Saturday, 10 April 2010

The Fallen Faithful or "I was at the world premiere of a movie!"

After our late lunch at the Columbia Restaurant Ybor City last Thursday (April 8th 2010), Ben Morse, Bob Lewis, Ed Green and I hoved over to Tampa’s “Channelside Cinema” for a movie premiere.

Yes, it was the world premiere for “The Fallen Faithful” – filmed in Tampa.

We were at this premiere because Andrew “Drew” Wirtz (second son of the late Bruce Wirtz and Mary Virginia Wirtz) was one of the co-producers and financiers of this low budget movie.

(After Bruce and Mary Virginia divorced, Bruce [a friend of mine since 1976] was partnered with Ben Morse.)

This one million dollar “indy” movie uses such fine actors as Sonny Marinelli, Mark Margolis, and Obba Babtunde. (“Google” their names if you will!)

The plot is more than plausible.

The acting is super.

(And it was lovely to see Drew Wirtz in a cameo role – the be-spectacled worshipper in a church scene at the sharing of the peace.).

BUT ------ the movie includes so much violence. That the violence is integral to the plot is something which I understand. Nonetheless I had to close my eyes during some scenes.

“The Fallen Faithful” will be shown in Los Angeles in June.

After that, at best it will be picked up for worldwide cinema showing. Or it may go direct to DVD distribution.

Should you ever view it please remember that:

1. I saw the world premiere!
2. Co-producer and cameo actor Drew Wirtz is someone I have known since 1978.
3. Myra Williamson Wirtz (wardrobe mistress) is a great woman. I know her. She is Drew’s spouse.

Ybor City

 Columbia  Restaurant, Ybor City

You may remember that in an earlier blog entry I wrote about a book titled “Ybor City Chronicles” by Ferdie Pacheo. 

Ybor City was the heart and soul of a vital Cuban/Spanish/Italian community from circa 1900 to circa 1950. In those years Ybor City was famous for its hand rolled cigars.

The book is a tender and affectionate account of Ferdie’s upbringing in Ybor City (a district of Tampa, FL) between the years 1935 – 1945.

In my earlier blog entry I remarked that the book made me wistful for a place and time which I never knew.  

At the heart of that place was the Columbia Restaurant, est 1905.

Here is the Columbia Restaurant story.

After reading Pacheo’s book I became determined to travel the 60+ miles from Sarasota to Tampa and to dine at the Columbia.

We have a branch of the Columbia in Sarasota – it was established in the 1950’s and claims to be the oldest continually serving restaurant here – but I wanted to eat at the “mother ship” in Ybor City, Tampa.

This I did Thursday 8th April with my friends Ben, Bob and Ed.  We had a 3:30 p.m. “very late lunch”.  I was enchanted with the whole place.

We ate in the Patio Dining Room.  I had a cup of excellent Gazpacho and a “Cuban”.

I’ve seen advertisements for “Cubans” ever since I arrived in Florida back in 2006.  But I’d had no idea about what they are.

Since I was at this centre of more than 100 years of Cuban/American culture, it was the right time and place for my first Cuban.  It was  good!


 Columbia Restaurant at night

Bar area

Patio Dining Room where we had lunch

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Beauty close at hand

It is not unusual to see hawks in this part of Florida. They are often in pairs, and perch singly, about a half mile apart on the highest point of the highest trees. They call to each other, and their call (more of a shriek really) is by no means a pleasure to the ears.

Call apart, they are so beautiful. The hawk pictured below forsook the high places and spent quite a bit of time on the lamp post just outside my home. My guess is that she/he is a juvenile.

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Sweet potato with banana

If you have a mind to do so:

Boil a cut up sweet potato or two to prepare it/them to be mashed.

About half the time before they will be mash-able, bake a banana or two (skins on) in a pre-heated 400 degree oven.  Bake them until their skins are blackened.

Mash the drained sweet potato/s and the skinned banana/s, adding a bit of cinnamon and some honey.

Eat and enjoy (with other veggies, fish, or meat as the case may be).

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

More nonsense from sources ill-remembered,

(1) It doesn’t matter what you do in the bedroom as long as you don’t do it in the street and frighten the horses.

(Daphne Fielding, The Duchess of Jermyn Street)

(2)  Let’s make a law that gay people can have birthdays, but straight people get more cake - you know, to send the right message to kids.

(3)  Aunt Lorraine said, “Bob, you’re gay. Are you seeing a psychiatrist?” I said, “No, I’m seeing a lieutenant in the Navy”.

Monday, 5 April 2010

Humour from"back in the day"

 "Back in the day" teachers and school headmasters were more caustic and more honest when writing school reports than they are today.

The following are some examples of their craft as printed in today's (April 5th 2010)  London Daily Telegraph.

I especially like numbers 8 and 10.


 15 of the best

1.“Rugby: Hobbs has useful speed when he runs in the right direction.”

2.“The tropical forests are safe when John enters the woodwork room, for his projects are small and progress is slow.”

3.“The stick and carrot must be very much in evidence before this particular donkey decides to exert itself.”

4.“French is a foreign language to Fowler.”

