Saturday, May 31, 2008
Thursday, May 29, 2008
In 1966, St. Catherine's School had 161 boarders. This year, it had four, and they will graduate on Sunday. But as the boarding era ends, it offers opportunities for the school to expand.
For decades, girls shimmied down magnolia trees to escape the dorms, sneaked pizzas into their rooms, sunbathed on the roof of the arcade and studied diligently from 7 to 9 nightly.
But after 86 years, an era ends Sunday, when the final four boarders at St. Catherine's School in Richmond's West End graduate. The number of boarding students had declined since the 1980s.
The remaining dorm space will be transformed into modern classrooms. But the boarders' memories and the lessons realized will linger.
"You learned to be independent at an early age," said 1975 graduate Charlotte Fox, who lives in Colorado. "I made friendships that have endured my whole life."
Meeting fellow students from around the globe -- even as far away as Japan and Korea -- was an attraction for some students. But they also got to know themselves better.
It must be a decisive rule of every Christian fellowship that each individual is prohibited from saying much that occurs to him….
Where this discipline of the tongue is practiced right from the beginning, each individual will make a matchless discovery. He will be able to cease from constantly scrutinizing the other person, judging him, condemning him…. Now he can allow the brother to exist as a completely free person, as God made him to be.
Now the other person, in the freedom with which he was created, becomes the occasion of joy, whereas before he was only a nuisance and an affliction. God does not will that I should fashion the other person according to the image that seems good to me, that is, in my own image; rather in his very freedom from me, God made this person in His image. I can never know beforehand how God’s image should appear in others.
~~Dietrich Bonhoeffer in Life Together
hat tip to Inward Outward blog
What I do know is that war should only be waged when necessary, and the Iraq war was not necessary.
- Former White House press secretary Scott McClellan, in his new book, What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington's Culture of Deception, in which he describes the administration as "manipulating sources of public opinion" and "downplaying the major reason for going to war." (Source: The Washington Post)
In terrific memoir Open Secrets, Richard Lischer describes the modern minister. He says, rightly so, that we too often become nothing more than a “quivering mass of availability.” That seems about right. We like to do the easy bits, but we priests don’t always want to do the hard things, and we sometimes don’t want to challenge people. As I’ve said before, we need to do this work. The church is about salvation, not just self-improvement.
The Anglican Centrist ties all this together nicely, in a posting on priestly vocation and leadership.
we who believe we are living inside a reality shaped not by ourselves but by Jesus Christ, believe that we have been given a form that itself is shaped like the One who formed it.
Read all of his good post HERE....
VTS Praying for victims of 911
VTS 1949, Military Chaplains
To live, we must daily break the body and shed the blood of creation. When we do it knowingly, lovingly, skillfully, reverently, it is a sacrament. When we do it ignorantly, greedily, destructively, it is a desecration.
- Wendell Berry
The Gift of Good Land
hat tip to God's Politics at Beliefnet
The Richmond Times-Dispatch on the constitutionality of the Virginia law of division:
The situation in Northern Virginia focuses on property and denominational governance. After leaving the Diocese of Virginia, the breakaway churches affiliated with African branches of the worldwide Anglican Communion. They continue to occupy their buildings. Therein lies the legal irritation. The Episcopal Church is hierarchical. Individual parishes are neither truly independent nor fully autonomous but emanate from the diocese. The bishop serves as the foundation's head. Rectors and priests represent him or her at the parish level. We will not delve further, as in this instance church structure flows from denominational belief and thus falls under the purview of theologians.
Neither camp has made any of its decisions lightly. The decision to leave a church, or a diocese, is not an idle act; the decision to defend institutional interests is not idle, either -- especially when the interests embody reliance on Scripture, tradition, and reason.
Virginia prides itself as being the birthplace of religious liberty -- America's first freedom. The Virginia law under review interferes with an intradenominational debate and violates the spirit of church-state separation even as it resurrects the dubious legacy of interposition. If the commonwealth acted wisely when it disestablished the Anglican Church, then it errs when it implicitly tells the Diocese of Virginia how to run itself.
