Crisis Ministries is now One80 Place, one of our Mission Partners. The mission of One80 Place is to provide food, shelter, and hope to end homelessness and hunger one person at a time, one family at a time. Along with the new name, they are finishing construction of a new homeless support center at 573 Meeting Street, with 110 beds, including 40 beds dedicated for veterans.
One80 is in need of new WHITE twin sheet sets- including the fitted sheet, flat sheet, and pillow cases. Please bring twin sheet sets to the Parish Office before or after our weekend services, or during Parish Office hours (9:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M. Tuesdays through Thursdays).
Thank you for supporting One80 Place!
For more information, please contact Iris Carson at (843) 795-2819 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
THE RIGHT REVEREND
CHARLES G. VONROSENBERG
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 19
AT 11:00 A.M.
At this Service the Bishop will Preach, Confirm, and Celebrate, and by "Confirming," he will bring into full membership in the Episcopal Church those who have been preparing for that moment. A reception will follow.
The trial ended on July 25. Judge Diane Goodstein thanked all parties for "a remarkable trial" and said she will not issue a ruling for at least 90 days.
The Episcopal Church in South Carolina is the recognized diocese of The Episcopal Church in eastern South Carolina, one of 110 dioceses that make up The Episcopal Church. It continues to be part of the Anglican Communion, of which The Episcopal Church is a province.
This action was filed by a breakaway group against local Episcopalians and The Episcopal Church. Originally filed in January 2013, it was brought by a number of plaintiffs, including a group operating as the "Protestant Episcopal Church in the Diocese of South Carolina" and some 34 parishes who say they have disaffiliated from The Episcopal Church. For more information about the trial, click HERE.
Father Williams and our Vestry have approved and helped fund St. Stephen's full participation in this year's Charleston Pride Parade and Festival on Saturday, August 9. We have a beautifully decorated float with room for 12 to ride and many more to walk beside. Walkers and riders are asked to wear white shorts, slacks, or skirts matched with our own St. Stephen's official Pride T-shirt.
The parade starts downtown on Ann Street at 9:00 A.M. but we have been asked to arrive by 8:15. There is a parking garage next door. The parade route is Ann to King to Broad, and ends just past the Colonial Lake at the corner of Barre and Broad. Pets are welcome if you think they can be on their good behavior and leashed. We have a rainbow theme so feel free to adorn your pets with rainbow accessories.
We look forward to the sharing of faith, hope, fellowship, and the Good News of God in Christ Jesus with our lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) neighbors in Lowcountry South Carolina and the Episcopal Church in South Carolina. While T-shirts will be provided, donations of $15.00 are welcome if the spirit moves you.
For more information, please contact Diane Aghapour at email@example.com or (843) 425-0324.
YOUR PRAYERFUL SUPPORT IS ASKED FOR...
The Reverend Alan B. Houghton
We are continuing to receive serious complaints from the Ansonborough neighborhood association indicating their increased irritation with our use of ANY dashboard cards. Since they no longer are of any use, PLEASE, to insure continued good relationships with our neighbors, remove and destroy them.
Diving deep into my mailbox in the office I discovered a card that had been sent to me this past June. It was from a couple from Raleigh, NC who had just dropped by for a visit here, as well as to worship. It was an early service on a lovely Sunday morning at 8 AM.
That particular service is one I really enjoy since it is a good time to greet people and share the service of Holy Communion in a more casual and intimate manner, if not at times, even a more lighted hearted way.
We welcomed the new couple that came through the door and the service began. Afterwards, the couple who had just been welcomed came up to me and asked for a blessing of their marriage of ten years. So I simply brought them to the Altar Rail and had them kneel. There was something about their demeanor that struck me as particularly sincere and, perhaps, even needy. I began my blessing, placed my hands on their heads as I continued, then placed my hands on theirs and held them there for a few moments even after the blessing had ended.
They rose, we exchanged pleasantries, and they left. A week later I received this note:
I just wanted to thank you for the warm welcome you and your congregation extended to my husband and me on our past visit to your church this past Sunday. You immediately made us feel right at home and helped us enter a place of worship with comfort and peace.
