Volume 27, March 2021
From the Rector
The Bishop’s Institute for Ministry and Leadership was established in 2015 in the Episcopal Diocese of Florida to provide opportunities to develop lay and clergy leadership in the Diocese; to prepare candidates for ordination to the vocational diaconate and the local priesthood; to prepare candidates for licensed lay ministries and to be a focus for the continuing education for laity and clergy alike.
‘Sir, we wish to see Jesus’
 
This year the Gospel for the 5th Sunday in Lent (what used to be called Passion Sunday as the Sunday next before Palm Sunday) was taken from John, chapter 12 and contains the record of a group of Greeks who approach the disciples with the request, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus”. We are not told the specific reason for their request--- whether it came from idle curiosity or from some deeper desire for truth. But we do know the desire or feeling itself: “Sir, we wish to see Jesus”.
 
As Easter approaches every year, I am drawn to reflect on my most fundamental longing: to know with assurance the reality of God, and that I come from Him, I am sustained in Him, and when I die, I will go to Him.
 
In the meantime, my heart and imagination vacillate between two poles: doubt and hope.
 
Doubt may speak in the voice of the unbeliever:
 
Our life is short and tedious, and in the death of a man there is no remedy; neither was there any man known to have returned from the grave. For we were born at all adventure, and we shall be hereafter as though we had never been; for the breath in our nostrils is as smoke, and a little spark in the moving of our hearts, which being extinguished, our bodies shall be turned into ashes, and our spirit shall vanish as the soft air, and our name shall be forgotten in time...
 
(Wisdom of Solomon 11.1-6.)
 
Hope may speak in the voice of the believer:
 
But the souls of the righteous are in the hand of God, and there shall no torment touch them. In the sight of fools they seem to die; and their departure is taken for misery, and their going from us to be utter destruction; but they are in peace.
 
...And having been a little chastised, they shall be greatly rewarded: for God proved them, and found them worthy for himself. As gold in the furnace hath he proved them, and received them as a burnt offering. And in the time of their visitation they shall shine, and run to and fro like sparks among the stubble. . . And the Lord shall reign over them for ever. They that put their trust in him shall understand the truth: and such as be faithful shall abide with him in love: for grace and mercy are to his saints, and he hath care for his elect.
 
(Wisdom of Solomon 3.1-9.)
 
This Easter I am banking on the voice of the believer. And I am holding on to the expectation of heaven, as so aptly expressed in the hope of heaven expressed by William Temple:
 
There is nothing in the world of which I feel so certain. I have no idea what it will be like, and I am glad that I have not, as I am sure it would be wrong. I do not want it for myself as mere continuance, but I want it for my understanding of life. And moreover ‘God is love’ appears to me nonsense in view of the world He has made, if there is no other.
 
I write wishing you every blessing this Passiontide and Holy Week and blessed Easter Day.
 
Yours sincerely,
 
Douglas Dupree
 
    Our Last Awakening
Bring us, O Lord God, at our last awakening into the house and gate of heaven, to enter into that gate and dwell in that house, where there shall be no darkness nor dazzling, but one equal light; no noise nor silence, but one equal music; no fears nor hopes, but one equal possession; no ends nor beginnings, but one equal eternity: in the habitations of thy majesty and glory, world without end. Amen.
 
John Donne (1571-1631)

A WORK IN PROGRESS

The 11-month 2021 Licensed Lay Ministry (LLM) course in Pastoral Care sponsored by the Bishop’s Institute met for the second time Saturday, March 20th at St John’s Cathedral. The participants meet together for teaching and practicums the third Saturday of every month. There are 18 enrolled from churches across the Diocese from as far west as Cedar Key, Mayo and Madison and as far south of Jacksonville as the Diocese goes on the east coast. The Director of the course is Laura Magevney (seen in the photo below with Fr Michael Ellis from St Francis in the Fields, Ponte Vedra who taught the March meeting. A number of the participants are in discernment for ordained ministry. We are grateful to the Cathedral for their hospitality as their spacious parish hall allows the course to observe proper safety protocols in regard to the Pandemic.
"Living His Story" Book Review
A book review by
the Rev. Canon Jerry Smith, Rector of Holy Comforter Episcopal Church, Tallahassee

LIVING HIS STORY (Paperback, SPCK, 2021) by Hannah Steele

In the unfolding story of God we witness the ruthless love of the Father calling us back to relationship with Himself. From immediately after the expulsion from the garden (read intimacy with the Creator), God’s initiative has been to see us back enjoying this same healthy, fulfilling bond.
 
