Ahhh. Home again.


I’m back in my church office. I’ve just had lunch in our Soup Kitchen – our newly air-conditioned Soup Kitchen which serves over 30,000 meals a year. I’ve had three different visits from parishioners who just stopped by to talk this morning. I’ve met with a young lady from our congregation, who was confirmed this past Spring and who has come up with the greatest idea (personalized magnets) to raise money for her church project (a food-bank for the pets of the people we feed in the Soup Kitchen). I’m off in a little bit to make some hospital visits.

It’s good to be a parish priest. And it’s very good to be home again. Even with all the “sturm und drang” going on in our denomination at the moment I wouldn’t for a moment change what I am allowed to do each day.

Thank God Almighty that the real life of the Church is lived out in the parishes and missions.

The Author

Episcopal bishop, dad, astronomer, erstwhile dancer...


  1. That is a WONDERFUL idea your parishioner had – to set up a food bank for animals. I imagine many animals get abandoned when people have financial crises and can’t care for their pets. I run a small non-profit organization – a spirituality center – and have been pondering for some time the idea of having a service project for participants in the life of the Center to involve themselves in. I may well bring this up with the board. Please thank your parishioner for the idea and if she would like to email me, she can at efinlay@intcon.net
    By the way, I’m an Episcopal solitary nun in residence in the Diocese of Oklahoma. I’ve appreciated your Convention blogging.

  2. Thanks! I’ll be happy to pass along your interest. If I get a chance in the next couple of days I’ll post a picture of the magnets. They’re planning on personalizing them with the pet’s name. They’ve got dog magnets and cat magnets.

  3. Paul Martin says

    Thank you, Nick, for telling us about your soup kitchen. It is good to get back to the real business of the church.
    Last night, we said goodbye to two members of our clergy staff. They are going down to the gulf coast to work full time on the recovery effort there. Our (now former) rector will be a pastor to the gulf coast clergy, who are probably in serious danger of burnout by now. His wife, our former deacon, will be a case worker helping families rebuild their lives. We have six churches which were reduced to foundations, others damaged, and several congregations where half the parishioners have lost their homes. As a diocese, we have been at this work since Katrina hit (yes, I know the date by heart now, but we just call it Katrina) and we will be at it for some years to come.
    I followed the events of General Convention with great interest, and not a little anger. What upsets me more are the people who are saying that we have neglected the mission of the church in the course of the Windsor process. The people of Mississippi and Louisiana know better than that. Feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, and sheltering the homeless are not metaphors in this part of the world. We have received volunteers and donations from every part of the country. People have driven down here from at least as far as Oregon to help with the recovery. The press may have moved on to other issues, but we are still here, and we have work to do.
    I have an idea. Let’s get the good people of Integrity and the Network together in an old fashioned barn raising. Bring them all down to the coast to work side by side rebuilding churches, rebuilding homes, and helping people put their lives back together. Let them take a monastic vow of silence, at least on all matters related to General Convention. That might be a good way to begin to rebuild some trust in one another.
    There’s a funny thing that happens when you get down to the coast. You begin to get a sense of perspective. As our former rector said, when you reach out to help these people, not one of them has asked how we voted on the matter of Gene Robinson.

  4. Thanks Paul. You’ve reminded me of a story from when I was a YMCA camp counselor back in the days of the Cold War – and how we had a couple of communist party members sent to us as part of a youth exchange to work at the camp where I was one of the head counselors. We set about building a rock wall together and digging ditches. We forgot all about politics in about a day…
    I should write the whole story up sometime. It’s very similar to what you share of the experience of people who are actually doing the real work of the Kingdom of God.
    I do wish I could take some (any) credit for the Soup Kitchen but the real angel of that place is our parish deacon. Deacon Elizabeth is one of the only vocational deacons I know of in full time church employ. She’s also the face of the church to the homeless people in this part of the city. (She won’t let me in the actual kitchen anymore – having tasted one of the meals I tried to cook…)

Comments are closed.