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Member News 2018

     1983 - 2018  Our 35th Year

 

 

 

Father Conor Alexander, OA took the Promise for the first time and was clothed. 

The Promise 
To seek the presence of Jesus Christ in the people, things and circumstances of life 
through stability, obedience and conversion of life. 

 

 

 

 

At CSJB

For the fifth year our retreat was at the  Community of Saint John the Baptist in Mendham, NJ.  We joined the sisters for Lauds, engaged in mutual spiritual guidance in the mornings, and were in silence between Mass at noon and Evening Prayer.

 

Chapter

Several changes to the Rule were approved. They require the approval of next year's chapter before taking full effect. 

We will offer the church "The Invitation 2018." This is an initiative that may be continued each year with a different focus. For 2018 it's "Take Counsel - Stop Grumbling"

OA Associates: In the '80s and early '90s OA had 80 or so Associates from all over the U.S. and two from other countries. We are re-establishing an Associates group.  Here's the web page for the Associates.

Bishop Barry Howe, our Episcopal Companion (Visitor), was able to be with us all week. We are very thankful for his support and participation on our common life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From Susan Latimer, OA

 

2017 was a year of treatment for stage 3 breast cancer.  I finished radiation in September and returned to the parish in late September.  I am so grateful that the chemo, surgery and radiation worked!  However, I have had to learn how to navigate the aftermath (including a frozen shoulder and tendonosis), paying attention to my body and my energy levels, which are variable.  I am still healing. 

St. Catherine’s did well during my 8 month medical disability.  Upon my return, I have concentrated on leadership development with the Vestry and spiritual development with the congregation.  We continue to offer Evening Prayer Monday – Thursday, with trained lay people leading.  I offered a Lenten study on The Treasures of the Benedictine Tradition, including the Benedictine Triangle model.  We started a new, Sunday evening Rite III eucharist at 5:30 p.m. which has been attracting new people.  We continue to attract new people to the parish and just celebrated three adult baptisms, nine confirmations, two receptions, and a re-affirmation of faith with +Bishop Howe officiating.  I am interviewing the Vestry individually this month, using the Interview Process developed by Bob and Michelle.  I am offering instruction in Centering Prayer and Lectio Divina.  I continue to be fed by the Wisdom tradition as taught by Cynthia Bourgeault, and was on the music leadership team at her Wisdom School at Kanuga in March.  I continue to write sacred chants, and singing is a daily spiritual practice.  I remain grateful for life, and for all the blessings of this life!

From Michelle Heyne, OA

Michelle is the 8th superior of the Order - Presiding Sister

The past year has been a busy one.  My prayer life has been one of the few things that has felt both stable and more or less under my control. My husband and I began a small remodel on our house that morphed into something a little more terrifying. Fortunately, we're seeing completion on the horizon! 

Bob Gallagher and I led a Parish Development Clinic for OA novices in January and were pleased to be able to invite two other participants not associated with OA.  It was a terrific learning experience and highlighted for me the importance of clergy having structured time to reflect thoughtfully on their priesthood. 

I continue to focus on adult formation, especially as it relates to coaching parishioners in practice. This is an area that seems to be non-intuitive for a lot of clergy (the tendency is to treat formation as either light-weight, general-interest material - e.g., slide shows of the Holy Land, or a heavy didactic orientation that's more like a seminary course). I'm hoping to create more design materials that can be used off-the-shelf. 

 

 

From Lowell Grisham, OA

Lowell was the 3rd superior, Presiding Brother, of the Order

 I retired on January 1, 2018, after 38 years of ordained service, the last 20+ at St. Paul’s, Fayetteville, Arkansas. It’s been a good run. I’m continuing to share the rota for the Sunday evening Eucharist at our local prison for women. I’m also board chair for our Magdalene Serenity House ministry for women recovering from trafficking, addiction and prison. I’m still leading a Theology on Tap conversation group. And I’ve got a shared hour of silence each weekday with a contemplative prayer group. I’m attending Grace Episcopal Church, Siloam Springs.

