Continuing Home

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

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Embertide Seminary Package

Checked my e-mail this afternoon and saw that Deedee had picked up the fact the the Ember Days are coming ("Hi everyone! The next Ember days are forthcoming: June 3,5 & 6 (if memory serves)") and sent a note to the Senior Warden that we should assemble a care package for the seminarians.

(I say "the" rather carefully because the St. Joseph of Arimathea seminary is now open to two sister jurisdictions; not all the seminarians are "ours" in the sense that they're from our jurisdiction. But that doesn't matter -- they will all receive the care packages.)

This will continue the excellent tradition Fr. McGrath had established, even if it was noted almost too late. The Senior Warden said he will e-mail the parish.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

A very hard choice

The Archbishop had warned us we were going to have a very hard choice to make and I now know the full truth of that statement. Very different men with very different strengths, yet all very capable. I know we can't take them all, more's the pity. We will have to decide the one direction in which we most want to go and make our choice on that basis.

But I also see unusual interest and active engagement from all across the parish; perhaps Fr. McGrath did finally succeed in preparing us to actively move forward though it will be his successor who will get the benefit. Somewhere there's a verse regarding this but it just isn't coming to mind and I hope I'm not misremembering something. Maybe you, dear reader, can help me out?

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Deceptively delightful day

Except for a slight chill this morning (I put on my vest) it was a perfect day: bright sun, blue sky and warm but not hot. I was worried that we might not have a good turnout today, to meet the first of our candidates, but the parking lot was fairly filled by the time we got there, and all the seating in the Parish Hall for the luncheon was full.

We took some pains to make it clear it's not always like this (though July and August are usually pretty nice), and many at the table had some story to relate about seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Fr. McGrath had heard the same but was still very surprised at just how dark it gets in winter. No snow (usually) to begin with, and then add all the very tall trees to blot out the moon and stars, or any city light that might be reflected off the clouds, and it gets pitch black -- you cannot walk in the church parking lot without lights or a flashlight.

But that's six months away, so I'm going to enjoy this.

And suddenly I understand better the Finns in Helsinki last month. The temperatures peaked in the high 40s or low 50s (degrees F, up to about 11C) but anywhere there was sun and seating, they were out there soaking it in. Winter must be awful.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Autism Speaks

One thing about being (or trying to be) a parish family is helping others dealing with circumstances. Last Sunday Joanne wanted me to take a picture of her and Phyllis, because "Phyllis had been helping her so much" as she still recovers from her stroke. And during another family's time of troubles many years ago and for many years, the parish was there as support.

On the way home from work this afternoon I heard an ad for "Autism Speaks" on the radio and immediately thought of one of our youngest members who has been diagnosed with some form of this. It seems science has come a long ways from my first encounter with an autistic child back in the 70s -- Bobby was barely verbal but had incredible visual perception as shown in his drawings. Reading the Grow With Itpage, "Depending on his capabilities, he may excel at jobs that require enormous amounts of concentration but limited intense interaction with others, such as computer programming or graphic design", Bobby is probably now a superb graphics artist. One can hope, anyway.

The website indicates that the early identification is a good indicator. (And whoa, "computer programming"? Follow Dad's footsteps at Microsoft?)

But we as a parish have not yet addressed the issue of having in our midst a young'un with clearly different perceptions and responses and most of us, myself included, don't know how to constructively interact with the kid.

I think we're overdue to learn. This is one of "our own."

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Newest newsletter

Waiting in my e-mail yesterday was the latest copy of the province's newsletter, Christus Rex, also posted on the church website. We're becoming quite the Internet-era church, it seems...

Monday, May 18, 2009

Speaking of boats...

I happened to check in on Fr. McGrath's blog, out of curiosity. I didn't carefully note his timetable for the transition into his Navy Chaplainship, but I see he's already at the Naval Station Newport, RI, where he "will undergo 5 weeks of training at Officer Development School followed by 7 weeks at Navy Chaplain School."

