October 25, 2012

Don’t Show Your ID When You Vote in Pennsylvania

Protest Act 18: Don’t Show ID
Pennsylvania’s voter ID law, Act 18, might seem like a solution in search of a problem. The problem the law was designed to solve, however, is that too many people in Pennsylvania vote for Democrats, so the Republicans thought they could suppress the votes of the poor, the elderly, and people likely to vote Democratic by making it harder to vote, even if they’re already registered.

Fortunately, not all of the law has been allowed by the courts to go into effect. Although Pennsylvania voters will be asked to show a government-issued photo ID with an expiration date when they go to the polls on November 6, they won’t actually have to show one to vote.

I, for one, have no intention of showing an ID when I vote. To protest this partisan and unfair law, I plan to decline to show my Pennsylvania driver’s license. I encourage other Pennsylvania voters to do the same. If enough people refuse to show an ID, it will make a statement that the residents of Pennsylvania are not pleased with Act 18 or the party that pushed it through the legislature.

If you agree with me, feel free to use the graphic displayed above elsewhere. You can see a larger version of it by clicking on the graphic.

October 23, 2012

Support for Democrats: A Clarification

In my post “An Election Proposal,” I made a statement that has attracted some criticism. I wrote in an aside that
I will vote for the Democrat, rather than the Republican, even if he or she is revealed at the last minute to be an ax murderer.
Billy Ockham took this statement as an indication that I am not open-minded or accepting. A commenter on Ockham’s blog remarked
I thought that we had progressed beyond that type of bigotry.
My statement was, of course, hyperbolic, but it is certainly true that, in 2012, I cannot imagine voting for a Republican unless the Democratic candidate is loathsome and the Republican candidate is a saint, and perhaps not even then.

Bad logo for a bad party
This attitude is not the product of unthinking support for the party of my parents and grandparents. It is instead the result of the realization that the Republican Party has run off the rails. It has become the party of the lunatic right, a party more interested in the final triumph of its know-nothing ideology than in the more prosaic business of participating in the governing of what they consider the greatest nation on earth. The Republican Party has truly become the Party of No (or, perhaps, the Party of Hell, No).

But surely there are good Republicans. No doubt. Crazy people do not get into office by running for president, however. Instead, they run for the school board or city council. They win in races for low-visibility offices and gradually rise in the electoral hierarchy, benefiting at each step from name recognition and voter apathy and indifference. Successful party members recruit new candidates holding views similar to their own.

By the time it becomes obvious that a political party has become captive of an alien and irrational philosophy, the feedback mechanisms that support its growth are firmly in place. The only defense against the triumph of such a party available to the average voter is to avoid voting for a member of that party, whether for dog catcher or for president.

And that is why I will vote a straight Democratic (not “Democrat”) ticket.

October 18, 2012

An Election Proposal

How many early and absentee voters who cast their vote after the first presidential debate have buyer’s remorse this morning?
The day after the second presidential debate, I posted the graphic at the right on Facebook. (Actually, my Facebook graphic included a misspelling, but the version shown here has been corrected. You can click on the image to see a larger version.)

It has always bothered me that people submitting an absentee ballot have to make their decisions about candidates before the campaigning is over. This concern has been heightened by the recent explosion of early voting.

Perhaps I have cherished a naïve and romantic notion of a democratic community meeting at the polling places on the first Tuesday after the first Monday of November, but absentee and early voting do present significant problems. Whereas these procedures are not a problem for everyone—I will vote for the Democrat, rather than the Republican, even if he or she is revealed at the last minute to be an ax murderer—they are a problem for the so-called “undecided” voter. I have no doubt that some of these people decided to vote absentee or early for Mitt Romney after the first debate but experienced serious regret after seeing the vice-presidential debate and the second presidential debate.

How could we retain early and absentee voting without having some people voting without information to which people voting on the the standard election day have access?