Read it all. The trial on the constitutional question opens today.
Alexandria, VA – At its May board meeting, the Board of Trustees of Virginia Theological Seminary appointed the Rev. Dr. David T. Gortner as the new Director of the Doctor of Ministry Program and Professor of Evangelism and Congregational Leadership. Gortner steps in to his new position, housed under the Seminary’s Institute for Christian Formation and Leadership, on August 1, 2008.
Gortner comes to VTS from the Church Divinity School of the Pacific (CDSP) where he has served as Assistant Professor of Pastoral Theology since 2004 and as Director of the Center for Anglican Learning and Leadership since 2005. In addition to teaching courses on pastoral theology, youth ministry/leadership, and human development, Gortner directed and developed CDSP's continuing education program for clergy and religious leadership that includes online education. Concurrent with his work at CDSP, Gortner co-convened the Graduate Theological Union's (GTU) area in Psychology and Religion, assisting in the redesign of the M.A. and Ph.D. curricula.
As Director of Virginia Seminary’s Doctor of Ministry Program, Gortner will have oversight of the two D.Min. degrees: Ministry Development, which focuses on increased excellence in ministerial leadership in congregations, and Educational Leadership focuses on leadership in school ministries. The case study seminar has been central to the program since it began in the 1970’s.
“Dr. Gortner is a gifted scholar with a passion for theological education,” said the Very Rev. Ian Markham, dean and president of Virginia Seminary, “and we are delighted about his appointment. The D.Min. Program is vitally important to the Seminary and I am confident that David can continue to develop and enhance the program."
A prolific writer, Gortner’s books include, Transforming Evangelism (Church Publishing, 2008); Propelled into a Waiting World: Evangelism Recast for the 21st Century (Church Publishing, 2007); and the forthcoming, Around the Table: Exploring Episcopal Identity (June 2008.)
Gortner holds a Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois; an M.Div. from Seabury-Western Seminary, Evanston, Illinois; an M.A. in Psychology from Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, North Carolina; and a B.A. in Psychology from Wheaton College, Wheaton, Illinois.
Active in parish life, Gortner serves as Assisting Parish Priest at St. Mark's in Berkeley, California and at St. Mark's in Evanston, Illinois. On the Diocesan level, Gortner is a member of the Department of Youth and Young Adult Ministry Commission and a member of the Clergy Wellness Commission.
Founded in 1823, Virginia Theological Seminary is the largest of the 11 accredited seminaries of the Episcopal Church. The school prepares men and women for service in the Church worldwide, both as ordained and lay ministers, and offers a number of professional degree programs and diplomas. Currently, the Seminary represents more than 42 different dioceses and 5 different countries, for service in the Church.
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
The Christian Century has an interesting article, "Splitting Up: Anglican Angst" by Jason Byassee which is well-worth a read...
I wonder what Ed Friedman, the late guru of family dynamics as they apply to organizations and churches, would make of the "family" dynamics in our beloved Communion...
the Rev. Peter M. Carey
|by Jason Byassee|
|Last year the Church of the Resurrection in suburban West Chicago closed its doors and put its building up for sale. The Episcopal congregation had suffered membership losses 14 years earlier when some conservative members left to start their own church, also called the Church of the Resurrection, in nearby Glen Ellyn. The new congregation later aligned itself with the Anglican Mission in the Americas (AMIA), which is connected to the Anglican Church in Rwanda.|
The new Church of the Resurrection later experienced its own split, with some members leaving to launch the Church of the Great Shepherd—also affiliated with AMIA—in Wheaton. The Church of the Great Shepherd eventually closed its doors, but not before a 2004 split led to the formation of the Church of the Savior back in West Chicago. During this time the ranks of St. Mark's, an Episcopal congregation in Glen Ellyn, had been swelling—until the Episcopal Church consecrated an openly gay bishop in 2003, whereupon many St. Mark's members left to form All Souls, still another AMIA church, in Wheaton. Meanwhile, another split at the original Church of the Resurrection in West Chicago, which had experienced renewed growth, led to the creation of the Church of the Resurrection Anglican, a church which is overseen by the archbishop of Uganda. So now there are two Resurrection churches in the area, both formed in exodus from the original—now defunct—Church of the Resurrection, and both affiliated with African Anglican bodies, not with the Episcopal Church in the United States, sometimes abbreviated as TEC.
