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VOL. 2, ISSUE 3 • FALL 2011

The Rebirth of Emrich

Diocesan Picnic doubles as a coming-out party

Going home, naturally Diocesan youngsters hit the road


The 177th Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Michigan Lansing Center/Radisson Hotel Lansing, Michigan You are encouraged to attend and learn!

Friday, Oct. 28, 2011 10:30 a.m. 2:00 p.m. 2:00 3:30 4:00 4:30  5:30 6:15 7:45 9:00

Saturday, 2

Anti-Bullying Workshop (Radisson) Registration Opens “Words Matter” Workshop Committee on Reference Hearing Exhibit Area Opens Opening Business Session of Convention followed by Opening of the Polls Pre banquet Reception & Meet the Candidates in Exhibit area Convention Banquet Convention Worship Service Friends of Emrich Retreat Center Social Gathering (Radisson)

Oct. 29, 2011

6:30 a.m. 7:00 8:00 9:45 10:45 11:00 Noon 12:30 p.m. 2:00 3:00 5:00 p.m.

Beverages and Pastries Available Registration, polls, Exhibit areas open Business Session Bishop’s Address Business Session Polls Close Noonday prayers Boxed Lunches Available, Clergy Spouse/ Companions Luncheon - Whitaker Institute Luncheon Convention reconvenes - Business Session Exhibit areas close/Registration area or at the Close of Business - Convention Adjourns; Closing Prayer The Record/Fall 2011

Episcopal Diocese of Michigan


the

ECORD

Some come from Episcopal upbringings. Some, including Bishop Wendell Gibbs Jr., come from a diverse religious background. That wide array of experience is part of what makes the Episcopal Church unique and, at times, challenging. Page 4

Phone: (313) 833-4425

A look at some of the recent happenings within the Episcopal Diocese of Michigan, including an update from the RSVP Guiding Coalition. Page 6

Jo Ann Hardy Diocesan Administrator jhardy@edomi.org Sue McCune Executive Assistant Office of the Bishop smccune@edomi.org Beth Rowley Assistant for Program and Administration browley@edomi.org

Diocesan news

A not-so-new type of funeral When faced with making funeral arrangements, one of the newest options has many old-fashioned elements to it. Page 8

Episcopal Diocese of Michigan Episcopal Church Center 4800 Woodward Ave. Detroit, MI 48201-1399 (313) 832-4400 • Toll Free (866) 545-6424

The Reverend Canon Lisa A. Gray Canon to the Ordinary lgray@edomi.org

The Interview: Bishop Wendell Gibbs Jr.

The Record 4800 Woodward Avenue Detroit, MI 48201-1399 therecord@edomi.org www.theRecordOnline.org

The Record is a quarterly magazine for the Episcopal Diocese of Michigan. Vol. 2, Issue 3 Fall 2011

The Rt. Reverend Wendell N. Gibbs Jr. Bishop of the Diocese bishop@edomi.org

TABLE OF CONTENTS

VOL. 2, ISSUE 3 • FALL 2011

The rebirth of Emrich

Rick Schulte Diocesan Communications Editor, The Record therecord@edomi.org Karen Robinson Executive Director Whitaker Institute krobinson@edomi.org Eric Travis Missioner for Youth and Young Adults etravis@edomi.org Maria Franklin Director of Finance mfranklin@edomi.org Kara Chapman Accountant kchapman@edomi.org

A few years ago, some tough choices regarding Emrich Retreat Center had to be made. Now, the results of some very hard work are being reaped. Page 10

The Rebirth of Emrich

Diocesan Picnic doubles as a coming-out party

Going home, naturally Diocesan youngsters hit the road

U2: Music with a message Young and middle-aged Episcopalians have found a connection with the music of the rock band U2. Page 13

Youthful exuberance This was a summer where the young people of the Diocese enjoyed some amazing experiences, ranging from the Episcopal Youth Event in Minnesota to Camp Compassion in Virginia. Page 14-15

Commentary Thoughts from the Rev. Terri Pilarski (interfaith understanding) and Rick Durence (Exploring Your Spiritual Journey). Page 16-17

Book reviews Dawn McDuffie offers her perspectives on ‘The Gift of Years’ and ‘The Weird Sisters.’ Page 18

The Last Word Rick Schulte poses the question: What can we do to expand our role as Episcopalians? Page 19

The Editorial Board: Bruce Donigan (chair), Rachid Hatem, Susan Larsen, the Rev. Jim Maxwell, Lisa Nielsen, Jenny Ogline, the Rev. Chris Yaw. Episcopal Diocese of Michigan

The Record/Fall 2011

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THE INTERVIEW: BISHOP WENDELL GIBBS JR.

Our many backgrounds create a unique Episcopal identity In a discussion with Rick Schulte, editor of The Record, Bishop Wendell Gibbs Jr. explains the challenges facing an Episcopal Church that has many of its members familiar with other forms of religious governance.

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: We have many of our members come from different backgrounds, and because of that, different people seem to have a different understanding of what our church is about. Is that accurate? Bishop Gibbs: I think that’s incredibly accurate. Particularly among congregational leadership and even among clergy leadership, there are fewer cradle Episcopalians today than there used to be. Now, on one hand, that’s good if they are people who have come to the Episcopal Church never having been churched before, so they don’t come with any preconceived notions or any other denominational ideas of how the Church should run. It’s not always okay; it’s not a perfect world, when people come from lots of different denominations. On one hand, you have former Roman Catholics coming in recognizing our liturgy is something that is similar, familiar and comfortable, but church governance is still something the priest is supposed to do and he is supposed to come down hard on this or this…Then you have people come from Protestant denominations that are congregational in polity, that think the priest works for them. They somehow think nothing can be done, changed, innovated or anything else unless it comes through the congregation or the representatives of the congregation.

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And the piece that concerns me is Anglican-Episcopal identity. It keeps coming up as we get groups of people together. People want to know: If are not congregationalists, what are we? We are not Roman Catholic, so what are we? So it’s important for the clergy to teach. It’s important for lay leaders who do know, to teach. And it’s not just here; it’s all over the church.

Q

: If you come from a Roman Catholic background, for instance, you might be accustomed to ‘this is how to feel about this, this and this’ in our church. It’s partially messy and partially gets people thinking. Some people want to be told what to do, and with others, it’s the opposite. They expect to be told what to do.

