Sunday, December 6, 2009

Veni, Veni, Emmanuel

A little something different a little more solemn and so, for the Second Sunday of Advent we offer to all:



I did some Christmas shopping yesterday. I find this helped me return to the reason for the season. Blessing from us here at OT to all of you.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

One, Two, Awayback We Go



Mr. Peabody is providing a 1950's lecture to Sherman and it goes something like this:

1, Can't Help Fallin In Love Elvis
2, Tennessee Waltz Patti Page
3. Catch A Falling Star Perry Como
4, Ring of Fire Johnny Cash
5, Angel Eyes Four Freshmen
6, Mambo Italiano Rosemary Clooney
7, Little Darlin' The Diamonds
8, Blue Suede Shoes Carl Perkins
9. Set The world On Fire The Inkspots
10, I'm walkin' Fats Domino

We end with a better work from Fats Domino than Blueberry Hill. Ring of Fire slipped in but only because Johnny Cash was recording with Sam back in the 50's. Started with two great love songs from that era. Yes, for you young whipper-snappers, rosemary Clooney is George's mother, but you all knew that already, didn't you. A personal favorite is Little Darlin' and of course while I am old, I am not, technically, this old. However, the magic here is that my sister required a dance partner for those afternoons when homework was done and Bandstand was on. Yikes!

Monday, November 30, 2009

When Will We Make A Stand?

Here is a headline from a Los Angeles Daily News writer, Troy Anderson, by way of the San Francisco Chronicle, Bay Area Section:

Attacks based on religion, sexual orientation are up


Lest you have just drifted by and think to yourself, "Self, that just one of many crimes that are up this past year" think again. "Although the total number of hate crimes countywide dropped 4 percent from 2007 to 2008, the rise in homophobic and religious-based hate crimes worried advocate groups."

Yep, the purple-shirted gang, Akinola, Orombi, Duncan, Iker, Schofield, etc. has always spouted that no harm comes to LGBT folks just because we "take a stand". Really, then why are hate crimes based on sexual orientation up 21 percent and religious crimes increased by 14%? Furthermore, the article goes on to say that there is a definite correlation back to the Proposition 8 debates!

There is a bill pending right now, before the Ugandan legislature to make some behaviors punishable by death! How can our bishops, our clergy and our primates stand silently by and allow this to happen? (I am aware of Canada and the debate in England). Can you now see that even your silence condemns our brothers and sisters to the full panoply of hate and violence? Can you now see that there is sin in not saying anything? Can you now see that every day that we allow these issues to go unchecked is another day where some person will be physically harmed? Enough is enough!

Do you all know that in Los Angeles County the number of hate crimes rose significantly and 80% of those crimes were aimed at gay men? Are we all proud of ourselves for this namby-pamby kind of approach to personal freedom. You all know what I mean, the idea that sooner or later the LGBT community will get what they want, just be patient. How many more hate crimes will there be? How many more Matthew Shepherds will there be? And even if you are not for personal freedom, (I can't see how) but we must be against violence done to anyone for any reason.

Let's move forward, let's put as much pressure on Uganda and Bishop Orombi as we can until this terrible legislation is done away. The Episcopal Church needs to take positive, affirming and holistic approach to same sex marriage and to blessings.

Now, is a good time to start!

Friday, November 27, 2009

The Regular Wayback Machine


Here we are again and it is time for a little travel through the wayback machine to another time and another place. A journey of sights and sounds, (oh, wait, this is the wayback machine not the twilight zone, sorry).

1. Turn, Turn, Turn The Byrds (and by the way, it is from 3 years ago and David Crosby is still going strong in spite of his liver transplant.)
2. Cripple Creek The Band
3. Hells Bells AC/DC
4. Driftin' Blues Paul Butterfield blues Band (I saw them do this number)
5. Conquistador Procol Harum
6. Hair of The Dog Nazareth
7. Crying In The Rain Everly Brothers
8. Rock and Roll Heaven Righteous Brothers
9. Midnight Rider Allman Brothers
10. Black Water Doobie Brothers

The last four songs are by brothers of one sort or another. I have seen the Righteous Brothers and the Everly Brothers but not the other two. I like Rock and Roll Heaven going into Advent and of course I hope it counteracts Hells Bells by AC/DC.

A word in closing on liver transplants. A very good friend of mine received one and lived 11 years. David Crosby got his a year after Dick had his transplant. David Crosby is going strong. The science is great and the medicine is getting better all the time.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

A Special Edition of the Wayback Machine



1. Do Wah Diddy Manfred Mann
2. The Supernatural John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers (Peter Green on guitar)
3. Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow The Shirelles
4. What's going On Marvin Gaye
5. Crazy willie Nelson
6. Mack The Knife Louis Armstrong
7. Music of the Night Michael Crawford
8. Misirlou Dick Dale and The Deltones
9. I don't Want to Set The World on Fire The Inkspots
10. Panis Angelicus Pavarotti

Marvin Gaye's song is one of the finest you will hear anywhere. Crawford does a good job on Music of the Night (I really enjoyed and saw Robert Guillume) and John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers is without my all time favorite Eric Clapton but hey, one needs to expand one's mind. By the way, can anyone guess the relationship between Jack Bruce and Eric Clapton besides the obvious CREAM. where did they first play together?

Dick Dale was a surf guitarist of the finest caliber, hope you enjoy that one as well. Anyone ever body surf the Wedge? Yahoo!

Thanksgiving is special so, here we go!

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Wayback Machine


After many months of posting a "top ten" list at Padre Mickey's I have decided that I am far too narrow and considerably less erudite than PM and his broad and eclectic sense of music. As a result, I have decided to use Mr. Peabody's "wayback machine" to start my own Friday night or Saturday (depending on how I feel and how quickly I can get to) my good ole turntable. Here, you will find only the "genuine, original vinyl", none of that plastic stuff.

So for our inaugural entry we have the following:

1. Suzanne Lenoard Cohen
2. RESPECT Otis Redding
3. Help Me Rhonda Beach Boys
4. Our Last Kiss J. Frank Wilson
5. After Midnight Eric Clapton
6. Crystal Ship The Doors
7. Will You Love Me tomorrow Shirelles
8. Monday Monday Mamas and Papas
9. Highway 61 Bob Dylan
10. Slowdown Beatles

I ended with one of the great Beatles songs that hardly anyone remembers but listen to the guitar work in this song. Somebody knows how to use an axe.

Now you have it, the first ever wayback machine. don't forget to come back!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Double Standards are Everywhere

Between the machinations of the bishops of Nigeria (++Akinola) and Uganda (++Orombi) I am pretty sure they have now stepped into the abyss.Both countries have legislation pending that will create a whole new society of criminals -- yes that is correct, LBGT will become criminals subject in some cases to the death penalty in both these countries. One would think that both archbishops would have their hands full with the following.

UGANDA:

A child goes missing, abducted, in the United States. The police are notified and they issue what in America is referred to as an Amber Alert. Radio stations begin broadcasting descriptions, while TV stations flash pictures of both the abductor and abducted across the screen. Billboards along major roads flash pertinent information regarding the abduction. The police move out in force with helicopters and planes and the Army National Guard may even be engaged. Everything is put into operation to bring a child home to its family. At the same time, they go after the abductor to put him behind bars, so she or he cannot harm any other child.

In another part of the world, on the other side of this globe, in the northern districts of Uganda, 30,000 children have been abducted in the past 20 some years. Most every family in the Acholi and now Langi area has been affected. Many families have lost a child through abduction, or their village was attacked and destroyed, families burned out and/or killed, and harvests destroyed by an army of abducted children known as The Lord’s Resistance Army. The countryside is virtually empty and people have moved into safe villages that are supposed to be protected by the government, but that has often been in words but not in deed. At night the children of the north flee into towns to sleep, fearing that they might be abducted. They find safety in numbers in towns such as Gulu where even the local bishops and ministers have joined them as they seek safety from the Lord’s Resistance Army.



