Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Book - From My Father's House

Coming soon from Archdeacon Books, "From My Father's House" by author J.N. Sullivan.
"From My Father’s House" reads like a memoir, putting the reader into small town life in a bygone time. Yet its plot carries the two main characters to a climactic turning point of insight that sets them on a trajectory leading beyond the pages of the novel.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Episcopal Synod of America

Does anyone remember the Episcopal Synod of America (ESA)? Some will recall the effort. If memory serves, the start-up effort occurred in early June, 1989 when the Bishop of the Diocese of Fort Worth (ECUSA), the Right Reverend Clarence Pope, convened the Synod’s first gathering – in a large Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Texas. This gathering in Fort Worth occurred, coincidentally, at the same time of the Tiananmen Square uprising and subsequent massacre in China.

Many, if not most, of the participants were Anglo Catholic laypersons and clergy within the Episcopal Church. Needless to say, they were not pleased with the direction being forged by the national leadership of The Episcopal Church. This ESA effort, it must be said, preceded the formation of the Anglican Mission in America (AMiA) in the year 2000 and many other foreign-hosted Anglican ecclesiastical jurisdictions in the United States that followed: (i..e., Rwanda, Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda, Southeast Asia, and Bolivia.

To expand the historical context of internal skirmishes: at a convention in St. Louis, Missouri in 1976 many individual churches, both lay and clergy, separated themselves from the Episcopal Church and formed several Anglican jurisdictions known generally as the "Continuing Churches." In 1873 the Reformed Episcopal Church was organized by a former bishop of the Protestant Episcopal Church (now TEC).

But in August, 1997, the Bishop of Dallas, the Right Reverend James M. Stanton, issued a statement to his diocesan clergy referencing the progress of ESA and the prevailing issue at that time. Stanton had already founded the American Anglican Council (AAC); a para-church organization still in operation in 2015.

Bishop Stanton said in his statement that the bishops of the church had earlier given its approvals to the ordinations and consecrations of the bishops of the dioceses of Eau Claire, San Joaquin, Fort Worth, and Quincy (all orthodox, Anglo-Catholic dioceses). Those bishops were opposed to the ordination of women as presbyters (priests) or overseers (bishops) and the House of [voting] Bishops knew that position in advance of the consecrations. Pressure was already building among national church leaders to force bishops and dioceses to ordain women. This was a side issue, probably, but one which had its effect on ESA.

The prevailing issue causing Stanton’s letter to be written was a statement by ESA that it would become a “province.”

Here are some items from Bishop Stanton’s letter to his clergy dated August 11, 1997:

1.      The ESA leadership has made it clear that it will stay within ECUSA (now TEC)
2.      The exact nature or definition of “province” by ESA remained unclear
3.      Stanton stated that he will “continue to be in communion” with the bishops of ESA “come what may”
4.      The position of the American Anglican Council on this issue was identical to that of Bishop Stanton. The AAC also considered the ESA as an affiliate ministry. The AAC had a woman presbyter on its board of directors.
5.      Bishop Stanton and Bishop Jack Iker (Fort Worth) had worked together for three years on a plan for Stanton to ordain women to the presbyterate from the Fort Worth diocese.
6.      Confusion arose about Stanton’s position. Stanton wrote that he stood with all the bishops of the Episcopal Church. He challenged the charge that he stood with ESA in respect to their opposition women’s ordination. He said he ordains women in his diocese and implied that he would not oppose fellow bishops who would not ordain women.
7.      Stanton expressed his hope he and his diocese would work to bring unity and healing to this “deeply divided church”

Bishop Stanton ended his statement reminding his clergy that the [secular] press “is not sensitive to the theological and ecclesiastical nuances of statements or messages coming from various quarters of the Church.” An understatement if there ever was one.

The probable tipping point within the ranks of the Episcopal Church came in year 2003 when a priest, a practicing, non-celibate homosexual man, was elected bishop of one of the dioceses of the Episcopal Church. Call it reaction, change or realignment, it came rapidly but at a lethargically ecclesiastical pace, nonetheless.

