Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A Lovely Poem for Christmas

The Christ-child
The Christ-child lay on Mary's lap,
His hair was like a light.
(O weary, weary is the world,
But here is all aright.)

The Christ-child lay on Mary's breast,
His hair was like a star.
(O stern and cunning are the kings,
But here the true hearts are.)

The Christ-child lay on Mary's heart,
His hair was like a fire.
(O weary, weary is the world,
But here the world's desire.)

The Christ-child stood at Mary's knee,
His hair was like a crown.
And all the flowers looked up at Him,
And all the stars looked down.

GK Chesterton

Friday, December 23, 2011

So this is Christmas

"So this is Christmas
And what have you done
Another year over
And a new one just begun"  - John Lennon.

Thus begins the song of John Lennon.  It is somewhat melancholy, and Christmas really can be melancholy if its sole purpose is taking stock of what we have done and  left undone. Perhaps, this is one reason gift giving can become so frantic, so unrealistic.

 Now, please understand - I believe that stock-taking is something that we need to do regularly.  Thomas Cranmer, framer of our Book of Common Prayer, understood that we need confession and to hear the Declaration of Forgiveness.  But, we make a mistake if Christmas is about us and our failings.

No, Christmas is about what God has and is doing.  Christmas is, in part, God's response to our failings and, so it is a time of JOY.  God has unilaterally declared peace with us.  "The war is over" as Lennon sang.  While Lennon was most likely referring to the Vietnam War, he spoke more truth than he knew.  For, in the incarnation of Jesus Christ, God has declared "The war is over."    Remember the angels' song "Glory to God in the highest and Peace to his people on earth. "     God  has declared peace with us.  This Christmas, why don't you and I  declare peace with those with whom we have been at odds - family members, neighbors nearby and  those who may be far away.  May you have a Holy and Blessed Christmas and remember "The war is over."


Friday, December 2, 2011

Ponder This: A Murmuration

A remarkable glimpse of the mystery of God's creation!  A murmuration...

Murmuration from Sophie Windsor Clive on Vimeo.

Advent At Last

Thank goodness Advent is here.  Not only is it the start of a brand new year but it has built-in restfulness if we will let ourselves take hold of it.  "Patient Waiting" is plenty hard to do, but it is what we are called to in Advent.  We 21st c. folks in the West do NOT like to wait.  We seem to want instant everything, but then, when we have gained that which we desired to have instantly, we often find ourselves feeling dissatisfied.  So many of the best things in life take time to come into being:  a new baby, a work of art, a disciplined prayer life, a course of study, and intimate relationship whether with others or with God.  We most often see waiting as wasted time, but waiting is never wasted when it is purposeful.   Below are two Advent videos - each with a very differnt feel.  The first, a seeming contradiction to all that I have just written above, is a super speedy introduction to Advent.  The second is a much slower, more meditative approah.  I hope you are blessed by both.

Friday, October 14, 2011

FollowUp to Situation in Egypt - Miracles Do Happen

The following is an update from the Most Rev. Dr. Mouneer H. Anis, Bishop of the Episcopal/Anglican Diocese of Egypt with North Africa and the Horn of Africa.
13 October 2011

