Continuing Home

The ongoing saga of a Continuing Anglican church home, as seen by a member of the laity.

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Church School Drama: Were You There?

The St. Bartholomew's Church School Players As noted in an earlier posting, our active Church School gave a dramatic presentation today at the time when a sermon would normally be given. They've been doing this on occasion for at least the past five years (there is a picture of one such on the website dating from 2001), and they just keep getting better.

This Sunday it was the Crucifixion and Resurrection and various of Jesus' miracles (Lazarus et al) as they might have been reported by TV journalists (on TV network F-I-S-H), with interviews of eyewitnesses and others.

This time the drama was spiced with the clever and humorous periodic insertion of TV-like ads for products including pomegranites, pottery, and even "Noah's Cruise Lines" ("Book your spring trip now!"). And other humor appeared, such as the interview with the second-in-command to Pontius Pilate noting that the Roman soldiers had been sent to the beach in Lebanon for a rest "for health reasons."

The kids enjoyed it as much as the adults. When they returned to the Fr. Leen Education Building afterwards one asked, "When are we going to do this again?"

I'm sure our church school teachers do not get praise commensurate with the time and effort they put in. But I'll say right here: Bravo!

Matins: sung -- with music!

Due to the uncertainties of getting Kathy down the stairs and out to my car (along with wheelchair and walker), we arrived first this morning. We got her wheelchair situated and then started preparing for the service. I noted that the organ was unlocked and open, very unusual.

It was Kathy who spotted the little notes posted here and there on the organ. Looking at them, she speculated that we were going to have a substitute organist.

The picture became clear when Nancy arrived and started setting up the organ. Fr. Daniel had in fact arranged for her to play -- which was a huge relief to me! Although my voice was not as bad as I'd feared it would be, getting the right pitch would still have been difficult.

Between Nancy's playing and Kathy's voice, our sung Morning Prayer went very well. Thank you, Nancy, Kathy and Fr. Daniel!!

Afterwards Audrey (with us at St. Bartholomew's for the third time) commented that it's been decades (40 years?) since she last heard Morning Prayer. This seemed like a homecoming for her, she was so delighted -- as were those others of us who remember sung Morning Prayer from so long ago: up until 1968 in my case -- almost a 40 years' absence but as Audrey observed, you never forget it.

Update 5/09: A little investigation by Fr. Daniel and myself turned up the fact that he had sent me a note saying that Nancy would play, but it appears I accidentally deleted it before reading. I've come close to this a few times in Gmail and caught myself, but it seems I may have actually accidentally deleted messages also. There are elements of the Gmail user interface that could be improved.

Saturday, April 29, 2006


Made it home from the D.C. area in relatively good order, albeit with a bug that presents itself with sore throat, occasional cough and gravelly voice. The bulletin for Sunday spells out a sung Matins and as the Lay Reader designated to lead the service (both Fr. Daniel and Deacon Ed are away) in my present voice this would be a disaster, but fortunately Kathy, our organist, will be able to come. In her wheelchair --she's still unable to play the organ-- but she's got a strong singing voice. And Ranjit is a natural when it comes to reading the lessons; his voice will provide a welcome relief from my croaking.

I am also looking forward to watching the Church School's drama, Were you there?, to be presented in lieu of a sermon. These dramatic presentations are one of the delights of our church; they're not only well done and imaginative, they sometimes tell parts of the stories we (or at least I) forget.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

The Baptism of A.J. Hall...

...was what I wanted to write about, but about the time it took place I was on final approach to LAX (Los Angeles) on my journey from Seattle to the Washington D.C. area for the week. Yep -- yours truly is on the road again.

But stay tuned. This week I'm hoping to visit "O Street", our national cathedral, and to hook up with another Anglican blogger, "St. James the Average".

Update: The latter visit has had to be canceled.

Update: Couldn't make it to O Street, either. The day's meeting ended too late.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

APCK Yahoo Group!

Probably the province's best-kept secret, revealed to me today by "James the Thickheaded," is the existence for the past six years of the Yahoo Group "APCK," the Anglican Province of Christ the King discussion group: "This is a discussion group for the people and clergy of the Anglican Province of Christ the King, a traditional Episcopal province in the United States. All people interested in the preservation and spread of the gracious form of historic Anglicanism are invited to join us!"

