Monday, March 24, 2008

Four Thousand Dead

This photo is of soldiers grieving for their dead comrades in the Korean War. But there is a heartbreaking universality to this image that could be from any war.
The 4,000th American to die in the Iraq War died on Easter Sunday.

According to the Associated Press:

* The 1,000th American died in September 2004.

* The 2,000th American died in October 2005.

* The 3,000th American died in December 2006.

* There have been about 15 soldiers wounded for every fatality in Iraq.

This is a vast "improvement" over Vietnam, when there were 2.6 wounded for every death. Now better equipment and medical care in the field keeps many soldiers alive who would have died of their injuries in earlier wars.

We lost many many more soldiers in Vietnam, about 4,850 a year from 1963 to 1875. We lost about 12,300 soldiers a year in Korea, from 1950 to 1953.

But this doesn't matter to the children, wives, husbands, mothers and fathers of those who have died in Iraq. Their pain, their loss is not lessened by such statistics.

We are learning more each month, it seems, about how the American people were lied to about the necessity for this war. The news media failed miserably to raise timely questions prior to us going to war.

In a scenario straight out of Kafta, we are now caught in a chaotic mess of our own making. How can we leave now and abandon the Iraqi civilians to civil war?

I don't think we can and still call ourselves a moral nation.

But there are some things we MUST do.

* We must insist that our government equip our soldiers with the best equipment possible NOW.

* We must insist that our government take the best possible care of our veterans, especially the wounded.

* We must insist that our government take the best possible care of the military families, who are bearing the burden of this war almost alone, while the rest of us go about our lives untouched for the most part.

* We must insist that the news media do their job, which is to afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted. They must not be cynical, but they must be skeptical.

* And we, the people, must pay attention. We must question authority. We must hold our leaders accountable. That's our job as Americans.

And we haven't done it very well lately.

Four thousand dead. May they rest in peace and rise in glory.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

The Lord Is Risen! Alleluia!

Happy Easter!

The Lord is Risen! Alleluia!!

The fountains splash and the daffodil trumpets sing to the heavens.

The Lord Is Risen Indeed!

The iris enfolds and embodies the beauty and joy of the Resurrection.
The Lord Is Risen Indeed!
May your Eastertide be filled with new joys, new growth, new discoveries of the wonders of God.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Holy Saturday


V: Sorrowful Mother, all humanity shares your loss.

R: Bless us all, Womb of Humanity, and renew our journey into new life.


I press my broken son to me, as if I can absorb him once again into my body. Oh Beloved! Have mercy on me! Pour Your tender mercies down upon me and help me! Help me! I have no strength left.

And once again, You send my bright angel. I feel the warmth at my back, the angel’s hand upon my bent head, and hear the familiar voice: “Mary, Blessed of all Women, do not be afraid, for God is pleased with you.”

And I remember the Promise: “All will be well. All manner of things will be well.”

I allow them to take my son’s body from me. They are telling me it is time to prepare him for burial. Salome has brought spices, and Joseph of Arimethea has gotten permission to bury him in his nearby tomb. And so I go through the ritual motions. As I once laid his sweet body tenderly in a cradle, I now lay his broken body tenderly in the tomb. The smell of the sweet herbs fills the air. For one last time, I kiss his mortal face, then gently cover it with the sheet of fine white fabric. My hand caresses the soft cloth, and I smile. Would that I had had such fine cloth to clothe him in while he lived.

But I have no bitterness left. My heart already is looking ahead. We walk outside, and James and John push the great stone over the entrance. I stand looking at the tomb.

How long, oh Beloved, how long? As my dear friends move about me, peace settles on me. I am again one with Your will. Let it happen as You say.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Good Friday

This is taken from Women of the Passion, A Journey to the Cross, which I wrote some years ago for a women's retreat. Today, we hear from Mary, mother of Jesus.


V: “Do not call me Naomi, which means Pleasant.

R: “Call me Mara, which means Bitter: for the Almighty has dealt bitterly with me.

As I waited in pain for him to be born, now I wait in pain for him to die.

I cannot take my eyes off him, for every second that passes takes him farther from me. Where is my bright angel now?

