Continuing Home

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

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Grand Finale

Looking at the schedule of activities this week, it appears the McGraths are planning for this Sunday, their last here, to be something quite special. At least that's what I read from the fact of there being two choir rehearsals this week.

Sadly I won't be here; I'll be on board a plane probably somewhere over North Dakota about that time. But I plan on setting up the family laptop to record the service, if I can find the high-quality microphones I haven't used since the '80s or so.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Final fotos

I had been planning to title this posting "Last Rites", but after the previous post it didn't seem right. In any event, if I understand a communication correctly Ranjit's arranged to take photos of Fr. McGrath with the servers after each service (I don't know for certain because I'm in a period where I'm traveling on Sundays). Thinking on the rota I suspect we're a Sunday short.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

The Rev. Dr. Peter Toon -- R.I.P.

We were saddened the past hour to learn of the passing of Fr. Peter Toon, an outspoken advocate of the Anglican way and the (U.S.) 1928 Book of Common Prayer, who lived nearby in Issaquah.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

A time of changes

Fr. McGrath recently announced his departure a couple of weeks hence. Because he is leaving to become a Navy chaplain this had been in the works for some time, and he and Bishop Provence had discussed this some time ago.

Bishop Provence met with some of the parish today to discuss Fr. McGrath's departure, and he and the Senior Warden described the process of looking for a new rector and what has been done thus far.

This will be an interesting time because, as Bishop Provence noted, our new Rector will build (1 Cor. 3:10) on what has already been built here by Frs. Leen, Hoare and McGrath, and he will be evaluated at least in part for how he will shape the parish (or attempt -- I don't think we're an unruly bunch of Anglicans, but I sometimes think that to our Rectors it's sometimes a little like herding cats or tuning bagpipes). We have to consider our goals as a parish: beyond Growth, which every parish wants, is it Education? Evangelism? Community outreach? More services? or what? Each of us will have to consider.

Other points in the discussion were also interesting. Bishop Provence noted our province's growth: when Fr. McGrath came to us the nearest parish was in Redding CA but now there are three in Oregon, as noted in this blog in Less Alone.

Also the high degree of cooperation between the ACC, APCK, and UECNA (noted in the blog) came up, because Fr. McGrath will serve as Navy chaplain under an ACC bishop -- the three provinces seem to be developing a working model for continuing Anglican cooperation and communion. This is a joy to hear, and I pray it continues.

Also a joy is the devotion of our clergy. Bishop Provence noted the two priests serving one of our new missions -- I don't know exactly long the drive is, but I am guessing it's 7 hours each way! Then again, many years ago Fr. Leen once served a mission in Spokane, a similar distance, one Sunday a month.

Fr. McGrath's coming departure is a time of sadness for many of us in the parish, to be followed by the difficult, anxious time of finding and calling a new Rector. But if we aren't challenged in new ways we won't grow in those ways. The result will be, I think: we choose our goals, call a Rector hopefully proficient in those directions, and then stubbornly resist being reshaped (all the while being reshaped anyway).

In our parish and in the Continuing Anglican world, it will be a time of changes.

Koran class collapse?

Several days ago Fr. McGrath sent an e-mail about attending a 4 week class on the Koran and Islam being held somewhere in Seattle on Thursday evenings. The responses were interesting; several folks were interested but nearly all had conflicts. (For my part I was away at a conference, next week I'll be away again.)

I wonder if anyone went.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Special Easter treats

It's been a while since we had to pull out the folding chairs for a service, but today we had to -- we were full to overflowing. So everybody got to enjoy the treats Josephine and Diane (and Kathy and Heather) had been preparing the last few weeks.

Normally we sing one of the Hymns for Children for the church school procession before the sermon, during which one of the children carries the church school banner down the aisle to lead all the children out. But this Sunday some of the children sang for us, and signed the last song (American sign language, which John taught them). Then a brand new banner was brought out with a golden butterfly on it.

A sweet moment in a wonderful service, winding up with a thundering Salve Festa Dies: "Hail thee, festival day!"

Easter Even -- Lighting of the New Fire

Last evening we celebrated Easter Even. After the starkness of Good Friday/Tenebrae, the decorations for Easter made quite a contrast. Even in the darkness of the church (all lights out), where it was a bit difficult to read until the lights were lit. The form of the service was by now familiar (we did not conduct this service in all the years of Fr. Leen's tenure), though this time all present started in the Parish Hall and proceeded through the building to the Nave.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Good Friday and Tenebrae

I've written about Tenebrae in years past; I'm not going to repeat myself except to say that my annoyance with the light switches and dimmers hasn't changed.

Amusing that one year I noted the church didn't get very dim because of the (unusually) bright sunshine outside and that things might have been different if we started later, say, at 7 PM. Well, this year we started at 7 PM on a cold grey day, for all the clouds were beginning to open up some. And when the nave and sanctuary lights went out it became *dark* and on the Epistle side of the Sanctuary, where there is no window, impossible to read anymore. Not just the Prayer Book, but the bulletin. Oh well, I was the only one.

