Friday, February 26, 2010

Black History Month: Episcopalians

Anna Julia Haywood Cooper
(August 10, c1859- February 27, 1964).

Educator, advocate and scholar. Born in Raleigh, North Carolina to an enslaved woman and a white man, presumably her mother’s master, Anna Julia was an academically gifted child and received a scholarship to attend St. Augustine Normal School and Collegiate Institute, a school founded by the Episcopal Church to educate African-American teachers and clergy. There she began her membership in the Episcopal Church. After forcing her way into a Greek class designed for male theology students, Anna Julia later married the instructor, George A.C. Cooper, the second African-American ordained to the Episcopal priesthood in North Carolina. After her husband’s death in 1879, Cooper received degrees in mathematics from Oberlin College, and was made principal of the only African American high school in Washington D.C.. She was denied reappointment in 1906 because she refused to lower her educational standards.

Throughout her career, Cooper emphasized the importance of education to the future of African Americans, and was critical of the lack of support they received from the church. An advocate for African-American women, Cooper assisted in organizing the Colored Women’s League and the first Colored Settlement House in Washington, D.C. She wrote and spoke widely on issues of race and gender, and took an active role in national and international organizations founded to advance African Americans. At the age of fifty-five she adopted the five children of her nephew. In 1925, Cooper became the fourth African –American woman to complete a Ph.D degree, granted from the Sorbonne when she was sixty-five years old. From 1930-1942, Cooper served as president of Frelinghuysen University.

Black History Month: Episcopalians

(born June 12, 1930)

She was elected as suffragan (assistant) bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts in 1988 and became the first woman ever to serve as a bishop in an Anglican church anywhere in the world. She was a corporate public relations executive in her native Philadelphia before studying for the ministry.

In the early 1970s, as senior warden of her church, she agitated for the ordination of women. In 1974, she supported the ordination of the "Philadelphia Eleven," and by 1976, the Episcopal Church voted at its General Convention to admit women priests. Ordained a deacon in 1979 and a priest in 1980, she served as a parish pastor and prison chaplain in Pennsylvania from 1980 to 1984, then headed the Episcopal Church Publishing Company. Her election to the Massachusetts post in 1988 and her subsequent consecration were met with wide news coverage and some controversy in the United States and elsewhere. She attended the Lambeth Conference in 1998.

As an African American woman, she was outspoken on issues of race and gender in church and society but insisted from the start that her work and ministry not be limited to those issues. She retired in 2002 but continues her ministry in the Episcopal Church.

Black History Month: Episcopalians

(1861 - December 30, 1934)

Frances Joseph-Gaudet was born in a log cabin in Holmesville, Mississippi of African American and Native American descent. She was raised by her grandparents. Later she went to live with a brother in New Orleans where she attended school and Straight College. Widowed early, she dedicated her life to prison reform. Beginning in 1894 she held prayer meetings, wrote letters, delivered messages, and secured clothing for black prisoners, and later for white prisoners as well. Her dedication to prisoners and prison reform won her the respect of prison officials, city authorities, the governor, and the Prison Reform Association. A delegate to the Women’s Christian Temperance Union international convention in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1900, she worked for the reform of young blacks arrested for misdemeanor or vagrancy. Joseph-Gaudet was the first woman to support juvenile offenders in Louisiana, and her efforts helped found the juvenile court.

She eventually purchased a farm and founded the Gaudet Normal and Industrial School. The school, which eventually expanded to 105 acres and numerous buildings, also served as a boarding school for children with working mothers. Joseph-Gaudet served as principal of the school until 1921 when she donated the school to the Episcopal Church of Louisiana. Though the school closed in 1950, the Gaudet Episcopal Home opened in the same location four years later to serve African American children ages four to sixteen. The endowment fund currently supports St. Luke’s Community Center on North Dorgenois Street, where a hall honors Frances Joseph-Gaudet. Mrs. Frances Gaudet spent the last years of her life in Chicago, Illinois, where she died in December 1934. She was added to the Episcopal Calendar of Lesser Feasts and Fasts in 2006. (from the Episcopal Women's History Project)

Black History Month: Episcopalians

(March 3, 1819 – September 10, 1898)

Born March 3, 1819, in New York City, Alexander Crummell struggled against racism all his life. As a young man, he was driven out of an academy in New Hampshire, dismissed as a candidate for Holy Orders in New York, and rejected for admittance to General Seminary. Ordained in 1844 as a priest in the Diocese of Massachusetts, he left for England after being excluded from participating in diocesan convention. After receiving a degree from Cambridge, he went to Liberia as a missionary.

