Tuesday, May 31, 2011

BILL CUNLIFFE returns to Jazz Vespers Sunday, June 19th!

All Saints Jazz Vespers welcomes back Grammy award winner and All Saints composer in residence Bill Cunliffe for an evening of amazing musicianship and holy inspiration in a service of prayer, meditation and music.

We gather in the intimacy of the chancel for an extraordinary experience of jazz in-the-round. If you need assistance to get up into the chancel, please arrive at least five minutes early; an elevator is available. No charge (free will offering taken) and no reservations required. Childcare provided.
  • Sunday, June 19th beginning at 5pm on the All Saints chancel.

    For more information email Melissa Hayes or call 626.583.2725

    More about Bill Cunliffe: A jazz pianist, composer and arranger he is widely known for his swinging and lyrical pianism and his creativity and invention as a composer and arranger of jazz.  He graduated from Duke University and the Eastman School of Music, where he won several Down Beat Awards.  After graduation, he taught at Central State University, in Wilberforce, Ohio. His first major jazz gig was pianist and arranger with Buddy Rich, touring Europe with Frank Sinatra. He later  performed  with Ray Brown, Joe Henderson, Freddie Hubbard, Benny Golson, Woody Shaw and James Moody.
    Last year, Bill received a Grammy for Best Instrumental Arrangement for his West Side Story Medley, released on the CD, “The Resonance Big Band Pays Tribute to Oscar Peterson.” He has also been nominated for three Grammys and two Emmys as a composer and arranger. His latest film project is "On the Shoulders of Giants," a documentary about jazz and basketball in Harlem in the 30's, produced by basketball great, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

    He teaches at the Vail Jazz Institute, and the Skidmore Jazz Institute, and is Associate Professor of Music at Cal State Fullerton. He is also composer-in-residence at All Saints Episcopal Church, Pasadena, CA.
    Visit his website

Monday, May 30, 2011

Making God's love tangible in Washington DC

by Susan Russell

Last week I had the privilege of once again being part of the HRC (Human Rights Campaign) “Clergy Call for Justice” event in Washington DC. We spent our time getting updates on opinion polls and legislative strategy, networking with other clergy and faith leaders and being inspired by speakers, prayer and worship. On Tuesday we all trekked up to Capitol Hill for a press conference and then lobby visits with our representatives and senators urging their support for pending LGBT equality legislation.

Some highlights for me from this year’s Clergy Call:

One was getting to spend some time with long-time friend and newly elected Integrity President Caro Hall. Caro is stepping in to fill the unexpired term of David Norgard and I know that she’s going to do a great job, bringing her years of commitment to equality to her work with Integrity. I appreciated the chances in-between the meetings and events to hear about her ideas and vision for “what nexts” for Integrity’s work within the Episcopal Church and our witness to the wider Communion and culture.

Another was encountering in a whole variety of ways connections with folks and All Saints Church.

• From the clergy at the HRC Clergy Call who follow us on the website and in the news and wish their congregations were as bold about LGBT issues to
• Dr. Welton Gaddy who sent love and blessings for our June 26 “Faith Shared” event to
• Broderick Greer, the young man from West Tennessee who recognized me in the lobby at the Senate office building from our podcasts (he never misses a sermon!) and who was on the Hill lobbying for peace in the Middle East before starting seminary this fall to
• Washington Bishop John Chane who was out on the corner outside the Capitol demonstrating for the release of the Bishop of Jerusalem while the Israeli Prime Minister spoke to congress.
It was such a delight to see the Episcopal Church putting faith into action in so many different ways – and to see what a strong, influential voices All Saints has in speaking out and up for love, justice and compassion.

Finally, on Wednesday morning I had the opportunity to meet with our congressman Adam Schiff and other constituents who were in Washington for a variety of reasons. We had breakfast on Wednesday morning in the congressman’s office with folks there to lobby for health care, for special education funding and for air traffic controllers … along with a Pasadena family with three daughters on vacation.

We had the chance to talk about this issues that brought us to the nation’s capital … to connect some of the dots between funding priorities and our hopes for the country. I was able to thank Congressman Schiff for being a co-sponsor of the Respect for Marriage Act and he had some good questions about the Safe Schools/Anti-Bullying legislation we hope to see come to the House this session. And by the time we finished, I ran out of cards giving them to people who wanted to know more about All Saints Church.

It was a pretty intense couple of days but what a privilege to get to do this work with a boatload of amazing people as we work together to make God’s love tangible and give witness to the power of voices of faith united in commitment to love, justice and compassion.

Friday, May 20, 2011

A Special Musical Rector's Forum: "Twist: An American Musical" on Sunday, May 29

is a new American musical, inspired by the Dickens’ classic Oliver Twist, set in New Orleans in 1928. Reviewers said the creators of Twist “beat the odds and have created a magical tapestry of music, story and life that, even with a classic tale at its heart, feels like a something completely new.”

