Continuing Home

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

Monday, July 30, 2007

"Home again, home again, jiggity-jog"

"The best-laid plans o' mice and men gang aft a-gley," wrote the Scottish poet laureate, and today was no exception. I'd planned to have the camp struck before Morning Prayer so that we could hit the road right after, grabbing something for breakfast along the way so we didn't have to mess with cleaning cookware.

The day started out fine though I was unwillingly awake at 5 AM. I did get to see a beautiful scene with the full moon low above the camp, but... I didn't know where my camera was, so it went unrecorded except in my mind.

Later, about 7 AM, I was up and starting in on the packing, the stuff I could quietly without bothering anyone. As the camp got going (and the clock started ticking), the two of us set in on the various packing tasks -- plus a breakfast of cold materials + coffee (minimal cleanup). We made good progress, but I was dismayed to hear to service bell ring 5 minutes before the hour while we had at least 10 minutes' packing to do. Oh well.

Then I learned it was Holy Communion, not Morning Prayer, for the morning's service. Okay... there was Fr. Webb's sermon yesterday on time: CONVICTED! Actually, it was going to be Morning Prayer leading into Holy Communion, but they dropped the Morning Prayer.

Afterwards it took a long time, with all the good-byes to be said, before we could make it back to our remote corner of the camp to finish packing. And then there were many more good-byes with our nearby neighbors before we were able to hit the road at 10:30 AM, arriving home at 10:40 PM.

But all the good-byes were telling: a prominent element was "Next year in Rogue River!" (In Oregon, proposed as the site for next year's camp). In terms of building personal ties and friendships across parishes in the diocese, this was a HIT.

Thank you so much, Abby and Jon, for all your hard work!

More tomorrow -- I hope much, much more.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

(Not) Live-blogging the Diocesan Family Campout

It was Sunday, November 26th when I first noted about the upcoming first-ever Diocesan Family Camp-out at Mt. Lassen down in California. It seemed impossibly far off then, especially with "the dark, cold and snow outside" at the time (though we had no idea how much worse it would get in the following few weeks). But now, 8 months later, it's almost upon us!

I was going to try to advertise and co-ordinate the folks coming from St. Bartholomew's, but I fell down on the job. (What was I just saying about taking on too much?) But I also have to face facts: very few of our families are campers, it is a LONG drive (~12 hours or more) just to get there, and we're generally just comfortable ensconced within our parish family.

On the other hanthat a proposed speaking engagement in Mexico City at the same time did not come through so I can attend the camp.

And we're not the only ones going, the "Miller Menagerie" are too! It appears they're also experienced campers, and also know well Anglican life outside our parish.

Preparations for this trip have been unusually difficult, though. First off: the tent. Years ago, for reasons forgotten, "our" tent (I "inherited" it) ended up in storage with family in California. It's old, dating back to the early 60s and with three rooms, each one of which would be an adequate tent for two car-campers, it's quite big. We fetched it on our last drive to California several weeks ago (I did not note it here: for my father's 80th birthday and 50th anniversary of his ordination).

We also haven't gone camping in several years, so some of our gear needed to be tested. One of the "twin" Coleman white-gas lanterns (one as old as the tent) needs a new generator -- no time to fix, so we go with one less lantern.

But we're going.

With cameras (digital), laptop and notepad in hand.

The bad news is that there will be no Internet (imagine that), and no cellphone either (my fallback Internet access); the nearest access to either appears that it will be an hour or more drive away. So it seems that I will not be able to "live-blog" the event for you all.

And maybe that's a good thing.

We head on the road tomorrow morning. The next report here, it appears, will be after the event.

Monday, July 23, 2007

BlogRing maintenance

The problem of taking on too much ongoing activity when things are slow is the insufficient time when things pick up. After noticing some activity on the Continuing Anglican BlogRing, a web-ring of blogs by members of the Continuing Anglican churches, I realized it's been a month and half or more since I last checked the "blogring" e-mail address and traversed the ring to make sure all the links were in place. Sure enough, there were additions to be made and two or three sites that had to be (temporarily) removed to keep the ring intact.

