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Special Edition Supplement to The Church News From The Episcopal Diocese of West Texas

Fall/Winter 2010

A lso inside:

Dia de los M ue r t o s

Inside this issue

Friends of God – A Gospel of Friendship- The Rev. Dr. John Lewis Friends of the Heart – Soul Friends - Patricia Brooke & Carla Pineda Friends as Mentors – Spiritual Direction - Bishop Bob Hibbs & James R. Dennis Friends Forever – Communing With the Saints - The Rev. Lera Tyler And MORE!


www.dwtx.org A Special Edition supplement to The Church News family of publications Vol. 67 No. 6

In This Issue Focus: “I Call You Friends”

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Friends of God – A Gospel of Friendship

Transparency, laying out one’s life for others, is at the heart of friendship. by the Rev. Dr. John Lewis

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Friends of the Heart – Soul Friends

You know when you meet them: you have always known them, the friends that Celts call anam cara. With Marjorie George, Patricia Brooke and Carla Pineda

Fall/Winter 2010

Published by Department of Communications Episcopal Diocese of West Texas P. O. Box 6885 San Antonio, Texas 78209 www.dwtx.org Editor, Marjorie E. George E-mail: Marjorie.George@dwtx.org Editorial assistants: Barbara Duffield Kelly Harris Layout & design: Emmet Faulk, Jr.

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The director is a friend on the trail who has a little more time in the saddle. A conversation with Bishop Bob Hibbs and James R. Dennis, O.P.

Friends as Mentors – Spiritual Direction

The Diocese of West Texas is A family of 27,000 members in 90 congregations across 60 counties and 69,000 square miles in South Central Texas.

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Friends Forever – Communing with the Saints

Bishop of West Texas: The Rt. Rev. Gary R. Lillibridge

We believe in the communion of saints, but are we still in communion with the saints? by the Rev. Lera Tyler

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Above the Clouds by Diane Thrush Uniting Heaven and Earth by the Rev. Mary Earle Who Goes With You? by Sylvia Maddox

Regular Features 3 From the Editor Look, Look, What Do You See? by Marjorie George 6 Culturas Dia de los Muertos by The Rev. Doug Earle The Milk Bank by Barbara Duffield 20 Musts To Read, Visit, See 21 Workshops, Seminars & Retreats Go and Do 23 The Last Word Companions Along the Way by the Rt. Rev. Gary Lillibridge

Bishop Suffragan: The Rt. Rev. David M. Reed Offices are at: The Bishop Jones Center 111 Torcido Dr. San Antonio, Texas, 78209 Telephone: 210/888-824-5387 THE CHURCH NEWS (USPS 661-790) is published four times yearly – Jan, Mar, July, Sept with 2 Special Supplement Editions in May and November by The Episcopal Diocese of West Texas, P O Box 6885, San Antonio TX 78209. Periodicals postage paid at San Antonio TX. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to The Episcopal Diocese of West Texas, P O Box 6885, San Antonio TX 78209.

Reflections online

Join the conversation at www.reflections-dwtx.org.

Reflections is published as a special edition supplement to The Church News by The Episcopal Diocese of West Texas

and invites readers from every denomination or no denomination. To subscribe (there is no charge) send name, address, and e-mail address to barbara.duffield@dwtx.org or Diocese of West Texas, Attn: Barbara Duffield, P O Box 6885, San Antonio TX 78209. In 2010, Reflections will be mailed twice: in May and November. The Church News will continue to be mailed in January, March, July, and September.


from The Editor

We want to see

MORE of you

Look, Look, What Do You See?

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here is a concept in photography known as depth of field. It has to do with how much of a photo is in sharp focus. In a shallow depth of field, one object will be in sharp focus while other objects in the background will be blurred. Take a photo of children on a playground. If the photo is taken with a shallow depth of field, one particular child will be in sharp focus while all the other children, and the play equipment, and the trees just beyond the playground will be blurred. The point is to bring attention to the one child as all else fades away. But if a photo is taken with a deep depth of field, everything in the photo will be in focus, at least to the naked eye – the one child and the other children and the play equipment and the trees just beyond the playground. Hence the viewer’s eye sees it all. Good photographers, those who use ALL the buttons on a digital camera, know how to manipulate depth of field. It has to do with the f-stop and the shutter speed and the this-button and the that-button (and here we refer you to a google search for a more complete, and perhaps more accurate, explanation of depth of field. If you are really savvy, call it DOF). This little foray into the fine points of photography translates, I think, when we consider the communion of saints. To understand communion of saints, we need a deep depth of field. We need to open up the shutter of our eyes and see what we might not otherwise see. Look continued on page 19

Episcopal Diocese of West Texas

Actually, we want you to see more of us... • More issues • More pages • More articles for your reflection along your spiritual journey. Currently, Reflections magazine is distributed free of charge to every household in the Episcopal Diocese of West Texas twice a year. That’s nearly 13,000 homes at a cost of about $1.05 per issue per household – all funded entirely by the diocesan budget. We’d like to be publishing three times a year, maybe quarterly. We’d like to expand the good work you’ve told us you have come to depend on. We need your help to do that. Your tax-free contribution will go entirely toward publishing and mailing Reflections. Every gift will be acknowledged with a tax-exemption receipt. Make your checks to Diocese of West Texas with the note “Reflections” in the memo line. Mail your donations to Episcopal Diocese of West Texas P O Box 6885 San Antonio TX 78209 Attn: Accounting We’re looking forward to seeing you – more often. Questions? Contact Marjorie at marjorie.george@dwtx.org.

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Focus: “I Call You Friends”

Friends of God

- A Gospel of Friendship The Rev. Dr. John Lewis

A Reflection on John 15:12-19

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riendship is a central theme throughout the gospel of John, whether it is friendship with God, Jesus, or one another. And, for John, what lies at the heart of friendship is “laying out one’s life” for others to see, so they fully know how and why we do the things we do. In essence, friendship involves the willingness to risk being transparent in our interactions with others, modeling an openness and vulnerability the world seldom values.

I no longer call you servants, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father.

