Sunday, November 13, 2011

How your parish works...

How Your Parish Works:
A short introduction to the mission and life of
 St. Timothy’s Church, Salem.

St. Timothy’s common life is based on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In order to live out the Gospel we have developed a brief mission statement. All of our ministries and activities are related to it.

The Mission of St. Timothy's Episcopal Church
We gather to experience the Holy Trinity through Scripture, worship, study, and fellowship. Receiving and reflecting God’s love and grace, we are sent out to love and serve our neighbor, see the Christ in others, and share the Gospel by the example of our everyday lives.

At St. Timothy’s we believe the first priority of any Christian community is the worship of God. There can be no more important activity for Christians than the coming together for the purpose of worshipping our Creator and Redeemer. All other ministry is grounded in this worship: the liturgy is the training ground for service in the world. The central act of Christian worship is the Holy Eucharist, where Christ is present to His people in the Word of Scripture and by the bread and wine mystically made his Body and Blood. This is the basis of our parish’s life.

Some key aspects of the way we worship:
  • St. Timothy’s puts a great deal of focus on robust symbolism, with the full use of the senses (such as incense, holy water, chanting and hymnody, kneeling, &c.), all offered to God’s glory.
  • We value regular attendance as a way to grow in faith and gain understanding of parish activities and offerings.
  • Our model for worship and theology is the ancient and undivided Church, grounded in the Apostolic faith and scripture.
  • Sermons are generally of a practical character.
  • The Church Year, with its focus on the key themes of Christian teaching and practice, is central to the parish’s life.
  • Holy Week (Palm Sunday through the Easter Vigil/Day) is the pinnacle of our worship and community life; plan to participate!

Vestry and Rector:  The Episcopal Church lives a shared form of leadership between the laity and the clergy at each level, from the National Church through to the Diocese and at the parish church. St. Timothy’s is led by an elected body of laypersons (the Vestry) and the Rector (Fr. Brandon). A Treasurer and a Clerk are appointed by the Vestry. Two of the Vestry persons are designated Wardens. The Senior and Junior Wardens, along with the Rector, form a kind of Executive Committee. Vestry members are elected by parishioners at our Annual Meeting early each year.

Commissions: St. Timothy’s has a number of Commissions, each one covering a different aspect of ministry in the congregation. Each Commission has a Coordinator. This person helps focus and facilitate the Commission’s area of ministry. The Commission may organize itself as it best sees fit to do its work. All Commissions have a Vestry Liaison to whom the Coordinator makes regular reports of the Commission’s work. All members of St. Timothy’s are called to minister the Gospel in their daily lives: Commissions provide one way for us to do so as a parish community.

Commissions at St. Timothy’s

Building and Grounds
Ongoing maintenance & planning for future needs

Christian Formation
From the nursery through Adulthood: a lifelong process

Liturgical Ministries
Acolytes/Altar Guild & Flowers/Music/Lectors, &c.

Ministering the Gospel locally and globally

Helping people move from visitor to full member

Parish Life
Our fellowship events & ministry nurturance group

Pastoral Care
Connecting members to each other in care & compassion

All we have is a gift from God; let us use it wisely!

  • Photos of Vestry members and Commission Coordinators are posted in the Narthex (the foyer leading into worship)
  • You are invited to join one or more Commissions. Do you see something that interests you? Talk to Fr. Brandon, a Coordinator, or our Parish Administrator, via e-mail, or by a phone call. We are here to serve!
"How do I join this Church?"   The answer to this question is really two-fold.  The basic steps are:

1. Baptism.  All persons baptized with water in the name of the Trinity are members of Christ's Universal (catholic) Church, of which the Episcopal Church is part.  If you are seeking baptism, please see the parish priest.  We ask that only those baptized receive communion; if you are not baptized, please come to the altar for a blessing by the priest at the time of communion; cross your arms over your chest to signal you desire a blessing.

Having your baptism recorded, receiving communion at least three times a year, and giving in one's own name establishes membership in the Episcopal Church.

2. Confirmation. The last step toward full and mature participation in our tradition (including serving in certain leadership areas) is by being confirmed by a Bishop of our Church. Inquirer’s Classes and Catechumenate Classes leading to Confirmation are offered each year.

If you are an Episcopalian joining St. Timothy’s from another Episcopal parish, ask your former parish (or our parish office) to have a Letter of Transfer sent to establish your membership here.

All new members at St. Timothy’s are asked to attend the Inquirer’s Class & to begin giving to the work & mission of the Church in their own name by pledging or by other means.

Some Special Terms at St. Timothy’s

The Catechumenate:
An ancient process whereby adults are prepared for baptism. Adults seeking to be confirmed in the Episcopal Church and those seeking a deeper faith are also normally part of the Catechumenate. After the Inquirer’s Class series in the autumn, Catechumenate begins in Advent, and concludes at Pentecost in the spring. The Catechumenate is not only about teaching; it is about sharing our stories, questioning, and learning from each other. Interested? See Michael McFetridge, Head Catechist.

Chaburah (Ha-boor-ah)
This Hebrew word refers to a gathering of believers for a meal and discussion. They are our form of parish fellowship groups. Each year, Chaburah groups form and meet monthly in each other’s homes for food and conversation. Sign-ups are posted before the next rounds of Chaburahs.

This Greek word refers to the entry space outside of the Nave (the worship area) of the Church. At St. Timothy’s many activities occur in the narthex, including Sunday post-worship receptions, weekday fellowship activities, and occasional teaching events.

Living in the Kingdom
A discipleship enrichment group meeting on Wednesday evenings.  Retreats, presentations on various “how the faith is lived” topics, plenty of discussion, as well!

Parish Hall
The “log cabin” building just north of the main church. This was our original worship space, and is now used for parish meals and special events.
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Are there other unfamiliar terms? Don’t hesitate to ask for help. Our “church language” can be confusing, but we’ll translate!

Getting (and staying) connected

The Bulletin: Look on the right side of the service bulletin for a quick calendar of the week. Look on the bulletin back for more detailed information about events and other parish news. Verbal announcements are often made at the Sunday Eucharist. Stay for coffee hour if possible, too.

The Tidings: This is our monthly newsletter. Please give your address information to the Parish Office to start receiving your copy.

Parish Web Site:
We have many offerings on our web site, including photos of events, educational, daily prayer and scripture resources, back issues of the Tidings, the rector’s blog, contact information for parish leadership, &c.

Weekly eTidings: If you have Internet access, sign up for this e-mail bulletin via the parish web site.

Other ways…
  • Chaburah Groups (see above),
  • Annual Parish Campout in August
  • Tuesday morning Eucharist (10 AM)
  • Wednesday craft group (10 AM–Noon, at church)
  • Summer Wednesday Evening Potlucks
  • Bible Studies
  • Commissions
And most importantly:
Inquirer’s Classes and the Catechumenate are the best tools for learning about the parish.

*Illustration from The Cartoon Church

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