Continuing Home

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

Friday, November 30, 2007

Just Father and I...

...were there for this morning's Saint Andrew's Day service -- and it was close enough for me.

Fr. Daniel had put out a request to the Lay Readers and Deacon Ed earlier this week for help with last evening's and this morning's services. With my health being only so-so and with another trip abroad starting next week, I begged off the evening service but Matt was able to help. As I work fairly close by and I'd either have all my time-critical work done or I'd still be doing it on the weekend, I suggested I could help with the morning service if nobody else was available.

And of course nobody else was.

I had planned to arrive at least 15 minutes before the service so I could get vested, light the candles, double-check the announcing of the Epistle per new guidelines, and so on. But things conspired against my getting out of the office with the result that I arrived only about 5 minutes before the service. (Fortunately Fr. Daniel is not as much about starting exactly on time as Fr. David was.) At least I'd had a copy of the Prayer Book with me so I was able to preview the Epistle, though I felt I had to preview it again in the Sacristy -- and it was a good thing I did because that changed my "presentation," the way I'd planned to read the Epistle.

It was a little disappointing that nobody else was there but we are a pretty wide-spread parish and it was the middle of a workday.

But the service was still nice (wrong word, I know, but what do you call it? Satisfying? Comforting? The word escapes me right now) even though it was just the two of us. Fr. Daniel asked me to read (lead) Matins, and he led Holy Communion. It's a nice combination of the two services and I wish we did it more often. And it went well despite my woeful lack of preparation; it might go even better with more practice.

Father Daniel said a prayer for our parish in this time of ill-health (mostly colds and flu, but one other concern), and it was more than timely. My health was just "good enough" to make it through all the reading without losing my voice or hacking -- though my eyes have been unusually dry and burning for a few days and my saline drops were all in the desk at the office. (I hope this isn't another allergy starting up, but the slightly sore throat says it's probably not.)

But... we celebrated St. Andrew's Day regardless. Perhaps one of these years when I'm not traveling so much, and St. Andrew's falls on a Sunday, we can have a traditional American Kirkin' o' the Tartan (unlike the Scottish one), pipes 'aun aa'.

Given the date and the health issues, perhaps it's appropriate to conclude this posting with a Gaelic blessing from the Highlands and islands of Scotland, Slàinte mhath.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

"Protestant" hymns

Today's was a "different" service indeed, if only for me. Not being fully recovered I almost decided not to come and did miss today's Schola Cantorum; my voice, never good at its best these days and with less range than I once had, would not have held out for long and I needed the rest. As it was, with others out ill, I agreed to fill in and serve the altar though Ranjit had to read the Epistle.

We started out with a long procession while singing the Litany; something new. Preparation for Advent, this being the last Sunday of the church year? (Sunday next before Advent.)

The big surprise came during Communion. I was startled to hear Josephine lead off playing one of my favorite hymns, though it's not in our Hymnal and I have no idea when I last heard it: How Great Thou Art. It was the theme song for a radio program that as a boy I used to listen to Sunday evenings on my vacuum-tube shortwave/AM radio (better sound than the crystal set), though I tend to mix the program title up with the classical music hour that preceded it, amusingly called both "The Hour of Great Music" and "The Great Hour of Music" by the program director.

Then when Kathy spelled her at the organ, what did I hear next but In The Garden! Almost as much a favorite as the other, but also not in our Hymnal so I've long tended to think of them as "Protestant" hymns.

Quite a difference from the Adoro Devote, Pange Lingua and other favorite communion hymns that show up from time to time.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thanksgiving Eve

With the number of people traveling for Thanksgiving, I guess I am not too surprised that the pews weren't packed full for the Choral Evensong last night, but those who who weren't there missed a great evening.

Fr. Daniel has clearly been working hard with the choir, with some male voices joining those of the Girls' Choir. No doubt he'd have had some comment, based on the final practice beforehand, but it sounded perfect to me.

And the presentation of the service also was well done. As we anticipated (and had) folks present who were not familiar with our Book of Common Prayer, or with how the service would be conducted this evening, Fr. Daniel had printed up service booklets with the entire service therein. And so people wouldn't get lost, portions sung by the choir or said by Fr. Daniel were printed in gray. The only additional book needed was the Hymnal for the two hymns sung by everyone.

On the way out gift bags were given to our guests as they left the Nave. DeeDee bought some very nice-looking bags, and Claire and Kathy worked for hours to make pumpkin loaves and Challah bread to go into the bags, along with our latest newsletter and a flyer about St. Bartholomew's.

Then those who were staying for headed down to the Parish Hall for a sumptuous dinner hosted by Drew and DeeDee. (Some braved the unusual and sudden sub-freezing temperatures outside and took the walk down, the rest went down the inside stairs.)

