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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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Friday, December 16, 2005

Advocacy resourses online for Millennium Development Goals

The following piece comes from the Daybook, from Episcopal News ServiceDecember 5, 2005, the article was passed on to me by Barbara Crafton and was sent to her by my fellow Deacon, Brooke Bushong:

As the weeks of Advent lead to Christmas, Christians prepare for Christ's coming by examining and ameliorating the patterns of their lives and relationships with God and one another.

Inviting the Church to pray and reflect upon making right the relationships and patterns of community in the world, the Episcopal Church's Office of Government Relations (OGR) offers several Advent resources on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for home and parish use. These include a theological reflection on the MDGs by Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold, a litany for use in the parish, and a short service of Evening Prayer that can be used with an Advent Wreath in the home or parish. Links to these resources:

Evening Prayer for Advent with Prayers for an End to Global Poverty

A Theological Reflection on the Millennium Development Goals for the Season of Advent

An Advent Bidding Prayer for an End to Global Poverty and Instability

"The Millennium Development Goals embody the response God calls us to give to our suffering world," said Griswold in his theological reflection. "The MDGs reflect God's passionate desire for justice and mercy, and the work of re-ordering and rebuilding we have been given." The Episcopal Church's General Convention "has called all of us to support the Millennium Development Goals and to give of ourselves to see that they are fulfilled," Griswold explained. Various program offices and agencies of the Episcopal Church have committed to fulfilling the MDGs.

"Episcopal Relief and Development (ERD) is operating successful programs in the developing world that are working in all of the Goal areas," Griswold said. "Moreover, the Church is living out its commitment to the MDGs in its world mission work and the efforts of its offices of Women's Ministries and Peace and Justice Ministries. As part of that effort, the Church's Office of Government Relations -- with the help of the thousands of Episcopalians around the country in the Episcopal Public Policy Network (EPPN) -- is lobbying the U.S. government to devote more resources to fulfilling the MDGs."

Home of the Episcopal Public Policy Network, OGR is located on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., and brings the positions of the Episcopal Church to the nation's lawmakers. "We represent the social policies established by the General Convention and Executive Council, including issues of international peace and justice, human rights, immigration, welfare, poverty, hunger, health care, violence, civil rights, the environment, racism, and issues involving women and children," said OGR's director, Maureen Shea. OGR staff meets directly with government leaders, works with media, recruits and mobilizes grassroots Episcopalians, builds relationships with Members of Congress and staff, and forms coalitions of both religious and secular interest groups to further the Church's positions. Alex Baumgarten, OGR's international policy analyst, explained that Episcopalians from around the country have expressed an interest in resources for worship and prayer that underscore the Baptismal promise to 'strive for justice and peace.' "As the season of Advent challenges us to examine our relationships with God and others, the Episcopal Church is pleased to offer these resources on the MDGs to help Christians rededicate themselves to the work of justice and reconciliation in the world," he said.

"The world possesses the wealth -- many times over -- to end extreme human poverty in our time, and the Millennium Development Goals offer us the strategies for doing so," Griswold said. "It is now up to all of us to build the will. To be sure, building the will involves a significant reorientation of our nation's and world's priorities. Ultimately, though, this is what the Christian faith is all about, and Advent shows us why."

Further information about the Episcopal Church's Office of Government Relations and the Episcopal Public Policy Network can be found online at:

Thank you, Deacon Brooke, for sending this through Barbara so that it could be posted here. We hope that many are encouraged to pray - especially during this season - for those in an empoverished environment as well as those who can support legislation to curtail that poverty.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Words from the Dalai Lama

Truths can be very true. Here is wisdom from the Dalai Lama:

1. Take into account that great love and great achievements involve great risk.

2. When you lose, don’t lose the lesson.

3. Follow the three R’s:

 Respect for self Respect for other’s Responsibility for all your actions

4. Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck.

5. Learn the rules so you know how to break them properly.

6. Don’t let a little dispute injure a great relationship.

7. When you realize you’ve made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it.

8. Spend some time alone every day.

9. Open arms to change, but don’t let go of your values.

10. Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer

11. Live a good, honorable life. Then when you get older and think back, you’ll be able to enjoy it a second time.

12. A loving atmosphere in your home is the foundation for your life.

13. In disagreements with loved ones, deal only with the current situation. Don’t bring up the past.

14. Share your knowledge. It’s a way to achieve immortality.

15. Be gentle with the earth.

16. Once a year, go someplace you’ve never been before.

17. Remember that the best relationship is one in which your love for each other exceeds your need for each other.

18. Judge your success by what you had to give up in order to get it.

19. Approach love and cooking with reckless abandon.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

The pursuit of knowledge:a TIVO/VCR alert

Let me speak to those of you out there who, secretly, inwardly, feel inadequate when it comes to academic credentials, "book knowledge". Of course, I'm partially speaking to the inner me and those of us who - because of mental wiring, personality preferences, hard times or lack of certain opportunities - did not go on to the palaces of "higher learning". In other times we would be considered graduating from honors from the 'school of hard knocks/life'...... and my instincts tell me there are bunches of us out there.

