May 12th- Diocesan Convention Discussion
May 19th- Discussion on the Monument Quilt
May 26th- No L&L
June 2nd- Opioid Epidemic Discussion
June 9th- Bishop Visit!
May 12th- Diocesan Convention Discussion
May 19th- Discussion on the Monument Quilt
May 26th- No L&L
June 2nd- Opioid Epidemic Discussion
June 9th- Bishop Visit!
Boltonstock will be held in Sumpter park from 5-10PM on June 8th, 2019.
-Bolton Idol featuring performances from our own Baltimore City Kids! Guest Judges TBA
-Kids crafts activities
-Food & Beverages
-Music from the Scotch Bonnets (Ska/Raggae)
-Community Organization Meet and Greets
Are you able to attend and help? Please let Fin or Hannah know!
This past weekend I was at New Beginnings.NB is a Middle School Youth Event that is lead and run completely by High Schoolers. Most of the high schoolers grew up going to New Beginnings and want to give back in some way. This event is full of fun games and riveting talks done by the youth. These youth get up in front of everyone and share their own experiences with peer pressure, families, sports, and friends. It is amazing to see what these youth can do when we give them the chance to shine. The theme this year was “God knows the way” A take on a popular line from Moana. All the events and activities were “Moana” themed and it was really awesome. If you would like to learn more please come ask me this is an amazing event!
This was my 13th year going to a New Beginnings. I was in 6th grade when I went to my first one back in North Carolina. (they are one their 54th!) I ended up serving in an upfront leadership role for three years in High School and by the time I graduated I was given the opportunity to co-coordinate it. New Beginnings told me that its okay to be who I am that God made me this way and wants me to shine my light. I am working at a church with youth because of New Beginnings. God knows the way and he has brought me to start over with a New Beginning every year.
Please Enjoy some of these photos from the weekend!
Reflection — Diocesan Convention - Memorial
If you remove the yoke from among you,
the pointing of the finger, the speaking of evil,
if you offer your food to the hungry
and satisfy the needs of the afflicted,
then your light shall rise in the darkness
and your gloom be like the noonday.
The Lord will guide you continually,
and satisfy your needs in parched places,
and make your bones strong;
and you shall be like a watered garden,
like a spring of water,
whose waters never fail.
Your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt;
you shall raise up the foundations of many generations;
you shall be called the repairer of the breach,
the restorer of streets to live in.
Isaiah 58 9-12
This week the Diocese gathers for our annual Diocesan Convention at the Turf Valley resort outside of Baltimore. Also this week, our Bishop, The Rt. Rev Eugene Sutton issued a Pastoral Letter to the Diocese on the issue of Reparations. You can read the whole letter here. This is significant for a number of reasons, not the least of which is because Diocesan Convention has often been the site of very different attitudes around race. It took almost a hundred years for African American Clergy to be given voice and vote at convention, and many of our Historically black parishes were kept in mission status (including our neighboring parish St. Katherine’s) in order to prevent them from voting at convention.
The Diocesan Convention also refused for many years to vote to integrate Diocesan Institutions, including schools, hospitals, senior homes and after school programs. These institutions weren’t integrated until more than then years after Brown v. Board of Education.
So it is important that the Diocese, and all of our parishes, take this letter seriously and spend time to ‘read, mark and inwardly digest’ this letter and what it means for us as a parish.
Now you may have some reservations, even animosity towards the idea of reparations. This is completely understandable. The biblical concept of reparations has been so poisoned by the public dialogue around the concept that it is almost impossible to talk about in public. None of that should matter for us. What DOES matter for us is that we are exploring the question not of ‘reparations’ as you read about in the New York Times or hear about on Fox News - but we are talking about ‘Repairing the Breach’ as Isaiah talks about in verse 58 above.
Repairing the Breach is acknowledging a broken relationship and taking the steps to heal and restore the division and bridge the gap. Scripture is replete with imagery - from Joseph and his brothers, to Ezra and Nehemiah reuniting Israel by rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem, to Jesus’ work with the outcasts of Israel to bring them back into community with each other and with God. But the most important biblical imagery (and scariest) is that of Lazarus and the rich man. If you remember this story, Lazarus begs outside a rich mans door every day and every day he is rejected. Many years later they both die and Lazarus is in Heaven with Elijah and the rich man goes to Hades. And the scripture reminds us that ‘a chasm was FIXED between them.’ There was no more reparation possible. The breach was permanent.
We do not want our breaches to be permanent. We should all engage in some thoughtful work on how to repair and restore those relationships, especially those relationships and communities damaged by America’s Original Sin - Slavery.