NIGERIA

However, MEND said the six expatriates were kidnapped for ignoring its warning that oil and gas workers steered clear of the Niger-Delta, pending resolution of certain grey areas, warning of more dire consequences for any foreigner that disregards its warning in future.

The hostages would remain in MEND's custody indefinitely and until issues raised by it were adequately resolved by the Federal Government and stakeholders in the region, the groups said.

The MEND statement, signed by its Spokesman, Gbomo Jomo, read: "their arrest is meant to serve as a warning to others that there are root issues that have to be resolved with the Nigerian government before normalcy could resume, such as return of displaced civilians to their ancestral home, compensation for damages, return of ill-trained JTF to their barracks, and last but not the least, constitutional amendment to address fiscal federalism."


One would believe that based on these two press releases alone, the Anglican Church in general and the respective archbishops specifically would have their hands full just trying to relieve the nationwide suffering these two issues cause. One would hope that as Christians they would set aside whatever personal beliefs they might hold and adopt a position that demonstrates the two great commandments but oh no, they have mayhem and now worse on their minds.

Akinola has decided that the Archbishop of Canterbury is no longer a necessary part of the Anglican communion (see the Jerusalem Declaration). At other times he has indicated that he is the next Archbishop of the Anglican Communion. Henri Luke Orombi continues to support a strong anti-gay message along with the Mouth Lion that Roars.

And speaking of Canterbury, just where is our Archbishop of Canterbury on this monstrous issue? Has he gone AWOL? Is he afraid the speak up since the Global South will take their marbles and go home?

Take a moment and go to Jake's Place and let's all participate in the World Day of prayer. We must END once and for all the atrocious behavior of those who would unthinkingly (or even thinkingly in the case of these) persecute to death our LBGT brothers and sisters. But do not stop there -- the end of persecution is not the goal -- the goal is full inclusion worldwide of all persons. Full rights for each and every person everywhere in the world.

++Orombi, put your energy to the task of solving the abduction of your children and ++Akinola put your efforts into freeing the foreign hostages. Is it possible, is it time, that you both can begin to act like primates of the Anglican Communion?

Monday, November 16, 2009

Via Media

Some passing thoughts on what we in Episcopal land call the via media, the middle way. When Hooker, back in about 1595 or so was writing his treatise he spoke about the middle ground between Calvinisn and Roman Catholicism. He came up with the concept of scripture, reason and tradition, the three legged stool, though I do not think Hooker used that term. We have, over the years since Hooker died (1600) managed to hold a pretty steady course. Now, it seems, to quote one of the clergy in the Anglican diocese of San Joaquin, the three-legged stool has one leg (scripture) longer than all the rest.


The evangelical/orthodox side of the house, both that which left as well as that which contemplates leaving of late, seems to completely reject the three legged stool preferring to elevate scripture to a pinnacle that many of us cannot seem to fathom. These folks have "jumped the creek" and now stand squarely on the side of in errant scripture in toto. Furthermore, their emphasis seems to be on biblical translations that are done without regard to some of the earliest translations/earliest works. Any superficial research leads one to some other biblical scholars who find a completely different idea. Furthermore, the emphasis of the orthodites seems to be found in the old testament rather than the new testament.

The liberal side of the house is becoming as strident as the orthodox folks. All the while trying to be coy by wordsmithing the 1994 changes to the constitution and canons as well as the Anglican Covenant as well as the Windsor Report. We, the liberal side of the house elected to not insist on sitting down and working out the fine points of full inclusion when we confirmed the policy.

And so, we find ourselves at a crossroads. We say we take the middle road. We say we are all inclusive but are we really?! Have we decided that it is time to jettison all those who no longer agree with full inclusion instead of talking and praying and talking and praying and talking and praying. How do we pass D025 and C056 now and continue to dialogue with those that do not agree?

I have no snappy answers but I suspect the following: if we do not find a way to return to the middle ground - to create again the dialogue that has kept us going since 1789 then we may lose our beloved church.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Sunday Music

I am not sure why, but I think God lives in music. Probably not theologically sound, maybe heretical but I just do. Here is but one wee example.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Mr. Duncan's NY Times Interview


Mr. Robert Duncan, pretender to the throne, acting Archbishop of ACNA, and cohort of the soon to be retired John David Schofield was interviewed by the New York Times. Let's peek in on what he had to say.

First quote:

I wouldn’t characterize us as ultraright. We don’t beat up folks.


Should we put this question to a vote? Let's ask every LGBT person inside the Episcopal Church. Oh, not a good place to start? How about we ask the families at St. Dunstan's Modesto, CA or St. Mark's, Port Royal, SC.

You and Robinson were fellow students at the General Theological Seminary in New York.

Yes. That was in the early ’70s. He was living a heterosexual lifestyle at the time. He was married. Then he left his wife and later committed himself to a male partner. I don’t wish him ill.


Left +Robinson out in the cold at Lambeth. Led a whole 755 congregations astray because of him. And, are we talking ill like physical, mental, spiritual, psychological? Just what ill are we talking about? Let's ask +Robinson if he is feeling ill.

On his deposition:

That was a year ago, but what’s interesting is that virtually no one in the Anglican world accepted that sentence. Within two weeks of being deposed, I was received at Lambeth Palace in London by the archbishop of Canterbury, who continues to consider me a bishop.


This is probably the most truthful statement he makes in all the interview. That being said, the ABC receives a lot of people every day, does that make them all archbishops? What is wrong with the rest of the world, or is Mr. Duncan just not asking the right persons?

Here is a great quote:

On the Presiding Bishop's election:

She turned out to be far harder, far less willing to bend or compromise, than any of the men.


This was a quote on our presiding Bishop. I think he wanted her to cook and clean, not lead. I am surprised barefoot and pregnant did not come out of his mouth.


Onthe issue of legal action:

There is an ongoing lawsuit. They may get the stuff, but we’ll get the souls. They may get the past, but we’ve got the future.


I prefer to believe that the future is full of love, mercy, outreach and full inclusion. I am hopeful their future is full of the same.(but doubtful). The Episcopal future is built in inclusion, love, outreach, Christ and his message. It appears that ACNA is built on hate and division.

Thanks to Mark at Preludium for the read.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

What Does A REAL ANGLICAN Look Like?

In the Diocese of San Joaquin, Fort Worth, Quincy, Pittsburgh and now South Carolina many people are (or should be ) asking themselves this very question. In all the diocese save South Carolina they think they have answered it.

First, what are some of the qualities of those in the pews? I believe for the most part these persons and families are:
1, hard working;
2, wish to serve God
3, conservative (moderately to extremely so) in their politics;
4, truly HATE sin;
5, want all this sex stuff to go back into the closet;
6, are middle to upper middle class white men who expect give loyalty to their bishop and expect it from their wives and girlfriends;
7, REALLY do not want to lose their ties with the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Anglican Communion.

Got some news for your folks in south Carolina and in the other four diocese here in the United States.

THE ONLY REAL ANGLICANS IN THE UNITED STATES ARE THOSE PERSONS WHO BELONG TO MISSIONS AND PARISHES THAT ARE CONSTITUENT MEMBERS OF THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH IN THE UNITED STATES
.

To all you who have left you are not ANGLICANS. Wake up! Write the Archbishop of Canterbury and explain your current position and ask him. There is no document from him or from anyone directly in Canterbury that says that you are members of the Anglican Communion. Don't believe me do you? Ask your bishop to show you a letter written BY Archbishop Rowan Williams that says simply, yes the ACNA is a member of the Anglican Communion (not becoming, not will be some day, not maybe if the creek don't rise, but honest to pete homespun, hardcore Anglican). While you are at it, ask the Archbishop of Canterbury whether, he, as the titular head of the Anglican Communion, recognizes your bishops as anything other than DEPOSED!? Please, write to him as fast as you can because, you see, you are not Anglicans and as of right now, unless you rejoin the Episcopal Church in the United States of America, you may never be in Anglican Communion, at least as long as you are alive. So really, ask Mr. Schofield to produce a letter from the Archbishop (not the person in South America, he cannot speak for the Archbishop of Canterbury). And while you are at it, I do not think Mr. Robert Duncan can speak for the Archbishop of Canterbury either. Ask Mr. Duncan to produce a letter from Archbishop Williams saying "ollie ollie oxen, everyone home free!". No really, do not let yourselves be fooled any longer by promises and letters from guys who say that ++Williams said you get to be Anglicans, do not be fooled by these impostors. Tell 'em if you wanted "pie in the sky in the by and by" you would have joined Rev. Ike's church in Los Angeles a long time ago. Tell these wannabes you want real proof and you want it now! Should be simple, right? Either you are a member and you can get a letter from the titular head of the Anglican communion or you are not. Nothing terribly complex or complicated. Do not take no for an answer. You moved with these deposed bishops for a reason, did you not? Make them demonstrate beyond a shadow of a doubt you are in the Anglican Communion.

