My wife and I are spending a week at the Chautauqua Institution in upstate New York. She calls it “summer camp for adults” – for me it is the most relaxing place I know.
We are staying at the Episcopal Cottage, a wonderful place which helps make our visit affordable. This means we are in the heart of the community. I turn left out the front door and in two blocks am at the Episcopal Chapel of the Good Shepherd. It is a tiny building, but fits right into the architecture of Chautauqua (go to www.ciweb.org for a look).
Turning right out the front door, my two-block walk takes me to the ampitheater, where daily worship is held and lectures and concerts are offered. This morning, and all this week, the preacher is John Bryson Chane, Bishop of Washington. Bishop Chane is a dynamic speaker with whose ideas I am at home. He is able to speak the truth as he sees it – not always a popular task – and God bless him for it.
The lectures of Chautauqua are only part of the fun – who can resist Jon Meacham, an articulate young man who understands how America’s relationship with religion came to be and passionately points out how the religious right has misrepresented what Meacham calls the “American Gospel.” The rest of the place is the arts in full bloom. Orchestras, dance, opera, are literally all over the place.
I am blessed to be able to be here, and to be able to relax. But I am taking advantage of the time to work on some ideas for a commission on which I serve in the Diocese of West Virginia. We are seeking to articulate a consistent way of doing ministry that, I hope, will help all our congregations – small and large – those served by full-time clergy and those who have the likes of me – to live fully into the lives God has prepared for us.
I ask your prayers for our work.
The Eve of the Feast of the Transfiguration