Thursday, September 3, 2015

On Feast of Phoebe, Deacon, Letter to Pope Francis Urging Restoration of Diaconate/Bridget Mary's Response: Affirm Women Priests' Movement as Leaders and Prophets today

Bridget Mary's Response:
The full equality of women in the church is the will of God.  Pope Francis should lift all excommuncations against women priests, our supporters and all Catholics who follow their consciences. 
 It is imperative that the entire church live the fullness of the priesthood of the baptized. Women priests are living a renewed priestly ministry in an inclusive church within an empowered community of equals.  
Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP,

Letter to Pope Francis

Dear Bridget Mary

Below is the text of a letter which we have sent to the Pope asking him to reconsider the matter of the diaconate for women. To read the documentation and history of women's diaconate click here. There is also an opportunity to support this appeal and sign the letter!


Dear Pope Francis,
Respectfully we ask you restore to women the sacramental gift and grace of diaconal office in our Holy Catholic Church. How better may we embrace the Spirit of the age than by giving such freedom and dignity to women, for the good of all, in equality and fraternity?

Contemporary research shows that tens of thousands of women served as ordained deacons during the first millennium of the Church: in Italy, Gaul, Greece, Asia Minor, Palestine and Egypt. That they received a full diaconate ordination is clear, a ‘sacramental’ ordination in today’s theological language. Here is a prayer of 780AD:
Holy and Omnipotent Lord,
through the birth of your Only Son our God from a Virgin according to the flesh,
you have sanctified the female sex.
You grant not only to men, but also to women the grace and coming of the Holy Spirit.
Please, Lord, look on this your maidservant and dedicate her to the task of your diaconate, and pour out into her the rich and abundant giving of your Holy Spirit.
Codex Barberini Gr.336
Many documents confirm that these ordinations were by the imposition of the bishop’s hands and took place in the sanctuary during the Eucharistic Liturgy immediately after the Anaphora. Several of your predecessors authorised Sacramentaries containing ordination prayers for women deacons.

There should be no room in our Church today for the rationale which subverted female deacons in the Middle Ages: the phobia concerning menstruation and the conceit that women are innately inferior to men.

The need for the ministry of women deacons is plain in every country. May your hands be the first to restore the diaconal dignity to women.
With respect and love,

The Trustees, Patrons and Staff of the Wijngaards Institute

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Two Indian Sisters Sentenced To Be Gang Raped For Brother's Crime, Please Sign Petition 
Both girls had fled the region already for fear of repercussions from their brother’s actions. Their family believes the girls may be murdered if they return to their village in the Baghpat district.

A disturbing report emerged from Amnesty International stating that an unelected, all-male council sentenced two girls to be gang-raped. Meenakshi Kumari, 23, and her 15-year-old sister were “sentenced” to rape after their brother eloped with a married woman. The “sentence” also requires the sisters to be paraded naked with blackened faces in front of the village.
As of this writing, more than 80,000 Care2 members have signed a petition demanding protection for the girls by the Principal Secretary of Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh. Care2 is also calling for an investigation into the village council.
Both girls had fled the region already for fear of repercussions from their brother’s actions. Their family believes the girls may be murdered if they return to their village in the Baghpat district.

Read more:
Amnesty International UK describes a terrifying landscape of unauthorized “councils” ruling segments of India:
Unelected village councils such as this are widespread in parts of India. More often than not they are made up of older men from dominant castes, who prescribe rules for social behaviour and interaction in villages.
The supreme court of India has described them as ‘kangaroo courts’ and branded their decrees illegal, yet in some states they continue to operate – and their punishments are carried out.
Advocacy organizations are outraged by the continued existence of these sham courts that violate basic human rights through practices like “revenge rape.”
Last year, a 14-year-old was “sentenced” to rape by after her brother was accused of sexually assaulting a married women. The girl was raped in the woods by the woman’s husband. Village elders also ordered the rape of a 23-year-old woman last year, leaving her in critical condition after being attacked by 13 men.
A petition has been filed with India’s Supreme Court by Meenakshi Kumari to protect her and the unnamed younger sister.
Please take a moment to sign our petition standing with Meenakshi against rape and urging the Indian government to dismantle these barbaric, illegal councils seeking to oppress and exploit women within parts of the country.
If you feel strongly about an issue in your community or the world, start a Care2 petition today to get help from members around the globe.
Read more:

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Liturgy for Mary Mother of Jesus at Sun City Center, September 1, 2015 by Katy Zatsick, ARCWP

Mary Mother of Jesus at Sun City Center

September 1, 2015

Forgiveness, Forgiven-

Pathway to inner peace and freedom

All: In the name of our God, Creator of an imperfect world and evolutionary
humanity, our brother Jesus forgiving those who killed him, and Sofia Wisdom
gifting us with human consciousness and feelings. Amen

All: Opening Prayer:

"God of Evolution and Love, I know that my behavior, words or attitudes have
hurt myself and others.  I am truly sorry; I want to forgive myself and to
forgive others who have hurt me.  Help me avoid hurting myself and others
again. I believe that your son, Jesus Christ died for the Love of me and all
of humanity for all time.  Jesus is alive and hears my prayers. I surrender
my life to God today.  May I continually deepen my relationship with you
from this day forward.  Please send your Holy Spirit to help me to hear you
in the quiet of my soul and to do Your will for the rest of my life. As
always, in Jesus' name I pray, Amen."

First Reading adapted from Pathway to Peace and Inner Freedom. Steps 8*

by Judith A Terrameo, OSF

Steps 8

Step 8 Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make
amends to them all.

Reader 1: Even though I may feel and think that my (behavior or words) did
not cause others pain and suffering I must remember that I do not live my
life in a vacuum.  My life is always "rubbing shoulders" with others: the
members of my family, friends, co-workers, neighbors and so to think that my
(behaviors) were void of relational damage is to live in denial. ...I am
told that the first part of Step 8 is about simply making a list (author's
emphasis) of those I harmed...some names are easy and reasonable, others not
so easy as I recall past hurts and angers wrought upon me.  So, the
resentments just well up within me.  I cannot hold onto these resentments
lest they corrupt the work...

Reader 2: The second part of Step 8 is to become willing (author's emphasis)
to make amends.  Realizing the struggle I am having with some of the names
on my list, I know that I need to turn to my (Loving God) for the grace to
do that which is beyond me: making amends to those who initially hurt me,
pushing my buttons and triggering irrational behavior on my part for
retribution's sake.  I must acknowledge the part I played and accept the

Reader 3: These amends involve a process of forgiveness---forgiveness with
respect to those whom I have inflicted pain; which I have discovered helps
me in a process of self-forgiveness.  Forgiving myself, however, is more
difficult.  But I know that the God of my understanding wants me to be free
of guilt and shame that would continue if not let go of: and this is a
luxury that I cannot afford.                           

This is an inspired word    All: Thanks be to God

Psalm Response: 

All:  In Love mend my brokenness.

Look at my affliction and my trouble,

And mend all my brokenness....

May integrity and uprightness protect me,

For you are my only hope.  (Ps 25)

In Love mend my brokenness.

Help us o God of our Salvation,

For the sake of our glorious Name!

Deliver us! Atone for our sins

And rescue us for your Name's sake!

In Love mend my brokenness. (Ps 79)

Happiness comes from having your rebellion taken away,

From having our failure completely covered.

Happiness comes from YHWH not counting your mistakes,

From having nothing to hide. (Ps 32)

In Love mend my brokenness

Second Reading  adapted from Pathway to Peace and Inner Freedom. Steps 9,*

by Judith A Terrameo, OSF

Step 9

Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so
would injure them or others.

Reader 1: I now undertake the action required of me in step 9---making
direct amends. (Author's emphasis) This is not something I can rush into.  I
need to spend time in thought and prayer, inviting my Higher Power to direct
the process... I need a trusted companion with whom I can also share,
someone who can assist me in this step by step journey, especially with
those difficult amends which I could easily rationalize away due to the hurt
done to me.

