Friday, January 29, 2010

prayers and processions - prayer before bedtime

Another from the Prayers and Processions series:

Jacob Kendrick, 2, pounced in his padded dinosaur pajamas onto his father, Mike Kendrick, as his other son, Dylan, 3, drapes over his back. His daughter Lily, 5, laughs.

It's all under the watchful eye of a Jesus Christ poster that proclaims I Am.

It's a prelude to a nightly event – altar time – which is worship time for the Virginia Beach family. On this evening, the kids are wound up and needed to bounce out some energy before prayer.

“I think it's what holds us together, having the altar time,” said Nereida, Mike's wife. “It's important for them to know that we're there for them, and that Christ is there for them as well.”

Mike describes his family as Bible believing followers of Jesus Christ.

“The most important thing is leaving a legacy, and for them to know Jesus personally,” said Mike. “It's probably the most significant thing I'll do in my whole life.”

The poster hangs as a centerpiece of their living room. “It's important for our kids to constantly see that he is our solid rock,” said Mike. “It's like having a picture of a loved one in your office.”

Saturday, January 23, 2010

cowboy church

another from the prayers and procession series, this one on a cowboy church

Tim Kirkpatrick bows his head and slips off his cowboy hat. He begins to pray. Below him, a small terrier mix named Sheriff Woody wags his tail and scampers in the dirt. Kirkpatrick, 40, is a part-time pastor of the Hickory Ridge Cowboy Church.

“We started it so we could reach people with an outdoors mind,” he explains. “There's a lot of farmers, horse people and animal people around here. This is the avenue that we use to reach them.” Members meet Saturday nights in a large tent set up on the grounds of Hickory Ridge Community Church in Chesapeake.

Kirkpatrick says he caters to Christians who aren’t comfortable with traditional services. He recalls one uneasy congregant who told him, “If I can come with manure on my boots, wear my blue jeans and if I don't have to put my teeth in, then I'll come.” Kirkpatrick will take the a full-time position of the church pastor in February, which will also be the first anniversary of the church.

“It's God leading it, I'm just along for the ride, said Kirkpatrick. “These are my people, and it's a great way to reach them for Christ.”

Friday, January 22, 2010

one more from haiti

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

long flight to america

i recently flew down on a mission with the air force back and forth from haiti. while i wish i could have gone into the city, the mission and story was to drop off support and pick up american citizens and folks holding green cards from haiti. here's a family on the way back on a c-17 cargo plane from port-au-prince to america.

Monday, January 18, 2010

home communion

Another from the prayers and processions series, this one on home communion:


A clock clicks, and her hands wring in cadence. A silver walker waits to Beth Massel's left - just in case.

John St. John quietly stands and slips a small wafer into Massel's palms, which are spread in front of her like a platter.

“I feel like if I don't get this, I feel like I'm missing the family dinner,” said Massel. It's something I need.”

Massel is a member of the Eastern Shore Chapel Episcopal Church in Virginia Beach. She's unable to attend church, and communion, because of knee replacement surgery.

“To have someone come to the house when I can't come to the church – it's the greatest thing,” said Massel, of Virginia Beach. “I just feel empty if I don't get to communicate with people at church and commune with God.”

“It fills me up again.”

St. John is one of several church members who bring communion into the home. “When they can't go to church, the church can go to them,” said St. John. “It's a good thing to do. It's not much more complicated than that.”

Massel takes the wafer and then smiles and says, “Thanks be to God!”

The two hug goodbye and St. John steps out into the spill of soft afternoon light.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

park cleanup

from a story on a local cleanup

Saturday, January 09, 2010

spirit night

as part of the weekly series on faith and its expression in our community, called prayers and processions. here's a shot and the small story from "spirit night"


Sneakers squeak as the whisper of pom poms flutter above cheerleaders who lean into each other and giggle. Gold and green balloons bob in the corner, tethered to a tiny table plastered with pennants.

It's frenetic and formless, and energy is high for Spirit Night at Holy Trinity School in Ocean View. After a few moments the athletic director, Dan Holmes, gathers a microphone and strings it out onto the court.

It's time to pray.

Teammates tether to a line that serves as their bench, and they bow below an American flag. Their prayer softy echos into the gym.

“One of the really unique things about this program, is that you don't necessarily have to go to the school to participate in basketball” said Holmes, of Norfolk. “The basketball team is open to all members of the parish. You can send your kids to public school and still have a faith-based athletic program. That's one of the things we're really proud of.”

The school, which is in it's 85th year, combines expressions of faith along with its athletics; and on this night, their winter sports season is kicked off with the Lord's Prayer.

Moments later, the children bolt from the line and smiles split across their faces.

It's time to play.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

bangladesh published

the story we did in Bangladesh was published in the International Herald Tribune, the global edition of The New York Times. Nice to see this story get a voice, and I'm really happy for Joanna Kakissis who worked so hard to make it happen.

for a link to the story see below:

Saturday, January 02, 2010

a last kiss

a marine is home for the holidays before returned to afghanistan. here he is with his wife