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Robin and Linda Williams with Garrison Keillor and Richie Gorski on the synthesizer…

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Across the Blue Mountains

One morning, one morning, one morning in May
I heard a married man to a young girl say
“Go dress you up, Pretty Katie, and come go with me
Across the Blue Mountains to the Allegheny.

“I’ll buy you a horse, love, and saddle to ride
I’ll buy myself another to ride by your side
We’ll stop at every tavern we’ll drink when we’re dry
Across the Blue Mountains go my Katie and I

“Well, up spoke her mother, and angry was she then
“Sayin’ daughter, oh dear daughter, he’s a married man
And there’s young men aplenty more handsome than he
Let him take his own wife to the Allegheny”

“Oh mother, oh mother, he’s the man of my heart
And wouldn’t it be a dreadful thing if we should have to part
I’d envy every woman who I’d ever see
Go ‘cross the Blue Mountains to the Allegheny”

(Well the last time I saw him, he was saddled to ride
With Katie, his darling, right there by his side
A laughing and a singing and thankful to be free
To cross the Blue Mountain to the Allegheny)

We left before daybreak on a buckskin and roan
Past tall shivering pines where mockingbirds moan
Past dark cabin windows where eyes never see
Across the Blue Mountains to the Allegheny

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Past dark cabin windows where eyes never see
Across the Blue Mountains to the Allegheny

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river rock collection spot near harrisonburg

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My last travel in life with my husband was across these mountains to a new home together.

It lasted for another twenty-five years.  I am so glad we made the trip and took the chance.

We did it about the same time that this recording was made and I much remember going with him to hear Robin and Linda sing together in a lovely Virginia venue.

One of our many cherished memories.

Most of these photos were taken on our travels through the Allegheny Mountains and through the Shenandoah River area which is also captured here.  The first photo were taken in the Allegheny mountains in May and the two river pictures were taken of the Shenandoah, also in May.

JUNE 21 | THE DAY THE SUN STANDS STILL

Solstice means sun (sol) stands still (sistere).  As the sun reaches its most northerly point in the sky each year between June 20 and 22, its position at noon doesn’t change.  It appears suspended directly overhead at the Tropic of Cancer (23 degrees 27 minutes north latitude), before it begins shifting southward toward the equator again and its lowest point, in late December when the second solstice occurs. The precise June solstice moment this year was 10:51 a.m. UT (6:51 a.m. EDT) today.

Solstice is different from an equinox, the two times each year when the sun is directly above the Earth’s equator and day and night are of equal length. Equinoxes mark the beginning of spring (March) and fall (September).  In ancient times, solstices and equinoxes were keenly observed and guided predictions about annual seasons and weather. Solstice marks the day when the sun takes its longest path through the sky and we have the most daylight.

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Ancient cultures developed unique communal rituals to pay tribute to cycles of birth, life and nature.

According to Dr Duane Hamacher, professor of cultural astrology at the University of New South Wales:

Examples around the world abound and each culture assigns a distinct meaning to this event. But it is clear that global cultures today and in the distant past were keen observers of the sky and marked the rising and setting positions of the sun during the solstices as very special and sacred events – typically to develop calendars.

In Australia the Watharung Aboriginal people of Victoria built a stone arrangement called Wurdi Youang (meaning big hill) that marked the position of the setting sun at the solstices and equinoxes” 

Kupala Night

Ivan Kupala Day in Belgorod Oblast Russia, in 2011
Wiki Commons/Лобачев Владимир

It is really midsummer and ancient cultures began their summer celebration on May Day or Beltane, but we now view it as the astronomical beginning of summer season in the Northern Hemisphere. Solstice was celebrated by Germanic tribes (Ivan Kupala), Celts (Feill-Sheathain), Gauls (Feast of Epona), Romans (Vestalia) and Ancient Druids (Alben Heruin), who celebrated the day as a wedding between the heavens and the earth.

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Ehrwald Basin, Solstice Lights, Austria

In ancient Chinese culture the feminine Yin force is born at the solstice and brings more moonlight, while the Yang is born at the winter solstice and brings more sunlight.  Egyptians marked the day with celebrations to Ra and Horus to ensure fertility and abundance of crops. Ancient Stonehenge  near Salisbury, England has an arrangement of huge megaliths that are aligned according to the sun’s rise on the summer and winter days of solstice and the druids celebrated with bonfires, music and dancing and buried their dead there.

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Rachel Hartigan Shea (National Geographic) (Excerpted)

Druids—and sometimes aliens—have been suspected of planting the 4,500-year-old stones. Is Stonehenge an astronomical calendar or a place of healing or a marker for magical energy lines in the ground?  For a long time, no one really knew, though some theories were more grounded in reality than others.

But now, we may be a little bit closer to understanding the monumental Neolithic site. Archaeologist Mike Parker Pearson and his colleagues at the Stonehenge Riverside Project spent seven years excavating Stonehenge and its surroundings.  He is interviewed re: findings published in his book,  Stonehenge—A New Understanding: Solving the Mysteries of the Greatest Stone Age Monument.

When we came …. to Stonehenge and dug there, we recovered some 60 cremation burials inside Stonehenge. What we now know is that Stonehenge was the largest cemetery of its day.

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(Nearby) At Durrington Walls, we have two of these great timber circles—a bit like Stonehenge in wood—at the center of an enormous village. From where we’ve excavated, you’re looking at a fairly dense settlement of houses.  We discovered that they’d been feasting there on a very large scale. We estimate that about four to five thousand people may have gathered there at the time they were building Stonehenge.

We also know that there were seasonal influxes into the settlement at Durrington Walls.  (The) evidence suggests that people were gathering in large numbers at the winter solstice. We’ve been getting it wrong in modern times about when to gather at Stonehenge.

One of our discoveries in 2008 was on the avenue that leads out of Stonehenge. As you are moving along the avenue away from Stonehenge, you are looking toward where the sun rises on the midsummer solstice. If you turn 180 degrees and look back toward Stonehenge, that’s where the sun sets on the midwinter solstice. Underneath the avenue, we discovered a natural landform, formed in a previous ice age, where there are grooves and ridges that by sheer coincidence are aligned on that solstitial axis.

 

Right next to this landform are pits dug to hold posts that were put up 10,000 years ago, much older than Stonehenge. Another archaeological team has discovered down by the river next to Stonehenge a huge settlement area for hunters and gatherers, which seems to have been occupied on and off for something like 4,000 years before Stonehenge itself was ever built.

We think that long before Stonehenge this location was already a special place. These hunters and gatherers may have been the people who first recognized this special feature in the land where the earth and the heavens were basically in harmony.  (See Stonehenge pictures.This interview has been edited and condensed.

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Other customs included decking the house (especially over the front door) with birch, fennel, St. John’s wort, orpin, and white lilies. Five plants were thought to have special magical properties on this night: rue, roses, St. John’s wort, vervain, and trefoil. Indeed, Midsummer’s Eve in Spain is called the “Night of the Verbena (Vervain)”. St. John’s wort was especially honored by young maidens who picked it in the hopes of divining a future lover.

