Volume 40, April 2022
From the Rector
‘For I know that my redeemer liveth’
Job 19.25
 
During Eastertide I am reminded of the story of the testimony of a man who, as a teenager, was an avowed atheist, who had an encounter with the resurrected one in a living way. This proved to be the decisive factor in his journey of faith.
 
The teenager was a Russian émigré living in Paris where his family settled after the Russian Revolution. He attended a youth club with other Russians in Paris. The youth leader, one Lent, told him he had invited a priest to speak to the club but he was afraid attendance would be low, and wanted him to please attend. The teenager reacted angrily, saying he did not believe in God and had no need nor respect for the Church. “Come anyway,” the youth leader said. “You don’t have to take in what the priest says, just fill a seat for me”. The young man dutifully agreed and sat and listened to the priest. As he listened, he developed a vision of Christ and Christianity that became more and more repulsive to him as the priest spoke.
 
When the lecture was over, the young man ran home and grabbed a Bible to see if the Gospels would support the monstrous impression of what the priest was saying. As he did not expect anything from the Gospels, he chose St Mark’s Gospel—the shortest—as the least to endure. I will let him tell the rest of his story:
 
While I was reading the beginning of St Mark’s Gospel, before I reached the third chapter, I suddenly became aware that on the other side of my desk there was a presence. And the certainty was so strong that it was Christ standing there that it has never left me. That was the real turning-point. Because Christ was alive and I had been in his presence I could say with certainty that what the Gospel said about the crucifixion of the prophet of Galilee was true . . .
I became absolutely certain within myself that Christ is alive and that certain things existed. I didn’t have all the answers, but having touched that experience, I was certain that ahead of me were answers, visions, possibilities.
 
The teenager was Anthony Bloom (1914-2003) who would become one of the best-known spiritual writers and broadcasters on prayer and the Christian life of the last century. He was a monk and Metropolitan bishop (higher than an archbishop) of the Russian Orthodox Church. That Christians in the West came to know ‘the Jesus prayer’ as an attractive focus for their prayers is largely due to the introduction of this ancient pattern of praying to us by Anthony Bloom and other Eastern Orthodox spiritual writers.
 
Easter does not proclaim that Jesus ‘achieved’ resurrection: but rather, God raised him by a mighty act of his power. Anthony Bloom did not ‘find’ the truth of the Gospel and the Resurrection--- it found him. May God find you and me this Eastertide, and, by His grace, allow us to experience a re-surrection, or as someone has written, “a rising of the divine from the depths of ourselves where we have ‘entombed’ him.
 
Douglas Dupree
Thanksgiving Easter Prayer
BLESSED be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away, to joy and rejoicing unspeakable and full of glory in him; to whom with thee, O Father, and thee, O Holy Spirit, one blessed Trinity, be ascribed all honor, might, majesty and dominion, now and forever. Amen.

Based on 1 Peter 1. 3-4.
Lay Ministry Course for River Region
The current Bishop’s Institute offering for Licensed Lay Ministry training was launched Saturday April 23 with a good intake of students from Jacksonville area churches and beyond. The current course focuses on training lay worship leaders and catechists and begins with studying the Old and New Testament scriptures under the guidance of the Rev. Dr. Reed Freeman, Interim Rector of St James’, Lake City.
 
We are excited to announce that the same course for the Bishop’s Institute for licensed lay ministers will be offered in the River Region of the Diocese! The course kicks off May 4 at 6 p.m. in St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Palatka. It will meet the first and third Wednesday for three months with additional sessions (tba) for make up and/or additional practical training, as needed.
 
The course will cover Holy Scripture: Old and New Testaments; the Creed; Anglicanism and Episcopal Church History; the Prayer Book, Psalter and Lectionary. It will combine lectures, small groups, and some writing with learning practical skills in leading worship and teaching in the church. This is a great opportunity to strengthen your lay ministry and serve your Church.
 
If you feel called to this training to develop and strengthen your knowledge and skills for ministry, email Fr Jay Jamison of Holy Communion Church, Hawthorne wkjamison55@yahoo.com or Fr Bob Marsh of St Mark’s Church, Palatka frbobmarsh@gmail.com.

