Irenic Thoughts

Irenic. The word means peaceful. This web log (or blog) exists to create an ongoing, and hopefully peaceful, series of comments on the life of King of Peace Episcopal Church. This is not a closed community. You are highly encouraged to comment on any post or to send your own posts.

6/30/2006

The Meaning of Life



I rewatched The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy last night on DVD. In the film (books and radio programs too) the burning multi-million year quest for a group of pan-dimensional beings is to discover the meaning of life, the universe and everything. I think I do understand the meaning of life fairly well and have often wondered if it is one of those answers that is so simple we look for other answers.

For example the answer to losing weight is widely (pun more or less intended) known and well understood. To lose weight eat less and exercise more. This is no secret. And yet, people want other schemes, something easier, or perhaps a pre-digested (too punny?) program that gives the low-down on how to slim down (South Beach Diet, etc.).

Whether you are a Christian or not, the fact that we humans are created to be in relationship with one another would seem to be self-evident. Our bare survival depends upon relationships and so does our thriving. Our times of greatest happiness and sadness grow out of our relationships.

As a Christian, I belive in a Trinitarian God. As complex as this doctrine is (1+1+1=1), the concept of the Trinity is sometimes seen as irrelevant. But for me, the Trinity reveals that God was in relationship before creation and created all creation to be in relationship with God. Not only is this orthodox Christian teaching, but it fits with our own experiences of being created for relationships.

I'm sure at some metaphilosophical level I am answering the wrong question, but at the day to day level it works for me that the meaning of life is to be in relationship with God and all creation. That answer doesn't just bring comfort, but the challenge of treating all others as if they were created for the same. It's not like having the answer to the big question. It's more like having an answer that opens up a never-ending series of questions about how one might live into that connection between God and one another.

This is a bit of an ongoing theme for me and in the archives you will find the sermon Koinonia—a deeper connectedness and an old blog post Both/And on the Trinity and the essential connectedness among all things. Then there is The Great Cloud of Witnesses that considers the real world practicality of this view. Finally, there is my more recent Three Short Sermons on the Trinity.

So hit me with your best shot. How far off base am I on the meaning of life?

peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor + King of Peace Episcopal Church

1 Comments:

  • At 6/30/2006 2:49 PM, Blogger Victoria said…

    I agree. We must have relationships--be it with family, friends, God, pets or all of the above and the more the better . . .

     

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6/29/2006

Liturgical Rock Star

Isaac Everett's RotationOne of the several musical hits at the General Convention (the others were a Peruvian duo and one of the Van Trapp family) was Isaac Everett whose techno versions of ancient Christian music are definitely innovative and worshipful. To find out more about Everrett, you can visit his website isaaceverett.com. To hear his 7/4 rendition of a classic hymn from his CD Rotation, try this link http://www.isaaceverett.com/incarnation.mp3 The text of the song is a paraphrase of the Liturgy of St James, arguably from the 1st Century, with 17th Century French Carol. Everett offers other opportunities to look and listen at his website.

1 Comments:

  • At 6/29/2006 3:36 PM, Blogger Steele said…

    I listened to this and its pretty sweet. I don't think the borderline pop tone of the singers voice goes well with the backdrop of almost dark instrumentals but I really like it and I like that song.

     

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6/28/2006

An Anglican Covenant?

A well-written overview of where the Anglican Communion is as of today is found in The New York Times article, Anglican Plan Threatens Split on Gay Issues. In the article, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams throws his weight of office behind a plan for an Anglican Covenant. The idea is to create a statement of faith and one is either in or out based on the decision of whether to sign the statement or not.

The proposal seems logical enough and probably fairly describes where we are headed. Yet, one of the things I always loved about The Episcopal Church was that we had never been a confessional church. Other protestant churches had created tight statements of belief at the time of the Reformation on who was in and out. Detailed dogmatic statements were then viewed as critical as a group separated itself from Rome to become "the real church."

Elizabeth I in prayerWhen Elizabeth I took over as head of the Church of England, the burning theological question was "How is Christ present in communion?" Her answer was the surprising, "I want a window into no man's soul." The unifying factor then a since was worship using the Book of Common Prayer. The guiding principle being that of Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi, meaning "The Way of Praying is the Way of Believing."

If this seems to wishy washy, remember that our way of praying includes routine use of the two historic formulations of the Christian faith—The Nicene Creed and The Apostle's Creed. In fact, The ancient (used at least since 150 a.d. in baptisms) Apostle's Creed forms the basis of The Episcopal Churches Baptismal Covenant.

I had hoped it was in our baptismal covenant that we could find unity still. That covenant is action oriented, as in the baptismal covenant we commit ourselves to the faith of the Apostle's and service toward others in Jesus' name, I thought we were doing enough to hold us together. The Archbishop of Canterbury disagrees and we are now on track to get a new Anglican formulation of faith. I pray that it comes to reflect God's spirit and desire for the church as it currently only seems to reflect the spirit of the age, a setting in which a new covenant may need to be created every decade as clarity is needed on new issues.

Perhaps I am wrong. I am certainly prepared to be so. But I prefer that we not put minimum standards on paper and require consent. I don't like this even though I would likely find it wasy enough to consent to the actual words of the covenant. I prefer that we put our faith into action and make it real. Putting faith into action seemed more real and more important before the political wrangling began to determine who was in and who was out.

But work toward an Anglican Covenant has begun and will continue. I pray that through this process what we do brings glory to God.

peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor + King of Peace Episcopal Church

3 Comments:

  • At 6/28/2006 12:02 PM, Blogger Ryan said…

    Frank,

    I had not yet heard of this, though I guess deep down I suspected something of the sort would be coming. And I like it about as much as you do. Drawing up these sorts of covenants will be tough work, and it seems like we've covered this ground before. Remember the ecclesiastical trials of Bishops Pike and Right? How they argued about what was kerygma (the absolute core of belief, and what was adiaphora, lit., "things that do not matter"? Seems like the same sort of thing. Another blog I read said of general convention, "[we] majored in the minors too much". An Anglican Covenant seems like it could fall to the same temptation. I am much more comfortable with being united by common worship from the Book of Common Prayer (or one of its authorized derivatives) and by the adage you cited, lex orandi, lex credendi. Let us pray for the church.

    -R

     
  • At 6/28/2006 10:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    The creation of an Anglican covenant raises several issues. For the Global south and the ECUSA leadership to agree on dogma is problematic. There are so many zealots on both end of the theological spectrum just in the ECUSA that I can't see how we could come to any meaningful covenant among ourselves, much less others. And when the ECUSA can't in good conscience agree to the covenant, will the churches who CAN agree and do not wish to walk apart from the Anglican Communion be allowed to leave? Probably not without a fight, and probably not without abandoning their buildings and starting over.

     
  • At 6/29/2006 11:36 AM, Anonymous Kenny said…

    Frank,

    Statements of faith are interesting things to me.

    In the first place, I'm not thrilled with them because they mean that somewhere along the line someone's lost sight of what the Bible means. I come from a background where I prefer to think of the Bible as the inspired word of God and it provides guidance on most any issue of importance in our lives. The statement of my belief is found there, primarily. Anything else is either a summation of the Word or, hopefully not, an addition or a contradiction.

    In a way, though, they're like tithing. They're not requirements for salvation and shouldn't be requirements for membership in a congregation but they can be very telling about the state of your commitment both to the local church and to God. We show our spiritual state by putting our faith into action. Tithing means parting with some of our material possessions not because God needs it but because we need to show ourselves how much we're committed. Where do our loyalties lie? God or mammon?

    A statement of faith is important because what comes out of our mouths is a reflection of our spiritual state as well. Good water and foul don't come from the same spring.

    I post this with hope that it makes sense and isn't contradictory in nature. Thanks for the opportunity for feedback.

     

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6/27/2006

An Immense Act of Charity

In a stunningly immense act of charity ultra-wealthy investor Warren Buffett is giving the bulk of his estate—$31 billion—to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The New York Times article is online, which say in part,
Warren BuffettMr. Buffett had insisted that he would wait until his death to make a sizable charitable bequest, but he told Fortune that the death of his wife, Susan, in 2004, his admiration for the Gateses and his certainty about how to dispose of his wealth had caused him to "get going" now...

