God Counts Those Men Discount


August 20, 2017

Pastor Mark Bradshaw

 

“It is not fair to take from the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.”

 

I think we can safely assume that our Lord is tired.

John had lost his head, and now Jesus has lost his cool.

And who can blame him, everytime he tries to get away for some quiet someone sees him, and before long there is a crowd pressing in.

 

The people are desperate and in need and Jesus is full of compassion and God has made it evident that through Jesus healing flows. Then one day Jesus decides he needs to get up and go, head to the coast and outside of the borders of Israel where he can enjoy that sweet Mediterranean breeze, put his feet in the sand and watch the sunset. Perhaps Jesus was feeling overwhelmed, weary under the weight of it all. The more people he healed the more aware he became of how many were still in need. For every lost sheep that our Good Shepherd carried back into the fold there seemed to be two new wolves, ready to devour. And so Jesus, feeling hemmed in, goes on a retreat. Jesus decides to practice a little self care, hoping for a certain level of anonymity. Yet, and notice this, whereas Jesus was seeking to find refreshment and renewal outside of his borders geographically, God sends someone to Jesus who is outside of his ethnic and social borders in order to get him back on track. To put it bluntly, God sends his Son a woman to set him straight… to expand his borders… to increase his imagination… to broaden his perspective.

 

In the television industry, it really has become a type of art to recap the previous episodes of a season, often in only 1-2 minutes, as a means of bringing the viewer up to speed. The current episode plays a specific role within the overall story and the reason for the opening recap is to refresh the audience’s memory as to how it relates to a few specific strands within the overall story line.  

 

Now, at first glance it is surprising that this morning’s Gospel made it past the final edits. Any of you wish this was a deleted scene, clearly out of character for Jesus?  And yet, as we may be standing here scratching our heads the observant disciple will discover that there is a trail of breadcrumbs that has been left for us to follow.

 

So here it is, our opening recap:

Jesus appointed how many disciples?

The women with the bleeding infirmary, who reached out and touched the hems of Jesus’ robe and was healed – how many years had she been sick?

That happened while Jesus was on his way to heal a young girl who was how many years old?

Okay, are you picking up what Matthew is shoveling? So, why 12?

  • 12 tribes of Israel.

So, in our Gospel this morning we heard Jesus’ words, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”

 

And right after Jesus learns of John’s death he goes away to try and be alone and the crowds follow, he teaches them and then does not want to send them away hungry. With five loaves and two fishes how many people are fed? And here is the bonus question – how many basketfuls are left over?

Are we getting the point yet with 12?

 

Now, perhaps it is not too much of a stretch to think of the 12 basketfuls of broken pieces as the crumbs that were leftover, one for each tribe. I am picking up on a theme of abundance.

 

Okay, one last theme in our episode intro, this would have been our Gospel reading from last week – and I don’t know about you but I was more than happy to have Abbey veer off from the lectionary and give us her message! Yet, in the story of Jesus walking on water, summoning Peter to come and walk with him, I would have the cameras zoom in on Peter sinking as Jesus extends a hand and says, my paraphrase, “Man, you have such little faith!”

 

Okay, who is still with me? Did I lose anyone?

 

Jesus sets off for the coast, outside of Israel, he is tired and I imagine the Pharisees have really gotten under his skin, and then she shows up. A Canaanite, that godless group of people who inhabited the land before Israel came in and conquered it. A Canaanite woman, nonetheless, and she is desperate. Her daughter is tormented by a demon and she begins crying out for Jesus’ attention. “Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David; my daughter is tormented by a demon.” But he did not answer her at all. Jesus just ignores her. And his disciples came and urged him, saying, “Send her away, for she keeps shouting after us.”  Lord, just send her away.

 

Last week Abbey shared with us a profound poem by the Rev. Dr. Pauli Murray. Much of what I am about to share I gleaned from an article in the New Yorker written in April of this year. Pauli Murray, born in 1910, was ahead of her time. She sat in the wrong seat on the bus, participated in nonviolent demonstrations, and advocated for the equal treatment of all persons several decades before the civil rights movement. She began her life as an orphan and culminated it by becoming the first African American woman to be ordained an Episcopal priest. In high school, she was the only black among 4,000 students. She applied to the University of North Carolina and was denied admission because she had the wrong color of skin. Later she was denied admission to Harvard Law because she had the wrong gender.

 

While studying at Howard University Pauli was no longer excluded for the color of her skin but rather due to the fact that she had the unfortunate condition of being born a woman. She was the only woman among faculty and students and on the first day of class her professor was all too eager to humiliate her by remarking that he could think of no reason why a woman would desire to attend Law school. Thus, not only did Pauli resolve to become the top student in her class, which she was, but she also grew in her determination to end what she termed Jane Crow.

 

While at Howard a class discussion arose on how to best end Jim Crow. Plessy vs. Ferguson, the case that upheld segregation, used the phrase “separate but equal.” The class conversation was focused on the term “equal” and the men scoffed when Pauli dared to question the term “separate.” She proceeded to bet her professor $10 that within 25 years Plessy vs. Ferguson would be overturned, Pauli was right. But her law-school professor, Spottswood Robinson, would come to owe Pauli much more than $10. Pauli would go on to argue in her final law school paper that segregation violated the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Amendment of the US Constitution. Years later Spottswood Robinson remembered Pauli’s paper and presented it to Thurgood Marshall and the remainder of his colleagues, the same group who successfully argued Brown vs. the Board of Education.  

 

Now, I would like to propose that Spottswood Robinson and Jesus of Nazareth both share something revolutionary in common. It is not that they both devoted themselves to the cause of justice, nor that they both were committed to advocating for those who society had discounted. Rather, what was revolutionary about these men, and worthy of emulation, is that they both were willing to eat crow. They both were willing to not only admit, but seemingly revel in the fact that a woman had set them straight.

 

Stepping back into our Gospel, up until this point we have grown accustomed to Jesus being the one who stumps the religious leaders, but in our Gospel this morning it this unnamed Canaanite woman who stumps Jesus. “It is not fair to take from the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.” “Yes Lord, but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from the Master’s table.” She does not play the victim, she does not need to make Jesus into the villain. Rather, she takes what Jesus gives her and uses it to stump him. She gets creative.  – Jesus, isn’t it God’s table, and isn’t God a God of abundance? Jesus, your reference point is this group of children and you are wondering if there is going to be enough for them. My reference point is the merciful God who created us all, and all I need is a crumb from God’s table and my daughter will be made well. Jesus, isn’t your God bigger than that? And, move over Peter, Jesus looks at this woman and says, “Wow, how great is your faith.”

 

Back in that classroom at Howard University, as those young black men were debating what it means to be treated as equals, the one thing seemingly all men in power held in common, black and white, was that women were not equals. And if it has become hauntingly clear in the recent weeks that we have so much more to overcome for racial equality, let us equally remember how much more we must overcome for gender equality.

 

And just how many people were fed? Was it 5,000? Matthew makes a point of saying “5,000 besides women and children.” So, who was it that decided the women and the children did not count? If 15-20,000 children of God ate and were filled on that afternoon, who decided it was only the men who count? It wasn’t God.

 

God counts those the world counts out.

God counts those who men discount.

We can count on that.

