Tuesday, February 25, 2014

A Cute Little Tea Cozy

This is a cute little project I did this evening because my tea got cold earlier in the day before I was finished enjoying it and it made me very sad... So I went to the store, got some fabric, and put together a Cozy to keep my tea warm a bit longer. After seeing how cute it turned out, I put together these simple instructions so that you can make your own at home! It isn't much, but it is quick, easy, and cute! Have fun trying it out!


Saturday, February 22, 2014

The Power of Tea, Part 2

The "Teatanic" tea infuser by FRED

To compliment my previous post about tea I thought I would continue on with some cool tea accessories! Kettles, teapots, infusers, teacups, spoons, tea boxes... Everyone who really enjoys tea naturally enjoys the odds and ends that go with it. Here are just a few of my absolute favorite little bits to accompany you at tea time!

After a nice long day of work, who doesn't like to relax and sink into a nice hot... Cup of Tea! 
Mr. Tea by FRED

For the art aficionado, the cat lady, or just a tea enthusiast, this charming Tea-for-One set is a must have!

You knew it was coming some time... The two things that scream ENGLISH are Tea and Dr. Who!
Every Whovian needs a Tardis Tea Pot

Instead of being a tea loving introvert, try sharing a cup of tea with a friend!
This modern Tea-for-Two designed by Mark Huang

Happy Brewing!

The Power of Tea, Part 1

Tea has been a driving force in the western world for hundreds of years, and in the East it has been so even longer! Today so many people have cheapened Tea into a drab and granted part of life. Where is the joy in that? Fortunately some people have made enough of a fuss about Tea in their lives that some companies have started to get their act together and begin producing fun and exciting Teas and Tea related products! Being a Twining's snob myself I naturally have to point in that direction first. Twining's has been making quality Tea for years! 308 years to be exact! Their traditional black, green, and red teas are some of the best in the world, however the Twining's lines of herbals and blended teas are also invigorating! Most Twining's teas are available both in bags or loose.

Another phenomenal tea company (and also a personal favorite) is Teavana! In addition to an adventurous selection of traditional old world teas, Teavana is one of the fleeting few companies that carries an exciting selection of traditional  Mate teas!

Lastly, but certainly not least among tea companies, is Bigelow! As one of the new kids on the block (Having only been established in 1945) the Bigelow company has done well to make a name for itself. Either as a long time lover of fine tea or as a brewing novice, Bigelow offers a delightful and more affordable range of teas of all sorts!

A few other brands that I have found are quite good are:

-Red Rose (Which we all know for their delightful little figurines)

-The Queen's Choice (Which I am sure that she has never heard of) I found this tea, believe it or not, The Dollar Tree store. I wasn't quite sure at first but I was surprised at the quality of the tea. I find that it is a superb tea, especially for the value!

Happy Brewing!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Mass Vestments: Usage and Origin

When someone who is unfamiliar with Catholicism walks into a Catholic Church one of the very first things that they are likely to notice is the lavish ornamentation of the Church.  In the East they would notice thousands of beautiful Icons written with bright colors and gold and silver leaf. In the West they would see statues and dramatic paintings of saints and angels. Once a liturgy begins they may notice that the clergy and servers are wearing ornately decorated and embroidered vestments. What   many people, both Catholic and protestant, fail to understand is that everything in the Church has a purpose. From each individual vestment that the ministers put on to the color of the fabric, to the moment that the ministers move the books on the altar, every article, item, symbol, and gesture in the liturgy has a meaning and a purpose. Today we will be going over the individual vestments of the ministers in the Western churches, their origin, and their purposes.

The outermost garment of the Priest, called a Chasuble, is the last one to be put on and will most often cover all of the other vestments. Its origin is the Casula, or “little house” which was a full, bell shaped cloak for traveling. The Chasuble has been retained as a symbol of Charity, and the yoke of unselfish service for the Lord which is imposed upon the Priest at his ordination. For this reason the Chasuble should properly supersede, and cover all others. The Chasuble is also often understood to represent the “seamless garment” of Christ. The Chasuble may take many forms, from the small and ornately decorated Roman style which developed in the 18th century, often called a Fiddleback on account of its shape, to the ample cut Conical and Gothic styles which originate in much earlier periods. In the Eastern Churches the equivalent vestment is the Phelonian.