Not sure how handles blog renaming ("Anglican Parish Priest" just isn't going to work anymore) but in any case methinks it's going to be a few weeks before we hear from him again. Godspeed!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Picnic on the Boat

Summer definitely arrived today. Looking around at everything that has suddenly gone so green and growing fast we can see more of the damage from last winter's cold, cold blasts -- it was clearly much colder than some of the local vegetation's adaptations. Fortunately the gardens around the church seem to have been little harmed, though one large bush next to the paved parking didn't make it.

It also felt like summer hearing Rhonda and one or two of the girls were talking about "a picnic on the boat." This would be a good day for such, I thought, sunny and warm, but why were they loading plates from the coffee-hour buffet (as usual, a great spread from Elle and Marissa)? That seemed odd...

...until I guessed that they didn't mean a boat in the water, they meant the Ark up by the Fr. Leen Learning Center! Phyllis figured it out about the same time, and encouraged me to head up, ubiquitous camera in hand. Sure enough, three of the girls were setting up for a little picnic on the poopdeck of the Ark. (Not sure the original Ark had a poopdeck, but who knows?)

It must be summer...

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Plant and Garden Sale

I stopped by the church around noon to see how the Plant and Garden Sale was going. They must have been doing well with the plants, because there weren't many left. Perhaps finally having a warm day (but not too warm), dry with bright sun, helped bring people out. A few folks came through during my short visit.

It'll be interesting to hear later how it all went.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


One of the difficult issues when a Rector leaves is the loss of some of the daily and weekly continuity at the church. We are losing the continuity of daily Matins and Evensong, though Fr. McGrath noted there were (very) often just him and the squirrels present.

But when the website was updated other things became evident. One was the possible passing of the Sunday 9 AM Scripture Study that's become a regular part of my family's Sunday, for all I have start waking the night-owl contingent at 7:48 AM. The Senior Warden's weekly parish e-mail (continuing a tradition of Fr. McGrath's) made no mention of such a study though I vaguely recalled hearing our Deacon, the Rev. Dr. Edward Miller, mention something about continuing. So I e-mailed him (it not being urgent enough for a phone call) and learned... yes, he and the Senior Warden had discussed this and we will resume the 9 AM Scripture Study.

Possibly Ezekiel. This could be interesting.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

And a good time was had by all

Kathy flew back from Synod this afternoon. I drove down to SeaTac airport to pick her up, and got quite a lengthy briefing on the actions and activities at Synod on the way back through traffic. The briefing made me wish, once again, that I could have gone -- but next year's is early enough that I probably won't have a conflict.

One of the various actions was to formally welcome three new parishes into the diocese. Knowing some of the folks who regularly attend Synod I am sure it was a warm welcome indeed and I hope they are happy with their new diocesan family. I look forward to personal opportunities to meet or visit them, though this Wandering Anglican's business is not likely to take me to their locales anytime soon. *

Drew wound up making the pitch for this summer's Anglican Family Camp, a several-day comfortable (i.e. electricity, treated water, hot showers) camp-out together. We've been to all the previous camp-outs (well, to be honest, both of them), look forward to this year's, and hope to see even more of the Diocese of the West present.

The McGraths are (right) now undoubtedly on the long drive to their next destination in southern California, after which The Rev. Dr. Daniel McGrath (now a.k.a. LTJG Daniel McGrath, CHC USN -- and not being Navy I can't parse all the acronyms) will report in to begin his service as a Navy chaplain. Godspeed to the McGraths, and please stay in touch.

* Drat! When drawing up my list of things to see in Helsinki, Finland, two weeks ago, I forgot to note down the Anglican church there, even if it wasn't open on Saturday when I was free to tour. Oh well..

Friday, May 08, 2009

E-mail from Synod - day 1

Received (late) last night:
From the beautiful city of Lafayette: Greetings!

