Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Bishop Jake on the Resurrection of the Body

Bishop Jake on Today's Supreme Court Decision and Our Common Life

Dear Friends,

Today the Supreme Court issued two much-anticipated rulings about same-sex marriage.  The first ruling struck down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) as unconstitutional. In the second ruling the court cleared the way for same-sex marriage in California.

Some rejoice.  Others lament.

For gay and lesbian persons, these rulings mean that they are no longer second class citizens.  The rights that others have long taken for granted are finally theirs to enjoy.  Their families and friends join them in celebrating a world-changing day.

Others see this as a giant step in the ongoing moral decline of Western culture.  Departure from the traditional view of marriage is but one part of the larger moral erosion of our country.

Here's what it means to be Bishop.  I love all of these people.  And central to my ministry is Christ's own commandment to help us all be one.  Following my Savior's commandment is just what I will try to do today and in the days ahead.

One of the things I've learned about being a spiritual leader is that I don't belong to myself.  I belong to Christ.  I belong to all of you.  How I happen to feel about a matter and what I can do as your Bishop are not always the same thing.

Here's how I feel about today's decisions.  They seem right to me.  Courts of law in the United States deal with the rights of individuals.  That is what the Court's rulings were all about.  Does each individual have the same rights? In America, we say yes.  My gay and lesbian friends--individuals and couples--are happy, and that makes me happy.

At the same time, my traditionalist friends are experiencing some part of the emotional mix of anger, disappointment, confusion, and fear.  Some are morally outraged.  Others are brokenhearted because the America they know is fading away.  They are ready to fight or cry or maybe both.  And I am grieved by their hurt.

That's where I am as the individual "Jake."  The guy who married Joy and rejoices in his children and goes to the gym and likes to watch movies.

As your Bishop, I say these things.

No one will be forced to do things or to accept beliefs that they cannot live with.  No priest or congregation will be required to bless same-sex unions.

Some of our congregations are a safe and welcoming spiritual home to gay and lesbian individuals and couples.  For this I am grateful.  I understand that their theology is often quite progressive, and I respect and support them.

Some congregations embody a more conservative form of our common faith.  While they do not espouse hate for or reject gay and lesbian persons, they are very clear about their traditional view of marriage.  They have my respect and support.

I am the Bishop for everyone in this Diocese.  That doesn't mean that I'm your theological boss or your spiritual drill sergeant.  I'm the one who keeps reminding us that we are one in Christ.

In Christ's Love,

The Rt. Rev. Jacob W. Owensby, Ph.D., D.D.
P. O. Box 2031, Alexandria, LA 71309-2031 

The Episcopal Church Welcomes You

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Back from Camp!

Well, I am back from Camp Hardtner. I served as the Dean of Primary Camp this year. Assisting me on Camp Staff, were Ford Jacka, Zonnie (Patterson) Back and Jon Back.

We hosted 93 Fourth and Fifth Graders along with the 23 Permanent Staff Counselors (College Students) who work the Camp all summer.

Our theme was Charlotte's Web. We talked about the transforming power of Love. It was a wonderful week.

Special thanks to Canon Bill Bryant who filled in for me while I was at Camp. I know that you gave him a warm welcome!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Oklahoma Relief

The mission trip to Oklahoma is scheduled July 8 - 17. The Diocese of Oklahoma asks that we bring no more than 15, and they would like to know in advance what skills/abilities we bring so they can make plans to use us to best advantage. These skills/abilities can range from manual labor to building trade skills to counseling/listening skills.

In addition, Mother Mitzi George and Archdeacon Bette would like to take a couple of extra people who will shop and cook for the team, and help us stay organized and tidy. (The team be camping in a parish hall in the affected area.)

A number of people are already signed up to go, but please let Bette know ASAP if you're interested.

In addition, we are collecting good clothing, household items, toiletries, etc. Remember that many have lost everything. Please only give good things you would use yourself.

All donated items will be collected at Grace Church near the end of June. 

The Diocese is collecting cash contributions and will issue one big check to the Bishop of Oklahoma. Another option if you want to give cash is to buy a gift card for the team to deliver.

What if Starbucks Marketed Like a Church? A Parable.

Bishop Jake on Heaven and What Happens When We Die

Friday, June 7, 2013

Canon Bill Bryant to Visit

Join us on us on Father’s Day, Sunday, June 16, 2013, the Fourth Sunday after Pentecost. Canon Bill Bryant will be at St. Alban’s to preach and celebrate Holy Eucharist.

Most of you know Bill from the days when he served as the interim priest at St. Alban’s. He now serves as the Bishop’s Canon for Congregational Vitality. He is known by some as the “Vicar of Vitality.” Canon Bryant will fill in for Father Whit who will be away serving as Dean of Primary Camp at Hardtner from June 15 to 22.

Please give Canon Bryant a warm, St. Alban’s welcome!

Womenade of Monroe

In August 2002, REAL SIMPLE Magazine published a story about a group of women friends in Washington, D.C., who organized a potluck meal to raise money for their neighbors in need. The idea was simple: Bring a dish to share and a check for $35. When Marti Boyd heard of the program, she and a group of her friends began their version of Womenade in Annapolis, Maryland.

Enter Bitsy Beene! Bisty meet Marti while on vacation and the two began to talk. And now, Womenade of Monroe is up and running. It includes women from many churches in our area. At their first meeting, the group collected $ 2,500 and checks continue to roll in.

For more information about Womenade, contact Bitsy!

Photo: Marti and Bitsy

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Stewart/Sorrentino Wedding

Stephanie Stewart and Andrew Sorrentino became husband and wife today at St. Alban's!

O God, you have so consecrated the covenant of marriage that in it is represented the spiritual unity between Christ and his Church: Send therefore your blessing upon these your servants, that they may so love, honor, and cherish each other in faithfulness and patience, in wisdom and true godliness, that their home may be a haven of blessing and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Photo Credit: Shannon Luther