Saturday, December 15, 2007

Jesus Wept and the Bigotry Continues

I hope some American Bishops stand with Bishop Robinson and boycott Lambeth next summer. But I doubt if more than two or three do this. Wearing their purple outfits and hearing the English accent which makes them croon is much more important than social justice or rebelling against a fellow bishop being treated so shabbily. 
Believe it or not, the Archbishop of Canterbury described in the article below is the one and same Archbishop of Canterbury who recently held a special Eucharist for G/B/L/T Anglican church members but thought it best that the service be done in secret so as to not upset those opposed to such a service. Can you imagine? A group of Christians meeting in a church and it has to be a freaking secret?
At any rate, it didn't stay secret for long.  Titus Online and Stand Firm found out about it almost immediately.  So if Anglicans on both sides of the issue are confused, they have every right to be. 
Some say that Archbishop Rowan Williams doesn't know what he believes. I disagree. I've read some of his papers. I find them boring and difficult to comprehend as he doesn't use English in the same manner most ordinary people in England, Canada, Australia or the U.S. do. I bet that even my Oxford grad grandpa, may he rest in peace would have found reading his theological treatises a challenge. But I'm confident in my opinion that he believes that the institution is more important than baptized Christians. 
The Archbishop is an intellectual giant. He just doesn't know what the heck he's doing!
The Guardian
Friday December 14, 2007

Associated Press Writer

LONDON (AP) - The archbishop of Canterbury said Friday he will not reverse his decision to exclude a gay U.S. bishop from joining other bishops at a global Anglican gathering next year.

The office of Archbishop Rowan Williams said he also had not changed his mind about refusing an invitation to Martyn Minns, a traditionalist U.S. priest who was consecrated as a bishop in the Anglican Church of Nigeria to minister to disaffected Episcopalians in the U.S.

Williams, spiritual leader of the world's Anglicans, said he has recruited professional mediators in trying to reach greater understanding between the U.S. Episcopal Church and its critics both at home and abroad.

The Anglican Communion is a 77-million-member fellowship of churches that trace their roots to the Church of England. The Episcopal Church, the Anglican body in the U.S., caused an uproar in 2003 by consecrating the first openly gay bishop, V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire.

Anglicans are now on the brink of schism, and attendance at next year's assembly, called the Lambeth Conference, has become a focus of the tension. Theological conservatives and liberals have separately threatened to boycott the meeting because of who was and wasn't invited.

Williams dedicated his Advent message to the crisis. He said that just under half of world Anglican leaders have not accepted the pledges by the Episcopal Church that it won't confirm any more gay bishops for now or approve official prayers for same-sex unions.

``We simply cannot pretend that there is now a ready-made consensus on the future of relationships between (the Episcopal Church) and other provinces,'' said Williams, who does not have the direct authority to force a compromise. ``Much work remains to be done.''

Statements by individual U.S. bishops that seem to deviate from their church's declarations have complicated the situation, the archbishop said.

He said that interpreting the Bible cannot be done ``in isolation by one part of the family'' and that ``radical change'' in understanding Scripture ``cannot be determined by one group or tradition alone.''

Williams also had stern words for Anglican leaders who have threatened not to attend the Lambeth Conference, held every 10 years and scheduled for July in Canterbury.

``I have said that the refusal to meet can be a refusal of the cross - and so of the Resurrection,'' Williams said. ``We are being asked to see our handling of conflict and potential division as part of our maturing both as pastors and as disciples. I do not think this is either an incidental matter or an evasion of more basic questions.''

There was no immediate comment from Robinson, who was on sabbatical, or Minns, who was traveling.

Williams called for professionally facilitated conversations between the leadership of the Episcopal Church ``and those with whom they are most in dispute, internally and externally, to see if we can generate any better level of mutual understanding.''

A week ago, the conservative Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin, in Fresno, Calif., voted to secede from the national church - the first full diocese to do so. Separately, about 55 Episcopal parishes out of more than 7,000 nationwide have split from the denomination, with some aligning directly with like-minded Anglican provinces overseas. Lawsuits over church property are already in the courts in some states and more litigation is expected.

