August 1 Concert

Henry Nordhorn, French Horn, and Chris Eisenberg, pianist
4:00 pm, Sunday, August 1, 2021
Freewill offering

Henry Nordhorn

Henry, a recent graduate of Central Washington University, has been accepted into the prestigious San Francisco Conservatory of Music where he will be working towards a master’s degree in horn performance. A goodwill offering will go to help Henry in his continued musical studies.

St Antony’s Episcopal Church ~ 11885 Old Frontier Rd NW, Silverdale WA

Prayer and scripture

Last week I participated (virtually) in the ordination of three new priests at St. Mark’s Cathedral in Seattle. As I sat in my comfortable chair and peered at my laptop screen, I was reminded of my own ordination 26 years ago in an old stone church in Kansas. In the Examination, Bishop Smalley asked me, “Will you be diligent in the reading and study of the Holy Scriptures… and will you persevere in prayer, asking God’s grace, both for yourself and for others?

The Prayer Book is wise to ask those questions of the candidate. Our tradition values them as foundations of the spiritual life. Without a life of scripture and prayer, a clergy person can lose their anchor and drift away.

I began saying daily Morning Prayer from the Prayer Book in seminary. It was expected, but not required, for all seminarians to attend Morning Prayer, and nearly everybody did. It began a lifelong routine for me.

Of course anything done daily can turn into empty rote, and there have been times when Morning Prayer was just a chore to be accomplished. But after 29 years of Morning Prayer, I see that it has shaped me and changed me. You might say it has created a cathedral of prayer within me in which God is present. Sometimes parts of the cathedral crumble or burn, like Notre Dame, and have to be rebuilt.

Likewise, I’ve spent more time in the Bible than I anticipated. In addition to the weekly concentration required for preaching, I’ve taught our Vicar’s Bible study every week for my thirteen years at St. Antony’s. I’ve pawed through my old seminary notes, read commentaries, pulled articles from the internet, and presented a sheet of notes for the class every week. Our small group of four to six has clustered around the table, poking and prodding and pondering the scriptures. As they say, “The teacher learns the most,” and that’s been true for me. I’ve come to feel at home in the odd stories of the scriptures, and found my own perspective on them.

I’m sure there are other ways I could have spent my time as a priest, and I know every clergy person chooses differently. But for me it’s provided a firm foundation for my life as a priest.

Retirement Announcement

To my dear friends,

It’s with great ambivalence that I’m announcing my retirement as Vicar of St. Antony’s as of September 30, 2021.

I’m very sad to contemplate leaving St. Antony’s because I have loved being your priest. You have given me the great gift of your trust and I cherish the relationships I have with each one of you. Together we’ve done great things, and, more importantly, we’ve done small things with great love. My thirteen years as Vicar have been rich and rewarding for me.

However, I’ll turn 68 at the end of September and I believe God is calling me to move on. I have done my best to serve faithfully, but now it’s time for St. Antony’s to find new vision, new energy, and new leadership.

I’m announcing this six months in advance so there will be plenty of time for us to say goodbye and plenty of opportunity for the Bishop’s Committee to begin finding the next Vicar of St. Antony’s.

I know this decision will cause consternation and be the occasion for grief. I feel sad that my tenure is coming to an end, but I feel confident that the Holy Spirit is leading us and guiding us into the future.

With all tenderness and affection in Christ Jesus,

Invitation to our Lenten Program

During the season of Lent, we’ll be offering the Sacred Ground program on Wednesday evenings at 7:00 pm. Sacred ground is a program of racial reconciliation, healing, and justice developed by the Episcopal Church.

PEP II Preaching Conference

Last week, January 11-15, I attended an online preaching conference put on by The Episcopal Preaching Foundation. I signed up for this course in 2019, anticipating that I would fly to a conference center in Maryland for a week in June 2020. That was postponed, of course, and the conference was held on Zoom last week.

What did I learn from this conference?

Probably the most surprising thing I learned was that I was the only white male my age among the attendees. The clergy who attended were almost all female, people of color, or gay. It makes me feel like I’m a little out of synch with the evolving Episcopal Church. Maybe it’s time for me to get out of the way and let the new generation of clergy take over.

There were two presenters who were excellent, both of them professors of preaching at major seminaries. Wes Allen talked about how difficult it is to preach when there are overlapping crises in our country, and he gave some practical pointers. Judy Fentress-Williams spoke about the using lament as found in the Psalms and using the experience of Exile in the Bible as a way to speak about our current situation in America.

I was in a preaching group with three other attendees and a mentor. We had four preaching group sessions, so each of us was able to give a sermon on the Zoom session and receive feedback. Not only did I receive useful feedback, but listening to the other preachers helped me expand my awareness of different ways to preach.

I’ve done a lot of reading about preaching over the past few years, and I didn’t learn a lot of new things at the conference, but the variety of preachers and the chance to talk about preaching with other preachers made this a worthwhile conference.

Parade of Creches video

For Christmas season, we collected photos of our parishioners’ Christmas creches and sent one or two out each day in emails. I put them together in a video so they would all be in one place. I recorded the soundtrack in my office.

Parade of Creches

Advent Calendar Day 26

Do you think Joseph held the baby? I don’t think I’ve ever seen a painting showing Joseph with the baby Jesus. He’s usually standing in the background looking lost. So I thought I’d draw him looking at the baby, wondering about this newborn child and how he was going to change his life.

Advent Calendar Day 25

Sometimes we idealize the manger scene with an angelic Mary, a stoic Joseph, and warm, approving shepherds and wise men. But I wonder how Joseph and Mary felt after the shepherds and wise men had gone. Maybe they were completely worn out, like they’re portrayed in a painting by artist Gari Melchers that I sketched in charcoal.