A Joyful Noise | August 2020
Senior Warden Sylvia Sepulveda
My son dreams fast cars.mama worry
I pray the heart behind the badge
sees the same boy.
I was born in East Los Angeles, California, in 1965. When I was three we moved to La Puente, a smaller community fifteen miles east of LA where my parents utilized a VA loan to purchase their first home. I spoke only Spanish until I entered kindergarten in the La Puente/Hacienda Heights School District – the La Puente part of the district being predominantly working-class Latino, the Hacienda Heights part predominantly upper-middle-class white. One of my classmates, tall, blond Beth Reid, with blue eyes narrowed behind thick, white-rimmed eyeglasses, loved to poke at the accent that marked my immature English. “What is this again?” she’d ask, pointing to my seat, while suppressing a giggle. “Is it a sh-air?” I don’t think Beth’s rude mocking made me into the introvert I am today, though I do continue to blush when speaking in new environments and I wonder how much of that early unkindness lingers in the dark corners of a person’s soul. Maybe in hers, too.
For me, the story didn’t take long to turn. As the last of my mother’s five children, I was motivated by hunger and sibling goading to be competitive. My best friend and neighbor, Carol Endo (first-generation Japanese,) spent the half-hour bus rides between home and school companionably trading sentences with me – the covers of our reading books marking our progress as they changed from red level to green to blue, then transitioned from soft cover to hard. By the middle of the following year she and I were the best readers in the first grade. Meanwhile, my mother, an immigrant from Guadalajara, Mexico, taught herself to speak and read English by watching American soap operas and reading the LA TIMES. She stopped speaking Spanish with us, and my father, born and raised in San Antonio, Texas, only spoke Spanish at his printing shop in Boyle Heights, where most of his customers were Latino. By the time I entered Mrs. Garmo’s third-grade class, all traces of Spanish enunciation had left my English, along with the ability to speak my native language. Due to my parents’ hyper-vigilance for keeping an English-only home, none of us could any longer converse with our Spanish-speaking grandmother. We could understand some, though, including some of the words my frustrated Mami Mona used to describe our ignorance – also used by other Latinos in our community, those who’d kept the language and culture and belittled those who lost or surrendered themselves to become Pocho, neither brown nor white.
What does this have to do with Christ Episcopal Church in Anacortes, Washington? I can only speak from my own experience as I offer this fragment from my youth to wonder about the idea of welcome. It’s not only a question for our small, very homogeneous community, but for the larger, very homogeneous Episcopal Church, as it considers which traditions are true vehicles for what it identifies as its central mission, “meeting people where they are and inviting them to go deeper,” and which have become idols. How much more than an open door and a seat in the sanctuary is meant by Jesus’ call to welcome the stranger? In breaching and bending so many traditions himself while living out the radical love he preached, what was he hoping to teach us?
After a five-year break, my return to the Episcopal church four years ago wasn’t due to a longing for liturgical tradition, it was an effect of my search for a group meditation or Centering Prayer practice – a way to enjoy spiritual companionship without getting tangled in doctrine. Not a surprising compulsion, considering my own history with language! Having been raised Catholic, the rhythmic volley between ancient and contemporary prayers that characterize many of our liturgies offer such beautiful and moving mystery. But I’d be quite happy to change things up every once in a while, perhaps by replacing the fifteen-minute sermon with fifteen minutes of silence. I don’t volunteer that idea now as a suggestion, necessarily, but as one variation among many from one person among many. To me, the real question is what is the Via Media, the middle way, between holding tight-fistedly to tradition and welcoming others, without asking them to waste their own hard-earned identities?
