Friday, 28 April 2017

Holy Communion snacks

I dreamed last night that  woman from St. Boniface (her name is Dana and I like her a lot) was  ministering the bread at Holy Communion.

I received it in my hand, but when I looked down my right  hand was filled with Chex Mix snacks.

The wine was on its way and I was wondering if it would be O.K. if I took a mouthful of wine, and then swished it around before swallow the wine infused Chex.

The dream then ended, so I will never know what I did.

Thursday, 27 April 2017

Laestadian Lutherans (and a tender novel)

Many American Christians have some knowledge of the various Lutheran denominations in our country.

The largest is the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America The word "Evangelical" in this denomination is, I think, from Germany where in Lutheranism it is more or less synonymous with Protestant rather than with the usual English speaking world's usage meaning "born again" Christians.

The ELCA is a mainstream protestant denomination like the Episcopal Church.- indeed our ordained ministries are interchangeable. (Friends of mine attend an Episcopal Church in Wolfborough N.H.,which has a Lutheran Pastor).

Then there is the Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod -  very strict, and theologically conservative.

Next comes the Wisconsin Synod, even more exclusive than Missouri.

(ELCA members are not allowed to receive Communion in these two latter denominations, nor would LCMS welcome Wisconsin Synod members at the Lord's Table and vice versa. (It's important to keep the Church pure!).

I know that there is an Alphabet Soup of smaller Lutheran Churches  (each convinced that it has a monopoly on the truth), but until this week ** see below I had never heard of Laestadian Lutherans.  They are of Swedish/Finnish origin, and came into being because of the remarkable ministry amongst the Lapps of one Lars Levi Laestadius  (1800-1861).

Of course this form of Lutheranism came to the United States, where it proved to be entirely fissiparous.   See this (from Wikipedia).


171 000 laestadians in total in world. 26 000 laestadians in total in America.
  • 1. Firstborn laestadianism ("Esikoinens") 10 000 people in U.S.A. (Old Apostolic Lutheran Church)
  • 2. Little firstborn group (Rauhan Sana group) (Federation) ("Mickelsons" 6 000 people (in U.S.A.(Apostolic Lutheran Church of America), Canada(ALC) and Guatemala)
  • 3. Conservative laestadianism ("Heidemans") 5 000 people (in U.S.A.(Laestadian Lutheran Church), Canada(LLC) and Ecuador)
  • 4. Torola group 4 000 people in U.S.A. (First Apostolic Lutheran Church)
  • 5. Reedites (pollarites) 3,500 people in U.S.A (Independent Apostolic Lutheran Church)
  • 6. Aunesites 550 people in U.S.A. (The Apostolic Lutheran Church)
  • 7. Andersonites about 200 people in U.S.A. in South Carolina (Grace Apostolic Lutheran Church)
  • 8. Davidites 40 people in U.S.A.
  • 9. Melvinites 20 people in U.S.A.

Jesus wept, or something like that.


I heard of these fringe Lutherans by reading a most tender, honest and tragic novel by Hanna Pylvainen who was raised in this group.  It is called "We Sinners" and was published by Henry Holt and Company in 2012.

It creates a tale about  the Rovaniemi family, and is set in  contemporary America's mid-west. They are poor. 

The Rovaniemi's have nine children.  The chapters are written from the vantage of each of the children, with no regard for chronology.

As the dust jacket puts it   "... each chapter is told from the distinctive point of view of a different Rovaniemi as they grapple in some way with their relationships to their faith, to one another, and to the outside world, both embracing the security of their community and chafing against its restrictions.................What emerges is a haunting depiction not of strangers from a strange faith but of ordinary people making their way through the world as best they can".

I like this novel, partly because I am one of nine children who were raised in a somewhat esoteric and fundamentalist British and Irish denomination -  the "Plymouth Brethren". We too were poor.  The Brethren afforded us  a place of secure faith which was good for the while.  But none of the Povey nine are today connected with this denomination. 


My copy of "We Sinners" will be returned to the Sarasota County Public Library system on April 28th 2017.

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

A more quiet jmp

Hallo good readers,

I haven't had much to say on this blog or on Facebook for a few days because I haven't had much to say.

That did not deter me in former years!



Monday, 24 April 2017

Such uplifting skill - so good for my soul

I took myself to St. Boniface Church on Siesta Key last evening for the season finale of our our annual Concert Series.

The Church was all but filled for a splendid concert given by the Sarasota Opera Youth Chorus.

I wish that I could tell you more about the youth programme at the Sarasota Opera, but the various websites are inaccessible tonight.

Save to say that Sarasota Opera is a local treasure.

And that the youth programmes are great (based on what I saw and heard last evening):-  here were sixty or more young people who sang with discipline, great skill, enthusiasm and conviction.  They sang in Italian, German, French and English with never a score in sight! They created beauty!

It was a Concert which lifted my spirits.  Here is a set piece photo' from last evening which I lifted from the web.

I needed this reminder that life is not all about politics (Trump/May/Erdogan/Le Pen/Maduro etc). despite what the media (print, visual, audible and virtual) lead  us to believe.

Even the "storied and supposedly venerable"  National Public Radio is not much more than an intellectual hotbed of news, commentary, political talk shows and the like..   I am about to give up on our local and terminally boring NPR Station WUSF.    It is in no way as good as it could be, and that it claims to be,.

I can only take about twenty minutes worth of news and commentary each day.  WUSF offers more than fifteen hours of various news programmes and gab-fests, except on weekends when "nothing happens"!

 I need many more hours of beauty.  They are hard to find!  I did so last evening (Sunday 23rd)  at the Sarasota Opera Youth Chorus Concert.

Thank you St. B's and Sarasota Opera.