I type this from Pensacola. My family did survive the storm. I escaped here today to meet my wonderful father in law who purchased a generator and gas cans for me. I finally found gas and will return Friday with gen. and gas and water and some food.
The coast of Miss. is in horrible shape. My church, which was on the beach, is completely destroyed, I rode down there today with a fireman, we salvaged our bells from the debris. That’s it. Some of our more precious altar stuff was taken off site Sunday, but all else is gone (including ALL of my books – for the clergy out there you know how many that is).
We will hold services Sunday at Grace Lutheran in Long Beach at 11. After that, I don’t know. But this I do know – we will get through this and we will continue to be the church.
I suspect over 30 parishioners lost their homes completely, and probably 90% of the others have significant damage. Looking north from the beach road, there is NOTHING. The storm surge too it all out, no bricks, not frames, NOTHING. It is surreal.
Tomorrow I head back. The conditions are actually worsening. No coastal community has sewer plant operations at all, the health risks are rising. I don’t recall a class in seminary that covered this!
Meanwhile, my wife’s job is over, the clinic she worked for is gone. And we are but two of tens of thousands in the same boat.
May God have mercy on us all.
Thank you all for your prayers. My church was St. Patrick’s, Long Beach. Go to www.stpatricks.dioms.org for updates. Our wonderful webmaster lives in D.C. for now, so she can keep you posted. I will be without power or Internet (duh) until I make another supply run to Florida.
When I was 11 years old the strongest hurricane to hit the US, Camille, came on shore. It actually passed (the eye) right over where I now live, in Pass Chrisitian, Miss. I was in Hattiesburg, 60 miles north. We had 150 mph winds and were without power for a week. That’s nothing compared to the devastation on the Miss. coast. The church I now serve, as well as most of the Episcopal churches on the coast, was destroyed.
This storm is now at Camille levels. While the exact point of landfall is unknown, we will certainly be severely impacted. We are less than 30 miles from the Lousiana border and the mouth of the Pearl River, which is the center of the projected path cone.
We packed up what we could of the church, we’ve boarded windows, etc. My church sits on the beach, a beautiful church in a beautiful spot – and the predicted storm surge, should it occur, will most likely destroy it.
I am going to a parishioners home about 8 miles north of the beach. We will hunker down, we have supplies and a generator. That’s all we can do. I feel I need to stay in the coast area to be available to my parishioners once the storm passes. I pray it’s the right decision.
Please pray for all those in the path of this storm. As I type, the wind is already gusting. Pray God acts miraculously to send some high level wind shears and take some of the power out of this beast.
I don’t know when I can post again. May God bless you all.
I had knee surgery last Monday – arthoscopic. I had a torn cartilage that really reared it’s ugly head on the Appalachian Trail hike last April with my son’s class. I couldn’t put it off any more.
Recovery has been fine so far. I did the crutch thing for a day and a half and have hobbled without them since. My LW has taken WONDERFUL care of me. Spoiled me, actually. Sweet to have a nurse at home!
I have mostly finished my sermon and now watching the Weather Channel as Hurricane Katrina moves into the Gulf. Looks bad, again, for the Florida Panhandle. Those folks need a break. You wouldn’t believe the number of roofs still with tarps on them from Ivan last September. Then Dennis hit very near where Ivan did.
It’s almost September and my beloved Cubs are out of it, again. You can see why some of us (ahem) still harbor much anger to the foolish fan that got in the way of a possibe out vs. the Marlins in 2003. We knew these chances just don’t come up very often.
The Diocese of Mississippi had a Tent Meeting Revival last weekend. It was AMAZING. Largest gathering of Episcopalians in our history, over 2000 braved the August heat (the tent was air conditioned, of course) to be inspired by our Bishop’s vision for the next 10 years. We will plant 3 churches in 3 years, increase attendance, reach out to children and serve our communities in better ways. The diocese has been restructured and the Bishop plans to be our Chief Apostle, instead of CEO – and he was right on target Saturday. It’s very exciting.
A little something while I ponder what it means to have a blog nobody reads….
This morning, bright and early, we head north about 4 hours to deposit middle child at college. She will be going through rush this week, so she is a tad nervous. Beyond that, her mother and I are basket cases. Isn’t this supposed to get easier? NO!!
My oldest has moved back home to work full time a while and save some $$ before venturing back into college mode. So the family home dynamics are interesting to say the least as we have prepared middle child for her big adventure. She chose her in-state college so she can reunite with her friends from the Delta, my Curacy two years were good for her. She is rooming with her best friend, we are very happy for that. Ole Dad has mixed feelings about the sorority stuff, but I think she will handle it well.
Tears will be shed for sure. I will miss her terribly. She is a very sweet kid, and as prepared as any can be, I suppose. Still, I look at this incredibly cute picture of her on the beach at 3 years old and wonder what happened. Today, she is amazingly beautiful and strong….and I DON’T WANT HER TO GO. There. I said it.
But go she must, as we all do. Prayers are appreciated.
Preaching – it’s an interesting life.
When I was a Curate, preaching basically every other Sunday, with much less stress and pressure vs. that of a Rector, the sermon writing process came much easier to me.
Now almost 18 months into my Rector-ship, the sermon process continues to evolve for me. I put a LOT of time into my sermons. I usually read the lessons early in the week, then as the late hours and the pastoral needs, etc. roll in, I look for those moments where I can actually begin putting things down on paper. Often I find the entire sermon just comes out, on a roll, like I can barely type fast enough to get it all. Other times I may be doing something totally (it seems) unrelated, and an idea comes that I jot down in my now-ever-present-notebook. Sometimes the “hook” comes first, that opening piece, often humorous (hopefully) that still sets up the rest. Othertimes that part is the last thing I do.
Since I dearly love teaching, the Bible study and other classes I do often help me position the sermon. I am finding more and more that I need to teach a LOT when I preach. Doing that with any continuity is difficult.
This summer I decided to preach on Romans just about every week. It’s good, foundational stuff and I think important as we grow in our faith, learn our story, become better disciples. I did a theme-based series last Advent and both Holy Weeks since I have been here, trying to weave a common thread throughout those sermons. It helps me, I wonder if it helps those who are hearing them.
Anyway, the sermon I gave Sunday was one that I struggled with all week. I finally wrote it on Friday, came home and tore it up. I started all over. On Saturday I went over it several more times and finally took out a bunch of stuff from the Gospel and just focused on Jonah. I went into the pulpit wondering if there was anything worthwhile at all in this sermon, and as I preached, the Spirit helped me tremendously. I ended up with one of those rare sermons – one that I actually liked. It’s so weird how that happens…..and how you never really know until you preach if you’ve got anything that anyone will be inspired by or edified by or even like!
Preaching is a strange business….
If you want to hear it, click here….warning it’s over 15 minutes long!