St. Matthews Messenger March 2019

A Message from the Rector

Faith Formation and St. Matthew’s begins a deeper dive during Lent.  With a focus on a balanced emphasis of scripture, tradition, reason, and experience, we will pray, think, and love our way through each offering.  I call each of us to a learn and grow in the rhythm that best speaks to us.  This is how we become a Beloved Community.  In light of this, I want to highlight one of our conversations that arises out of a four-year tradition.

Each Lent I have sought to bring attention to a social and human experience that speaks to justice and reconciliation.  The first focused on immigrants and refugees in a partnership with CRIS (Community Refugee and Immigration Services) where the voices from refugees coincided with creating “The Stations of the Cross and the Refugee’s Journey” on Good Friday.

The following year we featured James Cone’s book, The Cross and the Lynching Tree, concluding with “The Stations of the Cross and the Black Experience” on Good Friday.

Last year we studied Bryan Stephenson’s book, Just Mercy and focused on incarceration and being black in America, culminating with “The Stations of the Cross and Just Mercy” on Good Friday.

This year is no exception, as we draw more awareness to our LGBTQIA brothers and sisters and the way of Jesus with a wonderful conversation during AfterWords (following the 10:30am Sunday service) led by Deacon Douglas Argue entitled:  “Queer Voices and the Face of Christ.”  This offering, as well, will finish on Good Friday with “Queer Voices and the Way of the Cross.”  It imperative that we as the family of St. Matthew’s continue to become radical community of welcome, and this conversation with our gay brothers and sisters is one so necessary and timely because Jesus loves and welcomes all to our table of grace through each and every one of us.

Take the time to explore all the varied offerings including Wednesday Bible conversations and Compline, Thursday’s dramatic monologues and dialogues from those who witnessed the Passion of Christ, a five-week home devotional created by Mother Abby, and a Lenten devotional booklet written by Bob and Sarah Turner, and a few other offerings available on Sunday mornings.

I call each of us to become “spiritual prospectors” through a daily spiritual rhythm of scripture reading, learning our traditions, using your brain to question and study, and getting out, experiencing, and participating in the reign of God in your midst.

Blessed Lent to you all, and I look forward to walking/rolling the pathway of Jesus!


Father Joseph Kovitch



Every year, usually at the beginning of Lent, the Vestry attends a retreat, as part of our commitment as members of the vestry to the spiritual growth of ourselves and of St Matthews. This year the vestry decided on an overnight retreat, and we each rented a room at Procter Center. If you have never been to Procter, I recommend going when you have a chance. It is a beautiful conference and camp facility for the enjoyment of everyone in our Diocese. We arrived Friday evening and began the retreat with a great deal prayer, thoughtful conversation and fellowship. On Saturday morning, we held Eucharist together in the chapel. It is such a wonderful experience to share Eucharist in such a peaceful setting, with beautiful views of the lake and grounds of Procter. It really brings you closer to God and each other, being in such serenity.


The Procter Chapel


I love going on retreats. I find it very relaxing and contemplative whenever I have the opportunity to get away from all the noise, unplug, and go deeper into my relationship with God. Everyone is always welcome to go on the annual vestry retreat. There are also other prayer retreats offered by the Prayer Team, as well as, other contemplative experiences throughout the year, at the Pray.Think.Love House. I know you will find the opportunity to go deeper in your faith a rewarding experience.


“If you want to get warm you must stand near the fire: if you want to be wet you must get into the water. If you want joy, power, peace, eternal life, you must get close to, or even into, the thing that has them.” ― C.S. Lewis

Love and Peace to you, Rebecca



Prayer Ministry


5 Reasons You Need a Prayer Partner

Waiting for an answer to prayer is hard. Waiting a long time for an answer to prayer is harder. Waiting a long time by yourself for an answer to prayer is hardest.

Sometimes it seems like no one keeps anything private anymore. Between Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram it’s easy to feel like everyone shares everything. But that’s far from the truth. Almost everyone you meet, like you, is fighting a private battle.

