Saturday, June 29, 2013

Marriage and Weddings @ All Saints Church

"The truth is that when gay people share in the freedom to marry, it makes families stronger, which makes communities, states and our nation stronger. I am confident that here at All Saints Church in Pasadena it has made our church stronger." — Ed Bacon

On June 26, 2013 the Supreme Court issued rulings that upheld the repeal of California’s Proposition 8 and ended federal discrimination against same-sex marriages.  Two days later the 9th U.S. Circuit Court lifted its ban on same-sex marriages, returning marriage equality to California. Rejoicing in these decisions, All Saints Church is delighted to provide the following information on our policies on marriage and weddings.

What is the policy on marriage at All Saints Church?

At All Saints Church we understand Holy Matrimony to be a physical and spiritual union, entered into within the community of faith, by mutual consent of heart, mind and will, and with intent that it be life-long.  We are committed to treating equally all couples presenting themselves for the rite of marriage. Our commitment to the sacrament of marriage being celebrated within the community of faith informs our policy of offering weddings for members of the parish.

Does the Supreme Court decision overturning Proposition 8 mean that All Saints will go back to signing marriage certificates?

Yes. In June 2009 the Vestry of All Saints Church unanimously passed a marriage resolution stating that All Saints clergy will not sign civil marriage certificates for any couples until the right to civil marriage is available to all couples. Now that the ban has been lifted we will return to blessing and protecting all marriages equally.

If we want to get married at All Saints where do we start?

Typically, preparation for weddings at All Saints takes from 4 to 6 months, allowing time for scheduling and planning as well as for pre-marital counseling for couples with a member of our clergy staff.  For more information, to receive a wedding packet, or to begin planning your wedding, contact Stasia Dahlstrom at 626.796.1172 or

What if we already went through the pre-marital part when we had our blessing and now want to “make it legal” here at All Saints Church?

Given the dramatic events bringing marriage equality back to California and ending federal discrimination against same-sex couples there will be exceptions to our “typical” timeline.  These exceptions will be made on a case by case basis in consultation with a member of our clergy staff.  The place to start is still Stasia Dahlstrom, who will refer you to one of our clergy staff for consultation.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

All Saints Church Statement on Supreme Court Marriage Equality Rulings

At All Saints Church we rejoice that today the Supreme Court Justices ruled on the just side of history in affirming the dignity of LGBT families and affirming the reality that Prop 8 served no purpose other than to discriminate against gay couples -- thereby violating our Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection under the law.

And by striking down Section 3 of DOMA, we celebrate the fact that thousands of married lesbian and gay couples – including the forty-six couples married  at All Saints in 2008 -- will be better able to protect one another and their children because they will no longer face legal federal discrimination and obstruction in their care for one another. 

“Today’s victory is a result of years of hard work by same-sex couples, their families, allies, and advocates to create the climate for the Court’s ruling,” said All Saints rector Ed Bacon. “All Saints Church has been privileged to be a partner in this struggle for justice and equality for over twenty years.”

“The truth is that when gay people share in the freedom to marry, it makes families stronger, which makes communities, states, and our nation stronger. I am confident that here at All Saints Church in Pasadena we know it has made our church stronger.”

When Proposition 8 passed in 2008, the vestry of All Saints Church unanimously adopted the following resolution:


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.

 Soon same-sex couples will be able to marry legally in 13 states and Washington, DC. More than 93 million Americans – nearly a third of the population – live in a jurisdiction with the freedom to marry.

Today we celebrate with those who now have the freedom to marry and we look forward to being able to offer both equal blessing and equal protection to the couples coming to us for marriage at All Saints Church.

Yet we know that the struggle for equality is far from over. We know that there are millions of others across the country who will still be treated as second-class citizens. And we know that today’s two steps forward on marriage equality come on the heels of yesterday’s one step back on voting rights. Therefore, we will continue to work with partners across the country until equality is a reality for every American as we live out God’s values of love, justice and compassion.