I note that it has been in existence for 6 years now. (I also note that some members' e-mail inboxes are bouncing, including the one for "Fr. Hewett". Moderator, some work is needed...)

The Last and Final Reading

Today is the last and final reading from "A Time to Turn: Anglican Readings for Lent and Easter", by Christopher Webber, which our Lenten Wednesday Evening Class began reading what seems like an eternity ago. It comes from a sermon by Phillips Brooks on the Resurrection and, like so many readings in this little book, short and powerful:

"...What an amount of reverent and devoted study has been given to strange doctrines, such as the doctrine of the historic fall of man, or... There is no region in which all this is more true than in speculation about the life which lies beyind the grave. Nowhere does the difference between the healthiness of simplicity and the unhealthiness of complicated and elaborate curiosit so visibly appear. ... The dead are with God. O you who miss even today... the dear, familiar faces, believe and be more than satisfied with that."
A Christian's faith may be tested by its simplicity.

It has been an interesting, educational, contemplative and revealing journey this Lent and Easter. Thank you, Fr. Daniel.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Easter Sermon

I think I have mentioned Fr. Samuel Edwards before on this blog; if I remember correctly what I was told, he preached at Fr. Daniel's ordination. In any event, Will at the Prydain blog frequently posts Fr. Edwards' sermons.

Will has just today noted Fr. Edward's Easter Sermon and I quite agree with Will that: "This is quite an interesting sermon... There is a lot to think about here." Take a look.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Bread of the World, Wine of the Soul

I have been very remiss in not pointing out here Fr. Daniel's ongoing and very interesting series on the 1940 Hymnal appearing in the Mandate. Part Three has just been published online.

The Hymnal 1940: An Introduction, Part 1a and Part 1b
The Hymnal 1940: Sanctifying Time, Part 2
Bread of the World, Wine of the Soul, Part 3.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Easter Sunday, and looking ahead

A joyful and musical Easter Mass at St. Bartholomew's today! The Girls' Choir sang beautifully, though their numbers were reduced a bit because some families were away for Spring Break. Tenor Timothy Keller sang a solo anthem titled "God is My Shepherd." And our Rector's wife Josephine played the organ (our regular organist, Kathy, is in the hospital), as she does when the Girls' Choir sings.

I forgot to ask about the 6 AM Sunrise Service and the continental breakfast afterward, due in part to the very busy Parish Hall after the service. I think we had about 50% more communicants than usual at the 10 AM service today, including a number of visitors.

At least I had the presence of mind to arrange to discuss the April 30th service with Fr. Daniel this week. Next Sunday morning I'll be flying to the D.C. area (thus missing A.J.'s baptism) and returning (Deo volunte and the Delta pilots don't go on strike) Friday night, with a little time to unwind before leading Morning Prayer on Sunday the 30th.

Morning Prayer... both Deacon Ed and Fr. Daniel will be away that Sunday. Josephine is pursuing her doctorate in music and for that program she will be giving the fourth of five piano recitals at UC Santa Barbara. She's been playing at various venues locally in preparation; Thursday she performed at Kathy's hospital, though Kathy was unable to come down to hear her.

In any event, Fr. Daniel had noted we'll be singing Morning Prayer. But I think it will be a cappella, with Josephine away and Kathy out of commission for the organ. I hope we have some strong voices...

(Hopefully Ranjit will be able to come and read the lessons.)

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Easter Even

Tonight's service was Easter Even, which proceeded in four phases.

We started the Lighting of the New Fire back in the Narthex with all lights off. Fr. Daniel lit a candle which I carried forward into the church, stopping at the font (at the rear of the pews), midway through the pews, and at the altar rail; at each pause Fr. Daniel said "The Light of Christ" and we all responded.

Then we went into the Lighting of the Paschal Candle, which began with Fr. Daniel singing the Exultet. At the appropriate time I lit the Paschal Candle from the candle carried in, then with a taper the other candles were light, then the taper was carried down the aisle and parishioners' candles were lit. (This was different from last year, where the parishioners' candles were lit on the way in. I think I like this even better; the drama of the initially lone light going forward, spreading in the Sanctuary then back down the pews.)