In the meantime fellow travellers, keep St. Mark's in South Carolina in your prayers and keep writing to Bishop Lawrence. Share with him your thoughts on his idea that Anglicans ought to be allowed alternative oversight but apparently not Episcopalians. Ask him how is that even logical let alone just or merciful. Do not let him bury St. Mark's Chapel Beaufort,SC in a sea of pseudo-Anglicanism.

(Tip of the hat to Lynn.)

Monday, November 2, 2009

The Continuing Saga of St. Mark's Chapel

I have now had conversations with both the Warden and the Priest-in-charge for St. Mark's Chapel. They are filled with hope now that their situation is known by more than a few folks in South Carolina. Can you imagine the aloneness of facing a bishop bent on creating an Anglican diocese that would engulf those who are still (and always have been) Episcopalians.

This group is growing and has recently moved to a Church. This is a group not unlike the group from St. Dunstans but unlike St. Dunstan's the group at St. Mark's does not have real property. This may mean that is easier for Bishop Lawrence to mute them and ultimately bury them deep inside the Anglican Diocese of South Carolina.

This group is in touch with a group called the . Episcopal Forum Being an up and coming mission they have no standing inside the diocese and therefore at grave risk of being pushed by the Bishop of South Carolina into oblivion.

The folks at St. Mark's are pleased to know that they have friends, inside and outside the diocese. Please send your comments to Bishop Lawrence, we all need to be civil, and keep praying that +Lawrence has not lost the ability to be merciful.

I have seen the harm done to Episcopalians when they have had their world crushed. Do not let this happen again. Keep those cards and letters flowing. By the way, Bishop Lawrence does have a facebook page. Perhaps a few of you skilled facebook folks could send him a message or two in that fashion. Do not let the bishop think for one second that the St. Mark's parishioners are expendable!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Let My People Go!

St. Mark's Chapel, Port Royal, South Carolina is in need of a letter writing campaign. This small group of Episcopalians is located in the heart of +Mark Lawrence's diocese. Yes, +Lawrence is looking more and more like he is going to leave the Episcopal Church (yes, I know he says not but so did his mentor, John David Schofield) and it looks as if he is not willing to allow true Episcopalians to go with their heart. In this instance, St. Mark's, a would be mission, wants to become a mission and stay with the Episcopal Church. Alas, Bishop Lawrence has not permitted this to happen, yet.

Here is the vision statement of St. Mark's:

Where We Are, How We Got There
And Where We Hope To Go

St. Mark’s Chapel, Beaufort, SC

Viewing St. Mark's Chapel as a work in progress guided by the Holy Spirit, we envision this statement as well to be a work in progress which will continue to evolve and mature as we do.

Who We Are and How We Came to Be
Anticipating the population growth on Ladies Island, in the mid 1990’s there was dialogue concerning establishment of an Episcopal mission in northern Beaufort County, an idea which unfortunately never materialized. The interest in such a mission resurfaced following the 74th General Convention of The Episcopal Church (TEC) in 2003 when St. Mark’s Chapel formed under the leadership of The Rev. Mr. Roger William Smith, a retired Episcopal priest. Initially, eight people met at his house and began a ministry which now averages over 20 communicants each Sunday. Overall, our mailing list includes about 60 individuals, mostly confirmed Episcopalians. Upon Mr. Smith's recent retirement, the chaplaincy was assumed by the Rev. Dr. Robert Hansel, also a retired Episcopal priest.

Initially we were a house church that met in one another’s homes bimonthly. Realizing the need for a “consistent” location (to avoid confusion and attract additional members), in the fall of 2007 we relocated to the Room by the Bay of the Sea Island Inn in downtown Beaufort. In April 2009 we moved to the Port Royal Lodge in Port Royal. We now meet there every Sunday at 10:00 a.m. Overall, we practice a shared lay/clergy ministry approach to worship and leadership of St. Mark’s Chapel. We have been fortunate in the availability of several priests to celebrate Holy Eucharist. When clergy are not available to celebrate Eucharist, we enjoy lay-led Evening Prayer.

St. Mark’s continues to be a Total Ministry fellowship engaged in outreach. Total Ministry means that we encourage all members, not just the ordained, to offer themselves to the community. Representing our chapel, St. Mark’s members have been active in Family Promise, a program for homeless families in Beaufort County, and in RxAccess, an ecumenical effort to assist eligible clients in applying for free or reduced–priced medications. In addition to hands-on outreach, we have provided financial support for Habitat for Humanity, mission work in the Dominican Republic, the Child Abuse Prevention Association and have been one of the leading diocesan supporters of the Episcopal Relief and Development program.

We view church as existing to support, confront and challenge members to engage the world in Christ’s name. We believe church life respects differences, openly addressing them directly while seeking resolution, reconciliation and acceptance. Accepting challenge, our chapel anticipates and welcomes change as part of God’s action. Underlying all we believe is our commitment to follow Jesus’ Great Command: Love God and love your neighbor.

We are shaped by an educational ministry which focuses on the teaching of Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit for change in contemporary life. Due to the age of our members, we have not yet developed a children’s program but look forward to that as we increase in membership. Several of our members have experience in planning and leading Christian education.

To understand St. Mark’s Chapel, one must understand the context in which it has evolved. The Diocese of South Carolina is a group of primarily conservative parishes which tend more and more to emphasize their Anglican roots vs. the Episcopal. It seems to be leaning toward the theology of GAFCON (Global Anglican Future Conference sponsored by the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans). While we respect this difference in religious perspective, this apparent departure from TEC is a major concern of ours: We have no desire to leave TEC. We believe that the Holy Spirit is guiding us in ways to live via an ever-evolving understanding of the Message of Christ.

St. Mark’s celebrated its fifth anniversary in November 2008. During those five years we have made several attempts to be recognized officially in the Diocese as a mission. Our first venture was a meeting with clergy and wardens of St. Helena’s Episcopal Church (the only Episcopal Church in northern Beaufort County) to discuss the possibility of becoming a parochial mission of that parish. By mutual concurrence, vast theological differences precluded such a relationship.

Our next step toward formal Episcopal status occurred in the winter of 2007 when we attended at St. Helena’s a meeting called by then Bishop Salmon who, over the years, had been supportive of St. Mark’s and posited that “it was not nice to be in exile,” leading to our hope of becoming a diocesan mission. Present in addition to Bishop Salmon and Bishop-Elect Mark Lawrence were the rector of St. Helena’s and his two wardens as well as their Bishop-in-Residence Alden Hathaway. The final decision about our status was passed to the hands of Bishop-Elect Lawrence who, after he was consecrated, declined to recommend to the Diocesan Convention the admission of St. Mark’s as a diocesan mission. .

After that disappointment, a fruitful meeting with the vestry of All Saints Episcopal Church, Hilton Head, resulted in All Saints’ request to the Diocese that St. Mark’s become their parochial mission. In October 2008, a delegation from St. Mark’s met with the bishop to discuss that possibility, and he, again, opposed the admission of St. Mark’s to the Diocese even as a parochial mission. Since that meeting, the members of St. Mark’s have entered into a period of discernment to explore who we are, decide where we want to go, and articulate our role in spreading the Gospel.

What We Believe

In meetings of the chapel committee and in full meetings of the congregation, we have committed to continue as a nurturing, inclusive group, accepting all people regardless of ethnic background, age, lifestyle, economic circumstance or sexual orientation. While we would like to be recognized as part of the Episcopal Church, that need not be our primary focus. We will continue to follow the canons and liturgy of the Episcopal Church (and the Diocese of South Carolina as long as it remains within TEC). Eventually, we expect to grow from a chapel to a mission to a church with hope of being a fully accepted member of our diocese and TEC.

Our theological outlook is characterized by scripturally-based, intellectually rigorous, imaginative preaching and teaching. We see St. Mark's Chapel as a place of worship in the Episcopal tradition: We appreciate theology that invites questions and requires our intelligence as well as our discernment. Devoted to the Biblical sacrament instituted by Jesus, we view ministry as a privilege and obligation of all baptized persons. Baptized members have a vocation from God and the gifts necessary for ministry. The primary work of the laity is to support the needs of one another and of those in need and at risk. The primary work of the clergy is to equip members to care for one another and other children of God.

St. Mark’s emphasizes an insistence on Christian morality (what is good and loving) but an avoidance of moralism. We accept the heritage of the apostolic faith and the Gospel of Jesus Christ as well as the apostolic order which was established within the church.

Aspirations

“Faith is the substance of things hoped for….” Hebrews 11:1

St. Mark’s Chapel's hope is to model the health and integrity of diversity in TEC by becoming a viable institution accepting The Episcopal Church's emphasis on scripture, tradition and reason as necessary for the Church’s foundation. We base our hopes and intentions on two major considerations.

First, the demographics of our county strongly suggest the need for an additional Episcopal institution. The southern portion of Beaufort County has three recognized Episcopal churches offering diverse services to 72,00 people (an average of one church per 24,000 people). However, in our northern portion, only one church serves 70,000 people. By comparison, Charleston and its surrounding area has 31 Episcopal churches offering service to an average of 19,500 people. Clearly, there is a need for more Episcopal churches in Northern Beaufort County.

Second and primary is St. Mark’s desire to meet the needs of Episcopalians in northern Beaufort County who seek a progressive Episcopal alternative, one that can be fully supportive of TEC. The only recognized Episcopal community in Northern Beaufort County is theologically conservative and limits its support of TEC. Our vision is to fulfill the need for an alternative as we continue evolving as a worshiping community of loving, caring, accepting, serving individuals. As a congregation, we expect to continue growing into the essence of Christ and the Holy Spirit.

We will continue striving to create a community that participates with the clergy and with the community, committed partners in ministry to the world that God has created for us, being good stewards of our earth and God-given gifts — providing the most effective ministry we can offer. Our witness and service to Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit will be organized around five key elements of calling: Service, Worship, Education, Evangelism, and Pastoral care.

“Our worship together celebrates and mediates the reality of God, our learning together draws us deeper into the way of Jesus, and our acting together seeks to incarnate ‘the dream of God,’ namely, compassion and justice in the world of the everyday.” Borg, Marcus, and N.T. Wright. The Meaning of Jesus: Two Visions, Harper-Collins, 1998. 245.



Organizational Vision

Our organization structure has a stewardship mission focus: The Vision is that of an ongoing commitment to being good stewards of the gifts that we have received from God—mobilizing everything for the most effective ministry we can offer. Our congregation patterns its witness to Jesus Christ by organizing around five key elements of the Chapel’s calling:

•Service — Practical support and direct assistance to individuals and families in our community who are in-need or at-risk; paralleled by extended mission outreach and financial contributions for the alleviation of problem issues in the larger community of state, nation, and world.


•Worship — Using both the historical and contemporary resources and traditions of the Episcopal Church to enable people to experience in personal and corporate terms the presence and power of God.


•Education — Equipping people to understand the Christian Faith, to recognize its implications which touch all things, to work and give generously for the spreading of the Word, and to live creatively their Faith within the context of everyday life.

•Evangelism/Growth — Opening ourselves to the Holy Spirit’s presence that alone has the capacity to change and renew all people as co-creators of the Kingdom of God.


•Pastoral Care — Supporting those who are struggling with illness, isolation, disease, and death by surrounding them with God’s love as it is revealed by our own acts of compassion.
All members of our Chapel community are expected to become involved in at least one of these five areas of St. Mark’s Chapel’s calling.


Bishop Lawrence is located on Facebook and here is his diocesan address:
The Right Reverend Mark Lawrence
XIV Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina
Diocesan House
126 Coming Street
Charleston, SC, 29403

Do not let the good people of St. Mark's Chapel be buried in the "Anglican Diocese of South Carolina".

My Way or The Highway

Anyone in the Episcopal Diocese of Forth Worth or Quincy or Pittsburgh feelin' this song?



Cruisin' down the center of a two-way street,
wond'rin' who is really in the driver's seat.
Mindin' my bus'ness, along comes big brother,
says, "Son, you better get on one side or the other."

WO-OH I'm out on the border,
WO-OH I'm walkin' the line.
WO-OH Don't you tell me 'bout your law and order,
I'm tryin' to change this water to wine.

After a hard day I'm safe at home
foolin' with my baby on the telephone,
out of nowhere somebody cuts in and says,
"Hmm, you in some trouble, boy, we know where you been."

WO-OH I'm out on the border,
WO-OH I thought this was a private line.
WO-OH Don't you tell me 'bout your law and order,
I'm tryin' to change this water to wine.

Never mind your name JUST GIVE US YOUR NUMBER
mm, never mind your face JUST GIVE US YOUR CARD
Mm, and we wanna know WHOSE WING ARE YOU UNDER.
You better step to the right OR WE CAN MAKE IT HARD.

WO-OH I'm stuck on the border.
WO-OH All I wanted was some peace of mind.
WO-OH Don't you tell me 'bout your law and order,
I'm tryin' to change this water to wine.

ON THE BORDER
ON THE BORDER
ON THE BORDER
ON THE BORDER
ON THE BORDER leave me be, I'm just walking this line
I'M OUT ON THE BORDER
ON THE BORDER all I wanted was some peace of mind, peace of mind
I'M OUT ON THE BORDER
ON THE BORDER can't you see I'm tryin' to change this water to wine
I'M OUT ON THE BORDER
ON THE BORDER don't you tell me 'bout your law and order
I'M OUT ON THE BORDER I'm sick and tired of all your law and order
ON THE BORDER say goodnight in here
I'M OUT ON THE BORDER
ON THE BORDER
I'M OUT ON THE BORDER (fade)

- Glenn Frey, Don Henley & Bernie Leadon

Explanation to follow.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Deposed Bishop Calls it Quits?

Well, the virtueless are at it again. As with most things spiritual, Mr. V has announced that Mr. John David Mercer Schofield has decided to retire! That is correct, you all heard it and you do not need to wash your ears out -- according to the blogster Mr. Schofield announced during the second convention of the Anglican Diocese of Something that he is going to retire in 2011.

Let's see now, many years ago Mr. Schofield (with Mr. Wantland) announced the formation of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America. About 6 or 7 years ago Mr. Schofield announced, in a pastoral letter to all the parishes of the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin that he would never leave the Episcopal Church. A couple of years ago he announced that he had gone nowhere but that the Episcopal Church had left him. And then two years ago, he announced that it was not he who left but the Episcopal Church, rather he was forced to leave because his Standing Committee and all the people of the diocese made him do it. Then he announced that he was still a part of the Anglican Church. Then he announced that nothing had changed. Then he announced he was going to Lambeth. Then he announced he was not deposed but rather he had resigned from the House of Bishops. Then he announced that the entire diocese belonged to him and the Province of the Southern Cone. Then he announced that the entire diocese belonged to the "new" Anglican Church of North America. So what we have had from Mr. Schofield are lies and lies and damn lies! Should we believe him when he says he is retiring? Well, 70 has come and gone and he has not retired yet. I believe what he wants, what he craves, is for everyone in the diocese to tell him, "Oh no, John David, we love you so much we do not want you to retire. We want you to stay in office forever! We cannot go on without you. Who will protect us from the big bad TEC?" His ego craves it and let's face it, he has not had much good news. his court cases are about to come completely unravelled, his parishioners refuse to financially support his folly any longer, his parishes are returning to the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin at an alarmingly faster rate each month, the diocese is broke and cannot get to any of the frozen assets and quite frankly, he needs someone to stroke his ego.

