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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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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On 29 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 Psalm 22:25-31, Acts 8:26-40 and John 15:1-8.

As I sit in my study I can look out of the window and see a loganberry plant. If you have not come across a loganberry, it is a cross between a raspberry and a blackberry or bramble. The fruit are big and a very dark red in colour. The growing habit of a loganberry is like that of a blackberry – it develops long branches which need training along some support. Continue reading

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Follow the leader

On 22nd April, the fourth Sunday of Easter, Helene Milena preached the following sermon in the Anglican Cathedral on Epiphany Island in Second Life. The readings were Psalm 23, Acts 4:5-12 and John 10:11-18.

‘Follow the Leader’ is a children’s game. Everyone has to follow whoever is the leader and do exactly as they do. The original animated film of Peter Pan has a game of Follow the Leader in it. John leads the lost boys through a waterfall, over a fallen log, through the jungle, across stepping stones, swinging along vines and through a cornfield as they sing a song. Continue reading

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A new story

On 15th April 2018, the third Sunday of Easter, Helene Milena preached the following sermon in the Anglican Cathedral on Epiphany Island in Second Life. The readings were Psalm 4, Acts 3:12-19 and Luke 24:36-48.

I wonder, what is the worst mistake you’ve ever made? What makes you cringe with embarrassment when you remember what you said or did at some time? What event or action overwhelms you with sadness or regret as you consider the outcome? How often have you revisited the event in your mind and thought: ‘If only I …’? There is often the accompanying thought that things will never be good again, life is blighted forever. Continue reading