Upcoming Congregational Activities
Wednesday, March 9 -6:30pm Book Club at the home of Cory and Matthew Strauss
Holy Week Service Schedule:
Sunday, March 20 –Palm Sunday, regular service times
Monday, March 21-Wednesday, March 23 –7:00pm Holy Week Services
Thursday, March 24 -7:00pm Maundy Thursday with Washing of Feet and Stripping of the Altar
Friday, March 25– 12:30pm and 7:00pm Good Friday Services with communion from the reserved sacrament
Saturday, March 26-9:00pm The Great Vigil of Easter
Sunday, March 27– 10:30am Easter Sunday service (there is no 8:30am service on this date)
We have so many transitions underway at St. Stephen’s right now that it is hard to count all of them. One important milestone was holding our Annual Meeting this past Sunday. Notes from that meeting are being made available elsewhere in these announcements. I thought the annual meeting went very well, with many brief and interesting presentations and good questions, showing true engagement from everyone in attendance. And, the potluck was great! Congratulations to our new Vestry members and thanks to all who ran. The old and new Vestry are all working together this month, and the formal transitions will occur at the March 28 Vestry meeting when new wardens are elected.
Looking ahead, we are planning for clergy coverage April-June while we await a new Rector who will hopefully join us over the summer. Here’s what the schedule looks like now: Karl Stevens will be preaching/celebrating for 3 Sundays, including April 3. Hanci Newberry will be celebrating for 3 Sundays, including April 24. On that Sunday we’ll have a guest preacher, Maia Kotrosits, a Religion professor at Denison University. Cam Miller, our Rector in the 1990s will be preaching/celebrating on April 10. David McCoy, our Rector in the 1980s will be preaching/celebrating May 29. Susan Beem Beery, an assistant priest at St. Stephen’s in the 1980s will be preaching/celebrating on June 12. Bruce Smith will be joining us as preacher/celebrant for at least 3 Sundays. Sherm Everett will preach probably twice and maybe even Pam Elwell will preach one of those Sundays. Bruce Smith has also agreed to provide emergency pastoral care during much of this time, and Sherm Everett will also be available. More details on all of this will be published later in March.
As a final note, thank you for an amazing 2 years as Senior Warden. The church photos, courtesy of Chris Donaldson, that Faith presented to Mike and to me on Sunday are truly stunning. I’m grateful to all of you. You make this parish a very special place.
-Cynthia Whitacre, Sr. Warden
Ponderings of the Interim Rector
A little less than a year ago, a chain link fence went up overnight around the property of St. Stephens. Erected by OSU without any warning to us, the presence of the fence caused us to be annoyed, angry, and unsettled. We felt shut-in and the world shut-out—neither of which did the congregation of St. Stephen’s want to feel. At that time, I encouraged us to use the experience as an opportunity to pray in solidarity with all those around the world around us who found themselves enclosed within the confines of a fence—prisoners of war, refugees from various parts of the world. Now, a year later, we are free of the fence. The new sidewalk and landscaping has opened us up once again to breathing free. But there are many around the world who are not so fortunate.
Now that the visual reminder of the fence is gone, it behooves us, I believe, to be intentional about remembering those who still need our prayers, those who still live behind the confines of a fence, stuck between leaving their homeland and not yet finding a place that will allow them to begin a new life. Some are not even behind a fence, which offers a little protection, or sleeping in tents, which offer some shelter. There was a report on the news the other day of 10,000 people sleeping out in the open fields on the border between Greece and Macedonia, waiting for someone to make a decision that they could move on to somewhere they could call home for now.
Interviews with refugees reveal that their journeys are one of resilience and hope, even in the midst of loss, uncertainty, upheaval, trauma and unfulfilled dreams. We have something to learn from them, I think. But we also have a responsibility, as followers of Jesus, to respond. Feed the hungry, water the thirsty, cloth the naked. What can we do? There are several things we can do. Pay attention to what the candidates for President are saying. Who do we believe will help our nation respond to those in need? Vote for them. Who currently is helping refugees and how can we support them? Go on-line to sites for Episcopal Migration Ministries and Episcopal Relief and Development. Make a contribution. They have been proven to have a high percentage of donations that go to direct aid. In your prayers, visualize the people who are sleeping out in the open, or living behind fences, and pray regularly and earnestly for their relief. We are a people of prayer. There is power in prayer. We do not always see or know the results, but testimony has shown that the power of prayer makes a difference in people’s lives. The people of God, the children of Abraham, have been reminded over and over again down the centuries, and in the many holy books of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, that we are called to be a people who care for the widow, orphans, and refugees. The children in our AWAKE program reminded us of that in their Christmas play about refugees two thousand years ago, and refugees among us today.
As we come to the end of the season of Lent and enter the liturgies of Holy Week, looking out our lovely new wide and clear windows, let us be mindful of those brothers and sisters who need our continued support. Remembering and prayer are what we do as a liturgical people. Compassion and hope are the gifts God gives us to enable us to be a responsive people, loving our neighbors as ourselves, when we leave our space of worship and go out into the world to minister to those in need.
