Category Archives: Anglican/Episcopal 101

12 Days of Christmas:Day 1

xmaschurch12 014Christmas is a season in the Church Year. t lasts from Christmas until the Fast of the Epiphany on January 6.

In the spirit of the 12 Days of Christmas, I will blog once daily.

Best Dude, my family & I had a wonderful Christmas Day. Best Dude & I went to Midnight Mass { Candlelight & very Anglo-Catholic–I LOVED IT!} My beloved bought me a brand-new NIKON camera for Christmas & Its been a lot of fun using it already. I bought him a book & ordered a special coffee mug that has a collage of photos of he & I. My parental units bought us two tickets to the musical _West Side Story_ that is playing in Pensacola on January. 3. I adore the movie version, so I am looking forward to seeing the live-action musical play.

My brother & Sister-in-law will be here tomorrow. Best Dude has a busy work schedule this week, so I’m glad I will be occupied with my siblings. They come to Florida every year during the Christmas season & it is always so much fun. I love my family & am so blessed to have such great people with whom to spend the holidays. My heart goes out to all those who spend this wonderful time of year alone, as inasmuch as I am an introvert I do love the few people who do share my life in a big way.

being a gracious loser

The results are in…and I was not elected to vestry this year.

As expected, I feel a mix of sadness & relief.

I am relieved because, as anyone who knows me can attest, I’m not a ” meetings” sort of person. I also do not ” politic” very well nor  am I gifted with the ability to blarney.  I am, however, very creative & a ” can-do” person . But, it was not God’s Will for me to serve on vestry this year & that is fine with me.

I am sad because I lost. Losing is not something I do well—as I come from a long line of athletic, competitive people.

Yet tonight I keep reminding myself that serving the Church is not at all about ME. I know that but at the same time it *REALLY* sucks for this ” can-do” personality to lose anything. I know it isn’t a competition & I shouldn’t feel at all like I just lost a bid for Student Government President.

I received a nice private note via Facebook from a parishioner who said she’d voted for me  because she felt honestly that i would be a good vestryperson. THAT meant a lot to me, especially coming from a parishioner whom I respect.

So yeah— I lost.  Maybe God is saying to me” You are not ready for vestry just yet.” Or maybe not.

We learned about the concept of ” karios” during my Cursillio weekend.  Karios=God’s Time.

Gloria en excelsis Deo!

Day 6 and 7: About Primates

No, I am not discussing monkeys & other furry bipeds here. The bishop in charge of a particular church within the Anglican Communion is called a primate . {Prime= first}

In today’s Episcopal News Service report from GC77, it said that the deputies passed a resolution allowing for future Presiding Bishops to also maintain his or her position of diocesan bishop during the nine-year term as Presiding Bishop.

I cannot understand why this was passed nor the logic associated with wanting to adopt this practice. But since this resolution will never affect MY life n the Church, I do not have much to say on this topic.

General Convention worshipped together yesterday with a Mass led & celebrated by our current Presiding Bishop, ++Katharine Jefferts-Schori. I heard from a deputy from my diocese that the Mass was wonderful. ++ Katharine’s homily appeared online on the official GC77 website & I read it yesterday afternoon.

Also, the Episcopal Camps & Conference Centers presented ++Katharine & her husband, Richard a ” Hero of CAmping” award . One of the reasons why I adore ++ Katharine is the fact of her committment to a healthy lifestyle full o exercise . I read somewhere that she runs an insane amount of miles EVERY DAY! Wow! Although I am not much of a camping enthusiast, I do love spending days in the Creation that is the outdoors.

In other official convention business, our own Vince C was re-elected to the Church Pension Fund.

My Twitter feed pretty much is *all* about GC77 lately & I’m LOVING being part of this triennial conversation ” from the pews”.

Shalom, y’all.

