Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Farewell Pete Seeger (1919-2014)

Pete Seeger and Bob Dylan
Yes, some of his politics could get rather annoying sometimes - quite likely that this infamous moment was based on someone else getting annoyed by the politics.  At the same time, however, Pete Seeger's (1919-2014) contribution to the resurgence of American folk music is unparalleled.

He was a major influence on Bob Dylan and Bruce Spingsteen and so many others.  How many of us grew up singing his songs?

He is the one who for years was said to have taken an ax after Bob Dylan plugged in at Newport in 1965 to cut the power cord.  That story took on a life of its own.

Forbes writes of the story:

Seeger is perhaps best remembered for something he (probably) didn’t do. In 1965, the Newport Folk Festival was a traditional affair, with string bands, and earnest songwriters strumming their Martins. Bob Dylan decided to change all that, quietly inviting the Paul Butterfield Blues Band to back up his electrified set. In short, Dylan brought rock and roll to Newport. 
The move was, at least, controversial. The sold-out crowd booed Dylan, hoping that he might switch back to the acoustic artist they had come to expect. One of the notable detractors was Seeger himself. 
The story goes that Seeger, who was one of the founders of the festival, was ready to not only pull the plug on Dylan, but actually cut the cord with a hatchet. Some stories, likely apocryphal, suggest that Seeger actually had a hatchet and had to be restrained from cutting the cable. 
Seeger admits complaining about Dylan’s set and making an idle threat about the hatchet, but he claims that he was complaining not about the music, but about the bad sound from a a PA system that was overwhelmed by the electric instruments. Others suggest that the loud music was upsetting Seeger’s elderly father, Charlie. In any case, Dylan is said to have been deeply hurt by Seeger’s disapproval, and didn’t return to Newport for 37 years.

Here is Pete's side of the story:

And here Pete Seger's Rainbow Quest with the Clancy Brothers circa 1965-66.

New York Times columnist David Brooks profiles Audrey Assad

New York Times columnist David Brooks attended the Audrey Assad concert at Truro Anglican Church last Saturday night.  He writes about Audrey in his column.  Here is an excerpt:

Audrey Assad at Truro Anglican Church last Saturday night.
Audrey Assad is a Catholic songwriter with a crystalline voice and a sober intensity to her stage presence. (You can see her perform her song “I Shall Not Want” on YouTube.) She writes the sort of emotionally drenched music that helps people who are in crisis. A surprising number of women tell her they listened to her music while in labor.

She had an idyllic childhood in a Protestant sect prone to black-or-white dichotomies. But when she was in her 20s, life’s tragedies and complexities inevitably mounted, and she experienced a gradual erosion of certainty.

She began reading her way through the books on the Barnes & Noble Great Books shelf, trying to cover the ones she missed by not going to college. She loved George Eliot’s “Daniel Deronda” and was taken by Tolstoy. “He didn’t have an easy time encountering himself,” she says, sympathetically. “I was reading my way from darkness into paradox.”

She also began reading theology. She’d never read anything written before 1835. She went back to Augustine (whose phrases show up in her lyrics) and the early church fathers. Denominationally, she went backward in time. She became Baptist, then Presbyterian, then Catholic: “I was ready to be an atheist. I was going to be a Catholic or an atheist. ”

She came to feel the legacy of millions of people who had struggled with the same feelings for thousands of years. “I still have routine brushes with agnosticism,” she says. “I still brush against the feeling that I don’t believe any of this, but the church always brings me back. ...I don’t think Jesus wants to brush away the paradoxes and mysteries.”

Her lyrics dwell in the parts of Christianity she doesn’t understand. “I don’t want people to think I’ve had an easy time.” She still fights the tendency to go to extremes. “If I’d have been an atheist I’d have been the most obnoxious, Dawkins-loving atheist. I wouldn’t have been like Christopher Hitchens.”

Her life, like all lives, is unexpected, complex and unique. Her music provides a clearer outward display of how many inwardly experience God.

