Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Leap and Dance [reposted from 2007]

Imagine knowing the presence of someone you have never met yet you knew in the core of your very being that this someone was indeed extraordinarily special. You cannot see or hear them, much less anything else, because you haven't been born yet. Warm and cozy insider your mother's womb, no cares in the world for any ordinary baby, but for John soon-to-be the Baptizer, it is very different. Imagine the thoughts, the vision...

Shimmering in

Understated majesty

Sapphire and silver

Herald the Coming

Afar that way but

Drawing, drawing

Incrementally nigh.

Coming in

Glistening glory,

With awe, pondering

The wordless beckoning

The spirit replies

Yea! Follow the Star!

I follow, immersed in

Glimmering glory

My soul shouts

In joy inexpressible

He comes! He comes!

My Lord, He comes!

Oh how I would leap

And dance before

His coming, if not

For this womb.


Friday, December 14, 2012

He draws nigh...[reposted from 12/20/2007]

We draw closer to the time when that earthbound Star arrived so long ago, that our breath sometimes catches in the awe of it, and the One who let it come to us. Luci Shaw wrote the poem you are about to read and I found it by way of British university chaplain Maggi Dawn. It is one of my especial favorites about this time of year, about this season and why it yields such shy majesty.

Blue homespun and the bend of my breast
keep warm this small hot naked star
fallen to my arms. (Rest .
you who have had so far to come.)
Now nearness satisfies
the body of God sweetly.
Quiet he lies whose vigor hurled a universe.
He sleeps whose eyelids have not closed before.
His breath (so slight it seems
no breath at all) once ruffled the dark deeps
to sprout a world.
Charmed by doves' voices, the whisper of straw,
he dreams, hearing no music from his other spheres.
Breath, mouth, ears, eyes
he is curtailed who overflowed all skies,
all years. Older than eternity, now he is new.
Now native to earth as I am, nailed to my poor planet,
caught that I might be free, blind in my womb
to know my darkness ended,
brought to this birth for me to be new-born,
and for him to see me mended
I must see him torn.



Presiding bishop’s Christmas Message 2012

December 13, 2012

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs] “Discover the love of God poured into our world in human form,” Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori says in her Christmas Message 2012.

The following is the text of the presiding bishop’s Christmas Message 2012:

Christmas Message 2012

"The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness – on them light has shined." Isaiah 9:2.

These words were spoken long ago to people living in anxiety, fear, and despair, people feeling bereft of security, safety, and any sense of God’s presence. We hear them early on Christmas, forgetting that they were first spoken hundreds of years before the birth we celebrate. Human beings across this planet still yearn to know that a more gracious and divine reality is active and evident in our lives.

The birth we celebrate is meant for this world mired in darkness and fear, yet it also becomes easier to discover in a tiny voice crying in protest over being cold and wet and hungry. We hear that cry in the midst of war’s ravages in Congo and Afghanistan, in the rubble of hurricane and earthquake, in the demeaning of chronic poverty, behind prison bars. That flickering of hope surges as the world turns to investigate this surprising new life, one heart at a time. The light grows as hearts catch fire with the same light that illumines the stars, pulsing hope and new life, even out of black holes.

Those who search in dark and despair, in dank dungeon and deep devastation, will find divine light given for the world. Light that will not be put out, so long as any creature remains to receive it, until and beyond the end of time. The darkness will never put it out.

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. John 1:5
Go and look – and discover the love of God poured into our world in human form. Hope reigns abroad, in the cosmos and in human hearts. And rejoice, for a child of the light is born in our midst!

The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori
Presiding Bishop and Primate
The Episcopal Church

Friday, December 07, 2012

A birthplace shown to us by Denise Levertov

Denise Levertov compiled a small book of poetry gleaned from several of her numerous volumes of poetry. This small book The Stream & the Sapphire is a series of poems of faith and doubt, a record of Levertov's journey from agnosticism to one of faith. I highly recommend it for those who seek the contemplative in a modern context.

As we continue on our way toward Bethlehem, I offer a selection from this work to accompany us along the way...

" 'The Holy One, blessed be he, wanders again, ' said Jacob, 'He is wandering and looks for a place where he can rest.' "

Between the pages
a wren's feather
to mark what passage?
Blood, not dry,
beaded scarlet on dusty stones.
A look of wonder
barely perceived on a turning face --
what, who had they seen?
Here's the cold inn,
the wanderer passed it by
searching once more
for a stable's warmth,
a birthplace.

Images, words, wonders. We ponder them in our hearts

as Mary pondered all that the Angel had revealed to her...
the majesty mysterium.


Saturday, December 01, 2012

"What will we find there?"

Tell me again
why I am standing in a bitter wind
sand flying all over
and around me

trying to fasten a saddle
on this stubborn camel
trying to keep my goods
from being lost to the desert.

Best robes and turbans
packed and still I wonder
will I really need them
where I am going,

off on some journey
where I am not sure of
what is to be found...
or whom?

There was the dream,
there was the voice that
well, seemed to speak
with such authority,

with such crystal clarity
I could not help myself
but move with purpose
to follow, of all things...

A star, immense,
stunningly bright
the effulgence of which
never have I seen.

Across the open dunes
we wonder, what is beneath
that star...
What will we find there,

some miracle, some treasure
a fortune teller, a prince?
Too early to tell
So we wait...



Photos courtesy of:, openstock photo,

The Mystery of Advent: Journey to the Manger [repost from 2007]

The following is a repost of an entry I made in 2007 for pre-Advent 1 Sunday. I will be reposting the poetry I wrote for that season in the coming weeks. It is my contribution to Advent Online. Blessings, Catherine.

This is the time of year when my sense of Christian mysticism becomes a bit more fine tuned than at other times of the year, with the exception of the Easter season. The road to Easter is a cold and mystical journey. There is something inherently awe inspiring about the anticipation of Emmanuel and the human mind trying to comprehend the concept --much less the reality-- of God with us. Some people simply cannot get their mind around the juxtaposition of the divine and the human as one person, in the flesh, looking much like us, as being anything but extraordinary. Actually a lot of them think it is wishful nonsense, a panacea for the trouble this world is in, that we who do believe are a bit muddle in the head. Then there are those who believe but aren't sure what to do with the information. There are many who try to analyze it to death, thereby not experiencing the wonder that comes from just letting the concept be.

The category I know I fit into is the one where you know its real, as real as the stars and roses blooming. As real as wondering how a horsehair can produce on the taut string of a violin the soaring sound that elevates our souls to a state of such elation that we hear a little echo of heaven. The words are hard to come by because those particular words don't exist...yet.

And so the season of Advent is this way for me. There are those of us who do get it and understand it. Perhaps not as well as we would like in this life but we understand the concept of the "thin place", the ethreal, the inexplicable. We believe in miracles. We know they happen. We see them daily. Where others see the ordinary, we detect the inordinary. It is not an easy life by any means. Your friends think you are one apple short of a bushel, or the only nutty chew in the box of See's candy. Or you end up with an unusual sense of well, "sight". That's all I will say on that subject for now.

One of the most common ways Christian mystics tried to express their experience was in writing, either prose or poetry. And so I have sought out poetry and prose that reflects attempts by both ancient and modern mystics, to put into words what can best be described as their perceptions of mystical experience or epiphany.

