Continuing Home

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

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Just Ed & me

It being Labor Day weekend, the "end-of-summer" holiday (end of summer? that was weeks ago this year!), I expected a bit of a low turnout for Mass this morning and in that I was not disappointed. But the surprise was the almost total absence of school-age children. None of our acolytes or torchbearers were there.

Checking my e-mail I found Acolyte Master Ranjit's weekly reminder of the scheduled Epistler, acolytes, torch-bearers and Sunday School banner-bearer. (A lot of our parish communications are conducted by e-mail now, with provisions made for the few still without.) Then there were the followups from the parents of the kids who were scheduled: they would all be out of town and with requests for others who might me be able to stand in. The silence clearly meant nobody else was going to be in town either -- and so it was.

Kavya could have carried the church-school banner, but all the other church-schoolers were absent so there was no need and we skipped the church-school hymn.

This made for a plain and simple service with just Deacon Ed and me conducting.

We're both on deck again next Sunday, but I expect the kids will be back.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Danny's Rock

A couple of Sundays ago I was able to point out a really wee bit of St. Bartholomew's history to the most recent member of our parish, following mention of it a few days earlier; that bit is known to us as "Danny's Rock." It refers to a real rock on the grounds, near the walkway, and if you look at this slightly enhanced photo you can see a part of it.

Not very exciting, is it?

Back when St. Bartholomew's was putting up the building, we had a shepherd-coyote mix (a very intelligent dog, by the way), a bit of a "rock-hound," named Danny. (How he came by his name is a story all by itself.) He loved to dig up and even chase after rocks, if we were foolish enough to throw them. Not good for his teeth.

But in the middle of one of the frames we were laying for the concrete walkway there was a rock which had to be dug out and removed. As soon as we started in on it, Danny was right there digging. He wouldn't be shooed away. Despite his "help," we finally got the rock up and out of the way, and left it alongside the walkway while he tried unsuccessfully to move it, barking noisily.

In the years following the rock became overgrown with planted groundcover (some native plant), a tree sprung up alongside it, it disappeared from view and Danny, grown old, passed on.

But for a (very) few of us Danny's Rock remains there still, a small reminder of the time when the church was built.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Now we are 30

Today we celebrated the 30th anniversary of the founding of St. Bartholomew's. On this St. Bartholomew's Day in 1978 the parish of St. Bartholomew's celebrated their (our) first Order for Holy Communion. For those of us who were not there (almost but not quite all of us) it's hard to imagine and I am a bit awed. Founded by a group of people who wanted a church continuing on in the faith theirs always had without the innovations they had seen creeping into their old churches, this was a big leap of faith. They were few, and lacking the funds to put up a building, they were committed to years of meeting and worshiping in homes, rented rooms and halls, and whatever else was necessary to provide a safe place for their faith, then and for future generations.

When we joined St. Bartholomew's 25 years ago they still met in a hall but were beginning to draft plans for a building on the land they now owned. Only 3-1/2 years later, on Christmas Eve, we held our first service -- no heat, no electricity, on folding chairs amidst plasterboard dust and in the afternoon because the fire marshal wouldn't let us use candles.

It's not all been easy times since and for a period there was the question of succession because we had so few children: Would we be one of those churches that would disappear when the founding generation had passed on? Perhaps that's a constant question for many churches that seem to just soldier on, and it seems to me we may have reached beyond that realm. The first children born into this church are coming of age. Our numbers are slowly growing and there's talk not only of church planting, but how on earth do we reach out to the huge unchurched population around us -- those whom it seems have been, well, not exactly "poisoned against Christianity" but who have been taught a worldly ethos with a strong defense against the Word.

Nevertheless, the current state of St. Bartholomew's is to me as bright as I've ever seen it, and I am encouraged for our future.

Glory be to God.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Soggy Soirée

The only reason I am posting tonight is that DeeDee asked for copies of the "good" photos I took of our soirée tonight, to send to Monty for an article for the provincial newsletter, deadline today. (And Deedee, this is about the best you'll get for attendant copy too.) It's been a brutally exhausting week and a half trying to produce the seven powerpoints I now have to do for speaking engagements this fall and I wouldn't be online but for that request. (I'm really happy she took on the job of liaison because I'd clearly be swamped.) But I digress...

For several weeks now Fr. McGrath and others unknown have been planning the celebration of St. Bartholomew's 30th -- on St. Bartholomew's Day our parish will be 30 years old! I'm not sure what all went into the planning, but the decision was made for the big parish celebration to be this evening, four days early. A cookout at the McGrath's new domicile (a cute, cozy home on a full acre -- this close into town is amazing), with our master chef Drew manning the grill (and yes, Matt, we should have asked you too) to be followed by musical entertainment including symphony cellist Ruby, Dr. Josephine on piano, and flautist Claire. They did not take advantage of having a male piper in the parish to fully round out the group.

But as I have quoted Robert Burns on this blog before, "the best laid plans o' mice and men gang aft a-gley," and in fact it not only rained it poured on the event. At least for my arrival. But Fr. McGrath had taken note of the forecast (so unusual for August!) and so there was a shelter outside to add to the space inside for the attendees.

I'm guessing half the parish turned out, those who were in town. Slow at first, when I was still using the camera. Later, well, there simply wasn't enough seating everywhere.

We had a break from the rain for dinner and while the musicians tuned up (and no, baby Gloria Christi here was not part of the planned entertainment). But by that time I was worn out and had to head home -- early morning teleconference with folks on the East Coast and Europe. But on the way I encountered high winds and another storm from the southwest passing through the area. So it looks like the Soirée will be remembered as soaked, beginning and end.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

What if they held a work party...

...and nobody came? Well, it wasn't really like that, for last week's work party transferred to this on account of rain. Several of us showed up, but it was HOT yesterday. When the sun is unbearably hot at 8:30 you know it's going to be a scorcher and besides, a health alert had been issued for the area.

There were a few tasks to be done such as washing the windows (every work party the windows get washed), but I joined Paul in spreading some new gravel. Fortunately (because his back and my foot were hurting) Gordon said he was going to rent a bobcat for that.

That gave me the opportunity to head up the road to the library for the rest of the day, working on a powerpoint that's due tomorrow and which has taken an inordinate amount of time to compose (and it's still not done).

At least it was air-conditioned, and today was one of those days we wish the church had A/C. Not quite as hot as yesterday but muggier from a storm that came through last night with lightning and thunder and (at our house) rain, so we had service with the lights off (particularly in the sanctuary, the floodlights can get warm) and all the windows open.

Uh, oh. I remember Fr. McGrath talking about hosting Wednesday night's "Musical Soiree" at their house, but the forecast is for rain Monday through Thursday.

Monday, August 11, 2008

No news is not good news

I had hoped that long before now I would have written about and posted pictures from last week's Camp Cookie and possibly other events, but when I last updated this blog I had no idea what lay ahead.

Understand, I'm the early-riser in a house of night-owls but long about noon I figured it was time the rest were up. That's when I learned that the youngest was much more ill than thought and had had a very bad night. (Today we learned that there is a "bug," influenza I am guessing, starting to spread here -- and it is very, very nasty.) Barely saw that one at all Saturday, poor kid.

Then in the middle of the night my wife woke up with the onset of the same thing. Neither stirred except for "emergency runs" until about 8 PM Sunday. Both were a bit better this morning, enough for a visit to the doctor and an urgent item of business, but both are out again. The doctor said this lasts about a week.

So that's why Camp Cookie passed without being reported (my "reporter" being out of it), no news of anything transpired at St. Bartholomew's, and no news of the Choir Camp being held this week.

And while I'm praying for a speedy recovery for them, I'm also desperately praying I don't catch this thing, at least this week, because I have Powerpoints due Monday for a couple of talks at a conference 6 weeks hence.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Cancelled due to rain

A work party was scheduled for today, and the place needs it (if only to install the new railroad ties around the parking lot; the ones put in 20 years ago are a bit worn). But when I got up, late for Matins but not for the work party, it was raining -- rather unusual this time of year.

I heard the cellphone buzz (it's always on vibrate) when I got up, but it wasn't until a few minutes ago I checked it -- yes, there was a text message from Fr. McGrath, advising that the work party was put off until next Saturday.

Now the big question: Stay up, or go back to bed...?

Noon Update: Now it's bright and sunny. Maybe we should have gone ahead. But the weather radar shows more rain possibly headed our way...

Monday, August 04, 2008

Church, Camp & Common Prayer

We have several campers who for various reasons were not able to come to the Diocesan Family Camp, in part because it's so far away. There have been discussions of having a parish campout, but these have gone nowhere. Fr. McGrath noted some likely prospects nearby (one about a mile or so from my house, but it's a 10 mile drive around to get there), and Drew some others a bit further.

I'm sure if "we" called it others would join us, perhaps the McGraths. I actually had two full sets of camping gear other than sleeping bags -- though a recent lantern and stove failure set that claim back a little. One issue is schedule, though; it would probably have to run through Sunday, especially if we started Friday because most campgrounds have a checkout time of noon. But Sunday service could be covered by the non-camper clergy and/or lay readers.

But what with the busy schedules this month of our Microsoft employees, events at the church including Camp Cookie, the Work Party and Choir Day Camp, and vacations just announced it doesn't look like it could happen before mid-September and by then we'll have the rainy season bearing down on us. (And maybe early -- the autumnal early-morning fogs have already begun.)

Not to mention that my fall travel season will then be underway, which takes me out of the running.

But I still think it would be fun. Maybe next year, with some real planning put into it.

Saturday, August 02, 2008


"Oops!" was not the planned title for this entry! Although I have been kind of busy lately I didn't realize how much until I sat down to write it. I had been planning an entry about our discussion of the Apocrypha in the Scripture Study class, but something came up and pretty soon I was off on to other things and never got back.

I was reminded of it yesterday during lunch with Fr. McGrath and thought maybe I'd write it this morning. This time I got there (after work on the website's Anglican Bookshelf page), but thought maybe I had a photo on my little digital camera I could use. (This little Nikon S3 goes with me pretty much everywhere.) So I went to see what I had on it... and got a shock. Understand, it's my habit to download the pictures whenever I get home but this time I found pictures going back a month and a half!

First were a series of photos taken during my week in Salt Lake City in June! This one shows the Mormon Temple taken from the roof of the new Conference Center -- a tour of which is quite worth the time. It was an education for me, since I knew little about the LDS church.

Not long after I'd returned from Salt Lake City we were off for two weeks' vacation, including the Anglican Family Camp at Patrick's Point State Park in California. This one was taken the evening on our way down the camp, along the Rogue River State Park in Oregon, with our 44 year old tent.

And after that one (!) there were various photos from St. Bartholomew's, but probably not downloaded because the computer was either about to be rebuilt, or being rebuilt. When processing this one from last Sunday (very unusual for us to have rain this time of year, not to mention its being chilly outside), the photo software started up for the first time.

I guess it has been a busy time...