If you are a secular person curious about how believers experience their faith, you might start with Augustine’s famous passage “What do I love when I love my God,” and especially the way his experience is in the world but then mysteriously surpasses the world:

“It is not physical beauty nor temporal glory nor the brightness of light dear to earthly eyes, nor the sweet melodies of all kinds of songs, nor the gentle odor of flowers, and ointments and perfumes, nor manna or honey, nor limbs welcoming the embraces of the flesh; it is not these I love when I love my God. Yet there is a light I love, and a food, and a kind of embrace when I love my God — a light, voice, odor, food, embrace of my innerness, where my soul is floodlit by light which space cannot contain, where there is sound that time cannot seize, where there is a perfume which no breeze disperses, where there is a taste for food no amount of eating can lessen, and where there is a bond of union that no satiety can part. That is what I love when I love my God.”

Read it all here.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Dylan Tonight at the Cafe

Possibly the best song off of Modern Times.  Year by year it just gets better and better.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Nineteen Anglican Bishops to March for Life in Washington

Nineteen Anglican bishops, including Archbishop Robert Duncan, are joining Anglicans for Life and hundreds of thousands of Christians to March for Life. On Wednesday, January 22, 2014, in Washington D.C., Anglicans Bishops will participate in the 41st March for Life. The following Saturday, January 25th, Bishop Eric Menees of the Diocese of San Joaquin will be joined by bishops and other Anglicans in San Francisco for the 9th Annual Walk for Life.

The Anglican bishops in DC will start the day in prayer by attending an ecumenical prayer service at the National Memorial for the Preborn and their Mothers and Fathers, at Constitution Hall (1776 D Street, N.W., Washington D.C.).
“I am honored to stand, along with my fellow bishops of the Anglican Church in North America, in recognition of the millions lost through abortion and to demonstrate our commitment to uphold the sanctity of life for all of God's children," said Archbishop Robert Duncan.
The Anglican Church in North America has a deep commitment to the sanctity of life,” said Bishop John Guernsey of the Anglican Diocese of the Mid-Atlantic.  Our hope is that the presence of so many of our bishops for the March for Life this year will help spur the Church to even greater support for the sacredness of human life.”
According to Bp. Menees, “Often we buy into the media description of these events as Protest Rallies - I disagree.  In Spanish this is called a manifestaci√≥n - easily translated into English as “manifestation.” That is what this is – a manifestation of Jesus’ presence and love for the most vulnerable and fragile in our midst – pregnant mothers and the babies in their wombs. This is why the Anglican Bishops make this a priority in our schedule.”
The bishops will join with fellow Anglicans marching under the Anglicans for Life banner as they acknowledge 41 years since the landmark ruling Roe v Wade that permitted abortion on demand in the United States.  Since then, over fifty-six million babies have been aborted leaving a tremendous impact on an entire generation and the nation.

The Anglican Church in North America teaches that all Christians are to uphold the Sanctity of Life from the moment of conception to natural death. From The Canons of the Anglican Church in North America: "God, and not man, is the creator of human life. The unjustified taking of life is sinful. Therefore, all members and Clergy are called to protect and respect the sanctity of every human life from conception to natural death." (Canon II.8.3)

Thursday, January 16, 2014

What reconciliation looks like ...

Audrey Assad will be in concert at Truro Anglican Church next week, Sat, Jan 25, 2014.
More info here.

Breaking News: Archbishop of Canterbury appoints Tory Baucum to Cathedral Post

From here:

The Rev. Dr. Tory Baucum
The Most Reverend and Right Honorable Justin Welby, 105th Archbishop of Canterbury, has today announced the appointment of the Reverend Tory Baucum, Ph.D., Rector of Truro Church and Priest of the Anglican Church in North America, as one of the Six Preachers of Canterbury Cathedral.  This appointment was approved by the Chapter of Canterbury at its December meeting.  The office of the Six Preachers was established at the English Reformation by Archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Cranmer. The duties of the Six Preachers are limited; being called to preach in Anglicanism’s Mother Church on various occasions.

“This is an historically significant appointment,” said the Most Reverend Robert Duncan, Archbishop of the Anglican Church in North America.  “Tory is known to be a gifted teacher and preacher who is committed to the present day reformation out of which the Anglican Church in North America was born.” 

Tory’s bishop, the Right Reverend John Guernsey, commented: “Tory is a scholar with a pastor’s heart. He has a passion to reach the world for Christ and through his leadership Truro Church is being used by God to bring hundreds to faith in Jesus. I pray for the Lord to anoint his ministry afresh as he takes up this appointment.”

There is more here.

Friday, January 10, 2014

The College of Bishops release their communique

The College of Bishop of the Anglican Church in North America released their communique today after their meeting in Orlando this past week.  Here it is:

Anglican bishops gather this week for the January meeting.
A message from the College of Bishops following their January meeting.

