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THE GLORY OF EASTER
A few months before my ordination in 1952, with newly purchased black suit and clerical accessories hanging impatiently in my closet, I was sent as a representative of my seminary to an Anglican Seminarians Conference. I had had three full years of preparation for the ordained ministry and was, I confidently thought, rather well equipped to minister to the flocks that would be committed to my charge. But I learned something at that conference that I should have known long before entering seminary, and that all Christians should know, that Easter is the heart of the Christian Gospel.
The theme of that conference was the liturgical renewal movement which sought to recall the Church to the centrality of Easter and the Paschal Mystery and to see the unique Sunday Eucharistic gathering of Christians as a weekly proclamation of Christ's death and resurrection. The liturgical movement to which I was introduced has had a powerful influence throughout the entire Christian community. Most churches within the Anglican Communion have in that half century produced liturgical texts, like our 1979 Book of Common Prayer, which reflect this emphasis on the centrality of Easter. They clearly emphasize that the most important principle of worship is that every liturgy celebrates the Paschal Mystery, that "Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again," marking every Sunday as a weekly Easter. At least that's the theory.
But what's the experience? What one often experiences is frankly a denial of the Paschal Mystery. We too often worship and work in the Church as if Easter never happened. We live on the wrong side of Easter. In the earliest days of the Church, Easter was the only Christian festival: an annual celebration in one act of Christ's life, death, resurrection, ascension and his sending of the Holy Spirit. The celebration lasted 50 days in one continuous festival of adoration, joy, and thanksgiving, ending on the Feast of Pentecost. By the 4th century the Church was adding to this Easter celebration a week-long commemoration of the events which preceded our Lord's resurrection, beginning on Sunday with his triumphal entry into Jerusalem. Christians began to recall the final meal Jesus had with his disciples and his institution of the sacrament of the Eucharist. On the Friday they would commemorate Christ's agony and death on the Cross. On Saturday they would gather again for the reading of scripture, for prayer, for the baptism of new converts, and then, as the day of the resurrection dawned, for the joyful celebration of Easter.
One of the best features of our Prayer Book is that we are now provided with special liturgies to be used on the most significant days of Holy Week; the Sunday of the Passion (Palm Sunday), Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and the Great Vigil of Easter Eve. They give us a wonderfully complete framework for our participation in this greatest week of the year. The entire observance provides everything a Christian community needs to enter fully and corporately into the spirit of the week.
The Sunday of the Passion, March 20th, when we will gather together for a 10 a.m. service (the 8 a.m. will also be held) begins with the palm procession , the whole congregation participating. The music and the ceremonial enable us to move from the glory of the journey to Jerusalem to the pathos of the journey to the cross.
Maundy Thursday (service at 7:30 p.m.) is the night that Christ gave himself into the hands of those who would slay him. It is the night when, at supper, Jesus washed the disciples' feet. And it is the night that Jesus gave us the Holy Feast of the Eucharist. It is the night not only of communion but of community, not only giving thanks for this Blessed Sacrament by which our life in Christ is sustained, but as well for the Christian community knit together as we are by the Passion of Christ.
Good Friday is a quiet day of reflection upon the suffering and self-giving of our Savior on the cross. But it is not a day of defeat. Two services will be held, at 12:05 and at 7:30 p.m. Communion from the sacrament consecrated the night before will be available at the latter service. The assembly disperses from the evening service in the darkness, and gathers again in the same darkness for the Great Vigil of Easter, beginning at 8 p.m.
The Great Vigil of Easter begins with story telling, of creation and the passage through the Red Sea. The great Easter song, the Exsultet, is sung, our baptismal covenant is renewed, and several people are confirmed and received into the Episcopal Church by the Bishop. Then for us Easter begins! Our hallowed space is illuminated, organ and bells sound with joy. Christ is risen. We are his Easter people, and Alleluia is our song.
