Friday, December 09, 2011

Vote for the Rabbi

In case you want to write his name in, Jason Miller is the name.


Thursday, December 08, 2011

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Monday, October 24, 2011

Love: More Than a Feeling

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.' This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: `You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
That is known as Jesus' summary of the law. We have spoken of it a few times already. Today we get to talk about it a little more thoroughly.

Love God with all your heart, soul and mind. To begin, I want to help us identify the two different ways most of us respond to concept like the love of God or the love of neighbor. How many of you are familiar with Myers-Briggs? This is a complicated personality sorter. I use a shorter version called the Keirsey test with couple who are preparing to be married.

What this test does is sort out our personalities according to four subsets: I/E, S/N, T/F and J/P. Now, none of these personality types are better than another, and over our life, our designation may shift. Also, what this test sorts is what the dominant characteristic happens to be at the moment we take the test. Many people end up an equal amount of both, making them an X. But most folks are, for instance, both extroverted and introverted, depending on the situation, the time of day, and other factors.

Anyway, this morning I want to focus on just two of these characteristics, S/T and N/F. First, the Sensing and Thinking personality. These are folks who give a high priority to sensory data, or empirical evidence. These are the “Just the facts, ma’am” kind of folks. They are pragmatic, like concrete answers, carefully drawn plans and detailed schedules. They prefer an orderly life. Their knowledge is primarily derived from the intellect. They live in the mind. They make excellent scientists.

And then we have the NFs, the Intuitive and Feeling types. For these folks, imagination, intuition, playing the hunch and trusting your feelings can override other considerations. This kind of knowledge, known as tacit knowledge, is not necessarily dependent on empirical data. They are comfortable with mystery and creativity, and prefer open ended answers, loosely drawn plans, and flexible schedules. They live in their hearts. They make great artists.

Love God. For the STs, the scientific types, the term love is a bit vague. The sensory data, the empirical evidence, would suggest love is an emotion caused by a chemical reaction in the brain, and certain brain cells firing, resulting a subjective emotion we call love. To suggest an actual thing called love exists outside of ourselves would be a subjective belief, based on little evidence.

Love God. For the NF, the artistic types, concepts like beauty, truth, goodness and love are part of their daily lives, and as real to them as anything in the sensory world. It matters little if there is testable evidence to support such concepts. For them, love is a feeling, an emotion, but one from which they derive much knowledge of the external world.

The problem with both of these views of love is that they are rooted in limiting love to a feeling, and emotion. And, to some degree, I think they both miss the mark. If we are to draw these two personality types together, so that we can indeed love God with both our hearts and our minds, perhaps we need a different definition of love.

Actually, I think that the “love as a feeling” definition doesn’t work all that well. Some of the current popular Christian music sounds very much like romantic love songs to God, which make me a bit uncomfortable. I can stand that sweet, syrupy stuff for just so long. No doubt those songs were written by an N/F. There is a place for the theology of romantic love, however, as seen in Dante’s Divine Comedy. In the end, as Dante chases Beatrice, he finally encounters her with the griffin, a Christ figure, part eagle and part lion, and he realizes that the love he saw in Beatrice’s eyes was being radiated from the griffin.

But, for the most part, I think limiting love to a feeling is problematic. Is that the only way to think about it?

As a child, it took me a long time to learn to love my step-mother, due to being a victim of her mental illness. Eventually, I came to realize that she was just sick, and chose to respond to her with loving actions, even though there were little or no feelings of love.

In a house with four kids, I was often frustrated by the chaos caused by my children, but I chose to respond to them in loving ways, most of the time, even when I was felt like telling them to go outside and play in the street!

When my wife reorganizes the kitchen, and I can’t find a thing, I feel like starting to toss pots and pans and yell a few choice terms I learned in the Navy, but instead, I usually choose to respond with love, and calmly ask where she put my favorite frying pan.

When my neighbor decides to mow his lawn at 8:00 on a Saturday morning, I resist the temptation to go give him a piece of my mind, and choose instead to show love for my neighbor by being thankful that at least he’s finally mowing his lawn!

Occasionally I’m the only one in the building when a family comes to receive some food from our food pantry, so I serve them. Sometimes, not often, they can be rather dysfunctional, and can get under my skin. But I stop and remind myself that these folks are also children of God, and so choose to respond to them with the dignity and respect that they deserve.

My point is, I think often love is not an emotion, for either the S/T or the N/F. Love is a choice, resulting in concrete actions.

Now, defining love that way, as a choice resulting in actions, helps both personality types to accept the concept of love in a healthy way. For the NFs, the artists, it confirms love as a valid form of knowledge to which they can respond by making choices. For the STs, the scientists, when love results in concrete actions, then the actions become the evidence, the sensory data if you will, that this thing we call love has an external impact that can be observed. And these two types need each other. The NFs recognize the choice, but often they need the pragmatic STs to initiate a particular action.

