Each week we send out an e-newsletter, the Flame. It includes a reflection by Cameron, brief articles by parish leaders, community announcements, and the parish prayer list. During this time of sheltering in place, we are also sharing a more frequent e-news, "the Spark," which features shorter reflections, reports, and resources. Past issues of both the Flame and Spark can be found here. If you would like to add someone to the prayer list for the Flame and the Sunday bulletins, please don’t hesitate to be in touch with the office. To ask for prayers from the Prayer Chain, please reach out to Lois Roach here.
Doorways of Possibility:
The Weekly Flame for Thursday, June 10, 2021
From Our Rector
San Francisco may not be having it usual in-person LGBTQ+ Pride parade and expo for the second year in a row, but various events are happening and in the works, and many events and stories are available online. This Sunday evening at 5 PM I’ll be participating in an online Community Pride Seder organized by San Francisco’s Congregation Sha’ar Zahav. The event features a Pride Haggadah written by members of the congregation which has celebrated a Pride Seder since 2005.
I especially resonate with a section of the Haggadah that refers to the “sacred role” of LGBTQ+ people:
“What is our sacred role?
Because we come from all other peoples, we are bridge- builders and connectors. Because we live our lives in many different ways, between genders and sexes and varied ways of loving, we stand at the doorway of Possibility, and it is from this that we derive our sacred role in the world.”
I appreciate the intersectionality of this passage, underscoring that LGBTQ+ people are of and from various peoples, called to bridge between and among them. I also appreciate its reflection that many LGBTQ+ people understand ourselves as exceeding binaries of gender and sexuality, and as liminal, threshold people who indeed “stand at the doorway of possibility.” This emphasis reminds me once more of our recent Lent series on Wilderness in which we invited one another again and again to consider God was calling us in this holy threshold place.
I heard new versions of this question this week in our new Wednesday Christian Formation series “Communally Contemplating the Sunday Gospels: An Ignatian Journey” (please see the announcement below). In it we are looking at the coming Sunday’s gospel passage, reflecting upon it both individually and communally, inspired by an Ignatian spiritual frame. The sixteenth century theologian Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus, created a way of dwelling with the stories and scenes of scripture that actively draws upon our imaginations and emotions, placing us in the story we hear and/or placing the story in our contexts. Looking at the brief set of parables we will hear on Sunday, we prayerfully reflected upon how God is speaking to us through them, individually and collectively.
Years ago, my friend Kathy Talvacchia had a profound experience with the Ignatian Spiritual Exercises. As she writes in an essay in the 2015 book Queer Christianities: Lived Religion in Transgressive Forms (NYU Press, 2015), “I came out through [them].” Her essay describes how the sharing of this experience in community spaces has elicited surprised responses over the years, particularly among LGBTQ+ people—surprise she understands, given how institutional forms of Christianity have harmed us. Yet for her, “Christianity had aided my awareness and acceptance of my sexuality, rather than repressing its expression” (184). As she made her way through the Exercises over several weeks, she came to a greater sense of connection with God. A “relentless disjointedness” she had previously experienced in her life began to dissipate, and she came to know deeply that her sexuality “was affirmed, and therefore I felt free, empowered, and passionately engaged with life. With this energy, I slowly began to live as an openly queer and openly religious person” (188, 189).
This is a month for celebrating the freedom and agency, the creativity, passion, and joy, the complexities of our humanity, however that may look for each of us, made in God’s image. It is a month for embracing community, especially in this moment of transition at the ambiguous semi-conclusion of a long, painful pandemic. And so as we celebrate Pride month in this strange time, I give thanks for people in our lives who bear witness to the freedom and authenticity to which God calls us-- people who truly shine as beacons, doorways of possibility. I am grateful for our communities of possibility both in person and across phone lines and computer screens. I give thanks for life.
