Saturday, December 29, 2012

All Saints Church hosts community call-to-action on gun violence

On Sunday, December 30th, Pasadena and Altadena pastors, law enforcement officials, community leaders and members will stand together at All Saints Church in Pasadena with a united voice to issue a community call-to-action in response to gun violence in our streets.

"When something is wrong like the gun violence plaguing our citizens, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to one another,” said All Saints’ Rector Ed Bacon. “The Pasadena community is standing strong together for peace and security in our neighborhoods,” said Ricky Pickens, Director of Prevention and Intervention Services at the Flintridge Center.

The community call-to-action in Pasadena and Altadena will include communicating messages of peace and hope in our neighborhoods; calling for respect for and respect by law enforcement in our communities and helping those who want to escape the cycle of gang violence.

Participants will include:

The Reverend Ed Bacon, Rector of All Saints Church;
Mayor Bill Bogaard, Mayor of Pasadena
Captain John Benedict, Altadena Sheriff’s Station;
Pastor Jean Burch, Community Bible Church;
Pastor Kerwin Manning, Pasadena Church;
Ricky Pickens, Flintridge Center;
Chief Phillip Sanchez, Pasadena Police Department;
William Syms and Porfirio Frausto, community leaders.

Sunday, December 30 |  3:00 p.m.
132 North Euclid Avenue
Pasadena CA 91101

For further information contact:
The Reverend Susan Russell – Senior Associate for Communications | 714.356.5718 -- mobile

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

"Dear Mr. President ..."

Ed Bacon writes to urge President Obama to turn this national moment of mourning over the shootings in Newtown into a national movement for gun safety.

To add your name, email the Peace & Justice Department at All Saints Church.


President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Mr. President

On behalf of this community of faith, I want to express my deep gratitude for your strong expression of support for urgent action in the face of yet another horrific mass shooting in our nation. Parishioners join me in letting you know that you have our full support as you provide leadership in enacting measures that will help prevent these kinds of mass shootings, as well as the tragic loss of lives of no less than 32 men, women and children in our country every day.

While we still grapple with identifying a comprehensive and holistic response to the Newtown tragedy and others like it, including the need for more effective mental health and wellness programs in our communities, there are some immediate and necessary steps that we need to take regarding gun safety.

I strongly support the reinstatement of the assault weapons ban that Senator Feinstein has said that she will introduce at the beginning of the new session of Congress. I support as well legislation that would require background checks on every gun purchase, including those at gun shows, and limiting the size of ammunition clips. As part of our continued commitment to this issue we will be mobilizing our parishioners, who live in as many as twenty different Congressional districts, to contact their Representatives to urge them to support new gun control legislation.

Early in our faith history the assembled people hear God speaking these words through Moses: “I set before you life and death, blessing or curse. Choose life, that you and your descendents may live.” We and our elected officials have that same choice today and must act with courage and the resolute determination that this epidemic of gun violence requires. As we in our faith tradition await the celebration of the birth of Jesus where the angels sang of their vision of peace on earth, we commit this parish to the task of making this a peaceful, safe and secure world for every cherished child of God.

The Reverend J. Edwin Bacon, Jr.

cc: Majority Leader Harry Reid, Speaker John Boehner, Senator Dianne Feinstein

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

CHRISTMAS 2012 @All Saints Church

Christmas Eve at All Saints

3 p.m. Family Candlelight Service
The rector and friends tell the Christmas story; Our chilrdens' choirs, the Mastersingers and Troubadours, directed by Jenny Price, offer music of Donnelly, Strid & Schram.

5:30 p.m. Festive Eucharist
Our youth choir, the Trouvères offer music of Tierny and Wilhousky, with instrumental ensemble, directed by Jenny Price.
Abel Lopez preaches.
This service will be signed by an American Sign Language interpreter.

8 p.m. Festive Eucharist
Canterbury Choir with chamber orchestra, offer Messe de Minuit pour Noël, by Charpentier, and music of Holst, directed by James Walker.
Ed Bacon preaches.
(Spanish language translation available).

