner hankerings to follow Francis.
F R A N C I S E P I S C O PA L C H U R C H A Parish of the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina The Rt. Rev. Michael B. Curry, Bishop The Rt. Rev. Ann Hodges-Copple, Bishop Suffragan The Rt. Rev. Albert (Chip) Marble, Assisting Bishop P ARISH S TAFF
The Rev. Michael Moulden, Rector The Rev. Robert Black, Assistant Rector Amanda Harmon, Director of Children's and Youth Ministry Rae Augustin, Day School Director Sam Doyle, Choir Director Pat Copley, Organist
Jane Woody, Junior Choir Director Linda Allgood, Parish Administrator Bonnie Thyer, Communications Coordinator Linda Lambe, Bookkeeper Rigoberto Bautista, Custodian
On the web at: www.stfrancisgreensboro.org Phone 336-288-4721 Fax 336-288-4760 St. Francis Day School 336-288-4740
ST. FRANCIS EPISCOPAL 3506 Lawndale Drive Greensboro, NC 27408