Look down the right-hand column a bit. You'll see examples of the two most common web ring links on the Continuing Anglican BlogRing.

God Careth For Me

I had hoped to post a better picture of the new sign, but I not only forgot to bring the digital SLR (which got a bit of a workout at a get-together in the rain Saturday), I even forgot to bring the pocket camera that I almost always have around. (I also nearly forgot my notebook and Bible for the Bible Study.)

And if that wasn't bad enough, this was the Sunday little Kavya was going to be carrying the Sunday School Banner forward in the procession, and leading the Church School out before the Sermon. I wanted to post a picture of her with the banner, it was such a cute picture, and she was all smiles and joy. Ranjit said she was really excited to do this and couldn't wait to get to church!

Somebody, I forgot who, said she's always excited to go to church. And she's not the only one -- little(r) Danny and Pru have become good friends; I remember DeeDee saying Pru was always wanting to go to church too.

I tried taking pictures of both the church sign and Kavya using the cellphone's camera, something I haven't used for a long time, but the lens was too smudged. Still, in the process I noticed something that had escaped me before -- the legend on the banner was pretty good 1928-BCP style English: "God Careth For Me."

Having grown up familiar with the 1928 BCP, its measured cadences and what the Rev. Dr. Peter Toon calls "English liturgical idiom," I was happy to suddenly realize that new generations are learning it now. It would be a sad issue were this to be lost.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

We get a sign!!

But from across Redmond, not from above.

I don't recall when we first started talking about a new sign for the church, whether last year or the year before. But part of all of the talk of sprucing up our appearance was the sign. The sign, or rather signs because there were two of them, is old and weathered and a bit decayed and "eaten" by carpenter ants, and there was a limit to what we could do with putty and paint.

It's a little sad to me, because I think the outgoing sign was made by Adrian (RIP) back in the mid-late 80s, definitely a work of love on his part. I remember being on the crew that installed our first sign (which I think was this one) down near the exit from the parking lot, and Adrian was leading the effort. I do not recall when it moved from that location to the current one near the church building.

But it had aged a lot, and things had changed since it was made. The primary message is still valid: "St. Bartholomew's Anglican Church." And though we had found ways to add things like telephone number and services to the sign, the presentation wasn't always the best.

So we started talking about a new sign.

And we began to learn that the Vestry was not a good forum for discussing the minutiae of the design and informational aspects of a church's new sign! Perhaps Vestries tend to be fickle beasts in matters of taste (as differentiated, you understand, from the rest of the world, civilised or otherwise). Every meeting changed the proposed sign, though to their credit the design began to converge, including old elements such as the colors of the current sign and new elements such as our rendering of the old Canterbury Cross and our church website. I'd love to hear about other churches' experiences in the comments...

I dropped out of the conversation when I rolled off the Vestry last winter. But Gordon (our Senior Warden) pulled it off! Finalized the design, worked with sign companies to produce the sign, selected one, got approvals (a BIG effort in this highly-regulated county) and... it was installed today.

The following picture is deficient, but it shows the two signs. I need to return later with the BIG digital camera for a better picture.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

The Fifth Communion Service

Today provided an experience in something completely new to me: singing the Fifth Communion Service.

When we few showed up for the Schola Cantorum at 9 AM this morning, Fr. Daniel announced we'd be practicing something called "The Fifth Communion Service"? I wondered what that was but explanation was quick in coming.

Every church I've attended, when they sang portions of Holy Communion, they always sang it the same way. Looking at one of the older Hymnals around the house I see they chose the Merbecke form though there were a few alternatives. However, Fr. Daniel noted that there was supplemental material added to the 1940 Hymnal in 1960 and again around 1975. Our new Hymnals have that material appended.

