I took a call last week from a reporter at the local county's paper: the Intelligencer. We had a great conversation about technology and parish ministry...and the use of different technological tools and devices to make life in the parish more effective. From the sound of her questions, the piece seemed to be a standard "outside world looking in" at Church life: the kind of thing you see on Sunday mornings nestled in the section right before the comics and coupons. The author, Annie Tasker, was great to talk to. She had done her homework ahead of time, asked great questions and even gave me some good feedback for the webteam to chew on. When they asked for a picture, I figured that I would be one of many--after all, they also talked about the other local faith communities' websites as well, including one at a local synagogue that offers online MP3 coaching for youth preparing for their bar and bat mitzvahs.
Imagine my surprise when I was walking Sophie on Sunday morning and saw my slightly puffy mug on the banner that usually has a baseball player's image from last night's game (swing and a hit/swing and a miss). There I was, staring back at myself. Ouch.
Still, it was great to see people bringing in the article (and to take some of the ribbing from my neighbors and fellow dog-walkers). One parishioner's comments touched me in a particular way. She and her husband travel to a pretty remote spot every year...and she told me, showing me the article, just how much she appreciated the website. Where she goes, there are no Episcopal/Anglican parishes, nor priests, nor many people. The website keeps her connected to church and to her tribe of faith (my words), and that is important.
I told my web coordinator, so that he could forward on that appreciation. For folks who put so much time, prayer, effort and energy into making sure those pieces of faith are floating out to the internet's etheric domains...well, I say AMEN to that....
On another note, Mariclair Partee, our new assistant rector, had her debut amongst us. She preached at the 8 and 9:30 AM services and did a great job. I always forget just how wonderful and disconcerting it is to start a new call, but have to hand it to her. After graduating from seminary, moving from New York and then traveling hither and yon for other friends' ordinations, to have her land here and start up is no small feat. Her first few days, standard around here, would cause most other ordinands to pale: Sunday-preaching, Monday-office and errands and then a night meeting, Tuesday-meetings and vestry, Wednesday-her first Eucharist and pastoral calls. That, on top of settling with with all that goes into an interstate move and she will be going full-on for the next couple of weeks.
A busy schedule, but one that will allow her to meet folks in their roles as leaders and servants to the parish.
At least we got her email up and running!