November 2015

2 Items

Supporting our Parish as we Plan for the Next Steps

A Message from Michael Walker, Senior Warden

Fellow Parishioners of Manakin,

November is a very important and busy month for the family of Manakin. It may not appear that much is being done on the surface, but I assure you your Vestry has been involved in a lot of planning and preparation. As in past years, the annual meeting is coming up, and on that day, the congregation will choose 3 new members to replace Priscilla, Ginger and me as we complete our three year terms. I encourage you to attend the meeting and participate in the election process.

Also this month, the current Vestry will begin the process of selecting members and the chairperson for the committee that will search for our new rector. As I announced in my recent letter to the congregation, the Vestry has selected Cindy Barnes to be our search consultant. Cindy’s role will be to advise our Search committee on the process and keep the committee on track. In the letter, I called for nominations from the congregation for the Search Committee. Your Vestry does not take the responsibility of forming this committee lightly, and we will be thorough and deliberate with our selections. I want us to have the best possible Search Committee seated and for it to have strong leadership. I also want the committee to be dedicated to the task at hand for as long as it takes for us to find our next spiritual leader. Like you, I hope we find that perfect rector in a timely manner, but we must be prepared to be patient. We cannot rush into a decision that is so important to our family and its future.

In my letter about the Search Committee, I also expressed my gratefulness for the support of our ministries and the volunteerism of our congregation. Every week, I see people stepping up to help someone who needs assistance. Every time a need arises, it is met with enthusiasm. We have so many diverse ministries that define who we are as People of God. Every one of these ministries is equally important to the mission of our parish family. There is no way I could adequately thank all the committees and their members for their work and dedication to our ministries. Your Vestry supports each and every ministry and will continue to do so.

Part of the support the wardens and the Vestry give our ministries is the management of the usage of our facility. Manakin’s buildings may be small by some standards, but they are very versatile. Our buildings are not only used by our ministries but by outside groups too. There are areas that are dedicated to specific use such as the Rector’s office and the Parish administrator’s office, but outside that, most of the rooms are considered shared rooms. Our challenge is to determine what types of room setups are needed, and then ensure that we meet the space needs of each and every ministry. I have asked various ministries to help us define what they need, and how we can meet those needs. This may require many of us to think outside the box in order to accommodate everybody.

I also understand that like any family, it is possible that not everybody will be happy. I ask that we communicate with each other and find solutions that will allow everybody to grow their respective ministries. I do believe it can and will happen. We are a community full of generous hearts who kindly support one another as we strive to perform God’s work.

Thank you for being part of the Manakin family.

Michael Walker, Senior Warden


Note: As Manakin moves through this transition period, members of our congregation will be contributing to the Rector’s Message section of our web site.

A Heartfelt Farewell

Dear Friends,

As the final days of my tenure as your Rector wind down, I wanted to write to all of you one last time in that role. These months of sabbatical leave and vacation have been extraordinary for me and the family. I have had time to relax and to take care of countless things around the house. I have traveled some, including a week in Sandbridge at St. Simon’s-by-the-Sea’s cottage (in exchange for preaching!), a two-week tour of a number of states, getting to Iowa and Wisconsin, the 45th and 46th states I have visited over the years (only the Dakotas to go and I’ll have been to all the contiguous states), and a recent visit to Dallas and Fort Worth to see family. As many of you know, Mom was in ICU for a while just before I got there, and she is still in a rehab center recovering from pneumonia. Her dementia continues to diminish her faculties, but there were a few lucid moments, which were very nice. I deeply appreciate the prayers and the expressions of concern from many of you in the last week or so. My stepmother is doing very well, as are my brothers, all of whom live in Fort Worth, and it was a very pleasant visit.

Before I “sign off” here at the official end of my time with you, I want to express my profound and heartfelt gratitude for so many things. Over the course of these eleven years, Ginny and Matthew and I have accumulated countless joyful memories. We have formed so many marvelous friendships. Many of you and I have shared our lives together in powerful and meaningful ways – at times of pure joy and times of the deepest sorrow. We have cried at times, but laughed so many more. Along with all its other great attributes, Manakin is a Household with a sense of humor. It’s one of the many ways it is a parish that is life-filled – and life-giving.

This is also a Household of great generosity. Over the years, I have been so amazed at the outpouring of time and talents and treasures in the life of the parish. Whether it is pledge time or time to respond to a hurricane or tsunami, or time to stuff meal bags for Stop Hunger Now or to cook up a casserole for someone coming home from the hospital or in a thousand other ways you find to help one another and to share at home and abroad, the generosity that flows from your hearts is staggering. I experienced that once again first hand (as I have on so many occasions before) in your wonderful farewell events in June and July. From the parish picnic in my honor to the final Sunday celebration to the dinner at the Salisbury Country Club, Ginny and I were blown away with the outpouring of affection. The kind words offered at the dinner from so many of you linger with me – and always will. Your amazing generosity was on display through the whole evening, but was startling when I received the SLR digital camera and the fantastic purse! As many of you know, I have stubbornly resisted giving up my older cameras, claiming they shot “real” photos. Alas, film is getting hard to find, and places to develop the pictures are all but gone. Sending a roll off to have it returned in “one to two weeks” is hopelessly frustrating. So, through your thoughtfulness and generosity, I now have incredible photos of everything from the Virginia Aquarium in Virginia Beach (where I could now take extremely sharp non-flash photos in the darkest of places) to various caverns in several states to a lighthouse in the Door County peninsula in Wisconsin to Jack Hanna, who was doing a great animal stage show the day I happened to be at the Columbus Zoo – and, best of all, some great shots of my family in Texas.

For all the great times together, and for all we have been to each other in the tough times, and for your kind and loving farewell, we thank you. You remain in our thoughts and very much in our prayers, as I hope we remain in yours.

In Christ’s Love,