Ultimately the gambit is if I win the court cases then I stay on and I am more powerful than ever. The more likely scenario is that he is going to lose the entire diocese (facilities wise) and all will return to TEC leaving him and his cohorts with bupkis. He will then retire and blame all the mishaps on Bill Gandenberger and Van Mcalister.

Actually, I betting he will retire when hell freezes over. Think about that analogy in relation to JDS, gives one chills!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Sunday: Resurrection Day

Sunday was a day of worship in the Episcopal Dioceses of San Joaquin. What you will see are images from that day. A word of caution, the camera is a cell phone and a slow lens at best. I could not always get the celebrant, the associate celebrants, the readers, the deacon, the seminarian and the choir to stand still. Conversely, I was able to generally stand still my self.

Bishop Lamb's sermon today was about wrecked ships, repaired bows, calmer waters and Resurrection. The pictures you see are from the resurrected group from San Joaquin. I think a good motto for us would be:
To Know Us Is To Love Us







This time I will ask you to pick the captions and I will allow the images to speak for themselves.





Sunday, October 25, 2009

Images From the 50th Episcopal Diocesan Convention In San Joaquin




The evening was capped by an excellent banquet. These are delegates from Christ the King Community Epsicopal Church.









Not every convention goer gets this kind of a welcome from the staff!





A table representative provides input into the visioning process for the diocese. San Joaquin is moving forward into a new future.






A deputy to General Convention provides some detailed narrative on what transpired at GC 2009.





Clergy are still permitted to cast votes in our diocese. ;-)






The Chancellor provides expert Parlimentarian advice for the convention.





Bishop Lamb directs the order of business for the meeting.




Our typical convention goer. As you may recall he was once held by the Presiding Bishop. Now big enough to "motor on his own" he is prepared to meet any contingency. Notice the badges as well as pins.

Friday, October 23, 2009

White Fang, Black Tooth and Soupy Sales

Yes, I am old enough to not only remember Soupy Sales but I watched him regularly. Rarely did I "get it" until much later, after he had gone off the air. I thorughly enjoyed this program and I will, when my son returns from "olver there" get him a complete set.

Do you think St. Peter met Soupy with the proverbial pie in the face?





A legend has passed!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

A Sing-Along For A Sunday In October

I believe Lynn would approve. A great tenor and a truly magnificent song. October has been known to be the month of the Rosary and there is not a better way to celebrate than with this song. Crank it up and sing along!


Monday, October 12, 2009

The Uniqueness of The Episcopal Church

The definition (at least one) of unique is: Being the only one of its kind:
Without an equal or equivalent; unparalleled.

The Episcopal Church in the United States of America "without an equal", it is unparalleled. Why can we say this? Well, if you look at our church, as opposed to any other of the "biggies" we are all hierarchical, much to the chagrin of the ACNA crowd. So it is not that. We are apostolic, I am still not sure what the heck that means in this day and age but we are Apostolic. If there is some question just ask good Ole Uncle Bobby over in Quitsburgh. But what really drives the rest of the world crazy is our bicameral legislature -- and not just that but the fact that laity have a large say in what goes on. William White, when formulating the organization and structure of our great church had much to ponder with regard to bishops and were it not for Connecticut we may have had none (fat chance) but from the start William White included the laity. Why do you suppose that is? Well, I think it is because ministry, holiness, closeness to God all come in flavors that do not necessarily look like turned around collars. That White trusted in the laity so much that he made us a part, a significant part of what happens each and every day in missions, parishes, diocese, and the National Church throughout America.

It seems in recent years we have lost ourselves. That no one in the ranks of the laity wants to really stand up and say wait just a minute! We all want to follow those with purple shirts and funny hats. And, much to the purple shirted crowd's delight, they have gratefully accepted the nod.

In the last few years we have seen a huge shift to the House of Bishops. Everything and everyone seems to focus on what the next bishop is going to say or do. Does it matter what the statement or action is, we are, for the most part, held in awe and amazement with each succeeding proclamation. Bishops want us to approve or disapprove the covenant. Bishops want us to be a part of TEC or not be a part of TEC. Some want us to be a part of the good part of TEC and not the bad part of TEC. Others want us to have nothing to do with TEC because it is or is not a part of the Anglican Communion. Bishops want us to approve or disapprove the Prayerbook or the inclusivity or exclusivity or the real or the fake bible. Hey, William White trusted the laity so much he made the House of Deputies first and then, after much prodding, did the House of Bishops came to pass.

How about this. The uniqueness of TEC rests with the laity and the trust put in the laity to discern and follow God's will. I trust William White. I hope you trust William White and I would like to see the Bishops of TEC trust the laity! How about it Bishops, can you share a little of that power? Can you trust the laity?

Saturday, October 10, 2009

CANY - St. Francis - Cat Stevens

Our friend and fellow blogger has been buried in animal rescue work for several weeks now. She gives many of us great hope that the world really is sane and that animals somehow hold the key. So, for this Sunday, a week after St. Francis, we salute our fellow blogger with Cat Stevens. I wanted Cat Stevens for All things Bright and Beautiful but could not find it so Cany -- it is Moonshadow -- hope this helps!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Nobel Peace Prize



Finally, the image of our nation is beginning to change. Thank you Mr. President

UPDATE:

A growing number of GOP types are having difficulty with the concept that America in the world is a better place/in a better place with President Obama than with former President Bush. Has a catchy ring to it, "former president", doesn't it.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Sunday Morning Music

A treat and a tribute for this crisp Fall Church militant day in the valley.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Mullins Deposition: Updated

The series on this document has now begun over at Real Anglicans. Your comments are gratefully accepted. Thank you for visiting.

Father Mark Harris has published a couple of pretty good posts on the recent spate arising out of South Carolina and Fort Worth. Professor Mullins on the Polity of the Episcopal Church is a critically important document that is just now coming to light. It has probably been around for some time and I would hazard a guess that this document is the written form that has been the basis for much if not all of the actions (or reactions?) taken by The Episcopal Church.

I have had a chance to read this document and, IMHO, it is a document that bears some significant scrutiny. Well, actually, having lived through the antics of Mr. John David Schofield and his gang of thieves, it will be well worth the time to investigate the travels and travails of the Diocese of San Joaquin in light of Professor Mullins deposition. I believe there is much yet to discuss with regard to not only the actions of those who would destroy our church but also those who would or are chiefly responsible for preserving our church. We will discuss missed opportunities, we will discuss actions taken and never brought to light let alone responded to in a meaningful way and we will talk about the motives and the means and the ultimate goals of those who "in good conscience" just had to reestablish themselves in a right relationship with Canterbury.

So, by all means read the deposition and the work Father Mark has developed and then look for the the multi-part series over at Real Anglicans.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Mary Travers

If one grew up in the 1960s, particularly in Quakertown, there was but one real folksinging group. The voice of Mary Travers will be missed greatly.


Sunday, September 13, 2009

Sunday Music - Where Where You?

Where were you in 1985? Listen to some old friends with a great message, but it's sad to think we haven't made much progress in 25 years. As Brian McLaren tells us, Everything Must Change.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Hijacking The Epsicopal Church

Here is the most recent (and blatant) attempt by those communion partners to hijack the Episcopal Church. Keep in mind that these seven turncoats after deciding that the General Convention had not gone their way, scurried, hat-in-hand to the Queen of England Archbishop of Canterbury to cry on his shoulder and gain support for the redcoats "Anglican Communion"

Here is the substantial statement:

Therefore, at this time we make the following requests of Communion minded members of the The Episcopal Church and the wider Anglican Communion:

1. We encourage dioceses, congregations and individuals of The Episcopal Church to pray and work for the adoption of an Anglican Communion Covenant.

