Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Thoughts from Bishop Jake

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Dear Sisters and Brothers,

Suffering is part of human life. Each of us will suffer at some point in our lives, and even when one of us experiences smooth sailing someone is undergoing some pain or sorrow, some loss or heartbreak. Whether we like it or not, one of life's challenges is learning what to do with suffering. The suffering in our own lives and the suffering of the world around us.

Our culture offers a limited, two-fold strategy for suffering: avoid it whenever possible and relieve it however possible when it cannot be avoided. In other words, our culture classifies suffering as bad. Suffering seems to us almost an intrusion in life as usual. So we look for ways to inoculate ourselves against it and to anesthetize ourselves to it.

We are right to avoid unnecessary suffering and to relieve it when we can. But if this is the sum total of our approach to suffering, then suffering has the power to crush the meaning out of life. From this perspective, suffering can only diminish life, and time spent in suffering is simply time lost.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Happening #51

Happening #51 will be held at Camp Hardtner on March 1-3, 2013. Father Whit and Archdeacon Bette will serve along with Madre Annie Etheredge as Spiritual Directors. Attending from St. Alban's will be Elena F., Emma Jane J., Tracy S. and Ivania V. Please pray that all who attend and work the weekend have a wonderful experience.

While Fr. Whit is away, The Rev'd Roy C. Myers will celebrate and preach on the Third Sunday in Lent. Fr. Roy was the rector at Christ Church in Bastrop, prior to his retirement and has served in Winnsboro and Rayville. Please let him know how glad we are to have him here.

In the event of an emergency, please contact Fr. Whit via his cell phone or call Dawnell at their home.

Monday Morning Song

The Ballad of Love and Hate by The Avett Brothers. Enjoy... 

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Read this Book...

New York Times-bestselling author Anne Lamott writes about the three simple prayers essential to coming through tough times, difficult days and the hardships of daily life.

Readers of all ages have followed and cherished Anne Lamott’s funny and perceptive writing about her own faith through decades of trial and error. And in her new book, Help, Thanks, Wow, she has coalesced everything she knows about prayer to these fundamentals.

It is these three prayers – asking for assistance from a higher power, appreciating what we have that is good, and feeling awe at the world around us – that can get us through the day and can show us the way forward. In Help, Thanks, Wow, Lamott recounts how she came to these insights, explains what they mean to her and how they have helped, and explores how others have embraced these same ideas.

Insightful and honest as only Anne Lamott can be, Help, Thanks, Wow is the everyday faith book that new Lamott readers will love and longtime Lamott fans will treasure.

Text: - Book Description

Friday, February 22, 2013

Lenten Eucharists and Suppers

Rose gets her copy of the Bishop's book, Connecting the Dots, signed by the author.

Our first Lenten Eucharist and Supper was held at St. Thomas' Episcopal Church on Wednesday night. Bishop Jake gave a wonderful sermon and the folks at St. Thomas' feed us well. Over ninety people from the Episcopal and Lutheran Churches in Monroe and West Monroe attended! The good people of St. Alban's really turned out...your rector was very proud!

Our next Lenten Eucharist and Supper will be at Grace Episcopal Church on Wednesday, February 27 at 6:00 p.m. A simple Lenten Supper will follow in the parish hall. The Rev'd Dale Farley from Messiah Lutheran Church will preach. Join us... 

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Thoughts from Bishop Jake

Dear Sisters and Brothers,

Yesterday our priests and deacons gathered with me for one of our regular Clergy Days. Among the things on our hearts and minds was the challenge of being the Church in 2013 and beyond.

Our place in history presents us with a radical challenge. We inhabit a transitional historical period, and the demands of our times are different from those faced by the inhabitants of a stable historical period. Let me explain this contrast between transitional and stable historical periods by way of analogy with the board game Monopoly.

