Tag Archives: chaplain

More Quarantine

Dear Friends and Family:

Mick Hales Photography
Mick Hales Photography

Separation, is not a healthy place emotionally, but it is needed to protect us from the virus.

For those in elderly communities, especially widows, lockdown has become a lonely, boring and often depressing; seemingly endless time. People say that eating meals alone is when it really hurts.

The community I work for as Chaplain, is well provided for. Meals are delivered to their apartment doors in large brown bags. The bags are taken in, food eaten and then placed back outside, without any human interaction. Most of the many activities, which once made the 650 resident campus feel like a university, have stopped. The hallways are empty, the restaurants, pool, hair salon, wood working shop, gym, are all closed. Even the 1000 piece jigsaw puzzles take for ever to finish.

Mick Hales Photography
Mick Hales Photography

I started to lead a bible study again, under very strictly controlled separation conditions, but that is likely to stop as the pandemic spikes in Florida and the cautious ‘opening up’, is likely to be reversed.

One of the more exciting developments has been the possibility of running an Alpha course in the community. Alpha, changed my life when it first came over from Holy Trinity Brompton, in London [https://www.htb.org], to New York City. Christine and I, attended the three day course and that was the first time I was introduced to the Holy Spirits’ presence, when Nicky Gumbel, prayed over the whole gathering at St Bartholomew’s Church, to receive the Holy Spirit. That prayer changed my life because the Holy Spirit did flood into me.

Mick Hales Photography
Mick Hales Photography

There are now a small group of people who are excited to help get an Alpha going in the community, but we are waiting for a better understanding of how the lockdown with develop.

Mick Hales Photography
Mick Hales Photography

So my main job has been preparing Sunday Vespers which gets Televised on the internal TV station every Sunday. It has been a great experience because it has pulled together my photography with my ministry, which has been a long wish of mine. I am including a couple of You Tube links so you can see what I have been creating.

Vespers 062820

https://youtu.be/bypUhd-QIeo

Mick Hales Photography
Mick Hales Photography

Vespers 070520

https://youtu.be/AGVKgBgcYIE

Mick Hales Photography
Mick Hales Photography

Christine is doing wonderful work on two angel icons for a commission. She is also preparing to launch into online teaching of Iconography, running a course in August, which is very exciting and getting a great response.

Mick Hales Photography
Mick Hales Photography

I think we all are beginning to understand that this time of ‘separation’ or lockdown, is going to be with us for a very long time to come. That in itself is part of the anxiety, not knowing when or if there really is a long term resolution or a ‘normal life’ at the end of the tunnel. The long term emotional consequences are going to be enormous. As major upsets always do, this is going to hit the most vulnerable in our society the most; those who cannot find employment, families living with no school functioning, racial vulnerability will rise as racist tendencies are politically exploited; and the list could go on, so it is not surprising that the elderly person sitting alone in a room is going to be forgotten. After all they are not a squeaky wheel and they are easy to forget.

But, thanks be to God, He never forgets any of us.

So please, take a moment and lift up the elderly housebound in your prayers.

Mick Hales Photography
Mick Hales Photography

1 Timothy 5:15b

Let the church not be burdened, so that it may care for those who are truly widows.

Stay safe and be Blessed with the Holy Spirit in all you do and say.

Love and prayers,

Michael and Christine

Happy New Year!

Dear Friends and Family:

Happy New Year!  And of course we wish you a really Blessed 2020 with many new doors opening by the Lord.

Happy New Year photo by Mick Hales
Happy New Year photo by Mick Hales

December seemed to happen very quickly this year, perhaps because things just kept popping up that needed to be done.

Our News

Michael had a surprise phone call asking him at 9:30 on Boxing day morning to undertake a marriage at 1:00 that day at the hospital he volunteers at. Christine has developed a lot of new women friends in Christ and was invited to several Christmas parties by them. We managed to receive a day of generational healing prayer, at Christian Healing Ministries in Jacksonville, which was a powerful Blessing. Michael had one memorial service and five other services at Freedom Village to lead and preach. On top of all that we made it to Art Basel Miami to see what was cooking in the art world.

Michael leading a wedding ceremony at the hospital
Michael leading a wedding ceremony at the hospital

Christine completed a commission of St Francis and the Wolf  of Lubbio which came out beautifully. She has been diligently focused on drawing skills and it is really bearing beautiful fruit in her icons. This month she will have a one evening show of her icons at a prestigious carpet gallery in downtown Sarasota called ‘Art to Walk On’ on January 24th and has been preparing a variety of icons for that. It is going to be stunning.

