Saturday, 31 October 2009

Newtown, Sarasota

Few people remember that Florida was a slave State, and later a segregationist State.  
Segregation was pervasive in Sarasota.   The district known as Newtown bears witness to this. It is a majority black American district.    
Many whites, gripped with a racism which they do not understand or acknowledge, are “scared” to be in Newtown.  They believe that it is an area of high crime .  
Statistics of criminality would prove them wrong    
The incidence of crime in all of Sarasota is not great.  
Newtown has no more and no less crime than other parts of the City.    
But whites are never impressed with mere statistics.  They have already decided that crime is rife in black areas.     
I spent some time in Newtown this morning.  My purpose was to photograph some of Newtown’s Churches. It’s a cool part of town.  

Friday, 30 October 2009

Revere, Saugus, Lynn or perhaps Beverly

About once a quarter I receive a newsletter addressed to “The Revere J. Michael Povey”.

I wonder. Is there also “The Saugus J. Michael Povey”, or “The Lynn Michael Povey”, perhaps even “The Beverly Michael Povey”?

Do I have doppelgangers in numerous towns on the north shore of Massachusetts?


For example, retired Bishop Walter Righter recently related a juicy tale in “Vintage Voice” a monthly newsletter for retired Episcopal Clerics.

He tells of an Episcopal Parish which was celebrating its Centenary. Said Parish printed a formal invitation to the Centennial celebration. The invitation included a note to visiting Priests regarding their vesture for the event. It read “Clergy: Festal Stoles”.

A good person sent a copy of this centennial invitation to the White House, which was kind enough to respond with a letter of congratulations.

The letter was addressed to "The Revd. Festal Stoles"

Thursday, 29 October 2009

My Parish, St. Boniface keeps door open Woot woot!

My Rector's letter to the Sarasota Herald Tribune newspaper

St. Boniface keeps door open


Regarding the news that the "Vatican welcomes disaffected Anglicans," note that the Archbishop of Canterbury says this is "business as usual." Anglicans and Roman Catholics have been swapping pews for hundreds of years, and on our side we've been enriched by the many thoughtful and courageous clergy and laypersons who have moved to the Episcopal Church from Rome.

The historical struggle of Christianity to get it right has meant that all denominations, especially the Roman Catholic Church, have been "wracked by years of conflict over the interpretation of Scripture" the media ascribe to the modern Anglican Communion. It energizes the whole church to be aware that this is an interesting moment in history.

St. Boniface will keep open its welcome center for people who remain inquisitive about Scripture and think that women and gay people are created in the image of God and worthy of leadership in the church.

The Rev. Edward Copland


The author is rector of St. Boniface Episcopal Church in Sarasota.

I warned you that my blog would be eclectic!

I am immersed in Doris Kearns Goodwin’s bio of Abraham Lincoln “Team of Rivals” (Simon and Schuster 2005). The more I read about Lincoln, the more I like him.

Goodwin relates that Lincoln was a great raconteur.

He loved to tell the (apocryphal?) tale of Ethan Allen’s visit to England soon after the Revolution. There he was subject to much teasing banter. The British would love to make fun of General George Washington. They obtained a picture of Washington and displayed it in the outhouse, where Mr Allen could not miss it. He did not make mention of it, so is hosts asked him if he had seen the picture.

He retorted that “he thought that it was a very appropriate place for an Englishman to keep it”. His hosts enquired “why?”

Allen responded that “there is nothing that will make an Englishman shit so quick as the sight of General Washington”.

Wednesday, 28 October 2009


“ (George) Whitfield was a natural phrase-maker, and so much more effective a preacher than (John) Wesley that Benjamin Franklin warned people who planned to meet him that they should empty their pockets before the introduction. Otherwise he would persuade them to give all that they had to the poor.

It was said that (Whitfield) could bring tears to a congregation’s eyes merely by whispering “Mesopotamia”.

( p 127 The Life of John Wesley, Roy Hattersley, Doubleday 2003)

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Burned cakes, kings, and ministers.

