J. Barrington Bates

Now retired, Barrie Bates has served Episcopal and Lutheran congregations in California, New York, and New Jersey over the past 20+ years. He holds a Ph.D. in liturgical studies and serves on the General Board of Examining Chaplains. He looks forward to spending more time on the shores of Lake Michigan, and he welcomes conversation about his sermons.

Sermons and Bible Studies

Today’s Gospel Is Like…, Proper 22 (A) – 2008

October 05, 2008

Today’s gospel is like any clear, simple narrative account in many regards. First of all, it is a story, not exactly a factual account: the characters are anonymous, and the setting is spare. It’s another in a long series of stories told by Jesus, a series that we’ve been hearing for a few Sundays, and […]

Let’s Begin With an Excerpt…, Trinity Sunday (A) – 2008

May 18, 2008

Let’s begin with an excerpt from The New Yorker magazine, from an article by Malcolm Gladwell. It’s about, of all things, automobile safety – or the lack of it – and one man’s tragic automobile accident, now more than a decade ago. Quote: “Robert Day’s crash was not the accident of a young man. He […]

Day One, Christmas Day (I) – 2007

December 25, 2007

On Christmas morning couple of years ago, I was walking down Eleventh Street in New York’s Greenwich Village, to prepare for the eleven-o’clock service at my former church. There, at the curb, was someone’s Christmas tree, laid out for the trash truck. Now, can you imagine this? It was 9:30 a.m. on Christmas Day, and […]

Today Is Rogation Sunday…, Easter 6 (C) – 2007

May 13, 2007

Today is Rogation Sunday, when the church has traditionally offered prayer for God’s blessing on the fruits of the earth and the labors of humankind. The word “rogation” is from the Latin rogare, “to ask.” Historically, the Rogation Days are a period of fasting and abstinence, asking God’s blessing on the crops, for a bountiful […]

After Hearing a Presentation…, Palm Sunday (C) – 2007

April 01, 2007

After hearing a presentation as profound as the Passion Narrative, mere words seem almost like an intrusion. Our reading of the Passion on Palm Sunday turns us from the triumphal entry of Jesus into the holy city Jerusalem, and calls us to face the grim reality of Holy Week ahead. Easter is there, beckoning, at […]

In the Rural County…, Ascension Day – 2006

May 26, 2006

In the rural county of Norfolk, England, there is a town known as Little Walsingham. Inside the town’s church, there are a number of altars — one of them dedicated to the Feast of the Ascension. It’s an unremarkable shrine, just a small table and few candles, but above it is a sculpture of clouds, […]

As We Have Worked…, Epiphany 7 (B) – 2006

February 19, 2006

As we have worked our way through the beginning of Mark’s gospel this Epiphany season, we have seen the explosive growth in Jesus’ ministry. In today’s gospel his popularity has hit such a peak that the people can no longer gather close enough around him even to hear what he has to say. The word […]

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Christopher Sikkema