Monday, November 01, 2004

Preparing to Celebrate All Saints' Day at Leeds Church

Sunday, October 31
My religious faith is Quaker, however I was baptized an Episcopalian. There is no Friends Meeting close by and Leeds Episcopal Church, founded before the Revolutionary War (it was an Anglican Church then of course) is less than a two mile walk from our home (and a beautiful two mile walk in nice weather, such as this morning. It is an authentic community church with a congregation that is diverse in age, though predominantly Caucasian. Two African American families are members, but de-facto racial segregation is still more the norm in rural Western Virginia and in our community. We have a ‘Black Baptist Church’ and a ‘White Baptist Church’ on Leeds Manor Road, about three miles from one another. The congregations do cooperate on a variety of ecumenical events.

Our Episcopalian Priest is a woman, and such an effective, inspiring leader that one wonders how patriarchialists in the Episcopal Church and especially the Roman Catholic Church could be so vigorously opposed to women priests

Wait… I intended to write about today’s adult education/Sunday school class and have now am drifting off into social commentary – professors tend to do this,

Today’s Sunday school/adult education class was such a great example of what a vibrant community church can do. The theme was All Saints Day, which we will celebrate next Sunday – the Sunday after Halloween. About forty of us, ranging in age from about two years to 80 years old grouped ourselves around five tables, with a mix of adults and children at each. Each table was given the name of a Saint (some unofficial, like the Reverend Martin Luther King), with a brief one page description of his or her life and works. The task was to make pennants or banners, which will be carried by the congregation’s children as part of an all Saints Day procession in church next week

Our table – three adults and two children (a family, apart from me) was assigned the Apostle Peter. This was pretty easy pennant material because Peter was a fisherman and was then designated by Jesus as the “Rock” on which he would build his church. My pennant was red, with a large black rock in the middle inscribed with the words petra (our visiting seminarian, who temporarily joined our group as a theological consultant told us that petra was the Greek word for Rock.) My pennant also included a church icon, a smiling dolphin (I know a dolphin is not really a fish) and a golden cross, crafted from pipe cleaners.

Today’s sermon was about Zaccaeaus, a tax collector of diminutive stature who climbed a tree to see Jesus, then served him dinner and vowed to change his life. Tax collectors do not fare well in either the Old or New Testament of the Bible. This must pose a challenge for ministers, pastors, priests, etc. who have a large number of Internal Revenue Service agents in the congregation.

Monday 1
Another fire alarm evacuation this morning, about 3:30 – a “pull” I was told. These are never fun, but at least the weather was reasonably warm and we were only out for between 30 and 45 min. Hopefully we will get these out of our system before the weather becomes freezing and – even worse – the snow and sleet begins to fall. I would like to figure out a way to distribute hot tea, during those evacuations, but will probably have to stick with Neslle’s Crunch, Reeses, Butterfinger, etc.

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