Saturday, 2 August 2008

Prayers for Trinity

Another post to the People of Trinity:

Today in the mail I received the copy of the entire directory of WHO you are! Just as Holly promised it would, it arrived here shortly after I asked for it and now I can begin to get to know you - at least names and households!

Now I can begin to pray for you!

There are A LOT of you!! Hooray for that! With each name comes first the image of God in which you are created; then a specific, unique story of your life (no matter how long or short); and finally a spiritual autobiography that brings you, Trinity, and me together in this time and place - there are also nuanced and complex faith journeys, beliefs, theologies, and experiences of God. How amazing is God that all this happens - and amazing the computer, internet, and technology that we can do it over distance!

One of my very favorite things about people (or pastoral) ministry - lay and ordained - is that we have the privilege of hearing, sharing, and being shaped by the real life stories of other people. I want to hear YOUR life story. I want to know why Trinity is your church home. I want begin to listen deeply to who God is in your life. And I hope to do alot of that ... listening ... in my first several months in Reno.

Please please be open and willing to share with me.

In the meantime, I'll pray for a portion of the directory every day and hope that you'll continue to pray for me and Joe (as I know you have been). And, as you pray for the personal, local and global concerns you have in the world as well; please remember to pray for those who have no one to pray for them.

Friday, 1 August 2008

Welcome People of Trinity

Today is the first day (or so) that people from Trinity Church, Reno NV are probably reading this blog ... so WELCOME!!
You are very welcome to my blog.
If you are from Trinity and have found your way here it's hopefully because you read about it in my letter in the August newsletter.

You know already that I am very excited to be coming to be your new rector ... that I feel very deeply called to be with you and your parish at this time and feel I fit in a very specific way to the Parish Profile and the very prayerful work of your Discernment Team.

Together with them, your Vestry seems to agree, and although I haven't met the rest of you, I hope you will feel the same way too.

In the earlier pages of the blog I was trying to create a way for people like your Discernment Team to get to know me, a little bit about Joe my spouse/partner, and what our time here in England (particularly my ministry with the Church of England) and where we live is like. There are 2 "slideshows" that you can watch, and several entries with photos of some of our trips.

You'll also notice there's a HUGE gap in writing ... why?? Well, after being invited to visit Reno as one of the "final four" life got very busy and hectic in preparing for the visit (which included a week home in Santa Barbara). Then after returning to England and accepting the call to Trinity, life has become even more hectic ... but I hope that what you'll see is a bit of a "taster" (or introduction, as they say here) to me.

Please feel to post a comment or write on my email which I've given you as well.
With long distance blessings til we meet in September,
-- Stefani

Monday, 5 May 2008

Women Bishops in CofE

Our Manchester Bishop, Nigel McCullogh (above, at a Mother's Union gathering in York Cathedral) chairs the group which just announced its report. He says, “The central issue for the Church of England, as our report points out, is the extent to which the Church wishes to accommodate the breadth of theological views that it currently encompasses in relation to women priests and bishops. Against that background, we have set out the three broad approaches which the Church of England could take if it wishes to move towards ordaining women bishops.”

The three approaches set out by the Legislative Drafting Group are:

* The simplest national statutory approach with no binding national arrangements;
* Legislation that would provide some basis for special arrangements for those unable to receive the ministry of women bishops, such arrangements to be made within the present structures of the Church of England;

* Legislation that would create new structures within the Church of England for those unable to receive the ministry of women bishops.

You can read the whole of it here .

Friday, 2 May 2008

Friday Five

On the Rev Gal Pals blog this week, Sally asks the Friday Five questions:

Prayer is a joy to some of us, and a chore to others, waiting likewise can be filled with anticipation or anxiety....

So how do you wait and pray?