A model Christian republic seemed possible in Liberia. European education and technology, combined with traditional African communal culture, and undergirded by a national Episcopal Church headed by a black bishop, was the vision espoused by Crummell. He traveled extensively in the United States urging blacks to emigrate to Liberia and support the work of the Church there. On returning to Liberia, he worked to establish a national Episcopal Church. Political opposition and a loss of funding finally forced him to return to the United States. He concentrated his efforts on establishing a strong urban presence of independent black congregations that would be centers of worship, education and social service. When southern bishops proposed that a separate missionary district be created for black congregations, Crummell created a national convocation to fight the proposal. The Union of Black Episcopalians is an outgrowth of that organization.

Crummell’s ministry spanned more than half a century and three continents. Everywhere, at all times, he labored to prepare his people and to build institutions that would serve them and provide scope for the exercises of their gifts in leadership and creativity. His faith in God, his perseverance in spite of repeated discouragement, his perceptions that the Church transcended the racism and limited vision of its rulers, and his unfailing belief in the goodness and greatness of black people are the legacy of its Afro-American pioneer. (from Lesser Feasts and Fasts)

Black History Month: Episcopalians

(October 9, 1917 – September 1, 2006)

A high school teacher of English literature and a religious educator, she focused adult education on Bible study and on claiming the authority of the laity. She is credited by many in the Episcopal Church with actually changing the field of scripture study and reclaiming attention to the ministry of all the baptized. A Washingtonian, Dozier was educated in public schools and at Howard University.

Raised a Baptist, in 1955 she joined the Episcopal Church. Later in life, she remarked, “When I discovered the Episcopal Church, it was as if I had been waiting for that all my life.” For 34 years she was employed by the Washington D.C. Board of Education. From the 1960s onward she became known for teaching scripture. After taking early retirement in 1975, she worked full time as religious educator, a church conference leader, and an author of books & articles on the ministry of God's people in the world. Here are 3 excerpts:

In Dozier, V. J. (1982). The authority of the laity.

It is important that we understand the Bible as model for how we live our lives, not as a rule book. The issue that the Bible raises is, in light of what God has done in history, what kind of response do I make in my daily life? (p. 13)

In Dozier, V. J. (1988). The calling of the laity:

There are no second-class citizens in the household of God. Religious authority comes with baptism, and it is nurtured by prayer, worship, bible study, life together. (p. 115)

What happens on Sunday morning is not half so important as what happens on Monday morning. In fact what happens on Sunday morning is judged by what happens on Monday morning. (p. 115)

You can find more on Verna Dozier here:

Talbot School of Theology

The Witness Magazine

Verna Dozier Bible Study

Black History Month: Episcopalians

(July 2, 1908 – January 24, 1993)

The grandson of a freed slave, Marshall is best known for his landmark 1954 Civil Rights victory; the Brown vs. Board of Education ruling that desegregated schools. But before this, he spent 30 years risking his life in order to file lawsuits across the South on behalf of the NAACP's Legal Defense and Educational Fund, among his many accomplishments.

While he did not speak publicly about his faith, Marshall worshipped at St. Augustine's Episcopal Church from 1965 until his death in 1993 and also served on the vestry. He raised his two sons in the church and his widow, Cissy, is still a member of the parish.

When he was sworn in as a Supreme Court Justice in 1967, Marshall's Bible was open to 1 Corinthians 13, a chapter that describes God's gift of love. His legendary record of opinions and dissents demonstrated his unwavering commitment to protecting the constitutional rights of all Americans. Justice Marshall announced his retirement on June 27, 1991, citing the duties of a Justice were incompatible with his advancing age and medical condition. Asked how he would like to be remembered, he said, “I did the best I could with what I had.”

Monday, February 22, 2010

Stephen Green: Bankers Need A Moral Compass

A good interview this morning on NPR with Stephen Green.

A couple of excerpts:
Stephen Green, chairman of HSBC wrote a book about banking: Good Value: Reflections on Money, Morality and an Uncertain World.  Green is also an ordained priest in the Church of England. In his book, he proposes a "new capitalism" that brings good business and good ethics together. He says moral and spiritual values should take precedence over immediate profit.

