This dynamic photo of the roof and stained glass windows
was taken during the Verger's Conference, September 2015, by John D Moore.
NEWS FROM ST JOHN'S
January 16, 2017
Notes from the Dean
NOT A STRATEGY--A WAY OF LIFE
One of the differences between the Church and the State is that the state tends to honor its greatest citizens on the day they were born, while the Church honors its greatest people on the day they died. Jesus, of course gets it both ways, which seems only right. Because I consider Martin Luther King Jr. to be one of the great people of Christian history, my tendency is to want to honor him on April 4th, rather than today, but in accordance with the adage "when in Rome, do as the Romans," I will reflect on his legacy just now.
We have long since learned that King was a fallible human being and I have no wish to make him more than that. But it is important to notice that his vision was much larger than many people imagine.
He is identified as the great crusader for equal rights for black people in 20th century America; certainly he was that, but he was much more than that.
His commitment to non-violence was not simply tactical, though he once called it that. More deeply, it was theological. He believed in the equality and humanity of all people before God, and therefore he understood, as some others in the equal rights movement did not, that violence against a racist white person was just as much violence against a child of God as was violence against a black person. King carried this conviction to its remarkable extreme.
At one point, in a statement seared into my memory, even though I have lost the speech in which he said it, King declared that the white people of the Jim Crow south--in this case I believe it was specifically Bull Connor--could do whatever they wanted, beatings, dogs, firehoses, and so forth, but no matter what they did, King declared,
"We will not stop loving you." That is not a strategy, that is a perspective, that is a way of life, that is the very voice of Jesus.
I do not know of another civil rights leader who said that, much less believed it, and it is that very perspective that led me then, and continues to convince me today, that King was the true representative of the Spirit of the Risen Christ in the movement for human rights for all, as that moment was manifested in the fifties and sixties.
It was also the perspective that made him widely misunderstood both by the advocates of segregation as well as by the advocates of civil rights, especially those who believed in achieving the goal through "any means necessary."
In a world that, then as now, routinely dehumanizes enemies, and so justifies all sorts of oppression and even violence, King stands to this very day, as one great exemplar of a different way. King dehumanized no one; truly he recognized "the dignity of every human being," and he proved that a movement that sought reconciliation and not revenge, equal rights not preferential treatment, could make progress.
Clearly we have not reached the end of the road King walked; equality for all in this country remains a vision, or to use his term, a "dream," that has yet to be fulfilled. We will never fulfill that dream until we have first been converted, as King was converted, to a life in which we truly do "love our neighbor as ourselves," and realize in the bargain that our neighbor is everyone, not just those we like. The Spirit of Christ, which is the Spirit of God, led King on his way and, as sometimes happens, it led him to an early death.
May that same spirit lead us on our way, so that in the fullness of time it is not just "we" who shall overcome, but God.
Notes from the Deacon's Desk
DISCIPLINE, WITH HOPE & FAITH
For individuals within the Church who are studying for holy orders including me, we are canonically required to report to the local diocesan bishop four times during the year. These reports, called Ember Letters, are generally written, though personal meetings are authorized. These communications must include reflection on one's academic experience as well as personal and spiritual development. I recently submitted my letter to Bishop Waggoner and going forward, will submit them to Bishop-Elect Rehberg. I bring this topic up, not so much to provide you an update on my journey, as to offer some insights I've gleaned while reflecting and writing, along with suggestions I hope you will find of value.
A week ago Sunday we celebrated a baptism during which we collectively recited the Baptismal Covenant. One of the questions asked of us is "Will you continue in the apostles' teaching and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in the prayers?" to which we all dutifully replied "I will." From the liturgy for the Ordination of a Deacon, Bishop Waggoner asked me "Will you be faithful in prayer, and in the reading and study of the Holy Scriptures?" again to which I responded, "I will." Whether lay or ordained, we, the collective Body of Christ, are all called by our baptism to be engaged with the study of scripture, to pray and worship. We do this as both a gathered community and individually.
