A Message from Father Ben

Hello.  The Diocesan Convention took place at Camp McDowell this past Thursday, Friday and Saturday.  I, along with Jane, Pam, Norm and Clyde were representing St. Catherine’s.  I have to be honest and say Diocesan Conventions are not my most favorite way to spend my time but this one was different.  It was different because I was with four people who care deeply for the Church and who care deeply for the Lord.  It was different because the reports and the speakers, especially Bishop Kee’s address, were very pertinent for this time and age in our life of the church.

The theme of the Convention was “Christian Formation”.  The key-note speakers, Dr. Lisa Kimball and The Rev. Dr. Tricia Lyons, along with Bishop Elect Glenda Curry and our Bishop Kee Sloan, all spoke about Christian Formation.  And they all alluded to our Baptismal Covenant as the basis for their thoughts and comments.  Each, in their own way, said that our formation as Christians is a work in progress and that our formation is a life-long endeavor.  They said that we are in this thing called “our Christian journey” together and that we need each other, so that we can become the people we have been created to be.

Through our baptism we have become the priesthood of all believers and we have been called to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world.  And even though at times we are discouraged and tired and wondering what is next in our lives, the Good News is that we are not alone.  We have each other and we have the Lord, ever present with us through whatever it is that we are faced with.  And for that we can give thanks.

My first impressions of the wonderful members of St. Catherine’s Church is that you do take your Baptismal vows seriously, that you care deeply for one another and especially that you love the Lord.  Let us continue on our mission of forming ourselves and our community of faith in ways that pleases our God.  You are fortunate to have each other and I am fortunate to be a part of what you have and what you are doing in this part of God’s Kingdom.

God’s nearness to you all,  Ben+

A Message from Sally Herring, our Seminarian

Catechesis of the Good Shepherd: Listening to God with Children (Part Two)

The atrium is the space where the Catechesis program is held. Catechists are careful to say that it is not a classroom. A catechist is trained to present the parables, the liturgy and sacraments in such a way so that they are inviting the children to wonder about how God is speaking to them through the presentations. Selected parables serve as keys to unlock the mystery of the kingdom of God and to nurture the child’s natural sense of wonder. 

The children experience a formation that is profoundly biblical, sacramental and prayerful. The kind of knowledge that “Jesus wills for His disciples is not simply an academic knowledge, but a knowing that addresses the whole person – heart, soul, and mind.” Therefore, while the children receive a thoroughly informed formation, the primary aim of catechesis is to lead the child to an authentic, prayerful relationship with God. The catechist is a servant of a message that is not his or her own, and together with the child must humbly listen to God’s word.

One of the goals of the catechist is to create a space for the children, which uses elements that are beautiful and soothing, creating an atmosphere that encourages a prayerful, contemplative and sacred environment. Our program is just getting started and we have much to do before the room will be complete. We would love for the parents of St. Catherine’s to visit the atrium and allow our catechists to explain the program in more detail. We hope that you will be as excited as we are that our children have this wonderful opportunity.

For more information please contact Mandi Gonzalez or Bill Wheeler.

Attention Parents of Acolytes & Potential Acolytes

We love our acolytes! They are a special part of our services at St. Catherine’s. We want to expand our acolyte program by getting them together as a group every couple of months. This will be a chance for potential acolytes to receive training (children should be at least 7 years old) and current acolytes to hone their skills and learn a bit more about our services. This is particularly important as we approach the seasons of Lent and Easter. The special services of these seasons will be more meaningful to our acolytes, who will be called on to serve during this time, if they understand a bit more about the service and its significance for our faith. With the training done, we will move onto the fun part of our gathering — pizza and a movie!

Our first gathering will be Saturday, February 15 from 4:00 pm until 8:00 pm at the church. Sally Herring will join us to talk about Ash Wednesday and the season of Lent. We hope to gather the acolytes again shortly before Holy Week to talk about Palm Sunday, the services of Holy Week, and Easter. 

And so, you see, the goal is to expand our acolyte program to provide our young people with an opportunity to learn more about the Episcopal Church, and to enjoy fun and fellowship with each other. We welcome your thoughts about how to proceed. Please click here to email Scott Reimer or click here to email Pam Kimball to share your thoughts with them.

