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Weekly Reflections from the Clergy and Staff


Although I have much to write to you, I would rather not use paper and ink…

- 2 John 1:12

 


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Message from Courtney Fossett

Posted by St. Alban's Episcopal Church on May 17, 2022 at 3:35 PM

What an exciting time it is at St. Alban’s! So many new families are coming through our doors, and we are welcoming so many back to our parish home. We have truly been on a roller coaster the last couple years and it has been a welcome sight to see so many faces in person. Our younger Sunday School class has been fuller than we have seen it in two years. Youth Sunday School and Youth Group have also been well attended. My heart is full and so very thankful!


Some reflection time recently has made me so thankful for the people that make all this possible. There are many special volunteers that without which we would not have the strong youth and children’s programs we have now. 2 Corinthians 9:11 says, “You will be enriched in every way for your great generosity, which will produce thanksgiving to God through us”. This passage makes me reflect on all the amazing volunteers that come together to support our youth, children, and myself in such large and small ways. They give with great generosity of spirit and in turn share the thanksgiving to God through their time and talents with our children. I am in awe of the Sunday School teachers of our younger ones, who take the lessons and make them come alive for the kids. We’ve had fishing poles fishing for Jesus and finding our light in the dark while the whole class hid under a sheet and so many more fun lessons all from the hearts of our volunteers. We are always blessed with Rosalind Seneca, who reads to our younger children, captivating the children with her voice.


Our Youth Sunday School teachers have an awesome knack for getting our Middle and High Schoolers talking, reflecting, and discussing, which is not always the easiest feat! The laughter and fellowship heard from the Youth room on a Sunday morning when they are engrossed in a game, or a lesson makes my heart sing. Youth Group continues to grow and prosper, and I am so thankful for all of those that come and participate. We have an amazing group behind the scenes, known as the Family Ministry Support Team or FMST, that support our youth and me in so many phenomenal ways. The full schedule of weekly activities would never be possible without all of those serving on that team to help make them happen.


Last, but certainly not least, is our wonderful nursery cared for by our great Caroline Coffey and lovely volunteers. Caroline has just graduated from Davidson College, and we will miss her dearly. Of course, none of this would be possible without the support from the best church staff, vestry and parish that continue to entrust me with this wonderful job to bring our youth and children together to prosper in God’s love and fellowship with each other. Thank you from the bottom of my heart to all those amazingly awesome people that support our youth and children and enrich my life. Please join us to share your time and talents with our youth and children, it is sure to fill your hearts like it has mine!

 

Music Notes - May 2022

Posted by St. Alban's Episcopal Church on May 9, 2022 at 6:50 PM

As we continue to celebrate the resurrection through this Easter season, a question comes to mind: How should the knowledge of Jesus’ resurrection shape the life of a Christian? Is it simply the intellectual acceptance of it, or does it also cause the believer to desire to share the joy of serving a risen Lord? As a musician serving this parish, it is no surprise that I believe that the tenets of our faith are reinforced, clarified and broadened in the music we share in worship services.


On Saturday, May 21st we will have the joy of celebrating the ordination of Valerie Colbert to be a deacon in our diocese. The Offertory Anthem that the choir will sing that day is one that I ordered in 2020, just before the pandemic set in. Obviously, at that time all plans went out the window for everyone, including all that I’d planned for the choir to do. However, when it was announced that our parish would be able to share this joyful event with Valerie-in our space-this anthem came to mind. The title of the anthem is “Prayer of Mother Teresa”. It is a beautiful and simple prayer, born of a simple life that was dedicated to simply serving others. I hope that it offers encouragement to you.


Peace,

John


Prayer of Mother Teresa


Lord, help me spread your fragrance wherever I go. Flood my soul with your spirit and life.

Penetrate and possess my whole being so utterly that my life may be only a radiance of yours.

Shine through me, and be so in me, that every soul I know will feel your presence in my soul.

Lord, help me spread your fragrance wherever I go. Let them look up and see no longer me,

but only you. Amen.


Text by Mother Teresa of Calcutta

 © by the Missionaries of Charity. Used by kind permission of the Mother Teresa Center.

 



 

Message from Rev. Carmen

Posted by St. Alban's Episcopal Church on May 4, 2022 at 2:45 PM

What does the Episcopal Church have to say about abortion?

 

Did that headline get your attention?

 

With the news from the Supreme Court this week, it seems that nearly everyone has something to say about this emotionally charged topic. And while I am HIGHLY reluctant to comment on a leaked document still in draft form, I know it is on your minds.