2. We encourage dioceses and congregations to study and endorse the Anglican Communion Covenant when it is finally released and to urge its adoption by General Convention, or to endorse the first three sections of the Ridley Cambridge Draft and the Anaheim Statement, and to record such endorsements on the Communion Partners website (www.communionpartners.org).


Clearly they have set themselves up as leaders of the Episcopal Church outside their diocese. Next comes the good old "let's make our website and our organization just like all the other whining, sniveling, backstabbing screw the Episcopal Church organizations like CANA and Aima and ACNA at the rest of the alphabet soup.

3. We encourage bishops, priests, deacons and laypersons of The Episcopal Church who support the adoption of the Anglican Communion Covenant to record such endorsement on the Communion Partners website.

4. We encourage dioceses and congregations, in the spirit of GC2009 Resolution D030, to engage in "companion domestic mission relationships among dioceses and congregations within The Episcopal Church."

5. We encourage Bishops exercising jurisdiction in The Episcopal Church to call upon us for service in needed cases of Delegated Episcopal Pastoral Oversight.

6. We encourage relationships between Communion Partners and primates, bishops, provinces and dioceses in other parts of the Communion, in order the enhance the ministry we share in the life of the Communion.

7. We invite primates and bishops of the Communion to offer their public support to these efforts.


Clearly, they wish for one more division within the Episcopal Church. They have decided that for whatever reason, the Archbishop of Canterbury has given them the "nod" to set up an alternative presence to the Episcopal Church. Just who the hell are these guys?


+Mark J. Lawrence, South Carolina (protege of John David Schofield)
+Gary R. Lillibridge, West Texas
+Edward S. Little, II, Northern Indiana (protege of John David Schofield)
+William H. Love, Albany
+D. Bruce MacPherson, Western Louisiana
+Michael G. Smith, North Dakota
+James M. Stanton, Dallas

N.B. Dan Martins of No. Indiana, under the protection of Edward Little is a John David Schofield protege and a communion partners member.

Rob Eaton, sitting in the midst of the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin is also a member of the communion partners and a John David Schofield protege.

God's peace. <><

Seven Communion Partner Bishops (sung to the tune of Seven Spanish Angels, a duet by Willie Nelson and Ray Charles)

He looked down into her brown eyes, and said
"Say a prayer for me". She
Threw her arms around him, whispered
"God (and the Communion Partners)will keep us free".
They could hear the riders comin', He said
"This is my last fight...If they
Take me back to Texas, they won't
Take me back a-live.

There were seven Episcopal bishops, at the
Altar of the sun.
They were prayin' for the ACNA, in the
Valley of the gun.
When the battle stopped and the smoke cleared,
There was thunder from the throne,
And seven Communion Partner Bishops, took another
parish home.

She reached down and picked the gun up,
That lay smokin in his hand.
She said, "Bishops please forgive me;
I can't make it without my man."
And she knew the gun was empty,
And she knew she couldn't win,
But her final prayer was answered
When the rifles fired again.

There were seven Communion Partner Bishops, at the
Altar of the ACNA.
They were prayin' for the lovers, in the
Valley of the gun.
When the battle stopped and the smoke cleared,
There was thunder from the throne,
And seven Communion Partner Bishops, took another
parish home.

My apologies to Willie Nelson and Ray Charles.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Par-ty DOWN!


Jake's has reopened...the sweet corn is in, it's Friday night - and here in DC, it's an August afternoon with (gasp) only 38% humidity!

It's time for a celebration, something for spicy Piskies who aren't afraid to dig in and get their hands a little messy. Meet me at the picnic tables...who is bringing the salad and bread? I'll bring a couple pies - the peaches are in (perhaps make one of them banana cream for Leonardo? Hmmm...)

Shrimp Boil à la Maryland

4 quarts water
1 12-ounces beer
1/2 cup Maryland-style seafood seasoning* (see notes)
2 tablespoons salt
8 medium red potatoes, quartered (adjust to size of potatoes)
2 large onions, peeled
6 or more garlic cloves (see directions)
2 pounds kielbasa or andoille (or a mix), cut into 2-inch slices
8 ears fresh corn, shucked and cut in half
4 pounds unpeeled shrimp, about 21 to 25 count** (see notes)
4 or more zucchini, cut into 1-inch slices if your garden is overrun with them
*
Cocktail sauce
Melted butter
Extra seafood seasoning

Peel the onions and cut into about six wedges (or cut into wedges and then peel them, be daring). Crush unpeeled garlic cloves with the heavy part of a knife, remove the peel but do not slice.

Bring the water, beer, seafood seasoning and salt to a boil in a large pot (about 12 quart capacity) over high heat. If you have a big pasta pot with a steamer insert, life will be easier. Add the potatoes and onions; cook about 8 minutes; remember to adjust the timing based on the size of your potato pieces. Add the sausage and cook about 5 minutes. If your corn is a little old - or you like it on the soft side, toss in now for about 5 minutes. Toss in the zucchini whenever you want. Actually, adjust the cooking time for everything based on your preferences, period - just count back from the item that will take the longest cooking time.

Remove the pot from heat, toss in the shrimp, cover pot, and steam until they turn just pink. Five minutes, perhaps, but remember overcooking will make them tough.

Drain the cooking liquid - or carefully remove the steamer insert of goodies - please be careful, this is very hot steam and liquid, and clumsy at times. (You might want to remove the shrimp first, so they don't overcook). Pour the goodies in a couple large serving bowls for semi-polite company. But it's more fun to just pile it on a table covered with brown paper, and a picnic table is best. Pass around the melted butter, cocktail sauce and extra seafood seasoning for those that like to doctor things up a bit (or raise their cholesterol, clear their sinuses, etc.

The only sides you need are some good, crusty or sourdough bread and a nice crisp salad. Purists don't want those extras, but it's nice to have a couple things that don't taste like the seasoning. Oh, and have plenty of paper towels and handwipes available, peeling the shrimp is messy.

*Old Bay seasoning is very good and available in most grocery stores, look for the familiar red and yellow tin. I'm partial to J.O's #1 and Wye River Original Red (you can order them from Maryland Delivered. People use Zatarain's as you head further south, it's very good and many just prefer the blend - and then this yummy stuff starts being called a low-country boil, or Frogmore Stew, or any number of regional names.

**You can really use any shellfish that suits your fancy. Mimi, we will happily add some crayfish if you'll bring it by. And don't worry too much about the size of the shrimp, and if you can actually them someplace from local waters...well, then I don't have to say any more why you should use them! If you want to serve blue crabs with this, steam them separately the traditional way with rock salt and seasoning.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Anglican Fudge Sauce


The best way to sort through Anglican fudge is with a hot fudge sundae. This is the easiest fudge sauce recipe I have ever made - and actually, one of the best. It's of the old-fashioned variety, so don't be surprised if a little of the sauce hardens when it hits your lovely Häagen-Dazs vanilla or coffee ice cream.

The type of semi-sweet chocolate you use will determine the flavor, so experiment a bit - you may need to adjust the amount of milk. But this is very good with the old standby, Nestlé Toll House chocolate chips. If you live in Chicago, try it with chopped Frango mints and heavy cream (of course,s you can you can order Frango mints from big, bad Macy's from anywhere, and pretend it's Marshall Field's).

Easy Fudge Sauce

1 cup evaporated milk (or heavy cream)
2 cups (12 oz.) semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (use real vanilla, omit if you only have the imitation variety

Combine milk and chocolate in a heavy saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring frequently (a wire whisk works better than a spoon). Don't worry that the mixture looks like flecks of chocolate floating in cream at one point - it will pull together like magic (no Hail Marys required). When sauce is smooth and creamy, remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract. Pour over ice cream, or ice cream and pound cake, or ice cream and a couple brownies.

This can be cooked in the microwave on medium speed; just stir it every minute or so, more after you start seeing the melted chocolate flecks. Sorry I don't have more specific instructions.

