Announcements for the Week of January 17, 2016

Upcoming Congregational Activities

January 21-22: Trinity Institute: Sacred Conversations for Racial Justice –St. Philip’s Columbus: SEE FULL ANNOUNCEMENT BELOW!

Sunday, January 24: 10:30am -Illuminati (CGMC) will provide music

Saturday, January 30th    Speaker Series will feature the Rt. Rev. Thomas Breidenthal, Bishop of the Diocese of Southern Ohio, speaking on “ Manna for Exodus: Reflections on Baptism and Eucharist” . The presentation will include discussion of the Open Table.  We will begin at 12 noon with a light lunch, followed at 1 pm by lecture and discussion.  The event will conclude at 2:30 pm.  The Speaker Series is open to both congregation and the larger community.

Saturday, February 6 Absalom Jones Celebration at St. Philip’s Columbus

Saturday, February 13: 9am-4pm Anti-Racism Training


Listening for a Change: January 21-22

St. Stephen’s is partnering with St. Philip’s Episcopal Church to sponsor the Trinity Institute Jan. 21-23.  The topic for 2016 is Listening For a Change: Sacred Conversations for Racial Justice.

 Trinity Institute flier

Transition News

With the death of my father-in-law, Warren and I find ourselves in a time of personal transition.  Taking care of him required, over the past 4 years, more and more time. Now, as he both lived with us and we were his primary care givers we find ourselves not only mourning his death but also the loss of the care that we provided to him.  This puts us in transition to the “new normal.”  We have been very intentional in some of the things we do, like rearranging the living room so we are not always looking to where he used to sit; or going out to dinner on our anniversary instead of a family event.  We continue to share memories and stories of his life.  But this transition was thrust upon us and we have to figure out how to make it work.

So what does my personal experience have to do with St. Stephen’s transition?  As I reflected this week on what I was going to write, I realized that there are a lot of similarities.  We have also been very intentional in telling our stories and sharing our dreams for the new rector with each other.  Some things have been rearranged since George left –the rector’s office, we have new windows, the organ pipes are being refurbished. From our storytelling, the search committee put together a profile and a job description for the new rector that truly represents who we are.  Also we formed a committee for redesigning and refreshing our web site to better reflect who we are.  The profile is on the web site and I highly recommend everyone read it. Recently we learned that Faith will retire after Easter and that puts us into yet another transition.  Both Cynthia and I will be ending our terms as Senior and Junior Warden in March, so more transitioning is going to happen.

What we have done, to both help with the transition and to be ready for the new rector is form a transition committee.  This committee will serve as the committee to help the new wardens as well as to prepare the congregation to welcome the new rector.  The committee will remain in place for a short while after the new rector arrives to help the new rector.  There will be much more about this committee as time goes on, but this serves as an introduction to how we are going to transition to the new rector.  The committee consists of 3 members of the congregation: Denise Williams, Norm Wernet, and Joe Fowler; the current Senior and Junior Wardens: Cynthia Whitacre and Mike Harbin; and after the new vestry elects the new wardens in March, they will be included in this committee.

~Mike Harbin, Junior Warden


Ponderings of the Interim Rector

Shortly before I left the Diocese of West Virginia to come to St. Stephen’s, a priest of the Diocese, and a good friend, lost his battle with Lou Gherig’s disease.  A second career, bi-vocational priest, Rick was an inspiration to many.  In his first career, as an engineer, he was one of the designers of the emergency pods that helped keep the Chilean miners alive until their rescue from the mine collapse several years ago.  In his second career, he was one of the priests in a ministry team serving five small churches in the New River area and a farmer.  He and his wife built high tunnels and grew fruits and vegetables all year round.  Rick also became very involved in starting a farmers market and working to support people who made their living off the land.  A new pavilion for the farmers market near Fayetteville, WV, bears his name.  Rick was all about feeding body and soul, uplifting folks economically and spiritually.


At the end of the Eucharist each week, he had a favorite blessing with which he sent people out into the world.  Once upon a time, I knew the source of the prayer, but have since forgotten where it came from.  I have not forgotten the blessing.  It goes like this:  “Brothers and sisters, life is short and we haven’t much time to gladden the hearts of those who travel with us.  So be swift to love and make haste to be kind. And the blessing of God Almighty, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, be with you always.  Amen.”   Now, at St. Stephen’s, we would modify it to say, “Gracious God, Creator, Redeemer and Sanctifier”, but you get my drift!   We are called, as the Body of Christ, to use our gifts to build up the kingdom of God on earth.  Love and kindness are the basic building blocks for the kingdom.


