August 2017

The Rector's Desk

We are preparing to begin a new chapter in the life of St. Michael’s. As a congregation we have been through a great deal together. When I came here in 2007 St. Michael’s was struggling with just who we were as a congregation, some even wondering whether or not we would survive. These past ten years have seen us work together to build a sense of community among us and reach out to the greater community of Noblesville and beyond to bring the love of Christ to those in need of experiencing that love and compassion here at St. Michaels.

As we have begun the remodeling of our Sanctuary, we may believe the end is in sight, but I think of this as rather a new beginning. God is now challenging us to use the new resources He has made available to continue to reach out to others and fulfill our mission as a church. This was emphasized to me these past two months due in part, to my father-in-law joining us at Hinkle Creek School, while he was visiting us. What stood out to me was that he was not particularly concerned with the building but rather the community. After his third service with us, he reflected with a smile how nice it was to see people he knew and be able to be greeted by them and to greet them in return. Our task is to enable visitors to have this kind of experience where they are made to feel at home and can look forward to worshiping with us by having the chance to get to know members of our community in ways that will encourage friendship.

Our new ‘look’ may get people to come and see but it will be the warmth and caring of this community that will encourage them to return again and again. We have been so fortunate to have so many hard working and caring people in our midst that has helped create this atmosphere! My hope for us going forward is that we will continue to build on our love of God and neighbor allowing those who come here experience that love and care.

One of the secrets to our ability to care for others and create a welcoming community is to come to church on Sundays. I have found it such a joy to be able to worship with all three of our individual communities at once this summer and hope you will come and help us celebrate God’s work here at St. Michael’s.

Thank you for your participation and help making St. Michael’s a faith community that invites others to be disciples for Christ,

I am,

Yours in Christ,

Fr. Lee

July 2017

The Rector's Desk

June fourth was a memorable day for several reasons. This was the last day we would celebrate services in our sanctuary before it is to be remodeled. Yes I am looking forward to our new sanctuary. Yet, not knowing the future is always a bit disconcerting, and I find myself feeling anxious as to what the future will bring. This was also an emotional day for me as we said good bye to a dear parishioner and friend, Don Gooden whose funeral was the very last service in our sanctuary. Don reminded me of my uncle Ralph who though quiet and soft spoken when he did speak demanded your attention. He too was a gentle giant. Don and Julie have been here the entire time of our sanctuary some 40 years. I shall certainly miss Don but I was glad we were able to celebrate the legacy of his life in the sanctuary he had worshiped in these past 40 years.

I want to thank all of you for your patience in advance as we begin the process of remodeling our current sanctuary to keep our ministry here at St. Michael’s front and center. It is not about the building but about our ministry! As part of your ministry please make it a priority to keep up your worship attendance. Although we are not in our sanctuary that does not mean our worship is not at the core of who we are and we still have visitors and those interested in our church. The number of visitors will certainly increase as the work on the sanctuary becomes more obvious in the weeks to come. Our Youth Group did such a nice job presenting the sermon and offering several hymns this past Sunday. Reminding me we can worship anywhere and have an important spiritual experience.

We had a tremendously successful Strawberry Festival on Friday and Saturday. It felt like such a wonderful celebration with the music, the arts festival, face painting, balloons, and of course the Strawberry shortcake. Nancy Allen and Laurie Schoening did their usual outstanding job in making this our 40th Festival a success. Not only financially, we will gross I believe over $17,000.00 for the event having used up just about all the shortcakes and strawberries! More important people had a good time. What a nice way to serve our community!

This summer we will have Adult education opportunities for those interested in learning more about the Episcopal Church. I also plan to have acolyte training for those interested in helping with the service.

As we have the chance this summer to relax and reflect on our community life here at St. Michael’s I find myself at times almost overwhelmed by how much we have accomplished together! I can hardly wait to see produce coming from our raised garden in back and have enjoyed seeing the shelter in back being used by both our parishioners and neighbors, most recently for Lily Smith’s graduation celebration, having had the chance to have 16 parishioners confirmed and another reaffirm their baptismal vows, and going with Rick Stilley as he begins his path exploring his call to the diaconate. May God bless you and watch over you and your families this summer, I am,

Yours in Christ,

Fr. Lee

 

June 2017

The Rector's Desk

When my children were young and we would travel a distance for our summer vacation the inevitable refrain would arise “are we there yet?! As we continue on our journey to remodel our sanctuary the temptation is to wonder are we there yet? When is the sanctuary going to be started and more important when will we finally have a finished product?! What we know now is we will have our last service in our present St. Michael’s on June 4th. Our first service at Hinkle Creek Elementary school will be on June 11th. To get to Hinkle Creek, if you come down off of Country Road 38 you will be heading North and the church will be on your right. Go past the church to the stop sign and turn left at the stop sign. You will enter the parking lot follow the signs and enter where the yellow sign is.

