Friday, December 29, 2006

Happy Christmas

The business of the holiday season has kept me away from blogging, but I hope to get back to posting with a little more regularity. I also hope to post a few pictures of the parish church as well--I know I'm biased, but I consider it to be one of the prettiest churches in the diocese. For the moment consider these word about the Christmas and the incarnation...

"In Jesus we see the splendour of God, - and at the heart of that splendour is love and forgiveness before which we are invited to fall, 'lost in wonder, love and praise'"...

This is from the lord Archbishop of York's Christmas sermon. Read all of the text here.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

New style Advent Calendar

Advent is upon us. And with the season comes the ritual of the Advent Calendars. Some are cute, some are serious and others (the ones with chocolate surprises under each day) are just plain delicious. This year there is a new calendar making its debut, the on-line calendar by the Church of England. Check it out here. It's not as tasty as some of the others, but much more insightful.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Think before you speak...

When I was a kid, my mom would often say, "Think before you speak." I don't need to elaborate on why this momism is as true as any proverb out of the Bible. We have all failed to abide by this, and we have all tasted the bottom of our foot at least once--tastes like chicken, aeh...

Our new Primate, ++Katharine has done this in a remarkable way. I hope she just wasn't thinking. I hope she didn't really mean it, otherwise we are in for a rough ride...

Check out the "foot-in-mouth show" here.

In the midst of the storm...

In recent weeks, a lot of flack has been produced from both the conservative and liberal wings of the Episcopal Church in regards to its future. One of the louder voices at the moment comes from of all places, Pittsburg and its unfortunately misguided bishop, Bob Duncan. The rethoric has been more pointed--if you can believe it could get any worse--since the investiture of our new Primate. But most of the material in this propoganda war has come from talking-heads or thinktanks on either side. Because of this, the material always has more than the normal amount of spin. I have been keeping an eye out for average folks, 'on the ground' at it were, who can speak to the issue from a little less of a partisan perspective. Here is some interesting commentary by a fellow in the diocese of Pittsburg. Read it here.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Demonstrating leadership

As many of you know, I was concerned when Bishop Katharine was elected as the first female Primate of the Episcopal Church. My main objection was her lack of parish experience. However, since her election, she has continued to delight me with her willingness to lead rather than be indecisive. Below is a recent letter sent to the Bishop of San Joaquin. I might not always agree with her theology, but I am glad to see we have a person carrying the primatial cross who is not afraid to lead. Read the letter and then check out more info about ++Katharine here...

To: The Rt. Rev. John-David Schofield
Diocese of San Joaquin

My dear brother:

I have seen reports of your letter to parishes in the Diocese of San Joaquin, which apparently urges delegates to your upcoming Diocesan Convention to take action to leave the Episcopal Church. I would ask you to confirm the accuracy of those reports. If true, you must be aware that such action would likely be seen as a violation of your ordination vows to "uphold the doctrine, discipline, and worship of Christ as this Church has received them." I must strongly urge you to consider the consequences of such action, not only for yourself but especially for all of the Episcopalians under your pastoral charge and care.

I certainly understand that you personally disagree with decisions by General Conventions over the past 30 and more years. You have, however, taken vows three times over that period to uphold the "doctrine, discipline, and worship of the Episcopal Church." If you now feel that you can no longer do so, the more honorable course would be to renounce your orders in this Church and seek a home elsewhere. Your public assertion that your duty is to violate those vows puts many, many people at hazard of profound spiritual violence. I urge you, as a pastor, to consider that hazard with the utmost gravity.

As you contemplate this action I would also remind you of the trust which you and I both hold for those who have come before and those who will come after us. None of us has received the property held by the Church today to use as we will. We have received it as stewards, for those who enjoy it today and those who will be blessed by the ministry its use will permit in the future. Our forebears did not build churches or give memorials with the intent that they be removed from the Episcopal Church. Nor did our forebears give liberally to fund endowments with the intent that they be consumed by litigation.

The Church will endure whatever decision you make in San Joaquin. The people who are its members, however, will suffer in the midst of this conflict, and probably suffer unnecessarily. Jesus calls us to take up our crosses daily, but not in the service of division and antagonism. He calls us to take up our crosses in his service of reconciling the world to God. Would that you might lead the people of San Joaquin toward decisions that build up the Body, that bring abundant life to those within and beyond our Church, that restore us to oneness.
I stand ready for conversation and reconciliation. May God bless your deliberation.

