Volume 43, July 2022
From the Rector
Freedom and Obedience
 
For freedom Christ has set us free. Galatians 5.1 
 
A young clergy colleague, with considerable musical knowledge and ability, who hears me preach often enough, remarked recently, with a wry smile, ‘You always add a coda to your sermons’. He was suggesting that, like some composers, who end a piece with a concluding musical section that is formally distinct from the main structure, I tend to add a final thought or word that usually is related to the sermon but has its own interest. 
 
I preached on Sunday July 3rd, using the collect and lessons for Independence Day. My coda was a concluding thought on the relation of freedom to obedience. We discover freedom and obedience are closely related as we endeavor to lead a Christian life. If the Gospel is meant to liberate us, both freedom and obedience must be positive and constructive things for the Christian. And yet, obedience is understood too often in the Church - as it is in the wider society - as being solely ready to be commanded and to obey - even as against our will. In summary, it smacks of legalism. 
 
I argued, or posited, in my sermon, that there is an older sense or understanding of the word obedience that helps us see it in a more positive light. This older definition of obedience as deriving from the Latin obedire, literally means "listen to," and is used to mean "pay attention to." 
 
Various Christian writers have drawn my attention to this definition of obedience as hearing or paying attention to someone. I think the first person I got it from was Bede Griffiths (1906-1993) the Benedictine monk who lived in ashrams in South India and became a noted yogi. Bede had been a student of C.S. Lewis and they enjoyed an abiding friendship for some forty years until Lewis’ death. Another person was Anthony Bloom, the Russian Orthodox spiritual writer and bishop. 
 
Bloom wrote: 
 
. . . Obedience is understood too often in the Church as enslavement, as being submissive, as being ready to be commanded and to obey. But that is not freedom. True obedience is very different. Obedience comes from listening and hearing and obedience on every level is a school of hearing, not a school of doing what one is told. 
 
Bloom continues: 
 
It is a way of learning from someone who has more experience, something that will allow us to outgrow our own experience and by learning to renounce our own self-will, our own prejudices, our own narrow-mindedness, to expand to the measure of the one who teaches us; we must learn gradually to become capable of listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit within us. 
 
He concludes: 
 
And when we read the Gospel, we must hear not only its words and commandments, but the voice of truth reaching us and transforming and transfiguring us. Freedom then ceases to be the opposite of obedience.  
 
The word freedom comes from a Sanskrit word priyia, which in its verbal form means to love and to be loved, and as a noun, means “my beloved.” Freedom is a relationship of mutual love; of the gift of self to another, in readiness to listen with all our mind, all our heart, all our being, and to love with all our mind, all our heart and all our being. 
 
As a coda to my sermon’s coda, it is worth noting that when the New Testament talks about our Christian discipleship in regard to obedience, it suggests obedience involves being alert and ever-ready for action - our obedience calls for ‘loins girded and lamps burning’.  
 
Michael Ramsey, in his modern-day classic The Christian Priest Today, suggests that ‘loins girded’ means being ready to meet emergencies and interruptions. Do not be encumbered. Be ready to move rapidly and unexpectedly. 
 
Ramsey writes: 
 
Our faithfulness is again and again tested by our power to deal with interruptions. You plan your day according to some rule, with so many hours to do this and so many for that. Then all seems thrown into disorder by interruptions . . . If the will of God is that you should accept this or that interruption, and you will accept with gladness, then a day which might seem tempestuous is really filled with plan and peace and order; for where the will of God is there is God’s presence and God’s peace . . . 
 
What a refreshing alternative to the way I view my days - as roadblock and interruption followed by roadblock and interruption.  
 
May your remaining days of summer be filled with God’s presence and his peace. 

Douglas 
Ears that Hear, Eyes that See
When we come into church from the outside our ears are filled with the racket of the city, the words of those who have accompanied us, the laboring and quarreling of our own thoughts, the disquiet of our hearts’ wishes and worries, hurts and joys. How are we possibly to hear what God is saying? That we listen at all is something; not everyone does. It is even better when we pay attention and make a real effort to understand what is being said. But all this is not yet the attentive stillness in which God’s word can take root. This must be established before the service begins, if possible in the silence on the way to church, still better in a brief period of composure the evening before. 
 
