THE BEACON: CELEBRATING WHO WE ARE IN OUR 150TH YEAR

 "This is the Lord's Table and ALL are Welcome!"

 COS ESTABLISHED 1867: CITY OF SAN GABRIEL ESTABLISHED 1913: 1 + 1 = 3 !!! -- Years ago THE Church of Our Saviour was viewed by many, even within the Diocese of Los Angeles, as an independent, exclusive Episcopal Church occupying a beautiful Campus behind forbidding gates. In fact, some even suggested that we had an unlisted telephone number! Not any more. COS in 2016 is a vital and visible member of the City of San Gabriel; and as proof, Sally Baldwin has provided me with the following list of groups who make use of Cleaver Hall or Allan Hall:

    1) San Gabriel Historical Association Board of Directors -- Monthly

    2) San Gabriel Community Foundation -- Quarterly

    3) San Gabriel Valley Music Theatre -- As needed

    4) San Gabriel Education Foundation -- Just held Annual Meeting

Sally went on to state that "the outreach from COS into the community is becoming very well known...it is a wonderful way to promote our facility AND our church." In subsequent conversation she emphasized that Fr. Gary had been instrumental in encouraging this outreach.

LATE BREAKING INFORMATION -- While talking with the Baldwins about planning for the 150th Anniversary Celebration, they told us they already have been working on some ideas. In fact, Harry, the Treasurer of the San Gabriel Historical Society, told us they have booked Cleaver Hall for their April 2017 Annual Meeting.  Better yet, this meeting will include all of the historical societies in the West San Gabriel Valley AND the focus of the meeting will be on THE Church of Our Saviour!!!

PGYM -- I'll bet you don't know what these letters stand for. You should. They stand for the Diocese of Los Angeles' Program Group for Youth Ministry, and COS and Gabe Vazquez-Reyes hosted this group this weekend. Gabe reports that 17 young people attended, including Colleen Gold, Ava Slocum and Emma Voris from COS; but what was so unique, so inspiring, was what they did. Beginning after a big lunch on Friday, they arrived at Grace Chapel prepared to fast for 30 hours. "The experience of the Fast is to bring us closer to the experience of not just the homeless people, but people who are food insecure."

However, this was not the extent of the Fast. Beginning on April 14, Gabe established a GoFundMe page to raise $1,000. Remarkably, the site received $950 from 25 people around the Diocese, and this was delivered Saturday morning by the young people when they went to the Midnight Mission in downtown L.A. to assist in serving breakfast. Later in the day they also participated in working at the Food Pantry at the St. Francis Center in Atwater Village. Talking to Gabe Sunday morning, he expressed great pride and satisfaction with the success of the Fast and believes the Journeys of the young people were greatly impacted.

SAN GABRIEL VALLEY'S OWN MUSIC MAN -- I continue to be amazed by the number of talented people who are my fellow parishioners. Unfortunately, Episcopalians are a modest lot so information about their achievements often times is difficult to obtain.

A case in point: Were it not for a casual comment made at a Strategic Planning meeting, I would not have googled "Paul Kilian PCC" and found the following article: "Scholarship Launched For Retiring PCC Music Dean". The first paragraph says it all -- "The Pasadena City College Performing and Communications Arts Division has established a scholarship to honor retiring Dr. Paul Kilian, the division's dean and a fixture in the Pasadena City College music department for the last 30 years. The Dr. Paul Kilian Scholarship is being established on his behalf to award deserving future music majors at PCC." As far as I am concerned, what is neat is that the school is recognizing Paul while he is still around, AND he gets to select the award recipient each year. Congratulations. Dr. Paul.  

DEJA VU, ALL OVER AGAIN --  One of the Committees which has been established to work on the 150th Anniversary Celebration is charged with going through the large number of files scattered around the Campus to gather relevant documents and pictures. This weekend Sue and I came across an amazing 110 page publication entitled "The Parish Profile of the Church of Our Saviour". The date of the publication was February 1986, and it was commissioned for a Search Committee preparing for a Rector Search.

There is an incredible amount of information in the 110 pages, but one section really struck us -- the Parish Self-Survey and Rector Criteria Section. Guess what? The top ten concerns 30 years ago ARE THE SAME AS THEY ARE NOW! I kid you not. Which means what? Human nature is alive and well.

The cynic could respond to this by hunkering down and saying "what's the use? No matter how much we do, things stay the same." But, this is not necessarily true, particularly with regard to COS. As I perused the Survey, I was impressed by how much more this parish is doing in 2016 than it was in 1986, even with only half the number of parishioners.     

SPEAKING OF PLANNING FOR THE 150TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION OF THE CHURCH OF OUR SAVIOUR -- As time flies by, September 2016 is rapidly approaching when Our Saviour Sunday marks the beginning of the year long celebration of the history of this remarkable parish. So, where do we stand?

First, two realities: 1) There is no budget to fund any activity so self funding will be the order of the day, at least for now. 2) To date no one has stepped forward to volunteer to serve as Chairman of the Celebration. The fact is that almost every parishioner is very busy these days volunteering at COS or out in the Community. That said, there are many, many parishioners who are passionate about certain aspects or ministries within COS, and they are coming forward to volunteer to develop a specific project.

Name a few, you say? Well, Gayle McGregor contributed a number ideas AND a copy of the history of the Cemetery which closely parallels COS's beginning in 1874. Other ideas: 

San Gabriel Historical Society -- The Baldwins (See Above)

Stained Glass Windows Tours -- Betty Duker

Video Interviews of Long Time Parishioners -- Deacon Bill Doulos

Campus Docent Program -- Patti Beith

Celebration of Sister Parish Relationship -- The Smocks

Reunions of Various Church Groups -- Maurice Saldebar

Renewal of Marriage of Vows -- Juli Kennedy

Outreach Ministry Histories -- Provided by Each Outreach Chair

I have in front of me another 15 ideas parishioners have suggested and even have made tentative commitments to head up. Please consider volunteering to participate in one of the above projects, creating your own project or asking about what others are thinking. 

ONE HUNDRED AND FIFITY YEARS IS A LONG TIME, AND FEW INSTITUTIONS HAVE LASTED THAT LONG. NAME ANOTHER BESIDES THE SAN GABRIEL MISSION IN THE SAN GABRIEL VALLEY. WE NEED TO MAKE THIS A BIG, BIG DEAL BECAUSE IT IS!!! 

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