Piety Hill Musings

The ramblings of the 51 year old Rector of St. John's Episcopal Church of Detroit. Piety Hill refers to the old name for our neighborhood. The neighborhood has changed a great deal in the over 150 years we have been on this corner (but not our traditional biblical theology) and it is now known for the neighboring theatres, the professional baseball and football stadiums and new hockey/basketball arena.

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Location: Detroit, Michigan, United States

Monday, February 26, 2007

The Nation of Islam meets near St. John's

Yesterday Louis Farrakan gave what is billed as his last major speech, at Ford Field near St. John's. By the time I finally left the Church after Sunday Services, the parking lot was filling up with people going to the event - lots of African-American men in the N.O.I. signature suit and bowtie. The event was expected to fill Ford Field, and major media outlits are reporting that it nearly did despite the ice storm Sunday AM.

Today's headlines, local and AP concentrated on this part of his speech...
...(he) called for Muslim-Christian unity in a two-hour speech that many viewed as a possible farewell in a long, often contentious, public life.
"If Jesus and Muhammad were on this stage, they would embrace each other with love," Farrakhan told the crowd. "How come we ... can't embrace each other?"

A call for unity from a man whose very organization was founded on a theory of black supremacy (not equality), and whose doctrinal belief that their founder, Elijah Muhammad, was in fact "The Saviour" (a messiah type figure) puts them at odds with regular Islam itself. In fact, the founder's children broke away from the NOI to become regular Muslims, as did its most famous leader, Malcolm X (who was assasinated for it by members of the NOI).

So now he makes this ridiculous statement that he wants Unity? First of all, Islam has a false belief about Jesus to start with - that he is only a prophet (and not as great as Muhammad), so this statement is a lark. Any Muslim would say "of course they would embrace" - but not the real person of Jesus, only their false image. It is a false statement to believe that Jesus Christ is anything less than the Son of God, the second person of the Trinity! And of course the Islamic Community would welcome their members if they repented of this idea that a man born here in Detroit, born in the 1930's who founded the NOI, is The Saviour.

Oh yes, let us not forget the reason for this weekend's speech was a celebration of what they call Saviour's Day (the founder's birthday), and that itself is anathama to both muslims and Christians! This under the title of a speech One Nation under God.

I saw him speak at my college in the 1980's, and from what I saw/read about this one - nothing has really changed about his rhetoric. It isn't about Unity, it is about promoting false doctrine about race, Jesus and even the mistaken religion of Islam and the NOI's distortion of that!

I had a couple of signboards rotating for those coming to the speech, in hopes of reminding those who are Christians who were going out of curiousity or political pressure, and perhaps saving a few from heresy and damnation.

"One Nation under Jesus Christ our Lord"
"Solutions without Jesus Christ are fruitless" (the Fruit of Islam is their leadership group)
"There is only one Saviour - Jesus Christ the Son of God"

Friday, February 23, 2007

How different views are accepting the Primates Communique

It has been interesting to see the various statements of how the plan from the Primates meeting is being received by various factions in the Episcopal Church.

The traditionalists have some issues with how it will play out, but for the most part are grateful that the Primates have heard their plea and expect the Episcopal Church to repent of its deviance from biblical teaching on marital relations and to set up some oversight plans for traditionalist parishes/dioceses/priests.

Others with the opposite theological views have responded with a "how dare you tell us what to do, you don't understand how the Episcopal Church works, and it is a justice issue that we are changing biblical teaching in the name of being 'inclusive' ". Of course, this so-called inclusion in earthly terms (not calling ALL to repentance) ends up being exclusion from the Kingdom of Heaven.

Below are two examples of these views. Bishop Duncan of Pittsburgh, moderator of the Anglican Communion Network, and Bonnie Anderson, an laywoman in the Diocese of Michigan who is the President of the House of Deputies at General Convention, and as such defends the polity of how the Episcopal Church works, against the intrusion of the Primates.
These, and many other statements are found at www.titusonenine.classicalanglican.net