You will need your vicar or rector to endorse your registration and commend you to the course. On completion of the course you will be presented to the Bishop to be licensed.
April Book Review: Tales of a Country Parish
From the vicar of Savernake Forest
Colin Heber-Percy
  
Fairly early on after the start of COVID lock-down in March 2020, one of the most significant things I noticed in the lives of our churches was the creative response made by some of the clergy to reach people through the isolation. I am thinking specifically of Father Matt Marino at Trinity Parish Church in St Augustine who inaugurated a regularly scheduled period of meditation and conversation on his front-porch via Zoom. This informal series started growing by leaps and bounds reaching people far beyond St Augustine and the boundaries of the Diocese of Florida. Similarly, our Dean, Kate Moorehead, broadcast daily morning prayer beginning in those days of isolation, and her offering went viral as well—reaching people in far-flung places.
 
That’s the background to my paying attention to the reviews I started seeing of a small book Tales of a Country Parish written by the vicar of a rural parish church in Wiltshire. I was drawn to the reviews yet skeptically so--- the little journal might be virtuous and praiseworthy as an example of one hard-working, underpaid, faithful priest in hard times trying his best to minister to his small flock by writing daily reflections to them via email during Covid. But this would not be the musings of a contemporary Daniel DeFoe , A Journal of the Plague Year (1722). I underestimated both the substance and charm of this little book.
 
The author, Colin Heber-Percy, is obviously a wonderful parish priest. He loves the Wiltshire countryside because he is native to it. He loves his wife and children who figure prominently throughout the journal. And he loves his congregation. A clear indication of this is in the way in which he writes of his relation to them. He shuns ‘these are my people’ but embraces ‘I am their vicar’. And he brings a few more things to this highly readable and thought-provoking journal.
 
Colin Heber-Percy was a respected screenwriter for the BBC and for Channel 4 (UK) before his call to the ordained ministry. He has a PhD in medieval philosophy and is well read in theology, philosophy and literature. And he knows his Bible and teaches it like no other. He loves music and has a working encyclopedia-like memory for music---especially rock music. Each reflection in the book ends with a song or piece of music recommended to compliment it. But above all, he is a storyteller--- the kind of storyteller whose stories appeal to the religious and the non-religious alike—although all his stories and entries are obviously shaped and informed by his Christian faith.
 
Here is an example that points you to Heber-Percy’s love of storytelling. I leave you with it and hope it leaves you curious to read his book. You’ll be inspired. Heber-Percy writes:
 
Fresh in my mind this morning as I sit on the wall in the spring sunshine, are images, shaky mobile phone footage of a completely empty urban environment. Streets deserted. Airports and supermarkets desolate. As Lent draws to a close we’ll be reading again those verses from
Lamentations:
 
How lonely sits the city
that once was full of people.
Lamentations 1.1
 
The footage from Wuhan [China] could be those lines brought to life, or death. But in fact both the verse and the footage are misleading: cities can’t be lonely (or seated for that matter); and Wuhan isn’t empty. . . Our cities, towns and villages are full of people. But they’re trapped, “fearful in their homes, waiting for the story to start again.
 
What I sense when I look at those images from Wuhan or at the locked door of All Saints’ is how we may need, over the coming months, to reimagine our ways of being cities, towns, villages, churches. Perhaps we need to think of them less as places, and more as stories. They are stories unfolding around us with ourselves as a vital part.
 
In the years running up to 2012, large portions of the East End of London were redeveloped in preparation for the city’s hosting of the Olympic Games. In charge of the process was Lord Coe. I remember listening to Coe on a radio phone-in being taken to task by a caller who said her neighborhood park was being bulldozed to make room for Olympic facilities. Coe pointed out that after the redevelopment there would be more ‘ecologically managed green space’ in the neighborhood than there had been previously; the city would be greener.
 
The caller responded by saying, ‘I’m not talking about ecologically managed green space; I’m talking about our park. Where I grew up, where I used to play as a child and where I take my children to play now.’ Missing from ‘ecologically managed green space’ is story.
 
