A Note from Jim: March 10th, 2023
At just after 5 AM this last Sunday, I received a text from Laura Palmer letting me know of the death of Frank Griswold earlier that morning. I had just awakened and was beginning my last hours of a three-day retreat at Holy Cross Monastery and Guest House, that holy place where so many of you have visited and found renewal and sustenance over the years. I can’t think of a better place for the eleven members of St. Martin’s who were with me in West Park to have heard this sad news. At Holy Cross, we were able to begin to process our various griefs supported by friends, nourished by Matins and Holy Communion, embraced by quiet, and surrounded by late winter’s natural grandeur on every side. Frank was deeply connected with Holy Cross for much of his life, and his and God’s presence were alive there last Sunday. Retreating there was a profound experience for me. I am grateful to have had it, and for the company I shared it with.
I was also glad that Laura was here, at St. Martin’s, along with Deacon Carol Duncan to share the news about Frank, and to rework and lead the congregation in music, a wonderful sermon, prayer, and Eucharist in the sanctuary that contains and expresses so much of Frank--and Phoebe’s--ministry with the parish during a transformational Rectorship and as a powerful pastoral presence and mentor since his and Phoebe’s retirement and return to Chestnut Hill.
Since I got back, many people have asked for a time for the community to come together to share our grief, celebrate Frank’s life, and perhaps just share stories. I have heard some wonderful ones this week. Knowing that, and because the funeral next Saturday at St. Luke’s, Germantown, where Phoebe and Frank have been members for a long time, is likely to be crowded, we’ve decided that we will offer an opportunity to all who might want to be present to view the YouTube stream of the funeral in our sanctuary, and then to gather, as people feel called, in the Houston Room, for some light refreshment and time to share and care for one another. The church will be ready beginning at about 10:45 next Saturday, March 18, so I Invite you to join us if you like, in prayer and thanksgiving for the life and ministry of this remarkable child of God. Laura Palmer is also compiling a collection of written remembrances and stories which will be bound and sent on to the Griswold family. Read more about that here and be in touch with Laura to add to this memorial, for which Laura is once again editor-in-chief.
I have other news to impart as well.
Earlier this week, Luca Farrell, who had occupied the desk in the Polly Randall Room for a few months, decided to leave their work with St. Martin’s. They were a gentle and kind colleague, and they will be missed. We all hold Luca in prayer and hope for joy and fulfillment in the next stage of their journey. As I was wondering how to proceed--I have been contemplating some reordering of the work of the administrative and support staff for a while now--and thanks to Connie Haggard, I was able to contact Noor Diskan, who before Luca had done that job, and and she has agreed to come back to St. Martin’s for the next three weeks, all she has available now, to get us through this transition while we search for a person whose job will include tech, communication, and document production in a slightly different configuration than previously. Tech skills are increasingly urgent in the life of St. Martin’s, and we’ll be looking for someone who has demonstrably good ones, along with skill sets in other areas that match our ongoing needs, to fill this 24 hour/week job. If you know likely candidates, please have them be in touch with me and Emily Walker. And this reconfiguration is possible because of all of you who have, at Kate Maus’s invitation, stepped up to welcome visitors to the Parish House and answer the phone from Monday to Friday. As of now, there are a few slots open, so be in touch with Kate if you have some available time.
Elsewhere, Kate, supported by David Collins and Barbara Dundon, is about to launch a new version of the old-fashioned every-member canvas--that is, a canvas of every member in our directory, so far as that’s possible. The endeavor is to find out who St. Martin’s really is, and to assess members’ interests and concerns in relation to the present and future ministry and member engagement of the parish. Kate has written more about this in a brief piece in this Field Note, so be sure to read it and to be ready to respond in a kind and generous way when one of your fellow members gets in touch. This is a mammoth piece of work, so please join me in supporting and thanking Kate and her team every time you see them. Learn more
I also want to call your attention to the newly-formed 9:00 Sunday Eucharist for Children, Youth, and Families of all kinds. This is an interactive opportunity for people across all generations but especially for our children and their families to worship together and to leave with some formation “homework” to carry into the week ahead. During Lent, we’re doing an ongoing instructed Eucharist, as a way to explain what is actually happening in church in a way that makes sense to children, and to all God’s children too. The music is mostly Taizé chant right now, which is one of those things that gets more and more beautiful with repetition and use (just like some of us ;-) )! Join us!
Holy Week and Easter are fast approaching, so take note of the schedule for that time that’s in this Field Note. And please be ready to say yes if you are asked to contribute with your voice and out of your life experience to the holiness of that week and the wonder of the Resurrection. Learn more
Keep your ears and eyes attuned for a coming volunteer ministry weekend focusing on cleaning and sprucing up our buildings and grounds and showcasing, perhaps, some of our many vibrant ministries. Also, coming in June, the Holy Flea, a parish flea market and fair being spear-headed by Leslie Newbold. There’s a Save-the-Date for that weekend in this Field Note as well.
Finally, starting now, I am asking many more of you--particularly those who have joined the St. Martin’s community in the last few years--to offer yourselves into the Sunday morning experience. There are many ways to do that; I am particularly looking for greeters and friendly, helpful ushers to join those we already have, as well as ministers at the Eucharist: crucifers, torch-bearers, readers, chalice bearers, and even a few sub-deacons. It would be great to have crucifers and torchbearers for Holy Week and Easter, so please email or text me if you can help. Don’t be shy: these are ministries that are not complicated or difficult but that offer much joy and light into our holy Eucharistic time together.
Much is happening at St. Martin’s. Please join us and support the community with your prayer, your life, and your love. In the name of God, ‘