As you may have heard, the makers of Monopoly have discarded one of the game's classic pieces. The iron is now in the historical ash bin and in its place we find a cat. For all the fuss, Monopoly remains Monopoly. The rules for moving around the board, purchasing property, and paying rent remain unchanged. The board, with minor artistic revision, looks the same.

Monday, February 18, 2013


This is a great link for our younger and more web-active members. Check it out at

Mockingbird describes itself this way...

WHAT: Mockingbird seeks to connect the Christian faith with the realities of everyday life in fresh and down-to-earth ways.
WHY: Are we called Mockingbird? The name was inspired by the mockingbird’s peculiar gift for mimicking the cries of other birds. In a similar way, we seek to repeat the message we have heard - God’s word of grace and forgiveness.
HOW: Via every medium available! At present this includes (but is not limited to) a daily weblog, semi-annual conferences, and an ongoing publications initiative.
WHO: At present, we employ two full-time staff, David Zahl and Ethan Richardson and one part-time, William McDavid. They are helped and supported by a large number of contributing volunteers and writers. Our board of directors is chaired by Mr. Thomas Becker.
WHERE: Our offices are located in Christ Episcopal Church in Charlottesville, VA.
WHEN: Mockingbird was incorporated in June 2007 and is currently in its sixth year of operation.

Let me know what you think.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Shrove Tuesday Pancake Fun

Dewana cheers on one of the smallest guests.
Folks of every age had a great time at St. Alban's Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper! We ate all the rich food the night before Ash Wednesday. Close to 100 adults and kids showed up and we had lots of visitors!

Photo by Grace H.

A Coat for Miss Emma

Archdeacon Bette & Emma
It happened at the Interfaith Collective Leaders Meeting at St. Thomas' Tuesday evening. Miss Emma W. mentioned to Karen H., of St. Thomas', that she needed a coat. Karen and Archdeacon Bette put their heads together, but it was Karen who thought of asking Marilyn M., also of St. Thomas'.

And the rest, as they say, is history! Marilyn had two coats she had not worn in awhile and gladly offered them. Archdeacon Bette took them to a meeting at New Light Baptist Church Thursday evening and, yes, they fit! Perfectly!

That's how it works in Interfaith and the Family of God. Thanks Karen and Marilyn! Miss Emma is deeply grateful.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Ducks on Lake St. Alban

One of our ducks floats on Lake St. Alban in the reflection of a Bradford Pear  tree.
Hint, hint...

In the parking lot just outside Arlyne's office window, water often stand for a few days following a big rain. As you all know, we've had BIG rain lately.

Our vestry secretary, Pat, often joked that we needed some ducks for our pond. Little did she or anyone else know that some prankster was listening...

The church's treasurer, Jim B., provided a small flock, who all float in Lake St. Alban.  Who knew he was so tricky?

Come by when you have time and take a look...

Bishop Jake on Ash Wednesday

Dear Sisters and Brothers,

Blessed Ash Wednesday! My prayers are with you as we begin together our Lenten journey. For this installment of my Wednesday thoughts I want to share with you the excerpt below from the Ash Wednesday sermon I will preach today at St. James, Alexandria. You can find the text of the whole sermon by clicking this link.

Losing My Graceless Religion

Flannery O'Connor's stories are full of religious people. People whose religious purity and moral rectitude would, to borrow a phrase from Anne Lamott, make Jesus drink gin straight from a cat dish.

For instance, there's Mrs. Turpin from the short story "Revelation." Serenely confident of her own goodness and of her good standing with Jesus, Mrs. Turpin scans and silently classifies the people who share space with her in a doctor's waiting room.

Black (using the n-word). White trash. Common. Ugly. In her own assessment of things, she is higher on the scale of human worth than all of these people because she is a good Christian woman.