As we enter into Advent I will be sharing with you examples of both to enrich your journey on the way to the manger. I decided that we need hope and spirituality at this time, not only in the world and in the Church, but in the Holy of Holies of our hearts where God's Spirit dwells.

For now I would like to point you to a few web sites and blogs that may be of help to you as you prepare for your anticipatory journey.

The Way of the Pilgrim has many resources and examples of mystical writings, especially about the Jesus Prayer.

Anamchara is the site that led me to the first one. It also speaks of the Jesus Prayer and has articles on the prayer as well as how to make a prayer rope by tying knots in a particular pattern.

Christians Mystics: A Journey into the Presence of God has many resources, both scholarly and grassroots on the subject of mysticism as well as examples of their writings. I really like this one because it leads you to more.

Then there is Mystics In Love, a very good site that explains what Christian mysticism is and what it is not. You will find several examples of writings from some of my absolute favorite mystics here.

Every evening, I look skyward and marvel at the stars and light from the heavens. It does make you wonder...

Silent air
crisp in clarity,
I see God's eye

I look forward to sharing my finds with you as we prepare for the coming of The Child.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Women bishops - apology

I give thanks to writer Michael Wenham for his blog, Diary of a Dancing Donkey, but more so for his insight into the Church, the women who serve in it and helping us see what Jesus saw in women. How those in the Church of England can go on about what Scripture "says" as opposed to what Our Lord "lived" and "taught" in word and example. I think in many ways we have been "reading" His "teachings" not quite the way He intended [indeed, a bold statement for a lay person to make but you'll get over it and simply know it's me being me]. It gives a whole new meaning to "come and be my disciple", and "go and DO likewise" [my emphasis]. Michael gives a sincere perspective on the recent vote not to allow women to become bishops in Church of England, UK>:

"Last night I thought it might have been a mistake to listen to the afternoon live stream of the Church of England General Synod's debate about the ordination of women bishops, since whenever I woke - which was quite often - my mind was mulling it all over. I found myself surprisingly upset. So I resolved to write a letter today to my women friends who are also priests and were most immediately injured by the marginal defeat, but it also extends to all who feel that they have been discriminated against by a church they love."

19 Churchward Close
21st November 2012

Dear Sisters

I am very sorry that you were so grievously hurt yesterday.

I have to confess that not so long ago I would have been among 45 clergy voting against the women bishops' measure yesterday and I might well have used sermons to say why. About twelve years ago, when the possibility was beginning to be mooted, I remember being asked over lunch at Lee Abbey what I thought about women being bishops and answering that I was against it and wouldn't serve under one. I have repented since.

Four things convinced me that I was wrong. The first was the succession of women in training for ordination at Wycliffe Hall who came on attachment or to preach in our parish. I'm not making comparisons! We had good male ordinands, of course, but it struck me that to be a female ordinand you had to be outstanding. I can remember them all and they were all inspiring. It's not that they set out to change my mind, but merely that they themselves set me thinking and reassessing my previous view of what the Bible said.

Secondly, I had had no time for those who explained away the "plain meaning of Scripture". For me the Bible was, and remains, true and the ultimate authority. So I didn't approve of attempts to wriggle out of its difficult teachings. However I have come to see that the original context is crucial both to our understanding and the application of the Bible. (I have a feeling this is known as hermeneutics.) I didn't find any idea of gender hierarchy at creation in Genesis; it seemed to be introduced as a consequence of the fall. I found that Jesus came to reverse the effects of the Fall and bring in the Kingdom of God

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives
and recovering of sight to the blind,
to set at liberty those who are oppressed,
to proclaim the year of the Lord's favour”.

This accorded with the radical way that Jesus interacted with women, overturning the oppression to which they had been subjected - so that the first response of faith to his incarnation was by a woman, the Virgin Mary, (a contrast to Zechariah the priest); the first Gentile apostle/evangelist was the Samaritan woman; he commended Mary of Bethany for sitting as a disciple at a rabbi's feet; he entrusted the good news of his resurrection to Mary Magdalene; and one could go on. He utterly reversed the accepted subordinate role of women.

The rest of this magnificent article can be read at Diary of a Dancing Donkey. It is well worth the read but mostly, and importantly, the revelation that we can be wrong about a thing, and have our hearts opened by Christ's blazing love and the comprehension revealed to us by the timelessness of an all-knowing God, who loves us and loves all, and always has, women and men.

Michael also recommends a book at the end of his article. A picture of it is up above though you will see it when you read his post. Catherine

Friday, October 19, 2012

++Rowan, a positive note on women bishops?

Rowan Williams, I believe, is hoping to go out of office on a positive note. To this I would not object. Please read the Church Times article below to hear his new view on women bishops in the C of E.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, has begun a campaign to persuade General Synod members to back the new women bishops legislation when it returns to debate it next month.

The following article by Williams was published in the Church Times on Friday, Oct. 19.


No-one is likely to underrate the significance of November’s debate on women bishops in General Synod. It will shape the character of the Church of England for generations – and I’m not talking only about the decision we shall take, but about the way in which we discuss it and deal with the outcome of it.

Those who, like myself, long to see a positive vote will want this for a range of reasons which have to do with both the essential health of the Church and its credibility in our society. They are keenly aware of living with a degree of theological inconsistency.

As Anglicans we believe that there is one priesthood and one only in the Church, and that is the priesthood of Jesus Christ – his eternal offering of himself, crucified, risen and ascended, to the Father to secure everlasting ‘covenanted’ peace between heaven and earth. To live as ‘very members incorporate in his Body’ on earth is to be alive with his Spirit and so to be taken up in his action of praise and self-offering so that we may reflect something of it in our lives and relationships. To recall the Church to its true character in this connection, God calls individuals to gather the community, animate its worship and preside at its sacramental acts, where we learn afresh who we are. The priestly calling of all who are in Christ is thus focused in particular lives lived in service to the community and its well-being, integrity and holiness – lives that express in visible and symbolic terms the calling of a ‘priestly people’.

Read the rest of his statement here.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Back to posting...

Ok, it has been A WHILE since I last posted but I've been somewhat at a lost as to what to post about...I could talk about being a chaplain at the hospital, or as a hospice volunteer, or as a member of Rotary and what we are up to there...

I could post about going through some more of my mother's things and parting with some while treasuring others, like the little notes she always used to write to me and stick in drawers, or my lunch when I was a kid, or between pages of a book to find at some later date...I keep them in a cookie jar she made...I'm running out of room in that cookie jar but they are sweeter than any cookie that could ever be stored there...there are days I miss her terribly and others where I laugh at finding an old picture and wonder "Did I really look like THAT?" in disbelief.

I could talk about clearing the scrap lumber from the back yard and cleaning deadwood out of the 60 year old English laurel hedge and the butterfly bushes, and taking it all to the Jackson County Fuel Lot where the wood is cut up for kindling or firewood for low-income folk who cook or heat only with a wood stove or fireplace...I made 6 pick up truck load runs this summer for the warmth of others in TheMartinaN...or how about the extra produce from my garden going to friends so they can still enjoy fresh, organic tomatoes this late in the season; the acorn squash are ripening nicely...then there was tapping beer at the Oktobrfest in historic Jacksonville as a Rotary volunteer helping with the festivities...getting to know my brews was the lesson of the day...

