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Saturday, May 30, 2015

ALERT - THE LEAD: ¨A threat to child safety¨ by David Allen


In DEC 2014, Joshua Duggar, at that time executive director of the political entity of the Family Research Council, lead what was ultimately a successful campaign in Fayetteville AR to repeal GLBT nondiscrimination legislation. Interviewed by the FRC’s radio broadcast Washington Watch, Duggar labeled the importance of defeating Fayetteville’s anti-discrimination law as important in defending and protecting women and children from GLBT folks. At the same time, Michelle Duggar, Joshua’s mother, was involved with a pre-recorded robocall to repeal the legislation, on which she stated that it is important to repeal the law because it “empowered child predators” and “threatened the safety and innocence of children.”
The Duggars are the stars of the reality TV show which was originally titled 17 Kids and Counting and is now called 19 Kids and Counting. Since the inaugural broadcast in 2008, Jim Bob & Michelle Duggar have added 2 more children to their family. The Duggars have been neatly packaged and sold to the US viewing audience for their devotion to Christ through biblical living and sexual purity. In 2010, before employing Joshua Duggar, the oldest Duggar child, FRC awarded the Duggars with the “Pro-Family Entertainment” award, stating the Duggars merited the award because they were “outspoken ambassadors for Christian values in a secular world.”
However, we find out through an article in In Touch magazine that it’s been a charade. The whole time the Duggar family has been covering up the truth that it was their heterosexual eldest son who was a predator and threatened the safety and innocence of children, some of whom lived in his own home. Additionally, Jim Bob & Michelle have been untruthful over the years as to how the situation was handled as they tried to sweep things under the carpet. They claim that they reported Joshua to the police authorities. The truth is that Jim Bob Duggar reported his son to a state trooper whom he knew in 2003 and stated at that time that he was made aware of Joshua’s crimes in MAR 2002. In a confusing timeline it appears Jim Bob didn’t confront Joshua at that time and he reports Joshua confessed he abused a girl in July 2002. Joshua was punished somehow. However, he abused more children and it was discovered in MAR 2003.
The Duggars stated that at that time they made their church authorities aware of the situation and told them that Joshua was being sent to a Christian boarding program where he would receive counseling and participate in manual labor. Later, Michelle Duggar admitted to the police, after further questioning, that Joshua didn’t receive any professional counseling, he was actually sent to live with a family acquaintance for about 4 months where he helped in remodeling a building. In Touch Weekly further reports that in 2006 through a series of happenstances, the Oprah Winfrey Show was alerted to Joshua’s crimes and passed the information to the state authorities, who contacted the local police. At that time the Duggars refused to cooperate with the police and the 3 year statute of limitations had passed on Joshua’s crimes.  A side note to this is that the state trooper, Jim Hutchens, to whom Jim Bob Duggar first reported Joshua Duggar’s crimes against 5 female children, chose not to do anything more than give Joshua a stern lecture. Trooper Hutchens was later arrested and convicted of child pornography and is currently serving a 56 year prison sentence for his own crimes.
The Duggars have potentially damaged the lives of many GLBT folks by accusing them of being threats to children. They played a key roll in having a local anti-discrimination ordinance repealed that now exposes GLBT folks to any number of different forms of discrimination and possible violence. The hypocrisy of it all is that they sheltered a sexual predator in their own home and tried to keep it under wraps while pushing him into the lime light in his later years as a paragon of virtue and sexual morality.
Thanks to Episcopal Cafe, sidebar
Thanks to David Allen*
*The information in this story was gathered from the reporting of In Touch Weekly,Religion Dispatches and Right Wing Watch.
http://www.episcopalcafe.com/a-threat-to-child-safety/

Note:  BOLD and COLOR EMPHASIS added by Leonardo Ricardo

TRINITY SUNDAY*: Morning Prayer at St. Alban Episcopal Mission/English, Antigua, Guatemala

Casa Convento Concepcion, Antiqua, Guatemala

WELCOME to Saint Alban Episcopal Mission/English, Antigua, Guatemala - IARCA You are invited to join us for English services on a special Vacation schedule during May- July 2015 offering Morning Prayer May 31 and June 14 at 10:00 A.M. (no service on June 7) in Antigua, Casa Convento Concepcion. Holy Eucharist will resume on June 21st and also will be celebrated on June 28 and July 5th at NOON. ALL are welcome. See welcome letter at the sidebar. St. Alban English Mission, Antigua, Guatemala is an outreach project of The St. James English parish, Cathedral of Santiago, Episcopal Diocese of Guatemala, IARCA 
Bishop Armando Guerra Soria, Rector of St. Alban Mission, Bishop of Guatemala and Primate emeritus of Central America