I would also like to thank you for the special blessing you gave us. As we left I'm not sure if you realize just how powerful that was for us. Our ten years of marriage has been a hard road, filled with more pain and struggle than joy, it seems at times. And yet, we have chosen to limp along the road together believing that God is using us in each other's lives to help make us into people he wants us to become. Your blessing was a signpost of hope and encouragement to us and it restored our souls.
I had, in fact, just finished Henri Nouwen's chapter on Blessing in "The Life of the Beloved" the week before and had prayed for a chance to be blessed."
One of the great privileges of my ministry at St. Stephen's is the chance to meet people, quite by happenstance, at a moment in their lives when they really are ready to receive a blessing. At that moment, any of us who offer a blessing (whether ordained or not) gives a gift of spiritual life to another. Nouwen himself writes of those moments:
"The blessing we give to each other are expressions of the blessing that rests on us from all eternity. It is the deepest affirmation of our true self. . . . The feeling of being blessed is not, it seems to me, the feeling that we generally have about ourselves. You have lived hard moments in life during which you felt more cursed than blessed. . . .There is little to no neutral territory between the land of the blessed and the land of the cursed. You have to choose where it is that you want to live, and that choice is none that you have to keep making from moment to moment. (From The life of the Beloved by Henri Nouwen)
Our visitor ended her lovely note with these words. "Thank you for reminding us both in which place we are meant to live."
St. Stephen's Episcopal Church is a place of haven and of peace. Add to that as well, a place of blessing for many if not for me as well.
Among us we have many talented people who offer generously their time and talent to the life of this parish. One in particular is a writer and has offered to write occasionally for us on an anonymous basis. She has been a published author before, but now wants to share her "musings" as the church year progresses.
So we will call these additions to our on-line Deacon articles . . . "Musings"
We tend to see Jesus only as the Divine One, the Son of God. We turn to Him with a host of requests, crying out our needs, giving gratitude for blessings received, offering love and adoration. And all such behavior is appropriate.
But so consistently we forget His human-ness. He was truly human, like each of us. He felt every emotion that humans felt. He got tired, hungry, too hot in those Judean summers, maybe even got stung by a pesky gnat or fly or mosquito. He had a sense of humor. He called two of His apostles "Sons of Thunder". He became angry..remember the fig tree? He felt fear...remember Gethsamane?
And He became sad. When He learned of the fate of His beloved cousin and friend, John the Baptizer He was sorrowful. John was very special to Jesus. He was the man to whom Jesus went to be baptized. John was the voice crying out in the wilderness. And King Herod had John beheaded. Jesus was sad. So, Jesus went in a boat to a deserted place to be by Himself.
How human. When we are numb with grief, we want solitude...time to "catch our breath". So, Jesus sought solitude. But crowds of people (according to Scripture) heard it. Heard what...about the beheading of John...or that Jesus was somewhere near? The crowd followed on foot and when Jesus saw the crowd He felt compassion for them.
And then the beautiful, indescribable unity of Divine and Human was (and still is) so evident. In the midst of His grief, His love for people became dominant. Jesus, the human (within whom the fullness of God was pleased to dwell) demonstrated Divinity. With five loaves and two fishes, He fed thousands. He took the bread, blessed it, broke it and fed the multitude.
Jesus, mystery beyond mystery
Jesus, Divine, Jesus , Human
The Thursday evening Bible Class meets at 6:00 P.M. in Stephen's Hall. Please note that the group will not meet during August. The group has prayer time, discussion of the lessons to be used on the following Sunday, and then a chosen study decided upon by the class participants.
The group has begun a new lesson of study, reading and reflecting on the Book of James. Study guides will be provided. Please join us as we experience wonderful fellowship, lively discussions, and spiritual time with each other as we strive to understand more fully God's Word and its message for our lives.
If you have further questions, please contact Mary Lou Titus at (843) 737-2693.
Flowers in church have a way of setting the stage for quiet reflection and help us mentally prepare for a service. The view out the apse window is enhanced by the lovely floral arrangements placed on the sill and we are given a way to glorify God and remember a loved one who has passed on or to give thanks for abundant life. Flowers and music are necessary supporting cast for those who lead us in worship.
