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iSeek from the Episcopal Diocese of Missouri

Thursday, July 14, 2016


Continuing prayers for South Sudan

At publication time of last week's iSeek, events were beginning to unfold in the Dallas tragedy and escalating in South Sudan. The return of opposition leader and country's vice-president Riek Machar, heralded by a unity peace accord devolved into shooting in the streets of Juba between government forces and opposition forces.

Urgent requests for fierce prayer were received by Missouri diocese members from Diocese of Lui's Bishop Stephen and other members of the Lui Diocese in diaspora.

The burning of most villages in Lui diocese has sent people to live in the bush, into Juba, or into a refugee camp such as Kiryandongo in Uganda.

The weekend's fighting and fatalities in Juba led to another peace treaty, and retreat on Wednesday by the vice-president's forces to just outside of Juba. (Reuters). According to Nuba Reports, "South Sudan's Health Minister claimed 271 were dead on Saturday but the toll is now expected to be higher, according Adut Akol, the Director of the Emergency Department at Juba Teaching Hospital." The United Nations today issued a statement that the humanitarian crisis is growing in Juba as "aid agencies are forced to restrict their work because of the security situation", and reporting shortages of food and water.

We pray for peace in South Sudan. We pray that the new Government of National Unity may be a sincere and genuine coming together to work for peace.  May God bless the efforts of those who work for peace. -prayer from Lui Diocese

At one point this week Bishop Stephen's Yahoo email was hacked and a request asking for funds (to be delivered to South Africa) was sent to Missourians. Timing made it seem almost plausible. Please disregard if received and feel free to contact diocesan offices/Companion Diocese Committee members for verification on such requests.


A prayer for the Dallas police officers slain

 Most merciful God, bend near, and place the balm of your spirit upon this turbulent world we have made.
   Let us hear again your call to live as children of light, justice, healing, and peace.
   Lord, let us be children of light. When we stumble blindly in the storms of sin and destruction, let us be filled with and reflect the light of your love.
   Let us be for laborers for justice.
   Let us seek to not live by the sword, but by the wisdom and grace of your Word. Let us be for agents of healing.
   Let us seek reconciliation and repentance, not retribution, for one wound cannot be healed by another. Lord, let us be for peace.
   Let us unclench the fists of our hearts, renouncing all that separate us from each other.
    Lord, let our cry come to You from the depths as we pray in your mercy. Amen.

Prayer from postulant to the priesthood in this diocese, Leslie Scoopmire, who publishes a daily prayer on her blog Abiding Hope and social media sites. Last Friday's prayer was #1263.

On July 8, speaking from the Anglican Church of Canada Synod, Presiding Bishop Michael Curry called for prayer after the shootings (video) and the Episcopal News Service carried statements, prayers, and resources from around the church (article).

     We request your prayers for the officers who were killed in the line of duty that their souls may rest in peace and that light perpetual would shine upon them.
     We request your prayers for those who were injured, that they may be healed and restored to the fullness of body, mind, and spirit.
     We request your prayers for the officers' families, friends, loved ones, and co-workers, that they be comforted and strengthened, confident in God's mercy and loving care.
     We request your prayers for the City of Dallas and this great nation. That from Bangor, Maine to Eureka California we may unite as a nationwide community of love, compassion and respect, and that individually and collectively, we will honor our pledge, united as "one nation under God, with liberty and justice for all."

Prayer requests from the Rev. Oliver Lee, rector of Trinity Episcopal Church in Dallas and a chaplain for the Dallas Police Department, shown preaching at the Requiem Mass for the Fallen and Prayer for the City of Dallas at St. Mathew's Cathedral. Photo: Diocese of Dallas. ENS articles here and here.

News from Grace Kirkwood of a Community Prayer Vigil on Monday, July 18 / 6:30 p.m. on the Kirkwood City Hall steps. "In light of the Dallas police shootings, the Kirkwood Ministerial Alliance invites everyone to this community gathering to show your support and pray for our police and country. Everyone is welcome to attend." This event is sponsored by Youth in Action.


A gaggle of Gaylords heads to mid-MO

On Monday, we followed (via Facebook) the progress of the large cardboard boxes called Gaylords as members of the Companion Diocese Committee the Rev. Chris Cobb and Dr. Maria Evans picked them up from Hannibal. Video here. Chris reports they made it to their destination in Montgomery City, "thanks to God and 'Redneck ingenuity' at the warehouse." Shout-outs to Tyson Wilburn and Craig Scott for help loading the Gaylords.



The 2nd & 3rd icons installed at St. Paul's

The completed triptych of icons above the altar at St. Paul's Church in Carondelet neighborhood of St. Louis was blessed this Sunday. Priest-in-charge Robert Ard and the self-described "feisty" small parish had a festive day with blessings of the icons, of a large ceramic baptismal font insert, a smaller icon of Mary for the chapel, and the installation of Jack Foshage as verger. Icon writer Evan T. Smith had supervised members of St. Paul's adding paint and prayers to the icon of St. Paul, and videoed the process. Not uploaded quite yet, the video will be available on St. Paul's Facebook page. Ceramic artist Jennifer Higerd created the baptismal font basin. Images from Sunday are here. Robert Ard's last Sunday as priest of St. Paul's is July 17.


Pokemon and your church?

In the midst of gun violence tragedy in this country and in South Sudan, back channel chatter of church communicators was also abuzz about--a new game for mobile phones from Nintendo. Called Pokemon Go!, it's a free download that purports to get people walking and looking at their phones for a myriad of creatures, first superimposed on a real-time map and then viewed through the screen as though floating in the direction you look.

The data for this international game comes from several years of user contributions about 'interesting places' to another game, Ingress. Google maps meets geocaching meets Nintendo game. Communicators who knew Ingress were ready--they knew that one of the three 'portals' suggested for user input were churches. And when the game was released that proved true--many churches are listed as stops or 'gyms' where players roam in hopes of finding more or interacting with their virtual creatures.

Most church folk had no idea. And really, how often do we have groups of teens and tweens, their parents, and millennials wandering around church yards if not members? Opportunities for hospitality as being offered by some churches include time in air-conditioning, cool water, even a changing station.

At the beginning of the week Forward Movement director Scott Gunn hinted on Facebook that they were pulling together some resources for churches and game players and asked for user-contributed photos. Those resources were published this morning. Do you recognize some of the images? (Kudos to St. Peter's!)

Concerns include the game requiring signing over a lot of your phone's privacy, walking into danger while watching only the screen, and some petty criminals with schemes, among others. It is also of note that the game is harder to find in black neighborhoods.

No one knows how long a fad lasts, but by Wednesday game downloads in the U.S. had topped 25 million-- with time spent on the game surpassing that spent on Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat (USA Today).

A quick survey of a few metro churches found game stops at St. Mark's in St. Louis and Emmanuel (both with two), Advent, and All Saints. No stops at St. John's Tower Grove or Ascension. The local news in Kirksville reported that Trinity Church is one of six stops they'd found in town.

Please leave a comment--thumbs up or thumbs down--and how your church experiences Pokemon Go.

(Screenshot of your editor's desktop and a Pokemon creature that curiously resembles a dustball. I'm sure that is pure coincidence.)



making disciples


Camp Phoenix-a digital accompaniment

Back again this year! Join the Facebook event to follow campers virtually as the explore this year's theme--Beatitudes: The World Turned Upside Down.

Youth ministry intern and Deaconess Anne House corps member Martin Geiger is this year's camp communicator who will share prayers, the spiritual lessons of the day, and a few images of life at camp.

Camp Phoenix runs from July 24-30 this year.



Former Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, Edmond Lee Browning died July 11, 2016.

May his soul, and the souls of all the departed,
through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

Episcopal Relief & Development supports SUDRA's response to unrest in South Sudan [ENS]

Great interview with Presiding Bishop Michael Curry on Monday with the Canadian Anglican Journal: A few weeks ago, someone asked me the same kind of question. I said, "You know what, Jesus gave us a clear, unadulterated unambiguous commandment: 'Love God, and love your neighbor.' " Now, a whole lot of stuff in the Scripture you can debate, but that is not debatable. So when you vote, I'm not going tell anybody how to vote--you've got to figure that out, that's between you, God and your conscience. Y'all got to wrestle with that, and that's a principle that we've all got to honor, and I think that's important.

I've found over the years that that particular principle has helped me to really ask the hard question: does this look like love of neighbor? Does this really promote the greatest good for the greatest number? Does this really promote a culture and a society that really does love each other?

Jesus doesn't allow us the option of self-righteousness, whether we're on the right or the left, because if you get self-righteous, it's all about you and it ain't got nothing to do with God.

Congratulations to the Rev. Charlie Morris who was elected to the board of Missouri Health Care for All on June 21, 2016. He's one of eight new members; the board is now comprised of 20. MHCA is concerned with helping make Missouri a state that provides all its citizens with affordable health care regardless of income or where they live in the state. Charlie continues his work as a volunteer ombudsman at a long-term care community in O'Fallon, MO, for VOYCE (recipient of an Episcopal Presbyterian Health Trust grant). As such he acts when necessary as an advocate for residents' rights under Missouri law.

Deaconess Anne House send-off. The fare-thee-well party and commissioning service for this year's Deaconess Anne House corps members is scheduled for 7--10:30 pm on Friday, August 12 at Trinity Episcopal Church in the Central West End. After a short service there is a reception and dancing. Not to be missed.

The Episcopal Network for Stewardship (TENS) offers a webinar on online giving for churches with solution a number of churches use. Register for the webinar here.


In our diocesan cycle of prayers, we pray for Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd, Town and Country (1954), and Pamela, their priest.

In our companion diocese of Lui, South Sudan, we pray for children who wish for Pre-school Education in Diocese of Lui.

Pray for peace in South Sudan. Pray for the Moru in Lui Diocese and in the diaspora.


Prayer resources
Daily Office
Mission St. Clare;

The Book of Common Prayer includes downloadable and smart phone versions. offers many versions in many languages, including Greek and Hebrew, other European languages, and several oriental languages. It has excellent search capabilities, both for the usual chapter and verse searches and for keyword and phrase searches. Available at no cost.
Oremus Bible Resource includes comparisons of versions including the NRSV. Oremus Hymnal.

Holy Women, Holy Men. The commemorations approved by the 2009 General Convention are still available  on the SCLM blog. You'll have to look in the archives from July 2009-June 2010 or you can search by name.

Forward Movement: Forward Day By Day meditation; Daily Office; set your own personalized Daily Prayer Preferences. Access three different versions of The Liturgical Calendar.

Suggest a resource.


Diocesan publications
Publisher: The Rt. Rev. Wayne Smith, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Missouri

Editor: Beth Felice,
Director of Communications
office: 314-255-1387
cell & SMS: 314-398-2209


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