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Thanking God for Ray

Father Rob's Blog - Sat, 10/03/2015 - 23:55

A very nice tribute to our Music Minister written by a member of our choir:

This coming Sunday, immediately following the 11am service, we are paying tribute to our amazingly talented and dedicated music minister, Raymond Mueller. I ask that you join us in this celebration, as he moves forward in his career and music endeavors.

Music, for me, has always been a source of healing and connection with God. Singing under Ray with the choir has additionally offered me friendship and expanded community, for which I am very grateful.

For almost ten years, Raymond has graciously allowed us to be present and inspired by his phenomenal gift of composing music for our services. This gift can only be explained as God’s miracle and Raymond’s hard work. His musical talents, not only as a composer, but as a pianist, vocalist, leader and conductor, has offered St. Matthew’s a top notch music program to which we are so proud.

As a choir, we have been moved tremendously in our own individual lives by his courageous actions to always follow your dreams, despite the vulnerability and discomfort this sometimes brings. This message and example has inspired our choir to make many life changes of our own, in pursuit of our own true callings.

Although we all feel a sense of true loss as he moves on from our St. Matt’s music program, we are so grateful for the great foundation he has given us to continue serving God through music. We were nothing short of truly blessed for the gifts bestowed on us, and we cannot thank him enough.

I am deeply proud of my dear friend’s decision to move forward, spreading his talents and pursuing his calling to reach out further to share his most magnificent gifts.

In closing, please join us for Sunday’s 11am service, which will knock your socks off music wise. And, then stay after service to show our support and gratitude to this man, who has done so much for our church. Allow him to know, he has a community here at St. Matt’s, who will continue to follow and support him. We are all better for having him in our lives.

Sincerely, Maria Rondinaro

Still Here

Father Rob's Blog - Fri, 10/02/2015 - 11:52


The hummers are usually gone by now, and they probably wish they were.  But the yard is still full of them, puffed out in the wet and cold, so they look like little balls rather than the sleek missiles that is their usual appearance.


I suppose it is going a little overboard, but I warmed up their feeders in the microwave this morning.  I know how much a I enjoy a hot cup of tea,  and it seemed like they might appreciate the extra boost.

St. Francis day is October 4, and I'd like to think he would be pleased.   We'll be celebrating a pet blessing in his honor as well, perhaps another way to express our affection for the beloved creatures that add so very much to our lives.

Pet blessing

Go Big... or Go Home

Father Rob's Blog - Sat, 09/26/2015 - 20:03


Over the last almost-thirty years as a priest I’ve had opportunity to talk with hundreds of people about a wide variety of topics in a wide variety of settings. But when those conversations have turned to how a person’s life is going, as they frequently do, there is perhaps one theme that occurs more frequently than all the rest:

The person I am talking to is not satisfied with his or her life.

Now in one sense, that’s just the nature of life in an imperfect world. None of us gets everything we want. But in another sense, the simple truth is that only a small percentage of us get to do what we really wanted to do with their lives.

This new sermon series, which will run for the next 5 weeks, is about taking steps towards making dreams a reality.   It’s called Go Big or Go Home, and the idea isn’t that we’d do something ostentations or grandiose. No, it’s simply that we’d make the most of what’s been given to us in the short time that is our lives. It’s that we’d dream big about what is possible in our marriages, our families, our friendships. It’s that we’d dream big about what is possible in our neighborhood, our school, our workplace, our church, our home.  

And it’s that we’d take those dreams seriously enough to take steps to realize them. In the brief time we are on this planet, we’ll make the unique contribution that only we can make. The idea is that we will become more fulfilled, more focused on things that matter, and happier with life. Because even if our life is pretty good—maybe even pretty darn good—there are always things that need improvement, always areas of our lives and in the world that can use a little (or a lot) of help.

So let’s dive in, shall we?

