(An) Anglican(‘s) Opinion: Priests are not Sacramental Specialists

This post is a part of Rookie Anglican, a blog dedicated to Making Anglicanism Accessible. "The more things change, the more things stay the same." ~ Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr T.F. Torrance’s astute observation applies as much to the Church today as it did to ancient Israel: “the tendency to make the sacrificial priesthood independent of the prophetic Word of God represents [...]

We few, we happy few, we band of brothers…

I'm here again...in not-so-sunny Florida for another session with this group. This time, it will be only a day for me. I have a commitment that has crowded by schedule. But I am re-posting my article from last year about the "Band of Brothers" I have met with for 30 years! In just a few days time I will leave [...]

By |2019-01-10T16:54:35-06:00January 3rd, 2017|Categories: For Pastors|Tags: , , , , |4 Comments

A Year of First Blessings

So, you now know the origin of this blog title: First Blessing. It is also traditional that first blessings are too special to be restricted to one day; the new priest gives first blessings for an entire year. So, I have set my heart and hand to writing these public reflections of the life of a new priest for that [...]

By |2016-05-13T09:35:29-05:00May 17th, 2016|Categories: For Pastors|Tags: , , , , |1 Comment

We Can’t Do it

In the 17th century, pastor and poet George Herbert wrote the book The Country Parson, one of the first manuals for pastors written in English.  He starts his book by acknowledging that he feels inadequate: the way to please [God], is to feed my Flock diligently and faithfully, since our Savior has made that the [focus] of a Pastor's love, [...]

By |2016-05-05T09:24:50-05:00May 5th, 2016|Categories: For Pastors|Tags: , , , |1 Comment

What does the Rector do?

(Recently, I published a blog post on the Role of the Vestry or Church Board here. This is its companion piece on the role of the Rector or Sr. Pastor.) Over the years, I have been through many different periods of growth and development as the Rector and Sr. Pastor of Christ Church. I have made mistakes along the way; I've had some blessed moments [...]

By |2019-01-10T16:56:28-06:00April 27th, 2016|Categories: For Pastors|Tags: , , , |4 Comments

Call Me Mother

Since I was ordained as a priest two years ago, the question I’m most asked is, “What do we call you?” In Anglicanism, people often refer to priests as “Father,” following Roman Catholic and Orthodox tradition. I have no intention to argue here about the use of that term, which can be controversial among lower church folks, but the practice [...]

By |2019-01-04T22:39:25-06:00April 26th, 2016|Categories: Anglicanism|Tags: , , , , |14 Comments

What Do I Call You?

“What do I call you?” the bank teller asked as we conducted some routine financial transaction – a question prompted by the collar I was wearing. “I am an Anglican priest. Sometimes we are called Father and sometimes simply by first name. Whichever you please is fine.” This is what I wish I had said, simply to open the opportunity [...]

By |2016-01-21T08:54:44-06:00January 21st, 2016|Categories: For Pastors|Tags: , , , |2 Comments

Top Posts of 2015

Thank you for joining us in 2015. Here are the most read articles posted in 2015. #10 What They Are Saying About Advent by David Roseberry. “For outlandish creatures like us, on our way to a heart, a brain, and courage, Bethlehem is not the end of our journey but only the beginning – not home but the place through which we must [...]

By |2019-01-04T22:41:05-06:00December 29th, 2015|Categories: Anglicanism|Tags: , |0 Comments


So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by our spoken word or by our letter (2 Thess 15, ESV throughout). I recently ran afoul of the rubrics – not seriously afoul (a minor “infraction” so my stole will not be yanked) and not truly of the rubrics themselves, but rather [...]

By |2016-04-21T16:01:35-05:00December 28th, 2015|Categories: For Pastors|Tags: , , , |2 Comments

Herding Cats

Comedians often use humor as social commentary. A joke can slip through our defenses, expose our hidden hypocrisy, question our cherished beliefs, scrutinize our preconceived notions, and all this while making us laugh at ourselves. Such jokes are nearer parables than we often realize. They are humorous precisely because we recognize some grain of truth in them. Sometimes the truth [...]

By |2015-12-15T07:47:57-06:00December 15th, 2015|Categories: For Pastors|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

Things Done In Secret

As a new priest, I am careful to follow the liturgical rubrics in the prayer book as well as those that exist as a matter of local custom: bow here, make the sign of the cross now, kneel during this part of the service, extend arms in orans for this prayer, lay hands upon the bread and cup – or [...]

By |2015-10-31T09:40:57-05:00December 1st, 2015|Categories: For Pastors|Tags: , , , , |7 Comments

Authority and Freedom

O God, the author of peace and lover of concord, to know you is eternal life and to serve you is perfect freedom… (A Collect for Peace, BCP 1979, p. 990). A priest is a man under authority, a man who has relinquished the false freedom of autonomy for the perfect freedom of service, or at least a man who [...]

