Tuesday, March 31, 2020

For this Evening...

Bishop Jake on Tuesday

"What do we mean when we say that God is love?"

Bishop Owensby tells us what he thinks.

You can watch it by clicking here.

Grace Tuesday Lenten Meditation Sans Soupby

Grace's Tuesday Lenten Meditations continue - Fantastic!

But the wonderful soup will have to wait! Thanks, Father Don.

You can watch it by clicking here.

The Lord's Prayer

Shared from Camp Hardtner - Over the past 40 years, this version of The Lord's Prayer has become beloved by thousands of campers, staff, and alumni and become "The Camp Hardtner Lord's Prayer." Performing it is Randy East who wrote the music. Read the video's comments to learn how it was introduced at Camp Hardtner.

A Prayer for the Morning

A prayer for the morning, page 137, The Book of Common Prayer.

Monday, March 30, 2020

Sleep Tight

Does Prayer Matter?

Does prayer matter? Bishop Jake Owensby's reflection for the day.

Lived-stream reflection from our Bishop are each weekday at 3:00 p.m. (this week). Saved copies are posted latter.

Click here for today's excellent reflection on prayer - and do a little praying too!

Monday, March 30

Reflection on Life Together and A Collect for Peace, page 99.

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Compline - The Fifth Sunday in Lent

Compline (Bedtime Prayer) on Sunday evening, The Fifth Sunday of Lent just streamed-live on Facebook. You can watch a saved copy of the video there or by clicking here.

Morning Prayer with Bishop Jake - Sunday, March 29

Morning Prayer with Bishop Jake for The Fifth Sunday in Lent is now saved and ready to watch by clicking here.

Sermon - The Fifth Sunday in Lent, March 29, 2020

The readings for the day can be found by clicking here

The Fifth Sunday in Lent, March 29, 2020
Ezekiel 37:1-14, Psalm 130, Romans 8:6-11, John 11:1-45

Jesus says, “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die” and he raises Lazarus to new life. This is Good News and gives us all hope.

If we believe that the Good News of Jesus and God’s ability to bring life after death is only about the end of our mortal lives, we miss the Good News available to us right now. God’s ability to bring life from death is about more than the end of our lives. It is about here and now also!

Saturday, March 28, 2020

A Prayer for Saturday Night

This prayer came my way via Daniel Chapman at Camp Hardtner.

Bishop Jake's Sunday Morning Prayer and Daily Meditations

Morning Prayer and More from the Bishop

Bishop Jake is using Facebook Live for daily meditations and Morning Prayer (see times below). To join the bishop, go to this link. Or, just search for @bishopjakeowensby in Facebook. If you like this page, you will receive a notification in Facebook that the bishop is streaming. Can't make it to the live version? No worries! You can always view the post later. Be sure to comment, like, and share so that others can join too. Facebook watch parties are also a great way for groups (Sunday school classes, Bible study groups, etc.) to participate together.

Look for Bishop Jake at these times:
Daily meditations Monday-Friday at 3:00 p.m. CDT
Morning Prayer each Sunday at 10:00 a.m. CDT
These times will change for Holy Week

Birthday Blessings for Elizabeth

Today is Elizabeth's birthday! Through the magic of technology, we were able to FaceTime her during her birthday party at the Guesthouse. My family and I got to sing Happy Birthday virtually "face to face!" What a joy! She was so excited and said she is saving her money for her Church Birthday Blessing. This is a great photo of Elizabeth with Bishop Jake. Happy Birthday for our "Sweet Darlin' !"

A Prayer for Midday

Saturday - A prayer at midday from Noonday prayer in the Book of Common Prayer, page 107.

Worship, March 29 - The Fifth Sunday in Lent

Let’s join the Bishop tomorrow, Sunday, March 29, the Fifth Sunday in Lent, for Morning Prayer. You can find the Book of Common Prayer online here - https://bcponline.org/ and you can find the readings for the day at https://www.lectionarypage.net/

Iglesia Episcopal La Esperanza de Familias Unidas leerá las oraciones del mediodía a las 12:00 p.m. en una transmisión en vivo en Facebook.

