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.

6/30/2008

One Who Serves

The Questing Parson is still tilting at windmills. Last week he shared a story of that I thought captured a missed opportunity quite well:
The parson sat in the booth of a local restaurant. He was waiting for some colleagues to join him. The plan was to eat lunch while they discussed plans for extending outreach to people in need in their community. The parson was hungry. He’d missed breakfast. He gave an order for an appetizer to the server. She was prompt in returning with his food for which the parson was grateful. Thanking her he began to eat.

Gradually the others joined him. Each gave their orders which again the young lady filled promptly and with a smile. As they consumed the food and beverage, the talk began.

“What I envision,” said Fred, the pastor of First County Seat Church of the Upper Class Servants, “is a place where these folks can feel a sense of family. You know we go through life and we don’t pay any attention to the people around us. People are hurting. But they are just unseen by us. We need to do better.”

“I agree completely,” replied Robert, the new pastor at the Beginners Luck First Start Congregation, “people pass by hurting folks everyday and never get to know their story. We have to become more personal in our ministry. We have to reach out and actually touch the people around us. What do you think Parson?”

The parson replied, “I’m in total agreement.” He paused a moment as the server stepped over to refresh everyone’s drinks. “You know some of the most powerful words in the New Testament are “Jesus touched ….”

“That’s a good point,” interjected Henry, the District Coordinator for Caring Services, “we need to find better ways to reach out and touch those who have been ignored.”

The conversation continued along this vein. The parson kept out of the flow of talk for the most part. While he was delighted to be invited to take part he felt he was only an adjunct to these more active pastors. Something about the conversation however troubled him. He couldn’t put his finger on it.

Finally, the pastors agreed they would each approach their congregations about supporting a program that would extend a ministry of care to the marginalized, that would treat them as persons and affirm their worth.

The group rose to leave, each dropping a bit of money on the table for a tip. They headed for the cashier to pay for their separate meals. The parson paid first and waited outside on the walk for the others to exit. When they did a few joking remarks were made about their profession. Thanks were extended to each other for participating. And the each turned to leave.


Suddenly the parson realized the source of his unease. “Hey, fellows,” he called out, “anyone know the name of our server?”

The others shook their heads. No one did. “I don’t think she ever mentioned it,” said Robert.

“Her name is Andrea,” said the parson. “She’s a single mom with three kids who has recently moved here from Iowa because she lost her job. They live in a one room pay-by-the-week efficiency over on Highway 20. But she says with the Lord’s help they’ll get by. I thought you might want to know.”
If you liked this story, you will really enjoy the Methodist pastor's website: Questing Parson.

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1 Comments:

  • At 6/30/2008 7:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I love the story.
    Thank you for posting it.

    Robin Rapp

     

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6/29/2008

Christ's Own Forever



Today, the 10 a.m. worship service was blessed by the musical gifts of the Filipino Harmonic Choir from Jacksonville, who played and sang for the service both in music they presented and in leading congregational singing.

Also, Amie and Evan were baptized into Christ's body, the church. Mom went first and then Evan, who had been a little worried about it had no problems with his own baptism. Afterwards they were each anointed with holy oil. First Mom and then Evan were anointed and the words said for him, "Evan, you are sealed by the Holy Spirit in baptism and marked as Christ's own forever," he said clearly and with some feeling, "Good."

Good indeed. The day continues. The youth were meeting today for a pool party and there is a King of Peace led worship service this afternoon at Magnolia Manor.

Amie is baptized
Evan checks out the water
Evan is baptized
Evan is anointed with oil

A later in the day update:
The photos below show the youth practicing acolyting for the 8:30 a.m. worship service and Bill Bruce playing the piano for the fifth Sunday of the month, King of Peace led service at Magnolia Manor. Photos of the pool party are still coming...


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2 Comments:

  • At 6/29/2008 4:31 PM, Anonymous kelly said…

    The youth group party was a success--or at least, it looked fun! The rain even held off until departure time. I played the role of photographer. BIG LAUGH OUT LOUD! I don't know how to get the photos from the camera into the computer so I can send them. We'll have to wait for Joe...

