Tuesday, June 29, 2010

An Obituary Of Note

Bill and I used to take "health walks" together from time to time on the tree-lined streets of Litchfield.  As one may see from his obituary, he had a lot of interesting things about which to speak.

In addition, Bill was Eleanor Roosevelt's bodyguard during the first meeting of the United Nations which was held in San Francisco.  He showed me the security pass he had from that time.  It was signed by Alger Hiss!

[For those who don't know about Hiss, please go to this link.]

Monday, June 28, 2010

In Ohio, We Called It A "Front Porch"

On HGTV, what you see above is now referred to as an "outdoor room".  No, really.  Anyway, for the summer, it's the rector's office.

About Days Off

Contractually, rectors are permitted one day off per work week.  Like most clergy, I generally try to take Mondays off.  However, from July 4th through Labor Day weekend, I use what I call the "Three W's System" for calculating which day to have off.

The three W's stand for work, wind, and weather.  In other words, if the work is not pressing, if the wind is right for sailing, if the weather is right for surfing, I'm taking that day off.  Hence, it is a floating holiday in more ways than one.

Days off will be announced on Twitter, as found in the right column of this weblog.

[By the way, it's supposed to be rainy today with a chance of thunderstorms.  So, I'm working.]

Sunday, June 27, 2010

This Week In History

June 28, 195: Irenaeus, bishop of Lyons (France) and one of the most important Christian writers of the second century, dies. He argued that tradition is key in sustaining orthodoxy, and he was instrumental in raising the authority of the Roman bishop. He was also the first to add the four Gospels to a list of apostolic writings, calling them "Scripture" with the Old Testament. Many consider him the first theologian of the Christian church, since others were more apologists than theologians.

June 28, 1491: Henry VIII, the "Defender of the faith" who broke with the Church of Rome and its notoriously corrupt power structure, is born in Greenwich, England.

July 1, 1643: The Westminster Assembly convenes for the first time in the Henry VII Chapel of Westminster Abbey. Five years later it published the Westminster longer and shorter catechisms, which the Anglican church rejected, but the Presbyterians accepted.

July 1, 1899: Three traveling businessmen meet in a YMCA building and decide to form an organization to distribute Bibles. The Christian Commercial Men's Association of America, later renamed the Gideons, placed their first Bibles in a hotel nine years later.

July 2, 1489: English reformer Thomas Cranmer is born at Aslockton, Nottinghamshire. The archbishop of Canterbury wrote the Book of Common Prayer and was burned at the stake in 1556. [Not necessarily for that reason . -ed.]

July 2, 1752: The first English Bible published in America rolls off presses in Boston.

July 4, 1776: [I think you know this one. -ed.] The Collect for Independence Day follows:

Lord God Almighty, in whose Name the founders of this country won liberty for themselves and for us, and lit the torch of freedom for nations then unborn: Grant, we beseech thee, that we and all the peoples of this land may have grace to maintain these liberties in righteousness and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Work Continues....

It makes a difference, doesn't it?  However, there is still much, much more to do....

The Fifth Sunday After Pentecost

This week the chariots of fire come for Elijah, the Galatians are bid to live by the Spirit, and Jesus tests the hospitality of the Samaritans and the equanimity of his disciples.  All this plus the Spy Boy, Flag Boy, Wild Man, and Big Chief.

The lections may be found here.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Another Small Bit Of Restoration/Repair, Part Four

This weekend the long neglected front porch of the rectory gets scraped, primed, and painted by the Rector family.  Above we see Amanda working hard at the priming; I'm out of the picture supervising. 

Now my students from Rumsey Hall School won't make fun of the rectory's appearance.  As much.

[Part 4B: I also removed the mummified raccoon carcass from the chimney.  Good thing I was an archaeologist.]

News For The Generous

Episcopal Relief and Development is accepting donations to aid in the relief work taking place in the Dioceses of Mississippi and the Central Gulf Coast. More information may be gained by visiting ERD’s website at http://www.er-d.org/

Also, Christ Church’s rector is working with the Low Notes for Nashville organization, which is aiding musicians who lost their instruments in the spring flooding, by constructing one guitar and one bass for donation.  While the labor on these instruments is freely offered, the materials for these two guitars will total approximately $800.   If you wish to contribute towards the purchase of materials,  please speak with me at the rectory office on in church on Sunday.

[I'm planning on building a guitar with a natural finish so that the signatures of those who contribute may be displayed on the instrument's body.]

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Another Historical Date, Although A Personal One

The best day of them all.  Well, save for all of the days since.

I'll be spending most of the day with my bride, as it is our anniversary.  However, I think we're spending it painting the front porch of the rectory.

[Was I wearing goggles?]

Monday, June 21, 2010

The First Day Of Summer

There are certain routines that must be followed.  For example, one must swim in salt water on May 1st, regardless of the temperature, and one must place his boat's hull in the water on the first day of summer.  [There is also a water-based practice to be followed on August 15th, but I'll speak of that one later.]

