Episcopal News Service (ENS) posted “After presidential power shifts, Episcopalians ask: How should we pray” on January 23, 2017. It had the subtitle “Debating purpose, intention of praying for Donald Trump in church.” As internet posts go, this is a long post. It presents reasoned answers for both “yes” and “no.” What follows are a few quotes from the article. I encourage you to read the entire article here.
This is the Bulletin Insert for Sunday, January 29, 2017 (Epiphany 4A). Each week the Episcopal Church posts a Bulletin Insert online for sharing in all the churches.
The insert posted here announces Episcopal Church Revival Meetings in 2017-18. Imagine that! Read on. ~Fr. Dan
The Episcopal Church is working with diocesan teams to organize a series of Episcopal Revivals in 2017 and 2018, six major events that promise to stir and renew hearts for Jesus, to equip Episcopalians as evangelists, and to welcome people who aren’t part of a church to join the Jesus Movement.
“I love the surprised response when people hear we’re organizing Episcopal Revivals,” said the Rev. Canon Stephanie Spellers, the presiding bishop’s canon for evangelism, reconciliation and stewardship of creation. “Why wouldn’t we? A revival is a movement of the Spirit among the people of God, a concrete sign that we want to share God’s love out loud with each other and with new people. That sounds like the Jesus Movement.”
We live by our Baptismal Covenant (Book of Common Prayer 304-305). Among the questions and promises:
Will you strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being? (Our Response): I will, with God’s help.
On April 26, 2016 the bishops of North Carolina responded to recent legislation in North Carolina (HB2) that “overtly discriminates against LGBT people and goes further by cutting back on protection against discrimination for anyone in the state.” Their response comes as they fulfill their responsibilities as baptized persons and as bishops of the church. Here is the introduction to their letter. I encourage you to read their entire letter as you consider how you are to live into the promises you’ve made as a baptized person.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
In our baptismal covenant, we commit “to strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being.” For many, this is the most difficult promise in the covenant, as it calls us to move beyond our differences, expectations, fears, prejudices and misunderstandings about other people and meet them where they are. At times, it means standing up in the world and speaking truth to power, knowing that there will be resistance. This promise takes us out of our comfort zone and into the uncharted territory of God’s grace.
In the highly polarized and political environment in which we live, we may be tempted to take sides on an issue or to back off entirely and be silent. But the issue of discrimination is not partisan, nor is it secular. The practice of discrimination by a state or institution limits, even prohibits, us from respecting the dignity of another human being. It inhibits our very capacity to care for one another and to work for the common good. This affects all people.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Matthew 11:28-30 NIV
When you are away from the chimes, do they still sing their song? Can you remember their sound?
Extending Veterans Day
A common thread in most Veterans Day celebrations: remember, thank, and care for Vets not only on one day a year, but every day of the year. On Tuesday (11/13/12) I shared a video by Bishop Jay Magness which highlighted both the literal and figurative homelessness of too many women veterans. Today I offer a link to resources and a story of hope. ~dan
A resource especially for women veterans
In November 1994, Public Law 103-446 established the Center for Women to monitor and coordinate VA’s administration of health care and benefits services and programs for women Veterans. The Center serves as an advocate for a cultural transformation (both within VA and in the general public) in recognizing the service and contributions of women Veterans and women in the military, and in raising awareness of the responsibility to treat women Veterans with dignity and respect. The Director, Center for Women Veterans, acts as the primary advisor to the Secretary of Veterans Affairs on all matters related to policies, legislation, programs, issues, and initiatives affecting women Veterans.
a transitional home for homeless female veterans established in 2010 by Zion Episcopal Church in Avon, New York, in the former rectory. At its founding, Zion House was one of two such transitional homes in the nation; today about a dozen such homes exist.
Thirty women have sought refuge at Zion House in its first two years of operation. All have suffered military sexual trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder; a quarter have had substance-abuse issues (incoming residents must be 30 days clean); and some have been schizophrenic or had bipolar and borderline personality disorders, said the Rev. Kelly Ayer, 39, director of Zion House.
Suffering is a device to turn one’s thoughts in the direction of God.
The wind rings the chimes. What do you hear?
Giving and receiving consolation
Consolation is a beautiful word. It means “to be” (con-) “with the lonely one” (solus). To offer consolation is one of the most important ways to care. Life is so full of pain, sadness, and loneliness that we often wonder what we can do to alleviate the immense suffering we see. We can and must offer consolation. We can and must console the mother who lost her child, the young person with AIDS, the family whose house burned down, the soldier who was wounded, the teenager who contemplates suicide, the old man who wonders why he should stay alive. To console does not mean to take away the pain but rather to be there and say, “You are not alone, I am with you. Together we can carry the burden. Don’t be afraid. I am here.” That is consolation. We all need to give it as well as to receive it.
In the bulletin insert from Episcopal News Service (ENS) for 10/7/12 a link was provided to video statements from President Barack Obama and Governor George Romney as each addressed the concerns of the Circle of Protection (“an ecumenical alliance of Christian leaders, including Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, who is an original member.” ENS).