     
  • At 6/30/2008 8:31 AM, Anonymous Kelly said…

    We had "technical difficulties" last night with the photos. Hopefully, you will have them by this evening! :)

     

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Arguing Nothing, Pleading Nothing



Lord,
teach me how to still my racing thoughts.
Help me to come to you
arguing nothing,
pleading nothing,
asking nothing,
except to be still
in your presence.

Give me faith that will enable me
to lay my burdens at your feet,
and to leave them there
in exchange for the peace
which passes all understanding.

—Frank Topping

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6/28/2008

Register Your Kids Now

Click here to register for our Kids in the Kingdom Week

July 14-18 will be our Kids in the Kingdom Week for 2008. Each day we will gather from 9 a.m. to 12 noon with kids from 4-11 to discover more about God's amazing, terrific, incredible, outstanding, life-giving, wonder-working power. We'll learn songs, plays games, make crafts, share snacks, hear Bible stories and more. The cost is just $10 and includes everything, even a t-shirt. But we need you to act fast as space is limited and registrations need to get in as soon as possible.

You can print the form below and drop it by the church at The Preschool entrance Monday through Friday from 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. If you can't make it in, fax the form to 576-4391 or email us the info at contact[at]kingofpeace.org adding the @ symbol into the address. We'll also have forms at the church and you can fill one out and drop it off while there. The money for registration can follow, but we need the forms as soon as possible to hold a space for your child.

Photos of last year's event are still online together with pictures from our monthly Kids in the Kingdom Sunday here: Kids in the Kingdom Pictures

Go here for a form to print

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Even a Cup of Water

Tomorrow's Gospel reading is probably the shortest of the three-year cycle of readings that takes us through the Bible. The whole of it is that Jesus says,
"Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. Whoever welcomes a prophet in the name of a prophet will receive a prophet's reward; and whoever welcomes a righteous person in the name of a righteous person will receive the reward of the righteous; and whoever gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones in the name of a disciple—truly I tell you, none of these will lose their reward."
In preaching on this, I gave a sermon six years ago called Small Things Done with Great Love which is titled from a Mother Teresa quote I have returned to again and again in my own life if not in sermons. She said that we can do no great things for God, only small things with great love.

I told in the sermon of going to Brazil to take still photos for a documentary film a friend of ours from Georgia Southern was filming in Brazil. It was about a group of middle class guys using their skills in the uniquely Brazilian martial art called Capoeira to improve the lives of kids in a tough slum. Before leaving, I went with one of the instructors to the street where he first ran across some boys in the slum who wanted to learn. We played capoeria in the street there. The sermon continued:
After a while, the mid-day heat got to us. We stopped to catch our breath. A boy who I had just been fighting ran off and came back quickly with a tin cup of cold water. The sun was beating down. I was covered in sweat. Yet, my first thought was of the signs posted all over the neighborhood warning of the danger in drinking the water without treating it first. The water was known to contain a cocktail of bacteria and viruses.

Image copyright Jan Richardson, please follow the link by clicking this imageThere stood the boy beaming as he offered me a cold drink of untreated water. I knew that he would be devastated if I turned down his offer. How could I get him to understand? Instead, I did not pause to think. I drank down the whole cup in one long satisfying drink. The boy was elated. “By the time the sickness kicks in I’ll be back home anyway,” I thought.

I never did get sick. God looks out for fools and I was no exception. So I look back in my mind and see that boy grinning from ear to ear as he offered my a tin cup of cool water. The roles were all reversed. The scene was taking the world and turning it on its head.

I was the American who had flown down to Brazil with all my expensive photography equipment. He was the kid in the slum with nothing to offer anyone. And yet, it was he who was reaching out to me. He was the host and I was the guest right there in the street.

It is this scene in my mind that shows me clearly the world as God sees it. To God, the person who others look over is the one with the gift, if we can stop and pay attention long enough to receive it. The person who seems to have it all together may be the one with the greatest need.

