Sunday, September 13, 2009

No comment

Well, that is sad. No comments or constructive suggestions on what to do with those single people in the Church. I do appreciate what was said to me in emails in response to the announcement of the post. But that was all. What are we or I to make of this ennui?

It causes me to not have anything to say. The silence says it all. It tells me no one cares enough to even think about any ideas or voice concerns for the single people in this Church. I am discouraged but I will persevere in one way or another to welcome the stranger, the single stranger who is my brother or sister, who is near or far.


photograph by Joshua D Hall

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Joy Evermore...

Hat tip to Kathy Jensen, friend and blogger:

Jesu, my love, my joy, my rest.
Thy perfect love close in my breast
That I thee love and never rest;
And make me love thee of all thinge best,
And wounde my heart in thy love free,
That I may reign in joy evermore with thee.

By Anonymous (15th century)

In peace we pray to you, Lord God:

We pray for all who have died, that they may have a place in your eternal kingdom...


Lord, let your loving-kindness be upon them;

Who put their trust in you...

Monday, September 07, 2009

The Single Soul and the Church

There has been some talk--on the Internet, Facebook and The Episcopal Church: The Facebook of Common Prayer [see my previous post]--about what the Church has neglected to do for the single person. The unmarried, unpartnered ones, the shut ins, the home bound, the wandering souls that go through life's routines...alone.

What is there for us? I know at my parish there was an attempt at a Stone Soup Supper but for one reason or another it was canceled last fall, or was it winter? It's not like there aren't a lot of us around...we are here, and there, the cities and the towns, from sea to sea, mountain to mountain, plain to plain. We are in large cathedrals and we are in small parish churches. We. Simply. Are.

Many in society think that being single is just the best thing since sliced bread, and don't know why we don't just get married or something. Look at all the advantages that married people supposedly have: longer lives, someone to come home to, tax advantages for their double incomes or the really good single income, ready made dance partners [maybe] and the list goes on. Personally I think its discriminatory to give one group a tax break and not the rest. Why shouldn't single people have the break or something like it? I mean, they are self-supporting, more often than not, so shouldn't we get the break instead of or with the married people who may or may not be getting deductions for children and whatever. I think we should. But here I have wondered into the secular world. Let me take a step back to the Church.

There is a lot of dithering about single groups in churches. Sometimes they lump you into College aged people, or Career-oriented people. And usually but not always, there is the unspoken going on. People don't think of a singles' group as a place to be nurtured spiritually or educationally. No, more often than not people think it's a Christian dating service. Not.

Personally I'd like to see Education for Ministry program or the ability to access EfM for those who wish to take part in and find out what their calling may be or to simply learn more about their faith. It does cost but maybe the church would be willing to help out with some of that for those who could not otherwise afford it.

Book groups are good and their are as diverse in subject and direction as pebbles in a stream. One could go Fiction, or Non-fiction; Theology, Victorian poetry, spiritually focused works, the lives of the saints, mysteries [spiritual and otherwise]. The possibilities are truly endless and varied.

There are always current affairs to discuss in discussion groups for that very purpose. Or we could talk Health Care, or Education, maybe even the possibilities of volunteering in an area of mutual interest.

One of the most important activities I believe single people can engage in is sharing a meal. At a restaurant or mutually prepared, say for Thanksgiving or Christmas, for those with nowhere to go and who would otherwise be sitting in front of TV or window with a microwave turkey dinner. Not feels more comfortable and comforting than to share good food with others who wish for company as much as you do. Holidays are hard on people regardless of station or status. But hearing about the experience of others, they are some of the most depressing times a single person can endure. That's right, enduring the holidays is hard for some, perhaps easier for others but all the same, this alone-ness--especially if it is not welcome--takes a toll mentally, emotionally and physically on the single person.

Single people it is said could benefit from having a companion animal. Well, I agree with that having experienced that first hand. And as great as this would be for those who aren't allergic, it can pose a problem, not just because where they may live but the financial cost of owning and caring for a pet can be prohibitive. And as great as animals are, those who are single, need human companionship and interaction to thrive and be well in body and spirit.

