This is a blog about the Church of Jesus Christ, and about my work in the Church this summer. For more information on my summer internship, see the first post.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Week Two

I can't believe two and a half weeks have already gone by! A lot is happening, and much more is on the way - I just discovered today that the other intern (Andy) and I will be teaching a 3-week series/leading a small group on 'Godly Singleness,' a topic in which the two of us have a good deal of experience at the moment :-D though I must confess, I feel as though I have a lot more to learn than to teach.

The tasks that are proliferating all seem to be of the public speaking sort - Andy and I will be alternating as the preachers at the Wednesday noon Eucharist every week, and will also both be speaking at a large group fellowship meeting on July 29th for some of the older members of the church (who are affectionately referred to as the 'veterans of the cross,' not to be confused with 'cross veterans'). We'll also have some opportunities to speak to some groups at local retirement and nursing homes. Next Thursday I'll be doing some teaching at a fellowship group on 5-point Calvinism (T.U.L.I.P., though I'll probably have to destroy the acronym by changing the 'L' to a 'D' or 'P'... more on that in the future). And I'll be preaching a few sermons on a Sunday (which means you'll be able to hear them), though that will probably come in August.

Like I said, it was an eventful past week and a half. I participated in an ordination service as a candle-bearer and table waiter for the sacrament. The service was quite memorable - everyone in bright red, marvelous singing and chanting. In fact, the music was perhaps what made things most memorable: the songs were for the most part contemporary worship songs ('The Days of Elijah,' 'How Great is Our God,' etc.) and the clergy and choir (among whom I stood) were belting out the lyrics and swaying and clapping, all quite powerful... I described it to Rev. Cathie as a real liturgical rowdy-dow... It was the first ordination I'd ever seen, so those in the future will have a lot to live up to. It certainly showed me that ancient liturgical forms of worship don't have to be outdated or dry if they are used properly.

I also went with a bunch of the staff at St. James to a program over in Los Alamos called 'Teen Challenge,' which combines evangelism and instruction in the word of God with rehabilitation programs for people struggling with drug and alcohol addiction. All of the support these people receive in their fight against drugs and alcohol is powerfully Christ-centered and bible-centered, with something in mind along the lines of the Psalmist's words, "I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you" (Ps. 119:11). They equip these young people not only with all the support and help needed for people trying to overcome addiction, but also with the strength to endure that process that a relationship with Jesus and a deep knowledge of scripture can provide. Their success rate in enabling people to fight off addiction and preventing relapse is quite high for such an organization - over 70%, and many of the graduates of the program become pastors. At the meeting, we sang some worship songs and then Rev. Cathie gave a message based on the disciples' walk to Emmaus (Lk. 24:13-35), about what it means to walk with Jesus in one's daily life. There were a lot of us leaders there, so we divided into pairs and went around praying for the people in the program based on their individual needs, asking for the Spirit's presence to give them saving faith and to equip them in their struggle with addiction.

On Sunday night, Andy and I went with some friends to Rock Harbor Church, a non-denominational mega church - Pastor Richard suggested that we experience some of the other options for church in the area and think about the different approaches to 'doing church' that we find. All told, Rock Harbor was more or less what I expected from a modern mega church comprised mainly of teens to thirties, though there were a few surprises. The preaching was very good (I don't mean to imply that this was a surprise... unfortunately, though, it was their preaching pastor's last Sunday there). The way we shared communion that night quite interested me: the wafers and little communion cups (with grape juice) were passed out and we were encouraged to sit for a while, holding them in our hands and examining ourselves inwardly. Then, after praying for us in a way that explained what it means to receive each of the elements, the pastor would then say, "Rock Harbor - the body of Christ, broken for you" and "Rock Harbor - the blood of Christ, shed for you," and at precisely the same moment, hundreds of people received the body and blood of Jesus together.

That got me thinking. Does our way of doing communion in most churches (coming up to a rail, kneeling in a straight line, and receiving the elements from a priest or pastor; or, lining up in front of a priest or pastor and doing the same thing) really convey all that the Lord's Supper intended? There are several things that I think we ought to be holding together in our minds as we go to the Lord's Supper, and I feel as though the replacement of the table with an altar in many churches (particularly Anglican and Catholic ones) perhaps obscures some of them. First, and most fundamentally, I remember at communion that Christ died for me - that he gave up his body to be broken and allowed his blood to be poured out in order to forgive my sins. Through receiving this body and blood in the holy mystery of communion, I receive Christ in my soul in a profound way, uniting myself to him so that his body and blood nourish me spiritually, causing me to recall my sinfulness and look with gratitude to God, who pardons me on the basis of what Christ alone has accomplished.

