Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Year End Blog Cramming

It's been so long that I have posted that I am now scrambling to publish at least a pictoral display of the last six months to wrap up 2006. I have high hopes for 2007, so be sure to return later.

Thanksgiving Day on the lake

Under the limbo stick at All That Jazz

The world's cutest co-workers are at it again at the Tubman's All That Jazz fundraiser

Yes, I'm forty, bitch!

Brand New car!

Faux finishing in the kitchen

Gay Pride in Atlanta

A visit with Dow

Friday, June 16, 2006

Reunited And It Feels So Good: Lost Loves Located

How cruel the ravages of time! Travis and Elizabeth, age 18, College of Charleston, 1984; shown here blissfully unaware of the soul-crushing weight of adult responsibility that lies ahead.

Thanks to the magic of Google, lost loves are recently reunited.

Mr. Travis Blackwell of Macon GA and Mrs. Elizabeth Collier Inabinet of Orangeburg, SC, were recently reunited after a 20-year separation. Travis Blackwell and Elizabeth Collier met in the summer of 1984 at an orientation prior to entering their freshman year at the College of Charleston. The strangers instantly formed a felicitous friendship. When the college semester began that fall, they were delighted to find that they were both assigned to the same co-ed dormitory, Wentworth Hall. They happily picked up their friendship and went on to share many college adventures. Though the two lost touch after college, the special bond between them was never broken. When recently Travis Blackwell endeavored to find his lost love, he began a search on Google, which quickly revealed one Mrs. Elizabeth C. Inabinet, partner in the McGregor accounting firm in Orangeburg, SC, the last known residence of his quarry. Though no photo was shown on the business website produced by the search, Travis took a chance that the “C” might stand for the maiden name Collier, and boldly beseeched the bookkeeper to disclose her whereabouts some 20 years prior. Upon receiving the query the former Miss Collier promptly replied, “I am so excited, I am at a loss for words!!” The two friends are now undertaking the task of catching up via e-mails. Mrs. Inabinet, still married to her high school sweetheart, Mr. Robin Inabinet, spoke proudly of their children:

“We have two boys, Will who is 11 and Evan who is 4. They are both gorgeous and smart - Will is the computer and electronics whiz and motor mouth. Evan is the ball player, lizard and bug catcher, and bb gun shooter---And they drive me nuts!”

Mr. Blackwell and Mrs. Inabinet plan to reunite in person sometime in the coming months.

Also reunited by Google are Travis Blackwell and two of his lost friends, Laurie Taylor Plumer and Kelly True. Both of these lucky ladies chanced to Google Mr. Blackwell, and found him well-documented on the search engine.

Mrs. Laurie Taylor Plumer is the former next door neighbor of Mr. Blackwell. The two often carpooled during their years together at Irmo High School in Columbia, SC and took part in many typical high school antics. Ms. Plumer is now married and the mother of two boys. She resides in Lexington, SC

The friendship with Ms. True was formed a bit later, but is no less enduring in nature. It was discovered that Ms. True is now residing in Atlanta, in close proximity to Mr. Blackwell. She also is happily married and has one little girl.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Art Opening at Joycene's a Success!

North Beach

Conch Republic

Macon's First Friday event on June 2nd included an opening reception at Joycene's, 613 Cherry Street, for an art exhibition and sale featuring friends and artists Travis Blackwell, Jared Slack and Travis Hart (shown above l to r).

Despite brooding weather, the opening was well-attended and considered a smashing success by all. The exhibition featured photography by Travis Blackwell and paintings by Travis Hart and Jared Slack. Joycene's owner Barbara Barry served wine and hors d'oeuvres to guests as they mingled and browsed the eclectic artwork.

Many dear friends and co-workers dropped by, including (in order of appearance): Dr. Andy Ambrose, Anita Ponder, Toni and Guy Lachine, Crystal Watkins, Jeffrey Bruce, Rashonda Welch, Renita Patterson, Pat Person, Barbara and Mike Windom, John Mark Parker, and Brother and Catherine Lyles.

