Embracing a Just Future
Weekly Flame for Friday, June 19, 2020
From Our Rector
“The elemental sermon embedded into the history and lore of Juneteenth has always been one of hope. The gifts of the holiday are the moments of connection, renewal and joy for a people who have had to endure so much, for so long. To me, Juneteenth matters because it says: Keep going, the future you want is coming.”
“At the end of the day, God calls us all to a future where the first are last and the last are first (Matthew 20:16)…. a time when there is no first or last because everyone is treated and respected as the equal child of God that they are. It is left for faith communities to ‘repair the breach’ between the present injustice and God’s just future.”
Today, Friday, June 19th is Juneteenth, Freedom Day, that commemorates the day in 1865 when Major General Gordon Granger brought the news to Galveston, Texas that the Civil War was over and that those who were enslaved were now free. This news was delivered two and a half years after President Lincoln had signed the Emancipation Proclamation. Rooted in Texas and spreading across the United States over the decades, Juneteenth is a day to celebrate black freedom. Across the country today cities, states, and various organizations and communities are officially observing this day at unprecedented levels, as this article underscores: “there has been a surge of attention on the holiday in recent weeks, as the protest movement against police brutality and structural racism toward black Americans gains momentum.”
Particularly for those who are not black and who have not historically observed this day, today is a day to acknowledge and engage with the history as well as the present struggle against anti-black racism, a struggle that has been driven by the agency of black people, as Jamelle Bouie underscores in today’s New York Times. “If Americans are going to mark and celebrate Juneteenth, then they should do so with the knowledge and awareness of the agency of enslaved people,” he writes. “Emancipation wasn’t a gift bestowed on the slaves; it was something they took for themselves, the culmination of their long struggle for freedom, which began as soon as chattel slavery was established in the 17th century, and gained even greater steam with the Revolution and the birth of a country committed, at least rhetorically, to freedom and equality. In fighting that struggle, black Americans would open up new vistas of democratic possibility for the entire country.”
Veronica Chambers has also written in today's New York Times that Juneteenth has an “elemental sermon embedded” in it, a proclamation of hope. To take this day to gather, as possible amid COVID, is to claim “gifts of this holiday… moments of connection, renewal and joy for a people who have had to endure so much, for so long. To me, Juneteenth matters because it says: Keep going, the future you want is coming."
We –individually and collectively in a range of different ways– have crucial parts to play in bringing about that future. To cast that future orientation in more specifically Christian terms, we are called to join in bringing about what theologian Verna Dozier, building on the work of Howard Thurman, called the dream of God, a vision of justice, of equity, and deep restoration. In a new essay published in Sojourners and brought to my attention this week by Barbara Stevenson (thank you!), theologian Kelly Brown Douglas, whose book Stand Your Ground: Black Bodies and the Justice of God we read last fall, issues a Christian call for reparations. Her call powerfully names three steps toward that vision of a just future. The steps are: 1) what Douglas calls “anamnestic truth-telling,” drawing on the communion language “do this in remembrance of me.” This step is about “being accountable to the past in the very present.” 2) “Fostering moral identity,” and in particular for white people “to self-consciously name and intentionally denounce white privilege.” 3) To “act as if the future is now.” This last part of Douglas’ essay connects especially strongly with Dozier’s vision. “If faith communities and institutions are to repair the breach between the unjust present and God’s just future, then they must act proleptically; that is, as if that future is now.” To act as if a just future is present is to claim it, to act with agency, to practice it in the world. To practice this future in the now requires imagination. It is to be grounded in hope. Hope that the necessary practices of anamnestic truth telling and, for those of us who have it, denouncing white privilege, are about freedom, about affirming life, about opening up a future of justice and peace, of true flourishing.
Today I give thanks for Douglas’ clarion call. I give thanks for black lives: Black lives matter. I give thanks for the agency claimed by black people for centuries in this country. I give thanks for how that agency has opened up “new vistas of democratic possibility for the entire country,” as Jamelle Bouie put it. I give thanks for additional glimpses of such new vistas we saw earlier this week in the Supreme Court decisions in support of LGBTIQ non-discrimination Monday and preventing the immediate ending of DACA on Thursday, knowing that these decisions urge us all the more strongly to embrace our call to be a sanctuary community for all who are marginalized.
