Friday, 26 October 2018

Tears for Matthew Shepard, tears for his parents. Gratitude for the Episcopal Church.



WASHINGTON — Matthew Shepard, who was murdered at 21 years old in 1998 in an anti-gay hate crime, will be interred at Washington National Cathedral following a service of thanksgiving and remembrance on Friday, Oct. 26, at the request of the Shepard family. This Friday, Oct. 12, is the 20th anniversary of Shepard’s death. The service will celebrate and recall Shepard’s life and will be followed by a private interment in the Cathedral crypt. The service will be presided over by the Right Rev. Mariann Edgar BuddeEpiscopal Bishop of Washington, and the Right Rev. V. Gene Robinson, the first openly gay priest to be consecrated a bishop in the Episcopal Church.  

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It was a horrid and brutal murder. My brother in Christ Matthew was cruelly slain.  There is never a good reason for murder.  There are many bad reasons.  In Matthew's case it was because he was gay. 

He left this life and he also left a family: his parents Judy Shepard and  Dennis Shepard, and his sibling Logan Shepard.

Matthew was an Episcopalian and an acolyte in his local parish. He was brutalized and murdered in Wyoming.  But he was murdered 21 years ago. 

So why were his mortal remains re-interned in our Episcopal National Cathedral today?

One of his parents spoke today on National Public Radio. She/he said that Matthew's remains were now in a a safe place; a place where his burial place was safe and could not ever be vandalized

Can you even imagine the  possibility of the vandalizing of a grave?

Matthew's remains are now interred in the National Cathedral of the Episcopal Church.  I like that.

But his soul and spirit are in the merciful and just hands of God. I like that even more.

If you go to the the Washington National Cathedral web site you may well be able to view today's service with Bishops Budde and Robinson.


Preparing the burial marker.










Thursday, 25 October 2018

Such a vile stench

There was a horrid stench in my home this morning.  

I had to track it down.

1)  It was not from me. Even though I had not yet showered I could still live with my body odours.

2)  It was not from Zion. He is a masterful farter but I could not blame him.

3)  Then I remembered.  A wee frog had decided to move in on Wednesday.  It's difficult to prevent this happening.  It's impossible to usher frogs outside.

Zion tapped Mr. Frog a few times without hurting him.

But in jumping around my new friend had managed to coat its skin with bits of dog hair.

It was all too much.  The wee creature retired to a corner where he died, and soon began to stink.


Dead, hair covered,  and rotting frog.

Thank goodness that it was not a possum, a raccoon, a burmese python or a bobcat.




Wednesday, 24 October 2018

HSSC (Humane Society of Sarasota County)

HSSC - ADOPTIONS TODAY  24th October 2018




Year to date HSSC has facilitated 1401 adoptions (mostly dogs as Sarasota's premier feline adoption agency, the Cat Depot, takes care of most of the cats).

Back to HSSC  which enables  about 140 adoptions per month

That's wonderful because many of the adoptees come from very small kill shelters, in other states.  

The HSSC shelter is "no kill" which means that even  un-adoptable dogs are given a good and caring home until they die, or have to be euthanised  on account of severe or debilitating illness.

Don't be harsh about the kill shelters in other places.  Many of them are very small, underfunded, and run by lovely volunteers.

HSSC is fortunate enough to be very well funded (individuals and foundations) in a very prosperous County.

The famous Mr. Z  (Zion) was in a kill shelter in another State.  He and I were so blessed that HSSC brought him to Sarasota and thence to me.

Great stuff  but I must also put in a word for those  precious human children who need a loving and caring foster or adoptive home, even if Spanish is their native tongue.


Tuesday, 23 October 2018

A very proud and happy Uncle

23rd October 2018

My great niece Imogen Chapman (19) was today declared to be the winner of the Miss Teen Great Britain Pageant.

http://www.missteengreatbritain.co.uk


My heart and the hearts of her family and friends are bursting with joy.

(Imogen is the daughter of my niece Louise and her husband David, and the grand daughter of my sister Maureen and her husband Bernard).

The pageant indeed has to do with beauty and style, but much more than that. it is "judged" on character, inter-personal relationships, communication skills, and commitment and work with charitable organisations.

Dear Imogen has a deep and sustained commitment to the health, shelter, feeding and well being of  homeless people (rough sleepers) in our home City of Bristol, U.K.

She is also a star in amateur theatre. She is devoted to her parents and grand parents.

Imogen is a well rounded, cheerful, modest and gracious young woman.

Well done "Immy"










Monday, 22 October 2018

Preparing for the inevitable disaster




Matthew 24:37-39 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

37 For as the days of Noah were, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 38 For as until the day Noah entered the ark, 39 and they knew nothing until the flood came and swept them all away, 

This biblical text has often been interpreted as one about God's judgment.  
I suggest that it can also be interpreted to refer to a willful lack of preparation in the face of disaster.  Read it this way
 "in those days before the great disaster they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage"
The great disaster is upon us.  
climate change, 
global warming, 
world wide over population, 
the feckless and reckless plunder of our planet's resources, 
the pollution of springs, wells, rivers and oceans, 
the profligate use of  pesticides, herbicides, and fertilisers 

etc., etc., etc.
all these are leading us to a massive collapse of planet earth's ecology, with ghastly and unthinkable consequences: utter poverty for the many; sickness, disease, death from starvation or dehydration. 
They will lead to dystopian societies (we already have many - e.g. Yemen, Gaza, parts of Brasil, Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo etc), 
and military or civilian dictatorships (Egypt, Hungary, Saudi Arabia, The Philippines, Turkey, China etc, 
and oligarchies (Russia, the U.K, the U.S.A. etc.)

I posted this earlier today


One good friend said that she could not bear to read it.  I understand.

But we must read it for the sake of our grandchildren and great grandchildren.  

We seniors have a duty and responsibility to help to prepare them for a harsh future.  (I think of my beloved 10 years old great niece Bree).

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I am a retired  Pastor so I have a word for local Christian congregations and their leaders ('tis also a word for Imams and Rabbis etc.)

What are you doing to make your congregation be truthful and get real in the face of the impending disaster? 

What are you doing for the sake of the young and little ones who will come to maturity in a disaster filled world?

A bigger building or a better choir will not be good enough, (I have been in favour of both!)

Small group discussions will not suffice. Leadership from the pulpit or bema is vital.

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FOR THE RECORD  I did preach about this (however feebly) in two of the congregations I served between 1984 and 2006)

There will not be a new Noah's Ark.

The presence of the Lord Jesus will not be to save us from the disaster, but in the disaster,














Sunday, 21 October 2018