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.

7/31/2009

Strength Comes in Numbers

Below is my religion column for today's Tribune & Georgian newspaper

Christianity is a group effort. I write this thinking of the times when our need for the strength found in a group of believers may outweigh the ability of our own faith.

Let me say first, that there is no denying that the Christian faith involves a personal commitment. Each individual must decide for his or her self and make a profession of faith, and in so doing comes into a relationship with God, through his son Jesus Christ. But that individual commitment knits us in to the Body of Christ, a larger group. And it is the need for this larger body I am speaking to now.

Vincent Donovan served as a missionary to the Masai in Tanzania for 17 years. Donovan found six Masai villages willing to talk each week for a year about Christianity. He told the people in the villages that he could not bring schools, hospitals or anything else. He wanted to learn what they knew of God and tell them about his experience with God.

He visited the village headed by an elderly Masai man named Ndangoya for a full year. At the end of that time, he went to the community and told them that he had now told them all he had to impart about Jesus. He wrote of the encounter as follows,
I had taught them everything I knew about Christianity. Now it was up to them. If they did accept it, of course, it required public baptism. So I would go away for a week or so and give them the opportunity to make their judgment on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. If they did accept it, then there would be baptism. However, baptism wasn’t automatic.
Donovan then writes of a mistake he made. When he returned, he proclaimed which could not be baptized as they had not attended enough classes or listened well enough.

He writes of what happened next,
“The old man, Ndangoya, stopped me politely but firmly, ‘Padri, why are you trying to break us up and separate us? During this whole year that you have been teaching us, we have talked about these things when you were not here, at night around the fire.

“Yes, there have been lazy ones in this community. But they have been helped by those with much energy. There are stupid ones in the community, but they have been helped by those who are intelligent. Yes, there are ones with little faith in this village, but they have been helped by those with much faith.

“Would you turn out and drive off the lazy ones and the ones with little faith and the stupid ones? From the first day I have spoken to these people. And I speak for them now. Now on this day, one year later, I can declare for them and for all this community, that we have reached the step in our lives where we can say, ‘We believe.’”
Donovan reports that he replied, “Excuse me, old man,” I said, “Sometimes, my head is hard and I learn slowly. “We believe,” you said. Of course you do. Everyone in the community will be baptized.”

It sounds almost scandalous here to speak of the faith of a community. Baptism is about a personal affirmation of faith, right? So how can a community make that affirmation on behalf of someone? Well, we shouldn’t accept one person’s statement of faith on behalf of another, but in an African context where community is so valued, the expression “We believe” is no weak response, but a response from each person as a community.

Jesus taught that we are not just to love God, but to also love our neighbors as ourselves. For this reason Christianity is always a team sport, a community endeavor. Find any Christian church and no matter the appropriate emphasis placed on a person’s public affirmation of faith, that affirmation takes place in community and makes one a member of that community.

Baptism always has both an individual part and a communal part. We tend to stress the individual part, while almost forgetting that baptism is not just an event in the life of an individual or even a family. Baptism is an event in the life of a congregation and an event in the whole Body of Christ.

As the elder of the Masai community said there are lazy ones and stupid ones and ones with little faith in the community. You may wonder which ones in our community are these lazy ones of less faith. Sometimes its me and sometimes its you. Each of us can be lazy about reading the Bible and praying, or slow to learn what God is teaching us, or find our faith flagging in the face of trouble.

We are all at times the lazy ones, the stupid ones, the ones with little faith. However, you can also be the one who is energetic, and intelligent and the one with great faith. Others can draw strength from your strength. That’s what a community of faith does. We bear one another’s burdens and share one another’s joys.

Some folks shy away from church. Perhaps because they have been hurt by a church before or by someone they thought was a good Christian. For whatever reason, they want to go it alone in faith.

Going it alone in faith will only get so far. You might feel that you have the faith to go it alone, but eventually life will turn around and you will find yourself less energized. That’s why you need a community. Church was never optional. Community was the norm for Jesus and his disciples and remains it to this day.

We are stronger than I am alone. Sometimes I may or may not have the faith I need to pray, but we do. I may not have the strength to get through another week, but we have that strength. We can help one another through seasons of doubt and uncertainty.

Fall is a great time for a fresh start. If you read this knowing that you are not currently connected to a church home, please be encouraged to turn the page, look through the church listings and find a place to go worship this Sunday.

You surely won’t find a perfect church. But, you will find a place perfectly suited to help you as you journey closer to God, for that is a journey better undertaken with others.

(The Rev. Frank Logue is pastor of King of Peace Episcopal Church in Kingsland.)

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7/30/2009

Securing Future Growth for Our School

At auction tonight, King of Peace Episcopal Day School, Inc.—our separate 501(c)3 that runs our school—came to an agreement on a very good price for 11.69 acres of land in a great location a couple of miles east of the church. The Preschool will remain at our church for always, but this new land will allow us to grow a private school, intending to provide K-8 in the coming years. This was an initial part of our vision and it is rewarding to secure this future and to begin to move toward that future as soon as possible. We also hope to add infant care so that in time we care for children from 6 months through the eighth grade and perhaps beyond.

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Rumors


Tonight and tomorrow night at 7 p.m. and Saturday at 2 p.m., Camden Summer Theatre will present Neil Simon's play Rumors at King of Peace. The comedy presents all that ensues when couples gather to celebrate friends' 10th wedding anniversary and arrive to find no servants, the wife away and the husband has shot himself in the earlobe. They then try to keep it all a secret, while sharing the rumors they have heard.

The entrance price is any donation (no set price) with 100% of the proceeds being split between Camden House, a local shelter for abused women, and a college scholarship to be given by the Camden County High School Theater Boosters.

King of Peace tries to make its facilities available to other non-profits in the community when available, for a negligible fee. Presenting this play allows us to bring the concerns of the world into our worship space. If we can't do that, then how can we find the healing that we need in that same space?

Scripture makes it clear that rumors and gossip can be deadly, a form of character assassination. The play presents this same theme in a very funny way. Offering hospitality for this group will also bring new people into King of Peace's worship space. When we have done this before, we have found that some return to join us for worship. Pray that God will use this, shall we say less-than-biblical, presentation to bring new folks into our congregation.

And, yes, I am very proud of my daughter playing the role of Claire Ganz (one of three local preacher's kids in the production). King of Peace's Ashley Conway is also in the play, as Officer Pudney.

peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor

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Riding for their lives

Riding for their lives

Bishop Mark Hollingsworth of the Diocese of Ohio, and seven other cyclists have completed their 12-day, 4,000-mile relay bike ride from the General Convention in Anaheim, California to the Episcopal Church Center in New York City. The ride raised awareness as $35,000 for the Episcopal Relief and Development Nets for Life Project.

There is an Episcopal News Service article, Cross-country ride raises awareness in the fight against malaria, and blogs from the riders telling about their cross-country trek, which included 120-degree heat in the desert and the closeness which can only come in sharing an RV bathroom among 11 people (including the support team).

For more information on the malaria prevention project, go to www.netsforlifeafrica.org.

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7/29/2009

The looking-glass self

Sociologists have a theory of the looking-glass self: you become what the most important person in your life (wife, father, boss, etc.) thinks you are.

How would my life change if I truly believed the Bible's astounding words about God's love for me, if I looked in the mirror and saw what God sees?
—Philip Yancey, What's So Amazing About Grace?

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2 Comments:

  • At 7/29/2009 8:32 AM, Anonymous Dancing said…

    I know what God Sees and it's not good.

    So what should I expect others to see? The same!