In the place of the Chasuble, Deacons and Subdeacons at Mass wear what are known as the Dalmatic and Tunicle (respectively). The Dalmatic is a calf length tunic made of fabric matching the Priest’s Chasuble which originates from Dalmatia, a province of Greece. The Tunicle is typically a bit shorter and derives its name from its shape simply as a tunic. Both the Deacon and Subdeacon wear all of the same vestments beneath the Dalmatic or Tunicle as the Priest, with the exception that the Subdeacon omits the use of the Stole. The Bishop may also wear the Dalmatic beneath the Chasuble, as the Bishop has received the fullness of the Priesthood. In the East a Bishop will properly wear an entirely different vestment, similar in appearance to the Dalmatic, called a Sakkos.

Beneath the Chasuble is worn the Stole, a long strip of fabric worn about the neck. For Priests the stole should be crossed or secured in the front. For a Bishop the Stole may hang free. For a Deacon the stole is properly worn over the left shoulder, pulled across the chest and joined at the right hip. The Stole is the symbol of authority, originating from the scarf worn by magistrates in the Roman Empire. The Stole is properly worn at any rite, office, or liturgical function. In the Eastern Churches the equivalent vestment for priests is the Epitrachelion. For Deacons and Subdeacons the corresponding vestment is the Orarion. 

Less common in modern use is the Maniple. Constructed similarly to the Stole, the Maniple is a band of cloth worn over the left forearm. Originating as a towel or handkerchief the Maniple symbolizes the labor and hardships that result from being in the service of Christ. In the Eastern Churches the ministers wear a pair of liturgical cuffs, which serve a similar function to the Maniple.

Worn around the waist is the Cincture, or Girdle. Its origin being a belt to gird the garments worn underneath it, the Cincture has come to symbolize the chastity and continence of the minister. In some places the Cincture may take the form of an ornate or decorative belt, however it is most commonly seen in the form of a simple cord or rope with knots or tassels at the ends. In the Eastern Churches the Cincture is called a Zone and is typically more similar to the ornate belt form instead of a simple cord.

Beneath the previous vestments is worn an ankle length white robe called an Alb. The Alb is a symbol of innocence and purity. The name comes from the Latin word albus, which means white. Any baptized Christian may wear the Alb, as it is also the garment of Baptism. This is why in many parishes you will find lay readers and assistants wearing the Alb. The Alb is typically a plain linen or cotton robe but occasionally it may be adorned with embroidery, appareling, or lace. In some places the Alb may be made partially or entirely of lace. In the Eastern Churches the Sticharion takes the place of the Alb.

Beneath the Alb should be worn an Amice. The Amice consists of a square or rectangle of linen and has strings or ties so that it can be wrapped around the body and tied in place. It represents the Helmet of Salvation and originally took the form of a hood similar to the hood or arming cap worn by a soldier beneath the helmet. Like the Maniple, the Amice has widely fallen into disuse however in recent years it has seen resurgence among traditionalists.

These vestments serve many purposes within the Church. Vestments are traditionally very ornate. They glorify Christ’s presence as the Lord and King. Through Apostolic Succession the Priest, when before the Altar of God, stands and acts in the place of Christ (in Persona Christi) and reenter into the sacrifice of Christ’s Body and Blood. As Christ offered bread and wine to the Father and consecrated them to become His Body and Blood, the Priest at the Mass stands in His place offering bread and wine consecrating them into the same Blood and Body of Jesus. In addition to honoring and glorifying Christ’s presence, the use of vestments removes the focus from the Priest himself, instead to the actions in which he is engaging. They remove the temptation to view the priest as an individual and reinforce that, at least during the Mass, he is acting in Persona Christi.