St. Alban's will have a Facebook live-stream of Compline at 8:00 p.m. (a link of the achieved video will be shared here following the live-stream).

Please join us - live or later.

Best Facebook post EVER

I think this may be my favorite Facebook post EVER. Thanks, Lloyd Early Smith!

Friday, March 27, 2020

Bishop Jake asks, "What is truth?"

Bishop Jake asks, "What is truth?"

Bishop Owensby's latest reflection is here.

Worship Suspended through Sunday, April 26

I post this to share with you the latest from Bishop Owensby to the clergy of the Diocese.

Dear Friends,

Forgive me for this duplicate email, but I wanted to make sure that you received this forwarded message. I have officially extended suspension of worship services and public gatherings through Sunday, April 26. After our discussion on Tuesday, I imagine that you are not surprised. Please disseminate this information to your congregations as quickly and effectively as possible. Holly Davis will contact those congregations whose visitations are affected in order to reschedule.

These are trying times. I understand that you are disappointed and that some of your members may express their disappointment as anger. Thank you for leading so gracefully under such difficult circumstances. Holly will arrange for us to meet again virtually in the near future. Blessings.........

Christ’s Peace,
The Rt. Rev. Jacob W. Owensby, Ph.D., DD
Bishop of The Episcopal Church in Western Louisiana
P. O. Box 4330
Pineville, LA 71361

Night Prayer

Lord, it is night.

The night is for stillness.
Let us be still in the presence of God.
It is night after a long day.

What has been done has been done;
what has not been done has not been done; 
let it be.

The night is dark.
Let our fears of the darkness of the world and of our own lives
rest in you.

The night is quiet.
Let the quietness of your peace enfold us,
all dear to us,
and all who have no peace.

The night heralds the dawn.
Let us look expectantly to a new day,
new joys,
new possibilities.

In your name we pray.

Night Prayer from  A New Zealand Prayer Book, page 184

Friday at Midday

For Friday at midday. Stay safe. Be well. Keep in touch.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Bishop Jake's Thursday Reflection

How certainty gets in the way of faith - A wonderful and deep reflection by Bishop Jake Owensby.

It was live-streamed, but you can watch it anytime by clicking here.

"God exceeds my ability to be certain."

Stir Crazy?

Get out and visit one of the most beautiful places in the world today. Take a virtual tour of the Sistine Chapel - Click here.

Psalm 23

Good morning! This ancient hymn or poem has been a source of comfort for people in troubled times. Please join me, as we say together the twenty-third psalm.

May God bless and keep you today.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020


For more info, click here.

A Word about Giving

A faithful and long-time member of St. Alban’s contacted me today wondering about how to continue making their families’ pledge to the church. Since we are not meeting – there is, of course, no weekly collection.

We have been working to bring electronic giving online, but it is not fully ready. So – the short answer is – you can mail your donation to the church or drop it in the church’s mail slot, which is next to our red front doors. We are regularly checking and sorting the mail and Arlyne and I will meet each Friday to get the bills paid and get money for deposit to our Treasurer, Nancy Adams. Nancy and Rita will also sign checks (by the way, the mission will do it’s banking, and bill paying at the same time).

Talking about this is not easy for me. It seems self-serving – since you all pay my salary. We will continue to pay our employees and bills. Some people will send their money as always as a way of being faithful – that is what Dawnell and I plan to do. Others will choose to wait and see – taking care of their families and children first as a way of being faithful – giving when able. There is not a “right” answer. These are uncertain times and many are worried and concerned. Some of you may be out of work or unable to work.

The Vestry and I discussed all of this during a Zoom meeting (online) last Sunday afternoon. The Diocese, National Church, and Church Pension Fund are making accommodations during these anxious times. Together, we will weather this storm.

I urge you to do what you feel best. Fear not. We will make good decisions based on whatever comes and the Vestry and I will be prudent and careful. We’ll figure it out together!