That's the core, I think, of what goes on when we receive communion. But I think that at the Lord's table we're invited to behold the wonder of this deliverance from sin and death in the context of a communal reality. The fact that communion is a deeply personal act need not make it an individualistic one. Holy communion not only displays my partaking of grace, but that of the whole church - it is truly the very thing that constitutes the body of Christ. We remember not only that through communion we are members of Christ, but also of one another (Eph. 4:25); we are fellow heirs and members of the household of God, and the same Lord who died for me died also for everyone else I see around me at that table. It seems to me that churches ought to do everything in their power to make communion something the church does together, so that we recognize the fact that God's purpose is not only to redeem me from my sins and to grant me eternal life, but also to create a
people who are to be stewards of his redemptive purposes, a spiritual nation through whom his promises for the whole world are to be carried forward. That is why communion isn't only a memorial of our redemption, but also a 'feast of the kingdom,' a point at which we look not only back but also forward, to the day when we will join with all God's people in the marriage supper of the Lamb (Rev. 19:9).

This is one of the reasons I love the way my church in Grand Rapids does communion. First of all, the altar is not an altar - it is a table. Thus we aren't mislead into thinking that Christ is being sacrificed again (as in Catholic theology). Second, we approach the table and stand in a circle around it, and the communion is not distributed until everyone is there (1 Cor. 11:21a comes to mind). And last of all, the pastor simply gives the elements to various people around the circle, and then they pass them along; so everyone in the circle has the chance to say to the brother or sister in Christ next in the circle: 'the body of Christ, broken for you' and 'the blood of Christ, shed for you.' Communion is done in such a way that it is simply impossible not to take communion together, or to think about one's own redemption without thinking also of others'. I don't know what kind of problems a model like this would encounter in an Anglican church, but how I wish something like this could be done in lots more churches! It runs powerfully against the grain of our culture's individualistic consumerism, which I think in some ways has infiltrated even the way we do communion...

Those are my thoughts at the moment, and soon I'll be putting up something about a great book by Lesslie Newbigin that I just read. Have a blessed day!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

First Sermon

I gave my first sermon today, which might be a misleading thing to say, because I've shared short messages before in Young Life and Wyld Life with kids. But this was the first time I've had the chance to give a sermon in a church; so the nature of the talk was quite different (I don't really think discussing the Ebenezer erected by Samuel between Mizpah and Shen would profit my junior high guys back at school all that much). The sermon was part of the noon Eucharist held in the chapel of the church's building. Here I owe a great deal of thanks to the Holy Spirit, who brought an unprecedented number of people there - 29! For a chapel that size, we were quite packed in, and were forced (happily) to bring in chairs so everyone could find a seat. I consider myself to have been blessed to be able to speak to a much larger group than normal.

My sermon used two of the texts in the year one daily office lectionary for today: 1 Samuel 7:2-17 and Luke 22:14-23. I focused on the thing that stood out the most to me about these two passages, that seemed to really tie them together:
remembering. In the reading from 1 Samuel, we see that Israel has failed to do what Moses asked of them in Deuteronomy 4:9 - "Only give heed to yourself and keep your soul diligently, so that you do not forget the things which your eyes have seen and they do not depart form your heart all the days of your life; but make them known to your sons and your grandsons." But Israel has forgotten, and has fallen into the worship of idols, of the Baals and Ashtaroth. Gathering at Mizpah with Samuel, they repent before God, at which point the Philistines decide to attack. God gives the Israelites victory through the intercession of Samuel on their behalf, and then Samuel sets up a memorial, a stone between Mizpah and Shen that remembers the Lord's help to Israel on that day (so, an eben-ezer, a 'stone of help').

The reading from Luke 22 was the institution of the Lord's Supper, which is really the Christian's most profound and important 'Ebenezer'. It is a memorial that calls to our mind God's greatest victory - his victory over sin and death at the cross of Jesus Christ. And it is through remembering in the act of receiving the Lord's Supper how we were redeemed from slavery to sin that we find ourselves, mysteriously, to be partakers of the body and blood of Jesus Christ through the elements of bread and wine (that we feed on him in our hearts by faith, with thanksgiving, as the
Book of Common Prayer puts it).

