Crosswalk The official publication of the Episcopal Diocese of Upper South Carolina
Living a sacramental life
Living a sacramental life as embracing the many vehicles of divine grace that come our way
Two, seven, or two plus five
How the Church’s understanding of “sacrament” has changed over the centuries
Icon writing as sacrament
An ancient practice offers a glimpse of the divine
The “hot-button” sacrament
A look at Holy Matrimony, its history, its meaning, and the challenges facing Christian marriage today
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Crosswalk E-mail Address firstname.lastname@example.org Bishop The Rt. Rev. Dorsey F. Henderson, Jr. Executive Assistant to Bishop Henderson Jane B. Goldsmith email@example.com Canon to the Ordinary The Rev. Michael Bullock firstname.lastname@example.org Assistant to the Canon to the Ordinary The Rev’d d’Rue Hazel email@example.com Administrative Director, School for Ministry Roslyn Hook firstname.lastname@example.org Canon for Finance and Administration Julie Price email@example.com Director of Finance and Insurance Cynthia Hendrix firstname.lastname@example.org Canon for Communications, Editor of Crosswalk Peggy Van Antwerp Hill email@example.com Canon for Youth Ministry The Rev. L. Sue von Rautenkranz firstname.lastname@example.org Assistant for Communications and Youth Ministry Bethany Human email@example.com Archdeacon and Senior Pastoral Assistant to the Bishop The Ven. Frederick C. Byrd firstname.lastname@example.org Assistant to Archdeacon Byrd Bonnie Blackberg email@example.com Visit us on the Web at:
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A PASTORAL LETTER FROM THE BISHOP [Editor’s note: As Crosswalk goes to press in midDecember, Bishop Henderson has issued the following letter calling for the election of the eighth bishop of Upper South Carolina. The letter has been published on the diocesan Web site, www.edusc.org, and through e~DUSC , our electronic newsletter, as a special bulletin, and we reprint it here instead of our bishop’s usual reflection on the Crosswalk theme. To read Bishop Henderson’s reflection on sacraments, go to www.edusc.org.] Sisters and Brothers, dearly Beloved: In January, 1995, you welcomed me into your hearts and the hearths of your home, Upper South Carolina—“now our home,” as I said in my first address to you. It was a challenging time—just as the present time is challenging—a time of “tiptoe anticipation” for me—and I believe for most of us, if not all of us—then, and now. This season of Advent is a season which is meant to build “tiptoe anticipation” in which the people of God prepare to celebrate the first and live in heightened expectation of the final coming of Jesus Christ, our Blessed Savior. During these four weeks we are asked to do two things: First, to place ourselves within the spiritual mindset of those who lived prior to the Christian era, awaiting the first advent of the Messiah— a new thing. The second is to be mindful of the way we should live every day as Christians in “new and unending life in him.” Both mindsets involve a new thing. It is time for a new thing for us as the people of God in Upper South Carolina—a new thing for you and for me. Accordingly, on Saturday, December 13, meeting with our Diocesan Council, I called for the election of a successor, and, with the appropriate canonical consents, I will resign as Bishop of Upper South Carolina effective on the date of the consecration of the eighth Bishop of the Diocese, or on December 31, 2009, whichever occurs first. Why call for an election now? I began my ministry at St. Benedict’s Parish in Plantation, Florida, in 1977. I would have been happy serving with the communicants there for the rest of my life. But after thirteen years I realized that, by God’s grace, I had done with them what I knew how to do. They needed someone to take them to the next level of discipleship. At the Cathedral of St. Paul the Apostle, in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin—although I left there upon having received your call—I knew that I had done with them what I knew how to do. They needed someone to take them to the next level of discipleship. That is the present reality in our diocese. I am concluding, together with you, what I know how to do. When, following our diocesan convention last October, I met with the newly formed Diocesan Executive Council, and recognized their enthusiasm, their commitment, the efficiency of our present Commission structure, and progress we have all made by God’s grace and your ministry—I recognized that it was time for us to take the next step. Upper South Carolina needs a bishop who can cooperate with you, and provide appropriate episcopal leadership, in moving into the next level of Christian discipleship. It is also true that my ministry as a member and then President of the Title IV Review Committee of The Episcopal Church absorbed some physical, emotional, and spiritual energy, and dulled somewhat the edge of my creativity. It has not, however, reduced my love of the Lord and the Lord’s Church, nor the sheer joy I have as a deacon, priest and bishop. The election process will take approximately 10 to 18 months, depending upon a number of factors. Our Diocesan Council, in its role as the Standing Committee and guided by the canons of the Church, will have the responsibility of establishing a Calling Committee and providing the guidelines for the calling process. —continued on page 19
Around the Diocese
“Equipped for Action: Changing Lives, Vol. 2” Leadership follow-up day set for February 28, 2009
Mark your calendar for February 28, 2009, a day of leadership training following up on all the good things begun at Diocesan Convention’s “Leadership Day” last October. The Rev. Dr. James Lemler, former director of mission for the Episcopal Church and former dean of Seabury-Western Theological Seminary, will be keynote speaker for this important event, which will take place at Heathwood Hall Episcopal School in Columbia from 8:30 a.m. till 4:30 p.m. Complementing Dr. Lemler’s two plenary sessions focused on healthy leadership and healthy congregations will be a variety of workshops offering take-home tools and resources for leadership, with an emphasis on congregational development, Christian formation, and outreach. Visit the diocesan Web site, www.edusc.org, for details. Registration begins online in January. A second leadership follow-up day is scheduled for May 2.
Bishop honors three for exceptional service James Hagood Ellison, Sarah Graydon McCrory, and Jacquelyn Clarkson Williams are recipients of first Bishop’s Cross awards. At the Celebration Dinner on October 17, following the business day of Diocesan Convention, Bishop Henderson presented the first Bishop’s Cross awards to Upper South qÜÉ=_áëÜçéÛë=`êçëëë Carolinians James Hagood Ellison (St. Martin’s-in-the-Fields, Columbia), Sarah Graydon McCrory (also St. Martin’s), and Jacquelyn Clarkson Williams (Christ Church, Greenville). The three were honored, in Bishop Henderson’s words, for the “uncommon devotion, generosity, and grace with which they have offered their innumerable gifts to the glory of God and the many ways in which they have shared those gifts with us, and on our behalf, for the changing of lives.” —continued on page 18
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The sacramental life Finding God where we live By John S. Nieman
hat does it mean to live a sacramental life? One way to answer this question is by relating the sacramental life to participation in the Church’s sacraments. A quick Google search of “sacramental life” turns up the Roman Catholic Internet site www.sacramentallife.net. That site emphasizes the first and most obvious entrée to those seeking to live a sacramental life. “Our goal is to be a clearing house for . . . Catholics seeking to discover what it means to engage in the Sacraments regularly.” The sacramental life, in other words, is one in which a person participates in the Church’s sacraments. That is certainly a healthy beginning.
A thoroughly sacramental church For those raised in the Episcopal Church prior to the 1970s, participation in the sacramental life of the Church was not necessarily understood as an obvious or essential part of one’s spiritual practice. Most congregations taught about the sacraments. But, with some notable exceptions, they did not emphasize the notion of living the sacraments. One was baptized as an infant, usually quickly and privately; confirmed pro forma at age twelve or thirteen, in most cases without any clear sense of what it meant beyond the fact that it was what was expected; and “took communion” when it was offered, commonly twice per month, or less frequently in many congregations. Some people even actively avoided church on communion Sundays out of the stated conviction that too much of a good thing had the effect of cheapening it. The 1979 Prayer Book brought our church’s normative practice regarding the sacraments finally into line with the broader historic catholic tradition. In 2008 we are undoubtedly a thoroughly sacramental church. Now the notable exceptions are those congregations that are not.
Baptismal Covenant constitutes the basic position description of every Christian. If the first section gives us a framework for belief and identity, the second section gives us a framework for putting that belief and identity into action. The sacrament of Holy Baptism connects our life with Christ’s active life in the world. The sacrament of the Holy Eucharist nourishes that life. By affirming the Real Presence of the living Lord in the corporate action of gathering regularly and frequently around Christ’s table to receive the bread of life and cup of salvation, we are acknowledging our need of divine food. Without the Holy Eucharist, our life in Christ withers and dies and our apostolic ministry dissolves. The gift of Christ’s body and blood is indeed our daily bread for which, as the word Eucharist implies, we give thanks. To live a sacramental life, therefore, is first and foremost to participate regularly in the Church’s sacraments, especially Holy Baptism (through renewal of our vows after Baptism) and the Holy Eucharist.
But there is more to living a sacramental life than that. The Church recognizes that the rites we call sacraments are not the only vehicles through which God’s grace enters our lives. They are not magical doorways into the divine. The Prayer Book states that the Church’s sacraments are “patterns of countless ways by which God uses material things to reach out to us” (BCP, p. 861). The sacraments reveal how the “material things” of this world must be understood as worthy vehicles of divine grace. This is where Christian theology becomes scandalous. The theological context for the sacramental life is the incarnation. The incarnation is the conviction that God makes the ultimate investment of himself in the person of Jesus Christ. I use the present tense intentionally. The To live a sacramental life . . . is first and incarnation is not simply the notion that the Word temporarily became flesh in Christ 2,000 Clearly a sacramental life begins with the holy foremost to participate regularly in the years ago and then, with the resurrection and habit of regular participation in the Church’s Church’s sacraments, especially Holy ascension, somehow went back to live with God sacraments, especially Baptism and the Holy in heaven, as if Jesus were some kind of avatar. Eucharist. Those two sacraments are primary, not Baptism (through renewal of our vows The incarnation asserts more completely that only because they carry scriptural warrant as after Baptism) and the Holy Eucharist. Christ is the primary symbol for Christians of the instituted by Christ, but also because they establish a eternal expression of the fullness of divine pattern for Christian living. Baptism defines our identity in Christ. The first section of the Baptismal Covenant is nothing less than presence. Christ constitutes the time and place in the universe where the ripples of the Apostles’ Creed in interrogatory form. It tells us who God is and who we are. God’s life among, around, and within us originate, and continue to emanate in all We are the people of God rooted indissolubly in the ongoing life of the one holy directions. The incarnation makes the sacramental life possible by investing the material world with God’s life. The stuff of our life can become, by way of the and undivided Trinity. But Baptism also sends us out into a life of Christian witness. It commissions incarnation, the “outward and visible signs of an inward and invisible grace.” —continued on page 18 each of us into the apostolic ministry of the Church. The second section of the
A pattern for Christian living
Bringing love and grace . . .
THE SACRAMENTS By James K. Workman
od has given us everything we need to live fully in this world and next. The sacraments and sacramental rites are signs and symbols of some of God’s most crucial gifts. They bring the love and grace of God into our lives. The Anglican way with the sacraments differs in important ways from other Christian traditions. The Book of Common Prayer teaches us that “The sacraments are outward and visible signs of inward and spiritual grace, given by Christ as sure and certain means by which we receive that grace” (p. 857).
Holy confrontation Unlike Baptists and most independent churches that call Holy Baptism and Holy Eucharist “ordinances,” not “sacraments,” we insist that God confronts us in and with the physical elements of the sacraments. Their power does not wait for our devotional preparation; God shows up whether we are ready or not, and the presence of God and Christ is tied up with the physical symbols. I went to Lyon, France, to visit the site of one of the earliest Christian persecutions. In 177 A.D. the bishop and many Christians were slaughtered for their faith. Despite this, Christian faith flourished in Lyon. I stood in the ruins of one of the earliest churches and I have a medallion from that site. When I touch it, I’m taken back to that visit and the meaning of that place. This is a pale illustration of how sacraments work—something physical is used by God to touch us.