Of course, we understand that Christ came to make the otherwise impossible, possible. His announcement that “the Kingdom of God has come near” is clearly the ultimate act of God reaching out and making, what we lost due to sin, now attainable. Forgiveness and reconciliation with the Creator, the ultimate goal of God, is now ours in Christ!
 
But the story of God didn’t end with the resurrection of Jesus, nor did it end in the last chapter of the Acts of the Apostles.
 
We recognize that God is still at work calling creation back to Himself and the church’s primary task is to be the hands and mouth of God, completing this task.
 
The church is the story of God today and Hannah Steele’s book, Living His Story is a fresh take on how we are to be partnering with God making the story clear to a new generation.
 
The Archbishop of Canterbury has challenged the church to study this book together this Lenten season to help us understand that the implications of this task.
 
…(God) has given us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us (the church). So we are ambassadors for Christ since is making his appeal through us.” (2 Cor 5:19,20)
Steele has made this mission understandable and breaks down the nature of the story of Jesus in a way that is accessible for most of us.
 
If we find the idea of evangelism off-putting, Steele makes it as simple and implies that our lives can be as much a part of the story of God as those of the biblical icons.
 
God is in the transformation business and our friends and colleagues want to know how our lives have changed since becoming part of the ongoing story of God.
 
For those interested in using this book as a parish study there are extra materials including free summary videos and discussion questions available online.

Saint days in March: THOMAS CRANMER,
Archbishop of Canterbury
 
March 21
Thomas Cranmer (1489-1556) is well known to Episcopalians as the father of our Prayer Book. Under the Protestant Edward VI he compiled the First and Second Book of Common Prayer in 1549 and 1552. Under the Catholic Mary Tutor he was tried for heresy and burned at the stake in 1556. As part of the Elizabethan Settlement under Elizabeth I his Prayer Book (revised in 1662) became one of the foundations of the Church of England. Our Episcopal Church commemorates him on the day of his martyrdom, March 21.
 
I was very moved by a brief (only three pages) article about Cranmer by one of my favorite church writers, the author and journalist priest Adrian Leak. In his latest collection of short articles, The Golden Calves of Jeroboam and Other Reflections, Father Leak includes a delightful and tender pen portrait of Archbishop Cranmer. I admire what Leak has done here. In giving us a glimpse into the compassionate heart of the private man Cranmer, he is able to illuminate some of the finer and most memorable lines Cranmer composed in the Prayer Book.
 
Leak’s portrait turns upside down some of the contemporary caricatures of Cranmer (and of his liturgy). He reminds us this of Cranmer, in the words of one of the Archbishop’s contemporaries, Ralph Morice:
 
He was a man of such temperature of nature . . . that no manner of prosperity or adversity could alter or change his accustomed conditions. To the face of the world his countenance, never altered. Notwithstanding privately with his secret and special friends he would shed forth many bitter tears, lamenting the misery and calamities of the world.
 
Cranmer was, Leak writes: ‘a private man; not a born leader, nor a natural martyr’. To which he adds, ‘But we would be quite wrong to think that he lacked passion. He married twice and on each occasion impetuously, risking his career’. Diarmaid MacCulloch, our contemporary church historian, wrote (Thomas Cranmer, 1996), he ‘was clearly the marrying kind’.
 
