Wednesday, November 7, 2007

The View from Feather Falls

Hi! I'm on leave, visiting friends and family in California.
Here's my latest activities and news (updated as of Nov. 15).
Update (Nov. 30): Renegade Radio (see item 4 below).

It's been too long since I updated all of you on "what's going on" with the Resurrection Community, so here's another post before I return to Mississippi. In this post I'll be covering:
1: Camping at Lime Saddle;
2: Hiking and Camping at Feather Falls;
3: A Visit to Saint James Anglican in Newport Beach;
4. A Visit to ELM Community Church in Reno;
5. Caring for my Mom in Northern California;
6. The Hope for the Future in Gulf Coast Ministry; and
7. My Schedule for the Coming Weeks.

1: Camping at Lime Saddle:.
I've been visiting my sister in Paradise, California, high on a ridge above the Sacramento Valley, just a few miles north of Oroville. Not five miles from her house is a state campground called "Lime Saddle," perched on a bluff overlooking Lake Oroville. The weather was sunny and marvelous, with temperatures at night dropping into the low 50's. So... you know me... It's time to go camping! . I expected to see some wildlife (squirrels, birds, etc.), but I had not expected to see flocks of wild turkeys browsing in the fields and commuting from and to the lake each morning and evening. I camped here three nights (@ $13 per day) with my rented minicar under the spreading big (!) manzanita trees.

2: Hiking and Camping at Feather Falls:..
At 640 feet tall, Feather Falls is the fifth tallest waterfall in the United States. Without a fisheye lens, there's no way to get a photo of the entire falls in one shot. .. Here's the falls in three parts, taken from the overlook platform. Getting there requires some effort: the falls are some four to five miles from the parking lot at the trailhead. The water comes crashing down the cliff in great clumps of liquid, in an incessant, undulating roar. The splendid overlook platform clings to a rocky outcrop in the Feather River Wild River District, 650 feet directly above a branch of the river. .

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This should be called Tall Country, for I had the same vertical challenge when trying to take a picture of my campsite. These spruces and firs vault some 180 feet into the air, forming an aerial canopy that only allows an occasional shaft of sunlight to break through. A gentle semi-twilight pervades the atmosphere at ground level, where crickets chirp softly at mid-day. This is riparian forestland, where the ground never quite drys out and the trees feast on a constant supply of plenteous water. A brook babbling nearby made sleeping in my borrowed tent a restful treat.

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3. A Visit to Saint James Anglican in Newport Beach:
This church was my home for three years as I completed my Master's Degree at nearby Vanguard University. One of my advisers there was Fr. Richard Menees (at right), who is now the Vicar. I was there on October 10 to witness three ordinations overseen by Bishops John Guernsey and Evans Kisekka of the Anglican Church of Uganda. Those ordained were: 1) Cathie Young, Deacon, the very active discipleship pastor for St. James; 2) Brian Schulz, who now will serve as the Priest at Christ Church in Highland, CA, one of St. James' five church plants; and 3) Chuck McKinney, who goes back to serve as Priest in the vibrant new church of Flagstaff Anglican Fellowship in Arizona.

Before leaving Southern California, I was able to spend a relaxing Sunday afternoon exploring the Balboa Peninsula and Balboa Island with my daughter, Amber (at right) and her fiancé, "Turtle." We rode the ferry from Balboa Peninsula over to the Island and found a small and tasteful restaurant where we ate a small and tasty late lunch.

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4. A Visit to ELM Community Church in Reno:
In 2005 a job offer in South Lake Tahoe, California, led to my meeting Fr. Karry Crites (at right), the nearest ACN priest and the only one in Nevada. On October 21 I visited his independent, storefront church north of Reno, where a gracious congregation of 18 people warmly greeted me and encouraged me in my ministry. ELM Community Church holds the candle of Anglican orthodoxy for the state of Nevada.

