THE BEACON: Celebrating Our First 150 Years...And Igniting The Future
"This is the Lord's Table, it's closer now than ever and ALL are Welcome!"
THE IMPORTANCE OF COMMUNITY: SATURDAY AND SUNDAY IN OUR COS SPIRITUAL JOURNEY -- This weekend there was Mary Jean Wilson's Memorial Service followed by Jubilee Housing's Gratitude Dinner and then the 10:00 Service celebrating Stewardship Sunday with all three congregations worshiping together, followed by a wonderful pot luck lunch coordinated by the Hospitality Committee.
As I sat at home Sunday evening thinking about how to tie this all together, I tuned into CNN's 'Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown'; and by the end of the show I had experienced an epiphany. Believe it or not, there was a common thread tying Mary Jean's Service, Jubilee Housing and Stewardship Sunday to Anthony Bourdain's Program -- COMMUNITY! If you have not seen 'Parts Unknown', you are missing one of the most important and informative shows and informative shows on television. Irreverent, yes, and often, but also incredibly insightful.
This Sunday his featured 'Part' was Houston, of all places! After acknowledging that he viewed Texas, all of Texas, with extreme prejudice as a liberal, he then spent the rest of the hour interviewing the most amazing Texans imaginable. Indians, Pakistanis, Malaysians, Muslims, West Africans, Vietnamese, Central Americans, ALL members of established Communities, ALL residents of Houston and ALL so proud to be citizens of the United States. Everyone told Bourdain that immigrating to this country was a dream come true, that this is the Land of Opportunity, that America is Great!!!
What a vastly different message from the constant stream of negative comments we all have been living with for the past 18 months. As Sue and I wiped the tears from our eyes, I realized that those of us who have made our way to THE Church of Our Saviour share something with Bourdain's new friends -- We ALL are part of an incredible family connected not by ethnicity necessarily but by a shared Spiritual Journey characterized by a love of the liturgy, the music, the Campus, the messages of the preachers and most importantly the Community of Friends we have found at 535 West Roses Road. As if this were not enough, we are blessed with being able to offer and be involved in Outreach Programs which enable this parish Community to help the least among us like no other parish in the West San Gabriel Valley. The best of all worlds, I'm thinking!
Hopefully, you factored all of this into making your Pledge for 2017; but if not, I urge you to 'google' Anthony Bourdain's Program on Houston and see if you, too, are not as moved we were to understand and place an even greater emphasis on the importance of Community to us.
NO COMMUNITY CAN FUNCTION WITHOUT A 'HOSPITALITY' COMMITTEE!!! -- Seldom have I witnessed harder working people serving us than I did Sunday. Fortunately for COS, we DO HAVE a Hospitality Committee, albeit a relatively small number who are doing an enormous amount of work. As usual, led by their hard working Chair Person Jane Fall, they were on the job Sunday, setting up tables and decorating Cleaver Hall and receiving pot luck offerings from a generous parish. In particular, we should all express our gratitude to Jane, Linda Goluskin, Diane Rivera, Will Dumain and to Custodian Stephen Faux for their incredible contributions to making Stewardship Sunday a success.
50 PILLOWS IN PASADENA -- Saturday night Deacon Bill Doulos and the Board of Jubilee Housing hosted a dinner in Cleaver Hall to thank those both within COS and those in the community who continue to support this ministry. It was a very moving evening, particularly when three residents spoke of their gratitude for having a place stay during recovery (See Below). Just in case anyone missed that point, Deacon Bill closed the evening by asking everyone to reflect for a moment as we each placed our head on our pillow that night that we also were helping 50 other people in Pasadena to share that experience in Jubilee's four houses and 50 beds.
If you have never attended one of Jubilee's Monthly Dinners for residents and families, you really must. What you will observe is an extended Community of caring people working to assist those in recovery to continue their Journeys. At this function, the Cast of Characters was particularly note worthy. Stalwarts Linda Goluskin and Diane Rivera provided the decorations, Diane d'oeuvres, Sara Dooley and Kim Sirean Invitations, Will Dumain, Peter DiCarlo and Sara refreshments and Roger Cairns-Berteau music. They were assisted by Chef Marcus Mendoza, a former resident and Merissa Amy who prepared and served the entree.
As always, the highlights of the evening were when the House Managers and the three current residents spoke. Jubilee Housing continues to be blessed with the following outstanding Managers: Fabian Gonzalez (El Nido), Dixie Colas (Washington) and John Barrios (Raymond), joined recently by Brian Woodruff (Fair Oaks) who was hired to replace the beloved James Martin. Each spoke articulately and passionately about the Mission of Jubilee and then introduced a current resident. One could not help but be impressed with the message the Managers and Josh, James and Sara delivered -- Community is everything, a place to return to which is welcoming and provides a safe place to discuss and process how their Journeys are progressing. Josh, James and Sara each stated that they would be homeless without the affordable housing provided by Jubilee Housing.
A NEW BANNER -- For the first time since 2003 Jubilee Housing now has its own Banner, and it is a thing of beauty. Created by Kathy Benno, a former parishioner and supporter of Deacon Bill's Ministry, it boldly portrays three Angels in Red, Blue and Black with symbols on their chests denoting Faith, Hope and Love set on a white background. I have felt for some time that it would be special for each Ministry at COS to have its own banner to accompany our magnificent COS Banner in future processions. This is a fabulous start!!!
