Congratulations to Asi Polanco on winning the Bishop’s Institute Logo Art Contest. The contest was open to children in the Diocese, and contestants were asked to draw a logo. Asi’s picture won and last Sunday, Father John presented her with a $300 prize from the Diocese!
Thank you all for joining together on December 29th to help me celebrate the 50th Anniversary of my ordination to the priesthood. It doesn’t seem possible–50 years! And 30 years of that has been at St. Mary Anne’s, first as Rector and now as Rector Emeritus.
As Fr. John mentioned, this is really unusual for a priest and congregation to be together for so long, and it has been possible only because of your welcoming hospitality to both Judi and me. We both look forward to many years to come!
Thank you all too for the gift certificate to Longwood Gardens, one of our favorite paces. Judi and I will remember your generosity every time we go the that beautiful place.
May God Bless you all,
October 30, 2019
Dear Loved Ones,
Living in full view of the church, I have a unique perspective on how central St. Mary Anne’s is to our local community. Throughout the day and week, there is a steady stream of pedestrians and cars that enter our gated wall entrances. Some travel through to take a look at the river and others stop to pray at a gravestone. One or two might pull on the brass door handles to take a peek inside. Many of these people are unfamiliar to me—and perhaps to you as well. What they have in common is their curiosity. They are drawn or “pulled” to St. Mary Anne’s.
You may find that at particular time in your life you are more drawn to St. Mary Anne’s, or to God, than at other times. A crisis may pull you here—or a sense that you need something “more”. Perhaps, you are worried and anxious and realize you need a sanctuary—or a calm port in the storm. Familiar prayers or hymns might bring you comfort, or the smiling face or firm handshake of an old acquaintance in the next pew. The beauty of St. Mary Anne’s may be the draw—or my weekly corny joke! No matter the reason—you feel a pull.
I’ve been reminded of that pull these past few weeks. Each morning at 6am, painters arrive at the church before sunrise to start their work. As they open the church doors and turn on the lights, the dark church windows are suddenly bathed in light. I look out from the Rectory windows and see this warm light streaming from the church windows. I’m enveloped with a sense of peace. The lit sanctuary beckons, pulls, and calms me. I find it to be a much better way to start the day than to watch the morning news.
Our brick and mortar church has withstood the centuries, and remains a sacred sanctuary for all of us. We won’t find a place like this at the mall. We can’t get this feeling of peace from playing a video game, perusing Facebook, or from watching endless news programs. Here, there is a unique pull that beckons and soothes.
For 313 years, people have felt this pull from St. Mary Anne’s. If they don’t resist, they soon discover that within its walls, they can pray and worship, laugh or cry, celebrate or mourn, love, learn and grow—and find God. It is my prayer that you, your family, and future generations will continue to feel that pull and be drawn here.
To that end, we need to “push” a little. We gently push our leadership and encourage parishioners to help enhance our worship, build our ministries, and to maintain our sacred space. We work hard to be good stewards of our church, so monies used to fund our programs and mission, preserve our property, and keep the lights on, are carefully managed. In thanksgiving to God for our blessings, we push ahead with our mission to help pull others in.
We remind you of our combined push and pull efforts every year during Stewardship season. With our annual financial appeal, we gently push you to pledge, as your yearly and generous pledge offering helps us to maintain the ministry and mission of St. Mary Anne’s for you and future generations. Within the next week, you will receive a letter and a pledge card in the mail. We respectfully ask that you pull it out of the envelope, prayerfully consider your pledge, and bring your pledge card to church on Commitment Sunday, November 10th.
May St. Mary Anne’s bring you comfort and peace as you deepen your faith in Jesus Christ, and that you and your family feel “pulled” to join us Sunday’s at 8:00AM or 10:00AM for worship.
PLEASE NOTE: We canceled last Sunday’s services due to snow. Early that morning, an email was sent out to our contacts announcing the decision of our Senior Warden and Rector, as they didn’t want parishioners to take any unnecessary risks.
However we did hold both services, as some parishioners never received the notification and came to church. This confusion made us realize that we need some clarification about our snow cancellation policy.
- Father John will have services, despite bad weather, since he lives on campus.
- Father John does not want anyone to take unnecessary risks on icy or snowy roads and unshoveled sidewalks.
- Anyone scheduled to help with worship services should not feel obligated to take unnecessary risks to get to church.
- He wants to reserve the right to cancel if there is a power outage, or a severe and dangerous storm that would endanger our parishioners.
- We encourage you to open any email notifications prior to venturing out if the weather was severe the day/night before or remains so that morning.
We extend our deep appreciation to the parish of St. Mary Anne’s for the generous Christmas gift.
We are most grateful for the love you show us each day–and not just during this Christmas season. Almost three years ago, you embraced us and included us into this amazing church family. We are blessed to have you in our lives.
Fr. John and Karen