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All of Us are Grass

Posted by Ann, January 7, 2015

On the cover of Atul Gawande’s new book called Being Mortal there is a single piece of grass. If you rub your fingers over it, you can feel that it is embossed, raised off the paper. Even though the picture of the blade appears raised because you can see its shadow, it actually has dimension if you touch it. Although there is nothing overtly religious about this book, it is one of the most theological books I have read in a long time, beginning with the subtle reference to Isaiah 40:6-7 on the cover.  The grass withers, the flower fades, when the breath of the Lord blows upon it. Surely the people are grass. This was a brilliant design metaphor. Kudos to whomever came up with it. Even though we are all grass, each of us can have dimension and dignity until we die.

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Marriage and the Movies

Posted by Ann, December 3, 2014

Yesterday my husband and I saw the movie, The Theory of Everything. It is based on Jane Hawking’s book about her marriage to the physics genius, Stephen Hawking. Stephen is diagnosed with ALS in college and given two years to live, and they decide to marry anyway.  She then commits herself to enabling his life (which has lasted 50 more years) and work. They have three children together. The acting in the film is beyond glorious and little is sugar coated about the disintegration of his physical capabilities or the weight of it on her and their family. It is a beautiful and honest picture of a mature marriage, including their ability to let one another go as life proceeds.

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Beware of the manipulation of fear!

Posted by Ann, November 5, 2014

Someone posted a funny picture on Facebook last week of a sincere man looking at the camera. The caption says: “I just need to see a few more political ads before I can make my decision.” And then underneath it says: “This never happened.” No matter what side you’re on, I feel it safe to say that we are all grateful that election day brings an end to the political ads which are voluminous, misleading, and often a gross manipulation of fear.

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Leap of Faith

Posted by Ann, October 8, 2014

I am sitting on a plane returning from a trip to Los Angeles. The occasion for the trip was the wedding of the oldest daughter of some of our closest friends. My husband and I met them 30 years ago when they were pregnant with the child who just got married. We were married the following year. As couple friends, we have walked together through the birth of five children - their three, our two - a miscarriage for each of us, periods of unemployment and career changes, and serious challenges to each of our marriages. Both marriages have somehow remained intact and seem stronger now than ever. Both couples have relocated to the east coast in the last ten years and this weekend we all reconvened on the west coast for the marriage of their daughter.

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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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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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Women in the News

Posted by Ann, July 16, 2014

Finally, some good news about women! On Monday, the Church of England finally voted to ordain women as bishops. 25 years after the Episcopal Church ordained Barbara Harris as the first female bishop in the US, history was made in England today. England appoints their bishops, whereas we elect them, but some women may be appointed as soon as 2015.

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The hands of a priest

Posted by Ann, June 11, 2014

At 10:20 this morning, my hands touched the tender, porcelain skin of a 2-week-old girl as I held her and blessed her and nibbled on her impossibly perfect toes. At 11:20, my hands held the fine, chalky yet granular ashes of a 93-year-old man as I sprinkled them into the hole in the ground in the churchyard. The tell-tale sign of white finger prints grace the cover of my Book of Common Prayer. 

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The Voice You've Been Waiting For

Posted by Ann, May 14, 2014

One of the goals in our Strategic Plan is personal accountability. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but a high percentage of my recent sermons have ended with the question, “What are you going to do about it?” So, this morning I’m telling you the ending right up front. And you can be listening, all the way through, for exactly what I am going to ask you to do.

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Navigating Change

Posted by Ann, May 7, 2014

Yes, change can be hard. But what if each of us adopted the attitude that change is in our best interest? Because change is coming whether we like it or not. We have the choice to embrace it or fight it. 

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