Apalachicola, Florida

April 26, 2024

A Little Bird and A Long Watch

A little over a month ago we celebrated the Maundy Thursday service. Maundy means “mandate” and is linked to the story of Jesus washing the feet of his disciples (John 13:1–17, 31b–35). It is a beautiful service concluding with the Stripping of the Altar, the Reservation of the Sacrament, and the overnight vigil known as The Watch. This story is about a very special vigil that night. 

When the Good Friday service includes Holy Eucharist, we reserve the consecrated bread and wine from the Maundy Thursday service somewhere outside the sanctuary. At least one person is present there through the night and following morning. This is called The Watch, and it is a time of prayer. The Watch recalls when Jesus asked his disciples to stay with him in his anguish while he prayed to God in the Garden of Gethsemane. Unfortunately, they couldn’t stay awake, leaving Jesus to pass this important time without the support of his friends. This story is found in the Gospels of Luke (22:40-46), Mark (14:32-42), and Matthew (26:36-46). 

Trinity has used several places on campus for The Watch, including most recently the Prayer Room in the parish office. For several reasons, however, Trinity did not have a Watch this year. We simply transferred the Sacrament into the sacristy without fanfare. A solitary perpetual candle was lit from the candle hanging above the aumbry to signify the presence of the Sacrament.

But at some point during the Maundy Thursday service a little bird entered the church. Some people saw him fluttering around, but then he seemed to disappear, leaving us to assume he had exited as we had left the church doors open during the service.

The next morning, I entered the church through the sacristy in preparation for the Good Friday service at noon. I passed the Sacrament and the perpetual candle still alight. Walking into the sanctuary, a flash of yellow flew past me. The very first thing I thought was a random memory of bible school as a child: that yellow signifies the presence of the divine and the fire of God. 

The bird from the night before was still there. It was a male hooded warbler, his bright yellow face and body punctuated with light olive wings and a black throat and hood. 

That flush so often felt with sudden realization washed over me. I was standing in far more than a sanctuary, more than a house of worship. I was witnessing Psalm 11:4 come to life; the Lord wasis, and will be in his holy temple. I was standing on holy ground indeed, underneath holy words, witnessing holy action. God was going to make sure that the time and space we had reserved for the Body and Blood of Christ was never abandoned, even if it meant mandating that a bird hold the vigil and complete The Watch. 

What makes hooded warblers so very special to this story is a particular behavior they express. Brown-headed cowbirds often abandon their eggs in a hooded warbler’s nest. But this parasitic nesting habit makes no difference to the hooded warbler: they care for the cowbird as if it is their own. Hooded warblers go where they are needed and do what is required for the love of everything.

I didn’t realize just how much Trinity needed a reminder that we are cared for. While we slept like the disciples, the warbler watched. He made zero mess in the church. While the moon set and the sun rose, the warbler held the vigil in our stead.

Tom Edwards and I carefully guided the bird from the church that Good Friday morning. I’m sure the warbler was exhausted, hungry, and thirsty. But instead of immediately flying away, he stood just outside the doors for several minutes. He closed his eyes every few moments as if he was napping, or meditating, or dare I say, praying. I watched him flitter off, imagining him filled with the confidence that he had gone where he was needed and done what was required for the love of everything.

Since we didn’t keep The Watch this year, God was going to find a way to keep it going. Thank God for that lesson. I wait with joyous expectation for our Gethsemane Vigil next year, the Warbler Watch. I hope others will join me and share in the remembrance of the divine. 

God’s Peace,

Stephen +


We can’t wait to greet you Saturday, May 4! 


Pick up or purchase your tickets at Trinity Episcopal Church beginning at 9 am and shop our Jumble Sale. Offering items priced $1 to $25, the sale

is perfect for bargain shoppers or those with creative minds

looking for something to repurpose. 


Our Silent Auction with Buy It Now starts at 10 am. 


Tour hours are 10 am to 4 pm. Seven unique homes, plus the

Apalachicola Community Garden, headline our 30th year!

Join us for our traditional Evensong Service & Reception at Trinity

on Friday, May 3, 6 pm.


Follow us on Facebook and Instagram @ApalachicolaHomeTour


Tickets: $30 Advance / $35 Day of Tour

(deadline for online ticket purchase is Friday, May 3 at 3 pm)


Your Tour of Homes Committee gathered last week for their final pre-tour meeting and they are ready to make this 30th Anniversary year the best ever! Members (l to r) are Ginger Lawson, Karen Kessel, Toni McIntosh, Bella Rudo, Kathy Rushmore, Karen Brown (vestry liaison), Donna Knutson, Kay Carson, Sabrina Fornes (co-chair), Tara Carter (co-chair), and Kerry Petty. Not pictured: Chris Presnell, Carrie Kienzle, Mandi Singer, Jo Branch, and Joy Tracy.

Read the April Vestry Meeting Report

Wednesday Compline. If you love the Order for Compline from our Book of Common Prayer and want to participate from the comfort of your home, you are in luck! On Wednesdays at 8 pm Eastern, Trinity is pleased to host an online Compline via Facebook Live. And don’t forget that we have Morning Prayer on Wednesdays at 8:15 am.