Having been deeply involved in church-based volunteer activities at six different Episcopal churches in four different states over the last twenty-five years, while continuing to investigate and grow my own spirituality, I’ve learned how important it is to balance work with meaningful respite, and was recently warned by another parishioner, “don’t let religion wreck your spirituality.” For me, it’s also the challenge of not losing myself to the longing of acceptance. It isn’t a question of language any longer, but of ministry and the shared expression of liturgy. Can new congregants be empowered to live out their ministries and bring new liturgical expressions to CEC and to the larger Episcopal Church? Not on the side, in stolen bits of time like those Carol Endo and I used while sharing our bus rides. In this case, I mean not having to scrape up attendance on non-Sundays to ensure survival, but combined into and supported by the whole community as a new shared experience. Like water, once added to the wine, forever joined and sanctified.
The haiku? My spirituality is at the frontline of my humanity – the permeable skin through which any profound thought, feeling, or impulse has been conveyed into me or out. Maybe that’s the case for you. So, when I think of the idea of welcome and embracing others, especially those who seem different from ourselves, I can’t help but think about my nineteen-year-old son. His parentage, African/ Filipino/Irish/Mexican, delivered him into a brown body with dark eyes, a mop of curly black hair, and a heart bigger than the planet that contains it. As a busboy at Calico, some patrons completely ignored his existence when he tried to take their drink orders. Currently an employee at Costco, he’s been reported to his supervisors for being rude by the same regulars who’ve pointed to other employees of color for the same unconfirmed offense. The College of Congregational Development recently taught me that faith development in community perceives the value and giftedness of all people, at all levels of practice. We can see how isolating ourselves from these values and gifts diminishes us all. I imagine the world that would result if it was compelled towards manifesting that destiny of value and giftedness for all of its inhabitants and I, for one, can breathe much easier.
Heavenly Father, in you we live and move and have our being: We humbly pray you so to guide and govern us by your Holy Spirit, that in all the cares and occupations of our life we may not forget you, but may remember that we are ever walking in your sight; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.A Collect for guidance
What Work Must We Do?
The Reverend Diane Ramerman
I would like to share some thoughts from two articles in the July 15 publication of Christian Century magazine: Letting Go of White Defensiveness by editor Peter W. Marty, and No Pews to Sit In by Alan Sherouse, Baptist pastor.
Marty begins, “One of the unspoken privileges of being white in America is the privilege to assume that racism is not a pressing topic.” Racism is remote to our personal experience. To most of us,“the word privilege connotes visible perks or benefits usually associated with class or wealth. What (we) don’t see is a racialized society where privilege is essentially an exemption…If you’re white, you don’t have to deal with negative assumptions being made about you based on the color of your skin. If you’re black, you deal with it every day. As someone has put it: white privilege doesn’t mean your life isn’t hard. It just means the color of your skin isn’t one of the things that makes it harder.”
Sherouse suggests that we in the church are experiencing a growing acknowledgment of the reality of systemic racism in policing and throughout society, and a markedly accelerated public shift in socio-political thinking about the promise of justice. That this happened at this particular time – when so many of our church buildings are closed – is not coincidental. The pandemic has left us without our traditional ways to moderate tension: pulling together a panel of expertise to hold a conversation, and candles and community prayer services at our churches. Instead of vigils, people are attending protests, in part, Sherouse says, “because the walls of our buildings aren’t obscuring our view”.
He continues,The protests in many cities started the weekend of Pentecost, recalling how the Spirit falls on the people in the streets of the city. In John’s version of the Spirit’s coming, the disciples are waiting in the Upper Room, holding vigil behind locked doors. But in Acts, the doors are open. The room is empty. The disciples have poured out into the city to find that this is where people are speaking new languages, dreaming new dreams, and standing up to proclaim the world as it can yet be.
Here at Christ Church Anacortes, as protests continue around the country, what work must we do? An emphasis on education will help, and we must commit to do that. But still, where is the wholesale change? How will we support change? Do we speak of peace and unity, when what we really seek is merely absence of tension? What bold call for justice shall we make together?
