#Thanksgiving: Food on the Road – Br. Luke Ditewig

3_ThanksgivingWe Brothers are helping people write and introduce fresh prayers into the Prayers of the People by learning about the seven principal forms of prayer identified in the Episcopal Book of Common Prayer: adoration, praise, thanksgiving, penitence, oblation, intercession, and petition.

We invite your prayers to the God of Grace in words and images on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram in the format #prayersof #life … you may want to start “I give thanks…”
View the prayers of othersprayersofthepeople.org

To read more sermons about the seven forms of prayer: Teach Us to Pray

Catalina Island is 22 miles off the coast of Los Angeles. A Christian camp there, Campus by the Sea, is one of my very favorite places which grew up visiting frequently. After seminary, I spent over a year living there on the beach in the small, isolated staff community, who are caretakers of a sacred space and hosts to many coming for spiritual retreat. Camp nurtured my gifts for hospitality and service, valuing simplicity and honoring God in mundane work, preparing me for monastic life.

During my year on staff, there was a major wildfire on Catalina. It spread to ridges surrounding our camp causing us to quickly evacuate our guests and ourselves by boat to Catalina’s town. We finally left the island late that night with the eery sight of flames amid the darkness near camp. We huddled together in prayer and song, fearing the loss of our sacred place and home.

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On the Lord’s Prayer – Br. David Allen

Most of us know some version of the Lord’s Prayer by heart; but do we really listen to what each clause means?  How well can you explain it when asked about what it means?

Let’s take a very few minutes to think about what we mean when we say the Lord’s Prayer.  I shall use the form of that prayer that we use in our worship here at the monastery, the contemporary form from the current Episcopal Prayer Book.

At the beginning of the prayer we address God as Our Father in heaven.  This acknowledges both the way Jesus referred to God, and the way Jesus taught his disciples to think of God as our heavenly Father “by whose Name all fatherhood is known”. (Hymn 587)

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Bernard Mizeki – Br. Geoffrey Tristram

 This week, there is a great festival taking place, drawings tens of thousands of people.  It’s not a pop concert, or a political rally.  It’s taking place in Marondella, Zimbabwe.  For this week marks the anniversary of the death of Bernard Mizeki, who gave his life as a martyr, serving the Shona people of Africa.

We brothers of the SSJE have a special devotion to Bernard because he became a Christian through the ministry of our brotherhood in Cape Town, South Africa.  We used to run a school there and as a young man Bernard attended night classes.  It was through meeting and talking with our brother, Frederick Puller, that he became a Christian – and was baptized on March 9, 1886.

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Come With an Open Mind – Br. John Braught

Matthew 11: 25-27

The Son reveals the Father to those whom he chooses. Yet, Jesus says, the Father has hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and revealed them to infants.

It is a well-worn image that those who are wise in their own eyes cannot see God because they are too attached to their own ideas. It’s well-worn because, when it comes to God, it’s quite easy for us to think we know who God is, and to place limitations on God, that is, decide beforehand what God can and cannot do. Fortunately, God cannot be put in a box.

I know this because at other times – usually when I’m despairing over some problem, weakness, or circumstance and I can’t see God anywhere – I’m able to lay aside my ideas about God, and to let God be God.

What usually happens? What is revealed when old ideas are cast aside?  I cannot tell you specifically what you will see. The Son reveals the Father to those whom he chooses:  individuals who seek God with an open mind.

What I can tell you is that God is really big. God is bigger than all the ways we typically limit God.  For example, God is bigger than the United States. God is bigger than the English language. God is bigger than anything our minds can fathom.  And God is even bigger than our problems. God is really, really, really, BIG.  And God is full of surprises.

Chapter forty-one of our rule, The Maturing of our Minds in Christ, states that “as our faith matures we come to recognize Christ’s hidden presence everywhere.” That’s because a maturing faith is paradoxically childlike. It is marked by openness to new ideas, points of view, and experiences. All of which enable us to see again our God, who knows neither time, nor place, nor limitation.

The Son reveals the Father to those whom he chooses. Will you come to the Son with an open mind so you can see?