The reception took place from 6-9 pm, after which, the two Travi strolled the length of Cherry Street in search of a celebratory cocktail. In addition to the libations, the search revealed Carey Pickard who had promised to attend the opening, but failed to make an appearance. When confronted, the ever-deft Pickard feigned his presence at the show by speaking knowledgeably about one of Travis' pieces, In the Grove, which was displayed in the storefront window of Joycene's and undoubtedly viewed by Pickard as he passed by the reception on his way to some more exciting event.

Also discovered over drinks was a small amount of professional jealously owing to the tremendous buzz around the unusual and unique works by Travis Blackwell.

Click here to listen to an Audio Review of the opening by John Mark Parker (shown here on right)

See below more works shown by Travis Blackwell:
(Get a closer view by clicking on any of the images above or below)

Strumming My Heart

The Lady's Lament

The Captain's Indescretion

Castro Medusa

Self Portrait


In the Grove


Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Presiding Bishop Nominee's Book On Homosexuality Reopens Hot Topic On Baptist Campus

Presiding Bishop Nominee To Visit Book Discussion Group

Mercer University's Canterbury Fellowship, in conjunction with St. Paul's Episcopal Church (Macon), is currently conducting a book discussion of Episcopal Bishop J. Neil Alexander’s This Far By Grace: A Bishop's Journey Through Questions About Homosexuality, at Mercer University.

J. Neil Alexander, Bishop of the Diocese of Atlanta and Presiding Bishop Nominee, is scheduled to meet with the student group March 27 at 6 pm. The meeting will take place at the Student Union Center at Mercer University.

The book discussion comes on the heels of a gay rights controversy at Mercer and has attracting many former members of the recently decommissioned Mercer Triangle Symposium, a gay/straight student alliance at the university. Controversy surrounding this student group precipitated the withdrawal of support and funding by the Georgia Baptist Convention.

Purchase the book for yourself, your church or organization through the link below.

This is a great book and I have given it out......I also met Bish Alexander at the Seminary, I respect him greatly.............The SPIRIT is moving!

The Rev. Maureen Doherty
St. Andrew's Episcopal Church

Learn How to Lead a Meaningful Book Discussion in Four Easy Steps!

Of the Diocese of Atlanta, Bishop Alexander, 52, is a former seminary professor, and served on the delegation that explained Episcopal policies on sexuality to an international Anglican council last year. He depicts his own changing views on sexual morals in the 2003 This Far By Grace. Alexander is one of seven nominees for Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church to be elected in June 2006.

Mercer University in Macon, GA is one of the nation’s oldest and largest Baptist institutions of higher learning. Says Tim Smith, Christian Education Coordinator at St. Paul's: "We hope to illustrate to the wider Mercer community how we Episcopalians deal with our faith: thoughtfully and considerately, using reflection and dialogue."

Discussion of homosexuality, however, may be contoversial given the University's recent troubles with the Georgia Baptist Convention and subsequent shut down of the school's gay/straight alliance.

According to the November 16, 2005 article published by the Associated Baptist Press:

Georgia Baptist Convention messengers, meeting in Columbus [GA], approved a recommendation from the group's executive committee that the GBC begin the process of severing ties with the 7,000-student school. Mercer was founded in 1833 by three men who also played instrumental roles in founding the convention.

The motion noted reports about the Mercer Triangle Symposium. The group billed itself as Mercer's "GLBT [gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender] rights student organization. In conjunction with the Human Rights Campaign — the national gay-rights advocacy group — the symposium sponsored a "National Coming Out Day" event Oct. 11 on the Macon campus.

Robert White, the Convention's executive director, said inviting students to meetings where gay rights are openly advocated was a step too far for the convention.

"At the very least, on-campus meetings give the impression of approval by the administration," White told the paper. "I understand that a part of the university experience, whether Baptist or otherwise, is being exposed to a broad variety of thought. At the same time, I believe that Georgia Baptist parents should be able to have the confidence that their young people who attend a Georgia Baptist institution will not receive errant signals."