Faith Action Network/WA & Christ Episcopal Church
Reverend Deacon Eric Johnson
On Sunday August 23rd, The Rev. Paul Benz—co-director of the Faith Action Network/Washington—will present the homily at our morning prayer service. Pastor Benz is an ordained minister of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. He served as director of the Lutheran Public Policy Office of Washington previous to his role at Faith Action Network (FAN). This homily will be the kickoff of our consideration about joining the Network of Advocating Faith Communities, a network of over 150 faith communities across Washington State, committed to partnering with FAN and each other to build a more just, peaceful, and sustainable world.
The Faith Action Network does speak directly to government officials as one method of doing advocacy, particularly on their annual Faith Advocacy Days, like the event that Don Ibsen, Diane Canington and I attended in 2014—where we kept bumping into the delegation from the Anacortes Chamber of Commerce, who was there advocating for city businesses. If we were to become part of the Network, we would have a say in what issues are being advocated, and, at the same time, we will have the freedom not to agree on every issue. Additionally, this does not affect our tax status. FAN does not advocate on behalf of any candidates; instead FAN communities do host candidate forums (in which all candidates are invited), encourage voter participation, and endorse initiatives, among other activities.
We hope to add an item to the Bishop’s Committee’s agenda for September about our becoming part of the Faith Action Network. More information and frequently asked questions about the Faith Action Network is here: https://fanwa.org/our-network/frequently-asked-questions/
August Theology Potluck
Sunday, August 16, 5:30 pm.
All are welcome.
Appreciative Inquiry Update
Senior Warden Sylvia Sepulveda
Goal-making was an important agenda item when the new iteration of the Bishop’s Committee gathered in February for their annual retreat. After a review of last year’s pre-pandemic Appreciative Inquiry (AI) process, it appeared the three primary goals that had emerged still adequately reflected the congregation’s energy and purpose. Even as we’ve been sheltering in place since March’s AI update, we’ve been able to make some progress. As you may remember reading from previous reports, the top three vote-getters were:
- Raise up the next generation Ministry Support Circle for Total Common Ministry
- This process is underway.
- Champion: Clergy
- Expand the Ministry of the Red Door Thrift Shop
- An exploratory committee, including the Red Door management team, formed to investigate short-term and long-term possibilities.
- Champion: Erin Kohlhaas
- Current members: Ruth Barefoot, Guy Davidson, Diane Guinn, Val Long, Judith Render, and Sylvia Sepulveda
- A website redesign is underway with the goal of matching the updated appearance and functionality of the church website while also adding an online marketplace.
- The exploratory committee has been wondering about how the redesigned website can be utilized to grow or add ministries.
- A social-media project description has been created and posted on the AHS community service board and WWU’s Marketing department’s intern list, with the hope of enhancing TRD’s social media profile, diversifying the volunteer base, and offering training/mentorship to students interested in learning about our thrift shop business model.
- Create an All-in-one Non-Profit Center
- Exploratory committee will form to investigate partnerships and possibilities of using CEC and Gentry House footprint for a large building, both renovated and new construction, to provide an updated Parish Hall, non-profit infant day-care center, adult day-care center, showers and other services for the homeless community.
- Status: TBD. This committee needs a champion and active members.
- Rev. Deacon Eric Johnson made a Tiny Houses presentation at the last BC meeting, and is in the information-gathering process at this time.
The remaining goals that emerged from the AI process were: Develop a program for mental wellness, host an annual event celebrating our work and ministries, expand on offerings to Youth – Liturgical/Faith Formation/Summer program, and Create the Anacortes Non-Profit Infant Care Center. We took a big step forward on the last item when we recently provided the Synergy project a thirty-thousand-dollar donation!
The beauty of the Appreciative Inquiry process was the focus on what our strengths are as a congregation, as well as our opportunities and aspirations. As we change and grow in response to our pandemic/sheltered situation or surroundings, so do our strengths and aspirations. As we look forward as a congregation to crafting a new Mutual Ministry Plan, it will be exciting to consider how we can apply lessons learned to our post-pandemic future.