Day 2:Dialog = good. Schism= VERY BAD

I solicited reposes for yesterday’s article & received a variety of responses. Those people who agree with the GC77’s proposed resolutions totally open Holy Communion to the unbaptized presented me with some strong reasons why they feel this way about that topic. I’m glad to know that there are many Anglicans who can discuss Church issues without resorting to ugly name-calling & stereotyping.

The morning , via his blog, a young clergy deputy from my Diocese reminded me that the Church will go one, regardless what happens after GC77. In my heart I know that JESUS is the Head of our Church & He won’t let her whither & die.

It is human to worry. Since I love the Church so much I want her to remain intact. Schism has proven throughout the history of Christianity to hinder what each & every Christian is called to do: spread the Gospel. Schism prevents whole branches of Christianity from being Christ’s Body in the here & now. Think for a mnute, would a non-Christian see a Church embattled in schism & want to learn more about our faith? I doubt it.

It makes me nervous to hear talks of schism. Not only does the idea of a split in the Church make me ill with sadness but I’ve read numerous property disputes regarding parishes & Dioceses who have left the Church. When I read or actually hear people talk in favor of schism I just want to present them with a PowerPoint slide show of ALL the losses that dissenting parishes & dioceses have lost in terms of real property. {Sadly, some people only understand logic in terms of dollars & cents}

On the other hand, mature dialog moves the Church forward & solidifies the bond that we have an American Episcopalians. If we ake time to listen to one another, we’ll grow stronger as a Church at all levels of the hierarchy. I can worship at any church that acknowledges Jesus Christ as Lord & believes in the Trinity, but I know people who think that the Church ” belongs to ” people like me”.

Christ is the Head of our Church. And according to our Nicene Creed, we believe in ” one holy catholic apostolic Church”.

Keep the dialog coming.

Amen. Amen. Amen!

Day 1: Baptism & Holy Communion.

Today the bishops & deputies will convene in Indianapolis, Indiana for the 77th General Convention of The Episcopal Church. There is a whole list of resolutions that the Church as a whole must consider this year & some seem to be more ” hot-button” issues than most .

My big concern is the resolution put forth by someone in Oregon that the Holy Communion be totally open to all persons regardless of baptismal status.{ i.e unbaptized persons may receive the Body & Blood of our LORD if they so desire.}

As progressive as I am regarding the Church & social issues, when he subject turns to liturgy I am very traditional. Let me say ‘on record’ that if General Convention votes to change the canons to completely open Holy Communion to unbaptized persons I will be sad.

However, my strong feelings about this liturgical & theological matter will NOT cause me to abandon our Church. The Church is composed of imperfect people & we must allow our leaders to make mistakes without acting on cowardice & running away from our family of faith. If GC votes to open Holy Communion to unbaptized persons, I will quietly live with that change. I will never agree with such a radical change to my understanding of our Baptismal Covenant but I can live wth it.

While I vehemently disagree with the logic behind this resolution, I can see where the people who wish to pass it are coming from. I, too, hope & pray for an inclusive Church. But being a Christian requires some sort of statement of faith & when an unbaptized adult wishes to become a Christian I believe that baptism in necessary for a full membership in the Church.

Inasmuch as I hate to admit it: I hope that the delegates to GC77 vote to uphold our Canons as they are regarding baptism & reception of Holy Communion. There are many reasons why I feel this way.

I do not understand why someone who has never professed belief that Jesus of Nazareth is indeed God’s only begotten Son wish to partake in our sacrament? My mother is Jewish & she has absolutely no desire to come to the altar for even a blessing by the priest on the rare occasions she attends Mass with me.