We encounter this theme early in the gospel when Jesus tells his disciples: “Very truly, I tell you, the Son is not able to do anything on his own, except what he sees the Father doing. For, whatever things the Father is doing, the Son likewise is doing. The Father befriends [Greek: philei]1 the Son and demonstrates to him all that he himself is doing; and he will demonstrate to him greater works than these, so that you will be astonished” (John 5:19-21). Thus, the foundation for friendship is the act of God, who demonstrates to Jesus Christ what God is doing in the world through Christ. As Jesus recognizes the power of God at work through him, he, in turn, explains to his own followers what, and why, he is doing the things he does. He invites them also to become his “friends,” appointing them to go and bear abiding fruit in the world (John 15:14-16). In the Gospel of John, two different Greek verbs (phileō and agapaō) are usually translated

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the same way: “to love.” By doing this, most translators fail to differentiate the important distinction between “befriending” and “loving” someone. Keeping this distinction clearly in mind is especially important in today’s culture, given our tendency to understand (wrongly) “love” as an emotion rather than a way of acting in the world. The key passage for understanding the friendship theme in John’s gospel is 15:12-17, where Jesus says to his disciples: “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Whenever scripture is quoted, I am using my own English translations of the original Greek text. 1

Reflections

– Fall/Winter 2010


No one has greater love than this, to lay out [Greek: tithēmi] 2 one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do the things I command you to do. I no longer call you servants, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father. You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he will give you. These things I command you so that you might love one another.” Thus, transparency – laying out one’s life for others – lies at the heart of friendship. It is grounded in the action of God, who demonstrates to Jesus all that God is doing. Jesus reminds us of his complete transparency when, after his arrest, he responds to a question of the high priest about his teaching: “I have spoken openly to the world; I have always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where all the Jews come together. I have said nothing in secret” (John 18:20). This is the kind of transparency that Jesus invites from us. And it comes with a promise: those who “befriend” Jesus by following his

The Greek verb translated here as “laying out” one’s life is almost always translated as “laying down” one’s life. That translation is shaded by Jesus’ death on the cross. Using this translation that emphasizes death in every place the verb is used is unwarranted. The Greek verb tithēmi simply means “to put” or “to place.” This can include, for instance, setting something in front of others (“laying out” one’s life) or setting an item down on a table (“laying down” one’s life). 2

Episcopal Diocese of West Texas

commandments and loving one another, are in turn “befriended” by God (John 16:27). So, what does all of this friendship with God, Christ, and one another mean for our own daily lives and for life in our congregations? We could start by asking ourselves some questions: •

How might we better “lay out” our own lives for our friends as a model of faithful Christian living.

Can you name a recent time when you saw someone else “lay out” his or her life as a model and you recognized the action as something that Jesus does?

How might a new understanding of the friendship motif in John’s gospel alter your view of your own ministry in daily life, whether at home or work?

How might you best embody Jesus’ teaching on friendship and transparency as a spiritual leader of the congregation?

Can you imagine a situation in which transparency would be unwise? What do you think Jesus calls you to do in such a case?

These things Christ has commanded us, that we might love one another.

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The Rev. Dr. John Lewis is codirector, with the Rev. Dr. Jane Patterson, of The Work+Shop in San Antonio. Lewis and Patterson are also both assisting priests at St. Mark’s, San Antonio. Reach John Lewis at jlewis@ theworkshop-sa.org.

Read more on John 15 on ReflectionsOnline at www.reflections-dwtx.org.

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Culturas Dia de los Muertos By the Rev. Doug Earle

It

was October 30, 1970. My (then) fiancé, Mary, and I, along with our friend, Jill, left Mexico City in my 1965 V.W. Beetle, heading to Oaxaca for a long weekend. The drive was long and slow, and we were still a couple of hours away from our destination when dusk fell. We drove on and began to notice small bits of what looked like confetti blowing across the road. The confetti got thicker the further we drove, until finally it was a blizzard, at which point we discovered it wasn’t confetti at all, but petals of cempoalxochitl, the orange-colored marigold, blowing out of the beds of dozens upon dozens of fully laden lumbering dump-trucks. It was dark when we came to the outskirts of Oaxaca, and we began to notice wisps of smoke blowing across the road. The smoke got thicker and thicker as we drove, then abruptly stopped. We suspected the smoke was from fields being burned for planting, but this smoke wasn’t as acrid as we normally encountered in our travels. It was not unpleasant, almost sweet. Illustration by:

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The next morning we began exploring and found the source of

Reflections

– Fall/Winter 2010


All Saints’, All Souls, and Dia de los Muertos

-An Experience the smoke and the reason for all the flowers. We had driven through a large cemetery that spread over acres on both sides of the highway. The cemetery was alive and buzzing with activity – entire families were camped out there, decorating the graves with elaborate designs made of the cempoalxochitl petals. There were braziers set up from which clouds of copal incense rose. Beeswax candles burned everywhere, and picnics went on right there amidst the graves. Children were playing, people sang songs; it was a veritable fiesta! We had, we discovered, come to Oaxaca on one of the most important feasts of the year. We’d arrived on the day of preparation for Dia de los Muertos—Day of the Dead—a three-day holiday spanning the eve and day of Todos Santos (All Saints) and Dia de los Difuntos (All Souls). Reminders of death and life after death were all over the town, in every market, store and home. It was a life-changing event for this gringo who was used to the rather sterile way death was treated north of the border. Here was life in the An Experience continued on page 8

Episcopal Diocese of West Texas

From the Collect for All Saints’ Day: “Almighty God, you have knit together your elect in one communion and fellowship in the mystical body of your Son Christ our Lord; give us grace so to follow your blessed saints in all virtuous living . . .” (Book of Common Prayer, page 245).

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he lines are thin that mark the boundaries of the celebrations of life and death in South Texas. From Halloween (more correctly, All Hollow’s Eve) on October 31 through All Souls’ Day on November 2, influences of early Christianity, the structured Roman Catholic Church, and Mexican folk rituals mix into a multi-colored pot that is part witches brew and part holy water. As the night before All Saints’ Day, Halloween precedes the “thinning of the veil,” a symbolic dissolution of the boundaries that separate the living and the dead. The notion that all who are in Christ – living or dead – are alive in Christ is a mark of Anglican theology. Traditionally, from perhaps the ninth century, Christians have remembered those who have gone before, especially those who “have crowned their profession with heroic deaths” in the words of Lesser Feasts and Fasts (page 436). The observation became normalized when Pope Gregory IV ordered church-wide observance of such a day, now All Saints’ Day, which we celebrate on November 1. Beginning in the tenth century, it became customary to set aside another day – as a sort of extension of All Saints’ – on which the Church remembered the less-well-known faithful who have died in the Lord. It was also a day for particular remembrance of family members and friends. The observance of a wide-spread All Souls’ Day was abolished during the Reformation but continues as a All Saints’ continued on page 8

