I didn’t start watching White Christmas on my own, I came to it by marriage. I’ll admit I watched it for the first time reluctantly, but now I watch it, at least once a year and for sure when we set up our Christmas tree, eagerly. I love White Christmas, released in 1954, because of General Tom Waverly. Played by Dean Jagger, it is General Waverly that inspires me most: more so than the well-meaning Phil Davis and Bob Wallace, more than the such-adoring sisters, Betty and Judy Haynes.

As we limp toward the end of 2020, the most challenging…

LOVE IS THE WAY: HOLDING ON TO HOPE IN TROUBLING TIMES

BISHOP MICHAEL B. CURRY

Reviewed by Ed Marden

A descendant of slaves, son of an Episcopal Priest, brought up in the Civil Rights era, Michael B. Curry, Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church of the United States, leads us through his faith journey. Bp. Curry invites us to follow his growth in faith and his ever deepening understanding that to follow Jesus means one must follow Him without reservation in love for all God’s Creation. There are poignant stories from Bp. Curry’s days as a Rector in Baltimore where…

These are trying times. We are being challenged in ways that we know about — economically and physically. We can see the charts where Coronavirus cases are going up and the economy is going down. And we are being challenged in ways that you can’t mark on a chart — emotionally, relationally and spiritually. These times put enormous pressure on us as spouses, partners, parents, friends and more.

We are frustrated.

And when we are frustrated we raise our metaphorical fist in the air and expect the universe to align itself to our wishes. We want to be noticed and…

“But I say to you that anyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of unchastity, causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.” Jesus’ words in Matthew 5:32 strike guilt and shame in the hearts of millions. It sends some preachers running away from it and others towards it, eager for the opportunity to point out yet another way that their congregations are falling short.

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What do you say? Let’s take on this difficult passage — Matthew 5:21–37 — head on. This is a passage that requires us to put our inner fundamentalist…

Even at the ages of two, three and four, there is comptetition for our children’s attention. More is known now about how our children develop than ever before. I’m always impressed by parents who go the the extra mile to give their children what they need — information, stimulation, nutrition, exercise, play, socialization — and more. The simple act of parenting is now a complicated matter indeed.

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Into this mix, I’d like to include the very important ingredient of spiritual development. I can’t help wondering if it isn’t something that many contemporary parents are putting off — until a child…

Today was the first day of school for us at St. Thomas Episcopal School in San Antonio, Texas. It was particularly fun for me as the Rector, since I got to greet our students, encourage our staff and, in some cases, comfort the parents. There is a dreaded moment that happens for parents on the first day of school: when the child is secure in the new classroom, the day has begun and its time to walk away. There is no way around it, you have to walk away. There is a way to walk away and stay close. …

The church I planted in McKinney, Texas was in response to several massive new housing developments. Cornfields were being turned into homes, row after row after row. We are seeing this in different parts of the United States — entire new neighborhoods are sprouting up, often connecting suburban towns as they spread out from big cities. Unfortunately, these neighborhoods are often miles away from an Episcopal church.

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The Mueller neighborhood in Austin, Texas

What is the church to do? One approach would be to ignore them, trusting that the Episcopalians that are moving into these neighborhoods will take the initiative to find our closest church. Surely…

I got fired up after reading John Doerr’s book, “Measure What Matters”. He makes the case that businesses are more successful when they have a key objective and measurable results toward those objectives. In what was especially inspiring as a church leader, Doerr shows how the companies that use this simple tool the best are the ones that make their objectives difficult to accomplish. Great objectives require the entire operation to work together, to tear down silos and challenge everyone to rethink the way they look at everything.

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We can do it!

Halfway through reading the book, my dream objective for The Episcopal Church…

My heart is grateful for how The Episcopal Church is supporting new ministries. Our General Convention has courageously and sacrificially made mission development a priority. Our Presiding Bishop has added staff and reorganized the Church Center to be a place where outward focus is of equal importance to the internal attention that running a mainline denomination requires.

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Another learning is that learning is as fun as you make it!

So, as your friendly Staff Officer for Church Planting Infrastructure, what can we report back to the church? (Brew a pot of hot tea and read the full Blue Book report from the last task force for a detailed picture.) Here are ten…

I moved from Houston to McKinney to plant St. Andrew’s in August, 2004. There I was, in a town I didn’t know charged with planting a congregation. I was wide open and ready to try anything! I came across Steve Sjogren’s great book Community of Kindness and it opened a door in my mind: to get church members out in the community, just to be kind. I could do that!

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Our team, freezing for Jesus in the Christmas photo booth.

And do it we did. Our first attempt was a hot dog and sno-cone give away in a local park. What a flop! It was (ironically) unseasonably cold and windy…

The Rev. Mike Michie

Rector of St. Thomas Episcopal Church in San Antonio, TX.

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