Wednesday, December 30, 2009
By Carl Kozlowski 12/24/2009 [source link]
Pasadena’s All Saints Church has long held a reputation for being one of the most progressive and activist churches in the nation when it comes to helping the poor, especially at Christmastime.
But even leaders of this über-generous house of worship didn’t expect the huge response they received from concerned community members following a special sermon by Rector Ed Bacon on Dec. 12.
Recounting the story of a medieval bishop who decreed that a person is committing a sin if they have more than one unused coat in their closet, Bacon urged parishioners to bring their unused coats in as donations that would transform the winter garments from “sin coats” to “compassion coats.”
The results were overwhelming, with more than 500 coats being donated from parishioners alone — and hundreds more coming in from other parts of the community.
“It’s a great human interest story,” said All Saints Director of Communications Keith Holeman. “We did this three years ago and we’ve already surpassed that with about 500 coats already in and there’s been an interesting ripple effect in the community that we didn’t see before. Westridge School became aware of the coat drive and held one of their own, and they’ve collected 50 to 60 coats. Plus,” Holeman said, “a real estate agent in the parish sent a letter to his clients saying ‘we’ve benefitted from each other over the years and now we need to help others.’ He sent out about 150 letters and as of a couple of days ago he’s received about 50 coats. Then an All Saints staff member’s daughter is collecting coats at her office Christmas Party instead of doing Secret Santa this year. And there will be more stories coming.”
The coats will be delivered to the Dolores Mission, run by Catholic priest Father Greg Boyle, as well as the Ecumenical Council Pasadena Area Churches (ECPAC) Bad Weather Shelter, ECPAC’s Women’s Room program and to Families in Transition for homeless families in the Pasadena Unified School District.
[Note: The total reached over 1200 coats and jackets received for distribution!]
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
And the crowds asked [John the Baptist], "What then should we do?" In reply he said to them, "Whoever has two coats must share with anyone who has none ... "
And here's the tip-of-the-iceberg of the outpouring of coats being dropped off at ASC today in response to the rector's sermon yesterday ... urging everyone to go home and clean out their closets of extra coats on behalf of those who have none.
You can watch the whole sermon -- "We need to expect more" -- on the All Saints Church website. And if you're in the Pasadena neighborhood, do consider dropping off coats and jackets that we can add to the pile.
And if you're NOT in the Pasadena neighborhood, what the heck -- clean out your closet anyway and help share the warmth with one of the agencies reaching out to those in need in your neck of the woods.
(See also: Inasmuch as you did it unto the least of these, my brothers and sisters, you did it unto me!)
Sunday, December 6, 2009
The breach between conservative and liberal Episcopalians widened as a lesbian was elected an assistant bishop in Los Angeles, drawing fire from Anglicans world-wide.
The Rev. Canon Mary D. Glasspool, 55 years old, was elected late Saturday on a seventh ballot, after several votes ended in deadlocks. Open about her sexual orientation since her seminary days, Canon Glasspool has been with the woman she calls her life partner since 1988.
She is in line to become the second openly gay bishop in the Episcopal Church, after the Right Rev. V. Gene Robinson, who took office in New Hampshire in 2004.
The Episcopal Church, with about two million members, is the U.S. branch of the world-wide Anglican Communion, which has about 80 million members.
Bishop Robinson's election raised tensions between the U.S. church and its counterparts around the world, especially in Africa and South America, where church leaders expressed concern that the Americans were pursuing a liberal social agenda in defiance of traditional Christian teachings on homosexuality.
To try to hold the communion together, the Episcopal Church agreed to stop ordaining gay bishops. But at its national convention last summer, the church voted to reverse that ban, leading to Canon Glasspool's election.
Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury and head of the world-wide Anglican communion, issued a statement saying Canon Glasspool's election "raises very serious questions" about the Episcopal Church's role in the Anglican Communion. He called on American Episcopalians to refrain from provocative acts. Maintaining a "period of gracious restraint," he said, is vital "if our bonds of mutual affection are to hold."