A surprise treat was in store for us: Ruby, who was singing in the choir, had recently joined the Seattle Youth Symphony, her first performance with the orchestra was last Sunday -- and a radio broadcast of it started shortly after we sat down!

(Sadly, I had not been feeling up to snuff and was getting progressively worse, so I had to leave before dinner was done. But I'm not the least bit sorry for having gone.)

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Busy time

All the St. Bartholomew's e-mails flying about this past week, and not just those from Fr. Daniel, show this to be a really busy time for the parish. What with last week's Bazaar, preparing the Girls' Choir for a new year, getting the latest parish newsletter out, kicking off the Stewardship Campaign, and preparations for Wednesday evening's Thanksgiving Eve Choral Evensong and dinner, Fr. Daniel had to postpone the Schola Cantorum and Lay Reader training.

The Evensong and dinner is also generating lots of e-mails as we work out details for the little gift packages for our visitors. (Church members are inviting friends to the service and dinner as an outreach.) Kathy & I are to do some initial setup and greet arrivals beforehand -- I just hope we'll be up to it. The cold I got in Cairo just kicked into high gear, an hour after today's service ended, and Kathy seems to have caught something there that has her sleeping most of the time.

Fr. Daniel also announced the Stewardship Campaign; Matt will be Stewardship Chairman this year, taking over from Gordon. Matt brought new perspectives in with the Evangelism for Anglicans class earlier this year; it will be interesting to see how the Stewardship campaign goes.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Heading home

In my last post I'd noted that I hoped there would be time to see the pyramids, the Sphinx and more. My wishes were granted and more -- I had not expected to be riding a camel right up to the pyramids! I didn't get to sail on a felucca (sailboat) or see other sights, but that's okay.

I now understand a little the writer who remarked that whenever she arrives in Cairo she hates it, but when it comes time to leave she wants to jump off the conveyance and remain. (Or something like that.)

The sun is setting here in Cairo, and according to a weather site it's just coming up in Woodinville. When it comes up here we'll be heading home, when it comes up there we'll be halfway home.

This has been a stay in a very different culture, differences that continue to show up in small things and large. I wonder how home will look when we get there.

11/15: Answer: very different! As a Indian co-worker's mother said when she first visited Redmond, "Where are all the people??" By comparison, our population is sparse. Climate of course is different, but I've not before seen the Pacific Northwest as being such a cold, wet and dark place; I would hate be somebody from Cairo or India trying to deal with this climate -- then again, I would hate to have to deal with their summers. And Redmond? It's so small you could drop it into some district or another in Cairo and nobody'd even notice.

Other things include the realization of the extent of our accommodation to a credit-card culture. Cairo, at least what we dealt with, was mostly cash-based. And as an Iranian friend warned, they are very good at "extracting" all your cash unless you are careful and prepared.

Religion: we were awakened most every morning by a nearby muezzin's call to early morning prayer. (Cairo has a reputation for more mosques than any other city.) Reminded me in a way of a particular church's bells in the small midwestern city where I grew up, serving double-duty of (hourly) clock and announcing their worship services. But it was interesting to see, among our Egyptian Muslim colleagues, how some were very (quietly) observant and others not. Rather like Americans...

I did not make it to the Anglican cathedral there but I got reports of several distinct groups served by the cathedral, including an Anglican Sudanese group.

It was an interesting trip but I'm glad to be home, if only for some three weeks. Checking my e-mail it looks like things are about to get into really high gear at St. Bartholomew's, at least up through Epiphany. Time to put Cairo behind me, if I can...


Wednesday, November 07, 2007


This blog will be quiet for the next week. EARLY tomorrow morning I am to depart on a business trip to Cairo -- not OH, TN, OR, OK, NC, MS, or the many other American locales place-named Cairo, but to the original in Egypt.

"Travel to exotic locations, sit in hotel meeting rooms" is my motto. I hope at least to see the pyramids and the Sphinx while there; my hotel is on the Nile so I'm guessing at least I'll see that. I may post pictures IF I have Internet access AND time. (More travel coming up in December, but sufficient unto the month is the evil thereof.)

Ma'is salaama. Shukran.

The Decalogue and Thanksgiving Eve

During Sunday's service I noticed that despite it being the first Sunday of the month, the Decalogue was not on the program. After the Litany today I asked Fr. Daniel about it and he told me it will be read next Sunday, the Girls' Choir will be singing the responses.

He also told me that they will be singing Evensong on Thanksgiving Eve! In case you haven't been to St. Bartholomew's Announcements, we will be having an Evensong that evening, followed by dinner, and the parish has been asked to invite friends.

Our Schola Cantorum hasn't been doing much of late (hope it's not my voice dragging things down),but it's nice to see the Girls' Choir active again!

Friday too!

