Tag Archives: Diocese

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.

Pride goeth y’all

This post has been brewing for a while. Ash Wednesday and my own sermon have pushed me to write these things down.

I struggle with pride. I am fiercely competitive. Growing up in a family that was all about sports, all the time – with a Dad who coached at the high school and college levels, two brothers that are pretty awesome and super well respected coaches, five boys in all who played or watched or coached for most of our lives, I have been driven by “winning” for a long time.

There are things in life that you can’t really measure in terms of winning or losing. But I try nonetheless. At a presentation I did at Gathering of Leaders a few years ago, I described how ministry life was post-Katrina. I learned to fail. To try and fail had no shame. We tried a LOT of things in those crazy times, most of which didn’t work, and as a church we learned to be ok with that. But for me and my competitive nature, failure was really hard. So I kept up with our failures and proudly proclaimed us the winner of some fictional contest by failing at more programs, projects, and the like than any other church around. So….we won…..at failing….we WON.

Pride. For some reason that competitive streak in me and pride go hand in hand. Why is it so important to win? What does it say about me when I lose? When I win? When I make it more important than it should be? And especially when I put events and occurrences in my life that really are not about winning or losing into some type of scorecard, what is that about?

In the last five months or so I have had two very hard lessons in pride. I really cannot give details about the first, but let’s just say I was really disappointed, sad and felt rejected by that particular lesson. With no chance to learn from it, no way to grow from it, I was simply left with a big fat NO. And it hurt. This particular no was not necessarily the problem, I had no idea if I wanted to hear yes or no. But the swiftness of it, the lack of feedback, the surprise, well I was wounded. (Meanwhile a great lesson that we should always look at discernment as a yes – maybe it’s no to one thing but how do we affirm the discerner in various other ways while also giving them honest feedback on what we may think God is saying about their quest).

The second lesson came from being defeated as I ran for General Convention Deputy in my home diocese. I am serving as an Interim in another diocese but still “canonically resident” in Mississippi, making me eligible to serve in that capacity. I have been part of the last 3 deputations from Mississippi and thought I had done a pretty good job, represented the diocese well, learned a lot, was deeply involved in the reorganization movement. I was even appointed to the Theology of Marriage Task Force by the President of the House of Deputies and the Presiding Bishop – one of ten deputies out of over 800 selected for this really big task. I knew my not currently serving a church in Mississippi would cause some voters to be wary of supporting me, so I planned all along to be present at our Annual Council. Yet my body betrayed me – a nasty, sudden attack of cellulitis in my leg left me very sick and in the hospital as Council convened. I “watched” via Twitter and other means as the election unfolded, and I was really crushed to be left off the team this time around. Our Task Force needs as many of us to be deputies as possible as our work is presented at General Convention in 2015. I felt like I let my fellow task force members down. And I felt like, for some reason, my own diocese had a much lower opinion of me than I thought they had. Of course the truth is there were some GREAT candidates, all of whom will serve very well and are well qualified to do so, obviously a part of this is just sour grapes. Which points to, of course –

Pride. Goeth.

Both of these “failures” have caused me to do a lot of reflection. Obviously there are good and valid reasons both of these things turned out the way they did, reasons I do not see and may never know. I have to learn to be ok with that ambiguity. And more than likely there is a much deeper lesson for me – about pride, about competition, about looking at the world differently, at challenges differently. For someone who had Vince Lombardi’s famous words (winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing) become part of my DNA, these are difficult lessons.

Maybe I can change and then enter and win some kind of Change Olympics! Yes, that’s the ticket! Gold medal for me!!!…..

It’s Camp…one last time

Well another fabulous week at Camp Bratton-Green is wrapping up. It’s been very special with my daughter, Chelsea, as my co-director. We’ve had a blast! Of course my LW is my camp nurse, our special buddy Brayden is a staff brat. Really, really missed having son Joseph on staff (he is in summer school) and daughter Mackenzie (just started a new job). Camp for us is usually a family affair and they were definitely missed.
With my next job outside of the Diocese of MS (no, I don’t have one yet, just know it will be out of state), this is my last year as a camp director. It’s truly one of my most favorite things I get the honor of doing every year. Hopefully I can still come back to CBG in some capacity over the years. It’s such a special place.
What makes it special, for me, is the staff. I have 22 volunteer counselors, from 10th grade to college age. 8 adult cabin parents. And a very talented permanent staff. Every year they amaze me and challenge me and teach me and inspire me.
Camp is instant community with all that entails. 110 kids plus staff come together, many not knowing each other. Cabins figure it out, some better than others. We have the usual assortment of kids trying to figure out their place, those who are ultra comfortable here, those who miss home (at first) and then don’t want to leave. It’s a microcosm of life and it’s beautiful and fun and a struggle and a joy.
It’s camp. We get messy (I got thrown in the mud pit yesterday where the kids piled on and then dunked with ice and water twice at lunch, for starters), we play some great games, the permies run fantastic activity periods in the lake, the pool, arts and crafts, rope course, music and nature. It’s God and creation, it’s hot and tiring, it’s ghost stories and singing, it’s prayer and it’s camp.
It’s camp. And I will miss it.