Looking this afternoon at one of the two new Hymnals we purchased for the upcoming Lay Reader Training and Parish Leadership Retreat this September, I see that there are indeed additional forms, labeled the Fifth Communion Service through the Eighth (apparently added in 1960 -- and in the second set of supplemental tunes I was startled to see that "Amazing Grace" had been added!).

So in this morning's service the parish was going to sing the Fifth Communion Service, specifically the Kyrie, the Sanctus and Benedictus, and the Agnus Dei, in settings arranged by Leo Sowerby (1957). (Hymns 747, 799, and 749.) This was not going to be familiar to the church so the Schola Cantorum would learn it, practice, and provide support from wherever our group's members were seated in the congregation.

After learning about the life of Leo Sowersby, we started in. The material was not difficult, though pitched a bit high for me. Normally I could reach it, but lately I've been having trouble; the attempt can make me feel like I'm choking. So I'm afraid I wasn't much help this morning, but the church did pretty well.

I just hope my voice clears up before we start working on the Choral Evensong.

The Garden Guild continues

Nancy J. announced today that the Garden Guild will continue to meet on Thursdays, from 10 AM until "whenever you have to leave," through the summer. Already they're more colorful than I ever recall seeing them. Between their excellent work, the efforts on improving the stretch along the road, and the new sign which will hopefully go up this week, the appearance of the property is improving dramatically over what we were struggling just a few years to keep in check.

Friday, July 13, 2007

A precious gift

A few weeks ago I was talking with Frank, who recently moved into the office next to mine, and mentioned something about my church. He inquired, and I remember saying something that said "Anglican." I thought no more about it despite the office environment typical in the Pacific Northwest, where to talk about such things "is not done." (I've decided I don't care anymore -- and the reactions have been both interesting and surprisingly good!).

I thought no more about it... until a few days ago.

Frank, who it seems is always coming up with little gifts for people, came up with one for me on his birthday! I hadn't realized before how much a bibliophile he is, as well as an American history buff focusing on the Founding Fathers, but he invited me over to his office and presented me with this:

Opening it, I was floored: A miniature Book of Common Prayer and Hymnal (cover: "Hymns A & M", inside "Hymns Ancient & Modern" -- wait a minute, Fr. Daniel told us about that in one of the Schola Cantorum sessions and as he said, there's no music, just the words.)

Each book is 4" high, 2-1/4" wide, 11/16" thick, with a little case for the two. Church of England obviously, but undated. They look like they were well-made to begin with, and they've clearly seen lots of use but not abuse. I've tried to date them (there is no date inside) using the title page, but no luck.

Kathy thought "Army Chaplain" when she saw them. Very likely. I wonder where they've been? (Interestingly, the BCP opens readily to p. 227, "St. Bartholomew the Apostle"!) And how they ended up on eBay, where Frank saw them and thought of his Anglican friend.

Frank, if you're reading this: Thank you!!!!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

An interesting discussion

Fr. Daniel has put up two postings on his blog yesterday, An Anglican Response (to the recent declaration of the Church of Rome) and An Anglican Response, Part II. I commend it to you.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Planting seeds

One thing about St. Bartholomew's these days is that nothing seems to be static! I've seen churches whose websites go for months and (sadly) years without change, but our Announcements page seems to be in perpetual flux -- though just updated Sunday by the addition of the server schedule and the announcement of the fall bazaar, today it's been revised again with an announcement of the Garden Guild's activities. Garden Guild? Well, Nancy did announce it in Sunday's service, and I have to admit that I appreciate and delight in the care being taken with the gardens.

(Just please don't try to draft me for garden tasks. I have a black thumb, though it doesn't seem to extend to blackberries and other nasties.)

Also noted, "Camp Cookie" to support Kairos Prison Ministries. There is no way to express just how much prison ministry means to prisoners. For a significant number it becomes a lifeline, and I have heard (I haven't researched it) of studies that show that those convicts who become engaged in prison ministries have a much lower rate of re-offense than those who don't. I am also told that many such, after release, become involved in prison ministry themselves -- who better to show the way out but one who's walked through it?

