THE BEACON: CELEBRATING OUR FIRST 150 YEARS...AND IGNITING THE FUTURE"This is the Lord's Table, it's closer than ever and ALL are Welcome!"
THE CHURCH OF OUR SAVIOUR: WHERE ALL ARE WELCOME ALL THE TIME -- Twice on Saturday COS offered itself to the Greater Community, first serving as the place where the family and friends of Jim Martin could celebrate his life and then as the venue where the San Gabriel Valley Music Theater (SGVMT) performed twice. In neither case was the event directly related to COS, but COS's doors were open because they ALWAYS ARE to the Community.
JAMES PATRICK THOMAS MARTIN (5/5/1953 - 9/11/2016) -- Jim was a Friend of Bill's AND the long time Manager of Transitional Housing's Fair Oaks House where he was responsible for providing a safe place so that nine other men could pursue their sober Journeys. Jim passed away suddenly on September 11, leaving a huge hole in the Community he served. With Deacon Bill Doulos leading the Service, it was a beautiful combination of excerpts from the Episcopal Memorial Service and the Big Book of AA. In particular, I was struck by the relevancy of the following reading from the Big Book:
"Our book is meant to be suggestive only. We realize we know only a little. God will constantly disclose more to you and to us. Ask him in your morning meditation what you can each can do for the man who is still sick. The answers will come, if your own house is in order. But obviously you cannot transmit something you haven't got. See to it that your relationship with Him is right, and good events will come to pass for you and countless others. This is the Great Fact for us."
Jim was well known not just in the Recovery Community but also by parishioners who have served on the Transitional Housing Board of Advisors. Linda and Mark Goluskin were two of those, and Linda wrote beautifully of Jim on her Facebook page, calling him "a humble and loving" man. She also was very moved by Deacon Bill's concluding statement in his homily -- "Jim has arrived at his home, with God, and with all the adventure that beckons to him in the life beyond. We believe that life has changed, not ended, for Jim and for all of us who die in the Lord." Linda thought this was a beautiful sentiment to take away from the Service, and I'm sure Jim's family's did, too. What a great way to celebrate the life of a member of the COS family even though Jim was not an active parishioner!!! This is who we are!
"THE GOLDEN AGE OF ROMANCE": HISTORY OF BROADWAY FROM THE 1940'S TO THE 1960' -- Perhaps it is our age, but we love music where the lyrics are understandable and the music is beautiful and memorable. This is what we were treated to Saturday night by five members of the San Gabriel Valley Music Theater Troop. Utilizing the creative vehicle of an old time radio show to introduce songs, they began with "Oh What a Beautiful Morning" from Oklahoma and "Some Enchanted Evening" from South Pacific and sang hit songs from seventeen other musicals, ending with "Aquarius / Let the Sunshine In" from Hair. At the conclusion of the performance, we were so moved that we committed to watching as many of these great musicals as we can find on Netflicks. You all might want to do the same if you are as appalled as we are by what's going on this election season.
In addition, you might want to get your tickets for the SGVMT's next performance on NOVEMBER 12 @ 3:00 AND 7:00. This performance will employ the same format and will feature songs from the '70's, 80's and 90's. They are calling this performance "Rock Operas and Blockbusters", and we encourage everyone who cares about this kind of music to support this dedicated group of singers who are doing their best to sustain the genre. Speaking of dedication, none of these shows would have been possible without Sally Baldwin's creative thinking in working with Fr. Gary to provide Cleaver Hall as a viable venue for this community organization. As many of you know, she has been involved with this group forever, another wonderful example of one of COS's parishioners being deeply committed to the Community in which she lives IN ADDITION TO HER CHURCH. Buy your tickets for the 12th and make Sally happy. When she is happy, the world seems just a little better!