Annual Meeting Recap
Thank you to those who attended the Annual Meeting last Sunday. If you were unable to attend and would like a copy of the reports, please contact the Parish Office. Minutes of the meeting are attached below. At the meeting we elected four new Vestry members, Agnes Burris, Kaitlin Raver, Wayne Sheppard , and Rob Wood. In addition, Rae Fellows, Janet McNaughton, Norm Wernet, Mignonne Whitlow were elected as Delegates to Diocesan Convention, with Edward Lasseigne as an Alternate.
St. Stephen’s Parking
It has been brought to our attention that some cars may be parking in the lot just West of the St. Stephen’s lot on Sunday mornings. This is a reminder that the West lot belongs to OSU and we do NOT have permission to use it for parking! Thanks.
AWAKE, AWARE, ALIVE
The AWAKE Trade-In Bake Sale continues on, as we are on the fourth (next-to-last) Sunday of the Bake Sale. Please bring in non-food items, such as soap, paper products, feminine hygiene products, diapers, etc., for those in need. The first three weeks of the Bake Sale have been tremendous, averaging around 150 items donated per week. Thanks to everyone for donating and helping.
ALIVE resumes this Sunday after the 10:30 am service. We meet fifteen minutes after the conclusion of the service, so that people can get coffee and/ or a donut, and then join us in the chapel for questions and discussion. If you are new to St. Stephens, and are interested in knowing more, we invite you to come.
BREAD Issue Update
The “Violence Must Stop!” committee continues to work with the department of Public Safety to ensure forward progress establishing a community-police relations initiative proven to reduce gang violence. In November members of BREAD travelled to Akron with other key Franklin County officials including representatives of the judiciary, probations, prosecutor, law enforcement, public safety and social service agencies to observe the “Safe Neighborhoods” initiative (modeled after Cincinnati’s C.I.R.V. program). The Columbus Department of Public Safety anticipates a similar initiative beginning in March of 2016.
We have a draft copy of the current directory at the back of the Sanctuary. Please look for your listing and update it as needed. If you are not in the directory, please write your information in on one of the blank pages! The deadline for updates is Sunday, March 13.
NSI Donations for Easter
St. Stephen’s has been asked to collect cans or plastic bottles (no glass bottles) of fruit for the Easter baskets. Our goal is 400 cans/bottles of any kind of fruit, as of last Sunday we’ve collected 251 cans of fruit. Bring the fruit to church by Sunday, March 13.
For the Trade In Bake sale: Last Sunday you donated 148 personal items.
Parish Office Closed March 10-15
Meghan will be away on personal business Thursday March 10 through Monday March 15. Regular office hours will resume on Tuesday, March 16.
Speaker Series: Save the Date!
The St. Stephen’s Speaker Series continues and concludes on the weekend of April 23 & 24, with special speaker Maia Kotrosits. Ms. Kotrosits is Assistant Professor of Religion, Queer Studies, and Women’s and Gender Studies at Denison University, Granville, Ohio. She has written several academic articles, along with two books, and co-authored a book (with Hal Tuassig) titled, “Re-Reading The Gospel of Mark Amidst Trauma and Loss”. She will be speaking on Saturday, April 23, at 10:30 am, followed by a question and answer discussion, in the chapel. Coffee, tea, and donuts will be available. She will also be speaking in the April 24 Sunday worship services, both 8:30 and 10:30 am. Please mark it on your calendars for an informative and insightful time. Also, we will need a count of people who will come on the Saturday session. Information on how to RSVP for the Saturday event will be forthcoming.
Kitchen Donations Needed!
Thanks to the Kitchen Krew for all their hard work on cleaning up, organizing, and planning for the future! We discovered that the following items are needed:
Cooking Tongs (not serving tongs)
Small Bowls for Mixing
Large Cutting Board
Donations of these items would be appreciated: we are asking for new items and not something that folks have used and want to get rid of. Monetary donations are also accepted toward purchase of these items; please make a notation of “Kitchen needs” in your memo line.
-Faith Perrizo, Jen Schmeid (Kitchen Koordinator)
Book Club News
Book Club News: The March book is Gentlemen of the Road by Michael Chabon. Book Club is meeting on Wednesday, March 9 at 6:30 PM at Matthew and Cory Strauss’ home. We’ll share a meal, followed by book discussion. Please bring food and/or beverage to share. Kindly let Matthew and Cory know in advance if you plan to attend. Everyone is welcome. And, the book club selection of titles for 2016 is now available. Contact Cynthia Whitacre (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you would like a copy of the list.
This week we received a card and donation from Bonnie Wigen of California:
“Dear Friends, I am celebrating my 82nd birthday and remembering my past years in Columbus with a grateful heart… thanks to you dear people for being there and sharing the Gospel with all the O.S.U. people who are in and out of your congregation.”
If you wish to send a note of birthday greeting to Bonnie, her address is Oakmont Gardens A112, 301 White Oak Dr. Santa Rosa, CA 95409
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