Saturday collection 3/21/09

Here is our weekly collection plate, offering a few of the good things that Episcopalians and their congregations have done that made the news this past week. And other news fit to print.

A group of teenagers at Emmanuel Episcopal Church, Virginia Beach, VA, are staging The Laramie Project for their community.

“I admire our youth group for taking on such challenging and difficult topics,” said Rev. John Baldwin. “They are inspiring and motivating to us all.”…”The meaning behind the production really spoke to me,” said Timothy Sessions, the director. “These are all issues my youth group is facing and working through themselves.”…Eleven cast members range in age from 11 to 25 and play 62 different parts. The production, which is geared for those 12 and older, has a simple stage but uses a lot of audio-visual equipment and enhancements. “This is a very powerful play dealing with a sad incident,” Baldwin said. “The enthusiasm and courage the youth group has displayed is contagious to us all.”

Read more here.


Orphaned wild animals find shelter in Louisiana sanctuary:

Hurricane Katrina dealt a blow to the main sanctuary, wiping out 1,200 trees and doing considerable damage to the buildings. But something good came out of the storm. In a little blue barn on the campus of Christ Episcopal School in Covington, the sanctuary now has a satellite branch and educational center where children learn how to be good stewards of the earth. Students at the pre-K through eighth-grade school and those who visit from other schools learn the difference between domestic and wild animals and experience wildlife in memorable ways. They meet a fawn, orphaned by a hunter, and a pelican, injured by an alligator. And they follow half-grown ducks as they waddle through the barnyard. They learn that wildlife is not for petting and cuddling, but the guinea pigs that came from an animal shelter are. Read about the program here.


Cancer caps that were knit by members of the Diocese of Bethlehem are a hit with patients.

When Mother Laura Howell, rector of Trinity Bethlehem (PA), took a call today (Wednesday, March 18) from a Denver hospital, she said she began hyperventilating. Her mother, who lives near Denver, has been dealing with cancer. “I couldn’t imagine that getting a call from Cancer Services from her hospital could be anything but traumatic.” she said. “On the contrary!”

Over the years, the people involved in the Crafting Your Prayers projects at Trinity Church, with others from around the Diocese of Bethlehem, “have made dozens and dozens of elegant or silly, furry, funky, soft caps for cancer patients who have lost their hair through chemo or radiation.” They caps come with a little tag that says, “Made with prayers for your comfort and health.”

Cancer Services at Exempla Lutheran Medical Center were calling Mother Laura to ask for more caps. Because of the many caps already provided, they have become so popular in the Denver area that the Cancer Society wants the pattern, to be able to start local groups of cap-makers.

Read more in the Morning Call of Allentown, PA.

H/T to newSpin, blog of the Diocese of Bethlehem.


Jefferson Davis was an Episcopalian. If he went to your church, how would you commemorate that today? The Church of the Epiphany in Washington, DC put on a play. “A Place of Healing” is based on letters, diaries and other primary sources. RNS reports: Davis played a modest role in the life of the congregation and in the play, which dramatizes Civil War events, including Epiphany’s stint as a war hospital and its rector’s Easter sermon after Lincoln’s assassination on Good Friday in 1865.

In the play at Epiphany, Uchenna Alexander, a three-year member of the church, portrayed a beaming bride who married there in 1849. Alexander, who is black, said she hadn’t been aware of the Davis tie before the play, but draws a theological lesson from the association. “It makes me think of the wonders God works,” she said. “It shows how we’re all connected—all of us, people who we like, who we don’t like, who we agree and disagree with, we are all children of God, all under the same roof.”


A parish archive is being created by six members of members of All Saint’s Church in Saugatuck, Michigan, covering the 141 years of their parish’s existence. reports:

They have 210 years of experience between them and hope they can capture as much history of the 141 years of All Saints’ Episcopal Church as they can find.

Six members of the church are collecting and categorizing historical items relating to the church at 252 Grand St., in Saugatuck.

“We’ve got a lot of history. We’re trying to create an archive,” said Leslie Wessman, a church member since 2004.

The church was founded in 1868 and marked its 140th anniversary in November. Church members didn’t want to wait until the 150th anniversary to create an archive.

“We do have older members who may or may not be here in another decade,” said the Rev. Corwin Stoppel. Stoppel has been leading the church since 1990.


Volunteers build new houses in a week through a program of Lutheran Episcopal Services. The Mississippi Press talks about a man moving from his FEMA cottage to a new home last week.

Marvin Miller arrived at his new home on Sam Road on Saturday morning with a jacket over his head to prevent him from seeing it.

A week ago, he left the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency cottage that he’s called home since after Aug. 29, 2005, when Hurricane Katrina destroyed the Northrop Grumman retiree’s house.

On Saturday, after son Billy Miller of Lucedale got his father out of the pickup truck and removed the jacket, Marvin Miller looked up and said, “I love it. I’m no speechmaker. I don’t know what to say.”

Miller, 66, was flanked by his son and grandchildren, Angela, Ashley and Joseph, as he saw his new house. Daughter-in-law Margie Miller was taking photographs as Lutheran Episcopal Services volunteers cheered and took their own photographs and videos.

The house was the third “Speed Build” for the volunteers in Jackson County since the storm. Construction began March 7, and by Friday, a building inspector was looking over the finished product, said Carla Poole, a Lutheran Episcopal Services case manager.

The 1,440-square-foot house is 15 feet above the ground and is equipped with an elevator, she said. The two-bedroom, two-bath house is furnished.

Before Miller arrived, Joe West, who led the construction team, said, “You don’t know, you can’t know, how much I appreciate every one of you, because we did it again with God’s help, his strength, his power. Three times we’ve done this in Mississippi right here in this county.”

Poole said Lutheran Episcopal Services has done about 100 house construction projects in Jackson, Harrison, Hancock, George, Stone, Pearl River and Marion counties.


While many of their friends were at the beach or relaxing at home, the Episcopal campus ministry of Virginia Commonwealth University spent their spring break rebuilding a house in New Orleans. The group of 13 students worked through a program with the Office of Disaster Response of the Episcopal Diocese of Louisiana.

Read more here.

Past Posts