Wednesday, July 30, 2008


From Madpriest:

I have just received the following. Please cut and paste to your own blogs.

Dear Jonathan,

It is with deep regret that I inform you of the passing of Elizabeth Kaeton's mother, Lydia.

I don't know if you have been told yet. Elizabeth will be flying directly to Massachusetts. Her mom had been ill on and off for the past year. Elizabeth has traveled up to visit her on several near death occasions. We ask all her friends for prayers.

Almighty God, Father/Mother of mercies and giver of all comfort; Deal graciously, we pray you, with all those who mourn, that casting every care of you, they may know the consolation of your love, Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

I lost my mother about 15 months ago, and even though I was expecting it and she had a full life, I had to live through the grief. Elizabeth is in my prayers.

This weekend, Liz and I are driving to Maryland to gather with some cousins for a memorial service for my Aunt Edith, who had a hard death just two weeks ago. As a child, Aunt Edith was confirmed in the Episcopal Church, and she ended her days as a Unitarian Universalist.

My grandmother wrote this verse in the back of her prayerbook, after her husband and her brothers had all died:

I should utterly have fainted, but that I believe verily to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Psalm XXVII, 15

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Sunday, July 27

Here, from Walking With Integrity, is a video interviewBishop Gene gave the Washington Post. 'Nuff said.

I have mentioned that Liz and I attend the Heart Lake United Methodist Church while we are here at Heart Lake. We love the people there and in general I find the service truly worshipful. We don't get enough scripture, though -- which is a little weird, I think. This morning, we had, for the Responsive Reading, all of Psalm 111, and for the Scripture Reading, Psalm 84: 1-2 and 4-5.

Saturday afternoon we went to a service at St. Matthew's, Stevensville, the oldest Episcopal Church in the area -- it was consecrated in the 1820's by William White, the second US Episcopal Bishop, who was at the time Bishop of Pennsylvania and Presiding Bishop. The church is now under the care of St. Paul's, Montrose, and the service turned out to be a Eucharist. The celbrant was the interim at St. Paul's, Charles A. Cesaretti. I was a little surprised that there was no mention of the Lambeth Conference -- not even in the intercessions. A GoodSearch on his name shows that Fr. Cesaretti's background certainly makes him more than qualified to speak about Lambeth from a distance.

After church this morning, I caught the second half of Choral Evensong on the BBC. This week it was from Bucjfast Abbey, a Roman Catholic Benedictine Community. During the intercessions, immediately fter the prayer for Pope Benedict, there was a prayer for Archbishop Rowan and the Bishops of the Anglican Communion during the Lambeth Conference.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

The holy blisful martir for to seke that hem hath holpen

In this Canterbury Tale, Bishop Gene Robinson recounts his experience making his own pilgrimage to Canterbury Cathedral while the bishops at the Lambeth Conference were off in London on Thursday. Bishop Gene was told "We can't have any photographs or film of you entering the Cathedral," he said, "because we want this to be a church for ALL people." He thinks the gentleman who made this statement was representing the Dean and Chapter.

I wonder whether the remark was caught on video. In any case, it was very foolish and is part of the general pattern of ill considered and ungenerous actions toward Bishop Gene, and indeed others, during this Lambeth Conference.

Happily for us and for him, Bishop Gene reports on other, more positive, experiences -- with bishops, clergy, and laity -- young and old.

Than longen folk to goon on pilgrimages
(And Bishops for to seken straunge strondes)
To ferne halwes couth in sondry londes;
And specially,from every shires ende
Of Anglicanlond, to Caunterbury they wende,
The holy blisful martir for to seke,
That hem hath holpen, whan that they were seke.
(Prologue to the Canterbury Tales -- modified by EAM)
The Anglican Bishops (and the the Anglican Communion as a whole) is indeed "seke" right now. The Lead quotes Bishop Catherine Roskam as saying "... I confess to you that I almost lost my temper in our Indaba session this morning when one bishop said he thought that our focus on the MDG's was a distraction from the issue of human sexuality." That quote is here on Bishop Catherine's blog (#7) on the Diocese of New York web site; the remark is a sign of the sickness of the communion.

