Continuing Home

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

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

The Annunciation and John 17

We had a most interesting juxtaposition between the service and Scripture Class tonight.

The service was abbreviated Evensong transitioning into Holy Communion. This was very nice because it brought in the Old Testament reading along with the (scripture appointed for the) Epistle and Gospel. We celebrated the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, normally on the 25th but transferred to today. One thing different which I don't recall seeing before was that the crosses remained veiled, but today in white.

We tried to "do it up" a bit also with incense too (I served as Thurifer), but this was a service in which it seemed nothing went quite right, right down to the folks who got caught in traffic trying to get to church. Our numbers were down a bit from usual, including our strongest voices. A more detailed walkthrough beforehand would have helped... but we didn't have time.

Still, for all it was in Lent the service was a little bit of Christmas, in a way, looking forward 9 months to the celebration of our Lord's birth and this was reflected in the readings.

After the service we had another of our delightful light suppers, with more hands than usual involved. When ever did St. Bartholomew's have so many good cooks and chefs?!

And then... our "surprise" guest. Well, he was a surprise to some of us but others of us had guessed. The Rev. Dr. Peter Toon conducted our last Lenten class on John, John 17 in particular (Jesus' last prayer before Gethsemane), and it was challenging to us in many ways!

One thing that rang so true with me, because I've felt this for a long time, is the Commission in that prayer: "God has given us a treasure and we want to share it with the world." We have a treasure, and in the most unchurched corner of the country I'd love to be able to share it. (For all I tend to be really shy.) Anglicans, at least in North America, tend not to be very good in this area.

Talking about this with Fr. Daniel afterward I was reminded of a document I'd found online a few years ago, "Evangelism for Anglicans" or something like that: a study course in preparation for evangelism. I guess I need to dig it up and forward it to him for evaluation.

If only because I think God has given us a beautiful treasure and we ought to be sharing it with the world. Thank you, Fr. Toon!

Report from Kairos

Kathy has written up her report on the Kairos prison ministry weekend. It's worth reading.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Passion Sunday

Fr. Daniel's sermon for the beginning of Passiontide held a surprise for me: somehow I'd never known the etymology of "passion." He observed that its roots were in Latin "passio", to suffer. Looking it up, I find the modern senses go back "only" some 370 to 420 years -- and the original sense seems to be lost today. (He noted this in the bulletin. Note to Fr. Daniel: Great idea, this should be repeated every year.)

It may be Passion Sunday today but at St. Bartholomew's this was a day of joy, not suffering. I don't blog about life's ills that occasionally befall our parishioners, but I will say that this Sunday we were all overjoyed to see Joanne back and even walking without a cane! I noticed that before the service began everyone entered, sat down in the pews, saw Joanne and immediately went over to give her a hug; no question that but she's loved here. I suspect she still has a long road ahead, so please say a prayer for her.

One thing the parish did not hear today was Kathy's report on the Kairos Prison Ministry last weekend. She was ready, but circumstances dictated that she was not in the church during the announcements. She plans on submitting/circulating a written report this week; I will try to post or link to it here.

What our parishioners (and visitors) did hear today were fireworks! Fr. Daniel announced almost apologetically before the service that we might be confused about whether we were attending a church office or a concert, but Josephine had been working on the Suite Gothique for Organ, op. 25, by Leon Boellman (1862-1897). I don't recall why, perhaps it is part of her Doctorate in Music program. For the Prelude we heard:
I Introduction - Choral
II Menuet gothique

For her part at Communion (she and Kathy trade off on the organ bench during Communion):
III Priere a Notre Dame (apologies for the lack of the appropriate accent marks)
And for the Postlude:
IV Toccata

As one whose musical skills only got as far as the bagpipe ("Nae sae guid but aye loud!") I am in awe.

But that was just the beginning. The Girls' Choir sang this Sunday too, and all I can say is that I clearly know nothing about choirs or choral music. I thought their early performances were wonderful, but every time they sing they're even more delightful.

