Monday, July 16, 2018

We gather together

We gather together
We gather together 
to ask the Lord's blessing; 
He chastens and hastens 
His will to make known; 
The wicked oppressing 
now cease from distressing; 
Sing praises to His Name; 
He forgets not His own. 
Beside us to guide us, 
our God with us joining, 
Ordaining, maintaining 
His kingdom divine; 
So from the beginning 
the fight we were winning; 
Thou, Lord, were at our side, 
all glory be Thine! 
We all do extol Thee, 
Thou Leader triumphant, 
And pray that Thou still 
our Defender will be; 
Let Thy congregation 
escape tribulation; 
Thy Name be ever praised! 
O Lord, make us free! 
We gather together 
to ask the Lord's blessing.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Die Hard is 30 years old!

Die Hard at 30: how it remains the quintessential American action movie

The first shot of John McClane in Die Hard is his left hand digging into the armrest as his plane lands at LAX. We can see he’s wearing a wedding band on his ring finger. His seatmate then gives him an unusual piece of advice about surviving air travel: once he settles in, he should take off his socks and shoes and make fists with his toes on the rug. Then he reaches up to the overhead bin, revealing a holstered gun dangling from his midsection.
All of this is mundane stuff. It’s also a prime example of why Die Hard remains the greatest American action movie since it was released 30 years ago this week.
Read the rest of this great article by Scott Tobias at The Guardian

Friday, July 06, 2018

A few pics from my pre-ordination retreat at Wapiti

We had a marvelous time; it is a great space!

What is up with Wapiti? ~ Helpful letter from Bishop Gutierrez

In the last month, we have held four open budget hearings in the diocesan community with one more scheduled in the next week. That process is paramount to me. I want each of you to understand what is in the diocesan budget - how it reflects an over-arching commitment to proclaiming the Gospel, addressing the pain in the world and investing in our churches.
Part of the budget includes Wapiti. Even before I was elected, I heard your questions about the property. Here, I would like to provide some answers in the hopes that knowing the facts may better allow us to move forward as one body.

What is Wapiti?
Wapiti is a 432-acre property in Maryland purchased in 2003. There are 11 rooms on the property for rent, a large covered pavilion near the water and several tent platforms for camping.
I thought there was a resolution to sell the property. Why wasn't it sold?
-        In 2008, Convention passed Resolution R-9. This authorized the governing bodies of the Diocese to list the property for sale. However, it did not mandate or require that the property to be sold. The property was listed for sale at $15 million but no offers deemed acceptable were received.
-        In 2011, the Standing Committee, Diocesan Council and the then Finance and Property Committees all voted to accept an offer for $6.6 million. However, Bishop Bennison declined to accept, thus blocking the sale.  
-        At Convention 2011, another resolution (R-8) was passed which allowed the property to be sold without the consent of Bishop Bennison. This resolution became null and void when Bishop Bennison retired in 2012.
-        The property remained listed for sale but no other serious offers have been received since. The property has not been actively listed with an agent since 2013.
-        During his time in office, Bishop Clifton Daniel publicly stated that, because of the temporary nature of his authority, he did not believe it appropriate for him to authorize a sale.
Would you be willing to sell it?
I would be willing to sell if we receive an offer of at least $6.6 million, which is what the governing bodies of our diocese previously elected to accept. I will not agree to an offer that amounts to pennies on the dollar. This would not be good stewardship and would be poor exercise of my fiduciary responsibilities as your Bishop.
What is the value of the property?
As per our Audit in 2007, Wapiti was valued at $9,848,306. This represents land acquisition costs and investment in the buildings. This does not represent the cumulative costs of salaries, maintenance, utilities, insurance, etc. These expenses bring the total investment to approximately $11.5 million.  
Since then the value of the property has consistently depreciated and at present we carry it on our books at $4.5 million. This significant depreciation reflects both changes in the real estate market and a change in the zoning rules that cut the number of developable lots in half from the original projections.
What are the annual operating expenses?
In 2017, our net expenses were $165,401 after $21,474 in income. This includes all expenses for salary, benefits, maintenance, insurance and taxes. In the interest of reducing the net expenses, we are actively examining all contracts and relationships related to the property.
How is the property being used now?
The property is maintained and it is available and used for a variety of retreats. In 2017, twenty groups used the property. So far this year, 14 groups have used it. We currently have a draft policy before the Chancellor that would allow people from outside our diocese to make use of it. We believe this could significantly boost the income generated and thus help further offset the operating costs without any new program development. We will also actively promote the property for rentals inside the diocese until a decision is made on rentals outside the Diocese.
What about the future?
I have asked our Creation Theology Committee to develop a model that would allow for organic and sustainable agriculture as well as developing capacity to serve as a spiritual retreat center. To that end, we organized an Open House event on October 6, 2018 in the hopes of introducing as many of our members as possible to the property with the goal of getting your feedback and input in further developing their ideas.
 I recognize that the history of Wapiti is long and complex and like any complex issue, there are many different perspectives, which are sometimes accompanied by some strong feelings. But, we cannot continue to allow ourselves to be defined by the past. All things are being made new in Jesus Christ. We must look at Wapiti with fresh eyes to see how we might use it in our efforts to make Jesus known and to change the world in his name.
I sincerely hope you will consider coming down in October in order that you might look at it for the first time or the first time in a long time. Who knows what God might have in mind? Therefore, let us root our hope in Jesus Christ and move forward in our faith.

