Monday, November 28, 2011

Friends, Followers & Faith: How Social Media are Changing the Church

with Elizabeth Drescher

We’ve reached a new cultural moment in which social media like Facebook,
Twitter, YouTube, and Foursquare are shaping religious and spiritual experience to the same extent they impact the rest of our lives. What does this mean for the church?

In her recent book Tweet If You ♥ Jesus: Practicing Church in The Digital Reformation, Santa Clara University religion professor Elizabeth Drescher explores the impact of the shift from broadcast media -- where mainline churches took a backseat to evangelical and non-denominational celebrities--to digital media--where mainline rational traditions prepare us for new ways of communicating, connecting, and leading.

Here are All Saints we first became aware of Dr. Drescher's work when she interviewed Susan Russell -- Senior Associate for Communication -- while doing research forTweet If You ♥ Jesus. Further conversations about the role of All Saints Church as a leader in "multiplatform convergence" led to an invitation to come visit and we are delighted to welcome her to share her work and wisdom with us on December 11th.

So come be informed and inspired by Professor Elizabeth Drescher. Sunday, December 11 during the 10:15 Education Hour in Sweetland Hall. For more information email

All Saints @OccupyLA | November 28, 2011

photos by: Kristin Bedford

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Advent Wisdom from Richard Rohr: First Sunday of Advent

This year during Advent we are inviting the All Saints community into shared reflection focused on meditations by our Lent Event speaker: noted author, teacher, mystic, contemplative and activist Richard Rohr.

A Franciscan priest, Richard Rohr is founder of the Center for Action and Contemplation, a prolific author and a powerful force for God’s love, justice and compassion.

“Come, Lord Jesus,” the Advent mantra, means that all of Christian history has to live out of a kind of deliberate emptiness, a kind of chosen non-fulfillment. Perfect fullness is always to come, and we do not need to demand it now. This keeps the field of life wide open and especially open to grace and to a future created by God rather than ourselves. This is exactly what it means to be “awake,” as the Gospel urges us! We can also use other a words for Advent: aware, alive, attentive, alert, aware are all appropriate. Advent is, above all else, a call to full consciousness and a forewarning about the high price of consciousness.

When we demand satisfaction of one another, when we demand any completion to history on our terms, when we demand that our anxiety or any
dissatisfaction be taken away, saying as it were, “Why weren’t you this for me? Why didn’t life do that for me?” we are refusing to say, “Come, Lord Jesus.” We are refusing to hold out for the full picture that is always given by God.

“Come, Lord Jesus” is a leap into the kind of freedom and surrender that is rightly called the virtue of hope. The theological virtue of hope is the patient and trustful willingness to live without closure, without resolution, and still be content and even happy because our Satisfaction is now at another level, and our Source is beyond ourselves. We are able to trust that he will come again, just as Jesus has come into our past, into our private dilemmas and into our suffering world. Our Christian past then becomes our Christian prologue, and “Come, Lord Jesus” is not a cry of desperation but an assured shout of cosmic hope.

What expectations and demands of life can you let go of so that you can be more prepared for the coming of Jesus this Advent season?

Friday, November 25, 2011

Stephen Mitchell in the Rector's Forum this Sunday, 11/27

How does the universe work?

That question pulses at the heart of the world’s great literature. We at All Saints are drawn to those who think deeply and/or write lyrically about how the universe works. Jesus, Job, the Psalmist, Homer, Gilgamesh, the Tao Te Ching, the Bhagavad Gita, the poet Rilke and others have been translated, usually from the original language, by our friend, Stephen Mitchell, who will join us in the Rector's Forum this Sunday, November 27, at 10:15 a.m.

He has now translated The Iliad in a way that his editor told me brought tears to her eyes. Stephen has a gift for taking ancient texts and bringing them to life with an accessible and contemporary grace.

"When I interviewed Stephen in Oprah Winfrey’s radio studio for the Oprah’s Soul Series," said Ed Bacon "his centered calmness, his love of wisdom, his brilliant mind, and his soul shaped by years of Buddhist meditation all worked together to change my life. I want each of you to experience this friend of mine."

A sixth-grade memory of a drawing of the Greek goddess Athena inspired Stephen Mitchell to tackle Homer’s epic poem, The Iliad. He had tried to read other translations but was unable to get past the first part. The image of Athena floating in the air wearing a fluid garment, helmet on head, spear in hand, captured his imagination and made him want to create an English version of The Iliad with the music he felt in that drawing. For several years he immersed himself in the Greek, to find a way into the epic that would make the story come alive for him. Criticized by some for using English slang in places and not producing an exact translation, he has been praised by others who feel he captures the essence of the epic, brings it alive, and makes it enjoyable to read. Copies of six of his books will be available.

