It’s Halloween, and we’ve got a terrifying horror story . . .
Picture a convention without donuts. Without . . . coffee. Is your skin tingling yet? A mild sweat sweeping your forehead? Imagine a row of empty refreshment tables: no colorful fruit, no rolls or other delicacies. Only barren formica.
Don’t let this nightmare scenario become a terrible reality! We need hospitality volunteers for the 34th Annual Diocesan Convention on November 14-15 in Salinas. Contact Mary Beth Powell for this vital (and possibly life-saving) effort. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (831) 394-4465. Episcopalians across El Camino Real are counting on you!
Episcopal Bishops in California Unanimously Support Proposition 47
Bishop Mary Gray-Reeves announced this week that all eight bishops of the Episcopal dioceses in California have placed their unanimous support in Proposition 47, the Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act.
Proposition 47 would change six of the lowest-level, nonviolent crimes from felonies to misdemeanors. The Episcopal bishops join the state’s Roman Catholic bishops in supporting the prison reform bill.
If passed, California’s attorney general predicts that net state and county criminal justice system savings could reach the low hundreds of millions of dollars annually. Those savings will be dedicated to truancy and drop-out prevention, mental health and substance abuse programs and victims’ assistance.
“We may collectively be at a place of understanding that what we have always done is not working and that change is needed,” said Gray-Reeves in her statement on the prison reform bill. “Most certainly, in all our dioceses the work on behalf of the incarcerated has resulted in pastoral care and transformation among those with the deepest need in our communities.”
Gray-Reeves added that the Episcopal Church’s Baptismal Covenant is a promise to strive for justice and peace among all people, respecting the dignity of human beings. “Proposition 47 aligns with our values as Episcopalians in solidarity with justice, fairness, love and mercy,” she observed. “To this end, the Episcopal Bishops of California unanimously endorse Proposition 47 and encourage the state’s Episcopalians to cast their November ballot in its favor.”
“The criminal justice system in the state of California is in perpetual distress,” noted the Rev. Peggy Bryan, priest associate at St. Philip’s Episcopal Church in San Jose, who is working to help raise awareness and inspire action toward prison reform. “Most of our prisons are operating at 200 percent of their intended capacity and with the implementation of the 2011 AB 109 realignment law, many county jails are even more crowded.”
California is one of the many states which have stripped its prisons of rehabilitative programming over the years, Bryan explained, pointing out that more than 65 percent of all persons released from California’s prison system return within three years. “Our state and county correctional systems are not rehabilitating convicted felons prior to sending them back into society. Even worse, at a cost exceeding $60,000 a year per inmate, it appears that our jails and prisons often become advanced training centers for criminal activity. Human potential is jeopardized and wasted.”
“This is a compassionate and common-sense step towards replacing the outmoded ‘tough on crime’ slogan with a judicious ‘smart on crime’ refrain,” Bryan added.
Transformation Through Friendship: Meeting of Episcopal Church & African Bishops, Primates
The following is an except of the report issued by Primates and Bishops of Africa and The Episcopal Church of a groundbreaking October meeting held at the General Theological Seminary in New York City:
“We speak as six Primates representing Burundi, Central Africa, Southern Africa, Tanzania, West Africa, and The Episcopal Church, and as four Bishops of The Episcopal Church representing both U.S. dioceses and Haiti. Two of us participated by Skype while attending another meeting in Bujumbura. We gathered together at the General Theological Seminary in New York City from October 8-10.
Our conversations grew out of the Fifth Consultation of Anglican Bishops in Dialogue, May 22-25, 2014, at Coventry, England. We shared news from our churches, rejoiced in our renewed fellowship, and marveled at the gifts and diversity of creation God has provided. We prayed together, and we worshiped.
Our intention was to build missional partnerships among our churches, taking Jesus’ statement of his mission as our own—“to bring good news to the poor, . . . to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” (Lk. 4:18-19) We confessed that one thing we have in common is that we all have needs, not the least of which is our profound need for each other.
We also celebrated that each of our churches has gifts to offer the others. Framing our conversation in the context of human dignity and flourishing, the sustainability of our common ministry, and the care of the Earth, we found several subjects for fruitful collaboration that will allow us to share our gifts with each other. We committed ourselves to exploring pension schemes, stewardship of finances and other resources (management and investment), health services, mining and related environmental issues, advocacy, migration and statelessness, human trafficking, religious freedom, and theological education. We made commitments to explore these opportunities for partnership and report back to each other early in the new year.
It’s so easy to put a coin in your United Thank Offering Blue Box: open the wallet, feel around in the change pocket, get out a penny -- no, two or three pennies -- and drop them into the Blue Box. It’s that simple! Countless people during the last 125 years have put coins in the box in just that manner, but many, many of them have found something else: a joy, a peace, even a way of living that has radically changed their attitudes about stewardship and shown them a clearer path to following Christ’s message to help the needy.
Practicing thankfulness and gratitude increases thankfulness and gratitude: the more you give, the more grateful you’ll feel. For more information on Blue Box giving, visit the UTO page by clicking here.
Below are some sample announcements to use in Sunday bulletins:
November 2, 2014 - A thought for your UTO Blue Box: Give thanks this day for your own health. Drop a coin in your Blue Box as you give thanks and pray for the continued health and improved health of those you love.
November 9, 2014: A reason to give thanks and put a coin in your UTO Blue Box: The freedom to attend your church without fear of reprisal; for its beauty and symbolism; for the friends that you love and see there.
Bishop Mary Officiates at Evensong
at All Saints', Palo Alto
The All Saints' Choir, directed by Rodney Gehrke, is offering Choral Evensong for All Souls' Day -- Sunday, November 2 at 4 p.m. Bishop Mary Gray-Reeves will officiate and offer a homily.
The special music will include portions of Herbert Howells' Requiem as well as his Magnificat and Nunc dimittis composed for St. Paul's Cathedral, London. The Preces and Responses, by Richard Shephard, were composed for Salisbury Cathedral.
A reception will follow and all are welcome. All Saints' is located at 555 Waverley Street in downtown Palo Alto, one block south of University Avenue. Plenty of free street and lot parking can be found in the neighborhood.
San Francisco Scottish Fiddlers to Perform at St. Mark's
The San Francisco Scottish Fiddlers are coming to St. Mark's in Santa Clara on Sunday, November 9 from 3-5 p.m.
This is a great opportunity to hear the Scottish Fiddlers for this third annual performance in the South Bay, so don’t miss it! Expect a delightful concert of music from the Scottish music tradition, with jigs, reels, strathspeys and airs.
A dynamic whirl of fiddles with guitars, cellos, percussion, piano and songs. Music rich with emotion will set your feet tapping and your eyes tearing! No advanced ticket sales. To view and download a flyer, click here.
Register Online for Convention!
We're two weeks away from the 34th Annual Diocesan Convention on November 14 & 15 at Sherwood Hall in Salinas. The theme is “Be The Church” – Click here to reach our convention page with links to resolutions, reports, a draft agenda, the proposed 2015 budget, candidates for offices and committees, hotel information and more.