And the glow-worm came
With its silvery flame,
And sparkled and shone
Through the night of St. John,
And soon has the young maid her love-knot tied.

The summer solstice season increases conception rates and fertility and has been scientifically linked with increased sexual  hormone levels for both women and men associated with increased ultraviolet light. It is World Peace Day. In the southern hemisphere, the June solstice is known as the shortest day of the year.  It is when the sun has reached its furthest point from the equator and marks the first day of winter.

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Even Shakespeare added a marvelous literary work to mark summer’s romantic season in his play, A Midsummer Night’s Dream:

Pulling together Britannic folklore with aspects of Greek mythology, Shakespeare fashioned a light comedic romance comprised of elements which were to become his basic comedic formula: confusion, mischief and the exasperation that ensues between pairs of couples, consummating in multiplicities of marriages.

The forest becomes the magical portal wherein a dream replaces reality with illusion and the play ends with this reassurance by Puck at the very end of Act V:

“If we shadows have offended, think but this and all is mended: That you have but slumbered here, While these visions did appear; And this weak and idle theme, No more yielding but a dream…” Act V. i. 418-23

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Decoding Anglo-Saxon art

Rosie Weetch, curator and Craig Williams, illustrator, British Museum

One of the most enjoyable things about working with the British Museum’s Anglo-Saxon collection is having the opportunity to study the intricate designs of the many brooches, buckles, and other pieces of decorative metalwork. This is because in Anglo-Saxon art there is always more than meets the eye.

The objects invite careful contemplation, and you can find yourself spending hours puzzling over their designs, finding new beasts and images. The dense animal patterns that cover many Anglo-Saxon objects are not just pretty decoration; they have multi-layered symbolic meanings and tell stories. Anglo-Saxons, who had a love of riddles and puzzles of all kinds, would have been able to ‘read’ the stories embedded in the decoration. But for us it is trickier as we are not fluent in the language of Anglo-Saxon art.

Anglo-Saxon art went through many changes between the 5th and 11th centuries, but puzzles and story-telling remained central. The early art style of the Anglo-Saxon period is known as Style I and was popular in the late 5th and 6th centuries. It is characterised by what seems to be a dizzying jumble of animal limbs and face masks, which has led some scholars to describe the style as an ‘animal salad’. Close scrutiny shows that Style I is not as abstract as first appears, and through carefully following the decoration in stages we can unpick the details and begin to get a sense for what the design might mean.

Silver-gilt square-headed brooch from Grave 22, Chessell Down, Isle of Wight. Early Anglo-Saxon, early 6th century AD

Decoding the great square-headed brooch from Chessel Down

One of the most exquisite examples of Style I animal art is a silver-gilt square-headed brooch from a female grave on the Isle of Wight. Its surface is covered with at least 24 different beasts: a mix of birds’ heads, human masks, animals and hybrids. Some of them are quite clear, like the faces in the circular lobes projecting from the bottom of the brooch. Others are harder to spot, such as the faces in profile that only emerge when the brooch is turned upside-down. Some of the images can be read in multiple ways, and this ambiguity is central to Style I art.

Turning the brooch upside-down reveals four heads in profile on the rectangular head of the brooch, highlighted in purple.

Once we have identified the creatures on the brooch, we can begin to decode its meaning. In the lozenge-shaped field at the foot of the brooch is a bearded face with a helmet underneath two birds that may represent the Germanic god Woden/Odin with his two companion ravens. The image of a god alongside other powerful animals may have offered symbolic protection to the wearer like a talisman or amulet.

Decoding the great gold buckle from Sutton Hoo, Suffolk

Style I was superseded by Style II in the late 6th century. This later style has more fluid and graceful animals, but these still writhe and interlace together and require patient untangling. The great gold buckle from Sutton Hoo is decorated in this style. From the thicket of interlace that fills the buckle’s surface 13 different animals emerge. These animals are easier to spot: the ring-and-dot eyes, the birds’ hooked beaks, and the four-toed feet of the animals are good starting points. At the tip of the buckle, two animals grip a small dog-like creature in their jaws and on the circular plate, two snakes intertwine and bite their own bodies. Such designs reveal the importance of the natural world, and it is likely that different animals were thought to hold different properties and characteristics that could be transferred to the objects they decorated. The fearsome snakes, with their shape-shifting qualities, demand respect and confer authority, and were suitable symbols for a buckle that adorned a high-status man, or even an Anglo-Saxon king.

The five senses on the Fuller Brooch. Click on the image for a larger version

Animal art continued to be popular on Anglo-Saxon metalwork throughout the later period, when it went through further transformations into the Mercian Style (defined by sinuous animal interlace) in the 8th century and then into the lively Trewhiddle Style in the 9th century. Trewhiddle-style animals feature in the roundels of the Fuller Brooch, but all other aspects of its decoration are unique within Anglo-Saxon art. Again, through a careful unpicking of its complex imagery we can understand its visual messages. At the centre is a man with staring eyes holding two plants. Around him are four other men striking poses: one, with his hands behind his back, sniffs a leaf; another rubs his two hands together; the third holds his hand up to his ear; and the final one has his whole hand inserted into his mouth. Together these strange poses form the earliest personification of the five senses: Sight, Smell, Touch, Hearing, and Taste. Surrounding these central motifs are roundels depicting animals, humans, and plants that perhaps represent God’s Creation.

This iconography can best be understood in the context of the scholarly writings of King Alfred the Great (died AD 899), which emphasised sight and the ‘mind’s eye’ as the principal way in which wisdom was acquired along with the other senses. Given this connection, perhaps it was made at Alfred the Great’s court workshop and designed to be worn by one of his courtiers?

Throughout the period, the Anglo-Saxons expressed a love of riddles and puzzles in their metalwork. Behind the non-reflective glass in the newly opened Sir Paul and Lady Ruddock Gallery of Sutton Hoo and Europe AD 300-1100, you can do like the Anglo-Saxons and get up close to these and many other objects to decode the messages yourself.

Click on the thumbnails below to view in a full-screen slideshow

The Sir Paul and Lady Ruddock Gallery of Sutton Hoo and Europe AD 300–1100 recently opened after a major redisplay in Room 41. Admission is free.

Sutton Hoo

“They stretched their beloved lord in his boat, laid out by the mast, amidships, the great ring-giver. Far-fetched treasures were piled upon him, and precious gear. I never heard before of a ship so well furbished with battle tackle, bladed weapons and coats of mail. The massed treasure was loaded on top of him: it would travel far on out into the ocean’s sway.”

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Buried on an escarpment overlooking the estuary of the River Deben in East Anglia, the Sutton Hoo ship was discovered in 1939, just a few months before war broke out in Europe. (The original records of the excavation, in fact, were destroyed during the war and only pictures taken by two amateur photographers survive to provide evidence of the remarkable riveted outline of the ship that had been impressed in the sand.) The excavated materials were sent to London, where they remained in their original packing boxes until the end of the war, when restoration began.