Our Flower Guild is a small but mighty group of trained professionals who arrange the flowers each weekend. We work with the donors to select the appropriate flowers within a personal budget, and assist the donor in removing them from the church to enjoy the following week at home.
In the upcoming months we have the following openings where no one has signed up to donate flowers:
September 14 and 21,
October 12 and 26,
and November 2.
Please add your name to the flower chart in the Stephen's Hall kitchen if you would like to donate flowers. The arranger for that date will call you to discuss your flowers when the date is near.
If you are unable to get in to sign up, please call Linda Williams at (843) 973-3030 for assistance.
SEPTEMBER 14TH IN STEPHEN'S HALL
9:45 TO 10:30 AM
(Bring your own refreshments)
Last week it struck me once again that religion matters in these parts. The Post and Courier (July 8th and 9th ) ran two editions with news of the permission granted to all clergy in the Episcopal Church in South Carolina to perform same-sex blessings (as well as reports on the court issues). The Episcopal Church is a modern marvel as it continues to lead the way for religious denominations in the 21st century.
Knowing more about our Episcopal traditions is what Inquirer's Sessions are all about. Either as an adult or an adolescent, we all need to know where we have come from and where we might be going in the future as a denomination. Inquirer's Sessions are not just about Confirmation and Reception into the Episcopal Church. They are geared toward helping "old-timers" and "newcomers" to understand where we as a church position ourselves on a variety of topics.
Over the years I've been asked questions that have intrigued me and caused me to re-think my own positions. For example this question:
"When I take Communion, am I really to believe that I am consuming the Body and Blood of Jesus, or is this mostly a symbolic act?"
Another question with real importance:
"We all stand to affirm our faith according to the Nicene Creed almost all the time. Is that the only statement of faith in the Episcopal Church and, while I'm saying it, do I actually have to believe what I'm saying?"
Are we a church of "seekers" or basically expect that everyone be a "believer?" Do we check our intellect at the door, or are we allowed to think both broadly and deeply?"
And finally, "what is the Anglican Communion, really . . . and how do we relate to it from where we worship?"
Truth is that the Episcopal Church and its ethos is something that takes a lifetime to absorb. Its history, liturgy, theology and overall "feel" takes time to sink in, but it has to start somewhere. Inquirer's Sessions are the beginning whether you have been around the Episcopal Church for years or are just getting started.
To get all of us started, I'm going to be offering a series of Saturday Sunday Morning 45 minute sessions in Stephen's Hall beginning on the following Sundays:
ALL SESSIONS - 9:45 AM to 10:30 AM
(Note that I'll be away on September 28th)
During these four sessions all are invited to bring your own coffee and if needed, something to nibble on. You won't be expected to read a book since I will try to get information to you as the sessions proceed. Attendance will not be taken; you can come as you wish. Of course, if you are interested in Confirmation or Reception it would be helpful if you could attend all five sessions. To get started, just email me at David9612@aol.com.
IN ANY CASE, I'LL BE WAITING FOR YOU SEPTEMBER 14TH. IN STEPHEN'S HALL, (LOWER LEVEL) NEAR 54 SOCIETY STREET GATE ENTRANCE.
Tea Time on Sunday, August 3 will be hosted by Michael Fenwrick. Please join us in Stephen's Hall after the 11:00 service.
If you are interested in hosting a Tea Time, please contact Michael Fenwrick at firstname.lastname@example.org, or you may sign up in Stephen's Hall. Please remember that Tea Time is an intimate gathering for informal conversation and light culinary offerings. There’s no need to prepare anything that needs a knife and fork - That makes it a meal, and that is not what Tea Time is about.
Come sing with
St. Stephen's Summer Family Choir
No weekly rehearsals
No age limits
Arrive on Sunday at 10:00 a.m., and get ready to sing.
The Summer Family Choir is informal and fun-for-all. Adults and children alike are welcome. Children under 10 must come with an adult. Older children and youth may join with or without an adult. (Adults do not have to be accompanied by a child, as long as the adults are reasonably well behaved.)
No experience or ability to read music necessary!
