Thursday, November 12, 2009

NPR: Gay Rights In America: Past, Present And Future

Our friend, Bishop Gene Robinson (pictured here on his May 2004 visit to All Saints Church) had a great time on NPR's "Talk of the Nation" today on a show entitled:

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

Celebrating ALL Veterans on Veterans Day at All Saints Church

[Pasadena CA] On Sunday, November 8th, All Saints Church observed the upcoming Veterans Day holiday with opportunities for parish members to celebrate all veterans.

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 Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell must be repealed and eliminated in this session of Congress, it has destroyed the hopes and careers of too many dedicated service personnel and it must end.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

L.A. Times: Afghanistan's Malalai Joya speaks in So Cal

At age 27, Malalai Joya was the first woman elected to Afghanistan's parliament. She's an outspoken advocate for democracy -- so much so that she's been suspended from her job in the National Assembly for allegedly insulting her colleagues on television (the suspension has been criticized by the United Nations and Human Rights Watch).

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

COMMENTARY: "Why we do what we do"

by Susan Russell

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 :

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.

Very Respectfully,
Wendy A****


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 ..."

And when the strife is fierce, the warfare long
Steals on the ear the distant triumph song.
And hearts are brave again and arms are strong.
Alleluia. Alleluia.

We CAN do this. The arc of history is on our side. Believe it. Claim it. DO it!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Dia de los Muertos at All Saints Church

Dia de los Muertos -- "The Day of the Dead" -- was celebrated at All Saints Church on November 2nd with the traditionally colorful altar decorated with marigolds, sugar skulls and candles ... along with pictures of loved ones added by those who attended the 7:30 p.m. service. Here's glimpse what was a wonderful celebration of the lives of those who've gone before us:

[photos: Keith Holeman for All Saints Church]

Sunday, November 1, 2009

All Saints Day @ All Saints Church

Susan Russell reflects on All Saints Day 2009 on her blog