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: It’s not just people coming from Roman Catholic backgrounds. People think that our Church has a stance, so tell me what our stance is so that I can buy into it, or tell me what our stance is so I don’t have to buy into it. And they think that, particularly ordained leadership, can ebb and flow and change things that they don’t like. It’s why it’s interesting and helpful for people to go to a General Convention, and to learn about who we are and how we make decisions as a church. The laity, the priests and deacons and bishops, are all involved through the General Convention. One of the issues that’s on the table for some people, as we move towards discussion of the Anglican Covenant, is, what does that change for us? As Episco-

The Record/Fall 2011

palians, many people would say well, we adopt the Anglican Covenant and we keep doing what we always did. Some people say if we adopt the Anglican Covenant and keep doing what we always did, we’re going to get in trouble. There are others who say if we adopt the Anglican Covenant, we are going to have to change our constitution and our canons and the way we do things. If you go with that extreme, some of us think we would end up creating something similar to the Roman Catholic Church, where some group out there that doesn’t know anything about the American mindset or the Western mindset might make decisions for us on what we believe and how we feel about things. And that is uncomfortable. Under the same token, Episcopalians need to remember we are not just Americans. The Episcopal Church is in, I believe, 16 autonomous nations. Spanish, French and English are just three of the languages spoken in our church. In the Diocese of Los Angeles, I do not remember how many different languages are spoken in churches on Sunday morning. We are a very multicultural, diverse people... It is an interesting polity that drew me. I was born and raised a Presbyterian, became a Roman Catholic, and then decided, ‘I guess I don’t belong anywhere.’ I found the Episcopal Church through the help of a friend, and was amazed at this both catholic and evangelical place. It has a large bicameral body that meets every three years. Decisions are made by all of us. That is quite unique.

Episcopal Diocese of Michigan


Q

: What strikes me as interesting about our Church are the issues some people have with women in the clergy, LBGT issues, things like that, which some people are very uncomfortable with and do not necessarily agree with. But everyone has a voice and many don’t realize it. : Correct. Yes. And, it’s important to remember just because one has voice, that doesn’t mean it’s going to change the way you want it. Let’s take a less controversial – or maybe not less controversial – issue, the (1928) Book of Common Prayer. There have been splits in the Episcopal Church for eons, over the prayer book. The 1928 book was only the most recent time that the church split. There were splits that came when we went to the 1928 prayer book. There are rumors out in the blogosphere that we will be presented with the opportunity to revise the prayer book again. And while I am very open and love different kinds of liturgy, I don’t think we need to change to a new prayer book. Am I ready to go off to a splinter group because we change the prayer book? No, I’ll probably seek out a congregation where the current prayer book is allowed to live on. I think part of what happens is, when we use our voice, we can get to a place where we, or a group of people, can demand by their voice, that it’s going to be this way or no other. And I think one of the things that is important for me, as being both an Episcopalian and an Anglican, is that it’s not who we are. We would rather build on to the tent than cut people off. We enlarge the tent, it’s large enough for all of us…but I think on many occasions, we’ve made mistakes as a church. For instance, I’m not sure that throwing the 1928 prayer book out and making it almost forbidden to use it was the right way to do it. There’s really nothing wrong with the 1928 prayer book. It’s not my favorite

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Episcopal Diocese of Michigan

“I was born and raised a Presbyterian, became a Roman Catholic, and then decided, ‘I guess I don’t belong anywhere.’ I found the Epsicopal Church through the help of a friend, and was amazed at this both catholic and evangelical place.” - Bishop Wendell Gibbs Jr.

style, but there’s nothing wrong with it and even our neighbors in Canada, instead of outlawing one book, just allow them to live sideby-side.

Q A

: Another issue that is being talked about is samesex marriages… : Just today, I was reading that now same-sex marriage has been legalized in New York, the different dioceses in New York have to decide what to do about it. It’s certainly not one mind, not even in the state of New York. So there are six different bishops that have to weigh in for their dioceses. They’re all coming up with different ways to deal with it. Does that mean one is more in the church than the other? No. That’s how one bishop has chosen to deal with it, particularly at this time, since the Episcopal Church has not made a decision about it. We were given, from the last convention, the leeway to respond pastorally as the needs arise, particularly in states where various things are passed or legislated. But that doesn’t mean the rest of us have to. It also doesn’t mean that, for instance, if we repeal the constitutional amendment in the state of Michigan and allow for same-sex marriages, does every priest have to do

one? No. Let’s look at what we do with marriage today. Do I have to marry someone who comes to me and asks me to marry them? No. There’s nothing that forces me to marry anybody.

Q

: As time goes on are there any issues and things that we may be talking about that are on the back burner now, but what might define us as major issues in another 10 or 20 years? : My hope is that in 10 or 20 years, what we will be focusing most on is mission. Polity issues will simply be about how we go about doing mission, not what defines us. The General Convention does not define me. It is a part of who we are and how we go about living in community, but I also believe that the major focus of General Convention is how this church does mission, responding to God’s call to live out our Baptismal Covenant and do mission. All the other stuff is support stuff. I hope we don’t get too focused on that.

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especially since it’s in Indianapolis and it’s close again. I really hope people will make a point to get down there for the week, for a couple of days, even for a day. Church groups should try to rent buses and come down and be there to watch how the legislative process works for the Episcopal Church. Not just for the House of Deputies, but also because House of Bishops. Come and be part of the big worship. If you can be there for the weekend, be there on Sunday for the big worship at the General Convention. Experience some of it, both the legislative piece as well as the exhibit floor, where the crossroads of the church meet. It reminds me of the Diocesan Picnic in July. I overheard a number of people talking to folks from other parts of the diocese, and said, wow, there’s a church in such and such town and I’ve never been there. I never knew that was there. There’s so much we can discover in just spending the time getting to know each other. General Convention is like that. It’s a big family reunion where we get to know each other better.

Q A

: Any other issues you want to bring up? : We started out talking about how many people are not cradle Episcopalians, and that they need to learn. It’s not too early to put General Convention 2012 on people’s calendars,

The Record/Fall 2011

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DIOCESAN NEWS

Taking a step back and recognizing the purpose, goals of RSVP The Guiding Coalition, which is leading the next steps of the Revitalization and Strategic Visioning Project planning process of the Diocese of Michigan, has been working to put your thoughts, wants and wishes for our household into a living, breathing document that, with God’s help, will guide our common life for the next few years. The RSVP Guiding Coalition intends to build upon the past efforts of revitalization as well as highlighting the already ongoing ministries throughout our Diocese that are adaptive, life-giving and Spirit-filled. To that end, the Coalition took a step back from its design process to examine the goals that have grown out of the many inputs garnered from around the Diocese. The question posed was, “How can we engender a long-term cultural change within the Diocese that will enable its members to engage the surrounding communities and share our Love of Christ with those who live in their communities?” This is a tough question to answer as an entire household, since the realities of each community will dictate how that is lived. But we are knit together as the body of Christ and our common mission is to spread the Good News with the gifts and talents given us in Baptism. Change is essential to life. If we don’t like change, we will like being irrelevant even less and the message of the Gospel and ministry of the church is more relevant today than ever. Our methods of preaching Christ continue to change. We, as a Diocese, must change. We, as a Diocese, have changed and continue to evolve in many ways, whether we want to or not. As a Diocese, we continue to

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Congregational Development: Our congregations are healthy and growing. The lay and clergy leaders are equipped and empowered to energize the ministry of all the baptized. We support our churches with vision, tools, technology and shared resources. One Church: We live as one body, made up of many members sharing the work of the Kingdom of God. We build relationships and trust between members, supporting each other in all ministry areas. A December town hall meeting in Detroit encouraged input for the RSVP process.

