Saturday, May 31, 2008

Go Ye Into All the World

That's what you look at every day for three years as a student at Virginia Theological Seminary. The far wall of the seminary chapel (circa 1880, and neo-Gothic in a creaky, worn-out sort of way) is dominated by a large stained-glass window of Jesus giving this direction to the eleven disciples just prior to his Ascension.

Now once you get past the intriguing question of ... is that apostle there to the left really Peter, or Robert E. Lee standing in for Peter, and doesn't that bearded one up on the right look like Stonewall Jackson? Once you settle down for three years' worth of pretty solid Morning Prayer done with little to no fanfare, there's not much to do but focus on that wall and focus on those words.

The message was originally placed there to inspire generations of budding clergy to a kind of evangelical zeal. But in later years, the message confronts others, not just candidates for ordination ... lay students working on Masters of Theological Studies degrees, Christian educators working on Masters in Christian Education degrees, parishioners at Immanuel-on-the-Hill Episcopal, who worship in the seminary chapel, family members -- spouses, partners, children, parents -- who join their seminarian for worship, visitors from the wider Anglican Communion, bishops and presiding bishops.

The message is not just for Jesus' first disciples. It's not just for priests from Virginia Theological Seminary. It's a message for all of us.

+ Kit

Friday, May 30, 2008

Meeting Wisnel

I got to have lunch today with the seminarian from Haiti that All Saints is sponsoring. Wisnel Dejardin (on the right) arrived in the U.S. just as we left for Haiti. He is doing two months of intensive English at Northern Virginia Community College, then will begin at VTS in August to work on an MTS degree. He has some English already (more than I have French or Creole, anyway!) and he will have to learn fast, since he will start writing papers in September, in English, about theology and scripture.

Joseph Constant (on the left) is the Assistant Dean for Multicultural Relations at the seminary. I am also proud to call him my friend of many years ... he was a seminarian at my former church when he was a student at VTS. Joseph and Wisnel and I had an interesting conversation about Haiti, Mirebalais, and some of the things we might hope to do to support Wisnel and also to reach out back to Haiti.

+ Kit

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Seek the Truth ...

"Seek the truth, come whence it may, cost what it will ..."

This phrase, which has become my prayer prior to preaching, comes from the entryway to the library at Virginia Theological Seminary. It is a quote from William Sparrow, an early dean.

The new dean of VTS, Ian Markham, is thinking a lot about this word "truth." It appears in its Latin form, veritas, on banners hung on light poles around the campus (with the VTS in VeriTaS emphasized). But he has also said that the truth sought and taught at this seminary is two-fold:

The truth handed down to us in our tradition and scripture.

The truth alive and ever-new, always being discovered and re-discovered for our time.

That pretty much describes my approach to preaching, seeking the truth as it unfolds in the scripture given to us for the day, but also seeking what the truth for us today is in that ancient text.


Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Saint of the Week -- Augustine of Canterbury

Not to be confused with Augustine, Bishop of Hippo and author of The Confessions and City of God. This Augustine was sent to Britain by Pope Gregory in 595 to restore the Christian Church in Kent. (Christianity had continued in western Britain even after the fall of Rome, under the influence of Celtic monks in Ireland. The existing Christians in Britain seem not to have been impressed by Augustine and his missionary journey.)

Augustine and a missionary team arrived on the southeast coast of Britain in 597 (they had tried to return to Rome, daunted by their travels, but Gregory wouldn't let them come back). Aethelbert, King of the Saxons, had married a Christian woman, Bertha, and she was allowed to practice her faith. The missionaries were allowed to establish themselves and they began converting the Saxons at a notable clip.

They established a church in Canterbury, England. Augustine became the first Archbishop of Canterbury and the succession of archbishops has continued in an unbroken line down to Rowan Williams, our current archbishop of Canterbury.

