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Alfred Dunholm

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About Alfred Dunholm

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  1. As I’m unlikely to be online on Christmas day itself, or indeed in any of the days immediately preceding or immediately after Christmas day, I thought I may as well post a brief Christmas message now while I’m thinking about it. The theme for this is going to be “What does Christmas mean in the modern world?” and I’ll make it as brief as possible as I’m somewhat convinced that no one will read it anyway . The Christmas story is familiar to us all and there’s little need to go through it again, but I would like to focus in on one simple aspect of it, the name “Emmanuel” which is used to refer to Jesus. This phrase, Emmanuel, has a very simple meaning: God is with us. This is as pivotal to us in the present day as it was in that stable 2011 years ago when God came to be with us in physical form. By sending the Holy Spirit down at Pentecost God fulfilled the promise that he would be with us ever more, and indeed he is. So, if God is with us and was with us physically in the form of Jesus, what does that mean for us? If God is with us we should be thankful, that He is with us and for the manifold gifts which he has bestowed upon even the least of us, we should be exhilarated to know that a being so powerful as God cares for us so warmly and watches us so closely, we should be compassionate and show that God is with us by our actions towards others, and finally we should be relieved that through all the trials of our life the Lord is with us, and therefore who can stand against us? That, in brief, is the meaning of Christmas in the modern world: to be thankful, joyful, caring and filled with the inner peace that comes with the knowledge that God is with us. And therefore I would finish this brief post by wishing you all utmost happiness and joy this Christmas season, and may you be blessed with good health and happiness during the new year 2012 and always. Amen
  2. For those of us who live in the United Kingdom or the Commonwealth, this is the day when we remember all those who gave their lives in brave defence of the freedom of the world, and also those who continue to die in conflict in the present day. Below are a few prayers, verses and hymns which reflect the contemplative spirit of this day and equivalent days around the globe.
  3. Collect and prayers for the Week

