January 2018, Volume 25, Issue 1
From the Rector
Fr. Len Giacolone
Let me begin by saying a word of gratitude to all who made our Christmas celebrations this year in our new building wonderful. The Altar Guild under Becky Hunt's direction, Amy Crandell and the choir, our departing Music Director, Paula Blaha, along with several of her musician friends, our acolytes, readers and ushers, David and Kim Norris and all those who worked behind the scenes. There is a great volunteer spirit at St. Francis and I appreciate all the help in so many different ways. Thanks.
One major change we will see at St. Francis in 2018 is the arrival of our new Music Director, Ralph Webb. Ralph has extensive experience in choir and music direction and I believe he will be a great asset to us moving forward. There's a brief biographical sketch of Ralph later on in this newsletter. Again, I want to thank Paula for the ten years of service to us as our Music Director and wish her well in her new endeavors.
On January 28, we will have our annual parish meeting after the 11:00 am service. At the meeting there will be reports by the Senior Warden, David Norris, our Treasurer, Grady Collins, and of course, your Rector. In addition to the reports we will have elections for three new Vestry members to replace Don St. Martin, John Hatley, and Ed Sandlin. I want to thank all of them for their service to St. Francis. There are six of your fellow parishioners who are willing to stand for election to replace the outgoing members. As I have mentioned to you in the previous newsletter, Jim Britt, Jim Crandell, Nancy Critchfield-Jones, Matt Donnowitz, Donna Hunt and David Kristo-Reinking have stated their willingness to serve on the Vestry for the next three years. Shortly, I will have brief biographies of the candidates for you to peruse. I will, of course, introduce them at the meeting. Since these fellow parishioners attend different services, you may not be familiar with all of them. I regret that. You may have to make a selection based solely on their bios. It's the best we can do given our circumstances. Please ask the Lord to help you in making that decision for the good of our parish.
Also coming soon will be the annual parish appreciation dinner, date, time and place to be announced. I will give you plenty of notice so that all of you who volunteer at St. Francis will have the opportunity to sign up. This year the Vestry has determined that the appreciation dinner will be an adults-only affair. It will be necessary for parents with young children to find suitable child care for that evening. As always there will be a sign-up sheet to indicate your intention to attend. More information will be forthcoming in the service bulletin.
Finally, a suggestion for the new year. Actually, it is one that I make to you quite often but it becomes more and more necessary with the passing of time. We live in a perilous world. The perils are not just physical but spiritual. The global north is experiencing a progressive spiritual decay. As one commentator put it, “We are no longer a Christian country sliding toward secularism. We are a secular country sliding toward paganism.” Skip the resolution to go to the gym more frequently. It's not a bad resolution but it's probably not going to last long. Resolve to go into your prayer closet more frequently to seek the Lord's guidance and direction for yourself and for the church. That's what we really need. Happy New Year!
Anglicans for Life
Christmas Gift to APRC
St. Francis Anglicans for Life would like to thank everyone who generously donated funds to the Austin Pregnancy Resource Center in the sponsorship of a family for Christmas. Approximately $600.00 was donated enabling a large family to have a very blessed Christmas! Thank you again for your support, especially on such short notice!
Sanctity of Life Sunday
January 21, 2018 will mark Sanctity of Life Sunday, a Sunday specifically set aside to honor the millions of children lost to legal abortion in the United States since 1973 and to remind the Church of her commitment to protecting the unborn. Unfortunately, not all congregations will include this on their church calendars, whether due to an unwillingness to bring “politics” into their sanctuaries or worries of offending parishioners. But Sanctity of Life Sunday is far beyond the “politics” of abortion. Life-affirming sermons will be listened to by pre-teens and teenagers facing sexual temptation and possible unexpected pregnancies. Scripture readings will be heard by elderly parishioners seeking meaning and worth at the end of their lives. And litanies will be recited by women and men wounded by previous abortions, who are in need of healing and forgiveness. Sanctity of Life Sunday is not a stale ritual, a repetition of the same-old statements—it's a call to action both for clergy and parishioners alike, to defend the unborn, protect the vulnerable, and value God's gift of Life. And that must begin in every church pew in every church worldwide.
For more information: http://anglicansforlife.org/take-action/
At St. Francis, plans are to have an informational flyer from Anglicans for Life placed in each service bulletin on January 21.
