Merry Christmas, St. Augustine Family - I hope you are enjoying the holidays with friends and family, and also having some rest and relaxation. I wanted to take a moment, as your Member Engagement Coordinator, to communicate with you about our Story Groups, and encourage you to consider signing up for the group of your choice.
For some time, the clergy and staff of St. Augustine has been receiving feedback from members of the parish that they are really wanting to have available, and participate in a small group experience that goes beyond 'supper clubs.' In that effort, we've structured Story Groups to launch at St. Augustine in early January of 2020, and would like to see as many of you participating as possible.
What exactly IS a story group? It is a small group of less than 10 people who commit to meeting weekly to study the Gospel reading for the upcoming Sunday. Members of a Story Group take time to pray for each other, but also socialize and do 'life' together. The primary goal of the Story Group will be to create an environment for people to develop and grow in their relationship with Jesus Christ, and with each other.
Fr. Joe has very carefully curated a wide range of groups based on different interests and demographics. We have a group for Spanish speakers, adults 55+, single adults, teens (middle and high school), young adults (20's and 30's focused on social and outreach), grief and loss, healing and care, adult men only, ALPHA (for newer Christians or those new to the church), and families with children. Our facilitators are fantastic, and ready to lead.
Groups will meet weekly, and for at least an hour. Meeting locations may rotate at people's homes, at the church, or other locations around the city. You'll get all the specifics from your group facilitator prior to the start.
What are we missing? YOU! I want to personally invite you to get signed up for a Story Group today! What group sounds interesting to you? Please let me know if you'd like to get on one of the rosters and we'll get your spot reserved. There are sign up sheets at the church office where you can sign up in person, or you can email me.
Please let me know if there are any questions I can answer or anything additional I can do to help get you signed up for a Story Group. Groups will launch Wednesday, January 8th, so the time to sign up is now.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! I hope to hear from you soon.
Member Engagement Coordinator
St. Augustine of Canterbury Episcopal Church
A message from our Rector
The holly bears a blossom,
As white as the lily flower,
And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ,
To be our sweet Savior.
The rising of the sun
And the running of the deer,
The playing of the merry organ,
Sweet singing in the choir.
Those familiar words summarize what this time of year is all about. Can you imagine what the Advent/ Christmas Season would be like without the sounds of familiar music ringing in our ears?
For over three decades the organ has played an integral part of St. Augustine’s vibrant music ministry. For many, the power and beauty of an organ raises our spirits, lifts our minds and hearts, helps explain sacred mysteries, reveals divine grace, stirs our deepest emotions and inspires our lives.
Our current organ is over 33 years old, and it has served the congregation faithfully. In recent years it has aged and fallen into major disrepair. While our organists have used their considerable skills to work around parts of the organ that have failed, recently new problems have arisen and we have learned that the organ is beyond economical repair. This past week the Vestry met with our organists to consider how to maintain a sense of musical integrity, which is important to the members of St. Augustine, and find the resources to obtain an instrument that could serve the congregation for many future decades.
During these discussions, St. Augustine was blessed to receive a sizable anonymous gift of $75,000. It seemed fortuitous that the need and the means to begin addressing it came together almost simultaneously.
After careful consideration the clergy, musicians, and Vestry met and determined that it is in the best interest of the church to allocate the anonymous monetary gift towards the acquisition of a new Allen digital organ. Because this instrument is total pipe compatible, it can function eventually as the console in our long-term plan to install the pipes from the Moeller pipe organ we currently have in storage. Thus, we can meet our immediate need for a functioning organ while taking a large step towards our ultimate goal of a grand pipe organ.
The organ manufacturer tells us that it will take about four months for the new instrument to be ready for installation. In the meantime, the Allen Organ Company has provided us with a loaner instrument until our new instrument is installed. The loaner organ is in place now and ready to meet our needs while our own is completed.
Click on this link https://youtu.be/4R6G7o2V2JQ to watch a video in which our organist, John Potter, explains the issues with our old organ.
Consecration Sunday Is Coming Congregations that approach financial stewardship from a biblical perspective do not view the money Christians give to their church merely as a way to pay its bills. Rather, such congregations see financial contributions as a way to help people grow spiritually in their relationship with God by supporting their church’s mission and ministry with a percentage of their incomes. Our congregation’s Vestry has selected the New Consecration Sunday Stewardship Program as a way to teach the biblical and spiritual principles of generous giving in our stewardship education emphasis this year. New Consecration Sunday is based on the biblical philosophy of the need of the giver to give for his or her own spiritual development, rather than on the need of the church to receive. Instead of treating people like members of a social club who should pay dues, we will treat people like followers of Jesus Christ who want to give unselfishly as an act of discipleship. New Consecration Sunday encourages people toward proportionate and systematic giving in response to the question, “What percentage of my income is God calling me to give?” During morning worship on Consecration Sunday, we are asking our attendees and members to make their financial commitments to our church’s outreach and other ministries in this community. Every attendee and member who completes an Estimate of Giving Card does so voluntarily by attending morning worship on Consecration Sunday. Even members who feel strongly opposed to completing a card are urged to attend. The collection of giving cards is done in such a way that no one feels personal embarrassment if he or she chooses not to fill out a card. We will do no home solicitation to ask people to complete cards. During morning worship our guest leader will conduct a brief period of instruction and inspiration, culminating in members making their commitments as a confidential act of worship. We will encourage participation in Consecration Sunday events through the Consecration Sunday team and Vestry members. Since we will make no follow-up visits to ask people to complete their cards, we will make every effort to inform, inspire, and commit everyone to attend Consecration Sunday worship. Thanks in advance for your enthusiastic participation in Consecration Sunday events. Marian J. Moon Senior Warden
September 30, 2019
Dear St. Augustine of Canterbury Community,
“I am so ready for fall!” That’s a statement I often hear at this time of the year. The weather cools off a bit and nature begins its display of glorious new colors. This is apt metaphor for the changes that are coming to St. Augustine’s this fall. Our worship space is about to take on a new look in just a few weeks, and I’m so ready!
After years of dreaming on my part and many months of discussions and planning by our Vestry we are ready to make a significant change to our Nave. The reason driving the change is a practical one: the need to accommodate more worshippers as our parish grows. The reasons for the design of the new space are theological and historical. I’m excited to tell you about these practical, theological and historical aspects of the enhancements, but let’s first start with a basic description of what we’re planning:
In summary, the changes we are making are:
We’ve included a “worth-a-thousand-words” drawing that I hope will help you visualize what the new space will look like. We’ve also included details of the practical, historical and theological bases for the design choices we’ve made. I look forward to sharing more details about each of these aspects of our change in the coming weeks.
All of this transformation will cause some disruption to our usual routine beginning Monday, October 6th and culminating in the consecration of the new worship space -- along with the grand new Alice M. Norton Memorial Columbarium -- on November 3rd. So please pardon the near-term mess and rejoice with us in the opportunity for a new, fresh and meaningful look for our space in the near future.
Fr. Joseph C. Alsay
PRACTICAL ASPECTS of the Coming Changes:
Our reconfigured Nave will:
HISTORICAL AND THEOLOGICAL ASPECTS of the Coming Changes:
Through the wonderful flexibility of our new space we will understand in new, fresh and powerful ways that we are pilgrim people, not unlike our ancient biblical ancestors. The variety of ways that we continually decorate our space for various church holidays and seasons will now be enhanced with the ability to rearrange the space as well. In Christian liturgy there is no audience, only participants in the unfolding drama of our understanding of God.
A church is the place where the Christian community is gathered to hear the word of God, to offer intercession and praise and, above all, to celebrate the Eucharist. Thus, having the altar located in the midst of the gathered congregation stands as a special image of the church itself – God in the midst of the people.
The new altar will be constructed of hard wood and have an inlaid slab of Jerusalem limestone from the Holy Land on the top. Prayers and intercessions of the current members and friends of St. Augustine’s, as well as scripture passages relating to the Eucharist, will be permanently placed between the slab of stone and the wood during construction. These will be our heartfelt dreams and prayers for those people in our community that are searching for what we have found at St. Augustine’s. Thus the altar will become a time capsule of our hopes and dreams for the future mission and ministry of our church.
It is our further hope that, when funds are available, our present altar will ultimately be repurposed into the new baptismal font and pool. The continuity of this cherished piece of liturgical furnishing will be evident through the creation of a piece that will aid in the initiation of new believers for generations to come.
The faithfulness and generosity of the St. Augustine community never ceases to show up and make a difference! In two Sundays, over $2,206.00 was raised to provide 150 brand new backpacks filled with fresh school supplies for children in need served by Jesus House. THANK YOU to all who contributed and responded to this call. To God be the glory!
If you are able to volunteer in any capacity at the Jesus House Back to School Bash on this upcoming Saturday, July 27 from 9 to 12, contact Betty Mise at email@example.com or contact the church offices. THANK YOU, AGAIN!
SUMMER SUNDAY ADULT FORUM – The next Summer Sunday Adult Forum with Ann Ali, “Rest for the Weary: Where to Go When You're Empty and Spent” will take place July 28 at 9:35 a.m. Running on fumes is difficult. We're traveling at a decent pace when all of a sudden we sputter and eventually break down. We were warned it might happen, yet somehow we kept going, hoping we'd still reach our destination. Empty and spent, we brush ourselves off and get up. Where can we go when we're depleted? What do we need at those moments? How will God meet those needs?
LITURGY LEADERSHIP TRAINING – Anyone who is currently a Eucharistic Minister, Eucharistic Visitor, Lay Reader, Usher, Verger, or Greeter—or who wants to learn skills to become a part of one of these ministries—is invited to attend the Liturgy Leadership Training on Saturday, July 27, 10 a.m.–2 p.m., at Church of the Resurrection, 13112 N. Rockwell Ave., Oklahoma City. The event costs $20 and lunch is provided. Register via the diocesan webpage:www.epiok.org.
GIVE THANKS! – Throughout the long “Green Season,” before entering the Nave you will be invited to write something for which you are “thankful” (or that made you happy this past week) on the paper leaves provided in the Narthex. Each week, these leaves will be added to the Tree of Life-Giving Thanks, located above the oblation table. In November, these leaves will be collected and presented on the altar as part of a wider Thanksgiving Eve Service.
WELCOME DEACON-INTERN TODD! – Todd S. Olberding will be joining us as a deacon-intern for the next two years. We will have a breakfast “meet & greet” for Todd and his wife, Cynda, THIS SUNDAY, July 21, between the two services. Please stop by to introduce yourself and welcome them to St. Augustine’s. If you’d like to connect further with Todd, feel free to drop him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
BACKPACK BLESSINGS – Update – In one Sunday, the incredible members of St. Augustine sponsored 150 backpacks for children in need through the Jesus House Back to School Bash! Well done, St. Augustine—we met our goal! NOW, this week, you'll have a chance to go a step further. The Jesus House has asked if we could put school supplies in those backpacks, and we know the St. Augustine family will not let them down. For $5 you'll provide a brand new ream of notebook paper, pack of markers, and pack of colored pencils in each backpack. THIS SUNDAY, July 21 will be the absolute last Sunday to collect these items to benefit Jesus House. Thank you for your continued support of Jesus House and children in need across OKC!
ONLINE DIRECTORY PHOTOS – It's Picture Time! To help update our directory photos, Lifetouch Photography is coming to St. Augustine Thursday, August 22 and Friday, August 23, 2 p.m.–9 p.m., and Saturday, August 24 10 a.m.–5 p.m. to take completely free photos. PETS ENCOURAGED! DID YOU KNOW... Lifetouch has committed to donate $10 per family photo session back to St. Augustine. Please sign up in person at the church office, or online with this link, to reserve your spot! https://booknow-lifetouch.appointment-plus.com/b0bsjtj8/
BACKPACK BLESSINGS FOR JESUS HOUSE – St. Augustine is partnering with Jesus House to provide 150 backpacks to children in need throughout Oklahoma City as part of their Back to School Bash on Saturday, July 27th. For a donation of just $10, you'll put a brand-new backpack in the hands of a girl or boy who wouldn't otherwise have one this school year. Starting this Sunday, July 14, backpacks will be available for "sale" in the commons, or you can make a note in the memo of your offering noting 'Backpack Blessing'. We will also need volunteers to help at the Back to School Bash on Saturday, July 27 from 9-12 at Jesus House. Contact Betty Mise at email@example.com or stop by the church office for more information.
Seventeen youth and four adults from St. Augustine's are in Winchester, Kentucky, this week on their annual mission trip. We pray for their safe travel and work, and spiritual growth throughout their journey.
St. Augustine's members Tyler & Angela Davis are expecting a baby, and we're throwing them a baby shower, St. Auggie’s style. All members of the church are invited to join the celebration in the Parish hall, after the 10:45 service THIS SUNDAY, June 30. This is a come-and-go event. If you wish to purchase a gift, Tyler and Angela have a registry at babylist.com.
The evenings of July 15th through 19th, we will be joining with our brothers and sisters at Church of the Resurrection for their Family Fellowship Week, an all-ages vacation bible school-type experience. This year features a superhero theme and will explore the Epistles. There will be opportunities both to help and to participate...sign up on the clipboard in the Commons Area or contact St. Augustine's office.