I observed in the sermon that as Christians, we don't know our God in a purely subjective way (though we do indeed know him personally in our lives of prayer and experience), but primarily through his great saving actions in this world - in the world of time and space - on our behalf. Through remembering all that God has done for us we are enabled to worship him more sincerely and gratefully - as I pointed out in the sermon, how would we praise God as a ruler, judge, and savior if he had never ruled, upheld justice, or saved? For most Christian traditions (the Anglican tradition among them), the whole year is oriented around the saving actions of God in the person of Jesus Christ, beginning with his incarnation (Advent) proceeding through the events of his life to his suffering and death (Lent), resurrection (Easter), ascension and sending of the Holy Spirit (Ascension Sunday and Pentecost). In all of this we remember not only that things are a certain way (which is to make Christianity into just another philosophy) but that they are so because something has happened, something profoundly important that the world needs to know about. There's good news, and that good news is that God has acted decisively in Jesus Christ to confront and destroy the forces of sin and death in creation, and to inaugurate - with his death and resurrection - the new creation in which all things will be united in Christ (literally 'headed up' in him, Eph. 1:10).

This business of understanding God's saving actions in the world around us is something that people at St. James seem to be learning well (another thing I mentioned in the sermon) through their ongoing court battles with the Episcopal Church. There seems to be a sense that God has acted in response to their prayers, an act embodied in the recent (unanimous) decision of the California Supreme Court to hear the church's case. Though the future is still uncertain, there is a definite sense that God has used this time of difficulty to teach the people of St. James to trust in him, and to know that wherever they are led by God (even if that may be away from the place they've built, owned, inhabited, and loved for over fifty years), they are his people, the one to whom he never fails to show his faithfulness and love. God's faithfulness to his promises is one of the golden threads that ties together the huge variety of books and topics to be found in scripture; indeed, I think it is the golden thread of scriptural truth that binds the Christian life together and prevents it from falling apart in despair and resignation. God's faithfulness, his steadfast love, is the cornerstone of our faith, and through the remembrance of God's saving acts on our behalf throughout history, we remember that the cornerstone is sure - nothing can move it, which means that nothing can move us if we simply stand on it.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Week One

Well, my first week has come and gone, and I managed to do far more than just 'get my feet wet.' I'm starting to get a feel for what the work week is like here, and it has already been a great pleasure. The people I work with are all very loving and welcoming, so that I've felt right at home on the staff here since day one.

Despite the great sense of getting 'settled in,' however, I've been exposed to a lot of new things even in this first week. One of the greatest pleasures I've had so far is getting involved in the church's Alpha course, which meets every Wednesday night at a local tennis club. I've had the chance to meet a homeless couple who seem to be learning to trust God amid the difficulties and decisions they are facing about the future. Alpha had a special meeting on Saturday at the church building that lasted for about six hours, and was focused on the person and work of the Holy Spirit.

This brings me to the main thing that has been new for me this week. As I might have mentioned in a previous post, St. James is a church that has, for some time, been interested in charismatic renewal, meaning that they seek to celebrate the work of the Holy Spirit in a special way through the expression of spiritual gifts (especially in worship), such as speaking in tongues, prophecy, and healing. This is an area in which I haven't had the slightest experience until now; it has, to be completely honest, been
both eye-opening and a test of my faith and theology (all in a good way). There are many theologians whom I've held in high regard who would say that spiritual gifts (though not necessarily any dramatic outpouring of the Spirit per se) ceased with the end of the apostolic era, and I've always held this in my mind as I've heard others talk about more charismatic and pentecostal forms of Christianity. Yet I'm forced to confess that I've seen things I simply cannot explain - to name one, the healing of a woman who came to Alpha on Saturday with a scratched cornea, who had to hold a hand over one eye because it was so painful to look out of it. She was healed at the meeting and able to see as she had before. People were also speaking in tongues during some of our worship - I would have felt more comfortable about it, I suppose, if there were people also interpreting them for all of us (which was, after all, Paul's desired approach).

