Blog Index
The journal that this archive was targeting has been deleted. Please update your configuration.

Member News



 Retreat-Chapter 2017     1983 - 2017  Our 34th Year


Second taking of the Promise

 Gawain de Leeuw (2012) took the Promise for the second time. 

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

Do you take this Promise with the intention of continuing as a Professed Member for the remainder of your life?   I do.





For the fourth 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, and again between going to bed and the end of Lauds.



We decided to reestablish a group of Associates. In the '80s and early '90s OA had 80 or so Associates from all over the U.S. and two from other countries.  Here's the web page for the new Associates group.

We noted that during the year Bishop Barry Howe agreed to be our Episcopal Companion (Visitor), and we recieved canonical recognition. 


From Susan Latimer, OA

 2016-7 has been very full in different and challenging ways. In May and October I attended Wisdom schools with Cynthia Bourgeault - retreats for immersion in contemplative practices and integration of intellectual, emotional, and moving centers. We also dived deeply into the works of the great Jesuit scientist and mystic, Teilhard de Chardin.  I composed several chants inspired by some of his words, and one is making the rounds of the Wisdom community.  In June we had our second J2A pilgrimage to the Black Hills of South Dakota with a small group of pilgrims.  This was a challenging pilgrimage for all of us, coming as it did right after the shooting at the nightclub in Orlando, just over an hour east of us in Florida. We all were processing a lot of grief around violence and death.  Also in June, we had our fourth Fine Arts Summer Day Camp at St. Catherine's - again a huge success - an outreach to our community children.  More than half of the 40 campers were returning for a second, third, or fourth year!  July saw a trip to California and a family reunion for my mother's 90th birthday!  

     In December of 2016 I was diagnosed with breast cancer - a huge surprise - a kind that does not show itself on mammograms - about 10% of breast cancers.  I began my treatment in January and have been on extended short term disability since then.  So for 4 months I have been leading a hermit's life, mostly in my house, staying away from groups of people and germs.  I missed the Order's retreat last month, and have been out of the parish since Jan. 9th.  My contemplative practices have sustained me, including singing sacred chants. The parish has been wonderfully supportive with food and rides to chemo, etc. and cards.  I have felt the strength of all the prayers for my healing, and I am healing!  The chemo is working very well.  Later this month I will go with John, my husband, and two dear friends, to Spain for a pilgrimage on the Camino Santiago de Compostelo.  This trip, planned two years ago to celebrate my 25th ordination anniversary to the diaconate ( June 6 1992 ) and our 25th wedding anniversary ( May 9, 1992 ) will take us for a week of walking (as I am able) the last few miles of the 500 mile pilgrimage trail.  We also will visit Barcelona and Montserrat, with its famous Black Madonna, as well as Avila, the birthplace of the great Carmelite mystic, Theresa of Avila.  Surgery and radiation will follow for the summer and I plan to return to the parish around September 1.  


From Michelle Heyne, OA

My first year as OA's Presiding Officer has been a great experience so far.  I've been particularly focused on how parishes can be sources of holy unity in a time of increasingly divisive and hostile political interactions - OA members have reflected a great deal on how this plays out for us a group, as well as in our own parishes.

Bob Gallagher and I are working on some videos that present the four Core Frameworks, as well as a pastoral theology book. I had a good time with the Diocese of New York in the fall, leading a clergy day about how to use Benedictine Practice to ground the parish more effectively and to feel less controlled and frustrated by the people we experience as "difficult." 

My husband and I are getting ready to do some work on our house - the last three years have been the only time I've spent as an adult in a house that isn't under contstruction. It's been nice, but I'm getting antsy. It's time to unleash the chaos!


From Lowell Grisham, OA


From Robert Gallagher, OA 

I have two very fixed routines Monday through Saturday. In the morning I go to Café Ladro for coffee and to read the New York Times and the Washington Post. In the late afternoon I go to St. Paul’s, Seattle for Evening Prayer. A third somewhat fixed routine is three walks each day – amounts to 3 or 4 miles each day.  All the routines help me stay a bit more grounded and reflective. 

Michelle Heyne, OA and I are working on a pastoral theology book – Interventions: A Theology for the Parish Church. We hope to have it completed and available by the fall. Depending on our energy and focus this may be the first in a series.

