Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Clergy, laity support nonviolent protests at Occupy Wall Street

By Sharon Sheridan, October 25, 2011

Episcopal News Service] In the early stages of the Occupy Wall Street protests, the Rev. Michael Sniffen and some clergy colleagues from the Episcopal Diocese of Long Island traveled to Manhattan's Zuccotti Park to observe what was happening. He's returned regularly since, talking to protestors and offering pastoral care.

"I see myself as part of the movement," said Sniffen, 31, priest-in-charge of theEpiscopal Church of St. Luke and St. Matthew in Brooklyn, New York. "I really feel like this is my generation's plea for a just society. I think the Gospels make it quite clear in Jesus' teachings that there can be no justice without economic justice."

Sniffen is among a number of Episcopal clergy and laity who are visiting and lending support to protesters at the birthplace of the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) campaign. Begun Sept. 17 and inspired by the Arab Spring movement, OWS protests against greed and economic inequality have spread to more than 2,100 locations across the country and around the world, including other major cities such as Denver, Miami, Berlin, London and Tokyo.

On Oct. 23, the Episcopal Church's Executive Council issued a resolution affirming "that the growing movement of peaceful protests in public spaces in the United States and throughout the world in resistance to the exploitation of people for profit or power bears faithful witness in the tradition of Jesus to the sinful inequities in society" and calling upon "Episcopalians to witness in the tradition of Jesus to inequities in society."

Read the rest here.

Protesting greed
The Rev. Elizabeth Kaeton of Delaware said she heard a distinct message when she spent the 25th anniversary of her ordination to the priesthood at Zuccotti Park on Oct. 18.

"Everybody is really, really clear that what they're protesting is greed. It's not about luxury, it's not about capitalism," said Kaeton, who is canonically resident in the Episcopal Diocese of Newark. "People are really angry about greed, and I think that's absolutely right. … That's what made Jesus turn over a few tables in the temple, was greed and corruption. That's the moral problem that I think the church needs to speak to."

Read the rest here.  You can also click on Elizabeth's name above and go directly to the story also on her blog.

-- Sharon Sheridan is an ENS correspondent. ENS editor/reporter Lynette Wilson contributed to this article.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Accidental Anniversary

A year.  A year in the life.  One year ago, October 12th.  Has it really been that long?  Yes.  Yes it has.

I am much better than right after, of course.  Car accidents take time.  Any kind of accident or incident that is traumatic to the body and soul takes time.  I was so improved that, though still and always recovering, I was deemed able to return to full time work as of yesterday, the 17th by my physician.  However, my employer had other ideas.

On Friday the 14th I was informed that I was being laid off with some compensation for my devoted years of service and expertise.  So I worked the day as always, doing my usual duties and then packing up 30 minutes before my part time day was over.  The relief of being out of the most stressful working conditions I have ever experienced were over.  I knew income was my first priority, or should have been, but instead my well-being jumped to the head of the line.

I experienced a calmness, a peace, that was momentarily unexplainable.  None of the usual anxiety and speculation about tomorrow or the next day.  And when I described this to some fellow parishioners at Trinity, they all said "That's God's grace working in you and around you".  Yes.  Yes indeed.

And so, I have been running errands, on the phone making calls, canceling some appointments [my insurance stopped that day as well as my job] but it was United Health Care.  How great a loss could THAT be...no much if any.  Worst insurance ever and the cheapest my company could find.  So I was then making other different appointments for unemployment contingencies and so on.

So I have been making some fun time for myself too as other things fall into place.  Walking in this wonderful weather we are having right now, watching the leaves turn, reading outside on the patio in the sun, watering [yes, still], domestic things and also plans to visit the Growers' and Crafters' Market on Thursday mornings and then head to Trinity for the mid-week Eucharist and Healing service.  Add to that visiting a friend on hospice and walking the labyrinth at Rogue Valley Medical Center one day a week.

Keeping a routine when out of work is essential.  Doing something for others also lets you know that though not being paid for volunteering, there are other ways of getting "paid" for doing for others and at the same time, doing it for yourself too.  So I am going to become a hospice volunteer.  Class starts at the end of the month and throughout November up until Thanksgiving.  I am so looking forward to that.

And so it is.  One year in the life that was constantly changing daily and not always for the better.  Refiner's fire, and it continues.  Let it be.  I have become closer to our courteous Lord as a result, even when I felt I was withdrawing.  Pain distorts the real world, and it did so for me.  But the focus is returning and things are reaching a new clarity.

This is part of the peace which surpasses all understanding...

Monday, October 03, 2011

Bishop Katharine visits Diocese of Quincy, once a break away diocese...

Presiding bishop urges sharing fruitfulness during Diocese of Quincy visitation

[Episcopal News Service] Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori urged members of the Episcopal Diocese of Quincy to keep their focus on sharing the harvest with those outside their congregations.
The Presiding Bishop met and shared her vision with several groups during her Oct. 1-2 visit. She told clergy during an early morning breakfast meeting about the scope and needs of the wider church. In an address prior to the convening of the diocese's annual synod, she reminded deputies that growth and abundance in their congregations comes when the focus is turned toward the needs of those beyond their own doors.

Diocesan youth from age eight through college age spent time with the presiding bishop during the Synod's business meeting.

In her homily during the synod's Eucharist, she told the congregants not to lose sight of keeping the walk of Jesus central even while the diocese may continue to struggle with legal issues, property concerns and the future path of the diocese.

