The Anglican Cathedral of Second Life


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God revealed

On 7 January, the Feast of Epiphany, Helene Milena preached the following sermon in the Anglican Cathedral on Epiphany Island in Second Life. The readings were  Psalm 72Isaiah 60:1-6, Matthew 2:1-12.

Most churches of the Anglican tradition and many others are named after a saint – its patron saint. On the day when that saint is remembered in the church calendar, the local church celebrates its patronal festival. Many churches are named after local saints who were remembered, and often prayed to, by the local population. Some of these churches were, and may still be, places of pilgrimage.

When it comes to cathedrals, they too are dedicated to a saint. St Peter’s in Rome is very famous, or Notre Dame (Our Lady) in Paris. In England it’s easy to forget the dedication as the cathedrals are usually referred to by where they are situated. Yesterday I was in Wakefield Cathedral (West Yorkshire) for an Epiphany Eucharist. Everyone calls it Wakefield Cathedral, that’s how it’s referred to on its website, but it is in fact the Cathedral Church of All Saints, Wakefield (a bit of a mouthful). Continue reading

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Change is in the air

At our New Year Covenant Service yesterday, Helene made the following announcement:
 
Before we begin our service, I have some news to share with you. I have had a growing awareness for some time that I need to step back from being Lay Pastor of Anglicans of SL. Family commitments mean that I struggle to do all that I would like for this ministry. I have therefore informed the Leadership Team that I would like to retire from my position by mid-May at the latest which will be almost 9 years after I began my role. I would like to remain involved in this ministry in some way, but exactly how will be decided by the Leadership Team.
 
Obviously it’s necessary to work out what will happen in the future for AoSL. We are asking members to complete a survey so that we can find out their thoughts. This will be ready next week. We also need volunteers to join the Leadership Team and to take on some of the responsibilities of running this ministry. If the general opinion is that our ministry should cease, it will still be necessary to have a team to oversee that. Please complete the survey and prayerfully consider how you might be involved in this ministry. We will be having a series of meetings at the end of January and beginning of February when we can discuss together what might happen. Please feel free to contact any member of the Leadership Team directly if you want to discuss anything in the meantime.
 
It has been a huge privilege to lead worship here, to pray with those who need it and to lend a listening ear. I shall always be grateful for what I have been able to do. Now, if the ministry continues, it needs to be under new leadership, a team and a leader who can exploit the huge potential this ministry has to reach people with the Gospel.


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Carols on Epiphany

On Sunday 17 December at noon, we celebrated the traditional Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols at the Cathedral. This popular service was well attended as usual, and a variety of voices was heard as volunteers read the nine passages that tell the story of Jesus’ birth from the moment it is foretold in the book of Genesis in the Bible. Each reading was illustrated with live props by our churchwarden.

After the service, we had a lively social time on the benches outside the cathedral. Some snaps from the occasion can be seen in this online album.

This Sunday at noon (Christmas Eve), a short service for the Fourth Sunday in Advent will be followed by the return of the Posada to Epiphany Island and all are welcome to join us for this.

On Christmas Day, there will be a service of prayers and readings at noon in the chapel.


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Direction of travel

On 10 December, the Second Sunday of Advent, Helene Milena preached the following sermon in the Anglican Cathedral on Epiphany Island in Second Life. The readings were  Psalm 85:8-13Isaiah 40:1-11, Mark 1:1-8.

If you were to look along the shelves in a bookshop or browse online, you would be able to find many books which deal with the topic of self-improvement. I suppose it’s logical to conclude that if so many books are written on the topic, there must be a ready market for them. The only reason to improve self must surely be because people are dissatisfied with the self they currently have – not fit enough, organised enough, efficient enough, slim enough, confident enough, clever enough, rich enough, and so on. There is a chronic lack of self-esteem around.

You might think that Isaiah likewise has a pretty poor opinion of the human race in general. In the midst of comforting the Jews who were exiled in Babylon, Isaiah says something that doesn’t look very comforting at all. He compares people to grass or flowers which have a transient existence – here today, gone tomorrow. It’s hardly a flattering comparison. It doesn’t confer much value on us. It’s hardly likely to bolster anyone’s self-esteem. However, from an eternal perspective it’s probably a fair comparison. In the history of the whole of creation, each human life is just a tiny blip, a little blink of light and it’s gone. Continue reading


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Advent Sunday 2017

On 3 December, Advent Sunday, Helene Milena preached the following sermon in the Anglican Cathedral on Epiphany Island in Second Life. The readings were  Psalm 80:1-8, 18-20Isaiah 64:1-9, Mark 13:24-37.

It’s a common observation that time passes more quickly when you are older, or so it seems. Certainly I’ve noticed quite a number of people saying things like: ‘October already. Where has the time gone?’ or ‘I can’t believe November is just about over.’ Time seems to race ahead and take some of us by surprise at the speed of its passing.

On the other hand, for many young people time seems to crawl by. Their complaint is often, ‘I can’t wait until my birthday/ our holiday/ my friend comes for a sleepover, etc’. Currently, it’s Christmas that is not coming quickly enough for many children. The excitement is more than they can bear. They ‘can’t wait’ until Christmas Eve when Father Christmas will finally set out on his journey to deliver the presents. They ‘can’t wait’ to wake up on Christmas morning and rip open the paper to see if the much coveted item is revealed ready to be played with.

Today is Advent Sunday, the day the Church particularly concentrates on its own ‘can’t wait’ moment, the one Jesus often talked about. We are focusing on the time when Jesus will come back as our King, his Second Coming. It’s something Jesus promised us. It will be an amazing occasion. Unlike his first coming, as a baby in obscurity, no one will be able to miss the Second Coming. Think about it: the sun will be dark, the moon also, stars will fall from heaven. We will see “The Son of Man coming in clouds”. I’m not sure I can conjure up a picture of how it will look, but it sounds exciting and momentous. Continue reading


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Christ the King

On 26 November Helene Milena preached the following sermon in the Anglican Cathedral on Epiphany Island in Second Life. The readings were  Psalm 95: 1-7Ezekiel 34:11-16, 20-24, Matthew 25:31-46.

“Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Thus said Lord Acton, English Catholic historian, politician, and writer who died in 1902. The power of kingship is certainly no exception to this rule. When the people of Israel no longer wanted God as their ruler but demanded a king like other nations, God warned them what a king would be like. He would build an army, drafting their young men into it. He would use the people as his servants to till his soil, tend his animals, spin and weave and grind. In the process, inevitably a distance would open up between the king and those subject to his rule. The lives they lived would be different. That division was not apparent when God appointed leaders and judges over the people. Continue reading


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Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church

On 19 November Helene Milena preached the following sermon in the Anglican Cathedral on Epiphany Island in Second Life. The readings were  Psalm 1162 Corinthians 4, John 15:18-25.

(With thanks to Open Doors USA and Barnabas Aid for the resources which contributed to this sermon.)

Persecution on the basis of religion has been happening for millennia. A current example is the plight of the Rohingya in Myanmar who are being attacked by the army there because they are not Buddhists but mostly Muslim, with some Christians among them. It has been calculated that 75% of the world’s population lives in areas with severe religious restrictions.

While acknowledging that persecution happens to people of all religions, today we are concentrating specifically on Christians who suffer in this way. Christians in 60 countries face persecution from their governments or from those who live around them. The organisation Open Doors ranks the top 50 countries in terms of persecution every year in its World Watch List. (You can get more information on this here: http://www.opendoorsusa.org/WWL). In recent years persecution has increased and spread to new areas. The increase is particularly noticed in the Middle East, Africa and Central Asia. Continue reading