The Anglican Cathedral of Second Life


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Ash Wednesday

On 1 March, Ash Wednesday, Helene Milena preached the following sermon in the Anglican Cathedral on Epiphany Island in Second Life. The readings were  Joel 2.1-2, 12-17Psalm 51:1-18, Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21.

The Ash Wednesday liturgy we are using, taken from the Church of England resources, is rich in content. There is barely any need of a reflection if you pay attention to the words of the liturgy. I will therefore confine myself to a few words which highlight what Lent is about, to remind those who are familiar with the season and to inform those who aren’t.

Lent is a time of preparation for Easter. To go straight to Easter without preparation is rather like seeing the view from the mountaintop without climbing the mountain. That can be done where trains or cable cars take people to the top but there is something missing from the experience if you have not got there by making some effort.

Lent is a time to consider just why Easter is part of the Christian story at all. By focusing on our own mortality and sin, we see clearly that only God is able to save and restore us, which he did through the death and resurrection of Jesus. This is the supreme act of God’s grace, to do for us what we could never do for ourselves.

Lent (which comes from the Anglo-Saxon word for Spring, when the days lengthen) is a period of 40 days, beginning today on Ash Wednesday and ending on Easter Eve. For those who are interested in the arithmetic, the Sundays of this period are not counted as part of Lent. They are little celebrations in anticipation of the great celebration of Easter. Continue reading


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Looking both ways

On 31 January, Candlemas, Helene Milena preached the following sermon in the Anglican Cathedral on Epiphany Island in Second Life. The readings were Psalm 24, Malachi 3:1-5, Luke 2:22-40.

The month of January is about to finish. It gets its name from the Roman god Janus. He was the spirit of doorways and archways and possibly first of all was the god of beginnings. All first days, of weeks, months, years and agricultural seasons, were sacred to him. It makes sense, therefore, that the month of January is named after him. He is shown as a double-faced head, facing two ways at once.

At the beginning of the year, we too met here in the Cathedral and faced two ways at once. We used the ancient practice of the ‘examen’ to review the year past. We then turned to face the new year by dedicating ourselves to God’s service in the words of the Methodist Covenant Prayer.

I wonder if you noticed that the introduction to today’s service also has us looking in two directions:

“Today we celebrate both the joy of his coming and his searching judgement, looking back to the day of his birth and forward to the coming days of his passion.”

“Looking back to the day of his birth”: we look back to Christmas as we come to the end of the seasons of Christmas and Epiphany. The stable, which has graced the Peace Garden in this season, disappears for another year. The angels, shepherds and wise men fade into the background.

“Looking … forward to the coming days of his passion”: Lent will soon be upon us, beginning on 10 February which is Ash Wednesday, followed by Holy Week and Easter. So soon after celebrating the wonderful story of a miraculous birth, we have to turn our attention to the suffering of the adult Jesus. It all seems to rush in too quickly. Continue reading


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The new covenant

On 22nd March 2015, 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 119:9-16, Jeremiah 31:31-34 and John 12:20-33

In the Church year we have moved into Passiontide, a time when our focus is on Jesus’ suffering and death on the cross. Next week we will begin following Jesus through the last week of his life. This is the part of the year when there are many special services as we try to walk through as much of that week as we can. We begin with Palm Sunday when we walk from the Peace Garden to the cathedral to recall Jesus’ ride into Jerusalem. Continue reading


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Looking to Jesus

On 15th March 2015, 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 107:1-3, 17-22, Numbers 21:4-9 and John 3:14-21.

I wonder if you would class yourself as superstitious. If you spill some salt, do you toss a pinch of it over your left shoulder into the face of the devil? Have you ever broken a mirror and expected seven years’ bad luck? Do you avoid putting shoes on a table as that causes bad luck? If the palm of your right hand itches, do you anticipate coming into money? Are you happy at the thought of the good fortune a black cat walking towards you will bring? Continue reading


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Ash Wednesday 2013

Every year we have held an Ash Wednesday service in the Cathedral, led by Gareth Janus (The Revd Dr Gareth Edwards). Though some may wish that we used music in our services, there is something about just using words, spoken and typed, which lends great power to this way of beginning Lent. The words hang there longer than if just spoken because they are on the screen in text. We wait for the responses from those present and while we wait the meaning of what has been said is impressed upon us.

We confess to you, Lord …
all our past unfaithfulness: the pride, hypocrisy and impatience of our lives.

We confess to you, Lord …
ALL: Lord, have mercy.

We confess to you, Lord …
Our self-indulgent appetites and ways, and our exploitation of other people.

ALL: Lord, have mercy.

We confess to you, Lord …
Our anger at our own frustration
and our envy of those more fortunate than ourselves.

ALL: Lord, have mercy.

The imposition of ashes

The imposition of ashes

This is just a part of what was said. Maybe this way of marking Ash Wednesday would not work for everyone but it works for me. Then, we had the Ashing, or imposition of ashes, when each is given an ash cross on the forehead. We were invited to come forward to kneel at the altar rail. Gareth asked each of us to give our names to him and to include our RL name if we wanted to. Some gave both names, some just their SL name. There was something very powerful about those present giving RL names. It said that this was not some empty role play but a reality that touched the person behind the avatar. To each Gareth used the name given and repeated the ancient words: Remember that thou art dust, and to dust thou shalt return.

My only sadness this year was that my viewer stopped working just before I received the ash cross. However, even with that said, it was still a very moving occasion.

Thank you, Gareth.

Helene Milena – Lay Pastor


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Laissez les bons temps rouler!

As we approach the season of Lent, we invite everyone to a bit of pre-Lenten festivity, in the spirit of Mardi Gras.  The Epiphany courtyard has been set up carnival-style with some fun and games, and fine food and drink for your enjoyment.  This free form event will run through Tuesday evening (SL time), so please stop by and take part!  Festive attire (PG, of course) is encouraged!  Have fun, and Laissez les bons temps rouler (let the good times roll)!