Tuesday, January 31, 2006


Thanks to helpful friends, I discovered that you can watch Daniel on the nbc.com website. Just click on "The Book of Daniel" and watch away. I still think crazy letters are appropriate, but it certainly blunted the trauma of never knowing how things turned out.

Youth Group Meeting

Youth Group Meeting at 5PM, February 12th. We need to meet to talk about The Pancake Supper! See you there!

Katrina Victims Still Need Help

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,As we prepare to joyfully gather together next month for our 179th Annual Council, I ask all of you to please remember our friends on the Coast that were victims of Hurricane Katrina. Camp Coast Care has some urgent needs and what better time for us to help them with their requests. They will have a booth at Council and will be located in the same room as the St. Andrews Bookstore so they will be in a high traffic area. Jennifer Knight has issued a desperate plea for medical supplies in the form of OTC medications for cough, cold, pain or fever and stomach meds as well as prescription medications such as Z-paks, antihistamines, antihypertensives, steroids, and steroid nasal sprays. Gift cards from Walmart, Home Depot, Lowe's, and Winn Dixie are also a top priority. A complete list of their needs can be found on their web site at www.campcoastcare.com . I urge all Churches in the Diocese to make this announcement at every service this coming Sunday and generously send these items, especially the gift cards, by your delegates to Council and drop them off at their booth. Continue to hold the victims and everyone involved in the relief effort in you thoughts and prayers.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Book of Daniel: Cancelled


Another crazy rant, I fear. Once again, when we get something really good like an Episcopal soap opera set in the Diocese of New York that mentions St. Stephen's and has clergy that are human and good looking and don't always know the right thing to say -- the conservatives in Knoxville find a way to snatch it away.

And add to the indignity that our very own Wendy M. was actually in episode 5 and we never got to see it and you can just bet I am seeing red. We know they filmed 8 episodes! And we deserve to get to see them -- heck, I deserve to get to see them. Even if you were offended -- do it for me! Let your rector have this small pleasure in life or I might start popping Vicodin. E-mail NBC and let them know that people in the South have remote controls same as us. If they don't like "The Book of Daniel" they can watch re-runs of 7th Heaven (which I also like very much).


Let's make a stand!!! (Ok, so it's for trashy tv, but it's still a stand!)

Lent: Begins March 1

I know it seems early, but keep in mind as you begin planning. . .

Lent begins on March1, Ash Wednesday. We will have our usual schedule for Ash Wednesday: 12:30 p.m., 4:30 p.m. (especially for young people); and 7:30.

We will be reading The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis on Thursday mornings at 10 a.m. and we will be having a special service during Lent on Thursday mornings at 11:15 a.m. followed by lunch.

On Sunday mornings Bob Murray will be teaching his Lenten poetry class.

Our K-5 class will be having an Arts emphasis on the concept of "forgiveness."

Family Fun Night!

February 12 will be Family Fun Night! We meet at 5:30 in the Lounge for Pizza and soda and then disperse to different areas of the building for games. We will pull out the poker table for some inter-generational good natured fun. The highlight promises to be the volleyball game in the Parish Hall between the Young-Uns and the less young -- we'll play with a beach ball to avoid potential harm.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Baghdad Days

Our own parishioner has been in Baghdad from time to time oiver the last few years. He is there now and from time to time writes reflections. This is re-printed with his permission, I thought you might like to hear what life is like for him. . .

Baghdad Days: Getting in and out

After a somewhat longer trip than planned, I arrived in Baghdad once again safe and sound. Approximately 61 hours after leaving the Bank the journey ended at LZ Washington in the International Zone (Green Zone) in Baghdad. Along the way we made a side trip to Kuwait and got to spend some quality time in various sandy Middle East venues.

My plan was to fly commercial to Amman, Jordan. (BA to London and then BA Med to Amman). Then an overnight stay at the Marriott in Amman and a taxi ride to Marka Airport (don’t go to the Amman International Airport – the C-130’s don’t fly there). That all worked without a hitch.