His concern was echoed by Father John Spencer, vicar general of a diocese in Quincy, Ill., that refuses to recognize the authority of the U.S. Episcopal Church because of its stance on issues such as the ordination of gays. That diocese is one of several in the U.S. that have broken away from the national Episcopal church and aligned instead with more conservative Anglican provinces overseas.
Father Spencer said the American Episcopal leadership seems bent on making political statements "rather than pursuing Christian unity with the rest of the church."
It is unclear whether the communion would support a move to expel the Episcopal Church. An expulsion would require approval from two-thirds of the Anglican communion's roughly three dozen provinces world-wide.
Bishop Robinson, the first openly gay bishop, said in an interview that he doubted conservative critics could muster that two-thirds majority. "Asian and African bishops have said to me, 'Look, we don't agree with you on this issue. We don't ordain gays. But we're worried about people dying of AIDS, malaria and abject poverty and this comes way down on our list of priorities,'" he said. "It's not a communion-breaker."
Some Americans believe that if the communion does attempt to expel American Episcopalians, it is a price worth paying, said the Rev. Ed Bacon, rector of All Saints Church, a Episcopal congregation in Pasadena, Calif. "I'm sure there will be people who will call for the American church to have second-class status or even not to be admitted to the communion," he said. "But the American church is willing to take whatever consequences may come in order to save its soul, which means boldly and consistently advocating for justice for all."
Bishop-elect Glasspool is intimately familiar with the deep divides in the church over the role of women and gays. Her late father was an Episcopal priest who didn't believe that women should be ordained, Canon Glasspool wrote in her application for the post of bishop suffragan, or assistant bishop, in Los Angeles. She also described years of intense struggle as a young woman as she sought to reconcile her faith and her sexuality. She finally came, she wrote, to understand "the integrity of responding to God's call with your whole person, being exactly who you are." She was traveling Sunday and unavailable for comment.
A day before Canon Glasspool's election, clergy and lay delegates to the Los Angeles diocesan convention elevated another female priest, the Rev. Canon Diane Bruce, 53, to another open position as assistant bishop. She and Canon Glasspool will become the first two female bishops in the diocese's 114-year history. Their elections must still be confirmed by a majority of dioceses within the Episcopal Church. If this happens, as is expected, they will be ordained in May.
[Write to Stephanie Simon at email@example.com]
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Gay Rights In America: Past, Present And Future
November 12, 2009
Salt Lake City has unanimously passed an ordinance prohibiting discrimination against gays and lesbians in employment and housing. And a measure legalizing same-sex marriage is moving forward in Washington, D.C. Eugene Robinson, the first openly gay bishop in the Episcopal Church, weighs in on the state of gay rights in America.
You can listen to it here ... (and yes, they got his name wrong. It's "Gene" ... not "Eugene.")
Monday, November 9, 2009
At one set of tables on the quad lawn, parishioners signed Christmas cards to send to troops in Afghanistan. "The emotional health of our young men and women is extremely important as they work in surroundings that are challenging both physically and emotionally," said Susan Johnson, who helped coordinate the card signing effort. "These cards help us assure them that we care!"
At another set of tables, parishioners lined up to sign letters to their congressional representatives urging support for HR1283 to repeal the "Don't Ask Don't Tell" policy.
"'Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell' is one of the most discriminatory practices of our times," said the Reverend Ed Bacon, All Saints' rector. "It empowers the U.S. military to fire thousands of dedicated, highly trained service members on the basis of their sexual orientation. President Obama has promised to overturn this policy, and we need to be sure that our representatives in Congress are co-sponsors of this important legislation."
The letter being sent by All Saints Church members to their representatives read:
As a person of faith, I am appalled at the injustice of the United States’ military policy: “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”, and I urge you to co-sponsor H.R. 1283 immediately. Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell must be repealed and eliminated in this session of Congress, it has destroyed the hopes and careers of too many dedicated service personnel and it must end.
President Obama has promised to repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, based on its blatant discriminatory practices. Every study commissioned by the US military has concluded that Don’t Ask Don’t Tell weakens morale, and even national security itself, by requiring that dedicated, well trained and educated service personnel are required to violate codes of honor by not admitting to their full identities.