Love God, with all your heart, and all your mind. That is not a command to have warm fuzzy feelings about God. Such love is a choice, resulting in concrete actions. What are those actions? Offering God our praise and thanksgivings in worship as we are doing this morning is certainly one of them. But Jesus suggests another specific action. Love your neighbor as yourself. When we choose to reach out to our neighbors who are in physical, emotional or spiritual need, we have expressed our love of God through the concrete actions of caring for God's children.

So, regardless if you are an ST or an NF, may your neighbors know you are Christians by your love.


Tuesday, October 04, 2011

The Feast of Francis of Assisi

Lord, make us instruments of your peace. Where there is
hatred, let us sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where
there is discord, union; where there is doubt, faith; where
there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where
there is sadness, joy. Grant that we may not so much seek to
be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive; it is
in pardoning that we are pardoned; and it is in dying that we
are born to eternal life. Amen.

Friday, September 02, 2011

Stop the Bad Vestments!

Vestments belong to the Church. They are a symbol of office, the liturgical year, and the liturgy. They are not personal fashion statements. They are not liturgical accessories. If you understand the liturgical party to be representative of the people gathered, and that the role of those representatives is to be as transparent as possible (meaning, not being a distraction), why would one freely chose to wear vestments that call attention to the individual? The only explanation I have is poor taste, or poor training, or both.

I bring this up because, in my opinion, among the liturgical traditions, Episcopalians are the worse offenders when it comes to poor taste in vestments. By far the absolute worst. And it seems to be a fad that is not passing quietly into the oblivion in which it belongs.

Am I being extreme? Perhaps. But consider this site, Bad Vestments, which is run by a young man, whom I understand was a former Episcopalian.

Here's an example of what I'm talking about:

Now, can anyone tell me what part of the liturgical year YELLOW represents?  I must tell you, this kind of thing is not "cool."  It is not "emergent."  It is just plain embarrassing.

BTW, to those who should know better, blue is an alternative color for Advent.  Purple is appropriate for Lent.  Using those colors during other seasonal times is simply reason to question the quality of  a person's liturgical training.

I will now stop gritting my teeth. 


Friday, August 26, 2011

The Doctor or the Pirate?

I've been avoiding wading too deeply into the Anglican soap opera for awhile, but a recent minor dust up is just too rich to resist.

What's the issue? It's about the battling news stories regarding the presentation by members of the Standing Commis­sion on Liturgy and Music (SCLM) of the Episcopal Church to the Anglican Liturgical Consultation (IALC), which met earlier this month in Canterbury.

One version appeared in the Church Times, and was authored by Simon Sarmiento. Here's part of it:

...The Professor of Liturgics at the Church Divinity School of the Pacific, the Revd Dr Ruth Meyers, said on Saturday that the 2009 General Convention had directed the SCLM both to inform, and to invite reflections from, the rest of the Communion. The IALC meeting was an ideal opportunity to discuss the matter.

The Episcopal Church’s request for such a session was made accord­ing to existing IALC norms, she said, and had been unanimously approved in advance by the IALC steering committee. It was a co­incidence that marriage was the main topic this year; the request would have been made in any event.

Dr Meyers also noted that the Episcopal Church’s request con­formed to the Windsor report’s recommendation that “provinces engaged in discernment regarding the blessing of same-sex unions [should] engage the Communion in continuing study.”
The other version of this same meeting was in the Church of England Newspaper and was written by George Conger. This version includes bits like this:

...While some members of the IALC, including its new chairman, Canadian-member the Rev. Dr. Eileen Scully, were generally supportive of the US view, the majority were not. One participant told CEN the objections fell in two general groups: those who believed the concept of same-sex blessings was un-Biblical, and those who were perturbed by the “aggressive” push by the US team to seize control of a study process on rites for traditional marriage to include their own agenda...
Seize control of a study process? The SCLM requested a separate session for their presentation, which would not be part of the "study process" of marriage rites. We were told that it was a coincidence that marriage was the main topic of the IALC this year. The request for the special session by the SCLM would have been made anyway, regardless of the main topic, in order to accomplish the work they were charged to do before GC 2012.

One wonders who this anonymous participant was that told Conger that some were "perturbed" by the Americans' "aggressive push" to "seize control of the study process." If that participant was paying attention, they may have noted that there was a "special session" on the agenda, approved by the IALC steering committee.

It all seems a bit strange, until Conger quotes someone who is not anonymous, as a matter of fact, one who loves the lime light; none other than Frank Lyons, the Bishop of Bolivia.

