Sunday, May 30, 2010

Memorial Day

Memorial Day in Roxbury means at least a couple of things, from the fun of our very particular town parade to the quiet witness of small American flags sprinkled throughout the three cemeteries.  Below is the collect for today:

Lord God Almighty, who have made all peoples of the earth for your glory, to serve you in freedom and peace: Grant to the people of our country a zeal for justice and the strength of forbearance, that we may use our liberty in accordance with your gracious will; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Sometimes the old poetry teacher in me comes out, too.  Below, A.E. Housman's "Here Dead We Lie":
Here dead we lie
Because we did not choose
To live and shame the land
From which we sprung.

Life, to be sure,
Is nothing much to lose,
But young men think it is,
And we were young.

[For Jeff and Scott, who were young; and for those of the 1/4th Marines who fought the good fight and kept the faith.  "Whatever It Takes."]

Saturday, May 29, 2010

First Sunday after Pentecost: Trinity Sunday

This week the Trinity, or three persons of God, are recognized along with their Unity [which is, by tradition, capitalized].  Confused?  Then join 80 generations of Christians.  We hear tomorrow the poetry of the Book of Wisdom, the justification by faith, and the guidance and glorification enabled by the Holy Spirit.  All this plus graduation day at Miss Bunny's School for Feline Obedience ["Cats gotta roam; cats gotta have a home."]

The lections may be found here.

Actually, I Think This Would Be Pretty Easy

Samsung Defends the Third Dimension

Friday, May 28, 2010

Terminé [See Below]

"Why Did A Piece Of The Church Fall Off?"

So I was asked by one of the students at Rumsey Hall School yesterday.  I suppose it could have looked that way to the untrained eye, but what was actually happening was yet another in the ongoing repairs to our venerable building. 

Last Saturday, when I was repositioning the flags on the front of the church, I noticed that the wood was terrifically rotten and that the decorative column was barely connected to the facade of the church building.  In layman's terms, that's not good.  Initially, I was worried that the entire column had interior rot as these things are generally the result of water seepage caused by poor flashing and caulking.

When I later learned that this specific area of the column had once been the home to a beehive, I felt a little more relieved.  Bee secretion is notoriously acidic, especially with wood.  Upon opening the column, we were happy to see it dry and sound, except for the affected area.

So, the column has been re-affixed to the building, the rotten wood removed and replaced, the equally rotten molding [which was the result of ill-placed flashing] is being artfully matched to that on the other column, and, as a bonus, the treacherous porch step on the rectory has been raised and straightened.

Not bad for five days, eh?

Potentially Good News From The Episcopal Church In Haiti

Haiti cathedral's murals could be resurrected, experts say

Thursday, May 27, 2010

A Feast Day Worth Noting

In one form or another, it has been with us for a very long time. Nearly five centuries ago, it was a declaration of independence from Rome. It was also a key demonstration as to how important the English language was to become to the world.

During the American Revolution, it kept a church without indigenous bishops together long enough to forge an identity and provide a manner of consecrating our own bishops. One hundred years later, when other Protestant denominations were tearing themselves asunder during the Civil War, it kept us together in worshipful wholeness.

It has withstood the clumsy hands of committees that seek to "improve" it, those who believe that the best way to educate parishioners is to reduce its liminal linguistic beauty, and the mercenary attentions of those who would mar it so that they might become footnotes in ecclesial history. It is even too strong and pure of intention to be replaced by photocopied nonsense and mind-numbing church "bulletins".

It remains what it was intended to be: a tool for those who quest for some intangible shrine where the Holy Spirit may be discerned, the redemptive act made known, and Almighty love received.

This is its week, a feast set aside for The Book of Common Prayer.

Almighty and everliving God, whose servant Thomas Cranmer, with others, restored the language of the people in the prayers of your Church: Make us always thankful for this heritage; and help us so to pray in the Spirit and with the understanding, that we may worthily magnify your holy Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

When I Lived In Great Britain...

... my peer group would sometmes make fun of my American "accent".  I wish I could have shown them this:

The Feast Of Augustine Of Canterbury

From time to time, I get sent information from other parishes interested in interviewing me to be their rector.  One such packet of info arrived the other day and, while paging through its largely prosaic presentation, I came across an interesting quotation: "We recognize the Archbishop of Canterbury to be our chief pastor."