“Why Don’t We…”
Reverend Diane Ramerman
With the resurgence of the COVID virus in Skagit County, plans to re-open the church buildings are pushed farther out. We may not reach Phase 3 until 2021, according to some local health experts.
As we wait together, ‘why don’t we…’ ideas abound and are welcome.
Here are a few:
Why don’t we record Lynne playing the organ and use the music in our zoom services?
- The Syndyne recording feature on the organ creates an internal recording of keystrokes, there is no output for transferring the music to an external drive to play elsewhere. Because of the complexity of sound, it takes special equipment to record organ music – see Youtube videos on that. Our organist Lynne Berg experimented with using a cell phone and says it sounds terrible! With a special recording microphone, earphones, computer & music app, it could be done. I am consulting with our Diocesan advisors, and while there is no firm response yet, it appears that for about $1,200, serviceable equipment could be purchased. This would not be intended for long term use, and is outside our church budget – but if someone wants to make a special contribution….
Why don’t we do the zoom service of Morning Prayer from the sanctuary?
- ‘At least we would feel the church is being used; other churches are streaming from their sanctuaries.’ Well, we could do that, when the church building is re-opened. But… some of what we value with our zoom from home style will disappear. The two services we streamed from the sanctuary in March involved loose makeshift cables running down from the sacristy door and into the aisle, a cell phone on a tripod propped on a book to stay level, and two or three people committed to social distancing, using the lectern microphone. Sound was uneven, and the whole production was awkward. This spurred our look into upgrading our AV system, which is underway. The Bishop’s Committee has authorized expenditure of up to $3,000 to purchase a camera to be mounted on a cross beam, cables and laptop computer dedicated for live streaming.
- We are planning to share interior photos with our presiders that can be used as backdrop on zoom, at presider’s discretion. No altar flowers, though – these are enjoyed in the beautiful arrangements placed by the outdoor cross in the Memorial Garden, accessible to all who stop by.
- When we move to live-streaming from the sanctuary, only the people physically present will be active (speaking) participants. We have become used to – and delight in– hearing many different voices sharing the reading of the scripture, canticles and prayers. How might we mix in voices from people at home? One possibility would be to add a very large screen/computer broadcasting the live stream right back into the church, so those on zoom could be seen and heard by those present in the church. No cost estimates on this partially formed idea yet. Under the Governor’s latest cut back on indoor gatherings, we will initially be limited to less than 20 people in person.
Why don’t we offer outdoor services of Morning Prayer?
- Social distancing and masks apply to all outdoor gatherings. The size of our lawn (or the Gentry House lawn) will limit the number present to 24 (including worship leaders/presider). We do not have portable av equipment that could record or broadcast the service on zoom. To offer a worship option to all of our congregation, we would need to hold two separate services: one outside, and a second on line zoom. Two homilists and so forth. For those at the outdoor service, no coffee hour unless they zoom in on their phones.
What’s happening with the Eucharist?
- There are on-line church services in which the priest consecrates and offers wafers to masked altar assistants; priest alone consumes the wine. This option was rejected by the Worship Team and clergy as feeling exclusive and uncomfortable.
- Presently, the Bishop’s suggested protocol is individual wafers laid out on the altar, with communicants sanitizing their hands, picking up a wafer, re-sanitizing hands, returning to their assigned (socially distanced) seating, removing their masks to consume the wafer and replacing their masks. Beyond the obvious difficulty of re-sanitizing hands while holding a wafer, this would be a phase 3 option, for us, twenty people maximum. No wine. The House of Bishops will be discussing options for Eucharist during the pandemic at their (virtual) meeting coming up the last week in July. Be hopeful, and pray about it.
Keep the ideas coming! Again, contributions of any size dedicated to purchase and installation of needed equipment/electronics are welcome.