As Douglas writes, “At the end of the day, God calls us all to a future where the first are last and the last are first (Matthew 20:16). Such a future does not reflect a reversal of privilege and penalty. Rather, it is a time when there is no first or last because everyone is treated and respected as the equal child of God that they are.” It is now our call, as a Christian community of faith, to discern in what additional ways we can help “‘repair the breach’ between the present injustice and God’s just future.”
Remote Worship to Continue at least through the end of July
Although the state of California, and some of its counties, are beginning to allow some religious in-person gatherings, we in the Diocese of California will only begin to do so when we feel it is safe. You can read the Diocese of California's recently released guidance for in person "regathering" here. The earliest that some churches around our diocese may begin to re-gather in person is the end of June. For St. Aidan's re-gathering will be later than that, perhaps as early as sometime in August and perhaps later. In the meantime at least through July, we will continue the pattern we have been in, refraining from holding events in our building with the exceptions of the Friday Food Pantry and Diamond Diners, and now also with the exception of the Cielito Lindo Preschool, which has reopened in strict compliance with state, county and diocesan rules. This current state of affairs won't last forever, but we do need to keep staying the course to stay safe. Thank you very much for all your support as we continue to make our way forward together.
Resources for Engaging in Anti-Racism, from Elena Wong
Thank you to Elena Wong for sharing this list of resources at last night's vestry meeting 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!
COVID CONNECT UPDATE
A team of 14 volunteers from St. Aidan’s called everyone in the parish directory over the past few weeks, reaching out to connect during this trying time. We didn’t reach everyone—in cases where we left two voicemails and heard nothing back, we just quit for fear of making pests of ourselves. We had a number of wonderful conversations and learned about a few needs we might be able to help out with. Buddy callers have now started weekly calls to some folks who said they’d welcome extra human contact. We found enough interest in the virtual kaffeeklatsch to give it a whirl on Thursdays at 3 p.m. We started April 16th and continue on Thursdays at 3 PM. We also have identified a few people who are willing to do basic Zoom coaching by phone and have matched them with folks who requested that assistance. Next, we plan to extend the circle of care to our food pantry community, conducting a similar survey with the core group of volunteers. We are also looking into the creation of some sort of online exchange to allow parishioners to make requests and others to sign up to fill them.
This Wednesday is the last in the Adult Formation Series on the Writings of Paul
In Eastertide we began to make our way through the writings of the Apostle Paul. Evening Prayer takes place for all who would like to participate from 6:30-7 PM and Paul text discussion goes from 7-8 PM on Zoom. This will be our last week and we will read Philippians. This is a space to wrestle with Paul, to ask critical questions, to wonder together. Come join us! Reach out to Cameron at if you need the remote access information.
“Wrestling with the Scriptures” Tues, July 7th from 10:30 AM - 12 PM
The next meeting of our monthly Bible Study, “Wrestling with the Scriptures” will take place on Tuesday, July 7th from 10:30-Noon on Zoom. It will be led by Susan Spencer and will be on Luke 16:1-9. Please reach out to her at if you need the access information!
Analytical Club of San Francisco
Analytical Psychology Club (APC)
Zoom Meeting July 12, 2020 from 2-5 PM
Encountering the Other: The White Shadow with Karen Naifeh, PhD
How do those of us who are White and unconsciously express attitudes, writings, actions that are offensive to the Other? There are embedded forms of racism and thereby oppression that members of the dominant group learn not to see, to keep in the shadows. What forces keep unconscious racial bias alive and active in our societies? One answer lies in a culture’s shadow.
This presentation will utilize writings of Jung, and post-Jungians such as Kimbles, Singer, and Brewster, as well as examples from philosophy, relational psychoanalysis, film and literature that depict culture’s shadow. The relationship of culture’s shadow to Jung’s “geology” of the personality as diagrammed in one of his 1925 lectures will be explored, and the connection of culture’s shadow to archetypal evil and to the formation of negative cultural complexes. These explorations are directed toward new ways of understanding the creation and maintenance of the sense of Other in the psyche, furthering the work of bringing culture’s shadow into consciousness.
For information about joining APC’s Zoom Meeting, email Elaine Mannon at
Contemplative Prayer continues: Tuesday, Thursday, & Saturday from 9-10 AM via Zoom
To provide some sort of worship experience every day of the week while we are still sheltering in place, we are re-starting Contemplative Prayer via Zoom, adding an extra day, Saturday. 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.
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:
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