The Beacon (Repost)

"This is the Lord's Table and ALL are Welcome!" Fr. Gary 2017

OUR GREATEST EPISCOPAL MOMENT!!! -- Saturday, July 8, was the most exciting institutional Episcopal moment we have ever experienced. On that day, at 1:30 the Ordination and Consecration of The Rev. Canon John Harvey Taylor as Bishop Coadjutor of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles began. The Dorothy Chandler Pavilion was filled to capacity (3.156), and there was hardly a vacant space on the spacious stage. Rex Botengan captured the beauty of the gathering on stage in a picture he took from the Founders Circle (below), and I was struck by Kathy Vine's comment.Sunday morning. She and Von were sitting in the same area with Rex, and she said the music, the colors, the splendor made her feel like she was experiencing a Church of England celebration in one of its cathedrals.

We talked with our friend Canon Lydia Lopez who was a Presenter seated in the front row, and she marveled at how well the whole Consecration had been choreographed by our friend Canon Bob Williams. We can attest to the incredible level of organization since we were privileged to Process as Honorary Canons. As such, we were instructed to gather down stairs under the stage no later than 12:15, and we found a huge gathering of clergy, Cathedral staff, diocesan commission members, inter-faith leaders, ministry heads, guilds and lay canons. During the hour before we processed, we saw all three Community of Divine Love Monks, The Rev. Ada Wong-Nagata, Deacon Bill Doulos, Postulants Kathy Feng and Gabe & Taylor Vazquez-Reyes, Sherm & Marge Telleen, Canon Ann Seitz from Immanuel, Salam Al-Marayati from the Muslim Public Affairs Council and many other priests whom we have known over the years while we were speaking on behalf of the Diocese of Jerusalem. We missed The Rev. Gary Bradley & The Rev. Peg Bradley, The Rev. Nancy Shier, The Rev. Thomas Ni and Deacon Robin Kassabian but saw them enter stage right (or was that stage left?) with the other clergy. The Very Rev. Canon Hosam Naoum, Dean of St. George's Cathedral Jerusalem, attended as Archbishop Suheil Dawani's representative, and Canon Iyad Qumri came to pay his respects to Bishop Bruno and Bishop Taylor, both of whom have organized many Pilgrimages with him.   

"CHRIST IS MADE THE SURE FOUNDATION" --  At 1:15 the staff began to move from both stage right and left all of the people who had assembled with us, and we entered the Hall and filled in the front rows. We ended up six rows from the stage practically in the center. Interestingly, the clergy who followed us were seated in the 'cheaper seats' on the far sides of the hall. During this time music was provided by, among others, our own Canon Phil Smith at the organ. Then, right after Bishop-elect The Rev. Canon John Taylor had entered, everyone was asked to stand and join in singing the Opening Hymn "Christ Is Made The Sure Foundation". Hearing this hymn sung by 3,100 voices is something we will never forget!!!

The singing of this hymn announced the arrival of PROCESSION IV which concluded with the entry of the Co-Consecrating Bishops, Bishop Suffragan Diane Bruce, Bishop Diocesan J. Jon Bruno and the Presiding Bishop Michael Curry.

"FEEDING HUNGRY HEARTS: LET US KEEP THE FEAST!" -- The theme Bishop Coadjutor Taylor has chosen for his episcopate is "Feeding Hungry Hearts" inspired by Matthew 25:35 -- "...for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me...". As with Bishop Bruno's "Hands In Healing" cross, Bishop Taylor has commissioned a small cross to symbolize this message. It is a beautiful combination of swirling purple, red and orange hearts culminating in a central heart of pink and yellow. I plan to wear both of them in my lapel whenever I dress up like an adult. (FYI, reflecting the international spirit of the Consecration, I noted that the package the cross came in clearly stated that it was made in China.)

PERSONAL RELECTIONS ON THIS JOYFUL CELEBRATION --Bishop Coadjutor John Taylor is the Right Man in the Right Place at the Right Time!!!

Some highlights of his Journey: Raised an Episcopalian, his parents were journalists and rumor has it that his mother was an active and very liberal member of All Saints Pasadena. Environment notwithstanding, he went to work for President Richard M. Nixon in 1979 and became his Chief of Staff in 1984 and oversaw the plans for the Nixon Library in Yorba Linda. "Nixon biographer Jonathan Aitken said his relationship with Bishop Taylor was the best he had enjoyed with an aide since his White House days with Henry Kissinger." Further reinforcing this trust, Taylor was chosen as Mr. Nixon's coexecutor estate, oversaw both his and Mrs. Nixon's funerals and in 2007 coordinated the Nixon Library's entry into the federal government's systems of presidential libraries.

Kathy Hannigan O'Connor: Outstanding in Her Own Right!!!: As far as we are concerned, as with Bishop Bruno & Mary, our Annual Convention elected a "twofer".  When they voted for John Taylor, we also got his wife Kathy. She too worked for Mr. Nixon as his Chief of Staff from 1990 until his death in 2004. She currently is continuing to pursue her career with an Orange County Agency, but we have no doubts that her opinions and capable help will be sought after 24/7. By the way, they will be living in the permanent diocesan residence in Chapman Woods during his episcopacy.

A Number & Kneeling -- Two unrelated things which really impressed me. First of all, Bishop Taylor is the 1,101st successive bishop in the history of The Episcopal Church. Secondly, although he is 62, he has the KNEES OF A 30 YEAR OLD! I don't know whether anyone else noted this; but as a person with impaired knees, I did. Had I ever been approached to run for the position, I would have had to decline because I could never stay in that position for as long Bishop John had to!

