We are now entering the season of the church year known as, “The Season after Pentecost” which will take us all the way to the end of November. From this vantage point we can look back in gratitude and celebrate all that God has done in our lives, and look with great expectation for what is to come. Saint Andrew’s is a vibrant and growing congregation uniquely located in downtown Bryan and we have much to celebrate as we build the beloved community in downtown Bryan and beyond.
In the area of service and going out into the community, our work on the Habitat House is progressing well. The blessing and wall-raising of the house was well attended and it has been a great pleasure to get know the Alvarado family. The work on the house will continue into the summer. We also awarded scholarships to eleven Neal Scholars. In addition seven graduating seniors received their scholarship at the annual BISD scholarship event. Lastly, this month we will be send a team of missionaries to the Good Shepherd Mission in the Navajoland for the seventh straight year.
Looking to the future, the local Bryan/College Station clergy and I are working with the diocese to develop a strategic plan for our area. We have identified two areas of work: college ministry, and ministry to and with Latinos. Father Matt is working with Canterbury to establish a stronger Episcopal presence at Blinn. We will also begin exploring the possibility of starting a missional community within the Latino community.
Our downtown ministry continues to regularly engage our downtown neighborhood. The May First Friday’s Star Wars concert was very successful. Approximately 300 people attended it. I thank Dr. Strong for coming up with idea and giving a fine performance. One may wonder why we had such a concert and I would say it was an effort to engage the community in a different way than we typically do during our traditional First Friday Open Doors events. Most of the people who attended were not associated with Saint Andrew’s.
That same First Friday we officially opened our first art exhibit in the parish hall featuring the art of Kevin Newsome. The downtown committee’s hope is to feature an artist 6-8 times a year in an effort to more fully participate in the life of downtown Bryan and to support the arts in Brazos County. Working with the Arts Council members of the downtown committee will select artists and with the assistance of the hospitality committee host a reception for the selected artist in the Parish Hall on First Fridays. This kind of activity builds on the legacy of Thyrra Plass who was the choirmaster/organist at Saint Andrew’s from approximately 1972-1989. She and her husband Gilbert created a foundation that supports the arts around the Brazos Valley.
In the area of our children and youth ministry I am very glad DeSha Thomas has begun her work as Director of Faith Formation for Children and Youth. Growing our children and youth program is vital for the continued growth of the whole congregation. We may see a few changes to the overall program in the next year. Most visibly we will be updating the Youth Hall with fresh paint and new furniture. We will also be considering how we can use it as an alternative worship space.
We have several projects completed and others underway in the area of buildings and grounds. After interviews and site visits the Building Committee has recommended an architect to the vestry to conduct a master planning process for the building and grounds. The vestry has accepted the recommendation and my hope is that the master planning process will begin sometime this fall. We’ll announce the architect soon.
As we know scaffolding has been erected around the bell tower in order for repair work to be done on it. Structural engineers have been hired to provide an assessment of the tower before the actual work begins. A leak in the roof has also been repaired, but the roof needs a more long-term solution. The vestry will be looking into it after it receives the engineer’s assessment.
The wider Episcopal Church will be gathering in Austin in July for General Convention. July 7th will include a worship service featuring the Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, and a party sponsored by the Diocese of Texas. It is not too late to sign up to volunteer.
Many great things are happening here at Saint Andrew’s. We are uniquely located in downtown Bryan. We are stewards of an historic and iconic church building. We are building God’s beloved community. We have much to celebrate. I am grateful for all who consider Saint Andrew’s their church family, their church home. I hope everyone has a happy, safe, and blessed summer.
Daryl T. Hay+