Sacraments & sacramental rites The Book of Common Prayer teaches that there are two Gospel sacraments instituted directly by Jesus: Holy Baptism and the Holy Eucharist (p. 858) and five sacramental rites that evolved in the Church (p. 860).
Photo: Peter Tarpley
The first two are meant for every Christian; the other five may not be appropriated by every believer. All seven use physical elements to touch us with God’s grace. Think of the five senses: taste, smell, sight, hearing, touch. God uses all of these to make contact with us and to bring us deeper into a relationship with God, through Christ, by the Holy Spirit. I was raised a Presbyterian and served as a Presbyterian minister but was converted to Anglican worship because of the way in which the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist touched me in a new way. When I had that powerful, life-changing experience in the Church of England, I knew I had to follow the Anglican path. I began to read everything I could find to help my mind catch up with my spirit. I have studied the Anglican understanding of the sacraments with the zeal of a convert. Hundreds of books have been written on the sacraments. What follows is only a Cliffs Notes version.
THE GOSPEL SACRAMENTS
Holy Baptism Jesus directed that his followers be baptized. By the outward sign of water applied in the name of the Trinity, we receive the inward grace of having the name of the triune God put on us, being claimed as God’s own. The symbolism of the water is rich, invoking washing, refreshment, the sustaining of life, the bringing of pleasures of “re-creation,” and thus pointing to the gift of new life and reconciliation with God through Christ. Every clergyperson has heard a voice on the phone saying something like, “We’d like to have the baby done,” but in Holy Baptism we are not “done.” Baptism is full initiation into the Church—ordination to the ministry of the laity. All of us are the army of the Church; Holy Baptism represents our induction. Every sacramental action of God calls for a response. Holy Baptism calls us to claim its meaning for
Photo: John Bethell
us, to give thanks for salvation, to renew continually our baptismal vows, and to accept our ministries.
The Holy Eucharist The outward signs of bread and wine in the Holy Eucharist also bring to us God’s inward grace in a richly nuanced way. Most arresting are the words: “This is my Body”; “This is my Blood.” We accept the ancient teaching of the Real Presence of Christ in the physical elements of the sacrament. As Anglicans, we take the via media here—the “Middle Way.” We insist that church traditions that speak of “ordinances” rather than “sacraments” are missing something important. Of course these traditions hold that Christ is present in Holy Communion. But they depend very much on the individual’s devotional exercises to secure the presence of Christ. We say: Take this bread; Christ is here; deal with him! We agree with Martin Luther when, in the midst of a theological debate on the Real Presence of Christ in the Holy Eucharist, he pushed back the tablecloth and wrote in the dust on the table (in Latin): “This is my Body.” Core Anglican tradition refuses to become involved in how Christ is present. Every one of our eucharistic liturgies avoids the Roman Catholic language surrounding the consecration of the bread and wine: “May they become the Body and Blood.” Anglican liturgies simply say “May they be the Body and Blood.”
OTHER SACRAMENTAL RITES
Confirmation The sacramental rite of Confirmation developed with the growth of early Church. Bishops could not perform all the baptisms and delegated this responsibility to local priests. Confirmation let bishops —continued on page 15
Photo: Rindy Abdelnour
Sacraments making history . . .
Counting them over the centuries By Nicholas M. Beasley He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; for in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers—all things have been created through him and for him. He himself is before all things, and in him all things hold together. He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that he might come to have first place in everything. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross. –Colossians 1:15–20
he Church has been a sacramental body since Jesus Christ first assembled his disciples in Galilee. Our English word sacrament translates Greek and Latin words for mystery or sign. Thus Christ’s earthly life itself was the first great mystery and sign of God’s redemptive power in the era of new covenant. From the first days of his public ministry, Jesus shared table fellowship with a wide swath of humanity, anticipating the Last Supper, the Holy Eucharist, and the great banquet table that will be laid at the end of time. In the life of the Incarnate Christ, God pulled back the veil and entered time and space, in Christ becoming an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace and for us an effective means unto that grace. It is fitting to say that Christ is the first and perfect sacrament of the Father and that the Church in turn is a sacrament of Christ. From our divine life together in the power of the Holy Spirit, the Church as sacrament seeks to reconcile the world to God in Christ.
Water and oil, bread and wine . . . Anglicans glory in the faith and practice of the undivided Church of the first millennium, seeking to be faithful to the theological tradition of the Church Fathers and the vibrant discipleship of the early Church. The sacramental understanding of the early Church was rich, varied, and beautifully unburdened by the sad categories that would later be imposed upon it. For 1,000 years, Christians worked within the broad sacramental principle articulated in Colossians 1:15–20, seeing Christ as the great sacrament and welcoming all other faithful experiences that continued to mediate Christ to the Church and to the world. There was no list of two, seven, or fifteen sacraments, simply an understanding that the creating God who worked for our redemption in the human life of Jesus was sure to continue his redemptive work in physical elements like water and oil, bread and wine, honey and salt, and human touch and breath. Thus our early theologians, who were never divorced from the worshiping Church, though expansively about sacraments. St. Augustine, to whom we owe the ancient formula that sacraments are “the visible form of invisible
grace,” called the Creed and the Lord’s Prayer sacraments. In the fifth century, Leo the Great spoke about Christ’s passion as a sacrament. PseudoDionysius, the influential Neo-platonic liturgical theologian of the sixth century, counted Baptism, Eucharist, and anointing as the chief sacraments but put no bright line between them and other sacraments, including the burial of the dead, the consecration of monks and nuns, and priestly ordination. To oversimplify, if the Holy Spirit worked in some blessed bit of the creation to join women and men to Christ, well, the Fathers were ready to count that experience as sacramental.
A generous orthodoxy Yet there can be no doubt that the sacramental life of the early Church centered on the Paschal sacraments of Holy Baptism and the Holy Eucharist. In the early third century, the North African theologian Cyprian was among the first to use the language of sacrament to speak about the Holy Eucharist, referring to it as “the sacrament of the Lord’s passion and our redemption.” The great baptismal preparation sermons of Ambrose of Milan and Cyril of Jerusalem employed every artifice of mystery and wonder to prepare new Christians for transformation through their baptisms and frequent sharing in the sacrament of the altar. If the early Church was sure that God might make a sacrament of many things, they were even more certain that God was particularly present to his people at the fount and at the altar. Theirs was a generous orthodoxy.
Only seven . . . The Church’s sacramental understanding was a victim of its fraught relationship with ancient philosophy in the Middle Ages. As the Western church rediscovered Aristotle’s philosophy, his metaphysical categories came to dominate our understanding of the sacraments. Thomas Aquinas insisted that all sacraments must have matter (some material element) and form (consecratory words). Other medieval theologians insisted that a mandate from Christ was
required for any ritual action to be accounted a sacrament. Both of these sacramental criteria were then awkwardly applied to the seven rites that most contemporaries viewed as sacraments: Baptism, Eucharist, Confirmation, Penance, Anointing, Marriage, and Ordination. Most New Testament scholars are hard pressed to find Jesus’ command to confirm. Likewise, liturgical theologians are still mystified as to what the material element in penance is. Yet somehow, the medieval theologians made their case for a finite number of sacraments. It was to be seven, no more and no less, a number suspiciously rich in its numerological qualities. The Middle Ages’ drive to systematize constricted the Church’s sacramental life, inviting God to work through the channels the Church had provided. The Orthodox churches of the East took little note of these developments.
Two plus five During the Reformation of the sixteenth century, Anglicans and other Protestants sought to pare down this list and center their sacramental life on the two Paschal sacraments of Holy Baptism and the Holy Eucharist. More generously than the statements of other Protestants, our Thirty-Nine Articles (1563) recognized “two Sacraments ordained of Christ” and “five commonly called Sacraments.” In subsequent centuries, some high-church Anglicans would reclaim the medieval accounting of seven sacraments. Many others would participate in a deeper renewal of the Church’s sacramental life, inspired by faithful biblical scholarship and the study of the Fathers, both of which liberated the Church from the restraints of the Middle Ages and the Reformation.
A renewed sacramental theology Particularly important has been the recovery of the eschatological, putting the kingdom of God which Christ preached at the center of the Christian hope. Our current Book of Common Prayer is the product of this renewed sacramental theology that recognizes Holy Baptism as a full-bore initiation in the mysteries of Christ’s death and resurrection, the beginning of a life of discipleship that is sustained by frequent encounters with Christ and his kingdom at the Eucharistic feast. When we who are one body in Christ are centered in those moments of transcendent, transforming grace, then truly every moment and breath can be sacramental.
The Rev. Nicholas M. Beasley is rector of the Church of the Resurrection, Greenwood.
The Sacraments & Christmas 2008
By Duncan C. Ely
he Bible does not specifically list Holy Baptism, the Holy Eucharist, Confirmation, Holy Matrimony, Reconciliation, Unction, and Ordination as sacraments. However all of them are imbedded in and flow out of Scripture. Original Bible manuscripts did not even use the word sacrament (which comes from the Latin sacramentum), but rather the Greek word mysterion (often translated mystery or plan). When the language of the Church shifted from Greek to Latin, mysterion translated into sacramentum and into the English sacrament. The English word mystery denotes something incomprensible. The sacraments are mysteries (as Eastern Christians still call them), because part of them is outwardly visible while other parts are known by faith. One way to understand the sacraments is to see them as parts God’s mysterious plan to redeem and unify humanity through Jesus.
experience of baptism. Some additional references are Matthew 3:16; Matthew 28:19; Mark 1:8; Mark 16:16; John 3:5; Acts 1:4–5; Acts 8:16; Acts 11:16; Acts 16:15; Acts 16:33; Acts 18:8; Acts 19:3–6; Romans 6:3–4; 1 Corinthians 12:13; Ephesians 5:25–26; Colossians. 2:11–12; Galatians 3:27; and 1 Peter 3:20–21.