I’ve commissioned several icon writers to be part of an “Anglo-Catholic icons series” that I want to develop. I’m assuming there will be around 12 icons; some of individuals (e.g., Frances Perkins, Jon Daniels) and some of groups (e.g., Constance and her Companions, the Restoration of the Religious Life).

Part of my Lenten discipline was to get out of my own bubble.  I took up reading thinkers that come at faith and politics in a way that differs from my own place of comfort -- some conservative Episcopalians and Anglicans -- specifically Michael Gerson's "City of Man: Religion and Politics in a New Era" and John Danforth "Faith and Politics" and "The Relevance of Religion." I've also read Ken Woodward's "Getting Religion: Faith, Culture and Politics from the Age of Eisenhower to the Era of Obama."" as a way of reminding myself of the shifts this society has been through.  I have also put on my phone connections to The Federalist, National Review, and First Things. I've kept doing some of this beyond Lent.

On May 13 a small group will gather for mass at St. Paul’s and breakfast in my apartment to celebrate the Feast of Frances Perkins. It’s “Breakfast with Frances Perkins.” My Lenten discipline has been a help in developing more respect and empathy for those whose understanding of the Gospel takes them on a different road from me regarding social policy. May 13 is my glad soaking in the waters of my yellow dog Democrat heritage. 


From Scott Benhase, OA


I’m in the 8th year of my episcopate in the Diocese of Georgia. The ministry of bishop is becoming for me in some ways more complex, and in other ways, much easier. I find my weekend visitations to clergy & congregations enormously gratifying. If ever I feel my energy getting low, then the cure is to visit one of the parishes in the Diocese. The people always seem to build me back up energy-wise. Like everyone else these days, we’re facing enormous cultural headwinds. The Gospel of Jesus though is still the Good News it’s always been. Preaching and teaching the unmerited grace of Jesus and his cross will never be an easy sell in our culture, but preach it and teach it we must, in season and out of season.

My wife, Kelly, and I have been married now for over 33 years. She is a professor of English at Armstrong State University in Savannah. Hers is a remarkable ministry to a quite diverse student body ranging from high school seniors getting a head start on college to 30-something folk working full-time while trying to complete their college degree.

Our oldest son, John, was married last year to Sarah. He’s a chef and she’s a nurse practitioner. They live in Atlanta. Our other son, Charley, moved to D.C. after college a few years ago and started his own business. He just sold it and is now discerning what he will do next. Our daughter, Mary Grace, after a year in Hong Kong, is also in D.C. She’s working for the U.S. Soccer Foundation helping bring soccer to minority and underserved communities in the U.S. 

My sisters & brothers in OA continue to help me stay focused on the important work of my life and for them I am most grateful. 



From Jeremy Bond, OA 


I keep busy in this my 14th year of retirement. I still play my trombone in the county band, sing in the parish church choir and take writing classes with Kathy. Come late September we celebrate fifty-five years of marriage. We love life here on the California coast. See you in the spring.



From Royster Hedgepeth, OA 


In September 2017, I closed my private consulting practice.  That action has given me increased time for volunteer involvement, travel, recreation and stained glass.  As a volunteer, I am particularly enjoying serving as an Environmental Ambassador for the North Carolina Coastal Land Trust.  The North Carolina Coastal Plain sits in the middle of one of the richest biodiversity sites in the North American Coastal Plain.  As the host of a high concentration of endemic plant and animal life, it is one of the most important sites in the world. Being part an organization that prioritizes and seeks to save coastal lands that are vital to the quality of our future is an absorbing venture.  Currently, I am helping NCCLT organize a capital gifts program to make private support a more effective part of saving coastal areas vital to the environment, the economy and our recreational uses.

St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Wilmington continues to grow and membership is now approaching 200 ASA (from a low of about 70 five years ago).  Outstanding leadership, wonderful worship, strong adult education, extraordinary music, the growth of the Wilmington Boys Choir, and energetic in-reach and outreach continue to fuel the sense of wonder and the Holy in our community.  I serve on the Vestry and am Stewardship Chair.  In addition, this year St. Paul’s is part of Forward Movement’s RenewalWorks initiative and I am serving as facilitator.

