St Andrew’s Pickerington

All are welcome at St. Andrews Pickerington!

All are welcome at St. Andrews Pickerington! 4160 3120 Connect the Dots!

All are welcome at St. Andrews Pickerington!

By Mark Conrad, St. John’s, Lancaster

I visited St. Andrews in Pickerington just after Christmas, on January 5, and the nativity display was one of the first things that caught my eye. Then I read the last page of the bulletin, titled “Welcome to St. Andrew’s,” and I smiled. It was more than a simple “All are welcome here.” It humorously listed, for a full page, all the different kinds of people that make up our communities, and specifically said that each and every one was welcome. As I surveyed the congregation, I saw that this welcome was truly a welcome to all. And this challenged me to be that welcoming every where I go, to everyone I meet.

Catching up with Edith!

Catching up with Edith! 750 487 Connect the Dots!

Catching up with Edith!

By Br. Thanasi (Thomas G) Stama, St. John’s, Lancaster

Drove up to St. Andrew’s in Pickerington to visit with old friends and to make new. St. Andrew’s was my parish back in the beginning of 2010. So today’s Sunday visit was a time of reconnecting with old friends and to see how Fr. Kevin (new Priest in charge) was settling in.

Great to see everybody. But I was most particular in renewing my friendship with Edith Carr! She is in her 80s so whenever I see her it is treasured moments. She is originally from Liberia and only a few years back became a naturalized citizen. She is an older sister of Mother Abby here in the Columbus area. She introduced me to her friend called Big Abby who was very old and also from Liberia. Edith might have slow down some but during the sign of peace she did the triple kiss with me. I taught her to do it 10 years ago. This is how the Antiochian Christians do the sign of peace and it was something she and I only did when I was attending St. Andrew’s.

Fr. Kevin did a great sermon. Grant Patterson another old friend did a great job leading the choir and he was just substituting for their choir director who was out of town. Good time!

The great oak tree and the spruces are gone!

The great oak tree and the spruces are gone! 972 648 Connect the Dots!

The great oak tree and the spruces are gone!

By Br. Thanasi (Thoms G.) Stama, St. John’s, Lancaster

Had a medical procedure on Thursday, January 16. Since the appointment was late enough in the afternoon, I decided to visit my old church community (St. Andrews from 2009-2012) which was near by.

They have bible on Thursday evening which had I enjoyed for many years. Checked the online website for the church and it was still on the church calendar for every Thursday at 7 pm. So arrived in the parking lot at a bit before 7 and waited until 7:30 but no one turned up. So assumed either the calendar was wrong or there had been an emergency.

I did take a walk around the church property because from my car I saw the great oak tree that was out front was gone! The oak was having a struggle to survive there ever since it was encircled with pavement. Was pushing for them to do one of two things and they must have opted to cut her down. I had also pushed for them to remove certain spruce trees which were out growing their place in the foundation landscape. (I have a horticulture background.) They were gone too. So wisdom had prevailed before the oak tree came tumbling down or the spruces damaged the side of the church building. Need to get back there to actually visit with the parishioners and Fr. Kevin their priest in charge.

Flash Mass!

Flash Mass! 800 600 Connect the Dots!

Flash Mass!

Charles Wilson and I were shooting the breeze at a clergy conference. He was then rector of St. Philip’s, Columbus and I was then rector of St. Andrew’s, Pickerington a suburb of Columbus. Between the two of us we got this hair-brained idea for one of these parishes to surprise the other of these parishes on a Sunday morning in a “Flash Mass”.  One parish would show up at the other parish’s principle Sunday service without telling them!

Instead of letting the idea float carefree away from our brains we actually held on to the idea, kept talking about it, and even better actually ended up doing it!

Next came the planning. Comparing calendars, we noticed that on Saturday February 6, 2016 St. Philip’s was hosting a large conference on Racial and Social Justice.  St. Philip’s is a predominantly African-American Episcopal parish and was the host of the conference. It made sense to plan the Flash Mass to be the following day and to have St. Andrew’s – a predominantly white Episcopal parish – travel to St. Philip’s for it!  Therefore Sunday, February 7th at 10:30 was the principle service of worship for St. Philips BUT it became the same place and time for the principle worship for St. Andrew’s too!

Senior wardens and music directors were brought into the planning.  Hymns were selected, bulletins compared, liturgical instructions were shared, St. Andrew’s car pools were arranged and secretive parking maps were distributed to St. Andrew’s parishioners.  St. Andrew’s did NOT put the location of the Flash Mass into its announcements so as not to tip off anyone at St. Philips.  All Sunday announcements at St. Andrew’s were general until the day of.

On Sunday, February 7, 2016 St. Andrew’s brought its parish banner, two acolytes, 75 photocopies of the processional hymn, a 10:00 congregation and a hushed tone.  After the St. Philips choir and altar party processed in, St. Andrew’s was right behind them. People in the pews turned around to see from where all these other voices were coming and began to smile when the St. Andrew’s banner become visible.  The service was glorious and the hymn singing got the place swinging and swaying.  St. Andrew’s stayed for coffee hour (the 8th sacrament). New friends were made, stories were shared and we all went home a little more like the Body of Christ.

The Rev Paul Williams, Subdean of Christ Church Cathedral,  former Rector at St Andrew’s, Pickerington