Easter 2016


Almighty, God, who through thine only-begotten Son Jesus Christ hast overcome death, and opened unto us the gate of everlasting life; We humbly beseech thee that, as by thy special grace preventing us thou dost put into our minds good desires, so by thy continual help we may bring the same to good effect; through* Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost ever, one God, world without end. Amen.

 – Book of Common Prayer, 1928


This past Holy Week and Easter was jammed packed and quite reflective. It was quite busy (as it is for all clergy) and marked both a beginning and an end point in my life’s journey.


While walking in downtown Boston, I passed by King’s Chapel where a sign stated that a service will begin in an hour. After completing whatever task I had to complete, I attended their service. It was interesting to say the least. King’s Cross is technically the first Anglican church in New England, during the reign of King James II (yes, that King James on your Bible). After some time, the church altered its identity. It is now, and have been for some time, Unitarian Universalist in theology, Congregational in polity and Anglican in worship. With that said, it was different but not foreign. Although I do not align with King’s Chapel theologically, they were warm, friendly and an expression of Christianity that is quite positive.


It began with me attending Maundy Thursday service at my (being where I live, not where I serve) parish church, the Parish of All Saints, Ashmont. Ironically enough, I participated in the foot washing ceremony! The Rector greeted me as a I walked in and asked me if I wanted to take part; I responded in the affirmative! It was a humbling experience having a clergy colleague and friend wash my feet. Also, the stripping of the altars took place, which was done with great reverence and precision. As the lights went out (symbolizing the capture and removal of Jesus of Nazareth), the parishioners exited without fanfare, although it was quite dark. Below are a couple of pictures:


In the early hours of the morning, I attended Watch night for an hour. Watch night is the act of being in the presence of the Lord via the Reserved Sacrament that is the Body of Christ. One literally sits in a dimly lit chapel, for an hour, reflecting on their lives in Christ. This is reminiscent of the disciples waiting for Jesus as he prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane in the Gospel of Saint Matthew 26.36-46.


That afternoon, I preached what would be my last sermon at my (as in where I serve) parish, Anglican Church of the Redeemer, Norwood. It was bitter-sweet. It is bitter because there is so much more I wanted to do. It is sweet because I know that both the parish and I ended on a good note. Good being defined as them being uplifted spiritually from the sermon, despite being emotionally sad, due to the content and circumstances.

Later that evening, my family and I attended Good Friday service. It was beautiful as always. The Priest-in-Charge of the church my wife attended when I deployed, preached. She was very happy. Below are a couple of pictures.


Easter was jammed packed! I celebrated the Easter Day Eucharist at Redeemer – Norwood while my colleague preached the homily. I then rushed back to Boston to grab my family to head to one of my friend’s church; St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Dorchester. After service, my little one was able to participate in an Easter Egg Hunt. I’m very thankful it did not turn out like the one at the Pez Headquarters. Later that evening, I watched His Holiness, the Vicar of Christ, Pope Francis’ Easter Mass and Urbi et Orbi. Overall, a blessed, and quite reflective weekend.

Start at the 2:00:00 mark. 

PS: I do want to make mention, three people who have had an impact on my life due to their work in their respective fields died during Holy Week. They all exhibited the ability to take a high risk in their fields, despite the common sentiment at the time.

For Mother Angelica, starting EWTN and an interracial convent in the South was a risk. Malik Taylor, to be a rapper in a group  (A Tribe Called Quest) whose primary message was Black uplift with jazz infused music during the 1990s, despite pressure for a more aggressive sound from their record label, was a huge risk.Garry Shandling’s creative vision changed the way sitcoms are presented to the public. It has been noted that without The Larry Sanders Show, there would not be a Curb Your Enthusiasm, 30 Rock, or The Office (both the American and British versions). To go against the common norm of a sketch comedy show was a risk for Shandling.

Please remember to keep their families in prayer.

Maundy Thurday 2016


ALMIGHTY Father, whose dear Son, on the night before he suffered, did institute the Sacrament of his Body and Blood; Mercifully grant that we may thankfully receive the same in remembrance of him, who in these holy mysteries giveth us a pledge of life eternal; the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who now liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit ever, one God, world without end. Amen.