Why SSJE: Kari Peterson

I often remember that the brothers are at prayer as my alarm goes off early in the morning, during my lunchtime, while I’m commuting home at the end of the day, and after supper in the evening. I suspect that there are many like me both in the vicinity of the monastery itself and strewn across all parts of the country and the globe. Whether we realize it or not, we count on the rhythmic “drum beat” of the brothers’ daily prayer in the background or foreground of our lives to keep us faithful in our own practice of prayer and in our commitment to life in the Spirit.

Kari Peterson – Cambridge, Massachusetts


Want to add your own testimonial?


Cowley: Spring 2012

This issue of Cowley takes up the theme of baptism and includes a Monastic Wisdom for Everyday Living insert by Br. James Koester on how baptism enables us to share in the divine life.

Selected articles from the Spring 2012 Cowley Magazine

  1. Br. Mark Brown suggests a new promise to add to the Baptismal Covenant.
  2. Poetry for Holy Week:
    Br. Geoffrey Tristram unlocks the beauty of
    George Herbert’s “Easter Wings,” and
    Br. Jonathan Maury illuminates the Easter “Exsultet.”
  3. Br. Curtis Almquist tells the inspiring story of the Ecclesia walking pilgrimage to Emery House.
  4. What does vocation feel like? In an interview, Br. Tom Shaw speaks of his own experience of call to SSJE.
  5. Br. Kevin Hackett treads into the depths of our lives as baptized Christians.

Ways to read and share this Cowley magazine

  • Open an online version of the magazine.
  • Download a PDF copy of the magazine and the Monastic Wisdom insert.
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Tell us what you think of this Cowley Magazine in the comments below.
Comments, letters, or ideas for future articles welcome.

Belonging to God – Br. James Koester

 Peter 3: 11-18

Psalm 90: 1-6, 13-17

Mark 12: 13-17


It was the spring of 1976 and Canada was in the throes of a federal election campaign. I had just turned 18 the summer before so this was the first time I would be able to vote. I decided I wanted to see an election from the inside, and to cover my bases I worked for three different candidates, from three different political parties. I worked for a Liberal Member of Parliament from Toronto, stuffing envelopes in his office on Parliament Hill. I went leafleting door to door for the New Democratic candidate running in the constituency where I lived in Ottawa and I did office work for a Progressive Conservative candidate in another Ottawa riding. One evening I attended an all candidates meeting in my guise as a Progressive Conservative party worker. That riding was clearly an important one for the two main parties to win as the Conservatives had put up a well known candidate hoping she would be able to take the riding from the governing Liberals. The Liberals wanted to keep the riding, so they sent the Prime Minister, Pierre Trudeau, to the all candidates meeting. Between them, the New Democrats didn’t have a chance. At the end of the evening, the moderator asked for one last question. I was standing at the back of the room and my hand shot up. I had a question for the Prime Minister and I wanted to ask it. Amazingly the moderator pointed to me and I got to ask my question.

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Great is Thy Faithfulness – Br. Geoffrey Tristram

Profession In Initial Vows – Luke Ditewig, SSJE

Today is a day which we have been hoping for, and praying for, for a very long time.  A day of rejoicing.  Our dear brother Luke is to make the vows of poverty, celibacy and obedience, as a professed brother of our community.

And what a wonderful day, Trinity Sunday, for this profession!  First, because, Luke, you grew up and for many years were formed in the Christian faith by the community of your home parish, Trinity Presbyterian, Santa Ana, California.  Secondly, our understanding as brothers, of what Christian community is all about, is profoundly rooted and grounded in the very nature of God, the Holy Trinity. Continue reading

Suffering for the Sake of Christ – Br. David Vryhof

A sermon for the Feast of Blandina and her Companions
I Peter 1:3-9 and Mark 8:34-38

There are times when the path to which God calls us leads us into trouble or difficulty.  Being faithful to that path, being obedient to that call, can prove to be very costly.  We have only to recall Christ’s agony in Gethsemane to know that this was true for Jesus, and he assures us that it will also be true for many of those who choose to embrace and follow him on the Way.  Continue reading

Steadfastness of Faith – Br. David Allen

1 Cor. 1:18-25; Jn 12:44-50

Today we honor Justin, martyred in Rome in the year 167 (A.D.)

What is there about a martyr that makes him, or her, significant?  How can any of the martyrs help us to grow in the Christian faith?  One way is for us to be mindful of the witness of the martyrs. (cf. SSJE Rule. of Life, Ch. 38) Continue reading