Canon Kendall Harmon, a traditionalist leader in the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina, said he was encouraged that the letter called the consecration of a partnered gay man ``a new understanding of Scripture.''

Episcopal leaders ``have done an action that undermines the trust of the communion and they have not done enough to clear that trust,'' Harmon said.

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, leader of the Episcopal Church, said in a statement that she has ``repeatedly offered to engage in dialogue with those who are most unhappy,'' but her offer ``has not yet been seriously engaged.''


On the Net:

Archbishop's letter:

My Favorite Christmas Carol: Once in Royal David's City

Watch and listen to St. Paul's, London sing this beautiful carol on You Tube: Copy & Paste if link doesn't work.

Cecil Frances Humphreys Alexander


Born: Early April 1818, Redcross, County Wicklow, Ireland.

Died: October 12, 1895, Londonderry, Northern Ireland.

Buried: City Cemetery, Lodonderry, Northern Ireland.

Music:  Henry J. Gauntlett

Born: July 9, 1805, Wellington, Shropshire, Eng land.

Died: Feb ru a ry 21, 1876, London, England.

Buried: Kensal Green Cemetery, London, England.

For many years. Once in Royal David's City has been my favorite Christmas Carol.  Long before adopting the Anglican brand of Christian worship, this song has touched my heart.

During the Advent and Christmas season of 2005, I not been diagnosed with Alzheimer's. However, my neurologist had told me he strongly suspected that this was at the root of my memory lapses and I would have to wait and get the rest of the tests completed to know for sure.

During that holiday season, I played Once in Royal David's City over and over.  It is a hymn of comfort and always reminded me that Jesus was with me and walking with me through this entirely frightening journey.  And that's why I didn't stay upset over my diagnosis and why I am able to view it as an adventure God is taking me on.

Really read and listen to the words of this hymn.  Although Cecil was a writer of children's hymns, her lyrics are rich in the knowledge of God and rich in Anglican theology.

It's hard for me not to hear this carol without getting teary eyed in gratitude and love for God.

Below is a little bit of history about Sister Cecil. What a wonderful and brave Christian lady she was. And it wasn't easy being an Anglican in Ireland back then.

Since 1919, the King's College Chapel, Cambridge has begun their Christmas Eve service with "Once in Royal David's City" as the processional.The first verse is sung by a member of the  as a solo. The second verse is sung by the choir, and in the third verse the congregation joins. Excluding the first verse, the hymn is accompanied by the organ It is estimated that there are millions of listeners worldwide who tune in to this service.

Cecil Frances Humphreys was born in Dublin, but spent a good part of her later life in Londonderry and Strabane; her husband, William Alexander, himself a Derry man, was appointed Church of Ireland bishop of that city in 1867. He later became Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland.

She was the second daughter of Major John Humphreys of Miltown House, County Tyrone, Ireland. She and William Alexander, archbishop and primate of the Anglican church for all of Ireland were married for 45 years. 

She engaged herself in parish duties and charity work. Her husband said of her, “From one poor home to another she went. Christ was ever with her, and all felt her influence.” Mrs. Alexander had been active before her marriage in the Sunday school movement, and her love of children and interest in their spiritual instruction never diminished. Almost all of the 400 poems and hymns that she wrote were prompted by this concern.

Cecil Frances was a keen supporter of the Oxford Movement, and in 1848 published Hymns For Little Children, which include three of the most popular hymns in the English language: "Once in Royal David's City," "All Things Bright and Beautiful" and "There is a Green Hill Far Away." Charles Gounod, the composer of Faust, said that some of her lyrics "seemed to set themselves to music."

A further selection of her works - hymns, tracts and poems - was published a year after her death.

The lyrics:

1.Once in royal David’s city

 Stood a lowly cattle shed, 

Where a mother laid her Baby 

In a manger for His bed: 

Mary was that mother mild, 

Jesus Christ her little Child.

2. He came down to earth from Heaven, 

Who is God and Lord of all, 

And His shelter was a stable, 

And His cradle was a stall; 

With the poor, and mean, and lowly, 

Lived on earth our Savior holy.

3. And, through all His wondrous childhood,

 He would honor and obey, 

Love and watch the lowly maiden, 

In whose gentle arms He lay: 

Christian children all must be Mild, 

obedient, good as He.

