Greetings from Rev. Mike Woods

Greetings St. Liz,

The Woods family is very excited to begin our time with you this coming week. It has been a long hot summer for us as I am sure it has been the same for you.

I am writing this after standing outside with our oldest daughter, Harper, as we watched a nice little summer rainstorm pour down upon us. It was just long enough that it knocked the heat out of the air and left a cool breeze in its wake. It was cool enough that we actually felt like spending more than ten minutes outside after the storm passed. ...Read More

Interim Vicar Update, News, and Reflections

by Maddie Spearman on February 10, 2022

Dear St. Liz family,

I am writing to you on behalf of your Bishop’s Committee to provide a snapshot of the current goings-on at St. Liz. This week’s newsletter includes an important update regarding our interim vicar. I’ve also included one of my favorite pieces by Martin Bell, an Episcopal priest and writer. “Rag-Tag Army” describes how, even during periods of uncertainty and un-togetherness, God is holding us all in the hollow of His hands.

 

Interim Vicar Update 
During the past couple of weeks, Bishop Reed has been in the process of appointing a part-time interim vicar who will serve at St. Liz until the eventual appointment of our new full-time vicar. On February 7th, Bishop Reed and Father Mike Besson met with one of our very own members, the Rev. Martha McKee, to discuss the possibility of Martha serving as the interim vicar at St. Liz. 

I am thrilled to inform you all that Martha has gracefully and enthusiastically accepted the position (WAHOO!!). Her first day as interim vicar will be this Sunday, February 13th, and she will serve for an initial period of four months. Martha’s regular in-office schedule will be determined in the next week or so. I will update everyone when it is confirmed.

Martha and her husband, Jim Olander, moved to Buda in May 2019 from East Windsor, New Jersey. Martha served as a priest in the Diocese of New Jersey for 15 years – as a Chaplain at The Evergreens retirement community, and as Vicar at Holy Spirit, Tuckerton. Her previous careers include nursing home administration and environmental management. In our community, she has volunteered with the Friends of the Buda Library and Meals on Wheels. Right now, she's walking to train for a planned trip to Ireland with Jim and other family.

Welcome aboard, Martha!!
 

Parish Profile Workshop
Don’t forget to mark your calendars for Sunday, March 27th, when the Rev. Mike Besson will return to St. Liz to host a parish profile workshop for the whole congregation following morning worship.

As a reminder, a parish profile workshop is a two-hour workshop led by Father Mike to help us figure out (1) what qualities, skill sets, experience etc. we hope to find in our new full-time vicar, and, more broadly, (2) what sorts of values, strengths, quirks, hopes, dreams, history, etc. we have as a congregation. Most importantly, everyone from the congregation is invited to participate (kids and youth, too!). 

During the parish profile workshop, we will meet as a congregation to reflect on and provide answers to specific questions related to the above two points. We will split into small groups to discuss and answer the questions, and then we will come back together for a large group debrief. After the workshop, Father Mike will consolidate all of our responses, as well as the history of St. Liz, our key ministries, and some demographic information for the area, into a “parish profile” - an actual written document that summarizes who we are as a congregation and what qualities we hope to find in our new full-time vicar. Bishop Reed will review our completed parish profile when gracefully discerning whomever God calls to be the next full-time vicar of St. Liz. Potential candidates will be able to review the completed parish profile, as well.  

For an example of a parish profile, click here.
 

Seminarian Update 
St. Liz has been blessed to have Krista Heuett serve as our seminarian these past two years. Seminarians partner with a church to gain hands-on parish ministry experience. Typically, that experience includes being supervised and counseled by a full-time priest of the church. Due to the clergy transition, St. Liz does not currently have a full-time priest who can provide the level of supervision and counsel that a seminarian requires. For this reason, Krista must depart St. Liz as our seminarian. 

Krista has written the following update to personally inform you all of this transition:

“Greetings, God’s beloved family of St. Liz. I must inform you of my departure as your seminarian with a heavy heart. I have valued my time with you all to grow in Christ together. I found such a loving and holy family at St. Liz from the first day my family and I visited the beautiful blue church after we first arrived in the Austin area. You all have helped shape my future ministry in the church, and I will always be grateful for our time together. I am excited for the next chapter at St. Liz as you welcome your interim and discern your call for the next rector. Due to the many new and exciting things happening at St. Liz, I must leave as your seminarian to allow your interim to focus entirely on St. Liz and the next steps for you. I pray for the wonderful people at St. Liz that God will continue to guide you and comfort you during this time of transition. God has amazing plans for St. Liz, and I am forever blessed for my time with you. God bless you all!”

I know I speak for everyone when I say that we will miss Krista dearly. Krista, thank you for everything you have done for St. Liz. The Light of Christ shines brightly through your ministry, and we cannot wait to see where your calling takes you.
 

Bishop’s Committee Meetings
As a reminder, Bishop’s Committee meetings are open to all members of St. Liz. Recently, we have been meeting via Zoom every other Sunday. Our next meeting is scheduled for Sunday, February 20th at 7:00 PM. The link for the meeting can be found here.


"Rag-Tag Army," from The Way of the Wolf by Martin Bell

I think God must be very old and very tired. Maybe He used to look splendid and fine in His general’s uniform, but no more. He’s been on the march a long time, you know. And look at His rag-tag little army! All He has for soldiers are you and me. Dumb little army.

Listen! The drumbeat isn’t even regular. Everyone is out of step. And there! You see? God keeps stopping along the way to pick up one of His tinier soldiers who decided to wander off and play with a frog, or run in a field, or whose foot got tangled in the underbrush. He’ll never get anywhere that way. And yet, the march goes on.

Do you see how the marchers have broken up into little groups? Look at that group up near the front. Now, there’s a snappy outfit. They all look pretty much alike — at least they’re in step with each other. That’s something! Only they’re not wearing their shoes. They’re carrying them in their hands. Silly little band. They won’t get far before God will have to stop again.

Or how about that other group over there? They’re all holding hands as they march. The only trouble with this is the people on each end of the line. Pretty soon they realize that one of their hands isn’t holding onto anything-one hand is reaching, empty, alone. And so they hold hands with each other, and everybody marches around in circles. The more people holding hands, the bigger the circle. And, of course, a bigger circle is deceptive because as we march along it looks like we’re going someplace, but we’re not. And so God must stop again. You see what I mean? He’ll never get anywhere that way!

If God were more sensible he’d take his little army and shape them up. Why, whoever heard of a soldier stopping to romp in a field? It’s ridiculous. But even more absurd is a general who will stop the march of eternity to go and bring the soldier back. 

But that’s God for you. His is no endless, empty marching. He is going somewhere. His steps are deliberate and purposive. He may be old, and he may be tired. But he knows where he’s going. And he means to take every last one of his tiny soldiers with him. Only there aren’t going to be any forced marches. And, after all, there are frogs and flowers, and thorns and underbrush along the way.

And even though our foreheads have been signed with the sign of the cross, we are only human. And most of us are afraid and lonely and would like to hold hands or cry or run away. And we don’t know where we are going, and we can’t seem to trust God — especially when it’s dark out and we can’t see Him! But he won’t go on without us. And that’s why it’s taking so long.


That’s all for now. See you soon!

Love, 
Maddie

Maddie Spearman
Bishop’s Warden
warden@st-liz.org

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