October • "Building on Grace" by the Rev. Scott Walters "I recently learned that, in the eyes of estate sale appraisers, a set of encyclopedias is worth approximately nothing. This was disturbing news with grave implications for our children. What will they use to anchor the corners of their blanket forts... "
August/September • "A community of confession" by the Rev. Scott Walters "A recent article I was reading made passing reference to something called “The Museum of Failure.” It had just opened in Sweden. This sounded like my kind of place. So I Googled... "
Summer • "Something sacred and true" by the Rev. Scott Walters "The first miracle was that they came. So many and all sorts of people came, most of them strangers to me. I was standing at the red doors of Calvary, and the wind blowing in from the west was downright bitter for the Wednesday after Easter. But it brought more strangers than I could count as the noon hour approached. We set up folding chairs down the aisle. People stood in the back and wrapped around both sides of the pews as the Service of Remembrance and Reconciliation began... "
March/April • "The power of secrets" by the Rev. Scott Walters "We’ve known about the power of secrets since we were children, haven’t we? There was something thrilling about cupping a hand to my mouth and delivering a message just to the ear of a trusted friend, whether the subject was who had a crush on whom or who had cooties or what secret place we should meet in to exchange even more secrets when school was over... "
January/February • "A spirit of curiosity" by the Rev. Scott Walters "When our daughter Kate was eight years old, she wanted to be a spy. She and her BFF Clare would rifle through the recycling bin in the church office for important looking documents (spreadsheets with lots of numbers were best) which they would staple together and file in a manila folder labeled “TOP SECRET..."
November/December • "Searching for rhythm" by the Rev. Scott Walters "Driving an old truck has heightened my attention to rhythms. At about 60mph, my 1995 Chevrolet develops a soft rhythmic shudder in the rear end. The tires and suspension are in good shape, but the truck just doesn’t seem to like to move at certain speeds. So, I slow down or speed up just enough to bring the ride back into harmony..."
October • "What is your heart's story?" by the Rev. Scott Walters "In a discreet (I’d like to think) spot beside the steps to the backyard, sits a big black toolbox made of an indestructible plastic resin. It slid around in the back of my truck, carrying extension cords and pneumatic hoses, for years. Among the things presently inside it are: an aluminum clamp light, a concrete trowel, a quarter bag of charcoal, Azalea/rhododendron food, and a strange bicycle seat that consists of two independent oval buttock pads (patent pending, I’m sure)..."
August/September • "Placemaking" by the Rev. Scott Walters "As I moved into my new office at Calvary and got the computer set up, I decided I should cull the website shortcuts I keep. They pile up over time. But as I did, I found a few links I didn’t recognize. One took me to instructions for making your own moss shower mat..."
June/July • "Being Known" by the Rev. Scott Walters "Among the bad habits my parents attempted to undo in my brother and me (mostly me, to be honest) was overuse of the phrase “I know.” For a time it was the readiest answer I had for almost anything..."
April/May • "All things Calvary" by The Rev. F. M. "Buddy" Stallings "Lent at Calvary has been all that it was trumped up to be. And more. I expected it to be busy almost as if nothing else happens at Calvary during Lent except LPS and Waffle Shop. Of course, that is not true. A parish mirrors the cycle of life for all of us, a process that continues every day in every season, days filled with moments of joy and sadness, of beginnings and endings, of devotion and distraction..."
February/March • "The joy of Lent" by The Rev. F. M. "Buddy" Stallings "Recently in a sermon, I joked that compared to many places, Lent at Calvary is pretty cushy. Everyone tells me that I am almost guaranteed to put on a few pounds during the phenomenon of Waffle Shop. Since serious fasting has never been a part of my Lenten discipline, or any other discipline for that matter—being hungry makes me think of food more than of God—I anticipate no problem in embracing the much-celebrated gastronomical advantages of Calvary’s Lenten observance..."
November/December • "For we need a little Christmas right this very minute" by The Rev. F. M. "Buddy" Stallings "Writing on the eve of the 2016 Election, which is permanently seared into our consciousnesses as individuals and writ large already in the history of the nation, I am thinking of happier things: the coming of one of our holiest seasons and the vibrant state of our parish..."
October • "God's Goodness" by The Rev. F. M. "Buddy" Stallings "Although I do not find myself particularly loquacious, I have to admit that I have never been accused of being quiet and reserved. In fact, someone very close to me argues, rather harshly I think, that I never let the absence of knowledge about a particular topic stand in the way of my opining about it..."
August/September • "Facing a new beginning" by The Rev. F. M. "Buddy" Stallings "Being named priest-in-charge at Calvary during this unexpected time of discernment and search for a new rector came at just the right moment for me. After being retired for a little over a year from St. Bartholomew’s Church in New York City, I was becoming more than a little antsy. Conceptually retirement is nearly perfect, and in fact, it truly is good. But it is not perfect..."
