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September
2004
A Tale of Christian Nobodies
The woman behind the “nobodies” is Roberta Nobleman -- English actress, American citizen, wife, mother, grandmother and for much of the past three decades a performer of one-woman shows about religious personages. 
Specializing in Spiritual Stitchery
You don't see what is going to happen in the future." Making vestments, she noted, is not something she does instead of ordained ministry but as part of it. "The vestments are spiritual, as well. God is glorified through beautiful vestments ... offering our best to God."
Baby Heals War Wound
For my mother, the decades marched on with the grief walled off. Her children grew, her sons married, and by 2002 she had nine grandchildren. Then, out of the blue in January that year, I announced, “I am adopting a child from Vietnam.” 
Encountering Christ
The somewhat slower pace that characterizes summer is speeding up as autumn descends upon us and we begin again the round of activities that constitute our congregational life.  This seems to me an opportune moment to reflect upon what most deeply shapes and forms us as authentic communities of faith.
Threats, Promises, Rescue Techniques
When all the experts have had their meetings and gone home, the faithful, decades-long remaining members look at each other and wonder, “What’s wrong with us?” “Why are we so unlovable?” “What should we do?” and “Why don’t they understand how dear our parish is to us and why we don’t want to give up and go join the one in the next neighborhood?”
When the Circle is Broken
My church, however small, however broken, still does that for me. I believe it always will -- it is my home. What I experience there has not to do with sexuality or politics, tradition or even doctrine. It simply has to do with me and God. If a church is not erected for this sole purpose, what is it for?
First Steps on a Lifelong Journey
Journey to Adulthood, better known as J2A, trains adults to appreciate youth.  It is a program and rite of passage for junior high and high school students – sending 3,000 on pilgrimage each year and providing a curriculum focused on their gifts and a set of skills we all need — yet it sometimes has its greatest effect on adult parishioners.
My Life as a J2A Leader
But for two years I gave it up to sit in a room with a dozen teens while I slowly fell in love with each one. Volunteering as a J2A leader was not what I expected to be doing as an over-50 empty nester, nor did I feel particularly well-suited for the role.
Searching for Alex
With his last strength and breath, he held his parents' hands and told them he was scared. Before he slipped away, Alex pulled them close and whispered, "Tell the world there will be a cure for cancer real soon."
From Captivity to College
“I have seen heads smashed and people beaten until their sockets swallow their eyes,” Grall says. “I have survived hunger, burial alive and assaults. This is not what I want for my people. The time has come. We must stop this war.”
The Word on the Streets
“The older members of our church are dying out. For our church to grow, we need to bring people in,” Warren said.  “The kids look forward to Friday nights. We started offering food and fellowship, and now we’ve added hip hop.”
Rays of Hope Amidst Pandemic
The sun, setting at the tip of this vast continent, sends golden and orange rays of light across the darkening sky, illuminating the hopes and dreams of the poor and afflicted in this part of the Anglican Communion.  Episcopal Relief and Development,  in cooperation with the diocese of Namibia and Cape Town, has turned victims into partners, providing dignity to all. 
The Bomb that didn't Explode
"God preserved my life for some reason that I've yet to discover," he said.  "It just wasn't my time to die, which I say with all humility because I've worked with so many wonderful young men at Bravo Medical whose time it was to die."
We Can All Get Along
Such was the spirit -- marshaling the shared responsibilities of the world’s mosques, synagogues, churches and ashrams -- that animated the fourth Parliament of the World’s Religions.
Letters
Episcopal Life welcomes letters and will give preference to those in response to stories. Letters should be no longer than 250 words and must include the writer’s name, address, phone number for verification. Pictures are welcome. Send to Letters, Episcopal Life , 815 Second Ave., New York, N.Y. 10017; or e-mail to letters@episcopal-life.org. All letters will be edited for brevity and clarity.
Provocateur
Editor’s note: Another dozen or so readers responded to Provocateur columnist Doris Niemann’s question posed in May: “Should congregations insist on better manners from children attending services?” A selection appear here. We welcome your suggestions for future Provocateur columns. Write to Episcopal Life (address, page 2) or e-mail provocateur@episcopal-life.org.