I commend this letter to your reading and hope you will read it openly and courageously. And perhaps contemplate what it means for us all.
Thanks to Dick Williams, Memorial’s Green Team and Midtown Benefits District for getting 20 new trees planted in Sumpter Park today!
He Is Risen! (And so are you!)
There are few times when God’s absence is noted as a positive - but Easter morning is certainly one of them. And it is good news because on Easter we remember that the tomb is empty and that God is not dead. The disciples, first the women, then the men, go looking for Jesus in the tomb but are asked (scolded?) ‘why do you look for the living among the Dead?’
Have you ever looked for the living among the dead? Have you ever tried to determine your future path by listening to voices, worries, and fears in your past? I know that I have, and I’m sure you have to. It is a natural thing to do! To let what has happened to us before determine where we go from here. But in this Easter moment Jesus shows us not only that resurrection is possible for him, but that it is possible for all of us. Peter was not held back by his denials, Mary, Mary and Martha were not held back by their status in society, even Thomas was not held back by his own doubts and fears (as we explore this Sunday). Which means you should not let your past hold you back either. Easter is a good time to Dream about ‘what’s next’ for you, and maybe for us to Dream about what is next for Memorial?
What should the Church look like in the 21st century? How can we look more like ‘The Beloved Community’? Or perhaps better stated - how can we resurrect the Church for those who have forgotten all about us.
Between now and the end of June we will be looking into our past as we dream about the future. I look forward to hearing from you all, what you are looking for from the Church.
Joy and Pain: Palm Sunday and the Passion
“Why?” The regular church attending Episcopalian is prone to ask, “Do we read the passion on Palm Sunday? Isn’t this supposed to be a festive day?” Quite a few will even suggest that ‘we never USED to do that.” Even I myself, in trying to remember the ‘old ways’ don’t remember the passion being read on Palm Sunday. Just the pageantry of the palms and ‘all glory laud and honor’ and the triumphant procession.
What I have learned (and perhaps you have also learned) is that I was wrong. In fact the Church has read the passion on Palm Sunday off and on since perhaps the beginning of the Church itself. Certainly as far back as the 300’s in Jerusalem. So “why?” Why our dislike for this tradition and why do we ‘forget’ that it happened?
Well perhaps this practice exists to remind us how easy it is to forget. As a people, it is often easier for us to remember the good things we have done than the bad things. No one likes to remember their troubles and their calamities after all, and if we could make them go away we certainly would! And History is littered with the convenient forgetting of the evils done by us or on our behalf, even as we benefit from the outcomes today.
So it is with Palm Sunday. We LOVE to remember the palms, the procession, the celebration, the entry of Jesus as King into Jerusalem! But it is harder for us to remember his arrest, his condemnation, and his death. Palm Sunday is a day when we are torn between Joy and Pain. Between the height of Jesus ministry and the depth of his descent in to hell. Holy Week is a time for remembering. And while it may seem inconvenient, uncomfortable or just annoying to ‘remember’ Jesus death on a glorious spring day, it is important for us to remember. It is important remember because in remembering Jesus’ death we are reminded that God remembers us in our own tragedies and calamities. ‘Then God remembered Noah’ ‘Remembered Moses’ ‘Remembered his people Israel’. God remembers and comes for his people, just as God will come for us, if we, in turn can remember God and his son Jesus.
This year Holy Week Passports have come to Memorial! These passports are for the youngest to the oldest here at Memorial. Each service you receive a sticker marking your participation! Similar to when you travel you get your passport stamped.
These Stickers are fun but they also represent your spiritual journey during holy week. Each service there is a question to help you focus your thoughts on the service. There is also a chance for you to say the Lord’s Prayer. I urge you to take this time and cherish it during Holy Week.
If you would like a Passport but did not get one from my lovely helpers on Sunday stop by and let me know! we will also be passing out our first Sticker! See you Sunday!
A Suggested Lenten Discipline: Be carful who you Worship
For most of you reading this, this seems like an easy thing to do. You may have even laughed! “Finally a Lenten Discipline I have no problem with!” I am on safe ground that President Trump is not a very popular person at my little church in Baltimore, or indeed in quite a few Episcopal Churches around the country. Even in those churches that are substantially ‘redder’ than Memorial, Worshipping any President, even if they agree with their policy decisions, should not be on their mind at all.