On Wednesday, 10/10/12, Religion News Service (RNS) posted a link to an Open Letter signed by “more than 100 moral theologians, Catholic economists and scholars … critiquing Paul Ryan’s libertarian leanings as contradictory to Catholic teaching.” (RNS) I encourage you to read it for yourself.
The sun has disappeared
I have switched off the light
and my wife and children are asleep.
The animals in the forest are full of fear,
and so are the people on their mats.
They prefer the day with your sun
to the night.
But I still know that your moon is there,
and your eyes and also your hands.
Thus I am not afraid.
This day again
you led us wonderfully.
Everybody went to his mat
satisfied and full.
Renew us during our sleep,
that in the morning
we may come afresh to our daily jobs.
Be with our brothers far away in Asia
who may be getting up now. Amen.
A prayer from Ghana in An African Prayer Book, pp. 122-23
The Epistle for Proper 8 Year B read on July 1, 2012: 7 Now as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in utmost eagerness, and in our love for you —so we want you to excel also in this generous undertaking. 8 I do not say this as a command, but I am testing the genuineness of your love against the earnestness of others. 9 For you know the generous act of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich. 10 And in this matter I am giving my advice: it is appropriate for you who began last year not only to do something but even to desire to do something— 11 now finish doing it, so that your eagerness may be matched by completing it according to your means. 12 For if the eagerness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has—not according to what one does not have. 13 I do not mean that there should be relief for others and pressure on you, but it is a question of a fair balance between 14 your present abundance and their need, so that their abundance may be for your need, in order that there may be a fair balance. 15 As it is written, “The one who had much did not have too much, and the one who had little did not have too little.” 2 Corinthians 8:7-15
How believers use their resources — time, money, talents, and attention — is a reflection of what they believe about God and God’s actions in the world. Furthermore, how those resources are used preaches a message to others. Paul wants the Corinthians’ actions to be a reflection of the gospel in which they believe.
This passage fits in a larger section of 2 Corinthians (8:1-9:15) that is chiefly concerned with Paul’s collection for the Jerusalem church.…
In 2 Corinthians 9, Paul gets more mileage out of the Macedonian success story by shaming the Corinthian church into acting.…
Before he resorts to shaming them directly, he reminds the believers that their actions to support the Jerusalem poor demonstrate the earnestness of their faith (2 Corinthians 8:8). Paul reframes the whole collection as the gospel enacted. In 2 Corinthians 8:9, Paul retells the good news through the lens of generosity. Christ gave up extraordinary riches so that others might receive the abundant wealth of God’s grace.
A July 25 nighttime fire has destroyed St. James’ Episcopal Church in Cannon Ball, North Dakota.
Sioux County, where Cannon Ball is located, is one of the poorest counties in North Dakota and among the top ten poorest in the nation
“At 10 p.m. Central Time a parishioner who lives across the road from St. James’ saw that there was smoke and fire coming from the church,” said the Rev. Canon John Floberg, who has served as St. James’ rector for 21 years and is canon missioner for native ministry in the Diocese of North Dakota. “Flames spread quickly through the parish hall to the church itself, and by quarter of eleven the whole structure was engulfed in flames. It’s all ash today.” Read more: NORTH DAKOTA: Fire destroys St. James’ Episcopal Church
I propose that we take up a collection in the Sunday Morning Forum for the people of St. James Episcopal Church. With the Apostle and the with the Professor I believe that how we use our resources tells a lot about what we believe about God and God’s actions in the world.
Several weeks ago Hovak talked about the Good Shepherd (Tiffany) Window that fascinated him growing up. Grace Episcopal Church in Port Orange, FL has maintained the window over the years. We are awaiting some pictures of the 2 Tiffany Windows in their original church. As if our conversation was overheard this article appeared recently in the Episcopal News Service:
[Diocese of Southern Ohio] Four rare Tiffany stained glass windows have a new home: the Cincinnati Art Museum will unveil them this month as part of a new and permanent exhibit.The windows, badly in need of repair and conservation, were removed in 2010 from the former St. Michaels & All Angels church in urban Cincinnati and sold to the art museum. Proceeds supported the founding of a community ministry that is now housed at the Avondale facility. Gabriel’s Place seeks to encourage community-based enterprise. The urban center operates a community garden and kitchen, as well as a hoop house that provides fish and fresh produce for local businesses and residents.
Read the whole article to find “Poor Man’s Bible.” Again, to reinforce what we have said, and part of the reason for our posts in the Art & Music category we read:
“While colored glass dates to ancient times, stained glass as a form of art and storytelling became prominent in the Middle Ages. A largely illiterate population could learn about the stories of the Bible from the illustrations in the stained glass windows. Some have called these windows the “Poor Man’s Bible,” because they, along with carvings, paintings and mosaics, could translate the narratives of the Bible to a population that couldn’t read.”