Whatever the case, Mercer spokesperson Judy Lunsford said that, as she understood it, the symposium had "held its last meeting" Nov. 14.

Though presenting the Bishop's experiences with gay people in the church in an unbiased way, This Far By Grace is affirming to the LGBT community in its underlying message that gay Christians are Christians first, their sexual orientation being secondary to their faith:
"...putting the gospel of Jesus at the center of one's life is a radical choice. But it is a choice that many of us---straight and gay---have made, and it is the decision that most clearly defines who we are. Everything else is secondary."

The Bishop also writes: "Faithful Christian believing does not offer the possibility of cutting off our relationship with anyone...[but] is about active participation with...the whole of God's creation in all its infinite diversity."

Tony Pearson, Faculty Advisor for the Canterbury Fellowship at Mercer, said:

As I believe that we are members(as in fingers, toes,etc) of Christ's body,
the only Christian response is understanding--to offer it if we do, to try
harder to achieve it if we don't. We should always be about the business of
reaching out and re-membering. There are many of our LGBT brothers and sisters
out there who aren't accepted as Christians because of the way they were made
(and God made everyone). That, in my opinion, is sinful. When we don't
extend the hand of fellowship to another human being, we are cutting off a
part of the body of Christ.

Now, I firmly believe that there are countless faithful Christians who have
problems with homosexuality. They have problems because of what they were
taught by parents (and various relatives), friends, and clergy on soapboxes.
They don't often personally know gay people. But they see or feel the
discrepancy between what they were taught and what they know to be true from
their own expereience of God. I think that This Far By Grace is an excellent
book to explore if people want to ask questions in a place where they feel

At Mercer, we felt this would be a good book because of what happened with the
GBC last semester. The subject was thrust into the public spotlight once
again and it was said several times that further dialogue was needed.
Canterbury felt it important to offer the campus a venue where dialogue could

St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Macon, GA is a vibrant and diverse community of worshippers emphasising an expression of faith through Music and the Arts.

Bishop of Atlanta Nominated for 26th Presiding Bishop

See the Article from Episcopal News Service

Below is a letter from Bishop Alexander:

January 25, 2006

Dear Friends in Christ in the Diocese of Atlanta:
Grace to you and peace in Jesus Christ our Lord!
Today, after many months of discernment, prayer and consultation, the Joint Nominating Committee for the Election of the XXVI Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church has announced its slate of candidates. I am deeply honored to be numbered among those bishops of our church that the Joint Committee has commended to the House of Bishops for its consideration and election, and to the House of Deputies for its consent.
I was surprised, many months ago, when members of the Joint Committee indicated to me that they wanted to consider me for this ministry. Lynn and I took some time and entered into our own period of prayer and discernment. Over the years, we have tried in every way to be faithful to the church we love so dearly. Our desire is always to be open to serving the Lord of the church under a call not always of our own devising. Looking back over the years, we are grateful to God for the rich and varied opportunities for service that have been given to us.
Our call to the Diocese of Atlanta has certainly been among the most important to us personally. As we have done many times before, we ask ourselves, in discernment and prayer, if there are any compelling reasons why we should not make ourselves available to the call of the church, should it come. We have done this thoughtfully, prayerfully and humbly, desiring only to be responsive and to offer ourselves to the service to which the church calls us. It has been in that spirit that we have been willing to move forward in this process.
Because of our great love and confidence in our church, we are certain that the Holy Spirit of the Risen Christ will work through the continuing discernment of our church and that the General Convention will select God’s choice to be our next presiding bishop. Of those who are nominated, that mantle will fall only on one of us, and that person, whoever she or he may be, will need the support of all of us in prayer, fresh energy and our full commitment to the mission and ministry of our church.
In the meantime, it is of greatest importance that the mission and ministry of the Diocese of Atlanta move forward on all fronts with as much devotion and vigor as we can muster. I will be orchestrating my work and that of our diocese as I always have – on the assumption that I am going to continue to be the Bishop of Atlanta. Nothing is served, and least of all the Gospel of Jesus, if we allow this to be a significant distraction and thereby fail to do those things God is calling us to in these days. You will have my fullest attention from now until the General Convention. Should the actions of our convention call us to new ventures of service, there will be plenty of time in the months that follow to make the necessary adjustments. Unless and until that happens, it is my strong desire that we operate as much as humanly possible in the normal mission-driven mode of the Diocese of Atlanta.
The very first thing I said after my election as Bishop of Atlanta was this: “I will only be as good a bishop as you pray for me to be.” Those words are particularly powerful to Lynn and me at this point. We deeply covet your prayers in these days. Pray, however, not only for us, but for our beloved church. Pray that the church’s discernment will be animated by the transforming power of the Holy Spirit and that when all is accomplished, the will of God will have been faithfully discovered yet again.
Love and blessings!
Faithfully, in Christ,
+ John Neil Alexander

