“Redeemer Lives!” November 18, 2017

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Deacon Alberta and St. Hilda of Whitby

It was a true joy to have the Rev. Deacon Alberta Buller join us as preacher this last Sunday. She wrote about her visit in the St. Francis Novato Newsletter: “Last Sunday, I had the privilege of serving as deacon alongside my former Anglican theology professor, The Rev. Dr. Daniel DeForrest London, at Church of the Redeemer in San Rafael.  I was warmly welcomed by all.” I am looking forward to our future guest preachers: our own Br. Rich Atkinson on Christ the King Sunday (Nov 26) and the Rev. Kogen Dito-Keith (Zen Buddhist priest) on Dec 10. I actually had some more guest preachers lined up, but I have decided to cancel them since I am realizing that my time with you all is getting shorter and shorter. I look forward to preaching this Sunday, which is Stewardship Sunday, and I have also recorded a brief video sermon about St. Hilda of Whitby (614 – 680), whose feast day is today. You can watch the video sermon here. There are also links to many more video sermons below, in case you missed them or want to hear them again. I will be treasuring all of these upcoming Sundays with you and I invite you to join me at the Marin Interfaith Thanksgiving Eve Service at the First Presbyterian Church in San Rafael this upcoming Wednesday (Nov 22) at 7 PM. I also invite you to join Fr. Christopher Martin and me for our second Psalmathon on Saturday (Dec 2) at 2 – 9 PM. Drop by whenever and for however long you’d like. After all, what better way is there to prepare for Advent than by praying the Psalms!

 

“Redeemer Lives!” November 11, 2017

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Feast Day of St. Martin of Tours

Today is Veteran’s Day as well as the Feast Day of St. Martin of Tours, a Roman soldier of the 4th century who converted to Christianity, became a monk and then eventually served as a bishop of Tours in France. According to legend, Martin encountered a nearly naked beggar on the streets and decided to rip his military cloak in half in order to give part of it to the cold beggar. That night, Martin had a dream in which he saw Jesus wearing the same military cloak and telling the angels about Martin’s kindness and generosity. Martin’s little cloak soon became a relic that was housed in several churches in Western Europe. In Latin, the word for little cloak is capella, and soon, the many churches that claimed to have a piece of Martin’s capella began to be called capellae themselves. And that is actually where we get the word “chapel”! In fact, the oldest church in England (and the entire English-speaking world) is a chapel named after St. Martin: St. Martin’s Church, which was originally the private chapel of Queen Bertha of Kent (539 – 612). And in 1483, a young boy in northern Germany was born on the feast day of St. Martin and was given the name of the beloved saint. The boy’s surname was “Luther” and he left something of a mark on Western Christianity as well! This upcoming Monday evening (Nov 13) from 6 to 6:45 PM, I will be joining some of the preschool kids in celebrating St. Martin of Tours in what is known as Lanternlaufen. You can learn more about it below and you can also join us!

Letter from Fr. Daniel

Dear Redeemed Ones,

This last Sunday was such a joyful celebration of our beloved community. I’m especially grateful for those moments in which we were able to emulate the saints and poets by practicing the Beatitudes, those “attitudes that help us be” fully present to each other and to Christ among us. I felt that we were all fully present as Ryan received the gift of his belovedness in God’s eyes through the sacrament of Baptism, thus reminding us all of our belovedness in God’s eyes. I was reminded of last year’s All Saints Eucharist, when we celebrated on the outdoor prayer labyrinth, a few days after Carol Ann and I returned from Standing Rock ND. I felt invited to remember and celebrate the many ways that we have lived out our baptismal vows and embodied the love of God in San Rafael and the world, just since last All Saints’ Day: through the Stop Hunger Now food-packaging event, our support for the Marin Interfaith Street Chaplaincy, Meditation services, Full Moon Labyrinth Walks, Warm Coat collection, Psalmathon, shared communion with the Tamalpais retirement community, a beautiful new message board to enhance Paula’s “message ministry,” a new robust Discipleship Group, and much more, including a renewed relationship with the preschool and the preschool families which I saw beautifully manifested during the Bishop’s Visit in September. And although I generally try not to play the “numbers game,” it is also worth celebrating the fact that our average attendance has grown significantly! For example, our All Saints’ Sunday attendance this year was more than triple that of last year! Thanks be to God!

