THE BEACON: Celebrating Kneeling In The Same Place For 150 Years!
"This is the Lord's Table and ALL are Welcome!" Fr. Gary 2017
WORDS TO LIVE BY -- I'm not sure how we found it, but in these days when the world seems to be invalidating everything we have believed, up popped Fr. Gary Bradley's Sermon delivered on the Fourth Sunday of Easter 2016!!!. His focus was the 23rd Psalm, and he entitled his Sermon "Life's Shadow Walk". Re-reading it, particularly in the context of 2017, reminded us of what a great preacher Fr. Gary is; and this, we believe, is one of his best efforts. I am not going to summarize everything he said that day; you are going to have to find the Sermon in the COS archive. However, I do want you to read one paragraph which has reaffirmed for Sue and me the "words we are trying to live by" as we cope with the massive negative news which seems to be coming at us from every quarter, every single day!
"When you go out of your way to do something kind for somebody, you feel light; you feel cheerful; you feel healthy; you feel the impulse to take in a deep breath. THAT breath is the Holy Spirit. That is the breath that banishes the shadow. In that simple kindness, you have delivered that this is the way human beings are supposed to live. We are made in such a way that cheerfulness, honesty and generosity are literally healthy for us. Lying, selfishness, envy are literally toxic. You poison yourself when you live that way. That is why the message of all religious faiths boils down to one form or another of reaching out to other people in honesty, in generosity and in helpfulness. Human beings are meant to be cooperative, to be open and sharing and kind to each other. That is how you make the world different."
LIVING BY THE WORD: AN EXAMPLE OF WHAT FR. GARY WAS TALKING ABOUT -- Right here at COS we have an Outreach Ministry which embodies every single, positive characteristic Fr. Gary addressed above. It is Jubilee Transitional Housing!!! I have been involved with Deacon Bill Doulos and this Ministry since it became an integral and vital contributor to COS life in 2002, and I have watched with great satisfaction as it continues to change the direction of the Journeys of hundreds of people who have come to us asking for assistance in their recovery.
Here are several recent examples of contributions this Ministry is making to better the lives of its 50 Residents:
1) Deacon Bill has recruited seven people -- Pattie Beith, Tom & Doni Satorheyli, Bob & Marjory Bartley and Paul & Gloria Kilian -- to become charter members of what he is calling Prayer Partners. These folks are committed to praying for all of our Residents by their first names and for all of the staff and Board Members by their full names twice a week.
2) For the first time Deacon Bill blessed the apartment of a new Resident. This was so well received that Bill is considering offering this opportunity to any new Resident who desires it.
3) Most importantly, thanks to a gift from the Moss Family and Friends in memory of their son and brother Jeremy Moss, a new program has been developed to prepare Welcome Baskets. As a result, Jubilee will be providing new Residents with a new pillow, new bed linens, a bath towel, toiletry items and a referral sheet of Pasadena area agencies that might be helpful. Two of Jubilee's Advisory Board members Sara Dooley and Kathy Vine have assumed responsibility for assembling these Baskets. FYI, in addition to Sara and Kathy, the rest of the Advisory Board includes Fr. Gary, Ben Bradley, Von Vine, David Arnt, Roger Cairns-Berteau, Peter Di Carlo, Will Dumain, Andrew Moss, Irv Moss and Keir McClaren.
COS EMBRACES AFFORDABLE HOUSING -- Over and above all of the good things which can be said about the Jubilee Housing Ministry, one aspect which is extremely important and deserves to be celebrated is the fact that 50 people at a time are able to live in Pasadena because their RENT is less than $400 per month. I am not sure that anyone thought rents would ever rise to the levels they have reached when we were discussing receiving the four homes from Bill Doulos 15 years ago. However, one of the compelling reasons for moving ahead with the establishment of Jubilee Homes at COS at that time was the counsel we received from The Rev. Chas Belknap. He estimated that if we lost the houses, we never could re-acquire them at the prices Bill was gifting them to us. In addition, Fr. Chas said any home converted from its mission of recovery would never be allowed back into the neighborhood in question.
QUESTION: DO YOU KNOW THE MOST PREVALENT ILLNESS TODAY THAT IS BOTH TREATABLE AND THE PATIENT IS BETTER OFF AFTER TREATMENT? -- I spent an enormously informative Friday evening and Saturday as the guest of the Jubilee Homes Advisory Board which sponsored the 10th Annual Big Book Comes Alive (BBCA) Program entitled "A Journey To Recovery: Experience it!". That this year's gathering was dedicated In Loving Memory of Bill Morgan 2015 made it extra special. To say that the Program began with a bang is huge understatement. Hardly had everyone taken their seats when Ken Hinge, the West Coast Dean of BBCA, posed the above question. Obviously, given who was sponsoring the Program, the ANSWER IS "ALCOHOLISM"!!!
