Unitarian worship resource for Union soldiers

This small 1865 American Unitarian Association assortment of rousing songs and Bible readings (arranged for unison or responsive reading, and with headings like “Those who turn from Holiness are condemned”) isn’t explicitly for Union soldiers, but songs like “Arise, New-England’s Sons!” and “The Massachusetts Line” weren’t likely to appeal to Johnny Reb.

The Soldier’s Companion: Dedicated to the Defenders of Their Country in the Field by Their Friends at Home.

Let's review: the British Orthodox Church

Certain churches (as in denominations) attract my attention as an observer. What I suppose each of them has in common in marginality: being on the edge of culture, the edge of a theological spectrum, the edge of extinction or the like. But that’s not to treat them like playthings. Something can be learned from people “on the edge” and particularly if their faith keeps them, not marginalized, but in the middle of things.

I put the British Orthodox Church, a small autonomous Oriental Orthodox jurisdiction under the Coptic OrthodoxPatriarch, of Alexandria, in parallel to the Coptic jurisdiciton in the UK. In its own words,

Our mission is to the people of the British Isles, and whilst being Orthodox in our faith and practice we remain British in our ethos with a deep appreciation of the Orthodox heritage of these islands.

I’m more interested in how they operate, and the ethos they bring to their work, than the specifics of their theology or liturgy. I wrote a bit about them in 2012:

And good news: the Windsor mission I wrote about then in ongoing with prayers once a month.

A visit — heck, let's call it a pilgrimage — to Mt. Auburn Cemetery

Mt. Auburn Cemetery is well known as the nation’s first “garden cemetery” which, though now the norm, contrasted with the gloomy church yard or burial ground. But Mt. Auburn does it better than any I’ve seen and there lies the mortal remains of many a famous Universalist and Unitarian.

I joined dear friends, also Unitarian Universalist ministers, Hank Peirce and Adam Tierney-Eliot, there on March 17 to visit a just a couple of luminaries and brave the late-winter ice.

Hosea Ballou’s grave

Hosea Ballou's grave, side view

2014-03-17 10.30.18
Fanny Farmer is buried here with family.
John Murray’s grave, protected by ice.
Adam Tierney-Eliot (left) and Hank Peirce with token Unitarian, William Ellery Channing
Adam Tierney-Eliot (left) and Hank Peirce with token Unitarian, William Ellery Channing

Crazy snow coming? Download Pocket

To my dear Southern friends, family and readers:

A once-in-a-generation snow and ice storm is coming in on you. You have plenty of bread and milk (right?) but now face Internet-free boredom.

My suggestion? Put the Pocket app on every mobile device you have. Then add the plug-in for your browser and store as many interesting webpages — might I suggest this blog? — you can. You’ll have them even when the Internet goes down. More entertainment value than the weather-band radio. (Which you should have, too.)

I also use Pocket as a scrapbook to come back to stories I want learn more about, or write on. I also use it for in-flight (and on-train) entertainment.

Also, are your power lines prone to come down? Stay off your laptop. Save the battery to charge your phone instead. Stay safe.

Any Hungarian Unitarian activity in the UK?

Those who follow international news know that Romanians and Bulgarians are now able to enter the United Kingdom legally.

Hateful and xenophobic screeds notwithstanding, little has changed no far, except those who have taken advantage of undocumented labor can no longer abuse workers with impunity. London is not swimming in people from southeastern Europe. But that’s not to say there’s not a critical mass.

Surely my dear readers know that most of the Unitarians in Europe are Hungarian-speaking Transylvanians; that is, Romanian citizens.

So I wonder has there ever been, or has anyone ever intend to (or hoped to) create a ministry to accommodate our religious kindred, should they come to the United Kingdom? And if so is there any plan for the larger community to help?

These are honest questions. I would love to hear from someone who knows.

Sandy Day blogging

I’ve not bothered to see if Hurricane Sandy has degraded to a tropical storm (or been upgraded in colliding with that winter storm) because all evidence is that it’s terribly fierce. I hear the wind, rain and sirens of emergency vehicles.

But we’re better off than the Jersey Shore; remember its people and our beloved Murray Grove in prayer.

I wrote about hurricanes in 2003 and you can find some resources there.

A sad look into a Pacific Congregationalist Church

Please remember in prayer Charles Jessop, who died of hemorrhagic dengue fever, on the island of Niue leaving behind a wife and small daughter. This is the first death there (at least in recent years) from the disease; pray for the people, too. Here is a news clip, beginning with Mr. Jessop’s funeral in a congregation of the there-dominant Eklesia Niue, or the Congregational Christian Church of Niue.

Niue, an isolated island country in free association with New Zealand, has about 1,400 residents. These news casts are in interesting window into this community, and this clip a rare look into one of its churches.