Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Truro in Coventry - The Baucum-Johnston Interview

Get the whole story here.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Truro In Coventry - Relational Orthodoxy and An Unexpected Visitor

This evening Tory and Bishop Shannon Johnson jointly addressed the Faith in Conflict conference.  A audio recording of the session should be available on-line tomorrow.

This evening's interview was in an informal style by Bill Marsh, an attorney specializing in conflict mediation in wide variety of settings including commercial, ethnic, religious and political situations.  The best way to charactertize the exchange is that it was one of truth and charity.  Neither Tory nor Bishop Shannon retreated from their views on the issues that led to the split between the departing congregations and Diocese of Virginia but both spoke with respect and affection for the each other.  Tory called this "relational orthodoxy" in which we seek to express the truth while remembering and honoring the imago dei (image of God) that resides in the person to whom we are speaking.

Bill Marsh, Rev. Tory Baucum, Bishop Shannon Johnston

We were suprised at the end of the discussion by the appearance of the new Archbishop of Canterbury, the Very Reverend Justin Welby. 


Truro in Coventry - The Expasperating Patience of God

You can listen to the entire talk of the Rev. Sam D. Wells via the link in the previous post. It is highly recommended. A couple comments worth highlighting.

  • Rev. Wells retold a classic Cold War joke about a train carrying the three major leaders of the Soviet Union. The train stops for unknown reason. Lenin goes to the engine car to "educate" the engineer into resuming the trip. Nothing happens. Stalin goes to the engine car and shoots the engineer. Nothing happens. Brezhnev pulls down all the shades and just pretends the train is moving.
  • In these three responses we see an illustration for how the church responds to conflict: education, force and denial. We try to educate our way out of conflict and nothing happens. We try to coerce and conflict deepens. Many times we simply deny that conflict exists and it goes subterranean to cause even worse problems.
  • We have in our minds that conflict is wasteful and that it interferes with the "real" work of the church. But what if conflict and reconciliation IS the work of the church? Our turning away from the conflicts within the life of the church is an effort to impose our agenda on God and hope that he goes along with us.
  • We tend to operate with a false premise: that there is only two choices when we find ourself in conflict with other Christians. Either the person we are in conflict with is "incredibly stupid" or they are being unfaithful. If, then, we eliminate stupidity and only engage with the faithful we will never encounter conflict.
  • We need to accept that the passion and resurrection of Christ is not a "stepping stone" to something else God is trying to do. The Incarnation, death and resurrection of Jesus are not a "device" but something that was written into the DNA of creation to bring reconciliation between God and humanity. There is nothing "behind" the Cross; the Cross is "the thing" itself.
Again, an extraordinary talk and well worth the investment of 45 minutes.

Faith in Conflict’s Conference Talks

To follow the talks at Coventry's Faith in Conflict Conference, click here

Here is the first talk:
The Exasperating Patience of God, given by Sam Wells

Monday, February 25, 2013

Truro in Coventry - the Upside of Jet-Lag

Jet-lag provided the incentive for overcoming some of the technological glitches that interfered with blogging yesterday and you, faithful, readers are the beneficiaries.

The Truro team continues to trickle into Coventry for attendance at the Faith and Conflict event that starts in about 8 hours.  Yesterday, Jackie March and Brent Orrell had an opportunity to meet conference organizer, David Williams and receive a guided tour of the Cathedral.  Below are some of our photos and a bit of commentary on what we've seen so far.

Truro Parishoner Jackie March and David Williams, Faith & Conflict conference organizer

David Williams graciously stepped away from his duties in putting final touches to the conference and led us on short tour of the cathedral pointing out its major features and thematics of fall and resurrection. The ruins of the old Cathedral form a unity with the mid-century modern replacement.  Together, the two structures lead worshipers on a spiritual journey from knowing and feeling brokenness and destruction toward the saving power of Jesus Christ.

There is an unexpected magnificence, beauty and stillness in Coventry Cathedral, quite different than one would expect in a modernist structure.  Every hour, on the hour, a priest comes to the church to lead whoever is present in a moment of reflection, meditation and intercession followed by the recitation of the Lord's Prayer.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Truro in Coventry - the Community of the Cross of Nails

A little more than a month after St. Michael's Cathedral was leveled in the German bombing raid of November 1940, then-Cathedral Provost Richard Howard conducted a Christmas-day broadcast from the rubble of the cathedral.  He told the listening world that after the war the church should work with former enemies "to build a kinder, more Christ-like world."  From this vision grew partnerships between the cathedral and the German cities of Kiel, Dresden and Berlin which had been similarly devasted by American and British bombers.  One of the central artifacts of these relationships is the Cross of Nails that was made from three medieval nails salvaged from the cathedral's destruction.

The Cross of Nails, Coventry Cathedral

The Community of the Cross of Nails is now an international society of more than 150 partners pursuing reconciliation across a wide variety of social and religious divides.  This is the spiritual context into which Truro Anglican enters in the coming week to bear witness to the continuing power of Christ to bring peace into the midst of emnity and division.  Without diminishing disagreements or apologizing for our deepest commitments to biblical truth, we witness that "all this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation:  that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation."    

Friday, February 22, 2013

Truro In Coventry - The Site 

Cathedral of St. Michael, engraving circa 1880

The site for Faith in Conflict was not chosen by accident.  A cathedral has existed on the site continuously since the 11th century.  The then-extant Medieval Cathedral of St. Michael was destroyed, along with almost 5,000 homes and a substantial portion of Coventry's industries, in the massive German air raid of November 14, 1940.  This raid has been noted as the beginnning of escalating retaliatory raids on population centers in Germany that  forever eliminated the distinction between combatants and civilians in war.
The cathedral was rebuilt in the late-1950s and consecrated in 1962.  A moving account of the spiritual events leading up to the new cathedral's consecration can be found in Fire In Coventry, by Stephen Vereny, who was Diocesan Missioner for the Diocese of Coventry at the time of the new cathedral's construction.


Cathedral of St. Michael today

An excellent summary of the Cathedral's history and current ministry and missions, particularly in the areas of peacemaking and evangelism, can be found here.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Over the coming week, we will be featuring the participation of Truro Church clergy and laity in Coventry Cathedral's Faith in Conflict conference. Faith in Conflict is dedicated to helping Christians of all walks to better understand and manage conflict as it occurs in the life of congregations and religious communities.

Truro Anglican Church occupies a special place at this gathering. Conference sponsor and the new Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Reverend Justin Welby, has invited our Rector, Tory Baucum, and Shannon Johnston, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia, to jointly address the delegates on their efforts to build a relationship of peace in the midst of deep, substantive divisions over critical issues of faith. Accompanying Tory are several members of Truro Anglican including Chap and Sharon Peterson, Jackie March, Isabelle Baucum and Brent Orrell (Vestry Warden for the Congregation).

The purpose of these entries is to provide an account of conference events and to share with the members of Truro Anglican and other interested readers what this conference signifies in the life of our parish as we seek to model how to worship a Lord who perfectly combines truth and love.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Parish Built on Love: A Postlude

Don Renzo Bonetti

Our friends from Italy have produced this video of the conference and their visit.  It is a wonderful visual summary of the conference.  Enjoy

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Shed to Shelter - Final

Many thanks to all the volunteers who helped me transform this old shed into a shelter for my soul.  Special thanks to John and Sandy without whom this dream would still be only in my imagination.