 

If you are wondering if the Episcopal Church is pro-life or pro-choice, you’ll have trouble finding a simple answer. In our tradition, we embrace nuance. We understand that “issues” are really people’s lives, and that people’s lives are never as cut and dry as they are made out to be by politicians or the media. As a church body, we are known for our compassion, our intellect, our commitment to justice, and our ability to find “a middle way” when others are polarized. We reject the idea that an ethic of life, and belief in a person’s right to make choices about their own body are entirely mutually exclusive. And we find unity in worshipping together (i.e. COMMON prayer), even when we may disagree on matters of conscience or public policy.

 

If you are curious about what the General Convention of the Episcopal Church has said on this topic over the years, here is a helpful summary: https://www.episcopalchurch.org/ogr/summary-of-general-convention-resolutions-on-abortion-and-womens-reproductive-health/

 

My role, first and foremost, is to be your pastor. If the news this week is stirring up painful or complicated feelings for you, I see you and I am here for you. If you are carrying fear or shame or anger or grief right now, I see you and I am here for you. Please know that you can always speak with your clergy about anything, without fear of judgment or condemnation. Please know that God loves and cares for you no matter what.

 

Yours in Christ,

Carmen

 

Message from Rev. Kevin

Posted by St. Alban's Episcopal Church on April 27, 2022 at 11:20 AM

What an exciting and momentous day we had at Saint Alban’s this past Sunday! A moment that has been years in the making finally came to fruition, as we officially kicked off a capital campaign to build a parish hall.


The Parish Hall Committee (now known as the “Grow, Gather, Serve Committee”;) was formed and began meeting in 2019. After much prayerful conversation and deliberation, the committee was preparing to launch the silent phase of a campaign in the spring of 2020, speaking to a select group of households to gauge the level of interest and support for the building of a parish hall. Then the pandemic hit, causing us to pause our work for over a year.


As you might imagine, when the committee regathered in the spring of 2021 there was some significant uncertainty about whether we should proceed, given the dramatically altered landscape. After doing some deep-dive analysis of the pandemic’s impact on our finances, giving trends, and levels of engagement, the committee, in consultation with the vestry, prayerfully discerned that we should continue to move forward in faith with a disciplined and cautious approach, keeping a close eye on wider economic realities.


As members of the committee went out and began having initial conversations with certain members of the parish, the high level of enthusiastic support for a parish hall became quickly apparent. The immediate willingness of folks to commit and generously support this effort was quite remarkable! That same enthusiasm was clearly palpable this past Sunday. If you were not able to be in attendance for one of the presentations on Sunday, please do click on the link below to watch a video recording.


It's hard to overstate the impact that a parish hall will have on our shared mission and ministry as a congregation. It will truly touch on every aspect of our life together in profound and positive ways. It will facilitate our continuing growth; allow us to gather together more frequently as a parish family to strengthen our relationships; and increase our capacity to serve our Davidson community and the wider world. Simply put, it will make us a stronger community of Christ-followers!


I ask that you please prayerfully consider how you might support this project. As you do so, do not hesitate to be in touch with me, Carmen, or a member of the committee with any thoughts or questions you may have.


Yours in Christ,

Kevin


Watch a recording of the Committee’s presentation from Sunday here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0_6Ik_WHPpA.

Read more and make your Grow, Gather, Serve pledge here: https://www.saintalbansdavidson.org/capital-campaign.

Message from Courtney Fossett

Posted by St. Alban's Episcopal Church on April 20, 2022 at 3:20 PM

Happy Easter sweet St. Alban’s Family! What an amazing Holy Week we just wrapped up! From the Maundy Thursday service to the beautiful culmination of Easter services this past Sunday, it has been a joy to see and welcome many of you back. This season of Lent into Easter has given us so many opportunities to gather and not only enjoy the beautiful and creative services, but fun fellowship as well. We celebrated Shrove Tuesday in all our Mardi Gras colors with delicious food and treats around the fire. Followed the next day, by a beautiful Ash Wednesday service where we saw many friendly faces.

 

This time of Easter can be so transforming with a Holy Week full of amazing worship. We often forget to take time to just be, tune into our surroundings, and listen to God’s word. It may be during a beautiful service, or it may just be on a contemplative nature walk, but wherever that may be for you, remember to take that time. We were blessed with a new experience this Holy Week of a Good Friday service on our new Stations of the Cross Prayer Trail. For the many that attended, we hope you enjoyed and were transformed as much as we were on what seemed to be the most perfect day imaginable. As we followed the path to each station, we were told the story and prayerfully stopped to take note of the significance of each step in the journey of Jesus. A powerful service to behold while taking in nature and even a rainbow cloud along the way.