On The Role Of Company Boards:

"The responsibility of the board is to grow the business on the basis of a sustainable business model for the foreseeable future," Green says. He says this is accomplished by providing good customer service to customers on a transparent, open basis, by having engaged, committed employees, and by ensuring that a company pays attention to its community responsibilities.
An excerpt from his book:
It is not only the actors of the financial world who are affected. Shocks to the global financial system will eventually affect us all, from suburban families in America to small businesses in China, to Greek shipowners and to Russian oligarchs.

Somewhere deep down, the question gnaws away: If, with all the technology and sophistication at our disposal, the basic structure of the world economy is built upon sand, not rock, then what is the justification for all our labours? For all of us who work directly or tangentially in the financial system, how can everything we relied on be so swiftly under threat?

You can listen to the interview or view more excepts here.

Tiger, Buddhism & America

A fascinating article by Stephen Prothero looks at Tiger Woods & his apology in the light of his religion.

Some excerpts:
Until Friday, when Tiger Woods stood up in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., and apologized for his sexual infidelities, the American public confession was a Christian rite. From President Grover Cleveland, who likely fathered a child out of wedlock, to Ted Haggard, who resigned as president of the National Association of Evangelicals after allegations that he had sex with a male prostitute, our politicians and preachers have bowed and scraped in Christian idioms. Jimmy Carter spoke of "adultery in my heart." Jimmy Swaggart spoke of "my sin" and "my Savior." In any case, the model derives from evangelical Christianity — the revival and the altar call. You confess you are a sinner. You repent of your sins. You turn to Christ to make yourself new.

The key moment in Woods' statement came at the end, when, in an effort to make sense of his behavior, he turned not to Christian theologies of sin but to Buddhist teachings about craving. Whereas Christianity seeks to solve the problem of sin, Buddhism seeks to solve the problem of suffering. Buddhists observe that suffering arises from a 12-fold chain of interlocking causes and effects. Among these causes is craving. We crave this woman or that car because we think that getting her or it will make us happy. But this craving only ties us into an unending cycle of misery, because even if we get what we want there is always something more to crave — another woman or another man, a faster car or a bigger house.

In an elegant distillation of the Buddha's dharma (teaching), Woods said, "Buddhism teaches that a craving for things outside ourselves causes an unhappy and pointless search for security." Here he is obviously describing his craving for sexual encounters with beautiful women. But he is also describing our collective obsession with the next new thing.

As Woods recognized, the money and fame that came with celebrity made it easy for him to fulfill his temptations. But we Americans who can only dream of such money and fame also possess an unparalleled ability to satisfy craving upon craving. Ours is the richest country in the history of the world, and our core values derive at least as much from consumer capitalism as from Christian faith. Advertisers are forever conjuring up new desires and promising us that their products will satisfy them. Our cravings, however, are endless good news for big business, not such good news for human happiness.

When Woods said he "stopped living by the core values" he was "taught to believe in," he was referring not to Christian values but to the Thai Buddhist values instilled in him by his mother, who was in the room with her son in Florida in a show of support. When he vowed to change his life, it wasn't to turn to Christianity but to return to Buddhism. He actively practiced Buddhism from childhood, he said, but "drifted away from it in recent years," forgetting its crucial observation that craving is overcome not by self-indulgence but by self-control. Buddhism "teaches me to stop following every impulse and to learn restraint," he said. "Obviously I lost track of what I was taught."
Read the whole article here. (Its worth it!)

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Black History Month: Episcopalians

The history of the Episcopal Church USA reflects the changes and challenges of the nation including the unique experience of Black Americans as slaves and free people. Each Sunday in February, we will focus on two pioneers. Their lives and their ministries are a tribute to their spiritual, intellectual and vocational gifts as well as to the community that nurtured and continues to support their work.

(1829 – March 13, 1911)

Born in 1824 in Washington, DC, James Theodore Holly was the descendent of freed slaves. He was active in anti-slavery conventions in the free states in the United States befriending Frederick Douglass and participating in abolitionist activities.

As a young man, he left the Roman Catholic Church over a dispute about ordaining local black clergy and joined the Episcopal Church. He was a shoemaker, then a teacher and school principal before his own ordination at the age of 27. He was ordained deacon in the Diocese of Michigan and after his ordination to the priesthood served as rector at St Luke’s Church in New Haven, Connecticut and was one of the founders of the Protestant Episcopal Society for Promoting the Extension of the Church among Colored People (a forerunner of UBE) in 1856. This group challenged the Church to take a position against slavery at the General Convention.