Boys Being Boys

Father Rob's Blog - Mon, 09/21/2015 - 00:07

Oh boy

Where there are boys, sticks usually will not be too far away.

Oh boy1

Given the chance, the use of those sticks will probably not be Parent Approved.

Oh boy2

Stuart Brown, a physician, psychiatrist,  and clinical researcher, has written a wonderful book on play.  He says that play is not  "always sweetness and light. Play can be dangerous. People do get hurt."  That does seem to be the direction this is heading...

Oh boy3

He calls this kind of play "rough-and-tumble".   "Rough-and-tumble play," he says, "is typical among all juvenile mammals, including humans. Part of rough-and-tumble play is that, often, someone goes a little too far. ...   [When this happens] both have learned something about how far they can go. It might seem paradoxical, but such episodes allow the kids to be closer and more free, especially now that they have discovered where their own boundaries lie."   Such wisdom does come at a price...


Moments later, the other boy helped this boy up.   He hobbled off the field with a rather dramatic limp.  A few minutes later, both boys came back, and both were walking just fine.  They did not, however, pick up sticks.

On Commitment

Father Rob's Blog - Fri, 09/18/2015 - 11:04

It’s been said that we make our commitments, and then our commitments make us. I believe that is true. No commitment has shaped my life more than my commitment to Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.

But here’s the thing: commitments aren’t a “one and done” kind of thing. They need to be renewed on a regular basis. Sometimes, I think, it’s good to renew our commitments in public. That’s why people post about their diets or their exercise routines on social media. By going public, they are rededicating themselves to getting fit. Doing so in front of God and everybody adds a level of accountability. Doing it regularly—sometimes multiple times a day—keeps their commitment fresh.

It is with this in mind that I have decided to reaffirm my faith when Bishop Jones joins us on September 20. The Bishop will lay his hands on my head and pray,

Rob, may the Holy Spirit, who has begun a good work in you, direct and uphold you in the service of Christ and his kingdom. Amen.

There is nothing I desire more, nothing that is more important to me, than this. May the Holy Spirit indeed direct and uphold me, finishing the good work the Spirit has begun.

And this seems particularly pertinent in relation to the major transitions we are facing at St. Matt’s. I’ve  therefore invited our Staff and Vestry to join me in making this commitment as well. It’s an important way of saying, quite publicly, that we are deeply committed to doing all in our power and then some to help St. Matt’s live into God’s best for us. Personally, it’s a way of saying that even after 15 years, I’m all in.

Perhaps you would like to publicly reaffirm your faith as well. Whether that is the case or not, I do hope you’ll join us for what I believe will be a glorious day.

 P.S. For those in the area, we'd love to have you join us immediately following the 11am service as we celebrate Saint Matthew's Day with a picnic. Please bring a dish to share according to the first letter of your last name. A-N - Side Dish; O-Z - Dessert

Heaven's Gift

Father Rob's Blog - Tue, 09/15/2015 - 00:51


I could not be more thankful for the rain that blew in Saturday morning.  We only got a half an inch, but that half inch sure helped.


It kept this gourd looking healthy.  I haven't planted gourds for several years now, but they keep reseeding themselves.  Sort of like tomatoes, come to think of it.

Black swallowtail

It kept this black swallowtail caterpillar supplied with juicy Queen Anne's Lace. 

Hummer candy

And it helped keep the Hummingbird Buffet fresh and enticing.

Snake Head--Not!

Father Rob's Blog - Sun, 09/13/2015 - 23:19

Rainbow 003

There is something very rewarding about  finding something one has been searching for his whole life long, but which in the past has always proved to be elusive.  A Tiger Swallowtail caterpillar is one of those things for me.  I've been hoping to find one since I was a kid, actively looking for one without any success.

But then, just last week, I noticed this guy hurrying across the road.   

When he grows up, he'll look like this.