Of course there are always kitty cats to talk about...Tawny Tom aka Kitteh Boy, is still here, and just as sweet as ever...The Girl Cats, Rumi and Pabla, are as independent and occasionally cranky; I'd be worried if they weren't. There are enough catnip mice around the house to form a small regiment....There are days I wish for a dog but that isn't quite possible yet financially. I do take advantage of the therapy dogs at the hospital when I come across one, and get my doggy fix that way.

I am still waiting for the motor vehicle accident settlement of two years ago, today, in fact. My first attorney walked out on the case, to my complete surprise, but I have another one who is making more progress in the last two months than the other one did in over a year...I would really like for all of that to be over by the end of the year...please God!

I am still pursuing my call to the priesthood but even with a priest that finally gets it and supports my call, the way is slow, baffling and tedious. There is suppose to be a discernment committee formed but communication is a problem with all concerned and frankly, I'm more than a bit miffed about it. The affirmations I have received from members of my parish and the hospital, and from hospice, all point to my work and ministry converging to affirm and reaffirm my calling to sacramental orders, but the worldly aspects are full of pitfalls and disappointments. The right hand is clueless to the left hand's doings. Again, it's about a lack of communication. I will persevere however; I will not be diverted from my call.

So I guess, I could pick one of those things to write about, but since I've basically given a summa of things Catherine, that will do for now...

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Exhibit: Humanitarians for Love, Non-violence and Peace, by Meera Censor

I was walking back to my truck last Sunday after church when I met a woman walking a service dog-in-training, and stopped to compliment the dog and thank the woman for being part of the training program. I then mentioned how much service dogs and therapy dogs mean to patients at "the hospital". Our conversation was then off and running...we covered hospice, chaplaincy, experiences in our lives that involved the deaths of loved ones and friends, how those experiences moved us to do greater and bigger things of ourselves, things we might not otherwise consider doing. We spoke of how our hearts and minds were shaped by the love of others, our mothers, our teachers, and those who were and are in the greater, wider world. Chief Joseph, Desmond Tutu, Mother Theresa,

Mahatma Gandhi, The Mothers of Plaza de Mayo, Martin Luther King Jr, adults and children, from past to contemporary lives, such as that of Fr Gregory Boyle in LA, who is author of "Tattoos on The Heart", and his work with changing the hearts and minds of those swept up by gang violence and the endless whirlwinds of darkness. His depiction will be the newest piece of the collection.

In that time that lasted about 45 minutes, I discovered Meera Censor of Ashland, Oregon. I discovered someone who believes as openly as I do that everyone is deserving of love and kindness and mercy. And we both felt that we are called in our own individual way to making sure that message is heard and felt in the world.

Her story is made of fairy dust and real grit. An amateur sculptor who displayed her work at the Oak Street Gallery, she was discovered one day by the current Dean of Hannon Library, Paul Adalian, who suggested to her to do the extraordinary work that is on long-term loan display in the Hannon Library on the Southern Oregon University campus in Ashland. Meera speaks to school children about her sculptures to create an awareness of the impact these people have had on history and society. Please read more about Meera in the link of her name.

It is my hope that you all will either see the works on line in the link below or visit it locally at the Hannon.

Peace People founders, Mairead Corrigan Maguire and Betty Williams, Northern Ireland

Meera Censor's sculptures are inspired by individuals who have used the power of spiritual insight and nonviolence for the upliftment of others.

She presents them as reminders of the invisible spirit behind all forms, a power of Love and Wisdom available to all. See them in the online gallery.

Photos of her scupltures, with accompanying stories, are now available in a book.

I highly recommend viewing this collection online or in person. And perhaps you will run into Meera, walking her dog in training for service to others, on the streets of Ashland. You will be blessed if you so fortunate.


Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Invitation to Poetry's Theme: Thresholds, Crossings, Doorways

Invitation to Poetry: The Threshold of Summer
Christine | August 5, 2012

Welcome to the Abbey's Poetry Party #59!
I select an image and suggest a theme/title and invite you to respond with your own poem. Scroll down and add it in the comments section below by clicking this hyperlink

Feel free to take your poem in any direction and then post the image and invitation on your blog (if you have one), Facebook, or Twitter, and encourage others to come join the party! (permission is granted to reprint the image if a link is provided back to this post).

Every season has its invitation. Summer asks us to contemplate what the spaciousness of blue skies and the long opening of daylight is calling our hearts to consider? As we grow closer to autumn's harvest, what are the fruits of summer you still want to savor? What is ripening in you? What sweetness is asking you to give your whole heart to it? Let your response to these questions emerge in a poem and share below with the Abbey community.

Could it be
time has come,
my calling seen
my waiting, done.

Standing patient
be believed,
fidgeting at Door
called, once more.

Hold this chalice
Break this bread,
Sign the Cross
Bless this head.

The flower blooms
the garden ripens,
days grow shorter
the nights, lengthen.

Stay the course
Keep my temper,
Listen keenly
Give up, never.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

South Carolina walks out of General Convention

Statement from Bishop Lawrence expected shortly

ARTICLE | JULY 11, 2012 - 4:14PM | BY GEORGE CONGER of Anglican Ink.

The Bishop and Deputation of the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina have withdrawn from the 77th General Convention.

On 11 July 2012 the lay and clergy deputies released a statement confirming their withdrawal.

“Due to the actions of General Convention, the South Carolina Deputation has concluded that we cannot continue with business as usual. We all agree that we cannot and will not remain on the floor of the House and act as if all is normal. John Burwell and Lonnie Hamilton have agreed to remain at Convention to monitor further developments and by their presence demonstrate that our action is not to be construed as a departure from the Episcopal Church. Please pray for those of us who will be traveling early and for those who remain.”

The Rt. Rev. Mark Lawrence, Bishop of South Carolina, was not present at today’s meeting of the House of Bishops. One bishop told Anglican Ink that he could not disclose what was discussed in the bishops’ private afternoon session, but confirmed Bishop Lawrence was not present.

A second bishop said that he expected the South Carolina bishop would be releasing a statement shortly.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Episcopal Church becomes biggest US church to bless gay unions []

By Becky Bratu,

The U.S. Episcopal Church became the biggest church in the United States to approve a provisional rite for blessing gay unions after its House of Deputies gave its final approval Tuesday.

The resolution passed with 78 percent approval in the lay order and 76 percent in the clergy order. The House of Deputies is made up of both clergy and lay people.
In the lay order, 86 deputies voted in favor, 19 against; five were divided. In the clergy order, 85 deputies voted in favor, 22 opposed the resolution and four were divided.

The proposed blessing liturgy was initially approved by the Church's House of Bishops Monday during the 77th General Convention in Indianapolis, with 111 votes in favor to 41 opposed and three abstentions.
Deputies of opposite views spoke in
alternate succession Tuesday afternoon, with those against the proposal urging more time to consider a decision of such magnitude.