Got all that?
Even for Anglicans in the vicinity it takes a long memory or a flow chart to keep straight all the Episcopal-Anglican divisions and acronyms that have developed in the well-heeled suburbs of DuPage County, just west of Chicago.
...read the rest HERE....
"In Matthew 6:24-34, Jesus tells us to remember the birds of the air and the lilies of the field. They are ordinary and seemingly insignificant parts of the natural world, small and unimportant compared to us. And yet God remembers and cares for each of them. It is a reminder that when God came and lived among us in the person of Jesus Christ, he experienced the same ordinary reality that we all experience. And that God, in Christ, offered us the opportunity to transform the most ordinary, mundane experiences into extraordinary events infused with the presence of God. God is there, present in the midst of the ordinary, just waiting for us to recognize it."
Read the rest HERE.
From the New York Times...
LOS ANGELES — Sydney Pollack, a Hollywood mainstay as director, producer and sometime actor whose star-laden movies like “The Way We Were,” “Tootsie” and “Out of Africa” were among the most successful of the 1970s and ’80s, died Monday at home here. He was 73.
The cause was cancer, said the publicist Leslee Dart, who spoke for his family.
Mr. Pollack’s career defined an era in which big stars (Robert Redford, Barbra Streisand, Warren Beatty) and the filmmakers who knew how to wrangle them (Barry Levinson, Mike Nichols) retooled the Hollywood system. Savvy operators, they played studio against studio, staking their fortunes on pictures that served commerce without wholly abandoning art.
Hollywood honored Mr. Pollack in return. His movies received multiple Academy Award nominations, and as a director he won an Oscar for his work on the 1985 film “Out of Africa” as well as nominations for directing “They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?” (1969) and “Tootsie” (1982).
“Michael Clayton,” of which Mr. Pollack was a producer and a member of the cast, was nominated for a best picture Oscar earlier this year. He delivered a trademark performance as an old-bull lawyer who demands dark deeds from a subordinate, played by George Clooney. (“This is news? This case has reeked from Day 1!” snaps Mr. Pollack’s Marty Bach.) Most recently, Mr. Pollack portrayed the father of Patrick Dempsey’s character in “Made of Honor.”Mr. Pollack became a prolific producer of independent films in the latter part of his career. ...
read more HERE....
(CNN) -- Academy Award-winning director Sydney Pollack, who achieved critical acclaim with the period drama "Out of Africa" and the romantic comedy "Tootsie," died of cancer Monday, his agent told CNN.
Pollack, 73, died at his home in Los Angeles. He was surrounded by his wife of nearly 50 years, Claire Griswold, their two daughters, Rebecca and Rachel, and his brother, Bernie, agent Leslee Dart said. the Pollacks' only son, Steven, died in a plane crash in 1993.
Pollack, who often appeared on the screen himself, worked with and gained the respect of Hollywood's best actors in a long career that reached prominence in the 1970s and 1980s, according to the Associated Press.
"Sydney made the world a little better, movies a little better and even dinner a little better. A tip of the hat to a class act," actor George Clooney said in a statement issued by his publicist, the Associated Press reported.
Last fall, Pollack played Marty Bach opposite Clooney in "Michael Clayton," a drama that examines the life of a fixer for lawyers. The film, which Pollack co-produced, received seven Oscar nominations, including best picture and a best actor nod for Clooney.Pollack was no stranger to the Academy Awards. His 1985 film "Out of Africa," a romantic epic of a woman's passion set against the landscape of colonial Kenya, captured seven Oscars, including best director and best picture.
Read more HERE...
Sunday, May 25, 2008
Stay tuned for more examples of the "saints of God" ...
