It was forty years ago today....

With apologies to the Beetles:

"Well it was 40 years ago today,

Sargent Pepper taught the band to play,
They've been going in and out of style,
But they're guaranteed to raise a smile..."

Forty years ago today, June 10, 1967, along with nine other folk, I was ordained deacon at the Cathedral in Newark, New Jersey. Just seven days earlier Sargent Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band was released in the US.

In the course of just a few weeks our class graduated from the Episcopal Theological School, we were ordained deacons, Kathryn and I went for outgoing missionary training in Canada and we were off to Puerto Rico to serve there. By the end of June we were working in a slum in San Juan. We took the album with us to Puerto Rico. And the war raged on and was coming home to the streets of America.

Now, forty
years later, on the same day I am off to New Jersey again for an Executive Council meeting, held in the Diocese of Newark and by the end of the month I will again be in Puerto Rico with nine young people and five adults from St. Peter's Lewes. And the war rages on. It goes round and round:

Maybe Sargent Pepper did indeed teach the band to play, and in or out of style we have been playing ever since.

Back when I was first ordained I would occasionally be at meetings where someone celebrated forty or fifty years as a deacon or priest. I sure thought they were old! Now I am one of those old farts!

Well, it goes round and round, and I am always thankful that new surprises shape each year and ministry. Here I am at sixty-seven and I am privileged to be doing youth ministry, an odd sort of ministry of writing in the blogsphere, serving on the staff of a fine parish, serving on Executive Council, still engaged in global mission, and standing on the line in the Silent Vigil with others agaist the horrors of war, and Kathryn is still companion in all of this.

Looking forward and looking backward at all the possibilities and actualities of life in this creaky ol' ship called The Episcopal Church I can say it is all "guaranteed to raise a smile."

And, after that, tears of joy.

Time to go to Church.


  1. Happy anniversary, Mark and Kathryn!
    Lois Keen

  2. Happy Anniversary. (There was another ordination at the Cathedral yesterday, too, BTW: Vocational Deacons, this time.)

  3. Surely you must mean christened, Mark.

  4. Congratulations...hints and tips for survival?

  5. Happy Anniversary and keep on raising heaven!

  6. Peace and joy on the continuing journey!

  7. A blessed and happy anniversary, Mark, and may you have many more years of service to our beloved church.

  8. From one youth minister to another may God continue to bless you today and ever more


  9. Blessings, dear brother in Christ on this anniversary. God grant you many more, not just for you, but for the rest of us to enjoy your ministry.

  10. ¡Felicidades y bendiciones!

  11. Happy anniversary! ...and thank you.

  12. Happy Anniversary, and may God continue to bless you and those to whom you minister.

  13. The Cathedral in Newark, eh?

    Well, I have loved you since I first laid eyes on you in 1986 and while this diocesan link is very sweet, it is not the sweetest.

    That would be the joy of knowing you and the delight of having an occasional cuppajo at "our spot" in Lewes, DE.

    As we used to say 40 years ago: Rock on, Mark. Rock on!

  14. A blessed anniversary, Mark. I sure am glad I "met" you in the blogosphere. I treasure your voice in our beloved church.

  15. Happy anniversary, Mark. Thanks for being here and for all the wonderful posts.

  16. And 40 years ago today was my 13th birthday ... (do the math!) ... so happy to share a memorable date with such a memorable fellow!

    Aloha from Oahu!

  17. Congrats! A task well done and continuing.


  18. Congrats Canon Mark and please don't forget extra abrazos at the big ll:00 English Mass (Spanish at 9:30) for West Indian folks (mostly) at San Juan Bautista Cathedral/San Juan...you'll absolutely love the "Our Father" sung so hauntingly that you may think you've gone to heaven already! Dean David hard working while trying to keep up with the BEAT (the one that 'goes on').

    Bishop Alvarez is, of course, a force not to be messed with and keeps those doors OPEN WIDE!

    Love him and love them and I miss all those passionate folks greatly now that I've moved to the Global Centered space accross the pond where folks are less noticiably high-wired...Puerto Rico *is* the Land of Enchantment you know (with good reason)!

    Leonardo Ricardo

  19. Mark--I am late to the party because I have spent the day with Davis Mac-Iyalla!

    You have blessed me in more ways than you know. I am grateful to you (and to your beloved Kathryn) for the Good News that you bring into the world.

    Happy Anniversary, and may God grant you may more years of loving service and faithful witness.

  20. A happy and blessed anniversary to y'all; it certainly sounds as if has been a richly blessed one so far. And that shows through your wonderful blog, a "must see", especially when the pot is bubbling.

  21. Mark,

    Congratulations! And we are the graced beneficiaries of 40 years of accumulated wisdom and experience!

  22. A day late ... but nonetheless heartfelt for all that ... HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!

  23. Congratulations, my friend! I am glad to know you, and grateful for your faithful service to our church and the Communion. "We were talking / about the love we all could share / when we find it / To try our best to hold it there / with our love." La plus ca change...

  24. Congratulations, Mark.

    Keep playing. We're counting on you to help teach a new generation the tune for many more years.

  25. Congratulations, Mark.

    Keep playing, and teaching the tune to new generations.

  26. A belated congratulations to you on your 40th anniversary Mark and kathryn!

    May God continue to bestow as many blessings upon you as he has upon the rest of us through your presence!

  27. You are young at fart!
    (I repent in advance for this bad pun).

  28. Mark, excellent and Congratulations...I was just ordained to the transitional diaconate on the 9th...in Philadelphia Cathedral ... it is nice to have this (near) connection! May our ministries overlap for many more years!

  29. I can think of nothing more appropriate to say of this glorious occasion than "Mazel Tov."

  30. Well, I'm very late to the party! Happy Anniversary! Keep on writing, keep on ministering, and keep on being the witness to the love of God that you have been all your life.

  31. It was also forty year ago, on 10 June 1967, that the Six Day war was coming to an end ... and still no peace in sight, still less any sembalnce of justice for the Palestinians.

    Some struggles take longer than others.


OK... Comments, gripes, etc welcomed, but with some cautions and one rule:
Cautions: Calling people fools, idiots, etc, will be reason to bounce your comment. Keeping in mind that in the struggles it is difficult enough to try to respect opponents, we should at least try.