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Culturas An Experience continued from page 7 midst of death, being celebrated with color, food, laughter. I’d never seen anything like it before. The next year, in married students housing, Mary and I put up our first home altar around day of the dead, decorated with cempoalxochitl, lit with beeswax candles, sugar skulls bearing the names of a few family members who had died, and the anise-flavored bread that appears around that time. It was the first of our home altars that we’ve had over our 39 years of marriage, and over the years the number of loved ones we remember has grown to include grandparents, parents, our son, beloved professors, and a host of pets. When the altar is up, the house feels different, somehow. It seemed only natural that the first All Saints I celebrated at St. Paul’s, San Antonio, should have an All Saints’ altar. We set it up in the parish hall, hoping the food-bank recipients from our community might get involved and participate. That never happened, so after a couple of years we moved it into the chapel area of our church. It is a simple table, decorated with bright flowers, candles, and photos of our faithful departed. The church always feels fuller with the tangible reminders of Jim, Amparo, Mildred, Hal and others. The great cloud of witnesses feels very near, and confirms what we pray in the Eucharistic preface for the Burial of the Dead: “life has changed, not ended.”

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The Rev. Doug Earle is rector of St. Paul’s, San Antonio. Reach him at rector@stpauls-satx.org.

Respond to this article on ReflectionsOnline at www.reflections-dwtx.org.

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All Saints’ continued from page 7 holy day in the Roman Catholic Church and has received renewed interest among Anglicans. It is an optional observance in the calendar of the Episcopal Church, titled All Faithful Departed in the book of Lesser Feasts and Fasts. Often this day is folded into our All Saints’ remembrances. With long-obscured origins, the Mexican culture adds to the pot the celebration of Dia de los Muertos or Day of the Dead. Some say the spirits of the dead cross over the thin veil at that time and visit their families from October 31 to November 2. In celebration and welcoming, families make altars and place ofrendas (offerings) of food, candles, incense, yellow marigolds known as cempazuchitl, and photos of their loved ones. All of these celebrations and commemorations, the secular and the sacred, tumble together in our part of the country. Dia de los Muertos altars are constructed in many formal Episcopal churches, photos of loved ones decorate the altar steps in others, and the solemnity of saintliness is stressed in still others with the intoning of the names of all in the parish who have died in the past year. In all, the pot overflows with the blessings of God in the joy of the living Christ and all who follow him.

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Art for this article was provided by Terry Gay Puckett. Terry Gay has won numerous awards for her work, including being selected Artist of the Year 2009 at the San Antonio Art League and Museum. See more of Terry Gay’s work at www.terrygaypuckett.com

Reflections

– Fall/Winter 2010


Culturas The Milk Bank

By Barbara Duffield

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hat was once a daily or weekly trip to the bank for many of us is now frequently handled online. Sara Zercher, a parishioner of St. John’s, New Braunfels, however, recently spent the better part of a year making frequent trips to a bank of a different sort. Even prior to Sara’s pregnancy, her sister, an NICU (Neo-natal intensive care unit) nurse in a San Antonio hospital, told her of a gift that makes a difference in the lives of some extremely sick newborns – a gift given by women who pump and donate their excess breast milk for the really sick little ones in NICU. The story made an impression on Sara, and when she and her husband, Clayton, had their son Colt, she made a decision that has benefitted countless numbers of little ones around the state. “The story was very touching to me,” said Sara, “just the thought of all the mamas who had babies in NICU needing help. This was such a simple thing for me to do.” Sara knew that in this generation, experts recommend breastfeeding as the healthiest alternative for newborns, particularly ill and premature infants.

In the early 1900’s, children were nearly all breast fed by maternal or donated milk, but over time, artificial feeding products (formulas) became more commonly used until the 1960s when human milk again became the preferred method of feeding. Today, if maternal milk is inadequate or lacking, particularly for high risk or premature infants, pasteurized donor milk is the next best option. Donor milk banking plays an important role in meeting these needs. Sara explained that milk donation is not difficult. After a phone interview and completing some paperwork, she was sent to have blood work done and took a check list to the pediatrician and her ob/gyn doctor, to ensure the baby had been a normal delivery and she herself was healthy. Her milk underwent a nutritional analysis for calories and protein and once all had been approved, she was ready to begin. “I was given a donor number so they could keep track of the amount I donated; I gave 1,007 ounces over the year I participated,” said Sara. “I live in New Braunfels and there is a hospital there that is one of the drop-off points, so I just froze it and took it over about once a week.”

Episcopal Diocese of West Texas

It was the stories of the need that kept Sara participating. “One little boy I heard about was on dialysis until he was old enough to be given a new liver. Breast milk made him stronger until time for his surgery.” Milk is accepted from a mother only until one year beyond her child’s birth; nutritional value naturally lessens after that. Milk from several donors is mixed to guarantee better antibodies. There are ten donor milk banks in the United States; Texas has two of them, one in Austin (St. David’s Hospital) and one in north Texas. Babies in need are given a prescription by their doctor, and that’s an Rx that concerned mothers can fill. If you would like information on the program, one website is www.milkbank.org.

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Barbara Duffield is a member of St. Matthew’s, Universal City, and serves on the staff of the Communications Department for the Diocese of West Texas. Reach her at barbara.duffield@dwtx.org

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Focus: “I Call You Friends”

Friends of the Heart

– Soul Friends

By Marjorie George with Patricia Brooke and Carla Pineda

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n A B ook of Cel tic Wi s d o m , J o h n O ’D o n o h u e e x p l a i n s t h a t i n t h e C e l t i c tradition, there is an a n c i e n t a p p r e c i a t i o n f o r t h e i n t e r s e c t i o n of l o v e a n d f r ie ndsh ip t h at t h e Ce lts ca ll a na m ca ra: a na m b e i n g t h e G a e l i c w o r d f o r s ou l and cara t h e wor d f o r f r ie n d. Th u s a na m c a ra: s o u l f r i e n d . Originally the term applie d t o a t e a c h e r , c o m p a n i o n , o r s p i r i t u a l g u id e , some o n e t o w h o m y o u c o n f e s s e d a n d c o u l d s h a r e y o u r in n e r m o st se lf . “ W h e n y o u h a d a n a na m c a r a,” sa y s O’D o n o h u e , “ y o u r f r ie n dsh ip cu t a c r o s s a ll co n v e n tio n , m o r a lity , a n d c a te go r y.” T he Celtic understanding did not set earthly lim ita tio n s o n th e so u l: y o u r a n a m ca ra m i g h t h a v e p a s s e d f r o m e a r t h l y e x i s t e n c e c e n t u r i e s b e f o re . O r i t might be your friend sleeping in the next room. Between soul friends there is a r e co g n itio n th a t w ha t i s has always been – it is that someone with whom you were bo r n to be f r ie n ds. “ Yo u k n o w you have found a soul friend when you find someone who is w illin g to wa lk by yo ur s i d e , listen to you talk about your life, especially your spiritual life, and whose support helps you move in to a g r e a te r f r e e do m in C hr i s t , ” says Anne Deneen in her online e ssa y “ A na m Ca ra : S o u l F r ien d ” ( fr o m