Texas Rally for Life
The 2018 Texas Rally for Life will be held on Saturday, January 27, 2018. The Texas Rally for Life will commemorate the 45th anniversary of the tragic Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision in 1973, which made abortion legal throughout all nine months of pregnancy. In the wake of Roe, legal abortion in our nation has claimed the lives of more than 58 million unborn children and has hurt countless women and men.
1:00 PM – Meet at 17th & N. Congress Ave. for the march to the Capitol
2:00 – 3:00 PM – Rally on South Steps of Capitol
The Rally will feature pro-life speakers and leaders from across the state.
All are welcome to the Epiphany Celebration on Saturday, January 6 at 6:00 p.m. First on the agenda is sung Evening Prayer with the typical hymns and the psalm sung, but also the canticles for Evening Prayer, the versicles and responses as well as the collects. In years past, this service was sung, but without the organ. This year, our new music director Ralph Webb will provide the organ music, so we won't be singing A Cappella. Following this will be an Epiphany Feast. The Crandells plan to make a big shepherd's pie and soup. If you would like to help out with the food (other sides, bread, dessert), please let either Jim or Amy know.
Sunday School News
Thank you to everyone who brought their children to Sunday School in December! The kids enjoyed Advent, especially the Advent wreath ceremonies in class. January lessons for the younger class will begin with an Epiphany lesson on the 7th. The younger class will also make prayer booklets this month for use at home, and will then return to the One Room Sunday School curriculum and other New Testament lessons as we move toward Lent. Our new space is working out well. Thanks so much to our teachers for all their work!
Fifth Sunday Activities
Potluck Luncheon: The very first 5th Sunday Potluck at our new location will be on December 31 after the 11:00 a.m. service. Most know the routine: bring something tasty to eat and to share with the other St. Francis members and friends. Based on the chilly forecast for New Year's Eve, having a table or two outside seems unlikely. Help in cleaning up is appreciated.
Retirement and Nursing Home Hymn Sing: For the past 13 years, a small group of St. Francis members has made a periodic visit to the Retirement and Nursing Home at 6909 Burnet Lane, Austin, 78757 to sing, pray, and read a couple of Bible passages- with singing being the primary activity. More St. Francis participation in this outreach project is welcomed! Plan to join us on December 31 from 3:30 - 4:30 p.m.
Meet the New Music Director
Please let this serve as my introduction as your new Music Director. The name is Ralph Webb. I sometimes tell people that I've been in church music Waay Tooo Many years. A recent Facebook posting reminded me that I played my first Episcopal Christmas eve mass in 1967. Most of my years have been as Organist/Choirmaster in Episcopal churches, but I've made the occasional foray into other denominations.
After my last full-time Episcopal Organist /Choirmaster position, we moved back to Austin in 2000. I've done a number of interim stints since, and many Sundays subbing, but my day job as computer trainer with the State of Texas has kept me from considering any permanent part-time position. I'm out of town on too many Wednesdays when choirs typically rehearse. So when I saw the posting for position at St. Francis, my interest was piqued. I've always enjoyed working with singers, and I look forward to working with the choir as well as playing the organ during the 11:00 service.
The Diocese of Fort Worth has a wonderful camp program for youth from Kindergarten through high school at Camp Crucis in Granbury - south of Ft. Worth. Sessions begin on June 24 and include a family camp. Check out their web page and Facebook page. Click here to see the flyer handed out at the Diocesan convention.
St. Gabriel's Conference
When you want to learn Spanish, you go to an immersion program in Mexico or Spain. When you want to learn French, you go to France. And when you want to learn the Faith, you go the immersion program called the St. Michael's Conference. But that was only for teenagers. What about for adults? Now is the time for our first St. Gabriel's Conference (ages 19 and up).
Details: The conference begins on Thursday evening, February 1, at Camp Crucis in Granbury. It is arranged so that a typical attendee will only need to take Friday off from work. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday will be occupied with praying the Daily Offices, Solemn High Mass, classes, devotions, group discussions, fun, food, fellowship, and more. The all-inclusive cost is $199. Complete details at stgrabrielsw.org.
The Diocesan Men's Conference, titled “Building Better Men's Ministries” with Canon David Roseberry will be on February 9 & 10, 2018 at Church of St. Peter & St. Paul, Arlington. Registration is open! Click here to register. Click here to see the flyer.