Please join us and tell your friends and family. If you cannot be with us in person on Sunday, watch the live video stream of the Forum here at 10:15 a.m. Pacific.

Monday, November 21, 2011

BOYCOTT BLACK FRIDAY: Join us @ Occupy L.A. for an Interfaith Celebration of Hope and Abundance


Friday November 25, 2011
Main Square of Occupy LA, City Hall


Music |Scriptural Readings in the OWS “Mic Check!” format |Fruit Basket Offerings of Thanks |Sights, Sounds and Smells of Many Religions |Ending with a “Jericho-Style” Walk around City Hall with the sound of the ram’s horn

SPEAKERS INCLUDE: Carissa Baldwin-McGinnis; All Saints Church Director of Peace & Justice

For more info contact: Rabbi Joshua Levine Grater/OLA Interfaith Councilmember
FB: Occupy Los Angeles Sanctuary

"The Elders" @ Occupy L.A.

On Sunday, November 20th, a newly organized independent group of elder leaders from many of the defining American social justice movements of the 20th century led a service of solidarity and conversation with OccupyLA demonstrators. Similar events with other notable elders were held in San Francisco, Oakland and New York.

All Saints Rector Emeritus George Regas (pictured below with members of All Saints at the rally) was one of the speakers here in Los Angeles as a hearty crowd gathered on the steps of City Hall in spite of the Sunday afternoon downpour.

More photos here [photo credit Laura Aguilar] ... and for more information on OccupyLA and how you can help support this witness for econonic justice, visit the All Saints website.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Together again: Ed Bacon & Oprah Winfrey!

News from Harpo Studios this week:
Super Soul Sunday News! On Sunday, November 20, 2011, we will be airing The Oprah Winfrey Show: When Life Breaks You Open featuring Ed Bacon, Elizabeth Lesser and Michael Beckwith
Ah, yes. We remember it well. Ed described it in a recent Huffington Post blog:
As a guest on The Oprah Winfrey Show in January 2009, I said, "Being gay is a gift from God." Those seven words -- spoken to a call-in viewer from Atlanta -- set off a ripple of response that lit up Oprah's switchboard, almost crashed our parish email server and continues to bring people toward us here at All Saints Church in Pasadena. And that moment continues to be for me an iconic example of how important it is for people of faith to confront discrimination against our LGBT brothers and sisters by standing up and by speaking out.
So if you missed it the first time -- or you just want to watch it again -- then tune in (or "TIVO on") to "Super Soul Sunday" on OWN (the Oprah Winfrey Network) on Sunday morning between 8-11am ... details here ... and check it out!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Elders Speak @ OccupyLA

On November 20th, a newly organized independent group of elder leaders from many of the defining American social justice movements of the 20th century, will lead a service of solidarity and host a conversation with Occupy demonstrators and other interested individuals in Los Angeles. Similar events with other notable elders will be held in San Francisco, Oakland and New York.

Rev. James M. Lawson, Jr., Pastor Emeritus, Holman United Methodist Church
Rev. Canon Malcolm M. Boyd, Poet-in-Residence, Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles
Ms. Dolores Huerta, Co-Founder, United Farm Workers
Rev. George Regas, Executive Director, Regas Institute
Dr. Maher Hathout, Physician (retired), leading spokesperson for the American Muslim Community
Rabbi Leonard Beerman, Founding Rabbi, Leo Baeck Temple

2:00pm Interfaith Circle at Occupy Los Angeles, South Lawn at Los Angeles City Hall
3:00pm ELDERS SPEAK AT OCCUPY LOS ANGELES, South Lawn at Los Angeles City Hall

For more information Contact FOR LOS ANGELES EVENT ONLY: Rev. Sandie Richards, member, Occupy Los Angeles Interfaith Council-- 323-761-0797 DOWNTOWNLAREV@GMAIL.COM

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

All Saints@OccupyLA

A contingent from All Saints joined interfaith clergy leaders at a meeting in support of OccupyLA on Wednesday morning, November 16:

Sunday, November 13, 2011

"The Parable of the Talents: Version 2011"

Gospel Drama performed at All Saints Church, Pasadena, on Sunday, November 13, 2011, by Jamie Donnelly, Art McDermott, Anina Minotto, Terry Moore, Jaclyn Carmichael Palmer, Samuel Paul, and Alma Stokes. Directed by Melissa Hayes.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Respect for Marriage Act: Statement from All Saints Church, Pasadena

It is long past time to overturn the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) – a shameful piece of legislated discrimination that does nothing to defend marriage and everything to make second class citizens out of gay and lesbian couples and their families. And so at All Saints Church in Pasadena we greet with delight the news that this morning the Senate Judiciary Committee approved the Respect for Marriage Act. By that action our nation takes a much needed step toward making liberty and justice for all not just a pledge but a reality.