I remain
Your servant in Christ,


Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Rhode Island Convention address

As the years go by, I am more and more impressed by Bishop Wolf of Rhode Island. Check out her recent address to her diocese...

28 OCTOBER 2006

The Lord said to Jeremiah,
Stand at the crossroads, and look,
and ask for the ancient paths,
where the good way lies; and walk in it,
and find rest for your souls. (Jeremiah 6:16a)

Our Church and Diocese are standing at a crossroad, at the intersection of competing theological claims and differing interpretations of scripture and polity, of the complex relationship between interdependence and independence, autonomy and the common good.

The world is also standing at a crossroads. Through almost instant communications what is said in one nation is known in all. When war and destruction visit upon one country, refugees flee to another. The rise and fall of major currencies alters the exchange rates around the globe. Bird flu in Asia can reach our soil on the next international flight. What direction is God calling us to follow? What turns must we take?

Today we cross thresholds of technology unimaginable even five years ago. Every institution is affected, not least, the church. We keep in delicate balance the blessings of the ancient paths and the fruits of the present age; the values we inherited, and scientific discoveries that are as exciting as they are bewildering. As we traverse this landscape we are met with challenges and decisions for which we are only partially prepared. We stand where the roads cross, faced with decisions for which there are few easy answers…

Read it all here.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

A focus on mission

Fr. Andrew Gerns, of the Diocese of Bethlehem, PA, blogs about their recent convention...

It has been said that Episcopalians would much rather do most anything that work at real mission. It is easy to confuse hot debate on a convention floor for work. Most of the political maneuverings on the national and international levels over sex, rites and rock’n’roll are the clearest examples of how easily and how costly our distractibility can be. So it should not surprise us that a commission interested in peace, non-violence and reconciliation could distract us as well. Since we are not surprised, we can anticipate and do better next time.

Read the interesting and entire entry here.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

More voices from the middle

Even before General Convention 2006, but especially after, the prophets of doom have predicted and in many cases called for the destruction of the Episcopal Church as a religious institution.

Many of those prophets have unfortunately been leaders and primates of other Anglican provinces. (So much for the ordination vows of a bishop in regard to defending the unity of the Church.)

But thanks be to God, recently there has been a voice from the center, the Rt. Honorable and Most Reverend Dr Barry Morgan, Archbishop of the Church of Wales. Take the time to read his most recent presidential address to his Synod. It gives one pause for thought in what too often seems to be ECUSA bashing sessions on the global stage.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

On leadership...

Bishop Tim Thornton gives his assessment on leadership and the current unease in the Anglican Communion..

For me there's an apparent contradiction in even discussing leadership as all Christians are called to be disciples, in other words, followers of Jesus, the leader. However there is a distinctive idea from the Christian tradition about leadership which is worth highlighting.

Read it all here.

Friday, September 29, 2006

More voices from the center...

Over the last few weeks, bishops in the Episcopal Church have met in closed door sessions discussing much in way of how the future of the Anglican Communion will look. Here is an interesting interview from "The Living Church." It is from the center, which seems to be where God is calling more and more in the church as the months unfold after GC 2006.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Rest in peace...

From the DSO Connections comes this farewell...

A giant of the faith

The Rt. Rev. Herbert Thompson Jr. 1933-2006

Rest in peace

The sermon preached by the Rev. Canon Jim Hanisian at today's Requiem Mass for Bishop Thompson is posted online. Visit the website established for you to share your memories of Bishop Thompson and to celebrate his life. Some of these may be used for a special tribute issue of Interchange that will be published later this month. Visit the site at

Please keep Herb, Owen, Kyrie and Christian, and all of Bishop Thompson's family in your prayers.

Rest eternal grant to him, O Lord; And let light perpetual shine upon him.May his soul, and the souls of all the departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Rest eternal, grant him O Lord...

I just received this from Bp. Ken...

