April 30, 2010


The consecrations of the Rev. Canon Mary Douglas Glasspool and the Rev. Canon Diane Jardine Bruce as suffragan bishops in the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles are scheduled to take place on May 15, 2010. In many ways, the paths these two women have taken to episcopal consecration have been routine. That is not to deny their talent, commitment, or hard work, but priests elected bishop in The Episcopal Church usually have impressive résumés.

Save the date
Of course, many Anglicans, in the U.S. and elsewhere, see the upcoming consecration of Canon Glasspool as extraordinary and tragic. I have been struck, however, by how unremarkable her election and the subsequent consent process have been. To be sure, Canon Bruce received the necessary consents from standing committees and bishops with jurisdiction before Canon Glasspool, but it quickly became obvious that both elections would be endorsed by the church and that Glasspool’s quest for consents would lack the drama of, say, Mark Lawrence’s first try at becoming Bishop of South Carolina.

Canon Glasspool will become the second Episcopal Church bishop with a same-sex partner, proving that the Gene Robinson phenomenon was not a fluke. The May 15 consecration will send the message that our church is committed to a gospel of inclusion and an openness to the guidance of the Holy Spirit, rather than tied to the spirit-numbing bibliolatry and reaction of so-called Anglican “orthodoxy.”

It is my hope that May 15 will be a kind of Independence Day for The Episcopal Church—the day that we challenge other Anglican churches to follow or be left behind, the day that we say we are never going backward, and the day that it becomes clear that adopting the proposed Anglican covenant would be to betray our understanding of the gospel and to sign a death warrant for our church.

In light of the importance of the service that begins at 1:30 PDT on the afternoon of May 15, 2010, this blog will count down the days to that event. Let this countdown be a reminder to pray for Canons Glasspool and Bruce, for the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles, for The Episcopal Church, and for the Anglican Communion.

Days to Glasspool consecration
Note: The graphic above does not change. For the life of the countdown, the number of days until the consecration will be shown at the right, below the No Anglican Covenant logo. If you want to link to this graphic, use the URL http://deimel.org/commentary/b_images/glasspoolcount.png.

April 29, 2010

Another Clever Auto Tag

I was driving behind a minivan today that had an oval tag of some sort on its rear that was difficult to read. All I could make out was “wag more,” which didn’t seem to make much sense. I couldn’t read the smaller type below it. At a stoplight, I was able to get close enough to make out all the text, which I though was cute:

wag more
bark less.

Auto magnets
Auto magnets from Agatha & Louise

April 24, 2010

Neat Bumper Sticker

As I was driving home, I noticed a clever bumper sticker on the car in front of me at a stop sign:

I don’t mind straight people
As long as they act gay in public

I don’t know where you can get one of these stickers, but you can buy a No Anglican Covenant bumper sticker here.

April 23, 2010

Listening to the Trumpet

The Fourth Anglican Global South to South Encounter in Singapore has ended, and the meeting has issued its communiqué (or Trumpet, as it is rather too cutely styled). No one should be surprised by the overall tone and direction of this official pronouncement, but it is fair to say that it is long on threats and short on announcements of actual actions, threatening or no.

Most of the early paragraphs of the Trumpet are boilerplate expressions of gratitude for one thing or another, or self-serving poppycock intended to convince the reader of the piety of the Encounterees. Those planning your bedtime reading can safely skip over paragraphs 1–15, though it is worth noting the names of newly elected leaders of the Global South Primates Steering Committee, particularly those of Orombi, Anis, and Okoh. Don’t expect any mellowing out of this group anytime soon.

