Welcome and thank you...

...for joining me as I journey to ordination to Holy Orders in the Episcopal Church USA. I will journal my hopes and fears, my joys and disappointments that I experience in the process. I'll think aloud my pastoral theology and my theology in general along with my observations about the ECUSA.

If you're looking for in-depth theological discussions or arguments, you've come to the wrong place. However, if you wish to walk with me on this journey - welcome and thank you.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Fullness of Time: First Sunday after Christmas

The Collect:

Almighty God, you have poured upon us the new light of your incarnate Word: Grant that this light, enkindled in our hearts, may shine forth in our lives; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

Lectionary Reading

Isaiah 61:10 -62:3
Psalm 147
Galatians 3:23 - 25; 4:4 - 7
John 1: 1 - 18

But when the fullness of time had come, God sent his son, born of woman... (Gal. 4:4)

Friday, December 26, 2008

Feast of St. Stephen


We give you thanks, O Lord of glory, for the example of the first martyr Stephen, who looked up to heaven and prayed for his persecutors to your Son Jesus Christ, who stands at your right hand; where he lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen

Lectionary Reading:

Jeremiah 26:1-9, 12-15
Psalm 31
Acts 6:8 - 7:2a, 51c - 50
Matthew 23: 34 - 39

Stephen's life intrigues me no matter how often I read about him. He is described as a man with a good reputation, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom. The writer of Acts goes on to say that Stephen was full of grace and fortitude. Stephen was also a prolific preacher who was highly skilled in logic. He was so skilled that he was conspired against. Religious folks lied and their lie led to Stephen's death by stoning.

When I read about St. Stephen I am so humbled by his willingness to serve. He didn't claw his way to the top, to "apostleship." He didn't have a need to work side-by-side with the men in charge. No one is named as a disciple of Stephen. Yet his gift made room for him as he made room for his gift. By all accounts Stephen was a brilliant man, an intelligent person who served, who spoke the truth, and who was killed because of it. (Haters will take you out!)

In celebrating the Feast of St. Stephan I give thanks for that great cloud of witnesses who came before to leave a testimony of their faith. It is their testimony that keeps me connected to the Church of Jesus Christ. Otherwise I would probably not bother showing up. I trust and believe God from anywhere that I am, but it is because of these saints, Stephen and others, who were martyred and persecuted for the Gospel's sake that keeps me physically in church and emotionally attached.

I pray that I make room for my gifts, that I am available to the Spirit, and that I act upon the strength and courage granted to me to love and serve God and others with gladness.

Collect is from the Book of Common Prayer.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Rejoice! Rejoice! It's Christmas...

God provides. Jesus is born. The LORD is with us.

So begins the annual Christmas letter written by my rector. Such simple sentences, such a profound message.

A stack of letters were adjacent to the Sunday bulletin; I grabbed both, walked to a pew, genuflected, and sat. There is always silent meditation before both Sunday Masses. So I sat down to get centered, to meditate, to pray, and to still my spirit. Once my breath was at a steady, calm pace. I look at the letter to admire the design of the paper - I had not planned to read it until after Eucharist ended. But the Holy Spirit had other plans and she bid me to come. Read. Read it again. Then again. As each lesson was read: Old Testament, Psalm, Epistle, Gospel - I heard those words echoing in my ear. God provides. Jesus is born. The LORD is with us.

I nearly had a Pentecostal experience from my childhood days: I felt lightheaded and was sure I would be "slain in the Spirit" right there. Oh my! I could barely contain my joy. God provides. Jesus is born. The LORD is with us.

What a beautiful reminder of my who my Source is. Blessed assurance! God provides. Jesus is born. The LORD is with us.

It's Christmas praise God.