     
  • At 7/30/2009 8:30 AM, Blogger King of Peace said…

    It is absolutely true that we see the real us and what we know and see is not good. How can God see this and love us?

    But scripture is quite clear that God can see the real us, with all the junk, and still love us. Come this Sunday to church and hear how God deals with King David on this after adultery and murder. God loves as we are so much that we are not left there.

    God loves us enough to offer forgiveness and redemption. All we offer is repentence, a change of heart. And that is what we need anyway, not to stay in our junk, but to put it aside to become the persons God sees inside, the one we can become.

    peace,
    Frank+

     

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7/28/2009

For the benefit of those...

The Church is the only society that exists
for the benefit of those who are not its members.
Archbishop William Temple (1881-1941)

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7/27/2009

The Four Gospels & The Meaning of Life



The latest video from Father Matthew is above with a description of the symbols for the four gospels, and below Father Matthew presents a video with the Rev. Josh Condon on the meaning of life:

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1 Comments:

  • At 7/27/2009 9:16 AM, Anonymous Amber said…

    Thanks Father Frank the boys especially liked the first video :)

     

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7/26/2009

To pray is to drop out

The pursuit of a prayerful life of simple love and discipline sets us in isolation from and opposition to the mainstream, mammon-directed culture in which we live. We become deserters from technocracy, disaffiliating ourselves from its power, rejecting its false values. To pray is to drop out in the most profound and positive sense.
—Kenneth Leech

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7/25/2009

More Than Enough

In tomorrow's Gospel reading, John tells of Jesus feeding the multitude with a little bread and fish. The Rev. Charles Hoffman wrote an article for The Christian Century, More Than Enough, based on this text that read in part:
A crowd of people has followed Jesus to the lakeshore. Their attraction to him is so strong that in their excitement they forget the picnic lunch. Jesus leans over to Philip and says, "Philip, how are we going to buy enough food to feed these people?" It is a test. And Philip, who represents the church, replies the way the church often replies to a crisis: "We're done for. Half a year's wages wouldn't be enough to feed all these people." And then, as Philip continues to mumble, his colleague Andrew informs Jesus that a boy in the crowd is carrying a couple of fish and a few loaves of bread. "But so little as that," says Andrew, "is really quite irrelevant under the circumstances."

I once read a poem that helps me anticipate Christ's response to Andrew on that day:

Be gentle when you touch bread
Let it not lie uncared for--unwanted
So often bread is taken for granted
There is so much beauty in bread
Beauty of sun and soil, beauty of honest toil
Winds and rain have caressed it,
Christ often blessed it
Be gentle when you touch bread.

"There is a boy here who has five barley loaves," Andrew says.

Make the people sit down," replies the Lord. The meal is blessed, served, then eaten, and--when all are satisfied--there is enough left over to fill 12 baskets. Abundance!

Abundance is a theme throughout the fourth Gospel. In the first chapter John speaks about Jesus as the Word from whose fullness we have all received grace upon grace. Consider the first sign, when water is turned into wine at the wedding in Cana. Jesus instructs the servants to fill some jars with water, and they fill them to the brim. The result is a profusion, not merely of wine, but of good wine. Then, at a community well in Samaria, Jesus tells a woman about living water gushing up to eternal life. Once more, this note of abundance. In the beautiful departure speech in the 14th chapter of John, we hear, "In nay Father's house there are many dwelling places," and at the end of the Gospel, John brings his witness to a close by noting that in addition to the things he has told us, there is so much more that if it were all reduced to writing, there wouldn't be enough space in the world to contain the number of books that would be required.

Whether it is wine at a wedding or rooms for eternity or picnic food, there is always more than enough, a prodigious supply. Wherever we go in John's Gospel we are confronted with this profuse and full-measured flood of God's grace mediated through the Christ. On the basis of John's telling, God's grace is more prodigal than it is miserly.

My own early impressions of a melancholy religion still hold for many in our culture; in fact, it's one reason for the lack of growth in many North American churches. As Nietzsche said, "Christians will have to look more redeemed if people are to believe in their Redeemer." Indeed, people are still drawn to that which nourishes and enriches their lives.

Much of the time our faith mirrors that of Philip and Andrew, who could not see past the six months" wages or the meager five loaves and two fish. We tend to base our living on our own scarcity or even on our own fears of insufficiency. So we hoard and save and worry and end up living life in small and safe measures. We pull back when we should push forward. We give in to our fear of a shortfall rather than exercising faith in God's abundance. But Christians are constantly on call to go places where we have never been, to do things that we have never attempted and to be things we have never envisioned.

John 6 invites us to live into a grace-filled inheritance, a timely calling because most of us tend to live on the edges of what God has to offer.

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7/24/2009

Teaching Religion in Public Schools

Medyev and Putin in church
There is an Associated Press news article out this week telling of a new program in which priests are going in to public schools to teach religion. Guess where this might be happening. Wait for it. Wait for it. Russia. Okay, maybe the photo above gave it away. Full disclosure is that the pilot project which will have Russian Orthodox priests teaching faith, will have a companion offered in which students may choose instead to take a class in secular ethics. The AP article is here: Russian pupils to have choice of religion, ethics.

Another article reports:
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has supported the idea of introducing a course in religious culture and secular ethics at general schools, and for assigning priests to the army and navy.

Medvedev said at a meeting on Tuesday that he had received letters from the leaders of Russia's main religions, proposing that subjects aimed at the younger generation's spiritual and moral upbringing be introduced at general schools, and priests attached to the army and navy.

"I have made up my mind to support both ideas - the idea of introducing a basic course of religious culture and secular ethics at schools. I also think it worthwhile to assign priests representing Russia's traditional faiths to the armed forces on a permanent basis," Medvedev said.

"I am ready to support both decisions," the president said.
12,000 students will be a part of the pilot project which is "a Kremlin effort to teach young Russians morals in the wake of a turbulent period of uncertainty following the collapse of the officially atheist Soviet Union."

It's great to here someone touting the obvious point that we must ground children in ethics if we are to find it taking root in their lives and this is something churches can do well. I like the separation of church and state, but if we don't have our children learning a moral basis in school, then we do have to make up that lack at home and by getting them connected to Christian formation in their church home. Right?

peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor

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7/23/2009

Awareness





Think of prayer less as an activity for God and more as an awareness of God. Seek to live in uninterrupted awareness. Acknowledge His presence everywhere you go.
—Max Lucado

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7/22/2009

Christian Duty & Heads on Stakes


Two news items from the Church of England caught my attention of late:

Organ Donation
In the first, the Church of England has declared organ donation to be a Christian duty. It is part of a unified attempt for Christian, Jewish and Muslim religious leaders in that country to speak out plainly that major world religions support organ donation as a wonderful gift of life. The BBC article is here: Clergy appeal over organ donors. There is an ever increasing need for transplant organs. I am an organ donor as is my wife and daughter. I agree with this appeal, knowing that when a Christian dies, the last thing they need is their kidneys or liver or whatever other parts may give life to another person. Organ donation is yet another way we can show concretely our love of neighbor.

Heads on Stakes
The second news item from Britain is just odd from our standpoint here. The problem is the 9 million British pounds of lead stolen from Church of England Churches. In an eye-catching headline was the report: Vicar wants thieves' heads hanging on stakes. The article says in part,
An outspoken vicar says he would like to see the heads of thieves who stole valuable lead from the roof of his historic church stuck on stakes.

The Rev. Jim FieldThe Rev Jim Field made the controversial comment after £20,000 of the metal was snatched from St George’s in Ivychurch, Romney Marsh, this week.