Choirs... During the coffee hour George asked me whether, if Fr. Daniel formed a Mens' Choir, I'd sign up. Probably. Nae sae guid but aye loud. We'd need men like George to drown me out.

But even that wasn't all of it. Fr. Daniel and Ranjit recognized the boys and girls in our "servers' program (Acolytes, Crucifers and Lucifers), noting they've been through some training sessions with one or two more following Easter, and awarding them special crosses for their service. I have to say the training shows, and they're doing an excellent job.

Passion Sunday was not a day of suffering here...

Thursday, March 22, 2007

La Llorona lives!

Some time after I posted about our hot water pot, La Llorona, her power cord went walkabout. I hadn't known, I guess because I rarely drink either coffee or tea. But last night it was announced that some unknown (or unnamed?) benefactor had found/bought/acquired a new power cord, so the Parish Hall will once again be filled with La Llorona's sighs, cries and mournful moans as she heats water for tea.

I'm not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The Last (light) Supper

Today was the next to last of our Evensong/Supper/Bible Study sessions for Lent. After Evensong (during which I discovered that the front Epistle-side pew is missing one of its two kneelers) we had a pleasant supper of the Millers' meatless chili (*very* delicious if un-Texan!), cornbread and Debra's excellent potato salad. Amusingly, Kathy prefers Debra's and Debra prefers Kathy's -- they're both good, just very different.

Kathy reminded us that today is Norooz, Persian New Year. I know she'd been delivering roses to our Iranian friends: Muslim, Christian and Baha'i alike. She came this evening with a photo in her camera of a new Persian calligraphic art piece by the proprietor, chef and artist at our local Persian restaurant. Essentially they take a phrase or saying, and turn it into art (examples at the link). On my office wall is a print of one of his works, from Rumi: "Listen to the reed, as it tells its tale / complaining of separation" -- perfect for a piper, and exquisitely executed. Ali has outdone himself this time: the painting reads "Justice" in both English and Farsi! But I digress...

Our study of John continued apace on the topic "I Am The Vine", with references back to the Old Testament, commentary from the Fathers, the appearance of John's Gospel in the Book of Common Prayer (1928), and more. I find these Bible studies more educational than many I've attended in the past and I'm not sure why, other than Fr. Daniel's hard work in preparation and the Fathers, an element that has always been missing before: there's no "Well, what does it mean to you?" element, in the sense that that settles the issue.

Fr. Daniel noted that we will have a special guest speaker next week, and I am guessing I (among others) know who our speaker will be. However, Fr. Daniel noted that we need sign-ups for The Last (light) Supper for our class next week.

Update: Fr. Daniel advised the parish today that our previous Rector, Fr. David, is recuperating from surgery back in his home country. It's not clear just what the problem was, but apparently it was quite serious. Please pray for a speedy recuperation for Fr. David.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Hymns Ancient and Modern

The turnout for the Schola Cantorum was exceedingly low yesterday -- for whatever the reasons (and I know they were several), I was the only one there! I didn't really know what to do, whether to let Fr. Daniel relax or to absorb what looked like the interesting material he'd prepared. I chose the latter, and I'd have to say to the rest of the Schola: You missed a wonderful opportunity for education!

My voice/nose/throat wasn't in great shape, but this session took more the form of a lecture/presentation. (And any errors are mine; my notes were sketchy.) Fr. Daniel went over Hymn #82, in the hymns for Passiontide, and noted that this is the only hymn "with Scripture" (subtitles) in the Hymnal today, focusing on the final words of the Passion, drawing on Matthew, Luke and John.

It did in fact look different from other hymns in its presentation, but Fr. Daniel said it wasn't always such -- and that in fact in "Hymns Ancient and Modern," which goes back to 1861 (in Church of England?), all the hymns were such. This was the earliest hymnal -- with music? He noted the creation of a text-only hymnal in 1789, 27 hymns total, alongside the new Book of Common Prayer for the American church.