The Rev. Sharon Lewis, alternate deputy of the Diocese of Southwest Florida, said the liturgy is more than a “pastoral provision.”
"Let us move together in the heart of Christ, not turn this great big old church that I love so much on a dime,” Lewis said.
Speaking in favor of the blessings, Deputy Jenna Guy from Iowa said the resolution is important to the younger generation of Episcopalians, adding that passing the resolution would bring more people into the Church.

"It’s always with great pride that I tell [people] of the inclusive nature of this Church,” Guy said.
A deputy from Alaska added, "There is never anything wrong with celebrating love.”
The new Episcopal same-sex liturgy is called "The Witnessing and Blessing of a Lifelong Covenant."

In the proposed rite, each person would make a vow to the other, exchange rings and be declared "bound to one another in a holy covenant, as long as they both shall live." The liturgy is expected to go into effect for provisional use starting the first week of Advent -- beginning on Dec. 2, 2012 -- and will undergo a review process before the next General Convention in 2015. Congregations and clergy wishing to use the liturgy would need the permission of their bishops.

In states that currently allow same-sex civil marriage, such as Maryland and New York, Episcopalians may already bless same-sex marriages, but there is no formal church-wide liturgy. Commitment ceremonies for gay couples are allowed elsewhere in the church at the discretion of the local bishop.

Episcopal bishops approve resolution to bless gay unions
The Episcopal Church is an independent U.S.-based church affiliated with the worldwide Anglican Communion. The church has about 2 million members, most in the United States.
It is not the only major U.S. denomination considering same-sex marriage issues.
The United Church of Christ, a mainline Protestant denomination with about 1 million members voted in 2005 to support full civil and religious marriage equality for same-sex couples.

The U.S. Presbyterian Church on Friday narrowly rejected a proposal for a constitutional change that would redefine marriage as a union between "two people" rather than between a woman and a man.The church, with around 2 million members, currently allows ministers to bless gay unions but prohibits them from solemnizing gay civil marriages.

Omnibus restructuring resolution passed

From Jim Naughton at Episcopal Cafe's, The Lead

The House of Deputies passed the resolution below and sent it to the House of Bishops. It passed unanimously, and following its passage the house sang "Sing a New Church Into Being, to the tune of "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing."

Resolved, the House of ________ concurring, That this General Convention believes the Holy Spirit is urging The Episcopal Church to reimagine itself, so that, grounded in our rich heritage and yet open to our creative future, we may more faithfully:
• Proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom
• Teach, baptize and nurture new believers

• Respond to human need by loving service

• Seek to transform unjust structures of society

• Strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth;

and be it further

Resolved, That this General Convention establish a Task Force under the Joint Rules of Order, whose purpose shall be to present the 78th General Convention with a plan for reforming the Church’s structures, governance, and administration; and be it further

Resolved, That this Task Force shall be accountable directly to the General Convention, and independent of other governing structures, to maintain a high degree of autonomy; and be it further

Resolved, That the Task Force shall have as many as 24 members, appointed jointly by the Presiding Bishop and the President of the House of Deputies by September 30, 2012. The membership of the Task Force shall reflect the diversity of the Church, and shall include some persons with critical distance from the Church’s institutional leadership; and be it further

Resolved, That, in order to be informed by the wisdom, expertise, and commitment of the whole body of the Church, the Task Force shall gather information and ideas from congregations, dioceses and provinces, and other interested individuals and organizations, including those not often heard from; engage other resources to provide information and guidance, and shall invite all these constituencies to be joined in prayer as they engage in this common work of discernment; and be it further

Resolved, That the Task Force shall convene a special gathering to receive responses to the proposed recommendations to be brought forward to the 78th General convention, and shall invite to this gathering from each diocese at least a bishop, a lay deputy, a clerical deputy, and one person under the age of 35. It may also include representatives of institutions and communities (e.g., religious orders, seminaries, intentional communities); and be it further

Resolved, That the Task Force shall report to the whole Church frequently, and shall make its final report and recommendations to the Church by November 2014, along with the resolutions necessary to implement them, including proposed amendments to the Constitution and Canons of the Church; and be it further

Resolved, That the Joint Standing Committee on Program, Budget and Finance consider adding $400,000 to the 2013-2015 triennial budget, to enable this Resolution to be implemented energetically and successfully, “…for surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

Posted by Jim Naughton on July 10, 2012 6:12 PM | Permalink | Digg this

Saturday, July 07, 2012

Day 2 of GenCon77, in case you missed it....

If you want Day 2 of General Convention in an absolute nutshell, click the link below to catch the video version provided by Center Aisle, your complete General Convention coverage blog with attitude...heh.

Thursday, July 05, 2012

"Healing is not words, it is action." DoD Lament: participate from your home

Come into the circle of prayer and transformation - Doctrine of Discovery Lament
Prayer Event
- July 10 at 7 - 10 pm EDT - JW Marriott Ballroom
with the Red Leaf Singers, traditional Lakota singing and drum group from the Rosebud Sioux Indian Reservation, S.D. House of Deputies President Bonnie Anderson and Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori have both confirmed their presence at this event. Resources to help with your own participation are below in the links.

Vigil begins at 7 pm Mid-West time with the prayer event beginning at 8 pm concluding 10 pm.

In regard to the grievous past and present for many Native people in the Americas…

“Healing is not words, it is action.”
The Rev. John Haskell (Ojibway)

➢ In an unprecedented step of significance for Christian response to the European invasion and settlement of the Americas, the Episcopal Church is the first Christian denomination to publically repudiate the Doctrine of Discovery through the actions of D035 taken at General Convention 2009.

➢ The Episcopal Church demonstrated the courage of our convened leadership to offer that repudiation in 2009, along with a Pastoral Letter from Presiding Bishop Katherine Jefferts Schori, and oral intervention to the recent United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues about the implications of the Doctrine of Discovery.

➢ These actions of faithful response and accountability are being shared with the entire church through the offering of a Lament Over the Doctrine of Discovery, at General Convention 2012, with a 3 hour prayer event held in the General Convention worship space.

➢ All of these actions – resolutions, resources, and the Lament over the Doctrine of Discovery -- are made possible by a collaboration of the offices of Indigenous Ministries, Lifelong Faith Formation, Justice and Peace, and with the support of Presiding Bishop Katherine Jefferts Schori and Bonnie Anderson, President of the House of Deputies.

➢ Complete resources for these local laments may be found at:

➢ Twitter #episcopalDoD @indigepiscopal @iamepiscopalian

Doctrina del lamento del descubrimiento
Con los Cantantes de la hoja roja [Red Leaf Singers] un grupo tradicional Lakota del tambor de la tribu Rosebud Sioux
Patrocinado por la Oficina del ministerio indígena, la Oficina de formación cristiana permanente y la Oficina de justicia social y económica | | El martes, 10 de julio, de las 7 a las 10 de la noche, en el salón JW del Marriott | | Abierto a todos
En 2009, la Convención General de la Iglesia Episcopal adoptó una decisión sin precedentes de repudiar la doctrina del descubrimiento, lo que supone un compromiso público hacia una mayor comprensión de los Pueblos Indígenas. La doctrina es un doloroso ejemplo de cómo la Iglesia ha estado incorrecta y cómo esos errores contribuyen a las cuestiones sociales y económicas contemporáneas. El lamento es una invitación a entrar en un proceso de comportamiento colectivo espiritual y de transformación, de conversiones, de sanación y esperanza. Ambas ofrecerán oraciones durante el evento, La Obispa Presidente Katharine Jefferts Schori y la Presidenta de la Cámara de Diputados Bonnie Anderson.

