THE BEACON: CELEBRATING WHO WE ARE IN OUR 150TH YEAR
"This is the Lord's Table and ALL are Welcome!"
THERE ARE 50 FEWER HOMELESS PEOPLE IN PASADENA RIGHT NOW, TODAY, BECAUSE OF JUBILEE HOMES, "AN INSTITUTIONAL GOOD SAMARITAN ON STEROIDS" -- Have you ever noticed how often the timing of the Gospel Lesson coincides with real events in your life? Take Sunday, for example. Deacon Bill reads the Gospel in which the Good Samaritan rescues the victim of a robbery lying on the side of the road after a priest and a Levite avoid him. Then, miracle of miracles, Deacon Bill celebrates the 14th Anniversary of Jubilee Housing becoming an Outreach Ministry of COS. Tying this Ministry to the Gospel, Bill states that Jubilee is a great example of the "Corporate Samaritan on steroids, engaged in collective mercy!!!"
To emphasize this point, he invited two current Jubilee Residents and one Alumnus to speak. James (Raymond House), Jessica (Washington House) and Robert (formerly of Raymond House) did not disappoint. Each spoke eloquently about how Deacon Bill, Bill Morgan (deceased), John Barrios and Dixie Colas literally are saving their lives. In fact, each had been homeless before finding affordable housing at Jubilee in Pasadena (which also includes the obligation to work the 12 Step Program).
THE IMPORTANCE OF AN AFFORDABLE RENT -- In 2002 on Martin Luther King day when Bill knocked on the door of the Rectory and asked his Good Samaritan friends The Rev. Canon Denis & Lyn O'Pray for help, he started a process which ultimately resulted in the COS ownership of a portfolio of 4 residences with 50 beds. I was privileged to be among those who participated in this rationalization and the acquisitions, and I will never forget the vision and advice which The Rev. Chas Belknap brought to the decision making process. After penciling out revenues and costs on a piece of paper, he stated that every home Jubilee had to dispose of would NEVER AGAIN be available to be used for transitional housing. He said that not only would properties be too costly to replace but that neighbors would not approve any zoning variance which allow this use. More recently, another reality has become apparent -- affordability! Without the Homes which Bill gifted to COS, these beds today would require rentals which no person in transition, either from addiction or prison, could afford. Thus, none of our residents could afford to live anywhere near Pasadena. (FYI, the average rent today of a one bedroom apartment is $2,150!!!)
THE BOTTOM LINE: Be a Good Samaritan. Write a check for any amount to THE Church of Our Saviour designating Jubilee Homes in the 'Memo' space. This Outreach Ministry is self-funding only because of the continuing generosity of parishioners and Bill's friends in the greater community.
"SUMMER" CHOIR, MY FOOT!!! -- As I entered Church through the east door on July 3, I was a little astonished to see a rather large number of people prepared to process. Then, the Service began and down the aisle came Phil Gold and Ten Volunteer Choir Members. I was a little uncomfortable at first trying to catch my breath while regaining circulation in my left hand; Sue squeezes really hard! Anyway, the Smocks thank the Volunteer Choir so much for your efforts. A 10:00 Service just isn't the same without your voices. (By the way, we really were impressed that Ursula Hawkins came off the Injured List to participate that day.)
HOW MANY EPISCOPALIANS DOES IT TAKE TO PRODUCE A RITE TWO SERVICE? NOT THAT MANY IF THE CASE FAMILY IS IN TOWN! -- There's something very special when you walk into the Sanctuary and receive a Service Bulletin from Russ Case. You know that where there's one Case, there ALWAYS are two others. Then, the music starts up and down the aisle come David Case with the Cross, followed by Chris Case with the Gospel Book. July 3, we were treated to an additional contribution: an articulate, mature and poised David was one of the Readers!
THE MONKS & FRIENDS DID IT, AMONG OTHER THINGS!!! -- I keep saying that no other parish in the Diocese offers the Community as much as COS does. Consider this: no other parish is hosting a Monastic Order, the Community of Divine Love, the first Monastic Order founded within the Diocese of Los Angeles. The Monks bring considerable offerings on a regular basis to our Campus -- Quiet Days, Silent Saturdays, Taize Services, Centering Prayer, Retreats, Spiritual Direction, Preaching and even Yoga (Gentle and Candlelight). Now, they have given us another gift -- a Labyrinth!!! It is located behind 619 West Roses Road, and all are invited to enjoy this Tuesdays through Sundays from 9:00 AM to 7:00 PM.
