October 14 2018

Vicar’s Diary   October 14, 2018

This has been a week of preparation.  I assembled the agenda for our Vestry meeting Thursday evening which included continuing discussion of the sale of our vacant lot, replacement of the hood over the range in the kitchen, and a possible solar farm on the new section of the cemetery.

I also needed to prepare for our discussions at the all-parish breakfast today as we begin looking at the future of the parish after CSP ends completely.  Believe it or not, we will begin by looking at the Exodus and Wilderness sagas as models for what is occurring in the church and culture.  These are interesting times in which we live.

It also time to prepare for our annual Roast Pork dinner.  Sign up sheets are on the back table for volunteer shifts.  The application to Ulster County Health Department need to be submitted, advertizing needs to go out, and food needs to be purchased.  The dinner has a great reputation in the area as many people look forward to it every year.

I am on the schedule to conduct worship this Sunday afternoon at Ten Broeck Nursing Home so the worship bulletins need to be prepared.  I type out the parts of the service that are said in unison such as the psalm, prayer responses, Creed, etc.  It takes a fair amount of time but it a labor of love.  The residents who attend are always so grateful that I come, and although I don’t really know any of them, I have come to recognize many of their faces.

Lastly, as we prepare to celebrate all the saints the first Sunday of November, I have put a page on the back table for the names of those who have died since All Saints Day last year.  I will add the names of those on the wall plaques as well as those listed in our parish register.

Lots going on.


September 2, 2018 - End of Summer

The unofficial end of summer occurs tomorrow with Labor Day. 

The planets and sun don’t agree with us, but for our purposes schools begin again, vacations come to an end, and the days begin to shorten.  (With a little luck the heat and humidity will disappear until 2019.)  Here at Trinity a couple of things occur in terms of our worship.  We return to a fuller liturgy, bringing back the Collect for Purity and Gloria in excelsis for our verbal opening, and saying a confession that is separate from the Prayers of the People.  You will also notice that we have ended our hearing of the David and Solomon saga as our first reading.  There are many incidents in the life of this major figure that we did not cover, but the lectionary includes all the “high points.”  The lectionary returns to its thematic choices that do not follow any particular pattern from one Sunday to the next.  This will continue through the fall until we begin with the “biographic” half of the liturgical calendar on Advent I which follows Jesus’ life from pregnancy to death, resurrection, and ascension.

As Sarah and I spend much of our time preparimg for Gracie’s wedding, the Vestry continues to move forward on a couple of important projects: the installation of an oven hood, and the sale of the vacant lot.  We are also mindful of Joe and Edna’s wedding preparations for one of their sons on September 8.  Lots top celebrate!


August 26, 2018 - Why I Volunteer at a Nursing Home

This afternoon I will take my regularly scheduled turn at Ten Broeck nursing home, conducting their 2 pm Protestant service. 

I led the service two weeks ago, but that was substituting for another pastor who had to cancel.  The list of the pastors who lead worship there is not lengthy. 

It’s a fair amount of work, preparing the worship bulletin, printing them, preparing a sermon (not always what I preach here that same morning) then driving to Ten Broeck Sunday afternoon when most pastors are ready to put their feet up following a busy Sunday morning at their respective congregations.  It is also strictly volunteer.  So I can see why many clergy decline participation. 

I do it to honor my departed mother-in-law as I remember how much she appreciated the worship services at her nursing home.

For the most part, the people who come have been faithful church participants their whole lives, and the prayers, hymns, and readings are a big part of their support and spiritual lives.  Now that they are no longer able to attend their home parishes I feel it important to bring “church” to them.  If I ever end up in a nursing home I hope some good-hearted pastor comes to lead worship…..so I can critique their sermon!

During the week I helped arrange a meeting between our Vestry and Bishop Glasspool to discuss what happens here when the “step-down” program comes to an end. (December 31, 2019.)  I will not attend that gathering since it is a matter for the parish leadership and diocesan representatives.

Finally, Sarah and I were away Thursday and Friday to visit our new grandson in New Hampshire.  It’s a long trip but totally worth it.

September 9, 2018 - The Beauty of Morning Prayer

After our services today I will be driving to Poughkeepsie to supply again for my colleague, Filomena Servellon, at the congregation of the Virgin of Guadalupe.  She will be hosting the bishop at the parish in Kingston and feels she needs to be there extra early to make sure all the details are in place and doesn’t have the time to celebrate and preach at both locations.  I feel it is important to support my fellow clergy and am happy to fill in.

For the next two Sundays we will observe Morning Prayer at both 8 am and 10 am.  I know many of you grew up with this service since before 1960 it was more common than a Sunday Eucharist in Episcopal Churches. 

For those who do not have a personal history with it, I hope you are getting used to it and learning to appreciate its rhythm and beauty. The service opens with praise, then moves to “word” and ends with prayers.  Back in the day churches that were large enough to support choirs would include beautiful anthems during the service and chant some of the canticles and the psalm. 

The other great advantage of Morning Prayer is that it does not require an ordained person to lead it.  This was especially helpful when America still had a frontier.  During the time of westward expansion lay people could lead Sunday services in remote areas that did not have access to someone who was ordained. I have printed sermons that I found on the internet which will be read on both Sundays.  I think they are very worthwhile and we can think of them as letters (epistles) from the days of early Christianity. 

Enjoy, and I’ll see you on the 23rd.



August 5th, 2018 - Life after a broken bone

Life continues to be a bit slower for me than normal because of the broken bone in my right hand. I got another x-ray Monday afternoon and it appears to be healing nicely so there is a light at the end of this tunnel.  When people ask me the inevitable “What happened?” I’ve started telling people that I had to smack a misbehaving parishioner.  Most people know I’m kidding.

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