Most Tuesday mornings I hove down to my parish Church, St. Boniface on Siesta Key, Sarasota.

St. Boniface’s Rector, Ted Copeland is a generous man, who welcomes the ministry of a number of we retired Priests, and shares the pulpit and altar with great grace.

At 10:00 a.m. on Tuesdays there is a simple Communion service. Most weeks there are six to eight of us there, lay and ordained Christians.

Those of us who are ordained take turns in presiding at the Eucharist, or delivering a simple homily. I was the homilist today.

One of the “Lesser Saints” in the Episcopal Church is Alfred (the Great), King of the Anglo-Saxons between 871 and 899. His "feast day" is Oct 26th, so I observed it today.

English people of my generation were taught two things about Alfred.

First, that he, after many battles, defeated the Danish (Viking) intruders and established a quasi-English Kingdom.

Second, that when in hiding (before his great victories) he was sheltered by a peasant woman in the marsh-lands of Somerset. She instructed him to watch some cakes which were being cooked on a fire, but he, obsessing about the matters of the Kingdom, allowed the cakes to burn.

This latter tale is doubtless one of those beautiful myths, like the one of George Washington and the Cherry tree.


Fortunately we know quite a bit more about Alfred via the (probably quite reliable) annals of Asser, Bishop of Sherborn (Dorset) – a contemporary of Alfred.

As I read these annals, three aspects of King Alfred leaped out at me.

1. He ordered the translation of Latin documents into (old) English, in order to make them accessible to English folks who did not know Latin.

2. He invited teachers from Gaul to bring their wisdom to England. We know the names of two of these teachers – Grimbald and John.

3. When peace was secured, Alfred set about rebuilding London.

It seems to me that Alfred is a model for what we call “ministry”.

1. Those of us who are ministers (lay or ordained) are always about the business of “translating” the Bible, and the Tradition of the Church, into the language of our age.

We know that we have a message about God which is worth sharing. We also know that the message is often obscured by religious words and concepts, which “the person in the pew” finds incomprehensible.

So we translate , in order to join with “the person in the pew” in the task of interpretation.

(Translation and Interpretation are not the same thing!)

2. Just as Alfred imported Grimbald and John, so we also welcome teachers from outside of our own tradition. Episcopalians can learn from Baptists. Lutherans can learn from Roman Catholics. Christians can learn from Jews and Muslims. And so on and so on.

3. Like Alfred, we are called to a ministry of rebuilding. Ministers very frequently encounter those whose lives have been demolished by death, disease, and divorce. Or by poverty and unemployment. Or by abuse: sexual, verbal, and physical. The list goes on. Some of these folks are gracious enough to invite us to share in the task of re-building their devastated lives. It is an honour and a privilege.

Lest we who minister begin to believe our own propaganda, it is also important to acknowledge that we are sometimes so obsessed with our own concerns, that we allow some cakes to burn.

Fortunately there are men and women in our congregations who, like Alfred’s hostess in the Somerset Marshes, are more than ready to both scold and forgive us!

Monday, 26 October 2009

Which Rites? (a piece for the interest of Anglicans)

Pope Benedict is beckoning Anglicans into the Church of Rome with the promise of “Anglican Rite” status.

I wonder which Rite he has in mind.....

Is it the 1549 rite ( more or less the one used in the 1928 American BCP, and in “Rite One” of the 1976/79 American BCP)?

1549 is filled with polemic against the Church of Rome’s doctrine of the Mass. (See hi-lighted extracts below). Has the Pope analysed this Liturgy?


