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Messages - J. Eriksson

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Your Turn / The Ghost of the former pastor/Bishop
« on: September 16, 2021, 11:33:46 PM »
The ghost of the former Pastor/Bishop

Here in Hokkaido Japan my wife is due to attend an  Election of anglican/episcopal Bishop Synod meeting November 3rd.  Our bishop has reached the mandatory retirement age and has to be replaced.  We are not kicking him out of the Diocese but his sense of churchmanship tells him he has to leave.  He will move and hopefully be helpful as well as ornamental in some other diocese.

Likewise over the years members of this ALPB group have retired and left the places where they have been longtime pastors.  Their sense of churchmanship says to them

a. let the new pastor and the congregation  have a fresh start.   There may or may not be nearby Lutheran churches that fit their preferred styles.

b. lets look for a church home where we will be fulfilled...this is made a little more difficult when they worry about will my presence anywhere I go be a real or imagined threat to the incumbent...will they be happy with the worship style and sermons and theology...will they be asked to be helpful too much... does the church depend too much on the services of retired pastors and avoid the difficult task of raising up new leadership

I grew up in a place where retired Lutheran clergy were a dime a dozen and the above issues never much of a problem and Lutherans were very thick on the ground.  There were enough places where retired Pastors could be helpful without encroaching into another Pastors space.

My baby brothers parish was very gently haunted by the former pastor as well as by a retired Nazarene pastor.  My brother was always grateful for their presence and help.  I witnessed the other end of the spectrum too when my churches pastor reacted bizarrely to an innocent question posed by a member on worshiping at the church she grew up in.

List members have their own experiences good and bad with these hauntings. 

I admire pastors whose churchmanship takes them elsewhere even out of Lutheranism  when they have no real choices especially when receiving the Lords Supper is respecting the rules of the church family you are worshiping with.

My prayer is that you will be gently haunted if you are and when you retire you can be a gentle ghost where ever you end up.

best to all

Your Turn / Re: Church during Vacation
« on: September 03, 2021, 11:09:17 PM »
I attend church. Its what I do on Sunday. On a camping trip 5 weeks ago in which we rendezvoused with our daughter we slipped into a the nearest Mennonite church.  In cases like these it makes you appreciate your own traditions long winded prayers that avoid redundancy compared to free long winded prayers that can be highly redundant{covid was covered 3 times}.  The music was very good.

2 teaching conferences pre covid had me playing hooky to slip out to nearby churches.  If time is an issue a person may wish to leave prior to the benediction or recessional and avoid the general extra additional long winded welcome.

Why? just being there is a gift you bring to any small church and says to them you are not alone in thinking worship is important.

best to all

Your Turn / Re: President Harrison to Japan Lutheran Church
« on: August 15, 2021, 03:33:26 AM »
Dear all:

Full disclosure: 1. I am no longer a Lutheran by church membership with the closure of my home church in Canada and a membership in limbo I had my membership transferred to the Anglican/Episcopal church where I have been worshipping for the last 29 years and where I am hymn dictator and computer organist.  I have worshipped at Lutheran churches here in Hokkaido maybe 15-20 times, it has become more difficult to visit elsewhere since I did become hymn dictator and my wife became the equivalent of  church council president.  I havent yet read pages 5-17 of the thread.

3 Sundays ago on a camping rendez-vous with our daughter we worshipped at a small Mennonite church of about 15 people.  Worship was tedious but the hymns were good and of course the people were friendly.  Worship is less tedious when hymns are evenly spaced throughout the service and the folks in the pew get to stand up and sing.  Likewise extemporaneous prayers can be more tedious than  set prayers and responses.

The nearest Lutheran church to me is a small handful of people 2 hours drive away.  It was 2 handfulls of people 28 years ago.  It is JLC Last time I was there 2-3 years ago the wife of the formerly young teacher was away doing deaconess training so she could help out as they were being served on Saturdays by the pastor from 4 hours drive away.  They tore down their youth hostel building and rebuilt a small facility that I havent visited yet  Then there is a JELC church 2 1/2 hours away which I last visited 10-15 years ago.

All but the 5 largest cities in Hokkaido and their suburbs have suffered massive population decreases in the last 2 generations.

I was lucky enough to hit the downtown Sapporo JLC as part of my  Holy Week/Good Friday worship crawl as I didnt have to work that week.

IMO this decision will neither win or lose a single soul for Christ.  With a joint JLC and JELC seminary some clergy couples have happened even between the two churches. 
Now if churches in Japan decided that the practice of making shy people as 1st time visitors stand up and introduce themselves it might help the occasional stray visitor come back a second time.  How about someone standing up and saying my new friend/acquaintance  is...?

This truely is imo minuscule in Christendom, saddening but minuscule.