Monday, July 02, 2012

Interfaith leaders work toward Middle East peace

And now for some GOOD news...

[Episcopal News Service, Beirut] A landmark three-day Christian-Muslim peace conference concluded on a hopeful note here by issuing an appeal to religious leaders and institutions to collaborate on promoting human rights, self-determination, peaceful co-existence, and non-violence, particularly in Jerusalem and the Holy Land.

“There are over five billion Christians and Muslims throughout the world, and although we do not speak for all of them, we are here to say that violence has no place in the teachings of Mohammed nor Jesus. We are here to say that no one, no one has the right to take the life of another in the name of God,” said the Rt. Rev. John Chane, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, in announcing the agreement to the more than two dozen delegates representing Episcopalians and Anglicans; Roman, Armenian, Melkite, and Maronite Catholics; and Sunni and Shi’ite Muslims.

The meeting, second in a planned series of four, broke new ground on several fronts including the presence of high-ranking Shi’ite ayatollahs who flew from Iran to meet with an international Sunni delegation led by Mufti Malek Shaar of Tripoli and North Lebanon, along with Vatican officials and Catholic leaders, including Patriarchate Emeritus of Jerusalem Michael Sabbah and Archbishop emeritus of Washington Theodore Cardinal McCarrick, and the 103rd archbishop of Canterbury, the Rt. Rev. and Rt. Hon. George L. Carey.

The Shi’ite delegation’s leader, Ayatollah Seyyed Mohammad-Ali Taskhiri, praised the “beautiful moments of the past two days, moments of compassion, understanding, and freedom. We are all sons and daughters of God, children of God. I felt in these moments that religious leaders have a great role they could play in society. They could be the greatest players to help society reach very high places.”

The conference, “Christians and Muslims Building Justice and Peace Together in a Violent, Changing World,” was headquartered in a just-opened seaside hotel in newly reconstructed downtown Beirut, an area left in rubble after Lebanon’s civil war. The delegates met in the city’s rebuilt Maronite cathedral and deliberations took place next door in a modern mosque built as a powerful symbol of mutual tolerance – and yet a reminder of the ever-present threat of Middle East violence. The mosque was under construction when its patron, then-Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, was assassinated nearby in 2005, and conference-goers walked by his adjacent tomb several times a day to and from their meetings.

The opening session included hundreds of Lebanese religious and government officials, representing the nation’s sectarian polyglot. Public sessions were attended by former Lebanese President Amin Gemayel, a Maronite Christian leader whose brother and son were both assassinated while holding political office, as well as by former Prime Minister Fuad Siniora.

Summit participants found many areas of common cause, including the need to promote freedom of religion and religious education, to halt Christian emigration from the Middle East, to include greater roles for women, and to condemn the “massacres and bloodshed” in nearby Syria, where they sought “to grant the Syrian people their rights to live in dignity and self-determination.”

Please read the rest of the story at Episcopal News Service here.

– Eileen Read is a freelance journalist based in Los Angeles.

Episcopal News Service confirms charges

The Episcopal News Service has confirmed that charges have been brought against seven current and retired bishops due to their support of an Amicus brief in support of the former bishop of Dallas-Fort West, Jack Iker's counter suit against the Episcopal Church in an attempt to appeal the ruling that returned the legitimate property of the Church to the Church. You can read the news story here at ENS.

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Retrograde bishops charged with misconduct against TEC

Seven more TEC bishops charged with misconduct

Support for ACNA pleading is grounds for discipline complaint alleges

George Conger is Priest in charge at Episcopal Church of the Redeemer and
Senior Correspondent at The Church of England Newspaper. He is editor of Anglican Ink news blog, which covers news in the Anglican Communion worldwide. The following is his news story on seven rogue bishops who desire more reactionary conservatism in the Episcopal Church USA.

Seven bishops have been charged with misconduct for having endorsed a friend of the court brief prepared by the Anglican Communion Institute in the Diocese of Fort Worth case.

On 28 June 2012, the Rt Rev Maurice M. Benitez, retired Bishop of Texas, the Rt Rev John W. Howe, retired Bishop of Central Florida, the Rt Rev Paul E. Lambert. Suffragan Bishop of Dallas, the Rt Rev William H. Love, Bishop of Albany, the Rt Rev D. Bruce MacPherson, Bishop of Western Louisiana, the Rt Rev Daniel H. Martins, Bishop of Springfield, and the Rt. Rev. James M. Stanton, Bishop of Dallas were informed they had been charged with misconduct.

“As the Intake Officer for the Church, I am obliged to inform you that a complaint has been received against you for your action in filing of Amicus Curiae Brief in the pending appeal in the Supreme Court of Texas in opposition to The Episcopal Diocese of Texas and The Episcopal Church. In the next few weeks, I will initiate a disciplinary process according to Title IV Canon 6 Sec. 3 & 4 of the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church,” Bishop F. Clayton Matthews wrote to the seven bishops.

The bishops have not been notified with violation of the canons they have committed, but Bishop Matthews’ notice refers to the pleading they endorsed in the Diocese of Fort Worth case presently before the Texas Supreme Court.

In an amicus brief filed on 23 April 2012 the seven bishops and three scholars from the ACI – the Rev. Christopher R. Seitz, the Very Rev. Philip W. Turner, and the Very Rev. Ephraim Radner -- argued a Tarrant County, Texas trial court misconstrued the church’s constitutions and canons by holding that the Episcopal Church was a hierarchical body with ultimate power vested in the General Convention.

The 29-page brief stated that attorneys for that national Episcopal Church sought “to establish an alternative authority to that of the diocesan bishop” in their pleadings, which they said was contrary to the church’s Constitution and Canons. Attorneys for the national church have argued the Episcopal Church possesses a unitary polity, where dioceses are creatures of the General Convention.

The ACI disagreed, citing the church’s history and constitution and canons. Its friend of the court pleading follows upon their 22 April 2009 paper endorsed by 15 Bishops entitled Bishops’ Statement on the Polity of the Episcopal Church that stated the “fundamental structure of the Episcopal Church from the outset has been that of a voluntary association of dioceses meeting together in a General Convention as equals.”

In its pleadings the national Episcopal Church asked the court to follow the "deference-to-hierarchy" standard, set in the 1872 U.S. Supreme Court decision of Watson v. Jones. Bishop Jack Iker and the Diocese of Fort Worth argued that the legal theory put forward by the national church was misguided as its deeds, its charter from the State, and its governing documents are unambiguous that it owns its property and not the national church.

