Morning Prayer 10/16/18

My lack of posts are due to a weekend trip to granddaughter’s 3rd birthday party with very limited internet access. Sunday was our annual meeting at St. Simon’s, and then my wife and I with two others met Bishop Russell in Panama City with 30 gas cans full of gas to go with generators the Bishop brought to setup at several Episcopal churches.

The next day I was felled by a terrible stomach virus and I am just now feeling almost normal. Tough way to lose 11 pounds! Pray for Jennifer and other family members, 12 of us who attended the party have gotten the bug.

That’s nothing compared to what the victims of Michael are dealing with.

The devastation is wide spread in Panama City as you already know. Our diocese is moving quickly to setup a diocesan wide response, partnering churches with the affected parishes in the storm area as a start. Go to DIOCGC.org and click on Hurricane Hub for ways you can help and to register any activities you are involved in.

St. Simon’s folks, I will have detailed info soon on how we will respond. We have been assigned to St. James in Port St. Joe and Trinity in Apalachicola. Begin by praying for those folk as we make plans to help.

God is our refuge and strength, *
a very present help in trouble.

2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth be moved, *
and though the mountains be toppled into the depths of the sea;

May these words from the Psalm appointed for today remind us and be of some comfort to those we are called to serve in the affected areas.

Morning Prayer 10/12/18

A beautiful, cool morning with all of our thoughts and prayers to those just east of us who are waking up in the middle of a nightmare. Help is coming! Hope will return!

As someone who was on ground zero during and long after Katrina, I can resonate so well with what the victims of Michael must be feeling. Mexico Beach reminds me so much of the stretch from Waveland to Long Beach, literally it is like an atomic bomb hit and destroyed everything as far as you can see. The recovery from such takes years.

Right now the best thing anyone can do is let FEMA and first responders do the search and rescue, help people to shelter, and provide their immediate needs for food, water, etc. With roads impassable, miles of downed power lines, and need for the first responders to have access, volunteers need to wait just a bit before descending on them. And if and when you go, please make sure that a) you are in touch with someone who is coordinating relief and recovery so you have somewhere to go and something to do and b) you are completely self sustaining, including your own water, food, gasoline, tools, etc. This will be a marathon of years. We sustained the volunteer community at Camp Coast Care for four years, which is really remarkable but also speaks to the vastness of the disaster. This looks to be similar. Find people to partner with. I will post such info as soon as I can get it. I know our Bishop is traveling today to the area and I am sure will have updates for us soon as well. Please pray for him and the diocesan staff who will be consumed (rightfully so) with this work for months and months to come.

In my constant prayers are my clergy colleagues in the area. If any of you read this, please know I am here for you in any way you need. Looking to do church Sunday? I can come, if I can get in, in the afternoon and bring everything you need for Eucharist. I am letting Bishop Russell knows this as well and I am sure there are several others who would do the same. It is important to gather what people are there for worship and communion, I can not tell you how important that was to our folks after Katrina took our church and community away.

Keep praying folks. Let the Daily Offices give you a structure and the words of the Psalms especially give you hope. Psalm 126 was the Psalm we kept praying at St. Patrick’s until we moved into our new building. “When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion, then we were like those who dream. Then our mouths were filled with laughter and our tongues with shouts of joy”. For those in the Michael impacted area, it doesn’t feel like this will happen for you. It will. And that day will be glorious.

Compline 10/11/18

Sorry for the lack of posts. I have continued to say either morning or evening prayer the last several days, but of course our time and attention has been on Hurricane Michael. I am heartbroken to see the way-too-familiar pictures and videos as they have been coming in today. In Ft. Walton Beach we were spared with some power outages and TS winds. My church was perfectly fine, always a concern as we sit right on the Santa Rosa Sound. The ducks are swimming on our back drive way.

My only words for the one clergy person in Panama City I was able to reach was simply this – you will be in shock. Your mind will not be able to take it all in. You have to take time to process, take care of yourself as you try to find all your parishioners, and know that as bad as it is, there is help coming.

