Continuing Home

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

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Synod end and beyond

Synod is almost over and there is so much I've missed: the silent retreat, the Clericus -- well, I wouldn't have been there anyway, as well as the Clergy & Wives Dinner though I would have been at the Laity Dinner, the services, the workshops, and so on. All that's left now are, starting in under three hours: the logistical headache of shuttling everyone from the hotel in Redmond to St. Bartholomew's (this was one of the last items to get resolved), the Synodical Mass, and the Saturday Brunch.

But there were other elements too I hadn't anticipated, perhaps because they weren't in my planning, such as the Anglican Church Womens' quilt (every parish contributed a square) and Abby & Jon's presentation on our Anglican Camp last year (photos and more photos), which will be held again this year.

But it now appears that several folks will be staying over so I will get to see them Sunday. I've already mentioned Archbishop Provence but now I can add Monty, a professional who took over my pitiful efforts at getting a regular and effective diocesan newsletter started (hampered by too much travel and other commitments) and did an excellent job, and Abby & Jon whose new baby will be baptized tomorrow! (Update: Miscommunication -- their baby was baptized today. Oh well.)

Friday, April 25, 2008

Serving with the (Arch)bishop

I received a really thoughtful note from Drew yesterday asking if I'd like to serve with Archbishop Provence on Sunday. I hadn't even thought about it until I received the note, but the answer was YES!

Normally this would be Drew's Sunday as Epistler, I think, but he noted he's already served twice during Synod.

Thank you, Drew!

"Harp not on that string"

Since I was not going to be at Synod, arrangements were made for Kathy and others to take photos of Synod so that I could post them on the blog. But of course "No battle plan ever survives contact with the enemy" (attr. Field Marshall Helmuth Carl Bernard von Moltke) and so far this has held true.

Kathy's camera has not been seen since our trip to Cairo, though we think it's in a box or bag with some Cairo memorabilia (she may have found it last night), Nancy's camera uses a type of memory card for which we have no reader and there are no mini-USB cables in the house to connect to the camera (I have them all). But her camera cellphone rides to the rescue -- and she can e-mail them direct to my Gmail account.

Of course, I have to be online to get them and post them here and I'd not figured on being as busy "socializing" as I was. Usually the last night of our meetings I slip out for a quick, quiet dinner alone but my committee had other ideas last night.

I thought maybe I'd get an opportunity during meeting breaks this morning but ended up dealing with committee issues.

I knew I'd be absent this afternoon while touring Gettysburg battlefield, which I quickly learned requires at least a day, maybe two.

And then I'd arranged to have dinner with a friend here in Baltimore, third year in a row, and as usual it went a bit late.

So I just checked my e-mail and there are a bunch of pictures from yesterday and today, awaiting attention. This is one from yesterday morning before the service of Kathy's harp.

The quote? From Shakespeare.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Opening Mass

Synod opened with Mass, as per this photo e-mailed me from Kathy's cellphone.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Final Final Arrangements

Well, maybe I spoke too soon.

It seems Kathy will be playing her harp for the services, but apparently the keyboard will come in very handy for this summer's Choir Camp.

In the meantime Fr. Daniel discovered our 1889 Sears & Roebuck parlour organ (pedal pumped), which did service for St. Bartholomew's on special occasions from time to time before we moved into our building. It's a little heavy and very bulky, and I no longer have a pickup in which to transport it, but with its four banks of reeds (most have but two) it has quite a voice. It has been a fixture in the living room for so long I hadn't even thought about it for the Synod services...

But registration opens tomorrow afternoon, and then Synod is underway.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Final Arrangements

I've forgotten how many months it's been since Fr. Daniel asked to me to make (or delegate) the arrangements for the Diocese of the Western States' annual Synod that St. Bartholomew's is hosting this year, starting on Thursday. It has been a while with a few difficult issues to work through, but things seemed pretty much in place early last week -- until Fr. Daniel asked about music for the banquet, and apparently subsequently about music for the services held at the meeting hotel prior to Saturday.


It turns out a piano rental for the services would cost quite a bit, but it seems Kathy came through with a purchase of a keyboard. Funny me, she told me this initially out of context and I was wondering what kind of computer keyboard would cost so much.

So they were to get together this afternoon and go over the music for the services. At this point it would seem everything ought to be in place and for anything overlooked we'll just have to punt.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

A visit to O Street

For years now one of my committees has held its week-long spring meeting in Maryland about 20 minutes or so northwest of Washington, D.C. Usually I fly in Sunday evening with just enough time to get dinner, unpack and crash before Monday morning's festivit... er, meetings, get underway. For several reasons this year was different and I arrived at the Baltimore airport hotel (for the first night only) at 1 AM.

