Friday, September 26, 2008


I promised to blog about the MDG's as part of this day of prayer and fasting for the MDG's while the UN confers about them at the General Assembly. I spent most of the day at the Lutheran School of Theology's workshop on communion between the Methodists and the Lutherans and our interim eucharistic sharing with the UMC. We focused on the document This Holy Mystery, a kind of guide to UMC understanding of th eucharist. The document speaks about how the eucharist should drive us to care of the needs of the poor and to be missional in some other ways. It is distressing that the General Assembly is being overshadowed by the meltdown in the US economy and its threat to the global economy. The poorer we all feel iln the "first world" the less likely we are to be generous to those in other parts of the world.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Hospital art

So Thursday I went to the emergency room of St Alexius Hospital. I walked there from the main hospital entrance on Broadway. And this involves going along a hallway which has a series of roughly carved wooden panels with figures on them, people holding and touching other people. I thought at first that they were stations of the cross. They looked a lot like examples of "contemporary" stations I've seen. But they were not: each one represented the ways in which over the history of humanity people have helped people to resume breathing. One should a man holding another man upside down, another showed a man rolling another over a barrel so that the barrel would put pressure on the chest and force him to breathe out, another showed a man stepping down on the patient's chest and so on. Each one had a brief description of the procedure depicted and its technique and purpose. It was a surprising display, donated by some patron of the hospital. One of many interesting diversions in a busy day.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

What's new in the Parish Hall

So this past Sunday we had a special parish meeting to let people know what is up with the various property projects. It was the debut appearance of our new projector and screen and sound system. Our senior warden did a great job of putting a power point presentation together and offering a lively and humorous and informative narration along with it.

Meanwhile, the property changes were all around us: the painters were due on Monday and so our secretary had moved everything into the Parish
Hall and on Friday and Saturday people pitched in to move books and other stuff out of the rector's office. It looks as if the offices are almost done except for the trim and the parish hall is almost done. So gradually we will put things back. In my case, we will be trying to get things better than normal, since I have quite an accumulation of papers which probably need to be weeded out: every conference and workshop I have attended, every diocesan convention, that kind of stuff. Louis, our roving photographer, took some pix of people at the meeting (note Ruth Proehl on the screen) as well as some pictures of the offices empty and waiting for their paint job.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008


So, the C of E has voted for women bishops, by a pretty impressive majority. And they have declined to offer any elaborate "flying bishops" scheme to respect the consciences of those who can't possibly cope with having woman bishop. It is actually pretty amazing. You can read more about it here.

Meanwhile Tuesday a.m. on Morning Edition, Renee Montagne was talking to our man in London Rob Gifford about the threat of schism in the C of E and then she asked the British commentator if this controversy had anything to do with the split over homosexuality. And I wanted to yell into the radio OF COURSE IT DOES. The commentator thought that the gay issue is more contentious but that is because he was probably still in grade school when women were ordained in the Episcopal Church and doesn't remember. (And speaking of great "church destroying" cataclysms of the past, we were talking at lectionary group about the General Convention Special Program which caused a huge brouhaha that some people in the Episcopal Church are STILL not over... ) And he thought the homosexuality conversation was a bigger deal because it was about morality.

But here is what I think: opposition to women's ordination and opposition to gay bishops (by which people mean openly gay partnered bishops) is about fear of women and fear of sexual impulses and feelings. Remember in the bad old days before we ordained women in ECUSA how men would say things like "a woman at the altar would just be too distracting", meaning perhaps that she would cause (straight) men to be distracted by sexual fantasies. And an awful lot of the abusive language directed against gay men throughtout the centuries has been about how "feminine" they are. They either don't act like "real men" or they inspire in "real men" feelings of attraction which are distressing and shameful to them. In other words: women remind men of sex, gay men remind men of women and of sex. Homophobia and misogyny are closely linked. (And for the most part, people forget Lesbians even exist in these conversations, I guess because whether they are straight or lesbian women are mainly defined, certainly for much of Christian tradition, as not "real men.") I don't understand why women (or men who fail the "real man" test in some way) are so scary to the dominant white male culture. I don't understand why people feel that God needs to be protected from women, from GLBT people and from conflict of any kind. I don't understand why those who are not persuaded that ordaining GLBT people or women (L or T or straight) to the pr0iesthood and the episcopate feel they must elevate this issue to evidence of general all round heterodoxy.

But I'm getting tired of reading about it. I feel especially tired when I hear and read Bishop Wright, saying of Gafcon (who thought THAT was an attractive acronym for anything) that while AMERICANS deserve censure and external control "the situation in England is quite different."

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Episcopalians at Pride 2008

A little band of St Markans walked in the Pride Parade on Sunday and with others staffed the booth for a couple of hours, handing out flyers and stickers and sharing the good news of the Episcopal Church's welcome for all. There were lots of people from Trinity and from St John's and from Holy Communion and from Transfiguration Lake St Louis and from Advent and from the Cathedral. It is amazing to be at the booth and to hear people come up and say, "I wish MY church were here" or "Thank you for being here, it is great to see mainline churches here." In my judgement, St Mark's isn't quite ready to cancel 10 a.m. church and all go to "Mass in the Grass" in the park at 10:30 on Sunday, but some St Markans were there and so were about 150 other people and one heckler and everything went very well. We dashed up there following our service.

