Archive for the ‘St. Gregory the Great Episcopal Church Athens Georgia’ Category

Anniversaries and Changes   4 comments

Above:  Bonny Thomas (January 17, 1965-October 14, 2019)


My week of anniversaries has nearly ended.

  1. Tuesday, October 11, marked one year, since I moved from Athens, Georgia, to Americus, Georgia.
  2. Friday, October 14, marked three years since Bonny died.
  3. Tomorrow–Monday, October 17–will mark one year since my first Sunday at Calvary Episcopal Church, Americus, not as visitor.  (I had been in and out of this parish as a visitor from St. Gregory the Great, Athens from late 2006 to late 2019.)

These are only three of the plethora of changes in my life since October 14, 2019.  I have, for example, become thinner, gained more white hairs, and become the human guardian of a sweet and wild longhaired black cat I have renamed Boudicea Felicia Taylor.  Also, I moved into my new apartment in February this year.

Above:  Boudicea, September 17, 2022

Photograph by Kenneth Randolph Taylor

To notice some reactions upon hearing the feline’s name, one would think that “Boudicea” is an odd name for a cat and that many people have no idea who the original Boudicea was.  I am a history buff, though.  And the appellation suits the former “Ladybug,” however.  Such a feline deserves a warrior’s name.

“Ladybug” (already so named when my mother rescued her from the animal shelter in 2019) had been in and out of that shelter a few times during the first eight months of her life.  The cat was too wild for her humans up to that point.  I inherited Ladybug when my mother moved to Magnolia Manor, Americus, early this year.  Given that the Manor forbids pets, the illustrious wild feline moved to my new apartment.  The two of us have adapted to each other and come to know each other better.  Boudicea’s primary attachment has become the pair bond to me.

I do think about Boudicea’s psychology.  I suppose that, when I go away overnight (as on a short trip, perhaps for business), she may think that I have abandoned her.  Even my mother coming over to visit the cat and take care of cat sitting tasks may not prevent that feline fear.  Boudicea is an intelligent creature to whom I have responsibilities.

During the last twelve months, I have become active in Calvary Episcopal Church.  I have become a lector.  I have started the lectionary class that meets before the worship service.  I have also become the parish librarian, organized the library, and started to accept donations to the library.

My life today differs considerably from what it used to be four years ago, three years ago, two years ago, and one year ago.  I wonder what my life will be like one year from now, presuming, for the sake of discussion, that I will still be alive then.  Nobody knows when one will die.  I enjoy life and hope to continue for as long as possible.  But I know from the deaths of relatives and friends that we will all die one day–probably without warning.

Until then, I am here, trying to be the post possible version of myself in God.




The Thirtieth Anniversary of My Confirmation   Leave a comment

Above:  The Flag of The Episcopal Church

Photographer = Kenneth Randolph Taylor


Thirty years ago today–Sunday, December 22, 1991–the Right Reverend Harry Woolston Shipps, the Eighth Bishop of Georgia, confirmed me into The Episcopal Church at St. Anne’s Episcopal Church.  I have been a contented Episcopalian since.

I spent about fourteen years (1991-2005) in six congregations in the Diocese of Georgia.  About sixteen years in St. Gregory the Great Episcopal Church, Athens, in the Diocese of Atlanta, followed.  I have returned to the Diocese of Georgia and joined Calvary Episcopal Church, Americus.

The Episcopal Church suits me.  I am on this planet to be an Episcopalian, I am certain.   Therefore, December 22 is one of the anniversaries I observe annually.




Settling Into My New Life in Americus, Georgia   Leave a comment

Above:  My Writing Desk, Americus, Georgia

I have blacked out October 12-14, the three grimmest anniversaries I observe.

Photographer in this post = Kenneth Randolph Taylor


I moved from Athens, Georgia, to Americus, Georgia, last Monday, October 11.  I have spent the last few days unpacking, setting up, and settling in.  I have completed many tasks.  I have learned that I must wait on some tasks longer than I would like because these tasks must follow other tasks, which require me to wait on others to do something.