Brothers and Sisters,

Word has just reached us that The Rt. Rev. Herbert Thompson, Jr, retired bishop of Southern Ohio, died suddenly today. He was traveling in Italy and passed out after swimming and was unable to be revived. Joyce Keeshin was traveling with him and notified us. His sons are on their way to Italy. We do not have any other details at this time but please keep the Thompson family in your prayers. I will send another message when we have more information. May the soul of Herbert and of all the faithful departed rest in peace and may light perpetual shine upon them.

Bishop Ken Price
Episcopal Diocese of Southern Ohio

A website has been established to share memories of Bishop Herb, you can connect to that at this link.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Get on the bus...

I have always loved satire as a way of conveying truth. More often than not, it speaks to a broad audience if you don't take yourself too seriously. Check our Fr. Jones' recent contribution from a centrist perspective here.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Bishop candidates for Southern Ohio

Take a look at the new candidates for Bishop in Southern Ohio. Hopefully we can have an election this time round. Especially seeing that it will be hosted by the parish I serve here in Portsmouth, Ohio.

More on the middle way...

The Archbishop of Cape Town, South Africa, The Most Rev'd. Njongonkulu Ndungane, has offered his reflections on the future of the Anglican Communion and the middle way. You can see his comments here. A must read for those interested in reclaiming the Church from the extremes of the right and left.

Monday, July 10, 2006

What is the middle way?

I posted this as a response at a friends blog in discussing what the middle road is all about. Some would believe it is only about avoiding conflict or having no convictions. I believe it is something else...

Dear friends,

As a person who has committed himself to walking the middle way, and being committed to expressing it and teaching it in the parish I serve, I am convinced that it has nothing to do with selling out, with compromising for the sake of avoiding conflict, or any thing to do with lack of conviction!

Being willing to walk the middle way means practicing a type of sacrifice where a person is willing to lay down their own opinions, and their own comfortable resting place within an ideology to be able to minister to all conditions of people. As a parish priest, I am called to minister to liberal and conservative, pro-life and pro-choice, pro-gay rights and pro-no special rights for homosexuals alike. I am not afforded the luxury of political opinions that I wear on my sleeve like some club membership pass. As the examination reads that Episcopal priests affirm before ordination...

"...As a priest, it will be your task to proclaim by word and deed the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and to fashion your life in accordance with its precepts. You are to love and serve the people among whom you work, caring alike for young and old, strong and weak, rich and poor. You are to preach, to declare God ’s forgiveness to penitent sinners, to pronounce God ’s blessing, to share in the administration of Holy Baptism and in the celebration of the mysteries of Christ ’s Body and Blood, and to perform the other ministrations entrusted to you.

In all that you do, you are to nourish Christ ’s people from the riches of his grace, and strengthen them to glorify God in this life and in the life to come..."

I don't recall anywhere taking a vow to be a prophet. That doesn't mean I don't have standards or that I don't call people to confession who are in need of repentance...But the reality is I'm not the one deciding who is in and who is out of God's grace. I have simply and and times with some difficulty vowed to be a minister of it. It means being able to be very articulate about the differences between the priestly role and the prophetic role.

And in that articulation between the priestly and prophetic role, Bob Duncan and Gene Robinson have failed miserably and oft times tragically. They are sacrificing the Church they have been afforded the privilege to help govern on their individual altars of self-satisfaction. These altars all too conveniently vested in the mantle of being lead by the Spirit. But God does not send a spirit of division...Only the enemy does.

In the end, it is not about me or my opinions and it is certainly not about groups like Integrity and the Anglican Communion Network, it is about taking the Grace of God to a hurting and broken world, and bringing healing to the people through the Sacraments of the Church. And for those who choose to ride on the extremes wings of the Church and find they cannot in good conscience any longer be a part of the Episcopal Church as it is currently constituted...the middle way has always known the solution to your dilemma...its called being a non-juror...look it up! Because what you are currently doing by dividing spoils only shows your hand that lust for power is what you are after and not the faith of the Church.

The middle way has nothing to do with being luke warm or indifferent...or walking an easy path...It is about a higher calling, a higher road that leads to self emptying so that we might be filled with the love of God.

