Thursday, February 05, 2009

a change is gonna come

[Posted to Crossing community on Tuesday, 2/3; includes the latest of my inaugural reflections -- pasted @ the bottom.]

If you're seeking community, seeking space to build a life that matters, seeking to link your head with your heart, with your body and with God ... then this is your week at The Crossing. It starts Tuesday night at 7-9pm with the kick-off of the Covenant Group. This small group (or set of groups, depending on the numbers) will meet every other week at The Cathedral, using our new Rule of Life to intentionally share Christian life together, on the ground, in real time. More info below ...

Then, on Sunday at 8-11pm, The Crossing co-hosts "Conspire." It's an underground dance party. Don't dance? That's alright. It's also an arts/justice/faith event, so there will be plenty to see, hear and experience throughout the evening, and all to celebrate how the arts move us into action for the sake of the world. So the word along, get your crew, and come out to play!

THIS THURSDAY @ 6pm / Worship
Marie Harkey opens February with reflections on the healing stories of Mark, while Kevin Casey leads us in a practice that's about bodies, energy and holy play. 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:

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.

Next week, come for the every-other-Wednesday Pub Bible Study and the every-other-Thursday Community Forum on Sexuality and Faith, and get set for the Lenten series introducing the Episcopal Church:

** Unlikely Heroes in Unlikely Places: A Pub(lic) Bible Study. Travis Stevens leads this every-other-week Bible Study on stories the lectionary doesn't usually lift up. Date: Wed., 2/11 @ 7-8:30pm. Location: The Field Pub, 20 Prospect St., Central Square, Cambridge. Contact: Travis Stevens @ or Jason Long @ or 617.519.1538.

** Sexuality, Relationships and Keeping It Real: A Crossing Community Forum. 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. Date: Thu., 2/12 @ 7:30-9pm after Worship. Contact: Chris Ashley at

** Covenant Group: A Discipleship Circle. Join a small group of Crossing members for reflection, stories, spiritual practice and intentional commitment to growing as Jesus' followers. Each of the sessions will focus on an aspect of 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. DATE: Tues., 2/17 @ 7-9pm. Runs every other Tuesday at the Cathedral. Contact Kim at or Jason at

** Episcopal Church 101: A Catechesis Group. 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). Dates: 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: Rev. Steph at or Jason at

** 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.

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.

** 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")
** Kieran Conroy: (emergent cohort)
** Marie Harkey: (admin, general)
** Ashley Merrell: (music ministry)
** Travis Stevens: (arts & community, Emerson College)

Blessings in the groove,
Rev. Steph

Inaugural Reflections: Hope Springs
So much of our attention the morning of the Inauguration was on President Obama and the First Lady Michelle. My gaze kept tracking Malia and Sasha, their two daughters. Because we've all marveled at the new frontiers Barack and Michelle Obama are charting. I have to wonder what difference these two little girls will make in the lives of children everywhere, especially black children.

Of course, every political question is deeply personal. I grew up in Kentucky, and then went to high school in Tennessee. I had plenty of white friends (you might say "some of my best friends were white," and you'd be right). I went to their homes, hung out at their parties, partnered with them on school projects. My life was completely intertwined with theirs … or so I thought.

One day, my best friend Sharon came to high school in tears. She wouldn't tell me why she was crying, no matter how I begged. Finally, the truth poured out. "My parents say you can't come to our house anymore. They say they're tired of pretending it's alright to have a black person in the house, tired of pretending they want you at the dinner table when they don't, tired of pretending they think our races should be together. So we can still be friends here at school, but you can't come over anymore."

I was devastated. And I was confused. On some level, I knew my relationships with my white friends were different from theirs with each other. When we all hit puberty and everyone started dating, no one really approached me, and it was just sort of understood that was alright, that the boys weren't supposed to see me "that" way. I also understood the class differences – my single mom could never send me to the camps and beach vacations they took for granted.

But, on a fundamental level, I thought I had broken through some invisible barrier, that people wouldn't really look at skinny, nerdy me and think I was a threat or inferior or dangerous or inappropriate or dirty or whatever it is that racism makes the dominant group think about the oppressed. But some of them did believe that about me. And I was deeply wounded, just as young people of color have been wounded in this country for centuries.

When I look at Malia and Sasha Obama, when I see America's fascination with these bright, adorable girls, hope rises up in me. What parent would turn these girls away at the door, say they couldn't come in for a slumber party? Surely, like the Cosby kids on NBC back in the '80s, surely the Obama children's acceptability will have a ripple effect, and other black children and children of color will find the gap between them and their white peers shrinking. Not just on the multiculture-loving coasts and cities, where everybody seems to want a colorful menagerie of playmates for their kids. But in East Tennessee and Central Kentucky, where my young cousins still live and still struggle.

I'm not as naïve as I was in high school. I know racism is not rational, and that it keeps morphing in order to survive. But today, I have this hope, and I want to believe emerging generations won't suffer the same rejection I did. Thank you, Malia and Sasha and America, for giving me this hope.

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