We will have just one service on Sunday while we are at Hinkle Creek which will take place at 9:30am. Please join us during the summer as we now have the chance to worship altogether each Sunday. We are all excited to finally get started with the building process which should find us in our new renovated sanctuary by Thanksgiving. During our time at Hinkle Creek we hope to be able to do some experimenting with new ways of worship. Some may work out and we may want to keep when we move back and some ideas may just as well be left behind at Hinkle Creek.

As a reminder our worship will be less formal due to the fact that we will probably have to be doing some taking down and setting up to start with, although the good news is that since we are beginning our time at Hinkle Creek during their summer break chances are we can leave our set up in-place at least during the summer. One of my goals is to incorporate the youth as acolytes during our time away from St. Michaels.

My hope is that this time away from our sanctuary can be a time of renewal as we worship in a new place, using a little different format of worship and certainly having the chance to worship with those we may not get the opportunity to worship with due to our having three services. When we go back to St. Michael’s we will go back to having an 8am Rite I, a 930am Morning Praise Service and our Rite II service with music. Personally I can hardly wait to see what the new sanctuary will look like and how our organ will sound in the new space. We will certainly have more work to do when we get back as some things due to financial constraints may have to wait for completion until a later date. Please be patient with the process we are going through because it will take some time to get everything accomplished. We know that the sacristy and cry rooms will not be done and so we will have to find a way for us to get these things finished. We will not have a projector that hangs from the ceiling and there will certainly be many other things we will have to live without for a time. The important thing for all of us to remember is the hard work so many have already done to get us to this place and that we will certainly complete that which we have started it will just take us some time to get all the renovations we want in place! Let us remember that if we do not enjoy the process we will in all likely hood not enjoy the end result! May God continue to bless us as we move forward, I am,

Yours in Christ,

Fr. Lee

 

 

May 2017

The Rector’s Desk

We have several special events coming up in May! Our new Bishop, Jennifer Baskerville Burrows will join us May 7th for her first pastoral visit as our new Diocesan Bishop! On May 7th we will have all three services and Sunday breakfast. At the start of the 10:30am service we will have our ground breaking with the bishop; we will then go inside to celebrate our Eucharist. After the 10: 30am service we will (weather permitting) have a simple but elegant reception with our new bishop with hors d’oeuvres and a juice bar. Please be sure to join us for what promises to be a memorable day in our community life here at St. Michael’s!

This past April 21st was a wonderful evening as we raised almost $6,500 towards our chimes that will be heard throughout our neighborhood as they are broadcast from our new steeple. I certainly enjoyed our evening together as our Youth Group, thanks in large part to Alison Schaefer, prepared a delicious spaghetti dinner, served it and cleaned up afterwards. A special thanks to Charley and Sheila Chaudion for their willingness to donate their time once more! This is the EIGHTH year they have helped us here with the auction. Over that time we have raised money for our shelter, sidewalk to the shelter, play area, organ and now chimes! With just these items alone, we have raised over $30,000! Thank you all so much for your support over the years! Again, Priscilla Slendak did an amazing job coordinating the auction, getting such great things to auction off from the community, and even having special gift items that were given away during the auction which made it a GREAT deal of fun! Of course, thanks to everyone who helped by donating items, bringing food and coming to bid!

At present time, we plan to stay in the office Monday through Thursday 9am until 1pm, even after construction is under way. As for now, we will be meeting at the church through Sunday, May 21st. Breakfast and Coffee Hour will continue through that date, as well as the nursery for ages 0 through 7. As I shared earlier, we are just about ready to move over to Hinkle Creek Elementary School. To get to the school, go past the church (on your right) and to the stop sign. Go LEFT at the stop sign and you will be on their campus. Go to where the yellow sign and yellow car can be found and you will be at the entrance closest to where we will go in to worship.  We will have one service during our time at Hinkle Creek - a 9:30am rite II Eucharist. Please come so we can support each other and share the excitement as we watch our new remodeled sanctuary taking shape. We plan to be back in our church no later than the first Sunday in December. Meetings that we need to have, such as Commission Night, vestry, and DOK will take place at Marcos pizza, which is on the corner of South Harbour Drive and State Road 38, unless otherwise indicated. We have already had a vestry meeting at Marcos and I have taught my confirmation class there.

Please do not stay away from church due to our changes in venue and times! We will go back to our “normal” schedule once we move back into our building!!!

