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January 2017 ~ St. Sebastian's by-the-Sea Newsletter

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It is with mixed emotions that I write this, my final article, for the newsletter. I find that I am scared and yet excited for the next stage in the journey of the life that Barb and I have been enjoying for the past 47 years together. It has been an amazing adventure.

You, the family of St. Sebastian’s, have made our departure even more memorable with the spectacular retirement party that you hosted for us in Smodell Hall. Words cannot describe the amount and quality of love that was shared that evening. In all the years of doing these farewell times (especially in our 17 years as chaplain in the United States Air Force), we both agreed that this was the classiest party yet. The food was overboard. Everything was delicious and the love that went into the preparation was evident. The words shared and laughter said it all. I wondered if you were truly speaking about us or making it all up, but I know your heart was behind it all. Your farewell gift to us was amazing and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Your thoughtfulness is extraordinary. Since we have no way to know who took part in this gift, please know that we were deeply touched and will always value your spirits. This church will always hold a special place in our hearts as we go forward.

While I write this article, I am reminded that this weekend we will experience the joy of Christmas again. It is a time when we are reminded that God has chosen to be with us, Emmanuel. It is a promise that was given to all His creation over 2,000 years ago and continues to be His promise even to today. I know that God is with us. He has made so much possible in the short time we have been together. He has moved St. Sebastian’s by-the-Sea forward and brought new life to the church. One of the things I heard repeatedly while on active duty, with each new assignment, was to leave the place better than when we arrived. I feel that that has been the case in our time together here. Barb has offered her artistic talent in so many ways and brought our website into the 21st century. I look at the campus we share and feel that we are in a much better place to bring hope to the tired and poor, the hurt and worried, the lost and searching. The ministry of our church community is being felt by so many. We thank God for his blessings and love.

I know that moving forward there are many questions and fears. Your vestry and search committee are committed to doing the best they can while finding a new priest to lead this community. Barb and I share the same questions and fears as we move toward retirement. In both cases, I know God has a plan and will make it known in the days to come.

Saying thank you is surely not enough. We are deeply moved by the love all of you. We pray that God has plans for our paths to cross again in the future. Until that day, may He hold you in the palm of His hands and bless you with all good things in Christ our Lord.

Fr. Norman†
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• It’s okay to wear white well after Labor Day.
• Simply hanging out in your front yard can be fun.
• Accessories don’t have to be fancy or expensive.
• We’re all made mostly of water.
• You know you’ve “arrived” when a song is written about you.
• So what if you’re a little bottom-heavy?
• Don’t get too much sun.
• Sweating too much can be disastrous!
The Annual party for SHOP of the GULLS volunteers will be held on January 15 at the home of Sarah Miozzi, 233 Loggerhead Dr, beginning at 2 PM. As in the past, food and drink will be provided by the GULLS. Please put the date on your calendar and plan to attend. A great way to meet those who dedicate so much time to providing a terrific service to our church and community. Questions? Call Sarah at 724-5682.
Book Club for January will meet on January 21st at Deb List's home from Noon - 2 PM.  The book for this month is The Invention of Wings by Sue Kidd Monk.  Bring a brown bag lunch - drinks and dessert to be provided.  Please RSVP to Deb so she can plan.
George Maul's new book, "The Oceanographer's Companion" is set to be published in January 2017. The book stems from a course that George developed at the Florida Institute of Technology to prepare seagoing scientists and engineers for their first voyage on a research vessel. It is published by CRC Press and will have international distribution. A bit more about the book can be found at
Like winter, some seasons of our faith journey feel cold, barren, devoid of life. Will renewal ever come? Will spring flourish again in our heart? Yet the world bears witness to God’s power to bring new life where all seems lost.

In the early 1990s, the St. Louis neighborhood of South City deteriorated sharply due to a stagnant economy, population decline and crime. Then Bosnian refugees started settling there. Thousands of people renovated abandoned houses and other buildings; they started businesses and brought skilled labor back to the neighborhood. As the area returned to life, the refugees experienced renewal, too — hope in place of discouragement, opportunities where none had existed, peace instead of war, life replacing death.

When our faith is challenged by despair, lost dreams or an uncertain future — when God’s promises feel as dead as winter — real-life renewal stories are signs of spring. They testify to the resurrection God has in store for us.
The year just past was wracked with violence, racism and political rancor. We long to fix these problems, but how? We may feel as frustrated as the church board member who spouted, “We’ve already tried prayer. It didn’t work!”

Those words might resonate today, yet things aren’t always what they seem. We can’t see God behind the scenes crafting a new reality, but Scripture promises it. And though our prayers won’t undo earthly death, they surround the grieving with strength and love. We can’t “solve” sin, but our prayers can bring communities together and spur us to look out for one another.

The Jewish Talmud states, “Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world’s grief. Do justly now. Love mercy now. Walk humbly now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it.” In this new year, may we be undaunted in doing what we can. It might not seem like much, but things aren’t always what they seem.
The wise may bring their learning, the rich may bring their wealth,
And some may bring their greatness, and some bring strength and health;
We, too, would bring our treasures to offer to the King;
We have no wealth or learning; what shall we children bring?
We’ll bring him hearts that love him; we’ll bring him thankful praise,
And young souls meekly striving to walk in holy ways;
And these shall be the treasures we offer to the King,
And these are gifts that even the poorest child may bring.
We’ll bring the little duties we have to do each day;
We’ll try our best to please him, at home, at school, at play;
And better are these treasures to offer to our King;
Than richest gifts without them — yet these a child may bring.

The annual meeting of St. Sebastian’s by-the-Sea, which would in usual practice be scheduled for January, 2017, has this year occurred early, on December 11, 2016. This is a one-time change and is due to the impending retirement on December 31, 2016, of our Rector, Father Norman Desrosiers. This is a proper procedure under canon law, this date being within 60 days of our diocesan convention (January, 2017).