Why not select a cutoff date, say, a week before the election, after which no political advertising or editorializing or release of government reports is allowed until after election day? Between that date and the official election day, early voting could take place and absentee ballots could be mailed. Absentee ballots mailed during this period would be accepted, even if received after “election day.” Government reports could be issued only with the permission of a judge certifying that national security required immediate release, so as not to favor incumbents unfairly.

Would this not be a better system than what we have now?

October 15, 2012

The Shepherd’s Heart Fellowship Agreement

Last week, a joint statement was announced by the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh and Shepherd's Heart Fellowship, a ministry to the homeless that claims membership in Bob Duncan’s Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh. The statement describes an agreement between the parties that allows Shepherd’s Heart to continue its ministry under the aegis of the Anglican diocese. The fellowship, of course, was part of the Episcopal diocese before the 2008 schism.

Both the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and the Tribune-Review covered the story of the agreement. The Tribune-Review article gives a good sense of the nature of Shepherd’s Heart’s ministry.

Some of the real estate occupied by Shepherd’s Heart is owned by the Episcopal diocese, and some of it is owned by the fellowship. Apparently, all the property is mortgaged. The agreement, which will have to be approved by the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas, contemplates the diocese’s transferring its property to the fellowship. Shepherd’s Heart will then refinance at a more favorable interest rate.

The agreement assumes that the ministry of Shepherd’s Heart will continue, supported not only by the Anglican diocese, but also by Episcopalians and members of other churches. (My own Episcopal church periodically serves meals to the homeless at Shepherd’s Heart, for example.) The statement declares
The agreement sets this issue [of whether the fellowship validly withdrew from the Episcopal diocese in 2008] aside in favor of mutually serving the homeless, the poor, and the addicted. Both parties recognize the new relationship between the Episcopal Diocese and Shepherd’s Heart Fellowship is not of an ecclesiastical nature, such as would normally exist between a diocese and a parish, but one of cooperation and collaboration in a specialized ministry. Because of this unique use of the Shepherd’s Heart property, the parties have agreed that this agreement should not be interpreted as a model for resolving other property disputes.

Obversations and Questions

It’s true that Shepherd’s Heart is not just another church that broke away from The Episcopal Church. It is a unique ministry supported by Episcopalians, “Anglicans,” and people from other denominations, though it is being run by “Anglicans.” (I am using quotation marks here because, of course, Episcopalians are Anglicans, and, if membership in a church of the Anglican Communion is required by your definition of Anglican, the people of the Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh are not Anglicans at all.) Had the Episcopal diocese claimed the fellowship’s property, it would have disrupted an important ministry and, most likely, received very bad press.

I actually believe that the agreement is reasonable, under the circumstances, and it is clearly not meant to set a precedent for settling other property disputes between the Episcopal diocese and congregations that have left the diocese but retained their property. An important ministry is allowed to continue without disruption and without threat of future litigation. The Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh, meanwhile, is relieved of a financial obligation, though at the cost of its equity in the property. Nevertheless, this is the first time the Episcopal diocese has released assets to a breakaway group without financial compensation.

Certain facts about the agreement have not been disclosed, however, and it is unclear as to whether certain matters are covered by the agreement at all. Inquiries to the Episcopal diocese did not yield answers to my questions.

Here are some questions to which Pittsburgh Episcopalians might want answers:
  • How much is the Shepherd’s Heart property worth, and what assets does the fellowship have besides real estate?
  • How much equity does the Episcopal diocese have in the property, and what is the current mortgage payment?
  • Is the diocese renouncing its Dennis Canon claim to the property or only putting that claim on hold?
  • In particular, might the Episcopal diocese assert its trust interest in the property should that property ever be used for another purpose, say, if the fellowship folded or intended to sell the property and move elsewhere?
  • Might the Episcopal diocese assert its trust interest in the property should the ministry to the homeless ever become a minor use of the property, with its primary use being for some other purpose?
A full evaluation of the wisdom of the agreement would require answers to the above questions (and possibly to others as well).