Reader 2: And so begins...there are a couple of people I know I will never
see again, but who deserve an amends because of the hurt I caused them.  I
write each of them a letter, in which I share as best I can what happened
and why.  I offer my amends for he hurt caused, seeking forgiveness.  The
letters are put into the mail without expectation (author's emphasis) of any
return correspondence.  

Reader 3: this is very important for me because I know that done with
expectation I will only set myself up for failure and for resentment.  I
make these amends for my personal healing.  How the other person responds is
not my concern. 

Reader 4: For others, I begin a process of face-to-face amends.  I set
appointments with some, others I call on the phone, some are immediate, and
others will take more time.  As I undertake the process, I begin to
experience a new-felt freedom because I know that I am redeeming myself of
past transgressions.

Reader 5: And there are still those who are no longer alive.  I sit and
write each of them a "no send" letter in which I share my amends and my
regrets that things could not have been different.  I read these letters to
my trusted companion so that I may face the consequences of my behavior and
own up to the fact that these amends involve changing the patterns of
behavior that caused the hurt in the first place.  I then burn these letters
in a ritual---so that the smoke of these amends, like incense, may reach
them in heaven.

Reader 6 As I go through the process of making these amends I feel the sense
of shame diminishing, I am able to let go of guilt, and I feel an increased
sense of self-esteem, self-respect and self-worth.  This is sheer gift from
my Higher Power, the by-product of taking seriously the humble work of
making amends.

All: The final amends that I make are to myself because through these
hurtful behaviors I estranged myself from significant people in my life,
alienated myself from relationship with my Higher Power, and lost the beauty
of my own soul.            This is an inspired word.  Thanks be to God

Gospel Reading:  A Reading from the Gospel of Luke 5: 17-26

Now it happened that Jesus was teaching one day, and Pharisees and teachers
of the Law, who had come from every village in Galilee, from Judea and from
Jerusalem, were sitting there.  And the power of the Spirit Sophia was there
so that Jesus should heal. Now some men appeared bringing on a bed a person
who was paralyzed whom they were trying to bring in and lay down in front of
Jesus.  But as they could find no way of getting through the crowd, they
went up onto the top of the house and lowered the paralyzed one down through
the tiles into the middle of gathering, in front of Jesus.

Seeing their faith, Jesus said, "My friend, your sins are forgiven you." The
scribes and the Pharisees began to think this over. "Who is this man,
talking blasphemy? Who but God alone can forgive sins? But Jesus, aware of
their thoughts, spoke his reply, "What are these thoughts you have in your
hearts? Which is it easier to say, 'Your sins are forgiven you,' or to say
"Get up and walk?"  "But to prove to you that the Son of man has authority
on earth to forgive sins,'---Jesus said to the paralyzed one-'I order you:
get up, pick up your mat and go home."  And immediately before their eyes
the individual got up, picked up the mat and went home praising God. They
were all astounded and praised God and were filled with awe, saying, "We
have seen remarkable things today."

This is the Good News of our Brother Jesus.  All: Praise to you O Loving

Dialog homily:

What is your experience of asking and receiving forgiveness?

Did you feel release from shame, guilt and gain freedom and peace?

When did you feel the need to make amends?

Has someone made amends to you? 

Prayers of the community

Response: All: God our forgiveness; hear our prayer.


Blessed are you, God of all creation, through your goodness we have this
bread to offer which earth has given and human hands have made.  This bread
is our faith community seeking forgiveness and making amends for hurts cause

This will become for us the bread of life.  All:  Blessed be God forever.

Blessed are you, God of all creation.  Through your goodness we have this
wine to offer, fruit of the vine and work of human hands. This drink is our
desire to serve with Jesus in bringing a forgiveness and wholeness to all
whom we meet and to earth itself.  This wine and juice will become our
spiritual drink.  All:  Blessed be God forever.

My sisters and brothers let us pray together that our gifts may be
acceptable to God our Loving Creator.

All:  May God accept these gifts from our hands, for the praise and glory of
God's name, and our desire for forgiveness and reconciliation for all the
People of God.

Co-Presider:  Ever gentle God, We give you thanks for the blessing of
worshiping you as a community.  Accept our gifts and our worship.  By
offering ourselves may we be filled with your Spirit of consciousness and
compassion every minute, every day.  We ask this through Christ, our
brother.  All:  Amen.

Eucharistic Prayer from sheet

Our father/mother: sung

Sign of Peace: Let us share a hug of forgiveness amongst ourselves.

The bread is broken.

All: This is our Creator who prepared a banquet for his friends; who calls
each of us to a ministry of compassion to all whom we meet.  How blessed are
we who are called to the supper of Jesus.  May we be who we are--the Body of
Christ.  May we be what we eat--the Body of Christ. Amen

Passing the bread "We are the Body of Christ." Passing the wine "We are the
Blood of Christ"

Prayers of thanksgiving and final thoughts

Closing Prayer

We give thanks for Your love and forgiveness.  May we go forth to bring love
and care to all whom we meet.   We know that the joy and happiness is given
to us through you; Loving God of Evolution, creator and sustainer of all.

Blessing. Raise hands in mutual blessing

All: May our evolutionary God of wholeness bless all gathered here and all
those in our families and community.  We ask for a restful Labor Day for our
bodies and our minds.  We ask for God's Healing Presence this fall in the
name of our Creator, in the name of our Brother Jesus, and in the name of
God's Spirit Sofia as we minister to one another as the people of God. Amen

Co-Presiders: Let us go in the peace of Christ, let us rejoice and give
thanks to the God reconciliation and our God's presence in our lives.

All: Thanks be to God.


828.177505302402275/517621028390699/?type=1> Peaceful Warrior's photo.

-in-the-woods&large=1> Path In The Woods

Path In The Woods by George

Jesus Heals The Paralytic by Harold Copping

Reclaiming the Divine Feminine for Our Work of Compassion, Justice, Peace, and Sustainability: A Panel of Women Spiritual Leaders, Theologians and Pastors featured in Book: "She Lives! Sophia Wisdom Works in the World," by Rev. Dr. Jann Aldredge-Clanton, panel moderator

Join us for a panel presentation, interfaith ritual, & dialogue:Saturday, October 17, 10:00 am to 12:00 noon; continental breakfast

Episcopal Church Center of Utah – Wasatch Retreat & Conference Center 75 South 200 East, Salt Lake City, UT 84111

Reclaiming the Divine Feminine

for Our Work of Compassion, Justice, Peace, and Sustainability

Reclaiming the Divine Feminine in our religious traditions will empower our work together for com- passion, peace, justice, and sustainability. Including multicultural female divine names and images in our sacred rituals affirms the sacred value of females throughout the world who continue to suffer from violence and abuse. The earth, traditionally referred to as feminine, likewise suffers from exploitation and abuse. Rituals that include female images can make a powerful contribution to a more just world. A panel discussion will highlight ways that restoring female images of the Divine will contribute to healing our wounded world. The program will include an interfaith ritual,affirming the sacred value of all people and all creation. We will conclude with participants forming circles for dialogue.

Panelists: Featured in She Lives! Sophia Wisdom Works in the World, by Rev. Dr. Jann Aldredge-Clanton, panel moderator

Dr. Kendra Weddle Irons Religion Professor, Wesleyan University, Texas

Rev. Dr. Susan Newman Moore Associate Minister,

All Souls Church, Washington, DC

Rev. Stacy Boorn

Pastor, Ebenezer/herchurch Lutheran, San Francisco, CA.