I am,

Yours in Christ,

Fr. Lee

April 2017

The Rector's Desk

We have a lot to accomplish this April. We will conclude our series led by Pat Dorwin on April 5th, “Flawed Women, loved by a Flawless God.” Please be sure to join us for what has been a fascinating discussion on women we may not always think about and their contribution to the faith we all share. On Saturday, April 8th we will celebrate the legacy of Martha Graham-Grooms. She died at home this past March 17th at 1pm. On April 9th we will begin Holy Week with the blessing of the palms and our normal service schedule. On April 10th and 11th we will have Stations of the Cross at 6pm. On Wednesday we will celebrate Tenebrae at 8pm so that our vestry can meet beforehand. On Thursday, April 13th we will celebrate the Seder led by Rev. Ray Bradley. The Daughters of the King will help set up and furnish the meal which begins at 6pm and concludes shortly after 7pm. We then go upstairs and have the celebration of communion as we recall our Lord’s Last supper with his disciples. Finally on Good Friday, April 14th we will have the Good Friday liturgy at noon and then the Taize Service at 7pm. On Sunday April 16th we will celebrate Easter. We will have all three services and breakfast along with two Easter Egg hunts one after the 9:30 service and the other after the 10:30am service.

On Sunday April 23rd and 30th we will have an adult confirmation class meeting after the 10:30 service. We will go to Marcos and have lunch and then go back to church and continue our discussion of the Episcopal faith. We will meet from noon until 3pm on both days. We will be discussing the Old and New Testaments, church history, theology and the Book of Common Prayer. Confirmation will take place on Thursday, May 25th at the Cathedral downtown Indianapolis.

On May 7th we will have ground breaking and our new bishop Jennifer Baskersville-Burrows will be here to lead all three services. Then we will continue packing up and moving all the things we will need for having services over at Hinkle Creek. Tentatively our first service at Hinkle Creek will be on Sunday May 14th. We will have only one service at 9:30am. Rick Stilley will be over-seeing our move making sure that he keeps an inventory of everything we store and where it can be found. Obviously this is a HUGE undertaking and no one person can do it all. Please offer your assistance to help him as we try and make this move as easily as possible. The office will be open here at our 444 South Harbour address as has been the case Monday through Thursday 9am until 1pm. Please enter through the front door. Please do not go onto the South side or in the back without checking in with someone either in the office or at the trailer in order to get a hard hat. Please call ahead to let us know you would like to visit the work site so we can make arrangements for that to happen, I am,

Yours in Christ,

Fr. Lee

March 2017

Lent is almost upon us as Tuesday, February 28th is Shrove Tuesday, and we will be observing that day with pancakes, sausage patties, juice, milk, and coffee. We will begin serving at 6pm and conclude around 7pm. Steve Murphy will once again provide the musical entertainment. Please come and join in the festivities as we begin our preparations to observe a Holy Lent. The next day, March 1 is Ash Wednesday, one of the two fast days on the Episcopal calendar, the other is Good Friday, (see the Book of Common Prayer page 17) and we will have a quiet service at noon and a service with music at 7pm.Both services will have communion and the imposition of ashes.

During Lent we will have Pat Dorwin giving a presentation during our Wednesday dinners. Her program is entitled “Flawed Women of the Bible Loved by a Flawless God.” You will recall the great job she did this past year with her presentation about Mary the mother of Jesus. She examined his ministry that would culminate in his death through the eyes of his mother. This year we will be exploring how God used women who were broken and even used their brokenness to reach out to others. As in the past we will begin each evening with a dinner. This year we will have as our hosts: On Wednesday March 8 the choir will host the dinner, on March 15 Christian Education will be our hosts, on March 22 Outreach will host, on March 29 Stacy Elmore will be our host, and on April 5 The Men’s Bible Study will host.

We are also beginning to pack up and get ready for our move. The Rev. Dave Schreiber, pastor of the ELCA Church of the Resurrection, joined us for our Vestry Retreat as part of this preparation. He has been the pastor there for 25 years and they have just gone through the process of building a sanctuary. They are a church that has many similarities with us. Many of their neighbors, because of the way the building was configured did not realize they were a church. They had been built in the mid 1970’s. They were one of the few liturgical churches in their area that accepted everyone. As he shared many of his insights into what they did right and what they did wrong we found ourselves feeling like we were not so alone in our journey. May God bless us on our journey this L:enten Season and throughout our coming journey remembering as important as creating a more vibrant and welcoming space is, it’s NOT about the building it’s about our mission and ministry in Christ!

What ties this holy period together is God’s leading us, his flawed people, on a journey that will lead us to experience His holiness in a new way, enriching our spiritual lives and helping us recognize that it is not out of our perfection but out of our brokenness that God works within us. This in turn helps us reach out in mission and ministry to others, I am,

Yours in Christ,

Fr. Lee

February 2017

On January 15th we had our Annual Meeting where we elected three new vestry members, Ken Busch, Bailey Detamore, and Stacy Elmore, to replace our outgoing vestry members, Beth Aldrich, Laura Cordray and Dabney Noble. The vestry elected Stacy Elmore to be our new Senior Warden, elected Bob Salach to continue as our Junior Warden, and decided to continue meeting as a vestry on the second Wednesday of each month and have our Commission night on the first Tuesday of each month. At the Annual Meeting we also elected Claire Coons and Rick Stilley as our Diocesan Convention Delegates, Bev and David Dye as our alternates to Diocesan Convention; and received the 2017 budget that our vestry presented to us. As we celebrated the past year with the many successes we had such as the purchase of our new Rodgers organ, our raised gardens, which will be used to provide fresh produce to our parishioners, neighbors and those in need, and the beginning of our new Men’s Group Bible Study.