This prayer from Compline tonight is helpful, at least to me:

O God, your unfailing providence sustains the world we live in and the life we live: Watch over those, both night and day, who work while others sleep, and grant that we may never forget that our common life depends upon each other’s toil; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

Evening Prayer 10/08/18

Switched to Evening Prayer for today, using the Mission St Clare app. As Hurricane Michael bears down on us, the opening Versicle and Response certainly struck home:

O God, make speed to save us.

O Lord, make haste to help us.

My prayers are with all in the path of this storm. Be safe y’all and keep praying!

In the St. Simon’s Cycle of Prayer: Monday –Pray for clergy, staff, vestry, and wardens. Pray for our parish to exhibit Christ’s love to all, to strive to know Christ and make him known. 

Of course the storm may impact my ability to post for a bit. Keep on with the offices and please post comments. Below is a prayer offered in these circumstances, you may want to include it in your own prayers these next days.

Prayers during a Hurricane

At this time of apprehension in the face of the unknown, let us bring our prayers to God, our strength and our redeemer.

In the face of peril and apprehension, let us pray to the Lord.

Lord, have mercy

In the face of mighty winds, thunderous sounds, strong rains, and surging waves, let us pray to the Lord.

Lord, have mercy

In the face of complete uncertainty, as well as concern for our loved ones, here or elsewhere, let us pray to the Lord.

Lord, have mercy

For the strength that God alone can give us, let us pray to the Lord.

Lord, have mercy

For all that it takes to keep our children calm and safe, let us pray to the Lord.

Lord, have mercy

For faith that can move mountains and remove all fear, let us pray to the Lord.

Lord, have mercy

For trust in God’s loving presence in our midst, even at this very hour, let us pray to the Lord.

Lord, have mercy

For trust that in life and in death, God will not abandon us, let us pray to the Lord.

Lord, have mercy

Almighty God, we poor creatures place our lives into your hands that you might protect and guide us according to your will;

Lord, in your mercy,

Hear, our prayer.

Be our light in the darkness, our hope in the storm, our peace in the chaos, our trust in the unknown;

Lord, in your mercy,

Hear, our prayer.

Mighty are your works, O Lord, and mighty is your saving hand. Turn your ear to our petitions and supplications; Lord, in your mercy,

Hear, our prayer.

God has spoken his holy word of blessing and promise. God will indeed watch over and guide those for whom we pray. Amen.

(adapted from a variety of sources)

Morning Prayer Sunday 10/07/18

After a very full Saturday at St. Simon’s, I am headed to join the good folks of Holy Cross Episcopal Church in Pensacola this morning as guest leader for their stewardship program.

Yesterday, in addition to the Blessing of the Animals and our regular Saturday evening service, we celebrated the life of Tina Beukenkamp with over 70 of her family members and many of the good folks of St. Simon’s. Quite a few family and friends made the trip from Tina’s native Netherlands! She was 103 years old and one of the most amazing people I have ever had the privilege to meet. Her memorial service was absolutely wonderful. They are a very musical family, in fact several family members sang in our choir, including a handful of her great grandchildren! The music was perfect for Tina and I know she would have loved it all.

Using the Mission St. Clare app today for Morning Prayer, the app included the Collect for the Church, appropriate for Sunday and as I journey to be with a different church this morning. It is a prayer all of us in the church can offer for sure. By the way, “holy Catholic Church” in the prayer simply refers to all the Christian church, the “church universal”. I leave you with this prayer.

For the Church

Gracious Father, we pray for your holy Catholic Church. Fill it with all truth, in all truth with all peace. Where it is corrupt, purify it; where it is in error, direct it; where in any thing it is amiss, reform it. Where it is right, strengthen it; where it is in want, provide for it; where it is divided, reunite it; for the sake of Jesus Christ your Son our Savior. Amen.

In the St. Simon’s Cycle of Prayer: Sunday –Pray for our worship services and all who will attend. Pray for the Altar Guild and all Worship Leaders and Acolytes. Pray for the choir and music director and organist.

Itinerant: noun. a person who alternates between working and wandering.