Other people are frequently the greatest obstacles to my efficiency and productivity.  They are not necessarily malicious.  They are usually merely slow.

Above:  My Office, Americus, Georgia, October 15, 2021

I have, however, set up tangibly and physically.  I have emptied all boxes and put away their contents.  I have hung my clothes in my new closet.  And my office, containing most of my books, takes up the dining room and parlor in my mother’s house.  The space, occupied, is not crowded and cluttered.

Above:  The Bookcase for Translations of and Commentaries on the Old and New Testaments

Bonny is always with me, hence the prominence of her photograph and the photograph of her grave marker.

I have also started the process of transferring my membership to Calvary Episcopal Church, Americus.  I have left Saint Gregory the Great Episcopal Church, Athens, to which I belonged for slightly over sixteen years.  Parting gifts–books–have begun to arrive.  Half of the expected Biblical commentaries have arrived.

Above:  Woodrow Wilson’s A History of the American People (1902), on My Writing Desk

The set = a gift from Saint Gregory the Great Episcopal Church, Athens, Georgia

I have known since immediately after Bonny’s death (October 14, 2019) that I probably needed to leave Athens.  This truth set in with greater potency the longer I remained in Athens.  Finally, with the space prepared in Americus, I scheduled my move.

Above:  The Bookcase for Translations and Commentaries on the Bible, Plus French and English Books

My Roman Catholic tendencies and past associating with Roman Catholics are evident.  Notice the Roman translations of the Bible, for example.  Also notice the “Bible Einstein Award,” which the Newman Center at Valdosta State University gave me in 1995.  (The Roman Catholics asked questions, and I knew the answers.)

Leaving Athens and Saint Gregory the Great Church was difficult and emotionally challenging.  Yet I knew that going was the correct course of action.  The time had come.

Above:  A Bookcase Containing an Ecclectic Selection of Volumes

I grew up moving frequently.  For a time, I moved every two years, on average.  I learned that home is where I live.  I never grew up in Americus, but it has become my home.

Above:  My Computer and Writing Desks

I anticipate the positive developments that will ensue.




Farewell to Athens, Georgia   5 comments

Above:  The Cross at Saint Gregory the Great Episcopal Church, Athens, Georgia, October 10, 2021

Photographer = Kenneth Randolph Taylor


Today has been a hectic day.  Yesterday was more hectic.  Yesterday, I moved from Athens, Georgia, to Americus, Georgia.  For an orderly, obsessive, and detail-oriented person (such as yours truly), this move has been especially hectic.  I have been unpacking and establishing new routines.  I have not finished doing this, of course.

Two days ago, on October 10, I sat in church and took the photograph at the top of this post.  The image did not capture the full quality of the sunlight coming through the circular stained class behind the cross, unfortunately.  Two days ago, I said farewell to my church home for about a third of my life so far.

One chapter of my life has ended.  The next has begun.  May this new chapter be wonderful.




The Library, St. Gregory the Great the Episcopal Church, Athens, Georgia, August 29, 2021   4 comments

Photographer = Kenneth Randolph Taylor


I have been the librarian of my parish, St. Gregory the Great Episcopal Church, Athens, Georgia, since 2014.  In that capacity, I have poured myself into the job.  I have donated many of the books, much of the iconography, three of the bookcases, and many of the decorations.  I have also tended carefully to the collection.  I have purged it, pruned it, and expanded it.

I have transformed the parish library, once just a literary space, into a sacred space.

I must leave the Athens area and my parish soon.  Life contains times and seasons.  The time to live in Athens is nearly at an end.  The next chapter, which will entail being much closer to family, will commence.

The current configuration of the furniture is due to the pandemic.  Social distancing entails moving sofas and chairs farther apart than in usual times.

Before I left, I wanted to have a photographic record of the library as it exists upon my departure.  This library has been a happy space for me.  I have spent much time working in here, oblivious to the passage of time.