4. For He is our childhood’s pattern; 

Day by day, like us He grew; 

He was little, weak and helpless, 

Tears and smiles like us He knew; 

And He feeleth for our sadness, 

And He shareth in our gladness.

5. And our eyes at last shall see Him, 

Through His own redeeming love, 

For that Child so dear and gentle Is

 our Lord in Heav’n above, 

And He leads His children on 

To the place where He is gone.

6. Not in that poor lowly stable, 

With the oxen standing by, 

We shall see Him; but in Heaven, 

Set at God’s right hand on high; 

Where like stars His children crowned 

All in white shall wait around.

Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin Leaves The Episcopal Church

"Saddle up your horses."
....Bonnie Anderson, President of the Episcopal House of Deputies to Fort Worth Episcopalians.
Stars of Brokeback Mountain who saddled up their horses.
Bishop John-David Schofield, was Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin until last weekend when he decided to take his marbles and run to join up with the Southern Cone. He says he's not an Episcopalian anymore, but an Anglican.
Cynic that I am, the first though to come to mind when I heard that the Diocese of San Joaquin, (CA) had voted to withdraw from The Episcopal Church and join up with some Anglican group in South America, my first thought was, "is Bonnie Anderson, president of the House of Deputies, going to tell those Episcopalians in San Joaquin to "saddle up your horses?"  which is what she told the folks in Fort Worth a couple of months ago?  And the first thought to come to mind when she said that, was BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN.
The answer to that question is a resounding, "NO!"  For those who don't understand Anglican politics,  our Presiding Bishop, the House of Bishops and our President of House of Deputies must follow canon law. It takes two meetings, each held yearly, to vote.  Pittsburgh and Fort Worth had their first votes in recent weeks so they won't be in the same position that the Diocese of San Joaquin is in until next fall.
During the year in between is where Episcopalians are in the lurch. Outside Bishops can't go into another territory and the diocese hasn't officially declared they are leaving the denomination yet. Therefore, their leadership can take no action during that period.
Here is the press release by the Episcopal News Service.  Below that is the press release by the Remain Episcopal, Diocese of San Joaquin. 
Episcopal News Service] 
Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has written to Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin Bishop John-David Schofield saying that she assumes his declaration that he is now under the authority of the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone "means you understand yourself to have departed the Episcopal Church and are no longer functioning as a member of the clergy in this Church."
In a December 14 letter which was emailed to Schofield, Jefferts Schori wrote that she was "deeply saddened" to hear of the San Joaquin convention's actions. "I would like to have confirmation from you of this understanding of your status," she wrote. "Many interrelated matters depend on that status -- for example, your membership in the House of Bishops and the acceptability of pension contributions on your behalf." read more:
News Release 

For Immediate Release 

Nov. 8, 2007 

San Joaquin Diocese Will Continue With or Without Bishop Schofield 

FRESNO, CA -- There's no such thing as squatter's rights in the Episcopal Church.  

That's the lesson Bishop John David Schofield will learn if he follows through with his 

threat to quit the Episcopal Church and take as many members of the San Joaquin 

Diocese with him as he can, according to national church officials.


Schofield claims that he will still be the diocesan bishop after the Dec. 7-8 convention in Fresno in which a majority of delegates are expected to vote to leave the church with him. But national 

church officials point out that, ecclesiastically speaking, he will be a bishop without a 

diocese. He can go, but the diocese remains. 

The national church's Presiding Bishop, Katharine Jefferts Schori, has publicly notified 

Schofield, along with the handful of other bishops who are actively seeking to 

withdraw their dioceses from the Episcopal Church (TEC), of the theological, canonical 

and legal issues involved, as well as the ramifications of voting to leave the church. [Full 

text of this warning from TEC can be found at]  

If Bishop Schofield does quit the church, the 14-county Episcopal diocese in central 

California will continue. It will have the support of the national church, surrounding 

dioceses and those individuals, parishes and groups that remain with the church. 