Whatever reward I may have had coming to me for being foolish enough to play Capoeira in that slum street is not mine now. The reward is the boy’s. He is the hero of the story.
The full text of the sermon is online here: Small Things Done with Great Love.

peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor

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6/27/2008

Figuring Out God's Will for You


You come to a fork in the road you are walking along. There is no sign and the guidebook enigmatically warned of the two men who hang out there that one of the two always tells the truth, the second always lies. Because this is a puzzle, you only get one question to figure out which direction leads to your destination. What question will get you where you want to go?

The answer is that you can ask either of men the following while pointing either direction forward: “If I were to ask you if this is the way I should go, would you say yes?” The truthful man will give the correct answer. The liar will lie about what lie he would tell, which is a convoluted way of saying he would be forced to tell the truth.

But life is not a neat puzzle and we don’t face forks in the road watched over by a liar and a truth-teller. Instead, we face real-life issues of deciding what is the best course of action and there are not usually just two answers. And when there are just two answers it is a real dilemma, which is a question with two wrong answers, ranging from bad to worse, and we don’t know which one is worse. This is not a column about politics, which sometimes seems like a choice of the lesser of two evils or even a choice against the evil of the two lessers.

This is a brief take on the process of discernment, which for Christians is how we try to decide what God’s will is in a given situation. Do I do this or do that? “Which choice is better?” is one kind of question and it is a good one to ask as you weigh the options and consider the choices logically.

I always advise doing this and for important decisions it is good to think through your options with someone you trust. I also know that your intellect is God given and I assume that reasoning helps solve many issues.

But then there are other times when you feel like what you really face is not merely whether to go to Shoney’s or Cracker Barrel after church. It is something which is more important and for life-changing decisions, we really need God’s will rather than our own. So what is God’s will?

In some cases this will be evident by God’s word. If you are considering adultery or murder, God has already been quite clear about those and you are just trying to justify a wrong action with some complicated argument that will not likely even convince yourself, much less anyone else.

When the problem is less clear, such as whether to take one job or another, there are a few time-tested options. First, last and in between, pray. Really hand the decision over to God and ask for God’s will to happen.

One way of praying for this I have found to be powerful is...

The rest of today's Tribune & Georgian religion column is online here: Figuring Out God's Will for you.

kingofpeace.org updated
Also, I want to thank you for your input on the text home page for King of Peace which went back to the drawing board for some additional work. Our new home page debuted earlier this week (www.kingofpeace.org) with changes to take into account the input I received.

peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor

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3 Comments:

  • At 6/27/2008 10:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Great article! One question: Where does one find a spiritual advisor? Are they ordained? Or are they gifted with special training, or both?

     
  • At 6/27/2008 11:31 PM, Blogger King of Peace said…

    Thanks for your kind words.

    First, as used in the article, the term spiritual advisor is a bit loose and refers to anyone you would trust to pray about something and to shre with you what he or she felt if led to do so. This could be a Christian co-worker or friend, a pastor or youth leader, or even a parent or grandparent. But the idea would be stereo—not just speaking to one person, but two or three and trusting that God can reveal the same thing to different people.

    Secondly, there is also the idea of having a spiritual director, which is a centuries old idea of a soul friend. This is not a therapist or social worker, nor a pastor or friend, but someone with training in listening, praying and reflecting. These are more difficult to come by, though often a pastor will know of one or more persons. This is more particular, and less essential for discerning God's will, as the more general use of the term as mentioned above would work. The idea is to share the load of praying and listening as we can always fool ourselves and so we don't trust on ourselves alone, but on Christians you have come to trust and with whom feel you can share this process of discernment.

    I hope this helps.

    Frank+

     
  • At 6/28/2008 10:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    It helps! Thank you!

     

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6/26/2008

Playground Sun Shade



Mike Waldron and Al Virgin are hard at work today in the blazing heat to put up a sun shade for our preschoolers. They got a little help from the staff, but are doggedly working in the dehydrating sun to get the shade up for our kids.


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  • At 6/26/2008 9:18 PM, Blogger Ben D-Ray said…

    Interesting. If only we could shade the playground from snakes...