My Dear Friends,

In the tradition of the Coptic Orthodox Church there was a story of a Muslim Caliph who challenged the Coptic Patriarch and said "you have a verse in your Bible that says, 'by faith you can move mountains.'" The Caliph added, "Show me that this verse is true and move the mountain of Mokottam (in the south of Cairo). If you cannot move it, I will kill all the Christians. "
The Patriarch was very sad and worried because he was not quite sure that the mountain would move. He was contacted by a shoe maker named Simon who said to the Patriarch, "do not worry, let us just pray and fast for three days and our mighty Lord will make a miracle!"
The Patriarch called for prayer and fasting for three days. On the third day, the doubting Caliph came to see if the mountain would move or not. The worried Patriarch was praying with his people, and behind them, Simon was interceding with confidence.
The mountain moved! The Caliph said, "I now know that you worship the true God."
Today was the third day of fasting and prayer. Many of our staff in the Diocese of Egypt, having this story in mind, were expecting a miracle to happen today or tomorrow; a miracle that can show how God will rescue His Church!
Today I have seen a miracle. It was very much like moving a mountain. I went this morning to visit the Grand Imam of AI Azhar. I arrived a bit early and I waited at the office of his advisor. While waiting I saw a bearded Muslim man in his 50's who came to present a proposal to the Grand Imam's advisor. He said, "I am a Muslim and I live between Tahrir Square and Maspero. I came here to witness that the spirit of hatred against Christians has increased a lot. On the night of the 9th of October when the killing of Christians took place, I met a group of people who were searching for Christians to beat after they heard that Christians attacked the army."
The man added, "Hatred is on the rise and I came to witness for this." He proposed then that AI Azhar must respond to all the thoughts that promote this hatred towards Christians. He also said that, "I and a group of Muslim writers and artists are happy to devote our time in order to combat this hatred against Christians. We have a list of books we must respond to and correct the false teachings towards Christians."
The advisor of the Grand Imam said to him, "this is a very good idea. Why don't we have the idea written and I will present it to the Grand Imam."
I did not believe my ears! A group of Muslims are disturbed by hatred of Christians and want to combat this hatred! !!!
To me, this was a miracle!
Who moved the heart of these people? Certainly it is God, who hears our prayers!

Let us continue to pray.

The Most Rev. Dr. Mouneer H. Anis
Bishop of the Episcopal/Anglican Diocese of Egypt
with North Africa and the Horn of Africa
President Bishop of the Episcopal/Anglican
Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East

Urgent Prayer Request from Egypt

The following message from Bishop Mouneer Anis was received in the Diocesan Office on October 9, 2011. Please keep our brothers and sisters in Egypt in your prayers.

Dear Friends,
Greetings in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ!
I do request your urgent prayers as the situation here in Cairo is very inflamed. Many Christians demonstrated after the incident of the burning of a church building in Mari Nab near Aswan (Egypt). The demonstrations started peacefully as the people were requesting that investigations for the incidents of burning and demolishing churches would be completed and the new law for building churches, that was promised four months ago, would be passed.
This evening it turned to be very violent between demonstrators and the military. More than 20 people were killed and more than 100 were injured.
Tomorrow there will be a large meeting for the House of Bishops of the Coptic Orthodox Church and political leaders will have a separate meeting to discuss a way out of this very difficult situation. I would appreciate your prayers for our beloved country.
We will hold prayer meetings tomorrow and I hope that I can meet with Muslim religious leaders in order to discuss a way forward for the situation.
Thank you for your prayers.
--The Most Rev. Dr. Mouneer Hanna Anis

Bishop of the Episcopal / Anglican Diocese of Egypt with North Africa and the Horn of Africa
President Bishop of the Episcopal / Anglican Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East

Sunday, October 2, 2011

The Blessing of the Animals - Oct. 9, 4:00 PM

Everyone is cordially invited to St. James-Santee's annual Blessing of the Animals.  It will be held at 4:00 pm, Sunday, Oct. 9 - on the steps of the Chapel of Ease.  Please join us and bring whatever critters you may have.  The Blessing of the Animals is offered in thanksgiving for the life of St. Francis of Assisi.  Here is his Collect (prayer).

 Most high, omnipotent, good Lord, grant your people grace to renounce gladly the vanities of this world; that, following the way of blessed Francis, we may for love of you delight in your whole creation with perfectness of joy; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

We Are Celebrating

the debut of a book by Bud Hill and  Billy Baldwin.  The official "launch" is Friday, Sept. 23rd at 7:00 pm at McClellanville's Town Hall.  Please join us!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Blessing of the Backpacks is This Sunday- August 21, 10:00 am

Please join us for the blessing and an ice cream party following Church.  All student, teachers, administrators, and helpers of all descriptions are welcome.  Fun aplenty.