I pray for the healing of the communion, of the church in general, of the bishops. I pray that our faithful US bishops will have strength to carry on. I pray that the dissident bishops will cease their warfare and find peace.

I pray especially for Bishop Gene and Bishop Catherine and for the other blogging bishops, for my diocesan, Bishop Mark and for Presiding Bishop Katharine. I pray for Archbishop Rowan. And I pray for Bishop Bob, Bishop Jack, Bishop John-David, Bishop Martyn, Presiding Bishop Greg, Archbishop Peter, and all other Bishops.

O God, the creator and preserver of all mankind, we humbly beseech thee for all sorts and conditions of men (and women and children); that thou wouldest be pleased to make thay ways known unto them, thy saving health unto all nations. More especially we pray for thy holy Church universal; that it may be so guided and governed by thy good Spirit, that all who profess and call themselves Christians may be led into the way of truth, and hold the faith in unity of spirit, in the bond of peace, and in righteousness of life. Finally we commend to thy fatherly [that is, parental] goodness, all those who are in anyways afflicted in mind, body, or estate; especially those Anglican Bishops whom I have named, all other Anglican Bishops, Priests, and Deacons and the entire laity, especially LGBTQ persons; that it may please thee to comfort and relieve them according to their several necessities, giving them patience under their sufferings, snd a happy issue out of all their afflictions. And this we beg for Jesus Christ's sake. Amen.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

A failure to hope in Christ

Over at The Lead Jim Naughton quotes the Bishop of Central Florida's comments on Monday at the Lambeth Conference. This excerpt from Bishop Howe struck me:
I remind myself of the Archbishop's comment that, "A failure in leadership is a failure to hope in Christ."

An hour long gathering of the American Bishops in mid-afternoon was equally disappointing. Presiding Bishop Schori (sic) called us together "just to check in with each other and share any concerns." Fully two-thirds of our time was spent discussing Gene Robinson's sadness - and the injustice! - over his not being allowed to be part even of this meeting of "his own House."

(Conference organizers responded to objections that: "This is NOT a meeting of the House of Bishops; it is a gathering of American Bishops at a meeting of the Lambeth Conference, and only those invited to the Conference can be part of the gathering.")
There have been several failures of leadership -- most striking is Archbishop Rowan's treatment of the Bishop of New Hampshire.

Bishop Robinson is being shunned and banned, not for something he has done, but for something he is. That is simply wrong. And the responsibility lies not with "comference organizers" but with Rowan Williams.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Here's to you, Bishop Robinson

This morning I woke up at 5 AM with a heavy heart. Yesterday evening I had seen this post by Bishop Gene about his heavy heart as his Sunday started near, but not at, the Lambeth Conference in Canterbury. As it turned out, later on Sunday his spirits were lifted at the outdoor Eucharist sponsored by Integrity\Changing Attitudes.

I wanted to write something about it earlier, but I had to drive to New York ,this morning, and I haven't had a chance to get to the computer until now.

When I read Bishop Gene's Sunday morning post, I remembered hearing him say that he thinks we are witnessing the beginning of the end of patriarchy. His exclusion from Lambeth, and from the meeting of the Episcopal Church (USA) bishops is an instance of the kind of "power over" that characterizes patriarchy.

Bishop Gene has taken on a great responsibility -- he is bearing witness on behalf of all LGBTQ chrisitans, but especially LGBTQ Anglicans. And he is being vilified for it. Of course it is hard to bear sometimes. But, God love him, he gets up and keeps on going.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Doin' the Lambeth Walk

Well, Lambeth '08 began yesterday, so I decided to find out about "The Lambeth Walk." Here is a clip of the song as performed in New York at the Tony Awards in 1987.

