Fred and I were in Des Moines yesterday for a day-long diocesan seminar on revival and renewal at St. Andrew's Church --- the sort of prospect that can seem daunting while preparing to launch from Chariton St. Andrew's early on a very cold morning.
But it turned out to be a great day --- and the lunch was pretty great, too.
The bishop, the Rt. Rev. Alan Scarfe, was in fine form.
And the other half of the Scarfe equation, Donna, was able to participate in afternoon sessions.
I would never suggest that Mrs. Scarfe is more interesting than her husband, but she does have an extensive background in dance and theater, works professionally as a sign language interpreter (her M.A. is in theater and deaf studies) and also is a milliner, owner and operator of "Fyne Hats by Felicity."
It's always fun to reconnect at meetings like this. My former vicar, the Rev. Wendy Abrahamson, now at St. Paul's Church, Grinnell, was there; and the Rev. Kris and Jay Leaman were down from Mason City St. John's, too. Kris now is vicar of the historic Church of Our Saviour in Clearmont and Jay, senior warden at St. John's.
I should have taken more photos of the presenters, but was too busy listening (and talking).
I especially enjoyed the afternoon session on music, presented by Deacon Lydia Bucklin (above), of Des Moines, and Angie Daoud (below), organist and music director at St. John's.
The Rev. Elizabeth Duff-Popplewell, rector of St. Luke's Church, Cedar Falls, conducted two interesting sessions, too --- convincing a room full of Episcopalians to move beyond their comfort levels and actually talk about themselves.
I collect churches; so it always fun to visit. Des Moines St. Andrew's (as opposed to Chariton St. Andrew's) --- it has several hundred parishioners; we have several --- is so far as I know the only Episcopal Church in Iowa designed in a mid-century colonial revival style. It's beautiful and light and airy --- not a shred of stained glass or dark paneling in sight.