This a r t p rov i d e d by P a t s y S a s e k , a S a n A n t o n i o ar tist who uses the disti n c t i ve f l avo r s a n d c o l o r s o f t h e S o u t h we s t in her work. She work s t oday in h e r h o m e s tu d i o p a i n ti n g i n w a te rcolors and acr ylic . Reac h h e r at mst rd s e d @ e a r th l i n k . n e t.

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Reflections

– Fall/Winter 2010


Lutheran Link, February 2009, found at www. nesynod.org/publications/2009_TheLink/ Deneen_AnamCara.pdf). With a soul friend, there is a feeling of connection from the get-go, a thread drawing one to the other before they meet face to face. Listening to all of this, Patricia Brooke and Carla Pineda nod and smile. More than a dozen years ago, before they had met, the two women were attending the same retreat. “I was sitting under the trees on a bench,” says Carla. “Patricia was out walking. She sat down and we just started talking – we haven’t stopped since.” Patricia asked a question she says she would not normally have asked a stranger: “How do you start dating at 50?” She was recently divorced, and she recognized in Carla – although she had no way of knowing – someone of whom she could ask that. Carla had indeed been through divorce. “But it wasn’t so much the question,” says Carla. “It was the door into the sacred place of being soul friends. I just knew that anything I told her would be OK, validated.” Their friendship is grounded in a shared view of how they see the world, how they each process the events that shape them. “We share a common language,” says Patricia, “spoken and unspoken, deeper than just words. We love to yak but we also deeply treasure the times we spend together being quiet, working on a retreat we are going to lead, or overlooking the water with a book and a glass of wine.” Frequently, what begins as aimless conversation between the two of them takes a turn into a soul conversation. “But we don’t do a lot of giving of advice to each other,” says Carla. “It’s more of a ‘this is how I see it,’ ” response. And when I recite to Patricia how God has been faithful to me in a similar situation, it reinforces my faithfulness as well as hers.”

Episcopal Diocese of West Texas

“It’s organic,” adds Patricia. “It’s relational because God is relational in the Trinity. It’s God’s nature to be relational, and every once in a while it has to come out. So our friendship is embodied, not just theoretical.” “Sometimes,” says Carla, “I just need to see and hear and touch God. Sometimes that is who my soul friend is to me.” Being more than theoretical, the friendship requires intentional nurturing. “You have to be deliberate about it,” says Patricia. “Even when Carla lived in a different city for a while, we worked at staying in touch.” One of them will frequently phone the other with some trinket to share, and the other will say, upon answering her phone, “I was just going to call you.” At the same time, soul friendship cannot be forced. Friendship is always an act of recognition, not invention. When we find them, we recognize soul friends as someone with whom we have always been talking, always listening. Anne Deneen, in her essay, likens it to the baby “leaping” in Elizabeth’s womb when he recognized the presence of Jesus in Mary. Soul friends simply find each other – an act of God, who, remember, calls us all his friends.

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Patricia Brooke (on the left) is a member of St. David’s, San Antonio. Carla Pineda is a member of St. Mark’s, San Antonio. They frequently lead retreats and workshops together. Find Patricia at pjbrooke@sbcglobal.net; find Carla at carlaleedpineda@gmail.com.

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Focus: “I Call You Friends”

Friends as Mentors

- Spiritual Direction With Bishop Bob Hibbs and James R. Dennis The Rev. Jane Patterson of The Work+Shop, a ministry of St. Mark’s, San Antonio, that fosters finding God in everyday life, says she regularly gets phone calls from people who say, “I think I need a spiritual director. But I don’t know what that is.” To be sure, in recent decades there has been an increasing interest in that ancient relationship wherein a mentor commits to assisting another in his or her desire to become more attuned to God’s presence. To learn more about spiritual direction, Reflections spent some time with spiritual director Bishop Bob Hibbs and his directee, James R. Dennis of St. Luke’s, San Antonio.

ni s, L to R . H ib bs and D en

Listen in on their conversation about the place of spiritual direction in our lives today. was something that I learned about in seminary How would you describe spiritual where I was introduced to Ascetical Theology. direction? There I was encouraged to seek spiritual James Dennis (JD): I’d say it’s working direction, find and use a confessor, and it was through spiritual issues or challenges with there that I began a life-long habit of reading the someone who is committed to my spiritual classical literature of spirituality. growth, who acts as the face of Christ for me. My spiritual director helps me learn to hear God’s voice among all the other competing voices in So the spiritual director brings a my life. degree of experience and wisdom? Bob Hibbs (BH): It’s a shared journey JD: Yes, and it’s mostly suggesting another toward holiness. But we are always aware that way to think about an issue or another way to God is the one pointing the way. My directee is live in the world. Sometimes, Bishop Hibbs will already on the path; my commitment is to help suggest something he thinks I need to read or do him see what God is presenting along the way. in order to help me address a concern. It’s been

R:

R:

R: Elsewhere in this issue we discuss

soul friends. How does the spiritual director/directee relationship differ from that of soul friends? JD: I see soul friends as two people who are roughly in the same place in their walk of faith and who encourage each other, whereas the spiritual director is a little further along the path than his or her directee. BH: I think that what I bring to our session is simply “time in the saddle.” Spiritual direction

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my general experience in spiritual matters, easy answers may be easy, but they’re rarely answers. BH: A spiritual director is a kind of “scout” who has been over the trail, gone a bit ahead, knows where some of the quicksands are, been snake bit a few times, gotten over it, and can remove enemy arrows without cutting off a whole limb.

R: How does one know that it’s time

to seek spiritual direction? Is it always because of a crisis?