1. Welcome: At about 10:45 am, our Senior Warden, Mike Coles, welcomed everyone present, declared a quorum, and called the meeting to order. Meeting followed a combined Sunday Eucharist which began at 9:00 am. Present were a very large number of parishioners.

2. Invocation:
Fr. Norman Desrosiers opened with prayer.

3. Thank You to Exiting Vestry Members:
Fr. Norman thanked Marty Hindsley and Mike Coles, who are finishing their third year of their term and will be leaving the Vestry at this time. Fr. Norm spoke of the fine job and excellent work done by Mike and Marty. Mike Coles has served both as Junior Warden and, currently, as Senior Warden. Marty had served for 5 years, having begun with a two-year stint, replacing a Vestry member who could not finish a term, and then was elected to his own 3-year term.
Father Norman then announced that Mike Edwards has agreed to be our new Senior Warden. Father explained that when the Rector leaves a parish, the Vestry is “frozen”, but having our parish meeting in December allows those whose term is almost over to retire from their Vestry duties if they so choose, and be replaced. However, Mike Edwards is also in his last year of service but has agreed that his term be “frozen” and will remain.

4. Vestry Nominations and Vote:
Mike Coles announced that election would now be held to elect two new members of the Vestry. Those who have allowed their names to be placed for nomination are Steven Gumbs and Kurt Belsten. There being no further nominations from the floor, a motion was made that both be elected by acclamation. This was done; Steve and Kurt are duly elected to each serve a 3-year term.

5. Announcement of Search Committee:
Mike Coles announced that there were about two dozen nominations and that the Vestry had finally selected a committee of nine members, as follows: Jerry May, Kurt Belsten, Doreen Yandell, Karen Jepeal, Lauri Stone, Kelley Hunt, Marty Hindsley, Renee Koenig, and Steve Gumbs. Jerry May and Kurt Belsten have been asked to serve as Co-Chairmen and have accepted. The Search Committee will have their first meeting, with the Vestry and Canon Nunez, on Sunday, January 8, 2017, at 12:00 noon. We have a target of 3 to 6 months work, but that the search procedure may and often does take longer than that

6. 2016 Budget
: Our Treasurer, Janie Conner, thanked Rob Dickman, Alison Mindel, and Lauri Stone for their work and assistance in helping her take on the job of Treasurer.

7. 2017 Budget:
At this time Janie presented the 2017 Budget. She noted that the budget total is $250,000. Most of our expenses are for staff and property, but that the budget also includes an estimate of 3 months to secure a new Rector, with 9 months budget for New Rector Benefit and Salary Package, and a small amount for Search Committee expenses. This budget is about 5% over that of 2016. Our pledged income, to date, is short, but we have only received back about two-thirds of pledge cards which have been sent out.

Father Norm then spoke. He reminded us that we had become much healthier financially over the past four year years, but asked us to consider the third of the pledges that may be “holding back” and ask ourselves “Why? What does it say about us as a parish?” Fr. Norm reminded us that applicants to be the new Rector will look at this aspect of our parish health when considering coming to St. Sebastian’s.

Janie gave us more information about the budget. Last year’s pledges were $208,000; so far this year about $160,000. It is noted that this is only mid-December, and that the timing of the annual meeting may make a difference in our final count. There were 110 pledge cards sent out; to date there have been 76 returned. The balance (34) have all received phone calls.

8. Parish Ministries:
Mike Coles thanked Vestry members for their work this past year. Some mentioned were:
Junior Warden, Thanks to Bob Sielski, for the “phenomenal” job he has done of NOT spending money, but getting things done, keeping things looking good, keeping us going.
Stewardship: thanks to Pete Peterson for his ongoing work in leading our Stewardship Drive
Ministries to Parishioners: Gary Conner reported that our new ministry “Church Family Matters” has started work
Membership and Evangelism: Chuck Reisinger was not present, but Mike noted the work being done by Chuck in his weekly Bible Study group
Youth/Education: Lauri Stone reported on our reorganized and refurbished Sunday School
Outreach: Marty keeps us informed of local groups needing help and we support then where we can. We have just made donations from our Outreach Fund to two groups: ‘Aging Matters’ and ‘Brevard Rescue Mission’.

9. Questions:
Valerie Coles spoke about our upcoming retirement party for Father Norm and reminded everyone present of the details. We are at full capacity for this

10. Other Business:
Not only is Father Norm about to celebrate his retirement, but today is his birthday, and he was treated to the joyful noise of his parish family singing “Happy Birthday”. Happy Birthday, Father Norm!

12. Closing Prayer:
Father Norm closed the meeting with prayer which reminded us: “Emmanuel: God with us … You are with us all the time!

Minutes submitted by Lauri Stone, Clerk of the Vestry
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3rd - Walter Koenig
6th - Bill Landriau
10th - Connie Blyseth
11th - John Westbrook
13th - Victoria Blumberg
16th - David Mays
18th - Bob Amos
20th - Thomas Heiber
20th - Thomas List
20th - Robyn Peterson
21st - Dave Scott
23rd - Natalie Bushnell
23rd - Kim Dickman
23rd - George Smodell
26th - Helen Adamian
27th - David Claycomb
30th - Russell Steele


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The church office is open Tuesday through Friday from 8 AM – 1 PM.
Phone number - (321) 723-3015, Fax - (321) 723-0009
Email -
Office -
Web site:
In case of emergency, you may call:
Priest: Fr. Norman Desrosiers – 321-243-4815 (cell)
Deacon George – 723-0069 (home); 890-6712 (cell)