Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Hands across the Border

With so much need in the world it can be hard to know where to start. So the Women of St. James and the Women of St. Bartholomew’s decided to start right next door by making the world a little warmer and a little brighter for the 40 foster children of Dorcas House in Tijuana. Using funds raised from the Golden Elephant Sale at St. James and the Thrift Shop at St. Bart’s, these two groups helped with dormitory renovations at Dorcas House by funding all new, washable bedding. This was no small gift, as the dormitories are not heated, and the children had previously used woolen blankets, which are traditional to Mexico, but difficult and expensive to launder.

And the gift grew. The staff at Dorcas House was so frugal with the donated funds that they had enough left over to buy paint and stencils to coordinate with the new bedding. The children used part of spring break to help repaint the dorms. For many of them, this was the first opportunity to make a contribution to a place of their own.

I’m proud of the many churches and individuals that support these children. When our Cathedral took over operations of Dorcas House in 2006, they had many questions they couldn’t answer at the time. But one answer they knew for sure, that the only foster home in Tijuana that would accept the children of prisoners should not be allowed to close. Almost immediately, the rest of you agreed. Nearly a third of our churches now support the least of these, our young neighbors, and on their behalf, I say, “Muchas gracias.”

You can learn more about Dorcas House by visiting their website: http://www.dorcashousefriends.org/

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Garden of Grace

St. Mark, Evangelist

Gardens have great theological importance in Holy Scripture. There was, of course, the Garden of Eden, idyllic but the scene of human disobedience. There was the Garden of Gethsemane, a place of prayer and betrayal. There was the garden of Jesus' tomb, a place of the dead that becomes the place where the seed of resurrection breaks forth.

So, it seems wonderfully apropos that St. Mary's-in-the-Valley, Ramona should be planting a garden in Eastertide. But this is not just any garden. Their garden is for the community, so that those who do not have space to plant their own crops for food can do so. It is all at once, sharing the good news, community building and outreach. Indeed, it is also about spiritual care. It connects the people of St. Mary's and those for the wider community that plant there a place to connect with God's creation and be fed. I suspect that through the gifts of the Holy Spirit many may just meet Jesus in this garden.

Monday, April 20, 2009

A Great Day in Hemet

On Sunday, I visited the Church of the Good Shepherd in Hemet. It was a great day with a baptism, several confirmations and receptions. The Second Sunday in Easter is usually called low Sunday, but not in Hemet.

The Rev. Hugh Tutor-Foley is serving as interim rector and doing a great job of transitional ministry. Not only are they moving through the calling process quite welll, but Sunday worship attendance has grown significantly over the last several months. In addition, they have started a new youth ministry and a pastoral care ministry giving prayer shawls and quilts to those in need of prayers and care.

Great work, Hugh! Also, kudos to the senior warden, Butch Glosson, and the rest of the Vestry.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Forming Leaders

Friday in Easter Week

I came up to Berkley today to spend time with two of our seminarians at Church Divinity School of the Pacific. Andy Shamel is a middler from Trinity, Escondido and Ken Simons is completing his year of Anglican Studies (He already has earned an M.Div. from Fuller).

I always remember with fondness visits from my bishop when I was in seminary. It was a time when we grew closer together, when I learned more about the church from, and we always had a nice meal together. So, I made sure that Andy and Ken were well fed at local Indian restuarant of their choosing. I also hope they felt well loved which they are. (They are pictured below, Ken on the left; Andy on the right)

Ken and Andy are a great gift to our diocese and the church. They are faithful followers of Jesus. They are full of passion, energy, and creativity. Please hold them in your prayers as they are formed to be priests in our church. May God continue to bless them.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Easter Giving

Wednesday in Easter Week

Grace Episcopal Church in San Marcos had a wonderful way to give at Easter. As with most churches, Grace has the tradition of decorating their church with Easter lilies for this holiest of days. This year they did something different. Rather they have taken the funds usually raised for this purpose and given them to a program for homeless teenagers. Instead of the traditional lilies, the children of the congregation decorated cardboard lilies as replacements. As Grace's rector David Marshall told the North County Times, "This is about compassion and caring and empathy. We count them as neighbors," Way to go, David! What to go, Grace Episcopal Church!

When the Rev. Michael Carr and the people at All Saints Episcopal Church in Vista heard about this grace, they sent two of their Easter lilies from their altar to Grace's. Now that is what I call sharing the Easter witness. Well Done!

North County Times article about Grace:

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Being Creative

Tuesday in Easter Week

One of the great things about our diocese is our clergy, who are creative and energetic in the ways that they offer gospel witness and engage their community. In Holy Week and Easter, there were some great examples, but two stand out.

At Trinity in Escondido, the Rev. Meg Decker and her congregation hold "Drama Week," which is essentially Spring Break Vacation Bible School. The program meets a child care need in the community and provides Christian Education for young people not involved in church. By the way, Trinity has a wonderful children's choir that is emerging. If you want to know more about what is happening at Trinity, you can contact Meg at rector@trinityescondido.org. The parish website is http://www.trinityescondido.org/.

The clergy at two of our neighboring congregations, Christ the King, Alpine, and St. Alban's, El Cajon, joined together to offer a new twist on the Great Vigil of Easter. The Rev. Cathey Dowdle at Christ the King and the Rev. Rebecca Dinovo at St. Alban's joined forces and held a joint service for the Vigil. But here is the twist: rather than the Vigil readings, the stories of salvation were dramatized. For example, Isaiah was dressed as a modern day chef delivering the words as though inviting those gathered to a banquet." To learn more, contact Cathey at Cathey.Dowdle@MIROtechnologies.com or Rebecca at motherrebecca@stalbanschurch.info.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Christ is Risen!

Monday in Easter Week

I begin this new enterprise, blogging as we move into Eastertide. It seems a fitting time to begin a new thing. Indeed, much of my last few days have been about new things.

At the Easter Vigil, I was privileged to baptise two new followers of Jesus as well as confirm, received, and reaffirm many others. It was a glorious night.

Then on Easter morning, I went to Fallbrook to celebrate and preach at St. John's Episcopal Church. This was the first service in the church since a dissident group claimed the property in July of 2007. It was necessary for the congregation to take legal action which ended successfully last month. It was an emotional and joyful resurrection moment. What made it an even more extraordinary day was that people from half of the congregations of the diocese came to rejoice with the people of St. John's, Fallbrook. The photograph above is taken of the congregation. My continuing prayer is that those who have left will begin to see that we are all one church and that we will be able to bring the Body of Christ together. That seems like resurrection work.

Articles about St. John's Episcopal Church, Fallbrook:

North County Times:


San Diego Union Tribune: