Thursday, May 27, 2010

If you missed breakfast.......

you missed quite a few treats, at least two different egg dishes, sweet rolls, fruit and other sweets.
The video which profiled three separate churches in an inner city setting could have been the story of St Stephens, churches that provided much needed services to the community at large and to the congregation on a limited budget.
I remember a funny work saying "We the few, working instead of the unwilling, have become so accustomed to doing so much with so little we are now qualified to do anything with nothing"
We have done anything for everyone for so long on nothing that our building is in danger. Not only the beautiful windows (I have seen a major crack in one of the windows over the choir loft), but some of the hallways and stairways (the stairway at the end of the main hallway past the restrooms is closed off due to crumbling and falling plaster), to say nothing of the bell tower and roof, electrical system, the lights, the kitchen, parish hall carpeting, the _____________(fill in the blank with what you have noticed).
Lois is a wonder, she has found the funding for the dental clinic, reorganized the health clinic, and is now pursuing renovating the old (read ancient) downstairs kitchen to a pharmacy (no, not for controlled substances)but she is only one person.
We are not asking the congregation to do more financially (remember "we are doing so much with so little") what we are asking for is support. Tell St Stephens story - to your friends, neighbors, your doctors, family members - take the basket off the candle and let it shine for all to see.
There are three groups that formed last Sunday:
1. History - those that know something ( you don't need to know all of it) of St Stephens history, where we came from, what we did. If you're interested see Tony Brooks and join that team.
2. What we do - the stuff we do now on a daily basis, the events, the services, the impact we have on the community around us (I have no hard data but I honestly think that the least busiest day at St Stephens is Sunday, don't think that what goes on on Sunday is unimportant or un-needed but that joint is BUSY Monday thru Friday) If you're interested in being a part of this team see Mary Clemm
How much it is worth - the nuts and bolts, and how much it costs to replace it. Our size, the heat, the insurance, the real value of what is contained in our walls or or property lines. If you have knowledge and experience in this field talk to Frank Conyngham.

If you think you have nothing to contribute, I ask you to think of one thing...
Turning off of Northampton Street onto North Franklin Street, seeing First Presbyterian Church, Osterhout Free Library, Westmoreland Club, the Historical Society ..............than nothing, an empty lot, covered in dirt and weeds- a large parking lot for a law firm or bank, or city parking lot. If you don't like that mental image, if it hurts to much to contemplate... than you have something to contribute.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

What does a Rector do?? (more like what doesn't he do??)

Prayer and Devotional time. Study time, 8 a.m. Sunday Holy Eucharist, 10 a.m. Sunday Holy Eucharist, Feast Days including Christmas,Holy Week, Easter,etc. Wednesday Noon Holy Eucharist, Evensongs as scheduled, Staff meetings, Staff support and supervision, Vestry meetings, Warden’s meetings, Parish Finance, Parish Building and Grounds, Parish Worship, Parish Stewardship, Altar Guild consultation, other Parish Committees, Parish Archive cooperation, Church School preparations, Women of St. Stephen’s meetings, Reach Board meetings including Executive Committee, Clothing Closet cooperation, Health and Dental Clinic cooperation, Property and buildings oversight, Oversee renovation projects, Sermon preparation, Rector’s Sunday Bible Study, Communications (email, mail, telephone), Parish Guest articles, Review Sunday Bulletins, Baptismal preparation, Confirmation preparation, Wedding preparation, Weddings, Funeral preparations, Funerals (even outside the parish), Coffee Hours, Hospital visits, Nursing Home visits, Home visits, Liturgical scheduling and planning
Preaching Rotation schedule, Supervising three ministry candidates, Spiritual direction(self), Spiritual direction (others), Coordinate Diocesan events at St. Stephen’s, Coordinate Community events at St. Stephen’s, Coordinate concert schedule, Sexton duties as needed, Security duties as needed, Pastoral counseling: Walk-ins and interruptions, Supporting new parishioners, Supporting old parishioners, Speaking to local colleges and other groups, Parish Lenten program, WB Ministerium meetings, Regional Episcopal Clergy meetings, County Homelessness Task force, United Way meetings, Kirby Episcopal House Board meetings, Osterhout Library Board meetings, Osterhout Library Personnel Committee, Wyoming Valley Interfaith Council, Diamond City Partnership, Parish events such as picnic, retreats, etc.Annual Parish meeting and report, Annual Parochial Report, Community Lenten Program including worship and lunch, Diocesan Convention, Diocesan Council,Diocesan Commission on Ministry (past)Diocesan Ecumenical Commission, Diocesan New Hope Executive Committee, Diocesan Social Ministries Committee, TEC NEPA adhoc Advertising Committee, Diocesan Clergy Days, Teaching Bishop’s School, Consult with attorney when necessary, Other things as necessary

Friday, May 21, 2010

Sacred Spaces Pancake Breakfast

This Sunday at 9:00am the Vestry will be hosting a Breakfast of Pancakes, sausage, juice and coffee plus some other goodies donated by a few other members of the congregation.
The purpose of this breakfast (other than to see how early we can get you to the church for breakfast) is to show a 28 minute video on The Partnership for Sacred Places. An organization that assists churches in organizing their resources for maintaining their buildings and community services.
Following is an excerpt from a recent e-mail from the organization, along with their website address

Proven Strategies and Experienced Advocates
Today, more than ever, a congregation needs proven strategies and experienced advocates to help care for and sustain its sacred place. Since 1989, Partners for Sacred Places has recognized the realities that community-serving congregations face and designed programs to fit your needs. Partners changes the way congregations view their role so that their sacred place remains a rich and vital part of the social fabric of a community.
Partners leverages the generous support of members to provide a comprehensive array of services and programs to congregations nationwide. With members' support, Partners continues to offer regional activities, technical workshops, training programs and informational resources. When you join Partners today, you enable congregations to receive the vital tools needed to care for their religious properties.
Join other dedicated individuals who care about preserving and sustaining our country's sacred places. With your tax-deductible membership fee, you'll receive:

The Professional Alliance Directory, a listing of firms that are experts in the field of restoration and care of historic religious buildings.
Monthly Sacred Places e-zine, filled with articles, tools and tips to help you care for your sacred place.
Sacred Places magazine, chock-full of informative features and case studies.
Invitations to regional workshops featuring speakers on energy efficiency, stained glass, major donor programs, and more.