    And because it's been quite some time since i posted a collect I'll drop in a verse of a hymn I like too .
  4. Rather than simply prayers or role-played devotions i thought on this Holy day i'd simply try and explain the signifiance of the man whom we are remembering and I hope that it will be of interest. Saint Dominic, otherwise and perhaps more accurately known as Dominic of Osma, was a 12th century born in Castile which is now a part of Spain. He lived through an extraordinary period and, though fate repeatedly conspired against him, he emerged from it as a shining model of everything that a Christian should be. He is best known as the founder of the Dominican Order, a Brotherhood of monks defined by their simple lives of devotion, and what follows is a list of thoughts on the man and on the world on this St Dominic’s Day. In his formative years Castile went through a great famine and in the face of such horror, and to the shock of the others in the upper-class circles in which he resided, Dominic sold nearly all his world goods to the alleviate the suffering of the poor. Such action is clearly encouraged by the Bible, notably in the famous sequence in the Gospel of St Matthew “For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me”, but at this stage of history many rich individuals glossed over these verses or eased their conscience with pitiful acts of charity. It was not so for Dominic, and the devotion he showed then during his early years would come to define his life. In the course of his work for the church Dominic travelled from Spain to Denmark via France and Germany, and while in the South of France he encountered a group of people referred to as the Cathars. These people lived as Christians but they were not a part of the Roman Catholic Church; they ordained women, lived in relative poverty, had slightly looser morality than Catholics in terms of sexuality but they were Christians nonetheless. But in addition to this the Cathars believed that it was possible to be Christian without the need for organised churches, and it was this belief that bought them to the attention of the Pope Innocent III who launched the Albigensian Crusades to wipe the Cathars out and thus preserve the position of the Church. Encountering some of the Pope’s representatives Dominic rebuked them, declaring that if the Cathars were indeed heretics then they could surely be persuaded back to the Church, he articulated this in perhaps his most remembered quote "Zeal must be met by zeal, humility by humility, false sanctity by real sanctity, preaching falsehood by preaching truth" Though the Cathars could not be saved from the vengeance of the ironically named Pope, Dominic was nevertheless further shaped in his spiritual beliefs by these experiences. Later in life, and most famously, Dominic of Osma formed the Dominican Brotherhood and lived his days devoid of earthly comforts so as to become closer to God. This order survives to this day and still thousands are inspired by Dominic’s example to give up their riches and seek a life of prayer without the distractions and temptations posed by material goods. The applications of this story to our lives are very real and very obvious; the lessons that we shouldn’t cling too hard to world items are clear and evident to us all. But Dominic also had something to teach us about religious tolerance in our world. Even with recent events in Norway, numerous terrorist attacks and countless minor acts of intolerance and violence that never make the headlines, we can still learn something from Dominic; a monk who died in 1221. If a religion is the one truth, and surely such a belief is the very foundation of faith, then no darkness is too deep or too great to overcome it. The words I have tattooed onto my arm are true; “Truth conquers all”. Amen.
  5. Most merciful and loving Father, who looks with such diligent compassion upon the hardships of your servants, we pray at this time for the people of East Africa. In these hard days we pray that you would be alongside all who suffer from the effects of drought; comfort them in their distress and unthinkable suffering. Give them strength to endure the trials which they undertake each day, and give them love for one another so as to show forth your will in their lives despite the unimaginable struggles which mar their very existence. Particularly at this time we cast our thoughts to the children of the Horn of Africa who, through no fault of their own, are subject to a daily struggle for survival. Look with mercy upon the innocents of this world Lord and grant them the joy of your salvation. As we beg humbly for your aid for others so we also give thanks for all that we have. When we curse the weather when it inconveniences us we pray that you would reprimand us for our ingratitude, grant us the grace to bless the rain when it falls upon us and think meekly of those in this world who die for want of that which we curse. All praise, honour and glory be to You, merciful Father, for the lives that we enjoy; and grant us always the empathy to cast our thoughts to those who suffer so much when the world tosses us such comparatively insignificant challenges. All this we ask in the name of Your dear Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen
  6. As Castrum Nazarene is the spiritual home of the Church i will post this in each of the churches; it seems that every post i make these days is a "sorry i've been gone for 'X' weeks" post, but there we are! I set out about six hours ago to write a description of the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Fifth Isle, the Mother cathedral of the whole church, but then moved onto creating a tourists guide to the country which in turn has ended up explaining more about the governmental system and lifestyle of the nation more than anything else before it. So read on and give me your thoughts!
  7. Easter morning service

