Sunday, September 19, 2010

You know you've arrived when . . .

It is a funny thing. I was so excited when I ordered it -- I called Mary Gray-Reeves, the Bishop of El Camino Real to make sure she didn't want it. She told me she didn't -- and then I ordered it. I did! My own vanity license plate -- OBISPA. Yes, I know, that word doesn't exist yet in Spanish. Yet. I believe in changing the world one license plate at a time -- obispa is a feminine form of the word obispo which means BISHOP. Spanish speakers at the cathedral center at first shook their heads when they saw it. "La Obispo" is how they referred to me. Well, I think Obispa is much better, and checked it out with Bishop Carranza. He agreed. Actually, lately they have been calling me "obispa". Yes, I'm changing the language one license plate at a time.

Then the other day I realized I had "arrived" as our secretary Lilline would say. Yes, it happened -- I have my own parking space at the cathedral center. Never mind the fact that I'm only there only one day a week. Otherwise, as many of you are aware, I am "out and about" -- "wandering and wondering" around the diocese. There may have been part of me that truly looked forward to it. But, then again, there is part of me that is a little embarrassed by it.

I think that in my wanderings and wonderings I will be paying more attention to license plates I see on the road, and parking spaces reserved for clergy. In many places, these reserved spaces are necessary -- in other places, there isn't any need. What does each place look like? How do the clergy feel about having a parking space or not? What about those clergy (and I know they are out there -- I'm thinking specifically about the Church of the Messiah in Santa Ana) where there isn't ANY parking and, in fact, when they go to work they either have to park in a parking garage where they have to pay to park or they have to feed the meter.

If you're out there reading this blog and have a vanity license plate -- would you be willing to share with me what it is? If you have a reserved parking space, what does the reserved sign say and where is it?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Long Beach

What a busy few days I had a number of weeks ago. I visited St. Thomas of Canterbury, St. Luke's, and St. Gregory's -- all in Long Beach! What an incredibly diverse group of churches, yet each are doing mission and ministry in wonderful ways. They are meeting the needs of the communities surrounding them. It was fascinating and humbling to hear all the areas of mission and ministry they are participating in!

At. St. Gregory's, I met with Fr. Stephen and found out about a wonderful food pantry they have, where they provide food to local families on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. At St Luke's, among all the outreach they do in the community they have a homeless shower program -- and in the women's shower area, there's a washer and dryer. How Christ-like! At St. Thomas, they'll be hosting a health fair in the near future which will include everything from soup to nuts, including bone density testing and fall prevention.

One of my favorite "findings" at St. Luke's was the picture above -- about Jesus being really, really, really -- well you get the message -- COOL! What a profound statement of faith in a community that takes outreach seriously.

The three parishes in Long Beach are different, but they are all committed to mission and ministry -- such a blessing!!

Back on the Board

One of the pleasures in my ministry that I had to give up when I became Rector at St. Clement's was being a member of the Camp Stevens Board. I had loved being chaplain there during the summer, and serving with a wonderful group of people who dedicated themselves to making Camp Stevens a place of adventure for children, refreshment for adults, and a base from which to explore -- literally -- the world. As Bishop Suffragan in charge of the southern third of the diocese of Los Angeles, it felt natural to say "yes!" when asked to come back on the board.

I went a few weekends ago for a board meeting. Much has changed there -- not the least of which is all the building post-big-fire a few years ago. The buildings that have been erected since the fire are more highly-insulated and eco friendly, not to mention beautiful.

One of the great new surprises was the incredible gardens that are under the watchful eye of Ryan Wanamaker, a young man who was on staff and who I thought the world of working with him with groups of children. Ryan keeps a keen eye on the garden behind the kitchen as well as a larger garden down the road.

When I was there for the board meeting, I noticed the wonderful signs above in the kitchen, talking about what is ripe for the picking and where it is, along with some "scavanger hunt" items to draw people to the garden.

Okay, anyone who knows me well knows that I am not the world's best gardener. Although Steve does tell me that I do a bang up job pruning the azaleas every year! I was so struck with Ryan's work and creativity, I have come to a decision: next summer, when I am "bishop in residence" during one of the summer weeks (the week of July 18th, to be exact) I will volunteer to help in the garden any way I can. Weeds? No problem. Slimy things? -- maybe an issue, but I'll do my best.

As I'm wandering and wondering, I can't help but give thanks to God for people like Ryan and the staff at Camp Stevens who not only care about our children, but also the quality of the place they sleep and the food they eat.

With Glee

There is a wonderful young lady who acolytes at St. Stephen's in Whittier. Her name is Lauren Potter (and yes, I received her father's permission to print these pictures). You may recognize her. She is one of the many stars that we have here in the diocese of Los Angeles -- not only a star in the sense that she is a star acolyte (pictured above), she has also played a role as a cheerleader with down syndrome on the popular show GLEE. Her father told me she has her own SAG card! I found a wonderful Glee Fan Club article about Lauren that you can read if you'd like:

This very poised young lady waited patiently as her father -- Chris Potter, along with the Rev. Mary Trainor and other members of St. Stephen's spoke with me recently about a new service they want to start -- The Sixth Day. It will begin on Sunday, October 3rd at 5:00. The service itself will last about 1/2 an hour, with a dinner following. The service is for people seeking God -- and their pets, especially their dogs. This service even has its own page on facebook! The service will be offered every Sunday at 5:00.

It was with glee that I drove home from meeting Lauren and hearing about the great work she is doing as an actress AND an acolyte. It is with glee that I look forward to attending this new Sixth Day service at St. Stephen's!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Dogmatics -- and The Sixth Day


Visiting with the Deanery 9 Clergy at their monthly clericus today, I met Montera. Montera is a guide dog specially trained as an Eagle Scout project for people who are hearing impaired. She was brought to the clericus meeting by the man she helps, Deacon Steven Sterry from Blessed Sacrament in Placentia.

The Rev. Lisa Golden mentioned to the group that a friend of hers has her dog dress in appropriate liturgical-colored scarves during the year. Steve, as a Deacon, mentioned that as he wears a dalmatic, he is hoping for someone to make a "dogmatic" for Montera. Well, a great deal of laughter ensued, as you can only imagine. Montera had been very attentive to the paten containing the communion wafers earlier in the Eucharist that I celebrated. Steve joked that she cannot receive communion because she had not been trained in the CATechism yet. Okay, that was a bad joke, but it was made. Actually, I thought it was pretty funny!

What IS serious -- and wonderful -- is a NEW service that has been developed by the people and clergy of St. Stephen's in Whittier. This new liturgy is -THE SIXTH DAY: FOOD FOR PETS, FOOD FOR THE SOUL. According to the Facebook group: Bring your pets to this inaugural service of Word, Table, Meal, in the Episcopal tradition. Gather at 5 p.m. on Sunday, October 3rd and on Sundays thereafter with other people who enjoy the presence of companion animals. Help support our mission of providing pet food and other life resources to help keep pets in their homes during this economic crunch.
The Sixth Day:The Beginning
Sunday, October 3, 2010 at 5:00pm
In The Back Room of St. Stephen's, 10925 Valley Home Ave., Whittier.

It is truly an emergent service. It speaks to who is around the parish -- and in the parish. What a wonderful outreach opportunity!!!! And yes, I believe Montera will be present on October 3rd. On October 24th I will be there along with my dog Nigel Bruce (yes really, that's his name) -- our 16 year old corgie/shepherd mix.

I believe that the love of God in Christ is visible in many forms -- and today, laughing with Deacon Steve and Montera, I can't help but think that Jesus would say, Amen, Amen, Amen!