Despite their hesitations, despite their homesickness, Augustine and his team succeeded. It is good to think about their example and how God works through us even when we are not inclined to do that work.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Reading Ahead -- Pentecost 3

We have some choices in this week's readings. In the interest of brevity, we are NOT reading Noah's Ark, but will hear from Deuteronomy instead.

I have to confess to having a problem with the Noah story anyway. Why is this a children's story? There are so many cute pictures, story books, toy sets with the ark and the animals ... but we are talking about a disaster that makes the cyclone in Burma look like an April rain shower. How is it a children's story when every person in the world gets drowned, except for Noah and his family? When every living creature, apart from the two of each kind on the boat, gets drowned? Think of the quantities of floating bodies of people and animals, bumping up against the sides of the Ark. Yuck!

How do you explain that part of the story to small people?

It's like my Old Testament professor said, "I'm sorry. The Bible is not for children."

Please remember in your prayers this week the people of Burma and also of China. Natural disasters continue to plague humanity, and we are so small and so fragile in the face of what our planet can dish out.

+ Kit

Monday, May 26, 2008

Shopping vs. Church -- Shopping Wins

Maybe it's not liberalization of mainline religion. That's the excuse often used by conservative Christians to explain the decline in membership among major denominations.

The real culprit may simply be shopping.

A report from MIT economists reveals that as states did away with their "blue laws" that prohibited shopping and other economic activities on Sundays, church attendance in those states declined proportionately. Also, drug and alcohol use increased, especially in people who stopped attending church.

Since a number of studies, including a recent Harris survey show that religious people are happier than non-religious people, and other studies show that buying things does not make you happy, maybe we should all just get out of the stores and go back to church ...

Of course, I'm biased. What do you think?


Saturday, May 24, 2008

What's Your Favorite Bible Story?

A person once said to me that she thought everyone should think about what's their favorite Bible story. "Whatever it is," she said, "I'll guarantee you that it reveals something about the boundless love of God."

Well, I wondered about that. My favorite Bible story is Jonah, not only the running away from God and getting swallowed by the fish and sent back part, but the part where he actually does what God wants ... preach to the city of Nineveh. Jonah doesn't want to do it. He knows they'll repent. He knows God won't really destroy them, regardless of what Jonah tells them. He is angry that the city gets spared its just punishment and that God used him, Jonah, to spare those horrible Ninevites.
So he sits outside the city, watching it, KNOWING God won't destroy it. And he sulks under a bush that God causes to grow up in a day to give Jonah shade. Then the bush dies and Jonah sulks more. "Do you do well to be angry?" God asks Jonah. "Angry enough to die," Jonah seethes.

(This is the part I love, that you can be absolutely furious with God and God will just ask you ... "Do you do well to be angry?")

I had never thought about the boundless love of God part. But there it is, right at the end. God points out that Jonah cares about the bush, which he did not plant or help to grow, and which sprung up in the night and died in a day. And very gently and lovingly, God directs Jonah's attention to the city of Nineveh, filled with repentant people and all kinds of innocent bystanders, including its animals.

"And should I not care about Nineveh," God asks, "that great city, in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not yet know their right hand from their left, and many beasts as well?"

And that's how the book ends. "Should I not care?" God asks. Of course God should. The boundless love of God ... there it is again.

What's your favorite Bible story? I'll bet it reveals the boundless love of God.

+ Kit

Friday, May 23, 2008

Get Closer to God: Slice Carrots.

That's the tag line for a new ad by the national Episcopal Church that is running today in USA Today. There is a matching TV spot that will be seen on the airport channel of CNN during peak travel times this summer. The campaign, Put Your Faith to Work, focuses on service and outreach as a hallmark of life in the Episcopal Church.

This is a great idea, and helps to remind folks that the Episcopal Church is about much more than fighting over sexuality. But while I love service and outreach in the name of Christ as much as anyone, it's not the only way to get closer to God. Here are some other taglines I came up with. Maybe you could come up with your own.

Get Closer to God: As close as a bite of bread and a sip of wine.
Get Closer to God: Sing loudly.
Get Closer to God: Smile at a child.
Get Closer to God: Read the Bible.
Get Closer to God: Greet a stranger.

What are your taglines? How do we in the church help others get closer to God?

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Saint of the Week -- Jackson Kemper

No, he's not the founder of an insurance company. Jackson Kemper, whose saint's day is on Saturday, was the first missionary bishop in the Episcopal Church.

In 1835, General Convention made all the members of the Episcopal Church members also of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society (this is still the legal name under which the church is incorporated -- we are all members of a missionary society.) It provided at the same time for missionary bishops to go into the wilderness. Jackson Kemper was the first such bishop.

Consecrated shortly after this decision in 1835, Kemper immediately headed west. He was assigned to Missouri and Indiana, but also planted churches in Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Nebraska and Kansas. He had a hard time finding missionaries to join him in his ministry -- most Episcopal clergymen came from plush, well-to-do Eastern families and they could not handle the harsh Midwestern conditions.

Kemper also cared for the native Americans under his care, urging translation of our services into more native languages, and respecting their cultures and traditions.

How are you following in Kemper's footsteps this week as a missionary to the Midwest?

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Reading Ahead-- Second Sunday after Pentecost

We are settling into Common Time, the "long green season" after the Advent through Pentecost journey. This is time for the church to live into the promise of Pentecost, to embody the Great Commission from last week's gospel reading: "Go into all the world and make disciples of all people ... and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you."

In this week's readings, I am feeling sorely tested by the gospel reading from the Sermon on the Mount, in which Jesus tells the listeners not to worry about what to eat or drink or what to wear. I am tested, because after a week in Haiti, where people don't have nearly enough to eat or drink, where they mostly wear our American castoffs from items even the Salvation Army doesn't want, I wonder how the people of Haiti hear this message.

There is more hope in the Old Testament reading from Isaiah, when the prophet promises that God has not forgotten the people, any more than a nursing mother forgets her child.

I'm not sure where I'm going yet for Sunday's sermon. Join me in wrestling along with these readings.

+ Kit

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Nehemiah Action Assembly -- The Report

All Saints totally rocks! At the Nehemiah Action Assembly last night for ACTION of Greater Lansing, we had a turnout of 88 people from our church. This earned us a certificate for best attendance ... but more than that, it signifies our parish's commitment to acting as a force for good in the greater Lansing area.

Mayor Virg Bernero DID show up (late, but he showed up ...) and he agreed to our requests for 1) to ENFORCE an existing ordinance that requires a certificate of registration in each rental home, with information on how to find out more about the landlord and property, and 2) To set up a database for renters so they can check if the landlord has violations, red-tagged houses, etc., and to be sure they are renting a safe property with a competent landlord.

Just a note for those of you who had to leave early ... ACTION meetings generally do not run this long. This was a special case while we waited to see if the Mayor would actually turn up and answer our request. We ran about a half hour over, but it was worth it, because we effected necessary change. Thanks to all of you for your time, for giving up an evening to come be part of an ecumenical, diverse and committed group of area Christians who want to make our community a better place to live.

We'll reconvene in a Community Problems Assembly next fall on October 8 to determine ACTION's plan for the next year. Mayor Bernero has promised to report to us at that meeting about the status of the database and code enforcement initiatives.

Special congrats to Janet Chegwidden for keeping the energy going over the last few weeks! Let us remember the words of the prophet ... "What does the Lord require of you, but to do justice, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?"

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Home from Haiti ... More to Come

We all arrived safely back in the U.S. last night -- tired, but really proud of the work we accomplished and excited about participating in the Haiti Outreach Mission. There is so much to be done, but there is so much we can do. We'll be talking more about this as individuals, and as a group. The team plans to report on the trip next Sunday at coffee hour.

