Monday, December 20, 2010

New Year's Resolutions

As the New Year begins thoughts generally turn to other new beginnings. New diets, to live into those resolutions about weight loss. New exercise programs with similar goals. New budgets to mark a new year and all of the othe rthings that begin with the new year.

It is also a good time to think about some new spiritual practices. Like all of the other disciplines we tend to start in January, exercise programs and the like, our spiritual practices need regular attention and January is a good time to start a new.

A couple of suggestions for a spiritual new year's resolution:
  • Begin or end the day with prayer. The Book of Common Prayer has a section called "Daily Devotions for Individuals and Families" It begins on page 136 and has prayers for morning, noon, early evening and the close of day. They take about 5 minutes each. You might try starting with one or two. You can also find them on line at
  • If you want to do a little more pick up the Forward Day by Day booklet that you can find in the back of the church, the library or the office. Each day has a short mediation and the listings of the scripture readings for that day. You can read one of the readings and the meditation as a part of your daily prayer.
  • If you want more, try adding Noonday Prayer or Compline to your day - these services are found in the Book of Common Prayer and take about 10 minutes each.
  • If you want to go even deeper - try the Daily Office - Morning or Evening Prayer or both. All you need is a Book of Common Prayer and a Bible. Let me know if you need help starting one or the other. In an on-line version would work better for you check out the Mission of St. Clare

If you'd like to talk about starting these or any other spiritual disciplines, please let me know. One of the best parts of my job is helping people find their way to a closer relationship with God.

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Bishop-elect of Western New York

As I'm sure that you all have heard by now, the Rev. Dr. R. William Franklin was elected Bishop of Western New York on Saturday.

The next step in the process is to ask the Standing Committees of the 110 Dioceses in the Episcopal Church and the Bishops with jurisdiction of those Dioceses to consent to the election. A majority of both need to consent within the next 120 days. Assuming that those consents are recieved, Bishop-elect Franklin will arrive in the Diocese (probably in mid-February) and will be consecrated on April 30 at the Center for the Arts at UB. I'm in charge of the arrangements for the consecration so I will be looking for lots of help to pick up people at the airport, trouble shoot for our guests and do the 101 other things to make the consecration happen - mark your calendars.

Whether or not Dr. Franklin was your, or my, first choice among the candidates, it is important that we all support and pray for our bishop-elect as he comes among us and begins to take up his ministry.

Here are the ballot results from Saturday:

Ballot 1:
Clergy - 95 votes
Ambler - 9
Bamburger - 17
Franklin - 33
Price - 36
Lay - 164 votes
Ambler - 37
Bamburger - 52
Franklin - 38
Price - 37

Ballot 2
Clergy - 95 votes
Amber - 3
Bamburger - 19
Franklin - 33
Price 40
Lay - 162 votes
Amber - 22
Bamburger - 59
Franklin - 39
Price - 42

Michael Ambler withdrew after this ballot

Ballot 3
Clergy - 95 votes
Bamburger - 19
Franklin - 32
Price - 44
Lay - 161 votes
Bamburger - 67
Franklin - 46
Price - 48

Ballot 4
Clergy - 95 votes
Bamburger - 19
Franklin - 30
Price - 46
Lay - 162 votes
Bamburger- 65
Franklin - 44
Price - 53

Ballot 5
Clergy - 93 votes
Bamburger - 18
Franklin - 32
Price - 43
Lay - 159 votes
Bamburger - 51
Franklin - 55
Price - 53

Ballot 6
Clergy- 91 votes
Bamburger - 9
Franklin - 40
Price - 42
Lay - 156 votes
Bamburger - 29
Franklin - 69
Price - 59

Ballot 7
Clergy - 89 Votes
Bamburger - 1
Franklin - 46
Price - 42
Lay - 150 votes
Bamburger - 6
Franklin - 95
Price - 49

Monday, November 15, 2010

Bishop Election

The clergy and lay delegates from Western New York will gather on Saturday to elect the 11th Bishop.

