City of God: Celebration Picnic

On Saturday, May 16th, Holy Family members gathered for our annual spring outdoor Eucharist and parish picnic. This year the event was the final in a series of special occasions related to our City of God capital campaign.
Father Mike and Deacon Cathy led the congregation in a beautiful liturgy under a large tent.
Music was provided for the service by youth group members led by guitarist Ethan Everett.
                       Offertory cards Offertory stones
Father Mike invited congregation members to bring forward their City of God pledge cards and mite boxes to be blessed during the Offertory. In addition, congregation members returned their river stones that they had personalized earlier during the campaign. The stones will be added to the foundation of the new building during construction.
Father Mike blessed all of the items as well as the regular offering.
Following the service we celebrated with a picnic of grand proportion. Our City of God logo, designed by Holy Family member Stephen Beard, took center stage on a delicious cake. At the picnic’s end, Father Mike announced an updated in-gathering amount of $615,000 toward the building project. More information about our City of God campaign can be found by clicking HERE.

May 2015 Celebrations

Sunday, May 10th was a super-sized day at Holy Family. We began our celebrations by blessing all Sunday school teachers and Christian formation leaders and thanking them for their service to the spiritual journeys of others. Father Mike offered a blessing.
Graduates gifts
We honored our 2015 high school graduates and presented them with our traditional gifts – bibles signed by adult mentors and prayer shawls handcrafted by our Prayer Shawl Ministry members. The shawls were made with love and prayers in every stitch.
Father Mike blessed the graduates. Each student shared his or her upcoming college and degree choice.
Graduates Cathy
We also presented Deacon Cathy Scott with a prayer shawl. Deacon Cathy graduated on Saturday with a Master of Theology degree from St. Meinrad Seminary.
Mothers blessing
At the end of each service, Father Mike offered a blessing for mothers of all kinds.
Mother's Day brunch
Our Brotherhood of St. Andrew chapter hosted a lovely Mother’s Day brunch.
We also indulged with cake for our teachers and graduates. It was a special day for all who attended.

City of God: Advanced Commitment Dinner

On Friday, May 8th, members of Holy Family’s congregation gathered at St. Christopher’s Episcopal Church in Carmel for fellowship and the Advanced Commitment dinner for the City of God capital campaign.
Father Mike shared a few words about the campaign and his hopes for Holy Family’s future.
                                         Charles  Dan
Envision Our Future committee members Charles Forman and Dan Chillemi gave updates on the campaign so far.
Generis fundraising consultant Tom Melzoni shared stories from his extensive work with other churches and their capital campaigns.
The event’s guest speaker was the Reverend Canon Gray Lesesne. Reverend Lesesne was appointed by Bishop Waynick as the Vicar of the new Episcopal community in Brownsburg, Indiana.
Following the main address, congregation members were invited to prayerfully discern their campaign pledges and return their pledge cards to a collection basket.
Candles lined up
Candle solo
Church members lit a City of God candle during this special ceremony and were invited to take them home at the end of the evening. Our initial ingathering of pledges yielded $582,000 toward a total project goal of $1 million. More information about our City of God capital campaign can be found by clicking HERE.

City of God: Clypping the Church

Clypping blessing
On Sunday, May 3rd, we joined together as a holy family to participate in “clypping the church.” Clypping the church involves the congregation members processing outside to surround the space designated for expansion.
Congregants held hands while surrounding the new space and then turned to face the larger community while a prayer service was held. In this manner, both the church and the community are embraced by the parishioners.
Clypping readers
Readers were chosen to represent our 8 AM and 10 AM services as well as our youth population. We gathered to celebrate that God is found in our church community and our surrounding community.
                     Buns Buns 2 Buns 3
Following the liturgy we enjoyed traditional clypping buns (hot cross buns.)
Doug Mike
Father Mike, Deacon Cathy, and members of Holy Family’s congregation were joined by Aspen Group architect Doug Franklin. Doug has been working closely with our City of God team to design our new building spaces.
Clypping township
Delaware Township Trustee Debbie Driscoll participated in our event as well. Pictured here with Brotherhood of St. Andrew “senior brother” Joe Spangler, Debbie accepted our most recent donation of items for the township’s food pantry. Debbie also took two trays of hot cross buns to share at the township office. For more information about our City of God campaign, please click HERE.

