Wednesday, April 30, 2008
The Living Church reports that "Sufficient legal grounds exist for presenting Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori for ecclesiastical trial on 11 counts of violating the Constitution and Canons of The Episcopal Church, according to a legal memorandum that has begun circulating among members of the House of Bishops.
"A copy of the April 21 document seen by a reporter representing The Living Church states Bishop Jefferts Schori demonstrated a 'willful violation of the canons, an intention to repeat the violations, and a pattern of concealment and lack of candor' in her handling of the cases of bishops Robert W. Duncan, John-David Schofield and William Cox, and that she 'subverted' the 'fundamental polity' of The Episcopal Church in the matter of the Diocese of San Joaquin.
"Prepared by an attorney on behalf of a consortium of bishops and church leaders seeking legal counsel over the canonical implications of the Presiding Bishop’s recent actions, it is unclear whether a critical mass of support will form behind the report’s recommendations for any action to be taken, persumably as a violation of the Presiding Bishop’s ordination vows."
I don't think it's unclear at all. This action has no credibility at all.
Plus, as one person on the Fort Worth Via Media list asked, "How can they bring ecclesiastical charges against someone they do not acknowledge as clergy?"
You can read what the PB wrote about the canons in a letter that was issued BEFORE this news story by the Living Church broke here. She lays out the situation very plainly, and in doing so quite effectively cuts the legs out from under this transparent effort to smear her and change the subject.
The boys are getting desperate.
He has the documents and a wonderful commentary on this plan to make faithful Episcopalians refugees in their own church and make it easier for Bp. Iker to abscond with TEC property.
Mark writes, "This last weekend I received an anonymously sent and unsolicited copy of a Draft proposal for "The Fort Worth Plan" dated 4/09/08, and marked Confidential, although without any attribution as to author or source of the request of confidentiality. Accompanying that was a draft of "Canon 41, Associated Congregations" which is referenced in "The Fort Worth Plan" as a proposed canonical change in the Diocese of Dallas."
Go check it out.
I am shocked and saddened by the rude letter you released yesterday to Archbishop Greg Venables, concerning his visit this weekend to the Diocese of Fort Worth. Far from being "an unwarranted interference," he is coming at my request as an honored visitor and guest speaker.
You should know that under the canons this does not require either your approval or your support. You have no say in this matter. A diocesan bishop is free to invite other bishops to visit and speak in his diocese.
There are no efforts at reconciliation proceeding within this Province, which is one reason why faithful people continue to leave TEC in droves. Your attitude and actions simply reinforce alienation and bring further discord.
Once again, you are the one meddling in the internal affairs of this diocese, and I ask you to stop your unwelcome intrusions.
Faithfully in Christ,
The Rt. Rev. Jack Leo Iker
Bishop of Fort Worth
cc: The Archbishop of Canterbury
Ooooooooo, the bishop does NOT like it when anyone interfers in "his" diocese, does he? Remember the temper tantrum he threw when Bonnie Anderson had the temerity to come here at the invitation of Fort Worth Via Media?
But it's NOT OK when the primate of this province objects to another primate interfering in her province.
And while the canons may not say anything about it, the Windsor Report certainly does. And so do Anglican custom, collegiality and good manners.
But good manners aren't nearly as much fun as cowboying about to the cheers of the Stand Firm crowd.
Walt Cabe, the Steering Committee president, is quoted as saying, ""We might not agree on every position or action, but it's that diversity that has attracted us to remain Episcopalians. That's an important witness."
The story reported "Cabe said that the steering committee is a way for several Episcopal groups to bond and work with the national church to stay intact. He said it should not be categorized as liberal or conservative. 'We want a more tolerant attitude toward one another, a willingness to engage in informal adult conversation and eliminate fear and intimidation," he said."
The story also included Bp. Iker's response: "Fort Worth Diocese Bishop Jack Iker said in a statement Tuesday that the steering committee is 'a self-selected vigilante group whose only stated purpose is 'to remain in The Episcopal Church' no matter what -- and regardless of what TEC believes or practices. They espouse a blind institutional loyalty that borders on institutional idolatry.'"
Iker's statement is also quoted as saying "that the diocese's main purpose is to be faithful to biblical teaching and that the annual diocese convention, composed of elected lay and clergy leaders from every diocese congregation, is the only body that can act on behalf of the diocese."
