A Year of Opportunity, Excitement, and Welcome

As we launch a new school year, the excitement around Saint Michael’s is palpable: the energy is high and warmth fills the hallways. In this issue of the Archangel, you will find a guide to programs for all ages and phases. From our youngest members to our wisest, there are opportunities for everyone’s spirits to be fed and to find a plus one to connect you deeper to our sacred community.

I began this school year with a pair of forums open to all adults (recordings of the forums are available in the media section of our website). In those forums, I set the stage for the year ahead. Broadly speaking, we are honing what we do at Saint Michael. Our worship services will become better expressions of their particular style and tradition, as well as delivering a more consistent experience each week. Our education and formation offerings for all ages will connect from one year to the next with more intentionality and fluidity. And as we solidify our foundation, we will be able to welcome our friends and neighbors looking for the deep presence of God in Christ we share here.

Worship is at the heart of who we are as Episcopalians, and I’m very excited to see how our worship life has begun to shift. This fall, you will see positive shifts in all of our sacred music as we welcome Jonathan Ryan, our new Director of Music and Organist, and Justin Brooks, our new Director of Modern Worship Music. We are also pleased to welcome Dr. Charlotte Kroeker, Executive Director of the Church Music Institute, as our organist for the 7:30 am Sunday service, a very welcome addition. You will also hear new preaching series from the pulpit of our Sunday morning services, both in the church and in the Parish Hall. These preaching series will connect our worship experience from one Sunday to the next in ways that open up the scripture to us more deeply over time.

As I have written in detail over the summer, much of this coming school year will focus on the goals that the vestry, clergy, and staff have identified to lead us into the future. During the month of September, you will see how these high-level goals will take shape through specific initiatives. I invite you to dig deeper into this work by asking questions, reading more under the resources section of our website and by engaging with members of the staff, clergy, or vestry to have thoughtful conversations about this work.

Most importantly, as we begin this school year, we are reminded just how precious life is and how grateful we are to share our lives with one another. We have all watched as Hurricane Harvey ravaged our South Texas neighbors. I’m sure many of you, like me, felt helpless at times. The sheer size of the damage is practically incomprehensible. Yet, we are called to help our neighbors in need and help we will.

Since the hurricane hit Texas, we have created a hurricane relief fund to help the recovery efforts which will take months and years. The work of recovery will be long and Saint Michael will be faithful to that work, so go to our website for ways to give, and stay tuned for additional opportunities to collect and send aid, as well as join short-term clean-up and mission trips to the most damaged communities.

This is an exciting year for Saint Michael and I am continually grateful to be part of this community with you. I ask for your prayers for the entire Saint Michael family and the mission and ministry we do together. May the light of Christ continue to shine through us, a light in the darkness and hope for all!

Chris Girata



The Reverend Chris Girata, Rector