By |2018-07-10T13:36:44-05:00November 17th, 2015|Categories: For Pastors|Tags: , , |0 Comments

Pastoral Prayer

A priest is asked to pray – a lot. Sometimes it is as designated or honorary pray-er, as at a church dinner. “Father N., will you bless the food, please?”  Anyone could do this, of course, but it often falls to the priest.  While it is a token moment, it is also an important one, a public acknowledgment of our [...]

Eucharist and Forgetfulness

The modern habit of doing ceremonial things unceremoniously is no proof of humility; rather it proves the offender’s inability to forget himself in the rite, and his readiness to spoil for everyone else the proper pleasure of the rite (C. S. Lewis). One of the greatest of the abundant joys of celebrating the Eucharistic Liturgy is the sure knowledge that [...]

By |2019-01-08T17:36:21-06:00October 24th, 2015|Categories: For Pastors, Sacraments|Tags: , , , , |0 Comments

Healing and Wholeness

As you are outwardly anointed with this holy oil, so may our heavenly Father grant you the inward anointing of the Holy Spirit.  Of his great mercy, may he forgive you your sins, release you from suffering, and restore you to wholeness and strength.  May he deliver you from all evil, preserve you in all goodness, and bring you to [...]

By |2018-07-10T13:36:45-05:00October 22nd, 2015|Categories: For Pastors|Tags: , , , , |1 Comment

A Baptismal Affront

The Baptism of young Children is in any wise to be retained in the Church, as most agreeable with the institution of Christ (Article XXVII). For several reasons -- Clara and James prominent among them -- I've been thinking much about baptism lately.  These two beautiful children recently became my sister and brother in Christ:  a little water, a little [...]

By |2019-01-08T17:34:33-06:00October 21st, 2015|Categories: For Pastors, Sacraments|Tags: , , , , |1 Comment

That’s Not the Gospel

My parish hosts a monthly Eucharist at a local residential care facility.  This month I offered the following reflections on Mark 9:14-29. Priests spend a fair amount of time in hospitals visiting the sick and praying with them and for them.  Some of those we visit are young and generally very healthy and are expected to make quick and full [...]

By |2018-07-10T13:36:45-05:00October 20th, 2015|Categories: For Pastors|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

Ministry, Not Magic

So now, Father, we ask you to bless and sanctify, with your Word and Holy Spirit, these gifts of bread and wine, that we may partake of his most blessed Body and Blood. What happens to the bread and wine in and through this prayer of epiclesis, when the priest invokes the Word and Holy Spirit and signs the elements [...]

By |2018-07-10T13:36:46-05:00October 19th, 2015|Categories: For Pastors|Tags: , , , , |0 Comments

First Among Equals?

Just had a profound insight in my seminary class...The insight is this:  I believe in the validity of the ordained priests AND the priesthood of the believer.   The principles are held in tension.   How?   By seeing the ordained priest as merely the first among equals among a congregation  of lay priests.  This is a very different view [...]

By |2018-07-10T13:36:46-05:00October 18th, 2015|Categories: For Pastors|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

A Tale of Two Nursing Homes

Last evening my family stopped by Walgreen's for soft drinks, chips and candy.  Another family -- dear friends -- visited Dollar Tree to purchase a variety of inexpensive gifts.  A few minutes later we met at Peaceful Haven, a local nursing home, one that provides services for those at the lower end of the economic spectrum.  The facility is dated, [...]

By |2018-07-10T13:36:46-05:00October 17th, 2015|Categories: For Pastors|Tags: , , , , |0 Comments

Words, Words, Words

In the beginning was the Word. The preachers' dilemma:  words used to communicate the deep mysteries of God are like mallets used for brain surgery -- blunt and clumsy instruments, ill-suited for the task.  Yet, they are what we have in that brief liturgical window allotted the sermon each Sunday.  So, we struggle to make them work, to make them [...]

By |2018-07-10T13:36:47-05:00October 16th, 2015|Categories: For Pastors|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

Speech Acts

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.  God spoke and called worlds into being:  "Let there be," God said, and there was, and it was good -- creation by speech act.  A speech act consists of words, and sometimes gestures, which not only express but create that which is expressed. Speech acts are so common, so "ordinary" in [...]

By |2018-07-10T13:36:47-05:00October 15th, 2015|Categories: For Pastors|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

Marriage and Mystery

Tomorrow, in new cassock and surplice and for the first time as priest, I will read the Gospel and lead the matrimonial prayers in The Celebration and Blessing of a Marriage.  The couple is young and dear and in love (with Christ and with one another) and is, I feel confident, about as ready for marriage as is humanly possible, [...]

By |2018-07-10T13:36:47-05:00October 14th, 2015|Categories: For Pastors|Tags: , , , |0 Comments
Go to Top