January 10, 2014

“Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you.” Isaiah 60:1

The bishops of the Anglican Church in North America met in Orlando, Florida from January 6th, the Feast of the Epiphany, to January 10th. We were blessed to be joined by the Rt. Rev. Humphrey Peters, Bishop of Peshawar, Pakistan. This has been our largest meeting, with only a few bishops absent due to inclement weather or overseas assignment. The bishops of the Anglican Church in North America have made it clear that it is a high priority to be together to pray and meet in council to carry forward the apostolic ministry of the Church. This week we again met in an atmosphere of mutual support and affection, with much prayer for one other. Bishop William Ilgenfritz, Missionary Diocese of All Saints, served as Chaplain for the College.

In our opening Eucharist, the Rt. Rev. Todd Hunter was invested as the first Bishop of the Diocese of Churches for the Sake of Others, commonly called “C4SO.”

We were blessed by Biblical teaching each morning from Dr. Wesley Hill, Associate Professor of Biblical Studies at Trinity School for Ministry. In this season of Epiphany, we were encouraged by Dr. Hill’s teaching on the nature of our triune God as both transcendent above his creation and present with us in our suffering.

It was a thoroughly productive gathering in which the bishops were able to address a range of topics, working to establish consensus and maintain fraternal relations. We were encouraged by our times of sharing about the fruitful ministries in our dioceses and by testimonies of God’s grace and answered prayers.

Following two years of work by the Catechesis Task Force, the bishops unanimously approved a new Catechism for trial use, with mechanisms for feedback and refinement planned over the next two years. The Catechism, written primarily for adults, is designed to speak to those who are exploring the faith, as well as to disciple Christians to greater knowledge and spiritual maturity. The Catechism, produced to uphold and communicate apostolic faith through pastoral application, is invitational in approach, drawing inquirers to faith in Christ, pursue a loving relationship with the Father, and welcome the power of the Holy Spirit in everyday life. We are eager for trained catechists to be raised up to use this wonderful tool, as well as for additional discipleship resources to be developed and shared across the Church.

As we continue to develop a Prayer Book to enrich our common liturgical life, the bishops worshiped using the Province’s approved texts for Holy Communion and daily Morning and Evening Prayer. We did initial work on a first draft of liturgies for Baptism, Confirmation and Admission of Catechumens, refining them to help insure that those liturgies are accessible and reflect the richness of the historic Anglican faith and tradition. The College continues to look forward to the day when the Province will have its own Book of Common Prayer.

As Archbishop Duncan is retiring as Archbishop in June, 2014, the bishops also discussed and prayed about the process of electing a successor and the subsequent transition. Archbishop Duncan reflected with the College on his experience in the office and the bishops expressed gratitude for his courageous and persevering leadership. Archbishop Duncan then graciously absented himself so we could pursue facilitated conversation with Dr. Cynthia Waisner, who again served as our consultant. Seeking to avoid a political process, the bishops committed to a covenant of behavior and a season of prayer as we move toward the bishops’ conclave in June. The College of Bishops will have regular days of prayer and fasting in the coming months, and then gather the week before the Provincial Assembly to discern in prayer the one whom God is calling as successor to Archbishop Duncan.

The Rt. Rev. Humphrey Peters shared with us about ministry in his diocese in Pakistan. It was All Saints Church in his diocese that was attacked by suicide bombers after Sunday worship last September, killing more than 100. We were all touched by his reports of both the challenges and the rewards of pursuing Gospel ministry in Pakistan. Bishop Humphrey presented Archbishop Duncan with gifts from his diocese and Archbishop Duncan responded with the presentation to Bishop Humphrey of a signed copy of our new Texts for Common Prayer.

The tragic conflict in South Sudan was also forefront in our prayers. We sent greetings and encouragement to our brothers and sisters in the Church in Sudan and promised to call the Anglican Church in North America to intercede for peace and justice in South Sudan.

We heard an excellent presentation by Dr. Louise Duncan Jakubik about mentoring, which was helpful to our work of discipling Christians and developing leaders.

We received a report from Canon Nancy Norton, Executive Director of the Anglican Relief and Development Fund. We were encouraged to hear that more than $1.2 million was given for development projects in nine countries, and for disaster relief in Oklahoma and Colorado. The bishops were enthusiastic in praise of Canon Norton and her accomplishments as she looks toward retirement at the Provincial Assembly.

