One of the curious dimensions to the vocation of the Episcopal Church is the relative ease we have regarding Church and State issues. We are not the State Church, but we descend from a State Church, the Church of England. L'Enfant's plan for Washington, D.C. called for a "great church for National purposes," and that church is an Episcopal cathedral. Our Prayer Book Calendar includes Independence Day and Thanksgiving Day as major Holy Days, and also provides prayers and readings appropriate for Memorial Day and Labor Day (BCP, pp.17, 292, 839).
Perhaps because the third Monday in February did not become known as "Presidents' Day" until well after the completion of the revisions for the 1979 version, our Prayer Book does not have specific provisions for it. Still called "Washington's Birthday" in the "Uniform Monday Holidays Act," Presidents' Day is an occasion to give thanks for the legacy of such great presidents as George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. Nonetheless, the holiday also reminds me to pray for President Trump:
O Lord our Governor, whose glory is in all the world: We commend this nation to thy merciful care, that, being guided by thy Providence, we may dwell secure in thy peace. Grant to the President of the United Sates, the Governor of this State, and to all in authority, wisdom and strength to know and to do thy will. Fill them with the love of truth and righteousness, and make them ever mindful of their calling to serve this people in thy fear; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end. Amen.
This prayer with its two "governor" references, was a favorite of President Wilson, who had previously served as governor of New Jersey. You can find this prayer among other "Prayers for National LIfe" in the Prayer Book on pages 820-23. I commend them all to you.
Mentioning Washington National Cathedral -- as I did in the top paragraph -- reminds me of the touching sermon that columnist, teacher and writer David Brooks preached there last Sunday. He speaks movingly about his personal experience of the Cathedral and how such a structure "builds us" as people of moral virture You can find the sermon here, and his conversation with Cathedral Dean Randolph Hollerith here.
One of the decisions at last Sunday's Youth & Parents Meeting was to plan a pilgrimage for our acolytes (grades 4 and up) to the National Cathedral to participate in the National Acolyte Festival over Columbus Day weekend in October. We also decided to offer participation in Nightwatch at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City in April to our high school students. Details will be forthcoming.
Thanks to the Evening ECW, and Sunday School Director Laurie Varley, for last Saturday's Family Fun Night. The children had fun making valentines for Meals-on-Wheels and dancing with a number of intrepid adults. I'm happy to report that YFNR was a good sport about achieving the lowest score (not a good thing) in a game of Scrabble. Thanks to all for their donations of canned/boxed food for the Food Bank! A good reminder for us all.
In faith and hope,
p.s. Interested in an update about local efforts to support refugees? Then you will want to hear Chris George at the Guilford Free Library this Thursday, February 23, 7-9 p.m. Chris is the Executive Director of I.R.I.S. (Integrated Refugee & Immigrant Services), a New Haven-based agency with long ties to the Episcopal Church in Connecticut, including Christ Church.
Chris will also speak on Saturday, March 4, at the Companions in Mission Conference, with Bishop Ian Douglas and Allison Duvall, from Episcopal Migration Ministries -- one of the national agencies with which the State Department coordinates the resettlement of refugees. More information about this conference can be found here. I am registered; if you want to ride together to West Hartford, let me know.
We feature various authors from around our parish, commenting on topics of interest to our community. Enjoy! Comment if you are so moved!