From the Rector
Fr. Len Giacolone
Sunday, May 20, was a special day for St. Francis. It included Bishop Iker's annual visit, Lavanna Martin's Confirmation, and a congratulatory letter from the Bishop on the occasion of my 45th anniversary as a priest and 25th as your Rector. It was followed by a wonderful Bar-B-Que lunch sponsored by the St. Polycarp Men's Guild and the St. Claire's Guild. I want to thank everyone who had anything to do with the day, making it very special in the history of our parish.
Those of you who were present on the occasion will have noticed the brand new sign at the entrance to the property. Our Senior and Junior Wardens, David Norris and Jim Britt, are largely responsible for getting this done. Thanks to both of them. Most of the cost of the sign and its installation was taken care of by two of our parishioners. My deep gratitude to them. Likewise, many of you will have noticed that the final two stained glass windows for the nave of the church were installed on Thursday, May 17. As you know, these gorgeous windows were manufactured by IHS Studios in Fredericksburg. The complete cost of their manufacture and installation was borne by very generous parishioners, for which I am deeply grateful. At this point, I consider that the construction as well as the appointment of the building to be concluded. The contractors will be responsible for tweaking some things before they hand over the building to us in August. But for all practical purposes, it is finished. It is a long-awaited dream come true and something that all of us can be proud of. We now must concentrate on paying off our loan so that we can move on to Phase Two, the construction of an extension which will become our new hospitality area.
Lights, Camera, Action!
I mentioned to you a few weeks ago that we now have a fully operative surveillance and alarm system. There are three cameras inside the building and five outside the building. Incidentally, the cameras were also paid for by a parishioner. We can see just about anything on the property at any time. This system arms itself at 9:30 pm every evening and disarms itself at 8:00 am. I know of no reason for anyone to be in the building between those hours. Please be aware of that fact and act accordingly.
One more word about the building. At this point we have been in new the facility about nine months. Unfortunately, some of it already looks as though we have been there much longer. I know that the building is there to be used. But please try to take care of it as if it were your very own. This is the Lord's house. It is consecrated and worthy of the upmost respect.
This is the last newsletter until the fall. I do not anticipate that there will be a Vestry meeting until September. But that is subject to change. There is one event that will take place during the summer that I would like you to keep in mind. I have been told that there will be another party on Sunday, July 1, celebrating my 25th anniversary as the Rector of St. Francis. I was installed by Bishop Patrick Murphy on Sunday, July 4, 1993. There are very few people who were there at that time who are still with us. I am grateful for those of you who have supported me during all that time and especially my dear wife, who has helped me more than I could ever express. Please come to the party.
Anglicans for Life
The Silent Storm – Humanity's Response to Suffering
Last year, Hurricane Harvey ripped into the Gulf Coast of Texas. The flooding was unimaginable, as was the damage—houses destroyed, streets flooded up to the traffic signals, towns devastated. The destruction was a terrible reminder of our own vulnerability and mortality in the path of that kind of force of nature...
It was also a remarkable showcase of the power of the human spirit; not only were people fighting for survival, but others were seeking to aid them. Media outlets shared photos of police and emergency personnel carrying children from flooded areas and saving families stranded on the roofs of their homes. But even more amazing was the sight of normal civilians volunteering their time, resources, and even safety to help their fellow Americans in need. Donations of food and clean water were brought in the truckload, neighbors helped push cars and trucks off streets that look more like rivers, and strangers gave shelter to those who were homeless.
There were no discussions about race, sex, or creed, no claims of favoritism or unjust treatment. There weren't philosophical debates about whether or not it is right to save these people. Experts didn't look at this event as a much-desired opportunity to lower population levels. People saw the needs of friends, neighbors, church members, and even strangers and reached out to them to provide what they needed. Why? Because behind the theoretical debates about “when life begins” and “survival of the fittest,” people know the truth—all lives are valuable and worth saving. Which is why, whenever our nation is impacted by a disaster or an attack, people join together to help. While it may affirm our knowledge that people, deep in their hearts, understand that life is sacred, the real tragedy is that it takes a horrible event to bring out this kind of response.