The plan then was to take the regularly scheduled US Embassy flight from Amman to Baghdad in an Air Force C-130. One reserves such a flight by submitting a MILAIR request on line to FDC Forward specifying CAC, rank, and POC. A confirmation arrives by return e-mail warning that failure to confirm and to determine showtime at Marka will be visited by a host of unattractive consequences. Call for showtime before 9:00 am and leave 45 minutes to travel to the airport. At 8:55 I call as required and am unsettled to learn that showtime is 9:15. The voice at the other end seems unconcerned and says that if I have eaten breakfast and leave right away I’ll probably get there in time. At 2:00 pm we’re still waiting in the lobby for the short bus trip to the military side of the airport so I have to concede she was right.

Two and a half hours later and we’re making real progress. The 50-odd passengers are sitting on the plane with ear protection in place, our personal protective gear has been reclaimed from storage and strapped on, our luggage had been palletized and is sitting in the cargo bay behind us, the explosive-sniffing dog had been loaded in his carrier and taken on board with his handler and the four propellers are spinning with the cargo doors closed. It looks like we are on our way. That’s when the plan started to come apart. Word came down that the flight crew was approaching the end of their limit on flight time in one day. The loadmaster informs us that they have requested a waiver and hope that the initial denial of the waiver will somehow change.

The plan for the flight crew was to begin the day in Ali Al Saleem Air Base in Kuwait, fly passengers and cargo to Baghdad, drop them off and pick up more for Amman, drop off and pick up in Amman (us), drop us off in Baghdad and then one more time to Kuwait. The flight crew’s plan started to fall apart early. Substantial delays leaving Kuwait, including one false start, left them way behind schedule the whole day. When the crew stopped the engines on the tarmac in Amman we learned the perhaps inevitable result: the time restrictions on the flight crew meant that they had to return to their base at Kuwait as expeditiously as possible and not take us to Baghdad. (Do not pass Go, do not collect $200) Other possibilities apparently never occurred to the Air Force planners. (Could perhaps another plane take us to Baghdad?) Not to worry. There are frequent flights from Kuwait to Baghdad. We’ll fly you to Kuwait, someone will meet you there and get you on the next flight to Baghdad.

And so it went. After a certain amount of dithering (offload Iraqi police trainees and their luggage, run the engines incessantly, and wait), we take off for the two and a half hour flight to Kuwait. The flight begins dramatically enough with a loud banging sound on the outside of the fuselage as if some strap is dangling outside and trying to break free. After a few minutes it seems to and the loadmaster returns to her duties (I think it was a Ken Grisham novel). The weary flight crew carries us safe to Kuwait where we offload personnel and impedimenta and are surrendered to the care of the Kuwait dispatcher. It’s 8:30 pm local time. His plan is to give us free time to visit the DFAC and the MWR facility until 2:00 am when he will arrange an early morning flight to Baghdad. At 2:00 am no bus shows at the DFAC to take us to the flight line. Word comes down (that’s how word travels in the Middle East): no bus until the football game is over. We rush inside the DFAC to watch the Steelers secure their place in the Super Bowl and begin to wonder whether the emergency flight to Kuwait had something to do with the broadcast schedule of the Playoffs. We’ll never know.

More standing and bus sitting and we’re introduced to our second C-130 in two days. This one will fly to Tallil to drop off 16 soldiers of the 3rd ID and then take the rest of us to Baghdad. Luckily Tallil is on the way. The plane is full so space is at a premium until the soldiers deplane. The crew likes the inside of the plane to be dark when flying at night so reading is only possible if one twists at an unnatural angle to expose part of the page to a dim light. Baghdad is chilly but the sun is just rising over the tower at BIAP as we struggle to unpalletize our luggage and search for a way to get to the Green Zone earlier than the Rhino ride. Rhinos leave after midnight. Fortune is kind and the SES badge works its magic one more time. I get the last space available seat on two Blackhawks bound for Washington LZ. I realize just how fortunate when a colleague arriving later in the day at BIAP is told that weather is approaching and no birds will be flying. No birds means no Rhinos and a cold night at BIAP. But we’ve already put in our nights.

