Three days left to apply for St. Andrew’s Scholarships

St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church has long provided scholarship funding for promoting education.  The amount varies from year to year, depending on funds made available to the Outreach Committee.  Any person wishing to further their education in technical, academic, or job-related fields is eligible to apply. The Scholarship Committee considers applications annually.

Please be aware that a scholarship award does not automatically guarantee renewal the following year.  Applicants must apply each year, and priority will be given to members of the St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church parish family.

Packets are available online via this link and in the office at St. Andrew’s Church.

Applications should be completed according to the instructions included in the packet and completed packets should be emailed, postmarked, or hand-delivered no later than April 16, 2021.

 

                       Questions? Email the Chair of the Scholarships Committee,

Judy Nelson:

 scholarships@saintandrewstacoma.org

Food Bank News by Virginia Gaub

Ed Wolfer and Virginia Gaub have been in conversation with Sue Potter, the CEO of Nourish Food Bank Network, about reopening Jackson Street Food Bank. At this point in time it has been decided that it is still too risky with the space that we have to open an indoor food distribution site. The details are still being worked out for us to offer food distribution via the Mobile Food Bank Truck once or twice a month. We hope this to happen in the next few months. Watch for notices as we get further information from Nourish.

Vaccine Opportunity for volunteers: Food bank workers are now eligible to receive the Covid19 vaccine. We encourage everyone to get vaccinated when eligible. When going through the Phase finder there is a page that asks about your “job” description. Here is the vaccine locator from the Washington State Dept. of Health. If you plan to volunteer with us and need help finding a location with vaccine, please reach out to Virginia Gaub for suggestions.

Volunteer opportunities: There will be several opportunities to volunteer.
1)  Preparing boxes: Food distribution is done only via prefilled boxes, no personal shopping. Currently the National Guard is filling boxes of food at the Nourish Warehouse but this service is scheduled to end in June and we would need volunteers to provide that service for us to provide food for our clients. A work-group would go to the warehouse at a designated time, for about 2 hours, to pack boxes.
2)  Distribution: Currently the National Guard is doing the distribution from the Mobile unit in most locations but would not be available for our location, due to the low number of clients and infrequency of service. We would need approx. 7 or 8 people at the time of distribution. All volunteers will need to sign up on a data base with contact information. Training will be provided for the various assignments that need to be filled. Please contact Virginia Gaub or
Ed Wolfer if you would like to sign up to be a Food Bank Volunteer.

P.S. Jackson Street Food Bank now has a new commercial grade freezer and refrigerator, thanks to a grant from the diocese. They were delivered this week.

COVID update by Mary Boyce, Parish Nurse

How exciting to see the changes that Spring brings – more sunshine, more flowers, and more chances to come together. I would like to offer my reassurance that the hard- working ReGathering committee has carefully examined all the safety guidelines and latest science to move forward while being keeping in mind the greatest good for everyone. As Bishop Rickel recently reminded us, we are compelled by faith to care for everyone. This means vaccinated and unvaccinated. No one should be put in a position of having to choose between staying safe and desperately wanting to come to church. (Which is why we will continue the online service) We have a new ministry – the Safety Team – that will be present at in-person church services to assist with the flow of traffic and maintaining physical distancing, to check temperature and provide masks upon request, and to keep the environment clean. Thank you to those who have stepped forward already, and I invite any one who is interested to let the church office, Fr. Martin, or me know. The more hands, the better. 

Every day there are more and more sites available to obtain you COVID-19 vaccination. If you are eager to get yours, and are not yet eligible per the state, I encourage your to volunteer with the Tacoma/Pierce County Department of health or your local health care provider. Volunteers get vaccinated! And there are many non-clinical jobs needed to help coordinate these events. You can also sign up to be on a wait list or to be called with any last minute extra vaccine doses. I’m thinking of a way for St Andrew’s to keep a tally of how many of our members have been vaccinated without treading on anyone’s privacy. Perhaps each vaccinated person could add a leaf or a flower on a bulletin board tree at church? Look for a fun display soon. Let’s see if we can achieve our own local herd immunity. Please let me know if I can help via phone (360-271-2020 ), text, or email

Vestry Viewpoint by Margo Fleshman

On the occasion of his 100th birthday Fr. Ed talked about being on the Pilgrim’s Road with the people of St. Andrew’s. Since then, and perhaps because I also had a birthday in March, I have been reflecting a lot about these 43 years that I have traveled with so many of you here at St. Andrews. What might have been different if I had or had not made one choice or another? I realized one single event had a significant impact on my life. It challenged and changed my perspective of what Micah 6:8 means when it says “and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? “ 

In 1979 I was working at the University of Puget Sound School of Law which was in downtown Tacoma. My office overlooked the streets of Tacoma. Day after day I left my home, drove to the law school, parked in the two-story parking garage and walked the skybridge over Market Street to my office. I never really thought about what was going on outside my window overlooking Broadway. One year Sam and I decided to participate in month-long series of classes offered by UPS and PLU called Communiversity. I chose “Sunday Afternoons in Tacoma”, led by a local homeless advocate. I have no idea why I chose that course. Two by two we went exploring the downtown streets with a straightforward set of tasks that involved talking to people, finding services (restrooms), finding a spot to linger or even sleep, etc. Needless to say, my eyes were open to the enormous needs of our most vulnerable neighbors. It was a profound experience and one that changed me. 

After 10 years of working at the law school I yearned to find work that filled my soul and helped others. An opportunity presented itself to work with a program helping low- income single mothers move towards self-sufficiency (WWEE). This was 1989 and for the rest of my career I worked with programs focused of helping others. In addition to my job, St. Andrew’s provided many opportunities to help. I remember scrubbing floors for Anna and Peter, a Lithuanian couple who received help through Volunteer Chore Ministry. I remember cooking for the families of Ruby Slippers, our ministry to homeless families. And I remember Fr. Ed faithfully making Rice Krispy Squares for the children’s Christmas party at WWEE. I was drawn to our mission of outreach to the community and the decision to tithe 10% of the church’s income towards outreach. (I also remember the Annual Meeting “battle” of fixing the roof of the church vs the 10% tithe. We did both!) 

So many stories come to mind. All of them are a part of the pilgrimage that we have taken and continue to take together. 

On more than one occasion, Fr. Martin has used the quote: “Traveler, there is no path, The path is made by walking.” Antonio Machado’s poem continues: 

By walking the path is made And when you look back You’ll see a road
Never to be trodden again. 

I think of this often and look forward to continuing our travels ahead. There is much to be done. In the Great Thanksgiving, a part of the liturgy of Holy Communion, we pray “open my eyes to see your hand at work at the world around us.” I pray that our eyes will remain open and that we continue to be His hands. We don’t have to look far to see the needs that surround us. 

Bible Study shifts to Thursdays, same time

The ZOOM Bible study with Fr. Martin welcomes you this Thursday at 11:00 A.M. We will continue reading and studying the Gospel of Mark. No preparation or homework is required. Just click on the link below. Then say yes to the audio option and turn up your volume so that everyone can hear you.

Click on this link to connect:

https://ecww.zoom.us/j/96754453763?pwd=Z2FSSyt6MWc0bTdrdVVXaW8xSE9Vdz09

Meeting ID: 967 5445 3763                 Passcode: 235415

 

Approaching Holy Week by Rev. Jay Sidebotham

Fr. Martin shared this reflection in his Parish Update of March 25:  On Friday, March 19, we observed the feast of St. Joseph, when an angel informs Joseph that his betrothed will have a son. On Thursday we observe the feast of the Annunciation, when an angel tells Mary she is with child. What do stories of the beginning of Jesus’ life have to do with Lent? How do they inform our understanding of Jesus’ last days? What do Joseph and Mary have to teach us that applies to our lives in this week at the end of March?