     
  • At 6/27/2008 7:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I've just learned that a dusting of sulfer will keep snakes away. It could be spread on the outside perimeter of the playground. Mothballs work to repell non venemous snakes only.

     

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Books that made a difference

Over at The Washington Post/Newsweek the web forum On Faith has asked its panelists to tell us about a book or books that have made a difference in your life. There are answers which include Philip Yancy's What's So Amazing About Grace, Oswald Chambers' My Utmost for His Highest, and yes that collection of 66 books I have read more than any other made the list with someone naming The King James Bible. You can read all the panelists responses.

So, naturally I wondered about my own answer. It's not just my job, the Bible is the best answer as I read it all the time, have read it more than anything else and have even given as many as a hundred sermons in a year based on its contents. But moving beyond the obvious...I had to pause. The question isn't what book did you most enjoy reading, which could get an odd answer like Stuart Little, Thr3e, The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency, When Nietzsche Wept, The Poisonwood Bible, The Oldest Living Conferederate Widow Tells All or the novels of Susan Howatch.

If they asked what did you find the profoundly interesting, I could answer And the Band Played On, Bowling Alone, Leadership and the New Science, Generation to Generation, or Guns, Germs and Steel. Or which books have haunted me, as I haven't been able to forget them would include A Sand County Almanac, The Monkey Wrench Gang, In Our Strange Gardens, Diary, and Salvation on Sand Mountain.

Those that have influenced how I think about my faith would have to include several by C.S. Lewis and Michael Ramsey, Bonhoeffer's The Cost of Discipleship, Chesterton's Orthodoxy, Quarks, Chaos and Christianity, Love's Endeavor, Love's Expense, Amazing Grace: a vocabulary of faith, The Black Christ, and certainly Christianity Rediscovered.

But the question is made a difference. The answer would have to be the writings of Heinrich Böll, the German Nobel Prize winning author I first was introduced to thanks to that great influence on my life Dr. Jerry Weatherford at Georgia Southern, who is one of two Mormon men (the other being Dr. Lane VanTassel) who helped me be a better Christian (in very unMormon ways, of course). Böll's post World War II works broadened my world and showed me how words could convey great depth of meaning. I could choose The Clown, or Billiards at Half Past Nine but should go with the short story collection Children's Are Civilians Too which I checked out of the Georgia Southern Library to read and reread. I only owned a copy after coming to Camden County and in reading it discovered how much the pathos of those stories mattered to my life.

What books have made a difference in your life?

peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor

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4 Comments:

  • At 6/26/2008 7:53 AM, Anonymous kenny said…

    Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach

     
  • At 6/27/2008 7:20 AM, Anonymous Rhonda said…

    A book of Poems by Rose Terry I received as a very young girl.

    Great Expectations (Dickens)

    Wokini by Billy Mills

     
  • At 6/27/2008 8:03 AM, Anonymous kelly said…

    Way to go Kenny! That book was an inspiration to me too when I first read it as a kid. And, Fr. Frank, I also loved THE CLOWN.

    Rhonda, remember when we were in the bookstore a few months back reminiscing in the "classics" section and I got excited when I ran across JONATHAN LIVINGSTON SEAGULL? There was a man in there who overheard us talking and started to tease and make fun of the book. He probably never even read it!

    Anyway, I can't just pick one book that has made a difference in my life because there are so many.

    Anything by Henry Nouwen, LIFT UP YOUR HEARTS by Pope John Paul II, TUESDAYS WITH MORRIE and FOR ONE MORE DAY by Mitch Albom...I better stop here...:)

     
  • At 6/27/2008 8:23 PM, Anonymous Rhonda said…

    Yes, I remember, that was a good day.

    I would have to say he probably never had the pleasure of reading it. If he did read it, he obviously did not get anything from it.

    It was funny listening to him though. ;o)

     

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6/25/2008

Is It You Again?

Kathleen Norris writes in Dakota: A Spiritual Geography of a story that’s said to come from a Russian Orthodox monastery:
A seasoned monk, long accustomed to welcoming all guests as Christ, says to a young monk, “I have finally learned to accept people as they are. Whatever they are in the world, a prostitute, a prime minister, it is all the same to me. But sometimes,” the monk continues, “I see a stranger coming up the road and I say, “Oh, Jesus Christ, is it you again?”

