This is the sunset at the end of a wonderful day spent learning about life and ministry in our Lancaster Convocation of the Episcopal Diocese of Central Pennsylvania...
and what a day it was.
At least a 3,000 calorie day, for sure.
We began the tour with a fabulous breakfast at St. Paul’s Church in Columbia where I was met by our Convocation Convener, and Rector of St. Paul’s, the Rev. J. Patrick Peters. Patrick assembled a group of clergy and lay people from the Convocation and the local Roman Catholic priest from down the street for an amazing breakfast of scrambled eggs, toast, ham, pancakes, juice, fresh fruit and coffee. Wow. Apparently, St. Paul’s can turn out these breakfasts with one hand tied behind their backs- they do it on a monthly basis for about 60 guests. The church also hosts a very large food pantry (I saw it on my last visit to St. Paul’s) on the upper level of the parish hall; the parish has discerned a focus of feeding- both the physical and spiritual types of feeding and nourishment- and does a wonderful job of both.
Our breakfast was followed by a short driving tour of Columbia, (I’m going to have to go back for my Turkey Hill Experience and a trip to the Clock Museum!) and we had a stop at the new, impressive River Trail Heritage Center where I learned about the railroad history of Columbia, the burning of the bridge in Civil war times (and the subsequent 5 bridges that have stood in the same place, since) and the phenomenon of the May Fly (something new to this New England native.)
|The Rev. J. Patrick Peters at our breakfast at St. Paul’s|
|Food Pantry Warehouse|
We needed to keep our strength up- and so we headed over to St. John’s for a lovely luncheon prepared by the ECW of the parish. The Rev. John Morris, Rector, The Rev. Barbara Seras, Associate Priest and several other Lancaster Convocation clergy joined us for this relaxing and convivial hour. We enjoyed a cold luncheon of shrimp salad, fresh blueberry muffins, cold brewed iced tea and rainbow sherbet. It absolutely hit the spot on this blistering day. We had a special treat in seeing Emma Di Pace, one of the youth from St. John’s, who came to help with the meal and spend a bit of time with us before heading out on a family trip to Italy tomorrow and then a St. John’s J2A pilgrimage to Peru right after that!
|The ECW luncheon cooks at St. John’s, Lancaster|
|beautiful garden centerpieces at St. John’s luncheon|
The Reverend Canon Stephen Casey and Mrs. Rayelenn Casey joined us at the Barshinger Cancer Center where we met Chaplain Pete Jupin and had a tour of this extraordinary facility that opened in 2013. The Barshinger Center offers full service treatment for all types of out-patient and therapeutic cancer care in a compassionate, aesthetically stunning and peaceful setting. We met Peter in front of the “green wall,” a hydroponic wall hosting ferns, ivies and other plants that lend a serene note to the surroundings right upon entering. Peter talked about the challenges of ministering to patients in this facility where they come and go quickly, stopping in only for treatments and how the opportunities for connection are different than the usual chaplaincy jobs. He also told us about the depth of relationship at Barshinger and how the team approach for holistic health and care extends to the spiritual care of the patient as well as the physical; Peter’s entres in to the lives of his patients may be brief, but the chaplain is considered an important , collaborative partner in the healing work of the center. At Barshinger patients can receive acupuncture, massage, “image” or cosmetic care (including wigs, cap fittings, cosmetic application, manicure and pedicures), sit in the mediation center, stroll in the healing garden, eat at the cafe that serves locally grown and sourced foods, as well as receive the traditional radiation and chemotherapy treatments. Here are some pictures
of the center:
|The new "cyber knife” radiation machine|
|The meditation room overlooking the healing garden|
|#55, a.k.a. “Rose.”|
The Rev. Canon Mark A. Scheneman, who serves as the Priest in Charge at Bangor, (and has spent considerable time as an historic re-enacter) was dressed in period costume and led us (along with his faithful clerke) through a grace-filled service that included a two lessons, the traditional “Mag” and “Nunc,” collects and the singing of two hymns in the Welsh style- a cappella with men and women taking alternate verses. In the solemnity of the day’s violence in Dallas, where 5 police officers were shot and killed, the congregation gathered in the candlelit church in Bangor took solace in God’s all powerful presence and healing balm.
|The Country Parson and his bishop (minus her miter)|
|The Parson at prayer|
|the service bulletin|
There’s another big day awaiting tomorrow- and so, it is to bed.
With gratitude for the day’s blessings- people, places, deep faith- and prayers for peace.