Reflections

– Fall/Winter 2010


JD: I have used spiritual direction in times of crisis, but more often in times when I was just uncertain how to proceed in a given situation. When I began with Bishop Hibbs, I was in a pretty black place, having worked for several years on the question of my vocation. At the time, it wasn’t that I had lost my belief in God, but I certainly had lost my trust in Him and in my ability to know God. BH: Often there is a yearning for “something more” in a person. When that still small voice in our heads just won’t quit yammering, even though we have tried all the silencing mechanisms society has to offer, perhaps it’s time to enter into a serious relationship of spiritual direction. The penalty for not having a spiritual director is that one has oneself as his/her spiritual director. That’s a sure way to fall into the ditch. At worst, such unhappy people think they are mainlining The Holy Spirit and then the smell of sulphur gets pretty strong.

R: So how does a session between the

two of you work? JD: We meet once a month, theoretically for an hour -- although I don’t think we’ve met for just an hour since we started working together. Generally, about a week before we meet, I begin thinking of issues we might discuss. Most of our talks have centered on the subject of vocation, in one sense or another. I recently entered the Dominican Order as a novice, largely as a result of advice and then finding my way through spiritual direction. BH: I think our sessions “evolve” as we go along. Usually the conversation will reveal underlying themes, concerns, potential

problems. As we have explored James’ vocation, I have devoted some time to research regarding Dominican spirituality.

R:

  Is your time together fairly loose? Or do you prepare for each session? Is there “homework”? JD: We have been working together for quite a while now, so we know each other pretty well. We normally catch up with what’s going on in our lives for about five minutes, and then get pretty quickly into the issues we’re going to address. Sometimes, Bishop Hibbs brings an issue up and sometimes I come with something I want to discuss. While we are pretty rigorous, we’re not very rigid. BH: While I don’t think I have an established pattern, I am on the lookout for stresses, conflicts, inconsistencies and try to help with these.

R: And how does this differ from

therapy or counseling? BH: Therapy and counseling generally are problem-oriented with a goal of solving a particular issue. Spiritual direction has as its goal the discernment of God at work in one’s life and the vocation to which one is being called. I seek to find out where the directee seems to be headed and make suggestions that may nurture that development. Early on I became aware of the danger of trying to shape directees into a pre-determined pattern of spirituality.   

R: How does someone

choose a spiritual director? JD: I would start with my clergy, with friends in the church and with anyone who has had experience with a spiritual director. I wouldn’t stop looking until I found the right fit. That doesn’t mean necessarily that it’s comfortable; sometimes, good spiritual direction might be quite uncomfortable. But if the richness and depth of your prayer life, your Mentor continued on page 14

Episcopal Diocese of West Texas

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Mentor continued from page 13 worship and your relationships with others are growing, you’re probably in the right place.  

R: How does one go about becoming a

spiritual director? BH: I don’t think I ever intentionally set out to be a spiritual director. I just sort of topsy-ed into it – and that is not necessarily a good thing – but there are good programs available. I am particularly impressed by The Shalem Institute, but there are others. There is much to commend a kind of apprentice system where one learns to be a spiritual director by being the directee of a good director. That’s kind of what happened to me. It is important too, I think, to be aware of the fact that all good spiritual directors need not have an ecclesiastical seal of approval. There is a world of shade tree mystics out there who know stuff. But a sound theological foundation is most desirable, and a sure and certain awareness that one is not qualified to practice psychology or psychiatry is critically important.

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R: Anything else?

JD: Well, I think it’s very interesting that what I thought was a time of great crisis was actually the foundation for God giving me one of the most wonderful gifts I’ve ever received, my friendship and study with Bishop Hibbs.  I suppose the Church often works like that, looking back to the crisis of Golgotha leading to the amazing gift of the Resurrection and the fellowship of Pentecost.  It seems we can most often see God’s grace only in hindsight, but at least we can see it and be thankful for it.

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The Rt. Rev. Bob Hibbs is retired bishop suffragan of the Diocese of West Texas; he served 1996 to 2003. Reach Bishop Hibbs at Hibbsrb@aol.com; James R. Dennis, O.P., is a member of the Dominican Order. Reach James R. Dennis at Tiodennis59@yahoo.com.

Read more articles about spiritual direction and get resource recommendations on ReflectionsOnline, www.reflections-dwtx.org.

Reflections

– Fall/Winter 2010


Focus: “I Call You Friends”

Friends Forever

– Communing with the Saints By the Rev. Lera Tyler

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n the early days of the Christian Church, it was the habit of followers of Christ to gather in the catacombs under Rome. The explanation that has come down is that this was in order to hide from the Roman persecutors. However, and more accurately, historians explain, Christians went into the tombs to celebrate with Christian martyrs buried there, especially on their anniversaries – to be in communion with the saints. All of this seems rather ghoulish to our sensibilities. Bodies of our dead are removed quickly and the remains dealt with appropriately out-of-sight. Death is quietly hidden from view. Most of us have become conditioned to believe that the dead are separated from us, that their souls and spirits — like their bodies – have been whisked to another place, hidden from our senses while our hearts and souls are still very much attached to theirs. As part of our baptismal covenant, we say, “We believe in the communion of saints.” But do we believe that we are still in communion with the saints? My parents and grandparents were thoroughly Southern, nonsensical,

mainstream Protestants. The word saint for them was always lower case and used almost exclusively when quoting the Bible or when referring to a person of extraordinary forbearance and church attendance. Yet, the catacomb services of the early Church would not have seemed nearly as bizarre to them as they do to most of us. In my 1950s childhood, we sometimes drove to mid-summer “picnics” held on the grounds of the churches and burying places of parents and grandparents. From mid-morning through late afternoon, the church would be filled with people fanning themselves while singing favorite hymns or listening to a variety of singing groups. Outside, under shady oaks and pines, the adults laid out long tables with fresh summer dishes. Distant cousins, childhood neighbors, and old friends were reunited, but these gatherings were just as importantly about being close to departed loved ones. In the cemeteries next to the churches, relatives strolled, remembered, and wept. My aunt patted the ground near her aunt’s new grave and said, “I brought a blackberry cobbler and I made it just like you do.” My daddy and his brothers stood over graves Forever continued on page 16