We reflected on our time at GAFCON-2 in Nairobi, which was attended by almost all of our bishops. We rejoiced at the continued growth of the Global Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans (GFCA) and its role as a vital Instrument of Communion. We discussed our international relationships and the challenges faced by the GFCA.

Transferring to the chapel of a nearby church, the bishops prayerfully consented to the election of the Rev. J. Mark Zimmerman as first Bishop of the Diocese of the Southwest. Fr. Zimmerman has served as rector of Somerset Anglican Church (formerly St. Francis-in-the-Fields) in Somerset, PA since 1999. His consecration is scheduled for February 28, 2014 at the Church of St. Clement, El Paso, TX.

The bishops also consented to the election of the Rt. Rev. William J. White as Bishop Coadjutor in the REC Diocese of the Southeast. Bishop White has served as Suffragan Bishop of that diocese since 2008.

The Bishops received with gratitude the report of the Theological Task Force on Holy Orders. Their work includes faithful scholarship and conversations of significance in an atmosphere of respect and trust that is important to our common life. Though the issue of Holy Orders produces anxiety for some in the Church, we are thankful for the way that the Task Force is modeling a commitment to full theological inquiry and fidelity. This gives rise to the bishops’ expectation that we will emerge having faithfully found God’s guidance for our Church.

In reviewing the steps that the Task Force has taken, we approved its report on hermeneutical (interpretation of Scripture) principles. This expresses the principles by which we approach the theological study of Holy Orders. This report will now be released to the Church and sent to the International Theological Commission of GAFCON and our ecumenical partners, seeking their input. It is important to note that this careful, thorough and collegial study into Holy Orders has rarely been done before by Anglicans.

The next phase of the work of the Task Force will identify the ecclesiological (nature of the Church) principles of ministry and orders, including what the Anglican formularies say about the nature of the church, the general character of ordained ministry, the characteristics of each order, and the relationship between the ordained ministry and Christ and his Church. The Task Force has formed sub-committees which will engage scholars and scholarship from the Anglo-Catholic, Spirit-led, and Reformed traditions. A draft of this work will be presented to the bishops in June.

Church planting continues to be at the heart of our Provincial life. We heard the exciting report of the Rev. Canon Alan Hawkins, Vicar of Anglican1000, about the work of establishing new congregations and worshiping communities across the Province. In the huge mission field with Hispanics, fifty-seven Spanish-speaking congregations have been planted. Particularly helpful was his emphasis that we are now engaged in planting just the first 1000 churches. Anglican1000 continues to support diocesan leaders, church planters, coaches and the church at large. Three regional events have been held in the past few months and additional events will be held soon in Phoenix, Atlanta and Chicago. The Greenhouse Movement is also having a huge impact by catalyzing clusters of new congregations.

Bishop Ray Sutton, Provincial Ecumenical Officer, reported on the growing relationship with the North American Lutheran Church (NALC), which includes the recent decision by the NALC to create at Trinity School for Ministry a “seminary center” for the training of its ordinands. The College approved an agreed statement on Eucharistic hospitality with the NALC. Bishop Sutton also shared about upcoming dialogues with the Polish National Catholic Church and the Messianic Jewish community.

An Anglican Unity Task Force was established to address the issues that have arisen through the formation of new churches and dioceses, resulting in overlapping jurisdictions throughout the province. Bishops from this task force, together with lay and clergy leaders, will meet again this spring.

Mindful of the opportunities and challenges before us, this meeting of the College of Bishops has been characterized by Gospel joy. We are deeply thankful for the fellowship we share in Christ.

We are so pleased by the gracious service and support that many people offer to our Church. The Provincial staff is a devoted and truly productive team. We are deeply indebted to them, and to the many clergy and laity who serve on the various working groups of the Province, including those task forces which reported to us this week: Catechesis, Prayer Book and Liturgy, Governance, Ecumenical Relations, and the Theological Task Force on Holy Orders. We are grateful to the Anglican Chaplains who provided administrative support to GAFCON-2 in Nairobi.

We are blessed as a Church and humbled by what we have seen the Lord accomplish in our midst in these first few years we have been together as the Anglican Church in North America. We continue to pursue the Lord’s vision of a Biblical, missionary, and united Anglicanism. May God be greatly praised.