In all of this I so desperately want to avoid undue skepticism, especially as I know that most of my apprehensions in the matter are merely the result of a post-Enlightenment, naturalistic account of all phenomena that occur within our world. That view, from a Christian standpoint, is simply unsustainable. But I also know from reading Jonathan Edwards and the like that renewal and revival within the church always contains a strange mixture of both the good and the bad, the divine and the human, the spiritual and the earthly. One of the problems I have with the charismatic movement in general was well-put by Rev. Cathie (who led the Saturday service for Alpha), namely that these kinds of charismatic renewal movements will die in the church, if they
remain there. The use of spiritual gifts in the past century in North American churches has failed to fulfill one of its most central roles in the New Testament; that is, to evangelize. The great outpourings of the Holy Spirit seen in the NT primarily serve to bear witness to the mighty power of God for the unbelieving, leading them to the question, 'What should I do about all of this?' to which we respond, "Repent, and be baptized" (Acts 2:38). I admire the way in which baptism in the Holy Spirit and the expression of spiritual gifts was put to use by St. James church as a part of evangelistic outreach (in an Alpha course, which I'm willing to bet is highly unusual).

On Thursday night I had the opportunity to go over to Azusa Pacific University and see an exhibit of the Dead Sea Scrolls (some hitherto unseen fragments from the university's special collection). Along with the fragments (most of them illegible and only readable thanks to infrared technology) there were many other manuscripts, some centuries-old Torah scrolls, a page from the first run of Gutenberg bibles, and various medieval bibles and office books. On Saturday I had the experience of serving as an acolyte at a wedding for the first time (as crucifer), and probably looked quite amusing in my robes, which fit me well enough in every area save for my arms, which were far too long for the sleeves (the sleeves were perhaps a third of the way up my forearm - for a crucifer this is probably the worst problem to have).

Monday was my day off, though that might move to Friday depending on my schedule. I went to the beach for a while, though not as long as I would have gone if it hadn't taken me an hour to find parking! The Pacific Ocean was beautiful, and I lay down on a towel and read for a while, occasionally watching surfers catch the waves and kids chasing seagulls. Yep, it sure is pretty tough having an internship down here...

Friday, June 18, 2010

Some Thoughts On Communion

In preparation for a brief homily I'm going to give on Wednesday at the Noon Chapel Eucharist, I just listened to a really great sermon by Dr. Timothy Keller (of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Manhattan) about the meaning and importance of the Lord's Supper. Here's the link.

I think Dr. Keller offers a well-articulated, theologically accurate, and practical explanation of the Lord's Supper, and does so in a way that provokes some interesting questions. Some are more logistical in nature: what is the best way of receiving communion? In line at an altar rail, or gathered in a circle? Must one receive the elements from a Eucharistic minister, or is there benefit in receiving the elements and then passing them along to the believer next in line? Then of course there are the theological dilemmas: if the best context for the sharing of the Lord's Supper is that of the small group, as Dr. Keller suggests, how should the issue of presidency at communion be resolved. (Of course, as Anglicans we can avoid the dispute by letting L.E.M.s orchestrate this kind of thing for their small group, though as far as I am aware, this would be an unusual form of Lay Eucharistic ministry...)

Perhaps you would find it beneficial to think about Dr. Keller's points on the purpose of the Lord's Supper before you receive it this weekend (or whenever you'll do so next). To put it like Jonathan Edwards, the door to the affections is through the understanding; and so what we know about our Lord's Supper ought to deepen our gratitude toward the One who is present with us in a truly unique way every time we receive it (sorry for putting it that way to any Zwinglians or Papists who might be reading...you know I love you :-D )

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The First Few Days

The first few days have certainly been eventful! Shortly after arriving at the church on Saturday afternoon I was moving into my new apartment accommodations on Lido Island, right across the river from St. James. The church was kind enough to provide me with food, a mini fridge, microwave, bed sheets, dishes, and much more to make me comfortable while I work here this summer. Just after moving in, I drove down Pacific Coast Highway to a church altar guild potluck dinner at the home of one of our parishioners, who insisted on my taking home leftovers. The house looked out over the harbor filled with yacht clubs toward the Balboa peninsula, with the Pacific Ocean right behind it- the sun was setting, and we sat out on the back porch enjoying the food and conversation. After this, a few people who were about my age from the church (the pastor's son one of them) took me to the beach (they corrected me when I, the Chicagoan, called it "the shore"), where we went to a donut shop and walked along the ocean for a few hours. Out on one of the piers we saw someone catch some kind of a ray (not a stingray, I'm guessing - he was holding it by the tail).

