Showing posts with label St John's Episcopal Church. Show all posts
Showing posts with label St John's Episcopal Church. Show all posts

Sunday, August 23, 2015


Ringo was with us at St John's Episcopal Church this morning. Oh, and Fr Ron was there, too. Ron preached on faith as a journey, which may be a cliché, but is nonetheless true. The Israelites journeyed away from Egypt once they were set free, and then journeyed until they reached the Promised Land. Those who settled outside Jerusalem journeyed on pilgrimages to the temple in the Holy City. Jesus wandered from place to place teaching and healing, and he went to the temple in Jerusalem on the feast days. And later Paul and the other disciples of Jesus journeyed spreading the faith. So it is for us. When we come to faith, it's not, "Jesus, come into my heart," and I'm saved, and it's done. Jesus asks us to follow him, and sometimes it seems there is little rest in this life, because we never truly arrive at the end of the journey.

A close-up of Ringo
As usual, even during the best of sermons, and Ron's was indeed very good, my mind wonders, sometimes even in good ways. In the Eucharistic service in the Episcopal Church, the priest moves around a lot, especially in the beginning, and when Ron moved, Ringo followed, and, at times, say during the lessons and the Eucharistic prayers, he had time to catch a few winks, because Ron stayed put for a while. But, all too soon, Ringo's human was moving again. I read Ringo's thoughts, and if I could make a large speech bubble, this is what Ringo's would say. "This moving around is all well and good, but I wish he'd settle down, so I could have a long nap." And so we are as Christians; we think like Ringo, "Are we there yet? May we have a rest?" And God says, "All right then, a short one, but then we must move along again."

There you have it: Ringo as metaphor for the faith journey.

Friday, December 12, 2014


A group of women who restored a 19th century Voodoo queen's tomb are now working in a Thibodaux cemetery.

Employees of the New Orleans-based Bayou Preservation will be at St. John's Episcopal Cemetery off of Jackson Street on Saturday. They said this will be their fourth visit since the church hired them to restore some of the tombs, some of which are 100 years or older.
That's our cemetery, next to St John's Episcopal Church.  St. John's is not just the burial spot for members of our church but, for many years, was and is known as the Protestant cemetery for the Thibodaux area. Older tombs are falling apart, and are now being restored through the restoration project, which began several years ago and continues now as funds are available.

The cloud of witnesses in the cemetery is filled with peaceful spirits, and it's a lovely spot to meditate. On a day of prayer and quiet time St John's, I spent the breaks for time alone for contemplation in the cemetery, but I was not really alone.

Sunday, July 13, 2014


Our new rector at St John's Episcopal Church, Fr Doug, will be serving two congregations, ours in Thibodaux, Louisiana, and Trinity Episcopal Church in Morgan City, Louisiana.  Since the two churches are around 30 miles apart, Fr Doug will not be presiding at Sunday services at both churches but will rather be present in each church every other Sunday.  On the Sundays when Fr Doug is not with us, we will have Morning Prayer with a lay member of the congregation leading the service.

In order to touch base with both church communities each weekend, Fr Doug will try out a 5:00 PM Eucharistic service on the Saturdays preceding the Sunday he will be serving at our sister church, an arrangement which I hope will work out for my own selfish reason, since I'm not a morning person, and I'm rather habitually late for the 10:30 morning service. 

Yesterday, I attended the first Saturday service, and you'd think I'd be able to arrive on time, right?  Ah, but you'd be wrong.  Since I returned from New York City last Wednesday evening, I was so happy to be home, that I had not left the house until I was ready to go to church yesterday.  Before I left for my trip, I removed my set of keys from my purse, because it is rather heavy, and I forgot to put the keys back in place.  After I reached my car, I realized I had no key to get in the car, nor did I have a key to get back in the house.