5.“For this pupil all ages are dark.”

6.“Henry Ford once said history is bunk. Yours most certainly is.”

7.“About as energetic as an absentee miner.”

8. “He has given me a new definition of stoicism: he grins and I bear it.”

9.“The improvement in his handwriting has revealed his inability to spell.”

10. “He has an overdeveloped unawareness.”

11. “At least his education hasn’t gone to his head.”

12. “Give him the job and he will finish the tools.”

13. “Unlike the poor, Graham is seldom with us.”

14. “Would be lazy but for absence.”

15. “This boy does not need a Scripture teacher. He needs a missionary.”

Sunday, 4 April 2010

I am back!

We’ve just come to the end of what pretentious clerics and pious lay Christians call the Triduum. That’s a fancy word for the time between the evening of Maundy Thursday and the morning of Easter Day.

(By the way - there is no such thing as “Easter Sunday”. Easter is by definition a feast of the first day of the week - so the day should be called either “Easter”, or “Easter Day”)

Having thus revealed my Anglican and linguistic snobbery, I return to the Triduum!

Ted Copland, the Rector at St. Boniface Church on Siesta Key was good enough to ask me to preach at the Maundy Thursday Eucharist. See my earlier post today if you wish to read my sermon.

After the sermon I washed the feet of the Revd. Andrea Taylor, and she washed mine. As my sermon says, I truly believe that the foot-washing of Maundy Thursday is the quintessential expression of what it means to be a priest.

Good Friday saw me back at St. Boniface’s for the 10:30 a.m. Liturgy. I was assigned the role of “narrator” in the long reading of the passion according to St. John. Andrea preached a super sermon.

Holy Saturday was, and should be, a quiet day for Christians. It is a day in which we muse on the absence of G-d. 

Jesus has died. He is entombed. His absence is awful.

“This joyful Easter-tide” saw me presiding at the 8:00 a.m. Eucharist at my other parish - All Angels by the Sea on Longboat Key. Their good Rector David Danner gave me this opportunity – and I was deeply grateful.

David preached a powerful sermon. The choir and bell choir never sounded better. All Angels is blessed to have Dale Hooey as its musician.

At the place in the service where the Priest/Minister breaks the sacred bread the Episcopal liturgy mandates a period of silence. This morning, during the silence a “babe in arms” cried out. I grinned from ear to ear.

This was partly because we rarely see or hear babies in the Churches in this part of Florida (we are in a retirement area). It was a joy to hear that babe this morning.

It was also because of Psalm 8 v 2 

“From the lips of children and sucklings
you have ordained praise”
It was sacred praise indeed

I was at home by 10:00 a.m. with no more duties to fulfill. I have walked Penne a couple of times and read a bit.

Now I am cooking my main meal for the day. I’ll eat at about 4:00 p.m. – so it is either a late lunch or an early dinner.

I am going off-diet to enjoy some roasted leg of lamb. My home is filled with the lovely smell of the rosemary with which I bathed the meat. Alongside the lamb I’ll enjoy mashed parsnip (with lots of pepper), and mashed sweet potato and banana.

(Yes indeed - I will add a baked banana and a bit of honey as I mash the sweet potato).

As they say: “woot, woot, woot”!

Sermon for Maundy Thursday 2010. Michael Povey at St, Boniface, Siesta Key, FL

Sermon for Maundy Thursday 2010.  The Revd. J. Michael Povey at St. Boniface Church, Siesta Key FL


John 13:1-20
13Now before the festival of the Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart from this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. 2The devil had already put it into the heart of Judas son of Simon Iscariot to betray him. And during supper 3Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going to God, 4got up from the table,* took off his outer robe, and tied a towel around himself. 5Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was tied around him. 6He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, ‘Lord, are you going to wash my feet?’ 7Jesus answered, ‘You do not know now what I am doing, but later you will understand.’ 8Peter said to him, ‘You will never wash my feet.’ Jesus answered, ‘Unless I wash you, you have no share with me.’ 9Simon Peter said to him, ‘Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!’ 10Jesus said to him, ‘One who has bathed does not need to wash, except for the feet,* but is entirely clean. And you* are clean, though not all of you.’ 11For he knew who was to betray him; for this reason he said, ‘Not all of you are clean.’
12 After he had washed their feet, had put on his robe, and had returned to the table, he said to them, ‘Do you know what I have done to you? 13You call me Teacher and Lord—and you are right, for that is what I am. 14So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you. 16Very truly, I tell you, servants* are not greater than their master, nor are messengers greater than the one who sent them. 17If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them. 18I am not speaking of all of you; I know whom I have chosen. But it is to fulfil the scripture, “The one who ate my bread* has lifted his heel against me.” 19I tell you this now, before it occurs, so that when it does occur, you may believe that I am he.* 20Very truly, I tell you, whoever receives one whom I send receives me; and whoever receives me receives him who sent me.’