Thousands of Americans have been denied their admirable life goals and sincerely respectable desires: to serve the United States military, as they have been called and trained to do. Dismissing service members based on their sexual orientation is an injustice which can no longer be tolerated.
I urge you to join your colleagues in the U.S. House of Representatives today, and add your voice to those who are calling for justice in the U.S. military. Co-sponsor H.R.1283.
"Core values for All Saints Church are making God's love tangible and putting our faith into action," said the Reverend Susan Russell, an All Saints Senior Associate and the mother of a son on active duty with the U.S. Army. "What we saw on Sunday were both of those values in action, as parish members reached out in love to those serving our country and spoke out in advocacy for those wishing to serve but kept from doing so because of their sexual orientation."
"I'm very proud to serve a parish that celebrates ALL veterans in such an outward and visible way on Veterans Day."
Saturday, November 7, 2009
She's survived five assassination attempts and stays on the move to keep safe, although her friends will tell you that her car has been breaking down a lot lately. She's been the subject of a documentary and now has released a memoir, "A Woman Among Warlords"; tonight, she'll speak at All Saints Church in Pasadena.
Read the rest here.
Thursday, November 5, 2009
Last night I ditched what I had on my calendar to schlep arcross town for a 5 minute news segment for Channel 4 on marriage equality in general and the Maine election results in specific.
You can see the spot on YouTube : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WfiCtdnsrn4
Sometimes you wonder if it was worth it ... getting behind on paperwork, missing a meeting and still not having your sermon for Sunday night Evensong written -- all for a few minutes of "air time" with no way to quantify its impact. And then you come into work the next morning and find an email like this in your inbox.
Sent: Thursday, November 05, 2009 8:31 AM
To: Susan Russell
Subject: Thank you! Re: interview on gay marriage..
You don't know me but I saw the interview yesterday that channel 4 did with you and another pastor discussing the ban on gay marriage. I just wanted to say a big Thank You for expressing your views and feelings on this topic in such an articulate and eloquent manner. I get so frustrated with the injustices of this ban, my emotions take over sometimes and it's difficult for me to communicate my own hopes and desires for our nation to choose love and tolerance over fear and hate. Usually my feelings get expressed through song instead.
I'm sure you're probably receiving some of those other letters, the ones chastising you for your beliefs and lifestyle, I just wanted to be one of those that praised your work and passion and courage to speak up for us, speak up for what is morally right.
If we can be that beacon of hope to the hopeless -- if we can offer that message of inclusion to the excluded -- if we can put a face on "the issue" and "the lifestyle" that shifts even ONE of the "moveable middle" to the right side of history on marriage equality then we ARE doing our job ... whether it's in the pulpit on Sunday or in line at Starbucks on Monday or on the Channel 4 News on Wednesday night at 5.
It's why we do what we do. And it's why I'm still humming in my head this verse from Sunday's "For all the saints ..."
We CAN do this. The arc of history is on our side. Believe it. Claim it. DO it!
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
[photos: Keith Holeman for All Saints Church]
Sunday, November 1, 2009
Saturday, October 31, 2009
The retired bishop was a bold supporter of the civil rights movement and a friend of Martin Luther King Jr.
By Elaine Woo - October 30, 2009 [source link]
John Harris Burt, a retired bishop who advanced a tradition of social activism at Pasadena’s All Saints Episcopal Church with his bold support of the civil rights movement when he was rector in the 1960s, died Oct. 20 at his home on Lake Superior outside Marquette, Mich. He was 91.
Burt died after a long illness, said his daughter Susan Burt.
A friend of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., Burt helped organize massive civil rights rallies in Los Angeles, including a 1963 event in South Los Angeles that attracted 30,000 people. He also was a vocal supporter of Cesar Chavez and the farmworkers movement.
Burt was one of four rectors "who really shaped All Saints to be a peace and justice church," said Rector J. Edwin Bacon, who currently leads the Pasadena church, one of Southern California's largest and most liberal.
