Saturday Collection 5/8/2010

We start this week’s Saturday collection with a report of what appears to be a revival of Evensong in Southern California:

“St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Del Mar holds an Evensong at 5 p.m. the first Sunday of each month. While the Episcopal Cathedral of St. Paul in San Diego (home of Bishop James Mathes) holds a weekly Evensong on Sundays, local Episcopalian officials said as far as they know, St. Peter’s is the only parish in the diocese to hold a regularly scheduled Evensong, although others hold special Evensongs from time to time. The Diocese of San Diego takes in San Diego and Imperial counties, as well as much of southern Riverside County and Yuma County in Arizona.

‘I think people enjoy the brevity of it,’ said Ruben Valenzuela, director of music at St. Peter’s, on the appeal of the monthly Evensong services. ‘In contrast to the morning service, which will typically run an hour and 20 minutes, this runs 40 minutes.

‘It’s essentially just music and prayer. Some people come because they want to pray, others come because they want to hear some really good music, and some want both.'”

Full article here.

And then jumping across the continent and landing in Northeast Pennslyvania (Pottstown to be specific) we have this story about a knitting ministry at St. John’s in Ashland:

Jones has been knitting the black or olive green woolen caps during the winter for wounded soldiers in Iraq as one of many projects conducted by the parish’s Health Service Committee, directed by parish nurse Kathy Burda.

The latest batch of caps were blessed by Evans during the Sunday morning worship service. Since beginning her project, Jones has knitted more than 150 caps, all blessed by Evans and sent to Iraq for wounded soldiers who will be transported from the battlefield to military hospitals in Germany.

The caps are worn during the trip from Iraq to Germany, but Jones has also knitted more colorful caps that are given to soldiers to wear when they are transported back to the United States.

Shooting back across the country to the Northwest, there’s a report of the Parish Nursing program in Sisters Oregon that is run by Episcopalian and Roman Catholic nurses.

While we’re in the Northwest, there’s a report of new building project begun in Redmond Washington. Church of Holy Cross is getting ready to break ground on the first phase of their expansion project:

“We are doing this work because we’ve been out of space for about 15 years now. We have a booming preschool and Sunday programs. We are a small congregation, about 200 families, and another 150 families served by the preschool,” he added. “When our church was built in 1982, the entrance pointed toward downtown Redmond. Now our front door will be toward 116th, more visible.”

The timing for a capital campaign to fund the improvements was ideal. That happened three years ago — before the economy tanked, Eichner noted. And at least 85 percent of parishioners’ pledges have still come in, regardless of the changed economy.

With a “pastoral sized congregation,” approximately 200 worshippers each Sunday, one clergy person and a small staff, “we do a few things and we do them really well,” said Eichner. Best Beginnings Preschool, which is housed on the church grounds “is what we do best,” he remarked. “It’s not a tenant organization, it was created by Holy Cross as a developmental program, not a parochial preschool.”

And finally lest we here on the Lead be accused of jumping back and forth over the middle of the continent, here’s news of how St. Thomas’ in Spring Dale, Arkansas is taking environmental stewardship seriously with its three energy producing windmills and the beginnings of a plan to take advantage of solar energy too. Which isn’t surprising given that one of their lay members has a Doctorate in Environmental Sciences and is the CEO of a renewable energy company.

We close today, again in the middle of the country, with a story about the upcoming retirement of The Very Rev. George Back, Dean of St. Paul’s Cathedral in Oklahoma City. In the article Dean Back reflects on the events surrounding the Oklahoma City bombing, the rebuilding of the physical plant during his tenure, and the reinvigoration of the downtown around the Cathedral.

The article ends on this hopeful note:

[Dean Back] said he hopes to spend some of his retirement years writing for a new website he plans to launch soon. He also plans to use his newfound time for more soul-searching and praying.

“I think older people have an obligation to be soul leaders — to reflect the soul qualities of being alive and in the presence of God,” Back said. “It’s a responsibility to let go at a certain point and let other people lead, grow and think.”

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