Leonardo,darling: if you use this as a knee poultice, cool it down a bit, please. No need to add a burn to your bruise.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Chocolate Soufflé for Two


This isn't a true soufflé, but it's easy and provides a direct chocolate fix. Leonardo, it heals bruised kneecaps...or helps you forget the pain.

Mock Chocolate Soufflé for Two

2/3 cup whole milk
1/4 cup granulated white sugar
1 (1 oz.) square unsweetened chocolate
Pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs, lightly beaten
Sweetened whipped cream

In a double boiler, heat milk, sugar, chocolate and salt until chocolate melts. Add vanilla and beat smooth. Drop in eggs and beat 1 minute with an electric mixer. (You can use a hand rotary mixer, but an immersion blender doesn't add enough air to the finished soufflé.) Cover double boiler and cook 30 minutes - do NOT remove cover as it cooks. Don't peek, or stir, or worry about what's happening. Remove top of double boiler immediately, and don't wait too long to serve - I like to top servings with whipped cream, it will melt a bit.

Serves two, but can be doubled if you have a nice, deep double boiler.

If you don't have a double boiler, you can improvise one with two saucepans - be sure the smaller one has a tight-fitting lid.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Soap for sensitive souls


Once upon a time, I was a full-time executive and and full-time caregiver. Or at least that's what I tried to be. At one point, my skin started screaming, no doubt because I wanted to do the same! I did a huge amount of research on "natural" skin care back then, and in time screened out most of the silly scares and claims. There are plenty of natural ingredients that are irritating, and plenty of synthetic ones that are just fine. And of course, some hand- or home-made products are harsher than ones you find in chain stores - you just never know.

This is a product recommendation for natural, hand-made(cold process)soaps from a small company that's just large and sensible enough to stay in business. They ship lightening-fast and use top grade ingredients, so the products are high-value (though mid-range in price). And yes, they welcome questions about what products might help sooth specific allergies or skin conditions.

If this interests you, head over to Alabu and check out the Rich Unscented Goat Milk Soap, Sara's Unscented Goat Milk Soap, and Baby Face Oil. If your skin has very dry areas, I like their Shea Butter Lotion Stick. (The Baby Face oil is great mixed with any brand of 100% aloe vera gel in the summer). They have some great scented soaps, too - vanilla, generally, doesn't irritate skin or nosy noses.

These days, I don't have to be quite as careful about skin irritants, but still use Alabu products about half the time because they work so well. I always use them after cleaning with harsh cleansers or chemical products*, or after exposure to a lot of sun and pollen.

I have no financial interest in this company, I'm just passing along a tip to other irritated or sensitive souls :-) feel free to recommend similar companies in the comment section.

*I don't really like housecleaning so tend to do a lot of things at once, and of course some products shouldn't be mixed. After a cleaning blitz, my mother once said, "go take a shower before your skin explodes from all those things you've been using."

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Sunday Music: In Honor of Two Good Lives

Lovely friends and neighbors suffered the loss of sister and mother six days apart this week.

In memory of Barbara and Mama B., lights eternal. Rise in glory, rest in peace.

Lux Aeterna, John Rutter, Requiem; performed by the Monteverdi Choir Würzburg, conductor Matthias Beckert

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Coffee Hour Cinnamon Rolls


I want you to take a look at this photo, and then envision a lot of very happy people the next time you volunteer for coffee hour. That's exactly what happened one Sunday at a nice little church in New York, and that's how I know about this recipe. Cinnamon. Sugar. Butter. Yum.

Now, head on over to The Pioneer Woman for easy, step-by-step directions with photos (honest, you can make these). Find out the "secret ingredients" in her glaze, and all the lovely variations people have tried and shared in the comment section.

And for those that prefer the savory to the sweet when indulging in naughty calories, I highly recommend another of the PW's recipes: Marlboro Man's Favorite Sandwich. All her recipes are sound, have great instructions, and use ingredients readily available in neighborhood grocery stores. And she rights darn funny commentary, too.

Now, go enjoy, and thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Sunday Music - Happy Father's Day!

The Westminster Abbey choir and congregation, Dear Lord and Father of Mankind.



Who knows, I might even get up a couple of regular posts this week...but don't alert the media quite yet.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Sunday Music - The Lamb

John Tavener's The Lamb, performed by the Choir of King's College, Cambridge.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Sunday Music - Trinity Sunday

Mellow Christian rock from Michael W. Smith. Enjoy.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Sunday Music - Come Holy Ghost

Not the traditional arrangement, and yes - this is a repeat if you stop by here most Sundays for the musical selection.

Follow this link, hear the lovely music, and learn about the loving community that created it. You'll be glad you did!

Need more enticement? From where I'm sending ya: "...Hope that something new is beginning that has very old roots. Hope that God is growing life out of our devastation, trust out of our cynicism, love out of our fear, community out of our isolation.... And that's what this album is about - fumbling into God's grace. It is a seismic and humble shift when our heart can hear the words that God has been saying to us for all our lives, '...nothing can separate you from the Love of God which is in Christ Jesus'. These songs say 'Yes' to God's claim upon your life that, 'You are my Beloved.'"

Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Rise and Fall of The Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin

In December of 2007 a large part of the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin did the unthinkable.  Having spent almost 20 years preparing for a bone-chilling move the then Bishop of San Joaquin, John David Mercer Schofield and about 70 other clergy grabbed as much property and people as they could and headed south, to the province of the Southern Cone.  This made news and horrified everyone, especially the Presiding Bishop of Episcopal Church in the United States and most if not all of the national leaders.  Much like today, no one thought that could possibly happen, but it did.

From December 2007 until March of 2008 several parishes, most notably St. Anne's in Stockton, St. John's in Lodi, Church of the Savior in Hanford, Holy Family in Fresno and Christ the King in Riverbank (along with "faith communities throughout the Valley) were left "hanging".  To quote a Roger Miller song "no phone, no pool, no pets". TEC from December, January and some of February was frozen into a state of immobility.  During this time, in large part due to Remain Episcopal, those left in the Episcopal Diocese continued to be strong in their Episcopal Presence and in the presence of nothing less than a withering attack by people like John David Schofield,  Bill Gandenberger and Van McAlister.  John David had conditioned the newspapers in the valley to assume that the bad guys were those left behind, not those who absconded with the property. 

In March, much to everyone's surprise (except those in the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin) the diocese of San Joaquin was rediscovered by the national church and an interim Bishop was appointed/elected.  While the presiding bishop and several national figures including Bonnie Anderson have visited and become aware of the strong faith-filled Episcopalians still here, little if anything has been done to reinvigorate the diocese. 

The real focus of the diocese has been twofold: 1, recover the stolen property and 2, depose/get rid of those clergy that no longer want to be part of the Episcopal presence.  The one clear exception to that basic mode of operation has been Father Terry Martin and his Red Tent "ministry".

Interestingly enough, remember when the Presiding Bishop appointed someone to do something for the diocese to help them restore things?  Wonder what happened to that?

We are now to a point where the glaring error of our ways is upon us.  Not a dime has been spent on reconstituting the Diocese of San Joaquin and it shows!  The first parish, St. Paul's is (at least in property) due back to the diocese on July 1, 2009.  We as a diocese, that is, parish by parish have an incredible problem.  No one has figured out what to do with these returning parishes.  It is entirely likely that by the end of the summer those Incorporated parishes that left to the So. Cone will be back and by the end of the year those parishes that were "corporate sole" parishes will be back and no one has figured out what to do.  In fact no one is even working on a realistic plan to reconstitute the diocese.  We are "playing everything by ear".  What does this mean?  Specifically Christ the King has struggled to maintain an Episcopal presence here in the community.  St. Paul's will return and St. Paul's is a stones throw from Christ the King.  One other incorporated parish, St. Matthias, also a stone's throw from St. Paul's and Christ the King will return later this year.  There is no way, at this time, that two parishes could really survive let alone all three.  [There is a little more history to this but I will leave that to your  missionary imaginations].  So, what happens, other than the first celebration service back nothing has been planned.  Oh, but get this, the Bishop has asked several members of Christ the King who have some ties to St. Paul's to go back and be vestry members, the organist and generally repopulate St. Paul's.  For you numbers folks, Christ the King ASA is about 95.  Get the picture yet?  Just what do you suppose is going on?  Is this the plan?  Holy crap on a cracker!  For those of you who are still in a quandary, we are rewarding Christ the King for remaining Episcopal by killing it.
This is not just rewarding the prodigal son with a feast.  It is giving the balance of the inheritance to him again.  He squandered it the first time so let's see if he does better this time?  What the heck is that?!