 


You are hereby formally, officially and cordially invited to please join us during this our centennial year and beyond (in-person, online, offline and/or Pastoral Care), on our continuing journey of Love, Saint Barnabas Style 🖤

‘Code red’: Melissa McCarthy, Episcopal Church delegation focus on ‘loss and damage’ at UN climate conference

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Canon Melissa McCarthy moderates an online discussion among COP26 delegates from The Episcopal Church and interested Episcopalians on Nov. 11. Photo: Screenshot

[The Episcopal News] Los Angeles Canon to the Ordinary Melissa McCarthy spent a week meeting virtually with national leaders like John Kerry, former U.S. senator and current special presidential envoy for climate, and with global activists, as part of Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Michael Curry’s delegation to the United Nations Climate Change conference, also known as COP26, in Glasgow, Scotland.

“Hearing remarks from leaders of nations is amazing. We especially appreciated Prime Minister Mia Mottley from Barbados,” said McCarthy, who rose each morning at 2 a.m. (9 a.m. Glasgow time) to prepare for the sessions, and who is slated to lead a newly created diocesan task force on climate change.

Mottley “stands up and says, ‘Folks, it’s code red. You in the northern climate can be in denial, but for the rest of us, it’s code red.”

The contrast was striking when celebrated British broadcaster Sir David Attenborough addressed the gathering with a hopeful message. Mottley’s response was: “You think there’s hope, but let me tell you what’s really happening,” McCarthy recalled.

“There is this tension between hope and reality, and as Greta Thunberg said, ‘blah, blah, blah,’” she said. “There’s a lot of talk of people saying, ‘yeah we need to do this. We have science, we have technology, we have everything we need to keep the planet from warming past 1.5 degrees Celsius, but we lack the will to make it happen. Largely, I believe, it is incumbent on bigger and wealthier nations like the United States to make it happen.”

The first COP (Conference of the Parties) gathering was held in Berlin, Germany in 1995, according to Wikipedia. The meetings are held yearly, to assess progress in dealing with climate change and, beginning in the mid-1990s, to negotiate the Kyoto Protocol to establish legally binding obligations for developed countries to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. From 2011 to 2015 the meetings were used to negotiate the Paris Agreement as part of the Durban platform, which created a general path towards climate action. COP27 is planned for 2022 in Egypt.

Loss and Damage, the workstream McCarthy and other delegates focused on, was organized under the general conference topic of “resilience and adaptation.” There are two types of loss and damage: extreme weather events, like floods and hurricanes, which happen very quickly and cause terrible damage; and slow-onset events like rising sea levels, desertification, or droughts that happen slowly over time, McCarthy said.

“Those are the two ways this area between the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn are being most affected by climate change, and Loss and Damage is trying to figure out how to help that,” she said. The tropics include the Equator and parts of North America, South America, Africa, Asia, and Australia. The tropics account for 36 percent of the Earth’s landmass and are home to about a third of the world’s people.

Other delegations meeting concurrently focused on areas associated with capacity building, climate finance, climate technology, education and youth, gender, land use, mitigation, and science.

Marc Andrus

The Rt. Rev. Marc Andrus, bishop of the Diocese of California, chaired The Episcopal Church delegation’s workstream on Loss and Damage, of which McCarthy was a member.

“Back in 2015, when we ventured into the COP work in Paris, was the first time I heard the term ‘loss and damage’ and I had no context for it at that time,” he said during a Nov. 11 online meeting of delegates facilitated by McCarthy.

“But I met an Anglican archdeacon. He lived on an atoll, a small island in the archipelago of the Marshall Islands. There had been two villages on the island, and one had already been lost to rising water, sea levels. That was shocking to me, but then he went on to say what that meant. Lives were not lost, but the cultural life, the context was lost.”

Because of the rising waters, people moved to other places and the fabric of the community was lost, Andrus recalled. “Then he went further and said, the Anglican church was still standing above water. But what had been covered was the cemetery where everyone’s beloved ancestors were buried. So no one could visit and pray at the graves of their mothers and their fathers and their grandparents and their ancestors.”

The enormity of what loss and damages means began to sink in, he said. Loss and damage “is now visited many places in The Episcopal Church, the Caribbean Islands, coastal areas in Central and South America, Louisiana and Alaska. All these places are experiencing already loss and damage, having to move away from where their families, their people, have lived for hundreds of years.”

He added: “This team, of the Presiding Bishop’s delegation, is going to present compellingly important material on what loss and damage means and why. This COP26 … going on so far away in Glasgow is so important for so many people on the earth and for us, too, because we are interconnected.”

Los Angeles Bishop Diocesan John Harvey Taylor, during the session facilitated by McCarthy, asked about “opportunities to build relationships and then create opportunities for joint advocacy between those experiencing loss and damage in the developing world and victims in the developed world of climate change.”

McCarthy and others said the church’s tradition of storytelling uniquely qualifies Episcopalians to engage this work.

“The Episcopal Church is uniquely poised to do this,” McCarthy said. “We have so many churches in so many countries and we also have a relationship to government sectors and private business in a pretty unique way. We’re doing some of that already, but I’m hopeful that the Episcopal Church can really do more in the future.”

Destinee Bates, a delegation member from St. Ambrose Church in Raleigh, in the Diocese of North Carolina, agreed, adding that besides mainstream media coverage of well-known activists like Greta Thunberg, “We have to start lifting up the lesser-known voices, and we can do that.”

In a subsequent closing ceremony, Bates noted that it is time for “the church body to ask itself; are we willing to be complicit in the continued destruction of God’s creation? The answer is no.”

Barbadian Prime Minister Mottley offered a concrete metaphor for this destruction: “The way things are currently set up, it’s as if you’re driving down the street minding your own business and out of nowhere someone comes and hits the side of your car,” McCarthy recalled. “They’re at fault, but you’re the one who has to pay for all the repairs.”

She added: “Wealthy nations, largely in the northern hemisphere, are responsible for over half of the emissions that lead to the degradation of our planet and climate, while most of these small countries are on the negative side of carbon emissions. They’re not the ones causing climate change, but they are the ones most affected by it, and are least able to recover.

“So, the challenge is, how do we set up a system whereby these smaller, more vulnerable countries, who haven’t contributed to the problem aren’t made to pay for their own recovery?”

A chart showing the proportions of climate damage among wealthy and other nations is here.

As she anticipates starting the work of a diocesan task force, McCarthy said she wants Angelenos to realize the disparities between those who were at the table and those whose voices went unheard at the conference.

“I am grateful for the over 100,000 people [who were] protesting in Glasgow,” she said. “That’s really important, that way all these world leaders are held accountable. And, at the same time, that’s not the whole story. There is a lot going on that is really quite amazing and positive.”

For example, “I am not a finance person, but it became clear to me that there has got to be a shift in climate finance,” she said; “where people invest and what ends up being the best place to invest financially. I don’t think we’re there yet, but it’s inevitable that we will be, at some point.”

She hopes Southland Episcopalians will educate themselves on the dangers of exceeding the 1.5-degree Celsius global warming mark because, “once we go over it, we’re looking at extinction down the road.”

She added: “I want people to hear that global warming and climate change are real, and they’re big and to pay attention to the ways the church can participate and make a difference.”

And, to take politics out of the equation: ““Loss and damage is to climate change what reparations is to racial justice. It needs to be understood as a humanitarian issue because people will be dying. People will be moving. We’ll be seeing more climate-related migration.”

Bishop Bruce remembers ‘bloopers and blessings’ as convention bids her a warm farewell

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Flanked by Deacons Margaret McCauley and Dominique Piper (at left) and Archdeacon Laura Siriani (at right), Bishop Diane Jardine Bruce blesses the congregation at the end of the convention Eucharist – her last as bishop suffragan of the Diocese of Los Angeles. Photo: Janet Kawamoto

[The Episcopal News] As she prepares to take on a new role Dec. 1 as bishop provisional of the Diocese of West Missouri, Diane M. Jardine Bruce bid a heartfelt and funny farewell at convention to the diocese she has served since May 2010 as bishop suffragan. At times she paused to overcome tears, but also regaled convention with a final “joke of the day.”

Her colleagues in leadership, Bishop Diocesan John Harvey Taylor and Canon to the Ordinary Melissa McCarthy, praised her pastoral skill, financial acumen, sense of humor, and kindness.

Diane Jardine Bruce gives her final convention address as bishop suffragan of the Diocese of Los Angeles. Photo: Janet Kawamoto

In lighthearted but warm remarks, Taylor described Bruce as “a pastor who always comforts, with a spirit that always enlivens, a prophet who calls us to account, an innovator in imagining new ways to do mission and ministry, a team builder whose legacy will live among us as she heads East.”

This is not “adios but au revoir. We will see this amazing Episcopalian again,” he added.

Bruce will maintain her home in Irvine during her time in West Missouri. In her new ministry, she will oversee the Diocese of West Missouri – comprised of 9,000 Episcopalians in 47 congregations – for a period of two to three years until the diocese elects a bishop diocesan. Her tenure follows the Sept. 14 resignation of West Missouri’s Bishop Diocesan Martin Scott Field. Episcopal News articles about her role in her new diocese, based in Kansas City, are here and here.

Bruce regaled convention attendees with “blooper” memories of unexpected wardrobe malfunctions, beginning with a miter shoved over her eyes at her May 15, 2010, consecration and an unintended extensive collection of cinctures “borrowed” from churches around the diocese. She recalled such gastronomic delights as spam musubi at St. Mary’s, Mariposa (Los Angeles); homemade baklava at St. John’s Costa Mesa; pupusas at Trinity, Melrose; and fried chicken night at a restaurant near St. Paul’s Commons.

At times, she got lost – once, getting off the freeway in Anaheim to return to her Irvine home to retrieve a forgotten purse, she got stuck in the line for Disneyland parking. On another occasion, slipping out a secret door to wash her hands before Eucharist at one church, she couldn’t find her way back. “I searched and searched! The clock was ticking. I ended up having to go all the way out of the church, around the building and come up the main aisle and, yes, people were waiting and wondering what had happened to me!”

Members of the diocesan Altar Guild present Bishop Diane Jardine Bruce with a stole as a parting gift. Photo: John Taylor

She found serving with program groups on stewardship, assisting with finances and partnering with New Community ministries amounted to blessings “too numerous to count,” she said.

Bruce thanked the “absolutely top-drawer diocesan staff,” including their extremely able leaders, Taylor and McCarthy, and the diocese’s clergy and laity. The leadership and dedication of all involved in New Community ministries “has taught me volumes about the challenges they face as people of color in this diocese this country and this world,” she said. “They are the best of the best in The Episcopal Church. No other diocese is better than ours in this work and because of all their dedication and hard work, that’s a blessing for us all.”

There was gratitude: “Thank you for electing me, for trusting me, for teaching and walking with me all of these 11-1/2 years,” she said tearfully.

And words of advice: “The Diocese of Los Angeles has a very bright future ahead. Work together. Work collaboratively; be serious when you need to be but never take yourselves so seriously that you can’t laugh at the bloopers you make, because we all make them.

“Take time to recognize the blessings as well, they are all around us, every day. Hold them close to your hearts, because in those days we all have when doing mission and ministry in your context seems too difficult or impossible, holding the blessings close and remembering them gives you the strength to see and move beyond any obstacle in your way.”

Bruce ended her address with a characteristic joke of the day that brought convention attendees to their feet with laughter, applause, gratitude and joy: “Who was the best female financier in the Bible? Pharoah’s daughter; she went down to the bank of the Nile and drew out a little prophet.”

Canon Melissa McCarthy announces that a room in the diocesan retreat center where Bishop Diane Jardine Bruce often stayed during her tenure, will be renamed in her honor and furnished with an icon of the Virgin Mary – and a book of jokes. Photo: Janet Kawamoto

Taylor presented Bruce with a dozen gift cards for various Kansas City barbecue restaurants. McCarthy announced that the Martha of Bethany retreat center room at St. Paul’s Commons – where Bruce frequently stayed overnight rather than commute from Irvine – has been dedicated in Bruce’s honor, and will be furnished with an image of Mary, mother of Jesus and – appropriately – a book of jokes.

The delegation from St. Clement’s Church, San Clemente, where Bruce was rector before her 2009 election as bishop suffragan, paid tribute to her stewardship skills by presenting Taylor and Bruce with a $75,000 check, its first donation to the new diocesan capital campaign. The Rev. Patrick Crerar, Bruce’s successor, told the convention that her vision and leadership made their generosity possible. (See the main convention story for more.)

At Taylor’s invitation, Bruce celebrated the closing Eucharist and closed the convention with a final, emotional blessing: The wisdom of God, the love of God, and the grace of God strengthen you to be Christ’s hands and heart in this world, in the name of the Holy Trinity. Amen.

‘Truth and Love’ abound as convention passes historic balanced budget, pays tribute to late Bishop Bruno, bids farewell to Bishop Bruce

Posted by on 7:56 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on ‘Truth and Love’ abound as convention passes historic balanced budget, pays tribute to late Bishop Bruno, bids farewell to Bishop Bruce

The “triad” that has led the Diocese of Los Angeles since John Harvey Taylor (center) became bishop diocesan in December 2018 presides at convention for the last time as Bishop Diane M. Jardine Bruce (at right) prepares to take a new position as bishop provisional of the Kansas City-based Diocese of West Missouri. Canon to the Ordinary Melissa McCarthy is at left. Photo: Janet Kawamoto

[The Episcopal News] Several hundred clergy and lay delegates gathered at the Riverside Convention Center Saturday, Nov. 13, 2021, while hundreds of others participated online from churches and homes in the first hybrid annual meeting of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles.

Martha Duron reads from Genesis, translating the text into Lakota, during the opening prayers at Diocesan Convention. Photo: Janet Kawamoto

The “Truth and Love”-themed 126th such gathering was bittersweet, as delegates approved a historic $4.25 million balanced mission share fund budget and several justice-related resolutions but also bid a fond farewell to Bishop Suffragan Diane M. Jardine Bruce. She begins serving Dec. 1 as bishop provisional of the Diocese of West Missouri.

The proceedings opened with an acknowledgment that the convention center is located “on unceded land of the Cahuilla, Gabrieleno, Serrano, Luise’o, Chemehuevi, and Mohave tribes. Had treaties made with the U.S. Senate been honored, according to a statement read by Bruce, “tribes would possess more than 7.5 million acres of land in the state, but today California tribes own about 7% of their unratified treaty territory.”

“We are honored to add our blessings today to the land that was and is held sacred by the Indigenous peoples who called it home,” Bruce concluded.

Bishop John Harvey Taylor delivers his convention address. Photo: Janet Kawamoto

Bishop Diocesan John Harvey Taylor’s address to convention highlighted “Amazing Episcopalians,” from Bruce to U.S. Rep. Katie Porter of Orange County to the late Bishop J. Jon Bruno, along with a host of churches and ministries across the diocese that throughout the pandemic have continued to offer food, housing, showers, clothing, and other essentials to those in need.