This was interesting since the Archbishop of Canterbury, while the leader of the Church of England, has not had any role, spiritual or practical, over the US church since around July 4, 1776.  Confusion about the authority of the see of Canterbury may be traced to its earliest days, however.

I have to confess that I find Augie of Canterbury an uninteresting subject.  I know, I know.  He was the first Archbishop of Canterbury; a representative of the Roman, rather than Celtic Christian, tradition and was charged by Pope Gregory the Great to abide in peace with the other Christians in Britain who were already part of an established church.  [Remember that Christianity came to the British Isles at the same time it was being preached in Rome, and was well established among the Celts a couple of centuries before the Roman emperor converted to Christianity.]

Instead, he insisted on imposing Roman rites on the Celts, a move which was not only contrary to Gregory's advice, but established the first fissure in the eventual breach between the Church of Rome and what would become, centuries later, the Church of England and, eventually still, The Episcopal Church of the United States.  [Although, to be historically accurate, the Episcopal Church owes its identity not to the Church of England as much as it does the Scottish Episcopal Church, bishops of which consecrated the first bishop of the American church.  It's from the Scots that we get our name, too.]

More can be read of him at this site.

[Above is a photo of the first parish I ever served as vicar/rector: St. Augustine of Canterbury in Edinboro, Pennsylvania.  I'm not sure what goes on there these days, as they don't have a website!]

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Feast Of Bede

Actually, the Venerable Bede, who was an 8th century bishop and historian of particular note.  Unfortunately, his life was not one of physical daring-do, extraordinary hardship, deprivation, or lurid martyrdom, so he tends not to get as much attention in certain quarters as he should.

However, he did produce a document that is still in publication, by Penguin Press no less, a calendar system that is still in use, and a translation of the Gospel of John into English [well, Old English, anyway]. These and other accomplishments contributed to the traditions of historic accuracy and scriptural accessibility that have been a part of the Anglicanism ever since.

He is the person who developed the designation anno domini, that is A.D. or "the Year of our Lord", when dating events, and was one of the important natural philosophers of his day.  [A "natural philosopher" is what a botanist, biologist, etc., was known as in Bede's day.]

Much more may be read about him at various sites. His collect is as follows:

Heavenly Father, you called your servant Bede, while still a child, to devote his life to your service in the disciplines of religion and scholarship: Grant that as he labored in the Spirit to bring the riches of your truth to his generation, so we, in our various vocations, may strive to make you known in all the world; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Bede's translation of the Gospel of John may be found in the library of Worcester Cathedral in England and can be viewed by anyone who pays the two pound entrance fee.  [Also, he is featured in the spoof history book, 1066 and All That, as the Venomous Bede.]

And I Would Have Guessed He Was A Watercolorist

Obama Sketches Energy Plan in Oil

Sunday, May 23, 2010

"...a code-compliance officer had ordered a local church group with seven adult members to cease worship."

New code allows religious gatherings in homes

A gathering of seven people in a private home is some sort of health and safety violation?  This must be a very dainty community.  What makes me think that, if there were no such thing as the Internet, the town council in question would have never acted on this?

Saturday, May 22, 2010

The Day Of Pentecost: Whitsunday

This week the untangling of languages occurs as the Holy Spirit is disseminated among the disciples, Paul teaches that the inspiration of the Holy Spirit is retroactive, and Jesus introduces the experience of the Advocate to those who would seek wisdom.  All this plus the dynamics of internal combustion in a racing car.

The lections may be found here.

Today Is National Maritime Day

I just thought you'd like to know, especially since I may be seen in uniform this weekend.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Remember To Wear Red On Sunday [Even Just A Little]

The problem with taking a few days off of posting on this site is that I fall out of the habit.  I also seem to run out of things to say.  I was hoping for a feast day I could mention [there is none today], or some archaeological news [what little there is bores even me], but no such luck.  So, since I have four letters and a newsletter article to write, I may not be able to revisit this site today.   

I do want to remind members of the parish's "lay services", that is, the members of the vestry, altar guild, the healing minsters, and the choir that we will be restoring an ancient practice of the Day of Pentecost [this Sunday] when, as an evocation of the Great Commissioning of the disciples, we offer something similar by way of prayer and intention for those who serve the greater, and rather practical, needs of the parish.  It requires nothing of the participants other than to receive the Holy Spirit as evoked by the community of the faithful.