Beloved in the Lord,
We continue in an extraordinary moment in church history. It is my conviction, with St. Paul, that “He who has begun a good work in [us] will complete it to the end.” [Phil. 1:6]
Resolution III.6 of the 1998 Lambeth Conference authorized the Primates’ Meeting to include among its responsibilities both “intervention in cases of exceptional emergency which are incapable of internal resolution within provinces, and giving of guidelines on the limits of Anglican diversity in submission to the sovereign authority of Holy Scripture and in loyalty to our Anglican tradition and formularies.” At Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, the Primates Meeting of 15-19 February exercised these mandates in most significant fashion.
Following up on the historic appeal for intervention 20 other bishops and I made on August 5, 2003 – and responding directly to the Appeals for Alternative Primatial Oversight (or Relationship) lodged by eight Network dioceses between July and November of 2006, as well as to requests from the Windsor coalition of Bishops conveyed in a letter of January 2007 – the Primates Meeting acted to address the crisis in our Province, The Episcopal Church. The result can surely be described as an answer to prayer.
I was joined in Dar es Salaam by Bishop Bruce MacPherson of Western Louisiana from the wider Windsor Coalition (a coalition of some two dozen diocesans that includes all the Network diocesans among its members). We were given the opportunity to provide testimony and entreaty as to how the situation in the United States could be addressed. Among the matters covered were:
–Our assessment that the Episcopal Church’s official response to the Windsor Report and Dromantine Communiqué was inadequate, grudging and calculated.–Belief that the election of Katharine Jefferts Schori as Presiding Bishop had to be seen as a significant aspect of that official response, especially in light of her consent to New Hampshire’s election, to her authorization of same-sex blessings as diocesan bishop, and to her theological heterodoxy.–Observations on the majority’s emerging theological construct where 1) claims of justice replaces morality, 2) many ways replaces the exclusive claims of Jesus Christ, and 3) experience replaces “Holy Scripture as the ultimate rule and standard of the Christian Faith.”–Testimony as to the extent, expense and acrimony of the civil lawsuits under way across the country, most significantly noting the scandalous involvement of the Presiding Bishop’s Chancellor in suits brought not only against parishes but also against individual clergy and lay leaders.–Statistics bearing out the assertion that the Network and Windsor Dioceses, together with AMiA, CANA, and Network Convocation and Conference parishes across the country, represented a number equal to one-quarter of The Episcopal Church’s membership, minimally some 500,000 souls, a number larger than 18 Provinces of the Anglican Communion.–Clear discussion of the particular hostility of the “majority Episcopal Church” to the Forward in Faith Dioceses, as well as its failure to work with them and all those who hold to the Communion’s older “integrity” concerning Holy Orders.–Evidence of the increasingly unlikely confirmation of the Bishop-elect of South Carolina by diocesan standing committees, on grounds including the revealing mis-use of the “manner of life” language of TEC’s supposed acceptance of Windsor (Resolution B033, General Convention 2006).–Request for recognition of all those who accept the Camp Allen Principles concerning full acceptance of the Windsor Report as the Communion’s unquestioned partners in the United States.–Appeal for some means of suitable and sufficient separation of the majority and minority parties of the Episcopal Church, including a practical “cease-fire,” until the proposed Anglican Communion Covenant process will have run its course and determination of which of the parties in the U.S. dispute are to be viewed as the “constituent” members of the Communion.–Our willingness as Network and Windsor Bishops to participate in a Primates-proposed domestic structure that could take the first steps toward addressing the escalating crisis.
Clearly we were heard. The Communiqué from Dar es Salaam, together with the “Key Recommendations of the Primates” and the transcript of the “Archbishop of Canterbury’s Comments at the Final Press Conference,” all speak to address the American crisis. The Episcopal Church has been given another chance to make an “unequivocal” response to Windsor and to Communion Faith and Order. Those of us who have already made clear our willingness to submit to the Windsor Report and to the Anglican Communion have been given the proposed Pastoral Council and a Primatial Vicar, to be nominated by the participating bishops and responsible to that Council. We have a call for the cessation of all civil legal actions. We can work with this. We will work with this. It is not perfect and there are a number of potential obstacles. We will enter in good faith. The Primates spent so much of their meeting on our concerns that we can do no less in response to their best assessment of a path forward. What we have is an interim proposal for an interim period with interim structures, while the Episcopal Church majority has one last opportunity to turn back from its “walking apart.”
For the Network parishes of the International Convocation (congregations under Uganda, Kenya, Central Africa and Southern Cone) and for the churches of the Anglican Mission in America and of the Convocation of Anglicans in North America, there are particular concerns about relating to those still within the Episcopal Church, even if under the Pastoral Council and Primatial Vicar.
For the Alternative Primatial Oversight appellant dioceses, not least the Forward in Faith dioceses, there are still concerns about the role of the Presiding Bishop, about how the working relationship with the wider Windsor Coalition develops, and about whether “good faith” will characterize the other side. All we can do is be ourselves at our best. That is certainly, by God’s grace and your intercession, what two of us, on behalf of all of you, were within the Primates’ Meeting. Even though it is Lent, let Te Deum be said and sung. And let’s keep on, faithful to the Scriptures, focused on the mission, and submitted in unity, till the work is done, whatever the cost, always in prayer.
St. Paul speaks of the trust that is mine and yours and ours: “He who has called you is faithful, and He will do it.” [I Thess. 5:24]
Faithfully in Christ,
(The Rt. Rev.) Robert Duncan - Bishop of Pittsburgh

