Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Bishop Pat Bell Visits St. Andrew/Peace

Bishop Pat visited Burns for a Diocesan Council meeting April 28 and 29. St. Andrew Peace Church gave him a potluck that Saturday night and Sunday he celebrated Eucharist with Pastor Matt Littau. In the photo he's giving the sermon for the day.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Palm Sunday 2017 at St. Andrew/Peace

Pastor Matt celebrates Eucharist with Chris Stott assisting, Marjorie Thelen playing piano.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Bishop Nedi Says Goodbye

Farewell Blessings!
My Dearest Brothers & Sisters, 

     These last few weeks have been a whirlwind. Instead of trying to capture it all, let me just reflect on a few highlights. After my long drive to Ohio to clear out my office, I flew back the next day to celebrate the Triduum with the folks of St Matthew's, Ontario. We had a holy time, and they were good sports as I sang new songs in my sermons and they sang right along with me. I suspect that is a theme of my time in EDEO -- we have sung new songs!
   Then I was back in Cove to begin preparations for Patrick's Ordination and Consecration in earnest. Pulling and weaving all those threads involves so many people. The Transition Team, Patrick and I were busy sending emails back and forth for over two weeks.  Kudos especially to Kathy Macek who brought her calm wisdom, liturgical smarts and helped me through the numerous formatting issues. In the meantime there have been wonderful farewell events and presents including a lovely day in Imnaha with Arnold and Jean Coe. I'm so glad we finally made it up there . . . even if I was about five years late. 
     Bright Sunday I was at St Luke's, Lakeview. Rich Landrith had retired Easter Sunday and so we had a long conversation about the future. A hopeful group of folks stepped up to the plate to help lead worship for the near future. Who knows what God has in store for them? Please keep them in your prayers.
     The following Saturday we celebrated renewed ministry at, and welcomed Charlotte Wells to, Church of the Redeemer in Pendleton. Like Lakeview, I never know what pretty tables await us there.  I was thrilled that so many clergy and laity came from other  
congregations to welcome Charlotte and celebrate with Redeemer. It was a terrific day.
     My final visitation was at St Thomas', Canyon City. Saturday we toured the area to see what has happened since the fire last summer followed by a wonderful supper which included elk stew (which I won't get much of in Ohio) followed by a lively game of  Jokers
     Beth had told me there were two confirmations, but that message went completely out of my head until Susan Church greeted me at the Peace and asked about them! It was a wonky liturgy and one that 
brought tears to my eyes as Jim Spell and Dennis Reynolds surprised me by coming forward to be confirmed! We also dedicated a beautiful new banner made by Diane Adams Higbie . . . you might notice the inspiration for it at the top of the pic of me with confirmands and their sponsors
     That afternoon I drove to The Dalles to deliver the liturgy to the printer and to say goodbye to Ed and Patti Browning on Monday. It was a gorgeous day for a  
drive and Hood River was showing off all her beauty to me that day too. Later that afternoon I drove to Bend and I'm here meeting with folks, awaiting the Presiding Bishop and his spouse, my own spouse and the celebrations this weekend. Hard to believe we're here already . . .  after seven plus years. (How did thathappen?!)

