2017 WARDEN'S LETTERS
Archive of 2017 Warden's Letters
As Easter approaches, we are filled with the spirit of hope, promise, love and peace.
While writing this article during the first “official” week of spring, the temperature has been warm one day and freezing the next. It seems that Mother Nature is a bit confused with figuring out when the season of spring should begin. But nonetheless, spring has arrived and I can sense that the earth is just waiting to burst forth with blooms on the trees, tulips emerging from the cold ground and lawns turning green from their dormant sleep. That is the joy of spring and we find similar themes in the joys of Easter!
After a period of reflection, self-examination and prayer during Lent, we emerge from this time of penitence and follow the amazing events of Holy Week – starting with the triumphant journey we make with Jesus on Palm Sunday - and continuing through the agony of Christ’s condemnation and crucifixion and His miraculous and joyous Resurrection. Alleluia! Christ is Risen! The Lord is Risen Indeed! Alleluia! We burst forth in song with praise and worship to the One who has made the ultimate sacrifice for us and for all mankind! The season of Easter is filled with hope, promise, love and peace. The days that follow Easter Sunday are a time to celebrate and rejoice and to share happy times with family and friends - and with others who may need to experience this hope, yet have none. And with all the wonderful things that Easter brings to all, we embrace the hope that many of us at St. Margaret’s have for the future of our church and where we are headed in the months and years ahead.
By the time this article appears, the Vestry will have met in a special session with a meeting facilitator to help us understand where our church stands today. We need to answer the questions of who we really are versus where we were ten or five years ago or even last year at this time? What do we want St. Margaret’s to look like and what are our strengths with the parish family we have right now? What
goals do we want to accomplish and what mission do we want to continue with? How do we get there? The Vestry is positive and committed to a new chapter for St. Margaret’s and we have been working toward a plan on how to get there – having many discussions not only among ourselves, but meeting with Canon Orso from the Diocese to help us with this task.
So please make every effort during this Lenten journey culminating with Holy Week to come to church and celebrate with your fellow parishioners. Stay for coffee hour and join us in all our special services and activities. After all, I believe St. Margaret’s greatest gift is the love and warmth we experience as an awesome Christian family. Time and again over the years, I have heard many people say that they love coming to St. Margaret’s because we are so welcoming, warm and loving. We give so much of ourselves to each other and we have also stepped up our giving to the community around us. We continue to minister to those grieving and burying their loved ones in our beautiful cemetery. We have increased our Outreach giving and we have kept our church going in spite of some bumps in the road. Let us keep building on what makes us great! We need everyone to participate and to stay positive and have faith that our best days are to come! I have great faith in us as I reflect on the following promise from our Almighty God and Father:
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to His great mercy, He has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. – (1 Peter 1:3-5)
Praise be to God! Alleluia! Alleluia! God bless you all and many thanks for all your continued prayers and support.
~ Dan McGee, Co-Warden
MARCH 2017 - “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10
In preparing to write this article for the message, I did some reading about the season of Lent and its importance for Christians. As we know, Lent is a time of reflection and renewal. Although we may hear people talk about their sacrifice of “giving something up” during the Lenten season, Lent is really intended to be a time for Christians to consider our relationship with Jesus as well as evaluate how we live the word of God. Lent is not meant to be “business as usual”; the expectation is to use these 40 days to intentionally deepen our relationship with God.
Adopting practices like adding prayers to our usual prayer routine, fasting, and increasing outreach to others, are examples of some ways we can make a conscious effort to live our lives differently during Lent, and beyond. Acts of self-denial should help increase our awareness that we need God to be present in our lives; we need God’s mercy in our lives.
Some may use Lent as a time to prepare for changes that they want to make in their lives. Significant change also requires thinking, praying and planning. Preparing for change can be very unsettling. This is exactly when we need to depend on God more.
As I was thinking more about what I might reflect on this Lent, it occurred to me that Lent can also be a time where we, as the congregation of St. Margaret’s, reflect on our church life, including: how we persevere during this time of transition; our path to identifying a Rector;
and working together to deepen our church’s relation-ship with God.
As Lent progresses and our longing to be closer to God increases, let our actions of love, forgiveness, sharing, caring, listening and dependence on each other, be reflections of the presence of God in our church community. Such acts not only deepen our relationship and love for our God, but also deepen our relationships and love for each other.
Be present at St. Margaret’s as often as you can during this Lenten season, and please continue to keep St. Margaret’s in your prayers!
In God’s love,
~ Kim, Co-Warden
P.S. I found the following prayer based on Psalm 51 meaningful and thought I would share it:
“Praying the Psalms: A Clean Heart”
“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me. Free me from the sin that keeps me from loving you and loving neighbor. Do not cast me away from your presence, and do not take your holy spirit from me. Draw me close to you
O Lord; help me to follow Jesus to the cross and beyond. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and sustain in me a willing spirit. Keep me strong and faithful, and help me serve your Kingdom. Amen.”
+Pastor Charlie Berthoud, Covenant Presbyterian Church
FEBRUARY 2017 -
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.
The old has passed away; behold, the new has come!”
– 2 Corinthians 5:17
When I read about new creation, I think of new beginnings. As I write this article, it is more than 50 degrees outside, and it feels deceptively like spring. New beginnings? But as we all know, Mother Nature can play tricks on us, and it’s possible a snowstorm or two are on the horizon. I do, however, plan to enjoy whatever warm weather our God and Creator wants to throw our way even if it’s only for a few days at a time. I relish any day when I feel that all is new and about to be reborn.
