Thursday, December 5, 2013
Incidentally, this was filmed by Tim Harry and myself. He was running the main camera and I had a second and also set-up the sound. Tim edited under the direction of Stuart Mann, who was producing the video.
Wednesday, December 4, 2013
Tuesday, December 3, 2013
The Parish Council shared these plans with Bishop Yu at a special meeting last week. Below is the "Prezi" I used to do that. You can go through the prezi by pushing the forward and back arrow, or explore freely by zooming and navigating with your mouse. Enjoy.
Thursday, September 26, 2013
Host is an enterprise of Moot, a community of spiritual pilgrims stumbling and fumbling our way towards salvation. Our home at St Mary Aldermary is a peaceful sanctuary amidst the noisy, bustling streets of London. We built the café because we want people to feel comfortable and at home in the beautiful and relaxing space that the church offers, as we seek to restore the church building to its true vocation as a welcoming hub for the local community, a public space where friendships and connections can be developed. Since we started running the café in September we have experienced the increase in the life and warmth that people bring to a building.
Alongside this we also want to offer the church as a ‘sacred space’, where there is permission and encouragement to give attention to what is often neglected – the deeper dimensions of life, the self and wellbeing that include the spiritual, without feeling under pressure to conform to perceived ideas of what it means to be religious and ‘go to church’. As part of our weekly rhythm of worship and prayer at St Mary Aldermary we are building a programme of arts, meditation, yoga and discussion groups to enable those who live and work in the City to access points of stillness and reflection.
We think Host is great space to connect, to feed body, mind, and spirit.
They don't have a self-description on their website, really, but I can tell you that this comes closest to a Seattle-style coffee shop that I have encountered in Toronto. It's warm, inviting, and fosters a sense of community.
Led by Rev. Eric Elnes, Ph.D., Darkwood Brew is a groundbreaking interactive web television program and spiritual gathering that explores progressive/emerging Christian faith and values. Here’s a quick video overview:
Based on the structure of the Lectio Divina, an ancient spiritual practice developed by Benedictine monks in the 5th Century, and using cutting edge technology; Darkwood Brew explores The Unexpected Love of God in relevant, challenging and surprising ways.
Featuring world-class jazz musicians, live interviews with international guests, and a variety of interactive media that allow you to participate in real-time, Darkwood Brew is webcast weekly on Sundays at 6pm Eastern, 5pm Central.
This is Christian practice for the emerging faith of our world today. From the Darkwood Brew coffee house, the stage is set weekly for a hearty exchange of ideas and the way is made clear for insights and directions for your unique faith journey. It’s scholarly, it’s entertaining, it’s fun, and it’s enlightening. That’s a tall order. Grab a latte, get comfortable – but not too comfortable – and join the growing number of individuals and groups large and small around the world who are stirring things up with Darkwood Brew.
You might not like it. But, then again, you might.
We strive to provide exceptional breads and sweets that use the finest ingredients and no preservatives, and a nourishing environment that responds to the needs of all those who contribute to the creation of these products. For us, it is more than our breads and sweets. It is about connecting with people, about building comunity. We draw people in with our bread. We believe our bread builds community. St. John's Bakery is a place where people of varying capabilities and social backgrounds come together to do something constructive and creative.
House for All Sinners and Saints is a group of folks figuring out how to be a liturgical, Christo-centric, social justice-oriented, queer-inclusive, incarnational, contemplative, irreverent, ancient / future church with a progressive but deeply rooted theological imagination.
Wednesday, September 11, 2013
At this stage of this ministry's development I've recruited two people to help do the initial brainstorming and planning work: Kirk and Angela. Kirk pointed me to this resource which proposes a much more organic and simplified way of structuring the business plan: The Business Model Canvas. Invented by Alexander Osterwalder, the Business Model Canvas puts all the relevant information into a one-page format. Here is a one-hour lecture explaining the model and giving a real-life case example.
Our first sit-down with the model produced a lot of good material and thoughts, but we have a long way to go to fit things into the categories provided by this particular model. It certainly isn't the only planning document we will ever need, but it will be quite helpful in articulating what we plan to accomplish and how we plan to do it! I appreciate the aesthetics of the BMC model: it's spatial rather than linear and forces one to deal with constraints.
I'll post more as things continue to develop. I have a feeling that the BSC for Messiah Commons is about to take over one of my whiteboards for a while!
Monday, September 2, 2013
Two of the lessons appointed for the day, Hebrews 13.1-8, 15-16 and Luke 14.1, 7-14, challenge us to be extraordinary (even heroic) in our generosity. "But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind. And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you, for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous’ (Luke 14.13-14, NRSV). It's the sort of instruction that is as difficult to ignore as it is overwhelming in scope. Just how far can we possibly go in opening our lives to others? Won't we expose ourselves to danger? Won't this be emotionally (and perhaps financially) exhausting? In this sermon about Christian hospitality I explore the problems of getting involved in the lives of others and suggest some strategies for moving toward a more Jesus-like way of doing things.
