THE BEACON: CELEBRATING OUR PAST 150 YEARS...IGNITING THE FUTURE
"This is the Lord's Table and ALL are Welcome!"
NOTHING EVER HAPPENS IN ONTARIO. HA!!! -- While you were Christmas shopping or watching football games, two major developments were occurring at the Diocese of Los Angeles' Annual Convention at the Ontario Convention Center. The first involved COS, the other the entire Diocese. First things first.
THE REV. DR. ADA WONG-NAGATA HAS ADDDED ANOTHER TITLE: HONORARY CANON OF THE CATHEDRAL CENTER OF ST. PAUL'S -- "From time to time, the Bishop names clergy and lay persons honorary canons...in recognition of significant service to the larger church...The title "canon" dates from medieval times to denote a key advisor to the bishop or a cathedral community."
This is a HUGE honor for Rev. Ada. Only three others were recognized at Convention, and only 6 others have been named Canons during this year. I'm thinking she sort of epitomizes what Jesus called us all of us to. Loosely translated, I think He said "get out of your La-Z-Boys and change the world for the better." In the time we have known her, she has and is doing just that. First of all, she began by changing careers, retiring after many years as a RN and becoming an Episcopal Priest. Then, she established a Cantonese congregation at COS, studied for and received a Phd., traveled to the far east on numerous occasions with Bishop Bruce to establish relationships, oversaw the arrival of The Rev. Thomas Ni and his Mandarin congregation, worked with Ronnie in making the EfM Offering robust, and worked hard to make the Li Tim-Oi Center a reality at COS. I've got to stop; my fingers are about to drop off. Congratulations, Rev. Ada. The powers that be really do know whom to choose when they have a project which needs to be energized. CoOS is so blessed to have you now!!!
THE NEXT BISHOP OF THE DIOCESE OF LOS ANGELES IS THE REV. CANON JOHN H. TAYLOR, VICAR OF ST. JOHN CHRYSOSTOM RANCHO SANTA MARGARITA -- As suggested in previous BEACONS, what happens at our diocesan Annual Convention DOES NOT STAY IN ONTARIO. After eight ballots, beginning Friday morning and not ending until 4:00 Saturday afternoon, approximately 600 delegates voted for whom they wanted to lead the Diocese of Los Angeles over the foreseeable future. In the end, they selected one of our own -- The Rev. Canon John Taylor. For what it's worth, had we been delegates, this is whom we would have voted for. For starters, we have known him and his wife Kathy Hannigan O'Connor for 12 years because of our shared interest in the Holy Land; they have made five Pilgrimages since 2004 and will be going again in January. This has led to numerous other contacts, and we have become quite familiar with his management skills. For many years John served as Director of the Nixon Library Foundation and eventually decided to enter the Ordination Process in the Episcopal Church. He graduated from Bloy House, was ordained in 2004 and ended up St. John's. What separated him from the other candidates for us is this background -- he has extensive management experience; he knows the diocese very well, precluding the necessity of a lengthy learning curve; he understands and embraces the diversity that is Southern California; AND at 62 "he has age". Lastly, and importantly to us, he knows and respects Bishop Bruno and will work to guarantee that the Bishop's legacy survives and is perpetuated.
We think the strength of this relationship is reflected in the fact that the Press Release announcing Canon John's Election also contained the announcement from Bishop Bruno that he would be stepping aside at the end of next year's Convention, NOT a year later in 2018. He trusts Fr. John, and so do we.
THE FINAL VOTE:
Clergy -- 237 voting, 120 To Win: Taylor 122 / Fromberg 113
Laity -- 338 voting. 170 To Win: Taylor 194 / Fromberg 141
MEANWHILE, BACK ON THE CAMPUS PART I: THE FORUM -- From the very beginning Sue and I have been blessed in our Episcopal Journey to have been introduced to some incredible people within the Anglican Communion and The Episcopal Church. What's this got to do with our Campus in general and the Forum in particular? Well, Gabe and Taylor Vazquez-Reyes presented a very informative program focused on the REAL Santa Claus, St. Nicholas of Myra, and we have had the privilege of meeting an American/English priest who has spent 20 years attempting to re-introduce St. Nicholas to his rightful place. He is The Rev. Canon Jim Rosenthal, and if you really want to know more about St. Nicholas, log on to www.stnicholassociety.co.uk. FYI, Canon Jim dresses as the authentic St. Nicholas for public appearances, with his most prominent venues being a ride through Canterbury to the Cathedral every year and delivering presents to the Palestinian Christian children of Beit Jala near Bethlehem where St. Nicholas spent time during his life in Beit Jala.
THE CAMPUS PART II: WHERE COMMUNITY REALLY DOES EXIST -- Monday I received an e-mail from Evie Escatiola reporting on ACGS's Santa Breakfast. About 200 children and parents showed up and fun was had by all. However, what Evie really wanted to emphasize was how much the Men's Guild contributed to the success. She specifically wanted to recognize Chef Michael Watkins, David Coleman, Basil Johnson, Dan Banks and Gary Chase and to thank them in public. There are lots of ways to make a difference, aren't there?
"HAVE YOU TRIED A REBOOT?" -- John The Baptist was less polite, less diplomatic -- "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven draws near! Prepare the way for the Lord" -- but the message was the same as Fr. Gary's more contemporary challenge during his Sermon -- "Have you tried a reboot?"
Repent? Reboot? What does either mean? Fr. Gary said it means to reorder our lives, reset our priorities, return to God. And how do we accomplish this? He suggests the process is sort of like "what the Computer Geeks tell us to do with our computers, first time, every time, Reboot! Most things can be fixed if we just turn them off for a while and then go back and turn them on again. It's called 'rebooting' and it works for humans as well. And that is what Advent is for. It's time to reboot."
Actually, I believe the whole country needs to reboot, but my passion, my concern, is for THE Church of Saviour. It is my hope that everyone who reads the BEACON will reboot this Advent Season, and that this is manifested in you all attending Services. Sue and I need you on our Journey!!! We all need each other!!!
DO WE HAVE TO TAKE ATTENDANCE?!!! -- Read the statement below which The Rev. Canon Denis O'Pray preached to his parish in Minneapolis two years ago. He is preaching to his parishioners about peacemaking, but the Sermon applies to every single ministry a professed Christian could possibly consider pursuing. I believe you will find his comments RELEVANT on both macro and micro levels.
"Peacemaking is not a spectator event; we each need to be in the game. You know the song: Let there be peace on Earth and let it begin with me. We should each ask, What have I done today to make the world, at least my corner of it, more peaceful? What have I done to resist the forces of darkness?"
Then, he continued "And let me surprise you: I think the most important thing we can do for peace is to be in church every Sunday, every week...At Nativity we have 539 members, and an average Sunday attendance of only 200, less than 40%. Too often we claim our faith, a faith born in blood, and then we treat our worship as one option among many for Sunday morning. No. Not OK. Really. Not if we are serious about peace. There is a mystical, spiritual force for peace and healing that is released into the world when the men and women and children who profess to be disciples of the prince of peace, gather in his name. I wonder if you really believe that. I do. I believe that the power of faithful people together on behalf of the good creates good.
"Let me say it again: I believe the power of faithful people gathering together on behalf of the good creates good." When you are not in this weekly gathering, our witness for peace is weaker, and you are not strengthened to do the work Christ has given you to do. And I know all the excuses about how our lives are so hectic that we need our weekends to refresh or to catch up with life which overwhelms us all week long. Of course, and going to church is not always convenient, but the forces of blood are at work day and night without ceasing, with a fanatic intensity. Peacemakers must be no less persistent in their objectives. There are many, many more of us than them, and we have a tremendous advantage in numbers, but we lose that advantage if we lack a passion for peace and if we do not continually come together to express our passion."
WORST CASE POSSIBILITIES -- As I read Fr. Denis' Sermon, three phrases came to mind. One is attributed to Edmund Burke, the second to Pastor Martin Niemoller and the third to Fr. Greg Boyle. Some may think these observations are a bit too dramatic for 2016. I do not and would love to see this parish engaged in discussing what roles a committed Episcopalian should be assuming at this point in time.
1) "Evil will prevail when good men do nothing"
2) "First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out --
Because I was not a Socialist."
3) "There is no force in the world better able to alter anything from its course than love." LIVE LOVE