Category Archives: Prayer

All Saints Church Reads: Book 1

Our first book is Worship, Community & the Triune God of Grace by James B. Torrance. We will be discussing the first two chapters together this Thursday at 7am in the Upper Room or at 7pm at my house (1 Hampshire Court, Durham.) It is a richly theological book that draws my heart to worship as I read. I pray that it deepens our understanding of God as a triune being and our astonishment and experience of the gospel of grace! It is a book about how our Triune God is at work drawing us into himself. “The Father has given to us the Son and the Spirit to draw us into a life of shared communion—of participating through the Spirit in the Son’s communion with the Father—that we might be drawn in love into the very Trinitarian life of God himself.” It is a deeply worshipful and pastoral book and one that has many echoes of Bishop Steve Breedlove’s sermon on Trinity Sunday just a few weeks ago. Join us tomorrow or at our next book club meeting on July 24th when we discuss the second half of the book.

May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen

Thomas Kortus

 trinity knot
Here is a short blogpost about the author and the book:

When the Rev Professor James B. Torrance died at the age of 80 in 2003, Christianity Today magazine chose to highlight three areas of his life of service – 1) he was Professor Emeritus of Systematic Theology at University of Aberdeen in Scotland, 2) he was known as a mentor to other Christian leaders, and 3) he wrote “Worship, Community, and the Triune God of Grace” (IVP, 1997).

He had also been a family man and a pastor, and whether serving in pastoral ministry, teaching theology, writing, or in mentoring others, Torrance was keen on worship and on discussing in simple but profound language the relationship of grace and the continuing priesthood of Jesus in Trinitarian worship.

It is interesting to note that “Worship, Community, and the Triune God of Grace” [WCTGG] contains a mere 130 pages, and yet it has gained wide influence in denominations around the globe, as in it Torrance offers a brief but profound discussion of prayer and worship that is Christ-centered, incarnational and Trinitarian. The book is an expanded form of lectures on the theology of worship he gave in Manchester in 1994, and is also from articles he wrote or lectures he gave in different countries in the 70’s and 80’s. It has been pointed out that these themes have struck more of a chord in the last decade or so than they did in some theological circles in the earlier years. With this easy-to-read book Torrance is still helping “mentor” those of us serving in ministries today. Here are some excepts from WCTGG:

There is no more urgent need in our churches today than to recover the Trinitarian nature of grace—that it is by grace alone, through the gift of Jesus Christ in the Spirit that we can enter into and live a life of communion with God our Father.

Worship is the gift of participating through the Spirit in the incarnate Son’s communion with the Father.

The Father has given to us the Son and the Spirit to draw us into a life of shared communion—of participating through the Spirit in the Son’s communion with the Father—that we might be drawn in love into the very Trinitarian life of God himself.

Whatever else our faith is, it is a response to a response already made for us and continually being made for us in Christ, the pioneer of our faith.

In worship we offer ourselves to the Father ‘in the name of Christ’ because he has already in our name made the one true offering to the Father, the offering by which he has sanctified for all time those who come to God by him (Heb 10:10, 14) and because he ever lives to intercede for us in our name.

(Trinitarian worship) means participating in union with Christ, in what he has done for us once and for all, in his self-offering to the Father, in his life and death on the cross. It also means participating in what he is continuing to do for us in the presence of the Father and in his mission from the Father to the world. When we see that ….. (and) that the unique center of the Bible is Jesus Christ, ‘the apostle and high priest whom we confess [Heb 3:1], then the doctrines of the Trinity, the incarnation, the atonement, the ministry of the Spirit, Church and sacraments, our understanding of the kingdom….all unfold from that center.

We are baptized in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit into the community, the one body of Christ, which confesses faith the in the one God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and which worships the Father through the Son in the Spirit. We are baptized into a life of communion. The Christian doctrine of the Trinity is the grammar of this participatory understanding of worship and prayer.