It is known for its outspoken clergy and the strong stands it has taken against war, poverty and racial and ethnic discrimination over the last seven decades, beginning in 1942 when Rector Frank Scott stood in front of trains to protest the removal of Japanese Americans to internment camps during World War II.
Burt, who succeeded Scott in 1957, became known over the next decade for his courageous support of King.
In 1963, Burt sat in the first row behind the lectern at South L.A.'s Wrigley Field (later demolished), where King addressed what was then the largest civil rights rally held in the city. It raised thousands of dollars to support King's nonviolent crusade against racial inequality in the South, including a $20,000 pledge by entertainer Sammy Davis Jr., one of several celebrities who spoke at the rally.
In 1964, he again sat behind King as the great civil rights leader addressed 15,000 people at the Coliseum for an interfaith rally called "Religious Witness for Human Dignity."
His vocal backing of King caused some worshipers to leave All Saints; an anonymous caller threatened to bomb Burt's house. When a group of church trustees asked him to stop preaching about racial issues, "he said he was always open for people to come and share their dissent with him, but the pulpit at All Saints is free," said George F. Regas, who succeeded him as rector.
He believed that so strongly that he "felt obligated the next Sunday to preach on racial justice," Regas noted.
Burt was born April 11, 1918, in Marquette, where his father, Bates Burt, was a community activist and rector of St. Paul's Episcopal Church. John's younger brother, Alfred S. Burt, became a famous composer of Christmas carols, including "Caroling Caroling" and "Some Children See Him."
John Burt graduated from Amherst College in 1940. After postgraduate studies at Columbia University and a stint as a social worker on New York's Lower East Side, he entered the Episcopal Theological Seminary in Virginia and was ordained in 1943.
During World War II he served as a Navy chaplain in the Pacific theater. After the war, he served at St. John's Episcopal Church in Youngstown, Ohio, where he helped lead efforts to integrate swimming pools and housing.
In 1957, he arrived at All Saints in Pasadena, where he was active in civic matters as president of the Pasadena Community Planning Council. He also was president of the Southern California Council of Churches and vice chairman of the United Nations Assn. of Southern California.
In 1967, he became the eighth bishop of Ohio. An early advocate for the ordination of women, he vowed to resign as bishop if the Episcopal General Convention failed to approve the ordination of female priests in 1976. The measure succeeded, and in early 1977, Burt ordained the first of eight women he would elevate to the priesthood during his 17-year tenure as bishop.
In 1978, he helped found a coalition of ecumenical and political leaders to keep steel plants open in Youngstown, with proposals that included allowing workers to buy the mills. The effort failed, but his advocacy earned him the prestigious Thomas Merton Award, which had previously been given to activists Dorothy Day, Joan Baez and Dick Gregory.
After retiring in 1984, Burt remained active in the ecumenical movement as president of the National Christian Leadership Conference for Israel from 1992 to 1998.
He is survived by his wife, Martha; four daughters; six grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
Copyright © 2009, The Los Angeles Times
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
[source link] Somewhere between your child's pricey costume and your panicked run to the store for more trick-or-treat supplies, have you lost your love for Halloween? The Rev. Ed Bacon reveals his family's traditions and why you can use this time of year to live out your greatest fantasy—just as long as you eventually go back to being yourself.
This Halloween, my 5-year-old granddaughter will be Dorothy from Wizard of Oz and my 2-year-old grandson will be Thomas the Tank Engine. No one knows what my wife will be. Last year, she was a butterfly with big, beautiful, blue, purple and black wings. The year before, she was Winnie the Pooh's Tigger with a long, orange and black tiger tail and cute, pointed ears. It's always a surprise when I get home on Halloween afternoon to find out who my wife is this year.
Whatever my wife becomes on Halloween, we will give treats to about 100 ghosts, fairies, pirates, bumblebees, cowboys, princesses and zombies who parade to our front yard shouting, "Trick or treat." And we always have a big pot of chili on the stove in case one of our friends who is the parent of a trick-or-treater needs some protein for those last few knocks on the neighborhood doors.
Halloween is big for adults as well as for kids. That night, there are parties throughout metropolitan Los Angeles, where we live. Adults are doing what the children do—dressing up in the costumes of some fantasy about themselves they hold inside. When we become playful about Halloween, accessing our inner child, we can for a few hours pretend to be someone else or something else or some animal. That choice may reveal where our souls or personalities are this particular year; it may be simple whimsy. You can imagine how many Barack Obamas or Madonnas may be out partying this year.
All of this is healthy fun. For centuries, cultures have some form of annual "carnival" in which another persona comes out to play. It is a way of saying that we all live in a very diverse community of selves. That is one thing celebrated the next day in Christian circles—after all, Halloween is shorthand for the Eve of All Hallows—All Saints Day.
On Halloween, we also celebrate that sometimes we have fantasies about being someone else. But the sanest and healthiest thing always is to settle back down to be your own unique and true self.
Now this year, I'm thinking my Halloweens of sweating behind that rubber monster mask I've worn in years past are over. Maybe this year I'll dress up to be Dr. Oz!
The Rev. Ed Bacon is a guest host for the Oprah's Soul Series radio show. He is also the rector of All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena, California.
Monday, October 26, 2009
"A charity event that always hits its stride"
By Larry B. Stammer
October 26, 2009
The Crop Hunger Walk, a national interfaith program whose feet-on-the-ground method has been emulated for many other causes, celebrates its 40th anniversary this year.
Read the entire L.A. Times feature here ... including these quotes from All Saints member Betty Cole:
Betty Cole, a teacher at Pasadena's Westridge School for girls, said Crop Hunger Walks are unique. "There are plenty of other walks I participate in. But when you think about it, almost all the other walks have built-in constituencies. We all know people who have had cancer, so we will walk for an organization raising money for cancer. We have dogs, so we have walks to provide shelters for dogs."
But, she added, people who are hungry have no constituency and are unlikely to announce their impoverishment by walking for themselves.
"There's so much shame attached to being poor and hungry," Cole said. "If other people don't walk on behalf of people who are going hungry, who is going to do that?"
Saturday, October 24, 2009
Posted: 10/24/2009 [source link]
PASADENA - John Burt, who fought for civil rights and other social reforms as rector of All Saints Episcopal Church through most of the 1960s, died Tuesday at his home in Michigan. He was 91.
Burt came to All Saints in 1957 after tenures in Ann Arbor, Michigan and Youngstown, Ohio. In his 10 years at All Saints, he involved himself and the church in many causes but was perhaps best known for his civil rights advocacy.
His convictions led him to speak from the pulpit and at other public forums and to co-sponsor rallies and meetings at which Martin Luther King Jr. spoke. He drew criticism from both inside and outside the church, even receiving death threats for his activism.
"Although he did many things, he is kind of the light for civil rights during his tenure at All Saints," said the Rev. Ed Bacon, rector of All Saints.
"He made it clear that he wanted All Saints to be on the forefront of racial justice," the Rev. George Regas, rector from 1967 to 1995, said.
In 1964, Burt introduced Martin Luther King Jr. at a rally of 35,000 people in now-demolished Wrigley Field in South Los Angeles.
Liz Morton, a member of All Saints for 63 years, accompanied him to the rally, which at the time was the largest civil rights gathering in the history of Los Angeles.
"I was the only white face in that entire place, except for John Burt and his wife," Morton recalled. "I felt terribly conspicuous just sitting down on the field."
Burt also helped convene a meeting at the Shrine Auditorium featuring King. The night before, his home received a bomb threat.
On another occasion, his daughter picked up the phone at home, only to speak to a man at the other end of the line who threatened to "kill daddy," Bacon said, recalling the event told to him by the daughter.
"His family and his own reputation were attacked," Bacon said.
Burt had many supporters in the church, which has a long history of progressive activism, but was not without detractors.
"One prominent member of the All Saints vestry accused John publicly of being communist," Morton said. "Anybody who had anything to do with Martin Luther King was accused of being communist."
On another occasion, a group of church leaders confronted Burt, Regas said.
"They came in and they said they felt he was talking too much about racial justice and that they hoped he would tame down his message and not be so occupied with that," Regas said.
"He listened, and he said, `Well I certainly want to listen to your concerns, but I want you to know that this meeting has just encouraged me to preach on racial justice again next Sunday.' He was not going to allow them to muzzle him. He wanted the pulpit to be free to proclaim what God was calling him to do."
Burt also took up other causes, such as that of farm workers' unions in the 1960s.
"After his services I felt like I'd been put through the ringer," Morton said. "He told it like it was, in talking about peace and justice and our role in that area, of things we should do to make things right. He was a very gifted preacher."
In 1967, Burt was elected bishop of Ohio, where he served until 1984.
Bacon said he has tried to be a "steward of the same mission" during his own time at All Saints, by fighting for gay and lesbian rights and protesting the war in Iraq.
"All Saints is rooted in the tradition of the prophets," Bacon said. "The Old Testament prophets and Jesus as a prophet and all of those religious leaders had a deep connection with God, and that connection led them to take daring stands on behalf of the least of us, and the most vulnerable and marginalized in society."
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
These newspaper clippings from the All Saints Church archives show John Burt with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. when he spoke for racial justice here in Los Angeles in 1964
The story the news clippings do NOT tell is the one about the death threats he received because of his witness for human dignity in the crucible of the Civil Rights Movement.
Burt became the rector of All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena, California, in 1957 and transformed that church into one of the largest and most active voices for social change in the country. As an advocate for social justice in the 1960s, Burt's name was linked with both local and national social and political activity.
Give rest, O Christ, to your servant with your saints,
where sorrow and pain are no more,
neither sighing, but life everlasting.
Sunday, October 18, 2009
Sunday, October 11, 2009
Here's a slide show of the day:
And here are some photos of Dr. Lee earlier in the day in the Rector's Forum:
Friday, October 9, 2009
October 9, 2009
On National Coming Out Day, Faith Leaders Come Out In Support of Local Southern Christian Leadership Conference President, Rev. Dr. Eric Lee, Under Fire For His Support of Marriage Equality
A press conference featuring local faith leaders will mark National Coming Out Day at All Saints Church in Pasadena (132 N Euclid Avenue, Pasadena) on Sunday,October 11, beginning at 12:30 p.m.
The clergy will “come out” for marriage equality and will announce initiatives of support for the Reverend Dr. Eric Lee -- President and CEO of the Los Angeles branch of the SCLC (Southern Christian Leadership Council ) -- the organization Dr. Martin Luther King co-founded. Dr. Eric Lee has been an advocate not only for racial equality and economic justice for laborers. Now he is under fire for his strong stance in favor of marriage equality.
Dr. Lee will speak in the All Saints Rector’s Forum at 10:15 a.m. and will make a statement at a press conference at 12:30 pm. (following the 11:15 a.m. worship service). Standing in solidarity with Dr. Lee and “coming out” for LGBT equality will be:
Rabbi Steven Jacobs (long time civil rights activist),
The Reverend Zelda Kennedy (Senior Associate for Pastoral Care & Spiritual Growth)
The Reverend David Norgard (president of Integrity USA)
The Reverend Dr. Jonipher Kwong (California Faith for Equality)
The Reverend Art Cribbs (United Church of Christ, San Marino)
“Despite the fact that Coretta Scott King said before her death that Dr. King’s values meant that he would have supported gay rights, the SCLC leadership is considering relieving Eric Lee of his SCLC post,” said All Saints Rector Ed Bacon in his letter to the congregation regarding Sunday’s action, encouraging parish members “to learn from and cheer on this contemporary prophet."
“As thousands march for equality in Washington on Sunday, we will likewise be mobilizing thousands to stand for equality through letter writing campaigns in support of Dr. Lee’s prophetic witness,” said the Reverend Susan Russell, a Senior Associate at All Saints Church. All Saints Church parish members will be signing letters on the church lawn on Sunday morning, while California Faith for Equality will be initiating an online letter campaign.
For more information contact:
Keith Holeman, All Saints Director of Communications -- 626.583.2739
Louise Brooks, California Faith for Equality -- 626.993.4605