    Thank you . In addition to the above i heard the following sung in the cathedral i attend earlier today and thought it to be quite nice, so i'll share it:
  8. Just a quick note before we start; what appears below, a celebration of Christ rising to new life, must always been remembered in the context of his death on the cross three days previously. For our sins he, the innocent lamb amongst all humans, was put to death; but by rising again he washed us clean from our sin and showed us the way in which we must live our lives to share in his glory with God our Eternal Father in Heaven when our time to pass from this life comes. Also, this was written very early on Easter day, hence the "night" references . I'd like to wish you all a very happy and blesséd Easter! Dearest brother and sisters in Christ, on this most Holy night, when our Lord Jesus Christ passed from death to life, the Church throughout the world invites her children to come together in prayer and vigil for the coming of our Saviour. This is the Passover of Jesus Christ, we remember his death and resurrection by hearing the words of God; confident that we shall share in his victory over death and live with him forever in God. Eternal God, who made this Holy night to shine with the brightness of your one true light; set us aflame with the fire of your love, and bring us to the radiance of your Heavenly glory, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. Christ is yesterday and today, the beginning and the end, Alpha and Omega, all time belongs to him, and all ages; to him be the glory and power, through every age and forever and ever. Amen. Exultet As We await the coming of the risen Christ, let us hear the record of God’s saving deeds in history, recalling how he saved his people in ages past and in the fullness of time sent his son to be our Redeemer; and let us pray that through this Easter celebration God may bring to perfection in each of us the saving work he has begun. A reading from the book of Exodus, chapter 14. The Prayers God the Father, have mercy on us. God the Son, have mercy on us. God the Holy Spirit, have mercy on us. Holy, blessed and glorious Trinity, have mercy on us. From all evil and mischief; from pride, vanity and hypocrisy; from envy, hatred and malice; and from all evil intent, good Lord, deliver us. From sloth, worldliness and love of money; from hardness of heart and contempt for your word and your laws, good Lord, deliver us. In all times of sorrow; in all times of joy; in the hour of death, and at the day of judgement, good Lord, deliver us. Give us true repentance; forgive us our sins of negligence and ignorance and our deliberate sins; and grant us the grace of your Holy Spirit to amend our lives according to your Holy word. Holy God, Holy and strong, Holy and immortal, have mercy upon us. The Easter Acclamation Alleluia! Christ is risen! He is risen indeed. Alleluia! The Collect The Epistle: a reading from 1 Corinthians 15 A Reading from the Gospel According to Luke, chapter 24 Blessing Alleluia! Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia!
  9. First off please accept my sincere apologies for my recent absence; life has a way of obstructing even our best intentions and I've not had enough time to conduct the kind of service which is required. Ironic then that Lent is a time for contemplating our vocation and what our faith means to us when I have begun by saying that I've lacked the time for just such contemplation. More on Lent in a few moments. First off I'm sure I speak for all of us here when I say that the images of this weekend's disasters in Japan have shocked and terrified me, nothing humbles our human pride more than feeling as helpless as we do now when faced with such vast destruction. Watching the footage of the collapsing buildings, the great flood and now the possible nuclear disaster I wanted nothing more than to reach out a hand to those poor people, but such is the folly of our modern technology that our anguish can't permit us to even hold someone who has lost their whole life in an instant. Donating money to the various appeals is of course helpful in the long term, but it does nothing to ease our feelings of wanting so desperately to help but being unable to even lift a finger in assistance. All that is left to us is to throw ourselves at the feet of the Lord God Almighty in the hope that he might heed our anxiety and reach into the lives of those whom we cannot touch. Now, although our hearts perhaps desire to linger on the thoughts of what is unfolding on those islands even at this very seocnd, we shall move onto the topic of Lent. Lent is, particularly for those of us who follow a Roman Catholic or Anglican tradition, a time in which we look inwards upon ourselves. Our Lord Jesus Christ fasted and struggled in the desert for 40 days to resist the earthly temptations which we all face each day, this episode is summed up in the Gospel according to St Matthew, chapter 4: Obviously for many of us it isn't practical to physically go into the desert, and unlike Jesus we would be unlikely to be confront by the devil himself, but in our lives we can simulate this spiritual determination in a small way. This is why many Christians choose to "give something up" for the 40 days leading up to Easter, in the same way Jesus resisted the devil so people chose to resist things such as chocolate, not quite on the same scale but a sacrefice none the less. For my part my Lent hasn't been quite as dramatic this year as in previous years as I'm unfortunately medically advised against anything too extreme having hospitalised myself last year, but even the smallest of things can be virtuous during this season. Even if you only give up something like chocolate gives us a trigger in our day when, haivng presumably narrowly escaped the temptation of a particularly pleasant looking biscuit or similar, we can think of that period when Jesus saw-off the devil in the wilderness so many years ago. Let us conclude this service with a Motet which i feel sums up both the feelings of Lent, and also hint at the emotional agony of the events which continue to unfold in Japan. William Walton (1902-1983)
  10. Collect and prayers for the Week

