Monday, June 30, 2008

The world is a caravan

Some years ago, Lori and I went hiking in Southern France. Our group included a wonderful couple from Tennessee, Karen and Jim, who were hiking on their honeymoon. We've stayed in touch ever since (and we hope they will be our guests in C'ville before too long!).

Karen is writer, and her love of words is a gift to her friends. Nearly every day she emails a poem to her friends -- and today's resonates deeply with me. Here it is: 

The world is not a courtroom
By Saadi

The world is not a courtroom,
there is no judge, no jury, no plaintiff

This is a caravan,
filled with eccentric beings
telling wondrous stories about God

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Sad to say goodbye, ready to say hello

Today marked my last Sunday at All Souls Parish in Berkeley where I have served for the past year as Interim Rector. We  tried new things, started new programs (like Stephen Ministry) and had a few flops liking moving the 8am service to a new location. Remarkably, everyone rolled along as we explored together new ways to be Church. We laughed and we cried, especially at the deaths of Sandy Graber and Dave Roberts, two remarkable parish leaders who died much too suddenly and much too young.

Many tears were shed last night at the farewell dinner for Lori and myself, and a few more tears hit the floor this morning in our services. I am so in debt to the people of All Souls, and I am finding it much harder to leave than I ever imagined. Truthfully, I am very tired of having to say goodbye -- again -- to another parish and to wonderful and dear friends.

And that makes me all the more determined to say this: I am looking forward to saying hello to new friends -- and being settled for awhile. Blessings to all...
-- Jim

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Smokin' wedding

Today Lori and I head up the hill (Ok, the hill here is a 7,000 foot mountain) to the wedding of David Link and Joanne. David is the music director at Trinity Cathedral and a fanatical hiker. Brian Baker, dean of the cathedral, will preside at the wedding beside a mountain lake in the Desolation Wilderness. To get there everyone must go on a big hike. The wedding invitation said that those who don't wear hiking clothes "will be ridiculed."

First, though, we have to get out of the Central Valley. We are enveloped in a blanket of smoke from 700 wildfires. The wind came up yesterday but it only seemed to make the smoke swirl around. The governor said we should forego fireworks this year but it seems a little late for that admonition.

Time for a splendid wedding!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The church and gay marriage: Differing views

The Rt. Rev. John Chane, the Bishop of Washington DC, writes about Lambeth, gay marriage and the history of Christian marriage in Thursday's U.K. Guardian, and his piece is worth reading (click here to read)). Here in California gay marriage became legal earlier this week, and there was much celebration at All Souls Parish where former Rector Andrew Walmisley married his partner of many years, Jonathan Allen.  On Tuesday, I attended a gay marriage in Sacramento of longtime friend and lobbyist Dennis Mangers, and the wedding was presided over by state Sen. Shiela Kuehl and attended by many statewide elected officials.  Yet not everyone at All Souls or in California welcomes this development. Can we find room for differing opinions and still come to the same table to share in the bread and wine? 

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Getting started

Welcome to my blog!
I am just getting started.
This blog will be focused on life and my work as the Rector of St. Paul's Memorial Church, Charlottesville, VA. 
Only I am not there yet. Right now I am still in California.
Lori and I will be making the trek East of Reno this summer. We will keep you posted on the progress of our journey, and we welcome your prayers, thoughts, wisdom and advice on this blog. And a joke or two would help too!
I will post here from time to time items I find of interest, either in the church world or in the world at large, and I invite your conversation. Yes, this is no substitute for talking over a glass of your favorite beverage, so consider this to be a conversation starter.