I had considered visiting The Parish of Christ the King in D.C., an hour and something's drive from that hotel, since I was going to be in the area in the morning. But I also considered the late arrival and necessary early arisal... and decided I wouldn't. (Some of us know The Parish of Christ the King as "O Street" because it is on the street by that name in D.C.; it is also our provincial cathedral.)

But things worked out otherwise. Didn't get to sleep until after 2:30 AM, but by 7:30 AM I was unavoidably awake. Ran the timing in my head and decided I probably had time to make the 10 AM Holy Eucharist. So I got up, showered, dressed in the best I had (our meetings are not formal affairs so it was black walking shoes, black jeans, best polo and PNW rain shell), packed, checked out and hit the road.

I was afraid that I wasn't going to make it due to the on-again/off-again blinding rain slowing traffic down but in the end I did, with 20 minutes to spare. In fact, I was one of the first to arrive, to see the Nave and Sanctuary like this.

The impressive entrance I encountered took me back to Vienna last December. While walking around the alleys there I passed by one large (church?) wooden door and suddenly heard an organ thundering away inside -- I just had to stop and listen, for how long I don't remember, to that majestic sound. Here, all was quiet until I opened the door and suddenly a similar organ voice boomed out.

The service was a little different from our old familiar 1928 BCP service, but not by a lot. I am guessing they use the Missal.

Afterwards I was invited down to the Parish Hall and joined them for some enjoyable conversation. They were somewhat surprised that I was visiting from another church in the same province; this seems a little different from our experience at St. Bartholomew's where we regularly have visitors from elsewhere.

Fr. Russell invited to stay for their Bible Study after the coffee hour. I weighed my plans for the day, the amount of driving they would require, the quite poor weather (my plans included some scene photography)... and stayed.

I was glad I did. Their Bible Study class is much like ours. They were starting on Acts today, and Fr. Russell explained a number of elements I (and I think others) had not known. And like ours, their class is anything other than "listen to what teacher says and write it down," there was a lot of back and forth through which I got to know some of these people better.

O Street's numbers may be down a bit, a comment or two implied, but I think they have a quite solid core. The visit was quite worth the lack of sleep and the difficult drive.

More snow

Kathy reports that it snowed at "serious" levels during this morning's service. In one case a parishioner felt the need to get home early before the road up the hill to home could become impassable.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Snow, Blossoms for Synod?

During lunch with Fr. Daniel on Wednesday (Tuesday?), I noted that I'd heard on the radio that snow was forecast for this weekend. Fr. Daniel was surprised (it IS rather late for snow) and hoped it wouldn't because everything was beginning to blossom so the grounds would look good when the priests and delegates to Synod arrive next week.

But I checked the online forecasts and yes, they said snow.

Yesterday afternoon it started here at home with what we call "popcorn snow" -- little round balls that are almost hail, but more like the consistency of snow. Not a lot, and it was too warm for it to stick, until evening when it turned to real snow. (Kathy was at the Ladies' Arts & Crafts Social yesterday afternoon where they were assembling the Synod gift bags, and sent me a couple of pictures from her cellphone showing snow on the ground.)

Last night on the weather radar I saw a storm center stall somewhere between Vancouver BC and Bellingham WA, with precipitation rotating counterclockwise around it. By this morning the storm center has only shifted 50 miles south, and there is a bit of snow on the ground. Although I see a big slug of snow about advancing on to Tacoma, probably arriving at Sea-Tac airport about the same time I intend to for my flight out this morning.

It doesn't look good for St. Bartholomew's blossoms for Synod.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Synod Planning

Directing the arrangements for hosting this year's Synod (diocesan convention) has proved to be both easier and more difficult than I expected. The "delegation" model has worked really well -- give folks a task and they run with it, unlike the "consensus committee" model to which I'm most accustomed; the latter has been little but trouble for all it has cast lights on particular problems.

But it looks like everything is in place: tomorrow the gift bags will be made, we have identified volunteers where needed, the ACW is finalizing the Saturday brunch arrangements, we've worked out the various dinner locations and costs, and Bob has done a great job arranging the transport between the hotel and church.

It saddens me still that I will miss it all, but life is that way sometimes. I missed the last two Synods because of business travel. One more? It fits the pattern; I've missed a number of company Christmas / Solstice / WinterFest / Holiday / Whatever-you want-to-call-it company celebrations thanks to travel.


