Twenty-fourth Sunday after Pentecost
November 15, 2020
Almighty and ever-living God, source of all wisdom and understanding, be present with those who take counsel in the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles for the renewal and mission of your Church. Teach us in all things to seek first your honor and glory. Guide us to perceive what is right, and grant us both the courage to pursue it and the grace to accomplish it; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (Book of Common Prayer. Page 818)
I’ve not much time to send my prayers and thoughts to you this day, as I am in attendance at the Diocesan Convention, virtually.
I cannot overstate how much joy I get as I participate in our annual convention. I’ve been doing so now for 23 years, and never tire of how excited I feel about coming together with friends nor can I minimize the importance of what we do there. Even in the year of pandemic, meeting online assures me that the core of the Episcopal Ethos goes on. Gathering in two “orders,” lay and ordained, makes sure all stakeholders of the church are given equal voice.
As a young Roman Catholic, I remember annual gatherings with other communities from throughout the Diocese (or Dioceses, in some cases) and hearing mostly priests talking about theology, ecclesiology, and spirituality. It was impossible to ignore, even then, that the issues affecting the laity were never spoken of in some common place: there was no place for the laity to be heard and to have a voice in setting the direction of the church. No vote. No voice. Only when I became an RC priest, was I permitted to speak my truth and be heard by the Bishop. This did not often result in a change-of-mind by the Bishop, but it gave the illusion of participation in the development of vision and mission.
When, as a new Episcopalian attending my first convention, I was shocked to realized that – by election of my community – I was given the right to vote on important matters affecting us all, eventually including voting on who our Bishops would be. Nowhere else have I seen a better example of democracy-in-action than when all the people of God, trusting in the Holy Spirit, participate in steering of the ship of the church.
Believe me, this does not make the Episcopal Church a perfect institution. What it does make of us, however, is a body that keeps in mind the importance of the dignity of every human being and an organization that works to live up to its commitment of maintaining a diversity of voices and opinions. The blessing and the burden of these objectives means that our polity (practices) can get messy and unruly, while still reassuring that all voices will be honored.
I pray that we keep this before us always; that we honor and welcome one another’s voice, and that the Bishop’s Committee will be faithful listeners to the Holy Spirit as she moves among us and leads us closer to living in the Reign of God where the hungry are fed, the sick are healed, the poor hear the good news of God’s love, and where hatred, bigotry, and prejudice will forever be banned to the exclusive purview of the dictionary.
I invite you to watch a few videos this week, if you haven’t already, about the tremendous good you are doing when contributing to St. John’s Church. These are just a few examples of the lives you are changing, and the blessings being disseminated in our community. Please go here to watch these videos.
You can also find the shopping list for our Thanksgiving Food Distribution program right here. The food needs to be at the office by Sunday, November 15 at Noon as our volunteer team will be working on this effort in the afternoon.
Our schedule of ZOOM worship services remains the same:
• Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday, Morning Prayer at 9 a.m. Here is the worship bulletin for Sunday, November 15. We will be streaming Sunday from inside the Church.
• Nighttime Prayer is prayed Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday at 8 p.m.
• Bible Fellowship, open to all, continues Wednesday evenings at 6 p.m.
To ensure participants’ online security, we don’t publish the worship/study ZOOM links; if you did not receive the church-wide email from me with the links, and would like to attend services, please email me and I’ll add you to the e-blast, and send you the links.
Rev. Karen and I offer separate group office hours each week on ZOOM. However, this week Rev. Karen will be taking some sabbath time this week and will not have office hours. My time is Tuesday morning from 10-11 a.m. Should you need a one-on-one session, just reach out and we’ll get something scheduled. My group office hour link.
Our Sunday morning Adult Forum meets on ZOOM at 10 a.m. We are on a journey with the book, “I’m Still Here; Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness” by Austin Channing Brown. Reading this book is essential in order to join coherently in the discussions. If you’d like to join the discussion, please email Scotty King.