Hugh Thompson has been diligently following the latest developments from St Ursula’s on St John, and he was able to locate this article about the church’s work to restore its meal service to elderly citizens in the community. The article contains lots of information we didn’t have before, including word that St Ursula’s steeple is toppled over and that there are gaping holes in its roof. We have our work cut out for us!
Hugh Thompson met Wednesday in Birmingham with Alabama Diocese staff who are in touch with the churches on St John. Here’s his summary of what we know now:
October 9 Update from Hugh:
A Good Status of the current support effort was posted on the Dioceses Website by Deacon Judy Quick and the info important to supporting ST Ursula’s on St John is summarized below.
1. Emergency Funds have been sent to the Diocese of the Virgin Islands.
2. Emergency supplies have been shipped or planned to be shipped to all three deaneries to include tarps, mosquito nets/repellent, batteries, non-perishable food, water and water purification systems, gasoline, plywood, as requested by the leadership of the three deaneries.
3. Coordination and Distribution of supplies will be managed by the Bishop and his designated leadership, and they are coordinating with all clergy and congregations.
4. St. Thomas/St. John Deanery: The shipment of goods has been sent through a voluntary network coordinating with FEMA.
5. Regular postal and other delivery systems are not yet operational.
6. The Church Pension Group is addressing the many questions concerning insurance claims and process.
In many churches, prayer books, hymnals, and Lift Every Voice Songbooks were damaged and are unusable. Deacon Judy is coordinating the replenishment of these supplies with Bishop Gumbs (the total numbers have been requested) and with The Episcopal Church as a request was also made to TEC and we need to ensure coordination and not duplication of replenishment.
The Companion Diocese Commission and its diocesan partners met on October 4 to share information and begin developing our long term partnership for hurricane recovery and rebuilding for our Virgin Island friends.
1. Bishop Sloan’s focus is first and foremost about relationships. We have established ours with St Ursula’s and Alecia Wells is the individual that I communicate with.
2. Health concerns are growing as the water is contaminated and mold is beginning to be a major problem in the damaged homes and in the debris removed from the damaged houses. There is also a problem getting the debris removed from the streets and lack of waste disposal sites.
3. Comment was made by Bishop Sloan that this would be a long term effort and that church vestry’s should include VI support as part of their coming years budget. I noted that we were considering having a special collection one Sunday each month for St Ursula’s. Deacon Judy will communicate process for stock donations.
4. Each church was asked that the parishioners who are interested and available to assist with the recover effort fill out the Alabama Episcopal Asset Map for Disasters. Examples of areas of need and interest are disaster rebuilding capabilities, mental health workers, medical workers, and senior care professionals. Bishop Gumbs says that they are not ready at this time to support people coming to the Islands to help with the recovery effort.
5. My initial impression is that Deacon Judy and the key people she is working with are facing a very large challenge. One individual, who said that he knows Rev Wells very well , James Browne, seemed to be the most capable individual that fully understands the complexity of getting repair and rebuilding work planned and executed. Not sure how best to support his role and we can discuss as we get further along.
Any questions, please let me know.
Bring your family, your pet on a leash, and your friends to the Episcopal Church of the Epiphany Sunday morning, September 25, 2017 at 10:30 am to celebrate the feast of St Francis. We will enjoy an outdoor Eucharist, a Blessing of the Animals, and afterward, an old fashioned cookout on the grounds. Dress down, folks. This is church, but it’s funky church.
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace:
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.
O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
In the wake of Hurricane Irma and now Hurricane Maria, our vestry decided Sunday to reach out to the Episcopal church in the Virgin Islands, our sister diocese, to see if we could provide specific and localized assistance to one particular parish. In conversations with our own Alabama Diocese, we’ve identified one church, St Ursula’s Episcopal Church, St John’s US VI (US Virgin Islands). We found this picture of the church online.
Our own Hugh Thompson, who is coordinating our relationship with St Ursula’s, says this: “We are looking forward to supporting [St Ursula’s] in this time of need. However, the pressing need now is prayers for the safety of the parishioners and the church as they face Hurricane Maria, that is projected to be a direct hit on the Virgin islands.”
Judy Quick of the Alabama Diocese has sent this message to Bishop Ambrose Gumb and to a key lay person at St Ursula’s, whose first name is Alecia:
For six weeks beginning Sunday morning, September 10, at 9:00 am, Leigh Warren will lead us on a journey through discipleship, using as her principal resource The Cost of Discipleship, by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Join us in the nave, beginning with a continental breakfast courtesy of Father Wells.
Here are the readings we will explore each week, but Leigh insists that we should plan to come and take part even if we have not been able to read the assigned chapters for that week.
At their Vestry Meeting this week, Vestry members chose the following leaders for 2017:
- Mike Harber will serve as Senior Warden
- Jimmy Weldon will serve as Junior Warden
- Mike Rallo will serve as SWEEPS chair for Stewardship
- Father Wells will serve as SWEEPS chair for Worship
- Jean Kerr will serve as SWEEPS chair for Education
- Mike Harber will serve as SWEEPS chair for Evangelism
- Kay Dickey will serve as SWEEPS chair for Pastoral Care
- Jimmy and Betty Weldon will serve as SWEEPS co-chairs for Service
Congratulations – and a big THANK YOU – to all those serving in our leadership for 2017!
