Greetings from Father Thomas
We are so glad that you found our site! There are as many reasons as there are people as to why individuals look for and come to a church. No one reason is any better than another, so whatever brought you to us be assured that we are happy that you are here!!
You will find that we are an eclectic group of individuals made up of all shapes and sizes and backgrounds. Some of us are conservative, some liberal; some are cradle Episcopalians while others of us have had a more circuitous path and come from various denominational backgrounds. We all carry with us the scars of life, but what joins us together and serves as our common ground is our desire to know and follow Jesus!
So regardless of what brought you here, or what "baggage" you carry, know that you are welcome and we invite you to come along on our journey of faith!!
The Rev. Thomas J. Mitchell
STAND UP AND BE COUNTED
Josef Vissarionovich Djugashvili was born on December 18, 1878. He was an only child and grew up in a poor household dominated by an alcoholic and brutal father. He wished to become an Orthodox priest and received a scholarship to attend the local seminary. So began the life of one of the most murderous dictators in modern times: Joseph Stalin.
In 1899, Stalin was expelled from the seminary. After leaving school, he became an underground political agitator, taking part in labor demonstrations and strikes. By the late 1920's, he had become dictator of the Soviet Union. His goal was to transform the Soviet Union from a peasant society into an industrialized superpower. He ruled by terror and a totalitarian grip in order to eliminate anyone who might oppose him...no one was going to stand in his way. Joseph Stalin did not mellow with age: He prosecuted a reign of terror, purges, executions, exiles to labor camps and persecution in the postwar USSR, suppressing all dissent and anything that smacked of foreign...especially Western...influence. Stalin, it is estimated, was responsible for the deaths of 20 million people during his brutal rule. Stalin, who grew increasingly paranoid in his later years, died on March 5, 1953, at age 74, after suffering a stroke. His body was embalmed and preserved in Lenin's mausoleum in Moscow's Red Square until 1961, when it was removed and buried near the Kremlin walls as part of the de-Stalinization process initiated by Stalin's successor Nikita Khrushchev.
When Khrushchev pronouced his famous denunciation of Stalin, someone in the Congress Hall is reported to have said, "Where were you, Comrade Khrushchev, when all these innocent people were being slaughtered?" Khrushchev paused, looked around the hall, and said, "Will the man who said that kindly stand up!" Tension mounted in the hall. No one moved. Then Khrushchev said, "Well, whoever you are, you have your answer now. I was in exactly the same position then as you are now." With that Khrushchev both publicly confesed his personal failure and warned his colleague of the dire consequences of not speaking out and confronting evil. But to do so is risky...ask any prophet.
The role of the prophet is not to foretell the future as if the prophet is some kind of psychic, but rather the prophet serves as the conscience of a people calling them back to their authentic selves when they have turned away from their true nature and professed goal(s). That was the role of the prophet in Israel. That was the role of the prophet Jesus. That is the role of the followers of Jesus: to remind the people, the nation as to who they are and whose they are. The followers of Jesus are called to not only proclaim the gospel, but more importantly to LIVE IN WITNESS to the gospel of Jesus, to be a beacon of truth, and hope, and above all love. And when required, to stand up and be counted for good and to call the people back to their relationship and Covenant with God. As the hymn declares: Stand up, stand up for Jesus!
Fr. Thomas +