experience change and adapt to new realities as we evolve more fully into God’s call. It is important to keep in mind that we will need to encourage change in a manner that will best support the overall goals you have identified. Our task as the Guiding Coalition is to help us as a household to clarify God’s call to new and life-giving ministry in Southeastern Michigan. Our most pressing challenge is ensuring that gifts and talents present in our Diocese work together in new and adaptive ways, allowing for long-term sustainable transformation. Everything that we need to transform our communities, towns and neighborhoods is already present in the people of this Diocese. Over the next several months, the Guiding Coalition will seek to articulate the changes we need to achieve the goals you have helped to define. Then, the Coalition will provide leadership to help guide those changes in

order to most effectively and efficiently reach the desired goals. From time to time, the Coalition will provide updates through reports to Council and updates on the Diocesan website. Vision Areas This is the diocese we aim to become; a vivid word picture of our desired future state; large enough to challenge, clear enough to guide. Statement: Representing all generations in the life of the Church, particularly youth and young adults, we set these vision areas as our priorities: Celebrating Anglican-Episcopal Identity: Rooted in our rich heritage, we engage the world through vibrant worship, service to others and sharing and discovering stories of faith. We reflect our tradition’s unique legacy, connecting our ancient faith to a modern, multicultural world.

The Record/Fall 2011

Social Justice and Outreach: We are leaders in the systemic, relational and spiritual revitalization of Michigan, actively engaging our societies through shared interdenominational and community ministries. Focus areas include urban needs, racism, equality, economic development and at-risk youth Vibrant Christian Formation: Our multigenerational Christian education and spiritual formation programs equip all for discipleship, lay ministry and stewardship. We excel in expressing faith with our children, youth and young adults, encouraging and supporting their discernment. They are fully integrated into relevant ministries sparking their passion for Christ’s Gospel. Article courtesy of RSVP Guiding Coalition.

Episcopal Diocese of Michigan


DIOCESAN NEWS

Bishop Gibbs’ visitation schedule released

Nativity Epsicopal Church, Bloomfield Twp. was the first church in the Episcopal Diocese of Michigan to host Bishop Wendell Gibbs Jr. during his 2011-12 visitation schedule. The schedule includes 27 churches. Among the visitations is a Feb. 19, 2012 stop at St. John’s, Plymouth, which will be celebrating its 100th aniversary. Here is the complete list: Sept. 11: Nativity, Bloomfield Township Sept. 25 St. Michael & All Angels, Cambridge Junction Oct. 2: St. Christopher/St. Paul, Detroit Oct. 9: Canterbury University of Michigan, Ann Arbor Oct. 16: Christ Church, Adrian Nov. 6; All Saints’, Brooklyn Nov. 9 (Wednesday): Canterbury Michigan State, East Lansing Nov. 13: Christ United, DeWitt Nov. 20: St. Aidan’s, Michigan Center Dec. 4: St. James, Birmingham Dec. 11: Christ Church, Dearborn Dec. 18: All Saints’, Detroit Jan. 8, 2012: St. Stephen’s, Troy Jan. 22, 2012: St. Cyprian’s, Detroit Feb. 19, 2012: St. John’s, Plymouth Feb. 26, 2012: St. Martin’s, Detroit March 11, 2012: St. Patrick’s, Madison Heights March 25, 2012: St. Thomas, Trenton April 15, 2012: Church of the Redeemer, Southfield April 22, 2012: St. Stephen’s, Wyandotte April 29, 2012: St. Michael’s, Grosse Pointe Woods May 6, 2012: St. Aidan’s, Ann Arbor May 13, 2012: St. Luke’s, Ypsilanti June 3, 2012: Christ Church, Pleasant Lake June 10, 2012: St. John’s, Detroit June 17, 2012: St. Peter’s, Detroit June 24, 2012: St. James, Dexter

Bishop Wendell Gibbs Jr. introduces the Rev. Julia Huttar Bailey (left) and Deacon Roger Walker during Ordination ceremonies at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul, Detroit.

Introducing the newly-ordained A series of ordinations recently took place through the Diocese. Here are the most recent: May 24: St. Michael and All Angels, Onsted: Priests - Mark Hastings, Diana Walworth; Deacons - Winifred Cook, Cynthia Corner; Defined Ministry - Archer Handy. June 11, Cathedral Church of St. Paul: Priest - Julia Huttar Bailey; Deacon - Roger Walker. June 21: St. Anne’s, Walled Lake: Priests - RaeLee Baxter, William Roberts, Janies Stevenson; Defined Ministry - Michael Walbridge. July 2: Christ Church, Pleasant Lake: Priests - Ross Vandercook, Susan Vandercook; Defined Ministry - Rosanne Current, Mary Elizabeth Salgot. July 14: St. Martin’s, Detroit: Priest - Michael Fitzpatrick; Defined Ministry - Susan Austin and Martha Jones.

St. Stephen’s, Troy will be the first parish to have a visitation in 2012.

Retired Clergy Luncheon Oct. 14 in Plymouth All retired clergymembers and their spouses and companions are invited to attend the annual retired clergy luncheon Oct. 14 at St. John’s, Plymouth. An 11 a.m. service begins the gathering, immediately followed by a luncheon. All those wishing to attend should contact Sue McCune at (313) 833-4435 or email smccune@edomi.org. Episcopal Diocese of Michigan

The Rev. RaeLee Baxter (left), the Rev. Janis Stevenson and the Rev. William Roberts were ordained June 21 at St. Anne’s, Walled Lake.

The Record/Fall 2011

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FUNERALS

Going home, naturally

Home funerals, ‘green’ burials offer alternative end-of-life options

By Rick Schulte It had been a difficult life for 17-year-old Wesley Schaefer. Born with cerebral palsy, his family did all it could to care for him and his day-to-day challenges. But in March, when he was hospitalized and doctors said there was nothing they could really do for him, his parents were left with two options: He could be hooked up to a ventilator, where he could spend his remaining days in a significant amount of discomfort, or he could be taken off the ventilator, which would lead to certain death. Knowing the grim prognosis, parents Gabrielle Tazzia and Jim Schaefer made the decision to let their son come home one last time. A procedure known as a compassionate extubation allowed the tube helping Wesley to breathe to be removed. About 10 hours after coming home, Wesley died. Tazzia originally met Merilynne Rush years earlier, when Rush served as midwife for the birth of a daughter. When Tazzia learned Rush began working as an after-death consultant, she was intrigued. “When I learned she began this, I found it to be quite interesting. You maintain a level of control,” Tazzia said. “I kept it in the back of my mind.” Rush, a longtime member of St. Andrew’s, Ann Arbor, retired as a midwife in 2007 and was drawn toward the field of home funeral care. “The idea is for families to do this on their own,” she said. “But, at a time of emotion and grief, it’s comforting to know there’s someone to guide you through the process.” Tazzia was in touch with Rush, learning about how the home funeral process would work. They, along with Tazzia’s fam-

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ily, worked on creating a service that would be most appropriate and intimate. “Having a home funeral fit with the dying at home,” Tazzia said. “I knew exactly how I wanted him to be cared for. In life, and in death, it made the most sense.” Shortly after Wesley died, Tazzia and the family were able to prepare his body. That included bathing his body, dressing him and laying him out in his bed. The interaction of family and friends, in terms of preparing the body for a showing and funeral service (in addition to preparing the home for a showing) is key to the idea of home funerals. According to the National Home Funeral Alliance, funerals such as this are “differentiated from the ‘institutional funeral’ by its emphasis on the family’s own social networks for assistance and support.” “The point is, people are free

Home funerals offer unique opportunities, such as being in a familiar setting and the ability to personalize elements of the funeral, including the casket.

to do whatever is meaningful to them,” Rush said. “It’s in the comfort of their own home, their own surroundings. They can include family and they are freer to show their feelings.” It’s the ability to freely express emotions that means a great deal.