The Holy Eucharist
The sacraments are mysteries . . . , “Theophany,” an icon of the Baptism of Jesus, ca. 1600 because part of them is outwardly visible while other parts are known Holy Baptism by faith. One way to understand Holy Baptism is the first great (and sometimes called the foundational) sacrament, and is initiation into the sacraments is to see them as Christianity. Its outward and visible sign is water. Its parts God’s mysterious plan to inward and spiritual grace “is union with Christ in his death and resurrection, birth into God’s family the redeem and unify humanity Church, forgiveness of sins, and new life in the Holy Spirit” (BCP, p. 858). Baptism’s allusion is to an interior through Jesus. God’s mysterious plan Gradually, the Church began to single out specific aspects of God’s mysterious plan (that is, Holy Baptism, the Holy Eucharist, Confirmation, Holy Matrimony, Reconciliation, Unction, and Ordination) and call them sacraments. They are all ceremonies or rites. The Episcopal Church affirms Holy Baptism and the Holy Eucharist as sacraments instituted by Christ and necessary to Christian life and also recognizes the five additional (often called minor) sacraments of Confirmation, Holy Matrimony, Reconciliation, Unction, and Ordination as ways to see and experience God’s grace and love. Generally, Protestants recognize only the sacraments of Holy Baptism and the Holy Eucharist, or communion, while Roman Catholics, the Orthodox churches, and Anglicans recognize all seven.
cleansing and renewal (John 3:5, Acts 2:38) and a dying to self and a rising to “newness of life” with Christ (Romans 6:3–4). Scripture suggests that John the Baptist’s baptism was a symbol of repentance but not a sacrament because it did not confer grace. Acts, however, makes it clear that those who were baptized also received the Holy Spirit, had their sins forgiven, and became members of Christ and therefore of the Church. Passages including Ezekiel 36:25–27, 2 Timothy 3:16, Acts 3:38, and Acts 22:16 mention forgiveness of sins as inherent in baptism. An example of baptism in Scripture is the story of deacon and evangelist Philip baptizing the Ethiopian eunuch (Acts 8:26–39). The phrase “born again” in reference to baptism is both interesting and controversial. The Greek gennethei anwthen and gennethenai anothen literally translate “born from above,” not “born again.” The use of the phrase born from above gives added emphasis to the spiritual
The Holy Eucharist, the second great sacrament and the most often celebrated in the Episcopal Church, is “commanded by Christ for the continual remembrance of his life, death and resurrection, until his coming again” (BCP, p. 859). Its outward and visible sign is bread and wine. Its inward and spiritual grace is the body and blood of Christ. Its allusion is to eternal life (John 6:54–55). Just as baptism requires repentance, preparing to receive the Holy Eucharist involves selfexamination, repentance, and right relationships. A focus of communion is to celebrate God’s grace in our lives. The prime example in Scripture is the Last Supper (Matthew 26:17–29; Mark 14:12–26; Luke 22:7–20). Another example is the moving account of the disciples on the road to Emmaus recognizing Jesus when “he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them” (Luke 24:13–32), which points to our recognizing Christ during the Holy Eucharist. The account in John describes Jesus giving a long farewell sermon at the Last Supper. (John 13:2–17:26). In another pericope, Jesus tells his disciples that the bread that sustains life (even the manna of Exodus 16:4–36) comes from heaven to give life and that he is that bread (John 6:30–32). An additional scriptural reference is Paul’s reference in 1 Corinthians 11:24–27.
Confirmation Confirmation is the adult affirmation of baptismal vows often originally made by one’s godparents, and can also be understood as supplementing or completing Holy Baptism in the sense of enabling one for mission. Our catechism describes Confirmation as the sacrament “in which we express a mature commitment to Christ, and receive strength from the Holy Spirit through prayer and the laying on of hands by a bishop” (BCP, p. 860). Its outward and visible sign is the laying on of hands. Its inward and spiritual grace is a new outpouring of the Holy Spirit. —continued on page 16
The sacrament of Jesus, or ... ... The gift of one’s self “
By Alice Haynes
In the early years of the 20th century, Mohandas Gandhi took his British education in law, which included a thorough study of Thoreau’s essay “Civil Disobedience,” and he began to ponder, along with other tenets, the life and teachings of Jesus as they related to the oppressed people of India. Among his students was a young Albanian nun, Sister Teresa. She listened as Gandhi developed his nonviolent resistance campaign to free the oppressed masses at the bottom of the caste system. While her own work as Mother Teresa many years later did not take the same form, it was still unmistakably centered in the dignity and worth of each human being. Seeing Jesus and loving Jesus in the dying poor has made the House for the Dying a place of the sacramental life. Someone who once prayed in communal prayer with Mother Teresa reported that when asked if she wanted to close the windows to shut ©Invictus99 / Dreamstime.com out the horrific noise from the street below, she replied, “No. It is for their sake that we are here.”
n important step in enriching our understanding of sacrament,” writes the Franciscan Thomas Richstatter, “is to see Jesus himself, in his humanity, as the first and original sacrament. It all starts with Jesus. Jesus himself is our sacrament, our visible sign of the invisible God.” God enfleshed, incarnate. We proclaim this truth, and as Anglicans we even make incarnational theology a cornerstone, but perhaps we do so without much pondering. We swallow the consecrated bread and wine, but do we see Jesus in our midst, still nourishing us in the sacrament of his life given for the sake of the world, in the sacramental lives of others, who, like Jesus, gave themselves away?
Incarnation In 1852 Harriet Beecher Stowe published Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Stowe imagined in Uncle Tom a character who could not be dismissed as less than human. The locus of the spiritual life on a particular Kentucky plantation was Uncle Tom’s lowly cabin, where Tom led his family and the son of his master in the virtues and practice of the Christian life. As Tom moved through life’s cruelties down South, his love for Jesus not only sustained him, but inspired his subsequent owner in New Orleans as well. The scene of Tom’s death brings Tom’s Lord, and ours, into unmistakable focus. Tom makes the offering of his life as a gift in exchange for the lives of two slave women being brutally treated by Simon Legree. In her own life, perhaps it was this extended meditation on the incarnation during the 1850s that brought Stowe into the Episcopal Church some years later.
“An important step in enriching our understanding of sacrament is to see Jesus himself, in his humanity, as the first and original sacrament.” — Thomas Richstatter, O.S.F.
Bearing God’s image One summer my sister Pam and I climbed the steep steps leading into the sanctuary of Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham where four young girls had been killed in 1963. We sat in the pews to reflect and look around. The current pastor welcomed us and showed us the old stained-glass picture of Jesus in the nave. A plain piece of glass had replaced the face of Jesus that had been blown out by the bomb—the only part of the picture affected that terrible spring day. Instead of replacing the face of the white Jesus in the century-old stained glass, the pastor pointed to the new stained glass window in the balcony, the depiction of a crucified black Jesus. A gift from the people of Wales in the months after the bombing, the window has a corner piece on which is written “. . . you did it to me.” Words of the Crucified One, they challenge all who read them to feed on nothing less than the words of life as they walk the pilgrim’s way. The Gospel of John does not contain the eucharistic pattern found in the Synoptic Gospels. Instead we find the sacrament of servanthood expressed in Jesus’
washing of feet and the resulting call to love one another as Jesus has loved. Perhaps this image of foot-washing is what causes me to identify the “foot soldiers” of the Civil Rights movement with Jesus. The National Voting Rights Museum in Selma, Alabama, is an unpretentious building not far from the famous Edmund Pettus Bridge. Inside there are rows upon rows of plaster of Paris molds of footprints, chronicling the feet of littleknown people who claimed their identity as bearers of God’s image and offered their bodies—and some their lives—for the sake of their own worth and that of others. When Oscar Romero was chosen Roman Catholic archbishop of El Salvador, he seemed a safe choice to those wanting to maintain the status quo. He was a scholar, a man who loved books and had shown no particular interest in the social justice stirrings around him. But his priests convinced him to allow Masses for the poor—the Mass had become illegal in order to keep large groups of discontented people from gathering. Romero grew more and more resolute after some priests were killed, opposing the mandates not to celebrate outdoor Masses with the poor. He was shot in the back and killed as he celebrated an outdoor Mass one Sunday. At his funeral six days later, another massacre took place as the mourners gathered. I wonder… do we stop to ponder the suffering Christ intimately at work in the world, working through his Church in such a sacramental manner that the world cannot miss the connection?
Bread of Life A number of years ago, I was a visitor to Trinity Cathedral, having brought a youth group to an evening Advent service. In front of me was a well-groomed man in an expensive overcoat. Down the side aisle, as the sermon was being preached, came a disheveled, poorly dressed man with an unsteady gait, smelling of wine. The man who “belonged there” opened his pew door to invite the stranger in. He shared his Prayer Book, and when the offering plate was passed, the guest reached in his pocket for a very crumpled dollar. The one familiar with the setting invited the other to come to communion. Jesus fed me that night, of course, with his body and blood, but I have also been nourished all these years in remembering these two men. Was Jesus in the one who was the stranger? Or was Jesus in the one who offered welcome? I believe I witnessed Jesus in both of them, as well as in their midst, binding them together. In front of me that night was nothing less than the bread of life, inviting me to be nourished and, then, to nourish others as well. The Rev. Alice Haynes is vicar of St. Matthias’, Rock Hill.
Sacrament and human touch
By Janet Atkins
negative personal experience or by the media. And yet, how many of us long to be held in the hands of a loving God? How many of us desire an intimate relationship with God, but cannot make that connection? The Gospels point to a Jesus who was not squeamish about touching others. In a culture where touching the dead made one unclean, Jesus touched the Widow of Nain’s son and brought him back to life. He touched the blind man and gave him A common thread in the fabric of all sacramental action is human touch sight. He blessed the woman with a (photo: Roger Hutchison) flow of blood through touch, and he took Jairus’s daughter by the hand so that we are clear as to our purpose as followers of the and said to her “Little girl, get up!” There are saints who serve as models when we think Christ in this world. We continue in the teaching and fellowship of the apostles when we share the body and of human touch at the core of the sacraments. Mother blood of Christ and when we gather to baptize a new Teresa of Calcutta, Catherine of Genoa, and, of course, And then, one Sunday morning, I awoke with a soul. Rather than placing emphasis on Holy Baptism as Francis of Assisi all expressed their love for others strong desire to go to church. I asked my roommate if a cleansing from sin, Episcopalians see the sacrament as through human touch. For each of these saints, human she wanted to go with me, and she asked me where I incorporation into the Body of Christ. We say to the touch, both as a simple invitation to come into the intended to go. I responded, “How about that Episcopal newly baptized who has just been lovingly taken to the family and as an expression of sacramental presence, church where you interviewed for the daycare job? It’s font, washed with water, touched and anointed with the reached across the boundaries of race, gender, and class, oil of chrism, “We receive you into the household of beyond fear and pride, affirming the human dignity of just up the road, isn’t it?” God. Confess the faith of Christ crucified, proclaim his those who most needed to be reminded of their “Have you ever been to an Episcopal church?” resurrection, and share with us in his eternal priesthood” humanity. “Well, no, but how different could it be?” Of course, I was in for a (very pleasant) surprise (BCP, p. 308). Baptism makes one part of the family. because, yes, the service was very different from anything I had experienced previously, but at the same time I was The sacraments—and regular practice of a overwhelmed with a special sense of having come home. The so-called lesser sacraments—Confirmation, sacramental lifestyle—can help foster healing and the The liturgy of the table spoke to me, connected me to God in a way I had never experienced before. When the Ordination, Holy Martimony, Reconciliation of a intimacy that so many of us seek. The little Episcopal priest put the small wafer in my hand and said, “The Penitent, and Unction of the Sick—also incorporate the church that I attended on a November morning 30 years Body of Christ,” I experienced a sense of God’s human touch that symbolizes God’s touch. When the ago introduced me to the joy of coming to the table to affirmation; I experienced God’s touch in the mystery of bishop confirms, he or she lays hands on the head of the share bread and wine with others who wanted to know candidate. Reconciliation of a Penitent provides for the and be known in the breaking of the bread. Later that bread and wine given to me by another human being. priest to lay a hand on the head of the one making year, I was confirmed in that church, and I have confession. Unction provides for the laying on of hands continued to experience the sacramental expression of and anointing with oil. Holy Matrimony is effected the spiritual life that God brought me to through that The Holy Eucharist and all of the sacraments are, in when two people join hands and make promises to each community of believers. fact, a way for God’s Holy Spirit to touch believers so other, and ordination of a priest is accomplished when On All Saints’ Sunday this year we baptized two that we know the reality of God in body and soul. A the bishop and all the presbyters present lay hands on babies at my church. I say we because while I didn’t common thread in the fabric of all sacramental action is the ordinand while the bishop says: “Make him/her a actually pour water on an infant’s head, I stood there human touch, evident in all seven sacraments, and, I priest in your church.” with the congregation and wholeheartedly welcomed think, the key to how the sacraments call forth those children into our family—our community—and I transformation of one’s life from within, as well as promised to support them in their faith journey. After transformation in the life of the community. the liturgy, I took a baby from his daddy’s arms and held In today’s culture, it is easy to respond to the idea of At the heart of our sacramental theology there is a him in my hands, making my commitment real. Human human touch in a jaded fashion. We too often hear of a core belief—that we are a community. God came to us touch. God’s touch. The sacraments remind us that in the human form of Jesus, who, as a first-century rabbi child abused by a person of authority, or we learn of a God’s love is real and meant for our healing and blessing. in Palestine, prayed that his followers might be “one as church staff member who has overstepped the we are one” (John 17:22). When we come together in boundaries described in “safe church” training. Too Ms. Janet Atkins is a member of St. James, Greenville & community the sacraments focus our hearts and minds many of us have a distorted sense of intimacy fueled by director of the St. James Center for Spiritual Development.