At the end of this phase, the Sanctuary and then the Nave lights were brought up, reversing my experience of the evening before with a [click!]half-on for each.

We then did The Ante-Communion (Holy Communion up to the Gospel lesson for today), followed by the Renewal of Baptismal Vows.

As one of our members noted afterward, "It was so wonderful to be there last night when the lights went out, and then again tonight when they came on again." (I hope I remember that right, Dee!) I agree.

Friday, April 14, 2006

The Office of Tenebrae

This evening we held the first Tenebrae service that I recall, here or anywhere. Maybe it was especially powerful because I had watched "The Passion of the Christ" earlier today. (I saw it in the theatres twice, again last year... and it still shocks me into a heightened awareness of our Lord's suffering. And I still have to look away at times.)

It was my job to put out the lights at various points through the service, starting with the Narthex, Nave and stairwell lights. (Now I wish we'd bought quieter switches back when we were building the church, 20 years ago.) The dimmer for the Nave lights went down just so far... then [click!] off. Oh well.

Next were the Sanctuary (flood)lights. A bit better action on the dimmer but there too was a point where it just went [click!] off.

Finally the candles went out -- except one, which I took into the Sacristy.

Fr. Daniel had explained the symbolism of the apparent vistory of darkness beforehand, and though we still had full (gray) daylight outside it was amazing to observe the feeling this evoked. (Then again, I had watched "The Passion" earlier today.)

Despite our preparations, I was left with a puzzle when taking the lone lit candle to Sacristy: which Sacristy door to use? We have pocket doors each side of the Sanctuary. Fr. Daniel and I had entered and would normally leave by the Gospel-side door. But there's a window there and it would be bright. There was no window on the Epistle-side door and it would be dark... so I chose that. (So, Fr. Daniel, if you read this you'll know why I did what I did.)

The congregation was requested to depart in silence, and largely did.

Those who missed this service really missed something special.

Scheduling services

I noted earlier this week that our services for the Triduum (the three days preceding Easter) are all set for 6 PM:
Maundy Thursday 6PM Holy Communion
Good Friday 6PM Tenebrae
Easter Even 6 PM Service of Light, Renewal of Baptismal Vows

This is new, and different from what we've done before, though we've had no set pattern: Fr. Leen held vigil from noon to 3 PM on Good Friday and Fr. David (with his flair for the dramatic) a service unlike any I'd seen before. Fr. David held vigil at 11 PM, as I recall, which made me a bit groggy on Easter.

It's difficult for such a wide-flung parish in an area with traffic as bad as Seattle's to set a time that's good for all. Many of us work, some don't like driving at night (or in our infamous traffic), so 6 PM is probably the best compromise.

The timing for Tenebrae was also set for the lighting. The lights in the church will wind up all off, but there will still be enough light from the windows to read by.

I missed the Maundy Thursday service (I was visiting my wife in the hospital after work), but will be there for the rest of the services). Hopefully there was a good turnout last night, and will be tonight and tomorrow.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

No News and Good Preaching

I had hoped to report on the first Mens' Group meeting this morning, but I was unable to attend. My wife went into the hospital Tuesday for a little back surgery, a pretty common operation after which the patient usually goes home the same day. But she developed a lot of pain in her legs afterward so they did not release her until last evening. Following a spill from which she needed help to get back up, it was clear I needed to stay home.

I will probably miss Palm Sunday too. But I have no doubt that if I ask Fr. Daniel will e-mail me a copy of his sermon -- and I will look forward to it, because (in my humble opinion) he is developing into quite the preacher.

I'd never really understood until recently the "evangelical" focus on preaching, perhaps because the preaching I've heard until now rarely connected so well. It's hard to define just what it is, but Fr. Daniel has been hitting that perfect note a lot lately. He's neither the thundering preacher, the pedantic teacher nor the ethereal beseecher -- but his delivery is direct, well-paced and thoughtful, fitting well with his thought-provoking sermons. I find a lot of similarity between his sermons and those posted online by Fr. Samuel Edwards, which are frequently re-posted on Prydain.

