Archive for May, 2011

Racism in America

Tuesday, May 24th, 2011

I recently attended a two day course sponsored by the Anti-Racism Committee of the Diocese of New York. The course is mandatory for all clergy serving in the diocese.

While the leaders couldn’t have been nicer, there wasn’t much historical material presented that was new to me. I was also troubled by one of the trainer’s assertion, that most Americans believed that to be truly American, one had to be white.

I really hope this isn’t the case, though as a white person, I’m not the best judge. But whatever the merits of this kind of “training,” religious people have to acknowledge that there is still a problem of racism in our nation. —J. Douglas Ousley


Erica Wood

Friday, May 13th, 2011

On Wednesday, the Rev. Erica Wood passed away, following a long illness. Erica was at one time the President of the College of Preachers at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C.

For years, the College was one of the great institutions of the Episcopal Church. The best speakers and teachers in our church came there to share their wisdom with clergy and help them write and deliver better sermons. For some reason, the Cathedral decided it could no longer afford the College; I believe that Erica was the last in a distinguished line of Wardens and Presidents.

I happened to know Erica because she was related to one of our parishioners by marriage. She once preached here and it was among the very few sermons I can quote many years afterwards. She was the finest of preachers and the finest of priests. May she rest in peace and rise in glory. —J. Douglas Ousley


Royal Success

Monday, May 2nd, 2011

Many observers noted the simple and traditional tone of the recent royal wedding. One conservative blogger, David Virtue published this comment from one of his readers: ” 1. The Service was the 1928 proposed English BCP service complete with Elizabethan language. 2. All the clergy were vested in cassock, surplice and stole … no albs & stoles … with copes. 3. The Bishop of London was vested in rochet and chimere with preaching scarf. 4. The Abbey clergy all wore preaching bands with cassock, surplice, stole and cope. 5. No one genuflected or reverenced the altar when passing in front of it…not even the Dean or the Archbishop of Canterbury. 6. No one made the sign of the Cross; 7. No incense; 8. The Dean of the Abbey, not the Archbishop of Canterbury, gave the final blessing because the Abbey is a Royal Peculiar, and bishops participate only by invitation of the Dean. 9. Magnificent music. Very Anglican … fairly low church.”

The churchmanship likely reflects the preferences of Queen Elizabeth II. In any event, it was an extraordinary tribute to the great liturgical tradition of our Mother Church of England. —J. Douglas Ousley