THE BEACON: CELEBRATING OUR PAST 150 YEARS...IGNITING THE FUTURE
"This is the Lord's Table and ALL are Welcome!"
THE ANTHEM: "DEAR LORD AND FATHER OF MANKIND", Text by John Greenleaf Whittier -- It's great to have Canon Phil Smith, a socially, politically and theologically in tune individual if there ever was one, selecting the music for the 10:00 Service. This 'perfect' Anthem was sung during Communion:
Dear Lord and Father of mankind, forgive our foolish ways, reclothe us in our rightful mind, in purer lives thy service find, in deeper reverence, praise.
THE FORUM: RECLOTHE US IN OUR RIGHTFUL MIND -- Perhaps it was the rain, but I suspect the low turn out for the Forum was because people did not want to hear, to be confronted with, the 'other side' of the story. Fr. Gary acknowledged this at the beginning of his prepared presentation (do yourself a favor and get a copy) with the following observation:
"On this Sunday...after the inauguration of Donald Trump...I hear voices. Voices of real hope at the prospect of radical change. Voices of real fear at the very same radical change. Radical -- 'to the root' -- is the operative word. The reference to radical change inspires deeply rooted hope and engenders profound fear in the same breath."
So, rather than open the Forum to debate and the potential for voices to be expressed in anger, Fr. Gary attempted to "reclothe us in our rightful mind". He asked each of the three tables to prepare a prayer for President Donald J. Trump which he promised would be included in future Prayers for the People. His purpose was to allow us to express our feelings, positive or negative, in prayer while still adhering to his commitment to include the President by name in all future prayers. We had one participant who just could not support the inclusion of his name, but everyone else went along with Fr. Gary's request. At the end of the Forum, three Prayers were submitted and read, and each was very meaningful.
OUT OF RESPECT FOR THE DISSENTER AT MY TABLE & ONE OTHER PARISHIONER WE HEARD FROM -- Firmly grasping the obvious, I know we Americans are more polarized now than at any time in the many years since I first began to pay attention to contemporary issues. I believe a contributing cause, a catalyst, is cable television. Those who call themselves conservatives watch FOX and NEVER, EVER, watch CNN or MSNBC. Liberals watch CNN or MSNBC and NEVER, EVER, watch FOX. In fact, the interpretations of the same event by the three networks are so different that I can determine within minutes into a conversation where the person gets his or her news.
The phrase I heard from Fr. Gary which resonated most with me was "Wake up! Remember who and whose you are. Because THE FOLLOWERS OF JESUS WERE MADE FOR MOMENTS LIKE THIS!"
For starters, we all, regardless of political persuasion, need to come together in dialogue. I want to know what we ALL are thinking, and I want to have the opportunity to express my thoughts. This is why Sue and I were so pleased with the Circle of Discussion the Monks introduced a while ago. We should be doing more of this.
SR. TERESA OF AVILA SAID "CHRIST HAS NO BODY ON EARTH BUT YOURS!" -- I had to look no farther than the Community of Divine Love to find three marvelous examples of what I believe Sr. Teresa had in mind. In a span of 24 hours from Friday noon to mid-day Saturday Sr. Greta Ronnengen, Sr. MJ Johnston and Br. Dennis Gibbs engaged in three activities which I'm sure Sr. Teresa would have applauded.
1) MUSLIMS ARE US -- There are over 600,000 people of the Muslim faith living in Southern California, and they are represented by outstanding men and women who are some of the strongest advocates for inter-faith witness in the region. Unfortunately, given the current environment, they feel they stand on the brink of enduing difficult times yet again. Therefore, a number of people of faith from around Los Angeles are committing to stand together with our Muslim brothers and sisters in a sign of Inter-Faith Unity.
On Friday during noon prayers at the Islamic Center of Southern California on Vermont Ave,, the three Monks joined a number of other Christians in support of those praying inside. They held signs which read "We Stand With Our Muslim Brothers & Sisters" and "Christians Supporting Muslims". For those looking to respond to Sr. Teresa, the Monks just offered one course of action.
2) "THE 13TH": STAND AGAINST MASSIVE INCARCERATION -- Friday night PRISM Restorative Justice in conjunction with the Film & Faith Ministry sponsored the documentary "The 13th". "Titled after the Thirteenth Amendment, which abolished slavery except as 'punishment for a crime', this powerful documentary argues that slavery is being effectively perpetuated through mass incarceration." Thirty people attended, including a third who were visitors; and there was a lively discussion afterward.
Although it is easy to be overwhelmed with the documentary's numerous examples of the disproportionate number of people of color incarcerated in our prisons, the REAL STORY is the growing privitization of the prison system. The bottom line is that for profit prisons have absolutely no incentive to see the number of people sentenced to prison reduced. This is cheap, cheap labor, and it is being accessed and utilized by many U.S. corporations. Among other things, the availability of SLAVE LABOR obviously results in no motivation to provide rehabilitation. In my opinion, as with many services this is another activity that never should be turned over to for profit operators.
So, here is my take away for you after viewing "The 13th". I experienced an epiphany in 1999 when I made Pilgrimage to the Holy Land and saw and heard the 'other side' of the Israeli / Palestinian Conflict. This documentary has the same potential to impact your thinking about the so called 'justice system' in this country, BUT you will never know the 'other side' of this story unless you open your eyes and ears and see the documentary. "The followers of Jesus were made for moments like this!"
