THE BEACON: Celebrating Kneeling In The Exactly Same Location For 150 Years
"This is the Lord's Table and ALL are Welcome! **APAA Fr. Gary 2017
LOOKING FOR HEROES?: Ricky John Best and Taliesan Myrddin Namkai-Meche. Both were killed when they tried to protect two young Muslim women from hateful racial slurs on a train in Portland. Micah David-Cole was also stabbed in the attack and is in serious condition at a Portland hospital.
Witness Rachel Macy had tried to comfort Namkai-Meche in his final moments. "I told him, 'You're a beautiful man, I'm so sorry the world is so cruel". He said, "TELL THEM, I WANT EVERYBODY TO KNOW, I WANT EVERYBODY ON THE TRAIN TO KNOW, I LOVE THEM."
At the vigil, his mother said "We taught him to love everyone and that's what we should be doing and that's what we all should be doing and that's why we are all here, so give it up for love."
ON THIS MEMORIAL DAY, SUE AND I RECOGNIZE THAT HEROES WEAR MANY DIFFERENT UNIFORMS!!!
THE DONUTS CIRCLE, ANYONE? -- Recently we have been impacted by two developments here at 535 West Roses Road. The first has been the fact that the Sunday Forum has been on hiatus since April 16th. The second is the presentation Molly Lihani made to SAGES entitled "Church In A Circle: Community Building As A Spiritual Practice". Being connectors of dots AND recently discovering the fantastic ambience of the Telleen Family Court Yard as the weather has warmed up, we have decided to accept the challenge that the many Episcopal related publications and e-mails we receive have urged us to do. We, as lay people, are going to proactively host the Forum each Sunday we are in town, utilizing the "Church In A Circle" model introduced by Molly, augmented by the draw of two dozen donuts. We're going to start small with eight or ten chairs in a circle near the coffee at the north end of the Court Yard. In the center, rather than being a hole, will be the donuts. Of course, anyone will be welcome to have one, but we hope some of you will decide to sit down and discuss the week's question. This week, we'll start off with an easy one: Why do you come to THE Church of Our Saviour? As with Molly's presentation, this will not be a 'pop-up' format where one can talk if one wants to. Rather, this will be 'sequential' format, and all will be asked to contribute a one sentence response. Then, we will see where we go from there. "Be there or be square!"
A JOYFUL NOISE -- Sunday the Women of the COS Choir provided our music. It was beautiful, it was spectacular! Although Canon Phil Smith said several were missing, I think it is OK to list the names which appeared in the Sunday Program: Michele Baker, Tiffany Bowles, Ursula Hawkins, Lisa Hsu, Juli Kennedy, Rebecca Rasmussen, Polly Sablan, Phyllis Scoria, Kim Sirean, Patti Teele and Cheryl Townsend. Thank you for your hard work and the sound it produces. For us, it completes the meaning and significance of each Service.
4 FOR 1 -- Some times you have to read between the lines to understand what's going on at COS, and this is where I can be of assistance. A Case (Pun intended) In Point: The last two weeks have contained the following announcement in the Sunday Service Insert -- "Acolytes get by with a little help from our friends!" The extensive explanation which follows is very informative and provides a terrific insight into just how much work goes into herding our Acolytes each and every Sunday and for seasonal celebrations as well. What you may not infer from the announcement is that CHRIS CASE IS RETIRING AS ACOLYTE COORDINATOR.
I have two personal observations. First of all, as with so many other functions in the parish which rely on volunteers, the Acolyte Coordinator is one of those most of us take for granted. The Entrance Hymn begins, and the Crosses and the COS Banner magically appear. However, if you read the job description Chris has prepared, you realize how important this function is in contributing to our worship experience. Of course, sitting where I do, I can see Chris in action and have always admired and appreciated her organizational abilities and leadership. By the way, what she did not include in the Job Description is the fact that sometimes she has to step in when one of the designated Team members does not show up. Fortunately for her and for us, she looks so young that most people don't even notice the difference.
