I have accepted a call to become Interim Rector of Christ Church Cranbrook in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. Gay and I will be moving there during the week of October 15 and our first experiences of worship with the parish will be during the weekend of October 20 and 21. Take a look at the video to get an idea of Christ Church Cranbrook.
The opening for intentional interim ministry at Christ Church Cranbrook follows the departure of The Reverend Canon Gary Hall, who has been called to be Dean of the Washington National Cathedral. Gary has had a wonderful ministry at Christ Church Cranbrook and we uphold him and Kathy in our prayers as they begin a new adventure at the “flagship” Cathedral of the Episcopal Church. Here is an article Gary recently wrote for the Washington Post.
As you can see from the website and video, Christ Church Cranbrook is a vibrant parish with a rich liturgical and musical life, a heart for outreach in the region, and a strong Christian formation ministry for all ages. Located in the Episcopal Diocese of Michigan, it is the largest Episcopal Church in the state. Bishop Wendell N. Gibbs, Jr. and Canon Lisa Gray have been very helpful to the vestry and to us in the process leading to this new interim relationship.
The vestry estimates that it will take approximately one year to call a new Rector. During this time of transition, Gay and I are confident we will come to love the people there as we have those in Texas, Kansas, and Kentucky. For us, meeting new people, exploring new territories, and experiencing new cultural distinctions is a fringe benefit of intentional interim ministry.
Calvary Church in Ashland, Kentucky has called a wonderful new Rector, The Reverend Antoinette “TJ” Azar. She will arrive in Ashland to begin her ministry with them in early November. I am quite proud of the devoted work of the nominating committee and vestry in calling her as the new leader of this parish. I predict that their ministry together in Ashland and the surrounding region will be fruitful in many ways - new ways, powerful ways, transforming ways! We are very grateful for our time at Calvary and for the new friends we have found there.
Prior to our time in Ashland, our experience with The Church of the Good Shepherd was filled with good things and good people. We are also grateful for the opportunity to work with Bishop Stacy Sauls and Bishop Chilton Knudsen, Dr. Kay Collier-McLaughlin, diocesan staff, clergy, and people of the Diocese of Lexington. What a wonderful two years this has been here in the Bluegrass and Eastern Kentucky.
Antoinette "TJ" Azar, Bloomfield Hills, Calvary Church Ashland, Chilton Knudsen, Christ Church Cranbrook, Diocese of Lexington, Episcopal Diocese of Michigan, Gary Hall, Good Shepherd Church Lexington, Lisa Gray, Ronald D. Pogue, Stacy Sauls, Wendell N. Gibbs
In September of 2008, Galveston Island was inundated by Hurricane Ike. Two and one-half feet of salt water (infused with who knows what else) covered our lot.
The following spring, I was amazed at the resiliency of the trees, shrubs, grass, and other plants in our gardens. I posted photographs on this blog of the blooming things as evidence.
Then, last winter, we had a hard freeze in Galveston. We had a hard freeze in Lawrence too, where I have been working. The freeze in Galveston was not kind to the tropical and semi-tropical plants. When I was in Galveston two months ago, I felt heartsick over the damage the freeze had done to our gardens.
Today, Gay and I pulled into the driveway in Galveston and were greeted by a happy sight. Several of our hibiscus plants, which had been cut back, have new growth from around the roots. And, a duranta is blooming its heart out, as if it is the cheerleader for all the other plants.
I'm amazed at the extent of resiliency of the plants in our gardens. To paraphrase Jesus, if this is possible with the plant world, who knows what might be possible with human beings, with whom God has a very special relationship?
When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon
and the stars that you have established;
4 what are
human beings that you are mindful of them, mortals*
that you care for them? 5 Yet you
have made them a little lower than God,* and
crowned them with glory and honour.
6 You have
given them dominion over the works of your hands.
Human beings are the most resilient of the resilient! Maybe you'd like to be a hibiscus or a duranta. I'll take my chances as a human being any day.
Today is Earth Day. The Galveston County Daily News carried an article this morning offering new hope that we may have an opportunity to see curbside recycling in this community. The City Council will have to amend its existing ordinance to allow an entrepreneur to develop curbside recycling and convert the materials into useful products. The present ordinance requires that any recycled materials that are picked up must be delivered to the city's recycling center. Since the city doesn't pick up recyclables because it considers it too expensive, why would it care what someone else does with them? Let's hope Council will change the ordinance and give someone a shot at it. It will be exciting to see somebody willing to take a risk get something done that will help the environment and perhaps help Galveston set an example for the people who visit our island home.
Here is a prayer from The Book of Common Prayer that is especially appropriate for Earth Day:
O merciful Creator, your hand is open wide to satisfy the needs of every living creature: Make us always thankful for your loving providence; and grant that we, remembering the account we must one day give, may be faithful stewards of your good gifts; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
The following message was first published on November 29, 2007.
It’s Advent. Advent is hard to observe in our culture, isn’t it?
The Church tells us it is a period of preparation for the Feast of the Incarnation, Christmas. Our faith tradition encourages us to make it a reflective time during which we identify with those who waited long centuries for the appearing of God’s anointed one. The liturgy for the Sundays and weekdays in Advent direct our attention to the wonderful gift that has come to us in Emmanuel and the promise that he will come again at the end to establish his victorious reign over all things.
here we are again with all those sights and sounds and smells that tell
us it is time to be the world’s most accomplished consumers. Our
culture encourages us to believe that the things we need and the things
our loved ones need to make their lives complete can be bought for a
price, and quite possibly must be acquired if life is to be worth
living. The liturgy of advertising and shopping mall directs our attention to the near frenzy involved in getting there while supplies last.