I would be the God-Bearer, the angel said. Well, I did my part. And now here he is, this Child of God, dying in a dismal dusty place.

Anger washes through me, followed by new waves of grief. For days I’ve been an ocean, wracked by storms of emotion that threaten to drown my soul, kill my faith. This is too much to ask of me, Beloved! I believed Your promises. I believed them when I pushed him into the world with only Joseph and the animals as midwives. I believed them when the shepherds and the kings came. I believed them when my angel warned Joseph to take us into Egypt. And I believed them when, at the Temple, he disappeared. I feared You already had taken him from me then, much too soon. We searched for him for three whole days, days like years. When we found him teaching in the Temple, he said he had to be about Your business.

But Joseph and I persuaded him to wait a bit longer. And when the time came, it was still too soon by my heart’s reckoning. But I had vowed to do Your will, and so I helped him any way I could. Many times that meant stepping aside, occasionally it meant helping others to understand, and nearly always, it meant biting my tongue when I feared he’d gone too far, too fast.

But this! Oh Beloved, is this necessary! Must our child suffer so? We are not worthy of such pain. Take him! Take him now, before I go mad with rage and pain.

But stay! Do not take him yet . . . This is the body of my body, the blood of my blood. I will devour him with my eyes, eating his body, drinking his blood. I will carry him within me forever.

His soft summons of “Mother” reaches me as if in a dream. I move as close to his feet as the soldiers will permit, John beside me.

“Ema,” my dying son says to me, indicating John. “Behold your son.”

And to John he says, “Behold your mother.”

His voice is almost too faint to hear.

“I am thirsty,” he rasps. I turn in silent appeal. The young soldier at the foot of the cross hesitates. Then, with a slight shrug, he puts a sponge soaked in cheap wine onto his lance and hoists it to Jesus. He wets his lips, and speaks again, his words tearing into my heart like knives.
“It is finished.”

Then he cries out to You, Beloved.

“Abba, into Your hands I commend my spirit.”

He drops his head and his eyes meet mine. And as I watch, the light dies.


I hear a scream and wonder who it is. The sky darkens, thunder rumbles, and a great silence falls. My body feels numb. It seems as if the darkness lasts forever. After a time, however, light returns. Shaken, the soldiers begin taking my child down from the cross. One of them, a centurion I think, motions to them to give me the body.

I sink down on a rock, and with a curious gentleness, the soldiers hand him to me, draping him across my lap. I cradle him, my babe now man. His head lolls against my breast, and his soft hair strokes my chin. I gently close his eyes and with my veil wipe the blood off his face.

I have no tears left. My eyes are spent with weeping, my soul is in tumult, my heart is poured out in grief because of the downfall of my people.

John says something to me, and I look up, my eyes blazing.

“Do not call me Naomi, which means Pleasant. Call me Mara, which means Bitter; for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me.”

John looks shocked, but what do I care? What are all the prophecies to me now? What do I care for all the fine words of men? My child is dead!

Agony forces my head back and I scream at the heavens, “My baby! I want my baby back!”

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Thursday of Holy Week

This is from Women of the Passion, A Journey to the Cross, which I wrote some years ago for a women's retreat. This is Mary Magdalene speaking.


V: And I know if my grief were a river.

R: The whole earth would drown.


I watch them stretch his naked body out on the cross. Even in this moment of complete vulnerability, he is magnificent! As I look at him through eyes blurred with tears, he is no longer just one man, but seems instead to embody all of suffering humankind. Could any human endure such a burden?

I would die in his place without a moment’s regret. That they should touch one hair on that adored head, hurt one inch of that beloved body, sickens me with grief and rage. I have loved him forever, it seems, even though I met him only three years ago, when he was teaching near my home in Magdala. I knew from the moment we first spoke that he had loved me from before I was born. I would have loved him even if he had not cured me of my affliction, taken from me that deep-seated sadness that had clouded my days ever since I had achieved menarche. For me, becoming a woman had meant confinement in a prison of sadness. I seemed always to walk in darkness. I yearned to end this soul-eating pain.

Then I met him, and the sun rose in my life. With a glance he removed the pall of sadness that had dragged my life in the dust. With a touch he lifted me into a realm of spiritual brightness that dazzled my eyes and delighted my soul.