As Mike pointed out in his Transition Notes, my time at St. Stephen’s is getting short, but we have a little time left to work together in love and kindness to gladden the hearts of those who come across our path, both within and outside our Sunday morning gatherings.  We have much work to do in the next three months.  The Search Committee has posted the profile and the application form is on our website.  Names will go through the Bishop’s office for initial vetting  (this is for the BIG red flags…to make sure that clergy who apply are not in a confidential process concerning allegations of sexual misconduct or fiduciary misappropriations).  Then, the names gathered over the next few weeks will be given to the Search Committee who will begin their process of reviewing applicant’s information and interviews.  (The Search Chairs say more about this in their article)  My job is to finish up the work of advising the Search Committee on the interview process, and to work with the groups that have formed or re-formed this year to strengthen your ministries in this place—Pastoral Care, Altar Guild, Stewardship, Kitchen Task Force, and so on.  Like my friend Rick, St. Stephen’s is committed to feeding Body and Soul.  In the next few months there will be several opportunities to eat together, to continue our giving to Neighborhood Services food pantry, to engage in conversation about your commitment to Open Table and cultural diversity.  Let us engage in all our work clothed in love and kindness, asking for God’s blessing as you move forward into a new chapter of your life together.




Building News

When you attend church this week, you will see much evidence of progress on the building.  The pipes have been removed from the organ and they are being repaired and voiced back to the original instrument with enhancements and improvements.  Behind the scenes, the ductwork for the air conditioning has started to proceed.  The removal of the deteriorated part of the chimney started this week.  So a flurry of activity has begun.

At the last vestry meeting, the vestry voted to apply for a 15 year loan to begin the repairs of Hobson Hall.  This does not mean we have voted to take out a loan, but only to explore the possibilities of a loan.  When we got the initial allocation from OSU, we divided the money into several buckets.  One was for building repair, another for the future (both endowment and capital reserves), a third bucket for mission and ministry, as well as a bucket for supporting the annual operations (budget).  Annually we allocate the annual payments in a similar manner.  This allows us to do multiple things, because the reality is that to repair and restore our building would consume the entire amount of money and spending the money in that manner would be irresponsible.  Recently the architects gave us detailed drawings and pictures showing among other things a Hobson Hall roof that has large holes in the roof, windows so rusted that the window panes are being held into place by wooden strips, as well as other structural items that need rather immediate attention.  That is what we are considering a loan to do. Application for a loan is required by the bank in order to tell us if we can qualify for a loan through a particular institution.  A subcommittee of the vestry is looking at two sources, a bank loan or a loan through a diocesan building fund.  In the renovations of the 1990’s, a portion of the work was paid for through a loan.

If the vestry does decide to consummate a loan, limiting the loan to 15 years will enable us to have about 8 additional years of OSU monies that are not partially encumbered by loan payments.  As fiduciaries, the vestry has an obligation to God’s Church.  The church is not just the building; but also mission, outreach as well as looking toward the future.  It would be irresponsible to put all of our funds into one bucket, this is one way that we can properly keep all four buckets full.


NSI in January

The Neighborhood Services Inc. collection for January is SOUP



  1. AWAKE will meet, with Beth Barth reading two stories to our children, followed by discussion on how everyone is Loved by God, no matter what.


  1. AWARE meets (teens / youth) will talk on that all important subject, ‘ why some people feel like they are more important than everyone else. ‘ Please come and share your thoughts.


  1. ALIVE starts back up this Sunday, meeting in the chapel fifteen minutes after the 10: 30 worship service (which means you can get a cup of coffee and come and join in ). ALIVE is an informal gathering for all. We especially invite visitors and new people to ask questions about, well, anything. And everyone and anyone is invited if you just want to come and feel some support. ALIVE lasts about 45 minutes. Feel free to come and check us out.


  1. THE Annual AWAKE Trade In Bake Sale starts on Sunday, February 14. It runs for five Sundays ( the first five Sundays of Lent) and it is where people bring in non-food items, like shampoo and paper products, for those in need in our community. We have done this for several years now, and we are continuing the tradition of helping those close to us.


Bishop Breidenthal to speak at St. Stephens: January 30

 bredienthal flier

Vestry and Convention Delegate Nominations

Vestry and Convention Delegate nominations are open throughout the month of January.  There are a four 3 year terms to fill on Vestry as well as 4 diocesan convention delegate spots to fill.   Nomination forms will be in the pews on all January Sundays.  Or, you may nominate a fellow parish member or yourself by sending the name to the parish office or to someone on the nominating committee.  Ballots will be finalized in early February.  Voting will take place on Sundays of February 14, 21, and 28, with the annual meeting taking place on February 28.  Please mark your calendars and plan to attend the meeting.  If you have questions, ask your nominating committee:  Thomas Clark, Michael Harbin, Cynthia Whitacre, and Mignonne Whitlow.


Symposium on Social Justice and Reconciliation: Absalom Jones Celebration

On Saturday February 6, the Diocese of Southern Ohio, the Herbert Thompson Chapter of the Union of Black Episcopalians of the Diocese of Southern Ohio and Christ Church Cathedral will present a second annual Symposium on Social Justice and Reconciliation.  The daylong event will be held at St. Philip’s, Columbus, located at 166 Woodland Ave.