Several of the burial mounds were explored the previous year at the request of the landowner, but they had been plundered long before and only a few artifacts and iron rivets were found. Enough was intriguing, however, for the dig to continue the next summer, when the undisturbed remains of a large burial ship were discovered beneath the largest mound. Almost ninety-feet long and fifteen-feet wide, with room for twenty rowers on a side, the buried ship and its treasure are one of the most important finds in British archaeology.

(A coroner’s inquest determined the artifacts to be the property of the landowner, who graciously donated them to the nation. Gold and silver that are buried with the intention of recovery, but which are not retrieved and for which the owner is not known, are declared treasure trove and belong, with recompense, to the Crown. Since there was no intention of reclaiming the burial items found at Sutton Hoo, which had been placed there deliberately, they were considered not to have been lost but abandoned and so were awarded to the owner of the land on which they were found.)

That Sutton Hoo is a royal burial can be seen in the objects discovered in the resplendent chamber constructed amidship. The interior seems to have had been covered with a rug or mat on which were placed the possessions of a pagan warrior king: his helmet and coat of mail, sword and shield, spears and a unique axe-hammer, as well as the magnificent gold-and-garnet purse lid, shoulder-clasps, and a great gold buckle. There also were two unique, but enigmatic, symbols of his power: a whetstone “scepter” surmounted by a small bronze stag on a ring and a mysterious iron stand that may have served as a standard for the king.

More mundane domestic items included buckets, tubs, and cauldrons; a collection of silver bowls from the eastern Mediterranean; wooden cups and bottles and a pair of large drinking horns, all with silver-gilt fittings; bronze hanging-bowls of Celtic design; an intricate hanging chain; as well as the remnants of folded woolen textiles, some of which had been dyed indigo (woad), red, and yellow.

Fashioned from a single piece of iron to which are attached deep ear and neck guards, the helmet was fitted with decorative foil panels of tinned-bronze that depict animal motifs as well as scenes from German and Scandinavian mythology. The crest is iron, inlaid with silver wire, with gilded-bronze terminals of stylized animal heads. The eyebrows, too, are of iron and silver wire with boar’s head terminals, beneath which is a row of small square-cut garnets. The nose, beetling mustache, and mouth of the iron face mask also are of gilt bronze.

The sword and shield once were equally impressive. The leather and linden wood shield have rotted away, and there is nothing except its iron boss, gilt fittings, and two magnificent animal figures: a dragon and a bird of prey, both of gilt-bronze decorated with garnets. The hilt of the sword has a beautiful gold and cloisonné garnet pommel and gold guards. The iron blade is heavily corroded but was pattern-welded, made from eight bundles of thin iron rods hammered together to form a pattern of parallel or herringbone lines in the metal. To this core, a cutting edge of carbon steel then was forged. Such patterned swords were highly prized and often passed as heirlooms from generation to generation. Beowulf uses Unferth’s sword, “the curious sword with a wavy pattern, hard of its edge” against Gendel’s mother, but it fails him, just as his own swordNægling of “ancient inheritance, very keen of edge,” breaks striking the Dragon.

But it is the smaller objects, the delicate fittings of the sword belt and scabbard, the zoomorphic gold buckle, and jewel-like shoulder-clasps and purse lid that are most exquisite. There was virtually nothing else like these pieces in Europe at the time, and their artistic virtuosity suggests a master goldmith working on a royal commission. The intricatebuckle, for example, is hollow and hinged at the back, the belt secured by three pins that project from the underside of the bosses. The other end is placed through the loop and held there by the tongue, which also is hinged. The unique pair of cloisonné clasps, which are made of gold, millefiori glass, and garnet, are curved to fit the shoulder, the two matching halves, decorated with intertwined boars, tightly hinged and joined by a gold pin. The purse lid is equally artistic, if not as elaborate, and decorated with animal and abstract designs. Inside were found thirty-seven small gold coins, each deliberately chosen from a different mint in Gaul.

There was no evidence of a body in the highly acidic soil, which has led to the assumption that the ship may have been a cenotaph, a monument commemorating someone whose body is buried elsewhere. Evidence of residual phosphates, however, suggest that there once was a body and that the grave is more likely an inhumation. If so, it may be that of Rædwald, king of East Anglia, who died in AD 624/625, the same approximate date of the latest Merovingian coins found there. Bede identifies Rædwald as the fourthbretwalda (“ruler of Britain”) to have overlordship (imperium) of the other kingdoms south of the river Humber. He succeeded Æthelbert, the first English king to be converted, in AD 616 and defeated Æthelfrith, the king of Northumbria, the same year. It was Rædwald, too, who reverted to paganism, says Bede, when he returned from the court of Æthelbert, dedicating altars in his temple both to heathen gods and the Christian one.

If so, his defiantly pagan burial preserved, hidden and undisturbed, some of the greatest treasures of Anglo-Saxon art.

 


 

 

 

 

“I have wrested the hilt from the enemies’ hand, avenged the evil done to the Danes.”

 

Beowulf (1669-1670)

On September 24, 2009, it was announced that on July 5 there had been an even more remarkable discovery of Anglo-Saxon treasure in Staffordshire, once the ancient kingdom of Mercia. The largest hoard of Anglo-Saxon gold and silver artifacts ever discovered, scattered over an area of plowed field. The trove comprises some fifteen hundred pieces, including scores of sword hilt collars, pommel bosses, and fittings, as well as the remains of several helmets. The gold items alone, many filigreed and decorated with garnets, weigh about eleven pounds, more than three times the amount found at Sutton Hoo. The only non-martial items were several crosses, one of which had been folded for burial. There also was an inscribed strip of gold inscribed in misspelled Latin with a verse from Numbers 10:35, “Rise up, O Lord, and may thy enemies be dispersed and those who hate thee be driven from thy face.” Declared treasure, the hoard becomes Crown property. Once evaluated, the proceeds from the sale will be split between the discoverer and landowner, and the items themselves likely divided between the Birmingham Museum and others.

 


 

References: The Sutton Hoo Ship Burial (1986) by Angela Care Evans (British Museum), a popular guide published by the British Museum that conveniently summarizes the three volumes of The Sutton Hoo Ship-Burial (1975, 1978, 1983) by Rupert Bruce-Mitford; Beowulf and the Finnesburg Fragment (1950) translated by John R. Clark Hall and C. L. Wrenn; Beowulf: With the Finnesburg Fragment (1996) edited by C. L. Wrenn and W. F. Boulton; The Audience of Beowulf (1951) by Dorothy Whitelock;Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics (1936) by J. R. R. Tolkien; The Anglo-Saxons (1982) edited by James Campbell, Eric John, and Patrick Wormald (Penguin); The Making of England: Anglo-Saxon Art and Culture, AD 600-900 (1991) edited by Leslie Webster and Janet Backhouse; Voyage to the Other World: The Legacy of Sutton Hoo (1992) edited by Calvin B. Kendall and Peter S. Wells; Beowulf: A New Verse Translation (2000) translated by Seamus Heaney.

click below for an article about the relationship between Sutton Hoo and Beowulf

http://www.suttonhoo.org/saxon/saxon_pdf/saxon43.pdf

Sutton Hoo, where Raedwald lies

Image of Raedwald of Sutton Hoo

In times past, when Europe was non-existent and geography was plotted by knowledge rather than maps, Saxon kings moved from place to place by coastal navigation slowly. I should know: I stood on Albion’s shores and watched the raiders come as, indeed, I had seen the Romans before them. Silent rowers, etched in black on silvery waters, moving ever closer to the shore as we watched them from among the gorse and bracken.

