The Weekly Flame for Friday, November 19th, 2021
It was a gray, misty day, and the weather strangely jammed things up all morning. Major traffic backed up from 101 onto the streets and it took me an uncharacteristic 45 minutes to get to church this morning. When I arrived, somehow the weather had contributed to the lift from the Food Bank truck getting stuck. All of us in the morning volunteer crew hoisted the food from the truck to the street and then down the driveway into the sanctuary.
Not long afterward, in a Zoom meeting, I learned about the acquittal of Kyle Rittenhouse
. Rittenhouse had shot three people in 2020, killing two and injuring one as he roamed in antipathy to a Black Lives Matter demonstration in Kenosha, Wisconsin with an AR-15. I think it safe to say that all of us in today’s meeting were horrified by this news. We sat heavily with the reality that this man would not be held criminally accountable for his actions.
Earlier this week the New York Times,
columnist Farhad Manjoo highlighted how the prosecution had “cleverly unraveled some of the foundational tenets of gun advocacy: That guns are effective and necessary weapons of self-defense. That without them, lawlessness and tyranny would prevail. And that in the right hands — in the hands of the ‘good guys’ — guns promote public safety rather than destroy it.” Rittenhouse brought his semi-automatic weapon in part because it “looked cool."
He described from the witness stand that he felt forced to fire at four people (he missed one) out of self-defense. But, as Manjoo asked, “what was he protecting everyone from? The gun strapped to his own body, the one he’d brought to keep everyone safe.”
The gun dimension of this story immediately reminds me of the 1998 Cheryl Wheeler song, “If It Were Up To Me,"
whose final, soulfully repeated line is, “I’d take away the guns.”
But more fundamentally Rittenhouse’s actions remind me of Kelly Brown Douglas’s book Stand Your Ground: Black Bodies and the Justice of God
which we read in a Christian Formation series a few years ago.
“Stand-your-ground culture alienates people from the very goodness of their own creation. It essentially turns people in on themselves as it sets people against one another. This culture promotes the notion that one life has more value than another life. This is a culture that thrives on antagonistic relationships as signaled by the very idea of ‘standing one’s ground.’ A stand-your-ground culture does not value dialogue, mutuality, respect, or compassion….Stand-your-ground culture disengages perpetrators from their humanity and most significantly disengages victims from their lives” (194).
That pattern of violent disengagement from humanity was present in what spurred the demonstrations in Kenosha in the first place: the shooting of Jacob Blake
, a Black man, seven times in the back by a white police officer. That pattern of violent disengagement from humanity drives white supremacy and racism. As Charles Blow put it in an opinion piece today
, “The idea of taking the law into one’s own hands not only to protect order, but also to protect the
order, is central to the maintenance of white power and its structures.”
Given this pattern, and a few hours removed from learning this news, I find myself asking anew in this moment how to counteract this pattern of disengagement with humanity. Here I’m reminded of the chapters on “losing your life – kenosis” and “gaining your life – solidarity” in Stephanie Spellers’ The Church Cracked Open
, which we just read and discussed as a community.
Spellers writes of her increasing conviction that “many supporters of oppressive, dominating systems are acting from a deep need to not
feel”—again, that disengagement (101).
For people in power, particularly white people, who act out in disengaged numbness, it is crucial to actually feel, to recognize the fear of loss, the gripping, clinging quality of their reactive defensiveness, for the purposes of relinquishing it, letting it go. This process requires a form of mourning. “I know the idea of creating space for privileged people and institutions to mourn looks a lot like coddling and cooing over the oppressor’s fragility,” Spellers continues. “It doesn’t have to be” (102). She goes on to describe how joining God in beloved community requires people with the privilege of such denial “to stop denying reality and acknowledge how oppression and empire have compromised their humanity, too” (102). People whose humanity is compromised all too often lash out and compromise the humanity of others. This is a reality to mourn. Not to stay grief-stricken within forever, but to make space for the new life— the authentic, uncompromised, vibrant life that God always offers to us. The life for which we were created together.