As I read the Communiqué from the Primates’ Meeting in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, I am deeply troubled by its implications for the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion.
I continue to offer the Primates my affection, prayer and companionship along the way of the Cross and I respect their leadership of our Communion. Their Communiqué, however, raises profound and serious issues regarding their authority to require any member Church to take the types of specific actions the Communiqué contemplates and whether they have authority to enforce consequences or penalties against any member Church that does not act in a way they desire. The type of authority for the Primates implicit in the Communiqué would change not only the Episcopal Church but the essence of the Anglican Communion.
The polity of the Episcopal Church is one of shared decision making among the laity, priest and deacons and bishops. The House of Bishops does not make binding, final decisions about the governance of the Church. Decisions like those requested by the Primates must be carefully considered and ultimately decided by the whole Church, all orders of ministry, together.
Some are asking whether the Primates can ask our House of Bishops to take certain actions and put a deadline on their request. Yes, they can ask. There are larger questions that need to be addressed, including: Is it a good idea for our House of Bishops to do what they have asked? Is the House of Bishops the right body within the Episcopal Church to respond to the Primates’ requests?
Our baptismal promise to seek and serve Christ in all people must be very carefully considered when we are being asked as Episcopalians to exclude some of our members from answering the Holy Spirit’s call to use their God-given gifts to lead faithful lives of ministry. Our promise to strive for justice and peace and respect the dignity of all people binds us together. The Episcopal Church has declared repeatedly that our understanding of the Baptismal Covenant requires that we treat all persons equally regardless of their race, marital status, sex, sexual orientation, disabilities, age, color, ethnic origin, or national origin.
To honor all of the Primates’ requests would change the way the Episcopal Church understands its role in the Communion and the way Episcopalians make decisions about our common life. Our church makes policy and interprets its resolutions and Canons through the General Convention and, to a lesser extent, the Executive Council.
As president of the 800-plus member House of Deputies, it is my duty to ensure that the voice of the clergy and the laity of our Church will be heard as the Church discusses and debates the Primates’ requests and that that process will not be pre-empted by the House of Bishops or any other group. I have already begun to work toward that end.
All Anglicans must remember that the second Lambeth Conference in 1878 recommended that “the duly certified action of every national or particular Church, and of each ecclesiastical province (or diocese not included in a province), in the exercise of its own discipline, should be respected by all the other Churches, and by their individual members.”
This has been the tradition of the Anglican Communion. To demand strict uniformity of practice diminishes our Anglican traditions.
Our tradition of autonomous churches in the Anglican Communion, that come together because of our love of Christ and our common heritage, has allowed us to focus on mission and evangelism to our broken world which is in desperate need of the Good News of God in Christ. In recent times, however, we have spent too much of our time, talent and treasure debating if we ought to deny some people a place at the table to which Jesus calls us all. Instead, we must listen to each other – really listen and not just read reports – so that we can hear the voice of the Holy Spirit moving through all of us and calling us to be more faithful.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Bon Mot for this day

I came across this interesting quote while doing some meditative reading today.

"Paradox: Sanctity is more attainable than learning, but it is easier to be a scholar than to be a saint."

St. Josemaria Escriva; The Way: the essential classic of Opus Dei's founder; Image Books, Doubleday Press, 1982 (originally published 1939 in Spain) p. 47.

William's adventure

Thank you to all who prayed for us during William's seizure and hospitalization this past Monday/Tuesday (those on the St. John's email list knew about it from Jennifer).

He is doing much better, Deo Gratias! We think it was just a fever seizure, but he is older than the usual age range for those, so they did an IV drip, a CT scan and an EEG just to make sure there was nothing else out of the ordinary.

Here are a couple of pics from his recent stay - getting his EEG and walking around with us IV pump.

Digesting the Primates Communique

The statements are beginning to fly about the internet in reacton to the Primates Communique, which calls ECUSA to account for its deviance from Scripture, and for breaking communion, as well as a reprimand to traditionalists who have reached outside of the norms of the ecclesiastical structure for pastoral care.