Yeah, THAT Frank Lyons...the Pirate Bishop of Bolivia! The same Frank Lyons who has plundered a quite a few Episcopal parishes over the years.

In case you still don't recall Lyons, here's just a bit from the 2006 news story that is linked above:

...Lyons, a Wheaton College graduate, is emerging as a rallying figure for conservatives in the Anglican Communion, which includes the Episcopal Church. Saying the leadership has turned its back on these people, he is offering a haven to grateful parishes but angering church leaders who accuse him of using the denomination's divisions to promote himself.

His parishes, not wishing to separate from worldwide Anglicanism, turned to Lyons, an American who supervises four churches in Bolivia. Eventually, they plan to establish their own leadership.

Lyons has embraced what some congregations call "the Diocese of Bolivia's Northern Deanery" with zeal. In defiance of U.S. bishops, he ordains priests, lays hands on the sick and shrugs off complaints that his actions contravene church law and common courtesy. He ignores letters from other bishops asking him to stay out...

So, we have one story which quotes Dr. Ruth Meyers, Professor of Liturgics at the Church Divinity School of the Pacific, and another which quotes Frank Lyons, the pirate Bishop of Bolivia.

Based on that point alone, the source of the quotes, which story would you take more seriously?


Friday, August 12, 2011

Repenting of the Sin of Racism

A Service of Repentance and Reconciliation was recently held at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Perth Amboy, New Jersey. Here's an excerpt from a news report regarding the event:

...Although no one knew them personally, 38 slaves and servants of African descent who were buried in the cemetery at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in the 1700s and 1800s, many without their full names being recorded, were remembered Wednesday during a service of repentance and reconciliation at the historic church on Rector Street...

...“We as Christians have on occasion treated other people as property and people to be dispensed with,” said the Rt. Rev. George E. Councell, Bishop of the Diocese of New Jersey, during his sermon in the two-hour service before an overflow audience of Episcopal church members and residents from throughout the state. “We don’t even know their names for Christ sake. But they are here somewhere.”

Councell said it diminishes them not to know their names and to have buried them in common graves.

“They are one with us,” said Councell...

Let us pray:

O God, you made us in your own image and redeemed us
through Jesus your Son: Look with compassion on the whole
human family; take away the arrogance and hatred which
infect our hearts; break down the walls that separate us;
unite us in bonds of love; and work through our struggle and
confusion to accomplish your purposes on earth; that, in
your good time, all nations and races may serve you in
harmony around your heavenly throne; through Jesus Christ
our Lord. Amen.


Thursday, June 30, 2011

Sound Familiar?

I ran across an interesting news story today. For fun, I'm going to quote some of it, but will leave out any dates and a few proper names, to see if you can guess when these events occurred.

I'll wait for awhile, and then add the link to the article, so you can see how close your date matches the facts:

...All went well until the early ****s when a rift began to appear within the congregation over the interpretation of theological teachings and doctrine.

Some wanted to relax what they saw as the old 'high church' practices and others wanted to maintain the status quo.

In **** the issue came to a head and in an attempt to settle the matter the Wardens, led by Ezekiel Taylor, locked the church to both groups.

The dissenting group then met at the Free Meeting House and the others chose Dunlap's Hall on Main Street.

At about the same time as dissent was growing within the congregation of Saint George's Episcopal Church in Moncton, a similar movement was underway in the United States under the leadership of Bishop *******. He and his followers formed a new church called the ******** ********* ******, and the Moncton group wrote to Bishop ******* asking that a clergyman be sent to Moncton to lead them. By January **** Saint Paul's ******** ********* Church was established in Moncton.

Within a few weeks plans were made for a building and two lots were bought from James Robertson and J. & C. Harris on the northeast corner of Victoria and Botsford street.

The cornerstone was laid Oct. 11, **** and the church was dedicated three days later. A Sunday school building and rectory were built later on the site.

A large number of parishioners left the congregation of Saint George's Episcopal Church to join the new church...

...At first the new church flourished and continued to do so until the early ****s, despite it being far removed from other similar congregations.

However, by June **** the congregation had dwindled to a few persons as families moved, children left home for other locations and senior members died.

Services were discontinued and the church closed.
BTW, St. George's, mentioned in the article, is erroneously identified as St. George's "Episcopal" is located in New Brunswick, so it is obviously St. George's "Anglican" Church.

The breakaway church eventually closed its doors, but the original church, St. George's, is still alive and well:

Ok, what are the dates for the split at St. George's Anglican Church?


UPDATE: The article can be found here. The split happened in 1876, and the new congregation was indeed part of the Reformed Episcopal Church. The Bishop from the United States that they contacted was George David Cummins, founder of the REC.

