Sunday, January 29, 2012

A few weeks ago I wandered over to St. Mary's, Mariposa to the Episcopal Asian Ministry (EAM) New Year celebration. Although some who attended had to leave before our group picture was taken, I think you have an idea of how well attended this event was!

Members of our Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Filipino congregations were there, and each congregation was in charge of different parts on the Evensong we celebrated together. We heard readings and music in many different languages, saw beautiful dance demonstrations and yes, at the end, everyone enjoyed a delicious dinner. We missed our Vietnamese brothers and sisters who were unable to join us this evening.

I so enjoy EAM gatherings, and found this evensong spiritually uplifting -- what a wonderful way to start the New Year!

Tonight I'll be with members of the Chinese speaking churches here in the diocese to celebrate Chinese New Year -- the year of the dragon.

Happy New Year everyone!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Episcopal Asian Ministry New Year Celebration

This was my first experience with all the various churches at a joint New Year celebration this past Sunday. Hosted by St. Mary's Mariposa, almost all the congregations involved in Asian ministry in the Diocese were there.

Celebrating the New Year with lessons and carols was wonderful. Each of the congregations presented a representative song or dance for each of the assigned lessons. the lessons were read in the various languages in which the Eucharist is celebrated each Sunday in the diocese. Beautiful costumes and sweet voices filled st. Mary's Sanctuary.

Asian ministry in the Episcopal Church is as varied as the cultures that make it up. In this diocese Chinese (Mandarin, Cantonese and Taiwanese), Korean, Filipino, Vietnamese and Japanese congregations comprise our ministry. The languages are different, as are the cuisines and cultures. Yet we come together to celebrate the one thing in coming: Asian heritage.

While there may have been historic cultural divisions between the various Asian groups that make up this ministry, all come together joyfully as followers of Jesus Christ, working and celebrating at times like this jointly and collaboratively to the glory of God. Oh that this world could mirror such love and care.

I wonder what we will be doing next year for this celebration?

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Happy New Year!

Oooh! It's been a long time since I've blogged. That's because, well, it's been busy. You may ask, "too busy to blog?" Absolutely.

I started reflecting over the last few days about all the amazing mission and ministry that I experienced in a wide variety of circumstances this past year:
  • Start of the Instituto de Liderazgo -- training Spanish-speaking lay leaders.
  • Stewardship presentations throughout the diocese including Los Olivos, Beaumont and Fullerton, to name a few.
  • AMAZING visitations from Santa Maria to Rialto to Glendale to Rancho Santa Margarita to Thousand Oaks -- I put LOTS of miles on my car this year!
  • Wonderful liturgies such as the Zydeco Mass at St. Luke's in Long Beach, Christmas Eve at Trinity Orange, joint Chinese service at Church of Our Saviour in San Gabriel, and all the confirmations services!
  • Retreats throughout the diocese.
  • Mutual ministry reviews -- I enjoy participating in those!
  • Participating in liturgies at churches in my geographical area of responsibility during Holy Week, Easter and Christmas.
  • Ordaining new clergy -- especially being able to do so in Mandarin.
  • The wonderful tea at Holy Communion, Gardena, where I was able to announce a new Canon -- Canon Ruthie Leonard. The picture above is of the two of us at that event -- I won for most whimsical hat!
I think I enjoyed the confirmations, receptions and reaffirmations the most. Being able to speak with people about why they are making this adult affirmation or reaffirmation of their faith -- what brought them to this church and this moment was humbling. I always ask young people, "are you doing this of your own free will -- no one is making you do this?" One VERY honest young man looked at me and said, "my Mom is making me do it -- I don't want to." Fifteen minutes later, after speaking with him, we were back on track. Turns out he had a, well, interesting sense of humor.

It was and is my honor to walk together with clergy and laity in the diocese on our shared journey. I have been humbled by stories shared, amazed by creative ministry, and in awe of the energy and vitality in so many congregations. Of course, I don't need to tell you that I love working with J. Jon Bruno and Mary Douglas Glasspool --I am blessed to be working with two dedicated, spiritual and talented bishops. I also don't think I need to tell you -- but I will -- that the entire Diocesan staff works very hard -- and I so appreciate their professionalism and care.

Now, I know the greater LA area is a hotbed for TV and movie crews to film. One of the most impressive moments for me came not in the diocese as I'm driving around, but in Seoul Korea where I was able to attend a gathering of Korean clergy from the United States. I sat one evening putting my feet up in my room, resting after a LONG day of conference meetings. I flipped on the TV to find an American TV show (with Korean subtitles). As I watched -- I saw an actor sitting in the pew of a church, and as the camera panned toward the chancel, I realized it was St. Mark's in Glendale! Holy Guacamole! I just had to smile -- and email Mark Weitzel!

I could write about so many more experiences, but I'm going to stop here. One of my resolutions for this new year is to be diligent in getting the stories down more frequently -- I have a few other resolutions, but I won't share them here. You can ask me when you see me!

I give thanks to all of you, the people of the Diocese of Los Angeles, for the privilege of working with you, to the glory of God, doing mission and ministry. I look forward to 2012 and beyond --