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Lead A Book Discussion in Four Easy Steps!

Leading a book discussion can be a profound experience for both the leader and participants. If you have decided to undertake the role of leader/facilitator, the following article will assist you in asking a series of questions to elicit responses that will take your group from the surface of a topic to its depth implications for their lives.

When the group gathers for the first time, introduce the book and set some context for the discussion. Why is it important that this discussion take place at this time? What do participants hope to get out of the discussion? What should be the ground rules of the discussion? Open these questions to the group and they will do the work for you. If a flipchart is available, document the responses.

It's also good idea to have the group come up with, and agree to, the structure and schedule of the book discussion. The group's availability to meet as well as the size of the book may determine how often you will meet and how many chapters are to be read by each meeting. Participants who give input to create this schedule will be more likely to attend consistently.

At this first meeting, distribute the book, and assign the chapter readings for the next meeting.

The next time you gather, the group will have read the assigned chapter(s) and will be ready to discuss. However, to keep the discussion from wandering around without getting anywhere, it is the leader's job to guide the conversation. The following four levels of questioning (as well as sample questions) give you the tools to provide a meaningful experience for your group:

1. The Objective Level--Questions about facts and external reality

What words, lines or phrases from the reading do you remember?
Which were the most striking for you?
What caught your attention?

2. The Reflective Level--Questions to call forth immediate personal reaction to the data, an internal response, sometimes emotions or feelings, hidden images and associations with the facts. When ever we encounter an external reality (data/objective) we experience an internal response.

What pictures came into your mind as you read the material?
What events or stories from the past come to mind as you read this?
What surprised you?
What feelings did you have as you read?
Where did you most identify with the reading?
Where did the reading go beyond your comfort zone?
Where do you have the most difficulty with the material?

3. The Interpretive Level--Questions to draw out meaning, values, significance and implications

What is going on in this chapter?
What would you say are the underlying issues?
How might people be different after reading this?
What is the message here?
What is the significance for our lives?

4. The Decisional Level--Questions to elicit resolution, bring the conversation to a close and enable the group to make a resolve about the future.

Who do you feel needs to hear this?
What does it suggest we need to change?
How will this affect our actions in the future?

Follow this easy method at each meeting, and you are sure to create a healthy, participatory and learning environment for your group. Good Luck, and Enjoy!

  • Email Me With Questions About This Method!

  • Friday, December 23, 2005

    Christmas at Carey's

    A Holiday get-together and Christmas Tree viewing was hosted for the Tubman Staff past and present by former Director Carey Pickard at his home. Shown (L to R) are: Adra Dudley, Rashonda Welch, Keith Moffet, Renita Patterson, Travis Blackwell, Jeffrey Bruce, Nancy Willis, and Carey Pickard.

    World's cutest co-workers

    Travis and Rashonda love working together at the Tubman Museum.

    Tuesday, December 20, 2005

    Season's Greetings From Millie, Pierre and Basil

    Blogging Episcopalians
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