April 10, 2018, 2nd Week of Eastertide

Dear Members and Friends of All Saints,

It has been an exciting and encouraging Easter Season so far! We had an exhausting, but amazing Holy Week, followed by a glorious Easter Sunday. It has been a pleasure serving and worshiping with you.

Every month or two, I plan on giving an update to the unfolding of our five-year-vision from our Vestry Retreat. It is important that you all are up-to-date on the ways we are moving forward as the Lord opens various doors, so that you can join us in this gospel mission, by prayer, service, and giving. Here are some recent developments in some of the categories in our broad five-year plan (see the February Letter for the overview and process):

  • Up – our worship life and relationship to God
    • Revitalization of the Prayer Ministry / A commitment to the rhythms of the Daily Offices
      In March the intercessors and I met after Service one Sunday to discuss some of the changes we have recently implemented. We discussed various ways to use the Psalms and Prayer Book in intercessory prayer, discussed the vital importance of the Prayer Ministry, and discussed a closer partnership between the Pastoral Care Ministry and the Prayer Ministry. At the unanimous consent of the people present at this meeting, the primary method for communication within the prayer ministry will be through email rather than on social media, though prayer requests will come through the parish website and All Saints Facebook group. We are also making plans for some future workshops on using the Book of Common Payer in intercession, and in training all the intercessors in the Daily Offices.
    • Local Anglican connections for worship / A variety of worship services
      During Holy Week, we experimented with a combined Evensong and Eucharist for the evening services. I received quite a bit of positive feedback on the additional Scripture this provided. Holy Monday was a said service, Holy Wednesday was an a capella choral service, Holy Thursday was a full choral service, and I chanted Holy Tuesday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday. Our Good Friday evening service was the biggest mid-week service in many years with over fifty people in attendance. We also experimented with outdoor services of Stations of the Cross using new liturgy. This was generally well-received, though we have decided to have one indoor and one outdoor Stations next year, to accommodate people with mobility difficulties. Earlier that morning, the Archdeaconry priests met at All Saints to chant Matins together prior to our quarterly meeting. It was a truly sublime experience to hear all the men’s voices singing hymns, psalms, and canticles together. Finally, last night the Archdeaconry held a joint celebration of the Feast of the Annunciation at All Saints. We used the most traditional version of the ACNA’s trial liturgy, a first in All Saints. Fr. Scott Seely of Three Streams presided over the Eucharist, Fr. Steven Rindahl of St. Francis preached the homily, and I led the hymns on guitar. It was a blessed night with a couple dozen people in attendance. We all look forward to more joint events in the future.
  • In – our life as relates o each other; building up the body of Christ
    • Increased communications
      The Vestry has agreed to take the lead in this area, as the most current Vestry Minutes will be posted in Ballard Hall in the near future. Prior minutes will always be available at the Office.
    • More fellowship opportunities
      Tracy Kowald has agreed to spearhead a monthly First Friday Family Fellowship night. While this was originally going to start in April, Tracy’s recent surgery has pushed it back a bit. Look forward to future announcements as to details and a start date.
    • Christian education variety / Investment in Nursery, Children, and Youth Ministries
      Barry Kowald and I had lunch with a parishioner who is in the beginning stages of planning a youth group. We are currently looking at a few different methodologies and putting together a plan. Stay tuned for details as they unfold.
  • Out – our life as relates to outsiders; outreach and evangelism
    • Involvement, awareness, and support of World Missions / Partnering with local ministries
      We are currently exploring potential partnerships with various missions organizations, both local and world, beginning with ACNA official partners and our parishioners’ personal connections. This is an ongoing process, but we will keep you posted.
    • “Front porch” ministries to the un-churched / Local neighborhood outreach
      In February, the Artistic Director of the Children’s Chorus of San Antonio met with me, as they are interested in using local churches for their rehearsal space. The Vestry agreed this would be a good outreach opportunity, as many of the children live nearby. Once the Children’s Chorus has finalized their upcoming rosters, we will work out specific details as to how we can help serve the community with them.
    • Targeted advertising
      We are now the first church listing in the newspaper that is distributed to all of the local military bases and clinics. This paper is often the first stop when people are transferred into the San Antonio area and are looking for a new church home. The cost was minimal, and we will be monitoring over the next few months how many visitors found us though this method. Special thanks to Fr. Barry for bringing this to the Vestry’s attention.
  • Church Planting Plans
    Finally, we are in the beginning stages of planning our first church plant: St. Benedict’s Anglican Mission on the Northwest side of the town near Alamo Ranch. While we’re still a couple years out from the prospective launch, a prayer team and the beginnings of a launch team have been formed. Additionally, we have been in contact with a potential place to host the plant and have been in discussions with the bishop and our diocesan canon for church planting for prayer and training.

As you can see, we’ve been very busy. We believe the Lord has been leading this process, opening some doors, and closing others. Please keep us in prayer, volunteer as the Lord leads, and remember our mission: to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ through Word, Sacrament, and transcendent worship for the strengthening of the Church and salvation of souls.

In Christ,

Fr. Isaac J. Rehberg

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