I see hope for another 60 years ahead for the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer, especially after watching Bob’s excellent slideshow of the many fun-filled Redeemer memories. The Redeemer community is dearly beloved and also profoundly resilient; and I am sincerely thankful for being a part of the Redeemer story for longer than initially planned (7 months). As I believe that Redeemer is ready to begin the next phase of its journey, so too have I received a call to begin the next chapter of my vocation. I have recently accepted a call to be the rector of Christ Episcopal Church in Eureka CA. Ashley and I are very excited about this opportunity and deeply grateful to everyone who has supported us over the years, including all of you. Of course, we are also sad to have to say goodbye. My last Sunday at Redeemer will be January 7th, which means I get to celebrate Advent and Christmas with all of you. Appropriately, the Gospel reading for Sunday January 7th is the story of Jesus’s baptism, in which Jesus hears a voice from Heaven say, “You are my child, my beloved; with you I am well pleased.” The message that keeps popping up in my prayers for Redeemer is: “Find freedom in your belovedness.” This phrase pops up sometimes as an invitation, sometimes as a mantra and sometimes as a kind of Buddhist koan, but it remains persistent, which is why I keep sharing it with all of you. My prayer is that we all continue to find our deepest freedom, redemption and resilience in this belovedness that speaks to each of us, and to the Redeemer community as a whole, saying: “You are my child, whom I love and with whom I well pleased.”

With Much Gratitude, Love and Blessings,

Fr. Daniel +

“Redeemer Lives!” Nov 3, 2017

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Happy Feast Days of All Hallows and All Souls!

Church of the Redeemer and Glenwood definitely know how to celebrate the Feast of All Hallows’ Eve (Halloween), as we proved once again this last Tuesday. What most people probably don’t know is that Halloween is the first day of the Church calendar’s Fall Triduum, which includes the Feast of All Saints (Nov 1) and the Feast of All Souls (Nov 2), days in which we commemorate the saints of the church as well as loved ones who have departed. The Celts considered these days to be the “thinnest time of the year,” a season when the veil between time and eternity can easily become transparent. The Fall Triduum invites us to reflect on the reality of death while also reminding us that in death, life is changed, not ended; and even at the grave we make our song: “Alleluia. Alleluia. Alleluia.” In fact, the Fall Triduum even invites us to laugh in the face of death, which has now lost its sting, thanks to the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. In this way, the practice of trick-or-treating remains in tune with the spirit of the season as we laugh, play and eat candy while surrounded by ghosts and goblins and other bizarre creatures.

Our celebration of the Fall Triduum continues this Sunday as we commemorate Redeemers’ 60th year and welcome a new member (Ryan Cutchin) into the Body of Christ through the sacrament of baptism. We do all of this all under the umbrella of “All Saints” and “All Souls,” as we remember all the saints and beloved souls who have kept Redeemer alive and well over the years; and as we look forward to a new generation of saints who will help us share the love of the Redeemer in San Rafael and the world for at least another 60 years!

“Redeemer Lives!” Oct 20, 2017

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Time for Diocesan Convention!

Just as the Bishop’s Committee meets once a month to pray and conduct the business of the church so too do Episcopalians of the diocese gather once a year at Grace Cathedral for Diocesan Convention to worship and conduct the business of the diocese. This year, Diocesan Convention is Friday Oct 27 and Saturday Oct 28 and the theme is Holy Women. One of Redeemer’s holy women (Carol Ann) will be serving as the Lay Delegate for our congregation. We are all invited to attend the Convention Eucharist on Friday Oct 27 at 7 PM in which the Right Rev. Barbara Harris will be preaching. She is the first woman in the Anglican Communion to be ordained a bishop. You will not want to miss her preaching! Also, we are all invited to a Question and Answer session with Bishop Barbara Harris on Saturday Oct 28 at 10:15 AM. It is important for us to gather together as Episcopalians of the diocese once in a while to remember that our congregations are not isolated monads, but rather essential small groups that comprise a much larger church. Please consider attending one or both of these events. You will not regret it. You will likely be enthused, inspired, humbled and honored to be part of such a cutting-edge diocese and such a thriving and vibrant church!

“Redeemer Lives!” Oct 13, 2017

Empathy and Action

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Last Sunday, we talked about emulating St. Francis by empathizing with all of our brothers and sisters, including our sister earth. According to Pope Francis, our sister earth “cries out to us of the harm we have inflicted on her by our irresponsible use and abuse of the goods with which God has endowed her” (Laudato Si’). Our sister earth is currently being traumatized by the terrifying wildfires up north and brother smoke reminds us how much our friends and neighbors up north are suffering from the tragic and devastating loss of homes, health and family members. The spirit of St. Francis invites us not only to empathize with our brothers and sisters up north, but also to take action. I was initially going to suggest taking action by volunteering at the Center for Volunteer and Non-profit Leadership by registering here; however, I just learned that they have currently suspended volunteer sign-ups due to an outpouring of support (10,000 people have signed up!). You can instead take action in supporting the Episcopal churches in Napa and Sonoma counties by giving to the Rt. Rev. Barry Beisner’s discretionary fund here or to Episcopal Relief and Development for US Disasters here. Also, make sure you are registered with Nixle to receive alerts from public safety and school officials in your area. You can text your zip code to 888777 or register online at www.nixle.com.  Please let me know if you or any of your loved ones need special prayer or pastoral care during this frightening time. And finally, remember that the empathetic Spirit of Christ and St. Francis remains in loving solidarity with us all right now, especially with those who are suffering tremendous loss.

