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Monday, March 21, 2011

Seven Ways To Lift Public Worship

Tip of the hat to Robin G. Jordan of Anglicans Ablaze for this posting

Question: What can our church leadership do positively to improve the quality of the weekly worship?

TO BEGIN WITH - even if you do not use the term 'worship' to describe your weekly church gathering (some will call it simply a 'meeting', others an 'assembly') - let's recognise that worship of the Lord Almighty is indeed going to happen on the part of numbers of people when they meet together in his Name.

If we fail in that recognition, then the 'preliminaries' in any service are no more than that; a slightly tiresome exercise to be conducted in perfunctory manner..until 'The Word'. And this will show . Better to ensure that the entire event is polished until it shines - to the glory of God and the building of faith.

This is not an exhaustive presentation on worship in general; the aim, rather, is to put forward some ways of improving the way we do things in our public gatherings:

To read more, click here

Sunday, March 13, 2011

An Archbishop and a Baptism on Successive Sundays and Florida

An Archbishop and a Baptism on Successive Sundays and Florida

Today the Archbishop of the Southern Cone and Bishop of Chile, Hector “Tito” Zavala, preached at our three weekend services. Tito and his wife Miriam have been Gale's and my friends since their days in seminary in Ambridge 1986-1989. Last week our ACNA Archbishop and Bishop of Pittsburgh, Bob Duncan, came to St. David’s for his annual episcopal visitation. Wow! Two Archbishops, two weeks in a row. Aren't we the cat's pajamas! And we had a baptism last Sunday and on Saturday night this weekend. We return to normal next Sunday with just plain old Lent 2. Hallelujah! Whoops, my bad!, no Hallelujahs allowed in Lent. Gale and I will be at New Smyrna Beach Florida at a condo on the beach for eight and a half days of R & R --- but who’s counting! We fly to Miami tomorrow at 5 PM. BTW, No further postings until March 24 at the earliest.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Shrove Tuesday

As I was thinking of a title for this piece, I came up with “Yes, the Fire Detection System Works” or "Ash Wednesday Comes a Day Early" or “The Case of the Burnt Pancakes” or “Never Let the Men of the Church Have Run of the Kitchen.”

At 1:15 AM this morning a phone call awakened me. It was the alarm company. A smoke detector had detected smoke in the kitchen area of the church and Peters Twp VFD was on its way in answer to the call.

I arrived at the church shortly thereafter and a fire truck and two police cruisers greeted me in the parking lot. The lot was lit up like Christmas! I let two firemen clad in Scott Air-packs and facemasks, looking like aliens from Mars, in through the front door as the alarm system was blasting like a loud claxon throughout the building. In short order they arrived in the kitchen and found the culprits – two large trays of blackened pancakes smoking away in the oven!

The firemen turned off the oven, disposed of the two trays outdoors and with two large fans cleared out most of the smoke. The kitchen and downstairs will smell like burnt pancakes for a few days. By 2:15 AM I was back in bed, smelling like burnt pancakes and with the adrenalin flowing full tilt, I listened to Gale and Sherman blissfully breathing in rhythmic sleep as I stared at the ceiling for the next hour!

Yet it was a very successful Shrove Tuesday Pancake and Sausage Supper ---- over 65 attendees, with lots of help and great fellowship. And one I will never forget!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Being Ourselves At Our Best

St David's Day 2011 with the Episcopal Visitation of Archbishop Duncan. This is an email I sent to the parish