I wonder a little... in losing the Scriptural elements to the hymns did we lose something good, if non-essential? It's been pointed out in other Internet-related forums that in our services and our lectionary we get pretty good coverage of the Bible through the church year, but I'll leave it to others for the comparisons.

(I keep thinking of what we sang in the transitions of the Stations of The Cross with Fr. David -- it was different but in some way, to me, very similar. On the other hand some other hymns are not based on Scripture --thinking of an earlier posting about Hymn 262-- Missions, evangelism and the Great Commission, another topic entirely.)

And from there Fr. Daniel explored the music, pointing out the use of intervals for great emotional expression. It's easy to lose me when you venture into this realm; although I can read music as a result of learning to play a few musical instruments (enough so that it doesn't matter whether you classify the Great Highland Bagpipe as a musical instrument or not!), I never really had any music theory.

Maybe I could have used the extra hour asleep yesterday morning, but this was well worth having given that hour up. Thank you very much, Fr. Daniel!!

Sunday, March 18, 2007


Spring has finally arrived at St. Bartholomew's. Blossoms and flowers are beginning to come out, and I even saw a bee buzzing about the heather this morning.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Message from Kairos

A text message came from Kathy while we were working. She has been away working "base camp" (outside the prison) during the Kairos Prison Ministry weekend at the womens' prison west of Gig Harbor, WA, an hour or so from here. Looking up Kairos, I learned this program started 31 years ago, and describes itself in brief:
Well-organized and well-trained volunteer teams of men and women from the communities surrounding an institution present an introductory 3-day weekend, described as a short course in Christianity. This inter-denominational team of volunteers — both clergy and laypersons — works in cooperation with the Chaplain who carefully selects up to 42 inmate leaders to attend. A well-organized follow up program is part of this ministry.
Its roots are in the Cursillo Movement (an offshoot is the Walk to Emmaus).

In any event, in part her note said, "Baking up a storm this morning... Reports from inside indicate message is getting through. Praise the Lord!" Can't wait to hear the full report.

Matins, Mens' Group Breakfast and Shoveling Gravel

We had a good turnout for Matins, Mens' Group Breakfast, and the work party this morning. Hoping I don't forget anyone... Fr. Daniel, Deacon Ed, George, Matt, Stephen, Paul Jr., D.J. and myself. The parts of Matins we sang were really something to hear, with just mens' voices -- and some strong ones too. (Reminder to self: Schola Cantorum meets tomorrow at 9 AM to study the Good Friday hymns of the Rev. Thomas Benson Pollock.)

Normally Gordon makes the breakfast, but he got this month off because today is his birthday. SO instead, Ranjit demonstrated his culinary skills -- I am impressed! (It seems we have several master chefs in our congregation now; sadly, I am not one of them.)

After breakfast we headed up to start work on spreading gravel on the drive and parking lot. Unfortunately the gravel truck had tried to come up through the exit, which is rather steep. As a result a lot of gravel got left down by Avondale Road, and had to be hauled up and spread by hand. This was a LOT more work than I recall it being the last time we got gravel --and it's always been work, what with the surprisingly large area to be covered-- the picture shows about half the area.

It had been clouding up and getting colder while we were working, but the rain held off until the very end.

Friday, March 16, 2007

St, Urho's Day

Although our Ordo Kalendar (liturgical calendar) simply notes today as being Friday, March 16th, "Fast and Abstinence" (liturgical color purple), today is also St. Urho's Day (see Nonhistorical Traditions), the patron saint of Finland, who used his "splendid and loud voice" to chase the grasshoppers out of Finland and save the grape harvest, with the incantation "Heinäsirkka, heinäsirkka, mene täältä hiiteen!" ("Urho" also means "hero.")

There is a statue of him in Menahga, MN. Colors of the day are royal purple and nile green.