But, let me suggest that perhaps you have not fully considered just how much you do ‘Worship’ President Trump, particularly those of you who consider yourself in fierce opposition to him. Consider for a moment - do you spend more time in a day reading about Jesus? Or about what ‘The Donald’ has done?(Ezra 4:2) Are you more likely to be emotionally impacted by a New York Times story about something from the White House?(Jeremiah 44:19) Or from the Gospel of Luke? Are you more worried, concerned, FEARFUL(Joshua 22:25) of the actions of Donald Trump? Or of God’s working in the world? Who is more likely to bring you to depress you(Isaiah 45:14)? To bring you to your knees? To ‘make you stoop’(Proverbs 12:25)? In fact many of the ways we have allowed our hearts, minds and energies to be co-opted by the current occupant of the White House have brought us dangerously close to worshipping him - not because we believe he his God or an Emissary of God, but because we spend so much of our energy convincing ourselves he is not.
You may be familiar with the oft-repeated line that ‘Fear’ and ‘worship’ come from the same word in Hebrew, which has some truth, but as you can see from the above list, there are many different ways worship is expressed in Hebrew, that involve fear, attention, prostration, desperation, carving out our time and attention, occupying all of our energy. And I think more than a few of us have been guilty of allowing these emotions and behaviors guide our behavior with respect to the 45th President. On the one hand this is very natural; it was an unexpected election and many of his actions have been and continue to be shocking and appalling. However, on the other hand most of the most shocking behavior has been short lived or limited in scope, and the better angels of our collective American nature have worked quickly to put an end to a full muslim ban, the continued detention of children, the separation of families, and other such behaviors.
In the Old Testament, we over and over see the people of Israel condemned by God because they forget to worship God and instead spend their time worshipping false Gods, idols, and other things. Invariably these moments come in times of great economic, social an existential crisis. And in moments of crisis it is tempting to devote our energies to ‘more important’ or ‘more critical’ things than Godly worship. But isn’t that exactly what those false Gods want? For us to forget our common understanding of God and each other in order to get what ‘WE’ want? Isn’t that exactly what those who would seek to divide our nation desire? To see us too busy being fearful, angry, engaged, and ‘vigilant’ to step back and give thanks to God? To step back and seek God’s advice, intercession, forgiveness?
Now - let me say that worshipping God more fully, and embracing Jesus more directly may not do anything to stop whatever distasteful things come out of the White House. There will still be work to do, and still be help, assistance and support needed for those who have been hurt, temporarily or permanently by such actions. But it will bring Christians of all backgrounds and practices more closely together, it will keep us united in our bonds of common affection and common humanity, and it will make it easier to respond to the very many and sundry evils that continue to exist and are perpetuated out in the world. Whether they begin at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, A terrorist haven in Pakistan, a drug corner in West Baltimore, or a coal fired power plant in West Virginia. Because we will do so not as individuals acting against a larger evil, but as a united body of believers seeking to make God’s kingdom more of a reality here today.
So friends, spend some time as you read this considering just how much you ‘worship’ Donald Trump, or any political or public figure you ‘love to hate’, and how your life might be different if you spent more of that time seeking a deeper relationship with Jesus instead.
Welcome to the Third week of lent. This week we begin to think more deeply about Jesus’ turning form his mission and ministry to his ultimate sacrifice on the cross. And how we begin to prepare ourselves to encounter again that most sacred story. I hope your lenten walk is going well.
If you are interested in Confirmation in the Episcopal Church (full membership - to serve on vestry, boards, diocesan committees, etc.) or just for learning more about the Christian faith and ‘the episcopal branch of the jesus movement’ - please plan to join us for our Inquirers class - beginning April 3rd.
Classes will meet Wednesday nights from April 3rd through June 5th at 7 pm in the Rectory. Classes will run for an hour. (Let me know if you need child care and we can arrange it!)
You don’t have to attend every class, but I ask that you not miss more than two if you want to be confirmed.
Confirmation will be June 9th at the Memorial when Bishop Sutton visits. If that day doesn’t work for you we can find another day/time when the bishop is visiting nearby or for a service at the Cathedral.
The curriculum we use is called ‘confirm not conform’ which should tell you a lot about what the curriculum is intended to do (namely - NOT force you to believe anything - but lift up lots of questions for you to develop your own understanding of God and Jesus and the Church, and see if it is compatible with the Episcopal Church).
I would really love for you to join if possible.
BUT you say ‘Grey I’m already confirmed in the Catholic Church’ - don’t worry! You can still participate. For Catholics and others confirmed in other traditions instead of ‘confirmation’ you will be received into the Episcopal Church. The service is almost the same with a small difference. If you come to the first session maybe you will hear Monica’s Story about her ‘drive by’ reception!