In 1861 he left the United States with his family and a group of African Americans to settle in Haiti---the world’s first black republic. He lost his family and other settlers to disease and poor living conditions but was successful in establishing schools and building the Church. He trained young priests and started congregations and medical programs in the countryside. In 1874 he was ordained bishop at Grace Church, New York City and he was named Bishop of the Episcopal Church of Haiti. On Bishop Holly's one visit to Great Britain, to attend the Second Lambeth Conference, by invitation of the late Dean Stanley, he preached in Westminster Abbey on St. James Day in 1878. He died in Haiti on March 13, 1911.

Information from the Office of Black Ministries in the Episcopal Church.

How Christian Were the Founders?

This goes back to our studies last Fall...

This was in the NY Times Magazine a week ago.

An excerpt:
More elementally, they hold that the United States was founded by devout Christians and according to biblical precepts. This belief provides what they consider not only a theological but also, ultimately, a judicial grounding to their positions on social questions. When they proclaim that the United States is a “Christian nation,” they are not referring to the percentage of the population that ticks a certain box in a survey or census but to the country’s roots and the intent of the founders.
Read the whole article here.

Have a look at our other blog for information on how wrong the above statement is...

The Brick Testament - Satan tempts Jesus

Another way of looking at today's Gospel Story!

From the Brick Testament here.

More thoughts from Ash Wednesday

On Fasting...

The reading from Isaiah reminds us that God expects our fasting to be just, to reach out to those in need, to break the yoke of their burden & set them free. “To share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover them, and not to hide yourself from your own kin? Then your light shall break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up quickly…”

A Poem from Ash Wednesday

Wilt thou forgive that sin where I begun,
Which was my sin, though it were done before?
Wilt thou forgive that sin, through which I run,
And do run still, though still I do deplore?
When thou hast done, thou hast not done,
For I have more.

Wilt thou forgive that sin which I have won
Others to sin, and made my sin their door?
Wilt thou forgive that sin which I did shun
A year or two, but wallow'd in, a score?
When thou hast done, thou hast not done,
For I have more.

I have a sin of fear, that when I have spun
My last thread, I shall perish on the shore;
But swear by thyself, that at my death thy Son
Shall shine as he shines now, and heretofore;
And, having done that, thou hast done;
I fear no more.

John Donne, A Hymn to God the Father

Sermon: February 21 (1st Lent)

I don’t play golf but I do occasionally watch it and at 11 AM Friday Morning, I was watching with lots of others, probably one of the best golfers ever, say:
“I am deeply sorry for my irresponsible and selfish behavior I engaged in.” (Tiger Woods)
These words spoken by Tiger Woods in his 14 minute speech before friends & family and a camera, were part of a speech about his infidelity, his process to restore what he has broken, and his hope that others will one day believe in him again. I thought he was genuine, humble albeit in a very controlled atmosphere and he is making the right steps to repent for what he has done, taking time out from golf to make sure he gets the help he needs.
As one observer noted, “Most of us would probably prefer to live our mortality and penitence in quiet obscurity. Repentance is hard enough without the whole world watching your every move.” (Andrew Gems)
He is not the first athlete to offer a public apology, I think of Michael Vick and Alex Rodriguez, & he will not be the last, but often their transgressions off the field are often forgiven if not forgotten by fans with on the field success. I am not saying that’s right but it is what we often do in this society. Accountability only goes so far with the public and for Tiger his accountability lies with his wife and his family, as he knows. I am glad to see Tiger also returning to his faith that he grew up with to help him…
“I owe it to my family to become a better person…I have a lot of work to do, and I intend to dedicate myself to doing it. Part of following this path for me is Buddhism, which my mother taught me at a young age.”
Indeed, it is our faith that helps us get back on the right track when sin causes us to lose our way. Those temptations can befall a Buddhist like Tiger or Christians like us. We are all tempted, for Sin is always right there. As Simone Weil said, “All sins are attempts to fill voids.”

And that is what the devil does, for the devil’s temptations are to there to help fill a void we feel, and those temptations do not look evil or wrong at first glance but they are in fact lies. As St. Augustine said, “All sin is a kind of lying.”

