Friday, January 30, 2009

coming up for air ...

(note: this blast sent to crossing community on 1/27; next installment of my inaugural reflections pasted @ bottom of this blast)

Some serious underground action is finally coming above-ground at The Crossing this week & next.

First, Wednesday night we're launching a new Bible Study that's not really like most Bible Studies you've done. 1) It's every other Wednesday at 7-8:30pm at the Field Pub in Central Square. 2) It's a look at the unlikely heroes and heroines and tough stories in the scriptures (this week's text attached). 3) It's drop-in & open to all ages, w/ cheap food and good company.

Second, Thursday night after worship (7:30-9pm), we kick-off a 3-part series on "Sex, Relationships and Keeping It Real." Church ought to help us to live our real lives in the real world. So we're going to practice sharing our big questions, our stories, our hopes, our struggles around sex, love and faith in a way that's safe, honest and infused with the love and wisdom of God.

And, third, we're combining forces with some local groups (inc. Emerson College) to host Conspire: an underground dance party & arts/justice event on Sunday, Feb. 8, @ 8-11pm in the basement of The Cathedral. Shhh ... tell somebody!

WED., 1/28 @ 7-8:30pm at Field Pub, Cambridge / Unlikely Heroes in Unlikely Places: Bible Study
Come to the Field Pub with your Bibles (or just print the attached text: Genesis 38) and be ready to break open the word of God for real. Travis Stevens leads this every-other-week Bible Study on stories the lectionary doesn't usually lift up -- but we all should be wrestling with. Location: The Field Pub, 20 Prospect St., Central Square, Cambridge. Contact: Travis Stevens @ or Jason Long @ or 617.519.1538.

THUR., 1/29 @ 6pm / Worship
Michael Z. closes January with a final reflection on the Gospel of Mark, while Marie H. leads us in the practice of Praying with the Psalms. Getting here: St. Paul's Cathedral, 138 Tremont St. Subway: Park St. T, across from fountain OR Downtown Crossing T, up Winter St. and left on Tremont. Driving: Park @ Boston Common Garage, Charles St., b/t Common and Public Gardens. More info:

THUR., 1/29 @ 7:30-9pm (after worship) / Sex, Relationships and Keeping It Real: A Crossing Community Forum
Ever wish you could have an honest conversation about sex and relationships in the context of your faith community? You're not alone. Using a format that includes panel discussions and small groups, we'll create space for stories, questions and an honest exploration of how we integrate the gift of our sexuality with the gift of our faith. Dates: 1/29, 2/12, 2/26. Contact: Chris Ashley at

The Cambridge Pub Bible Study and Sexuality & Faith Forum are just the beginning of a whole new ministry of formation at The Crossing. Also on deck in the coming weeks:
** Covenant Group: A Discipleship Group. Join a small group of Crossing members, with reflections shaped by the Crossing Rule of Life. NOTE: The group will be open for the first few gatherings and then closed for the rest of the series. Starts Tues., 2/3 at 7-9pm and runs every other Tuesday at the Cathedral. Contact Kim at or Jason at
** Episcopal Church 101. History and practices of the Episcopal Church, and how The Crossing fits into the big picture. NOTE: Everybody's invited, but this is also perfect preparation for the Rite of Confirmation or Reception into the Anglican Communion (happening at the Hip Hop Easter Vigil on April 11th, the Saturday before Easter Sunday). Starts Thurs., 2/26 at 5-5:45 pm (just before worship) and runs Thursdays during Lent ('til 4/9) at 5-5:45pm at the Cathedral. Contact: Stephanie at or Jason at

The Crossing is teaming up with friends in other local young adult ministries (inc. Emerson College's Protestant student group and the Micah Project) to host an underground dance party with a purpose. Great music, art, people & food and proceeds go to a great cause (the Mothers' Union in Maseno, Kenya, a ministry of Kenyan women who create handicrafts and offer crucial support to children affected by the HIV/AIDS epidemic). $5 suggested donation. No alcohol. All ages. Contact: Travis at if you'd like to help.

