Dear Folks,

Our own Bert Landman was honored this month by The Royal School of Church Music for distinguished service in church music and liturgy.  At an event at Durham Cathedral which Bert could not attend due to COVID travel restrictions, the following citation was read: “Bert Landman gave distinguished service during his (five) terms as President of RSCM America. Over many years he furthered the work of the RSCM, placing it on firm ground for the future. Under his care he fostered a warm and productive environment, bringing about new initiatives in education and musical composition that have inspired constructive dialogue throughout America.”  Bert was further awarded the title Associate of the Royal School of Church Music, in recognition of his strong Board leadership during a pivotal time of transition.

We are all the happy recipients of Bert’s extraordinary work at the organ console. From the quiet voluntary that draws our attention before worship begins, to the thrilling postludes of Widor or J.S. Bach at the end, Bert’s keyboard skills invite us to a place of beauty and solace.  It is as a teacher, though, that Bert’s gifts truly shine. “Bert’s a healer,” said one person recently. He guides and supports the adult choir, equips young people through the Choir School of Baltimore, and consistently helps us understand the purpose of music in liturgy.  “Music isn’t the point. Giving glory to God is the point,” Bert has told me more than once.  “It helps us do what we’ve come to do, but it shouldn’t be the focus.”

Bert’s humility also grounded the RSCM.  When a poorly worded agreement from the organization in England threatened to splinter the affiliates in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United States, Bert worked behind the scenes to craft better language and build consensus. In the process, Bert sought to make the leadership more inclusive and brought strength to the roles of women and people of color. Further, as it became clear that the American headquarters needed to leave their longtime base at Westminster Choir College, Bert facilitated the move to Duke University.

Bert’s award is significant, and so I’d like to propose that we recreate the occasion that he had to miss at Durham Cathedral.  This Sunday at the 10:00 service, I will present the RCSM citation.  To make it special, and more like we are in England for the event, please bring a hat to church.  You can wear it throughout the service or put it on at the time of the celebration.  Let’s “tip our hats” to Bert, and give thanks for his leadership, especially over the last 18 months when music has been an especially important balm.



The one and only time I spoke at a Diocesan Convention in the Diocese of Dallas (my ordaining diocese) was when I went to the microphone to speak about the inconsistencies I was observing in the gospel of Jesus and the action of the Diocese as it chose to withhold funds from the National Church because of its disagreement with some of the policies at the National level—mainly regarding LGBTQ relationships.

Due to my work with the clergy of color Ministries at the National level, I knew that a lot of the funds spent at the higher levels of the Episcopal Church were monies that aided congregations of primarily African-American, Latino, and Indigenous communities who had traditionally been hurt in their ability to simply survive.  These churches were not just places of worship, but places of community life and personal formation and the demise of a church represented the loss, in a sense, of the soul of that community. I thought I had to speak up.

At the end of the day, though, the Diocese chose to vote its policy of withholding funds to the National Church, although part of my plea had been for us to see the people who would be affected negatively beyond the policy.

I now know that the same issue surfaced in Kabul (prior to the US exist) and I dare say, typically happens in other places where unwise decisions are made by those in authority who forget that their polices affect people. This concerns me on all sides.  It worries me mostly because the authority is granted due to the financial wealth imbued—not the wisdom, compassion, or even intellect necessarily. Money is used as a weapon against others for sake of self. Such decisions are made without personal engagement with the peoples who are affected by those decisions.

I reflect on this memory for myself as well as you who read it.  “To whom much is given; much is required.” [cf Lk 12:48] When we are given the opportunity and the grace, to affect change in an-other’s life (whether an ailing spouse, a child, or any neighbor) by way of a rule (whether personal and private or public policy), let’s just make sure that we, too, have some skin-in-the-game, namely the Skin of Compassion.  Otherwise, #aintnojesusinit!

With Love,
Freda Marie+

Dear all,

There is something delicious about a rhythm learned deeply. Maybe it’s the beat to a song you love, or the steps to a dance – maybe it’s the familiar words of book, read aloud over and over again. If you like routine in your life, maybe it’s the same pattern of events each week, a comforting anchor.

For Anglicans, one of the rhythms of our shared prayer life is the Daily Office. These services have traditionally been used to mark times of daily prayer, stretching back beyond Christianity into Judaism. In medieval Europe the offices were seen primarily as the purview of monastic communities and clergy. Medieval monastic offices were plentiful. In addition to lauds (morning prayer) and vespers (evening prayer), there was matins (at midnight or cockcrow), prime (first hour), terce (third hour), sext (sixth hour), none (ninth hour), and compline (bedtime).

Archbishop Thomas Cranmer, who wrote the prayer book that our BCP is based on today, reduced the eight monastic offices to the two main services of Morning and Evening Prayer. The services were printed in English vernacular (a big part of the Protestant Reformation in Europe and the Anglican Reformation in England) and intended for use by the entire church. While access to books (and an education that enabled someone to read) was still limited, these daily prayers became an integral part of Anglicanism, the rhythm of daily prayer.

Today, our Prayer Book contains Morning, Noon, and Evening Prayer, as well as Compline. There are also abbreviated services, Daily Devotions, that work well with participants of all ages. If you’ve ever flipped through the BCP and wondered what pages 37-146 were about – this is it! While most Episcopal Churches today celebrate Eucharist on Sundays, you may have been to a parish that instead offers Morning Prayer as the primary Sunday service, with Eucharist reserved for select Sundays. This was news to me – I couldn’t remember ever saying Morning Prayer until I began the discernment process. That changed radically when I arrived at seminary: we said Morning Prayer every morning, Monday through Friday, at 7:30 am. At times it was difficult, especially for students with children who needed to get them out of bed and to school. But the practice of praying together and learning these particular forms of prayer has stayed with me – the rhythm stuck – and remains one of the most formative parts of my time at divinity school.

It is a rhythm I have loved continuing here at Redeemer, initially on Facebook and now in person. If you’re curious, or want explore Morning Prayer, you can find us on Monday and Wednesday mornings in the courtyard at 8 am. Navigating the Prayer Book can be tricky; we’re learning together! Or join Bert and the choir for Compline or Evensong – or undertake saying a service at home every day or every week. Try out one of the Daily Devotions with family. If you don’t have a BCP handy, check out Forward Movement’s online Daily Office offering that provides the entire service:

This is just one of the many rhythms of life we share, as a Church and as a community. Right now, rhythm is something I’ve been longing for, especially as our world continues to shift daily with restrictions and quarantines and the continuing grief and hope present around us. Maybe Daily Prayer is the anchor you need in this time – or maybe it will lead you to the rhythm that resonates even more.


There are moments when the veil between “heaven” and “earth” seems to thin. I recently experienced such a “thin place”, and I’d like to share my experience with you.

It began several nights ago, in the wee hours of the morning, when sleep continues to be elusive and I found myself in a liminal space, waiting on the sidelines of that blissful field of dreams. It was while here that I beheld a vision of a young, beloved man who left us too soon, 3 years ago.

His face was serene, his eyes clear and piercing. His body was made of light, shimmering, with what appeared to be wings … yes, wings … angelic and peaceful, steady and commanding. The rhythmic movement of his majestic wings were calming for me, as was his invitation to focus on his voice. Not long after, I believe I fell asleep.

When I woke up, I felt an intense longing to go for a leisurely walk around Lake Roland. As Providence would have it, it was my day off, so I could indulge my desire. I invited a girlfriend to join me, and off we went, on a sunny fall morning, sharing the highs and lows of our lives and commiserating on the challenges of our particular midlife transitions — the “dying” and the “rising” we both feel we are navigating in our own ways.

We had just crossed the railroad tracks, when an exquisite butterfly landed on the path directly in front of us. We both noticed it immediately and stopped. It moved in a small circle on the ground, then danced from side to side. And then, it just stayed. Right. There.

We stood there on the path together, two women and a butterfly. Seconds passed. Minutes. Another walker and a biker came by. I fully expected, of course, for these newcomers to frighten our winged friend away. But no! She … He … It … flew closer to us!!! And resumed her rhythmic, calming motion with her wings … open … close … open … close … open … close … 

As calming and steady as my angel friend the night before. Calm. Steady. Present.

I do not know how long the 3 of us were together. Eventually, another walker came by, and for whatever reason, his appearance on the scene caused our butterfly to fly away from the path and into the sun-speckled trees above.

What she left embedded in my heart was a deep knowing, a reassurance, that we live in a universe infused with grace, not always visible to our human eyes yet ever Present and Real.

My prayer for you today, my friend, is that you have an experience of grace.

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.