If you have questions or concerns, please give me or any Vestry member a call.
Stay safe. Be well. Stay in touch.



From Governor John Bel Edwards

In this Lenten season where we focus on fasting and prayer, I wanted to let the people of Louisiana know that I will be fasting today.
First Lady Donna Edwards and I believe in the power of prayer and know, based on our Catholic Christian faith, that prayer coupled with fasting is pleasing to God.
I ask you to join me in a day of prayer and fasting for comfort to those that have lost a loved one to COVID-19, the complete recovery of those that have tested positive, and that God will, as He has done before, heal His people and our land. #lagov

Virtual Choir

From The Episcopal Church - Facebook Page
Thanks to these extraordinary Episcopalians in the Episcopal Diocese of Georgia, you now have a great pattern for how to participate in a virtual choir.
Watch their beautiful performance of Be Thou My Vision and then visit our page to find out how you can participate in a performance of "The Strife is O'er, the Battle Done" for Easter morning. Learn more and submit recordings at www.episcopalchurch.org/virtual-choir.
(We had several submissions today, but only two tenors... you know who you are!)

Our Virtual Drive-Thru Blessing - FUN!

Our Virtual Drive-Thru Blessing was SO much FUN! Thanks to all you came by. Be safe. Stay well. Be in touch!

Missed it? You can watch an archive of the live-stream by clicking here.

Nothing Cancels the Resurrection!

Bishop Jake's reflection for the day, Nothing Cancels the Resurrection, is available by clicking here.

These daily reflections have been so good. You can watch them live or saved on Facebook, and I will always post a link here.

Thanks, Bishop!

Remember - Recuerda

¡Lava tus manos!

Midday Prayer with Bishop Michael Curry

Join our Presiding Bishop, Michael Curry, offer Midday Prayers and pray with Christians from around the world the Lord’s Prayer, per Pope Francis' call. Click here (saved from live-stream).

In the Morning

Today is Wednesday, March 25, the Feast Day of the Annunciation. Please join me for In the Morning prayers from the Daily Devotions for Individuals and Families, on page 137 in The Book of Common Prayer

We hope to "see" all of you tonight on Facebook Live at 5:30 p.m. for our Virtual Drive-Thru Blessing!

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

About the Holy Eucharist

Just so you will know - If you are not receiving Holy Eucharist, we are not receiving Holy Eucharist - even though we have bread, and wine - even though Dawnell and I are both priests - even though with our children we have a small community of the faithful - we are will not have communion until we can have it with all who choose (and are able) to come.

As Bishop Jake shared recently - Holy Eucharist is celebrated within the gathered body of the faithful. It is not a private or individual act - it is celebrated in community.

Until that day - our family will prepare meals, say the blessing, share the meal and remember Jesus - trusting that Jesus is present. When we are all able, we will take bread and wine, bless and break the bread, take the cup - eat the bread, and share the cup with one another - remembering Jesus - and know that Jesus is present. When we are able - we will share Holy Eucharist.

Tuesday Night - March 24 - Reflection

Tuesday Night - March 24 - Reflection

The last few weeks seem like months!

Things I really miss:
• Eucharists at St. Alban’s, St. Patrick’s. La Santa Eucaristía con Iglesia Episcopal La Esperanza de Familias Unidas
• Tuesday Lenten Lunches and Reflections at Grace Episcopal
• Our Wednesday Night Lenten Eucharists and Supper and hearing other people preach
• Our Lenten book study - Nuestro libro de studio.
• Seeing you all face to face – rather than online
• Passing the Peace
• Holding hands
• Hugging the sick and the hurting.

Times have changed – at least for a while. Change is hard.

So I composed this little hymn to keep things in perspective
Amazing Grace! How I have changed,
as you can plainly see.
I once was thick, but now am thin.
Had hair, and now hair-free.

Change is hard, but change is good.

As the mice discover, in the classic book, Who Moved My Cheese, when the cheese has moved – it is best not to keep returning to the old place and mourning the loss of the cheese. It is best to go out looking for new cheese - wherever it might be – hoping to find a blessing even when we did not know were there.