This is not to be read as a vote in favor of WO.

best to all

Your Turn / Re: Coronavirus news
« on: August 15, 2021, 02:19:42 AM »
> Mr. Eriksson, you started this thread, but we haven't had a report from Japan in quite a while. In Hokkaido, you are probably on the fringe of both the Olympics and Typhoon Nepartak. How is the coronavirus from your perspective?
> Peace,
> Michael

Dear Fr. Michael and others:

Thank you for asking and I have not had really anything imo to contribute to this thread in a long time.  Thankfully the Olympics are over and hopefully  I will not continue to resent them as a massive money loss paid for by the taxpayers.  Typhoons are numbered here and our 7 weeks of little rain ended with a good steady rain for us on Aug 9th.  I have no idea if the rain we got was the tail end of Nepartak or some storm that followed,  1000-1500 miles south of us there have been much heavier rains and flooding.

1. Vaccination;  in early July we were informed that our age based numbers were coming up and there would be shots for us at the end of July.  so on the 29th I got my first shot [ Im 62],  my second appointment is Aug 20th.

According to as of the end of 8/12    57,395,737 shots have been given of which 260,538 were on Aug 12th.  This in a population of 126 million.  people here are getting the shots as fast as their numbers are coming up and their numbers are coming up as fast as their municipalities have an assured supply of vaccine.  My daughter at work had to deal with the fallout of 400 doses arriving in a broken freezer and another case of 1200 appointments plus the staffing when that municipality was informed that the promised vaccine was unavailable.   There were about 5 different people checking the paperwork before I got my shot but nobody checked me while I waited the 15 minutes and then walked out after my shot.

2. Hokkaido  7 day new cases have been going up by increasing amounts for the last 6 weeks..Aug 11ths total was 2288,  ...Aug 14ths 7 day total was 2,729.  Our 7 day total new cases was a little over 200 in early July.   I dont pay much attention to anywhere else in Japan.  It was in my wifes opinion difficult for lots of people to be serious about the pandemic if it was safe enough to hold the Olympics.  This weekend is the Obon holiday here when its your duty to visit the family altar and grave site for prayers and there will be of course family get togethers.  Thankfully the old people have been vaccinated.  We will have further increases of new cases until we have another State of Emergency and what passes as a lockdown.

3. I consider commenting on the government response here or anywhere else to be a waste of time.  I do have some concerns about what will happen post covid as post Spanish flu and post WW1 there was a period called the  roaring 20s.  How are the Christian Churches going to adapt to the post covid challenges?

My point in starting the thread was hopefully to give people a heads up and let them know what was coming.  I hope this was helpful.  I still have my mask pinned to a baby soother hanging on my shirt.

Blessings to all on your Sunday



Your Turn / Re: "Woke"
« on: May 18, 2021, 07:38:51 PM »
great satire  ...perhaps could be extended to saving water and soap by not washing hands  many thanks for my days chuckle


Your Turn / Re: Coronavirus news
« on: May 10, 2021, 10:17:32 PM »
from the other side of the Pacific
Our Hokkaido weekly total of new cases reached a peak of 2005 for 5/9 This is for our population of 5.2 million.  Our last peak was 1805 in late November.  April 25ths weekly total was 889.  New cases dropped from late Nov until Feb then started to climb again.  Nationally out of 127million; 3,277,886 shots of the vaccine have been given. 
Because of the low level of infection there was a ventilator and an icu bed for my 84 y.o. father in law when he needed 1 due to a very severe case of silent pneumonia.
a very small number of cases have appeared in our Municipal District in the last 2 weeks.  this is the 2nd time the virus has reached us.
Naturally the virus is much more common where people take the subway, stand next to each other when they wait to cross the street etc.  Masking in public is universal.  My mask hangs on a soother strap on my shirt so it wont be forgotten when I go out the door and is not at the other end of the room when the doorbell rings.

my best to all

Your Turn / Re: Coronavirus news
« on: April 27, 2021, 07:27:05 AM »
The experts think men can breastfeed. Nobody with common sense does. The experts are wrong.
Please, this is too good to ignore: give us your source for that claim!


Couldnt resist this but if I recall correctly irrc there is one brief spot in 1 of the Icelandic sagas where a man on the death of his wife on board a ship with no other source of milk tried to suckle his son on blood cut from his breast.  the child survived but its been over 40 years since I read this. 
best to all

Your Turn / Re: A Few Gaudete Reflections
« on: January 10, 2021, 08:10:44 AM »
A couple of things:

1. aren't some of the Latin Sunday names taken from the first word of the Latin Introits? I miss the Introits and reading them has been part of my Sunday prep choosing hymns etc for Gaudate 'Rejoice all ye believers' seems an appropriate first hymn

2. When did Rose become the Lutheran liturgical color for the 3rd Sunday of advent?  Luther Reed lists purple as the liturgical color for it. p.468  LBW p 9 lists purple or blue.  My Japanese Anglican calendar shows purple as the liturgical color for the 3rd Sunday for 2021.