But after the service ended, the 'noise" issued from the Sacristy and the lit candle brought in to the altar, the church had just the perfect feel, as I tried to capture in this photo. (Photoshoppers will no doubt soon locate Fr. McGrath in this photo, meditating while the rest of us were leaving.)

Fr. McGrath asked me before the service to read the Epistle for today, the Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Hebrews 10:1(-25, looking it up). As presented in the Book of Common Prayer (1928) it's something of an Epistler's nightmare: How to read this out loud so it make sense to the congregation, hearing it on a single pass through -- no preview, no review, no discussion. Paragraph breaks might have helped, but they weren't there. I just hope I didn't do too much harm to its wonderful message through my not-quite-adequate preparation.

A beautiful service, Fr. McGrath, and the household agrees.

Stations of the Cross

Despite it being a very cold grey drippy day (not all that unusual for the Pacific Northwet), at Fr. McGrath's invitation several of us from St. Bartholomew's joined a nearby church for the Stations of the Cross at noon.

This was very different from our service, in which the stations are all in the Nave so it's a few steps from one to the next, though Fr. Hoare in his time here made even that dramatic. Here we started in the church and then processed out across wet lawns and past dripping (though sometimes fragrant) gardens, returning to the church for closing prayers. All in all it took an hour, which surprised me.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Maundy Thursday

This year's Maundy Thursday service was wonderful. Evening Prayer into Holy Communion, followed the the stripping of the altar. I don't remember much of previous Maundy Thursday services, though the blog shows at least two. Lots of children this time, and it was cute to hear Pru singing one of the hymns.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Feeding Tent City 4

Led by master chef Drew, volunteers from the parish provided dinner on Friday for the hundred or so residents of Tent City 4, a homeless encampment currently hosted not far from St. Bartholomew's. Rhonda, Ranjit and Paul started the spaghetti noodles at the kitchen by the camp, while Drew and Deedee prepared the sauce (some with meatballs, some without) in our kitchen. Other folks sliced the bread and prepared unnumbered (by me, anyway) bowls of salad. Drew gave the numbers today, such as 30 pounds of salad. Cameron was setting out the drinks and decided to have a little fun -- he laid them out as a smiley-face. (The campers were amused -- one said the Kathy, "Mine is from the eye.") I hope some of those who were there will add their experiences in the comments.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

I just got e-mail from Deedee with a terrific find! The website begins:
Are you searching for a traditional Anglican church in your hometown? Are you travelling and want to worship at an Anglican parish in the area that you’re visiting?

Find A Parish provides listings of traditional Continuing Anglican parishes across the United States. All parishes of the Anglican Catholic Church, Anglican Province of Christ the King, and the United Episcopal Church of North America are listed.

To quote Deedee: "Never again will I have to go perusing 3 different websites to find a church while on vacation" or, for me, while traveling. I took a look for my planned U.S. trips through June:
Denver CO: nope (it's a really brief visit anyway, and no car)
Germantown MD: Frederick is in reach, if they have weekday evening services
Louisville KY: A distinct possibility, depending upon public transportation

I also took a few minutes to research Helsinki, Finland -- yes, there's an Anglican church there, but the only service(s) appear to be on Sunday. And I fly out from Vantaa at 6:40 AM Sunday morning. Oh well.

Thank you very much, Deedee!

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Meatballs Galore

Thanks to Kathy I can present a photo from an event last Saturday: the Meatball Party!

This requires explanation. For a couple of years or so we have had apparently several "tent cities" for the homeless in the Seattle area. There's been controversy about these tent cities but I don't think anyone could argue that at the least they're better than the ad-hoc homeless encampments they are (perhaps) displacing. One "feature" of these camps is that they're set up in a locale for a few months, then they move on yo another. Right now we have a camp set up rather far out in the suburbs not far from St. Bartholomew's -- and we have signed up to host a dinner for the residents, tomorrow night.

Little do they know, we have master chefs (and they are great!) working the issue.

This has required a significant amount of planning and preparation, and one major stage was the making of meatballs for the spaghetti and garlic-bread dinner. After the end of the Lenten quiet day at the church, a volunteer crew met to make the meatballs for this dinner in advance, to be frozen (oh well) until needed. A sizable crew turned out; this photo shows only a few and only some of the end product.

An e-mail went out earlier today -- the meatballs and sauce will be cooking well in advance tomorrow. The (rest of the) cooks will gather around 5:45 PM to prepare the additional items. Servers are to arrive by 5:30 to prepare tables and toss the salads. Dinner begins at 6 PM.

[And quite literally as soon as I had finished writing the preceding I received a phone call -- a couple of cakes have been baked by parish members and will be picked up in a few minutes for delivery tomorrow.]

Still here

Sorry for the silence -- no, I haven't been traveling. Last week I finally won a hard-fought battle against a bill making its was through the state legislature, but I was left drained for days. Then I fell ill on the weekend so I missed church. And being home like that just seemed the perfect opportunity to upgrade the computer's operating system. And of course that came with a number of unanticipated new configuration issues. But that's pretty much all done now.

More events coming up as we head into Holy Week; stay tuned.