Continuing Home

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

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Vigil of All Saints

Fr. Davis noted in an e-mail last week to the Parish that Hallowe'en (All Hallow's Eve) was originally "known as the Vigil of All Saints, which is the feast we'll celebrate the following morning (Sunday, Nov. 1), a Day of Holy Obligation, and a feast day that originated in the ancient Anglican Church (did you know?)."

Actually, I didn't know but it doesn't surprise me after having encountered, in Scots Gaelic class, the Celtic roots of Hallowe'en in Samhain. There's always the possibility of distortions in current presentations, but our old readings in Gaelic about Samhain gave credibility to a rather Christianized observance of the occasion back at the time of writing, from which All Saints is not at all a long reach.

Unfortunately we missed this evening's observance, which was at the least featured Evensong/Holy Communion followed by a (potluck?) supper in the Parish Hall. Through a series of circumstances we found ourselves free this afternoon to deliver a couple of large framed photographs related to ancient Egypt (yes, one included the Sphinx and Cheops) to a good friend who decorated her house on this theme. Things ran a bit late but as it turns out it was in an extremely good cause, one we had not expected. I hope Fr. Davis will forgive our absence this evening.

Catching up

Sorry about the pause; it's been a busy week complete with travel to the other Washington: D.C. that is. Being away, I missed Wednesday evening's event at St. Bartholomew's.

The evening started with Holy Communion, celebrating the Feast of Ss. Simon & Jude, and then continued with discussions about the Vatican's recent overtures to Anglicans. From the subsequent e-mail that Fr. Davis sent to the Parish, it sounds like a very successful opportunity to explain the overture, the circumstances that produced it, and the requirements placed on those who accept the offer. As Fr. Davis noted in his e-mail, after private discussions the following day or two:

It seems that all in attendance were more than able to comprehend what the carefully prepared, subtly-worded "VATICAN NOTE ON ESTABLISHING PERSONAL ORDINARIATES..." (a copy of which was passed out to all in attendance) meant for us and are able to say,

"Thanks, but no thanks."

I'm not completely clear on this (Hallowe'en) evening at St. Bartholomew's, but it at least begins with Evensong at 5:30. I gather that in the future at least there will be an alternative costume event in which the children are encouraged to dress up as saints instead. They do this (if memory serves correctly) at St. Luke's, Redding CA, though Fr. Davis related how it felt funny to have one girl show up in black shirt with clergy collar saying, "I'm you, Fr. Davis!"

I am reminded of a church many years ago where the adults did the same. One couple came as "St. Swithin's in the Swamp": she was St. Swithin, and he had all sorts of green vine-like material draped all over him -- as the Swamp.

Update: Somebody directed me to this cute idea: Trunk or Treat

Saturday, October 24, 2009

No end to the year?!

I was startled yesterday when Fr. Davis observed that there would be no "Sunday Next Before Advent" this year. It's not entirely clear how this happened but it seems that, as Fr. Davis put it, our Roman brethren moved the date of the Feast of Christ the King from the last Sunday in October to the last Sunday in Trinitytide, and our Ordo Kalendar followed suit.

This just feels wrong. As Fr. Davis noted, that Sunday marks the end of the church year and the long quiet season of Trinitytide, preparation for the "liturgically busy" season comprising Advent, Rose/Gaudete Sunday, Christmas (all 12 days at the proper time), Epiphany, Septuagesima, Sexagesima, Quinquagesima, Shrove Tuesday, Ash Wednesday, Lent, Rose/Laetare Sunday, Holy Week, Good Friday, Easter Even, Easter, Rogation Sunday, Ascension and Whitsunday, finally winding down to Trinity Sunday again.

This won't change back until 2011, probably because the 2010 Ordo Kalendars have already been ordered. Fr. Davis' e-mail to the Parish notes the basis provided by our Church Propers and says:

We'd better be darned sure before we go messing with a system that has basically shaped the lives of Christians from the time of the Ss. Bede and Anselm to Julian of Norwich and C.S. Lewis (just to name a few Anglicans over the past two millennia).
I agree.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Natural-born acolyte

It was a pleasure to watch Geoffrey serve as acolyte yesterday. Well-trained or natural-born, he had it all down just perfect. For example he came out of the Sacristy at the right speed, not too slow but reverently, to light the candles. Mary Ellen would have been really happy to see how he minimized the time the taper was over the altar linens, for all it required a lot of extra motion (done most gracefully) on his part.

I chuckled inwardly when, after the procession out, he ran forward (outside) to get in the Sacristy in time to extinguish the candles. But then it wasn't all that long ago that I started noting how many verses there were in the recessional hymn so I would have some idea of how pressed for time I would be.

It's my humble opinion we need a single standard for practice (which, ahem, includes having the Sacristy lights off during the service -- it might just be me, but the light leaking past the pocket doors is slightly distracting). I've thought about assembling an acolyte/lay-reader manual for St. Bartholomew's, but never got started with so much as a draft for discussion.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Men's Breakfast and Fellowship..

..was to be held this morning, but I didn't make it. Between the sound of the heavy rains outside and being overtired from the trip I woke up too late. I did call the church, but nobody answered so I left Fr. Davis a message.

Rain and fall colors... it's good to be home.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


On the road again for a week in soggy Atlanta, returning late Friday night.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Fr. Davis' blog

I did not know (or maybe I'd just forgotten) that Fr. Davis has a blog. But my attention was drawn to his quite wonderful writeup of last Sunday's performance. His experience of peoples' reactions were matched by the rest of us, and I look forward to hearing the CD being produced of the event by the good folks of St. Jude's. People with tears in their eyes afterwards? Yes, and I want to hear what they heard.

But in any event, his new blog is more than worth a look. I'll have a regular link to it up soon if time (and Internet access!) permits during this week's time away, or hopefully soon after my return home -- before the next trip out!

Dinner with the Bishop

Bishop Provence will be here tomorrow to institute Fr. Davis as our Rector, and to receive a new member of the parish. Unfortunately for me I won't be able to be there as I fly out (to Atlanta) for a week of business. The plane won't even start boarding until well after the service ends, but the airport is too far away. So I'll be dropped off early with a few hours to kill.

But the Vestry took notice and invited us to join them at dinner with the bishop this evening, so I'll get to meet with him anyway.

Update: A great dinner at The British Pantry and it was *really* great to see Bishop Provence. And I was able to advise our Senior Warden that the Institution is one of the two best parts of being Senior Warden if one gets it (and no, the other is not stepping down!), and usually the most deserved.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

I think we have a choir...

Schola Cantorum (in its current mostly-adult incarnation, the previous core now being away at colleges across the country) had its first public performances today. The first was a performance during Mass but which could also be considered a final run before the really public performance 3 hours later at "An Ecumenical Musical Gathering" hosted by St. Jude's Parish (Roman Catholic) and featuring choirs from Anglican, Presbyterian, Lutheran, LDS, Methodist churches, and of course St. Jude's.

Each performance began with a few words by the priest, minister or equivalent, about (what might be different about) his church, and was followed by a prayer.

The tone was kept light, which helped relax the initial stiffness. The Presbyterian prayer was read antiphonally, beginning with the Gospel side. Then the Lutheran pastor announced theirs would also be read antiphonally, but beginning with the Epistle side because Lutherans are so flexible. "Catholics are not," exclaimed Fr. Rogerson to much laughter.

We led off the event. In his remarks Fr. Davis worked to lower expectations (and he says I'm the king of lowered expectations??), saying that he'd only arrived here in the Pacific Northwest just six weeks backs and one of the very first phone calls he received was an invitation to participate in this event. "Of course we'll bring a choir," he said.

He noted that he then addressed the parish saying, "Ladies and gentlemen, we are going to form a choir." More laughter.

But I was glad that we were first up. By the time the bigger and more experienced choirs were done we'd be forgotten. And we were presenting a tough, if short a capella piece, Ave Verum Corpus by Mozart.

And yet... it didn't sound bad to me, and better than our practices and earlier performance. I'll just ignore my own struggles with it; I'm not used to singing parts but with practice I can learn that. (The Haugen piece by all the choirs combined at the finale gave me a much better sense for singing parts, and I enjoyed that!)

And yet... all of us in Schola Cantorum were singled out for accolades after it was all over. Questions as to whether we had had only six weeks to prepare (yes, though some of us had been trained in Schola Cantorum under Fr. McGrath's tutelage). Comments about doing this somewhat difficult piece a cappella -- and one of the choirs essayed this a couple of years ago. and knew its difficulty.

Beginner's luck maybe, or possibly just because we were just giving it our all (some people noticed this) because we'd reached really far? I don't know.

With practice I am sure I can do better, and extend my vocal range to cover the upper end of tenor (without choking) the way it once did.

Maybe someday I can even sing half as well as Matt.

-- Update: MANY thanks to Laura for the photos!