Continuing Home

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

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Birthday blessing

We usually have birthday blessings on the Sunday of the week of the birthday, but last week I was traveling so I received my blessing this Sunday. I don't know who took the picture; I know from the angle alone it wasn't from Geoffrey's video camera, but Fr. Davis sent me this picture.

Monday, March 29, 2010


I confess I am stunned by the reactions, expressed in the comments to postings about the altar, from the members of St. George's, such as:
"I cried this morning, having found out that the altar from our old St.George's is somewhere far away, and I will probably never see it again. And then this afternoon I received emails and information of how graciously and lovingly the Church of St.Bartholomew has received the altar.
I am deeply gratified and moved by the sentiments expressed by the pastor of St.Bartholomew. We had something very special at St.George's--it appears that the same spirit is there at St.Bartholomew.
God bless you."
And it's more than that. I have a little visitor counter on the blog page that tells me usually useless things such as what location visitors come from. It's free and thus limited, but today for the first time in the history of the blog it ran well over the "last 100 visitors" limit, and those mostly from Ohio. I suspect there have been a LOT of e-mails about the "Šv. Jurgio" altar. (How does one pronounce that? Varying degrees of knowledge of English, Gaelic, German, Spanish, and Latin provide no hint.)

We have indeed received a great treasure. And if any members from St. George's are still visiting the blog, here is the cover of yesterday's bulletin:

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Saints Casimir, George and Bartholomew

Such an unforgettable Palm Sunday, where to begin the tale? I guess it has to be with the new altar.

As noted in previous posts it's not a new altar but an old one (almost 100 years); it's just new here, having come a long way from its origin in Saint George's Parish, or rather, Šv. Jurgio Parapija, in Cleveland OH. The tale of the oldest Lithuanian parish in North America closing is a sad one, but it did benefit us with a beautiful East-facing altar, plus a quite remarkable letter from Congressman Dennis Kucinich, which Fr. Davis read to the Parish today, and most of all a wonderful visit from members of the Lithuanian-American community here in Seattle, one of whom came in (beautiful!) traditional dress.

The Lithuanians need not fear -- we will treasure this altar. And the "ŠJ" (Šv. Jurgio, not St. Joseph as somebody suggested) on the frontal will be a reminder of its origin. (Somehow we need to capture all of this for our permanent archives.)

Our visitors were wonderful, and through them we started learning about Lithuania and how noteworthy it was that our first service with this altar was on Palm Sunday. The story, even the excerpt of Prince Casimir and the Palm Branches of Vilius translated (along with the title) and inserted in the bulletin, is a bit long for this blog, but it notes that Lithuanians and Poles honor their patron Saint Casimir on March 4th (with Casimir's Fair called Kazimierinės, if I have it right -- hmmm... St. Casimir is not on our Ordo Kalendar, but perhaps St. Bartholomew's can add it to our Kalendar, shortly after Saints David and Chad), the anniversary of his death. The tie-in is that, not having palm trees, the Lithuanians created the "verba" (singular, plural "verbos"), made of tree cuttings, leaves, moss, berries and flowers. The verbos in folklore, art and tradition is likened to the Tree of Life, and these are made during the winter for Palm Sunday.

Out visitors brought other special items, which may have come from St. George's, including a stole worn by Fr. Davis for this service, a Lithuanian flag and other items such as this plaque.

(It must be my year for St. George -- when I went to look at the pictures on the camera I accidentally pressed the "forward" button instead of "back" and what came up was this photo, from our visit to St. George's in Paris last month!)

At the conclusion of the service, one of our visitors read a traditional hymn to Mary for us. She wasn't in voice to sing it, but there weren't many dry eyes after. It touched one of our younger members especially (who had had a really difficult well), so she gave the sheet. I asked for a copy via e-mail -- only to learn later the recipient was a family member! So it is posted here, in both Lithuanian and English.

Our Lithuanian visitors were wonderful folk. I hope, as Fr. Davis suggested, we will see more of them -- here, there or wherever.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Joined by the altar

On her trip back from the Kairos Prison Ministry follow-up (once a month her morning will be spent in the prison with the women who went through Kairos there), Kathy called and reported that the altar installation is being completed by a small work party today. This was confirmed by Fr. Davis' e-mail from yesterday:
I just received the altar stone a little more than an hour ago. Mary Ellen and I, with much-appreciated help from Heather, Paul, Cynthia, Geoffrey, Genevieve, Kathy and others, have been working tirelessly to have it all in place for Sunday morning's first Holy Eucharist at our parish church's new focal point, which served for at least the better part of a century at what was until last October the oldest Lithuanian parish church in North America. Though many who wanted to be here this Sunday will not be able to make it due to the late notice, I can tell you that the small but active Lithuanian-American community in the greater Seattle area is very excited about this, and talks are already underway re. different possibilities for strengthening the burgeoning new relationship with them.

I've been told to not be surprised if one or two show up here on Sunday in traditional national attire!

