The View From Bolton St.

“Follow the Yellow Brick Jesus?”

It is a joy, as it is every year, to watch Memorial Player’s productions come to life.  From the very beginning of dance and music practice in the upstairs parish hall to the final run-throughs on stage before opening night. Over the years we have seen Annie find a family, we have dealt with race issues in america and class issues overseas, we’ve imagine fairy tale worlds where things aren’t what they seem, and found news ways to interpret stories from our own holy scriptures.  So it is perhaps significant that this year we spend two weeks in O contemplating what it means to be ‘home’ and that we do this with a very racially and gender diverse cast.  

Dorothy leaves Kansas the same way many of us encounter the world today - frustrated with the way things are, annoyed that change isn’t happening fast enough, but almost hopeless that things can get better.  ‘It just is’ - whether we are dealing with difficult family, snake oil political and business leaders, or just plain old evil people.   But in her travels through Oz - and confronting directly some of those same evils! She is able to find courage, heart,  wisdom and most of all community to create a better world.  

That is my hope for us at Memorial.  That we may come here from different walks of life, different backgrounds and experiences, even different faith journeys; and that we may come really unsure if we can ever make a substantive difference in the world.  But - that together as we grow our faith,  explore what it means to follow Jesus, and come to believe and understand that resurrection was possible than and remains a possibility now — we can make a new ‘home’.  
We are reminded in Galatians that we are ‘Children of the Promise.’ This promise of a New Jerusalem where we are no longer judged by the color of our skin, by where come from, by who we are or who we love, but instead we are recognized only and exclusively as Children of God, sharing the same courage, same heart, and same wisdom. So as you come to ‘The Wizard of Oz’ - I encourage you to think about what ‘Oz’ looks like for you?  What is the kind of home you imagine when you close your eyes and imagine the people of God together in harmony?  And how can you help Memorial embody that not just on Friday and Saturday nights for two weeks - but on Sunday Mornings for the rest of the year. 

Tri-Church Lenten Study

‘A Priest, A Minister and a Pastor Walk into a...’ — You don’t usually associate comedy with Lent, but humor is often a good way to highlight some of the most troubling and difficult parts of our traditions and bring them to light.  Join us this season as Father Marty, Rev. Grey and Pastor Foster-Connors each look at how their traditions are portrayed in comedy and cinema and television to explore what some of our biggest sins are as traditions and to explore how we can become better reflections of the Church and of Jesus going forward. 

Tri- Church Lent 2019.jpg

Family Night Dinner


Every third Wednesday Memorial will be having a Family Night Dinner. We welcome everyone. There will be programing for Adults and Children! At Memorial we see this night as intergenerational. Please come if you have small kids, grown kids, or no kids. This formation night is laid back and pretty informal to leave space for connection. We welcome you to our table.

For February it will be the last Wednesday the 27th! Hope to see you there!

If you have any questions, thoughts concerns please don’t hesitate to email

-Hannah :)

Music Hall

As a musician, I wear many hats. Currently, one of those hats is after-school music teacher at Mt. Royal School.  After our Tuesday staff meeting, I haul my steel-string guitar, various random sheets of music, and a copy of LEVAS over to the stark but spirited music room at Mt. Royal.

I’ve been a substitute teacher with the Carroll County schools for about a year, and I know I’m spoiled by their system.  In the elementary schools, all class levels enjoy one hour of “specials” each day, including P.E., music, art, and health.  But it sounds like exposure to the arts at Mt. Royal –and at many city public schools -- is sadly infrequent. To help remedy the problem, I applied for a teaching grant from Baltimore Office of Promotion and the Arts, which enables me to work with a handful of 3rd, 4th and 5th graders once a week on music, specifically, vocal music.

It has been difficult to decide what to work on in the brief hour that I see the students each week, especially what repertoire to sing.  As my inspiration, I’m using Black History Month, the social justice movement that is sweeping the choral world, and Memorial’s dedication to talking about difficult topics.  Our repertoire focuses on songs of the civil rights movement. The kids have learned “This Little Light of Mine,” “This Train is Bound for Glory,” and “We Shall Not Be Moved.”  They’re covering the basics of good vocal technique and reading music. They’re experiencing history through song. As we are searching for a communal repertoire that addresses how we feel in these divisive days, I’m hoping that these songs, through the voices of our children, lead the way to better community dialogue.

-Justine Koontz

The View From Bolton St

“If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.”  From 1 Corinthians 15:12-20

Futile and in Vain.

This is what Paul says about our life, and our faith,  if we don’t have the resurrection at the center of our faith story.  And it’s true! If we don’t believe that Christ died and was raised, how can we believe that any other resurrection is possible?  

Can we believe that our sins are forgiven if Christ is not risen?

Can we believe that ‘it gets better’ if Christ is not risen?

Can we believe that there is hope for those suffering with addiction if Christ is not risen?

Can we believe that there is more to life for the kid growing up in a violent neighborhood, a 17 year old who gets locked up too young, or the woman who loses a child, if Christ is not risen?

As we as a Memorial Community focus our time and attention on the hard work of racial reconciliation, ‘un-Segregation’ and deconstructing white supremacy, we cannot forget that at the heart of this is the resurrection. Resurrection for us. For our parish community and for the city of Baltimore.

