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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

O, The Gall Of It All

I can’t believe the nerve! Today I received a mailing from the Church Insurance Corporation. This is a corporation affiliated with the Episcopal Church (TEC) of which the Church Pension Group is a part. This is the second communication I have received since my last pension assessment notice received in September 2009. On October 12, 2009 I received a personal letter from TEC bishop Ken Price, the Provisional Bishop of the TEC Diocese of Pittsburgh telling me that unless I informed him otherwise, he would assume that I wished to renounce my orders as priest. I did not respond to his letter so I received a subsequent letter on October 28 informing I along with 102 others had been “released” from my ministry as a priest according to TEC Canon Whatever. This letter was signed by two former colleagues --- Hmmmm, I know, like all good Germans, they were just following orders --- and Ken Price. It was copied to the Church Pension Group. On October 30, 2009, I was terminated (termination is their term) from further participation in the Church Pension Group. This came to me via my parish in the form of a termination notice, my last communication from them after paying into their 8 billion dollar fund for 14 years --- no personal letter to me ala Ken Price.

Now this same corporation writes me a “Dear Friend” letter, dated June 2010, inviting me to buy an annuity from them - a Church Life IRA! This is thoroughly amazing! I wonder if they’ve offered a Church Life IRA to ACNA Bishop John Guernsey who amassed over 29.5 years in the pension fund and who was not permitted by Bishop Lee of Virginia to stay in the CPG to reach his 30 year threshold in order to retire with tens of thousands of dollars of additional pension benefits?

I am utterly agog that they want the very money that I am not permitted to continue my pension with to be spent on purchasing an annuity from them! Wowzer! It is signed “Best Wishes” by James Thomas, the General Manager of the Church Life Insurance Corporation. What Hypocrisy! I don’t know what they’re smoking up there at 445 Fifth Avenue in NYC but it sure ain’t Marlboro Reds.

Friday, June 18, 2010

The High Price of Collaboration

For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?
Matthew 16:15 (ESV)

Jim Simons, a founding board member of the American Anglican Council, a former deputy to the Anglican Communion Network Executive Council now an appointee to the TEC Executive Council and a, if not the, leading candidate to fill the vacant vice- presidency of the TEC House of Deputies and one who claims he is an evangelical, has been quoted by Mark Harris on his blog PRELUDIUM: "I am Jim Simons, a priest resident in the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh which, as I’m sure you are aware, went through a recent and painful schism. Currently, there are over 100 priests, deacons and one bishop canonically resident in the Province of The Southern Cone as well as another Bishop canonically resident in the Province of Rwanda functioning in our diocese without licenses and laying claim to some of our parishes. This is in clear violation of the canons and it is also not unique to our diocese. What if any disciplinary action do you anticipate toward provinces who engage in such jurisdictional incursions?" [the Rev’d James Simons TEC Diocese of Pittsburgh addressing Canon Kenneth Kearon at the TEC Executive Council Meeting June 18, 2010]

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


Last night the Peters Township Planning Board in a 3-2 decision granted St David's permission to reconstruct our sign (see photo-shopped image). We have wanted for some time to change the sign to reflect our status as an Anglican Church (no longer a member of the Episcopal church) and we wanted to have a changeable message board added to the existing sign. The Board had great anxiety over this because we are the first church to apply for a permit for a electronic message board sign. They are concerned over the impact to the residential nature of the community around us. The Board recognizes, however, the unsightliness of having multiple temporary signs adorning our lawn. This new sign will end the necessity of erecting temporary signs for every other church function.

We hope to begin this project in the next month

Monday, June 14, 2010


St. David's hosted a diocesan-wide Ultreya last evening. Ultreya is a Spanish word meaning "forward". It is used by Cursillo to signify a gathering of the Cursillo community and guests to build each other up in our Christian life and call to ministry. A4D is shorthand for Anglican Fourth Day, the ACNA successor, to Cursillo. The Cursillo name is trademarked and can only be used by those who have a license issued by the National Secretariat of the Roman Catholic Church. TEC holds the license, therefore, we became A4D.

