Saint John the Evangelist (Lockport, IL)

Thursday, March 31, 2005

Essay Request

On my personal blog, I've asked for a "roundup" of essays on a question I found of interest. If anyone here writes an essay, I'd be more than happy to include it. See this post for more information. Just write your essay and post it here, and I'll do the rest.

Daylight Savings Time

This is a public service announcement!

Daylight Savings Time begins this Sunday. [Spring forward...]

Monday, March 28, 2005

Saint John the Evangelist (Lockport, IL)

A report on the Growth/Decline in The Episcopal Church, 1993-2003; & 2002-2003 can be found at

http://andromeda.rutgers.edu/~lcrew/communicants93_03.html

There are many presentations of the data by diocese. The bottom line is the church has grown in the decade 93-03 but is currently on a down turn. Since the last year in the data (2003) is two years old it's anyones guess where we are now.

The Lessons for Sunday April 3, 2005

The Lessons Appointed for Use on the
Second Sunday of Easter
Year A (BCP)

Psalm 111:1-10, Confitebor tibi, BCP version here
or
Psalm 118:19-24, Confitemini Domino, BCP version here (scroll down)
Acts 2:14a, 22-32
1 Peter 1:3-9
John 20:19-31

The Collect:

Almighty and everlasting God, who in the Paschal mystery established the new covenant of reconciliation: Grant that all who have been reborn into the fellowship of Christ 's Body may show forth in their lives what they profess by their faith; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen

Saint John the Evangelist (Lockport, IL)

http://www.thewitness.org/agw/kaeton012005.html

The above link is to a story about a visit to Ghana. It is an example of the kind of stories found at "The Witness" web site. I invite you to brows the web site at http://www.thewitness.org to find many other interesting stories on subjects of interest to Epicopalians.

The Witness

http://www.thewitness.org/agw/kaeton012005.html

The above link is to a story about a visit to Ghana and it's connection with the slave trade. I invite you to browse "The Witness" web site for many interesting articles written by Episcopalians on issues that we should be conserned with as a Church.

An Easter Message from the Archbishop of Canterbury

This message to the Anglican Communion was released by the Archbishop on Easter Sunday, 27 March 2005.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

As you wait in the silence of Holy Saturday)

As you wait in the silence of Holy Saturday - a poem by
John G. Neihardt (author of Black Elk Speaks)

Once more the northbound Wonder
Brings back the goose and crane,
Prophetic Sons of Thunder,
Apostles of the Rain.

In many a battling river
The broken gorges boom;
Behold, the Mighty Giver
Emerges from the tomb!
Now robins chant the story
Of how the wintry sward
Is litten with the glory
Of the Angel of the Lord.

His countenance is lightning
And still His robe is snow,
As when the dawn was brightening
Two thousand years ago.

O who can be a stranger
To what has come to pass?
The Pity of the Manger
Is mighty in the grass.
Undaunted by Decembers,
The sap is faithful yet.
The giving Earth remembers,
And only men forget.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

2003 General Convention Resolution Re: Terri Schiavo

The following resolution was passed at the 2003 General Convention. Note that they actually did something significant besides electing Bishop Robinson...John

Resolution I.14

Euthanasia

In the light of current debate and proposals for the legalisation of euthanasia in several countries, this Conference:
  1. affirms that life is God-given and has intrinsic sanctity, significance and worth;
  2. defines euthanasia as the act by which one person intentionally causes or assists in causing the death of another who is terminally or seriously ill in order to end the other's pain and suffering;
  3. resolves that euthanasia, as precisely defined, is neither compatible with the Christian faith nor should be permitted in civil legislation;
  4. distinguishes between euthanasia and withholding, withdrawing, declining or terminating excessive medical treatment and intervention, all of which may be consonant with Christian faith in enabling a person to die with dignity. When a person is in a permanent vegetative state, to sustain him or her with artificial nutrition and hydration may be seen as constituting medical intervention; and
  5. commends the Section Report on euthanasia as a suitable introduction for study of
  6. such matters in all Provinces of the Communion.

Two More Links

The Christian Carnival is up at a Nutts View and blogging for a worthwhile cause is the other.