Suffolk, named by the Saxons for the South Folk, stands testament to their legacy. As indeed does the whole of eastern England: East Anglia, the home of the East Angles. Here, in this place lay sleeping Raedwald, King of the East Angles; at peace at Sutton Hoo. Let me tell you more…

Today a brooding hough, spur or hoo on the sandlings by the Deben, the mounds at Sutton Hoo once stood proud like temples in the heathland there. When I stand and look now at the shallow ploughed out tumps in the wintry evening light, it fills me with sorrow to think that here, once, great kings imposed themselves on the landscape through death. And before death, of course, life… Life indeed!

Thirteen hundred years ago, the Deben estuary was a different place to now. Not so much a sheltered berth for yachtsmen, tourists and wealthy wives; instead one of the key routes into the East Anglian hinterland from the sea. Picture yourself, reader, arriving from Scandinavia and following the coast of Albion; the Deben, like the Orwell and others beckoned weary sailors to shelter from the dangerous murky sweep of the German Ocean, the great North Sea.

And here it was, all those centuries ago that the people we now called Saxons came to settle, eventually building a magisterial palace at Rendlesham nearby – a palace described by some I knew as “healaerna maest” – the most fabulous of all buildings. East Anglia, as I recall it, was a power base for the early English in these parts: a rich farming land yet with easy communication with friends in distant lands.

This quiet place, far adrift from the heart of England, was the home too of Raedwald, King of the East Angles, a man I remember well. I can see him now in his splendour on the mead bench, distributing rings and gifts to his favoured thanes. In the darkness of the night, he shone by the fire, bedecked in gold and garnets.

His wealth was beyond compare, matchless in these lands; he employed the finest craftsmen to make things for him which even today are almost beyond the wit of those so skilled to mimic.

This warrior lord stood highest in the hall, carrying with him an enormous whetstone, beautifully carved with the faces of his ancestors, as a symbol of his powers. His cloak was clasped with gold buckles inlaid with crimson garnets and finely cut millefiori glass. On his belt, his mighty sword hung by his side. Again gold and garnets glistered there,  while at the centre of his being, a great fire-like buckle interlaced with writhing snakes and weighing as much as a dog’s head, glowed like a hot iron in the smoke-filled room. Hu oa aepelingas ellen fremedon, we might say. How those noblemen wrought deeds of valour!

But now Raedwald’s image in my mind is just that: a memory in the mind’s eye. Yet thanks to providence, we can still today see Raedwald – if not in body then at least in the accoutrements of his power which were uncovered just 70 years ago as I watched in shadows the work of Basil Brown and his colleagues unearthing treasures which today are there for all to see at the British Museum in London.

How I smiled as Brown revealed the remains of the huge ship I saw being dragged up the hill from the Deben so many centuries ago. He did not see what I saw: the ship positioned in the sand and the body of the great king laid to rest with his prize possessions before being sealed within the ship by great oaken boards. He did not see the tears of men and women by the boat-side. He did not witness the last plank being nailed down and Raedwald’s eyes sealed for ever from the glowing sun of this world…

I recall how that ship laid on the hillside for many years before at last the wood began to bend and crack with the sun and the rain and the cold: a vessel stark on the hoo-top, silhoetted against the Suffolk Sky. I remember in my worry that Raedwald would not rest in eternal peace. Yet I need have no fear that the Saxons would not honour their dead.

I remember going back there again a few years later to see the vessel this time being covered in earth so that a great mound – an edifice to a great king – would rise on the Hoo surveying the great Deben and its safe landing places. On the land was a ship and then the ship became the land; Raedwald’s spirit lurked beneath his sandling home. In those days, this place had immense significance – and quite rightly so.

Raedwald was a true king: assertive of his place, protective of his possessions and lands, and, upon his death, commanding such respect and power that for thirteen centuries his body lay undisturbed: free from rabbits, sheep and even the attempted predations of grave robbers. Yet I knew Raedwald and I knew well how he would have laughed to see his worldly goods on display once more for all to see and marvel at.

Sutton Hoo is rightly seen today as one of the world’s great archaeological treasure troves. Yet I recall it when it was a calm inlet to a quiet hinterland. The captains and the kings are now gone again but the treasures of Raedwald will preserve his glorious memory until the ending of the world.

Wel bio paem ye mot aefter deaodaege. Drihten secean ond to Faeder faeymum freodo wilnian! Well will it be for he who after the day of his death may seek out the Lord and ask for peace in the arms of the Father.

Further information:

  • Sutton Hoo is today owned by the National Trust which has an excellent museum in the grounds
  • The Sutton Hoo Treasure is on display at the British Musuem in London, currently on display on the ground floor in an area through the gift display on the right having gone through the entrance
  • There is a special interest group for you to join: the Sutton Hoo Society.

Roots

Beneath a crescent moon I stood
Upon a meadow damp with dew
Beside the fluttering tree branched wood –
The roots run deep at Sutton Hoo.

I saw, or so it seemed to me
A solemn march of ancient ones
Across a field of time gone by
A sleeping king, a monarch gone
An oaken ship, a chanting throng
With steady pace they made their way
In twilight sorrow and dismay

A song to those who passed before
A song for those who’ve passed the door
A song for those who leave behind
A journey and a path to find
For in their gift of life they send
Our searching souls into this land
For none are born save those who seek
The darkness of this human sleep
In pain and grief we stand and stare
And learn our joy in deep despair
And do our will and raise our clan
To swell the dawning light of man
Beneath this spangled ocean sky
Tonight – we honour those who die

The vision fades, the seen unseen
The door is closed, the air is keen
But dimly through the fading trance
The tear-stained branches swing and dance –
The ghostly line is hid from view
But roots run deep at Sutton Hoo.

Roland Mann

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Jewel encrusted  belt buckle found in the Sutton Hoo excavations - site of two 6th- and early 7th-century Anglo-Saxon cemeteries  - England

Jewel encrusted belt buckle found in the Sutton Hoo excavations – site of two 6th- and early 7th-century Anglo-Saxon cemeteries – England

AD 700 – Sutton Hoo.    "Sutton Hoo is a group of Anglo-Saxon burial mounds overlooking the River Deben in south-east Suffolk, England." http://suttonhoo.org/

AD 700 – Sutton Hoo. “Sutton Hoo is a group of Anglo-Saxon burial mounds overlooking the River Deben in south-east Suffolk, England.” suttonhoo.org/

British Kingdoms 600 AD

British Kingdoms 600 AD

Famous Anglo-Saxon helmet from Sutton Hoo ('original' condition)

Anglo-Saxon helmet from Sutton Hoo (‘original’ condition)

 

Courtesy and Joy at Nashotah

Friday, May 2, 2014–Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori joined in Morning Prayer, attended classes, held a discussion session, and delivered an Evensong sermon during a visit to Nashotah House Theological Seminary on May 1. It was the first time since Jefferts Schori was invested as Primate of the Episcopal Church in November 2006 that she has been to the historic Anglo-Catholic institution.