In March the final briefs were filed with the Texas Supreme Court in the Fort Worth case and the litigants are presently waiting upon a date for oral argument.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

GC 2012's 77 year: how to follow the issues

Scott Gunn, Episcopal priest and director of Forward Movement, has posted all of the below on this blog called "Seven Whole Days" that will be covering the events and developments of the 77th General Convention of the Episcopal Church USA, which will begin on July 5th. Included are links to the Blue Book, or program of the convention, a document of proposed resolutions with and without the reports on each. You may wish to bookmark these as he suggests for quick reference if you wish to follow closely the things to be discussed, debated and decided upon for the next three years. Please also be prayerful for the deputies and bishops who will be in attendance voting on these issues. Thank you.

So here you go: every resolution that will be considered by General Convention 2012. Please note that there are more resolution on the way. I will update this file until the deadline for submitting resolutions, early in General Convention.

The “Blue” Book — A001 through A155
“Blue” Book resolutions only, minus the reports – A001 through A155.
Everything else – A156 and up; all B, C, and D resolutions. As of today, goes up to A167, B012, C107, and D020. Last updated 26 June 2012.
Bookmark this page and come back. When I get my hands on new resolutions, I’ll update the “everything” file and change the date.

To track the progress of legislation or to see how the resolutions get amended, use the wonderful system at the General Convention website. Seriously, this is a fantastic website. The General Convention Office did a great job, and pretty much everything you’d want to know about General Convention and its legislation is readily available. What was the only thing missing? A giant PDF, now available here at 7WD.

For what it’s worth, check out the index of GC 2012 resolutions with the 7WD official position and each one, provided I have gotten around to blogging it.

ALSO, go here for the General Convention Directoryto find out even MORE!
2012 GC Directory">

As I’ve been blogging my way through the “Blue” Book and other resolutions for General Convention, I had been wishing I could get all of the non-”Blue” Book resolutions in one file. It just makes it easier to keep track of them. Thanks to some help (from someone who wishes to remain anonymous, I think), I have made a combined file of resolutions.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Naming God: Maggi Dawn explores Expansive Language

Maggi Dawn, Chaplain at Robinson Chapel, Cambridge University, UK, is, in my view, an amazing voice in today's Anglican Church and emergent theology. Her essay, Naming God, was written early this month and published in the Yale Divinity School's "Marquand Reader".

Here is an excerpt:


“Like the nine billion names of God
Don’t bring you any closer
To anyone you can simply set eyes on…”

(Bruce Cockburn, One of the Best Ones)

Language is a powerful tool. How we employ it in theology matters because we are attempting to articulate truth as we find it. But liturgical language has a particular power to reinforce ideas, images and beliefs; it is a performative utterance, enhanced and reinforced by rhythm, poetry, and music, and it sounds the depths within us because it is employed consciously and deliberately in relationship to God and to the worshipping community. It’s hard, then, to overestimate the importance of the language of worship, and in constructing it we need to attend to concerns that are closely entwined: pastoral, theological and aesthetic.

Innovation in liturgical language always has a theological undercurrent, but the initial motivation for change is often pastoral, rising from a concern to ensure that those who come to worship do not feel excluded, disinherited, or undervalued by the language of worship. In response to this, words that imply feudal, military or imperial power, gender attribution, or other culturally sensitive issues, have often been carefully excised from liturgical scripts, rendering unusable for the purposes of worship a whole slew of names for God, such as Father, Lord, King, Warrior, Strong Tower, Shield, Defender.

Problems raised by “Inclusive” Language

There are, though, a number of problems with this exercise. In the effort to make language inclusive to one group, we can inadvertently exclude another, or we find that we have achieved little more than replacing one problem with another. For example, to exclude any charge of patriarchy, liturgical language may be re-cast by replacing all male pronouns with female ones. Certainly this may have some value in shocking the ear, startling the mind into entertaining a new vision of God. But simply employing a new set of pronouns while leaving the structure and enactment of the liturgy exactly the same is at best a temporary fix. If we merely substitute one power structure for another, a new metaphor for an old one, then we are in danger of merely whitewashing sepulchers, rather than drawing closer to truth.

Another approach is to remove gendered language from liturgy altogether, and instead to engage neutral descriptors for God. One of the most-used replacements for Father-Son-Spirit is Creator-Redeemer-Sustainer, which attempts to retain a three-fold character without attributing gender to God. Yet here again the language has theological limitations. It is a seemingly Trinitarian formula, but these three actions properly belong to God in Unity; to assign them to three functionary names is, by implication, to deny the unity of God in creation or redemption. But perhaps worse, used in exclusion, this kind of language describes God in terms of function rather than relationship. It is fundamental to Christian theology that God, while not a corporeal being, is not impersonal. God is not an “it”, and the language of job-descriptions doesn’t serve to address God adequately.

A further issue with avoiding particular names or pronouns is the tortured relationship that results with historic texts that are undeniably beautiful, but were not written in inclusive language. Adapting anonymous texts from unknown sources is one matter, but can we really justify updating the elegant and captivating language of John Donne, George Herbert, or John Mason? (If it doesn’t disturb the artistic conscience to replace a pronoun in one of their works, at least one would hope that respect for rhyme and meter might deter us!) But once we realize we cannot rewrite their words, are we really going to accept the impossible choice that the demands of inclusivity impose, and impoverish our experience by never reading them at all?

“Expansive Language”: a better solution?

It’s clear, then, that inclusive language poses significant difficulties. But another approach is available in “expansive language”, which has been an undercurrent in liturgics for some time, and has more recently come to the fore.

To read the rest of this essay please visit Maggi's blog here.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

greenbough: Blog of Marla Hanley

I don't know how many bishops have wives or husbands or partners that blog on their take of current events and social justice issues.

I don't know about the others but I do know about wife of Bishop Michael Hanley of the Diocese of Oregon. Marla Hanley is a blogger who speaks her mind and doesn't sit on a fence of make or imagination. Like me, you are either on one side of particular issues or you are on the other.

Recently a retired priest friend of mine from my area in southern Oregon posted a picture of a fence near a tree. On the side of the fence was very large sign that said, DO NOT SIT ON FENCE.

Part of being able to choose one side or another is determined by a state of being. Which states of being? Educated or Ignorant are the two definitions I would pick. The ones who do sit on the fence could careless of it. These fence sitters won't commit one way or another, so they remain silent. It is the once who remain silent who encourage the Ignorant that they are right about an issue and the other side is wrong, in spite of the facts and proofs.

Marla is no fence sitter. I encourage you to read her blog greenbough here.

Saturday, June 09, 2012

RevGalBlogPals: Friday Five: More Randomness

RevGalBlogPals: Friday Five: More Randomness:

RevGal Blog Pals' Friday Five: More Randomness

Happy Friday, Gals and Pals...
Our FF today is in honor of spontaneous thinking!
1. What religion/faith besides yours captures your curiousity and why?

Hinduism: because there is so much I don't know about it; the minutae of it and its influence on the history of India.

2. What is the first or most memorable pop song you ever learned as a kid?

I Don't Know How To Love Him from Jesus Christ Superstar.

3. If God were a color.....(finish this sentence creatively)

...God would be an ever-changing rainbow alternating with bright warm light.

4. If you were going to make a sandwich right now for lunch, and you magically had all the items you need for it, what would that sandwich be?

Fresh sliced turkey on dark rye, mayo, a smudge of yellow mustard, fresh shredded lettuce, sliced tomato, a little red onion and red wine vinaigrette. Oh and a dill pickle spear on the side...