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Focus: “I Call You Friends” Forever continued from page 15 and told stories of the old friends at their feet. Someone would point to a row of graves and tell how the flu epidemic of 1918 took all those people. Collectively, cousins, squatting above the almost-flattened mounds, worked out who was related to whom. A tall, city-clothed, Cadillac-driving man stood alone by two gravestones, in silence, eating fried chicken and crying. And all the while, the off-tune piano and accompanying voices continued singing what they called gospel music. And the cloud of unseen witnesses were understood to be not far away, just beyond the thin boundary that separates the living and the dead. They were, I believe, comfortable with death and their moral limitations. Creation is filled with smells, sights, and sounds incomprehensible to human senses. My dog can smell infinitely better than I. Eagles can see infinitely better. Cats and barn owls can hear infinitely better. Limited as we are, we humans occasionally sense something beyond ourselves. Sometimes, though, we might feel the humming of the communion of saints, easing the way for a dying friend or loved one, warming up to welcome her into the eternal life we will share. God, who created both heaven and earth, delights in both. The Spirit of God roams between the two, and through Christ all that is seen and unseen, heard and unheard, felt and unfelt, living and dead, hold together. The communion of saints is in the midst of all this holy glue. Several years ago, I spent some time with my children in Hillsborough, North Carolina. The Old City Cemetery there, dating from colonial times, was just down the lane behind us. It actually looks like

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the foundations of a mansion that once had many rooms. A maze of ivy-covered stone walls divides groups of over 120 graves. Its deceased inhabitants were once families of shopkeepers and farmers, politicians and soldiers, doctors and adventurers. Almost a third of the graves belong to those whose names are now forgotten on earth. The undulating ground was, that April, covered in soft grass and bright dandelions. I spent many hours there with my grandson, watching him crawl among the graves. He would grab onto weather-worn tombstones and carefully pull up on markers that read: “Her Price Above Rubies” or “He hath Done What He Could.” He stood up and smiled at the lamb above the inscription: “Of Such Is the Kingdom of Heaven (11 months)” – a little boy he had already passed in age. This memory is an apt metaphor for the communion we share with the departed dead. Rather than being far from us, the saints remain with us in some way that we can’t quite grasp. They hold us up in prayers as we hold them up in ours. The memory of them pulls us up, helps us stand upright on our own feet in the world around us and before God who grounds us.

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The Rev. Lera Tyler is assistant priest at St. Thomas, San Antonio. Reach her at ltyler@tom1604.org

Respond to this article and read more about communion of saints on ReflectionsOnline, www.reflections-dwtx.org.

Reflections

– Fall/Winter 2010


Above the Clouds By Diane Thrush “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses . . . ” Heb 12:1 We have a hospice room at Methodist Children’s Hospital in San Antonio called the Room Above the Clouds. Families may choose to use it when their child is dying. As horrible as it is for a child to die, we can at least provide a beautiful place for it to happen. It is a sacred, holy place that is very “thin,” that is, a place where this world and the eternal meet. In fact, we don’t use this room for anything but hospice care out of the understanding of its sacredness. Soon after we created the room, we began to hear stories from the families about visits made to their children by other children who have died. The children in the room who are still awake tell their families about the visitors. One three-year-old boy who was dying from cancer told his mother, “The children are here and they want me to come play with them. Can I go?” A 10-year-old boy told his parents, “There are children who have been visiting me, and they have told me not to be afraid.” One child, who had been non-verbal for years, began to smile, babble excitedly, and laugh out loud. Always, the parents are enormously comforted when their child tells them about the other children. We now prepare the families that their children may have these visitors to accompany their child on their journey. There is an understanding among the clinical staff that even though medicine is a science, there is also mystery involved. The staff is also very comforted by these visits. As we all go about our daily business in the hospital taking care of children and their families, we remain aware at a deeper level of a more profound truth -- we are truly surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses. Diane Thrush is a chaplain at Methodist Children’s Hospital in San Antonio and a member of St. Luke’s, San Antonio. Reach Diane at diane.thrush@MHShealth.com. Respond to this article on ReflectionsOnline at www.reflections-dwtx.org.

Episcopal Diocese of West Texas

Uniting Heaven and Earth By the Rev. Mary Earle Excerpted from Uniting Heaving and Earth: Keeping Company with the Celtic Saints from www.explorefaith.com

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n 1994, I made my first pilgrimage to Wales. While our group was staying at St. David’s, we visited St. Non’s Well on the starkly beautiful headlands above the sea. I was so moved by that place, I returned by myself several times. I was drawn to that well, with its clear water erupting from rock, and its various votive offerings — flowers, ribbons, photos — left by many who had come to ask for St. Non’s prayers for healing. The last time I walked to the well it was late in the day, and a man with a Welsh corgi was there also. In a gently gregarious fashion, he struck up a conversation and began to speak of St. Non. “She’s dear to me,” he said. “She’s walked with me through many a tough patch.” I was struck by the ease with which he spoke of this saint, whose name I was just beginning to learn. St. Non was a friend to him, a companion in the way, a living presence in Christ who offers her prayers for him, his family, his life, his creatures. He clearly had a relationship with St. Non — a relationship not unlike those I have with friends with whom I share my prayer life. Looking through the lens of Celtic Christianity, the communion of saints is downright homey. Following the witness of the early church, the stories and prayers from the churches of Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Brittany and Cornwall offer us a sense of the nearness and familiarity of Uniting continued on page 18

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Focus: “I Call You Friends”

Who Goes With You? By Sylvia Maddox Uniting continued from page 17 the saints. Many of the saints from the Celtic tradition were revered locally, and never were recognized abroad in the larger church. Yet they are tenderly invoked today, often in ways that are distinctly non-pious, even saccharine. A community both heavenly and earthly is held together by “love as strong as death.” (Song of Solomon 8:6). As members of that vast community, the saints are welcomed in a tenderly familial way. Following the proclamation of the author of the letter to the Hebrews (“Since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses,” Heb. 12:1) the Welsh poet Waldo Williams observed that we are “keeping house in a cloud of witnesses.” The rounds of daily life are lived out with this company. As we go through our regular chores and work, the saints are with us. These saints, alive in the eternal life of the Risen Christ, are not ghosts. Nor are they merely the product of our imaginations. The communion of saints is the astoundingly diverse and rich family of the Christ “in whom all things hold together.” (Colossians 1:17)

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The Rev. Mary Earle is a writer, speaker, retreat leader, and assisting priest at St. Mark’s, San Antonio. Reach her at mcearle@satx.rr.com. Read this entire article at www. explorefaith.com. Learn more about the communion of saints at ReflectionsOnline, www. reflections-dwtx.org.