Update: One of the things that lights a candle in Fr. Crites' eyes is talking about his work to support Renegade Radio. The antenna for this 50,000 watt youth-oriented broadcast service is on a remote roadless peak in an Indian reservation, running on wind and solar power. Fr. Crites talks of hiking up the mountain with backpacks to service the antenna site, sometimes in foul weather. It's also available on the web; click the link to give it a listen.
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5. Caring for my Mom in Northern California:
Back when I bought the airline tickets, I had planned to return to Mississippi October 20. But on October 1, My 92-year-old mother, Alma, fell and broke her elbow and bruised her hip, which she had broken two years previously. With my ministry in a dormant phase in Mississippi, I was able to extend my stay in California to help with Mom's recovery. I brought her back to her house from the rehab facility this past Tuesday, and I'm helping around the house as she recovers her strength. She's doing fine, and is determined to resume independent living in her new and spacious duplex in Paradise, CA.
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6. Hope for the Future of our Gulf Coast Ministry:
First, a quick update on the past: I've been working alongside God's Kitchen (formerly God's Katrina Kitchen) which has been on site in the Gulf Coast for over two years. I came in under Fr. James Giles (at right), of Church Army USA to help build a ministry to the homeless. The Kitchen was succesively forced out of the Gulf Coast towns of Pass Christian, Gulfport, and now Long Beach for the unforgivable crime of feeding the homeless.

For unrelated reasons (a lease expiration), as of September 30 the NoAH Project (housing myself and Van) left our "undisclosed location" in the Sanctuary leaving James scrambling to find us alternate housing. There are some 20 long-term volunteers for the Kitchen, some of whom have been working for up to two years without drawing a salary. The city of Long Beach has been increasing the pressure to have them vacate the church property where they are currently living. The message is clear: the political structures of the Mississippi Gulf Coast no longer want us there.

Now, the hope: Fr. Giles is working to close out an agreement to work alongside a ministry which is currently setting up shop in the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans. That ministry is similar to the Kitchen's, in that it services the groups of church volunteers that come south to help rebuild from the Hurricane. There is no area devastated by Katrina that is of greater need than the Lower Ninth Ward, and the resources available to that ministry are a good fit with those of the Kitchen; sort of like two pieces of a jigsaw puzzle that exactly fit together. Church Army's outreach to addicts and homeless looks as if it also could coexist well with the other ministries in this location, and the need for this ministry is great there.

Housing for the incoming church volunteer groups has been secured. The major hurdle remaining before joining forces with this group is housing for the 20-odd unpaid volunteers from the Kitchen. Specifically, we are seeking permission from the government authorities in New Orleans to move our travel trailers and motor homes to the Lower Ninth Ward. This permission is required so that electrical power poles can be requested from the utility services. That process is under way, and I solicit your prayers for favor from the political structures in New Orleans.
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7. My Schedule for the Coming Weeks:
My flight from the major metropolitan airport (not!) of Chico, California to Gulfport, Mississippi is booked for November 27-28. It routes through San Francisco, Portland (!), and Houston. One advantage (!) to my circuituous route is a five-hour layover in Portland, where I will be able to have dinner with my brother Roger, who lives on a floating house there on the Columbia River. Roger has been helpful to me in processing digital photographs for this blog. He might even take on the challenge to attempt to stitch together my snapshots of Feather Falls into one tall photograph of its entire 640-foot height.

On December 8, I will be travelling to Chickasaw, Alabama (near Mobile) for the consecration of Robert Henry as a bishop of the CEEC. His Walmart-sized church facilities there serve the black community of Mobile assisted by several of his satellite churches. I have attended his worship services there and brought the men in the NoAH program to the Saturday breakfast of their Men's Week, where we received a challenging message from Rev. Henry about our responsibilities as Christian men. My archbishop, Russ McClanahan will be the principal consecrator, while my bishop, Alan Morris will also be there along with James Giles.

James has cautioned the Kitchen's volunteers to have a backup plan in place, in case the New Orleans negotiations fall through. For those of us in Church Army, backup opportunities include a move to Church Army posts in St. Louis or Branson in Missouri. But Van (at right) and I both feel a call to ministry from New Orleans; we may look to other possibilities there if Ninth Ward is not an option. This may seem confusing to you; at times it seems confusing to us.

Please pray for us.

2 comments:

Kevin said...

Wow!!! Very beautiful photos of the Lord's creation!

Devona said...

Branson is a great place to go! There are plenty of retreats that go there and you can mingle and have fellowship while seeing the different Branson attractions!