Update, 10/15/2012, 3:30 PM: I will attempt to clarify the present financial arrangements, though I do not fully understand them. What I wrote above may not be totally correct. There is a mortgage on the main building of Shepherd’s Heart. The title to the property is held by the diocese (actually, the Board of Trustees), but the fellowship has been making the payments. There may be other outstanding loans, but I think there are no other mortgages. In refinancing the mortgage, it will be made clear to all parties what equity there is in the property, as it will have to be appraised. The Episcopal diocese views its role as investing in the Shepherd’s Heart ministry.

October 11, 2012

A Close Call

About a month ago, I wrote a tongue-in-cheek news report of how a bird died in my bird feeder. (See “Bird Feeder Claims First Victim.”) The post was intended to be humorous, but the bird in question was decidedly dead.

This morning, I went out on my deck to fill my feeders and discovered another bird whose neck had become trapped in the same feeder. The bird was well on its way to becoming the feeder’s second victim. The bird was still struggling, however, although it had not figured out that moving its neck to the center of the plastic panel under which it was trapped would provide sufficient room for it to extricate its head.

I tried pulling up on the seed bin wall, but the roof of the house-type feeder on the side where the bird was trapped is screwed to the walls of the feeder, and I could not get a good grip on the plastic panel to move it.

I returned to the kitchen to find a spatula with a thin wooden handle. With that implement, I was able to pry up the plastic seed bin wall and free the bird, which promptly (and mercifully) flew away. I guess animals freed by humans from threatening situations stay around to say thanks only in fairy tales.

I was happy that I was able to save the bird, but I now am seriously concerned about the design of what is generally a lovely bird feeder. The problem occurs only when the feeder is empty, but birds can empty the feeder quickly, and I cannot always be around to replenish the seed supply. If you own a similar Wild Birds Unlimited feeder, check it whenever you can for birds that may have become trapped.

Update, 10/13/2012. I wrote to Wild Birds Unlimited and received a prompt reply. The company had not previously received reports of the problem I identified, I was told, but it would look into possible manufacturing changes. The reply suggested that, if I could not keep the feeder filled, perhaps I should replace it with a platform feeder. Of course, platform feeders have their own problems, including their failure to protect seeds in the rain.

The obvious change that could be made to the bird feeder would be to change the curved shape at the bottom of the clear plastic feed bin walls. The curve, though, is probably intended to minimize the quantity of seed that falls out of the feeding station to the ground. An alternative might be to have a thick plate that sits on top of the seed and, when the seed is gone, covers the feed discharge opening. This would not be hard to design, though it would complicate filling the feeder, and a convenient mechanism for raising the plate once the feeder emptied would need to be devised.

GS 1878

In 2010, the General Synod of the Church of England referred the question of adopting the Anglican Covenant to the church’s dioceses. Adoption was reject by 26 dioceses and approved by only 18. These results are only now officially being transmitted to the General Synod. They are embedded in a report designated GS 1878 that will be put before the General Synod when it meets in London November 19–21, 2012.

Much of the 12-page report is unremarkable, since it presents information that is well known. (I doubt that any member of the General Synod will be surprised to learn that the motion to adopt the Anglican Covenant was rejected by a majority of dioceses.) GS 1878 does contain material that deserves comment, however.