Saturday, May 24, 2008
If you don't know what I'm talking about, check out the new "marketing campaign" from the headquarters of our church...HERE
from Episcopal News Service...
The Rev. C. Andrew Doyle was elected May 24 to be the ninth bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Texas.
Doyle, 41, is a native of the diocese who has spent his entire ordained ministry in the diocese. He is currently canon to the ordinary for Texas Bishop Don Wimberly. Doyle describes himself in his autobiographical sketch as having grown up "High Church Anglo-Catholic." He and his wife JoAnne are the parents of Caisa, 11, and Zoë, 6.
He earned the Master of Divinity degree from Virginia Theological Seminary in 1995, was ordained deacon in the Diocese of Texas later that year and ordained a priest in 1996. Doyle served at St. Stephen's School in Austin, Texas; Christ Church in Temple, Texas; and St. Francis Episcopal Church in College Station before becoming canon to the ordinary in 2003.
Doyle was elected on the fourth ballot from among six nominees. He received 264 of 481 votes in the lay order and 128 of 247 in the clergy order. An election on that ballot required 241 lay votes and 124 clergy votes.
Results of all the ballots are available here.
Under the canons the Episcopal Church (III.16.4 (a)), a majority of bishops exercising jurisdiction and diocesan standing committees must consent to Doyle's election and ordination as bishop within 120 days of receiving the consent request.
Assuming such consent, Doyle will become the second-youngest bishop in the Episcopal Church. The youngest bishop, Northwestern Pennsylvania Bishop Sean Rowe, 33, was elected on May 19, 2007.
Doyle's election took place at Christ Cathedral Church in Houston.
He will succeed Wimberly, who was elected the eighth bishop of Texas in 2004. He faces mandatory retirement in June of 2009 at the age of 72. Wimberly had called for the election of a bishop coadjutor in February at the 159th annual diocesan convention in Galveston.
The other nominees were:
- the Rev. David W. Alwine, 54, rector, Christ Church, Temple, Texas;
- the Rt. Rev. Dena Harrison, 61, bishop suffragan of Texas;
- the Rev. Gary Dixon Hill, 59, rector, Christ Church and School (Christ Church and School, Nacogdoches, Texas), Nacogdoches, Texas;
- the Rev. Canon Neal O. Michell, 55, canon missioner for strategic development, Diocese of Dallas; and
- the Rev. James Stockton, 50, rector, Church of the Resurrection, Austin, Texas.
More information about Doyle and the other nominees is available here.
A date for Doyle's consecration has yet to be determined.
The Diocese of Texas, encompassing 156 congregations and more than 85,000 members in Eastern Texas, was officially organized in 1849 and is one of six dioceses in the state. It also includes 15 campus ministries and numerous institutions, including the well-known Camp Allen Camp and Conference Center and the Episcopal Theological Seminary of the Southwest.
Friday, May 23, 2008
The Rev. Dr. Roger Ferlo's Commencement Address at VTS. Read it all HERE.
Some excerpts below:
The joy of the Torah finds its renewal not in the closed circles of the rule-bound and proof-texting sectarian and schismatic mind, but in the incarnation and restoration of Wisdom herself, in the very person of Jesus.
“Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me.” But be careful. This is risky ground. Walk this way with caution. This same Jesus whose yoke is so much easier than the yoke of the Pharisees is also the troubling and troublesome teacher who admonishes his followers to leave everything behind and to take up the heavy yoke of the cross. To deepen the paradox even more, the very heaviness of that yoke, borne by Christ alone, has against all reason and expectation restored the lightness and delight of Torah joy in us, unlocking and revealing to us in the Word of scripture the very Word made flesh. In cross and resurrection, in the power of the Holy Spirit blowing through our midst, Christ is made alive and vibrant in us, here, now, as readers and hearers and doers of the Word, in the continuing discipline of holy reading and holy living—in the lively, contradictory, polemical, dialectical, open and open-ended community of lernen—to which all of us are called, a yoke which all of us now joyously assume as our own.