He called me “beloved disciple,” and when the inevitable rumors began, I went crying to him. He gentled my tears away and said, “Mary, feel my hand on your face. I am touching the image of God. Nothing they say can change that, not in my eyes, and certainly not in the eyes of the One who made you.

“And know this,” he said. “Though they may try, they will never be able to cast you into the darkness. My peace is upon you forever.”

“My peace is upon you forever . . . ” I cling to those words as they stretch him out upon that dreadful cross. I brush tears from my eyes, and see more clearly what they are about to do. Oh Holy One, help us! They are nailing him to the cross!

I turn to shield his mother from the sight, but it is too late. She lets out a low guttural sound, like that of woman in labor. I put my arm around her shoulders, and feel her slight body shudder with every blow of that accursed hammer.

When they pull the cross upright and drop it into a hole in the rock, I think the jolt will tear his arms from his body. And for a terrible interminable time we wait, as he slowly weakens. Finally I hear him give himself to his father. Without looking, I know he is gone from me.

And I know if my grief were a river, the whole earth would drown.

Wednesday of Holy Week

Today at my parish we will be doing the Stations of the Cross from The Women of the Passion, A Journey to the Cross, something I wrote several years ago for a women's retreat. As we journey toward Easter, let us walk with these women.

Today, we meet The Woman Taken in Adultery.



V: Our hearts feel every blow of that hammer.

R: Your wounds are of our making.


As I watch them strip him and pull him down onto the cross, I long to scream, “Stop this madness! This is an innocent man! A good man!”

I know. He saved my life.

I was a maid in the household of an important merchant in Jerusalem, and young and foolish. I had been betrothed since I was a child to a man I had never seen. But the merchant’s son convinced me he loved me, and I allowed him to come to my bed. His mother found us. She called me an adulteress, and locked me in my room. I was terrified. Although the Law clearly states that both the man and woman are to be put to death, my lover is important in the community. I knew nothing would happen to him. But the Law says a betrothed virgin is to be stoned to death.

At daybreak they dragged me to the Temple. There was a man sitting there, surrounded by people. The Temple officials threw me to the ground in front of him. I knew I already was a dead woman. They said, “Rabbi, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. The Law says we should stone her. Tell us, what do you say?”

I was confused. Who was this man? Why where they asking him? What were they up to? The man ignored them, drawing with his finger in the dust near my face. But they kept at him, and he kept ignoring them. I finally calmed down enough to focus on what he was doing. There in the dust he had written the unspeakable name of God. What did this mean?

But the Temple officials persisted until he looked up and said quietly, “Let the one among you who has not sinned be the first to throw a stone.”

Then, bending down, he drew some more in the dust, smiling sideways at me. One by one, those who had accused me silently slipped away, until he and I were alone.

“Where have they gone?” he asked me. I said nothing, shaking my head in bewilderment.
“Tell me, has no one condemned you?” he then asked.

“No one, sir,” I said softly.

“And neither do l,” he said. “Go now, and sin no more.”

And he helped me to my feet, smiled at me, turned me toward the door and gave me a gentle push.

“Go,” he said with a smile.

And I did. I went and got my belongings, and set out to find the company of Jesus. He had given me back my life. I would now give it to him.

And now these fools are going to kill him! I hear a terrible groan from his mother and look up. Oh, dear God! They are not tying him to the cross, they are nailing him to it! My heart feels every blow of that hammer. As they jerk his feet together and begin driving the nails through that precious skin, his body moves convulsively upward. And I fall, driven to the ground by grief.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Playing Catchup

The LA Times story on the Deposition of John David Schofield is here.

The Episcopal News Service story is here.

Mad Priest, who makes me laugh out loud on a regular basis, offers this observation, entitled "One Last Fat Joke Afore Ye Go."

And the new bishop of San Joaquin is a lamb, according to this Episcopal Life story.
Here's the new web site of the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin.
Things are happening fast these days in The Episcopal Church. As I've been spending many hours at the hospital with my husband, it's been hard to keep up.

But I do have a couple of observations.

John David was not deposed , as he keeps claiming, for "abandoning the faith." He was deposed for abandoning the communion of The Episcopal Church, the entity that consecrated him a bishop.

