The Anglican Cathedral of Second Life

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Remembrance Sunday

In the United Kingdom, the Sunday nearest to 11 November is commemorated as Remembrance Sunday. On that day we remember with gratitude those who have given their lives in war. We met in the Cathedral on Epiphany Island for a service and used a form of worship provided by Churches Together in Britain and Ireland. We listened to the Last Post being played then observed the two minute silence before Reveille. There were two brief passages of scripture: John 14:27 and James 3:17-18. The sermon is given below.

Despite the threat of Covid-19, North Korea held a huge military parade on 10 October. It was to mark the 75th Anniversary of the founding of the Workers’ Party. Around 32,000 troops practised for months in preparation for the parade, making sure they could goose-step perfectly. Mistakes are simply not allowed. On the big day they marched past their Supreme Leader Kim Jong-Un, shouting “Long live!” and similar loyal slogans and cries of adoration in such loud voices that they would probably not be able to speak the next day. Not only people, but impressive hardware was on display, including air defence systems and armoured vehicles. Most impressive of all were new ballistic missiles. The largest of these was in Intercontinental Ballistic Missile which was carried on a launcher vehicle with eleven axles.

There are several purposes of such displays. It’s an opportunity for provocation towards other countries that are seen as enemies. It’s a chance to show off North Korea’s military might, still growing despite the country being affected by sanctions. It is also a display of loyalty towards and pride in the country. Wonderful displays and uplifting slogans are designed to reinforce the belief in the people of North Korea that their country is doing well, that it is a great country with a great leader.

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International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church

The first day of November is a special one in the Church Year. It is All Saints’ Day, a day to remember the communion of saints, that is all who have lived or are living the Christian faith in their day to day life. It is also the first day of the Suffering Church Action and Awareness Week, when we remember those who suffer today because they are following the Christian faith. The readings at the noon service in the cathedral on Epiphany Island were Psalm 34:1-10; Romans 12:9-21; Matthew 5:1-12. The sermon is given below.

Did you have a good Hallowe’en celebration yesterday? I think in the UK there was not much happening because of the various degrees of lockdown in different areas. I think it was the first year that we have had no one knocking on our door. Although it’s not a celebration I am very keen on, the quietness was yet another reminder that this year is not like others in many ways. Young people knocking on the door would have been the old normal, not the new normal everyone seems to talk about.

Yet, the Church Year rolls on just as it has done for centuries. All Hallows’ Eve is followed by the festival of All Hallows or All Saints, and here we are, celebrating as the Church has done since the 4th Century. At first the day was used to remember the many Christians who had been martyred for their faith. Now it is used to remind us of the communion of saints which is made of two parts, unless you are a Roman Catholic when there are three parts. The Church Triumphant is the great gathering of people who have lived their lives as Christians and now enjoy safety and happiness in God’s presence. Those of us who are living the Christian life now on earth are the Church Militant; we are still involved in fighting the good fight of faith, as Paul urged Timothy in his first letter.

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St Francis’ Day

As usual this year we celebrated Creationtide on Epiphany Island. It’s a wonderful chance to exploit the creative possibilities of Second Life, and the creativity of our church warden, Ana. Creationtide ends on 4th October, which is St Francis’ Day. The readings that day were Psalm 19; Exodus 20:1-4, 7-9, 12-20; Matthew 21:33-46. The sermon is given below.

The season of Creationtide is upon us, as you can probably tell from your surroundings. This is not a season that has been celebrated for centuries, such as Lent and Holy Week. It is very much a new initiative in church terms which has come from 1989 recognition of the Day of Prayer for Creation by the Ecumenical Patriarchate. It is now celebrated by many churches worldwide.

Every year a theme is chosen by the ecumenical committee from around the world. This year the theme is Jubilee for the Earth. Jubilee is currently used with the meaning of an anniversary celebration, particularly for a monarch. Everyday use doesn’t come anywhere near the meaning of the word in the Bible. The Israelites were commanded to let the land rest every seventh year. The jubilee year was a rest after seven lots of seven years: ‘You shall thus consecrate the fiftieth year and proclaim a release through the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you.’ (Leviticus 25:10). The land was allowed to rest, anyone enslaved because of debt was freed in this year and lands that had been sold because of debt were returned to their previous owners. This helped to alleviate poverty and remove inequality. It was this idea which was behind the Jubilee 2000 campaign to cancel unpayable debt. This was not just an anniversary party; it brought about significant change for people and the environment. Every year, Christians around the world are called to consider how we can live in a way that is best for the Earth and its inhabitants.

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Candlemas 2020

This is the sermon preached in the Cathedral on Epiphany Island by Helene Milena on 2nd February 2020. The readings were Malachi 3:1-5, Psalm 24 and Luke 2:22-40.

There’s an old joke about the Pope. I’d like to remind you of it, but I’ll change it to being about the Archbishop of Canterbury as we’re an Anglican Church.

It rained heavily one spring in Canterbury and flood waters began to rise. The Archbishop of Canterbury was at the cathedral. When he went to leave, the water was up to the top of the steps. As he stood there, one of the cathedral staff came by in a small inflatable dinghy which he normally used on holiday.

“Climb in, Your Grace, and I’ll soon get you to dry land.”

“I am an archbishop. I have faith in God. I shall pray and God will rescue me.” With that, the archbishop refused to get in the dinghy.

Some time later, the water was spreading through the cathedral and the archbishop ended up standing on a pew to keep his feet dry while he prayed.