Since I wasn't going to be able to say the Litany with Fr. Daniel, and because my schedule for the rest of the day looked fairly open (how little I knew then...), I decided to drive over today instead. It was a pretty typical Pacific Northwest autumn day: dark, grey, gloomy and raining -- absolutely perfect! (There's a reason they call Pacific Northwesterners "mossbacks.")

I knew the sale was on for this weekend, so I shouldn't have been surprised by the bright yellow banners advertising the sale, but I was. And I saw a bit of ingenuity on somebody's part: the sale is usually held on Saturday, but this year it was extended to Friday also. The banner had been made some time ago, but somebody made another sign (barely visible in this picture, I'm afraid), white on blue, that added "Friday too!"

I was a few minutes early and Fr. Daniel wasn't there; apparently he had been home watching the children while Josephine was helping other women from the ACW in setting up the sale. But he showed up a few minutes later, just long enough for me to peruse the setup, and we went upstairs to read the Litany after which I took care of some other business in town, ate lunch, and ambled back to the office where my planned easy afternoon vanished into a flurry of activity.

I suppose it's overdoing it a bit to recall from the Litany:

From lightning and tempest; from earthquake, fire, and flood; from plague, pestilence, and famine; from battle and murder, and from sudden death,
Good Lord, deliver us.
And likewise any petition to add the following is certainly doomed to failure:
From things that pile on when one is trying to get out of the office,
Good Lord, deliver us.
But hey -- did I mention that St. Bartholomew's ACW is having a sale Friday and Saturday, November 9th and 10th, 9 AM to 3 PM both days? If you're in the Woodinville area, come on by.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Forgive us our trespasses/debts

My personal opinion is that Fr. Daniel outdid himself today with the latest in his series of homilies on the Lord's Prayer. The subject was forgiveness, coinciding extremely well (or was it planned?) with today's appointed Gospel reading, beginning with Matt. 18:21, on the same topic.

I've heard and read much on the topic of injury and restoration, and I have never heard all the key issues brought together so correctly and so succinctly, right down to explaining the error of the element of forgiveness (for severe, even deliberate, injury) that most people get wrong, summed up as "Forgive and forget."

I commend this précis of forgiveness to all. (I will add a link when it gets posted on the St. Bartholomew's website.)

Fr. Daniel, superb job!

Update: Link


It was nice to have the extra hour last night, due to the return to "standard" time (why do we continue to call it "standard" when we spend less than half on it?), but it seemed hardly enough what with all the arrangements for the upcoming trip we had to do yesterday. Less than 100 hours to departure; a less than pleasant dream reminded me I need to back up the laptop before I go.

In any event, this morning comes with a conflict: Drew's class, or acolyte training? Overall it should be obvious, but there are one or two things on which I need updating -- particularly candle lighting and extinguishing order, and stance for both. We recently revised the lighting and extinguishing to be done from the side instead of in front, in order to minimize wax on the altar linens. That is considerably more difficult now with the new additional candles.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

All Saints Day

Having just completed a project at work in the morning, I took a little extra time at lunch and drove up for the Litany at noon. Afterwards Fr. Daniel and I went and got some lunch together, time to chat about this, that and the other.

I'd noticed the bulletins for the All Saints' Day service at 10 AM were still on the stand and picked one up as we left, in case there was something there to write about. So with that in my pocket, over lunch I asked Fr. Daniel about it. I learned that about 10 people were present, including the McGraths, the Millers, Mary Ellen and Kathy. The Millers had made chili for those who could stay and have lunch after (if only I had not been so busy!)

I learned too that the "Miller Menagerie" had also come for the Solemn Evensong the evening before (generally known as All Hallow's Eve, or something like that), and then(?) joined the McGraths at their townhouse complex for a small trick-or-treat complex-wide session.

But I found the complex-centered trick-or-treat yet another indicator of change in our culture -- at least in the Pacific Northwest.

This is the second year in which we've had no visitors at our house. Our somewhat rural locale dictates that we're not likely to have many, and the ever-increasing house prices seem to result in departing families being replaced by Microsoft couples (i.e., they both work for Microsoft and have no time to have children). At the same time we have a developing tradition in my office wherein people bring candy and have it at their offices/cubicles/pods, and co-workers bring in their children in the afternoon for trick-and-treat.

Safer than my childhood days, I guess, where we kids sometimes competed to see who could reach the most houses, but in my mind some innocence has been lost.

Is it real, is it fear? I don't know. Nobody in the town where I grew up ever encountered razor blades or other nasties in apples, though we all sure heard about them. But maybe the time for this accreted custom is passing and we can return to the original celebration of All Saints Day.

From the Te Deum:

The glorious company of the Apostles praise thee.
The goodly fellowship of the Prophets praise thee.
The noble army of Martyrs praise thee.
The holy Church throughout all the world doth acknowledge thee;
The Father of an infinite Majesty;
Thine adorable, true and only Son;
Also the Holy Ghost the Comforter.