+J.C. Fricker, Interim Dean
The Episcopal Church, The Anglican Communion,
and the Windsor Report
by Canon Ethan J. Cole
The Episcopal Church has been occasionally in the secular and religious
news lately because of the perceived aftereffects of certain actions
of the General Convention in the summer of 2003. The most attention
gathering actions were the Convention's consent to the diocese of New
Hampshire's election as bishop of a previously divorced gay man living
in a long-term relationship with another man. Also, the Convention formally
recognized that some dioceses are experimenting with liturgies of blessing
for couples in same sex committed relationships.
The response to the actions of General Convention has been dramatic. Conservatives in this Church protested fiercely before, during and since these decisions were made, claiming that the Episcopal Church has in some way abandoned the Christian faith as it has been understood for centuries by introducing an innovation in sexual morality that is contrary to scripture and ethically and morally dangerous and unsound. Further, conservatives claim that the way in which the decision was made does not accurately reflect the feelings and beliefs of many Episcopalians in the pews who are unaware of the long left leaning trends of the Episcopal Church.
The Episcopal Church has sister churches all around the world, who like us, are in one way or another descended from the Church of England. These Churches are all autonomous, self-governing Churches that have deep bonds of affection for one another, recognizing each other's ministries and supporting one another in mission. Many of these sister Churches also were disturbed and protested these actions on similar grounds that the conservatives in this church protest, adding the additional claim that the Episcopal Church took an action that affects the wider body of our sister churches (known as the Anglican Communion), and that it took this action brazenly knowing how opposed other churches were to this action, and without giving sufficient theological justification for its actions.
Liberals in this Church see these actions as the natural trajectory of where the Holy Spirit has been leading. (One liberal booth in the exhibit hall at General Convention had a large banner that had a quote from a famous theologian that read, "The arc of the gospel is bent toward inclusion.") These liberals argue that these actions were all made in accordance to our polity (form of governance) and in compliance with all the rules of the church. They argue that New Hampshire as a sovereign diocese has the right to elect whomever they chose as bishop. Liberals also assert that it is not only just, but a pastoral necessity to offer the blessings of the Church to those couples living in committed relationships that seek that blessing.
The new tensions this impasse has created, and the significant old
tensions it has revealed have global implications for our family of
churches, the Anglican Communion. Many of our sister churches (whose
leading bishops are known as 'Primates') have declared that they are
in 'impaired' or 'broken' communion with us, saying that we have gone
too far, and they can no longer be our partners in mission and ministry
unless we repent of what we have done, do our best to undo it, and promise
never to do it again. Many conservative parishes have withheld giving
to this and other dioceses for conscience sake, since they are unwilling
to fund a mission they do not support. (Our bishop and all of our delegates
voted in support of the 'liberal' actions of General Convention.) Similarly,
some conservative dioceses have withheld giving to the institution of
the wider Episcopal Church (I do not say "The national Church"
because the Episcopal Church is an international Church, including several
dioceses outside of the boundaries of the United States, including the
diocese of Haiti, for example.)
Consequently, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, charged a group consisting of both liberals and conservatives, scholars, bishops, and lay people to produce a report on communion, on our relationships with one another. Their mandate specifically and intentionally excluded a mandate to judge issues of sexuality, rather their mandate in part was to produce "practical recommendations for maintaining the highest degree of communion that may be possible in the circumstances resulting from these decisions [the liberal decisions of General Convention, and the decision of a diocese in the Anglican Church of Canada to bless same-sex unions], both within and between the churches of the Anglican Communion." (The Lambeth Commission on Communion Mandate paragraph 2, The Windsor Report, 2004 p. 8).
The Archbishop of Canterbury had the authority to do this, because as Primate of the Church of England, he is the symbol and focus of unity for all the daughter churches. A church is a member of the Anglican Communion because it is in communion with the Archbishop of Canterbury.
The report, known as the Windsor Report was made available to all this past October. There was much speculation leading up to its release as to what it would say. Much of the speculation seemed to be more like what various groups wished the report would say than what they actually thought the report might produce. Some conservatives longed for the Episcopal Church to be issued an ultimatum, either repent and rescind these actions, or be kicked out of the Anglican Communion and be replaced by some other conservative Anglican body in this country. Some liberals longed for a minor chiding for moving too quickly, but no significant consequence for the actions taken at General Convention.
The actual Windsor Report falls somewhere between these two extremes. It is a long document, about 80 pages of text. It is not wide ranging, being intentionally focused on what is the meaning of our communion, what our future might look like, and how we might get there--especially through the current crisis. The most critical sections of the report invite the Episcopal Church to "express its regret that the proper constraints of the bonds of affection were breached in the event surrounding the election and consecration of a bishop for the See of New Hampshire, and for the consequences which followed, and that such an expression of regret would represent the desire of the Episcopal Church (USA) to remain within the Communion." (The Windsor Report, paragraph 134.) The Episcopal Church is also invited to "effect a moratorium on the election and consent to the consecration of any candidate to the episcopate who is living in a same gender union until some new consensus in the Anglican Communion emerges." (paragraph 134.)
Considering the length of the document, and the very careful ways in which these "invitations" are worded, there has been much debate on what the Windsor Report actually means. It has been often said that the Windsor Report is part of an ongoing conversation. The next step of the conversation will have recently taken place when you read this article. The Primates of the Anglican Communion who are the heads of the various member churches of the Communion met in Ireland in late February to receive and discuss the Windsor Report, whether they as leaders of the respective churches find in the Windsor Report's recommendations a possible way forward.
Another significant issue in this debate is what authority--if any, do members of other churches have to influence the internal decisions of the Episcopal Church or any other constituent of the Communion. One of the proposals of the Windsor Report speaks to this, proposing strengthening the authority of the Archbishop of Canterbury as well as creating an Anglican "Covenant" whereby churches would be bound to certain principles with the goal of attempting to ensure greater unity than is presently enjoyed.
Some liberals who support strongly the actions of General Convention, and who deny any authority over our actions from those outside the Episcopal Church have said things along the line of "What does it matter if I am in communion with the Church of Rwanda?", and "If conservatives don't like where the church is going, they know where the door is." Some conservatives who strongly oppose the actions of General Convention have been ready to dismiss liberals as heretics and abandoners of the Christian faith. I think both these sorts of reactions are profoundly uncharitable.
As the church struggles painfully through these issues of communion
and authority and through the issues of human sexuality that have brought
this discussion so fiercely to the fore, I pray, and invite you to pray
with me, that we all recognize that we are only made perfect being bound
together, as the author of the epistle to the Hebrews put it, referring
to the saints of the Old Testament, "Yet all these, though they
were commended for their faith, did not receive what was promised, since
God had provided something better so that they would not, apart from
us, be made perfect" (Hebrews 11:40).
Holy Week Services at St Paul's Cathedral
10:00 Holy Eucharist and Procession
Holy Week Meditation
Friday, March 25
Good Friday liturgy
Saturday, March 26
Sunday of the Resurrection
VESTRY HIGHLIGHTS - February
After gathering for the service of Evensong (which Vestry members are encouraged to attend), Bishop Fricker welcomed our new Vestry members at the February 15th meeting. We are glad to have them on board and hope they will enjoy the ride.
The Vestry learned sadly that Greg Kay, who has brilliantly and enthusiastically overseen most of our outreach activity for many years, had to resign this leadership role due to personal demands on his time and energy. Our profound appreciation of Greg's efforts was expressed. Bishop Fricker announced that Judy Metzger has graciously agreed to serve as interim chair of the Outreach Committee. Our thanks to Judy. The word "interim" denotes that Judy will be hoping for a more permanent appointment to this role. Anyone out there who feels a calling to this ministry, please talk to Judy or Bishop Fricker. It is a most important ministry of St. Paul's Cathedral and one that Greg has left us proud of.
We also learned that Cathy Daniels has agreed to serve as Parish Coordinator for this year's Episcopal Community Services Campaign. Again, she will appreciate any assistance that is offered to her. Thanks Cathy.
Bishop Fricker updated the Vestry on some of the work of the Worship Committee (more to follow).
