The Beacon (Repost)

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

"I'M BILL DOULOS, AND I'M A DRUG ADDICT AND A DEACON, FORTUNATELY IN THAT ORDER" -- Being in recovery myself for almost 26 years, I can testify that we have come a long, long way in our understanding of the illness that is alcoholism and addiction. Thirty or forty years ago there were few places, let alone the pulpit, where Deacon Bill Doulos would have been able to stand up and state that he is an addict. However, Sunday for the 15th time he was able to stand in front of us in this capacity and celebrate the incredible work JUBILEE HOMES is doing in providing 50 people safe, affordable places from which to continue their Journeys in Recovery.

As God would have it, Psalm 69 was on the schedule, providing Deacon Bill with the perfect introduction to the Ministry and the guest speakers:

"I have become a stranger to my own kindred, an alien to my mother's children...Those who sit at the gate murmur against me, and the drunkards make songs about me...In your great mercy, O God, answer me with your unfailing help. Save me from the mire; do not let me sink; let me be rescued...out of the deep waters. Let not the torrent of waters wash over me, neither let the deep swallow me up...Answer me, O Lord, for your love is swift and answer me for I am in distress;"

This is so perfect; it could serve as Jubilee Home's Mission Statement! And the residents Bill introduced to speak at the two Services confirmed that Jubilee was in fact answering their prayers. We had had a preview of what to expect while sitting on the Telleen Family Courtyard between Services where we had the opportunity to talk with Dixie Colas, Manager of Washington House for Women. She had with her Megan, one of her newer residents, who had spoken at the Early Service. I found the conversation very informative and stimulating, aided by the participation of Nancy Burrows, Cynthia Berne, and Beverly and Jerry Harris. Later on, Dee Dee, another Washington House Resident who spoke at the 10:00 Service, and her daughter Grace joined us, and both mother and daughter further affirmed how important this Ministry is in changing lives for the better. You should have been there!

In addition to Dee Dee, former El Nido resident Cliff spoke, and you could just feel his gratitude for the gift of a new beginning which Jubilee Homes had provided him. Later, after the Service, he and Harry Hathaway had a an interesting conversation about the Salvation Army which had played an important role in Cliff's recovery.  Also involved was Fabian Gonzalez, Manager of the El Nido House, and I have to say I derived a considerable amount of pride from this wonderful example of Community at work.

You should, too, and the best way to show this is to help Deacon Bill meet his Semi-Annual Fundraising Goal by contributing to COS's Jubilee Homes Ministry. Send your check to the parish office and note 'Jubilee' in the Memo space. FYI, each year Deacon Bill raises about $60,000 from his Semi-Annual Appeals which together with the rents from the four houses goes a long way towards balancing his budget. 

ANITA BRANDOW JUNE 26, 2017: A CLASSIC EXAMPLE OF THE PURPOSEFULLY LIVED LIFE -- THE Church of Our Saviour has lost a long time member and major contributor over the years to our Community life. In particular, Anita took a deep interest in Our Saviour Center and was an Emeritus Board Member. Billie Youngblood, a former parishioner and close friend, informed us about how she helped Dorris Dann with the interior decorations of the Cleaver Family Wellness Clinic and Chaired the 100th birthday for Vera Cleaver whose name not only is on the Clinic but also on our Parish Hall because of her incredible generosity.

Two examples of how committed she was to life are worth noting. Almost to very end Anita attended Sr. Greta Ronningen's Gentle Yoga Class, AND she was an active participant in Kit Shenk's "Joy of Living" Bible Study Class. Clearly, these are two pretty good ways to live one's Journey.

CELEBRATE THE 2ND OF JULY WITH BEVERLY & JERRY HARRIS @ COS -- With a little help from their friends, Bev and Jerry Harris are going to feed us all on Sunday morning between the two Services. You really need to be there because the Harris's NEVER do anything small!!! And given that we know some of the 'friends' who have volunteered to help, we may not have to eat again until the 4th of July.     

HOW DO YOU SPELL RENAISSANCE MAN?: C-A-N-ON P-H-I-L S-M-I-T-H!!! -- You all know that Canon Phil Smith is COS's Minister of Music, some of you may know that he is highly respected and always in demand as a visiting organist in the ecumenical and inter-faith communities, some of you may know that he is highly placed member of the American Guild of Organists and some of you may even know that he is the Conservator of "Hurrican Mama", the Disney Hall Organ. However, even if you knew all of the above, I'll bet you didn't know where he was last Saturday night -- unless you were at the Hollywood Bowl. Then, you know that at 6:15 Canon Phil Smith began playing the organ to entertain the capacity crowd who had shown up for the Bowl's Annual "Sound of Music" Sing-A-Long. This was followed at 6:50 by Phil providing the 'parade' music for the PARADE, an hour long celebration of goof balls in the costumes of their favorite Sound of Music characters.


"THE ROAD TO CHARACTER" BY DAVID BROOKS -- Even though it's probably a little too late for two octogenarians like us to spend much of our remaining time trying to find the Road To Character that we may have missed, we are going to read David Brooks' book. Then, we will be joining Br. Dennis Gibb's Six Week Book Group this coming fall. For us, this is exactly the kind of discussion topic we Episcopalians need to enter into rather than the polarizing conversations which most of us experience. Br. Dennis asks that you buy the book now and read it during the summer so that we can hit the ground running in the fall. We have; see you then.

AIDS LUNCH MINISTRY REVISITED -- People our age have accumulated stuff over the years; and even though we moved five years ago from our archeological dig site San Marino, we brought with us many filing cabinets. This week we found ourselves in the Early COS Era of our files and came across a 1998 Messenger which contained several interesting articles, including an update by Dorris Dann on plans for the Cleaver Family Wellness Center and the Beatrice & Jack Bird Learning Lab and a essay by The Rev. Canon Denis O'Pray explaining his concept of Concentric Circles.

In addition, there was an extensive article on the COS AIDS Lunch Ministry. It was started in December 1992 by Carol Hill who was the original coordinator of the Program. Actually, the Ministry was originally started in the late 1980's by the University Synagogue "to provide HIV/AiIDS patients with a nutritious meal so they would not lose their place in line for treatment or have to pay an expensive lunch from the lunch wagon." The Episcopal Bishop's Commission on AIDS Ministry soon became a partner, and the Episcopal involvement grew from there.

According to the Messenger article, nine COS parishioners in addition to Carol prepared and served lunch to 100 AIDS patients on the second Wednesday of every month. "Lucretia Cloran coordinated the Program and shopped for the food. Debbie Andersen hard cooked and shelled three dozen eggs...Anne Kibler baked ten dozen cookies...Audrey & Tom Harrigan, Marilyn Lester and Margaret Marsh arrived at 8:00 AM on Wednesday to make sandwiches, wash fruit and organize for the day. Beverly Harris created decorations using a theme for each month, and Elly Reitz brought flowers donated by San Marino Florists to be given to the patients."

Do not forget that these folks began this Ministry at a time when the AIDS epidemic was still not fully understood. And yet, they still faithfully went to the Los Angeles County/USC Medical Center Clinic on the second Wednesday of every month to serve the very least among us without hesitation.