** Sat., 2/21, 4:30-9pm: Shane Claiborne (author of The Irresistible Revolution and leader in the Simple Way community) on Gratitude and Creation. Park Street Church, 1 Park St., Boston.
** Sat., 2/28, 10am-2pm: Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori leads a celebration of the 20th anniversary of the consecration of our own Bishop Barbara Harris. St. Paul's Cathedral.
** Sat., 3/7, 10am-3pm: Brian McLaren will keynote a day of learning, sharing and action, shaped by his book Everything Must Cange: Jesus, Global Crises and a Revolution of Hope. WANT TO VOLUNTEER? CONTACT JULIA @
** Thu., 3/26, 2-7:30pm: Phyllis Tickle comes to The Crossing for a learning event shaped by her new book, The Great Emergence: How Christianity Is Changing and Why. WANT TO VOLUNTEER? CONTACT MARIE HARKEY @

Giving @ The Crossing
If you'd like to make a contribution to support the ministries of The Crossing -- and yes, this ministry depends on all of our giving -- we've got new pledge cards available at worship. You can make a one-time gift, or prayerfully consider pledging (setting out an amount you'd like to give over the course of a year). Give however you're able: cash, check or credit cards. Contact Chris Ashley at to learn more.

Share the Groove -- Buy a copy of The Crossing's new CD
The Crossing has released its first CD, Songs @ The Crossing. It's a collection of 14 favorite songs from our worship community, and you can get it for $15. Reply to this email or buy one on a Thursday.

Fair Trade @ The Crossing
Want to pitch in with our effort to become a Fair Trade Ministry? The first move: changes in hospitality (fair trade/organic food, eco-friendly products, re-usable dishes that we wash after worship). To help and imagine more ways to transform life @ The Crossing, contact Bill Comer at or 617.818.5124.

Ongoing Justice & Healing Opportunities
We're serious about joining ministries that serve our homeless and hungry brothers and sisters. Please join us any day of the week!
** Monday Lunch Program takes place here at The Cathedral every Monday. Show up @ 10am to help with set-up, or at 11:30am-12:45pm to help serve & build community with our neighbors. Contact Jeremy (our new intern from Boston College) at
** St. Francis House: Volunteers needed everyday to help serve meals and provide care. Boylston St, near Chinatown. Contact Lynn Campbell at or 617.654.1212. Note: Help especially appreciated on Wed., 11/26 at 9-11am (meal prep) and 11:15am-1:15pm (serve meal).
** Haley House is a Catholic-worker style community in the South End. Volunteers needed for meals programs 6-10am every day AND 1:30-5pm Saturday and Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday. Could also use help tending an urban orchard in Mission Hill. See

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: / 617.617.519.1538 (newcomers, small groups)
** Chris Ashley: (budget, hospitality)
** Lynn Campbell: (ministries with the homeless, pastoral care)
** Andrea Castner-Wyatt: (worship arts, "the groovement")
** Marie Harkey: (admin, general)
** Ashley Merrell: (music ministry)
** Travis Stevens: (arts & community, Emerson College)

Blessings in the groove,
Rev. Steph

Inaugural Reflection #2:
People have asked me, "What did it feel like on the ground in D.C.?" I admit I expected jubilation, exultation, an exponential extension of the joy so many of us felt on Election Night. I've described that night as one when I could hear generations of shackles cracking open and falling to the ground. Another friend said her mother called it Emancipation Proclamation, Part II. Surely January 20 would take all that hysteria and multiply it by a factor.

That didn't happen.

Instead, I woke up that Tuesday morning at 5am, an hour I haven't seen in years, feeling anticipation, energy, peace -- the way some people describe their wedding day. I knew what was coming, knew it was big, knew it would be one of those days that becomes a marker on the calendar, indicating that life changed after this date. But how? That I didn't know. None of us could, until we were in it.

The crowds were huge and happy. There were tears of joy, outbursts of exultation. But it wasn't Election Night x 2. I imagine the bitter cold and our collective tiredness must have put a damper on things. Sure, Aretha Franklin heated us back up, and seeing President Obama's limo pulling through the streets got our hearts racing. We yelled and danced, shouted "Yes we can! Yes we did!" But I never felt like I was moving over the top. It was more like we had been at the top, and now we were descending to a new home.

If I tried to imagine the Israelites or any community moving into the Promised Land, I'm sure there was a moment when they knew the last barrier was behind them, when they reached the crest of the mountain and could see that longed for dream laid out before them. That's your emotional high. That's when the dam breaks, your heart is awash in joy and you can't contain it. But then, then, then … you just have to put your head back down and keep walking. You talk to the person on your left, the person on your right. You pull out a little more food so you have the energy to finish the journey. And by the time you reach the ground, the Promised Land, you are filled with something that is joyful but settled, rich and deep and good. Beyond jubilation. It just is. That was me. That was us.

As the pundits have pointed out, Obama's speech wasn't a victory speech. It wasn't the rousing speech some folks had hoped for. It was a serious speech. It was a speech to a mature people, reminding us what would be required of us in the days to come. And so it was for us on the ground. Our movement that morning was not a jubilant, ecstatic victory dance. It was a new, beautiful, utterly serious walk. It was the beginning of the rest of our lives.

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