I remain, albeit sick and tired of taking hits from the right and the left, your fellow servant, JQ+

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Beyond GC 2006

It has been a delight week. So much activity that one has little time to think about the havoc being let loose upon the Church by a small-very small-but highly vocal group of conservatives and liberals. We are in the process at All Saints' of having the old pipe organ removed and a new pipe organ installed. In the middle of all that, we are conducting a fundraising campaign for the organ, hosting a parish picnic and celebrating 2 family birthdays all in one week.

And what fun it has been so far. Working hard both in the parish and at home. Being involved in ministry and family so that other things seem to be only distractions. Thanks be to God! I am convinced that the ministry and mission of the Church is far more important that anything we do at General Convention--as important as that work might be. And a secret to remaining faithful is remaining focused on the mission God calls us into.

Monday, June 26, 2006

The commentary continues...

The 75th General Convention is over, but the commentary has only just begun. Thankfully, with the advent of the blog, millions of trees and a portion of the ozone layer will be saved as a result.

Depending on what side of the issues you find yourself, Titusonenine has a good grasp from the conservative side, and Thinking Anglicans takes the liberals by the hand.

However, as I mentioned earlier, if you're the 99% of us who fill trapped in the middle AKMA's random thoughts are right on the mark!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

General Convention adjorns

If you haven't heard already, the 75th General Convention adjorned this evening. The blogs and commentary are already flying about. Both the liberals and the conservatives are angry and making bold statements about the future.

My response to all of this is to remember we belong to Christ Jesus! If you chose to operate the way the world does, you will be judged for it. This is not a win/loose moment. When one part of the body suffers, all suffer. What is needed now as always is prayer and reconciliation. We must demand that of ourselves and our leadership in the Church--both liberals and conservative alike and the rest of the 99% of us who find ourselves squeezed in the middle.

Gracious Father, we pray for thy holy Catholic Church. Fill it
with all truth, in all truth with all peace. Where it is corrupt,
purify it; where it is in error, direct it; where in any thing it is
amiss, reform it. Where it is right, strengthen it; where it is in
want, provide for it; where it is divided, reunite it; for the sake
of Jesus Christ thy Son our Savior. Amen.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

All the news that's fit to print...

I wanted to give a link to the Episcopal News Service and their coverage of General Convention. You can check it out here.

Meeting our New Primus...

I know, I know. We don't use the word Primus in The Episcopal Church. But the word Primate has a few connotations in our modern age. The word Primus comes from the Latin phrase primus inter pares, which means first among equals. Our sisters and brothers in the Scottish Episcopal Church use the why can't we. I like it better than Presiding Bishop also, because some of the little authority given the Presiding Bishop is to preside over the House of Bishop--and that is a whole other entry.

On June 18, the bishop of Nevada, the Rt. Rev'd. Katharine Jefferts Schori was elected as the 26th Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church. She will be instituted on November 4th, at Washington National Cathedral. She will succeed the Most Rev'd. Frank Griswold-shown seated in the picture-as Presiding Bishop upon her investiture. Information about Bishop Schori can be found here.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Lambeth Commision Report

Discussion in the House of Bishops turned to how our collective response to the Lambeth Commision report will look. There has been comment and speculation ad naseum on this issue, but today I found a fresh look at this over on Fr. Clavier's blog via my friend Nick's blog (his link is in the left hand tool bar titled "entangled states.") Check out the story here.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Early days of GC 2006

We just concluded day 3 of legislation here at General Convention. I have been working each day as a page in the House of Bishops. It has been enjoyable. It has also been somewhat of an inspirational moment. From an inside perspective, the level of generosity and collegiality has been very heartening.

The Bishops and Deputies are taking seriously their work. And the spirit of unity seems to be rising to the top of all the ministry being done here in Columbus.
As I type this, Larry King Live is playing in the background, and it might seem from those on the ouside as it does to those on the TV show that the only thing we are discussing here is sex. But that simply isn't true.

It is my hope and prayer is that the spirit of God will transform our hearts and minds and renew our desire for mission and evangelism and service in our community.

I will try to check in from time to time. But for up to the minute information on what is going on, check on our diocesan website.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Easter week blessings

Alleluia, Christ is risen!

