All posts by kanite

I actually liked this one…..

Preaching – it’s an interesting life.
When I was a Curate, preaching basically every other Sunday, with much less stress and pressure vs. that of a Rector, the sermon writing process came much easier to me.
Now almost 18 months into my Rector-ship, the sermon process continues to evolve for me. I put a LOT of time into my sermons. I usually read the lessons early in the week, then as the late hours and the pastoral needs, etc. roll in, I look for those moments where I can actually begin putting things down on paper. Often I find the entire sermon just comes out, on a roll, like I can barely type fast enough to get it all. Other times I may be doing something totally (it seems) unrelated, and an idea comes that I jot down in my now-ever-present-notebook. Sometimes the “hook” comes first, that opening piece, often humorous (hopefully) that still sets up the rest. Othertimes that part is the last thing I do.
Since I dearly love teaching, the Bible study and other classes I do often help me position the sermon. I am finding more and more that I need to teach a LOT when I preach. Doing that with any continuity is difficult.
This summer I decided to preach on Romans just about every week. It’s good, foundational stuff and I think important as we grow in our faith, learn our story, become better disciples. I did a theme-based series last Advent and both Holy Weeks since I have been here, trying to weave a common thread throughout those sermons. It helps me, I wonder if it helps those who are hearing them.
Anyway, the sermon I gave Sunday was one that I struggled with all week. I finally wrote it on Friday, came home and tore it up. I started all over. On Saturday I went over it several more times and finally took out a bunch of stuff from the Gospel and just focused on Jonah. I went into the pulpit wondering if there was anything worthwhile at all in this sermon, and as I preached, the Spirit helped me tremendously. I ended up with one of those rare sermons – one that I actually liked. It’s so weird how that happens…..and how you never really know until you preach if you’ve got anything that anyone will be inspired by or edified by or even like!
Preaching is a strange business….
If you want to hear it, click here….warning it’s over 15 minutes long!

While the cat’s away….

Awww….returning from vacation is always SUCH a joy! NOT.
But the time off was excellent (a new thing for me). I found myself the last couple of days thinking about work stuff – I even wrote half of this Sunday’s sermon while in a motel room (don’t tell my LW). That is a sign to me that I have had a good time off and ready to return.
Of course, returning means a pile of work and an extraordinary amount of pastoral care. Some very critical life things going on for some parishioners made for a full week. Still, it is in those moments that God’s grace abounds and blessings unlooked for can occur.
Which leaves me, here late on a Friday afternoon, with the other half of the sermon to write. We have company coming in so I gotta get going!
Next week we ramp up the program year preparation. Things are coming together nicely. Anybody out there want to be a stewardship chair???

btw, our new webmaster is ROCKING on our church website. Check it out here – and don’t forget to listen to ALL the sermons!

Vacation!

One thing that I struggle with in this vocation is vacation. (Wow, how similar those words are!). I have followed the advice of those wiser and more experienced than I to try and take at least 2 weeks consecutive, but so far, 3 years in, I have always had something come up or some crisis arise that kept that from happening.
And this year, as noted in the previous post, a dadgum HURRICANE has messed with my plans!
But, thanks be to God, Dennis did not land with the punch it had for so long, and it was a non-event, weather wise, on my side of the coast. I pray for those who were impacted, but I know most folks are breathing a sigh of relief.
I delayed the vacation until today. And tomorrow VERY early, we will head to the sunny beaches, help the in-laws get the vacation house in order after all the storm prep, and then CHILL OUT until Sunday or so! I am VERY excited about that.
Here’s to a lot of NOTHIN to do, sun, sand, and no nasty storms! See ya when we get back!

Same Song, Which Verse is this?

Tropical Storm Cindy arrived right over my house around 4:00 am Wed morning. From a very nice 4th of July, out on a friend’s boat watching fireworks in the Bay, to constant Weather Channel watching in no time….
And now, of course, there is Dennis……….
This is a BIG BOY storm! Projecting the path is always risky and rarely 100% accurate. Right now we are in the probable zone, although the Pensacola area has a higher probability. Those poor folks! Ivan the Terrible did a major number on that area, they are a long way from being fully recovered.
I was to start my two week-no church-no church talk-no church worries-vacation YESTERDAY. We were going to the in-laws place at…..you guessed it, just over the Bama line into Florida, right in the path. Of course that is all cancelled, they headed down today to board the place up. Evacuations are already clogging highways out of there. Rightly so, folks are in a bit of a panic.
Here we watch and wait. Last year I boarded (ok, some friends boarded) my house but I am not sure I will this time. If we are west of the eye, I probably won’t. We will shutter the church on Saturday, and Sunday after church we will cart off valuables and parish register, etc. I was to be off Sunday, but will be there instead. No sense “wasting” a Sunday off, my heart and mind would have been there anyway. I won’t evacuate but if it gets bad we will stay with parishioners who are 7 miles further north (my house is 1 1/4 miles from the Gulf, out of storm surge area). They have a generator so it’s a good spot.
Cuba is getting slammed as I type this. Let’s pray for all in the path of this storm. May God be with them.

Summer Time

My church has been holding three worship services on Sunday mornings for over 2 years now. Last summer, having only been here a few months, I continued that practice during the summer months. I found attendance to really be down for the two late services.
So this summer I changed to two services. So far, I have been THRILLED with the results. Our early service was moved up to 8:00 from 7:30, and has seen an increase in attendance over the program year average. A few folks have voiced their preference for the 7:30 time, but overwhelmingly folks have stated they wish we could keep this service at 8:00.
The combination of our 9:00 family service and our 11:00 Rite II with choir service has also worked well. We combined elements of both services, and so far I think things have gone even better than I had hoped. Last Sunday we had 100 folks at that service! Last summer we would be lucky to have 60 total between the two.
I have promised to return to three services in the fall, and I will stick to that, of course. We have some new things planned for our music program and hope to add a children’s choir sometime next year. The energy of the combined service will give people pause to think about whether we really need to continue three services or not. Of course, the hope is our growth will continue so that we will have no choice. We continue to add new folks, especially parents with young children. That is SO exciting. I pray we are ready for the challenges that growth will bring, especially as we begin to intentionally move to a program size parish. Keep us in your prayers!