Unlike St. Patrick (tomorrow, liturgical color white), I don't expect to see St. Urho appear on the Ordo Kalendar any time soon.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Evensong to St, John Passion

The turnout for Evensong was rather a bit low tonight: just Fr. Daniel, George and myself. Traffic and other things took their toll. Nancy arrived a half-hour later than she'd intended and was stuck in the kitchen preparing the supper's soup (delicious! shrimp gumbo), Kathy was tied up with with last-minute preparations for the Kairos Prison Ministry which begins tomorrow. Half one family had been laid low by something and were at the doctor's (hope you're all well soon!) and others were coming later for other reasons, if only due to our usual bugaboo, Seattle traffic.

But Evensong went well, although I had trouble singing thanks to some minor sinus situation. George read the Old and New Testament lessons and did a terrific job! I still fight the tendency to read too fast, but his delivery was clear and well-paced. (Though as he says with a grin, maybe he enjoys reading Jeremiah too much.)

But not long after Evensong ended the rest of the Bible Study class had arrived, those of us who made it tonight.

After the meal, prepared by Nancy and Debra, we started in on our study tonight on John 7-10. Fr. Daniel puts a lot of hard work into these study and it shows, with a two-page handout for the class that covers not only the Scripture but how it is reflected in the Prayer Book -- the Ordinal ("The Ordaining of Priests") plus the Eucharistic and Daily Lectionaries, and last but not least, commentaries by the Fathers. (I, for one, like hearing these.)

Fr. Daniel noted some recommended texts, including Bishop N.T. Wright's "John for Everyone" (vols. 1 and 2). And then, just to round it out, a couple of CDs. So as I type, I have at my elbow the 2 CD set (I just discovered) of "St. John Passion" in English by the group (I hope I have this all correct) "Apollo's Fire," in which Fr. Daniel used to sing in his undergraduate days, with the Cleveland Baroque Orchestra.

Quite an evening.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Catechism Class II

Fr. Daniel is conducting a Catechism Class for our prospective confirmands and some of those wishing to be received into St. Bartholomew's and/or to learn more about Anglicanism. He posted a sign-up sheet for members who would like to host a tea before the class, to sit through (and participate) in the class, and join the group for Evensong afterward.

Yesterday was our turn to host the tea, and was I ever glad we did! First, Fr. Daniel had mentioned that there would be 10 in the class, and I can (um) confirm that. I think that's the largest class I've seen since my own a long time ago, but back then I was in a church many, many times larger than St. Bartholomew's. If you don't see 10 members in the class, it's because a couple were a little late.

But it was interesting to re-hear the material we'd been taught so long ago, to hear the questions being asked, and to participate in the discussions. And more than interesting... almost a thrill to be involved, even in such a little way, in passing on the "Faith Once Delivered to the Saints" (with discussion even of who is a "saint," or "Saint!") to the next generation of Anglicans.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Fr. Daniel's been busy!

I hadn't seen much activity on his blog lately, but I learned today that Fr. Daniel has been quite busy, over and above preparing the Catechism Class and the Wednesday Evening Bible Study.

Somehow he not only found the time to write a new article on the 1940 Hymnal in The Mandate, "The Words on the Cross: a meditation on Good Friday provided in The Hymnal, 1940", but he has also been published in the Lent issue (vol. 1 no. 2) of Earth And Altar (A journal of Anglican Life and Worship), with an article titled "Prayer, Fasting, Alms: Important Disciplines". I commend these both to you.

HopeLink: "Let's Go Irish"

As noted on our Announcements page, this year we are conducting monthly "themes" for our St. Bartholomew's HopeLink food bank donations, the basket for which is always in the Narthex. The theme for March is unsurprisingly "Let's Go Irish" in honor of St. Patrick's Day. Items either Irish or green (including currency!) are welcome. (As are any other foodstuffs, of course -- there are people who really do depend on the food bank for food, even in our relatively affluent area.)

