Tuesday, May 17, 2011

God's Approval

Peter's first letter reminds us that a victim of unjust punishment deserves much credit. He writes "if you endure when you do right and suffer for it, you have God's approval." This should be comforting to all who are criticized and ostracized when standing for the hard right against the easy wrong.

It hurts when we must disagree with those we respect and admire. We are saddened that we can't just go along with the majority because we know that what they are doing is wrong. Worse, to be punished for standing alone is very difficult to endure. But it is the courage and suffering of individuals who endure this pain that moves us all forward. They have God's approval.

Friday, April 22, 2011


Last night, during a solemn Maundy Thursday Service, at Christ Church Clinton, Reverend Cassandra washed my feet as Christ did for his Disciples. This act symbolizes humility and service. We are to humble ourselves, take people as they come, regardless of circumstance, friend or foe, sick or well, rich or poor, last and first and wash their feet for we are all of the same spirit.

By washing their feet, including those of the disciple who was to betray him, Christ wanted us to know that although we are imperfect, we should be hopeful. We are worth salvaging and that loving our neighbors as Christ loved us is the way to salvation.

During the ceremony, and after, I asked myself how many feet have I washed? Have I loved my neighbors enough?

Friday, March 18, 2011


I enjoy reading Matthew 7:7-14 and Esther C:12, 14-16, 23-25. These passages remind me of the importance of prayer and God's eagerness to hear and answer them. Matthew tells us to seek and we shall find and ask and we shall be answered. To drive home his point, he establishes the willingness of imperfect humans to meet our obligations to our children. If as sinners we would do all we could for our children, then certainly God, which is perfect, would fulfill His promises to us.

One powerful example of God answering prayer is when Esther needed to find the strength to risk her life and appeal to a King to save her people. She prays that God will fulfill His promise and deliver her people. "As a child I used to hear from the books of my forefathers that you, O Lord, always free those who are pleasing to you. Now help me, who am alone and have no one but you, O Lord, my God. God hears her prayer, keeps His promise and gives Esther the courage, wisdom and cunning to convince the King to save her people and vanquish their enemies.

I know that God answers my prayers. I can think of many instances when I'm at an impasse and prayer opens a door, or times when I'm drained and after prayer I'm energized. God's blessings are all around and I know my life is highly favored.

I'm convinced that we can never pray too much. Because of this, I've started a Thursday morning prayer conference call. Each Thursday morning at 7am, you can participate by dialing 641 715 3200, pass code 941656#. I believe this is a great way for us to connect with each other, pray for our needs and those of others, and grow spiritually. Please call in and pray with me.

H. Art Taylor
Senior Warden

Saturday, February 26, 2011

The Wonders of Rev. Cassandra

Each Sunday service reminds me of the great blessing God has given us in the form of Rev. Cassandra. While I am relatively new to Christ Church Clinton, I can see the great progress we have made under her leadership these last 2 years. Whether it is the live nativity at Christmas, sunrise service on Easter, a thoughtful sermon or bible study along the route that Apostle Paul journeyed, her creativity has enlivened us.

Others of you, with much longer tenure, share with me your sense of the positive changes that the church has undergone. We have witnessed a rise in the number of attendees, baptisms, confirmations and missions. She will tell you, and I agree that we have all grown more hopeful. You sense a kindness and gentility among our congregants. Rev. Cassandra’s energy, skill, compassion and will have helped us move from the brink of closure to a growing, active community of Christ followers.

She has positioned our church to achieve greater heights. I look forward to seeing our membership grow, our outreach expand and our spiritual understanding blossom in the weeks and months ahead. To get there, we will all need to find ways to engage and to serve. Those of us in leadership roles must continue to reach out to less active members to encourage and welcome their participation in church activities and missions. I also hope our less active members will respond favorably to the overtures of our leaders. If you have not been as active, you will discover nothing more fulfilling than your service to others. You will help others, support our church and enrich your life.