From Meditations before Mass by Romano Guardini (1885-1963). 

NB Guardini’s spiritual reflection on Jesus in the four Gospels simply entitled The Lord and translated into English in the 1940s remained in print for decades. It was much loved by the American writer Flannery O’Connor. Guardini’s philosophical and spiritual reflection on the world immediately following WWII, The End of the Modern World, is cited by Pope Francis eight times in his 2015 encyclical Laudato Si’. 
An Interview with Annette Sines,
Training for the Vocational Diaconate 
CALLED TO SERVE 
 
Annette Sines is a member of St Peter’s Episcopal Church, Fernandina Beach and currently studying for ordination as a Vocational Deacon. She is enrolled in the Deacons School of the Diocese facilitated by the Rev. Deacons Jeanie Beyer and Marsha Holmes under the aegis of the Bishop’s Institute. 

INTERVIEW 

1. What led you to the process of discernment for ordained ministry? Did it involve your ministry as a lay person in the church? How did it square (or not) with your professional (work) life? And family? 
 
I have been a very active lay leader for many years. Several people had seen a “deacons’ heart” in me, but I hadn’t seen it in myself. I keep taking on any lay leader role I could to try and quiet the nagging feeling I had that God was pushing me to. My deacon finally took me aside one day and asked me to pray about it and consider that the diaconate might be what God was calling me to.  

Ordained ministry was far removed from the work I did for many years in banking and finance but was reflected in my volunteer work during my husband’s career as a Naval Officer. Jeread was on submarines for 22 years and I was always volunteering to spearhead any activity that involved caring for the spouses and sailors. I served as an ombudsman looking after families while the submarine was deployed for months. Looking back now it was diaconal work and pastoral care I just didn't know it at the time. It was just something I felt called to do. 

2. What was the first and decisive step that led you to where you are now, two thirds of the way through the Deacons School? 

The first and most decisive step was finally listening to what God had been calling me to for many years and accepting it was something I needed to pursue. Once I really listened to Him, I was able to have an honest conversation with my rector and enter into discernment. 

3. Along the way, did your parish discernment committee, or the Bishop or the Commission on Ministry ask you “why ordination?” as opposed to continuing to serve the church in lay ministry? I always find that an interesting but tough question. 

Yes, I spent six months meeting with my parish discernment committee, and we often talked about this question and my desire to pursue Holy Orders rather than continuing as a lay leader. It is a tough question and one I have wrestled with for extended periods of time. Ultimately for me ordination isn’t about validating any of my existing ministries but rather a means of forming a servant leader whose call it is to model servant ministry to all the baptized. Ordination enables me to expand my servant ministry and would be an outward and visible sing of an inward and spiritual call. It is answering a call I have to make a lifetime commitment to service over self.  

4. What is the Deacons School all about? What does the curriculum cover? How long does it last? How is your work assessed? 

Deacon School is a cohort of people pursing Holy Orders either as vocational deacons or local priests. The comprehensive curriculum covers eight major areas of education. The modules are Spiritual Discipline, Practical Training & Experience, Understanding Diakonia & The Diaconate, Holy Scripture, Church History, Anglican/Episcopal Theology, Human Awareness & Understanding, and Pastoral Care.  

Currently my cohort and I are in a one-year program. In previous years it has been as long as eighteen months. For each of the educational modules we are assigned a mentor who assess our work. A typical assignment would be to read several subject matter books and write a paper. Other assignments might be more creative such as designing an adult Christian education class.  
 
5. What subject or subjects have most fired your imagination in the work you have done in the Deacons School? 

As someone aspiring to be a vocational deacon the modules covering pastoral care, practical diaconal work and understanding Diakonia most energize me. I love learning more about the history of the diaconate and how the order has grown and changed. I am inspired by the work of Episcopal deacons in this diocese and around the country.  
 