What everyone at All Saints needs to remember is that even if you were not physically present on this trip, you were there with us. You were there with us in prayer. You were there with us in those 100 blue bins of supplies that rolled off the plane in Port au Prince. You were there with us in the vestments and altar linens that were sent from our sacristy and put into the hands of Pere Jeannot and Pere Faublas (the Catholic priest). You were there with us in the donations that went into the Rice Bowl that powered the purchase of the computer network, that fund the ongoing medical clinic, that support the orphanage and its children.

Our Rice Bowl contribution made us eligible this year to become a member parish of the Haiti Outreach Mission. All Saints will have a representative on the board and we will be a full participant in decision-making and planning (and fundraising!) for the mission. All of us want to return on next year's trip. If anyone is interested in joining us, please talk to one of the team about the experience. It is primarily a medical mission, so sometimes it is hard to find roles for everyone. But God has a way of providing the people who need to go on each trip.

Keep the children of Mirebalais in your prayers this week. They need so much. What we did seemed very small in some ways. But it was so much, much more than they would have gotten otherwise. They got toothbrushes. They got vitamins. They got some basic, really basic medical attention. But they also got to see that people from another country, another language, another culture, care about them and their future.

We met Jesus in these people. We hope that they also met Jesus in us.
+ Pere Kit

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Wednesday in Haiti

It's another steamy day in Haiti. The line was not so long in front of the clinic today. But there were many children to see -- Nancy was busy. There was an old man in a wheel chair who prayed with me. He was all alone in the world. His wife is dead; his daughters are dead. He lives alone, and a friend pushes him around and the friend's wife cooks for him. He had fallen from a tree while cutting firewood and broke his back. He has some limited mobility, but needs surgery to become mobile again. Of course, the surgery is only in Port au Prince or the US, and is very expensive. I watched him get pushed down the bumpy, rocky, lumpy street, and I could only imagine the pain he suffers. The hard part of the trip is encountering people like this who have such little hope and we can do so little for them.

This afternoon, we are going to look at more Episcopal church plants in the hillside. Maybe I'll see another burro! This evening, the teenagers of St. Pierre are putting on a program for us.

Tomorrow is our last day. It seems so strange ... like we've been here forever, and also like we just got here ...

+ Pere Kit

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

More from Haiti

You should have seen the excitement today when the teachers at St. Pierre School were introduced to the computer lab. Now their students can gain the same global access to the same resources as their First World peers. They were ecstatic. The lab has 11 computers with internet satellite access. If you are old enough, you may remember those days back in the '90s when your childrens' schools got computers and computer labs. The feeling is the same here. The children at St. Pierre will now no longer be only citizens of Haiti; they will be citizens of the world.

The afternoon at the clinic was long and hot. They try to see all the elderly people in the morning, but there were still many elders waiting in the heat when we returned from lunch. Nancy Spates said most of the children she saw were suffering from various effects of hunger and malnutrition. The saddest point for me today was being called into the dental suite to pray with a man who had just been diagnosed with mouth cancer. They will refer him up to Cange, to one of Paul Farmer's clinics, but there is not nearly the same potential for him to be treated here in Haiti.

We all kept busy all afternoon, and you should see your All Saints friends at work! It is quite something. God has truly blessed us by calling us to participate in this work. We hope that we are bringing some of God's blessings to Haiti.

+ Rev. Pere Kit

Live from Haiti!

Greetings from the All Saints component of the Haiti Outreach Mission.

We are here and hard at work, scattered across the different programs of the HOM. First, we have to thank John Mireley and the rest of the tech team who got the internet connection up and running at St. Pierre School today. Marjie and Pam are with the dental team. They went out into the countryside yesterday to a small school, and today they are back in Mirebalais at St. Pierre School. Wendy and Nancy are hard at work in the health clinic. Wendy is on intake and Nancy is in pediatrics. Andrew was doing some construction but they put him to work helping to weigh in patients and take temperatures. Yesterday the clinic treated 386 people. When we got there this morning, the streets were lined with people waiting to be seen.