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6/24/2008

One Way?

Ruins of Redeemer Church in Biloxi after Hurricane KatrinaThe Pew Research Center's Forum on Religion & Public Life has just released the results of a survey of 35,000 Americans on their religious beliefs and practices. They found that Americans are quite flexible in their faith. On the one hand 71% believe that God is a certainty, 56% of those surveyed say religion is very important to their lives, and 58% pray daily. On the otherhand, we as a group also hold that whatever our faith is, it is not the only way to salvation and that there is more than one true way to interpret the teachings of our religion.

A large percentage of those of us who consider ourselves followers of Christ think that others who have not professed faith in Jesus will still end up in heaven. The Pew survey found that only Mormons (57%) and Jehovah’s Witnesses (80%) have majorities who claim that their religion is the one true faith.

Are other faiths right?
I have dealt before with this problem of declaring Jesus to the The Way, The Truth and The Life while trying to acknowledge the good within other faiths. The religion column Can Other Religions Be True is my attempt to deal with this in 1,000 words.

What I Believe
I am not a Christian for no particular reason, with Christianity being just one path among many other equally valid ones. I feel that God is working beyond all denominations and even through many religions to reach as many as can be reached with the love that is God's. After all Jesus told Nicodemus that the wind blows where it will. I believe that wind is God's Holy Spirit present through all creation, and so present beyond any church, reaching out to all.

I also believe that Jesus is the Son of God and the best guide to God. I am a Christian because Jesus was and is who he said he was and in following him I have the clearest picture of who God is and what God wants. It is that spirit bearing witness to my spirit that causes me to affirm the Christian faith within me. So I am solidly and unapologetically Christian.

I preach Christianity because I know it to be true. I know that what Jesus taught works. I can not say that about other faiths, except in the ways in which their beliefs coincide with Christian teaching.

The Big BUT
Here comes the however that may be just my version of why so many persons of faith felt that their way might not be the only one: I don't have the arrogance to suggest that faithful adherants of other faiths who seem to be good and Godly (if not Christian) are not connected to God. I do know Jesus to be The Way, I just can't answer as to whether, for example, the faithful Rabbi that he has not found that way through Judaism. In my experience, there are others who do not hold to Christianity who seem to be connected to God in a significant way.

So I am left in that middle ground that seems to be American. I hold to my faith and think it is not just right for me, but truly right. I want others to follow that path and am concerned that they might never get to God without doing so. Then I see in the lives of some others of differing faiths that it seems that God has found them already. Can I deny that? I don't think so as I think to say someone else is not connected to God, I run the high risk of denying God's presence working in and through that person?

The edge of the herd
So, my strategy for mission is to leave alone those whose faith works for them in a real and meaningful way and say that when it comes to folks of other faiths, we should just pick the sickly ones off the edge of the herd who have yet to find God on the spiritual path they are on.

What do you think?
Yes, I know what I have written can come across as wishy-washy. I'm just trying to be honest about what I believe and where that leaves me. Where do you stand?

peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor

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2 Comments:

  • At 6/24/2008 9:54 AM, Anonymous monkey on autopilot said…

    I tend to agree with you strongly. However, when I think about how Jesus worked, He didn't merely pick from the edge of the herd.
    On the other hand, we're not Jesus, but, we have to consider what He asked of us and expects from us to this day.

     
  • At 6/27/2008 4:55 PM, Blogger Robin D. said…

    I have taken the leap of faith to believe that Jesus was who he said he was; God Incarnate.

    Despite the good and rightness of other religions' teachings, only Jesus claimed to be God with validity.

    God came down because we needed to be reunited with our creator and coming here as one of us was the way to do that.

    Jesus didn't come to create "Christianity" but to reunite us to the Father.

    Christianity as a religion grew up around our need to be united with each other in communion with him.

    When we spend our time fussing about comparisons then we go astray from Jesus' teaching.

