Wife, mom, grandmother; author, educator, consultant; trying to make a difference one action at a time. Christian formation has been my vocation for 40+ years - and counting!
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As I was driving back home last night after a long day of working the election polls I saw my first holiday lights near by neighborhood. White lights hanging from the gutters along with windows outlined in white lit up the night, even brighter than the now waning full moon. It’s only November 9th!
But it reminded me that I am overdue in sharing my thoughts on a children’s book I recently received with a request to offer a review. Reading about the wise men in October was not exactly high on my list. However, this latest book would make a wonderful Christmas (or Epiphany) book for preschool or early elementary children. Nicely bound in hardcover with a dust jacket, the illustrations pop right off the page and will surely engage a child at home or in church.
In 2008 I went to the Dominican Republic for a 5-day meeting as part of a Christian formation task force for the Episcopal Church. Hurricane Gustav had just ravaged the island of Hispañola, leaving a path of destruction of landslides and destroyed homes. Before we flew in, we knew we could take two pieces of luggage for free – but did we need that much baggage for a short visit? Each of us decided to bring a large duffle bag full of disposable diapers as our 2nd bag. The Episcopal Diocese of the Dominican Republic distributed them to churches to then give to families in need.
For the past fifteen-plus years (minus 2020 & 2021) during the month of August, John and I (and often our adult children) have journeyed to new places to experience the breadth and depth of other countries, having spent the first 25 years of our marriage traveling within the United States from coast to coast. It is a privilege to be able to “take off” time and afford these trips; we acknowledge that few people can do such type of travel. These adventures broaden our understanding of the world – geographically, culturally, politically, and environmentally.
After phone calls, emails, text messages, and social media queries here are three Educational Planning Calendars for your formation needs following the three lectionary cycles: Years A, B, and C. I have formatted them in Word so you can download and adapt to your own circumstances, adding in the dates each year. I have removed dates, so when you download the document you can add them depending on the year you are constructing.
Since the church calendar is a “movable feast” each year as the date of Easter always changes, each “Proper” lectionary readings are listed during “Ordinary Time” (the Season of Epiphany and the Season after Pentecost). You will need to determine which Proper to begin with day of the season, such as 5 Pentecost / The Fifth Sunday after Pentecost. Note, Just because a Sunday may be 5 Pentecost, it does not mean that Proper 5 is used.
Today I received a copy of the newly released second edition of Klara Tammany’s book, Living Water: Baptism as a Way of Life. First published in 2002, it had an unusual trim-size and layout that was cost-prohibitive to reprint so it went “out of print” despite numerous backorders. During my last years at Church Publishing, I advocated it be re-published as Klara agreed to update it. Approved for publication (again) in 2019 right before my retirement, it fell to two colleagues – Wendy Claire Barrie and then Milton Brasher-Cunningham – to see to its completion. I give thanks for their passing the baton toward publication. I had been asked to write the foreword, but alas the page count was tight, so it was not included. So I share it here:
My first memory of God involves a baptism. I was almost four years old, gathered with family around a font in what seemed like a private room adjacent to the church sanctuary of my childhood. Sunshine streamed through the stained-glass windows, dancing on the concrete baptismal font and red carpet. It was the occasion of my brother’s baptism and I knew that I was present for something important. I experienced warmth, community, the sacred — the important stuff of life that I could not yet articulate. I felt love. That visual and visceral memory has been etched into my being and has sustained me throughout my life.
The Episcopal Church has changed since that day of private baptism in which only family and close friends participated following the 1928 Book of Common Prayer. As a child I did not know what it meant to be a full member of the worshiping community and receive Holy Communion. Baptism was not central to Episcopalians at the time — at least not overtly. Being a Christian and going to church each Sunday was a given. Being formed in faith was not a common phrase; I needed to memorize the Apostles’ Creed, the Ten Commandments, and “My Bounden Duty” before I could be confirmed at age twelve, allowing me to receive communion (once a month). Four generations (the Lost, the Greatest, the Silent, and Baby Boomer) of a single family could fill a church and Sunday School classrooms; Sundays were days for worship and family, with local sports’ fields dormant and stores locked up tight.
I’ve had plenty to write about these past six months but by the time I went to sit down at my laptop the energy and enthusiasm had waned. I’ve just passed my two year anniversary of retirement from employed work. I’ve been “refired” instead of “retired” and have focused on things that are important to me or give me joy:
Teaching, including a course I’ve developed for Seabury-Bexley’s Pathways for Baptismal Living that offers training in the requirements to be a licensed Lay Catechist in the Episcopal Church; mentoring an EfM group; and co-facilitating a youth confirmation class at my parish.
Learning. In the Spring of 2021 I joined others from my parish in taking the Sacred Groundcurriculum offered by The Episcopal Church. A group of us have continued to meet via Zoom, reading books and exploring how we can make a difference in action and awareness regarding racism in our communities. We are in the preliminary stages of bring The Witness Stones Project to our town through a collaboration of interfaith partners.
Genealogy has always an interest of mine; I have pretty much cataloged all my relatives from both the parents’ side and husband’s side. That’s a lot of generations going back to Anglo-Saxon areas of Europe: England, Scotland, Ireland, Germany, and Scandinavia. And I’ve got my DNA now to prove it. Most of my (and John’s) ancestors either settled in the British colonies (now New England in the U.S.) in the 17th century.