“Redeemer Lives!” Oct 6, 2017

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Walking the Luna-lit Labyrinth

This week, hundreds of Episcopal parishes rang their church bells 59 times in mourning for the victims of the Las Vegas shooting. Last night, Redeemer participated in this practice by chiming our church’s Tibetan Tingsha cymbals 59 times before several of us walked the prayer labyrinth under the full Harvest moon. In anticipation of this Sunday’s St. Francis Blessing of the Animals, an unexpected furry visitor joined us on the labyrinth, greeting each of us with a friendly meow. (I found out today that her name is Elastigirl.) As we remembered the many victims of violence, some of us renewed our commitment to compassion, empathy, unity and liberation; as well as our commitment to sharing with others the liberation that is to be found in our belovedness. We then concluded by singing some Taizé chants and the song “Free Fallin’” from the album Full Moon Fever by the late Tom Petty. I imagine St. Francis would have been proud; and I look forward to celebrating his special day with you and many more furry visitors this Sunday.

“Redeemer Lives!” Sept 29, 2017

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Pulpit Swap this Sunday!

This Sunday, I will be preaching and presiding at the St. Francis chapel at the San Francisco Towers, one of five fabulous Continuing Care Retirement Communities in the greater Bay Area, run by Episcopal Senior Communities. Our friend, the Rev. Wendy Cliff, who serves as the Interfaith Chaplain at San Francisco Towers, will be worshipping with you all at Redeemer. Wendy also works as a Team Facilitator for Braid Mission, a ministry of the diocese that reaches out to youth in foster care. After Eucharist this Sunday, she will share more information about Braid and let us know ways that we can support the ministry. Apparently, one of the most effective ways to combat homelessness in the US is to support and mentor children and youth in foster care. I look forward to hearing from you all about how we can collaborate with Braid!

Because I won’t be with you this Sunday and because today is the Feast Day of St. Michael and All Angels, I recorded a sermon for you from my living room this morning, which you can watch and read here. And next Sunday (Oct 8), we will convert the Glenwood Outdoor Labyrinth into our very own St. Francis chapel as we celebrate his feast day and bless the many animals of Glenwood and beyond!

“Redeemer Lives!” Sept 22, 2017

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Let Your Light Shine!

In the daily office lectionary, the Gospel reading for today is the beginning of Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount, which we read together back in February. In this sermon, Jesus teaches that we are “the light of world” and invites us to “let our light shine before others, so that they may see our good works and give glory to our Father in heaven” (Matt 5:16). As we blessed Redeemer Preschool a few Sundays ago, I especially enjoyed singing “This Little Light of Mine, I’m Gonna Let It Shine” with Bishop Marc Andrus and all of you. Part of the mission of the Redeemer Community is to embody the love of God in San Rafael and the world. In other words, our mission is to let the little light of Redeemer shine! Last night, the Bishop’s Committee met to discuss many important business matters and, at the end of our meeting, we prayed that God’s love may continue to radiate out from Redeemer to the neighborhood, to Marin, and to the whole world. Indeed, our world is in desperate need of light and love and we help manifest a divine healing salve to the world every time we gather. As author Marianne Williamson wrote, “We were born to manifest the glory of God that is within us…And as we let our light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” Let us continue to shine the little light of Redeemer by living into the freedom found in our belovedness because by doing so, we contribute to the healing and liberation of the world.

“Redeemer Lives!” Sept 15, 2017

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Redeemer is Trending!

f you don’t receive the weekly email updates from the Diocese of California called “DioBytes,” I strongly encourage you to sign up for them here. If you do receive DioBytes, then you probably already saw that the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer was featured prominently in the latest newsletter. We were also featured on the diocese’s instagram account. So one might say that we are trending on the interwebs these days. Or in the words of Mugatu from Zoolander, we are “so hot right now.” I want to thank everyone for making last Sunday such a blast. The Bishop was very excited to see such a great turnout. I want to especially thank Ann Zolezzi, Cindy Smith, Jessica Luiz, Kelly Mason, Julia Smith, Kristin Maguire (the president of the preschool board), Paula Zand and Gail Spencer for helping make it a wonderful day. What a great team! Also, much thanks to Bob B. for taking photos which I look forward to sharing with you all soon!