Sunday, December 28, 2008

Sabbatical coming!

My vestry has given me a wonderful gift - a "mini-sabbatical" for 4 weeks beginning January 9th! I cannot wait. 3 1/2 years of dealing with our post-Katrina world and ALL that entails has taken a tremendous toll on me and my family.
Why only 4 weeks? I am due a longer sabbatical, per my Letter of Agreement. But with the building project ongoing, I didn't feel I could be gone for 3 months at this time. I will take the rest of it sometime later in 2009 (probably after our "official" consecration of the new building August 15th - we should occupy around Easter but will have both our Bishop and the Bishop of the Diocese of Florida, who helped us out SO much in our building campaign available on August 15th so the BIG PARTY will be then!
The plan for January is complete respite time. My wife just lost her job, so she will be free to join me for most of it. We are traveling to St. Lucia for a week for our 25th anniversary (WOOT!), then will do some other traveling until early February. I am fortunate my middle child is in nursing school and living at home so she can take care of the 9th grader. It's all coming together very nicely.
I feel I am really limping to the finish line to get to this respite time, and I am oh so very grateful for the support of my vestry and wardens and parish for this time away to recharge my batteries.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


No, that doesn't mean I need to vent. It's a new verb, describing that special sense we try to recall during Advent - waiting, watching, hoping, anticipating.
It also describes St Patrick's church. Our new building is going up! It is truly fun to see. Walls are in place, roof trusses are up, decking of the roof is ongoing, parking lot is ready for gravel. Pretty exciting!
Less exciting is the LARGE gap in funds needed to pay for it. Please see if you can help.
But meanwhile - we watch it. We wait. We hope. We cannot wait. It's coming!
So is The One for whom we wait, and watch, and hope for. The child came, God became one of us. And He shall come again. So this Advent, we are Advent-ing on a couple of levels - and maybe, this time, we really get it?
Will you watch with us?

Monday, September 01, 2008

OK for us for now

Word from the MS Coast is we dodged a bullet. There is some pretty bad flooding in some low lying areas, especially in Hancock County. There is no power in my neighborhood in the Pass, but all in all in pretty good shape. I will head home in the morning (Tue).
I am so thankful for the prayers and the support from so many. We continue to pray for all those suffering from this storm and who remain in its path.
We will decide by Wednesday if we will continue with the plans for the Ground Breaking on Saturday. May need to postpone as folks concentrate on clean up. Will post something on here when we know.
Again, thank you all. It was a LONG few days. Earlier today I felt very anxious, almost anxiety-attack like. I read Bishop Jenkin's (Louisiana) blog here, and could relate so much to what he said. It is PTSD I believe, all this triggering those still raw and painful memories, fears, anxieties. A mixture of nausea and worry and anxiety and the like, I suppose. No fun, and my own personal material losses from Katrina were quite small compared to most. I know the psychological impact on people from Gustav will be something to deal with.
Keep praying, friends.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Gustav and Year Three

It's the 3rd anniversary of Katrina. Intentionally we are not doing anything special today, church wise. Good thing, as the level of anxiety down here right now is off the charts. As Gustav churns away almost 1100 miles south, we all anxiously watch the projected path and intensity. Two days ago we were square in the center of the "cone of uncertainty", and despite being constantly told that it was way too early to project an exact path, something about being on that middle line drove people over the edge.
Which is really ok. Preparations are on going. Folks are, I think, much more ready this time. Evacuation plans, gassing up, etc. done way ahead of the usual pace.
Today the center line of the path is west of us, but we certainly are still in the midst of the projection. But seeing that line move, it calms people down some. It shouldn't, but it does.
We know better. From Ivan and Katrina, from storms of all the past years, we KNOW that once it gets in the gulf, it really could go anywhere. The tracking will narrow it down in time, but by the time that happens, it's too late to do all the things we are finishing today. I am glad we are paying attention. I am not glad about the frayed nerves, the relived trauma, the rawness of this event, on the 3rd anniversary of "that" one.
Last year I posted THIS on the anniversary date. This year I was hoping to let it slip by as we prepare for the ground breaking of our new building in a week. But Gustav changed all that. Once again we are reminded of the cost of living here, a cost not just in having to go through all this, but also an even greater cost, I think, in stress and fear. This reminder, even if we do not take a big hit, will send some more people to other locations, leaving the coast behind forever.
I pray this storm shrinks and is a non event. Forecasts claim otherwise. I am grateful for all the prayers and support. Today and yesterday I have heard from many, many people across the country who are concerned for us, and it reminds me yet again of how we are all connected. The body of Christ is stronger than any storm, and I am so appreciative of those parts of the body that continue to hold us up when we need it. God bless you all.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Ground Breaking

Friends - we will have an official ground breaking - with at least one bishop and other dignataries, on September 6th at 10:00 am! If you are in the area, please join us for this exciting event - we will feed you a picnic lunch. I hope you will celebrate with our people this milestone.
Thanks for your continued support and prayers.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

It's time to DIG!!!

My friends, I am so very pleased and excited to announce - we are ready to GO on our new building. We have permits in hand from the city and site work will begin THIS WEEK! Our contractor has ordered materials and we will approve final plans this Thursday (7th).
I cannot even tell you what this means to me and to our people. When I received the news that the permits were ready to be issued, I wept. This milestone was so long in coming. What a witness to the resilience of our people, and the incredible help we have received.
Speaking of help, we are still hoping for those who can give a little to help make this building a reality. If you go to our SITE, you can donate online. Please think about it and pray about it. We are very excited about our future in Long Beach, and as the 3rd anniversary of Katrina bears down on us, we are ever more committed to being a viable presence in our community.
On a personal note, just got back from vacation and catching up in the office and on the road. Made plans for two fund raising trips (Chicago and San Francisco - if you are in those areas PLEASE let me know). And my son entered high school today - another milestone.
Soon to come - pictures from the construction site....

Friday, July 11, 2008


I, um, somehow, er, forgot to mention that, while I was at camp, I had
50. For some reason this one really got to me. I have been dreading it all year. It's a shock, and I mean that, to think about. How did this happen? Am I really 50???
It's a year of getting healthy for me - physically, spiritually, mentally. Working on some things, and so far so good.
I turned 50 at camp (see post below). I actually thought if I didn't tell anyone, the day would just slip on by. RIGHT. With a daughter on staff, my son with me, and my wife working behind the scenes, EVERYONE at camp knew. They actually were pretty light on me. Got food crammed down my throat as part of a game / song at lunch - with my 3 children doing the cramming! My wife and middle child drove up for the day and surprised me. It turned into the perfect way to spend a birthday. And I am slowly getting used to the idea.

On another note, I know I don't post regularly, and have decided to do something about that. But, I wonder if by my inconsistency no one is reading any more. That's cool, and if so I will let the blog die. But if you are out there, can you post a comment and let me know?

Thanks - hope to hear from ya!

Thursday, July 03, 2008

This made me cry

The tears really have been infrequent these last almost-three years. I wrote on here about the 2nd anniversary of Katrina and that connecting piece with my seminary classmate, Larry Motz, who died Palm Sunday 2006, and the crying jag that caused.
Today while perusing the web, I was reading the blog of the Executive Director of the Beatitudes Society, the Reverend Anne Howard. Read more about this wonderful group at their website. The first of June Anne led a second group of seminarians who are part of the society for another week of hard work at Camp Coast Care. My wife and I, as we did last year, spent an evening with them telling the stories, answering questions. On Anne's blog recently she reflected on their experience and included comments from some of the seminarians. I was so moved by what they had to say, and I really appreciate the "fresh eyes" they used to report their experiences.
Then one of them went and said THIS:

"Another story that struck me was that of Rev. David Knight. As the rector of the local Episcopal Church, David was saddened by the destruction of St. Patrick’s, but he was one of the lucky ones whose home was left relatively unharmed. From the base of security that he and his wife were able to maintain, which included continuing support from the church, they were among the few who were in a position to act as caregivers. Three years after the storm, the wells from which they had been gathering the necessary strength to provide care seemed to be drying up, and it was obvious that he and his wife desperately needed spiritual and personal renewal if they were to continue as caregivers. I was impressed by the care that he and his wife had been providing but saddened by the sight of their clearly ebbing strength."

Is that the impression I give people - ebbing strength? Or is it just the truth? I wept as I read it, so there must have been some truth in it. I FELT what he wrote as I read it. How weird is that?
So the BIG question - how do we recharge, replenish, refuel - for as you can tell from all their reports and many others, there is MUCH more to be done.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008


