New Life Episcopal Church

Wherever you are on your journey of faith, you are welcome here!
Deacon’s Dismissal

Bird

There is bird loose inside a nearby grocery store. It is a small, dark bird, flapping and flittering about in the rafters, crouching on the ledge of the clerestory window and peering out at the world. I remark to other shoppers about the bird and ask: “How did it get into the store?” A young…

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Never alone

I write this on Wednesday, November 12th, the 4th anniversary of my ordination to the diaconate. For three and a half years, I have worshipped with you. My ministries take me into the world as I visit prisoners and homeless men. One of the wonders of God’s church is that we never go into the…

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Torah

The history of the Torah scroll: Lovingly restored, Hebrew letter by Hebrew letter, this Torah scroll lives now with the Cleveland Kol HaLev Reconstructionist Jewish Community. The scroll is more than one hundred years old, though no one knows for sure. The scroll belonged to a Polish congregation. During World War II, the people of…

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Debris

I was in Detroit, driving through what was once a pleasant neighborhood. In most blocks, there remained one or two homes with neat yards and a car in the driveway. The rest was overgrown, save for the shells of the few abandoned houses still standing. Driving was hazardous. In the middle of each street were…

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Lemonade

A lemonade stand on a quiet street, a young girl at a card table. I pulled to the curb, “I’ll have a glass.” With great deliberation, she took a styrofoam cup from the stack and carefully poured lemonade from the plastic decanter. She peered into the cup. With a practiced movement, her finger went into…

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Reinstated

He sat on the curb by his old car. I asked, “What’s going on?” He told me that a late payment had triggered an insurance lapse. Today the police pulled him over because his license was suspended. He said, “I’m stuck, man. I can’t drive till I get my license back, but I gotta drive…

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Reading the Bible

When I was a kid, I took up the notion to read straight through the Bible, beginning to end. As long as I was at it, I would mark with a red pencil all the rules for living, all the dicta and the laws. By mid-Genesis, my little pencil was worn to a nub and…

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Everyone has his reasons

A year ago, in Sojourners magazine, I read an article by Danny Duncan Collum on the late civil rights activist and author Will Campbell. I saved that article and went looking for it as the conflicts in the Middle East and Ferguson unfolded. Collum, a Southerner like Campbell, wrote this: “Will Campbell gave me a…

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Being a deacon

A young man, perhaps ten or eleven, came to me after a service and said, “I’d like to be a deacon.” I replied with encouragement and asked him why. “Because if I am a deacon I can wear a cross and read the Bible to everybody in church and then go around and help people.”…

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Speak peace

Last Sunday found me in a Lutheran church in Loudonville, Ohio. There, as at New Life, we read from the 85th Psalm, that God will “speak peace” to his “faithful people.” I have heard words of this psalm elsewhere, in the film of Isak Dinesen’s story, “Babette’s Feast.” The people of that tiny Danish congregation,…

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