*Trinity Sunday is the first Sunday after Pentecost and is celebrated by many Christians in the Americas. It is one of the few feasts that are celebrated as a doctrine instead of an event. It is also symbolic of the unity of the Trinity

¨On Trinity Sunday many Christians in the United States remember and honor the belief of an eternal God, consisting of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Many churches have special prayers on Trinity Sunday. The Athanasian Creed, named after St Athanasius, Archbishop of Alexandria, is recited in some churches on Trinity Sunday because of its strong affirmation of the Triune nature of God.
Churches and choirs across the United States have planned special activities and events centered on Trinity Sunday.¨ more here: http://www.timeanddate.com/holidays/us/trinity-sunday


¨The Guatemala Project¨ - Part of the current outreach and ministry of Fr. Smith and the ¨Small Angels¨ at St. Michaels and All Angels/Tucson, Arizona (Fr. Smith will be joining the clergy staff at St. Alban Mission in early July, 2015)



Published on May 28, 2015  (includes the Guatemala Project)

Here's an introduction to the ¨Small Angels¨ programs of St. Michael - All Angels Episcopal Church.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

SANTOS WOODCARVING POPSICLES: ¨Only God could say what this new spirit gradually forming within you will be....¨

 

Above all, trust in the slow work of God.
We are quite naturally impatient in everything to reach the end without delay.
We should like to skip the intermediate stages.
We are impatient of being on the way to something unknown, something new.
And yet it is the law of all progress that it is made by passing through some stages of instability—and that it may take a very long time.

And so I think it is with you.
Your ideas mature gradually–let them grow,
Let them shape themselves, without undue haste.
Don’t try to force them on,
as though you could be today what time
(that is to say, grace and circumstances acting on your own good will)
will make of you tomorrow.

Only God could say what this new spirit gradually forming within you will be.
Give our Lord the benefit of believing that his hand is leading you,
and accept the anxiety of feeling yourself in suspense and incomplete.

~Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, SJ
Thanks to Santos Woodcarving Popsicles, sidebar
Thanks to Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, SJ
Thanks to Peter M. Carey


WELCOME to Saint Alban Episcopal Mission/English, Antigua, Guatemala - IARCA You are invited to join us for English services on a special Vacation schedule during May- July 2015 offering Morning Prayer May 31 and June 14 at 10:00 A.M. (no service on June 7) in Antigua, Casa Convento Concepcion. Holy Eucharist will resume on June 21st and also will be celebrated on June 28 and July 5th at NOON. ALL are welcome. See welcome letter at the sidebar. St. Alban English Mission, Antigua, Guatemala is an outreach project of The St. James English parish, Cathedral of Santiago, Episcopal Diocese of Guatemala, IARCA Bishop Armando Guerra Soria,Rector of St. Alban Mission, Bishop of Guatemala and Primate emeritus of Central America

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

SPEAKING TO THE SOUL: ¨Born Again¨ - To be born again means to breathe in the Holy Spirit, to begin a lifetime of ingesting and processing grace.


Image: Miniature_depiction_of_Andrei_Rublev_Trinity wikimedia commons public domain
Trinity Sunday
This is Trinity Sunday… a day to celebrate the greatest mystery of all… a day to ponder the dynamics of one God in three divine persons. This gospel’s exposition of The Trinity grows out of a conversation Jesus is having with Nicodemus, a righteous scholar, totally committed to a life governed by Mosaic Law. He respects Jesus, but he is puzzled by him. Seriously now, how can we be born again?
The original King James Version of this gospel uses the term “born again.” Later editions use the term “born from above.” Both translations are consistent with the Greek text and with Christ’s message. We must be “born again.” But as Jesus explains to a skeptical Nicodemus, our rebirth is not the product of our mother’s labor. It is not a birth into this finite, earthly life. It is a birth in the Spirit into everlasting life. Our new life doesn’t come through fertilization and gestation. It is a direct gift from God… a rebirth in water and the Spirit… made possible by the life, death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. As such, we are not only “born again” … we are “born from above.”
In certain “sophisticated” circles, the term “born again” has fallen out of favor. It has become synonymous with a naïve fundamentalism… a rejection of science… an inability to process nuance… a narrow, intolerant world view. Yet Jesus tells us we must be born again. And he is none of these things. He is the Resurrection and the Life… the embodiment of regeneration through grace… the vehicle of our salvation.
To be born means to breathe oxygen directly into our lungs, to begin to take and process nourishment on our own. To be born again means to breathe in the Holy Spirit, to begin a lifetime of ingesting and processing grace. Our birth and our re-birth are not random events. They are carefully crafted components of God’s plan for Creation. And as such they involve God in totality: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
The Father is the Author of Creation… including ours. He delights in us. We are his beloved. Of the millions of species that inhabit the earth, only we are created in God’s image and likeness; only we are given the knowledge of good and evil; only we possess immortal souls.
In our sins God never has and never will abandon us. He sent us Jesus Christ, the embodiment of divine love to lead us to salvation. That mystery of faith… that simple, all-powerful truth… is declared in this gospel in a single verse that thrills Christians to this day: For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.
This gospel illustrates The Trinity at work in the world and at work in us. Creation and Redemption are those gifts of God that are most familiar. But it is Inspiration… the gift of the Holy Spirit that is the focus of this gospel. To be born again is to be born of the Holy Spirit. While the waters of Baptism cleanse us of collective and individual guilt, the Holy Spirit literally inspires us… breathing God’s grace into the spiritual void that was our soul. It is the Holy Spirit dwelling in us who is God’s agent of influence from the moment of Baptism to our final breath. We may neglect that presence. We may ignore that influence. But the Holy Spirit never neglects or ignores us...¨  please read it all, HERE:
Thanks to Episcopal Cafe, sidebar
Thanks to The Reverend David Sellery

WELCOME to Saint Alban Episcopal Mission/English, Antigua, Guatemala - IARCA You are invited to join us for English services every Sunday at Noon in Antigua, Casa Convento Concepcion, Antigua Guatemala, ALL are welcome. See welcome letter at the sidebar. St. Alban English Mission, Antigua, Guatemala is an outreach project of The St. James English parish, Episcopal Diocese of Guatemala, IARCA Bishop Armando Guerra Soria, Rector of St. Alban Mission, Bishop of Guatemala and Primate emeritus of Central America


Monday, May 25, 2015

Pentecost Music/ Pentecost - Sunday, May 24th, 2015




WELCOME to Saint Alban Episcopal Mission/English, Antigua, Guatemala - IARCA You are invited to join us for English services every Sunday at Noon in Antigua, Guatemala Casa Convento Concepcion, Antigua Guatemala, All are welcome. See welcome letter at the sidebar. St. Alban English Mission, Antigua, Guatemala is an outreach project of The St. James English parish, Episcopal Diocese of Guatemala, IARCA Bishop Armando Guerra Soria, Rector of St. Alban Mission, Bishop of Guatemala and Primate emeritus of Central America


Sunday, May 24, 2015

THE REVEREND RICARDO FROHMADER*: ¨The gift of the Holy Spirit is not a gift given to a few nearly two thousand years ago. The Holy Spirit is God’s continuing presence in this world, available to all who seek Him.¨

Pentecost

Imagine: You are gathered together with friends and colleagues. It is the day after a double holiday- the Feast of Pentecost and the Jewish Sabbath. Together with others you have followed a man called Jesus, a wonderful person who taught mercy and compassion, and who healed the sick and raised the dead. You have come up from your village with him to Jerusalem, expecting the coming of the Kingdom of God. Instead, here, in the holy city, Jesus is arrested and put to death by the Jewish religious and the Roman civil authorities on trumped up charges of blasphemy and sedition.

At Jesus’ death you fled, and perhaps you returned home, fearing that the authorities might punish you for having followed this wonderful teacher and miracle worker.  However within a few days marvelous news spreads, that Jesus has been raised from the dead, that he lives. He appears to two disciples on the road to Emmaus. He appears to Saint Peter. He appears to ten of the Apostles, and later to the eleven. Saint Paul reports that he appeared to a gathering of more than 500 people. So perhaps you also are witnesses to his resurrection, and saw him after his crucifixion. (1Cor15:3-8).

Now you are gathered together again at a house in Jerusalem. Jesus has gone to the Father who sent him. You are bereft, but he has promised something which you do not fully understand, a consoler, a comforter. Suddenly, a sound like a violent wind comes from heaven and fills the whole house. You see what appear to be tongues of fire resting on all, and you begin to speak. More amazing, you speak and are understood by men who speak other languages, and they apparently hear you speaking in their local language. What a marvelous occurrence! What does it mean? What did it mean to the Apostles and to those others who experienced  it? Is it at work in our time? Is it available to us?

Let’s put this feast of Pentecost, which we celebrate today, into its original Jewish context. Pentecost, or Shavuot in Hebrew, is celebrated 50 days after the second day of Passover.  This past Thursday and Friday, observant Jews around the world celebrated the feast of Pentecost. For Jews around the world, Thursday sundown marked the beginning of Shavuot. It ended at sundown on Friday, and then the regular Sabbath began. We celebrate the Feast of Pentecost forty nine days after the Resurrection of Jesus, who is our Passover.