Mardi Gras at St. Catherine’s

Mark your calendars for Tuesday, February 25, which is the day before Ash Wednesday and time for Mardi Gras celebrations. Hours for the Mardi Gras festivities are 6:00 – 8:00 pm.  For the last few years we have celebrated Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday) at St. Catherine’s with a Louisiana Cajun & Creole potluck supper. So polish off your recipes for those dishes we all love, and make your plans to be a part of this fun occasion.  Here is the link to sign up to bring food:  St. Catherine’s Mardi Gras

Wednesday Evenings at St. Catherine’s

Wednesday evenings are a time for worship and reflection at St. Catherine’s. Deacon Clyde has for many years led a service of Evening Prayer on Wednesday evenings. On the first Wednesday evening of each month, Fr. Ben will conduct a service of Holy Eucharist.  And so, going forward the schedule for Wednesday worship at St. Catherine’s will be Holy Eucharist on the first Wednesday and Evening Prayer every other Wednesday. Of course this schedule will be changed a bit the last Wednesday evening of February when we will celebrate Ash Wednesday. 

Beans and Rice Food Pantry

This month’s Pantry will be open tomorrow, February 15th from 9:00 to 11:00 am. It is like a valentine received when you understand how challenging it can be – knowing there are not enough supplies at home to feed the family through the end of the month – but a visit to St. Catherine’s can help. 

Each of us can help on the day our pantry is open. Here are just a few ways to help:

1. Be present to welcome our guests. This is something everyone, from the youngest to the oldest, is able to do.
2. Carry pantry items to our guests’ cars if you are able.
3. Offer a popsicle to the children of our guests – this is such a welcoming gesture! 
3. Speak with our guests, offer a cup of coffee and simply listen. This can be invaluable.
4. Is marketing your thing? Use those skills to invite our guests to join us for services on Wednesdays or Sundays to worship. When was the last time you invited someone to check out St. Catherine’s? (Here is my approach this month:  Say “Could I ask for your e-mail address so I could send you our weekly Dialogue?  You could see info about our services before venturing to this side of town. You can cancel getting the Dialogue at any time.”)
5. Do your speak Spanish? Come and welcome our guests in their own language.

If you have a chance to walk around the Beans and Rice pantry and you see items you believe are important that we do not have in stock, donations of those items are appreciated. If you think it looks about right, a check to St. Catherine’s with Beans and Rice on the memo line will assist with purchases from the Foodbank of Central Alabama.

Thanks to The Turkey Trot for Hunger, we are saving funds to purchase turkeys for families next Thanksgiving.  

Remote Area Medical (RAM)

Next month, REMOTE AREA MEDICAL – “RAM” comes to Alabama for the first time. Their mission is to prevent pain and alleviate suffering by providing free high-quality healthcare to those in need. RAM delivers these services with the help of volunteers who respond to their call. The Diocese of Alabama, led by the Department of Mission and Outreach, is responding to the call by asking parishes — including our ‘Little Church That Can’ — to join other volunteers from around the Diocese to contribute our talents. To be successful, RAM needs the help of Healthcare Professionals — licensed nurses, physician assistants, doctors, dentists, dental hygienists, optometrists, ophthalmologists, and opticians. There is also important work for those of us who are not Healthcare Professionals. We can assist with patient registration, interpreting, patient transport, clinic set-up, and clinic tear down.

Here is an idea. Volunteer your time and also invite a friend to join us that day. We can make it more than just the talented folks from St. Catherine’s!

The clinic is scheduled on Saturday, March 28 and Sunday, March 29. The location is Gadsden City High School at 1917 Black Creek Pkwy, Gadsden, AL 35904. This location is 1 hour and 17 minutes from St. Catherine’s. Let’s team up, ride together, encourage one another, and make a difference partnering with our friends from other parishes, and with RAM, make sure this clinic can serve our neighbors in need.

Healthcare Professionals:  please contact Angela Anderson: E-mail aanderson@ecaahec.com Phone 256-439-6333. 

Volunteers: please register at volunteer.ramusa.org,  Select Event: Gadsden, AL 2020.

If you have questions, please see Bill Wheeler. When you have signed up, please let your fellow parishioners know by adding your name and the day you plan to help to the sheet posted on the Outreach Board. That way we will know who is going and can plan to ride together.

Parish Prayer List

“If we genuinely love people, we desire for them more than it is within our power to give, and that will cause us to pray.” 

Prayer Request folders are located in the pamphlet holders on the back of the chairs in the nave. You may use these to request additions to our prayer list. Fill out the folder and place it in the offering basket or hand to one of the greeters. Names will appear on the prayer list for a month unless you request otherwise. You may also email Father Ben to request names be added to the list. Email him at rector@stcatherineal.com or you may click here.