Many years ago our bishop, Bob Duncan, challenged each of our parishes us to "be ourselves at our best". Yesterday was such an occasion. St. David's shined. Our worship was heartfelt and spirit-filled and reflected the diversity of who we are, traditional, contemporary, liturgical and free-form with bagpipes,organ, piano, keyboards and praise band. Baptism, Confirmation, Reception, Re-affirmation of Faith were all celebrated with joy. Alexandria Kleinschnitz and Chester Lang were honored for their service to our parish and, the Acolytes, Stephen Ministers, Altar Prayer Ministers, Lay Eucharistic Ministers, St John the Apostle Grief Ministers and 2011 Vestry were all commissioned. Archbishop Duncan also announced that the Standing Committee of the Diocese voted to remove the Transitional Parish designation from St. David's and restore us to full parish status. This opens the way for the vestry to elect a rector ( me or some one else!) rather than be served by a priest-in-charge appointed by the Bishop. Following the service we adjourned for lunch in the Parish Hall. Many hands made the work light as we gathered together to eat -- a big thank you to all who contributed to the excellent fare and especially to the Circle of Sisters for the final prep and serving.

Archbishop Duncan addressed us and shared in great detail where we are on the litigation front and about property issues. It was eye opening for many of our folks. One parishioner sent me the following email message following our meeting. What an encouragement! "My mother stood up and asked her Church ( Beverly Heights Presbyterian Church) to put St. David's in their prayers. She also told me that a small group has committed to be intercessor's for St David's during this trial. I did not ask her do this and was surprised when she told me her actions. My mother is baptized in the Holy Spirit and told me God has moved her like Daniel was asked to stand for Israel. I am not sure the verse but that is was she told me. An eye opening meeting today, I look forward to filling out survey but my feelings are simply that we should be actively pursuing another place to worship. I am also going to keep my eyes open for a residence for you and Gale. Just in case we need to do an emergency move. We can always rent a place quickly but I would prefer to own something and remove the expense of rent. Wherever God takes us I will follow. I don't fear anything when it comes to St. Davids. I am actually excited to see where God will lead us.

Our Task Force on the Future will be developing a survey to ascertain your thoughts on a way forward. We are also forming a negotiating team and have signalled our desire to begin conversations with the TEC diocese about the future of our property. Please keep the St. David's Clergy, Wardens and Vestry, Task Force on the Future and all our people in your prayers

Faithfully in Christ


Tuesday, March 1, 2011

A4D Men’s Weekend

From last Thursday evening until late Sunday afternoon, I was sequestered with over 40 other men at the Bishop Connare Center in Greensburg PA at the Anglican Fourth Day (A4D) Men's Weekend #96. We were either team members or candidates (new term: pilgrims) on a men’s retreat formerly known as Cursillo. I have been on eleven of these weekends since 1987 and I find them to be a great time of fun, fellowship, ministry and spiritual growth in the life of men. These forty men were a diverse lot --older and younger; married and single; white collar and blue collar and they came from 19 different parishes from as far away as Erie. We had seven men on team from St. David’s including the rector and one of the two assistant rectors of the weekend. Three of the eighteen pilgrims were from St. David's as well. And our parish was responsible for the agape meal on Saturday night. Thirteen folks drove to Greensburg to do that ministry. Well done, good and faithful servants!

Probably the greatest joy I experienced was that my son Greg (age 33) attended the weekend. I had been asking him for ten years to attend to no avail but someone else asked him and he said yes! I am so glad he has rediscovered his faith in Jesus Christ these past few months. He has begun to attend church once again, albeit a big-box non-denom church, study the Bible and pray. Many of his fellow school teachers with whom he is closest are Christians so he has an instant support group per se.

Another pilgrim was my former Senior Warden at St. Paul’s Kittanning –now a vestryman at St Andrew’s New Ken. He was another one I encouraged to attend for ten years to no avail. It was a real joy to be with Jim once again.

I almost forgot to mention, as far as worship and music goes --- we had the dream team: Mark Kwolek, Brooks Whipple and John Stanley. They just rocked. I'll never forget singing "Amazing Grace" to the tune of "The House of the Rising Sun". Even the Archbishop was impressed!

On reflection it was good to get away from all the mess we are in with the TEC diocese at this time, from the problems and challenges of the parish and just from life in general and I can’t think of a better way to do that than one of these weekends,