Readings for January
1/6 The Epiphany
1/7 1st after Epiphany
- Isaiah 60:1-6, 9
- Psalm 72:1-2, 10-17
- Matthew 2:1-12
1/14 2nd after Epiphany
- Isaiah 42:1-9
- Psalm 89:20-29
- Acts 10:34-38
- Mark 1:7-11
1/21 3rd after Epiphany
- 1 Samuel 3:1-10
- Psalm 63:1-8
- 1 Corinthians 6:11b-20
- John 1:43-51
- Jeremiah 3:21-4:2
- Psalm 130
- 1 Corinthians 7:17-23
- Mark 1:14-20
- Deuteronomy 18:15-20
- Psalm 111
- 1 Corinthians 8:1b-13
- Mark 1:21-28
Notes on the Readings:
St. Francis follows the 1979 BCP Lectionary for the lessons (We are in Year B) with the text read from the Revised Standard Version of the Bible.
The Sunday collects and text of the psalms are from the 1928 Book of Common Prayer.
On the second and fourth Sundays, the psalm is chanted at the 11:00 service. The psalm markup is based on the Cathedral Psalter and is a part of the St. Francis Psalter - a multi-year project (i.e., only 1/3 of the Psalter is completed) to post the psalms for chanting on our website.
St. Francis Calendar
5th Sunday, December 31
- ~12:30 p.m. 5th Sunday Potluck Luncheon
- 3:30 p.m. Hymn Sing at the Retirement and Nursing Center
1st Friday, January 5
- 9:30 a.m. Said Holy Communion
- 9:30 a.m. Sunday School
- 10:00 a.m. Choir Practice
- 11:00 a.m. Holy Communion with music (on the first Sunday, the liturgy includes Morning Prayer.)
1st Saturday, January 6
- 7:00 - 9:00 p.m. Games Night
Saturday, January 6, The Epiphany
- 9:00 a.m. Prayer Service for our Nation
2nd Monday, January 8
3rd Friday, January 19
- 6:00 p.m. Sung Evening Prayer and Epiphany Feast
Sunday , January 21, Sanctity of Life Sunday
- 12:00 p.m. Mothers' Prayer Group
Saturday, January 27, Rally for Life
- 12:30 p.m. Anglicans for Life Meeting
Sunday, January 28, Annual Meeting
Diocesan Activities are promoted on this blog. You can subscribe and have updates emailed to you.
- 2-3 p.m. South steps of the Capitol
The Diocesan calendar is here.
The Bishop's page is here.
11 Grady and Michelle Collins
19 Bryan and Denise Gentsch
25 Brendle and Teresa Glomb
1 Audrey Woodgate
4 Allan Parker, Maeryn McCormick
5 Doug Cooper
7 Tom George
14 Cynthia Reiser
19 Arthur Woodgate
22 Matt Donnowitz
31 Ben Ellis
St. Francis Groups
Our parish has many groups to carry out our mission. Here are more details on most of the activities. The contact for each group is listed for questions.
Acolytes - Contact: Fr. Giacolone
Altar Flowers - Contact Angie McCown or Nancy Critchfield-Jones
- An acolyte serves at the altar during the Sunday services - lighting the candles, carrying the processional cross, helping prepare Communion, and assisting the Priest. Under the direction of Fr. Len, we have a team of four who serve periodically.
Altar Guild - Contact: Becky Hunt
- Associated with the altar guild are the altar flowers. In general, every two weeks (exceptions are during Pre-Lent, Lent and Advent), fresh flowers are placed on the altar. (The set being replaced is taken to the Retirement and Nursing Center on Burnet Lane for the residents to enjoy.) Anyone can make a remembrance for a loved one or a thank offering with the altar flowers at any time during the year, by simply filling out an envelope from the table in the back, enclose a donation, and leave it in the box on the right side of the back of the Nave.
Anglicans for Life - Contact: Rory Motl
- This group of 14 is responsible for assisting the Priest in preparing for services at St. Francis. They are divided into teams and set up and clean up the altar (among many other duties) for all the services that week. New members are always welcome. Email Becky Hunt to volunteer and with questions.