The slideshow is of the parade. We walked behind a fabulous team of drag cheerleaders which had very perky music. The clergy got to ride in a great car belonging to a St John's member. Despite our best efforts the reviewing stand announced us as the Metropolitan Community Church. It also poured with rain for a few critical moments but then reverted to being amazingly warm again. Becket Clark walked up front with the banner and synchronized thurifers, doing a very complicated dance as we marched along.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Saint Mark's gets out in the Neighborhood

Late April and early May have found St Markans out and about in our neighborhood. On April 24, we hosted Dining out for Life at the Murdoch Perk during Breakfast and Lunch. Lydia and Marylen and Jeff were there when they opened. Jack came shortly thereafter and stayed all morning. Kathi and Sue were also there and so was Louis who took fabulous pics. The Perk gets a pretty steady flow of customers throughout the day, which is nice. St Markans and friends and colleagues of many of us swelled the numbers so that the restaurant was positively CROWDED. Everyone was receptive to our invitation to take the donation envelope and the red ribbon sticker and it was a great day. I don't know how much the Murdoch Perk and its customers contributed to St Louis Effort for AIDS, but we had a great time and had lots of envelopes to turn in.

Then on Saturday May 3, 20 St Markans, called forth by our deacon the Rev. Marylen Stansbery, worked alongside students, parents and teachers at the Busch AAA School, raking leaves and aerating lawns and planting flowers. Ms Shipps, our liaison, gave us a tour of the school. It is full of fascinating examples of student work on the walls and is clean and well cared for. SLPS has fewer resources for caring for the grounds so in consultation with the school Marylen chose this as our first project in our partnership with Busch. Our youth confirmands were there, with members of their families and others. James Lattimer, a former St Mark's member, now living in another city, happened to hear about this project on a visit to St Mark's and came back to help out because he had been a student at Busch when the building opened.
There will be a return visit to seed and fertilize.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Archived memory

On Friday I called Jim, who has been our house/dog sitter while I've been in Baltimore, from the airport to confer about the snow. And when I looked him up in the contacts section of my Treo, the name that came up just below him was Doug McCreight. Doug died two weeks ago, he had been a priest of the diocese for decades and for a short time lived near enough to St Mark's to worship with us here. For some reason, I can't manage to erase him.
If I scroll the length of my Palm address book, there are quite a few people who have died whose records linger on in my database. Marvin, a friend from Bethlehem, our choir director and organist more than twenty years ago, still shares a record with his wife Polly, even though he died a couple of years ago. Fay Shelton is still there at her Orchard House address. Cora Ida Burdett who died January 11 is there, with both her Nottingham Apartment listing and her nephew's contact information in Washington state where she died in a nursing home. Peggy Phillips and Ruth Proehl are there, too, and many more. It isn't just inefficiency or forgetfulness, although it is partly that. It is that I have come to be glad to be reminded of those whose lives have touched mine, have enriched the life of the church. When I scroll past them, it is a little reminder to give thanks for their lives and to pray for them in God's loving care. And then, curiously, they remind me of the people I have erased. Wendy and Alex are listed but no longer Michael their husband and parent. In a moment of efficiency, I deleted Anne Kelley shortly after her death but I can see her still with her sensible haircut and forthright manner and ready laugh. I deleted Joel Beezley but left his kind and gracious widow. And I imagine sometimes that I can smell his pipesmoke lingering around the vesting area from the years and years when we was lector at 7:30.
There is a little foretaste of the communion of saints lurking in my Treo address book. Thanks be to God!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008


At our 2007 Diocesan Convention, we passed this resolution concerning the "Missouri Civil Rights Initiative."

J-168 Missouri Civil Rights Initiative,
That this 168th Convention of the Diocese of Missouri go on record as standing in opposition to the 'Missouri Civil Rights Initiative (MoCRI),' a proposal for the November 2008 Missouri ballot, attempting to eliminate affirmative action in public education, public employment, and public contracting in Missouri;

that this Convention commends Secretary of State Robin Carnahan and Attorney General Jay Nixon for changing the deceptive ballot title submitted by the Misssoui Civil Rights Initiative to reflect the actual purpose of eliminating affirmative action;

that this Convention calls on all members of the Diocese to become informed about the effects of such a proposal and to cast their ballots in conformity with the Baptismal Covenant, the tenets of our Democratic Republic and their consciences;

and that the Secretary of this Convention immediately send copies of this resolution to the Governor of Missouri, Secretary of the State, Attorney General and both presidents of the General Assembly of the State of Missouri.

If you would like to help work to keep this Initiative off the November ballot, please visit There is some concern that people seeking to get signature to put MOCRI on the November ballot will be canvassing for signatures at polling places on February 5. Don't be fooled!