“God does not discriminate against same-sex couples and neither should our federal government,” said All Saints’ Rector Ed Bacon. “The time has come for a Protect Marriage Movement that protects ALL marriages and for a Family Values coalition that values ALL families – and as a priest and pastor I want to be part of helping realize that goal.”

At All Saints Church in Pasadena we married forty-six same-sex couples when marriage equality was the law in California from May – November 2008. When a slim majority of California voters passed Proposition 8 and wrote discrimination into our state constitution, our governing board passed the following resolution:
WHEREAS, the institution of civil marriage in the State of California is, as a result of Proposition 8 and the Court’s decision, a constitutionally-mandated instrument of discrimination, which furthers injustice and denies same-sex couples the fundamental dignities to which each human being is entitled;and

WHEREAS, our active participation in the discriminatory system of civil marriage is inconsistent with Jesus’ call to strive for justice and peace among all people and respect the dignity of every human being; and

WHEREAS, All Saints Church is called to make the sacrament of marriage equally available to all couples, regardless of their sexual orientation;

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Rector, Wardens and Vestry do declare that the sacramental right of marriage is available to all couples, but that the clergy of All Saints Church will not sign civil marriage certificates so long as the right to marry is denied to same-sex couples.
The Respect for Marriage Act will allow All Saints Church to get back into the business of ministering equally to all who come to us seeking to live lives committed to each other and in alignment with God’s love, justice and compassion. And by granting the same federally protected rights and responsibilities to all married couples it will help us live into our DNA as a nation conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all are created equal. The Respect for Marriage Act isn’t just the right thing to do for same-sex couples. It’s the right thing to do for America.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Sabbath Economics

On Saturday, November 5th Robyn Smith offered a presentation on "Sabbath Economics" -- and we are grateful to Robyn for sharing the content for us to share here.
Where have we heard this story before?

 Wealth extracted from the land and our labor, and hoarded by a small group of people.
 The devaluation of work and workers, with shrinking salaries, increasing unemployment, and increasing amounts of debt owed to that same small group of people.

Sabbath economics started with these same questions in Egypt.

 Pharaoh believed that there wasn’t enough to go around, so he wanted it all for himself.
 When the crops failed and the peasants ran out of food, Pharaoh asked, “What’s your collateral?”
 So the Israelites gave up their land for food. The next year, they still didn’t have food, so Pharaoh asked again, “what’s your collateral?”
 And they gave up their cattle.
 By the third year of famine they had no collateral but themselves.
 And, in the words of Walter Brueggeman, that’s how the children of Israel became slaves – through an economic transaction. (Walter Brueggemann, “The Liturgy of Abundance, the Myth of Scarcity,” Christian Century (March 24, 1999).)

Fortunately, we all know that that is not where the story ends. Once the Israelites were sprung from slavery, just like us they had a hard time imagining a different kind of economic system.
But in the desert, God presented them with a radical alternative economy that put LIFE, people, community, and the earth at its center.

When the manna rains down from heaven, the people are given three instructions (see Ched Myers, The Biblical Vision of Sabath Economics, Chapter One (2001)):
[A] To gather just enough bread for their needs – so everyone has enough, but no one has too much or too little.

[B] Not to hoard or store the bread – so Israel is enjoined to keep wealth circulating through sharing, rather than concentrating wealth through accumulation. This instruction to redistribute wealth is echoed later on, in instructions to:
  1. Cancel all debts and allow the land to rest every seven years;
  2. And every 50 years to return foreclosed land to its original owners, and to free all slaves.
These commands seek to limit human appetite, and prevent the emergence of a permanent underclass. Finally, the Israelites are instructed to observe the Sabbath every seventh day.

The Sabbath is not about resting so that we can be more productive. Rather, it was supposed to be a radical day of rest for everyone and everything – the slaves, the immigrants, the land, even the animals. It’s purpose is to disrupt human attempts to control nature and maximize the forces of production.

On the Sabbath, we are reminded that:
 We don’t own or create any of the wealth around us – the land and its resources are gifts from God that are meant to be shared equitably, they are not possessions to hoard and exploit; and

 our value does not come from our ability to earn or spend money. We are more than just workers, more than just consumers. We are loved by God unconditionally, and are created in Her image.
All of these practices served to remind the Israelites that they were an Exodus people who must never return to a economic system of slavery.