Then on Sunday I went to church for about five hours (!) so that I could be introduced at all three of the Sunday services. St. James has an interesting diversity in worship styles that I greatly appreciated: at 7:30, the Rite I Eucharist is celebrated, mostly with the older parishioners, and at 9:00 is Rite II. This seems to be the largest service, with a good range of ages. At 11:00 is the 'charismatic' service; by charismatic they do not mean simply 'contemporary' or 'praise & worship,' as some have come to use the term. At St. James there is a an interest in charismatic renewal, involving the expression of spiritual gifts (such as speaking in tongues with interpretation, prophecy, and healing). This doesn't take place every week (it didn't this past Sunday), but I'm looking forward to seeing it for myself (with discerning but hopefully not unduly skeptical eyes - I must be honest that it is a matter in which I don't have a decided opinion. I want to be open to what the Holy Spirit can do among his people, but I also want to be wise and careful with what I embrace as God's work, not jumping to any conclusions).

What fascinated me about the three services was the rich diversity so obvious in the differing worship styles, and yet the profound unity between the three services - the variations between them in prayer and music styles contained nevertheless a golden thread running through all of them and binding them all together, and that thread was the liturgy. I never thought I would see charismatic worship and the Book of Common Prayer put together so seamlessly! The effect on me, I think, was a vision of how the diversity of gifts and interests among the people of God need not compromise the unity which we are to enjoy in Christ. We can be like-minded, we can be orthodox and steadfast in the gospel, without requiring that every Christian in our midst be the carbon copy of his brothers and sisters. (The failure of many at this point, particularly many in the Episcopal Church USA, is to say that the prayer book itself provides that unity, whereas I think scripture provides it, a fact that everyone at St. James church is happy to embrace. The prayer book simply fosters our celebration of that unity through an orderly, scripture-based approach to worship.)

After church, Pastor Richard (the rector) and his family took me to the Cannery, a seafood restaurant right across from the church parking lot. I found myself, unexpectedly, in a very 'holy' place, for the table I saw over in a nearby corner turned out to be "John Wayne's Table," the place where the Duke himself always sat. (The Cannery one of his favorite restaurants.) Later that evening, I went over to the home of one of the families in the church and watched the Lakers lose to the Celtics (I guess I'm a Lakers fan now that I'm living in L.A....and since everyone mispronounces the Celtic civilization's name because of the basketball team. The civilization is pronounced '
Kelts' people, not the way the basketball team is...got it? Excellent.).

My arrival here, as I discovered during the Sunday announcements, has come immediately following some good news - the California Supreme Court decided on Wednesday that it would hear St. James' case with the Episcopal Church. The parish is struggling (along with several others sued by the Diocese of L.A.) to keep their church premises (that are titled to them and that they they have spent decades building and improving upon). For more information on the legal situation faced by St. James (currently being sued by the Episcopal church), see this website. This is good news because St. James has a very strong case and the CA Supreme Court made their decision unanimously. But it by no means resolves the matter, and continued prayer will be needed.

That's all for now- I'm just starting to learn my responsibilities at the church, and updates are soon to follow!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Trip

Well, I’m here! There’s much to talk about already, but for now I’ll focus on the drive out (since I need to get up and be at the church by 7 AM tomorrow…). The drive was, simply put, fantastic. At least, it was once I got out of the Midwest. There is certainly a beauty to Iowa’s rolling hills of corn, as well as Nebraska’s flat expanses of pastureland, but growing up in the Midwest makes this all a bit too familiar. This familiarity ended almost the second I crossed over into Colorado. As if someone had flipped a switch, the scenery was converted to an empty, treeless hill country, quite beautiful in its own unusual way. Colorado is known, of course, for its Rockies and national forests and parks, enough so that one may be surprised to discover that the interstate route all the way from the Nebraska border to Denver includes none of these things—just empty, far-reaching, brownish colored hills.

Once you get to Denver, though, the mountains begin very abruptly, and before you know it you’re on winding highways overlooking deep valleys with snow-capped peaks looming up in the distance. The third day of the trip, from Denver to Cedar City UT, was by far the most memorable for this reason. White River National Park was a highlight, driving through rocky ravines close to the river with ‘Falling Rock’ signs everywhere and wire netting stretching up some of the cliff faces to keep everything where it belonged.