Paragraph 6 summarizes the effect of the voting in the dioceses in this unsurprising sentence:
Thus the draft Act of Synod was not approved by a majority of the dioceses and it therefore cannot be presented to the General Synod for Final Approval. [emphasis in original]
The paragraph then concludes as follows, which certainly will be a surprise to many:
For the record, there is nothing in the Synod’s Constitution or Standing Orders that would preclude the process being started over again, whether in the lifetime of this Synod or subsequently, by another draft Instrument to the same effect being brought forward for consideration by the General Synod before being referred to the dioceses under Article 8. The Business Committee is not, however, aware of a proposal to re-start the process in this way.
Apparently, this statement is true, but it was widely thought that the Covenant could not be reconsidered until the next General Synod convenes in 2015. For example, Fulcrum’s Andrew Goddard, stated flatly last March, “The Church of England cannot reconsider the covenant until 2015.” Members of the No Anglican Covenant Coalition shared that understanding. Also last March, for example, Alan T Perry wrote on the  Coalition’s blog, “Four more dioceses will meet in April to have their say, but since last week the result has been clear: the Covenant cannot come back to the General Synod for adoption, at least until 2015.”

Covenant opponents have worried that supporters might have a plan to give the Church of England an opportunity to reconsider adoption of the Covenant before 2015. GS 1878 exacerbates that worry, though I suspect that nothing will happen before the next Archbishop of Canterbury is in place and then only if the new archbishop foolishly wants to risk dying in the Covenant ditch.

Somewhat gratuitously, GS 1878 comments on the distribution of votes in the dioceses and, in paragraph 10, offers this analysis:
The point can be illustrated in another way by noting that, if a total of just seventeen individuals spread across five particular dioceses had voted to support the Covenant rather than oppose it, a bare majority of dioceses would have approved the Covenant, whereas, if a total of just ten across five other dioceses had voted against instead of in favour, the diocesan voting against the Covenant would have been much greater at 31-13.
If you find this paragraph relevant to anything, let me explain how Americans could have elected President Gore in 2000. It might have been more insightful for the report to have noted the correlation between the suppression of anti-Covenant arguments and the votes cast in favor of Covenant adoption.

 Appendix B of the report summarizes “following motions” that were passed in a number of dioceses. These motions generally supported the Anglican Communion without reference to the Anglican Covenant. One rather different following motion was considered by the Diocese of Chester, a diocese that voted for adoption. The motion it considered proposed changes to Section 4 of the Covenant. The motion was defeated decisively.

Three bishops availed themselves of the privilege of putting a statement into the record on the Covenant, and these statements are reprinted in Appendix A.

The first of the episcopal statements is from the Archbishop of York, John Sentamu. The York diocese, of course, approved the motion to adopt the Covenant, but Sentamu felt a need to get his opinion on the record anyway.

Sentamu begins by asserting that his understanding of the Covenant differs from that of the No Anglican Covenant Coalition. “If the Anglican Communion is to say No to the current proposal, then what? The opponents to the Covenant need to come up with an answer,” he boldly proclaims. Of course, not everyone sees a problem where Sentamu does. He continues
If I may respectfully suggest, there is a widespread lack of understanding that exists in the Church of England about the nature and importance of the conciliar principle of Church governance. There seems to be almost no understanding that the traditional ecclesiology of Anglicanism, as reflected in the Anglican Covenant, is an expression of a tradition of  governing the Church by means of Councils that goes back to the New Testament itself—the Council at Jerusalem and the Council’s Letter to the Gentile Believers in Acts 15.
At issue, of course, is the extent one attaches to the word “Church.” Arguably, the Church of England is indeed governed by councils. Less ambiguously is The  Episcopal Church so governed. The Anglican Communion is certainly not governed by councils. If one believes it should be, why does the need for conciliar consensus stop at the border of the Communion? Why does it not extend to the Roman Catholic domain or the Orthodox or, for that matter, that of the Lutherans or the Presbyterians? There is, I think, no good answer to this question. Particularly, there is no good Anglican answer, as a seminal event—arguably the seminal event—of Anglican history is the assertion of the need for local autonomy by the English church. But the good archbishop laments the lack of “[s]omething akin to our Preface to the Declaration of Assent,“ which is “urgently needed throughout the Anglican Communion.” Why, one must ask. The Covenant, he says, “bridges this deficit,” but Sentamu has not really established that there is any deficit that needs to be bridged. The Communion is not now one big happy family, but it is hardly self-evident that putting it in the straightjacket that is the Covenant will produce peace, harmony, and mutual affection.

