Thursday, September 27, 2007

Farewell to Summer: a report in several installments
Summertime in Washington is characterized by the profuse, Northern sunlight. Long days from 5:00 a.m. or so in the morning to 10:00 p.m. at night, help make up for the deficit of light during the rest of the year. Basically I have learned that you want to get outside as much as possible during Summer, and stay outside. If you have a young family, as I do, then you practically 'live' at the parks (of which there are many beautiful ones), at the pool, at the Farmers' Market and in hiking and other outdoor sports. Of course everyone takes their turn going on vacation.
Summertime at Saint Bartholomew's Parish has begun to take on its own seasonal round of activities. Those include our Patronal Festival & Parish Birthday, our Youth Camps and the Annual Parish Retreat. Amidst these activities the regular round of worship continues: Matins, Holy Communion, Evensong, the heart of Anglican spirituality. There is also a lot of work that goes on as well: the Garden Guild spent a lot of time around the Church this Summer, bringing much-needed color to the place; (NOTE: this photo is of an English rose that lives right outside my study window, called a "Climbing Handel"). The senior warden and junior warden put a lot of time into various repairs and improvements to the buildings and property. My wife and I and our Church School teachers put a lot of work into the Summer Programs for our young people.
In short, this Summer at Saint Bartholomew's Parish in Woodinville, WA consisted of work and prayer, some welcome rest...and profuse sunshine. Enjoy the next installments of my report, on our Parish Birthday, Camps and Retreat.

Farewell to Summer: 29th Birthday of our Parish

We gathered on St. Bartholomew's Eve for Solemn Evensong followed by a Potluck. At Evensong we enjoyed a new pair of candelabra purchased by our Memorial Committee. (for this photo, I lit all of the candles: six office candles and two Eucharistic candles) After supper M. E. regaled us with some favorite stories of the early life of our parish. Then, Kavya and Josephine regaled us with some music. For a full report of our Parish Birthday, see the entry called 'Surprises', at the Continuing Home blog.

Farewell to Summer: Parish Retreat

The biggest end-of-Summer activity of our Parish was the Parish Retreat, a time of refreshing and renewal. It was time well-spent in mediations, silence, inspirational reading (Evelyn Underhill's Abba), and enjoyment of the beautiful retreat center of the Adrian Dominican Sisters in Woodway, WA, called Rosary Heights. (In spite of the name of the retreat center, we didn't say any Rosaries, although there is an Anglican Rosary. We did say Matins, The Litany, and Evensong a la the 1928 Book of Common Prayer. )
Our guest speaker, the Rev. Jim Eichner of Holy Cross Parish in Redmond, did a phenomemal job, for which we are grateful. Our 3 Lay Readers spent time in the Rosary Heights Library with me, going over some of the things they need to know in order to be licensed. The Vestry had its September meeting in the lovely Garden Room, with the sound of a fountain splashing in the back ground. Those who did not have to attend special meetings or training sessions enjoyed a showing of The Case for Christ, The Movie, which is the story of the conversion of Lee Strobel from atheism to Christianity.

Farewell to Summer: Summer Camp(s !)
First of all, let the reader put all of the traditional notions of 'camping' out of his or her mind. When I write of 'camps' here, it is not the kind that requires tents and other equipment. Rather it is that sort of 'theme day camp' that is known and loved by kids and parents everywhere during the Summer months. In this case it was a time for our young people to spend at the Church in order to devote themeselves to education and training. This Summer we had our second annual Choir Camp and our first [hopefully annual] Camp Cookie.
The main musical repertoire of our Choir Camp was the Evening Service in C, by George Dyson (consisting of Magnificat & Nunc Dimmittis). We also worked on vocal technique and music theory, assisted by our RSCM Voice for Life workbooks. Rhonda led a fine art class, in which the choristers created some interesting and fun craft projects. We were supposed to have dance and Tai Chi instruction, but that did not work out. Instead, Drew saved the day. He came all the way from Microsoft during his lunch break to lead the choristers in group games for a break from their hard work. Each chorister was delighted to recieve a complementary deck of Uno cards from Drew. (Game Camp next Summer, anyone?)
Camp Cookie - this was a 'first' in our Parish, but hopefully it will become an annual event. This 1-Day Camp served a more general 'clientele' (as it were), kids 3 - 16 were invited. A goodly number of moms came too. My 3 year old attended with his Personal Behavioral Assistant (mom). The Camp was led by Robert & Debra, who are both professional educators: Robert is a physical education teacher at a public elementary school, and Debra (now retired) operated a preschool for 25 years. The stated purpose of Camp Cookie was to prepare cookies for the Kairos Prison Ministry. However, it was also a great thing for the kids to just be there to interact with Debra and Robert and partake in their quality activites which our Church is so blessed to be able to offer.
Farewell to Summer: conclusions

With Winter descending, I will likely soon begin arriving at Church while it is still fairly dark in the morning and leaving again in the dark. There will be a short period of pale sunlight in the middle of the day. Yet, looking on the bright side: the Winter darkness works well as a backdrop for Evensong, especially if we use the new Office candles. The Evening Service that our choristers learned will no doubt be pressed into 'service'. Looking forward to that. (Incidentally, I am thinking of moving the daily Evensong Service to an earlier time this Winter (maybe 4:30 instead of 5:30).

In spite of the occasional crisis, this has been a very good Summer for our parish. A highlight for me was when I took two consecutive weeks off at the end of Summer, and during that time discovered that two of our new Lay Readers are gifted preachers! I have also found the friendship of two devout ministers in this area, one Episcopal and one Lutheran, who are both turning out to be a great source of encouragement to me. And, we have another joyful day to look forward to at the end of September: four new members will be recieved into our parish. We welcome Christy, John, Bob & Diane to our Parish Family! Gloria Deo!