There are, indeed, many other possibilities for gathering single people together under the umbrella of the Church. Half of us haven't met the other half of the single population in our own parish because we attend different services, or we only come on high holy days or just the Wednesday night program or what have you. Gathering us all together in one place, at one time would give us the opportunity to meet every other single person who can attend. Finding out what we have in common--besides being single--and finding common ground. Maybe there is someone who would put on a little financial planning survival seminar for single people only. I would like that especially in this economy.

My mind is swimming with the possibilities of what WE could do if we could meet and talk; think about what we want for ourselves as a group so that maybe twice a month we could count on there being someplace to go to engage our minds and hearts toward God, in one form or another.

Food for thought, definitely. I would like to know your thoughts and invite your comments on this subject. Maybe some of you could share what you do in your church, parish or temple for and with the single man or woman who is looking for more in the "family". I'd love to hear from you.


Wednesday, September 02, 2009

From the "I can't believe it, yet I can" category...

When we thought things were getting back to a new normal for the Diocese of Fort Worth, what happens? A misogynist and defrocked bishop formerly of Fort Worth raises his silly head against a man of character and imbued with the Spirit. Read on, the ridiculous reality that is Jack Iker, former bishop of the true Episcopal Church, in name only because he never obeyed canon law or resolutions about, among other things, the ordination and equal place of women in the Church...can you tell I feel strongly about this issue among many?

From Episcopal News Service:
FORT WORTH: Breakaway bishop seeks challenge to authority of Episcopal bishop, others

September 9 hearing set in breakaway dispute

By Pat McCaughan

[Episcopal News Service] Attorneys for Jack Iker have asked a Texas court for permission to
challenge the authority of Provisional Bishop Ted Gulick Jr. and the standing committee of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth.

Iker, who left The Episcopal Church in 2008 but refused to relinquish church property or assets, is responding to a pending lawsuit filed by The Episcopal Church and the continuing Diocese of Fort Worth in April to establish the authority of the new diocesan leadership and to recover diocesan assets, according to chancellor Kathleen Wells.

Full story can be found here.

If you would like to know more about the goings on in the New, Bright and Beautiful Diocese of Fort Worth, join Facebook and go here to follow the reports of Thomas Squiers+ who administers the page. Or go to their website by clicking here.

And here is an upside to the Episcopal Church...well, ANOTHER upside to being in the Episcopal Church, at least in my humble view:

Subject: Sandra Day O’Connor – Another Reason to Be Rather Fond of the Episcopal Church by Chris Yaw, administrator of the Facebook page by the same name, Another Reason to Be Rather Fond of the Episcopal Church. You will need to be a Facebook member to view the page, but believe me, it is worth it.

With all the attention this summer on the appointment of Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court let’s turn the spotlight on the woman who paved the way - Sandra Day O’Connor.

O’Connor was raised on the family ranch in Arizona. She attended Stanford University for undergraduate and law school. Her gender prevented her from working in law upon graduation so she turned to public service in California then in the Arizona state legislature. In 1975 she was elected judge in Maricopa County. She would be appointed to the Supreme Court six years later by Ronald Reagan, becoming the first woman ever to serve on the high court.

A cradle Episcopalian, O’Connor was married at All Saint’s Episcopal Church in El Paso, Texas. Today she is an active member of the Cathedral Chapter of the Washington National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. Last month she received the presidential Medal of Freedom alongside another famous Anglican, Desmond Tutu.

O’Connor’s accomplishments are a legacy to her keen mind, hard work and tenacity. And they remind us of the gifts God has given you and me. And just like us Justice O’Connor has found something worthwhile in the Episcopal Church. Perhaps it’s a tradition of intellectual rigor in approaching ethical issues, perhaps it’s the beauty of the liturgy that acknowledges God as the supreme judge, or maybe it’s a place to feel comfortable presenting our gifts as we look for discernment.

Chances are none of us will ever serve on the Supreme Court, but we are called to use our gifts to their highest and best. In what ways has our church helped us discern? Has the Episcopal Church helped clarify a difficult issue in your life? Feel free to stop by the message board and post a comment.

See? A happy ending to an otherwise groaning post.