February 2018, Volume 25, Issue 2
From the Rector
Fr. Len Giacolone
Pre-Lent and Lent
The calendar is a funny thing sometimes and this year it's almost hilarious. Lent begins on Valentine's Day this year and Easter happens to fall on April Fools' Day. Obviously, our liturgical celebrations will take precedence. Since Easter is pretty early this year, we are already in our pre-Lenten observance, which means our vestments and altar hangings are violet, the Gloria is missing, and most especially we have started to prepare for a season of true repentance leading to Holy Week and Easter.
This year our pre-Lenten observance will include Evensong on Saturday evening, February 10. Some of you were with us when we did this on Epiphany. It was a very nice celebration with fourteen in attendance. I am hoping for a larger turnout this month, especially since I have invited an Anglican congregation from Georgetown to join us for the service. We will have Evensong at 6:00 pm followed by an informal reception in the hospitality area. It will be simple, just cookies and coffee. But it will be an opportunity to have some fellowship with another Anglican congregation. I would like as many of you as possible to attend.
Wednesday, February 14, is Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. We will have Holy Communion with the distribution of ashes at 12:00 noon and at 7:00 pm. As I have said to you over the years, there are no magical powers attached to the ritual imposition of ashes. This is a declaration on your part that you are willing to accept the discipline of Lent moving forward to amend your lives and live a closer union with the Lord. Anything other than that understanding of this ritual is really something other than what is intended by the church. The discipline of Lent should always include increased fasting, works of charity, and more prayer and the reading of Scripture. Obviously, you have to set your own pace and practice, but none of the above should be neglected.
During the season of Lent, I will also celebrate Holy Communion on Wednesday evenings at 7:00 pm. As I have done in the past few years, I will also give a series of reflections on a topic which I have yet to choose. But I will let you know before Lent starts. Last year I came up with a topic while I was on retreat with the other priests of the diocese. Perhaps that will happen again.
On a quite different topic, the clergy of the diocese recently received a communications from Bishop Iker indicating that the ACNA (Anglican Church in North America) to which the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth belongs, will be putting an increased emphasis in 2018 on the Sacrament of Marriage. The institution of marriage is in a dreadful state not only in this country but around the world. It is not much better within the church. There is really no significant difference between divorce among Christians and the general population. A few months ago, I shared with you some information from our Diocesan Customary with regard to funerals. In this edition of the newsletter (and the next), I am including some information both from the Diocesan Customary as well as the Canon 43 of the Diocesan Canons with regard to marriage. Both of these items are lengthy and somewhat involved, but they signal how important the Sacrament is to the life of the church and to the world. If marriage fails, society fails. Marriage is God's plan for the continuance of society and the church. Perhaps it is time (past time?) to look at this more seriously and to do something differently. Bishop Iker is planning a clergy day in April on the topic. I am sure that more will be forthcoming after that.
Finally, the Diocese is preparing a series of workshops for parish leaders on church safety. These will include a number of topics and more information will be made available later when I get it.
Anglicans for Life
The St. Francis chapter of Anglicans for Life will be sponsoring an educational course entitled Embrace the Journey. This course consists of 8 weekly sessions of approximately one hour each. It will begin on the first Sunday of Lent, February 18 and, with breaks for Palm Sunday and Easter, will conclude on April 22. The sessions will start after each Sunday's social hour at about 1:00 p.m.
Embrace the Journey will employ DVD presentations, written materials and discussion with the goal of helping the participants understand and apply God's Word to end-of-life issues. Importantly, it will help each participant personally prepare for end-of-life issues by completing the booklet Finishing Life God's Way, which you will be provided at the first session.
If you would like to participate in Embrace the Journey, please complete the sign-up sheet on the table outside the nursery. There is a $10.00 fee for materials, which we must have by February 4 at the latest to meet the lead time for ordering materials. You may give your fee to either Rory Motl or Steve McCown. Make checks payable to St. Francis.
40 Days for Life
As part of your Lenten discipline, consider participating in this year's 40 Days for Life Prayer Vigil. Involvement is one hour a week to stand and pray in front of one of the Austin-area abortion clinics. 40 Days for Life is a volunteer based prayer campaign that draws attention to the injustice of abortion through three simple avenues:
• Prayer and fasting
• Community outreach & Education
• Constant peaceful vigil
Prayer vigil campaigns are held at abortion clinics around the world during Lent and in the fall. The next vigil campaign begins on Ash Wednesday, Feb. 14 and ends on Palm Sunday, March 25. You choose one hour a week for the five to six weeks. Go to http://centraltexascoalition.com/ to sign up to pray at one of these locations:
Some members of St. Francis have been participating in these prayer campaigns for the past 8 or 9 years with Jim and Amy Crandell and Becky Hunt praying in the recent campaigns. Speak to them if you have any questions.
