THE BEACON: THE CHURCH OF OUR SAVIOUR IS THE LIGHT OF THE WEST SAN GABRIEL VALLEY TO WHICH IT IS COMMITTED TO SHARING ITS TIME, TALENT AND TREASURES
"IF NOT US, WHO?" THE REV. CANON DENIS O'PRAY 2017

THE BEST WEEKEND EVER(!!!) AT COS, BUT FIRST... One of the many things we learned from Fr. Denis during his 17 years at COS is that never, ever should the preacher ignore a domestic event which weighs heavily on the hearts of the people in the pews. Monday morning I woke up more excited than ever to be having the privilege to share with you what we had experienced at COS Saturday and Sunday. My excitement was immediately dashed by the news that 59 people had been killed overnight in Las Vegas and over 500 injured -- by an insane human being apparently firing machine guns. 

Now begins the hand wringing by the anti-gun people and the inevitable push back from the NRA. The most rational statement I initially heard came from Tom Brokaw, a Montanan and the owner of many guns, who said simply "We must sit down and rationally begin to discuss this obsession with guns we Americans have. No other country in the western world experiences this kind of tragedy so frequently." I could not agree more, AND his suggestion compliments perfectly what Br. Denis Gibbs, Sr. Greta Ronningen and Sr. MJ Johnston are trying to accomplish with their first Sacred Journey offering of the new church year discussing racism in America. More about this below, but right now I know our focus and prayers are with our sisters and brothers who lost their lives or were among the injured in Las Vegas. GOD BLESS THEM, ALL.

24 HOURS!!! THE MOST AMAZING PERIOD OF TIME WE HAVE EVER EXPERIENCED WITHIN THE GATES OF 535 WEST ROSES ROAD -- I suspect some of you are going to think "There he goes again, COS's foremost practitioner of hyperbole." Actually, I think there's a thin line between hyperbole and genuine, over the top enthusiasm; but as far as I'm concerned, either is better than an underwhelming response or silence. This was the basis of Fr. Gary's willingness to allow me to write THE BEACON. He chose that title because he envisioned that the column would shine a light on what we both agree is a parish of incredible but under reported activities and people. FYI, whether what you are about to read or not may depend on whether you were at these events. Three were open to all; your decision not to attend was yours so you are going to have to trust me! My challenge this week is to NOT UNDER SELL WHAT WE EXPERIENCED!!!

5:00PM SATURDAY AFTERNOON OUR SAVIOUR CENTER PRESENTED A FUNDRAISER THEY BILLED AS "A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC" IN THE TELLEEN FAMILY COURTYARD -- Coming around the corner from the west parking lot, we were greeted by wonderful music and a crowded courtyard. Executive Director Jane Fall, her Staff and the dedicated Advisory Board had put together an outstanding, fast paced program which Jane orchestrated like Gustav Dudamel. Right on schedule we all were called into Cleaver Hall which was jammed with colorfully decorated tables. That notwithstanding, it was difficult to find a place to sit; the hall was full. Fortunately for us, Community Board Member Jeff & Suzanne Seymour had space at their Reserved Table. FYI, Jeff continues to be an invaluable contributor to success of OSC. As Superintendent Emeritus of the El Monte Unified School District, he knows EVERY ONE in the city and beyond and is held in such esteem that the City took one of its closed grammar schools and renamed it the Jeff Seymour Family Center. Because of his contributions, he was named to the Board of the Cleaver Clinic and he brought as guests three senior nurses from the District. 

As noted, Jane is incredibly talented in getting things done, and this was obvious yet again as she assumed the role of MC. Monte Hall could not have run the Live and Silent Auctions more efficiently. In fact, when I saw the number of auction items lined up along both sides of the Hall, I thought we might be there until 11:00! Not on her watch! I don't know how much was raised, but Sue and I believe that this could be the beginning of a whole new chapter in fundraising by OSC. CONGRATULATIONS TO JANE AND EVERYONE WHO WORKED SO HARD TO MAKE THIS HAPPEN.