(We need to) return to the ‘forgotten Trinity’ – to an understanding of the Holy Spirit, who delivers us from a narcissistic preoccupation with the self to find our true being in loving communion with God and one another—to hear God’s call to us, in our day, to participate through the Spirit in Christ’s communion with the Father and his mission from the Father to the world—to create in our day a new humanity of persons who find true fulfillment in other-centered communion and service in the kingdom of God.

The first real step on the road to prayer is to recognize that none of us knows how to pray as we ought to. But as we bring our desires to God, we find that we have someone who is praying for us, with us, and in us. Thereby he teaches us to pray and motivate us to pray and to pray in peace to the Lord. Jesus takes our prayers—our feeble, selfish, inarticulate prayers—he cleanses them, makes them his prayers, and in a ‘wonderful exchange’ he makes his prayers our prayers and presents us to the Father as his dear children, crying ‘Abba Father’.

This blog post appeares on Trinitarian Worship:

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Pray for those affected by the tornadoes this past weekend

Please join us in praying for the victims and families affected by the tornadoes in Oklahoma and Kansas. Please also lift up the first responders.

“O merciful Father, who hast taught us in thy holy Word that thou dost not willingly afflict or grieve the children of men: Look with pity upon the sorrows of thy servants for whom our prayers are offered. Remember them, O Lord, in mercy, nourish their souls with patience, comfort them with a sense of thy goodness, lift up thy countenance upon them, and give them peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”

OK Tornado


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Collect for Holy Thursday

Almighty Father, whose dear Son, on the night before he suffered, instituted the Sacrament of his Body and Blood: Mercifully grant that we may receive it thankfully in remembrance of Jesus Christ our Lord, who in these holy mysteries gives us a pledge of eternal life; and who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

last supper icon

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Collect for Tuesday in Holy Week

O God, by the passion of your blessed Son you made an
instrument of shameful death to be for us the means of life:
Grant us so to glory in the cross of Christ, that we may gladly
suffer shame and loss for the sake of your Son our Savior
Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy
Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Georges Rouault -Crucifixion

Georges Rouault -Crucifixion

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Collect for Monday of Holy Week

Almighty God, whose dear Son went not up to joy but
first he suffered pain, and entered not into glory before he
was crucified: Mercifully grant that we, walking in the way
of the cross, may find it none other that the way of life and
peace; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives
and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever
and ever. Amen.


Jean Marchand Woodcut - LAYING JESUS IN THE TOMB

Jean Marchand Woodcut – LAYING JESUS IN THE TOMB

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This past Sunday afternoon our 242 group gathered and discussed the discipline of fasting. This was an intentional topic decision in light of the fact that Lent begins in two days. The traditional practices of Lent are threefold: prayer, fasting, and almsgiving.  We have much to learn about fasting. I pray that this Lent you seek the Spirit’s leading to know how you are being invited to intentionally practice the three historic  Lenten disciplines. I also encourage you to seek out a trusted friend or spiritual director to share your plans with. It is easy to bite off more thn we can chew when it comes to fasting and other disciples… Yes – the pun was intentional. 🙂

Here is a short exhortation written by the former Metropolitan of the Greek Orthodox Church:

Fasting, in our days, has become one of the most neglected spiritual values. Because of misunderstandings regarding the nature of fasting, because of confused and reversed priorities in its use, many of today’s Orthodox Christians fast very little, or disregard fasting altogether.

The Great and Holy Council of the Orthodox Church which is scheduled to be convened in the near future has placed the problem of fasting as one of the first items on its agenda. It is hoped that through this Council the age-old practice of the Church to use fasting as one of the important means of spiritual growth will regain its proper place in the life of the Church.

Fasting was practiced by the Lord Himself. After prayer and fasting for forty days in the wilderness, the Lord victoriously faced the temptations of the devil (Matthew 4:1-­11). The Lord himself asked the disciples to usefasting as an important spiritual weapon to achieve spiritual victories (Matthew 17:21; Mark 9:29; Luke 2:37). The example of the Lord was followed by His disciples (Acts 14:23; 27:9; 1 Corinthians 7:5; 2 Corinthians 6:5, 11:27, etc.). What is fasting? Why is it so important? Why does fasting precede such important feasts such as Easter and Christmas?