The flagellation of The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada begins in earnest in paragraph 16 , and the ugliness continues through the final paragraph, #22. I reproduce those paragraphs below, along with a modest amount of commentary (a PDF version of the entire Trumpet can be downloaded here):

Trumpet Text Observations
16.In contrast, we continue to grieve over the life of The Episcopal Church USA (TEC) and the Anglican Church of Canada and all those churches that have rejected the Way of the Lord as expressed in Holy Scripture. The recent action of TEC in the election and intended consecration of Mary Glasspool, a partnered lesbian, as a bishop in Los Angeles, has demonstrated, yet again, a total disregard for the mind of the Communion. These churches continue in their defiance as they set themselves on a course that contradicts the plain teaching of the Holy Scriptures on matters so fundamental that they affect the very salvation of those involved. Such actions violate the integrity of the Gospel, the Communion and our Christian witness to the rest of the world. In the face of this we dare not remain silent and must respond with appropriate action.Here we have that “mind of the communion” thing again—see “Why Bother?”—as well as the silly Protestant notion that the meaning of the Bible is obvious to any gibbon, an easily falsified proposition by anyone inclined to investigate it. More bizarre is the implication that Mary Glasspool is going to hell, since her presumed sexual practices preclude salvation. (See Andrew Gerns’s commentary on The Lead.) The Encounterees declare that they “must respond with appropriate action, but they fail to say just what that might be. There are hints to follow, however.
17.We uphold the courageous actions taken by Archbishops Mouneer Anis (Jerusalem and the Middle East), Henry Orombi (Uganda) and Ian Ernest (Indian Ocean) and are encouraged by their decision not to participate in meetings of the various Instruments of Communion at which representatives of The Episcopal Church USA and the Anglican Church of Canada are present. We understand their actions to be in protest of the failure to correct the ongoing crisis situation.Whereas Archbishop Tutu characterized Anglicanism by the willingness of Anglicans to meet with one another, the Encounterees seem to define it by those with whom they will not meet.
18.Some of our Provinces are already in a state of broken and impaired Communion with The Episcopal Church USA and the Anglican Church of Canada. Their continued refusal to honor the many requests1 made of them by the various meetings of the Primates
throughout the Windsor Process have brought discredit to our witness and we urge the Archbishop of Canterbury to implement the recommended actions. In light of the above, this Fourth South-to-South Encounter encourages our various Provinces to reconsider their communion relationships with The Episcopal Church USA and the Anglican Church of Canada until it becomes clear that there is genuine repentance.
As I have said many times, if other Anglican provinces would simply acknowledge that they have no control over other churches or responsibility for their actions, they would have no reason to be embarrassed by them. The purported wound here (the “discredit to our witness”) is self-inflicted. This paragraph is an invitation to all provinces that haven’t already done so to sever communion with The Episcopal Church and Anglican Church of Canada.
19.We were pleased to welcome two Communion Partner bishops from The Episcopal Church USA (TEC) and acknowledge that with them there are many within TEC who do not accept their church’s innovations. We assure them of our loving and prayerful support. We are grateful that the recently formed Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) is a faithful expression of Anglicanism. We welcomed them as partners in the Gospel and our hope is that all provinces will be in full communion with the clergy and people of the ACNA and the Communion Partners.Having invited provinces to dump The Episcopal Church and Anglican Church of Canada, Encounterees here recommend that provinces declare themselves in communion with ACNA and the Communion Partners. (Bishop John Howe of Central Florida and Bishop Mark Lawrence of South Carolina, representatives of the Communion Partners, were in attendance in Singapore.) An Anglican church’s declaring itself to be in communion with either of these groups is problematic and closely related to border crossings. Especially problematic, however, is any kind of formal connection to the Communion Partners, which directly interferes with Episcopal Church polity.
20.For many generations Anglicans have lived together with a shared understanding of our common faith; indeed among our great gifts has been the Book of Common Prayer that has provided a foundation for our common life. In recent years the peace of our Communion has been deeply wounded by those who continue to claim the name Anglican but who pursue an agenda of their own desire in opposition to historic norms of faith, teaching and practice. This has led to a number of developments including the GAFCON meeting that took place in Jerusalem in June 2008.The BCP has indeed been part of the glue that has held the Anglican Communion together, but it is by no means true that we “have lived together with a shared understanding of our common faith.” Much of the success of the BCP has been due to its deliberate ambiguity regarding doctrines about which shared understanding has simply not existed. If Episcopalians have expanded doctrinal possibilities, its detractors have contracted the range of acceptable Anglican exegesis.
21.Global South leaders have been in the forefront of the development of the ‘Anglican Covenant’ that seeks to articulate the essential elements of our faith together with means by which we might exercise meaningful and loving discipline for those who depart from the ‘faith once for all delivered to the saints.’ We are currently reviewing the proposed Covenant to find ways to strengthen it in order for it to fulfill its purpose. For example, we believe that all those who adopt the Covenant must be in compliance with Lambeth 1.10. Meanwhile we recognize that the Primates Meeting, being responsible for Faith and Order, should be the body to oversee the Covenant in its implementation, not the Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion.Here we encounter another of those stock phrases invoked in lieu of argument—the “faith once for all delivered to the saints.” Whatever Jude 1:3 referred to when it was written, it certainly was not the orthodoxy that triumphed in the fourth century and that is related to, though not identical to, the “orthodoxy” so passionately proclaimed by detractors of The Episcopal Church.

