Monthly Archives: May 2012

Pentecost, 2012

The lessons for Pentecost are found here.

There will be a few moments of silence before the sermon starts.  Thank you for your patience.

Listen: Pentecost, 2012

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Millennials: Starting Young

My parents picked The Episcopal Church for their family long before I chose to stay, and I’ve often thought that TEC ‘stuck’ better in my case than they might have wished. By the time I was the one choosing a lot more was involved than easy Sunday School registration.

The first time I chose TEC I was 14. It was because of my cousins’ non-Episcopal youth group. I had gone on a mission trip with them and came home convinced that I needed a similarly loving and supportive sort of community in my life. As an incoming High School freshman, I decided that my Church needed a youth group.

The same Church that had loved, fed, and supported my family through my mother’s cancer and death loved, encouraged, and supported me. Rides to Diocesan events, money for Provincial events, and when I wandered into someone’s office saying, “I think we should…” no one ever laughed at me. By the time I graduated High School, we had a youth group (creatively name the Grouth Youp), a young person was regularly elected to the vestry, and as a college freshman I was elected to Diocesan Council.

And a Church full of people showed me all of the broken, hurtful humanness of the Church. I saw people I love and respect behave in manners that no one anywhere should. By the time I was 18, I had seen the Church at her best and some of her worst.

So, of course, I stayed. I went to college. I got more involved. I started discernment for the priesthood. I saw more of our best and more ways we are at our worst.

My junior year of college was the year I almost left. I was too tired, too much on the outside, too weary of demanding that I be listened to, be seated at any table, not be ignored.
It was also the year I discovered that I will never leave. This is my home. This is my family.

I learned that I am not an Episcopalian because I like the liturgy or the history or because my parents didn’t pick an ELCA church. I am Episcopalian because the liturgy, our way of being The Church, best helps me be a Christian. My last service in The Episcopal Church will be my funeral. It will be lovely Rite II service with good music and, hopefully, many years from now.

I’m an Episcopal priest. I’ve been in a leadership role in this Church for my entire adulthood. I’ve been choosing The Episcopal Church for more than half my life. It is a rational decision, but even more it is a decision based on need and faith.

Because my parents didn’t pick an ELCA parish, because of the history, because of the liturgy, because of everything we (occasionally) get right. Because this is where I see Jesus.

Categories: Church, Episcopal, My Life | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

Millennials in the Church: Before you hide the China and Change the Music

I have a confession: I’m under thirty.
Which is wonderful but I’m also an Episcopal priest. So suddenly no-one* seems to know what to do with me. I should celebrate my youth; I should talk up my experience (and at 14 years of leadership in this here Church, I’ve got some). I should learn more; I should lead more.

In short, I tend to get celebrated by the same people who wonder why “all young people” leave the Church (which has been said in my actual physical presence). When I talk with my fellow young Episcopalians, I know that I am not alone. We belong in a Church which says we are wanted but does not know what to do with us.

So, I’m going to devote a little bit of time to talking about Millennials and The Episcopal Church. This is looking like three parts:
1) Starting Young: More of how and why I am (still) in TEC
2) Rumors Abound: What people say/write about Millennials and where I think they are right and wrong
3) The End Isn’t Coming: why Millennials aren’t the end of the Church (and why the Church isn’t going to end)

I usually manage about one post a week, but I think these will go up a bit faster because of the work I’ve already done.

For now let me say this: As a young, socially liberal, female priest, I have always felt that people have the greatest problem with my age.

*This is an occasion where I can easily offend everyone. I am not going to tell specific stories about ageism in the Church, but every thing I say has a real story I’ve experienced beneath it. If you are worried about being who I’m talking about, it is you and it is your pew-neighbor and it is no one you have ever met.

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What do we do now?

The Episcopal Church is still getting ready for our triennial General Convention. For those keeping track, the budget is not much clearer than it used to be. I had originally planned to continue on and address problems one and two(remember that I started with problem three?). Then my friend and colleague The Rev Megan Castellan did just that over on her blog in a brilliant post. Go read it. (Then read her posts looking at the canon revisions: Sing the Canons! and Part II.)

We have heard that corrected but unofficial budgets will be available in early June. Canonically, not much can happen until GC. Which is not the same thing as nothing is happening between now and July.

GC is short. If there are changes we want to see, alternatives we want proposed (or not proposed), this is the time to be about that work. Now is the time to call someone and say, “this is what we should do and here’s how.” If you are a deputy, if you know a deputy, and if you don’t then it’s time to meet one.

But I’m going to take some of this time to talk about millennials and the Church. Because I’m tired of being told about me. Because I’m tired of being angry when Church people talk about those young ones. Because I am convinced that my Church has a present which I and people my age are a part of.

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Easter 6, 2012

The lessons for Easter 6 can be found at this link: Easter 6 lessons. I worked most closely with John 15:9-17.

We are chosen as friends. And so we are part of a community that chooses new friends through Baptism.

(There will be a few moments of silence before the sermon begins. Thank you for your patience.)

Listen: Easter 6, 2012

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Easter 5, 2012

The lessons for this Sunday can be found at this link: Easter 5 lessons. I worked most closely with 1 John 4:7-21.

Love is one of those words that gets used a lot, especially in this reading. So much that we can forget what it means, particularly for Christians.

(There will be a few moments of silence before the sermon starts. Thank you for your patience.)

Listen: Easter 6, 2012

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(Happy Birthday)x

I’m not  a big birthday person.  It’s not an age thing–one of the perks of being an Episcopal Priest is that I get to be considered “young” until I”m 45 (currently, I’m waiting for them to raise it).  That gives me another 16 years of young.

For years I would be reminded that it was my birthday when my first family member called to wish me a Happy Birthday.  It was always a pleasant surprise that occasionally lead to a friend chastising me over not telling them my birthday was coming up.  So when I finally joined Facebook I listed my birthday.

Now my first reminder that my birthday is coming up is when my Church sings me “Happy Birthday” (visit us for your birthday and we’ll sing for you!).  Then my friends in significantly different time zones start leaving Happy Birthday messages.  Then the day itself arrives and the birthday wishes pour in.

I know that many of these are people just taking a second or two of their day and typing a few words because they got a little notice.

But these people are a couple of seconds to do something because they believe it might brighten my day for a couple of seconds.  And it does.

There are grander gestures and gentler gestures.  Today, on my birthday, I’m cherishing both reminders that I am loved.

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