One of the issues we will be discussing at our February Commission meeting will be our beginning to formulate a plan for when we will be out of our building. This will be an opportunity for us to come together and not only discern where we will meet as a congregation, but more important, how we will continue doing ministry during this time. As part of our work towards this end, I have invited Pastor Dave Schreiber to work with the vestry leading us in a brief evening retreat. We hope to focus primarily on the former concern while not neglecting our need to have a place to worship together while the building construction is under way.

We are also making plans for a holy Lent which this year will begin with Ash Wednesday, March first. We will have two services that day with Holy Eucharist and the imposition of ashes. As we have in the past, we will have a Shrove Tuesday Pancake dinner on February 28th beginning at 6pm. As in the past we will ask you to make a free will offering to help with expenses, suggested donations are five dollars for adults, three dollars for youth and children under the age of 6 are free. Our goal is to have a fun filled n March 8 and go for five consecutive Wednesdays through April 5. As in the past we will begin with dinner at 6pm followed by the program which will be led by Pat Dorwin who will be discussing “Flawed Women of the Bible, Loved by a Flawless God”. We will conclude our discussion no later than 7:30pm.

Please keep us, our Senior Warden, Stacy Elmore, and Junior Warden Bob Salach and the vestry of St. Michael’s in your prayers as we continue to work to fulfill our mission: “By being disciples of Christ, we invite others to be disciples by daily prayer, weekly worship, regular Bible study, having a spiritual friend, giving to the church and outside the church.”

I am,

Yours in Christ,

Fr. Lee

January 2017

Annual Meeting

Our Annual Meeting will take place on Sunday, January 15th. As in the past, we will have only one service that day beginning at 9:30am. We will once more incorporate elements from all three services into our one service to try and help all of us feel at home. We will have the service of the Word which will be followed by a brief break in order to let the children go to Sunday school, have breakfast or a quick bite for those who need something to eat, and then we will go into our Annual Meeting and then conclude with the Eucharist. During the Annual meeting we will elect three new members to the vestry, as of now our three candidates are Ken Busch, Bailey Detamore, and Stacy Elmore. We will also be saying good bye and give thanks to our three outgoing members. Senior Warden, Laura Cordray, Beth Aldrich Worship commission and Dabney Noble Christian Education commission.

We have much to celebrate this past year! We have a new organ, raised flower beds and a new Men’s Bible Study. Our new organ has certainly enhanced our worship here at St. Michael’s as we have not only used it during our worship services but have also had two concerts one in March and the other this past October 30th and we have another one planned for Epiphany, January 6th with an English Holiday meal! Thanks to the leadership of Nancy Allen and your generosity we once more have no worries as far as our finances, having had a pledge campaign that is now 67 pledges strong and $137,956.00 in pledges for 2017.

Our vegetable garden in the back looks so nice now that we have raised beds, water ready to be hooked up, and the rest of it ready for planting as row crops this Spring with the knowledge that we will then install six more raised beds and in 2018 complete the project with the addition of a fence around it to keep out the deer.

We are now in the process, thanks especially to Laura Cordray and Bobbie DeBettignies, to moving ahead with the remodeling of the Sanctuary. During these past nine years since I was called here as your rector we have worked hard updating our building, grounds and programs working to grow St. Michael’s, I view this updating our place of worship as the culmination of these efforts and hope that we will grow to the extent we will no longer need assistance from the diocese. I am,

Yours in Christ,

Fr. Lee

December 2016

Advent 2016

For many of us the Holiday Season offers the opportunity to count our blessings. All of us can think of reasons we have to be thankful. For our family and friends, for our health, for our nation, for the gift God has given us in new life in Jesus the Christ. When I think of all that God has given me it makes me wonder why me? How is it I have been given so much?

I believe at this time of year we have the chance to give back to those who may be hurting and in need of a hand up. We are sponsoring several families on the giving tree and hope that you will take an ornament to show your support and care for those who are in need this Holiday Season. We will also be hosting a meeting for Interfaith Hospitality Network on December 8th to discuss how we as a community can move forward in offering families with children who are homeless a safe place to stay. As we remember that the Holy Family was homeless during the time of Jesus’ birth and then became refugees shortly after his birth having to flee into Egypt in order to escape Herod’s wrath. We are given the chance to help provide a program that will offer a safe place to those who need shelter as they work to get back on their feet again.

Rick Stilley, Greg Cowell, Steve Ash, Ian Saddler and Ron Wood have completed work on the raised garden and the field next to it. Rick is looking for grants to help fund a portion of the cost of our community garden which will be used to feed not only our parishioners and our neighbors but we will give part of our produce to our local food bank.