Fred P. Hochberg, dean of the Milano School for Management and Urban Policy at the New School, which has a large nonprofit-management department, said Mr. Buffett's historic contribution to the Gates Foundation was in character. "It's egoless," he said. "Warren's name is not on the door."
As I wrote in a recent column for the Tribune & Georgian,
Jesus taught that, “Not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions” (Luke 12:15).

Jesus offers a way out, a way to have peace whether you have a lot or a little. Jesus answer is to realize that your life is not made up of the abundance of possessions.

Get the stuff you need. Take care of yourself and your family. But don’t bet your happiness or theirs on accumulating just the right stuff. Even if you get that whole living room you want from The Pottery or the bedroom set that would put the Dream House to shame, it will not bring you happiness. Stuff is just stuff.

Right now, as at the end of your days, what matters more than stuffs is relationships. Making peace with yourself. Working on relationships with family and friends. And yes, most importantly, making room for your relationship with God. These are investments of your time, energy and money that pay off.

Work on these relationships rather than amassing possessions. These relationships with family, friends and God will pay off whether your life becomes a financial success or not. For life consists of much more than the abundance of possessions.
It is Buffet's trust in his relationship with Gates that opens up this unprecendented deal.

This is, by the way, an areligious story. The Gates Foundation does not work with religious groups or causes. However, it certainly has a track record of looking out for the poor and the outcast, which as I recall were pretty high on Jesus' To Do List for each of us.

peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor + King of Peace Episcopal Church

PS: In the archives is a religion column on our largest philanthropist locally, Warren Bailey and how well St. Mary United Methodist Church handled his multi-million dollar bequest: Church's generosity is inspiring.

1 Comments:

  • At 6/28/2006 9:42 AM, Blogger King of Peace said…

    Over at the blog for The Episcopal Churches of Augusta, the Rev. Steve Rice comments that while we can't give as much as Warren Buffet, giving as a much as a tank of gas would be enough to run our churches. His full comments are online here: A Gas Tank and Warren Buffett.

    peace,
    Frank+

     

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6/26/2006

Becoming an Episcopalian

At the blog for the Episcopal Churches in Augusta, two priests have shared how they came to be Episcopalians. Like me (Methodist when quite young, mostly Church of God) they each came to the Episcopal Church later in life.

The Rev. Andy Menger writes,
My entry into the Episcopal Church was one of grace and love, choosing and being chosen...I am daily healed by the emphasis the Episcopal Church places on grace, hope, and restoration into the Body of Christ.
The Rev. Steve Rice writes of his interest in The Episcopal Church rising out of his studies in seminary,
In seminary I learned that John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, was a devout Anglican and wanted everyone to take Communion as often as they could. This was foreign to my Methodist experience where people didn’t like communion and complained when it was offered. I learned the early Church was centered around the Eucharist and Wesley tried to continue this emphasis on the Eucharist. I thought I could help bring the revival Wesley started full circle, by emphasizing liturgical worship and the sacraments. I soon discovered that with the itinerant system in Methodism coupled with the prevailing theological attitudes would make my endeavor unlikely. I longed to be in a place where the Eucharist was central and where worship was vital to the theological identity of the Church.
You can read both of their full posts here: The Episcopal Church in Augusta and also see a list of famous Episcopalians.

I have no more a stake in creating new Episcopalians than when I took this job, telling the Bishop that making new Episcopalians wasn't worth 10 minutes of my time. However, I did say that I would give my life to expanding the Kingdom of God and for many of us, The Episcopal Church remains where we can worship our Lord with integrity and most fully grow into God's grace and love.

peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor + King of Peace Episcopal Church

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6/25/2006

Appendicitis and Peace

Delivered by Senior Warden Mike Gross on behalf of the Rev. Frank Logue who is home recovering from an appendectomy.

Peace, Be Still!
Mark 4:35-41

In the Name of God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, Amen.
Please be seated.

He Qui's painting Peace Be Still which hangs at King of PeaceMany of you will already know that our priest, Frank, suffered a ruptured appendix this past week. The appendectomy on Friday evening was quite successful and he went home that same night, where he is resting now and recovering well.

The following is a reflection on today’s Gospel reading he wrote yesterday for me to share with you this morning. I will switch voices so to speak and references to I or me are now from Father Frank’s perspective.

Frank writes,

I never ceased to be amazed at how a lectionary, or schedule of readings, determined decades ago can offer the right text at the right time. It is proof to me of God’s ongoing inspiration of scripture as it speaks afresh to new situations.

In our Gospel reading, Jesus is asleep in a boat on the storm-tossed sea. The disciples, many of whom were storm-hardened fishermen, grew frightened as the boat was being swamped and they woke him saying, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” Jesus then wakes up, rebukes the wind and says to the sea, “Peace, Be still!”

Mark tells us the wind ceased and there was dead calm. Jesus then says, “Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?”

This passage of scripture has long been moved from its setting on an actual sea with real wind and waves to apply to our storm-tossed lives. For example, here is a brief passage from a sermon given by Augustine of Hippo in the 400s A.D.
“When you have to listen to abuse, that means you are being buffeted by the wind. When your anger is roused, you are being tossed by the waves. So when the winds blow and the waves mount high, the boat is in danger, your heart is imperiled, your heart is taking a battering. On hearing yourself insulted, you long to retaliate; but the joy of revenge brings with it another kind of misfortune—shipwreck. Why is this? Because Christ is asleep in you. What do I mean? I mean you have forgotten his presence. Rouse him, then; remember him, let him keep watch within you, pay heed to him.”
Augustine teaches that Christ is present within us even when we don’t feel it. We just have to revive that sense of Jesus within us. The trick is to do this in the midst of the storm.

Within the past week I have had two very different occasions – one emotional, the other physical – in which I was tossed about by the storms of life. In the first, I was serving as a deputy at the General Convention of the Episcopal Church and saw up close some of my brothers and sisters in Christ playing political games to reach an end. The end they had in mind was division of the church. It was painful to watch and to take part in a process that is intended to be spiritual and to see it subverted by some into the merely political. And yet, Christ was fully present. It wasn’t easy but when I looked with the eyes of faith, I saw no enemies of either me or the Gospel.

I did see, very clearly, people who felt the ends justified the means and I cannot agree with that. It was as if they wished to control the storm. I already knew this was the reading for this coming week. And in the midst of that storm, I could already sense the Lord saying, “Peace. Be still.”

That very night – Tuesday – my appendix ruptured on an elevator ride back to the room. Unfortunately, I wouldn’t catch up to this fact until Friday morning. In the meantime, pun intended, I just gutted it out.

As I waited in the emergency room for tests results to come back, this Gospel reading was present to me once again. And my Lord was saying, “Peace. Be Still.”

I don’t know what winds are buffeting you or what waves are tossing you about, but I do know that Christ is with you in the midst of any storm.

The problem is not the lack of Jesus’ presence, but that we forget He is there. Seek to control the storm on your own and you will sink. Be still and know that He is God and whether the storm passes or rages, you will be safe.

Amen.

2 Comments:

  • At 6/25/2006 4:04 PM, Blogger Laura said…

    Only you, Frank, could find a connection between a stormy appendix and stormy waters! But on second thought, the connection is clear.
    The sermon at Trinity today, given by Deacon Steve Darby, focussed on several vignettes in which men and women faced dificult situations and decisions, and in each of these, "Peace, be still" was the answer.
    Having the trust just to let it happen, to let the situation play out, is something that's hard for most of us. We need the reminder of the Gospel.

     
  • At 6/25/2006 6:41 PM, Blogger Celeste said…

    It's a good reminder for us to look for God in "all" things. He does work all things for the good....
    It also reminds me of the lessons of Brother Lawrence, how he found God in the lowest of jobs in the kitchen.

     

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6/23/2006

Two Views on the Church

How much I must criticize you, my church and yet how much I love you! You have made me suffer more than anyone and yet I owe more to you than to anyone. I should like to see you destroyed and yet I need your presence.

You have given me much scandal and yet you alone have made me understand holiness. Never in this world have I seen anything more compromised, more false, yet never have I touched anything more pure, more generous and more beautiful.