What is important here, however, is that the Encounterees find the Anglican covenant, hostile as it is to the interests of the two major North American churches, not nearly hostile enough; they are looking to strengthen it. (Apologists who think the covenant draft “not so bad,” please take note.) Moreover, since The Episcopal Church and
Anglican Church of Canada are not about to embrace all the provisions of Lambeth 1998 I.10, the implication here is that, if either church adopts the proposed covenant, that acceptance will be regarded as insincere and ineffectual. (That judgment would almost certainly be correct in the sincerity department.)

The final sentence presupposes that the Primates’ Meeting is “responsible for [Anglican] Faith and Order.” This, of course, is wish fulfillment. No agreements assert that now, and the proposed covenant will not make it so in the future. (See “Section 4 Decoded.”) The covenant would, however, surrender much too much power to the primates. Of course, bishops like this sort of thing.
22.Over the last 20 years we have been distracted by conflicts and controversies that have kept us from effectively fulfilling the Great Commission. While we have been so distracted, Christian heritage, identity and influence has continued to decline in the West. We believe that there is a need to review the entire Anglican Communion structure; especially the Instruments of Communion and the Anglican Communion office; in order to achieve an authentic expression of the current reality of our Anglican Communion.It is not clear just what threat is being made here. Is the covenant being deemed unacceptable, institutionalizing as it does the mostly informal structures of the Anglican Communion? We know from recent actions and statements that Encounterees dislike the Anglican Consultative Council, its attendant bureaucracy, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Lambeth Conference, and the Standing Committee. They like the Primates’ Meeting, of course, as long as the American and Canadian primates are excluded. These people want to be in the Anglican Communion why?

I don’t really know whether to be pleased or not by the seeming lack of action on the part of the Encounterees. Their loyalties are clear, however, and they seem to have given us new reasons to reject any Anglican covenant.

No Anglican Covenant

Get your No Anglican Covenant merchandise at the Farrago Gift Shop

April 21, 2010

Why Bother?

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams has sent a video to the Fourth Global South to South Encounter now taking place in Singapore. (If I were the Archbishop, I certainly would have sought any excuse I could to avoid being present at the meeting. I suspect that the Icelandic volcano was the answer to Rowan’s prayers.) Episcopalians will be most interested in this paragraph that occurs near the end of Rowan’s message:
But of course we are reflecting on the need for a covenant in the light of confusion, brokenness and tension within our Anglican family—a brokenness and a tension that has been made still more acute by recent decisions in some of our Provinces. In all your minds there will be questions around the election and consecration of Mary Glasspool in Los Angeles. All of us share the concern that in this decision and action the Episcopal Church has deepened the divide between itself and the rest of the Anglican family. And as I speak to you now, I am in discussion with a number of people around the world about what consequences might follow from that decision, and how we express the sense that most Anglicans will want to express, that this decision cannot speak for our common mind.
This paragraph brings many thoughts to mind, only some of which I will explore here. Visitors would do well also to read comments made on Thinking Anglicans about Rowan’s video address.

Several things are remarkable about the Archbishop’s statement, one of which is his readiness to speak for the Communion. It is ironic that, while asserting that The Episcopal Church’s decision to consecrate the Rev. Canon Mary Glasspool “cannot speak for our common mind,” he has no trouble saying that “[a]ll of us share the concern” that the decision has deepened the divisions within the Communion. To what “all” is he referring? Since he is addressing attendees of the Fourth Global South to South Encounter, perhaps he is referring to them and to himself, all of whom may indeed share that concern. It is certainly not appropriate to attribute that sentiment to all Anglicans. Then again, perhaps, in his mind, all true Anglicans share that concern.

The Archbishop speaks of what “most Anglicans” want to express. I don’t think he really knows what most Anglicans want to express; most Anglicans, if we are to take that phrase literally, probably do not really care about Mary Glasspool or Gene Robinson, or The Episcopal Church. Of course, when Anglican noses are counted by bishops, only episcopal noses seem to count.

What most struck me in Rowan’s little talk is the fact that, as a result of the unwelcome action of The Episcopal Church, the Archbishop is conferring “with a number of people around the world” about the “consequences” that should be visited on The Episcopal Church. Is he thinking about having the Communion impose “relational consequences” as called for in Section 4.2.4 of the proposed Anglican covenant, without utilizing the cumbersome but ill-defined process of consultation specified by the covenant? (See “Section 4 Decoded.”)

Why are we even bothering to talk about the covenant if the Archbishop of Canterbury is willing to implement its most obnoxious features without waiting for anyone formally to adopt it?

Rowan’s declaration that the Glasspool decision “cannot speak for our common mind” is troubling for more reasons than its simply being ironic. Of course the decision can’t. First, Lambeth 1998 I.10 notwithstanding, there is no common mind regarding homosexuality within the Anglican Communion, nor is there any agreed-upon definition of what the “common mind” of the Communion might be or how it might be determined. Second, The Episcopal Church, neither in the matter of Mary Glasspool nor in anything else it does, makes any pretension of speaking for the Anglican Communion; it is merely performing its necessary functions as an autonomous church. No other Anglican church need be embarrassed or feel compromised by Episcopal Church actions because they have no responsibility for what The Episcopal Church does. If the primate of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican) believes that Episcopal Church actions diminish the Nigerian church in the eyes of Nigerian Muslims, it is only a consequence of his church’s eschewing a posture of credible deniability to make a power grab within the Anglican Communion. Other primates, including that of the Church of England, have made similar deals with the Devil.

And why is Rowan Williams so interested in the “common mind” of the Communion? Because, I assert, he has an inflated sense of self-importance, both in his office and in the Communion itself. He believes that the importance and influence of the Anglican Communion in the world is proportional to the number of adherents it can claim. I profoundly disagree. The moral authority of the Anglican Communion is not a function of the number of Anglicans in its constituent churches, but a function of the degree to which the Communion embraces justice, charity, humility, compassion, and truth. Its stock is not doing too well at the moment.

No Anglican Covenant

Get your No Anglican Covenant merchandise at the Farrago Gift Shop

April 20, 2010

New Verses for a Bad Hymn

At my church Sunday, we sang—as we do much too frequently—one of my least favorite hymns, “Earth and All Stars.” The hymn is #412 in The Hymnal 1982. Words for this hymn were written by Herbert F. Brokering. The tune, which was composed specifically for this hymn and which is better than the text deserves, is by David N. Johnson.

According to Hymnary.com, Brokering wrote his hymn in 1964 for the 90th anniversary of St. Olaf College. It is a hymn of praise using contemporary references. The structure of the text and the lack of rhyme lead me to think that Brokering wasn’t really working very hard when he put this hymn together. Each verse contains the word “loud” in the same two places and “sing to the Lord a new song!” in the same two places. The refrain occurs after each verse. Here is my least favorite verse, including the refrain:
Classrooms and labs, loud boiling test tubes,
Sing to the Lord a new song!
Athlete and band, loud cheering people,
Sing to the Lord a new song!

[Refrain] He has done marvelous things.
I, too, will praise him with a new song.
This may be poetry, but it is surely not poetic. Also, the meaning is none too clear. Singing the hymn, I thought the message was that earth and all stars, cheering people, etc., were singing to the Lord a new song, and I will, too. Because of the commas at the ends of the first and third lines of the verses, however, the sentences there cannot be declarative (earth and all stars sing, etc.) but must be imperative (you sing, earth and all stars, etc.). The imperatives are not nonsensical, but I don’t think they represent the most obvious sentiment. Frankly, the hymn is something of a laundry list.