Politics and the love of Christ

Of course we have to bring up what happened this December with the impeachment of the President of the United States. It is almost like the ‘Emperor has no clothes on’ within Christian circles because it is hard to talk about.  As so much division has happened within the body of Christ, much of which seemingly slipped into following a political spirit rather than holding to the Holy Spirit; the evangelical right regarded Donald Trump as a savior, regardless of his overtly unchristian persona.  ‘Christianity Today’, had the fortitude to really question whether the President should be given carte blanche by Christians.  We continue to pray that God will provide good leadership for this country, today and in the years to come.

Seabirds by Mick Hales
Seabirds by Mick Hales

Each month Michael writes an article for the Freedom Village Newsletter, ‘The Crier’ and last month it was about ‘Holding Hands.’

He is adding it below, because it could be extrapolated to the situation our country finds itself in. It is a piece on small steps of faith that can lead to larger changes through unity. Jesus said a house divided cannot stand. How do we bridge the gap of extreme division within this country before it is led to tyranny?

How to return to relying on the Holy Spirit’s guidance and not a spirit of politics within Christian living.

As 2020 opens there needs to be some deep searching for truth in our prayers as to who we are following, Jesus Christ or partisan politics. I pray that each side of this deep divide can reach out to touch the other and heal.

Advent Wreath on Christmas Eve by Mick Hales
Advent Wreath on Christmas Eve by Mick Hales

Holding Hands

We all know what it means to hold hands with someone we love, someone special to us. A spouse or one of our own children. Holding hands is a way in personal relationships we can express trust, comfort, fondness, togetherness and love.

But what about when we hold hands with someone we do not know so well, maybe someone we are visiting and want to show a sign of support for what they are going through, perhaps they are ill or experienced a loss recently. That can take a step of faith to put your hands out for someone who may not know you. The actual activity of sharing another person’s hands results scientifically in the release of oxytocin in our bodies giving us a feeling of safety and warmth.

I remember as a child walking through the streets of Enugu, a town in Nigeria where I spent several years, people would just touch you as you walked past. It was culturally normal that touch would happen between people, even strangers on the streets. To us in a ‘Western mindset’ this seems very intrusive, we prefer to keep an invisible barrier around us that other people stay out of.  We would hate being touched by people as they walked past  us on the streets, by hands held to out to the sides so there was a connection as one passed. This very simple gesture was a way of connecting, a way of placing oneself in the present and acknowledging all life around us as we travel through it.

Saint Francis and the Wolf of Lubbio, Icon by Christine Hales
Saint Francis and the Wolf of Lubbio, Icon by Christine Hales

We find in the scriptures that Jesus throughout his ministry would touch people as he was healing them. We also know that people would try to touch him in the crowd or even just his garment; Mark 3:10, is a good example.

‘for he had healed many, so that all who had diseases pressed around him to touch him.’

When Jesus was touching people there was a transference of power by the Holy Spirit to heal. That is why I believe when people come together to support or even pray for others, holding hands is a wonderful way to bring us all closer together, as we present ourselves and our concerns to God.

Let us continue to gather as lovers of Christ and hold hands as we pray for our country, our world, and each other in the year ahead.

Celebrating Michael's Birthday and Boxing Day!
Celebrating Michael’s Birthday and Boxing Day!

Sending love, prayers, and best wishes for a healthy and prosperous New Year!

Christine and Michael

Mick’s Photography      Christine’s Icons      Christine’s Art Work

 

Travel and Revelations

Dear Friends and Family:IMG_5092

Christine had a busy month in March teaching iconography at our home church in Sarasota, Church of the Redeemer and also at the Union Theological Seminary in NYC. She is also getting ready to teach another Icon class at Ghost Ranch in New Mexico next week. She delivered a beautiful icon commissioned by one of her former students in Miami, a wonderful Icon of Mary Magdalen and Christ. Recently there appears to be an understanding within the church body, that the significance of Mary Magdalene and her ministry towards Christ, as well as to the very early church, has not been fully appreciated. [Mark 16: 14] One of our fun days was a visit to the Dali museum in St Petersburg with friends. There was lots to see of course, but one of the outside displays was a Golden Spiral, which is used extensively in iconography and sacred geometry.

IMG_5475

Michael’s News

Michael is slowly finding his way as a Chaplain for a retirement community which has lots of opportunity for praying one on one and also preaching and teaching. He, also, had a quick trip to New York to photograph an apartment which overlooked the Hudson River. The owners were vacating the apartment after  thirty years and wanted a record of it.     IMG_5355

He has a short story about what happened after doing a hospital visitation recently. He finished his hospital visit and returned to his car. Quite close by to where he had parked was a man sitting on a tire barrier under a shade tree. He was talking to someone who appeared to be just someone in passing. After a while he heard what the conversation was about, that the man’s father was in the hospital and apparently deteriorating fast.

