Friday, September 2, 2011
Friday, July 22, 2011
Sunday, June 26, 2011
Sunday, June 19, 2011
I was greeted warmly by Bill, the Junior Warden. The Senior Warden had to go out of town, and the organist had a death in the family. Bill was the usher, song leader (great voice! -- we sang a Capella) and altar guild person. John was there too -- he is 87, lives across the street from the church (literally), and started out his career on Broadway. He is an accomplished painter and had lots of stories to share with my husband Steve before the service.
Bill rang the bell to call everyone to church -- twelve pulls on the rope. A few minutes later, the acolytes showed up -- Oscar and Isaac. Oscar will be going on the Youth trip to the Holy Land with Bishop Bruno in a few weeks. Before I left I discovered Isaac will be with me when I'm "bishop in residence" at Camp Stevens the week of the 17th of July. Oscar and Isaac served as acolytes, and Oscar also read a lesson and bid the prayers of the people. He's a straight A student, who wants to go to UC Berkeley (yes, my alma mater!).
With my husband, my chaplain and her husband, the supply priest (Christine Self-Verone), and the congregation -- we numbered 11 in all. Bill kept apologizing for the size of the congregation -- to me, it was wonderful. The sermon became a Q and A, with everyone asking questions and offering suggestions or comments. Oscar and Isaac's parents made me a beautiful card (their Dad is an artist) -- the card welcomed me to St. Francis. I felt as though I had just come home -- warm and welcoming people, and beautifully (recently redone) sanctuary. The beginning of the service was actually a re-dedication of the sanctuary. St. Francis lived up to the sign in the front yard -- the Episcopal church did indeed welcome me!
You may be asking yourself, "how can they stay open with so few people?" Well, IRIS -- Interfaith Refugee and Immigration Service --http://iris-la.org/) is housed there and takes care of expenses. Five days per week this site is open to meet the needs of refugees and immigrants. Bill volunteers there teaching English 2 days per week. He is a wonderful bridge between the congregation and IRIS.
With a declining population at the chapel, St. Francis opened it's doors and welcomed IRIS, and new life has sprung in this beautiful little church.
I wonder how many more partnerships I will find like this one -- where the needs of the community are met, not by the people of the parish trying to put a program together, but by the people of the parish opening their doors to welcome a group who CAN do that work. Hmmm. partnering together to make a difference in the lives of people in their community -- sounds like the Holy Spirit moving!
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
Friday, May 6, 2011
Monday, May 2, 2011
Saturday, April 23, 2011
During my recent trip to Korea, a few of us were given a private tour of the convent that is located on the grounds of the Cathedral in Seoul. Sr. Catherine, a spry 70 year old nun who is also a priest (it is interesting to see her in her habit with a clerical collar!) gave us the tour.
We came to a door that had the sign pictured in the photo in this blog entry. ENGAZED! I think they meant to write "engaged" -- but I was fascinated by this "new" word. It isn't in the dictionary -- I checked.
Gaze -- to fix the eyes in a steady intent look often with eagerness or studious attention.
Hmmm. Maybe a working definition of engazed could be: to fix the eyes in a steady intent look on our inner life or soul; self reflection. Or, better yet: to become so fully attentive to something that nothing can take ones eyes or thoughts off the object of the gaze.I wonder if, on this Holy Saturday, we can engaze and look at the tomb so intently that we see the stone being rolled away, our Lord resurrected.
On this most Holy Night, may we be engazed as the paschal fire is lit, as we process into the darkened sanctuary -- the paschal candle cutting the darkness with its light. May we be engazed as we hear the stories of the history and of our Lord's passover from death to life. May we as we cry out "Alleluia! The Lord is Risen! The Lord is Risen indeed! Alleluia!" find our lives transformed through self-reflection (engazement!) by the great loving act that was done for us.
Saturday, April 2, 2011
- Does your parish distribute your newsletter electronically? Paper only? Electronic and paper?
- Why provide a weekly email blast with information about upcoming events?
- Is there "payback" in terms of attendance or participation with what we're doing electronically?
- Making sure events and the dates/times of the events in the bulletin, email blast and webpage are consistent and accurate (how often we slip on one or more!)
- What is the purpose of a blog? What kind of information should a blog contain, and how should it be displayed?
- Facebook as a tool for sharing information (or not!) and sharing what parishes are doing on the diocesan Facebook page.
- What NOT to post on Facebook, and how to delete comments that some may leave that are rude.
We went through and looked at the features offered on Constant Contact, the vehicle the Diocese uses to deliver the weekly email blast. It was fun to see how an email blast is developed and used, and the stats that Constant Contact provides. I used to work on the email blast at St. Clement's, as well as the old website. Speaking of websites, we went on various websites in differing denominations talking about what just the home page says about that church as it comes up and into our view. Each spoke volumes about the community of faith it represented (or not, depending on the website). So much fun!
This was a wonderful class, with great questions and even better ideas. I learned a lot from this group. I think that's what teaching really is about: learning as we share what we learn with others. These students are talking about keeping in touch and sharing ideas/information/best practices. I'm grateful that I was invited to be part of this group this day, sharing what I know.
I wonder what it would be like if we ALL shared what we knew, what works well and what doesn't, freely with one another. I'm going to have to wander onto the websites of these students in a few months to see what they have done.