It was not until I tried my hand at writing a parody of the hymn that I became aware of its lack of rhyme (and thus cleverness and grace). This makes satire-writing easy, except that it is hard to write anything more outrageous and prosaic than Brokering did. The parody I began writing does not seem satirical at all. My verses just seem like alternate verses. Anyway, here is the result of my modest effort at making fun of this frankly stupid hymn:
iPods and Droids, loud clicking keypads,
Sing to the Lord a new song!
Blackberry phones, loud sounding ringtones,
Sing to the Lord a new song!

He has done marvelous things.
I, too, will praise him with a new song.

Chevys and Fords, loud honking car horns,
Sing to the Lord a new song!
Corvette and Jeep, loud roaring mufflers,
Sing to the Lord a new song!

He has done marvelous things.
I, too, will praise him with a new song.
I am told that some churches became very fond of this hymn when it appeared in the new Episcopal hymnal. I’ve heard it described as different and contemporary, but I don’t think it wears well. Anyway, feel free to use my verses in your congregational singing. They’re no worse and no sillier than what people are already singing. Don’t credit me with authorship.

Update, 6/4/2013: Because many people like the tune “Earth and All Stars,” after singing it again in church, I decided to try writing an alternate text. The result is “Heavens and Earth, All of Creation.” My initial version is here, and an improved version is here.

April 16, 2010

Some Political Observations

When I started this blog, I described its content as “random quick takes by Lionel Deimel.” I’ve certainly delivered on the random thing, but some posts have gotten exceedingly long. Here’s a post that may live up to the “quick” designation.
Kudos to President Obama for his announcement yesterday about the space program. I never thought that George W. Bush’s plan to go back to the moon was a good idea. It represented more of the same. In particular, it meant that the same people who were earning money from the space program would continue to do so and for the same sorts of things they were already doing. People concerned about the space program from a more dispassionate perspective were more interested in getting to Mars, a task requiring new and different technology from that which took us to the moon. I see that The Planetary Society was pleased with the new direction for NASA.

Actually, from my point of view, Obama had a very good day yesterday. His order to Health and Human Services to draw up regulations allowing patients in hospitals getting money from Medicare or Medicaid to designate who may visit them will be a great boon to gay and lesbian couples, but it can affect others as well. I am especially sensitive to this issue as I have been seeing a friend through a long illness. I have had little problem gaining access to my friend’s room, but I may have had a good deal more trouble elsewhere. According to The New York Times, “In some instances in the past, hospitals have barred bedside visits by the person who held the medical power of attorney for a patient.” It is difficult to see the president’s order as anything but reasonable and humane. Of course, right-wing partisans can. We have this from an NPR story this morning:
J.P. Duffy, vice president for communications at the Family Research Council, said Obama is pandering to a radical special interest group.

“There are many other ways to deal with this issue, whether through a health care proxy or power of attorney, through private contractual arrangements. We have no problem with those situations,” Duffy said, “but the fact here is that this is undermining the definition of marriage.”
Finally, there is the Supreme Court vacancy created by the retirement of Justice John Paul Stevens. There seem to be two questions the media are asking: How liberal a candidate will President Obama name, and will the Republicans allow anyone to be confirmed by the Senate? It has been suggested that Obama is likely to nominate someone only moderately liberal, as he is not the ultra liberal that Republicans make him out to be. The political problems are tricky, however, and they must be taken into account. Given that the Supreme Court has been stacked with extreme conservatives, my advice to the president would be to nominate the most liberal candidate that could conceivably be confirmed. To be an effective Supreme Court justice, of course, the nominee should also be unusually persuasive.

April 14, 2010

New Blog

A want to announce a new blog I’m writing. It’s called St. Paul’s’ Epistle, and it’s about my own parish, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Mt. Lebanon, Pennsylvania. The blog offers an opportunity for me to write about something that is very dear and to encourage parishioners to join in discussing parish-related matters. The blog is completely unofficial and may not be welcomed by church leaders. I believe, however, that conversation, particularly public conversation, can strengthen and improve an organization. There is no reason to think that churches are an exception to this rule.