The Episcopal Church is a voice for justice in the world, he said. “Notwithstanding its own unaccounted-for sins, our church proclaims the orthodoxy of the risen Christ twinned with an insistence on the plural face of God, representing all God’s children across all divisions of difference, privilege and prejudice. This is our truth and love.

“Think about the light we shine! To those who would sacrifice our democracy in this country because they fear our plural future, let us show the loving, beautiful, tender face of the plural Christ. To those who won’t lay down their privilege because they’re afraid they’ll lose out, let us show the abundance of our community and the Eucharistic table.

“Since the world has never needed our church more than it does today, I refuse to participate in the prevailing pessimism about our future. But when I’m tempted by worry and care – and all of us are, from time to time – I just remember, every day, that I get to work with amazing Episcopalians!”

Invoking the familiar three-legged-stool metaphor, Taylor discussed efforts to achieve financial stability for the diocese, including a balanced budget, expanding the Corporation of the Diocese’s role with mission congregations, and  “Everlasting Transformation: The Generation to Generation Capital Campaign.”

A video of Taylor’s address is here.

Bishop John Harvey Taylor presents Bishop Diane Jardine Bruce with a set of gift cards to various Kansas City barbecue restaurants – which will come in handy as she begins a new ministry there as bishop provisional of the Diocese of West Missouri. Photo: Janet Kawamoto

Tributes to Bishop Bruno, farewells to Bishop Bruce

Amid standing ovations, Taylor paid tribute to Bruno, who died in April 2021, and to Bruce as “the holy of holy of amazing Episcopalians.”

Taylor described Bruce as “a pastor who always comforts, with a spirit that always enlivens, a prophet who calls us to account, an innovator in imagining new ways to do mission and ministry, a team builder whose legacy will live among us as she heads East.”

More about the convention’s tributes to Bruce, as well as her farewell address, is here. A video is here.

Bruno’s ministry was summed up in a word, “the almighty Yes,” Taylor told the gathering. “Yes to a child welcomed at the altar, yes to a colleague needing help, to a priest-to-be stymied in another diocese, yes both to Israelis and Palestinians; yes to a mayor wanting a word of advice or prayer; yes to an unconscious patient in the ICU whose family knew that if one whispered voice could get through, it would be Jon Bruno’s; yes to those who heard the Holy Spirit’s invitation to our inevitable future as a pluralistic, multicultural, multi-lingual church; yes to the Spirit’s demand for equity in all orders and sacraments for our LGBTQ+ siblings.”

Taylor had invited Mary Bruno to join convention, and read aloud a greeting from her:

“Bishop Jon and I could fill a book with memories and stories of being there to work out the issues of our church with you,” she wrote.” Jon’s death in April is still so fresh and I know you understand that I still am in a time of healing. COVID did not allow us to celebrate his life to the fullest and you are kind to have invited me to be with you.

“I know, you know, how much Jon loved this diocese and even more, all of its people. His heart was large and embracing. He fought the battles to make a place for everyone at the table. Dear friends, thank you for loving Jon and loving me, and for your outpouring of love to the Bruno family. You will always be in our hearts and prayers and, as he would always say, ‘remember, you are his beloved.’”

The necrology video shown during the Eucharist also lingered on photos of Bruno taken throughout his tenure as sixth bishop of the diocese.

Diocesan Treasurer Andy Tomat presents the balanced 2022 budget to convention. Photo: Janet Kawamoto

3-legged stool: a sure financial foundation

Convention delegates approved 345-12 a balanced 2022 budget, “which is to say it is balanced across all departments and ministries without burning any capital from Corp Sole or the Corporation of the Diocese,” Taylor said. Details of the budget may be found here.

Additionally, Corporation of the Diocese members “are imagining all the ways we can help missions and parishes thrive, all the ways we can relieve the burden of financial anxiety, freeing your hearts and hands for mission and ministry, whether helping you leverage your real estate or make the most of the entrepreneurial wisdom of Episcopal Enterprises,” he said.

The Very Rev. Gary Hall, interim dean of Bloy House, introduced “Everlasting Transformation: The Generation to Generation Capital Campaign,” which has already raised about $5.3 million of its $40 million goal, with an additional $1.2 million in the process of being documented, is available on the diocesan website here. A campaign brochure (available here) was presented for the first time at the convention.

Interim Dean Gary Hall of Bloy House introduces the new diocesan capital campaign, “Everlasting Transformation: The Generation to Generation Campaign.” Photo: Janet Kawamoto

The campaign would create three major endowment funds: the diocesan operating fund; aiding ministry to neighbors in need; and cultivating future congregational leadership and congregational partnerships.

In response to Hall’s introduction, the Rev. Patrick Crerar paid tribute to Bruce, his predecessor as rector of St. Clement’s Church, while presenting the bishops with a $75,000 check as part of the San Clemente congregation’s $250,000 commitment to the capital campaign.

“We stand on the shoulders of one who, when she was at St. Clement’s, established a culture that helped us to understand we are part of the Body of Christ,” Crerar said. “She had vision to see 10, 20, 30 years into the future of what this parish would need and we benefit from that leadership and give thanks.”

Taylor also noted that throughout the pandemic, the diocesan emergency fund disbursed about $300,000, enabling 37 grants to assist churches and ministries in need.

Volunteer treasurer Canon Andy Tomat, who presented the budget to convention, said a successful capital campaign is critical to ensure future financial stability “because several current income streams will end soon, a number of critical diocesan staff hires have been deferred and no money was provided for mission growth.”

After her address, Nichols poses with Richard Parker and Stephen Parker, sons of Margaret Parker, and Stephen’s wife Kim. Photo: Janet Kawamoto

Resolutions; other convention business

Mary Nichols, an environmental attorney and climate change activist and convention’s Margaret Parker lecturer, brought greetings from Glasgow, where she had attended the United Nations COP26 conference. McCarthy, who had also served as one of Presiding Bishop Michael Curry’s delegates to the conference, introduced Nichols as “the queen of green.” (See related story here. A video of Nichols’ lecture is here.)

Camp Stevens Director Kathy Wilder also addressed delegates, visitors and guests. She said that although Camp Stevens had experienced extreme revenue loss during the pandemic, the Julian-based ministry nonetheless was able to continue to function, and to provide housing and health care benefits for and to maintain its staff, through diocesan and other support.

Kathy Wilder, director of Camp Stevens, reports on how the camp weathered the COVID-19 lockdown, which caused all 2020 summer sessions to be cancelled and 2021 sessions to be run at a reduced capacity. She announced that “Camp Stevens Sundy” will be March 13, 2022. Photo: Janet Kawamoto

During the pandemic the camp staff held weekly online singalongs, produced a series of outdoor educational classes for school partners, hosted a gathering for seniors at St. Margaret’s in San Juan Capistrano, served 267 campers over 5 weeks during the summer, partnered with Sage Mountain Farms to provide fresh vegetables to some 40 families over a six-week period, and engaged in antiracism work. The camp has also hosted a state COVID testing site.

Wilder added that March 13, 2022, will be Camp Stevens Day, and asked congregations to designate plate offerings that day for the campership fund. The camp, a shared ministry of the dioceses of Los Angeles and San Diego, will celebrate its 70th anniversary next year, she said.

In other business, delegates elected candidates for diocesan committees and offices (see election results here); recognized retiring clergy; and reaffirmed a companion relationship with the Diocese of Jerusalem.