Where is Grandpère when I need him?  Gone fishing, so I had to find the extra set of keys to the house in the secret hiding place, which involved getting on my knees in damp mulch and fishing around till I found them, with the result that I was late to the first Saturday Eucharist and retained my reputation for tardiness, alas.  Better next time?  I hope so.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013


St John's Episcopal Church - Thibodaux, LA

St John's Episcopal Church
718 Jackson Street
Thibodaux, Louisiana

December 24 - Christmas Eve

7:30 PM Lessons and Carols
8:00 PM Holy Eucharist

I love Advent and the Christmas Eve church service with Lessons and Carols and the Eucharist following. He's coming, and He's already here. Alleluia!

Monday, August 26, 2013


Stained glass at St John's Episcopal Church, Thibodaux LA

Today was a good worship day for me at St John's.  For a change I was early, and I had the opportunity to sit quietly for a spell before listening to the Prelude, Beethoven's "Sonatina in G Major", performed beautifully by our music director on the piano.  Therein lies a lesson that rushing in at the last minute, or worse, following the procession down the aisle, is not the best way to arrive for a service.  The liturgy was done well and properly; the sermon was interesting and enlightening; and the musical choices were very much to my taste.

Still, good days for me have less to do with the service itself - the preacher, the music, who is present, than with an attitude of heart open to praising and thanking God.  Some mornings, my attention to prayer is limited, for distractions abound, and my mind wanders everywhere but to the meaning of the words in the prayers and hymns.  This morning, I slipped easily into prayer and remained attentive longer.  Grace, all is grace, but I expect not rushing into the service at the last minute plays a part.  As I've already said, there's a lesson here.  Still, what is also true:
The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.
After the service, our visiting priest did a show and tell about our fly spoon and said how rare it is to find such a spoon among the altar vessels.  He explained that in the olden days before air-conditioning, when windows in the church were open, insects flew in, and flies were attracted to the wine.  If a fly or other insect flew into the chalice and couldn't make its way out, the fly spoon was used for removal.  Below is a picture of St John's fly spoon.

Fly spoon

The spoon is silver, not gold, and is not tarnished as it appears in the photo.  The refection in the bowl of the spoon is of the stained glass window above the altar depicting St John the Evangelist, our patron saint.  The reflection on the cross may be the same.

I knew the purpose of the spoon, because I served eight years with the wonderful women in the Altar Guild.  Though I tried my best, I was not well-suited to preparing the altar, for I am not a detail person.  The priests I served under were understanding, and my fellow members were kind, but I suspect they sometimes despaired of me ever getting it right.  In truth, I never did. 

Sunday, July 21, 2013


St John's Episcopal Church
Since neither congregation of our two churches, Trinity Episcopal Church in Morgan City, Louisiana, nor my church, St John's Episcopal Church in Thibodaux, Louisiana, can afford a full time rector, we are exploring a partnership to share a priest who will serve half-time in each parish.  The members of the two churches shared a meal at a restaurant and a barbecue at the home of a parishioner in Morgan City.  In addition, people from both congregations have attended services at the other church.

Trinity Episcopal Church
The search committee, which includes an equal number of members of both parishes, has been chosen, and they have met with each other and with the vestries of the two churches.  So far, the process is going forward smoothly.

Please pray with us that the search committee will find a priest who is compatible with the congregations of the two parishes, that the two vestries will concur, and that the priest is willing to serve as pastor to our churches.  A member of St John's wrote the prayer below, which I will place in a prominent position on my sidebar to remind me and anyone who wishes to join with us in prayer during this process.
Dear Lord, we ask your help in guiding and directing St John's and Trinity in our search for a new rector.  Where there are differences, help mold us into one heart and one mind, being ever mindful of the needs of each other.  Where doubts and uncertainties may arise, grant us faith and courage to ask what you would have us do.  And finally Lord, give us the spirit of your wisdom to find someone who will adopt our families as part of their family, and strengthen us as faithful ministers to do your will.  In Jesus' name we pray.  Amen.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013


Nyada Dué deGravelles, on Wednesday, May 23, 2013, entered into eternal rest at the age of 88.

Relatives and friends are invited to attend the visitation from 6 to 9 p.m. Tuesday and from 10 a.m. until funeral time Wednesday at St. John's Episcopal Church on Jackson St. in Thibodaux. A Mass of Christian burial will be at noon Wednesday at the church, with burial in the church cemetery.