Sentamu goes on to say that the Covenant will help Anglicans recover their “true vocation.” He explains, “This includes growing more fully into the life of ‘mutual resourcing, responsibility and interdependence’ which the 1963 Toronto Congress identified and from which the Communion has since drifted.” This represents a distortion of the message of the Toronto Congress. In fact, the Communion has moved toward the goal identified in 1963, not away from it. (See “Mutual Responsibility and Interdependence.”)

I will, mercifully, skip over much of the rest of Sentamu’s over-long essay, but I cannot let this paragraph pass unnoticed:
The Covenant would ensure that the Anglican Communion would not rest content with the sort of autonomous ecclesial units that favour unilateralism but would nurture organic interdependence that would make it possible for us to live together as the Body of Christ. This would enable us to take the Communion beyond the contexts in which current difficulties have arisen and help us to heal the breach that has sadly soured and fractured our fellowship as members of one body.
I admire the archbishop’s optimism, but he has hardly made a case for putting any credence in it.

A statement by Peter Forster, Bishop of Chester—the Diocese of Chester also voted to adopt the Covenant—follows that of Archbishop Sentamu. Like the archbishop, he has clear ideas of what the Communion should be like, and it is not a “fellowship” or “federation.” He writes
Does the Anglican Communion wish to retain any sense of being a ‘Church’, alongside the legal reality that its constituent Provinces/Churches are self-governing? It seems clear to me that if it does wish to retain a substantial degree of theological and ecclesial coherence as a distinct communion of Churches, then something like the Anglican Covenant needs to be adopted by its constituent Provinces/Churches.
Many Anglicans neither see nor want to see the Anglican Communion as an Anglican Church, so something like the Anglican Covenant is, for them, an unwelcome innovation.

In any case, Forster clearly sees the Covenant as a step in the right direction, though not as thoroughgoing as it might be. As it is, he agrees with the GAFCON crowd that it should be the primates who evaluate disputes. He notes, however, that the fact that churches are of different sizes “may distort the dynamics of the Primates’ Meeting.” Of course, the churches do not have the same resources, the primates are not all equally well educated, and some primates, such as the  Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church, cannot make decisions that bind her or his church.

The final statement in Appendix A comes from the Bishop of Sodor and Man, Robert Paterson. Covenant adoption was defeated in the Diocese of Sodor and Man. Paterson’s argument for a covenant seems to be this:
When a community, a family, a communion has members who do not understand that ‘there is a time to keep silence, and a time to speak’ (Ecclesiastes 3. 7), a framework for our common life has to be developed. I think the Anglican Covenant is a reasonable instrument to achieve this.
Although this may seem perplexing, it is perhaps elucidated by this:
 The frameworks we have developed to date have worked satisfactorily, but, unfortunately, we have reached a point when opinions can be shared so easily, with too little thought for others, and actions taken which have unforeseen consequences elsewhere. The decision to act unilaterally in one place can have deeply serious effects in another. So, as a necessary means of requiring us to respect on [sic] another across the Communion, I will vote for the Covenant.
In other words, the Covenant is the solution to problems caused by (1) the Internet and (2) primates failing to explain that they aren’t responsible for what other churches do. Perhaps self-control, honesty, and charity would work at least as well. For some churches, the Covenant will clearly make things worse—they will no longer have credible deniability when asserting that they are not responsibility for what other Anglican churches do.

In any case, while admitting that Section 4 has its flaws, the bishop explains, “I simply do not recognise some of the criticisms made of it.” Perhaps he should try harder.

I suspect that the significance of GS 1878 will be minimal. The Covenant is dead in the Church of England, and the next Archbishop of Canterbury would do well to let it rest in peace. Perhaps Archbishop Sentamu’s view of the Covenant is one reason he is not going to be succeed Rowan Williams.

