November begins with All Saints Day on November 1st. I first became aware of this day while I was in Italy, where All Saints Day is a day to visit the resting places of deceased friends and family and place chrysanthemums there.

Later, when I found the Episcopal Church, All Saints Day became on of my favorite Sundays of the year, and one of those days on the church calendar that makes me appreciative of being part of an Episcopal community. Praying not to saints, but with saints; having the feast days on the calendar, with a recent commemoration of St. Francis, St. Patrick, and St. Andrew in our parish in October—all this gives us a more personal connection to church from its earliest centuries to the present day. At the same time, we use the term saints to refer to all believers in Christ, in the sense that Paul uses when he addresses his letters to believers in various cities.

On All Saints Day, we also draw close to the part of our theology that points towards the life of the world to come. Even on other Sundays of the year, each of the Prayers of the People in our Book of Common Prayer includes some lines in memory of the departed, keeping our attention balanced between this world and the next. Every Sunday at Saint Andrews, I feel connected to those in our parish who have already left this world and crossed into the world to come. Though I have only been here for ten years, I’ve known several who have departed in these years. I can still see these brothers and sisters in their favorite spots in the pews, and I sense continued communion with them each Sunday. To use language from Celtic spirituality, our church is a thin place where the boundary between temporal and the eternal, and the mundane and the divine, can touch.

VESTRY UPDATE

One suggestion from parishioners attending our recent “Chat with the Vestry” event was to have more updates on vestry news in the Tartan, so here I will give some highlights from October. Many of the items discussed in our October vestry meeting get their own coverage in the Tartan, such as finance, and community outreach, so I will share other items of interest discussed, including the kitchen remodel and the youth, family, and young adult ministries.

CHAT WITH THE VESTRY

On September 29, three members of the vestry, myself, along with Ken Rhodes, and Liz Herriges, our senior warden, held a “Chat with the Vestry” event after both the 8:00 and 10:00 services with the goal of providing more opportunities for connection and communication among vestry members and parishioners. Several parishioners attended after the 10:00 service, and we had an engaging discussion about current and future activities, and the status of the kitchen remodel. Having gained good ideas and energy from this initial event, the vestry would like to hold another on Sunday, December 1 after both services. We hope to see some of you there, including some of our faithful “eight o’ clockers.”

KITCHEN NEWS

While you might not have heard much about it for a few months, the groundwork is underway for the kitchen remodel as members of the kitchen remodel committee meet with city officials and negotiate building and city codes. If you’d like to learn more, vestry members Ken Rhodes or Angie Barr can tell you all about outside vents or grease traps or the vision of how a remodeled kitchen can help St. Andrew’s to bless and serve.

YOUTH

Even as we search for a new youth director, the youth program moves forward, recently joining with youth from other area churches on a regular basis at Urban Grace church, along with faithful chauffeurs, including Lilith Tascher and Fr. Martin.

To keep up with what is going on at St. Andrew’s, you can also find vestry reports on the large bulletin in the back of the Ada Webb room, where refreshments are served after Sunday services. You might not see the papers stapled to the board right away, but you will see a very large photo of the vestry. From the photo, you can know who the vestry members are. Feel free to communicate with us about parish life here at
St. Andrews.

Our vestry meeting agendas, however, don’t fully capture the depth of the experience of serving on the vestry. While on the vestry, I have been impressed to see the wisdom and acumen, along with the hard work, of so many of our members, and made connections with people that I wouldn’t have otherwise. Reviewing spreadsheets and schedules and seeing more of what it takes to make the church run have not been necessary but dull tasks, but rather inspiring work.

As our annual parish meeting in January of 2020 is getting closer on the horizon, I hope that some of you will consider serving on the vestry.

Reflections on the state of the parish by Don Ramage, Junior Warden