The importance of fasting depends on its meaning. Many of the Fathers have written on fasting. Among others, St. Basil has left us with most inspired comments on fasting. St. Basil tells us that fasting is not abstaining from food only; it is first of all, abstaining from sin.  Grounded in the teaching of the Fathers, the Church in its hymnology describes fasting as the mother of chastity and prudence, as the accuser of sin and as the advocate of repentance, the life worthy of angels and the salvation of humans (The Lenten Triodion, trans. Kallistos Ware, London 1978, p. 195). Fasting becomes all of these when observed in the proper spirit.

First of all, fasting is abstinence from food. By detaching us from earthly goods and realities, fasting has a liberating effect on us and makes us worthy of the life of the spirit, a life similar to that of angels. Second, fasting, as abstinence from bad habits and sin, is the mother of Christian virtues, the mother of sound and wholesome thinking; it allows us to establish the proper priority between the material and spiritual, giving priority to the spiritual.

Fasting is the advocate of repentance. Adam and Eve disobeyed God; they refused to fast from the forbidden fruit. They became slaves of their own desires. But now through fasting, through obedience to the rules of the Church regarding the use of spiritual and material goods, we may return to the life in Paradise, a life of communion with God. Thus, fasting is a means of salvation, this salvation being a life we live in accordance with the Divine will, in communion with God.

Because of the liberating effect of fasting, both material and spiritual, the Church has connected fasting with the celebration of the major feasts of our tradition. Easter is, of course, our main feast. It is the “feast of feasts.” It is the feast of our liberation from the bondage of sin, from corrupted nature, from death.   For on that day, through His Resurrection from the dead, Christ has raised us “from death to life, and from earth to heaven” (Resurrection Canon), Christ, “our new Passover,” has taken us away from the land of slavery, sin and death, to the promised land of freedom, bliss and glory; from our sinful condition to resurrected life.

It is most appropriate to prepare for this celebration through a liberating fast, both material and spiritual. This is the profound meaning that fasting takes during the Great Lent. Let us allow ourselves to take advantage of the spiritual riches of the Church. Let us use the precious messianic gifts offered to us through its sacramental life, through its celebrations of the central mysteries of our salvation in Christ. Let us use the spiritual weapons,

“to fight the good fight, to walk the way of fasting, to crush the heads of the invisible dragons, to prove ourselves victorious over sin, and without condemnation to reach our goal of worshiping the Holy Resurrection” (Prayer of the Presanctified Liturgy).

This is the challenge of the Great Lent: to use fasting to obtain the resurrected life, to unite with the Risen Lord. Who could refuse to accept this challenge?

His Eminence Metropolitan Maximos of Pittsburgh



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Living Epistle: Andrea C

In the novel The Brothers Karamazov, there’s a scene where a very self-centered character, Mrs. Khokalov, asks a very saintly character for advice about loving other people.  She says that there are moments when she loves mankind so much that she thinks about giving up everything, abandoning her invalid teenager, and running off to kiss the sores of the suffering.  And the elder Zossima replies, “It is good that you should think of these things rather than others…but it would be very nice if you actually performed some good deed.”

Well, if you live with children, maybe you find as I do that one thing you never run out of is obvious opportunities to perform some very tangible good deed for someone else. And every time you do, you are in fact working toward an ideal of immense power and beauty—the Christian ideal of living a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself for us. happy family pic

Please be warned: high ideals ahead.  Low level of attainment of these ideals by the person talking about them.  Nevertheless.  Many people in this world live lives of alienation.  Alienated from God; from other people; from nature; from so many of the good gifts of this life.  But in a home where Christ is present by his Spirit, he himself can replace alienation with peace.  And so our home, and any home, can be a place of real life—of laughter and singing, prayer and praise and God’s word.  It can be a place where people matter—where the poor matter—not a place of luxury that’s bursting with stuff.  It can be a place where people who think Christians are weird are welcome to come in and join our fun, and see up close how weird we really are.

