THE BEACON: CELEBRATING WHO WE ARE IN OUR 150TH YEAR
"This is the Lord's Table and ALL are Welcome!"
"Can you see it NOW?!"
THE SERMON -- "We all make assumptions about people. We don't mean to, but we see people and we really don't see them."
This was Fr. Gary's Message in another one of his compelling Sermons. "We pull down the shades on folks all the time, or we relegate them to a certain place at the table." Given the rhetoric of this Election Year, I believe it is impossible for anyone to refute his statement. By the same token, I believe everyone who heard his Sermon probably was impacted differently. Because of our on-going commitment to working for Peace WITH Justice in the Holy Land, the shade which I could not wish away was the one America has pulled down to hide the Tragedy of Gaza. In a space no larger than Catalina, the State of Israel, "the only democracy in the Middle East", is incarcerating 1,818,000 Palestinians, 45% of whom are under the age of 14. And yet, the world has pulled down the shade; the U.S. has pulled down the shade; worse yet, The Episcopal Church has pulled down the shade and remains SILENT almost at every level! Think about it. Behind the shade, 718,000 children are living in conditions which make the life of the person begging for your change at the top of the off-ramp almost middle class. This was the shade I wanted lifted as I listened to Fr. Gary's powerful Sermon!
ON ANOTHER SUBJECT ENTIRELY AND ON A MORE POSITIVE NOTE, THE LIGHT KEEPER ANNOUNCES A PROMOTION: I AM UNILATERALLY ASSUMING THE ROLE AS YOUR TOWN CRIER -- The main goal of The Beacon from the beginning has been to celebrate LOUDLY AND FLAMBOYANTLY the incredible number of events and activities which occur on a regular basis in and around THE Church of Our Saviour. In addition, it is important to hold up for recognition the remarkable number of individuals contributing greatly to COS life and to the community.
I think this is being accomplished, BUT it has occurred to me that not enough is being done to alert you to many events and activities before they occur. So, I have given myself a "battle field" commission and will serve you as cheer leader before the fact as well as after. So, sit back and do some serious thinking as you read the List of opportunities below and decide which ones you will support.
SEPT. 11 @ 11:30: Our Saviour Sunday -- Fr. Gary has done a terrific job of setting the stage for the celebration of our 150 years worshipping in the same place. 150 YEARS!!! No matter what the context, 150 years is a big deal, particularly in the history of So Cal. Over the next several months the importance of this presence will be recognized spiritually in Services and Music and other events, but what better way to gain an insight into the historical context than to hear one of the premier recorders of early So Cal history discuss the time in which THE Church of Our Saviour was planted?
Clearly, a number of parishioners have been intrigued by this history, witness the fact that Sue Smock has sold over 70 of Speaker Nat B. Read's "From Mountain Man To Mayor", the biography of Don Benito Wilson. For those of you who have not read his book, you will hear that Wilson not only gave the original acreage upon which the Bell Tower still sits, he also is responsible for the planting the very first surviving Protestant Church in the San Gabriel Valley.
You need to join us to learn more about this amazing parish and its role in the history of So Cal. You also need to write a check where possible for $30 Per Person for a LUNCH provided by Harambee Ministries in northwest Pasadena. Approximately half of this $30 will go to pay for lunch, and the other half will go to a Communication Fund to shine a Beacon on our 150th Anniversary. However, under no circumstances will any one be turned away. All we need is your name so the appropriate number of lunches can be ordered. Guests will receive complimentary tickets.
SEPT. 15 @ 12:30: First SAGES Meeting Of The Season -- Other Christian denominations have their Saints of Protection & Safety -- St. Christopher, St. Michael -- but COS has its own: Saint Tom Lenzo. For whatever reasons, he is obsessed with protecting us -- from identity fraud, earthquakes, power outages, you name it. However, since Tom also is one of us SAGES, he is sensitive to issues which directly impact us. So, on Thursday, September 15, he is bringing to us Ralph Pascual from the Adult Protective Services Training & Outreach Office of L.A. County. His topic will be "Elder Abuse: Understand It, Help When You See It". While seemingly a "downer" of a topic to begin the new season, we at COS focus on RELEVANCE, and this is one of the most RELEVANT subjects impacting the growing numbers of Seniors in our midst. We encourage any and all, whatever your age to join us; you will not only learn important information BUT also be fed by the One & Only Diane Rivera.