So this evening, I mourn. I mourn the original shooting of Jacob Blake and the whole pattern of white supremacy, racist police brutality, and the stand your ground culture of which this incident is a part. I mourn the deaths of Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber and the injury to Gaige Grosskreutz, shot by Kyle Rittenhouse. I honor the anger of all for whom this acquittal has not come as a shock but as yet another example of violent disengagement in what Douglas calls “stand your ground times.”
I mourn life denied and disengaged, and I pray for new, connected, engaged life to emerge in the space cleared out by grief.
Hybrid In-Person/Zoom Worship Continues This Sunday
This week and moving forward our worship will be hybrid, with both in person and Zoom platforms available. In person, all those in attendance will be masked. We encourage you to connect to with worship in whatever way is comfortable for you. For the latest on the Diocesan regathering guidance, please see: https://diocal.org/diocesan-regathering-plan#e
TOMORROW: Trans Day of Remembrance Vigil with Bishop Megan Rohrer
Bishop Megan Rohrer will be preaching and presiding at a Vigil service of Trans Day of Remembrance at St. Francis Lutheran Church in San Francisco. St. Aidanites are especially invited to attend:
"Registration is now open!
Transgender Day of Remembrance Vigil
Bishop Megan Rohrer, Preaching and Presiding
November 20, 2021
St. Francis Lutheran Church San Francisco
152 Church Street, SF 9411
Registration and proof of vaccination is required: You must bring proof of vaccination with you to attend!"
Thanksgiving Dinner Distribution, Thursday, Nov. 25th, 12-1 PM from our main doors
This year on Thanksgiving, as we did last year, we will be sharing take-out style Thanksgiving dinners from our doorway in the manner we have done Diamond Diners during the pandemic. Thanks to Nicole Miller who has made arrangements with a caterer as well as to Tim Fabatz who is working with Nicole to provide a few vegan meals, we will once again be able to share Thanksgiving with our neighbors. We very much look forward to next year when we anticipate being able to eat together inside the sanctuary, as we have in years past. Please spread the word that we are indeed offering a Thanksgiving meal from 12 noon to 1 PM in this adapted form.
Thanksgiving Support for St. Martin de Porres
As many of you know, St Aidan’s has a tradition of donating turkeys to St Martin de Porres soup kitchen for their annual Thanksgiving meal. During Covid times, they are providing bagged meals. They suggested that we provide snacks for inclusion in the bags ; cookies, chips, trail mix, granola bars, nuts etc. JoEllen Brothers plans to shop and deliver snack items November 22. Monetary donations will gladly be accepted. Please make checks out to St Aidan’s with “turkey trot” in the memo. Cash can also be placed in the collection basket in an envelope designated “turkey trot”.
"Shards of Light" Advent Formation Series on Wednesday Evenings
Join us Wednesday evenings from 7-8:15 PM via Zoom or in person for our Advent Christian Formation series “Shards of Light.” Inspired by the chapter five title of The Church Cracked Open, this series invites us to soak up inspiration from saints whose feast days fall during our extended observance of Advent, looking to their light-filled lives that shine through the cracks of an oppressive world.
November 10: C.S. Lewis, led by Cameron
November 17: Sojourner Truth, led by Susan Spencer
- November 24: No Meeting
- December 1: Dorothy Day, led by Amy Newell-Large
- December 8: Juan Diego, led by Elaina LeGault
- December 15: Ella J. Baker, led by Barbara Stevenson
The Zoom link will be the regular Wednesday night one, and of course please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org if you need it. Thank you, and we look forward to seeing you tomorrow evening!
St. Aidan’s Gourmet Book Group
We will continue to meet via zoom with LeeAnn DeSalles serving as our Zoom master. She will be sending you zoom instructions prior to our meetings. If you would like help with zoom, please contact LeeAnn at email@example.com
. If you would like to join the Book Group, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
The upcoming books and dates are
Music on the Hill Concert - Ensemble San Francisco
- Monday, November 22, 2021
- 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
- The Power of Light – Eight tales by Nobel Laureate Issac Bashevis Singer for each night of the Hanukkah celebration, tell of a world in which miracles abound, love triumphs, and faith prevails.
- Monday, December 27, 2021
- 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
- At the home of Shelley Johnson and Paul Nocero (The Noceros ask that all attendees be vaccinated!)