As most of you know, enhancing our Spiritual Journey is not all the Monks do to contribute to the betterment of Community. On their day jobs, they serve as leaders of PRISM Restorative Justice which provides Chaplain Services to people incarcerated in our jails and prisons in Los Angeles. Although a Ministry of the Diocese, PRISM is pretty much responsible for funding its own activities. This year will be their 10th Anniversary, and they have achieved a real coup. On November 5th, FR. GREG BOYLE, SJ, founder of Homeboy Industries, will be the featured speaker at a fund raising dinner in Cleaver Hall. YOU NEED TO BE THERE, not only
1) TO SUPPORT ONE OF THE GREAT OUTREACH MINISTRIES IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA but also
2) TO HEAR ONE OF L. A.'S TRUE SAINTS!!!
Location: Cleaver Hall & Allan Hall
Time: 6:00 -- 9:00 PM
Price: $100 per person -- write a check for twice as much if you can. You will not forget the messages Fr. Boyle will deliver while also supporting this magnificent Ministry!!!
Also not to be overlooked will be appearances by two other prominent visitors -- The Rt. Rev. Chester L. Talton, former Bishop Suffragan within the Diocese, AND John August Swanson. Swanson is a world-renowned contemporary artist whose works include many colorful depictions of stories from the Bible and other religious themes. Limited edition serigraphs, post cards and posters will be on display in Allan Hall and available for sale.
MONKS, MONKS, EVERYWHERE!!! -- In the late afternoon on July 2 in Echo Park, Br. Dennis Gibbs and Sr. Greta Ronningen were involved in leading a Walking Meditation On Interdependence which included Prayer leaders from 7 faith traditions -- Baha'i, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim and Sikh. After circling the lake, the participants gathered for an Iftar Dinner in the Cathedral Center. According to Sr. Greta, one of the prayers, prepared by Br. Dennis, included a phrase which really captured the spirit of the afternoon -- "Hospitality: Not Hostility". Words To Live By!!! Apparently a T-Shirt may be in the works.
Impressed by the sense of Community generated by the COS Circles Dinners, the Monks themselves are going to host a series of dinners at the Community of Divine Love which they are characterizing as Meal With Monks. Details will be forthcoming, but a quick response will be in order. They are going to limit each dinner to 4 guests to ensure quality conversations.
Finally, details are limited and this actually is Sr. Greta's story, but rumor has it that she has written a book which will be offered to the folks the PRISM ministers visit in the jails. I think the focus is finding freedom and God behind bars. Stand by for future information.
WHEN ON CAMPUS, BE SURE TO LOCATE WHERE TOM LENZO IS -- The blessings just keep on coming. As I continue to note in every Beacon, the parishioners of COS are a remarkable lot, both on and off Campus. Right now, one of the most important challenges affecting us all -- Safety Preparation all over the Campus -- is being addressed by a very dedicated and agitated Tom Lenzo. Although sort of retired, Tom serves as a consultant to the Pasadena Fire & Police Department, focusing in particular on disaster planning. This guy knows his stuff, and recently three of our own have benefited from him being amongst us. That's the "good news", as he recently has been present and able to direct the San Gabriel Fire Department quickly to the aid of fallen parishioners.
The "bad news" is that in each case, the Circle Driveway on the west side of Cleaver Hall and the Sanctuary was occupied by illegally parked cars. Fortunately, Tom was able to locate the drivers, and the cars were moved in time; but the Fire Captain was not the least bit happy. Hence, you are reading in every communication from this Church a warning to abide by the No Parking Signs in the Circle. Please honor them, or I understand Tom might serve some jail time. OR, he may decide not to be the "greeter" the next we dial 911.