Just got back from a week of summer camp at good ole Camp Bratton-Green. It was a 5th and 6th grade session and I had a blast. My eldest child is part of Permanent Staff this summer and next, working the ropes course. It's a high honor and she was selected with two others out of a pool of 50 something. They also help with all the programming, skits, worship, "Big" games, etc. It's a whirlwind of very hard work and she LOVES it. She has dreamed of this gig her whole life, at least since her 1st time at camp as a 3rd grader. I am a proud pappa.
I will take over this session as Director next year, replacing the legendary Tom Slawson (also a Seabury grad), who has directed this particular session for 18 years! Way to go, Tom - truly a great camp director, moving on to other things and leaving huge shoes to fill.
Camp in our diocese is a HUGE deal and I am honored to be part of it, both as a newbie director and as a member of the Board of Managers for our Camp and Conference center. It's truly the heartbeat of the Diocese of Mississippi.
Hey Everybody is what you shout when you want everyone's attention at camp, and I used it to start my sermon last Sunday - camp stays with me for a while, for sure.
I know I have not written in forever but I plan to become a regular blog poster once again. St. Patrick's is mere weeks from breaking ground on our new building and I will post updates here. I am also very interested in traveling ANYWHERE to do fund raising to finish the gap in financing this building. Almost 3 years since Katrina destroyed all our facilities and we are most ready to be in our new space. 
Lastly, for now, I am a MAC user now! I spent 20-something years in mainframe and then PC and Networking, primarily in the banking world. I've been a DOS then Windows user all that time. But for my 50th (YES 50th!!) birthday, which I celebrated at camp by having TONS of food dumped on me at lunch, my family gave me a Best Buy gift card that went a long way to the purchase of my new Macbook Pro! Wow. My old laptop was dying a slow death, and I bit the bullet big time. I am learning as I go, so far I love it.
More to come, if ANYONE is out there still....

Sunday, March 23, 2008

5000 for 100 - Can you help?

I am shocked at how long it has been since I updated this blog. I don't know if anyone is still checking in - but if you are I want to share something with you. And also ask you to pass this on to every online friend you have.
Later, I will have a post about our just completed Holy Week at St. Patrick's.
But first - I started a group on Facebook called "5000 for 100". The description of the group is below:
St. Patrick's Episcopal Church in Long Beach, MS was completely destroyed by Hurricane Katrina in August of 2005. At long last the church is just about ready to begin building it's new facility, a few miles in land (on high ground) from the beach property.
Unfortunately, due to incredibly higher construction costs, we do not have enough funds from insurance and donations to construct even our first building - which will be a multi-purpose building with a Parish Hall / Worship room, offices, and classrooms. We estimate to be about $500,000 short.
While we continue to solicit contributions from large groups, and of course from our own congregation, the idea behind this group is a grassroots campaign to find 5000 people / organizations / groups to give $100 each to our building fund.
We hope that churches (of all denominations), church youth groups, men's groups, women's groups, Sunday school classes, individuals will pray about ways they can help and donate to our building fund.
Soon we will add pictures to the group, including what we looked like before and preliminary sketches of our first building.
All contributions to St. Patrick's are tax deductible. We ask that you mail contributions to the church, P.O. Box 550, Long Beach, MS 39560. You can reach us at 228-863-7882 or email . If you do contribute - THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU. Please indicate "5000 for 100" on your check so we can track this campaign (and know when we have reached 5000 contributors.
IN ADDITION, 10% of all contributions to this campaign will be given to local charities on the Gulf Coast that are helping our communities rebuild and providing services to people in need.
Lastly, will you pray for us? And pass this group info on to ALL of your friends.
God bless
David Knight
Rector, St. Patrick's Episcopal Church

I am convinced there are 5000 people or entities across this country that can give $100 to this cause. And of course, we are not just looking at people who are on Facebook to help. We already have begun receiving donations, and people are getting excited about it. One of our partner parishes, St. Mary's in Arlington, VA, has decided to donate $100 for every member of their church who has been to our relief center to help out - and they have sent 80 people down here! So that's $8000 right there to our campaign. I am so excited about this, and I am convinced we will be able to start building soon.
We will have a special page on our website soon dedicated to this campaign. Meanwhile, click HERE to link to our web home where you can find pictures before and after Katrina and other information about us.
God bless you all and Happy Easter - The Lord is Risen Indeed!

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Another New Year

Back at work today, but heading to a CREDO sponsored retreat for Mississippi Gulf Coast clergy tomorrow through Saturday noon. It's a nice gift from the CREDO folks, with sessions to help us deal with the post-Katrina world we operate in. Our spouses will be with us too, so should be a great time and productive time.
Christmas was nice and hectic and fun and stressful - all the usual. I was very excited that we had 180 people at Christmas Eve service, that's a 50% increase over last year. I think it's a good sign that we are bouncing back strong.
It is my deepest hope and prayer that we begin the building project very soon. I hoped we would have a contractor on board before Christmas, but that has been delayed. Pray we can get moving, and that the bids are reasonable. I fear I will be back on the road fund raising soon, and I'd rather not have to do that.
My family is well, Mackenzie is pretty much fully recovered - thanks be to God. I hope you all have a great 2008!