3. Iirc the church of my youth 1960s didn't much care what color the Advent candles were but just that we had them. A lot of members having survived the great depression when provincial gdp was actually negative had great difficulty giving themselves permission to spend money on consumables.  Pastors salary, missions and synod were much more important.   I'm quite convinced that those dear souls in the altar guild picked up next years candles at the post Christmas sales.

4.  Thinking about it with a little wax dye I have enough free wax(from wedding chapel stubbies) to make an violet /rose  set of Advent candles for all the churches in Hokkaido... my thanks to the thread for seeding this idea.  will it germinate?

James in japan
my best to all

Your Turn / Re: Coronavirus news
« on: December 06, 2020, 10:07:29 PM »
James Eriksson (living in Japan) started this thread. I sent him a PM a few days ago to ask how he was doing, but havenít heard anything back. Has anyone heard from James lately?

Hello,  We are alive and well but it has taken over 1 hour to get the old pc up and running to sign in to alpb.  I lurk as a guest on the newer machine but don't post.

We are more worried about you.  covid has not made it to our municipality but has come close.  Hokkaido has a population of 5.2 million and we have had about 9,000 cases since the pandemic began.  about 1 in 600 people.  the US has had about 1 in 25 people.
Our 7 day cumulative positive test results spiked in oct and Nov reaching a high Nov 24 of 1705.  Since then it appears to be heading back down.  My mask is hanging on a baby's soother strap pinned to my shirt so its constantly handy and I don't leave home without it.

Family and friends report being healthy with the exception of my niece's family who had some positive tests and mild symptoms.

In person worship was off for a while but my wife and I went for the rectors retirement Sunday at the end of March.  we missed the Lenten season, Holy week had Easter sunday then were off until Rogate or so.  We have been back singing only 3 hymns thru our masks sans Rector 3 times a month since then. With HC only once a month.  5 weeks ago when covid spiked we stopped singing hymns:  hymns were announced we stood for them but the youtube 1963 gymanfa ganu sang for us, 4 sundays ago youtube also provided the singing but the hymns were started in mute in case youtube threw an ad at us.  we are singing in Advent quietly thru masks.  Wachet Auf, Remember O thou man, and Veni Emmanuel for Advent 1 and Merton, The advent of Our God, and Helmsley for Advent 2.

the Christmas baking has started.  Addictive Dark fruitcake was made on Thursday and cookies were rolled out on Friday.  Stollen will come later this week.  Pie the days before Christmas.
My Sapporo Christmas worship church crawl may or may not take place this year

Christmas will be watered down this year but may the solemn joy of the season still  infect you all and the virus not!
 best to all

Your Turn / Promotions to Glory
« on: September 18, 2020, 07:36:21 AM »
This thread is to mourn and celebrate the passings of those who crossed your path and possibly have crossed the path of others in this group who may not have heard the news but did at one time know them.

the Rev. Dr. Clyde Kaminska passed away at age 90 in Port Charlotte Florida on May 26th. He crossed my path 35? years ago when he was Pastor at the church I was member of near Edmonton, Alberta Canada.  This was prior to when he went to Southern Seminary in South Carolina.  I remember him for his good sermons which he credited to his wife  and his sense of humor.  plus his joy in leading our worship. 
One of the things he did in his previous time in Edmonton (late 50's early 60's?) was to play Professional football with the then Edmonton Eskimos of the Canadian Football League.  He called himself a lunchbox player and I don't think he ever saw much game time but he was paid a little to dress and scrimmage.

IIRC we attended the inaugural convention of the Alberta Synod -ELCiC together.
On retiring to Florida one of the first things he did was run into the only cousin I had in the entire state so somehow do you know a James Eriksson in Edmonton came up in a conversation.

with best wishes to all

Your Turn / Re: Analysis of Virtual Viewer Numbers
« on: May 04, 2020, 07:09:16 AM »
I don't think we can read much into increased numbers,  I think some of us are virtually traveling and being 2 or 3 places at the same time.  I confess myself to church crawling to 7 in the last 24 hours  including Wednesday evening and Sunday morning with Pastor Dave Benke in NYC.  3 different places this morning just listening with bluetooth earphones via youtube and facebook while weeding/digging/pruning the garden.   I'm a little amazed and disappointed though at how mainly places have forgotten that it is still the Easter season.

Pr. B  Happy Birthday on Tuesday.   I liked the music (while it's not my style and I do think I'd like to come back when you have everybody physically present for Worship.