As we heard in the Gospel, Jesus lived in the wilderness for 40 days, he ate nothing, he was alone, and he was famished…for food and company. And the devil came, trying to fill a void…if you are the son of God… The devil knows who Jesus is, and Jesus knows he is the beloved, but it is a test, with Jesus at his weakest. Fix your hunger, Jesus. Use your power. Turn these stones into bread.

“One does not live by bread alone.” Says Jesus.

He could have it done that on day one, use the power, but it is about faith and Jesus refuses to give in. Then the devil led him to place where he could view all the nations of the world. Worship me, all this is yours to rule. You would be king. Think of the power, prestige, you’d have it all!

“Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him.” Says Jesus.

He is not interested in the power to rule, Jesus would tell us that he did not come to be served, but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many… Then the devil led him to the pinnacle of the temple in Jerusalem… Look it here, right here, go ahead and jump, it says in the bible, “He will command his angels concerning you, to protect you,' and 'On their hands they will bear you up, so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.'" Its all in there. Just do it!

“Do not put the Lord your God to the test.” Jesus answered him.

Even with the devil using scripture, Jesus doesn’t fall into the trap, he does not need to show he is the beloved, he knows it. When the devil had finished every test, he departed from him until an opportune time. Even Jesus knew the devil would be back to tempt him again…

As we begin our Lenten journey, we know that to get to the joyous Easter we have to go through the Garden of Gethsemane and to Calvary, we travel through the wilderness, where temptations spring up, trying to fill the voids in our lives. But we know God is with us. As James Healey put it:
“Whether we gaze with longing into the garden or with fear and trembling into the wilderness [desert], of this we can be sure - God walked there first....Face the wilderness [desert] we must if we would reach the garden, but Jesus has gone there before us.”
And face those temptations we must: gambling, shopping, alcohol, sex, wealth, work, pleasure, there is so much out there when taken to the extreme, can destroy our lives and others. And if we think we have our own personal temptations under wraps, there still is the temptation to forget about the lives of others and miss the hurt and pain that is going on in our world (slavery, genocide, poverty, AIDS, war) and solely focus on ourselves, and we fall into the same trap set by the devil: “Its all about me, me, me.”

“One does not live by bread alone.” Says Jesus.

The stone Jesus refused to turn into bread for himself, can remind us in the midst of our temptations that God is the rock of our salvation, for we live by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. The word is given to us in the life and ministry of Jesus, the words shared through scripture, and the words given to us by the Holy Spirit, and it is given to us so the void isn’t filled with sin but with God.

“Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him.” Says Jesus.

Lent is the perfect time to scrutinize our time & our consciousness, to weed out those false gods to whom we give so much time and allegiance, to plumb the depths of our souls to find that pearl of great price, the real meaning to our lives, so we can truly worship and serve God. It will not be easy but we were not promised the easy way as that old poem puts it:

God did not promise, skies always blue,
Flower strewn pathways all our lives through;
God hath not promised sun without rain.
Joy without sorrow, peace without pain:

God hath not promised we shall not know
Toil and temptation, trouble and woe;
He hath not told us we shall not bear
Many a burden, many a care.

But God hath promised
Strength for the day,
Rest for the labor,
Light for the way,
Grace for the trials,
Help from above,
Unfailing sympathy,
Undying love.

God has promised to be with us always and even as we travel through our own wildernesses, through times and places of sin and temptation, God goes with us as God has gone there before. As Martin Luther said, “The recognition of sin is the beginning of salvation.” On our Lenten journey, may we recognize the sin in our lives, repent from it and pray that God continues to lead us away from such temptations in our lives. Amen.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Bishop Elect Ian Douglas

Bishop-elect Ian T. Douglas’ heart is drawn to two different places these days. One brought him to where he is now; the other will form his future.

Douglas, a former missionary to Haiti, was elected Oct. 24 as the bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut and, while he won’t be consecrated until April 17, he’s finished teaching at Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, Mass., and is settling in at Diocesan House on Asylum Avenue, waiting for his office to be painted.

Douglas, 51, has spent his ministry primarily involved in world mission, looking outside the Episcopal Church’s boundaries to the church’s role in the worldwide Anglican Communion. But he decided to run for bishop of Connecticut because of what’s within the state’s boundaries.

