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.


Blog Archives

This Irenic Thoughts blog is no longer active, but remains posted here as an archived conversation of 2,185 posts. Thanks for the roughly 350,000 visits to this blog over the past 5+ years!

Many of the posts from this blog made it into A Season of Healing while the sermons and religion columns shared here are also found in:

The proceeds of the above books created by King of Peace, continues to go the discretionary fund of King of Peace, assisting those in need in Camden County. Use the promo code SUMMERREAD305 and get 10% off plus free shipping.


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There are no goodbyes

The following is my religion column for the Friday, June 18, 2010 issue of the Tribune & Georgia.

When my wife, Victoria, and I hiked the Appalachian Trail, we enjoyed a lot of single-serving friendships. As we were hiking north for six months, we often ran into someone hiking south. We would sometimes just nod and keep walking, but more typically a brief conversation would ensue. And in these brief snippets we would often just learn the basics of who someone was, where they were coming from and how far they were going.

We did use these short meetings to find out about folks further up ahead and to share news of others we had passed along the way. Then one such single serving friendship was transformative. A hiker I will never forget, whose name we never heard appeared out of a dense fog one morning to say that he decided that these brief exchanges didn’t have to start at the beginning “Hi, I’m Frank and this is my wife, Victoria.” Instead, we could begin in the middle. Then without a name or other introduction, he shared how the morning was more science fiction than trail fact and people just appeared from the fog as if transported from no where. With that, he vanished into that same fog and we learned to take conversations further, faster if we wanted to really benefit from our short-lived exchanges in days full of hiking. That briefest of conversations left us changed for the better.

This is my farewell column for the Tribune and Georgian and as such, the last brief conversation we will have through this newspaper. I am thankful for you, gentle readers. Many of you have been with me for the more than 200 columns I have written. We have been through a lot together since my first column “How much sin is too much to forgive?” debuted in this space on June 22, 2001 to wonder aloud about American terrorist Timothy McVeigh’s last minute confession.

Since then, the worldwide tragedy of September 11 and smaller, closer to home grief of dealing with the paper mill closing and taking with it hundreds of jobs as well as the many other events large and small have taken up our thoughts and been in our prayers. We have considered cloning, stem cell research, just war theory and the ethics of torture alongside forgiveness, stewardship and how to live more fully into the faith that is in us.

Writing a column can be a one-sided affair, with me off writing in my little office in my home in Sugarmill and y’all reading wherever you make time for the paper. There is no reason that the writing and the reading need intersect. But it has never worked that way in Camden County. I have often been stopped at Publix or WalMart or Blockbuster to continue a conversation begun in this column. Many readers have shared with me favorite thoughts, including the columns that were hung on the refrigerator or laminated. I have also enjoyed it when someone emailed to let me know how the follow-up discussion went in a Bible Study at their church.

Rather than a column in which I write and you read, the column evolved into something more like a conversation. The word conversation comes from Latin root, which literally means “to turn about with.” The same root gives us “conversion.” Real conversation is a genuine back and forth in which those conversing change direction together. I thank you for being conversation partners with me and for the ways you have helped me to change direction over time. I hope that even if you haven’t agreed with me, that you were given pause to think about your own beliefs.

In this idea of conversion through conversation, we see that it has not just been a conversation between writer and reader, but the Holy Spirit has been in the conversation as well. For my words alone do not have the power of conversion unless God uses my words to get one’s attention and then do something with them beyond the ability of words alone.

This is just like what happens in a sermon. Each week, more than 100 pastors prayerfully consider how to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with those in the pews in Camden County. Certainly the God-given skill of the preacher comes into play. But even more important is what God does with the words as they are spoken.

I have never spoken to a pastor about preaching who has not been able to tell of a time when someone referred to something not said outright in the sermon, which proved significant to the hearer. What is heard is not identical with what is preached and thanks be to God that this is so. The rest of what happens in sermon (and the most important part) is what the Holy Spirit does in the heart of the hearer. And so it is with the readers touched by something they read from me in this space.

Now this conversation comes to an end. I begin work July 1 as Canon for Congregational Ministries of the Episcopal Diocese of Georgia. That mouthful of words means that I will share with our bishop in the task of tending the clergy and congregations of south Georgia. I feel called by God to this vocation. Yet every call to something is a call away from something else. In part, it is a call away from this conversation carried on through the newspaper. Someone new will take over this column, just as I took up where Bob Moon left off. The conversation continues with a new person writing alongside my conversation partner Donna Grice.