The Record/Fall 2011

The Rev. Bill Wylie-Kellerman, rector at St. Peter’s, Detroit, believes such a setting is natural. His wife, Jeanie Wylie-Kellerman (a one-time editor for ‘The Record’), died Dec. 31, 2005. Jeanie died at home after a lengthy battle with cancer. AlEpiscopal Diocese of Michigan


FUNERALS

though they were not at home at the time of death, daughters Lydia and Linda arrived shortly afterward to begin the grieving process. From having a casket built to friends helping rearrange the furniture to allow space for Jeanie to be laid out in the family home, a support network was able to be actively involved. The Rev. Wylie-Kellerman admitted home funerals are not common, and might not be for everyone. However, he feels strongly they can function well for a variety of reasons. “If one of the members of St. Peter’s was interested, we would support that and rejoice in it,” he said. “If they wanted to do a combination of a wake at home and bringing a body to the church, they can be done together with a minimum amount of intrusion. It would definitely open up new pastoral opportunities.” He sees the clergy and the funeral home industry as currently working together – not in a negative way, but rather out of familiarity with each other. However, once clergy learn more about the home funeral process, there’s no reason why they can’t embrace the variety of options. He also has a theory as to why

the idea of a funeral home experience has taken root in our society. “American culture is in denial about death,” the Rev. WylieKellerman said. “We’re in denial about the death that goes with oil wars and economic death. And we’re in denial about encountering and engaging people about death.” In embracing death and creating an after-death experience that has meaning to the family, Tazzia shared a sense of serenity that would not have been possible with a funeral home experience. On the night he died, and after bathing and dressing Wesley, “We tucked him into his bed. Like we normally do. It was his room and his bed.”

A few facts regarding options for funerals and burials According to Merilynne Rush, a consultant for After Death Home Care, there are several points about which most people may be unaware regarding funerals/burials in Michigan. • Embalming is not legally required for bodies being buried. However, funeral homes use it as a professional standard for treatment of a body and choose to use it – they are not bound by law to use it. • A body does not need to be embalmed within a certain amount of time. Although most cemeteries mandate the use of concrete vaults to hold coffins, they are not legally required. In fact, some cemeteries have “green” areas that allow for natural decomposition back into the earth. • You are free to request information on all available options. This is where the importance of pre-planning comes into play – If you are able to research your choices, you won’t be restricted by what funeral homes offer as part of their standard packages. • At-home funerals are not a new concept. As recently as 60 years ago, it was common for the deceased to be shown in their homes, where family and friends could experience visitation. • For home funerals, bodies generally do not have to be embalmed, but should be kept in a cool room or placed atop blocks of dry ice (which serves to slow the decomposition process). • Many Episcopalians choose to have their remains cremated. They can also be laid to rest in a cemetery. Placing the casket inside of a vault is one option, as are different ways of allowing the body to be released back into the earth. “A lot of people have told me they want to be returned to the earth in the most environmentally-friendly way possible, not through embalming and not using a cement vault or a coffin without biodegradable material,” Rush said. “A few cemeteries will have a small section that will allow you to be put in the ground without a cement vault. Most will require it, though.”

Episcopal Diocese of Michigan

The Record/Fall 2011

When Jeanie Wylie-Kellerman died, her family elected to have her funeral at home (top). For Gabrielle Tazzia, bringing her son Wesley home for his final hours made sense. “Having a home funeral fit with the dying at home. I knew exactly how I wanted him to be cared for.”

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EMRICH CENTER

Better than By Rick Schulte

The fact that more than a dozen volunteers gladly came out on a perfect August day to apply a muchneeded coat of paint really should not have been a surprise. After all, good things are happening with a great amount of frequency at the Emrich Conference Center, located near Brighton. Gallons of paint and many hours later, the volunteer crew was able to take a step back and look at a job well done.

“We’ve needed to paint the caretaker house for quite a long time,” said Shari Spencer, executive director, chef and one of the caretakers (along with her husband, Lance) at Emrich. “But there’s always so much to do around here. We sit on about 26 acres, so there’s lot of work, all the time. I told my husband, Lance, to go the chapel and pray for a miracle.” Miracles take on many forms. In this instance, it came from a United Way representative, who recently placed a call to Emrich, asking if it had any use for a group of volunteer painters. Considering all the time that goes into the upkeep of Emrich, let alone the daily rush of preparing for various groups wishing to rent the property for retreats,

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Emrich Retreat Center regains its shine conferences, meetings and even weddings, an infusion of help like that is priceless. If only maintaining such a property were priceless. Only a few short years ago, financial concerns almost made the diocesan property fade away. Almost. There’s something to be said for divine intervention.

In the beginning

In 1947, a group of Episcopalians founded Parishfield (the original name of the center). It began as a small farm, operated over the years by different families who lived onsite, tending to various farming duties while also creating a center for spiritual formation and lay leadership training. The Parishfield group moved its ministry to Detroit in the 1960s. At the time, the Dio-

Area volunteers, supplied through the United Way, arrived at Emrich in August ready for a big task – applying a much-needed coat of paint to the caretaker house. A crew of workers made the project go smoothly.

cese used the property as a retreat center. Emrich (named after the Rt. Rev. Richard Emrich, the seventh Bishop of the Diocese) sits on 26 rural acres, although it feels much larger as the property is located next to a 5,000-acre parcel

The Record/Fall 2011

of state park land. However, as is the case with many similar venues, Emrich Center reached a point where it was financially spinning its wheels. An income stream needed for day-to-day necessities (such as propane gas, which can Episcopal Diocese of Michigan


n ever

EMRICH CENTER

The Emrich Retreat Center, a 26-acre property, sits in the geographic center of the Episcopal Diocese of Michigan. The property itself seems much bigger, as the wooded complex is nestled among 5,000 acres of state park land. It originally opened in 1947.

as a jewel of the Diocese started to take on a new form. Windows were replaced. Buildings were painted, the majority transformed from grey to red. The caretaker house is now vibrant and noticeable from Teahen Road. However, it proved to be much more than a case of “if you paint it, they will come.” “We’ve needed to paint the caretaker house for quite a long time. But there’s always so much to do around here,” said Shari Spencer, executive director for Emrich.

be extremely expensive), in addition to some much-needed improvements, simply didn’t keep pace. Some tough choices had to be made. In early 2009, a preliminary business plan was presented to Diocesan Council. It was, as Episcopal Diocese of Michigan