A Strong Bias for the Practical   5 comments

Above:  Athens-Clarke County, Georgia

Image Source = Google Earth

Words and intentions interest me.  Indeed, words have power; the Epistle of James, for example, reminds us of that truth.  Intentions are relevant in many legal matters.  As much as words and intentions interest me, actions interest me more.  Therefore, I prefer to do something then say that I have done it, rather than proclaim my intention to do something, learn that I cannot do it, then announce that, sorry, I would have done it, except for circumstances beyond my control.

I live in Athens-Clarke County, Georgia.  Our local bypass is, informally, the Loop, for the obvious reason.

One evening, years ago, I was driving on the Loop.  Ahead of me was a vehicle that had its right turn signal on as it passed successive exits.  The right turn signal remained on between exits, too.  As I neared my exit, I activated my right turn signal then exited the Loop.  That other vehicle, with its right turn signal still on, remained on the Loop, without turning.  By the time I exited the Loop, I had ceased to believe the right turn signal.

As I drive, I pay attention to turn signals, of course.  However, I pay more attention to where vehicles go.  Some drivers turn without using turn signals, too.  I believe what people do.  I do not always believe what they say.

Consequences are about as practical as anything can be.  I recall that, years ago, there was a certain state representative from Athens who sponsored anti-abortion legislation.  (I dislike abortion as much as the next person who tries to respect the image of God in each human being.  I also recognize that certain strategies are more effective than others, while others are ineffective.)  I also recall that this legislation triggered another law–the law of unintended consequences.  I remember that this state law interfered with the malpractice insurance of certain health care professionals.    I also recall that the state representative refused to apologize for this unintended consequence.

May all of us live according to mutuality, compassion, respect, and love.  May we say what we mean, mean what we say, and try to avoid the law of unintended consequences.  May our words and actions not belie each other.  And, when we do trigger the law of unintended consequences, may we be remorseful.  Then may we act accordingly.




Tree Roots, Athens, Georgia, May 8, 2021   Leave a comment

Photographer = Kenneth Randolph Taylor


I was walking in the neighborhood yesterday.  This sight caught my attention, so I took a photograph.

Here is a close-up on the roots.

I have no point, profound or otherwise, to make.  I want simply to share some natural beauty.




Fully Vaccinated   10 comments

As of today, I am fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  Today marks two weeks since I received the second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.  Until such time as I may need a booster dose, I am 95% protected.

I thank God that effective vaccines against COVID-19 exist.  I also thank God that all those who helped to make this possible did do.  And I thank God that all of we mere ordinary citizens who have become vaccinated have done so.  Public health experts consistently say that getting as many people as possible vaccinated as quickly as possible is crucial to ending the pandemic.

Yet some people stick their proverbial heads into equally proverbial holes in the sand.  Some deny that the pandemic is real.  I recall an unpleasant encounter I had in August 2020, while working for the Census Bureau.

I was wearing a face mask, in accordance with Census Bureau policy.  It was a nondescript face mask.  I knocked on a door.  The man who opened the door was a far-right-wing conspiracy nut who told me that the face mask I wore “represented Satan.”  Neither did he want to answer any Census questions.

Some stick their proverbial heads into equally proverbial holes in the sand.  Some do this on the basis of misplaced distrust of expertise.  Experts in a field know more about that field than those who have not done what is necessary to become experts in that field.  Expertise deserves respect, not emotional and anti-intellectual misplaced populism.  The informed opinion of an expert should matter more than the uninformed opinion of a man or woman “on the street.”

Yes, I know that some vaccines carry temporary side effects.  The shingles vaccine, I hear, really does.  Yet the disease in question is worse than any side effects.  And many side effects are exceedingly rare.  Statistics should matter more than isolated anecdotes.  I report that I had soreness at the injection site for about 24 hours following my first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.  I also report my side effects after the second dose.  I report that I had soreness at the injection site for about 48 hours, and that, on the day following that dose, I had to take an unplanned nap.