May/June/July • "Let your light shine" by Christopher D. Girata "In the past few months, I have been as proud of Calvary Church as I have ever been. Although there are so many reasons to be proud of what we are doing, such as our beautiful worship, our excellent formation offerings, and our community events, what has risen to the top for me has been our civic presence. We continue to take steps toward a public witness of faith, and that is critical to our calling as disciples of Jesus..."
March/April • "Calvary in Action" by Christopher D. Girata "The season of Lent at Calvary has once again been quite the event. Our preaching series has offered excellent sermons from some brilliant preachers, and I’m thrilled that we have a few weeks left to be inspired before moving into the beauty of Holy Week and Easter. If you haven’t yet taken advantage of our preaching series, allow me to remind you that this gift to the city of Memphis is meant for you, too..."
January/February • "Envisioning the Future" by Christopher D. Girata "So much has been written in the popular media about the decline of the church and the lack of younger generations engaging in the church. However, this past year at Calvary has proven that what might be happening culture-wide can be shifted when churches take seriously their role in connecting people to a purpose that is bigger than they are. Our purpose at Calvary is..."
December 1 • "From darkness to light" by Christopher D. Girata "December is upon us, and with it comes all the joys and stresses of the holiday season. As Episcopalians, we live into the beautiful season of Advent, anxiously anticipating the joy of Christmas. With all the parties, shopping, eating, and more over these next few weeks, we might simply ride the wave to its final conclusion..."
October 15 • "Sharing our story" by Christopher D. Girata "Over the past few weeks, I’ve had great fun seeing so many of you at annual giving parties throughout the city. These parties, graciously hosted by fellow parishioners, have given us all a great excuse to celebrate our friendships and the mission we share as members of the Calvary community. They also have been an excellent way for us to dream about Calvary’s future and the part we will each play in it..."
September 1 • "Choose Calvary" by Christopher D. Girata "Ever since I was a child, I’ve cracked my knuckles. It’s one of my many bad habits. I can remember, time and again, being told that cracking my knuckles would lead to arthritis. I know arthritis isn’t caused by cracking joints, but absentmindedly popping those joints is still not a good thing..."
July 15 • "Believe in Memphis" by Christopher D. Girata "Becoming an Episcopalian was not an easy decision for me. I was raised in the Roman Catholic Church and I had an excellent experience..."
June 1 • "Raising up leaders in our community of faith" by Christopher D. Girata "While I was a graduate student at Emory University, I worked for the Department of Campus Life. My boss and the director of the department was a remarkable man named Brit Katz. Dean Katz was one of the most energetic and cheerful people I’ve ever known. He would practically bounce across campus, happily greeting everyone (truly every single person) by name..."
April 15 • "That certain something" by Bill Kolb "Arnie and I were good friends in our high school, Miami Beach High School, which we called “Beach High.” I had few friends and enjoyed Arnie’s company. We would “hang out” at my apartment after school; that’s my main memory. Then, when we moved on to the University of Florida about 400 miles north at Gainesville, we were together again..."
March 1 • "Sunday is coming!" by Christopher D. Girata "We’re in the middle of Lent, a season that calls to mind sinfulness, discipline, and self-denial — all the fun stuff! Lent is designed to make us more mindful of God’s great love story. Lent is the chance to pause and rest and listen for God’s voice in the midst of a very loud, hectic world. Lent is meant to bring us closer to God. But if you’re like me, the solemnity of Lent doesn’t always seem to work..."
January 15 • "Lenten Preaching: ‘Transformation for both the preacher and the congregation’" by Mimsy Jones "Watching a preacher climb into the pulpit is a lot like watching a tightrope walker climb onto the platform as the drum roll begins,” writes Barbara Brown Taylor. If anyone knows how a preacher feels climbing into the pulpit, it’s Barbara Taylor, who many of us got to know when she regularly visited Memphis for the Lenten Preaching Series..."
December • "The Great Miracle" by Christopher Girata "Christmas always has been a very special time of year for me. When I was a child, I was very active in my Catholic church, especially in the children’s choir. My Catholic children’s choir experience was very different than many Episcopal churches because we didn’t have a strong adult choir..."
November • "Giving Thanks" by Christopher Girata "Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. Thanksgiving is a day when there is no real commercialism or consumerism, just families gathered around tables sharing love and good food. When I was a child, we always celebrated Thanksgiving supper at my grandmother’s house..."
October • "Continuing a Legacy" by Christopher Girata "I recently watched the 2004 WKNO-produced documentary about churches in Memphis, featuring Calvary’s early history. The segment is filled with images of the church that scroll by on the screen as historians talk about Calvary’s important roots in the city and how it planted many other churches that continue to serve the people of Memphis today. It reminds me how profound our legacy is and how important our role is in continuing that legacy for the future..."