Choir - Contact: Ralph Webb
- Formed in April of 2009 and affiliated with the global organization, the St. Francis chapter generally meets on the 3rd Thursday of the month at 12:30 pm. Anglicans for Life is the global Anglican ministry that educates, equips, and engages the Anglican Church in fulfilling Scripture's mandate to protect the vulnerable, defend the fatherless, and plead for the widow. Rory Motl leads the group. All are welcome to attend.
Christian Education for Youth - Contact: Missy Bernard
- The all-volunteer choir was loosely formed in about 2003, but started regularly rehearsing in 2008. Currently, six St. Francis members devote 45 minutes each Sunday to rehearsing, now under the direction of Music Director, Ralph Webb. Our goal is to enhance the 11:00 service with music sung to the glory of God. New choir members who enjoy singing are always welcome as we learn to make a joyful noise to the Lord.
Christian Education for Adults - Contact: Fr. Giacolone
- Sunday school classes for the youth of St. Francis are held each week at 9:30 between Labor Day and Memorial Day. Classes always center on Biblical stories with activities designed to help the students live the lessons. Missy Bernard leads the program and, along with Denise Gentsch, Sue Orr and Doug Cooper teach the classes. Email Missy with questions or for more information. All parents are encouraged to bring their children to Sunday school.
Evening Prayer - Contact: Jim Crandell
- Periodically, Fr. Len leads a class for adults. Typically held on a weekday evening, in past years, the class has been on prayer using Pray in Faith and on the Holy Spirit using The Holy Spirit and You. Class is open to anyone.
Games Night - Contact: Amy Crandell
- A weekly Evening Prayer service has been said at St. Francis since at least 2006. Currently led by Jim Crandell with 7-9 in attendance, the service is held at 7 pm each Thursday, using the order of service from the 1928 Prayer Book. Prayers and lessons are said, but Hymns, the Gloria and the canticles are sung without accompaniment. Contact Jim with questions. All are welcome to attend.
Home Groups - Contact: Fr. Giacolone
- On the first Friday of each month (with some exceptions), a small group of St. Francis friends (generally 4-8 folks) gathers for a light potluck supper followed by a time of a board game or two. All are welcome to join the group for an enjoyable social evening.
Hospitality - Contact: David Norris
- The St. Francis Home Groups were formed in 2005 and are still meeting nearly 12 years later - some with the original members! We currently have two home groups with between 4 and 12 members which meet bi-monthly at the private home of one of the members. The format of each group's sessions varies, but prayer, Bible reading, discussion and support are typically present. Currently Claire Ducker and Doug Cooper each host a home group. Anyone can form a home group. Let Fr. Len know your plans and visit the current home groups to see how they are organized.
Intercessory Prayer Group - Contact: Fr. Len and Nancy Giacolone
- Having a bite to eat while visiting after the services has been a St. Francis activity ever since the church first formed. Kim & David Norris volunteer the coordination of the coffee hour, potluck luncheons, and other receptions and gatherings, but a variety of volunteers are needed to supply the snacks. There is a sign-up notebook on the table that always has openings for someone to bring some snacks.
Mothers' Prayer Group - Contact: Char Ready
- Prayer is the top activity at St. Francis. Towards this, St. Francis has an active Intercessory Prayer Group. Fr. Len and Nancy Giacolone maintain the church's prayer list, receiving requests in a variety of ways - discussions, email, telephone calls and written requests left in the prayer box. Members of the group receive updates via email and all vow to pray each day for each person on the list. Contact either Nancy or. Fr. Len if you wish to be an intercessor. There is a prayer intention box in the back of the Sanctuary if you would like to submit a prayer request.
Newsletter & Bulletin - Contact: Amy Crandell
- On the 3rd Thursday of each month, this group of mothers meets to offer prayers of Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Petition - with the petition prayers concentration on the families. Contact Charlotte Ready for more information. All mothers - even if the "children" are grown - are encouraged to attend.
Nursery - Contact: Missy Bernard
- The St. Francis Bulletin is published each month. This newsletter is distributed primarily via email, with some copies mailed. A service bulletin is prepared for each service held at St. Francis to use in the worship service. Send announcements and newsletter articles to Amy.
Prayer Service for the Nation - Contact: Amy Crandell
- St. Francis is blessed to have children who love to play in the nursery during the Sunday services. Nursery coordinator Missy Bernard makes sure that there is always an attendant to watch the children. We are blessed to have Tonia Wu and Gabi Velasco as our attendants. The nursery has a downstairs location for infants and an upstairs room for the older children.