He told Kent on Sunday: “I know as a vicar I should not be saying this, but if they catch whoever did this, I want their heads on stakes outside.

“I can’t believe this church has been attacked again.

“In this latest attack we have lost lead worth £20,000 and because we had it specially marked the insurance company will only pay out its maximum of £5,000.

“That means we now have to find all the extra money from somewhere else.

“I used to be at a church in north Kent and that was hit by arson. We have also lost peg tiles from a porch recently.

“I know as a man of the cloth I shouldn’t be asking for heads on stakes, but that is what I think.”

According to the national church insurer Ecclesiastical, lead thefts accounted for 2,500 claims last year worth a total of about £9 million.
As King of Peace has regularly suffered from theft over the years, I am sympathetic, but would never have gone so far. Even when the tires were stolen off our tractor, all I could think was that I wouldn't want to put my soul in peril for used Vietnamese tractor tires. Folks who steal from churches need prayer for than their heads spitted on pikes. Right?

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

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2 Comments:

  • At 7/22/2009 9:10 AM, Anonymous kenny said…

    I can understand the anger and the desire that criminals get justice (from the human justice system) but "heads on stakes" doesn't seem like even an "eye for an eye" justice for this crime. God will handle both the criminals' and the priest's immortal souls, though.

     
  • At 7/23/2009 8:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Well, I am pretty on the fence with this one. I doubt extremely weathly people would steal lead or tiles or tractor tires. Yes it sucks insurance wont pay out, and yes it sucks all around for the church. But really, stealing stuff like that is no small feat, so I doubt it was for fun. Perhaps the thiefs in question really needed it? Of course the what is subject to debate. But I figure if you dont build your church with resaleable materials you wouldnt have this problem. It doesnt excuse the Vicar to being extreme with it, usually you dont expect a modern Holyman to talk of heads on stakes. Maybe the Vicar will publish a do-it-yourself Witch hunting kit, with matches and a stake.

     

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7/21/2009

Trust That God Is Enough

For as long as you can remember, you have been a pleaser, depending on others to give you an identity. You need not look at that only in a negative way. You wanted to give your heart to others, and you did so quickly and easily. But now you are being asked to let go of all these self-made props and trust that God is enough for you. You must stop being a pleaser and reclaim your identity as a free self.
—Henri Nouwen (1932-1996)

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7/20/2009

Communion on the Moon

Buzz Aldrin steps down to the surface of the moon
You will read and hear much today of what happened 40 years ago on July 20, 1969. Neil Armstrong's "One small step for man" will be replayed again and again. But minutes after the lunar landing and prior to the moonwalk, Lunar Module pilot Buzz Aldrin radioed back to earth,
Houston, this is Eagle. This is the LM pilot speaking. I would like to request a few moments of silence. I would like to invite each person listening in, whoever or wherever he may be, to contemplate for a moment the events of the last few hours, and to give thanks in his own individual way.
Silence was all he could request. In his autobiography Aldrin would write, "NASA was already embroiled in a legal battle with Madelyn Murray O'Hare, the celebrated opponent of religion, over the Apollo 8 crew reading from Genesis while orbiting the moon at Christmas." A presbyterian layman, Aldrin arranged to take reserved sacrament (already blessed bread and wine) with him to the moon. He had a Ph.D. in astrophysics from MIT, and he was a man smart enough to think of no better way to offer thanks for the moon landing. He had permission to bring the sacrament on board as long as he didn't talk of it for two decades. He would later write,
In the radio blackout, I opened the little plastic packages which contained the bread and the wine. I poured the wine into the chalice our church had given me. Buzz Aldrin on the moonIn the one-sixth gravity of the moon, the wine slowly curled and gracefully came up the side of the cup. Then I read the Scripture, "I am the vine, you are the branches. Whosoever abides in me will bring forth much fruit....Eagle's metal body creaked. I ate the tiny Host and swallowed the wine. I gave thanks for the intelligence and spirit that had brought two young pilots to the Sea of Tranquility. It was interesting for me to think: the very first liquid ever poured on the moon, and the very first food eaten there, were the communion elements.
This day marks the 40th anniversary of that communion on the moon. The following prayer for space travel is appropriate for this day:
Creator of the universe, whose dominion extends through the immensity of space: guide and guard those who seek to fathom its mysteries. Save us from arrogance lest we forget that our achievements are grounded in thee, and, by the grace of thy Holy Spirit, protect our travels beyond the reaches of earth, that we may glory ever more in the wonder of thy creation: through Jesus Christ, thy Word, by whom all things came to be, who with thee and the Holy Spirit liveth and reigneth, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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7/19/2009

Hope

Hope has two beautiful daughters.
Their names are Anger and Courage.
Anger with the way things are and
Courage to be sure they do not remain the same.
—Augustine of Hippo (354-430)

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7/18/2009

Masks



The latest from Combat Stress Productions and King of Peace.

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7/17/2009

A Final Report from the Diocese of Georgia Deputation


“Jesus Christ is Lord” and “The heartbeat of the Church is mission.” These are two of the many statements approved of by the 76th General Convention of The Episcopal Church you are unlikely to hear reported in the media. Why? Because they are not controversial. Controversy sells newspapers and generates viewers, but it does not grow churches.

The Worship of the Church
One of the joys of the General Convention is the daily Eucharist with more than 2,000 people soaking in the rich and spirit-filled liturgy and music. The Sunday service with closer to 10,000 worshippers included the ingathering of $7 million in donations to the United Thank Offering over the past three years turned in symbolically by the diocesan UTO chairs with Carolyn Gay representing the Diocese of Georgia. We also benefited from the excellent daily meditations and prayers on the floor of the House of deputies. Through all of our legislative sessions we felt the presence of the Holy Spirit.

The Mission of the Church
In spite of what you may have heard, a push toward mission at the local level was the focus of this convention. This was done with an eye toward subsidiarity. The opposite of hierarchy, subsidiarity is the principle that tasks and decisions should be made at the lowest possible level.

When it comes to the mission of our church, the most appropriate level is usually the congregation, where the primary work of the church happens and at the diocesan level for diocesan-wide efforts, such as youth programs and camp. Seeing the heartbeat of the church as mission, the convention encouraged further participation in God’s mission in the coming year.

One resolution said the convention “challenges dioceses and congregations to participate in one new or ongoing project that engages in a relationship with another part of the Body of Christ in the world.” We look forward to the Diocese of Georgia responding to this call to mission.

Public Narrative on Mission
Part of the convention involved training in Public Narrative offered by Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. The idea is that in very brief form (just four minutes) one learns to tell a story of a point of decision or something else in your own life, that connects then to the group you are addressing to bring them into the story, showing how it is part of their story. Then one finishes with the now piece which gives the call to action. This form was used for bishops and deputies to connect emotionally on the mission of the church. We were challenged to come up with a plan of action and to tell our stories in such a way as to encourage others to join us in mission.

Approving the Budget
A major responsibility for every General Convention is to set the budget for the coming three years. This convention faced the concern of responding to God’s call to mission while dealing with the reality of declining revenue. Responding to these changes within our church, The Episcopal Church budget was cut by roughly a quarter, effecting virtually every line item, but not cutting support to appointed missionaries of our church. Acknowledging that dioceses also face budget constraints, diocesan asking is to be reduced by one percent a year for the coming three years.

Your Deputation’s Votes
Your Diocese of Georgia bishop and deputies have sought to faithfully represent you in this convention. This does not mean that we have tried to weigh how the decisions we make will be viewed back home. That approach would be fruitless as every yes or no vote cast on issues of great substance will disappoint and hurt someone in our diocesan family. There is no one view in our diocese on the issues that face our church as a recent poll conducted as part of the search for our next bishop makes clear.