Rev. Dr. Isabel Docampo

Supervised Ministry Professor, Perkins School of Theology

Rev. Judith Liro,

Priest, St. Hildegard’s Community, Austin, TX

Dr. Chung Hyun Kyung Ecumenical Studies Professor Union Theological Seminary

Dr. Bridget Mary Meehan Bishop, Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests

Ann Smith Director, Circle Connections


Devi Vaani, a trio of women

Kathleen Neville Fritz, Dionne Kohler & Alison Newvine),

who write and perform music in praise of the Divine Feminine

for ritual, empowerment and justice

"BOY OH BOY!" (A story about real modern-day mystics) By Terese Rigodanzo-Kasper ARCWP , August 29, 2015, A Story that Will Uplift You and Touch Your Soul

Terese Rigodanzo Kasper, ARCWP
Exactly six weeks from today I will be ordained a deacon with the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests. In anticipation of that a few weeks ago my Program Companion, Irene, and I decided we wanted to do something we hadn’t done before - meet in person. Each driving three hours we landed roughly in the middle at the mall in Fort Wayne, Indiana. What better spot for good conversation than to meet at the Food Court of Glenbrook Square. Over drinks and lunch we covered ground from A to Z with a lot of Ooohs, Awwhs and Ohs tossed in for good measure.

Somewhere around letter Q Irene’s focus shifted in the direction over my right shoulder. Turning to see what held her gaze, I saw a young Hispanic boy clearly in distress. His arms were raised, head bent and who we correctly identified as his mother was speaking to him directly and constantly with a look of concern etched on her otherwise peace-filled face. To see this boy vomit actually gave us relief that he wasn’t choking or in some other dire situation. In a moment Irene was on her feet and at his side offering whatever assistance might be needed. Her presence also brought comfort to those around him which by this time was a significant group of family, onlookers and staff.  A quick return to our table and back she was sharing a readily accepted drink from her cup.

A few minutes after Irene returned to our table so did this young boy along with his entourage. While Mom coached him in Spanish, he turned to both of us and in English said, “Thank you.” Then his story unfolded about how he has brain cancer, was poked here and cut there, even going so far as to show us his chemotherapy port. Today he was tired yet much conversation ensued.

Oh how engaging Irene can be with people. It didn’t take Kenneth long to share that he had seen God. Boy was he happy about that especially since God told him, “I will give you many angels to comfort and accompany you.” Young Kenneth easily and honestly relayed that he didn’t know how much time he might have left here on earth.  But it was OK because, “God is so pretty.” You might guess what Roman Catholic Woman Priest Irene asked him next. The answer was a resounding, adamant, “Male.” Yet even as I heard the answer Kenneth gave, I wondered if that was said from tradition, expectation or even a little uncertainly that maybe God could be female. I mean how many young boys would think any male was pretty? Oh, did I tell you he also saw Jesus?

Imagine our delight when young Kenneth said he wanted to pray for us. We bowed our heads as he took our hands. Oh that we understood Spanish. Oh that we wondered if it was indeed another tongue in which his prayers tumbled out of his mouth. We were touched, moved and then even amazed as he laid hands on both our heads. He ended by joining our hands while laying his on top. A powerful invocation in any language!

Once the praying was finished I turned to Kenneth’s mom and inquired, “Abrazo?” She nodded as she stepped into my arms. Little did I anticipate the extent of the comfort she needed nor even in her grief the comfort she gave.  The embrace was long and gentle and filled with blessings and bendiciones being exchanged, lifted heavenward. Then it was Irene and Mom’s turn; oh, what an encounter!

All the while we were surrounded by an assortment of beautiful wide-eyed sisters. Such quiet and peace in this large family I hadn’t truly experienced before. Even while my heart was moved to want to do something for them, Irene asked permission for us to purchase a new shirt for Kenneth. A genuine, “Are you cold in your wet shirt?” prompted Kenneth’s simple response to Irene, “Yes.” We were off and running and returned shortly with a fun, funky tee shirt accompanied by complementary headphones from Irene and a more conservative replacement school uniform shirt from me. A small bag of dark chocolates was added, a staple required by all moms.

It was time to say farewell to our newfound friends. This included meeting more of Kenneth’s seven brothers and sisters, a few cousins and a wave of his free arm from dad holding baby seated a few tables away. With hugs all around and appreciation expressed on all sides, we walked away wondering what Grace had just befallen us. Actually we didn’t wonder, we knew that boy oh boy we were in the right place at the right time today. We translated that message to include the bigger path we are on. As I anticipate my diaconate ordination, I am so sustained by my new dear friend, Irene, and hope never to forget las bendiciones from Kenneth, a gifted young boy.

Boy oh boy, if this isn’t a story about modern day mystics I don’t know what is!

Pope Francis Offers Mercy to Women Who Confess to Having Had an Abortion, Lifts Excommunication Against Male Ultra Conservative Priests/ Time to Lift Excommunication Against Women Priests and All who Follow their Consciences
Pope Francis

Bridget Mary's Response: God's love and mercy is present every day in every occasion for all and works through all.. Pope Francis is reflecting a more compassionate response by recognizing the agony that women go through in making this painful  decision.  
However, if the church would change its teaching on contraception, many abortions could be avoided in the first place.
Pope Francis should ask forgiveness from women for centuries of sexism in the church that has contributed to abuse, violence and poverty of women worldwide. Pope Francis could issue a letter in this Year of Mercy asking for forgiveness for the centuries of patriarchy that have kept women subordinated and chart a new path toward gender equality that would include women priests and leaders in all areas of church ministry and governance. God's liberating love is rising up in our women priests' movement as we struggle against injustice and discrimination toward women in the Catholic Church. 
In addition, Pope Francis could broaden this Year of Mercy by offering amends by the hierarchy for the clericalism at the root of the sex abuse crisis. He could announce concrete steps to hold bishops accountable for the decades of cover-up of sexual abuse against children and young adults.
While ,I welcome  the lifting of excommunication against the ultra conservative Lefebvrites and the restoring of faculties to their priests, Pope Francis should also lift the excommunication of women priests and our supporters and all in the church who follow their consciences.

Nori Kieran-Meredith co-presiding with Dignity Priests in California
While I understand that  Pope Francis is reflecting a more compassionate approach to  the divorced and remarried and to  gays, lesbians and transgender, the main issue is that he is not changing toxic church teaching on these issues. 
In this Year of Mercy, what Catholics need Pope Francis to do is to share Christ's heart of love for all by creating a more inclusive church where all can follow their consciences without fear of punishment. This will mean changes in  church teaching in order to heal the wounds of rejection that all on the margins of the Catholic Church experience. Yes, all the baptized can give and receive mercy and compassion. In an adult church this is a two-way street.
 The Spirit of God moves in the people of God and they have spoken out in their struggle against injustice in the institutional church. . Some examples of reforms are obvious and mentioned above- the  bans on contraception , divorce and remarriage, gay, lesbian and transgender marriage and women priests.In conclusion, Pope Francis needs to embrace a broader agenda of mutual forgiveness and spiritual transformation that involves structural change and reforms in order to renew the church,  I give thanks for Pope Francis in beginning the dialogue to a more compassionate church. 
Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP,

"The pontiff has also said that he will allow all priests around the world to absolve women who confess to having had abortions, an ability normally reserved only to bishops. “I know that it is an existential and moral ordeal. I have met so many women who bear in their heart the scar of this agonizing and painful decision,” he added.
And in a striking move for church unity in expressing God's mercy, the pope has even granted priests of the schismatic and traditionalist Society of St. Pius X faculties to offer absolution of sins "validly and licitly" to those who approach them for confession. "

Monday, August 31, 2015

Homily for Dignity San Fernando Valley and Dignity Los Angeles.: "Right on Target" Mark 7:31-37, by Nori Kieran-Meredith, ARCWP

Nori Kieran-Meredith, ARCWP with local priests presiding at liturgy for Dignity 

             Every so often, we come up with a Scripture passage that needs to be reviewed line by line.  This is one such occasion.

            We begin with Jesus returning from Tyre and going towards the Sea of Galilee by way of Sidon.  This is the equivalent of starting in Portland, heading north to Seattle, and then dropping south to San Francisco.  That is a huge jaunt!  Scripture scholars estimate it took eight months.  Maybe Jesus just needed a whole lot of time with His disciples.