And here we offer and present unto thee (0 Lord) our selves, our souls, and bodies, to be a reasonable, holy, and lively sacrifice unto thee: humbly beseeching thee, that whosoever shall be partakers of this holy Communion, may worthily receive the most precious body and blood of thy son Jesus Christ: anbd be fulfilled with thy grace and heavenly benediction, and made one body with thy son Jesu Christ, that he may dwell in them, and they in him. And although we be unworthy (through our manifold sins) to offer unto thee any Sacrifice: Yet we beseech thee to accept this our bounden duty and service,

ALMIGHTY GOD our heavenly father, which of thy tender mercy didst give thine only son Jesus Christ, to suffer death upon the cross for our redemption, who made there (by his oblation once offered) a full, perfect, and sufficient sacrifice, oblation, and satisfaction, for the sins of the whole world, and did institute, and in his holy Gospel command us to continue, a perpetual memory of that his precious death, until his coming again: Hear us (0 merciful father) we beseech thee; and grant that we, receiving these thy creatures of bread and wine, according to thy son our Savior Jesus Christ's holy institution, in remembrance of his death and passion, may be partakers of his most blessed body and blood: who in the same night that he was betrayed: took bread, and when he had given thanks, he brake it, and gave it to his Disciples, saying: Take, eat, this is my body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me. Likewise after supper he took the cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying: Drink ye all of this, for this is my blood of the new Testament, which is shed for you and for many, for the remission of sins: do this as oft as ye shall drink it, in remembrance of me.

Or does the Pope have the 1552/1662 Rite in mind?

This Rite is substantially “sans consecration”. It has a “receptionist” theology. Is this the Rite which is acceptable to Rome?


ALMIGHTY God, our heavenly Father, who of thy tender mercy didst give thine only Son Jesus Christ to suffer death upon the Cross for our redemption; who made there (by his one oblation of himself once offered) a full, perfect, and sufficient sacrifice, oblation, and satisfaction, for the sins of the whole world; and did institute, and in his holy Gospel command us to continue, a perpetual memory of that his precious death, until his coming again; Hear us, 0 merciful Father, we most humbly beseech thee; and grant that we receiving these thy creatures of bread and wine, according to thy Son our Saviour Jesus Christ's holy institution, in remembrance of his death and passion, may be partakers of his most blessed Body and Blood: who, in the same night that he was betrayed, (a) took Bread; and, when he had given thanks, (b) he brake it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, Take, eat, (c) this is my Body which is given for you: Do this in remembrance of me. Likewise after supper he (d) took the Cup; and, when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of this; for this (e) is my Blood of the New Testament, which is shed for you and for many for the remission of sins: Do this, as oft as ye shall drink it, in remembrance of me. Amen.

Maybe Papa Bennie has the English Missal in mind. You can read it here. It’s scarcely an Anglican Rite!


So I ask. Is the Pope decidedly ignorant of Anglican Rites? If that is not the case, then which Rites (and there are very many in the Communion) will be acceptable in the new “Ordinariate”.

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Sundays are so tiring

Penne resting with an eye on me

Ada sleeping on the bed in my guest-room

Adelaide dosing on a chair on the Lanai

The Revd. Dr. Ian Douglas

It was with great joy that I greeted yesterday’s election of The Revd. Dr. Ian Douglas, as the 15th Bishop of Connecticut.

Ian and I have known each other since 1976 when I was the Rector at the Church of the Good Shepherd in Fitchburg, MA. He was then a senior in High School and with his parents, Duncan and Gladys, and his brother Craig, was a member of Christ Church, Fitchburg.

Sadly his Mom, Dad and brother have been taken from us by death.

Ian and I were always aware of each others’ career trajectories, and we were both tickled pink when in 2000 I became Rector of St. James’s, Cambridge, MA where he was already ensconced as a Priest Associate. Ian and his wife Kristin became the fountains of much rich grace to me in my six years at St. James’s.

BUT Ian’s election has a much more profound meaning than that of our personal friendship.

This is because he is more aware of all the meanings of the Anglican Communion than any other Priest in the Episcopal Church. Ian is a walking encyclopaedia of all that is bad and good in Anglicanism. He knows, and has talked and prayed with all the “leading lights” in Anglicanism.

He will have his work cut out as Bishop of Connecticut. And he will be an important and vital member of the Episcopal Church “House of Bishops” as he brings all his wisdom, knowledge and insight of matters pan-Anglican to that House.