On two different days this week I encountered mission and ministry in very different ways.
I had the good fortune of spending time with the Rev. Canon Elizabeth Habecker at St. Mark's in Downey. When I drove up to the Church and School, I saw Liz and Glenda Roberts, the principal of the school, attaching a temporary sign over the church sign announcing the summer schedule for Sunday worship. The two women were working together to put the sign in place with zip ties.
Liz and I spent some time together in her office, talking about multicultural ministry, St. Mark's, life in general. We then went to lunch with Glenda. What I found most interesting and heart warming is that the relationship between these two leaders is reflected in the way in which the website is setup. If you go to St. Mark's website, the church and the school share the home page of the website equally -- with scroll bars down the middle and edge of the page. As we talked over lunch, it became apparent that the success of both the Church and the School lies in the relationship the two leaders have, and the way they so effectively communicate with each other. There is a clear vision, and it is shared by the Church and the School. I look forward to returning in the fall and seeing the children in their classes!
My other great joy this week was to be the celebrant at the national Girls Friendly Society (GFS) gathering at Chapman University in Orange. The young ladies gathered and their leaders from the diocese of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Western Massachusetts and Pennsylvania along with our own Diocese of Los Angeles were present. It's interesting, there are no GFS chapters between the coasts!
I didn't have to worry that people wouldn't understand my accent, as most of those gathered were from around the area I was born. It was a beautiful celebration, with the installation of new officers and the celebration of the Eucharist together. The Rev. Dr. Barbara Stewart is a whiz at liturgy, and once again turned out a spirit filled, joyful celebration! It was fun for me to talk to the young ladies and leaders about leadership and the power of how they are being formed through GFS. The GFS motto is "Bear ye one another's burdens, and fulfil the law of Christ." (Galatians 6:2).
During the week, they were able to have some fun (yes, Disneyland!) and do some profound work -- volunteering in an Alzheimer's unit, making bags for military children (with cameras, paper and pens, etc. to communicate to their parents overseas), quilts/blankets, t-shirts for Kenya, scarves for the Seaman's Institute, working in a thrift shop and also participating in an ecological cleanup in Carbon Canyon and the wetlands.
St. Mark's Downey Church and School and GFS both have a clear understanding of their mission and ministry in this world. It was a pleasure and honor for me to be at both and witness this good work this week.