Already rejoicing, rejection, and revision is being published by bishops, organizations, etc.
Much of it is being kept track of at

In the midst of that, Fr. Kendall Harmon, whose site Titus one nine is, points out from this morning's morning prayer lessons

If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons.
Besides this, we have had earthly fathers to discipline us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live?
For they disciplined us for a short time at their pleasure, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness.
For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant; later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees,
and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed.
Strive for peace with all men, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.
Hebrews 12:8-14

May God grant us the grace this Lent to accept the necessary discipline of the Lord (both us individually and as a denomination), an strive for peace and holiness so that we may see the Lord! Keep praying as the denomination and anglican communion continues to sort it all out.

Lent begins today

ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, who hatest nothing that thou hast made, and dost forgive the sins of all those who are penitent; Create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we,worthily lamenting our sins and acknowledging our wretchedness. may obtain of thee, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

This Collect is to be read every day in Lent, after the Collect appointed for the day.

Monday, February 19, 2007

They are getting it! - Praise report!

This Sunday I had two great experiences while teaching the Confirmation Class and while helping at Children's Chapel.

At Confirmation Class, we were talking about the Scriptures, and how the Old Testament was still binding on us, except for the civil and ceremonial. In Children's Chapel we were talking about why it was wrong for Peter to want to build 3 tents/tabernacles for Moses, Elijah and Jesus, and the Jewish ritual Tabernacle being set up before the Temple.

In both classes, I asked why we no longer have to sacrifice animals for sin and in each case ALL raised their hands and then blurted out correctly "Because Jesus Christ died for our sins!"
DEO GRATIAS! They get it!

A cute picture from last week's snowstorm

I love this photo. The boys got up early Thursday morning, after the snowstorm we had and went right out to play. Meg, of course, was too little to join them but wanted to see. So here she is, sitting in her highchair while I make breakfast, watching the boys out in the yard playing in the snow!!!

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Two quick Sunday Morning thoughts

1) went to my wife's uncle's funeral this past Friday. Great to be with family despite the dreadful new agey, non-denominational funeral home service. Not a mention of the Resurrection, and Jesus' name only mentioned once, at the opening reading of John 14:1-4 (cutting off 5 and 6 mentioning Jesus as the way, the truth, and the life and only way to the Father). Otherwise we got several pithy hallmark sappy poems and pre-recorded songs that had nothing to do with our Lord. At least the military part at the cemetery was very well done. He was buried in the VA cemetery in Holly (Navy 1951-1956).

2) REJOICE with us - Jennifer's brother Adam is home from Iraq for a two week leave! Next Saturday afternoon we are having a big family dinner at the in-laws to celebrate with him! 5 months has been serving in Iraq.

Now off to the Church for Sunday services!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Looking forward to Spring

Our first real winter storm has arrived here in Detroit. We had to cancel our Vestry meeting because by 5pm the snow and wind had arrived with a vengence!

So as we will be spending a snowy, blowy, blustery Valentine's Day, our Detroit Tigers will be getting ready to report to Spring Training. Pitchers and Catchers report on Thursday, with the first workout on Friday. The rest of the players have to report by next week, although it is expected that many will be there early, if not there already.

So as we deal with winter, we look forward to Spring!

Global South Will Propose Two-Province Solution

From The Living Church on-line edition
Anglican primates of The Global South will propose a two-province solution to the divisions of doctrine and discipline confronting The Episcopal Church at this week's primates' meeting in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

Gathered at a hotel next door to the official venue of the primates' meeting, members of the Global South coalition of primates met with U.S. and Canadian traditionalist leaders Feb. 11-12 to discuss plans for a possible future shape of the Anglican Communion. A second meeting of primates of the CAPA (Conference of Anglican Provinces of Africa) was planned for today, and the primates' meeting itself begins Wednesday.

The Global South bloc at the primates' meeting will ask their follow primates to give approval to plans outlined in the Kigali Communique published last September and developed in a paper titled "The Road to Lambeth" that establishes a separate Anglican jurisdiction in the United States in communion with the See of Canterbury. This jurisdiction would gather "Windsor-loyal" Episcopalians, parishes, dioceses, clergy and bishops into a second church.

In addition to current members of The Episcopal Church, the new province would include the Anglican Mission in America (AMiA) and the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA), and would be open to reunion with the Continuing Anglican churches in the United States.