For those few readers who don't know, Lambeth '08 refers to the decennial meeting of bishops in the Anglican communion -- named after Lambeth Palace, the official London residence of the Archbishop of Canterbury. The conference this year is actually being held at Canterbury and not in Lambeth. Nonetheless, it is called the Lambeth Conference. A quick Goodsearch reveals a few references to the Lambeth Walk by bloggers and journalists in connection with Archbishop Rowan or the Lambeth Conference, but I haven't spotted anyone who noted that some of the lyrics of the song seem strangely appropriate to the Anglican Circus.

Lambeth you've never seen,
The skies ain't blue, the grass ain't green.
It hasn't got the Mayfair touch,
But that don't matter very much.
We play in a different way,
Not like you but a bit more gay
And when we have a bit of fun
Oh, Boy.

Earlier this week, MadPriest ran a competition for a caption of this picture of Luiz "He looks gay" Coelho and Allie "the Episcojew" Graham, two blogging Lambeth stewards.

Here's my belated entry:
Ev'ry little Lambeth gal
With her little Lambeth pal,
You'll find 'em all doin' the Lambeth walk. Oi!

Miguel Escobar is a member of St, Mary's and is also on the Presiding Bishop's staff. He is leaving tomorrow for the Lambeth Conference where he will be working. A Google search on his full name turned up a letter he wrote to blogger Lee Davenport on behalf of Bishop Katharine. Thing is, Miguel addressed Lee, who is male, as Ms. Davenport. Here is a picture of Miguel from last year:

Here's a verse and chorus for Miguel:
Ev'rything's free and easy,
Do as you darn well pleasey,
Why don't you make your way there,
Go there, stay there,

Once you get down Lambeth way,
Ev'ry evening, ev'ry day,
You'll find yourself doin' the Lambeth walk. Oi!

And here are Bishop Robinson and Elizabeth Kaeton:

Once you get down Lambeth way,
Ev'ry evening, ev'ry day,
You'll find yourself doin' the Lambeth walk. Oi!

Anytime you're Lambeth way
Any evening, any day,
You'll find us all doin' the Lambeth walk. Oi!

Bishop Gene wasn't invited but he's there. Mother Elizabeth is there for the Episcopal Women's Caucus.

As Dogberry said, God save the Foundation!

We play in a different way,
Not like you but a bit more gay
And when we have a bit of fun
Oh, Boy.

One Week

Liz and I have just had quite a week. We went home to New York for five nights starting last Friday -- first Liz had a vestry retreat Friday evening and during the day on Saturday. Liz was also pressed into service to play the piano for the principal Eucharist on Sunday morning at St. Mary's -- which took practice time both on Friday afternoon and Saturday evening.
On Sunday afternoon we took a tour of three of the window bays at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. In the fifty years since I first went to the Cathedral, I had never climbed to the clerestory level -- in fact, I had never been on a tour at all.
On Monday we joined Liz's cousin Oliver and his wife Pat, who were here from put of town, for a visit to the American Museum of Natural History. We hadn't been there in a long time.
On Tuesday, Liz joined three of her high school classmates for lunch in Greenwich, Connecticut. I did the laundry, some shopping, and began loading the car for our return to Heart Lake Wednesday morning.
We returned here yesterday, Wednesday, basically for the remainder of the summer.

That was an exceptionally busy five days for us -- especially for Liz. Oh, and I forgot to mention that Liz developed a cough and squeezed in a doctor's visit Monday afternoon in case it was a treatable infection. It has now developed into a cold -- which I hope I do not catch.

Now that I'm back at Heart Lake, I hope to be able to turn back to blogging a bit more regularly -- and maybe I'll even be able to get some readers.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

In memoriam

Last week my aunt Edith went in hospice. Aunt Edith is my father's sister, about 4 1/2 years younger. I have spoken to two of her children, but not in a week, so I have to check for an update tomorrow.
I have also been in touch with two of my cousins, children of my father's older half brother, and I have sent an email to my Aunt Joyce, Edie's younger sister. I'm waiting to hear back from Joyce.

