Senior Associate Rector’s Annual Report 2014
The year of 2013 has been a rich year at St. Paul’s Memorial as I continue to learn about the many gifts and blessings of this fine church community. I am thankful to God for the blessings of serving among you and feel that the Holy Spirit is at work in our ministry together. I have enjoyed the wide variety of tasks, roles, and projects on which I have been able to engage my energy as your Senior Associate Rector. I look forward to further exploration of how God will lead us into the future, and how we will discern how best to be followers of Jesus here in this place in coming days, months, and years.
In the beginning of the year of 2013, I had the wonderful fortune to be accompanied by our Rector Emeritus, the Rev. David Poist as we ushered in the season of Epiphany through the traditional Yule Log Hunt and the burning of our Christmas trees. David was wonderful as always, and commissioned me as a fellow “Honorary Druid Priest” so that I could continue this fun and gorgeous tradition here at St. Paul’s. Luckily, just a few weeks ago, in 2014, the rain held back a bit and a stalwart group of folks continued this tradition. The Yule Log Hunt is an example of the wonderful ways that this community gathers for fellowship, worship (of sorts, in this case), and fun.
Our Family and Youth ministries continue to develop and grow at St. Paul’s Memorial. In the Fall, we welcomed Maggie Thornton as our Youth Group Coordinator, and she is doing a great job to continue the good work laid down by our former Associate Rector, Nicholas Forti, who left in May to attend graduate school.
In addition, we have had some wonderful events for families such as our Backpack Blessing in the late Summer, the Pumpkin Carving in the Fall, a visit to UVA’s Klockner Field to watch the UVa women’s soccer team and our annual Advent Wreathmaking event and our yearly visit from St. Nicholas. In addition, our Joyful Noise worship during the first part of the 10am Holy Eucharist continues to develop and grow under the leadership of our Associate Rector Heather Warren, as well as dedicated lay leaders.
A year ago, we embarked on a newly energized Godly Play curriculum in our two Sunday School, and I have worked to shepherd this process throughout the last year. In the Summer, the teachers of the older group of students, 4th and 5th graders, decided that we would use a lectionary-based curriculum for that group of “tweens” and we are finding that this curriculum has been a good fit in the Fall. We call this class “Faith Adventurers” and we are working to enhance and develop the class. Currently, the teachers of the 4th ad 5th grade class are Claire Busseret, Tom Nachbar, and Steve Bolton. They are doing tremendous work and I thank them for their dedication and service.
The Godly Play curriculum is also taught by an extremely dedicated group of teachers who prepare diligently, and create a holy space each Sunday morning at 9am for our younger students. The teachers of Godly Play are Arlene Lee, Chris Lee, Michelle Claiborne, Lara Hall, Frank Rambo, E.D. Rambo, and Ed Tourangeau. We also had Leslie Middleton helping in the Spring of 2013. We have plans to bring in a trainer to help build our knowledge-base of Godly Play. A few of the teachers who are interested in becoming “certified teachers” and hope to attend a longer training at some point this coming year.
In the Spring, we conducted a survey of parents to gain some information about our Sunday School programs, our Joyful Noise worship, and our other offerings for young children and families. The results of this survey gave the teachers and me some helpful information about how we might move forward and strive to grow the program further. Overall, we are pleased with the way that our Sunday School programs are developing, and it is an area that we are devoted to developing as we move forward.
In the Winter and Spring of 2013 I taught Wednesday evening courses on the Desert Fathers and Mothers and I worked to prepare confirmands for our Bishop Susan Goff’s visit in May. In the Fall, I taught an evening class on “Seven Day Sprituality” which was a source of great joy for me as I learned more and more about our wonderful parishioners as we explored the ways that God is impacting our everyday lives. In addition, my Coffeehouse Bible Study continued at CVille Coffee on Mondays.
With the beginning of the New Year, I have begun a class for those seeking Confirmation later this Spring and we’ve had a wonderful first two sessions already.
Many good things are happening at St. Paul’s, and I believe that the Spirit is at work in our midst. We are blessed with many fine leaders, a dedicated staff, and great colleagues in the many areas of our parish life. Thank you for all you do to make St. Paul’s a visible and living witness to the blessings that God has bestowed on us!
The Rev. Peter M. Carey+
Senior Associate Rector