FYI, the documentary elicited discussions about profiling, the elimination of the 3 Strikes Law, reduced sentencing for drug possession, more flexible sentencing guidelines for judges, the lack of meaningful rehabilitation programs for inmates, the elimination of 'for profit' operators and challenging the bail bond industry, the boycott of companies benefiting from prison labor and the challenges facing people with records obtaining jobs after prison.
3) THE MARCH: WALKING THE WALK -- Somehow in the mass of people who chose to express their beliefs by joining the PEACEFUL PROTEST in downtown Los Angeles, pictures were posted on facebook showing the three Monks in the midst of the barely moving marchers. Sr. Greta and Sr. MJ carried signs which read "Make No Peace With Oppression" and Br. Dennis proclaimed "I Stand With Women".
This from Janey Cutting's facebook page: "For those who believe the women's March was an anti-Trump march or a march protesting his sexism, read the Mission and Vision Statement. Not one word about Trump. Know the truth."
"We stand together in solidarity with our partners and children for the protection of our rights, our safety, our health, and our families -- recognizing that our vibrant and diverse communities are the strength of our country."
On Sunday, the PRISM Restorative Justice Chaplains were back to their normal, heroic Sunday Ministry of visiting the prisoners in the county jails of Los Angeles.
Sr. Teresa was obviously very moved!!!
ED ANDERSEN WAS HERE!!! & SO WERE OVER 60 OF US!!! -- Fortunately for us, Ed Andersen has spent the last 20 years researching the Life & Times of John Muir, and it showed Thursday at the monthly SAGES Luncheon. Oozing with enthusiasm over almost every slide, he honored the man as a national hero AND chronicled Muir's time in Southern California, particularly in and around what is now Lacy Park and the San Gabriel Mission. Based on whom he visited and where and how he traveled around the area, Ed conjectured that Muir most probably was on our Campus at one time or another. At this point, he cannot prove this conclusively, but he continues his research.
For the record, this was the most highly attended SAGES function EVER! When informed of this, he gave all of the credit to John Muir. However, having witnessed the preparation for and having attended every Meeting, I think I am qualified to state that Ed Andersen was the major reason for the big draw. Of course, it did not hurt that Gabe Vazquez-Reyes created some visual announcements which were eye catching and complimented Ed's own write up of his presentation. Finally, for the forty or so regulars who always circle the third Thursday of the month, I am positive one of the draws besides Ed was the promise of one of Diane Rivera's world famous offerings. FYI, she did not disappoint with an enormous pot of delicious vegetable beef soup. We also were blessed yet again with an arm full of wonderful rolls which Bill Ferry brings us from the The Baguette Express in San Gabriel. As impressive as he looks as he comes into Cleaver Hall loaded down with rolls, he also is proud that he is able to buy them for $1.50 a piece.
ED BROUGHT GUESTS -- Among the 60 or so attendees were at least five people from the Arcadia Historical Society. Ed is a member in good standing; as we have heard as we celebrate 150 years, it was good to have visitors from the community on Campus to see what we have to offer. I was at table with two of these folks, and both confessed that they had no idea what an extensive Campus we have. Since they had arrived early, Ed gave one of them a tour of the Sanctuary, and he raved about the stained glass windows and the connection with the Patton family. It is obvious to me that there is interest in who and what we are. Our challenge is to get them to enter through the gates at 535 West Roses Road.
HERE'S YOUR CHANCE TO BRING NEW PEOPLE ONTO CAMPUS -- The MARCH 16 Meeting of SAGES will feature parishioner BETTY DUKER sharing her extensive knowledge of our STAINED GLASS WINDOWS. Not only is this great news, it is made even better because she will be doing this within the Sanctuary after lunch in Cleaver Hall. You all are invited to take this opportunity to hear from the most knowledgeable person at COS about our fabulous windows AND BRING A FRIEND. Details will be posted a month or so from now.
HAVE YOU EVER WONDERED WHO CLEANED UP AFTER THE 5,000 WERE FED? -- We never hear about who bussed the shore of the Sea of Galilee after the consumption of the loaves and fishes, BUT one thing Sue and I are sure of is that they probably were distant relatives of Henrietta Ma, Eileen Delaney, David Coleman and Diane Rivera (and Kathy Macauley when she is in town). After every single SAGES Meeting, you will ALWAYS find these people cleaning up Cleaver Hall and the kitchen. THANK YOU from the Management.
OTHER RELEVANT PEOPLE IN THE NEWS --
The Rev. Canon John Taylor, Bishop Coadjutor, is on Pilgrimage to the Holy Land, and he had the opportunity to meet with The Rev. Canon Fuad Dagher, Rector of St. Paul's Episcopal Church, our Sister Parish in the Galilee.
Br. Dennis Gibbs celebrated his 19th Birthday!!!
The Rev. Dr. Florence Li Tim-Oi: On January 24 The Episcopal Church celebrated the Feast Day of The Rev. Dr. Florence Li Tim-Oi, the FIRST WOMAN TO EXERCISE THE OFFICE OF A PRIEST IN THE ANGLICAN COMMUNION (1944).