- Whole Women's Health Clinic, 8401 N Interstate 35 Frontage Rd, Austin, TX 78753 (just north of the IH35 and 183 interchange)
- “Austin Women's Health” (a.k.a “Brookside Women's Medical Center”) 1902 S. IH 35 Frontage Road. (Vigil is held on weekends only)
- Planned Parenthood, 201 E Ben White Boulevard, Bldg B, Austin, TX 78704
Austin Readers of First Things Meeting at St. Francis
By the kind permission of Fr. Len and the Vestry, the Austin Readers of First Things (ROFTERS) group plans to meet Monday Jan. 29 from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. at the church. The group plans to meet monthly to discuss an article selected from First Things, a journal of religion and public life. Anyone interested is welcome to attend. The article chosen for discussion this month can be read free online at www.firstthings.com/article/2018/01/evangelizing-the-nones. For more information or to be put on the group's email list, email Karl David Stephan (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Shrove Tuesday Pancake and Sausage Supper
Lent starts on February 14 with Shrove Tuesday on Feb. 13. This means the Annual Sausage and Pancake Supper will be held from 5:30 - 7:30 p.m. in the Fellowship area. This event is sponsored by the Polycarp's Men's Guild with David Norris heading the cooking and the rest of the men donating the food and labor in setup and cleanup. Come indulge in this all-you-can-eat event the night before the penitential season of Lent.
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. The flyer is also posted on the bulletin board in the Fellowship area.
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. The flyer is also posted on the bulletin board in the Fellowship area.
The annual Diocesan's Women's Conference will be held Saturday, August 25, from 9:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., at St. Timothy's Anglican Church, 4201 Mitchell Blvd., Ft. Worth, TX. Entitled "Igniting Your Passion To Overcome", it will be led by Janet Perez Eckles, an internationally known women's speaker. Although physically blind, Janet Perez Eckles has taught thousands to see the best in life. Click here to see the flyer. The flyer is also posted on the bulletin board in the Fellowship area.
Other Diocesan Activities
Diocesan Activities are promoted on this blog. You can subscribe and have updates emailed to you.
The Diocesan calendar is here.
The Bishop's page is here.
St. Francis Groups & Activities
Our parish has many groups to carry out our mission. Below are the groups with the contact listed for questions.
- Acolytes - Fr. Giacolone
- Altar Flowers - Angie McCown or Nancy Critchfield-Jones
- Altar Guild - Becky Hunt
- Anglicans for Life - Rory Motl
- Choir - Ralph Webb
- Christian Education for Youth - Missy Bernard
- Christian Education for Adults - Fr. Giacolone
- Evening Prayer - Jim Crandell
- Games Night - Amy Crandell
- Home Groups - Fr. Giacolone
- Hospitality - David Norris
- Intercessory Prayer Group - Fr. Len and Nancy Giacolone
- Mothers' Prayer Group - Char Ready
- Newsletter & Bulletin - Amy Crandell
- Nursery - Missy Bernard
- Prayer Service for the Nation - Amy Crandell
- Prayer Shawl Ministry - Char Ready
- Readers or Lectors - Fr. Giacolone
- St. Claire's Guild - Eileen Cole
- St. Polycarp's Guild - Jim Crandell
- Ushers - Al Parker
- Vestry - Fr. Giacolone
- Current officers are:
- Senior Warden, David Norris
- Junior Warden, John Hatley
- Secretary, Kevin Burnette
- Treasurer, Grady Collins
- Vestry Members
- 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
- Webmaster - Jim Crandell
- Women's Bible Study - Becky Hunt
- Women of the Church - Susan Rambin
- 5th Sunday Nursing Home Service - Amy Crandell
Last Minute Instructions for Lent
Lent is drawing near! The word “Lent” comes from the Old English lencten, meaning spring-time, when the days lengthen. You've probably already noticed that! Lent covers the 40 days, excluding Sundays, before the great Paschal Feast of Easter, which is always celebrated in the Western Church on the First Sunday after the first full moon following the spring equinox, then the days are neither long nor short.
Why this connection to the moon and the sun, to seasons and daylight?
Ancient Christians understood themselves to live in the cosmos, inside of God's good creation. They understood that Christ's salvation did not only extend to the human soul, but to the whole of creation. Celtic Christians, for instance, include animals, the sun, the moon, and trees in their carvings and manuscripts because of this innate understanding. To be clear, this is not an expression of pantheism, the idea that all of creation shares in the nature of God or the gods, but the understanding that all of creation is created by God, to be redeemed by God, and that all of it serves as a signpost to us not only of His goodness, but of the very doctrines of the Christian Faith.
