Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Kirsten Thien "Delicious"!

My niece's latest CD has been released - the title, Delicious. Here's a link to a fabulous preview and review of the album, at and here's the link to her website, at .

This is a shameless family-self-promotion but this talent is worth it. You should be able to hear cuts from the album if you go to her site right now! Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

You are not alone

I have just returned from a vigil in support of LGBT youth, and against bullying, particularly homophobic bullying. It was held on the front lawn of the Norwalk, CT City Hall. The Mayor of Norwalk was there as was a huge crowd.

There were teens there as well as older people like me. The teens told the bravest stories. I am proud of them, and I want to remind them, and you, you are not alone. Even if all the humans in your life seem to desert you, God is still with you, and unlike human love, God's love is absolutely and totally unconditional, no strings attached, there for the taking and always with you.

Do not listen to anyone tell you anything different. No matter how convincing their argument to the contrary, walk away and remind yourself of this: God loves you unconditionally, just as you are. You are, just as all people are, created in the image and likeness of God and it takes every person ever born and ever to be born and not even ever born to even come close to portraying the image and likeness of God. So yes, I am saying, the image and likeness of God includes LGBTQQI persons. Or as one group's acronym says, GLOW - Gay, Lesbian, or Whatever! and that Whatever! includes even me, straight through no choice of my own.

If you need a safe place, there is the Triangle Community Center at 16 River St. in Norwalk, 203-853-0600. And if you want to hear from the lips of a clergyperson that you are beloved of God, call me, 203-866-8426. That's my confidential line. No one but I has access to messages left on that line.

And if your parents or friends are freaked, you just send them to me. You are not alone in this. You are not alone. Period. And I don't say that just because I went to a vigil tonight. This is what I have taught and preached even from before I went to seminary in 1994. So I way it one more time: You are not alone.

Sunday, October 3, 2010


By the way, lest this sign get lost in the end of the day, Xena Warrior Princess Dog of all Norwalk and I were in the back yard of the rectory this morning, Sunday Oct 3, when from behind us, from the direction of the church, flying low over the garage, came a small bird, followed by a sharpie (sharp tailed hawk) followed by a red tailed hawk. The small bird got away. The sharpie and the red tail perched in the tree to the side of the rectory driveway, and both stayed there until finally the sharpie flew off and the red tail didn't bother to continue the chase.

Now that's the way to start a Sunday morning, even if I did have no voice for the service to follow.

Sunday Eucharist October 3

I have lost my voice. I had a horrible upper respiratory thing that went to my lower throat area and whilst it was finally breaking up last night, this morning I awoke with no voice.

So what did we do at Grace Episcopal, Norwalk? I'll tell you what. I gave a typed handout to my chief cook and bottlewasher - the crucifer - that stated the case and outlined the solution. She found others to help and the service was lovely. Lay people led all of the service. I stood up at the appropriate moments and did the hand actions. I had a very brief, concise sermon photocopied and it was handed out after the gospel. After everyone had a chance to read it silently to themselves, they broke into small groups and discussed it. It went way over the 5 or 6 minutes I had estimated for that discussion - it was lively!

Now that's church.

One person commented that it was nice to be able to say the words to the Eucharistic Prayer. I'm just delighted to serve a congregation that is willing to "punt" when necessary and to do so with grace (no pun!), dignity and competency. It was a truly lovely service. Thanks be to God.

Now, if you missed Communion, or Holy Eucharist, or Mass today, you can still celebrate with St. Laika's Online Church sermon included, Father Jonathan Hagger presiding via audio file. Go there, worship, and then come back here and let me know about your experience. As a parish priest myself, I'm finding it comforting to go online, sit back, and let someone else do the "heavy lifting" whilst I relax into saying my prayers along with the audio and spend time doing nothing during the music except being open.

The Peace of Christ be with you, this day and always.

Friday, October 1, 2010

New Virtual Church Launched!

Dear friends,

I commend you to two new websites.

The first is St. Laika's Church, the Reverend Jonathan Haggard chief blogger priest. If for no other reason, try St. Laika's as we say daily prayers together, with Fr. Haggard leading us by podcast. Music is included as are the lives of the day's saints.

St. Laika's came to birth as those who frequent Fr. Haggard's blog OCICBW... realized the blog community was stronger than the content of the blog itself. We found ourselves praying for one another, giving to support mission together, writing to support one another in good times and bad. When Fr. Haggard found he was going to be "between parish posts" for some time, we urged him to start a virtual church. We prevailed upon him to name it "St. Laika's" for many of our saints - as well as blogging "bishops" - are beloved animals known for their courage and grace. St. Laika was our first name saint, being the dog who went into outer space alive, although her humans had no intention of bringing her back but instead deemed her life worthless except for what it could tell them about space. She went out alone; she died alone. Those of us who love animals call that martyrdom. We call upon St. Laika when our own animals are in distress.

It is all good fun; like all good fun, it is also serious. We mean that which we laugh at and with.

To keep us on the straight and narrow and to give us a core spirituality, Ellie Finley, a solitary religious, has opened a companion blog, "The Anchorhold" with links to other sites that help us with our spiritual development.

I commend both the Church of St. Laika and The Anchorhold to you.

I don't know if the program through which I have this blog allows for a "blogroll", but if it does, I request the web and blog administrator to add these two sites to it. I also ask him to add them to the web page of Grace Episcopal Church.

The Lord be with you and your spirit. Daily let us pray together and enjoy.