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The following is a flier announcing a neighborhood meeting for the folks in the Salisbury Area of Tantuck in Worcester.  I commend it to your reading and action!!!

Do you feel safe walking or driving on Flagg Street?

This question will be explored at a public meeting scheduled for
Sept. 8, 7:00pm at Congregation Beth Israel on Jamesbury Drive.

Flagg Street between Aylesbury Rd. and Pleasant St. is a “perfect storm” waiting to happen for motor vehicles and pedestrians alike.  Contributing factors include a narrow street, increasing traffic, mature trees, hazardous Fall and Spring morning icing, and, most important, no continuous sidewalk on either side of the street.

In an effort to increase public safety and improve quality of life, we
believe options for Flagg Street between Aylesbury and Pleasant St. include 1) making it a one way street and installing a sidewalk on one side or both, or  2) keeping it a two way street but allowing for a sidewalk on one side or the other.

District City Councilor William Eddy, District City Councilor Joff Smith, State Representative Bob Spellane, and State Senator Harriette Chandler have committed to attend meeting and support initiative.

Please consider contributing your thoughts prior to meeting:

If interested in being part of neighborhood association database and receiving future notices, contact Liz Murphy at or Joe Pagano at  or call:  508-932-5200.

Hope to see you Sept. 8th!

Salisbury Area Neighborhood Association

The all too short New England summer is fleeing quickly from experience into memory.  It simply is, it’s neither good nor bad.  It, like most everything else in life has its upside as well as its drawbacks.  The change of the seasons is as God created things.

It has been said that life is 10% what happens to you and 90% of how you deal with it.  I think there’s a great deal of wisdom in that view.

I recently read a book by a man named Alan Roxburgh called, The Sky is Falling!?! Leaders Lost in Transition. It is about, among other things, the nature of transition that the Church in the modern world finds itself in.  We can lament the passing away of a predominantly Christian culture in our world, but at the end of the day that passing away is a change.  A change that we cannot undo, but a change with which we must deal with all the imagination, prayer, obedience and creativity at our disposal if we are to continue doing the Mission of God here in Worcester.

Mr. Roxburgh says that change is inevitable and what we do with it, the 90% of faith is in how we respond.  He calls the response transition.  He says that transition is what we do in the face of change.  He says change happens to us, we can’t stop it, but what we can do is manage our response as we transition from one reality to another.

It’s in what we do that we begin to walk upon the kind of Holy Ground that Moses experienced when he heard God in a burning bush.  Change for the people of Israel was on the horizon.  They were a threat to the Egyptians and the Egyptians were acting out of fear to oppress God’s people.  God took this change and called a people into one of the great transitions in all of human history, the Exodus.

That 40 year pilgrimage continues to serve as an example to God’s people about how we can depend upon God to move us from one circumstance should we have the courage, wisdom and faith to depend on Him regardless of what change comes our way.

One of the common phrases in the our current culture is, “it’s all good!”  Well we know that it’s not all good.  That being said the Apostle Paul in the Romans says, “we know that all things work together for those who love God.” (Romans 8:28).  What Paul is reminding the Romans and us of is that God’s love, power, compassion and guidance can bring good from almost any change if we trust him to help us make transitions.

Whatever change befalls us, I pray that God will lead us through Holy Transition more deeply in relationship to Him and a deeper commitment to His Mission for the world.

I made a commitment to an online friend the other day that I would blog about the MDGs (Millenium Development Goals) today.  Now to figure out what to say!

I’m only half kidding.  If you’re not aware of what the MDGs are here’s a brief overview courtesy of the United Nations which drafted these goals as a way of seeking to eliminate global development problems by attacking them at their roots:

We can be overwhelmed at the enormity of these development challenges if we bite off too big a hunk of them.  Maybe what we can do best is see where these challenges affect our own neighborhoods.  True, it may not be that we have stark examples of poverty, child mortality and all the rest down the street, but we would do well not to take for granted what we do have and be honest about what’s lacking locally.

Environmental sustainability begins in our homes and extends to our neighbors.

Universal primary education is often a sporadic reality for homeless families (Buy your Hope for Housing Grocery Cards at St. Luke’s!!!!)

HIV and malaria, well a mosquito net that will protect a child in a developing country costs about $10 and addresses 2 of the goals.  Think on that and Google a place to donate!