Also, it's always nice to wear red on Pentecost Sunday [like this happy fellow pictured above], as the symbol of fire is of such importance.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

By The Way...

...did you see how much the Christ Church Gyrines earned for the Bishop's Fund?  Not only are we in first place, with three of the five top earners from our own dear parish, but our lone parish is responsible for raising nearly 1/3rd of the total donations.

How about an "attaboy" for that, Diocese?  A tip of the hat?  A smile and nod?  Just a nod?  Something?

The Lid Is Off

Actually, graduation was a pleasure, but moving was a mild nightmare.  Who knew she could collect so much stuff in just the last year?  Kudos to Jim Lowe, again, for his Lone Ranger-like ability to show up at the right time to lend a hand.  Really, he should wear a mask and ride a horse named Silver.

I have received over three hundred e-mails that I have not read.  I probably won't, as I've got lots to do to catch up, so if you haven't heard back from me, feel free to try again.  Or go retro, and speak to me in person.

Friday, May 14, 2010

The Lid Is On

A brief hiatus as we attend a graduation.

This Morning's Sporting News

Thunderation!  Not only are we still in first, but we're the first and only parish in the diocese to crack the $3000 mark.  Lord Almighty, you folks are generous.  I'm proud to be your rector.

Links for donating are to be found a few postings below.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

This Morning's Sporting News

Cold pizza for second place Mystic today, and Trumbull eats some dust as they drop to a poor third as Christ Church rises to the #1 position.  Also, we became the first parish to crack the $2000 mark.

Margot and Jack have added their contribution sites to the list; just look below to find the links and be ready to excel in our competition.

Also note the individual standings, as Meg, Carol, and Margot are among the top five earners.

Remember the motto of the 1/4th Marines:  "Whatever It Takes!"

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

This Morning's Sporting News

Christ Church remains in second place, barely, as it is seeing a fresh challenge from Grace, Trumbull, which has overcome Epiphanie's Stars to take third place and to join Christ Church and that pizza place in Mystic as the third parish to donate more than $1000.  Trumbull sits a mere $335 behind an apparently flagging Roxbury.

Speaking of the pizza parish, they pulled slightly ahead yesterday and now have a $480 lead over CC.

[Of course, since not even members of my vestry read this weblog, I guess I'm sorta talking to myself about this.  I hope the bulk of the readers, who aren't members of my parish, enjoy the theater.]

Look below for news about how to dontate online.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

For Those Pledging To The Bishop's 5K Run For Children [Updated]

Carol Stearns's Fundraising Page

Meg Mongin's Fundraising Page

Jack Gilpin's Fundraising Page  [Dietrich Bonhoeffer?]

Margot Judge's Fundraising Page

This Morning's Sporting News
As of Tuesday morning, we are still in second place, $410 behind some parish in Mystic, [you know, the place that has pizza, or something], and we welcome our neighbor, Epiphany, Southbury, to the top five, as they heartily shoved Trinity, Lime Rock out of the way overnight.  Meg Mongin and Carol Stearns are currently the second and third highest earners in the diocese.

This posting will remain at the top of the page through this week.  Remember that the race is this Saturday.

What the...? Invisible Stanchions!

Look what Jack Gilpin did.  He rendered the unsightly stanchions in the parking lot invisible through the miracle of camouflage paint.  In November, he's going to paint them white again so that they blend into the snow, then green in the spring, etc.  In a few years, they'll have the circumference of those support pillars that hold up Atlantic City's Steel Pier.

A close-up:

Saturday, May 8, 2010

The Sixth Sunday Of Easter

This week Paul goes to Macedonia [the Parma, Ohio of the ancient world], John of Patmos views the newest Temple, and Jesus celebrates a festival on the Sabbath in a manner that is bound to get him into trouble.  All this plus the story of Eddie Aikua.

The lections may be found here.

Episcopal Relief And Development Is Receiving Donations For Tennessee Flood Victims

The appeal accompanies a tragic story.  Please note the link to ERD at the conclusion of the article:

Receding Tennessee flood waters reveal death, damage

I've Just Ordered A Very Dangerous Book

From the first pages of the volume:
This book is a product of its time and does not reflect the same values as it would if it were written today. Parents might wish to discuss with their children how views on race, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, and interpersonal relations have changed since this book was written before allowing them to read this classic work.
Good God, what work of heinous hate and vehement ideology would be attached to such a statement?  What is it from which I should so ardently protect my child? Would you believe, a copy of The Constitution of the United States, [along with the Declaration of Independence]?