In 2015 the issues within the greater Anglican Communion have changed somewhat from that of the 1980s and 1990s. The Episcopal Church in the United States and the Anglican Church of Canada have journeyed in a direction that many believe is neither biblical, nor orthodox Christianity. 

Out of necessity the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), a new Anglican Province, was formed more than five years ago with the consent, support, and endorsement of the majority of Primates of the worldwide Anglican Communion. Recognition of ACNA is currently withheld by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Church unity seems to be a futile dream, but the Anglican Re-alignment is underway and the Gospel of Jesus Christ will be forwarded by His faithful church.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

United States Marine Corps in the 1960s

Between June 1962 and the end of September 1966 I served in the United States Marine Corps. Only in retrospect have I realized that I witnessed in person some significant events in our nation's (and world) history.

Some months ago I began retrieving my records, any record, from that period of time and I am documenting and indexing the collected information for those years. Hopefully, if I have the time, I will write my memoirs but only for those four-plus years in USMC.

On Christmas Eve day, 1963 I arrived at Naha, Okinawa after crossing the Pacific Ocean on a 30-day voyage. Prior to this new assignment I served at Parris Island, SC (boot camp), Camp Geiger, NC (Infantry Training Regiment), and the Second Marine Air Wing at Cherry Point, NC.

When I first reported to Cherry Point in October, 1962 I found mayhem. The Cuban Missile Crisis had just begun. It seemed like all of the Marines and Airmen from Cherry Point, Camp LeJeune, and Seymore Johnson AFB (Goldsboro, NC) were present at Cherry Point. Their families were there, too. No room, no space. People were living in cars, trucks, jeeps. We thought this would be the end. But, about Okinawa ...

I was on Okinawa in 1964 when the Alaskan earthquake sent tsunami waves across the Pacific. The tsunami barely affected Okinawa but it brought death and destruction to people in Washington state, Oregon, and northern California - not to mention Alaska itself and Canada. Most people do not know this.

The Bob Hope USO show came to Okinawa while I was there. It was around Christmas time 1964. I got close enough to take pictures of Mr. Hope and the many movie stars of that era.

The President of Indonesia changed planes on Okinawa en route to NYC to withdraw his country from the United Nations. The U.S. government would not allow the Indonesian plane to land on U.S. soil. So, the Indonesian president transferred to an American military plane on Okinawa.

I was a member of the Third Marine Division Band. The band plus four platoons from the Navy, Army, Air Force, and Marines rendered a honor guard parade salute to the Indonesian leader, twice - arriving and departing. He received four ruffles and flourishes as for any head of state. That was in January, 1965, I think.

Also while on Okinawa, two Viet Cong (VC) PT boats attempted to torpedo two U.S. destroyers in the Gulf of Tonkin off Vietnam. Within two days it seemed to me like the entire U.S. Pacific Fleet was anchored the harbor leading to the East China Sea below my barracks on Okinawa . The sight of all those ships reminded me of the old TV series "Victory at Sea." The sight of all those ships also brought the thought of World War III.

I returned to the U.S. in late January, 1965 and was stationed at what was then called Marine Corps Schools (MCS) in Quantico, Virginia. Our band, during the final five or six months of my extended enlistment, spent much of its time at Arlington Cemetery marching through its winding walkway paths and playing music (funeral dirges) for deceased Marines from the then-hot Vietnam War. On some of those days at Arlington, four military bands lined up for funerals in rotation.

On September 30, 1966 I was honorably discharged from the United States Marine Corps.

The Deacon

What is the status of a deacon? I refer to deacons in the catholic churches, such Anglican, Eastern Orthodox, and Roman Catholic.

In those churches deacons are clergy, the lower - if you will - of the three ordained orders. The other two are presbyters (priests) and overseers (bishops).

What is the status of a deacon relative to the bishop? Traditionally, deacons are attached to their diocesan bishop and not to the presbyter/rector at a local parish where the deacon might be assigned. Yes, some level of oversight is assigned to the rector over clergy on staff. But in the end, deacons belong to their bishop.

