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A jolly good time was had by one and all!

The Annual Diocesan Synod was held at St. Barnabas Church, Picayune, Mississippi at the end of January, 2012. The rector of the parish is Father Jon Filkins, formerly a much–loved vicar at St, Stephen’s. Fr. Filkins, who is also Dean of the West and an Examining Chaplain, traditionally plays the part of King Henry VIII at our Annual Garden Party, which, doubtless, explains the decidedly flamboyant style of his prose. GPH✠

PICAYUNE. MS. – January 24, 2012: St. Barnabas Anglican Church, of Picayune, Mississippi recently hosted the annual meeting of the Diocese of the Eastern United States, conducted from Tuesday, January 17th through Friday, the 20th. Entitled “DEUS Synod 2012,” and themed with the “Best of the Bayou,” the gathering attracted both clergy and laity to the Holiday Inn Express—Stennis Space Center/Picayune for three days of meetings and other activities.

Ideally suited for the Synod, the newly constructed Holiday Inn provided sumptuous guest rooms and suites for the attendees. With many of the Synod’s guests arriving on Tuesday, the St. Barnabas Hospitality Suite opened the social portion of the Synod, serving hot hors d’oeuvres, homemade chicken and sausage gumbo and other delights.

On Wednesday morning, as on each morning, the hotel guests enjoyed a full breakfast in the hotel. Registration in the hotel lobby was brisk, as parishioners from St. Barnabas welcomed the new arrivals with Welcome Portfolios and local goodies.

In the morning, some relaxed and toured the Picayune area. In the afternoon, the DEUS Standing Committee conducted the final interview of Mr. David Munn, approving his ordination to the Diaconate. Also, the Board of Examining Chaplains accepted Mr. Frank Cossentino as a Postulant.

On Wednesday evening, in the resplendent candle–lit interior of the oldest church in Picayune, a High Mass was celebrated by The Most Reverend Brian Marsh, Episcopal Visitor and Presiding Bishop of the Anglican Church in America.

Inspiring harp and organ music was provided by well–known local musician Sarrah Wilhite. Brooke and Michael Huddleston were confirmed and Danny Bersuder, Darren Lochney, Rickey Munn and Marilyn Schroeder were received as members of the Church. Highlight of the Mass was the Ordination of Mr. Munn to the Sacred order of Deacons. After the Mass, a gala reception and dinner was presented at the Munn home in Hide–a–Way Lake, with kudos and plaudits given to Claudia Munn, wife of the new Deacon as hostess.

On Thursday, the business of the Synod began in earnest, after an early morning Mass at Saint Barnabas. Bishop Brian Marsh, Episcopal Visitor and Presiding Bishop of the Anglican Church in America, called the Synod to order. After prayer and confirmation a quorum was present, he initiated the presentation of reports from several subcommittees and acceptance of a new parish to the Diocese.

With hearty appetites, the Synod members adjourned to find a “down home” lunch replete with fried chicken, red beans and rice, salad, bread and homemade desserts, all served up by members of the Church. It should be noted that Fr. Filkins advised all participants to anticipate weight gain!

After lunch, the Houses of Clergy and Laity separated to discuss the matters of the Synod. Reconvening, each body unanimously endorsed the selection of Fr. John Vaughn as Suffragan Bishop and forwarded their recommendation to the House of Bishops and diocesan Standing Committees. Concluding the business of the Synod, delegates were nominated to various diocesan bodies. After courtesy resolutions and a prayer by Bishop Marsh, the Synod formally adjourned.

On Thursday evening, the Synod Banquet was held in the conference room of the hotel. With military precision, the room was turned into a splendid venue for an extraordinary evening. Chateau Bleu, of Slidell, Louisiana, owned by the irrepressible Allan and Kathy Little, brought their best to the palates of those present. Hand–carved roast beef, Chicken Kathleen, pecan rice, mixed greens, green beans, creamed spinach and strawberry cheesecake, all homemade, were accompanied by fine wines and other beverages. Many compliments were paid about the efforts of the hosts and quality of the cuisine.

The entertainment, for the evening, was equally without peer. The nationally known Don Vappie Trio played their inimitable New Orleans jazz for nearly four hours, to standing ovations, extended applause and many compliments. Mr. Vappie has been called “the greatest banjo player in the United States” and appears regularly with Winton Marsalis, along with other notables. His trio, of equally talented musicians, regaled the evening’s audience with superb solos and extended riffs.

Early the next morning, Friday the 19th, several members of the Synod gathered and enjoyed an escorted tour to the French Quarter in New Orleans, first enjoying beignets and café au lait at Café du Monde. With the Deacon David Munn in charge, some of the group toured Royal and Bourbon Streets, some took carriage rides and many visited the Cathedral and Jackson Square. Footsore, they reassembled at well–regarded Café Mospero for muffalettas, fried catfish and gumbo. In the evening, back in Picayune, they assembled at Don’s Seafood and consumed large quantities of fresh raw oysters and po-boys.

“Splendid,” “outstanding,” “exceptional” were adjectives relayed to the Rector of Saint Barnabas Anglican Church, Father Jon Filkins. “We were honored to host this important Synod and are overjoyed with the outcome.” he said, “The tireless efforts of our parishioners and vendors created this quite memorable time and extraordinary event. Our Synod business was successfully and expeditiously accomplished; our attendees were given a most positive image of our city, as we locals enjoyed increased business activity in a tough economy.” JON FILKINS

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