Sunday, May 25, 2008

Spreading the Word on the Street

My colleague Vanessa Glass shared this profound story with me today. Also, read about San Francisco Night Ministry's new Open Cathedral, here.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Pentecost in San Francisco

The Episcopal Diocese of California has been busy this weekend celebrating new life in the Spirit with a special convention where we affirmed a communal vision for "beloved community" and the calling of a new Assistant Bishop to aid us in expanding multi-cultural ministry.

You can read more about our vision and Bishop Steven Charleston here. From an article on the Diocese of California website:

At the end of the meeting, Andrus took a moment to introduce the new ethnic and multicultural missioner called to the diocese in fulfillment of a resolution passed by Diocesan Convention in 2007. The Rt. Rev. Steven Charleston was selected to fill this position after a nationwide search during which the interview committee considered a number of highly qualified women and men from a wide variety of backgrounds. Charleston will also serve the diocese as assistant bishop.

Charleston is the president and dean of Episcopal Divinity School, a post he will be leaving this summer before joining the Diocese of California. A citizen of the Choctaw Nation in his home state of Oklahoma, Charleston has been national staff officer for Native American ministries in The Episcopal Church, director of the Dakota Leadership Program, diocesan bishop of Alaska, and assistant bishop of Connecticut. He is widely recognized as a leading advocate for justice issues and spiritual renewal in the church.

In what he called “a refreshing spirit-filled moment,” Charleston spoke briefly to the special convention, saying “I’m coming here full of enthusiasm and with an open heart to work with all of you because I believe this is a great diocese and you’re on the verge of doing some really exciting things that will be excellent for the whole church.” Charleston will begin his work with the Diocese of California this summer.

My colleague the Reverend Vanessa Glass and I have been teaching a class together this month exploring Acts of the Apostles called, "Strange Fire." While preparing for the class, I found the icon above after reading an essay by my former professor at Virginia Theological Seminary, the Reverend Dr. Katherine Grieb. Read the essay here. The icon, I think is a wonderful illustration for Bishop Marc Andrus' provocative Pentecost sermon, listen here. Below are the words of the hymn he refers to in his message:

Bring many names, beautiful and good,
celebrate, in parable and story,
holiness in glory, living, loving God.
Hail and hosanna! Bring many names!

Strong mother God, working night and day,
planning all the wonders of creation,
setting each equation, genius at play:
Hail and hosanna, strong mother God!

Warm father God, hugging every child,
feeling all the strains of human living,
caring and forgiving till we're reconciled:
Hail and hosanna, warm father God!

Old, aching God, grey with endless care,
calmly piercing evil's new disguises,
glad of good surprises, wiser than despair:
Hail and hosanna, old aching God!

Young, growing God, eager, on the move,
saying no to falsehood and unkindness,
crying out for justice, giving all you have:
Hail and hosanna, young, growing God!

Great, living God, never fully known,
joyful darkness far beyond our seeing,
closer yet than breathing, everlasting home:
Hail and hosanna, great, living God!

Words: Brian Wren
Words © 1989, revised 1994 by Hope Publishing Co., Carol Stream, IL 60188.

Friday, May 09, 2008

faith happenings in the Bay Area

The past few days have been filled with good conversations about faith and the pursuit of a more just and compassionate society. Pray that all this talk leads to action. On Wednesday at Grace Cathedral there was an ecumenical gathering of leaders seeking to "provoke the Christian political imagination" by supporting the Jesus for President tour.

Last night, I had the opportunity to represent the Bay Area Organizing Committee at the largest non-partisan political event in Marin County's history. Check out this story about last night's Marin Organizing Committee gathering, here's a quote from one of the inspiring voices that spoke,
The beauty of (Marin) may obscure it, but there are real issues we have to face," said Rabbi Stacy Friedman of Congregation Rodef Sholom. "Those issues come to us as gaps - gaps in our economic classes, gaps in our youth services, gaps in health services.

We are here tonight to say we are going to take on the biggest gap of all, the gap in civic duty.
To cap it all off, this morning online I discovered the voice of my friend and fellow San Francisco Episcopalian, Sara Miles. Check out her "This I believe" essay here. While you are at NPR you might want to listen to this story on Saul Alinsky, the father of community organizing. For some theology, see New Testament theologian Walter Wink's essay on Jesus & Alinsky.

Click here and here for further coverage of the inspiring Marin Organizing Committee Action Assembly