This installment is particularly for those of us who learn of things through art and media rather than the realm of books..... the kind of person that learns a great deal from (perish the thought) television (collective gasp). And the zillions of you that do church via a string of books-- I'm glad you're out there and enriching us-- this may give you more of a handle on how sensory people take things in.

You know full well you can usually beam in on a clutch of programs on faith - in one form or another - from two of my favorite classics: A Charlie Brown Christmas (which celebrates its 40th - yep, fortieth - anniversary this year) and The Bishop's Wife with Cary Grant, Loretta Young and David Niven. My sister Janet is more of a The Bells of St. Mary's girl.... and we are both fond of A Christmas Carol, specifically the Alistair Sim version.

OK.... what ever happens to faith, belief systems, the history of different religions, spirituality the rest of the year. It can be pretty hit-or-miss (except nearing Easter, of course!).

I wanted to clue you in on a few things that have come to my attention via the speed of the computer- this is NOT an exhaustive list.... but, hey! it's a start!

Often Oprah (whose name ORPAH- [name of a woman, who with Ruth were daughter-in-laws of Naomi in the Bible's book of Ruth] was erroniously transposed by someone in the hospital to end up with Oprah) has something about faith and compassion on her show- if you are looking for something mainstream and network, go to the computer to find out what her topics will be for the week or get info on a past show through: Next: guess who will be having a show on heaven?? Give up?? Weelwee? You bet! Barbara Walters will be having that special - find out more by going to:

Public Television is also a network possibility. Go to their website: Enter your zip code and the public station you usually watch and they'll show you upcoming programs... or enter a topic and you'll find it that way. There are often segments on religious topics on The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer. Another overview regular is Religion and Ethics NewsWeekly every week! If you want to get past interviews, search religion on the PBS site. Specials that really enlightened me on PBS have included: Several 'Frontline' pieces- From Jesus to Christ, Muslims, and Bill Moyer's expansive, enlightening series The Power or Myth with Joseph Campbell or The Wisdom of Faith with Huston Smith; The Congregation (about a progressive United Methodist church outside of Philadelphia, and an upcoming (set your VCR's) Sisters: Portrait of a Benedictine Community. Many things are available on DVD or VHS. Such is the case with the 6-part series The Religions of the World.

Beyond PBS are several cable options. Check out the whole slew of options under the Discovery umbrella (Discovery, Travel, Animal Planet, Science Channel) under Another umbrella site is: This one includes: The Biography Channel, The History Channel, and A & E.

One in our area - and maybe yours - is Used to be called Faith and Values.... check out what they have to offer. I even found archive video clips of Barbara doing short segments for America at Worship!

No, this isn't an exhaustive list..... but it may give you some ideas, some supplementary forms of expanding your horizons, even getting a different point of view relatively painlessly.

If you have found this info helpful, please post a comment below. Via that path or by writing me @ also let me know if you'd like another installment - on Christmas music, maybe..... or film??? Give me a holler, eh? I often feel I'm sending things out into the abyss, but nothing comes back and I want to offer things that are relevant. Peace out! DJ

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

As requested: A Christmas PAGEANT

If you are looking for a "pageant" with a large cast..... this one may be for you!

A Christmas Pageant

Many thanks to the Rev. Gawain de Leeuw who has been Priest-in-Charge at St. Bartholomew's in White Plains, NY. He will (God willin' and.......) be installed as Rector before very long. He wrote this pageant last year to spice things up a bit. Many thanks, Gawain, for your generousity in sharing this gift with us. I encourage you to put a comment on this entry as feedback for him, or you may contact him at:

Monday, December 12, 2005

All Creatures of our God and King

The following interesting, wonderful and in-depth pieces of information were sent directly to Barbara Crafton who thought that MOLC would be the right forum to share with all of you.

Knowing how I have written about and for animals and your very positive reaction, I'm pleased to forward the following information which was sent by Gwendolyn R Chambrun who has, as you will quickly see, a passion for animals and tigers in particular. Many thanks, Gwendolyn!