Be well,

January 23, 2006

Wednesday, January 25, 2006


I ask your prayers for the following people:

For Vickie, her husband's grandmother, Helen, who many of us met at her baby shower, died yesterday. The viewing is on Thursday at Moritz (on Route 303) from 2-4 p.m. and 7-9 p.m. and the funeral will be at St. Catherine's on Western Highway Friday at 10 a.m. Please keep Vickie, Pat, and JP in your prayers.

Also, for Marlee, Kevin, Rosemary, Tim, Matthew, Artie, Florence, Frantz, Christine, Roger, Christina, Cindy, Kara, Kathleen, M'dear, Graham.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Confirmation Class Schedule

I know many of you have been wondering about this year's confirmation class-- here's the new schedule --

Confirmation Class Schedule

Sunday, February 26 Confirmation Class 6-8 p.m.

Tuesday, Feb. 28 Pancake Supper-Youth Group 5-8 p.m.

Sunday, March 26 Confirmation Class 6-8 p.m

Sunday, April 9 Confirmation Class 6-8 p.m.
Cooking for Holy Wednesday dinner

Holy Wednesday Confirmation Class Dinner 5-9:30
Set-up and Clean-up for Holy Wednesday Dinner bring your family

Friday April 14 Good Friday Stations of Cross 10 a.m.

Sunday, May 21 Confirmation Class 6-8 p.m.

Sunday, June 11 Confirmation Party!! 6 p.m.
Pastor Susan’s House

Monday, January 23, 2006


Congratulations to our newest vestry members Christina Malinverno and Jeanne Kramer! And to our new warden, Raymond Stormes, our new clerck, Pat Fickes, our Convention Delegates, Gisela Schmidt and Valerie Malkus, IPC representative, Jacqui Stormes, and financial secretary, Marilyn Gablas.

It was, once again, a wonderful aannual meeting. Fifty people were in attendance and this year's "Best Idea of the Year Award" went to two people: Sally Bell for her Palm Sunday Idea: "Why Not Have A Donkey?" and Edward Arnold for: "Blog."

Thanks to all for their continued support and willingness to share their time, talent, treasure, and great ideas!

Monday, January 16, 2006

Annual Meeting

The Annual Meeting this year will be on Sunday, January 22 immediately following the 10:30 service. It begins with a potluck lunch (please bring a favorite entree, salad, or dessert to share) and then moves to the meeting in the Lounge.

Whether this is your first annual meeting or your 41st, it is a great opportunity to learn more about St. Stephen's -- to review some highlights, to consider how best we might move into the next year, and to have a chance to reflect together about where God is calling us.

Some Highlights from this year's annual meeting:

The first vestry election in many years where we have four very qualified people running for two vestry seats.

The survey results will be discussed and reviewed.

Some important information on next year's budget and specifically how we are planning on dealing with the unprecedented rise in fuel costs.

Please Join us for this important meeting!

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Haitian institute director killed in Port-au-Prince

Haitian institute director killed in Port-au-Prince
ENS 011006-1 Tuesday, January 10, 2006

