From the Sr. Warden
When I was younger, there was no problem with change. In fact, I accepted, embraced and sometimes encouraged it. As I’ve gotten older, change and I have a different relationship. I fight, ignore and sometimes resent it. Recently, our St. James family has faced change in leaps and bounds. Change in our leadership, budget, service times, office hours, staff, and on and on. At first, the possibility of being part of a church without a full-time priest was frightening. When my family (nearly 30 years ago) moved to Del Rio, St. James was a growing and viable church community. When did things change? How could I not see this coming? It was a slow process and now we are faced with viewing our situation in a different way.
This is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, it can be quite liberating and empowering. With guidance from Bishop Jennifer Brooke-Davidson, your vestry has been faithful leaders in making some powerful changes. We have put into place a balanced budget. Further cuts to our expenses continue to happen. An affordable copier has been purchased and our more expensive copier contract was not renewed. Our antiquated phones were eliminated and a new, simpler system with a user-friendly answering machine has been integrated. Those who have served on vestry in the past know that revamping our phone system was often a topic of conversation. We did it! The monthly phone bill will soon go from over $235 a month to less than $35. We are diligently trying to be faithful stewards of what we have been given. This is an ongoing goal.
If you aren’t interested in the changes we have made to our finances, you might want to know we are going further to step outside our comfortable box. We will be working with the Diocesan Congregational Development team to look at the future of St. James. Yes, I said, “FUTURE!” We plan to have two team members join Bishop Brooke-Davidson for a near future visit (date to be announced) with our congregation. The bishop has taken a great interest in our parish family and the changes we are implementing. She wishes to be a part of our plans and to help us. Bottom line, she gives me HOPE. Our vestry gives me HOPE. All of you give me HOPE. I have the hope and assurance that the Holy Spirit is in our midst. Guided by the Holy Spirit we are working in various capacities, each using our God-given gifts to glorify Him and serve as the hands and feet of Jesus. These are not just pretty words, they are the truth!
On Wednesday, Ann Beitel (Jr. Warden) and I drove to Uvalde for a meeting with Bishop Brooke-Davidson and Fr. Bob Counselman. “Fr. Bob,” as he indicated he would like to be called, will serve as our supply priest during the summer and perhaps longer. In the Episcopal church, a supply priest serves as the sacramental worship leader. Simply said, he will lead us in Holy Eucharist on the first and third Sunday of each month. Our service times will remain at 9:00 AM every Sunday. Morning Prayer will happen on the second, fourth, and fifth Sundays by our own licensed worship leaders. If you are interested in serving as a worship leader, please let me know. Worship leaders must be licensed, but we are working on setting a date to have someone come and train current and potential worship leaders.
In addition to serving as a supply priest for St. James, Fr. Bob will also drive to Brackettville after our service and lead services at St. Andrew’s. The good news is he lives in Sabinal, says he is an early riser and plans to drive to Del Rio on Sunday morning. We will be responsible for paying the supply priest rate for one service and his mileage but will not need to incur expenses for an overnight stay. He is also willing to make himself available for funerals and weddings as needed. In case you may be wondering, the supply priest is not responsible for administrative duties. In the absence of a rector, this falls to the Sr. Warden and Vestry. There will be more information to come as we move in the direction and future of calling a part-time priest. Please be assured that your vestry is working hard. We have other plans in the works that include Bible study and organizing a visitation team for the homebound. If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to talk with one of the vestry members or me. I hope to see you this Sunday as we welcome Fr. Bob to celebrate Holy Eucharist at 9:00 AM.
Peace and blessings,
Cheri S. Green, Senior Warden