hen I was 22 years old and a senior in college, I had pretty much given up attending church. I had begun my faith journey in a congregation that emphasized the preaching of God’s word and missionary work, but I never felt a sense of God’s mystery—and I found myself yearning for something more as I was beginning to mature in my faith. It always seemed to me that the preacher and church elders had God all figured out, but I was not making the connection to God through the particulars of that faith expression.
The reality of God
In the hands of a loving God
To know and be known
Giving your heart away
Some thoughts on the Baptismal Covenant By Sue von Rautenkranz
iving a sacramental life for me begins with our Baptismal Covenant and ultimately gives one a change of direction or focus. For the last 30 years the most rewarding part of ministry has been walking with young people as they search, and doubt, and question, and struggle with what it means to be a person of faith. It has been a great privilege to walk this journey with them and to push and pull as they form their understandings. In this journey I have found a simple formula for understanding our Baptismal Covenant that can easily be remembered, though never easily lived out.
Credo The first three questions of the covenant form what we know as the Apostles’ Creed, which itself is a rather “heady” statement that for years caused me great struggles as I tried to know and understand just exactly what it meant. For too long I put the emphasis on the word believe— knowing and understanding. But then I heard another meaning—credo—that has to do with the heart. Thanks to a sermon which quoted Hans Küng and some further reading, I now hear the question, Do you believe in? as Will you give your heart away?
A unique perspective So, this is where I begin. To what or to whom are we willing to give our hearts? This is the beginning of a change of direction for our lives. If we are willing to give our hearts to God, we can respond to the following questions from a unique perspective.
Will you continue in the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in the prayers? This is all about being present in community and participating in the life of the community. And yes, very clearly answers the question of whether one can be a Christian on one’s own. That is just not a reality. So, will you show up? Will you persevere in resisting evil, and, whenever you fall into sin, repent and return to the Lord? “Direction,” “focus,” and “purpose” are just some of the words that come to mind in thinking about this question. Accountability is a serious part of life for Christians. So, will you pay attention? Will you proclaim by word and example the Good News of God in Christ? This question is all about the story—Christ’s story, the Church’s story, and our personal story—learning, internalizing, and being willing to share. So, will you tell the story? Will you seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving your neighbor as yourself? Will you strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being? The last two questions are placed together as they are about what it is we are to be doing day in and day out—the basics of how we live and respond to all we encounter. So, will you do the work?
Chances are . . . Chances are that those who are not willing to do the work of a Christian have little or no knowledge or understanding of the story. And those who do not know the story of the faith have failed to pay attention. And those who have not paid attention have probably not been present. And more often than not, those who don’t show up are those who have not given their hearts. Give your heart away—Show up—Pay attention—Tell the story—Do the work . . .So, have you given your heart away? And if so, to whom?
The Rev. Sue von Rautenkranz is diocesan canon for youth ministry and a deacon who serves at Trinity Cathedral, Columbia.
W a n d e r i n g s Sacramental Wanderings By Duncan C. Ely
Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything that is beautiful; for beauty is God’s handwriting—a wayside sacrament. Welcome it in every fair face, in every fair sky, in every fair flower, and thank God for it as a cup of blessing. —Ralph Waldo Emerson I have been thinking a lot about sacraments. They are important to us as we live our lives as Christians, but often we only think about them while we are participating in them in church. Understanding sacraments only in that context seems too narrow to be helpful to me on a day-to-day basis. Merriam-Webster’s definition of sacrament as “a Christian rite that is held to be a means of divine grace or to be a sign or symbol of a spiritual reality” or “something likened to a religious sacrament” opens up many more possibilities. Understanding sacraments as visible forms of God’s grace takes them out of church and into my daily life. Or, as Emerson reminds us, “beauty is God’s handwriting—a wayside sacrament.” Living in the country—being close to nature—has made me more aware of the presence of God. I see signs and symbols all around me that point to God. As I write this, in the fall, the beauty of the autumnl foliage repeatedly awes me and makes me pause, whatever I am thinking, to thank God for the abundance of God’s grace in my life. Other seasons have a similar effect: the stark beauty of winter and its allusion to death and anticipation of resurrection; the colorful images of spring and the promise of new life; and the lush loveliness of summer with its peace and warmth. Sacraments. Having a varied group of family and friends—being close to people from all backgrounds and walks of life—reminds me that Jesus is alive and active in my life and in the world. My wife Beth’s love and our sharing of our lives is the living out of the sacrament of marriage and a reflection of Christ’s love for us. My sons Penn and Peter and their friends surround me with images of a wide range of young people trying to bring about God’s kingdom. My friend Louise is one of those rare people who reflects God’s grace and peace in all she does and says, and being around her is a window to God. Organizations to which I belong and the people in them remind me that we are the body of Christ ministering to people locally, regionally, on the Gulf Coast, in Haiti, and in the Middle East. Sacraments. Creatures—tame and wild—are vivid reminders of God’s creation of which we are a part. The groundhog who sat on his haunches and watched me through the library window and the deer in our woods reflect the mysterious nature God and of the world in which we live. The birds around our house usually draw my eyes heavenward. Our dogs love us unconditionally. Sacraments. If sacraments are signs and symbols that point to the God who is omnipresent and active in our lives, we don’t have to go to church to experience them. We don’t have to look very hard or very long for them at all. Mr. Duncan C. Ely is a member of St. Philip’s, Greenville.
A glimpse of the kingdom . . .
Icon writing as sacrament The iconographer’s first concern is not to make himself known but to proclaim God’s kingdom through his art. Icons are meant to have a place in the sacred liturgy and are thus painted in accordance with the demands of the liturgy. As does the liturgy itself, icons try to give us a glimpse of heaven. —Henri J. M. Nouwen, Behold the Beauty of the Lord: Praying with Icons
By Sue Zoole
or those of us who love icons and spend time gazing at them, we liken them to a window into heaven or a link between this world and the next. For the person who paints, or writes, the icon, the process can be sacramental. It is especially true for me when several others join me in making icons. These are the steps of preparation: 1. The room is tidied up in respectful anticipation of the hour we gather. 2. An icon is placed at the far end of the work table. A candle is lit, and whatever flowers can be gathered from the yard have been arranged in a vase. The table becomes a humble altar. 3. A place for each person is set with the simplest requirements for painting: a paper plate for a palette, a few sections of paper towel, and a jar for water. 4. The tools and paints are placed in the center of the table. 5. I put on my apron and I wait. The house is quiet, and I take time to be reminded of God’s presence. A place has been made. An atmosphere set. It feels like church in my kitchen.
Preparation of the board Before paint touches the wooden panel, the board must be prepared. This process takes many days and involves the application of successive layers of gesso with a dry wall trowel. Then each layer is sanded to a silky smooth finish after the layer of gesso has dried. Traditionally, a piece of cotton or linen is embedded in the gesso, representing a veil separating us from the outer world and allowing us to go into the inner world. This is an awkward and messy outdoor task and is more akin to manual labor than to any artistic endeavor. It reminds me of the work of a Benedictine monk— basic, fundamental, and necessary. One can be prayerful; but the work does not feel sacramental. Perhaps it is analogous to making the bread and the wine for Eucharist.
Be present with your servants As the others arrive, we settle into our seats and pick up a copy of our prayer, modified version of one from The Book of Common Prayer:
O God, whom saints and angels delight to worship in heaven: Be ever present with your servants who seek through the writing of this icon to perfect the praises offered by your people on earth; and grant to them even now glimpses of your beauty, and make them worthy at length to behold it unveiled forevermore; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
It is understood that we will be mostly silent. As Joan Chittister, in The Rule of Benedict: Insight for the Ages, writes: “The goal of monastic silence is not nontalking. The goal of monastic silence, and monastic speech, is respect for others, a sense of place, a spirit of peace. The rule does not call for absolute silence; it calls for thoughtful talk.”
Special attention is required to paint the face. There is an excitement and an eagerness when we paint the face. As I apply the many layers of diluted paint to the cheeks and forehead and chin, the process reminds me of touching the face of a loved one. The icon has become treasured and a relationship has formed. The icon is no longer my icon or hers. It stands on its own. It has its own identity. There is a communion established, an intimate relationship. Artists who paint portraits often find their subjects looking back at them when they paint the eyes. For those of us who paint icons, this moment of painting the eyes is often awe-inspiring and mysterious. Jesus looks back at me. The experience makes my heart beat faster.
Another kind of time
Glimpsing the divine
The atmosphere of the morning is reverent. There is no hurry. There are no deadlines. We will finish our icons when they are finished. What began as a Lenten project is finished up a month from Advent. It feels like a letting go, a giving up of the passage of time and entering into another kind of time. We fill our jars with water, discuss the instructions and begin our day’s communion with the icon. I seem to be pulled into my interior world. We treat the tools with care and reverence—the brushes, the ruling pen, the compass. As I consider the tools, I like to think of Benedict’s admonition for the monastery’s cellarer—“to regard all utensils of the monastery as sacred vessels of the altar.” We begin by painting the less important areas of the icon—the background, then the fabric of the garments and the hair—and finally we paint the face. It is at this point that the icon ceases to be “it” as in, “Did you show it to your family?” and changes to “him” or “Gabriel,” as in, “Did you show him to your family?” The image becomes Gabriel. Iconographers are told that should we have a problem with the painting process, that we should pose the question to Gabriel or Mary or Jesus— to the one who is being depicted, and that we will be answered. It is not unusual to find ourselves talking to the icon—imploring, praising, even scolding and complaining. This former piece of board has been transformed, even though it is not yet completed. It has become precious and we care for it gingerly and lovingly.
Finally, adding the gold to make the halo is a joyful moment. The sizing is carefully painted within the circumscribed area. Then we wait an hour. Next the tissue-thin sheets of gold leaf are applied and burnished carefully with a soft brush. Our treasured icon is now in his glory! As our babies are always beautiful to us, so are our icons. Such joy is felt as we take in the beauty of each icon. It is a personal and happy experience. It is mysterious to me how we can diligently, reverently, and lovingly place each successive stroke of paint to the gessoed wooden panel and, over time, find ourselves gazing at what is beautiful, and sacred, witnesses to God’s beauty, glimpsing the divine. After the icon is sealed, we pray the prayer that is traditional when completing an icon: You, O Lord, are the fulfillment and completion of all good things. Fill our souls with joy and gladness, for You alone are the Love of all people. Let your grace sanctify and dwell within this icon, that it may edify and inspire those who gaze in their devotion and service to you Amen.
Ms. Sue Zoole is a member of Church of the Advent, Spartanburg. Her icons can be viewed at Advent’s Parish Life Building. She takes commissions for small and large icons and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.A book she recommends is Sacred Doorways: A Beginner’s Guide to Icons, by Linette Martin (Brewster, Mass.: Paraclete Press, 2002).
[W]e are led by faith both to live in the world, fully flesh and blood in it, and at the same time to be aware of the utter strangeness of God that waits in the heart of what is familiar—as if the world were always on the edge of some total revolution, pregnant with a different kind of life, and we were always trying to catch the blinding momentary light of its changing. That is what any icon sets out to embody and transmit. —Rowan Williams, Ponder These Things: Praying with Icons of the Virgin
“Gabriel,” as written by Sue Zoole Adding the gold to make the halo is a joyful moment. . . .
Pamela Patterson (facing forward) and Jean Hamilton at the work table.
Sue Zoole inscribes the icon border.
Holy Matrimony— The “ h o t - b u t t o n” sacrament By Philip H. Whitehead
n “An Outline of the Faith,” or catechism, in The Book of Common Prayer, on page 857 sacraments are defined as “outward and visible signs of inward and spiritual grace, given by Christ as sure and certain means by which we receive that grace” (emphasis added ).
Bearing the sacred From Anglican, Lutheran, and Roman Catholic theological perspectives the world created by God is sacramental; that is, all created things may reveal and bear the sacred, the holy. Critics of sacramental theology say this is too broad a definition of the sacramental, allowing anything from footwashing to the blessing of animals to be moments of grace or epiphanic. The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most. Rev. Rowan Williams, in his On Christian Theology, sums up this criticism in these words: “as though pieces of matter are just lying around to be an epiphany of God.”
Lord has given us as specific “means of grace.” Doubtless, the Church could have offered many more sacraments, but between 27 A.D. and 1150 A.D., seven sacraments emerged within the Church to offer the specific grace of Christ at high moments in the lives of the faithful. Seven rites were established to give grace or blessing to the baptized; to the recipient of the Holy Eucharist; to those making the vocational choices of Confirmation, Holy Matrimony, or Ordination; to those seeking healing in Reconciliation of a Penitent or in Unction, the imposition of holy oil for the sick and the dying.
Meaning and empowerment While a broad sacramental theology may imply a haphazard interpretation, that is not the case. The emphasis is on signs, given by Christ, as sure and certain means that we receive the grace of God. A sacramental universe is about a reordering, a remolding, a reshaping of the words and images we use, so that in one reality (a sign or symbol) we see another reality (the thing signified). Augustine defined a sacrament as “a sign of a sacred thing.” A sacramental world is a world created by The wedding at Cana, Jesus’ first miracle, “the first of his signs, God, in which signs, symbols, language, the in Cana of Galilee ” (John 2: 1–11) arts, and historic events may be vehicles of a different view of realty, a view that allows mystery, Let us define blessing as the grace of God given at a wonder, power, and revelation to be seen, felt, and particular moment in order for persons, symbols, and received through the ordinary. People whose homes have events to fulfill their intended good purpose within been destroyed by fires tearfully speak of losing the God’s creation. To bless a couple at the time of their mementos and keepsakes that carried the memories, marriage is to invite God’s grace to be present in their meaning, and stories of their lives. The Church believes bonded union, that each person may find an enriched that in the life of Jesus his baptism, the bread-wine and deepening expression of love, a companionship that language in the Upper Room, his healing touch, his act carries them into their later years, and a fulfilling of forgiveness on the cross, and the symbolism of water- friendship in which to share both the trials and the into-wine at a wedding bear a meaning and an enjoyments of life. Children may be an important aspect empowerment for our lives that would be lost if ordinary of the relationship, but having children is a choice. It things were not also bearers of the extraordinary. does not make a marriage valid or give authenticity.
Grace at high moments
Holy Matrimony— A latecomer
The history of theology and liturgy indicates that the Church had difficulty agreeing upon exactly what our
There is historical evidence that some type of marriage ritual was available in the Church circa 400
It was not considered a sacrament. It is not until The Sacraments and the Four Last Things by Peter Lombard (ca. 1158) that marriage is discussed as a potential sacrament, and it was not declared an official sacrament until the Council of Trent (1545–1563). That the establishment of marriage as a sacrament came so late is related to the conviction of Augustine of Hippo (354–430) that sexual intercourse was always sinful: necessary for conception, but an occasion of lustful pleasure. That which was so obviously sinful could not be a means of grace. Only when theologians and canonists came to understand that the Church does not marry anyone but rather pronounces the grace of God upon (and offers a partnership of God with) the couple in their consented union, did thinking change with regard to the marital relationship as a sacrament. Interpersonal consent becomes the vehicle of grace, not the sexual aspect of the union. Be this as it may, there is still a wonder and mystery of sexuality that offers tenderness, pleasure, exhilaration, and playfulness in the relationship. Comprehending this aspect of natural human life raises the theological, moral, and social challenges of our day.
Intention and consent Do not be surprised that the Church does not “marry” one person to another. The marriage sacrament takes place in the Church for holy purposes. The State legislature allows authorized clergy to sign the license, but there is more going on in the Liturgy of Marriage than a civic ceremony. Persons are married to each other by their intention and consent. The couple comes to the Church to have their consent blessed, bringing their covenanted (trusted) relationship to the altar to receive grace from God to strengthen the union for the realities ahead. Think of the traditional phrase “married in the eyes of God” as meaning that God sees and knows the truth of a couple’s consent and the integrity of their relationship. The Church teaches that God desires through the dynamic of love to be a partner in the marriage. The marital union of the couple in heart, body, and mind is intended by God for the couple’s mutual joy; the help and comfort needed in the years ahead; the responsible raising of children (conceived, adopted, or fostered); and the Christ-centered stewardship of their psychological, economic, political, and social lives as a couple and as members of a community.
—continued on page 17
The Lutheran View how our full communion partner sees the sacraments [Editor’s note: In 2001, following some 30 years of dialogue, the Episcopal Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) entered into a relationship of “full communion” on the basis of the document Called to Common Mission. The relationship is not a merger. Each church body is autonomous but both have agreed to work together for joint mission and witness. According to the terms of Called to Common Mission, clergy and laity may move freely between the two churches. For more information on our full communion partnership, visit www.episcopalchurch.org (Partnerships Center / Ecumenical Relations/ Full communion partners) and the ELCA Web site, www.elca.org. In the photo at right, Presiding Bishop Frank T. Griswold receives the cup from ELCA Presiding Bishop H. George Anderson at the 2001 Episcopal–Lutheran celebration of full communion (National Cathedral photo).
By Robert D. Hawkins The perennially popular PBS series Upstairs, Downstairs focused on the parallel worlds in wealthy British households, above and below stairs. Interrelated and utterly dependent upon each other as these worlds were, no one before had sought to chronicle life behind the baize door. Until Nicholas Temperley published The Music of the English Parish Church in 1979, the history of English church music was presented only as the history of the cathedral music tradition. In each case, in being unaware of an equally viable world not in the public eye, one remained ignorant of life as experienced by a great many people. Parallel worlds exist as well in theological and ecclesiastical studies, particularly in the Lutheran corpus. Mark Ellingsen’s 1979 Yale University dissertation, “Luther in Context,” significantly contributes to our understanding of at least a portion of Luther’s and Lutheran thought. Ellingsen notes:
[Luther’s] thought is contextdependent in the sense that he consistently structured his remarks in relation to the particular concern he had in view. The variety of interpretations has arisen because the different concerns Luther addressed led him to use diverse conceptuality for most doctrinal loci. Consequently, very distinct theological proposals can validly claim the Reformer as their source of inspiration.
radical reformers. Luther, however, was first and last a parish pastor. Ultimately, it was the impact of the violent, theological upheavals on his and others’ parishioners that prompted both his decided vitriol and his most pastoral writings. While it is impossible in the space allotted to treat thoroughly Luther’s, and more importantly, present-day Lutheran understanding of the sacraments, a few important signposts can be erected to guide the traveler with purpose into the Lutheran sacramental world.
Sacraments & scriptural critique It is folly to assume that life upstairs tells the whole story of British social history; it is folly to assume that The Babylonian Captivity, Luther’s 1520 treatise examining the seven sacraments of the medieval Church, explicates Lutheran sacramental theology. The treatise, which held that only Baptism, Eucharist, and Penance could even be considered sacraments at all, is vilified by some as evidence of Lutheranism’s abandonment of the Church’s sacramental mooring and championed by others who see it as the manifesto freeing the faithful from an archaic, institutional Church. It is neither. While intemperate, it launches a scriptural critique of the medieval Church’s sacramental and liturgical tradition which scholars across the board agree was long overdue. Questionable exegetical methods that had been used to justify the seven sacraments were debunked by Luther, the biblical scholar. However, more vexing for Luther was a chaotic system which pitted sacrament against sacrament in a bewildering jumble of liturgical texts and legalism.
Pastor, then reformer
God’s presence and action
Luther’s parallel worlds include the many public theological debates in which he was engaged, first with the Roman Catholic hierarchy and later with more
Eventually, the Lutheran confessional writings, including Luther’s two catechisms, shift the emphasis from sacerdotally dispensed grace as a commodity
throughout one’s life to a pastoral discussion of the “use of the means of grace.” Sacraments are God’s embodied presence in the lives of the faithful as the way we are incorporated into Christ’s body the Church and then nurtured during this earthly pilgrimage. Relying on Augustine’s theological writings, the sacraments are “visible words,” the tangible, embodied presence of the living Word, the Christ, “for us and for our salvation.” It was scholastic theologian Peter Lombard who settled on seven sacraments in the 12th century as the clearest way to address God’s comprehensive, sacramental embrace of life. Earlier, Augustine had numbered many more events as “sacraments,” revealing a more dynamic use of the term. However, Luther, appalled by the Church’s fixation on priestly authority and power, coupled with the chaos of the liturgical books themselves, retreated to a more circumscribed understanding and numbering primarily resting on God’s presence and action within the Church rather than a mediating priesthood. Thus, Holy Baptism and Holy Communion are central, each bearing the Augustinian “material element,” “promissory Word of grace,” and “clear command of Christ,” always undisputed in the Church, as the two “means of grace” with an unshakeable grounding in Scripture.
A healthy respect Even so, Lutheranism maintains a healthy respect for the other sacraments, demoted, perhaps in name and rank, but not in their place in the life of the Church. Thus, Confirmation, or Affirmation of Baptism, holds an important, even cultural, significance, at times overshadowing Baptism. Holy Absolution (both corporate and private confession remain as rites) maintains a positive but ambiguous role between sacrament and observance. It is intimately connected to Baptism. Ordered, or ordained, ministry, central and —continued on page 17
P • A• R• T• S
St. Bartholomew’s, North Augusta
By: Kimberley P. Higgins Who: Saint Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church; parish,
Gravatt Convocation; 471 West Martintown Road, North Augusta, South Carolina 29841; www.saintbart.org/; e-mail: email@example.com. Average weekly attendance 250. Rector: The Rev. David F. O.Thompson.
Saint Bartholomew’s is located in the City of North Augusta, which is built along the Savannah River. The church is actually on the main street, which leads directly into Augusta, Georgia. “Originally this area was considered to be the ‘bedroom community’ for Augusta; however, in recent years it has started coming into its own,” explains St. Bartholomew’s rector the Rev. David Thompson. With a population of close to 25 thousand at present, the community expects to grow to 38 to 40 thousand in the next ten years.
St. Bartholomew’s was established in 1951. It was founded by the diocese to be the Episcopal church in North Augusta. The church was planted partly in response to the construction of the Savannah River site. “Diocesan leaders knew that the city would grow and they wanted to be prepared for the influx of people,” says Thompson. The first services were held in the Masonic Lodge. Later the diocese bought the property where St. Bart’s now stands, and the first church was built in 1952. This was a wooden structure and not meant to be a permanent facility. In 1958 another church was built, and by 1994 a third was needed. The congregation had outgrown the existing structure, and, perhaps more important, was particularly interested in accommodating those with disabilities. “About eight or ten years ago the city got permission from the Corps of Engineers to start development along what was once a flood zone near the river,” recalls Thompson. Since the permission was given the city has been diligently been planning the growth of North Augusta. It is expanding in all directions: toward Aiken, Edgefield, and along the Savannah River. Even with all this growth, “St. Bartholomew’s is committed to staying
where it is. We are in the original suburbs, but now it is more like the center of the town or closer to the center of town,” Thompson explains. Sitting on about three acres of land, St. Bartholomew’s is now in the process of buying another three acres next to their property so that they can expand. This land deal should be completed by the end of the year. “Our first goal is to obtain the land so that we can consider expansion,” according to Thompson. “One possible long-term goal is to put a multipurpose building on the land.” Over the next year and a half St. Bartholomew’s will be conducting a land-use study, bringing in an expert to determine how best to use the land and place any new buildings.
What: All it takes is a look at their calendar and you can see that St. Bartholomew’s is a very busy church. Three three styles of service are offered: Rite I, Rite II (traditional), and a contemporary service. This service has a worship band called Simple Gifts and the words to the prayers and hymns are projected on a big screen. St. Bartholomew’s has several programs that go beyond the walls the church. Under the umbrella of the Golden Harvest food bank, the congregation is involved with an ecumenical soup kitchen. Once a month, St. Bartholomew’s provides the money for a meal and a team of people to cook and serve it to the hungry in Augusta. The church also has its own “Brown Bag” ministry for seniors. For this ministry brown bags are filled with nonperishable food items and distributed to some 50 seniors who live in a low-income apartment complex run by the federal government. St. Bartholomew’s is one of the original sites for this program and is considered an official food pantry by the Golden Harvest food bank. St. Bartholomew’s is a member of the Community Ministry of North Augusta. This ministry provides clothing, rent assistance, and help with utilities through money made by running a thrift shop. Members of St. Bartholomew’s volunteer their time to work at the shop. Members also volunteer at the Center for Care and Counseling, a source of Christian-based counseling for the Central Savannah River area, serving inside the center or outside the facility in supporting roles. “We have a small–group ministry going on called Monday 6:21, based on 1 Timothy 6:21 ‘The grace of the Lord be always with you.’ It meets at 6:21 on Monday mornings,” explains Thompson. “It is a group with the purpose of encouraging fellowship, prayer, and Bible study.” St. Bartholomew’s also has a strong Stephen Ministry and a group called The Healing Journey, which is a self-contained group for those facing long term illnesses. In the fall St. Bartholomew’s wrapped up another annual Pumpkin Patch, a project in
which several churches throughout the country participate. This ministry sells pumpkins grown by the Navajo Indians. Most of the proceeds go back to the Navajos, with a small percentage going to the church. “This year we had about 1,000 students visit our Pumpkin Patch,” explained Thompson “It’s a great ministry in that it allows the Navajos to grow a cash crop and the church to raise funds and increase visibility in the community.” St. Bartholomew’s also has a yearly bazaar that takes place in November. Along with all the outreach St. Bartholomew’s has three choirs: an adult choir, a children’s choir, and a bell choir. “We are known throughout the community as a church that is very open, a faith-filled community that is welcoming and searching,” declares Thompson. Christian formation is strong. There are many offerings for adults. Children are introduced to “Kids For Christ,” which is geared for three-year-olds through children in the 4th grade. Under the direction of Terry Lehi, the children in this program work with interactive DVDs and have a lot of hands-on and center work. For grades 5 and 6, St. Bartholomew’s has a new and exciting media-driven “Tweens” program. John Bethell runs the church’s very active youth ministry.
The Rev. David F. O. Thompson: “We are not afraid of reinventing ourselves and rediscovering who we are.”
Ms. Kimberley P. Higgins is a member of St. Paul’s, Batesburg. Photos are by Mr. John Bethell, St. Bartholomew’s, North Augusta.
Crosswalk The sacraments
—continued from page 4
maintain connection by blessing adult converts. Over time, however, we came to believe that unconfirmed people were not full members of the Church. Our oldest parish registers do not even record baptized members who were not yet confirmed. Over time, however, we came to believe that unconfirmed people were not full members of the Church. Our oldest parish registers do not even record baptized members who were not yet confirmed. In the 1979 revision of The Book of Common Prayer, the emphasis is on Holy Baptism as full initiation as a member of the Church. Confirmation affirms our baptismal vows and strengthens us for service. The outward sign of the laying on of hands by the bishop is the means for an inward grace for life and service. And if we have not yet caught on about the ministry of all the baptized, the rite of Confirmation sends us out unmistakably for apostolic action.
Ordination Through the rite of Ordination some of the baptized ministers of the Church are set apart for ministries of leadership and care of the flock of God’s people—specifically to serve as bishops, priests, and deacons. In the very first church I served as a Presbyterian minister, I ran into a deadly heresy. Ephesians 4:11–12 is translated badly in the Photo: Robin Smith King James Version of the Bible: Christ gave pastors to the Church “for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.” This translation reads like three clauses all of which describe the work of pastors. The day came when my church board sat me down and explained to me that they had hired me to do the work of the ministry and to build up the church. It was a breaking point that drove me to the edge of leaving the ministry. The accurate translation teaches us that pastors are given “to equip God’s people for the work of ministry for the building up of the body of Christ.” By the outward sign of the laying on hands by bishops, a person is set apart for a specific ministry of equipping, teaching, and leading all God’s people in their ministries. Bishops are to be apostolic agents of Christ and chief pastors who “guard the faith, unity, and discipline of the whole Church” and ordain others. Priests are to lead, feed, and be with the flock in their lives and ministries. Deacons are to lead the people in service in the world.
Holy Matrimony In The Book of Common Prayer Holy Matrimony is defined as “Christian marriage, in which the woman and man enter into a life-long union, make their vows before God and the Church, and receive the grace and blessing of God to help them fulfill their vows” (p. 861). Marriage appears in Scripture as a creation Photo: © iStockphoto.com/melhi ordinance and gift of God. It
is a thread running throughout the entire Bible, with high spots and lows. In Eden God declared: “It is not good for a person to be alone.” So God brought Adam and Eve together. The Prophets and the New Testament writers make marriage a symbol of the relationship of God to the people of God. Jesus added to the joy of a wedding with his first miracle at Cana. What is the outward sign of this sacramental rite? The minister does not marry the couple; they perform the wedding. The outward signs are spelled out in the Prayer Book: “Now that N. and N. have given themselves to each other by solemn vows, with the joining of hands and the giving and receiving of a ring [or rings], I pronounce that they are husband and wife” ( p. 428). The clergyperson then blesses the marriage. The inward grace is found in God’s intention to bless the union so that the partners will bless each other, their children, and those around them. (See the extensive article on Holy Matrimony on page 12 of this Crosswalk.)
Reconciliation of a Penitent Just as a married couple can’t leave hurts untended without harm, so we cannot leave our moral failures to fester without reconciliation with God. Private personal confession and the General Confession in the weekly service of Holy Eucharist should meet this need, but there is a rite for private confession with a priest for cases that resist resolution. Here is what to expect Photo: © iStockphoto.com/milansys if you seek this sacramental grace. First priest and penitent talk. Are you being too hard on yourself? Is this really a sin? Can focused general confession and absolution not meet your need? The outward sign of grace in private confession are intentional words touching your ears and your soul. You will name your sin. Then words of God’s grace will touch your ears and soul: “The Lord has put away all your sins.”
Unction of the Sick Unction is often misunderstood as last rites. I once visited a man in the hospital who was quite sick. He was not a regular churchgoer. I was fully dressed in clericals—dark suit, black shirt with collar. I can’t describe how wide his eyes got when I entered his room. James 5:14 provides for the outward sign of anointing with oil with prayer for those who are sick “for the healing of spirit, mind, and Photo: Peggy Van Antwerp Hill body.” Do anointing and prayers for healing work? I believe that God heals. Jesus, whom we confess was God in the flesh, came healing. It was one of the sacramental signs of his ministry. My first lesson in the healing of the sick was from Ellie Snyder. I was a young Presbyterian minister. She had been diagnosed with a malignant tumor that showed up as a large mass on scans. Ellie called me to pray that she would be healed. Her stated motive was that her husband, Fred, had not yet come to God. “It is not time for me yet,” she said. So I prayed. The cancer did not show up on the next scans. The doctors had no explanation. Fred became a believer and active part of the Church.
—continued on page 16
Sacraments and Scripture —continued from page 6 Baptism in the early Church and in the modern Orthodox church is closely linked with Chrismation (and by evolution, Confirmation), which appears in Scripture as the "laying on of hands." The Church initiates members by Holy Baptism, the spiritual birth that complements the physical birth, and Chrismation, the bestowing of the Holy Spirit onto the believer. Scriptural evidence for the meaning of both of these sacraments is abundant. Christ clearly states the need for a spiritual baptism, and Acts is full of demonstrations of these two sacraments in action. The New Testament distinguishes baptizing and laying on of hands (Hebrews 6:2). It describes the people of Samaria as having been baptized but not yet having received the Holy Spirit until Peter and John laid hands on them (Acts 8:14–17); and likewise the Ephesians until Paul laid hands on them (Acts 19:5–6). Revelation says that locusts cannot harm those with the seal of God (chrismation or the laying on of hands) on their foreheads (Revelation 9:4). Some additional scriptural references are Isaiah 44:3; Ezekiel 39:29; Joel 2:28; John 14:16; Acts 2:4; Acts 8:14–17; and Acts 19:3–6.
Holy Matrimony In Holy Matrimony a “man and a woman enter into a lifelong union, make their vows before God and the Church, and receive the grace and blessing of God to help them fulfill their vows” (BCP, p. 861). Its outward and visible sign is a ring. Its inward and spiritual grace is the vows and the assurance of God’s blessing. Marriage should be a constant reminder of our sacred relationship to Jesus Christ. Scripture is replete with references from the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2:24) on, and emphasizes that marriage is honorable (Hebrews 13:4). Hebrew priests could marry and have children (Leviticus 21:10,13; Exodus 29:4–9; 1 Samuel 1:3). Jesus performed his first miracle at a wedding in Cana (John 2:1–11), and makes it clear that it is God rather than humans who joins a husband and wife (Matthew 19:6). The New Testament tells us that Peter was married (Matthew 8:14–15), and Paul implies that some of the other apostles were as well (1 Corinthians 9:5). Paul also says marriage is a mysterion or mystery (Ephesians 5:31–32) and calls it the image of Christ and his Church
(Ephesians 5:22), which Revelation also implies (19:9). Some additional scriptural references are Mark 10:11–12; Luke 16:18; and 1 Corinthians 7:10–16.
Reconciliation Reconciliation, also known as confession, is a sacrament of forgiveness, healing, and renewal whereby God forgives sins after baptism. Any Episcopalian may request this sacrament from a priest in private and in confidence and receive assurance of God’s forgiveness. Its outward and visible sign is confession and absolution. Its inward and spiritual grace is healing, renewal, and right relationships with God and others. The Old Testament describes priests forgiving and atoning for sins (Leviticus 5:4–6, 19:21–22). The Gospels emphasize that only God has the power to forgive sins and exercises that power through people (Mark 2:7; Matthew 9:1–8). Jesus tells his disciples they have the authority to bind and loose (Matthew 18:18). Several New Testament passages point out that Jesus forgave sins as a human rather than as God to emphasize that God has given the authority to prounounce God’s forgiveness to humans (Matthew 9:6; Mark 2:10; Luke 5:24). Elders of the Church forgive sins in prayer over the sick (James 5:15–16). Paul writes about God the reconciler giving humans the ministry of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18). Jesus grants his apostles the authority to forgive sins after he “breathes” on them (John 20:21–23). Interestingly, the only other instance in Scripture of God doing this is when God “breathes” divine life into Adam (Genesis 2:7), at which time a transformation occurs. The analogy should be clear.
Ordination Ordination is the sacrament through which “God gives authority and the grace of the Holy Spirit to those being made bishops, priests, and deacons” (BCP, p. 861). Its outward and visible sign is not an item of clothing such as a stole or a clerical collar but how the ordained person lives out his or her order of ministry. Its inward and spiritual grace is the power of the Holy Spirit for the office and work of the particular order of ministry. High priests, priests, and Levites appear prominently in the Old Testament as prefigures of bishops, priests, and deacons. The New Testament mentions bishops (1 Timothy 3:1) and elders (1 Timothy 5:19–22; Titus 1:5; James 5:14–15). The role of deacons appears in Acts 6:1–4, and a list of the first deacons and an account of Stephen’s martyrdom follow. Laying on of hands was important to the early Church in setting people apart for ministry, as in the example of the sending of Barnabas and Saul to do their work (Acts 13:2–3). Some additional scriptural references are 1 Timothy 3:8–9 and 4:14. Episcopalians are a sacramental people. Liturgy, symbolism, and worship are important and meaningful. The sacraments are portals through which we can see heaven and earth overlapping in our lives if we make them part of our lives.
Mr. Duncan C. Ely is a member of St. Philip’s, Greenville.
Unction Unction, or anointing, is a sacrament of physical and/or spiritual healing for anyone who is sick or desires special prayers. Its outward and visible sign is a cross made on the forehead with oil. Its inward and spiritual grace is physical and/or spiritual healing. The apostles anoint the sick with oil and cure them (Mark 16:13), and elders are called to anoint the sick and pray over them (James 5:14–15). Interestingly, even in the apostolic age not all of the sick were physically healed, because Paul himself suffered from some affliction of which he was not cured (Galatians 4:13–14; 2 Timothy 4:20).
The sacraments —continued from page 15 This kind of healing has happened only a few times in my 34 years of ministry—God acting for God’s own reasons. My impression from my pastoral experience is that, in most cases, God expects us to face sickness and loss with Christian faith and grace. If our bodies are not healed in the way we might hope, then our souls and spirits can experience the wholeness of God. The sick have taught me that this is a very real answer to prayer.
Sacramental lives The sacraments and sacramental rites bring the love and grace of God into our lives and call for our response. The way God comes to us in the two Gospel sacraments is extended in the five additional sacramental rites. And don’t be surprised if God should extend all seven and call for our lives to be sacramental for others. Be open to this as every day unfolds.
The Rev. James K. Workman is rector of St. Michael’s, Easley. This article is a shortened version of the “Sacraments” talk delivered at Cursillo #111 in October 2008.
Crosswalk Holy Matrimony —continued from page 12
New challenges The challenges for Christian marriage change as changes continue to occur in the social order. It is a Christian theological conviction that God, the Holy Spirit, enters history in a variety of ways to change the social order. This is because God’s love and justice are never fully realized in any age or historic period. This should be obvious to anyone who is aware of the cultural movement from ancient polygamy to faithful monogamous marriage, from a male-dominated society to an age of growing independence for females, from taboos and negative attitudes toward sexuality to a healthier appreciation of the richness of this aspect of God’s creation.
Currently, there is a concern in both the Church and society to understand the complexity of human sexual development and to confront the sins of sexism, homophobia, and all cultural acts or attitudes that degrade, demean, abuse, and harm others and ourselves.
“Indaba” The recent Lambeth Conference of Anglican Bishops (July 16 –August 3, 2008, in Canterbury, England) was involved for 19 days in fervent prayer and serious discussion of the mission of the Church in a world devastated by hunger, disease, war, terrorism, and natural disasters. The conference set for itself the goal of meeting in “Indaba” groups—the Zulu word meaning “a gathering for purposeful discussion”—for listening and addressing seriously the challenges the Church faces in living out the love of Christ toward one another
Lutheran view —continued from page 13
who are dying? It is the most recent “sacramental” to be recovered.
indispensable in the life of the Church, finds its focus in a passionate engagement with the living Word as proclamation and sacrament rather than in a preoccupation with authority and jurisdiction. In fact, Lutheran reticence, even resistance, regarding the ecclesiastical role of bishops exhibited during and after the joint dialogue leading to the document known as Called to Common Mission is grounded in this shift of focus. Lutherans, on the whole, have been exceedingly conservative regarding marriage and divorce. The Last Rites, actually the rite of healing, at first was dismissed as logically inconsistent: why anoint for healing those
Gracious presence Lutherans, while often recalcitrant participants in ecumenical conversations, nevertheless affirm the sacramentality of life and are recovering Luther’s own lavish appreciation of God’s gracious presence in the lives of the faithful. While still conservative in our counting—Lutherans affirm only Holy Baptism and Holy Communion as sacraments—the 1997 Sacramental Practice Statement of the ELCA, The Use of the Means of Grace, gives us language to address a life imbued with God’s presence, not as abstract theological In October of this year, Bishop Henderson participated in the installation of the Rev. Dr. Herman R. Yoos III as ELCA bishop in the South Carolina Synod. Bishop Yoos is South Carolina’s first Lutheran bishop chosen since the Episcopal Church and the ELCA entered into "full communion" and therefore the state’s first Lutheran bishop to have had Episcopal hands laid upon him during the installation. Bishop Henderson’s hand is uppermost, at left. (Photo: Courtesy of SC Synod, ELCA)
thoughout the world. Among the discussion questions was this challenge: How do we listen to God and to others with regard to the nature of human sexuality and the nature of fulfilling, faithful relationships? If the Church is going to be the community faithful to the love of God in Christ, given the responsibility of asking God’s special grace upon married couples, it cannot let society tell the Church what marriage is. Remember, God enters history to ultimately move the social order to love and justice. The Church must continually be open to the Holy Spirit leading the Church into a deeper, more profound, informed understanding of both sexual development and the inner psychological and spiritual dynamics of relationships.
The Rev. Dr. Philip H. Whitehead is a retired priest of the diocese.
categories but as the always gracious embodiment of an active God at work in and through the Church.
Sisters and brothers in faith As Lutherans and Anglicans learn through trial and error to live together as sisters and brothers in faith, we must remember the difficulty of peering from one sacramental world into the other’s habitation. Language and liturgical patterns at times may look and sound similar, at other points absolutely foreign. Anglicans themselves know the chilling assessment of “absolutely null and utterly void,” from the 1896 papal bull condeming Anglican orders. Yet both our traditions know the necessity of the slow and laborious process of ecumenical understanding. Anglican priest A. G. Hebert’s citing of a Belgian cleric’s plea for the reestablishment of a weekly parish communion in the early 20th century remains wise council: It has been a long work; it has lasted eight years. He would be a simple man who thought that he could gain from my people an active participation in liturgical ceremonies simply by announcing from the pulpit on a Sunday that in future this and that will be done, because M. Le Curé wishes it, or even because the Pope wishes it. There is a whole mentality to be transformed: negatively, by demolition of prejudices, and positively, by reconstruction. God grant us all the patience, perseverance, and good humor to stay in the conversation!
Dr. Robert D. Hawkins is Leonora G. McClurg Professor of Worship and Music at Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary in Columbia.
Around the Diocese —continued from page 2 Mr. Ellison, “a mentor in the faith to many,” was honored for his tireless commitment to a multitude of ministries within the Church and the community. Ms. McCrory was hailed by Bishop Henderson as one “never content to accept things as they are,” an “idealist” and “pioneer” who has long “sought to break both barriers and glass ceilings . . . utilizing her gifts inside and outside the community to work for biblical justice and peace.” Ms. Williams was recognized for her steadfast
Bishop Henderson with the recipients of the Bishop’s Cross, James Ellison, Jacquelyn Williams and Sarah McCrory
In announcing the fund, DEC president the Rev. Fletcher Montgomery cited the “dignity, faithfulness, and uncompromising commitment to Christ’s mission” with which Bishop Henderson serves the diocese and expressed “heartfelt affirmation of our bishop’s belief that ‘the congregation is the frontline of the Church’ and the key to the health of the diocese.” More information on the Legacy Fund will be available at www.edusc.org/Leadership.
New Gravatt chapel awaits consecration Gravatt’s new, free-standing Chapel of the Transfiguration, built to replace the chapel that burned with Cullum Hall in 2003, is ready for action. Designed by John Powell of LTC & Associates and constructed by Pizzuti Builders, the chapel will be consecrated by Bishop Henderson on Februrary 16. Gravatt continues to seek donations to help with completion of the chapel. Chairs can be dedicated for $250 each and funds are needed for landscaping and construction of a labyrinth. To make a donation, visit www.bishopgravatt.org or contact executive director Lauri Yeargin 803.648.1817, firstname.lastname@example.org.
commitment to our diocesan ministry in Haiti, where she founded, and continues to develop, The Artisan Center, which teaches skills, nurtures creativity, and provides employment to people of the Central Plateau. Recognizing the honorees, Bishop Henderson presented each with a sculpted glass Jerusalem cross made by Shannon Norris of Fireworx Glass Studio, Candler, NC. Although the crosses were sculpted following a single design, each was individually made, so that it is, like its recipient, unique.
Diocesan Executive Council launches Bishop’s Legacy Fund At the Celebration Dinner on Friday, October, 17, following the business of the 86th Diocesan Convention, Diocesan Executive Council (DEC) called for the creation of the Bishop’s Legacy Fund to honor Bishop Henderson’s ministry among us and secure the future of the diocesan Healthy Church Initiative launched in 2006. The Bishop’s Legacy Fund provides an opportunity for individual Upper South Carolinians to honor our bishop by helping to build an endowment that will nurture and support congregational development in the diocese in the years to come. The fund will enable Upper SC churches to continue the work they have begun under the Healthy Church Initiative—to dream, plan, grow, and reach out, adding new programs, erecting new facilities, and launching new initiatives that would not otherwise be possible. The goal is to have 2,600 Partners in the Bishop’s Legacy Fund, that is, 10% of the total membership of the diocese, who pledge an amount from $25.00 to $100.00 per month over a 36-month period.