 

Our culmination of Holy Week was Easter Sunday, alleluia! It was a full day of Easter tidings and blessings as we saw so many faces we know and have missed. Our family service at 9am outside was absolutely beautiful, followed by the Easter Egg hunt on the playground finally in person! Our hearts were full as we saw so many adorable young children dressed in their Easter best with baskets in hand anxiously awaiting entry into the playground to find their eggs and prizes. They emptied their eggs and used them to vote for the second annual favorite Episcopal Relief and Development cause for contribution. Preventing germy germs won in a landslide and after the last couple years I’m sure we all know why!

 

The excitement continues this Sunday as Sunday School and Youth Group resume, and we celebrate together over lunch as we hear even more about the exciting addition of a Parish Hall. We have recently welcomed so many new families and welcomed back those we haven’t seen for a while. St. Alban’s is coming back together! Alleluia!

 

Music Notes - April 2022

Posted by St. Alban's Episcopal Church on April 5, 2022 at 6:15 AM

As we approach Holy Week and ponder its awful events, the joy and glory of the resurrection is even more meaningful. What would cause Christ, the son of God, to be willing to be born and live among us; to endure the same trials and, at times, mundane existence that we mere mortals endure? What would cause him to be willing to lay down his divine rights and his human life as a sacrifice for us? Love, love for us is what prompted him to make such a sacrifice.

 

As we are “walking once more the pilgrim way of Lent”(as Hymn 149 puts it), what is it that Christ wants us to have for each other, friend and stranger alike? Again, it is love! In the Maundy Thursday reading from John 13 Jesus says “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” The anthem that the choir will share that night takes its text from the Prayer of the Day for Maundy Thursday from the Lutheran Book of Worship and is based on this passage from John 13. With all of the unrest in our country and the world, I hope this text will offer hope to you.

Peace,

John

Love One Another

Holy, holy, holy God, source of all love, on the night of his betrayal, Jesus gave his disciples a new commandment: “Love one another as I have loved you.” Holy, holy, holy God, by your Holy Spirit write this commandment in our hearts: “Love one another as I have loved you.” Holy, holy, holy God, we pray through your son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

 

Message from Rev. Kevin

Posted by St. Alban's Episcopal Church on March 30, 2022 at 1:00 PM

During the past two weekends, Boy Scouts and members of Saint Alban’s came together under the leadership of parishioner Cole Fossett to create a Stations of the Cross trail in our back woods for Cole’s Eagle Scout project. Because of the size and scope of the project, the original plan was for Cole to help us get it started, leaving us to complete it over time with a series of parish workdays.


When I showed up on the first Saturday, I was amazed at the number of people who turned out. People young and less young; people who have weathered the pandemic storm; people who have suffered significant loss in the past couple of years; people from various “segments” of our parish community; people with various levels of experience doing this kind of work; and I don’t know this for sure, but it probably included people from various places on the political and theological spectrums. It was such a beautiful coming together of a diverse group of folks to create something meaningful and enduring for our parish and the wider community.


The end result of this remarkable coming together was that over the course of two Saturdays we were able to complete the entire Stations of the Cross trail (minus a few final touches that will happen over the coming weeks). There was not an expectation that the trail would be ready for this year’s Holy Week, but we will commission the trail and hold our first Stations of the Cross service this coming Good Friday!


We owe much gratitude to Cole, his fellow Scouts, and the Fossett family for making this project possible. We are also very grateful to all those who took time out of their busy schedules to come out and help us complete the trail way ahead of schedule. This was, however, more than just a completion of a big project; it was also striking reminder of the power of Beloved Community.


I hope that you will find the time in the coming days to walk our Stations of the Cross trail and be reminded, not only of Jesus’ journey to the cross, but also of what a gift it is to be a member of Saint Alban’s.


Yours in Christ,

Kevin

 

Message from Rev. Carmen

Posted by St. Alban's Episcopal Church on March 23, 2022 at 3:35 PM

Want to know how Easter can be more joyful and meaningful this year?

 

Two words: Holy Week.

 

I love the Easter hymns, the egg hunts, the flowers, and the seersucker clothes as much as anyone. But I find that Easter means SO MUCH MORE when it is preceded by a real engagement in the story of everything that happened beforehand.