“It was Haiti and l’Eglise Episcopale d’Haiti (the Episcopal Church of Haiti) that actually gave me my vocation,” Douglas said last week. “While my life has been one whose boundaries literally were the four corners of the Earth, or the ends of the Earth … I felt like God is guiding me to go deeper rather than broader.”
You can read the whole article at the NH Register here.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Black History Month: Episcopalians

(1746 – Feb. 13, 1818)

Absalom Jones was born into slavery in Delaware in 1746. He attended school in Philadelphia while he worked as a clerk and handyman at a store owned by his master. With the help of friends, Absalom Jones was able to buy his own freedom in 1784.

In 1786 the membership of St. George's Methodist Episcopal Church in Philadelphia included both blacks and whites. However, the white members met that year and decided that thereafter black members should sit only in the balcony. Two black Sunday worshippers, Absalom Jones and Richard Allen (1760-1831), whose enthusiasm for the Methodist Church had brought many blacks into the congregation, learned of the decision only when, on the following Sunday, ushers tapped them on the shoulder during the opening prayers, and demanded that they move to the balcony without waiting for the end of the prayer. They walked out, followed by the other black members.

Absalom Jones conferred with the Rt. Rev. William White, Episcopal Bishop of Philadelphia, who agreed to accept the group as an Episcopal parish. Jones would serve as lay reader, and, after a period of study, would be ordained and serve as rector. Allen wanted the group to remain Methodist, and in 1793 he left to form a Methodist congregation. In 1816 he left the Methodists to form a new denomination, the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church. Jones (ordained deacon and priest in 1795 and 1802) and Allen (ordained deacon and elder in 1799 and 1816) were among the first black Americans to receive formal ordination in any denomination.

MDG Prayer from Sunday

O God, may we see with your eyes, listen with a heart full of love and realize there are no differences, no boundaries, and no meaning to labels. Just as You "make the sun rise on the bad and the good, and cause rain to fall on the just and the unjust," may all who are gathered here in solidarity with those who have less than what they need, decide to do one thing in a specific way to lessen the burden of the poor. Together may we lighten the load of those who suffer on this beautiful planet you created and presented to us as a gift. We ask this in the name of Your Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Sermon: Souper Bowl Sunday

Give us grace, O Lord, not only to hear your Word with our ears, but also to receive it into our hearts & to show it forth in our lives; for the glory of your great name. Amen.
I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?" And I said, "Here am I; send me!"
The call: We all have felt that call to go, to help in God’s name. We have had parishioners go to New Orleans and Russia and Puerto Rico to help. We have given food supplies to the Monroe food pantry, clothes to Ansonia, money to help soup kitchens in Bridgeport & New Haven.

The Vestry has discussed that call and its importance to our mission and ministry and in March we will discuss mission as a parish at a breakfast on March 21. As Ann Robinson wrote, “to enter into a relational mission by involving ourselves directly with the lives of others, not only helping them but allowing them to teach us about a new culture, new food, new music.” It is that relational connection that is important to our work. As Bono of U2 has said about work in Africa, which applies to us too, what is needed is partnership and not paternalism.

We have seen the tragedy unfold in Haiti and we all have felt that tug to help; many have donated $. Sadly, some took it too far and didn’t think through their actions. As that old proverb says, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” And the missionaries from Idaho find themselves in jail in Haiti – for many of them heard that call to go and save children and went out in love but they didn’t do it in partnership with anyone down there and failed to see that their actions may be kidnapping. As one writer put it,
“Perhaps now they will begin to understand what it means to live alongside the poor, as opposed to swooping into a disaster for a quick “feel-good Christian moment” designed to make them feel better about themselves. Hopefully, other groups will rally to do the real work that is still so urgently needed, and make a long-term commitment to bring life and stability to Haiti and its children who are in desperate need of it.” (Anthea Butler)
That is what our hope is in our mission to make a long term commitment to not only affect change and help but also to change ourselves too. It is what we are called to do by God in the march to end extreme poverty in our world. As Bono sings…
Only love can leave such a mark
But only love
Only love unites our hearts

It is out of love that we are called to help and only love can unite us and can help heal those who have been scared. For our calling is from our baptism, that we are to reach out in love to those in need, just as Jesus called his disciples to do. That’s why on this day, a day where revel in football (Go Lions!), we join other faith communities, schools and community groups around the nation to remember those who go hungry every day, and help fight hunger and poverty in our local communities, by what we collect and give away, both money and canned goods. If indeed we are going to make poverty history, then we must tackle the issue at home and abroad, we need to stand up and take our part. In the words of Bono & U2: I got to stand up and take a step
You and I have been asleep for hours
I can stand up for hope, faith, love
C'mon, ye people - Stand up for your love
God is love - And love is evolution's very best day
We know that what we do is out of love & we also know that the powers that be in this world are not always in sync with that, as the Woody Guthrie song puts it, "Well if Jesus was to preach what he preached at Galilee, They would lay Jesus Christ in His Grave."