I’m resting a good bit. (Recovering from a head injury that accelerated my retirement.) In the next few months I hope to clean up after myself, papers and books collected over many years. And I am still writing a column for our region’s paper on the intersection of religion and politics. Enjoying being a granddad. 

From Robert Gallagher, OA 

 Robert was the 1st and 7th superior, Presiding Brother, of the Order

It’s a joy to be in a parish that says the Office. Saint Paul’s, Seattle does a public Morning and Evening Prayer Monday through Friday. Each has its own team that takes responsibility for officiating, reading, and managing the logistics. I serve on the Monday MP and Friday EP teams. I attend all the offices with the exception of MP from Tuesday through Thursday when I say it on my own using The Church of England’s “Common Worship: Daily Prayers.”  The parish has been offering a training/coaching process, led by Michelle Heyne, OA and Fr. Rob, for people who want to explore ways to say the Office on their own.

Michelle Heyne, OA and I traveled to England in August 2017 on something of a spiritual pilgrimage and arts tour. In London we made our base near All Saint’s, Margaret Street. We were able to join them for the Office and mass most days. We arrived in time for All Saint’s celebration of the Feast of Saint Mary the Virgin. The church was filled long before the liturgy started. There was a threefold action – mass, procession through the streets, and a reception in the garden.

I am on the mid-week mass rota about once a month. That’s just about the right amount for me. I’ve taken on a practice of offering homilies that focus on ascetical issues and practice more than the usual moral guidance. So, on the Feast of Matthias I moved from the Gospel’s “If you abide in me ..” to the church’s threefold rule of mass, office, reflection/personal devotions as our way of placing ourselves in the pathways of grace. On the Feast of St. Anslem I picked up on part of the saint’s prayer for friends – “I love all people, in and for your sake … and God has impressed others upon my heart with a closer and more intimate love” – into an exploration of intercessory prayer for the many and for those we “hold more dear.”

 

 

 

From Scott Benhase, OA

 Scott was the 2nd and 6th superior, Presiding Brother of the Order

 

My wife, Kelly, continues as a professor of English at Armstrong State University, although recently, in the wisdom of the Board of Regents, it has become a wholly-own subsidiary of Georgia Southern University. That means her paycheck now says “Georgia Southern University,” but she is still in the same place, trying to help the same kind of students become better writers. All three of my children are fully grown, out of the house, and financially (mostly) independent. My oldest (John) is a chef in Atlanta with his wife (Sarah) who is a Nurse Practitioner with Emory Hospital’s hospice care. Charley is with a relatively new start-up company in DC developing bars and restaurants. He shares life with his long-time partner, Charlotte. Mary Grace now works in Communications for No Kid Hungry, a non-profit in DC whose goal is to end childhood hunger in America. Don’t try to stop them!
My sisters and brothers in OA continue to be a source of wisdom, love, and support to me. I am so thankful to God for their gift to me.

 

From Jeremy Bond, OA 

I turn 80 this July 9th so I find age slowing me down. The hip replacement surgery which kept me from flying east for our gathering has worked very well. The surgeon showed great pleasure in recent x-rays taken. We like to say "no pain, no gain." In this case, no pain means great gain. Haven't used a cane in about a month. At our parish I sing in the choir with summer off. I also participate in a senior fitness class that meets there three mornings a week and in our Brotherhood of St. Andrew chapter meetings.. My wife Kathy stays very healthy and our daughter and son hop to fly west for my 80th.  Kathy and I also take a writing from life class which gives me ground to explore some of my past and put it on paper.

 

 

From Royster Hedgepeth, OA 


 

 

 

From Gawain de Leeuw, OA   

Last year St. Bartholomew's initiated a mass in Spanish. Our congregation continues to adjust to the changing needs of the community around us. I’ve visited the Diocese of Cuba and Cuernevaca, and spent some time doing language study in the latter.  The community organizing institution I founded is now reorganizing, but we continue to participate in national conversations about gun safety.