            In any case, a deaf man is brought to Jesus, one with a speech impediment.  We have to conclude that at some point this man could hear.  Otherwise, how would he be able to produce language displaying a speech impediment?  If he had never been able to hear, he would only produce garbled sounds.  A speech impediment implies some difficulty in understanding him, not a complete inability to speak.

            Scripture tells us that “they” are begging Jesus to heal the deaf man.  So we have more than one person speaking on behalf of the man.  It’s a fair assumption that he is totally puzzled about what’s happening, and so he may have been trying to speak, too.  No wonder Jesus takes him aside.  Jesus probably can’t hear Himself think.  Not to mention that it’s a kind thing to do.  Communication is going to be tough enough with someone who is incapable of hearing, and so Jesus is likely fabricating sign language on the spot.

            He put His fingers in the man’s ears.  We have a Scripture passage from 2nd Isaiah that reads, “The eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped.”  (Isaiah 35:5-6)  Jesus must be interpreting this literally, resting his hands on the man’s face. [demonstrate]  Then Jesus spits in His hands, moistens His fingers with His saliva, and touches the man’s tongue.  Now the man knows for sure what’s happening; this is standard procedure in those days for healing deafness and speech impediments.  The man’s focus on Jesus is intense, pleading, and Jesus’ efforts mirror that.  Jesus looks up to heaven – not hard to figure out what that means – and then He sighs.  Scripture scholars throughout the ages have offered dozens of interpretations of the meaning of that sigh.  But they are rather problematic.  Whenever Jesus has healed in the past, it’s just been a straightforward process.  So many of the interpreters find something theatrical in that sigh, but that just doesn’t suit Jesus’ style. 

            Perhaps we need another verb.  A second viable translation is “groan.”  To my ear, “groan” has something to do with a physical response, while “sigh” relates to the emotions.  Perhaps Jesus is finding this cure particularly demanding.  Maybe He groans because He is fighting to maintain the intensity of His healing touch.  He digs in His heels, as it were, as the healing drains Him of energy.  And maybe that “Ephphatha” is a cry to God for help in fully opening the man to healing.

            In any case, though, the man is healed, and Jesus enjoins those nearby to silence.  Fat chance.  The crowd no doubt hears the “Ephphatha,” even if they don’t see the cure, and they know exactly Who it came from.  And so word spreads like wildfire.  Which is aggravating, from Jesus’ standpoint.  He does not want to be deluged with people needing healing; that’s not the point of His ministry.  Rather, God is among the people!  Salvation is on its way.  That’s Jesus’ message.  And now people are going to get sidetracked with the miraculous.  Aarrrrggghhh.

            On the positive front, this is one of the most intimate scenes we have in Jesus’ life.  I’ll bet it’s one that He remembers vividly.  There is a powerful human connection between Him and the man He healed.  And they must have had so much fun talking to one another afterwards!  Can’t you just see the man talking nineteen to the dozen, and Jesus with a smile a mile wide?

            But what’s this got to do with you and me?

            That’s a tough question.  It took me a week to come up with something.  The obvious answer is that Jesus’ touch is healing, life-giving, and comforting.  And that’s still the truth today.  Except after a year out of work, it doesn’t feel like that to me.

            Let’s try another tack.  Perhaps the meaning is that Jesus’ healing is a process.  He’s not just flipping a switch on and off in our lives.  Jesus’ healing today is a matter of increments.  It often occurs in steps.  Just as His healing of this deaf man may have taken some time, it may be the case with His healing now.  Day after day, the Divine Physician assesses our spiritual life and supplies little bits of healing here and there, little fine-tuned adjustments.  Assuming our cooperation, every day we’ll find ourselves a little stronger, a little more understanding, a little more patient.  It happens so seamlessly that we’re scarcely aware of it.  We may not be headed where we want, but we surely are headed where He wants.  One thing I know is that after this year out of work, I’m more comfortable with ambiguity than I was before.  I can handle the uncertainty now far better than I could six months ago.  I can feel the intensity of Jesus’ gaze.  Who can resist that?  I melt every time, agreeing that we can do my life His way, even though I would vastly prefer it my way.  Somehow, all of this is a healing process which has something to do with an inner recalibration. It may not be my ears that are being unstopped, but something inside is gradually yielding to the Divine and for a reason.  I don’t know where all this is headed, but it is heading somewhere, and it’s bringing healing in its wake.  And so yes, Jesus is still healing today.

            The challenge for us is to cooperate, no matter what.  It’s particularly hard when we don’t understand what’s happening.  Trust is hard.  We need to recall that everything our God has done in the past has had meaning, and that today is no different.  You and I may be flying blind, but we are only the co-pilots.  The One at the controls knows exactly what He’s doing, and He’s right on target.  We need to believe that.  Amen?  Amen.  


"Des Moines Catholic Workers Support Women's Ordination and Open Communion" They Welcome Dialogue with Bishop Pates

Janice Sevre-Duszynska, ARCWP Presided at Catholic Eucharist 
Aug. 2015 Statement by the Des Moines Catholic Worker in Support of
Women’s Ordination and Open Communion

DMCW Contacts:
Julie Brown
515 330 2172
Frank Cordaro
515 282 4781 / c 515 490 249

For several years, the celebration of Catholic Mass at the Des Moines
Catholic Worker has been a point of controversy with Bishop Pates and
others representing the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Des

Most recently, in May of this year, Bishop Pates wrote us a letter
stating that the “privilege” of having Mass at the Des Moines Catholic
Worker has been “revoked.” The reason for this is that, in December
2014, Reverend Janice Sevre-Duszynska, who is a woman priest,
celebrated a Roman Catholic Mass at the Des Moines Catholic Worker. It
is the official position of the Roman Catholic Church that women may
not be priests.

In 2010, Bishop Pates also expressed concerns about the celebration of
Mass at the Des Moines Catholic Worker, chief among these being that
we invite everyone, including non-Catholics, to receive communion.

In response to the Bishop, we wish to let it be known that the Des
Moines Catholic Worker affirms the equality of all people, regardless
of gender, to be full members and disciples in any Church claiming to
follow Jesus; in the Roman Catholic Church this includes the
priesthood and other positions of leadership within the Church.

Likewise, we affirm that the Sacrament of Holy Communion should be
open to all who wish to participate, regardless of religious and
institutional affiliations. No one seeking reconciliation and love
should be denied the Eucharist. We believe that Jesus would not have
it otherwise.

We welcome dialogue about these issues. For those who may be
interested, we have included below links to the letters we received
from Bishop Pates in 2010 and 2015, and the 2010 letter from a
Catholic Worker intern that initiated our dialogue with the Bishop
about our celebration of Mass at the Des Moines Catholic Worker.

May 5, 2015 letter from Bishop Pates to the Des Moines Catholic Worker

November 10, 2010 letter from Bishop Pates to the Des Moines Catholic Worker

August 28, 2010 letter from CW Intern to Bishop Pates

We also invite you to investigate the following links relevant to the
movement supporting women’s ordination in the Roman Catholic Church.


