Continuing Home

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

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Lenten Class with snow

In what seems to be becoming a litany of its own, our first Lenten Class was beset by snow. And not just snow but "popcorn snow" -- what looks like tiny little snowballs falling from the sky. We get this from time to time but rarely, and I have never before seen it fall as anything but the lightest of flurries.

Not tonight.

Headed the few miles north from Redmond to Woodinville on Avondale Road, after work, I began to notice snow on rooftops, then on the ground alongside the road, then on the road, and then the road became ice. Took me longer than I'd anticipated to get to church; I arrived a minute or two after Evensong was supposed to have begun, though I was the first arrival after the McGraths.

After Evensong we hardy few (I didn't count) went down to the Parish Hall for a light supper -- a very tasty soup (thank you Debra!), a choice of salads and bread/cornbread (neither of which, we were advised, was exactly what it seemed -- the cornbread was gluten-free and there was something about the other bread and I may have it all wrong, but it all tasted good).

Tonight we learned the background of "The Gospel According to John", in many different ways -- including such things as its frequent appearance in the Lectionary of the 1928 Book of Common Prayer, its difference from the "Synoptic Gospels" (Matthew, Mark and Luke), and at least some of the conjectures spawned by the same.

Assignment for next week: Read chapters 1-6, and particularly 6 because next week's class will focus on that. We simply don't have the time to go verse by that we did in a previous class, noted here in many posts as "A Long Way Through Ephesians." Fr. Daniel has outlined our course the next few weeks.

After class I took a look outside... and the popcorn snow was coming down very heavily. Thankfully once I left Woodinville I saw only flakes on the way home, but it started up here at home an hour ago and is continuing steadily.

At least if it winds up being a snow day tomorrow, I'll have plenty of time for my reading assignment.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

The Litany on Lent I

Today, this being the first Sunday in Lent, we sang The Litany. Although Fr. Daniel had provided the music in the bulletin, it was a good thing that of us had practiced it last week. Easy enough, but there were a few places where we departed from these responses and instead simply repeated after Fr. Daniel. But it all went well.

And more of the service than usual was sung, according to the bulletin from The 5th Communion Service by Leo Sowerby (hymal 799 Sanctus and Benedictus, 749 Agnus Dei).

The Girls' Choir performed an anthem before the Offertory. This anthem was rather a departure from the usual fare for our Girls' Choir -- they sang a Spiritual arranged by Harry Burleigh, (see also Wikipedia and The Harry T. Burleigh Society), "De Gospel Train." Great job -- though it was hard to keep from laughing the first time at the train-whistle toots from the organ!

And now that it is Lent, with the Ember Days (days of fasting and praying for the ordination of clergy) falling this week, Fr. Daniel announced the Lenten Ember Days Care Package for our seminarians. Through next Sunday, non-perishable food and gift items (on the Seattle / Pacific-Northwest theme is favored -- though I wonder: might they be getting tired of salmon by now?) can be brought to the church and left for the package.

An Anglican Catechism

Last Wednesday I saw an item tacked on the bulleting board -- a notice of an upcoming Catechism class, "a Class for Inquirers and those who wish to be Confirmed or Received, based on the historic Book of Common Prayer." Fr. Daniel said he had about 10 people (!) signed up for this, and yesterday announced his "deer in the headlights" feeling, between organizing this class for a wide range of ages and the Wednesday evening Lenten study class. It's a lot of work; please put in a prayer for him.

Fr. Daniel also asked that longtime members of the parish sign up to provide an "afternoon tea" for the class, and to be in attendance for that class in support. This sounds like a great idea.

The classes will be held Saturday afternoons 4:15 - 5:45 PM; this will include Evensong. The schedule (as I am reading off an inferior photo):

March 3, Introduction: a Rule of Life
March 10, Mere Christianity I, the Apostles Creed
March 17, Mere Christianity II, the Lord's Prayer
March 24, Mere Christianity III, the Ten Commandments
March 31, Weather Date

Break for Holy Week

April 14, Christian Spirituality I, the Church Year
April 21, Christian Spirituality II, the Sacraments
April 22, Christian Spirituality III, an Instructed Communion (Sunday 10 AM)
April 28, Afternoon Tea & Evensong with the Bishop

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Angelic Choir, with thumps

This morning we celebrated the Feast of St. Matthias, Apostle, beginning with the Order for Matins followed by the Order for Holy Communion. I have to say that I like this arrangement in many ways, including the introduction of the Old Testament reading into the service.