The ecclesiastical structure of the proposed province would be governed by a college of bishops. From among their ranks, the college would nominate three candidates to be presiding bishop, one of whom would be selected as primate of the province by the primates' meeting. This second American Presiding Bishop would have voice and vote at future primates' meetings under the proposals worked out by the Global South coalition and their allies, sources close to the coalition told a reporter.

The two-province solution is seen as an interim measure until such time as an Anglican Covenant can be formulated and adopted that would define who is, and who is not, an Anglican, sources noted, adding these plans had been presented to Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams in advance of this week's gathering.

The specific details of the two-province plan are unknown as the Global South primates have declined to comment publicly.

The Rev. Canon Charlie Masters, national director of Anglican Essentials, a Canadian church traditionalist group, told TLC he and three other Canadian church leaders had been invited to brief the Global South primates on the issues facing the Canadian church. It was important that the problems facing the Canadian church not be overlooked by the primates, Canon Masters noted.

The president of the American Anglican Council, the Rev Canon David Anderson, said it was impossible to predict the outcome of the meeting at this stage. However, the seven primates who spoke with TLC Monday appeared confident of the prospect of having their plan gain the consensus of the meeting.

Along with Canon Masters and Canon Anderson, the Rt. Rev. Martyn Minns, Bishop of CANA, the Rev. Canon Bill Atwood of the Ekklesia Society, the Rev. Canon Chris Sugden of the British-based Anglican Mainstream, Mrs. Cheryl Chang, the Rev David Short, and the Rev. Stephen Leung of the Anglican Network in Canada served as advisors to the Global South primates.

Writing to his diocese before his departure to Dar-es-Salaam to take part in the Feb. 14 briefing of the primates' meeting requested by Archbishop Williams, the Rt. Rev. Robert Duncan, Bishop of Pittsburgh and moderator of the Anglican Communion Network, cautioned against viewing the meeting in partisan political terms, and made a call to prayer."I ask your prayers for all who will be present, as well as those who support them around the world," Bishop Duncan wrote. "Whatever side we claim in our current controversies, we are all united in our deep need to hear and understand what God would have us say and do during these times."
(The Rev.) George Conger

Monday, February 12, 2007

An interesting quote in the Living Church

In an article in the February 18th edition of The Living Church there is an recap of the Diocese of Washington (DC) Convention. Two interesting resolutions were direct pokes at the Traditionalists in the Church (here and Communion-wide).

One was to instruct the Primates to 'graciously welcome' the ECUSA Presiding Bishop, something not most welcome by Primates around the world who do not like her revisionist theology. The proposer (Fr. Frank Wade) said her views are no different than the last two PB's, and "I think the issue is her gender and not theology". Of course, a woman as bishop is an issue of theology, but I am disappointed the Primates didn't/coulding do enough to stop her predecessors as well!

The resolution that was tabled was one to chide the Archbishop of Canterbury for inviting non-Primates from American to tell the truth about the dire situation in the Church (of course, they don't word it that way) which they say "diminishes the importance of the presence of our Presiding Bishop" and to question 'whether continued membership in the Anglican Communion is any longer beneficial to the Episcopal Church.'

The interesting quote is from the proposer of the resolution, who said, "This is not a resolution dissing the Archbishop of Canterbury. I'm a great admirer of his scholarship, not his leadership. The Episcopal Church is being chastised and marginalized...and I don't like it."

First - who uses the word "dissing" anymore. Didn't hat go out during the Iran-Contra Hearings?
Secondly - if my children formed a complaint like this quote, I would remind them that whining will get them no where in life! Of course, it might be proceeded with a "Wahhh" sound effect.
Chastised and marginalized? Wow, sometimes we have to be responsible for the consequences of our actions to the entire Communion. Whether our continued membership in the communion is beneficial might be a mute point if the Southern/Eastern Primates get their say.

Praying for the Primates Meeting

The Primates of our Worldwide Anglican Communion will be meeting this week in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania. Primates are the Archbishops (or in the case of the Episcopal Church, Executive "Presiding" Bishop) of the various National Churches with membership in our World-wide Anglican Communion. They meet regularly to discuss issues confronting our Communion.

Unfortunately, the various activities of the Episcopal Church and its deviation from Biblical teaching has become a common frustrating theme at these meetings. Yes, it certainly would be great if they could spent all of their time working on strategies for evangelism and lifting up of the poor in Jesus' name, but dealing with that which is cancerous to the theological integrity of the Body of our Communion has to take presidence so that the other work can be accomplished.

In addition to the Primates, several other American Bishops have been invited to the meeting to help the Primates understand the dire state of the Church in America. Bishop Duncan of Pittsburgh is among them, as well as Bishop McPherson of Western Louisiana, and Bp. Epting who works in the Presiding Bishop's Office.

Lots of folks are hoping some sort of solid discipline for ECUSA's refusal to repent at General Convention and agree to the terms of the Windsor Report on Communion is coming, as well as some sort of alternate recognition of Dioceses/Parishes that are compliant. As always, instead of holding our breath we need to pray, pray, pray that God's will is accomplished, remembering that haste is a human need, often contrary to the virtue or patience!

Bishop Ackerman of the Diocese of Quincy has put together a Novena - nine day prayer intention for the meeting, which can be found in PDF (Adobe Acrobat Reader format) here

So pray, pray, pray for the Church!

Friday, February 09, 2007

Getting antsy about selling the house

Our house has only been on the market for 4.5 months, and we have had looks of walk-thrus, but no offers. It is a slow market. We know that.

The house we want is still for sale, and has been on the market since last March. The owners passed away and the sons are selling it. Their price has dropped nearly 1/3, including a big drop recently, which may encourage more traffic for them. We went by to see it again today, just to make sure it really is the house we want and haven't romanticised it since seeing it last Fall. It was as we remembered and we really want it.

So tonight I re-listed our house on craigslist (a free site), just to feel like I am 'doing' something. Alice Baetz, our agent, continues to drum up business the best she can in this economy. If there were a way we could afford two mortgages for a while we might consider buying now even though we haven't sold...but we cannot. Perhaps a conditional offer is a possiblity, but it doesn't stop someone who tries to buy it, and can do so right away, to get it first before we can sell ours.

So, we ask your prayers, and St. Joseph's as well, as we hope to get a few more square feet under us, not only for the kids (we have another since moving here, and they all insist on growing), but to have more common space to host things like ALPHA and bible study in our house!

Here is the craigs list listing

Here is virtual tour of our current house - pass it on to anyone who is interested.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Hurray for Pat Walter!

Pat is not only a parishioner, but his janitor service takes care of the building. But over and above that he is the first person we call when something breaks and he can most often fix a most complicated thing - electrical, plumbing, etc.

Pat was able to diagnose the problem with the loss of heat in the building...a leaking tank, so that there isn't enough water in the system, shutting down the boiler automatically (the tank is pictured here, drained and turned up on its side to expose the leak on the bottom). The catch is that a new heating system has been ordered, and this tank with the leak is will be redundant on the new system. To replace the tank would be $1200, to use for only two or three months!!!

Pat was able to patch the tank for now, so the system is up and running!!! Thank God for Pat's abilities!!!

The cold continues - now inside!

7 1/2 days until the Tigers report for Spring Training (at least the pitchers and catchers). There was a story in the news today about the Tigers staff packing up equipment at Comerica to take down to Florida. Lucky dogs!

Meanwhile back here in Detroit, the furnace is out at St. John's. This happens once a year or so. The chapel was 46 degrees at lunchtime Wednesday for Mass (makes for pretty cold hands holding the chalice!) We hope to have it repaired sometime late tomorrow morning/early afternoon. The water pipes in the furnace rooms are being kept from freezing with a series of space heaters.

The heating system is scheduled to be updated and boiler/s replaced this Spring...the new boilers are on order! Ralph Burton always says that I should use my continuing education money to go to Heating and Air-Conditioning School!

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

What a Rocket Launch looks like.....Chiropractor Alert!

I downloaded a couple of weeks worth of photos from my digital camera today, and this picture sums up what going to a rocket launch at the Jackson Model Rocketry Club is all about!

Of course, I can't leave it without a photo of the reason we go to these launches. Here is Sam with a rocket he built from a kit purchased with his Christmas money. Unfortunately, it got caught in a tree and sustained some damage, but Sam was able to salvage the nose cone, motor-mount and fins, so he is just going to add on another body tube.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Global Warming...bring on some global warming!!!

On Sunday the high was 6 degrees, with a wind-chill of minus 25. Today was only slightly better.

I know this is Michigan, and it happens, but these long deep-freezes are too much....
Even with the heater on, the house feels a bit chilly around the edges.

On a good note, the boys had their Karate Olympics on Saturday. The three of them won 16 ribbons in 18 events combined, and a Gold, Silver, and Bronze in their overall catagories. And William received a special sportsmanship award.