The keynote address will be given by Dr. Michael Joseph Brown, Ph.D., Interim President and Academic Dean of Payne Theological Seminary in Wilberforce, Ohio. Brown is an internationally recognized biblical scholar, minister and public intellectual.  He received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Vanderbilt University and a Master of Divinity degree and Doctor of Philosophy degree from University of Chicago.  Prior to joining Payne, Brown served as Associate Dean of Wabash College, and was the Director of the Malcolm X Institute on Black Studies (2011-2013).


Brown’s address will be followed by a panel of bishops for the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church and the Episcopal denominations.  Panelists will include Bishop McKinley Young, Presiding Prelate of the Third Episcopal District of the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church for the State of Ohio, West Virginia and Western Pennsylvania, and the Rt. Rev. Thomas Breidenthal, Bishop of the Diocese of Southern Ohio. The Rt. Rev. Nathan Baxter, Honorary National Chair of the Union of Black Episcopalians, will also participate. The panel discussion will be moderated by the Rev. Canon Manoj M. Zacharia, Sub-Dean/Canon Vicar of Christ Church Cathedral.


Workshops on Health Care issues and by the BREAD Ministry (Building Responsibility, Equality And Dignity) community engagement will round out the day’s activities, then a Festive Eucharist commemorating the life and ministry of Absalom Jones, first African American ordained in the Episcopal Church, begins at 3:30 p.m. Bishop Baxter will be the guest preacher, Bishop Breidenthal will celebrate.


Youth are welcome! Youth attendees will take a bus to Columbus King Arts Center for a tour and other related activities.  Youth will return to St. Philip for the Festive Eucharist Service.


Bus transportation is available from Cincinnati and Dayton. The bus from Cincinnati will depart St. Simon of Cyrene, Lincoln Heights (810 Matthews Drive) at 7 a.m. The bus from Dayton will depart St. Margaret’s, Trotwood (1501 Free Pike) at 8 a.m. See the diocesan website for details.


There is no cost for the event, but pre-registration is encouraged. Register here or visit


Diversity Training

In support of St. Stephen’s commitment to diversity, the Diocese has agreed to sponsor an Anti-Racism workshop at St. Stephen’s on Sat., Feb. 13th, from 9am-4 pm.  The workshop will be facilitated by Debby Stokes (St. Philip’s) and Faith Perrizo.  Registration for the event can be found at :


BREAD Organization Research Continues

The BREAD Organization held its Research Kick-off meeting in December, following the selection of Jobs and Economic Opportunity as the problem area for 2016. At that first meeting, BREAD members brainstormed on office holders, policy makers and organizations that serve the unemployed in Franklin county. Since then, the Jobs committee has interviewed the deputy director at the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services, John Weber, and the executive director at the Godman Guild, Marci Ryan. Meetings are scheduled with Policy Matters, Goodwill, and the Chamber of Commerce.


Do you have interest or experience in jobs and economic opportunity? Are you concerned about job prospects for ex-offenders, young people, those who have lost jobs through business closings or re-organization? If so, please join us! Contact parishioners Rae Fellows ( or Norm Wernet ( or call Jennifer Ruglio  at the BREAD office, 614.220.9363.


With your help, BREAD rises!


Columbus Lenten School

In Lent, the Episcopal Churches in Columbus come together to share in worship and education as a way to “observe a holy Lent.”  (BCP, p. 265).  Courses on various topics are taught by clergy and laity from around the Columbus area.  Dates for School are: Feb. 16 & 23; Mar. 1 & 8 from 6:30-8:30, and include Worship, Refreshments and Classes.  Information on each course can be found in the attached document.  Saint John’s Church of Worthington, Ohio is hosting the Columbus Lenten School 2016.  The address for St. John’s is 700 High Street, Worthington, OH 43085 at the Southeast corner of Rt. 161 (Dublin-Granville Road) in Old Worthington.

The Columbus Lenten School is open to all interested persons and every effort will be made to accommodate every registrant. Reserving a seat in a class is as simple as sending an email indicating your name, your parish or other organizational affiliation, and the title of the session you wish to attend.  The email address for registering is: .  A $10 course fee is due the first session and can be paid in cash or by check made out to St John’s Episcopal Church.

If you have questions about Lenten School, please contact George at

LentenSchool 2016 Course flier

Mount Carmel Hospice Invites You to Hospice Volunteering 101

If you are interested in becoming a hospice volunteer whether at the bedside or behind the scenes, join us for a special panel discussion.  A group of Mount Carmel Hospice volunteers will discuss their roles and contributions then answer your questions. The session can help you find the best way to serve your community at end-of-life.  Please join us on February 10 from 1 pm to 2 pm or on February 17 from 6 pm to 7pm at the Mount Carmel Hospice and Palliative Care Center.  Register by calling 234-LIFE (5433).


Organ Refurbishment Project

Muller Pipe Organ has removed the organ from St. Stephen’s for work. If you’re interested, you can watch the progress being made on the instrument at the Muller Facebook page:


Reminder:  If you’re mailing something to the church, especially time-sensitive materials, we recommend using the PO Box!  St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, PO Box 82263

Columbus, OH 43202