5. How are you doing? Really, how are you?

Behind the "I'm OK" is really an "All right" that's frayed on the end of all the letters. It is s stressful time job wise [as in no job], financially [enough to pay property taxes this fall and some cash each week], purposeful [with my volunteer work] and occasionally relaxing [when the sun does shine, I'm in the yard/garden or reading outside]. I am content but also sad for many reasons which I will not name here, but small things bring me quiet joy. I have friends, which is a kind of wealth all in nice people packages, and have met new people at Rotary, which I was invited to a few weeks ago and like it. That's probably more than most people will answer but that is me and there i am.

Bonus: What are you enjoying/loving right now?

Listening to Pabla complain and talk to me in Kittehese. Also the wideawakeness drinking coffee at 8:31pm at night will give you and make you do Friday Fives at 1:17am PST. Heh!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Elliptical Glory: The Rev. Tony Hutchinson, priest at Trinity Ashland

Trinity's new priest, Tony Hutchinson+, has a blog called Elliptical Glory. It's really good, for a priest's blog [BG] so I recommend it highly to you. Your can find it here. Catherine

Presiding bishop issues pastoral letter on Doctrine of Discover

The Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church USA, has issued a statement in regard to the Church's refutation of the Doctrine of Discovery. I'm proud of her for many reasons but that she has boldly taken a stand regarding this horrendous doctrine, notches her up a bit for me.

May 16, 2012

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs] “We seek to address the need for healing in all parts of society, and we stand in solidarity with indigenous peoples globally to acknowledge and address the legacy of colonial occupation and policies of domination,” Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori wrote in her Pastoral Letter on the Doctrine of Discovery and Indigenous Peoples, issued May 16.

“Our Christian heritage has taught us that a healed community of peace is only possible in the presence of justice for all peoples,” Jefferts Schori continued. “We seek to build such a beloved community that can be a sacred household for all creation, a society of right relationships.”

On May 7, Jefferts Schori joined other religious voices in repudiating the Doctrine of Discovery at the 11th session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII). The theme for the UNPFII meeting is “The Doctrine of Discovery: its enduring impact on indigenous peoples and the right to redress for past conquests (articles 28 and 37 of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples).” In 2009, General Convention repudiated the Doctrine of Discovery.
The full text of the presiding bishop’s letter is on the Episcopal News Service website here.


Thursday, May 17, 2012

10 Steps Toward Gratitude by Brittian Bullock

Posted on May 15, 2012 by Christine Sine at Godspace

Does Your faith have practical impact?

Today’s post comes from Brittian Bullock and was first posted on his blog.

A skydiver drifted over a hundred miles off course and landed in a dense forest. Strung up in the tree, tangled, and terrified that the night was fast approaching he began to yell out for help. After a few minutes, a man out for a walk chanced upon the skydiver. “Hello! I need help!” called the man in the tree. “Yes, I can see that. You’re stuck in a tree, with no way out, surrounded by a forest, and it’s getting quite dark.” The other man replied. “Of all my luck,” said the skydiver to him, “I get stuck with a clergymen as a rescuer.” Hearing this the passer by wondered aloud how the distressed man had known his occupation as a religious teacher. “Well—I just assumed you must be a clergy, as what you’ve said is equally true, and absolutely useless in helping me”

I’ve told this story to many of my friends who are professional clergy. They usually get a kick out of it—in part because they accept it a generalized truism. So much of the faith discourse, while perhaps good and even spot on, is often devoid of practical impact. It’s not only Christianity, or religion, that gets targeted by this critique—most academic or philosophic movements struggle to have real grounded applications. This is no more relevant than when it comes to the topic of being changed—of being transformed.

Many of us hope for change to happen—we know that what we’re doing simply isn’t working; we understand that something is broken and cannot continue. We wish for more meaningful or mended relationships with those around us. We struggle to live an active life, reconnected with our environment. We hope to be authentic, to represent ourselves as we are—not falsely. And we long to unite with a sense of greater meaning, a Higher Power, God, or faith. Yet in spite of these desires most such intentions fall the to the wayside, swept away under the tide of the urgent and immediate. It’s not for lack of yearning—it is the absence of grounded pragmatics. What is needed, desperately, is a technology of transformation.

Below, I’m going to be laying out practical steps towards that end. Change. Some will address seemingly mundane realties; others take on the man behind the curtain. Some may be instantly relevant to you, others you might need to stuff in your back pocket for another time. But, if you long to sense something “more” being birthed in your life—stay tuned.

To read the actual 10 Steps, please go to Christine's blog, Godspace, to read them there. You won't be disappointed but you will have a few "Ah Hah!" moments. Catherine
The Rev. Susan Russell has written a proposed resolution for upcoming GenCon12 regarding the Anglican Covenant and what might our response be to it. See the article from today's Inch At A Time, below. To see the article and comments go to link in the title of her blog above.

D007 -- Response to the Anglican Covenant

I am honored to be the proposer of the following resolution -- wending its way through the General Convention Office resolution submission process -- representing the good work of the global No Anglican Covenant Coalition. Just received word that our resolution has been assigned filing number D007 ... so we are well and truly Indianapolis bound!

With thanks to all who worked to craft this resolution and to its endorsers and sponsors, I give you:

D007 -- Response to the Anglican Covenant

PROPOSER Russell, The Rev. Cn. Susan

ENDORSED BY Hopkins, The Very Rev. Michael; Lee, Ms. Lelanda

SPONSORED BY Buchanan, The Rev. Susan; Engstrom, The Very Rev. Marilyn; Gracey, Mr. R. Stephen; Hart, Mr. Christopher; Kandt, Mrs. Pamela; Leigh , Ms. Tobyn; Moore, The Rev. Stephen; Russell, The Rev. Michael; Shaw, The Rev. Lee; Williams, Ms. Sandra; Bronson Sweigert, The Rev. Cynthia


Resolved, the House of _______ concurring, That the 77th General Convention give thanks to all who have worked to increase understanding and strengthen relationships among the churches of the Anglican Communion; and be it further

Resolved, That the General Convention reaffirm the commitment of this church to the fellowship of autonomous national and regional churches that is the Anglican Communion; and be it further

Resolved, That the General Convention recognizes that sister churches of the Anglican Communion are properly drawn together by bonds of affection, by participation in the common mission of the gospel, and by consultation without coercion or intimidation; and be it further

Resolved, That the General Convention, having prayerfully considered the merits of the proposed Anglican Communion Covenant and believing said agreement to be contrary to Anglican ecclesiology and tradition and to the best interests of the Anglican Communion, respectfully decline to adopt the same; and be it further

Resolved, That the General Convention call upon the leaders of The Episcopal Church at every level to seek opportunities to reach out to strengthen and restore relationships between this church and sister churches of the Communion.

EXPLANATION Churches of the Anglican Communion have been asked to adopt the proposed Anglican Communion Covenant. The suggestion for such an agreement was made in the 2004 Windsor Report, which recommended "the adoption by the churches of the Communion of a common Anglican Covenant which would make explicit and forceful the loyalty and bonds of affection which govern the relationships between churches of the Communion."