Deacon Guy Leemhuis speaks in favor of a resolution calling for the diocese to commemorate Juneteenth (June 19) each year. Photo: Janet Kawamoto

Delegates approved a resolution asking General Convention to add Massachusetts Suffragan Bishop Barbara Clementine Harris to The Episcopal Church’s calendar of saints, also known as Lesser Feasts and Fasts. They also adopted a resolution establishing Juneteenth as a diocesan observance beginning June 19, 2022.

The Rev. Guy Leemhuis addressed convention in support of both resolutions, which were presented by the H. Belfield Hannibal Chapter of the Union of Black Episcopalians. He noted Harris’s advocacy for the LGBTQ community, as well as her legacy as the first woman and first African American woman consecrated a bishop in The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion.

Juneteenth, recently named a federal holiday, celebrates the end of slavery in 1863, although it took two and a half years more, until June 19, 1865, for slavery to end in Texas. At a time of the nation’s racial reckoning and heightened unrest, the symbolic date of freedom for African Americans, carries an even deeper and more lasting meaning, Leemhuis said.

The resolution also directs the Los Angeles deputation to General Convention to begin working toward inclusion of the holiday in Lesser Feasts and Fasts. The 80th General Convention, the triennial gathering of member Episcopal churches from 17 nations, was postponed, to July 7-14, 2022, in Baltimore, Maryland.

“The Diocese of Los Angeles is a trailblazer for truth and love, because that’s what we’re about,” Leemhuis said.

Delegates take part in noonday prayer at convention. Photo: Janet Kawamoto

Church in a time of pandemic

If truth and love are themes for convention, “welcome and safety” are themes for the upcoming holiday season, as numbers of COVID-19 infections creep up in some counties, Taylor told delegates.

“Get vaccinations and boosters, preach to people to wear our masks when required, and then let’s deck the halls and say prayers and sing songs and without worry and fear welcome back those Christmas Eve-only neighbors we’ve missed.”

Taylor also named Canon Richard Zevnik as chancellor and as vice-chancellors Jeffrey Baker, Nancy White and Canon Julie Dean Larsen; Canon for Common Life Bob Williams as archivist; and Canon Andy Tomat as volunteer treasurer.

Archdeacon Laura Siriani delivers the sermon at the convention Eucharist. Photo: Janet Kawamoto

Archdeacon Laura Siriani preached at the service of Eucharist that concluded convention. Deacons are drawn to the margins, to the ever-widening gaps where the vulnerable and needy have been pushed, she said. “Deacons are called there to listen and grieve with those who are most at risk; and then, we advocate for justice at city council meetings, the state house, and Congress,” she said.

She issued a charge to convention: “The Spirit knows us. The Spirit knows that everyone here understands how to reveal the heart of Christ in the world. That is an invitation. Join us, knowing that this invitation comes with a warning label: Every time we enter the gap, our hearts will be broken. We will see things we did not know exited and our hearts are expanded, as we grow and see as the spirit sees. Imagine it. Come with us. We will show you the way.”

A video of Siriani’s sermon is here.

A convention photo gallery is here.

The 127th annual meeting is planned for Nov. 11 – 12, 2022 at the Riverside Convention Center.

More convention coverage

Convention 2021 election results

Bishop Bruce remembers ‘bloopers and blessings’ as convention bids her a warm farewell

The end may be near, but radical change can save the earth, says climate activist Mary Nichols in Margaret Parker Lecture

Convention 2021 photo gallery

Videos

Mary Nichols | Margaret Parker Lecture, introduced by the Rev. Canon Melissa McCarthy

Diocesan Convention Eucharist Sermon | The Venerable Laura Siriani, Archdeacon

Diocesan Convention Bishop’s Address | The Rt. Rev. John Harvey Taylor

Diocesan Convention Bishop’s Address | The Rt. Rev. Diane M. Jardine Bruce

Truth and Love Diocesan Convention 2021

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Questions about Convention? Need to speak to the Registrar? Join the Zoom here: https://zoom.us/s/89937852515 – password is 123

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Our Bishop Diocesan, the Rt. Rev. John Harvey Taylor, has announced the theme of this year’s Convention is drawn from Paul’s letter to the church and the apostle’s admonition to speak the truth in love. “… [S]peaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.” (Ephesians 4:14)

Diocesan Convention will be at the Riverside Convention Center on Saturday, November 13, with an option to join virtually by Zoom webinar, and will be livestreamed on the diocesan Facebook page and YouTube channel.

We encourage delegates who cannot or choose not to be vaccinated to attend virtually. Masks are required for in-person attendance. Delegates participating virtually must register for the Zoom webinar.

Call to Order will be at 9:00 a.m. and we will conclude with Holy Eucharist at the end of the day. We anticipate adjourning Convention at 5 or 6:00 p.m. Saturday afternoon.


CONVENTION BOOKLETINFO FOR VIRTUAL DELEGATES

Getting Prepared for Convention

ATTENDANCE

Convention 2021 will be a one-day hybrid event. Masks are required for in-person attendance and RCC staff will be doing temperature checks at the door. Masks, wipes, and hand sanitizer will be available onsite.

We encourage delegates who cannot or choose not to be vaccinated to attend virtually. Delegates participating virtually must register for the Zoom webinar.

ASL interpretation will be available for deaf and hard of hearing guests in-person. Spanish translation will be provided in-person and on the Zoom webinar.

SCHEDULE & AGENDA

Registration will open early on Saturday morning. Currently we anticipate starting the business session at about 9:00 a.m. and concluding with Holy Eucharist at 5:00 p.m. There will be Exhibit Hall breaks and a lunch break. Convention will be livestreamed on the diocesan Facebook page and YouTube channel.

CONVENTION BOOKLET WITH AGENDA

CHILDCARE & YOUTH VOLUNTEERS

We will have childcare providers onsite to care for children ages 0-8 during Convention in a breakout room adjacent to the main Meeting Hall. Toys, activities, snacks, and meals will be provided. There is no charge for childcare but donations are appreciated. Click here to pre-register for childcare at Convention.

For more information on “Camp Convention” or to sign up as a youth volunteer at Convention, please visit edlayouth.org/diocon or additional information on these programs.

MEALS

Coffee and concessions will be available for purchase inside the Convention Center on Saturday morning.

VOTING

In-person: Voting delegates that are attending Convention in person will be assigned a voting device at Registration.

Virtual: If you are attending virtually, you will need a smartphone, tablet, computer, or other web-connected device to vote. Click here to learn more. Please let the Convention office know if you need assistance with this.

Resolutions: Four Resolutions have been submitted for consideration at Convention. Click here to see the full text and explanation of each Resolution.

Elective Offices: See the current slate of nominees to elective office here.ANNUAL MINISTRY REPORT FORMSUBMIT NOMINATIONS FOR ELECTIVE OFFICEPRE-REGISTER FOR CHILDCAREBUDGET INFO


Servants of the Spirit: Gifts for Ministry

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Take part in this series of twice-monthly online workshops for valuable resources, training, and discussion to strengthen our gifts for ministry.

All sessions will be recorded and livestreamed on the diocesan Facebook and YouTube. Spanish translation is provided.

Jeff Bezos is quizzed on ’emotional’ rocket ride and economics of space flight during National Cathedral event

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Jeff Bezos, left, speaks at Washington National Cathedral on Nov. 10, 2021. Photo: Jack Jenkins/Religion News Service

[Religion News Service — Washington, D.C.] Jeff Bezos was a surprise guest at a Washington National Cathedral forum on “Our Future in Space” Wednesday evening (Nov. 10), giving an interviewer the chance to grill the Amazon founder and space flight entrepreneur about extraterrestrial colonies, alien life and his own wealth.

