Continuing Home

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

Thursday, May 31, 2007

A Note from Archbishop Morse

From the APCK website:
May 30, 2007

Dear Brethren:

On St. Peter's Day, June 29th, at 11:00 a.m. the College of Bishops will meet at St. Peter's Pro-Cathedral, Oakland, California for the Liturgy of St. Peter. Then in solemn assembly the Bishops will elect the new Archbishop for the Province of Christ the King.

The Mass will be open to all those who wish to attend this historic occasion. It is significant that the election take place at St. Peter's Pro-Cathedral on St. Peter's Feast Day for the Province was first established in that church.

Please pray for the Bishops at this time.

With every good wish and blessing,

The Most Reverend Robert Sherwood Morse

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Evangelism for Anglicans

One of the recent additions to the church's Announcements page is a new upcoming class, "Evangelism for Anglicans, or, How to Share Your Faith Without Losing Your Friends." It all grew out of a chance comment Matt made to me one Sunday about evangelism. Several years ago I had chanced across a document online for a course in evangelism for Episcopalians (about a 50-page Word document) and had saved it away, and mentioned it to Matt in the conversation.

He was interested, so I sent a copy to him and to Fr. Daniel. Apparently they studied it, found it fine, and worked on a re-organization for a slightly different class format. The announcement notes that Matt and Fr. Daniel will be conducting the class.

As Fr. Daniel notes, "Many people who ought to be members of our parish are still waiting to be asked! Come and enjoy a detailed course intended to help the shy, the timid, and the tongue-tied develop skills and confidence in sharing their Christian faith with their un-Churched friends." We do live in the least-churched part of the country, and I think we have something beautiful to share.

I think this will be quite interesting!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

A visit to the Church of the Resurrection

[Posting now fixed.]

Please forgive the long silence on this blog. I didn't have much to report last week, and since then various things have conspired against my posting until now.

Friday morning we flew from Seattle to Hartford CT to bury my grandmother-in-law. Beatrice (aka "Granny Impy", the nickname my wife as a child gave her) was only 106 and had been rePlease forgive the long silence on this blog. I didn't have much to report last week, and since then various things have conspired against my posting until now.

Friday morning we flew from Seattle to Hartford CT to bury my grandmother-in-law. Beatrice (aka "Granny Impy", the nickname my wife as a child gave her) was only 106 and had been ready to go for some time, so it was much more a celebration of her life among us than an occasion of mourning, though there were a few tears.

And it was time to be with family, who had come together for the occasion. Yes, they're my family "only" by marriage, but I married into a really great family almost 28 years ago and my only sorrow is that my father-in-law had already passed on years ago. I wish he were still with us (and I know I'm not alone in that).

But six and a half years have passed since the last get-together, which was Granny Impy's 100th birthday. Amazing to see the next generation growing up so quickly. Clearly this is what happens when you get older: six years means little to me, to a child it's all the difference in the world.

In any event, Norfolk CT made us Seattlites feel right at home with highs pinned at 46F and occasional drizzle, a break from the heat wave they'd had earlier. Very cool and pleasant, even if everyone else was shivering.

Saturday we started with the burial of her ashes in the graveyard, then moved on to the Episcopal chapel for the memorial service. It's odd, but I had never been in that chapel before though my wife and I were both (cradle) Episcopalians when we were married. The chapel is not self-sufficient and depends on visiting clergy when it is open during the summer. It is beautiful, as the picture can only hint, and reminiscent of the beautiful redwood church in California that was our last Episcopal home. (Hard to say which would have been "better": to be married here, or in the grand New England Congregational church on the green where we were married. But "location" is the least of it all except in old pictures.)

I suffered a small shock when I saw the list of visiting clergy for this summer and recognized a name from a time not so long ago (before Lent) when I was following the events in the Episcopal church. Well, we were in Connecticut after all!

But all that aside, it was a wonderful memorial service.

Later that evening we made our way south to within "striking distance" of Ansonia CT, where a sister parish, The Anglican Church of the Resurrection, resides.

We had a few difficulties getting there, given regional differences in street-naming conventions that MapQuest and others have not resolved, plus a missing street sign, but we did manage to arrive in time. Just.

Wonderful people! I am ashamed that 4 days later I have forgotten the name of the fellow in the pew in front of us who took great pains to be sure we could follow the service (until I whispered, "We are Anglicans").

But overall I already knew the service by heart. (The bulletin implied they were using the Anglican Missal, but as a "1928 BCP" Anglican I saw no difference.)

Incense? Plenty -- and all of a sudden I now understand the difference between "pure frankincense" and "potpourri incense", and I say count me among those who prefer the former.

In any event, it was a delight to visit another prospering Anglican church. (And though this is not the venue for "How I brought my church out of TEC", the stories of how churches & facilities made their way to the APCK is interesting.)