The story also includes Suzanne Gill, the diocesan director of communications, describing the diocese's "generous" offer to let those parishes who want to stay in The Episcopal Church keep their property.
To which Cabe replied "property issues 'are at the heart of the tangible consequences' that might result if the diocese aligns with another province."
I'd say he hit that nail on the head.
This is indeed a strange place when Episcopalians are called vigilantes for seeking to keep an Episcopal diocese in The Episcopal Church, but a bishop who invites the primate of another province to come persuade our convention delegates to "move" to his province is called "Windsor compliant."
It's also sad that while Bp. Iker insists that those who oppose him do not vilify him, he is free to call members of his diocese idolaters and vigilantes.
Vigilante is an interesting word. It is Spanish for "watchman" or "watcher." It came into the English language through the Southwestern United States, where many Spanish words are used daily. The term has gotten a bad rap because some vigilante groups in our history have resorted to violence when those in positions of power failed to deliver the justice they thought was needed.
But mostly those in power don't like vigilante groups because they are "watchers." People who are walking on a thin line of legality particularly do not like "watchers." I think it is a very interesting choice of words by Bishop Iker.
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
You go, girl!!
Read it all here, where the story also reports on the founding of the Steering Committee North Texas Episcopalians. There is one error -- the Steering Committee did not begin to work to identify people who wish to remain Episcopalians immediately after the last diocesan convention. Some people who are now members of the Steering Committee began to do that work. The Steering Committee did not begin to come into existence until about six weeks ago.
Here's the story:
Fort Worth visit an 'unwarranted invasion,' Presiding Bishop tells Southern Cone primate
Episcopalians organize to counter moves to re-align Fort Worth diocese
From staff reports April 29, 2008 [Episcopal News Service]
Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has advised Southern Cone Presiding Bishop Gregory J. Venables in an April 29 letter that his planned May 2-3 visit to address a special convocation of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth "with the expressed purpose of describing removal to the Province of the Southern Cone is an unwarranted invasion of, and meddling in, the internal affairs of this Province."
"I write to urge you not to bring further discord into The Episcopal Church," Jefferts Schori told Venables, who was, according to reports, scheduled to be in Central California on April 29 to meet with church leaders who last year voted to disaffiliate with the Episcopal Church and align with his Argentina-based province.
"The actions contemplated by some leaders in Fort Worth are profoundly uncanonical," Jefferts Schori wrote. "They also prevent needed reconciliation from proceeding within this Province."
The full text of Jefferts Schori's letter, copied to Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, follows.
Dear Gregory, I write to urge you not to bring further discord into The Episcopal Church. Visiting a special convocation of the Diocese of Fort Worth with the expressed purpose of describing removal to the Province of the Southern Cone is an unprecedented and unwarranted invasion of, and meddling in, the internal affairs of this Province. I ask you to consider how you might receive such a visit to your own Province from a fellow primate. The actions contemplated by some leaders in Fort Worth are profoundly uncanonical. They also prevent needed reconciliation from proceeding within this Province. I urge you to focus your pastoral ministry within your own Province. May your ministry there be fruitful.
Your servant in Christ,
Katharine Jefferts Schori
During the past year, the Presiding Bishop and Fort Worth Bishop Jack Iker have exchanged letters about the vote of Fort Worth's convention last November in which delegates gave the first of two required approvals of canonical changes to amend its constitution and remove accession to the Constitution and Canons of General Convention, as well as several canonical amendments that eliminate mention of the Episcopal Church.
Jefferts Schori has continued to emphasize the possibility of reconciliation between Iker, the diocese and the wider Episcopal Church, said the Presiding Bishop's canon, the Rev. Dr. Charles K. Robertson.
Meanwhile, a group called the Steering Committee North Texas Episcopalians has been formed to help Episcopalians who are opposed to efforts to align the diocese with a province of the Anglican Communion other than the Episcopal Church.
An April 27 news release from the steering committee said the group began work immediately after the November 17 Fort Worth convention.
Since that time, Iker and the diocesan Standing Committee have said that "the structure and polity of the Province of the Southern Cone would afford our diocese greater self-determination than we currently have under the General Convention of The Episcopal Church."
