THE BEACON: "Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works,,." Matthew 5:16

"This is the Lord's Table and ALL are Welcome!" Fr. Gary 2017

Give Me A "L"!: Give Me An "I"!: Give Me A "G" - "H" - "T"! What Do They Spell? "LIGHT" -- There was a lot of referencing to SALT and LIGHT during the 10:00 Service. Fortunately, the primary focus was on the latter, or this column would be called THE SALT SHAKER, which would be bothersome for me since I am on a 'low sodium' diet. But, I digress. Sunday really was a day when LIGHT was the 'star', discussed first by Matthew in the Holy Gospel 5:13-20 and then by Fr. Gary in his Sermon. HOWEVER, for me (and not because I was mentioned) it was Evie Escatiola's Statement which she wrote for last week's COS E-News and was included in its entirety in Fr. Gary's Sermon. 

A few excerpts: "We need to be the light, and it must start with me and each of us who is a follower of Jesus." "I must be Jesus' light in the world." "I look at our COS community and see so many examples of being the light!" "We spread God's light in the world." "We are the light."

You must read her entire "Praying Towards Sunday" Statement so go to the E-News, NOW!!!

FYI, COS is so blessed to have Evie Escatiola not only as a parishioner but also as the Director of A Child's Garden School.      

2, 4, 6, 8 Whom Do We Appreciate?! THE ALTAR GUILD! THE ALTAR GUILD! THE ALTAR GUILD! YEAH!!! -- Do you know what a "heart & soul" looks like? You do if you were at the 10:00 Service and saw the members of the Altar Guild whom Fr. Gary commissioned as officers and chairwomen into the ministry with the following words: "Your service as Altar Guild members gives you special privilege and responsibility to approach the Altar in awe and with deep reverence, to handle holy vessels, linens, and vestments. Yours is a ministry requiring faithfulness and devotion. As such, you are encouraged to begin and end your work at the Altar with prayer."  

Standing before the congregation were 12 "hearts & souls" who were presented by Directress Debbie Andersen: Juli Kennedy (Assistant Directress), Sharon Crandall (Treasurer), Anne Peplow (Recording Secretary), Patricia Beith (Linens), Harriette Nagata (Candles, Brass & Silver), Cheryl Townsend & Juli Kennedy (Flowers), Henrietta Ma (Hospitality), Lynda Canzoneri (Supplies). Betsy Hoover (Memorials) and Susan Williams (Training) were not present but Nancy Balance, Kim Sirean and Roberta Marshall were. THANK YOU, ALL, and also those who attend the Early Service whose names I do not have.   

SOME HISTORY FOR THOSE OF YOU NEW TO COS -- In 2004 the theme for Lent was Journey To Jerusalem: Then & Now. This opened the door to many relationships with the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem, and we were introduced to many wonderful Palestinian Christians living in Israel and the West Bank. Among them was The Rev. Canon Naim Ateek, the founder of the Sabeel Liberation Theology Center in Jerusalem, and this resulted in us meeting Sari and Tanory Ateek who were studying at Fuller Theological Seminary. They soon became members of COS, and eventually we sponsored Sari in the ordination process. During this time frame Rev. Naim and his wife Maha were invited to stay for six months in the nearest of the two houses now occupied by the Community of Divine Love while he edited his internationally recognized "A Palestinian Christian Cry for Reconciliation". In fact, COS and The Rev. Canon Denis O'Pray are recognized and thanked in the Acknowledgements by Ateek.

Sari was ordained in June 2006 under the banner of THE Church of Our Saviour and then served for several years at St. James South Pasadena before being called to his current position in Maryland. He is rapidly establishing a presence in the Diocese of Washington DC, as exemplified by his statement and recommended course of action stated below. 

"TO A LOCAL MOSQUE" By The Rev. Sari Ateek, Rector of St. John's Chevy Chase & Bethesda, MD --

This past November, a local parish that houses a large Latino community had its welcome sign defaced with words "Trump Nation --

Whites Only". In response, hundreds of card and letters of support and encouragement came from a local mosque which had organized a 'notes and cards' campaign to help remind their Christian brothers and sisters that we are all in this together.

The rector of that Episcopal church addressed our Diocesan Convention this past weekend, relaying the profound impact that these notes and cards of support had on his congregation in a time of distress.

I believe that our Muslim brothers and sisters have modeled for us in a beautiful and powerful way how we, as a community of faith, can respond when other neighboring communities of faith are going through times of adversity.

In light of recent trends in our nation that have given rise to feelings of isolation and fear among many Muslims, I would like to organize a similar 'notes and cards' writing campaign from our congregation as an expression of support and encouragement to our Muslim brothers and sisters.

This coming Sunday I hope to collect as many notes, cards, and letters from you as we can possibly muster. Old and young, readers and pre-readers alike...a letter from each individual in your family. Children in their church school classes will be writing letters, and all can use words, pictures, colors and any other means of expression. My hope is to send an overwhelming message of love through hundreds of cards.

A basket will be set up to collect your cards. A table will also be set-up in the lobby with cards, pens and colors should you choose to write one then. These will then be delivered...with the following cover letter:

 

Our dear brothers and sisters
Grace and Peace to you.

This letter comes to your community from the parishioners of St. John's Episcopal Church in Chevy Chase, MD -- a Christian community that believes in the abundant and inclusive love of God.