I have been filling a pastoral role. (They call me Father Kit down here ...) On Sunday, there were two services, one in Mirebalais at St. Pierre (at 6 a.m.!). The other priest on the trip, Chris Yaw of St. David's-Southfield, preached. Pere Jeannot invited me to concelebrate, and I read part of the eucharistic prayer in French. You should be pleased to know that they use the American Book of Common Prayer, in French. However, they add a lot of things into their services around the standard prayers.

That's why when we went up to Las Escobas for the feast day of Holy Spirit parish, where four or five parishes gathered, the service lasted three hours. There was lots of singing by different choirs, and fabulous dancing by children dressed all in white with Holy Spirit paper dove crowns on their heads.

It is hard to describe Haiti in its beauty and its misery. The mountains are completely bare from deforestation, and the marks of massive erosion are everywhere. Most of the illnesses in the clinic are the result of malnutrition and hard work. I have had a healing prayer station in the courtyard each morning. With a translator, we pray together with mothers and children, aged men and women.

Yesterday Father Jeannot took Chris and me up into the hills to see two of his church plants. I will share pictures when I can, but the first church, Epiphany, is a woven grass hut with rough log benches. 120 people cram into this little hut of a church each Sunday to hear a layreader lead morning prayer and preach. They hope to build a real structure someday, so when people come to church, each one brings a rock. There is a large rock pile on the site that will become the walls of the church someday.

The second church, St. Michael's, is like a big picnic shelter. They get 80 people on a Sunday for morning prayer. They also hope to build someday.
Right now, the burro Patrick (who wanted to eat my dress!) wanders in and out at will. But the church in Haiti is growing. Pere Jeannot is a true evangelist and wants to share our church with many people in Haiti.

We are all doing well. Maybe later, each of us will be able to post something on the blog. In the meantime, pray for the mission, and more importantly, pray for Haiti and its people.

+ Rev'd Pere Kit

Friday, May 9, 2008

How Much Does it Matter?

Chaplain Sarah will lead the Wednesday evening "From Jesus to Christ" class this week. The film will examine the Roman persecutions of the early Christian church. While history suggests that the persecutions were regional, in the places where Christians were rounded up and arrested, things could get pretty grim.

Pliny the Younger was governor of Pontus/Bythnia in the early second century. His first encounter with Christians is recorded in letters he wrote to the Emperor Trajan. Pliny wasn't sure what to do with the Christians, so he followed this approach:

I interrogated these as to whether they were Christians; those who confessed I interrogated a second and a third time, threatening them with punishment; those who persisted I ordered executed. For I had no doubt that, whatever the nature of their creed, stubbornness and inflexible obstinacy surely deserve to be punished. There were others possessed of the same folly; but because they were Roman citizens, I signed an order for them to be transferred to Rome.

So in this day and age, in a nation with free expression of religion, when Christianity has been culturally acceptable for thousands of years, here is a question ... what does your faith cost you? What sacrifices have you made, and what sacrifices would you be willing to make, for the sake of Jesus Christ? Is getting out of bed on Sunday morning a sacrifice? Giving for the church a sacrifice? Self-identifying at your workplace as a Christian a sacrifice?

How far would you be willing to go if Christianity were persecuted today? At what point would you give it up, deny your faith, and go on with your life?

How much does it matter to you?

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Getting Ready for Haiti

Tomorrow we leave ... Marjie Koons, John Mirely, Wendy Hedeen, Nancy Spates, Pam Miklavcic, Pastor Kit and my son Andrew Carlson-Lynch. We will be joining 40 other Christians from the Detroit area (and Montana!) to travel to Mirebalais, Haiti, with the Haiti Outreach Mission.

For ten years, Roger and Dominique Matthews have worked to build a health clinic, school, orphanage and bakery, side by side with local Catholic and Episcopal churches. For ten years, they have taken groups of American Christians to work and to see first-hand the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. The work is as much to teach us about Haiti and its needs as it is to bring our assistance to the Haitian people.