Rev. Cassandra has opened up limitless possibilities for us. Now we need your ideas and willingness to make them realities. Recently the Men of the church experimented with a Sunday Brunch. Eric organized the men who all pitched in and we had a fabulous event, with great food and fellowship. We were surprised by and grateful for the number of people that participated. This is one example of what is possible if we work together.

Indeed, we are on our way. I can only imagine what we will be this time next year as we experience the Wonders of Rev. Cassandra.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Because We Believe We Will Achieve

Earlier this week, Glenn Robinson, the Franklin and Marshall College basketball coach won his 800th game. He is only the 13th coach in the history of college basketball to have his teams win that many games. Two seasons ago he had already become the coach with the most wins in NCAA division III basketball. In short, this is a spectacular accomplishment that took 40 years to achieve.

I had the good fortune to play for Coach Robinson during a 4 year stretch from 1976 through 1980. I remember many things about that experience and use the lessons I learned from basketball in my daily life. Coach Robinson taught us to work as a team, to play with intensity and to maintain poise. These attributes are not always easy to apply in life but they deliver great rewards if we use them.

Our teams were highly successful, we won many more games than we lost, and one year we went to the NCAA Division III final Four.

As I think about our church, it occurs to me that the more we can work as a team, the more effective we will be in accomplishing the objectives we have for ourselves and that God has for us. For this reason, this year when the Vestry meets on March 5th for its retreat, I am asking that we take a good look at our priorities, focus on those things that are most important, then pull together as a team, work intensely and with poise to accomplish goals this year.

Like our basketball teams, Our church will be most effective if each member makes a contribution. When we set our objectives, I hope each of us will join a committee or participate in a mission. Plan your life so that you can give some of your time and talent to the success of the church and you'll be amazed at what we will accomplish.

If someone told me back in 1976 that in 2011 Franklin and Marshall's basketball program would have achieved 800 wins, I would not have been surprised. I believed then that we were doing things in such a manner that we would win lots of games. I feel the same way about our church. We have wonderful people, great facilities, a talented and blessed leader in Rev. Cassandra and most importantly, we have faith in the Lord our God who will give us the power to move mountains because we believe.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Taking Our Work to the World

Last week I had the honor of joining Rev. Cassandra and Malachi Burton, and Joanne and Don Appold at The Cathedral Church of Saints Peter and Paul for the 116th Annual Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington. Delegates and other attendees were treated to an address from our Bishop, The Rt. Rev. John Bryson Chane. His address connected faith, which he described as that which sustains us when we cannot know something, to our mission which is to create a more hopeful and just world.

Creating a more hopeful and just world requires taking risks. Taking risk requires faith. Rev. Chane reminded us that being a christian in the 21st century is a risky business. We do not operate with the the rock solid assurance that we once did. The needs of our parishioners are many and in some cases unprecedented. We must be flexible and creative if we are to meet those needs and be relevant.

This speech inspired me to ask if we, at Christ Church Clinton, are taking enough and the right risks. This past year we've seen promising growth in the numbers of people who attend church each Sunday. Also, under Rev. Cassandra's leadership, we've expanded our thrift shop, enabling people with modest means to acquire clothing and other items they need, for less than they would have to spend if they went to a commercial establishment. We've also given tons of food through our food pantry to individuals and families without the means to feed themselves. This is great work but the world is not yet a just one so we must look for additional ways accomplish that mission.

I started this blog, thanks to Don Appold's technical support, to highlight our accomplishments and open a public dialogue about our church, work and worship. It's new for us to do this and I realize a number of our members do not have access or interest in this medium. I hope to encourage you to take a small risk and follow and comment on these postings. Also encourage your friends and family members to do so. Join our Christ Church facebook fan page by clicking here. I believe that if we grow as a church it will be because we take our work to the world rather than wait for the world to come to us.

Art Taylor
Senior Warden