On December 18th we will have the greening of the church will follow the 10:30 service. This year we will not only green the inside of the church and our red doors we will also green our new Canopy and even perhaps put lights on our new evergreen trees that Henry Irvin put up as part of his Eagle project! Please join us as we make our church ready for Christmas and prepare with joy as we recall his birth once more. Of course we will have our Christmas Eve services on December 24th at 5pm and at 11:00pm. We will have only two services and no breakfast or Sunday school on December 25th with an 8am service followed by our 10:30am service led by Rev. Ray Bradley as he celebrates the anniversary of his ordination, I am,

Yours in Christ,

Fr. Lee

November 2016

Thanksgiving is one of the most overlooked Holidays on our calendar. As a child I can remember Thanksgiving as a time we actually would take a moment for to recall the great many things we have been given in our lives to be thankful for and make time to pause and recognize all God given us in our lives. As we make time to reflect on all God has given us here at St. Michael’s I am overwhelmed by God’s great generosity here at St. Michael’s! The leaders and many workers he has given us here to help expand His kingdom is amazing!

This past year we have witnessed St. Michael’s leadership continue to expand. As we have received new members many have been willing to take upon themselves leadership positions within our church. To name just some of what our new members who have been ready to help lead us are Rick Stilley, Rita and Steve Ash. Their leadership in outreach has really helped us remain focused on our commitment to reach outside of St. Michael’s. They have done this through the energy and vision Rick has put into our vegetable garden. The produce can be given to those in need in our community and his leadership in making our building and grounds as attractive and inviting as possible to help reach out to families in our community to come and give us a try. Steve and Rita Ash have been instrumental in helping us with Interfaith Hospitality Network (IHN). They have been willing to utilize the past experiences they have had in parishes working with the homeless to help us here as we work to bring IHN here to Hamilton County.

Michael Detamore urged me to start a men’s Bible study which we have just begun on October 10th. We meet at Perkins on 37 every Monday at 7am to discuss the Old Testament using B. W. Anderson’s Understanding the Old Testament. We hope to not only study the Old Testament on Mondays but encourage the men to get involved helping parishioners and even those outside the church who need help around their homes. As I once more think about our mission statement: “By being disciples of Christ we invite others to be disciples of Christ through daily prayer, weekly worship, regular Bible study, having a spiritual friend, giving to the church and outside the church. These new leaders are encouraging us to do focus on many aspects of our mission, specifically to have regular Bible study, have a spiritual friend and giving to the church and outside the church!

May God bless you this Thanksgiving! , I am, Yours in Christ,

Fr. Lee

October 2016

When we had the Rev. Tom Rickenbaker join us for a vestry retreat one of the key issues he raised with us, was identifying and raising up new leaders at St. Michael’s. Our leadership was becoming overextended and we needed to recruit new leaders who could take some of the work off our present leadership and spread it around so it would not be so much on anyone person.

These past few years have seen our leadership at St. Michael’s continue to grow as we have added new families who bring with them new ideas and new talents. This is especially important as we as a parish move from being a pastoral sized parish and make the transition to becoming a program sized parish. Personally I have found this transition difficult to make because I like trying to have my finger in everything. Now that the building project is in full swing, we are working to provide housing to homeless families here in Hamilton County, and the parish continues to have the oversight needs it always has had such as to lead worship, pastoral care, and writing the newsletter to name a few.

In order to keep growing as a parish we will have to continue to reach out to new leaders within our church. If you are interested in serving on the vestry or know of a good candidate please let me or someone on the vestry know of who you think would make a good vestry member. A vestry member does not need to be someone who has been at St. Michael’s for a long time, but does need to be committed to building up the kingdom of God, will come to our monthly vestry meetings and commission meetings and attend our Sunday services regularly. We have been blessed with excellent leadership in the past and I look forward to seeing where God leads us on our journey together as we continue to advance His Kingdom! May God bless you, I am,

Yours in Christ,

Fr. Lee

September 2016

During our time together these past nine years we have worked together to reach out to our neighbors. We have done this by enhancing our grounds outside, the interior of our building, and by creating programs that help incorporate those who have come to us seeking spiritual renewal. Indeed, it is hard to believe all that has happened over this time! We have increased our average Sunday attendance by about 40 percent from 67 to over 100 on an average Sunday. Our giving has gone from $70,000.00 a year to almost doubling to $131,000.00.

We have certainly grown due to your friendliness and reaching out to new families as they join us here at St. Michael’s! Many other things you our parishioners have accomplished have also helped us grow! One of the symbols that still has real power for me is our cross out front by the sign. Our previous white cross continues to act as its foundation. The white cross reminds me of those who have been here before we experienced all of this new growth and serves as the foundation for our present congregation. We have done such things as put a beautiful flower garden around our sign, our canopy which lights up every night over our front door, our statue of Jesus and the lamb indicating our desire that all should experience the love of Christ here at St. Michael’s, the new playground, shelter, and sidewalk out back. Our community garden which we continue to enhance each year to provide food for ourselves and others.