     It has been a long and beautiful run. I remember the day I first met the EDEO Standing Committee. We laughed and talked and shared dreams about what the Church (and a diocese in particular) were called to be. They honored me with a call and we celebrated that call together at Cove High School with amazing lilacs and fabulous music and a 'great crowd of witnesses' followed by good camp food and fun at Ascension School.    
      I have loved sharing ministry with you: with Diocesan Council, Standing Committee, Commission on Ministry, special committees and new Commissions. I'll always remember Council Retreats which were real retreats, and the times when we shared space with the diocesan youth -- who would always beat us at Hoopla! 
           We have celebrated life, death, Baptism, Eucharist, Confirmation, ordinations and weddings together. We have studied Scripture and become more and more a Missional Church: from tallying hours of ministry to beginning new ministries in our communities, from serving local community meals to serving in Haiti, from new ministries by the laity to new clergy in EDEO. We have prayed and prayed. We have 
rejoiced and cried. We have created cool stuff and learned about God in surprising ways. It's been quite a journey.
     I remember miles and miles across Eastern Oregon: gorgeous mountains, stunning buttes, rainbows and double rainbows, living waters, burnt forests, snow on Highway 97 that stopped me in my tracks, pouring rain on Cabbage Hill, and naps in rest areas along the way. 
     I have eaten good food, sung fun music, played games, hiked on mountains and in canyons, seen wildflowers, prayed in hospitals, sick rooms, cemeteries, been a camper, and worshiped with terrific congregations. 
     There were loving and wonderful Thanksgiving 
celebrations, camps and conferences, time for long conversations, swimming, Contra dancing, creative worship, and an amazing revival.
     There were low points too: times when I blew it, when instead of healing I brought brokenness, instead of wisdom I acted wrongly or stupidly, times when I was late or a no-show, or needed to change my schedule in a way that didn't really work for you. I remember those times too,  
when I let you and myself and God down. For each and all of them, I ask your forgiveness. 
     Finally, let me say something about Diane, Tiiu, Makenzie, Jerry, Lisa and Patty. No one could ask for better co-workers. They are rock stars -- working always above and beyond the call of duty, giving time, energy, faith, love and hope. 
They (with you) have taught me to be a bishop and have stood by me and by EDEO -- bringing God's love into everything you do . . . and thus everything we do. 
     It has been a marvelous adventure. I will miss you. You have been means of Grace. I love you. Thank you for calling me, for the times we have shared and for loving
me. Thank you with all my heart.  I will keep you in my prayers. Come and see us when you are in Ohio. We have a roomy guest room.
     I know Patrick will love you too, will challenge you in new ways and be a holy companion on the next leg of your journey. May you receive a double portion of the many, many blessings you have given me in abundance, my dear friends.
      God be with you as you move forward with new hopes and new possibilities.


PS We  have just come back to our room after the Friday night party. I feel known and loved, graced and surrounded by the Spirit. Thank you for a wonderful evening, for fabulous gifts, for precious memories. I will open your cards and read your notes one at a time . . . one a day to appreciate them over the next few weeks as I adjust to my new life and new schedule . . . or lack thereof. Blessings always.
Scottish Blessing
May the blessing of light be on you- light without and light within.
May the blessed sunlight shine on you like a great peat fire,
so that stranger and friend may come and warm himself at it.
And may light shine out of the two eyes of you, 
like a candle set in the window of a house, 
bidding the wanderer come in out of the storm.
And may the blessing of the rain be on you, 
may it beat upon your Spirit and wash it fair and clean,
and leave there a shining pool where the blue of Heaven shines,
and sometimes a star. 
And may the blessing of the earth be on you, 
soft under your feet as you pass along the roads, 
soft under you as you lie out on it, tired at the end of day;
and may it rest easy over you when, at last, you lie out under it.
May it rest so lightly over you that your soul may be out from under it quickly; up and off and on its way to God. 
And now may the Lord bless you, and bless you kindly. Amen.

From Celtic Blessings & Prayers byJohn Birch, Kidwelly, Wales 
Used with permission.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Church of the Living Water Celebrates Christmas

Church of the Living Waters on the Paiute Reservation celebrated Christmas Eve with a special original play about Native Americans and the birth of Jesus.  The play was written by Judy Littau and performed by the Paiute children.  Pastor Matt Littau, ELCA, led the service and on the guitar accompanied the children when they sang the song "And the Angels Cried".  Church of the Living Water holds regular service every Sunday at 12:30. All are welcome.  For more information, call Pastor Littau at 541-573-1184.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Patrick Bell Bishop Elect

