Thursday, July 16, 2009

bi-coastal adventures

A few of us are (still) here in Anaheim, CA, for the Episcopal Church’s General Convention, and many of you are right there in or near Boston. So I'm gonna do some reflecting and sharing around big happenings on both coasts ...

IN BOSTON: Please read below for more info on The Crossing’s next Urban Adventure -- digging in at the Brookline Community Garden this Saturday @ 10am-noon (RSVP by Thursday). ALSO: bring your journal to church Thursday! Sue Spilecki, a Crossing member who teaches writing, is leading the spiritual practice of journaling our lives before God. And FYI: Jason, Chris and I return next Thursday, July 23, when The Crossing gathers for our final worship gathering before the summer hiatus (July 30 through August, with community prayer gatherings continuing every Thursday @ 6pm). Again, the details on these topics and more are here; just scroll down.

IN ANAHEIM: I wish I had been writing everyday, because the Convention has been so ridiculously rich. I’m committing right now to post to our blog -- -- each of the next four days around some huge changes in the Episcopal Church that is our "tribe." And Chris and Jason promise to get some thoughts up there, too :) You can also read about the whole Convention so far at

Our overarching concern has been mission: God’s mission of healing and reconciliation throughout all creation, and God’s desire to remake and equip us all within the context of loving, transformative, worshiping, practicing communities in action. The world is hurting. People you know are hurting. But it doesn't have to be that way. God's will is wholeness, an end to pain and alienation, and the beginning of God's reign of peace, hope and reconciliation in our communities and around the world. What are we going to do about that dream? Or more to the point, what does God want to do about it and how do we get on board?

So much of what we’ve done here has been a response to that urgent question. For instance, we've set out ...
1) A strong emphasis on global and local poverty alleviation and the Millennium Development Goals (see for more info);
2) Trainings in a process called “public narrative” to share our passion for mission and keep building participation and urgency;
3) Extraordinary steps around fuller inclusion for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people and (God willing) even permission to perform same-gender marriages in states where it's legal; and
4) An overall emphasis on becoming a radically welcoming church, truly rooted in and made up of the communities around us, with special strategic work around welcoming the wisdom, presence and power of emerging generations and Latino sisters and brothers.

Those are just the highlights, and they're all part of how we're living God's mission, widening the circle of God’s movement for justice, compassion and reconciliation. Because the church has NEVER existed for itself, but only as a servant and messenger of the dream/the reign/the kingdom of God. That’s who and why and what we are. I've gotten that before, but I'm so much more urgent on that commitment now. And I hope you will be, too.

This missional urgency surged forth for me well before I got to Anaheim. In fact, on the flight here last week, I read a stirring book called Missional Church: A Vision for the Sending of the Church in North America. In it, Darrell Guder and his colleagues explain how a missional focus changes the way each of us lives as a follower of Jesus. They write, “[For mission-focused followers of Jesus] daily life becomes a discipline of asking how one may move more squarely into the realm of God’s reign and how one may welcome and receive it into the fabric of one’s life this day more than ever before."

What else would change? They go on to say: "The church would [proclaim] that its members, like others, hunger for the hope that there is a God who reigns in love and intends the good of the whole earth. The community of the church would testify that they have heard the announcement that such a reign is coming, and indeed is already breaking into the world. They would confirm that they have heard the open welcome and received it daily, and they would invite others to join them as those who also have been extended God’s welcome. To those invited, the church would offer itself to assist their entrance into the reign of God and to travel with them as co-pilgrims.”

I pray you'll meditate on that calling with me. I’m grateful that we're walking together, my fellow pilgrims, on the road to the reign of God. Amen!

what's going on @ the crossing ...
THIS THURSDAY @ 6pm / Worship and Fellowship
Penny Larson leads the night's gospel reflection (Mark 6:30-34, 53-56), and Sue Spilecki walks us through the spiritual practice of journaling -- a written prayer that brings our biggest questions to God. AFTER WORSHIP: Join us for simple hospitality and stick around for our ritual procession to a nearby restaurant for cheap food and drinks. GETTING TO THE CROSSING: Across from Park St. T. PARKING: Validated parking @ Boston Common Garage on Charles Street (b/t Common and Public Garden). MORE INFO: Head to

THIS SATURDAY, 7/18 @ 10am-noon / Urban Adventure at the Brookline Community Garden
Jenna Tucker and Aimee Rose Ranger lead this urban adventure, when we'll dig in the earth, enjoy some local produce, and learn about food justice. FYI: The garden donates all its produce to the Brookline Emergency Food Pantry at St. Paul's Church for distribution to low-income Brookline residents. Yes! LOCATION: 40 Webster Place, Brookline. RSVP by THURSDAY to Kim Hudson at 781-664-0254 or Laura Kraybill at

EVERY TUESDAY THROUGH AUGUST @ 6:30-8pm / Come to the Center: A Centering Prayer CircleNOTE LOCATION: DOWNTOWN @ The Paulist Center (across from Cathedral)
Keith Nelson and Matthew Turner lead this exploration of the ancient practice of Centering Prayer (think of it as Christian meditation). OPEN GROUP: beginners and experienced practitioners are welcome! DATES: Runs every Tuesday this summer. Come once, twice or every week. Just come find the center. LOCATION: Due to construction in the Cathedral community spaces this summer, the group will meet in nearby churches. Most Tuesdays at The Paulist Center -- a Catholic church across from Park St. T, about half-way up Park St (toward the State House; red door). NOTE: 7/28 and 8/25: St. John the Evangelist Church on Bowdoin Street. CONTACT: Keith Nelson, or 205.807.9037.

Two members of The Crossing community -- Chris Ashley and Marie Harkey -- are traveling with Church of the Advent-Boston to forge relationships with our brothers and sisters in Maseno, Kenya. We hope you'll want to support their ministry, learn about the struggles and hopes of the Kenyan people, and hear how we can all engage God's mission more deeply this fall. But it starts with raising the last $1,700 to send Chris and Marie to Kenya. CONTACT: Rev. Steph at for more information or to make a contribution (checks to St. Paul's Cathedral, with "Crossing Priest Discretionary-Kenya" in the memo area). LEARN MORE:

FOR OTHER COMMUNITY NOTES: Check last week's blog entry!

getting connected @ the crossing

If you'd like to be in touch, we'd love to connect with YOU! Look at the list and then reach out:
** Stephanie Spellers: / 617.482.4826, x318 (priest, communications, pastoral care)
** Jason Long: / 617.482.4826, x311 (small groups & formation, newcomers)** Chris Ashley: (budget, hospitality)
** Lynn Campbell: (ministries with the homeless)
** Kieran Conroy: (emerging church connections)
** Ashley Merrell: (music ministry)
** Keith Nelson: (worship arts)
** Jenna Tucker: (general admin)

Blessings in the groove,
Rev. Steph

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