We have also worked hard to expand the efficacy of our building. Our updated kitchen downstairs, our sound system in the sanctuary, the hangings behind the cross, our opening up the Narthex and creating the coffee room and library to provide meeting space during coffee hour and throughout the week, adding new carpet upstairs, new pedestals for our flowers, and even a pusena to use to empty our consecrated bread and wine into. We also have a screen, drums, key board and new organ to help lead our worship.

Finally, we have worked to add new programs to help incorporate all our new people. Having a 9:30 contemporary service, our Third Monday Women’s Group, our Rite 13 Youth Group Class, our Commission Night, Lenten programs, Vacation Bible School, and Mothers of Preschoolers program. St. Michael’s is an exciting place to be, in part because of your willingness to change and grow with the needs of those around us. Now as we are reaching out to the homeless by participating in the Interfaith Hospitality program we are doing what we can to help those in need by sharing our church with those families who are needing support so they can once more have their own home! May God bless you this new year as you have blessed so many of our neighbors!

I am,

Yours in Christ,

Fr. Lee

August 2016

As we approach a new church year I recall a conversation I had with Jeremy Mills, the pastor of Epiphany Lutheran Church. He shared how it is the congregation that does the work and the minister must be willing to applaud those who come forward to take on the important tasks of making sure the church runs smoothly and effectively. He went on to state how fulfilled he feels at Epiphany because the congregation is continually willing to challenge itself, bringing change and growth.

On a personal note, I have felt so fortunate to be involved with a congregation where so many of you do so much! Sometimes it can be easy to take things for granted and not see the work behind all of the necessary tasks that make St. Michael’s such a vital parish. We have a hard working vestry that has spent countless hours overseeing the remodeling of our sanctuary, managing our building and grounds so they look as beautiful and hospitable as possible, making sure we have parish events that bring us together, a vibrant and healthy Christian education program, and a Sunday worship experience that is meaningful.

What I am especially pleased to see is so many of you taking pride in how our church looks and wanting it to be a place where people feel welcome. Outside our grounds are taking shape because of the loving care they are receiving. In the back, both the flower garden and the vegetable garden are thriving; bushes are trimmed and pristine. In front, the trees look so nice, with the flowers and new mulch; weeds in the driveway are disappearing; sidewalks are trimmed; the area around the cross is weeded, so that the edging around appears once more.

The interior is being looked after as well, with volunteers cleaning the kitchen on a regular basis so that it is always ready for the next dinner. Walking around the church after our volunteer sextons have come and cleaned it with the care only given by someone who is a member! For me these changes of new leadership challenging us to see our church anew has resulted in new leaders coming forward!

Thank you for your participation and help making St. Michael’s a faith community that invites others to be disciples for Christ,

I am,

Yours in Christ,

Fr. Lee

May 2016

Memories! As I think back on 30 plus years of ordained ministry, the night of April 16, 2016 will rank right at the top as one of my most wonderful memories of my ministry! We had such a fun evening of good food, laughter and joy, as we raised $7,862.50 for our organ! Yes we now OWN this awesome instrument that will certainly be enjoyed for at least the next generation! What a wonderful legacy for the many parishioners, guests and those joining us for special occasions such as weddings, baptisms and funerals. We now have raised (in the bank) some $10,118.50 and we have already been assured by several others of some more gifts to follow. We have already gone ahead and spent a little on special music to be used for this wonderful instrument and we will also now be able to pay for some specialized training for Steve Murphy and Jane Walters so they can take maximum advantage of all this organ has to offer! I still have a hard time believing in just 2 ½ hours we were able to raise this kind of money or $3,145.00 per hour!!! For those of you unable to join us you certainly missed a GREAT time. Special thanks to Priscilla Slendak for her leadership reaching out to our community and getting such nice articles in the Times and on Channel 8. Thanks too to Steve Murphy for his great interview skills! Lee Ann Gray did an outstanding job with Priscilla in reaching out to local merchants in our area getting coupons for services and even a Rooster! Of course thanks to everyone who came and so generously supported the auction and to all those who donated items to our auction! The many talents we have here at St. Michael’s are incredible!

The week before on Friday April 8th will also be one of my most treasured memories of ministry! Our web site design presentation by Elizabeth Pike, our organ concert by Tim Denton and our Italian meal provided by Marion Redstone and his many helpers! Elizabeth has done an outstanding job getting our new web site up and running! The amount of detail that goes into a project like that is mind boggling! She has helped us move on up in the Google ratings so that when you go looking for an Episcopal Church in Indianapolis we come up far sooner than we did before her work. Tim Denton was described at one point as ‘running’ on the foot pedals of the organ! Then of course we had the Italian Dinner! Marion Redstone even spent most of Thursday straight through to Friday morning preparing the dinner. Some of Marion’s helpers were Deborah Burke, Ken Busch, Yes we have been so incredibly blessed with so many talented and capable people here at St. Michael’s!!! My hope is that you will continue to make a point and join us for worship as we continue to do all we can to create a worship space where all are welcome and can find a setting where they can worship God in a way that suits who they are. Whether you enjoy quiet at our 8am service, the exuberant piano at the 9:30am service or the more stylized and majestic organ of the 10:30am service there is indeed something for everyone here at St. Michael’s.