Previous National CW Listserve postings regarding this issue :

News Release: Catholic Diocese of D.M. Statement revoking "privilege
of celebrating the Roman Catholic Mass" at C.W. House" p. 2 Catholic
Mirror, Aug. 2015!topic/national-cw-e-mail-list/Sy4Ar65IkcI

"No Mass for Catholic group after woman performs service" by Kim
Norvell, DM Reg., Aug. 25, 2015!topic/national-cw-e-mail-list/B88Anzo86kA

D.M. Bishop "revokes Mass privilege" at DMCW - IA Public Radio -
Interview with Bishop Richard Pates - Bp. of DM Diocese and Rev.
Janice Sevre-Duszynska (6 min)!topic/national-cw-e-mail-list/3SxqnmBgtqg


Sunday, August 30, 2015

"The Catholic Church Should Partner with Planned Parenthood to Reduce Abortions", National Catholic Reporter, , A Way Forward?
Bridget Mary's Response:This is a thought provoking article. The Catholic Church's prohibition on contraceptives plays a major role in abortions. I agree that this idea could be a win-win in reducing abortions, an idea that  everyone can support. Another reason, we need women priests is to change church teaching to allow effective family planning methods such as  contraceptives. An all male celibate hierarchy is out of touch on this issue. Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP,

"Let's face it. It's time for the Catholic church and Planned Parenthood to try something dramatically different: to work closely together in order to reduce the number of abortions. It's time for a committee of national Catholic lay leaders and executives of Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers to begin a sincere dialogue about creating a new way forward -- together.,,,
The U.S. bishops and their national staff are deeply and heavily invested in the view of Planned Parenthood as the evil opposition to a "pro-life" view of the world. Would the U.S. bishops as a whole be open to working with Planned Parenthood in a collegial, cooperative manner to reduce abortions? If Francis' wish for a poor church for the poor and one filled with mercy, the answer would be yes. However, it would take great courage and fortitude to pursue a national adoption strategy working hand-in-hand with Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers.
As we have seen during the past several years, contraception is very important to many bishops and they want nothing to do with it. Yet, Planned Parenthood, like most lay Catholics, has a different view of the value of contraception and it's a big part of Planned Parenthood's services.
Just this past month, the New York Times reported that dramatic success of the use of contraception in the reduction of teen pregnancies in Colorado. According to the Times:
Over the past six years, Colorado has conducted one of the largest experiments with long-actingbirth control. If teenagers and poor women were offered free intrauterine devices and implants that prevent pregnancy for years, state officials asked, would those women choose them?
They did in a big way, and the results were startling. The birthrate among teenagers across the state plunged by 40 percent from 2009 to 2013, while their rate of abortions fell by 42 percent, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. There was a similar decline in births for another group particularly vulnerable to unplanned pregnancies: unmarried women under 25 who have not finished high school.
"Our demographer came into my office with a chart and said, 'Greta, look at this, we've never seen this before,' " said Greta Klingler, the family planning supervisor for the public health department. "The numbers were plummeting."
Would the U.S. bishops deny this vulnerable cohort free contraception knowing that an abortion is the highly expected result of an unplanned pregnancy?
Time to think big and with mercy
To date, the Catholic church is not thinking big enough in its attempts to reduce the number of abortions in the U.S. It never has, but that time has arrived.
Unless the Catholic church stands up and says unequivocally, "Let us work closely with Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers and with every expectant mother who is considering an abortion and we will support all mothers who choose to keep their baby or accept every newborn child who was otherwise scheduled for an abortion but is delivered and given up for adoption, and we will work closely with Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers and with the birth moms before, during and after the pregnancy," it's hard to take seriously the "commitment" the church has to reducing abortions.
The hardline protesters can still go praying their rosaries while holding their blood-stained placards in front of Planned Parenthood offices. Policy initiatives can still be pursued to reduce the number of abortions and to keep abortion available. And fundraising in support of the lobbyists fighting abortions will continue unabated, as will fundraising and lobbying efforts in support of the pro-choice advocates. All this is certain.
After 40 years of the same old hostile, screaming stand-off and in-your-face, finger-pointing between the anti-abortionists and pro-choice advocates, at what point do the futile anti-abortion tactics become morally complicit in each of the one million abortions performed each year? And when will Planned Parenthood's "pro-choice" mantra actually include enabling a pregnant woman to choose to keep her baby or choose to give the baby up for adoption?
In light of the intractable status quo, the real work of reducing abortions, a goal of both Democrats and Republicans, can only take place by a national Catholic lay-led and governed entity engaging the self-described compassionate Planned Parenthood -- and expectant mothers visiting Planned Parenthood offices -- in a way that builds up life and does not continue to tear it asunder.
Forty more years of doing the same thing is sheer insanity."
[Tom Gallagher is a regular contributor to the NCR and lead writer for the newspaper's Mission Management column.]

Roman Catholic Woman Priest Janice Sevre Duszynska, ARCWP on Iowa Public Radio 'River to River' Aug 28, 2015. (6 min. interview, starting at tha 8 min mark)

      On "River to River", an Iowa Public Radio program interview with
Bishop Pates and Rev Janice Sevre-Duszynska about the Diocese of DesMoines
resent directive revoking the privilege of celebrating Catholic Mass
at the Des Moine Catholic Worker because Rev Janice's celebrated Mass at the
Des Moine Catholic Wordker last Dec. and about being a Catholic women priest.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community Celebrates Life of Ford P. Englerth Born August 22, 1943-Died August 8, 2015 with Liturgy on Aug. 29, 2015, Interment in St. Andrew Memorial Garden

Ford Englerth was a beloved member of our community
Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community At St. Andrews United Church of Christ August 29, 2015    
Lee Breyer, Janet Blakeley,  Kathryn Shea,, Katy Zatsick, Charlene, Ford'a wife, Bridget Mary Meehan, Sally Brochu

Co Presiders:
Lee Breyer
Bishop Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP
Rev Kathryn Shea  ARCWP
Rev Katy Zatsick  ARCWP

Music Ministers:
Alicia Bartol-Thomas
Rev Janet Blakeley ARCWP
Cheri McDonough
Mindy Simmons

First three scripture readings were chosen from the New Jerusalem Bible by Ford Englerth* Liturgy adapted from “Eucharistic Prayer for Healing” by Diarmuid O’Murchu
Welcome: Katy Zatsick ARCWP, presider at MMOJ

Lighting of Ford’s Remembrance candle
All: We are gathered here to remember and celebrate the life of Ford, husband, father, grandfather, friend, sponsor and member of Mary Mother of Jesus.  We light this candle in the knowledge that relationships do not end at death.  We know that Ford will be with us in memories and feelings.  We gather today to celebrate the gift of Ford in our lives and in our communities.  We gather together to ask healing and to seek comfort as we mourn our spiritual brother in faith who now resides within our God of Love and Wholeness of Being.   Amen.

Katy: May you light this candle on days of special remembrance of Ford and your life together and when ever you choose.  May this burning candle always remind you of our love and care for you and your family. May you be comforted by its light and your memories, love, and the presence of Ford.   Amen.

Introduction to Ford’s liturgy
August 29 2015
St Andrews UCC

I am Katy Zatsick RCWP one of the co-presiders here at Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community.

We welcome you to the Celebration of Life of our brother in Christ Ford Englerth
We extend our deepest sympathies to Charlene his beloved wife
and to his family and friends who are with us today and to those who are away.
We gather together to offer Charlene and Ford’s family our spiritual support as we all mourn our loss of his presence in our lives and communities.

Mary Mother of Jesus is an inclusive Catholic Christian community and all of you are welcome to come to the table to receive the bread and wine. 
The wine is non-alcoholic.  

I knew Ford as mutual spiritual companions on our journeys and as my AlAnon sponsor.  We were both Adult Children of Alcoholics.

Symbols of Ford’s spiritual life are placed on our altar today:
St Michael the Archangel is a Catholic Christian image of God’s power against sin, chaos, destruction and evil. Ford fought for sobriety every day, 24/7 for 28 years. Ford knew through the first Three Steps of AA program that only God has the power to support and heal him in the spiritual battle against addictions, the demons of his life. 

We know the suffering of Jesus before his death on the cross. We know that Jesus rose from the dead and is with us still as our Higher Power.  This image of Jesus in his suffering and death is extending to us and through us his Compassion for all people, the world and the universe.

Ford suffered from and battled addictions all of his life.  He accepted the love and healing offered by Jesus Christ from the cross through the 3rd Step and lived the gift of serenity in his life-at meetings, work, home, and with his family. 

We cannot celebrate the gift of Ford’s presence in our lives without acknowledging and giving thanks for the Love of Charlene for her husband.
Ford credits Charlene for saving his life and would not have lived 28 years of sobriety without Charlene’s faithfulness and love for him.
Charlene challenged alcohol addiction’s deadly symptom of denial.  Ford said, “Charlene brought the Big Book home and placed it on their table.  I would put it away and she put it out again. Every day for months.” Charlene did not give up and God’s grace through her love broke Ford’s denial and he entered the 12 Step program of Alcoholics Anonymous.