Readers of this blog, of course, know that I am not without my opinions and prejudices, and I don’t plan to hide them when I’m writing for St. Paul’s’ Epistle. I beg everyone’s indulgence (and, perhaps, forgiveness) in advance.

I’ve started a new blog because, quite frankly, many readers of Lionel Deimel’s Web Log are unlikely to find the daily goings on in a suburban Episcopal Church parish to be of much personal interest. Such folks need not be subjected to such minutiae. Fellow parishioners who read this blog, however, may want to have a look at St. Paul’s’ Epistle at http://www.stpaulsmtl.org/. If you do decide to visit, be sure to read the welcoming essay explaining the motivation for the blog here.

The new blog is something of an experiment, and I don’t know if there are many like it. Do let me know if you have any knowledge of or experience with such an independent blog about parish life.

If you want to check out the new blog later, notice that I have a link to it at the right.

Still Not Lovin’ It

I visited McDonald’s for breakfast this morning, and was subjected to more goofy ad copy. (See my January 26 post, “Not Lovin’ It.”) The table at which I ate my meal had an advertisement on it for mocha and iced mocha. The product was described this way:
freshly ground espresso beans, smooth milk, & velvety chocolate
There are a number of problems here. First, there is really no such thing as “espresso beans.” Espresso is a method of brewing coffee, so any coffee beans used in an espresso machine are, by definition, espresso beans. But this isn’t saying much.

Then there is the matter of smooth milk. What is that? Does anyone think that McDonald’s might use lumpy milk? Clearly, some Madison Avenue type thought that an adjectiveAmpersands was needed to describe the milk in McDonald’s mocha and iced mocha. Could the agency really do no better than smooth? Why not fresh? The phrase smooth milk makes about as much sense as white milk or unspoiled milk.

Finally, there is that ampersand. Most authorities would say that the ampersand should have been replaced by “and”; space was not at a premium, and no other rule dictated the use of an ampersand. A more serious problem is the presence of the comma before the ampersand. It may not be a logical rule, but there is a rule that a comma never precedes an ampersand.

The ad was, at least for me, a total failure. Instead of making me think of the product, all I could do is analyze the copy. McDonald’s needs a new agency.

April 13, 2010

Calvary’s Legal Fees

Calvary newsletter
Calvary Newsletter

The Episcopal Church has taken a good deal of heat from people who don’t like the fact that it has spent so much money on legal fees to protect church property. (Most of those complaints have been from people who have wanted to appropriate Episcopal Church property without paying for it, it must be acknowledged.) Well, it is unfortunate that litigation has been necessary and that lawyers do not work for free, but what is one to do when property is taken without permission and without compensation?

Seldom do we learn just who spent how much money on litigation in church property cases. The current issue of the parish newsletter of Calvary Episcopal Church in Pittsburgh offers some interesting accounting, albeit qualitative, with respect to the so-called Calvary lawsuit. (See page 2 of the newsletter here.)

Recall that Calvary Church brought a lawsuit against then bishop Robert Duncan and other diocesan leaders in 2003, charging that they planned to allow property to be removed from The Episcopal Church without appropriate compensation. Two years later, an agreement was reached regarding the distribution of property in the event that any congregations wanted to leave the church. That agreement provided for Calvary’s escrowed diocesan assessment to be returned to Calvary, less $50,000, which was to go to the diocese. I estimate that something on the order of $170,000 was returned to Calvary, most or all of which was likely used to pay legal fees.

At the time, Bishop Duncan spoke of the $50,000 as though it represented a windfall for the diocese. Since all the money in the escrow account would, in other circumstances, have gone to the diocese, this provision in the agreement actually represented a loss of more than three times that amount to the diocese. In essence, all the parishes of the diocese paid that price, in addition to any direct legal costs incurred in the defense of Duncan and other defendants.