    Thank you it's a joy to be here.
  11. Collect and prayers for the Week

    The fourth Sunday before Lent Dear Lord, as we go about our daily lives help us to understand the path that is laid before us. We trust in our hearts that, through your Son Jesus Christ, you have given us a true guide for each situation in our daily lives. As we undertake this pilgrimage through life grant that we may stay on a true course, and come at the end of our lives to your everlasting Kingdom. In our Holy Anglican cycle of prayer we pray this day for the Diocese of Ocia, for their President and people; may that nation steer the course defined by your Heavenly Grace. In the real world we cast our thoughts this day to the people of Egypt; give their rulers the wisdom to make a peaceful transition to democracy and justice, and similarly guide those people of all the nations who desire peace. Amen. In honour of the Diocese of Ocia, for whom we pray this day, what follows is the "Cherubic hymn" by Mikhail Ivanovich Glinka (1804-1857) Apologises if the Russian or indeed the translation is wrong
  12. Collect and prayers for the Week

    The fifth Sunday before Lent & Candlemas Candlemas was actually Tuesday; however we shall use this Sunday to mark the presentation of Lord Jesus Christ in the Temple. Our service today shall begin with contemplating the Nunct dimittis: the song of Simeon. The Presentation of Christ in the Temple, known commonly as Candlemas, marks the day when the Virgin Mary and Joseph took the 40 day old Jesus to be redeemed by the Jewish priests; as is Jewish tradition. Once there they encountered Simeon, an elderly man, who had received word from God that he would never die until he had seen the Messiah; hence the line “lettest thou thy servant depart in peace” marks his readiness for death having recognised Jesus as the Christ child. For many Christians this is a momentous occasion, not least because it signifies the end of Epiphany and the beginning of the countdown to Lent: the season where we occupy ourselves with self-contemplation and fast in recognition of our failure to follow the path God has laid before us. In the light of these thoughts let us pray. Dear Lord, as we prepare ourselves in mind and body for the coming of this season of Lent we pray that you would make our hearts clean within us and guide our every moment on this earth. As we look in upon ourselves let us also look out upon your world and the troubles which wash around us as a vast and destructive ocean; may we stand firm in our resolve to live as our Lord and Saviour lives and never be worn down by the tide, though such a course might seem the easiest. At this time we cast our thoughts to the Middle East; give courage and wisdom to all those who rule there that they might do right by their people and bring peace to the land where your feet once trod. All this we ask in the name of Your Son, our Lord, Jesus Christ. Amen.
  13. Collect and prayers for the Week

    Apologies for the (severe) lateness, this blasted real life of mine does have a way of interfering with these things . The Third Sunday of Epiphany The Fourth Sunday of Epiphany Dear Lord, as we pray for your church and for both this and the real world we wish that you would graciously hear us as we call upon you. In our Holy Anglican cycle of prayer we pray this fortnight for the Diocese of Bastion, for the constituent nations of this vast diocese, and for the people who make it what it is. We thank you, Lord, for the co-operation displayed by the people of Bastion and pray that it might shine as a light of example for all those others contemplating similar projects. In the real world we pray for the peoples of Tunisia, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt and Yemen as they strive to better themselves; bring peace and justice to these places and give wisdom to all those with the power to enact change. We cast our minds also at this time to Queensland where once more suffering seems set to decend upon the people there; protect all those from the perils of the cyclone and may the rebuilding process be rapid and lasting. All these things we ask in the name of Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, Amen.
  14. Senate of Hurmu invitation

    Now it is my turn to apologise for the lateness fo my reply . I would be delighted to take up the seat once more and will do so as soon as possible.
  15. Collect and prayers for the Week

    The Second Sunday of Epiphany Dear God, as thousands of people around the world struggle with the effects and challenges of climate and weather we pray that you would grant us a deeper understand of your world. We recognise with grief the negative effects man has had on your creation and pledge ourselves to working towards a world where universal co-existance is a reality. In our Holy Anglican cycle of prayer we pray today for the Diocese of Nova England, for their King Joseph, and all those who have played a role in the creation and development of that micronation. Grant them strength, O'Lord, and may they continue to play a role in this fictional world which we have built ourselves to live alongside your own infinately wonderous creation. Amen.
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