     

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6/23/2008

The Episcopal Church Responds


As always, when disaster strikes, Episcopal Relief and Development creates an appropriate response to deal with the physical needs of those effected, as further assistance to churches in the area providing spiritual aid. Click this link to donate to ER-D's midwest flood relief.

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6/22/2008

Prayer of Benedict




The following prayer is one of Benedict of Nursia (480-547) the founder of a form of monasticism that seeks a balance of work and prayer.



Father,
in your goodness
grant me the intellect to comprehend you,
the perception to discern you,
and the reason to appreciate you.

In your kindness
endow me with the diligence to look for you,
the wisdom to discover you,
and the spirit to apprehend you.

In your graciousness
bestow on me a heart to contemplate you,
ears to hear you, eyes to see you,
and a tongue to speak of you.

In your mercy
confer on me a conversation pleasing to you,
the patience to wait for you,
and the perseverance to long for you.

Grant me a perfect end—your holy presence.
Amen.

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2 Comments:

  • At 6/22/2008 7:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    As beautiful a prayer as it is, I cannot find any documentation for it being by St. Benedict himself. That it is by SOME Benedictine seems highly likely. Can you provide a source or a link that ties this prayer to the saint himself.
    Pax et bonum
    RNW+

     
  • At 6/22/2008 8:45 PM, Blogger King of Peace said…

    Fair enough. It is only of Benedict in the sense of being Benedictine. No, I have no source dating this prayer traditionally attributed to Saint Benedict to be actualkly written by him. Though I do still like the prayer.

     

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6/21/2008

kingofpeace.org will be back up soon

I came back from a week at camp to discover that www.kingofpeace.org went down sometime a couple of days ago. The website has not been working and the emails have been returned undelivered. I am working on the problem and things should up again soon, though any emails will need resending.

peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor

1 Comments:

  • At 6/21/2008 6:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    It's back up and working! Whoo Hoo!!! Life's not the same without our site!

     

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Heading Home

High School Summer Camp has ended and this blog is about to return to its regular programming, but first a few last photos from Honey Creek:



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6/20/2008

More Camp Photos


Looking at the photos from camp so far you would think we spend the whole time inthe chapel. They also have sea kayaking, pool time, crafts, ropes and more. Here lunch is pictured as well as high ropes time including two from King of Peace, Auston and your correspondent.

peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor





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Discovering Jesus


Today our program time is not an hour with all the campers together. Instead campers are signed up to go to the chapel in 10 minute intervals through the day (with breaks for lunch and dinner) from 9 a.m. until 8 p.m. when the last person finishes. In the chapel, they work their way around the ten stations shown below as they listen to a guided meditation called Discovering Jesus with activities to do at some of the stations. The teens who have come out of their hour long experience so far are giving the meditative experience high marks.









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One Small Change


Victoria and I are still at the Diocese of Georgia's camp and conference center, Honey Creek for the high school session of summer camp.

Last night for the camp eucharist (which we celebrate once toward the end of the week) we made one small change to the service. The words and music were all as we would usually do in the chapel as is typical. The one change was to bring in 13 tables and set up the look of a banquet. Not an unlucky number, 13 was Jesus and the 12 apostles. But that was a fortunate occurance as 13 6-foot tables is also what it took to fit everyone so they could be seated. There were grapes on the candlelit tables. Just enough to represent The Last Supper.

The readings were the ones for this coming Sunday. In the sermon, I connected the life of Saint Francis of Assisi to the readings and our theme this week of Amor Es Revolucinario (Love Is Revolutionary). The Rev. Denise Ronn was ably assisted by Lilly and Samantha who assisted at the altar. The readings were well done by the campers, the music was energetic and the whole service came together well. Very different in feel due to the one small change in the setting. Camp ends tomorrow. But today, we have one more trick up our sleeves. More later...

Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor




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2 Comments:

  • At 6/20/2008 10:30 AM, Anonymous Rhonda said…

    Thank you Father Frank for keeping us up to date on what our children are doing and the fun they are having. Also for the all they are learning about themselves.

     
  • At 6/20/2008 11:35 AM, Anonymous Laura said…

    Looking forward to the next trick!

     

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