Tag Archives: katharine jefferts schori

Annual Meeting

Tomorrow is 2 Advent.

Per tradition at Small Parish, it is also the Sunday that we’ll hold the Annual Parish Meeting. We’ll all gather for ONE Mass at 9 A.M. followed by the meeting & then the monthly potluck luncheon.

Anyhow, we elect two new vestry members  at this meeting. I’m on the ballot as a possible new vestryperson.  We have two other fabulous people who are also on the ballot for the vestry election, so there is a good chance that I might not be elected.   Although I am a bit nervous about the election tomorrow I’m a bit reserved about serving on vestry for three years. 

 For many reasons, I feel called to at least put my name on the ballot for vestry at this time in my ” walk with God” & I will do my best if elected.  But if I am not elected I will not feel too sad.  Honestly, I am not the ” board meeting” sort of person & I would much rather be active in ministries such as EYC & assisting at the altar as an acolyte. If it is God’s will that I serve my parish as a vestryperson, I can only promise to do my best if elected.  And with the spiritual  growth that I’ve experienced this year, I am ready to move a bit out of my ” comfort zone” if I am called to do so.

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.

WWJD?{ there is truth to that cliche}

What would Jesus do?

Now clichés & pat phrases such as ” WWJD” usually annoys me. Recently a friend of mine reminded me that this acronym is at its heart what we are supposed to act like as Christ-followers. We are all charged with bringing Christ’s message of love , forgiveness & acceptance to the world. he did not command us to be in fellowship with only folks who are ” JUST LIKE US”.

Christ calls every one of us to follow Him out of our cozy ” safety nets” of people who at & think{ and even believe or not believe} as we do into the world. This is a lofty tasks to try to attain & I admit that I often fall short of totally accepting Christians who are not as socially progressive as I am.

One of my favorite quotes from our Presiding Bishop is:

” Look for the blessings in the people who drive you crazy.”

I try, but when people’s social views are opposite of what I believe I tend to become defensive.
While I know we Christ-bearers are to ” love our neighbors as ourselves” it is hard for me to show agape love towards a sister or brother Christian when they act in manners that offend me. Remaining rational & loving towards someone who is on the “wrong” side of any sociopolitical issue is not easy.

Amen.

DioCon2012, how I missed y’all

For the first time in two years, I was not an attendee of my Diocese’s Annual Convention. Best Dude & I ha planed a trip long before we knew the dates of DioCGC12, so I took this as a sign from God that it is time fo someone else to experience serving a lay delegate at Convention.

By the way, y’all, I am * very* curious to know how this year’s Convention went–a friend whom I’ve met there these past two years told me that the gala was excellent. So , please email me your thoughts on the happenings in Mobile this weekend. Photos from the event won’t be available online until at least Monday, so when they are posted I shall post some from at least the closing Mass.

Last year Best Dude & I were delegates to the Convention that was held at the diocesan camp & conference center. On thursday evening, we attendees had the rare privilege to witness our first ” class” of vocational deacons receive Holy Orders. Words cannot explain how Spirit-filed that Mass was & I shall never forget that experience. As a matter of fact, the Mass when our first class of vocational deacon were ordained is right up there with the Mass I attended in 2009 with ++ Katharine Jefferts-Schori.

I also recall that last year we delegates voted on whom we wished to send to the General Convention that will occur this summer. I was glad to see that a good friend of mine who is a priest will represent us this summer. It as one of my dreams to attend General Convention when Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts- Schori was still our Presiding Bishop, but I do not think that will happen. :O)Sadly for me, Bishop Katharine’s term will be done two years from this summer.

I am totally aware that not everyone thinks highly of Bishop Katharine, but I adore her. Liturgically, ++ Katharine is not ” liberal” & theologically, she’s just trying to lead people to follow Jesus. Isn’t that what we Christ-followers are supposed to be doing?

Best Dude and I were driving the long way from Urban Sprawl, Florida all the way to Redneck Riviera on Friday. I want to thank my friend Cindy for streaming the Convention live online– eventually I will at least view the Bishop’s Address.

Maybe I’ll go next year.

Shalom, y’all.

Advent with ++KJS Day 13 ” Share the Wealth’

Being generous also means sharing our gifts & abilities . Not all of us are blessed by God with the same gifts & talents, but all are blessed.

In the days of Jesus, a ” talent” was a coin that represented a lot of Roman currency.