Drew did a great job of reading the Old Testament lesson -- far better than my own stumbling today through the Epistle (my tongue just wasn't working very well). Not to mention my stumble over other elements of Morning Prayer because I was not prepared and they appeared later in Holy Communion (and let's not forget the Gloria...), but this morning's congregation was quite forgiving.

As we were of the little childrens' almost angelic voices throughout the service. A delightful incessant undertone that spoke of the future -- albeit that at times (such as during Communion) they were heard more for their surprisingly heavy foot-thumps upon the floor than anything else.

But... always a delight to have them there!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Ash Wednesday

A surprising number of us (surprising to me, based on past years) attended the noon Ash Wednesday service today. In one sense I was not surprised to see a number of the Microsoft men attending; their main campus is only a few miles away and some of these guys have horrendous commutes (not to mention work schedules). But they came with their families too, and that was great to see. For at least one family this was a little bit of an education for the children: the significance of the ashen crosses and other things.

Fr. Daniel had noted that the noon service would be a bit shorter than the morning or evening services; I cannot imagine what's different. I noted a nice touch: it appears that all the pew prayer books had their marker ribbons set to today's service. Short and spare, but an excellent intro/homily by Fr. Daniel.

On the way out after the service, I saw one of the harbingers of Spring -- the daffodils were coming up; it's not long until (Welsh) St. David's Day.
And can I relate Kathy's experience of wearing today's ashen cross on her forehead in public? A surprising number of people asked her about it. The non-Christians were impressed; other Christians (she mentioned a Korean Christian) were delighted. There's a witness here...

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Shrove Tuesday: Evensong and Pancake Supper

This evening's observances of Shrove Tuesday began with Evensong at 5:30. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by the Evensong turnout -- though seated in quite unorthodox Anglican fashion in the very front pew (which I find I now tend to gravitate to for Matins and Evensong, retreating to the rear Epistle-side pew for Mass, a habit developed over the years when Kathy was our main organist and thus right behind that pew) I could not tell how many were there, just "many." And the "many" included many children, a continual (but remembering the days of few to no children, welcome) undertone through the service.

If I was surprised by the number of children present at the close of Evensong (I was) I was not prepared by the onslaught that followed. But before I even get into that, I have to acknowledge and thank both Gordon (chef extraordinaire) and D.J. for their service in the kitchen. (Guys, I had a clearer picture of you two but am squelching it to save any potential embarrassment.) So all you get is this one photo of the early work.

Children? I think the children may have outnumbered the adults, though it was impossible to capture more than a few at a time in one picture.

At this point I am having difficulty with BLOGSPOT hosting, and my posting is incomplete. Please bear with me while I try to update this blog.) children

Just a few additions here; little Mary Eve (barely visible) surprised some of us as she was clearly trying to sing before she could even talk. In (my side of) my family it seems we're genetically programmed to be engineers; in her family, musicians. Wonderful!

And I would be certainly remiss if I did not thank both Gordon and D.J. for their masterful service in the kitchen! This was, in my opinion, the most memorable Shrove Tuesday dinner we'ce held yet. (Note to self: next year we need to figure out how to seat more people at the same time -- we're running out of space...)

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Schola Cantorum Learns the Litany

This morning's "early-risers" (start time: 9 AM), with those quotes removed for the Miller Menagerie who travel a greater than normal distance, to attend this morning's Schola Cantorum had a real treat in store -- The Litany "or General Supplication"! (Found on page 54 of the 1928 Book of Common Prayer: in HTML and PDF).