I should note that Deacon Ed has also proven to be quite the preacher too, with a style quite different from Fr. Daniel's: forceful without overdoing the thunder, and excellent teaching also. Both get my attention and hold it; a key element in good preaching, I would guess.

Two good preachers in one church; we are very blessed.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

A long time 'til Advent...

The fifth and last of our Lenten Wednesday night series wrapped up last night, with an interesting overview of the life and legacy of George Herbert (1593 - 1633), Anglican priest and poet.

Interestingly, we learned, his poetry was not known until after his death, but today two of our (1940 Hymnal) hymns are Herbert poems set to music, and his texts are frequently found in anthems sung by Anglican and other choirs. The class concluded with a study of the poem using "metaphysical conceits," which we learned about in the class on John Donne two weeks ago, title "Love", from The Temple, a collection of his poems.

It's been an interesting series, even if I missed almost half the classes due to being away on business. This is something new for St. Bartholomew's, and one interesting element is just observing who turns out regularly for this. It's an interesting cross-section from people who've been here for decades to those who've been here for months, though Seattle traffic does tend to "select" for those who live/work closer to the church.

It was sad, and not only Fr. Daniel noted this, to have the series come to an end. We had a different series last Advent, and it's Fr. Daniel's plan to continue to conduct these during Advent and Lent. As my wife noted, this seems to be cementing the church family relationship in our little parish.

But there will be other activities ahead, between now and then. On Saturday the Mens' Group will meet for the first time; for Matins, breakfast and grounds work party. It's been sunny for a few days here, and every Seattleite instinctively knows what that means:
    Rain! (The forecast says Saturday.)

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

A chance encounter?

Yesterday my wife was in the hospital recovering from a minor surgery. After the afternoon shift change a new nurse, R., came in and introduced herself. My wife and I have seen a bit of the world but we'd never heard a name like hers, so my wife asked. In excellent American English R. responded, "I'm from Nigeria."

"Nigeria!" my wife and I both exclaimed. My wife went on to explain, "We've been praying for Nigeria, that the killings in the north might stop and that the government corruption would be rooted out."

She didn't go on to explain how our attention was initially drawn to Nigeria, through our watching the antics of the Episcopal church's leaders and the turmoil they've caused in the Anglican Communion. Some have even surmised that the leadership of the world-wide Anglican Communion might pass from the Archbishop of Canterbury (England, Rowan Williams) to the outspoken Archbishop of Abuja (Nigeria, Peter Akinola). There are, I might add, far many more Anglicans in Nigeria alone than in North America and Britain combined, though I don't have the numbers at hand.

(I have not mentioned any of this before because it's outside the scope of this blog -- as in most churches, probably few of our congregation know what's happening outside the walls of our own church. Besides that I'm a chronicler, not a pundit; I'd have nothing to add to the discussion.)

In any case, R. noted that she'd come to the States 11 years ago; the conversation then turned to nursing and R. went on with her work. She was quiet, but we sensed a sweet spirit.

A few hours later, exhausted from a long day, I left and Fr. Daniel and little son Danny arrived for a visit. Fr. Daniel must have been wearing his clericals because the visit sparked another conversation during which, as my wife reported later, R. said, "In my country I was an Anglican."

But in her 11 years here she has not found an Anglican church home. I remember the two or three months before we found St. Bartholomew's; I cannot imagine 11 years, in a strange country as well.

Fr. Daniel extended an invitation to R. to come visit us at St. Bartholomew's. Although I suspect our form of worship may be a little different from what she was accustomed to, and I do not know if she has a church home now, but... who knows? Maybe this could be a first step towards her coming home to an Anglican church in America.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Laetare Sunday (Mothering Sunday, 4th Lent)

One aspect of last Sunday seemed to slip by us almost unnoticed: the Fourth Sunday in Lent is "Mothering Sunday," as noted by our Ordo Kalendar displaying the date in rose. Although I think this has been mentioned at St. Bartholomew's before, it has not been in the detail that showed up in a couple of Anglican blogs this week, here and here.