Chaplain’s Corner

10th Anniversary Celebration

Posted by on July 22, 2019 in News, TEC_News | 0 comments

10th Anniversary Celebration

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Trinity Sunday (C) June 16, 2019

Posted by on June 18, 2019 in Meditations, News | Comments Off on Trinity Sunday (C) June 16, 2019

Trinity Sunday (C)  June 16, 2019

[RCL] Proverbs 8:1-4, 22-31; Psalm 8 or Canticle 13 (or Canticle 2); Romans 5:1-5; John 16:12-15 Proverbs 8:1-4, 22-31 The book of Proverbs is a collection of traditional cultural lessons—propositional statements, observational sayings, analogies, and ethics—structured as the teachings of a father to a son. This kind of “instructional literature” is one of the ways a family nurtures how a child is socialized into a certain world. These proverbs were passed on in the oral tradition and are therefore used extremely contextually: they use references and assumptions housed in a particular time, place, and culture. This particular passage comes from the Proverbs of Solomon (David’s son, King of Israel.) Wisdom is one of the major themes here. The Proverbs illustrate wisdom as an agent of Yahweh, present and active even in determining the shape of creation. Wisdom (anthropomorphized throughout Proverbs as a lady or goddess) was involved in the creation of the world, and so forms a bridge between the Creator and the created. This offers an alternative way to see the relationship between God and the universe— instead of blind obedience, here we have collaboration and co-creation. This kind of relationship teaches that by acquiring wisdom, human beings can also share in the wisdom of God and can flourish and receive a sense of purpose and meaning. As Walter Brueggemann says, “This is indeed literature for ‘grown-ups.’” What kind of sayings, analogies, and proverbs have socialized you in your context? Think about the aphorisms, nursery rhymes, songs, family tales, etc. that have influenced you.How does or can wisdom help grow your relationship with God? Psalm 8 This psalm praises God’s majesty in awe and wonder. According to the poet of this psalm, just as the heavenly beings are given dominion in the heavenly world, earthly beings reign over the sky, earth, and sea. Despite our limitations, the Creator has given humanity great honor and responsibility. The psalm reminds us that everything we have is an unwarranted gift from a God of abundance. However, when we look at how humanity has received and then used, abused, and neglected the gift of creation, it is hard to hold our heads high to thank God for it. Have we risen to the responsibility God has given us to be a responsible part of the community of creation, or have we accepted the gift selfishly without looking at the repercussions of our actions? God gives out of abundance, and we are called to respond with awe and wonder— not selfishness and short-sightedness. How are you in relationship with the sky, earth, and sea?How can you respond to creation with awe and wonder instead of selfishness? Romans 5:1-5“Suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint”— I think I saw this on a classroom poster one time! Paul’s letter to the Romans attempts to make meaning from the suffering of Jesus’ followers. His death and suffering— and the early Church’s grief and oppression— is not in vain. Jesus having been crucified as a martyr in political execution puts the God of Israel no longer at the top of the pyramid of power. Instead, as Dewey writes, “This God has entered into solidarity with the nobodies of the empire. Such a vision of God upsets the first-century...

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Blessings to you this Pentecost

Posted by on June 11, 2019 in Chaplain, News | Comments Off on Blessings to you this Pentecost

Blessings to you this Pentecost

PENTCOST 2019 Sisters in Christ,     We come into the Season of Pentecost full speed ahead. The Easter Season is behind us and we now move into what some refer to as “ordinary time” which will guide us all the way to the Season of Advent. It is a rich time of listening and hearing the Gospel proclamation with and from “regular people” and how they are transformed by their faith in the Risen Christ. These Gospels are to help us, to assist us with how the early Church understood “The Salvation Story.” They help us as community to go deeper into what this meant to and for them. It also assists us with taking the time to understand where God may be calling each one of us individually (and the Episcopal Community corporately). As we all know it is about our being and our doing; about our faith and our practice. May each of us find in our lives the calm and the excitement of growing and going deeper in our faith. Blessing to each of you. The poem that follows is an offering on what we are all called to do in the name of Jesus.  I am, + Bishop Duncan THE PRAYER(Philip M. Duncan, II)Our souls are of the Universe,Our minds are bound to Earth,The heavens our playground;Our God gave us our birth.We do care that mortals standand look across the seas,For how our lives go by isn’t sad,and our loves are eternities.So listen to that voice my friendsand be you of good cheer;For He who gave is life for us,will soon again be here.Go forth and spread His Word to all,And form your life by His Grace;Go forth and live as He did live,Jesus died to give us that...

