Monday, April 25, 2011

Maundy Thursday - Easter Day Slide Show

Some pictures-worth-1000-words with a look at Maundy Thursday through Easter Day @ All Saints Church:

Rabbi-in-Residence Leonard Beerman Returns to the All Saints Forum

An Amazing Journey
with Rabbi-in-Residence Leonard Beerman

In April Leonard Beerman celebrated his 90th birthday.

Leo Baeck Temple threw a retirement party for their founding rabbi where his long time friends in the peace movement, Maher Hathout, Mike Farrell and our Rector Emeritus George Regas, spoke of his witness for justice with peace and the length and breadth of their mutual affection.

His partnership with All Saints Church spans more than 30 years, from the moment he and Regas met in Exposition Park at a protest against the Vietnam War. Beerman’s commitment to justice has not waned over the years. It has only taken new forms.

Rabbi Beerman brings his wide-ranging intellect and poetic spirit to the Rector’s Forum to reflect on his journey to date. It is a privilege and a pleasure to welcome him home again to All Saints on Sunday, May 1st at 10:15 a.m..

Friday, April 22, 2011

Chris Hedges @ All Saints Church | Friday, April 29

KPFK and All Saints Church present Chris Hedges at 7:30 p.m. in the Forum. Chris will be discussing and signing his new book, Death of the Liberal Class; books will be available for purchase.

For more information contact Christina Honchell, 626.583.2742 or

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Passion According to Saint Matthew

The video of Palm Sunday's chancel drama at All Saints Church is now available online and is getting "rave reviews" on Facebook. Here are a few:
  • "Wow!" -- South Carolina
  • "Double Wow" -- Santa Maria
  •  "Thank you for posting this most powerful interpretation of the Gospel. It blew my socks off." -- Delaware
  • "Gratitude to the saints at All Saints who point toward the light!" -- Massachusetts
So -- without further ado -- with gratitude to ALL the saints at All Saints who make this work and witness available not only to those gathered in church on a Sunday morning but to those watching from afar -- here is "The Passion According to Saint Matthew."

Palm Sunday, April 17, 2011, following the Gospel of Matthew (27:11-54)
Directed by John Ahart
Performed by MaryAnn Ahart, Tom Allen, Frank Ashford, Danny Banks, Jamie Donnelly, Alastair Greeves, Anina Minotto, Jaclyn Carmichael Palmer, Tom Schulz and Alma Stokes.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

All Saintsers Paul Clement & Susan Russell @ Fuller Seminary on Monday Night

It's a kind of unusual way to spend Monday in Holy Week, but Paul Clement and Susan Russell were invited to be part of a panel this coming Monday night at Fuller Seminary. The program is being framed by the question:

"What can Fuller Seminary do to prepare its students for ministry in congregations who are divided on the issue of homosexuality?"

Here are the details of Monday's event ... join us if you're in the neighborhood!

Fuller's Peace and Justice Advocates and Just Peacemaking Initiative Present:
DIVIDED BY HOMOSEXUALITY: Pastoral Tools for Mediation and Dialogue
Monday April 18th 7pm in Travis Auditorium

The Reverend Canon Susan Russell
Senior Associate at All Saints Church in Pasadena
Chair of the Program Group on LGBT Ministry for the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles

Bishop Yvette Flunder
Senior Pastor, City of Refuge, United Church of Christ
Residing Bishop, Refuge Ministries/Fellowship 2000

Rev. Dr. Ken Fong
Senior Pastor,Evergreen Baptist Church of Los Angeles, Rosemead

Paul W. Clement, Ph.D.,
ABPP Clinical Psychologist, Private Practice,
South Pasadena

Chris Moore
PhD Candidate in Christian Ethics, Fuller Seminary
Former Fellow at St. John's the Divine

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Answering the Call to Serve: An Interreligious and Ecumenical Prayer Service

All Saintsers Zelda Kennedy and Susan Russell joined faith and civic leaders at Pasadena's St. Andrew's Roman Cathllic Church this morning for an interfaith prayer service honoring Pasadena Police and Fire Departments and all "first responders" who help secure the safety of the Pasadena community.

The service was part of St. Andrew's 125th Anniversary celebration and was led by Reverend Paul Sustayta. Intefaith participants included Christian, Jewish and Muslim faith leaders: the Rt. Reverend Alexei Smith; the Reverend Pat O'Reilly; Pastor Jean Burch; Rabbi Joshua Levine-Grater; Pastor Henry Siderpoulos; Imam Jihad Saafir and the Reverend Bob Gaestel.

Music was provided by the Saint Monica's Academy High School Singers and city leaders in attendance included Mayor Bill Bogaard (pictured left) and Police Chief Phillip Sanchez ... along with many members of both the police and fire departments.

Pictured below: Pat O'Reilly -- Executive Director of the Ecumenical Council of Pasadena and an Episcopal priest -- with Zelda Kennedy during the reception following the service.

Holy God, in your Word you have given us a vision of that holy City to which the nations of the world bring their glory: Behold and visit, we pray, the cities of the earth. Renew the ties of mutual regard which form our civic life. Send us honest and able leaders. Enable us to eliminate poverty, prejudice, and oppression, that peace may prevail with righteousness, and justice with order, and that men and women from different cultures and with differing talents may find with one another the fulfillment of their humanity; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Reflections on "Oneness of All in the Beloved" -- The Poetry of Rumi @ All Saints Church


Monday, April 11
7:00 p.m.,
in the Forum
All Saints Church

All Saints Church is delighted to host this extraordinary opportunity to hear Ed Bacon and Andrew Harvey in conversation about Rumi and the power of poetry. The evening will also include the world preview of In the Fire of Grace -- a new film featuring Andrew Harvey reading Rumi’s poetry with interpretation through dance by Banafsheh. The film has been described as "a beautiful, poignant, warm, encouraging expression of Rumi's invitation to experience the life of joy" and we are honored to host this premiere showing.

According to Time magazine, “the best-selling poet in the U.S. today is Rumi" -- a Muslim mystic born in Central Asia almost eight centuries ago. Andrew and Ed will be exploring why that is. Why in a time of global crisis and division do so many read the poet who articulated the Oneness of all in the Beloved?

Andrew Harvey is a renowned and distinguished mystical scholar, Rumi translator and explicator, poet, novelist, spiritual teacher and writer, and architect of Sacred Activism.

Ed Bacon, rector of All Saints Church, Pasadena, is very passionate about language and frequently draws on Rumi’s poetry in his prayer and in his preaching. He is a fervent advocate for peace and justice in the community, the nation, and the world.

The award-winning work of Iranian-born Banafsheh Sayyad communicates the universal messages of Mysticism in a passionate yet fluid, meditative way, an interplay between trance and directed movement. Her explosive movement is sensual and ritualistic, an organic trance of impeccable technique gone wild, yet holding a serene, grounded core.

Suggested donation $10 at the door.
Books and DVDs will be available for purchase.
For more information, contact Christina Honchell at 626.583.2742 or

The Feast of the Confession of St. Martha???

by Susan Russell

I wrote this piece in 2005 for
Witness Magazine (which I still miss!) and thought it rose to a rerun with Martha's gospel coming up again this Sunday.

I love the fact that planted within the great drama of "The Raising of Lazarus" there is such a wonderful subplot: "The Confession of Saint Martha" -- or at least that's what I would call it if I got to be in charge of the lectionary.

Lazarus, friend of Jesus and brother to Martha and Mary, had been in the tomb for four days when Jesus finally arrived in Bethany. Here's how the Gospel according to John tells it: "When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, while Mary stayed at home."

Quite a reversal of the roles, here -- very different from our encounter with these same sisters in Luke's Gospel where it is Mary who crosses over the cultural expectation -- sitting at Jesus' feet and getting in trouble with Martha for not pulling her weight in the kitchen. Here it is Martha who leaves the women mourning and goes out to meet Jesus: a radical departure.

I am convinced that the same kind of transformation that turned Saul from the persecutor to Paul the evangelist -- that turned Peter from the blustery fisherman who denied Jesus in the courtyard into the "rock" on which the church was founded -- changed Martha from a woman whining about needing help in the kitchen to a woman empowered to go out and ask for what she wanted.

She goes directly to meet Jesus as he is coming into town -- and then confronts him in the road just outside the city: "If you had been here, my brother would not have died." What courage -- what chutzpah!

And then, in response to Jesus' question: "Do you believe?" we have her wonderful words of faithful affirmation, "Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, the One who is coming into the world." There you have it: The Confession of Saint Martha.

I think it bears noting that the same profession of faith that earned Peter an extra feast day in the liturgical calendar has not garnered Martha the same reward. It could be a case of gender bias in action -- or it could just be an honest oversight: with all the attendant drama over the raising of Lazarus from the dead I suppose one could be excused from overlooking the confession part of the story.

But I think another feast day for Martha is worth lobbying for. I believe her example is worth emulating. For I am convinced that the same kind of transformation that turned Saul from the persecutor to Paul the evangelist -- that turned Peter from the blustery fisherman who denied Jesus in the courtyard into the "rock" on which the church was founded -- changed Martha from a woman whining about needing help in the kitchen to a woman empowered to go out and ask for what she wanted.

That transformation is nothing less than the power of the Spirit of God calling each and every one of us to health -- to wholeness -- to realizing our full potential as children of God and to the life abundant which is our inheritance. It is a change that isn't about making us someone we're not but making us more authentically who we are. It is a change described best for me in a song I learned years ago at a women's retreat:

I will change your name.
You shall no longer be called
Wounded, Outcast, Lonely or Afraid
I will change your name.
Your new name shall be
Joyfulness. Confidence. Overcoming One.
Faithfulness. Friend of God.
One who seeks my face.

That's the life abundant God intends for each and every one of us: joyful in our work, confident in our gifts, secure in the love of the God who calls us to live not in the anxiety of earning approval but in the peace of knowing that we are both fully loved and fully known. And ready, like Martha, to march out on the dirt road outside of town (if we have to) in order to bring to Jesus' attention that which needs fixing, healing, raising -- in ourselves, in our families, in our church and in our world.

Walter Wink has written, "History belongs to the intercessors, who believe the future into being." Following Martha's example I might add to that, "And to the insisters who will settle for nothing less than a future that is about peace on earth and justice for all." And when we've finished with that, we can work on getting Martha her own day in Lesser Feasts and Fasts.


[Yes, the illustration is one of the windows from the All Saints chapel!]