Cathedral dean the Very Rev. Randolph Marshall Hollerith opened the event, which also featured the NASA administrator and the director of national intelligence, by noting that one of the building’s stained-glass windows contains a moon rock collected during the Apollo 11 mission.

“We must be careful not to have a view of God that is too small,” Hollerith said. “I believe the great mystery that lies at the heart of existence — the God who is, we say, the very ground of our being — that God beckons us into the great mysteries of the universe, where we can discover, I believe, divine footprints wherever we go.”

A half-hour later, Adi Ignatius, editor-in-chief of Harvard Business Review, questioned Bezos, who was introduced as an “astronaut,” before the sprawling crowd about his trip to space this summer aboard a rocket built by Blue Origin, the private spaceflight company Bezos founded in 2000.

Bezos, 57, spoke of the “overview effect,” a profound and sometimes spiritual feeling experienced by many astronauts as they gaze upon the Earth from above.

“The magnitude of that experience was so much bigger than I could have ever anticipated,” he said. “It really is such a change in perspective that shows you, in a very powerful and emotional way, just how fragile this Earth is.”

Bezos argued the effect has the potential to make Blue Origin customers who purchase (the likely very expensive) tickets on the four-seat rockets “ambassadors for Earth.”

The tech titan’s 11-minute trip above the clouds was one of three inaugural private spaceflights launched this year by a trio of wealthy business owners: Bezos, Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson and Space X president Elon Musk. Musk and Bezos — the wealthiest and second wealthiest man on the planet, respectively — compete for government contracts to build vessels that can travel to the moon and beyond.

Ignatius pressed Bezos, who also owns The Washington Post, as to whether the money spent on a privately funded space race could be better utilized to address more earthbound concerns.

“I’m actually spending even more money on the Bezos Earth Fund than I’m spending on space,” Bezos said, referring to his $10 billion fund designed to fight climate change. Even so, Bezos insisted humanity should “look to the future,” saying, “if we want to keep growing as a civilization, using more energy as a civilization, most of that, in the future, needs to be done off planet.”

Bezos went on to detail an “off-planet” vision that involves moving “heavy industries” and solar energy farms into space. He also promoted the idea of building massive space colonies capable of housing roughly a million people each, with the residents living in artificial gravity.

However, he was dismissive of calls to make Mars habitable for humans — a “terraforming” dream long championed by his rival Musk — describing any such effort as “very, very challenging.”

Challenging or not, NASA Administrator Bill Nelson, a former U.S. senator and former space shuttle crew member, expressed his excitement about the prospect of visiting the red planet. Nelson participated in the event via a pre-taped video due to an unexpected scheduling conflict: a delayed launch of four astronauts from Cape Canaveral, Florida, to the International Space Station aboard a SpaceX rocket. (The launch, which took off right as the event concluded, was successful.)

“We’re going to the moon to learn what we need to do as humans to survive when we go millions and millions of miles out to the planet Mars,” Nelson said in reference to NASA’s new Artemis program, which aspires to put the first woman and first person of color on the moon.

Nelson, who flew on the space shuttle Columbia in 1986, also spoke of the impact of the overview effect during his time in orbit.

“I looked at the Earth as we orbited it every 90 minutes,” he said. “I did not see racial division. I did not see religious division. I did not see political division. From that perspective, looking back at our home, I saw that we were all in this together.”

Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines, whose office issued a preliminary assessment in June on “Unidentified Aerial Phenomena” that did not rule out the existence of aliens, was asked to elaborate.

“The main issues that Congress and others have been concerned about are basically safety of flight concerns and counterintelligence issues,” she said. “But of course, there’s always the question of: Is there something else that we simply do not understand that might come (from) extraterrestrials?”

When it comes to national security concerns, however, both Haines and Nelson appeared more wary of other countries putting weapons in orbit — particularly those designed to disrupt or destroy satellites — than visitors from another planet.

“The threat is real,” Haines said. “Both China and Russia are increasingly building space into their military capabilities.”

Nelson said that Russia has continued to cooperate with the U.S. in space exploration but that China has taken a different posture.

“We’re not having that success with the Chinese government,” he said. “They’ve been secretive, nontransparent. They have not been willing to cooperate. And yes, we can have some trouble in space vis-a-vis the Chinese.”

The profound social and theological implications of finding alien life — be it on Earth or elsewhere — was the subject of the event’s final panel, in which Hollerith spoke with Harvard astronomer Avi Loeb and professor David Wilkinson of Durham University in England.

Wilkinson, who is also a Methodist minister, grappled with whether finding alien life more advanced than humans would challenge the notion common in many religious traditions that humanity has a privileged position with God.

Wilkinson argued, “You are special not because you’re the center of everything, but because you are loved — the belief that God loves us.”

“The God that I see in Jesus Christ, I think, is a God of love and grace, and that God would be loving not just to human beings, but loving to the whole of creation — the planet itself,” he said. “If there is (alien) life, intelligent or not, that would be the basis of a relationship of love.”

Hollerith said the impact of meeting aliens — like the overview effect — would “humble us as to our place within the cosmos.”

That humbling experience, Loeb argued, could change humanity for the better.

“Suppose we find the smarter kid on our block: Then the small differences between us are meaningless,” he said. “Showing off in space is an oxymoron. My hope is that once we discover intelligence out there, we will treat each other with more respect as equal members of the human species.”

This story was originally published by Religion News Service and is republished here with permission.

Melissa McCarthy represents church at UN climate conference

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An Episcopal Church delegation representing Presiding Bishop Michael Curry is virtually attending the 26th Conference of Parties of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (known as “COP26”).

From: Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles

Melissa McCarthy, canon to the ordinary in the Diocese of Los Angeles, is a member of Presiding Bishop Michael Curry’s delegation to COP26. Photo: John Taylor

The Rev. Canon Melissa McCarthy, canon to the ordinary in the Diocese of Los Angeles, is among the delegates.

The 24-member delegation of bishops, priests, deacons and laypersons is split into two groups, one attending the first week of sessions (beginning Oct. 31), and the other taking part in the second week. McCarthy is a member of the first group. An introduction to members of the delegation is here.  Comments and reports from McCarthy are being posted daily on the diocese’s Facebook page here.

An Episcopal News Service story about Episcopal Church representation at the conference is here.

Concerning the delegation, the Episcopal Church Office of Government Relations wrote in a statement to interested church members:

“The delegation, comprised of a diverse, international body of representatives from across the Church, will bring the Church’s values into the room at COP. They will support the priorities of The Episcopal Church in matters of the environment, standing in solidarity with people within the U.S. and around the world who are already feeling the leading-edge effects of climate change from rising sea levels impacting low-lying nations to the impacts of more severe fire seasons in western North America.

“This year more than ever, we are coordinating again with the Anglican Communion delegation to the COP to improve our effectiveness in raising the voice of the Church in this space. As in our advocacy to the U.S. government on matters of foreign policy, we are grateful to the worldwide relationships we have through the Anglican Communion, the third largest Christian group in the world.

“World religions, including the Episcopal branch of the Jesus Movement, hold the Earth to be sacred; we respect the rights of vulnerable populations; we have sacred paths for people to travel that lead us from disintegration to wholeness.