You Need a Prayer Partner –

Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken. Ecclesiastes 4:9-10,12


  1. To Encourage You – A prayer partner can remind you of what you’re doing well and that you are loved.
  2. To Remind You to Hope – A prayer partner can help you hang on when you’re discouraged and feeling like all is lost.
  3. To Keep You Accountable – A prayer partner can remind you to stay in God’s Word, God’s will, and to keep praying.
  4. To Stand in Agreement with You – A prayer partner can multiply your prayers  – “I also tell you this: If two of you agree here on earth concerning anything you ask, my Father in heaven will do it for you.” Matthew 18:18
  5. To Keep You Focused on Jesus – A prayer partner can remind us that Jesus is able to meet our needs and answer our prayers – Let us keep looking to Jesus. Our faith comes from Him and He is the One Who makes it perfect. Hebrews 12:2




St. Matthew’s is in the process of creating prayer partnerships. If you would like a prayer partner, contact Glenn at





PIMIL’S annual International Luncheon and Fundraising event will be held on July 20, 2019 at St. Philip Episcopal Church in Columbus, Ohio. The theme this year is Bloom Where You Are Planted.

Father John Sackie

This year we will have a very special guest speaker, Father John Sackie, from Liberia. Father Sackie is the Coordinator of PIMIL Ebola Education in Liberia. We feel that he can share his knowledge of the results in Liberia, of the efforts of PIMIL in the United States and provide insight and understanding as no one else can.  This will create a much better awareness of the wonderful work PIMIL is doing for the children in Liberia and their families.

Jerrilynn Kaiser



Social Justice and Riding Bikes …. SAY WHAT?

Meet Liz Jackson … a “route leader” for the “Bike & Build” program out of Philadelphia.  Liz was at Java Central and Father Joe was there in his second office when a conversation sprung forth – go figure!

Liz is an Otterbein graduate with a heart for the issue of affordable housing.   While at Otterbein Liz was an orientation leader, peer mentor, social chair for her sorority, and walked onto soccer and lacrosse teams.  Fearless!  As a graduate, she goes back to campus regularly to attend sorority events and to assist a religion professor in the classroom.

I’ll let Liz’s voice pick up from here:  “I believe that everyone should have a home.”

Even though I don’t believe that everything happens for a reason, I do believe that we can find reason and meaning in the things that happen to us. For me, I never thought I would join a sorority, but my junior year I decided “SEND IT!” And I am so glad I did, through my sisterhood at Kappa Phi Omega – I met Ashley Parker. Parker, CUS17 alum, was the one who unknowingly got the wheels turning (get it?) about me participating in Bike & Build.

Last summer, building alongside the families is one of the coolest things I experienced on our trip. Breaking down the statistics about Affordable Housing is one thing, but volunteering alongside the future homeowner is where my passion lies. For instance, in Hazard, Kentucky, our team was able to put up all four exterior walls while the family was on the build site. This was such a special moment for our team to share with the family. It’s families like this that inspire me to volunteer to combat the Affordable Housing crisis.

Having a home should not be a privilege to some, but a right for all. This is why I raise money.

The demand for Affordable Housing in Columbus, Ohio exceeds the number of available units and vouchers. Families may have to wait years to obtain a housing unit or be awarded a voucher. Even if a family is awarded a voucher, it can be difficult for the family to find a landlord that will accept the voucher. I know my community is not unique with its lack of Affordable Housing; this crisis is felt throughout the country.”

Liz is a committed, focused advocate for affordable housing and bikes thousands of miles to prove it!  If you would like to donate to Liz’s efforts, visit, click DONATE and type “Liz Jackson” in the search window.

What a wonderful example of the Spirit moving in our community, in our young people and in our choosing to connect to the community in Westerville.  Liz invites personal contact as well and you can reach out to her via email at

Thanks Liz for your work, your spirit, your heart!

MaryBeth Ingram


Pray.Think.Love House Renovation


The renovation of the Pray.Think.Love House is moving along on schedule.  This means we should meet the completion date of April 31.



