Monday, October 29, 2007

It's Official!!!

Today the Standing Committee of the Diocese of SC announced that we have received the required number of consents to proceed with the consecration of The Very Rev. Mark J. Lawrence as the Fourteenth Bishop of SC. WooHoo!!! Bishop Salmon asked us to ring church bells at noon. These bells are from Jerusalem and will just have to do!

The Consecration Date is set for January 26th. Here is a link to a story from the Epsicopal News Service

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

About You Tube

Many of you know that I am genuinely thankful to be living in the age of the Internet. It is a cross between the greatest library in the world, the biggest shopping mall, and the worst that humankind can devise. It is both blessing and curse.
One of the most interesting phenomena of the world wide web is You Tube. Andy Warhol said it best, "In the future, everyone will be famous for fifteen minutes." You Tube is a fulfillment of that prophecy. Anyone with a video camera can upload footage of themselves or of anything else that crosses his or her mind. As you can imagine, there is some wretched stuff there so one has to exercise a measure of caution. On the other hand, some absolutely inspiring pieces are posted. Here is one I have particularly enjoyed.

Some great Mom advice from Anita Renfroe set to the William Tell Overture.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The Samaritan Again

The Gospel Reading for October 14th is Luke 17:11-19 - What strikes you ?

11On the way to Jerusalem Jesus was going through the region between Samaria and Galilee. 12As he entered a village, ten lepers approached him. Keeping their distance, 13they called out, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” 14When he saw them, he said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were made clean. 15Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice. 16He prostrated himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him. And he was a Samaritan. 17Then Jesus asked, “Were not ten made clean? But the other nine, where are they? 18Was none of them found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” 19Then he said to him, “Get up and go on your way; your faith has made you well.”

The art is from the JesusMafa project at

Thursday, October 4, 2007

St. Francis of Assisi, Friar and Renewer of the Church

(Art by Jean Fitzgerald of Mulberry, FL)

On this day we remember one of the most beloved saints of Christendom - St. Francis of Assisi. Born in Umbria, Italy in 1182, he died on October 4, 1226 in a little hut attended by a few of his closest followers. His last act was the singing of Psalm 142 (see below). In two years' time after his death, he was recognized formally as a saint, and it has often been said of him that he is "the one saint whom all suceeding generations have agreed in canonizing." His humility, generosity, love of nature, simple and unaffected devotion to God have combined to make him one of the most cherished of all saints."

It is his love of nature that continues to resonate with many early 21st century folk - especially his love for animals. Many churches remember St. Francis with a Blessing of the Animals service (as we do). It is easy to imagine how St. Francis could be captured by the beauty of the creation growing up as he did in Umbria. Here is a contemporary picture ...double click for a larger version.

I am especially reminded today of another Francis - Francis Kline, abbot of Mepkin Abbey, who died this past year. Abbott Francis understood environmental advocacy as part of his call to stewardship of the creation, and, especially so when the government threatened to put an interstate highway right through the fragile and lovely ecosystem of the Cooper River area where Mepkin is located.

It would be quite possible for contemporary environmental advocates to claim St. Francis of Assisi as their patron. One of our members, David Stoney, has become very involved in the issue of global warming. This past week he visited Washington, DC as part of a lobbying effort sponsored by the National Wildflife Federation. Here is the link for the UTube piece about it (David appears several times!)

As St. Francis neared the end of his life, he suffered blindness and serious illness. Yet, even this was redemptive as his greatest desire was to find perfect joy through experiencing the suffering of his Lord.

Psalm 142 - Voce mea ad Dominum

I cry to the LORD with my voice; * to the LORD I make loud supplication.
I pour out my complaint before him * and tell him all my trouble.
When my spirit languishes within me, you know my path; * in the way wherein I walk they have hidden a trap for me.
I look to my right hand and find no one who knows me; * I have no place to flee to, and no one cares for me.
I cry out to you, O LORD; * I say, "You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living."
Listen to my cry for help, for I have been brought very low; * save me from those who pursue me, for they are too strong for me.
Bring me out of prison, that I may give thanks to your Name; * when you have dealt bountifully with me, the righteous will gather around me.

On Oct 4th of 1226, St. Francis was brought out of prison and entered the company of the glorious saints in light. May we follow his example and give thanks for his life.