A Pilgrimage Over a Lifetime
a reflection by David Olsen
Since Doyt left on his sabbatical and pilgrimage, we have been talking about our pilgrimage-in-place as a faith community. While there are many activities that the parish is doing, I would like to share the pilgrimage that I have started.
One of the first classes I took on arriving at Epiphany was Doyt’s minyan on The Divine Conspiracy, based on the book by Dallas Willard. As many of you know, this is a class that Doyt is very excited about, and I would have to say that I would agree with him. Willard makes the argument that God must be relevant in every aspect of our existence. Similarly, St. Benedict, as he wrote in his Holy Rule, believes that in following his Holy Rule, the monastic—or any person following his Rule—will find God in his or her daily life through the disciplines of the Divine Office, lectio divina, and meditation. These are the foundations of the monastic life following the Rule of St. Benedict.
As you may remember from a previous article, I started working with the Companions of St. Luke, Order of St. Benedict in the last year. The Companions are a dispersed monastic community, which means that our members live in the world. And like anyone else living “in the world,” we all have husbands, wives, partners, or significant others. We do a variety of work. We are involved in our parishes and live just as anyone else in today’s world. The amount of time that you spend with the monastic foundations depends on whether one is pursuing vowed life or is an oblate. We believe that each of us is called to a different state in life and that there is no real distinction between the vowed life or being an oblate. We are all dedicating our lives to seeking Christ through the Rule of St. Benedict. What is important is that we are seeking Christ and are committed to living in Christ through our daily lives.
In May, I returned with the Companions to Conception Abbey, a Roman Catholic Benedictine Community located in Conception, Missouri. Our Convocations, in a sense, are our pilgrimages where we meet twice a year in October and May. We conduct business that is best done in person, we accept additional pilgrims—vocations—and we make public commitments to one another regarding the stages of our monastic lives. Most important of all, we are able to pray as one community, which is the source of our strength on our pilgrimage towards the Kingdom of God.
As part of my pilgrimage with the Companions of St. Luke, I have taken the name of Brother Chrysostom. St. Chrysostom was a desert father and one of the early mystics of the Church. He also wrote the Divine Liturgy of the Byzantine Catholic Church which is still in use today. The translation of Chrysostom means “golden-mouthed.” St. Chrysostom was known for his ability to preach and make clear the Word of God in his sermons and writings.
Throughout history monastic communities have served as spiritual havens where people could go to be recharged to continue their pilgrimage. When we return to our homes and home parishes that is how each of us feels we have that spiritual energy to reengage with the world and work towards the Kingdom of God however that may be for each of us. I believe that all people are on a spiritual journey or, if you would, a pilgrimage in our daily lives. We need a place to call a spiritual home, or a place where we can find support on our journey towards the Kingdom of God. We experience the Kingdom of God both in the here and now, and when we die in Christ.
So while Doyt is on pilgrimage and we as a faith community are making our pilgrimage-in-place, there are Benedictines throughout the world who are making their pilgrimage-in-place as well. And I would say that day by day we are making a pilgrimage throughout our lives. But, for us at Epiphany Seattle, we are making a public statement of our pilgrimage now in support of our Rector and this season at Epiphany. It is a win-win situation for all of us!
—David Olsen, aka Brother Chrysostom
What’s this passport thing and what do I do with it?
When pilgrims set out upon The Way of St. James to Santiago in northern Spain, the presumed burial place of the apostle James, they must first obtain an official document called a “credencial” or passport. At each stage of their journey, a local agent (be it bar, hostel or post office) stamps the passport to attest that the pilgrim has indeed passed that way. At the end of the journey, the stamped credential is presented at the Shrine of St. James in the Cathedral of Santiago, and the pilgrim receives a pilgrim’s blessing and a beautifully printed certificate of their accomplishment.
When we were planning our parish’s virtual pilgrimage to Santiago to coincide with Doyt’s sabbatical and his family’s journey on the Camino, the sabbatical team thought it would be fun to provide our own passport in the form of the colorful booklets Notes for a Pilgrim Soul. We hope you have enjoyed the inspiring quotations on the theme of pilgrimage. We hope also that you feel moved to set aside some time this June and July for activities that deepen your relationship with God, whatever those activities might be for you.
Now many of you have asked how to use the booklet. The short answer is, anyway you like. We thought it would help you note the miles you mindfully walk on your “pilgrimage in place.” We are tracking everyone’s total mileage as we collectively journey in spirit to Santiago. From the French border, the Camino route is 490 miles—we think the parish can do that and then some. This parish has many champion walkers!
And yes, other spiritual exercises and activities also “earn miles.” Prayer and meditation sessions, walking labyrinths, devotional studies, retreats, the time you give to parish ministries such as the altar guild or hosting the men’s Friday shelter, watching one of the pilgrimage-themed movies we are showing this summer, and volunteer work at a nonprofit are just a few examples. Bring the booklet to the pilgrimage table on Sundays with your list of activities. We’ll record your mileage and stamp your passport with a cockleshell, the symbol of the Camino. You can also record your mileage on the parish web site’s pilgrimage page.
Find Out More about Fr. Constant
A native of Haiti, Joseph accepted the position of rector at St. John’s Episcopal in Beltsville, Maryland, in March with twelve years of experience as a priest. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Engineering from Northeastern University and a Master of Divinity from Virginia Theological Seminary. After graduation from seminary, he served as the Assistant Rector at St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church in Washington DC for almost two years. Then, he joined the staff at Virginia Theological Seminary in 2005 as Assistant to the Dean for Admissions and Community Life. During his time at the Seminary, he created the Office of Racial and Ethnic Ministries and served as Director of Ethnic Ministries.