I thought it a bit much, really, although I fully expect the Holy Bible in some Protestant denominations to start issuing the same warning.  But to find the warning in this book, too, is beyond the pale.

Friday, May 7, 2010


I wanted to thank all those who had the occasion to join us on the Great Lawn yesterday for the brief ceremony marking the National Day of Prayer.  I must say, given the reaction to our initiative from some members of the Roxbury community, I learned a lot about my adopted home town.  Clearly, we need to host more spiritual events for the town, as our parish offers something in the way of spirituality that is thought to be rare in this contemporary age.

Stand by for photos on the parish website.

Liquid Mountaineering

You have to see this to believe it.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Pentecost Is Coming

I know that this will be a controversial statement, but chickens are crazy. They aren’t just a little crazy; the Gallus gallus domesticus is a psychotic animal. I know this because my grandparents kept them on the family farm and those creatures delighted in torturing my cousins and me every chance they got. They pecked, they swarmed, they clucked with attitude. Sometimes they would just stare with what appeared to be an unblinking eye. If looks could kill, those chickens would have been Caesar’s Tenth Legion.

Fortunately, the chickens are only a part of my memories of the spring/summer harvest, a time that brought together parents, aunts, uncles, and cousins to join in one of those seminal moments in family history. Besides, the younger cousins could always be saddled with Big Chick Edna and her evil gang from the coop. The rest of us could run amok in a world of harvesters and wheat and laughter. When the family was all together, and all working, it always seemed a moment that kept us grounded in an identity older than any of us, even older than my great-grandmother, who sat on the porch with her cane and her smile as she watched the three subsequent generations perform the same role as did the three generations before her birth.

There is something of my great-grandmother’s smile in the season of Pentecost, based as it is on the spring harvest in which the Israelites annually engaged since their escape from the Egyptians. As the Israelites in Palestine were an agricultural society, their calendar was marked by two poles: a spring harvest of grain [actually, barley] and a fall harvest of fruits. The harvest of grain began during the feast of unleavened bread, which was the fifteenth day of the first month of the year. That day sheaf of grain was ritually cut by the priests (Lev.23:10-15) and then waved before the Lord in the Tabernacle and, later, the Temple. This cutting and waving of the grain before God signified that the spring harvest could begin.

In order to mark the season’s conclusion, the Israelites counted seven Sabbaths from "wave sheaf day" and celebrated that end date as a holy day. (Lev.23:15-16). When the Greek language became dominant in Palestine, the holy day became called “Pentecost”, because it came at the end of a fifty day period, Not only was the end of harvest labor and its collected fruits celebrated, but the Israelites would recognize the gift of the Promised Land, liberation from slavery [both physical and moral] and, in the days after the Resurrection, the harvest of new members for the early Christian church.

Pentecost has lost some of its general luster over the centuries, surrendering the attention it used to receive to the Feasts of the Incarnation and Resurrection [better known as Christmas and Easter], yet it still fulfills its spiritual function to celebrate the eternal Promised Land that is ours through baptism, liberation from slavery to sin, and the continued harvest of new members for our parish and its mission. This year, Pentecost Sunday is on May 23rd. I would hope on that day we could celebrate the various ministries of the parish, the welcome addition of new members, and renew our Baptismal Covenant in a manner that highlights what our Christian culture has enabled us to receive. And, in keeping with a once-vivid and now unfortunately fading tradition on Pentecost Sunday, please remember to wear something red, as it celebrates the infusion of the Holy Spirit, not to mention the fire of passion that has always characterized true Christians throughout history.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

National Day Of Prayer [Updated]

A community ceremony marking the National Day of Prayer will take place on the Great Lawn of Christ Church at Noon on Thursday, May 6th.

If raining, the ceremony will be held in the church, naturally.

Wednesday Photo: Cinco de Mayo

In honor of today's "holiday", the surf shop in Cozumel:

Saturday, May 1, 2010

The Fifth Sunday Of Easter

This week Peter doesn't meet PETA, John of Patmos sees the New Jerusalem, and Jesus renders the last and best commandment of all.

The lections may be found here.

Our Senior Warden Just Got A New Car

A Mini Cooper, no less.  Check out the tricks that may be done with such a vehicle in the video below:

Also, ask to listen to her CD of "Superfly".