In November 2008, a majority of the diocesan synod voted to leave the Episcopal Church and to realign with the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone, forming the Southern Cone Diocese of Quincy.
"Whatever decisions you make about the structures and future of this community, living like Jesus is the most central -- that is worth all you have and all you are, nothing less," said the presiding bishop. 

Sunday, October 02, 2011

New Rector Named for Trinity Ashland

October 2, 2011

Dear People of Trinity,
it is with great pleasure that I announce the call of The Reverend Anthony A. Hutchinson to be the next Rector of Trinity Episcopal Church, Ashland. Fr. Tony will be coming to us from Beijing, China where he is the Senior Cultural Affairs Officer at the U. S. Embassy. He also serves as the Assisting Pastor and Minister of Music at the Congregation of the Good Shepherd in Beijing and is on the staff of St. John's Cathedral, Hong Kong where he serves as chaplain. For several years he taught Biblical languages and literature at Minghua Theological Seminary in Hong Kong.
The Search Team found Fr. Tony to be a priest of extraordinary capacity, experience, spirituality and energy. From his outstanding career as a Senior U.S. Diplomat, he brings strong leadership, organizational and inter-personal skills. Fr. Tony and his wife, Elena, have deep ties to the northwest. He was raised in Moses Lake, Washington and two of their four grown children live in the Seattle area. While visiting relatives in Sister's this summer, Fr. Tony read our Parish Profile and immediately felt a calling to Trinity which was confirmed by his visit here. It will be a joy to get to know him as we begin our journey together as Parish and Priest.
Fr. Tony submitted his papers for retirement from the State Department this week. As you can imagine, he will need some time to unwind from his diplomatic work and get back to the States. He will join us for his first service on January 1, 2012. In the meantime we will be ably served by our deacons and assisting clergy. I cannot believe how incredibly lucky we are to have them. Also, during this period, a Transition Team will be formed with the goal of helping Fr. Tony and Elena enter into life in Ashland and at Trinity.
It is not possible to quantify the hours and spiritual energy that the Search Team put into the task of seeking our new Rector. They have worked efficiently and tirelessly to keep to a very tight schedule without compromising the process. I am so thankful for them and feel blessed that we have such dedicated and loving people as part of our Parish.
We have only three months left now on this crazy ride we started in September of 2010. These months will be filled with quiet waiting and planning as we start to get to know Fr. Tony. Although he is in China, a very long way from us, I am sure we will have a lot of communication back and forth. But probably most important now, you have a real person to pray for as our next Rector. Thank you all for being so supportive and caring throughout this time.
Peace in Christ,
Mindy Ferris, Senior Warden

Saturday, October 01, 2011

I've really got to get back to writing...

...it's either that or lose my mind, although some people I know think that happened years ago...kidding.

So as I wait for some cinnamon toast and a cup of tea, I've been thinking.  Writing is one of my passions and I have not been doing nearly enough of it to fill a thimble.  I haven't blogged since July and people are quickly going all Facebook to post their thoughts and ideas rather than what started it all...blogging.

A blog is something you can call your own.  You conceive of the idea, decide on what you wish to convey visually and verbally and then you put it all together with a blogging wizard [the rest of the 99.9% that cannot write in HTML or XML, or whatever the code is] and wallah!  I am a bit proud of my little blog as it did save my mind and heart back in March of 2006 when it was born.  It was a blog about me at first, then about my opinions, then my reflections and editorials on what other people or entities were thinking or spouting, as the case may be...then it became about the Episcopal Church, about convention that year, about electing the first woman bishop, about narrow-minded members of the Church breaking off from progress and inclusion of all the baptized and the not-so-baptized.  That's because Christ's love supersedes ritual or sacraments that we create to maintain an ancient  yet living memory and distinction.

Don't get me wrong.  I love the liturgy and the rituals of our denomination cement the earthly concepts we have of honoring one who sacrificed self for us.  Our history and that of the world contains numerous accounts of self-sacrificing individuals who have given their life for others or country.  But these things--are not necessary for salvation--however one interprets it.

I have written about love and loss, human and animal, about depression, about my shortcomings as well as those I perceive in others.  When you are a blogger you can write about anything or anyone, almost.

Because I am a writer, a seeker and communicator, I write about stuff that means something to me or is reflective of who I am.  Many people say "Oh, be careful what you write!  You could lose your job!" I'm not worried, not in the least.  And maybe this is why I will take up blogging again, and do it more often.

Facebook is ok most of the time, when you can figure out what the programmers are trying to do, and even when you aren't trying to figure it out, it keeps people in touch immediately.  So the posts here will be more  in the way of opinion, editorial, and spiritual.  Occasionally maybe it will only be a photograph that posts, being a commentary unto itself.  At least I'll try to keep the focus there.  And to do so requires some discipline and focus.  As for me, I hope to return to full time work soon.  All the therapies I have been engaged in since the accident have almost run their course.  There's some permanent damage that denotes a new normal which I have been trying to adjust to all year long, sometimes succeeding, other times just wanting to give up.  But there are people, thank goodness, who won't let me do the latter.

I thank Rev. Tom and his wonderful Huberta for being there in prayer for me, as well as Shirley, Vicki, Denise and David, Morgan+, Meredith+, Carol+ and countless others who have befriended me with prayers across the country and overseas, bloggers, Facebookers, and Tweeters.

So let this be a new beginning for Come to the Table and for me.

Thank you,