For those listening with open ears and open minds, this is great news, indeed!!! HOWEVER, sobriety AND RECOVERY do not come without hard work, and this was Ken's message. I was particularly taken by the time he spent discussing the history of the early years of Alcoholics Anonymous and the life of Bill W.. This is a very special Program Ken Hinge has dedicated a good portion of his life to promoting. I would encourage anyone in recovery to run, not walk, to the next Program he presents. FYI, he does these about 24 times a year so you will not have to wait too long before you have the opportunity to hear this man speak passionately about The Big Book and the 12 Step Program which can carry you to recovery if you 'work it'. (www.thebigbookcomesalive.com)
JANE FALL: MULTI-TASKER SUPREME -- Just in case you have not been paying attention, right after Jane Fall termed out as a Vestry Member, she agreed to take over as Executive Director of Our Saviour Center, replacing Rex Botengan. Challenging enough, most would say, BUT Jane still is leading the Hospitality Committee AND recently organized eleven other parishioners to participate in a Parish Telethon over the last two weeks. To quote Jane: "We gathered and called everyone in the COS directory to remind them of the wonderful upcoming 150th celebrations, thank them for being in our church community and, so mundane but very necessary, update their information in our church directory."
For the record, the wonderful parishioners who stepped up to the telephone were Paul Kilian, Peggy O'Leary, Henrietta Ma, Diane Rivera, Maurice Saldebar, Kathy Macauley, Von Vine, Kit Shenk, Lynn Snowden and Marge & Sherm Telleen. You all are the greatest!
THANK YOU, MICHAEL WATKINS & FRIENDS -- Week in and week out, COS parishioners continue to step forward to make contributions to greater COS community. Sunday was no exception as underMichael Watkins' leadership, Karen Streeter, Deacon Bill Doulos, David Coleman and Tom Lenzo prepared and served a breakfast offering for the Mothers of COS, their spouses and families and friends.
THERE ARE NO DAYS OF REST FOR THE YOUNG!!! -- I think I have discovered a major reason why so many young families are absent from our churches on Sundays. For ten days Sue and I were guests of our daughter Katie in Montana. It was a fabulous time; I hardly moved from her La-Z-Boy. Even so, I was exhausted at the end of every day just watching Katie dealing with the every day duties which must be addressed. The Bottom Line: We Episcopalians must develop ways to become RELEVANT to the needs of the young families trying to cope in these most difficult times!!! FYI, we have a Resident Expert in Carrie Voris.
THE ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY MADE PILGRIMAGE TO THE HOLY LAND -- Yet again, the most important Anglican in the world went to Jerusalem, to see first hand the tragedies and conflicts which Christians, Muslims and Jews have to deal with 24/7, 365 days a year and to reassure the Indigenous Palestinian Christian population that the West is aware of their presence and needs. To his credit, he spent a full 12 days in the region, visiting Jordan, Bethlehem, the Galilee AND Hebron AND Gaza in addition to the "traditional" and obligatory stops a VIP must make when visiting Israel.
To my knowledge, NO Anglican/Episcopal leader has spent more time and visited more locations and congregations than ABC Welby has. However, the Palestinian Christian Community does not have high expectations that any significant results, including definitive statements from Canterbury, will be forthcoming. Too many times westerners "go and see" and then return home and are
CONFIRMATION: EPISCOPALIANS ALIVE & WELL IN THE GALILEE -- One of the compelling reasons for Christians to make Pilgrimage to the Holy Land is to become familiar with the challenges facing the indigenous Palestinian Christian population in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza under the Israeli Occupation Forces. For many, it is hoped that these Pilgrimages will encourage Palestinians to remain in the Holy Land as our Living Stones, as our Witnesses. Well, yes, there is an exodus of Christians from all over the region, BUT our experience with the Episcopal Congregation that makes up our Sister Parish St. Paul's would suggest not everyone is fleeing the Holy Land. In fact, in a parish of no more than 120 people, Canon Fuad Dagher on May 27 will be confirming 18 (eighteen!) parishioners, including our God Daughter Reggina and her brother Sany. ALIVE AND WELL, INDEED!!!
WHERE HAVE ALL THE HEROES GONE?: ONE PROFESSES AT BERKELEY -- As I have discussed with some of you, I have bemoaned the fact that the world currently seems to be lacking in heroes. Aside from Pope Francis, I really can't point to any others of that order of magnitude. However, there are some near-heroes, and one of them is Robert Reich, Chancellor's Professor of Public Policy at UC Berkeley. As a 'recovering' Capitalist, I highly recommend everyone see his documentary "Inequality For All", but in the meantime I urge you to google "Robert Reich 'into the world of work'" and find his final lecture to his Wealth & Poverty class this semester. It is only 23 minutes long but such a hopeful message to the SRO gathering of 700 students. We cried at the end!