One of those creators is All Saints’ own Tena Clark … long-time parishioner and Twist's composer and lyricist. What attracted her to the project, she says, is “the triumph through hope of love and perseverance.”
Come be inspired on by hope, love, perseverance and the story of the making of Twist as Tena gives us a behind the scenes look at the musical (opening at the Pasadena Playhouse on June 14) in the Rector's Forum on Sunday, May 29.

Watch a YouTube interview with Tena about the production.
Visit the Twist website for more information and some great video clips of the show.
And then come to the All Saints Rector's Forum --Sunday, May 29th at 10:15 a.m.

All Saints Church, 132 North Euclid Avenue, Pasadena CA 91101.
For more information contact Christina Honchell at 626.583.2742 or chonchell@allsaints-pas.org

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar @ All Saints Church, Saturday May 28th

Screening Saturday, May 28th @ 5:00 p.m.
All Saints Church | 132 North Euclid Ave | Pasadena
Q&A with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Bill Cunliffe
immediately following

All Saints Church is proud to host a screening of "On the Shoulders of Giants: The Story of the Greatest Basketball Team You Never Heard Of." Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, basketball legend and best-selling author, invites us to witness the Harlem Renaissance as he shares hi life long passion for the legends that inspired him to greatness. Go back with Kareem to a time when jazz was Harlem's soul and basketball was its heartbeat. And while you're there, let him introduce you to the greatest basketball team you never heard of.

Original score by Grammy-winning composer Bill Cunliffe.

Hear Kareem's great interview with Larry Mantle on KPCC, Wed., May 25.

$10.00 Donation at the door | More information here ... or email Christina Honchell

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Margaret Sedenquist Named "Woman of the Year"

[Pasadena] On May 2, the Women's Civic League honored Margaret H. Sedenquist as Woman of the Year at its 14th annual awards luncheon, which was held at Pasadena's Women's City Club. A veteran community activist, Sedenquist has served on the boards of Five Acres, Pasadena Playhouse, Zonta Club, All Saints Church, Pasadena Chamber Orchestra, and Pasadena POPS. She has also been president of the Rotary, Y.W.C.A., University Club, and the Pasadena Board of Realtors.

"Margaret has truly made a difference in Pasadena," said her longtime friend, Mayor Bill Bogaard, in presenting the award. "She is the model for others to follow."

Read more

Sunday, May 15, 2011

"A Space for Grace" -- Continue the conversation tonight with Michael Lapsley and Amy Brenneman

Actress and activist Amy Brenneman joins the Reverend Michael Lapsley tonight at 6:30 p.m. in the All Saints Forum for "A Space for Grace: Community as Sacrament of Hope." Details on the event here ...

Tonght the conversation continues on how faith communities provide a safe space to experience grace -- where the reality of tragedy and trauma can engage the imagination and re-establish a sense of meaning, survival and hope.

Join us for an evening of inspiration!

"Faith in Action" in action @ All Saints Church today!

Today's "putting faith into action" action was signing letters to legislators in support of the upcoming HRC (Human Rights Campaign) "Clergy Call" Lobby Day on Capitol Hill. On May 23 & 24, All Saintser Susan Russell will join with clergy from all around the country who will be lobbying legislators to support pending LGBT equality legislation. Here's a draft of the text of the letter folks were signing today:
On Tuesday May 24 when hundreds of clergy from around the country gather on Capitol Hill as part of the Human Rights Campaign’s “Clergy Call” I want you to know that they speak for me when they talk to you about issues of LGBT equality.

• They speak for me when they urge your support for The Respect for Marriage Act (RMA) repealing DOMA and restoring the rights of all lawfully married couples—including same-sex couples -- to receive the benefits of marriage under federal law.

• They speak for me when they advocate for a fully inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) providing basic protections against workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

• They speak for me when they speak for The Uniting American Families Act (UAFA) allowing U.S. citizens and permanent residents to sponsor their same-sex partners for family-based immigration, ending the injustice of many same-sex, bi-national couples being kept or torn apart.

• They speak for me when they ask you to support the Student Non-Discrimination Act (SNDA) prohibiting any school program or activity receiving federal financial assistance from discriminating against any public school student on the basis of actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.

• They speak for me when they call for The Safe Schools Improvement Act (SSIA) amending the Elementary and Secondary Education Act to requiring schools and districts receiving federal funds to adopt codes of conduct specifically prohibiting bullying and harassment, including on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

They speak for me as a person of faith who believes that the all in “liberty and justice for all” applies equally to LGBT Americans. And they speak for me as your constituent as I ask you to embody those traditional American values for me on Capitol Hill and to support LGBT equality.
To find out more about Clergy Call, watch this video with footage from Clergy Call 2009 ... it's called "Changing the Conversation" and that's exactly what the letters signed today at All Saints will help make happen on Capitol Hill later this month!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

All Saints Speaks Out Against Torture

Op-ed from 5/11/2011 Pasadena Star-News

by the Reverend J. Edwin Bacon
All Saints Church, Pasadena

In the aftermath of Osama bin Laden's death, supporters of the Bush administration torture program are eager to declare that the decision to use enhanced interrogation techniques on high-level detainees has been "vindicated." They claim the use of waterboarding and other torture practices led us to bin Laden, and are therefore justifiable. However, it is clear that the U.S.'s practice of torture has only hurt us, rather than
helped us, in the years following 9/11. Torture weakens our reputation in the international community, alienates potential allies and remains a stain on our nation's soul.

The religious community has been nearly unanimous in the assertion that torture is always wrong. People of faith agree that the practice of torture violates the tenets of every major religion. All faiths have the basic teaching that human beings are created with dignity and worth, and some believe that human beings are created in the image of God. Torture desecrates the inherent worth that God endows in each individual. If the image of God is in every human being, then acts of torture dehumanize both the tortured and the torturer. It is morally wrong from a religious perspective.

However, proponents of the torture program under the Bush administration - including John Yoo, Jose Rodriquez, Marc Thiessen, Donald Rumsfeld, among others - have failed to understand this crucial point over the past few days. Instead, they are attempting to use bin Laden's death as a justification for the United States' continued use of enhanced interrogation techniques, despite the fact that the international community has condemned torture in Article 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Even outside of religious standards, torture is unacceptable. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a response to the atrocities of two world wars, led to the establishment of the Convention Against Torture as part of international law. This treaty explicitly prohibits the use of torture under all circumstances, without exception. The United States is among the 77 countries that have signed the Convention Against Torture, making torture illegal under our own U.S. law.

Torture is both immoral and illegal; furthermore, it has not made us safer as a country. Instead, it creates passionate enemies who feel compelled to respond to the degradation and inflicted pain. It stains the soul of our entire nation. By turning to torture, the United States has placed ourselves in the same league as the countries we disdain for their failure on human rights. It results in unreliable information that can cause terrible damage. All we need to do is recall the statement by Lawrence Wilkerson, former chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell, that information Powell used to prove that Saddam Hussein was working with al-Qaida was obtained through torture and ended up being wrong - information that we relied on in part to
go to war in Iraq.

For people of faith, the serious religious implications of our country's torture practices are paramount. We cannot condone this evil in good conscience. As the Statement of Conscience of the National Religious Campaign Against Torture states, "Torture violates the basic dignity of the human person that all religions, in their highest ideals, hold dear "

In the aftermath of bin Laden's death we must hold our leaders accountable for the moral and religious implications of their decisions. The ends cannot justify the means; the intrinsic evil of torture is never vindicated. Torture weighs heavily on the soul of our nation, and the death of bin Laden does not erase that stain.

The religious community stands in firm opposition to the immoral practices of torture, and it is time for our political leaders to understand that and act on it. This is the time to establish a government-sponsored Commission of Inquiry with full subpoena power to let the public know the full extent and consequences of
the torture program, so our leaders don't make the same moral errors again. The vehemence of the proponents' support for the torture program, the exposure they have been given by the press to their claims, and the lack of a complete record of what we did in the secret prisons, Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, and Bagram demand a full accounting. At this time, rather than attempting to justify an evil practice that is beyond
redemption, America needs an unlimited review of the U.S. torture program.

Rev. J. Edwin Bacon is the rector of All Saints
Episcopal Church in Pasadena.

JAZZ VESPERS with Graham Dechter | May 15th @ 5pm

Don't miss guitarist and Los Angeles native Graham Dechter -- one of the most promising young jazz musicians on the scene today -- May 15, 5:00 p.m. in the Chancel @ All Saints Church. He will be accompanied by Mike Gurrola on bass and Kevin Kanner on drums. Christina Honchell offers a meditation.

At 19 Dechter became the youngest member of the acclaimed Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra. He has performed with some of the most respected names in music, including: Michael Buble, Gilbert Castellanos, Natalie Cole, Benny Green, Jon Hendricks, Quincy Jones and Wynton Marsalis. The Jazz Vespers service is held in the Chancel; if you would like to use the elevator for accessibility, please arrive five minutes early.

For more information visit Graham Dechter's website ,call 626.583.2725 or email mhayes@allsaints-pas.org

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

More on yesterday's Presbyterian decision for equality

Today's Los Angeles Times ran a follow up feature on yesterday's historic decision by the Presbyterian Church to end the ban on the LGBT ordinations. Pictured above are Bear Ride and Susan Craig ... All Saintsers and the second same-sex couple married here in 2008.

Read the L.A. Times feature here ... and give thanks for the great work of Bear, Susan and all the others who have worked so long and hard for this day in the Presbyterian Church!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

All Saints Church Applauds Presbyterian Vote Ending Gay Ordination Ban

All Saints Church joins with all those celebrating today's vote by the Presbyterian Church eliminating all official barriers to the ordination of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people as ministers and lay leaders in their 2.4 million member denomination.

Presbyterians voting in the Twin Cities today became the 87th Presbytery to vote yes -- giving the legislation the majority of votes needed to approve the historic change. We rejoice with our Presbyterian brothers and sisters as they join not only Episcopalians but Lutherans, the United Church of Christ and other denominations who have eliminated official barriers to leadership by lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender persons.

And we pray for the day when ALL those seeking to serve God and their church will be free to do so in response to God's call -- regardless of race, color, ethnic origin, national origin, sex, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, disabilities or age. Today's vote is a huge step forward toward that goal and we celebrate with all those who worked so hard to make justice roll down in the Presbyterian Church!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Former Nixon White House Counsel John Dean in the Rector's Forum

The rector is on sabbatical but the "beat goes on" at All Saints Church! Don't miss this informative and timely forum as we welcome John Dean back to the All Saints Forum!

Only those who occupy the office understand the privileges and pitfalls of the presidency. What appears to be life in a fishbowl has its hidden dimensions. Any newly-elected president confronts layers of power held by individuals who are not elected to public office. Over a four or eight-year term we watch each president age before our eyes under the weight of responsibility and challenge. It is often through the eyes of those who surround the president that we receive the most useful insights into our country’s highest office.

How does a promising presidency go wrong? In a search for answers, bestselling author John Dean has become a sleuth. June 17 marks the 40th anniversary of the break-in at the Democratic headquarters at the Watergate, the beginning of the end for Richard Nixon’s presidency. Dean’s publisher, Viking Press, has persuaded him to re-visit his years in government in order to answer the question, how did this happen? How did a highly intelligent and politically savvy president like Nixon make such a mess of his presidency? Dean has been at work on the project for slightly over a year and has made some startling discoveries. At the Rector’s Forum he will share a few of his findings from his work-in-progress.

Dean became Counsel to the President of the United States in 1970 at the age of 31. He served as Richard Nixon’s White House lawyer for a thousand days. Having spent his undergraduate years at Colgate University and the College of Wooster, with majors in English Literature and Political Science, he received a graduate fellowship from American University to study government and the presidency before entering Georgetown University Law Center, where he receive his degree in 1965. Dean is the author of five books, the latest of which is Broken Government: How Republican Rule Destroyed the Legislative, Executive, and Judicial Branches.

Please join us Sunday, May 8, to welcome John Dean back to the Rector’s Forum, as he challenges and inspires us to examine a critical period in our nation’s history. Copies of his books Conservatives without Conscience and Blind Ambition: The End of the Story will be available.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Statement from All Saints Rector Ed Bacon on the death of Osama bin Laden

The killing of Osama Bin Laden on May 1, 2011 presents an important moment of reflection, prayer, and action for peace-loving people around the globe.

We understand and share in a sense of relief and visceral satisfaction that bin Laden’s physical voice is silenced. A mass murderer is dead. As the mastermind of the 9/11 terror attacks and the founder of Al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden was the international icon of violent extremism and global terrorism for a decade. Almost 3,000 victims were killed in the 9/11 attacks, representing more than 90 countries. Not only did bin Laden’s evil plot result in untold physical and emotional suffering, he hijacked and distorted Islam itself, falsely portraying it as a religion of violence. President Obama was correct in saying that bin Laden was “not a Muslim leader, he was a mass murderer of Muslims.”

At the same time Jesus calls us to a new way of being, “I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. put this in realistic terms, “Violence is impractical because it is a descending spiral ending in destruction for all.”

Violence breeds more violence. An eye-for-an-eye definition of justice does not interrupt the spiral of violence that takes us all down to destruction where there are no winners, only universal loss and destruction. That is the nature of our interconnectedness today. The nature of the global network of terror demands that perpetrators be captured and brought to trial under the rule of law. The rule of law must prevail over the rule of war.

The book of Proverbs teaches, "Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and do not let your heart be glad when your enemy stumbles.” (Proverbs 24:17) We must see the dangers and distractions of triumphalism in celebrations of another’s death. Rather, we must rededicate ourselves to a united international effort to replace policies of retaliation and humiliation against enemies with passionate and imaginative diplomacy.

See the video of Susan Russell's homily at the Noon Eucharist on Monday, May 2, 2011, announcing the statement from the rector.

Ed Bacon is on sabbatical leave. For further information please contact Communication Director Keith Holeman at 626.583.2765 or khoelman@allsaints-pas.org