Anyone who submits an article for the newsletter knows it’s due on the 15th of each month. So, as the date loomed I started thinking about what to write; daily church life, the transition, the cold weather and how I wish I were somewhere warm? Nothing was sticking.

That was until I attended the final service at Trinity Episcopal in Newark, OH, on Sunday, January 14. That was where I finally figured out what to write about. Nothing like waiting until the last minute!

I went to Trinity to show support of a beloved church with a strong congregation who was preparing to tear down their sanctuary that had been the center of their worship since its consecration in 1836.

The people at Trinity have opened their doors to St. Luke’s over the years, most recently when we held a confirmation in Baker Auditorium, due to the bishop having planned a visit to Newark that coincided with the ceremony. In turn, we have invited the people of Trinity to join us in worship over the years, from participants in the church picnic at Devine Farms, to the more recent healing service in December.

The service on the January 14, was attended by not only members of Trinity but also St. Matthew’s in Westerville and a few from St. Luke’s. As expected there were tears and hugs all around. When the service was over we were all invited to have lunch in Simpson Hall which next week will become their worship hall. As we ate there was a slide show of pictures from years past and people were invited to share their memories of Trinity. They shared stories of how families became members, met new and lifelong friends, celebrated life and death and memories of many more occasions that formed their parish. As I thanked my hosts and got ready to leave, I stopped to speak with Reverend Joseph Kovitch, who is the Priest in Charge of St. Matthews in Westerville, who is providing pastoral support to Trinity. I told him I was glad I came and shared my observation of the morning. The thing that stood out to me the most during the worship and in hearing the stories of the congregation was that not one person talked about the physical building. They didn’t talk about how sad it would be to see the demolition, they didn’t recant stories about the beauty of the church and the historical meaning to Newark. Every one of them talked about the people.

St. Luke’s could have been in a very similar position more than once in its lifetime. Between low memberships in the early 2000’s and the roof almost blowing off in 2012, each time the congregation was able to make repairs, shore up the beams, attract a host of new members and move forward. Key word: congregation. Sure, we had priests, sometimes, to guide us but they didn’t do it on their own. They needed the members to take on leadership roles. When St. Luke’s held services at Swasey Chapel, the members hauled the altar pieces, vesting robes, and anything else needed for worship and worship we did, together.

Right now, unlike Trinity, we have a building to worship in and it’s wonderful. But we don’t have a priest and yet we’re still a strong congregation that comes together to worship and support one another. When we look back at this time it won’t be the number of months that we went without a priest that we recall but the people, the ministries and their service and the memories we made.

By the time you read this we might have an interim priest. I don’t know. What I know is that we are actively working with the diocese and that all of us, in Granville and Cincinnati, are doing our jobs. We all recognize the importance of a leader for the church and at times share your frustrations in not having a consistent person at the pulpit. 

The Vestry, Junior Warden Shelly Morehead and I, are very grateful for Reverend John Kauffman and the time and effort he gave St. Luke’s over the Christmas season. Over such an important time in the church John has been a consistent and calming presence to all of us.

On February 11, Canon Lynn Carter-Edmands will join us for Coffee: Grounds for Discussion to take your questions and listen to your suggestions and concerns. I urge you to attend, listen to Lynn and any updates she may have and make this a positive and productive discussion.

Michelann Scheetz
Senior Warden