No e-mail today, as I don't have electricity on the boat.

Another Holiday Of Note

Today is "Go Skateboarding Day".  I know what I'm doing.  Maybe.  It's also "plank day" [that's explained above].

Sunday, June 20, 2010

A Father's Day Photo

It took me forever to find this, packed away in some box in the rectory.  My dad is the fellow at far left bending over the little kid with the small shovel.  It was taken at the groundbreaking ceremony for my home parish in Ohio circa 1960. 

The reason it's a Father's Day photo?  I remember this day distinctly as one of my earliest and fondest memories, as I'm the little kid with the small shovel.  Even then, I was performing physical labor on behalf of a parish.

This Week In History

June 23, 1780: American troops, using hymnal pages from the First Presbyterian Church for gun wadding, stops the British advance on Springfield, New Jersey.

June 24, 1178: Five Canterbury monks report something exploding on the moon, the only recorded time an asteroid impact has been observed with the naked eye. [Why they were all staring at the moon, I have no idea.  Although, come to think of it, they did make their own liquor. -ed.]

June 24, 1542: Roman Catholic reformer, mystic, and poet John of the Cross is born in Spain. A student of Teresa of Avila, he attained fame for his poems "The Dark Night [of the Soul]" and "Spiritual Canticle".

June 25, 1115: St. Bernard founds a monastery at Clairvaux, France, that would soon become the center of the Cistercian religious order. The order had been established 17 years earlier to restore Benedictine monasticism to a more primitive and austere state.

June 25, 1530: Lutherans present their summary of faith, known as Confession of Augsburg, to Emperor Charles V. Philipp Melanchthon did most of the work preparing it, but it was not presented until it received Martin Luther's approval.

June 25, 1580: On the fiftieth anniversary of the Confession of Augsburg, Lutherans publish the Book of Concord, which contains all the official confessions of the Lutheran Church, in German. [I originally thought it was a vinter's manual. -ed.]

June 27, 444: Cyril, patriarch of Alexandria and author of several writings on the dual natures of Christ, dies. He opposed Nestorius, who supposedly taught there were two separate persons in the Incarnate Christ, one divine and the other human. Historians doubt, however, whether or not Nestorius actually taught this.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

The Fourth Sunday After Pentecost

This week, Elijah hears the still small voice, the Galatians are bid to remove the final barrier between the cultures receiving Christ, and Jesus performs an unpopular healing.  All this plus the role of pigs in 1st century Palestine.

The lections may be found here.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Friday Photo: Palancar

I've been in Hartford most of today, thus the light posting.  Please enjoy this photo, taken by a disposable Kodak waterproof camera [!] off the coast of Quintana Roo, Mexico.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

A Growing International Trend...

...is governments regulating what Christians can do or say within the walls of their churches.

"The head of the Coptic Church in Egypt has rejected a court ruling that orders the church to allow divorced Copts to remarry in the church."

It's not just in the Middle East.  A few years ago the government of Canada forbade a pastor from preaching about his church's view on sexual morality from his own pulpit.

Of course, to students of history, there is nothing new in any of this.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

If You're Not Busy Tonight...

...I'll be sitting in on bass with some criminals at The Poor Mouth Cafe in the Bronx [somewhere around 240th St.] tonight.  Not sure what kind of music, but I think its "rockabilly".  Maybe even "psychobilly".

[Sorry for the short notice, but I just got asked.]

[Post-Midnight Update: Weirdly, both Manhattan College students and members of FDNY Engine 52 have the same taste in music.  And beer, apparently.  When did Pabst make a comeback?]

Bishop's 5K Totals Thus Far

1.  Christ Church, Roxbury $4,866

2.  St. Mark’s, Mystic $3,025
3.  The Cathedral in Hartford $2,550
4.  Grace Episcopal Church, Trumbull $2,364
5.  L’Eglise de L’Epiphanie, Stamford $1,130

Another Small Bit Of Restoration/Improvement, Part Three

This week, the old in-ground oil tank has been removed.  No, the pros did this one.  Jenni despairs of me using a backhoe ever since that unfortunate incident with the rose bushes.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Now That's A Fund-Raiser, If Ever I Heard Of One

Police in western New York say two Hamilton men attended a church festival and wound up in the woods drunk, naked and covered in mud.

Dawn's Early LIght

Adorning the Rectory from Flag Day [yesterday] through the octave of the Fourth of July will be this version of the "Betsy Ross" flag.  After all, between the flags on the church's facade and the massive flag on the green, we need some variety.

Monday, June 14, 2010

This Week In History

June 13, 1525: German reformer Martin Luther marries Katherine von Bora, 16 years his younger, having sneaked her and several other nuns out of their Cistercian convent in empty herring barrels two years earlier. [Ah, the course of true love.... -ed.]

June 13, 1893: Dorothy Sayers, English mystery writer and amateur Anglican/Episcopal theologian, is born in Oxford, England. "Man is never truly himself except when he is actively creating something," she once said. [Her photo appears above.]