Stay safe, be well, and keep in touch. Easter is about new life.


Tuesday Cheer

Your rector working at church on Sundays, and your rector working at home during the stay at home order... Be safe, Stay well, be in touch! ;-)

Talking About Faith and Love

Bishop Jake's reflection today "Talking about faith and love." was so good! Check it out here!

Note: These are available LIVE when they air, but can be watched anytime on the Bishop's Facebook author page - www.facebook.com/bishopjakeowensby  But, if you aren't on Facebook, we will post links here. Enjoy!

Other great stuff from our Bishop is on his blog, Jake Owensby
Looking for God in messy places

Prayers and Blessings

Prayers and Blessings
Q - How many times should a Jew pray each day?
A - Jews are supposed to pray three times a day; morning, afternoon, and evening. The Jewish prayer book (it's called a siddur) has special services set down for this. Praying regularly enables a person to get better at building their relationship with God. After all, most things get better with practice.
Q – How many times should a Muslim pray each day?
A - Salat is the obligatory Muslim prayers, performed five times each day by Muslims. It is the second Pillar of Islam. The Five daily prayer times are – dawn, midday, afternoon, sunset, night. 
Q – How many times should a Christian pray each day?
A – The Daily Prayer tradition in the Book of Common Prayer is four times a day – Morning, Noon, Evening, and Bedtime (or Compline). The Benedictine Monastic Tradition is seven times a day. They are Matins (during the night, at about 2 a.m.); also called Vigil and perhaps composed of two or three Nocturns, Lauds or Dawn Prayer (at dawn, about 5 a.m., but earlier in summer, later in winter), Prime or Early Morning Prayer (First Hour = approximately 6 a.m.), Terce or Mid-Morning Prayer (Third Hour = approximately 9 a.m.), Sext or Midday Prayer (Sixth Hour = approximately 12 noon), None or Mid-Afternoon Prayer (Ninth Hour = approximately 3 p.m.), Vespers or Evening Prayer ("at the lighting of the lamps", about 6 p.m.), and Compline or Night Prayer (before retiring, about 7 p.m.)
How Many Blessings does a Jew Say Each Day?
By Yisroel Cotlar
 Q - I once heard that there is a certain amount of blessings we should attempt to say each day. How many is it, and what is the source of this idea?
A - There is indeed such a teaching. We are to recite 100 blessings each day. The Talmud1 extrapolates this from a verse in Deuteronomy:2 "Now, Israel, what does G‑d, your G‑d, ask of you? . . . to walk in His ways . . . and to serve Him."
The Hebrew word for "what," mah (מָה), is phonetically similar to the word me'ah (מֵאָה), which means 100. In other words, the verse can be understood as saying: "Now, Israel, a hundred does G‑d, your G‑d, ask of you"—one hundred blessings.
Pray Without Ceasing
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NRSV) 
16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
More information about Every Moment Holy is here - https://www.everymomentholy.com/ 

UPDATE: Drive-Thru Blessing is now VIRTUAL!

Take a look at this video!
St. Alban's Drive-Thru Blessing, previously announced here, has been canceled in the "real" world due to Governor John Bel Edward's order for us to shelter in place - going out only for essential services.
We think receiving God's blessing AND staying safe are both essential - and we will now have our drive-thru blessing in the "virtual" world! So... On Wednesday, March 25, St. Alban's will celebrate the Annunciation with a virtual drive-thru blessing streaming LIVE on our Facebook page! From 5:30 to 6:00 p.m. Make it a Watch-Party and invite your friends. I promise it will be fun.

This old dog is planning some new tricks.

Monday, March 23, 2020

You Know What to Do!

We've been training for this our whole lives!

Walk and Pray

Walk and Pray - It's good for you! Is this part of your Rule of Life?

Bishop Jake's Monday Message

Bishop Jake asks, "Is God Really With Us?" - Watch the archived (of a Live-stream) video here.

Note: I will try to put links of the Bishop's videos here for those of you who don't use Facebook.

Fool for Christ? Or Sing to the Lord a New Song!

Monday, March 23 - Fool for Christ? Or Sing to the Lord a New Song! 
Don't ever say I won't do ANYTHING for the Church! ;-)

Hymn #412, Earth and All Stars, Hymnal 1982 (based on Psalm 96)

Governor’s Stay-at-Home Order - A Letter from Bishop Jake Owensby

Note: This letter was sent to the Clergy, Churches, and Missions of the Diocese of Western Lousiana on March 22 - The Fourth Sunday in Lent. 

Dear Friends,

Most of you are probably aware of the Governor’s stay-at-home order. And perhaps you also heard that at once point our state was leading the world in per capita infection rate. The moral and practical imperative to act swiftly and decisively to flatten the curve could not be clearer. So, I am sending this email as a pastoral direction to you all to comply with the Governor’s order and to urge your people to do the same.

Here are some specifics affecting our congregations:

1. All worship services are to be suspended through Easter with the understanding that a further extension of this suspension is possible. This includes weddings. Funerals should be small (ten or less), private family services without Eucharist and maintaining social distancing.  If postponing the service is pastorally feasible, then do so. A larger Requiem Mass or Memorial Service may be planned for when measures can be prudently eased.

2. If not already doing so, church staff should work from home and all meetings should be held virtually.

3. Continue to check on your people via telephone or virtually.

4. Make virtual worship available by offering it yourself or by directing people to my Morning Prayer Live (via FB) Sundays at 10:00 a.m. My services are also posted for later viewing.

5. Seek to continue classes, book groups, etc. virtually. This may require some coaching of lay leaders on your part. Share with your people that I offer a daily Live Meditation at 3:00 p.m. during the workweek. Again, these meditations are posted for later viewing as well.

While current circumstances make these measures prudent, I’m sure that you join me in disappointment. Forgoing Eucharist on Sunday is unthinkable under normal circumstances. Being unable to gather in our church buildings for Holy Week and Easter is more than disappointing. It is a deep loss. Nevertheless, I am confident that the Spirit will lead us to be the Church in worship in powerful, innovative, creative ways. 

Take care of yourselves. Let’s all be there for each other. And don’t hesitate to reach out to me and to colleagues for help, solace, a friendly ear, or a much-needed laugh.

Thank you for being the loving pastors that you are. You inspire me. God bless you.


The Rt. Rev. Jacob W. Owensby, Ph.D., DD
Bishop of The Episcopal Church in Western Louisiana
P. O. Box 4330
Pineville, LA 71361

Sunday, March 22, 2020

UPDATE: Drive-Thru Blessing

St. Alban's Drive-Thru Blessing, previously announced here, has been canceled in the "real" world due to Governor John Bel Edward's order for us to shelter in place - going out only for essential services.

Online that is!
We think receiving God's blessing AND staying safe are both essential - and we will now have our drive-thru blessing in the "virtual" world! So... On Wednesday, March 25, St. Alban's will celebrate the Annunciation with a virtual drive-thru blessing streaming LIVE on our Facebook page! From 5:30 to 6:00 p.m. Make it a Watch-Party and invite your friends. I promise it will be fun.

This old dog is planning some new tricks. 

Compline - The Fourth Sunday in Lent

If you missed St. Alban's Facebook LIVE stream of Compline tonight (or if you just aren't a Facebook-er). You can see it right here by clicking on this link. Enjoy

Missed Bishop Jake's Morning Prayer?

Did you miss Bishop Jake Owensby today for Morning Prayer Live? No problem! Just watch it here when it fits your schedule.

Click this link.

The Alban's Bunch

The Vestry of St. Alban's had a wonderful and productive meeting via Zoom this afternoon. We set up a phone tree to check on folks - Expect regular calls from one of us - But also call or email me or the church if you need anything. Whit+

Today's Sermon - The Fourth Sunday in Lent

The readings for The Fourth Sunday in Lent can be found at this link - https://www.lectionarypage.net/YearA_R…/Lent/ALent4_RCL.html. Take and look and reflect with me on these ideas about really seeing.