 

The resurrection is meaningless without the story of the crucifixion. The crucifixion story isn’t complete without the story of what happened the night before Jesus died. And all of it makes more sense when you understand how and why Jesus came to be in Jerusalem in the first place. Together, our Holy Week services tell the story of everything leading up to that surprising and joyous Sunday morning when the tomb was discovered to be empty.

 

For centuries, the week before Easter has served as a special time of devotion for Christians. Holy Week is our annual pilgrimage of following the path of Jesus in his last days.

 

The heart of Holy Week is the Holy Triduum: the great three days of Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday which culminates with the Great Vigil of Easter that evening. These are days are intended to be spent in quiet reflection and gathering with your church family for worship and prayer. These three days honor the transformation of the world. They are central to our faith. And they are some of the most beautiful services you will experience all year long.

 

Read through the descriptions of our services below and plan to attend as much of Holy Week as possible. I promise you that, come Easter, you will be glad you did.

 

 

Holy Week and Easter 2022

at St. Alban’s

 

April 10 | Palm Sunday

8:00 a.m. Holy Eucharist Rite II

10:30 a.m. Holy Eucharist Rite II (also livestreamed)

 

Holy Week begins on Palm Sunday, as we recall Jesus entering Jerusalem, to the sound of the crowds shouting “Hosanna!” (“Save us!”) in triumph. Shortly after, he clashes with the religious elite, resulting in his betrayal and arrest. Both of our services will feature a short “parade” before we enter the nave to hear the Passion narrative and celebrate Holy Eucharist. We will wave palm branches joyfully before experiencing a sort of whiplash upon hearing the reading of the Passion.

 

 

April 11, 12, 13 | Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday in Holy Week

12:00 p.m. Holy Eucharist Rite II

 

On Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday of Holy Week, we offer a simple, spoken service of Holy Eucharist in the chapel. The services begin at noon and last approximately 30 minutes. Attending these services is wonderful way to carve out some quiet reflection time leading up to the major days of Holy Week.

 

 

April 14 | Maundy Thursday

7:00 p.m. Holy Eucharist Rite II (also livestreamed)

 

On Thursday evening of Holy Week, the Church enters the Triduum together. The word “Maundy” derives from mandatum, meaning “mandate” or “commandment,” in reference to Jesus’ words: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another” (John 13:34). After hearing the Word of God, we take up a basin and towel to wash one another’s feet, as Jesus did for his disciples. Then we celebrate what I find to be the most powerful Holy Eucharist of the year, remembering Jesus’s institution of the Lord’s Supper on the night before his death.

 

After Communion, the clergy and altar guild strip the altar and sanctuary of everything decorative or beautiful. No adornment remains in the nave as we anticipate the pain and anxiety of the forthcoming betrayal. The service has no dismissal. All are invited to remain in the nave for silent prayer for as long as they wish.

 

 

April 15 | Good Friday

12:00 p.m. Stations of the Cross, outdoors if weather permits

7:00 p.m. Good Friday Service (also livestreamed)

 

At noon on Good Friday (if weather permits), we will gather outside near the SEEDS Garden to hold the inaugural Stations of the Cross service on our new prayer trail. This trail project was recently planned and implemented by St. Alban’s youth Cole Fossett for his Eagle Scout project. The Stations of the Cross is an ancient liturgy tracing the footsteps of Jesus on his way to the cross. Please be mindful that the terrain of the trail is uneven and may not be well-suited for those with limited mobility.

 

At 7:00 p.m. on Good Friday, we gather in the nave to hear the Passion narrative from St. John’s Gospel. We pray at length for all the world’s needs. A large wooden cross is placed in the nave and the congregation is invited to approach it in a spirit of gratitude and veneration, as the means by which God rescued us from sin and death.

 

 

April 16 | Holy Saturday

8:00 p.m. Easter Vigil, Holy Eucharist Rite II

 

Holy Week ends with the Great Vigil of Easter, just after sundown on the Saturday night before Easter. Full of anticipation, the Church gathers in darkness and lights a new fire, to celebrate the light of Christ coming back into the world to defeat death. The paschal candle is lit and the service begins in candlelight with a cantor chanting the Exsultet, a beautiful poem telling the story of resurrection.

We then review the history of God’s loving salvation throughout the Bible: creation, the flood, the crossing of the Red Sea. We reaffirm our baptismal vows and renounce evil. When we finally proclaim, “Alleluia, Christ is risen!” “The Lord is risen indeed, alleluia!” the joy is palpable. We celebrate the first Eucharist of Easter. If you have never attended an Easter Vigil, it is truly an incredible experience.