And secondly, if the two previous presiding bishops had had half the guts of Katharine Jefferts Schori and a portion of her understanding of the responsibilities of the office of PB, all of us would have been spared the agonies of the last fifteen years or so.

Those of us in the Diocese of Fort Worth who are remaining in The Episcopal Church are joyous for our sisters and brothers in San Joaquin. We look forward in hope to the day when we too will be facing a joyous new day in a reconstituted diocese.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Pushing toward the Light

This is a photo of the entrance to our Chapel Garden. It was taken last summer.
This is my favorite photo of Gayland, taken in Jerusalem on Palm Sunday in 1983. I love the look of joy on his face.

Gayland and I sit in the Chapel Garden almost every night, unless it's raining or just too icy. We pray and talk and dream and review the day and laugh at our dogs who think the gardens were created for their personal pleasure -- and who's to say they are wrong?

We haven't been sitting together in the garden much this Lent -- not because we don't want to, but because Gayland had a triple bypass operation, and then barely two weeks later, a stress ulcer in his stomach perforated, sending him to the ER in an ambulance and into emergency surgery at 3 A.M.

He almost died.

Now he's in the ICU and recovering. He walked a long distance today, and sat in a chair for a long time. Maybe tomorrow he will be out of the ICU. Maybe.

This has been a Lenten experience I hope to never have again.

After I came home from the hospital tonight, I went with the dogs to sit in the Chapel Garden. The start of Daylight Savings Time meant it was still light enough to see. So as the dogs arranged themselves on and around my feet -- dogs believe that warm feet are very important when comforting someone -- I gazed out at the garden and gave thanks.

Thanks that Gayland has survived this challenge. Thanks for the skill of his surgeon. Thanks for the gentleness and skill of his nurses. Thanks for the meals that friends have brought. Thanks for the prayers of countless people. Thanks for the kindnesses without number that people have shown us.

I looked at the spring bulbs just now opening into beautiful blooms and I wept at their courage. All these bulbs pushing toward the Light, not knowing whether or not a freeze tomorrow might kill them. For them, Easter is the only possibility.

I take hope from them, and courage.

All will be well, they proclaim. All manner of things will be well.

God, please make it so.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Through the Looking Glass into Canon32Land

I had sent my heroine straight down a rabbit-hole ... without the least idea what was to happen afterwards. -- Lewis Carroll


Be prepared, as you read the information below, to feel as if you have gone through the looking glass into Canon32Land.

Canon32Land is a place where a bishop who is leading a schismatic movement expresses his concern for "the unity of the church."

It is a place where Episcopal parishes which already are part of The Episcopal Church must apply to "return" to The Episcopal Church and jump through multiple hoops to do so.

A place where "Christian charity" is used as an argument against going to court to protect your property from those who would take it illegally, where taking legal action to protect your property is "rupturing the bonds of affection."

A place where the diocesan leadership says it has "watched with sadness as issues and attitudes have caused deepening differences at all levels in the Anglican Communion" -- as if their issues and attitudes have had nothing to do with the divisions they have done their best to exacerbate for years.

It is a place where parishes loyal to the doctrine and discipline of The Episcopal Church have to appeal to a schismatic bishop in order to stay in TEC, a bishop who gets to be judge, jury, and source of final appeal.

It is a place where the schismatic bishop, who called members of his diocese who disagree with him "demons" in his diocesan convention address, will require 'a year-long non-disparagement clause, whereby the leaders of the Parish and the leaders of the Diocese agree not to disparage one another in public statements, press releases, website announcements and articles, other articles, and sermons' before "releasing" a parish "back" to TEC.

It is a place where a canon developed in the Diocese of Dallas to deal with parishes wanting to leave a diocese of The Episcopal Church has been twisted to apply to parishes who want to stay in The Episcopal Church while the diocesan leadership tries to take the diocese out of The Episcopal Church.

Yes, I know. It makes your head hurt, doesn't it?

Welcome to Canon32Land.

This was released today:

Subject: Ad Clerum: Guidelines released for diocesan Canon 32

To all clergy and convention delegates,

Today the Bishop and Standing Committee have released the Guidelines called for in the amendment to Canon 32, which was approved by our Diocesan Convention in November 2007. The amendment took effect 30 days after ratification by Convention.

