The Beacon


"This is the Lord's Table and ALL are Welcome!"

A BEAUTIFUL, TWO PRONGED SERMON: YOU SHOULD HAVE BEEN THERE -- Timing is everything! I'm always in need of hearing an inspiring and RELEVANT Sermon but seldom more so than last Sunday when the world seemed to be coming unhinged. Thanks to Sr. Greta Ronningen, a semblance of order and balance was re-introduced, both by her message and by the serenity of her persona.

Reason One - The Message: We all, much like Martha in the Gospel Reading, are guilty to one degree or another of being ME-Centered much of the time. The result is an inordinate amount of grumbling, a very ME-Centered characteristic. "I'm not happy - It's not fair - what about ME!" A common comment I would add from my generation is "I yearn for the good old days."  (Actually, they were not so "good" for many people, including women, but that's for another time.) 

Sr. Greta's conclusion: "Being distracted and caught up in our little worlds is like an addiction...Even when we are alone we are distracted. There is a new term for this - 'continuous partial attention.' It prevents us from giving our full attention to any one moment. We are all too caught up in multi-tasking."

Carried to its extreme, much like Martha's experience, even if Jesus were to knock on our door, we would become so preoccupied with protocols and appearances and details that we would not only miss the glorious opportunity to sit at his feet but also grumble because of this lost opportunity. 

So, in my non-theological terms, what I heard from Sr. Greta was "to slow down, you go too fast!" Slow down and cherish the sacred moments, Otherwise, we all are going to be consumed by Dallas, Nice, Baton Rouge AND the upcoming Election. Makes the life of our Monks in the Community of Divine Love incredibly attractive!!!

Reason Two - Sr. Greta's Presence: The other aspect of Sr. Greta's Sermon which was so timely was her beautifully serene delivery. If ever we needed a calm, confident person preaching a relevant, anxiety reducing message, it was Sunday; and Sr. Greta was superb! You Really had to be there!!!    

ADDIE VORIS: Multi-Tasking Renaissance Girl! -- As with my comments about the Case Family last week, I am overwhelmed by the presence of the Voris Clan in the life of COS. Carrie and Emma and Addie are everywhere, and Sunday was another wonderful example. The fact is that without Addie participating in the Service, there would have been no Service. Every time I looked up, there she was, with the high light being her mature and clear reading of the Reading from the Letter of Paul to the Colossians. I'm not quite sure how it happened, but this was a lengthy Reading, and Addie was assigned it. I don't know about you all, but when I was growing up, the idea of me standing in the Lectern and reading anything let alone a long Lesson would have been too daunting. For Addie it seemed like she had been doing this for twenty years!!!  

COMMUNICATIONS TEAM: Strategic Initiative # 4 is Communications Coordination -- Carrie Voris volunteered to lead this extremely important Committee, and it met last week to discuss in particular its role in the promotion of the 150th Anniversary Celebration. Assisting Carrie is Gabe Vazquez-Reyes and the other members are Meredith Brucker, Laurel Bullock, Kenneth Quan and the Smocks. While Carrie is very pleased with this group, she wants you all to know that additional parishioners are very welcome to join if you are interested. The next meeting will be August 17 @ 7:00 in Allan Hall.           

DVBS -- DVBS stands for the Daily Vacation Bible School, and it was the leadership of this outstanding Ministry which provided the breakfast for the Forum. Actually, the breakfast was mostly prepared by Resident Chef Mike Goodrich, but the set-up and serving were the work of Evie Escatiola, Dyana Burkehammer and Diane Goodrich. It is these ladies who year in and year out have picked the theme for the one week program. promoted it and recruited the volunteers. They're calling this year's Program "EGYPT: Joseph's Journey From Prison To Palace", and it runs from August 1 thru August 5. I know they can always use more volunteers and perhaps there is still room for more children. You should check with Evie at 626-282-2731 OR The Bottom Line is that these ladies once again have dedicated a good part of their early summers to offering this Program, and it is such a wonderful gift to the children in the Community. Thank you!!!    

HOMEBOY INDUSTRIES -- One of the truly great Outreach Ministries in Southern California is Homeboy Industries, a non-profit providing hope, training and support for formerly gang involved and previously incarcerated men and women, allowing them to redirect their lives and become contributing members of our community. Established in 1992 by Fr. Gregg Boyle, a Jesuit priest in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, this Ministry reflects Fr. Boyle's belief that "Community Trumps Gangs". "Each year over 10,000 former gang members from across Los Angeles come through Homeboy Industries' doors in an effort to make a positive change." Currently, this enterprise employs well over 200 of these young men and women. 

Given that Fr. Boyle's work over-laps with much of the work of PRISM, Br. Dennis Gibbs and Sr. Greta Ronningen have been able to secure his presence at the 10th Anniversary Fund Raiser for PRISM. Please, please take my word on this. You need to buy a ticket for this event, not only to support the much needed work of Br. Dennis and Sr. Sister Greta but also to hear Fr. Boyle's Message. One person really can make a difference in this world, and he may even inspire you to investigate how you might use your talents to make our Community a better place.


TIME: 6:30 To 9:00


COST: $100

 A PERSONAL TESTIMONY: "Hi, I'm Sandy and I'm an alcoholic."

On the afternoon of July 22, 1991, 25 years ago this Friday, I came home to an Intervention organized by Sue and conducted by Ed Storti, a professional intervener. Her courage in pursuing this course of action literally saved my life; I was suffering from high blood pressure and high cholesterol and was headed for a stroke or worse. I did not accept this gift as graciously as I should have, but I stop drinking.

To a great degree, I was able to accomplish this for three reasons. First of all, Sue, who was and is not an alcoholic, stopped drinking too in support of my new Journey. Secondly, within the first week of my Program at St, Joseph's Hospital, I became convinced that alcoholism is a disease. It was in my DNA, my mother, her father and my father's brother all having died from it; BUT it was in MY power to cure it. And then, there was that third reason, a Saturday session with Councilor Alex Lopez. It was Family Day so Sue and our daughters Molly and Katie joined me. Sitting in a semi-circle, Alex, a Viet Nam veteran recovering from his own addiction, asked each of us to introduce ourselves. Then, he looked at me and asked

"Do you love your daughters?"

"Very Much!", I responded.

"How would you feel if either one of them was doing to her self what you doing to yourself?"

How could I ever consider drinking again?!

However, this was just the beginning. THE Church of Our Saviour and The Rev. Canon Denis O'Pray quickly became integral parts of OUR Journey. Obviously, the corner stone of gaining sobriety and staying sober was (and is) the 12 Step Program of Alcoholics Anonymous. "Fortunately", in those days there were no smoke free meetings; and since neither Sue nor I had ever smoked, these were not conducive environments for us (Sue was joining me in going to Meetings) to find our Higher Power.

So, one day Sue, a lapsed Episcopalian under my secular influence, suggested we try looking for that Higher Power at COS. This we did, and this led to an incredible session with Fr. Denis. The rest is history. To borrow from Fr. Boyle, "Community trumps a solo Journey every time, even if you are blessed to have Susan Godfrey Smock as your partner!!!"