She is survived by her son, J.P. deGravelles and wife, Bridgette; daughters, Pamela deGravelles and Trudy deGravelles Bourgeois and husband, Kenneth; brother, Paul H. Dué; 10 grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Norbert "Nobby" deGravelles; and parents, Paul Dué and Elva Nase.

Nyada was a native of Covington. and lived in Thibodaux for 67 years.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations in her name may be made to St. John's Episcopal Church-UTO fund.

Landry's Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

Nyada was a lovely woman who lived the Gospel of love and service to the fullest, and despite "the changes and chances of this mortal life," of which she had her share, she nearly always had a smile on her face like the smile in the picture.  Today family and friends bade farewell to Nyada at St John's, the church community that she loved and served so well over many years, where she will be greatly missed.
Into thy hands, O merciful Savior, we commend thy servant Nyada. Acknowledge, we humbly beseech thee, a sheep of thine own fold, a lamb of thine own flock, a sinner of thine own redeeming. Receive her into the arms of thy mercy, into the blessed rest of everlasting peace, and into the glorious company of the saints in light.  Amen.

(Book of Common Prayer)

Sunday, April 28, 2013



Above is a scan of the menu for the English Tea at St John's Episcopal Church in Thibodaux. My friend Gwen and I both thought the tiny sandwiches, cakes, and scones were the best ever.  Members of the congregation prepare the dainties and serve at the tea.  The food is arranged in a circle around the plate in the order as shown on the menu, so the guests know exactly what they are eating.  I had never heard of Irish tea brack, but I soon found out that it's quite tasty.  At the table next to us were five youngsters from ages approximately 6 to 8.  So sweet.

Yesterday was the 25th anniversary of  the English Tea at St John's.  Along with tea, paintings by local artists line the walls of the parish hall.  Yesterday's featured artist was Dawn Koetting.
After 29 years as a veterinarian, Dawn Koetting is pursuing a childhood passion for painting and presenting to others a vision of the world we often pass by too quickly.
Dawn was the vet who stood by Tom when our Rusty, the Wonder Dog, had to be put down due to advanced lymphoma some years ago.  Tom will never forget her gentleness and compassion at that very sad moment.

Gwen and I enjoyed a lovely afternoon.  At the tea, I always meet people I haven't seen in years, and we catch up on recent news of families.  Sometimes the names don't come easily, and I remember them only after the conversation is over, so I generally try to bluff my way through.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013


Grandpère et moi
At left, Tom and I from another year. We are quietly at home on the great day of revelry otherwise known as Shrove Tuesday.  Perhaps some folks around here will get shriven today, but my guess is not many.  They'll be too busy watching parades and partying. 
Look at that kick!

On Saturday, we reveled in Lockport, Louisiana, gathering at the Center for Traditional Louisiana Boat Building for a party with lots of tasty food, a parade a block away, and good Cajun music.

On Sunday, at St John's Episcopal Church, we had our traditional pot luck lunch after the 10:30 service and then gathered outside to watch the parades.

The Prescriptions

This year, we had musical entertainment by The Prescriptions, a five-piece band, which plays "primarily music from the late sixties, seventies, and eighties" and perform very well, indeed.

Fr Ron on the harmonica

Fr Ron, an Episcopal priest who says he's retired but works as a consultant in the Episcopal Church and serves half-time as our priest-in-charge, is a member of the band and plays guitar (above on the right) and harmonica (on the left).  Ron works more than half-time for our church, because he's always there when we need him.

The rain that was predicted came once the parade started, and I decided to leave.  The stalwarts who stayed, including Grandpère, were rewarded, because the rain stopped as I was on my way home. 

Growing up in New Orleans, I saw enough parades to last more than one lifetime.  From my quiet place at home, I wish for all the revelers a great day and a safe day this Mardi Gras.  Laissez les bons temps rouler!  

