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A Message from Father Mark:

Dear Friends,

When Jesus was asked what must be done to inherit eternal life, his answer was simple, even if it wasn’t always easy. He answered, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and love your neighbor as yourself.” Luke 10:27   Ever since Jesus gave that answer, the key to vitality in the spiritual life has not changed. It holds the key to changing our own lives, our churches, and our world. 

This is an exciting time in the life of St. Simon and St. Jude.  For while many congregations are facing challenges in numbers, dollars and vitality, we have been experiencing slow and steady growth.  We are an important part of the community of Irmo and we are known in the diocese as an active and loving church.  As your rector for the past 12 years, I could not be prouder of this congregation.

But we can always find ways to renew and refocus our vision for the future.  This is why we have decided to use this transitional time before I retire as your rector to assess our spiritual vitality through the RenewalWorks process.  It provides an opportunity to get clearer about God's mission for our church and to reinvigorate our own spiritual lives with a renewed focus on discipleship. It gives us the opportunity to ask, and begin to answer, these two important questions: 

  • How can we move forward in changing times?
  • What are we called to do, and be? 

RenewalWorks offers a way for congregations to address these questions by remembering Jesus’ basic teaching, reconnecting with a call to discipleship, focusing on growing hearts, and transforming the church, one person at a time.  And it will form the core of a parish profile when the Vestry and Search Committee begin to search for a new rector for St. Simon & St. Jude this fall.

This is why I am asking every confirmed member of our congregation to participate in the RenewalWorks survey, which will be available this Sunday, March 8th through the end of the month.  The survey will ask you questions about your spiritual needs, desires and practices as well as how well the church is helping you fulfill them.  The survey is anonymous, takes 20-30 minutes to complete, and may be filled out online in the privacy of your own home, or you may ask for a paper copy.

If you have any questions about RenewalWorks, please feel free to ask me or Blount Shepard or any member of the vestry.  

With thanksgiving for you all,

Fr. Mark

There will be an acolyte training session on Saturday, March 7, from 1:00 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. in the library. Please attend if you are interested in serving. For more information contact Melissa Genova 803 463-2272.
Needs in our community for outreach.
Bishop Waldo Visits SSSJ
The Bishop of our Diocese will be at SSSJ for his annual visit on Sunday, March 8. He will lead an adult forum at 9am. The Bishop will celebrate at 10:30. The service will include a Confirmation and several Receptions into the Episcopal Church. Please join us for this special occasion in the life of our Church and Diocese.
Don't miss out on the fun!
   Muse on This  by Fr Stan Woolley

The Interim Process

We at St Simon and St Jude are in an Interim Process. The Interim Process is the time during transition from one torch-bearer of leadership to the next. The interim period in the life of a community is special and, in a unique way, delicate.  The interim period must be managed carefully. Our Parish leadership is navigating our time of clergy leadership passage with expert guidance from the Diocese.

    Gathering information from parishioners to establish who we are as a worshipping community is the first step. That is where we are now and why the questionnaires are being circulated at this time. I urge each of us to take this info-gathering process very seriously. What are we like as a community? What are our dreams and hopes for St Simon and St Jude?  What are our weaknesses that new clergy leadership will need to address? We also need to share the qualities and skills we would like our next rector to be gifted with. All this gathering and sharing will enable the search committee to develop a St Simon and St Jude Parish Profile.

    With this description of who we are, begins a nationwide search of available licensed clergy who have a profile with The Episcopal Church USA. The committee selects a small number of priests with matching profiles for interviews and visitations, eventually making a selection with the assistance and approval of the Bishop. Then the Interim Process has served its purpose.

    I share here on the Interim Process because I am a trained Interim Minister and have been leading one community after another in this process between 1992 and 2014. The Interim Process is a well traveled pathway and has served the Episcopal Church very effectively. We are gifted here at St Simon & St Jude. We are an active and involved community. We have an active vestry, Fr Mark’s excellent leadership, and the wise guidance of our Bishop and Diocese.

    In all, Let us be in prayer.

Dear God, All powerful, all wise, always creating, always birthing; in your watchful care guide us as we move into your preferred future for St Simon and St Jude in Irmo.  Grant that our beloved past may be a spearhead into the future, not an anchor binding us back. Help us to make choices as a community that are wisest and most practical for who and what we are now and becoming.  Guide us to share and listen to each other with gentle patience.  We pray for your “doing” in our future, through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen. 


March GEMS will meet on Friday, March 27th from 7-9 in the Field Building.  GEMS is an adult social hour followed by a covered dish supper.  All adults are invited to attend and enjoy good food, fellowship, and fun!  BYOB and a covered dish to share.  Appetizers and coffee will be provided by the March GEMS hosts, Bob & Jackie Cole and Jim & Marsha Dent.  Please let Jackie or Marsha know if you are planning to attend.  
Jackie (803)781-3123 Marsha (803)816-5020

"Ah, the best laid plans of mice and men." or "Such is life in the country." Two things my mother used to say when things went a bit awry.

My plan has gone awry, but not too badly. Given the life of this growing, vibrant, busy parish and the similar lives of its members, the newsletter will not be confined to once a month, the first of the month. The news of SSSJ will come out as needed. Please send me news, information, thoughts, whenever they occur to you. Include dates so I can judge the timing of publication and I will try to get news out in batches.
Thank you for your support in this endeavor.


News or thoughts to share? Contact Pat Woolley at or
803 662-0504.

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