Continuing in All-Zoom Worship this Sunday
Thank you to all who participated in our experimental hybrid worship on Pentecost! That was our first foray in this transitional, experimental phase of our Regathering Process. We appreciate your feedback on that experience, whether you were in-person or on Zoom-- please feel free to send your thoughts to Cameron at or with anyone else on the St. Aidan's Regathering Committee: Barbara Stevenson, Elena Wong, Jim Other, and Dave Frangquist. For the next few weeks we'll be back on Zoom, and we look forward to our next foray back into our space. Mark your calendar for July 18th for sure and stay tuned for updates in the meantime. For the latest on the Diocesan regathering guidance, please see: https://diocal.org/diocesan-regathering-plan#e
Coming Up This Sunday Evening: Community Pride Seder
On Sunday evening, June 13th at 5 PM Congregation Sha'ar Zahav is leading a Community Pride Seder on Zoom. "Pride Seder is a ritual that chronicles the liberation of LGBTQ people, much like the Passover Seder, which retells the story of the liberation of the Jewish people. Each year during Pride Month, members of Sha’ar Zahav in San Francisco come together to commemorate our emancipation from oppression, to celebrate our freedom, and to re-commit to our activism, remembering that none of us are free until all of us are free. We read from a Pride Haggadah and discuss the items on a seder plate that represent our history. This year, we will celebrate Community Pride Seder online, together with community members, LGBTQ Jewish clergy, as well as civic and interfaith leaders." Read more about it here: https://jewishfed.org/news/events/2021-community-pride-seder
Communion Bread Bakers Needed
Do you like to bake or are willing to try? As we anticipate fully returning to in person worship, we would like to add you to the rotation of those who bake the communion bread. Our numbers are decreasing with Martha preparing to move on to her new environs in New York and age catching up to some of us. You would be provided with the recipe and instructions for your month of service. In our experience, one bake covers the whole month. The bread may be stored in the freezer in the small kitchen in the office area, or you may bring bread each Sunday. Please contact JoEllen Brothers at email@example.com
New Catechism Series Continues this Sunday
Join us this Sunday for a new round of catechism class! Its main purpose is preparation for a baptism we look forward to doing on July 18th, the next time we re-gather for worship in our space, but anyone is welcome to join the conversation with Elaina LeGault, Jolie Ouyang, and Cameron as we meet over five Sundays to talk about the following topics:
[[May 30: God the Creator]] -- Completed
[[June 6: Jesus the Christ]] -- Completed
June 13: the Holy Spirit
June 20: Creation, Humanity, and Sin
July 11: The Church, the Sacraments, Mission, and Christian Hope
Please reach out to Cameron at firstname.lastname@example.org to jump in!
New Wednesday Evening Series – Communally Contemplating the Sunday Gospels: An Ignatian Journey
Join us for four Wednesday Evenings in June (June [9,] 16, 23, & 30) to explore the Gospel passages assigned for the following Sundays using an imaginative spiritual frame inspired by the sixteenth century mystical theologian Ignatius of Loyola. We’ll be led by our Christian Formation team including Elaina LeGault, Barbara Stevenson, Susan Spencer, Margaret Dyer-Chamberlain, and me. We look forward to seeing you on Wednesday evenings from 7-8:15. Come to Evening Prayer beforehand if you’d like at 6:30 PM. The Zoom link will be the same one we’ve been using for Wednesday evenings. Please reach out to Cameron if you need it!
Women's Spirituality Group
Our St. Aidan's Women's Spirituality Group will meet via zoom Saturday, June 19th from 10:00 - 11:30. As before, we will have time for both checking in and personal sharing as well as time for spiritual growth. We are certainly open to formats and approaches such as reflections on a poem, scripture, narrative passage or another focus for our growth. We want our group to meet the needs and desires of those who participate. If you want to join us, and we hope you will, please contact Elaine Mannon at email@example.com to get the information for signing into our meeting.
Inaugural Diocesan Feast Day Celebrating Juneteenth– June 19th at 2 PM in person & online
In 2020, the 171st Convention of the Diocese of California passed a historic resolution recognizing Juneteenth, the annual holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the United States, as a diocesan feast day and holiday. Bishop Marc, the Diocese of California’s Afro-American Commission, and the Vivian Traylor/Northern California Chapter of the Union of Black Episcopalians invite you to attend or watch the livestream of the First Inaugural Diocesan Feast Day Celebrating Juneteenth, a service of healing, reflection, and hope.
When: Saturday, June 19 at 2:00 p.m.