I think the Church can learn a lot about pro-life ministry from watching the response to Hurricane Harvey. For one, many people who are interested in serving Life are overwhelmed by the massiveness of the issues. How can they, by themselves, bring an end to abortion or stop assisted suicide legislation? The short answer is that they can't—but they are capable of doing something. The rescuers and volunteers who helped those suffering from the hurricane were likely overwhelmed by the suffering and damage—but that didn't stop them from helping who they could, when they could, and how they could. And that doesn't mean that their efforts, while not capable of relieving all the pain and horror from the event, weren't valuable. Pro-life people should never feel that an effort to save any life is insufficient if they aren't able to save all lives. Do what you can in love and faith, and give the rest to God.
Secondly, our awareness of those who suffered in Texas was because it was on our computers, announced from our televisions, and in the public consciousness. We respond to suffering when we see a need. But humans don't often go looking for a need to meet. That is why we cannot be silent about what happens in abortion clinics and medical facilities that allow euthanasia. We can't hide behind political correctness or politeness or popular opinion. Imagine if someone would suggest that we shouldn't save children trapped in flooded homes in Texas because they may a burden to the mother or to the state government. We would be rightly horrified! But these are the same reasons many give for supporting abortion, and how often do we sit silently, unable to defend those who have no voice? If the lives of people and children devastated by Hurricane Harvey matter, then the lives of the unborn, the elderly, and the vulnerable should also matter. We cannot control who the media does and does not pay attention to, but the Church can be active and vigilant in respecting every person.
Letter from Bishop Iker
Bishop Iker read the following letter to the congregation on May 20.
Dear Father Giacolone,
Congratulations on the 45th anniversary of your ordination to the sacred priesthood and your 25th anniversary as Rector of St. Francis Church. I am delighted to be with you and your congregation to share in this special double celebration. God has richly blessed you and used you as His chosen vessel of grace in many different ways. Through your faithfulness, the Lord Jesus has touched and transformed thousands of lives, most of them in ways that you will never know. It is a pleasure to have you as one of the presbyters of this diocese, and I extend to you my special blessings on this momentous occasion, saying to you, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant." May God continue to nourish your soul and, through you, to nourish all those who experience your priestly ministry in the years to come.
Faithfully in Christ,
The Rt. Rev. Jack Leo Iker
Bishop of Fort Worth
How to Pray for Our Pastor
I have been using a prayer guide book titled 31 Days of Prayer for My Nation in my daily prayers. I thought this section relevant enough to share in the newsletter. As members of St. Francis and followers of Christ, we should pray for Fr. Len. He may appear as though he is so strong that he does not need prayer, but be assured, any pastor genuinely called to the ministry knows he needs prayer -- earnest, passionate, and effective prayer. - Amy Crandell
Here are five specific ways to pray for our pastor.
- Give thanks to the Father: Heavenly Father, thank you that our pastor can be filled with the knowledge of your will.
- Pastors face the same dilemma people faced in the first century, when these words were penned. The knowledge of the world pours into the minds of pastors, but pastors need to have the full knowledge of God's will. The will of God does not inflate a pastor's ego, but it enlightens us to do what God wills for us to do.
- Father, thank you that you will give my pastor the full knowledge of your will in all things at all times, personally and for our church.
- Listen for the Holy Spirit's prompting for confession: Lord I pray my pastor will turn from anything that hinders being filled with all spiritual wisdom.
- Pastors will view life from one of two perspectives: the world or the Spirit. Only the Holy Spirit will always lead a pastor to the Word of God and the will of God. The spirit of God will lead a pastor to view life and ministry from God's perspective, not his own. His perspective will determine his decision-making.
- Holy Spirit, fill my pastor with your wisdom and perspective about all things in his life, in our church, and in this world.
- Join Jesus in prayers of petition: Lord Jesus, fill my pastor with spiritual understanding that will help him put facts and information together biblically, spiritually, and practically.
- Proclaim promises from His Word: "We have not ceased to pray for you...so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord." (Colossians 1:9-10). O Lord, empower my pastor to walk in a way that would exemplify you to all persons, pleasing you in all ways, and bearing fruit in every way before others.
