Archive for December, 2017





Right now we need stories about good people more than ever.

A while ago I used to write a series of articles for the Diocesan magazine (when we had one) called “Family Portraits.” I interviewed a wide variety of people and wrote their stories. One of my favorites was about Tela Burt, a 104-year-old jazz musician who made me fried chicken and peach pie as he talked about his time playing trumpet with the Ellington band. Another was about George Metcalf, a retired priest of the Diocese who had served in World War II as a chaplain. In a small boat, he rowed between the great ships waiting to invade Normandy, bringing Communion to the soldiers. He also served as chaplain to the famous general George Patton and co-authored the “Fair-Weather Prayer,” asking God for good flying conditions for the Normandy invasion.

For the past two years I have been writing about people at St. John’s. You’ve been them in the Evangelist but now we have gathered them together, along with short biographies of new members and are offering them to you to read this Advent. They’ll be available at the Advent wreath workshop this coming Sunday and also after both services at the back of the church. And watch for the next Evangelist and read about Wuyah Coroma’s epic journey from Liberia to Atlanta to the Twin Cities.

Sunday is the first Sunday of Advent and the Gospel warns us to keep awake and pay attention, even when we want to turn off the news in despair.

Episcopalians don’t like to be told what to do but I will take a risk here and suggest an Advent discipline for each one of us: Church each week, an hour of your time. In the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus returns from prayer and finds his disciples sleeping. He asks Peter, “Could you not watch with me for one hour?”

I think he asks the same of us.

See you in church.
It will be around an hour.


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