In an age of anti-intellectual, anti-science populism, anecdotes and half-baked memes cloud the thinking of many people.  This is extremely perilous during a pandemic.  Objective reality remains objective reality, even though many people do not believe in it.  The COVID-19 virus continues to mutate, as viruses do.  Speeding up the rate of vaccinations is crucial.  That is not all that is crucial.  We–governments, corporations, small businesses, communities, congregations, individuals, et cetera–all need to behave responsibly.  Policies need to be morally responsible and grounded in science.  I practice social distancing and wear two masks in public.  I may even wear two masks in public when doing so is not necessary.  If I err on the side of safety in this matter, so be it.  That is better than erring on the side of danger.

We all belong to God and each other.  Mutuality, built into the Law of Moses, informs my morality.  We are all responsible to and for each other.  And we are all accountable to God.  Wearing two face masks in public at this time is consistent with my interpretation of the Golden Rule.  And, during this pandemic, I accept temporary upper arm soreness and an unplanned nap as small prices to pay for acting according to the Golden Rule.  I refuse to be a selfish cry-baby.  Besides, COVID-19 is far worse than any temporary side effect of a vaccine.

Many people cannot get vaccinated yet.  Some have a medical reason.  Others are too young.  Others seek and cannot get an appointment.  Many people have difficulty getting to a vaccination site.  And other people live in places where no vaccine is available.  Those fortunate enough to be able to get an appointment, are old enough, have no medical reason not to get vaccinated, are legally eligible, and have yet to get vaccinated have a moral obligation to get vaccinated as soon as possible.  This is for the common good.

Despite being one of the fully-vaccinated people, I remain more comfortable worshiping in front of a computer screen, at least for a while.  My parish now offers two in-person worship services on Sunday mornings.  There are strict rules.  For example, attendees must register, masks are mandatory, and people are spaced apart.  Also, there is a limit on attendance at each service.  I feel less stress sitting alone in front of a computer monitor at home.  I can also say the Prayer of Spiritual Communion.  For a while yet, I will maintain a different type of social distancing while worshiping.

Yet knowing that have 95% protection reduces my pandemic stress load.




Twenty-Nine Years an Episcopalian   2 comments

Above:  Some Items on My Writing Desk, December 22, 2022

Photographer = Kenneth Randolph Taylor


I became an Episcopalian 29 years ago today.  At St. Anne’s Episcopal Church, Tifton, in the Diocese of Georgia, Bishop Harry Woolston Shipps confirmed me.  I had made an important decision as an adult; I had chosen my affiliation.

I had a Low Church Protestant upbringing.  My father, ordained a Southern Baptist in 1975, had switched to The United Methodist Church in 1980.  I, baptized at North Newington Baptist Church, Newington, Georgia, in November 1979, formed theologically in rural United Methodist congregations.  Yet I did not quite fit in.  My attachment to Holy Communion, which I got to take once every three months, marked me as an outlier.  So did my interest in ecclesiastical history, most of which the congregations in which my father served were oblivious.  Furthermore, my inherent attraction to Roman Catholicism stood out in the rural communities and towns in which I lived and worshiped.

When I joined The Episcopal Church, I came home.  I departed The United Methodist Church amicably; I was not angry about anything going on the denomination.

I have changed greatly since December 22, 1991.  Lutheranism has become more prominent in my variation on Anglicanism, which stands between Protestantism and Roman Catholicism.  I have given up the United Methodist refusal to acknowledge Single Predestination.  Now, even if I wanted to do so, I could not return to The United Methodist Church and be intellectually and spiritually honest.  The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) has become my denominational Plan B, even though I have not identified as a Protestant for a long time.

Consider the items in the photograph at the top of this post, O reader.  There are three Marian images, two versions of The Book of Common Prayer, a Daily Prayer book from The Church of England, and a devotional book a minister from the United Church of Christ wrote.  I identify as an Anglican.  I identify as an Anglican in the collegial sense of Anglicanism, not the Donatistic sense of that word.  I object strenuously to the use of “Anglican” as a Donatistic label for congregations, dioceses and congregations in the United States of America.  My variety of Anglicanism is open and cordial.  It also has prominent Marian tendencies.  These tendencies spill over into my parish, St. Gregory the Great Episcopal Church, Athens, in the Diocese of Atlanta.  I, as the parish librarian, maintain the parish library as a collection of books and as a Marian shrine.