About sixty gathered in our parish hall with, as I counted, folks from at least fifteen different parishes. About a quarter of the participants were A4Ders from St David's including all five of our newbies from the past women's weekend. St. David's is one of the stronger parishes in the diocesan A4D movement. The Lay Leader of the diocesan Secretariat in Kathi Marks from here as well as one of the two diocesan Spiritual Directors is moi. St. David's has had three diocesan Lay Leaders from our ranks Kathi, Don Bushyager and Ron Osucha (Ron was a larger-than-life, legendary, laymen. He died some years ago.). The rectora (lay person in charge) of last month's Women's Weekend was Ginger Machak. The rector of the upcoming Men's Weekend in March 2011 is Scott Smith. Interestingly one of the national leaders in the A4D movement is the Rev. John Nuzum. John now lives in Virginia but back in the day he was a Cursillo leader from St David's. In fact, he was the rector of the weekend I attended in March 1987 and many of the team members were from St David's too.

Jess Wylie a fairly new person to A4D (Anglican Fourth Day) gave an excellent lay witness which engendered lots of response from the gathering. She and her husband Jeff are from Holy Innocents Leechburg. Following small group gatherings' we joined together for plethora of snacks.

Lastly, I was handed a card from one of the participants. I opened it this morning. The writer was a young single mom from one of my former parishes. She wrote:

Dear David,

I want you to know that you have blessed my life so much. Although your being at A4D weekend #94 was about your church folks, God used your presence there as a reminder to me that he has placed all the right "fathers" in my life and will do the same for my son. DeColores!

What a blessing. It makes ministry all worthwhile.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Hot Diggity Dog

Things are picking up with the blog. I got my first commentor to a posting who gave me some helpful advice. Both the commmentor and another friend picked up my blog through some miracle of google. I also made contact with a blog veteran to meet me this week in Ambridge to show me the ropes of blogging. How to post stuff and put pics in and links within postings, etc.

It's ironic but the model blog for me has been a combo of two TEC loyalist blogs, Three Rivers Episcopal a blog by former Standing Cmte President Jim Simons and Lionel Diemel's Web Blog. Lionel was my first commentor and welcomed me to the blogosphere. And Jim posts stories of interest to Episcopalians and Anglicans in Western PA. Perhaps the sturm und drang of the first 18 months of re-alignment is starting to disapate. Jim is no longer calling us lemmings and comparing Abp Duncan to Yertle the Turtle and Lionel no longer refers to me as a leading disident and of one of Duncan's principal henchman in the Great Schism. Hot Diggity Dog.

Lionel asked me how it is to be named David and pastor a church called St. David's. It's sometimes funny! I was in the local hardware store one day to have a key made for door in the the church. The sales clerk asked me for the name of the church so that she could bring up our account on the screen and to see if I was an authorized person to charge goods. She said " and your name is?" I said with a straight face, "St. David". w/o so much as a raised eyebrow she typed in "St. David" and then announced to me "You're not authorized sir" To which I said," try David Wilson" She piped up, still w/o a clue, "that works"

This week I am taking my second DMin course at Trinity School for Ministry. I enjoyed the first class on Biblical Theology taught by the Rev. Dr. Rod Whitacre. Tomorrow's class is being taught by the Rev. Dr. Laurie Thompson -- no relation to Tennessee politition and actor Fred Thompson or all American hoopster in the late 1970s David Thompson or Georgetown bball coach John Thompson.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Blog Moves Forward

I have begun the setup of the blog. Since I am not a techie (I am an old fart and a luddite); I didn't grow up with this stuff. This has been a trial and error process. It took me three attempts of typing to key in my Blog List. I keep asking my self, "Is this really worth it! Do I really want to blog???" I am meeting with an old friend, the former communications director of our diocese next week to get schooled in how to do a blog. That should help. He said, "Helping you to blog is like giving a 5 gallon can of gasoline and pack of matches to an arsonist." I wrote back, "more like a 10 gallon can and a blow torch!" Gosh, I have a tough reputation to overcome! I am really a lover, not a fighter yet the ultra-revisionists in Pittsburgh look on me as if I am to +Bob Duncan as Martin Bormann was to Adolf Hitler. And I have one minor meltdown on Standfirm in Faith and I am banned for life!