The Windsor Report was produced at the request of Primates upset with the impending consecration of Gene Robinson as Bishop of New Hampshire and the promulgation of a liturgy for the blessing of same-sex unions by the Diocese of New Westminster in the Anglican Church of Canada. Archbishop Drexel Gomez, of the Anglican Province of the West Indies, was entrusted with leading the development of the first draft of a covenant.

This same Archbishop Gomez was one of the editors of "To Mend the Net", a collection of essays dating from 2001 and advocating enhancing the power of the Anglican Primates to deter, inter alia, the ordination of women and "active homosexuals," as well as the blessing of same-sex unions. Archbishop Gomez's punitive agenda remains evident in the final draft of the proposed Covenant.

Despite protestations to the contrary, the proposed Anglican Communion Covenant attempts to create a centralized authority that would constrain the self-governance of The Episcopal Church and other churches of the Communion. This unacceptably inhibits Communion churches from pursuing the gospel mission as they discern it.

The Church of England has already declined to adopt the Anglican Communion Covenant. The House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church in the Philippines has indicated that they will not support the Covenant, and the rejection of the Covenant by the Tikanga Maori of the Anglican Church in Aoteroa, New Zealand and Polynesia renders it virtually certain that those churches will also decline to adopt.

The deficiencies of the proposed Covenant would lead to an Anglican Communion further divided rather than more unified.

Declining to adopt the proposed Anglican Communion Covenant not only avoids permanent, institutionalized division, it opens the way for new opportunities to build relationships across differences through bonds of affection, by participation in the common mission of the gospel, and by consultation without coercion or intimidation.
Posted by SUSAN RUSSELL at 12:32 PM

Monday, May 07, 2012

Yearning for God: Don't miss the boat!

My friend, Jan Hilton in Corpus Christi, Texas, writes a very wonderful blog on contemplative reflection and life. I highly recommend her work to you and commend to you this particular post. Catherine

Yearning for God: Don't miss the boat!: Believe in hunches not opinion polls You are not your name or your telephone number At boarding time don't miss the boat that has your...

Sunday, April 29, 2012

"One Flock, One Shepherd": Tony+ makes it plain, simple, meaningful

One Flock, One Shepherd

Easter 4B
29 April 2012; 8:00 a.m. Said Mass and 10:00 a.m. Sung Mass

Homily Delivered by the Rev. Dr. Anthony A. Hutchinson
at Trinity Episcopal Church
Ashland, Oregon

Acts 4:5-12; Psalm 23; 1 John 3:16-24; John 10:11-18

“The day after they had arrested Peter and John for teaching about Jesus and the resurrection, the rulers, elders, and scribes assembled in Jerusalem, with Annas the high priest, Caiaphas, John, and Alexander, and all who were of the high-priestly family. When they had made the prisoners stand in their midst, they inquired, "By what power or by what name did you do this?" Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, "Rulers of the people and elders, if we are questioned today because of a good deed done to someone who was sick and are asked how this man has been healed, let it be known to all of you, and to all the people of Israel, that this man is standing before you in good health by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead. This Jesus is ‘the stone that was rejected by you, the builders; it has become the cornerstone.’ There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among mortals by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:5-12)

God, take away our hearts of stone, and give us hearts of flesh. Amen
We have been having a lot of funerals here at Trinity in the last weeks. At a couple of them we have used as the Gospel reading the passage from John 14, where Jesus says that in his Father’s House there are many way stations. The passage is warm, reassuring, and comforting. It ends with Jesus saying, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life: no one comes to the Father, except by me” (John14: 6). One of the deacons asked me somewhat abashedly if she could read the Gospel but end the reading before that last half-verse, “no one comes to the Father except by me.” “It might be offensive to some of the visiting bereaved, who might not be Christians.”

She asked as if she were afraid my response might be “But this is the BIBLE we are talking about here, and I’ll not have a verse of GOD’S WORD edited out because it might be offensive to those who are going to destruction anyway!” But she asked it anyway, because she knew that I am no fundamentalist, and believe that in order to be understood, God’s word on occasion needs to be reframed or even rephrased.

Today’s Gospel reading, shares the same problem. “I am the Good Shepherd” Jesus says, not “a good shepherd.” And he adds, “I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd.” Likewise, in the Acts reading, St. Peter ends his short speech on Christ being the stone once rejected but now made head cornerstone by saying, “There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among mortals by which we must be saved.”...

To read the rest of this insightful and hospitable homily please go to Tony's+ own blog called "An Elliptical Glory: Fragmentary Glimpses of Grace and Mystery in an Imperfect Life" where you can also read some of his mid-week meditations and other revealing homilies. He's our new Rector, so give him a read. The man is on the right track with the parish and with the often does that happen??? Please read and inwardly digest the wisdom and teaching of God as revealed in his humble, well-spoken, action man, priest. No, he sports a chasuble not a cape, and his "phone booth" is the sacristy when Chris approves, which is most of the time. The photo above is of Tony+ and his wife, Elena, climbing a stone stairway in China's equivalent of the Grand Canyon.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Invitation to Poetry: The Center and the Edges

The following is this month's poetry challenge from The Abbey of the Arts: Transformative Living through the Contemplative and Expressive Arts. I bid you join us, poets and artists, and participate with us as we continue our creative journeys. Dip your pen into the possibilities of spiritual transformation through art. Catherine.

Presented by Christine Valters Paintner, OblSB, PhD, REACE | April 28, 2012

Welcome to the Abbey's Poetry Party #57!

I select an image and suggest a theme/title and invite you to respond with your own poem. Scroll down and add it in the comments section below. Feel free to take your poem in any direction and then post the image and invitation on your blog (if you have one), Facebook, or Twitter, and encourage others to come join the party! (permission is granted to reprint the image if a link is provided back to this post)

I have recently discovered a stash of copies of my first book on lectio divina (published by Paulist Press, written with Sister Lucy) and so I will be sending out free signed copies to the first 25 people to share their poems (will be mailed out the week of May 7th). When you submit your poem, please also email me directly with your mailing address. This is my way of saying thank you for participating in the Abbey community.

This photo is of one of the doors to Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. I love this found mandala, because for me, I could see the clear boundary of the center where the knocker for the door was and where you request entry to the inner sanctum, and then the extension outward from there of the design which had a reaching quality to me and sense of how our service to others extends out into the world. We are called to dance on life's edges, stretching the boundaries and horizon. I felt the beautiful tension between the center and the edges and how we are called to both – each one nourishes the other.

I invite you to ponder this image and see what it evokes in your heart. Let that be a starting point for your poem writing. Then scroll down to the comments section and share it here with our Abbey community.

Here is my offering of poetry to the photograph above:

I travel 'round
this way,
that way...
in the sacred dance
to places I dared not go...
I go now
with opened eyes
with twirling feet
closer to edges
places I have never been
bridging the spaces
where I must be bold
to reach the next turning...
my heart beats fearfully
yet with joy and reckless
at what may be
the next unknown edge,
the next turn in my
sacred dance that leads
ever closer to Your Door...
the apex is near
hands stretched out
anticipation is heady
with the Presence of You
the center of my life,
I need only open myself
to the place beyond,
dancing before You,