I often think of Joseph as the person for whom they crafted the saying: Life is what happens instead of what we plan. He was going to marry Mary. Change of plans. He had to travel to Bethlehem. Change of plans. He needed a hotel room. Change of plans. He had to flee Bethlehem. Change of plans. Again and again, Joseph said yes, even though it meant shame in his community, snickering and gossip, even though it meant taking his family into exile, eluding terrors of a tyrant, even though it meant giving up his plans. It was not the path of least resistance. No one would have blamed him if he had dismissed Mary quietly and gone back to his table-saw.

When I think of Mary, I wonder if she had a choice. I wonder if the angel asked other young girls before the angel got to Mary’s house. Mary said yes, even though it may have scandalized her family and friends, even though Simeon warned that a sword would go through her heart. It was not the path of least resistance. No one would have blamed her if she had told the angel “Thanks but no thanks.” . . .

What do Mary and Joseph have for us in the closing days of Lent? They give us a hint of what is coming in the story of Jesus. They let us know that saying yes to God is not the easy path. As Jesus told his disciples: If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” (Mark 8:34). The story of Jesus, from birth to death reflects the cost of discipleship. The story of the Bible, from Genesis to the book of Revelation, reflects the cost of faithfulness.

 Have you had any experiences that reflect this dynamic? Has your faith journey been relatively cost-free? Has it cost a lot? What do you think Jesus meant when he told followers to take up their cross? What would that mean in your life this week?

 Holy Week offers an annual opportunity to see the way of the cross as the way of life. It’s an opportunity that came with Jesus’ birth and continued until those hours when he stretched out arms of love on the hard wood of the cross to draw us all into his saving embrace. Ask God this week in preparation for these holy days to show you how best to travel that way.

An important message from our Bishop Greg Rickel

Dear Ones,

Before I begin, I want to start with some givens, at least to me, and for which I would not want readers to think I am somehow not conscious of. First, the US population is amongst the most fortunate in the world right now in the number of vaccines available and the speed at which, if it goes as planned, we will be vaccinated. I know this. Second, there are so many people and countries that have no prospect anytime soon to get a vaccine, and that is something we have to pay very close attention to as well, advocate for, and get active about. I know that too. These are my givens before I address where I believe we are now in this COVID pandemic.

I write as we seem to think, feel, and hope that this long pandemic nightmare, in regard to the COVID virus, will soon come to an end. But, I also write with some concerns. Some of you have expressed the same, or asked questions insinuating the same, which has compelled me to write this letter to you. I have to be honest, for the first time during this pandemic, I feel a bit betrayed, or at least at odds with the Governor’s decisions in the past few days. I want to say clearly he, and many other politicians, have the economy as their ultimate concern, or at least a major one, and I get that. Their balance of concern is different than ours, certainly than mine. I am far more concerned about your safety, both clergy and lay.

I know many of our congregations have decided to reopen at limited capacity and I am as glad to see that as you are, and concerned a bit too. I am going to say flatly, I believe the reopening plan the Governor has just rolled out which increases dining and large indoor gatherings is premature, and a bit of a slight to all the good work and sacrifice we have made to heed his guidelines and orders over this past year. I truly do hope I am all wrong.

I say this due to several considerations. All research seems to indicate that the vast majority of infections occur in indoor, enclosed spaces. We have now detected all variants in our state. They, appear to be more highly infectious, and at least one, more deadly. I know not everyone agrees, but I found it shocking that our politicians were insisting that teachers go back to the classroom and yet did not have getting them vaccinated as a priority until just recently. Perhaps it is easier once you and your family are vaccinated to throw caution to the wind for others, but I do not want us to do that.

I have this fear because we, this country, have done this now almost three times, waves of infections that is, and I am sincerely hoping I am wrong that we are taking actions now to take us to the fourth wave, but I am concerned about that and not afraid to admit it. We seem to get right there, and then cannot resist opening up. So, I feel the need to express a few things regarding the next few months.