Where: Grace Cathedral, San Francisco (in-person) and livestreamed on
The Diocese of California’s Facebook page (linked here)
Who: The Diocese of California’s Afro-American Commission and the Vivian Traylor/Northern California Chapter of the Union of Black Episcopalians
Registration: To attend the event at Grace Cathedral, please register here.
*Note: Due to COVID safety restrictions, seating at the cathedral will be capped at 200. We recommend registering now to secure your seat. No registration is needed for the service livestream.
Bayview Opera House In Person Celebration of Juneteenth -- June 19th from 12:30-3 PM
On Saturday, June 19th, 2021, 12:30PM-3PM, come out and join BVOH for our first outdoor event since the Shelter-In-Place order began. Join us for sun, community and live music.
As the sun begins to set on the pandemic, BVOH is excited to reopen our outdoor stage and invite our community in to celebrate the historic day that the enslaved peoples of Texas found out that they were free and the metaphor of our communities being liberated from our homes and seeing a world beyond the pandemic!
We have a jam-packed lineup featuring:
Live Drumming from Batuci
An original dance routine from Feline Finesse
Poetry/Spoken Word from Queen Niyah
Uplifting music by XPress and GoodBrutha
Blues and Jazz by Pat Wilder and her band
Reserve your free tickets here: https://tinyurl.com/unvesvyn
See the whole announcement here, and thank you to Jim Oerther for sharing this invitation!
Urban Angels SF's 3rd Annual School Supplies Program
Urban Angels SF is starting it’s third annual school supplies program to provide confidence to and to empower unhoused children or others who families are living at or below the poverty line in our city.
Our first year we gave away 140 backpacks filled with school supplies. Last year it was 240. This year it will be 500!
Each high-quality back pack filled with school supplies costs $25 to buy. We are launching our 2021 campaign to raise $12,500 to pay for these gifts on July 1st and it will continue through July 31st. We will be organizing the back packs and delivering them to the children on Saturday August 7.
Anyone who wants to donate to support this empowering program that benefits poor children living in our city, can do so on the Urban Angels SF website at https://www.urbanangelssf.org/school-supplies-drive
- Nelson Barry, Founder & President, Urban Angels SF
5228 Diamond Heights Blvd. SF 94131
(2nd floor in Diamond Heights Shopping Center) 415-952-0711
Urban Angels SF is a 501(c)(3) tax ID #84-3536488 - All donations are tax deductible.
Good News Gardens Monthly Gardening Group On Site at St. Aidan’s
Our Good News Gardens group, which has been growing produce for our Diamond Diners group each month, is expanding its reach! We’re going to sponsor monthly garden spruce-up Saturdays at the church (this is a “fancy” way of saying that there is always weeding to be done…) Our gardening days will be the 4th Saturday of each month (for the next three months that’s June 26, July 24 and August 28) from 11:30-2 pm. We thought we could start the days by each of us bringing a picnic lunch and sitting in the driveway to catch up, have lunch, and plan our work together. Our thought is that this will be a nice way to be back together, safely masked and outdoors – kind of a bridge to being back in person, and a way to enjoy God’s creation - right on our church grounds. If you have questions, please contact Deacon Margaret, firstname.lastname@example.org
New Jim Crow Anti-Racist Book Group
Our next meeting is June 27, 4-5:30 pm. We’re reading The Final Revival of Opal and Nev by Dawnie Walton. Please contact Deacon Margaret, email@example.com, for the zoom link.
Update on “A Place for Books”
SO many thanks to everyone for the many, many books you are donating. I just sent 8 more boxes to Ohio! I also found out that that the Santa Clara County jail is looking for books (paperback only for them) so I have several bags ready to bring to Liz Milner, a priest in our diocese who leads the chaplaincy program there. Liz also might be able to help me determine if the SF County jail could also use books. So keep the books coming! This has been such a successful effort that I think I’ll reach out to some neighboring parishes to see if they are interested also. I’ll keep everyone updated.