The Guidelines set out a procedure to be followed if a parish wishes to initiate a separation from the diocese. They were prepared after consideration was given to specific concerns raised at deanery convocations and at the Convention. As much as possible, these concerns have been taken into consideration as the Guidelines were drafted.

The leadership of this diocese has watched with sadness as issues and attitudes have caused deepening differences at all levels in the Anglican Communion. Adding to this rupture of the bonds of affection are the growing numbers of lawsuits being filed by those who once were unified in faithful witness and ministry.

"Disagreement and division may be inevitable," commented Dean Ryan Reed, President of the Standing Committee, "but Christian charity must not be sacrificed in the process. The purpose of the Canon and the Guidelines is to provide for a charitable parting, if parting is necessary."

Attached to this announcement is a copy of Canon 32, "Controversy between Rector and Vestry or between a Parish and the Diocese," the Guidelines, and a pastoral Introduction from the Bishop. They are available on the diocesan Web site as well.

Suzanne Gill
Director of Communications



The Apostle Paul urges Christian believers to be “eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace,” and it is his words that we recall at the beginning of every service of baptism and confirmation: “There is one body and one Spirit… one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of us all.” (Ephesians 4: 3-6)

Striving to maintain the unity of the church is of particular concern to a Bishop in his ministry, for he is charged at his consecration “to guard the faith, unity and discipline of the Church.” Whenever the peace and unity of the Church are imperiled, it is the Bishop’s special vocation to address it as pastor and chief shepherd of the diocese.

In the words of the Archbishop of Canterbury, a “basic conviction of catholic theology” is that “the organ of union with the wider Church is the Bishop and the Diocese.” It is in the context of life together in the Diocese that tensions or estrangement from one another over faith and order first come to the surface. In such cases, all are obligated to work for reconciliation and healing. Separation comes as a last resort when such efforts have failed, and if it must come, it must be agreed upon in a respectful and non-litigious manner.

It is the responsibility of the Bishop to deal pastorally with any parish that feels estranged from the Diocese, as a focus and instrument of unity. If reconciliation is not possible, he should act in the best interest of both the Diocese and the parish in question, in so far as possible.

The following guidelines (as called for in Canon 32.3) are offered as a way forward in addressing the prospect of a parish seeking to separate from the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth. They are guiding principles rather than hard-and-fast rules. It is expected that all parties will comply with them in a spirit of love and respect, dealing with one another as brothers and sisters in Christ in a time of conflict and estrangement.

The Rt. Rev. Jack Leo Iker
Bishop of Fort Worth
March 3, 2008

NOTE: We are deeply grateful to Bishop James M. Stanton and the Diocese of Dallas for allowing us to borrow from them in formulating both these guidelines and the canon concerning a controversy between a parish and the diocese (Canon 32)


1. Preliminaries

1.a At the time the Vestry and Rector of a Parish begin to explore formal separation from the Diocese, the Parish must be current in its financial support of the Diocese and in any loans outstanding to the Diocesan Revolving Fund.

1.b The Vestry must demonstrate that the Parish is current in its payments to the clergy pension fund and all other insurance and benefits.

1.c The Vestry and the Rector will signal their intent to explore formal separation from the Diocese by presenting the Bishop with a signed and dated document demonstrating intent to separate, dissociate, or disaffiliate (or similar language).

1.d The Vestry and the Rector will then devise and implement a plan demonstrating that they are approaching the matter of separation soberly, prayerfully, and pastorally, accounting for and respecting all the views held by members of the Parish.

1.e The clergy and any lay members of the parish holding elected or appointed office in the Diocese shall resign immediately therefrom.

1.f These guidelines envision a period of up to six months in which the Bishop, or his designees, will be involved in seeking a pastoral solution other than separation, if such is to be had.

2. Before any agreement can be finalized, a dossier containing the following elements will be gathered by the Vestry and Rector and conveyed to the Bishop and Standing Committee:

2.a A certified list of members qualified to vote at a parish meeting.