—Carlo Carretto (1910-1988)

I was walking across a bridge one day, and I saw a man standing on the edge, about to jump off. I immediately ran over and said “Stop! Don’t do it!”
“Why shouldn’t I?” he said.
I said, “Well, there’s so much to live for!”
“Like what?”
“Well ... are you religious?”
“Yes.”
“Me too! Which faith?”
“Christian.”
“Me too! Are you Catholic or Protestant?”
“Protestant.”
“Me too! Which denomination?”
“Church of God.”
“Wow! Me too! Which one?”
“Baptist Church of God.”
“Me too! Are you Original Baptist Church of God, or are you Reformed Baptist Church of God?”
“Reformed Baptist Church of God.”
“Me too! Are you Reformed Baptist Church of God, reformation of 1879, or Reformed Baptist Church of God, reformation of 1915?”
“Reformed Baptist Church of God, reformation of 1915!”
To which I said, “Die, heretic scum!” and pushed him off.

3 Comments:

  • At 6/23/2006 7:14 PM, Anonymous Steve said…

    Love it!

     
  • At 6/24/2006 9:12 AM, Blogger Celeste said…

    I was told that one of the resolutions that didn't pass was to confirm that Jesus was the only way to salvation. It was supposedly discussed on 700 club.....I don't know how to verify it's truth......Frank, was this a resolution?

     
  • At 6/24/2006 9:47 AM, Anonymous Bill said…

    Frank... great story. Also, thanks for the daily reflections from convention. I addictively looked each morning to see what 'homefront' news was available. Welcome back.

    Bill

     

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6/22/2006

What we yearn for

This is the final report from The General Convention of The Episcopal Church which met in Columbus, Ohio from June 13-21, 2006:

On the final day, I had to leave after the morning worship service of Holy Communion and the Rev. William Willoughby III took my place as deputy. This fits with a longstanding tradition within the Diocese of Georgia to ensure that the first alternate spends some time seated as a deputy. The legislative day began with a most unsual Joint Session of the House of Bishops and the House of Deputies in which Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold said in part,
This is the final day of General Convention. What I believe we actually yearn for has not been adequately reflected through the workings of our legislative processes.
In a very honest statement on the political dynamics in play at the convention, Griswold backed up what I mentioned in my previous post saying,
Let me say here: we need to be mindful of the dynamics that have brought us to where we are. Some among us feel that expressions of restraint with regard to the office of bishop demean the dignity of those among us who are gay and lesbian. Others among us may be opposed to expressions of restraint, which would make it more difficult for them to justify their apparent need to establish a separate ecclesial body. Nothing would better serve such purposes than to be able to say that we, because of our action or inaction, have chosen to walk apart from the rest of the Communion. In a strange way, those with very different views are able to vote on the same side of the question.
The (brief) full text of his remarks is found here: Joint Session remarks.

A summary of the many resolutions adopted on the final day is found here: Deputies finish work with rapid agenda.

The Archbishop of Canterbury is the head of the Anglican Communion even if that role is that of figurehead combined with being a convener of meetings among the provinces of the communion. His initial statement on the General Convention is found here: Statement at the conclusion of deliberations.

Henry and Jan Louttit at an Italian restaurant one evening earlier in the conventionBishop Griswold said in his comments to the joint session that what we yearn for has not been adequately reflected in the legislative process. What we yearn for is God's will for God's church and I remain convinced that God's will will work itself out either through our legislative processes or in spight of them.

It was on the one hand a tough experience to see up close how some of my brothers and sisters in Christ were working the political angles for a desired outcome even if that had them sometimes voting counter to their own views. But I know they did it feeling like they were working toward God's will and so had no problem seeing the ends as justifying the means. I also saw up close hundreds of deputies, and thousands of people worshipping together and then praying faithfully about how God was leading them to act. I heard debate that was sometimes pointless but occasionally quite thought provoking and usually heartfelt (if nothing else).

I also saw my brothers and sisters in Christ trying to struggle with the question of "For what does God yearn in this situation?" I don't think we got to that place even in the end result. Yet despite the exhaustion and frustration, I am thankful that I could take that journey.

What we yearn for is probably not possible this side of heaven. But one thing I did learn in the past 10 days that matters to me, even if the lesson won't transfer to you, has to do with God's will. While praying for God's will in the Convention I realized that God's will wasn't my responsibility. What I was called to do was not accomplish God's will (as if I could), but to act in such a way that my actions would give glory to God. That alone would be enough. I was not to worry about others actions, or God's will, but just to give glory to God in all.

peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor + King of Peace Episcopal Church

group photo before a joint session on the budget
Bishop Henry Louttit and the Revs. William Willoughby III, Neal Phelps and Frank Logue on the convention floor before the presentation of the budget earlier in the convention.

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6/20/2006

Strange Bedfellows

Deputies line up to speak in debate in the House of Deputies

This is part of a series of ongoing reports from The General Convention of the Episcopal Church which meets through tonight (Wednesday, June 21) in Columbus, Ohio:

I am wiped out after 12 hours of work on legislation today (Tuesday). We got a lot of good work done today. But the day was overshadowed by resolutions responding to problems in the Anglican Communion stemming from the consent to the ordination as bishop of a priest who is openly homosexual. While we did affirm our commitment to being an interdependent part of the Communion and supporting, following and reporting on a process toward an Anglican Covenant, a key resolution was defeated by those on both theological ends of the spectrum voting together.

The resolution would have halted ordination as bishop of those in same sex relationships as well as the creation and use of services of same sex blessings. But some who thought the resolution was too strong sided with those who felt the resolution too weak to defeat the measure using the Vote by Orders process. Vite by Orders can be called on by any three deputations on any votes. In a Vote by Orders, each diocese casts not 4 lay and 4 clerical votes, but a single vote from each order. First the vote is taken within the deputation, with each deputy voting openly in writing. Then any deputation where 3 or 4 vote "no" the vote goes in as "no." When the vote is 2 for and 2 against, the vote is reported as "divided" but then counted as a "no" vote. Only deputations with 3 or 4 deputies voting yes does the vote get counted as a "yes" vote. The benefit to this process as it makes the church more conservative as change comes more slowly. But in this case it makes us not slow to change, but slow to react to new issues arising from past decisions. While the vote would have passed through the usual process, it failed in a vote by orders thanks to the strange bedfellows at each end of the spectrum using the fact that not all deputations were in favor and many were divided.

For the record, the Diocese of Georgia laity and clergy deputations both voted in favor of the resolution. This will dissapoint many people within and without the diocese for very different reasons, people who I love and care about. But the votes we cast not only probably well reflects where we are as a diocese, they also were the result of prayer and struggling to discern what we felt God calling us to do. We were not voted to come here in order to keep every happy, but to make decisions we felt to be faithful even when unpopular.

Tomorrow, the Presiding Bishop has requested a joint session of both houses in order to speak to us about what he feels must happen for The Episcopal Church to respond more fully to the rest of the Communion. This may change the ultimate outcome of the votes.

We did do other work by the way in approving the budget as presented by the committee after considerable revision during the Convention. Among other business, we also made some important changes to the church rules (canons) to even up the processes for ordination to become a deacon and priest while keeping those processes distinct.

Continue to hold us in prayers as we reach the final day of the General Convention tomorrow.

peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor + King of Peace Episcopal Church

Bishop deputies and an alternate deputy on Monday wearing Diocese of Georgia shirts

3 Comments:

  • At 6/21/2006 10:53 AM, Anonymous Cindy said…

    No comment but just to let you and our delagation know of my continued prayers for each of you. You must be exhausted in body, mind and spirit. Please know your brothers and sisters here are holding each of you up. Please pass on my thanks to each member of the deputation for their sacrifices. they have not gone un-noticed. Cindy Taylor

     
  • At 6/21/2006 5:03 PM, Blogger Laura said…

    I've been paying close attention, trying to imagine the tension on the convention floor, and trying to decide how I would have voted on some of these key issues.
    It's amazing to behold how the politics of some of the issues affects the outcome. Who would have thought the opposing factions collaborated to kill the resolution, and for such differnt reasons?
    I'll continue to pray for the Episcopal Church, that we may find, not our way, but God's.