Lessons for Easter Day

The lessons for Easter Day, March 27, 2005
The Collect for Easter Day
O God, who for our redemption gave your only-begotten Son to the death of the cross, and by his glorious resurrection delivered us from the power of our enemy: Grant us so to die daily to sin, that we may evermore live with him in the joy of his resurrection; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

or this

O God, who made this most holy night to shine with the glory of the Lord's resurrection: Stir up in your Church that Spirit of adoption which is given to us in Baptism, that we, being renewed both in body and mind, may worship you in sincerity and truth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

or this

Almighty God, who through your only-begotten Son Jesus Christ overcame death and opened to us the gate of everlasting life: Grant that we, who celebrate with joy the day of the Lord's resurrection, may be raised from the death of sin by your life-giving Spirit; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Easter (or How to Calculate the Date of Easter)

I never realized how complex it is to determine the date of Easter. I thought the rule was "Easter is the first Sunday following the first full moon following the spring equinox." However, since nothing in christendom is that simple, here is a site that explains in some detail the history behind the ecclesiastical determination of the date of Easter for any given year. It also provides an algorithm with which one can compute the date of Easter for any given year. Or one can go cross-eyed at the Prayer Book's "Tables and Rules for Finding the Date of Easter Day," beginning on page 880.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Palm Crosses (or How to Make Them)

My non-liturgical church upbringing never taught me how to make a cross from a palm. Here is a link that provides step-by-step intstructions, as well as photos illustrating several of the steps involved.

Lessons for Palm Sunday, March 20, 2005

The lessons for Palm Sunday.
=============================================
Liturgy of the Palms:
=============================================
Liturgy of the Word:
The Collect for Palm Sunday:
Almighty and everliving God, in your tender love for the human race you sent your Son our Savior Jesus Christ to take upon him our nature, and to suffer death upon the cross, giving us the example of his great humility: Mercifully grant that we may walk in the way of his suffering, and also share in his resurrection; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Bishop Griswold condemns Federal Budget

Christians rally against Bush budget -15/03/05

Members of the National Council of Churches and the Interfaith
Alliance in the US have staged a rally on Capitol Hill against
President Bush's proposed budget.

On a day devoted to lobbying members of Congress, participants heard
speakers charge that the president's budget favors military spending
and tax breaks for the wealthy while ignoring the needs of the poor.

They chanted in unison, "This budget does not reflect our values."

The president of the Union for Reform Judaism, Rabbi Eric Yoffie, said
people of faith should "take back religion from those who use it for
selfish purposes" and "listen to the prophet Isaiah, who exhorts us to
share our bread with the hungry."

The Most Rev. Frank T. Griswold, Presiding Bishop And Primate of the
Episcopal Church, USA is amongst those who have previously suggested
that the 2.6 trillion dollar spending plans for 2006, fail to reflect
gospel priorities.

Other Christian campaigners in the US have also condemned the budget
proposals as standing 'in opposition to biblical values'.

As feared by demonstrators at the President's inauguration the budget
includes increases in military spending while at the same time
proposing major cuts to domestic programs that benefit people living
in poverty, both in the US and abroad.

The presiding Bishop of the Episcopal church in the US warned several
months ago that the budget was a 'moral document'.

Griswold had said; "In the life of our nation, one of the most
concrete expressions of our shared moral values and priorities is the
federal budget."

He proposed three criteria for "examining whether a budget properly
reflects America's values"; whether the budget was 'compassionate',
whether it served the 'human family', both at home and around the
world, and whether it served the 'common good'.

"While there are some areas in President Bush's budget that give me
hope" he said, "I am deeply disheartened by others."

"In particular, I am concerned that this budget neglects and
exacerbates our nation's healthcare crisis, especially for children
and seniors, and fails to honour the commitments our nation has made
to combating poverty and disease overseas. Such a budget is not a
reflection of the compassionate values of our nation, nor of the
Gospel's command to care for the least among us."

The Bishop pointed out that forty-five million Americans lack access
to quality and affordable health care, an increase of five million
over the past three years.

"This budget exacerbates the problem by recommending deep cuts in
Medicaid" the bishop said, "of which the most bruising impact of these
cuts will fall upon the neediest in our midst: the poor, children,
senior citizens, and the disabled and states will be hard-pressed to
make up the difference.

"If our federal budget is to reflect the values of the American
people, it must better care for the neediest among us."

The bishop also said that the budget proposals affecting help for
developing countries fell short of the commitments the President had
previously made.

For the second time in two years, the primate of the Episcopal Church
in the USA said, there were significant cuts to the U.S. contribution
to the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and funds
the MCA at just 60 percent of its promised level.

"These figures are particularly problematic when viewed alongside the
budget's other cuts in foreign-aid programs." said the bishop.

"As the President has observed in the past, our nation's efforts to
combat poverty and disease abroad are not just a matter of
humanitarian obligation, but a necessity in building a more secure and
stable world."

