Monday, December 31, 2012

The Epiphany

The Epiphany is depicted in a mural titled "Adoration of the Magi" in the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception at Conception Abbey in Conception, Missouri and was painted by Benedictine monks in the late 1800s. We will celebrate The Epiphany is January 6, 2013.

The Epiphany of Our Lord Jesus Christ is celebrated on the 6th of January each year. This year the sixth falls on a Sunday! The Epiphany reminds us that the birth of Jesus is not only Good News to the Jewish people, but is Good News for the whole world. The Magi represent the rest of the nations understanding this and they bring their gifts to honor the King.

Join us as we celebrate The Epiphany on January 6, 2013 at St. Alban's. We will celebrate at 8:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. with Holy Eucharist using the proper reading for the feast.

Happy New Year!

Have a safe and happy New Year's Eve and a wonderful New Year's Day and 2013!

Please remember to pray for those travelling. As a reminder the church offices will be closed on New Year's Day.

Image from

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

And the Word became flesh and lived among us... Merry Christmas!

Image from

Monday, December 24, 2012

The Bishop's Wife - Christmas Sermon

This is the Christmas Sermon from the 1949 classic movie The Bishop's Wife... Enjoy!

Here is the text itself...

Tonight I want to tell you the story of an empty stocking.

Once upon a midnight clear, there was a child's cry, a blazing star hung over a stable, and wise men came with birthday gifts. We haven't forgotten that night down the centuries. We celebrate it with stars on Christmas trees, with the sound of bells, and with gifts.

But especially with gifts. You give me a book, I give you a tie. Aunt Martha has always wanted an orange squeezer and Uncle Henry can do with a new pipe. For we forget nobody, adult or child. All the stockings are filled, all that is, except one. And we have even forgotten to hang it up. The stocking for the child born in a manger. Its his birthday we're celebrating. Don't let us ever forget that.

Let us ask ourselves what He would wish for most. And then, let each put in his share, loving kindness, warm hearts, and a stretched out hand of tolerance. All the shinning gifts that make peace on earth.

Merry Christmas and hope to see you at St. Alban's!

Christmas Eve...
  •  Family Eucharist - 5:30 p.m.
  • Christmas Hymns – 10:30 p.m.
  • Midnight Mass – 11:00 p.m.
Christmas Day...
  • Holy Eucharist – 10:30 a.m.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Thoughts from Bishop Jake

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Dear Sisters and Brothers,

The tragic events in Newtown, Connecticut, have left us all stunned and sorrowful. You can read my initial response from Friday by clicking this link. Later, I provided a theological reflection about this violence and the love of God in the sermon "Where Was God in That?" and you can read it by clicking this link.

Many have wondered how to celebrate Christmas when so many of our fellow citizens find themselves stricken with grief. The dissonance between our usual seasonal gladness and the horror of the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School suggests to some that we should forgo joy and celebration this year out of respect for and solidarity with those who mourn.

This is an understandable but misguided impulse. In all things--especially in the face of sorrow, pain, and death--followers of Jesus help each other remember, and announce to the doubting world, that God's love conquers death and his light dissolves all darkness.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Christmas Liturgies at St. Alban’s

Join us for one or all of the Christmas Liturgies at St. Alban's!

Christmas Eve...
  •  Family Eucharist - 5:30 p.m.
  • Christmas Hymns – 10:30 p.m.
  • Midnight Mass – 11:00 p.m.
Christmas Day...
  • Holy Eucharist – 10:30 a.m.
We hope to see you and your family...

Photo by Jaimie Trueblood/

Lessons and Carols

St. Albans's will have the beautiful service of Lessons and Carols on Sunday, December 23 at 10:30 a.m. Holy Eucharist will still be celebrated at 8:30 a.m.

Our liturgy will follow the form used at King's College, Cambridge. Christmas Lessons and Carols may take place on Christmas Eve or anytime during the 12 days of Christmas. In some places it is held on the IV Sunday of Advent and because this year the next day is Christmas Eve - that is what we decided to do!

