Showing posts from 2010

. Of making many books there is no end

Our fabulous Sarasota County (FL) Libraries uses an automated checkout system by which receipts are issued when book are borrowed.
I kept all my receipts for 2010 and thereby discovered that I borrowed and read 54 books during the year.  One a week is not too shabby!
I major in history and biography.  This year I’ve read some biographies of fabulous women whose lives inspire me.  They include Catherine the Great of Russia, Queen Elizabeth I of England, Queen Anne (legally the first Queen of the United Kingdom).
Equally if not more inspiring have been the biographies of Anne Hutchinson (a woman who defied the male leadership of the Massachusetts Bay Colony);  of Ida Tarbell, a remarkable investigative journalist;  and of Dorothy Parker – an American ”wit” but much, much more than simply a “wit”.
In fiction I have been engrossed with the works of the great Willa Cather. I enjoyed “Death comes to the Archbishop”, (it is one of her finest novels), but her “My Antonia” charmed me even more.
I l…

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, children of all ages.

My pal Ben and I, together with Ben’s friend Claudette (visiting from Stephentown, New York) took ourselves this afternoon to Sarasota’s “PAL Sailor Circus”.  More about that in a minute.
Before the performance we had lunch at the wonderful “Panera Bread” (just across the road from the Big Top on Bahia Vista Street).  “Panera Bread” is a fabulous franchised cafe at which the soups, salads and sandwiches are superb.  The place was mobbed, but we eventually found a table for two, around which we made room for three.  This table was alongside a wall.
Once seated, I looked to my left.  At the very next table were two women from St. Boniface Church.  We chatted for a bit.  Then I looked back, and immediately behind me were two women from All Angels Church.  We also chatted.  Next, a husband and wife took the table immediately in front of ours. “Gosh and golly” – they were also from St. B’s.
I try not to be paranoid, but it felt odd that I was surrounded by six people from the two parishes at …

Resisting the Alleluia creep

There’s a story that sometime around 1980 a Pentecostal Christian attended an Episcopal Church with her friend from work.  During the sermon, the visitor began to utter a few fervent “Alleluias” in accordance with her heritage. 
 A frosty man seated in front of her turned around and glared.  “We don’t say “Alleluia” in the Episcopal Church”, he hissed.
Her Episcopalian friend squeezed her hand and said in a loud whisper “Oh yes we do, it’s on page 366 in the Prayer Book”.
Indeed the 1976/79 Book of Common Prayer offers Episcopalians the chance to express fervent alleluias; indeed “double alleluias”.  We do so between Easter Day and the Day of Pentecost (The Great Fifty Days), at the dismissal. At that point the Deacon exclaims: “Alleluia. Alleluia. Go in peace to love and serve the Lord”.  Then the congregation responds with “Thanks be to God. Alleluia, Alleluia”.
 It’s an exciting affirmation of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. Thus it is a powerful liturgical moment which  the…

Back in the saddle

I have been back in the saddle in recent days. It was my privilege to preside at five celebrations of the Eucharist, and to preach three sermons.
Thursday 23rd Dec.  At the weekly Healing Eucharist and Sermon at St. Boniface on Siesta Key, FL.

Friday 24th Dec. As Presider on Christmas Eve at St. Boniface Midnight Mass. (The Rector, Ted Copland had laryngitis).  I arrived home at 12:45 a.m. Christmas Day.  I had forgotten how I used to get so “wound up” after Midnight Mass that I could not sleep for a while!  So it was 2:00 a.m. afore I went to bed  (my usual bedtime is 9:00 p.m.!)

Saturday 25th Dec.  As Presider at the 11:00 a.m. St. Boniface Christmas Day Eucharist (the Rector still had laryngitis!). (My good friend and colleague Andi Taylor the Assistant at St. B's preached different sermons at Midnight Mass and on Christmas Day.  She was smoking hot each time! [She and I knew, liked, and respected each other in Massachusetts.]

