Volume 22, Issue 2
From the Rector
Fr. Len Giacolone
Annual Parish Meeting
On Sunday, February 1, after the 11:00 am service, the parish will conduct its annual parish meeting. In recent years, the business at this meeting has been increasingly important to the life of the congregation and this meeting will be no different. We will, of course, do the usual business such as presenting the financial report and electing new Vestry members. Doug Cooper is stepping down from the Vestry after serving two consecutive terms. I want to thank Doug for sharing his talents and insights for the benefit of the Vestry and the parish. Carole Martin and Don St. Martin have agreed to serve another term. The Vestry has asked Anne Idsal to serve on the Vestry for a three year term. Of course, nominations can be presented from the floor during the meeting, but the Vestry will present its slate of candidates as mentioned above.
We will also discuss the question of our affiliation with a new jurisdiction. The committee established to study and make recommendations with regard to affiliation has made its report to the Vestry and we believe that we have sufficient information to pursue an application for affiliation. This recommendation ultimately must be decided by the parish itself and so this very important decision will be put before the congregation on February 1. My heartfelt thanks to Doug Cooper and his committee for an amazing amount of work put into this project.
We will also discuss the progress on our building program and what will be needed to bring it to a conclusion. This has been a lengthy process (much longer than I anticipated) but as you know, we are in the process of preparing the site for construction which will lead to our starting construction on the building itself. I know that some of you have expressed concern over how long this has taken and some of you may even be losing heart. Please don’t but rather pray that God will help us bring this to a fruitful conclusion. The end is in sight.
A Bit of Housekeeping
I have noticed from time to time that some members use the Sanctuary (not during the service, of course) for lengthy conversations about one thing or another. It is as if the Sanctuary were not the Sanctuary when the service is not in progress. I realize that some business may need to be transacted occasionally. I have to do so myself. But it is not the place for just conversation, especially when other members are present and attempting to prepare themselves for worship. Therefore, I would ask that there be no such conversation in the Sanctuary area for at least fifteen minutes before each service. Thanks for your cooperation.
Also, we are in the height of flu season. As I have mentioned to you before, our practice of having Holy Communion from the chalice provides an opportunity for the spreading of germs. If you are sick or if you think that you may even possibly be sick, I would ask that you refrain from receiving the Blood of Christ in any fashion until you are completely free from any communicable illness. The full presence of Christ is present in each of the species. Therefore, please be mindful of your fellow parishioners and especially me. I have to drink after everyone.
On Sunday, February 8, I will baptize Ikechi Aribeana, Jr. at the 11:00 service. This will be the first of several baptisms this year and I hope many more in the years to come. Congratulations to Father Andrew and Jessica Brummett on the birth of their son, William Andrew, Jr. The date of his baptism has not yet been determined. Please pray for all of these little children and those yet to be born.
Wednesday February 18 is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. There will be a Holy Communion service at 12:00 noon and at 7:00 pm, both with the distribution of ashes. More on Lenten observances will be offered in the Sunday worship aid.
Prayer Shawl Ministry
We provide prayer infused shawls to those in need of physical and spiritual comfort. Since resuming this ministry in late May, there have been close to a dozen recipients. All have expressed deep appreciation for the comfort that they bring. Many have related a profound sense of peace, and healing from the moment they have put them on. They feel the prayers and the presence of God. One recipient related how, after his open heart surgery, he and his wife were given opportunities to "witness" the love of God and Jesus Christ when responding to the nurses' and hospital staff's inquiries about the shawl. I want to thank all of you who have made this important ministry of comfort possible....from those producing the shawls to those providing the resources to obtain yarn and other supplies. So far we have managed to keep up with the need, but would sincerely welcome anyone who would like to help. You don't have to be an experienced knitter/crocheter to participate in producing the shawls, nor are there "deadlines" to be met. If you are interested in participating in anyway, (time and talent, or procuring supplies) please contact me - Charlotte Ready - phone 512-288-5597, or e-mail email@example.com.
