Archive for April, 2017

Touched

Wednesday, April 26th, 2017

Recently, I was surprised to notice one of our most senior members enjoying a new smart phone. She hadn’t struck me as being particularly tech-savvy, so I asked her how she was making out with the device. She said she was doing OK, thanks to instruction that she had received from one of our younger members during a Senior Resource Day.

This is one of many examples of how our ministry reaches out to people and improves their lives. Often, we can’t measure what we’ve accomplished. It’s impossible to track how many victims of trafficking are discovered and helped as a result of our advocacy of training of staff in hotels. We can’t know how many people have been cheered by flowers blooming in our church garden.

But whether or not we can take credit for our ministry, we can be thankful that we are given occasions to serve in God’s name. —J. Douglas Ousley

 


Incarnation in the News

Wednesday, April 19th, 2017

Twice in two days. What a great Easter week for Incarnation.

On Easter Monday, The NY Times published a fine article that mentioned our outreach ministry to combat human trafficking. Our Associate Rector, the Rev. Adrian Dannhauser was quoted in the piece.

On Easter Tuesday, The Times published a wonderful op-ed piece by columnist David Brooks. He discusses how Incarnation Camp was and is for him a “thick” institution. Brooks is a strong supporter of the camp, which was founded by the Church of the Incarnation in 1886, and he sits on our Board (of which I am Vice-President.)

So, as the Easter music is still ringing in our ears, we are reminded of how much of the Church’s work goes on outside the church. —J. Douglas Ousley


Most Reverend

Thursday, April 13th, 2017

At a clergy luncheon recently, I found myself sitting at a table next to a former Archbishop of Canterbury. He was erroneously introduced as “the Most Reverend Rowan Williams;” in fact, archbishops go back to being mere bishops when they leave office. The bishop has an interesting additional title, though, which he was given upon his retirement: “the Rt. Rev. and Rt. Hon. Lord Williams of Oystermouth.”

Bishop Williams has been writing furiously since he stepped down a few years ago. One hopes he will offer a memoir of his extremely controversial time in office, when the homosexuality debate rocked the Anglican Communion and caused a number of bishops to limit their contacts with the rest of our church. For this cautious, brilliant intellectual, the harsh politics of the worldwide church must have been painful.

On the surface, at least, things seem better today. The current Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby had a good deal of diplomatic experience as an international businessman. The next Lambeth Conference of Bishops in 2020 looks to be better attended than the last one.

A nice thought as we prepare for Easter. —J. Douglas Ousley


A Generational Thing

Tuesday, April 4th, 2017

Our Suffragan Bishop made an official visitation last Sunday. Such a visit includes a review of the seven parish registers, which list attendance, membership, etc. As the Bishop was initialing each book, I noted that we usually have more baptisms than funerals. He replied that in many parishes he visited, the reverse was true.

The Bishop thought that the preponderance of deaths over births was “a generational thing.” It is certainly true demographically that a large cohort of the members of the Episcopal Church is in the Baby Boomer category, a generation that is on its way out.

This fact seems to me to be worth pondering on a theological level. We need to be wary of imposing a 60’s era mindset on the Church of the future, just because current leaders prefer to look at the world in this way. We need to remind ourselves that the future of the Church belongs not to us but to God. —J. Douglas Ousley