Photo is of Uganda Nativity set made of banana fiber available at magellantraders.com

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Fourth Sunday of Advent: Here I Am Lord

The Collect:

Purify our conscience, Almighty God, by your daily visitation, that your Son Jesus Christ, at his coming, may find in us a mansion prepared for himself; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

Lectionary Readings:

2 Samuel 7:4, 8-16
Psalm 132
Romans 16: 25 - 27
Luke 1: 26 -38

Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word. Luke 1: 38

The Collect is from the Book of Common Prayer.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Listening For God...

I am a holy mess, a holy wreck. I need help! I feel as if chaos will consume me and I will be sucked into a black hole. All of this pressure is from the ordination process. I feel unready, unqualified, unprepared for the task that lay before me. Maybe I'm just afraid of this entire process.

I need to retreat and connect with God with distractions. I don't spend nearly enough time in prayer and meditation. I don't read scripture devotionally anymore. The last time I studied was for a sermon. What is getting into me?

I want a sacred space in my home and I don't have one anymore. There is no place for silence. I never imaged my spiritual life would spiral in this way. I know there are times when we are in the wilderness. I may not be in the wilderness yet, but I'm sure on a desolate highway. I am not alone, but I sure feel alone.

My job takes so much of my energy; I no longer feel fulfilled. It's a bad place to be. Each day at the office is a day that I could be doing what I've been called to do like minister in an assisted living home, or hospice, or hospital. There is the young adult ministry I want to start. Oh, and what about the health ministry that is so desperately needed in my small parish? That's where my energies should be going. I work 40 hours a week yet I feel unproductive.

I wait for God, listening for direction. One day at a time dear LORD that's all I ask.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Third Sunday of Advent

The Collect:

Stir up your power, O Lord, and with great might come among us; and, because we are sorely hindered by our sins, let your bountiful grace and mercy speedily help and deliver us; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit, be honor and glory, now and for ever.


Lectionary Reading

Isaiah 65: 17-25

Psalm 126

I Thessalonians 5:12-28

John 1: 6-8, 19-28

or John 3: 23-30

Collect is from Book of Common Prayer (BCP), 1979.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


After each diocesan convention I've attended I leave with the same sinking feeling - I'm just not "episcopalian enough." When I first became a member of the ECUSA, I went through a "journey class" that included small groups discussing what it means for us to live in baptism, to be Christ's church and representatives in the world, and to be part of the ECUSA. What didn't happen was the teaching of the church's liturgy and rituals. This is important to me.

I've since read books and I've learned the correct times during Mass to genuflect, make the sign of the cross, to kneel, to stand, etc. But something still feels off; something isn't connecting. I've often made these statements to my friend whose been worshipping in the ECUSA since 1970 and she says I'll get it eventually. It's been over 5 years and each time I assist at Eucharist, I still feel out of place. Where is my confidence?
While at the diocesan convention I saw an exhibit for catechesis. This particular program is focused on the religious formation of children. It is rooted in the Bible and the liturgy of the church using the Montessori teaching method. I saw beautiful minatures that depict the books of the Bible, bible stories, Eucharist table, and salvation history. It was amazing.

Now, where is this for adults who are new to the ECUSA? My husband and mother-in-law have informed me that in the Roman Catholic Church new converts, adults and children, have to attend catechism. When I thought about becoming a member of the Roman Church, I was told by the parish priest that it would be required. This should be an opportunity given to new ECUSA members. How else do you learn what you are doing and why?

I'm now signed up to attend class with 9-12 year olds and I can hardly wait!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Second Sunday of Advent

The Collect:

Merciful God, who sent your messengers the prophets to preach repentance and prepare the way for our salvation: Give us grace to heed their warnings and forsake our sins, that we may greet with joy the coming of Jesus Christ our Redeemer; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

Lectionary Reading

Isaiah 4o: 1-11
Psalm 85: 1-2, 8-13
2 Peter 3: 8-15a
Mark 1: 1-8

Collect is from Book of Common Prayer, 1979.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Call To Convention - Los Angeles Diocese

113th Annual Meeting of the Los Angeles Diocese

The ECUSA Los Angeles Diocese will convene it's 112th annual convention on Dec 5th & 6th. I'm so excited! I love convention; after my first one in 2005 I was hooked. I love seeing church polity in action.