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Day of Pentecost (C) – June 9, 2019

Posted by on June 8, 2019 in Meditations, News | Comments Off on Day of Pentecost (C) – June 9, 2019

Day of Pentecost (C) – June 9, 2019

[RCL] Genesis 11:1-9; Psalm 104:25-35, 37; Romans 8:14-17 or Acts 2:1-21; John 14:8-17, (25-27) Genesis 11:1–9 This passage in Genesis describes a time when all of humanity resided in one place and spoke one language, a vision of unity that sounds awfully appealing today. Imagine how our perception of the world’s economic and environmental challenges would change if we saw ourselves as part of one global community, with loyalties that reached beyond our particular region, state, or nation. And think of how delightful it would be to freely communicate our hopes and dreams, our joys and sorrows, to anyone in the world in words they could fully understand! Sadly, in the story of the Tower of Babel, the fruit of unity is not recognition of our interdependence, but an overweening ambition tinged with fear. Rather than tend to one another’s deeper needs, humanity seeks to build a monument to itself, one that will reach the highest heavens and, presumably, place all people on an equal footing with God. Indeed, God observes that nothing they propose to do going forward will be impossible for them.We might think that in a world where nothing is impossible for us, everything would be better. If so, then God’s decision to confuse our language is, well, confusing! But if the truth be told, the rush to satisfy our own desires might once again result in displays of foolish pride rather than mutual progress. After all, we still seek to glorify ourselves through the pursuit of wealth and material possessions, the twin towers of our own making. On the other hand, acknowledging our reliance on God tempers our pride and fosters a sense of humility. Humility is a great gift, for in recognizing our own shortcomings, we sow the seeds of compassion for others. Solidarity rooted in compassion, rather than vanity, is the form of unity that God wishes for us. How has your own pride affected your relationship with God? With others? What would be a humbler and more productive and way of engaging in dialogue with those who don’t “speak our language,” whether we encounter them in church or elsewhere? Psalm 104:25–35, 37 We read today’s psalm in robust praise of the God who has created “all that is, seen and unseen,” as the words of the Nicene Creed attest. However, the psalm also reminds us that all of creation, including us, still depends on God. God sends forth his Spirit, the psalmist tells us, and the world is not only formed but continuously renewed. We should rejoice not only in the fact of creation but in the gift of the Spirit that works to renew God’s world with each and every day. Can you recall a time when you were especially dependent upon God’s grace? What events brought you to that realization? Looking back, how did the Holy Spirit sustain and renew you? Romans 8:14–17Paul testifies that when we allow ourselves to be led by the Spirit of God, we show ourselves to be children of God. Having been adopted by God, we nevertheless still share with Christ as heirs to God’s promise of new life. Paul suggests that when we suffer, we should recall that Christ suffered, yet ultimately was glorified. May we one day share in Christ’s glory. What would...

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Easter 7 (C) June 2, 2019

Posted by on June 1, 2019 in Meditations | Comments Off on Easter 7 (C) June 2, 2019

Easter 7 (C) June 2, 2019

[RCL] Acts 16:16–34; Psalm 97; Revelation 22:12–14,16–17, 20–21; John 17:20–26 Acts 16:16–34 It is only after the apostles are thrown in jail that God rescues them with a dramatic earthquake. Why does God wait to free them until after they are beaten and persecuted? Why not save them before the trouble? Sometimes God doesn’t intervene on our timeline or in the way that we think would be best for us. But instead of being frustrated or afraid, Paul and Silas continue to trust in God’s faithfulness. This passage is hugely dramatic. The apostles are flogged and then put in the innermost cell with their feet bound. Their prospects look bleak. Yet despite their wounds, even at midnight they are still praying and singing to God. Their faith is evident to all those around them. Because they’re together, they’re able to support each other until God makes a way. The jailer and his entire family converting in the face of God’s power is an example of all things working together for good for those who love God (Romans 8:28). God transforms even this enormous hardship into something beautiful. When has God’s timeline been different than what you might have chosen for yourself, and what was the result? Who can you rely on to support you when things look bleak? Why is it important that not only the jailer but his entire household becomes believers? Psalm 97 All the world recognizes God’s greatness: the clouds and the darkness, the lightning and the fire, the mountains and the heavens. What response could we have to such immense scale other than wonder? The psalmist draws on our senses to convey something incomprehensible to our limited understanding: God’s greatness. To us, mountains seem immense and permanent, but even they melt in God’s presence. The throne represents the awe of God’s power, but it could also make us believe there is distance between creation and its all-powerful creator. This authority can seem overwhelming, so the psalm reminds us of God’s love for the righteous. How can we appreciate God’s greatness while also seeking closeness with God? Revelation 22:12–14, 16–17, 20–21 These are the final words of Revelation – and the Bible. John reminds us that God is the Alpha and the Omega. This teaches us something about the story of the created world, but it also teaches us about ourselves personally. We, too, begin and end our earthly lives in God. We have individual identities, of course, but our deepest identity is that we are children of God. When we get lost on the way, remembering our end can reorient us. Even if God doesn’t always give us a roadmap, we know in which direction to point. The book concludes with a promise: Jesus, the descendant of David and the root of the tree, will return to open the city gates for us. Those who are ready “will have the right to the tree of life” (22:14). Just as the tree of life was the site of our downfall in Genesis, here it is a feature of our new life with God. What kind of experiences can make us forget that our identities are based in God? Why does the “tree of life” reappear here at the end of the Bible? John 17:20–26 Frequently in...