Just as I was typing the last sentence an email arrived from Aunt Joyce that Edie died at 3 pm today. So I'll call my cousin Vicki tomorrow.
Into your hands, O merciful Savior, we commend your servant Edith Ellen. Acknowledge, we humbly beseech you, a sheep of your own fold, a lamb of your own flock, a sinner of your own redeeming. Receive her into the arms of your mercy, into the blessed rest of everlasting peace, and into the glorious company of the saints in light. Amen.

May her soul and the souls of all the departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Finite Time

There seems to be a limit to the number of different things I can keep going at the same time. The White Queen told Alice that in her youth, by practicing for half-an-hour a day, she could sometimes believe as many as six impossible things before breakfast. Now I am neither in my youth nor is believing things – impossible or otherwise – the difficulty I face, but still ...

This morning I made a list of the things I am working on and it is fairly daunting.

My major volunteer interest is as a director at Morningside Gardens.

I have named four current intellectual interests:
Pope’s Dunciad
Literature (i.e., current reading)
But the taxonomy is idiosyncratically arbitrary. Blogging, for example, includes my current theological and biblical field reading – for example, Richard Hooker and Dominic Crossan – as well as my leftish political interests. Blogging also includes the blogs I read. I try to keep up with developments in Anglican land and with some, but not all, of the progressive Anglican blogs.

The Dunciad category shares with Blogging my current reading of Ben Jonson’s Bartholomew Fair, inspired by a recent non-wedding in Smithfield, not to mention my currently inactive Dunciad blog. Literature currently consists of Anthony Powell's A Dance to the Music of Time.

Then there are recreational pursuits. Here I chiefly name music and light fiction.

These are some of the things I do by myself -- they don't include my share of household tasks or much of my joint life with Liz. It's no wonder I make such slow progress.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Time and Again

On Sunday of this week, I posted It’s about Time – and never got to say as much about time as I had planned because I ran out of time.

As I have mentioned, I was recently reelected to the Board of Directors of my housing cooperative – Morningside Gardens in New York City. I won’t go into the politics of it, but I am currently the first Vice President and it fell to me to preside over the monthly board meeting last week. The main business of the meeting was on a topic of great interest to many of our cooperators and I found the technical and the psychological preparation for the meeting to be both demanding and time-consuming.

These days I feel pulled in several directions – in New York, I am trying to bring order to my study – a long-standing project. Then here at Heart Lake Liz and I have a project of organizing things in our cottage. When we bought the cottage in 1987 from a cousin, it was filled with the possessions of my great aunt Esther, including some family memorabilia and items of genealogical interst. Then in 1988, we were basically wiped out by a fire and so we had to start over (fortunately, most of the genealogically important material survived.) We rebuilt at a very low cost, and have gradually been making improvements. Each set of improvements has caused disruption, as things were moved around.

For example, this spring we had a lot of finishing work, including our kitchen, done by a marvelous contractor named Brad Hall. In order to do the work in the kitchen, Brad had to move everything, So now we have an improved work space with new cabinets – and we have to put everything away – in fact, we have to establish a new system of organization.– sort of like after moving.

We still haven’t recovered from the disruption made by earlier improvements – not to mention the stuff we moved here from cleaning out my mother’s house. So it’s possible we will spend a lot of time organizing while we re here to enjoy relaxing, being away from the city, and generally letting down.

I am also pulled in other directions – towards this blog, for example, and towards trying to keep up with other blogs, especially in the progressive Anglican blogosphere. Then there is my literary side – I have more or less stalled on the Alexander Pope project, though it hasn’t gone away. My reflections using the lens of Dominic Crossan’s writings have slowed down also.

People in our building in New York use several shelves in the laundry room as an informal book exchange. Recently Liz found the second and fourth movements of Anthony’ Powell’s A Dance to the Music Of Time. Each of the four movements consists of three of the twelve novels that make up the entire work. I first began reading Dance over forty years ago and read the last few novels as they first appeared in US paperback editions. I am now reading it again. The action takes place over a period of about fifty years as the narrator, Nick, goes from schooldays to early old age. Flashbacks and recollections extend the time covered to more than sixty years. It's a marvelous work and seems to fit my current mood.

That’s all for now. Next time, I'll still be on the topice of time.