June 14, 1811: Harriet Beecher Stowe, author of Uncle Tom's Cabin and daughter of Congregationalist minister Lyman Beecher, is born in Litchfield, Connecticut.

June 14, 847: Methodius, an Eastern church leader who fought vigorously for icons to be preserved and venerated, dies of dropsy. He had earlier survived seven years of imprisonment with a decaying corpse, as ordered by officials under iconoclastic Emperor Theophilus.

June 15, 1215: King John signs the Magna Carta, which begins, "The Church of England shall be free."


June 14, 1925, Duke Kahanamoku rescued eight men from a fishing vessel that capsized in heavy surf while attempting to enter the harbor in Newport Beach, California. Twenty-nine fishermen went into the water and seventeen perished. Using his surfboard, Kahanamoku was able to make quick trips back and forth to shore to increase the number of sailors rescued. Two other surfers saved four more fishermen. Newport's police chief at the time called Duke's efforts "the most superhuman surfboard rescue act the world has ever seen." Thus was born the tradition of lifeguards having rescue surfboards at the ready.

Below is a photo of the Rector with the statue-version of Duke.  I'm lamenting that someone had stuffed a gum wrapper in his palm

Saturday, June 12, 2010

The Third Sunday After Pentecost

This week David commits a major error, the Galatians learn of faith over law, and Jesus is entertained in an unlikely location.  All this plus a reminder that form follows failure, not function.

The lections may be found here.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Another Small Bit Of Restoration, Part Two

The Episcopal Church flag, with bracket and flagpole, has now been placed by yours truly at the entryway.  Next week, matching flagpoles with serious non-fouling action will replace the current ones.

Not to be picky, but this stuff wasn't in my job description.

At First I Thought This Was Medical News

Anglicans cut Episcopalians from ecumenical bodies

Well, I'm sure they did it nicely.

Pluck An Open "E" For Marv

Marvin Isley, Bassist in Isley Brothers, Dies at 56

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

And He Played For The Torrington Twisters

There's something to be said about what can happen through a municipal baseball field, eh?

Pitcher Stephen Strasburg makes his major league debut for Washington Nationals

I have his autograph!  Hello, Retirement!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Monday, June 7, 2010

A Reminder

Please contact the Rector by Thursday morning if you wish to have announcements listed in Sunday's order of service or if you desire to have specific prayers or thanksgivings for the Prayers of the People.

An Obituary Of Note

More on Officer Donald Hassiak, who was known to many in our congregation.  The link is to be found here.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

The Second Sunday After Pentecost

This week Elijah engages in faith healing, Paul confesses his unworthiness overturned by grace, and Jesus channels Elijah.  All this plus what happens when I look at something I've made.

The lections may be found here.

If Anyone Wonders What To Get Me For Father's Day,..

...wonder no longer:


[I should point out that this is an ironic jest about the pervasiveness of popular culture in its juxtaposition with the spiritual life.  I mean it as something to laugh about, not as a serious request.]

Friday, June 4, 2010

Another Small Bit Of Restoration

I remember that on my first Sunday at Christ Church, I believe it was the last Sunday of November in 1999, I kept squinting at what appeared to be a bare piece of wood bolted to the wall.  I think it was a week later before I thought to see what it was about.  Imagine my surprise when I discovered a simple memorial to a son of the parish, killed in one of the more tragic moments of the Second World War, its lettering obscured by 60 years of dust and faded paint.

I always meant to do something about it, as an unreadable memorial says something rather poor about community memories and shared history.  I never had the chance and, when I left in October of 2001, regretted it.

Well, thanks to the miracle of common modeling paint and a cheap, Chinese brush, I have surrendered at least one minor regret.  It'll be nice to see from the sanctuary.

The story of the USS Turner may be found here.

[Sue, click on the word "here".  Also, click on the photo to enlarge it.]

I Heard The Fire/Rescue Radio Get Very Busy Last Night...

...and, as I was afraid it would be, it turned out to be something tragic.  The story may be read here.  Please remember Officer Donald Hassiak, his family and friends, in your prayers.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Thank God. Everything Will Be Okay Now

Scarlett Johansson to the rescue! Actress inspects oil spill damage in Louisiana

Wow, it just gets better:

Feds meet with film director Cameron on oil spill

I guess when the engineers of reality can't deal, they turn to the engineers of fantasy.  H.G. Welles could not have made this stuff up.

Now, this is more like it:

"...those morons don't know what they're doing."

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

And He Didn't Even Live To See The 21st Century

G.K. Chesterton: “The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried.”

An Annual Message

My parents, who are well into their eighties, still teach high school during the week with students who are too emotionally unstable, pregnant, or violent to be in mainstream classrooms. At the end of each school year, for reasons entirely based on their eccentricity [Which is not inherited. Too much. Well....], they always send me a card.

The message this year, in my mother's perfect cursive:

"Dear Rob,
Yesterday was the seniors' last day. They set the school on fire. We finish on June 4th.
Love, Mom and Dad"