This radical vision of a life-supporting, community-centered equitable and just economy is echoed over and over, by the Prophets and by Jesus. For example, the prayer that Jesus teaches his disciples reminds us of the manna story and Sabbath debt-forgiveness: “Give us enough bread for today, and forgive us our debts as we forgive the debts others.”

The Israelites experience of liberation from slavery can help us think about the process we are engaging in today as All Saints, but also as individuals and as members of our larger communities.

Walter Brueggeman describes the Exodus transformation as happening in three steps (from Hope Within History):

Step 1: Questioning of the dominant economic ideology.
Step 2: The public processing of pain.

The Israelites groaned under their slavery and cried out – they voiced and named their suffering communally and publicly. Walter Brueggemann calls this “an irreversible act of disobedience. The cry of pain begins the formation of a counter-community around an alternative perception of reality.”

Step 3: Because God heard their cries, there is a release of new social imagination.

Israel elaborated a new way to live responsibly in social and economic relationships that are liberating and just.

So, as we hear about the G20 economic summit, and the constant refrain that we must grow our economy, when doing so imperils the survival of life on earth, we have to ask ourselves whether we can imagine and create a different kind of economy, based on our own Biblical values that:
 “the world as created by God is abundant, with enough for everyone, provided that human communities restrain their appetites and live within limits;
 disparities in wealth and power are not natural, but the result of human sin, and must be mitigated through the regular practice of redistribution and justice.” (Ched Myers, The Biblical Vision of Sabath Economics, Chapter One (2001))
Surely the God who liberated the Israelites can guide us also into radical action for personal, social and economic transformation.

Friday, November 4, 2011


All Saints Church has a long history of engaging the issues of the day at the local, national and global level -- and on Saturday, November 5th the congregation will continue that historic role in a day-long event focused on the economic challenges of the “new normal.” National worker’s rights activist Kim Bobo will join All Saints rector Ed Bacon and others as All Saints continues to set its platform for an informed and considered response to the realities we face.

“We are building on All Saints’ long history of incubating socially relevant agencies after doing our homework,” said Ed Bacon. “Saturday will be an important next step in our discernment about how – not if – All Saints crafts its response to the economic challenges we face as a community and as a nation.”

For more than a year a number of small groups within the All Saints community have been holding meetings, sharing stories and exploring the impact of today’s economic realities on the spiritual lives and faith of individuals in the community and parishioners. Groups like Life and Livelihood and Vocational Journeys have served as a place for the unemployed and underemployed to talk in safe, confidential settings about the difficulties individuals and families are facing as a result of layoffs, downsizing, plant closures and market downturns.

With the continuing recession, the parish will use the knowledge that has been garnered by these small groups to inform and open discussion on what future impacts the depressed economic environment will continue to have on the spiritual lives of individual members of the parish and the community as a whole.

Saturday, November 5, 2011 -- from 9:00 am until 2:00 pm in the All Saints Forum.

A potluck lunch will be served.

All Saints Church is located at 132 North Euclid Ave., Pasadena, CA 91105. The event is free, reservations are requested. Contact Linn Vaughan at 626.583.2744 for more information.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Living into the Questions at Occupy L.A.

On Sunday afternoon October 30th All Saints rector Ed Bacon paid a second visit to Occupy L.A. His reflections -- "Living into the Questions at Occupy L.A." -- were published on the Huffington Post on 11/2.

Here's a little snippet to get you started:

My first visit to Occupy L.A. was in the context of the October 7th "Jobs Not War" Peace March marking the 10th anniversary of the War in Afghanistan. "What is the focus? What does this mean? And is this effective?" Those are but some of the questions I've been pondering as the growth and momentum of the Occupy Movement has become not only the focus for reporters and bloggers but the fodder for editorials and sermons in the days and weeks since.

And so I returned to Occupy L.A. for a second visit on a Sunday afternoon (10/30.) Deciding not to announce my identity as a priest, I left my clerical collar at home -- and spent several hours in observation.

Read the whole post here

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

GRACE in ACTION: 1775 Hours a Week!

Here's the final installment of our stewardship season series here at All Saints Church in Pasadena ... where mission and ministry are alive and well:
Throughout the month of October we've told stories of the many ways All Saints has touched the lives of individuals in our church community. What does it take to make all this happen? Today we give you a glimpse "behind the scenes" - a look at how our 55 full-and part-time staff members put in 1,775 hours every single