Pastoral Thoughts, June 2024

We have a new bishop. The Rev. Phil Labelle was elected on May 18th on the fourth ballot. It wasn’t a particularly close election. Of the four candidates, he led from the first ballot. It was mainly a matter of the two people with the fewest votes removing themselves from the race. Once that happened after the third ballot, it was over…

Enmegahbowh, Priest and Missionary, 1902

John Johnson Enmegahbowh, an Odawa (Ottawa) Indian from Canada, was raised in the Midewawin traditional healing way of his grandfather and the Christian religion of his mother. He came into the United States as a Methodist minister in 1832. At one point, Enmegahbowh attempted to abandon missionary work and return to Canada, but the boat was turned back by storms on Lake Superior, providing him a vision…

Father Jim’s Reflections, May 2024

We have just returned from a week in New Jersey and New York. We spent a very pleasant time with Anne and Brian in the former. Then we met Dave, Kayla and Zahava at Kayla’s father’s impressive apartment in Manhattan. We spent some time at the Met and the World Trade Center memorial. It was good to get away for a few days, but I’m happy to be back.

Dame Julian of Norwich, C. 1417

Of Dame Julian’s early life we know little, the probable date of her birth being 1342. Julian first experienced visions when she was thirty years old. She had been gravely ill and given the last rites; suddenly, on the seventh day, all pain left her, and she had fifteen visions of the Passion. These brought her great peace and joy.

Father Jim’s News for April 2024

As we enter into Easter season, it’s appropriate to think about our future. In terms of the diocese, this revolves around the election of a Bishop. The Prayer Book (p. 517) outlines the role of the diocesan Bishop. “You are called to guard the faith, unity, and discipline of the Church; to celebrate and to provide for the administration of the sacraments of the New Covenant; to ordain priests and deacons and to join in ordaining bishops; and to be in all things a faithful pastor and wholesome example for the entire flock of Christ. With your fellow bishops you will share in the leadership of the Church throughout the world.”

James Lloyd Breck, Priest, 1876

James Lloyd Breck was one of the most important missionaries of the Episcopal Church in the nineteenth century. He was called “The Apostle of the Wilderness.” Breck was born in Philadelphia in 1818, and like many important Churchmen of his time, was greatly influenced by the pastoral devotion, liturgical concern, and sacramental emphasis of William Augustus Muhlenberg. Breck attended Muhlenberg’s school in Flushing, New York, before entering the University of Pennsylvania. Muhlenberg inspired him, when he was sixteen years old, to dedicate himself to a missionary life.

Antony Abbot in Egypt, 356

In the third century, many young men turned away from the corrupt and decadent society of the time, and went to live in deserts or mountains, in solitude, fasting and prayer. Antony of Egypt was an outstanding example of this movement, but he was not merely a recluse. He was a founder of monasticism, and wrote a rule for anchorites. Antony’s parents were Christians, and he grew up to be quiet, devout, and meditative. When his parents died, he and his younger sister were left to care for a sizable estate. Six months later, in church, he heard the reading about the rich young ruler whom Christ advised to sell all he had and give to the poor…

All Saints' Episcopal Church Tacoma - 1963 Photo

Father Jim’s Message

ately I’ve been digging through the church archives. They’re located in a file cabinet in a dark corner of the vesting room. In the cabinet we have records of what was then called the “Ladies’ Guild” that go back to 1892 when the church was founded. There are also Bishop’s Committee minutes that go back at least to the 1950s along with church registers and a variety of other things. Most churches have these records. There is an official church archive in Texas, but parish records rarely seem to go there. This frustrated me greatly when I was a practicing historian, so now I look around for things in the churches where I serve…

John of Damascus, Priest c. 760

John of Damascus was the son of a Christian tax collector for the Muslim Caliph of Damascus. At an early age, he succeeded his father in this office. In about 715, he entered the monastery of St. Sabas near Jerusalem. There he devoted himself to an ascetic life and to the study of the Fathers.