Truth-be-told, I haven't done a very good job
of study and deep, intentional prayer
, certainly not on a consistent basis. I'm not even sure how well I've really worshiped. My guess is that I'm not alone and that most of us would love to be more disciplined in our daily time with God through study and prayer. We intellectually know we'd be better off but we just don't commit to the process, the discipline of carving out holy time in our daily schedules. That said, with the beauty of each new sunrise, I get, we get, the opportunity to start again. Yesterday's failure becomes tomorrow's opportunity. This became a reality for me when I unexpectedly, and quite embarrassingly, lost my job 16 months ago. The work I needed to do on my physique and my soul required that I re-prioritize my life with a foundation of daily engaging with God through study, prayer and worship.
If you are not in the habit of daily time spent in study and prayer, I'd encourage you to begin with the Daily Office Lectionary. It's in the Book of Common Prayer, beginning on page 934. This has been a great resource for me. I usually spend about 30 minutes every morning reading and thinking on that day's set of readings. I follow this by reading a brief response to that day's readings through an email I receive from The Living Church. This is followed by prayer using the outline we use each week for the Prayers of the People (for the Church, nation, welfare of the world, concerns of the local community, for those suffering and for the departed). This practice has really grounded me in ways I had not
experienced. It has allowed me to think intentionally about both individuals and issues. It's allowed me time with God to ask questions and to sit and listen. It helps to free my mind of "stuff" so I can engage the rest of the day with a good attitude and energy.
Another practice I've just started is journaling. I never considered undertaking this discipline because I was unwilling to take the time to start it. What I've experienced so far is that the practice of daily reflection and writing, even if it's just a few words or a paragraph or two, has slowed me down. It has allowed me the time to reflect on my experiences during the day. It creates the opportunity for introspection and honest feedback because I'm free to be myself. I look forward to see how this practice shapes my thoughts and actions in the future.
Finally, read. We are blessed with some excellent resources in the Cathedral's Book Store. Karen Byrne and her group of fantastic volunteers can help with any questions about their inventory.
God only knows whether I'll ever be sufficiently formed as a priest, but these daily and consistent practices are shaping a new way of me understanding myself and my relationship with God and his people. I invite you to join me on this amazing journey.
The latest from the Cathedral Bookstore
INCLUSION, MERCY & HONESTY
Just as I was thinking of what beginning my "Happy New Year" might mean, I was also beginning to be absorbed by the series of daily meditations offered right now by Richard Rohr, on line. My year was stopped and re-started just in time as Rohr pointed out on January 10th: "Jesus consistently ignored or even denied exclusionary, punitive, and triumphalistic texts in his own inspired Hebrew Bible in favor of passages that emphasized inclusion, mercy and honesty."
In favor of ...inclusion, mercy, and honesty! We don't have to say anything in this unbelievable time in our nation's history as we confront the challenges of hunger, poverty, violence, and loss of hope. Or so it seems. At a time when we look at all the challenges you may want to name, here are three superb books that together bring us a huge lift in hope and direction, just when we think it is being taken away. These three books will soon all be on the shelves of the Cathedral bookstore.
Souls in the Hands of a Tender God : Stories of the Search for Home and Healing on the Streets by Craig Rennebohm. Never have I read such beautifully rendered true stories wrapped up in God's hand in healing and wholeness. Rennebohm is a Seattle minister who gave at least three days every week walking with the homeless. He says,
"To be human is not simply to find a life alone with God, but to be born in relationship with others.... [It is] in companionship the Spirit moves to support the healing and growth of the soul. Companionship is not a task or assignment. It is a calling rooted in our common humanity...."
Here in this book was the model of inclusion and mercy in a way I could never have defined and understood apart from Rennebohm's book.
Turning to One Another : Simple Conversations to Restore Hope to the Future by Margaret J. Wheatley. This book is artistically assembled with questions and discussion topics--a great book to share with 4 or 5 friends as the questions have great strength and simplicity, and are backed with thoughts and inspiration in short form. It is about "the power of conversation and how it may revive our hope and commitment to work for the changes we want to see in our world." Advice from the author: "There is no power greater than a community discovering what it cares about....Ask "What's possible?" not "What's wrong?" "Keep asking." "Rely on human goodness. Stay together!"
Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson
Here I will simply quote from the back cover of this non-fiction book:
"From one of the most brilliant and influential lawyers of our time comes an unforgettable true story about the redeeming potential of mercy." A New York Times bestseller (I know, there are lots of them.) Ted Conover of the New York Times writes, "...The message of this book...is that evil can be overcome, a difference can be made."