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Rogation Sunday

As if this weekend hadn't been already overloaded with things to report on this blog, today is Rogation Sunday, the bookend opposite Thanksgiving for the growing season in England. It begins here with prayers for the coming season and traditionally in England accompanied by a tour of the locale with blessings on the pastures, orchards and flocks. As I noted on the 7th, it's a little difficult to do this in sub-suburban (or is that "ultra-rural"?) Woodinville so we processed past the church grounds where, to our mysterious Flower Elf's surprise, last year's pansies have come up again this year!

To my surprise, we have but exactly one hymn for Rogation Sunday, #101, squeezed between Easter and Ascension. Not a problem as there are plenty of other hymns applicable to the day, as I observed in today's service.

Church School Play

The St. Bartholomew's Sunday School Guild of Actors has been hard at work and we were treated to their latest production today, performed as usual in lieu of a sermon. I don't remember when they started this, but I have pictures of a production in 2001.

Today we were treated to a special news production of the F.I.S.H. television broadcast network wherein television journalists interviewed eyewitnesses to various of Jesus' miracles, or replayed previously recorded interviews, two years having passed since his crucifixion.

As always, well done -- and right down to the handling of certain difficulties such as necessary costume changes in the Sacristy (they seem to be acquiring quite a range of costumes and props). We were amused by the interlude of advertisements to cover these situations, including a conversion of the Parable of the Lost Coin (Luke 15:8) into an advertisement for metal detectors beginning with the line, "Tired of sweeping the house looking for that lost coin?"

One surprise for those of us who've been around a while was the response to the suggestion that the littler children might want to view the play from up front. In no time the front pews were mobbed! We've noticed the increase in children in church over recent years (even as others grow old enough to be no longer "children"), but this brought it home. Maybe it was the play, maybe Mothers' Day, but there were a lot of children present today!

(My apology for the poor picture quality; it was a deliberate decision. I don't like flashes in church, or during performances, so I put the camera into a mode that prevents the flash going off knowing it would result in a grainy photo.)

Saturday Sale

Saturday's ACW "Plant and Garage Sale" was an unqualified success. The women put a lot of planning and work into it and it showed, with an announcement on Craig's List, the signs that started a mile or so away down Avondale Road, the signs directing folks into the parking lot and then down the walkway to the Parish Hall, past Banning's lemonade, brownie (Bake Sale?) and Mother's Day Cactus stand (where Ranjit has some fun for the camera), past the "large items" section (bicycles, tents and so on), through the Plant Sale section (being managed here by Josette), and finally into the Parish Hall. When I arrived about 1 o'clock to see what was going on, the sale had been underway for several hours and though I hadn't seen the setup it was clear that a LOT of things had already been sold. A lot of plants too, with a number of groups of pots up by the Sunday School with "SOLD" signs on them.

A very steady stream of people came through the sale, and most left with a least one treasure in hand. One woman purchased quite a number of items and I had to help carry the boxes up to her car. By the end of the sale the hall was looking a bit bare.

That pink bike was one of the last things to be sold; it should make some little girl happy.

(Thank you to Kathy for the pictures.)

Friday, May 11, 2007

*Incense Alert!

Well, I have my answer on the procession: There will be one! (Reminder: Open the Nave windows so we can hear the organ...?) But wait, there's more. A whole lot more!

I was a little surprised when I opened Fr. Daniel's e-mail to the Parish yesterday, with all the activity over the next week.

Saturday is our Garage and Plant Sale. A couple of the men were drafted to put up the banner on our sign during the ACW meeting following Coffee Hour -- and the question of on which side of the sign the banner should be hung was quickly resolved with the discovery that on one side there were small nails on the sign perfectly matching the mounting holes in the banner! Items have been donated and brought in over the week, and today some of the women were planning to bake up a storm.

Sunday is, as noted, Rogation Sunday, and Fr. Daniel's e-mail noted that we will have a procession. Maybe a good thing the women didn't really bake up a storm; the forecast says partly cloudy, and the highs are forecast to be a comfortable (for me) 63F. But wait, there's more.

Sunday our Church School will perform the Bible Story play they've been preparing. I wonder what it will be? These are always a delight, and imaginatively prepared. But wait, there's more.

On Rogation Tuesday the Litany is added to Matins. But wait, there's more.

On Rogation Wednesday there is a "solemn Evensong," which includes the "Incense Alert!"

Thursday is Ascension Day, which Fr. Daniel notes as a major feast day on par with Christmas and Easter.

For me it's also "packing day," because Friday my wife and I fly to New England for her grandmother's funeral (she was only 106!). But this means she will miss the "Ladies' Arts & Crafts Social" on Friday and I the "Mens' Group" on Saturday. But we hope to celebrate "Ascension I" in another APCK church in Connecticut before our flights home. (You CT churches in the Hartford area are duly warned!)

Monday, May 07, 2007

Roses and Rogation Sunday

Sunday will be Rogation Sunday. For Rogation Sunday last year I noted:
For the Rogation Sunday service Fr. McGrath introduced us to a new (to us) custom. He noted that in England it's been a very old practice to conduct a procession, asking for God's blessings on the fields, gardens, and orchards as the procession passes through. We don't have fields or orchards but we do have gardens, so we processed by them. (Maybe we'll be blessed with fewer weeds...?)
The answer to the latter would seem to be "no," though we have been blessed by a proliferation of flowers of all sorts. Except roses; the deer keep eating them. Maybe we need ask for protection for the roses in this year's procession, if there is one.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Editing: how far is too far?