By the way, this is not Tom's only focus relating to Safety. A year ago he recruited about a dozen parishioners, including Fr. Gary, Rev. Peg and Deacon Bill, to take the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Course offered by the San Gabriel Fire Department. Sue and I found this training invaluable, particularly given where we live and what will surely occur at some time in the future. This has led Fr. Gary to charge Tom with the responsibility of assuring that every building on campus has an updated First Aid Kit AND a Fire Extinguisher.
CAN YOU HEAR ME, NOW? -- As most of you know, it takes many people to make a Service happen, and one of the most important contributing groups is the Audio Team. So, particularly on behalf of us more senior members of the parish who appreciate the blessing of audible sound, it is time to thank John Ballance, Von Vine and John Penido for delivering the Service "loud and clear".
NAT B. READ VERY POPULAR WITH PARISHIONERS -- Plans for Our Saviour Sunday on September 11 are proceeding. In preparation for this gathering and the beginning of the Celebration of our 150th Anniversary, Fr. Gary is encouraging all parishioners to read Nat Read's "From Mountain Man To Mayor: Don Benito Wilson", and Read will be the featured speaker on September 11. To date, we have sold over 50 books at $16, and we have ordered 15 more. All proceeds go directly to him, and he will be bringing more with him which he will sign. According to early reports, parishioners are finding the book very informative. If you need a reason to read this book, consider this: The establishment 150 years ago of THE Church of Our Saviour represents the beginning a Protestant presence in the San Gabriel Valley. A pretty special piece of history!!!
WHAT IS THE "NEW SOCIAL SECURITY"? -- Merrill Lynch Age Wave (MLAW) has conducted several studies analyzing concerns people have about retirement. While "a reliable income" was the most popular answer from pre-retirees when asked what they would miss most, what actual retirees say they really miss most by a wide margin -- 65% --now is a combination of SOCIAL CONNECTIONS (34%), HAVING PURPOSE AND WORK GOALS (19%) AND MENTAL STIMULATION (12%). In fact, further analysis determined that the number one cause of a premature departure from the planet is LONELINESS!!! Clearly, at least to me, the number one remedy also can be summed up in one word: COMMUNITY. This is exactly what the SAGES MINISTRY and many others offer at COS.
HOSPITALITY ARE THEY -- Jane Fall is one of six "point people" working with Paul Kilian on the Strategic Initiative. She is responsible for S. I. #3 Welcome Program & Newcomers, and she introduced at the Vestry Meeting that she has recruited Co-Chairs for the Hospitality Committee. They are Linda Goluskin and Will Dumain, and they are committed to helping coordinate hospitality for any event which any Ministry or Guild might be planning. They are sitting by their telephones waiting to hear from you. However, remember that the telephone rings both ways; so if they were to call you to help on an event, please do so if you can.
OK. I GET IT. WE ARE NOT MARCHERS BUT... -- I'm a big fan of facebook. It's a a great way to publicize what you are doing, OR NOT!!! July 4th Rev. Nancy Shier posted a picture of a few of us marching in the City of San Gabriel Parade, in 2012? Good for them, BUT there is no evidence we were involved this year. Did we participate? Here is COS, probably the second oldest institution in the City about to celebrate its 150th Anniversary, and we apparently had no presence this year. Of course, I may be responding a little defensively. Maybe everyone already knows about our beautiful Campus & Sanctuary with its Stained Glass Windows honoring residents of the area; Cleaver Hall & Kitchen available to the Community; the beautiful and serene Jane Messler Columbaruim; about Our Saviour Center Food Bank, Clinic & Youth Center; the Li Tim-Oi Center; ACGS; Jubilee Homes; PRISM Restorative Justice; the Community of Divine Love & Labyrinth; our Sister Parish Relationship in the Holy Land; our free Music For The Season Offerings; our Childrens' Choirs; etc., etc., etc. It is missed opportunities like this that re-inforce my belief that my favorite philosopher Pogo was right on when he acknowledged that "We have discovered the enemy and it is us!!!" If we really want to assume a low profile, why don't we put a shroud over our Roses Road sign, delist our telephone number and remove the web site? Actually, this might generate more publicity and curiosity than anything we currently are doing. The Light of the Beacon is hardly bright enough to read by in the Base Camp!!!