"COS" EPISCOPALIANS IN THE NEWS -- While I sit in my La-Z-Boy chair most days, The Rev Canon Fuad Dagher, Rector of our Sister Parish in the Galilee, and the The Rev. Sarah Belknap, a former Associate Priest at COS, and her husband The Rev. Chas Belknap are working to change the world.
As I have written previously, Fr. Fuad is now known within the Anglican Communion as The Rev. Canon Fuad Dagher. Last Sunday Bishop Suheil Dawani of the Diocese of Jerusalem officially installed Fr. Fuad as Residentiary Canon of St. George's Cathedral for "Reconciliation, with a particular brief to work for reconciliation for the peoples of our Diocese, finding ways of harmonies between those of different denomination, faith and culture".
We can testify first hand that this recognition is not only well deserved but a "no brainer". This man is second to none in his non-stop, 24/7 work within Shefa 'Amr, a town of 40,000 Israeli citizens, in nurturing ecumenical, inter-faith and sectarian-secular dialogue. Those of you who have made Pllgrimage and have visited St. Paul's know of his relationships with the Druze community and with the Melkite, Catholic and Orthodox priests as well as his work with the Palestinian Muslim leadership of the city. By the way, nothing symbolizes more this commitment than the completion of the Episcopal Cultural Center which serves as a gathering place in the center of the city for ALL. In his "spare" time he has been accepted by the University of Haifa in their Masters Program in Inter-Faith Relations, a major accomplishment because there are very few non-Jewish students.
On November 3, responding to both the Executive Council of The Episcopal Church AND The Rev. John Floberg, supervising priest of the Episcopal Churches on the North Dakota side of the Standing Rock Sioux Nation, Sarah and Chas Belknap on Nov. 3 will be "standing in solidarity and witness with those protecting the tribe's land and water supply". The Belknaps had spent time visiting the Standing Rock protest camps a month or so ago on their way home from a family vacation in Illinois and were obviously impacted. Now, as retired Episcopal priests, they are going back to stand in solidarity. This is a significant Episcopal statement as evidenced by the fact that Fr. Floberg delivered a tattered Episcopal flag to TEC Executive Council and noted that out of the 300 tribal, national and other flags flying at Standing Rock, this was the only one from a Christian denomination.
For you newer parishioners, both Belknaps played significant roles in the life of COS 15 or so years ago. Rev. Sarah was responsible for the forming of a Stephen Ministry Group which thrived until her departure. Actually, her departure was a joyful thing because she one of the early female priests to be called to be a Rector. I remember well her going away party when we presented her with a beautiful cope, and she announced that she would wear it proudly until her retirement. Then, she would pass it on to another woman priest.
Other than being Sarah's husband, Fr. Chas also served within the Diocese as a specialist in securing affordable housing for low income people. With that background, the Rev, Canon Denis O'Pray asked him to consult on the acquisition of the Bill Doulos's Transitional Housing homes. His insights were invaluable, particuarly when he jotted down some numbers relating to the cost per bed of replicating what Bill was bringing to COS. Not only could we never afford to replace them, Fr. Chas also noted the Not In My Neighborhood voices would prevent a similar use.
FYI, the pipeline originally was supposed to run north of the Standing Rock Reservation upriver of Bismarck, the capital of North Dakota. It was relocated approximately 100 miles to the south after the 90% white community objected to the risks it posed to its drinking water.
"DREAM IT, DO IT: HELP UNLOCK THE POTENTIAL OF OUR YOUTH" -- Speaking of folks who continue to work to make the world a better place, we really don't have to leave the gates of 535 West Roses Road to find many others dong great work. Friday night, October 28, the Asian Youth Center of San Gabriel celebrated its 27th Anniversary and recognized among others Supervisor Hilda Solis, the Southern California Gas Co. and long time Board Member Sally Baldwin who received the President's Recognition Award.
"Over the years, Sally Baldwin has been deeply involved in and committed to volunteer work in the community. She served on the Board of Directors of the Asian Youth Center for more than 20 years, as president and in other officer positions, and is now a member of the Advisory Board..." The Award went on to acknowledge the many other contributions she has made in San Gabriel, noting particularly what she does a member of COS. After listing all of her accomplishments, the Award concluded by noting that she has been honored as Woman of the Year, by Congressman Adam Schiff in 2003 and Assemblyman EdChau in 2016. This lady never stops giving of herself to help others!!!
THE PIPELINE IS FULL -- THE Church of Our Saviour continues to produce a steady supply of people for Ordination. Fr. Gary announced Sunday that Junior Warden (Mandarin) Katherine Feng would be participating in interviews in front of the Bishop's Commission on Ministry (BCOM) this coming weekend. I understand this is very intense, and Fr, Gary asks everyone to keep Katherine in your prayers.
BRING A YOUNG PERSON TO HEAR FR. GREG BOYLE -- PRISM Restorative Justice is celebrating its 10th Anniversary next Saturday, Nov. 5, at COS. We are taking one of our granddaughters who has been to Homegirl Cafe and has read Fr. Boyle's book "Tatoos On the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion". She was deeply moved by it and is looking forward to hearing him speak in person. Join us with some young person you know. You will be introducing that person to a Living Saint.