On September 15, St. Paul’s hosted an interfaith, multi-cultural Community Service of Light, Hope and Justice that I planned.  The service was well attended and I am now the facilitator/coordinator for a group of clergy and lay leaders who are seeking to knit together some of the separate efforts at interfaith and multicultural awareness and support.  As a first step, we are planning quarterly community-wide services and establishing a communication network of clergy and lay leaders from over 25 faith communities.

Kathryn and I continue to conduct third, fourth and, when there is one, fifth Sunday worship services at the Kempton, an assisted living center in Wilmington.   Over the past two years, our “congregation” has grown from 12-14 members to 15-18.  It is both a blessing and a wonderful challenge to share Christ’s love, his blessings and his redeeming power with this group, most of whom have been long-time disciples from many faith backgrounds.   They help me remember – and I constantly remind them – that we are the children of God and that we have a special responsibility to share the good news and take care of each other.

I continue to enjoy cooking, the ministry of hospitality and playing a bit of bridge and golf.  Kathryn and I have been traveling more and spending time with our children, their spouses and our four grandsons.


From Gawain de Leeuw, OA   

 Last year, I celebrated my 20th anniversary as a priest, and renewed my vows with the Rt. Rev. Allen Shin presiding; and my 15th year serving St. Bartholomew's Church. I've been able to visit the Diocese of Cuba and help with the installation of water filtration systems, while learning more about their work in building a new, post-Fidel society. In February, 2017 I also visited the Diocese of Cuernevaca to deepen my Spanish Speaking skills. 

Over the last year the congregation has become more deeply involved in learning different practices of prayer, and has been active in deepening their practices of listening. We have also welcomed two dozen Latino families together into the church. We are starting a few initiatives this year, including a building project, a children's ministry, and with the recent retirement of our music director, a parish wide discussion about the how music will continue to be a part of our worship. 
I continue to serve on the boards of our local Meals-on-Wheels and Planned Parenthood affiliates, in addition to the National Clergy Advisory Board of the Planned Parenthood Federation, and as president of an IAF affiliate, Westchester United. We work on a variety of issues that arise from the practical needs of congregations. 
Last year I was invited into the Vision Program at Union Theological Seminary in the fall of 2016, and will begin a preaching fellowship, Deep Calls to Deep, at Virginia in the summer of 2017 where we will reflect about preaching effectively in the public square.
I continue to work on a book, The Body of Christ in a Market Economy, which examines the economic impact of rivalry in institutions and how Christian practices might redirect our choices in firms and the market. 
I took my life vows in 2017 and eagerly anticipate sharing the gifts and vision that the Order of Ascension offers the church.




From David Andrews, OA

I have been the rector of the Episcopal Church of Saints Andrew and Matthew for seven and half years.  This past year has been extremely busy in the parish as the new Katherine Esterly Pipe Organ began to be installed in October of last year and was completed in January of this year.  It is glorious!  On a positive note about the capital campaign that began five years ago; we exceeded the original goal of 1.3 million dollars by over 100,000 dollars and by May 15th all bills will be paid in full.  Quite an accomplishment for any church these days.  

Last August I began the Living School in Albuquerque, NM.   The Living School is a three year program sponsored by the Center for Action and Contemplation( and its founder Fr. Richard Rohr.  I look forward to the second year in early August.  In May of last year I was named the co-chair of the Transition Committee for the election of the next Bishop of Delaware which will happen on July 15th.  This has kept me busy and having to balance parish and committee work which has at times been a challenge but love the work of both.  

In March Emily had here hip replaced and she is recuperating well.  I continue my work with a clergy for choice group as part of my role on the board of Planned Parenthood and was elected to a local Pacem En Terris board back in the fall.  So life is full. 





Novice Members

Liz Schellingerhoudt, OA


I’m in my second year as priest-in-charge at St. Clare’s Episcopal Church in the beautiful north Georgia mountains. I look forward to my  installation as rector on Sunday, August 20th of 2017. I have served at large urban parishes and small rural parishes. I am thoroughly enjoying the joy and challenge of a small, rural parish during a particularly challenging time in our nation’s history. The political divide in our country – one that is also found in most small, diverse congregations – has caused me to look inward at my own beliefs about what it means to be a priest, how to preach the Good News, and to learn to listen deeply to differing points of view. The Church is the one place that may be able to show the world around us how to live together amidst deep differences, practicing that what binds us together is the Body and Blood of Christ, not our agreement or political allegiances.