Instead, your deputation has sought to read carefully the exact text being considered, rather than just whatever words will make headlines. We have prayed and struggled over how to account for the best decision on a complex resolution with the rather imprecise and clumsy tool of a yes or no vote.

In the end, it seems that our votes probably have accurately reflected the opinions of our diocese in that the lay votes have been in line with majority of lay people in south Georgia, while the differing votes of the clergy deputation has reflected the more mixed views of the clergy of our diocese.

Know this first and foremost. This convention’s actions will have no effect whatsoever on the worship in your congregation this Sunday, or on any of the other Sundays. This is true whether you and your congregation are pleased or angered when you read of the work done by this once-every-three-years meeting. You will all continue to worship together, love one another and seek to follow Christ as individuals and as a congregation. And our common mission in response to our common faith will go on. You were not all of one mind on all that faces our church before this convention and you are not all mind now. But you can and will be one in the ways that matter most when you worship and serve our Triune God together.

That said, we hold ourselves accountable to you for our actions and will report here how your deputation acted on the resolutions, which are generating interest around The Episcopal Church and beyond. For all of these, we encourage you highly to take the time to go to view the full text of the resolutions available online at http://gc2009.org/ViewLegislation/ This is a bit time consuming, but our votes were based on the full text of the resolutions and not how others, or even we ourselves may characterize the topic.

Your deputation voted 4-0 in both lay and clergy orders against C023, which asked The Episcopal Church to work to oppose the Defense of Marriage Act, which defines a marriage as a union of one man and one woman. The resolution was approved by the House of Deputies, but was rejected by the House of Bishops and referred to a committee. While there were some differing opinions among us, with some certainly in favor of anything to assist in full civil and human rights for homosexual persons, the text of the resolution itself called on all Episcopalians to work on this issue. We could not support any resolution which seemed to indicate that this is a matter about which people of good conscience are all in agreement.

Resolution C056 called for the church to develop, over the next three years, theological and liturgical resources concerning the blessing of same gender relationships and allowed for a “generous pastoral response” in areas where those unions are sanctioned by civil jurisdictions. This resolution did not endorse same gender blessings, but called for study and allowed for a pastoral response, which some may interpret as permission to allow for the same. Your lay deputation voted 4-0 against passage of this resolution, with the clergy 3-1 in support of passage. The House of Deputies concurred with the House of Bishops who first approved this resolution.

Resolution D025 was a lengthy resolution with seven resolves, which has already been reported on variously by the media. The stated intent was to commit our denomination to the Anglican Communion while describing honestly where The Episcopal Church is in its understanding of issues of sexuality. To understand what was and was not approved, it is preferable that you read the full text of D025 at the link above. The lay order of our deputation voted 4-0 against, with the clergy vote divided 2-2, making our clergy vote a no vote.

You will see by this record that we were not one in our votes. Yet we assure you that we were not divided. Every vote that your deputation cast was with the best interest of our diocese at heart. Through the whole convention and in every vote your deputation saw Christ working through one another. This is no small matter. We trust that you too will find our prayerful consideration of the matters to have been worthy of the faith in Christ that is in us, even if you cannot agree with each of our decisions.

Final Thoughts
None of us agreed with all of the decisions on the 361 resolutions acted on by the convention. We trust our Lord to affirm our church where it has acted rightly and to correct our church where we err. In the meantime, we return to the diocese we love, where we are of one mind about our one mission to know Christ and to make him known in our lives and through the mission of our church. We thank you for your prayers for us during the General Convention and join you in your prayers for our congregations and their members as we move ahead in our life together.

We were honored to serve you for two weeks of meetings, which make up the convention. We were joined in this by others from the Diocese of Georgia including some who volunteered at the convention and others taking part in the Episcopal Church Women triennial meeting which met alongside us.

All of us, who met here, are excited about where God is leading our diocese in mission. We look forward to returning to Georgia and rejoining you in that work.

Clergy Deputies:*
The Rev. Frank Logue
The Rev. Billy Alford
The Very Rev. William Willoughby III
The Rev. Jim Shumard
The Rev. Sister Deborah Magdalene

Lay Deputies:
Molly Greneker
Buck Crosby
Bill Steinhauser
Charlie Hough
Bill Bruce

*The Rev. Joy Fisher also served as a clergy deputy, but had to return home early and did not have the opportunity to read and sign on to this text. The Rev. Sister Deborah Magdalene was deputized by Bishop Louttit to serve as an alternate and in that capacity did serve on the floor for debate.

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  • At 7/18/2009 12:52 PM, Anonymous Jeff said…

    CAUTION! You are entering an Episcopal "spin zone". This is damage control pure and simple.TEc has just severed itself from the rest of the Anglican Communion and has become a schismatic entity.It has abandoned the faith once delivered to the saints!KJS has declared personal salvation a heresy and the bishops and deputies homoerotic acts a sacrament. Frank+ the diocese deserves to know exactly how the clergy delegates voted,especially since two are candidates for bishop.Unfortunately i believe you are right,nothing will change on sunday because much of the leadership will spin and obfsicate.

     
  • At 7/18/2009 4:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Tried to connect to the legislation using your url embeded in the comments to see what the Co23 really said.....couldn't access and got an error message. I want to read it, in it's own language, and see how each voted.

     
  • At 7/19/2009 7:49 PM, Blogger King of Peace said…

    Jeff,

    The note above is not an attempt at spin, but there is a lot of that flying around and so no one can blame you for seeing things that way. The report above was an honest attempt for the ten of us representing the Diocese of Georgia (four deputies lay and clergy and one alternate in each order) to sit down together and provide a report to the diocese which represented us all. We wanted to give that report as soon as possible and did so within an hour of the adjournment of the House of Deputies and before any of us left the building. That means it was also before we heard how what was done was being spun left and right.

    As you asked, I feel my votes are on the record. I signed my name to them and they were posted in the House of Deputies. The record shows I voted against all three of the resolutions specifically referenced above. Others may tell and explain their own votes as is appropriate.

    peace,
    Frank+

     
  • At 7/20/2009 11:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Spin? Are we getting merry-go-rounds? Hey, so when can we expect to get highspeed lazors for the light sign I am building that says "Jesus Saves!"? Just thought I would ask? Its can be big enough to see it from the surface of Mars. Then we can minister to the Martians, wouldnt that be great?

     
  • At 7/20/2009 11:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Jeff has a point though, we really need to know... so when are we getting these Lazors? Or the Merry-go-rounds, honestly?

     

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Forgiveness


Forgiveness is an unnatural act.
—Philip Yancey


Forgiveness is not just an occasional act:
it is a permanent attitude.
—Martin Luther King, Jr.


Forgiveness is the answer to the child's dream of a miracle by which what is broken is made whole again, what is soiled is made clean again.
—Dag Hammarskjold


Forgiveness is the final form of love.
—Reinhold Niebuhr


Forgiveness is the giving, and so the receiving, of life.
—George MacDonald


Forgiveness is the remission of sins. For it is by this that what has been lost, and was found, is saved from being lost again.
—Saint Augustine of Hippo


For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
—Jesus Christ in Matthew 6:14

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  • At 7/17/2009 11:08 AM, Anonymous Kay Guest said…

    Please take the time out of your busy day and look up the name Louis Zamperini. He wrote a book called DEVIL AT MY HEELS, have you heard of it? My Sunday School class read it and discussed it using the theme of forgiveness. (He was a Japanese POW in WW2 and later met his captives face to face and FORGAVE them.)