Cranmer’s first love was Joan, and in wedding her, he lost his Fellowship at Jesus College, Cambridge. She died young in childbirth. Some dozen years later, during the time Henry VIII had appointed Cranmer ambassador to the Emperor Charles V, he fell in love with Margarete, niece by marriage of the Lutheran reformer Andreas Osiander. Cranmer’s clerical vow of celibacy meant his marriage to Margarete must be kept secret. All the same, his marriage to her lasted until his death twenty-four years later.
 
As a liturgist, Cranmer’s genius, Leak tells us, ‘lay in his deft use of existing texts’—those of Catholic revisionists like Francisco de Quinones as well as the leading Lutheran reformers. There is very little in the earlier Prayer Books of our church which does not take its source in the pre-Reformation breviary, missal and primers. Cranmer would have learned from all of these liturgical sources as a young priest and they would have continued to influence him his whole life.
 
Leak tells us Cranmer had ‘a gentle touch, often softening and enriching the terse diction of the Latin liturgy’. This is illustrated in many of the collects he translated from the Latin into English. Leak draws our attention to Cranmer’s translation of the Collect (traditionally for the Fourth Sunday after Easter) for the Fifth Sunday in Lent in the Prayer Book, 1979. In substitution for the rather stark Latin opening; ‘Deus, qui fidelium mentes unius efficis voluntatis’ (‘O God, You who make the minds of the faithful to be of one will’) Cranmer offers the gracious: ‘O Almighty God, who alone canst order the unruly wills and affections of sinful men’.
 
To the ancient marriage vow, cast in the language of a binding contract, ‘to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health,’ Leak reminds us that Cranmer added the phrase ‘to love and to cherish’, offering the couple a much more delightful prospect than a bare quid pro quo. Cranmer also included in the marriage service a reference to ‘the mutual society, help and comfort that the one ought to have of the other’. Leak writes: ‘No doubt he was thinking about his own marriage to Margarete’.
 
Leak ends by stating that Cranmer’s trial and imprisonment broke his spirit. He recanted his beliefs and signed papers submitting to the Papacy. Then, appalled at his action, he withdrew his recantation: ‘In the end this elderly man, too complex to be a martyr, too honest to be a coward, was hurried through the streets of Oxford to die a horrible and heroic death’.
 
Adrian Leak’s The Golden Calves of Jeroboam and Other Reflections, (2020, The Book Guild Ltd) can be ordered via Amazon or courtesy of one of the fine church bookstores in our Diocese.
MARCH QUIZ
This month’s column features, as our guest, the new Archdeacon of our Diocese, the Ven. Mark Richardson. Mark succeeds the Ven. Jeanie Beyer as Archdeacon on her retirement this month.
 
Since his ordination to the diaconate in June, 2017, Mark has served on the staff of All Saints’ Episcopal Church, Jacksonville. All Saints’ will continue as his home base as he travels with the Bishop and in his work throughout the Diocese with our deacons. Mark is married to Diane and they have two grown children Amanda Repper and Jacob Richardson. Mark’s sister is the Rev. Celeste Tisdelle, former Rector of St. Mary’s Church, Green Cove Springs.
 
Allison +
 
QUIZ QUESTIONS
 
The Archdeacon has set us questions concerning the origin of Deacons as this order of ministry emerged in the New Testament period. Don’t worry if you can’t answer all or any of them -- use the questions to whet your appetite to learn more about deacons.
 
  1. Where is the earliest reference to deacons in the New Testament?
  2. So, who were these deacons Paul refers to and where did they come from?
  3. Were these early church leaders called deacons?
  4. Did the New Testament diaconate contain both men and women?
 
The Ven. Mark Richardson, Archdeacon
AN INTERVIEW WITH THE REV. DR. JON DAVIS,
Vicar of Christ Church, Cedar Key
This is the second of a two- part interview with Dr Jon Davis of Cedar Key. Dr Davis comes to our Diocese bringing with him the experience of working towards the renewal of the Canterbury Conference Center for the Diocese of Central Florida.