- The Long Christmas Dinner – A short play by Thornton Wilder. 5 men and 7 women: A Christmas comedy - nine decades long–showcases the lives of several generations of the Bayard family and their Christmas dinners. Thornton Wilder, in a letter written April 11, 1960 to Gertrude Hindemith, whose husband, the composer Paul Hindemith, wrote an opera based on this play: “Of all my plays it is the one that has found the widest variety of receptions. At some performances it has been played to constant laughter; some listeners are deeply moved and shaken by it; some find it cruel and cynical.”
- We will each take a part (or parts) and read it aloud while we feast on sweet and savory holiday treats. Bring your favorites! Drinks will be provided.
Sunday, December 5 at 7:30 PM
Please join us for our 2nd Fall 2021 concert! We look forward to seeing you!
Ensemble San Francisco
Rebecca Jackson-Picht, violin
Matt Young, viola
Elizabeth Schumann, piano
Founded in 2013, Ensemble San Francisco is a collective of musicians dedicated to inspiring a more inclusive world through art. Beyond the traditional concert hall setting, Ensemble San Francisco is also dedicated to bringing world-class music to groups throughout the Bay Area, including at schools, juvenile detention centers, community centers, hospitals and nursing homes.
Through new concert experiences and education of the next generation, Ensemble San Francisco is vital to the cultural fabric of the Bay Area. Upcoming concerts in 2022 include three performances with the S.F. Symphony Chamber Music Series @ Davies Hall. They will be performing works by Shostakovich, Brahms, Mozart, Lili Boulanger, and a new work by Polina Nazaykinskaya.
In-Person Tickets for St. Aidan's, 101 Gold Mine Drive: Buy tickets online via Eventbrite: In Person Tix
Or, send $20 per ticket to Music on the Hill, 201 Bennington St, San Francisco CA 94110. We will seat joint ticket purchasers next to each other.
Livestream Viewing: On YouTube
Livestream Donations: Donate on Paypal
We suggest donations $10 to $20 per viewer.
Check out our website at https://sites.google.com/site/mothsf/concerts
Like us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/565051871210422
Because we are still living in a time of Covid-19, there will be some significant changes to our upcoming events. These will be hybrid concerts with limited “in person” seating, plus a livestream component. The church will allow only 50 people in a socially-distanced seating pattern. Vaccine cards will be required and masks must be worn during the entire concert. The concert will be 60-70 minutes of music, with no intermission. We will not be able to offer food or drink. Tickets will be sold online for $20 each. We will ask for donations from $10 to $20 for the livestream.
It is just thrilling to know that despite all this, Music on the Hill will have live, in-person concerts again! We look forward to seeing you all December 5, whether in person, or on our youtube livestream.
The New Jim Crow Anti-Racist Book Group
Sunday Dec. 12, 4 pm, via zoom
We are reading parts 4-6 of From Here to Equality – Reparations for Black Americans in the 21st
Century by William Darity and Kirsten Mullen.
All are welcome, please contact Deacon Margaret for the link – email@example.com
Diocesan Convention Report.
This article continues a series reporting on the Diocesan Convention held October 23, 2021. We previously reported on three resolutions which give direction to our representatives to the churchwide General Convention next summer. This time we report on three other resolutions that set policy within the Diocese of California.
- Resolution 6, "Sabbatical Leave Policy for Clergy," creates a fund "to provide up to three months of Sabbatical Leave ... for Intentional Interim Rectors ... of 3 weeks for each year worked in the Diocese." Intentional Interim Rectors are priests whose calling is to serve congregations during interims and who never stay long enough in one place to qualify for a sabbatical. Congregations will pay into the fund whenever they employ an Intentional Interim Rector.
- Resolution 8, "Affirming Non-Binary and Transgender Identities," is a resolution sponsored by Cameron and endorsed by our vestry. It "calls upon the Diocese and all its institutions and congregations to fully embrace, respect and uphold transgender and nonbinary people in all facets of its life ... respecting and using individuals’ pronouns including 'they/them'; avoiding using exclusionary binary language; and supporting nonbinary and/or transgender youth and their families." It particularly targets the Episcopal Church Medical Trust and the Church Pension Group, which still require employees to declare their gender as “M” or “F,” even when these options are inappropriate or unnecessary.