In a manner of speaking, she is both good and Christian, at least to all outward appearances.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

D.O.K. Lenten Quiet Day

Remember that on Saturday, February 16, 2013 the St. Alban's D.O.K. will host its Lenten Quiet Day. We will start at 8:30 a.m. with a light breakfast and end around Noon. For more information click here to see the original post or contact any D.O.K. member. Hope to see you there!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Interfaith at St. Thomas'

Northern & Central Louisiana Interfaith
Collective Leaders Meeting
Monday, February 11, 7:00 - 8:30 p.m.
St. Thomas' Episcopal Church
3706 Bon Aire Drive

Our focus is on actions in progress, including issues that surface in our October meeting at New Light Baptist Church. We will look at "next steps" for moving forward in those actions and how we can use those actions to strengthen member institutions and Interfaith.

Meeting will be chaired by Archdeacon Bette Kauffman and Deacon Verdine Williams of Little Flower of Jesus Catholic Church.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Ash Wednesday

Each year we begin Lent on Ash Wednesday. This year, St. Alban’s will have our Ash Wednesday Liturgy Holy Eucharist and Imposition of Ashes at Noon and 6:00 p.m. on February 13, 2013. Please make plans to join us...

Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper

Join us at 6:00 p.m. in McLean Hall on February 12, Shrove Tuesday, Fat Tuesday or Mardi Gras – whatever you call it - for our annual pancake supper. It is our last chance to eat rich food before we begin the more disciplined season of Lent. We will have pancakes, ham, and drinks. You bring your favorite toppings. Bring the whole family and have a ball. We may even eat our last bit of King Cake! See you at the party…

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Thoughts from Bishop Jake

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

Lent is rapidly approaching. Ash Wednesday falls on February 13. Just one week away. Many of you have already made plans for the Lenten journey. Some will add a Bible study. A few will take advantage of the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Giving alms and doing works of mercy will be a part of your Lenten devotion.

The early Christians prepared for Baptism at the Easter Vigil during Lent.

In keeping with this ancient practice, I invite you to reflect on the Baptismal Vows that you have made and that you renew each time we baptize someone. Turn to page 292 in The Book of Common Prayer and spend time at some point during Lent contemplating the Covenant that guides your walk with Christ.

The Baptismal Covenant begins with the Apostles' Creed. Reflect on your relationship with God. Is it personal? Or does God seem like an idea or a philosophical principle? How does the Creed help to map out your experience of God? Where does it confuse you or confound you?

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The Boutique Sale at Grace Episcopal

Our friends at Grace Episcopal Church are having their Boutique Sale on February 10 and asked us to share this information. Try to swing by and help them out and maybe pick up a bargain or two...

Click on image to enlarge.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Presiding Bishop’s Lent Message 2013

Lent begins with Ash Wednesday, February 13, 2013. Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori presents a challenge in her Lent Message 2013 to pray, fast, study and give alms.

 “As you engage this Lent, I would encourage you to pray, to fast, to act in solidarity with those who go without,” she offers. “Learn more, give alms, share what you have.”

 The Presiding Bishop’s video message, filmed at a park in New York City.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Souper Bowl of Caring

William, Gregory and Zoe hold our Soup Bowl and collection.

Today, the youth of St.Alban's collected $351 for the Refuge of Hope during our 2013 Souper Bowl of Caring fund drive. Congratulation to our young people and thank you all for your generosity!

Our collection will be reported to the national Souper Bowl of Caring website to be included in the 2013 total, but all the money will stay here for the Refuge of Hope.. For more information on the Souper Bowl, visit the website at

In 2013

2,301 participating groups collected

$3,198,315 in cash and food items

for charities in their area

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Happening #51 is Coming

Father Whit and Archdeacon Bette Jo are away today at a Happening planning meeting at Camp Hardtner.

Happening is a High School led retreat for High School students and is scheduled for the first weekend in March. Several of St Alban's youth will attend this year...

For more information, contact Father Whit.

A Collect for Groundhog Day

O Lord our God, creator of all things, we give thee thanks for thy faithful servant, Punxsutawney Phil. Endue him with wisdom and insight that he might most accurately predict the coming of Spring, that all thy creation might rejoice at the coming of new life. All these things we ask in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen

Sorry! I couldn't resist...