At 12:10pm on Wednesday, June 26 Ed Bacon will address the Supreme Court rulings in his sermon at the Noon Eucharist. All are welcome. Due to construction in the church building, the service will take place in the FORUM ... downstairs in Regas House.

132 North Euclid Avenue | Pasadena CA 91001

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

All Saints Church joins in outrage at Court ruling on Voting Rights Act

All Saints Church joins with all those outraged by today’s Supreme Court action striking down a central part of the Voting Rights Act. The sharply divided decision will significantly reduce the federal government’s role in overseeing voting laws in areas with a history of discrimination against African-Americans and turns back the clock on the fight to end discrimination in our nation.

“What this ruling means is that states and localities previously covered by Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act will now be able to implement changes first and victims will have to prove discrimination after the fact,” said All Saints’ rector Ed Bacon. “The sad truth is that as a nation we still have roadblocks designed to obstruct citizens of color from voting with ease and so we still need the checks and balances the Supreme Court removed this morning."

 The court has done America a grave disservice in casting aside voting rights protections – which have long served our nation’s commitment to equality and justice. It is a self-evident reality that racial protections are still needed in voting in this country. As recently as last year’s elections, political partisans resorted to voter suppression laws and tactics aimed at reducing the votes of people of color.

In the days and weeks ahead we will work with our justice allies to stand up, to speak out and to redouble our commitment to equality by calling on Congress to act to undo the damage inflicted by this regressive ruling.

Monday, June 24, 2013

No sorrow is as strong as love remembered

Click here for more info on Jazz Vespers at All Saints Church

"No sorrow is as strong as love remembered"
A Meditation for Jazz Vespers | Sunday, June 23, 2013 | All Saints Church, Pasadena | by Susan Russell

It is an awesome privilege to be called to offer what is essentially the spoken “set” in this evening of amazing musicianship and holy inspiration.

I knew I wanted to talk about the intersection between story and song and struggle. I knew I wanted to weave in some threads of healing and hope. And I knew I didn’t want to talk very long so we could all get back to the music.

Not sure where to start, I turned where I turn again and again for inspiration – to the writings of the always inspirational author, poet and bishop Steven Charleston … and there I found the piece Hilda just read.

And I knew I’d found what I needed to hear when I read:

No sorrow is as strong
as love remembered,
no fear as powerful
as hope reclaimed.

These are words that resonate deep down in the marrow of my lived experience of simultaneously holding the pain of deep sorrow and the joy of new hope.

They call out in my ears the music of Rosanne Cash singing that “God is in the roses and in the thorns.” And they tap not only into the personal loss of love remembered but the institutional challenge of hearing hope’s whisper over the culture’s shout of “Be afraid. Be very afraid.”

Listen. Can you hope’s whisper in the words of Bishop Charleston?

You are not weak before what confronts you,
but surrounded by a deep reserve of strength,
drawn up from every small moment
when goodness shaped your life,
when the presence of God
was as real as the touch of a comforting hand,
when life made sense
because it sang you to sleep
in the peace of an unassailable innocence.

This what Ed Bacon talks about when he calls us to “reverse our amnesia” – to see beyond the challenges of the moment to the hope of the future – to call upon the deep reserve of strength to challenge anything that tells us we are less than who we were created to be – beloved of God beyond our wildest imaginings and called to love all God’s beloved equally in return.

Steven Charleston’s words remind me of other words – words of Marianne Williamson – words so powerful they were quoted by Nelson Mandela in his Inauguration speech in 1994:
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
And therein, as they say, lies the rub. In order to liberate others we must be liberated from our own fear. And Steven Charleston, it turns out, “has an app for that” in these words:

The happiness you have known
is the host of angels on whom you now can call.
Ignore the night
and see instead the countless stars
that have guided you safe this far.

Ignore the night. See the stars. Follow the light. Be the change you want to see.

Tonight I knew I wanted to talk about the intersection between story and song and struggle. I knew I wanted to weave in some threads of healing and hope. And I knew I didn’t want to talk very long so we could all get back to the music.