If you want to know more about the candidates there is lots of information available on the Diocesan Website

The lay delegates from St. Paul's are Andrea Brown, Ward Caldbick and Donna Leney. Deacon Dan and Pastor Vicki also are members of the Convention.

You can follow the progress of the election on the Diocesan website as well.

After the election consent from all the Standing Committees and Bishops with jurisdiction in the Episcopal Church will be sought. Assuming that a majority of each consent the new Bishop will be consecrated on April 30 at the Center for the Arts at UB - everyone will be able to attend the service and you all will be asked to help because Pastor Vicki is chair of the arrangements committee.

Please keep the Convention and the Diocese and the candidates in your prayers this weekend.

Monday, November 1, 2010

For All the Saints

Today is All Saints' Day (although we will celebrate it on Sunday). It's the day that the church sets aside to remember all those saints who have gone before us.

We often think of only the Saints on this day - that is St. Matthew or St. Mark or St. Paul or any of the Saints that the church has named and taught about over the years.

But really anyone who follows the path of Christ is a saint and we are all surrounded and have been all our lives by saints.

I'm thinking particularly of my grandparents today and of how they all in various ways showed and taught me the faith that formed thier lives.

Who are the saints in your life who have showed you the paths you are walking on today?

Monday, October 18, 2010


We had a great hot dog Sunday yesterday - thanks to Mona and all the church school teachers - people stayed, talked and had fun - and I totally did not get any pictures - so you'll have to take my word for it.

Anyway, thanks to all for making hot dog sunday so much fun

Monday, October 4, 2010

Vision and Mission

The clergy of the Diocese had a retreat last week. The retreat leader was the Very Rev. Kevin Martin, dean of the cathedral in Dallas, Texas.

One of the things that he said was that the clergy should take every opportunity to talk about the vision and mission of the congregation they serve.

It occured to me that I haven't done this much lately - so watch the sermons and columns because there will be more coming - but here's a start. I believe that St. Paul's is poised to become a resource for our Diocese and our community - that we have an abundance of energy, enthusiasm, abilites and that we can, if we choose - become one of the first places that our Diocese and our community think of when they are seeking partners in mission and service - more to come - watch this space.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Welcome Back

We are kicking off the school year with a blessing of the backpacks. This picture is of the supplies donated last year for this event.
This year we will bless backpacks at 9:50 in the front of the church - rain location in the parish hall - and then send the children and youth off to Sunday school and the rest of us in to church. Invite your friends to come with you and bring some school supplies for School 6 in Buffalo.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Mission Trip

Our youth group was on a Mission Trip to the Buffalo City Mission last week. It was a good time and I think all involved had a good experiance.

This is from the article that Carri Ludwig wrote about the trip:

"...Last week they spent 2 days reorganizing and stocking the Food Pantry. The Pantry distributes 1500-2000 pounds of food each week to needy families throughout Western New York and is a beehive of activity. According to Charles Walke, Food Pantry Coordinator, the kids were wonderful; 'They transformed our pantry into a moder day TOPS; it has never been this organized. I am thoroughly impressed. I don't want them to leave - ever.'"

We also had a great time at Darien Lake on Saturday. Be sure to sign up for next year's trip.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Mission Trip

We had been hoping to be heading off to Mexico this week - but since I read in the paper yesterday about people being killed at a party, I'm guessing we made the right decision to postpone that for this year.

Instead we will be heading off a week from tomorrow for the wilds of Buffalo - we will be staying at a church in Riverside and working at the food pantry of the Buffalo City Mission - it should be a good introduction to need right outside our doors.