City of God: Building a Firm Foundation

On Sunday, April 26th our congregation participated in a variety of activities related to our City of God capital campaign. Deacon Cathy met with all students from preschool through high school. The children were asked to use blocks to build a church and were challenged with questions about where people pray, meet, and learn about Jesus.
Blocks 2
The children were asked about ways to reach deeper into the community and surrounding areas to share the story of the Good News with others. They were given brick-themed mite boxes and asked to build onto their church building to create new spaces for feeding ministries, bible studies, retreats, and concerts.
Mite boxes
Children who wanted to take their boxes home were encouraged to do so. Some kids shared ideas for washing cars or dogs, mowing lawns, holding bake sales, or selling unwanted items at garage sales to raise money for our campaign.
Deacon Cathy led the children in singing the refrain of “City of God” and reading aloud the kid-friendly version of our City of God corporate prayer.
Following our church services on Sunday, Deacon Cathy encouraged congregation members to personalize river stones with their family names. The stones will be returned to church during our Celebration Picnic on May 16th to be collected, blessed, and added to the foundation of our new building addition.
Members were invited to take home a card with the City of God corporate prayer as well. More information about our City of God capital campaign can be found by clicking HERE.

My Night in Jail

 by Bob Murrayprison ministry

I’m dead-tired from a long day of work, a workout at the fitness club, and running several errands, but I feel a shot of energy as I head to the Hamilton County Jail. This is the fifth year that some of the Brothers Andrew from Holy Family have joined their brothers and sisters from congregations throughout the area in ministering to inmates at the jail. Tonight’s session is the last of six we will deliver in this series from the Alpha course – a curriculum on the basics of the Christian faith. We’ll repeat the six sessions four times throughout the year.

As I pull into the jail parking lot, I do my self-pat-down: no cell phones, pens, pencils or other potential weapons allowed in the jail. At the jail front desk I surrender my driver’s license and car keys in return for a visitor badge, which I’ll need to produce to get out of jail. I join the other volunteers, in a circle, holding hands and pray us in. It’s a source of great strength to march into the jail as the body of Christ – men and women from different denominations and faith traditions, yet united by our common love of Christ.

Because this is the last session of this series, we bring several pizzas, in addition to cookies, for the officers of the jail. We pray for them because they have a difficult job to do, and also because we really like it when they let us out after our session with the inmates is over.

The women go to a separate classroom to meet with female inmates. There’s a good crowd of male inmates – approximately 23 – in attendance tonight, and eight volunteers. We deliver two talks of approximately 20 minutes and after each talk break into two small groups of volunteers and inmates for a discussion of what we’ve just heard.

We usually don’t discuss the details of each inmate’s offenses, or alleged offenses, but it’s clear that most of them are here on alcohol- or drug-related charges. A good percentage of them are young – early to mid-20s, and unfortunately, some have been in and out of jail multiple times. Am I any better than these men? No. Did I do some things in my earlier years that might have landed me in jail? Yes. Only I didn’t get caught.

Our first talk is “What About the Church?” and is punctuated by the question and response, exclaimed three times – Who is the church? We are the church! The church is more than a building, denominations, Sunday worship. It is the people of God, the body of Christ. During our group discussion several of the inmates describe their childhood experiences in the church, how several of them fell away from the church, and how, for some of them, that was when their troubles began.

The second talk, “What Can I Do With the Rest of My Life?” is delivered by a recovering alcoholic who has been sober for many years. He has a pointed message for volunteers and inmates alike: No matter what you have done, redemption is possible. It is possible to live a life of integrity, one day at a time, but only with Christ at your side.

We leave the jail energized by the experience and filled with the Holy Spirit. But we realize this is only the first part of this jail ministry: getting acquainted with the inmates. The real work will begin when they are released. Many will need transportation, clothing, housing and a job. You see, the goal of this ministry is to make sure that as many as possible never return to jail. If that’s going to happen, these men will need more than the “correction” they receive from the criminal justice system. They’ll need to know that the good news of Christ, the hope for redemption and a life transformed applies to them, too.

This jail ministry may not be for everyone, but it may be for you. If you’d like to get involved:

  • Read Matthew’s Gospel, chapter 25, verses 31-46.
  • Talk to Stephen Canter, Scott Wilson, Bob French or myself about our experiences in the jail ministry.
  • Pray for this ministry.
  • Attend the next jail volunteer training session – June 8 or August 3, 7-9 PM at Christ Community Christian Church, 772 North Tenth Street in Noblesville.
  • Learn more about the Alpha course at
  • Pray for or send a donation to Jehoshua House, a Carmel-based nonprofit under whose auspices we conduct this ministry.
  • Pray for or send a donation to the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Chaplaincy, which coordinates the jail volunteers.