 

 

April 17 | Easter Sunday

7:00 a.m. Holy Eucharist Rite II, with hymns

9:00 a.m. Holy Eucharist Rite II, with children’s sermon, outdoors if weather permits

10:15 a.m. Children’s Easter Egg Hunt

11:00 a.m. Holy Eucharist Rite II, with choir (also livestreamed)

 

We’re back on Sunday morning with three more Easter services, plus the return of our beloved Easter Egg hunt for children. On Easter Sunday, we celebrate the glorious Resurrection of Jesus Christ and kick off a period of 50 days traditionally known as Eastertide — ending with Pentecost Sunday in June.

 

I hope you will plan to join us for Holy Week and Easter this year. If you have been unsure of how or when to re-engage in the worship life of St. Alban’s, perhaps this could be a way to begin?

 

Yours in Christ,

Carmen

 

Message from Courtney Fossett

Posted by St. Alban's Episcopal Church on March 15, 2022 at 7:35 PM

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! On this day, we pay tribute to St. Patrick, patron saint of Ireland, credited with bringing Christianity to Ireland. Many pastimes and legends have grown over the years from wearing green, getting pinched, leprechauns, celebration of Irish heritage with Irish food and drink, and my personal favorite legend of St. Patrick using a 3-leaf clover to share the Holy Trinity with the people of Ireland. Whether or not it is true, I can’t help but picture St. Patrick standing among some of the Irish people with a clover talking about the Father, Son and Holy Spirit and spreading the Good Word among its people, much like we might with a child or friend today. Today as we wear our green and wish many Happy St. Patrick’s to others, also remember the Holy Trinity in the clover that lives in us to share with others.

 

Many of us celebrate the day in many ways, but most recently the parents and youth celebrated with a Spaghetti Dinner on Sunday evening. The youth served their parents a delicious meal of salad, pasta, bread, and dessert. We welcomed back friends we haven’t seen in a while and enjoyed making new friendships, but most of all enjoyed many laughs and fellowship we have so desperately needed. The Oldlywed Game kept the laughs coming and gave us the opportunity to get to know one another better too. From the boys singing Italian tunes from the kitchen, youth serving, amazing feedback on future events, and of course the hysterical game, my heart was full as the night came to a close. Thank you so much for all who attended and all who helped make it happen!

 

Upon reflection on Monday, I was overcome with the thought that my job title, Director of Children, Youth, and Family Ministries, is wonderfully coming to fruition as we seek to find even more events that incorporate all three. Please consider joining us for our next fun event! Stay tuned!

 

 

Music Notes - March 2022

Posted by St. Alban's Episcopal Church on March 8, 2022 at 9:10 AM

As we celebrate Women’s History month this March, I’m reminded again and again how richly blessed the church’s song is because of the gifts of composers and lyricists who are women. Last Sunday the choir sang an anthem that was written by Ana Hernández entitled “Be Still and Know That I Am God”. The creative way in which she wrote the piece structured it so that its length could vary widely. In fact, in her instructions for the piece she wrote “there is no end to the tune, you may continue as long as forever, or …for a tidier finish.” The ‘forever’ description reminded me of the angels who throughout eternity sing Holy, Holy, Holy to our God. However, since we try to keep our service to just over an hour, I thought it best to go with the shorter version. We’ll sing the ‘forever’ version when we all join that eternal chorus.


The words of a very well-known song that many of us learned as children were written by a woman named Anna B. Warner(1827-1915). Ms. Warner was born on Long Island, NY and was the daughter of a lawyer. Her former family home is on the grounds of the United States Military Academy in West Point, NY, where her uncle was a chaplain. She wrote books with her sister Susan and wrote thirty-one novels on her own(sometimes writing under her pen name, Amy Lothrop). Too often, the gifts of women have been over-looked and diminished. May we always be open to learning and receiving with gladness the gifts of those we are blessed to know, no matter the gender, race or age of that person. What is the song she wrote, you ask? It is “Jesus Loves Me”. Many people, of course, know the famous chorus of this song. Below are the words for the three stanzas of her poem. The simple, child-like faith expressed seems to be a good reminder for all of us during this Lenten season, and always.


Peace,

John

Jesus Love Me


Jesus loves me! This I know, for the bible tells me so; little ones to him belong; they are weak but he is strong. Jesus loves me! He who died, heaven’s gate to open wide; he will wash away my sin, let his little child come in. Jesus, take this heart of mine, make it pure and wholly thine; on the cross you died for me, I will try to live for thee.

 


 


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