I’m not really suggesting that we should not buy gifts or support our local merchants who work so hard and rely so heavily on sales at this season. I enjoy going to the mall and listening to the music in the stores. I like to shop for presents and believe it is a good thing to be thoughtful and generous with others as God in Christ has been thoughtful and generous with us in offering us his very life.
What I am suggesting is that the spiritual dimension of the season can easily be overshadowed. We need to find a balance and the Church can help. Go to the mall, after you’ve gone to church. Buy gifts, after you’ve left your gift at the Altar. Spend time shopping for the perfect gift, after you’ve spent time in communion with the most perfect gift, Christ the Savior. Have a wonderful, peaceful, and blessed Christmas!
How silently, how silently, the wondrous gift is given! So God imparts to human hearts the blessings of his heaven. No ear may hear his coming, but in this world of sin, Where meek souls will receive him, still the dear Christ enters in.
Members of Episcopal congregations on Galveston Island are returning to their homes, helping their neighbors, gathering for fellowship, and worshiping together. Teams of Episcopalians from the Diocese of Texas and across the nation are heading here to help us resurrect our lives.
Grace Church and St. Augustine of Hippo Church are worshiping at their facilities, although there is damage to be addressed. St. Vincent's Episcopal House is providing assistance and has opened its medical clinic. The preschool area was inundated and cannot open until remediation and repairs are completed.
Trinity Church is worshiping at St. George's Church in Texas City this Sunday and will move to the William Temple Episcopal Center next Sunday. Trinity's parish office is temporarily located in the rector's home, 3017 Avenue O. Phone and mail is being forwarded to that location.
Wireless internet access and telephone service are available on the verandah at the rector's house. There are coolers full of beverages and friendly faces. It's a respite for those who are attempting to find their way through the complicated process of filing claims and filing with FEMA, interviewing contractors and waiting on permits.
The presence of our Episcopal community is a reminder of the presence and compassion of God Incarnate in the midst of our loss, our hurt, and our sorrow. As we say in the ancient prayer, Ubi Caritas, "Where true charity and love dwell, God himself is there."
The Episcopal Community on Galveston Island is resiliant. We are watching over one another in love and welcoming those God is sending to us. Among our people we are witnessing countless acts of
mutual self-giving that make our hearts glad.
Our message is one of hope - The Episcopal Church: Here to Help.
Since the early ‘80s, I have been concerned about the response of the religious community to HIV/AIDS, in terms of caring for those whose lives are affected, advocacy for medical research, and preventative efforts. I helped establish the Interfaith AIDS Coalition and Omega House, a hospice for indigent, terminally ill persons with AIDS, both in Houston. In one parish, I recruited people to serve on AIDS care teams. In another, I organized support groups for persons with AIDS, their friends, and families. For three years I was privileged to chair the AIDS Commission of the Episcopal Diocese of Texas.
I do not believe HIV/AIDS is God’s punishment any more than I believe blindness was God’s punishment for the man whose sight Jesus restored as reported in the Gospel of John. But I do believe the ongoing reality of this disease throughout the world presents an opportunity for the manifestation of God’s glory through our response.
These three public service announcements, produced by a group of teens from Galveston’s St. Vincent’s Episcopal House, are a fresh example of one way the Church can heighten public awareness of the importance of the treatment and prevention of HIV/AIDS.
The Episcopal Church is alive and well on Galveston Island, near Texas. And, the Episcopal Community of Galveston is preparing to welcome fellow Episcopalians from the Diocese of Texas to their 159th Council, February 15 & 16, 2008 at the Moody Gardens Convention Center.
This impressive video by Matthew Stanford and the kids of St. Vincent’s Episcopal House in Galveston celebrates the life of the Episcopal Church on this small island that has a big role in the history of Texas and of the diocese. Thanks to Episcopal Church and the Visual Arts for a grant to make this video possible!
149 years ago, the diocese met on this island to elect the first Bishop of Texas, The Right Reverend Alexander Gregg of Cheraw, South Carolina. After Bishop Gregg was consecrated, he and his family moved to Texas, arriving in Galveston. His first acts as Bishop of Texas, on Sunday, December 11, 1859, were on this island. The Altar of St. Augustine’s Church, which will be used at the opening worship service of this year’s Council, is the Altar at which Bishop Gregg celebrated his first Eucharist in Texas. The pulpit of Trinity Church, which will be moved to the site of the service on Friday night, is a memorial to Bishop Gregg.
The witness of the Episcopal Church on Galveston Island for the reign of Christ continues today through the ministries of three congregations and two diocesan missions. The Episcopal Church Welcomes You!
Bill Macdonald produced this video at our recent Street Party at Galveston’s Trinity Episcopal Church. The Street Party was partly in celebration of the 150th year since the opening of our 1857 house of worship and mainly a “bridge event” for our downtown neighbors.
Musician Scott Christopher played and sang for us, a couple from Mexico touring the church asked for a blessing on their wedding anniversary, new friendships were begun, and it made our hearts glad! Thanks, Bill, for sharing this video.
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