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HO GOES WITH YOU? These words were written on a poster above the door of a local ministry for the homeless. Around the doorway were pictures of Dorothy Day, St. Vincent de Paul, and others who inspired the workers in their mission. We are accustomed to seeing family portraits on stairwells, pictures of ministers in church hallways, and board members in the university foyers. We pass by these pictures as we pass by the names of saints, not mindful of how we are connected. The question of Who Goes With You invoked something much more personal and invited me into a reflection of the deeper mystery of the communion of saints. If all of us stopped for a moment and prayerfully recalled those who have shaped our spiritual journeys, we might be surprised at the familiar faces that would appear. A young mother in a busy life with three children might remember that she had been consoled by a solitary mystic, Julian of Norwich. A structured Sunday school teacher might realize his newly-found freedom was a gift of St. Francis. A minister going in all directions might see how the Rule of St. Benedict had given balance to his life. Nowhere is this better understood than in the Celtic understanding of the “Cloud of Witnesses.” Along with the mystery of our communion with those who have gone before us, there is also a continual intimacy. Rather than seeing the saints as distant relatives, we are invited to see them as kinfolks in a kindly circle of belonging. In the daily parts of Celtic life, there was often a nod and a smile knowing the loved one was near; knowing the spiritual guide would be beside them in the twists and turnings of the journey. Even those who lived in

Reflections

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Look continued from page 3

isolated parts of the country celebrated a sense of community. Life itself was seen as keeping company in a House of Saints. St. Patrick’s Breastplate, a prayer of protection and presence, turns the question of Who Goes With You into an affirmation. One could call out to Patrick, “Who goes with you?” And he would answer with a long list of people of faith. His words, “I arise today with . . .” emphasize his desire and his confidence of accompaniment. To make accompaniment personal is to realize, like Patrick, when we are journeying alone, that we are not alone. This realization came to me at a time of transition in my life when the journey seemed solitary. I began to truly wonder who goes with me. Reaching for the Psalms, I began to smile imagining David playing on the harp. I reached for the hymnal and smiled again, lifted up by the hymns of Charles Wesley, and joining him was my grandfather leading singing at the country church. All around, St. Teresa was humming her bookmark prayer: “Let nothing disturb you.” All these accompanying voices expressed the beautiful ways the Spirit echoes Jesus’ words: “I am with you always.”

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Sylvia Maddox is a member of St. Luke’s, San Antonio. Reach her at sylmaddox@aol.com. For your personal reflection: Find questions and thoughts about who goes with you at ReflectionsOnline, www.reflections-dwtx.org.

We Anglicans are accustomed to understanding saints as dead men and women who, in the words of Lesser Feasts and Fasts, have “crowned their profession with heroic deaths.” And that is true. But the Catechism also teaches that “the communion of saints is the whole family of God, the living and the dead, those whom we love and those whom we hurt, bound together in Christ by sacrament, prayer, and praise” (Book of Common Prayer, pg 862). Come back with me to the playground. Some of those children are my grandchildren, alive in health and happiness. But look over there at the little boy on the swings. That’s my cousin who died when he was four. And see that cluster of moms, chatting together with one eye on the playground? My mom is there, watching her children, and her children’s children, and her children’s children’s children. How she loved all of her “kidlies” as she called them. Unto the third and fourth generation. She now enjoys them eternally. And so do I. That’s the connection of the communion of saints. Writers in this issue speak of the “thinning of the veil,” a suspension of that tenuous time-space continuum that separates heaven and earth. That gets blurred when the communion of saints is the photo in the mind’s eye. God, who is beyond time and space, has knit us together in one communion and fellowship in the mystical body of Christ, says the collect for All Saints’ Day. For whether we live or die, we are alive in the Lord. Quick, someone take a photo.

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– Marjorie George, editor

Respond to this article at ReflectionsOnline, www.reflections-dwtx.org. Or reach Marjorie at Marjorie.george@dwtx.org.

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Musts...read, visit, see! “Must visit” website

“Must read” books

Learning how to Meditate

Inviting God to Dinner

A video series on Christian meditation is now available on Morningside Ministries’ teaching website, www.mmLearn.org. The website provides free online training and educational videos, particularly for caregivers of older adults and those who minister to them. Videos on the website are available 24 hours a day. From the home page of www.mmLearn. org, click on the “view our FREE online videos” button.  The six videos in the meditation series will be appreciated by older adults, but other audiences will also enjoy them. Deborah Hanus, a spiritual director with the Center for Spiritual Growth and the Contemplative Life, leads the series. She holds a doctorate from the Graduate Theological Foundation in Spiritual Direction and has been training spiritual directors for nearly 20 years. “Meditation is a helpful way to stay connected and share that which is good about God with others,” commented Hanus. “In and through meditation, we take time to pause, notice, breathe, and become aware that God is always with us.” The meditation series includes: • The Nature and Purpose of Christian Meditation • Helping Yourself to Meditate • Coming to Awareness • Lectio Divina in Solitude • Lectio Divina in a Group • Meditation Using Guided Imagery For more information: info@mmLearn.org or 210-734-1211

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Recommendations for contemporary Christians

Kitchen Table Youth Ministry, by Dr. Jana Struková, proposes a narrative model of youth ministry in which youth are nurtured into the life of the Christian faith through stories and conversations. Struková is assistant professor of Christian Education and Formation at the Seminary of the Southwest in Austin. The book proposes practices that aim at enlivening the power of stories to form and bond the generations, and it does so by redesigning the spaces for communal living and eating, and patterns of communication and care, specifically around the kitchen table. The book will serve youth leaders, ministry leaders, and parents by prompting them into reflection by questions and challenges posed at the end of each chapter.

Prayers in Spanish Sounds of the Eternal is a book of newlytranslated morning and evening prayers by poet and author John Philip Newell draws on Celtic Christian tradition and ancient Jewish spirituality and invites us to rediscover the mystery of God’s image within. This Spanish edition includes three prayers never before published – The Prayer of Jesus, Blessings of Jesus and Song of Mary. These lovely prayers give voice to common yearnings of the human soul. The book is a true diocesan endeavor: Elizabeth Cauthorn of Material Media and a member of St. Mark’s, San Antonio, oversaw the translation, the Rev. Mary Earle wrote an introduction, and Rilda Baker of St. Paul’s, San Antonio, served as editor.

Reflections

– Fall/Winter 2010


Reflections

is partially funded by paid advertising. If you want to reach 27,000 Episcopalians (and, we hope, their friends and neighbors), in the 60 counties of South Central Texas, you need to be in Reflections. If you want to know more, e-mail Marjorie George at Marjorie. george@dwtx.org or call her at 888/210 824-5387.