About The Church





Lent is the fourth of the six seasons. Its first mention was in AD 325 in the Canons of Nicaea. These Canons were the outcome of a council, which was convened by Emperor Constantine to unify the Churches under his control. Many of the present practices of the Church were defined at this Council.


The Lenten Season is the period of preparation for Easter by remembering that Jesus Christ died for our sins so that we may have eternal life. During this forty-day time period we prepare ourselves by special acts of self-discipline and self-denial (fasting, prayer and penitence). In early time only one meal a day was eaten. However, by the 15th century many people were breaking their daily fast by noon.


The fast is not broken until Vespers (Evening Prayers) are said. Many people today say a simple prayer before breaking fast. In some churches, fasting during Lent is required only on the first day (Ash Wednesday) and on Good Friday. In any case, the period of fasting ends at noon of Holy Saturday (the day before Easter).


The name Ash Wednesday comes from the tradition of marking a cross, using ashes, on the foreheads of worshipers. The ashes come from the left over palm leaves from the preceding Palm Sunday.


The purpose of Lent is not self-punishment, but of self-betterment through prayer, study and sacrifice, thus strengthening our religious foundation.


In keeping with the somber nature of Lent, purple vestments are used and ‘Alleluia’ is not used.


The last week of Lent is called Holy Week. This is the time commemorating the Passion of Christ — those few days leading up to the Crucifixion. Each day has its rite (liturgy). In the early Church (from the 4th century), Christians reenacted the scenes of Holy Week. Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday, the Paschal Vigil and Easter are the ceremonies in Holy Week.


During the 18th century, Lent fell into comparative disuse. The Tractarians revived it in the 19th century. These were a group of Church workers who published tracts written to disseminate Church principles.


  • Length of Season: Six Weeks.
  • Date of Season: Variable. Starts 40 days before Easter.
  • Mood of Season: Somber
  • Color of Season: Purple
  • Symbol of Season: Crown of Thorns.


 St. Matthew’s News

From Shina Abdi

My brothers and sisters, Kifah got an acceptance letter for the nursing program (at Otterbein). I am hoping for her continued success in her studies. Thank you so much your support.



If you shop at Kroger and have a “Kroger Plus Shopper’s Card”, you can earn extra money for St. Matt’s by enrolling your card in the Kroger’s Community Rewards program.

To enroll, call 1-800-KROGERS to register and receive more information. St. Matthew’s is registered as Reward #UN988. I

f you were already a participant in program, you can also verify that you’re still enrolled by calling 1-800-KROGERS. Kroger will make quarterly contributions to St. Matt’s in association with your rewards card. In 2018, St. Matt’s received $ 300.00 from congregants/friends who enrolled in the program.

NOTE: Enrolling does not impact the points you earn for use in the fuel rewards program. Thank you for the many ways you continue to contribute to St. Matts!

Thanks. Questions or comments please let me know.

Bernice (614) 882-2706


St. Matt’s Yearly Ash Wednesday Street Ministry



In Front of Fr. Joseph’s Other Office



Our Focus for 2019



St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church

30 E. Collage Ave.

Westerville, OH  43081

614 882-2706

St. Matthew’s Episcopal, Westerville, Ohio-New


The Rev. Dr. G. Joseph Kovitch



The Rev. Abeoseh (Abby) Flemister

Retired, Volunteer Priest Associate

The Rev. Douglas Argue


Mr. Lindsay Smith

Music Director/Outreach Musician

Ms. Bernice Gruel

Office Manager

Mr. Bill Phythyon

Building and Grounds Manager


Mr. Kevin Aldridge

Mr. Clifton Flemister, Senior Warden

Ms. MaryBeth Ingram

Ms. Donna Johnston, Secretary

Ms. Jerrilyn Kaiser, Co-Junior Warden

Mr. Doug McCann, Treasurer

Mr. Glenn Myres

Mr. Harold Patrick

Mr. Bryan Swift

Ms. Rebecca Wright

Mr. Bob Zust, Jr, Co-Junior Warden

Check Also

“Doing church” during COVID19 – Diocese of Southern Ohio resources

Caring for our Youth and Young Adults, September 2019 series -Ann Bischoff, CEO, StarHouse