Congratulations to our three new vestry members elected Sunday, who take office immediately:
- Kay Dickey
- Jean Kerr
- Mike Rallo
And congratulations and a hearty thank you to the three vestry members stepping down at the end of 2016:
- Lee Borden
- Mike Dickey
- Hugh Thompson
With these changes, our vestry is now composed of the following persons:
- Kay Dickey
- Elizabeth Harber, Clerk
- Mike Harber, Senior Warden
- Jean Kerr
- Maurice McCord
- Mike Rallo
- Father Wells Warren, Priest
- Betty Weldon, Treasurer
- Jimmy Weldon, Junior Warden
- Michael Williams
At its next meeting, the vestry will decide who should be the senior warden and junior warden during 2017.
Epiphany is fortunate to be selected as a collection site for the Elmore County recycling program. Our receptacle is located midway back on the far right side of the church property, near the utility shed. We encourage all members of Epiphany to contribute to recycling rather than the landfill. Items need not be separated.
Paper (shredded paper must be bagged)
Plastics 1 & 2
Materials NOT Accepted
Elmore County asks that NO food or medical waste be included. So rinse out those cans and scrape food off pizza boxes prior to depositing in the bin.
How you can help:
For plastic containers–if in doubt–check the bottom for the #1 or #2.
Most plastic water bottles as well as milk, juice, soft drink, and ice tea containers are recyclable, as are the Sam’s Club clear plastic cups we use for refreshments. Many deli containers for snacks, cakes, cookies, etc. are eligible, but not all…so check for the #1 or #2. It helps if you can take time to remove and discard caps and rinse out bottles before adding them to the bin.
Aluminum cans may go into the large bin, but Jimmy Weldon heads up a special program for exchanging aluminum for cash, which goes into Epiphany’s coffers. So please consider separating your aluminum and making arrangements to get those items to Jimmy. We have two receptacles in the rear of the Little House, one of which is for aluminum only. Please DO NOT include tin or steel cans; those need to go into the general bin. Typically, soft drinks and beer come in aluminum containers; canned goods are in steel.
And a special request: please be especially careful to rinse thoroughly any cans left in the aluminum can receptacle. Recently, Jimmy and Betty had to clean up a big mess caused by critters getting into unrinsed steel cans that were left in the aluminum can receptacle.
Richie Beyer, Elmore County recycling director: 334-398-3325
Amanda W. Borden
A. SUNDAY SERVICES
Worship of God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—is the central focus of our parish church. We gather each Sunday morning at 10:30 am for Holy Eucharist using the Book of Common Prayer and the 1982 Hymnal. When Father Wells is away, we read Morning Prayer.
B. . OTHER WORSHIP
There are special services and events throughout the church year, as well. Epiphany Sunday is a time for festive worship, the all member meeting, and a potluck luncheon in the Little House. We also celebrate the Transfiguration, the Presentation, All Saints, Saint Francis of Assisi, Christ the King, Christmas Eve, Pentecost, Palm
Sunday, Maundy Thursday, and Easter Day with joy. We observe Ash Wednesday and Good Friday with appropriate solemnity. In 2016, we have celebrated two marriages and buried six members of the congregation.
C. WORK OF THE PEOPLE
Our parish church is blessed with an active laity, people who are willing and able to assist in worship as ushers, lay readers, lay Eucharistic ministers, stewards, and musicians. Our altar guild also does a wonderful job. All this good work is organized by Lee Borden and available on the church web site.
D. LITURGY AND MUSIC
The Episcopal Church of the Epiphany is a healthy parish church of about 60 baptized members. We stand firmly in the Anglican tradition of “Broad Church,” a middle way between severe evangelicalism and extreme ritualism. We have wonderful music, thanks to our pianist and violinist, Esther Hart; and the fine voices of our congregational singing. For the past three years, Epiphany has sponsored “Handel’s Messiah,” a community event welcoming area singers and musicians to take part in a Sunday afternoon concert in the Season of Advent.
E. FUTURE NEEDS
We have a grand piano which is kept in good condition and tuned regularly. There is no identified need for other instruments besides the violin of Esther Hart and the stringed instruments of our congregation for Saint Francis’s outdoor bluegrass eucharist, held in concert with the “Blessing of the Animals.”
The Rev. Dr. John Wells Warren, Priest
Most of our Sunday School lessons have been taught either by Father Wells or by church members. Most lessons are discussion format. They begin at 9:30 am and are usually complete by 10:15 or so.
This year, for the first time, we have begun tracking attendance at Sunday School. Attendance has ranged from a low of six persons to a high of 14. You can see the attendance at Sunday School each week here on Epiphany’s web site.
The vestry member responsible for education will be rotating off the vestry this year, so leadership of education will shift to a new person.