What a summer it has been! The weather has been remarkably mild, and, as summers go, the attendance has held up well. Thanks to all who have helped keep things going through the summer months – Altar Guild, Ushers, Acolytes, Lay Readers/Chalicists, Coffee Hour Hosts, Rita at the console, Wendy at her desk, and all kinds of volunteers, including presenters of “Summer Doings.” Lots of people have been working through the summer on various projects and preparations. Michael and Holly Walker slave on in the work to get our new website up and running, various building maintenance needs have been tended to, and the Outreach Committee has kept up the many feeding programs and been busy with preparations for the Gala on September 27th (do you have your tickets yet?!?) Bob Sampson has quietly toiled away at the restoration of three of our outdoor benches, along with refinishing a number of items for the auction at the Gala. Pastoral Care providers have gone about their tasks easing other’s pain and burdens. Others have served in countless, often quiet, ways.
Many of you have come back from trips to places of relaxation or adventure (or both) with tales of good times and of fun visits with family and friends. And now fall approaches, and we do, indeed, “begin again.” The beginning of the program year marks a new year for our life together more than the beginning of the liturgical year on the First Sunday of Advent or even the beginning of the calendar year on January first. Those of us with kids (or grandchildren) in school – at home or away – have our lives dictated to us by the needs of their studies. And those who don’t have kids (or don’t have them around anymore) still feel the influence of the academic year in all kinds of ways.
Here at the Church, the program year begins anew for us with Bring-a-Friend Sunday on September 7th. This is a wonderful opportunity for us to introduce the wonderful, Christ-centered life that we share at Manakin with our family, friends, neighbors or coworkers. Studies continually show that 75% of the people in churches are there because of just such an invitation. Our life together has so many things to offer, and there are so many people out there seeking meaning in their lives. Elsewhere in this Messenger, you will find information about all of the ministries mentioned above and many more. The Choirs – adults’ and children’s – will take up rehearsals soon, and both groups would love to have new members (one need not be able to read music or have a voice worthy of “America’s Got Talent”.) The Women of the Church/ECW will have new leadership as Louanne Carnwath returns as President (Thanks, Louanne!) Adult Enrichment will be offering a number of offerings this fall – in October and November on 1st Wednesdays, 2nd Saturdays, and 3rd Sundays (during the coffee hour) – along with other events. Watch for details in the bulletin and in future newsletters. In addition, the Committee has been working diligently since spring on preparations for our 2nd Founders’ Day Festival on Saturday, December 6th. While honoring the whole of our 314-year history, this year’s celebration will focus on life in Powhatan and Chesterfield Counties in the 1850s and 1860s, in consideration of the sesquicentennial of the Civil War. A number of presenters and vendors are already lined up, and many others are working with us on details.
A new pastoral care program will soon begin as Paula Price shares the results of her recent weeklong training in Stephen Ministry.
Sunday School registration will be on Bring-a-Friend Sunday (the last day of the summer schedule with worship at 8:00 and 10:00 am) and Sunday School classes will begin on September 14th. On the 14th, we will return to the fall/winter schedule with worship at 8:00, 9:30, and 11:15 AM. There will be a new configuration of grades in the elementary classes. The 6th-9th grade “Disciples” class will, along with their ongoing learnings, be preparing the 8th graders (and those older who have not been confirmed) for the option of being presented for confirmation when the Bishop comes to visit on May 31st.
A new worship offering will be starting in October. Our Healing Service and Eucharist will continue on 1st and 3rd Wednesdays at 6:00 PM, but on the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays, there will be a service called “The Still Small Voice,” also beginning at 6:00 PM. This worship will be an opportunity in our noise-filled world to experience a little liturgical silence. It will begin with an opening prayer or two and possibly a brief meditation, followed by about 15 minutes of silence, in which one can listen for the “still small voice of God.” (That phrase can also be translated as “silence.”) There will then be the Lord’s Prayer and a closing prayer. It will be led by lay persons. If you would like to know more or volunteer to lead a service, please contact me.
Remember what I said above about the “75%” in each church? Most of us got here – and got involved in the various ministries in which we are engaged – by means of an invitation from a family member, friend, neighbor, or coworker ourselves. Involvement in this marvelous Household of Faith has much to offer for each prospective member – and everyone you know could be one. Invite those folks to come and check us out – either for Sunday worship or for any of our other offerings. You never know who might jump at the chance to become involved, who might say “yes” to your invitation. And, as they say, the answer is always “no” if you don’t ask!
Here’s wishing you a blessed and meaningful autumn, and great start to the new program year as we “begin again.”
In Christ’s Love,