At this moment the reality is that we have only fully vaccinated just at 10% of our state. You do not have to be a mathematician to note this means 90% of us are still not vaccinated. Which also translates to not much being different today than it was three weeks ago. While there are studies that show that fully vaccinated people do not spread the virus, there are just as many beginning to come out of real life experience that show that it is possible. Several people in a study in Hawaii, a month out of full vaccination, have tested positive for the virus. The good news is these folks did not develop serious symptoms, or in other words, vaccines work, GET ONE whenever you are finally allowed. What remains unknown is whether such person can still spread it to others. I am leaning toward the belief that they can. Whatever is true, this inconclusive reality plays into my thoughts below.

First, I am going to urge us all not to fall into the trap and, I would even call it the curse, of the North American, or maybe it is even more specifically, the person from the United States. While anecdotal, I will share anyway an encounter I had with an 80 year old woman in Lincoln Park a few weeks ago, who, without a mask, came right up to me and began asking questions about 6 inches from my face. I politely asked her to back up and then I would talk to her. She looked at me and said, “Oh, I’m good, I am vaccinated.” Which is my point.

So much of what has helped the US become the 9th worst per capita death rate in the world, out of 201 countries, is, what I like to call, the “pull up the gangplank, I’m on board” syndrome. Or “I got mine, you get yours if you can, I’m good!” We will live, in the next few months, in a real liminal space, an “in-between space” with those vaccinated, and those not. Please be careful with the syndrome I lay out above. It is inconsiderate, and it does not match the faith we follow. Vaccinated or not, we are compelled by that faith to care for everyone, and to do all that is necessary to protect others no matter how “good” we are. This is why I do not intend to change any of our requirements right now, even if the Governor continues to do so. We will still wear masks, social distance, and will not exceed the Governor’s guidelines for whatever phase your county is in. I reserve the right to be more conservative than the Governor on this if he exceeds what I believe to be safe.

I have written the Governor about my concerns but I have never gotten a response before and I do not expect one now. He has much more important things to do. Up till now I have put my energy toward more vaccine equity for underserved populations. Recently I did add to the pleas of other denominational leaders, and a letter of my own, asking for clergy to be moved up earlier in the plan, especially as we head toward Holy Week. Pleas to consider clergy essential, or to allow them to be vaccinated in an even one step earlier phase, have fallen on deaf ears. My main concerns here are the safety of clergy and people and access to spiritual care and services, many of which have been denied our people for nearly a year. I also have the concern of unvaccinated clergy and lay leaders in indoor venues as we begin to open and also increase the numbers present in those spaces during this liminal time.

While our Governor is not willing to declare our clergy essential, I want you all to hear that I very much believe you to be. In keeping with us not developing a “second class citizen” status for those vaccinated and those not, I want to make it clear that no cleric, or employed lay person, and certainly not any parishioner should be forced, or feel forced, to work amongst others face to face unvaccinated if they are not willing themselves to take the risk. If you run into dilemmas on this, call our office and we will try everything we can to fulfill the need or request of those needing you. I am personally vowing not to receive the vaccine until at least 50% of our active clergy have had theirs, to keep me on my toes, and make me less likely to fall into the “pull up the gangplank, I’m on board” syndrome.

Hang in there, take care of yourself, and all those you come in contact with. I believe in you, and I believe we will get through this together, and I have had as my number one goal throughout this pandemic, bringing as many with us as we can. I have been continually inspired at how resilient and faithful you all have been through this time. I cannot thank you enough.

Once we do get to the other side here, we truly do need to turn our attention, our resources, and our care to getting the rest of the world the same. If we have learned anything in this last year it should be that the virus respects no borders, no nationalities, no race, no belief system. We are not there yet, but we will get there, and I pray we will do that with everyone “on board.”