The newsletter story mentioned earlier reports that the Board of Trustees of the current Episcopal diocese recently voted to pay all of Calvary’s outstanding legal fees incurred in the prosecution of the case against Duncan, et al. The three Calvary parishioners on the Board of Trustees present for the vote recused themselves from the vote, which was unanimous.

Additional sources of funds to cover Calvary’s legal expenses included (1) individuals in the diocese, (2) Episcopal Church bishops, and (3) member parishes of the Consortium of Endowed Episcopal Parishes. As far as I know, The Episcopal Church did not pay any of Calvary’s legal expenses. It was not originally a party to the litigation. It later joined the litigation, however, and incurred its own expenses.

Calvary’s counsel has been Walter P. DeForest, a Calvary parishioner. Much of his work was done pro bono, and the rest was billed at a reduced rate.

As you can see, at least in the case of litigation in the Diocese of Pittsburgh, legal expenses were borne by the church at large, but a substantial portion of the money came from within the diocese itself. When Calvary first filed its case, neither The Episcopal Church nor most of the parishes strongly supportive of their church showed much enthusiasm for Calvary’s move. I’m sure it is gratifying to members of Calvary Church that, six and a half years later, those same parishes are grateful enough to contribute directly to the cause that Calvary so selflessly undertook.

April 11, 2010

Duruflé Requiem

The choir at my church, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Mt. Lebanon, Pennsylvania, has lately been performing at least one major work each year, usually with a small orchestra. The piece might be a Bach cantata, a requiem, or some other sacred choral work. This year, we are performing the Duruflé Requiem, with the help of the Slippery Rock University Concert Choir & Chamber Singers. Playing the organ for the Requiem, as well as playing three other Duruflé organ works, will be Richard Elliott, the principal organist of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

The concert is Saturday, April 17, 2010. Here is the poster announcing the event (click on the graphic for a larger view):

Duruflé concert poster
I never feel adequately rehearsed for these performances, but this may be primarily because I am not a professional musician. Invariably, the performances seem to be first rate.

This Requiem was the first large choral work I ever sang. I performed it more than 40 years ago in Chicago and fell in love with it. I’m sorry I’ve had to wait so long to sing it again.

I am excited about meeting and working with Richard Elliott, and I am looking forward to hearing him play the Prelude and Fugue on the Name Alain, one of my favorite organ compositions. (Click here to hear a recording of this piece.)

I realize that many people who read this blog have never set foot in Pennsylvania, but I want to invite everyone in the Pittsburgh area to join us this Saturday for what promises to be a wonderful concert.

Directions to St. Paul’s can be found here.

April 9, 2010

More Stuff

I opened my on-line store to sell merchandise sporting my No Anglican Covenant logo. The objective was not to make money but to promote opposition to the Anglican covenant, particularly within The Episcopal Church. No Anglican CovenantBecause the 2012 General Convention will likely be making a decision regarding the covenant, we can expect increasing discussion of its merits in parishes and dioceses in the next two years or so. My Farrago Gift Shop—named for my Web site, Lionel Deimel’s Farrago—offers many items that are especially good at communicating one’s opposition to the covenant: apparel, bumper stickers, magnets, buttons, and the like. It remains to be seen if there is a real market for these items, but, as interest in the covenant increases, as I’m sure it will, I hope there will be.

As long as I have a store, I thought I might as well use it to sell items displaying other designs I have created, especially my curve-stitch designs. These are figures that use only straight lines but that seem to include curves. Many of my designs can be seen in the Recreational Math section of my Web site.

In particular, I have created items for the shop that use a design I created when I was in high school, which I usually describe as a curve-stitch isometric cube. The actual design used for merchandise in the shop is shown at the right. (Click on it for a larger view; individual lines don’t show clearly when the figure is reduced as much as it is here.) I am particularly fond of this design, which has the odd property of looking rather different when it is rotated. (See an extended discussion of it here.)

As it happens, my current store cannot sell identical items with different designs. For this reason, you will find that No Anglican Covenant apparel is mostly white, and curve-stitch isometric cube apparel is mostly colored. If people actually start buying from the store, however, I may be able to expand my offerings. I will likely remain a computer consultant, writer, and Episcopal Church activist, however, rather than a merchandiser.