Parish Picture Postcard Problems

Several (3?) days ago Nancy reported problems getting the parish picture postcards printed. I'm not sure what's going on but apparently the preferred proportions are not being accepted online. We keep phoning and missing each other.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Goodbye to the jail

Because the McGraths were away on a needed vacation, after the busy Easter season and before next week's Synod which St. Bartholomew's is hosting this year, Drew and I led Morning Prayer (sung) again. The order for the service was a bit different from last week's, because the Church School put on one of their landmark plays.

I don't remember just when these started, I know we've now had a complete turnover of actors, but I have pictures of one from around Christmas 2001. In that one the children enacted television-newscaster style reporting of the birth of Jesus, in costume. (Mary Ellen found the sign for the TV station this morning: call letters FISH.) Another some time around 2004 included Paul's escape from Damascus (Acts 9:25); the pulley that raised the wall behind him to simulate his being let down in a basket is still in the beam above the Nave.

We've had fewer of these since Fr. Daniel's arrival, but the Church School performed one today.

Today's continued the story of Paul including his imprisonment (the chains are being put on here) and the violent earthquake opening the door, which was simulated by violent shaking the cardboard refrigerator box painted to represent a prison or jail.

At the conclusion of the play, Paul Jr. announced that the "jail" had been taking up space in the Sunday School for three and a half years and it was time for it to go. With it go memories of previous plays as it had acquired different openings for different purposes, including one for a television screen (another play on the newscaster theme, I think this one was on the Resurrection).

So after the service it was left in front of the Fr. Leen Learning Center, where some of the younger children played in it until the adults arrived. Then the jail was carted off.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Picture Postcards

Some weeks ago Nancy got the idea of producing some postcards showing our parish, as a small fundraiser. She says she really likes my photos, some of which can be seen in our Image Gallery -- just about all the rest on the website are mine also.

I've been taking digital photos for a decade now, ever since I was given my first digital camera (I now use #3 and #4), so there are quite a lot of photos to draw on. Nancy initially chose a couple for the cards, one of the front doors with rhodies in bloom and another of the Nave, though we took some additional Nave photos after the Easter service, this time using a ladder for additional angles. (Nancy has a good sense for composition.) As is typical, the photos were flawed in one fashion or another so it took some effort to make them presentable (typical operations: rotate, crop, adjust brightness and color).

Then a couple of weeks ago she looked at the banner on the website and thought of putting something like that on a "panoramic" postcard (8 inches by 4 inches). Fine -- but I have been planning to update that banner as it shows folks whom we've not seen in a while, and there are a few other things that have changed. (One photo goes back to 2003, taken with #1.)

It took a bit more time than I anticipated to go through this collection and find a set of (ultimately) nine photos that illustrate various aspects of St. Bartholomew's and stitch them together. Difficult choices, some difficult editing especially with low-light photos. But at least the "rotate" processing will become less frequent because I just discovered my inexpensive tripod isn't quite as cheap as I thought -- it just had a element not fully tightened which caused it to be 1-1/2 degrees off vertical.

I don't know what Blogger will do with this reduced image, but here's the card:

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Flu and The Order for Matins

The phone call came yesterday afternoon, "Could you lead Morning Prayer tomorrow?" Uh, oh.

Fr. Daniel called to say he was down with the flu; he needed a Lay Reader to lead Morning Prayer.

We discussed the service and decided it would be a Sung Matins, in which the Venite, exultemus Domino,the Benedictus es, Domine and the Jubilate Deo are sung. (And somehow I have to remember to pronounce the last correctly!) I liked the decision, remembering back to St. Bartholomew's first introduction (I believe) to same in August 2005, led by several of us who remembered that tradition. The parish took to it immediately.

For today Fr. Daniel had chosen Hymns 609, 624 and 644 for these Canticles. The hymnboard was a bit full with these in addition to the Processional, Sermon, Offertory and Recessional hymns. Having these three on the same row was a nice effect, forming a cross on the hymnboard.

About the same time Fr. Daniel called me, Ranjit sent out a reminder e-mail about today's scheduled servers (Crucifer, Lucifers and Banner Bearer), and in short order e-mails came back advising that all but one of the servers were going to be unavailable.

It turned out Drew was available to read the lessons and Fr. Daniel's homily, so I decided the two of us would handle the entire service and give the one remaining server a day off, and e-mailed the servers accordingly. That e-mail was not seen apparently, because a message was relayed to me this morning that the remaining server was also going to be unavailable due to the flu. (Maybe we're a little too reliant on e-mail in this parish.)