New life springs forth from dead seeds, limbs stripped of their leaves bring forth new leaves every spring. To see this is to be catechized in a Gospel which, as opposed to rejecting creation, speaks of its being reconciled. As Paul writes, that in Jesus “all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.” (Colossians 1:19–20 ESV)
So, it needs to be said that Lent is about dying. But it also needs to be said that Lent is about asking God to bring about new life in us. We are a people who have died with the Lord Jesus Christ in the waters of Baptism and have been raised with him to newness of life. This is not a one-time occurrence, but beginning there – continues through one's life. When we fast, it is about desires and impulses dying in us, to make room for new life. When we give something up, it is to make room for something else – something better, something good, something life-giving.
The original 40 days of Lent served as a time in which those preparing for Baptism underwent a season of fasting and penitence. They were joined in this by lapsed sinners who were to be reconciled to the Church, as well as all Christians, who in solidarity with them, offered these days as a time of fasting, prayer, and self-denial.
Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, a day of total abstinence from food, usually until sun-down for those who are able. By tradition, on Fridays in Lent, Christians have fasted from meat of any kind and have attempted to delay the first meal as much as possible in remembrance of that Friday that the Lord hung upon the Cross. In our house, the foods of Lent become extremely simple. No dessert, not much sugar, and very little meat. We'll often cook chickens on Sundays and make rich broth from the remains, adding beans or vegetables. This, of course, means a gigantic drop in our food budget! Much of this is saved for the Easter feast, and some of it is given away.
You might consider taking on one or more of several Lenten disciplines and self-denials:
The purpose of these disciplines, again, is to make room for new life and actually take up that which is life-giving. This, above everything else, takes prayer. Without prayer, spiritual-discipline is emptied of its true purpose – that of drawing you up into the life of God. As the days of Lent begin, may you be renewed by prayer and fasting, that you may heartily feast in Easter!
- Taking cold showers in the morning.
- Restricting coffee intake, or eliminating milk from coffee.
- Walking to work or riding a bike.
- Avoiding buying any new clothes, or any new goods at all.
- Getting your garden ready – plant vegetables and herbs.
- Take a weekly three-to-four hour retreat.
- Take up the Daily Office of Morning and Evening Prayer.
- Cut out television.
- Restrict music listening – play an instrument or sing instead!
- Take up productive work – spring cleaning of the house, change your own oil, make clothes, and iron your own shirts.
- Make time for mental prayer – Lectio Divina and the Ignatian Method come to mind.
Readings for Services
2/4 Sexagesima or the 5th Sunday after the Epiphany
2/11 Quinquagesima or the 6th Sunday after the Epiphany
- 2 Kings 4:18-21, 32-37
- Psalm 142
- 1 Corinthians 9:16-23
- Mark 1:29-39
2/14 Ash Wednesday
- 1 Kings 19:9-18
- Psalm 27:5-11
- 2 Peter 1:16-21
- Mark 9:2-9
2/18 1 Lent
- Joel 2:1-2, 12-17
- Psalm 103:8-14
- 2 Corinthians 5:20b—6:10
- Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21
2/25 2 Lent
- Genesis 9:8-17
- Psalm 25
- 1 Peter 3:18-22
- Mark 1:9-13
Notes on the Readings:
- Genesis 22:1-14
- Psalm 16
- Romans 8:31-39
- Mark 8:31-38
Each Sunday's readings are linked to the passage on LectionaryPage.net.
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 to post the psalms for chanting on our website.
1st Friday, February 2
- 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.)
- ~1:00 p.m. Embrace the Journey course (beginning Feb. 18)
1st Saturday, February 3
- 7:00 - 9:00 p.m. Games Night
Saturday, February 10
- 9:00 a.m. Prayer Service for our Nation
2nd Monday, February 12
Shrove Tuesday, February 13
- 6:00 p.m. Evensong and fellowship with Light of Christ Anglican Church members
Ash Wednesday, February 14
- 5:30 - 7:30 p.m. Annual Pancake and Sausage Supper
3rd Friday, February 16
- 12:00 p.m. noon Holy Communion and the imposition of ashes
- 7:00 p.m. Holy Communion and the imposition of ashes
Wednesdays in Lent, February 21 & 28
- 12:00 p.m. Mothers' Prayer Group
- 7:00 p.m. Holy Communion with a series of reflections on a topic TBD.