September • "A New Journey" by Christopher Girata "For the last few weeks, I’ve had school on the brain. As children all over the city began the new school year last month, I was in spiritual synchronicity with them as I began a new term of my doctoral program. It seems like school was everywhere. I’ve always loved school and consider myself a lifelong student, and I bet many of you might feel the same way..."
August • "Doing more good together" by Christopher Girata "A few months ago, on a beautiful Sunday afternoon, my 8-year-old son, Brayden, and I were driving down Poplar Avenue on the way to get haircuts. As we stopped at a red light, a man walked past our car holding a sign that simply read, “Homeless, please help ..."
June/July • "How to Bless a Bee" by Eyleen Farmer "God has a thing for gardens. I can’t say what God planted in Eden—probably not exactly the same species native to west Tennessee. But if you believe (as I do) that the Garden of Eden is not limited to a particular geography, then you won’t have trouble imagining a little piece of paradise right in our own backyard ..."
May • "Live it Up at Calvary!" by Christopher Girata "Easter greetings to you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ! Our Easter season has begun with great joy and energy and promises to continue with fantastic celebrations in the coming weeks. Through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, we have all been invited to live out an Easter faith that finds deep, true joy all around us. And this Easter season, I want you to come seeking that deep joy at Calvary ..."
April • "No Good Thing Ever Dies" by Christopher Girata " One of my favorite movies is The Shawshank Redemption. I was only a teenager when I first saw it, but I knew right away that the story was something special. As I watched the movie, something about the story tugged at me, pulled at me, and I wasn’t quite sure what it was ..."
March • "Lenten Preaching Series 2014" by Christopher Girata "For more than 90 years, Calvary Episcopal Church has offered an amazing opportunity to journey through the season of Lent by hearing diverse, world-class preachers, and eating delicious, classic, Southern food. And we want you to experience it with us this year!"
February • "God is Calling" by Christopher Girata "Life is full of surprises, some are good and some are not. When we experience a shift in our lives, a shift from what we expect to happen, one question, asked in faith, has the power to change us: What is God calling me to do?"
January • "Living a Christmas Life" by Christopher Girata "I typically love to make New Year resolutions. When I was younger, making a New Year resolution seemed like a wish that was sure to come true. But as I got older, I realized that keeping resolutions is really difficult..."
December • "Radical Love" by Christopher Girata "I have a confession: I love to decorate for Christmas the week after Thanksgiving. I can remember back when I was in seminary, my fellow seminarians would lament over my celebration of Christmas before Christmas, reminding me that there are four weeks of Advent when we are to prepare for Christmas..."
November • "What is Confirmation?" by Christopher Girata "On Sunday, November 3, Calvary will observe the Feast of All Saints with a wonderful worship service celebrating baptisms, confirmations, and remembering all those who have gone before us. All Saints’ Day is one of my favorite days because I’m reminded of all those I have loved and lost over the years, those great saints who have paved the way for me and for us to experience God's love and to share that love in the world..."
October • "Changing Lives" by Christopher Girata "When I was a child, I sang in our church choir. I loved to sing and I loved to be a part of my church community. The commitment to participate in my church choir was significant..."
September • "Transformation" by Christopher Girata "There is a modern myth that many of us subscribe to without even being aware of it-the myth of choice. We live in a culture that celebrates the belief that we have the freedom and the responsibility to choose the way we will live our lives..."
August • "Formative Experiences" by Christopher Girata "When I think back to my childhood, there are a host of experiences that I count as being truly formative. There were experiences that hurt, like losing a little league game, and there were experiences that were embarrassing, like having to be carried off a ski slope on a stretcher because I went down a little too fast..."
June/July • "Summer Sabbath" by Christopher Girata "When I was in grade school, I remember counting down the days before summer vacation. Summertime was when I got to do everything I wanted to do, not all the stuff I was supposed to do..."
May • "Happy Birthday!" by Christopher Girata "No matter how old I get, birthdays are always something special. In our family, we treat birthdays like a major holiday..."
April • "A Wonderful Time to be at Calvary" by Christopher Girata "Over the past few months, I have felt an amazing growth of spirit at Calvary. Our Sunday services have been rejuvenating and inspiring and our formation and ministry opportunities continue to feed our souls..."
March • "Because of Who You Are" by Christopher Girata "Easter day is the most holy of all our Christian celebrations. At Easter, we remember that we are loved completely, not because of anything we do, but just for being who we are..."
February • "Lent at Calvary" by Christopher Girata "I arrived in Memphis only a short time ago, and although there are many Memphis traditions I hope to experience, none excites me more than Calvary Episcopal Church’s Lenten Preaching Series..."
January • "Refuel, Reconnect, Reform" by Christopher Girata "Calvary Church is a place where we meet old friends and make new friends, where we share our greatest joys and our deepest sorrows, and where we become a sacred community that transcends the world around us..."