COS Participants: As was noted, CANON PHIL SMITH was the Consecration Organist. THE REV. CANON ADA WONG-NAGATA was a Presenter of the Bishop-elect ANDserved on the Consecration Arrangements Committee. BRIAN DYER was exceptional as one of the three Litanists, and JULI KENNEDY (Soprano) and Brian Dyer (Tenor) represented the COS Choir. In addition, THE Church of Our Saviour Banner which proclaims San Gabriel 1867 was on display in the lobby of the Hall. 

VENI SANCTO SPIRITUS: One of the clear highlights of the Consecration Ceremony was the Laying on of Hands by the Presiding Bishop, the Bishops of Los Angeles and 20 Bishops visiting from around the U.S. and the Anglican Communion. Aside from being a terrific photo opportunity, the experience of hearing 3,100 people chanting "Veni Sancto Spiritus" while the Presiding Bishop and the other Bishops prayed over Bishop-elect Taylor was deeply moving.

THANK YOU, BISHOP J. JON BRUNO -- Once John Taylor was Consecrated and the Presentations were completed, the Presiding Bishop announced "Greet your new bishop". This we 3,100 people did with long, sustained applause, and then Bishop Coadjutor John Harvey Taylor took over. And boy, did he!!! It was clear who was in charge as he strode across the stage thanking and all of the people who made the event possible. He also thanked all of the guests and dignitaries in attendance and even inserted bits and pieces of a Homily between strides. However, for us the best 'thank you' was his recognition of the 17 years Bishop Bruno has been our Diocesan Bishop. ALL 3,100 people stood and applauded for Bishop Bruno for what felt like several minutes. We were so happy for him; as far as we are concerned, there has been no other Bishop in The Episcopal Church in our time who has done more for ecumenical and inter-faith relations and for the larger church than he. ONE OF A KIND! 

The Final Highlight -- As we stood in line to take Communion, we were surprised and privileged to be joined by Mary Bruno and Kathy Taylor. What a glorious way to end a glorious day!!!

BOOM - BOOM - BOOM - BOOM - BOOM - BOOM - BOOM - BOOM ... BOOM - BOOM -- "From time to time, the Bishop names clergy and lay persons HONORARY CANONS of the Cathedral Center of St. Paul in recognition of significant service to the larger church." I don't know whether it is true with other bishops in The Episcopal Church, but the Bishops of Los Angeles have utilized the awarding of Honorary Canon designations generously during their episcopate. That said, few parishes have been more recognized than COS over the past 25 years. By my count, the number of our people so honored (chronologically) is EIGHT plus TWO INDIRECTLY RELATED: The Rev. Nicholas Kouletsis (deceased), The Rev. Denis O'Pray, Dorris Dann, Sue Smock, Sandy Smock, The Rev. Michael Battle, Alan Weirick (deceased), Phil Smith, The Rev. Ada Wong-Nagata PLUS Iyad Qumri and The Rev. Fuad Dagher from the Diocese of Jerusalem. (I claim Fr. Fuad and Iyad because COS was responsible for introducing both to Bishop Bruno in the backyard of the Rectory in August 2004.)       

THE MESSENGER -- I know many of you receive The MESSENGER by mail because that is your preferred (or only) way to access it. That's well and good because at least you are aware of what's going in the parish on a weekly basis. However, if you do not receive The MESSENGER on-line, you are missing the colorful presentation incorporated by Gabe Vazquez-Reyes. It makes the announcements even more compelling.

JULY 4TH @ COS -- The ever present Gabe Vazquez-Reyes was front and center on July 4th taking 'selfies' of at least 15 parishioners who joined him in marching in the San Gabriel Parade. This group carried two banners, the vertical one proclaiming the 150th Anniversary of COS and the other a horizontal banner promoting THE Church of Our Saviour in English and Mandarin. Meanwhile, on campus Fr. Thomas Ni and the Mandarin Congregation gathered for a picnic before heading north to Lacy Park and the fireworks.


THE MONK OFFERS SAN MARINO SOME ADVICE -- Br. Dennis Gibbs, CDL, was COS's Guest Columnist in the July 7 San Marino Tribune last week. His article was entitled "Drought", and I thought it was a very appropriate message from a person committed to following a monastic life. I also was impressed that the newspaper included a long paragraph at the end introducing Br. Dennis' Credentials. Very impressive!

YOU SURE YOU WANT TO BECOME A POSTULANT, TOO, GABE? -- Based ONLY on what I see on Facebook, I'm beginning to wonder what Gabe Vazquez does in his spare time. Several weeks ago he was leading three of our young people on a week long LA CITY Pilgrimage along with other youth from around the Diocese. Then, he appears on July 4th 'selfieing' the San Gabriel Parade. Saturday, he was all over the place at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion as we celebrated the Consecration The Rev. Canon John Taylor. (Although I don't know for sure, I suspect it was he who made sure the COS Banner made it to the Consecration.) On Monday, July 10, he flew to Edmond, Oklahoma to participate in an Episcopal Youth Event called "Path To Peace". The event runs for four days, and 1,300 young people will be attending. This is an every three year happening mandated by The Episcopal Church so "that the energy of the youth of TEC can continue to be utilized in active ministry as members of the Body of Christ". I'm exhausted just following his schedule!