July 2017 Convocation Newsletter
It is a great pleasure and privilege to be here today at the Church of the Ascension in Munich, one of the crown jewels of the Episcopal Churches in Europe. It wonderful thing, in particular, to confirm these six excellent young people and to watch them as they make their profession of faith, accepting their vows of baptism on their own behalf, and sending them forth in the power of the Holy Spirit to love and to serve God, and people for the rest of their lives.
[Christ Church, Greenwich, CT] "And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and fellowship, the breaking of bread, and the prayers." Anyone who has attended an Episcopal Church, whether here or in Italy or in Taiwan, recognizes this quote from the Book of Acts. In the liturgy for Baptism, it appears right after the Apostles' Creed in what is called "the Baptismal Covenant." This Covenant is practically unique to our Church — though the Church of England added it as an option in their new rite of Baptism found in Common Worship. We repeat it at every Baptism and Confirmation, as well.
As more abductions of schoolgirls occurred today in Nigeria, I call upon our congregations in Europe and all people of good faith to pray for the recovery safe and sound of all these children, for their families who are suffering terribly, and for the leaders of Nigeria and the world to act swiftly and effectively to secure their rapid return home.
Most people know the story of the Road to Emmaus. Here in France there is a homeless ministry called Emmaus, and its founder, Abbé Pierre, was considered the most popular man in the country. So much for secular France…One of the attractions of today's gospel story is that Luke uses a favorite literary device of mystery novels and films. We know it’s Jesus walking with Cleopas and What’s-His-Name, but they don’t.
I didn't pay a lot of attention to St. Thomas, a.k.a., Didymus or the Twin, a.k.a., “doubting”, until I was ordained to the priesthood on his feast day, December 21, twenty-nine years ago. After my trip to Iraq just before the war, and later, as we helped to provide asylum for 1300 Iraqis threatened with death for reasons of their faith, I got to know a lot more about Thomas. The story goes that he went to the east, where he founded churches, including the Chaldean Church in what is now Iraq, and the Mar Thoma Church in India. Thomas is said to...
Easter 2014, The Cathedral Church of the Holy Trinity. We have come to the culmination of what the Church calls “Holy Week,” which is actually the beginning of a second week, “Easter Week.” We have reenacted in real time the betrayal, death, and entombment of Jesus. Perhaps you were able to be with us as all of us helped strip the altar down to the bare wood on Thursday night, or Friday when we prayed in the shadow of death that Christ would put his cross between us and judgment. Or last night...
A review of "Revealing Heaven: The Christian Case for Near-death Experiences" (by John W. Price) Since the publication of books by Raymond Moody and Elizabeth Kübler-Ross, there has been a great deal of literature on the phenomenon of near-death experiences. There are battle lines drawn. On the one hand are mainstream scientists and other skeptics, who categorically reject these experiences as anything more than hallucinations created by a dying brain. On the other are authors like John Price, who as a chaplain has heard hundreds of these reports, and is convinced that they are authentic insights into the afterlife.
The Institution of the Rev. John Perris as Rector of Christ-the-King Church, Frankfurt, Germany. We have today a new beginning. And also another chapter in the ongoing story of Christ-the-King. It is appropriate, in a way, to institute your Rector on the first Sunday of Lent. Now I am not saying that after today Fr. John will be shoved out into the desert to be tempted of Satan! Of course, there will be moments… but we can say that the Holy Spirit has moved in the usual mysterious way to shove John and Cat and Alex into Germany.
Ash Wednesday 2014, Cathedral of the Holy Trinity. Today is no feast, for sure. It is a Fast, one of two obligatory fast days for Episcopalians, the other being Good Friday, of course. How you observe your fast is up to you. Many people choose to “give something up” for Lent, beginning today. That is abstinence, not fasting. Fasting is the reduction of food consumed. The point is, either way, to mark a difference in our usual routine. This difference is...
Today is a great Sunday: called “Stir-up Sunday” because we prayed earlier that God would stir up the power of the Spirit and come among us. What a powerful prayer — no pun intended. And God is answering that prayer today. It is also called “Gaudete Sunday” which is Latin for “rejoice”, quoting Paul’s injunction to the Philippians to “rejoice always and again I say rejoice!”