Dr Davis has been involved also with a Christian organization called Fresh Expressions. The second part of this interview explores his work with Fresh Expressions.
Fresh Expressions describes itself as “an international movement cultivating new kinds of church alongside existing congregations to more effectively engage with post-Christian society. Begun in 2004 in the UK, the movement has resulted in scores of new communities of faith and has brought renewal to established churches. Fresh Expressions has spread to nearly a dozen countries around the world. In 2012, the movement began taking shape in the US. Today, we work with nearly 70 denominational partners across the church in both the US and Canada.”
Jon, you are involved in Fresh Expressions at the national level. Would you tell us about Fresh Expressions and what some of its offerings might be of interest and assistance to clergy and lay leaders in the Diocese of Florida?
 
In 2017 I was restless and sensed I was to do something different. The obvious thing for a priest to do it to get back to serving in a church. This did not happen and in the end of 2017 my heart began to be pulled toward Fresh Expressions. I entered this ministry as a domestic missionary raising my own support and still do that today. I left Canterbury in May of 2018 and started one of the most exciting seasons of ministry I have ever known.
 
Fresh Expressions began in the Church of England some 20 years ago. After decades of decline churches began to experiment with models of church done differently – that is Fresh Expressions of church. Fresh Expressions is about planting churches for people who do not go to church. To be present where they live, work, recreate and more as a missional community doing life together. It looks a lot like what Jesus did in the Gospels and what we see in the Book of Acts. It is highly relational and entrepreneurial. Learn more at: https://freshexpressionsus.org/
 
To bring it into a common thread of my life Fresh Expressions is about entering Third Places of Culture and seeing them become Thin Places of encounter. Third places come after home and work. Starbucks for years had a marketing strategy to become THE third place in people’s lives; Home, Work, Starbucks.  Third places can be health clubs, coffee shops and restaurants, dog parks etc. wherever people gather for whatever reason. The mission is to enter these places authentically as people of faith and by prayer see them become a place where people can encounter Almighty God and ultimately to see a faith community form.
 
Tod Bolsinger who has become a good friend wrote a book a few years ago called Canoeing the Mountains and in it he takes a cue on adaptive leadership from Lewis and Clark. Lewis and Clark and the Corp of Discovery launch from St. Louis with two mission objectives: explore the Louisiana Purchase; find a waterway to the Pacific. After about 10 months or so they find themselves in what is now Eastern Montana and the Missouri River has dried up, looking west they see the snow-capped Rockies. They had a choice; turn around and go back failing at their mission or adapt to the uncharted landscape. They chose to adapt and stopped being river rafters and became mountain climbers. They ended up being successful making their way to the Oregon coast.
 
The application for the church?  What has carried us to where we are in the culture will carry us no further, we’ve run out of water and must adapt to the changing landscape of a Post- Christendom 21st century. The mission objective is the same but these days call for new and innovative strategies.  After 50 years of numerical decline we need to adjust the mission of the church to the context we find ourselves in, especially in a pandemic and hopefully soon a post-pandemic world.
 
I believe Fresh Expressions is the needed medicine for what ails the church. It provides an opportunity to recapture the authentic mission Jesus called us to in being the church in the culture 24/7. I like this analogy… Think of Music. Most people love some form or multiple forms of music. I began my music collection with vinyl albums. I graduated to some 8-Tracks, then to Cassettes, to CD’s, to Mp3’s and now to streaming. My love for music has not changed but the way I access music has changed dramatically over the decades. In the same way I believe people have a spiritual hunger. When there is a crisis or simply when they get quiet enough, they feel it. The thing is most people will not look to the traditional church for spiritual answers, they are looking for other means of access. At least 60% (some project as much as 80%) of our population are termed as NONE’s and DONE’s; that is None’s who have never had any interaction with the church and possibly any concept of faith and ‘Dones’ who got bored, wounded or angry and walked away from the church. The majority of people will look everywhere but the church to meet their spiritual hunger.

ABSALOM JONES DAY PANEL
A recording was made of the March 13 Panel Discussion in honor of Absalom Jones sponsored by the Sidney B. Parker Chapter of the Union of Black Episcopalians. 

Please click here to view the event.