The Southern Cone has about 22,000 members and encompasses Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay. Its provincial synod, meeting in Valpariso, Chile, November 5-7, 2007, agreed to welcome into the province "on an emergency and pastoral basis" Episcopal Church dioceses "taking appropriate action to separate from The Episcopal Church."
The Fort Worth diocesan convention is set to vote on the changes for a second time when the convention meets in November.
"In the wake of the first vote, many people immediately set to work to identify and empower those who intend to remain Episcopalians," the steering committee said in its release. Those people include members of Fort Worth Via Media, North Texans Remain Episcopal in the northern part of the diocese and Remain Episcopal of Granbury in the southwestern part of the diocese as well as by a group in the mid-cities area and a group of diocesan clergy, the release said. Another group, Steadfast Episcopalians, was recently organized explicitly to reach out to conservative Episcopalians.
"There were also individuals representing almost all parishes and missions who had self-identified as wishing to remain Episcopalian," the committee said.
"These groups and individuals realized they needed to work together" and so they formed the steering committee, according to the release.
"The inclusion of individuals representing all points of view is crucial as we move forward in mission together," said Robertson, canon to the Presiding Bishop.
Walter Cabe is president and Courtland Moore is vice president. Margaret Mieuli is treasurer and Bruce Coggin is the committee's clerk. Other executive committee members are George Komechak, Kathleen Wells, Victoria Prescott and Fred Barber.
"The primary objectives of this combined group are to remain in the Episcopal Church and to continue the work of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth as a constituent part of the Episcopal Church," Komechak, who is also president of Fort Worth Via Media, said in the release. "Identifying additional persons in diocesan parishes and missions who support staying in the Episcopal Church is one of the Steering Committee's first items of business."
People who will remain Episcopalians can send information to Steering Committee North Texas Episcopalians, P.O. Box 100846, Fort Worth, TX, 76185-0846. A website is under construction.
The committee has been recognized as a Texas non-profit corporation by the Secretary of State, and has adopted bylaws and a statement of mission and beliefs.
According to recent parochial reports, the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth is comprised of more than 18,100 active baptized members in some 55 congregations in north central Texas.
It's interesting to note that very recently our bishop and other diocesan leaders have begun to drop a little bomb into discussions. Bishop Iker said at a recent meeting at All Saints Church that we shouldn't get too wedded to the idea of the Southern Cone. We may not be going there.
His sidekick Dean Christopher Cantrell said the same thing at a Fort Worth West Deanery meeting last night. So what's up with that?
Are we hedging our bets? Are we looking to negotiate a better deal with Venables, who would love to have our numbers and our money in his teeny province?
I think they are just jerking folks around, keeping the anxiety level high while maintaining as much an air of mystery as possible.
Why? Because they are trying to fly this airplane while they're building it. They are making this up as they go along. They know the legal underpinnings of what they are trying to pull off are non-existent. The legal "arguments" they put forward to justify it are tissue-thin.
Katharine has started to call their bluff.
It's long past time someone did.
Monday, April 28, 2008
In addition to the people on the buses, there were others who came as individuals from Fort Worth, as well as twenty from Granbury and fifteen from Wichita Falls. Not bad for a Monday afternoon. Many more wanted to come but could not get off work.
We all wore these identifying badges to erase any doubt about why we were there.
Katharine was there to bless St. Thomas' new community garden. They are "growing food to fight hunger where we live." The garden was an outgrowth of their commitment to the Millennium Development goals.
Read the Dallas Morning News story and watch the video here.
People starting donating time, money and equipment and now two large pantry plots are growing food to be donated to the North Dallas Shared Ministries and the Resource Center of Dallas. Gardeners in 16 private plots are growing food for themselves with a promise to donate 10 percent to local food banks.
The garden is beautifully laid out and promises bumper crops this summer.
Those of us from Fort Worth came not only to celebrate the new garden, but also to see and hear Katharine. We needed to feed a different hunger, one for connection to the larger church, and for reassurance that we won't be forgotten.
Katharine delivered on both counts. The liturgy blessing the garden was lovely and well done, and her remarks and answers to questions at the reception that followed were handled with her usual calm gracefulness.
We give thanks for the wonderful hospitality of the people of St. Thomas, and for their outreach to the hungry.
And we give thanks for Katharine's leadership.
Many seeds were sown today, seeds that will feed many kinds of hunger.