25 Jim and Sue Orr
1 Dan Harrison
2 Victoria Glomb, Bud Lockhart
4 Jim Britt
5 Patricia Burnette
7 Burt Pigg, Kavya Parker, Willie Parker
9 Kyle Read, Ed Stillman
12 Mike Ready
18 James Glomb
Volunteer Appreciation Dinner
Because of the severity of the flu season and the number of our members who are ill, the Appreciation Dinner has been postponed until spring.
OF HOLY MATRIMONY
Section 43.1 As used in this Diocese, the terms “Holy Matrimony” and “Marriage” are defined as the exclusive physical and spiritual union of one man and one woman, by mutual consent of the heart, mind and will, and with the intent that it be lifelong.
Section 43.2 The blessing of same-sex unions is prohibited in churches, missions and congregations of this Diocese; and clergy resident or licensed in this Diocese are prohibited from performing such blessings in any venue.
Section 43.3 It shall be within the discretion of any member of the Clergy to decline to solemnize any marriage.
Section 43.4 The Clergy of this Church shall conform to the Canons of this Church governing the solemnization of Holy Matrimony.
a. Both parties shall be baptized. Any exception to this requires the permission of the Bishop;
b. There shall be sixty (60) days notice of intention to marry unless waived for weighty reasons, in which case the Bishop shall be notified immediately and in writing;
c. The Clergy shall provide counsel to both parties on Holy Matrimony with respect to theological and social implications and responsibilities;
d. The Clergy shall ascertain that the man and woman, parties to the marriage, have a valid marriage license.
Section 43.5 As marriage is a lifelong covenant between a man and a woman in which the two become one flesh, it is both an ordinance of Creation, affirmed as such by our Lord, and a sign of the mystical union between Christ and His Church, commended as such by St. Paul (Matt. 19:3-9; Eph. 5:22-32). Therefore, the failure of a marriage is always a tragedy. Scripture acknowledges our fallen nature and does provide guidance to know when a marriage may be declared a nullity or dissolved and allows the possibility of a subsequent marriage in certain circumstances (Matt. 19 and 1 Cor. 7).
a. Couples who request to be married by a member of the Clergy of this Church must have approval from their Bishop if either party has ever been divorced.
b. When a divorced person seeks permission to remarry, the Clergy must ascertain the pertinent facts concerning a declaration of nullity or termination of marriage; and in the absence of a declaration of nullity, forward such information to the Bishop in writing for his godly advice and consent.
c. The Bishop is responsible to create a process by which this discernment may be made with reasonable promptness.
d. Any declarations of nullity may only be granted by a Bishop with jurisdiction and shall be based upon Scriptural principles including the impediments to marriage set forth in Section 43.6.
e. At the completion of the above process, the decision of the Bishop is binding.
Section 43.6 No Clergy knowingly, after due inquiry, shall solemnize any marriage if they have unresolved concerns regarding the following impediments:
a. “Consanguinity and affinity” (whether the whole or half-blood) within the following degrees:
(1) One may not marry one's ascendant or descendant (great-grandparent, grandparent, parent, child, grandchild, or great-grandchild, and etc.)
(2) One may not marry one's sibling
(3) One may not marry the sibling of one's ascendant or descendant
(4) One may not marry one's current or former stepchild or stepparent
(5) Furthermore, beyond blood relations, one may not marry anyone related within these degrees of relation by adoption.
b. Mistaken identity;
c. Absence of the capacity for free and intelligent choice;
d. Bigamy, evidence of sexual perversion or conviction of a sexually related crime;
e. Fraud, coercion, abuse or duress;
f. Existence of a pre-nuptial agreement.
Section 43.7 The Clergy shall require the parties to sign the following declaration:
“We, A. B. and C. D., desiring to receive the blessing of Holy Matrimony in the Church, do solemnly declare that we hold marriage to be a lifelong union of husband and wife as it is set forth in the Book of Common Prayer:
We believe that the union of husband and wife, in heart, body, and mind, is intended by God for their mutual joy; for the help and comfort given one another in prosperity and adversity; and when it is God's will, for the procreation of children and their nurture in the knowledge and love of the Lord.
And we do engage ourselves, so far as in us lies, to make our utmost effort to establish this relationship and to seek God's help thereto.”
Section 43.8 Both parties must live chastely prior to marriage. They shall live apart until the marriage is completed. However, pastoral concession may be made by the Clergy tending to the marriage in cases where living apart may not be possible.
Section 43.9 In all cases marriages shall be solemnized according to the forms contained in an authorized Book of Common Prayer, or other rite authorized by the Bishop.
Section 43.10 The Clergy shall record in the Parish register the name, age, and residence of each party. Such record shall be signed by the member of the Clergy, the married parties, and at least two witnesses.
Amended November 2013
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