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Visiting Bishops

This Sunday Bishop George Wayne Smith, the Tenth Bishop of Missouri, will make his way to Hannibal.

As our name attests, Episcopal, we like our Bishops.  You see, the word Episcopal comes from the Greek episkopos, meaning overseer or Bishop.  Bishops are important to our governance and our common life.

Bishops are required by the Canons to make visits to each church or ministry under their oversight.  This allows the people to get to know their Bishop and enjoy a time of fellowship with him or her.

The Bishop is also allowed to meet the people of the diocese and to assess the health or needs facing individual congregations.

As part of his visit to Trinity/Hannibal, Bishop Smith will confirm 7 individuals.

Confirmation is a strange rite for many.  I have heard it often called a ritual (or sacrament) in want of a theology.

Liturgical traditions have a unique understanding of Confirmation.  Only Bishops can Confirm.  A cleric can Baptize.  But we need a Bishop to Confirm.

This is importa…

**SERMON** 8 July 2018 "Cheese and Jesus"

II Samuel 5:1-5, 9-10 + Psalm 48 + II Corinthians 12:2-10 + Mark 6:1-13

You may be aware that General Convention is taking place right now.GC is the big meeting of the Episcopal Church in the US that happens every three years.Delegates and Bishops from every diocese gather to pray and worship.They discuss and vote on resolutions that inform our life and ministry as ECUSA.This year GC is in Austin, TX.I’d like to share some of Presiding Bishop Curry’s opening remarks to Convention. Curry talks about visiting the original Starbuck’s in Seattle and asking for a scone. The barista told him they do not serve food, they serve coffee.Then Bishop Curry remembered reading Howard Schultz’s book, Onward.In that book, Curry says, Schultz talks about a problem that took place when Starbuck’s was rapidly expanding stores and menus. “And he said when you go into a Starbucks, and first thing you smell is burning cheese, something is wrong! We’re in the coffee business! And you know what they did? They c…

**Sermon** 24 June 2018 "Strangers and Aliens"

I Samuel 17: (1a, 4-11, 19-23), 32-49 + Psalm 9:9-20 + II Corinthians 6:1-13 + Mark 4:35-41

A few weeks back I was in New York City with my family.While we were there, we took the ferry across to Ellis Island.For may of us, perhaps, Ellis Island is where our ancestors entered the United States.As an East Coaster, I know that is true for me. On Ellis Island I spent some time in the Great Hall.Here hopeful immigrants waited for their turn to enter the country.Around the Hall is a balcony.One of the rooms off of the balcony is still set up as it was then.There were rows of bunks, four high and side-by-side.Here the hopeful slept while they waited. This experience has me thinking and reflecting upon some current conversations.Lately we have been hearing a lot about “foreigners.”Usually, we take foreigners to mean those who come from other cultures.They have different customs and traditions from us.They may speak a different language.The Bible has much to say about foreigners. Leviticus, 19:34…

**SERMON** "SNAKES!!" 3-11-2018

Numbers 21:4-9 + Psalm 107:1-3, 17-22 + Ephesians 2:1-10 + John 3:14-21

“Snakes!Why does it always have to be snakes?” These words, of course, come from that daring adventurer, Dr. Indiana Jones.Going through a booby-trapped cavern– no problem!Taking a leap of faith across a giant chasm- piece of cake!Nothing can stop Indy . . . except for snakes!Indy speaks for many of us.An estimated 36% of Americans are afraid of snakes.I know I am!Noah could have left them off the Ark. So it is no wonder that a plague of poisonous snakes cause panic in the wilderness.A pit of snakes causes sheer terror in the Israelites’ camp.To put this scene in context a little bit, Israel is on their way to the Promise Land.Moses has led them out of Egypt to freedom.Then the whining begins: are we there yet? No, that is not really what they say.God’s people start to complain.Where is the food?What about water, we need water?With miles and miles of wilderness ahead, things take on a different perspective.Egypt begins…

**Sermon** "Spring Cleaning" 4 March 2018

The Rev’d Dawn-Victoria Mitchell + Trinity~St. Paul’s/Hannibal The Third Sunday in Lent B + 4 March 2018
Exodus 20:1-17 + Psalm 19 + I Corinthians 1:18-25 + John 2:13-22

I had the pleasure of going to the Holy Land twelve years ago.I was with, you may remember, with some pastors and their church members from Kansas City.We saw many sights during our 10 day trip.In Jerusalem we saw the Temple Mount and the Garden of Gethsemane.We also journeyed with Jesus as we walked the Via Delorosa, or the Way of the Cross. Just before we followed Jesus from His trial to the Crucifixion, our Guide gave us some important information.Chaim warned us that pick pockets target tourists on the Via Delorosa.He advised us to keep our bags in front of us, with our arms holding them close to our bodies.Men were encouraged to move their wallets to front pockets. I was taken aback by Chaim’s instructions.The Via is supposed to be a sacred place, a holy place.The presence of thieves in a place that should be about re…

A Holy Lent

II Kings 2:1-12 + Psalm 50:1-6 + II Corinthians 4:3-6 + Mark 9:2-9


Our Lenten journey is soon to start.  In a few days, we will hear again the ancient call to observe a holy Lent.             Normally when we think Lent, we think about giving something up.  We give up something we really enjoy as a way of helping us feel the depth and power of Jesus’ sacrifice on our behalf.  Coffee, chocolate, dessert, and meat on Fridays are the most popular things that are given up for Lent. However, I also like to think of Lent in terms of deepening my spiritual life.  So, I also like to take something on for Lent to help strengthen my relationship with God.  Now, this is by no means an exhaustive list.  I offer these ideas as a way to help get us started. Take part in the Good Book Club.  The Club starts today with reading Luke 1:1-56.  If we follow through, we’ll have read two whole books of the Bible over Lent and Easter.  As I have mentioned before, there are several different ways in which you a…

**SERMON** "Who is This?"

Deuteronomy 18:15-20 + Psalm 111 + I Corinthians 8:1-13 + Mark 1:21-28


Jesus’ power and authority amaze them.  Ancient cultures venerated the old and the wisdom that comes with experience.  Here is Jesus, about 30 years old.  He has not had any formal training beyond Hebrew school.  Yet, Jesus speaks with authority.  His words drip with knowledge and insight.  So, the people wonder, who is this?  Is this a prophet, like Moses? You see, shortly before his death, Moses promises that God’s people will not be abandoned.  God will raise up new leaders, new prophets, like Moses.  The prophets will be known for speaking God’s word to the people.  The role of these prophets will be to call God’s people back into relationship with God.  Of course, not all prophets will be true.  There will be false prophets.  So, it is no wonder the people wonder, “Who is this?” The answer comes in a most unlikely place . . . from one who should not even be there in the first place.  Mark tells us that the man is…