Sunday, April 27, 2008
The Steering Committee North Texas Episcopalians has been formed to assist those who wish to remain Episcopalians if Bishop Jack Iker tries to achieve his publicly stated goal of taking the diocese out of The Episcopal Church [TEC] and aligning it with another province of the Anglican Communion.
It is these Episcopalians who will, with the help of the leadership of The Episcopal Church, reconstitute the diocese after the bishop leaves TEC.
The work that led to the formation of the Steering Committee North Texas Episcopalians began immediately after the adjournment of the most recent convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth.
At that convention, delegates passed the first of two required “readings” of canonical changes aimed at "taking the diocese out of The Episcopal Church." These actions were taken at the urging of the diocesan leadership, including Bishop Jack L. Iker. The second reading will take place at the diocesan convention in November 2008, unless re-scheduled by Bishop Iker.
In the wake of the first vote, many people immediately set to work to identify and empower those who intend to remain Episcopalians.
Primary among these has been the already-existing Fort Worth Via Media. It has been joined by daughter organizations North Texans Remain Episcopal in the northern part of the diocese and Remain Episcopal of Granbury in the southwestern part of the diocese as well as by a group in the mid-cities area and a group of diocesan clergy. Another recently formed group is Steadfast Episcopalians, organized explicitly to reach out to conservative Episcopalians. There were also individuals representing almost all parishes and missions who had self-identified as wishing to remain Episcopalian.
These groups and individuals realized they needed to work together, so they have formed an umbrella organization called the Steering Committee North Texas Episcopalians. Walter Cabe is president and Courtland Moore is vice president. Margaret Mieuli is treasurer and Bruce Coggin is the committee’s clerk. Other executive committee members are George Komechak, Kathleen Wells, Victoria Prescott and Fred Barber.
According to Komechak, "The primary objectives of this combined group are to remain in the Episcopal Church and to continue the work of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth as a constituent part of the Episcopal Church. This umbrella organization has been officially recognized as a Texas nonprofit corporation by the Secretary of State. Bylaws have been adopted and a Statement of Mission and Beliefs has been developed for release to the public. Identifying additional persons in diocesan parishes and missions who support staying in the Episcopal Church is one of the Steering Committee’s first items of business. "
People who will remain Episcopalians can send information to Steering Committee North Texas Episcopalians, P.O.Box 100846, Fort Worth, TX, 76185-0846. A web site is under construction.
Media: For more information, contact:
Statement of Mission and BeliefsSteering Committee North Texas Episcopalians
We are committed to the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth as a fully participating, constituent part of the Episcopal Church. Recognizing that the church has need of everyone, we will work to ensure that everyone is welcome and that diversity is celebrated in this diocese. We will look for the image of God in everyone, most particularly with those who differ from us, and we will always seek to reflect in our lives the love and charity of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
We recognize the Episcopal Church of the United States as the American expression of Anglicanism and will remain members of it.
We affirm the hierarchical structure of the Episcopal Church as critical to its polity. We recognize the bishop of the Diocese of Fort Worth, the House of Bishops and the House of Deputies as central to our orderly governance. Moreover we honor the ministry of our Presiding Bishop and Primate.
We will work to identify faithful Episcopalians and provide encouragement and pastoral care for those who do not want to leave the Episcopal Church. We invite the laity to help develop our vision and to implement it in a lively partnership with our clergy. We will resist efforts to remove parishes, property or assets from the Episcopal Church.
We treasure the splendid diversity of The Episcopal Church, and we faithfully pledge to hold open a place in it for those with differing points of view. To anyone who feels torn, confused or marginalized, or who has left the church, we invite you to come home. You are needed.
We seek prayerfully to reconcile with any who contemplate leaving the Episcopal Church by inviting them into dialogue, by listening to them with open hearts and minds and by affirming that they too are valued members of this great church.
We pledge ourselves to Christian service, striving to do all such good works as God has prepared for us to walk in, and seeking always to build up the Body of Christ where we live, where we work and where we worship.
The Steering Committee North Texas Episcopalians (Steering Committee)
The Steering Committee represents Episcopalians in the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth who in and through the Episcopal Church celebrate and proclaim the gracious love of Jesus Christ for all people. The Steering Committee governing board is composed of clergy and lay representatives of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth, including members of Fort Worth Via Media, Steadfast Episcopalians, North Texans Remain Episcopal and Remain Episcopal Granbury.