Best to all

Your Turn / Re: Prayer Requests
« on: April 26, 2020, 10:50:17 PM »
Dear all:

My 2nd cousin Jim Erickson reports his Father in law;  Rev.  Robert (Bob)  Christian (LCMS retired age 92 former Headmaster of the LCMS Hong Kong International School) did test positive with covid 19 in Seattle at his locked down seniors facility.  He has now tested negative and has to wait for the second negative test.   He could be added to your prayers of thankfulness.


Your Turn / Re: Coronavirus news
« on: March 25, 2020, 09:10:38 PM »


I started this thread Feb 28 when the island of Hokkaido had 66 confirmed cases in a population 5.2 million people.   Schools were closing, Christian worship was cancelled and people were told to avoid gathering, etc. a State of Emergency had been declared.(meanings vary as to what a state of Emergency is).   I have not followed and don't have the same level of confidence about other areas of Japan.

The Catholic diocese has extended the period of no liturgical services until April 4th.  Anglicans are encouraged not to attend but the rectors show up for empty buildings.  4 Sundays without worship.

There are as of Wednesday  evening March 25nd,  167 confirmed cases, in Hokkaido with 1 case each in 2 of our 4 neighboring municipalities.  About 2000 people have met the criteria to be tested for the virus. More tests could be run but I think, tests kits are being saved for when and if they are needed and tests are not done on people with no symptoms and no known exposure.  Much work is being done to trace the contacts of people who do test positive.   We have had 6 deaths and about 75 reported recoveries(people testing negative)

In the first week of state of emergency :  Feb 29-March 6, 24 new cases were reported,  The second week March 7th to 13th -46 new cases.  The third week March 14 -20th only reported 21 new cases.  March 21-25 reported only 9 new cases.    What this suggests to me is that there are / were not a lot of carriers with no symptoms spreading the virus in the general population.   2,3,4 weeks starts the curve moving in the right direction.   This will be different in places with Ports of Entry as people returning home will continue to test positive

The church's kindergarten is closed but a small handful of children with working parents go to it and other 'day care' facilities.   We are fearful,  we don't want the church or the kindergarten to be the vector that brings the virus into our community.   This society has a way of punishing businesses and institutions.  My wife reports that 1 kindergarten mother who is Chinese has quit her job, and pulled her child from kindergarten for fear of social stigma.   All the stores that Ive been to have been open.  there is lots of food in the supermarkets and fewer shoppers.   toilet paper, hand sanitizer, face masks are in short supply.   People go to work, but avoid each other and non-essential things.  Restaurants have been open.

2 of my brothers in Canada are self isolating and 1 of them can't be with his in-laws as his FIL(Rev. Ron. Weatherington) passed away with a stroke last week.

May our Loving God continue to look out for all of you


Your Turn / Coronavirus news
« on: February 28, 2020, 09:18:34 PM »
Dear alpb:

Writing from far northern Hokkaido, Japan

We have between 60 and 70 cases in a population of  5,000,000.   a State of Emergency has been declared.  the nearest cluster of cases 1.5 hours away  by car has been traced to a trade show that maybe a thousand people attended.  this weekend will see how many people took the virus home with them.  Schools have been closed.  School graduations have had their guest lists pruned.  high school entrance exams are in limbo.

Our rector /kindergarten Principal is dealing with this in his last month before retirement at age 70.

Worship Anglican/Episcopal is cancelled for tomorrow,  Catholic Masses have been cancelled until March 14th.   I won't be in church tomorrow.  if any of you are streaming your worship you can send me the links.

I would if I was on the other side of the Pacific begin planning for something similar.

Best wishes to all and a blessed Lent


Your Turn / Re: Herrens Veje
« on: June 24, 2019, 10:01:17 PM »
Thank you for drawing the forums attention to this show.  somehow/day I do plan on watching this.  hopefully soon.

I'm wondering about the following quote.:
"  It was disconcerting to see the power that the state wields on the church in this series. The bishop acts more like a government functionary or corporate manager than a pastor of pastors. Infringements that seem to be pastoral in nature are handled by public authorities."

Did you really mean to say this?  Are you just discovering this?  or does it reinforce what you have suspected for a while? 

May I suggest that the state church is an semi arms length branch of the state, clergy and their appointments are like 'civil servants' and the governance of the church reflects more the values of the  'status quo' of the society at large than what we assume from US/ Canadian/ NZ/Australian denominationalism not withstanding American civil religion.

Look at it this way the fathers of LCMS gave up 'privileged' positions in the old world to follow and lead their people to the US.
Pre-revolutionary UCLA fathers (Muhlenburg) had to travel to London to get licensed by the Church of England to legally function in NA. 
Augustana people came to the US and had to plead to get pastors possibly mainly from the 7 - 10 year Bible schools(eg Johanelund's Mission Institute)

with best wishes and again my thanks

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