THE BEACON: CELEBRATING WHO WE ARE IN OUR 150TH YEAR
By Sandy Smock
"This is the Lord's Table and ALL are Welcome!"
LEST THERE BE ANY DOUBT: FR. GARY BRADLEY MEANS WHAT HE SAYS -- Over the last several weeks we have attended two Memorial Services officiated by Fr. Gary, and we have been so impressed with the manner in which he has invited the many guests to participate in the Communion. Each time he has explained in informative, loving terms the importance of the Communion to the deceased while in no way pressuring any one. However, he make it very clear that no one will be turned away. All are Welcome, Indeed! Roy Worell Stevens appreciated what THE Church of Our Saviour is and that is why he returned to San Gabriel from Colorado to be with us in the Messler Columbarium.
AN OLDIE BUT A GOODIE!!! -- Roy Stevens was a Rite 1 Man so his Service included two wonderful Hymns which you don't hear much in Episcopal churches these days. One was "Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus", but the one which really struck us was "Onward Christian Soldiers", particularly because it was preceded by the following write-up:
"As we sing the following hymn at the request of a dear and longtime friend, note the following -- 'Onward Christian Soldier' has been removed from our Hymnal 1982 and from that of most churches because so often people fail to understand that we pray about an army that marshals no troops but the non-violent saints, bears no arms but the force of the Spirit, makes no advance except that of love. So, as we sing 'marching as to war', we refer to our striving to renounce 'all the spiritual forces of wickedness that rebel against God' as expressed in our Baptismal Covenant."
Why even comment on this? Because I think sometimes we are inclined to sacrifice "oldies but goodies" too quickly without considering interpretations like the one above. Thankfully, one of Roy's friends felt the same way. We stood up for Jesus as his Christian soldiers.
SPEAKING OF OLDIES BUT GOODIES, KNBC'S OWN FRITZ COLEMAN WILL ADDRESS AGING AT THE SAGE'S MEETING ON THURSDAY, MAY 19 @ 12:30 -- The title of his presentation will be "Getting Old Isn't Pretty, But It Can Be Pretty Funny!" Access to Fritz was made possible by our own Reid Allen who seems to know almost everyone in So Cal! Interest in attending is building earlier than usual so your RSVPs to Sue Smock are particuarly important this time around. FYI, several parishioners are taking this opportunity to invite friends to come and experience COS; why don't you?
COS MOTHERS ARE LUCKY -- Why? Because they, and we, have Jane Fall and a Men's Guild guided by Michael Watkins. Jane was the Organizer and Michael the Executor. Michael has steadfastly stayed the course; and Sunday he and his Team, consisting of Basil Johnson, Tom Lenzo, Gabe Vazquez-Reyes, Manuel Cabrales, David Coleman, David Arnt, Kevin Cross and Michael's partner (and honorary Men's Guild member) Karen Streeter, provided a wonderful breakfast between the two Services. All in attendance were most appreciative; and on their behalf, I thank them all.
SEARCHING FOR "THE TREASURES OF COS": NO STINKIN' BADGES REQUIRED! -- Thursday morning six Treasure Hunters gathered upstairs in Allan Hall to begin a search of THE Church of Our Saviour's Archives for historical memorabilia. The Search Team consisted Charlotte Van Fleet, Roger Cairns-Berteau, Mark (of Mark & Linda) Goluskin, and the Smocks. Tom Lenzo and Linda Goluskin, our other Volunteer Archivists, have 'day jobs' and could not join us. However, the Lead Sherpa at the Base Camp was David Arnt which was inevitable because the rest of us probably had 20 years on him, and the work was hard, hard, hard! The records were jammed into the back of a closet upstairs, and David was on his hands and knees as he pried out one box or picture after another.
What did we find? Well, this is still to be determined, but it was not as much as we might have expected. I think 25 years ago the folks who celebrated that Anniversary did a pretty good job of consolidating and publishing much of what had been accumulated. I can report that we have some wonderful historical write-ups, some interesting pictures of General George Patton and a poster listing all of parishioners by Service who served in WWII. More will be revealed later, but in the meantime we older historians thank David Arnt profusely for making us look good.
THE CHOIR MEMBERS LOVE TO SING: THANKS BE TO GOD -- Within 96 hours last week between Sunday afternoon and Thursday night, Your Choir delivered the two closing performances of Canon Phil Smith's Music for a Season 2015 - 2016. I was unable to attend the first one, but I heard from various Choir Members and parishioners that it was sensational, with 30 choristers performing. Then, on Ascension Day evening, the Choir was at it again, and we can attest personally to just how sensational they were. Not being able to sing a note, I have no idea how taxing, how much energy it must take to perform at the level that our people do, All I can do is to thank them PROFUSELY on your behalf. In addition, I can urge you all to support next year's Program, both financially and with your attendance. A 'gift' of this magnitude deserves our support and encouragement across the board.