And my husband and I are cherishing an ideal for the childhood of these little people entrusted to our care, that we could give them enough of what’s true and beautiful and good while they live with us to nurture them and strengthen them for their lives ahead—and we hope that in later life whenever they come near a place of alienation, they’ll be homesick for what is true and good, for hope and charity, and in fact for Christ. 19th-century educator Charlotte Mason wrote, “Let us save Christianity for our children by bringing them into allegiance to Christ, the King. How? How did the old Cavaliers bring up sons and daughters, in passionate loyalty and reverence for not too worthy princes? Their own hearts were full of it; their lips spake it; their acts proclaimed it; the style of their clothes, the ring of their voices, the carriage of their heads––all was one proclamation of boundless devotion to their king and his cause. …  If a Stuart prince could command such measure of loyalty, what shall we say of ‘the Chief amongst ten thousand, the altogether lovely’?”

But what about bad days?  My sister had a good “bad day” story recently.  She was doing laundry, lovingly sorting and folding so that her two little girls would have clean clothes to wear, and she had stacks of folded clothes all over the living room.  And she asked her normally extremely sweet 3-year-old to take her own little stack of pajamas into her bedroom.  And her 3-year-old looked at her and said, “I’m not helping you clean up your mess!”

I have plenty of bad-day stories of my own, but mine aren’t funny, at least not to me!  But what about really bad days, that truly aren’t funny, or seasons when it seems like our high ideals are nothing but a reproach to us?  What about circumstances that range from imperfect to really very difficult—and imperfect people trying to walk by faith in those circumstances?  I think at those times, but equally at times when we think we’re doing pretty well, thank God that he loves our children, and our neighbors, and this world a lot more than we do.  As parents, we’re called to be letters from Christ to our children, but he’s the one who works in their hearts.  We actually don’t have access.  And he truly does bless our meager efforts, because it’s his letter.  I hope you’ll be as blessed as I’ve ben by the end of the elder Zossima’s words to that self-centered inquirer who wanted to learn to walk in love.

“Never be afraid of your petty selfishness when you try to achieve love, and don’t be too alarmed if you act badly on occasion.  A true act of love, unlike imaginary love, is hard and forbidding.  Imaginary love yearns for an immediate heroic act that is achieved quickly and is seen by everyone.  A true act of love, on the other hand, requires hard work and patience, and, for some, it is a whole way of life.  But I predict that at the very moment when you see despairingly that, despite all your efforts, you have not only failed to come closer to your goal but, indeed, seem even farther from it than ever—at that moment, you will have achieved your goal and will recognize the miraculous power of our Lord, who has always loved you and has secretly guided you all along.”

This reflection was originally shared by Andrea C on Sunday, January 27th at All Saints Church as part of our Living Epistle Series.

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An Important Announcement for our Church Family


Please pray for our Pastor, the Rt. Rev. Terrell Glenn and his family, as they mourn the loss of his mother, Louise Owens Glenn who passed away yesterday morning.

Grant, O Lord, to all who are bereaved the spirit of faith and courage, that they may have strength to meet the days to come with steadfastness and patience; not sorrowing as those without hope, but in thankful remembrance of your great goodness, and in the joyful expectation of eternal life with those they love.  And this we ask in the Name of Jesus Christ our Savior. Amen.