October 7, 2012

Is This Apostrophe Really Necessary?

Oakland Athletics logo
I was watching the playoff game between the Oakland Athletics and the Detroit Tigers last night, and I saw something in the Oakland logo—see image at right—I had never noticed before. The apostrophe in the logo seems to makes no sense.

The Athletics, of course, are more commonly referred to as the Oakland A’s. No doubt, there are style guides that advise that plurals of single letters always require ’s, but neither common sense nor the style guide I usually consult, The Chicago Manual of Style (CMOS), advocates such usage.

Apostrophes most commonly indicate either a possessive case (as in George’s) or the elision of letters (as, for example, in contractions like don’t). An apostrophe is also used to indicate a simple plural when the letter involved is lowercased (as in a’s), since, in the absence of the apostrophe, the combination of letters could be mistaken for another word (as, in the example).

Here is the main part of the entry on the topic from the 16th edition of CMOS (7.14, p. 353):
Plurals for letters, abbreviations, and numerals. Capital letters used as words, numerals used as nouns, and abbreviations usually form the plural by adding s. To aid comprehension, lowercase letters form the plural with an apostrophe and an s.
When referring to the team as the Oakland A’s, A’s acts as a noun, and there is no possession implied. Oakland A’s is the semantic equivalent of Oakland Athletics. This suggests a rather farfetched justification for the use of the apostrophe, namely, that A’s could be an abbreviation for Athletics, with the apostrophe standing in for the omitted thletic. This is not reasonable because A is itself an abbreviation (or nickname) for Athletic. Just as the Pittsburgh Pirates comprise players, each of whom is a Pirate, the Oakland Athletics comprise players, each of whom is an Athletic, or, if you prefer, an A. (One can find examples of players described as an Athletic or an A.) This usage for the Oakland team seems odd only because Athletic is not usually a noun, so the locution is usually avoided. The team traces its history to the Philadelphia Athletics and the athletic clubs of the late 19th century, whose members were apparently called athletics.

All of this is to say that the Oakland A’s should really be the Oakland As, but I don’t expect this little essay to change anything. I suspect that, when A’s was first used, use of the apostrophe in such situation was common. More modern usage has become simplified and more logical.

Interestingly, plural team names never seem to be used in the possessive case. One never sees anyone writing about the Pirates’ manager, only about the Pirates manager. Likewise, no one reads about the Yankees’ owner or, God forbid, the A’s’ owner!

Errors involving apostrophes are common. I recently received a mailing from Family Video that included the slogan “Home of the Free Kids Movies!” This seems to refer to movies about kids, but what is meant is movies for kids. The slogan should have been “Home of the Free Kids’ Movies.” Of course, we speak of “adult movies.” Should we not, by analogy, speak of “kid movies”?

October 5, 2012

Why Not Practice?

Barack Obama
Photo by Pete Souza
The Obama-Biden
Transition Project
The consensus is that Mitt Romney “won” (whatever that means) Wednesday’s first presidential debate. Romney was articulate and confident, if disingenuous. Barack Obama’s performance was lackluster.

Administration apologists performed their expected job of putting the best face on the presidential performance, but stalwart Democratic commentators whose job description does not include praising the President no matter what he does were forced to admit that Barack Obama did not do a good job.

A unique opportunity was missed in the first debate. The Republican candidate was sinking in the polls, and the President’s numbers, particularly in swing states, were steadily climbing. With the proper strategy, effectively implemented, Obama could have delivered a knockout blow to the Romney candidacy, assuring re-election a month before the final votes are cast.

What were the people responsible for coaching the President thinking? I’ve wondered, for example, if the idea was to give Romney the opportunity to articulate clearly his positions, with the intention of attacking them with no holds barred in subsequent speeches and TV spots. The most credible explanation to emerge, however, is that Obama refrained from attacking Romney’s myriad vulnerabilities on the theory that doing so would not look “presidential.” Give me a break! In his nearly four years in office, Obama may have looked weak or indecisive, but he has certainly looked presidential!

