THE BEACON: Celebrating Our Past 150 Years...And Igniting The Future"This is the Lord's Table, it's closer than ever and ALL are Welcome!"
THANK YOU, JULI & SCOTT KENNEDY FOR PROVIDING US WITH ANOTHER WONDERFUL EXAMPLE OF THE MEANING OF COMMUNITY! -- Juli Kennedy has been lifting her voice in song at THE Church of Our Saviour for fifty years(!), first entering the ranks of a Youth Choir when she was ten years old. So, what better way to celebrate her 60th Birthday than with a Concert as part of Canon Phil Smith's "Music For A Season" Program Sunday afternoon? And what a special Concert it was!
A Choir of 30 voices joined the Oakwood Brass and a timpanist and three outstanding organists who took turns directing and playing for offerings from "Hallelujah Chorus" to the meditational "Ubi Cantas Et Amor, Deus Ibi Est" (Where Charity And Love Are, God Is There). God WAS there when Fr. Gary blessed Juli and thanked God for her gifts and her generosity. Generosity, indeed! Instead of receiving birthday gifts, Juli PROVIDED gifts of food and music for all of us to enjoy. The other two organists, in addition to Phil Smith, were former Choir Director James Person and Tim Howard.
Following the Concert, about 80 members of the congregation plus 40 musicians filled 14 tables in Cleaver Hall to enjoy a meal catered by the folks from Harambee Center's PUSH Catering Ministry. Juli had enough wind left over from singing to blow out six candles, one for each decade of her life and witness.
This musical treat was a wonderful beginning to our 150th Anniversary Year, to the "Music For The Season" Program for 2016-2017, and to Juli's seventh decade of service to her Church. Actually, the word "indefatigable" is appropriate here since Juli not only sings in the Choir but also serves on the Altar Guild, serves as a Mentor in the Education For Ministry Program and is the Senior Warden of the parish.
I'VE GOT PEOPLE -- I rely every week on a number of parishioners to provide input. either voluntarily or involuntarily, about what's going on at COS, but none is more informative than my Renaissance Friend Deacon Bill Doulos. Because I was incapacitated Sunday, he stepped in and wrote the above summary of Juli's Birthday. Thank You, Bill!
GO AND SERVE -- I was moved by Rev. Ada's Sermon last Sunday in which she explained what motivated her to leave her comfort zone in So Cal and answer the call to try to assist in the advancement of the visibility of the Li Tim-Oi Center within the national church. What also moved me was the fact that Rev. Ada is not the only example of this church sending a member of our clergy out into the greater church. Since we have been parishioners, the list includes the following: Jim Clark, Peter Rood, Sarah Belknap, Catherine Gregg, Denis O'Pray, Troy Mendez, Michael Battle, and Won-Jae Hur. This does not even address the number of parishioners who have been or are being sponsored in the ordination process by COS. The bottom line is that this parish probably is second to none in the Diocese of Los Angeles in contributing men and women to serve as priests in The Episcopal Church,
A LIFE CHANGING OPPORTUNITY FOR THE 13 TO 18 YEAR OLD IN YOUR LIFE -- In conjunction with Bishop Bruno's sponsorship of the Companion Relationship between the Dioceses of Los Angeles and Jerusalem in 2004, he and Mary Bruno formed the Hands in Healing Ministry. Under this ministry, diocesan staff member Chris Tumilty developed a Pilgrimage opportunity for the young parishioners of the diocese to Journey to the Holy Land. To date, he has organized and guided at least four groups; and as he expressed Sunday at the Forum, this has been life changing for him and the young Pilgrims. This certainly was the case for Sue and me when we first started making Pilgrimage in our 60's, but we have always commented about how much we regret having not been able to visit the Holy Land when we were much younger. If you are blessed to have a young person in your life, you really should contact Gabe Vazquez-Reyes and obtain details about the next Youth Pilgrimage.
SHOULD WE BE DISCUSSING REDEFINING WHO THE "LEAST" ARE? -- After reading Fr. Gary's Sermon entitled "An Inescapable Network of Mutuality", I was struck by two things. As the Sermon's title states, we're all on this Journey together, and one of the biggest challenges is to bridge "a big chasm, a giant ditch, that separates the rich from the poor. Our calling is to strengthen the connections between the rich and the poor while there is yet time." Then, Fr. Gary listed five meaningful examples of how THE Church of Our Saviour's Outreach Ministries are responding to this call: The OSC Food Bank - PRISM Restorative Justice - Transitional Housing - The Dorris Dann Kid's Campus - The Cleaver Wellness Clinic!!! As I have noted time and time again, I know of no other parish in the diocese which is committing so many resources to assist the "LEAST AMONG US". "(You) are to be rich in good works, generous and ready to share, so that (you) may take hold of the life that really is life."
Well and good, but I am beginning to believe that we mainstream churches have too narrow a definition of who the "LEAST" are. In 2016 it is not just the hungry, the prisoners, the addicted, the disadvantaged young or the poor without health care. Based on this year's election rhetoric, the number of people in this country who feel left out or ignored or overwhelmed is substantially greater than just those whom we normally identify as the LEAST. Perhaps this why is the church is not overflowing on Sundays to hear the great Sermons. Perhaps we are so focused on one group that we are not addressing the needs of most people in the greater community. We are not addressing issues which are RELEVANT to people just trying to cope with the challenges of daily life. Further evidence that this may be true is supported by the huge growth of the evangelical churches. As I understand the appeal, personal salvation trumps outreach, at least in the early stages of the planting of a new church. We may want to frame this discussion within the context of The Rev. Canon Denis O'Pray's concept that the health of anything - individual, family, church - begins at the center. If the center is healthy, then move out to the next "ring" and then the next. The question -- Are we committing enough resources to guaranteeing the health of our center within the gates of 535 West Roses Road while also caring for the LEAST AMONG US?