2018 Ministry Moments


Roger Young    October 22

"Thus says the high and lofty One who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy, “I dwell in the high and holy place and also with the one who has a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble and to revive the heart of the contrite.”                             ~ Isaiah 57:15

This is one of the suggested scripture readings serving to open the service of daily Morning Prayer in the Book of Common Prayer.  The short story I will tell you this morning is about why I have formed over the years a deep and enduring love of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church. The story begins with the Morning Prayer service.

In 2003, Bain White and I went to Fr. David Henderson, then Rector of St. Paul’s, and asked if we could initiate an 8:00 a.m. morning prayer service on Tuesdays and Fridays, one of us being the officiant at each service.  Fr. David consented, and we were off!

In practice, attendance never exceeded a trickle, 8 a.m. weekdays being a natural deterrent.  Many of our services were populated only by the lone Officiant. Disappointed, I went to Fr. David. Who said, “Don’t despair, you may be surprised at what may happen.”

Not long after, alone and reciting the liturgy as the morning sun streamed in, I noticed a catch in my throat and a general exhaustion overtaking me.  Soon, I was sobbing and sobbing, cast adrift but not afraid, momentarily lost yet strangely and wondrously centered.

Over time, the enormity of this experience (and more like it) have convinced me that the Holy Spirit does work in us in this place, and, through the Holy Spirit, the goodness of the Author of all space and time is offered to, and shared with a “wretch like me.” During several intense years of studying the Christian faith (I majored in religion at college and many years later spent two years at divinity school) I often struggled with a personal identification with God and Jesus, both so silent and unapproachable in my inner life.  At St. Paul’s, I discovered the Holy Spirit, the third facet of the Triune God, the third person of the Godhead, constantly among us, encouraging me, guiding me, and forming me

This is why I love St. Paul’s, a place where God’s work is palpable and ever present through the Holy Spirit.  In our charitable giving over the years, Linda’s and my gifts to St. Paul’s have far surpassed all other worthy causes.  It’s not even close!

My hope is that all who enter, rest and pray here may experience the presence of the Holy Spirit enhancing and purifying their lives in Christ.

“I dwell in the high and holy place and also with the one who has a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble and to revive the heart of the contrite.”

This means that God is, in equal measure, as high and lofty as divine holiness demands, and as low and accessible as human sinful nature requires. At St. Paul’s, we see Him in both dimensions.  Praise be to God!

AMEN.        


Ann Holmes - October 29     

Catie’s sermon last Sunday about how images related to vision, reminded me of one of the first things I was involved in when Eph and I moved to Steamboat and joined St. Paul’s.  Maybe some of you remember the slogan, “A Vision of Faith.” But more on that later.

Some of you may remember that Eph, back in the early 1990s, attended this church one winter when he worked for Ski Corp as a shuttle bus driver. When we started dating shortly thereafter, Eph moved to Grand Junction “to chase me,” he always says. I, at that time attended St. Matthew’s in Grand Junction, where, of course I sang in the choir. Eph always dreamed of moving back to Steamboat and especially St. Paul’s. So one Sunday, we visited in the mid-1990s and that Sunday there was special music. It included, if I remember correctly, two 'cellos! Now that may not be something memorable to most people, but I had always promised myself that “when I retire” I would start playing the ‘cello again. Of course I was drawn to a community where, maybe, this vision of mine could happen.

Well, in 1997 after I retired, we moved to Steamboat—that was a good year for new people as that was the year that Nancy Wilson, Bain and Christine White, and Joan and George Dalrymple also moved here and joined St. Paul’s. 

After a committee meeting with a fund raising consultant about how we were going to expand what we now call the Old Stone Church, Nancy and I volunteered to help Father David with some printed materials to kick off the fund-raising campaign. With Nancy’s background in public relations and mine in graphic design, we created several printed items--a brochure, a pledge card, and a table tent card, among other things.

The three of us, David, Nancy and I, brainstormed and looked for a theme. We looked through several large sheets of paper on an easel—what do you call those? A flip chart? These were from a previous all-day focus group at St. Paul’s. Among those sheets we found a prayer which was the culmination of that earlier meeting’s activities and from that we got the theme or slogan for the fundraising campaign, “A Vision of Faith.”

Fast forward to the present: yesterday, during our fun-filled work day when we started cleaning out the office, what did we find? Christian amazingly found a stack of these tent cards and asked if anyone knew what these were! Yes, we did fill a LARGE dumpster with everything from tree branches and leaves to old furniture. We also found a box full of cookbooks that were part of our building fundraising campaign—St. Paul’s has always had many and varied fundraising ideas—we also had T-shirts, canvas bags, etc., to raise money to start building our new church. Why, even our first church building in 1913—over 100 years ago was financed in part with cookbook sales.

But this cookbook borrowed our theme as it is entitled “A Vision of Feast.” During the work day yesterday we brought the box of extra cookbooks up from the basement and if anyone would like to have one, help yourself during coffee hour.

In closing, let me share this vision of faith prayer with you:

Father,

We have asked you for your vision for us.

We are bold to proclaim this vision in your name:

A place of youthfulness for all ages;

A center in our community to enter, rest, learn, and pray;

A place in the sunlight to sing and eat, to sit and meditate;

A place for the needy and wanting;

A place of spiritual growth and reflection;

A place to mourn and weep;

A place to laugh and praise;

A place to bury our saints;

A place of continuity and change;

A place for all to gather;

Large and intimate;

Where-in we meet the needs of our parish family and this community with the love of Christ.

Amen.

After 20 years at St. Paul’s I do believe our new building has lived up to what we prayed for so long ago. Now, Eph and I have lived in one place longer than either of us has ever lived anyplace else in our lives. And yes, I have started playing the ‘cello again—I’m part of a trio that just became a string quartet. We rehearse in the Old Stone Church a couple times a month. I’m so glad all the light bulbs there were replaced during Saturday’s work day—now we can read our music!