- O God, enlist some of your saints to help strengthen my pastor and his family with your power that fills him with spiritual life daily, including the difficult days of life and ministry, and lead him to persevere with joy and thanksgiving.
-- Excerpted from 31 Days of Prayer for My Nation published by Broadstreet Publishing Group, LLC. Used by permission.
All are welcome and encouraged to attend Evensong on Saturday, May 26, 6 p.m.: Fr. Len has again extended an invitation to Fr. Kurt Hein and the congregation of the ACNA parish, Light of Christ Anglican Church in Georgetown to join us for this service of Evensong, followed by a fellowship time.
St. Michael's Conference is a 7-day conference at Camp Crucis in Granbury (June 17-23) where an intentional community of prayer, support, and education helps to form young Christians to be witnesses to the world of the Saving Power of Jesus Christ. The intention is not to do a "new thing", but to faithfully hand on what has been given to us - the Anglican expression of the Catholic Faith. All youth between the ages of 12 and 19 are highly encouraged to attend. See www.stmichaelsw.org or contact Joseph Francis at email@example.com for more information.
The Diocesan Office of Communication has produced an 11 minute video of Bishop Iker's ministry as the Diocesan Bishop for the past 25 years. Check it out here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=pb11SD4GWJ4
The garage sale was successful considering this was the first time in many years to do this. Over $600 was contributed to the building fund from the proceeds of the sale. There is no accurate tally of the items sold, but the tables became much emptier at the day wore on. We still were able to donate quite a bit to the Salvation Army and the Austin Pregnancy and Resource Center. Plans are to repeat this in October, with some modifications.
Texas Alliance Walk for Life
On Saturday, June 9th, St. Francis member, Doug Cooper is participating in the Texas Alliance's Walk for Life, a walk-a-thon to raise funds to build a culture of life in Texas. The overall goal is for all walkers to contribute towards raising $100,000. Doug's personal goal is to raise $2K, and he is collecting pledges. Pledge online here: https://secure.ministrysync.com/ministrysync/event/website/?m=3903869, or by signing up on the form on the Anglicans for Life table in the Narthex.
Happy Summer Birthdays
1 Denise Gentsch
5 Fr. Len Giacolone
9 Fielder Dowding
15 Charlotte Ready
18 Nancy Jones, Robert Motl, RobinRuth Alexander
19 Tai Gentsch
20 Brendle Glomb
22 Avery & Bailey Montalvo
23 Bremond Robinson
2 Claude Bernard
7 Roy Jones
8 Julia Adams, Sue Orr
12 Christina Hatley
13 Carol Jacobs
14 Susan Rambin
25 Robert Pigg
27 Harriet Bernard
28 Teresa Glomb
30 Claire Ducker
3 Larry Cole
10 Leanne Read
11 Taryn Donnowitz, Eliza Donnowitz
15 Judy Reinhart
18 Sally Looke, Phoebe Hughes, Pete Reinhart
20 Nancy Giacolone
21 Dale Boswell
24 Franklin Hunt
27 Tessa Arce
28 Keith Harrell
9 Mike and Charlotte Ready
14 Pete and Judy Reinhart
29 Lavanna and Jimmy Martin
2 Kevin and Patricia Burnette
17 David and Kimberly Norris
28 Matt and Taryn Donnowitz
5 Jim and Amy Crandell
16 David and Jane Williams
19 Robert and Burt Pigg
22 Bill and Marilynn Palmer
25 Randy and Sandy Scheer
28 John and Eileen Goodrich
St. Francis Anglican Church of Austin
A parish of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth
Diocese Office: 2900 Alemeda St.
Fort Worth, TX 76108
The Rt. Rev'd Jack L. Iker, D.D
The Rev. Canon Len Giacolone
Class of 2019:
Brendle Glomb, David Norris, Kevin Burnette
Class of 2020:
Missy Bernard, Dinah Arce
Class of 2021:
Jim Britt, Matt Donnowitz, Donna Hunt
Fr. Len Giacolone