Rector's Reflections, September 2014 Emmanuel Way Excerpt
The Rev. Christopher M. Garcia
Excerpted from September 2014 Emmanuel Way
If you think that the past summer has been a sleepy time at Emmanuel, you are sadly mistaken! Yes, many of us have had times of rest and relaxation. Yes, there have been weeks when next to nobody has been in the office. But oh, my – what a busy, busy summer this has been, and what great things God has in store for us in the year ahead!
We welcomed fifty energetic young children during June for Camp Emmanuel. During the morning, they learned about the love of God in a Vacation Bible School program called Aslan is on the Move, based on the allegorically Christian novel by C. S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. During the afternoons,
Ledford House work goes on to “polish the apple” for its use as an Education Building.
Many of these young people stayed with us to enjoy local outings and other camp activities. Dozens of volunteers helped out, from young teens to adults – many, many more than the faithful few who turn out for our Sunday School and youth programs week in and week out.
The buzz continued as we moved down the hill to Ledford House. You won’t recognize the place! For many years, we have used Ledford House for a variety of purposes. Most recently the upper floor has been a rental property, but our last tenants moved out in April 2013. Our youth group has been meeting in the basement, and last spring they began to clean up, haul out old furniture, paint, and bring their space back to life.
Under the leadership of our wardens, we carried this transformation to the upper floor of
Ledford House. A steady parade of volunteers have ripped up old carpet, cleaned, hauled out old furniture and abandoned junk, cleaned, patched walls, scrubbed, sanded, cleaned, painted, installed new lights and fans, cleaned, trimmed bushes and shrubs, and planted new flowers and greenery, and cleaned some more. Hundreds of volunteer hours have made the place sparkle again. We will use Ledford House for adult education break out space, more youth programs, and small group meetings. This fresh, repurposed space in Ledford House frees us up room in Marston-LaRue house for more Sunday School classes for younger children.
You will notice a few adjustments to our 9 a.m. Holy Eucharist services, after Labor Day when we go back to two worship services on Sunday mornings. These adjustments will help us end the 9 a.m. service punctually before 10 a.m., so that we can use more of the 10 a.m. hour more predictably for Sunday School, youth group, and adult education offerings.
Our Adult Education committee has been hard at work planning interesting, participative Christian formation offerings for adults. On most Sundays this year, adults will be able to select from several different offerings on Sundays at 10 a.m. – from discussion-based coffee house table groups, to Bible study, to mission, outreach, parenting and grand parenting classes, discipleship, and more. Many of these break-out sessions will be offered in Ledford House – come and be part of this!
Your vestry and staff have been busy behind the scenes, too. Joe Schinstock had to step down from vestry and as Junior Warden due to his work travel schedule. We are grateful for Joe’s leadership and service and we will miss his infectious humor at vestry meetings. The vestry elected George Lindroth to serve as Junior Warden and Pete Aagaard to serve out the rest of Joe’s vestry term. The building and grounds committee is replacing the erratic, old boiler that has heated the church for the past several decades with a more reliable, efficient model. Kathleen Capshaw, Kris Bourque, and the communi-cations committee have been busy, too: watch the Crozet Gazette for a new monthly print advertisement inviting our neighbors to join us at Emmanuel. You’ll notice new staff e-mails, such as the following example email@example.com: a consistent pattern of e-mail addresses, on our own e-mail domain, makes it easier for both parishioners and others to reach us easily and predictably.
All of this summer busyness serves but one end: to help us know Christ and live Christ: we live in Christ and seek to do His work from this place. Buildings, advertisements, and e-mails are simply the tools we use to do God’s work in this place. The true riches of Emmanuel are your voices raised in praise to God, Sunday after Sunday. The true riches of Emmanuel are the young people who learn why the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ are the Good News for them and for all the world. The true riches of Emmanuel are both the long-time members and the newcomers who hear God’s word clearly proclaimed here, feel the welcome and friendliness that is Emmanuel Church and taste and see God’s goodness.