The Protestant boy I used to be has long ceased to exist.










This is post #2150 of SUNDRY THOUGHTS.


A Few Reasons I Am Grateful   Leave a comment

I am grateful for many reasons.  If I were to do nothing but count all of them and elaborate on each one, I would spent much time doing so.  I have learned that the best way to proceed is to focus on a few at a time.

A few reasons I am grateful follow.

I grateful that experiences of great loss become opportunities of grace.

Grace is free, not cheap; it carries with it the obligation to extend grace to others.  I seek such opportunities.

Bonny died last October 14.  Her sudden, violent death has created a persistent, open wound in my psyche.  I have accepted that I will never be the person I was prior to that fateful morning.  My life changed that day.  Since then, parts of my life have been stripping away.  I have learned more clearly the distinction between the necessary and the desired.  That has been a form of grace.

And, just as I have learned who my friends really are, I have gained experiences I can use to help others experiencing their own emotional traumas.  I have begun to wonder to whom God may send me so that I may, out of my pain, contribute to healing.

I am grateful for my parish.

De facto, I have belonged to St. Gregory the Great the Episcopal Church, Athens, Georgia, since August 2005.  My membership transferred slightly later.  For nearly fifteen years, I have, so to speak, become part of the woodwork of my church.  I have assumed leadership roles (usually ones I did not seek) and formed relationships.  This parish has seen me through the darkest times of my life and functioned as a vehicle of grace.  Individual parishioners have also prevented me from falling too far into the abyss and proven that I am not alone.  They have taken care of me when I have needed that.

As long as I reside in Athens-Clarke County, I will remain part of St. Gregory the Great Episcopal Church.

I am grateful for necessities fulfilled.

I had plans at the end of 2019 and the beginning of 2020.  They were rational plans, not half-baked, magical thinking.  Then the pandemic and its economic fallout derailed those plans.  Through it all, I have never been at risk of going hungry, becoming homeless, and not being able to pay my bills.

The fulfillment of necessities continues by a variety of means.  Words are inadequate to express my gratitude.

I am grateful for a better understanding of what constitutes a necessity.

Simple living is a blessing.  We live, we accumulate, and we die.  Then others decide the fates of our worldly possessions.  Life does not consist in the abundance of possessions, although one does need certain possessions.  Taming one’s appetites for consumption is a good spiritual practice.

Now that I am in the midst of packing to leave my apartment, full of memories that grieve me, I am grateful to rid myself of many possessions.  My identity is in God, not my stuff, for lack of a better word.

I am grateful for the joy that comes from serious Bible study.

I have spent hours at a time studying texts, consulting commentaries, pondering what I have read, taking notes, and synthesizing ideas.  I have derived much pleasure and fulfillment from doing so.

I am grateful for wonderfully bad movies.

I mean movies that are so bad they are good.  If they make Ed Wood flicks seem like plays by William Shakespeare by comparison, so much the better.  We all need harmless, escapist pleasures, do we not?

I am grateful for good movies.

Casablanca, Citizen Kane, and John Huston version of The Maltese Falcon, among other fine films, enrich my life.

I am grateful for my intellectual nature.

I descend from a long line of bookworms.  I am suited for life in a college or university town.  I recall the intellectual stagnation and the anti-intellectualism of many of the communities and small towns in which I grew up and my father served as a minister.  I cannot honestly deny that these experiences helped to shape me both intellectually, spiritually, and politically.

I would starve intellectually and spiritually in many towns and congregations.

I am grateful for the Incarnation, the life of Christ, the crucifixion, and the Resurrection.

Thereby came the atonement.


I saved the best for last.