Saturday, 31 January 2015

My Rector will not be leaving the parish to become a Bishop.

The Rector at St. Boniface Church, Siesta Key FL., the Revd Dr. John C.N. Hall   was not elected to be the next Bishop of the Episcopal Church Diocese of South East Florida (based in Miami).

 ( St Boniface is the parish in which I share in ministry as a retiree)

He was one of six nominees.

The successful nominee was Peter Eaton  ( see )

The process for the election of Bishops in the American Episcopal Church is brutal, and quite possibly ungodly.

Potential nominees are subjected to intensive scrutiny. If they pass muster in the first stages and become actual nominees the scrutiny is intensified.

The actual nominees  (and their partners/spouses) have their lives and ministries laid bare (over a period of three to four months)  to the face of clerics and lay leaders who, in many  cases, are utter strangers.

These "more or less strangers" then vote at what is called a Diocesan Convention, at which the "fate" of the nominees is decided within three, four, five or six hours.

My Rector, John  Hall, was not elected today.  I can only imagine that he and his wife Jean are exhausted, sad, and maybe a tad depressed.

I ask your daily prayers for them.

Please also pray for the believers at  St. Boniface Church, as we respond to the news that John Hall will not be leaving us. We have been living under a cloud of uncertainty for about three months. Now that that uncertainty has been resolved, please pray that we (and John) will grow together, and be blessed with fruitful work  in the life and ministry of the gospel of God which we know in Christ Jesus.

Friday, 30 January 2015

Loose ends from my prior posts about my neighbour, and my dog.

This morning I  drove to the Nursing Home in South Venice (FL)  to collect the personal belongings of my late neighbour Edythe, and to bring them back to her home. I did this as a favour for her three brothers who live in Detroit and who are unable to take care of such matters at short notice.

I felt a bit sad.  For, despite our chequered history, I grew to be a bit fond of Edythe as I visited her,  in what proved to be the last nine months of her life.

On the other hand I am happy that I no longer have to take those weekly jaunts down Interstate 75 from Sarasota to Venice.


Penne and my bed.

I have been working on whatever has been spooking Penne, and making her to be unusually reluctant to be on my bed when I work on my computer.  I "love" having her in my room.

Yesterday  morning (29th January) I decided to trick her,  by placing her early morning treats onto the bed.  But I left them too close to the edge.  She took them, and retreated to her own bed.

I got smart, so this morning (30th January)  I placed the treats in the middle of the bed.  Penne leaped up onto the bed, and there she stayed!

Penne's treats are no more than two small pieces of kibble. I give them to her first thing in the morning, and also when we have gotten home after our walks.

Today, after our walks, I have held the kibble-bits in my hand, and then taken them to my room and placed them on my bed.

Whatever Penne's "fears" are regarding my room, they are trumped by her desire for a treat.  So she has followed my lead, jumped on to the bed, eaten the treats, and stayed on the bed.

She'd been there this evening for more than two hours, following our final walk of the day.

Daft as it may seem, it makes me so happy when Penne rests on my bed as I do my computer stuff.

Thursday, 29 January 2015

Scilicet, and silly, and sandwich.

Last night our friend Bob L (a crossword maven) introduced us a word which none of us had ever encountered.
It is the word "scilicet".  The word has fallen out of use, but it means more or less the same as "per se".  (See below).
Mutual friend Ben wondered aloud how it might be used.
He intended to say "how would it be used in a sentence?",  but he uttered:
"How would it be used in a sandwich"?
Ben immediately "heard" his semi-malapropism, as did I.   He and I were instantly "convulsed" in laughter, and I have been giggling about this all day.

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Adieu to my neighbour Edythe

Some of you will remember my tales about my neighbour Edythe T.  We share a driveway, and our car ports are undivided.

Edythe had a history of being mean and nasty to all and sundry, including me.

In May 2014 at about 5:00 a.m., I discovered her, prone and hallucinating, in the driveway of another neighbour. She had been there all night.

I called 911 and she was transported to a local hospital.

Later that morning I called one of her brothers in Detroit (he is a retired Judge).to let him know what had happened to Edythe. 

He was not surprised. He told me that Edythe had changed her Doctor, and that the new Doctor was opposed to Librium, the very drug she had needed.

I had an "aha" moment. I came to understand that her mean and nasty behaviour arose from her mental illness.

I was on the cusp of my trip to England, so when I got back home I called the Judge for the latest on his sister.

In short, he told me that she was in a nursing home.  I promised to visit her, not because I cared for Edythe, but so that he and his two other brothers could be kept up to speed on her condition.

So it has been. I have visited Edythe about once a week since June 2014.

I have been her sole visitor. 

Believe it or not, we have become a wee bit fond of each other!

I saw her in the Nursing Home on Tuesday 20th Jan.  She was  bright and chipper.  She even sang (with a lovely contralto voice). The  Hospice care staff were with her, so my visit was cut short,

I visited again on Saturday 24th Jan,  This time she was "out of it", and incoherent.  I reported this to her brother the Judge.

He called me today. (Wednesday 28th Jan) to tell me that she had passed from this life.

I was not surprised,  I am glad for her.  Her remains will be cremated and returned Detroit for burial.

On Friday 30th Jan I will take my last drive to the Nursing Home in South Venice, FL to bring her personal belongings back go her home.

It's the least I can do.


Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, (children) ye have done it unto me.

Matthew 25:40, Authorised/King James version of the bible.

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Canis non grata?

My dog Penne is the finest dog in the world  (except for yours).