FATHER (RUSS), SON (DAVID) & CHRIS CASE: COS'S VERSION OF THE HOLY TRINITY -- As great as the Ascension Day Solemn Choral Eucharist: Rite Two was, we also were moved by our the Case Family Gift to the Service. Russ was the Usher and Chris and David served as Acolytes. Just before Eucharist, we had this wonderful view of the three of them standing at the first steps before the Choir, David and Chris on either side of the steps and Russ facing the Altar ready to direct the attendees to the Alter Rail for Communion. The smiles on their three faces were priceless, a vision of love, joy and family!!! Community really doesn't get much better than that.
DYNAMIC DUO # 1: LOVEY SHERMAN & HENRIETTA MA AND DYNAMIC DUO # 2: JULI KENNEDY & SHARON CRANDALL -- Frequently I experience this surge of pride and realize how blessed Sue and I are to have found THE Church of Our Saviour. The Case Family triggered such a response last Thursday, but so did watching Lovey and Henrietta serve the Reception for the Choir after the Ascension Choral Eucharist AND Juli and Sharon volunteering their time on Saturday afternoon to serve at Roy Steven's Service. As with the Case's, this is what Community is all about, and all four women are terrific examples of how parishioners contribute to the vitality of the COS Journey and why COS is about to celebrate 150 years at 535 West Roses Road. For those of you thinking about how you also might contribute to the COS Journey, consider getting involved like the above Dynamic Duos.
MUSIC DURING COMMUNION: WE ARE ALL ANGELS, WORDS & MUSIC BY PHIL GOLD, 2015 -- In case you have not been paying attention, this place is chock full of talented and interesting people. Another Example: So, I'm sitting in my usual place waiting for Sally Baldwin to allow me to move up to take Communion. I look up and right in front of me are Taylor Vazquez-Reyes, Colleen Gold and Addie Voris preparing to sing "We Are All Angels", BY Phil Gold?!!! According to the Bulletin Phil was inspired by a quote by Lucian de Crescenzo: "We are each of us angels with one wing. We can only fly embracing each other." The Notes stated that he wrote this for the Children's Ministry of Taylor Vazquez-Reyes. This also could be THE Church of Our Saviour's 'Theme Song" for 2017. Well done, Phil AND Taylor AND Colleen AND Addis. Carrie Voris, a Dynamic Uno, videoed the performance, and it can be seen on her and Phil Gold's Facebook pages.
42 WINDOWS -- Sitting in a different location for Roy Stevens' Service, I noted that the Stained Glass Window I was looking at is under the Perpetual Care of Mary Jean Wilson. Mary Jean can no longer attend Church, but she is present in perpertuity on the east side of the Nave; and I will remember her every time I pass by her favorite pew.
By the way, one of the many great assets this parish has been blessed with over its 150 years is a most beautiful collection of 42 Historic Stained Glass Windows second to none in Southern California. And, in this 150th year we are equally blessed with the presence of Betty Duker who knows more about our Windows than anyone, anywhere and who has graciously and enthusiastically volunteered to lead Tours of our Windows during the upcoming celebration of our Anniversary Year. In the meantime, go take a look at our gorgeous Windows and perhaps decide to follow Mary Jean's lead and commit to provide Perpetual Care for one of them.
STEWARDSHIP & STORAGE UNITS: THE SUBLIME & THE RIDICULOUS -- Recently Fr. Gary announced that he was assuming the responsibility of Stewardship Chairman now that Ben Harrington has stepped down. First of all, every single parishioner. past and present, should personally thank Ben (and Flo) for their dedicated service to this parish over the years. Ben has been truly incredible in his devotion to THE Church of Our Saviour.
Going forward, Fr. Gary's first act as the "new Ben" was a Pentecost Sunday Appeal Letter. As he notes, this is the "Third Big Day" of the Christian tradition after Christmas and Easter. Although the Balance Sheet of COS continues to improve substantially, cash flow is always challenging, particularly given the high level of Ministries our parish chooses to offer. As a member of the Vestry, I urge you to consider adding incrementally to your pledge in response to Fr. Gary's "ask".
At this point you're probably asking what Storage Units have to do with Stewardship? Some time ago I remember Fr. Gary giving a Sermon, during the Stewardship Season I believe, addressing the incredible growth in hoarding of stuff by Americans. In fact, I think he said there were NO STORAGE UNITS in 1960, and now there were over 6 BILLION!!! 6,000,000,000 holding STUFF! I can't speak for you all, but Sue and I rent one of these, and we have for 4 1/2 years, paying $165 per month. Worst still, we have visited the Unit ONCE over this time. My point -- Were we not so committed to "saving" stuff which we don't even know we have, we would have at least $1,980 more to consider giving to COS instead of Public Storage shareholders.