April 7, 2010

Welcome to the Store

I am happy to announce the opening of my Farrago Gift Shop. This is where you can buy merchandise containing my custom designs. For the moment, it might as well be called the No Anglican Covenant Gift Shop, as all the merchandise displays my No Anglican Covenant logo, but I expect eventually to offer items sporting my curve stitch designs as well.

As individual parishes and dioceses begin considering the proposed Anglican covenant, the clothing in my new gift shop gives you an opportunity to show everyone where you stand on the document that threatens to change the Anglican Communion forever and surrender the independence of The Episcopal Church.

I think you will find that all the items in the gift shop are of high quality. For example, here is your intrepid blogger wearing the No Anglican Covenant Ringer T in red and white:

Lionel Deimel models T-shirt

April 3, 2010

Photo for Easter

I was reminded Thursday of a photograph I had intended to post here but never did. The photo was taken sometime in the spring of 2003. The mechanism by which I was incorporating photos into blog posts in 2003 was time-consuming, and I just never got around to taking advantage of the picture, which has been sitting on my Web server for seven years.

In January 2003, I bought a bird feeder, a tube feeder for niger seed intended to attract goldfinches. I wrote a brief post titled “Where Do They Come From?” The name referred to the fact that I had never knowingly seen goldfinches, and I was surprised that they showed up in numbers when I set up the feeder. That post included the picture below:

Goldfinches at feeder in winter
I was equally surprised a few months later, when goldfinches showed up in their spring and summer plumage. (Obviously, I really didn’t know a whole lot about goldfinches at the time.) This is what I had intended to illustrate with my heretofore unused photograph:

Goldfinches at feeder in spring
The weather here in Pittsburgh is becoming increasingly springlike, and the goldfinch feathers are getting brighter. It seems like a good time to post my picture of goldfinches in their more spectacular attire.

A blessed and happy Easter to all!

April 1, 2010

Breakfast at Chick-fil-A

Feeling the need for a more exciting breakfast than I was capable of putting together at home—I was out of eggs, and oatmeal was the most viable option—I decided to go out for breakfast this morning. I took my shower, got dressed, and, after checking and answering my e-mail, I headed for Chick-fil-A. (I like Chick-fil-A’s sausage breakfast burrito, though the 27 grams of fat do not encourage me to eat one too frequently.)

When I got to the restaurant, I walked up to the counter and scanned the menu on the wall before placing my order. As I did, I slipped my left hand into my pants pocket and discovered that it was empty. (I expected at least a handkerchief and credit card case.) I suddenly remembered that I had put on a clean pair of pants; I had spilled part of my lunch on the pants I wore yesterday. Sure enough, I was missing my wallet, too. I had, however, made sure I had some change in my right pocket, including a couple of dollar coins.

By this time, I had already been asked what I wanted to order, and, with much embarrassment, I explained my situation. I suggested that I would scale down my order and do take-out. (I thought I had enough change to afford a burrito, though not the burrito meal and not the coffee.) The woman behind the counter said that was OK; she would add to whatever I had to make up the cost of what I wanted to order. I offered to come back later with the money, but she insisted that that wasn’t necessary. So I ordered my burrito meal and coffee. I surrendered every penny in my pocket; I was about two dollars short. Because the burrito was not yet ready, I was given my coffee and told to sit down; the woman who took my order soon came to my table carrying my breakfast on a tray. This made me feel slightly more guilty than I did already.

Chick-fil-A has a reputation as a Christian company, and it is notable for keeping its restaurants closed on Sundays. It is sometimes hard to miss this association, whether for the occasional promotion involving Veggie Tales or the pervasive Christian elevator music played in Chick-fil-A restaurants. The “Christian” thing generally makes me uncomfortable, since “Christian” has mostly come to refer to right-wing, intolerant Evangelicalism in the U.S. I honestly do not know much of what “Christian” really means for Chick-fil-A, but I have to admit that I was treated with genuine Christian—no quotation marks—charity this morning. I think I’ll just cherish that and not try to second-guess it.