Blessings and good health,
Website Review Update
Christ Church recently received the following review of our new website from the digital communication experts at the Diocese. Thank you to our Website Ministry Team of Sylvia Sepulveda, Diane Canington, June Cook, Erin Kohlhaas, Rev. Deacon Eric Johnson, and Rev. Carol Rodin, and to our website designer, Gabe Archer.
“Not only is your new website a stellar church website, you have done a terrific job in making people know how to connect to the community digitally. You have listed the building as closed but you also let people know you are still gathering. The calendar on the homepage with the ability to go directly to the Zoom links is super! The “What to Expect While We Shelter-in-Place” is a great example of balancing the “building is closed, but the church is open – this is how and when”. Well done. Having links to previous services on YouTube helps people see what is going on and that the church is actively engaged. Keep up the fabulous work!”Josh Hornbeck, Canon Missioner for Communications
Kerry Allman, Internet Strategist
Spiritual Book Club
Thursday, August 27, 2:00 – 3:00 pm
The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron has inspired “millions of readers to embark on a creative journey and find a deeper connection to process and purpose…Cameron’s novel approach guides readers in uncovering problems areas and pressure points that may be restricting their creative flow and offers techniques to free up any areas where they might be stuck, opening up opportunities for self-growth and self-discovery. The program begins with Cameron’s most vital tools for creative recovery – The Morning Pages, a daily writing ritual of three pages of stream-of-conscious, and The Artist Date, a dedicated block of time to nurture your inner artist. From there, she shares hundreds of exercises, activities, and prompts to help readers thoroughly explore each chapter. She also offers guidance on starting a “Creative Cluster” of fellow artists who will support you in your creative endeavors. A revolutionary program for personal renewal, The Artist’s Way will help get you back on track, rediscover your passions, and take the steps you need to change your life.”
All are welcome.
Christ Church’s Stained Glass Windows
Finding Jesus in the Temple
Reverend Deacon Eric Johnson
The second of a series of eight articles on the stained glass windows in Christ Church.
Between the birth of Jesus and his baptism when he was 30 years old, there is only one incident mentioned in the New Testament from his life as a child. Luke reports that when Jesus was twelve years old, during his family’s return from a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, Joseph and Mary discovered that the boy was not with their traveling party. They rushed back to Jerusalem, where they found Jesus in the temple “among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions, and all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers.”
Here we see Mary and Joseph just arriving at the temple, where they see two scribes listening to Jesus. The scribes are shown with the tools of their trade: one carries a scroll and the other is writing an interpretation of the law or copying a biblical text. On the other hand, Jesus carries no scroll. He brings only himself to this conversation, and, in this way, he is distinguished from the scribes, even at this early age, as “one who has authority.” (Matt 7:29).The artist indicates that Jesus’ authority comes from God, particularly in the way he paints the face of Jesus.
If you look closely at Jesus’ face, it is seemingly distorted. That distortion comes because Jesus’ right eye looks directly at us and his left looks upward toward heaven. (We’ll see this expression repeated in the window that depicts Jesus hanging on the cross.) Although he is placed in this world, Jesus speaks with the accent of another place above and around our world. The scribes, like all of us, are prisoners on an island of time, while Jesus occupied that thin space between heaven and earth, where the mystery of God was shown in his words. “Never has anyone spoken like this.” (John 7:46) Mary and Joseph are well in the background in this scene. And that is how it is between all parents and children. In their own unique way, every child is called by God to fulfill a special destiny, of which the parents are only partially aware.
Surrounding the main tableau, we see images of the menorah, the seven-branched candlestick which adorned the temple. The 5-foot-tall menorah, hammered from one talent (96 lb.) of gold, was removed from the temple in 159 BCE by Antiochus Epiphanes IV, was restored by Judas Maccabee, and was carried off to Rome by Titus after the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 C.E. The menorah became an enduring religious and national symbol of Israel, and it appears today on the emblem of the State of Israel.