You’ll have loads of ideas if you just spend some time reflecting on what you can do.  If not try this link for the ONE Campaign where you can find out what One person can do to make a difference in the life of another and indeed in the life of the world.

Take some time today to think about what you CAN do, not about what you CAN’T do.  It’s hard work, but it’s really good work.

Happy Monday all!!!!

Hey there world!  Yesterday we had a rousing ‘Blessing of the Backpacks’ event at St. Luke’s.  It was a good and joyful thing.  I was looking through the Telegram & Gazette online this morning and ran across this story.  A different angle on the Blessing but a good one.  These folks and these backpacks ARE the blessing.  Enjoy and have a great day!

I listen to NPR every morning while I make coffee (for my wife) and tea (for myself).  I don’t drink as much coffee as I used to, partially because of the havoc it wreaks on my stomach and my blood pressure.  This morning while I was fixin’ caffeine (in both kinds) a story about meditation and blood pressure came on (Meditation vs. Medication).  There is much to recommend this story to all of us but in particular I was grabbed by the following line:

Sometimes, realizing that you’re not in control can make you more effective in matters where you do have control.

The specific context here was in talking to a man who was learning to attend to his breathing and anxiety as he drove instead of his mind racing to things he couldn’t control–traffic, other drivers, cell phone reception, etc.

You know of course that’s the essence of a prayer that has become the mantra for 12 step groups across the world.  It’s has come to be called the Serenity Prayer, but was written, and left untitled by 20th Century Theologian Reihold Neibuhr in 1943.  It’s about action, control it’s also about stillness and surrender.  In short it’s about seeking after God’s will and the courage to do it as we are able.  Here’s the full text of the prayer:

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next. Amen.

I love the last part..where he asks only for to be ‘reasonably happy in this life’.  Seeking the will of God is more about the state of the world than my ultimate happiness in this life..that’s for another season of our lives with God.

May we all have the grace to let go of the illusion of control long enough to be reasonably happy today and work for the redemption of the world and the relative happiness of the whole of creation.

When you’re frustrated today–and I trust it’s a question of when, not if–I hope you can take a deep breath, meditate as you know how to do and just accept the world as it is, knowing that its transformation is God’s work and we are invited to participate in that and are not ultimately responsible for making it so.

To quote the title of the NPR story, may we have the grace to just say ‘OM’ (or a reasonable equivalent, a holy word reminding us of the Peace of God).

Be careful out there, we want to see you again!!!

This text from Sirach (Ecclesiasticus) 39:11 concluded the Hebrew Scripture reading for the Feast of Bernard of Clairvaux, celebrated today throughout Christendom.

If he lives long, he will leave a name greater than a thousand, and if he goes to rest, it is enough for him.

Bernard is in many ways one of the fathers of modern monasticism. Born to privilege he abandoned it all in order to spend his considerable gifts in the passionate pursuit of establishing truly Christian communities. Though few of us today in full-time pastoral ministry are setting out to establish monasteries we are engaged in very similar endeavor to that of Bernard.

Bernard’s passion (often at the expense of sleep and other frivolous activities) for building the Kingdom through the establishment of praying communities ought to be what the leader of every congregation would do well to imitate. Bernard sensed that the traditions of Jesus and The Way were threatened by an increasingly hostile or at least indifferent secular reality. If we’re honest with ourselves, we live in a similar age, asking for the same kind of compulsive, passionate and thorough proclamation by the Gospel by communities of praying, serving, studying and compassionate followers of Jesus.

We may, none of us, live long enough or cast as long a shadow as Bernard to remembered more than a thousand, but should we spend even a few days chasing as passionately  the life of discipleship for ourselves and those whom we pastor as did Brother Bernard—that will be enough.

Thanks be to God for Bernard.

In July at St. Luke’s we had a series of sermons talking about the Kingdom of Heaven language in Matthew’s Gospel.  Noted Emerging Church author and speaker Brian McLaren shares some of his thoughts and beliefs about what it means to live a Kingdom kind of life here on earth. I commend it to your viewing and invite you to share with me your thoughts and impressions.  

Peace…..Fr. Warren


This is a clip from a friend who experienced Fenway for the first time a week ago.  There’s a certain liturgical quality in this that makes me smile.


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August 2008

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