Grace and peace. St. Patrick’s is in a very healthy position and for that I am thankful. We have engaged members and a wonderful staff. Over the past several years, we have updated our infrastructure in an effort to better serve our members and to be a place that is welcoming to people looking for a spiritual home. The parishioners of St. Patrick’s consider this place a second home. The goal that I share with your Vestry is that we want to do everything we can to continue that family spirit for people of all ages.
The Vestry has decided that the best way to accomplish our goal is to change our Sundaymorning programming. When we return to our full programming schedule on Kickoff Sunday(September 9), we will continue to meet for worship on Sunday mornings at 10am. In lieu of the 9am Sunday School service, we will be hiring a children’s chapel leader who will work with volunteers to share the Biblical story with our children. Children will be invited to join children’s chapel during the time of the readings, sermon, and prayers during our 10amworship service. They will rejoin their families in time for communion. Our children are very important to us and their engagement in our life is extremely important to us. If you know someone who might be interested in this new position, please let me know.
In our new Sunday schedule, we will offer a discovery class for people interested in learning more about the Christian faith and the Episcopal Church at 9am. This opportunity will be open to people new to our community and might be a good refresher for those who have been here for decades. It also serves as preparation for the sacrament of Confirmation or a reaffirmation of faith which is offered by Bishop Mariann at a service at the Washington National Cathedral on November 10, 2018 at 10am. The 9am time slot will also be open for music rehearsals, seasonal offerings, and community service opportunities.
At 11:15 (after the 10am service), we will offer a variety of programming, open to all who are interested, that will focus on the Bible, spiritual practices, current events, ministry updates, and resources for living (like our programming on times of crisis this past Spring). As we get closer to September, more specific information about what we will offer will be publicized on Sunday mornings and through this weekly communication.
As you know, we have an excellent music program and all of our current offerings will continue. Our new 10am service time will include music from all of our musical groups using a variety of musical genres including some of the music from the former 9am Sunday School service. Our parishioners are always encouraged to share their musical gifts. Please let Adele know if you are interested in joining any of our groups.
We learned from the survey you took this past Spring, is that there is a desire for a worship opportunity that will take place outside of Sunday morning. As we make plans for our program year, we are exploring options for alternative worship experiences.
We also know that a family is much more than meeting weekly for worship and education. Family is about deeper conversations which often happen around a table. We will continue to offer Service Saturdays and Game Nights this year. In addition, MaryAnn Griffin will be working on developing a program called Tables of Eight (like Friendship Feasts). Tables of Eight will be opportunities for members of our community to gather for dinner and conversation. I hope that each Table of Eight will keep an open seat for someone new. My wife Jennifer and I are also planning to offer a series of dinners for parishioners at our apartment beginning in the Fall.
In addition to these wonderful small group gatherings, St. Patrick’s will also be hosting a Holy Ghosts and Goblins Costume Party on the evening of Saturday, October 27. I hope that you will save the date, think about your costume, and ask a friend to join you. The party is primarily about building community, but there will be an opportunity to purchase places in community events (like bird watching or wine tastings).
If you have any ideas about how best to live into our mission at St. Patrick’s, please send me a note or give me a call.