Each of the gifts that God betsowed upon you & me is very valuable. Bu, ++Katharine asks us what weplan to do with out talents. Will we be like the slave who, for fear of losing our talent” bury it” by not allowing its use to glorify God?

Do we use our talents to glorify God or to glorify the Self?

Its important to keep our mninds & hearts on Our Lord while we do God’s work.

Amen.

Advent with ++KJS Day 12 ” A Cup of Starbucks”

I like a good cup of coffee.

Best Dude & often I frequent coffee joints. One of our favorite coffee stops is a family owned place in our beach town. He thinks that this little place serves ” the best biscuits & gravy ever” I think the fare at this coffee place is good.

Once again, today’s reading from ++ Katharine convicts me. Darn it!

Thee are people in other parts of the world who, for the price of a cup of a specialty latte here in America, could eat for one week. In this economy right now in The United States, there are people who are literally wondering where their next meal will come from. The gap between the ” haves” & the ” have-nots” is growing around the world & right here in or own nation.

While I do not think that more government programs are the solution to feeding { and tending to other basic needs} of our country’s & the world’s hungry , as Christians we *do* have a responsibility to tend to the poor. Our responsibility is to reach out to those in need…without passing judgement upon hem or their choices which my or may not have contributed to poverty.

Admittedly I am guilty of this sort of judgement…I often ask myself questions such as ” Well, if that teen mom would have been more careful, she wouldn’t struggle with buying clothes & toys for her baby”. Or ” if that person would stop drinking I wouldn’t mid giving him money. I don’t know where my money goes when I give it to him.” Like many others, I am much more comfortable helping those in need who share my values. Its easier to help those whom we understand or with whom we agree.

This time of year, especially, I am reminded that all humans are created equal. In spite of our inequality, we are ALL God’s children.

What some well-meaning Christians do not realize is that our baptismal covenant calls each of us to ” Seek Christ in ALL persons”. Yes, ALL PERSONS, not just those whose lifestyles we deem ” worthy” of our assistance.

Advent with ++KJS: Day 11 “Doing Is Believing”

I do not buy into ” works theology” , the idea that one can earn points with God by performing certain works. To subscribe to such an exclusive theology would totally discount that thing we know as God’s grace. { Martin Luther had it correct in his 99 theses against the Roman Catholic Church regarding selling & buying of ” indulgences”}

Because know about the grace of our loving God, my faith compels me to want to help others. because God is so good to me{ and even in these dire economic times, can safely say that everyone I know has enough to eat, a place to live,& adequate clothing. I’m also blessed by a loving family, many friends, a parish in which I am comfortable, & the most wonderful Best Dude ever! Indeed, I am blessed.

Bishop Katharine says: ” Good, healthy & holy ministry involves seeing the healing of one person or situation as part of the larger whole.”

No one person or a single charitable organization or government-funded social program can heal ALL of the world’s ills. Yet if we work together, healing & reconciliation is possible.

How shall we acheve such a lofty goal? I do not have the answer, but I do know that my response to God’s grace is to lend a helping hand & do whatever I can{ however insignificant it seems to me at the time} to help one person or situation.

Advent is a good time of year to think about the gift of grace that we are given & engage in creative ways to show or appreciation for what Christ did for us on the Cross by acting as agents of healing & change inour own corners of Creation.

Amen.

Advent with ++KJS Day 10 ” God Bless the Whole World, No Exceptions”

God loves ALL, No Exceptions

I am proud to be Irish-American. Dad’s people came to western Pennsylvania in the early 1800’s. I’ve grown up among my Irish American kin & identify strongly as an Irish-American.

But there is also some English on Dad’s Mom’s side of the family, relatives about whom my brother & I did not know about until I was 9 years of age. The woman I still call ” Grandma” is actually my father’s stepmother.

Pap’s first wife & mother of my dad & his older brother, died of polio when my father was a baby. My brother & I still do not know our English kin {they live in upstate New York}. I recall that at first it disturbed me that the woman I know as ” Grandma” isn’t my blood-relative. I felt betrayed by Dad for his withholding this vital piece of my genealogy from me. When I went through three weeks of two back surgeries at Pittsburgh’s Childrens’ Hospital & saw Grandma tend to my medcial & emotional needs I knew she loves me regardless of our lack of a DNA connection. Anne IS my grandmother. She raised Dad like a biological son. She loves me.