THE FORUM: SPONSORED BY THE SACRED JOURNEY MINISTRY "America's Original Sin -- Racism, White Privilege, and the Bridge to a New America" by Jim Wallis -- If there is anyone in this parish who is better qualified to introduce this topic than the Monks of the PRISM RESTORATIVE JUSTICE MINISTRY, I do not know who that might be. Why? some might ask. Because the Monks' "day job" is calling upon people in the jails of Los Angeles County, and they will attest to a heavily disproportionate number of people of color. To them "racism is alive and well", and what is needed is for people to come together to begin discussing civilly race relations in 2017. The Monks provided that intial opportunity Sunday, and they obviously hope this is just the beginning, no matter what your view. To this end, everyone is invited to join the on-going book study of Wallis' on Thursday nights in Allan Hall from 6:40 to 8:00. Br. Dennis guarantees that each session is a free standing discussion. Not having attended previous ones is not necessary nor do you even have to have the current assignment to participate effectively.

AN EXPLORATION INTO HOW TO ESTABLISH IN PERPETUITY THE MINISTRY OF JUBILEE HOMES -- As The Episcopal Church continues to experience a decline in membership and parish budgets become more difficult to balance AND Pasadena gentrifies at an increasing rate, Deacon Bill Doulos has become concerned that there might come a time when the Vestry, the governing body of COS, might consider selling one or more the Jubilee properties. This concern had been brought up at recent Vestry Meeting, and a Resolution was approved forming a Committee to study ways to Safeguard the Legacy of Jubilee Homes. Six members of the Committee -- Fr. Gary, Will Dumain, Patrick Crandall, Deacon Bill and Sue and I --met on Sunday after church to begin the discussion, and it became evident that a number of questions are going to need to be answered. One thing that was unanimously agreed upon was that it is important that the homes and their 50 beds be dedicated to assisting people on their Journeys to Recovery, no matter what. Another point is that every effort must be made to assure that this Outreach Ministry remains under the control of COS. 

Patrick Crandall in particular thought that this is an appropriate time to develop a statement about COS's vision of the future Mission of Jubilee since the parish will soon be creating a Parish Profile which he would characterize casting in concrete our DNA. I like this concept, and I think we need to proceed with developing DNA's for every Outreach Ministry; and the sooner, the better. This led to an interesting discussion of exactly which Ministries are we talking about. There are the obvious ones which we celebrated a week ago, such as OSC, Jubilee Homes and the Li Tim-Oi Center, but where do A Child's Garden School, the Sister Parish Relationship in the Holy Land, the Community of Divine Love, and PRISM fit? I claim each of them as OURS, but each relationship is a little different and needs codifying, I think. As Patrick emphasized, this is why the Parish Profile will be so important.                 

A GATHERING TO SAY THANK YOU AND FAREWELL TO BISHOP JON & MARY BRUNO -- After the above meeting, Sue and I could truly say that THE Church of Our Saviour had provided us with joy, stimulation and hope. So, as far as we were concerned, the Farewell Gathering for the Brunos would just be a nice way to end the weekend. Boy, were we wrong!!! Although there are four such celebrations being held around the Diocese organized by the Diocese, this one was separately conceived and organized by Stillpoint, a ministry dedicated to fostering one-to-one spiritual direction which is one of the many, many groups Bishop Bruno embraced and supported over his 17 years. That this function was held at COS was a big deal and is the direct result of two relationships. First of all, Stillpoint and the Community of Divine Love continue to develop a close working relationship with our Campus serving as the meeting place for many of their organized offerings. And secondly, Fr. Gary and the Vestry have not only welcomed them but have made it financially feasible to consider COS their home base. Hence, this is why 70 to 80 people invited by Stillpoint gathered in our place to say Thank and Farewell to Jon & Mary Bruno.

Thanks to the invaluable assistance of Chris Case and the hard work of Stephen Faux, Cleaver Hall Middle and South were set up in a simple but elegant and intimate way which featured a candle lighted Altar where people could place things which represented their fondest memories of the Brunos. (Ours was a tile which commemorated the Pilgrimage they led in 2007.) The Program was designed and executed by The Rev. Elizabeth Rechter, Executive Director of Stillpoint and Canon Lydia Lopez, with an assist from Sue Smock.