Peter Flickinger, Vestry appointed contact person for the masonry work that will be done on the Cathedral, shared with us his communications with the architect and bidders for this job. He presented a proposal regarding the award of the job which the Vestry approved (announcement to follow). The Vestry also approved the concept of a plaque commemorating contributors to the Capital Campaign and will be presented with more specifics at a future meeting.
St. Paul's Parochial Report was presented to the Vestry by Gilbert Hernandez and approved for release.
Bishop Fricker raised some questions about our committee structure and suggested that we review the structure for future consideration. Several members offered to work with him on this. Committee chairs are reminded that they are required to submit minutes of their meetings to Vicki for inclusion in Vestry packets.
Cheryl Fisher, as a member of the Investment Committee, presented a very helpful overview of our investment portfolios and withdrawal practices. It was very beneficial to new and old Vestry members alike. Actions were taken by the Vestry to make changes in our fund reporting practices which will hopefully lead us to a better understanding of our financial activity.
Finally, the Vestry was sent off with a prayer and their homework: a first draft of a 2005 budget which they were asked to study. They were encouraged to offer suggestions to help resolve the $83,000 deficit we are initially faced with!!! Again, "welcome new vestry members".
CHURCH SCHOOL SCHEDULE
Please note that since we will not have church school on Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday, we will be taking the proceeding weeks to talk about Palm Sunday and Holy Week.
March 6th: Matthew 21: 1-11 Jesus' Triumphal Entry
No Church School on Palm Sunday or Easter Sunday. Our regular schedule will resume Sunday, April 3rd.
Sunday, March 6th
Sunday, March 13th
St. Paul's Seniors...
will meet on Wednesday, March 16th. Our March event will have an Irish flair in honor of St. Patrick's Day. We begin gathering at 11:00 a.m. so everyone will be in place for the Eucharist, which begins at 11:30 sharp. A donation of $3.00 per person is suggested to help offset the expenses of the delectable lunch which will follow, thanks to Carol Kuziak's culinary team. Please invite a friend or two to join us in the fellowship of this wonderful group.
Inter-Faith Community Seder
The 16th Annual Inter-Faith Community Seder will be held on Tuesday April 26, 2005, at 5:30 p.m. It will be held at Westminster Presbyterian Church, and tickets are $20 per person for a full Seder meal. St. Paul's will be a partner in this event.
Participate and experience the joyous retelling of a people's escape from slavery. Slavery is a universal burden -- whether addiction, poverty, discrimination, or domestic violence -- join in a celebration of freedom for all people.
In the past this has been a sell-out event, and this year there are
100 fewer seats available. We are still able to arrange for seating
together as this issue of the Chimes goes to press. If you are interested
in attending please contact Canon McConchie without delay at 855-0900
X 250. Information on actual ticket purchase will follow.
Drink the wine, Bid on Pearls silent auction and wine tasting fundraiser sponsored by the Choirs of St. Pauls. Tickets are $25.00 per person, $40.00 per couple. Saturday, April 30 from 6 pm to 9 pm at the Pearl Street Grill - 3rd floor banquet room. Save the date! Details will follow soon!
Keep filling those Lenten Pence Cans with spare change. They will be collected in a special offering on Sunday, March 13th. Carol Garrison will join us for the Adult Forum on the 13th to tell us about Our Little Roses Home for Girls. All the money collected will go directly to Little Roses to support their ministry with women and children.
THE REV. PAUL ANDREW LILLIE ORDAINED
Saturday, February 5, 2005, was a bright and sunny morning, filled with anticipation. Paul had left on Friday afternoon for Emmaus, where he prepared himself in retreat and prayer for this day of ordination. Although the weather forecasters had been predicting snow, they were wrong, as usual.
Paul's parents and a former priest from Southern Ohio had been at St. George's College in the Cathedral Close for more than a week. One of the other students, Anne Barker, from England, had been working for days on preparing the flower arrangements. She was a bit distressed, as it had rained the night before, and the roof of the Cathedral leaked in several places; one of the arrangements had fallen over, and needed immediate attention.
