Dear Friends,

In my stewardship letter to the congregation last year, I asked you to “Invite, Welcome and Connect” with new people walking into our parish churches and in your communities to see what a life of faith is all about. You did it!! Thank you. In 2023, we saw record growth in our parish that we haven’t seen in decades. New members and returning parishioners gathered together in person, while our on-line community continued to stay connected through the streaming of concerts and worship services. It has been a joy for me to meet your neighbors and friends. More than that, the impact of sharing ourselves, our faith with others, is what living the Gospel is all about. I pray you have felt the power of that spiritual connection as well.
With this renewed spirit uplifting our lives together this year, we were able to expand and engage in new ways. In early spring, we began a Eucharist and weekly Bible Study at Truitt Lodge. What started as a few parishioners attending service, is now an entire pew of Truitt residents coming in for worship and a van of people for concerts. Over the summer, our children continued to gather monthly for fun events on a pirate ship, flying kites on the beach and, in partnership with our sister parish St. Peter’s, Vacation Bible School.  This fall, we added music to our Children’s Family Service on Sunday afternoons and welcomed 11 new members to a six-week class, Welcome to the Episcopal Church.
Our Sunday service to one another continues as well. We have five new members trained as Stephen Ministers, two of which are now Stephen Leaders. New and returning members are serving at the altar and lecturing for the first time. Bible Study continues to grow this fall as we see new faces around the table opening up their hearts and minds to what God is saying. It’s a good time to be “the church”.
Looking ahead, we are planning new senior and young adult ministries. With the guidance of Mother Judy, we are in the early stages of creating “Extended Play, a series of discussions and activities around spirituality and aging, allowing all of us to continue to actively participate in all the phases of life with God to the fullest.  Connie Bowman, our Seminarian, will be working with our teens in preparing special Sunday services from their generation’s point of view. Along with Mother Celeste and other guest speakers, we will continue to offer retreat days for those of you looking for a quiet, local get-away. Engaging concerts and fun gatherings are planned for the community. As I said earlier, “It’s a good time to be the church”.
We ask that you continue to support our ministries financially and through your gracious outreach. Please read our membership materials and consider becoming a part of our growing parish. Your participation in all ways is important to the continued ministries of our parish. And remember:
  • Invite people to come and experience the love and friendship that is offered at our beautiful parish. Invite a friend or neighbor to join you at church one weekend.
  • Welcome them into our parish lives. Say hello to someone you don’t know. They may have been coming to church for years, but their face is new to you.
  • Connect with others and the wonderful things going on in our churches by attending concerts, participating in classes, or sharing a simple cup of coffee or tea after services.

In God’s love,

Mother Shelley+

The message of God is very simple. Love one another. Take care of one another. Take care of creation. And while you're at it, love me--love God. Do that and you will find your way. That is the core of the gospel. That is the only sermon that matters.
- The Most Rev. Michael B. Curry, Presiding Bishop &Primate of The Episcopal Church