As we gather here in prayer and thanksgiving, and as some of you cross this stage, I suggest that all of us here try to regard these academic hoods not simply as the secular symbols of advanced degrees, but also as symbols of the yoke of the Kingdom of Heaven, the outward and visible signs of our shared commitment to the way of the Torah that is the way of Christ, a commitment to the act of lernen that my rabbi friend cherished so deeply, a commitment to the act of loving the Lord our God with all our minds as well as with all our hearts, and loving our neighbors as ourselves. Can you receive these flimsy hoods this morning as a sign of your lifelong commitment to the life of the mind in service to the life of the soul, and not just your own minds and souls, but also the minds and souls of all whom you encounter as teachers, pastors, administrators, counselors? Will the lightness of these hoods remind you of the easy yoke that Jesus has laid upon us? In all our academic achievements, can we learn from Him the gentleness and humbleness of heart that are essential to the ministry of teaching and learning to which we have been called?
Let’s be frank, there is danger in academic occasions like this one. I daresay all of my colleagues here on this stage have experienced that danger as much as I have. I will talk about M.Div. degrees in a moment, but those of us gathered here to receive certificates of work accomplished, or MTS or MACE degrees, or D.Min’s, or honorary doctorates of divinity, might also know something about this danger. It is the danger of spiritual pride and intellectual hubris, the conviction that our educational achievements have somehow set us apart, that in earning our degrees we have been inducted into some kind of intellectual elite. Of course, such arrogance flies in the face of what the gospel insists upon when it comes to knowledge.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~There will be many experiences in your ordained life where a deep resistance to learning will make itself felt. You will feel it in a popular culture increasingly hostile to the educated mind. You will feel it in a political culture where strident voices pillory knowledge and expertise as somehow undemocratic and elitist. You will feel it in a religious culture where the give-and-take of the intellectual life is perceived as an alien threat to people of faith. My hope and prayer for you as you enter the ordained life is that you will steadily resist such know-nothing religion, that you will wear the yoke of your continuing learning with passion and determination, and that you will demonstrate to your parishioners and to the larger world that the love of learning and the desire for God are one and the same love, and a life-long enterprise—an enterprise that as teacher and pastor and priest you seek to share with those you serve.
Thursday, May 22, 2008
I'm sitting here at my desk, trying to grade the last few papers before the onslaught of exam grading after I administer the exam this weekend, and also working through the last details of the my first opportunity to preside at a wedding. Amidst all these end of year tasks, I remembered that my seminary, Virginia Theological Seminary (VTS) is having its commencement exercises. So, I clicked on the link HERE, and am watching it. So, check it out. My beloved professor and advisor, Roger Ferlo, will give the commencement address, and you can also check out last night's Mission for the Church service at which the Presiding Bishop preached HERE.
It brings me all back to only 1 year ago and my own commencement...wow, lots has happened since then! NYC for the summer, ordination to the diaconate, beginning a new job, new city, new school, having our third child, ordination to the priesthood, and on and on....
I hope and pray that in this time of the end of the school years that all of us can take time to reflect on the year past, and give thanks for God's grace through it all. Peace be with you!
Some images from a year ago are below:
Saturday, May 17, 2008
The Episcopal Bishop of Chicago offers his reflections on the Emerging Church and proposes some ways that this new (old) movement might intersect with the Episcopal Church ... nicely done!
Thank you for viewing this Youtube.com clip. A Live-To-Camera Conversation with Jeffrey Dean Lee Bishop of Chicago. Digitally captured the week ending May 16, downtown Chicago. Production values and script written by David Skidmore Canon of Communication, Chicago Diocese.
Friday, May 16, 2008
A church that doesn’t provoke any crises, a gospel that doesn’t unsettle, a word of God that doesn’t get under anyone’s skin, a word of God that doesn’t touch the real sin of the society in which it is being proclaimed - what gospel is that? Very nice, pious considerations that don’t bother anyone, that’s the way many would like preaching to be. Those preachers who avoid every thorny matter so as not to be harassed, so as not to have conflicts and difficulties, do not light up the world they live in.
