Tag Archives: Cursillio

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.


Spiritual ” Housecleaning”: Part 1

When I was a  newly-minted Episcopalian I was much more diligent in my prayer life.

I’d even turned the nightstand next to my bed at the house into a “prayer place” .I’d covered it with a prayer shawl knitted for me years ago, placed a ” baptismal font” full of water, my Bible, BCP, a rosary, my Benedictine crucifix, a candle, ect. For about 8 months I kept that space in my otherwise *very* secular house reserved for contemplative and/or intercessory prayer.   

After all, one of the  main points I’d taken away from my Cursillio weekend back in April of 2009 was how important it is for Christians to make time for God every day. One whole weekend of being completely on ” God’s Time” {Greek- karios} taught me that every day is sacred & we need to remember to be still and listen to God. Well, anyone who knows me at all is aware  that being patient is NOT one of my virtues, but the prayer place was a visual reminder for me to slow down & just ” be” with God.

My latest project is to re- create said place designated for prayer at my house.  So on Tuesday evening I took one look at the nightstand in my bedroom which at one time held my sacred objects & realized that it had become a dumping ground from everything from unworn necklaces to fish food{ yes, I have a betta fish} to loose change.

I removed the old prayer shawl…{after all it had been given to me by a woman who won’t even say hello to me when we see each other in Publix} and replaced it with a prayer shawl that Best Dude bought for me at our parish’s annual silent auction/ food & wine event.  I cleared out all the junk but kept Argo, my betta fish, on the prayer table. His bowl{ at least for me} is a visual and tactile reminder of  my baptism & his ” just being” in his aquatic home next to my bed aids me in contemplative prayer. {Really…try watching a fish sometime & see if you don’t become more relaxed & open to the Holy Spirit It works.} I’d found a painted stone that was painted during an intergenerational Sunday School led by a former Presbyterian pastor.  Also on my prayer table is my rosary given to me at the closing of Cursillio #139 , a hand-held pewter labyrinth, & a rosary I’d purchased from the Benedictine monks in St Leo , Florida.

Inasmuch as I wanted to be rid of the old prayer shawl, i discovered that I could not just toss it in the trash. So, when Best Dude & I went to Mass at a neighboring parish where our friend is the rector, I surprised her by giving her the shawl.  She loved it but once again God reminded me that my next task is to work on some internal ” Spiritual Housecleaning” & purge myself of all the old grudges  left over from my metaphorical wilderness.

Say tuned as my much-needed housecleaning project continues.  

And remember, Walk with God.


Rain epic enough for Noah’s ark…in a canoe

Today’s nerdy quote is:

“The impersonal hand of government can never replace the helping hand of a neighbor.” ~Hubert H. Humphrey

Yesterday some of my parishioners, our priest & myself wennt on a canoeing adventure on a river in the Northwest Florida woods. 30 souls of varying ages were to float down the river, find a suitable sandbar & have Mass & lunch & be on our way . Well, we did all that, but not exactly according to plan.

Not long after we left, we found ourselves in the middle of a rainstorm. So we pullled our canoes, kayaks & tubes ashore to a sand bar to allegedly wait out the rain. It was fun, as at that point the rain wasn’t hard nor were there any sign of thunder & lightening. So we waited & waited. Finally we found a clearing in the woods that somhow accomodated 30 folks & we had Mass on the river with te rain pouring down.

It was, per Cursillio, one of my ” moment closest to Christ”. There is nothing like worshipping together & sharing a common cup of sorts, it was really a plastic water bottle} & sharing Eucharis in the middle of nowhere.

My parish community is full of wonderful people. But the 30 of us who attended the first ” Canoecharist” REALLY bonded. There is nothing like hunkering down with three other human beings in the middle of a thunderstorm in the wilderness to make one realize how important community is to each of us. I hate storms & my autism makes me super sensitive to certain noises. But, thanks be to God, my canoe-mate, Mary Ann & the folks in the canoe closest to us were * very* understanding of my distress.

I am so blessed to really really like spending time with my parish family. We all are parts of communities within larger communities & I am proud to say that I am so blessed & proud to be a part of my parish community. And besides we’re FUN people!

That, folks, is “Community”. Rain & all, Canoecharists 2010 was a special worship & fellowship experience for all who attended. It was also tons of FUN. So, when can we do it again? :O)

Sarah’s Rule of Life

I am in the process of rewriting my Rule of Life. If you do not know what a Rule of Life is: I suggest you Google it}. {I’ve had a Rule of Life since I became a Benedictine oblate years ago &  each year update it according to where God is leading me . All of us are ” works in progress” & the ule of Life helps me to keep my spiritual self in check.  I am a natural list-maker & making this Rule is { usually} not too difficult.

So much has happened in the ten  months since I’ve updated my Rule that I knew the time has come to seriously rewrite this personal but very important document.  I have a Spiritual Director now so one of the  amendments I’ve added to my Rule is to meet with him at least monthly. {even if said meeting is via phone}

While God is the One to Whom I am the most accountable, I am also accountable to my parish family: especially those  Cursillistas in my parish. My Cursillio reunion meets next Friday, so it is my goal to have the updated Rule completed by the March Reunion Group.

Worship was the easy one. I almost never miss Sunday Mass & I almost always am in the choir. Now that Wednesday Mass will return to my parish’s life I’ll  attend Mass  twice on most weeks. A******** for the return of the Wednesday  Eucharist: I’ve missed  worshipping midweek in that way  and with  a smaller number of my parishioners.