Please join us for the wonderful liturgy and bring a guest...

Bishop's Sermon - Where Was God In That?

For most of us, Friday started like any other day. A long work week was coming to an end.  Holiday shopping and parties probably added extra fun and maybe a little extra stress for many of us. That’s how it was in Louisiana. And I imagine that the people of Newtown, Connecticut, would tell you the same.

At around midday, everything changed.  A young man walked into Sandy Hook Elementary school and opened fire on children and teachers.  The dead numbered nearly thirty.  Most were children.  Among the dead adults were the shooter and, back at his home, his mother.

The shock, the grief, the horror, and the outrage grip us all.  We wonder about the killer’s motives, his access to guns, the vulnerability of the school, and a dozen more particulars about what seems to be a senseless outburst of deadly violence.

And that is really what will linger with us.  The senselessness.  Even if all of our answers about this shooting rampage were answered, nothing would make sense of its opaque irrationality.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Angel Tree Shopping

Our combined E.Y.C. group went shopping for a young boy and girl as part of the Salvation Army's Angel Tree project. We bought clothes and other gifts and had a great time. We also learned a bit about ourselves...

The Bishop's Message

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Dear Sisters and Brothers,

Between 1984 and 1990 the Anglican Consultative Council developed the Five Marks of Mission as a way of articulating the common ministry of the Worldwide Anglican Communion. These marks have been widely accepted by the Provinces of the Communion, including The Episcopal Church.

Below is a list of the Five Marks of Mission:

* To proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom

* To teach, baptize and nurture new believers

* To respond to human need by loving service

* To seek to transform unjust structures of society

* To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth

During my seminary years it was common to say that the Church is mission. More recently the language has changed. Many now say that God has a mission. He has sent the Church to carry out his mission.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

The Graduate

Whit+ and Will
Father Whit and U.L.M. Graduate, Will Phelps pose for a photo during a celebration held for Will at Archdeacon Bette Jo Kauffman's home. Folks from St. Thomas', St. Alban's and lots Will's friends joined the celebration.

Father Whit and Will have known each other since Will attended Camp Hardtner when Father Whit was Dean many years ago. Will lived in New Orleans at the time and came to Monroe during Hurricane Katrina and has lived with Bette ever since.

Will is a member of St. Alban's, a graduate of St. Frederick High School and now the University of Louisiana at Monroe. Congratulations Will!

Friday, December 7, 2012

EYC Angel Tree Shopping Spree

E.Y.C. Angel Tree Shopping Spree - Sunday, December 9, 2012. Meet at 4:00 p.m. at St. Alban's and then head out to Wal-Mart. Hope to see you there.

The Bishop's Message

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Dear Sisters and Brothers,

John the Baptist will be our focus in the Gospel readings for the coming two weeks. Historically speaking, John set the stage for Jesus’ ministry. But he also models our own ministry as those who live between the first and the second coming of Jesus Christ.

Two Sundays from now, the crowd’s various voices ask John three times, “What shall we do?” (Luke 3:10, 12, 14) John’s message is that we are to share what we have with those in need and to pursue economic justice.

In other words, followers of Jesus are not to occupy ourselves solely with salvation after this life. Following the model of John, we seek to promote the well-being and to relieve the suffering of other people. And here’s the scary part. We speak up when others pursue selfish ends at the expense of the weak, the poor, and the innocent.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012


The Monroe Convocation Ultreya will be held at St. Alban's on Tuesday, December 11, 2012, 6:30 p.m. De Colores!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Banner is Going Digital in 2013

The Banner, the Newsletter of St. Alban’s Church is an important part of how we keep folks informed about what is going on at our church. Along with this blog, The Banner with its monthly calendar and Rota of ministry assignments is our communication link with one another.

Mailing costs and ever changing postal regulations, along with printing costs and assembly time restrict the number of people who can receive the newsletter. We want everyone to know what we are up too! The paper format also makes The Banner less “earth friendly” or “green.”

