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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 01, 2006

Advent's around the calendar's corner

I will be relentless here, folks. I believe in preparation..... and times and seasons for things.

Advent can be a beautiful, wonderful time. A sacred time.

My wholehearted recommendation: GIVE UP SOMETHING. Overspending, overshopping, overworking, overthinking, overanalyzing. Give up those things that spill over into other things.

Say a short prayer, even if it is "Thank you, Jesus as we begin this new day together". Keep it simple.... and keep it.

Go to your denominational or supplementary hymnal sources and read the words to the Advent hymns and chants. Listen to the longing, feel the expectancy, allow yourself the luxury of wondering.

Cut your spending in half. Yes, half. Take part of the surplus and make a donation (by money order if you don't want to be overrun by being put on a hundred mailing lists for charities).

Read a few lines of a book: the Bible or a devotional/daily meditation. Use an advent wreath. Smile while looking someone in the eyes.

Jesus is coming.... change the slip covers of your interior furniture. Spruce it up and look forward to company coming!

Thursday, November 30, 2006

St. Andrew

I've always been fond of St. Andrew..... in part because of his ruggedness and in part because he was responsive to the faith within himself.

He had been a close devotee of John the Baptist. Yet, on the encouragement of the Baptist, Andrew (according to the Gospel of John) left John to follow the Lamb of God. He is mentioned as first calling Jesus Rabbi - teacher. Andrew stayed with Jesus that day and encouraged Simon - eventually called Peter - to follow the magnetic Rabbi as well.

I have a feeling that Andrew's witness and preaching were sincere, heartfelt and salty in nature, the flair he brought with him from his trade as a fisherman. There are times when the fashioning of language can bring one to tears - just as often, the heartfelt, even clumsy testimony of a man whose spirit - whose life -had been opened and turned inside out would have been eloquent as well.

Andrew met the martyrs fate of most of the Apostles yet he probably faced it bravely (legend has it) with this weathered face to the wind, upside down, crucified on a cross in the shape of a great X. Andrew's is the last major feast of the liturgical year.

On 1 December we remember Nicholas Ferrar, deacon whose life (and the lives of the members of his short-lived religious community at Little Gidding (UK) led auster lives in order to store a church which had been in ruins, provide for their neighbors - particularly children - offer schooling and the preparation of 'harmonies' for the Gospel.

December 2 is the Feast of Bishop Channing moore Williams, first missionary Bishop to China and Japan. Born in Richmond, Virginia he attended the College of William and Mary and then Virginia Theological Seminary. Ordained a Deacon in 1855 he work for two years in China while becoming a priest. In 1857 he was sent to open work in Japan and in 1866 was chosen Bishop of China and Japan. His heart was with the Japanese people and after 1868 he focused most of his time in what would become Tokyo opening a divinity school later known as St. Paul's university.

There are so many saints among us! Pick up a copy of the recent edition of Lesser Feasts and Fasts and learn about those faithful folks who have gone before us, blazing some trails or at least making paths were no paths had been.

Also found in LFF are daily readings for Advent (which could be done in conjunction w/an Advent wreath) daily readings for Lent, Holy Week and the Easter Season (all 7 weeks). If you don't have one on hand, see whether your pastor or parish library may give you a peek at it at some time. Very interesting reading!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

A few steps forward...... a long mile to go

This item was sent on my the ever faithful Debbie (Hodgepodge). Thanks!

LONDON (Reuters) - Women priests are given the worst positions in the Church of England even though they make up half of all newly ordained ministers, research published on Sunday said.

The church ordained its first women priests in 1994 but new entrants have predominately been given unpaid roles while their male colleagues are largely found in paid or "stipendiary" positions, the research found.

"Women are left with the dregs," said David Voas, senior researcher at Manchester University, who conducted the study. Their congregations are often small, rural, old or liberal -- the kind of churches that need nursing care."

At the largest churches, attracting Sunday congregations of 300 or more, there were no female priests at all. But as the number of women priests rises, pressure is likely to grow for the imbalance to be addressed. Nearly a quarter of male priests are 60 or older and nearing retirement. At the same time, women make up 50 percent of all new priests.

"It seems pretty clear that in a couple of decades women will not only be 50 percent of the inflow but 50 percent of the stock of serving clergy," Voas said. Christina Rees, chair of pro-women's ordination group Watch, said the number of women in senior church positions was "woefully low."

Rees, a member of the church's General Synod, said women have had a profound effect on the church since they were admitted to the clergy.

"Women are bringing what women bring to any profession. We now have the whole of humanity ministering as priests in the church, a more fully representative priesthood," she said.
Christopher Lowson, the church's director of ministry, said it would take time for a large proportion of women to fill the more senior posts. "Women priests are playing an increasing role in the church's ministry, now providing 16 per cent of all full-time stipendiary clergy compared with 8 per cent in 1995," he said. Voas said the growing levels of female participation should put paid to recent suggestions that the Church of England might reconsider its decision to allow the ordination of women.

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams earlier this month was forced to stress his support for women priests after apparently suggesting in a newspaper interview he had doubts about female ordination.

Voas's analysis is based on new statistics on women ministers from the Church of England and the English Church Census 2005, conducted by charity Christian Research and funded by the Economic and Social Research Council. Women currently account for around 2,000 of the 12,000 priests in the Church of England.

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