Showing posts from March 6, 2011

Sarasota Bay

In November 2006, five months after I'd moved to Sarasota, I took a "commercial" cruise on Sarasota Bay.  It was all very fine, but my sense of the geography of the Bay and of its Islands was limited.

So when the BEST group at my Church  (St. Boniface on Siesta Key, Sarasota) announced a Bay cruise for today I signed up.

"BEST" is an acronym for "Boniface Eco-Stewardship Team".

The "cruise" was out of our local Mote Marine Laboratory ( see ), so the trip had to do with the ecology of the bay.  The "tour guide" on the boat ( an engined Catamaran) was a young marine biologist named Noah.  (We were glad that he was Noah and not Jonah!).

We  were able to enjoy a brief nature walk on a small uninhabited island (Big Edwards Island);

we caught a glimpse of a Dolphin as she/he briefly surfaced (too fast for a photo');

we saw an Osprey nest (built only three weeks ago) -  "Mum" never left the nest so we gue…

Narcissus and the death of the Church.

The ancient Greek legend of Narcissus
“NarcissusorNarkissos(Greek:Νάρκισσος), possibly derived from ναρκη (narke) meaning "sleep, numbness," inGreek mythologywas a hunter from the territory ofThespiaeinBoeotiawho was renowned for his beauty. He was exceptionally proud, in that he disdained those who loved him. As divine punishment he fell in love with his own reflection in a pool, not realizing it was merely an image, and he wasted away to death, not being able to leave the beauty of his own reflection.”  (from Wikipedia)
What the legend fails to reveal is that any reflection in a pool is inevitably distorted by the sunlight or lack of sunlight, by the ripples of the water, and by the depth of the pool.
Reflected light always has distortions.
In Christian theology the Church is meant to be a reflection of the glory, compassion, grace, and mercy of God.Indeed, that’s why there is a Church.

Liver and Beethoven (and a follow up to Grrr!)

Follow up to "Grrr" (from two days ago)

All out of the blue my Rector told me yesterday morning that St. Boniface would pay the airfare for my trip to Sewanee, on the basis that I will be officially representing the parish in visiting our seminarian Wayne Farrell and his wife Trish!

How very cool!


In town this week are my New Hampshire friends Pat and Jack McLaughlin  (they were parishioners in Pittsfield before they retired to N.H.)

We attended a very fine Symphony Concert  (more about  that later in the week).

Beforehand we dined out.  I went off all my healthy eating habits and ate liver, bacon, and onions with french fries.   That was the first bit of liver I've eaten in at least five years.   It was so goooood!

(The concert was all music by Beethoven.  That was gooood too!)

"National Security - a myth" (or "Are you listening President Obama?")

Sir Winston Churchill said this about the foreign policy of the Soviet Union: “Soviet Union foreign policy is a puzzle inside a riddle wrapped in an enigma”.

The same should be said of the “national security” costs in these United States.

It is almost impossible to “suss out” our annual budget for national security, but if the following article is anywhere near the truth it is enormous.


In the meantime, Republicans in the House of Representatives wish to cut some $42 billion from programmes which aid the poor.

… they are also determined to obliviate or hobble the modest reforms to our dysfunctional American health care system (the reforms which have been passed by Congress, but which the Tea Party crew deride as “Obamacare”)

…. meanwhile in many of our 50 States Republican Governors want to slash spending for education; for health care (Medicaid); and for state employee pensions (which in truth ar…


Sarasota can sometimes feel a wee bit claustrophobic, or restricting. At those times I feel the need to get out of town for a few days, for a change of scenery and of company.

Later this month I will take such a three day/two night trip. I am to visit a small town in Tennessee called Sewanee (it’s west of Chattanooga).

Sewanee is the home of the famed “University of the South”, a place of great learning and prestige.

Sewanee is the only university in the nation that is owned and governed by dioceses of the Episcopal Church, specifically the 28 dioceses of the southeastern United States. With historic roots in the Anglican ecclesiastical and academic traditions, Sewanee welcomes people of all faiths and offers a lively environment for active worship in the Episcopal tradition, which includes a commitment to service and an openness to intellectual discourse.

“The University” (as it is often called) is home to a School of Theology where men and women are trained for ministry in the Episcop…

Big Olaf pre-Lenten indulgence

I have been driving over to Sarasota's  Mennonite/Amish enclave called
"Pinecraft" for not a few months, to get some fresh and inexpensive produce at Yoder's Market.

My pal Ben had never been there until today when I introduced him to Yoder's.  He was well pleased with the fruit and vegetables that he purchased.

Next door to Yoder's is the "Big Olaf" Ice Cream parlour.   We wandered there and each enjoyed a huge ice-cream cone.  Mine was "orange and pineapple" flavour. Ben's was "white chocolate with strwberries".

"Big Olaf" makes a mean ice-cream.  In other words -  it is great stuff. 

I enjoyed every lick and bite -  all the more so because this was the first bit of ice-cream I'd eaten in much more than a year. (I do not have a well-honed sweet-tooth).

This was for me a delicious pre-Lenten indulgence!

Sarasota (FL), of all places, has a thriving Amish/Mennonite population. We are very used to seeing Amish folks on…

Alleluia ..... Randall Thompson a sweet rendition by a High School Choir


Randall Thompson - Alleluia

The choir at my parish Church  (St. Boniface, Siesta Key, Sarasota, FL) sang the amazing "Alleluia" by Randall Thompson at the 9:00a.m. Eucharist today.

It was such a joy to be "bathed" in this gorgeous music.  I wanted to be singing with the choir, but as the Presider at this morning's liturgy it was much better that I was simply able to allow the music to "speak" to me and to refresh my soul and spirit.

I congratulate our musician Seth Wertz and the choir for enabling such beauty.

Thompson's Alleluia was a "party piece" for the choir at St. Stephen's in Pittsfield, MA, where I was Rector from 1984-2000.  It was there that I first heard it and began to appreciate it.

Thus it was a gift from St. Stephen's for me.  So as the St. Boniface Choir sang this morning my mind and heart went back to my years in Pittsfield  ( indeed the best [for me] years of my various parish ministries). 

Thanks be to G-d for music, for Randall Thompson, for…