Stand and Pray
Beginning on Ash Wednesday, Feb. 18, 40 Days for Life begins its spring campaign. This prayer vigil at the Planned Parenthood clinic on Ben White runs seven days per week, twelve hours per day and is designed to end the practice of abortion here and around the country. Throughout the history of this campaign thousands of women have chosen to keep their babies rather than abort them. The program operates in close conjunction with pregnancy resource centers in the area to help women and men who are considering abortion make a better choice. You are encouraged to participate in this if you can. All that is necessary is that you donate at least one hour per week to pray on the site of an abortion clinic here in the area. Go to www.centraltexascoalition.com for more information.
Baby Welcoming Luncheon on Valentine's Day!
You are invited to join The Women of St. Francis in honoring Jessica Brummett and Christina Hatley as they welcome the latest additions to their growing families! The luncheon will be held in the church reception area on Saturday, February 14th starting at 11:30 A.M.
As both of these Moms have very busy young families, we thought it would be helpful to stock their freezers with homemade casseroles. Please consider bringing a frozen homemade casserole (along with re-heating instructions) in a 9x12 disposable pan. Whether you are a casserole chef or not, please join us for a great celebration on Valentine’s Day!
Please RSVP to Susan Rambin (firstname.lastname@example.org 512.426.2496) or Leanne Read (email@example.com 512.345.0145) so we can get an advance luncheon headcount (and to coordinate our efforts so their families don’t have to eat lasagna every night)!
Sunday School News
In 2015, the younger class continues with the One Room Sunday School curriculum published by Cokesbury. In January the class began a new unit titled Touched by Jesus, in which the children are learning how Jesus touched the lives of ordinary people. These stories include Jairus's Daughter, The Woman at the Well, the Ten Lepers, and Mary and Martha.
The Scripture inspiration for this unit is 1 John 4:9: "God's love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through Him."
This class begins each Sunday by attending the first part of the 9:30 service. We are very excited to welcome a few new students, and we now have a full range of ages from four to ten! The older children are always eager to help the younger ones, and the curriculum is designed so that each child has an age-appropriate activity to enjoy.
The older class continues their study with Doug Cooper and has been exploring topics such as the Decalogue, means of grace, and the Incarnation.
Please keep the St. Francis Sunday School in your prayers!
Part of Lent for St. Francis for the past several years has been participation in a food drive for the benefit of The Storehouse in Pflugerville. Over the years we have contributed thousands of pounds of food to help people feed their families. We will begin collecting food on the first Sunday in Lent, February 22, and continue until Palm Sunday. You have always been quite generous in giving to these food drives and the hope is that you will be again.
The Annual Pancake and Sausage Supper will take place on Tuesday, February 17, from 5:30 to 7:30 pm. This meal on the evening before Ash Wednesday developed as a means to “clean house” in order to prepare for Lenten fasting and of course coincides with Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday. It is mostly likely that none of us will be going down to 6th Street on that evening; you are welcome to have dinner at St. Francis.
Ash Wednesday is Feb. 18. Said services with Communion and imposition of ashes are at noon and 7 pm.
As the Church moves through the Christian Year from Epiphany to Lent she passes through three Sundays which have to modern ears strange titles. Septuagesima, Sexagesima & Quinquagesima are in fact three Latin words and they indicate how far away we are from Easter – that is, 70, 60 & 50 days respectively. From the fifth century after Christ these Sundays emerged as a preparatory cycle for Lent in the West.
The Latin names arose by analogy with Quadragesima, the first Sunday in Lent, known as the “fortieth day” before Easter. Quinquagesima is exactly fifty days before Easter but Sexagesima (60) and Septuagesima (70) are only approximations.
In Rome and the West, Septuagesima (the 70th) day before Easter was regarded as the beginning of the preparation for Easter and thus it was natural to attract to itself the theme of The Beginning, that is the Creation of the world by the Father through the Son and with the Holy Ghost.
In the West, in the modern post 1960s Roman Catholic and Anglican Prayer Books, the “Gesimas” have been abolished. However, they remain part of the Christian Year in The Book of Common Prayer. They serve to place worshipers today in a long tradition of regarding Lent to be so important as a preparation for Easter, the Feast of Feasts, as to require for itself a preliminary preparation. So the “Gesimas” are a preparation for the Preparation.
Newsletter articles are gladly accepted for inclusion in the next month's newsletter. E-mail to the editor, Amy Crandell at firstname.lastname@example.org by the 20th of the month.