I’ve continued more coursework in organizational development, completing the CDI program, a course in conflict management, and two different levels of group relations and emotional intelligence training.

I finished the first draft of the Body of Christ in a Market Economy, a exploration into the relationship of markets, rivalry, and governance. I’m still weightlifting, cooking, and reading extensively on economics and the church.

 

From David Andrews, OA

I find myself as I write this year’s update as a member of the Order of the Ascension half way through a four and a half month sabbatical from my parish, The Episcopal Church of Saints Andrew and Matthew. The time so far has included time for rest, retreat, travel and catching up on reading both books as well as back issues of the New Yorker and the Atlantic as well asreading The NY Times and Washington Post cover to cover.

This summer Emily and I will travel to New Mexico where I will complete the three year Living School Course sponsored by the Center for Action and Contemplation. This has been a rich time for me as I have been introduced to many Christian Mystics of the early church as well as 21st century ones such as Richard Rohr, James Finley and Cynthia Bourgeault.

While on sabbatical I have reflected upon the convergence of what I have learned and practiced as part of the Living School and my workbwith parish development. I look forward to where this will lead in the coming year. Since last year’s update Emily’s mother, Jane Gibson, passed away in October. We spent some time this May with Emily’s dad Bill and will do so again in July. All in all life is good. I am looking forward to returning to the parish in mid August but not too soon.

Novice Members

Liz Schellingerhoudt, OA

2017 was a busy and stressful year for me and for my family, as we saw my mother’s health decline and need for care increase. The stability that St. Benedict calls for in trying situations was a great strength to me, to find God where we are rather than running from difficult situations. We lost her in early 2018, and are adjusting to a new normal in our home without her. The relief that she is no longer in pain is great, as is the grief that she is no longer with us. 

Our little rural mountain parish of St. Clare’s continues to thrive, and is growing particularly in the area of children and young families. We have a bustling Wednesday evening program for them, and are engaged in a campaign to add space to our tiny building. Not wanting to wait on the completion of our building to offer Christian formation for our children, youth, and their parents, we will launch Sundaymorning programs this fall. We’ll use every square inch of our building for the children and youth, and the adults will meet in a childcare center next door.  

My husband and I are enjoying being empty nesters, while watching our young adult children find their way in their own lives. Our daughter, Annelies, finished four years at Eckerd College recently, and our son, Whitner, will be a senior at St. Olaf in the coming school year.  

 

From Bill Parker, OA 

I am continuing the novitiate process into my 3rd year. Having attended the Parish Clinic with Bob and Michelle in February of this year, I have continued and expanded the offerings of the Daily Offices at St. Andrew's, Louisville, and attend those regularly. Interviews of parishioners about their spiritual life was instituted as well and continues on an ongoing basis. 

My desire is to create a worshipful experience on Sunday mornings, and to that end have introduced periods of silence into the Liturgy. Adult Formation has ranged from how to pray the Daily Office, to centering prayer, to exploring the spiritual dimensions of life in its various stages. I broadened my Benedictine formation efforts to this year's Senior High camp at All Saints' center by introducing competency in praying the Daily Offices, including the monastic model of praying the psalms, and the various options for praying the offices.
The OA annual retreat continues to be the high point of my year. So much wisdom and experience is there to build me up in my ministry and in continuously expanding the Benedictine life both for me personally, and for my parish.

 

 

 From Conor Alexader, OA

This year I have discerned, applied, and was accepted to the Order of the Ascension as a novice.  I began to establish the three fold rule of prayer in the parish, and to learn what it means to do Congregational Development.  My first major projects have been to hold a public offering Morning Prayer four times per week, I have taught two classes on Anglican Spirituality/Saying the Office on Your Own, and have begun a process of interviewing parishioners on their spiritual lives.

 

 

Our retreat at CSJB in 1989

 

Pictures from the 2014 retreat at CSJB

Pictures from the 2015 Retreat at CSJB

Pictures from the 2016 Retreat at CSJB