Here is the leaflet created for the liturgy.
Friday, August 30, 2013
Sunday, August 18, 2013
There is something about Mary–the mother of Jesus has attracted both adoration and controversy for nearly 2000 years. Her story has attracted intense speculation and theological debate at the intersection of gender, the nature of God, human agency, and the humanity of Jesus. In this homily we explored the image of Mary as a vehicle for encountering her life and responding to it. Texts for the day included Isaiah 61.7-11, Psalm 45.7-18, Galatians 4.4-7, and Luke 1.46-55.
Usually when I post sermons I don't include the forum time when I solicit feedback. But because it is so crucial to this particular sermon, I did. Basically, the whole point of this sermon was get people to construct and then engage an icon of Mary in their minds. Another way I could have done this was simply have them look at an icon such as the one I had an the leaflet for this sunday (below). But something about having them do it through guided meditation seemed like a better idea to me at the time.
Here is the leaflet created for the liturgy.
Wednesday, July 31, 2013
Youngstown Level Regatta 2013, a set on Flickr.
Last year the boat I normally crew on, "Dragonfly," went to the Youngstown Yacht Club for their annual big race (known as the "Youngstown Level Regatta." Since the skipper took his family on a long cruise this summer in Dragonfly the team bought a new boat to race, "Knot Here." Unfortunately, no one except for me was available to go the "Level" race this year, so I hitched a ride as crew one of the fastest boats on Lake Ontario, "Blue Streak."
Blue Streak is a J109 that happens to have the slip right next to Knot Here/Dragonfly, so I bump into these guys quite a lot. In fact, on a recent Wednesday when we were having technical difficulties on Knot Here I raced on her for the weekly club-level race. As it happens, the skipper of Blue Streak was, in fact, short of crew, and was happy to have me.
So I kissed Betsy and Henry goodbye on Friday and hopped aboard "City Side" and we sailed the boat across to Youngstown and met up with the rest of the crew. We raced Saturday and Sunday and partied Friday and Saturday nights.
And boy did we race. We won, in fact, our division. And if they had been giving awards for the fastest boat in the race area, we would have won that, too! Blue Streak is fast, very fast, even when matched against three other identical boats (some with brand new sails and equally experienced skippers).
My role was pretty modest. As the junior guy on the crew they put me in the position of "Squirrel"--that's the guy who goes below deck during Spinnaker ups and downs. The really important part of this is the take-downs, where the role of the Squirrel is to be a vacuum pulling the huge sail into the bow of the boat and then making sure it didn't get tangled. It was my first time racing with a spinnaker and I enjoyed it very much. Of course, there were a few growing pains and learning experiences over the weekend, but we still won.
Did I learn some things from a very successful boat that I will apply to my own? Naturally. But on the other hand I was surprised by how much was the same. The difference between doing okay and being champion racers is really all in the little, little details.
Deep Dale Vacation 2013, a set on Flickr.
For several years now our family has had a little reunion at my mom's house (which we call "Deep Dale") around the July 4th Holiday. This year the gathering was especially poignant because my mom is selling the house (which my Great-Grandfather built) and moving to Virginia. As you can see, between my two sisters and their families, Henry, and the cousins stopping by, there was lots of kid-energy going on!
Sunday, June 23, 2013
What do Blue Jay's Short Stop Munenori Kawasaki and Jesus have in common? In this sermon we learn what it means to travel to the land of the lost. The texts included 1 Kings 19.1-15a (Elijah fleeing from Queen Jezebel), Galatians 3.23-29 (in Christ there is no male and female), and Luke 8.26-39 (Jesus healing the Gerasene demoniac). Besides Munenori Kawasaki, I also discussed this article in the New Yorker about Ittetsu Nemoto by Larissa MacFarquhar. The connections between Elijah's wilderness despair, that of the man possessed by "Legion" demons in Luke's Gospel, and the epidemic of suicide in Japan is worth exploring at some depth.
It's worth noting for you preachers out there that my strangely humorous turn to Kawasaki might have been slightly jarring, but I thought it was important to lighten the mood a bit and introduce the theme of joy, which in an inherent feature of Agape Love. Hard to find that joy in any of the scripture lessons appointed for the day, but it does often appear in other healing stories. I think that it's okay to take the congregation into some dark places sometimes, but you have to take them back home again--you can't leave them there. And all this talk of suicide could be a bit harsh. Sermons should generally be emotionally dynamic, and so going from the bitterness of those desert-depression images to the glory of Kawasaki's home run seemed like a good way to accomplish that, homiletically. It's not a perfect sermon, but it's pretty good for me.
Also influencing this sermon was the hymn "Just as the Deer Longs for the Water Brooks" set to Finlandia (which we sang as the Psalm). That's one of my favourite tunes of all time, and the melancholy mode fit the sermon topic perfectly. On a similar vein, Amy Grant's "Everywhere" was playing as I worked on this sermon last night. I find that listening to music while I'm doing sermon prep is really helpful to get into the desired emotional state, which, in turn, helps me to get the congregation to that same feeling place.