St. Paul’s is the preponderance of my “family.” With my biological family spread from England to California (and the closest 700+ miles away), St. Paul’s is where I can interact with others who genuinely care about me. I do have maybe six individuals/families outside of St. Paul’s who are close friends. But having come to Middle Tennessee as a retiree 12 years ago, St. Paul’s was my primary source of new friends.
While I have many great memories of my life at St. Paul’s, my favorite may have been the dedication service for the new organ. My love of music as a vehicle to worship God was fulfilled entirely that day!
My strongest connection to my faith life has always been through the liturgy. I started serving as an acolyte some 63 years ago. My first experience as the acolyte master was some 34 years ago and as a verger 16 years ago. My role as acolyte master, beyond the obvious of teaching the youth “what to do,” is to help them gain an appreciation for how intentional participation in the liturgy helps to focus their spiritual life. My goal is to have youth who find serving to be meaningful and who desire to continue serving in some form of liturgical participation on into adulthood.
The verger’s role has three main components. First is to assist in the planning of the liturgy from a functional perspective—how to arrange participants and move them from one place to another. The second is in organizing participants immediately preceding the start of a service. And the third, which is seldom needed at St. Paul’s, is to be vested and leading a procession to ensure it gets where it is going in an orderly fashion. I know that my serving as verger helps take some of the load off Father Colin at a time when he is stretched thin, and allows St. Paul’s to continue to benefit from his talents with at least one set of mundane but essential tasks “off his plate.”
I give to St. Paul’s because our church has a diverse and balanced program of outreach, in-reach, and pastoral care that benefits our entire community.