Insiders (September 6, 2015)

Sermons - Sun, 09/06/2015 - 22:16

Kindred Spirits

Father Rob's Blog - Mon, 08/31/2015 - 23:51

Baldie 021

It's hard to place my finger on exactly why, but I feel a certain profound sense of connection with this cardinal.

Maybe it's the bushy eyebrows?

Baldie 014

Enjoying a Meal

Father Rob's Blog - Mon, 08/31/2015 - 00:07

Cobia fishing sharks 043

A couple years ago we went cobia fishing.  The cobia never showed up, but some sharks did.  It was fun.

This year we went cobia fishing again.  And once again, cobia proved elusive.  But we did see some turtles.  This one was particularly interesting.  We thought it was eating a jellyfish, but in looking at the picture now it's clear that its actual meal is horseshoe crab.

Evening walk 019

What A Moose

Father Rob's Blog - Sat, 08/29/2015 - 00:27


Linda could get a little closer to these...


Apparently, Angus is the leader.  Bridgette, on the other hand, didn't want to leave.


Dear Friends

Father Rob's Blog - Thu, 08/27/2015 - 20:39

I had a dream last night. In it, I was called to another church. It was a big church. It had a large staff. It had expansive and beautiful buildings. It wasn’t exactly clear how I got there. In the dream, I wasn’t looking for a new church. It was just one of those situations where one thing lead to another, and all of a sudden, there I was.

And the truth is, it wasn’t a dream. It was a nightmare. Because the most vivid thing about the dream is the feeling that where I really wanted to be was back at St. Matthew’s. I was never so relieved as when I woke up and realized that I still get to be is with you, the people I have worked so hard with and with whom I have fallen so deeply in love.

Because in the end, that’s what a church really is. It’s a group of people. And there is no group of people I’d rather be with than you.

During the summer, it’s easy to let church slip to the back burner. Part of what makes summer summer is that we let our normal routines go in order to take vacations or to go places or do activities we can’t do during the heavily scheduled school or work year. I get that.

And  even in life in general, it’s easy for one thing to lead to another and for church to drop out of the picture. Life happens, as they say. I get that too.

Maybe God gave me that dream not just to remind me of what is so good about St. Matthew’s, but also to remind you as well. And so as summer draws to a close, I hope we will all make a point of coming together once again to do the work that God has given us to do: the work of knowing and sharing God’s love. Perhaps Back To Church Sunday on August 30 is the perfect time for all of us to do just that.

Because the thing is, what makes St. Matt’s St. Matt’s is… well, it’s you. I so look forward to seeing you there! With much love and affection, Rob+

Summer's End

Father Rob's Blog - Thu, 08/27/2015 - 01:12


One of the things I’ve learned in talking to people over the years is that a great many of us feel a certain wistfulness as summer draws to a close. Maybe it’s the kids going back to school or heading off to college. Maybe it’s the end of summer vacations, of relaxed days coming home a bit early to spend some extra time outside, maybe firing up the grill with some friends. Maybe it’s the cool air sneaking in during the night, or the garden beginning to go by. Whatever it is, there is a sense of melancholy hiding off in the shadows, a sense of nostalgia that wishes the halcyon day of summer would never end.

But they do end. Summer gives way to fall. Youth fades. Children grow up.

If one is even the least bit mindful, a sense of loss is inescapable. What are we to do with all this?

For some time now, this is one of those questions that I’ve been turning over not only in my mind, but also in my heart and soul. And I think I’m finally at a place where I can pull those thoughts together, along with insights I’ve picked up from a number of different sources, and formulate something of an answer.

If you’re interested, that’ll be the topic of this weekend’s sermon at St. Matt’s. As always, we’d love to have you join us.

Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus

Father Rob's Blog - Tue, 08/25/2015 - 10:54


Actually, I don't really believe that.  I'm in the camp that tends to  think that men can be as different from other men, and women from other women, as they can be from each other.  Still, it does seem to me that men and women often do have very different ideas of what makes for a great vacation...