July Journal: Fifth Sunday after Trinity

Our university chapel near UC Berkeley, St. Joseph’s, on the corner of Durant and Bowditch, is looking forward to hosting two weeks of our Anglican Province of Christ the King (APCK) Seminary Summer Session, beginning tomorrow. One of the students had already arrived and helped us out with this morning’s liturgy.

With the exaggerated pandemic scare, the annual residential summer session for this online program was cancelled, and we have not had a summer session since 2019, so it is with particular joy that we look forward to assembling in person once again.

While I don’t attend the classes due to other commitments, I try and go to the weekday noon Mass, open to the public at 12:15, as often as possible. To see the seminarians and deacons and priests and bishops sing the liturgy together is richly rewarding. Some of the students are testing their vocations and haven’t decided whether God is calling them to this form of discipleship. Some are middle aged, retired from secular careers. Some are young. But all enter the vaulted domed chapel knowing it is sacred ground.

We have a history with the chapel going back to 1974 when the first shovel entered the ground to build this unique church. 1976 is the date of the consecration to St. Joseph of Arimathea, the Apostle to England. Scripture tells us he is the rich man who gave his tomb for the body of Christ. He helped bury him. Legend tells us that he received the Holy Grail from Christ, the cup of the Last Supper before his death. As a tin merchant he traveled to the southern coast of France, worked his way up to the Channel and into the marshy coast of England. He planted his staff where he chose to evangelize, Glastonbury, and the staff flowered. There are other marvel-ous tales about St. Joseph, and today you can see the outline of a cathedral in the tall grasses.

 You can climb up to Glastonbury Tor and see the surrounding countryside. I wrote about Glastonbury and St. Joseph in my third novel of a pilgrimage trilogy, Inheritance (OakTara 2009). We have visited many times and been entranced with the sacredness of the place even today. The book cover is the view from the Tor.

And so our little chapel in Berkeley is an Anglican chapel seeking to evangelize the West all over again, since in many ways it has lost it’s compass. Speech is cancelled. Parents are branded terrorists. Churches are set on fire. Civil civilization seems a thing of the past, and now even the past is cancelled to create a new truth, a new “narrative,” an indoctrination of our young.

I have read and am told by a brave and honest pediatrician I respect that children are being torn from their families, programmed in woke schools, essentially setting the children against their parents. When the parents object the parents are branded domestic terrorists. She has offered her own expertise in testifying, should these parents go to court to defend their rights. She is Dr. Monique Robles and her recent post about being a medical expert witness can be found on her blog.

Our culture has reached a new low. As an early Baby Boomer (born 1947) I recall the riots in the Bay Area in the sixties. This is far worse. For the Woke have swallowed our institutions of freedom: free and fair elections, a free press, an honest academia, an impartial judiciary, equality under the law, respect for police and other enforcement, the teaching of the past to understand the present, particularly in terms of national history and pride in country, and borders defining our nation.

And so it was with a deep sigh of thankfulness that I listened this morning to our priest speak of St. Peter and how Our Lord formed him into a true and strong and faithful apostle, one that would bear the Great Commission (Go into all the lands…). We know it took some forming, this fisherman who was told to catch a different kind of fish. We know the stories of Peter, and there are many in Scripture, how Christ tested his faith and his stamina, again and again, until he was forged in the fire of God’s love. He had a big heart, and this heart became sanctified with this forging. Our seminary seeks to do the same, forging priests who can bear their times, teach to their times, sanctify their times, the age to which they are called. The chapel welcomes others as well, parishioners, worshipers of all ages, some students for a short time come to us, some local residents attend, yearning to touch the holy.

We are small in numbers compared with the mainline churches, but the smallness keeps us humble, and one could say, more intimate and endearing. We know we are needed, every one of us, in this great mission, this co-mission, to spread the net of love over our land and bring in souls to sanctify. For Peter did this, our priest said today, he spread his net of love, and the net keeps growing, held firmly by Our Lord and his people.

Welcome, St. Joseph of Arimathea Anglican Seminary! Welcome to St. Joseph’s Collegiate Chapel.

APCK Seminary Summer Session, July 18-29, 2022

Weekday liturgies open to the public: Morning Prayer, 9:00 a.m.; Noon Mass, 12:15 p.m.; Evensong, 5:15 p.m. All welcome.

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