“The delegation will also bring what they have learned during the COP back home, to the Church. The Presiding Bishop’s delegation carefully monitors the major workstreams of the COP, such as mitigation, raising ambition, finance, adaptation, and loss and damage. Our local communities can learn from what others are doing in these important themes of climate change action around the world.

The Office of Government Relations has issued several suggestions of ways Episcopalians can take part in the conference.”

Worship and delegation reports

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 6, 8 a.m. PDT
Liturgy for Planetary Crisis: Episcopal Worship Service during COP26
Online: register here
Join Presiding Bishop Michael Curry in prayer and worship with our Episcopal delegation – including the Rev. Canon Melissa McCarthy of the Diocese of Los Angeles – and all who have been present in witness and advocacy at this global climate conference. This service is open to all and will focus on the need for swift, just action to bring us back into right relationships across the human family and with all of God’s creation. The liturgy will draw on our Episcopal tradition and beyond and will offer strength to the community at COP26.

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 12, 11 a.m. PT
COP26 Closing Event: Report from the Presiding Bishop’s Delegation
Online: register here
As the 26th Conference of Parties of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change draws to an end, gather with Episcopal advocates and ecumenical partners for this closing event. Presiding Bishop Michael Curryt’s delegation will offer reports from their witness at the conference, as well as top line summaries from the negotiations. We will finish with a faith-led vision of the future for Episcopal advocacy around climate change.

Episcopalians are joining together for “Climate Compline” each evening during COP26. All are welcome to join this Zoom offering in English and Spanish each day at 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m.: click here.

“Even if you can’t tune in or keep up with everything happening at COP26, there are some wonderful ways to connect with the movement for creation care and confronting climate catastrophe,” says OGR. “One easy option is to watch Netflix’s documentary series, Our Planet, [hosted by Sir David Attenborough]. The stunning imagery and powerful story-telling in this documentary remind us of what’s at stake and help us to see that, while the challenge is great, there are so many reasons to be hopeful.” Learn more about the series here.

The United Nations website has extensive resources on the conference, found here.

Goals for COP26, as defined by the United Nations, are:

“1. Secure global net zero by mid-century and keep 1.5 degrees within reach. Countries are being asked to come forward with ambitious 2030 emissions reductions targets that align with reaching net zero by the middle of the century. To deliver on these stretching targets, countries will need to:

  • accelerate the phase-out of coal
  • curtail deforestation
  • speed up the switch to electric vehicles
  • encourage investment in renewables.

“2. Adapt to protect communities and natural habitats. The climate is already changing and it will continue to change even as we reduce emissions, with devastating effects. At COP26 we need to work together to enable and encourage countries affected by climate change to:

  • protect and restore ecosystems.
  • build defenses, warning systems and resilient infrastructure and agriculture to avoid loss of homes, livelihoods and even lives.

“3. Mobilize finance. To deliver on our first two goals, developed countries must make good on their promise to mobilize at least $100 billion in climate finance per year by 2020. International financial institutions must play their part and we need work towards unleashing the trillions in private and public sector finance required to secure global net zero.

“4. Work together to deliver. We can only rise to the challenges of the climate crisis by working together. At COP26 we must:

  • finalize the Paris Rulebook (the detailed rules that make the Paris Agreement operational)
  • accelerate action to tackle the climate crisis through collaboration between governments, businesses and civil society.”

Bishop Diane Jardine Bruce to begin ministry Dec. 1 as bishop provisional of the Diocese of West Missouri

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Bishop Bruce visits Immanuel Church, El Monte.

[The Episcopal News] The Rt. Rev. Diane M. Jardine Bruce, bishop suffragan of the Diocese of Los Angeles since 2010, will begin a new ministry Dec. 1 as bishop provisional of the Diocese of West Missouri by action of its convention, meeting today in Kansas City, Mo.

Today’s vote adopts a resolution ratifying Bruce’s unanimous nomination, announced Aug. 3, by the Diocese of West Missouri’s Standing Committee.

A story from the Diocese of West Missouri is here.

In her new ministry, Bruce will oversee the Diocese of West Missouri – comprised of 9,000 Episcopalians in 47 congregations – for a period of two to three years until the diocese elects a bishop diocesan. Her tenure follows the Sept. 14 resignation of West Missouri’s Bishop Diocesan Martin Scott Field.

Bruce will participate in the Nov. 13 convention of the Diocese of Los Angeles and give an address during the afternoon business session. In the days ahead she will formally resign the position of bishop suffragan of Los Angeles.

Upon Bruce’s nomination (coverage here), Los Angeles Bishop John Harvey Taylor said, “On behalf of the whole diocese, I offer congratulations and blessings to Bishop Bruce as she prepares for the next season of her ministry, serving and loving the people of our sibling diocese in West Missouri. Called to the diaconate and priesthood in our diocese, the first woman elected bishop in Los Angeles, Diane is forever one of us. Her contributions to our common life have been legion, especially in New Community ministry and stewardship. There is no denying that we will miss her greatly, especially her upbeat, loving spirit. And yet we trust in the wisdom of the Holy Spirit. And we’re proud that her gifts and experience will now enliven mission and ministry in West Missouri.”

“It has been my distinct honor and privilege to serve as the seventh bishop suffragan here in the Diocese of Los Angeles these 11-plus years,” said Bruce, who joined Taylor and diocesan Canon to the Ordinary Melissa McCarthy in a leadership triad following the 2017 retirement of the late Bishop J. Jon Bruno.

“You may wonder why I am leaving now,” added Bruce, 65. “The answer is simple: an opportunity presented itself to me to exercise my gifts and skills in a new place in the few years I have left before I fully retire. I am excited to begin a new role as bishop provisional, which is a bishop diocesan but without tenure. Through prayerful discernment, it became very clear that West Missouri is a place where I am being called by the Spirit – and so I have said ‘yes!’

“I know the future of the Diocese of Los Angeles is in the best of hands,” Bruce said. “Please hold me and the Diocese of West Missouri in your prayers, as I will be praying for all of you.”

Episcopal News Service coverage of Bruce’s nomination is here.

More about the Diocese of West Missouri is here.

2FAB: Sojourner Truth

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2FAB: Sojourner Truth

This week 2FAB explores the life and legacy of the formerly enslaved woman, Sojourner Truth who became an advocate for  abolition, temperance, and civil and women’s rights in the nineteenth century.

To see the entire podcast, please visit the Episcopal Café

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The Episcopal Café seeks to be an independent voice, reporting and reflecting on the Episcopal Church and the Anglican tradition.  The Café is not a platform of advocacy, but it does aim to tell the story of the church from the perspective of Progressive Christianity.  Our collective sympathy, as the Café, lies with the project of widening the circle of inclusion within the church and empowering all the baptized for the role to which they have been called as followers of Christ.

The opinions expressed at the Café are those of individual contributors, and, unless otherwise noted, should not be interpreted as official statements of a parish, diocese or other organization. The art and articles that appear here remain the property of their creators.

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Presiding bishop officiates Colin Powell’s funeral at National Cathedral

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Presiding Bishop Michael officiates at the funeral of Colin Powell at Washington National Cathedral on Nov. 5, 2021.

[Episcopal News Service] Presiding Bishop Michael Curry officiated at the funeral of Colin Powell, former U.S. secretary of state and general, at Washington National Cathedral on Nov. 5, in a ceremony attended by three presidents and a host of dignitaries. Powell, a lifelong Episcopalian, died on Oct. 18 of complications from COVID-19 at age 84.

