Thoughts from Rev. John Branson, August Priest-in-Residence
This past Sunday at Emmanuel we honored one of the traditions of Episcopal Churches hosting our Annual Meeting.Annual Meetings most often are “ho-hum” events, reporting on actions of the previous year by various Committees of the church, such as Property, Altar Guild, Hospitality, Music, etc.
The Management Committee of Emmanuel has primary responsibility for review of the year’s financials, adoption of the budget for the new year, the calling of the clergy (should that be necessary in a given year) oversight of the By-laws (as adopted at Emmanuel in 1999), capital projects, and more.The Management Committee’s decisions and actions are reported to the parish at the Annual Meeting.One feature and responsibility of the whole church at the Annual Meeting is the election of Officers for the Parish. This new year (till our next Annual Meeting in August of 2022) will find Ellen Avery, Senior Warden; Jerry Bird, Junior Warden; Ann Conway, Secretary; and Kathy Miner, Treasurer, as our duly elected Officers.I would encourage all members of Emmanuel to pray for our Officers, in the same way we pray for leaders in the Anglican Communion, the Episcopal Church, and the Episcopal Church of New Hampshire.
As the Apostle Paul suggests to the church in Corinth in his first epistle: The body (the church) does not consist of one member but of many.….there are many members, yet one body….Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it….but the members …have the same care for one another.If one member suffers, all suffer together…if one member is honored, all rejoice together…
Our challenge and our responsibility as members of the body of Christ—the summer chapel of Emmanuel, Dublin—is learning how to be faithful to Jesus in all we say and do, and faithful to one another as members of this community in Christ. In all we say and do, we follow the lead of the Holy Spirit inspired through prayer, service, humility and sacrifice.
In the Sunday sermon, we quoted from the poet/farmer/novelist/conservationist, Wendell Berry.Though excerpts were offered in the sermon, the full poem is printed here for your perusal and consideration.We hope you appreciate the humor as well as the poignancy of these thoughts and admonitions.I certainly would be very interested in your sense of the challenge of fulfilling his last line: Practice Resurrection. Would love to hear from you!
Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front
by Wendell Berry
Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more
of everything ready-made. Be afraid
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know.
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord.
Love the world. Work for nothing.
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it.
Denounce the government and embrace
the flag. Hope to live in that free
republic for which it stands.
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers.
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.
Say that the leaves are harvested
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion — put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come.
Expect the end of the world. Laugh.
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts.
So long as women do not go cheap
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep
of a woman near to giving birth?
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head
in her lap. Swear allegiance
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos
can predict the motions of your mind,
lose it. Leave it as a sign
to mark the false trail, the way
you didn’t go. Be like the fox
who makes more tracks than necessary,
some in the wrong direction.
“Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front” from The Country of Marriage, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Inc. 1973. Also published by Counterpoint Press in The Selected Poems of Wendell Berry, 1999; The Mad Farmer Poems, 2008; New Collected Poems, 2012.