Friday, September 2, 2011

Mail from Camp Stevens

Before starting my vacation, I was "Bishop in Residence" at Camp Stevens. You may have seen my blog post on "snickerdoodles" from Camp.

I love being with the staff and campers, and helping out any way I can. One particular group this summer -- the Super-Sleuth-Swine really tugged at my heart strings. They were detectives solving a mystery -- surrounding a character with the initials BBW -- and their activities were all centered on getting clues to solve the mystery. My favorite "clue" that they found was on a laminated piece of paper wrapped around a brick at the bottom of the pool!

Every time I ran into the group or members of the group I'd ask them if they had any new "leads" or "clues" -- they were all so excited to share with me what they were doing and what they had learned. I had to leave camp early and couldn't find out how their "mystery" was solved. Then, I received a letter from them all to let me know what had happened! The text of the letter (pictured) is as follows:

Dear Diane,
Hey. How are you doing? We, the super-sleuth-swine have solved the case. We found BBW (Big Bad Wolf) decorating (what seemed like destroying) our meeting spot, and we realized that he is actually misunderstood. The BBW was actually MUW! (Mis Understood Wolf). We came across him TP-ing our meeting spot, which was meant to make it look nice. Anyway, thanks for helping us make fantabulous journals, for listening to our stories, and we think back about the awesome time we ad with you. Your friends, the Super-Sleuth-Swine.
PS -- Oink!
The Super-Sleuth-Swine are: Alex, LexyJo, Justice, Nikky (Chloe), Sophie, John, Meredith, Nigel, Nathan, Evan and Monkey (Maria).

If you haven't been to Camp Stevens lately -- please plan on bringing a group from your church up there. If you have children or grandchildren "camp age" -- plan now to send them next summer. Don't know about the camp? Here some important links:

Just Action Video on gardening at the camp:

Just Action Video on the Camping Program:

I wonder when I wander over to camp what I'll find next -- maybe the BBW!

A VERY Special Charm

I have been meaning to write about this most incredible day for months now, but time slipped away from me.

A few months ago I had the privilege of visiting St. Mark's in Downey. It was a wonderful service, with almost every child from the school (and their parents) present on a Sunday morning -- not all of them are Episcopalians, mind you! I spoke with many of the children personally. The church was PACKED!

One young girl stood next to me a good deal of the time -- she was very quiet, but attentive to everything that was going on. I asked her if she would like to stand next to me as I did the closing blessing -- she stood next to me, and I invited all the children (yes, really) to come up and help me do the blessing -- they did, and it was a Spirit-filled moment in the service.

After the service was over, there was a barbeque lunch. As is my custom, I went table to table to talk to the people as I ate my hamburger (I'm really good at eating while walking around). I came to this young girl's table, and she introduced me to her parents and grandparents. We had a lovely chat about the service (they are Roman Catholic). They had never seen a woman bishop before, and they had lots of questions for me.

Right as I was saying my last goodbyes, this young girl ran up to me, took this charm off her bracelet and handed it to me -- "I want you to remember me -- I'll always remember you" she said to me.

I will -- I promised. And I do.

Friday, July 22, 2011


I had a wonderful time at Camp Stevens this past week! Not only was the weather beautiful, but the campers and staff were great! Here is a picture of part of Lindsay Taylor's campers at work making snickerdoodles -- Lindsay is the daughter of Fr. John Taylor -- and she is a most talented and creative staff person!

Chris, the lay chaplain, was phenomenal -- she gave a wonderful talk to the campers.

We filmed an upcoming Just Action clip -- on the camp and on the farms there. I got to hold a chicken and feed them too! It was a great treat.

One of the highlights of the week for me was when a young boy ran up to me as he was on his way to join his group --

"Diane, can you pray with me later?"

I said, "Sure -- is everything okay?"

"Yes" he replied. "I just have lots of happy prayers to pray today."

I have lots of happy prayers to pray about my time at Camp Stevens!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Welcome, welcome, welcome!

It was the start of a beautiful, warm Southern California day -- the sky so blue, the air warm.

I saw the sign and smiled -- "we LOVE Our Bishops-- Welcome!" How lovely it was to be welcomed in such a warm way, and to have ALL the bishops in the Diocese of Los Angeles remembered.

It is the radical hospitality offered at this parish that caused other parishes in the area to send people over to be confirmed, received or reaffirm their confirmation vows. It was a beautiful day.

The rector of the parish, the Rev. Mark Hallahan is an exceptionally kind, spiritual man who loves Jesus and loves this congregation. It is obvious just standing in the sanctuary.Among the amazing moments for me was the fact that this ex-Roman Catholic was in a church where the Society of Mary is present -- and given that fact that today was my mother's birthday (Mary Alice Deal Jardine), it made me so glad to be there.

If you're ever in Pomona, check out St. Paul's -- today we dedicated an upper room for prayer, meditation and day retreats. It's a reflection of the love of God in Christ in this place.

There were people who hugged me as I entered St. Paul's who I remembered from a visit 5 years ago with my husband Steve. There were new friends I met last year when St. Paul's hosted the budget input meeting last summer. There was also an old friend/fellow board member of Camp Stevens (Mary)! there today. What a treat to see her.

I wonder what I will find, or who I will find the next time I wander into St. Paul's. For sure, I will see the face of God in Christ, experience radical welcome and hospitality AND feel the movement of the Holy Spirit.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Episcopal Church Welcomes You

I love visiting congregations and seeing these signs! In this case, it was at today's visitation -- the Chapel of St. Francis in Atwater (Los Angeles).

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 -- 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

In the Harshest of Circumstances

It started out as all the Program Group on Black Ministry meetings start -- with someone near the coffee pots setting out food for dinner. Then there was the exclamation, "Oh My!" as the Rev. Margaret Hudley McCauley discovered that right outside the window was a bird's nest with two eggs in it.

What is most unusual about this bird's nest is that is was built in a dangerous area -- you see there are spikes sticking up so that birds do NOT nest there. Here, in the midst of these spikes, a pigeon had made a nest and laid her eggs. Two pigeons came and sat near the nest -- resting on the edge of the window sill. In the pictures perhaps you can see the "spikes" sticking up around the eggs and silhouetting where the pigeon is sitting.

I couldn't help but think about and pray for all the families in our diocese -- and in the world -- who are trying to raise children in the most difficult of situations -- surrounded by war, poverty and/or disease.

Today I'm praying for all these families -- and for these birds.

Friday, May 6, 2011

UCI Canterbury

As the interim Chaplain is at Credo this week, I volunteered to go to UCI Canterbury last night to celebrate the Eucharist, have dinner, and chat with the students. Here is a picture that was posted on facebook of the group (not the best or biggest, but you get the idea.)

Two of the students had to leave right after dinner -- one was running to a midterm exam, the other to a rehearsal. I couldn't believe the young lady that was running to a midterm came to Canterbury before hand! She plays the piano for the group, and was very helpful to me during the service.

We had a great discussion during the service and during and after dinner. This is an incredibly talented group of young people. I felt privileged to be with them!

One of them, Jeff, is reorganizing the Orange County 20s/30s group. They are meeting on May 14th at 2:30 in Tustin at the district to plan activities, service projects, etc. -- and to see a movie after this discussion. I can get you in touch with Jeff if you'd like more information about this group for yourself or for members of your parish.

I wonder what I will find when I wander back to UCI Canterbury this fall? Hmmm.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Alleluia! Christ is Risen!

Alleluia! Christ is risen! The Lord is risen indeed, Alleluia!

I couldn't help but say these words during my sermon yesterday at St. Gabriel's in Monterey Park. I was there to celebrate the re-dedication of the sanctuary after a horrible fire last year destroyed the sacristy, the altar, organ, and did major damage to the chancel and nave.

Yesterday, the "new" church was absolutely gorgeous! The altar, which was made in China, is an amazing piece of art depicting the Chinese heritage of this congregation in its design and the use of Chinese Christian motifs in the carved wood (for example, the use of the lotus flower in lieu of a lily, the use of a cross that was used by missionaries to China hundreds of years ago). Beautiful!

We celebrated together the ending of the long "Lent" of being in 1/2 of the parish hall since the fire. I had the privilege of being with the people of St. Gabriel's the Sunday after the fire to talk with them and to let them know that the diocese was there for them. During a visitation in October, I was able to see the progress (slow, but there) in rebuilding the sanctuary. I was in contact with Fr. Peter Lo, the Rector of the parish, during the months of re-construction.

Yesterday, Easter joy abounded as the "new" space was blessed and re-claimed by the people. It is a new day for the people of St. Gabriel's -- a beautiful day. Look for an upcoming Just Action video on this great day of thanksgiving, love and life.

Alleluia! Christ is risen! The Lord is risen indeed! Alleluia!

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


I had a wonderful afternoon with Bob William's class on communication (web, blogs, email blasts, etc.) today at Bloy House. I talked with the class about consistency in presentation and information. Some things we talked about:

  • 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

Dodging the Ball

It was so beautiful coming up over the ridge and seeing the fog lay on the hills in the Conejo Valley this past Sunday. It was a glorious early morning drive to St. Patrick's in Thousand Oaks.

Greeted warmly by the Rector, David Galletly, my chaplain Karin Sherman and her husband Jon commented on the incredible stained glass windows in the Sanctuary and the fabulous view of the valley from the Parish Hall. The service was well attended and the people warm and friendly.

The most impressive moment to me was when Michael came up to me and asked me, "Bishop, the youth group wants to know if you'd play dodge ball with us." I said goodbye to the people left in the Parish Hall and trudged up the hill with the youth group and their wonderful leader, KC.

The members of the youth group went VERY easy on this Bishop -- I could tell they didn't want to hurt me -- not that you could with the kind of balls they use for dodge ball these days (what happened to those big, hard rubber balls we used when I was a kid?) These were soft, which for me made them more difficult to throw. KC had no problem, though -- a softball champ, she had a underhand throw that was dynamite!

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.

I had such a wonderful day -- after dodge ball, members of the vestry and the youth group and lay leaders took me to lunch. Fr. David was a gracious host! I wonder what I will get to do the next time I meet this youth group!

Monday, February 28, 2011

How do you spell GFS?

I spent the most wonderful after school hour today with the members of St. John's Costa Mesa GFS group.

This wonderful group of young ladies (from 2nd to 7th grade) had questions for me, and couldn't keep their eyes off of my IPad. We had so much fun checking out my facebook page, farmville, and all my pictures on my facebook page.

More than just checking out what was happening "online", lots was happening in he hearts of these young ladies. God is doing such a great work in them!

So, if you don't have a GFS (Girls' Friendly Society) group at your church -- consider it! Please! These young ladies were alive wih the love of God in Christ in their hearts!\

I wonder what they'll ask me the next time I wander over to St. John's!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Diamonds are Forever

Saturday night Steve and I went to a benefit for Hillsides -- an incredible ministry for children.
This ministry started over 95 years ago in the Diocese of Los Angeles. The theme for this event was "Diamonds are Forever". It was a black tie event with silent and live auctions and a wonderful dinner.

Our host was Margaret Campbell, board member and a long time supporter of Hillsides. As this was my first black tie event as a bishop I had 2 choices -- clericals or something secular. I chose something secular, including putting on 3 inch heels which I haven't worn since ordination in 1997. I think the air is thinner that tall!

It was a wonderful event, and I am posting pictures of our hostess Margaret with Bishop Mary Glasspool and myself as well as Margaret with longtime friend Bishop Jon Bruno.

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,

"Founded 95 years ago, HILLSIDES mission is to create safe places for children, strengthen families, provide special education; and advocate for children's rights. This Southern California non profit creates safe places for children in its residential treatment program where children living in the group homes are in foster care or have been referred by the Department of Mental Health. While on our campus, they reside in a secure, stable environment which enables them to heal and rebuild trusting relatinships with adults."

The fruit of this annual benefit is of benefit to these children -- THEY are the true diamonds and the true stars!
Again, from the Hillsides website: "Diamonds are Forever" is this year's annual benefit theme. Help us unveil the gems in each child we serve.

All these children ARE gems. So is each person who came out last night to raise money for this wonderful, much needed place in our community.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Making Something Old Into Something New

I saw it as I entered the building. It is beautiful! The tabernacle sitting on top of this beautiful marble-topped stand. "How lovely that is, and how perfectly it fits that space!" I thought to myself.

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.
Lord, grant us the eyes to see, the ears to hear, and a heart open to your work among us. Amen.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Radical Hospitality Times Two!

I wandered with my husband Steve up to St. Peter's in Santa Maria. I was at a formal visitation which included the celebration and rededication of their sanctuary. It was an incredible morning, full of love, great music, incredible sharing of the many ministries they are engaged in. I thought to myself, "nothing can top this."

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.