Please keep the leaders, Andrea, Aaron and I and the youth in your prayers next week while we work, pray and have some fun too

Monday, July 5, 2010

What St. Paul's Does Best

In the last several weeks we have had a Chicken Dinner fundraiser, a parish picnic and had the hamburger and hot dog concession at Clarence Day in the Park.
It is very clear to me that one of the things that St. Paul's does best is to eat and feed people.
That makes the motto that the vestry adopted for St. Paul's for the next couple of years: St. Paul's - feed body and soul really appropriate. It is what we do - we feed people, ourselves, others, physically and spiritually.
So, over the next few months think about other ways that we could use our gifts for feeding people in the world around us.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Happy Father's Day

This Sunday is Father's Day. In the last few years it's become harder and harder to find portrayals of fathers on t.v. or in the movies that remind me at all of my father. The fathers in the media tend to be incompetant and need to be rescued by either their kids or a woman (sometimes their wives) or both.

That isn't the father I grew up with. My father knew alot about lots of things. If he didn't know how to do something he'd help me figure it out and I knew that he was always there for me.

Thanks, Dad, for everything.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Rite 13 Celebration

Here are the five young adults who celebrated their Rite 13 ceremony last week.
I think that it is great to have a write of passage that marks the beginning of the journey from childhood to adult hood.
I actually think that there are several events that are, if not rites of passage, signifcant milestones in that time. Moving from elementary to middle school is the start of the journey. Moving from middle to high school is another, getting a driver's liscense is another, getting a first job in another, moving on the college or other post-high school work is another. In my mind the end of the journey is the second month after moving out of your parents' home - when you are fully responsible for your own rent, utilities etc ...
It's really challenging and exciting time and I'm glad that we take seriously our job as a community to support these young people.
Congratulations to all five of them.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Ten Ways Christians Tend to Fail at Being Christian

Check out this article by John Shore on the Huffington Post.

He hits, at least by title, the biggest issues facing Christianity in the 21st Centuray and the issues around which we are struggling as a gathered people of faith.

Definately raises some points worth thinking and talking about.

What do you think are the 10 ways we fail at being Christian

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Springing up like flowers

One of the things that I love about spring is how the flowers spring up - all of a sudden where there was nothing before there are tulips or daffodils or crocus - it's wonderful.

The ECW basket auction was another kind of spring flower. Nothing much was happening and then all of a sudden, out of nowwhere, baskets appeared and then people appeared and bingo - an event out of nearly nowhere.

Come next week for the Carnival which is happening in a similar way - these are the miracles of spring

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Images of Holy Week

The contrasting images of Holy Week - the plain wood cross drapped in black and the Paschal candle lit and drapped in flowers.
The contrasting images remind us of the real contrast of Holy Week, moving from death to life as Christ dies, descends to the dead and is raised in glory

Monday, March 22, 2010

March Madness

In case you missed it - it is indeed that time of year - lots of people were tied to t.v. screens - and here in Buffalo we played host to lots of basketball fans routing on their teams.

I think that one of the things that people like about the NCAA tournament is that there is always the opportunity for the underdog to win - like this weekend - with Northern Iowa beating the top seeded Kansas - it's those kinds of stories that make March Madness what it is.

So while we are looking for underdogs to cheer on - it occured to me that the story of the beginning of Christianity is kind of a Cinderella story - we are going to hear next week that the disciples all scattered when Jesus was arrested and that they spent alot of the next couple of weeks hiding - but that little group hiding from everyone in two generations spread the story of Jesus to the then known world and were a force that threatened the Roman Emperor himself - just a thought

Monday, March 15, 2010

The Prodigal Parish

We heard yesterday about the prodigal son - but actually in the parable it isn't the son who is prodigal, it is the Father. The word prodigal means overly generous or perhaps more accurately, the overwhelmingly generous.

I just want to reflect on how prodigaly generous the people of St. Paul's were this weekend. We collected over $300 in the Day of Change collection - which is supporting a refugee family the Eastern Erie Deanery is adopting.

We also had a highly successful dinner in support of the youth mission trip - people were prodigal both with their money and their time.

In the midst of this we are participating in the ECS campaign and are doing well in those collections and people are painting the parish hall and the classrooms and the hallways.