And, is this a unique set of circumstances?  No, there is a similar situation in Fresno and in Bakersfield.  In essence, we have poured our heart and soul into getting our property back and now that it is coming back we have done -  EXACTLY NOTHING!  We have not put one dime into reconstructing the diocese. I guess everybody thought, "we'll take care of it later."  Later is here.

Here is at least one idea.  There is a really good corporate type in Fresno (this priest works for the national church already and would be a facilitator not a chairperson) who could lead groups (primarily lay since clergy once again have a stake in parishes that stay open and parishes that close) of deanery appointed ad hoc committees in establishing norms and setting up strategic plans to reconstitute the diocese upon the return of the various parishes.  Yes, it would take some amount of time, precious as that is, and some money (815 are you listening?) and once the plans were set and approved by the deaneries the plans could come to the convention for "ratification".  Until such time as these plans re completed those parishes that return must stay closed. Sorry, the price one pays for stupidity.  Once the plans are in place then the deaneries would implement those plans as parishes return to the Episcopal Church.  This plan is relatively cheap, it is locally based and it is locally executed and yet can become a role model for the other diocese that will eventually have to face the same issues. Let it be known that without some form of a plan that recognizes and deals with the various issues within the current Episcopal diocese of San Joaquin within a few short years, maybe as little as 18 months we will no longer exist.

I leave you all with this thought: "Does anybody really know what time it is? Does anybody care?"

Friday, May 29, 2009

A Nugget Embedded in the Merchant of Venice

" Mark you this Bassanio The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose An evil soul producing holy witness is like a villain with a smiling cheek A goodly apple rotten at the heart O what a goodly outside falsehood"


The silly scintillating response of one of Mr. Schofield's henchmen to the recent deposition of the 61 clergy in Diocese of San Joaquin.

This came from a recent post by Mr. Van McAlister:

It might be helpful to look at the terms of "Abandonment" according to the canons of The Episcopal Church: The canons define abandonment as an "open renunciation of the Doctrine, Discipline, or Worship of this Church, or by a formal admission into any religious body not in communion with this Church . . ." [Cn IV.10.1]. We are guilty of none of those. We have not openly renunciated the doctrine, discipline and worship of the Church. To the contrary: we stated that we must hold fast to the doctrine, discipline and worship of the Church. And, we have made public the fact that TEC has "openly renunciated the Doctrine, Discipline and Worship of this Church" and has stubbornly refused to follow her own canons and has rejected discipline from others in the Anglican Communion. We were admitted into a province that is in communion with TEC and the Anglican Communion. For the past four decades, the leadership of TEC has turned a blind eye to bishops and priests who have taught false doctrine and ignored the canons of the Church, and now they are disciplining clergy who have faithfully followed the doctrine and canons of the Church. Correspondingly, TEC and Bp Lamb have not followed their canons properly in this process, either.


Well, I don't know about you guys but I am convinced.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Off-Topic: The State Of California



I pretty much grew up in this state. My grandmother was one of the founding Quakers of a "quaint little village" about 13 miles east of Los Angeles. I have seen the beauty of California and it is vast! From surfing the beaches of So. California to the tallest redwoods in Big Sur to the deserts of the Mojave to the immense beauty of the Northern Coast. The historical Highway 49 and the several capitals including Benicia, Monterrey and Sacramento. The huge valleys where most of the world's food is grown and where on any given day, without the Delta breezes one swelters under a hot summer sun. From San Diego and the harbor to San Francisco and its Barbary Coast. No state can compare with our history and our beauty and our stupid politics.

Yep, this is about the "late great disagreement" currently being felt in the once golden state. We held an election last Tuesday, May 19, 2009 and nobody came. We went from the largest turnout in state history to six people crowding into a single voting booth and the result was a disaster.

Atop the Internal Revenue Service Building in Washington, D.C. is the following Oliver Wendell Holmes (the crazy commie) quote, "Taxes is the price we pay for living in a civilized society."

And couple with that the following "working" definition of politics. "politics is the art of compromise."

Now, our state representatives in general,and approximately, are paid $117,000.00 per annum and are provided a daily living allowance of $173.00 per diem. They are also provided a car and all the gasoline they need. In addition, if they work on a committee or the like they are entitled to and a staff of 8 that the state pays for.

One would think, almost believe, that when one works year-round (another quirk of our representatives) one could pass a lousy stinking budget! But, California, has in its imminent wisdom, passed proposition 13 which among the worst provisions in this crazy document required a two-thirds vote on all legislation touching on, you guessed it, taxes. As a result of this we have passed propositions to fund schools, roads, transportation, health care, social services, just about everything one can think of has a special proposition attached to it that makes it "untouchable" and provides for the common good in such a way that the revenue cannot be touched. For all intents and purposes the people of California, when feed up, will not repeal prop 13 but will "specially fund" someones favorite program. As a further result we borrow, we account in strange ways that only a state can do, and we steal from those few programs that are not protected. We (generally the governor) make unholy deals with just about anyone, prison guards, teachers, police officers, nurses, social workers and then the republicans blame the fiscal crisis on these hard working people who just want to earn a living wage. And, all along, they fail to compromise and create a true working budget.

Yes, the state of California has been a democratically controlled state for all of my life and since a little after Hiram Walker put into play his major changes back around the 1915s. Republicans have complained about Jesse Unruh and Willie Brown and everyone else who has held the position of Speaker of the House. The Republicans have tried without success to redistrict the state in a fairer way -- read that "gerrymander to the Republican advantage".

Because of these inept Republicans, and the 2/3 majority requirement the State of California has seen its public schools slip from #1 in the nation to #47. Our once flourishing University system is now as expensive as any private school in or out of California. Our roads are in such bad shape that one risks one's life every time one drives anywhere in this state. We here in California fail miserably in taking care of public safety, public health (physical and mental) and educating our pre-schoolers.

The vote last Tuesday was NOT, in my mind, a rejection of "new taxes" as the deaf and dumb Republicans would have us believe, it is a rejection of their inability to create a working budget. All those who do not believe that a $21 billion deficit is not going to create new taxes please raise your hand. All those who think that we can truly and earnestly continue to run this state by cutting and gutting every social program please raise your hand. All those who think that by cutting those frivolous administrators salaries we can get through this debacle please raise your hand. Good, the 64 Republicans from Orange County can now put your hands down.

Can we please get serious? How about you lawmakers go to work and fix the budget yourselves. How about you strike a compromise that works for everybody. Republicans, if you hold Prop 13 so near and dear to your hearts that you are unwilling to give that up it is incumbent upon you to make the "deal". You MUST work and compromise. You may not hold this state hostage. We all recognize new taxes when we see them, and we all want California to resume its once proud place in the galaxy of stars. I do not know about anyone else but I am tired of being ranked 47th, 50th, 46th, 40th and any other rank below #1 when it comes to just about anything. Think about it -- let's start a run on who can be first in health care and clean air standards and education and roads and parks and everything else. It takes creativity and it takes some time, but shoot folks, you only have all year! What say you go back to work and stop bellyachin' about Prop 13 and all the tied up hands and create some legislation that we all can be proud of. Some of you going to lose you place in the Senate or Assembly? Maybe but how about we start thinking long term now and a little less short term. Republicans, you are NEVER going to be the majority party in this state in the near future and if you keep acting like the way you have been maybe never! Talk about face reality, sheesh. Most of those interlopers who moved here in the last 50 or so years did so because of the greatness of California and that greatness has always come at a price. Stop "screwing" with my state and get on with the work each and everyone of you is supposed to be doing.

That is it. Stick a fork in me. I am done.