Thursday, September 29, 2011

Blessing of the Animals

The Episcopal Church celebrates the life of Francis of Assisi on October 4. October 2 is the Sunday nearest to that date, and St. Paul’s will bless animals then. People are encouraged to bring their pets to the 8:45 AM service. Animals will also be blessed after the 10:45 AM service.

I really do like this celebration, but it is sometimes hard for people to participate. It is particularly hard for choir members. Running home after the late service to retrieve my cats has, in the past, meant that I have missed most of the blessings. And of course, much of the joy of the event is seeing everyone else’s animals.

Anyway, St. Paul’s has put out a very nice banner at the corner of Washington Road and Mayfair Drive. The banner is shown below. (Click on the pictures for a larger view.)

Banner for pet blessing

The legend “Blessing of the Pets”is curious, as it is usual to speak of the blessing of the animals. I suspect the use of “pets” is not intended to exclude domestic animals that aren’t pets, but was used because “pets” fits on the banner better than “animals.”

The banner faces traffic going south only. The words on it probably couldn’t be read from across the street anyway. You can see where the banner has been placed in the photo below.

Location of banner

Sunday, September 18, 2011

This and That

Today, I want to offer several short items.

St. Paul’s on 9/11


I have been running a series of posts on Lionel Deimel’s Web Log looking back on poems and essays I wrote in response to the attacks of September 11, 2001. In my most recent post, the eighth in the series, I talk about and reproduce my poem “9/11 Memorial.” The poem describes the service held at St. Paul’s on the evening of September 11, 2001. If you attended that service, my poem may bring back memories.

Parking Lot Lights


I last complained about lights for the parking lot being out May 13, 2011. (See “Physical Plant Notes.”) When I was leaving the church for home after choir rehearsal on September 9, the three lights on the building that are supposed to illuminate the parking lot were not working. This is really dangerous. I was backing up my car near the door where I knew choir members were exiting, yet it was difficult to see if anyone was behind me or not. Happily, I ran over no one.

The good news is that, after the September 15 choir rehearsal, the lights were on.

Someone told me last week that the outdoor lamps for the east window were on in the evening. They were not on last Thursday, however. The lights, which were intended to illuminate the stained glass over the high altar at night, should never be on. The glass is very dense, and the lamps, which, no doubt, consume a good deal of electricity, have little effect on how the windows look from inside the church. (Installing the lamps was an interesting idea, but an unsuccessful one. They probably should be removed.)

Ministry Fair


St. Paul’s held its more-or-less annual ministry fair today. I bought a container of gazpacho left over from last night’s Harvest Dinner. After making some croutons to throw atop the cold soup, I had gazpacho for lunch. I also added pepper sauce and sea salt. It was yummy! (On my fondness for the Spanish soup, see my post “Gazpacho.”)

I also took some time to look at the display for the Property Commission. This was somewhat disappointing. The Commission seems only to be looking for people with strong backs, not strong minds. Maintenance of our physical plant is important, of course, but the Property Commission should also be a body that develops policy. See my last post on this subject, “A Better Way to Involve Parishioners in Physical Plant Changes.”

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Where is The Messenger

May 2011 newsletter
Most recent newsletter on the Web
I had reason to look at back copies of our newsletter, The Messenger, the other day. I do not save my copies on the theory that I can always go to the church Web site to read older issues.

To my surprise, the current issue of the newsletter (i.e., the September issue) is not on-line. More surprisingly, the June, July, and August issues were also missing in action.

Why can’t our Web site be more helpful and more up-to-date?

By the way, it’s possible that some parishioners visiting the Web site may have a hard time finding any issues of The Messenger at all. There is no obvious link to the newsletter page on the site’s home page. One has to click on the About tab at the top of the page to find a link to copies of the newsletter.

And one more thing. (This is something I have to think about as the Webmaster of a number of Web sites.) The footer at the bottom of pages on the St. Paul’s Web site carries a 2010 copyright date, yet another indication that the site is updated only fitfully.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

News and Comment on the Bishop Search

Profile cover
The Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh has recently published its Diocesan Profile, a kind of recruiting brochure—one of nearly 30 pages in this instance—for potential bishops. I wrote a brief post about it on my blog when it was first released and wrote a more extended reflection on it a day later. All interested Pittsburgh Episcopalians should read the profile.

My post on the Profile led to a dialogue with several people, but especially with the Rev. Bruce Robison, rector of St. Andrew’s, Highland Park. Together, we developed the idea for a blog to allow people in the diocese to discuss the diocese and the search for a new bishop. I explain this in my post “Our Pittsburgh Diocese.”

That blog is now active and, as I write this, has a single introductory post. The blog home page can be found at Bruce and I will be writing essays for the blog—anyone can comment on posts, of course—but we hope that most essays will be submitted by the clergy and laypeople of the diocese. Why not join in the conversation?

You can influence the search process even more directly by submitting the name of a possible candidate. A form for submission can be found on the diocesan Web site here. The process is exceedingly simple.