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Rev. David  Clothier

Notes from the From the Vicar

Summer is definitely upon us. The temperature is rising. We will probably be hitting 100 soon. Please be careful outdoors. Don’t get overheated and stay hydrated. 

The warmer weather also means afternoon thunderstorms, some of which might be severe. And then there is the “H” word (which is what Cathy and I call hurricanes and tropical storms). Crestview has been fortunate to avoid these recently, but I’m sorry to have to say one will come our way sooner or later. Please stay weather aware. 

The vestry has been discussing emergency preparedness and a committee is looking into plans that we can put into place just in case. Emergency preparedness is not limited to severe weather.  

There are other emergencies we must be prepared to face should they arrive. I don’t have to tell you what I mean. You can see it on the news. I am not an alarmist. I do not believe we need to worry about these things, but I was a Boy Scout and still try to follow the motto: “Be prepared.” 

One way to keep the church property secure is to make sure doors stay locked when none of us are on the grounds. Most of our doors are older and do not always close securely. Therefore, we are asking that if you are the last one leaving the church, parish hall, St. Joseph’s Hall or the storage building, please make sure all the doors are completely closed and locked. The staff (including me) will be checking all the building doors whenever we leave the premises. 

Speaking of being prepared, I know most of you were disappointed in postponing the Hymn Sing. It was a difficult decision to make, but I made it based on my pastoral duty to keep each of you safe. Before making the decision, I consulted the county health office, area clergy and other church leadership.  

The decision was based upon the health department’s weekly reports that showed the number of positive Covid cases had almost doubled. Having a large crowd singing in our church building would have exposed many in our congregation to the possibility of getting the virus. While it seems the current strain is much less severe, we have many parishioners who are health compromised and would have been negatively impacted by the virus. 

We are already discussing when to reschedule this beloved event. I want to acknowledge the efforts of our music director Pat Shew in getting this going again. Thanks Pat. 

I also want to thank the Rev. De Freeman for celebrating and preaching at Epiphany while I was on vacation in June. As a past vicar of Epiphany, Father De had expressed a desire to come back and see old friends. I know you made him feel welcome. 

In addition to emergency preparedness, the vestry is addressing several other issues around the church. These include the former children’s playground, yard care and maintenance, improved video recording of Sunday services, the rummage sale and utility bills. We are also looking into the possibility of starting a community garden and hosting a health fair. 

Finally, the bishop’s annual visit is fast approaching. The Rt. Rev. J. Russell Kendrick will be coming to Epiphany on August 31. That is a Wednesday, and the tentative time is 6 p.m. One of the bishop’s acts when he visits is to confirm, receive and reaffirm. For more information, there is a separate article on this subject elsewhere in this issue of The Clarion. 

 

The Bishop’s Visit (and what it means) 

The Rt. Rev. J. Russell Kendrick, Fourth Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of the Central Gulf, will make his annual visit on August 31. This is a Wednesday, and we will have a service on this occasion in the evening (tentatively at 6 p.m.). As there are more congregations in the diocese than there are Sundays in the year, he must visit some churches at times other than Sunday mornings.  

The word “episcopal” comes from the Greek word episkopos and is the word from which derive our word “bishop.” The name of our denomination, the Episcopal Church, means that we are overseen by bishops, usually one per diocese, plus the presiding bishop. 

Therefore, as part of their shepherding their many congregations and clergy, bishops are required to make annual visits whenever possible. There are many official acts the bishop performs during these visits, including reviewing the records of each congregation. Usually, the bishop preaches and celebrates the Holy Eucharist, and meets with the clergy, vestry and congregation. 

Among the official acts when a bishop visits a congregation is to confirm, receive and reaffirm members of that part of God’s Kingdom we call the Episcopal Church. Only bishops are authorized to do this. 

Last year, the bishop confirmed four of our congregants during his visit. This means that four baptized members of the church confirmed their baptismal vows. It does not mean that these four parishioners became members of the Church. We become members when we are baptized. However, most Episcopalians are baptized as infants or young children, with adults speaking our baptismal vows for us. As a result, the Church began the sacrament of Confirmation to allow us to confirm the vows that were spoken for us.  

As I hope you know, the Episcopal Church recognizes any baptism from any denomination done in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit (or other names representing the three persons of the Trinity). We believe that one baptism is sufficient. Therefore, anyone baptized is a legitimate member of the Church. The sacrament of Confirmation does allow the confirmand (the person confirmed) to fully participate in the governance of the Episcopal Church. 

Bishops may also receive baptized members from other denominations that have sacraments that are similar to our sacrament of Confirmation, as well as reaffirm any Episcopalian who wished to reaffirm their Confirmation vows. I know this can sound complicated, and if you have any questions, please let me know. 

Anyone wishing to be confirmed, received or reaffirmed by the bishop during his visit should let me know as soon as possible. It’s important for those who wish this to attend a series of classes (which are usually call Inquirers classes, because they are also helpful for those who want to learn more about the Episcopal Church). 

Father David+

The Rev. David M. Clothier, Vicar

The Fifth in the inquirer's series

            22 Aug, 2021

the Fourth in the inquirer's series

       15 Aug, 2021

The Third in the  inquirer's series

             25 July, 2021

The First day of our inquirer's class series

                        11 July, 2021