Beloved People of St. Martin’s,
The program year here at St. Martin’s will kick off this coming Sunday, and it’s going to be a fantastic day for a host of reasons. This Sunday is a Brunch Sunday. Please join us after the 10:15 service for a wonderful time of food and fellowship.
The Sunday School program will begin, and I give thanks for the incredible hard work and dedication that have already been displayed by the Sunday School teachers and by the coordinator, Sherrie Algren. Children will begin the morning with us in the nave at the 10:15 service, and after a brief children’s homily, they will depart with Sherrie for their program. The Adult Christian Education program also officially launches this Sunday, and there is already a fascinating and varied assortment of presentations and activities planned for the rest of the calendar year. Terri Garbo and her committee have done some wonderful work in refreshing this program, for which I am so grateful.
The choir will make its return for the program year, and as Denise has noted, the musical life of St. Martin’s has been tremendously enriched over the summer by the addition of 80 new hymnals in the pews. Lift Every Voice and Sing II is a beautiful collection of hymns from the spiritual, gospel, and African American tradition. I think we will be pleased to find that there are so many hymns in this hymnal that are familiar to us as part of our shared American heritage—hymns such as “Wayfaring Stranger;” “Go, Tell It On The Mountain;” “Nearer, My God, to Thee;” “This Little Light of Mine;” and “Give Me Jesus” (a personal favorite that was sung at my ordination).
I also am pleased to be able to announce that the Rev. Sally Weaver, recently retired as vicar at St. Francis, Eureka, will be joining us as a priest associate at the end of the month. She and her husband Tony will be worshiping with us, and already joined us at 8 am last Sunday. Sally will graciously be assisting us as needed, and I am grateful beyond words to have her and her profound spiritual and pastoral gifts among us. Thanks be to God!
As we continue to ponder last Sunday’s epistle reading from James 1:17-27, which began and ended with an exhortation to generosity and active faithfulness, this Sunday we will also have the ingathering of the United Thank Offering boxes. The funds collected during the UTO campaign are used to fund creative mission and ministry initiatives in the Episcopal Church and the wider world of the Anglican Communion. I know that I personally have benefited greatly from the reminder of that little blue box on my desk several times a day, a tangible sign of the daily spiritual practice of gratitude and of the blessings we continually receive through God’s abundant grace—in particular, I am profoundly grateful for the work of the Holy Spirit in this place, among us, and for the privilege of being your priest.
I look forward to seeing each and every one of you on Saturday and Sunday. It’s going to be a wonderful weekend of worship and fellowship!