] Around Columbia: 2008

Thursday, March 6, 2008

St. Francis & Clare Charismatic Episcopal Church: Part Two

The historic Hatton Chapel is full of stories and those stories continue with the St. Francis & Clare Episcopal Church and Father John Prenger's journey to that location.

The front entrance to the St. Francis & Clare Episcopal Church located at the old Hatton Chapel:

The front door of chapel open and looking inside:

John sitting outside of the front entrance to his church:

John with his daughter Maranatha outside of the church at the back entrance:

John's journey to this small, rustic, church has been a long one. Trained, educated, and ordained as a Roman Catholic priest right here in Missouri John served 20 years in that tradition. That included time at the Newman Center located at Truman State University in Kirksville, and at the Newman center here in Columbia. His life took a change when he met and feel in love with his wife Sharon and they continue to enjoy a successful marriage that has produced four children. John's marriage was the beginning of a distancing between him and the Roman Catholic Church. When that distancing was complete John was left searching for a spiritual home. His journey continued when a friend discovered the International Communion of the Charismatic Episcopal Church and introduced John to it. John soon found himself involved with a new faith community.

Align Left

In 1998 a small group of worshipers were holding services in the Prenger's home. Shortly afterwards members of the group had a vision that God was leading them to a new church building. They all agreed the building was located in the country with trees nearby, and the building had white siding. When they shared that vision with colleagues at a local fellowship gathering one of them told them about the Hatton Chapel, and that is where the church now meets.

The country location envisioned by the congregation:

In many ways John's story is a series of continuing love affairs. His love of God and call to the ministry was the first one. Then his love of his wife and subsequently their children is the second one. Unfortunately John had to find ways to reconcile the two when the policies of the Roman Catholic Church prohibited him from fulfilling his call to serve with it after he married. Facing the censorship of the Roman Church he was forced to go another direction that eventually led him to this small church building.

John is also currently the president of the Columbia Interfaith Group which actively seeks to bring persons from diverse religious backgrounds together for fellowship and understanding. A video of an Interfaith Thanksgiving celebration (in November 2007) held at Congregation Beth Shalom, here in Columbia, is available on YouTube.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

St. Francis & Clare Charismatic Episcopal Church: Part One

Today it was my pleasure to visit with Father John Prenger about the St. Francis & Clare Charismatic Episcopal Church as we drove to the outskirts of Columbia, about four miles outside of the city limits, to this historic location known as the Hatton Chapel.

During that ride John, a neighbor and dear friend, took the time to explain not only his own story but the story of theInternational Communion of the Charismatic Episcopal Church which is the domination he is now affiliated with. His story and the story of his denomination are very much intertwined. For more about the denomination I urge the reader to visit their website. However, the unique characteristic of this fellowship requires an explanation. This group describes itself as charismatic, evangelical, and sacramental. Instead of using the term sacramental John favors the term liturgical.

Most readers will understand charismatic and evangelical but sacramental and liturgical bears more explanation. In those two aspects the church is more like the Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches or perhaps even the Anglican tradition. The term liturgical is from the Greek leitourgia which means public work. In a Christian sense this translates into the public work of the priest, rather formal and stylized, in performing the Eucharist where the transformation of the wine and bread is not viewed as symbolic but real.

Inside a delightful blend of East and West:

John explains his denomination as a "unique blend of East and West," and that is delightfully apparent when you enter a warm and vivid sanctuary filled with icons that is more emblematic of a church in the Holy Land than one in the countryside of Mid-Missouri. The inside is very much in contrast to the outside appearance of a very rustic, weathered, and charmingly ramshackle, exterior. The atmosphere inside is delightful exotic and decidedly Eastern.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

What is this all about? An online magazine for Columbia, Missouri.

I think that the next wave of growth on the internet is going to be local rather than global. That means news and information sources aimed at the local level to inform and communicate. Think about it. The web is already global so the real growth will be inwards rather than outwards as new sources emerge that are focusing on a local rather than a global market. That is the strategy for this blog. So, what is this blog about?

My inspiration will be from the old Life magazine formula for telling a story in words and pictures. Picture stories.

Mike Perkins

Columbia, Missouri

Psalm 85:9-11

9 Surely his salvation is near those who fear him,
that his glory may dwell in our land.

10 Love and faithfulness meet together;
righteousness and peace kiss each other.

11 Faithfulness springs forth from the earth,
and righteousness looks down from heaven.