Archive for April, 2016

Ripple Effect

Monday, April 25th, 2016

A very active member of our parish, Ann Churchill, died on April 11; her funeral was last Saturday.

I was amazed at the response to her relatively sudden death–all the people Ann helped in one way or another over the years. Not just family and friends, but parishioners and old people and neighbors and community group members. The range of response was extraordinary for a seemingly modest 77-year-old former nurse.

Ann’s example shows among other things the powerful effect of a generous and creative Christian soul. May Ann rest in peace–and may we follow her fine example! —J. Douglas Ousley


Can You Believe There are Actually Unbelievers?

Wednesday, April 13th, 2016

As a judge on the TV show, The Voice, the popular singer and music producer Pharrell Williams often refers to Gospel and other Christian musical traditions. He describes himself as a kind of Universalist, though clearly coming from the Christian camp.

Asked once about “those who have concluded that God simply doesn’t exist”, Williams remarked: “It’s so incredibly arrogant and pompous. It’s amazing that there are people who really believe that.”

A good point. Given all that we know about the vast universe and the mysteries of the human soul, the notion that some divine force doesn’t exist seems to strain credulity. —J. Douglas Ousley


Spring Planting

Monday, April 4th, 2016

I recently had lunch with a senior church leader who was concerned about the number of Episcopal churches with declining memberships. Not the least of the problems of these parishes is their unwillingness to change. It’s no wonder that they have trouble growing.

The leader and I agreed that one way out of this dilemma was to try to “plant” new congregations either in closed churches or within existing small churches. This is proving very successful in London and some other dioceses in the Church of England. There is even a new bishop in London with special responsibility for starting new congregations.

I like the idea of planting within buildings we already have, since this strategy avoids the problem of finding a new space for worship and ministry. We may hope and pray that this idea catches on in the American Episcopal church. —J. Douglas Ousley