Synod is in full swing with clergy and lay delegates and families with children occupying a great portion of this luxurious hotel. Some have come from as far away as Sioux City, IA and Colorado Springs, CO to conduct church business, make new acquaintances and renew old ones. This is an active time with quiet intervals for workshops about Eastern church spirituality and Western spirituality led by Father Serafim, a Greek Orthodox priest who lives the monastic lifestyle and practices prayer in various christian traditions. This morning, the workshop I missed centered around the "Jesus" prayer (Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy upon me, a sinner) . The words are important, but more important is the attitude with which one comes to pray. I sense a growing theme at this Synod: PRAYER. Today is the National Day of Prayer. The Diocesan Anglican Church Womens group is focusing on prayer as they prepare for this year's fundraising efforts for the Youth Summer Camp program.

This is a broadly diverse group of people, some of whom are carrying hurts that date back to the 1960s and '70s. But laughter and adoration of God go hand in hand here as we celebrate not only our individual spiritual survival but the survival of the "Faith once delivered to the saints. " God is in his Heaven and all's right with the world.

Signing off for tonight with gratitude to Almighty God for ensuring that this faith never dies.


Thursday, May 07, 2009

Synod starts

Just like last year, I am missing Synod due to business travel. Hopefully I'll get photos from our delegates there as Synod progresses, from this morning to Saturday afternoon. Already text messages are coming in -- this afternoon it's Clericus (clergy meeting) and ACW (Anglican Church Women). That will be followed by the Clergy and Laity Dinners.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

That was quick...

...or just well-planned. Our Senior Warden has stepped up to the plate in good fashion. Just hours after the McGraths hit the road south, to Synod (where our delegates will see them again) and then the Navy, he stepped in with the weekly "This Week at Saint Bartholomew's" e-mail we've long been accustomed to receiving, with the week's events, notices about upcoming events further out (such as May 16th's ACW Spring Sale, for Home and Garden), and information about our way forward with our search for a new Rector.

Good job!

Monday, May 04, 2009

Navy Hymn

By reports, Sunday's service was quite something. The recessional hymn was the Navy Hymn; I'm told there wasn't a dry eye in the place.

I'll get to hear the whole thing when I get home -- Kathy set up the equipment to record it (it took 2 CDs). Sound engineer Heather was quite busy on the mixer; the parish was in great and strong voice Sunday.

Friday, May 01, 2009

For the Navy.

For me this evening began with Fr.McGrath's classic "Solemn Evensong." We didn't start quite on schedule at 5:30; for my part I was down in the Parish Hall helping to figure out the table layout that would accommodate all those who had RSVP'd for this evening's good-bye supper for The Rev. Dr. Daniel McGrath, Dr. Josephine McGrath, and the three future Dr. McGrath children. But I arrived upstairs Just In Time.

The service was familiar "Solemn Evensong," complete with incense and sung portions of the service. (I hope our next Rector likes incense, but he'll have to be aware that some of our congregation can't tolerate much of it.)

One surprise, though I guess it shouldn't have been since Fr. McGrath is to become a Navy Chaplain, was the prayer For the Navy:

O ETERNAL Lord God, who alone spreadest out the heavens, and rulest the raging of the sea; Vouchsafe to take into thy almighty and most gracious protection our country’s Navy, and all who serve therein. Preserve them from the dangers of the sea, and from the violence of the enemy; that they may be a safeguard unto the United States of America, and a security for such as pass on the seas upon their lawful occasions; that the inhabitants of our land may in peace and quietness serve thee our God, to the glory of thy Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Afterwards we overwhelmed the space with the potluck supper, followed with an appropriate cake.

The evening stretched on long after most had left, with this or that discussion. Most folks still have Sunday's service ahead of them, after which the McGraths will wend their way southward to Synod, San Diego and their future.

I will be away on business Sunday when the McGraths leave the land of incessant drizzle (as per the text message 3-1/2 years ago upon their arrival in Seattle: "Where's the rain?"), and so I issue a heartfelt thank-you to the McGraths and wish you Godspeed on your journey forth. And may you find rain when you desire it.