Formation Groups and Classes. Jason Carter is continuing the chronological study of the Gospels on Sundays at 9:15 am in the Parish Conference Room. All are welcome. The Monday and Thursday classes are on break but will start again soon.

Benedict Hall’s Kitchen Update: A few Parish Life members gave their time and effort to reorganize the kitchen to increase efficiency and reduce clutter. Please take note of the new labels since some things may have moved. The kitchen is a community resource for several groups. We appreciate your help in keeping it organized and in tiptop shape for all to use.

Digital Giving Arrives at Trinity

The strength of Trinity is reflected in those who care, like you. Our church has held continuous services since its inception in 1836. As one of the oldest churches in the State of Florida, we continue to embrace this legacy. A key part of our mission is sharing faith, fellowship, and

fostering community engagement from our historic church grounds.

Generosity is a key component of our successful ministry. Now,

you can share your generosity easily and safely through

our secure Electronic Giving platform.

Just click this TRINITY ELECTRONIC GIVING link to get started.


Our Commitment to the Stewardship

of God's Creation

Trinity's new banner, hung before Earth Day, is a visible expression of our commitment to the stewardship of God’s Creation -- Episcopal Covenant to Care of Creation. It was designed by our current and past priests, Stephen Pecot and Martha Harris, along with Kay Carson, and commissioned by your Outreach Committee. A photograph by PJ Erwin provided the basis for the banner's background.

Food Pantry Needs Hygiene Products

The Food Pantry of Franklin County urgently needs hygiene products for needy families. Beginning Sunday May 5 and ending Sunday June 30, Trinity’s Outreach Committee is asking for donations of toothpaste, toothbrushes, shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, and bar soap for children and adults, disposable razors for men and women, feminine hygiene products, and diapers for adults and infants/toddlers. You can bring supplies to the Food Wagon in the narthex or the church office. Thank you, as always, for your generosity.

Trinity Receives Note of Gratitude from Big Bend Hospice:

Bingo Prize Winner Takes the Cake!

Last week's Bingo night featured fun, food, prizes and "bad" priest jokes. (Ask Stephen to repeat a few of the favorites.) Kathy McKendree scored the first win and received her prize from Mandi Singer, while Savannah Maples was awarded Ina Margaret Meyer's famous pound cake with the full card sweep. (Actually, Ina Margaret was the first to win the round but declined to take her own cake.) Other winners (below) were Ethan Hurley, Bonnie Lewis, & Randy Mims.

Penny's Worth seeks Saturday volunteers: Join this rewarding ministry by signing up for a shift between 10 am & 3 pm. Call Dot Hill at 850-653-9297 for details.


Diocesan Cycle of Prayer. For churches and ministries: on April 28, pray for Beckwith Camp and Conference Center, Fairhope, AL; and on May 5 pray for St. Paul’s, Daphne, AL and St. Paul’s, Foley, AL. For prisons: on April 28, pray for the prisoners, families, and staff of the Santa Rosa Correctional Institution, Milton, FL; and on May 5 pray for the prisoners, families, and staff of the Walton Correctional Institution, DeFuniak Springs, Florida.

Help us celebrate Beckwith Sunday April 28. Beckwith Camp and Conference Center in Fairhope, AL is our diocesan facility for summer camp, church events, retreats, weddings, and much more. Donated to the Diocese of Alabama in 1932, Beckwith is bordered by Weeks Bay and offers many outdoor and recreational opportunities. Every year on the last Sunday of April, congregations are invited to celebrate the mission and ministry of this very special place. Our loose plate offering during the 10:30 Sunday Eucharist will be donated to Beckwith in support of its many projects and programs. Also, the Prayers of the People read this Sunday have been written by diocesan and Beckwith staff. 

Diocesan College Scholarships Available. The Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast has announced the relaunch of the Episcopal Diocese Scholarship Program for the fall of 2024. As part of our ongoing commitment to supporting the educational pursuits of our youth, the diocese will once again be offering scholarships to students entering post-secondary education this coming fall. Details regarding eligibility criteria, application, and deadlines are provided in the online application. If you have any questions, please contact Diocesan Administrator Dwight Babcock at (850) 434-7337 or dwight@diocgc.org.


Readings for April 28, 2024, the Fifth Sunday of Easter

Readings for May 5, 2024, the Sixth Sunday of Easter

Watch our Sunday sermons online:


Your Bay View: Trinity's bi-weekly e-newsletter, the Bay View, reaches members and friends every other Friday, sharing news and inspiration for and about our parish. Please send information and announcements, as well as photographs, to info@trinityapalachicola.org or call the church office at 850-653-9550. The deadline for submission is noon on Wednesday of each publication week. (next deadline: May 8)

-- Kay Carson, Editor

Worship Service at 10:30 am Sunday

Morning Prayer at 8:15 am Wednesday

Church address: 79 6th Street, Apalachicola, Florida 32320

Office address: 76 5th Street, Apalachicola, Florida 32320

Mailing address: PO Box 667, Apalachicola, Florida 32329

Phone number: (850) 653-9550

Email: info@trinityapalachicola.org

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