11 p.m. Festive Eucharist
Coventry Choir with chamber orchestra, offer Mass in D Major by Dvorák, and music of Howells and Mathias, directed by James Walker.
Ed Bacon preaches.

Early arrival helps ensure seating. All Christmas Eve services are well attended, plan to arrive at least 30 minutes early.
Parking for 3 p.m. Christmas Eve service will be in the North Lot or underground at the Westin Hotel (enter from Union Street). For the 5:30, 8:00 and 11:00 p.m. services, parking will be available at the Kaiser parking structure or underground at the Westin Hotel (enter from Union Street).
Child care will be provided for all services.

Christmas Day at All Saints

10:30 a.m. Eucharist Susan Russell preaches, and Coventry Choir soloists sing carols arranged by David Willcocks. Child care is provided.
(Spanish language translation available).

New Year’s Eve Service
Monday, Dec. 31, 7:30 p.m. in the Church. Canterbury Choir soloists offer music. Ed Bacon preaches. This special service is a wonderful way to prepare for the new year. Child care provided.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

We Get Mail

The fact that All Saints Church has been on the receiving end of hate mail in response to our hosting the 12th Annual National Convention of the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) has been ... to put it mildly ... in the news.

Although the event has been on the calendar for months -- and All Saints Church being actively involved in interfaith activities is hardly "news" -- last Friday, November 30 an article appeared on a conservative blogsite critiquing both All Saints and MPAC. Entitled "California Church to Become Site of Islamist Convention" the article was sponsored by the Institute for Religion and Democracy (IRD) and full of mischaracterizations about MPAC as an organization and our friends Dr. Maher Hathout and Salam Al-Marayati as individuals.

Immediately after the article was posted, we began receiving emails protesting All Saints' involvement in the MPAC Convention and containing -- as Ed Bacon aptly named it  -- "some of the most vile, mean-spirited email I’ve ever read in my life."

Because the polemic nature of the correspondence so perfectly made evident the need for exactly the witness MPAC and All Saints are making by having a Muslim convention at a Christian church, we made the considered decision to go public with the challenges we were receiving -- to turn toxic rhetoric into teachable moments.

Ed preached about it in his sermon on Sunday.
Susan blogged about it in the Huffington Post on Monday.
All Saints and MPAC sent out a joint press release about it on Tuesday.
KNBC ran a story about it on Wednesday.
And on Thursday, we held a joint press conference where dozens of faith leaders stood in solidarity while
All Saints and MPAC leaders spoke to a bank of cameras representing every local media outlet and a national live-streaming audience.

Video of the press conference will be available on the All Saints YouTube Channel, and a number of news outlets have already posted stories, including:

The Los Angeles Times
The Washington Post
The Associated Press

"So how bad were the emails, actually?" is a question we've gotten. Some of them were quite honestly so bad that they are not going to see the light of day. But in the interest of transparency, here are a few select quotes:
The subject lines in the emails ranged from: “Don’t be gullible suckers” to “Muslim Public Affairs Council Convention -- a grave mistake”

“Islam is satanic garbage, indistinguishable from Nazism. Do not welcome the muzziescum into your church. They're like Body Snatchers.”

“I am dismayed that you would allow your church facilities to be used for the annual convention of the Muslim Public Affairs Council. When Dr. Maher Hathout of MPAC spoke at your sister church, St. John’s Episcopal Cathedral in Los Angeles his address was filled with lies and misleading statements. Dr. Hathout cannot tell you the truth about Islam because you would be offended and revolted.”

“You are Consorting with the Enemy that is Killing Christians Worldwide”

"It is not my purpose to call you names. It IS my purpose to recognize you for true stereotypes of the "useful idiot," first recognized and exploited by Lenin. The problem is that by providing cover and legitimacy to an organization dedicated to overthrowing the Constitution you endanger my country and my grandsons' future. And for that I cannot forgive you."

"You are contributing to the demise of all of Western (Christian based)civilization. You are making a grievous error."
As noted -- these are the printable ones. For more information on the MPAC Convention visit their website. And do keep our human race in your prayers. Clearly it has a ways to go until it becomes a human family.