Our parish has collected money and medical supplies for the mission. We have contributed vestments and altar linens from our sacristy. Some of our group helped pack 100 tubs full of supplies last week. We have spent three sessions with Michael Largey (thanks, Michael!) learning some basic Creole phrases.

Now it's time to head out. We'll leave Detroit Metro Friday evening, sleep over in Ft. Lauderdale, then get up early Saturday to fly to Port-au-Prince. From there, we will board buses and trucks and head immediately into the Central Plateau, to Mirebalais.

Sunday, Pentecost, the morning will be spent in church. Chris Yaw, rector of St. David's-Southfield, and I will take turns preaching in two Episcopal churches. Then it's time to set up the clinic for the week ahead.

Monday through Thursday are for work ... running the medical and dental clinics, helping at the school, and construction work. In the evenings, Chris and I will hold prayer and reflection sessions. On Wednesday evening, the children from the school will put on a program for us. Thursday evening is our farewell dinner. We return the following Friday.

It is a short and intense trip. We'll learn a lot. We'll help a lot, too, we hope. Keep us in prayer throughout the week ahead.

+ Kit

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Saint of the Week -- Monnica, Mother of Augustine

I always think of Monnica as the patron saint of mothers with wayward sons who don't live up to their full potential ... at least for a while.

Monnica was the mother of St. Augustine, one of the greatest theologians of Christianity. But Augustine wasn't always so saintly, and his mother -- a seriously devoted Christian woman of North Africa -- was crazy with worry about him. He lived a life of debauchery. He had a mistress and an illegitimate child. He was brilliant and a stellar rhetorician, but he espoused a heresy called Manichaeism.

So Monnica fasted and prayed and wept and prayed for her son. She sent him to a bishop to see if the bishop could get him to see the light of Christ. No luck. But the bishop told Monnica not to give up, that "It is impossible that the son of so many tears should perish."

Augustine's famous conversion is told in his "Confessions." Shortly after his baptism, he was taking his mother home to Africa, but she died in Ostia, an Italian port. She died serenely happy. Her work here on earth was done. She was asked if she was afraid to die in a foreign country. She replied, "Nothing is far from God, and I have no fear that he will not know where to find me, when he comes to raise me to life at the end of the world."

Her son would go on to lead the church during the Fall of Rome, and to write great works like "The City of God" that would shape Christian thought and faith forever.


Monday, May 5, 2008

Reading Ahead -- Pentecost

In this week's readings, the selection from Acts and the the selection from John 20 each tell a different version of the sending of the Holy Spirit. The Acts story is public, dramatic, visible to the world. The John story is private, intimate, an action between Jesus and his followers (except Thomas, who must have been out golfing that day).

Without getting into which one "really happened," how about examining both and see which one speaks to you -- the mighty and powerful Pentecost experience in Acts, or the intimate Easter evening encounter between Jesus and his friends in John? How have you experienced the gift of the Holy Spirit in your life? Quietly or overwhelmingly? As something that empowers you to reach out to others, or as something that allows you to forgive the sins of others? Or both?

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Coming Monday -- Rally for Justice

Monday at 6:30 p.m. in the All Saints sanctuary, the 13 member churches of ACTION of Greater Lansing will gather to rally for this year's issue of justice -- housing.

This is our chance to get prepared for the major event of the year, the Nehemiah Assembly on May 19 at Union Missionary Baptist Church. We will hear the results of the research team's work on questions of housing and the proposed action we will ask the city of Lansing to take on this issue.

Some things that have come to light during the research: Lansing does not license its landlords. So it is possible for a landlord to have a number of red-tagged houses and still be able to get permits to rent other properties. Also, there is no way for prospective tenants to effectively research their landlord's track record and find out if that landlord does not keep his or her property up to code. The issue of rental housing not meeting code becomes crucial when a renting family is evicted after a house is tagged. A large number of homeless families who go to the Red Cross arrive their after being evicted when their landlord's property is shut down.