Two stories.
(1)    A long time ago in another state and another diocese all the clerics would be summoned by the Bishop to attend a Maundy Thursday Eucharist.  Most of us would, with grouchy hearts, trek the fifty or seventy five miles to be part of an indifferent liturgy and to share in a mediocre lunch. We wondered why it was necessary to travel so many miles since we could have so easily dis-organised such a liturgy and lunch in our home parishes.
At some point in the service the Bishop would take his seat and put on his pointy hat.  Then he would instruct us to renew our ordination vows.  On the surface of things that was not too difficult as the words were printed for us.  Beneath the surface some felt uneasy because they knew that they’d never fully kept their ordination promises.  Others felt self-righteous because that knew that they had.
I always believed the process to be a bit self serving.  I mean – here we were, all clerics renewing our promises in the presence of other clerics, sans the non-ordained baptised and holy people of God.  And it was all so cerebral.
(2)    In 2005 I was in Atlanta for the Bat-Mitzvah of Lesley, the thirteen year old grand-daughter of my friend Barbara and Don.  Lesley did well as she read her assigned passage in Hebrew, and expounded it for us. Then we all went to Maggiano’s Little Italy in Buckhead and had a great party.
A boy was Bar-mitzvahed at the same service.  He too was 13 and I think that his name was Ben.  His passage was all about the Israelites gathering and eating manna in the wilderness.  He reminded us that the people were supposed to gather only enough manna for one day, except on the day before Sabbath when they gather two days’ worth.  He mused about why they were told to gather just enough for one day.  He came to this conclusion. “You can sometimes have too much of even a good thing”.  And he went on to talk about our never satisfied appetites – and that they were never satisfied because we were sated. 
Too much of anything, however good, can lead us to a loss of memory – the memory which says “this is good”.  That amnesia leads to a presumption that we have a right to be greedy; and to the death of a sense of gratitude.
As we read in the gospels of Simon Peter he either gets it utterly right, or dead wrong.  Today he is dead wrong.  He wants too much of a good thing.
Peter said to him, ‘You will never wash my feet.’ Jesus answered, ‘Unless I wash you, you have no share with me.’ 9Simon Peter said to him, ‘Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!’
Peter wants the whole kit and caboodle now, but he is not ready for it.  For he, with the others, has no clue as to what Jesus is doing.  Jesus says to Peter, and I think also to the others
‘You do not know now what I am doing, but later you will understand.’
As when he decided to ride into Jerusalem on a colt, Jesus  is utterly in charge. He knows what he is doing. 
“during supper 3Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going to God”
“He had come from God and was going to God.”  This Jesus is serene in the conviction that he knows who he is, and what he is about.    He knows what he is doing.  That was not true for the disciples, all save Judas who surely knew who he was, and what he was about.
In the washing of the feet of the twelve Jesus is behaving as the servant he knows himself to be. This was no play acting.  He knows his vocation. He is a servant.
Jesus serves in the face of two power structures – the might and pomp of Rome and the compromised ecclesiastical power of the Temple Hierarchy.  Soon he will serve a  “contempt of God” citation upon the Temple oligarchs by overthrowing the money tables.  Soon he will plant the bloody seeds of a bloodless revolution against Rome.  In Jesus’ scheme of things, to serve is to be subversive.
On this night, the servant washes the feet of the disciples so that in due course they would also come to know their vocation – to be servant ministers.  This is the night of their ordination.

Foot washing is ordination. To be ordained in this fashion is to know that ministry is about service, and not about power. 
But” power” is the governing principle for much Christian ministry.
It would be good if that man in Rome who loves to dress up all fancy would remember that he is not a  Pontiff – the “Pontifex Maximus”  (which the Roman Emperors called themselves), but that he is the “servant of the servants of Christ” to use another of his many titles.
It would be good if those American Protestant ministers who seek power to blend Church and State into a new Theocracy would remember that Jesus died partly because he overthrew such notions as he “cleansed the Temple”.
Important as it is to point out the errors of the Papacy and of Fundamentalist Preachers, we too are called to understand the meaning of ministry all over again. 
We in this case are the ordained ministers in this congregation.
Maundy Thursday speaks to us.  It reminds us that our ordination was never about power – not even about the power of magic hands. It was about the call to serve.  We are your servants.
We are not servants to be at your beck and call.  We are servants for the sake of Christ.  Our service is to live with you into patterns of life which, in utter non-violence, are subversive of the crippling and demeaning power structures of our age.
 A bit later in the gospel Jesus talks with Peter and fills out the meaning of that Maundy Thursday ordination. He said, ‘Feed my sheep. 18Very truly, I tell you, when you were younger, you used to fasten your own belt and to go wherever you wished. But when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will fasten a belt around you and take you where you do not wish to go.’ Peter’s hands will be bound, and his feet, once washed by Jesus, will take him to martyrdom.19
My sister and brother priests

Maundy Thursday is when we renew our ordination commitment. We will not do this with words, words: - words which some Bishop told us to read.  It is NOT all up here in our heads.
We will do this best with deeds as we wash each other’s feet.  We serve from our feet not from our heads.
We wash each other’s feet knowing that God will probably ‘take us where we do not wish to go.’  
Having thus renewed our commitment we are ready to feed Jesus’ sheep, so that we might walk with this congregation not to where it wants to be, but where God calls it to be - for the sake of the world.