Of course it wouldn't suffice to just learn it (easy enough there, with only three notes), but Fr. Daniel treated us to a history of the Litany, from Latin to English to the version we have now -- and incidentally, so far the only case *I* know of where Cranmer perhaps didn't get it just perfect, but that may be a case of de gustibus non dispundandum est, "in matters of taste..." (You're free to disagree with this lay churchman.)

Having reviewed the history Fr. Daniel then showed us the internal structure of the Litany, naming each of the various portions.

Finally we attempted the Litany itself, although with time running out we had to sing selected elements of each section. But even on a first attempt it sounded pretty good to my ear; I hope we will have it in a service soon; with just a few such "trained" leaders the congregation should do just fine.

I forgot who made the comment to the effect, "We should sing more." Although I agree, I also know Fr. Daniel has reasons for various things he does -- and aren't we headed into Lent?

(Headed into Lent: Following 5:30 Evensong Tuesday, Gordon's Great Shrove Tuesday pancake supper.)

Saturday, February 17, 2007

La Llorona

So no doubt you're looking at this blog and asking yourself, "Why am I looking at a coffee pot, one just like millions of others out there?"

It's a good question. The first part of the answer is that this was one of the pictures I found in my digital camera when I finally got around to downloading from it today (did I mention that I've been busy lately?).

Of course, this leads to the next question you are no doubt asking yourself, "Why did the blogger take this picture?"

There's a good reason. A month or so ago a visitor remarked on this pot (which is used for making hot water for tea, by the way). It was crying and moaning very mournfully while it was heating the water.

We've nicknamed this pot "La Llorona" (la' yo-ro-na) (Wikipedia), after the Mexican tradition. (La Llorona is in ways similar to the Banshee, Irish "Bean Si" (Wikipedia, but somehow the sound fits the former rather than the latter.)

And that's why you, dear reader, are looking at a picture of a garden-variety commonplace everyday coffee pot.

Update: Kathy reminds me that it was Fr. David who named the coffeepot.

Windstorm cleanup

Despite the forecasts for rain today (I was told), it couldn't have been a more perfect day for cleaning up from December's windstorm. Bright sun, clear blue sky and t-shirt temperatures -- any one of which is relatively rare in winter here, but all three together...

This was a good thing because there was more of a mess, in terms of branches and other stuff blown down than I had thought. A good thing too for the turnout of men this morning; even with all the workforce present it took much longer than I had expected to collect everything and feed it into the chipper. (And my muscles now ache...). One of the chainsaws got some use too, with Fr. Daniel collecting some firewood.

While I was cleaning up and raking the parking area and around, others were working down along the drive, picking up stuff. I was amazed at how many times Fr. Daniel drove Gordon's pickup up by the chipper to unload an overloaded bed full of branches. Nobody was counting so we don't know how many times it was, but it was quite a few.

The property looks better now. There is still a little work remaining, mostly in the gardens, but that won't take long. And we have a huge pile of mixed wood chips and needles, which just has to be useful for something. (I'm sure the garden experts will know; I think Nancy had some ideas...)

Busy week

I hadn't intended to be away from this blog so long, but it has been a very busy week. Somewhere around here I still have my notes from Sunday's server training, to be posted under the title "Acolyte Master Ranjit Cracks The Whip!", complete with photos, but the notes are not in front of me, the pictures still in the camera, the posting is not done, and there is no healt...

Part of what ate up my time were the final preparations for a pitch for a new position at work. The good news is that those to whom I made the pitch bought it, the bad news is that it could mean even more travel than before.

I've also been a bit (too) focused on the news, or lack of same, coming out of Dar-Es-Salaam (literally and ironically "House of Peace") in Tanzania this week, as the world-wide Anglican Communion decides the shape of its future. What this means for us at St. Bartholomew's, I'm not certain.

In any event, in under an hour the men will gather for Matins, breakfast, fellowship and whatever follows. Our new Junior Warden, Paul, left a brief message on the answering machine saying he had rented a chipper for today. Easy to figure that one out -- we're going to be doing more clean-up from December's nasty windstorm. (I see cleanup continuing all through the area, as more downed trees disappear from time to time, and line crews working on phone, cable and powerlines hither and yon.) Note to self: wear work clothes and bring work gloves.