SEPT. 26 @ 4:00: Music For A Season: A Birthday Celebration For Juli Kennedy -- When asked by her husband Scott how she wanted to celebrate her 60th, she decided that singing with her friends at COS woud be very special. One thing has led to another, Canon Phil Smith heard about it and offered to incorporate her in his music Music For A Season schedule. Now, Juli will be singing with the COS Choir directed by former Music Director Jim Person and apparently accompanied by a number of former Choir Members who will be returning for her Birthday AND Reunion. Knowing that Juli energizes everything she comes in contact with, we can guarantee an entertaining performance. So, let's support Juli and show her we love her! Oh, it's also FREE!
OCT. 2 @ 11:30: Oktoberfest -- This is one of Our Saviour Center's Fund Raisers which are so important to the sustainability of this Outreach Ministry. In a perfect storm of increasing demand for the services provided by OSC while funding sources from every quarter revaluate how to address the needs of non-profits makes 2016 a very difficult operating environment. So, your attendance obviously is important, but the OSC Staff and Volunteers also offer you three hours of fun and food and Bavarian 'Soda' in return.
HOW DO YOU SPELL "ISLAM"?: R-E-L-E-V-A-N-T -- Several years ago some of us visited the Islamic Center of San Gabriel Valley (ICSGV) in Rowland Heights with Fr. Gary during an Open Mosque Sunday. The Imam provided a lot of very informative literature which we read and filed in our "Islam File", until this week. Now, as I go about "re-balancing" my life, I am purging files like this one. However, it is not a complete purge because I'm finding some amazing stuff! Example # 1: I reprint below a Section form ICSGV's brochure entitled Religious, Social and Community Services which details everything available to members in addition to the traditional religious Services: Free Clinic, Health & Fitness Clinic, Free Tax Filing Services, Professional Family Counseling, Religious Advice, Zakah Distribution & Housing For Travelers, Friday Family Nights, Summer Carnival & Picnics, Law Enforcement: TSA, ACLU, CAIR, MPAC & Civic Programs.
I offer this info only because I think Americans generally need to know the answer to the question "What is the appeal of Islam?" They take care of the most relevant needs of the people! FYI # 1: At least 40% of the Muslim population in the U.S. is African-American. FYI # 2: Checkout the web site www.ummaclinic.org. This is an outreach of Muslim medical students at UCLA who offer their time at a Free Clinic in south central Los Angeles.
LOS POBLADORES -- You really have to love facebook. How else could you track the Journeys of COS parishioners and their incredible doings? For instance, how many of you would consider walking 9 miles from the San Gabriel Mission to Olvera Street, EVERY YEAR, to commemorate the founding of the Pueblo of Los Angeles on 9/4/1781? Well, Harry Baldwin would and did last Saturday! Both Sally Baldwin AND Senior Warden Juli Kennedy confirmed this on facebook, with Juli actually sighting him from her bike.
A BIG DEAL IN THE LAND OF THE HOLY ONE!!! -- As if Palestinian Christians have not had enough to deal with, intra-denominational strains have always been prevalent 24/7. So,it was a very excited Fr. Fuad Dagher who called to tell us that he had been able to lead the 40 children who attended Vacation Bible School at St. Margaret's Guest House to worship in the BASILICA OF THE ANNUNCIATION. To the best of his knowledge, no Anglican preist had ever been able to conduct Mass in this space!!! However, because of the Ecumenical Work of The Rev. Hosam Naoum, Dean of St, George's Cathedral. the Franciscans who have responsibility the Basilica welcomed Fr. Hosam and Fr. Fuad. When we work together, the Journey certainly is wonderful. Fr. Fuad and his children certainly thought so!!!
PARKER PALMER: "LET YOUR LIFE SPEAK" -- The trajectory of my Spiritual Journey has been most impacted over the last 25 years by two things: The Intervention orchestrated by Sue and our daughters Molly and Katie AND the introduction to Parker Palmer's book "Let Your Life Speak" by our own Parker Expert Ed Andersen. While alcoholism is a disease and personal, Palmer addresses what I believe are universal character traits which impact the Journey of every single one of us, individually and institutionally. Basically, Parker contends that we all are created with strengths AND weaknesses; the challenge is to identify what these are and then emphasize the strengths while de-emphasizing the weaknesses.
Why do I include Parker's observations in this column? As I stated in my last Vestry Meeting, I believe this is the perfect time for our parish THE Church of Our Saviour to enter into an organized discussion among us parishioners in an effort to determine what our strengths AND weaknesses are as we begin our second 150 years "...igniting our future". WHAT DO YOU THINK?