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On death, dying, and gratitude

Posted by Heather, October 1, 2014

I write this from my in-laws home as we wait for my father-in-law to pass away. After a long life well lived and a fairly slow-moving illness, he is ready to die and have the feeling of peace he has be made complete. Bob is a man of deep faith -- he grew up the son of a Lutheran pastor and God and his relationship with God has been central to his life. He left the corporate track after a couple of decades in order to teach business at a Christian college and shape students who would live lives of faith and ethics, not just seeking profit at any cost. He called those students Christian Tigers -- business leaders who would still seek to achieve many things but do it with a sense of the greater good and living in Christ-like ways.

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Look up from your phone

Posted by Pierce, September 23, 2014

As social media becomes epidemic, one concern I hear repeatedly is the fear that we are abandoning an essential piece of our humanity as everyday experience becomes ever more virtual. I actually overheard someone say, “Why bother talking to anyone when you can text them a message!” Reliance on digital devices is accelerating and one wonders about the implications of a virtual world overwhelming our contact and learning from the actual physical universe. We have been “created from dust” but unto digital devices shall we return? As we lose touch with each other and diminish our presence to God’s glorious creation, aside from what we can squeeze out of it while on vacation, do we risk the hazards of artificial relationships that seem to have no limits of forever demanding us to be online?

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Death do us part

Posted by Jason, September 17, 2014

Over the past several months, I’ve played for a number of non-Episcopal funerals at off-site locations. I’m always willing to play for these extra services, and my student loan debt appreciates the help. At the most recent one, I seemed to have been the only one involved with the service who had any concern for order and planning. At times, I wanted to just yell out, “Let’s just get out the Book of Common Prayer and go with it!”

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Art Inspiring Friends Inspiring Art

Posted by Ann, September 10, 2014

A few weeks ago, I gave myself the visual treat of taking in the Mary Cassatt/ Edgar Degas exhibit at the National Gallery, there through October 5. The paintings are gorgeous and to see the way these artists speak to one another, fostered by their artistic friendship was fascinating. I highly recommend the $5 audio tour.

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Prayer for the New Day

Posted by Heather, September 4, 2014

It was back to school this week for my daughters. They continue their journey through elementary school with its own joys and struggles. We’ve been having a variety of pep talks in the past week – getting the brain ready to be back at school, staying on task, being open to friends old and new – as well as reminders to be kind, to care for others, to embody our family’s values, and to live out their lives as Christians even in the school environment.

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Transition Conversations

Posted by Pierce, August 27, 2014

One of the wisdoms of transitions, I am learning, is to have mentoring conversations with powerful coaches in order to leave this amazing congregation and so many I have come to love—to leave well. The most helpful discussion I have had has been with my ingenious predecessor, Mark Anschutz. His advice was so insightful; I thought it would be useful to report to you.

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Summer Music

Posted by Jason, August 20, 2014

In her blog, Maddie Waldhoff, parishioner and choir member, gives us an inside look at the music and experiences at the Newport Royal School of Church Music this summer. 

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The Word is Near You

Posted by Ann, August 13, 2014

While you all were worshipping at Christ Church in Alexandria on Sunday, I was celebrating the Eucharist at Christ Church in Bethel, Vermont. This is the church my parents attend in the summer, and my dad, a retired Episcopal priest, often helps them out by taking the Sunday services. Once a summer, they get the Gillespie tag-team – I am invited to celebrate while my dad preaches.

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Seek the physician and let me know too

Posted by Heather, August 6, 2014

Recently I had a conversation with an older couple, one of whom is having some health issues. They have been Sunday-in and Sunday-out attenders of their church for a few decades and now their church has a new senior pastor. They mentioned that the pastor hasn't been in contact with them to ask about his health. So I asked if they had told the pastor about the health issues. Their answer? No. Why, I asked? Well, he should know about it.

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Make a note

Posted by Pierce, July 30, 2014

During most of the forty years of being a priest, I tried to make regular use of a local library. I know my congregations wanted fresh and insightful thinking and they could always tell when I was not reading what they were reading. Having so many publicly used books at my disposal made me aware that people have this tendency to make notes in the margins, underline in yellow marker or fold the corner of the page to mark where they left off till they opened the book again. Some complain that defacing a library book is a misdemeanor for other patrons. I can remember my teachers in elementary school scolded us for such practices since the textbooks were used by succeeding classes. Before summer vacation, teachers kept us captive until we had erased all of the marks from our books with the remaining stubs of our pink erasers. But what is reprehensible in one context can be beneficial in another.

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