Courtesy and even joy prevailed, especially among Nashotah House’s growing presence of women students. The Rt. Rev. Edward L. Salmon, Jr., dean and president of Nashotah House, encouraged all students and faculty to attend unless their sponsoring bishop forbade it.

While serving mostly aspirants to priesthood in the Episcopal Church, Nashotah House has also opened its doors to other Anglican groups, a number of whom have broken away from the Episcopal Church amid theological disputes. In recent years Nashotah House has also promoted itself as place where mutuality, cooperation, and theological diversity are part of the school ethos, which it calls Pax Nashotah.

Three Nashotah House students — Izgy Saribay and Tanya Scheff, and the Rev. Terry Star, a 40-year-old deacon of the Diocese of North Dakota who was studying for the priesthood — were primarily responsible for prompting Nashotah’s board of trustees to discuss a possible invitation to the presiding bishop.

The presiding bishop’s visit to Nashotah House was already scheduled and announced when Star died overnight on March 4, making a tribute more appropriate than a more general homily.

“You could not say no to Terry,” Saribay, said adding that Star convinced her to write to the Rt. Rev. Daniel Martins, Bishop of Springfield and president of Nashotah’s board.

Saribay grew up in a nominally Islamic household in the Middle East until the age of 17, when she concluded that she was a Christian. She was baptized soon after and moved to the United States. Even after Saribay joined discussion about the invitation, Saribay said she felt the idea was a “lost cause.”

“[Star] knew that it would happen,” she said, “and it taught me a valuable lesson: don’t give up on lost causes.”

In addition to his work with youth on Native American reservations, Star also served on the Episcopal Church’s Executive Council, which functions as the church’s executive officers when General Convention is not in session. He already had developed a warm personal relationship with Jefferts Schori when he confided in her some years ago that he had his heart set on attending Nashotah House Seminary. Knowing Star, Bishop Jefferts Schori said, she expressed mild surprise at his choice. It was then that Star began urging her to welcome an invitation if one came.

With the possible exception of light rain, events throughout the day at Nashotah House went off without a glitch, but the decision to issue the invitation did not come without controversy. The 31-member Nashotah House board of trustees includes bishops from the Episcopal Church as well as bishops from a number of traditionalist Anglican groups that have split from the Episcopal Church. The Rt. Rev. Jack L. Iker, Bishop of Fort Worth, resigned from the board in protest, and the Rt. Rev. William C. Wantland, retired Bishop of Eau Claire, said he would not support the seminary under its current leadership.

In a statement released in February after the resignations became public, Bishop Salmon wrote: “We take no joy that folks who love the House are disturbed by the invitation and it was not issued in any other spirit than that of engaging in mission. The ‘Pax Nashotah’ is not going to go away. The commitment to the Anglo-Catholic vision of the ‘faith once delivered to the saints’ is not going to go away. The mission of the House, the direction of the House, the theology of the House is not changing. A visit, even one involving a sermon, will not change what has been bought at a price.”

Commenting on the unusual geology of the region of Wisconsin in which the seminary is located, the presiding bishop said that the bowl-shaped lakes, created by retreating boulders, reminded her of primitive baptismal fonts. “It’s a wonderful Easter image of stone moved and a baptismal pool remaining, in the midst of God’s wild creation,” she said. “Terry’s study here only added to his conviction about the path he was on, and he continued to push the boundaries outward, so that more might hear deeper truth. He spoke the Word with unforked tongue, challenging the comfortable and comforting the challenged.”

Saribay, who is completing the second of three years of seminary study, said she and some of the other approximately 60 students have already begun discussing how they might procure an invitation for a woman to celebrate Holy Eucharist at Nashotah House before her graduation.

Steve Waring (Image by Steve Waring/TLC)

Seminary Invitation to Episcopal Presiding Bishop Sparks Uproar

by   February 21, 2014

Katharine Jefferts Schori

Guess who’s coming to chapel?: An invitation to Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori by the dean of Nashotah House caused a stir among the orthodox Anglican seminary’s supporters and triggered the resignation of one of its trustees.

An invitation to the primate of the Episcopal Church (TEC) to preach at an upcoming chapel service of an orthodox Anglican seminary has prompted one of the school’s longest serving trustees to resign in protest.

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori will visit the Nashotah House campus in Wisconsin for the first time on May 1 at the invitation of Dean Edward L. Salmon, Jr.

The resignation of Bishop Jack Iker of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth (Anglican Church in North America) “was taken in protest of the Dean’s invitation to the Presiding Bishop of TEC to be a guest preacher in the seminary’s chapel,” read a statement distributed to Fort Worth clergy. Iker cited lawsuits initiated by Jefferts Schori against his Diocese and notified the Nashotah House Board that he “could not be associated with an institution that honors her.”

Bishop Jack Iker of Fort Worth, who was in Kenya at the Global Anglican Future Conference when an invitation to Jefferts Schori was discussed by the Nashotah House board, resigned (Photo: Episcopal News Service)

The statement was widely shared on Facebook and clergy blogs.

Iker was joined by honorary board member retired Bishop William C. Wantland of Eau Claire who sent notification that he “will not take part in any functions at Nashotah” nor continue “to give financial support to the House as long as the present administration remains.”

Diocese of Fort Worth Director of Communications Suzanne Gill told IRD that reaction from clergy to Iker’s resignation from the Nashotah House board has been overwhelmingly supportive.

“This is a tragic and unwise decision that threatens the future of Nashotah House,” ACNA Archbishop Robert Duncan told IRD in a statement. Duncan also serves on the Nashotah House Board of Trustees.

Nashotah House is one of two accredited seminaries affiliated with the Episcopal Church that are regarded as theologically orthodox. In addition to training Episcopalians, many Nashotah House students are from other Anglican churches. Founded in 1842, it is the oldest existing institution of higher learning in the state of Wisconsin.

Former South Carolina Bishop Ed Salmon has defended the invitation of Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori to speak at the seminary's chapel service (Photo: Nashotah House).In a phone interview with IRD, Salmon explained that the invitation to Jefferts Schori originated when Deacon Terry Star of North Dakota, a student at Nashotah and member of the Episcopal Church’s Executive Council, shared that Bishop Jefferts Schori had advised him against attending the seminary.

Star was joined by two other female Episcopal students at Nashotah who indirectly received the same advice.

“All three said she [Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori] should be invited to come and see ACNA and TEC in harmony,” Salmon explained. “No one here is fighting with anybody.”

The retired bishop of South Carolina said that the invitation would give the seminary the opportunity to witness to the Christ-centered life.

People think that inviting her here is an endorsement,” Salmon said. “We are a clearly rooted orthodox community – rooted in Jesus.”

Jefferts Schori has repeatedly garnered criticism for making statements outside of the church’s traditional understanding of Christ. As Presiding Bishop-elect in 2006, Jefferts Schori stated “Our mother Jesus gives birth to a new creation — and you and I are His children.”

At Episcopal General Convention in 2009 the Presiding Bishop denounced “the great Western heresy: that we can be saved as individuals, that any of us alone can be in right relationship with God.” In 2013, Jefferts Schori baffled some in the Anglican Communion over her claim in a sermon on the island of Curaçao that St. Paul of Tarsus’ was wrong to cure a demon-possessed slave girl as described in the Bible.

Salmon, a former bishop of South Carolina, asserted that the seminary is not like a parish church with congregants having various degrees of spiritual rootedness. Instead, the Nashotah House Dean insisted “this is a deeply rooted community” and because of that rootedness, “we are not concerned about the direction of the power.”

Data provided from the Association of Theological Schools shows a total 2012-2013 enrollment of 143 at Nashotah House, with 110 full-time students taking classes. According to Salmon, between 30 and 35 percent of enrolled seminarians are from Episcopal Church dioceses, while “a significant number” of students are from other Anglican churches and many more are non-Anglicans “on the Canterbury trail.”

Top Episcopal Church leader promotes unity at Nashotah House

May 1, 2014 Nashotah — The presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church toured Nashotah House Theological Seminary for the first time on Thursday in response to an invitation so controversial it prompted the school’s longest running trustee to resign in protest.

The visit by Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, whose church has been roiled by schism over theological debates in recent years, came at the request of three Nashotah seminarians who wanted their bishop to see this campus where disparate parts of the fractured Anglican Communion strive to live in peace.

One of them did not live to see it happen. Deacon Terry Star, who had worked with Jefferts Schori as part of the Episcopal Church’s Executive Council, died unexpectedly in March. He was 40.

“This was an act of reconciliation, and Terry was a big influence in that relationship,” said Ezgi Saribay, one of the three seminarians who asked Nashotah House Dean, Bishop Edward L. Salmon, and Board of Trustees President Bishop Daniel H. Martins of Springfield, Ill., to tender the invitation.

“Terry was a great conciliator,” she said, “and he would have loved every second of this.”

The Episcopal Church, with about 2 million members, mostly in the United States, is among the more liberal of the 39 provinces in the Worldwide Anglican Communion. And the Anglo-Catholic Nashotah House is one of the more conservative Episcopal seminaries.

Among its trustees are members of the newly formed Anglican Church in North America, a breakaway group founded in 2009 in a split over longstanding theological issues, including the ordination of women, and gays and lesbians.

But the seminary works to nurture an ethos — something it calls Pax Nashotah — in which individuals with theologically diverse views live and work respectfully together.

“The idea that no matter where you come from, we are all one in Christ, and that’s all that matters,” said Father Steven Peay, Nashotah’s dean of academic affairs, who teaches homiletics and church history. “We don’t want to let the daily politics get in the way of trying to live as Jesus intended.”

Schori, who received a gracious welcome at Nashotah on Thursday, said that is true of all Episcopal seminaries, but that she was grateful to experience it firsthand at there.

“That’s one of the gifts of bringing students together from different parts of the church. But it has been wonderful to see it with my own eyes and hear it with my own ears,” said Schori, who met with students, faculty, clergy and bishops throughout the day and took part in an Evensong service at which she delivered the sermon.

“This place has such a long tradition in the Episcopal Church,” she said. “I value that, and I want to see that it continues. The witness of this place is important to who we are as Episcopalians.”

The decision to extend the invitation to Schori prompted the resignation of Nashotah House’s longest-serving trustee, and an honorary trustee, both founding members of the Anglican Church in North America.

Bishop Jack Iker of Fort Worth, whose diocese broke with the Episcopal church and has been sued over church property, resigned, saying he “could not be associated with an institution that honors her.”

Retired Eau Claire Bishop and honorary trustee William Wantland severed ties with the seminary, saying he would no longer participate in its functions or contribute financially while the current administration was in place, according to news accounts.

Salmon, who took over as dean in 2011, defended the decision to welcome Schori, saying no matter what he did it would have been “problematic.”

“I’m interested in inviting people to see Nashotah House and what it stands for,” Salmon said. “If we stay here, off to ourselves, how can we extend the mission of the house?”

Terry Martin preaches at funeral

Terry Martin preaches at funeral


Dcn. Star continued in this faithfulness of following God’s call first begun by the House’s founders. On Thursday morning, March 13, the community of Nashotah House gathered in the Chapel of Saint Mary the Virgin to sing the Burial Office for the Reverend Deacon Terry Star. The celebrant for the office was the Reverend Thomas Buchan, PhD, Associate Professor of Church History, assisted by the Reverend Deacon Richard Moseley, and other student servers and musicians. Deacon Star’s parents, Woodrow and Charlotte, and two of his brothers joined the community for the office, as we commended our brother to God.
His eulogy will be delivered in May by the Most Reverend Katharine Jefferts-Schori when she visits the campus. Deacon Star served with the Presiding Bishop on the Executive Council of the Episcopal Church.

The history of Nashotah House Theological Seminary has a rich and detailed history among the oral tradition of the Lakota and Dakota Sioux tribes. In August 2012, Terry left Standing Rock, North Dakota to attend Nashotah House where he was seeking his licentiate in theology.

Dcn. Star had many memories of early founder, James Lloyd Breck (1818 – 1876), a priest, educator and missionary of the Episcopal Church. In Dcn. Star’s oral tradition, Breck who ministered to the Indians of the Plains, was known in their language as the ‘Man in the Cassock.’

Mr. Breck was….a deacon in the Episcopal Church, (and)  went to the frontier of Wisconsin with two classmates, under the direction of Bishop Jackson Kemper, to found Nashotah House, intended as a monastic community, a seminary, and a center for theological work. It continues today as a seminary. One-hundred-seventy years later, a member of the Lakota tribe Terry Star, a deacon in the Episcopal Church, answered God’s call to attend as a seminarian.

In 1850 Breck moved to Minnesota where he founded schools for boys and girls such as Breck School in Golden Valley, Minnesota, and the Seabury Divinity School at Faribault, Minnesota. He also began mission work among the Ojibwa.On June 23, 1850, on top of Grandad Bluff, Breck celebrated the first Episcopal[5] Eucharist in the La Crosse area. In 1867 he moved to Benicia, California to build another two institutions. Breck was known as “The Apostle of the Wilderness.”

Breck died in Benicia in 1876. He was buried beneath the altar of the church he served as rector but later his body was removed and reinterred on the grounds of Nashotah House in Nashotah, Wisconsin. Breck is commemorated on April 2 on the Episcopal calendar of saints.