 – The Book of Common Prayer, Reformed Episcopal Church Edition


The last Maundy Thursday post I wrote was in 2014. I retold the story of my first foot washing experience. Since that last post, I have not participated in a foot washing ceremony.

It has not been by choice, but rather circumstance. The members of my parish did not practice the foot washing ritual but rather the Communion one. The Communion ritual of Maundy Thursday is the communal meal. I’ve experienced the entire spectrum of the Eucharist taken in unison while gathered around the altar, to an elaborate community meal. My parish practiced the former. As a Baptist, we would practice the latter.

I always wondered why my Anglican parishioners were hesitant in participating in the foot washing ceremony. The few times I brought it up, I was told “that’s not what we do.” Due to the parish being more “Protestant/Evangelical-leaning” and I, of the Anglo-Catholic persuasion, never tried to force the issue. I suspect that the beloved members of my parish did not feel comfortable in the intimacy that is foot washing. Even when attending one of my favorite parishes (when I’m not on duty) for Maundy Thursday, only 1 person had their feet washed by the Rector as everyone observed from the comfort of their pews.

I was beginning to think that it was an American phenomenon. That the intimacy of foot washing was too much for American Christians, despite much of the content of our television shows and movies. That was until I recently read the Maundy Thursday post from my brother priest, Fr. Esau McCaulley. He expressed the importance of the foot washing ceremony and the love of Christ that is embedded in it.

He is correct and that is why I am drawn to it. The amount of love, and humility that is shared in that moment. The fact that one has to serve and be served in the same setting is an amazing experience. I value the ritual because without experiencing it back in Mexico in 2004, as the lone Baptist with Roman Catholics, I may not have listened to God calling me to Anglicanism years later.

 – Fr. JMH

Hypocritical Outrage


You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.

 – Matthew 7.5 (ESV)


As time goes on, I find that my level toleration for blatant and unapologetic hypocrisy is fading to nothingness. This has become more evident as I watch the reactions of Americans to tragedies that occur outside of our nation. This is coming on the heels of the tragic events in Paris, and more recently Brussels. I want to reiterate that these are indeed tragedies. The lives lost can not be replaced. It is indicative of the sort of evil that permeates our world.

However, I can not help but feel slighted. I feel slighted that it seems that these tragedies elicit a response of sorrow, regret, and anger. Whereas the tragedies of Nigeria, and Istanbul receive mediocre coverage. [I had to look deep to find the hyperlinks] Let us not forget the scores of Black and Latinos who are being killed at the hands of fellow Americans daily.

I believe it’s a form of hypocrisy to have a response that is so emotional, so heartfelt for a group of people thousands of miles away, but have a negative, angry, and cold response to a group of people a few hundred miles away.

Am I sad for the people impacted in Paris and Brussels? Yes. I’m also sad for those who were killed in Nigeria and Istanbul a few days before. Terrorism is terrorism. Whether its brown-skinned “Islamic” extremists in the Middle East, or white-skinned “Christian” extremists in the United States. Whether you are screaming, “death to America” or “Go back to Africa”, you are creating an act of terror.

Until we are at a place where we can mourn for the dead, regardless of their skin color, we will always be nothing more than a bunch of racists liars, pawning off our corrupted form of democracy to the rest of the world.

Palm Sunday


Almighty God, whose most dear Son went not up to joy but first he suffered pain, and entered not into glory before he was crucified: Mercifully grant that we, walking in the way of the cross, may find it none other than the way of life and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

 – Book of Common Prayer, 1979

This 2016 Palm Sunday or Sunday of the Passion, was a little different for me. This Sunday was the celebration of my time at Redeemer Anglican Church, Norwood. I’ve spent four years there. Two years as an Associate Clergy, one year as the Assistant Vicar and finally, this past year as the Vicar. I skipped curacy due to my previous time as a Baptist Minister.

It was humbling and bittersweet. I was humbled by the love the congregation showed me. I was humbled by the love I was shown by my Baptist colleagues, whom we shared a worship space with. I was humbled by the list of accomplishments that were read as we walked together as Vicar and parish.