However, the bishop did praise the provision of 150 million US dollars
in aid "to the Palestinian people."

"It is my sincere prayer that this is a signal that the United States
has re-committed itself to helping to lead a political process to end
the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. At this unique moment of
opportunity, the vision of a two-state solution is coming back into
focus, giving me hope that Palestinians and Israelis may both soon
live in freedom and security" the bishop concluded.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Science and Christianity

A roundup (like a carnival, but irregular I guess) of essays on Science and Christianity.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Electing a new Presiding Bishop

http://newark.rutgers.edu/~lcrew/26thPBwho.html

This web site lists the Bishops that are elgibile for election as the next Presiding Bishop that will be elected at the General convention of 2006.

Church and State

Joshua Clayborn (In the Agora) points to this.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Advertising/Marketing our Church

Every so often I get in a discussion with someone about why a church/parish should run some kind of advertisment in the local paper. I usually don't convince anyone, but the exercise of thinking about this is always a learning experience. Some points that need to be considered:
  • What makes our church/parish unique?
  • Why would someone want to visit our church/parish?
  • Which aspect of our church/parish should the ad focus on?
This evening, instead of working on a project, I wandered through the Christian Carnival to which Mark pointed us earlier. It turns out that several bloggers (here, here, and here, for starters), as well as others, are examining the whole concept of church marketing. One essay from the carnival caught my interest with this statement towards the end of the blog:
Yet, we also understand John Maxwell's law of Magenetism: "You attract what you are."

To me, that is the essence of Church Marketing – expressing who you are. A traditional church may emphasize their 100 year-old organ while the Gen-x church spreads the word regarding the wattage of their sound system.

So, given Maxwell's law (of leadership), what would we at St. John's emphasize as our "magnetic" quality if we were to go down the road of church marketing?

"You attract what you are."

Spirituality: Towards a Definition

I came across this article this evening while wandering through some of my usual haunts on the net. Don't get all excited (for the wrong reasons) that it is from Christianity Today's web site. The author of the article interviewed Eugene Peterson, a long time pastor and scholar, and entitled it "Spirituality for All the Wrong Reasons." Mr. Peterson reflects on the purpose of the church, the Christian life, and what he considers spirituality to be (or not to be). Something for us to reflect on.

The interview itself starts:

What is the most misunderstood aspect of spirituality?
That it's a kind of specialized form of being a Christian, that you have to have some kind of in. It's elitist. Many people are attracted to it for the wrong reasons. Others are put off by it: I'm not spiritual. I like to go to football games or parties or pursue my career. In fact, I try to avoid the word.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Carnival time

Christian Carnival is (partially) up, and more will be going up during the day.

Monday, March 07, 2005

The Samaritan Woman at the Well--UPDATED

I came across this re-worked Gospel story this afternoon. The link begins:
Sunday morning, I went to hear Rev. James Buchanan preach at Fourth Presbyterian Church, "a light in the City" in the shadow of the Hancock Building, at Michigan and Chestnut streets on the Magnificent Mile. It was an amazing experience - one of the first places that I have felt really welcomed into a church in almost 2 years. I'll be quoting some of his sermon - an incredibly powerful preaching on "the woman at the well" passage (John 4) - later on this week. But as a result of his preaching, this image came to me, almost completely, as we prayed the prayers of the church.

Pastor Buchanan started his sermon with the prayer, "Startle us, o God..." - and I admit, I prayed that prayer with him. (I'd say it was the first time one of my prayers had been answered that directly in a long, long time...it certainly worked for me.) Thank you, Pastor, for the inspiration...and with apologies to the author of the Gospel of John, I offer you...

Jesus Talks With A Gay Man - (John 4:1-33, 39-42 - more or less...)
Read the whole thing, as they say! Comments please. I found this very powerful and thought provoking. It needs a lot of mulling over. (HT: One Hand Clapping)

A Random Thought on Prayer Books

This week's essay at Anglicans Online web page made me stop for a moment and reflect on books, and the use of prayer books in worship in particular. I prefer to hold a prayer book during our services, not one of the service booklets. Note that I have nothing against the booklets: they are handy, the whole service is easily accessable to guests and parishioners alike. There is no embarassing fumbling between hymnal and prayer book, no finding Eucharistic Prayer C and then finding the final concluding prayer at the end of the service for those uninitiated to the mysteries of the prayer book. But I still like to hold and use the prayer book. A few months ago a faculty member of the University of Chicago used a phrase that explained this for me. He said that the Episcopal Prayer Book, when held, conveyed the (metaphorical) weight of the thought and experiences of those who made it and use it; it and its predecessors.