But this is not goodbye. There is no such thing as goodbye in the Kingdom of God, in the sense of a final parting. For as the faith we have is not in vain, we will see one another again, if not on earth, then in heaven. It is only farewell we say, or ta ta for now. For if the words I have written have been used by God to good effect, then we will be together again.

(The Rev. Frank Logue was the founding pastor of King of Peace Episcopal Church in Kingsland, serving that congregation from its beginning in 2000 until this past Sunday.)



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The Logues Final Sunday

Founders Frank and Victoria Logue finished their ministry at King of Peace today.

The bell choir played, there was a lot of great music and Vera and Cole were initiated into Christ's body, the church, through the sacrament of baptism. Father Doug Renegar, who will serve as the interim rector, also officiated in the service. A covered dish followed with lots of wonderful food.



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Let us begin

King of Peace's first public event. 16 people attended Questioning Your Faith at the Rec Center in September of 2000, when it ended 8 weeks later, more than twice as many were present.

On his death bed, Saint Francis of Assisi told the gathered members of his Orders of Friars Minor,
Let us begin, brothers, to serve the Lord our God for up to now we have made little or no progress.
I quoted this before in a sermon Let Us Begin as King of Peace entered its fourth year. We had just completed reading through the lectionary and so in three years of worship we had read through most of the Bible. We read that day from Paul's Letter to the Thessalonians, the earliest Christian writing. On this, my final day after a decade at King of Peace, those words come back to me. I finished that sermon referring to Francis and Paul,
worship in the house where King of Peace first met on our present propertyEven though they had made much progress, there was room for improvement. The same is true for us. Each of us, no matter where we are on our own spiritual journey, has room to grow. If you don’t think you have much room to grow in your knowledge and love of God, that is the surest sign that you do have progress to be made. Francis understood this. That’s why he could look back and say that they had made little progress by the ends of his days. But, rather than being filled with despair by this, I can imagine the Francis who could write so eloquently about joy, could feel joy at the challenge of room for growth.

King of Peace has seen a lot of growth in the three years since we first started the lectionary cycle of readings. We have grown from 30 that first Sunday to have had as many as 107 in worship. We have grown in awareness in our community as King of Peace has become well known, especially considering the size and age of us as a church. A 7,900-sq. ft. building has taken shape out back and will soon be home to us, the church. We have seen lives transformed by the power of the Gospel we preach and the sacraments we celebrate. We have rejoiced together over births, in more than 20 baptisms at weddings and numerous meals. We have mourned together in the wake of the tragedy of 9-11 and more personal tragedies of deaths within our families.

Yet, with all the things God has done and is doing in our midst, it is not the time to get a big head or to rest on our laurels. Compared to all that God has done for us. Compared to all God has in store for us, we have but just begun.

There is so much more room to increase and abound in love for one another. There is vast room for change as God strengthens our hearts through our common worship and in our daily lives. Now is not the time to feel that we have arrived. Now is the time to feel that we have so far to go, and to see the joy in that realization.

Let us begin, sisters and brothers, to serve the Lord our God for up to now we have made little or no progress.
The full text of that sermon is online here: Let Us Begin.

We have progressed much in this decade, but God will always have more for us. One day, King of Peace will look back on this past decade and it will be not of the congregation's best time, but of its beginnings, which enabled even greater things later. I give thanks to have been used by God for this time. I also give thanks that greater days lie ahead.

Closing Out Irenic Thoughts
This blog (which also posts to Facebook) is nearly finished. I have shared Irenic Thoughts for more than six years and am thankful for the ministry. I will close it out with my religion column for this Friday's Tribune & Georgian. Thanks for reading. It's been a great journey together!

The Rev. Frank Logue, Founding Rector
King of Peace Episcopal Church

King of Peace on Easter 2010 with more than 200 in a single worship service and more than 300 total for Easter.



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Go in Peace to Where?

In tomorrow's Gospel reading, Jesus is at the home of a Pharisee for a dinner when Luke's Gospel recounts,
a woman in the city, who was a sinner, having learned that he was eating in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster jar of ointment. She stood behind him at his feet, weeping, and began to bathe his feet with her tears and to dry them with her hair. Then she continued kissing his feet and anointing them with the ointment. Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw it, he said to himself, "If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what kind of woman this is who is touching him—that she is a sinner.
I preached a first-person sermon on this text found here: Go in Peace, to Where? The sermon is dramatized in the video below created by Brandon Watson with Craig Wells playing the role of the Pharisee. For those seeing this blog in Facebook, the video is found here:

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Community Farewell

On Thursday, June 10, King of Peace hosted a community-wide farewell for its founders, the Rev. Frank and Victoria Logue. The event included a prayer by the most hated Bishop Scott Benhase, who hired Frank away to work as his Canon. Bishop Benhase had a prior commitment at 8 p.m. on St. Simons, but made time to kick off the evening. There were lots of tributes including Girl and Boy Scouts, Habitat for Humanity, Camden Chamber of Commerce, Dueling resolutions from the cities of Kingsland and St. Marys presented by their mayors, and a bit of roasting by long-term King of Peace members. All in all, it was a night of giving thanks for all that God has done in our midst these past 10 years.