Many of the latter are members of Remain Episcopal, a group of clergy and lay people formed 

in 2003 for the sole purpose of assuring that the Episcopal Church remains alive and 

well in this diocese. Speaking on behalf of the Remain Episcopal Board, President Cindy 

Smith said: 

We in Remain Episcopal choose to continue the long-established 

relationship and affiliation we have with the Episcopal Church in the United 

States. We are deeply troubled that Bishop John-David Schofield is aggressively 

pursuing leaving the church. Remain Episcopal admits that it does not 

know what his exact plans are, whether to set up his own denomination, 

affiliate with one or more American splinter groups, or even align with a 

group in Africa or South America. Even more troubling is his desire to take 

as many Episcopalians with him as he can. 

If Bishop Schofield and the majority of the delegates do vote in December 

to leave, the Episcopal Church will still be alive and well in San Joaquin, 

although somewhat smaller. The Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin existed 

long before Bishop Schofield was elected and will continue to exist after 

he leaves. While he is a bishop, he is not the church, he is not the diocese, 

nor, by leaving, can he define whether or not the Episcopal Church will 

continue in this diocese.  

Episcopalians in San Joaquin will still gather to pray and worship and 

celebrate the Eucharist together as part of the Episcopal Church and the 

Anglican Communion.  

To get involved in assuring the continuance of the Episcopal Church in this area, contact Remain Episcopal at or email 

Media Contact: Stef Donev, (661) 599-2871; email 

Remain Episcopal Co-Founder: Nancy Key,  daytime (559) 244-0262; evening 559-269-9013; 




The Very Rev. John Tidy Lectures at Integrity of the Palm Beaches

The Very Rev. John Tidy (left) All Soul's Episcopal Church, Miami Beach, FL
The Rev John Tidy was asked by Bishop Frade to be the priest-in-charge at All Souls Episcopal Church on South Beach. It is the only Episcopal church in Miami Beach.  Prior to coming to the Episcopal Diocese of SE Florida, Father Tidy, from England, served as Rural Dean of Kingston, Diocese of Southwark, UK and as Dean of St George's Cathedral, Jerusalem.
Father Tidy gave a great lecture on his experience living in Jerusalem and the plight of the Palestinian people. He spoke of his hope for full inclusion of G/L/B/T Anglicans within the Anglican Communion and expressed his heart felt appreciation for The Episcopal Church's leading the way.

It Was Raining Babies at St. Mark's

(left) Father Cook telling a children's story at 10AM service.
We had 7 babies baptized that Sunday!  St. Mark's is having more and more babies baptized every month.
Speaking of babies, the Rev. Spencer Potter and wife Erin had a baby boy a couple of weeks ago and I will post a picture as soon as I can get one. 
I, with many others are so happy Father Cook, Pastor Lisa and Father Potter are at St. Mark's.

Rev. Mimi Howard speaks at St. Mark's Episcopal Church

Left, the Rev. Mimi Howard, Deacon, Good Shepherd Episcopal Church, Tequesta, FL.
Right, the Rev. Lisa Barrowclough, Chaplain, St. Mark's School introduces Rev. Howard.
Rev. Howard gave an inspiring presentation on the unique environment and ecosystem of Southeast Florida.  Rev. Howard serves as our diocesan Environmental Education co-coordinator or some such title.  She showed the DVD,  Florida: Our Island Home which featured Bishop Frade proving the scriptural, moral foundation and personal responsibilities of Floridians caring for our very fragile ecosystem. 
Rev. Howard provided concrete suggestions for things we can do in our homes as well as at St. Mark's to ease and slow the destruction of our wetlands and leave enough fresh water and Florida beauty for years to come.