And Andrew set a new club record in one event. In 'most kicks while standing on one leg', he broke the the old record of 430 by doing 1000 kicks. Yes - 1000!

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Feast of St. Blase

Today is one of my favorite saints days - the Feast of St. Blase. Yes, this is the saint where we have the Blessing of Throats. We will bless throats tomorrow, Sunday, after the 8am and 10am Mass in the Chapel. Below is the Teaching Note for Sunday to let you know about him, and about the custom of blessing throats. Why is he a favorite? Perhaps it is the fond memories of being bundled up as a kid and brought to Church for a special weekday service in February to have my throat blessed - it made a deep impression on me!
St. Blase is venerated as one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers; which same are certain Saints reputed to have a special power of intercession in heaven on behalf of those in peril or suffering on earth. According to the common tradition, they were all martyrs, except St. Giles. The Seven Holy Helpers are Acaius (against False Accusations), Barbara (Fire and Lightning), Blase (Ailments of the Throat), Catherine of Alexandria (learned peoples), Christopher (travelers), Cyriacus (for Clergy), Denys (mental illness), Erasmus (intestinal problems), Eustace (hunters and those with dangerous jobs), George (soldiers), Giles (good workmen, beggars and cripples), Margaret (the fearful), Pantaleon (those who care for the sick), and Vitus (limb infirmaties).

Devotion to the Holy Helpers is an evidence of belief in the spiritual commonwealth of those on earth with the Saints in Heaven.

The following of St. Blase is widespread because of the blessing of throats on his Feast Day. The legend is that on the eve of his martyrdom, Blasé healed a young man who was dying from having a thorn lodged in his throat. Blasé died in the 316.
From The Anglican Breviary, Frank Gavin Liturgical Press, 1965 p. 1102.

The Blessing of Throats is a request for God’s healing power through the gift of healing intercession given to St. Blase. Just as many people here on earth exhibit special graces given to them by God the Holy Ghost (healing, teaching, speaking in tongues), so too the Church teaches that some Saints continue that gift in heaven by God’s mercy.


Friday, February 02, 2007

Play about Bishop Spong

What a strange week of praying over scripture this has been. As I have been thinking/praying about this Sunday's lessons, particularly 1 Corinthians 15:1-11 (and what follows for the following week 12-20), I have been confronted with advertising for a playing being presented here in Grosse Pointe about the apostate retired ECUSA bishop, John Shelby Spong.
St. Paul writes to the Corinthians
3For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
4And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:
5And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve:
6After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.
7After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles.
8And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.
9For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.
10But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.
11Therefore whether it were I or they, so we preach, and so ye believed.
12Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead?
13But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen:
14And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.
15Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not.
16For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised:
17And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.
And yet, Bishop Spong has published 12 Thesis for revamping Christianity.
Thesis number 6 is :The view of the cross as a sacrifice for the sins of the world is a barbarian idea based on primitive ideas about God and must be dismissed
Thesis 7 is: Resurrection is an action of God. Jesus was raised into the meaning of God. It therefore cannot be a physical resuscitation occurring inside human history.
These two , and the other 10, are direct contradiciction of Scripture (and its plain meaning), and are fine examples of the problem with the Episcopal Church - the loss of Authority of Scripture!
Pray, Pray, Pray for the Episcopal Church! Pray that God send St. Michael and the Holy Angels to bind Satan to keep him from using the play tonight and tomorrow from misleading people away from the truth of God in Jesus Christ, as he has revealed himself in Scripture.
And pray for conversion of those who believe such distortions of the truth!

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Presentation/Purification Day

On Friday, February 2nd we have a Feast day under several aliases. Officially it is known as the Feast of the Presentation, because on this day Jesus was presented in the Temple (Luke 2:22 and following) to be dedicated to the Lord (see Exodus 13:2). It is also known as the Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary, since it is also on this day that Mary, being a woman who gave birth to a male child, has to go to the priest to be declared ritually pure after the flow of blood after birth (see Leviticus Chapter 12). At this presentation/purification St. Simeon and Elizabeth revealed Christ as the fulfillment of prophecy to them both. The Feast is also called Candlemas because it is the day when candles were blessed for the coming year, and a grand candlelight procession held in honor of all of the above.

Almighty and everliving God, we humbly beseech thee that, as thy only-begotten Son was this day presented in the temple, so we may be presented unto thee with pure and clean hearts by the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, world without end. Amen.

A Pastoral Letter from the Bishop of Pittsburgh

Here is a letter from my former bishop, whom I served under in the Diocese of Pittsburgh.
It is worthy of reading!

