And then they…

the things we do to live a better life.

Archive for the tag “episcopal”

Maundy Thursday

I wouldn’t say we go to an experimental church.  But, yesterday our church had an experiemental service.  They offered their first annual Maundy Thursday Family Service.  I would call the experiment a success.  The only thing they should change would be saving the nice towels for the adult service.  More on that later.

During the Gospel, there was a full chorus of children singing various versions of the typical child-song.  During the prayers, there was a line dance happening in the back pews.  During the children’s sermon, I counted at least three children who were expertly expressing their emotions.

Then came the main event.

Our lovely priest washed any child’s feet who wanted their feet washed.  There were pitchers of water, a big bowl for the feet, beautifully pristine white towels for drying.

The first spill happened right away, so it was good to get it out of the way.  The first spill was born out of exuberance and happiness. Feet were washed.

More water was spilled.  And more.  More feet were washed.

Then came communion.  When the kids gather around the altar, to be involved in the Great Thanksgiving, it was exciting, as always. Kids were watching the priest.  Kids were sitting together.  Kids were doing suspicious dancing, ending with mad dashes to the restroom.  Kids were refusing to stand with their friends.  Kids were spitting up.  Exciting.

One thing that our church does is this – before the priest says, “The gifts of God, for the people of God,” he hands the bread and wine to the children to hold up.  As he handed the pitcher of wine to Alma and another child, the priest said, “Here you go, Alma.  And Carolyn.  Help them.”  No more spills, here.

Then the service was over.

There were muddy little footprints in the aisle.

All the pristine towels were soaked.

The children had clean feet.

The priest had damp robes.

I felt overwhelmingly happy that this was our church, and this was what our church does.

And it was good.


Harriet’s Baptism

And Then They - WaterHarriet was Baptized today at our wonderful church.  We are so blessed to have a lovely church to attend.  We couldn’t ask for a better priest than Bingham, and are so glad that he was able to baptize both Alma and Harriet. And Then They - OilHarriet did really well.  You can see in the photo above that Alma was a little concerned about what Father Bingham was putting on her forehead.  It was oil, and part of my favorite part of the baptism ceremony.  The priest puts oil on her forehead, eyes, ears, mouth, hands, and feet and says:

I bless your eyes that you may see God’s image in everyone.
I bless your ears that you may hear the cry of the poor.
I bless your lips that you speak nothing but the gospel of Jesus.
I bless your hands that everything you receive and everything you give may be a sacrament.
I bless your feet that you may run to those who need you.

And Then They - LightOur dear friends Stu and Jacque are Harriet’s Godparents, and we are so lucky to have them.  Their son Edison is just 9 days older than Harriet, so it is extra special to have them be such an important part of her life.

And Then They - CelebratingNot only do we love Father Bingham, but we also were blessed to have a retired priest be the Celebrant at the service.  Father Ted was my priest all growing up, and even married us.  It was really special to have him be a part of the service for Harriet.

And Then They - Harriet's Godparents

Photo by Katrina Henry!

And Then They - Alma's GodparentsI realized that we never got a photo of Father Bingham, Alma, and her Godparents, so we took this as an opportunity to correct this oversight.  Just a couple years after the baptism.  We love Kenton and Katrina and are so blessed to have them in our lives.  They are beautiful Godparents to Alma.

And Then They - PartyAfter the service, we had lots of friends and family over to celebrate.  I love when our house is filled with so many loved ones.  Alma and Harriet are so lucky to have so many great friends who love them so much.

And Then They - Best FriendsThese are Alma’s best friends, above.  Rach was her nanny last year, and is her best friend now.  Rory is her best similarly-aged friend, who also had the pleasure of having Rach as his nanny.  This threesome is pretty great.  They are so bonded in such a fun, lovely way.  Rach’s mom came up and was able to help Rach baby sit Alma, Harriet, and their cousins on Saturday night so we could go to a concert.  They came to the baptism, also.

And Then They - In a FortRach is a pretty talented fort builder.  All the kids loved playing in it, and Alma’s cousins even got to sleep in it on Saturday night.

And Then They - Video GamesOf course, video games are always a big draw.  These guys deserved it since they had just done a wonderful job at church during the baptism.

And Then They - Sweet HarrietCongratulations, Sweet Harriet.  Your enthusiasm and joy is so wonderful.  You are so, so loved.

* All photos (unless otherwise indicated) were taken by my mother-in-law, and edited by me.  Thanks for being our photographer!

Just like Mary

I sort of love Pope Francis.  This past year, he has done and said so many great things, but I think this one is the best.  He is encouraging women to nurse their babies during his services.

We go to an Episcopal church, where I have always felt very supported in my parenting.  Our priest has a daughter a few months younger than Alma, and they are (mostly) good playmates.  I’m sure being a father himself adds to his attitude on children, but he encourages all participation from children.  Even the noisy participation is welcome.  Even the occasional spilling of communion supplies is tolerated.

I have been to churches where they have separate rooms off the sanctuary where moms can take care of their children.  This doesn’t make sense to me.  I love hearing kids of all ages during our services.  It makes the church feel alive.  People enjoy when children respond and interact.

For a while, we were trying to get Alma used to the nursery, and Jesse would spend the entire service with her while Harriet and I would attend the service.  This past week, we decided to just take both girls with us.  I was amazed and humbled.  I held Alma during the processional, and she sang along to the hymn.  She was very serious about it, and even hit a few of the notes.  Somehow, she even knew when to say ‘amen’ after the prayers.  It felt right to all be together during the service.

I love that I have always felt welcome and comfortable nursing Harriet during the services.  I love that I can look a few pews up, and see another mom nursing her baby.  I love that it is what Mary would have done with Jesus.  What is more magical, beautiful, or spiritual than that connection?

Thanks, Pope for understanding this.

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