Perhaps more later today...

Update: I finally offloaded the pictures from the camera -- and was amazed at what was still there. But for now here are two pictures from last week's practice; one with a Crucifer and two Lucifers practicing the procession in, and one in our very narrow sacristy where Ranjit explains the taper.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Almost oops

Got a call from Kathy, at the church following her long training day for the upcoming Kairos prison ministry event (which I am thinking I will join next time -- it won't be the first time I've "gone inside" the clashing gates for a ministry, but it will be the first time with a large group). She'd arrived at the church and found a work party in progress.

Work party? Uh, oh. I didn't remember anything about any work parties this Saturday, I told her. Well, apparently it was impromptu and they hadn't even sent out an e-mail. I guess this is the first work party (since whenever) I've missed when I haven't been away traveling, but maybe that's okay because I was able to address and finish up a small project at home that's been hanging around since... well, last year.

Then another panic -- did I completely forget server training this morning? I remembered 9 AM, and remembered too that Fr. David had held training on Saturdays. So quick, bring up the church website and check the Announcements page for the schedule... whew, it's tomorrow! I had been thinking it was going to be another session with the Schola Cantorum instead.

Church websites can be helpful for parishioners too!

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Misty Morning Meeting

The humidity must have been at 100% this morning, judging by all the mist we encountered on the way to church. It seemed unusually high and left me in a bit of discomfort through the service and the Annual Parish Meeting.

This being the first Sunday of the month, we read the Litany even though it was not listed in the bulletin. I note that we're learning the responses by heart now; I was forced to recite same when, caught by surprise, I didn't have a prayer book ready.

There was a little difficulty in the Gospel procession with our young Crucifer and Lucifers, but Acolyte Master Ranjit will begin server training next Sunday, an hour before the service. It won't take long to get this sorted out, I think. But it'll be interesting for me to contrast with the last time we had server training, soon after Fr. David became Rector, and most of us servers were in our late 40s or beyond (I note that Drew's Acolyte Manual suggests that it's not a bad thing to have older servers). Mary Ellen is planning to show up to teach the acolytes how to extinguish the candles without getting wax all over the altar linens, probably a perennial problem and an annoyance to Altar Guilds everywhere.

Fr. Daniel mentioned Kathy's Kairos prison ministry project; in part, through the "'Gesima Sundays" she's enlisting help in baking 100 dozen cookies to be distributed to all the prisoners in the prison during the Kairos weekend. She has worked outside "base camp" before, but this time has submitted an application to be part of the "inside team."

After the service we had our pre-meeting potluck. If we keep growing, navigating the Parish Hall in these events is going to become difficult (I know, this is a "good" problem to have!); already the food requires a second table beyond the long fold-out to hold everything. Not to mention all the kids...

Towards the end of the potluck we were treated to some jazz on the piano by Josephine (and this not long after her postlude organ fireworks -- what a joy to hear!) and then Ruby, on cello, joined her. Maybe the order should have been reversed, after the food and music we were a bit sleepy.

With the dishes finally cleared away, it was on to the Annual Parish Meeting. Ours tend to be relatively short, with the only real difficulty being the budget discussions, as is usual every year. This year it was 35 minutes beginning to end, down from last year's hour and 20 minutes. Ending at 12:55, we had LOTS of time to get home to watch the Superbowl. (Though after seeing a touchdown in the first 14 seconds, I decided to go work on this blog.)

I was one of the two who rolled off the Vestry this year, ending last year's one-year extension and I forget how many "re-ups" over the years. I've been on so long that it felt really odd to be standing across the Parish Hall instead of seated at the table when Fr. Daniel called the new Vestry to order for the purpose of appointing and electing officers for the coming year. But as I've said before, others need to rotate through these positions also.

Ranjit insisted on a photo of the outgoing Vestry.

And it's not like I'm left without anything to do in the meantime -- I've joined the "Faculty" (dealing at a higher level with church property/grounds issues), and am volunteering to become St. Bartholomew's coordinator for the "First Annual Diocese of the Western States Campout" at Mount Lassen National Park this July.