Blessings,

+Greg
(March 17, 2021)

Spiritual Health by Tom Egnew, Junior Warden

We’ve all heard the saying, “What a difference a year makes!”, but for me this took on new meaning in 2020. When Lent began at the end of February last year, my expectations of a period of reflective preparation for Easter were quickly upended in March when COVID wrought sequestering, masking, and disruption of my daily routines. As part of a church community which celebrates together on Sundays and often connects during the week, I acutely felt the loss of in-person worship, education, and fellowship. And, like it or not, I was challenged to become more reflective about what was truly valuable to me. I learned that material comfort and convenience were much less important than people and relationships. As a result, I’d like to think that I have become a bit more patient, a bit less reactive, and a smidge more spiritual. Perhaps I am not alone.
A year down the threatening road of a menacing pandemic that has killed nearly
half-million of our neighbors, I find myself awakening. Awakening to my assumptions of physical security, to my illusions of being in control of my life, to my expectations for an assured future for myself and my loved ones, to the inequities and injustices in our society. This awakening kindled astute attention to social distancing, mask wearing, and hand washing – all to avoid a virus I cannot see. But it also led me to ponder: How awake have I been spiritually? Jesus counseled: “. . . stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming” (Matthew 24:42). With chagrin, I have realized that I’ve been much more conscientious towards my body than my soul.
Lent is traditionally a time for spiritual contemplation and renewal. In the February Tartan, Fr. Martin made three excellent suggestions to encourage spiritual renewal:

Ask yourself two questions: What will nurture your own spiritual life and draw you
closer to God? What hinders your spiritual life? Do more of the first and
less of the second.

A little is better than none (e.g., prayer, exercise . . .).

Pray as you are moved to pray, not as you think you ought to pray.

As I contemplated this sage advice, I found myself wondering: Have I been as willing to change my behavior patterns to nurture my relationship with God as much as I have done to elude a virus? Have I distanced myself from those things that hinder my spiritual life with the same fervor I’ve socially distanced? Have I spent as much time attending to my spiritual health as I have my physical well-being? Prayed each day as often as I have washed my hands?

Implicit in these recommendations is a call to action. Thich Nhat Hanh, a renowned
Buddhist monk, notes that all religions have devotional and transformational practices.
Devotion involves the intention to follow a practice, seeing its value and orienting oneself
towards it, as I feel drawn to Christ and pronounce myself a Christian. But what of
transformation? “You enter the path of transformation,” the wise monk maintains, “when
you begin to practice the things you pronounce.” For Thich Nhat Hanh, being mindful, a
be-here-now awareness of the present moment, is the key to transformational practice, to
expressing devotion in action. I believe this is what Jesus meant by his counsel to stay
awake: To be awake. I pray that Lent is a time of awakening transformation for each of us,
capped by the miracle of Jesus risen from the grave to bestow new life on us all.

Join us on your phone for Evening Prayer this Sunday at 5:00 p.m.!

St. Andrew’s offers Evening Prayer by phone (conference call) every Sunday at 5 p.m. No computer or internet connection is required. You can join us for prayer, contemplation and reflection by calling 712-432-3900 and then using the conference 458556 #. This is a wonderful opportunity to declutter your soul in preparation for the busy week ahead!

The tradition of praying the Evening Prayer dates to St Benedict’s Rules of Precepts, which was written in 516. This tradition has been a part of the Book of Common Prayer (BCP) since its beginning.

Please contact Jeffrey Boyce if you can help support this new prayer ministry.

Jesus asked his disciples “What have you got?” by Jeffrey Boyce

Watching the crisis of homelessness, we often feel powerless, or sometimes frightened, to help unknown individuals, even as our hearts break for them. But sometimes, we have what’s needed to address the needs around us and just don’t realize it. 

If you have a guest room or a spare bedroom, and could use help with chores, some pocket money, and some company, Shared Housing Services of Tacoma can help both you AND a person who needs low-cost housing. For 30 years, SHS Tacoma has matched up people with spare rooms. Right now, there are far more people than rooms! 

My family rented out our upstairs ‘mother-in-law’ apt to students the whole time I was growing up, and it was always fun to get to know them. Now, TCC students are living in cars while trying to complete coursework. For more information on how to connect with a person who might be a good fit for your household, call 253-272-1532 or visit their website