The Rt. Rev. Daniel G. P. Gutiérrez
XVI Bishop of The Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania

Monday, June 25, 2018

Be joyful

Be joyful in the Lord, all you lands;
serve the Lord with gladness
and come before his presence with a song.
Know this: The Lord himself is God;
he himself has made us, and we are his;
we are his people and the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving;
go into his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and call upon his Name.
For the Lord is good;
his mercy is everlasting;
and his faithfulness endures from age to age.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

This is what the love of God is like

“This is what the love of God is like:
it is free and therefore it is both all-powerful and completely vulnerable.
All-powerful because it is always free to overcome,
but vulnerable because it has no way of guaranteeing worldly success.
The love of God belongs to a different order, not the order of power,
manipulation and getting on top, which is the kind of power that pre-occupies us.”  

― Rowan Williams, 
Theologian and former Archbishop of Canterbury.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

So draw our hearts to you

A Prayer of Self-Dedication
Almighty and eternal God, so draw our hearts to you, so guide our minds, so fill our imaginations, so control our wills, that we may be wholly yours, utterly dedicated unto you; and then use us, we pray you, as you will, and always to your glory and the welfare of your people; through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

draw water with rejoicing

Canticle 9 The First Song of Isaiah 
Isaiah 12:2-6 Ecce, Deus 

Surely, it is God who saves me; *
I will trust in him and not be afraid.
For the Lord is my stronghold and my sure defense, *
and he will be my Savior.
Therefore you shall draw water with rejoicing *
from the springs of salvation.
And on that day you shall say, *
Give thanks to the Lord and call upon his Name;
Make his deeds known among the peoples; *
see that they remember that his Name is exalted.
Sing the praises of the Lord, for he has done great things, *
and this is known in all the world.
Cry aloud, inhabitants of Zion, ring out your joy, *
for the great one in the midst of you is the Holy One of Israel.

Monday, June 11, 2018

All creatures of our God and King

All creatures of our God and King
All creatures of our God and King
Lift up your voice and with us sing
Oh, praise Him
Thou burning sun with golden beam
Thou silver moon with softer gleam
Oh, praise Him
Oh, praise Him
Thou rushing wind that art so strong
Ye clouds that sail in heav'n along
Oh, praise Him
Thou rising moon in praise rejoice
Ye lights of evening find a voice
Oh, praise Him
Oh, praise Him
Let all things their creator bless
And worship Him in humbleness
Oh, praise Him
Praise, praise the Father praise the Son
And praise the Spirit three in one
Oh, praise Him
Oh, praise Him

Words: St. Francis of Assisi | Paraphrased by William H. Draper

Friday, June 08, 2018

O Gracious Light

Phos hilaron (O Gracious Light)

O gracious light,
pure brightness of the everliving Father in heaven,
O Jesus Christ, holy and blessed!
Now as we come to the setting of the sun,
and our eyes behold the vesper light,
we sing your praises, O God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
You are worthy at all times to be praised by happy voices,
O Son of God, O Giver of Life,
and to be glorified through all the worlds.