Thursday, December 8, 2016

Hope amidst the turmoil

Image result for charleston dove
Copyright Gil Shuler Graphic Design
In Charleston this week the Michael Slager trial (police officer accused with the murder of Walter Scott) ended in a mistrial and after some delay, the trial of Dylann Roof (white nationalist who killed nine members of a bible study at Emanuel AME Church to start a race war) began.

I was interviewed today by a reporter from NPR about faith and forgiveness in the context of these trials. (Thanks Shani for the introduction!) The last question he asked me was do I feel optimistic about the state of race relations in Charleston.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

All Saints Day Reflection

Growing up “I sing a song of the Saints of God” was one of my favorite hymns. The accessible language, especially “you can meet them in school, or in lanes, or at sea, in church, or in trains, or in shops, or at tea,” always evoked images of the saints in my life. There are so many people that touch us throughout our lives in large and small ways.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Watching and waiting

Living in uncertainty is always hard for me. Living in the cone of uncertainty for a major hurricane is an entirely different story.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Certificate Program conclusion

Pendle Hill in Philadelphia
I traveled last week to Pendle Hill, a Quaker retreat center just outside of Philadelphia. I was attending the final week of a yearlong journey that I have been on for Forma's Certificate Program for Leadership in Lifelong Christian Formation.

When a friend who participated in the first cohort recommended that I apply for the program a year and a half ago, I was in a very different place than I am now. I didn’t think I was ready. I didn’t think I had enough experience. Frankly I was insecure and after a few turbulent years, not sure about anything.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Blessing Backpacks as part of our Baptismal promises

My kids walking in to church.
Will you who witness these vows do all in your power to support these persons in their life in Christ?

People: We will.

Book of Common Prayer, pg. 303

Monday, July 11, 2016

Pokemon Go-es to Church!

In case you don't have a 7 year old boy living at your house and have been really confused by suddenly seeing people wandering in circles staring at their phones, Pokemon Go came out last week.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Growing up and letting go

Learning the balancing act of letting go and hanging on

I have a dear friend visiting this week with her family. On Monday, we spent the day on the beach and my now 7 year old son, immediately took off into the waves and didn't look back. He spent hours boogie boarding and kept going farther out. 

Thursday, June 16, 2016

The Rainbow Promise

Last night my Facebook feed turned from hate and fear to hope. 

It was a Wednesday night in June. A year ago tomorrow when a white man walked into a Bible Study in downtown Charleston and killed 9 African-Americans because of their race.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

I saw God today...She was at Costco

In February, I posted on my Facebook wall....

I saw God today. She was at Costco and said with love and support radiating from her face “You are a good mom.”

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Acts 8: Raising up young leaders in The Episcopal Church

The Acts 8 Core Committee asked bloggers to answer the question:

"According to Pew Research, adult GenXers and Millennials now outnumber Baby Boomers by nearly 2 to 1, but when we look at General Convention the statistics don't match up. In what ways can the church create opportunities to lift up younger leaders, lay and ordained, to serve as Deputies to General Convention?"

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Sermon from Trinity Sunday 2016 at St. Stephen's Episcopal Church

This past Sunday, I had the pleasure to be the guest preacher at St. Stephen's Episcopal Church in Downtown Charleston. They held up the Episcopal flag boldly during the hard years and are a "House of Prayer for All People". I smartly avoided trying to explain the trinity and instead shared a bit of my story. Regular readers of the blog will recognize many parts of this. I apologize for my redundancy.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Lessons learned...Children should be seen, heard, and a part of the service

(This is the sixth post in a series. If you found this first, I suggest reading from the beginning here.)

Banner we made on the first day of Sunday School
On the Sunday after Easter, my two kids were the only small ones. Normally I lead Children's Chapel for all the small kids from the end of the Gospel reading until the Peace. Since it was just the two of them though, I decided that we would stay in church so I could hear the sermon. After the service, people came up to tell me they could hear my son's voice. What was refreshing was that it wasn't to complain about kids talking during the service but because they could hear him reading the Psalm responses with the congregation.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Lessons learned...The Episcopal Church chose me long before I chose it

(This is the fifth post in a series. If you found this first, I suggest reading from the beginning here.)

I was born into an Episcopal family. My parents and grandparents all went to the same Episcopal church, Ware Episcopal Church in Gloucester, Virginia. My grandparents are all buried together there actually. We went to church every Sunday, were active in many ministries, showed up for all the clean-up days, etc... I was baptized, confirmed, and married in Episcopal churches. When we were going through the "discernment period" in 2013 before Old St. Andrew's voted on if they would stay with The Episcopal Church or the Lawrence diocese, the Rev. Marshall Huey said that for some people being Episcopalian was part of their being. This hit home for me. I had identified myself as Episcopalian for so long that it was part of my being but now I was being asked to choose.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Lessons kind to a stranger

Yesterday was a very hard day. I was coming off the high of an amazing weekend with the Presiding Bishop. The Most Rev. Michael Curry was in town for three days and visited all five of our downtown churches for various events. I highly recommend you watch his Saturday address and Sunday sermon at Grace church (starts at the 39 minute mark).

Vicki and her daughter Brooke
But yesterday was about celebrating the life of an amazing lady who had died too young. Vicki Warren Washburn was the mother of a friend. She was one of those ladies that always had a smile on her face, a kind word, and enough energy to fuel a city. Cancer took her from us much too quickly.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Lessons learned..With a little help from our friends

(This is the fourth post in a series. If you found this first, I suggest reading from the beginning here.)

When most people start a new church, I assume they do some pre-planning before their first Sunday.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Lessons learned...there is life after death

This blog is an ongoing series about the lessons that I am learning in The Episcopal Church in South Carolina. To start from the beginning, read my first post.

Lesson #3: There is life after death

That first year, when people asked what I was up to I would say "I quit my job and started a church in a funeral home." This is obviously an oversimplification of events as you can read in my first post but the truth was a little bit harder than that.

My favorite Holy Holder with my daughter
The split felt a little bit like a death in the family.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Lessons lightly into the neighborhood

This blog is an ongoing series about the lessons that I am learning in The Episcopal Church in South Carolina. To start from the beginning, read my first post.

Lesson #2: Travel lightly into the neighborhood

Morning Prayer at Sunflower Cafe, Charleston
When Jesus sent out the seventy in Luke 10 he wasn't telling them to go to church on Sunday, just talk to each other, and go on their way. He was sending them out into the world to travel lightly and rely on the hospitality of strangers. Bishop Andy Doyle of Texas reminded me of this twice recently at the Forma conference in Philadelphia and a Virginia Theological Seminary Dinner in Charleston. He said "We have convinced ourselves that doing liturgy for one hour on Sunday morning is mission. That's our sin." (paraphrased from my notes).

Friday, March 4, 2016

Lessons learned...reflecting on three years

I have learned a lot of lessons over the last three years. I didn't go looking for them. If anything, I pushed hard against them but sometimes (always?) you have to adapt to survive. This is my story of the Episcopal schism in South Carolina.