This notion of story presents us with an opportunity, I think, a chance to see ourselves as characters in an unfolding narrative, people of a story, belonging to it like fingers to a hand. We need to inhabit the story in the way the Hebrews inhabited the Exodus story, learning from it, growing through it and allowing ourselves to be changed by it: to become the people we are called to be. It may not be a reassuring story. It may not have a happy ending, but it’s ours. Or rather, we are its.
 
The French philosopher Gilles Deleuze (1925–1995) urges us, ‘To become worthy of what happens to us, to become the offspring of one’s own events, and thereby to be reborn… and to break with one’s carnal birth’. The veiled reference in that final phrase is to John 3.1–8 where Jesus tells Nicodemus he must be born again, this time not of the flesh, but of the Spirit. I think part of what Jesus means is that we’re called to be ‘worthy of what happens to us’, worthy of being characters in an unfolding drama, emerging from it and belonging to it. God is not the storyteller; God is the story.
April Quiz
Happy Centenary St. Mark's Episcopal Church Jacksonville

On Sunday April 24, on the eve of the feast of her patron saint, St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, Jacksonville, celebrated her 100 anniversary. Bishop Howard celebrated, preached and confirmed and received some thirty teenagers and adults at the festal eucharist at 10 a.m. The service was followed by lunch served on the grounds accompanied by a jazz band and games for the children. St. Mark’s was granted parish status on May 15, 1922 having been a mission since 1914.
 
Our April quiz toasts St. Mark’s centenary with some questions that will share some of the history of the church with our readers.
 
QUIZ QUESTIONS
 
1. What was the new church’s first name when it was established as a mission in 1914?
 
a.    St. Patrick’s
b.   St. Columba’s
c.    Holy Comforter
d.   St. Michael and All Angels
 
 
2. The first meeting place for the new mission in 1914 was:
 
a.    A private home on Ortega Point
b.   An army hut dubbed ‘The Little Brown Church’
c.    A new school established in the local neighborhood
d.   A small cinderblock building on the corner of Roosevelt and Verona
 
3. Which one of the following Episcopal churches on Jacksonville’s Westside was not founded as a mission by St Mark’s Church?
 
a.    St. Catherine’s Church
b.   Church of the Epiphany
c.    Church of the Nativity
d.   St. Peter’s Church
 
4. In what year was St Mark’s Episcopal Day School established as an outreach mission of the church?
 
a.    1965
b.   1970
c.    1982
d.   1983
 
5. Which one of the priests of the Diocese of Florida did not serve as one of the seven rectors of St Mark’s Church?
 
a.    The Rev. Douglas B. Leatherbury
b.   The Rev. Robert Clingman
c.    The Rev. Barnum McCarty
d.   The Rev. Walter Saffron
e.    The Rev. Ham Fuller
f.     The Rev. Leigh Spruill
g.    The Rev. Jonathan Coffee
h.   The Rev. Thomas Murray
 
Click here to view the quiz answers.
Celebrating 100 Years at
St. Mark's Episcopal Church Jacksonville
To mark the 100 anniversary of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, Jacksonville, a life-size bronze statue of St. Mark the Evangelist has been dedicated and placed in the heart of the church campus in the walkway just outside the sacristy. The statue is by the distinguished Canadian sculptor Timothy Schmalz who creates sculptures primarily in bronze. For over 25 years Timothy has been sculpting large scale pieces installed worldwide and notably in historical churches in Rome and in the Vatican. This impressive sculpture is a gift to St. Mark’s from The Rev. Lila Byrd Brown who has exercised a vital ministry in St. Mark’s and in the Diocese of Florida over many years.

A distinctive feature of Timothy Schmalz’s St. Mark is the detail in the scroll the Evangelist holds unfolded. It contains beautiful images corresponding to the various parables , sayings or deeds of Jesus.

Click here for a closer view of the scroll and a guide to each image on the scroll.
The Tree of Life
ALMIGHTY and everliving God, who hast reared from earth unto heaven a mighty Tree, standing for ever, whereon before the face of men hangeth a Man, stretched and nailed, rejected, dying and alone: O thou that art true and shewest only truth, grant us to fear not to suffer with him, die with him and be buried with him, that we may also be made alive with him and glorified together in the heavenly places; where now he reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, world without end.
Archdeacon’s Corner:
The Good News
The book of Isaiah can be broken up into two sections. The first is the prediction of the destruction and exile of Jerusalem and its people. In the second half of the book there are predictions of a coming hope, not just for Jerusalem but for the whole world. Isaiah chapter 52 is a beautiful poem of that “good news” to come.