It is bittersweet because I know that I must depart in order for the congregation and I to continue growing in Christ. Typically in Anglican/Episcopal churches, the priest has a three-year term. Some stay later, as I did. It is sweet because I am excited about the direction both the parish and I will go, albeit, not together.

As one of my parishioners said “We are forever linked Father!” Indeed we are. This parish is my first Anglican congregation. I am the parish’s first “outside” (community, race, age, and diocese) Vicar. One never forgets the first of anything. May God bless the parish of the Church of the Redeemer, Norwood and the First Baptist Norwood communities. Until we meet again.

Feast of St. Patrick


Almighty God, in your providence you chose your servant Patrick to be the apostle of the Irish people, to bring those who were wandering in darkness and error to the true light and knowledge of you: Grant us so to walk in that light that we may come at last to the light of everlasting life; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

 – Lesser Feasts and Fasts, 2006


St. Patrick’s Day is one of interest to me. I was quite ignorant of the impact His Grace (he is a Bishop) had on society as a whole. Perhaps its because I live in Boston where he is sometimes reduced to a mere color and baby clover. It was when I was presented with the prospect of being ordained (Anglican priesthood) on his feast day*, I decided to do a little more research on him. He was quite the remarkable man.

He is British by birth, NOT Irish. He is the son of a deacon and grandson of a priest.** He was kidnapped by Irish pirates and forced into slave labor at the age of sixteen. Six years later, he fled back to Britain. According to his writings, the six years of captivity, in a foreign land, lead to him converting (in an authentic way) to Christianity. While in Britain, he studied for the priesthood and was ordained. He then felt God calling him to return to Ireland and preach to the masses. He did this and would become Bishop of Ireland, and ultimately the Patron Saint of Ireland.

St. Patrick is interesting because, in many ways, he found Jesus in jail. This is something that does happen. Although many who are ignorant of this believe that one can’t grow closer to God in the midst of captivity, St. Patrick does. The act of returning to the place of his captivity, to preach to those whose souls are held captive by sin is nothing short of admirable.

In the National Guard Armory where my headquarters is located, there is a very large (probably 6 feet in height, 3 feet in width) painting of St. Patrick hanging on a wall of the drill shed. Everyone who walks in stops and admires it. It’s quite a sight! I believe it’s the only armory in Massachusetts to have something like that in it. It’s there because of its historical value. It was placed there by soldiers of the community years ago. It’s a direct connection to the past. Many people have tried to get it removed (screaming anti-religious rhetoric)  but to no avail. It is a mainstay. It is a relic of the not only the immediate past, but the distant past, of that young man, who decided to serve something bigger than himself.

* Alas, I was ordained on the 16th. 😦
** At that point, there was only one CHRISTIAN Church where priests could get married and have children.

Religious Diversity…Maybe

Below is a table and link to the Pew Research Center displaying racial diversity in American Christian faith groups. This is from 2014. I’m not confident that it has gotten better. My pessimism is due to an email I received from a colleague of mine. The article was another Pew Research Center poll of religiosity among the states of the union, which my home state tied for last. A link to that is embedded in the Pew Research Center logo below. In the end, we are in a bad way.

– Fr. JMH

How Racially Diverse are U.S. Religious Groups?


Been a While

It’s been a while since I have reflected on the state of affairs in the Church, government, and American society as a whole. After Easter 2016, I will be able to dedicate more time to this blog/website. I’m looking forward to posting more. Although there are people who read my posts, I am also filled by the sheer act of writing and reflecting. It is mentally refreshing to put fingers to keyboard (as opposed to pen to pad) when it comes to the state of affairs today.  I can’t wait! Until then, may God continue to bless you throughout the Lenten Season!

 – Fr. JMH

Pressures on the Priest (3 MARCH 2015)

Frs. John and Charles Wesley

Frs. John and Charles Wesley

Lord God, who didst inspire thy servants John and Charles Wesley with burning zeal for the sanctification of souls, and didst endow them with eloquence in speech and song: Kindle in thy Church, we beseech thee, such fervor, that those whose faith has cooled may be warmed, and that those who have not known thy Christ may turn to him and be saved; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

 – Collect for the Feast of John and Charles Wesley, Lesser Feasts and Fasts 2006.