I do not understand why a non-Christian would want to actively participate in something that is so central to our identities as Christ-followers. My theology of the Eucharist stems from the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ last Supper with His disciples { and yes, I * am* aware that the Last Supper was a Jewish Passover meal.}

At that particular time & place, Scripture tells us :
” Then He took a cup & after giving thanks He said ‘ Take this & divide it among ourselves, for I tell you that from now on I will not drink from the vine until the Kindom of God comes. Then He took a loaf of bread & when He had given thanks, broke it & gave to them saying ‘This is my Body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance o Me.'”. { Luke 22:17-19}

To Christians, the elements presented for a blessing at the altar become more than the sum of their parts. To us, partaking in Holy Communion is done to remember what Jesus did for s so many years ago. It is a visceral reminder that WE are Christ’s Body on Earth. While we pry that ALL may come to know about Our LORD, in my opinion baptism is something that one must prepare one’s heart & mind. Our Baptism seals us as Christ’s own forever–thing we do an ever remove us from the family of Christ one we’ve received the Christian rite of initiation at Baptism.

I am not saying that we should discourage seekers from coming to church. Quite the opposite: if a seeker comes to one of our parishes & is so moved by the Celebration of The Eucharist, he or she has an option to ask the resident priest to tell him or her more about what it means to BE a member of Christ’s Body { a Christian}

Living In Tension:Part 1

I see on Facebook that some of the deputies { both lay & clerical} are already traveling to Indianapolis for General Convention.

Part of me wishes I could represent my Diocese this year as a lay deputy but most of me is very glad tat I will not be held responsible here for anything that occurs at this General Convention. In 2011 I served as a lay delegate to th Convention here when we voted for the deputation that will represent the Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast this summer. Althugh I am not 100 percent satisfied with *all* of the deputes voted in 2011, I trust te enough to know that they will discern how to vote on the upcoming resolutions.

Inasmuch as living in this sort of sociopolitical tension that surrounds the upcoming General Convention, let me go on record as saying I am proud to be an Episcopalian. I love this Church & will continue to be ” Uapologeticlly Episcopalian” regardless of what transpires during General Convention 2012.

It is quite possible that I will not agee with how the bishops & deputies vote , but I am not going anywhere. The Episcopal Church IS my spiritual home & I CAN ” live in tension” that seems to be the requirement of we postmodern Christ-followers. It is true that he Church is not the Church of our ancestors & I consider myself progressive. But if it is God’s will that we slow down to rethnk some initiatives put forth this year so be it.

It bothers me how some Christians { of all denominations} figuratively run awy from a church just because they don’t agree with some of the decisions made by denominational governing bodies. Christ calls us to work TOGETHER to further His kingdom on Earth….and he didn’t say that we had to agree 100 percent of the time on all Church matters. As a matr of fact,I am pretty sure that the fist apostles bickered amongst themeselves.

Above all, I am praying for UNITY. While living in tension is hard, schism & its after-effects has historically proven as counterproductive.

Amen.

My friend’s Ordination to The Sacred Order of the Priesthood

On Saturday I attended the Ordination to The Sacred Order of the Priesthood of a friend of mine. She served as ” lay rector” of my Cursillio weekend back in April , 2009 & quickly became one of the mot Spirit-filled women I know. Although contact between S & I has been somewhat sporadic while she attended General Seminary in New York City, I’ve always prayed for her { as I do for ALL those seeking ordination} & we exchanged some e-mails during her time at the seminary.

My Cursillio weekend played a huge part in my identity as an Anglican Christian, so it was especially poignant for me to attend my former lay rector’s ordination. several friends from ” my” Cursillio weekend were also there *and* the preacher was none other than the priest who was my rector when I first came to Small Parish. :O) Although she & her husband { who is also an Episcopal priest} have moved to a different Diocese, I am still in contact with them & it was totally a bonus to see them at the ordination.

Although I’ve attended an ordination to the Vocational Diaconate before { Convention, 2011} this was my first experience at any sort of ordination into the priesthood.

I was baptized into the Presbyterian church & during all my years in that denomination I never had an opportunity to attend one of their ordinations. Of course, Calvinist-based denominations hold an entirely different liturgical & theological approach to Holy Orders, but it still would have been inspiring to attend anyhow if I’d had a chance to do so.

