Bonus Blog: A Tale of a Chicken BBQ

 I have an extra blog for you today.  This is to make up for not blogging earlier this month . . . life, once again, gets in the way of the best laid plans ;-) One of the church I am in ministry with just had a chicken BBQ fundraiser.  This is something they do about twice a year. The chicken is marinated and then set on racks over a pit formed by cinder blocks.  There the birds cook until they are ready. About an hour before we were officially "open," "Gregory" (not his real name) stopped by and bought several chicken dinners. Greg just happened to driving through the area on the highway when he noticed a familiar scent in the air.  He had grown up in an Episcopal church up north and worked the chicken BBQ fundraiser with his dad as a teen. "I know that smell!"  Greg exclaimed. He promptly pulled off the highway and followed the scent to our chicken BBQ. Gregory was warmly welcomed and a few of us had the opportunity to talk with him as he waited for his

A D-V+ Top Ten List

 Soon I will celebrate 23 years of ordained ministry.  By the grace of God, and with the people consenting, I was ordained as a transitional Deacon on the Feast of the Martyrs of Uganda (3 June). Once in a while, I mention my "list" of favorite hymns in a sermon . . . and there are MANY of them.  Hymns speak to us and teach us about faith in ways theology books can not. Here are some of my favorite hymns, for the first time assembled in a list.  I'd be interested in hearing from you about your favorites. 10) When I survey the wondrous cross 9) Joyful, joyful we adore Thee 8) Hymn of Promise 7) How great Thou art 6) Great is thy faithfulness 5) My faith is built on nothing less 4) O, for a thousand tongues to sing 3) Holy, Holy, Holy 2) Amazing grace and 10) And can it be that I should gain

"Doubting Thomas"

 Thomas, also called "The Twin" gets a bad rap.  We hardly remember him as Didymus (Twin).  Instead his legacy is as "Doubting Thomas." Especially in Western Christianity doubting and questioning are seen as bad things.  If one has doubts, then one's faith must be weak. I don't agree with that stance.  Questions can be a seed bed for a stronger faith if the search for answers leads us into a deeper connection with the Triune God. Certainly, Jesus allows for Thomas' doubts.  The Risen Lord does not call Thomas out.  There are no words of accusation from Jesus. Jesus encounters Thomas where he is, with all of his questions and doubts.  Jesus lovingly provides Thomas an opportunity for deeper relationship-- and a deeper faith. The part of Thomas' legacy that we don't hear much about is his witness after Easter.  Thomas, the legend goes, traveled to India in order to share the Good News. The Mar Thoma Church in India attributes its existence to Thoma

The Ministry of Deacons (April Lion's Roar)

I am very excited to announce an addition to St. Mark’s.   The Reverend Deacon David Stickley has been appointed to St. Mark’s by Bishop DeDe.   David is appointed for a one-year trial period starting 1 April.   Please see David’s biography in this Lion’s Roar to learn more about him.   Deacon Dorothy Pierce will continue her ministry with All Saints’ in Johnson City. Deacons are a specific order of ordained ministry in the Episcopal Church.   As noted above, Deacons serve under the direction of a Bishop and are appointed by a Bishop.   Deacons are ordained to a special ministry of Word and Service.   Deacons proclaim the Gospel, set the Table, and dismiss us in the Sunday liturgy.   They typically also preach, teach, and offer pastoral care along with the priest of a parish. Deacons are a bridge between the church and the world.   A Deacon is to interpret the church to the world and to interpret the needs of the world to the church as well as to assist the church in responding to


 Christmas is always 25 December. The Feast of the Holy Name is always 1 January. The Feast of the Transfiguration is always 6 August. These feasts never change.  One can mark the liturgical year by them. So why does Easter change around so much?  It is like we can not make up our minds when to celebrate the joy and hope of the Resurrection. What is with that?? In the early days of the Christian church, the date for Easter varied widely.  There was not a set date.  Thus churches celebrated Easter at different times. King Oswy of Northumbria called a council to determine whether his kingdom would follow the customs of the Eastern churches or of the West ones.  The Council of Whitby met in 664.  Both East and West sent representatives to present their case to King Oswy. The customs of the West won out and the Roman dating for Easter (among other things) was adopted.  Over time the customs of Rome and the Roman Catholic Church rose to prominence.  The following formula is used to date Eas

A Lenten Primer, part II

 Most of us associate Lent with fasting and denial.  We give something up in order that we may experience the great sacrifice made on our behalf.  Coffee, alcohol, and meat are some of the common things given up for Lent. Fasting is a important spiritual practice when done properly.  There are also many ways to fast, such as eating smaller and simpler meals than normal.  Your primary care physician should always been consulted before taking up fasting. I like to think about adding.  About taking something on for Lent.  Maybe I read a spiritually based book.  Perhaps I take on a spiritual discipline for the season.  These are above my normal practice of reading the Bible and praying the Daily Office every day. Lent is forty (40) days.  The number forty is found a lot in the Scriptures as a way of saying "a goodly length of time."  Moses was up on Mount Sinai for forty days.  Jesus fasted and prayed in the wilderness for forty days. If you count from Ash Wednesday to Easter, yo

A Lenten Primer

 Ash Wednesday is a little under four weeks away.  Our Lenten journey for 2023 starts on 22 February.  The word Lent comes from a German root that means "lengthening of days." It is true that, as spring approaches, we see more and more hours of daylight.  A welcome sigh after the darkness of winter. Lent calls us to prepare our hearts and mind for the great mystery of Easter.  The tomb should be been empty on that first Easter morning.  Death has given way to life.  Sorrow has turned to joy. Here are a few suggestions of you and I might get ready for the celebration of Easter: *Read the Gospel accounts of Jesus' last days.  If you are part of a household, consider reading the narratives aloud. *Watch one of the movie version of Jesus' life and ministry.  "The Gospel of John" is a good one.  There is also "Jesus Christ, Superstar" for the musical lovers. *Watch (and/or read) The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe . I love th