     

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7/16/2009

Improve the World

Anne Frank

How wonderful it is that nobody
need wait a single moment
before starting to improve the world.
— Anne Frank (1929-1945)

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7/15/2009

A Report from the Front Lines of Mission


The following is my religion column for Friday's issue of the Tribune & Georgian.

I am writing from Anaheim, California. I came to this town, better known as the home of Mickey Mouse and the rest of the Disney characters, to serve in The General Convention of The Episcopal Church. If you attend a church that is part of a denomination, rather than an independent congregation, then your church has one of these immense meetings as well. While this report from a meeting of Episcopalians might not seem quite so relevant to my Southern Baptist, United Methodist and other friends, our common interest in proclaiming our faith in Jesus Christ is why I am writing.

I am rather fond of saying that I don’t like organized religion, but that it beats disorganized religion. Attending days of committee meetings, hearings and legislative sessions, all lasting from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. for 11 days in a row would tax this theory as much as anything I know.

Being in a denomination also puts a congregation and its members in a large family. Like any large family, there will be relatives to whom you wish you weren’t related. I won’t hold y’all accountable for all the people and statements made by those in your denomination, and I hope that y’all will trust me as a fellow Christian and do the same when it comes to my Episcopal family. Know that we believe Jesus to be the way, the truth and the life and that we seek to worship and serve him as our Lord.

Yet, here I sit on one of the front lines of the mission of the Kingdom of God. Yes, I know that the real mission of those who follow Jesus is to reach out to a lost and hurting world. Our task in following Jesus is to share the good news of the love of God to the outcast, lost and lonely. And our job is to feed the hungry, visit those in prison, and to do those other tangible acts of love that make real the love we feel for our neighbors in response to the love we have for God.

With all that said, it is within denominations that we find the resources to carry out these ministries. Many non-denominational churches do find ways to be about mission both in Camden County and around the world. Often the scope of this work is astounding. But the abilities of tens of thousands of churches banded together open the doors to forwarding the Gospel and its ministries in ways not possible for an individual congregation. Look back at the tremendous work accomplished by Baptist missionaries as a result of the many congregations who supported that effort and you see what I mean.

So here at the General Convention, the 1,000 church leaders setting the budget for our denomination for the coming three years are on the front lines of mission. The budget is the tool we use to combine our efforts in mission. As we set our priorities for how we spend our dollars, we set our priorities for carrying out the ministries to which we feel God has called us.

Times are tight for our denomination and I will bet that finances are tight in your church’s larger family as well. Truth be told, the times are almost certainly challenging for your congregation too. It’s the shrinking finances of local congregations that tighten the purse strings of denominations.

Just as with city and county governments who can do any and all programs in times of growth, but must set new priorities when the economy slackens, so too with churches. Now is the time when we as denominations and congregations must set our priorities anew. With fewer dollars to spend, we have to decide, of the many good things we can do and should support, which we will actually support financially.

I am convinced that God has not called us to do less, when times are tight, but to do more. Our friends and neighbors are more in need than ever. Ask your pastor. He or she has been dealing with more and more of your neighbors in need of assistance for food, housing, and so on. Camden County has lots of hurting people. Our neighbors need us. And because of the slow down in economic growth, our great non-profit groups are suffering as well. Just ask Camden House or Habitat for Humanity of Camden County or Missions for Camden. They need your time and money now more than ever.

Here I sit in California, deciding later today on many budget matters for my denomination. It is the front line of mission work. There you sit in Camden County needing to decide how you will spend the ten percent of your household’s money that is your tithe to God. You too are on the front line of mission. The decisions you make in your own finances and in the finances of your congregation will say more about what you believe about God than any statement of faith could ever accomplish. In fact, in many ways that matter, your checkbook and your calendar are your own personal statement of faith. What will you do in the coming week to advance the kingdom of God using these tools of time and money which God has so graciously given you?

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  • At 7/16/2009 4:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Father Logue, I am reading the last sentence of your third paragraph. Actually, there are members of the Episcopal family, including most famously Presiding Bishop Schori, who believe that Jesus is a way, a truth, a life, just one among many, not the Lord of lords. Sad but true.

     
  • At 7/16/2009 4:56 PM, Anonymous Anglican Girl said…

    The first comment should read "Anglican Girl said."

     
  • At 7/16/2009 5:30 PM, Blogger King of Peace said…

    There are members of any denomination who may say many things, but our denomination holds and has not changed its belief in Jesus as The Way, The Truth, and The Life and that no one comes to the Father, except through him. This fits with scripture and the historic creeds of the church, which are our normative statements of faith. Not wanting to argue, but to be clear.

    peace,
    Frank+
    The Rev. Frank Logue, Vicar

     
  • At 7/16/2009 6:10 PM, Blogger SueM said…

    We've been keeping a keen eye on what is going on over there here in UK. Interesting to see the pictures etc

     

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Love in Action

But what do you think? A man had two sons, and he came to the first and said, "Son, go work today in the vineyard." And he answered, "I will not"; but afterward he regretted it and went. The man came to the second and said the same thing; and he answered, "I will, sir"; but he did not go. Which of the two did the will of his father? They said, "The first."
—Jesus Christ in Matthew 21:28-31a


When its all said and done, more will be said than done.
—Anonymous


Promises can never take the place of performance. Fine words are never a substitute for fine deeds. Let's be a people of fine words and fine deeds
—William Barclay


Let’s not talk about love. Let’s not sing about love. Let’s put love into action and make it real.
—Clarence Jordan in the Cotton Patch Gospel version of I John

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7/14/2009

An Update from Anaheim


The Diocese of Georgia deputation on the floor of the House of Deputies

A major shift in action is taking place here at The General Convention as most committees have finished their hearings and their consideration of resolutions. Those perfected, committee approved resolutions are making their way to either the House of Bishops or the House of Deputies for debate and a vote. To be passed as an action of the convention, any resolution must get passed in the same form by both houses. The House of Deputies started today three days behind as debate has taken longer than anticipated. But it does take time to work through weighty issues prayerfully and with due consideration.

For example, we considered today a major revision to the calendar of Lesser Feasts and Fasts, considering adding very many persons as examples of a faithful life in which others see Christ. Personally, I find it to be far too much to be considered at once and an unhelpful change to our calendar. Debate showed I was not alone in this opinion. Many would want a slower process as we have had in the past, rather than accepting en masse such a large group of persons for our calendar of saints. But my view was felt by only about a third of the House and some actions related to the calendar have passed, though the bulk will be considered this afternoon. If passed, it is a trial revision to be revisited after three years of usage by the church. And that is as it should be.

Know that your Diocese of Georgia deputation is reading resolutions carefully and responding with the prayer and care one should expect for this gathering. We appreciate your prayers for our work and that of the House of Bishops.

Over at the Diocese of Georgia's General Convention page there are more frequent updates from the deputation.

peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, C1 Deputy
Diocese of Georgia

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The Devil's Beatitudes

The following is from the Third Order Society of Saint Francis Australian Province Newsletter, Eastertide 2009:

Blessed are those who are too tired, busy or disorganised to meet with fellow Christians on Sundays each week.
Their hearts are not in it.

Blessed are those who enjoy noticing the mannerisms of clergy and choir.
Their hearts are not in it.

Blessed are those Christians who wait to be asked and expect to be thanked.
I can use them.

Blessed are the touchy. With a bit of luck they may even stop going to Church.
They are my missionaries.

Blessed are those who claim to love God at the same time as hating other people.
They are mine forever.

Blessed are the trouble-makers.
They shall be called my children.

Blessed are those who have no time to pray.
They are easy prey for me.

