Should have put this up Thursday, when Mel sent the file.  But we had a blessing of the animals service last Sunday, and we have some taped highlights.  If anyone is interested, you can find the flash file here.

We are moving forward at St. George’s with presenting our 10:30 AM service (as we present our 9 AM service) as a PowerPoint presentation.  This idea caused some controversy with it was raised, but a two Sunday trial seems to have helped us see this as a useful step forward in our congregational life.  I’m excited that Deacon Bob has been setting up the equipment (he may finish tomorrow).  And we should be ready to go forward for real on the first Sunday in September.  Thanks to Bob and all those who helped with this.  We hope this will make St. George’s a more welcoming place for oldtimers and newtimers alike.

My friend and colleague Zealand Hillsdon-Hutton died in the early hours of this morning.  He’d been assisting at St. George’s for years, and was a real godsend to me.  I will miss him. (more…)

Well, most of our plots are now assigned.  Last I heard it was 15 out of 24 plots, but that was at least a week ago, and there were names working through the system.  This week, we’re making contact with the Fair Oaks Community Garden, which has a 2 or 3 year waiting list for plots.  Enough of those folks live close by that I suspect we’ll be full by the end of the month.  Nothing has come of the contact with the scout troop, so far.  But we do have one plot for a senior facility (I understand we not only waived the annual “water” fee, but bought some plants and seed for them).  It’s great to see folks out working in their gardens most any time I happen by the church.

Another thing that’s happened is that money has been donated towards our expenses (upwards of $5,000 in startup expenses so far) in memory of Lukas Keye — the 20 year old son of 2 of our members, who died earlier this month.  Somewhere in the ballpark of $1,000 has been donated in his memory, I’m told.  We plan to put up some kind of a permanent memorial marker in his name.  And we might do that for others as time goes on.

Much remains to be done.  The rules have to be finalized.  Someday we may have storage for garden tools.  We’ll want more water outlets.  We hope to expand to about 74 plots in 2 more phases.  And I think we’d like to fence in the perimiter eventually.  I think someone said this would be at least another $25,000 to $30,000 in expenses down the road to get set up.  But we have time.  And we’re trying for some grants.  And things are well underway.  And I’m quite pleased with where we are now.

Something neat happened to me earlier this month.  I was accepted to the 2009 Summer Collegium at Virginia Theological Seminary  in Alexandria Virginia.  This is an initiative of the Lilly Endowment in support of small congregations.  It’s a national and cross denominational program.  My wife gets to come with me.  And our expenses are covered!  Anyway, if you want to see the press release about this, you can read it below: (more…)

At least that’s what I said in my sermon this morning.  If you are interested, you can hear and see this sermon on my church’s home page by clicking here and then pushing the play button.  Most likely the sermon you hear will change each Sunday, so this is a limited time offeer!  If you look for it, however, an audio of this sermon will probably remain available for some time as an a sermon preached by John Mangels 2/22/09.

We have struggled, at St. George’s, to find our nitch in the community.