     
  • At 6/21/2006 7:11 PM, Blogger Tiber Jumper said…

    This issue of the anglican communion splitting is yet another excellent proof in real life of why the church needs to be One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic. Without any final authority over issues of faith and morals and how to interpret the Bible, history will repeat itself again and again as the churches have been doing since 1517. It's Deja Vu all Over again

     

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Our 2 Cents

This is another in a series of posts from Columbus, Ohio and the 75th General Convention of The Episcopal Church:

convention logoToday, we will take up and pass a budget for The Episcopal Church for the coming Triennium (1/1/07-12/31/09). It really is a case of "a million here and a million there and pretty soon you are talking real money." The three-year total budget is $152,002,295, or a little over $30 million per year.

Buck and Sierra at workKing of Peace gives to the Diocese of Georgia and then the Diocese gives a portion (21% of its income after the first $100,000) to the national church. At current levels right at 2 cents on the dollar at King of Peace goes toward the national church. Like any big organization, a good bit of the money goes to salaries, but an impressive amount is also directed toward mission. While not everything in the budget would reflect my own desires for spending, I know that we more than get our two cents worth out of the denomination. You can peruse the budget for yourself here: Budget for The Episcopal Church 2007-2009.

Two quotes on money from this week (not necessarily original to the one who said it):
"We live in a world where we know the price of everything and the value of nothing." -the Rev. George Werner

"We pray for the Second Coming, but maintain a $7 billion pension fund in case our prayers are not answered." -the Rev. Frank Wade
peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor + King of Peace Episcopal Church

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6/19/2006

Small Dogs & Imperfect Words

This is another in a series of ongoing reports from the 75th General Convention of The Episcopal Church meeting in Columbus, Ohio through the 21st:

Today, the House of Deputies took up two resolutions that are the result of a special commission's work. The commission, created by the Presiding Bishop was assembled of people of varying theological standpoints to draft legislation to respond to the turmoil created in the Anglican Communion by the 2003 General Convention, which consented to the ordination of an openly homosexual priest as a Bishop for the Diocese of New Hampshire.

Prior to the debate, the Rev. Frank Wade spoke for the committee to tell the deputies,
We are like small dogs in tall grass and we have to jump up to see where we really are.
Wade let us know that where we are is in the midst of a process working toward the highest level of communion possible within the diffences which exist within the church. Wade said that we are on a pilgrimage toward healing and the resolutions his committee (working at the convention on the work of a special commission) will offer do not speak for any one group within the denomination, but rather they attempt to speak for the many. Wade spoke of the resolutions honed by committee saying,
The words before you are imperfect.
The people around you are imperfect.
We are all imperfect.
He went on to say that he hoped our perfect Lord would perfect the words through the imperfect body of the Houses of Deputies and Bishops.

The House of Deputies then debated at length and passed a slightly ammended version of a resolution expressing regret saying,
Resolved, the House of Bishops concurring, that the 75th General Convention of The Episcopal Church, mindful of “the repentance, forgiveness, and reconciliation enjoined on us by Christ” (Windsor Report, paragraph 134), express its regret for straining the bonds of affection in the events surrounding the General Convention of 2003 and the consequences which followed; offer its sincerest apology to those within our Anglican Communion who are offended by our failure to accord sufficient importance to the impact of our actions on our church and other parts of the Communion; and ask forgiveness as we seek to live into deeper levels of communion one with another.
When then took up and debated a resolution which would call a halt to ordaining a homosexual as a bishop or creating or using a Blessing of Same Sex Union service. In an unexpected (by me) move, several persons who identified themsleves as homosexual spoke in favor of the resolution, while a few persons who identify as conservative spoke against it. While certainly this did not characterize the whole debate which was a variety of people sharing their own standpoints, it is worth noting that some homosexual persons were in favor of self-sacrifice for the good of the church and the most outspoken conservative (the Rev. Dr. Kendall Harmon) spoke against the resolution which one would think he should favor.

A move was also made to vote on it by orders, a process not worth going into here that creates a higher threshold needed for the vote to pass. We worked until 7:20 p.m. and then the President of the House shut down discussion until tomorrow after a vote showed slightly more than half the deputies wished to suspend debate until tomorrow. I tried a point of order that pointed out a reason why a 2/3s vote was needed in that case. The President overruled and we stood adjourned.

News here on the Internet and TV suggests that the rest of the country and world is wondering aloud about the new female Presiding Bishop. While here in Columbus we have moved on to the very full legislative schedule at hand.

Know that the House of Deputies is taking the matter seriously. I have every reason to believe that while some are playing politics and trying to work the angles for a desired outcome, the vast majority of Deputies are prayerfully trying to discern God's will as we work through a democratic process. We really are trying not to just listen to one another, but to also listen for The Holy Spirit. This democratic debate is a wearying process, but I know God is in it as we seek to find God's perfect will working through our imperfect selves and our imperfect words we are truly like that small dog who can't see the lawn for the tall grass all around.

Please hold us in your prayers.

peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor + King of Peace Episcopal Church

4 Comments:

  • At 6/19/2006 10:38 PM, Blogger Robin D. said…

    Fortunately, God is always saying, "Here, puppy, come here!"

     
  • At 6/20/2006 6:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Jesus preaches love, Love thy neighbor. He chose sinners, what society in those days considered the worst of the wosrt, to be his disciples. God uses all of us, no matter what the sin, the sex, or the color of the person. That hasn't changed. We shouldn't change His rules.

     
  • At 6/21/2006 12:47 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Its true: Jesus is always beckoning us to his love, and he has not condemned us. And an important part of not changing Jesus' rules is not forgetting his command to the woman caught in adultery (John 8): "go, and sin no more." Often our readiness to remember Jesus words "neither do I condemn you," is accompanied by a readiness to forget his command "sin no more."

    Yes, Jesus calls us to his love without condemnation. But the route to his love is through repentance: "I have come to call... sinners to repentance" (Luke 5.32). I couldn't agree more with the previous commenter: we should not change Jesus teaching to suit ourselves.

     
  • At 6/21/2006 8:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    we're all sinners. We all have things we should repent of, and change our ways, but don't. We keep on sinning and keep on going to church. Are you saying you "sin no more"?

     

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The PB's a She

Katharine Jefferts SchoriThe Bishops of The Episcopal Church voted Sunday for the Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori of the Diocese of Nevada to serve as the next Presiding Bishop. When news of the election arrived at the House of Deputies today, the nearly 900 deputies and roughly 200 alternates on hand were joined by about three times as many people in the gallery.

The atmosphere was anticipatory, but not exactly charged. As the announcement was made and quickly sank in, the reaction was electric. There was little if any applause or other reaction from the deputies and the onlookers who broke into applause were shushed quickly enough as the rules of the House only allow for displays with consent of the President and all were aware that when any person is selected others may feel rejected. Yet there was still a very perceptible sense of jubilation.

Katharine Jefferts SchoriIn the debate to the consent to the election which followed, only a deputy from Maryland spoke against the selection noting correctly the strain the election of a female primate (a leader a province within the Anglican Communion) within parts of the communion which do not ordain women, including three dioceses within The Episcopal Church which do not ordain women. The wife of Columbian Bishop Duque-Gomez who also ran for Presiding Bishop was one of the Deputies who spoke in favor of the consent (The Episcopal Church in Columbia is one of the foreign nations whose Anglican churches remain a diocese within The Episcopal Church). The vote to consent to the election readily, but not unanimously, went to Bishop Jefferts Schori.

The House of Deputies moved on to other business as the two bishops who brought word of the election were sent back with word of the vote for consent. In the fullness of time, Bishop Jefferts Schori was escorted into the House by current Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold, accompanied by her husband, daughter, son-in-law and others. The House and gallery rose to its feet in a lengthy standing ovation which released the unanticipated emotion of the gathering. I noticed one deputation which voted against the consent standing and joining in the applause in a sign of support I find hopeful.

In anticipation of this post, I've been asking people this afternoon and evening what they think of the day. Certainly quite a few have noted the rightness of this election coming on the 30th anniversary of the General Convention voting to approve of the ordination of women. Many commented on the palpable energy and excitement the announcement produced. Others commented on how they did not see it coming or how unexpected the election was.

I appreciate that the gifts Bishop Jefferts Schori will bring to her new vocation will be in part because of her gender, but she is not only a woman. She, of course, has gifts to offer that have nothing to do with her gender. For example, she brings a scientific background to her vocation. Jefferts Schori holds a Ph.D. in oceanography and worked for the National Marine Fisheries Service before entering the seminary. When elected Bishop of Nevada five years ago she told a newspaper, "I'm still working in the depths and still fishing."