PENDLETON – Fr. Patrick Bell was elected the seventh bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Eastern Oregon Saturday, Dec. 12 at Church of the Redeemer, Pendleton.
Kim McClain, president of the diocese’s standing committee, said Bell was one of three finalists from a pool of 16 applicants. A search committee narrowed the field down to three candidates.
McClain said, “All of the candidates had Eastern Oregon roots and experience and all were so well qualified. We would have done well with any one of the three.”
McClain said Bell’s background lends itself to his new position – he is a seventh generation Eastern Washingtonian, hailing from a long farming tradition, and his first Episcopal parish was in Ontario, Ore. 
“Fr. Bell understands rural life in the Pacific Northwest. We think he will make a really good bishop,” McClain said.
Bell said he was raised Episcopalian and attended Whitworth College, a Presbyterian school in Spokane. As a young adult, his faith turned toward Evangelical Christianity. He received a Master’s of Arts in Theology from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, Cali. and served as a Pentecostal minister. In time, he said, he returned to the Episcopal Church.
“I realized I wasn’t a fundamentalist,” Bell said.
Wanting to continue his ministry, Bell did his Anglican studies work at Seminary of the Southwest in Austin, Texas and completed coursework for a doctorate of Ministry from Seabury-Western Theological Seminary in Evanston, Ill. He was ordained priest by Bishop Rustin Kimsey and installed at St. Matthew’s Ontario in 1989. He said his experience with different spiritual paths is one of the strengths he brings to his new position.
“It broadened my spiritual understanding and my ability to work with Evangelical Christians – I have a deep appreciation for what they believe,” Bell said.
He said his vision for the diocese is to reinforce people’s confidence that they are loved.
“The diocese is a stunning model to the Church and the world. In a sparse landscape we find the exact opposite in our communities,” Bell said.
The bishopric of Eastern Oregon is a half-time position; Bell said he will be in the diocese two weeks a month and maintain his residence in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho.
The diocesan moved to Cove from The Dalles in Oct. 2013. Bell said he would keep the offices at Ascension School.
“I really want to have more opportunities bringing the clergy together and Ascension has the space and the housing to do that,” Bell said.
Bell said another advantage of keeping the headquarters at Ascension is that the camp and conference center have a technological infrastructure that allows for phone and video conferencing.
Besides the convenience of Ascension’s facilities, Bell said the campus is representative of the Diocese of Eastern Oregon.
“If there is a place that becomes the center of the diocese, Ascension School is that. Bishop Kimsey thought we shouldn’t have a cathedral; it draws away from who we are. With the chapel as our “cathedral” it brings us back to our very rich western tradition,” Bell said.
Bell will be consecrated April 16. McClain said the site has not yet been determined.  For information please contact Eastern Oregon’s diocesan office at 541-568-4514, ext. 1, or email diocese@episdioeo.org .

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Bishops Curry's Installation