~Oscar Romero, The Violence of Love
"In a Godward direction"
a beautiful poem, take a look...
Because I was born blind I didn’t know
I was until they told me I was blind.
I used to sit beside my father in
the synagogue, pressed close against his side,
his arm around my shoulder. Once he let
me touch the velvet-covered Torah as
it passed, guiding my hand in his.
I never made bar mitzvah — couldn’t read,
and didn’t have the heart to memorize.
Still, how I loved the synagogue, especially
the prophets’ words. A few years back I heard
a man read from Isaiah and — I swear —
I thought the words would come true then and there:
“sight to the blind,” he said. Well, one can hope.
When I grew up, I earned my bread by sit-
ting on the corner, holding out my hand.
They knew me in the neighborhood. It wasn’t
a bad living; once a rich young ruler
even put a gold coin in my hand —
a small one, but so heavy next to coppers.
From time to time discussions would take place
about my blindness and its possible cause.
All above my head — in every sense!
Then, of course, one day that man called Jesus
happened by. He said that he was light.
He put mud on my eyes and sent me to
the pool to wash it off. And then I saw.
What was it like to see at first? It looked
like trumpets sound on New Year’s Day, ram’s horn
and brass; it looked like gold feels in the hand —
I think I told you that I felt it once;
like smiles feel on my fingertips. It looked
like velvet felt that time my father, my
small hand in his, pressed it against the Torah,
and the jingling silver sounded round
my ears. A bit like that.
that when I got back to the street, though I
could see, the neighbors didn’t recognize me.
Scholars grilled me, called my parents, wouldn’t
take my word. And finally they kicked
Do I miss the synagogue?
I miss the New Year’s trumpets; miss the Torah
scroll, its velvet cover and the silver bells.
I miss the prophets’ words. I miss
But I do not miss the end-
less questions on my blindness; I
don’t miss the corner of the street or my
old “friends” and neighbors; I don’t miss the heat
and street-smells and the ache of outstretched arm
and empty hand.
Besides, I saw that man —
the one that said that he was light? He was,
you know. He was the one who gave me sight,
just like the prophet said. He is my Torah
now, my New Year’s Day, my gold, my light,
my father and my God.
Tobias Haller BSG
May 16, 2008
Kudos to two of my students who have been awarded the UNC Morehead-Cain Scholarship, and the UVA Jefferson Scholarship! Congratulations to both of these fine young women!
For the first time since 1982, two St. Catherine's School seniors accepted the Morehead-Cain Scholarship and the Jefferson Scholarship. Tyler Harris was named a Jefferson Scholar and Caroline Wills Ott was named a Morehead-Cain Scholar.
For the second time in the 118-year history of St. Catherine’s, the school boasts both a Jefferson Scholar and a Morehead-Cain Scholar. Tyler Harris was named a Jefferson Scholar at the University of Virginia while Caroline Wills Ott was named a Morehead-Cain Scholar at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Both girls live in Richmond.
Episcopal School in Dallas is the only other school in the nation in which two students accepted Morehead-Cain and Jefferson scholarships this year. In 1982, two St. Catherine’s students also accepted these two prestigious scholarships.
“St. Catherine's is extremely proud of the academic success achieved by this year's senior class in its entirety,” Head of School Laura Erickson said. “The recognition these two girls have received by winning both the Jefferson and Morehead-Cain Scholar awards is representative of the accomplishments of our entire school. We are very proud of these girls.”
Tyler, who intends to enroll in the School of Commerce (business), is among 33 high school seniors named a Jefferson Scholar. The prestigious, merit-based scholarship program provides stipends to cover the complete cost of attending the university, including tuition, room and board, books and other university-related expenses. It also includes leadership training and foreign travel/study.
Caroline, who has not declared her major, is among 79 young leaders from high schools across the United States – and one of only two from Virginia – to be named this year’s Morehead-Cain Scholars at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Among the largest and most competitive scholarship programs in the United States, the Morehead-Cain pays all expenses for four years of undergraduate study, including the cost of a laptop computer and four summer enrichment experiences.