The Reality Check: Going forward, we are going to need a new Team to coordinate the Acolytes, BUT one person is not going to be sufficient to replace Chris. We are going to need 4 (FOUR) ADULTS to replace her!!! So, just don't sit there; re-read the Job Description and then contact Chris at CLC72365@gmail.com OR call 626-676-3973. In the meantime, THANK CHRIS EVERY TIME YOU SEE HER FOR HER INCREDIBLE GIFT TO OUR CHIDREN AND TO US.
LAST WEEK THE PINEWOOD DERBY CARS, THIS WEEK TEA PARTY HATS -- You know COS really does have a bunch of interesting and dedicated parishioners. Last week I wrote about the on-going gift of the Pinewood Derby which Bill Peplow has been doing for 12 years for the children of the Dorris Dann Youth Center. Then, this week Bev Harris appeared on the Youth Center Campus to help the girls in the GEMS Program (Girls Excelling In Math and Science) make Tea Party Hats! What a creative and wonderful gift from Bev. I urge you to go to the Dorris Dann Youth Center facebook page and check out the great pictures of the girls, especially the one of ten of them modeling their creations. As with Bill's gift, Bev shows what a difference one person can make in the Journeys of number of young people just by contributing her or his talents to a single project.
By the way, the new Executive Director Jane Fall is encouraging one and all to come tour the Cleaver Clinic, Food Bank and the Dorris Dann Youth Center. Although she has posted some times in the Messenger, I will bet that no inquiry is turned away (firstname.lastname@example.org).
JIM PORTER TO THE RESCUE -- Even when a person is no longer a parishioner, he or she can still end up making a major contribution to life at COS. Just to remind you, Carrie Voris and Gabe Vazquez-Reyes are working on updating the history of COS over the last 25 years. It is their intent to have some sort of record highlighting COS's 150 years available for the September 10th Our Saviour Sunday Celebration. Unfortunately, they have been having trouble finding photograph's of two significant events -- the construction of the Dorris Dann Youth Center AND Cleaver Hall and Grace Chapel. Fortunately, some of us possess institutional memories which some times are useful. Hence, we have been able to put Carrie and Gabe in touch with Jim Porter who now lives if Jamestown, NY. For those of you who are new to the church, Jim served as the Property Manager for many years during The Rev. Canon Denis O'Pray's tenure, and he has reported to Sue that he has many, many pictures. Are there others of you out there who read The BEACON and might have historical memorabilia which can be used by Carrie and Gabe? If so, they would love to hear from you.
PEOPLE & THINGS IN THE NEWS -- When writing last week's BEACON, I had notes to recognize two more people, but I misplaced them until after Press Time. However, both contributed mightily to the wonderful successes of what I wrote about, and I want to acknowledge them now.
1) From the SAGES Meeting on Thursday to the Youth Musical to the Parish Picnic to Sunday morning, the common denominator was the omnipresent Stephen Faux. Because of his hard work each event was perfect, and we all owe him a great big "THANK YOU"!
2) At the running of the 12th Annual Pinewood Derby, there were three people in charge, but I only mentioned Bill Peplow and Marguerite Ponce Vega. The third important contributor was Jaqueline Kyoda, the Center's Art Instructor, who assisted Bill in the painting of over 80 race cars. THANK YOU, Jaqueline.
3) Maybe it's because Sue and I loved "Downton Abbey", "Crown" and "Victoria", but I am ALWAYS MOVED when THE Church of Our Saviour BANNER is in the Procession. Last Sunday was particularly moving because the Banner was held high in the Chancel for an extended period of time while we sang The Postcommunion Hymn "Alleluia! Sing To Jesus". I don't know why but I every time I see San Gabriel 1867, I shed a tear. THANK YOU, Jean Johnson, for your beautiful creation!!!