In Isaiah chapter 52, the city of Jerusalem has just been destroyed by Babylon and most of the Jewish people and all their leaders have been sent into exile. But a remnant remains and they are wondering if God has completely abandoned them. Wasn’t Jerusalem supposed to be the city where God would reign and bring bring peace and blessing to the whole world? Now Jerusalem has reaped the destruction of its own makings. The Jewish people had turned away from God, become corrupt, and so their city and their temple were destroyed.

Everything seems lost but Isaiah talks about a watchman on the city walls, who sees a messenger far out on the hills who is running towards the city, and he's shouting good news. Isaiah says ‘how beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news’. Yes, the feet are beautiful because they're carrying a beautiful message. A message of good news, that despite Jerusalem’s corruption, God still reigns as king and that God himself is going to one day return to Jerusalem and take up his throne and bring peace and salvation. The watchmen sing for joy because of the good news that their God still reigns.

In our churches, amongst the faithful, and throughout the New Testament we find this same phrase about the “good news”. In Greek the phrase “good news” is euangelion, and it's also sometimes translated with the word ‘gospel’. So, when early Christians asked, “Do you believe the Gospel?” they were asking if you believed in the good news about Jesus. Not just any news, but the announcement of the reign of a new and everlasting King.

To continue reading, please click here.
Pilgrimage to Italy this Fall: Register Today!
Pilgrimage to Italy: In the Footsteps of Saint Francis of Assisi,
Hosted by The Rev. Canon Douglas Dupree
& Dr. Charles Howard, Art Historian
Sunday, October 9 to Monday, October 17, 2022

Join The Rev. Canon Douglas Dupree and Dr. Charles Howard, Art Historian and Faculty member at Episcopal School of Jacksonville on a nine-day Biblical Journey in the Footsteps of Saint Francis of Assisi, Italy! St Francis of Assisi is beloved by Christians and others in every generation in every corner of the world. Assisi, the city of St Francis, still breathes an atmosphere of holiness and beauty. Come walk where he walked and enjoy the wonderful churches, the art and architecture of Assisi and
Rome and their surrounding cities and landscape!

For more information, click here
To view the full brochure, email Sue Engemann: sengemann@diocesefl.org
You may also email The Rev. Canon Douglas Dupree for more information: ddupree@diocesefl.org

To register, contact Biblical Journeys:
Phone: 201-627-0117

You may also register by filling out the form by clicking here and mailing to:
Biblical Journeys
411 Hackensack Ave., Suite 200
Hackensack, NJ 07601
Upcoming Events at the
St. John's Cathedral Bookstore
Author Conversation and Book Signing
with Dr. Lucinda Mosher and
Dean Kate Moorehead
June 4 @ 10 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.
221 E Church Street
Jacksonville, FL 32202

Join St. John's Cathedral on June 4 for a conversation with Dr. Lucinda Allen Mosher and Dean Kate Moorehead about the book, The Georgetown Companion to Interreligious Studies!

Dr. Lucinda Allen Mosher is the author seven books, co-editor of three, and contributor to many others. The book, The Georgetown Companion to Interreligious Studies provides fifty thought-provoking chapters on the history, priorities, challenges, distinguishing pedagogies, and practical applications of interreligious studies.

Anyone who seeks a deeper appreciation of this relatively new academic field will find it useful as a textbook or research resource. Books will be available May 1 in the Cathedral Bookstore and Gift Shop. Please RSVP by calling (904) 356-5507, Ext. 152.
Art Exhibition: Dottie Dorion's
New Paintings
On Display Through June 12
Taliaferro Hall Gallery
221 E Church Street
Jacksonville, FL 32202
Don’t miss this exhilarating exhibition at the St. John's Cathedral Bookstore! Open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m to 3 p.m., Sundays from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m., or call the church office to make an appointment (904) 356-5507.

This exhibition is free and open to the public!