The Sheep of Kephas

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For the Sheep in Exile – Bulletin 2016-02-14

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Here is Bulletin_2016-02-14

My beautiful wife and I look forward to Lent. It is surely the most peaceful time of year for us. We are Benedictine Oblates and we pray together daily. During Lent, however, we come even closer together because of our Bona Opera (good works). Prior to Ash Wednesday, we send a card listing our Lenten resolves of prayer, fasting, and alms giving to our Oblate Director at Conception Abbey. With the blessing of the Abbot, we perform our Bona Opera throughout Lent. We start Lent with a plan and we help each other to follow that plan.

Analysis and Commentary

The bulletin this week is merely an extension of the bulletin from last week. As we would say in my military days, our Pastor has developed his “battle rhythm”. He has his strategy and his tactics and we have watched them unfold before our eyes. He has built his coalitions in the county and his name is seen frequently in the local paper, on various church Websites, and on the Web pages of several community organizations. He has “connected” and “plugged in”. And it all started the week he arrived. Consider this quote from our bulletin on June 29, 2014:

I met with Rev. Walt Childress the Pastor of the Washington Baptist Church and I will be able to meet some of the other clergy at a meeting on July 9. I am looking forward to it. Walt and later Mary Ann Krammes told me about the community picnic that all the Churches are sponsoring for the whole county at Rappahannock County Park on Sunday July 27 from 4pm-7pm. This is the first time that all the Churches have gotten together for a picnic so mark your calendars and COME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So, read this week’s bulletin and compare it to your memories of bulletins during the time before his arrival. Then, compare it to the bulletins of St. John the Baptist and St. John the Evangelist. There are little things and big things that are bothersome. Earlier in his narrative he did not capitalize the word “Mass”, yet when speaking of the Protestant denominations that revolted and left the Roman Catholic Church, he insisted on capitalizing “Churches”. What can the good people of St. Peter’s learn from this?

Two Words for Consideration: In reading this week’s bulletin two words are bothersome and linger in my mind in a sinister way – “ecumenical” and “confession”.

There will be “Ecumenical Lenten Services” at Washington Baptist Church. The array of themes to be discussed is finally revealed in the flyer in this week’s bulletin. How very odd it is that our Catholic Pastor will be speaking on “meditation” and it will be United Methodist Rev. Sara Keeling who will be speaking on “Confession“. Huh?!, What?! — What does a United Methodist minister know of “Confession“? — How should a member of St. Peter’s who takes up Father’s invitation to attend these “ecumenical” services respond to Rev. Keeling discussing “Confession”? Is this something to be learned or is it something to be spurned?

Meanwhile, this weeks bulletin has only one other mention of Confession. “Help is needed to clean the church for the fourth Saturday of every month — before Confessions are heard.” During this Lenten season of prayer and penance, would it not be a good thing to be announce an expanded Confession schedule and invite all in the parish to come and confess their sins and seek God’s forgiveness and saving grace. But, I guess that would interfere with inviting the sheep of St. Peter’s to the “Ecumenical Lenten Services” at Washington Baptist Church during all the Wednesdays in Lent.

It is both amazing and sad to learn what two simple words can tell you.

As a side note, check out the way Trinity Episcopal Church describes the “Ecumenical Lenten Services”. (Click Trinity.)

Care for our Common Home: My wife said I’m still going. Come join me at the Rappahannock County Library on Sunday. I hear that they are going to break up into tables of twelve or so people and have discussion groups. Afterwards, each table will report to the entire group. Oh, Joy!

(Please see our recent bulletins and check out Care of Our Common Home at the Rappahannock news or the same at Join the Conversation at RappFLOW.)

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