[Posted by Archdeacon Stringfellow on Bakery]
Dear Colleagues and Croutons,
Several months ago Bishop Paul and I agreed that I would take an overdue sabbatical in the early portion of this year. And in the New Year I proposed to begin it on Thu 24 Jan and return on Mon 13 May.
During that time Canon Anne E. Kitch, Canon for Lifelong Formation in the Christian Faith, by Bishop Paul's appointment will be Acting Archdeacon. Correspondence usually addressed to me at this address should be addressed to her. She will keep the schedule of Archdeacon's Visits and other pastoral responsibilities normally mine. Even more of her gifts will come to light.
Accordingly this inbox will close at Noon on Wed 23 Jan and will reopen in May. I have asked Kat Lehman to set an automatic reply to email addressed here indicating that email addressed to it will neither accumulate nor be read.
On Sunday, Epiphany II, January 20, I shall celebrate the Eucharist and preach the Gospel at the Church of the Good Shepherd in Scranton as I have done most all of the Sundays in this Church Year. The parish is close to my heart, and they with all the faithful in this Diocese will be continually in my prayers though I have not accepted invitations to celebrate or to preach until I return.
My colleagues at Diocesan House today favored me with a surprise of cake and lots of gooey icing (the best food group for mental health) and with cards to express their best wishes. I am grateful to them for making the sabbatical just a little more difficult to undertake. A sword-bridge, however, it is not.
But it is time to continue study of Murray Bowen's systems theory with emphasis on his own writings collected in Family Therapy in Clinical Practice (1978) in addition to following a course on the subject at Moravian Theological Seminary in Bethlehem. I am delighted to observe to you that interest in Bowen Theory continues to develop beyond the boundaries of the Center for Family Process in Bethesda, Maryland, and the devoted disciples of Ed Friedman throughout the United States and particularly in the Episcopal Church.
Secondly, I shall study my favourite twentieth-century author, Graham Greene. Novelist William Golding wrote that Greene is "the ultimate chronicler of twentieth-century man's consciousness and anxiety." He wrote but five hundred words a day, but what words they are. Greene certainly knew the power and the glory as well as the human factor, and he resorted to the rosary and Russian roulette. My plan is to read again his major works and to read many of his minor works along with Norman Sherry's respected three-volume biography. Graham Greene and Cinema and The Graham Greene Film Reader interest me, and I sincerely hope time remains for them as well.
And I'll spend a rainy Sunday afternoon brushing up my Italian. Of course I could stand to make some progress in minor hobbies, bicycle maintenance, photography, and cooking.
And did you know that Shrove Tuesday opens spring training? The Knot Hole Gang will again be in session this season though I shall not advertise for predictions through diocesan portals. Any predictions posted before the deadline, however, will be added to the great spreadsheet. The deadline is Noon on Opening Day, Mon 1 Apr, Easter Monday in some religious calendars. Perhaps the Knot Hole Gang will have a surprise along the way.
I have let the passions of the season past cool a bit before announcing, lest my humility gain complete sway, that I won the contest last season, being the only prognosticating handicapper (even among Giants' fans) to predict the Giants to be world's champions. It was hard to give and to receive the prize, but I did well enough, I suppose. This ambidextrous feat may even occur to the marketers in Hollywood, so famous throughout the world for their award-giving and award-receiving. The Yankees have taught us all how to win and to keep a trophy though this off-season they seem to be in need of some of their own lessons.
I am grateful to Bishop Paul for the opportunity to minister among you. That you keep a holy and costly Lent for the love of Christ alone and that you, buried with him, may also rise with him in glory, walking in newness of life--be assured of the prayers of
Howard Stringfellow III