Richard and Katharine SchoriThe one member of the nominating committee I have spoken to is quite sure that Bishop Jefferts Shori was nominated for her gifts in ministry and not due to her gender. Furthermore, I have no reason to believe that the bishops elected our new primate just because she happens to be female. What I notice is that her election does not fit with any preconceived notions, general expectation or particular political agenda, meaning that her election has all the fingerprints of the Holy Spirit and I think that is what led to the unanticipated energy the announcement generated in a gathering that honestly did not think it was on hand to hear of the first female primate in the Anglican Communion.

As for myself, I can't imagine she would have been my choice, though I can't know that as I was in place to vote on the consent, not to vote in the election itself. But with that said, I have been praying for Bishop Jefferts Schori and will continue to do so and as I prayed before the vote to consent, the unease I had at the potential rift it could cause with those who do not approve of the ordination of women was calmed by the peace I felt in voting for the consent. While not my choice, I ended up having good feelings about the consent vote and pray that God will use Bishop Jefferts Schori to energize Christ's Church - including The Episcopal Church - the way the announcement created excitement today.

peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor + King of Peace Episcopal Church

Jefferts Schori distributing communion in Nevada

6 Comments:

  • At 6/19/2006 9:22 AM, Anonymous Steve said…

    I like your narrative, "In the fullness of time..."

     
  • At 6/19/2006 4:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    This seems like a very unwise choice for PB. At a time when the Episcopal Church has already strained the bonds of the Anglican Communion to the breaking point by following what it takes to be the promptings of the Holy Spirit, it seems foolhardy and a bit arrogant for the Episcopal Church further to force its values and priorities on the Communion in this way. Not only does roughly half of the Communion regard the issue of the ordination of women to be unsettled, but this particular woman (Jefferts Schori) is a staunch, on-the-record proponent of all the American policies that have been tearing the Communion to shreds, and pushing our conservative brothers and sisters here in America further to the margins. The election and confirmation of Jefferts Schori looks to me like liberalism at its worst: talking "reconciliation" and the need for "all voices to be heard," while at the very same moment bowling right over the concerns of the conservative minority, and those of our Christian brothers and sisters elsewhere in the Communion and the Church catholic.

     
  • At 6/19/2006 4:21 PM, Anonymous Victoria said…

    I posted this quote from Archbishop Desmond Tutu in my blog yesterday and while he was speaking on the issue of homosexuality, it is just as true about women:

    "Jesus did not say, 'I if I be lifted up I will draw some.' Jesus said, 'If I be lifted up I will draw all, all, all, all, all. Black, white, yellow, rich, poor, clever, not so clever, beautiful, not so beautiful. It's one of the most radical things. All, all, all, all, all, all, all, all. All belong. Gay, lesbian, so-called straight. All, all are meant to be held in this incredible embrace that will not let us go. All."

    Perhaps there will come a time when some "people" aren't more equal than others.

     
  • At 6/19/2006 6:42 PM, Blogger Laura said…

    I admit surprise at the election of a woman to this position. However, the more I read about our new presiding bishop, the more comfortable I am with her election. But, "Jefferts Shori" is a mouthful! No problem: Sunday mornings we'll use her Christian name in our prayers.

     
  • At 6/19/2006 9:50 PM, Blogger Robin D. said…

    Praise God for giving us an exciting life! Those who wish to separate from the Communion have already separated in their minds. God protect us from the evil one.

    These issues of who is to serve, who is consecrated or ordained are the smoke-screen that the evil one has thrown up to disguise his real attack. His plan is to divide and conquer the Body of Christ! The opposite of Communion is Schism. You gotta say one thing for Satan, he is consistent but not very original. (Oh yeah, that's right, he's no Creator!)

    Our faith that God, (not we) is in control, is our shield. Our sword is the Truth that God loves everyone and wants to bring us to him. Our healing balm for the wounds given us is the Love of Christ that we share for all people. Our strength is the Peace of the Lord. I will stand against dividing the communion over "small" issues given great importance. The important thing is that we cling to each other as brother and sister.


    "'Well, at any rate there's no Humbug here. We haven't let anyone take us in. The Dwarfs are for Dwarfs.'

    'You see', said Aslan. 'They will not let us help them. They have chosen cunning instead of belief. Their prison is only in their own minds, yet they are in that prison; and so afraid of being taken in that they cannot be taken out. But come, children. I have other work to do.'"
    The Chronicles of Narnia, The Last Battle, by C.S. Lewis (Episcopalian)

     
  • At 6/28/2006 8:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I agree that this is a very bad thing for the Episcopal Church. The new PB has a bad track record of supporting heretical issues, and we just can't have this now. I certainly will pray for her though, but I cannot think of her as my church leader.

     

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6/18/2006

The Center of the Convention

This is the latest in a series of reports from The General Convention of the Episcopal Church meeting in Columbus, Ohio through June 21:

convention worship space - click to see more photosYesterday, we reached the center of the convention. This was not because we passed a halfway mark, though we did. The center of the convention comes in its main service of Holy Communion, which was celebrated yesterday with an estimated 6,000 worshippers in one room from the General Convention and Episcopal Church Women triennial meeting joined by visitors from area churches and beyond. The celebrant was outgoing Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold, with the preacher was Dr. Jenny Te Paa from the Province of New Zealand.

convention logoThe convention's main Eucharist is also the time for the ingathering of funds for the United Thank Offering. The ECW collection is then distributed in grants around the world. It was a UTO grant of $25,000 that made possible the start of King of Peace Episcopal Day School.

There were other important matters handled yesterday including the official nomination of seven persons to be considered for the next Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church. We also elected Brian Prior, a priest from the Diocese of Spokane as the Vice President of the House of Deputies and passed on resolutions including approving some persons to be considered for the calendar of saints listed inthe book Lesser Feasts and Fasts.

But the most important part of the day and the center of the convention itself came in worship. It is common among deputies to cite the worship as important to their convention experience. It is true that others find the worship less than meaningful as a convention community will never be just like a church family, no matter how large the church. But if you enter into it, there is something very powerful in gathering together with Episcopalians from around the country and beyond. In worship we realize what is always true, that we are followers of Christ first and only incidentally Episcopalians.

Some say our Bishops will elect a new head of the Episcopal Church today. I know they know better. We have been under the same leadership since before their was an Anglican Communion and will continue under the leadership of Jesus Christ no matter who is selected as the next Presiding Bishop. And that is pretty comforting as we pass by the center of the convention on to the remainder of our time together.

peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor King of Peace Episcopal Church


The Diocese of Georgia deputation to General Convention with the four lay deputies in front (L-R, Buck Crosby, Sierra Wilkinson, Molly Greneker, and Sister Magdalene), and the four clerical deputies standing (L-R) The Revs. Frank Logue, Neal Phelps, Billy Alford and Joy Fisher).

2 Comments:

  • At 6/18/2006 7:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Great to see Sierra again. I'd love to hear her thoughts and comments on the whole thing.

     
  • At 6/20/2006 12:30 AM, Anonymous Sierra said…

    That's very kind. It is a true joy to spend the day on the floor of the House of Deputies with Father Frank and in the evenings read what he thought about the events of the day.

    I have many thoughts and comments coming out of this General Convention. The one that is on my heart and mind is currently regarding the question I ask myself everyday- "Where is God's love in this resolution?" It's been a very simple question I examine at the vote of every resolution. Sometimes its harder to answer than others. Today, it became harder to answer that question when it is clear each side of the resolution is seeking a deeper and richer understanding of Christ's love. I ask your prayers for General Convention as we proceed to discern where God's love is located regarding the resolutions addressing the Windsor Report. In particular, I go to bed tonight deeply thinking about A161-
    http://gc2006.org/legislation/view_leg_detail.aspx?id=202&type=CURRENT

    Where is God's love at work within this resolution?

     

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6/17/2006

A Noticeable Change

This post continues an ongoing update from The General Convention of The Episcopal Church meeting in Columbus, Ohio:

One change made yesterday will be quite noticeable for those paying attention to the Sunday scripture readings...the Revised Common Lectionary (RCL) was approved to be the official lectionary of The Episcopal Church. The RCL will replace the lectionary found in the Book of Common Prayer as of this December when we begin a new church year.