Fathers John and Charles Wesley are interesting to say the least. They are fine examples of priests who strove to grow closer to God and empower others to do the same. This is made evident by their desire to build a community of believers in the Church of England that adhered to a strict interpretation of the Book of Common Prayer. If the Wesleys were alive today, they would be accused of being “fundamentalists” in the most negative of senses.

The conflict between the brothers (John’s ordaining of American “elders” against the wishes of Church authorities in England, and his brother Charles) is what ultimately lead to the founding of the Methodist denomination. I’ve often wondered about John’s action, was it just or not?

On one hand, he is a representative of the Church of England in the New World. He took the same ordination vows that I would take some 300+ years later: that we would adhere to the instruction of our Bishops. It is clear that John Wesley did not.

On the other hand, John Wesley has several communities of believers, those who need pastoral care and support. It is more than he or his brother Charles could handle. If the Church of England were to send more priests to the New World, that would have solved the problem. However, that did not to seem to be the case. The only feasible solution would have been to enlist lay leaders as “elders” to provide pastoral oversight in their absence.

I struggle with this story because I understand both the duty to the Church Universal and the duty to the local parish. However, I must admit, that I place a little more stock on the Church Universal than the local church. This may be shocking considering that I come from a Baptist background where local church autonomy is the law of the land. Even then, I agreed with that concept in principal. I believe the needs of the local congregation are important, but they are not important than the authority of the Universal Church.

I believe that this is what happening with the church today. We have priests who are succumbing to the pressures of the congregation and are violating the authority, history, tradition and scriptural interpretation of the Universal Church. This violation leads to the extreme liberal and conservative wings of the Church which leaves out a large segment of our society being un-churched. This segment are those, like myself, who don’t view the world in only black and white but rather some shades of grey. There are some issues that are black and white, but there are many that are grey.

With that said, I understand the situation in which John Wesley was in. However, I also understand the situation that Charles Wesley was in. In the end the priest must seek guidance from God, his clergy superiors, his colleagues and parishioners that have his and the congregations best interest at heart. Doing this and above all, trusting in God, will he avoid falling to the pressure of one segment of the church that alienates another.

 – FR. JMH

ADVENT 2014 (17 DEC 2014)


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ALMIGHTY God, give us grace that we may cast away the works of darkness, and put upon us the armour of light, now in the time of this mortal life, in which thy Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the quick and [the]* dead, we may rise to the life immortal, through him who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, now and ever. Amen.

 – Collect for First Sunday of Advent, 1928 Book of Common Prayer


This has been a season of darkness. There is really no way to understand this. For the past few months the darkness that looms over our nation has intensified. Everything from the political gridlock, to Black Friday fights, to the deaths of Black men at the hands of police officers, to the violent riots that ensued shortly thereafter. This darkness, is the darkness of selfishness, greed, and corruption that our nation has embraced since we decided that our individual wants and desires outweigh the common good. When we decided that God does not have a place in all aspects of our lives, this is the result.

The season of Advent is a penitential season. We are to reflect on our lives as we anticipate the arrival of the Christ child via the Blessed Virgin Mother as depicted in the above icon. I have tried to use this time to reflect on my shortcomings not only as a priest & chaplain, but also as a child of God, a Christian. I ask myself three questions:

 – Have I preached the Gospel to all nations, teaching the masses?

 – Have I showed Christ-like love to others, by displaying empathy to ALL, not just those I agree with?

 – Have I taken steps to grow closer to God?

I can honestly say I made progress, but I still have a long way to go. It’s not easy, but God never said that it would be. I urge you to ask yourself these three questions rather than picking a “side” in a spiritual battle of darkness where all are destined to lose somehow. The only winner in this equation is Christ.

 – Fr. JMH

New Sermon Site!! (12 SEPT)



Greetings All,


I have started an Spreaker page with my sermons posted. This is in an effort to be able to do my part, as a clergyman, to spread the Gospel to all nations! The URL is below. I am also in the process of having this Spreaker page in the ITunes podcast store! Enjoy!



– Fr. JMH+