So, beginning in January, The Banner will begin a new digital distribution. Don’t worry – we will still mail a paper copy to those who wish to receive one. We think most people will enjoy receiving The Banner, Calendar and Rota via e-mail. All can all be accessed anytime here on the blog too! Photos and graphics can be in color with no additional cost or effort. 

Please help us by letting us know if you want to receive a paper copy and we will be glad to keep it coming! (Those without email will get a hard copy automatically)  Please help increase our email list by updating your email and adding family members and friends. With email, it costs us nothing to send it. We will also email to every church in the diocese. Let us know what you think.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Bishop's Message

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

The secular Christmas season begins after Thanksgiving. At least, what is called Black Friday used to inaugurate secular Christmas. This year stores opened their doors to bargain hunters on the evening of Thanksgiving itself. To be honest, management stocked their shelves with Christmas fare as soon as Halloween passed. (The secular calendar does not recognize All Saints’ Day.)

This year has been especially disorienting for those of us who follow the Church Year. In most years, secular Christmas competes with Advent. This year lights and decorations in private homes anticipated even Advent, since Thanksgiving preceded Christ the King instead of First Advent.

The disconnect between the secular calendar and the Church’s calendar can be jarring. It seems also to invite the Crabby Appleton in some of us to emerge. Some among us take offense at, others condescend to, and yet still others even heap contempt upon these secular practices. If evangelism works by attraction, some of us fall flat on our faces at this time of year. Crabby Appleton is unattractive at all times, but especially when so many people are obviously seeking some source of joy and relief in their lives.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Book Studies at St. Alban's

The Sunday Adult Education Class will be reading Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived by Rob Bell. The class meets most every Sunday morning at 9:15 a.m. in the Conference Room. Our Love Wins class begins on December 16. All adults and visitors are welcome!

The Wednesday Night Men’s Study Group is reading Velvet Elvis: Repainting the Christian Faith, also by Rob Bell. The Men’s Study Group meets on Wednesday night following the 5:30 p.m. Holy Eucharist and Unction at 6:15 p.m. in the Conference Room (and occasionally in McLean Hall) . The Velvet Elvis study began on November 28. All the men of St. Alban’s and guests are welcome!

Contact Father Whit for more information on either class…

Will's Graduation

Will Phelps is about to graduate from U.L.M., and it's time to celebrate!

U.L.M.'s Commencement is Saturday, December 8, 2012 at 10:00 a.m., in the Fant-Ewing Coliseum.

But whether you attend the ceremony or not, please join Will and Bette Jo for a...

Champagne Lunch
1:00 - 3:00 p.m.
December 8, 2012
79 Quail Ridge Drive

Please stop by to toast the graduate!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Moon Over St. Alban's

Above is a photo taken by Fr. Whit of the Moon rising over St. Alban's early on the evening of November 26, 2012. The night turned out to be stormy...

Friday, November 23, 2012

The Bishop's Message

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

Happy Thanksgiving!

Many will be gathering with family and friends this week for fellowship and feasting. The Owensby table, like many others, will be laden with traditional dishes, some of which have been shared by generations of our family.

Seeing and tasting that familiar fare reminds us of times we have spent together, reinforces our identity as a family, and reassures us that we have a special place at this table. Despite the comfort of familiarity, more and more people are trying new recipes during the holidays.

These new recipes do not always work out. Sometimes they clash with the rest of the dishes assembled for the feast or they just taste awful. If the host or hostess makes the mistake of replacing a beloved favorite with the new eats, diners can be put off by their frustrated expectations and the shock of the new.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and pray for all those who are traveling.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Thanksgiving Holy Eucharist

A reminder that St. Alban's will celebrate Holy Eucharist on Thanksgiving Day, November 22 at 10:00 a.m. All are invited and bring your family!

Friday, November 16, 2012

S'more Sunday and EYC Fun!

We had a drizzly day for S'more Sunday, but that didn't dampen the fun. We toasted and burnt marshmallows and made some delicious S'mores.

Our combined EYC Youth Groups is doing some great things.

Above and Right - S'more Sunday
Below - Our visit to St. Joseph's Assisted Living and Nursing Home

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Bishop's Message

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Dear Friends in Christ,

I’m writing from St. Louis. This week I am attending the meeting of CCABs, which is short for Commissions, Committees, Agencies, and Boards of the Episcopal Church. As I requested I have been appointed to the Standing Commission for Small Congregations.

Our schedule is very full, completing our work late each evening. Our conversations are ranging over a broad set of topics, and I look forward to sharing our work with you over time. It is especially exciting to share ideas with people who have a special love for and years of ministry in small congregations.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Art with a View

Support our Deacon...
Art with a View
Friday, Nov. 16, 6-9p, Gallery Party - $20
Benefits Monroe Symphony Orchestra
Sat., Nov. 17, 9a-2p, Public Show – Free
Premier Plaza, Monroe
(The big black cube between North 18th & North 19th Streets.)
Come Saturday to see the art and begin your Christmas shopping!
I’ll be there with
WATERLINE: an interactive photo installation
iPhone Diary
Photo Notecards
and display copies of a beautiful book of women photographers, including me, titled
How We See It…more views of our world
along with ordering information.
Bette J. Kauffman, Photographer

Friday, November 9, 2012

The 105th Archbishop of Canterbury

On 9 November 2012 the Right Reverend Justin Welby was announced as the 105th Archbishop of Canterbury.

In his opening statement at Lambeth Palace, Bishop Justin said he was “astonished and excited” to be taking over from Dr Rowan Williams, who stands down as Archbishop at the end of December. Acknowledging the many challenges faced by the Church, he said it will be a privilege to lead the Church “at a time of great spiritual hunger”.

The new Archbishop's Biography can be found here

Source: ENS

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Chili Night

Men’s Group Chili Night
Wednesday, November 14, 2012
6:15 p.m. in McLean Hall
We’ll eat some Chili and talk about
our next study. Join us!

Please R.S.V.P. by 11/12/12
323-3139  (leave a message)

The Bishop's Message

Dear Friends in Christ,

My daughter Meredith plays the flute. As a music performance major, she spends hours practicing her scales and mastering music theory. Her repertoire grows year by year not only in size but in complexity and sophistication. As you might imagine, Meredith reliably hits the right notes as the ensemble moves through the score.

Plenty of accomplished musicians hit the right notes. That is not what distinguishes Meredith and the very best among her peers from others. Instead, the most admired musicians thrill our hearts and stir our minds because they achieve a pleasing tone. Lesser musicians can play precisely the same notes in the correct tempo and yet, nevertheless they lose our interest with a thin or shallow tone.

In both our nation and in our Church we are struggling with our tone. We seem unable to disagree without contempt, and we heap scorn upon compromise as if it were always born of the spirit of cowardice and surrender. Our proud insistence upon being right drowns out the humble impulse to submit ourselves to something greater than our own opinions and agendas. We need a new, more edifying tone.

By God’s tender grace we are finding a more compelling tone in the Episcopal Church. While we will always debate ideas, we are beginning to speak to each other on the basis of something more fundamental than our differences. The Holy Spirit is reminding us that we are one in the crucified and risen Christ. Our unity in Christ gives us a common mission. Jesus himself sends us to make disciples and to serve the poor in his name.

When we focus on what we have in common, our tone grows sonorous and resonates with others. The content of the Good News is too often lost because it is being conveyed by a shrill or grating voice. Keeping before us always our unity in Christ’s person and the mission he gives us, even the tone of our disagreements can draw followers to Jesus.
On this first day following President Obama’s reelection, some are rejoicing and others are lamenting. Oddly enough, we Episcopalians have a hard-won lesson to share with rest of the nation.

We have discovered through bitter internal turmoil that unity is a gift. It is a gift that we must nurture or risk losing. Who we are together is well worth working for. It is fine to disagree. However, when we do so in forgetfulness that our primary calling is to deepen and to reinforce our unity, then we chance forfeiting who we truly are.

So let’s be mindful of our tone. As Christians and as Americans. As followers of Jesus, we have an especially high calling. Jesus has sent us into this world to set a new tone.

In Christ's Love,

The Rt. Rev. Jacob W. Owensby, Ph.D.
The Diocese of Western Louisiana
P. O. Box 2031, Alexandria, LA 71309-2031

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Election Day Prayer

Today is Tuesday, November 6, 2012 - Election Day. 

These prayers are from The Book of Common Prayer, Number 24. For an Election.

Almighty God, to whom we must account for all our powers and privileges:  Guide the people of the United States in the election of officials and representatives; that, by faithful administration and wise laws, the rights of all may be protected and our nation be enabled to fulfill your purposes; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

This prayer is the last portion of Number 22. For Sound Government.

[God, T]each our people to rely on your strength and to accept their 
responsibilities to their fellow citizens, that they may elect trustworthy leaders and make wise decisions for the well‑being of our society; that we may serve you faithfully in our generation and honor your holy Name.
For yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and you are exalted as head above all.  Amen.

Please pray for our country and local community and go vote!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Neighborhood Picnic - Saturday!

St. Alban's will have its Neighborhood Picnic this Saturday, November 10, 2012 from 11:00 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. Everyone is invited. Enjoy games, hot dogs, hoppers, face painting, crafts and more.

Members of the church are asked to bring a dessert to share. We can also use help before for set-up and after for clean-up.

Pray for good weather and join us!

Over 10,000 Served!

At some time today, November 5, 2012, St. Alban's Weblog was visited for the 10,000th time! Above is a screen clip of the total at the time of this post (10,005). You can check the number of page views at the bottom of the page. Thanks for reading and checking in here!

Flower Guild

Mary Sue is now the head of the Flower Guild at St. Alban's. She recently took the reigns from Dottie, who served as the leader of the group for many years! Mary Sue and Dottie are both thrilled!

Mary Sue brings great creativity to the job. Check out the photo above of the flowers from last week's Baptism. The flowers really got many compliments. Believe it or not, the display was made with ornamental cabbage!

Tell Dottie thanks for all her years of work and let Mary Sue know that you are glad she is on the job.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Our Newest Member

Zoe Elizabeth is our newest member! Today, St. Alban's celebrated Holy Baptism, All Saints' Day and had a wonderful reception following with family and friends. Have you ever seen anything so beautiful?

Let us welcome the newly baptized. We receive you into the household of God. Confess the faith of Christ crucified, proclaim his resurrection, and share with us in his eternal priesthood.
The Book of Common Prayer

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Fall Back Tonight!

Daylight Saving Time ends at 2:00 a.m on Sunday, November 4, 2012. Set you clocks back one hour before going to bed on tonight, or you’ll be really early for church!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Church Porch Treat Night

Halloween 2012's Church Porch Treat Night was a frightful success! Porch sitters, Marjorie, Jane, Mary, Charles, Matt, Mtr. Dawnell, Fr. Whit, Larry, Catherine and Elizabeth passed out candy and hot chocolate to our many visitors.We ate some candy, sipped some cocoa and ate a few slices of pizza too!

Trick or Treaters included Tracy, Thomas, Cameron, Emma, Caroline, Lynnon, William and an unidentifiable hoard of others. Lee, Ryan and lots neighbors stopped by to visit and chat. Some said they had received our invitation and would see us at the Neighborhood Picnic! 

Next year, we plan to add a cook out... Make your plans now to join us!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Herbal Harvest at St. Patrick's

Bill and Lynn enjoy the Herbal Harvest and Arts & Crafts Show on October 20 at St.Patrick's Episcopal Church in West Monroe. It was a beautiful day and the weather was perfect.

St. Alban's Alphabet

Today's letter is "N." Can you find me?