Louise Owens Glenn COLUMBIA – Louise Owens Glenn, widow of Terrell Lyles Glenn, Sr., died January 19, 2013 in Columbia, South Carolina. Mrs. Glenn was born May 7, 1933 in Columbia, South Carolina, the youngest daughter of former Columbia Mayor and State Senator Dr. Francis Capers Owens and Ida Hand Owens. She was proud of having attended A.C. Moore Elementary where she joined her two sisters in being named May Queen. She also attended Hand Junior High School. Mrs. Glenn graduated from Columbia High School in the class of 1951 having been voted Most Studious and Most Dependable, two traits she continued to exhibit in all of her endeavors for her entire life. In 1955 Mrs. Glenn graduated cum laude with a B.S. in Business from the University of South Carolina. She was an active Carolina undergraduate, serving as president of the Beta Zeta chapter of Kappa Delta Sorority and Managing Editor of the Garnet and Black, among numerous other activities. Mrs. Glenn delighted in recalling many happy and humorous memories from her years at USC. In recent years she was elected and served on the University’s Alumni Board of Advisors and she remained an avid Gamecock fan, attending most home football and basketball games as long as her health allowed. A lifelong, active, and devoted member of Trinity Cathedral, Mrs. Glenn served in many capacities including the Altar Guild, Daughters of the Holy Cross, Chair of the Trinity Bazaar, and as a member of the Vestry. Mrs. Glenn was also committed to the betterment of Columbia. For decades she was an active member of the Junior League of Columbia, including having served as its President in 1970-71. She participated in many community efforts focused upon the improvement of Columbia’s public schools. In addition, she was a constant presence with her husband in their pursuit to elevate appreciation for the arts and the quality of life for others, regardless of their station in life. Despite the many hours she dedicated to her church and community she also found time to engage in the lives of her children as Cub Scout den mother, home room mother, carpool driver and enthusiastic spectator for the countless athletics events, choir practices, plays, recitals, and concerts in which her children were involved. For most of her life as wife and mother, she was the first to rise and the last to sleep, making sure the needs of her family were all met before she rested. In her earlier years Mrs. Glenn was employed by Somerset’s in Five Points and in more recent years she enjoyed working at Non(e)Such on Devine Street. Mrs. Glenn’s family and friends will remember her as loyal and devoted to those she loved, as well as a lady who was always diligent, dependable, and honest. She observed impeccable attention to detail and was a valued member of any team or committee of which she was a part. Her home cooked meals were a delight to all who enjoyed them and she was especially known for her artichoke relish, chutney, and home baked cinnamon raisin bread. She loved music and loved to dance, even until her final days. Mrs. Glenn is survived by her children and their spouses who include John Lyles Glenn, IV and his wife Melanie MacMillan Glenn of Columbia; Terrell Lyles Glenn, Jr. and his wife Teresa deBorde Glenn of Durham, N.C.; Rebecca Glenn Long and her husband Stuart McKenzie Long, Sr. of Mount Pleasant, S.C.; and, Louise Glenn Ballard and her husband Michael Douglas Ballard of Mount Pleasant, S.C. Mrs. Glenn is also survived by seven grandchildren, including Frances Owens Glenn, Hunter MacMillan Glenn, Terrell Lyles Glenn, III, Ellison Capers Glenn, Cecilia deBorde Glenn, Sarah Lyles Long, Stuart McKenzie Long, Jr, Chalmers Glenn Ballard, Michael Douglas Ballard, Jr, and William Capers Ballard. In addition to her parents and husband, Mrs. Glenn was predeceased by her sisters, Frances Owens Turner and Vivian Owens Wilson. Mrs. Glenn’s family is grateful for the devoted care and friendship offered to their mother for more than 40 years from Dianna Corbett, as well as in her final years from Oneida Allen and the staffs of Still Hopes and Palmetto Health Hospice. A funeral service will be held at Trinity Cathedral on Wednesday, January 23, 2013 at1:00 pm. Burial will follow in the Trinity Churchyard. The family will receive friends on Tuesday, from 4 pm to 6 pm at 1428 Heatherwood Road in Columbia. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to: The Frank C. Owens Scholarship at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine, c/o USC Educational Foundation, 1600 Hampton Street, Columbia, SC 29208; or, the Trinity Cathedral Foundation, 1100 Sumter Street, Columbia, SC, 29201.

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Please pray for Denise Stillwell and her family

Please pray for Denise Stillwell and her family.  Denise is having her ileostomy reversed tomorrow morning.  She will remain in the hospital until her colon “wakes up” and her digestive system begins to function properly, so she could be there for as long as a week after the procedure.  Please pray that Denise and Andrew will be at peace about the procedure, that the surgery will go well and that there will be no complications.  Please pray for all the doctors and nurses who will be caring for Denise.  Please pray that her digestive system will begin functioning quickly and with a minimum of distress for Denise.  And please pray that the Lord with guard their whole family’s hearts with his loving presence.