An inshore lifeboat came into the cathedral and drew close to the archbishop.

A crewman said, “Climb in, Your Grace, and we’ll soon get you to dry land.”

The archbishop refused to get in the lifeboat. “I am an archbishop. I have faith in God. I shall pray and God will rescue me.” Continue reading

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Creationtide Sunday

On 2nd September, the second day of Creationtide, Helene Milena preached the following sermon in the Anglican Cathedral on Epiphany Island in Second Life. The readings were Psalm 36:5-9, James 1:17-27 and Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23.

Earlier in the week I watched a television programme called ‘A week without lying’ (BBC Horizon Scientists studied three people from diverse walks of life to find out if it is possible to live without lying. Using the latest technology, the participants were monitored for heart rate, sweating, body movements and language use to indicate if they were lying or not. Once some baseline measurements had been taken during typical days, the second part of the experiment challenged the participants to live for a week without lying. Continue reading

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Pentecost 2018

On 20th May, the Feast of Pentecost, Helene Milena preached the following sermon in the Anglican Cathedral on Epiphany Island in Second Life. The readings were Psalm 104:26-35, Acts 2:1-21 and John 15:26-27, 16:4b-15.

Anyone who has contact with small children will soon find out that waiting is a very difficult thing for them to do. They live very much in the now and would much prefer that any special event could happen now, rather than some time in the future. Add to that the fact that the concept of time passing is often somewhat shaky in a child, and we soon have a rather difficult situation. Many parents (and grandparents) resort to saying how many ‘sleeps’ there will be until the special occasion. That works well with our granddaughter Emily because she can count accurately, forwards and backwards. Her latest question is about how long until she goes into the next class at school. As that’s going to be at the beginning of September, she’ll need to count down from about a hundred! Continue reading

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Christ the intercessor

On 13th 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 1, Acts 1:15-17, 21-26 and John 17:6-19.</e

One of the emphases in many walks of life now seems to be the desirability of being a ‘reflective practitioner’. Books are written on the subject and courses are run to help people become such a person. Some of you may well have read such books or be such a person. For those who don’t know what a reflective practitioner is, let me just briefly explain. The idea is that we should take time to think about things we have done, to reflect on them, and learn from what went well and what didn’t go so well, in order to keep on learning. Continue reading

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Parting instructions

On 6th 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 Psalm 98, Acts 10:44-48 and John 15:9-17.

I’m sure everyone is familiar with what can happen as someone sets off on a journey. There is that last minute check to see if everything has been remembered. Spare socks? Important documents? Money? If someone is waving a person off there might be last minute instructions too: ‘Call me when you arrive’, ‘Don’t forget to wear sunscreen’, ‘Give your sister a big hug from me’, etc. The hope is that by making what you say ring in the person’s ears as they leave, they may remember it. Continue reading

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Thy Kingdom Come

This year, Anglicans of Second Life is taking part in a global initiative called ‘Thy Kingdom Come’. In 2016 the Archbishops of Canterbury and York in England started a special time of prayer between Ascension Day and Pentecost, a time when we look forward to the coming of the Holy Spirit on the Church. The focus of prayer is for more people to come to know Jesus Christ. This has now become a global movement which involves many different Christian denominations.

This year the dates for Thy Kingdom Come are 10-20 May. There are several ways you can get involved. If you go to the Pledge to Pray page you can sign up as someone who is joining this global wave of prayer. You can have a dot shown on the map of the world to indicate where you are. As members of Anglicans of Second Life come from all over the world, we could add a lot of dots between us!

There are a lot of resources available. There are some wonderful videos including one discussing what it means to pray ‘Thy kingdom come’ and the Lord’s Prayer in sign language. There are also resources for prayer. There is a huge amount to explore there. I found the Methodist Church’s ‘Waiting in wonder’, a Novena and a Catholic Novena and a prayer journal among the new resources for 2018. There is something for everyone, whatever your preference. You can get your friends and family involved if you wish also.

On Epiphany Island we will have a labyrinth with the Lord’s Prayer prayer stations taken from the resources. We hope you will walk the labyrinth and pray. We will launch the initiative with prayer in the chapel at midnight and at noon on Ascension Day, 10 May. Please call into the chapel to pray at any time. You could also go to the cathedral and light a candle for anyone for whom you are praying. We will have a wonderful celebration in the cathedral at noon on the Feast of Pentecost, 20 May. This will be my last service as Lay Pastor, although I anticipate leading some services in the future if the Leadership Team invite me to.

Helene Milena – Lay Pastor

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Financial report for the first quarter of 2018

Anglicans of Second Life is run by volunteers and relies on donations to cover the cost of the ministry. No one receives any money for the work they do for AoSL.

The annual amount budgeted for is $2,343 (US dollars). That is $585.75 per quarter.

Donations come in world in Lindens. Some of the Linden dollar income is from a proportion of sales of items in the Marketplace which creators have chosen to donate to AoSL. Other income is in dollars in the PayPal account. Some items of expenditure are paid directly but are counted as donations. When working out the accounts, it is difficult to be accurate as exchange rates vary over time. All figures are therefore approximate. There are also charges incurred when changing money from Lindens to dollars and moving the money into PayPal and then into a bank account.

In the quarter from January to March we received L$60404 which is approximately $226. $293 was donated via PayPal. $60 was paid for the project management software that is used for discussions by volunteers. This makes the total income for the quarter approximately $579, which is close to our quarterly needs.

Many thanks to everyone who has donated to this ministry.

Helene Milena – Lay Pastor