Margaret, Queen of Scotland, 16 November 2015
Beloved Brothers & Sisters,   
    I hope you were able to watch the webcast of Bishop Curry's Installation as the 27th Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church. It was an exciting weekend. EDEO was well represented with Janet Warner, Helen Keefe and Patty Olson Lindsey also attending. I arrived Friday afternoon and did a little sightseeing before I joined Patty and a friend of mine (who works for the ELCA) for Patty's birthday dinner -- at one of Bon Appetit's 10 Best Restaurants of 2014. John told us we'd love it and we did. It was an amazing evening of creative dishes (including a fantastic sweet potato ice cream with toasted marshmallow garnish) served with graciousness and generosity. And it wasn't expensive!
     Saturday morning I left my hotel in the dark just before dawn so I could tour the White House. I had been told that I was asking my Representative way too late to get tickets, but I asked anyway and he came through! It's such a beautiful place and the stories, photos, art, history and conversations with the Secret Service folks who work there are all thrilling. 
     Later that morning I made my way to the Armory where the Union of Black Episcopalians was hosting a Prayer Vigil in anticipation of Sunday's Installation. The music was soul stirring, the sermon was energizing, the presentations were touching. The photo is of the bishops of African Descent, plus a few Indians--both American and Asian--who are honorary members of that group. This was a milestone event for them!
     The Installation on Sunday was spectacular. It showcased the diversity of our church, celebrated the love of God, called us to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ and helped us remember how much we love one another. As you know, Bishop Curry's proclaimed the Good News and challenge us to follow Jesus more nearly. The music was over the top and it was fun to watch PB's #26 and #27 asperge (sprinkle) the congregation. The joy in the cathedral was palpable. The pivotal point in this service happens when the outgoing Presiding Bishop hands over the Metropolitan Staff to the new Presiding Bishop. It started as a formal exchange. Then Bishop Curry reached out and the two of them embraced. I had been a little teary already but this moment filled my heart with so much love and joy- both theirs for one another and mine for both of them--that the tears just poured out. I think we were there for nearly three hours, but I hated having it end. It was indeed a little glimpse into heaven.
     Monday morning I toured a little more. I started at the National Cathedral where I saw these stones that had been loosened and then removed because of the earthquake damage. Makes me think of this Sunday's gospel from Mark 13. 
     I'd never been to the Martin Luther King, Jr Memorial, nor the Jefferson Memorial, nor the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial and I hadn't even heard of George Mason -- although I was happy to sit with him for a few minutes while I rested my feet. Each of these memorials reminds me of who we as a nation are truly called to be. They are holy places reminding us of holy men (and women--Eleanor Roosevelt is memorialized in the FDR memorial too.) Then it was time to getback on the road. 
     That evening I flew to Pasco and drove to Cove the next morning where Lisa and I caught up on paperwork and I met with folks in my office. Thursday
we drove to The Dalles for a
full afternoon meeting of the
Finanace Committee. It's fun to have a full complement of folks on this committee who actually enjoy doing the work we are called to do. It's not all numbers -- we spend a lot of time talking about the implications and impact of the decisions we refer to Diocesan Council for their consideration.
     That evening I drove to Redmond and spent Friday preparing for preaching and teaching on Sunday. Saturday I drove to Bonanza and back for Deacon Sherry Hartley's Memorial Service. There was a nice crowd there including Ivor and Anthea Hughes. 
     Sunday I was at Church of the Transfiguration, Sisters -- it's probably the only church I've ever been to where the 8.30 congregation is larger than the 10.30. Both services are prayer filled although the early service spends a substantial portion of the service inviting the prayers and praises of the congregation. We Episcopalians can learn from others who are so willing to share their prayer requests publicly. In the afternoon I met with the Vestry to start planning for their transition. Ted retires in early 2017 and they are hoping to have someone in place when he leaves. It's a return to the old way of doing things, but we had a great conversation about the new possibilities this process presents. 
    Monday -- most of the day -- I drove to Cove. Both trips across the state have included snow and those summits are beautiful. Here's the Prineville Starbucks quilt for this month.
    The rest of the week I was in the office. Diocesan Council Retreat and the Fall Youth Retreat both started Friday evening with Evening Prayer in the Chapel. We played people Bingo together before going our separate ways until breakfast. The Youth led us in Morning Prayer and we began in earnest on Saturday morning. The them of our retreat was Songs of Our Souls. We told stories of important songs and musical events in our lives--from childhood to planning our funerals--and we sang songs, hymns, and spirituals that were important to us. We gathered with the youth for meals and they joined us for an evening of gifts discernment playing Pictionary. We concluded with Eucharist and Lunch on Sunday--just before the rain and then the snow arrived.  
     I left Sunday afternoon for Pasco and had dinner with the Lediards in Kennewick. I flew home Monday morning and will be with my daughter and her family for Thanksgiving. It is odd not to be celebrating at Ascension School--but that didn't work this year for a whole bevy of reasons. I'll be back in Oregon just before the Walkabout. Have a grace filled and grateful Thanksgiving. 

Lift Every Voice and Sing 
In honor of Bishop Curry's Installation

Lift every voice and sing  
Till earth and heaven ring 
Ring with the harmonies of Liberty; 
let our rejoicing rise, 
high as the list'ning skies, 
      let it resound loud as the rolling sea 
sing a song full of faith that the dark past has tought us, 
sing a song full of the hope that the present has brought us; 
facing the rising sun of our new day begun,   
let us march on till victory is won. 
Stony the road we trod, 
bitter the chast'ning rod, 
felt in the day that hope unborn had died; 
yet with a steady beat,  
have not our weary feet, 
come to the place on witch our fathers sighed? 
we have come over a way that with tears has been watered, 
we have come, 
     treading our path through the blood of the slaughtered, 
out from the gloomy past, till now we stand at last   
where the white gleam of our star is cast.
God of our weary years, 
God of our silent tears, 
thou who has brought us thus far on the way; Sa
thou who has by thy might, 
led us into the light, 
keep us forever in the path, we pray 
lest our feet stray frm the places, our God, where we met thee, 
least our hearts, drunk with the wine of the world, we forget thee, 
shadowed beneath the hand, 
may we forever stand, 
tru to our God, 
Tru to our native land.
James Weldon Johnson (1871 - 1928)
From Saint Peter Relates an Incident by James Weldon Johnson.
Copyright © 1917, 1921, 1935 James Weldon Johnson, 
renewed 1963 by Grace Nail Johnson