The Anglican Cathedral of Second Life

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Moving forward

On 26 June, Helene Milena preached the following sermon in the Anglican Cathedral on Epiphany Island in Second Life. The readings were Psalm 77:1-2, 11-20, Galatians 5:1, 13-25, Luke 9:51-62.

It’s been quite a week for the people of the United Kingdom. After months of debate, thousands of words spoken, written, tweeted and texted, on Thursday the day of the referendum on UK membership of the European Union finally arrived. The media worldwide has since reported the unexpected result that the majority of the British people wish to leave the EU.

Obviously in any choice of this nature there will be those who are disappointed by the outcome. In this case that is a huge number: 16.1 million, around 48% of those who voted. It would be wrong to just look at the figures from the UK, because the decision that has been made has caused distress across much of Europe. A major nation leaving the 28 country organisation cannot be without repercussions for the other nations. Change is unsettling at the best of times; few of us can class the current world situation as the best of times.

On many occasions in the last few months, prayers on Epiphany Island have been directed to God about the referendum. As a community we care about issues that affect fellow members, even if they live half a world away. On the evening of the voting itself, those of us gathered spent time asking for God’s wisdom on the matter. I believe that God has the issue in hand and that he can bring good from the outcome. Continue reading


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See in this white garment

On 19 June, Helene Milena preached the following sermon in the Anglican Cathedral on Epiphany Island in Second Life. The readings were Psalm 42, Galatians 3:23-29, Luke 8:26-39

This week it is the thirteenth birthday of Second Life. Second Life had its beginning as Linden World in 1991. At first it looked like a video arcade game but later tools were provided to allow the world to be created and adapted by those who inhabit it. In June 2003, Second Life became open to the public with just 1000 members. It now has tens of millions of accounts although the suggestion is that only around 600,000 active users exist. Of course, if Second Life didn’t exist, Anglicans of SL would never even have been thought of and many wonderful relationships that have built up over the six years of our existence would not have happened. We owe a lot to the vision of Philip Rosendale whose brainchild SL is.

One of the wonderful outcomes of giving tools to residents is the creativity that has been unleashed in world. There are landscapes of great beauty, animals, plants, trees, buildings, clothes, avatars, so many things. Shopping in SL, particularly for clothes, is a popular pastime. It’s possible to choose many different styles of clothing – the formal evening wear, beach wear, party clothes, uniforms, outrageous and unlikely outfits, with wings, tails, tattoos and halos to enhance the effect. What we wear creates an image for others to see and conveys a message about us to those we meet in world.

The same can be said for our offline lives as well as our in-world lives. What we wear helps us to make a statement about ourselves and affects how others see us. There are those who power-dress to bolster their standing in a group of people. Uniforms help us to detect which group a person belongs to and usually speak of some form of authority such as the armed forces, police or other emergency services or of members of the Scouting movement. Members of royal families may dress in splendid robes and wear crowns to set them apart from others. Special dress does much the same in the Church. Particular clothes show that people belong to religious orders of various kinds – Franciscan, Benedictine, Missionaries of Charity and so on. Chasubles, stoles, cassocks, dog collars help us to locate the leaders in a particular church. They allow us to find those who have authority within the church although not all denominations set their leaders apart in this clear way. Continue reading

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The language of love

On 12 June, Helene Milena preached the following sermon in the Anglican Cathedral on Epiphany Island in Second Life. The readings were Psalm 5, Galatians 2:15-21, Luke 7:36 – 8:3

A man called Gary Chapman wrote a book called ‘The Five Love Languages’. In it he explained what he had noticed in his years as a marriage counsellor about the way that people express their love for one another. He called these ways ‘love languages’ and explained that each person has a primary language. If we are to help that person feel loved, we need to ‘speak’ that language to them.

Some need to hear words of affirmation and appreciation spoken to them. If they find that what they have done is noticed and commented on, they feel loved.

For others it’s being in receipt of some kind of act of service that they feel loved. All the words in the world won’t speak to a person like this. Instead they need to see love acted out in order to feel it.

Society often assumes that we will give gifts to one another on special occasions, such as birthdays and anniversaries. Sometimes this can become tedious if a group of people always want to out-do each other in the generosity of their gifts. However, for some people, receiving a little gift at an unexpected time can help them to feel they are loved. We probably all know of the parent who treasures a card that a child has made for them. It’s not the monetary value that counts but the thought. Continue reading


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Pentecost

On 15 May, Pentecost, Helene Milena preached the following sermon in the Anglican Cathedral on Epiphany Island in Second Life. The readings were Psalm 104:26-end, Acts 2:1-21, John 14:8-17, 25-27.

The reflection looked at the events of the weeks from Palm Sunday to Pentecost through the eyes of a resident of Jerusalem who had chance to witness much of what went on.

It’s been an odd year so far, and that’s a fact. You get some years that just flow on as they should. The festivals mark the seasons – Purim, Passover, Pentecost, Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Tabernacles, Chanukah – and then off we go again, all as it should be, nice and orderly.

Of course you do get the odd disruption when some Zealot tries to change the world, and simply succeeds in upsetting everyone and getting himself executed. They’re not going to make any difference I reckon. What with the Romans wanting things all peaceful and controlled and our leaders wanting to have the freedom to do their own thing, anyone rocking the boat is going to meet with problems pretty soon, you can be sure of that. Continue reading


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Unity in Christ

On 8 May, the Seventh Sunday of Easter, Helene Milena preached the following sermon in the Anglican Cathedral on Epiphany Island in Second Life. The readings were Psalm 97, Acts 16:16-34, John 17:20-26.

“It’s not what you know, but who you know that matters” according to an oft-quoted piece of wisdom. If something is to get done, it can be very useful to know someone who has influence, or even someone who knows someone who has influence! There is a chance that someone might be able to “put in a good word for you”, “pull a few strings”, “tip you off” or provide “inside information” or who “knows a man who can”. Any of these might provide a slight advantage and lead to success. In a competitive world, any advantage is worth striving for.

Imagine what might happen if you knew one of the direct reports to the company owner where you wanted to work or already worked. Assuming that person was amenable to helping you, you would have a way to access the top person. The new job or the promotion you desired could come your way more easily as a result.

As Christians, we have someone available to put in a good word for us, not necessarily to get us a new job. Jesus is the Son of the owner of the universe and you can’t get anyone closer than that. The gospel passage for today records a conversation between God and Jesus and it’s about us. We get a chance to eavesdrop on the conversation. Continue reading


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God in us

On 1 May, the Sixth Sunday of Easter, Helene Milena preached the following sermon in the Anglican Cathedral on Epiphany Island in Second Life. The readings were Acts 16:9-15, Psalm 67, Revelation 21:1-10, 22–22:5, John 14:23-29.

It’s really difficult to work out what’s going on if you arrive in the middle of a conversation. Those who’ve been present all along obviously know the context of what is being said as you arrive but without some understanding of what went before a newcomer can find himself or herself totally confused.

Today’s passage from John is buried in what is called Jesus’ Final Discourse which took place on the night before Jesus died. Jesus washed the disciples’ feet and commended his example to his disciples as one to follow. A long conversation followed this. It’s apparent if you read the whole section that the disciples, despite being there for all the conversation, were thoroughly confused and needed to ask questions. Continue reading


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Love is …

On 24 April, the Fifth Sunday of Easter, Helene Milena preached the following sermon in the Anglican Cathedral on Epiphany Island in Second Life. The readings were Acts 11:1-18, Psalm 148:1-6, Revelation 21:1-6, John 13:31-35.

Are you familiar with the ‘love is …’ cartoons? These are single pictures with a short message beginning ‘love is …’. They began life in the late 1960’s as love notes sent from Kim Grove, a New Zealand artist, to Roberto Casali, who later became her husband. Kim asked Bill Asprey to take over writing and drawing the cartoon when Roberto became terminally ill. They still appear daily on his blog.

The main characters are a male and female who look like little children. The characters are shown without clothes usually but have no sexual features. The man has dark short hair and the woman has long fair hair. Occasionally children or other family members are shown also. There is a dog which also appears at times.

There are many ‘love is …’ sayings as you can imagine after such a long time. Continue reading

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