The first name of this blog was Cad ar a bhfuilim ag smaoineamh ar maidin? – Irish meaning “What am I thinking about this morning?”
This blog started as a record of many things, but during the summer and early fall of 2011 it was the record of my sabbatical in Scotland, England, and Ireland.
I am the Rev. Dr. Charles Eric Funston, a retired priest of the Episcopal Church, having last served as rector of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Medina, Ohio, which I left at the end of 2018. I was ordained a priest on June 21, 1991. I served two years as Assistant Rector of Christ Church Episcopal, Las Vegas, Nevada, and was then Rector of St. Francis of Assisi Episcopal Church, Stilwell, Kansas. On June 1, 2003, I became Rector of St. Paul’s Parish. After 20 years in parish ministry, I took my first sabbatical.
In a nutshell, here’s what I did ….
First, I traveled. For two weeks, July 1 through 14, I visited important monastic, Celtic, pre-Roman, and Roman sites in Scotland, England, and Wales. Then for two months, I was in Ireland, July 14 through September 15. Part of my time there was spent in residence in County Galway studying the Irish language. Then I rented a cottage on a cattle farm in County Offaly simply enjoying life and getting to better know my adult children who each came to spend a week with me. During all of that time, I visited various locations in Éire – monastic foundations, churches, museums, etc.
Second, I was studying. I was a student at Árus Mháirtín Uí Chadhain, An Cheathrú Rua, Chontae na Gaillimhe (the National University of Ireland’s Irish Language Centre, Carraroe, Co. Galway). This was my second summer course there (the first was the beginner’s course in Irish in 2008); I took the intermediate level course and the thing I learned most was that I have a lot more to learn!
Third, I tried my hand at translating hymn texts and arranging music.
Fourth, I spent quality time with family. As I wrote above, I arranged to rent a cottage outside of Banagher, County Offaly, and to have invited my adult children and their partners to join me each for a week. My daughter Caitlin and her boyfriend Jeff joined me first, then my son Patrick and his wife Michael. When they were with me, my travels were dictated by their desires. I thought I might end up visiting some places more than once, and I did. But their interests are so varied that there wasn’t a lot of duplication.
This blog detailed those activities.
Then it morphed into a daily meditation site. Following the Daily Office Lectionary of the Episcopal Church, I read both Morning and Evening Prayer every day and, as I read the lessons, I offered here some thoughts about a few verses from one or another of them, or from the Psalms for the day. There was no rhyme or reason, nor any intentional pattern to what I wrote here. It just depended on what strikes my fancy.
And now it has become a spot where I just share things . . . whenever. I have put several of my Sunday sermons here and, now that I am no longer preaching on a regular basis, I am occasional posting meditations about what I might have preached had I a pulpit to fill on a Sunday morning. If I write a verse or two of poetry, I may put that here. If I write a short story or a random thought or a deeply insightful essay, those may end up here, as well. It’s just a place to hang some stuff that doesn’t have anywhere else to be.
And I’ve changed the blog’s name. It is now called, That Which We Have Heard & Known. That is a quotation from Psalm 78, verse 3: “That which we have heard and known, and what our forefathers have told us, we will not hide from their children.” I chose that title, not because I think I offer anything of eternal value, but because these bits of whatever are, I think, things we’ve all heard and known at one time or another, but about which we don’t give much thought. So here am I doing just that and hoping it will be of use to someone else, as it is to me.