Sunday 26th Dec. (Boxing Day).  I presided and preached …

Rejoice and be merry!

Rejoice and be merry!   Soak up all the joys of Christmas.

This blog will take a rest for a few days.

Check in again on Monday 27th December 2010.

Christmas memories

This season brings many memories.  
I spent one Christmas in Chester-le-Street, Co. Durham, England with my friend Marilyn Draper.  I cannot remember why I did that, nor do I remember our hosts.
My Mum came to the U.S.A. for my ordination to the priesthood in Dec 1976.    She was with me for my first American Christmas, spent in Fitchburg with the late (and sorely missed) Al and Doris Williams.
Two years ago I was in Beaufort, S.C. for Christmas.  It’s a lovely town.
One year long ago, (maybe 1982) I flew home to Bristol on Christmas Day to be with my family.  ‘Twas an overnight flight (Boston, to New York City, to London); thus I arrived in the U.K. on Boxing Day.  My family members had a delayed Christmas dinner at the home of my oldest sister Maureen.  I fell sound asleep at the dinner table.
Back in the fifties of the 20th Century, Mum and my oldest sister Maureen would make Christmas Puddings and Christmas cake in November.  
A silver sixpence, if available, would be hidden within the …


I got up at 3:00 a.m. today to look up into the heavens, and see the total eclipse of the moon.

It was a gorgeous and awesome sight.    The created and evolved universe,  as I experienced it in this eclipse, led me to awe.

My camera was inadequate to the task of photographing what I saw, but that did not matter.

For the enjoyment of  a moment of  beauty is important in and of itself, whether or not it can be encapsulated in a photo', a poem, a painting, a recording, a video, or a narrative.

By 3:15 a.m. I was back in bed, where I slept soundly until 5:15 a.m.

At 6:45 a.m. Penne and I took our early morning two mile walk. By 7:30 a.m. I was able to enjoy a mug of coffee out on my Lanai.    There I enjoyed a more local beauty as I looked out on the pond.  I will never tire of what I am privileged to see every day.  I hope to be ever grateful for this "human-made" glory.

A witty title

Shame and honour

Last Friday night as I drove home from a party in Venice (Florida!), I tuned into the Public Radio Station which come out of Ft. Myers, FL.  I was all ears as I listened to a “World Vision” programme about women in Afghanistan.
I was glad to hear of the ways in which the gifts and abilities of women are being celebrated in Kabul.  
I could scarcely bear to listen to the fate of many young women outside of the capital.  They are girls really, who are married off at a very young age, and then become virtual slaves in the homes of their husbands.
  (Often the mother-in-law becomes the slave-master.   She is repeating her own experience from when she was a child bride).
Many of these girls can “take it no more” and they are led to suicide. The preferred method is by self-immolation.  These children will douse themselves with petrol, and then set themselves afire.
In the book “My life as a Traitor” by Zarah Ghanramani, the author relates that in Iran, one of her cousins did the same, and died a…

“My Life as a Traitor” by the Persian/Iranian woman Zarah Ghahramani.

If you are ever tempted to think that the torture of human beings is justifiable:
Read “My Life as a Traitor” by the Persian/Iranian woman Zarah Ghahramani.
If you are ever tempted to believe that women should be submissive to men (a common belief amongst Evangelical, Anglo-Catholic, and Fundamentalist Christians):
Read “My Life as a Traitor” by the Persian/Iranian woman Zarah Ghahramani.

======================================= If you are ever tempted to say that human rights are relative, and that a passion for them maybe fine in the western democracies, but is inapplicable in other cultures/countries:
               Read “My Life as a Traitor” by the Persian/Iranian woman Zarah Ghahramani.

If you accept without question the premise that each and every opinion, of each and every person, is equally valid:
               Read “My Life as a Traitor” by the Persian/Iranian woman Zarah Ghahramani.


An Eagle in sight


Ike, Oscar and Diane