Dear Fisher Folks,
This will be my final submission to The Fisherman. It is hard to believe that I
have been with you for almost one year. And it has been an enjoyable time
Together we have accomplished a lot over these past 11 months. St. James
the Fisherman is a wonderful place filled with wonderful people. I believe
your new rector will be a very blessed person, serving as your shepherd.
And I believe that the parish is in a good position to welcome a new priest.
My thanks to you for welcoming me and making me feel at home. I will not
list names, because I would inevitably overlook someone. I carry each of
you in my heart, and will keep you in my prayers.
Continue your good work in outreach, worship, and welcoming newcomers.
And please keep you in my prayers as I begin a new journey on the staff of
St. James Parish, Wilmington.
May the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord cause his face to shine on you
and be gracious to you. May the Lord lift his countenance upon you and give you
Dear Fisher Folks,
Lord God Almighty, in whose Name the founders of this country won liberty for themselves and for us, and lit the torch of
freedom for nations then unborn: Grant that we and all the people of this land may have grace to maintain our liberties in
righteousness and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for
ever and ever. Amen.
(Prayer for Independence Day from the Book of Common Prayer.)
Did you know that Independence Day is a major feast of the Episcopal Church? Psalms, Scripture
Readings, and Prayers were first appointed for this national observance in the Proposed Prayer Book of 1786.
They were deleted, however, by the General Convention of 1789, primarily as a result of the intervention of
Bishop William White. Though himself a supporter of the American Revolution, he felt that the required
observance was inappropriate, since the majority of the Church’s clergy had, in fact, been loyal to the British
You might be surprised to know that July 4 wasn’t a major feast before the 1979 Prayer Book was
approved. At the time of the American Revolution, there was no American edition of the Book of Common
Prayer until 1789 after the war, as mentioned above.
It is interesting to note that in 1783, Moravians in Salem, North Carolina, held a celebration of July 4 with a
challenging music program assembled by Johann Friedrich Peter. This work was entitled The Psalm of Joy.
Amidst the typical observances of Independence Day, such as cookouts and fireworks, celebrate July 4 by
including thanksgiving and prayer for the freedom we all enjoy in this land of liberty and justice for all.
Ordinary Time is a season of the Christian liturgical calendar. The English name is intended to
translate the Latin term Tempus per annum (literally, “time through the year”). Ordinary Time
comprises the two periods — one following Epiphany, the other following Pentecost — which do
not fall under the “strong seasons” of Advent, Christmas, Lent, or Easter. Ordinary Time,
therefore, signals that the great observances of the birth of Jesus, and of his passion, death, and
resurrection are completed. Whenever the liturgical hangings in a church are green, the Church is
observing Ordinary Time. A theme of both periods of Ordinary Time is growth.
During Epiphany, the Church and her members contemplate the ways the Gospel is spread
throughout the world. The magi were the first Gentiles to pay homage to the Christ child. During
the Season of Epiphany, the scripture lessons focus on the ways Christ was manifested as light of the
During the Season of Pentecost, we are to consider the ways in which each of us grows in the
Spirit. The lectionary readings are full of instructive words of how a follower of Christ may grow
into his likeness. The lazy days of summer can provide a wonderful opportunity for the people of
God to seek God’s direction about how each person can mature in Christ and be more like our Lord,
following his great examples of humility, obedience, and service.
I encourage you to take time —to make time— this summer to explore the possibilities of
growing in grace and in the Spirit! You will discover that the period between Easter
and Advent/Christmas, which are usually a slower time in the Church due to a decrease in holy
days, can be Extraordinary Time for the people of God who seek to learn more of God’s will for their
lives and who desire to grow in faith. Let the green, vibrant foliage of the summer season remind us
all to grow in the Spirit!
Easter is a celebration of our Lord’s resurrection from the dead, and it is the ultimate exercise in dealing with paradoxes. The resurrection from the dead is the ultimate paradox! THE TOMB IS EMPTY! A former presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church said, “Heresy is the inability to believe paradox.” This was certainly true in the days of the early Church. Most of the early heretics refused to accept the seeming paradox of God, a spirit being, taking on the flesh of a human. In Greek thinking, which influenced many of the heresies, flesh and spirit were incompatible: the two could not co-exist in the same being. But paradox was a natural way of viewing life in the Jewish world in which Jesus lived. Hebrews had a very holistic view of life. God is the God of light and darkness, of day and light. The rain falls on the just and
the unjust. The paradoxes Jesus used in his teaching were not strange-sounding to his Jewish hearers. When Jesus said, “the last shall be first,” or “to live you must die,” the Jews understood these figures of speech. But Jesus’ very life was a paradox. He only loved, but was hated, and he was despised not by evil people, but by the very religious. Jesus was a master of the disciples, yet on the night of his betrayal, he became a servant to those who followed him, and demonstrated servitude by washing his disciples’ feet. And of course, the ultimate paradox is the death and resurrection of our Lord. There is no Easter without Good Friday. We, who have been baptized with Christ, also share in his death and resurrection. Or to use the closing words of the Prayer of Francis, “It is in dying to self, that we are born to eternal life.” And because Christ rose victorious from the grave, our hope is there fixed, that we, too, will share in his resurrection and live with him forever! But paradox confounds those who approach life using logic and reason. Anything outside the realm of the rational, or that which cannot be proven, does not exist. Besides, they argue, how can you base your belief system on concepts that are apparently contradictory? Remember, heresy is the inability to deal with paradox. Jesus said, in order to enter my kingdom, you must become, not wise or wealthy or powerful. In order to enter my kingdom, you must become like children. For childlike faith doesn’t seek absolute truths. Childlike faith willingly accepts and continually marvels at paradox. May God bless you and your loved ones with a joyous Easter. And, I pray that on this Easter, God will bless each of us with the gift of childlike faith.