What is the feast of Pentecost in the Jewish tradition? It is a number of things. It coincides with the end of the winter grain harvest which has now been gathered in. In Jesus’ time, new grain offerings were traditionally offered at the Temple in Jerusalem during Shavuot. Pentecost/Shavuot was one of the three mandatory pilgrimage feasts, together with Passover and Purim, when observant Jews were encouraged to visit Jerusalem and to worship at the Temple. This is reflected in the reading this morning from Acts, where the author tells us “there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven”.

However the greatest significance of Pentecost for Jews then and now is that Shavuot commemorates the giving of the Torah (the first five books of our Bible) to Moses. In Jewish belief the Law as contained in the Torah was given to Moses at Mount Sinai. The ten most important laws were given inscribed on stone tablets, but in addition another 603 laws were also given. Jewish tradition classifies these as consisting of 248 positive commands (do this), and 365 negative ones (don’t do that), for a total of 613 commands.

As Christians we have taken the Old Testament feasts, and we have imbued them with new meaning. We have done so in part using texts from the Old Testament. Saint Peter explains what has happened that morning of our first Pentecost by quoting the Prophet Joel: 
                         
                                    “In the last days it will be, God declares,
                                      that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh,
                                      and your sons and daughters shall prophesy
                                      and your young men shall see visions
                                      and your old men shall dream dreams. (Joel 2, 28)

What was prophesied by Jeremiah 600 years earlier has also come to pass:
                                      
                                        I will put my law in their minds
                                        and write it on their hearts (Jeremiah 31,33)

The Advocate, the Counselor, the Comforter, the Spirit of truth promised by Jesus in this morning’s gospel reading, has come. The promise foretold by Jeremiah, by Joel and by Jesus himself has been fulfilled. Now his disciples find themselves filled with a tremendous power of communication, a power which will enable them and their disciples to carry the good news of Jesus Christ to every corner of the known world.

 In St. John’s Gospel reading this morning, Jesus tells his disciples that he must leave in order for the Holy Spirit to come upon them. The coming of the Holy Spirit marks the beginning of a new covenant (Hebrews 8, 13). The old covenant of the Law is abrogated, reduced to its two essential commands. Jesus has given us two commandments, the two great precepts which summarize all of the Jewish Law: Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments”(Matthew 37-40). We have of course also kept the Ten Commandments, but the other 601 commands have been allowed to lapse.

The sheer number of laws will give you an idea of how heavily the Law must have weighed on the early Christian communities, and how hard Saint Paul had to struggle to reinterpret the meaning of the Law, recasting it in terms comprehensible to the many converts from paganism or from other faiths besides Judaism. For Saint Paul faith and salvation do not turn on external observance of the Law, but on the incorporation of the deepest sense of this Law into the hearts of the faithful, of those who confess that Jesus is Lord and Savior, and follow his great commandments. The author of Hebrews likewise declares that the covenant of the law has been replaced with a new covenant grounded in the death of Jesus for the atonement of our sins (Hebrews 9,15). On that first Christian Pentecost the Holy Spirit comes upon Jesus’ followers and fills their hearts. Indeed, it writes the new covenant in their hearts, and in ours also. Where once we relied on the law to approach the Lord, now through Jesus Christ, we approach directly, because the Holy Spirit has been sent to us to guide us and comfort us and strengthen us (Romans 8:26)

The gift of the Holy Spirit is not a gift given to a few nearly two thousand years ago. The Holy Spirit is God’s continuing presence in this world, available to all who seek Him. 

He is at work in our historical processes. The Rev. Martin Luther King was not a saintly person. We know that like King David he had an eye for the ladies, despite a wife and children. Yet I believe that God used him, and other Christian religious leaders to bring an end to the shameful system of segregation that characterized parts of America into the 1960’s. Remember that the movement that Dr. King led was truly a movement of non-violence, of peaceful civil disobedience. This non violence, and the violent, often brutal response of the movement’s opponents, moved hearts and minds in America and around the world, leading to legislation that overturned the segregation, exclusion and denial of opportunity to millions of my fellow Americans on the basis of their skin color alone. I find it hard to believe that the Holy Spirit was not leading and guiding the Civil Rights movement, keeping it in the paths of righteousness, and of non-violence, until it overturned the injustices it targeted.

