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.