This is exciting news!

(And I will have to bring the good camera tomorrow, just in case.)

Clean-up Party

I've fallen behind on my e-mail, but still it was a surprise to see a note from Fr. Davis yesterday afternoon with a reminder about this morning's clean-up party. A reminder? I didn't get the message!

I double-checked the Inbox and just in case the Trash too, but nope. Maybe it was a select group and I wasn't told because of my foot -- it was very painful to walk Wednesday evening at the Rector's Forum.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The altar arrives

The altar arrived yesterday and the work of setting it up began. I admit, I thought all there was to do was to fit the pieces together but it turns out to be significantly more than that. I'm not sure of everything, but some of it had to be sanded and will be re-stained, a piece of cabinet-grade plywood will be cut for a new top surface of the altar (the original shows wear and this will provide a stronger structural element), and a "stone" (15x15 in. piece of granite) added in the center.

Finally, the top piece will be moved up and set in place. It's going to be a tight fit between the top of the altar and the ceiling -- if only we had that steeper pitch of roof that Fr. McGrath wanted! It's also going to change the appearance of the Sanctuary dramatically.

It looks like the first Communion service using it will be Palm Sunday.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Changes II

Fr. Davis reports that the altar arrived last week and is in storage. It will be brought over Tuesday and they will start assembling it.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

The Sixth Station

I don't think it was on the schedule, but I (finally!) made it to Friday evening's Stations of the Cross, along with Heather and Mary Ellen.

First... all the incense! Not quite smoky enough to catch on camera, though.

The service was different from the ones in the past. Of course, each of our Rectors has had a somewhat different service but this one was slightly more elaborate than the others, enough so I don't recall the exact order. Each Station is announced, verses and responses, a reading, a prayer, then a sung procession to the next Station.

Then a surprise at the Sixth Station. Veronica from "veron ika," or "true image," for the image of Jesus' face in the cloth with which she wipes his face. I had never heard that before, but others mention it too. (Has it really been 6 years since "The Passion of the Christ" was released!)

Friday, March 19, 2010

North door

Got to the office yesterday morning, rather tired and lacking sleep (got home from my trip in the wee hours of the morning), and not looking forward to the morning full of teleconferences. To my surprise they were all canceled -- but I wasn't to get the time back for other work.

My cellphone rang, and though it wasn't a number I recognized I thought I'd better answer it.

The alarm company was calling to tell me the burglar alarm at the church had gone off on the north door, the sheriff was or would be there shortly, and would I or somebody else come over? I'm only a few minutes away, so I went. (I guess my name was still on the call list from the time the alarm was installed.) I didn't have Fr. Davis' number on my cellphone so I called Kathy, she relayed the information, and diverted to come over also.

When I got there the sheriff was parked in the lot. He said he'd walked around and had seen nothing. I walked around too, starting with the northernmost door (on the Fr. Leen Education Center building) and continuing all around. Everything looked fine except that it appeared somebody had tried to jimmy the Parish Hall door open. The sheriff said he that was old because there were no paint chips on the ground.

The only things out of the ordinary were the sheriff's "false alarm" tag on the Narthex door and an "attempted UPS delivery" tag on the door to the office.

Kathy & I unlocked the building and walked through -- everything was in place. A puzzler, and I still wondered about the north door (because the list of alarmed locations did not include a "north door"), but there was nothing else to do so we locked up and left.

A little while later Fr. Davis called and said he thought he had figured it out: the alarm had gone off within a very few minutes of the attempted delivery. The deliveryman must have tried to open the Narthex door, accidentally setting off the alarm. (If the door wasn't closed properly there might have been enough play to allow that.)

Then the rest of it came to me. The person at the alarm company probably didn't know the word "Narthex," so she substituted "North."

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


What a surprise Sunday! The Sanctuary looked quite different without the red fabric reredos that's been there for the past quarter-century. But taking it down and painting the wall is the first step in preparing for the new altar, which will appear this coming Sunday or the next, according to Fr. Davis.

Apparently selecting the paint color was a rather involved process but Rhonda, our "artist-in-residence" came through with an excellent and warm-toned selection.

Saturday, March 13, 2010


Received another missive from Fr. Davis to the parish today. Many things in it, including:
This Sunday is the Fourth Sunday in Lent or "Rose Sunday."  It is also sometimes called "Refreshment Sunday"  and even "Laetare (Joy) Sunday" after the ancient Introit sung on the day.  Whatever you want to call it, it's intended to be just a bit of "a foretaste of glory divine" in the middle of the Lenten season, a time to take a breather before pressing on through Passiontide and the most important week of the Church year.  There will still be no Gloria or any mention of "the forbidden word," but you will see flowers adorning the Altar and hopefully notice a little lighter mood, both in the choice of hymns and particularly in what the Prayer Book has in store for us in its appointed Collect, Epistle and Gospel for the day. 
Again, regularly lift up one another to our Lord in prayer.  Several amongst us are traveling, a few have been battling various illnesses & ailments, and a number of you are reporting that you're enduring intense bouts of spiritual warfare.  This is but par for the course during this season of especially striving to recover the character and likeness of the One in whose image we are made.  (You are all striving, aren't you?)  Most Christians will tell you that though spiritual warfare may be unseen, it is nevertheless very real.  Holy Scripture refers to as much often but perhaps most directly in Ephesians 6:12 where St. Paul speaks of putting on the full armor of God:
As one of those traveling AND battling illness, I bid your prayers.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Another "Stations" missed

Third of out three missed. This time it was a combination of car trouble that put the car in the shop last weekend (it's still there; intermittent problems can be hard to diagnose), the unavailability of transportation to get there, and this virus I came down with during this week's trip. I made it through the work day, preparing for next week's trip, but that was clearly about the limit of what I could safely handle.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Bible Study returns

Just got home from a trip (unpacked with suitcase back in closet in under 4 minutes... but why bother? after only 4 days home I'm off again, only with different dress) and found my notes from Sunday sitting beside the computer underneath some travel-related material. Among them is the announcement of Deacon Miller's Bible Study, resuming Sunday morning at 9 AM downstairs in the Parish Hall.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Spring is in the air...

This was taken Sunday after church. But that was not all that was in the air this week.

While I was sitting in SeaTac airport yesterday there was snow coming down. And I am told there was much more today, though it was not sticking.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

It could have been worse...

...but it shouldn't have happened at all.

My co-workers said today there are news reports of an epidemic of "smash and grab" thieves at work all over the Puget Sound region. Smash a car window and grab whatever looks inviting there. Last evening was my turn.

I'd gone for Wednesday evening Holy Communion, followed by a meatless supper and the Rector's Session, in which we're reading (and listening to John Cleese? read) C.S. Lewis' The Screwtape Letters. (The reading is amusing because the cadence and inflection perfectly matches one of my German colleagues when he is speaking English.) I was tired and a bit down, but it was okay.

Until I got to my car. Passenger window smashed and my backpack gone. After the initial shock I tried to get past it, calling in a police report and running mental inventories of what might have been in the backpack. But I know the incident shocked other folks too. Still, we tried to clear out the glass, put plastic over the window for a little warmth driving home (didn't work) and I headed out.

On the 22 minutes' drive home I figured out what I had lost were:
- work laptop
- MP3 player & earbuds
- assorted cables and chargers
- USB drives
- backpack and miscellaneous stuff including my international travel packet (eyeshades & a few small items)

Fortunately the work laptop had been backed up last weekend (I try to back up in advance of travel) AND the company had installed software so that the entire drive is encrypted -- one has to supply username and password before it will even boot. The loss to me here was going to be some unknown numbers of days without a computer; not a good thing. But even though there is no sensitive information on the machine, there is *nothing* they'll get off it.

The USB drives had nothing important on them (they NEVER do, by policy); one boots Linux and the other has my powerpoint from last week's conference.

The MP3 player was a small hurt with its 40G capacity (half filled), but it was also 4 years old and by today's standards a brick. Replacing it with something of similar capacity and a whole lot smaller will cost much, much less.

So I wasn't doing too badly when I got home. It was a little different today when I began to fully appreciate all the hoops I was going to have to go through to get a replacement laptop. Still have a few more to go through, but kindly co-workers found me a spare (thanks, Amy and Kevin!) and a kindly contract IT guy drove over to re-image and configure the machine for me (thanks, Don!).

And, oh yes, Kathy found an autoglass place nearby at 8 AM, at 8:30 we left the car with him (the owner, it turns out, is a really nice guy and lives close by us) and at 9:30 the car was ready to go.

Though I am suddenly uncomfortable at having a vehicle with no trunk, if this was one of Screwtape's nephews at work I don't think he was very successful.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Cookies for all!

Well, not quite. Kathy had a "secret shop" at the supermarket in Carnation (do you remember Carnation milk? The town was named for the nearby Carnation headquarters dairy farm), and on the way out bought some Girl Scout cookies -- and earmarked some of them "for the troops" (in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere). "Thin Mints" and "Tag-alongs" are the troops' favorites, the Girl Scouts report.

Meanwhile, Kathy is still baking and collecting cookies for the upcoming Kairos prison ministry weekend -- to be delivered daily, by the dozen in hand-decorated bags, to every single prisoner in the womens' prison in Purdy during the four-day retreat inside the prison.

Cookies for the troops, cookies for prisoners... and even a small plate for me when I got home from work today.

My turn to read

Sunday was my turn to be Epistler. Under the old rota it was first and fifth Sundays with other readers on the second through fourth, but I think I had missed all previous scheduled readings this year due to travel or illness. It had clearly been a while since I'd read.

Larry was happy. He didn't have to deal with "concupiscence."

We've got a new system wherein the servers sign up for specific Sundays. This will work better for me, at least. Next up on the 28th, if another trip doesn't materialize before then.