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Prepare Now for the 7 Weeks of Advent

In 2009, King of Peace took part in an experiment toward a Seven-Week Season of Advent, instead of the typical four Sundays before Christmas. We learned how things could have gone better and I want to share those learnings as I think the experiment is worth widening. I am an evangelist for a 7-week Advent and want to encourage you to consider giving the expanded season a try.

The expansion of Advent is not some out-of-the-blue idea as Advent was once seven weeks long and remains so for the Orthodox Church (Russian and Greek Orthodox, etc.) to this day in an unbroken tradition. The goal is to reclaim the time for preaching and teaching about the second coming as was traditionally part of the season and remains so in truncated form now. I know how how counter-cultural Advent already is and find the expansion back to its historic length to be something worth considering, especially as the Revised Common Lectionary readings fit this without making any change.

How a 7-Week Advent Was Done Last Year
Our liturgy as we ended the Sundays after Pentecost was Rite II Prayer A with chairs which face the front very much as pews would. Green frontal on altar and ambo.

As we moved into Advent, we had no cloth on the ambo and the altar was moved to the center of our worship space with chairs arranged in a circle around it. The 4-foot square altar then has no one-sided frontal, but a blue cloth batiked in white by Anglicans in China. As we have a 36-foot wide Chartes-style labyrinth on the floor, this means the altar was in the center of the labyrinth and the round shape to the chairs feels organic and not forced.

We used Rite II Prayer B Penitential Eucharist. The prayers of the people are changed weekly, adapted from those in Liturgy Training Publication's Intercessions for the People. We used a seasonal blessing for Advent from the Book of Occasional Services. We also used liturgist Bill Petersen's seven Advent collects written for this project.

In previous years, we has an Advent wreath on the way into worship and replaced that with a seven candle stand so to show the same season is lengthened. That stand was on the altar but in retrospect, I would certainly move it off the altar, top a table as one enters the nave.

We do not have a choir and music is by piano except on fourth Sundays when it is guitars, dulcimer and drum. I used O Come, O Come Emmanuel in the spot of a hymn of praising with verses 1 and 2 in week one, verses 1 and 3 in week two and so on.

Preaching reflected seasonal themes found in the texts each week.

Music was a huge challenge, but we made it work. This needs improving over time. Some hymns from the Lutheran Book of Worship helped us expand available music on the fly.

We experienced not one single complaint, but that may be the nature of starting from scratch 10 years ago as much as anything. Positive comments have been few and centered on our beginning the church's anticipation before the craziness of Christmas season got cranked up. Largely I think the 7-week Advent experiment was greeted with an attitude of enjoying it mildly while being mildly indifferent.

What I Would Change
I think that my wife, Victoria, hit on the issue in naming the distinction between Lent and Advent. For Episcopalians, Lent involves some changes to both corporate worship and one's daily life, where Advent involves solely changes in corporate worship. This would need to change in order to transform a congregation's experience of Advent.

In past years, we have pushed materials we created on Celebrating Advent in the Home (see ). As we have a lot of young families, getting them to do a nightly devotion helped cross this divide. I didn't have the time this year to create as a seven-week version, and so did not promote that in-home devotion. A seven-week Advent, needs other ways to encourage a sort of Adventen discipline, hopefully different from Lent. This would take thought and preparation, but could be important. I think suggesting that families take on an Advent discipline specifically designed to counter the rampant concumerism of the season is the direction to go.

What do y'all think? Are you game to gear up for Seven Weeks of anticipation? Why not make Advent even more counter-cultural at a time of year when the message of the culture (Buy More Stuff to Be Happy) most needs to be overturned.

The Rev. Frank Logue, Advent Evangelist



  • At 6/11/2010 4:25 PM, Blogger The Bosom Serpent said…

    Fr. Frank,

    Speaking from my admittedly biased experience restoring the full season of Advent is a wonderful idea. As you say the Orthodox tradition has maintained the full Advent with times of prayer and fasting not dissimilar to Lent.

    I believe this change sends a very powerful message and is certainly part of the antidote to the complete commercialization of Advent.

    Back to the future. Very cool.

    In Christ,

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