And so I want to close with a reading from the Gospel – The Gospel According to Christina Honchell:
Jazz is God’s chosen music, because God is the greatest of all improvisers. Consider the Genesis creation story: God had an idea, a theme, a place to start and maybe a place to end, but the “getting there” is improvised.

God is tinkering with creation throughout the scriptures and through the Holy Spirit to this day and beyond.

Our God is a God who frustrates the designs of the nations, defeats the plans of the peoples – creation is still being improvised.

Like creation, the best jazz is often unfinished, open to co-creation, shot with contest and dialogue.

We need to learn to improvise. I am not interested in a religious practice or experience that is the same every time – I want to be surprised, to not know where a spiritual path may lead, to have spiritual discipline and also to be open to what happens when two or more “players” go off on an improvisational journey to God knows where.

That’s where the “aha” moments in religion come from – not from a faith that is predictable, rigid, static and steeped in fear.

Like jazz, healthy religion is not for control freaks – it unleashes sensibilities that cut against the grain of hierarchies and elites. It is about joy and energy and liberation.
[Here endeth the reading from the Gospel]

It IS about joy and energy and liberation And liberated from our fears our presence automatically liberates others.

May this evening of God’s chosen music liberate us to go out into a world in desperate need of liberation to be beacons of God’s love and justice and compassion.

And may we be given the grace to claim the promise that

No sorrow is as strong as love remembered,
and no fear as powerful as hope reclaimed.


Thursday, June 13, 2013

From Despair to Hope: Connecting the Dots Between Gangs & Violent Extremism

This timely event will feature a diverse panel of experts, including Father Greg Boyle, founder of Homeboy Industries, and Dr. Maher Hathout, MPAC’s Senior Adviser, in a conversation about the commonalities and solutions of keeping youth from joining violent gangs and from turning to violent extremism
  • Father Greg Boyle, Founder of Homeboy Industries
  • Dr. Maher Hathout, MPAC’s Senior Adviser
  • Edina Lekovic, MPAC’s Director of Policy and Programming
  • Mikala Rahn, Ph.D., Founder of Learning Works Charter School
  • Dr. Eric Walsh, Pasadena Director of Public Health
WHEN: Sunday, June 30, from 6-8 p.m.
WHERE: All Saints Church | 132 N. Euclid Ave, Pasadena, CA 91101

“Child care will be provided.  Please reserve a space for your child by calling 626-583-2781.”

And yes ... we do plan to live stream the event -- if you can't be here in person, visit the All Saints website for the live stream link. For more information call 626.796.1172 or email

Monday, June 3, 2013

Youth Sunday 2013 @ All Saints Church

It was a truly amazing Youth Sunday yesterday as we celebrated our youth choirs, prayed over our graduating seniors and listened to youth preachers at all our services.

Ed Bacon's charge to the preachers was to: "Grapple with the scripture texts appointed for today as well as to engage with one or more contemporary issues that the texts and their lives raised up in them for consideration."

And grapple they did. These gifted kids engaged with the stories of Ezekiel and Ahab and of Jesus healing the Centurion's servant and how they raised up for them issues of LGBT equality, the death penalty and immigration reform.

Olivia Mejia preached at the 7:30 a.m. service. "You all inspire me to achieve my full potential, challenge the norm, ask important questions, and help me find and strengthen my voice in following the example of Christ."

At 9:00am we heard Tori Dutcher-Brown: "When we allow ourselves to be set against each other, we are participating in our own destruction ... failing to achieve the love, change and compassion we so desire."

At 11:15am we heard Katy King: "Ever hear that 'the truth will set you free?' That's what real justice looks like -- having the humility to hear the truth and to let it set us free."

And at 1:00pm we heard Connor Smith: "As I've learned at All Saints, if we don't reject the evil of prejudice then we bear some responsiblity for how it manifests itself in ourselves and in our world."

Watch. Learn. Be inspired. And bookmark the links to these extraordinary kids to watch the next time you despair over the future. It's actually in pretty fabulous hands!