With gratitude for all that you do as God’s hands and feet in our world – Deacon Margaret
1900 Diamond Proposed Development
As you may know from previous announcements, a new development has been proposed for the property at the corner of Diamond and Diamond Heights Boulevard just down the street from St. Aidan’s. It would be the largest proposed development to be constructed in the neighborhood in fifty years. The property is owned by the Cesar Chavez Foundation that owns Vista Del Monte which is situated next to the proposed new building. Concerned neighbors are calling upon the city to conduct a more in-depth environmental review and have listed a number of concerns about its impact on the neighborhood and the environment at this website: . Their website includes a petition that those who share their concerns can sign. For more information about the ongoing neighborhood conversation about this proposal and the petition, please be in touch with Betsy Eddy at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Resources for Engaging in Anti-Racism, from Elena Wong
Thank you to Elena Wong for recently sharing this list of resources that were in turn shared with her through her membership in the Western Association for College Counseling:
Resources on talking to young kids about race and racism
The 1619 Project (all the articles) | The New York Times Magazine
“Who Gets to Be Afraid in America?” by Dr. Ibram X. Kendi | Atlantic (May 12, 2020)
LISTEN (Podcasts to subscribe to)
1619 (New York Times)
Code Switch (NPR)
Seeing White Series on Scene On Radio
13th Film (2 hours)
When They See Us (Four episodes)
Color of Change
Southern Poverty Law Center
Groups and people doing anti-racist work, such as @colorofchange @weinspirejustice @showingupforracialjustice
Please send in your recipes for the COVID Connect Cookbook!
As shared in previous weeks, Peter Fairfield and Linnea Sweet are putting together the COVID Connect Cookbook. He's received several recipes thus far but would very much like more. He writes:
We are living through a time that will change our world in ways that we cannot yet begin to understand. We can hope that our shared vulnerability to this virus worldwide will help us see that all humanity is connected and that we must all work together. As we shelter in place, many of us are concerned with food. If we are not working, how will we afford it? If we cannot go out, how will we get it?
In our community of Saint Aidan’s, many are able to feed themselves and to help others get fed. More than that, we appreciate the food that we get and are finding new ways of making the sharing of food as enjoyable as possible.
The soup recipes that Cameron has been sharing have made our diet much more enjoyable and have given Linnea and I the inspiration to collect recipes from all the congregation and share them. We ask that everyone with a favorite recipe email it to us at email@example.com. We will collect and edit them into a cookbook which will be a lasting reminder of this strange and special time in all our lives.
We hope to be able to publish this cookbook in printed form and sell it to raise funds in support of Saint Aidan’s food ministries. We know you have been sharing food. Now please share your recipes!
Contemplative Prayer continues: Tuesday, Thursday, & Saturday from 9-10 AM via Zoom
Contemplative prayer continues during this time of sheltering in place, via Zoom. Contemplative Prayer is silent with the beginning and ending marked by a bell. You can practice meditation, silent prayer, journal, or otherwise enjoy the collective quiet. Thank you to Susan Spencer for offering to anchor this practice once again, especially the Saturday, during this time. Please feel free to reach out to Cameron for the Zoom access information: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Morning Prayer continues: Mon, Wed, Fri at 7:30 AM via Zoom
We also continue to have Morning Prayer to help sustain and ground us, online/over the phone!
Please feel free to reach out to Cameron for the Zoom access information: email@example.com.
St. Aidan's Gourmet Book Group
The St. Aidan's Gourmet Book Group (usually but not always) meets the last Monday of the month. We will continue to meet via zoom with LeeAnn DeSales serving as our Zoom master. She will be sending you zoom instructions prior to our meetings. If you would like help with zoom, please contact LeeAnn at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you would like to be added to the book group e-mail mailing list, please contact Elaine Mannon at email@example.com.
Monday, June 28, 2021
7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton. A portrait of New York’s “irresponsible, grasping, and morally corrupt” upper class during “The Gilded Age.”
Monday, July 26, 2021
7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
The Code Breaker: Jennifer Doudna, Gene Editing and the Future of the Human Race by Walter Isaacson. Focusing on the life and career of Doudna, the co-winner of the 2020 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, Isaacson anguishes over the ethics of gene editing as well as its potential to control future pandemics.
Monday, August 30, 2021
7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
The Widows of Malabar Hill by Sujata Massey: A sensory rich mystery that illuminates the divisions within India’s religious groups whose members struggle between devotion to the old ways and an increasingly modernizing world.
To add an announcement to the weekly bulletin of the Flame,
please send your edited text no later than 11:00 am Wednesday to firstname.lastname@example.org