I feel a new beginning happening for our country – which is experiencing its next chapter in history with the election of a new president and new members of Congress. We here at St. Margaret’s Church also pray for our own new beginning, as we work together toward finding the right clergy person to lead us. I have been emailing and making calls on a semi-weekly basis to both the Bishop’s office and to the temporarily appointed Canon of Transitional Ministry, the Rev. Thomas Orso. He is a warm and wonderful man who truly wants to help us in any way he can. As we spent almost an hour chatting on the phone recently, he was impressed by my recap of our church history and admired our strong will and desire to move forward over the years – even when we’ve faced some tough times. I wanted to make sure he and the Diocese know what St. Margaret’s is about. I told him that the Vestry is 100% committed to not only keeping our church alive – we want to thrive! He has assured me that he is working closely with the Bishop to find us a more long-term supply priest solution that could lead to a potential Interim.
In the meantime, while we wait in anticipation of a new beginning at St. Margaret’s, I wanted to step back for a moment and thank everyone who has stepped up to help our parish community to stay tight and together. I am truly thankful for every single person who faithfully comes to Sunday services every week and spends time in fellowship at our coffee hours.
I also want to extend a heartfelt thanks to our newly elected Vestry members – Jane Ames, Barbara Archer, Fal Gibson and Loretta Sawicki – who were willing to serve again on Vestry even though each has dedicated an enormous amount of time over the years for the good of our church – on both Vestry and in various other ministry capacities. I especially want to thank Kim Irvine for stepping up and accepting the role of co-Warden. With all I’ve experienced as Warden over the past five years, I can tell you that being a Warden is not an easy job to do – especially when there is no Rector. But I am confident Kim and I will make a dynamic team as we work together to keep the energy level high and the passion and love for St. Margaret’s a top priority. I am also confident that we will all benefit from Kim’s many gifts. She has already volunteered to take on the task of heading Buildings & Grounds – a huge undertaking. Although she may not know all the specifics needed for the myriad projects that need to get done around the church and our property, she is a proven leader at her company and knows how to plan, organize and partner with people. She looks forward to working with a team of parishioners to keep our church and property looking in top shape. I ask that all of you give Kim, the Vestry and all the other parish volunteers as much support and encouragement as you can.
One final note: I hope that all of you continue to keep St. Margaret’s Church in your prayers. I know this may sound repetitive but it’s so important. Prayer works! Many churches in the Diocese are in search of a new Rector or clergy and it is natural to feel like it is taking forever to find someone to lead us — it can even seem frustrating or disheartening at times. But please know that we are working hard for all of you. Keep faithful! Be supportive! Be patient and kind with one another! We have an amazing family at St. Margaret’s and I believe the Lord has great things planned for us. Our new beginning is just ahead!
“And he who was seated on the throne said
“Behold, I am making all things new.”
And he said, “Write this down,
for these words are trustworthy and true.”
– Revelation 21:5
Have a blessed day! ~ Dan McGee, Co-Warden
JANUARY 2017 - HAPPY 2017, ST. MARGARET’S!
As we start 2017, I find myself in a new role as a co-warden at St. Margaret’s. I am honored to have the opportunity to be in this position. Having attended St. Margaret’s since childhood, I can recall the many wonderful people that have served in this role, whom I admired, and I hope to continue the good work they fostered.
I’m also very happy to be sharing this work with Dan McGee. Dan has a passion for St. Margaret’s that is infectious. The love and caring he shows know no bounds. I look forward to learning more from him and all of you as we continue our journey together as a community of faith.
“Within the context of community we’re given the opportunity to discover our gifts and our talents and then use them to bless others. We’re each given a very specific role in the Body of Christ, and it is within these relationships that our roles can be used to glorify God to the fullest. We’re part of something really special.”  This passage from an article I read recently not only made me more aware of how blessed we are (and I am) to be part of the community at St. Margaret’s, it also made me realize the tremendous potential we have when we join together. Last month, for example, St. Margaret’s made a difference in the lives of 12 families because we came together and made donations with the intention of spreading God’s love to those in need in Plainview. We also worked together with patience and care to prepare our church for Christmas with wreaths, roping, red bows and candles. In a few hours, the church looked spectacular! These are just two examples of the many we could list, but the point is, the possibilities are endless. The challenging part is deciding what we want to do as a community, and then making it happen.
So … let’s make a plan for 2017. Can we each make a commitment to intentionally come together as a community a little more often than just on Sunday? Wouldn’t it be fun to learn more about each other, and discover more about the gifts and talents we have within our community? I propose we plan some activities that will help us accomplish this goal. We started to identify some activity ideas at the Annual Meeting in December, and I hope you will continue to share your ideas about activities that you think would be beneficial at St. Margaret’s. There are many ways for us to come together as a community, whether it is to work on a community project, do some work around the grounds, or simply get together for some fun activities. The most important part is that we plan events in which you will partake. In the coming weeks we will be sharing a calendar of upcoming events. Please mark your calendars and plan to attend as many events as you can.
The community at St. Margaret’s is a gift, but it needs to be nurtured. My hope for 2017 is that we will all choose to be more active in St. Margaret’s community. Let’s continue to build each other up using our gifts and talents to the glory of God.
“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see
your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”
- Matthew 5:16
In God’s Love,
~ Kim I.
 Debra K. Fileta. 10 Unexpected Benefits of Real Community, relevantmagazine.com, Dec. 2016