For all that we're in the least-churched corner of the country, I suspect there is no mission field in the country more ripe than the prisons. It's not easy to walk in through those clashing gates voluntarily, but you'll also not likely walk back out without feeling a mission to plant more seeds.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Evangelism for Anglicans V - Finale (almost)

I had intended to post this summary Thursday evening after the class, but with so many other things demanding my time I just didn't get to it until almost 48 hours later. This class was a little different from the preceding ones. Instead of an opening discussion from Fr. Daniel, we began with a look into the Hymnal (1940) on missions, with Hymns 253 through 265 on this topic. Fr. Daniel noted that these were clearly written at a time quite different from the current age, presuming to come from a thoroughly Christian national culture reaching out to a less educated and Christian world. He focused his discussion on Hymn 263, "In Christ There is no East or West," arranged by Harry T. Burleigh (a black Episcopalian mentioned in an earlier posting). But he also mentioned another hymn noted before on this blog, #262, with its "sultry forests / where apes swing to and fro" -- nobody was able to read the lyrics without chuckling.

In any event, we returned to the list of concerns/inhibitors created in the first class. How different and in many ways inconsequential they look now! Now we could look at them, categorize them, and recognize the tools we now have for overcoming them. In just 5 weeks.

And it was also noted that of the various phases: planting seeds, watering them, pulling weeds, and harvesting -- not everyone may be called to engage in every phase, but every phase is critical.

Discussion followed on how we bring this forward in the parish life of St. Bartholomew's, but as this is an ongoing discussion (via email), and I am way too tired tonight, I will report on this later. The class finale is not the end of the matter.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Choir Day Camp

Fr. Daniel has announced the second St. Bartholomew's Choir Day Camp, to be held August 7th through the 9th.

As Fr. Daniel notes in the brochure:

The goal of this camp is to provide young choristers with the opportunity to increase their musical skills, learn new choral repertoire, worship God, build friendships and have a good time. Musical instruction will be lead by professional, university-trained musicians in a safe, supportive environment. St. Bartholomew’s is an affiliate of the Royal School of Church Music and we are pleased to be able to offer the RSCM’s well established Voice for Life chorister training program. This is a graded program which provides the young singer an opportunity to learn how to read music, sing with beautiful, healthy vocal technique, and handle themselves well in performance. Each of these skills will remain valuable for a lifetime of singing.
He also notes:
Although St. Bartholomew's is a Christian parish in the Anglican tradition, any young person who is interested in singing is welcome to participate in our Choir Camp regardless of religious background.
I'm looking forward to hearing how this year's camp goes.

Monday, July 02, 2007


The anticipated news came while we were on the road Friday: our Bishop James Provence is now Archbishop-elect of the APCK!

We were almost in the neighborhood at the time, having been on the road to California since Thursday morning and were in the vicinity of Sacramento, just a couple hours or so away, on the way to celebrate my father's 80th birthday AND 50th anniversary of his ordination. We'd considered attending St. Peter's for the Mass and election Friday morning, but it was just a bit too far. So we just had to wait until we got the call on the cellphone.

This was not a big surprise, I guess, though I've only met one other of our bishops. Also not a surprise is that Archbishop Morse will keep a hand in on the seminary, St. Joseph of Arimathea, which I am told is a top-notch seminary -- hard to obtain admission (many applicants are turned away) and even harder to graduate from. But all the graduates I've known are top-notch, including (especially) Fr. Daniel. The seminary has always been a special interest to Archbishop Morse, and no doubt will retain its excellent standards under his continued guidance.

I'm just hoping this doesn't cancel Bishop Provence's plans to go camping with us at the First Annual Diocese of the Western States camp outing at Mt. Lassen National Park later this month!

Update 7/05: I talked with him Tuesday and he's going to be there!