As the explanation given for the resolution said
This Lectionary, produced by the Consultation on Common Texts, composed of a wide number of church bodies, is a revision of the Common Lectionary, which was authorized for trial use by the 67th and 68th General Conventions...The Lectionary was again authorized for trial use by the 71st, 72nd, 74th Conventions...The Revised Common Lectionary is becoming the common lectionary among Christian denominations.
The idea is that the RCL will draw us together with other denominations as we all use the same texts each Sunday. But the idea was also that all denominations make the change. In practice, the current lectionary we use from the Book of Common Prayer is the same used by the Roman Catholics and Lutherans who worship with us at King of Peace and the RCL will divide us in terms of our readings rather than unite us.

What is good, and was the reason for the change, is that the RCL puts more of the stories of the Old Testament in context as they are read in course in the Sundays after Pentecost (during the summer). And were this change not to take us out of psynch with others, we would little notice the change at all.

click to see more of Bowie's photosThe Rev. Joy Fisher from Trinity in Cochran, Georgia put forward an ammendment to allow the current lectionary to also be used not through 2010 as stated in the resolution, but for good. That resolution was ammended by someone seeking to reverse the order to keep the lectionary from the prayer book as primary and the RCL as an allowed substitute. The ammendment to the ammendment failed by about 2/3s. Joy's orginal ammendment failed narrowly by half and the resolution to change our lectionary passed. I voted in favor of both ammendments and opposed the main resolution.

Other legislation passed yesterday, but this one will have the most effect on our week by week worship in Kingsland.

In other Diocese of Georgia news, Molly Greneker proposed an ammendment yesterday to a resolution about the dates for the next General Convention. Molly sought to limit the dates to July to make it more possible for youth and educators to come as deputies. The ammendment failed.

peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor + King of Peace Episcopal Church

click to see a larger version
The 20 people from the Diocese of Georgia on hand as Deputies and alternates together with the Bishop and Jan Louttit and those attending the convention as volunteers and those on hand for the Episcopal Church Women convention all gathered for a family-style Italian dinner at Bocca di Beppo in Columbus.

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6/16/2006

Progress and Hope

This is another report from The General Convention of the Episcopal Church meeting in Columbus, Ohio:

Yesterday, the House of Deputies worked its way through quite a few resolutions including the first of those proposed by the Special Commission to deal with a growing rift within the Anglican Communion. That resolution, officially named "A159: Commitment to Interdependence in the Anglican Communion," passed the House of Deputies saying that we commit ourselves to the interdependence of the Anglican Communion, a relationship characterized by "forebearance, trust and respect" in the words of the resolution. Some deputies sought to ammend the resolution to include that we remain autonomous of other Anglican churches, though interdependent. The ammendments failed and the resolution on interdependence passed.

convention logoAnother key vote came with a resolution seeking to change how the election of a Bishop is confirmed by other dioceses. The current practice is that elections within 120 days of the General Convention are approved by that convention, while other elections are confirmed by the Standing Committees of each diocese in the country. Through both systems, 4 lay persons and 4 clergy from each diocese make the decision. Those in favor of the current system which relies on the General Convention prefer the open debate possible in those cases. I voted together with the Diocese of Georgia deputation to change this practice so that all consents to elections of Bishops are handled equally. We believe that the process should be consistent and in our experience, the Standing Committees receive a full packet of information on the persons which allows for a more appropriate review. Also, the General Convention (despite the furor over openly gay Bishop Gene Robinson in 2003) has not refused to consent to an election since the 1800s. The Diocese of Georgia voted in favor of the change, but the resolution did not pass and the current practice will continue.

Some inspiration during the day came from the following things I heard from small group discussion in worship to the floor of the House:
"There are no ordinary people." -Bishop Jim Waggoner

"Evangelism is one beggar telling another beggar how to find the Bread of Life." -Canon Kevin Martin

"If you really want to understand a people, come to understand that for which they hope...Don't live into your deepest fears, but your deepest hopes." -Chaplain Jennifer Baskerville-Burrows
Much important work remains ahead and your ongoing prayers are much appreciated.

peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor + King of Peace Episcopal Church

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6/15/2006

Kind, Clear Debate

Last evening Bishops, Deputies, and visitors shoehorned in to a large ballroom to discuss the recommendations of a special commission tasked with drafting The General Convention's response to the struggles within the Anglican Communion following the 2003 convention's consent to the consecration of an openly homosexual as Bishop. The debate on the multiple resolutions was largely quite clearly presented and stated kindly in the process.

For example, on the conservative end of things, Bishop Duncan of Pittsburgh stated clearly that the resolutions without ammendment did not go far enough to distance the Episcopal Church from the earlier actions. Ducan said passing the resolutions as proposed will continue the split being created within the Anglican Communion. From the liberal end of things, Bishop Gene Robsinson of New Hampshire (the Bishop whose consecration is at issue) said we are in this debate because we have seen the fruits of the Spirit evidenced in the lives of our brothers and sisters in Christ who happen to be gay? These are my paraphrases, but you get the idea - people presented clear views. They also did so without anger or personal attacks. The official article is here: Crowded hearing spotlights Windsor Report response.

This fits well with the rest of the convention which doesn't feel contentious, but more like a large church in which not everyone agrees with or gets along with everyone else, but they are still genuinely glad to see one another on Sunday and to worship together.

What is at issue now is not what people to the left, right or middle of the Episcopal Church want. Nor is the question what others within the Anglican Communion want. The question is "What is the faithful response to which the Holy Spirit is calling the church?" I pray that we will not settle on previously decided positions, which are more likely our own wills for the church. I pray that instead we will be open to where God is guiding us.

In other news, a Deputy from Georgia, college student Sierra Wilkinson, nominated Bonnie Anderson for the important role of President of the House of Deputies. Sierra did a wonderful job at setting forth reasons for Anderson to lead the larger and older of the two bodies (the other is the House of Bishops) which constitute the General Convention. Sierra was the only one to make a nomination and Anderson was elected by acclamation.

peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor + King of Peace Episcopal Church

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6/14/2006

A Grueling Start & a Little Nut

convention worship space - click to see more photosOkay, the start was not exactly grueling. We began yesterday with a very nice service of Holy Communion. But the start to the legislative session was grueling. We did very little real business with a number of people wanting to chime in making small changes to every little thing. This would be frustrating enough in a legislative body with over 800 voting members, but was made more so by the fact that the items considered had spent considerable time being worked on by committee and the suggestions were not adequately considered to warrant the time. None of the ammendments passed and we moved on. I do remember from the last General Convention three years ago that the start then was similar. Perhaps it is usual for a large legislative body getting under way.

John SentamuOne bright spot was the address by England's #2 cleric, Dr. John Sentamu, the current Archbishop of York (brief bio here). As Sentamu noted, he has come a long way from the little village boy he was born to be in Uganda in 1949. In fact, he was not expected to live long past birth and was baptized that first day as his fragile body barely clung to life. He said that he has been nourished and sustained by Christ throughout his life which has made his long journey possible. He said,
If this little village boy could be sustained by the grace of God to become the Archbishop of York, then Christ can and will sustain you in all you face.
Archbishop Sentamu also noted that a great tree was once a little nut placed in the ground. It was that which sustained it that made it great.

On a day with a slow, grueling pace and little to show for the effort, I can appreciate being recalled to the knowledge that it is Christ who sustains us and Christ who is responsible for the growth. We are simply called to drink in that nourishment of God's presence (through Word and Sacraments) and to be faithful in our response.

peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor + King of Peace Episcopal Church

PS: Photos of various churches around the Episcopal Church were projected during a break within the House of Deputies and two of the several dozen photos were of worship in progress at King of Peace taken from our web page of panoramic photos: http://www.kingofpeace.org/180-degreeview.htm.

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6/13/2006

General Convention News

click for newsI am now in Columbus, Ohio for the 75th General Convention of the Episcopal Church. Official news of the convention is found online here: 2006 General Convention News.

A mass media take on the convention is found at USA Today with its general article Gods and Gays: Churchgoers Divided and their article specific to this convention: A guide to the issues: Gay debate heats up at Episcopal meeting this week.

convention logoHere on the ground, the convention began for me this afternoon as I gathered with roughly 700 other deputies (there will be more than 800 of us tomorrow with each of the 109 dioceses represented by 4 clergy and 4 lay people). The meeting was an orientation to the convention itself and our common life together. During the session, we spent an hour in small groups of 6-8 people. Deputies in each group shared what it is that he or she is passionate about when it comes to faith in Jesus Christ. It was great to hear other Christians from around the country sharing their passion for the Gospel. We also discussed what we love about the Episcopal Church and our dreams for this convention.