I had figured today would be a low Sunday, but I was wrong. Attendance was about normal, though almost none of the children were there. It must be the schools' Spring Break.

Deacon Ed surprised and delighted everyone when he showed up, on his first outing after his stint away due to surgery, looking better and brighter than he has in a long time. It didn't make me at all nervous to lead Matins with him seated in the front pew a few feet away. Seriously, it didn't. Really.

The service itself went well. The congregation was in very good voice, Drew read very well, and with him taking on a number of the tasks (we'd forgotten to discuss the Offertory beforehand), and with mental notes I'd made from when Fr. Daniel conducted Matins, the service flowed better. With Drew on the Epistle side and I on the Gospel, both in cassock and surplice, we must have looked a bit like bookends, but for his hair and beard being black while mine is blond to white.

We'll likely get to do it again next week (many in the parish will be delighted) because the McGraths will be on Eastertide break -- and hopefully all done with the flu.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Today was the celebration of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (transferred). Fr. Daniel planned a service of Evensong (Evening Prayer) into Holy Communion, with "bells & smells," followed by a light supper. I was a little disappointed in the low turnout -- perhaps I got my hopes up with the rather larger than usual "Low Sunday" turnout the Sunday after Easter. But I learned some folks had conflicts, and likely the rest of our "regulars" did too.

Fr. Daniel e-mailed me earlier to ask if I would help out as Epistler and Thurifer, and I agreed. Even when I'm not fully up to snuff, as today, I'm still blessed when I can serve.

When I arrived, Fr. Daniel and Danny were in the Sacristy. Danny (coming up on 4?) seems to be taking an interest in what goes on and followed intently as the thurible was lit -- Can I say? I am SO glad we finally replaced the way-too-old supply of thurible charcoal that seemingly wouldn't light even if you held a propane (or even oxyacetylene) torch to it! Touch a common match to this new stuff and it just lights.

Fr. Daniel and Danny watched from the pews subsequently as I lit all the candles, more than I'd ever dealt with as boy acolyte. Back in the Sacristy Fr. Daniel reviewed the various occasions we'd be using the thurible, and after ringing a bell (that I don't recall seeing before) we processed from the Sacristy.

In the service the thurible seemed more "active" than I'd ever seen it; at one point the pews were partially obscured by the smoke as I stood there holding it. Good thing our smoke-sensitive parishioners weren't there. The scent will probably linger on for days.

Fr. Daniel's homily gave one a lot to think about, but as this was one of his extemporaneous sermons it won't appear on the church website. Part of the evening's highlights but nothing to relate here, more is the pity.

After service's conclusion with my expert (I hope) performance of the office of "The Extinguishing Of All Those Many Candles In Their Correct Order," another surprise awaited in the Parish Hall.

As Fr. Daniel had noted, it was a simple supper that had been prepared. But he presented (and made? I hope? yet another St. B's closet chef?) some wonderful hot sandwiches for tonight, labeled "The Gabriel (a smoked swiss and ham melt with a touch of Dijon)" and "The Avondale (a turkey and cheddar melt)." Clearly "The Gabriel" was related to the day, and "The Avondale" -- well, we're on Avondale Road.

They were extremely good. And meals with other members of our parish family are always enjoyable.

A good evening, a good end to a day that was for me otherwise, and... Chef Gordon, you just should have been there.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Minuses and Pluses

On the downside, I will also miss the Men's Breakfast Saturday the 19th. About the time they start I need to be on my way to the airport. (When you live on the West coast, trips to the East coast tend to take the entire day; though my first flight isn't until after 11 AM, I anticipate arriving at my hotel about 1 AM on Sunday.)

On the upside, if he sets an alarm and cuts short his sleep, this Wandering Anglican just might make it to the 10 AM service at what we call "O Street," the Provincial Cathedral at 2727 O Street N.W. in Washington, D.C.

Speaking of being a Wandering Anglican, another trip just popped up on my radar yesterday. In early May to Sonoma, California -- close enough that it could be a flight down in the morning, continuing (back) home in the evening. If it's on a Thursday maybe I could visit nearby St. Stephen's in Oakville (Napa).

Miss it all

Just booked my trip to the D.C. area the week of the 21st. Sadly, as a result of dealing with corporate policies and other matters, I'm gone from the 19th through the 26th. Although I was tagged to organize St. Bartholomew's hosting of this year's Synod, I'm going to miss the whole thing.

Oh, well.

But on the bright side, the Archbishop is staying over until Sunday.