After a while he felt God nudge him to go over and see if he could help the man. There was a long conversation, mostly the man talking and Michael just listening. Eventually Michael asked if he could pray for him and did so and then returned home.

IMG_5123

About two hours later, he had a call from the hospital to return at that man’s request. Michael had been wearing a hospital Chaplain’s ID, earlier and they were asking for him specifically. So he returned and went to the room where the man and his father were. He prayed for them both separately and then talked and prayed with his mother and sister who were also at the hospital. Then waited to see how if he might help further. After a while the man came out of the father’s room and asked for Michael’s phone number and said he would be in touch if things developed. He then announced that the whole family was agnostic, but he recently learned his father had begun to pray when traveling to some of his medical appointments.

Hearing From God

Sometimes, it is strange how God works, but now Michael believes that God had heard his prayers while going to those doctors’ visits and somehow God got one of His own family to represent Him at a vital moment in that family’s life.

At the time Michael came away wondering, why was he asked to go back to the hospital if they were all agnostic? Why would they allow him to pray for them, each one separately? Maybe, just maybe, at that late hour, they realized they would be called upon to account for their lives before God.IMG_5117

As indeed we all shall. Whether we are cognizant that there will be an accounting before God or not. Even if we stand proudly as Christian, Agnostic, Republican or Democrat, we shall all be accountable before God.

Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes, and he is the one to whom we are accountable.

Hebrews 4:13

That’s all for now.  Love snd prayers to you all!

Michael and Christine Hales

IMG_5292

 

Please let us know how we can pray for you.

Praise God for His Creation!!

Dear Family and Friends:IMG_7574

This has been quite the month for Christine teaching Iconography at Ghost Ranch, NM, and Holy Cross Monastery, NY and for Michael photographing in TX.

IMG_5796 1

Ghost Ranch was an extraordinary experience for all the participants who were writing an icon of St Francis with Christine teaching. There was a wonderful sense of the presence of God in the class and a lot of physical and emotional healing occurred.IMG_6781

IMG_6104

The landscape and nature surrounding the ranch was a powerful influence and all who participated could feel the spiritual strength and heritage of the land.

One could understand how Georgia O’Keefe eventually sought the solitude of Ghost Ranch over the energy of the New York artistic scene of her day.

_MG_7587

For Michael there were some wonderful walks through the canyons reminiscent for him of walking over the moors of Dartmoor in Devon. Away from all distractions, when alone in a landscape, the awareness that we live in a world so extraordinary in every way that it has to have been created by God breaks through.

IMG_6590

Watching the daylight move across a vast landscape and then seeing how wildflowers bloom and reproduce through the extreme dessert conditions.

IMG_7586

These are the things we should talk about- how the birds sing, how the morning light shines through the trees, how a plant lives in the dessert, how the hills are formed or how the cows moo calling to their young. Such things are a part of God’s creative nature and these are the type of things we need to wonder, ponder and explore. This is worthy of our attention, to recognize God’s creation so we can praise Him all the more.

IMG_7262

Too much of our lives focus on an untransformed world; a world in active degradation under the orbit of the devil. Our work as Christians is to bring to reality the world of the Creator God, what God created, not what the devil has formed in its’ place. To nurture and love not only our neighbors as our selves but appreciate the whole of God’s creative hand, from the intimate center of a tulip to the vast vista of the canyon, God shows His hand.

IMG_6997

Originally God created paradise for us to live in; all was perfect, all was created by God. There was no demonic, we walked naked in purity amongst the abundance of God’s creation. All was good.

So lets talk about and not loose sight of those things God created, like the birds singing in the morning or how beautifully our bodies have been formed and praise God for them.

IMG_8050-1

We know we live in a broken world but lets focus on what God’s Kingdom is like, as Paul writes to the Philippians 4:8,

Holy Cross Icon Blessing
Holy Cross Monastery Icon Blessing

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

Michael and Christine with author Jane Garmey at book signing for Mick's new book "City Green"
Michael and Christine with author Jane Garmey at book signing for Mick’s new book “City Green”

Please keep us in your prayers and for our house to sell in preparation of our move to Florida where we believe God has called the next chapter of our lives.

Please, let us know how we can pray for you.

Icon from Holy Archangel Michael Monastery, Abiquiu, NM
Icon from Holy Archangel Michael Monastery, Abiquiu, NM

Love and Prayers,

Michael and Christine Hales

Mick’s Photography     Christine’s Icons   Christine’s Fine Art