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Easter 6 (C) May 26, 2019

Posted by on May 25, 2019 in Meditations | Comments Off on Easter 6 (C) May 26, 2019

Easter 6 (C) May 26, 2019

[RCL] Acts 16:9-15; Psalm 67; Revelation 21:10, 22-22:5; John 14:23-29 or John 5:1-9 Acts 16:9-15 Throughout the Acts of the Apostles, Paul and his crew are directed where to go in many different ways. Just before this passage, the apostles are “forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia” and “the Spirit of Jesus” does not “allow them” to go into Bithynia (Acts 16:6-7). But in this passage, Paul receives positive direction in two different ways: through a vision of a man and an invitation of a woman. In their mission work, the early followers of Jesus must remain just as open to indirect messages about where they are not to go as they are to specific affirmations of where they are welcome. When has it been easier for you to hear warnings about where not to go and what not to do? When has it been easier to hear positive guidance? In what different ways has God offered you direction in your life?She urged us, saying, “…come and stay at my home.” What invitation in your life are you having difficulty being open to? Is it from someone you do not expect? Psalm 67 We read the word “all” five times in this short Psalm: “all nations” (twice), “all the peoples” (twice), and “all the ends of the earth” (once). Unlike in other parts of Scripture, God’s inclusiveness is unmistakable in this psalm. Over and over again, God’s all-encompassing love expands beyond the limits of the psalmist’s imagination. The reference to “the ends of the earth” reminds us that the globalization and circumnavigation of our day were inconceivable at that time. In what ways might our own imaginations be limited by our concepts of space, time, and global realities? How does God’s love extend beyond even those? When all the peoples praise God, do they praise God in the same way or differently? How does our understanding of universality intersect with our notions of diversity and particularity? Revelation 21:10, 22-22:5 The vision of St. John of the new Jerusalem in these verses is quite beautiful, and echoes Psalm 67: “the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.” The lack of night in this new city means the gates of the city will never be shut. In this, we know that there is no longer anything for its inhabitants to fear. Given how intrinsic fear, insecurity, and anxiety are to modern life, it is hard to imagine life without them motivating our habits and choices. What would a lack of fear, insecurity, and anxiety look like in your life and in the life of the Church? What is missing from St. John’s description of the new city? What other aspects of life in the new heaven and new earth do you long for? Why is imagining life without fear, insecurity, or anxiety helpful or important for Christians? What can it enable or open us to? John 14:23-29 In the joy of the Easter season, it is sometimes easy to forget that Jesus will leave the disciples again at the end of the fifty days. Even as we celebrate Jesus’ resurrection from the dead, we know that the disciples will need to let go of the incarnated friend they have known. In this...

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Easter 5 (C) May 19, 2019

Posted by on May 19, 2019 in Meditations, News | Comments Off on Easter 5 (C) May 19, 2019