HOW DO YOU SPELL 'DEDICATION'?: B-E-N & F-L-O H-A-R-R-I-N-G-T-O-N!!! -- In the 24 years we have been parishioners, no one has been more committed to keeping the doors of this parish open than Ben & Flo Harrington. I'm not sure if they had a role in the building of Cleaver Clinic, but they certainly did in the building of Cleaver Hall, Grace Chapel and the remodeling of Allan Hall. More recently they were responsible for the construction of the Messler Columbarium many years after it was funded by parishioner Jane Messler. As important as the funding of each of these projects was, nothing compares to their commitment year after year serving as Stewardship Chair Persons. As EVERYONE knows, this is an extremely challenging job; and yet, there they were, front and center, asking us to contribute our precious financial resources to the operation of COS. That they were successful can be measured in part by the fact that we now are celebrating our 150th Anniversary. Hopefully, we will be blessed over the next 150 years by parishioners as dedicated as the Harringtons.
IN THE MEANTIME -- Just to re-enforce how challenging it is to find an individual to replace Ben and Flo, Fr. Gary Bradley has found it necessary to step forward to serve as the 2016-2017 Stewardship Chair. Fortunately, he is being assisted by Vera Hoalim. The Bottom Lines: 1) Be thankful that the Harringtons have been in our lives for so many years and do take some time to express your appreciation the next time you see them on Campus. 2) Be generous this year to the extent you are able as Fr. Gary and Vera strive to follow up where Ben & Flo left off. Their task is daunting, but the need is GREAT so please give considerable thought to what THE Church of Our Saviour contributes to your Journey AND that of others.
PRISM Restorative Justice, A MINISTRY OF THE DIOCESE OF LOS ANGELES: "I was sick and you took care of me; I was in jail and you visited me." -- To refresh your memory, PRISM is an Outreach of the Diocese which provides chaplains to the following L.A. County jail facilities managed by the Sheriff's Department: Twin Towers, Men's Central Jail, Pitchess Detention Center & the Century Regional Detention Center (CRDF) Women's Jail.
PRISM was founded 10 years ago, a year after Dennis Gibbs had been volunteering in the County Jails as the lone Episcopalian. At that point in time there were only two ways to qualify as a volunteer in the Jails, either under the auspices of the Catholic Church or Evangelical Denominations. However, in 2010 "Because of the growing number of people and programs being implemented by PRISM chaplains and volunteers, (PRISM) was designated as its own religious distinction in the jail system." The significance of this accomplishment did not go unnoticed: Bishop Bruno stated that "we have been trying for decades to get this done." This would not have occurred without the steadfast commitment of Dennis Gibbs!
More recently, Br. Dennis and Sr. Greta Ronningen have been honored to have been asked by Sheriff McDonnell to take the lead in coordinating a new program providing a Chaplaincy Presence at the Inmate Reception Center. As Br. Dennis explains the program, the IRC is a complex where people from all over the County are first processed before being assigned to a jail. The process can take 3 to 4 days, and it is a raw environment where emotional tensions are evident. Anger, frustration, disbelief, fear, toxicity from drugs and alcohol and anxiety will be addressed by the compassionate, loving presence of Chaplains from all denominations.
All of this is being accomplished by a ministry led by Br. Dennis, Sr. Greta and more recently Sr. MJ Johnston. In addition, as their presence has grown, others have come to volunteer in the jails, including five or six people from COS. Although this is not an official Outreach Ministry of this parish, I personally claim it when talking to friends because it is led by OUR MONKS, AND it is a immensely important ministry so needed in 2016 in this state.
Going forward, I urge every one of you to consider supporting PRISM, and the most immediate way to do so is to buy a ticket to their fund raiser on November 5 from 6 to 9 in Cleaver Hall. Admission is $100 per person, for which you will have the opportunity to hear 1) Fr. Greg Boyle, one of the great heroes of Los Angeles, 2) The Rt. Rev. Chester Talton and 3) view the works of artist John August Swenson (Look him up). In addition, if you are in attendance, you will be able to purchase a first edition copy of Sr. Greta's new book "Free On The Inside - Finding God Behind Bars" published by the Cathedral Press. Obviously, she will be there to sign your copy.
FYI, you can follow the Lifes & Times of the Monks of the Community of Divine Love by going to firstname.lastname@example.org and read their most recent Monthly News Letter. VERY INFORMATIVE.