2.b A Statement of the Vestry on the issues within the Diocese of Fort Worth with which the Vestry and Parish are at odds.

2.c A Study of the extent of the disagreement of the leadership, including the Vestry, and the members of the Parish with respect to the issues identified above. This may be in the form of a congregational vote, a survey instrument, a petition, a poll, or some other means by which to register that disagreement.

2.d A Statement by each of the Clergy as to their desire to 1) remain in the Diocese, 2) resign from the ministry, or 3) be transferred to another Bishop of the Anglican Communion. This is a statement of desire only, and does not comprise a Letter of Resignation, or a Request for Letters Dimissory.

2.e Documentation as to the state of indebtedness of the parish, if any, and the amounts owed, to whom, for what purposes, and performance. Further, an accounting for all trust indentures, endowments and restricted gifts shall be made. The Vestry must show what, if any, of these make reference to the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth, the Bishop of the Diocese (or his successors in Office), or the Episcopal Church, and the extent of the benefits intended for these entities.

2.f A Statement by the Vestry and Rector of the affiliation the Parish intends to establish with another ecclesial body (a Province or a Diocese of the Anglican Communion; or a body outside the Anglican Communion).

2.g Certification that the Parish has been duly incorporated under the laws of the State of Texas as a non-profit corporation and has received 501(c)(3) status.

3. Elements of an episcopal order:

It is expected that an agreement will be formulated to reflect the mutually agreed upon terms by which the Parish will separate. This shall form the basis for the issuance by the Bishop of an episcopal order, pursuant to Canon 32 of the Canons of the Diocese (see below). While the terms of any such agreement will vary with each Parish, it is generally expected that such terms will include, at a minimum, the following:

3.a Financial agreements

3.b A year-long non-disparagement clause, whereby the leaders of the Parish and the leaders of the Diocese agree not to disparage one another in public statements, press releases, website announcements and articles, other articles, and sermons.

3.c Indemnification of the Diocese by the Parish. The specific form of indemnification shall be agreed to in each case.

The written agreement made by the Vestry and Rector of the Parish, the Bishop, the Standing Committee, and the Board of Trustees of the Corporation of the Diocese shall be subject to ratification by 2/3 of the qualified members (see sec. 2.b) of the parish in a vote taken at a parish meeting (pursuant to Canon 26).

Legal transfer of property will occur when all terms of the agreement have been satisfied.

---CANON 32

Section 32.1 When a Rector has been regularly settled in a Parish he shall not be dismissed without the consent of the Bishop of the Diocese.

Section 32.2 In case of a controversy between a Rector and Vestry, which cannot be settled by the parties themselves, the parties or either of them, may appeal to the Bishop. The duty of the Bishop shall be to seek to bring the parties to an amicable conclusion; and in such case, the agreement between them, signed by them and attested to by the Bishop, shall have the same force as an order made under Section 32.5 of this Canon.

Section 32.3 In the case of a controversy between a Parish and the Diocese, the Rector and a majority of the members of the Vestry may petition the Bishop, whose duty it shall be to seek to bring the parties to an amicable conclusion.

To that end, the Rector and majority of the Vestry shall provide a reasonable opportunity for the Bishop, a diocesan chancellor and a member of the Standing Committee to meet on parish property with the entire Vestry and such members of the parish as wish to be present.

Both verbal and written notice of the meeting must be provided to the members of the parish.

It will be the duty of the Bishop to determine the extent to which the members of the parish agree with the Rector and majority of the Vestry.

It shall also be the duty of the Bishop to make adequate provision in any resolution to protect the interest of the minority of the parish wishing to remain in union with the Diocese, and to protect the missionary interest of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth.

In the case where an agreement is reached, it shall be signed by the Rector and the Bishop and attested to by at least a two thirds majority of the members of the Vestry and at least a majority of the members of the Standing Committee.

This agreement shall have the same force and effect as an order made under Section 32.5 of this Canon. When reaching the conclusion amicably or pursuant to an order made under Section 32.5 of this Canon, consideration will be given to the provisions of Article 14 of the Constitution, Canon 18 and such guidelines as may be established by the Bishop and Standing Committee for the resolution of such disputes.