4) Your next opportunity to see the Banner in all of its glory will be this coming Saturday at St. John's Pro-Cathedral in downtown Los Angeles. At 10:00 it will precede Robin Kassabian to the Altar where she will be installed as a Deacon in the Diocese of Los Angeles. CONGRATULATIONS, ROBIN, AND HER LOVING FAMILY: PAUL AND ANNA AND DAVID.
MEMORIAL DAY 2017 -- Sue and I just returned from a Memorial Day Program put on by the residents of Royal Oaks where we now live. Given that the median age is probably 85 in our community, there still are a number of men AND women who served in WWII. In particular, there is our friend Walt Jorgensen, a Marine, who is 95 years old and who remarkably participated in 4 major landings in the Pacific Theater. He is a very modest man so his story only comes out in bits and pieces, but he epitomizes what I believe America was and could be in the future.
I am also reminded of an experience I had in 1999 on the Missouri River. Our son-in-law Rob Lihani was interviewing Steven Ambrose, author of "Undaunted Courage" and "Band of Brothers", for the American Rivers Foundation. The interview was going to be included in a larger presentation by the Foundation advocating for the restoration of rivers in the west. Anyway, we're set up in a secluded cove in the Gates of the Mountain outside Helena, MT, and Rob has Ambrose fully engaged in discussing how quickly rivers can be brought back to life when suddenly Ambrose says "You know who should be the Man of the Century? The American GIs who stormed out of the Higgins boats at Normandy and in the Pacific to save the world for democracy!" I have never forgotten that moment, and I was reminded again of that statement this morning when Walt Jorgensen stood and was recognized.
THAT SAID... -- Sunday after Church, I watched a documentary on the History Channel about the Vietnam War from its inception to the end. My reaffirmed conviction: While Normandy and Iwo Jima were among our proudest moments, Vietnam was not. The Vietnam Wall contains the names of 58,191 Americans who gave their lives; and yet throughout the documentary Americans soldiers and Marines kept asking "What are we fighting for?"
IT IS SAID THAT A COUNTRY CAN BE MEASURED BY THE WAY IT ALLOCATES ITS RESOURCES -- There was a brief period after April, 1974, when we Americans decided that wars like Vietnam were a terrible waste of our resources. Never again! Fast forward to 2017. Over one half of our Budget is dedicated to military spending, and many applaud our sale of $110 billion of weapons to a country with a population of 32.7 million people! This may or may not create jobs here, but it surely will kill people somewhere else.
SO, WHAT'S THE POINT, SMOCK? WHAT'S THIS GOT TO DO WITH THE CHURCH OF OUR SAVIOUR? -- Well, if you agree that you can measure the priorities of a country by its asset allocation, you also can measure the priorities of an institution or a person the same way. This is why we love THE Church of Our Savior so much. In this insane world of mis-allocations of resources, COS talks our talk and walks our walk! We really do care about the least among us, and allocate our resources accordingly. COS is RELEVANT in the lives of families in El Monte (Our Saviour Center & The Dorris Dann Youth Center), people in Recovery (Transitional Housing), San Gabriel families (A Child's Garden School), people in prison (PRISM) and indigenous Christians in the Middle East (St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Shefa 'Amr, Israel). When all is said and done, we believe this is what makes America very special and memorable and worthy of our respect, NOT our military might!
A FEEL GOOD CLOSING REPORT -- Last Saturday in the Galilee, The Rev. Canon Fuad Dagher, Rector of our Sister Parish St. Paul's, AND Archbishop Suhail Dawani of the Diocese of Jerusalem and newly appointed Primate of the Province of Jerusalem & the Middle East, confirmed 19 (nineteen) young people from Shefa 'Amr. Included in this group was Reggina Dagher, our God Daughter, and her older brother Sany. Obviously, we are very proud, but you should be comforted, too. Even in the face of segregation, discrimination and Occupation, the Christian Community in the Holy Land remains steadfast in its commitment to Jesus and to its homeland!!!
**APAA: Ample Parking Always Available