Study is also pretty easy. I am very active in my EfM program in my Diocese.  I am currently also reading some books on discernment.

Piety is pretty tricky. I * do* read the Gospel every day & pray intercessory prayers for folks but that is all I do on a daily basis.

I’m struggling with the ” Action” part. What constitutes ” apostolic action”?

A liturgy junkie

” Hi, my name is Sarah Beth & I am a liturgy junkie!”

This comes as a big surprise to anyone who knows me, eh?

Yesterday a friend & I took a day trip to attend a Celebration of New Ministry. It was a long drive, but worth every mile.

One of the best aspects about The Episcopal Church is how we have special  liturgy for so much of life’s transitions. Not only do we have{ in my humble opinion} the * best* Mass liturgy, the most meaningful Burial Rites, wedding liturgy that is full of joy . We also have the distinctly Anglican liturgy for Morning & Evening Prayer. During Holy Week this year we’ll have Morning Prayer on Monday & Tuesday & on Holy Saturday I am told my parish will have an honest-to-goodness Easter Vigil, complete with bonfire. Yay. This is so awesome. It is only midway through the middle of Lent & I am already anticipating the new experience of the Holy Saturday vigil.Since my experience of organized church is  mostly Calvinist, I am totally unfamiliar with the Holy Saturday liturgy & look to this experience with the wide eyes of a fairly ” new” Episcopalian.

Yesterday I attended a Celebration of New Ministry service. This service officially marks a new chapter in the life of a parish & its new clergy. Last evening’s Mass was truly one of those ” moments closest to Jesus” { per what we discuss in Cursillio} The Spirit was truly present there & it was such a privilege & an honor to be among those good folks as they ” officially” welcome their new clergy. If you do have a chance to attend one of these services, even if you are not Episcopalian, I highly suggest that you do so. The symbolism of this particular service  is  full of  visual poetry.

Yup, Episcopal/Anglican liturgy rocks! :O)

Surrounded by great cloud of witnesses

I am surrounded by a great cloud of  witnesses in The Episcopal Church in general & in my parish & Diocese in particular.

Tonight I made an honest attempt to  sift through the Convention packet. I noticed that there are several names from my Cursillio{ 139, the Dream Team} who are either clergy{ of course}  delegates & alternates. Wow. I am * totally* stoked & impressed that  MY Cursillio has produced & apparently will produce more  fine baptized leaders in my Diocese & in my Church.

Facebook has allowed me to keep in touch with many of the folks from Cursillio 139 & a couple of them have remained in my life long after the three-day weekend. 

I am planning on lunching with two of my favorite people from  Baldwin County at Convention this year…after all, they came all the way to my parish for the Mass where I was confirmed, & that is a mark of dedicated friendship & siblinghood-in-Christ. The Lay Rector of Cursillio 139 is currently studying  for ordination to the priesthood  at General Seminary in NYC{ I love NYC!!!} & I am so proud of her.

As for my parish’s Cursillistas…of course I cannot say enough about how they have  inspired & continue to inspire this young Episcopalian{ young both in age & in  time in this Church}

The people  from The Episcopal Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast #139 are proof of the amazing  gift of the Cursillio movement.  It is not for everyone, but  I must say that the three-day weekend of #139 has blessed me in countless ways. God is so good!

My parish’s Senior Warden is my newest hero …she joins a very short list of women who have  & continue to be good role models for me. As a matter of fact, one of my plans this Lent is to try harder to BE the  dedicated  Christ-follower that my parish’s Senior Warden has shown herself to be…her ministry to my parish sort of reminds me of ++ Katharine’s  ministry as Presiding Bishop of my Church. Both are living proof that God equips BOTH genders for all sorts of  very important ministry.

Ok, back to work on that Convention packet!  It will be a LONG night.

Convention Packet arrived

Yesterday my packet of ” study materials ” for the 2010 Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast arrived in the mail. Oy, vey…it is a THICK packet. I am glad that there is plenty of time in which to somewhat familiarize myself with the material.

I skimmed the first few pages before I went to church last evening.  Honestly, I shall return to the material  next week when I am in a better mindset  to decipher all that legalese. :O) Thankfully there is nothing too pressing  on the agenda for this year’s Convention.

I am pleased to see that there will be several of my friends from  CGC Cursillio #139 present at Convention { both lay & clergy}Cursillio was such a wonderful experience for me , as I met so many fine Episcopalians from all over this Diocese whom I now count as close friends.

Eek, speaking of Cursillio I am not going to the closing Eucharist this time, since I have Supper Club Sunday evening. Darn it! But I will be where I need to be: among my parishioners since we have much to celebrate together! :O)

 This year’s Convention will be packed into one very long  & busy day but I am * really* looking forward to it. Naturally I bought myself a new outfit for the occasion & I am still searching for the right accessories for the dress, cardigan & shoes. The dress is a simple black  shift, but what make the outfit interesting is the sweater I chose to wear over the dress. Right now I’m on the hunt for  some unique yet inexpensive costume jewelry to  accent the dress & sweater. {Ladies in the CGC, if you have any shopping tips let me know soon! } I do wish I could wear earrings, as I saw some cute ones  during my last foray to the local Wal-Mart.

The main Eucharist will be an evening one at the close of the day. Since I am such a high-Church Anglican , this will by far be the best part of the whole experience.