6. How do you think you will be better equipped for ministry once you have completed the Deacons School? 

Deacon school is such a comprehensive academic experience. Each one of the modules equips me to do the work of a vocational deacon. I have a much deeper knowledge of each of the educational subjects than I did when I began, and I know when I am finished, I will be ready to serve on day one. I will also be equipped with a cohort of peers and mentors to call on which is incredibly valuable.  
July Book Review
Dare to Dream: Creating a God-Sized Mission Statement for Your Life

By Mike Slaughter, Paperback, Abingdon Press, 2013 Mike Slaughter is the Pastor

Emeritus of Ginghamsburg Church, Ohio. Ginghasburg Church was founded in 1863 by a Methodist circuit rider. It started as a small church and appeared destined to remain one. When Mike Slaughter arrived at the church in 1979 as the new pastor, it had some ninety members. Over time and his faithful leadership, it grew into a church of some 5,000 members.

Dare to Dream is an excellent book for the individual Christian seeking to find or deepen his or her sense of calling. In that regard, it reminds me a lot of Os Guinness’ The Call: Finding and Fulfilling God’s Purpose for Your Life (Paperback, Thomas Nelson Press, 2003). It is also a good book for a church’s adult formation class or fellowship group--- especially if the group is seeking to define their church’s mission or specific gifts. There is a youth edition of Dare to Dream that would be excellent in helping young people find their gifts and purpose in life guided by their faith.

Slaughter opens his book by enticing us with the story of Jacob’s dream in the book of Genesis and suggests that He calls us in ways not unlike the calling of Jacob:
When God puts a dream inside you, it’s not just for you. A God-dream will honor God and bless other people in tangible ways. It’s your birthright.
 
Slaughter distinguishes between what he calls our identity and our birthright:
All of us share the same identity: we are children of God, living under the kingship of Jesus Christ. Birthright, on the other hand, is the individual purpose that God has for you. It’s why God created you, and it’s about your mission on Planet Earth—a mission that will honor God, bless people, and bring you joy.

He goes on to distinguish between what he terms ‘the day job’ and one’s God purpose or birthright. Referring to himself, he writes:

 My day job is pastor. Nine years ago, God came to me in a vision while I was awake. He said, “The first genocide of the twenty-first century is happening in Sudan, and I want you to do something about it.” My reaction? Hey, I don’t have any power—I’m a pastor! Isn’t this something the government should tackle? But visions happen when we pay attention to what God is doing and saying. 

Slaughter paid attention to his calling and in spite of his many doubts, he discovered that his special mission involved doing something about what was happening in Sudan:

Five years later, God spoke, challenging me to help in Sudan. I shouldn’t have been surprised. God would ensure that this change-the-world purpose happened through my life. 

Since that day, Ginghamsburg Church has invested over $6 million and affected the lives of tens of thousands of individuals in Darfur. Our investment has attracted an additional $17 million from others. I’ve been able to go around the world—South Korea, Germany, Denmark, Northern Ireland, and college campuses across America—telling people about the plight of Sudan. 

Slaughter writes that the only way we can discover our birthright is through an intimate relationship with God the Holy Spirit.

If all we study is God the Father and God the Son, we will know about God, but we won’t know God in an intimate relationship through the Holy Spirit. This is why I think many Christians may stand before the Father on Judgment Day unable to say, “I’ve finished the work for which you sent me.” Instead, they will be saying, “I didn’t even know what the work was!”

To continue reading the book review, click here.
Licensed Lay Ministry Course:
Training in Putnam and Alachua Counties
LICENSED LAY MINISTRY (LLM) COURSE:
Training Lay Worship Leaders and Catechists in Putnam and Alachua Counties

In tandem with the current Bishop’s Institute Licensed Lay Ministry course (LLM) running at St John’s Cathedral in Jacksonville, the same course to train worship leaders and catechists is running strong and well under way further south of Jacksonville led by clergy from Putnam and Alachua counties. The tutors and leaders are the Reverends Jay Jamison of the Church of the Holy Communion, Hawthorne; Bob Marsh of St Mark’s, Starke, Charlie Irkman of Holy Comforter, Crescent City and Tony Powell of Trinity, Melrose.