Section 32.4 If the matter shall not be amicably settled within a reasonable time, not to exceed six (6) months, the bishop shall convene the members of the Standing Committee and shall give notice to the parties to appear before him and them and present their facts and arguments, at such time and place as he may appoint; and he may adjourn and continue the hearing in the matter at his discretion.

Section 32.5 After all hearings as may be called for in Sections 32.2 through 32.4 above are concluded, the Bishop, after consultation with the Standing Committee, shall make such an order in regard to the matter as he may think to be just and for the best interest of the Church. It shall be the duty of the Diocese, the Rector and the Parish, and every member thereof, to submit to and abide by such order as the final and conclusive determination of all matters of difference between them.

From Through The Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll

'She's MY prisoner, you know!' the Red Knight said at last.

`Yes, but then I came and rescued her!' the White Knight replied.

`Well, we must fight for her, then,' said the Red Knight, as he took up his helmet (which hung from the saddle, and was something the shape of a horse's head), and put it on.

`You will observe the Rules of Battle, of course?' the White Knight remarked, putting on his helmet too.

`I always do,' said the Red Knight, and they began banging away at each other with such fury that Alice got behind a tree to be out of the way of the blows.

`I wonder, now, what the Rules of Battle are,' she said to herself, as she watched the fight, timidly peeping out from her hiding-place: `one Rule seems to be, that if one Knight hits the other, he knocks him off his horse, and if he misses, he tumbles off himself--and another Rule seems to be that they hold their clubs with their arms, as if they were Punch and Judy--What a noise they make when they tumble! Just like a whole set of fire- irons falling into the fender! And how quiet the horses are! They let them get on and off them just as if they were tables!'

Another Rule of Battle, that Alice had not noticed, seemed to be that they always fell on their heads, and the battle ended with their both falling off in this way, side by side: when they got up again, they shook hands, and then the Red Knight mounted and galloped off.

`It was a glorious victory, wasn't it?' said the White Knight, as he came up panting.

`I don't know,' Alice said doubtfully. `I don't want to be anybody's prisoner. '

Presiding Bishop to speak in Dallas UPDATED!!!

UPDATE: The garden blessing at The Episcopal Church of Saint Thomas the Apostle will now start at 2:30 p.m. on Monday, April 28. The reception/Q&A will follow immediately in the parish hall. (The initial start time was posted as 6 p.m.)

For all you folks in the Fort Worth diocese who have wondered about our presiding bishop, Katharine Jefferts Schori, here's your chance to meet her, listen to her, talk with her.

She is visiting Dallas with the approval of Bp. James Stanton.

Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori will be at St. Thomas the Apostle at 6525 Inwood Road in Central Dallas on Monday, April 28.

Mark your calendars now.

Here's the release from St. Thomas:

The Episcopal Church of Saint Thomas The Apostle announces that the Presiding Bishop of the U.S. Episcopal Church, the Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, will visit the Dallas parish on Monday April 28.

During her visit, the Presiding Bishop will participate in a blessing service for the new Saint Thomas Community Garden, tour the newly restored and rebuilt Saint Thomas church buildings and speak at a reception for church and community members. The garden blessing and reception will take place from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.,[now 2:30 p.m] and members of other parishes and the general public are invited to attend.

“We are honored that the Presiding Bishop has accepted our invitation to visit our parish in Dallas, and we eagerly look forward to having her with us on April 28,” said the Rev. Stephen J. Waller, rector of Saint Thomas.

“Our Community Garden is growing food to fight hunger right here where we live,” Rev. Waller said. “It reflects the Millennium Development Goals of our national church to eradicate hunger wherever it occurs. Our community garden as well as our recently restored and rebuilt church facilities reflect our commitment and growth as a parish of thinking, tolerant Christians engaged in life with our God, our families and friends, and the broader community within the best traditions of the Episcopal Church.”

The Saint Thomas Community Garden is located on a formerly vacant lot adjacent to the church at the corner of Inwood Road and Mockingbird Lane in Dallas. Church members have created two large “pantry plots” on which they are growing vegetables that will be donated entirely to local food banks and organizations fighting hunger in Dallas. In addition, the garden has 16 private plots maintained by individuals who have agreed to give at least 10 percent of their harvest to local food banks.