Mom’s kin came to America from Russia & are Jewish. Her parents moved to south Florida hen I was very young & we only sw them but for once per year. However, Mom did make a point to teach us about the feasts & fasts { along with a bit of storytelling from the Hebrew Scriptures} of her Ashkenazic Jewish heritage.

My mixed heritage has been a gift : I can appreciate diversities within even our own Christian faith . Sometimes it is hard for me to understand other people’s point of view, but my unique heritage is a constant reminder that God loves EVERYONE. God isn’t partial to any one part of humanity…and Christ died for the sins of humanity. God loves those whom we can’t like & even those groups or individuas who ate us simply for being whowe are & our way of life.

It is not right for those of us in the majority to target certain ethnic groups as ” outiders’. This can mean ethnic or religious groups, but the poor, the disabled, { occasionally the elderly} & homosexuals.

Bishop Katharine says” God’s presence among us in human flesh is a Gift to all the nations.” May we remember this as we wait for Immanuel, **God with us** to arrive.

In the Name of The Father, Son & Holy Spirit. Amen.

Feast of St John of The Cross
2011

Advent with++KJS Day 9 ” Shalom Around The World”

Bishop Katharine started out her adult life as an oceanographer. According to her, this was a vocation that she dearly loved. But when the government’s funding for the research program on which she worked ran out, she found herself without an income & ” at loose ends”. In her book she said that the subject of ordination did arise even then, but ” I wasn’t ready to hear it.” God’s Plan for her included another leg of her walks with Our Lord.

Sometimes our life’s work, what will fulfill you & me the most changes. But, according to Bishop Katharine, the very act of our baptism represents willingness to stand” naked” & vulnerable before God & to let God tell us what metaphorical garment to put on next. Sometimes God acts quickly, but most of the time, we must wait & see or the opportunity that God will put in our lives to show us what is next.

I admit it: I am NOT a patient person!

In the early Church, baptism was an act that was much closer to the baptism that Jesus experienced in the Jordan River than the usual Anglican method of sprinkling water on the baptismal candidate’s forehead. But the theology is the same, when a person is baptized , she or he ” dies” to the old life & is “reborn {so to speak} as Christ’s own.

I’m waiting to see where my journey with God will lead me next. In the world where I find myself here in Northwest Florida, there is much work to be done to spread Shalom.

Amen.

Advent with ++KJS Day 8 ” How can We Keep from Singing?”

Today is Day 8. Bishop Katharine gave me a challenging meditation on which to ponder.

She tells a story of bringing Communion to some residents in a nursing home. In this particular nursing home , Bishop Katharine inadvertently gave Communion to a Jewish woman who had come to receive the Bread & Cup of life.

Now according to our Church’s canons, one must be a baptized Christian in order to receive Eucharist. Those who are not yet baptized but wish to come forward during Mass can receive a God’s Blessings in the form of words pfrom the priest. Unlike our Roman Catholics some Lutheran synods, we Anglicans do not practice a truly ” closed” Communion. Ideally anyone who comes to the altar for communion does so because she or he believes that Jesus Christ died & was raised from the dead in atonement for our sins.

I do not agree with the closed Communion policies of the Roman Church, & some synods of the Lutheran Church. yet I can see why ou Anglican tradition’s canons have the policy about all baptized Christians invited to receive at our Table. Yet I can also see the arguments of some Presbyterians whose position is that ALL are welcome at the Lord’s Table.

A few years ago I read a fabulous book by Sara Miles called _ Take This Bread_ .

Ms Miles, a self-proclaimed lesbian, super-liberal atheist suddenly found herself sitting in Mass at St Gregory Of Nyssa Episcopal Chuch in San Francisco. Miles says that she walked into the nave of the building simply because of curiosity. Her experience of inclusion in our Church’s Holy Communion was the catalyst for a radical change in her life. Not only did Ms Miles eventually get baptized, her initial experience of Church was when the priest let all the canons surrounding reception of Holy Communion go & do what God asked of him.

St Benedict of Nursia said that rules are meant to be a guide to follow…not a rigid law. Hmm.

Maybe our Canons should be revised at the next General Convention to permit priests to allow ” seekers” to receive Communion. Our Mass is not for members of an exclusive club. A Presbyterian minister I once knew when I was younger always ended he Prayer before Communion by saying” The feast of God for the People of God.”

Amen. { Thank you Reverend Nan of the Presbyterian Church, USA for your inspiration for me to live out the tough questions of faith.}