Here is a collection of a few of the good things that Episcopalians and their congregations have done that made the news this past week. And other news fit to print.
Carpenter describes Archway as something of a bridge. With its "sermon conversation," its priest in denim and its silent organ, Archway isn't as formal as a typical Sunday morning Episcopal meeting. But it also hasn't abandoned some of the treasured symbols that remind a person that you are in church -- the incense, the candles, the responsive readings, the hymns and, yes, the arches above.__________
Carpenter doesn't make any claims that Archway's little experiment [at St. Paul's] is the key to everything that ails the Episcopal Church. He's not aiming that high. He's just trying to reach a few young folks on Indy's Northside with something that is, as the fliers for the service advertise, "Holy, relevant and real."
... when members of a church act this way, they are embodying what it means to be Church. Eugene Peterson, in his book Under the Unpredictable Plant, says, "Now is the time to rediscover the meaning of the local, and in terms of church, the parish. All churches are local. All pastoral work takes place geographically." “If you would do good,” wrote William Blake, “you must do it in Minute Particulars.”__________
Minute Particulars. The importance of the geographic element of our faith–its rootedness, its specificity and particularity–that’s what I learned this summer. I guess I learned it the hard way, but it was a lesson that I won’t soon forget.
When the Episcopal Foundation of Wyoming got a windfall donation, they passed it on, giving $12,000 to each of the 48 Episcopal congregations in Wyoming. When Kemmerer’s St. James Episcopal church got their check, they brainstormed how they could pass it on to their Kemmerer-Diamondville community. “It’s like that movie, Pay It Forward,” somebody piped up... At 7 p.m. on Aug. 9 at the church, the congregation will give out 100 envelopes to community members present. Each envelope will contain about $100.__________
High School students from across the state are planting seeds of inspiration in Southeast Texas. ... They're creating a garden and giving a facelift to the Shorkey Center. These teenagers are hard at work for a good cause. "It's rough but at the end of the day it feels better, to help someone that's in need," Wesley Claxton. 16 year old Wesley Claxton and about a dozen volunteers are donating a few of their summer days to the Shorkey Center. They're on a mission with the episcopal diocese. They've come from across Texas.__________
Once emergency operations ceased, St. Paul's closed for inspection, and Harris faced the realities of life in a hierarchical organization. "The heights of joy I was blessed to share while serving others at St. Paul's Chapel were soon matched by the depths of my despair," he recalls. "Internal divisions concerning the direction of the ministries at St. Paul's boiled over. I wound up resigning."__________
Over the next three years, Harris's life spiraled down. His lungs had been compromised by exposure to the air at ground zero. He lost his house through foreclosure, and his marriage ended in divorce. "PTSD [post-traumatic stress disorder] and depression began taking over my life. I was bitter and resentful," he says.
At one point, a good friend listened to Harris's woes. But rather than commiserating, he threw down a challenge: What if you could forgive? Harris hung up the phone. But then he got to thinking: "Of course I had to forgive!" he says. "I'm a Christian pastor! It's part of my job description." He called his friend back and told him he'd give it a try.
That decision marked a turning point....