Do you remember recent South African history? Not too long ago, 4 million descendants of European settlers kept more than 20 million Africans, Asians, and persons of mixed race in a status of legal inferiority. The majority people were herded into small poor territories, known as Bantustans, or made to live in special townships, so that the white minority could continue to enjoy the resources and wealth of most of the nation. It seemed inevitable to many observers that there would come a time of war, in which the disenfranchised and dispossessed majority would rise up and eventually defeat and displace their oppressors. Yet this widely predicted day of doom never came. We all know who Nelson Mandela is. But do you know that he withstood 27 years of imprisonment, long parts in solitary confinement. In jail, his thinking changed; he did not allow hatred or the desire for revenge to warp his spirit or to lead him to call for armed insurrection and violence. Mandela emerged from prison to negotiate in good faith with his jailers and oppressors a peaceful transfer of power, from them to the African majority. I believe the Holy Spirit was guiding him and others around him.
More amazing is that the Prime Minister of apartheid South Africa, F. W. de Klerk, a white man of Dutch descent, was able to negotiate in good faith the surrender of centuries of privilege and power to a dispossessed majority. This took place in 1994. Again, I find it hard to believe that the Holy Spirit was not at work guiding men who should have been implacable foes onto paths of reconciliation, peace and voluntary surrender of power by a privileged minority to the majority.

You may have seen in recent weeks the outpouring of civic consciousness among Guatemalans fed up with the rampant corruption that characterizes civic life in this country. These protests have been peaceful, if a bit raucous. They have avoided violence. Could it be that the Holy Spirit has been helping and guiding the process? Let us pray that is so, and that the Spirit will guide this lovely nation towards change in a non-violent way. Time will tell whether this is the moment, or whether the dispossessed and the poor must continue to suffer.

The Holy Spirit is also at work in each and every one of us. He/She comforts and consoles us in our afflictions and sorrows. He/She encourages us to grow in God’s grace and the knowledge of Him. He/She guides us on to paths of righteousness. Do we listen; do we try to hear the Spirit?  I invite you to seek the Spirit’s guidance in bringing us all into love and harmony with God, with ourselves, with our neighbors, and with all creation (B.C.P. p 852).

In closing, I invite you to turn to page 227 of our prayer books. Let us say together the second prayer:

O God, who on this day taught the hearts of your faithful people by sending to them the light of your Holy Spirit: Grant us by the same Spirit to have a right judgement in all things, and evermore to rejoice in his holy comfort, through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen


*This is my last Sunday (24th) for a while. I will be back at Saint Alban, God willing, on the  21of June. Fr. Smith will be here July 3. 

Have a great Pentecost

Ricardo+

WELCOME to Saint Alban Episcopal Mission/English, Antigua, Guatemala - IARCA


You are invited to join us for English services every Sunday at Noon in Antigua, Guatemala

Casa Convento Concepcion, Antigua Guatemala, All are welcome.

See welcome letter at the sidebar.


St. Alban English Mission, Antigua, Guatemala is an outreach project of The St. James English parish, Episcopal Diocese of Guatemala, IARCA


Bishop Armando Guerra Soria,  Rector of St. Alban Mission, Bishop of Guatemala and Primate emeritus of Central America

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Archbishop Oscar Romero: To be Beatified today in San Salvador, El Salvador - Video ¨La Vida Y Obra De Monseñor Oscar Arnulfo Romero¨

The Beatification of Óscar Romero

Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to fill the streets of the capital of El Salvador on Saturday to celebrate as one of Latin America's most revered and controversial religious figures is beatified — the last official step before sainthood.
They will gather to pay tribute to former Archbishop Oscar Romero, a beloved priest and staunch defender of the poor, who was murdered while celebrating Mass in 1980.
Archbishop Oscar Arnulfo-Romero offers the host wafer during the communion rite to a member of the congregation during a church mass in San Salvador, El Salvador on Jan. 13, 1980.i
Archbishop Oscar Arnulfo-Romero offers the host wafer during the communion rite to a member of the congregation during a church mass in San Salvador, El Salvador on Jan. 13, 1980.
Cotera/AP
The ceremony ends a long-fought battle for recognition of Romero's life and work. But many say it does little to curb the current gang violence terrorizing the country today.
Romero's beatification has brought visitors and his supporters from around the world to this small Central American nation. They stream through Romero's spartan home in San Salvador, the capital, now preserved as a tiny museum, where Romero lived up until his death.
"He is a prophet of our time, one who denounced oppression and wrong doing," says one visitor, Sister Rosario Carvajal, who came with a group of nuns for the beatification from neighboring Costa Rica.
Romero's tan, 1970-era Toyota Corona sits in the home's driveway, vintage black and white photos line the interior walls, and in his tiny bedroom, Romero's bulky IBM Selectric typewriter rests on a desk in the corner. It's the one he used to type his Sunday homilies, which were broadcast live throughout the country.