What I found interesting about the article was that by changing a few dates and a few names, this could easily be a current article about some ACNA congregation. The pattern is the same.

However, it was surprising that the Warden (not the Rector or the Bishop) locked both groups out of the church! Obviously that was an era in which Wardens had more authority than they do in this day and age.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Scots and Canucks and Yanks...Oh My!

The conversations about the Anglican Covenant continue. However, we do have a few more "official documents" to consider now.

For instance, on June 9, the General Synod of the Scottish Episcopal Church accepted a process for considering the Covenant as outlined in a Paper from the Faith and Order Board.

...General Synod 2012 - The Synod would be invited to debate the substance of the Covenant culminating in a motion approving adoption of the Covenant “in principle”. This would not represent the final decision of the Church on the matter but rather would be a means of the Synod expressing at least a preliminary view on the merits of adoption or otherwise. Were such an approval “in principle” to be given, a further motion could be proposed to Synod inviting it to instruct the Faith and Order Board to prepare the necessary canonical material. If the “in principle” motion fell, it would seem that there would be no point in continuing with any further process...
If approved, the canonical material would have to be passed with two readings at Synod, putting any final determination off until General Synod 2014. The other possibility is that the Covenant idea is simple dropped at the 2012 Synod.

So, for the Scottish Episcopal Church, even if they agree "in principle" with the idea, the earliest any final decision can be made on the Anglican Covenant is 2014...three years from now. As we have learned, a lot can happen in three years.

Then, after a slight delay, the Executive Council of the Episcopal Church released the Standing Commission on Constitution and Canons Report, which is one document that will be used by the D020 Task Force to develop a recommended response to the Anglican Covenant for consideration at the 2012 General Convention.

From the SCCC Report:

...Section 4.2 would require substantial Constitutional and canonical action on the part of the Episcopal Church. It would purport to require the Episcopal Church to put into place “mechanisms, agencies, or institutions,” necessary to assure the compliance with the Covenant of all levels of the Church and respective dioceses. It further implies an expectation that the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church be amended to empower the Presiding Bishop to become the Anglican Communion de facto compliance officer for the Episcopal Church, which would clearly exceed her present constitutional and canonical authority...
As Mark Harris suggests, since it appears that canonical changes may be required, the earliest prudent date for the Episcopal Church to approve a Covenant, if she were to choose to go that route, would be 2015...four years from now. Personally, I question if the all the canonical changes could be proposed by next General Convention, and envision the process to be more like that of the Scottish Episcopal Church...agree in principle, first reading of canonical changes and then second reading of canonical changes, making the earliest date years from now. A lot can happen in seven years.

Some parts in the Communion seem to be in a rush to decide on the Covenant one way or another. I'm not sure why. Does it matter if we take three, four or even seven years to approve it? Consider this segment of the Covenant:

4.2.8 -Participation in the decision-making of the Standing Committee or of the Instruments of Communion in respect to section 4.2 shall be limited to those members of the Instruments of Communion who are representatives of those Churches who have adopted the Covenant, or who are still in the process of adoption.
(emphasis added)
It seems to me that there is no rush. So, if the Covenant is such a "really big deal" as some would have us believe, who not slow down and take our time?

Now, finally, I hope you take a look at the report presented by the Governance Working Group for the Anglican Church of Canada. This paper makes quite a few points regarding why the Covenant idea is indeed a "really big deal," although they might characterize it as a "really bad idea." As with the other reports, they also note the necessity for canonical changes (meaning years down the road, even if approved "in principle"). Beyond that, the GWG doesn't hesitate to spell out some of the specific problems found within the Covenant.

Right away, the GWG makes this clear statement:

The Covenant is more than a statement of belief or intention; it is a legal document...
Read that slowly, then read it again. This isn't some kind of "can't we just get along?" presentation. It's not primarily a theological is a legal document...and a complex one at that. An extremely good reason to slow down and be careful, it seems to me.

Much that follows involves some detailed calls for clarity of language, which I'll leave for you to consider. But I do want to point out one of the problems that such of lack of clarity has already caused. Regarding the question of the authority the Covenant:

The relationship of the Covenant to the constitutional and foundational documents of a Church is a live issue in other parts of the Communion. The Church in South-East Asia has “acceded” to the Covenant, and issued a long preamble to its Letter of Accession which makes it clear that it contemplates that the Covenant will be superior to the internal constitutions of signing Churches...By contrast, the Church of Ireland has “subscribed” to the Covenant, and issued covering documentation which makes it clear that it contemplates that the Covenant will have no effect on its sovereignty or existing constitutional provisions, which will be superior to the Covenant. Obviously, these contradictory views of the Covenant’s constitutional function and relationship cannot both be correct...
Then, the GWG goes on to make an excellent point that I've not heard much about elsewhere:

...the Covenant does not contemplate any specific role for the laity. Of the four Instruments of Communion, only the Anglican Consultative Council has any representation from the laity—and the lay members do not form a majority of that Council, nor is their concurrence required for any decision by that Council.61 Nor is there any guarantee that there will be any lay members on the Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion which controls the process under section 4 of the Covenant.