Blessed are you when you read this and think it is about other people and not about yourself.

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7/13/2009

The Best Parable

The best parable has always been
the life of a human being who is able
to listen to GOD and live with Neighbors.
—John Wesley

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7/12/2009

Grow in Grace

Alongside the General Convention of the Episcopal Church is the triennial meeting of the Episcopal Church Women. Their theme this meeting is Grow in Grace. Today, our diocesan offering for the United Thank Offering was given by Carolyn Gay at the main Eucharist for the two meetings (ECW and GC).

Pictured here is Marcie Cherau of the Diocese of Georgia who is on the National ECW Board. She is a nominee for National ECW President. The election will be held tomorrow (Monday, July 13).

Meanwhile, the House of Deputies has a light day this Sunday. We worshipped with thousands of others from the nearby area in the main Eucharist. Next we head into a 2-6 p.m. afternoon legislative session. Ahead are weighty issues including whether to drop or change the current moratoria in place on Same sex blessings and ordinations, tough decisions about the budget in tightening economic times, and much more. We are now one day behind on legislation and needing to roll up our sleeves and get to the hard work of this meeting.

Please pray for your Diocese of Georgia deputation and the whole convention.

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Faith


[Faith] is not a well-fluffed nest, or a well-defended castle high on a hill. It is more like a rope bridge over a scenic gorge, sturdy but swinging back and forth, with plenty of light and plenty of air but precious little to hang on to except the stories you have heard. All you have to do is believe in the bridge more than you believe in the gorge.
—The Rev. Barbara Brown Taylor

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7/11/2009

A Terrible Text


In tomorrow's Gospel reading Mark's Gospel tells us of how King Herod came to behead John the Baptist. Joanna Adams has written on this for The Christian Century, saying in part:
Though Jesus is never mentioned, the key to understanding why this sorry saga shows up where it does in Mark’s Gospel is its relation both to the growing fame of Jesus and the success of his disciples. On their very first missionary journey, the disciples had "cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them" (Mark 6:13). Just as in the opening verses of Mark the beginning of Jesus’ ministry is linked to the work of John the Baptist, so here, John’s death foreshadows Jesus’ death. Just as John’s willingness to speak the truth to power leads to his being taken prisoner and suffering a terrible death, so it will be with Jesus. Herod will become Pilate. The means of execution will be a cross rather than a sword, but the end will be the same. And so it will be for many of the early followers of Jesus, readers of Mark, who will be imprisoned and die for the sake of the gospel.

Those who follow Jesus in any age must never become carried away with the naïve notion that faithfulness to God will ever be easy. The road is rocky. Resistance is real, as is the fecklessness of many who are entrusted with political power and who are threatened by any authority other than their own. It is not that they are all bad or all good. It is that when things get tight, expediency and people-pleasing usually carry the day

And, of course, there is the capacity for evil that can flourish in any human heart, regardless of outward beauty or grace. There is also the ferocity of wounded pride and the wish for revenge. These are too real.

Over the desk in my study is a small framed photograph taken in the early 1930s. My grandmother Anna, a preacher’s wife who died before I was born, sits in a wicker rocker, a shawl around her ample shoulders and a Bible open in her hands on her lap. Whatever is the opposite of Herodias and Salome was my grandmother. I wonder what she thought about the beheading of John the Baptist. I am sure she knew the story. And I think she also knew that it would take more than a decapitation to stop the truth of God, more than a crucifixion to stop the Son of God, more than persecution to stop the mission of God.

All the important guests at Herod’s birthday party would never know what my grandmother knew—that after Herod was sealed in his grave, you and I would be thinking about John the Baptist and rejoicing that gospel power was still on the prowl.
The full text of her reflection is online here: A Terrible Text.

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7/10/2009

Messiah


When we listen to the exalting music of Handel's Messiah, we usually assume it was surely written by a man at the pinnacle of his success, but that is not the case. In fact, it was written after he had suffered a stroke. It was written while Handel lived in poverty amid bleak surroundings. He had suffered through a particularly deep night of gloom and despair over his failure as a musician, and the next morning he unleashed his creative genius in a musical score that continues to thrill and inspire us generations later.
—Peter Rhea Jones

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7/09/2009

Public Narrative

The church does not have a mission,
the mission of God has a church


Built into The General Convention are four training sessions on public narrative. 1,000 bishops, deputies and guests are taking part, including both the Georgia deputation and our Episcopal Church Women conference representatives. Pictured here is a group from the Diocese working together in practicing the first of the three stages (which are The Story of Self, The Story of Us and The Story of Now).

Marshall Ganz of Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government is leading the training. Ganz says, "Narrative, story telling, is how we learn to access the courage to confront the unknown, to make choices to act upon them, choices informed not only by our head, but by our hearts," He goes on to say, "Narrative, then, is a way we can communicate our own values, experience the values that we share with one another and find the courage to confront challenges to those values that require action. Through public narrative, we learn to link our own calling to others, and action, in other words, it is a way to put Ubuntu into action"

The idea is that in very brief form (just four minutes) one learns to tell a story of a point of decision or something else in your own life, that connects then to the group you are addressing to bring them into the story, showing how it is part of their story. Then one finishes with the now piece which is the "How do we respond? What do we do now?" action component.

The training is in response to a resolution from the last convention which called for a dialogue on mission in the church. We are using this public narrative training to focus on mission.

Today, each person at our table shared a two minute story from their life which could be used in this technique. It was amazing how much we learned about people we already know through just these short vignettes. The training will continue on Saturday afternoon and will conclude Monday night.


Here, telling the story of our own conference center Honey Creek is that center's director Hamp Stevens. He is at the Episcopal Camp and Conference Center booth in the exhibit hall. Note the picture of the Honey Creek chapel in the lower left hand corner of the banner (click on this picture, or any of the photos on this page, to see a larger version of it).

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Hearings


Much of the work of The General Convention of the Episcopal Church is currently taking place in committees. In the committee rooms, committees made up of appointed bishops, priests, deacons, and lay persons hold hearings to get input from all here and then work to perfect the resolutions before them before bringing those resolutions to the convention floor.

Pictured here is Bishop Miguel Tamayo Zaldívar who is the interim bishop of Cuba speaking about the effect the U.S. embargo has had on the congregations in that diocese. The National and International Concerns Committee also heard testimony from Bishop George Packard, who overseas our military, prison and other chaplaincies, on torture and just war. In all that committee heard testimony on seven resolutions last night.

Meanwhile, other committees were considering things like establishing closer Episcopal connections to Presbyterians and the Church of Sweden as well as the hot button issue of Marriage Equality.

Comittees worked into the night last night and begin again this morning at 7 a.m., then a legislative session begins at 8.

peace,
Frank+
C1 Deputy, Diocese of Georgia

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Giving Me Needs




But the church is not only about meeting my needs but also about rearranging my needs, giving me needs I would never have had had I not come to church.
William Willimon (1946- )

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  • At 7/09/2009 8:00 AM, Anonymous kenny said…

    Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.
    - Psalm 37:4

    The meaning kind of changes when you realize the alternate meanings of the words. Sure, God can give you what you desire but He can also provide the desires themselves...

     

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We Have Lied to Ourselves



Tonight, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams kicked off a panel discussion on the global economic crisis with a 20-minute reflection. He said that we have lied to ourselves about our place in the universe. We have pretended that we could have limitless growth in a limited universe. The Archbishop called on all persons of faith to name the economic crisis as a crisis of truth and to advocate for truth and transparency in all our dealings.

