Continuing Home

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

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Another time of changes

Sunday was my first time to encounter the "new" Order for Holy Communion. I'll be honest and say my initial response is mixed, but I also think it will be fine.

Moving the Gloria to early in the service... I tend to be a "straight-28" (BCP) Anglican, especially after seeing and living through the changes that led to the Episcopal 1979 "BCP" and beyond, but this is one I can live with. It still doesn't seem to me to be a perfect fit in its new place, but it's much better there than near the end of the 1928 BCP liturgy.

I've said it before and I will continue to say it though I'm not going to make a big fuss over it: "Thanks Be To God," especially after the Epistle, grates on my ears in a big way. That was a '79 innovation (not in the '28 at all) that really requires its prefatory statement, "(This is?) The Word of the Lord," to give it sense. "Here Endeth The Epistle / Thanks Be To God" (we finally made it to the end of the Epistle and are still alive/well/whatever) is IMHO just wrong. But whatever -- this is in many ways simply adiaphora and I guess I'll live with it. After all, I have in previous posts remarked on a church choir that most accurately named itself "A Joyful Noise." A little painful to listen to, until you knew their hearts; they were offering the musical equivalent of the widow's mite, and they knew it. But they were making the offering regardless.

The changes in music on Sunday seem to be a bit more difficult; without bulletin references to the appropriate settings in the Hymnal all I could do was listen. But we will get there in short order.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas services -- and changes

It's certainly a busy time for Fr. Davis. Last evening led off with "A Festival of Nine Lessons Carols" well constructed to take us from Genesis through the promises and prophecies to the Annunciation through Epiphany and the Incarnation. Not all the carols were familiar, and it seems if there was a choice of tunes, the unfamiliar was chosen. The program included performances by our little choir and readings by various members of the congregation, yours truly included (I had enough voice for that, at least). It concluded in almost exactly one hour; I am impressed!

This service was the first for our new organist. I am sorry I didn't make a proper introduction afterwards, but I was fading quickly and had to go home to rest before I became even more ill.

At 9 PM was the first Eucharist of Christmas, but all I have are reports to draw on. A beautiful service, with plenty of incense, but a little confusing to the congregation because of the promised relocation of the Gloria from its location near the end of the service to near the beginning. I gather there is plenty of debate over this: I am very accustomed to the Gloria being where the 1928 BCP places it, though to me it's long seemed a little bit of an interruption in the flow of the liturgy.

This morning at 10 we returned for a said Mass (with the "kids" still asleep, having been up very late last night). Simple and quiet -- and with an unusual chill outside (16F at home), but at least clear blue skies and no snow.

There is still a fair amount of "activity" ahead, but once we're past Epiphany I expect Fr. Davis will be taking a needed and well-deserved rest.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


After everything else was done Sunday afternoon Fr. Davis fired up the thurible for a test run on air circulation in the Nave, in preparation for the Christmas services. After a while it got rather smoky inside: nothing like my visit to "Smoky Matt's" in Dallas last year, where the cross actually disappeared for a short time, but pretty smoky. There was a faint scent of incense on our clothes when we got home.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Dude, what heppened to the lights?!

Yesterday, after Mass and coffee hour, was our annual event called "The Greening of the Church" (decorating the church for Christmas on Advent IV). But we ran into a bit of an issue -- we couldn't find the Christmas lights!!

The closet where they were usually stored (we believe) had been straightened up and they weren't there. We didn't find them where the other Christmas decorations were stored. Even the rather inaccessible storage space above the sacristy, which held some unsuspected '28 Prayer Books, didn't have them.

In a vain hope of jogging a memory, I dug back to last year on this blog and it was worse than I remembered, starting with "Froze Sunday" and going forward with cancellations and poor attendance due to weather until well after Christmas. Suffice it to say the lights did not go up last year, so whatever happened to them might have gone back two years.

I was considering a drive to the "local" hardware store, but the Davises volunteered that they had a few strings and no place for a tree. There was a bit of an effort to bring strings back to life, but Geoffrey had a great time placing every working string outside, so thanks to the Davises we will have exterior lights for Christmas.

But it might be a good time to invest in some new strings for the coming years.

Sunday, December 20, 2009


I admit, the title of this posting gave me some trouble. But I finally found the word in my father's 1950 Merriam & Webster's Collegiate Dictionary in the sense I intended, "sports: a player returned to the bench" or in other words, out of the game (for now). Double irony in that the player I refer to here is retiring from the bench -- not as judge, but as organist.

I don't remember when Kathy started as backup organist (or pianist, in our days as "church-in-a-box" when the rental hall's piano was all we had), or when she became at various times our primary organist, but she's been a key part of St. Bartholomew's music for just about forever.

And that includes playing the rental (Chamber of Commerce!) hall piano, some cheap little Amana toy organ for a short term in the 80s (it was surprising to see what fell out of it when we opened it up to clean it), an 1889 Sears & Roebuck parlour pump organ trucked in for special occasions, the WWI Army field organ used in our first service in our building at 3 PM Christmas Eve 1986 (no electricity, fire marshal wouldn't let us use candles, no heat, folding chairs amidst plaster dust -- but it was ours!), and the various electronic organs since.

But today was her last day on the bench; we have hired an organist to carry that load. This frees Kathy's time up for contributions in other areas including music: for example, she sang a cappella (and two of my big favorites) for the Offertory this Advent, and played her harp for Communion.

And she reminds us: we will continue to hear about Kairos, cookies and more.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Welcome, Gabriel!

They've been gone long enough that many of us did not even know they were expecting, but the Parish is overjoyed at the news that's been circulating, and confirmed today in a Parish e-mail from Fr. Davis, that the size of the McGrath family has once again grown -- baby Gabriel, 8 pounds and something ounces, born December 12th.

Welcome, Gabriel! We look forward to a visit from you, your siblings and parents if and when that comes to pass.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Feeding Tent City 4, revisited

I showed up at church quite early for this evening's Evensong, light supper, and choir practice, mainly because I just couldn't hang around the office any more. It's getting a little bleak, what with increasing number of offices vacant for the holidays. So I had a chance to chat awhile with Fr. Davis.

During the chat, he noted that he had finally posted photos from the feeding of Tent City 4 a couple of weeks back posted on his blog, and burned a CD with the photos for me. (We've both been a bit too busy, or in my case sick, to keep our blogs fully updated.)

Okay, I thought, I can add something on this blog. But when I got home and looked at his blog, I decided I couldn't touch the job he had done, and particularly in writing about it. I highly recommend you take a look.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Musical Christmas Preparations

Preparations for music at Christmas are underway. This morning after the service Claire, Kathy and Ruby were practicing together for a performance of cello, harp and flute. I suggested that all they needed was a bagpipe, to which Ruby immediately replied, "Everything goes well with bagpipes!" I was going to try to have mine going, if for nothing else than Veni Emmanuel on Advent IV (to my ears at least, Veni Emmanuel sounds like it was intended for the Highland pipes) but this virus I caught scotched that idea.

Our choir, Schola Cantorum, will be in service too. Not sure I will be able to join them either.

I'd offer a mountain dulcimer but that too is a few years out of practice. Last Christmas performance, duet with Celtic harp, was 1989 at work.

Nevertheless, we will have a variety of music for Christmas. Including a surprise for most of the congregation too, though I don't think it is intended to be a secret.

Sunday Morning Football

Despite the chill (it was just above freezing this morning, with a few snowflakes fluttering down) it's become common after the Sunday service to see some of the kids out in the parking lot tossing a football around.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Requiescat In Pace, George

The news came at noon: George passed away a couple of hours earlier.
O GOD, whose mercies cannot be numbered; Accept our prayers on behalf of the soul of thy servant departed, and grant him an entrance into the land of light and joy, in the fellowship of thy saints; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
And Carrie will be kept up in our prayers.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Please pray for George

News reached me this morning that one of our parishioners, George, was rushed to the hospital with a brain injury requiring surgery. Soon after his chances for recovery looked good, but by yesterday his condition had deteriorated significantly and as of last evening his chances were put at 10%. Please pray for George.
O GOD, whose days are without end, and whose mercies cannot be numbered; Make us, we beseech thee, deeply sensible of the shortness and uncertainty of human life; and let thy Holy Spirit lead us in holiness and right-eousness, all our days: that, when we shall have served thee in our generation, we may be gathered unto our fathers, having the testimony of a good conscience; in the communion of the Catholic Church; in the confidence of a certain faith; in the comfort of a reasonable, religious, and holy hope; in favour with thee our God, and in perfect charity with the world. All which we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Please keep Carrie in your prayers too, as she deals with this sudden condition.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Feeding Tent City 4

An item on our calendar but hardly noted here was our second provision of dinner last night for "Tent City 4", a "roaming" camp for the homeless, currently hosted by The First United Methodist Church of Bellevue.

Having come home rather early from work somewhat ill (still) I did not attend, nor do I have photos, but I gathered that the Parish started in on preparing and baking pies Sunday after the service (one verbal report nervously noted Ranjit's guidance of the boys wielding very sharp knives to slice the apples for the apple pies). I suspect the "campers" were not treated to my favorite: "tofu pumpkin pie" -- which you will not like (at first) if you are used to the traditional custard-like pumpkin pie. ('Nuff said.)

In any event, the menu changed recently and the main course became lasagna. All sorts of lasagna -- home-made, store-bought, vegetarian and meat.

Reports are that it was all well-received and appreciated. (With questions like "Who ARE you folks?!?") Our people were invited to join, but only after the residents had eaten.

I had one of the "veggie home-made" lasagnas for supper afterwards, and it was good!

Although the original organizer of these events has moved on, from what I hear we have another regular tradition going forward.