 Also,  if you are out and about, pick up one school supply item for the offering.  We'll be taking them to Windwood Farm, one of our domestic mission partners.

 Read more about the wonderful work of Windwood Farm by clicking right  Here.

Friday, July 29, 2011

The Feast Day of our Patron Saint - St. James the Apostle

...was this week - July 25th -- below is a nice write up (heavy on legend)  about St. James and includes a recipe for a well known dish - Coquille St. Jacque - developed in honor of St. James...check it out!

St. James was the son of Zebedee, a Galilean fisherman, and Salome, a pious woman who tended after Christ. He and his younger brother, St. John (Feast Day: December 27), were called as disciples just after Simon Peter and Andrew were called, and Peter, James and John are often mentioned together in Scripture, having been witness to the raising of Jairus's daughter, the Transfiguration, and Christ's Agony in the garden of Gethsemani.

He and his brother must have been quick to anger and zealous as they came to be called "Boanerges" ("Sons of Thunder") -- a nickname given to them by Jesus Himself. After
Our Lord's Ascension, tradition says that St. James's zeal for evangelizing took him to parts of Spain for a time, as St. Paul had wanted to do (Romans 15:24), whereafter he returned to Judea for his martyrdom.

In A.D. 44, Herod Agrippa I, the grandson of Herod the Great who tried to have the infant Jesus killed, set out to do the will of the Jews by dealing harshly with local Christians. St. James was accused, and Herod then "killed James, the brother of John, with the sword." (Acts 12:1-2). Church Historian, Eusebius, tells us that St. James's accuser followed James to martyrdom when he converted after hearing the Saint's confession to Herod.

Here tradition picks up again by telling us that James's relics were translated to Spain (of course, legends grew surrounding the event, one strange and lovely one in particular apparently meant to explain why the cockleshell is St. James's emblem. It is said that when the Saint's relics were being conveyed by ship from Jerusalem and approached the coast of Portugal, a man happened to be riding his horse on the beach. The horse disobediently plunged into the sea, with its rider, making for the boat. They sank, of course, but then rose again, covered with scallop shells, and hence the cockleshell became the symbol of our hero). The relics were entombed and rather forgotten after years of Roman persecution, Vandal and Visigoth invasions, and Muslim attacks -- forgotten, that is, until an early 9th century hermit named Pelayo discovered the tomb -- some say after seeing a star marking the place -- in an area that became known as Compostela, which means "Field of Stars." The King built a cathedral to mark the location (Pelayo's Bishop, Theodomor of Iria, is also buried there, refusing to be buried in his See out of his desire to be near the Saint).

The faithful began to make
pilgrimages to the site -- so much so that Compostela became the third greatest place of pilgrimage, just after Jerusalem and Rome -- and still make the pilgrimage today. After making one of the many routes, known as "the Camino," pilgrims attach cockleshells or their facsimile to their hats or clothes as "pilgrim badges."

At the time of the Muslim ("Moorish") invasions mentioned above, a particular battle took place that was to seal St. James ever more closely to Spain, where he is known as "Sant  Iago."  (Saint James) At the Battle of Clavijo in A.D. 841, the Christians had lost and were in retreat when King Ramirez of Leon had a dream in which the Apostle assured him of victory. He relayed his vision to his men, and the next morning he had his trumpeters sound the call to battle. There, on the field, the men saw St. James on a horse adorned with cockleshells, waving a banner. He led the Christians on to a clear victory, and ever since, the Spanish battle-cry has been "Santiago!"

St. James is the Patron of Spain, equestrians, blacksmiths, tanners, veterinarians. He is usually depicted in art with his symbols -- the cockleshell, pilgrim hat, sword, Sacred Scripture -- or on horeseback, usually trampling a Moor.

For more (including the recipe)  read on...

Here is..."his" Cathedral in Compostela, Spain

Click on image to enlarge it...

Friday, June 17, 2011

Trinity Sunday - Remember to Breathe

A Beautiful Thought about Our Triune God

And that same Father says to each soul in His infinite loving kindness, "Thou art Mine and I am thine: I am thine and thou art Mine, for I have chosen thee from all eternity." … When we unite ourselves to God by love, then we are spirit: but when we are caught up and transformed by His Spirit, then we are led into fruition. And the spirit of God Himself breathes us out from Himself that we may love, and may do good works; and again he draws us into Himself, that we may rest in fruition. And this is Eternal Life; even as our mortal life subsists in the indrawing and outgoing of our breath.

-John of Ruysbroeck c. 1294-1381

De Septem Gradibus Amoris, ch. 14

A Spiral-Shaped God © Jan L. Richardson

Friday, April 29, 2011

Our Annual Brick Church Service.... THIS Sunday - May 1st.  You and yours are warmly invited to join the St. James Santee Parish Episcopal Church Family.  11:00 am, followed by Cover Dish Picinic! 

Scroll down on the right side of this page for directions.

Easter Day 2011

Alleluia!  Alleluia! Alleluia! -
Christ is Risen!
The Lord is Risen Indeed!  Alleluia!  Alleluia Alleluia!

Church was so beautiful and  full, music was uplifting, children scampered to pick up 350 plus Easter eggs and the Lord Jesus was glorified.    Resurrection is Real!   Alleluia!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Holy Week 2011

...began with a glorious Palm-Passion Sunday and will continue with Maundy Thursday at 6:30 pm and Good Friday at noon.  Come, walk the week and keep watch.

Here are some more pictures from the Windy Fire...they are such a strong symbol of the desolation that surely was the Lord's as he hung on the cross...

"For us to wicked hands betrayed, scourged mocked, in purple robe arrayed, he bore the shameful cross and death; for us gave up his dying breath."  (O Love, how deep, how broad, how high - Hymnal 1982 - 449)

Click on the pictures to enlarge them

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Controlled Burning

Last week a good sized fire named "The Windy Fire"  came calling in the vicinity of Brick Church, Old Georgetown Rd, Rutledge Road and the South Santee area.  We are thankful to God that there were no injuries or loss of life.  The fire consumed about 2,600 acres of timber by the time it was done.  It started on Wednesday, the 23rd and  I noted one or two spots still smouldering when I rode out there on Sunday.  It was considered 95% contained by late Friday.
What an anxious time.  I sat by the radio scanner listening to the various firetrucks and divisions all working together in a pretty wonderfully coordinated way.  Ben Chapman told me that there were two fire truck stationed at Brick Church and apparently they were staged all around to protect some our other historic properties - Hampton Plantation, Harrietta,  the Wedge, and Fairfield on the South Santee side. 
By Sunday, we realized just how close the fire had come to Brick Church and to the Wambaw tract.  The fire burned right up to the northeast corner of the Wambaw tract.  Firefighters and the forestry folks are convinced that it did not go further because of the controlled burning we've been doing (well, the Nature Conservancy) over the past two years.  Also, the firefighters were using back burning to block areas as well as firebreaks.  Fighting fire with fire is a common expression but I understand it better now.  The controlled burning took out what would have been fuel for a big fire and cleared out the undergrowth so the long leaf pines could stretch out and have room to thrive.  Some of the area (the Peachtree tract) is absolutely burnt to cinders and is so damaged that it will not be able to come back.  A good bit of the rest of the forest looks as if it will be able to make a comeback - although it looks pretty fire darkened now.   I suspect there are more than a few sermons in this all too real happening, but the thing that strikes me right away is the lesson in controlled burning.  Perhaps, just perhaps, God can use the difficult times in our lives as a kind of controlled burning -- the undergrowth burns up so that our spirits can have room to grow and flourish.  I don't know.  It is certainly difficult to think this way when one is in the middle of adversity and it is only in retrospect that we can see.  I like something St. Paul had to say about suffering  (Romans 5). He writes, "We boast in our suffering..."  Eugene Peterson puts it this way  "We continue to shout our praise even when we are hemmed in with trouble." (The Message)...the NRSV continues...knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope , and hope does not disappoint us..."..So, Paul says when the controlled burning, when the back burning starts, praise God for what it will bring.    All in all , I think I'd rather go through a fire having had controlled burning  overseen by the Almighty ahead of time, so that when the big and really dangerous one shows up, I have some degree of protection.  I'd like for you to have that too.   Blessings,  Jennie

Photo by Tom McGree

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Ash Wednesday 2011 - Come Back To Me

        Ash Wednesday is come again.  Thank God. 
       The Lord says through Joel,  "Return to Me."  St. Paul says, "I BEG you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God."  I think he would prefer that be put in all caps. BE RECONCILED TO GOD!  In email and internet parlance, all caps is the equivalent of shouting. 
         I want to ask you just what does one DO with all of this kind of talk?  What if I (or you or we) were not even aware in the least that we have need of such thing?  Well, then, that might be a problem  and which is precisely why Joel is talking about blowing trumpets (wake up call) and why the Ash Wednesday Collect says, drawing from Psalm 51, "Create and make in us new and contrite hearts."  It is just when we start to think - "I don't need this stuff : God and I are just fine" that we are in the most difficulty.  We are in quicksand and don't even realize that we have fallen.  The simple truth is just what John says - All have sinned and fallen short....When our hearts are softened toward God, we realize just how much we fall short.  I did it at 4:00 this afternoon, Lord, help me. It wasn't huge in the big scale of things, but it was one of those little stumbles that lets you know - "O wait a minute...that wasn't exactly right."  So, we do need to return and we do need to be reconciled.  If you don't have a sense of your need for this--then ask God for that new and contrite heart.  He will give it to you, and it will be as tender as the skin of a newborn baby.  And, that will be something worth having.  May God bless you this Lent.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Morning Prayer

by our resident poet, William Baldwin

Add 'em up

Odds and ends

Equating to oblivion.

Oceans rise,

Planets spin

Light goes straight

Then it bends.

Christ, the Master,

Hear this prayer.

Make our day

A world contained

By Vital Love

And Care.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Woke up this Morning

With this tune going through my head.  It's the very beautiful setting of the Twenty-Third Psalm by Howard Goodall.  Below is a video of the music with images of the English countryside.
I was unsure just why this was my morning feast, but then, arrived at school and began my first class (2nd grade this morning).  Our topic of the week is the story of Gideon - the unlikely hero.  Yesterday I created a handout using the acronym FROG (Fully Rely on God).  I told the story and then had the children color the sheet - which had a picture of a frog on it along with the bible verse - "The Lord is my helper.  I will not be afraid." - Heb. 13.6 .  I found myself wishing for some beautiful music they could color to...and there it was.  Perhaps I also needed music for coloring...  or  Whatever the reason, here it is.. Enjoy.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!

May God bless you  in 2011!

Here is a great way to begin the New Year!  Check out this beautiful setting of Ps. 117 by Mozart.

Hat tip Anglican Curmudgeon

Here is the text:


Laudate Dominum omnes gentes; laudate eum, omnes populi.
Quoniam confirmata est super nos misericordia ejus, et veritas
Domini manet in aeternum.

Gloria Patri et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto. Sicut erat in principio,
et nunc et semper, et in saecula seculorum. Amen

Here is our prayerbook translation:

Praise the LORD, all you nations;
laud him, all you peoples.

For his loving-kindness toward us is great,
and the faithfulness of the LORD endures for ever. Hallelujah!

Wiener Konzerthaus, 13.12.2008
Soprano: Genia Kühmeier
Choir: Wiener Sängerknaben & Chorus Viennensis

Wiener Symphoniker
directed by Karel Mark Chichon