1634: THE BALTIC WAR — snippet 38


1634: THE BALTIC WAR – snippet 38:



            Several hours later, after Gayle took down all the radio messages relayed from Amsterdam that had come in during the evening window, she came into the main room with a big grin on her face.


            “Speaking of divine intervention, you’re all going to love this. Especially you, Rita.” She held up a message in her hand, one of the little notepad sheets she used to record radio transmissions.


            “What is it?” demanded Rita, rising from the divan and extending her hand.


            “Tut, tut! It’s not for you, dear, it’s for your husband.” Still grinning, Gayle came over and handed the message to Tom, who’d remained sitting.


            Tom read it. Then read it again. Then, read it again.


            "Well," Rita asked impatiently. "What?"


            "It's from Mrs. Riddle." He reached up and started scratching his hair. “’Bout the last thing I ever expected.”


            "The wife of the chief justice?" Melissa asked. "Why would she be sending you a radio message?"


            "No, not her. Chuck Riddle's mother."


            Rita nodded. "Mary Kat's grandma. She was a year ahead of me in high school. Mary Kat, that is. Not Veleda. What does she want?"


            “Here, read it yourself. Better read it out loud, while you’re at it.”


            Rita took the message and began reciting it so everyone could hear. By the time she got to the last few sentences, she was rushing.




            "Ordained?" Rita's voice rose to a shriek. "Over my dead body!"


            Melissa Mailey looked concerned. "Tom, you've never said anything about having a religious vocation."


            "Well, I didn't have one.” He cleared his throat. “Until now."


            "You don't have one now!" Rita protested.


            Tom settled back in the divan. He seemed to be struggling against a smile—or a grin as wide as the one still on Gayle’s face.


            "Yes, I do, dear. You read it yourself. I didn't have one two minutes ago, but I do now." He looked up at his very non-Episcopalian wife, the grin started to show around the edges of his still-solemn face. "You can't think of it—a vocation, I mean—as being something that's all inside you. It's like those bishops and things back in the early church, who wrapped their arms around a pillar of the church yelling, 'No. Not me!’ while the congregation dragged them out to be promoted."


            Melissa nodded, apparently quite solemnly. Rita just looked blank.


            Tom continued, "Or, maybe like the prophets in the Old Testament who were just sitting there when the voice of God mucked up all their plans. Jonah, for instance. God said, 'Go there,' and he said, 'I don't think so, thank you very much,' so it took some persuading. A calling can come from outside, too.”


            There was no smile on Rita’s face, for sure. "I wasn't born to be a preacher's wife,” she hissed. “No. Tell her no. That's easy enough."


            Tom went back to scratching his hair, lowering his face in the process. In that pose, the grin that was now spreading openly on his face made him look a bit like a weight-lifter shark, coming to the surface. "She does have a point, you know. That is, the Episcopalians in Grantville do need a priest, for sure, and we should really have a bishop.”


            He pointed to the message still in Rita's hand. “The reason it gets complicated is because none of the national churches in the Anglican Polity—that’s what we called all right-thinking Episcopalians all over the world, back where we came from—actually had any authority over each other. But they all recognized the Archbishop of Canterbury as sort of the first among equals, so it makes sense to see if he’d be willing to get the ball rolling.”


            He looked over at Melissa, still grinning. “Maybe I should just ask Laud for an appointment? Talk to him about it? What could it hurt?"


            "What could it hurt?” Rita’s fists were clenched. “I could end up chairing Ladies' Aid meetings at a church I don't even belong to!"


            Gayle and Tom started laughing. Even Melissa was smiling, now. “I agree, Rita. Fate worse than death—and I’ve chaired a lot of godawful meetings in my day.”


            Eventually, Rita’s glare stifled her husband’s laughter. “Look, sweetheart, I’ve actually got no intention of proposing myself. I have no idea why Mrs. Riddle came up with the idea. But if you strip that aside, she does have a point. We’ve got some Episcopalians in Grantville, with no structure—and no clear idea how to set one up with legitimate authority. Like she says, we’d be bending the rules—so would Laud, although he doesn’t know the rules have been set up yet—but I’m pretty sure she’s right. If I could get the Archbishop of Canterbury to ordain somebody—or send somebody himself—we’d be off and running.”


            Tom shook his head. "It wouldn't have to be me, or anybody in Grantville. Maybe the archbishop could find someone else to send, from England. Someone who wants to be a missionary in foreign parts, or just someone he'd like to get rid of."


            "He'd like to get rid of us, I expect," Darryl McCarthy interjected.


            “Yes, he would,” said Melissa. She looked at the message. “Especially after I pass this along.”


About Eric Flint

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4 Responses to 1634: THE BALTIC WAR — snippet 38

  1. Timothy Kirby says:

    I’m glad you have more conservative articles in the Grantville Gazette and in your main line of the story books. I was beginning to think that all the uptimers were going to become Neo-Orthodox or Classic Liberal and that was the direction of religion for the European brands of Christianity. Whatever happens with the Episcopaleans, in this story, they would definitely have to be 100 fold more conservative. At this time period, the big issues were whether the C of A would be more Lutheran, Catholic or (later) Calvinist in it’s doctrine, all of them being extremely conservative in theology. Also, don’t forget all the Anabaptist groups that were replete throughout the regions that you are discussing, Amish and Mennonite being the two largest (not referring to the Spiritist groups, like the Muensterites, that were not truly of the Anabaptist groups, but were more extreme and violent, which Luther took care of through the Princes some time back). I believe that you have already encountered them early on in your first book or maybe it was the first Gazette. But more needs to be encorporated if possible. But over all, I’m glad you are bringing in more conservative ideas based on history. I’m not a writer or else I would try to see about writing one of the chapters in your Grantville Gazette. But about the best source would be “The Anabaptist Story”, by Estep. He does a tremendous job of dealing with the varying sects of Anabaptism and how they came to be. He also deals with how they influenced the Separatists, in England (especially the ones of that group who went further and later became known as Baptists, both Particular and General branches). If this is any help, it may help you with the Lowlands as you bring about the re-constitution of a Belgium/Holland nation and the lowlands of Germany.
    I do thoroughly enjoy your Alt-History books, especially the 1632 series. Great job and keep up the good work (and more books of this series) coming!
    T. Kirby

  2. chuck albrecht says:

    Very interesting. You might like to check with the Episcopal Diocese in your area about their process for entering the priesthood. This varies somewhat from diocese to diocese, but is almost always referred to as “THE PROCESS”. Basically you need the approval of your parish priest, a lay panel called a discernment committee, the parish vestry, the diocesan standing committee, and the bishop before you’re accepted as a candidate. I suspect that in the 1600s they skipped everything but the last step. I liked the historical note about people being drafted as priests and bishops.


  3. Elisabeth says:

    Are we celebrating William Laud’s feast day early? It’s not until January 10.

  4. The main thing that seems to be missing from the most recent 1632 books including the Cannon Law, the Bavarian Crisis and now the Baltic War is a narrative thread. I am not a writer but I am a reader, and the most recent books have lacked the narrative thread of the early books as you try to tie together all the effects of the “Butterfly Effect”.

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