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
The youth are going to go on a pilgrimage to Ireland. I'll be going back to talk with them (and others interested) about Celtic spirituality before they go.
Monday, February 28, 2011
Sunday, February 27, 2011
It was a thrill to be at this great event with board member the Rev. Ryan Newman as well as celebrities Fritz Coleman, Dr. Drew and actress Jean Smart.
All these wonderful people, and so many more came together to support Hillsides. From their website,
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Well, it is at St. Peter's in Santa Maria. This past Sunday morning I celebrated the re-dedication of the sanctuary post-renovation. It was, as reported in my last blog, a Spirit-filled, beautiful liturgy.
St. Peter's Church is a charming Old English style building with a wooden spire topped with a rooster weather vane (one of my favorite objects to collect -- roosters!). The building was erected in 1932.
The tabernacle is the original -- which, before the renovation, was located behind the altar. With the renovation the pulpit was removed and the old, closed off chancel was opened up for easy access and to make the space more conducive to different ways to set up the chancel and the nave.
Where to put the tabernacle?
Well, there was this nice wall, but what to put the tabernacle on? The answer came as a movement of the Spirit . You see, the pulpit was removed and laid on its side in the space where the tabernacle now resides. The Spirit moved as the people stood there -- Aha! Take the old pulpit (which was part of the building as it was opened in 1932) and cut it down. But wait -- there's more! As it turned out, a member of the parish had an old piece of marble her father had brought back (from Italy?) in the 1930's which was stored in her garage. An artisan measured it to fit, cut it to size and beveled the edges and -- voila! Re-tooling existing, era-appropriate pieces created something new and beautiful!
I think the Spirit was moving that day. It was when the pulpit was lying there, with the people standing there not not knowing what would happen to the pulpit or what to put the tabernacle on that a re-visioning took place.
Monday, February 14, 2011
We wandered down to St. Mark's in Los Olivos. I was invited to give a talk on stewardship at a dinner last evening. That's when I experienced radical hospitality in a new way.
From the moment I entered the parish grounds, the warmth of the grounds and people made both Steve and me feel very welcome!
I've included pictures here of just some of the welcoming touches -- drinks put out for us in the parlor so we could rest. The women's room was wonderful, and the invitation to join the church was there -- see the picture above. And then there was the doggie water sign -- so anyone coming through the courtyard would see this and be able to offer water to their dog.
At dinner, the members of the parish gathered were asked to write on a heart what they love about St. Mark's. I've included a picture of the hearts that were filled out and placed on a tree. One woman who is actually a member of a parish in Santa Barbara came because she received an invitation in the mail (she was a long time member at St. Mark's and now lives in Santa Barbara, but is still on St. Mark's mailing list). She told me, "it was so great to receive this pink invitation to come to a Valentine's dinner to meet you. I'm so glad I was here -- and so happy to have received this invitation."
Most importantly, setting the tone for the evening was a spiritual, moving service at 5:00 that began with the lighting of candles by each person who attended. Lighting the candles off the first and then subsequent candles was so moving. Bear offered music on guitar that was not only appropriate for the service, but moving spiritually. The service, put together by the Rector, was the icing on the cake. I was moved to tears on more than one occassion during the service -- it was amazing.
It was an amazing day yesterday, starting with St. Peter's and ending with St. Mark's. Hospitality was the order of the day -- it was radical and wonderful.
Tuesday, February 1, 2011
It started off as just a good idea -- a retreat for the women of St. Michael and All Angels in Corona del Mar. Then the seed of a good idea grew.
"How about a retreat for the women of deanery X?"
And it grew again --
"How about inviting the women of deanery IX as well?"
The planning team putting this event together checked with my calendar and the date was set. Then the real planning happened: "What if we look at ways in which we can express our spirituality?" An iconographer was invited to talk about how icons are made. A person versed in journalling was invited. Then there was the person who brought beads and taught the women gathered how to make Anglican Rosaries. For those who needed to stretch their legs there was a walk planned. There was a room set aside and a person invited to lead the women in a yoga practice. There was a labyrinth drawn onto the patio surface. A wonderful, peace-filled chapel built in the sacristy. Lastly, there was quiet room for reading or resting. I don't think I left anything out -- there were plenty of opportunities, in two sessions, for the women gathered to express themselves spiritually.
And it grew yet again --
"Well, if women from other deaneries want to come,they are welcome!"
It was built, and they came -- 180 women attended this event.
I had the privilege of giving a talk (half an hour) on expressive spirituality, and then I spent another half an hour fielding questions. The Eucharist was celebrated at noon, and lunch was served at 1:00. The organizers had the blessing of having to run to Costco to purchase additional food! There were 130 who were expected to attend, 180 showed up!
It showed that there is a deep hunger for days of respite, especially for women. Those gathered wanted to make sure we would do this again next year -- we will, at Trinity in Orange sometime in January.
There were also women there from Deanery I -- a date has been set for them in June (June 4th) at Prince of Peace in Woodland Hills. A Deanery VIII attendee has taken on the task of planning something there as well.
How the Spirit moved this past Saturday -- I wonder, as we "roll this out" around the diocese, how the Spirit will move in the different groups? As I wander around attending these opportunities to express ourselves spiritually, I'll let you know.