Emrich board member Andrea Morrow put it, “kind of pie in the sky.” But with a bit of tinkering, and despite reservations about being able to turn things around to the extent that was envisioned by some, a new budget was approved. Slowly, the Emrich Center

Spreading the word

Word had to be spread about the convenience (it sits in the geographic center of the Diocese) and the quality of Emrich. Morrow said a survey of about 300 people agreed there was a real value to Emrich, but the venue simply wasn’t being used by any groups within the Diocese. Past customers of Emrich (from outside groups and denominations), however, were

The Record/Fall 2011

curious about using the facility. The year it closed, Mike Dickson’s Edge Venture men’s Christian retreat brought in 25 guests. After it re-opened, he wanted to increase to two retreats. Now, he books five retreats annually, each bringing in roughly 60 guests. “We’ve been going there since 2007,” he said. “It’s tucked away and it’s quiet, and it fits the needs for everything we want. Shari and Lance bend over backward to make you feel welcome. “It’s convenient all around. In the beginning, we were looking for a facility to use. But there are few in Southeast Michigan who can accommodate us, and few who can do it affordably.” Those types of events are the financial lifeblood of a venue. As bookings continue to come in, Spencer has a goal of having

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the calendar booked two years in advance. That sort of steady income will allow everyone to take a collective breath and realize the center really should be here to stay.

EMRICH CENTER

Something special

Volunteers like Joseph Cospito (a member of St. John’s, Plymouth who also served as project manager and volunteer coordinator) were and still are vital to the rebirth of Emrich. “Every time I would go back there to visit, the progress was phenomenal,” Morrow said. “It was amazing for them to be done with each project so quickly. I don’t know how they did it, but he’s really great at organizing projects and property. “Joseph put so much time and effort into this.” Of course, the work is never over. “When my son cuts the grass, it takes forever,” Shari Spencer said, with a laugh. “By the time he’s done, he has to go back to the other end and start again.” There’s still more work to do, such as painting the peak of the chapel and replacing its old windows. She hopes to create stained glass windows fit for a chapel. It’s a ton of work. But it’s good work, Spencer said, because she sees the results help keep alive a venue where great things happen. “It’s a great feeling, when you see what goes on here and how people respond to being here,” she said. “It’s worth all the effort that goes into it.” Morrow concurs. “The first time I was out there, for Exploring Your Spiritual Journey, Nannette Lutz kept saying this was an amazing place,” she said. “By the end of the weekend, I got it. It’s so powerful and spiritual.” “God’s doing something amazing out there,” Dickson said. “Emrich, it’s a monument to that. Men who have come to our re-

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The grounds of the Emrich Retreat Center were filled on July 9 as more than 200 guests arrived to participate in the Diocesan Picnic. The date for next year’s picnic will be July 28, 2012.

More than 200 find fellowship, food and fun While some in the Episcopal Diocese of Michigan were already familiar with the Emrich Retreat Center, many were not. So when the venue hosted a Diocesan Picnic on July 9, it was not only a gathering, but also a sort of coming-out party for Emrich. More than 200 people from an estimated 34 congregations attended on a perfect summer day. Guests were treated to great food (a staple of Emrich) and refreshments, plus entertainment for guests of all ages, including a petting zoo and an inflatable bounce tent. The date for next year’s picnic will be July 28, 2012, also at Emrich.

treats have driven by there years later, just to see it again and to get a sense of the spirit of the place.” To learn more about Emrich, please go to www.discoveremrich. org.

An estimated 34 congregations were represented at the Diocesan Picnic at Emrich. Guests mingled and enjoyed a great variety of picnic fare.

The Record/Fall 2011

Episcopal Diocese of Michigan


MUSIC

More than just a show; the profound impact of U2 The Irish rock band U2 performs to its legion of excited fans during a June appearance at Spartan Stadium, East Lansing. The lyrics of U2’s songs have a theme of spirituality and social relevance.

I bought my tickets over a us of the amount of oil we use year ago, curious about the “U2 daily, of the number of children phenomenon” in the Episcopal who are malnourished each day, Church, and moved by the song water that is used and wasted “Beautiful Day” and each day, how many “I Still Haven’t Found cigarettes are sold What I’m Looking each day, of children For.” I had somehow born, of those who die missed the album re— figures that become lease of “The Joshua staggering to conTree” in 1987, and the template. Figures that subsequent rise of this would seem hopeless The Rev. Carol band from Ireland. In to contemplate, until Mader recent years, I became put in the context of aware of the U2chaBono’s staunch activrists services that ism for the One Cambegan in 2004 and had spread paign, Amnesty International across the country (and world) and the United Nations Millenand across denominational lines. nium Development Goals. So, in part, as a research advenAt one point in the concert, a ture, I bought my tickets. short video by Desmond Tutu I was a little self-conscious was shown, and my feeling durwhen the woman in the row in ing those moments, was that front of me admitted her embar- 70,000 people were gathered in rassment that this was only her Spartan Stadium listening to a first U2 concert and she was al- sermon. It was truly a holy moready 36 years old. After all, this ment, a moment that was created was her husband’s third concert. to inspire people to act, for the (I was not about to tell her my ending of poverty, the eradication of HIV/AIDS, education age). The stage, lighting and acous- and health care for all world cititics were astonishing. The show zens. And then there was the singing was not only the singers and the band, but all the video effects as of songs with graphic Christian, well. Before the concert began, Muslim and Jewish images. This there were trailers that reminded is a man and a band not afraid Episcopal Diocese of Michigan

to bring hard rock lyrics that ask hard questions up next to our traditional religious imagery and tradition, and ask, “How does faith address the questions of our days?” How does our faith address turmoil in Northern Ireland (“Sunday Bloody Sunday”), “Where the Streets Have No Name” (the urgency of staying connected in a difficult world) and even affirming the faith in the midst of the turmoil with “Rejoice.” It seems to me that our generations are looking to bring the grittiness of their/our world up against an authentic faith that is not afraid to say, “we don’t know for sure,” or “we’re struggling with you.” It was an amazing concert. And yet, it was really brought home for me the following week. Early one day, I received a poignant letter from my daughter about some issues she had really been struggling with. And I was aware, reading her letter over and over, how she is maturing from the older teenager just starting out at college, to a confident young woman who is making her way in the world with some pretty important decisions. Later that evening, I went to visit my mother in the nursing

The Record/Fall 2011

home where she resides. She has end-stage dementia. That evening, she did not seem to recognize me. As we sat together, sharing an ice cream sundae, for the first time ever in my memory, I heard a U2 song come on the radio. It was “With or Without You,” the refrain line is, “I can’t live – with or without you.” And tears started streaming down my cheeks as I thought of my wonderful daughter with whom I cannot live with, in the past, and don’t know what the future is bringing, and my mother, who I cannot live with, because she’s not really here, and I can’t live without, because she is here. I felt torn between two worlds, and the music of U2, and the soulful plaintiveness of Bono’s voice expressed the depth of my feeling. A depth that was a spiritual experience for me, dare I say religious, bringing me closer to my daughter, my mother, and to God. The Rev. Carol Mader is rector at St. James Episcopal Church, Dexter.