Can you help provide meals to the Stillwell family as Denise recovers? See the message below: 

Dear Friends,

Denise Stillwell will be having surgery this Friday, November 9 and will be hospitalized for 4-7 days as part of her on-going battle with cancer.  We can help them during this time by providing meals for her family.  Please use the link below to signup for a day to provide dinner.  She mentioned that her boys have just learned that they really like Tilapia.  Thank you for your loving support for this family and please continue praying for God’s presence and comfort for them. Let me know if you have any questions.

Liz Harbaugh

919-380-7108 (home)   901-413-5547 (cell)




The HELPER logon is used by family and friends  that would like to sign-up to help a loved one.

To access Denise & Andrew Stillwell’s personal CareCalendar site,  visit and enter  the following information in the appropriate spaces:

CALENDAR ID      :  114716


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All Hallow’s Eve; A Sonnet of reclamation

I am reposting from Malcolm Guite’s blog which I follow thanks to David Taylor. Click here to visit.

All Hallow’s Eve; A Sonnet of reclamation  

The dark is bright with quiet lives and steady lights undimmed


Even here in England, where the tradition is less strong, Hallowe’en seems to be creeping up on Christmas in the crass comercialism stakes! Halloween itself simply means the eve of all Hallows, and All Hallows is the Christian feast of All Souls, the day we remember all the souls who have gone before us into the light of Heaven. It is followed immediately on November 2nd by All Saints Day a day when we think particularly of those souls in bliss who, even in this life, kindled a light for us, or to speak more exactly, reflected for us and to us, the already-kindled light of Christ! It is good that we should have a season of the year for remembrance and a time when we feel that the veil between time and eternity is thin and we can sense that greater and wider communion of saints to which we belong. It is also good and right that the Church settled this feast on a time in the turning of the year when the pre-Christian Celtic religions were accustomed to think of and make offerings for the dead. But it was right that, though they kept the day, they changed the custom. The greatest and only offering, to redeem both the living and the dead, has been made by Christ and if we want to celebrate our loving connections we need only now make gifts to the living, as we do in offering sweets to the ‘trick or treaters’ in this season, and far more profoundly in exchanging gifts at Christmas.

Anyway given that both these seasons of hospitality and exchange have been so wrenched from their first purpose in order to sell tinsel and sweeties, I thought I might redress the balance a little and reclaim this season with a sonnet for All Souls/All Saints that remembers the light that shines in darkness, who first kindled it, and how we can all reflect it.

I am posting this sonnet now as some churches who keep the feast a little earlier, on this coming Sunday, the 28th, may wish to make use of sonnet. Do feel free to print the words or use the recording.

The image which follows this poem, and takes up one of its key lines, is byMargot Krebs Neale. As always you can hear the poem by clicking on the ‘play’ button if it appears, or on the title.

All these sonnets are being published together this December by Canterbury Press in a book called Sounding the Seasons, which will be launched at St. Edward’s Church Cambridge on December 5th at 7:30pm.


All Saints

Though Satan breaks our dark glass into shards

Each shard still shines with Christ’s reflected light,

It glances from the eyes, kindles the words

Of all his unknown saints. The dark is bright

With quiet lives and steady lights undimmed,

The witness of the ones we shunned and shamed.

Plain in our sight and far beyond our seeing

He weaves them with us in the web of being

They stand beside us even as we grieve,

The lone and left behind whom no one claimed,

Unnumbered multitudes, he lifts above

The shadow of the gibbet and the grave,

To triumph where all saints are known and named;

The gathered glories of His wounded love.

‘Each shard still shines’ image by Margot Krebs Neale


About malcolm guite

Malcolm Guite is a poet and singer-songwriter living in Cambridge. He is a priest, chaplain, teacher and author of various essays and articles and a book about contemporary Christianity. He also plays in Cambridge rock band Mystery Train, and lectures widely in England and USA on poetry and theology.


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