Nota: Las lecturas del Cuarto Domingo de Cuaresma se pueden encontrar en este enlace: http://www.blakleycreative.com/jtb/StMarksNet/SLP/AnoA_Cuaresma4_inserto.pdf Toma y mira y reflexiona conmigo sobre estas ideas sobre ver realmente. 

Puedes ver el sermón en español aquí: https://www.facebook.com/LaEsperanzadeFamiliasUnidas/videos/2386060061633227/

Mi español no es muy bueno, pero espero que mi corazón esté en el lugar correcto. 

Rule of Life

During these disruptive times, a rule of life may help you and your family find the right balance between eating, work, rest, play, and study. Give this ancient practice a try, and see if it brings healing, faith, hope, and love to you.

Bless, Share, and Remember Jesus.

Sunday, March 22 - The Fourth Sunday in Lent

All dressed up, and nowhere to go!

Let's join together with others around the Diocese of Western Louisiana when Bishop Jake will live-stream Morning Prayer at 10:00 a.m. today from Mt. Olivet. Please go to the Bishop's FB author page (in FB search for @bishopjakeowensby). All you need to do is like the page and you’ll get a notification. Or, you can be at the Bishop's page on Sunday morning to watch - even without liking it.

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Bishop Jake Owensby's Videos

Not on Facebook, but still want to see Bishop Jake's Reflections and Liturgies? Though we cannot live-stream Bishop Jake's Facebook videos and live-stream Morning Prayer or Reflections as they stream in real-time on Facebook - we can provide links, so that you can watch a recorded version of them later, and will do so.

Here are some of his recent posts:

A Song of Creation

Canticle 12 - A Song of Creation, The Book of Common Prayer, page 88.

Reach Out!

Feeling alone and isolated? Phone, FaceTime, or Skype friends and family. We've had wonderful conversations with our friends, the Weavers, the other Whit Stodghill, Stacey, and many of you. Social distance does not have to mean isolation!

Create in Us Clean Hands, O Lord

More than you ever knew about washing your hands in a "handy" Google Doodle!

A Liturgy for First Waking

A Liturgy for First Waking from Every Moment Holy, Volume One.

Friday, March 20, 2020

Book of Common Prayer Online

This is a wonderful resource! https://bcponline.org/

Drive-Thru Blessing

Annunciation Announcement - On Wednesday, March 25, Rain or Shine, St. Alban's will celebrate the Annunciation with a drive-thru blessing! From 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Father Whit, that's me, will be on the front porch of the St. Alban's. You - alone, with your family, or with your friends - just drive-thru on the circle drive and roll down your window. We'll say, "Hello!, How are you doing?, and I love you and miss you!" and then I will bless you - in English or Spanish - your choice... We will be social, prayerful, loving, and all at a safe distance. See you then!

Sunday Worship - March 22 - The Fourth Sunday in Lent

Let's join together with others around the Diocese of Western Louisiana on Sunday morning at 10:00 a.m. This is a powerful symbol that the Church is one.

Bishop Jake will live-stream Morning Prayer Sundays at 10:00 a.m. from Mt. Olivet. Please go to the Bishop's FB author page (in FB search for @bishopjakeowensby). All you need to do is like the page and you’ll get a notification. Or, you can be at the Bishop's page on Sunday morning to watch - even without liking it.

The readings for the Fourth Sunday in Lent are here.

St. Alban's will live-stream Compline on Sunday evening at 8:00 p.m. on our Facebook page. 

Join us!

La Iglesia Episcopal La Esperanza de Familias Unidas

Únase a nosotros el domingo 22 de marzo: El Cuarto domingo en Cuaresma a las 5:00 p.m. para una transmisión en vivo de oraciones "Al Terminar del Día" de Devociones Diarias para Individuos y Familias en la página 106, El Libro de Oración Común.

Si desea ver las lecturas de los días, puede encontrarlas aquí: