Holy Eucharist Rite II
10:00 a.m.

Midweek Worship
and Fellowship
Church of the Advent
Williamston, North Carolina
One Hundredth Anniversary...
It is my great joy and pleasure to share the one hundredth anniversary of the consecration of this cherished church building. It is especially gratifying to see so many folks here today who have participated in the ongoing life and ministry of this parish family.
This morning I want to use a favorite quote of mine that comes from the former United Nations Secretary General Dag Hammarskjold. Hammarskjold wrote this in his book Markings the following: "For all that has been, thanks; for all that shall be, yes."

"For all that has been, thanks." This beautiful Gothic church building was a gift from Mrs. Fanny Staton, a long-time member of this parish family. The church was consecrated in 1917 by Bishop Darst. In 1963 this building was gutted by a fire. A decision was made at the time to restore the interior exactly as it was which was done except for restoring an eagle lectern. I am told that the architect was concerned about using the walls that remained after the fire but the walls were found to be plumb, mainly because the walls of this building are comprised of twenty three inches of brick. The building was restored through insurance, the commitment of the parishioners and the willingness of Bishop Wright to find diocesan and national church funds to offset the cost. In 1979 the Vestry decided to consider the possibility of installing stained glass windows on both sides of the church. The theme was going to be the Apostles Creed. Three families committed to fund the windows on the left side of the church. Payne Studios, who had installed the front and back windows, were chosen to install these windows which was completed in 1979. Two years later, four families committed to placing memorial windows on the right side of the church. Rolph Studios, who had purchased Payne Studios, installed the windows. A few years later, 1984, Frances Barnes gifted the church with the church bell. We are also very grateful for the numerous parish family members who have over the years contributed items of worship to this parish. Items such as seasonal hangings, crosses, torches, the Paschal Candle and Advent wreath; communion wares, Altar Missal, the Gospel Book, Organ upkeep and the gifts of Prayer Books and Hymnals.

This church building is magnificent and is the result of the commitment of this parish family not only to build but to maintain this building. The real significance, however, is how this building has served as the meeting pace of this magnificent and blessed parish family. It is where the Word of God is preached and where the sacraments are offered and received. Every one of us here has experienced the stages of life from baptism through death, whether in our own family or our parish family. Over the years I have been told by numerous folks how significant this parish family has been in their lives. One of the most loving things that I have enjoyed is how many of our families have moved away and yet in significant moments in their lives, such as baptizing their children, have returned for that service of baptism, either in this building or when our parish family gathers at Trinity Center for our Parish-Family Weekend. This building has also been a place of comfort and nourishment for folks outside our parish family. Numerous times, sometimes late at night or early in the morning, I have come into this building, especially when it was left unlocked, and found folks sitting or kneeling in a pew grateful for a place of solitude to give thanks or seek quiet sustenance as they were contesting the various vicissitudes of life. So yes, "For all that has been, thanks."

And then, "For all that will be, yes." I have been very fortunate over these last five years to stay in touch with our parish family. Except for about fourteen months or so, you have been without a Rector. During that time and for now on you have lived these words, "For all that shall be, yes." An Episcopal parish needs a Rector but I want to commend this parish family because throughout those five years and, I believe, by the grace of God and your personal commitment, this parish has continued to be a place of comfort, joy and sustenance. The presence of a priest is important but in these last few years you have shown the real significance of the ministry of the laity and that bodes well for all that shall be. Your Vestry, Wardens and Clerks, Vestry Commission members, Pledge Recorders and Assistant Treasurers have and are doing great work in continuing the ministry of this parish family. Several of you, through the choir and our organist, have continued to manifest the value of music within your worship. Acolytes and Lay Readers, Eucharistic Ministers, Altar Guild members, ushers and in the past an EYC band and the Adult Adventitious Brass ensemble have and continue to sustain the life of this family. So too have our church school teachers, our EYC sponsors, the United Thank Offering chairs; the editors of the Advent Advisor and Parish Administrators. Your continued ministries to the sick and outside ministries like the back-pack ministry are signs of life, concern and commitment on the part of this parish family. I would also remind us that during the years I have been in the parish there were only two treasurers, John Boykin and Lowell Taylor which is an unusual gift in the life of a parish family.

I know there is continued concern about how and when we will get another Rector but I urge you to continue the great work you have and are doing in serving our Lord. I urge us to continue to follow the prophet Micah's great challenge to us as individuals and a parish family, when he wrote, "What does the Lord require of you but to do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with your God."

It is such a great feeling for me to be amongst you today and to see all these great folks whose lives have in various and numerous ways been impacted by this parish family. Hammarskjold had it right for this parish family: "For all that has been, thanks; for all that shall be, yes."