The Very Rev. John Tidy, Acting Dean of the College and Master of Ceremonies for the ordination, gave Paul strict instructions not to appear for the ceremony until at least 10:30. Wonder of wonders, Paul paid heed to Father Tidy.
The Cathedral quickly filled up, and the procession of visiting clergy and wound its way out of the Chapel of St. Michael and All Angels towards the crossing. Paul and his parents were seated in the front row along with Su Hadden, one of Paul's presenters.
Two Bishops, +Riah Abu El-Assal, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem, and + Michael, Bishop of the Diocese of Western New York were seated in front of the altar.
The service was glorious, and was attended by members of the English congregation and the Arabic congregation of the Cathedral of St. George the Martyr, as well a representatives from the British and American Consulates, the World Federation of Children's Ministries, and the World Council of Churches. Our Paul has certainly distinguished himself in the few short months he has been in Jerusalem. People know him and love him, and, they were excited to be a part of his ordination.
Following the service, lots of pictures were taken, and we made our way into the Pilgrim Hospitality House where Bishop Riah hosted a huge dinner. We had all sorts of Mediterranean food and roast chicken, as well. I was privileged to sit next to an Armenian Bishop who spoke perfect English. It was interesting to listen to him speak about the close relationship between Armenian and Anglican bishops and people.
Later in the afternoon, we walked through the Damascus gate into the Old City. Near the Church of the Holy Sepulcher is a tiny Armenian Chapel, the Chapel of Abraham, where Paul said his first Mass. It was quite an emotional time for us all.
The Ven. Bruce Gillies
to Greg Kay who has led the Hunger Outreach committee for over five years. His enthusiastic spirit and willingness to lead and serve is gratefully appreciated. His example has been an inspiration to many.
We look forward now and plan to continue the long legacy of the Hunger-Outreach Committee by carrying on our service to the "Friends of the Night People", funding requests and supplying food to the 1272 Delaware Ave. pantry.
We need 7 people each month to honor our commitment to the "Friends." Please sign up on the Walker Room, or speak to one of the committee. Thanks to all who have and are willing to continue the vital ministry to the hunger needs of our community.
The Outreach Committee
KING OF KINGS AT THE CATHEDRAL
The Cathedral will be transformed into a movie theater for one night only! Experience the gothic thrill of DeMille's movie masterpiece in the darkened interior of the cathedral.
A large screen will be placed in the nave of the church, and Organist-Choirmaster Andrew Cantrill will provide a live, improvised soundtrack. Tickets are $10 ($5 for students/children).
We begin at 5:45 with Evening Prayer and Dinner. Please join us!
March 7th Cracking The DaVinci Code continued with Len and Tom Salvatori.
March 14th The movie The Passion of Christ has gripped our nation's attention. Christian bookstores are filled with study guides and coffee table books inspired by this blockbuster movie. Henrik Borgstrom will facilitate a discussion on this controversial movie. If you have not seen the movie, there will be two showings before our discussion at the homes of Nancy Boncore (Sunday, March 6th at 1 p.m.) and Henrik Borgstrom (Sunday, March 13th at 4 p.m.). Please call Mary Ellen at the Cathedral Office 855-0900 for directions and to reserve your spot at Nancy's or Henrik's home.
VOCALIS CHAMBER CHOIR
James Burritt, St. Paul's choir member and Music Director of Vocalis
Chamber Choir, has announced concert dates for Spring of 2005.
SUNDAY, March 6
8:00 am Eucharist
In-gathering "Our Little Roses" pence cans.
11:00 Eucharist: Sermon by Bishop Fricker.
Men & Girls: Zoltan Kodaly, Missa Brevis; Psalm 130 (Henry Walford Davies), Edward Bairstow, The Lamentation; King John IV of Portugal, Crux fidelis.
SUNDAY, March 20,
8:00 a.m. Eucharist
4:00 HOLY WEEK MEDITATION Girls' Voices with NYS Baroque, Giovanni Battista Pergolesi, Stabat Mater
8:00 a.m. Eucharist
SUNDAY, March 27
8:00 a.m. Eucharist
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