The Stewardship Committee has embarked on a new initiative: “St. Mary’s Changes Lives.” Constance Bowden and her committee members are gathering stories from parishioners, clergy and staff about how pledging to the church has changed lives, including their own. The product will be a video and print account of the the power of pledging–to both the church and to the giver. If you want to participate in this initiative or to tell a story, contact Constance at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 804.379.2760.
English Churches Reject “Anglican Covenant.”
In the aftermath of Gene Robinson’s election and consecration as Bishop of New Hampshire, factions in the Anglican Communion drew of the proposed covenant as a means of establishing a system of uniform authority throughout the worldwide Communion. On March 24, an absolute majority of dioceses in the Church of England voted down the proposed covenant, even though the vast majority of English bishops and the Archbishop of Canterbury endorsed it. Proponents of the covenant saw it as a means of reducing the risk of division. Opponents saw it as a means by which one Church could interfere in the policies and practices of another.
To date, only The Church of Ireland, The Anglican Churches of Mexico, Papua New Guinea, Southern Africa and the Southern Cone of America, and those of the Provinces of Myanmar, South East Asia and the West Indies have adopted the covenant.
The Episcopal Church USA will vote on the covenant during its general convention in July 2012. The covenant has virtually no chance of being adopted here.
You can follow these links to read an insightful article about this by Diarmaid MacCulloch in The Guardian, to read the BBC’s reporting on the vote, what the Archbishop had to say, and to read the proposed covenant itself.
World Pediatric Project Funds Life-Saving Surgery for St. Lucia Boy
St. Mary’s parishioners have raised over $5,000 for World Pediatric Project to bring Merlik Cobbe to Richmond for life-saving heart surgery and an eye procedure at the Medical College of Virginia. An adorable 8 year-old boy from St. Lucia, Merlik will be traveling to Richmond in March with his mother, Rosemary. They arrive late on March 13th and will be staying at the Hospital Hospitality House near VCU while they are here. We are still looking for contributions of jigsaw puzzles, books, information about Richmond, t-shirts or sweatshirts from U of R or VCU, magazines for Rosemary, coffee cake, baked treats and other items to make their stay as happy as possible. Please contact Molly Snow if you are interested in contributing to the welcome basket! (email@example.com)
Merlik and his mother will join us for the 11am service on March 18th with coffee and treats afterwards! One of the treats will be an extended coffee hour during which the children will sing for our guests. Merlik’s first procedure will be the next week, and he will need to stay in the hospital for about one week after his surgery. While he is in the hospital, we will provide updates about his progress, and hope that you will visit with him and bring him good cheer!
Marshall Bowden Completes his Service as Senior Warden
“Well done, thou good and faithful servant; … enter thou into the joy of the Lord.”
As Senior Warden during a year packed with reflections on where we are and where we ought to go as a parish, Marshall became the driver for turning strategic planning to strategic action. He was the right person at the right time. Working with Tracy Ragsdale, John, Eleanor and many others, he led us in driving the strategic planning process to thoughtful and productive conclusions. But plans are no good if they stay on the shelf. With a consistently gracious manner and a velvet hammer, he kept the vestry and others focused on delivering real results. He went about quietly, often behind the scenes, leaving great ideas and inspired colleagues in his wake. Even when his family home was badly burned in a fire, he missed no meeting, no job and no beat. Under crushing pressure, he kept his gentle good humor. His quiet, throwaway comments were some of his best.
Breaking institutional habits and driving change are inherently disruptive and potentially alienating. The enthusiastic response from the St. Mary’s family is a testament to Marshall’s effective but humble leadership.
His service as Senior Warden is done. But his service to the parish is not. We will continue to need him, and there is no doubt he will continue to be there for the call.
Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper Ushers in Lent
Our traditional pancake supper marked Shrove Tuesday and was our last event before the Lenten season. The pancakes were exceptionally good this year and, as you can see from the slide show below, fueled face painting, mask making and all around fun.