Then he highlighted how a Christian response would go deeper than others because of the theology of the Body of Christ. He said, "We are made so that what is given is given to us so that it may be given in turn."

He went on to point out that the word wealth originally referred to well being, and certainly not merely to the accumulation of financial resources. He asked us to consider what it would mean to recapture that ideal, saying that it would involve recognizing (among other things) that the economy is a wholely owned subsidiary of the environment.

The panel discussion then went on with three young adults offering perspectives from their work in the context of working in varying contexts within the church where issues have come to be more critical in the wake of the economic crisis. It was a thought-provoking evening discussion that wiped out chance for supper (until late) as it was followed by hearings in all committees on a wide variety of issues.

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7/08/2009

General Convention Photos


The view of the House of Deputies in action from the Diocese of Georgia's tables.


The National and International Concerns Committee in action.


A snail seen in front of the Marriott, seemed an appropriate metaphor for the convention which is getting going slowly. Though a freight train may be a better metaphor as it starts slow and then gets barreling along.

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Boots on the Ground

Thanks to Julius Arial, I am online in Anaheim, California at the 76th General Convention of the Episcopal Church. The once every three years meetings have taken place since 1785. The Diocese of Georgia is represented by our Bishop, Henry Louttit, in the House of Bishops. In the House of Deputies, I am serving as the chair of the deputation. The other clergy deputies are the Rev.s Billy Alford, Joy Fisher, and William Willoughby, with the Rev. Jim Shumard here as both a convention volunteer and a clergy alternate. The lay deputies are Molly Greneker, Buck Crosby, Bill Steinhauser, and Charlie Hough with Bill Bruce serving as the lay alternate.

We are now underway with committee meetings and hearings on resolutions taking up most of the day. There is also a daily Eucharist service and legislative sessions. A host of resolutions are being considered. I am serving on the Dispatch of Business Committee, which functions like air traffic controllers for the meeting. Molly is on the missions committee and Billy+ has been involved with preparations for the convention as well as in committee work. There are others here from the Diocese of Georgia as volunteers, as visitors and also as participants in the Episcopal Church Women's triennial meeting, which runs concurrently.

My lunch break is over and I am heading back to the National and International Concerns Committee to assist them in getting their legislation through the convention (traffic control). We will work to get some updates from myself and others from the Diocese of Georgia. If possible, I will move those to the Diocese of Georgia website. In the meantime, know that the Diocese of Georgia has "boots on the ground" and we are here praying, listening, commenting and voting on matters that can greatly effect our denomination. Please pray for us as we seek to faithfully represent the diocese we love.

peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, C1 Deputy, Georgia

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Bless us with discomfort

May God bless us with discomfort
at easy answers, half truths, and superficial relationships,
so that we may live deep within our hearts.

May God bless us with anger
at injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people,
so that we may work for economic justice for all people.

May God bless us with tears to shed for those who suffer
from pain, hunger, homelessness and rejection,
so that we may reach out our hand to comfort them
and to turn their pain into joy.

And may God bless us with enough foolishness
to believe that we can make a difference in the world
so that we can do what others claim cannot be done.
—A Franciscan Benediction

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7/07/2009

Ubuntu

As I wrote yesterday, I am in Anaheim, California for The General Convention of The Episcopal Church. The theme for this once every three years meeting is "Ubuntu, I in You and You in Me." It was spelled out at length in a book by the Rev. Micahel Battle sent to deputies in advance of the convention. Those of us in the Diocese of Georgia know Michael Battle as he has spoken to us in our diocesan convention and taught at Honey Creek.

Michael did the Church a service in traveling to South Africa to study with Archbishop Desmond Tutu and learn from his battle against Apartheid. From this, he came to write about the theology of Ubuntu, a difficult to translate word that reveals the African thought that I am because we are. I find my identity in us.

It is a very African way of approaching both philosophy and theology and it is deeply grounded in scripture. Christianity has always been a team sport and even solo Christians (hermits for example) know that they are "a part of the main" to borrow a phrase from Anglican poet John Donne.

So I am at The General Convention, fully entering into my own small role in this large meeting, knowing that I need the Body of Christ (those with whom I agree as well as those who make me embarrassed to be Christian) and it is in that Body that I myself am found. Because of Christ's presence in y'all, I am.

peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue
Clergy Deputy, Diocese of Georgia

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  • At 7/25/2009 2:05 PM, Blogger Ben D-Ray said…

    There's an operating system, based on Linux, that is based on this philosophy. It is named, strangely enough, Ubuntu: ubuntu.com. Because the users are friendly and helpful, it is the easiest Linux operating system and the only one that works on my computer. I used the Wubi installation so I wouldn't have to deal with partitions.

     

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7/06/2009

We Join in Council

Wisdom cries out at the gates:
let those who seek to discern wisely
sit and reason together in my presence!
And so, Holy One, we join in council here.
In the urgent concerns and in the clutter of our agendas,
may your Wisdom be our guide,
that we may love kindness, do justice,
and in humility desire only you;
we pray in the name and through the Spirit
of Jesus, the Beloved. Amen.
Today, I am traveling to Anaheim, California. I am going there to serve through July 18 as a clergy deputy for the Diocese of Georgia in the once every three years General Convention of The Episcopal Church. Bill Bruce is also making the journey for Bill to serve as a lay alternate deputy to the convention. Bill will be on hand if a member of the lay deputation needs to leave. He will also spell deputies out so that we maintain a full deputation on the floor for the full meeting.

Having served as an alternate deputy in 2003 and a deputy in 2006, this will be my third General Convention. This time, I will serve on the Dispatch of Business Committee, which is involved in the behind the scenes work to keep the business of the convention flowing. It should be an interesting view of things. It will involve as schedule of working typically from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Meeting regular since 1785, the General Convention of the Episcopal Church will have 1500 clergy and lay representatives called deputies and alternates and nearly 200 bishops. It is a massive event with 8,000 to 10,000 total attendees, including exhibitors, visitors, guests and media.

I will be busy, and internet access of $12.95 a day and beyond my reach, but I have set this blog (which auto posts to Facebook as well) so that it will continue to give daily updates of quotes and the like so that this blog will continue even while I am taking part in the councils of the Church. Official news of the meeting will be posted here: Episcopal Life coverage. I will post a photo and note or two if time permits, but will make fully and prayerfully taking part in my work in California the priority.

peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue
Clergy Deputy, Diocese of Georgia

The prayer above was written by the Rev. Jennifer Phillips.

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7/05/2009

Holy Toilet Bowl?

Today at 2:30 p.m. a memorial service for Robert Jolliffe, a part of the congregation at Magnolia Manor for whom Bill Bruce played each Wednesday and King of Peace provides fifth Sunday services. Below is a poem that blends Bob's faith and his playful side:

I never thought of a toilet bowl as a metaphor for Holy,
but look it up, the point comes out as preaching makes it clearer,
Consider pure: and consecrated, set apart for specific purpose.
And look at pure, "free from defilement, chaste and unpolluted"
Attributes into which our faith is deeply rooted.

It takes a military mind set, to fight a spiritual war
The weapons carried into the fray must be kept in working order.
Metaphors are often used in war's vocabulary.
They stick in ones mind to make it quick
and keep the worrier wary

Keep in mind the toilet bowl, keep it clean and ready
dispose of all that isn't God and hold a course that's steady
Take the waste of sin and shame and soil that slows life's Battle rush.
Deposit it in your Holy bowl
and don't forget to flush!

