December 23, 2016
Reflection and Renewal
Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
As 2016 comes to a close, I am so thankful for all that God has done in our midst over these first four months. The highlights that come to mind are:
- the Kanuga Retreat and that final worship service,
- the way St. Helena’s responded to our neighbors after Hurricane Matthew,
- the many volunteers at the Parish Faire,
- the incredible outpouring of love through the Community Thanksgiving meal,
- the continued growth of our congregation through majestic and varied worship offerings.
- All of this fueled by the intentional teaching and studying of God’s Word and discipleship in small groups.
We have so much for which to be thankful!
As we look ahead to 2017, I am so excited to see our new entryway and hospitality area come fully into its own. The security initiative that began the changes in the bookstore will allow us to have more dedicated hospitality space with a secure entryway and a bookstore that will continue to focus on the books that are being used in parish studies and lectures. We will once again see the flowering of prayer ministry to those in need who just happen to stop in. I know many of you have experienced the changes as a great loss, but I trust that the renewal of this space will bring great joy for all who join us.
As we move into 2017, I know the Lord will continue to call us to renewal in all areas of our common life. I am reminded of that spark that caused a full-fledged revival in the town of Beaufort in 1831 – a spark that came from this very parish. I pray for that rekindling of revival by the preaching and teaching of God’s Word in the fullness of the power of the Holy Spirit. I look with great expectation on the upcoming year and am happy to be your Rector. I cannot wait to celebrate this first Christmas with you.
Gloria in excelsis Deo,
November 18, 2016
Re-Visioning Our Bookstore Ministry
Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
What an exciting time in the life of St. Helena’s! With all of the activities of the past weeks, I failed to let you know what was going on in the Parish Bookstore. Over the past month, we have been engaged in a process of re-visioning this important ministry for the future that highlights hospitality and welcome and implements a security plan for access to our buildings.
This new vision is in no way a repudiation of the past success of this ministry. Under the Spirit-led leadership of Cynthia Thompson, the bookstore has been a place of prayer and welcome for all who have ventured in. We do indeed honor Cynthia’s leadership and all of the volunteers in the bookstore.
Moving forward, our security team has made it clear that we need a single entry to our parish offices that is manned during business hours by someone who understands our security procedures. The bookstore space is being reconfigured at this time to accommodate a new welcome desk.
This welcome desk will also allow our many guests on Sundays and Wednesday evenings find their way to all of the educational opportunities going on in the building. In reducing the scope of items offered in the bookstore, we are opening up space for hospitality and fellowship. You will see tables and chairs for people to gather in this space.
The bookstore will offer primarily books being used in parish studies, Bibles, and prayer books. Greeting cards and some gift items will be available in our retail space at 2or3 Treasure House. As we sell down the stock and reconfigure the space, please be patient with us. We hope to have the new welcome space and security plan in place before January 1.
Our bookstore volunteers will continue to welcome people into the parish and offer hospitality and prayer as a part of this ministry. Todd and Cynthia are praying about how this space will be staffed in the upcoming months. If you are interested in being a volunteer for this exciting ministry, please do not hesitate to contact Cynthia Thompson directly or call the office.
We look forward to all that God will do in this space to welcome those in need of encouragement, prayer, or a place to find fellowship.
November 4, 2016
Why Every Christian Should Vote
Brothers and Sisters in Christ,The day that many have been dreading has finally arrived; Election Day 2016 is now upon us. If you are like me, there has been a growing sense of disappointment and discouragement about the choices facing the voters in this Presidential election. I have heard several friends even suggest that the best thing to do might be to sit this one out. I want to implore you that our calling as Christians in a democracy is to exercise the right to vote.
I’ll give you three reasons that are motivating me despite mixed emotions:
- The Scriptures call us to “submit to the governing authorities” (Rom. 13:1). One of the ways that we submit in America is by being a part of a flawed process known as representative democracy. The fact that it is more flawed this year than in the past does not release us from this calling.
- Jesus said “Greater love has no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). The stark reality of the freedoms we enjoy is that many have gone before us and paid the ultimate price to insure that you and I may vote. Even though we may be conflicted about whom to vote, let us honor the sacrifice of those who laid down their lives for this privilege.
- The Psalmist writes, “The earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein” (Psalm 24:1). I believe with all my heart that God is in control and that he is good. With that in mind, I can vote with all confidence that God’s hand will be guiding us. Maybe I will decide to vote the party and not the person; maybe I will decide to vote for a lesser known third-party candidate; or maybe I will decide to pick the lesser of two evils. I have heard many wise Christians speak of approaching this election in one of these fashions. I am not a convinced proponent of any one approach, but I am convinced that the Lord is on the throne and that Jesus is at his right hand. Because of this I will vote with confidence for a flawed presidential candidate as I have seven other times in my life.