[Episcopal News Service]
Episcopal Relief and Development (ERD) has reported the sad death of Edward Emmanuel Corneille, director of the Bishop Tharp Institute of Business and Technology (BTI) in Les Cayes, Haiti, who was shot and killed in Pétion-Ville, just outside of Port-au-Prince, on January 5. ERD worked in partnership with the Episcopal Diocese of Haiti to build the institute which opened in October 2005.
Haitian police are still investigating the circumstances surrounding his death. It has been reported that Corneille was involved in the campaign of Charles Henry Baker, a presidential candidate. According to reports, the police have registered at least 27 murders and 43 kidnappings in the Port-au-Prince metropolitan area between December 12, 2005, and January 3, 2006.
Bishop Jean Zaché Duracin of Haiti, released a statement deploring the death of Corneille. "It is obvious that rampant violence and unrest has become a daily reality that threatens all of us living in Haiti," he said. "Since BTI's opening, the institute has been seen as a symbol of hope for Les Cayes and the southern part of Haiti -- with Emmanuel there was hope."
"This is disheartening for the BTI community, the Diocese of Haiti, and ERD," said Abagail Nelson, ERD's vice president for program. "Emmanuel was a charismatic leader who will be sorely missed."
A delegation from the diocese traveled to the institute on Saturday and is working through the transition process. BTI reopened after a holiday recess on January 9. An interim director will be named this week by Duracin, chair of BTI's Board of Directors.
Corneille served as BTI's director since February 2004. He was instrumental in the final phases of building and opening the institute and helped recruit more than 120 students. He worked in the U.S. for several years in business and higher learning institutions.
He is survived by a son and numerous family members both in Haiti and the United States.
"ERD remains committed to BTI through this transition in leadership," said Nelson. "Our thoughts and prayers are with Emmanuel's family."

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Surveys Due

The parish surveys were due last week, but we only got about 25 back so we are extending the deadline to this weekend. Please take the time to fill out a survey and help us plan for next year. It only takes about 20 minutes to fill out and the information you give us is invaluable. I think some of you who are newer are thinking -- "I don't know enough to fill out a survey." It's your comments that are really important to us, though because it gives us the best reflection of how those newest to the parish perceive us. So take a moment and help us out . . . please.

Oh and nobody's fooling me. . . I know you all watched The Book of Daniel! You just don't want to admit it.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Soooo. . . ?

I didn't get a chance to watch The Book of Daniel (I had a previous commitment) but am dying to know what people thought. Please post reactions, comments, etc. Is there enough content to warrant a study group? Or is it just the trashy Episcopal soap opera I have been waiting my whole life for?

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Book of Daniel

A new blog site has been created by the Episcopal Diocese of Washington to capitalize on any interest in the Episcopal Church that might stem from the new TV show, The Book of Daniel, set to premier this Friday. You can reach the blog at: www.blogofdaniel.com

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

January Dates

Here are some upcoming dates in January to keep in mind. . .

Saturday, January 7 10 a.m. De-Greening of Church and Donuts
1:30 p.m. 3 Kings at the Cathedral

Sunday, January 8 10:30 a.m. Baptism of Reid baby
3:00 p.m. IPC Epiphany service (Grace Church, Nyack)
5:00 p.m. Evensong and "Amahl and the Night Visitors"

Monday, January 9 7:30 p.m. Administration, Property, & Fellowship Meetings

Tuesday, January 10 7:30 p.m. Christian Education Meeting

Monday, January 16 7:30 p.m. Vestry Meeting

Sunday, January 22 11:30 a.m. Annual Meeting & Potluck Lunch

Sunday, January 29 12:30 p.m. Lunch at Rectory for Vestry & Spouses

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Parish Survey

There is a parish-wide survey with your name on it! Just kidding, it is actually anonymous, but it is waiting nonetheless for you to fill it out. There are a wide-range of topics from building usage to Christian Education and we would like to have everyone's input as we plan for the coming year. this survey is open to all people ten years old and up, so please help us out and share your thoughts, dreams, and hopes for the future of St. Stephen's church. the deadline is January 8th, so please pick one up!

Monday, January 02, 2006


In the week between Christmas and New Year's two people in our parish have lost people close to them. Jacqui's friend from work, Mary, died after a long battle with cancer. Duncan's mother in Florida, Adelaide also passed on. Please keep them in your prayers especially in this holiday season.