- Resolution 9, "Spanish Language-Latine/Hispanic Centered Day of Discernment," "requests the Office of Vocations to sponsor a Day of Discernment for the Latine/Hispanic Communities of the Diocese to be held concurrently with all planned Days of Discernment." This Day of Discernment would provide an "opportunity for the Diocese of California to play a critical part in racial reconciliation through strengthening its support of Spanish speaking congregations in the Episcopal church, specifically in the area of formal and informal discernment for ministry."
Detailed information about each of these resolutions can be found at https://www.diocalconvention.org/resolutions-resoluciones
Resources for Engaging in Anti-Racism, from Elena Wong
Thank you to Elena Wong for sharing this list of resources that were in turn shared with her through her membership in the Western Association for College Counseling:
Please send in your recipes for the COVID Connect Cookbook!
As shared in previous weeks, Peter Fairfield and Linnea Sweet are putting together the COVID Connect Cookbook. He's received several recipes thus far but would very much like more. He writes:
We are living through a time that will change our world in ways that we cannot yet begin to understand. We can hope that our shared vulnerability to this virus worldwide will help us see that all humanity is connected and that we must all work together. As we shelter in place, many of us are concerned with food. If we are not working, how will we afford it? If we cannot go out, how will we get it?
In our community of Saint Aidan’s, many are able to feed themselves and to help others get fed. More than that, we appreciate the food that we get and are finding new ways of making the sharing of food as enjoyable as possible.
The soup recipes that Cameron has been sharing have made our diet much more enjoyable and have given Linnea and I the inspiration to collect recipes from all the congregation and share them. We ask that everyone with a favorite recipe email it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
. We will collect and edit them into a cookbook which will be a lasting reminder of this strange and special time in all our lives.
We hope to be able to publish this cookbook in printed form and sell it to raise funds in support of Saint Aidan’s food ministries. We know you have been sharing food. Now please share your recipes!
Contemplative Prayer continues: Tuesday, Thursday, & Saturday from 9-10 AM via Zoom
Contemplative prayer continues during this time of sheltering in place, via Zoom. Contemplative Prayer is silent with the beginning and ending marked by a bell. You can practice meditation, silent prayer, journal, or otherwise enjoy the collective quiet. Thank you to Susan Spencer for offering to anchor this practice once again, especially the Saturday, during this time. Please feel free to reach out to the office for the Zoom access information: email@example.com
Morning Prayer continues: Mon, Wed, Fri at 7:30 AM via Zoom
We also continue to have Morning Prayer to help sustain and ground us, online/over the phone! Please feel free to reach out to the office for the Zoom access information: firstname.lastname@example.org
To add an announcement to the weekly bulletin of the Flame, please send your edited text no later than 11:00 am Wednesday to email@example.com
St. Aidan's Vestry
Will Crockett & David Mealy, Co-Wardens
Dave Frangquist, Clerk & Treasurer
Christine Powell, Nicole Miller, Elena Wong,
Anne Edwards, Michael Jennings, Jim Oerther
Third Sunday of (Extended) Advent
November 21, 2021
8 AM Morning Prayer (Hybrid)
The Rev. Margaret Dyer-Chamberlain, Deacon & Preacher
The Rev. Amy Newell-Large, Deacon
Jackie Buckley, Altar Guild
10 AM Morning Prayer (Hybrid)
The Rev. Margaret Dyer-Chamberlain, Deacon & Preacher
The Rev. Amy Newell-Large, Deacon
Barry Koron, Music Minister
Anne Benninger, Lee Hammack, Elaine Jennings, Michael Jennings, Janet Lohr, Jim Oerther, Kateri Paul, Barbara Stevenson, Jill Tollefson, & Rolf Tollefson, and perhaps you!, Choir
Shelley Johnson, Michael Jennings, & Peter Fairfield, Lectors
Nicole Miller, In-Person Greeter
JoEllen Brothers, Zoom Greeter
Paul Nocero, Sound/Liturgical DJ
Barbara Stevenson, Bread Baker
CoCo Lin, Child Care
Janice Tickner-Leonard, Altar Guild