May God continue to bless him and direct him.


My beloved, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work ofthe Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. [I Cor 15: 58]

29th January, A.D. 2007

4th Monday After the Epiphany


Beloved in the Lord,

Writing from my hometown more than two hundred years ago, the great pamphleteer of the American Revolution, Thomas Paine, wrote these words: “Now are the times that try men’s souls.” The American Crisis called countless men and women to nobility and sacrifice in a very difficult season; the necessary recruits came forward, the against-the-odds successes of Trenton and Princeton followed, and the cause endured and eventually triumphed. We give thanks for the courage and tenacity of those long-ago heroes.

Our challenges as the people of God in this day are not unlike theirs, but ours is a spiritual struggle in a very secular and confused age. Our struggle is against more than flesh and blood, as Scripture and our Baptism remind us. Paul’s words at the end of I Corinthians are a clarion call as to how we are to conduct ourselves whatever the nature of our trials: steadfast, immovable, abounding, knowing…

Steadfast, Immovable

Our position simply stated is this: We are the Episcopal Church in this place and we have no intention of standing anywhere except where we have always stood ("the Faith once delivered to the saints") or being who we have always been (mainstream Anglican Christians). The Alternative Primatial Oversight Request points to the likely path forward for us and for others who share our commitment to the Faith and Order of the universal church. Emerging structures beyond the level of the diocese can only be conjectured at. They are not merely our decision. One sign of the transitional moment in which we find ourselves is the official invitation I have received from the Archbishop of Canterbury to be present at the discussion of the path forward for the United States at the upcoming Primates Meeting in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. I will be accompanied by one non-Network Windsor Bishop. Katharine Jefferts Schori will be accompanied by one progressive bishop. All of this is revolutionary in the life of the Episcopal Church and of the Anglican Communion. Our great sadness is that the Episcopal Church in its national majority continues its trajectory of walking away from the Anglican Communion, something we have said in Convention we will not do. These are times that do try our souls. We will continue as we have begun, in faithfulness and in charity, whatever else may develop around us.

In the sad matter of the civil suit originally brought by two of our parishes, and now re-entered by one of them, the Standing Committee has concurred in my decision to respond with a vigorous defense. The matters in play are theological and ecclesiastical. They have nothing to do with the property of the diocese. The property of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh will continue to be held and administered for the beneficial use of the parishes and institutions of the diocese. It is our continuing commitment to protect the interest the diocese has in its property -- indeed to protect all that it is steward over -- against any who would attempt to usurp that role, either from below (minority parishes) or above (national church). Scripture teaches that Christians are not to take one another to court. We did not bring the suit, and would not bring such a suit. As we seek to defend our Diocese and its rightful interests, as we believe is allowed by the Holy Scriptures, our prayer is that our God will have mercy on us all and keep us from the risks of anger, retribution or hardness of heart.

Abounding, Knowing

In trying times, St. Paul instructs us not only to be steadfast and immovable, but also to “abound in the work of the Lord, knowing that in Him [our] labor is not in vain.” All of us need to stay focused on the mission: locally, regionally, nationally and globally. Despite the trials of this season the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh continues to prosper. One sign of this is the statistics available from the Episcopal Church itself. When adjusted for population growth or loss, our diocese, over the last twelve years, is number three in the nation among ninety-nine Episcopal dioceses for growth in average Sunday attendance. (South Carolina, another Network diocese, was number one and Nevada was number ninety-nine.) Other more localized signs abound. Shepherd’s Heart (our church of the homeless) is averaging 200 at Sunday worship. Grace Slippery Rock (our newest plant) has seen as many as 100 at worship. Our Cathedral has attained the stability that should soon bring it back from transitional status. At a recent clergy day, the spirit was one of mutual encouragement, learning and even playfulness. The Common Life Project at Donegal has three buildings now underway, with new diocesan-wide committees working to bring this incredible resource into wide use. Annual planning gatherings of Diocesan Council, Board of Trustees and Cathedral Chapter have all been as positive and constructive as anyone can remember. These are just a few of the evidences that we are “abounding in the work of the Lord.”

Times of trial are times of high anxiety. St. Paul understood this, and so do we. The best antidote for fears at any level is trust in the Lord. That, too, characterizes our witness. Whatever is ahead for us, let us “know,” let us trust, that “in the Lord our labor is not in vain.”

Know that I am praying for you.

Please pray for me.

Faithfully your Bishop,

+Bob, Pittsburgh