June 2009

We’ve continued our work at the Summer Collegium, but we also continue to have opportunities to do other things.  We were expected to be at an Arts Festival on campus Saturday (and Anne displayed some of her work).  And then we had time off.  We went to the Roosevelt Memorial in DC and had dinner at Bilbo Baggins Restaurant in old town Alexandria — which took us from 2 PM to 8:30 PM using public transportation.  Sunday we were bused (literally) to the National Cathedral. (more…)

It’s now Saturday, roughly half way into the collegium.  It’s been a busy and good time.  Wonderful (and varied) worship daily beginning the night of our arrival (Wednesday).  Breakfast buffet at the hotel and a shuttle to the seminary about 8:15 AM.  Today the spouses/partners do an evaluation of their time here.  Clergy are free until worship at 10 AM, which will be followed by the arts festival (Anne’s participating, showing some stuff she does, and all of us are expected to be there). That’s why I have time to do this now.   Then we have free time until church Sunday morning (and moving from the hotel to rooms at the seminary). (more…)

Well, today is a rest day.  Likely the most restful day I’ll have this trip.  Got up around 8 AM. Read the paper (San Francisco Chronicle on my Kindle), showered, had breakfast and some coffee.  Listened to Jocelyn’s sermon from Yesterday at St. George’s.  It’s odd hearing the sermon at your church while you’re away.  Liked it (likely more than the one I heard).  She preached on Jesus calming the storm (using a story about taking some San Diego teens to help clean up after Katrina two years after the storm.  (If you want to hear it, her sermon of 7/21 is here.) (more…)

The following comes from Episcopal Cafe, reguarding folks who call themselves “the bad girls of [Roman] Catholic feminism:”

We picketed bishops and Popes, stole their dresses, stood up at the consecration of the Eucharist and said the words out loud. We are the bad girls of Catholic feminism, and we have stood up, over and over again, for women’s freedom. So writes Francis Kissling in Religion Dispatches this week: (more…)

Well, we’ve been to Philly, and I’m now sitting down in Brigantine (New Jersey).  We went to the 11 AM worhship at Christ Church this morning (home, at one time, to Ben Franklin).  It’s very much a historic church, but the people feel pretty well connected to today.  It has the old “half pew” system, numbered (I assume to denote who was originally allowed to sit in which pew) that I only remember seeing once before.  Not all that comfortable.  And it has wonderful clear glass windows behind the altar (unfortunately now viewing a rather ugly fire escape on a neighboring building).  But people were friendly, and it was a good service. (more…)

I keep hoping we’ll all stop doing hateful things.  (I know hateful things are not the exclusive province of liberals or conservatives or Christians or non believers or any other group.)  But I was sad when I heard that my former bishop (and friend) Jerry Lamb has been receiving hate messages and death threats for his work in our Diocese of San Joaquin.  I’m not entirely sure if it’s because of the Episcopal Church’s policy of inclusion of the GLTBI community or because those who left our church there look to be losing in their efforts to take our church property with them.  Likely it’s both.  And then I see things like this, from Bishop Dan’s of Nevada’s blog:

The Church of the Holy Spirit in Bullhead City is a lovely small congregation in a town that is largely a retirement community. The congregation is primarily senior citizens. They are not the sort to march for liberal causes.

But just before Pentcost, they recieved a handwritten note threatening to burn their church because we are a gay inclusive denomination. I am not sure whether I am speechless at the absurdity of evil or whether the response to this sensless venom is too obvious.

One thin[g] I hope it will clarify for us as a diocese and a denomination is that we are in fact a family. What we do affects each other. That’s why we must support each other, consider each other, and appreciate each other.

It’s sad.  For me, things like this go along with the shooting at the haulocaust museum.  They are simply unacceptable.

Like I could stop it, right?

But of course, if we were all out front about how unacceptable such behavior is, I do think we could stop it — at least mostly.  And I think we should.  Even when it means that sometimes our friends and families might find us annoying (or too PC).  When we ignore and laugh at hateful things, we really allow them to continue.  We give tacit approval.  I don’t think Jesus is laughting.  I don’t think Jesus is looking the other way.  I don’t think Jesus approves.

Hopefully this is so self evident I don’t have to explain it to anyone.

Well, the rush is on.  I leave Friday for vacation and then the Summer Collegium in Alexandria.  It’s an exciting time for us.  And a rushed time.  I finished a draft of a case study I need to send tomorrow (along with some other papers).  I’ve been working on the required congregational study (and the readings).  And I’m not at all sure I have even an idea for the followup in the year after the Collegium.  All in all, I think I’ll be prepared enough and Anne and I are both really looking forward to this time together.

I am sad that we will miss Fr. Zea’s memorial service.  But that’s what fit our bishop’s schedule, so that’s how things go.

I’m kind of excited for the congregation.  They’ll have Jocelyn Hughes and George Foxworth covering services while I’m gone.  That should be fun for them.

Meanwhile, my daughter Audrey will be home (taking care of the cats and visiting friends) while we’re away.

Things seem to be working out.

I may be part time in my employment, but I am reasonably active in the life our our diocese.  Many of our congregations are small.  Historically, small congregations have been very persistent.  The smallest churches are families, and they survive difficulties that would swamp larger congregations.  That has been true.  And I’m pretty sure it will remain true.  What’s changing, at least in the Episcopal Church model, is how we’re going to have to do ministry.  We’ve been talking about this on a diocesan level. (more…)

Jim Richardson talks about making a place for different kinds of people in his blog fiat lux.  Among other things he says:

Both can exist together if our values include hospitality — welcoming all people.  To practice hospitality, we need to find ways to live in the tension of accommodating, as best we can, the many reasons people come to church, the theological ideas they bring (or the lack thereof), and the tastes they have in worship and music. It may help to know that much of what we think of as tradition is sometimes not that old; traditions can grow up in a hurry in a church. The wording of the  “traditional” Lord’s Prayer dates from the 1880s (check out the Middle-English version sometime). Many beloved hymns began as beer hall tunes in the Reformation. Meanwhile, a number of supposedly “contemporary” church songs are now more than 30 years old.

If you are interested in more, you can read the whole article here.

My friend and colleague Zealand Hillsdon-Hutton died in the early hours of this morning.  He’d been assisting at St. George’s for years, and was a real godsend to me.  I will miss him. (more…)