Saturday, April 26, 2008
Christopher Jambor, the rector of All Saints, has been doing an excellent job of letting the parish make up its mind about the current situation in our diocese. This is the exception rather than the rule in this diocese, where most of the rectors are “true believers” who refuse to allow much, if any, discussion at all.
Jambor, on the other hand, has had speakers from our diocesan leadership come make their case, and he has had Bonnie Anderson in to speak to the parish on behalf of TEC. Recently Bp. Iker visited All Saints after the parish requested that the bishop come “speak for himself” instead of sending surrogates. He bought Ryan Reed, president of the Standing Committee, with him, although Reed did not speak.
Several people have told me what they heard at the meeting with Bp. Iker. Once again, he made it clear that his basic issue is women, not homosexuality. Here’s a summary from several reports of the meeting:
The bishop continues to maintain that he is not responsible for the current situation in the diocese. This is not all about him. He is simply doing what the diocesan convention directs him to do, he said.
“I do not have a vote. I don’t buy the idea that I’m trying to make the diocese anything other than it is,” he told the meeting at All Saints.
I confess to being surprised at this statement. Jack Iker has never struck me as a bishop willing to be passively led by his” flock.” Indeed, he’s made it clear that it is his responsibility as bishop to save us from the heretical TEC, to serve as protector of the faith “once delivered to our fathers.”
Bp. Iker said that the current controversy is not all Gene Robinson’s fault. The issue, according to Bp. Iker, is bigger than Gene. It’s the “world-wide problem” with the consecration of Katharine Jefferts Schori – a woman – as presiding bishop.
Bp. Iker is irritated that he is blamed by some for causing division in the church. “To say I’ve caused this division is ludicrous. . . the problem is with TEC, who has the arrogant attitude that we will shall do as we please.”
According to several people who were at the meeting, Bp. Iker said he would take communion from an immoral gay priest who was male before he would take it from a moral priest who was a woman. This is because with the male, he would be assured the consecration was “valid,” which is not possible with any woman.
When asked what besides women’s ordination are the issues of contention, the bishop went on at length about the diocese being “forced” to ordain women. Of course no one is forcing him to do such ordinations. Nor could they. No bishop can be forced to ordain anyone.
But this is part of Bp. Iker’s standard “slippery slope” argument – once you start ordaining women, who aren’t “proper matter” for ordination, pretty soon you are ordaining gays and lesbians and God knows what else.
According to this argument, even though the “General Convention Church” has not approved a rite for blessing same sex unions, it’s only a matter of time before Bp. Iker and all the priests in this diocese will be “forced” to perform same sex blessings. Of course, no one could force them to do any such thing, just as no one can force any priest to perform a marriage for anyone.
Bp. Iker said he can name 16 dioceses that do bless same sex unions. He is deeply annoyed that no one is punishing the bishops that allow these things to take place. Of course, no one is punishing Jack Iker for refusing to ordain women to the priesthood either.
Bp. Iker reassured listeners that if All Saints “leaves” with the diocese, those who believe there can be gay priests and same sex blessings will still be welcome in the parish and the diocese. He said that there are good Episcopalians in other denominations, such as the Lutheran Church, that “denomination is not important.”
He also said that he always attends church on Sundays when he travels, but he always checks to see what he can learn about a church first – making sure there are no priests who are women for one thing. He wants to be sure the church espouses a correct form of Christianity before he will worship there. But he also said that he’s taken communion from churches with whom he is not in full communion.
After much roundabout talk, he finally said that the diocese is “in communion” with those who profess Jesus as Lord and place an emphasis "on the word of God as found in Scripture.”
Bp. Iker said he is going to attend the GAFCON meeting in Jerusalem and Jordan with all the other “orthodox” bishops for “refreshment,” but that he’s also going to go to Lambeth. He is in favor of an Anglican Covenant, but he doesn’t think there’s a lot of hope for it. While it will be discussed at Lambeth, “the Southern Bishops” won’t be there – the implication being that without their voices, the Covenant won’t have much support.
