Letter to the parish after the election

November 9, 2016

To members of St. Antony’s,

Last night a long and bitter campaign season was concluded with the election of Donald Trump as our next president. For some, this is a moment of elation and triumph, and for others it’s a time of grief and anguish. Our country has been torn apart by the divisive rhetoric and ugly tone of the campaign.

But it’s important to remember that the mark of a great country is the peaceful transfer of power from one administration to the next. The people have spoken, and now it’s our task to move ahead as a nation. Donald Trump, in his acceptance speech, has promised “to be president for all Americans.”

I hope that we’ll turn our attention to the great work of healing that lies ahead of us. Civility and graciousness are much needed now as we look forward to addressing the problems of our country in this new political landscape.

Please pray for our country in the days ahead. May God watch over our nation and guide us, so that we might be “One nation, under God, with liberty and justice for all.”


Poem for the Pharisee and the Tax Collector

Two men went to the temple to pray
Was either sincere? I’m unable to say.
For the temple itself is a stage in a way,
where people strut, elbow, hawk, kneel, beg and bray.

And what’s in the heart – can anyone say?
Was either man searching his soul on that day?
Did the innermost man confess or portray
the angels who guard and the demons who slay?

When daily I stand on the stage of my life
flinching, exposed and thrown into the strife,
may I act with integrity, speak from the heart
may the outer and inner be all of one part.

by Bill Fulton

Street preacher and his hecklers

Today I watched a stubborn street evangelist and his hecklers when I got off the bus at Seattle Central Community College. The preacher had a megaphone and a big banner that said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and be saved.” He was in his twenties, tall with a beard, and was staunchly quoting from the Gospel of John while two young guys cavorted around him like jackanapes, poking fun at his rigid, judgmental attitude. A big crowd had gathered to watch the spectacle.

I couldn’t decide if I was more saddened by the caricature of the Gospel that the preacher represented, or the meanness and emptiness of his tormenters.

I felt some empathy for the preacher, being a preacher myself, knowing that he was doing his best to fulfill the charge Paul solemnly gives Timothy in this Sunday’s Epistle, “Proclaim the message; be persistent whether the time is favorable or unfavorable; convince, rebuke, and encourage.” On the other hand, I don’t think his interpretation of the Gospel is accurate or helpful.

As I watched the spectators – mostly college students – I wondered what they got out of it. Entertainment, I suppose. I wonder if any of them saw the preacher and thought, “At least he believes what he’s preaching.” And I wonder, were any hearts or minds changed? Is God at work here? Or is God just shaking his head in frustration? What do you think?

In my life

In My Life

It’s strange to think how many people I have known in my life that I’ve lost touch with. Good friends have come and gone, and I regret now that I didn’t keep up with them better. I guess I was always moving on to the next big thing in my life.

I got a message today that a friend of mine from 1976 died two years ago. I completely lost touch with her ages ago, and now I find that she’s gone.

Mary shared an old wooden house with Nolan Thornberry and me in the summer of 1976, when we all worked for the Forest Service in Bonners Ferry, Idaho. I remember her as a short young woman with long brown hair, usually wearing a peasant blouse and overalls. I guess that was pretty typical back then.

She was quiet and gentle and quick with a smile, but intense when defending her opinions. I picture her putting flowers in a vase on the table and warning me not to knock them over. She was proud of her Irish name and you could see her firm Irish Catholic upbringing.

I always wondered what happened to her. Her obituary says she went to law school and became a fierce advocate for the rights of children and the disabled. That sounds right, just like her. She got married, had a daughter, and lived a rich life. I discovered all that at the same time I heard she had died. How could the years have flown by like that? In my mind she’s still twenty-one.

Rest in peace, my friend. I’m glad I knew you.

In My Life by the Beatles

There are places I remember
All my life though some have changed
Some forever not for better
Some have gone and some remain
All these places have their moments
With lovers and friends I still can recall
Some are dead and some are living
In my life I’ve loved them all


Five days in Olympic National Park

Vicar’s Voice
September 2016

Last week I spent five days backpacking up the Hoh River in Olympic National Park. The scenery was magnificent: enormous towering trees, the broad sweeping river, vast glaciated valleys, jewel-like alpine lakes, abundant wildlife, trails created by geniuses, and the looming presence of Mt. Olympus and its mantle of glaciers whenever you’re high enough to see it.

When I go up into Olympic National Park, I find it a source of refreshment and renewal. My soul is revived because I’m surrounded by the wonders of God’s creation. It’s just natural to slip into prayer as you’re walking along, because God’s presence is everywhere. “This is my Father’s world, and to my listening ears, all nature sings, and round me rings the music of the spheres.”

Everyone needs spiritual renewal, and the beauty of the parks is one of the best ways I know to find renewal. When Henry David Thoreau said, “In wildness is the salvation of the world,” I think what he meant was that our souls need the quietness of the natural world and the mystery and wonder that we find in solitude. It returns us to our original source of peace, the peace of God.

