A Secure Altar

Like many other neat-freaks, I appreciate the motto “a place for everything and everything in its place”. Things that have no place or are out of their place look cluttered to my neat-freak soul, and I feel the universe will run much more efficiently if the misplaced item is returned to the place it belongs.

Canonically speaking the same principle obtains in the Church when it comes to clergy. Every clergyman ordained is ordained to serve at a particular altar, and the Church runs much more efficiently if the clergy stay where they belong. There is no such thing as a priest-at-large or a bishop-at-large—or there is not supposed to be.   Sadly church history is littered with such clergy-at-large—rogue clerics or lone rangers who ramble far and wide, men with no seeming accountability and no home altar. Usually they work a tremendous amount of chaos and damage before they are done, since their rambling is the result of their ego. Homelessness is a terrible thing, especially for the Church when it is the clergy who roam about homeless and with no altar to call home—and no community to act as a brake on their lawless gallivanting. That is why clergy are always ordained to serve a particular church community and assigned to a particular altar.

I have been serving the altar of St. Herman’s church in Langley for 31 years. They have been good years, all told, and I am grateful to God for the security provided by my spiritual home. Their love and support has enabled me to minister well beyond the confines of my Langley parish. It has made possible a writing ministry which has produced a number of books, and a blog and podcast or two (like the one you are reading now) which has reached a number of people.   But my St. Herman’s church is now facing a great challenge. We need to expand and build a larger building since we are too crowded in our present little space and are flowing out of the doors into the narthex. The need to build is now critical. The problem is one of money.

St. Herman’s has the dubious privilege of being located in one of the most expensive places to live in all North America.   Our little church consists mostly of working-class people struggling to get along. They give generously, but the money does not go far in our expensive area. We also consist, in great measure, of children, for about 40% of our parish is under the age of twelve. The children delight to hold candles for the deacon when he reads the Gospel in the middle of the church at Liturgy, and to reach out and gently touch my phelon when I pass by them during the Great Entrance. They are spiritually wonderful, but alas, financially irrelevant. That is, not being wage earners, none of them tithe.

For this reason I have chosen to do something I have never done before—to reach out to my Christian friends out there in the big cyber-world. We have a parish website at www.saintherman.net and it contains a section describing our plan to build, with a donation button. I invite you to make a one-time donation to help me make the altar secure from which I have been able to reach out to you for so many years. Thank you and God bless you!

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