The question therefore arises about whether the overwhelmingly episcopal nature of the decision-making process under the Covenant is compatible with the long-accepted constitutional role of the laity in decision-making in the Canadian Church...
The Covenant is extremely purple, yet the Spirit is color blind. Can I get an AMEN?

In section D; "Consequences of Not Adopting the Covenant," the GWG argues that signing or not signing will have no affect on membership in the Anglican Communion.

But, isn't the schedule kept by the Anglican Consultative Council the official membership list, from which Churches can be added or removed? Not, so, claims the GWG:

...the Constitution of the Anglican Consultative Council does not give it the authority to determine which entities are in communion with the See of Canterbury or are members of the Anglican Communion. The purpose of the Schedule to the Council’s Constitution is to identify how many members of the Council will be drawn from each group of the specified Churches (all of whom are members of the Anglican Communion). Indeed, there are entities which are not listed in the Schedule (and therefore do not have representation on the Council) even though they are undoubtedly part of the Anglican Communion.66
The footnote identifies these entities not listed in the schedule; the extra-provincial dioceses of Cuba, Bermuda, Ceylon, Spain, Falkland Islands as well as the Lusitanian Church.

So, if the ACC doesn't define who is a member of the Anglican Communion, who does?

The test for membership in the Anglican Communion was stated by the Lambeth Conference of 1930 (which pre-dates the creation of the Anglican Consultative Council after the Lambeth Conference of 1968) as follows:

The Anglican Communion is a fellowship, within the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, of those duly constituted dioceses, provinces and regionalChurches in communion with the See of Canterbury.
The GWG's conclusion of the full impact of not signing the Covenant?

...A decision by a Church to adopt or not to adopt the Covenant has no effect on that Church’s status as a member of the Anglican Communion (or with respect to its membership in any of the Instruments of Communion)...

...Accordingly, it is not apparent that there would be any consequence to the Canadian Church if it makes a definitive decision not to adopt the Covenant, apart from the restriction contained in section 4.2...
So, there you go...reports from three churches, all who seem to be taking a very slow and cautious approach towards the Anglican Covenant; for good reasons, it seems to me.

However, it is safe to assume that even if the acceptance process slows or even stalls, that will not stop another process from unfolding. It's the same process used to transform the Windsor Report from a set of recommendations to a document claimed to have some legal status. As the Churches study and reflect on the Covenant, its implementation will steam right along, as if it were already law. Actually, the implementation has already commenced. Hopefully, such tactics will not hinder the slow and careful consideration of this cumbersome legal document.


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

New Jersey Deputation Responds to the Covenant

From here:

...At the outset, many of our Deputation members object strongly to the use of the word "covenant" to describe what is essentially a multilateral contract between earthly churches and their designated representative bodies (the so-called Instruments), rather than an agreement between God and Humankind. They say that mis-using a theological principle smacks of puffery...

...Many are worried about the negative consequences of endorsing the Covenant. Among these consequences are the establishment of a new unnecessary hierarchy, the loss of diversity within the Communion, the loss of connection to churches that may not endorse the Covenant, destruction of the Anglican ethos, the forced abandonment of GLBTQ Anglicans, attenuation of the voice of the laity in the life of the Communion, and by putting decision-making in the hands of the Standing Committee, the hierarchical structure will reduce the incentive for churches with differing views to communicate one-to-one, as they do now. And finally, to the extent that representatives from The Episcopal Church may end up on the Standing Committee acting under Covenant Section 4.2, we may participate in being an instrument of oppression of another church within the Communion.

Yet, others are concerned that having passed on the Windsor report, there is a need to be affirmatively responsive to the continuing challenge of TEC polity by much of the Anglican Communion.

On balance, we believe that The Episcopal Church should continue to be free to respond to its own discernment, through its own established polity, of God's will. There are those among us that feel the adoption of the proposed Anglican Covenant by General Convention would seriously hinder this freedom.

In our conversation, Deputation members repeatedly expressed our deep desire to remain in the Anglican Communion and strongly connected to its member churches in conversation and mission. To that end, we believe that any General Convention Resolution that declines to endorse the proposed Anglican Covenant should {re-)state this sincere desire of The Episcopal Church to remain in the Anglican Communion and strongly connected to its member churches in conversation and mission...
A solid statement, I'd say.


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Roadster

This is my new 1997 SL 500 Mercedes Roadster.   The original owner only put 40,000 miles on it, so it is like new.

What's unique about it?  Well, let's start with the engine; a V-8, 5.0L, with 32 valves, four cams and variable valve timing.  It produces 315 horsepower and 347 ft-lbs of torque. 

The torque is the most unusual thing about this engine.  Torque is what accelerates a car, not horsepower.  As a comparison, the Ferrari 360 has only  275 ft-lbs  and the Porsche 911 Carrera has only 295 foot-pounds.

Add to this the 5 speed automatic electronic overdrive transmission.  Before 1996, the SL 500 had a four speed hydraulic transmission.  The new 5 speed is a much needed improvement, which, when combined with the high torque, keeps you plastered against the seat through all the gears when you punch it.

The high performance 4-valve quad-cam engine was made from 1990 - 1998. The 1999 - 2006 V8s have only the  three valve, single overhead cam  design, resulting in less power and torque.  So, if you want the best engine (not the watered down Daimler-Chrysler version), and the best transmission (not the boring 4 speed hydraulic, that hesitates before downshifting), the years to look for are the 1996, 1997 and 1998.  Did I mention the one I found was a 1997?

Ok, what else?  The hardtop comes off, and the convertible top comes up.  This particular car has a brand new rag top.  Oh, and the stereo is a Bose, designed to blast you out with the top down when cruising at 150 mph on the autobahn.

This particular car was the 40th anniversary version, of which I am told only 500 were made.  That really doesn't mean much, except for some fancy trim and decals, and little extras like a 6 disc cd changer. 

And the best feature, it was cheap.  Really cheap, as in less than a fifth of it's original $90,000 price tag when new.

Ok, time to go for a ride!


Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Anglicanism Remixed

Province II Presents:
"Anglicanism Remixed: Embracing the Other, Our Traditions and the Future"

May 5-6, 2011, Doubletree Hotel, East Syracuse
Sponsored by the Provincial Congregational Development Network

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.   Albert Einstein 

Everything we read and hear tells us that we need to do something different - after all, we're not insane!  Province II presents an opportunity to look at what we do as Anglicans and what the future might hold

Led by the Rev. Stephanie Spellers, assisted in workshops presented by provincial leaders, this will be an exciting opportunity to get tuned into a variety of new concepts designed to assist in strengthening one's skills in reaching out into our many communities to extend the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. Registration is now available online - click here for more information and registration.  Read on to find out who the speakers are and what they will be doing.

Featured Speaker and Conference Leader
Stephanie Spellers

The Rev. Stephanie Spellers is the Cox Fellow and Minister for Radical Welcome at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul in Boston, where she founded The Crossing, an emergent worship gathering at the Cathedral by and for people usually held at the margins of mainline church life--especially young adults, seekers, the poor, gay and lesbian people and people of color. A consultant and workshop leader and a member of the Episcopal Church's Commission on Domestic Mission and Evangelism, she has traveled the country studying and supporting communities seeking to live into the radical welcome vision. Spellers earned her bachelor's degree in religious studies at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and holds master's degrees from Harvard Divinity School and the Episcopal Divinity School. Prior to her ordination, she served as a religion reporter at the Knoxville News-Sentinel in Tennessee.

Rev. Stephanie Spellers and a host of experienced leaders will guide us on a practical, inspiring journey that explores: 
  • Radical welcome and embracing the gifts of our changing cultural contexts
  • Anglican traditions that prepare us to be church in the 21st century
  • Emerging forms of Christian community that share the ancient gospel in fresh ways

Radical Welcome: Embracing God, The Other, and the Spirit of Transformation
Radical Welcome
Radical Welcome: Embracing God, The Other, and the Spirit of Transformation is at once a theological, inspirational, and practical guide for congregations that want to move beyond diversity and inclusion to present a vision for the church of the future: one where the transforming gifts, voices and power of marginalized cultures and groups bring new life to the mainline church.

The book is based on two years of work and over 200 interviews with people in congregations around the United States--in urban, suburban, and rural settings, in the Northeast, South, Midwest, West, and Pacific Northwest--asking the question, How do we face our fears and welcome transformation in order to become God's radically welcoming people? Each chapter introduces a particular congregation and the challenges it faced, and lays out the theological underpinnings of tackling fears head-on and embracing change as a welcome part of community life.

Bread for the Journey: An Online Companion to Radical Welcome: Download resources here! - Resources specifically designed to complement Radical Welcome, including downloadable 7-session book discussion study guides for leaders and participants, handouts, and resources to be used along with the book. Share with your congregation or ministry and travel even further along the road to radical welcome.

Leading the music and assisting with the worship will be Isaac Everett
Isaac Everett
Isaac Everett is a musician, songwriter, and audio designer, and a frequent performer on piano, keyboards, and didjeridu. He began studying music in the Yamaha method at age 3 and studied classical piano music through elementary school. Switching to jazz at the age of 12, he attended NYU as a music student where he studied with Arturo O'Farrill, Frank Kimbrough, Joel Weiskopf, Philip Johnston, and Justin DelloJoio. He also earned a second degree in mathematics.

Isaac is an artist-in-residence at the Church of the Epiphany, a company member of Storahtelling, and the co-founder of Transmission, an underground church in New York City. His two recent albums, Transmission and Rotation, weave pop, rock, acid jazz, and traditional liturgical melodies into a unique but familiar tapestry of urban spirituality. Both are available on Proost, iTunes, and Rhapsody.  He has just taken a position with The Crossing in Boston.  

Isaac Everett has published The Emergent Psalter
The Emergent Psalter

Many alternative and emerging church communities have begun exploring ancient music and liturgical traditions despite a lack of high-quality, published liturgical music which does not require (or even desire) an organ and a four-part choir. The Emergent Psalter provides that resource.

Sheet music, including piano accompaniments, is available for free download at Church Publishing.

Click here to go to Everett's web site and listen to some of this music.  You can also access a podcast of his featured work at 

Speakers from Anglimergent
Anglimergent logo
Click the image to go to the website

Never heard of Anglimergent?  It is a relational network of Anglicans engaging emerging church & mission. (Bishop Protector, The Rt. Rev.Gregory H. Rickel, Diocese of Olympia).

Anglimergent is a 'big tent' community of diverse Anglicans. "We are not a discussion forum 'about Anglicanism,' but 'an online community for Anglicans,'  learning from and with one another about the Anglican witness to the Christian Gospel, and our sharing in that witness."

Four of the conference speakers are members of Anglimergent - Stephanie Spellers, isaac Everett, Jennifer Baskerville-Burrows and Carrie Schofield-Broadbent.

"Social Media in the Church" Speakers
Carrie S-B
The Rev. Carrie Schofield-Broadbent

This workshop will look at different ways social media can be engaged in congregational life. From Facebook to Twitter, from Blogs to Podcasts - social media has a big place in our culture. What place does it have in our faith communities? We'll explore ways that individuals have benefited from using social
Jennifer B-B
The Rev. Jennifer Baskerville-Burrows
media and also discuss some of its limitations and challenges. In keeping with our social, interactive theme- there will be plenty of opportunities to share, ask and connect!  Both speakers are members of Anglimergent.

The Rev. Jennifer Baskerville-Burrows is the rector of Grace Episcopal Church in Syracuse and the Episcopal Chaplain at Syracuse University. Jennifer is an avid blogger and well connected with today's technology. The Rev. Carrie Schofield-Broadbent is the rector of St. Matthew's Episcopal Church in
Liverpool, NY. Carrie is a devoted fan of Facebook but has yet to "tweet"!

"Believe Out Loud"

Believe Out Loud

Neil Houghton
Neil Houghton
Believe Out Loud is a national campaign to ident ify churches that are welcoming to LGBT people and willing to talk about it. Come to learn how Integrity is using this branding to establish Integrity / Believe Out Loud Episcopal Cong regations. The Episcopal Church, for all its progressive legislative movement at General Convention was the only mainline denomination without a LGBT welcoming congregation designation. Let's talk about how that can be rectified, some tools that may be useful to assess and progress, why it's important and how radical hospitality can help you grow your church.

Neil Houghton is a Deputy from the Diocese of Rochester. He volunteered for Integrity at 5 General Conventions. He serves as Vice President for Local Affairs of Integrity USA and has presented workshops on Believe Out Loud in the Episcopal Church in each of the 8 domestic provinces of the Episcopal Church. He also serves as Chair of Oasis Rochester and is a member of the New York State United Teachers Committee on Civil and Human Rights and the National Education Association Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Committee.

" How are They To Hear?"
The Rev. Dr. Raewynne J. Whiteley
The Rev. Dr. Raewynne J. Whiteley
Know the audience you are writing to. What are they hoping to hear from you? What would they find useful or informative? Find out what is important to them and address their needs in your newsletter each month. Include a photo or photos to make your newsletter even more appealing. Inserting a link in your article lets you track which topics attract the most interest.

The Rev. Dr. Raewynne J. Whiteley has been Rector of St James, St James in the Diocese of Long Island since Jauary 2007. Born and ordained in Australia, she came to the US in 1998 for further study and stayed! She loves preaching: it has been a passion since she took her first preaching class at the age of 19; other focuses in ministry are education (both adults and kids), liturgy, and pastoral care. Prior to St James, she served in the US as Vicar of Trinity Episcopal Old Swedes Church in Swedesboro NJ; Associate at Trinity Cathedral in Trenton NJ, Trinity Church, in Princeton NJ, and the Episcopal Church at Princeton University; and in Australia as Assistant at the Anglican Parish of Charlestown in Newcastle and the Anglican Parish of Hunters Hill in Sydney.

She completed a PhD in Homiletics from Princeton Theological Seminary in 2002; she also holds degrees from the University of Melbourne and the Australian College of Theology. She has published two books, Steeped in the Holy: Preaching as Spiritual Practice   and Get Up Off Your Knees: Preaching the U2 Catalog, edited with Beth Maynard, as well as numerous articles and papers.

Her workshop reflects the concern we have as angicans: how can we speak the gospel with words, both in the liturgical context and outside it? .At the core of our Anglican tradition is the dual emphasis on word and sacrament. Sharing meals is something that is easy to adapt to new contexts; sharing words seems to be more problematic for us.  In a world where postmodernism has reshaped the ways we understand truth, authority and authenticity, and technology has changed the ways we communicate, is there still room for speech? And how can we speak so that others can hear?

"Evangelism Beyond the Walls"
Terry L. Martin
The Rev. Terry L. Martin

The Rev. Terry Martin has served within the Diocese of New Jersey since 2003. Prior to that, he worked with congregations in California and Wisconsin. In 2008, he was called as Program Officer for Evangelism at the Episcopal Church Center. In 2010, he became the Rector of St. Stephen's Episcopal Church in Waretown, New Jersey. He continues to accept requests to speak on evangelism at Episcopal gatherings.

His personal history is unusual for an Episcopal priest. As a homeless teen, Martin was eventually placed in a reform school. Upon graduation, he enlisted in the Navy. After four years of service, Martin worked as a mechanic and a shipping clerk while pursuing his college education at night.  He graduated with honors from both the University of Wisconsin and Nashotah House and was ordained as a priest in the Episcopal Church in 1990.  He is best known as "Father Jake," the pen name he used on his popular blog, "Father Jake Stops the World."

Martin believes that Episcopalians need to turn their attention toward those who are outside the Church. "In the recent Pew Forum survey, we learned that 92% of Americans believe in God. That is astounding! There are some great conversations just waiting to happen beyond the walls of the Church. It is time to end our preoccupation with internal squabbles and begin to look outward.

"How do we engage in spiritual conversations beyond the walls of the church? That is the question this workshop will attempt to address. We will review evangelism techniques used in previous generations, and explore why they don't work very well today. Through various group exercises, we will begin the development of new models for evangelism that might be more effective within your cultural setting.

Conference Schedule
Click the image to check the website
Thursday, May 5
10 - 11:30 Registration 11:30 -12:45 Luncheon 12:45 - 2:30 Plenary (Spellers) 2:30-3 Break 3-5 Workshops...Each registrant will be able to attend two of the four workshops 5 Hospitality 5:30-7 Dinner 7-8 Bishops' Presentation
The Crossing
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8:30 Worship
Friday, May 6
8:30 Eucharist 10-11:30 Plenary (Spellers) 11:30-12:45 Luncheon
12:45-1:30 Liturgics workshop, in plenary right after lunch 1:30-3 "Open Spaces"

Does this look interesting?  
Register here.


Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Rest in Peace, Dear Bishop

The Rt. Rev. Richard L. Shimpfky, Second Bishop of the Diocese of El Camino Real, entered into the nearer presence of our Lord on February 28, 2011. The announcement can be found here:

...The celebration of his life will be held March 12 at Christ Church, Ridgewood, NJ at 11:00 am where Richard served as rector before he was elected bishop. Bishop Mark Beckwith of the Diocese of Newark will officiate.

El Camino Real will have a memorial service at Trinity Cathedral at a later date to be determined.

Cards may be sent to Mrs. Jamel Shimpfky at 42 Kira Lane, Ridgewood, NJ 07450...
Richard was my Bishop for many years. He stood by me, and held me up, during a very difficult time in my life. He was a wonderful pastor and dear friend. I will miss him.

Into your hands, O merciful Savior, we commend your faithful servant Richard. Deal graciously, we pray, with all who mourn.

Father of all, we pray to you for Richard, and for all those whom we love but see no longer. Grant to them eternal rest. Let light perpetual shine upon them. May his soul and the souls of all the departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.