We thank you Charlene for the blessings of Ford your Love, courage and strength gave him and us.  Namaste.  

Gathering Song: Amazing Grace #431 verses 1, 2, 3
Cheri McDonough-vocalist  Rev Janet Blakeley ARCWP-piano,
Amazing grace! How sweet the sound
That saved someone like me!
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind but now I see.

‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears relieved;
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed!

The Lord has promised good to me,
His word my hope secures;
He will my shield and portion be
As long as life endures.

Presider Bridget Mary: In the name of our God who is Love and Creator, Jesus our Brother, and of the Holy Spirit God’s Wisdom and healing Power.  All: Amen

Presider Bridget Mary: Loving God, comforter and healer, we know you are present as we remember Ford in our community liturgy.
All: May your healing comfort be with us all.

Opening Prayer, Presiders Kathryn and Lee:
God of Love remembering Ford may we grow in deeper awareness of your extravagant love dwelling within us, reconciling us, healing us and renewing all creation in the family of God.
All: God grant us the serenity to accept the things we cannot change, the courage to change the things we can and the wisdom to know the difference.  Amen

Liturgy of the Word Read by Ford's daughter, Kimberly Parisi
First Reading: Isaiah 25:6a, 7-9*  
On this mountain, for all peoples,
Yahweh Sabaoth is preparing
A banquet of rich food, a banquet of fine wines,
Of succulent food, of well-strained wines.
On this mountain, he has destroyed
The veil which used to veil all peoples,
The pall enveloping all nations;
He has destroyed death forever.
Lord Yahweh has wiped away the tears from every cheek;
He has taken his people’s shame away everywhere on earth,
For Yahweh has spoken.
This is the Word of God          All: Thanks be to God.

Psalm response #139*
All: God, Examine me and know my heart.
Yahweh you examine me and know me,
You know when I sit, when I rise,
You understand my thoughts from afar,
You watch when I walk or lied down,
You know every detail of my conduct.
All: God, examine me and know my heart.

A word is not yet on my tongue
Before you, Yahweh, know all about it.
You fence me in, behind and in front,
You have laid your hand upon me.
Such amazing knowledge is beyond me,
A height to which I cannot attain.
All: God, Examine me and know my heart.

Where shall I go to escape your spirit?
Where shall I flee from your presence?
If I scale the heavens you are there,
If I lie flat in Sheol, there you are.
All: God, Examine me and know my heart.

If I speed away on the wings of the dawn,
If I dwell beyond the ocean
Even there your hand will be guiding me,
Your right hand holding me fast.
All: God, Examine me and know my heart.

I will say, “Let the darkness cover me,
And the night wrap itself around me,
Even darkness to you is not dark,
And night is as clear as the day.
All: God, Examine me and know my heart.

You created my inmost self,
Knit me together in my mother’s womb.
For so many marvels I thank you;
A wonder am I, and all your works are wonders.
All: God, Examine me and know my heart.

You knew me through and through,
My being held no secrets from you,
When I was being formed in secret,
Textured in the depths of the earth.
All: God, Examine me and know my heart.

Your eyes could see my embryo
In your book all my days were inscribed,
Everything that was fixed is there.
All: God, Examine me and know my heart.

How hard for me to grasp your thoughts,
How many, God there are!
If I count them, they are more than the grains of sand;
If I come to an end, I am still with you.
All: God, Examine me and know my heart.

God examine me and know my heart,
Test me and know my concerns.
Make sure that I am not on my way to ruin,
And guide me on the road of eternity.  Amen

Second Reading is from Paul’s letter to the Romans 8:14-23 * Ford Patrick Englerth
The Spirit himself joins with our spirit to bear witness that we are children of God.  And if we are children, then we are heirs, heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ, provided that we share his suffering, so as to share his glory.

In my estimation, all that we suffer in the present time is nothing in comparison with the glory which is destined to be disclosed for us, for the whole creation is waiting with eagerness for the children of God to be revealed.  It was not for its own purposes that creation had frustration imposed on it, but for the purposes of him who imposed it---with the intention that the whole creation itself might be freed from its slavery to corruption and brought into the same glorious freedom as the children of God.  We are well aware that the whole creation, until this time, has been groaning in labor pains.  And not only that; we too who have the first fruits of the Spirit, even we are groaning inside ourselves, waiting with eagerness for our bodies to be set free.
The Word of God. All: Thanks be to God.

Gospel Acclamation: Alleluia, sung by congregation

A Reading from the Gospel of Luke 5: 17-26
Response: All: Glory to you O Loving God.

Now it happened that Jesus was teaching one day, and Pharisees and teachers of the Law, who had come from every village in Galilee, from Judea and from Jerusalem, were sitting there.  And the power of the Spirit Sophia was there so that Jesus should heal. Now some men appeared bringing on a bed Ford who was paralyzed whom they were trying to bring in and lay down in front of Jesus.  But as they could find no way of getting Ford through the crowd, they went up onto the top of the house and lowered him and his stretcher down through the tiles into the middle of gathering, in front of Jesus.
Seeing their faith, Jesus said, ”My friend, your sins are forgiven you.” The scribes and the Pharisees began to think this over. “Who is this man, talking blasphemy? Who but God alone can forgive sins? But Jesus, aware of their thoughts, spoke his reply, “What are these thoughts you have in your hearts? Which is it easier to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say “Get up and walk?”  “But to prove to you that the Son of man has authority on earth to forgive sins,’---Jesus said to the paralyzed Ford—‘I order you: get up, pick up your stretcher and go home.”  And immediately before their eyes Ford got up, picked up what he had been lying on and went home praising God. They were all astounded and praised God and were filled with awe, saying, “We have seen strange things today.” This is the Good News of our Brother Jesus. 
All: Praise to you O Loving God.

Reflection: Katy Zatsick ARCWP
Reflection by Katy Zatsick

As we reflect on the first three readings that Ford chose for our liturgy today, we can understand more clearly what was most important for Ford to leave us as his spiritual testament and legacy.

During his 28 years of sobriety, Ford through the spiritual program of the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous and the teachings of especially Fr. Richard Rohr continued his healing spiritual journey.

From Psalm 139, God had a plan for Ford and Ford’s Higher Power never left his soul or his side.  His Higher Power continually drew Ford into deeper relationship with Himself and
revealed the Love which is God through his family, friends, sponsors, sponsees and members of his AA meetings.

Ford included his experiences with the priests and members of MMOJ as part of God’s plan for him.  Ford arrived at MMOJ through the invitation of Charlie a member of his AA meeting; Ford’s long time friend.  Ford also came because he learned of the solidarity of Fr. Roy Bourgeois with the RCWP movement. 

Ford called we women priests “these women” and at MMOJ Ford’s Higher Power continued to call him into relationship with our God of unconditional evolutionary love and no longer an angry, punishing, judging God-much like his own father. Ford knew well the struggle with his own character defects of anger and impatience all of his life. At MMOJ Ford found acceptance as a “Come as you are” member and contributed his knowledge, gifts and wisdom to our community affairs.

From the letter to the Romans, Ford and Paul tell us “The Spirit himself joins with our spirit to bear witness that we are children of God.”  The spiritual wounds of the disease of alcoholism leave us no self-esteem, isolated, suffering and causing others to suffer.

When I met with Ford, during our shared prayer, he would smile in deep serenity and say, “I am loved by God, I am held by God. I am at peace. I am ready to die and do not fear death” as his heart became weaker and his energy dissipated.  And so Paul’s letter speaks to Ford’s own physical and emotional suffering as his body would not permit him to participate as fully in life as he once did-especially that he could no longer go fishing a sport he loved.  Or that he could no longer visit family in CA and NY, the traveling became too much for him.