Saturday, January 12, 2013


What a fun evening! The films were wonderfully hilarious, and Gene Traas' accompaniment on the organ was excellent and just right.  Buster Keaton was my favorite, but all the comedies provided many laughs.  I am old but not old enough to have seen the silent comedies in the first showings, but, as a child, I spent a good deal of time at the movies, and, from time to time, the silent film comedies were shown as short subjects before the feature movie began.  Thus, I am not altogether unfamiliar with Laurel and Hardy, Chaplin, and Buster Keaton, and it was a very good thing to see them again.  Plus, laughter is good for the soul.

The gathering was a fund raiser to help pay for the restoration of the pipe organ at St John, which, while it still plays, is not in top form and is in need of repair

Pictured above is the organ in the balcony of the church. To the left is the console, which is located in the front right of the nave.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013


If you're in the neighborhood of Thibodaux, LA, the Trifecta should be fun.  I'll be there.

Gene, the accompanist, is staying at our house, and he cooked a delicious meal for us last night.  He saw shrimp in the refrigerator and asked us if we wanted him to prepare supper.  Of course, we said, "Yes."  He gathered up whatever other suitable ingredients he could find and put them all together to make a very tasty dish.

Thursday, December 27, 2012


Today is the feast of St John the Evangelist, the patron of my church. The Fathers of the Church believed John the Evangelist was the author of the Gospel, three Epistles, and the Book of Revelation, and the same person as John the Apostle and John of Patmos.  Later scholars suggest rather that a disciple of John the Apostle wrote the Gospel and three Epistles and that John of Patmos was a different person, because the writing style of the Book of Revelation is too different from the Gospel and Epistles.

Pictured above is the stained glass window at St. John's Episcopal Church in Thibodaux. If you click on the picture, you see (somewhat blurred) the detail in the glass which shows a snake coming out of the goblet in John's hand. According to legend, the emperor Domitian offered poisoned wine to John, but he blessed the wine and the poison came out of the goblet in the form of a snake.  A painting by El Greco illustrates the same legend.

Collect of the day
Shed upon your Church, O Lord, the brightness of your light; that we, being illumined by the teaching of your apostle and evangelist John, may so walk in the light of your truth, that at length we may attain to the fullness of eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Monday, December 24, 2012


718 Jackson Street 

Thibodaux, LA 70301

* Christmas Eve Services -
Dec. 24  
St. John’s  -  5:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. 
St. Joseph’s Manor Chapel -  2:00 p.m.

St. John’s parishioners are not only friendly with one another but are truly welcoming to the newcomer.  So, on behalf of the people of God here at St. John’s Episcopal, WELCOME!
UPDATE: St John's dressed for Christmas Eve.

Thursday, September 20, 2012


Julie Green carving the cross
Residents will soon have a new way to remember their deceased loves ones in Thibodaux.
St. John’s Episcopal Church on Jackson Street is putting the finishing touches on a scatter garden, which will eventually be home to countless cremated ashes.

“We want it to be a place where you can come visit your ancestors who are there,” said the Rev. Ron Clingenpeel, priest in charge for St. John’s, which dates back to 1843. “It is a place where one can encounter God, holiness and a real sense of peace in their lives, knowing this is where their loved ones are.”

The scatter garden will be a space where families can spread the ashes of their loved ones and go to remember them in the following years, Clingenpeel said.
The cross that will stand in the scatter garden is beautiful.  Julie, a parishioner, is a true artist, and her carving is a work of art.  And what a fine idea to have the scatter garden at St John's.

Enclosure walls of the future scatter garden

The grounds of the scatter garden are unfinished. All that's complete are the brick wall segments that will define the garden area.

My family knows of my wish to be cremated...not yet, of course,...but I had not decided where I wanted my ashes scattered.  I knew I did not want them placed in a container on the mantlepiece, and with the advent of the scatter garden, my decision was easy.

UPDATE: The intention is to scatter the ashes, but if family and friends of the deceased would prefer burial of the ashes in a biodegradable container, then that will be an alternative.  Of course, the garden will be made beautiful with landscaping. 