My own theory is that the President and his coaches simply did not take the debate seriously enough. The polls were up, the opposition espoused unpopular policies, and the President was well-informed and a fine speaker What could go wrong? They ignored the fact that Romney’s Mormon upbringing had him giving public presentations beginning in childhood, and his confident and convincing presentation style was a key to his business success.

More than anything, however, Romney practiced. News reports day after day announced that he was preparing for the debate, and it was clear that he was able to insert well-rehearsed arguments into his responses at key points. We heard little about the President’s preparation, and much was made of the fact that he arrived in Denver only hours before the confrontation with his opponent. Only now, in the days after Wednesday’s rhetorical disaster, are the President and his surrogates mounting the attacks on the Republican candidate that should have been directed at Romney when the whole country was watching.

I am reminded of the words of the Flanders and Swan song “The English,” which includes the lines
They argue with umpires, they cheer when they’ve won,
And they practice before hand which ruins all the fun.
Does that describe the President’s attitude toward Romney in Debate 1? Were they thinking that the President would have an easy time of it? If so, their thinking proved to be wrong. Perhaps Obama will practice a bit more next time and enter the ring with the gloves off.

October 1, 2012

A Tribute to the Prices

The Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh’s provisional bishop, the Rt. Rev. Kenneth L. Price, Jr., will soon enter retirement with his wife Mariann. The bishop-elect, the Rev. Dorsey McConnell, will be consecrated at Calvary Church on October 20, 2012.

Bishop Price
It has been four years since the schism that divided our diocese, and Bishop Price has guided us through much of the period of rebuilding that culminates with the installation of a new diocesan bishop.

Ken Price and his wife Mariann are being given a warm sendoff by a grateful diocese. Last Saturday, they were the guests of honor at a picnic given by Jill and Jim West in Blawnox, Pennsylvania. The event emphasized food and fellowship over ceremony, but a highlight was the singing of a parody of “Once in royal David’s city,” which was written by Joan Gundersen, Property Administrator and Archivist of the diocese.

Pittsburgh Episcopalians will appreciate the details of Joan’s lyrics. I won’t attempt to interpret every line for others, but I think all readers will appreciate the general drift. The text is below. I have copied the words from Joan’s song sheet, correcting apparent errors. I am responsible for any errors that may have been introduced in the process.

Once in Pennsylvania’s southwest corner
Came a Bishop charged to help us heal.
He arrived with Mariann to help him
Rebuild Church in this city made by steel.
West V-A, born and bred;
Three full years he was our head.

The Diocese of Southern Ohio
Shared him with us for the first two years,
As did Bexley Hall and Forward Movement
Plus secretary to his bishop peers.
Burdens past he let us shed;
Three wise years he was our head.

He released all the ACNA clergy;
Restored the two who said they changed their mind.
He ordained a gaggle of new clergy,
Scoured Ohio even more to find.
Pastor, friend, as he led;
Three bless’d years he was our head.

He helped us set goals and mission;
Then we a strategic plan did write.
Through appeals and talks he maintained balance,
Keeping the goals clearly in his sight.
’Twas the Gospel that he pled;
Three busy years he was our head.

Retirees they feted at good lunches;
They opened their home for many more to dine.
He was sold at Redeemer’s auction;
As a camper Bishop Price did shine.
Bodies and hearts the Prices fed;
Three fun years he was our head.

One new parish, others returning
Found a welcome warm and heartfelt too.
To the Lutherans we grew closer;
Our own transitions he guided us through.
Tactfully, his course he tread;
Three warm years he was our head.

Now he’s off to new adventures
In retirement with his wife.
We all send them warmest wishes
For this new page in their life.
In this ¹Burgh it will be said,
“Three great years he was our head.”