At my table, the shared dream was that we are each open to how the Holy Spirit is guiding the Episcopal Church as we seek to be the Body of Christ during this convention. The emphasis was not on what we want, but on praying for God's will.

peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor + King of Peace Episcopal Church

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6/12/2006

Millennium Development Goals

I am en route today to The General Convention of the Episcopal Church. The every three years meeting with 8 deputies each from the 109 dioceses, plus the House of Bishops, is one of the largest legislative bodies on earth. What do we do? Talk a lot, vote a little and trust God that we can't actually wreck Christ's One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.

One thing voted on at the past two conventions is to endorse the Millennium Development Goals as a plan of action in our church reaching out to the world. The MDGs are a set of eight goals to reduce human suffering across the globe. In September 2000, the United Nations, non-governmental organizations, the World Bank Group, and 189 governments pledged to accomplish these goals by 2015.

  • Eradicate extreme hunger and poverty.
  • Achieve universal primary education.
  • Promote gender equality and empower women.
  • Reduce child mortality.
  • Improve maternal health.
  • Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases.
  • Ensure environmental sustainability.
  • Develop a global partnership for development.

the Good SamaritanThese eight goals have been endorsed by the Episcopal Church as a framework for taking action around the world. Here is what Episcopal Relief and Development (ERD) is doing to help achieve these goals. At King of Peace, we support the goals in small ways, through buying fairly traded coffee and donating 15% of every Coke purchased at the church to ERD's Clean Water Fund. While small steps, they are means of working toward a large, worldwide goal.

peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor + King of Peace Episcopal Church

2 Comments:

  • At 6/13/2006 10:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    These are noble goals, but they sound like many civic-minded organizations. We would do better to make our goal to spread the gospel of Jesus.

     
  • At 6/14/2006 4:03 PM, Anonymous Victoria said…

    Perhaps, but as I heard one homeless woman say, "It's hard to be receptive to the Gospel when your belly is empty." She was commenting on having been handed a tract about Christ while scrounging in a garbage can for food.

     

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6/11/2006

No hands but yours

Christ has no body now on earth but yours,
no hands but yours, no feet but yours,
Yours are the eyes through which
Christ's compassion looks out to the world;
Yours are the feet with which he goes about doing good;
Yours are the hands with which he blesses people now.
—Saint Teresa of Avila (1515-1582)

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6/10/2006

That the world might be saved

In tomorrow's Gospel reading, Jesus meets with the Jewish leader Nicodemus and delivers that most famous of lines,
For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.
A first-person sermon from Nicodemus point of view called The Untamed Wind—God’s Spirit is in the archives. In it, Nicodemus says,
God so loved the world. Those words were the new thing that came blowing into my life. I was so sure that God was for us Jews and us alone and the only way the world could come to God was as a Jew. God loved the world. I didn’t. I saw the world as broken. Fallen, with no hope for repair. I was waiting for the Messiah to come take us faithful away while bringing judgment to all the rest. And here was Jesus, doing these amazing miracles and then telling me that the spirit of God would blow wherever it wanted.

stained glass window at King of PeaceGod so loves the world that the spirit of God is still out there creating. The spirit of God was making all things new. I could be born again, from above. I could be made new. This new teaching was a bit too much to take in. My eyes were opened to be sure, but I couldn’t quite yet see. Not clearly anyway.
It's can still be challenging to realize that God loves the world. The world is full of us flawed humans bent on hurting one another, and yet God did not condemn the world, but loved it so much that through Jesus God became a part of the creation to set things right. 2,000 years later, it is still an amazing concept. As John 3:17 says,
Indeed, God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.
God came into the world neither to condemn us, nor to leave us unchanged.

peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor + King of Peace Episcopal Church

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6/09/2006

A Transforming Faith

Results of a recent survey by the Barna Group show that slightly more than half of American adults claim that "their life has been 'greatly transformed' by their religious faith." The survey further found that,
Jesus stands at the door and knocksThere were significant correlations between claiming to have experienced faith-driven transformation and engagement in various faith-oriented behaviors. For instance, people who read the Bible regularly were more than twice as likely as those who do not to have undergone faith-based transformation, and the same pattern was true among those who attend a church regularly compared to those who do not.
17% of those surveyed said that faith made no difference in their life and this number was up to 35% for those under 25. Southeners were most likely regionally to cite a transformative faith with 63% of Southern adults responding that their faith has greatly transformed their life (Compared to a low of 39% in the Northeast). The full overview of the results is found online here Half of Americans Say Faith Has “Greatly Transformed” Their Life.

Has your faith greatly transformed your life?

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6/08/2006

Simplifying Your Life

On occasion, something happens in life that gives us time to reflect, examine and acknowledge our values. The valuation system that each of us sets up for ourselves reflects how we are living out our faith. If I look at my calendar and my check register, I can see exactly what I value. Time and money are guages of what is important to me. Where do I spend my money and how do I spend my time? An interesting and absorbing exercise to examine what you value is this:

  • You are given a suitcase 18 inches long by 12 inches wide by 10 inches deep and a canvas bag that will hold 5 books.
  • You are told that you are packing for the rest of your life.
  • You can take your suitcase with whatever you want in it.
  • You pick any 5 books ever printed to put in your canvas bag.
  • You can, of course, wear whatever you can and fill your pockets with whatever you wish.
  • You must be able to carry, pull or push anything you take.
  • You don't have any idea where you are going but you know that you will never come back and will never again see anything that you currently have that you don't take with you.
  • You will leave in 20 days.

Of course, your job is to decide what to wear and what to take. Everything that you know is stated above. There is no other human who can give you any more answers. As most of us begin to work through this, we realize that we are searching for what makes us comfortable and what we value. What is it that I would hope that I never have to do without? I encourage you to spend some time on this exercise. I think you will surprise yourself and will learn some things about yourself.

—The Rev. Lynn Anderson
Reprinted from The Dove Tale
newsletter of the Church of the Holy Comforter, Augusta

1 Comments:

  • At 6/08/2006 10:43 AM, Anonymous William said…

    This whole exercise is misguided. It seems to me that the things that should be most important to us are our loved ones and not our possessions. Could we fit our kids into the imaginary suitcase?

     

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6/07/2006

HWJS—How Would Jesus Surf?

an Internet Cafe in China

There is an unusual fad in China reported in a recent article in the New York Times about persons using the Internet to gather a crew to act on their revenge fantasies. According to the Times,
It began with an impassioned, 5,000-word letter on one of the country's most popular Internet bulletin boards from a husband denouncing a college student he suspected of having an affair with his wife. Immediately, hundreds joined in the attack.

"Let's use our keyboard and mouse in our hands as weapons," one person wrote, "to chop off the heads of these adulterers, to pay for the sacrifice of the husband."

Within days, the hundreds had grown to thousands, and then tens of thousands, with total strangers forming teams that hunted down the student, hounded him out of his university and caused his family to barricade themselves inside their home.
Since then others have used the Internet to gather an outraged mob to seek vengence on their behalf. The fad has also included using the power of web users to solve unsolved crimes and combat fraud at an auction site on the Net.

HWJS—How would Jesus Surf? I don't know, but as he taught us to turn the other cheek, Jesus would seem to be an unlikely person to gather a crowd to violence for any cause. It would be more likely that he would once more ask the one without sin to cast the first stone.

What do you think?

peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor + King of Peace Episcopal CHurch

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6/06/2006

Our church (still) has AIDS

25 years ago yesterday, the Centers for Disease Control included a report on page two in their weekly mortality statistics on 5 deaths by a rare form of pneumonia among young homosexual men. It was the first report anywhere of what later became known as Aquired Immune Difficiency Syndrom (AIDS). By the mid to late 80s, AIDS spread immense waves of fear. The Episcopal Church was not immune to the problems, especially as a church that shares a common cup in communion. However, we were also well situated to be a bright spot in the gathering darkness as well. I told of one such bright spot in a sermon in 2001 called, Think Like Jesus Thinks,
Twenty years ago Ted knew almost nothing of AIDS other than fear and half truths. It was in 1983, while Ted was working as a priest in the diocese of Dallas in Texas, that the problem of AIDS landed on his doorstep quite literally. Ted answered his door one night to find standing there a man with his face disfigured by the cancerous sores associated with advanced stages of the HIV/AIDS virus. The man said simply: “Will you allow me to come to your church and die here?' He went on to explain that six other churches had already turned him away.