Easter 5 (C) May 19, 2019

[RCL] Acts 11:1-18; Psalm 148; Revelation 21:1-6; John 13:31-35 Acts 11:1-18 The Acts of the Apostles depicts Jesus’ early followers as observant Jews and the beginnings of the church as rooted within Judaism, yet is concerned with the expansion of the church from those origins to a movement spread throughout the Roman Empire.In the first part of today’s passage, verses 1-3, Peter’s fellow apostles and the Jewish believers in Jesus (the circumcised believers) confront Peter as he returns to Jerusalem from baptizing the Roman centurion Cornelius in Caesarea. They demand an explanation for why he has broken the Jewish law by entering a gentile house and eating unclean food.In verses 4-17, Peter repeats the events of Chapter 10, a device that Luke uses for emphasis. As Peter explains the vision in which God has informed him emphatically and repeatedly that what God had cleansed he was not to regard as unclean, he affirms the point that the Holy Spirit had directed the conversion of the gentiles by recounting a simultaneous vision on Cornelius’ part that he should send to Joppa for Peter. When Peter arrives at the house, he begins to proclaim the gospel, but the Holy Spirit falls upon Cornelius’ household just as it had upon the Apostles on the day of Pentecost. Peter remembers God’s words and gifts on that day, and understands that it is God’s will that the gentiles be saved.In the final verse, 18, the Apostles and Jewish believers are silenced. They too understand that the gentiles have been given salvation through belief in Jesus, and praise God.The passage is pivotal in the spread of the gospel from the Jewish followers to the wider world of the gentile Roman Empire. It also makes the distinction between baptism by water, a human act, and baptism by the Holy Spirit, an act of God. What are some of the differences and similarities between water baptism and spirit baptism? Which comes first? Is one more public than another? Even though the Holy Spirit came upon the Apostles at Pentecost, they are slow to understand God’s purpose and command that the gospel be preached to everyone. Not all of the Apostles come to this understanding at the same time. Can you think of other examples of times, either in the Bible or in your own experience, when understanding God’s call comes as a process as well as a specific moment of enlightenment? Psalm 148Psalm 148 is a hymn of praise. A cast of all the created are called upon to praise God the creator of all the universe. In verses 1-6, the inhabitants of the heavens are exhorted to praise their creator. In verses 7-14, the elements of the earth are called to praise God’s glory. God is the exalted and splendid creator of heaven and earth, and the children of Israel, his loyal servants, are especially near to him. Today’s passage from Acts ends with the Apostles praising God, saying, “Then God has given even to the Gentiles the repentance that leads to life” (Acts 11:18). What parts of Psalm 148 might the Apostles have included in their praise? Try writing some additional verses that the Apostles might have prayed in an extemporaneous outpouring of praise in response to Peter’s explanation of events in Acts 11:1-18. Revelation...

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Easter 4 (C) – May 12, 2019

Posted by on May 10, 2019 in Meditations | Comments Off on Easter 4 (C) – May 12, 2019

Easter 4 (C) – May 12, 2019

Acts 9:36-43; Psalm 23; Revelation 7:9-17; John 10:22-30 Acts 9:36-43 One of the true joys of the Easter season is dwelling in the Book of Acts and seeing the immediate effects of the Resurrection upon the community of Jesus’ followers. We hear of people, at least men, who are filled with the Holy Spirit, and how they evangelize, prophesy, and build a community centered around the Holy Spirit. In this community, poverty is confronted with the sharing of wealth, hunger with the sharing of food, and death with resurrection. Those who are marginalized, like widows and orphans, are tended to by disciples like Tabitha. As we continue to reflect upon the Resurrection and how it might transform us and our communities, these stories help us to see where our own communities can be led more fully by the Holy Spirit. However, this passage also encourages us to be more critical of both the text of Acts and of our own society, particularly around gender roles. A close reading of Acts shows that men and women are treated differently from each other, which would be expected, given the culture in which it was produced. The men are filled with the Holy Spirit and consistently do the “public” work of ministry by preaching, healing, and teaching; these are not roles that we see being held by women in this text. While we may react to that with frustration, anger, or acceptance, this text could also be an opportunity for us to ask where in our communities gender roles are deeply entrenched and how we might be called to begin the hard work of building communities where gender roles are more equal. The message of Easter, particularly as exemplified in Acts, encourages us to look deeply at not only our individual lives but at our communities and how we might live more fully into a life filled with the Holy Spirit and to address—and dismantle—the cultural systems that hinder that journey. Who is marginalized in your community? How do you already serve them? Does that service feed you spiritually? Does that service build those who are served up and treat them with dignity?  Are there defined gender roles in your community, whether explicitly or implicitly defined? How would you start to address them to bring equality? Psalm 23 This is one of the most famous passages of scripture in both the Christian and Hebraic traditions, and many have dwelt in it and have been comforted by it over the centuries. As we dwell in it, we are comforted by the pastoral images and the feeling and knowledge that God will be with us in our most desperate hours. When we encounter a passage that we know very well, it can be easy to simply hear it as we have always heard it, especially with this passage because the imagery is so comforting. In order to hear this passage anew, one might focus on one particular image or think of a very difficult situation where you want to be assured that God is with you. Picture the scenery of this psalm—the pastures, the still waters, or the table spread before us—and meditate simply on how you have experienced God in that particular place in your own life. Another option would be to follow...