The flowers that adorn the border of the window appear to be pot marigolds (calendula officinalis), which are seen in a variety of colors (like the orange English marigold we see here).Pot marigolds have coexisted with humans for thousands of years. The ancient Romans and other Mediterranean civilizations were familiar with them as well.The name “marigold” was derived from an early church legend that described an event that happened to the Holy Family as they were fleeing to Egypt. Apparently, robbers set upon the family and made off with Mary’s purse, which contained Mary’s meager dowry. However, when the bandits opened it, all they found were golden flowers, so the humble calendula was forever after known as “Mary’s Gold.”
What Day is Your Birth Day? Birthdays, like the rising sun, Dawn’s radiant pink, soft blue, and gleams of gold Air pure, sphere full of blessings, Earth revives, Mr. and Mrs. Robin, their divinely spotted, turquoise eggs. Stars send crystal light...to mother earth with each new born, Sea-angels float in clear clean, bubbling foam, Bumblebees buzz pollen to the plum-purple foxglove flower. The sun is our ultraviolet musician. She paints our world with a variety of souls, We are all One. -Margo Huth I lift my eyes to the hills; from where is my help to come?(Psalm 121:1)
Happy Birthday to…
…Sinjin Ledbetter on August 14
……Charlene Corbin on August 23
………Mark Perschbacher on August 25
…Betty Anne & Frank McCoy, who celebrate their 54th Wedding Anniversary on August 6
……Judith & Lorne Render, who celebrate their 54th Wedding Anniversary on August 20
Please send the month & date of your birthday, baptismal date, anniversary, and/or other special occasions so we can help you celebrate your blessings in the Joyful Noise. Please send to People’s Warden Judith Render at firstname.lastname@example.org, 360-982-2770.
2 August 2020 The Ninth Sunday after Pentecost Proper 13 Presider: Rev. Diane Ramerman Preacher: Rev. Deacon Eric Johnson Deacon: Rev. Deacon Eric Johnson Readers: Carleton Manning, Valerie Long Readings: Psalm 17:1-7, 16 Genesis 32:22-31 Romans 9:1-5 Matthew 14:13-21 9 August 2020 The Tenth Sunday after Pentecost Proper 14 Presider: Rev. Brian Lennstrom Preacher: Rev. Brian Lennstrom Deacon: Rev. Deacon Eric Johnson Readers:Shirley Barrett, Becky Lennstrom Readings: Psalm 105:1-6, 16-22, 45b Genesis 37:1-4, 12-28 Romans 10:5-15 Matthew 14:22-33 16 August 2020 The Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost Proper 15 Presider: Rev. Deacon Eric Johnson Preacher: Mr. John Okerman Readers: Diane Guinn, Sandy Mathis Readings: Psalm 133 Genesis 45:1-15 Romans 11:1-2a, 29-32 Matthew 15:10-28 23 August 2020 The Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost Proper 16 Presider: Rev. Diane Ramerman Preacher: Rev. Diane Ramerman Deacon: Rev. Deacon Eric Johnson Readers: Valerie Long, Shirley Barrett Readings: Psalm 124 Exodus 1:8-2:10 Romans 12:1-8 Matthew 16:13-20 30 August 2020 The Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost Proper 17 Presider: Mr. Guy Davidson Preacher: Mr. Guy Davidson Deacon: Rev. Deacon Eric Johnson Readers: Erin Kohlhaas, Carleton Manning Readings: Psalm 105:1-6, 23-26, 45c Exodus 3:1-15 Romans 12:9-21 Matthew 16:21-28 6 September 2020 The Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost Proper 18 Presider: Rev. Carol Rodin Preacher: Rev. Carol Rodin Deacon: Rev. Deacon Eric Johnson Readers: Curt Rodin, Diane Guinn Readings: Psalm 149 Exodus 12:1-14 Romans 13:8-14 Matthew 18:15-20