I am amazed that I can say this already. It only seems like days ago that I was putting ashes on foreheads, and now Easter is here and Lent is little more than a clouded memory. It has also been some time since my last post. Much has happened since then. R and I finally closed on our house here in Scioto County. And after a lot of painting, carpeting, and renovation our furniture arrived on Monday of Holy Week. Nothing like doing everything at once.

The Ecumenical Holy Week lunches at our sister church, 1st Chrisian, went well. They were concluded by a procession on Good Friday back to All Saints' for Stations of the Cross. Over 70 participated in this event--much to the surprise of all of us. It was a wonderful devotion and a great show of fraternity among the churches.

This was also my first Easter at All Saints'. What a glorious day! It was cool enough on Sunday for the windows of the church to be open--this was a delight after several days of unusually hot weather. The flowers were beautiful, thanks to the great folks on the Altar Guild. The incense was heavenly and the choir rocked the place...what a day...I hope this beginning to the Great Fifty Days is a sign of things to come.

I will leave you with our Archbishop's Easter sermon, a must read for all of us.

Have a blessed Easter week.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Why all the ashes...

The Anglican News Service has a good article concerning Lent and Ash Wednesday. Here is an excert...

....While ashes may signify and remind, they also invite. They invite us to repentance. They invite us to turn again to God and to receive new life. Isaiah brings glad tidings to the people of Israel, “to give them a garland instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning.” Ashes are not the end but are just the beginning. They begin a season that moves us through silence and longing into a season of joy and resurrection....

You can read the entire article here. Have a blessed Lent.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Do not be conformed...

I've been focused this morning on the words from St. Paul's letter to the Romans...Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may prove what is the will of God...

I spoke these words out loud as I said Morning Prayer in the church. I sat down and thought a little about what Paul meant. Was he talking about our life style, our schedules, and our busyness. Did he mean to include only our morality and ethics in his list of things non-conforming.

I thought for a moment about my own life and work. Do I look any different from anyone who has tried to conform themselves to this world? Are there aspects of my life where I am intentional about not conforming to the way things are? I considered for a moment my prayer life. Sometimes I'm deliberate about praying the daily office. But some days, my only prayers tend to be those said under my breath as I race to a meeting. Its then that I'm all to aware of the need for grace.

My contemplation on these holy words was broken as my cell phone rang. (I had forgotten to turn it off before I started saying the morning office.) I was momentarily upset at myself for not turning it off, but the call was from a friend wanting to invite my wife to the mothers group she attends. I realized then and there that even in our conformity to this world, God still speaks. He speaks to us above the noise and den of this world, sometimes using the very noise of this world as His instrument. He speaks to us about relationships, and how important they are to us all. Relationship with Him and with each other. And in one way, I guess I'm not being conformed to this world, by using an instrument that fosters individuality and autonomy (computers and the internet) to talk about building personal relationship with other people and with God.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Back Online

It is so good to be back online and reconnected to the world wide web. I say that with some sincerity and some sarcasm. It is hard to believe that 10yrs ago almost no one knew about the internet...and nowadays, everyone is connected to it. So much so that my father-in-law has actually bought 2 cars on e-bay. How crazy is that!

It has taken a few weeks to settle in to my new work and surroundings at All Saints--Portsmouth. But things are going well and I'm now back online. And what a good day to begin posting. Today is the feast of Candlemas. AKA the Purification of St. Mary. It is the day we celebrate Mary's coming to the Temple to be pronounced ritually clean, following the birth of her son, Jesus.

For us modern folk, this ancient ritual looses much of its meaning in translation. However, it is during this event that Simeon takes the baby Jesus in his arms and proclaims...Lord, now let your servant depart in peace, according to your word. For my eyes have seen thy salvation which you have prepared before the face of all people. To be the light to lighten the nations and the glory of your people Israel...

What a great reminder of what being connected is really about. One can only imagine Simeon's emotions as he held Jesus in his arms, and in the infant seeing all the hope of his people and his generation fulfilled in the baby. In the midst of being back online, I have to ask myself what is being connect really about.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Happy New Year

A blessed new year to all of you. I will be away from posting for a week or two as I will be moving, beginning this weekend.

Say a prayer for me as well, Sunday will be my first Sunday in my new parish, All Saints--Portsmouth. It will be exciting. I will fill you in on this new chapter in my life as soon as I get reconnected! Peace to all of you...