Presiding Bishop Michael officiates at the funeral of Colin Powell at Washington National Cathedral on Nov. 5, 2021.

Curry was joined by Washington Bishop Mariann Edgar Budde; the Very Rev. Randolph Hollerith, dean of the cathedral; and the Rev. Joshua Walters, rector of St. John’s Episcopal Church in McLean, Virginia, Powell’s home parish. The Rev. Stuart Kenworthy, former interim vicar at the cathedral and longtime rector of Christ Church Georgetown in Washington, gave the sermon.

Powell served in the administrations of several presidents, including President Ronald Reagan, who appointed him national security adviser in 1987. He was the first African American in that role, and in 1989, he became the first Black chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under President George H.W. Bush. When Bush’s son George W. Bush became president in 2001, he picked Powell as his secretary of state, another first for an African American.

U.S. Presidents Joe Biden, Barack Obama and George W. Bush, as well as former Secretaries of State Hillary Clinton, Condoleezza Rice and Madeleine Albright, attended the funeral. Albright gave a eulogy, along with former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage and Powell’s son Michael.

“As I grew to know him, I came to view Colin Powell as a figure who almost transcended time — for his virtues were Homeric honesty, dignity, loyalty and an unshakable commitment to his calling and word,” Albright said.

In a statement after Powell’s death, Curry recalled meeting with Powell over breakfast a few years ago. “I give thanks for his model of integrity, faithful service to our nation and his witness to the impact of a quiet, dignified faith in public life.”

Gratitude for emergency grants voiced as fund transitions to annual appeal

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Among recipients of grants from the Diocese of Los Angeles’ “One Body & One Spirit” emergency fund are St. Margaret’s Church, South Gate, and the Jubilee Consortium. Above left: Bishop Diane M. Jardine Bruce, Rector Eduardo Bresciani and lay leaders prepare for Eucharist at St. Margaret’s. Above right: The 2021-22 class of Jubilee Year interns gathers for a photo at St. Stephen’s Church, Hollywood, where the program is based.

[The Episcopal News] Gratitude abounds for ways in which the impact of COVID-19 was eased by the diocesan One Body & One Spirit Emergency Appeal, which raised $295,221.91 to fund 37 grants to hard-hit congregations and other ministries.

Thanksgiving extends to donors who made a total of 630 gifts to date and to the Corporation of the Diocese, together with the Special Committee on Incorporation of Parishes and Admission of Missions, for managing a comprehensive, transparent application process requiring review of detailed financial information. This process will be replicated as the emergency fund transitions, later this month, into a diocesan annual appeal initiative.

“I give thanks for each donor and all the ways in which the One Body & One Spirit Emergency Appeal has brought us together in meeting needs across the diocese,” said Bishop John Harvey Taylor. “To the glory of God, we have demonstrated that when one family member is in need, other members assist. This caring generosity, together with the financially transparent grant application process, will serve us well as we implement the diocese’s new annual appeal employing these same best practices.”

Expressions of appreciation from grant recipients are found in video messages here.

Grants, ranging from $1,840 to $7,500 from June 2020 to October 2021, were awarded as follows:

  • Anaheim, St. Michael’s: $6,000 to support contract employees and outstanding bills after significant decline in income due to loss of facility use, and after many members lost jobs in the local hospitality industry amid the pandemic.
  • Claremont, St. Ambrose: $1,840 to aid in transitioning worship to online services.
  • Downey, St. Mark’s: $7,500 to assist operations and digital ministry amid revenue shortfalls.
  • El Segundo, St. Michael the Archangel: $7,500 to install a fire alarm in an additional room that will expand the children’s center to double capacity.
  • Garden Grove, St. Anselm of Canterbury: $7,500 for sanctuary repair including termite damage, roofing, and a door.
  • Gardena, Holy Communion: $6,040 toward reopening costs including repairs and technology upgrades.
  • Gardena, Holy Communion: $3,500 to offset cost of additional repairs and technology upgrades.
  • Glendale, Bloy House, the Episcopal Theological School at Los Angeles: $7,500, for technology upgrades for online instruction opportunities beyond the pandemic.
  • Glendale, La Magdalena: $7,500 for technology upgrades for online services and ministry.
    Inglewood, Holy Faith: $7,500 to maintain part-time staff – office manager, sexton and musicians – who are paid through 1099s ineligible for coverage in the congregation’s Paycheck Protection Program application.
  • Julian, Camp Stevens: $7,500 to pay health benefits for reduced staff.
  • La Verne, St. John’s: $6,200 for kitchen appliance repairs.
  • Laguna Niguel, Faith: $2,500 to provide technology for online services.
  • Lake Arrowhead, St. Richard’s: $7,500 for technology upgrades for online services and ministry.
  • Lancaster, St. Paul’s: $5,000, to upgrade limited internet and wi-fi services to offer online worship.
  • Long Beach, St. Thomas of Canterbury: $5,000 to assist with payroll and pension payments, social media upgrades, and meeting diocesan guidelines for reopening buildings.
  • Los Angeles (Atwater Village), IRIS (Interfaith Refugee and Immigration Services): $7,500 to assist refugee families and service programs.
  • Los Angeles (Crenshaw/Leimert Park), Christ the Good Shepherd: $7,500 for plant and parking lot repairs.
  • Los Angeles (Downtown), St. John’s Cathedral: $7,500 for technology upgrades for livestreaming.
  • Los Angeles (Echo Park), St. Athanasius: $3,000 to assist with technology for online services.
  • Los Angeles (Highland Park), All Saints: $7,500 to help offset a significant loss in income from COVID-19, and costs of urgent repairs to its roof and building to maintain revenue from current tenants.
  • Los Angeles (Highland Park): $7,500 directed to the parish hall and sanctuary repair projects.
  • Los Angeles (Hollywood), Jubilee Consortium: $7,500 to assist food programs and urban intern support.
  • Los Angeles (Hollywood), St. Stephen’s: $7,023 to upgrade technical equipment to provide online services and ministry.
  • Los Angeles (Wilshire Center/Koreatown), St. James in the City: $7,500 matching opportunity to assist Koreatown street ministry to the unhoused.
  • Monterey Park, St. Gabriel’s: $5,000 to help sustain its ministry in transition to online services.
  • Oak Park, Epiphany: $2,500 to help facilitate online services.
  • Ontario, Christ Church: $7,500 to assist development of a vacant portion of its campus to improve outdoor space and accommodate new safety protocols.
  • Placentia, Blessed Sacrament: $7,500 toward its preschool’s increased cleaning costs and staffing support.
  • Pomona, St. Paul’s: $7,500 to offset losses from its inability to book weddings and events.
  • San Pedro, St. Peter’s: $5,000 to offset a loss of income from a lack of in-person meetings.
  • South Gate, St. Margaret’s: $4,000 to cover one month of operating expenses after significant deficits due to the pandemic.
  • Van Nuys, St. Mark’s: $7,500 for digital ministry start-up costs.
  • Venice, Neighborhood Youth Association: $7,500 for an air filtration system for elementary school classrooms.
  • Winnetka, St. Martin in-the-Fields: $7,500 for ground and plumbing repairs to make its school building accessible and functional for children.
  • Winnetka, St. Martin in-the-Fields: $7,500 for maintenance to the heating/cooling system in preschool rooms to provide needed air filtration and heating/air conditioning.
  • Yucaipa, St. Albans: $4,500 directed to health insurance premiums.