While all vestments are not an essential part of Christian worship, they play a very important role in maintaining the things which are essential. Vestments perpetually remind us of the real reason that we worship; that is to seek and to serve Christ.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Today is the 1st anniversary of my Ordination as a Deacon in the Old Catholic Diocese of Saint Mary. This year has been difficult in many ways, but through it I have learned, grown, and been fulfilled in ways that I could never have imagined. With the support of my family and friends I have survived this year. Thank you Bishop William Collins for your trust, encouragement, and support. Thank you Msgr.William G. Jones for your mentoring and support. Thank you Bishop Ron Shelton, and Bishop Ed Morrow for your prayers and support also. May God bless you all!

Thursday, February 6, 2014


Contrary to common belief (in the modernist mindset of 21st century America) that black doctoral gown that a Baptist, Methodist, or Presbyterian preacher wears is not a vestment. It is an academic gown and a means to display his educational credentials to preach and teach. The use of the academic gown by clergy developed in the reformed churches upon the rejection of the use of vestments. In much of the Anglican tradition the common Eucharistic Vestments (Chasuble, Stole, Maniple, Alb, and Amice)  were suppressed as being papist superstition while the Surplice and Cope were retained. Because these are not Mass Vestments to which specific superstition was attached Anglicans did not see the need to suppress their use. The Surplice, worn with the cassock, tippet, and academic hood became essentially the norm as far as vestments go in the Anglican use. On the other hand the more reformed (Calvinist, Puritan, Zwinglian) christians all together reject the use of vestments. Instead of vesting these traditions used the academic gown as the ministerial wear of clergy. 

As I stated above, the stole is a proper vestment and in particular it is a mass vestment. It represents the yoke of service to God. The academic gown is the symbol of the very rejection of vestments. To combine the two a theological oxymoron. 

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Just a petpeve...

Coronation Tapestry is a beautiful fabric, and is very pretty on some vestments. It makes for a lovely orphery or trim. It can be a beautiful accent fabric. Here are some examples of tasteful use of Coronation Tapestry.

On occasion however too much of a good thing becomes a problem. Here are some examples...

Here is my final thought...

All things in moderation...

Now I'm done...

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

The Sacrament of Baptism is one instituted by Christ in the Gospels when He makes of Himself an example being cleansed with water at the hands of John the Forerunner (or known as John the Baptizer). The command was given then that Baptism should be administered in the name of The Father, and The Son, and The Holy Ghost, thus instituting the modern Trinitarian formula for the sacrament. The historical theology of Baptism is that Original Sin is passed to a child by his parents, just as any other trait would be. Because of this understanding it is understood to be the responsibility of a parent to have it washed away. Not dissimilar to feeding, bathing, and dressing, Baptism is a choice made by the parents of a child for his or her benefit. At Baptism a child's parents (and often godparents) make solemn vows to raise the child, teaching them the doctrines and traditions of the faith, so that in due time the child may confirm before a bishop that he or she has accepted and believes that which they have been taught. 

The Gospel according to St. Matthew, Chapter 28, Verses 18-20
The Authorized Version (KJV):

18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 
19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 
20 teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.


The Sacrament of Reconciliation

The Sacrament of Reconciliation is one instituted by Christ in the Gospels when He grants the authority to the Apostles to forgive and retain sins (Verse 23), as He had received from the Father. Christ also at this time passes the essence of the Priesthood, Persona Christi, placing the Apostles in relation to himself the same as He is in relation to the Father (Verse 21). Christ, in this very instant, passes on the authority to act in His place, in Persona Christi, to the Apostles and with that the authority and responsibility to perpetually pass and to protect that same authority for future generations. This passing of Apostolic Authority received from the hands of Christ is what we have come to call Apostolic Succession. A succession, a lineage of pastoral authority, descending through the generations of the Church, granted directly to the Apostles by the breath and hands of the Living God, Jesus Christ.

The Gospel according to St. John, Chapter 20, Verses 19-23
The Authorized Version (KJV):

19 Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.

20 And when he had so said, he shewed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord.

21 Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.

22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost:

23 whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained.