Sunday, March 23, 2014

St. Peter's Preschool

This past Sunday I had the pleasure of being with the clergy and laity of St. Peter's in San Pedro. As it was the day before St. Patrick's Day we used a Celtic Liturgy to mark the occasion. It was the day they were kicking off their stewardship focus for the year based on The Episcopal Network for Stewardship (TENS) theme of Walking the Way. I had worked with the vestry earlier this year and introduced them to the TENS theme. As with a few other churches in the diocese, they picked up on the theme and ran with it!

At the time of the announcements passports were handed out to everyone. You see, they looked at The Way as in the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compestela in Spain during which the pilgrim receives a passport that is stamped along the route. St. Peter's parishioners are going to use the passports during the year, receiving stamps in them as they attend various events at the church. The FIRST stamps were received on Sunday by those who chose to make a "pilgrimage" up to the preschool run by the YWCA on St. Peter's Campus. I was also given a passport, and as I made the short trek to the preschool, I received my first stamp!

The director of the program took us on a tour of the facilities -- how beautiful! The school has the ability to care for up to 60 children, and their current enrollment is about 43. If you or a friend or family member live or work in the San Pedro area and you have infants and/or preschoolers, you may want to consider the program at St. Peter's! I leave you will pictures of the preschool.

I wonder what kind of stamp I'll receive at St. Peter's the next time I make a pilgrimage there?

Friday, March 14, 2014

New Community Conference.

This conference opened with the celebration of the Eucharist in many languages and with much emotion. The preacher was delayed due to problems with flights out of Chicago, so another stepped in a that last minute-- delivering a most powerful sermon. The Presiding Bishop celebrated, flanked at the altar by our own Jamesetta Hammons, Peter Wu from Hawaii, David Bailey from Navajoland and me. Don't ask me why I gave Jamie that much room at the altar -- I don't know why.

For the last few days we have heard various people speak on the theme:
Together, Advancing the Sacred Dream. Every offering was geared to the Five Marks of Mission. This is the "unofficial" photo of us all as we were being organized for a group picture. Over 200 Episcopalians are here -- and we are sharing our stories.

The various plenary sessions were as follows:
1. Building the World We Dream About -- Addressing White Privilege, Internalized Oppression, Racial Justice and Reconciliation, and Capacity Building.

2. Panel Discussion with The Ethnic Missioners on What's Happening Now.

3. To Proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom: New Church Development in Partnership with Ethnic Communities.

4. Presentation, Listening and Discussion by the Task Force to Reimagine the Episcopal Church (TREC).

5. Praxis and Advocacy -- The Intersectionality of Race and Poverty.

6. To Respond to Human Need by Loving Service -- Children, Youth and Young Adult Ministry in the Ethnic Community.

Tomorrow we look forward to the last Plenary:
7. Environmental Racism: Activating Environmental Mission with the People of the Land.

There were workshops after many of the plenary sessions under various themes:
1. To Teach, Baptize, and Nurture New Believers: Helping the Church Succeed in Ethnic Ministry and Church Planing and Revitalization.

2. To Transform Unjust Structures of Society: Poverty in Ethnic Communities in the U.S.

3. To Respond to Human Need by Loving Service: Children, Youth and Young Adult Ministry in the Ethnic Community.

And tomorrow we look forward to the final one:
4. To Safeguard the Integrity of Creation and Sustain and Renew the Life of the Earth: Engaging Environmental Mission at the Local Level.

It has been wonderful to catch up with people I met two years ago at the New Community Conference in San Diego. More, it is humbling to hear the stories of the struggle our brothers and sisters in Christ still go through simply because they are people of color. The stories of discrimination, of lack of voice, of being invisible made me cry on more than one occasion during these few days.

I am proud of the group that came from the Diocese of Los Angeles. I am also proud and humbled to be the bishop involved in this ministry for our diocese, one of the most diverse in all the church. While we did not have any of our Hispanic/Latino brothers or sisters with us (there is a conference here in August -- Nuevo Amanecer -- that they are planning on coming to), we were well represented!

I look forward to continue to move beyond conversation about New Community to building the New Community in the Diocese and throughout the Church!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Walking the Way

My March article for the Clergy of the Diocese of Los Angeles.

This year The Episcopal Network for Stewardship (TENS) is once again offering stewardship resources -- everything a congregation could need -- with the theme Walking the Way.

When I first learned of this theme I was excited by the possibilities it held not only for a focus for stewardship for this fall, but for year-round educational, liturgical and fellowship opportunities. The Diocese of Los Angeles has an annual membership with TENS which enables congregations within the Diocese to have access to these materials without charge. Anyone can join TENS -- While the TENS materials will be available near the end of this Spring and will be free to you all because of our membership in TENS (and they are available in English, Spanish, Chinese and Korean), the theme offers us the opportunity to jump on the Camino and begin Walking the Way before this fall.

I couldn't help but think of my own, short (only 3 mile) walk on the Camino de Compestela (otherwise known as the Camino) last fall - the beauty of those last three miles along the route to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compestela in Spain. The traditional pilgrimage routes leading to this final walk have drawn hundreds of thousands of pilgrims for centuries. (There are five main Camino pilgrimage routes in Spain: the Camino Frances, the Via de la Plata, the Northern Routes, the English Road, and the Portuguese Road. There are many more than this in Spain, but these are currently the most traveled.) This year our own Kelli Grace Kurtz, Joanna Satorius and Mary Trainor are Walking the Way. Are any of you also planning on walking this year or in the future? Have you walked the route in the past? Let me know if you have or are planning to Walk the Way.

The way is marked by shells along the path - either piled in areas or, in the case when you're close, embedded in the ground you are walking on, as in the picture here. Throughout the Camino shells guide the peregrino (pilgrim).

I love the image of the shell as a landmark, a signpost along the journey. More often than not a vessel either in the form of a shell or a shell itself is used to wash the waters of baptism over us as we are brought into the risen life of Jesus Christ our Savior and raised to the new life of grace. Walking the Way offers us an opportunity to preach and teach again about what baptism is and what following Christ means.

I pray you avail yourselves of this free stewardship offering from TENS. When these resources are ready for you to use, we will alert you via the Angelus and weekly Episcopal News Update. More, I pray that you will call upon our sisters and brothers who have Walked the Way as potential speakers for your adult education forums. Why not host a movie night and screen the movie The Way with a discussion afterwards? Why not design a prayer walk for your congregation -- possibly between you and a neighboring congregation that could include a joint liturgy together at the end? Why not invite peregrinos/pilgrims to journey with you and your congregation this year.

There are lots of ways to Walk the Way this year! I invite you to join me on this journey!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad