The Flame

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.  

Wood Between the Worlds:

The Weekly Flame for Thursday, November 11th, 2021

 

From Our Rector

Much is afoot right now in the life of St. Aidan’s. Last week, as you may recall, we were a hive of activity, between Wrestling with the Scriptures Bible study, Diamond Diners, watching My Name Is Pauli Murray, Good News Gardens on Saturday, and “Mending the World” the multifaith service of pandemic remembrance and hope we hosted on Sunday afternoon. On Sunday morning we celebrated the Feast of All Saints, drawing our unusual octave of Hallowtide to a close while beginning to step through the door to our extended, seven-week observance of Advent. That today is Veteran’s Day highlights this year’s blending of Hallowtide and Advent all the more strongly. As you know, I love thresholds. Yet even for me, this feels like an unusually, intensively liminal time.
And so this week, in the first installment of our five-week Christian Formation series “Shards of Light: Advent Saints,” the hinge quality of this moment framed our engagement with our first subject, C.S. Lewis, the famous Medievalist, Christian theologian, and novelist who was a veteran of World War I and whose feast day falls on November 22. In addition to watching a brief portion of a documentary about him, we talked about two passages from Lewis’ Narnia series that feature thresholds. The first was from my favorite book in that series, The Magician’s Nephew, a snippet from chapter three, “The Wood Between the Worlds.” In it the character Digory emerges through a portal pool of water to a forest with several such pools, all doorways into other worlds. His experience of the place (which I’ve included as part of this week’s Advent Home Prayers) is abundant with both stillness and green, growing life. We talked about the seeming paradox that a space could be so unmoving and filled with motion at the same time, a place that Diggory describes as “not the sort of place where things happen” and yet also where “you could almost feel the trees drinking the water up with their roots” (The Magician’s Nephew (New York: Collier Books, 1970 (1955), p. 28). We reflected on life experiences of holy timelessness—sometimes unexpectedly encountered—of which this passage reminded us. We also reminded one another that taking a step back, retreating into and waiting in such in-between spaces – actually creating hinge spaces in our lives – is an important practice, especially as we make our way into Advent.
 
The second passage we discussed was the famous scene in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe where Lucy discovers that the wardrobe in which she is hiding is a portal to Narnia. Reading and hearing the passage aloud, we noted how gradually Lucy discovers that she is making her way into another world. The way Lucy keeps expecting to feel the back of the wardrobe but doesn’t, what she thinks as the coats rubbing against her cheeks gradually turn into tree branches, felt realistic somehow. It prompted us to reflect on how gradually we can find ourselves making our way into new spaces, new life chapters, without realizing we’re engaging in such a process—how major changes in life can come by simply putting one foot in front of the other. We also wondered how we would react at realizing we had crossed a major threshold. Upon turning around and seeing the light of the room we had started in through the open wardrobe door, would we like Lucy decide to keep exploring? Would we turn around and immediately try to go back? Do we truly know how we will react in such circumstances until we find ourselves in them?
 
And so now we find ourselves in Advent, having crossed into it during last Sunday’s All Saints worship. To me, Advent feels like it has arrived suddenly this year. I knew it was coming – in fact, I’ve been planning for it – yet still, I am amazed by the rapid passage of time. Having come into this place, however rapidly, Advent now invites us to slow down and embrace its hinge quality, to allow its liminality to work on us. Feel the greening of this place, the deep drinking of our roots. Be opened to the new life that has been growing in us, changing us even when we haven’t realized it. 
 
This Sunday we will gather for combined worship at 9 AM, followed by our Quarterly Parish Meeting. It will be a time for reflection and conversation, inspired by the cottage meetings we’ve held on the Church Cracked Open and the discoveries we have made in and through those conversations. How might we use our insights into the ways we have been cracked open and have responded in this pandemic time, to discern and answer God’s call to us in the next chapter of our communal life?


Peace,
Cameron

Announcements

9 AM Combined, Hybrid In-Person/Zoom Worship This Sunday

This week our hybrid worship (in person, masked and via Zoom platforms) will take place at 9 AM, followed by our Quarterly Parish Meeting. We encourage you to connect to with worship in whatever way is comfortable for you. For the latest on the Diocesan regathering guidance, please see: https://diocal.org/diocesan-regathering-plan#e.

The St. Aidan's Women's Spirituality Group will meet via zoom Saturday, Nov. 13th 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 elaine@mannon. com to get the information for signing into our meeting.  

Thanksgiving Dinner Distribution, Thursday, Nov. 25th, 12-1 PM from our main doors
This year on Thanksgiving, as we did last year, we will be sharing take-out style Thanksgiving dinners from our doorway in the manner we have done Diamond Diners during the pandemic. Thanks to Nicole Miller who has made arrangements with a caterer as well as to Tim Fabatz who is working with Nicole to provide a few vegan meals, we will once again be able to share Thanksgiving with our neighbors. We very much look forward to next year when we anticipate being able to eat together inside the sanctuary, as we have in years past. Please spread the word that we are indeed offering a Thanksgiving meal from 12 noon to 1 PM in this adapted form.

 

Thanksgiving Support for St. Martin de Porres
As many of you know, St Aidan’s has a tradition of donating turkeys to St Martin de Porres soup kitchen for their annual Thanksgiving meal. During Covid times, they are providing bagged meals. They suggested that we provide snacks for inclusion in the bags ; cookies, chips, trail mix, granola bars, nuts etc. JoEllen Brothers plans to shop and deliver snack items November 22. Monetary donations will gladly be accepted. Please make checks out to St Aidan’s with “turkey trot” in the memo. Cash can also be placed in the collection basket in an envelope designated “turkey trot”. 
Thanks, everyone!

 

"Shards of Light" Advent Formation Series on Wednesday Evenings
Join us Wednesday evenings from 7-8:15 PM via Zoom or in person for our Advent Christian Formation series “Shards of Light.” Inspired by the chapter five title of The Church Cracked Open, this series invites us to soak up inspiration from saints whose feast days fall during our extended observance of Advent, looking to their light-filled lives that shine through the cracks of an oppressive world. 

  • November 17: Sojourner Truth, led by Susan Spencer

  • November 24: No Meeting

  • December 1: Dorothy Day, led by Amy Newell-Large

  • December 8: Juan Diego, led by Elaina LeGault

  • December 15:  Ella J. Baker, led by Barbara Stevenson

The Zoom link will be the regular Wednesday night one, and of course please reach out to office@staidansf.org if you need it. Thank you, and we look forward to seeing you tomorrow evening! 


St. Aidan’s Gourmet Book Group
We will continue to meet via zoom with LeeAnn DeSalles 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 leeanndesalles@comcast.net. If you would like to join the Book Group, please contact elaine@mannon.com.

 

The upcoming books and dates are:

  • Monday, November 22, 2021

    • 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.

    • The Power of Light – Eight tales by Nobel Laureate Issac Bashevis Singer for each night of the Hanukkah celebration, tell of a world in which miracles abound, love triumphs, and faith prevails.

  • Monday, December 27, 2021

    • 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.

    • At the home of Shelley Johnson and Paul Nocero (The Noceros ask that all attendees be vaccinated!)

    • The Long Christmas Dinner – A short play by Thornton Wilder. 5 men and 7 women: A Christmas comedy - nine decades long–showcases the lives of several generations of the Bayard family and their Christmas dinners. Thornton Wilder, in a letter written April 11, 1960 to Gertrude Hindemith, whose husband, the composer Paul Hindemith, wrote an opera based on this play: “Of all my plays it is the one that has found the widest variety of receptions. At some performances it has been played to constant laughter; some listeners are deeply moved and shaken by it; some find it cruel and cynical.”

    • We will each take a part (or parts) and read it aloud while we feast on sweet and savory holiday treats. Bring your favorites! Drinks will be provided. 

The New Jim Crow Anti-Racist Book Group
Sunday Dec. 12, 4 pm, via zoom
We are reading parts 4-6 of From Here to Equality – Reparations for Black Americans in the 21st Century by William Darity and Kirsten Mullen.
All are welcome, please contact Deacon Margaret for the link – mdyerc@stanford.edu.

Episcopal Relief for Haiti and Hurricane Ida Survivors

On Saturday, August 14, a 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck the southwest portion of Haiti. This devastating earthquake was followed by Tropical Storm Grace on Monday night and much of Tuesday. More than 1 million people, including more than half a million children, have been impacted by the back-to-back disasters, and the death toll is close to 2000. Episcopal Relief & Development and its partners are responding immediately with direct assistance to vulnerable households in the region, as partners plan long-term recovery. Your generous gift can provide assistance to help people in the wake of these disasters. To assist in these efforts, visit episcopalrelief.org/haiti-relief.

Additionally, on Sunday, August 29, sixteen years after Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast, Hurricane Ida made landfall in the same region. This Category 4 storm brought flooding and damaging winds that caused a loss of water to hundreds of thousands and a loss of electricity to over 1 million people. Episcopal Relief & Development is working closely with the Diocese of Louisiana and other regional partners in what will be a long-term response. Your generous gift will help alleviate suffering for the most vulnerable residents impacted by Hurricane Ida. Please visit episcopalrelief.org/hurricane-relief to make a gift today.

Wildfire Relief Donations

The Diocese of California Disaster Preparedness Commission is partnering with the American Red Cross to raise funds during Fire Season 2021. Funds raised will pass through the Red Cross to support communities devastated by wildfire in California, provide temporary shelter for families unhoused by evacuation and destruction, and give food, first aid, and rest to first responders and fire crews. Thank you for helping victims of wildfires and for doing your part to make an impact. Click here to learn more and donate.

 

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:

READ
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

WATCH
13th Film (2 hours)
When They See Us (Four episodes)

DONATE
Color of Change
Southern Poverty Law Center

FOLLOW
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 peterlinnea@earthlink.net. 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 the office for the Zoom access information: office@staidansf.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 the office for the Zoom access information: office@staidansf.org.

To add an announcement to the weekly bulletin of the Flame,
please send your edited text no later than 11:00 am Wednesday to office@staidansf.org