Advice for Clergy (and the rest of us)

Did you know that October has been designated “Clergy Appreciation Month” by the good people at Hallmark Cards?  It was news to me.Young_Woman_Writing_Calligraphy_MET_TR_103_3_2012_Strm1

So, in honor of all the clergy who are a part of our lives, I offer some insights and advice from Sei Shonagon, an 11th century Japanese noblewoman living in the imperial court near modern day Kyoto.  She is, perhaps, an unlikely source of guidance.  But her wisdom is timeless. Continue reading “Advice for Clergy (and the rest of us)”

The Water and Sanitation Mystery (Part Two)

In last week’s installment of “The Water and Sanitation Mystery” my colleague
IMG_0594discovered that, to his alarm, the project had not gone as planned. Household latrines had not been built and the one public latrine that had been built was not in use.  Most concerning, however, the community was not capturing and protecting its clean water supply.

Trying to get to the bottom of the mystery, my colleague convened a meeting of the community Water and Sanitation Committee, whose responsibility it is to manage the project.  

To them the explanation is obvious. Continue reading “The Water and Sanitation Mystery (Part Two)”

The Water and Sanitation Mystery (Part One)

IMG_0607A trip report from one of my colleagues at Episcopal Relief & Development recently crossed my desk.  I find these reports extremely helpful in understanding the challenges my co-workers are facing as they visit our programs around the world.  Each of these reports is fascinating.  

However, this one was exceptional: it contained a mystery.   Continue reading “The Water and Sanitation Mystery (Part One)”

The Kumari’s Blessing (Part Two)

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Author’s note: The second part of this story reminds us that, even after the most terrible of disasters, we can find hope and healing. I hold onto this as we count the losses of the most recent series of tragedies we are enduring.

The morning after we received the Kumari’s blessing, my daughter and I set out to visit the epicenter of the massive earthquake that struck Nepal on April 25, 2015.  The memory of the Kumari’s gaze calmed me as we sat in traffic making our way out of Kathmandu. Continue reading “The Kumari’s Blessing (Part Two)”

The Kumari’s Blessing (Part One)

IMG_0730Just short of a year after the April 25, 2015 earthquake that struck Nepal, my daughter and I landed in Kathmandu.  We were there to visit the recovery programs that Episcopal Relief & Development was supporting.  Before leaving Kathmandu to tour the epicenter of the destruction and our work, my daughter and I took an afternoon to visit the Living Goddess—the Kumari—and to receive her blessing. Continue reading “The Kumari’s Blessing (Part One)”

Hurricane Harvey: What can I do to help?

Starting on Sunday, as the scope and devastation of Hurricane Harvey became apparent, my email box began to fill with some version of: “What can I do to help?” I praise God for these emails.

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When we see images of people suffering, we want to do something. That’s understandable.

As Christians, we are called to seek and serve Christ in all people and never more so than in times of crisis.

Continue reading “Hurricane Harvey: What can I do to help?”

Finding God at Elmina Castle

Each time I approach Elmina Castle on the Cape Coast of Ghana, I am struck by the beauty of its setting.  The Castle sits on a bluff looking out over the Atlantic Ocean. Screen Shot 2017-08-14 at 9.10.59 PM

 Swaying palms. Breaking waves.  Shimmering white sand on an endless beach.  Blazing saffron sunsets.

However, the beauty is counterfeit.  Evil permeates Elmina.

Continue reading “Finding God at Elmina Castle”

The Old City of Jerusalem

Via_dolorosa_JerusalemThe Old City in Jerusalem is chockablock with thin places.

Countless worship and pilgrimage sites for the three Abrahamic faiths are packed within one square kilometer.  

I find it all overwhelming.  For the most part I have not experienced the transcendent power of being in a thin place when I am in the Old City.   

There is one exception to this.

Continue reading “The Old City of Jerusalem”

On the lookout for thin places

IMG_1571Have you ever had the sensation that the barrier between the temporal and the eternal has become porous or indeed disappeared entirely? Then you’ve found a “thin place.”  One of my goals in this blog is to share my experiences of those places with you so that you can be on the lookout as well.

Continue reading “On the lookout for thin places”