The Anglican Cathedral of Second Life


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Alleluia!!

As genuine Anglican Christians, we observe many of the ways of the offline church, with some slight adjustments at times because of our context. One of the traditions is that in Lent, there are no flowers in the church and that in services the word Alleluia is not used. In the cathedral and chapel services on Epiphany Island, we do the same. Many of us feel the lack of Alleluias to be a great sacrifice and long for their return. At our Easter Vigil, we enjoy the first use of Alleluia for six and a half weeks. Then on Easter Sunday we have many more. The atmosphere of celebration is so great that we need more than just Alleluias said, shouted and gestured. We usually have fireworks to complete our celebration, courtesy of Ana our churchwarden. This year Ana excelled herself. Fireworks went off in the Cathedral at various points in the service as well as at the end when we had completed our service at the Garden Tomb.

To give you some idea of the effect, here are some photos taken by Celberon.

The cathedral on Easter Day.

The fireworks begin!

The service has ended – coloured particles begin to appear.

The display becomes more dazzling.

The view of our celebration from a distance.

 

 


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Individuals matter

On 16 April, Easter Day, Helene Milena preached the following sermon in the Anglican Cathedral on Epiphany Island in Second Life. The readings were  Psalm 118.14-24Acts 10:34-43, John 20:1-18.

After six and a half weeks of introspection and somewhat sombre readings in our services, after special services in which we retold the events of what had become the inevitable end of Jesus’ earthly life, today we celebrate.

Jesus died and rose again, defeating death. The tomb could not hold him, death was denied victory. Though for a while it seemed to have won, evil did not triumph. Today we say Alleluia! Today we rejoice in our freedom from condemnation as a result of sin. We are celebrating the wonderful action of God in Christ which has brought about our reconciliation to God. Today we recall what Peter told to those gathered in Cornelius’ house: “In every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to God.” And, “Everyone who believes in Jesus receives forgiveness of sins through his name.” Continue reading


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Holy Week on Epiphany Island

Anglicans on Epiphany Island are busy with special services in this most important week of the year, just as our counterparts are in offline churches throughout the world. Below are some pictures to give you a taste of what has happened in the last week.

On Palm Sunday Ana excelled herself as usual in decorating the sim with palm trees and palm branches. We met in the Peace Garden for the beginning of our service and then processed, along with a reluctant donkey, to the Cathedral where the rest of the service took place. In the garden we read the Palm Gospel Matthew 21:1-11 . In the cathedral the readings were Philippians 2:5-11 and the Passion Gospel which this year was a dramatised version of Matthew 26:14-27:66 . Continue reading


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Hope amid despair

On 2 April, the fifth Sunday of Lent, Helene Milena preached the following sermon in the Anglican Cathedral on Epiphany Island in Second Life. The readings were  Psalm 130Ezekiel 37:1-14, John 11:1-45.

Those of you who know Charlie12string, who leads Morning Prayer here on Epiphany Island, will know that he has a somewhat irreverent sense of humour. He often follows up one of his comments with “One flash and I’m ash”. Every year, as Lent approaches, Charlie tells me that he’s “giving up Lent for Lent”. It’s quite an amusing idea and, to a certain extent, I can see his point.

Lent is a time for self-examination, for taking stock of our lives and being honest about our weaknesses and faults. I suppose most of us would rather accept that we are basically good people who have not done anything terribly wrong. It’s not a comfortable idea to consider purposefully looking for those things in our lives that are not as they should be. However, if we have the courage to look it can be helpful and even hopeful. Taking time to reflect on our lives can help us to see where we can make changes that may benefit us as well as others around us.

At this point in Lent, things become even less enticing. Death features strongly and that’s not a topic that most of us like to dwell on, but perhaps it’s not all bad news. Continue reading


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Seeing clearly

On 26 March, the fourth Sunday of Lent, Helene Milena preached the following sermon in the Anglican Cathedral on Epiphany Island in Second Life. The readings were  Psalm 23Ephesians 5:8-14, John 9:1-41.

A few years ago a 40 year old woman, Joanne Milne, from Gateshead in the North East of England, became famous, something she probably never expected to be. She was born deaf and was given cochlear implants to allow her to hear. Having waited four weeks from the operation, the implants were switched on and the first few minutes in the hearing world for Joanne were filmed. The film went viral on YouTube. Joanne was in tears as she heard the days of the week spoken by a nurse. Later she explained how amazing it was to hear running water, birds calling as they flew overhead, the light switch as it clicked, the voices and laughter of herself and friends. Having been aware of the lack of one of her senses, Joanne was learning what it was like to experience something completely new.

I think the man in our gospel story would have a good understanding of just how Joanne felt. He was born blind and was also fully adult. He had lived all his life in darkness, unable to see around him, reduced to begging to make a living. Whereas Joanne hopefully received sympathy and consideration in her life as a result of her difficulty, the man (or his parents) were suspected of being sinners and hence causing the blindness. Poor man! Continue reading


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Living Water

On 19 March, the third Sunday of Lent, Helene Milena preached the following sermon in the Anglican Cathedral on Epiphany Island in Second Life. The readings were  Psalm 95Exodus 17:1-7, John 4:5-42.

The Samaritan woman at the well is probably for many of us a well-known character in the gospel narrative. I wonder what you think when you hear her mentioned. Do you see a much maligned and ostracised woman whom society had rejected? Do you see a terrible sinner who lured men into her bed and then cast them off? Perhaps you see a bold woman who is prepared to set aside the conventions of society and dare to debate on religious matters with a Jewish rabbi.

What we actually know about this woman is not very much. She was drawing water at noon, which is unusual. The evening would have been more likely, when the heat of the sun had gone, or early morning to get fresh supplies for a new day. At noon most people would be keeping in the shade if possible. It could just be that on this occasion the woman went at noon for an extra visit for some reason or it could be that she wanted to avoid the other women of the city. The reason for avoidance could have been that the man she was living with was not her husband in a legal sense. She’d had five husbands but this seemed to be what we might call a common-law husband. Even without the complication of this sixth man, perhaps the woman felt shame due to the ending of her previous marriages (Jews considered that no woman should have more than three husbands) and so avoided the other women. Of course, in those days when life was more precarious than now, all five husbands might have died but I suppose even that might have made tongues wag. Continue reading


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Under cover of darkness

On 12 March, the second Sunday of Lent, Helene Milena preached the following sermon in the Anglican Cathedral on Epiphany Island in Second Life. The readings were  Psalm 121Genesis 12:1-4a, John 3:1-17

Feeling like a thief in the night, Nicodemus walked from deep shadow to deep shadow through the narrow streets of Jerusalem. Bright patches of moonlight were too revealing. He didn’t want to be seen. What would people think if they looked out of their doors at this time of night? All decent people were in their homes with family and friends, catching up on news with visitors who had come for the feast of Passover. Nicodemus was a member of the Sanhedrin, an important person, someone to be looked up to, a wise and respected teacher. It wouldn’t do for too many questions to be asked by people and especially by other members of the Sanhedrin.

Nicodemus’ wife thought he was mad, risking so much to visit a travelling rabbi from Galilee. Weren’t there enough great rabbis he could talk to and debate with in Jerusalem? Why this one? What was so special about him? But Nicodemus couldn’t rest. He’d been there when Jesus had stormed through the Temple, scattering the merchants and their animals in all directions, spilling coins for the alert to quickly pocket. Of course, most people had been indignant, well most people of any standing anyway. The ordinary people seemed to really like this Jesus of Nazareth. They seemed to sense that he understood and cared for them. Nicodemus had heard talk of healings taking place, but many of these simple folk were easily taken in. Charlatans turned up regularly, fleecing people of their money in exchange for bogus cures and medicines. Continue reading