What Anglicans Are Saying

The recent Anglican Primates meeting resulted in some actions directed toward the US and Canadian churches as a result of the Windsor Report. The following are some selected comments from more moderate voices...John

What Anglicans Are Saying …
The Anglican Primates sincerely want to preserve the Anglican Communion. That is obvious from their just-concluded meeting and from the resulting communiqué. Equally obvious is that what was agreed to was a carefully negotiated compromise crafted to buy more time for reconciliation. Whether it will be successful on those terms remains to be seen. What is clear now is that no province has left the Communion and no province has been expelled. Comments from across the Communion are below.
Let me be clear about what we have agreed to do. We have not expelled the churches of America and Canada. Nor have they been placed in some sort of limbo, as some press reports suggested. There are no legal provisions for any such actions. The door to the Americans and Canadians is not shut.
— Njongonkulu Ndungane, Archbishop and Primate of South Africa, 2/26/2005
The Primates’ communiqué is not a perfect document and no doubt there will be a variety of interpreta-tions. It does, however, reflect the consensus that we were able to achieve. The Windsor Report challenged us to maximize the bonds of affection in seeking God’s will for the Church. We have forged ahead, while realizing there is still much to do. Celebrating how we share Communion together is not a matter of what is written on paper, but rather of how we live out our faith in relation to all of our sisters and brothers. The Primates experienced a strong sense of reconciliation and fellowship through the leadership of the Archbishop of Canterbury and the graciousness of our host Archbishop Robin Eames.
— Andrew Hutchinson, Archbishop and Primate, Anglican Church of Canada, 2/25/2005
We have carefully studied the Windsor Report and how we might best be a communion in the midst of the deep differences which have been brought into sharp relief around the subject of homosexuality. I leave Ire-land grateful that we as primates have done our very best to find a way forward and to avoid creating an unpro-ductive situation of winners and losers.
— Frank Griswold, Presiding Bishop and Primate, Episcopal Church, USA, 2/25/2005
We did not solve all our differences on the issues of sexuality but did find a way which respected the in-tegrities of both sides of the argument and set in motion a process that will allow us to keep talking together. De-spite our differences we were able to affirm the place of homosexual people within the life of the Church and it is my hope that the Scottish Episcopal Church will continue to be open and inclusive to all those who want to fol-low Christ. I very much hope that the Scottish Episcopal Church will continue to be a listening and welcoming church to people who have differing opinions.
I do not believe the Communion is now facing a serious split, as some are claiming. The Scottish Episco-pal Church remains in communion with the churches of USA and Canada as well as our brothers and sisters in the churches in Africa.
— Bruce Cameron, Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church, 2/25/2005
The ACC is truly the most representative of the Anglican Instruments of Unity—the Archbishop of Can-terbury, the Primates and the Lambeth bishops are all in episcopal orders. For the ACC, a genuinely synodical in-ternational gathering, to have its membership and atmosphere adjusted essentially at the behest of the Primates’ meeting would severely damage the balance of dispersed authority within Anglicanism. There is a real danger that the crisis of to-day will give way to the centralised curialisation of to-morrow.
— The Very Rev. Michael Burrows and Kate Turner, ACC Delegates from Ireland, 2/26/2005
It is certainly not true that the North American churches are being asked to withdraw from the Anglican Communion or even from the Anglican Consultative Council. … So, we want to create some space to allow that listening process [to the explanations from the American churches] to happen. Equally, importantly, during the same period, all the primates have committed themselves not to encourage or to initiate cross-boundary interven-tions in other churches which should be autonomous in the handling of their internal life. It’s understandable that if a particular parish has an issue with its bishop and they have a neighboring bishop or a bishop in another country who’s friendly to them, there will be some telephone conversations. And, generally speaking, the inter-ventions of bishops from outside a particular church is [sic] not helpful. In fact, it’s a threat to our Communion. So, all the primates are not just asked not to encourage or initiate cross-boundary actions, but we have, in fact, all committed ourselves unanimously to that.
— Archbishop Peter Carnley, Primate of the Anglican Church of Australia, 2/25/05

Lessons for Lent 5A, March 13, 2005

The Lessons for this Sunday (March 13, 2005) are:
The Collect for Lent 5:
Almighty God, you alone can bring into order the unruly wills and affections of sinners: Grant your people grace to love what you command and desire what you promise; that, among the swift and varied changes of the world, our hearts may surely there be fixed where true joys are to be found; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

And Now It's ....

Carnival time. Go here.

Update: This post is about an Episcopal church and the tsunami.