Here is a Book List of animals and theology:
Andrew Linzey: Animal Rites: Liturgies of Animal Care
Andrew Linzey: Animal Theology
Andrew Linzey: Animal Gospel
Andrew Linzey and Daniel Cohn Sherbok: After Noah: Animals and the Liberation of Theology
Andrew Linzey and Dorothy Yamamoto: Animals on the Agenda: Questions About Animals for Theology and Ethics
N.B.: The Rev. Andrew Linzey is an Anglican priest and holds the first post in Theology and Animal Welfare at Blackfriars Hall, Oxford University.
Two other books of interest are:
C. S. Lewis: The Problem of Pain (especially the chapter "Animal Pain")
Matthew Scully: Dominion: The Power of Man, the Suffering of Animals, and the Call to Mercy

Here are websites for Anglican and Episcopalian animal organizations:

Anglican Society for the Welfare of Animals (United Kingdom):

Episcopal Network for Animal Welfare (USA):

EpiscoVeg (USA):

All Creation Liberation (USA):

Sensible Creatures: Anglicans with Animal Concerns (Canada):

I bet you didn't know that there were this many!


This is a project that I proposed to Trinity; please feel free to pass it on to anyone who may be interested. There is lots of information about Tigers!

Lenten Family Day for Saturday, February 11th, which is the first Saturday in Lent (or Saturday, February 18th). This is a project that can involve children of all ages, their parents, the youth, seniors, and those with a theatrical bent.

According to Lectionary Year B, the Gospel reading for Sunday, February 12th, the first Sunday in Lent, is Mark 1:13:

Jesus "was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels waited on him."

The basic structure of the day would be:

1. Film

2. Discussion (or meal)

3. Meal (or discussion)

4. Activities

Here are the details:

1. Viewing a wonderful Film released last year about a pair of tiger siblings called
"Two Brothers" ( ), that was filmed in Cambodia and Thailand.



Study Guide:

2. breaking up into age appropriate groups for Discussion. I have collected a number of resources to choose from. Here are two exploring the theme of Jesus being with the wild beasts:

i. An essay entitled The messianic peace with wild animals by Richard Bauckman (in Animals on the Agenda, Andrew Linzey)

ii. A poem entitled In the Wilderness by Robert Graves,

Here are two resources exploring the wildlife's uncanny response to the tsunami:



Tigers, habitat loss, treatment in captivity, use in Chinese medicine, etc. There are a lot of resources, I will list just two regarding tigers in Thailand today:



The Trinity Choir sang British composer John Tavener' s setting of William Blakes poem The Lamb last year; perhaps this year they could sing his magnificent setting of The Tyger on Sunday?

3. Ordering a Meal from the vegetarian Thai restaurant Pukk in the East Village:


4. Age-appropriate Activities, such as Mask-Making and asking the questions: What would Jesus say to the wild beasts today as they are struggling for survival as their habitats are being destroyed? What would the wild beasts say to Jesus?

None of this is written in stone! Do you like any of these ideas? Do you think the young people and the little ones would like any of them? Do you have any additional suggestions?

Now, while I'm not Mother Crafton, these ideas, and the positive inter-generational things we can do are a marvelous way to rekindle the dynamic nature of our faith! Keep up the good work, Gwendolyn--- and folks, please add your comments to this posting so that others can read and Gwen can get some feedback. Or, you may contact her directly @ Many thanks to all!

Sunday, December 11, 2005

A Christmas play-let

A while back folks said they wanted to see a "Christmas pageant" here for use. I pulled up the ones I had and was not satisfied in hindsight. Having been under the weather with persistant bronchitis, my concentration and sense of play were a bit off.

I finally came up with a Christmas play-let for you. Only 7 speaking parts, but that can be 'padded' by the usual suspects: workers, sheep, shepherds, the innkeeper, etc.

Since many churches are smaller these days (or at least here in these NY parts) without burgeoning Sunday School enrollment, I envisioned something smaller, a bit more quiet..... yet just as telling and inviting. Feel free to stretch it, embellish it, make the sets (just the front of the inn and the stable around the corner) detailed if you'd like. Otherwise, this can be done very simply and gently.

Feel free to use The Guest for a quiet change of pace. If you do, just give a nod to me and the Farm.

If you need something with several more parts (and a few chuckles for the adults and young adults) I will be posting a pageant written by my rector, The Rev. Gawain F. de Leeuw who has graciously permitted his work to be posted tomorrow evening/Tuesday morning.

THE GUEST: A Christmas Story

Thank you all for fete-ing Barbara in the most wonderful way in honor of her ordination to the priesthood. I'll be coming up for 15 years as a deacon in June 2008...... so hold that thought! Blessings to you all this Refreshment Sunday!

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