Bob Jolliffe
11-23-98

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7/04/2009

Christ cries out from the Gospels

In tomorrow's Gospel reading, Jesus goes home to Nazareth and finds many unwilling to accept him as a teacher and miracle worker, much less as the promised Messiah. I find it interesting to read much older commentaries on the scripture to see how those centuries before us viewed the Gospels. Symeon the New Theologian (949-1022) preached on this passage in a way that sounds quite contemporary in some respects:
Brothers and Fathers, many people never stop saying—I have heard them myself—“If only we had lived in the days of the apostles, and been counted worthy to gaze upon Christ as they did, we should have become holy like them.”

Such people do not realize that the Christ who spoke then and the Christ who speaks now throughout the whole world is one and the same.

If he were not the same then and now, God in every respect, in his operations as in the sacraments, how would it be seen that the Father is always in the Son and the Son in the Father, according to the words Christ spoke through the Spirit: My Father is still working and so am I?

But no doubt someone will say that merely to hear his words now and to be taught about him and his kingdom is not the same thing as to have seen him then in the body.

And I answer that indeed the position now is not the same as it was then, but our situation now, in the present day, is very much better. It leads us more easily to a deeper faith and conviction than seeing and hearing him in the flesh would have done.

Then he appeared to the uncomprehending Jews as a man of lowly station: now he is proclaimed to us as true God. Then in his body he associated with tax collectors and sinners and ate with them: now he is seated at the right hand of God the Father, and is never in any way separated from him.

We are firmly persuaded that it is he who feeds the entire world, and we declare—at least if we are believers—that without him nothing came into being. Then even those of lowliest condition held him in contempt. They said: Is not this the son of Mary, and of Joseph the carpenter?

Now kings and rulers worship him as Son of the true God, and himself true God, and he has glorified and continues to glorify those who worship him in spirit and in truth, although he often punishes them when they sin. He transforms them, more than all the nations under heaven, from clay into iron.

Then he was thought to be mortal and corruptible like the rest of humankind. He was no different in appearance from other men. The formless and invisible God, without change or alteration, assumed a human form and showed himself to be a normal human being. He ate, he drank, he slept, he sweated, and he grew weary. He did everything other people do, except that he did not sin.

For anyone to recognize him in that human body, and to believe that he was the God who made heaven and earth and everything in them was very exceptional.

This is why when Peter said: You are the Son of the living God, the master called him blessed, saying: Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you—you do not speak of something your eyes have seen—but my Father who is in heaven.

It is certain therefore that anyone who now hears Christ cry out daily through the holy Gospels, and proclaim the will of his blessed Father, but does not obey him with fear and trembling and keep his commandments—it is certain that such a person would have refused to believe in him then, if he had been present, and seen him, and heard him teach.

Deacon Jim Purks preparing to read the Gospel at the closing Eucharist of the diocesan convention

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7/03/2009

The Death of a Celebrity

Last week was a tough one to be pop culture icon. For those who believe things come in threes, we marked the deaths of Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson. But wait, there’s more. The difficult-to-categorize, hard-to-ignore pitchman Billy Mays also died in the same week.

Our culture seems to idolize youth and doesn’t spend much energy on contemplating our mortality and yet talk of these deaths has been everywhere. It was impossible to escape the endless stream of words on the Internet, on TV, and in print devoted to these deaths. Not since the nearly almost simultaneous funerals of Mother Teresa and Princess Diana, have we focused quite so much on a grouping of celebrity deaths.

I certainly understand the media frenzy around the death of Michael Jackson. The King of Pop had always been good to tabloids and magazines. Following the twists in turns in the musician/dancer/businessman’s life has always sold lots of copies of publications ready to dish the dirt. None doubted that he was talented and all knew that he was eccentric, possibly criminally so as he once stood trial for pedophilia.

The media was bound to make the most out of the news of Jackson’s untimely death. Media outlets all live off increased viewership whether online, on the air or in print. And how could they ignore the deaths of the well-known late night sidekick Ed McMahon and ad man Billy Mays or the end of 70s icon Fawcett who had so publically fought against cancer?

The focus on these four persons, reminded me of a Titanic mistake from the early part of the last century. When the unsinkable ocean liner went under taking 1,490 persons to any icy grave, banner headlines in newspapers led with the death of millionaire John Jacob Astor.

The theologian William Barclay noted that one prominent newspaper’s coverage of the sinking of the Titanic was devoted almost entirely to Astor’s death. Only at the end of the front-page story were the other deaths mentioned.

Barclay said, “Such is the attitude of the world and many public media, but not God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord is concerned about every single person and no person is lost in the crowd, however unimportant that person may be in the eyes of the world.”

The news media will never get it right and give coverage to good, honest, hardworking people in proportion to the celebrities. News doesn’t work that way. Of course some exceptions will occur, such as the coverage of Mother Teresa’s passing. But this is because she too was famous. The death of a person you never heard of only becomes news when they die in some notable way, such as at the hand of a serial killer. Yet the Bible teaches that not one person is lost from the sight of the maker of heaven and earth.

Jesus put it this way, “Not even a sparrow, worth only half a penny, can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it. And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to him than a whole flock of sparrows” (Matthew 10:29-31).

There is a Jewish collection of sayings from two hundred years before Jesus not found in the Old Testament that speaks to this as well. The Wisdom of Ben Sirah gives insight into Jewish thought at the time and it has a lovely passage which speaks to the recent celebrity deaths.

“Let us now sing the praises of famous men, our ancestors in their generations. The Lord apportioned to them great glory, his majesty from the beginning. There were those who ruled in their kingdoms, and made a name for themselves by their valor.”

Ben Sirah went on to write of those famous for their intelligence, and for ones famed for speaking prophecies, or wise teaching, or musical ability or the gift for writing, and others who were “the pride of their times.”

Then Ben Sirah moved beyond those famed in their day, “But of others there is no memory; they have perished as though they had never existed; they have become as though they had never been born, they and their children after them. But these also were godly men, whose righteous deeds have not been forgotten.”

Notice that when he moves to those of whom there is no memory, he says that they were godly and their righteous deeds have not been forgotten. This is a reminder that though no people remember the good done, God does not forget. God remembers those whom history forgets and those who never achieved fame of any kind.

This is a helpful corrective to the obsession with celebrity deaths. The fame and public attention earned in this life do not weigh even a feather’s weight on the scale of God’s justice. Michael Jackson or Ed McMahon or any other celebrity stand before God as will you and I and any other person. Whatever we and they do or do not do, God will handle in divine justice. This is not our problem to solve.

I know that there are many good people who died during the same week as these celebrities. Deaths are often not noted beyond friends and family. There are others who die alone, found later by a landlord, the police or someone else. Yet even these deaths are no less seen by God than the death of a celebrity.

The occasion of these deaths of famous people is a reminder of how right Barclay got it when he wrote, “The Lord is concerned about every single person and no person is lost in the crowd, however unimportant that person may be in the eyes of the world.”

(The text above is my religion column for today's issue of the Tribune & Georgian.)

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  • At 7/03/2009 9:07 AM, Anonymous Rhonda said…

    “The Lord is concerned about every single person and no person is lost in the crowd, however unimportant that person may be in the eyes of the world.”

    Thank you, thank you, thank you Father Frank for reminding us that we are not lost in this world.

     

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7/02/2009

Memorial Garden Work Continues


The first two interments in the memorial garden took place this past Sunday, but work continues. Today, Al and Brandon were laying block for the wall, to be used for those who do not wish to be intered in the ground. When the block is completed, it will be covered in tabby to match the church. Bronze plaques will cover the openings for those interred in the wall. While the Walk of Remembrance is complete, there will remain for some years to come room for additional memorial bricks to be purchased and swapped out for plain bricks in the walk (see below).



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