The first thing Ted thought was of the terrible disease and the uncertainties of how it spread. What would it mean for this man to share in the worship at his church? He thought if you drank from a communion cup with someone that has this disease you too would contract the virus. But Ted stopped long enough to Think Like Jesus Thinks. Ted thought of how Jesus welcomed the outcasts in his own society, especially the lepers who others avoided out of fear of the disease. After an initial pause, Ted said, “My church is open to you. I will stand by you.”

Later, Ted would learn that the man only wanted to place to commit suicide. However, when he realized that Ted actually intended to show him love and care, the man put aside his thoughts of ending his own life. Miracle of miracles, a church was offering love and support rather than judgment and condemnation.

The only problem was that Ted’s church could not see it the same way. The issue was not inclusion or exclusion, but fear. Fear of AIDS and what it could do to a person. Ted reached out in love to a dying man and the people of his congregation abandoned their church and that dying man. A few months later, there were only 21 people remaining in Ted’s church. At one main Sunday service, only three people attended. Ted saw no choice but to stand by the dying man offering him the love of God.

Time passed. The disease ran its course and the man died still upheld by the love of Ted and the few who stood by him. There was no small cost to Thinking Like Jesus Thinks, but the faithful Christians felt they had no other choice. How could they not humble themselves to be of service to someone in need?
Ted's ministry has since taken him to South Africa and today the Anglican church there and elsewhere in Africa, though slow initially to act, is now at the forefront of speaking plainly in public about AIDS and steps to take to prevent its spread. Much has changed in the past 25 years. In the meantime, AIDS victims became the new lepers. Like lepers to whom Jesus reached out, many people (including deeply religious people) shunned those suffering with AIDS as both unclean and even as persons being punished by God. But at our best, Christians have reached out in love yet again, just as Jesus called us to do.

peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor + King of Peace Episcopal Church

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6/05/2006

Visual Preludes

click here to see thumbnails of the art

Griffin's picture 'Mary's Lily'The Episcopal Church and the Visual Arts is again providing a series of visual preludes to each day's worship at The General Convention of the Episcopal Church. 20 minutes prior to worship a blend of projected art and carefully selected background music will be a means of setting aside a large meeting hall as a time and place for worship. The art and music are to accompany the theme for the day. You can see the theme and the art that will be projected at the thumbnail gallery page with quick-loading images that lead to larger versions of the art you are more curious about.

The image shown here of a statue in Savannah's Bonaventure Cemetery was taken by Griffin Logue and it provides the title picture for day two of the preludes. There are also two pieces each by Victoria Logue (other image) and Frank Logue (other image) in the preludes.

The Rev. Nancy Mills and Charlotte P. Harrell are two other artists from the Diocese of Georgia whose work will be projected as a visual prelude.

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6/04/2006

Prayer Octave

The Episcopal Church is calling for an Octave of Prayer beginning today. The eight days of prayer are focused on the upcoming General Convention of the Episcopal Church. You will find online a PDF file of the prayer booklet for the Octave. There are also: Daily Meditations for use in your prayer.

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6/03/2006

Send forth yet again your Spirit

John Kavanaugh has written this about Pentecost from his Roman Catholic perspective,
An intense sense of unity and an equally intense mission were not only the first fruits the early church received from the Spirit; they are also gifts we urgently need today.

It is no secret that division within Christianity is still a major scandal to the world. We may not be assaulted by religious military wars, but we still have our battles. One can find non-Christians remarking on the irony that Catholic priests have been perceived as leaving their parishes and people so that they might marry in another Christian church. And this irony is matched by other Christian clerics who are perceived as leaving their communities for Catholicism in hopes of avoiding women priests. Whether the perception be true or not, what a terrible indictment it would be if our relationship to God and church came down to married or women clergy.

If one left one's Christian community for reasons of faithfulness to the gospel, or to separate oneself from a people scandalous in its treatment of the poor, it might make some sense. But to reject either celibacy or women at the altar?

And this is only one of the issues that not only fragment us, but debilitate our mission. The more we ignore our one faith, Lord, and baptism, the less we feel capable to address our world, the less we have anything to say to the world, much less say it boldly.

If we are bereft of a strong sense of unity and purpose, with what do we confront a culture that has enthroned enlightened self-interest? With what do we challenge a world that has reduced men and women to pawns of ideology? With what arms of virtue and belief do we address the heartbreaking slaughter in Rwanda and pogroms conducted by Serbs or Croats?

In our own postmodern way, we are still the pre-Pentecost church, huddled in fear of each other as well as of the world at large. How true it is that we long once again for the "lover of the poor, the light of human hearts, the kind guide and giver of gifts, the gracious visitor who eases our toils, the consoler with cool grace and light in darkness, the warmer of our hearts and healer of our wounds, the gift of joy and absolver of sins."

Send forth yet again your Spirit upon us to renew the face of this troubled earth.
Christian proclamation of the Gospel is a gift of the Holt Spirit. At Pentecost, the disciples who had been locked away out of fear were given the boldness to preach the Good News of Jesus and to do so in a way that everyone present could understand them. From this bold proclamation came the birth of the Christian Church with a new unity that broke down the old dividing walls between slave and free, Jew or Gentile, woman or man. All were equal in God's eyes as God's children and so the old divisions ceased to matter. How do we still create and maintain walls among people that or not of God's design, but of man? In what way is God calling us (is God calling you?) to break down divisions by the power of the Holy Spirit?

peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor + King of Peace Episcopal Church

1 Comments:

  • At 6/03/2006 2:31 PM, Anonymous Debbie said…

    I believe God is calling us out as a people who live lives of holiness. Paul said that if our behavior causes others to stumble, we should knock it off. It is only through the leading and working of the Holy Spirit that the mind of Christ is in us.

    After all, if what we believe doesn't change how we live, we don't really believe. And if our lives don't show the Fruit of the Spirit, then we are living lives contrary to God's best for us and are not living obediently.

     

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6/02/2006

I Am Not a Heretic

The following quiz took more thought than most as you decide which statements agree with your understanding of the Christian faith. Your answers are then compared against the work of the Council of Chalcedon in 451, which created a very important formulation of faith found in the historic documents section of our Book of Common Prayer. I think I got a 100% by giving all my answers as either completely agree or completely disagree.

You scored as Chalcedon compliant. You are Chalcedon compliant. Congratulations, you're not a heretic. You believe that Jesus is truly God and truly man and like us in every respect, apart from sin. Officially approved in 451.

Chalcedon compliant

100%

Adoptionist

67%

Nestorianism

67%

Apollanarian

33%

Monophysitism

33%

Pelagianism

33%

Arianism

0%

Socinianism

0%

Monarchianism

0%

Docetism

0%

Donatism

0%

Albigensianism

0%

Modalism

0%

Gnosticism

0%

Are you a heretic?
created with QuizFarm.com

My adoptionist tendencies would mean that I leaned toward statements that make it seem like Jesus was a man who was adopted by God to be God's son. I don't believe that, so I guess I didn't read the statements closely enough. As for Nestorianism, the orthodox version is that Jesus was one person who was both fully human and fully divine, while Nestorius taught that there were two persons within the one Christ—one divine, the other human. Frankly, that seems like theological hairsplitting to me, but Nestorius writings were not accepted as orthodox (correct belief) at Chalcedon.

peace,
Frank+

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6/01/2006

Respecting holiness in one another

Joan Anderson, in her book A Year by the Sea recalls a friend who trained monks in "ritualization"
"When they started Communion," she explained, "they would pick up the chalice without giving it any thought, purely an object to be used, not treated as holy. What they needed to learn was the importance of developing a relationship with liturgical things and become involved with them. Only then would the ceremony have meaning."

Listening to her, I couldn't help but imagine what my world might be like if I looked at the human beings I was closest to as holy and treated them with that same sense of respect.
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The latest issue of our newsletter is now online here: The Olive Branch

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