As such, what happens when a bishop abdicates his responsibilities to his deacons? Bishops and presbyters are, in a sense, collegial. Bishops and deacons do not traditionally have a collegial relationship. Deacons are subordinate to bishops. Deacons are not mini-priests, either.

Church order is vitally important to the proper proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and it is the bishop who must maintain all those things, including each part of Holy Orders, within the overall governance of his diocese.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Book Selling

The Alabama Historical Association held its annual meeting April 9-11, 2015 in beautiful downtown Mobile. The History Museum of Mobile provided the hosting facilities. It was a wonderful three days and the meeting was well attended.

The first event on Thursday (April 9) afternoon was a publisher-author round-table. Literally, a rectangled-table. Book publishers stationed themselves at selected tables with an additional seven or eight chairs. Authors took their places and publishers explained how to get published through them. Authors asked questions, of course.

Those of us who knew of the long waits and eventual rejection of manuscripts by publishers already understood the process. But, I guess, it was good to hear directly from these publishers who told us honestly what we could expect. Next year the AHA should have a table for a "self publisher."

After about 15 to 20 minutes the moderator asked the authors to move to another publisher table, and the process began anew.

Of course, books were sold at AHA, too. In somewhat of an ironic twist, one of the many publishers who rejected my latest book (self- published eventually) agreed to sell my book at the AHA meeting. I was grateful for their offer. Didn't sell too many book, however.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015, I was in Montgomery at the annual board meeting of the Business Council of Alabama. I wrote an earlier post about this. Anyway, the subject of my book, former U.S. Ambassador William J. Cabaniss, Jr., was honored at that meeting and he delivered a short talk. Afterwards the Ambassador and I signed books. We sold 100. That was a good day.

Our next scheduled booking signing event will be with the Young Business Leaders organization in early May in downtown Birmingham. We still are working on a book signing event for Washington, D.C.

As a publisher myself, I have three writer working their manuscripts. Two more writers might be contracted within another month or so. One of my sisters has written a marvelous novel which I will publish in May, 2015. I will promote it here on the blog and my other social media accounts.

Stay in touch!

Saturday, April 18, 2015

What’s in a Name?

Plano, TX
For several years we lived in Plano, Texas. Back then it was a relatively small town in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.

Every Sunday at church and during the Prayers of the People, a section of the prayers were for local clergy. One petition called for prayers for “Woody our deacon.”

I was what they call bi-vocational clergyperson. Electronic Data Systems, Inc. was my employer and primary means of support. As far as our church was concerned, I demanded they pay me $1.00 per year because I did not want them to take advantage of me and my services.

At the end of my first year at that church I was thanked for my service and then given an accounts payable check for $1.00 made out to “Woody R. Deacon.”

Boise, ID
One week in February, 1989, I made a sales call to a prospective client in Idaho. Boise was dry and cold that day and evening, as I recall. While eating dinner with my client in a fine restaurant  – my sales manager had not yet arrived because his flight was delayed – my nose began dripping. I kept using my handkerchief but never looked at the transferred content of my nose drippings.

Finally my client asked me to go to the men’s room to stop the bleeding. What? Oh, no! Blood. After more than 15 minutes leaning over a newly red-colored sink bowl, my client came in to find out what was happening. “I’ll call the manager,” he blurted out after seeing my face and the sink. Anyway, the restaurant manager called 911.

The next thing I knew I was on my back bouncing around on a rock-solid stretcher in the rear of a speeding and loud ambulance. Besides the driver there were two other paramedics who attended to my condition, and unsuccessfully so. We arrived at Saint Alphonsus Hospital. It was now 11:00pm and I was taken to an ER area and placed on what looked like a bed-table combo. Not very comfortable.

After a while a physician came to my side, a fine fellow I might add, and diagnosed my problem. He began “packing” my nose. "Packing" is not a very stylized medical procedure. He chuckled. "The dry air did it," he advised. "Many thanks, Doc!"

An administrative person came in to talk with me while I was being “packed.” She wanted to know if I had an insurance card. “Yes, it is in my jacket pocket there hanging on that hook.” She reached into my jacket and then gave me my wallet. I opened it and gave her my blue EDS Insurance card. The name on my card read “W.E. Norman.” She asked “What does the ‘W’ stand for?” Being a humorous person and trying not to act overly concerned about my “packing” procedure, I said “Worth, as in Fort.”

At home about two weeks later I received an invoice in the mail from Saint Alphonsus Hospital. The invoice had the correct street address, but the addressee name was“Fort Worth Norman.”

Birmingham, AL
When living in Virginia, North Carolina, Illinois, and Texas, no one ever got my name wrong. But when I moved to Alabama (and make no mistake, I was glad to be back in the South – Texas is Southwest, you know) people could actually read and learn my real name that was printed on my driver's license and what-not, which is Worth Norman. My name always seemed backward to these Yellowhammer folk. “Hello, Mr. Worth. How are you today, Mr. Worth?” I get it. It’s like “Driving Miss Daisy” – sort of.

But, I can take it. When I was in the Marine Corps I was called “Normfats” and my personal physical condition during those years was in no way reflective of that moniker. 

Anglicanorum Transmutatio

The primates or senior archbishops of GAFCON met in London. GAFCON is the Global Anglican Future Conference ( GAFCON website). Simply speaking, GAFCON represents much of the biblically-oriented, traditional, and orthodox Anglican Christians in the world. It is a movement attempting to get the Anglican Communion back in line with the Gospel. Simple, is it not?

The primates met between April 13 and April 17, 2015 and issued a communiqué at its closing. One item was the acceptance of the Most Reverend Foley Beach, Archbishop and Primate of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), as a full member of GAFCON primates council. This recognition by the majority of the primates in all of the Anglican Communion is in direct contradiction to a lack of recognition of Beach and the ACNA by the Archbishop of Canterbury whose office is gradually becoming the titular head of the Anglican Communion.

Anyway, GAFCON, in my view, is a worldwide evangelical movement whose purpose is to bring people to Jesus the Messiah as expressed in a traditional Anglican manner.

Because the GAFCON primates’ meeting was held in London, it could be viewed as an “in your face” slam at the Church of England, Archbishop of Canterbury, and the many liberal-leaning bishops within the Church of England. Indeed, a counter church is in formation in England. Perhaps this new start-up Anglican Church in England will replace the established Church of England - the Parliament could then, out of necessity, dissolve the Church of England. It would be a shame if it came to that, considering the Church of England's history. But, all state churches should disappear.

GAFCON is the operative element in the Anglican Realignment.

See GAFCON communiqué at GAFCON Communique

Friday, April 17, 2015

Ambassador William J. Cabaniss honored at BCA event

On Tuesday, April 14, 2015, my wife and I, along with former U.S. Ambassador Bill Cabaniss and Mrs. Cabaniss, attended the annual board of directors meeting of the Business Council of Alabama. Mr. Cabaniss was honored by the BCA for his service to the State of Alabama when he was in the State House and Senate during the late 1970s and 1980s.

The BCA blog (click on link) summarizes the significance of Mr. Cabaniss's service. Ambassador Cabaniss at BCA

Thursday, April 16, 2015

A Beginning

I think it is time to enter the blogosphere. There are several blogs that I have followed, however, I primarily follow other media. Two of my favorite are FIRST THINGS magazine - I read it on Facebook as well as receive 10 printed issues annually - and the internet sensation of Anglican worldwide news known as ANGLICAN UNSCRIPTED.

The First Things editors and writers are both Roman Catholic and Protestant even though the magazine's founder, Richard John Neuhaus, was a Missouri Synod Lutheran pastor who became a Roman Catholic priest. A thoughtful journal that holds back nothing on opinion.

Also opinionated are the two "stars" of Anglican Unscripted. I like to watch Kevin Kallsen and George Conger (an Episcopal priest) engage in their examination of all things Anglican.

So, this is my beginning. This blog will not be a "heavy" blog. I intend for it to be light in its commentary.