August 11, 2022 by Michael Carney

The disciples had been watching their Master immersed in prayer, sitting in silence for long periods of time, and they’d learned not to interrupt. Jesus regularly went off by himself before the first light of day, seeking a deserted place to commune with the Creator. The disciples could feel the power of those times and yearned to experience that for themselves. “Lord,” they asked, “teach us to pray.” (Luke 11:1)

So Jesus gave them some words of prayer: calling on God’s Name, proclaiming the coming of a holy kingdom and their dependence on the Creator, seeking forgiveness “for we forgive everyone,” and asking for help when trials come. This simple version of the Lord’s Prayer (expanded in the Gospel of Matthew) has such an impact that we still say it today. It probably wasn’t new to the disciples—we can all use a reminder—but from their disappointed looks, something more was needed.

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August 10, 2022 by Donald Romanik

As I write this blog I am in Abilene, Texas with my wife, Margaret, visiting our son David and his family – part of a month-long road trip during my six-week sabbatical. (David is Rector of the Church of the Heavenly Rest in the Diocese of Northwest Texas.) Our first stop from Connecticut was western Maryland, where Margaret’s brother hosted the annual family reunion followed by a visit with old friends from Hartford in Oklahoma. While there will be stops along the way, the next few weeks will include additional visits with family and friends in South Carolina and Virginia. All these summer gatherings continue to be wonderful opportunities for relaxation, refreshment, and reconnection.

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August 4, 2022 by Craig Townsend

After five years of ordained ministry in parishes, and three teaching in a private school in New York City, I decided I would like to teach in one of the Episcopal seminaries. For that I would need a deeper academic background, so I pursued a Ph.D. in American Religious History at Harvard, specializing in 19th-century Episcopal history. I was especially interested in looking at the interaction of religion and culture. I was supported in this work for three years by a Fellows grant from the Episcopal Church Foundation. For my dissertation, I looked for the story of a church in an anomalous relationship to its diocese, thinking this would open a window into the religion and culture of the period. Soon I discovered St. Philip’s Church of New York City, the second Black Episcopal congregation in the country. St. Philip’s was listed in the annual diocesan journal for decades as “(colored - not in union with the diocese),” with occasional minor variations in wording. But no Episcopal parish can exist outside of the diocesan structure! My dissertation thus became the story of the 40-plus-year struggle of St. Philip’s to move from its founding in 1809, through the ordination of Peter Williams as the second Black priest in the denomination, to a regular worship life with the Book of Common Prayer and visitations by bishops, to only finally having its delegation admitted to the diocesan convention in 1853. It was a fascinating story with a great cast of characters, and after I spent a couple summers re-writing it into a more narrative form, it was published in 2005 by Columbia University Press as Faith in Their Own Color: Black Episcopalians in Antebellum New York City.

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August 1, 2022 by Hannah Armidon

We live in a glut of information. Practically anyone can find any information or opinion that they wish if they put a few minutes of effort into it. As a result, people tend to mistrust scholarship. “I can think for myself!” is the constant refrain. Or, as I saw recently on Facebook, “We are all theologians by right of our baptism.”

In such a world, why on earth would I put the time, money, and effort into becoming a scholar? Why would anyone listen to a theologian?

The truth is: theological scholarship is so much more than just reading books.

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