Monday, April 23, 2012


Fr Ron is our priest-in-charge.  He and his lovely daughter, Sarah, are both musicians.  On Sunday, if you're in the vicinity of St John's Episcopal Church in Thibodaux, Louisiana, come join us at the concert.  Some of you may recall my post about the fire which destroyed St Matthew's Episcopal Church in Houma, Louisiana.  The church was insured, but, as is often the case, the insurance money will not cover the cost of reconstruction.  All proceeds from the concert will go to the project to rebuild St Matthew's.

Sunday, February 19, 2012


Diana dressed for the celebration in her own special beads.

Today is our Mardi Gras celebration. The parades pass in front of St John's Episcopal Church. We have church, then a potluck lunch, and then two parades. On Tuesday, we are not going anywhere soooo, 'Eh la bas! Mardi Gras!'

Pictured above is a sedate church member wearing her regular Sunday go-to-meetin' hat.

Above is sedate church member's daughter dancing in the street.

Balfa Brothers - 'La Dance Des Mardi Gras'

Sunday, April 24, 2011


Hey Ms June, sorry it took so long to get these to you. I misplaced the email address you gave us at church. If sending the photos to you via this address doesnt work out, let me know.

Thank you for acknowledging our family,

Rachel & Ashley Guidry (Noah Anthony & Bentley Grace)

And what a lovely family!

Noah Anthony up close. Adorable, isn't he?

Bentley Grace close up. Precious, isn't she?

We celebrated Noah's and Bentley's baptisms at St John's on this joyous Easter Day.

Fr Ed baptizes Bentley Grace as the proud moms, their godparents and families, and the congregation look on.

Next comes Noah's baptism, and we all have a second chance to "Oooh" and "Aaah".

Thank you, Ashley and Rachel, for allowing me the honor of celebrating the birth and baptism of your darling babies here at Wounded Bird.
Heavenly Father, we thank you that by water and the Holy Spirit you have bestowed upon Noah and Bentley the forgiveness of sin, and have raised them to the new life of grace. Sustain them, O Lord, in your Holy Spirit. Give them an inquiring and discerning heart, the courage to will and to persevere, a spirit to know and to love you, and the gift of joy and wonder in all your works. Amen.

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.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Learning To Keep My Mouth Shut

The "Letter From the Rector" in the current newsletter from my church seems directed to me, as a result of a conversation we had on the Alpha Series, which our church will use during Lent.

At "Of Course, I Could Be Wrong" we had a lively discussion about Alpha after I mentioned it. I printed the comments to give to my rector, after editing out MadPriest's comments, which were a little over the top.

My rector's letter is titled "Does Not Follow Directions." He goes on to quote from Mark's Gospel the story of Jesus healing the man with the withered hand on the Sabbath, making the point that sometimes the right thing to do is not to follow directions.

He then goes on to say that he will celebrate 25 years as a priest in March, and he is learning to discern better "when directions should be followed and when not."

About the Alpha series, he says:
I embarked on this train of thought recently when I was thinking about the Alpha course we will use in Lent. I have used it many times before and although I think it is a strong curriculum, it is not perfect. (What is?) A good teacher does not slavishly stick to a curriculum as if it were a recipe. I will use what I think is good and either not use the small portion that is weak or teach over against it, if and when it appears.

Nothing is for everyone. However, I think Alpha is orthodox Christianity served up with humor and profundity.
The short form of this statement, as I read it is, "June, I heard what you said and read what you gave me to read, but I'm going to do this anyway. If you feel it's not for you, then you needn't come." I wonder why he didn't tell me this. What do y'all think? This is not the first time that I have felt he was responding directly to me in the newsletter. Why not just talk to me?

Of course, I may be inflating my own importance and taking what he says much too personally. Anyone who cares to weigh in in the comments, please do, and don't be concerned about disagreeing with me.

It is my impression that my rector strives to avoid confrontation, and, perhaps, that's why he would respond in the newsletter, rather than directly to me.

By the way, if my rector ever makes his way to my blog, I am sunk.