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More or Less Church

Joanna Depue "DJ/Deacon J" writes original songs and liturgies, does daily Farm office work and records Barbara's eMos on The Geranium Farm. A singer and dog trainer she utilizes healing touch in her private massage practice. PLEASE share YOUR original ideas for worship, special liturgies, prayers, songs, sermons and noteworthy blogs right here.
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Saturday, June 24, 2006

Reflections on being 'at the table'

General Convention in Columbus was remarkable. It was memorable.

Conversation - the act of speaking and listening, or listening and responding - between like minded folk or between people holding vastly differing convictions was brought to a new level of worth.

The phrase going round and round was about coming to the table, putting ideas on the table, being at the table, having a place at the table. If I had on my religious hat (no, I do not nor will I ever wear a baretta) I would think that the 'table' talked about would be the altar, 'the Lord's board'.

Yet even at this momentous Convention we were not talking about heavenly things; the table mentioned again and again was the bargaining table or perhaps the card table. What did you have to bargain with? What concession will you make if I give you this much? How much are you willing to wager that you can win this hand?

It pains my very being to think that - for this reason or that - I would not be allowed a place at the Lord's table: to eat and drink, to serve, to learn. Yet what power do I have to bargain with? What right have I to be at the table with the high rollers?

I'm a simple girl in many respects. As a baptized person I believe I have a place at the table because Jesus set the place for me - I also believe that everyone who has been baptized has a place there as well. Equally. I do not have the right to tell you to back away from the table or have the waiter take away the flatware because you make me uncomfortable. I don't have the right to tell you that you may not invite your brothers and sisters to dine with me.

It is not the long table in a board room; it's the Lord's table. Because we have each been adopted at baptism as is we each have a place at the Lord's table - it is big enough and bountiful enough for us all. Thanks be to God.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

The Farm Crew after the Geranium Farm brunch

Here is the group that put things together for the Farm: Debbie S. Loeb (Hodgepodge), Barbara Crafton, John (Trapper) Sharp and DJ (More or Less). We each pitched in to see that things got done. Besides these farmers several Ohio-based farmers bought the necessary geraniums for the tables and got a slew of chinese take-out containers.

Thank you, every one of you, who came to our brunch (which was pleasantly overbooked), who gave generously to both the massages and Debbie's handiwork in terms of the raffle. Very successful.

Good to meet so many of you for the first time. Blessings and Peace be with you all! DJ Posted by Picasa

Creating a 'formal' rite of loss of our furry companions.

From Columbus: Liturgy for 'person's best friend' consideredBy Pat McCaughan Friday, June 16, 2006 (e-mailed to us by Farmer Gwen Charbrun).

[Episcopal News Service] The dog didn't offer expert testimony but his brief presence during an early Friday hearing of the Prayer Book, Liturgy and Music Committee served as witness to the need to create a rite for loss of a companion animal (D041).

"Our animal companions provide a unique connection to creation and expand our sense of God's diverse gifts in creation. In many cases they also join us as partners in ministry, in such capacities as assistance animals, i.e. Seeing Eye dogs, etc. as well as therapy dogs and cats used in health care facilities and for pastoral care," according to the resolution, authored by the Rev. Lee Shaw of Utah.

The resolution asks the 75th General Convention to direct the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music to develop the rite for inclusion in the next edition of the "Book of Occasional Services" and to report its work to the 2009 Convention to be held in Anaheim, California.
"People grieve the death of an animal the same way they grieve the death of a parent. We need a liturgy to make that biblical passage. It's a matter of pastoral responsibility for what, in many people's lives, is one of the most important and painful moments to go through," said the Rev. Stephanie Speller from Boston, Massachusetts.

-- The Rev. Pat McCaughan is senior correspondent for ENS and serves as associate rector at St. Mary's Church in Laguna Beach

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

The Church doing Church

General Convention was and is an entity. It has a pulse, a drive, a joy, a temper.

Take your own parish and that which can get stirred up in a relatively small pot. Now multiply that by..... a lot. That is convention.

I'd never been to one and was thrown headlong into the life of it.

There is spectacle. The exhibit area alone has plenty to show between goods, wares (and wears), services, organizations, companies, individual artisans, obligatory food line. There is plenty to see and hear. There are plenty to meet!

One moves from there to any number of rooms dedicated to Eucharist or snacks or debates (if you have the proper credentials, of course). Clusters of people populate the large hallway constructing strategies or plans of action. You meet people you haven't seen for years in this new context.

I was lucky enough to meet so many women in leadership positions for the national ECW (Episcopal Church Women). What a lovely bunch.

It was an enriching experience being able to be present in the Prayer Garden at convention, presented through the good graces of many chapters of the Daughters of the King - a group I had only heard about prior to an e-mail which arrived in February. What a remarkable, loyal, diligent, prayerful group of women.

There was room at the table for everyone at convention: youth, the disabled, relief organizations, the aged, native and central American ministries, women, religious orders, lesbians & gays, traditionalists. We had conversation - not a battle or a screaming match or the cold shoulder. We had conversation with God and conversation with one another.

There can be something very radical about being moderate. Making the center a larger place gives us all space to stand and breathe.

The Spirit of the living God was in us and among us and lives in us still, invigorating us to be the body of Christ in the world. Through the Spirit we make connections, develop relationships. In this atmosphere the Church does Church the best way it can: reasonably, responsibly, reverently.

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