Prayer Shawl Ministry - Contact: Char Ready
- On the first Saturday of each month, a prayer service for our nation is held at 9:00 am in the fellowship area. This group of 4-8 St. Francis members and friends begin the service with a gospel-style hymn and opening prayer. The main portion are collects, Bible readings and extemporaneous prayers centering on Government, Military, Media, Business, Education, Church, and Family. We end with the singing of another hymn All are welcome to join us.
Readers or Lectors -Contact: Fr. Giacolone
- This group of men and women work to knit or crochet shawls. Prayers are said while the shawl is being created and then are blessed by the Priest before being given out to anyone who is sick. The recipients are astounded at the power from the shawl when it is wrapped around the shoulders. Volunteers are needed to knit or croquet the shawls as well as to help with supplies. Contact Charlotte with questions and to volunteer.
St. Claire's Guild - Contact: Eileen Cole
- At most services, a member of the congregation reads the first lesson and the Epistle. Mark Rambin schedules the five readers who take turns reading at the 11:00 service.
St. Polycarp's Guild - Contact: Jim Crandell
- While we all hope that life goes smoothly, St. Clare's Guild is a group of women whose ministry is dedicated to serving our parish family in times of celebration, need, illness or loss. Eileen Cole leads the group.
Ushers - Contact: Al Parker
- Originally formed over 10 years ago as an opportunity for the men to gather to smoke meat together for the congregation to enjoy on Memorial Day and Labor Day, the group currently "meets" virtually to organize these events. Jim Crandell has ended up being the organizer, but is looking for other men to step up to actually have events where the men can meet in person. All men are welcome to participate.
Vestry - Contact: Fr. Giacolone
- Service as an usher is an important lay ministry of our parish. By their service, the ushers help to establish a welcoming and reverent atmosphere for worship, they assist in the orderly conduct of the service and they perform record keeping vital to the ongoing operation of the parish. Contact Al Parker if interested in serving.
- Our vestry is our governing board and comprises of 9 members, 8 of whom are elected to a 3-year term. The elections are staggered so that we elect 2-3 members each year at the January annual meeting. The Vestry meets on the 2nd Monday of each month at 6 p.m. In general; the Vestry is responsible to make decisions on behalf of the parish. Anyone can come to observe a meeting. Current officers are:
- Senior Warden, David Norris
- Junior Warden, John Hatley
- Secretary, Kevin Burnette
- Treasurer, Grady Collins
Webmaster - Contact: Jim Crandell
- Fr. Len Giacolone; Class of 2018: Don St.Martin, Ed Sandlin, John Hatley; Class of 2019: Brendle Glomb, David Norris, Kevin Burnette; Class of 2020: Missy Bernard, Dinah Arce
Women's Bible Study - Contact: Becky Hunt
- The St. Francis website serves as a portal of information to the outside world. Times of upcoming services, our location and the main activities are listed. Most importantly, recordings of sermons are available from the most current recorded Sunday back to January 2002 for anyone to listen to.
Women of the Church - Contact: Susan Rambin
- From time to time, Becky Hunt conducts a women's Bible study during the day. The Bible study has in the past studied several books of the Bible, mostly in the summer in 8- or 9-week sessions, as well as a couple of Barbara Mouser studies, such as Knowing God and Understanding Men, a study of Genesis and the Patriarchs. All women are welcome to join.
5th Sunday Nursing Home Service - Contact: Amy Crandell
- Led by Susan Rambin, all the women of St. Francis are members of this group. Currently, it functions as the parent group of the St. Francis smaller groups such as St. Clare's Guild, Altar Guild, and Women's Bible Study. All women of St. Francis are welcome to participate with this group.
- For the past 13 years, St. Francis has presence at the Retirement and Nursing Center on Burnet Lane. On the afternoon of the 5th Sunday, a small group - currently, Amy & Jim Crandell, Martha Freeman and Claire Ducker - meet the interested residents for an hour of hymns, prayers and Bible readings. All are welcome to join.
St. Francis Anglican Church of Austin
A parish of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth
Diocese Office: 2900 Alemeda St.
Fort Worth, TX 76108
The Rt. Rev'd Jack L. Iker, D.D
The Rev. Canon Len Giacolone