I'm usually clueless as to a lot of procedures, but each time I go I learn a little more. I missed this year's deanery meeting so I'll have a cramming session as to what's on the agenda this year, especially since I may become a last minute delegate (long story and I'll spare you the details of lack of commitment blah, blah, blah.)

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori is speaking and it will be live via webcast beginning 11am (PST) on Dec 6th. Bishop Jefferts Schori will inaugurate the Margaret Parker Memorial Lecture Series by addressing the topic: What are the keys to peace and justice through the empowerment of women, especially amid the challenges of the current global financial context?

I'm leaving home very early so that I can find parking. I'm staying at the Mission Inn, a hotel that I've wanted to frequent, but hadn't. It's decorated for the holidays and it's a beautiful, historic building. It's a national historic landmark in fact. (I know it's more information than you really care to know, but I'm excited okay.)

I've been invited to fellowship with the deacons this year and I'm excited about that as well. Do you think I love convention?

I guess I really am a "church girl" as my husband likes to call me. Well, I'm off to convention!

Photo is St. John's Cathedral which is both a parish church and cathedral church (or procathedral liturgy) for the Los Angeles Diocese, while the Cathedral Center of St Paul serves as the administrative center of the diocese.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Schism In The Anglican Communion

On December 3, 2008 a North American province was formed within the Anglican fellowship. Its status within the worldwide Anglican Communion is unclear. Theological conservatives formed this new province because they are angry and in disagreement with the liberal views of the US and Canadian Anglicans regarding homosexuality. (link)

I am a supporter of extending civil rights to the LGBTQ community including the right to marry. I am not one who banishes a person based on his or her sexual orientation.

I must say that I questioned the ECUSA's decision to ordain Bishop Gene Robinson, not because he is gay or openly gay, on the basis that he lived with his longtime partner without marriage. I realize that they were unable to marry, but it's no excuse. IMHO it should have been a sacrifice on the bishop's part for the sake of the Gospel. A heterosexual who is in a loving, long term relationship, co-habitating without marriage would not have been ordained. I just don't believe it would happen and I don't think it should.

I'm not going to leave the ECUSA because of it nor do I think any less of Bishop Robinson. Anyway, there are more important issues to think about and to act on.

Monday, December 1, 2008

First Things First

I am a PK - a preacher's kid and preacher's grand kid. My father is from the Baptist tradition and my mother is Pentecostal. My grandfather was a Baptist pastor. In fact a long line of relatives, both male and female, are clergy. I guess it's what my family does.

I grew up in a fundamentalist, conservative Christian home. The first chance I got I stop doing church. I spent most of my childhood in church almost everyday of the week except Monday. Growing up in the Catholic city of New Orleans meant that my family was the odd one.

I married a Roman Catholic and would attend Mass with him; I found that I enjoyed Mass and the priest's homily. It was only after I answered God's call to preach that I realized that I had to find a church where my call to holy orders would be recognized. Thus began a journey. I went to the Methodist Church, the African Methodist Episcopal, and the Baptist Church before becoming frustrated and again staying home.

One Sunday morning I was driving and praying and crying when I took the wrong turn home. I saw this grand edifice across from city hall and decided to go inside the church. I thought it was too early for service and I would go inside to meditate. When I walked in I was shocked speechless. There was a woman priest celebrating Eucharist; a black woman. It was the first time I had seen a black, female priest in person.

I was home. I knew God had answered my prayer. You see that morning I lamented to God that there was no where for me to go. I had no mentor. I was alone. God said, "You are never alone."

That was 5 years ago when I first entered seminary. That's how long it's taken me to get to the point of having a discernement committee. So it goes in the ECUSA.