Monday, November 28, 2005

Be Alert

I love it when unexpected things happen in the midst of our very formal liturgy. Until yesterday, my favorite examples were the time the new fire at the Easter Vigil burned so fiercely that we could hardly get near it to light the paschal candle and the year that the pyrex follower on the Paschal Candle exploded on the day of Pentecost. Yesterday, on Advent I, as we processed into church singing "Come, thou long expected Jesus," one of the torch bearers managed to set the spectacular dried arrangement on fire by accident. We kept on calmly processing as the fire spread from the lowest part of the arrangement to higher twigs and flaming grasses fell to the ground. The crucifer/acolyte was on it in a second. He dashed across the altar area and put out the sparks with his bare hands. HE was into the Advent spirit of alertness!

Early on Sunday

Early on Sunday, we arrived in the rain and dark at the Lambert East terminal to send Mo and Anna back to school. It seemed as if every college student studying outside of Missouri was there, too, being sent off by their parents, grimly cheerful, hugging them and getting ready to return to empty nests, watching as they took off shoes and backpacks and jackets and made their way through security and disappeared beyond the barrier. Here I am with Mo and Anna. We look as if we've been up all night partying but in fact I think we got rather disheveled in the cold and windy rain. We tried to get the vintage airplane that hangs in the airport in the background but you can barely see it.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Under construction

Meanwhile, having had a successful capital campaign and designated $35,000 from the Proehl bequest to the project, the vestry has authorized replacement of all five of our flat roofs. The new roofs will be tapered and less likely to have pools of water on them than they were before. No one seems to remember when the last time these roofs were replaced, except for the parish house high roof which was done in 1993. The roofers have been here almost every day with a crane. Sometimes they are working on two roofs at once. For a few days there was a port-a-potty on the office roof but now it is on the grass behind the church. You really have to be here to get the full effect of banging on the roof and of seeing men and women working on the roof. But in case you can't see it for your self, here are some fuzzy crane pix.


The week before diocesan convention, Marylen and I went out to see the apartments which are being rehabbed by Faith Beyond Walls/Interfaith Partnership. FBW is working with the city Kinloch to create as many as 31 housing units. They are in the next cul de sac over from some apartments FBW already rehabbed and near a playground FBW helped put up, so they are helping a whole neighborhood to be revived, as well as providing housing for people who have been made homeless by Katrina. The people who will live in these apartments are already living in the Fergson/Florissant school district, so moving into more permanent housing will not disrupt their lives any more than they have already been disrupted by the hurricane itself. FBW is working with Catholic Charities and St Patrick's center to identify the families and offer them the suppor they need to put down roots in a new place. People will be able to live there rent free for six months and then pay a rent scaled to their income. A lot of the work is done by Faith Beyond Walls volunteers from varied faith traditions who come together to work together on projects like this to make a difference in the St Louis community. Below is a picture of the apartments which are being fixed up and of me presenting a check for $5,000 from St Mark's to Beth and Rina from Faith Beyond Walls. The contractor for the work is also in the picture. . I didn't mean to be looking away but I was explaining how the camera worked when I should have been posing. There is still much to be done on the units: window coverings, mail boxes, some appliances. And there are several more units to be rehabbed, after the mold is removed from them. For more on this project and on how you can help, visit Faith Beyond Walls and click on the "Disaster Relief" button.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Thanksgiving Thoughts

Anna and Mo are safely home for Thanksgiving. My sister and her family had a safe trip to NYC which included trips to the Met, MOMA, Rockefeller Center and seeing the big balloons blown up on Wednesday evening and then flown on Thursday a.m.

Here at St Mark's Thanksgiving features worshipping with our sisters and brothers at Hope UCC and Gethsemane Lutheran. This year was our turn to host the service. Pastor Kendra Nolde of Gethsemane preached a fine sermon and she read an even more wonderful poem about giving thanks by Gerhard Frost. Steve had done spectacular dried flower arrangements. The offering was for Faith Beyond Walls/Interfaith Partnership's work in rehabbing apartments for people who are settling in St Louis having been flooded out of homes in Louisiana. (More about them below.) Sue from St Mark's made coffee and muffins for coffee hour but most people just dashed home to tend their turkeys or set their tables.

Then we had Thanksgiving dinner at St Mark's parish hall. I can't remember how long we've been doing this for. I refer to it as the "orphans' Thanksgiving dinner" -- it is really for people who don't have extended family to celebrate with or who, for some reason, aren't celebrating with them. This year we had several people from St John's church, including their rector Teresa. We also hosted Bishop Bullen and Fr. John from the Sudan and a gentle who said he'd heard about our dinner at the Friends meeting. There were about 36 of us, I think. At least we set the table for 32 and didn't have enough and had to set up another table. We had a maple glazed "olde New England" recipe from with an herbed bread stuffing. I forgot to do the maple glazing, however. We also had the orange and basil turkey from Splendid Table. Once carved up they were pretty much indistinguishable. The Spellers also brought roasted brussels sprouts with red peppers, shallots and balsamic vinegar from the Dierberg's Everybody Cooks magazine and mashed potatoes. People brought wonderful and amazing things: mashed potatoes with noodle gravy, sweet potatoes baked with strudle topping, corn pudding, cauliflower cheese, an amazing array of pies, gingerbread and much, much more. Beverly made sure that we had creamed onions, a relish tray and whole berry cranberry sauce, all staples of my childhood Thanksgivings and (thousands of miles away) of hers. My image of Thanksgiving is of gathering as many people as you can around the table and just of eating. Once or twice as a kid, I took part in various Plymouth Thanksgiving costumed processions, back in the days before our eyes were open about the founding Thanksgiving myth. But mostly we just sat around all day and ate. And I realize that some of the people who were fixtures around my grandparents' table may themselves have been people with no extended family to party with: "Uncle John" who never married, varioud dutch uncles and aunts who didn't have children of their own or if they did never spent holidays with them.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Idle hands are...

Several of the needleworkers of the diocese of Missouri sat together for convention. There were others sprinkled throughout the hall, none male as far as I could see. I think it helps me to focus on what is going, helps me to feel productive when what is going on is not terribly constructive and it also makes me think twice before going to a microphone, lest I find myself all tangled up in my knitting. The sock was in attendance at convention but preferred to stay in the room.

A new deacon for MIssouri

This year's diocesan convention was in Columbia MO in a comfortable Holiday Inn hotel. You can read about the formal actions of convention on the diocesan website, here. At the eucharist at Calvary Church, Susan Bartlett of Rolla was ordained deacon. Now there are four Deacons in the diocese of Missouri and three of them are women. Having spent five years on the COM hoping to encourage more people to recognize a call to the diaconate and privileged to have a deacon here at St Mark's, I was delighted that at long last another deacon was ordained in Missouri. Above are: Susan Bartlett in the middle with Marylen Stansbery of Saint Mark's on the left and Susan Naylor of Emmanuel on the right. Below is another picture of Susan with her presenters, including Beverly Van Horne and her husband Peter.