Archive for the ‘Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College Tifton Georgia’ Tag

Happy to Be an Episcopalian   1 comment

Above:  The Flag of The Episcopal Church

Photograph by Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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I have belonged to three denominations and chosen one.  When my parents were Southern Baptists, so was I.  Likewise, in 1980, when my father left the ordained ministry of the Southern Baptist Convention for that of The United Methodist Church, I became a United Methodist at the age of seven years.  Thus, in June 1980, our family moved from Newington, Georgia, where he had been pastor of North Newington Baptist Church, and settled in the parsonage in Vidette, Georgia.  He served as the minister of the Vidette, Friendship, and Greens Cut congregations in Burke County.  In the ensuing years, I took the grand tour of rural southern Georgia.  My initial spiritual formation occurred within the context of rural Southern United Methodism, a different creature from United Methodism as it exists in much of the rest of the United States and the world.

Yet I have always had an inner Catholic.  The sacraments, central to my faith, were too infrequent in those rural United Methodist churches.  My attraction to the Deuterocanon (what many call the Apocrypha) asserted itself, also.  Furthermore, my interest in history, and therefore, in ecclesiastical history, made me an outlier in the congregations my father served.  Church history, as it existed in those places, started with Jesus, ran consistently through the Apostles, jumped to the Crusades, jumped again to Martin Luther, ran forward, and really started sprinting with John and Charles Wesley.  That version of church history left many gaps.

In the autumn of 1991, I started my studies at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College, Tifton, Georgia.  I started attending services at St. Anne’s Episcopal Church, Tifton, on the Sunday after All Saints’ Day.  On December 22, 1991, Bishop Harry Woolston Shipps confirmed me.  I remained in the Diocese of Georgia through 2005, belonging to the following congregations:

  1. Christ Episcopal Church, Valdosta, Georgia (1993-1996),
  2. St. Thomas Aquinas Episcopal Church, Baxley, Georgia (1996-1998),
  3. Christ Episcopal Church, Cordele, Georgia (1998-2001),
  4. Trinity Episcopal Church, Statesboro, Georgia (2001-2003), and
  5. Christ Episcopal Church, Dublin, Georgia (2003-2005).

I have worshiped as a member of St. Gregory the Great Episcopal Church, Athens, Georgia, in the Diocese of Atlanta, since August 2005.

I have enjoyed the liberty of being a layman and the pleasure of belong to congregations that respect scholarship and encourage the asking of questions.  My father, as a pastor, censored himself; he made honest theological statements at home he dared not utter from a pulpit.  I did not feel free to ask certain questions in those churches.  In Episcopal churches, however, I have asked questions freely and heard priests utter statements (not all of whom I agreed with) that would have gotten my father into great trouble.  The threshold for offending people was low in his case; my father once offended people by supporting the Martin Luther King, Jr., federal holiday.  That position contributed to us moving.  On another occasion, he upset a parishioner by preaching that Jesus had a sense of humor.  He had allegedly insulted her Jesus.  The District Superintendent did not take the complaint seriously, fortunately.

Many of my statements on my weblogs, such as this one, would have cooked my goose in those churches.

So be it.  I refuse to back down from my Catholic tendencies and my acceptance of Single Predestination.  I refuse to back down from my support of civil rights (and not just based on skin color), of Biblical scholarship, and science.

I am where I belong–in The Episcopal Church.  Thanks be to God!

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 25, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT JAMES BAR-ZEBEDEE, APOSTLE AND MARTYR

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Feast of Pavel Chesnokov (October 20)   Leave a comment

Above:  Pavel Chesnokov

Image in the Public Domain

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PAVEL GRIGORIEVICH CHESNOKOV (OCTOBER 24, 1877-MARCH 14, 1944)

Russian Orthodox Composer

Pavel Chesnokov composed nearly 500 works, about 400 of them sacred.

Chesnokov, born in Vladmir, near Moscow, the Russian Empire, on October 24, 1877, shared his musical gifts.  He studied vocal and instrumental music at the Moscow Conservatory.  Our saint learned how to play the piano and the violin, and became a choirmaster and a conductor.  He taught at the Moscow Conservatory from 1920 to 1944.  When the Bolsheviks outlawed the composition of sacred music, in 1917, Chesnokov wrote secular music instead.  He, the last choirmaster at the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, Moscow, ceased to compose any music after the destruction of the cathedral by the Soviet government in 1931.  He, aged 66 years, died in Moscow on March 14, 1944.

Chesnokov’s music survives, fortunately.  Examples include Paschal Hymn to the Virgin, To Thee We Sing, Do Not Cast Me Off, Cherubic Hymn, Let My Prayer Arise, and Salvation is Created.

My first encounter with the music of Chesnokov as in the early 1990s, at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College, Tifton, Georgia, where I sang in the choir.  The choir performed several Russian Orthodox works (in Russian), including Salvation is Created, with its soaring soprano line and basso profundo conclusion.  The piece has been special to me since.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

DECEMBER 12, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE ELEVENTH DAY OF ADVENT, YEAR C

THE FEAST OF SAINT JANE FRANCES DE CHANTAL, FOUNDRESS OF THE CONGREGATION OF THE VISITATION

THE FEAST OF ALICIA DOMON AND HER COMPANIONS, ROMAN CATHOLIC MARTYRS IN ARGENTINA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS BARTHOLOMEW BUONPEDONI AND VIVALDUS, MINISTERS AMONG LEPERS

THE FEAST OF SAINT LUDWIK BARTOSIK, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND MARTYR

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Eternal God, light of the world and Creator of all that is good and lovely:

We bless your name for inspiring Pavel Chesnokov and all those

who with music have filled us with desire and love for you;

through Jesus Christ our Savior, who with you and the Holy Spirit

lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

1 Chronicles 29:14b-19

Psalm 90:14-17

2 Corinthians 3:1-3

John 21:15-17, 24-25

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 728

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Thank a Teacher   Leave a comment

Wanda Vickers was an excellent teacher at Berrien High School, Nashville, Georgia.  She was also a strict grader.  The education I received in her English class during my senior year of high school was rigorous.  During one academic year she taught me how to write a term paper properly and prepared me for a variety of other written assignments I had to complete in college.  I realized this after the fact, of course.  When I started my freshman year at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College, Tifton, Georgia, I learned how prepared I was, thanks to Mrs. Vickers, mainly.  I thanked her in person then I had the opportunity to do so.

Teachers influence their pupils positively in many ways.  Much of the time the positive effects pertain not only to the curriculum.  If you, O reader, are or have been a teacher, thank you.  If you, O reader, can think of any teachers who have influenced your life positively and can thank them, please do so.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 1, 2017 COMMON ERA

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