I've spent a little time going through the photos from Sunday, because people will want copies of the group photos. Unfortunately I'm just an amateur and while I was focused on getting balance in the group itself (not all the tall people on one side, for example) I missed the Aumbry light and Paschal cable behind Fr. Daniel. Well, didn't miss them, exactly (I was distracted by the lit candle, with a flame over Fr. Daniel's head, but gave up on correcting that element before taking the photos. Big mistake. It looked worse in the photos, of course (and I knew it would!).

Altering photos is not really a big thing these days, with digital cameras that can edit out "red-eye" in the camera. But the question is, how much is acceptable?

My history with photo editors has been mixed; Microsoft Photo Editor was nice for quick work but its successor, Photo Manager(?), less so. My old CorelPhoto 7 won't run on Win2K and its successor, Publisher Pro, won't run on my new XP work laptop. Photoshop is too expensive so I'm now using The GIMP, which at least runs on both Windows and Linux and works almost the same on both. It's got a horribly steep learning curve (I had to buy a book, it is so counter-intuitive), but is extremely powerful.

So, I'm looking at this picture. The candle and lamp have been mentioned, but there's a lot of reflection of the flash from glasses (at higher magnifications), and I see some shadows I don't like. I take out the candle and lamp, remove the most bothersome shadow (on the right), re-draw several eyes to take out the flash, and in the worst case take part of a face from another photo (when the flash failed to fire) and paste it here after tweaking the color. How far is too far?

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

The Bishop's Visit

What a time the Bishop's visit turned out to be -- much more than I had anticipated, and so joyous I had to cool off for a day or two before posting. (Well, there was also the issue of So Many Photos to wade through...)

I was prepared and honored to serve as Bishop's Chaplain (assisting him as needed with his Crozier, Miter, Cope and so on), I knew the Girls' Choir would be singing, and of course there would be the Confirmations and Receptions (into the church), but somehow all my anticipation fell short of the reality.

In a way I was disappointed at the small turnout for the Meet With the Bishop session after Matins, starting at 9 AM, but it meant there was more time for my questions. I asked a little question about thuribles with bells (prompted by a Greek Orthodox friend) and got back quite an education discourse about Orthodoxy, and the closeness between Anglicanism and Orthodoxy. I was only sad there wasn't more time for him to expound further.

At 9:45 it was time to head up to the Sacristy and vest, and it was there I ran into George (or was it Matt?), who asked how I'd managed to dodge the Mens' Choir. Mens' Choir? That explained his being vested, but I hadn't heard a thing about it. "Probably my voice," I told him -- and in truth I've been having trouble singing lately; trying to reach for the high notes causes me to choke somewhat. On the other hand, I already had an appointed task.

Then, when we were crowded into the Narthex ready to process --Crucifer, Lucifers, Girls' Choir, Mens' Choir, Fr. Daniel, myself and Bishop Provence -- I got my next surprise. Instead of us all singing a hymn, we processed with the choirs singing Veni, Creator Spiritus. (If I remember correctly, Ruby led it off; she has a wonderful voice.)

Then it was The Order of Confirmation, and wonderful to see so many confirmands, including a mother and daughter. Then Bishop Provence received new members into the church; he had a small book with the order of service for this, though I don't know what book it is.

Then, before entering into The Order for Holy Communion, we sang the first of only three hymns appointed for the service -- the Hymn Board looked almost bare.

Ranjit was Epistler for the day (usually my job for the fifth Sunday of the month as well as the first), which was superb. I love listening to his reading.

Bishop Provence preached a great sermon about preparing ourselves NOW, for we do not know when the Lord will return. (I was amused by his lead-off using vacuum tubes, probably as the only parishioner as familiar as he with them -- I learned to design vacuum-tube circuits well before transistor circuits, and still have my old Sylvania vacuum tube handbook in the library downstairs.)

For all our preparations, we still ended up punting from time to time. At one point Fr. Daniel, on the Epistle side with the Choirs and Joe (who was serving as Acolyte), noticed that the Sanctus Bells were over there and I was on the Gospel side. (Joe hasn't been trained with the bells yet.) So he had Joe bring them to me through the Sacristy, which fortunately opens on both side of the Sanctuary. Small things...

In any event a beautiful service, and a good thing we put the folding chairs out. They weren't all filled but we had an over-normal capacity crowd.

We had a little photo session afterwards, my first "group photo" session, and I see I have some things yet to learn about flashes and reflections. Oh well...

Afterwards, a nice reception in the Parish Hall. (Bishop Provence and our youngest, Mary Eve McGrath, appear here -- this is just one of so many photos of the like, it was hard to choose.)

It all ended way too soon, but Bishop Provence needed to return to prepare for the annual Synod which starts Thursday in Napa Valley. Next year it's our turn to be host!