The Anglican Cathedral of Second Life


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Sea Sunday 2015

On 12th July we celebrated Sea Sunday, using some of the resources provided by the Mission to Seafarers. Helene Milena preached the following sermon in the Anglican Cathedral on Epiphany Island in Second Life. The readings were Psalm 107:1-3, 23-32, 43, Acts 27:27-28:2, Matthew 4:18-22.

Jesus’ invitation to the first disciples is one many people are familiar with. He called four men who worked as fishermen and told them their task would change to ‘fishing for people’ or that they would be ‘fishers of men’ in the old translation I grew up with. Jesus didn’t completely change their job as much as changing the focus of it I suppose. Those of us who follow later on have the same task, to catch people, although it’s not necessary to have any fishing experience before being called.

St Paul, whose experience we read about today, was a scholar and a tent maker rather than a fisherman. However, he too was called to catch people, to bring them from the vast oceans of people in the world into the kingdom of God. When you read about all Paul’s adventures in the process, he was certainly as much in danger as fishermen like Peter and Andrew were when they went in their boats on the Sea of Galilee. Continue reading


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Jesus is typecast

On 5th July, the fifth Sunday after Trinity, Helene Milena preached the following sermon in the Anglican Cathedral on Epiphany Island in Second Life. The readings were Psalm 123, Ezekiel 2:1-5, Mark 6:1-13.

Being typecast, meaning they are always thought of as one kind of character, is something that most actors dread, though some stars in soap operas seem content to spend their whole career as a particular character. For most actors, it’s important that they be seen as capable of acting in different roles, often in very different types of film or stage play.

The main young stars of the eight Harry Potter films effectively grew up in front of film-going audiences around the world. Daniel Radcliffe as Harry and Emma Watson as Hermione first appeared in 2001 playing the parts of 11 year olds. Ten years later the last film was made. Those actors became Harry and Hermione to many people. There was little chance of people thinking of them in a different way. However, if they were to have future careers post Harry Potter, they needed to be seen differently. Having grown up during the Harry Potter films, they needed to play adult parts rather than those of children and teenagers. Continue reading


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Hope in a hopeless situation

On 28th June, the fourth Sunday after Trinity, Helene Milena preached the following sermon in the Anglican Cathedral on Epiphany Island in Second Life. The readings were Psalm 130, 2 Corinthians 8:7-15, Mark 5:21-43.

As some, maybe all, of you know, I am a counsellor as well as being a teacher, a lay pastor, a wife, mother, grandma etc. I’m very grateful for the insights which my various tutors gave me while I undertook my three years’ training as a counsellor. Some of the things they said really took hold in me and have never been forgotten.

 One of the insights from my tutors was that many people finally come to counselling because they are suffering from a lack of perception of choice in their life. They are in a very difficult situation and there seems to be no way to change anything. They have no choice in what happens to them. They feel powerless and stuck. The role of the counsellor, apart from listening of course, is often to help the client to find something that they can do differently, however small that change might be. As I’ve often pointed out, if you keep on doing what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you always got. The opposite of that is to change even a small thing and the outcome will be different. Continue reading


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Stilling the storm

On 21st June, the third Sunday after Trinity, Helene Milena preached the following sermon in the Anglican Cathedral on Epiphany Island in Second Life. The readings were Psalm 133, 2 Corinthians 6:1-13, Mark 4:35-41.

I remember from my school history lessons the story of King Canute, or Cnut. He was king of Denmark, Norway, England and Scotland. Anyone who has heard of this king will probably have heard of his decision to sit on the shore and tell the tide not to rise. Henry of Huntingdon tells the story in his 12th Century Chronicle of English history in this way:

‘He commanded that his chair should be set on the shore, when the tide began to rise. And then he spoke to the rising sea saying “You are part of my dominion, and the ground that I am seated upon is mine, nor has anyone disobeyed my orders with impunity. Therefore, I order you not to rise onto my land, nor to wet the clothes or body of your Lord”. But the sea carried on rising as usual without any reverence for his person, and soaked his feet and legs. Then he moving away said:  “All the inhabitants of the world should know that the power of kings is vain and trivial, and that none is worthy the name of king but He whose command the heaven, earth and sea obey by eternal laws”. Therefore King Cnut never afterwards placed the crown on his head, but above a picture of the Lord nailed to the cross, turning it forever into a means to praise God, the great king.’

Rather than being a foolish and vain way of behaving, some now interpret Canute’s actions as those of a man who knew the limitations of his power and wished to demonstrate that to those around him. He attributed the power to command heaven, earth and sea to God alone. Continue reading


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Growing the Kingdom of God

On 14th June, the second Sunday after Trinity, Helene Milena preached the following sermon in the Anglican Cathedral on Epiphany Island in Second Life. The readings were Psalm 92:1-8, 2 Corinthians 5:6-17, Mark 4:26-34.

According to Mark, when Jesus returned from the wilderness after his temptation his message began with: ‘The time is fulfilled and the kingdom of God has come near.’ We know that Jesus did and said many things, too many to fit in a world full of books according to John, but within all those things there is a recurring theme of the kingdom of God.

Talking about kingdoms would not have seemed odd when Jesus was teaching as there were many kings around, each ruling their given area and often going to war in an attempt to seize more land. However, Jesus was not talking about a physical kingdom which covered a certain area of land and had borders, passport control, taxes and so on. The kingdom of God is better thought of as the kingship of God, the rule of God in this world. Continue reading


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Jesus and the Commandments

On 7th June, the first Sunday after Trinity, Helene Milena preached the following sermon in the Anglican Cathedral on Epiphany Island in Second Life. The readings were Psalm 130, 2 Corinthians 4:13-5:1, Mark 3:30-35.

When I was involved in teaching the faith to young people I tried to find a simple way to help them remember the Ten Commandments. I drew ten concentric circles and coloured them in four different colours.

All the commandments are concerned with honouring (holding in high esteem, respecting, loving) as we live in relationship. The inner four circles I coloured to keep them together as they all concern honouring God: his supremacy, his form, his name, his day. The next circle was on its own. It concerns honouring parents, and brings with it a promise of prosperity. The next four circles were of one colour and concern our neighbour. We honour him (or her) by not taking wife (or husband), life, possessions or reputation from him (or her). The final circle concerns ourselves. We honour ourselves by being content. The Ten Commandments were summed up by Jesus as: love God and love your neighbour as yourself. That’s pretty much how my structure worked out. Continue reading

shamrock2


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Why bother?

On 31st May 2015, the Trinity Sunday, Helene Milena preached the following sermon in the Anglican Cathedral on Epiphany Island in Second Life. The readings were Psalm 29, Romans 8:12-17 and John 3:1-17

Many years ago, when our children were still young, the Sunday School teacher, Richard, came up with a novel way of introducing the notoriously difficult concept of the Trinity on Trinity Sunday. Fortunately at the time, our local rugby league team was called ‘Wakefield Trinity’. Richard armed the Sunday School children with biscuit tins and wooden spoons. They marched into church banging the tins in time to the chant of ‘Trin-i-ty, Trin-i-ty’, just like a noisy crowd at a rugby match.

I have to say that, although the entrance made by the youngsters has really stuck in my memory, I can’t remember how Richard followed that up in explaining the Holy Trinity to those gathered. I do know he got a fair few disapproving comments from the older members of the congregation who weren’t so keen on the noise! Perhaps the explanation was lost on them too. Sadly the opportunity to repeat the event is not there as the rugby team is now called ‘Wakefield Wildcats’ which doesn’t seem much use for explaining or even introducing the Trinity. Continue reading

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