The Mass was VERY high-Church {And I LOVED it! In my opinion, the more ” smells, bells & fire” used in a Mass, the more awe-inspiring.} Our Bishop presided & when my friend knelt at the altar in front of the Bishop & he said the Words of Consecration, I actually shed a tear{ and trust me, I am not prone to tears during Mass at all.}

The church is a set of historic lakefront buildings nestled in the centre of a small Southern town in Northwest Florida. According to literature provided by the church, this building was consecrated as a church in 1896 & has undergone several renovations through the years. It is a small-in-numbers parish, with only 67 souls listed on their register. But I know that, God-willing, my friend will be a good & faithful shepherd to these people t this place & at this point in time.

Alleluia. Amen.

You with ears–LISTEN!

Today’s Gospel lesson is the beginning of the series of parables that Our Lord teaches.

Parables are not meant to be taken literally, and I am often amazed at how many of our sister & other Christians interpret these stories

After all, in today’s Gospel, Jesus tells His disciples: “Let anyone with ears listen.” We are supposed to glean something from within the parables, bot necessarily * just* by looking at these passages at face-value.

Listen. What do these parables say to YOU.

Amen.

My Lenten discipline….

This Lenten season I shall blog about one of he readings from the Daily Office each day { except for Sundays,as Sundays are considered feast days during Lent} I wish this was an original idea , I ” borrowed”it from my rector at Small Parish. His blog { also on WordPress} can be reached at http://laydownyournets.wordpress.com .

This past Advent, I tried to stick to the discipline of blogging from ++ Katharine’s book_A Wing & A Prayer_ each day. Well– I did not make my goal of a post per day that time. Since I told my priest AND all 495 Facebook friends of my plan, I better stick to it!

In other news RIP Whitney Houston. her music defines my girlhood ideas of romance.

Epiphany 2012

Today is the Feast of the Epiphany, also known as Twelfth Night. On this day, we liturgical Christians celebrate the arrival of the Three Wise Men from the East. These astrologers were commissioned to seek out the Christ Child & then report to King Herod. But, warned in a dream, they saw th Christ child, brought Him expensive gifts , and returned home” another way.”

My question to myself this day is: How must I find “another way” to come closer to Our LORD? What is God asking ME to bring to His Son, Christ, this year? We are called to offer Him our best, as did the tree astrologers whose visit to the Christ Child we commemorate today. If I am not physically the healthiest I can be, than I am not offering my best to Our Lord & Savior.

Throughout most of my adult life I’ve been very ‘ wishy-washy’ at bet & downright lazy at worse regarding my attitude towards my bodily health. I’ve been skinny all of my life & have used my titanium-infused back to steer away from honest cardiovascular & strength training. Over the Christmas season, I’ve realized that I am NOT getting any younger & that if I do not start seriously tending to my physical body, later in life I will not be healthy enough to serve God & my community with my best. Being my best includes fitness in four areas, Physical, Emotional, Intellectual , and Spiritual. In the past I’ve ben faithfully working on 3 out of the four aforementioned areas. This year, however, I am making a HUGE change in my health & fitness routine.

I’ve had an Epiphany: I need to focus on becoming STRONG, NOT SKINNY”

I’ve come to the conclusion that , in order to present myself as a living offering to Our LORD, I must be as healthy as possible. My committment to my exercise program is not in order to compete against other ‘gym rats’ such as myself. I committed myself to improving my physical countenance so that I may better serve Christ. Our bodies are given to us on loan from God , and it is an act of good stewardship to tend to one’s physical health. I don’t go to the gym every day to show off{ and ayhow, I’m a neophyte in the world of ” gym rats”} I wake up & go excercise every day. It isn’t easy to get out of my warm bed, eat m oatmeal, drink my coffee, get dressed & meet ether Dad or LPC for my gym time.

It isn’t easy, but it is so worth it! I can already feel an increase in my stamina & general well-being in the short time I’ve been on my fitness regiment.