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YOUTH AND YOUNG ADULTS

Coming together

Young people gather in Minnesota for Episcopal Youth Experience 2011 By Emani Peace For me, Episcopal Youth Experience 2011 was a truly divine experience, having been my first one. I was so amazed to see people from all over coming together, to experience fellowship in the name of Christ. Nothing but the divine energy of peace and love radiated through me the entire trip. First, the worship services were awesome. I really enjoyed seeing the Ojibwa people perform so gloriously. I really enjoyed Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori’s awesome sermon. There was so much energy and life in each worship service that you couldn’t help but feel joy. I was opportune to have made friends from many dioceses – Springfield (Illinois), Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Arkansas, Louisiana, to name a few. Bethel University, which hosted the event in St. Paul, Minn., was such a beautiful campus. All 1,100 of us were accommodated very well. After a wonderful EYE experience, we returned to Mich-

igan for our three days of mission work. We helped out with some cleaning and organizing at St. Andrews, Grand Rapids, which also hosted us very nicely. After that, we all went into the local community. A group helped build a park while another group picked up trash and passed out flyers for a neighborhood clean-up event. We also helped make food sacks for an organization called the Kid’s Food Basket, which lovingly provides over 4,800 children with sack lunches every Friday. Eventually, we all had to part ways and go home, which was really bittersweet. I am so honored and privileged to have had the opportunity to experience EYE. I am so grateful to God and the precious memory of the time I spent with everyone will forever dwell in my heart. Emani Peace is a member of the Cathedral Church of St. Paul, Detroit. The Episcopal Youth Event occurs every three years, bringing together young people from throughout the United States.

The contingent from the Episcopal Diocese of Michigan arrived in St. Paul, Minn. and took part in a wide range of activities, including a procession which led through the streets of Bethel University.

On the return trip to Michigan, part of the group was able to help create bag lunches for 4,800 Grand Rapids-area children.

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The Record/Fall 2011

Episcopal Diocese of Michigan


YOUTH AND YOUNG ADULTS

Camp Compassion group rehabs four homes in Appalachians

New Beginnings A fun, fast paced retreat weekend designed for youth in grades 6-8. A chance for youth to reflect on the important relationships in their lives and consider making a “New Beginning”. There are songs, snacks, skits, old friends and new friends. Even though New Beginnings is hosted in the Episcopal Church tradition, this experience is for all Christian youth. Episcopal youth are encouraged to invite their Christian friends to the weekend. New Beginnings is a great experience for an entire junior high youth group.

Often, New Beginnings is the first opportunity for a young person to pause and reflect on his or her situation and God.

Cost is $45.00/ person Scholarships are available!

Registration forms are available at your church or online at www.EDOMI.ORG

Robert Morgan of St. Stephen’s, Troy puts his talents in the kitchen to good use, creating a healthy fruit topping for a cake.

Contact the YAYA office for more information at etravis@edomi.org or 313-833-4418

A contingent of young adults from the Episcopal Diocese of Michigan spent a week at Grace House on the Mountain in St. Paul, Va., located in the Appalachian Mountains, for Camp Compassion. The group spent their time doing home rehabilitation and other construction projects. In two residential dwellings, the entire bathrooms (including plumbing and fixtures) needed to be replaced. Roofs also needed to be replaced at two other homes. According to a blog report, “We are getting to know the residents and people in this area and we are getting really dirty, but everyone is having fun and is in good spirits.”

Happening is a retreat weekend for high school students. We do everything from praying to playing, and from singing to sleeping. There are talks, small groups, free time and fun. We come together to praise God in an amazing environment, and hope you will join us!

Happening is more than a Youth Event. It’s an experience. You’ll find yourself telling your friends, family and complete strangers of the things that happened at Happening!

Happening is open to all youth in grades 9-12. Adult sponsors from parishes are also encouraged to attend. Adults must have attended Safeguarding training.

Scholarship assistance is available.

Daniel Peters (left, Christ Church Cranbrook, Bloomfield Hills) and Brent Fragnoli (St. James, Grosse Ile) encountered a real challenge fixing the flooring of a bathroom in a residence during a Camp Compassion trip to Grace House on the Mountain Episcopal Church, St. Paul, Va.

Episcopal Diocese of Michigan

The Record/Fall 2011

Cost: $45.00

Registration forms available at your church or online at: WWW.EDOMI.ORG

Co‐sponsored by the Episcopal Diocese of Eastern Michigan and   the Episcopal Diocese of Michigan For more information,   contact Eric Travis at etravis@edomi.org or (313) 833‐4418 

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COMMENTARY

An opportunity to explore, understand all faiths Imagine a worship service, the primary Sunday morning service in a Christian church, that begins with a 9-year-old Muslim boy offering the Islamic Call to Prayer, followed by a woman lighting candles on a table set with bread, wine and grape juice and offering the Jewish prayers that begin the Sabbath worship, followed by an Episcopal priest offering the “collect of the day.” So began the June interfaith service held at Christ Episcopal Church, Dearborn. Parishioners at Christ Church requested the service after reading about the Faith Shared project on the Episcopal Café website. With permission granted by Bishop Wendell Gibbs Jr., and with the support of the church vestry, work to create the service began. Planning it was complicated by the fact that the rector, the Rev. Terri Pilarski, began her ministry only a month earlier. The challenge was in knowing whom, from the other faith traditions, she could invite to help organize and participate in the service. Thankfully the scheduled date for the service fell at the conclusion of the 10th anniversary of the Worldviews Seminar. Co-created by Christ Church, Episcopal Relief and Development, the University of Michigan, Dearborn and the Islamic Center of America, this seminar offered a weeklong course on world religions. Worldviews was created as a response to the tragic events of 9/11. At a reception honoring 10 years of work, contacts were made allowing for the creation of this service. It became a natural progression from the teaching elements of the seminar to the experiential worship of the service. The service included portions of Muslim, Jewish and Christian

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Mr. Makki, father of Younes Makki and Yousi Makki, the Rev. Terri Pilarski, Gail Katz and Eide Alawan meet at Christ Church, Dearborn.

worship, honoring each tradition brother, Younes, explained the in the process. Beginning with meaning of the Arabic prayer in each tradition’s call to prayer English. Katz also shared the Parashah and worship, the service conof the week – the Torah portion tinued with readings from and reflections on the sacred texts read that week in synagogues all of the Torah and the Gospels, over the world. Reading from plus a reading from the Quran, Numbers (16:1-35), Gail exwhich was chanted in Arabic plained the story of Korach, who and translated into English. Gail organized a rebellion against MoKatz, co-founder of Women’s In- ses and Aaron, and she reflected terfaith Solutions for Dialogue on our personal struggle as huand Outreach in Metro Detroit man beings between our “inner (WISDOM) and member of Moses” and our “inner Korach.” Temple Israel in West Bloom- Younes followed the sharing of the Torah porfield, brought her tion with a readfamily’s Sabbath “The more we learn ing from the candlesticks. Afabout the faith-based Quran. Prayers ter lighting the over a meal were Shabbat candles, practices of our offered by each she blessed them neighbors...the more tradition, and in Hebrew and we find our the bread, wine welcomed everycommonality as and juice were one to what was human beings and shared among a beautiful interunderscore our the gathered faith service. similar missions of congregation. Yousif Makki, unity, peace, Each coma member of the community-building ponent of the Islamic Center of and mutual worship offered America in Dearthe comparable born, chanted understanding.” element from the Muslim Call each tradition – to Prayer, and his The Record/Fall 2011