From Isaiah Ford tells us of his understanding and image of the kindom of God.  “A banquet of rich food and fine wine.”  Here in the eternal now God has destroyed death forever.  This is Ford’s continuing life and his faith promises us that we too will sit down at that same table when our journey is over and we are healed into the Wholeness of Being the Love who is God. 

Ford and I met monthly in my home in SCC for about the last 18 months of his life.  He was my AlAnon sponsor and for both of us companions on our spiritual journey with our Brother Jesus.  Following the tradition of the Jesuit St. Ignatius, about a year ago I led us in meditation on the passage of the Gospel of Luke you just heard. Today after his death let me share this reflection on Luke’s Gospel and Ford’s life story. 

I began the meditation by having us walk over the bridge before us.  A movement from the reality of the day to a deeper place within us, our soul’s consciousness.  This time Ford stopped on the bridge itself and was captivated with the scene below him. Ford really liked this stream and the scene below. Coming from a small pond, the water tumbled over a waterfall, clear, refreshing, The colors were brilliant ‘like a rainbow” Rocks were under the moving water but did not impede its flow.  Ford would have liked to stay on the bridge but the meditation called him away to where Jesus was present.

Ford was with a group of friends as he lay paralyzed on the mat.  They could not get through the crowd before the house.  His friends did climb up to the roof carrying him; made a hole and lowered Ford down to the floor in front of Jesus.  However Ford was not facing Jesus and he wanted so much to do so.  He struggled to turn from his back and to face him.  Ford was successful and looked at the Loving Face of God in Jesus.  Jesus healed him.  Ford picked up his mat, paralyzed no longer and went home with his friends and to his family.

As I reflected on Ford’s spiritual experience, this is what I feel was taking place.
Standing on the bridge Ford was experiencing a life review.  He looked down to the River of Life below of which he was a part for 72 years. Ford’s life burbled over rocks-the challenges of life.  The colors-the feelings, the experiences were a rainbow for Ford …he did not miss out in being fully human his God raised Ford to a higher level of consciousness.  He experienced his emotional and spiritual life deeply even as he waged war against his addiction every day for 28 years.

For me, Ford experienced the 12 Step story via the vision of his own healing in this parable. Ford was paralyzed emotionally and spiritually by his addictions. He was at the “bottom of the bottle” or flat on the mat.  He could not move.  Using the Program of the 12 Steps the first being “I am powerless” as the paralyzed man was. His friends and sponsors in AlAnon carried him, to the third step “I surrender my life and will to my Higher Power” for only our God can heal the wounds of addiction.

Ford’s companions on his spiritual journey in AA and Charlene carry him to Jesus. The work is arduous; Charlene and the members of the fellowship must carry Ford spiritually in the struggle against the evil of addiction.  They accompany him with all the courage their Higher Power gives; confronting Ford’s helplessness, his denial, his ego, his character defects, and his soul wounds.  Their ministry, their trust in God for healing, opens a way to the God within blocked by the roof-his addiction, to his Higher Power who awaits his coming.  (The house is always an image of the soul.)  With the solidarity of his community of AA, Ford goes deeper into his soul, to lay before his Higher Power Jesus of Nazareth.

Jesus forgives Ford everything-addictions, the hurting of others, all that has taken place in his life till now this very moment.  As in Luke’s parable, God heals Ford, he is no longer paralyzed he is free to stand up and live life fully. Ford did for 28 years until he saw Jesus face-to-face for ever in God’s house where he resides now within the Communion of Saints.

I have lost 2 brothers and mother to the disease of alcoholism. For me Ford’s life is a gift of Hope that addictions can be held in remission, that the spiritually of the 12 Step programs does save lives and together we can free the next generations from the wounds of this deadly disease.

I will forever pray for healing for all those who are affected by the disease of addiction.  I give thanks that Ford shared his spiritual journey with me as we companioned each other on our individual journey of healing. I give thanks for the gift of Ford for being my AlAnon sponsor.  Let us call on Ford when we lack courage and strength, when we are lonely, isolated, fearful or anxious for he is always with us.

I am a grateful member of AlAnon and I will never graduate from our spiritual program. One Day at a Time.  May the gift of God’s serenity be with us all.

Profession of Faith: All
We believe in our Higher Power who is compassion in our world.  We believe in Jesus, whose death and resurrection reveals God’s infinite Love as the Wholeness of Being.  We believe in the Holy Spirit, the breath of Wisdom Sophia, who energizes and guides us to live Christ’s presence.  We believe in the Communion of Saints with Ford, our heavenly friends, who inspire us to live holy lives.  We believe in the church as the People of God, living in faith, hope and love. Amen.

General Intercessions:
Response All: God of Wholeness, hear our prayer.

Presider Kathryn: Confident that God hears the voices of all who trust in our Higher Power and Brother Jesus, we join our prayers to his.

Lee: Loving God, Grant Ford’s family, friends and members of MMOJ peace and comfort as we mourn his loss today and in the days to come. 
All: God of Wholeness, hear our prayer.

Kathryn: Our Brother Ford shared in the priesthood of all believers leading God’s people in prayer and worship.  He participated fully as a member of the Discipleship of Equals. May Ford join the heavenly liturgy in your presence to sing your praises until we come.
All: God of Wholeness, hear our prayer.

Lee: Loving Higher Power, many friends and members of our families have gone before us and rejoice at the coming of Ford. Carol Ann, Jodi, Charlie, and Jack welcomed Ford to his heavenly home. May we too join them in our everlasting home with our Brother Jesus and Mary his Mother and all the saints.  All: God of Wholeness, hear our prayer.

Kathryn: Many people die by violence, war, and famine each day.  Show your mercy to those who suffer so unjustly and gather them all to your kindom of everlasting peace.     
All: God of Wholeness, hear our prayer.

Presider Lee: Loving God, giver of peace and healer of souls as we grieve our loss, we trust that you will care for us through your compassion given by our friends and family members.
All: Amen.

Preparation of the gifts and offertory
“These Alone are Enough” Mindy Simmons soloist

Presiders Bridget Mary and Katy (raising bread and wine)
Ever gentle Higher Power, we offer you the gifts of bread, wine and our lives.  May we love tenderly, do justice and walk humbly with our Higher Power and Brother Jesus Christ. May we offer God’s healing love and support to one another as we mourn our loss of Ford’s life in our family and communities. We ask this through Christ Sophia, the Wisdom of God. All: Amen. 

Presider Kathryn:
Gracious God, our Higher Power, source and sustenance of life, redeeming presence to the pain and brokenness of our world, Holy Spirit, who enlivens and inebriates all that exists, we beseech your healing power upon us and upon all we pray for today. All: Amen

Voice 1: Down through the ages, you rescue us from darkness, from addictions and grief.  You light up our ways with wise and holy people. Today among these we add Ford Peter. 

Voice 2:  For all you bring to our lives, and for all we seek amid pain, loss and suffering, we acclaim your love and greatness and trust in your healing. You restore us from grief and loss and you revive our lost hopes. 

Voice 3: Source of our health and wholeness, healer of body, mind and spirit, we bring before you the darkness our world and the grief and loss of your people.  We seek to be healed and made whole; we seek to be reconciled and united.  We seek serenity and wholeness in our hearts and in our world. 

All: We ask you to awaken anew in our hearts the empowering grace of your abundant Spirit, who infuses these gifts of bread and wine with the transforming energy of life, to nourish and sustain us in our times of need, especially as we mourn the loss of Ford in our lives.

All: raising your hand over the bread and wine:
Let your Spirit come upon these gifts as we pray: On the night before he died Jesus took bread into his hands and said: This is my body, take and eat.  Do this in memory of me.                        (Pause)

At the end of the meal Jesus took a cup of wine, raised it in thanksgiving to you, and said: Take and drink of the covenant made new again through my life in you.  Do this in memory of me. In prophetic solidarity, it is poured out for you and for all.  Sustain one another in the power of sacred memory.