Best by far, I must say, was Utah. The denser Colorado Rockies (at least they were along I-70) gave way to these vast, stretching valleys with rocky peaks in the distance in every direction. Here I stopped a number of times at scenic overlooks, and I’ll be posting some of those pictures in the near future. Gradually the terrain became rockier, and the rock became redder and beautifully wind-formed and smooth. Then as I gained some elevation it became more like Colorado again (though it retained its wide-open spaces), and went from rock and scrub brush to coniferous forests growing at the feet of some truly impressive mountains (though not quite as tall as in Colorado). After turning south on I-15 in the middle of the state, I found myself driving through valley after valley dotted with towns and rich farmlands in the shadow of long mountain ranges hemming all of it in.

The fourth day contained some highlights as well, especially the brief part of the trip through the northwest corner of Arizona, through whose jagged mountains the route was carved, until I found myself in Nevada where the scenery became more desolate. The desert was quite beautiful, and (excepting the regrettable necessity of driving through Las Vegas) extremely enjoyable. (One side note- the most memorable thing about Vegas was driving past countless advertisements offering every kind of worldly pleasure imaginable, then after leaving the city seeing an advertisement board among the last of them that said, “After you die, you will meet God – Revelation 1:7” I’d like to shake the hands of whoever put that up…) Then into southern California, where I became acquainted with the true horror that is Los Angeles driving. After a few traffic jams, some mistakes in the route due to bad signage, and a few close calls with lane-changing demoniacs, I found myself in Newport Beach, at one of the most beautiful Anglican churches I’ve ever laid eyes on. But that’s for a future post.

While I was driving, I not only was listening to music on my ipod much of the way, but also enjoyed a sixteen-sermon series by Dr. S. Lewis Johnson on Colossians. There is something so fitting about adding the following scripture to the seeming infinitude of mountains and valleys and rivers and plains that I drove through:

“is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.” (Col. 1:15-20)

To hear while driving through the Utah Rockies that “in him all things hold together” and that “all things were created through him and for him” is an experience to which mere words cannot do complete justice (nor to the experience of sitting down before such glorious vistas and reading Psalm 104, Job 38 &39, and especially Psalm 8). How vast, the world, and yet to consider that the entire universe of which this world is but an indescribably small part, is itself infinitely tiny in comparison with God. And it is even more staggering to think that the same Voice which causes the mountains to melt like wax and which breaks the cedars of Lebanon, the same voice which animates the spinning galaxies and upholds countless light years of celestial wonders, is the very same word that is at work within us, to call us into being as God’s people. Think on that for a while— as Spurgeon says, nothing will so enlarge the mind as thoughts of God.

Monday, June 7, 2010


This is a blog that I've set up in order to keep something of a 'journal' on my internship experience this summer. To everyone who reads this blog (especially my brothers and sisters at All Souls Anglican Church in Wheaton) I want to extend a warm welcome and also to thank you for your prayers. I'll be spending ten weeks (starting June 12th) in Newport Beach, CA, where I will be interning at St. James Anglican Church. This is part of a program at Calvin College in which I've been participating called Jubilee Fellows (hence the blog title). Through this experience, I hope to gain more insight into the nature of the pastoral ministry, and to further discern my calling to be a minister of reconciliation in God's kingdom.

The website of the church in which I will be working may be found here, and a fairly detailed wikipedia article about the church may also be found here. St. James is a parish deeply committed to the gospel of Christ and to historic Christian orthodoxy (a commitment for which they felt compelled to leave the Episcopal Church USA in 2004), and embraces a wide variety of ages, gifts, and worship styles. Though I have been in touch only with some of the clergy at the church, I can tell that becoming a part of the community for the summer will be a great experience, filled with wisdom and guidance from the Holy Spirit.

I will be driving (yep) to Newport beach, setting out on Wednesday and arriving (Lord willing) on Saturday - the longest road trip I've ever taken alone. But, as I've told some friends at church, I'll have music and caffeine, which, together with the amazing scenery I'll enjoy along the way, are all I really need :-) When I arrive, I'll be living in an apartment on an island across from the Church; at some point in the near future, another intern will be arriving (from England!) and we'll be rooming together.

Here's the route I'll take to get out there (on the way back, I'll probably go a different way):

View Larger Map

Well, that's all for now, and I'm very excited to get started on Wednesday. Your prayers are much appreciated!