In 2010, following the earthquake in Haiti, Joseph joined the staff of the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church as a Special Coordinator for Haiti. The task of the Special Coordinator for Haiti was to facilitate the multiple efforts among Episcopal churches, dioceses, networks, and organizations committed to the rebuilding of the Diocese of Haiti.
In 2005, he established Haiti Micah Project, Inc. (HMP), a nonprofit committed to serving the needs of the at-risk and homeless children of Mirebalais, Haiti. Through a vast network of partnerships created by Joseph and HMP, over 500 children receive a hot meal on a daily basis and have access to basic education.
Joseph has published a book entitled No Turning Back: The Black Presence at Virginia Theological Seminary. His published paper on James Cone can also be found in The Blackwell Companion to the Theologians, edited by Ian Markham. Joseph and his wife Sarah have two daughters, Claire and Christiana. In his free time, Joseph loves playing and watching soccer, especially with his children, who are both soccer players.
Selwyn College Choir in Seattle
The acclaimed mixed choir of Selwyn College will make four appearances in the Pacific Northwest. They sing Wednesday, July 15, at 7:30 pm at Plymouth Congregational Church in Seattle. Free parking will be available in the garage under the church.
Selwyn is one of many choirs in the Cambridge system of 31 colleges, and it has distinguished itself by 15 acclaimed commercial recordings and international tours. The choir is directed by Sarah MacDonald, the first woman to hold such a post in over 800 years. In addition, Sarah is a native of the Pacific Northwest. She is highly regarded as the author of a monthly article about church music in the UK for the major American organ Journal, The American Organist.
The major posts in the UK organ world have been held by men for centuries. During the last decade, qualified women have begun to attain their rightful places in that system; Sarah MacDonald is certainly among them. A few years ago the music directorship at Chichester Cathedral was awarded to Sarah Baldock after Baldock’s brilliant tenures in assistant positions, including Winchester Cathedral. The first woman to be appointed to the music staff of St. Paul’s Cathedral, London is Rachel Mahon, a recent graduate of the University of Toronto. At age 24, she serves as organ scholar at St. Paul’s.
Over the years I have had the privilege of observing on-site rehearsals of a few of the Oxbridge choirs of young adults; I hope their Pacific Northwest concerts will be well attended. Find more information on the concert tour here.
There’s Still Room on the Family Camping Trip
Join other Epiphany families on a one-night camping trip at Belfair State Park on the Hood Canal. Enjoy tide pools, kite-flying, and campfires and miss all the craziness of Blue Angels weekend in Seattle. Dinner on Saturday will be provide, as well as a pancake breakfast on Sunday. Email Mark Rossow for more details if you are interested. Click here to download the flyer.
Parish Prayer List
Sunday Lectionary Corner
June 28, 2015
Fifth Sunday after Pentecost
1 Thessalonians 5:16–24
Upcoming Events in the Life of Epiphany
This Week at Epiphany
June 28: Fr. Joseph Constant Visits Epiphany
Father Joseph Constant, Doyt’s good friend from seminary, will preach at both services and speak at 11 am this Sunday about the Haiti Micah Project, an organization he founded. Haiti Micah’s mission is to provide basic needs, medical care, and education to the poorest of poor children rescued from the streets of Haiti. Read more at their website.
June 29: EfM Information Session
Education for Ministry is a 4-year course of study led by a trained facilitator, Robin Mondares. A new class forms each fall and we are looking for new people for the upcoming class. If you are interested, join Robin at on Monday, June 29, at 6 pm in the Christie House Library for an information session.
July 3: Office Closed for Independence Day
Since July 4 falls on a Saturday this year, we will be observing the holiday on Friday, July 3. The office will reopen on Monday, July 6.
Events Down the Road
July 8: Pilgrimage Movie Night – The Wizard of Oz
The Wizard of Oz is of course a pilgrimage movie when you think about it. Bring the whole family and a picnic to watch this classic together at 6 pm in the Chapel. We’ll provide the popcorn. Doors open at 5:30 pm. Read more about the Pilgrimage-in-Place here.
July 9: Pilgrimage-in-Place – Plymouth Labyrinth
Walk the labyrinth at Plymouth Church in downtown Seattle. We’ll meet at Plymouth between 11 am and 11:30 am, walk the labyrinth, and then have lunch together at a nearby restaurant of the group’s choosing. Contact Ann Lockhart if you’d like to participate. Click here for more info on the Pilgrimage-in-Place.
July 12: Pilgrimage Guest Speaker Mike Dunican
Mike Dunican from the American Pilgrims of Puget Sound will do a forum about The Camino de Santiago at 11 am in the Epiphany School Gym.
July 11: Silent Retreat Day at St. Anne’s House of Prayer
Situated in Queen Anne, St. Anne’s charming setting and quiet surroundings offer an ideal venue for personal days of reflection, guided seminars, times of prayer and spiritual direction. On the second Saturday of every month, they offer quiet days from 9 am to 4 pm. Refreshments and lunch are included for a suggested donation of $50. Contact the St. Anne Parish Office to register. St. Anne’s House of Prayer also offers spiritual direction and facilitated contemplative prayer. Visit their website for more info.
July 15: Selwyn College Choir in Seattle
On Wednesday, July 15, the acclaimed mixed choir of Selwyn College in Cambridge will perform at Plymouth Congregational UCC (1217 Sixth Ave, Seattle) at 7:30 pm. Read more here.
July 18: Yoga for Hope
Join Seattle’s yoga community at St. Mark’s Cathedral at 6 pm for an evening of yoga, music, and philanthropy. City of Hope is a comprehensive cancer treatment center that puts on Yoga for Hope events all over the US to raise funds for research and treatment and raise awareness of the benefits of yoga for patients with life threatening conditions. Read more about Yoga for Hope and register for the event here.