1. How do you pray best, alone or with others?
Both - in silence I like especially like feeling the rich weight of quiet with others. I've enjoyed the peace of a Quaker meeting alot at different points in my life. Recently I've been struck by the beautiful silence of a few homebound parishioners following receiving Holy Communion. One older gentleman often has tears running down his face and and talks about feeling closer to his deceased wife when we share bread and wine together.
On my own, I was particularly good at praying in the car while driving the highways of Los Angeles. Often feeling/receiving an experience of the touch of God (literally) through the windshield.

2. Do you enjoy the discipline of waiting, is it a time of anticipation or anxiety?
NOT a patient person, but in general I enjoy anticipation of an event. In earlier days probably spent more time in unmet expectations than I do now (after a good dose of therapy). If waiting can be spent productively or constructively living into the future I'm really enjoying it.

3. Is there a time when you have waited upon God for a specific promise?
Hmmm ... Moving through the length and width of a denominational ordination promise was probably the the time for me. Although feeling supported by God through it and with some pretty amazing co-discerners (lots of time with one group listening) made the promise worth going through some of the difficulties.

4. Do you prefer stillness or action?
Again - Both! To be able to sit in quiet (at a 7 day centering prayer retreat) for hours each day meant the joy of walking in the mountains with wind rushing through silver birch trees was that more savored. In worship - to be able to move in procession AND sit peacefully for prayers feels just right.

5. If ( and this is slightly tongue in cheek) you were promised one gift spiritual or otherwise what would you choose to recieve?
Just ONE!?!?! I am always amazed at the power of touch in laying on of hands but never can be sure of "effectiveness" of the healing; so to be able to KNOW that laying on of hands would be curative - especially for people with chronic, debillitating illness - is something I'd like to "receive". But not for people to go on living forever, laying on of hands for a peaceful passage through death would be as important and valuable.

Thursday, 1 May 2008

JD's Conference!!

Today, 1 May or May 1, has been on the calendar for almost one year as the first day of JD's important international conference. And he's DONE it! I'm so proud. I got to be official "hospitality" - sort of like "First Lady to the Conference Organizer" and to meet face-to-face all the people he'd been in email contact and conversation was truly delightful.

It was a lovely - absolutely spring-like - day in Manchester and the Uni outdid itself in giving us a beautiful room in the old central building. People were put in a good mood from the moment they began walking up the historic stone staircase. Everyone had arrived safely and without incident from various places around the world: India, Australia, the US, as well as throughout the UK (and Europe) and represented Uganda, Ethiopia, China, as well. There were MA and PhD students, professors, bishops all in the same room talking and sharing ideas in papers and informally over tea and lunch. Many great friendships were begun I'm sure.

Check this for details ... and go back again for more good things as photos and short papers will be posted to the site.

JD is "dancing the jig on the inside" as we say whenever he's completely chuffed (that's excited in England)! No doubt Friday will be more of the same.

Monday, 28 April 2008

Tonight's Movie

JD and I LOVED tonight's movie "Once" about a busker (street musician) and a Eastern European girl ... a love story, but not your typical one; a love of music is first and foremost their love, and friendship together.

We're a little late to view it; the song won at 2008 Academy Awards but STILL it was great. A movie full of heart and emotion, and HOPE (one of my themes here). It was a bit slow getting started but then you love it and we both cried at the end.

New bishops in Manchester

"Two for the price of one" was how one dignitary welcomed TWO - not just one but two - new bishops to the Church of England Diocese of Manchester ... our temporary Anglican home on Sunday 27 April at a special welcoming service and evensong at the Cathedral.

It's quite an event, I guess, to have two at the same time. They were consecrated in York by Archbishop Sentamu on Friday, then officially seated in the Cathedral and welcomed on Sunday.

It was a lovely service - if a bit long ... with lots of dignitaries (most of the local mayors beside Manchester's with their gold chains) as well as Canons, etc. and of course Bp Nigel grinning now that he's got 2 bishops and the diocese is running fully staffed again. Our area bishop will be Mark of Middleton who is the youngest Bishop in all of Church of England. He'll be here in Gorton on 7 June to install our new Team Rector.