Taking action on these issues in the city of Lansing is delicate and not without challenges. There are entrenched forces with an interest in keeping things as they are. We need the support of everyone who cares about our capital city and its residents to come out and show -- simply by your presence at these two events -- that the faith community cares about this issue and will not keep silent on it.

Plan to join us in the sanctuary Monday night at 6:30, and mark your calendars for May 19 at 6:30 p.m. at Union Missionary Baptist Church.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Up to the Heavyside Layer

The last moment! Up in the cherry picker to see the bell in the tower and throw a little more holy water on it for good measure. Six stories up, East Lansing looks darn pretty!


The Bell is UP!

It's been a busy morning, starting about 7:30 a.m. with the arrival of the repaired (yay!) bracket. The bracket went up, no problem. Then it was time for the bell. The workers hooked it to the crane and got it well secured before hoisting it.
I also got an opportunity to see the ringing mechanism inside and to sign my name as the sixth rector on the inside as well.

Then it was time for the bell to ascend. It went up without a hitch and got bolted into place. Now we are waiting for the electrician to hook up the wiring and then we will be able to test its tone. I am looking forward to ringing it in worship for the first time on Sunday.


Thursday, May 1, 2008

Good News! Everyone Can See and Touch the Bell!

OK, so that's the really positive spin on what has been a long and challenging day. But here's all the good news:

-- The blessing of the bell will go forward this evening as part of the Ascension Day service. We will gather at the Abbot Road entry, where the bell is resting on the grass. We will open the service there, with a chance for everyone to get a good look at the bell and to lay hands upon it and to help in the blessing. I will sprinkle it with holy water, anoint it with chrism, smoke it up with incense, and we will all pray for blessings upon it. Then we'll proceed into church for the remainder of the service.

-- The bracket will be rewelded late today and will be picked up at 7 a.m. tomorrow. From there, everything should go more smoothly. If you want to see the bell go up, it should (!) happen around 8 a.m. or so. Bring a cup of coffee and come by and enjoy the show. Potters' Guild opens at 9, so there will be plenty to keep you occupied here.

-- The bell will sound in worship for the first time on SUNDAY MORNING.

I now believe this is a blessing in disguise. This way, folks can get an up close look at the bell. Otherwise, it would have flown up into the tower, without anyone getting to see it.

See you tonight!


The Bracket Comes DOWN!

Problem, folks ...

The bracket is not the right size for the tower. The arm from which the bell will hang is too long. It wouldn't work, so the bracket went UP, and the bracket came back DOWN.

It's gone off to the welder to be cut and refitted. God willing, the bracket will be back in an hour or so, and we will try again.

Pray that this work can be quickly accomplished and that our bell will ring out this evening.


The Bracket Goes UP!

The bracket that will hold the bell is on its way into the tower.

If it fits (please, oh please, oh please, God ...), then the bell will go up next.

If you want to see the bell in flight, now would be a good time to head over to church (12:30 p.m.).


Channel 10 is Covering the Story

Channel 10 was just here doing some preliminary interviews and filming. They'll be back tonight to catch the beginning of the service.

The Bell Has Arrived

Well, it's a crazy day in the parking lot. The bell is here. The apartment building next door is under construction, and their trucks are overflowing into the lot. Then the Potters' Guild trailer arrived.

If you come tonight for the Ascension Day service, the Potters' Guild sale will be going on in the undercroft from 5:30-9. You could get some shopping in ... Please come early and be patient about parking. This is just one of those days.

Anyway, the bell is here and it is beautiful! And then the crane pulled up.

What's next on the schedule is to insert the framing inside the tower. There is an epoxy that will have to sit for a couple hours before the bell can go up. We're looking at 12:30 p.m. or so before the ascent of the bell.

I'll keep you updated.


Blogging on the Bell All Day

Check back often today. I'll be posting pictures and news of the progress on the mounting of our new bell.

+ Kit