All these are on order at our bookstore, so watch for their arrival. I propose that the linkage of having read all three will be superb as we head into this new year and want a renewed sense of hope and growth rooted in Christian mercy, and inclusion.
And for your prayer life, I am excited by having seen the beautiful new rosaries in the shop made by Judith Lebens. (Many of you know--Paul Lebens-Englund's mother.) To go with it, you should ask for the wonderful little paper booklet of instruction on use of the Anglican rosary put together by our St. John's youth.
REEL THEOLOGY IS BACK!
Four evenings offering the luxury of watching a movie with friends, talking about it afterwards in complete sentences, gathering up the kids and getting home before 9:00pm. Plus free pizza!
6:00pm-Film screening, followed by discussion.
Free child care.
January 25: The Namesake (PG -13) The story of the Ganguli family whose move from Calcutta to New York evokes a lifelong balancing act to meld to a new world without forgetting the old.
February 1: 13th (TV-MA) A 2016 American documentary by director Ava DuVernay. Centered on race in the United States criminal justice system, the film is titled after the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution that outlawed slavery.
February 8: Dear White People (R) A social satire that follows the stories of four black students at an Ivy League college where controversy breaks out over a popular but offensive black-face party thrown by white students.
February 15: Zootopia (PG) From the largest elephant to the smallest shrew, the city of Zootopia is a mammal metropolis where various animals live and thrive.
See you at the movies!
O Lord our Governor, whose glory is in all the world:
commend this nation to your merciful care, that,
by your Providence, we may dwell secure in your peace.
to the President of the United States,
the Governor of this
and to all in authority, wisdom
to know and to do your will. Fill them with the
love of truth and righteousness, and make them ever mindful
of their calling to serve this people in your fear;
Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the
one God, world without end. Amen.
RENAISSANCE MUSIC FOR KIDS
How often can you invite all Spokane's kids (with their pet adults) to the Cathedral for an hour of renaissance music complete with costumes?
Our own Music Department led by Dr Tim Westerhaus on the harpsichord joins with public radio, KPBX Kids' Concert, on
Saturday, January 28 at 1:00pm to spend an hour with Kings & Queens--Renaissance Music for Court and Chapel.
The Cathedral Kantorei Choir will sing sacred music originally composed in the 16th century
for England's Chapel Royal of Queens Mary and Elizabeth, linking musical beauty
religious turbulence. Romance in the Royal Court features Paul Grove playing the lute as well as period instruments, and sung madrigals capture courtly jesting and teasing.
The performance will also feature our resident carillonneur, Byrl Cinnamon.
It's free, it's framed for kids, so find yourself someone under, say, 99, and join us for a
fabulous hour of color and beauty.
On Sunday, January 29, St John's Cathedral will hold its Annual Meeting following the 10:30am service. St. Monica's Guild will provide a tasty brunch. Cathedral leadership will give an overview of the past year, together with the framework for 2017 activities. Chapter has worked hard during the past months to provide a thoughtful budget for congregational approval. Those present will elect delegates to the October 2017 Diocesan Convention as well as four persons for three-year terms to Chapter. The Annual Reports from Finance, Trust & Endowment, guilds, standing committees and staff will be presented. Most of the Annual Reports will be available a week prior to the meeting.
Candidates for four Chapter vacancies include.
- Nina Beegle
- Karen Byrne
- Katherine Karr-Cornejo
- Pia Longinotti
- Gretchen Ramey
- Elizabeth Rosenzweig
Their biographical statements appear in the January 2017 issue of Chimes and are posted on the bulletin board outside the Great Hall
High chairs and booster seats for the Brunch are available in the Great Hall. Nursery care will be provided until the meeting adjourns.
- January 22 Meet the Candidates for Chapter. Adult Forum. 9:15am. Great Hall
- January 22 Baby shower following the 10:30am service for our Curate, Nic and Krista Mather
- January 25 Reel Theology: The Namesake (PG -13)
January 28: Renaissance Kid's Concert. Cathedral Nave 1:00pm. Free.
January 29: Annual Meeting Great Hall following 10:30am service.
February 1: Reel Theology: 13th (TV-MA)
February 8: Reel Theology: Dear White People (R)
- February 15: Reel Theology: Zootopia (PG)
The February issue will be published on February 13, the second Monday of the month. Articles or announcements are invited. Please send copy by the previous Thursday