An excellent choice of theme, considering the famines that caused so many Irish to emigrate to America.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

"God blessed my little Bible Study tonight"

...were Fr. Daniel's words when we wrapped up this evening. And who could blame him, with all the classes canceled by or subjected to bad weather this winter? Despite some light rain in the morning, I encountered blindingly bright sun on the way to church this afternoon. (To us Seattle winter troglodytes, "blindingly bright" is probably what everyone else considers normal sun.) It wound up a beautiful day -- though after the class ended this evening, about a mile down Avondale Road I was briefly blinded and buffeted by a rain squall that seemed to come out of nowhere. Probably just more rain coming in.

After Evensong, during which I kept hearing an unfamiliar but knowledgeable and skilled voice behind me (welcome, George!!), we headed down for a light supper prepared by Josephine and Kathy. (Wonderful potato leek soup: to quote a previous appraiser of Josephine's culinary skills, "Josephine rocks!")

Once supper was cleared and the dishwasher filled to capacity (are our numbers growing?), the class began. It was clear Fr. Daniel was prepared, with an almost precarious-looking stack of books on the lecturn. And so we reviewed John 1-5 from last week and extended our way into John 6. This is quite a bit of a faster pace than we took last year through Ephesians.

For my part I wish we'd hear more from the Church Fathers on this, but we simply have less time. And besides, even if we did I'd be missing Deacon Ed's readings from the Fathers, which he did so well for the Sunday morning Ephesians class. You'd almost think you were hearing them directly.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Seminarian Care Package

Fr. Daniel extended the deadline for the Seminarian Care Package through today. As I've noted before parishioners are requested to donate food items, particularly on a Seattle / Pacific Northwest theme (such as coffee, salmon and Space Noodles). Tomorrow Fr. Daniel will ship the package off to the seminarians at the St. Joseph of Arimathea seminary in Berkeley, CA.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Cookies for Kairos

Kairos As has been noted in the Announcements for a few weeks now, Kathy has been busy collecting cookies and arranging prayer vigils for the upcoming Kairos Prison Ministry weekend at the Washington Womens' Corrections Center. The women and children of St. Bartholomew's (and maybe some of the men too? I didn't ask, though we have some good cooks) have been busily baking up a storm of cookies and decorating the bags in which they'll be given to the prisoners. Yesterday Kathy was almost frantically calling around Kairos staff to see who had freezer space for the 56 dozen cookies she's been given so far; she was completely out of space herself!

The prisoners attending Kairos will be isolated most of the time, from Thursday through Sunday, from the rest of the prisoners except (I am told) for breakfast and "Evening Count": a check that the prison has exactly the right number of prisoners present. But the cookies will be distributed to all prisoners during the event. This requires an awful lot of cookies, at least 100 dozen per volunteer.

Kairos will be held in the prison's Chapel -- which was built in the 1990s through donations (entirely, I believe), and Kathy was one of those out gathering support and donations for its construction.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Catechism Class I

Yesterday was the first of the Catechism classes. There was clear sign of that in the Parish Hall this morning, with notes on the board. I still don't know who all are in it, but learned that our Crucifer and Lucifers (torch-bearers) are in it, with other children and adults. It seems like it would be difficult to teach such a broad range of ages, but if anyone can do it Fr. Daniel can.

I intend to be one of the hosts for one of the classes. I had been thinking this coming Saturday, but there may be a conflict.

Weather permitting...

Given the trouble we've had with weather this winter (and it has been unusually bad with flooding, the windstorm and snowfalls), it really wasn't a surprise to see a "Weather Date" (3/31) in the schedule for the Catechism class. When I saw that schedule last Sunday my initial reaction was that that won't be necessary, that we're pretty much past winter's bad weather -- of course, that was before Wednesday's snow/ice storm so maybe it was best that I didn't say anything. And I have seen snow as late as April, though that tended to be little more than a dusting.

But given that this is only his second winter up here, and a most trying one it's been, perhaps it's not a surprise to hear him mention in the announcements the Wednesday Bible Study class and that participants need to bring a notebook, pen or pencil, a Bible, and tire chains.

(Note: I did resort to checking the forecast for Wednesday!)