Come and try us out for Fun, Learning and Worship!
For more information about St. Stephen's Choir, please contact Wayne Helmly at (843) 819-5576 or email@example.com.
SATURDAY @ SIX LAY PREACHER SCHEDULE
August 2: David Hoyle
August 9: Iris Carson
August 16: Angela Adams
August 23: Ginny Arthur
August 30: Nicole Watts
September 6: Robin Bugbee
September 13: Ty Leslie
September 20: David Hoyle
September 27: Angela Adams
* If you are interested in being a Lay Preacher, please contact Kathryn Norton at NortonK@cofc.edu.
By means of this letter, I am granting permission for clergy to officiate at occasions indicated by “The Witnessing and Blessing of a Lifelong Covenant.” Please read this communication fully and carefully, in order to appreciate the various responsibilities we accept within the community of faith which is The Episcopal Church in South Carolina. I am grateful to those who have assisted our process for the past fifteen months. In particular, the Standing Committee engaged in prayerful discernment and conversation prior to offering their counsel and their unanimous support; the clergy gathered at our annual conference engaged the topic with pastoral sensitivity toward all; and the Committee on Blessings, representing each of our deaneries, has assisted in crafting a policy for our diocese.
This notification gives permission for clergy to use the document found on our website (episcopalchurchsc.org, Resources, “Lifelong Covenant Blessing”). However, for such a liturgy to take place in one of our church buildings, I am requiring that the appropriate vestry or mission committee give its approval. This approval does not apply to the particular couple – and therefore, the approval does not have to be repeated for future couples. However, the vestry or mission committee needs to indicate its willingness for that church to host such liturgies within the building, in order for the liturgies to take place there.
Permission from the bishop to use this liturgy follows the direction of General Convention, 2012. That is, The Episcopal Church adopted the format of an “approved liturgy.” It is important and significant to realize that the liturgy intends to respond pastorally to faithful Episcopalians in their lives in Christ. General Convention approved a means for such a response, as an initial step. Then, the local bishop must give permission to use the liturgy in some form within the diocese. With the stipulations already mentioned – concerning the particular liturgy approved here and the use of church buildings – I am now doing so.
I do want to be clear that this permission does not define an expectation for clergy. In your own life of prayer and within community, you will decide how to respond to this statement of permission. As clergy providing pastoral care in your local community, you bear particular responsibilities. I want to highlight several of those, in addition to the decision of whether or not – and how – to involve yourself with this liturgy. The preparation of a couple for this blessing of the church will require attention and care on your part, and I certainly encourage the exercise of your pastoral ministry in the context of couples seeking this blessing. As you will see from the theological reflections and service notes at the end of the approved liturgy, one member of the couple must be a baptized Christian. In order to accomplish the best preparation possible, it will also aid your work if the couple has some association with the community of faith for which you are responsible.
We can anticipate that General Convention, 2015, will make adjustments in the liturgy approved in 2012. So that TEC in SC may be part of such considerations and discussions – and to encourage a spirit of order and unity – I will expect that any blessing using this approved liturgy during the next twelve months be reported to the diocesan office. I anticipate that I will ask those of you who officiate at such liturgies to serve as resources for our deputation to General Convention.
As indicated above, a particular tab on our website will become live later today. This site will provide resources and information that you may find helpful. In particular, the approved liturgy – “The Witnessing and Blessing of a Lifelong Covenant” – is located there. At the conclusion of the liturgy itself, there is presented a brief theological reflection. In addition, appropriate books and other resources are identified on the website as well. Also, a model outline for conversations is included, as a possibility for aiding helpful reflection for vestries, mission committees, and entire congregations. Finally, the news release, by which we will announce this permission to the larger community, may be seen there.
I commend our continuing journey as a diocese to your prayers, recognizing that differences of opinion and of practice appropriately exist within the greater unity which binds us to one another in Christ. As we take this step in particular, may we be mindful of our baptismal pledge to “respect the dignity of every human being”, all along the way.
The Rt. Rev. Charles G. vonRosenberg, Bishop
July 8, 2014
You may view this letter at http://www.episcopalchurchsc.org/lifelong-covenant-blessings.html.
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