Looking forward we will kick off our Capital Campaign on May 15th with a special presentation at all three services. We will also welcome Kynna Yehling who will be baptized that day at the 10:30am service.

I am,

Yours in Christ,

Fr. Lee

Remodeling Project

April 25, 2016

Dear Parishioners,

We are so fortunate to be part of this momentous time in our history here at St. Michael's! What a joy to see our new playground, shelter and sidewalk, our awesome kitchen, beautiful cross out front, our canopy, and most recently our incredible new organ. We are now at the next and perhaps most important point on our journey together as we move toward renovating our sanctuary! Our Capital Campaign will kick off on May 15 with a presentation by Craig Meyer at all three services. A packet will follow with a pledge card and other pertinent information. We will have the chance to create a sacred space for future generations to come and worship here at St. Michael's, building on the legacy we have been given by the faithfulness of those who have gone before us! Now is our chance to leave something of lasting value behind for those who will follow us. We have been so blessed here at St. Michael's with so many dedicated and hardworking volunteers. Now is our chance to join with those who have done so much behind the scenes to get us to this point. When I think of the thoughtfulness of the Nelsons in their gift of $200,000.00, which has grown to $250,000.00, to our many faithful volunteers for their outstanding leadership and for our grant of $15,000.00 from the Center for Congregational Development, and a potential $7,500.00 from our own diocese to help pay the architectural fees helping us have our goal in sight! Having already received the first grant we may be eligible for a second grant this coming year of 2017. Who knows what more the Lord has in store for us as we work together to build His Kingdom. Please prayerfully consider what your part of this legacy will be! I am, Yours in Christ,

Fr. Lee Schaefer 

April 2016

This April promises to be a busy month, even following March with Holy Week and Easter! We will begin on Friday April 8th with a presentation on our new Website from Elizabeth Pike at 6pm. She will go over the different features of our web site and how they not only enhance visitors access to information about our parish, but also how it will get us more exposure to new potential parishioners!

We are so fortunate to have the opportunity to raise $10,000.00 for our new/used organ! So far we have raised almost $2,000.00 and we have yet to begin our fund raising in earnest. On April 8th we will have Timothy Denton, the organist at St. Alban’s Episcopal Church who lives just a few blocks from St. Michael’s giving a concert beginning at 6:30pm and concluding at 7:15pm. This concert will have music from England, Germany, and France. He will also have at least one hymn we can sing along with to see how the organ does leading us in song. Mr. Denton has given concerts throughout the United States most recently this past February in Florida. Denton, a native of Louisville, KY, received his bachelor's degree in organ performance from the University of Louisville and his master's degree in organ performance and church music from Indiana University, Bloomington. He studied under performers as Dr. Larry Smith, Dr. Marilyn Keiser and Melvin Dickinson. He has given concerts throughout the Midwest, Florida, Georgia and California. As a church musician, he has held positions as choirmaster/organist at St. Peter's in the Valley Episcopal Church in Louisville, Trinity English Lutheran Church, in Fort Wayne, IN, and St. Alban's Episcopal Church in Indianapolis. We are fortunate that he is able and willing to perform for us! 

After the concert on Friday, April 8, we will have our Italian Night celebration hosted by Marion Redstone. The menu is as follows: Antipasta (Genoa Salami, Hard Salami, Provolone, Mozzarella, Pepperoni, Pepperoncini, etc. with breadsticks); Vegetarian Lasagna, 3-Meat Meatballs, Fresh Marinara, Penne, Rotini, Italian Bread (Prepared on site); Chianti, Rose; coffee, Biscotti, and Lemon Gelato. The cost is $15.00 for adults, $5.00 for those 6 to 15 and under 6 eat free! After you have had the chance to hear our new/used awesome organ we hope that you will give generously at our auction on Saturday April 16th. We will begin with our dinner at 4pm followed by the auction. Once more we will have our favorite auctioneer, C.A. Foland, who makes it a joy to give our money away, especially to such a GREAT cause! 

Finally, as we continue to work at helping St. Michael’s grow we will be attending Pathways to Vitality on Saturday, April 16 at 8am. We hope to learn how we can find even more ways to help us continue to grow and deepen our faith as a congregation! 