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Easter 3 (C) – May 5, 2019

Posted by on May 3, 2019 in Meditations | Comments Off on Easter 3 (C) – May 5, 2019

Easter 3 (C) – May 5, 2019

[RCL] Acts 9:1-6, (7-20); Psalm 30; Revelation 5:11-14; John 21:1-19 Acts 9:1-6, (7-20) Saul of Tarsus, the persecutor of Christ-followers, performs his job so thoroughly that Acts describes him as “still breathing threats and murder” (v. 1). Rounding up believers on the Way, binding them up, andsending them to Jerusalem was as innate to him as inhaling and exhaling. We might even presume that Saul took great pride in how effective he was at his occupation. But Jesus has a knack for using the most unlikely characters to do God’s work and to show what true turning-around looks like. In this instance, perhaps Saul is the reminder that binding is always multi-directional. When we bind others, we are inescapably binding ourselves. Jesus looses Saul’s boundedness with a profound show of light and outward blindness that brings Saul to his knees. Simultaneously, the Lord speaks to a disciple inviting him to facilitate Saul’s healing and final transformation—signaling that none of this transformation and conversion business is accomplished alone. Saul now has inner vision, but can see nothing of the physical world. And for three days he lives in blindness, until Ananias, the disciple, arrives to lay hands on him. [RCL] Acts 9:1-6, (7-20); Psalm 30; Revelation 5:11-14; John 21:1-19 Acts 9:1-6, (7-20) Saul of Tarsus, the persecutor of Christ-followers, performs his job so thoroughly that Acts describes him as “still breathing threats and murder” (v. 1). Rounding up believers on the Way, binding them up, and sending them to Jerusalem was as innate to him as inhaling and exhaling. We might even presume that Saul took great pride in how effective he was at his occupation. But Jesus has a knack for using the most unlikely characters to do God’s work and to show what true turning-around looks like.  In this instance, perhaps Saul is the reminder that binding is always multi-directional. When we bind others, we are inescapably binding ourselves. Jesus looses Saul’s boundedness with a profound show of light and outward blindness that brings Saul to his knees. Simultaneously, the Lord speaks to a disciple inviting him to facilitate Saul’s healing and final transformation—signaling that none of this transformation and conversion business is accomplished alone. Saul now has inner vision, but can see nothing of the physical world. And for three days he lives in blindness, until Ananias, the disciple, arrives to lay hands on him.  Jesus continues to heal, transform, and level the gap between oppressed and oppressor even after the Resurrection. Saul is forced to find another way to order the pattern of his breathing. No more threats or murder, only baptism and proclaiming Jesus.• Are there actions that are unconsciously second nature to us that we do not realize may be harmful to others?• When have you experienced healing and/or transformation? Psalm 30 The psalmist reveals a deeply faithful trust in what God has done and will do in the future. God has healed -and restored them to life when all the world was against them. Through this steadfast faith, the psalmist can readily sing praises, dance, and give thanks. Psalm 30 reassures us that when we cry to the Lord, we will not be abandoned. “Weeping may spend the night, but joy comes in the morning” (v. 6). • “Trust” is such a simple...

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Easter (C) 2019

Posted by on April 27, 2019 in Chaplain, Featured, News | Comments Off on Easter (C) 2019

Easter (C) 2019

One of the wonderful joys of Easter is that it is a Season: 50 days to celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Christ’s victory over the power of sin, evil and death.We celebrate those seven Sundays during which the early Church commemorated/remembered together in community what took place following Jesus’s death and burial. Christ was experienced physically by those who knew Him. There is a power in those stories and there is hope and joy.Every year we share those stories (that Central Story in/of our faith) with each other and the world. We can only tell the stories faithfully by using the source materials we have, that is by the various Biblical accounts and the early Church’s understanding of what took place—their struggle and their eyes being opened and coming to faith: “My Lord and My God!” We cannot coerce others into faith or believing. We are called to authenticity and to support those who struggle with their faith. We are called to listen to all those who are searching and be with them in their journey. If you will, “Be a companion along the Way!” As we also continue to grow and learn in our faith and understanding, may the Risen Lord be with us all. Alleluia: Christ is Risen!The Lord is Risen indeed: Alleluia!Bishop Philip M. Duncan, IIChaplain of The Episcopal...

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