It has long been our pleasure that when I have been working on my computer  (in my bedroom), Penne would hop up onto my bed.  She would stay there until she heard the computer "dings" which indicate that I have logged off.

That was until last Saturday (25th January 2015) when for some reason or other she would not come into the room, let alone get on the bed.

I managed to get her to enter the room, but when I patted the bed and said "Penne, get on to Papa's bed" she slunk off and hid behind a chair.

I patted her all over to see if I could find a lump or something which would explain a possible illness.  There was no such thing.

I wondered if she was getting arthritic, but she has jumped into the back seat of my car with ease when I have taken her for a ride (her favourite activity).

On Monday I lifted her and placed her on the bed, all the while "sweet-talking" her, and telling her that I wanted her to be there.

She stayed on the bed, but  she turned her back to me, and hopped off the bed the moment I left the room.

Today I tried to lift her again, but she ran away.  

Later today, after one of our walks, I took her into the room with her leash on..  At my bidding she jumped up onto the bed  --- but just as soon as I removed her leash -  she hopped off.

She is eating well.  She is walking well.  She is pooping well.  She greets me with enthusiasm when I return to my home after any absence.

Nothing has changed in my bedroom.  I even checked under the bed to see if perchance there was a monster there  (or a dead mouse or rat).

But she still  refuses to enter my bedroom, let alone to rest on my bed, with one beady eye on me as I work on the computer, which has been our pleasure for six or seven years.

She has decided that she is "Canis non grata" in my bedroom.

The ways of our dogs are beyond our  understanding.

And they "know" that human ways are also mysterious and inscrutable.

Monday, 26 January 2015

It's so hard for (some/most) men to simply listen.

A few week ago at the sermon/bible study group I attend  (four or five men, one woman) we somehow strayed into chatting about the need which many men have for male/male friendships.

I've been thinking a lot about this and have come to a few tentative conclusions, (please excuse my generalisations), about why this is so difficult.

1.  That men frequently fear intimate friendships with other men, because they find it hard to separate intimacy from sexuality.

2.  Lots of male friendships (particularly in groups) resort to banter and teasing, thus side-stepping any chance of deeper conversations.  (This is certainly the case within the group of gay men, single and partnered, with whom I hang out.  They are good guys, but we are for ever teasing each other).

3.  Men have often been taught to be self-reliant.

4. Males tend to be better at giving advice than they are at listening carefully. We formulate our "answers" before the question has been asked!

Generalisations?   But of course. 

Those of you who hang around with me know that I am a talker.  In company I am a compulsive talker!  It goes against my grain to listen.

But I am trying to "take the cotton (wool) out of my ears and to put it in my mouth".

Last week I spent some time with a friend, an entirely competent and professional woman, whose boss does not respect her.  She is overwhelmed with anger and sadness. We drank tea and coffee and chatted for nearly two hours.

I know her boss, so I utterly understood and empathized with her anger and sadness. 

I tried so hard not to give her advice.  She is well able to make her own wise decisions, and does not need or want my two cents' worth.

But dammit it was hard.  I so much wanted to segway into my "wise male advice giving mode". But that was not the purpose of our conversation.

The purpose is epitomised in one word:  EMPATHY.   My good friend did not seek or desire my wisdom.  She simply wanted to know that I heard her, and that I respected her.

Yesterday evening a neighbour, M-ry A-ne,  rang my door-bell and asked if we could chat,  I invited her into my home.

She told me about her son R, a thirty something married man, with a three year old son Z, and another child on the way.

R. had a non-malignant tumour removed from his brain last year.  Sans medical insurance he and his wife face enormous hospital bills.

Now R is battling debilitating ulcerated colitis, and is once again in the hospital.  He is utterly scared about his life and health; for his wife J; for his wee son; and for the yet to be born baby.

They face yet more hospital bills, and the prospect of declaring bankruptcy.

"Would I" asked M-ry A-ne, "visit him in the hospital, and encourage him to pray".

Of course I agreed to make that hospital call, but I promised M-ry A-ne that I would do no more than to listen to R,

I visited him today (it's not easy but priests and ministers are often asked to make hospital calls "sight unseen").

R. had been alerted that I might visit him.  He received me graciously (I had never before met him). 

He told me his story, and he cried.

I listened to his story and I got weepy.  I resisted every impulse to give him "good advice". I asked his permission to pray for him, and he assented to my request.

I ventured to say that if he decided to pray he should simply be honest with G-d: "no nice words, but utter frankness in his prayers".

Please God I was able to listen well to R. today,

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Church today, and my family. Simon, Andrew, James, and John.

Here is the Gospel passage we read in Church today:

Mark 1:14-20

14Now after John (the Baptist) was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, 15and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.” 16As Jesus passed along the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the sea—for they were fishermen. 17And Jesus said to them, “Follow me and I will make you fish for people.” 18And immediately they left their nets and followed him. 19As he went a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John, who were in their boat mending the nets. 20Immediately he called them; and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men, and followed him.
My friend and colleague the Revd. Andi (Andrea) Taylor preached a fine sermon based on this passage.
But the names caught my imagination
I thought of some family members, and I prayed for them.  
1.  My nephew Simon Povey, his wife Abby, and their infant son Miles.
2.  My brother Andrew Povey and his wife Izzy  (Isobel).
3.  My great-nephew James Theobald, and his partner Zoe.
4. My sister Jean Thacker and her husband John.
What fun it was to see the names of four of my family members in the Gospel reading, and then to pray for them.