I am,

Yours in Christ,

Fr. Lee

March 2016

By now you should have received a letter in the mail indicating that we are in the process of perhaps getting a Rodgers Organ. We will have it installed on Wednesday, February 24th. To recap, if you have not already heard, we will have it for several weeks to try it out. Should we decide for whatever reason this is not the right instrument for us we will take our Allen Organ back and there will be no charge. If we decide that this is the right instrument for us we will be able to use it until April 17th at a cost of $200.00. 

After the Auction and the intervening weeks if the vestry determines we cannot raise the $10,000.00 we can give it back and get our Allen Organ back. If we decide we can come up with the $10,000.00 we can make the payment of $10,000.00 which includes the $200.00 and keep the Allen Organ.

Personally, I have never been involved in the procurement of an organ, and so I am particularly excited about the possibility of getting a new instrument that may enhance our worship experience. This organ has three ranks versus the two our Allen has and has many more instrumentations that come with it such as flutes, trumpets, and chimes. During the next few weeks I am urging our parishioners to come and hear this new instrument so you can hear firsthand how it will potentially help enhance our worship experience. We are fortunate to have this instrument during Lent, Holy Week and the Easter Season so we can hear a wide variety of settings. 

As I alluded to earlier, in order to keep this instrument we will have to pay for it. Please consider what you would be willing to donate to our auction on Saturday, April 16th. Our goal is to raise $5,000.00 dollars. There has already been a $1,000.00 gift toward the purchase of this organ. The vestry decided that it would raise the ticket price of the Strawberry Festival to $7.00 if purchased the day of the Festival and increasing the festival from one to two days, adding Friday from 11am until 3pm. The price for pre-purchased tickets will remain at $5.00 a ticket. We are doing this in part to raise another $2,000.00 toward the purchase price of the organ. Finally we hope to get a couple of donors to make up the difference.

To help raise awareness of what this new organ can do we have set up a concert with Tim Denton, the organist at St. Alban’s Episcopal Church, on Friday, April 8th. The concert will begin at 6:30pm and conclude at 7:15pm. After the concert we will have dinner downstairs. The dinner will be our Annual Italian Night this year hosted by Marion Redstone! Please be sure to join us for what should be a most memorable evening! We hope to have around 100 people join us both parishioners and friends. Tim said he was willing to join us for dinner so he could answer any questions you might have about our organ, and since he has practiced on our old organ he is eminently qualified to compare both instruments.

May God bless you this Lenten Season, 

I am,

Yours in Christ,

Fr. Lee

February 2016

On January 17th we had our Annual Meeting where we elected three new vestry members, Nancy Allen, Sue Graves, and Bob Salach; to replace our outgoing vestry members, Mike Garrett, Craig Meyers and John Slendak. We also elected Claire Coons and Sara Wood as our Diocesan Convention Delegates, and received the 2016 budget that our vestry presented to us. As we celebrated the past year with the many successes we had such as the Canopy, our playground and the expansion of the Columbarium. Unfortunately we also remembered those who died this past year: Scott Gray, Judy Gleason, Don Holland, David Lewis, Ray Motluck, and Ken Wachtel. Each of these parishioners leaves behind their own unique legacy reminding us how blessed we are to be in such a loving parish family! May they rest in peace united with their God.

As we now enter the month of February we are invited once more to prepare for a Holy Lent. We will begin on February 9th at 6pm with our Shrove Tuesday Pancake dinner. This year Marion Redstone will be overseeing it with the help of Ken Busch and Nancy Allen. Steve Murphy will provide the music along with. . . you will just have to come and see! We will have our Ash Wednesday services on Wednesday, February 10th at noon and 7pm with communion and the imposition of ashes.

How will you make your Lenten devotion focus on deepening your relationship with your God, family and neighbor? Personally I have always found it helpful to make time for devotion. As I look back on what we have done here at St. Michael’s I think of the program we had last year on death and dying. We had several excellent speakers discuss end of life issues, having a will, and perhaps most important just making the time to let those we care about know our own thoughts about how we want to live out our lives and our expectations when it comes to our dying. This year we are fortunate to have Pat Dorwin, a new member of our parish family willing to lead us in a Lenten Devotional entitled “I Pray . . . I Ponder” by Linda Brown Goens. This is a Lenten monologue from the heart of Mary, the mother of Jesus. I hope you will join us beginning at 6pm for dinner followed by the monologue presented by Pat Dorwin. After she finishes we will have the chance to dialogue with her as Mary and think about what it might have been like to be the mother of Jesus. We are also hoping to have crafts available for the children we will finish planning on our Commission Night, February 2nd! If you would like to help or are interested in this program please come and find out more! We begin at 6pm with dinner and then break into our different commissions at 6:30pm.

Please keep us, our Senior Warden, Laura Cordray, and Junior Warden Bob Salach and the vestry of St. Michael’s in your prayers as we continue to work to fulfill our mission: “By being disciples of Christ, we invite others to be disciples by daily prayer, weekly worship, regular Bible study, having a spiritual friend, giving to the church and outside the church.”

I am,

Yours in Christ,

Fr. Lee