Rant & St. Mark's Episcopal Church Presents Brian Williams at Adult Forum

Brian Williams, LCSW, marriage and family counselor spoke at St. Mark's adult forum on Holy Matrimony.  Brian talked about the role of God in the marriage relationship, power struggles  and conflict resolution.
It was a good talk except that it was presented in a typically safe  manner.  Inviting a gay Christian to discuss gay, long term relationships would offend those who disapprove.  It's kind of a sensitive issue in The Episcopal Church due to all of the conflict. Maybe one day St. Mark's will become a truly inclusive church which will be able to include gay relationships in the same discussion as Holy Matrimony discussions.
A couple of years ago a St. Mark's member told me that he disapproved of Integrity and thinks that it should be shut down "because everybody should be mixed together and share together."
That's easy for him to say when gay people are invited to participate in the community functions but only heterosexuals experiences such as the Holy Matrimony forum are a part of the discussion.  
The 20+ year relationship that Larry and I have is too controversial to rate equal status as heterosexual relationships in church discussions. The church member who made the statement about Integrity is wrong. It's a heterosexual who is in the majority and therefore in more of a position of power telling the minorities, those with the least power in this patriarchal society of ours telling me to stay in my place.  Praise the Lord for Integrity! 
When I spoke with Bishop Robinson a couple of weeks ago he thinks that this will change sooner than later. I read on a blog (can't remember which one) that The Episcopal Church is going through a "coming out" process, not unlike that of gay people when they decide to come out to family, friends or co-workers.  The ups and downs and positive and negative reactions creates anger, fear, etc.
I praise God for Integrity as it provides a place to share on equal levels of gay and straights and share the values of the relationships of both.  Actually, that's the beauty of the Palm Beach chapter of Integrity. It's about 50/50 straight/gay.  However, although the gay folks come from various Episcopal churches in Palm Beach county, only 2% of Integrity of the Palm Beaches are straight people. The other 98% are St. Andrew's members.
It was great having Brian Williams speak at St. Mark's and I hope he comes back soon.

An Advent Service of Lessons and Carols at St. Andrew's, Lake Worth

(Left)  Margo with Mase, organist at Trinity Episcopal Church, West Palm Beach for more than 30 years.
Larry and I were honored when Margo, ( the Martha Stewart of South Florida), asked us if we would participate in St. Andrew's  enhanced chancel choir at the Advent Service of Lessons and Carols on December 2.
The rehearsal the day before gave us the opportunity to practice with the new organ.
We both like to sing anyway. I'd love to be in the choir at my home church, St. Mark's Episcopal. But I live near Greenacres and work up in Riviera Beach and making a second round trip up to the north part of the county would be entirely too stressful. I'm pretty wore out when I get home from work. So practicing for a couple of hours at St. Andrew's was an opportunity to sing in a choir and have a great time.
One of the advent hymns we sang is Nova, Nova, page 266 in The Episcopal Hymnal. It's classified as "Holy Days and Various Occasions," but it certainly contains the message of Advent. It's a very old hymn, from the 1400's.  
I HAD to find a recording of Nova, Nova to ad to my iTunes Christmas playlist.  I struck gold and found several recordings of it. My favorite was on 100 Christmas Classics.  The gentleman singing the solo part had a beautiful voice with Scottish brogue.
Then Thursday morning, I'm sitting at my computer in the office at the VA. My door was open and I was listening to the Christmas music the secretary was playing on a CD in his computer. I had turned my ipod speakers off to listen to his music. Suddenly I hear, Nova, Nova which was the same recording as mine. He had purchased 100 Best Christmas Classics.
As their are some other beautiful Christmas carols on it, including my favorite, Once in Royal David's City, I'm going to go out and try to find it today. Mickey got his at Walmart where I flatly refuse to purchase anything so I'll just find it somewhere else.
Anyway, I digress.  At the reception afterward, Margo had mad a Christmas Village out of brownies complete with ice skating rink on the top tier of the village. 
The Sunday afternoon concert was well attended and challenged all of us to remember and reflect on Advent with a deeper appreciation for it's meaning as we await the celebration of the birth of Jesus.

St. Andrew's Episcopal Purchases Allen Organ

Just in time for Advent and Christmas, St. Andrew's got a new organ. Here is a picture of Norman, St. Andrew's organist at the Advent service rehearsal. It sounds great and Norman is mastering the highly technical elements involved in playing it.
The organ was made and installed by the  Allen Organ Companies, America's oldest organ manufacturer.
The hurricanes of 2005 and 2005 caused major roof damage to St. Andrew's and water had got into the organ even though the church immediately started covering it with plastic when it was discovered that one of the roof leaks was right over the organ. 
It took a couple of weeks to get it entirely installed and properly tweaked. The salesman spent quite a bit of time with Norman so by the time we rehearsed for the Advent Service of Lessons and Carols, Norm was already pretty accomplished on this technologically advanced organ.