Voice a New World Into Being
Weekly Flame for Friday, September 25, 2020
From Our Rector
God of liberating power, who called Thecla to proclaim the gospel and did not permit any obstacle or peril to inhibit her: Empower courageous evangelists among us, that people of all genders everywhere may know the freedom that you offer us in Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
This is collect commemorating the life and witness of Thecla of Iconium spoke powerfully to me this week as we observed her feast day in Evening Prayer on Wednesday. Thecla was a first century follower of Jesus who was also strongly drawn to the preaching of the Apostle Paul. The dramatic, oppressive, and at points violent turns of Thecla’s life are related in the Acts of Paul and Thecla, a translation of which can be found online here. I included a passage from that text as one of our readings on Wednesday evening. It included the end of the ninth chapter of the Acts in which Thecla is thrown among wild beasts, as a death sentence, and manages miraculously to survive. Our reading witnessed an exchange with her erstwhile executioner who asks, “Who are you? And what are your circumstances, that not one of the beasts will touch you?” She describes herself as “a servant of the living God” and is subsequently released. Upon that release, the women in the arena who had been watching Thecla’s ordeal, cried out in release and relief. The text describes the impact of their cry: “their voices were so loud that the whole city seemed to be shaken.”
Today, I am all the more moved by that description.
One week after the announcement of the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg and the deep struggle that has since ensued regarding the appointment of her successor, voices are crying out. They are lifting up the voice of Justice Ginsberg herself, as conveyed to her granddaughter: “My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed.”
Two days after a grand jury declined to indict the two officers who shot Breonna Taylor six times, killing her last March during a botched raid in Louisville, Kentucky, voices are crying out, saying her name. In our prayers of the people we have been and will continue to say her name, praying for an end to white supremacy, police brutality, and injustice of all kinds. We pray for all elected officials, that – in the words of the litany that I chanted during Susan’s ordination two weeks ago – “they may serve justice and promote the dignity and freedom of every person.”
In the days to come all of us are called in a variety of ways to lift up our voices, to exercise our God-given agency to bring about lasting, systemic change. Some will march in the streets. Some will write letters and make phone calls. Some will have conversations with friends, family members, acquaintances, and strangers. All of us, I pray, who are of age, will vote. In support of that charge, we held a voter information session after the 10 AM last Sunday. This coming Wednesday evening, as detailed below, we will hold a follow-up session on choices specific to the San Francisco ballot.
This is a time of intense difficulty in our nation’s history on so many levels. Now more than ever, we need to hear and respond to the God of liberating power who called and sustained Thecla. May we have courage of conviction. May we refuse to let obstacles, such as entrenched systemic injustice and tactics of fear-stoking and intimidation, impede us as we answer the call to God’s freedom, God’s justice, God’s uplifting of the dignity and agency of every human being. We our lifting up our voices in so many ways, crying out. Through and with us, may God voice a new world into being.
Remote Worship to Continue Through the end of 2020
Although the state of California, and some of its counties, is beginning to allow some religious in-person gatherings, and some outdoor, in-person gatherings will be possible in the Diocese of California in the coming days, we are proceeding very cautiously at St. Aidan's. In August our vestry agreed that St. Aidan's we will not plan to regather in person before the end of 2020. We will continue the pattern we have been in, meeting together on Zoom, and refraining from holding events in our building with the exceptions of the Friday Food Pantry and Diamond Diners, and with the exception of the Cielito Lindo Preschool, which reopened over the summer in strict compliance with state, county and diocesan rules. This current state of affairs won't last forever, and we anticipate and very much look forward to regathering in 2021. In the meantime, we 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, and please feel free to reach out to us with any questions.
Presiding Bishop Michael Curry at Grace Cathedral This Sunday!
This Sunday, September 27, Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Michael Curry will be visiting (virtually) the Diocese of California! Bishop Curry will be the guest preacher at Grace Cathedral’s 11 a.m. Choral Eucharist. He will also be speaking live with Bishop Marc at a special 12:30 p.m. Forum. Both events are being planned with the entire diocese in mind. Space is limited. The Forum will also be broadcast on Facebook and posted on our Youtube channel for viewing following the Livestream. You can register for the forum here:
New Jim Crow Anti-Racist Book Group
Our next meeting is this Sunday, September 27 at 4:00 pm. We are reading Chapters 1-4 of Isabel Wilkerson’s book, Caste. Please contact Deacon Margaret, for the zoom link if you’d like to join us. All are welcome!
San Francisco Voter Forum This Wednesday, September 30, 7-8 PM
We had an excellent discussion of the California ballot this past Sunday, in which various views were sifted through so that folks could make their own decisions. We ran out of time to go over the San Francisco-specific ballot and so we have scheduled a time to do that this Wednesday after Evening prayer from 7-8 PM. The Zoom link is the same as it is every Wednesday evening. If you need it, please reach out to Keith or Cameron.
Saturday, October 3, 9-10:30 am, via Zoom. We will connect for prayer, study, DIY breakfast, and fellowship. All men are cordially invited. If you haven’t received connection information by October 1, contact Dave Frangquist (email@example.com).
Wed Eve Book Series on Bishop Mariann Budde’s Receiving Jesus: The Way of Love October 7, 14, & 21
Bishop Mariann Budde gained international attention when she excoriated President Trump for having peaceful protesters and church members cleared from St. John's Church in Washington, DC. She was outraged that tear gas had been used so that the President could pose for photos holding a Bible, "as a prop," she said, a book that teaches "God is love." “We hold the teachings of our sacred texts to be so grounding to our lives and everything we do...It is all about love of neighbor and sacrificial love and justice" (see Washington Post, June 1, 2020). She believes what she says. She developed a major initiative for her diocese to learn to love like Jesus. The project was based on Presiding Bishop Michael Curry's spiritual "rule of life" for Episcopalians called "The Way of Love," a series of 7 practices he terms "Turn - Learn - Pray - Worship - Bless - Go - Rest." That initiative resulted in a new book by Bishop Budde, Receiving Jesus: Walking the Way of Love. Join us for three Wednesdays on Zoom, October 7th, 14th, and 21st from 7-8 PM after 6:30 PM Evening Prayer, as we explore this "rule of life," specific practices that help us pay attention and respond to the presence of God, practices that help us narrow the gap between the character we want to have and the character we are actually developing.
St. Francis Day Combined 9 AM Blessing of the Animals - call for Photos!
On Sunday October 4, we will do virtual blessings of our animal companions during our combined 9 am service. Stay tuned for the details and logistics – this is a first! As part of the service, we'd like to create a slide show with photos of our beloved companions, who are so much a part of the St. Aidan’s community. Please email photos to Cameron by Wednesday, September 30 and we’ll view them on Oct. 4 during our service. Thank you!
Virtual (Upper Douglas Dog Park) Blessing of the Animals - Noon, October 4th - via Zoom
This year we'll be doing our Upper Douglas Dog Park blessing via Zoom-- another first for us. Please reach out to us for the link, and let anyone you know who would like to attend this blessing. Thank you!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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!
if you need the remote access information.
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 email@example.com