The overall highlight of the evening was the enormous expression of love and respect which EVERYONE obviously had for the Brunos, but the lasting tribute which EVERYONE IN THE DIOCESE hopefully will experience sometime soon was the LITANY OF THANKSGIVING FOR BISHOP JON & MARY BRUNO. Prepared by Rev. Elizabeth from contributors from around the Diocese, the Litany recognized ALL OF THE MINISTRIES AND PROJECTS WHICH BISHOP BRUNO HAS INITIATED, utilizing the format of Matthew 25:

I WAS HUNGRY AND YOU GAVE ME FOOD
I WAS THIRSTY AND YOU GAVE ME SOMETHING TO DRINK
I WAS A STRANGER AND YOU WELCOMED ME
I WAS SICK AND YOU TOOK CARE OF ME
I WAS NAKED AND YOU GAVE ME CLOTHING
I WAS IN PRISON AND YOU VISITED ME

Throughout this lengthy recitation of Bishop Bruno's accomplishments, The Rev. Carrie Patterson Grindon accompanied by guitar, led everyone in quietly singing Abide in my love, Abide in my love. Tears flowed freely. It was a magnificently emotional experience we will never forget, and neither will the Brunos.

On a personal note, one of the Ministries acknowledged in the LITANY was We give thanks for his courageous work in the Middle East in partnership with the Cathedral of St. George. We would have been content with this recognition of his efforts to support our Episcopalian Sisters and Brothers in the Diocese of Jerusalem, but we were amazed and so gratified by the amount of time not only he but Bishop Coadjutor John Taylor gave to the importance of making Pilgrimage and how much this had changed the Trajectories of their respective Spiritual Journeys. Beginning in 2004 with the establishment of COS's Sister Parish Relationship with St. Paul's in the Galilee, THIS has been our objective. "GO AND SEE", and then you too will realize as Alan Weirick believed that When There Is Peace In Jerusalem, There Will Be Peace In The World!!!

THUS ENDED 24 OF THE BEST HOURS WE HAVE EVEN SPENT AT 535 WEST ROSE ROAD!!! IT'S GREAT TO BE AN EPISCOPALIAN AND A PARISHIONER IN A COMMUNITY WHICH IS DEDICATED TO DOING UNTO OTHERS...AND CARING FOR THE LEAST AMONG US! 

PILGRIMAGE IS A TWO WAY STREET: THE REV. CANON FUAD DAGHER MAKES PILGRIMAGE TO THE DIOCESE OF LOS ANGELES AND COS ON OCTOBER 8 -- In thinking about making Pilgrimage to the Holy Land and what these journeys have meant to Sue and me, I realized that Fr. Fuad is also is embarking on a Pilgrimage this week, and we have no doubts that he will be as impacted by his Pilgrimage to visit COS and the Bishops of the Diocese of Los Angeles as we have been by our visits to St. Paul's and the Archbishop of Jerusalem. For the record, here is his itinerary:

  • FRIDAY: Speaking at the weekly Meeting of the Interfaith Community United for Justice & Peace AND dinner with Fr. Gary & Peg Bradley
  • SATURDAY: Lunch with The Rev. Canon Denis O'Pray AND a meeting with The Rev. Canon Naim Ateek, Co-Founder of Sabeel Liberation Theology Center in Jerusalem, at a Conference at Pilgrim Place in Claremont where he is the featured speaker
  • SUNDAY: Preaching at both Services and conducting the Forum; meeting with Bishop Jon & Mary Bruno at the Cathedral Center; attending the Organ Recital of Jean-Baptiste Robin at Disney Hall; meeting with the artist and touring Hurricane Mama afterwards compliments of Canon Phil Smith
  • MONDAY: Meeting with Bishop Coadjutor John Taylor at the Huntington Library for lunch followed by a Tour of the gardens conducted by Sherm & Marge Telleen
  • TUESDAY: Interview with Gabe Vazquez and Carrie Voris for the COS Archive Project; Interview with The Rev. Canon Pat McCaughan for the Diocese of Los Angeles Episcopal News Update
  • WEDNESDAY: Meeting with The Rev. Pat O'Reilly and Troy Elder, Co-Chairs of the Program Group on Global Partnership at the Autry Museum, followed by a Tour of the current Exhibition LA RAZA by Canon Lydia Lopez.     

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