Our community has been deeply distressed at the divisions that are being sown in our nation...and we are especially alarmed at the inhospitable messages and actions that are being directed toward the Muslim community.
We would like to offer our love and support to you in any way we can.
These notes of support come from all of us and express our heartfelt desire for you to continue to thrive in our community.
We will be in touch about specific ways we can work together to combat this disturbing trend.
In Love and Faith,
The People of St. John's Episcopal Church

FYI, OUR nearest neighboring mosque is MASJID GIBRAEL (est. 1987), 1301 E. Las Tunas, San Gabriel 91776. Their e-mail address is masjidgibrael1301@gmail.com. 

TAIZE SERVICE ON THE FIRST FRIDAY OF FEBRUARY -- In the spirit of the day, the Taize Service was dedicated to all immigrants and refugees seeking sanctuary and a better life. 

5% VS. 25%: 6.5% VS. 40.2%: 1 IN 17 VS. 1 IN 1 --These numbers speak volumes about our Prison System if you know what they relate to. 1) The U.S. has 5% of the world's population BUT 25%(!) of those incarcerated in jails and prisons. 2) African Americans make up 6.5% of our population BUT 40.2%(!) of those in prison. 3) 1 in 17 white American males will go to jail at some point BUT 1 in 3 black males will go to jail.

Regardless of where you stand along the political spectrum, the above facts are facts; there are no alternative facts. With these numbers on their hearts, Br. Dennis Gibbs, Sr. Greta Ronningen and Sr. MJ Johnston have developed a multi-faceted program to elevate the visibility of three issues in the public discussion. 1) Why do we imprison so many more people in this country than anywhere else in the world? 2) Why are those people so disproportionately people of color? 3) What role does the privatization of prisons play in making incarceration a growth industry?  

The first offering was a viewing the documentary "The 13th". Last Thursday they hosted the first of six sessions in Allan Hall to discuss Michelle Alexander's "The New Jim Crow". This is important information which challenges the understanding of many people that "all people are created equal...this is the land of opportunity...slavery is dead...the private sector can do everything better". Some of these topics were discussed at Sunday's Forum, but the surface was only scratched. You have five more Thursday nights (from 6:30 to 8:15) to have your eyes opened WIDE!!!       

SAINTS AMONG US (A CONTINUING EXPOSE) -- Frequently positioned in the Telleen Family Court Yard between Cleaver and Allan Halls after the 8:00 Service are Joanna and Gary Kinsley. There you find another great example of how to contribute tot he betterment of parish life utilizing your unique gifts. In the Kinsley's case they continue to gather used books from wherever they can and offer them for sale to benefit Canon Phil Smith's Music of the Season Program. There are many ways to make a difference , and we lovers of music THANK YOU, JOANNA and GARY.

BLESSED ARE WE WHO HAVE CANON PHIL SMITH AND THE OUR SAVIOUR CHOIR TO ENHANCE OUR SPIRITUAL JOURNEYS!

A SUPER NON-ALCOHOLIC BOWL PARTY -- Yet again Deacon Bill Doulos hosted another highly Super Bowl Party. Here is his report: "The residents and alumni of the Church's four sober living homes, Jubilee Homes, gathered on Sunday for Jubilee's 12th Annual Super Bowl Party. The raucous crowd of about 75 people consumed 20 pizzas and assorted salads and desserts while watching the game projected onto the big screen in Allan Hall, Josh from the El Nido House won half the money jar by correctly answering in advance 8 of 10 questions about the game, and Mayson from the Raymond House won the other half by guessing within $2 the amount of money in the jar: $162.28 in coins! And 26 participants won free of charge 26 raffle prizes contributed by members of the Parish -- ranging from a Burberry raincoat to a home popcorn popper. A good time was had by all (except for some disappointed Falcon fans)!    

REID ALLEN + SUE SMOCK = THE PEANUT MAN + THE HUMANE SOCIETY PRESIDENT + THE FLOAT MAKER -- What do you get when you combine a person with an enormous number of friends and contacts with a person who uses the telephone as an attack instrument? You get a Team which has brought two highly entertaining speakers to SAGES LUNCH MEETINGS in the past and now has booked another outstanding program for February. This time, on Thursday, the 16th, Reid and Sue have lined up Rachel Lofthouse. She is the 21 year old daughter of Chris Lofthouse, the patriarch of the Lofthouse Clan which is responsible for designing 18 to 20 floats for the Rose Parade every year. As of this year Rachel is designing floats on her own, including Reid's beloved Kiwanis Club which is how he met her. Her Topic: Behind the Scenes at the Rose Parade.  

OUR PALESTINIAN, CHRISTIAN, ISRAELI GOD DAUGHTER ON FACEBOOK -- We are blessed to be God Parents of Reggina Dagher, the daughter of The Rev. Canon Fuad & Han'a Dagher. It seems like only yesterday that we were in Shefa'Amr at St. Paul's, our Sister Parish, for her baptism. But, it actually was 2005, and she has grown into a beautiful young woman. Proof of this can be found on Fr. Fuad's Facebook page where he posted 5 1/2 minutes of Reggina playing a solo piano recital. We are so proud!!!  

GO FIGURE: SUPREME COURT JUSTICE NOMINEE JUDGE NEIL GORSUCH IS AN EPISCOPALIAN!!!-- If he is confirmed, he would be the only Protestant on the Supreme Court. FYI, he currently is an usher at St. John's Episcopal Church in Boulder, CO.

AS OF FEBRUARY 7, DICK BIERSCH IS 89!!!   

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