Hint: I'm the first letter of our picnic guests.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Bishop's Message

October 24, 2012

Dear Friends in Christ,

Last Friday I had the privilege of celebrating and preaching at the Red Mass, hosted this year by Mtr. Catherine Thompson and the good folks at Trinity, Natchitoches. As you may know, in the Red Mass we seek God’s wisdom and guidance for our jurists.

Mtr. Catherine and the rest of the worship planners and leaders did us proud with a reverent and uplifting service, and I am very grateful for their hard work and liturgical excellence. It was especially exciting that the Louisiana Supreme Court attended the service.

For this week’s Wednesday message, I’m offering this excerpt from my sermon at the Red Mass:

Life is not fair.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Church Porch Treat Night

St. Alban's Church Porch Treat Night
October 31 - Halloween
6:00 - 8:00 p.m. 
Join us as we give treats to the neighborhood goblins!

Training Day

Training Day
Eucharistic Ministers, Readers and Acolytes


October 27, 2012
9:00 till Noon

Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Picnic Time...

Mark you calendars now for St. Alban's Neighborhood Picnic! More info soon.

Friday, October 19, 2012

The Bishop's Weekly Message

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

Thank you all for the encouraging emails and texts and FB messages about Diocesan Convention. Gathering with you in common faith and mutual joy has energized and delighted me! It’s a gift to know that so many of you feel the same way. Thanks to the Alexandria Convocation for doing such a fabulous job hosting our Convention and to the Commission on Liturgy and Music for crafting such meaningful worship!

Now what will we do with the energy, excitement, fellowship, and vision we shared last weekend?

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

What's in a Name?

"What's in a name? That which we call a rose
by any other name would smell as sweet."

Romeo and Juliet, by William Shakespeare

I’m not saying that Chris Eby smells sweet, but he does have a new name. We will now call him Sexton. Wikipedia says that, “A sexton is a church, congregation, or synagogue officer charged with the maintenance of its buildings and/or the surrounding graveyard” (in our case, grounds). Our Junior Warden suggested the title, after Chris volunteered to help out with various projects around St. Alban's.

Chris accepted the job, but was not too sure about the title. Let’s use it anyway!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Convention Fun!

Lynda and Harry cut a little rug...
Dawnell and Whit
What a wonderful convention the Diocese of Western Louisiana had this weekend! Bishop Jake lead the charge and the Alexandria Convocation out did themselves and the delegation from St. Alban's had a ball...

Our delegates were Lynda, Harry,  Rita and Lee. Ask them about Convention.

Lee and Rita enjoy the music...

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Conversations about Ouachita Parish

Northern & Central Louisiana Interfaith will meet to have a conversation about Ouachita Parish on Tuesday, October 9, 2012 at 6:15 p.m. at New Light Baptist Church located at 1623 South. 4th Street in Monroe

A diverse group of people will gather Tuesday evening to share a potluck meal and their visions for Monroe and Ouachita Parish. Episcopalians volunteered to provide desserts. To keep it simple, I have encouraged everyone to pick up a dozen cookies.

Northern & Central Louisiana Interfaith is a coalition of primarily faith-based institutions that purposefully crosses lines that historically divide people, lines of religion, race, socio-economic status and geography. We cross these lines in order to work together to improve the quality of life in the community for everyone.

Deacon Bette Kauffman will co-chair Tuesday's meeting with The Rev. James Johnson, pastor of New Light Baptist Church.

To get to New Light, go south on Hwy 165 to Winnsboro Road (a.k.a. Hwy 15), turn right, go to either 4th or 5th St., turn right again. In the first block, you'll see New Light Baptist Church, with a large parking lock and blonde brick buildings that extend from 5th to 4th St., just around the corner from Winnsboro Rd.

If you have a vision for Ouachita Parish, this will be a great place to share it. Hope to see you there!

P.S. Unfortunately, this meeting conflicts with Ultreya, but, hey, not everyone goes to Ultreya, right!

Photo: The Rev. Dale Farley, Messiah Lutheran, and Minister Mary Ann Cooper, Bethel COGIC, co-chair a recent Interfaith assembly.