Partnership Cange Symposium highlights ministry in Haiti, launches Bread & Water Campaign By Jeanne Keane On October 11, people from throughout the diocese gathered at Holy Trinity, Clemson, to learn more about Upper South Carolina’s ministry in Haiti, with its many successes and current urgent needs. Ms. Gillaine Warne, who has worked with the agriculture program since its inception, described the program’s development from a small hillside plot where she taught terracing, irrigation, composting, and propagation to the current huge farming operation geared to producing food medication products, including the peanut-based mixture Nourimanba,
which has saved so many starving children, and Nourimil, a food supplement made from rice or corn and beans. The Family Assistance Program is changing lives by teaching families how to develop their own gardens. Agents trained in Cange take on ten families each, with free seeds, citrus and mango tree seedlings, garden tools, and a goat. These families then share with others seeds, plants, produce, and eventually a baby goat. It is a joy for them to have something to share.
Bread & Water Symposium participants also learned about the Bread and Water Campaign, a $1+ million-dollar diocesanwide campaign to support urgent needs in the Cange area, including the restoration of the original water system built by members of our diocese in 1984. Dr. Harry Morse said that medical teams from this diocese to Haiti had long concluded that the greatest boon to improving health in Cange had been bringing clean water to the mountaintop village. The original water system, built to serve some 800 people, is now trying to serve more than 8,000 and is on the point of collapse. This would leave the hospital and villagers with only one week’s supply of water. An entire new system is crucial and is needed immediately. The hospital in Cange and clinics in outlying villages served more than two million patients last year. The current Bread and Water Campaign is necessary, not because we have failed, but because we have done so well. Bread & Water funds will also be used to help build a learning center which will include animal husbandry, reforestation, poultry and rabbit raising, fiberglass and charcoal manufacture, cottage industries, music, art and summer camps for children. Ms. Jeanne Keane is a member of Trinity Cathedral, Columbia
To make a donation to the Bread & Water Campaign, visit www.edusc.org/Cange and click “Make a donation” or contact Julie Price at Diocesan House, 803.771.7800, ext. 23.
All Saints’, Beech Island, dedicates new pipe organ By John Paul On November 8 Bishop Henderson dedicated the newly installed pipe organ during Evening Prayer at All Saints’ Church in Beech Island to the praise and glory of God. The organ was presented to the bishop by the the Rev. Charlotte Waldrop, vicar, Mr. John Paul, senior warden, and Mr. Ralph Newman, junior warden. The church was filled with members and friends for the service who were then treated to an organ recital by All Saints’ organist Mr. Everett Summerall.
Crosswalk From the Bishop’s Desk —continued from page 2 Be mindful, however, that I am not leaving tomorrow, so don’t start saying “goodbye” to me quite yet. We still have much work to do, if, indeed, our focus is to remain on Christ’s mission and if we are to have that seamless transition from one bishop to the next that we have discussed for the past year and more. Most of our congregations are involved in the Healthy Church Initiative process, but some have yet to begin. Significant progress has been made in the development of Christian Formation programs, but we have not provided our communities with such programs “at every
Around the Diocese —continued from previous page . Guest soloist was baritone Mr. Don Dupee, organist and director of music at Saint Thaddeus’, Aiken. Following the service and recital, a light supper reception was held in honor of Bishop Henderson and musicians. Few churches the size of All Saints’ are fortunate enough to have such a magnificent pipe organ. Its acquisition was complex. The organ was built in the mid 1930s by WicksOrgan Co. for the University of Vermont chapel. It was later replaced by an electric organ and the Wicks organ was put in storage. A professor at the university then acquired it and had it in his home for some 25 years. Through diligent efforts of members of the congregation, All Saints’ was able to purchase it. After the organ was disassembled in Vermont, it was transported to Beech Island and then to Michael Procia Organbuilders in Bowdon, Georgia, who cleaned, restored, reassembled, voiced, and installed it. Now in its permanent home, it provides spectacular music for a very appreciative congregation. Mr. John Paul is a member of All Saints’, Beech Island.
Good Shepherd, Columbia, erects, blesses new spire By James F. Lyon IV On October 29, the people of the Church of the Good Shepherd, Columbia, realized their goal of replacing the spire that had been removed 12 years earlier. The present parish church was built in 1901, and the effects of time and the elements had severely degraded the structural integrity of the original spire, requiring its removal. After 12 years of careful planning and a successful capital funds campaign designed by the Rev. Canon George I. Chassey, Jr., the fabrication of the new spire was commissioned. A North Carolina firm with expertise in reproducing historic spire designs received the commission and worked from the design plans of the original spire. A Mass of Thanksgiving was celebrated on November 2, All Saints’ Sunday, with Canon Chassey as the homilist. The Rev. Dr. James F. Lyon IV is rector of Good Shepherd, Columbia.
site where we have an altar and a pulpit”—which is one of our goals. Many have responded enthusiastically to the challenge to change our world in keeping with God’s call to meet the needs of any who are oppressed in any of oppression’s dark manifestations; and even in this time of economic recession our stewardship can and should be improved to meet Christian standards. And while numbers are not the only gauge for measuring spiritual health, it’s apparent that our passion for souls is not adequately driving our evangelical zeal. “One Body” with “One Mission”, which mission is “Changing Lives” in the Name and as the Body of Jesus Christ remains my commitment. During the months ahead, I covet your continued and ever increasing
Commission on Congregations hosts mission congregations' gathering By Rilla Holmes In September, 47 leaders from 10 of the 17 mission congregations in Upper South Carolina gathered at All Saints’, Clinton, for the first-ever Conference for Mission Congregations sponsored by the Commission on Congregations. The idea for this conference was born out of one of those conversations that begin something like, “You know what would be really helpful…” The Commission on Congregations wanted this conference to give the leadership of mission congregations an opportunity to meet each other and to meet commission members as well. By becoming real people to one another instead of names on a piece of paper somewhere, we could look forward to building trust and solid working relationships.
Identifying core values The day began with coffee and introductions and moved quickly on to talk about what exactly was the Big Idea behind this thing anyway. In examining ways for a congregation to gain clarity on its vocational identity, we looked at two successful examples of mission congregations developing and implementing their vocational identities. One had participated in the diocesan Healthy Church Initiative, and another who had used the process of Appreciative Inquiry. Both had identified their core values. Both had named those issues and ideas most important to them as a community. Both had centered their identities on those values, issues, and ideas. Both examples gave everyone there lots to take home and think about. After examining these two examples, each group examined its own story. Some focus questions and guided discussion helped lead discussion and story into identity and goals. In their stories, people were able to name those ideas, issues, and values which helped to develop their own identity statements and action plans. At lunch small groups were created to give individuals from different communities an opportunity to compare and contrast their many and various situations and circumstances. The opportunity to meet and network with counterparts from around the diocese was uplifting and encouraging.
prayers and our mutual involvement in that commitment. With gratitude to our Triune God and to you for our ministry together, which is indeed a blessing to me, I remain Faithfully yours in our Lord,
Upper South Carolina VII Not surprisingly everyone felt energized and excited about their new goals and ideas. But as too many of us know, one round of great exercise is not life-changing or life-saving. To encourage these successes, the Commission on Congregations introduced a tool designed to help congregations track their progress, alter a strategic plan to meet new circumstances when necessary, and, most importantly, to help congregations remain accountable to themselves, to their plans, and to the diocese.
Staying focused, taking stock This tool provides a brief and simple format for congregations to report quarterly on the life of the mission and its progress toward living into and out of its ideals and mission goals as well as what issues it may be facing and how the diocese can help. Having these quarterly reports will provide a real paper trail for congregations to follow, particularly when the time comes to look back and take stock. The form, which was approved by Diocesan Executive Council, is meant to serve the congregations for whom it was made. First and immediately, this quarterly report opens a channel of communication. Next, these collective reports will provide future generations of mission committees, officers, and clergy a coherent and cohesive narrative of the life and mindset of the community from this point forward. The hope of the Commission on Congregations is that this form offers mission congregations a way to draw attention to and celebrate the good things happening among them. It’s also hoped that, if need be, these reports offer a way to head off any trouble that may be on the horizon by naming it early on and asking for help in dealing with it. Finally, and most importantly, this form is meant to support mission congregations by keeping them focused on their mission goals, thus helping them grow more and more fully into their vocational identities. As people were gathering their belongings and walking out at the end of the day, I heard many say things like, “This was exactly what we have needed for years!” As we were planning this conference, the Commission on Congregations were hopeful that we could convince the attendees to continue to meet annually. They set us straight by requesting quarterly gatherings instead of annual ones.
The Rev. Rilla Holmes is a priest of the diocese who served most recently as vicar of Trinity, Abbeville.
Crosswalk The official publication of the Episcopal Diocese of Upper South Carolina
. . . Earth's crammed with heaven, And every common bush afire with God; But only he who sees, takes off his shoes— The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries. . . . —Elizabeth Barrett Browning, from “Aurora Leigh,” Book vii
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Diocesan House closed
Bishop’s Interview & Discernment Committee, All Saints’, Clinton Reedy River clericus, Redeemer, Greenville
Commission on Anglican Communion and International Concerns, Diocesan House School for Ministry classes begin
Bishop’s visitation to Trinity, Abbeville
Commission on Convocations, Diocesan House Commission on MInistry, Diocesan House
Diocesan Day of Prayer for Peace, Nation, and World Bishop’s visitation to Ascension, Seneca Reedy River Convocation, Reedemer, Greenville Piedmont Convocation residency
Commission on the Ministry of the Baptized, All Saints’, Clinton
Bishop’s visitation to St. Timothy’s, Columbia
Vocare #4, Bethelwoods Camp and Conference Center
Ordinations to the diaconate, St. Mary’s, Columbia
Episcopal Diocese of Upper South Carolina 1115 Marion Street Columbia, South Carolina 29201
Feb 1 3
Bishop’s visitation to Church of the Cross, Columbia
Reedy River clericus, Redeemer, Greenville
DEC Executive Committee, Diocesan House
ECW Convention, St. Francis, Chapin
DYLTC, Camp Bob, Kanuga
Pre-Lentern Clergy Retreat, Kanuga Cursillo #112, Gravatt
Bishop’s vistiation to St. Bartholomew’s, North Augusta Midlands Convocation, St. Mary’s, Columbia
Consecration of Chapel of the Transfiguration, Gravatt
Bishop’s vistiation to St. Thaddeus’, Aiken
Leadership Follow-up Day, Heathwood Hall
Reedy River clericus, Redeemer, Greenville
DEC, All Saints’, Clinton
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ECW Board retreat, Gravatt
Bishop’s visitation to St. Michael’s & All Angels’, Columbia
Spring House of Bishops, Kanuga Happening #61, Gravatt
Bishop’s visitation to St. Peter’s, Great Falls
Commission on Convocations, Diocesan House Diocesan continuing education day Bishop’s visitation to St. Michael’s, Easley
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