We know it will not always be joyous or easy but our song is Hallelujah, our song it’s a Beautiful Day, our song is that we are one step closer to knowing. As St. Paul said in last week’s reading, “For we know only in part; but when the complete comes, the partial will come to an end.” And in that end, we will be where the streets have no name, for we all long for the Kingdom of God where peace & justice reign. Even if, at times, we lose our way…
Once I knew there was a love divine
Then came a time I thought it knew me not
Who can forgive forgiveness where forgiveness is not
Only the lamb as white as snow
For that lamb is Jesus and until that day when Love comes back to town to take us home, it is God who looks to us to come in love, to help fill the hungry, to aid the poor, the sick, those in need, for everyone to get taste of the Kingdom of God in our time. And in the words of the Psalmist…
I waited patiently for the Lord
He inclined and heard my cry
He brought me up out of the pit
Out of the miry clay
I will sing, sing a new song - How long to sing this song?
That song of hope that we sing is what we do when we reach out in love in God’s name. Amen.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Annual Parish Meeting

Thank you to all who attended our annual parish meeting - very productive!

If you missed it...
  • you can find a copy of my address here.
  • you can listen to my address here
  • you can find a copy of some pages of the annual report here.
  • you can find a copy of the poem I used on my blog.
  • you will also find a couple of photos here (when uploaded!).
We will have extra copies of the the reports and budgets available at Church.

A letter from the senior warden will be sent soon regarding our discussion on Sunday.

Candlemas Day

Today is traditionally called Candlemas Day or The Presentation of Jesus in the Temple.

You can find the scripture readings here (esp. Luke 2: 22 - 40).

Almighty and everliving God, we humbly pray that, as your only-begotten Son was this day presented in the temple, so we may be presented to you with pure and clean hearts by Jesus Christ our Lord; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Black History Month: Episcopalians

Elizabeth Evelyn Wright
(Apr. 3, 1872-Dec. 14, 1906)

Pioneer educator among African Americans. She was born in Talbotton, Georgia. Wright was the seventh child of an African American carpenter and former slave, John Wesley Wright, and a full-blooded Cherokee Indian mother, Virginia Rolfe. Wright graduated from Tuskegee Industrial School in 1894. She was determined to open schools for the training of African American men and women. After numerous setbacks, she founded the Denmark Industrial School for Colored Youth at Denmark, South Carolina. It opened in Apr. 1897. Wright served as principal until her death. In 1902 the name was changed to Voorhees Industrial School in honor of the generosity of Ralph and Elizabeth Rodman Voorhees. Wright died in Denmark, South Carolina.

Learn more about her and her legacy, here at the Office for Black Ministries in the Episcopal Church.

From Voorhees College:

Most memorable about Voorhees history is the story of its Founder, Elizabeth Evelyn Wright. She was a black woman in her early twenties who, in spite of betrayals, arson, jealousies, threats of violence, and weariness from wandering, persevered and founded a school in Denmark, South Carolina, on April 17, 1897.

Through more than 100 years of service, the mission of Voorhees College has remained the same; it is committed to providing a top quality educational experience to young men and women and equip them to assume leadership positions in our state and nation and to provide service to mankind.

From its founding in 1897, Voorhees College has evolved into a leading four-year liberal arts college accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and affiliated with the Episcopal Church and The College Fund/ UNCF.
Read more about her legacy here.

This Sunday's U2charist Playlist

Here is the play list for our 4th annual U2charist (and the year it came out):
  1. Magnificent (2009)
  2. Where the Streets have no Name (1987)
  3. Jesus Christ (written by Woodie Guthrie, 1961)
  4. 40 (1983)
  5. Stand up Comedy (2009)
  6. One Step Closer (2004)
  7. White as Snow (2009)
  8. Beautiful Day (2000)
  9. When Love Comes to Town (1988)
You can find the lyrics to the songs on this website here.