Friday, April 20, 2018

From Bishop Doyle:

Barbara Bush said, "Some people give time, some money, some their skills and connections, some literally give their life’s blood. But everyone has something to give." This gentle, humble, and caring woman gave of herself to others. She gave herself to the nation, to school children, to her church, and to her family. From a factory during WWII, to reading programs, church groups, and the White House she has been a giver. The nation mourns her loss as it has done so for other amazing first ladies. Her Episcopal Church family mourns her loss and gathers around her family in this time. And, we find meaning in this time, shaped not by death, but by resurrection. So, we with others celebrate a life well lived punctuated by giving. And, we celebrate her inheritance with the saints in light whom we love but see no longer. May she rest in peace and rise in glory.

Monday, March 26, 2018

The Presiding Bishop's Easter Message

Hello on Palm Sunday from St George’s Cathedral in Jerusalem.
There is a passage in the 27th Chapter of Matthew’s gospel where religious leaders, political leaders come together once again after Jesus has been crucified and executed, after he had been buried in the tomb. Once again they come together to seal the tomb, to make sure not even a rumor of his resurrection will happen.  And this is what some of them say:
Therefore command the tomb to be made secure until the third day. Otherwise, his disciples may go and steal him away and tell the people he has been raised from the dead. And the last deception will be the worse than the first.
It is easy to overlook, and sometimes convenient to forget, that Jesus was executed, Jesus was crucified by an unholy alliance of religion, politics, and economic self-interest.
Politics represented in Pontius Pilate, governor of the Roman Empire, representative of that very empire and all of its power.
King Herod, who heard Jesus at one of the trials, representative of the Herodian and economic self-interest at the time.
The Chief Priest, representative of religious aristocracies who had a vested interest in the status quo.
These three powers came together – economic, religious and political – to crucify the one who taught love the lord your God, love your neighbor, and actually live that way.
The truth is the message of Jesus was unsettling to the world then as it is unsettling to the world now.  And yet that very message is the only source of hope in life for the way of the cross, the way of unselfish living, the way of sacrificial living, seeking the good, the welfare of the other before one’s own unenlightened self-interest. That way of the cross is the way of love. That is the nature of love.  And that way is the only hope for the entire human family.
The reality is the way of Jesus was a threat to the way that the world is, and hope for the way the world can and will be.
But on that third day after the crucifixion, when by the titanic power of God, by the power of the love of God, Jesus was raised from the dead.  God sent a message and declared that death does not have the last word. Hatred does not have the last word. Violence does not have the last word. Bigotry does not have the last word. Sin, evil do not have the last word. The last word is God, and God is love.
On our pilgrimage here, we stopped and spent two days in Jordan. In Amman, Jordan, we were able to spend some sacred and blessed and painful time with Iraqi Christians. These are Christians, many of whom are Anglican, who have fled their country in Iraq because of war and violence and hatred and desecration. They have given up everything, refusing to renounce their faith in Jesus Christ. And there in Jordan, with the help of the Anglican Church there and many other relief agencies, they are at least safe, hoping to find safe and permanent homes in other countries.
In the course of our conversations, and listening to them, at one point I found myself quoting a hymn, a song that many folk have heard around Easter, certainly in our country.  And I didn’t expect a response. You probably know how it goes – it says,“because he lives,” referring to Jesus and his resurrection, “because he lives, I can face tomorrow.” When I quoted that song, those who have lost their homes, people who have lost everything except life itself, those who have lost loved ones, actually responded to the words of that song. When I said,“Because He lives I can face tomorrow.” When I said Jesus is alive, He’s been raised from the dead, I saw them lift up their heads and respond with the words amen, hallelujah.
My brothers and sisters, evil could not stop him. Death could not stop him. Violence could not stop him.  For the love of God, the heart of God, the reality of God is stronger than anything else.  And Jesus really rose from the dead on that first resurrection morning.
God love you.  God bless you. And, may this Easter season be the first day of the rest of our lives.
The Most Rev. Michael B. Curry
Presiding Bishop and Primate
The Episcopal Church

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Presiding Bishop, others begin campaign to ‘reclaim Jesus in US culture

