The Anglican Cathedral of Second Life

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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

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Resurrection hope

On 6 November Helene Milena preached the following sermon in the Anglican Cathedral on Epiphany Island in Second Life. The readings were  Psalm 17:1-82 Thessalonians 2:1-5, 13-17Luke 20:27-38.

I have friends who are philosophers. I don’t object to that but I somehow don’t think my mind works like theirs. I probably tend to be a bit more concrete in my thinking than they are. There are some questions which a philosopher might try to answer which I have also mused about. ‘Can we travel in time?’ is one such question. I like science fiction books and time travel often features in these. Sometimes, with Pontius Pilate, I have asked, ‘What is truth?’ I’ve pondered whether we have free will.

I’ve never wondered whether no one witnessing an event means it didn’t happen. Or whether a tree falling in a forest makes a sound if there is no one to hear it. I doubt if many have concerned themselves with how many angels will fit on the head of a pin, which seems to be a famous example of a philosophical question from the past. Continue reading

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Journey of Hope – Posada 2015

This year the Anglican Cathedral of Second Life marks the season of Advent and meditates on its meaning in our annual Posada. Figures of Mary and Joseph left the Cathedral after the Sunday service on the 29th November to go on a journey about Second Life. They will return to the Cathedral on Christmas Eve, where they will (of course) be joined by a tiny Jesus in the manger on Christmas morning.

Some 23 members and friends of the Anglicans of Second Life community are participating by playing host to Mary and Joseph during the festival. Each day, the figures change hands at their location in a short ceremony, which ends with the words, “May they be a symbol to you of taking the Lord Jesus into your heart”. They then go to spend a day and a night with their new hosts (which is actually six days and nights under Second Life’s four-hour day cycle).

This moment of exchange is a social occasion too. Friends old and new gather in-world to see Mary and Joseph and experience a part of Second Life that they wouldn’t normally see. It could be anywhere on the grid, like somebody’s second-life home or garden, a box in the sky, a campus, or the sanctuary where a community worships.  The figures can also be visited at any time, wherever they have got to in their travels.

The journey has begun. On Sunday, the Posada was kicked off at the Cathedral and went to Serenity Mountain Trails, where Mary and Joseph settled into a prepared space at Klaus’ log cabin. Guests were treated to mulled wine and encouraged to don a santa hat for the occasion. Ever the child at heart, Charlie12string Lax sat himself on the rocking reindeer, our mermaid churchwarden fixed herself a paddling pool to lie in, and visitors admired a slide show of previous Posadas going back to the first one in 2009.

Mary and Joseph settling in at Serenity Horse Retreat

Mary and Joseph settling in at Serenity Mountain Trails

A steady trickle of visitors came to view the figures over the next 24 hours, as time zones allowed, until it was time for Mary and Joseph to go to a place prepared for them by Charlie at The Shepherd’s Pasture. To the almost deafening noise of sheep, cows and donkeys, we saw the figures safely installed and admired the symbolism of three trees representing the transition from dry and burning at one end of the pasture to green and flourishing where Mary stood with the Saviour in her womb.

An angel appears at The Shepherd's Pasture

An angel appears at The Shepherd’s Pasture

As well as being great fun, the Posada is an opportunity to figuratively show hospitality to the holy family as Christmas approaches. Against the backdrop of war and persecution that has caused the displacement of an estimated 59.5 million people worldwide, the image of Mary and Joseph out on the road is particularly poignant. We remind ourselves that the Advent season is one of great hope, not only retelling how God came to be with us in weakness and vulnerability but also anticipating Jesus’ return to bring final justice to the oppressed and to wipe every tear from every eye. Pixels on a screen our travelling figures may be, but they provide a focus of hope for a diverse community of faith that literally embraces those on whom the sun sets and, at the same moment, those on whom it rises.

To see the Posada and to find out the handover times and where it is going next, you can pick up the latest information from the in-world noticeboard by the entrance to the Anglican Cathedral in Second Life. Click here for a map and teleport.

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On 29th November, Advent Sunday, Helene Milena preached the following sermon in the Anglican Cathedral on Epiphany Island in Second Life. The readings were Psalm 25:1-9, Jeremiah 33:14-16, Luke 21:25-36.

Last Monday my husband, Phil, had a hospital appointment fairly close to where our daughter lives. He was invited to have an evening meal at her house before returning home. On the way to our daughter’s home, Phil called at our granddaughter’s day nursery to collect her. As Phil approached from the car park he saw that Emily was with a group of children outside. They were just getting ready to go back inside the building. Emily looked up and exactly in the direction of Phil. She gave a big shout: “It’s Grandpa!” One of the helpers told Phil, “It’s easy to tell whose she is!” All the way home in the car Emily said, “Grandpa” and Phil replied, “Emily.” Continue reading

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Remembrance Sunday 2015

On 8th November, Remembrance Sunday, Helene Milena preached the following sermon in the Anglican Cathedral on Epiphany Island in Second Life. The readings were Psalm 62:5-12, Hebrews 9:24-28, Mark 1:14-20.

It’s odd the things that stick in our minds – snippets of memories from various parts of our lives. Sights, scents, words, people can suddenly pop up in our minds for no apparent reason. In among the jumbled memories of favourite toys, grandparents, pets, camping adventures, marriage, birth of children and so on, I still recall my exams taken at the age of sixteen. I still have the exam papers all these years later. One question particularly sticks with me from my history exam: “Describe the causes and effects of the Boer War.” Our history syllabus covered 1890 to the present day, being at that time 1969. It was a pretty miserable chunk of world history to study, mostly defined by war it seems to me. The Second Boer War ushered in the 20th Century. That faded into insignificance compared to the First World War. The Second World War followed just two decades after the First had finished. Sadly, we didn’t get time to study beyond WWII so we didn’t reach any really good news at all. Continue reading

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All Saints’ Day 2015

On 1st November, All Saints’ Day, Helene Milena preached the following sermon in the Anglican Cathedral on Epiphany Island in Second Life. The readings were Psalm 24:1-6, Revelation 21:1-6, John 11:32-44.

Today we are just about in the middle of Allhallowstide (at least those of us who are far enough east not to have moved into Monday!). All Hallow’s Eve, All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day form a three-day observance in the life of the church when the focus tends to be on those who have died.

It’s likely that All Saints’ Day began in the seventh century when Pope Boniface IV consecrated the Pantheon in Rome to the Virgin Mary and all martyrs on 13th May. He ordered the day to be observed every year as a celebration for the martyrs, saints and heroes of the faith. This was the final day of Lemuralia, an ancient festival when Romans sought to exorcise ghosts from their homes. Pope Gregory moved the day to 1st November, another day already associated with the dead by the Celts who celebrated Samhain at this time. 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