The licensed lay leaders in training meet regularly for Wednesday evening programs. Father Les Singleton was always on hand and always willing to teach in similar courses before his recent death. 
Called to Serve: Interview with Annette Sines, Part 2
 The interview with Annette Sines, preparing for the Vocational Diaconate, is divided into two parts in order to highlight her discussion of Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) that is an important component in the formation of all candidates for ordination.

7. Tell us what ‘CPE’ IS and how you found that experience? What did you learn from it? How will it enable your ministry? 
 
CPE, clinical pastoral education, is a hands-on pastoral education program in a clinical setting. CPE is usually done as either a six-month program or an intensive eleven-week session in the summer. In early 2020 I was in discernment when the pandemic shut everything down including my process. I prayed for months about what to do and felt God calling me to enter into CPE. It was something I could do to help others and keep me engaged with my discernment. In the fall of 2020 as the pandemic raged, I entered into a six-month CPE at Baptist Medical Center. A typical week for me was to complete 10 hours a week of clinical rotation visiting with patients, 5 hours a week of classroom time with my peers, and an hour a week of one-on-one instruction with my supervisor. Additionally, I was on-call in house at the hospital for one overnight per week. CPE changed everything for me. It shaped my pastoral identity and my ministry. I learned so much about myself, increased my self-awareness, and learned in real time how to meet people in crisis and quickly assess their pastoral needs. CPE can be hard work that challenges you but from the challenges comes extraordinary growth. CPE has and continues to enable me in my ministry by teaching my how to truly meet people where they are in their faith journey and minister to families in crisis. Even though I finished CPE in May of 2021 I continue to work on a part time basis as a chaplain for Baptist Medical.  

8. If a lay person came up and said, ‘What is a vocational Deacon?’ and ‘Why does the church need them?’ how would you, briefly, answer their questions? 
 
A vocational deacon is a deacon who remains a deacon permanently rather than transitioning to the priesthood. The church needs them to be visible representations of servant ministry. Vocational deacons are called not only to serve within the church and on the altar, but they are also called to be out in the world. They are charged with going out to serve the most vulnerable among us and bringing the needs, hopes and concerns of those they serve back to the church. While all baptized are called to share the gospel of Jesus and serve others, a vocational deacon leads those baptized to where and what the greatest needs are within our congregation, community and beyond.
July Quiz
This month we will test our knowledge of the four gospels. Enjoy! Allison+

1. Which Gospel is considered the first and earliest one to be written?

a. Matthew
b. Mark
c. Luke
d. John

2. The writer of which Gospel takes up more than a quarter of the pages, or 27% of the entire New Testament?

a. Matthew
b. Mark
c. Luke
d. John

3. Which Gospel writer was considered the ‘interpreter of St Peter the Apostle’?

a. Matthew
b. Mark
c. Luke
d. John

4. Which Gospel book is considered ‘the bridge between the Old Testament and the New Testament?

a. Matthew
b. Mark
c. Luke
d. John

5. Which is the symbol of St John’s Gospel and why?

a. An eagle
b. A calf
c. A lion
d. A man

To view the quiz answers, click here.
Lord's Prayer
If you are interested enough to have read thus far you are probably interested enough to make a shot at saying your prayers: and, whatever else you say, you will probably say the Lord’s Prayer.

Its very first words are Our Father. Do you now see what those words mean? They mean quite frankly, that you are putting yourself in the place of a son of God. To put it bluntly, you are dressing up as Christ. If you like, you are pretending. Because, of course, the moment you realise what the words mean, you realize that you are not a son of God. You are not being like The Son of God, whose will and interests are at one with those of the Father: you are a bundle of self-centered fears, hopes, greeds, jealousies, and self-conceit, all doomed to death. So that, in a way, this dressing up as Christ is a piece of outrageous cheek. But the odd thing is that He has ordered us to do it.
From C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
Archdeacon's Corner:
History of Origins of the Episcopal Church
The roots of the American Episcopal Church started when the English founded the Jamestown settlement of Virginia in 1607. The settlement was under the charter of the Virginia Company of London who brought with them the first Anglican Church. By 1649 Parliament granted a charter creating a missionary organization called “the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in New England,” as many settlers moved to the Americas for religious freedom.  
 
During those first years there was a very diverse community of mostly Protestant Christians. Among the Protestant adherents you would find Anglicans, Baptists, Congregationalist, Lutheran’s, Quakers, Mennonites and even the Moravian Church.  

By 1765 colonial America would be in a period of relative peace, the French and Indian war had ended in 1763, and the colonies were now regrouping themselves. However, that same year the English Parliament would issue the Stamp Act which would be the beginning seeds of the American Revolution. 
 
While the Revolutionary War was not a war of religion, Anglicanism and religion would play a part. At the time of the Boston Massacre in 1770 most colonists would have considered themselves Anglican and members of the Church of England. The major cities were dominated by the Church of England (especially in the northeast), and most colonists were of English origins.  
 
While the Battle of Lexington and Concord in 1775, was the beginning of the Revolutionary War, the split between the Church of England and the American colonist began years earlier. In 1767 the taxes would continue with the Townshend Act and then the Tea Act in 1773. Each new tax met with heated protests including the Boston Tea Party. 
 
Most Church of England clergy were indifferent or opposed to these protests. Most Anglican priests were born and educated in England, and most Anglican parishes receive financial support from local crown taxes. Subsequently most Anglican priests remained loyalist. As the protests grew many Anglican priests denounced these actions from the pulpits placing a rift between them and the patriots grew. Ultimately many Anglican priests would become targets of the growing gathering of Patriots. Local churches were vandalized with windows broken and priests accosted. These actions only strengthen the divide between loyalists and patriots, and the church and its members. By the time of the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776 the Church of England was losing authority in America.  
 
By the end of the war in 1783, the break with the Church of England was complete. Roughly 100,000 loyalists would flee the United States over the next two years. Of that number some 70,000 were Anglicans. Surprisingly, 34 signatories of the Declaration of Independence were either raised or considered themselves Anglican. This included Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Samuel Chase, and Benjamin Franklin. Further George Washington himself had been a member of the vestry of the Church of England. 
 
After the war the Church of England suffered more than any other denomination. The clergy were divided with most of the northern priests remaining loyalists and most southern priests had become patriots. Afterwards, most who were loyalist clergy fled to England or Canada after the Church of England lost spiritual and financial support. 
 
In 1783 some of those few remaining northern clergy met at Woodbury, Connecticut to form a church and elect a prospective Bishop (the Church of England had never appointed an American Bishop). Samuel Seabury was their unlikely candidate. Seabury was a leading Loyalist in New York City and a known rival of Alexander Hamilton. Further Seabury wrote numerous articles against the revolution and was arrested in November 1775 by local Patriots and was kept in prison in Connecticut for six weeks. Later he took refuge in New York City where he was appointed chaplain to the King's American Regiment in 1778.  
 
The Connecticut clergy held the meeting in secret and did not notify other clergy of their intentions. However, during that same year other clergy and laypersons from seven other states held the first general convention of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America. They drafted a constitution, an American Book of Common Prayer, and plans for consecrations of William White and Samuel Provost.  

William White was a patriot and Rector of St. Peter's and of Christ Church for 57 years. White also served as Chaplain of the Continental Congress from 1777 to 1789, and subsequently as Chaplain of the US Senate. Samuel Provost also was a patriot and was the first Chaplain of the US Senate and the first Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of New York. 

Because of the Oath of Supremacy (which requires an oath to the English monarchy) and the disassociation of the newly formed United States, Seabury went to Scotland after he was refused in England. In Scotland he was ordained by three non-Jurorist (refusing to take the Oath of Supremacy) bishops in 1784 making him the first Anglican bishop in America. In 1787 White and Provost were consecrated as bishops by the Archbishop of Canterbury after passage of the Consecrations of Bishops Abroad Act in 1786.  
 
Lastly, in 1789 representative clergy from nine of the original dioceses met in Philadelphia to ratify the Church’s initial constitution, establish a Book of Common Prayer, and church canons using much of the material that was created in 1784. Further, they elected William White as the first Presiding Bishop. This united and formed the Protestant Episcopal Church United States of America, or as we know it, the Episcopal Church. 
 
The Ven. Mark Richardson, 
Archdeacon of the Diocese of Florida