Well done prodigal parish - making the Grace of God visible here.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Our time - God's time - Nature's time

I have just begun to be able to sense that the days are getting longer - for me that is the first sign of spring - it comes just before the whiff in the air that is a combination of thawing earth, slightly warmer air and melting snow.

But it's not quite spring yet - which is perfect, because it's not quite Easter yet - we aren't quite ready to celebrate the new life that is represented by both Easter and spring - we get a whiff of it here or there, but it's not time quite yet.

Of course this will all take a large leap forward in two weeks when we change the clocks -

But until then there is something nice about having time cycles coincide - about having the church year's cycle at the same place as nature's time cycle and my own - it doesn't happen very often, but it's nice when it does.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The difference between winning bronze and losing gold

I've been watching the winter Olympics - I'm a sucker for them - and one of the things that I have noticed is the difference between athletes.

There are those for whom just competing truly was all that they were hoping for and when they place third and actually get to stand on the podium and receive a medal it is clear that this was far beyond their wildest dreams and something that they will cherish their whole lives.

Then there are those who clearly expected to win and placing second or third wasn't winning a silver or a bronze medal - it is losing the gold. It is not having the thing that they expected happen for them. They are the ones standing on the podium with a scowl on their faces, glaring at the winner - or gamly trying (and failing) to cover their disappointment.

I wonder what are the things in our lives where just competing is joy enough and placing third is the icing on the cake. And what are the things where we expect to do so well that being the third best in the world is a failure? And how can we move from the second category to the first?

Friday, February 5, 2010

This is most certainly true

I went with a group from Calvary to see the play "Church Basement Ladies" at the Riviera in North Townawanda. If you ever get a chance to see the play - go it is very funny and for any of you who have spent any time at all in a church kitchen - in a basement or not - you will be sure recognize several of the characters.

One of the continuing tropes in the play is that the women quote the line from Luther's small chatechism - "This is most certainly true" - and apply it to many, many facets of church life.

That got me thinking about the Episcopal lines that we could use in a play that everyone would get.

The first that came to my mind was that if you ever need to get an Episcopal crowd quiet say "the Lord be with you" everyone will respond either "and also with you" or "and with thy spirit" and fall silent.

The other one that occurred to me was the phrase "read, mark, learn and inwardly digest" this comes from one of the collects - but gets used regarding just about anything that we want people to take deeply on board.

What are some of the other "Episco-speak" that you think of?

Monday, January 25, 2010

Where does the time go

I can't believe that January is almost over - it was just yesterday that we were celebrating Christmas - and Lent is coming very fast this year.

St. Paul's folk - please remember that the annual meeting is at 9 a.m. on Sunday - please come and hear about what went on this year.

Youth group parents - also remember the parents meeting after the 10 a.m. service - we have all (or at least most) of the information about the mission trip - come and hear the details.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Why, O Lord

I think that all of us looking at the pictures and hearing the stories from Haiti this week can't help but ask "why, God." Why these people? Why this? Why now? Why are their earthquakes at all? Why do people suffer?

I wish that I could say that there are easy answers (or indeed any answers at all) for those questions. But if there are I certainly haven't found them.

I think that situtations like this bring the question of faith into focus. We say that we believe that God loves and cares for his children. That is easy to say when all goes well, it is more difficult when things go badly.

But I think the challenge is to seek the presence of God in the midst of the things we don't understand - to look for the face of God in the rubble and see where the light of God shines through the darkness. It isn't a very satisfying answer, but it's the best that I can do right now.

Monday, January 4, 2010


I know that for those of you who live in Buffalo the snow is nothing new, but I have to admit my admiration - after 15 inches of snow over two days the streets (and the walks and drives at the church) are clear - there are few closings and people are just going about their business - this same amount of snow in December shut down Washington DC for 3 days.

It just goes to show that human beings can cope with anything once they have the tools and the experiance - which leads me to consider - what are the things that we think are too hard to over come because we don't have the right tools or haven't dealt with them before?