Bp. Iker said that when he visited parishes after 2003, vestries would tell him that they are embarrassed about what was being said about Episcopalians and wanted to know if he was going to do something about it or whether they would have to do it themselves. He said it was challenging for them to have to explain, “Oh, we’re not THAT kind of Episcopalians.”
He said that if the diocese “leaves” it will still be the “Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth," but he also cautioned folks not to “get caught up in the invitation from the Southern Cone. We may not align with the Southern Cone. We asked if we could align with them as a ‘safe harbor,’ just as Fr. Jambor has asked me about a safe harbor for All Saints. I have been in recent communication with the Presiding Bishop and with Rowan. Rowan does have extra-provincial dioceses.”
Of course, "being in communication" with people can mean anything from sending an e-mail to having a face-to-face meeting. It doesn't mean they agree or approve of what Bp. Iker is doing.
So here are the main points of his presentation:
-- The whole mess started with the ordination of women.
-- The election of a woman as presiding bishop is much worse than the election of a gay man as bishop, just as any male priest, no matter how "immoral", is better than any female priest.
-- Bp. Iker is not responsible for the division in the diocese. He is only doing what diocesan convention tells him to do.
-- We may not align with the Southern Cone.
-- He is still clinging to the idea of an extra-provincial diocese.
The suggestion that we might not align with the Southern Cone came as a big surprise to nearly everyone in the room , given the full court press that's been on to persuade everyone that we "must" go there in order to be safe from the heresies of The Episcopal Church. This suggestion of a change in plans is worrying on many counts, not the least of which is that he may not "go" anywhere.
Additionally, Bp. Iker may find it is harder to change horses in mid-stream than he thinks. Nearly always, one slips and ends up getting very wet.
One person present at the meeting also suggested that it is not a good idea to irritate every woman in the room with misogynistic statements. It often is just the push needed to move many a person off the fence.
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
I’m slowly getting my fear under control, although every time he sneezes or coughs, I ask, “Are you OK?” I suspect I’m driving him nuts, although he says not. He’s a kind person.
I wonder daily how my mother did it. She cared for my father through nearly 20 years of heart trouble, cancer, surgeries. He was in and out of the hospital all the time.
My dad was a very frail but incredibly tough old coot. We all went home every Christmas for decades because “It could be Alan’s last Christmas.” But he pulled though one crisis after another and went back home to drink the alcohol he was forbidden, eat the foods he wasn’t supposed to eat, tell the bad jokes he loved, and generally enjoy the heck out of life. He was almost 90 when he died.
Through crisis after crisis, Mother never seemed to let her fears take over. She was always calm – at least to us – and seemed to take every development in stride. Being a registered nurse is a large part of that, I know. The other huge piece of it is her deep faith in God.
My mother has a very personal relationship with God, shaped by her Roman Catholic faith. She and God talk a lot, as do she and the Blessed Mother. My parents said the rosary every night of their 63-year marriage. She still says the rosary every night, and says that my dad joins her in it nightly.
I am sure he does.
Faith got me through the last month and half. When one is waiting at 4 a.m. for word of the result of emergency surgery on one’s beloved, the only presence that can offer any comfort at all is that of God.
Prayers got me through the last month and a half. The power of the prayers of all those folk who prayed for us were palpable. What else could account for the calm that would suddenly surround me when I was close to losing it? Or the peace that would enfold me like a warm hug in some of the darkest times? What else would account for the sudden release of anxiety that let me fall into sleep after too many wakeful hours?
Now, as I pray for others I do so with renewed humility and with renewed confidence in the efficacy of this relatively easy, immensely powerful act.
And I believe I would say the same if our outcome had been different. If things had gone badly, I would have needed the prayers more than ever, and I have faith that they would have helped see me through the worse. They certainly did so for my mother when my father died.
Because God is good, all the time.
Wednesday, April 09, 2008
Yes, a real pirate showed up to tell the tales of buried treasures and to hand out maps to treasures that somehow got buried on our property!
Curran is the one in the green striped shirt, listening intently to the priate's tale. The pirate handed out four maps, and we divided the kids into four teams and before you could say "Ahoy Mateys" they had uncovered all four treasure chests, which were filled with "jewels and money."
Then candles were lit on the cake, wishes made, Happy Birthday sung, and candles blown out. Cake was handed around to all, even to "Da," whose presence was the best present of all!
So happy birthday to Curran and happy homecoming to Da.