This year is the 100th anniversary of the National Park system, a true national treasure. Our ancestors had the foresight to set aside pristine areas for the enjoyment of future generations, and I’m thankful they did. Our national parks are available for everyone to visit and learn from, and millions take advantage of this privilege every year.

The parks remind us of the bounty we enjoy, the vast wealth of natural resources and beauty that we’ve been given stewardship over. Our national park system is severely underfunded with a huge backlog of deferred maintenance. I hope that Congress will see fit to restore the funding needed to preserve our parks and make them accessible for future generations. And I hope that you will have a chance to enjoy our national treasures this fall and find God’s glory in them.


Letter to the Editor of the Kitsap Sun

Published July 27, 2016

To the Editor:

Rutted trails. Crumbling buildings. Washed-out bridges that aren’t replaced. Leaning signposts. When I hike into the wilderness at Olympic National Park, I’ m dismayed to witness the continual deterioration of the trail system. Although trail crews cut out most of the logs that have blown down on the trails, little more is done to repair the ravages of nature. Trails need maintenance!

These trails were built long ago when there was a vision for every American to have access to the renewing power of wilderness, but lack of funding by Congress has left our National Park system starved for ordinary maintenance and upkeep. The National Parks are truly our national treasure, the crown jewels of our bountiful environment, and the remaining islands of our legacy of wilderness.

So I was relieved to read in the Kitsap Sun that REI and Mike and Sue Raney have combined to donate $3 million to help restore the trail system in Olympic and Rainier National Parks (Link to article). Not only will the donations help rebuild washed-out trails, the work will be done by young people working in a service corps. As one who worked on trail crews many years ago, I can testify to the character-building effects of this kind of work.

The crews in Olympic National Park will help restore damage to the trail to Enchanted Valley, one of the premier destinations for hikers in the park. Thanks, REI and the Raneys. May our trails never end!

Bill Fulton

Sale of our current property – Vicar’s Voice, May 2016

We recently passed a significant milestone in our journey to building a new church: we sold our current church building and property. Although this is only one step on the journey, it’s a big step with many implications.

I know that many of us have strong attachments to our building and property; after all, it’s become a sacred place through our continuing prayers and presence Sunday after Sunday. We have a lot of memories in this place, and it’s not easy to walk away without acknowledging some grief. Many of us have invested a great deal of time and energy in caring for our church and the grounds, so it’s natural that we might feel a loss.

It seems that many steps in our journey have been guided by God, and this sale is one of them. We’re selling to New Fellowship Church, and not only are we happy for them, but it feels good to know that our worship space will continue to be a place of worship to God. The sacred space remains sacred. I’m happy knowing that New Fellowship will be able to grow their church just as we did from the beginning.

An important consideration written into the sale contract is that we have the right to remain in the church with our same schedule for the next year, rent-free. Not only does this save us a lot of money renting elsewhere, it means we don’t have to move twice. There are a number of small items still to be negotiated with New Fellowship Church, such as landscaping, the names on the sign, the cleaning contract, etc.

We received a good amount in the sale, which becomes part of the financial package we’re putting together to build our new church. This sale came along at just the right time, in God’s time as a matter of fact. Other pieces of the financial puzzle include the investments we’ve been building for many years in the Diocesan Investment Fund (DIF), the contributions to our Capital Campaign, a bridge loan from the diocese, and a line of credit we will apply for to cover the complete construction.

May God continue to guide us as we move toward our vision of a new church.


Author! Author!

Book Signing Events

St. Antony’s is blessed to have many excellent writers in our congregation. Two of them are having book promotion events in the next two weeks: Bill Reeder and Peter Stockwell.

Saturday, April 16
Author Peter Stockwell will join with eleven other local writers for a Local Authors Book Fair at Kitsap Regional Library in Port Orchard, from 11 am to 4 pm. Click here for more information.

Saturday, April 23
Bill Reeder will have a book launch for his new book,Through the Valley; My Captivity in Vietnam, on Saturday, April 23, at 2 pm at Barnes and Noble Bookstore in Silverdale. Click here for a flyer with more information about the book:  Reeder Book Launch Flyer

Why do they call it Good Friday?

Digital graphic illustration of Cross of Jesus Christ composed of textured oil painted background

Good Friday

Why do they call it “Good” Friday? The short answer: because on this day our salvation was won by Jesus on the cross.
There’s much more to it, of course, because the mystery of the cross engages us on many levels and plumbs the depths of our being.
Today we will observe Good Friday with two services. At noon, the hour when Jesus was crucified, we will walk the Stations of the Cross, and at 7 pm we will observe the Good Friday Liturgy.
When we walk with Jesus in his last hours and gaze on the cross, we participate in the mystery and meaning of his death. I hope you’ll join us as we remember our Savior and Lord this day.