Voice 4: As we gather around this Eucharistic table, we recall God’s blessings and love from ages past, and we celebrate anew the gift of life which we share among us at this Eucharistic feast.
All: May the Spirit of life and wholeness, who transforms the gifts we present, transform us, too, that we may be refreshed in our inner being and be empowered to bring mercy, love and healing to those whose lives we touch as we celebrate his life and as we mourn the loss of Ford in our lives. Amen.

Voice 5: The bread we break and the cup we share are symbols of our world of abundance where all are invited to partake of the fullness of life.  But that life we often impede by our greed and selfishness, and by our exploitation of other people.

Voice 6: So grant that in union with all peoples, living and dead especially Ford, we may strive to create a world where suffering and pain are diminished, where justice and peace are restored, and where all people can live in health and wholeness, united in acclaiming the God of life, whose abundance is offered to each and to all, until the kindom arrives in the fullness of time.

Doxology: (Kathryn and Lee hold up bread and wine)
All:  We make our prayers in the name of our Healing, Loving Wholeness, Higher Power, through with and in whom we offer our gifts, Source of eternal life, love and goodness, now and forever                                  
Sing Amen (-Danish #936)

All: (Recite the prayer of Jesus while holding hands with your neighbors) “Our Father and Mother…forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us...  For yours are the Glory and Power now and forever and ever Amen.

Sign of Peace: Mindy Simmons “I Wish You Peace” soloist
--Please share a sign of peace with those close to you

Litany of the Breaking of the Bread:
All: Loving God, you call us to speak truth to power, we will do so. 
Loving God, you call us to live the Gospel of justice and peace, we will do so.  Loving God, You call us to live as Your presence in the world, we will do so.

Presiders: (Lifting up bread and wine) This is our Cosmic Christ of all creation; past, present and future, in whom we are reconciled and healed.  All are invited to partake of this sacred banquet of Love, God of Wholeness of Being.

All: Jesus we are worthy to receive you and become you for others. 
       We are the Body and Blood of Christ in the our world.

Communion hymn
Song “Song of the Body of Christ” Mindy Simmons pianist during communion
We come to share our story,
We come to break the bread,
We come to know our rising from the dead.
We come as your people, we come as your own,
United with each other, love finds a home.

We are called to heal the broken, to be hope for the poor,
We are called to feed the hungry at our door.

Bread of life and cup of promise, in this meal we all are one.
In our dying and our rising, may your kingdom come.

You will lead and we shall follow, you will be the breath of life;
Living water, we are thirsting for your light.

We will live and sing your praises, “Alleluia” is our song.
May we live in love and peace our whole life long.

Thanks to Ford Peter Englerth from Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic community. 
Patricia MacMillian President of the MMOJ Board and Finance committee,
representative for our community. 

                                   Eulogy by Ford's Son-in-law:
                                   Mark Parisi

Bill K

All are invited:
-Interment following immediately after liturgy in the Garden of Repose.
-A light reception follows in the fellowship hall

Closing Prayer: All:
Loving God, we’ve gathered today to share this special time remembering Ford together.  May you guide our journey through grief to hope and healing.  We are here because Ford made a difference in our lives-husband, father, grandfather, brother, friend.  Ford touched our hearts.  We remember Ford because we have loved and because we are loved.  Loving God of Wholeness and Being, Creator God, lead us out of the darkness of grief and into the light of hope and healing. May we be ever mindful of the promise of hope, even in the midst of mourning our loss, and may we find healing in the perfect serenity of your love. Amen. 

Concluding Rite
Presiders: Our God is with you
All: and also with you.

Blessing (Everyone please extend your hands in mutual blessing)
All: May the blessings of our Divine Healer and Comforter be upon us especially Charlene and Ford’s family and friends.  Let us go in the Peace of Christ to serve others with compassion.

Recessional: Psalm 23 “The Lord is my Shepherd”
Alicia Bartol-Thomas solo vocalist, Rev Janet Blakeley ARCWP pianist.

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want;
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:
He leadeth me beside the still waters.

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want;
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:
He leadeth me beside the still waters.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil:
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil:

For you are with me, you will comfort me,
You are with me, you will comfort me.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life:
And I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever…
            forever…  forever…  forever.

Please leave quietly and walk to the Garden of Repose behind the church for the committal of Ford’s ashes.

Gifts: Stole given to Ford by Charlie Grunkemeyer.
           Big Book Ford’s personal copy.

Death is nothing at all—
I have only slipped away into the next room. 
I am you and you are you—
whatever we were to each other
that we are still.

Call me by my old familiar name,
speak to me in the easy way which you always used.
Put no difference into your tone;
wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow.

Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes
we enjoyed together. 
Play, smile, think of me, pray for me. 
Let my name be ever the household word that it always was,
Let it be spoken without effect, without the ghost of a shadow on it.

Life means all that it ever meant.
It is the same as it ever was;
absolutely unbroken continuity.
Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight?
I am but waiting for you,
for an interval, somewhere very near,
Just around the corner.  All is well.
------A Letter from Canon Henry Holland

                                            Ford P. Englerth - 1943 - 2015

Interment of Ashes in Memorial Garden
St Andrew United Church of Christ
August 29, 2015
Co-presiders: Bridget Mary Meehan, Bishop ARCWP & Sally Brochu, ARCWP

Opening Prayer: Loving and Gracious God, in whose eternal care is all creation, we are gathered here to commit Ford’s ashes to the earth. He is here now where he worshiped you among friends in this church that he called his “home”- a place that fed him spiritually and a place that he loved and was loved.
We believe that, as you raised Jesus from the grave to spread the message of love and hope among your people, you will continue to breathe life into all of us so that we like Ford, will be with you forever.
ALL: Amen

An Abbreviated Reading from: High Flight by William Gillespie
    This poem was written as a tribute to the astronauts in 1986, after the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded. In the first half of the poem, the words “they put out their hands and touched the Face of God” are words of hope and awe. Then the poet continued::
If I be the first of us to die,
Let grief not long blacken your sky.
Be bold yet modest in your grieving.
There is a change but not a leaving.
For just as death is part of life,
The dead live on forever in the living.
And all the gathered riches of our journey,
The moments shared, the mysteries explored,
The things that made us laugh and weep or sing,
The joy of sunlit snow or first unfurling of the spring,
The wordless language of look and touch,
The knowing,
Each giving and each taking,
Those are not flowers that fade,
Nor trees that fall and crumble,
Nor are they stone,
For even stone cannot the wind and rain withstand,
 And mighty mountain peaks in time reduce to sand,
What we were, we are.
What we had, we have.
A co-joined past imperishably present.
So when you walk the woods where once we walked together
And scan in vain the dappled bank beside you for my shadow,
Or pause where we always did upon the hill to gaze across the land,
And spotting something, reach by habit for my hand,
And finding none, feel sorrow start to steal upon you,
Be still.
Close your eyes.
Listen for my footfall in your heart.
I am not gone but merely walk within you.

 Interment of Ford’s Ashes:
“Ripple” – written by the Grateful Dead – sung by Mindy Lou Simmons
(Ford’s family will now place his ashes in the earth.  Then sand from Siesta Key Beach, that touched the Gulf where Ford loved to fish, will be distributed to each person. Each person will be invited to take their turn and place the sand in the earth.)

Closing Prayer: Let us pray, O God of consolation and mercy, the time of Ford’s life among us leads us to reflect on our human condition and the brevity of our lives on earth. For those who believe in your love, death is not an end – nor does it break the bonds that you made with us, and that we have with you and one another. Our passing from this earth opens for us, the eternal life of your promise. In this we place our faith and hope.  ALL: Amen

And we pray, eternal rest grant unto him, O God.
ALL: and let perpetual light shine upon him.
May he rest in the peace that only you can grant.  ALL: Amen
May he, together with all those past and present when they have run their earthly courses…may they all, through your mercy, rest in peace. ALL: Amen