Would you like help saving money? John E. de Montel, Financial Advisor Princor Registered Representative 361-855-2500x290 johnd@arvakfinancialservices.com www.arvakfinancialservices.com Securities and advisory products offered through Princor Financial Services Corporation 800-247-1737, Member SIPC, Des Moines IA 50392. Arvak Financial Services is not an affiliate of Princor. Episcopal Diocese of West Texas

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Workshops, Seminars & Retreats For details, contacts, and online registration when available, go to www.dwtx.org and click on the Events and Calendar tab, then on Church and Other Events and Special Events.

Nov. 11-14, Diocesan Silent Retreat, Moye Center in Castroville. The theme is “The Heavenly Banquet: Food, Desire and Love of the Beloved,” with the Rev. Doug Earle as retreat leader. The cost is $170. More information to come or contact Lou Taylor at lou.taylor@dwtx.org Nov. 11-14, Cursillo #251, Camp Capers. Cursillo is a three-day retreat that offers tools for growing leadership in the church and offering participants opportunities to share the Good News in their environments. Rector is Joyce Gray, Holy Spirit, Dripping Springs, Asst. Rector is Karen Shumway, St. John’s New Braunfels. Spiritual Director is the Rev. Nancy Coon, Holy Spirit, Dripping Springs and Asst. Spiritual Director is the Rev. Ripp Hardaway.  To register online, visit www.dwtx.org, then click on the Events and Calendar tab and Special Events. Nov. 12-13, Seminary of the Southwest Visitors Weekend, Austin. The two-day retreat gives prospective students a feel for seminary life - worship, study, community - and to provide time to ask questions of faculty, staff, and students. Registration and information are available at www. ssw.edu or contact the Admissions Office directly at 512-439-0357 or brobertson@ssw.edu. Nov. 16, 12:30 p.m., Coping with Grief During the Holidays, Christ Episcopal Church, San Antonio. Celeste Miller, Bereavement Associate with Porter Loring, will lead the presentation that is especially for those who have lost loved ones. For more info, call Carol Miller, Pastoral Care Administrator at Christ Church, 210-736-1312

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Dec. 27-31, Icon Workshop, St. Francis Episcopal Church, San Antonio. The Rev. Peter Pearson will lead a five-day icon writing workshop in which participants will be given instruction on making an icon (all materials provided), as well as discussion on spirituality and praying with an icon. No art experience is required. The cost of $350 includes lunch and snacks.  Register at sfciconclass@ gmail.com or call the church office at 696-0834. Jan. – Dec. 2011, Called Back to the Well, Oblate School of Theology, San Antonio.  This course will help clergy and lay leaders deepen the spiritual life of the congregations through worship, education, prayer, discernment, stewardship, and outreach. Facilitators are the Rev. Mary Earle and Rosalyn Falcon Collier. Each month church participants will gather for three hours to focus on a particular aspect of the church. The first meeting will be a retreat on January 14-15, 2011. For more information, visit www.ost.edu. Jan. 20 to Mar. 17, 2011, Discovering the Hidden Ground of Love, Oblate School of Theology, San Antonio. The program is based on  Bridges to Contemplative Living with Thomas Merton, on Thursday afternoons, from 1 to 3 pm.  This small group experience will guide participants toward personal spiritual transformation and a contemplative and peace-filled life style.  Cost is $75; for additional information contact Mario at 210-3411366 ext 226 or visit the website www.ost.edu.  Feb. 4-6, 2011, Barbara Brown Taylor retreat, Mo Ranch, Hunt, Texas. Author, preacher, and speaker Barbara Brown Taylor will speak on her new book An Altar in the World. To view details about the retreat or to download a registration form, visit www. moranch.com.

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Reflections

– Fall/Winter 2010


The Last Word Companions Along the Way by The Rt. Rev. Gary Lillibridge

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ourney is a common metaphor for our Christian life. In the Christian context, the “journey” is two-fold: some aspects of our journey are personal and solitary; other aspects are communal. In both instances, we have some company along the way; and I want to say a word about each. With regard to the personal and solitary side of our journey, we have a relationship with ourselves. This finds expression in phrases such as, “being comfortable in your own skin” and “enjoying your own company.” Some people don’t really like who they are, and therefore seem forever restless. Others are very comfortable in their own company. Contemplating one’s own interior life is part of the journey, and there are moments in everyone’s life when a solitary path is taken even if one is surrounded by many people on these occasions. I’m thinking here of personal inner struggles with some aspect of life, ranging from addiction issues to questions of vocation to the purpose of one’s life. Likewise, the death of a loved one is marked by solitary moments; times that come after friends and family have gone home, and the new reality begins to set in. All of us experience some solitary stretches along the way. Of course, these stretches are not always moments of sadness or loneliness. There can also be genuine and Godly joy along a solitary stretch. In all of these more “solitary” moments, we are accompanied by ourselves – and, we believe, by God. In the communal areas of our life, we have companions that are more outwardly visible. The word “companion” is translated in a variety of ways, including - “bread-fellow,” “mess-mate” (meaning food- mate), and “one with whom I break bread.” These and other definitions of companion come from the words “com”

Episcopal Diocese of West Texas

meaning “with” and “panis” meaning “bread.” The earliest description of Christianity is found in the book of Acts, and the earliest followers of Jesus were said to be followers of the “Way”: “So that if he (Saul) found any belonging to the Way . . .” (Acts 9.2). Two chapters later in Acts (11.26), we find the word Christian used for the first time: “For a whole year they (Barnabas and Saul) met with the church, and taught a large company of people; and in Antioch the disciples were for the first time called Christians.” Christians have companions along the way, “bread friends” as it were. As Christ is the “bread of life” and said, “They who come to me shall not hunger, and they who believe in me shall never thirst” (John 6.35), we are encouraged in our Christian vocation to find ways to be “bread friends, companions along the way” with others. This means understanding our journeys in the combined context of both the solitary and the communal stretches along the road; in both, we believe that being a Christian makes a difference in the way we travel. We take to heart Jesus’ own words, “For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” And the people respond, “Lord, give us this bread always” (John 6.33-34).

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Bishop Lillibridge was born and raised in San Antonio, ordained to the priesthood in 1983 and became a bishop 2004. Reach him at gary. lillibridge@dwtx.org.

Respond to this article at ReflectionsOnline, www.reflections-dwtx.org.

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Reflections Fall/Winter 2010 [REVISED]