My husband Kees and I have been married for 26 years. He is the president of Selit, N.A., a German company that makes foam underlayment for flooring. We are grateful that he is able to work out of our home full time, and help with the care of my 89 year old mother who lives with us.

Kees and I have two college-age children. Our daughter Annelies is 23, and is a rising senior at Eckerd College where she is working towards a double major in Religious studies and Ancient studies. She recently returned from a study trip to India and Nepal to examine the impact that religious practices have on the environment. Specifically, her group looked at the use of marigolds and Buddhism. She hopes to return to Nepal to do more study after graduation.  

Our son Whitner is 20 years old, and is a rising junior at St. Olaf College and recently declared a major of music education. He hopes to teach choral music in school settings. He has a lovely tenor voice, and was accepted into the St. Olaf Choir for the coming year.

I am new to the Order of the Ascension, having just completed my second annual retreat. I deeply value the connections I’ve made with other members of the Order, and the wisdom and knowledge about building healthy parish life that is available to me through this community.


From Bill Parker, OA

It has been a busy year since the last retreat in 2016. I have continued to deepen and develop the Benedictine ethos of St. Andrew’s with fairly good progress. As we know, these changes in culture take time and intention. St. Andrew’s added Evening Prayer 3 nights a week in Lent, and it looks like these offerings will continue. They are primarily lay-run. We have worked to create a space of holiness and reverence in the sanctuary. I was able to bring the tabernacle out from the sacristy closet into the main building of the church, complete with a presence candle. I made this move to honor my 20th anniversary of ordination to the diaconate. We are currently engaged in discernment about how to complete the church chancel, which was left unfinished during the recent renovation. Education and formation opportunities continue to be offered and encouraged by both myself and our associate for children and family ministry.

Rob and I have had quite a busy year personally as well. On June 17, 2016 we were married in a quick ceremony in Bishop White’s office. We moved quickly after the Orlando gay-club shootings. Afterward, we and the bishop marched in the Louisville Pride Parade with many of our fellow Episcopalians. It was an awesome day for us. This year, on the same date, Bishop White will officially add the Church’s blessing on our marriage during a Eucharist at St. Andrew’s.

While attending my niece’s graduation in May from Wake Forest Law, Rob tripped and ended up breaking his Achille’s tendon. Not realizing that for months, surgery came later in the year in October. Most of our fall and winter was centered around his recovery and care, with the help of our dog, Bear, of course!

Currently we are renovating our kitchen, and hope to once again begin our ministry of hospitality in our home. As these things go, it has been much slower progress than anticipated, but we are in the home stretch! Speaking of home stretch, this weekend is the Kentucky Derby, and Louisville is abuzz with activities. Yesterday I attended what is know as “Thurby.” It is the day before the Oaks race and is mostly a locals event. I enjoy this new tradition being with friends of parishioners.




From Bryan Carr, COA

Last year I got a small promotion, of sorts, at work, and now help assist in a number of different after-school classes, including sleight-of-hand magic, chess, and ping-pong (starting to get good at that one). I also finally successfully lobbied to teach a class in philosophy for young people (students between 10 and 12). This is the coming-together of a longstanding hope to put together my vocation as teacher and my avocation as philosopher. It's a good feeling, though I am still learning how to do it in practice, on the ground in real time.

This year will see the publication, after a very long process, of a book I've helped edit, <i>Music and Deep Memory: speculations in mathematics, tuning, and tradition in memoriam Ernest G. McClain</i>, put together as a tribute to a friend and mentor. I also continue to labor on my own book, and from time to time you can read a draft excerpt on my blog <a href="">Speculum Criticum Traditionis</a>. 

This year may be the last time I assist in running a summer camp in the San Juan Islands -- the logistics is getting more complicated as my partner at the camp sees her life changing. It's been a five-year run and has been deeply rewarding.  

Last year, my family was rocked by the suicide of my younger brother. I am still finding myself occasionally still centered but deeply, unmeasurably sad, an experience I try to not force away but just to let happen. 

I am still singing in the parish choir and will keep doing so until I lose my voice or the choirmaster suggests I do something else. 






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