Muslim, Jewish and Christian. The only unusual aspect of the service was that the various elements were woven into a typical order for a Sunday morning worship service in the Episcopal Church. And, in place of Holy Communion, a sacred meal was shared. Prayers to bless the wine and bread were offered in Hebrew, prayers to bless a family meal were chanted in Arabic, and prayers for a meal from page 835 of the Book of Common Prayer. The bread, wine and grape juice were then shared among the gathered congregation with the simple phrase, “It’s a blessing to share this meal with you.” Not every Jewish or Muslim worship experience would include all of these elements in one service, although they are each a component of faithful practice in the life of a Jew or Muslim. Dearborn, home to the largest Muslim community in the United States, is a unique community that honors its diversity and enjoys sincere hospitality and compassion among the people of this city. While this worship service was a first for the community, it Episcopal Diocese of Michigan


COMMENTARY

is just one example of the many ways that Jews, Christians and Muslims work together and learn from each other, for the good of all. Hearing each other’s prayers and learning about our diverse faith traditions are ways to move forward to break down our cultural, ethnic and religious segregation, which is often far too pronounced in greater metropolitan Detroit. The more we learn about the faith-based practices of our neighbors who might dress differently, eat different foods and speak different languages, the more we find our commonality as human beings and underscore our similar missions of unity, peace, community-building and mutual understanding. In particular, this was an opportunity for each of us to embrace the beauty of worship in other traditions, upholding what distinguishes each and honoring our differences, while at the same time recognizing all three traditions grow out of the God of Abraham. The purpose of this service, one of dozens nationwide inspired by the national Faith Shared project organized by the Interfaith Alliance and Human Rights First, was not to blend our diverse ways of worshipping God into one common service, nor was it an invitation to create one world religion. Rather, it was decisively an opportunity to learn from one another and celebrate our differences as we honored our similarities. A version of this first appeared July 12 in the Detroit News and was authored by the Rev. Terri C. Pilarski (rector for Christ Church, Dearborn), Gale Katz and Eide Alawan of the Islamic Center of America, Dearborn.

Episcopal Diocese of Michigan

The spiritual journey may take a person anywhere “who God calls you to This spring, I was be.” a new graduate, When starting the not only from colclass, it is easy to think lege but also from of EYSJ as the place to Whitaker Institute’s find “answers,” conExploring Your sidering the seemSpiritual Journey ing success rate from (EYSJ) program. Rick my fellow graduates EYSJ is traditionDurence discerning priestally dedicated to hood, deaconate helping discern and lay ministry. spiritual voca“I believe no Calling seems less tion. It has been amount of medilike responding to an essential step tation, a “burning bush” for ordination, than being “filled giving it the journaling and with the Spirit,” as reputation of group discusthe Gospel of Luke being the “presions will ever calls it. God puts priesthood.” Yet, magically reveal you where you are as someone who calling. Answers supposed to be, by went through having you listen and decided don’t come that to the little pushes to remain laeasily; they take in your life and reity, I can testify time. EYSJ does spond to the disasthe class is, and not provide ters. I believe no has to be, about them. God does.” amount of medimore than just tation, journaling training protoand group discuspriests. It felt like, and I think should be sions will ever magically reveal more like, participating in calling. Answers don’t come that much needed spiritual group easily; they take time. EYSJ does not provide them. God does. therapy. Making this difficult reality Ostensibly, the class felt like a series of different fo- harder is what this discernment rums for meditations on how process requires. On some days, to discover your calling. The listening for the divine in everyopening retreat emphasized day life took spiritual and emothe contemplative through the tional energies to stay sane. It was very monastic surroundings all-consuming looking for God and an Abbess for a facilita- in my own journal entries, as well tor. The rest of the year felt like as the comments of others. The perpetual reflecting: in writing group processing paradoxically assignments on books, musing became quite lonely, especially on mundane life experiences when it felt that in my attempt and listening to formative ones to embrace God and humanof others. This thought, prayer ity instead ghosted right through and journaling culminates in them. It was in those moments the composition of a spiritual that I realized I was not called autobiography and a vision to priesthood. When that hapfor your future journey with pened, I felt alone, to some level the intent of helping you find even in the group. I was in a class The Record/Fall 2011

full of future priests without even feeling called to be a lay minister. Yet, it is out of this feeling of emptiness that I see what EYSJ is. EYSJ’s strength is its potential for connecting with others. It has the power to take feelings of despair and brokenness, turning them into genuine relationships. I remember that feeling of being completely honest with relative strangers about my own painful doubts and having them say the right image, phrase or vision for the future. I remember having deeply spiritual conversations with folks from across the Diocese, ranging from the nature of faith to necessity of church ladies for social justice ministries. I built connections and learned what it means to be brothers and sisters in Christ. In looking at my own experiences, I have a vision for EYSJ. I feel as if we need to make it less about ordination or calling, and more of a way to support those who put themselves out there doing God’s work. I see it as a way to connect people, especially young people, to communities that foster their budding ideas about ministry, to have safe places to hold them up in prayer, and to give them strength to be led along by the Holy Spirit. As I head out on my own journey to minister to the homeless in San Francisco, I go forth not alone, but carried in love by my brothers and sisters in Christ. That is the truth I want people to take away from EYSJ. I want them to be reminded of the gospel promise that when we go into the world, we are loved and Jesus will be with us “always until the end of the age.” Rick Durence recently completed the Exploring Your Spiritual Journey program through Whitaker Institute.

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BOOK REVIEW

Observations on ‘The Gift of Years’ and ‘The Weird Sisters’ The Gift of Years, because even “joy” by Joan Chittister and “fulfillment” are aspects of life that Because I was detersignal danger. When mined to write an exI love something precellent review of The cious, the potential Gift of Years by Joan loss of that quality or Chittister, and I was aspect of life seems Dawn determined to comunbearable. McDuffie plete it in a month, Taking up the idea I planned to ignore of losses implicit in the author’s introducbeing an older person, tory note which stated, “This is I reread the essay on productiva book not meant to be read in ity. A job or career fills so many one sitting, or even in order. Like different functions in our lives. the older years themselves, it is With a job a person can organize meant to be taken more slowly, time, earn money for personal more reflectively….” Naturally I support, and above all, have a found my mind going numb af- reason to point to that career ter about an hour of disregard- or job and say, “You see, I’m a ing instructions. So I tried do- productive person.” Chittister ing what the author almost seems to read suggested, reading my mind when she a short section and says, “Retirement has taking notes, thinknothing to do with ing about the topic whether we work or of each section, and whether we don’t. It reading the prayer at has something to do the end. It is, indeed, only with the kind of a book that blooms work we do and the with slow reading. reason we do it.” PeoPerhaps my reple who feel diminsistance came from ished by retirement reading a book that and the losses that “…looks at the many dimensions might imply would find a chalof the aging process. ”Maybe, I lenge in this section. “Work is think, if I stay busy and fit, I’ll creativity,” Chittister tells us. “It never grow old. Even if my own is the expression of ourselves that common sense didn’t amply no one else can duplicate.” demonstrate that being physiIf there’s a central theme to this cally active is not a cure for ag- book, it can be found in a chaping, I have Chittister’s clear mes- ter entitled “Limitations.” A fear sage that growing older happens of limitations is one I own and to everyone. What’s more, she I believe my friends do as well. thinks this is an excellent ar- How difficult I find   a morning rangement.   when I wake up and discover a  “Active aging cooperates with barrier where there used to be no the physical effects of age by ad- limit at all. Ten years ago I loved justing to a change of pace.” This studying piano. Three years ago is the adjustment she requests physical limitations of hand use from her readers as we read the complicated by a bit of arthritis different essays. I could call these made piano practice impossible chapter headings “topics” or “is- for me. I want to sulk. But Chitsues” but I think it would be tister states firmly that, “limitamost honest to call them “fears,” tions at any age and every age,