In a letter dated, April 2, 1850, Breck wrote:

The students boarding with us are all theological. They are Chiefly young men, sons of the farmers, and all communicants of the Church. Our students, like ourselves, are poor, but not the less worthy for all that. They seek the Ministry, but are unable to attain it without aid. We have a house; for this we pay no rent; it belongs to the Church, and so do we. We have land. They work four hours a day for their board and washing, and we give them their education without cost. Thus their clothing is their only expense, and to enable them to purchase this, we give them six weeks vacation during the harvest, when they can earn the highest wages….” 

Dcn. Terry is survived by his parents, Charlotte and Woodrow Star Jr., Pendleton, Ore.; one daughter, Kayrose; one son, Preston; three sisters, Melissa (Marlon) Mason, New Town, Elizabeth Star, and Alyssa (Jamarr) Breazeale; all of Pendleton, Ore.; five brothers, Woodrow Star III, Eagle Butte, S.D., Richard (Leilani) Star, Jesse Star, Carlisle Star, all of Pendleton, and Brandon (Angela) Mauai, Fort Yates; and numerous nieces and nephews.

Terry was preceded in death by his grandparents, Richard (Lillian Iron Bull) Martinez, Theresa Eagle, and Woodrow Star Sr.; four aunts; and two uncles.

The faculty of the House has decided to confer Deacon Terry Star a licentiate in theology posthumously. It will be conferred at Nashotah House’s graduation on May 22, 2014.

and here:

Star will be buried at Red Hail’s Camp at St. Gabriel’s Camp in Solen, North Dakota, where he served as a youth minister and camp director for many years. A meal will follow Star’s burial at the Red Gym in the middle of Cannon Ball, which is on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation.

Red Hail, a Sioux warrior who donated land so that a church could be built among his people, was Star’s maternal great-great-grandfather, according to information posted on St. James’ Facebook page. Red Hail fought at the Battle of Greasy Grass, which also is known as the Battle of the Little Big Horn.

The St. Gabriel’s church that was built on Red Hail’s donated land burned in 1970, and the congregation joined St. James in Cannon Ball. The land at Solen grew into a church camp in the mid-1990s. The camp has been the site of the Diocese of North Dakota’s training of local members for ordained ministry. Seven, including Star, were trained there and later were ordained.

Star, whose council term would have ended after General Convention in 2015, was also a convention deputy. He belonged to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. Star served as a deacon for the Standing Rock Episcopal Community.

White Mountain, shining face: Remembering Deacon Terry Star 

As the Rev. Terry Star is buried March 10 out of his home church of St. James Episcopal Church in Cannon Ball, North Dakota, we share the following article from fellow seminarian Benjamin Jefferies from Nashotah House who reflects on the memories and the legacy Star leaves behind.Star died of a heart attack the morning of March 4 at Nashotah House, where he was studying for ordination to the priesthood. He was 40.

ens_031014_terryStar[Nashotah House Theological Seminary] Truly, Nomen est Omen — the name determines the man: The brightness in Terry’s gentle eyes really did shine like a Star in the night sky. And what image is more apt to describe our peaceful, giant friend than his Lakota name :“White Mountain”. The impression of his calm, thoughtful, big, guileless, and playful presence is permanently etched into my memory. Although this memory-mark is indelible, how much fresher and warmer was the man himself, how much I would prefer to have him, and not just the memories.

We, here at the House, are missing him sorely. And we will miss him, indefinitely.  Although cliché, and although it seems like a small thing to say, “missing him” is the best way to put it. His faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord was manifestly evident in his life, carriage, and vocation as deacon. We thus have every available assurance that he is with the blessed souls in paradise, being drawn ever nearer to our God. We miss him like one who has gone away for a little while, but who we will see again before too long, when our time comes. After the shock, this was my second thought upon hearing the news of his death: Lucky him – who now gets to see Jesus face to face.

In his life and ministry, Death was no stranger to Terry. Although from our vantage there is a horrible, horrible, horrible suddenness to his own departure from this earth, Terry himself had no pretenses about the End that comes to us all. Three weeks ago, Terry and I were pall-bearers at a funeral of an old Son of the House. The celebrant remarked that he had buried nearly a thousand people in his time. Terry whispered to me that he had buried about that many in his time as a deacon. “Really?” I exclaimed, to which he replied that it was probably more like several hundred. Terry had mentioned to me before (We lived in Kemper hall together for a year and a half) that he had buried more of his “kids” – the teenagers he ministered to back home – than he would ever have liked. These, coupled with his parochial ministry generally, as well as recent passings in his family, brought death frequently before his eyes. I had no idea of the numbers though. But it made sense – of the light in his eyes. Only someone who has looked Death so squarely in the face could be that peaceful in Life. The next day, after he had told me about his hundreds, I told him as much, “Hey Terry, now I understand where that light in your eyes comes from – from having done all those funerals.” He smiled in that Terry way and nodded in agreement.

Deacon Terry Star (front right) serves as a pallbearer at one of the many funerals he'd attended.

I don’t know all the details of Terry’s life, but I have a few strong pictures from what he told me: There’s Terry as kid in his very tight-knit family. Upon showing me a piece of bead-work he was given as a gift, he told me that as a child he remembered sorting tens of thousands of these tiny beads with a pin at his grandparents house. As a Christian in the Native American community, Terry’s life was often one of living on borders, of liminality. In his travels throughout a predominantly White country, Terry was very frequently met with the full spectrum of racism – ranging from ignorant language-use, to stereotyping, to flat-out animosity and disrespect. In his Native community, he was sometimes eyed with a little suspicion for being a disciple of a religion not ancient to  Native people. Sometimes these two worlds would get mixed-up in odd ways: Terry once told me that at a ceremonial Native gathering, a White person who had “gotten into Native religion” approached Terry—who was wearing his alb and deacon’s stole—and started yelling at him that he was a ‘sell-out’. Upon telling me this story, before I could be empathetically appalled, he just started chuckling. It was a soft but unstoppable chuckle that revealed the outlook which Terry always had, as long as I got to be witness to his life: An outlook which was abounding in patience. In both senses of the word: A quiet suffering, which he shared with our Lord, and an understanding of the ignorance and folly of his fellow human beings, which he did not quickly hold against them.

Death. Liminality. Staples in Terry’s life which he had accepted. Lesser souls would have become depressed by such things, but Terry used them like the proverbial oyster uses the irritating sand, and it blessed us: The calm comportment he gained was a welcome blessing in a dorm hall where we young men were often losing our composure under the stress of life and school-work. He was a ballast to us – helping to keep us emotionally upright in times of trial. This ministry of presence was far from passive. About once a week Terry would make one of his marvelous stews or soups for we Kemper guys, and anyone else who happened to be passing through at dinner time. He brought his TV out to the common area, so we could all watch movies together (on weekends only, of course) – an activity that, no matter how mundane, did much to build community on the floor.

Beyond domestic life, the experiences Terry had engendered a profound intellectual life. Although classroom work was sometimes a struggle for Terry, compounded by how often he was called-for off-campus (for funerals back home, to Executive Council on the East Coast,etc.), Terry had profound perspicuity into the relationship between Christianity and Culture, arising from his reflections on ministering within a Native context. Many things he shared with us about his vision for ministry were paradigm molding. In the spirit of Justin Martyr, he wrote a paper outlining how the pre-incarnate Logos had directed the religious thought of the Dakota people to be congruous in form to the Christian message. He spoke of using Sage – an herb used by the Dakota in religious ceremonies – in a thurible, to connect Christian worship with the senses of the people-group from whence he came. And many other things like this. Terry was a paragon of keeping the difficult balance between recognizing Christian identity as first and trump, but not neglecting the riches that culture affords, nor overlooking the oppressive facts of history.

We will miss Terry. We will miss his calm. His ministry. His keen intellect. More than these we will miss his smile, that warm, generous smile, with those bright eyes. But more than all of this, we just miss him. I keep thinking of these lines from John Updike:

And another regrettable thing about death
is the ceasing of your own brand of magic,
which took a whole life to develop…
…The whole act.
Who will do it again? That’s it: no one;
imitators and descendants aren’t the same.
         — from “Perfection Wasted”

Now, I know Terry wasn’t perfect, but by earthly lights, it still sure seems to be a waste—that his life and ministry are so soon over. But we trust God, nevertheless. Trust that this whole thing – Terry’s whole life, and death, are subject to Him, even though it doesn’t appear to be in subjection sometimes. And we trust that our loss is Terry’s gain, as he looks on the master, whose service he imitated, face to shining face.”

– Benjamin Jefferies is a senior student at Nashotah House Theological Seminary.

and here

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori said in a statement that “the Episcopal Church has been much blessed by the ministry of Deacon Terry Star, on Standing Rock, as a member of Executive Council, and through the many relationships he had built throughout the church and beyond.”

“We give thanks for his life and witness, his prophetic voice, and his reconciling heart. All his relatives are grieving, and we pray that his soul may rest in peace and his spirit continue to prod us all in continuing the ministry of healing we have from Jesus.”

At the most recent council meeting, Star helped lead an effort that resulted in the council joining what has become a nationwide effort that has reached to the White House to convince the National Football League’s Washington Redskins team to change its name.

Star was born in Seattle, Washington. He lived on 10 Indian reservations, in part because of his father’s career in tribal law enforcement, according to information on Star’s LinkedIn page.

Lillian Ironbull-Martinez, his maternal grandmother, raised him in the Episcopal Church and, according to his LinkedIn biography, he and other members of the Standing Rock Episcopal Community liked to joke that they are “cradle-board Episcopalians.”

Sioux Episcopalians celebrate new church arisen out of arsonist’s ashes

St. James comes home to a ‘place for new memories’

 

Episcopal News Service – Cannon Ball, North Dakota] On a brilliantly bright but frigid late Nov. 23 morning here on the Standing Rock Sioux Indian Reservation, the people of St. James Episcopal Church officially came home to a new church that echoes a teepee and feels as if the worshippers are gathered in a dream catcher.

The temperature hovered around 6 degrees Fahrenheit and a slight wind was blowing off the nearby Missouri River as congregation members and visitors stood in the gravel parking lot for the beginning of the service.

They sang “Many and Great,” a hymn that the Rev. John Floberg, St. James rector, said was believed to be the first Christian hymn written in Lakota. It was sung, he told the congregation, by 38 Dakota men as they walked to the gallows Dec. 26, 1862 in the largest one-day execution in U.S. history after they were convicted on allegations that they were part of an uprising that year.

“Let the door be open,” said North Dakota Bishop Michael Smith, wearing an Indian feather headdress in place of a miter and loudly pounding on the door.

When the Rev. Neil Two Bears and acolyte Mia Two Bears opened the door, Smith announced “Peace be to this house, and all who enter here,” using his pastoral staff to mark the threshold with the sign of the cross.

….The sole visible reminder of that night is the cross that hangs in front of a star quilt above the pulpit. It is made of two rugged and charred pieces of timber from the floor of the St. James Guild Hall, the only wood that was not reduced to ashes in the fire.

“It feels like a homecoming,” said Senior Warden Florestine Grant before the service began. “We’re dreaming about the things we can do here for the children, for the elders and for the culture.”

One of her daughters, Alex Spotted Elk, said that it was too bad that a fire caused the congregation to have to build a new building. But, looking up to the opening at the top of the roof, she said, “This is a place for new memories.”

The Rev. Terry Star, a deacon who grew up in St. James and is a seminarian at Nashotah House, preaches Nov. 23 during the consecration of the new St. James. Behind him is a cross made of two rugged and charred pieces of timber from the floor of the St. James Guild Hall, the only wood that was not reduced to ashes in the July 25, 2012 arson fire. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

The Rev. Terry Star, a deacon who grew up in St. James and who is now a seminarian at Nashotah House in Wisconsin, recalled during his sermon how nearly 100 years ago an Episcopal bishop told the Sioux in the area they had to put away their Indian adornments in order to be Christian. That attitude is changed, Star said, as evidenced by the adornment of the new St. James.

“We can be a Dakota people; we can be who we are – that God made us to be – and still follow Jesus Christ,” he said.

Star said he hoped that the beautiful and colorful church would become a strong symbol for the people of the area.

He recalled a story that his grandmother told him of Iya, a great monster whose name literally means “mouth,” who was eating up the people, and Ikto, the trickster who flattered the monster to get him to trust him. Ikto pretended to be Iya’s big brother and asked what the monster feared. Iya said he was afraid of loud noise, of singing and drumming. Ikto went ahead to the next village and told them to start celebrating with songs and drums.

The trick worked; Iya was paralyzed by fear and Ikto killed him. When Iya’s stomach was cut open, all the people the monster had swallowed came back to life.

“We have a darkness eating up our people,” Star said. “It’s something swallowing up our people.”

A drive around Cannon Ball, Star said, shows a lack of “artwork and colorfulness,” other than the “marshmallow-colored housing” whose tints were not the choice of the occupants.

“We have an opportunity in this building and through the Gospel and through our worship in this building to bring color and celebration back into the community,” he said. “We can chase away the Iya that’s eating up our people.”

 

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I know this now. Every man gives his life for what he believes. Every woman gives her life for what she believes. Sometimes people believe in little or nothing yet they give their lives to that little or nothing. One life is all we have and we live it as we believe in living it. And then it is gone. But to sacrifice what you are and live without belief, that's more terrible than dying.--

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Beannacht

On the day when
the weight deadens
on your shoulders
and you stumble,
may the clay dance
to balance you.

And when your eyes
freeze behind
the grey window
and the ghost of loss
gets in to you,
may a flock of colours,
indigo, red, green,
and azure blue
come to awaken in you
a meadow of delight.

When the canvas frays
in the currach of thought
and a stain of ocean
blackens beneath you,
may there come across the waters
a path of yellow moonlight
to bring you safely home.

May the nourishment of the earth be yours,
may the clarity of light be yours,
may the fluency of the ocean be yours,
may the protection of the ancestors be yours.
And so may a slow
wind work these words
of love around you,
an invisible cloak
to mind your life.

John O'Donohue, Echoes of Memory