A Message from the Rector: Update on Christian Formation Programs & New Music Assistant
I hope that you have been able to find both rest and refreshment this summer. I have just returned from two weeks of vacation backpacking, camping and fishing with my family in West Virginia and with our parish staff and leadership gearing up for the beginning of the program year. I am writing you today with some updates on our Children and Youth Ministries, and to announce our new Assistant Music Director for Children.
In calling me to serve as your Rector, one of St. Paul's goals was to help strengthen Christian formation programs. Over the last few months, led by our Children and Youth Commission, chaired by Ginny Barnicoat. I have really enjoyed working with her and serving with the others on this commission: Kristen Morgan, David Choura, Mark Lamendola, Louise Cannon, Paige Russell, Linda Harrold, Eileen Sharbaugh and Paul Barker. It is an exciting time as we seek to more fully support and focus on Christian formation in our parish - this work is just beginning and today I have seven (I know that is a lot) updates to share with you.
Director of Children and Family Ministry
First, Kristen Morgan, who has been serving as Director of Children's Ministry since last fall for 15 hours a week is being moved to 20 hours a week and given the new title of Director of Children and Family Ministry. This reflects the growing needs of this program area, and our hope to better integrate whole family participation in our formation ministries.
Chaplain to the St. Paul's Episcopal Nursery School
Second, I have appointed the Reverend Garrett Yates to serve as part of his ministry portfolio as the Chaplain to St. Paul's Episcopal Nursery School. This role will help to strengthen the relationship between the church and our pre-school, along with providing enhanced pastoral care for nursery school children, families and staff along with helping to communicate God's unconditional love for members of the nursery school community
Clergy support of EYC Youth Groups
Third, starting this September, Garrett and I will each be helping to support our EYC Youth groups led by Paul Barker. Garrett will be leading a spiritual formation program at the beginning of Tuesday Night Junior EYC, and I will be leading a similar program on Wednesday Nights for Sr. EYC. We hope that the clergy support of these ongoing programs will continue to help build spiritual depth in addition to the excellent community building that our EYC groups are known for.
WednesdayNoon Bible Study
Fourth, in September I will be assuming leadership of the Wednesdaynoon St. Paul's Bible study. We will continue to meet each week for one hour, and I want to invite each of you to come (bring a lunch) as we share God's word together. Let me know if you have any questions, or would like to join in...or just show up. Everyone is welcome!
Adult Forums and Adult Education Committee
Fifth, on Sunday September 17th, we will begin our weekly adult forums between the 8:45 and 10:45 services. I have scheduled these education events with presentations from various members of our community. Please look for a complete listing in the September Messenger. I also am hoping to appoint an Adult Education committee to work with Garret and me on further developing formation opportunities for adults at St. Paul's. Please let me know if you would like to serve as part of this ministry team.
Safeguarding God's Children
Sixth, St. Paul's is working to bring our church into compliance with the Diocesan policies and Episcopal Church best practices for Safeguarding God's Children. This means standard background checks and online training for everyone who works with children and other vulnerable people, along with all Vestry members and staff. Kristen Morgan is leading this effort, and I appreciate the patience and support of the entire community as we work to make sure that this church is a safe place for the nurture of all people.
New Assistant Director of Music for Children!
Last, but not least, I am excited to announce that Christin E. Cooper has accepted our offer to serve as Assistant Director of Music for Children beginning September 1st. Christin is new to Pittsburgh, having just completed a Master's Degree in Piano Performance from University of Delaware. She will be leading our Children's music ensembles, and at times, assisting with the chancel choir. Doug, our search committee and I were all impressed both with Christin's music gifts along with her strong ability to call out the incredible musical gifts of the children she works with. She writes:
"Hello! My name is Christin Cooper and I am thrilled to be joining the staff of St. Paul's Episcopal Church as Assistant Music Director for Children. I am new to Pittsburgh and I can't think of a better way to get to know the community than through the congregation of St. Paul's. As a pianist, I enjoy performing new music by living composers, as well as accompanying for choral ensembles, singers and instrumentalists. I have taught choral and general music at the elementary and middle school levels and I love singing in choral ensembles. When I am not making music, you can catch me doing yoga, hiking, reading, and probably eating cheese!
As I begin working with the children and youth programs at St. Paul's, I envision a fun, joyful experience focused on the expression of faith through music. At their best, musical ensembles become small communities where kids can find their place, share, and grow together. I hope to foster these types of communities, providing young people with ways to make meaningful contributions to the life of the congregation while also gaining concrete musical skills. I encourage anyone who might be interested to join us for our first rehearsals this September. All are welcome, and I can't wait to meet you!"
Please watch for announcements about the many ways for children to be involved in the music ministries at St. Paul's led by Christin.
Register for Children and Youth Programs and Kick-off Events!
If you have not done so yet, please register for Children and Youth ministries for the next program year at St. Paul's. You can do so by clicking here! We are kicking off our program year with "Rally Sunday" on Sunday, September 10th. Celebrate and worship with us at the 8:45am and 10:45 services AND enjoy an all parish breakfast between service at 9:30. After the breakfast, children and their parents will be dismissed to the Sunday School rooms to meet with and get to know this year's teachers and the other families. At that time choir will go to the Choir Room for rehearsal and adults interested in Adult Education this year will gather in the Undercroft.
We are returning to our regular service schedule Labor Day weekend on Sunday, September 3rd. Join us for Blessing of the Backpacks, briefcases, and cell phones for those getting back into the groove of school and work. It's time to send everyone off with love and blessings. Bring yours to church on Sunday at the 8:45am and 10:45 services for a special blessing for the new year. And come to the Mayfair entrance of St. Paul's at 9:30. between services, for our final Kona Ice Sunday of the summer!
As always, I love to hear from you. Please let me know if you have questions, concerns or thoughts. If we have not yet had a chance to sit down together, know that I would love to find a time to meet just get to know each other. Let me know, and we can find a time.