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call out something in us that we never considered before. They also alert us to the needs of others. It takes limitations to teach us to be sensitive to their needs. Once our own eyes are not as good as they once were, we want visual aids for everyone.” So a physical limitation can be the impetus to learning new capabilities, a source of compassion, and even an opportunity to become “…prophets of the poor and unknown, the limited and unloved, the needy and forgotten.” And yes, although I cannot play piano music myself, I am capable of following a line of music with understanding and imagination. I would never have become a master musician, but I’m becoming a world-class listener. Every chapter contains a choice at the end. Any aspect of aging can be a burden or a blessing. The chapter entitled “Faith” has a beautiful example of a choice: A burden of these years is that we are tempted to think that once we ourselves are no longer powerful enough to work our will on the world around us, we are at the mercy of a cruel universe. A blessing of these years is that we are now beginning to trust in the life-giving God we do not see, more than we have trusted in the accessories of life which we have seen both come without guarantee and go without warning. Chittister outlines every choice with excitement and joy. There is holy work to be done even in the years of great age and physical frailty. Her respect for all people shines through this book and makes reading it, one chapter at a time a great joy. The Weird Sisters, by Eleanor

The Record/Fall 2011

Brown The stories of Rosalind, Bianca and Cordelia Andreas unfold in a single collective voice. Brown has a clear-eyed take on her protagonists and their eccentric parents as well. She’s a thinking writer, aware that virtue practiced to extreme may become vice. The sisters have enough self-awareness to admit their mother’s struggle with cancer may have precipitated their return, but personal failure is the cause. The oldest daughter, Rose, has reshaped stability into a compulsion to remain the same, even though her engagement makes change inevitable. Her sister, Bianca, has courted the envy of others with such single-mindedness, she has embezzled, cheated and stolen from her friends. The youngest sister, Cordelia’s gift has always been flexibility, but self-indulgence has led to rootlessness and an unplanned pregnancy. I love the way the sisters confront each other as they struggle to change, and I love the supporting characters who are helpful without any hint of smug self-righteousness. Fr. Aidan, the new priest at St. Mark’s, helps Bianca reject stealing and joyless sex without uttering a single cliché. Rose feels “…someone is whispering…to her.” Cordy runs back to life on the road, but realizes she wants more for her child and herself. Each sister faces temptation, and each finds help takes different forms. I’ve put The Weird Sisters on my shelf of books to keep and reread, and I think other readers will enjoy it, too. Dawn McDuffie is a member of Cathedral Church of St. Paul, Detroit. Episcopal Diocese of Michigan


THE FINAL WORD

Even though many of us are ‘average’ Episcopalians, we can be more

I have to be honest. year. It is scheduled to Even after being on be held in Lansing in the job here for more 2012, too) than a year, I’m still The convention relearning plenty about veals a look at what’s the workings of the important to our DiEpiscopal Diocese of ocese. It’s especially Michigan. important for those Yes, I’ve been a cardwho serve on vestries, Rick carrying Episcopalian or have some other Schulte for several years. And leadership role within while I never took on their congregation. any sort of leadership For these people, it’s a role in our local church, I have good way of learning many of the always followed the happenings nuts and bolts of how the Diocese of the Episcopal Church with a functions. good amount of interest. In the However, there are other ele- Events such as the annual convention not only show the direction the years leading up to joining the ments to the convention – work- Diocese is headed, but also provide some valuable learning resources. diocesan staff, I would even label shops, an exhibit area, the Friday Each convention schedules a great amount of time to general business. myself – and not in a negative worship service – that all people way, might I add – an ‘Average should find interesting. may be surprised there are other we don’t have to settle for that, if Episcopalian.’ A great resource for learning Episcopalians – just like you – we so choose. I would equate that to some- more about our Church is Whita- who have a desire to learn more Rick Schulte is editor for The one who enjoys a good dinner at ker Institute. It offers several pro- and do more. Record and director of communia restaurant. I don’t really need grams designed to learn more To completely experience be- cations for the Episcopal Diocese to know what exactly makes the about the Church and ourselves. ing an Episcopalian, we can and of Michigan. Szechuan chicken taste so good; Pay attention to events go- should do more than show up for I just know I like it. It’s the same ing on at your church, as well as Sunday worship. There’s nothing way, for most of us, with our faith. other churches in your area. You wrong with being ‘average.’ But We know what we like about the Episcopal Church, even if we’re not completely sure how or why certain elements originated. The bottom line is, while some people are immersed in every element of everything Episcopal, the vast majority of us probably don’t know as much as we care to admit. And that’s okay. But we can do better. There are opportunities to learn more about how the Diocese functions. One of the best ways to do this is through its annual Diocesan Convention. This year’s event is Oct. 28-29 at the Lansing Center/Radisson Hotel in Lansing. (The event Workshops, discussion panels, an exhibition area and the Friday-evening worship service provide a wide took place in the Detroit area last range of opportunties to learn. All are invited to attend and observe the proceedings. Episcopal Diocese of Michigan

The Record/Fall 2011

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Diocesan Calendar Sept. 25, 1:30 p.m. Acolyte Festival Cathedral Church of St. Paul Sept. 27, 6:30 p.m. Diocesan Council St. John’s, Plymouth Sept. 28-Oct. 1 Society of Catholic Priests Oct. 14, 11 a.m. Retired Community Luncheon St. John’s, Plymouth Oct. 14-16 New Beginnings #4 St. James, Birmingham Oct. 15 Deacons Day with Bishop Gibbs St. John’s, Plymouth Oct. 28-29 Diocesan Convention Lansing Center/Radisson Hotel Nov. 11-13 Happening #9 St. Christopher’s, Grand Blanc Nov. 19, 9 a.m. Diocesan Council St. John’s, Plymouth

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The Record/Fall 2011

Episcopal Diocese of Michigan

The Record - Fall 2011  

The Record is the official magazine of the Episcopal Diocese of Michigan.

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