The call then to ‘justice’ here is not one of politics, or progressivism, or any cause, it is a call of faith. The faith that Christ died. And was raised, and that that same resurrection is available to all of us.  

Retirement Living Choices!


Are you or a loved one contemplating moving to a retirement-type setting? If so, please plan to join an enjoyable and informative discussion, to include ……   

“What are the different retirement living options, and what can I afford?"

“How do I put my current home on the market?"

“How do I get rid of 30 years of stuff ?!?! "

Saturday, March 30th from 9am - 12noon, with light lunch to follow. 

Memorial Church ~~ Upper Farnham Hall

We’ll be joined by information experts, folks who have already

made the move, and those who are scratching their heads!!

We hope to see you there!!!!

-Fred & Judith

The View From Bolton St.

Shining a Light on the Truth

 “No one lights a lamp and hides it in a clay jar or puts it under a bed. Instead, they put it on a stand, so that those who come in can see the light.  For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open. Therefore consider carefully how you listen. Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what they think they have will be taken from them.”  Luke 8:16-18

We have seen, up close and personal this week, what happens when we hide things under a bushel basket. Jesus (as usual) is right! We rarely hide our light, but we are often more than willing to hide the things that we are embarrassed about, worried about, shocked about, under a bushel basket; or sweep them under the rug; or keep them under the klan hood.  But just as Jesus says ‘ there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will. Not be brought out into the open.’ So if you wonder why I think it is so important for us as a faith community to know our history, to understand our history,  and to respond to our history - it is because of weeks like this.  Because until our history is dealt with, until we fully recognize what we once were, and why we are the way we are; we will not have—nor deserve-- the trust, understanding and respect of our neighbors. 

Why? Because in the 1920s when parishioners from St Katherine’s and St.  James were advocating to end lynching in Maryland, our parishioners were working to keep the neighborhood segregated. And in the 1930’s when Black West Baltimore Churches were raising money to send Thurgood Marshall to law school, lawyers from Memorial and the Episcopal Diocese were working on a plan to keep all Baltimore neighborhoods segregated.  When Marshall was arguing Brown v. Board before the Supreme Court in 1952, Memorial was working to keep a local youth center segregated.  And while there might not be photos of it  - Memorial members were putting on Black-Faced Minstrel shows for many years here at Memorial in what is now Farnham Hall.  It’s not just that we have some ‘bad things in our past’ - but that it was done in direct opposition to what other Jesus loving Black Episcopalians were working towards here in the city.  They were shining their light and we were working to put it out.  This is a terrible history. And not one we can avoid talking about.                                                                             

 Instead of proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus, our history was one of white supremacy. Instead of proclaiming that Justice should rain down like water, we asked maintained status quo. Instead of seeking righteousness like a mighty stream, we have sought righteousness lite - a trickling brook that moves just enough to make us feel good about ourselves but never enough to challenge our current reality.   


During the Vestry retreat last weekend, we discussed in great detail the impact of white supremacy in the Episcopal Church, in Baltimore, and at Memorial specifically. We discussed a need to have some larger conversations about the triptych in the front of the church, the plaques to the two founding rectors (who were also Slaveholders according to census records), and even about the name of the church.  You will, I am sure, hear more conversations around this—and I hope that you will join in to learn more about the past.  But I hope you will also hear about the efforts we are undertaking to ‘turn around’ and atone for the sins of the past while, and that you see yourself in that work. Crafting a better future that looks much more like the Kingdom of God.  


Perhaps you, like Memorial, have your own past that needs to be addressed?  Perhaps you are struggling with how to reconcile that today?


To be very clear, I do not want you to read this and be ashamed, or feel that you cannot share or recover from it.  We are reminded on Ash Wednesday that we are all nothing more than ashes and dust. Just as it is my fervent belief that God will make a ‘good thing’ from Memorial’s ‘dust’, so to do I believe that God will do the same with your dust; with your failings, your weaknesses, and your mistakes... IF we are willing to shine a light brightly, acknowledge the evils of our past, and work to be and do better in the future.   We do that as individuals—but moreso as a community. We can collectively make our community better

Baltimore Pride Needs Volunteers

The Baltimore Pride Parade will be Saturday, June 15th this year.   One of our parishioner’s, Richard Finger, is the Parade Committee Chair for the GLCCB, and is seeking up to 60 volunteers to assist in various capacities.   Prior to the main Parade event, there will be the high-heel race, as well as the Pet Parade. We will need judges for the pet parade and the main parade, as well as emcees.  Throughout the morning, we will need volunteers to stand along the parade route, keeping the crowd in check, as well as assisting with ensuring the flow of parade participants in 3 staging areas. We will also need volunteers to act as sign checkers (to thwart off those wanting to carry anti-LGBTQ+ messages).

If you wish to volunteer for Baltimore Pride with another committee, there are several to choose from: Entertainment , Events, Vendors, Marketing (Arts & Communication), and Logistics.  For more information, visit the GLCCB 2019 Baltimore Pride Facebook page. The first volunteer learning session will be Wednesday April 3, 2019 @ 6pm. The location is the GLCCB offices: 2350 N Charles Street, 3rd Floor.

More details and information will be provided as available.

-Richard Finger