Monday, September 29, 2014

Glory of the Holy Angels

Everlasting God, you have ordained and constituted in a wonderful order the ministries of angels and mortals: Mercifully grant that, as your holy angels always serve and worship you in heaven, so by your appointment they may help and defend us here on earth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

- Collect for Saint Michael and All Angels 

Saturday, September 20, 2014

a wonderful way to close your weekend

Join us in Duxbury, MA, for a service of prayer, readings, silence, and above all singing inspired by the Community in Taize, France.

Join us at St. Margaret's in Duxbury this Sunday!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Scotland counts

Thinking about Scotland tonight as the counting begins. I hadn't realized that they don't put out election results until they are all in and the count is final.  Media is not to analyze anything while the polls are open.  Wow.  That certainly would make for a different election and less media influence.  I wonder what Bush vs. Gore would have been like...

And it's so close.  Now that the polls have closed, BBC is up and running.

And so I have discovered something astonishing.  I had been saying earlier today that it seemed close enough that a recount was certain. But look at this:

So could they do a recount? The short answer is no.
The Chief Counting Officer Mary Pitcaithly has made it clear that all votes are counted locally, that concerns about the count must be resolved locally, but "the closeness of the vote will not in itself be a sufficient reason" for a recount at any of the 32 count centres around Scotland.
She adds: "There is only one result - the aggregate of all 32 local totals."
'Respect the result'
And any recounts done locally, unless it was the last count centre to declare, would be done without the knowledge of how people had voted elsewhere - and so without knowing how close, or not, it might be on the national stage.
Wow. Just wow. is running live updates now that the polls have closed.

I can understand why Scotland might want to do such a thing, given that no one likes to feel controlled or helpless to determine his or her own fate. But practically? Just thinking about the logistics and the actual, monetary cost of a split, never mind a host of other issues and over 300 years of successful union, I just can't see a yes vote as logical, as appealing as it might sound.

Fortunately, this is up to residents of Scotland, not Massachusetts.

Let us pray that the right choice is made and that hard feelings created in this process are healed sooner rather than later.

Someday I'll have to find a way to get back to Scotland myself. I'm sure it will still be a topic of much discussion whatever the results may be.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014


Abbess of Bingen and Mystic, 1179

Sirach 43:1-2, 6-7, 9-12, 27-28
The pride of the higher realms is the clear vault of the sky,
as glorious to behold as the sight of the heavens.
The sun, when it appears, proclaims as it rises
what a marvelous instrument it is, the work of the Most High.
It is the moon that marks the changing seasons,
governing the times, their everlasting sign.
From the moon comes the sign for festal days,
a light that wanes when it completes its course.
The glory of the stars is the beauty of heaven,
a glittering array in the heights of the Lord.
On the orders of the Holy One they stand in their appointed places;
they never relax in their watches.
Look at the rainbow, and praise him who made it;
it is exceedingly beautiful in its brightness.
It encircles the sky with its glorious arc;
the hands of the Most High have stretched it out.
We could say more but could never say enough;
let the final word be: "He is the all."
Where can we find the strength to praise him?
For he is greater than all his works.

St. Hildegard von Bingen - Spiritus Sanctus

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Holy Cross Day celebration this afternoon

3PM Holy Eucharist 

followed by ice cream

and coffee - always coffee!

Doesn't get much better.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Alexander Crummell

Today in the Episcopal Church, we remember the Rev. Alexander Crummell. Priest, scholar, missionary, abolitionist, and writer, he had the courage and tenacity to pursue his vocation in the Episcopal Church at a time when only white men were welcomed as priests. He finally found a home in the Diocese of Massachusetts and was ordained to the diaconate in 1842 and the priesthood in 1844. He earned a degree in Cambridge (UK) in 1853 while serving as a parish priest there, and continued on to work in Liberia before returning to the US.  He is one of the founders of what is now the Union of Black Episcopalians.

The Rev. Alexander Crummell, 1877 -

The Union of Black Episcopalians offers a good biographical sketch:

The Rev. Alexander Crummel’s Biography:
Born March 3, 1819 in New York City, Alexander Crummell struggled against racism all his life. As a young man he was driven out of an academy in New Hampshire, dismissed as a candidate for Holy Orders in New York and rejected for admittance to General Seminary. Ordained in 1844 as a priest in the Diocese of Massachusetts, he left for England after being excluded from participating in diocesan convention.
After receiving a degree from Cambridge he went to Liberia as a missionary. A model Christian republic seemed possible in Liberia. He traveled extensively in the United States urging blacks to immigrate to Liberia and support the work of the Church there. On returning to Liberia he worked to establish a national Episcopal Church. Political opposition and a lack of funding finally forced him to return to the United States.
He concentrated his efforts on establishing a strong urban presence of independent black congregations that would be centers of worship, education and social service. When southern bishops proposed that a separate missionary district be created for black congregations, Crummell created  a national convocation to fight the proposal. The Union of Black Episcopalians is an outgrowth of that organization.
His faith in God, his preseverance in spite of repeated discouragement, his perception that the Church transcended the racism and limited vision of its rulers, and his unfailing belief in the goodness and greatness of black people are the legacy of the Afro-American pioneer. 

From Dr. Sarah Meer, a lecturer at Cambridge University, one of Alexander Crummell's alma maters:

W.E.B. DuBois himself writes of Crummell.  Here is the pertinent chapter, via YouTube audio books:

The Souls of Black Folk by W.E.B Du Bois - Chapter 12: Of Alexander Crummell:

You may also read this online here:

I am also interested to see that Stanford University has him listed in their Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Clearly he is not only a church pioneer, but a secular scholar as well.  Since this is not the focus of the church biographies, I had not realized that until now. 

Alexander Crummell (1819–1898) was the most prominent rationalist of the black American enlightenment thinkers in the nineteenth-century. He stands out among his contemporaries—Frederick Douglass, Anna Julia Cooper, Booker T. Washington, most notably—for his robust defense of the central place of reason in moral agency. His attempts to work out the consequences of that view for the nature of language and history lends his philosophy a breadth and depth not matched by other enlightenment thinkers.

His papers are among those of the New York City Public Library Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.

Almighty and everlasting God, we thank you for your servant Alexander Crummell, whom you called to preach the Gospel to those who were far off and to those who were near. Raise up in this and every land evangelists and heralds of your kingdom, that your Church may proclaim the unsearchable riches of our Savior Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Irish Nuns' Ice Bucket Challenge; Haiti's Water Challenge

Just for fun...

How lucky we are to have water... I bet that's clean, potable water.  Water that just comes out of faucets.

Treated water can be bought in individual packets in Haiti. 

Depending on whom you ask, 40%, 53%, or nearly 70% of people in Haiti lack access to safe, clean drinking water. I know they're working on it; I rather hope the 40% is the most recent statistic. That may be the case, as the cholera epidemic has helped emphasize that need. Do an internet search on water in Haiti and you'll see an astonishing number of small organizations working on the issue bit by bit. I know quite a number of Episcopal churches there have tiny, one-room water treatment plants for the benefit of the community.

the community water treatment plant in Darbonne, Haiti, at the Paroisse Ascension, Eglise Episcopale (the Episcopal Church of the Ascension)

Haiti is not alone.

Here's your own water challenge - go to to donate water just by clicking and perhaps or a similar organization to help more.

For a much better post on this, you might want to go to the blog of one of my dearest friends, Kim Bradley.  Actually, you should go to her blog anyway because it's just good. Maybe you even want to host a fundraiser party like the one she attended, "Wine to Water," working with this organization:

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

a monastic year in England for young adults

Look at this!

"Are you a Christian aged 20-35? Do you have a hunger to go deeper with God? Want to join a new monastic community at the home of the Archbishop of Canterbury?

St Anselm is an adventurous new religious community being formed by the Archbishop of Canterbury at Lambeth Palace in London.
In a unique experiment, next year Archbishop Justin Welby will open up his home in London to young Christians – inviting them to spend a year living, studying and praying at the heart of the Anglican Communion."
This is a great opportunity.  I would definitely have applied back when I was the right age.

Now that I think of it, by the time I had paid off my student loans, I was already interested in the religious life of a permanent sort. I wonder if there would be some sort of extension for student loans such as they do for the Peace Corps? I remember senior year of college looking into volunteering with the church in South America and giving up on it because there was no way to deal with paying back my loans. It's an issue for many of those interested.

Still, consider the possibilities! And to get to know the Archbishop of Canterbury, too. May God bless this new community as the seeds are planted for the coming year.

To find out more, subscribe to their blog at the site listed above.

And of course, if you are interested in becoming a sister, I invite you to contact Sr. Carolyn at 781-934-9477x702 or email Vocations[at]