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… 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!

Wedding Update

I must say that the service went off better than I expected. We had a large crowd and I first explained to them what was going on, and why I was doing the opening parts from the back of the church. That piece worked very well, then we processed in, cross, choir, LEMs, priest, bride and groom.
After the sermon I did include the Creed, wanting this to be a “near normal” Sunday service. Then came the Marriage piece- vows, rings, blessing. After that, Communion as usual with Bride and Groom receiving first and serving each other the cup.
We had a nice reception afterwards.
Many folks there loved the idea of doing this as part of the service, I had tons of positive comments and some couples even said they wished they had known you could do it this way!
All in all, I was very pleased …. and now I know one way to pull this off!

Sunday Wedding

I know, I know, I should have asked for help on this a while back. But, anyway, liturgical freak that I am, I will be doing a wedding in the midst of my regular Sunday service this Sunday. The couple finds such help and community amongst their fellow parishioners, they asked if they could just do this on a Sunday morning, so here we are.
It’s a weird deal. The Priest Handbook (or maybe one of the other handy dandy guides) doesn’t offer much help other than “you should know what you are doing”! So I am winging it.
Here’s what’s in my head. We will do the Opening stuff – “Dearly beloved…..” the charge, the consent, from the rear of the church. This is to emulate the ancient custom of doing the marriage on the porch steps before the Sunday service. We wont do it on the steps because we will either be in the midst of Tropical Storm Arlene, or enjoying our usual 98 degrees and 95% humidty. Anyway, then we will process in to a hymn, bride and groom in the procession.
The service will continue through the sermon and Creed (decided, since it’s the principle Sunday service, to keep the Creed in), after which we will do vows, peace, Eucharist.
They will process out behind the cross and reception follows. I wanted it to be similar to a baptism – with specific changes in the service for the sacrament to happen, but maintaining enough Sunday “integrity” for those who came to church NOT expecting a wedding.
I will let you know how it goes – and any tips or advice are appreciated if you read this before Sunday morning.

Itinerant: noun. a person who alternates between working and wandering.