[Episcopal News Service] A group of Protestant and Roman Catholic leaders, including Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, have begun what they call a campaign to “reclaim Jesus” from those who they believe are using Christian theology for political gain.
“We are living through perilous and polarizing times as a nation, with a dangerous crisis of moral and political leadership at the highest levels of our government and in our churches,” say the 23 signers of the statement. “We believe the soul of the nation and the integrity of faith are now at stake.”
The group says the church’s role is to change the world through the life and love of Jesus Christ, while the government should serve the common good by protecting justice and peace, rewarding good behavior while restraining bad behavior. “When that role is undermined by political leadership, faith leaders must stand up and speak out,” the signers say, citing the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. who said the church is the conscience of the state, not its master or its servant.
“Reclaiming Jesus: A Confession of Faith in a Time of Crisis” offers six “affirmations” of what the group, currently 23 strong, believes, “and the resulting rejections of practices and policies by political leaders which dangerously corrode the soul of the nation and deeply threaten the public integrity of our faith.
“We pray that we, as followers of Jesus, will find the depth of faith to match the danger of our political crisis.”
In summary, the signers, in their the affirmations and rejections, said they believe:
  • Each human being is made in God’s image and likeness, and therefore, “we reject the resurgence of white nationalism and racism in our nation on many fronts, including the highest levels of political leadership.”
  • We are one body and, therefore, “we reject misogyny, the mistreatment, violent abuse, sexual harassment, and assault of women that has been further revealed in our culture and politics, including our churches, and the oppression of any other child of God.”
  • “How we treat the hungry, the thirsty, the naked, the stranger, the sick, and the prisoner is how we treat Christ himself,” and, therefore, “we reject the language and policies of political leaders who would debase and abandon the most vulnerable children of God.”
  • “Truth is morally central to our personal and public lives,” and, therefore, they reject “the practice and pattern of lying that is invading our political and civil life.”
  • Christ’s way of leadership is servanthood, not domination, and, therefore, “we reject any moves toward autocratic political leadership and authoritarian rule… raise deeper concerns about political idolatry, accompanied by false and unconstitutional notions of authority.”
  • Jesus “tells us to go into all nations making disciples,” and, therefore, they reject “‘America first’ as a theological heresy for followers of Christ.”
The statement says in its conclusion that “our urgent need, in a time of moral and political crisis, is to recover the power of confessing our faith. Lament, repent, and then repair.”
The Rev. Jim Wallis, founder of Sojourners, and Curry began talking earlier this year about the need for such a statement. The signers agreed to the wording of the statement at an Ash Wednesday retreat that Curry hosted at the Episcopal Church Center in New York.
“I joined with other Christian church leaders on this confession of what faith in times like these require,” Curry said March 22 in a statement to Episcopal News Service. “When faced with social issues, our Church has not been silent and we will continue to strive for justice and peace. Our role is one of moral leadership for our nation, for our church, for ourselves.”
The “Reclaiming Jesus” message, Wallis said in a March 22 commentary on the Sojourners website, needed to be “something that would be much more than just another statement to sign and then file away.
“Rather, with a shared humble spirit, we felt called to act as elders for a time such as this and to commend our message to the churches for a process of prayer, study, reflection, and action.”
Wallis called his commentary “Reclaiming Jesus: How Confessing Faith Can Respond to a Moral and Constitutional Crisis.”
The signers have set up a website, Reclaiming Jesus, where the statement and a one-page summary can be downloaded. There is also due to be a collection of resources in addition to a five-week “civil discourse curriculum” that already has been released.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Pictures from the Totally Traditional Shrove Tuesday Pancake Argentinian Supper:

Yep, he always shows up. He must think that pancakes have peanuts on them or something.

Great singing from Carlos, best part of the whole thing.

Sometimes, you just have to dance with your Mom.

Riley the Fearless experiences his first Pancake Supper at ECR and survives.

Mary Wade Edgecomb explains how pancakes are supposed to be cooked and the Big Fish Bryant explains how it really should be a fish fry.

In A Penitential Season.. 
    Yes, #WeToo

Women tell #MeToo stories of life in the Episcopal Church

House of Deputies president will chair special resolutions committee on sexual harassment and exploitation

By Mary Frances Schjonberg
Posted Feb 14, 2018
[Episcopal News Service] Sexual harassment and exploitation in the church are being highlighted in a series of reflections, essays and meditations, some of them explicit in their descriptions, that began Ash Wednesday on the House of Deputies website.
“The examples you read are from real women who shared instances of sexual harassment and abuse in real church settings. Any woman who wears a collar has these stories, seething just underneath the skin,” wrote the authors of the first post, the Rev. Laurie Brock and the Rev. Megan L. Castellan. “For most of us, we have so many they blur together into a giant mass of discomfort and scarcely-remembered sweeties, honeys, and forced grins at comments about our breasts.”
Brock is the rector of The Episcopal Church of St. Michael the Archangel in Lexington, Kentucky, and a General Convention deputy. Castellan is currently the assistant rector at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Kansas City, Missouri, and by the end of Lent will be the rector at St. John’s, Ithaca, New York.
Some of the articles will be difficult to read, warned the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings, president of the House of Deputies, in announcing the series.
Follow this link to read the articles:   Click Here for The Full Article

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Maintaining Our Beautiful Elderly Nave
Explained by Jo Wicker

Other than the floors, the pews suffer the most wear and tear of the sanctuary furnishings. Screws and nails work themselves out, upholstery stains and tears, book racks break, and kneelers become loose.

Currently, minor repairs on the pews are underway. Specifically, holes left by removal of hooks that held pew cards are being filled, sanded and stained. In addition, the laminate covering the pew supports on the backs of the pews is being repaired.

Please be sure the little people in your pew (and any big people who need watching,) do not pick or pull off the blue tape marking the repair sites. Picking and pulling anything that can be picked or pulled seems to be a universal need of humankind. RESIST.

The pew repairs on the south side are completed. The repairs of the laminate on the pew supports on the north side are identified and marked with the blue tape across the back of the pews. Repairs begin immediately, followed by filling holes left by hardware removal. 

The next phase will include repairs of the kneelers, and we'll keep you informed. At the end of the project, you will know more about pew repairs than you ever thought possible or necessary for your well-being, but you never know. Somewhere, sometime in your future, there could be a pop quiz on pew maintenance and repair. 
You will be prepared.