Friday, January 29, 2010

Meet Christine D'Amico

Hello St. Paul's Cathedral!

Well I have been working as your part time Associate for Children, Youth and Family for about a month now, and I am having a great time getting to know many of you better.

We have fantastic youth volunteers, wonderful children, and super cool youth! I already feel very blessed to be working with all of you.

I come to you all with a background in youth education, Human Resources Development, and curriculum design.

For much of my adult life, I have worked from two guiding principles which have found me along the way. They are:
  1. Create the conditions where by each individual can develop to the best of their abilities, as first stated by my Grandpa Jack many many years ago.
  2. Celebrate curiosity and awaken brilliance in all I encounter, old or young!

So let's play a little game, I know the middle schoolers will love this one, so share it with them if you are reading this and have a child at home old enough to play.

Below are 10 interesting facts about me. Nine are true and one is false. See if you can guess which one is false.
  1. I have lived in New Zealand
  2. I have written a children's book
  3. I have three children
  4. I have a pet snake
  5. I was an acolyte as a teenager
  6. I love New York City
  7. I am left handed
  8. I am from Minnesota
  9. I have a swimming pool
  10. I have a Episcopal priest in my family
I look forward to getting to know all of you better and journeying with our youth as they develop their own spiritual lives over the coming years.

Christine D'Amico
Part-time Associate for Children, Youth and Family

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Letter from Haiti

Bart Smoot passes along this letter and adds, I see good future potential for mission trips that involve rebuilding.
Dear Sisters and brothers in Christ,
Please let me take some time to give you some update of the situation of Haiti and your beloved partners in the Episcopal church of Haiti. God has saved the lives of the bishop, the 32 active priests, 9 retired priests, the 6 deacons, the 17 seminarians, 3 nuns and the 4 missionaries and their families. All private houses have been damaged to some degree, but all churches, schools, rectories clinics, and hospitals from Croix des Bouquets to Miragoane are not permitted to be used. In Port au Prince and Leogane, all structures of the Episcopal Church have been completely destroyed. We cannot evaluate how many parishioners and staff members we lost. In the south, BTI is ok but the Saint Sauveur rectory is not safe to sleep in. The seminarians went back to their home town; one of them is a physician, and he has stayed at college St Pierre in Port au Prince to give first aid to the people. The Episcopal church of Haiti has set up more than 7 centers to support victims, mostly in the worst hit areas where the bishop is based with whatever supplies they have been able to receive.

On behalf of bishop Duracin the partnership program and the people of Haiti, I would like to begin to thank you for your continuing prayer and assistance, especially ERD and our brothers and sisters of the Dominican Republic who share our same island home. We appreciated very strongly the sacrifices of Canon Bill Squire , Dr. McNelly and other team members who flew across the DR border to visit us. Your notes and emails of sympathy are very important to us. Please continue to send your notes of encouragement.

The Episcopal Relief and Development ( ERD) is doing a very remarkable work to support Haiti during the dilemma, both with emergency support and beginning to plan to be part of the rebuilding of the Episcopal church in Haiti. You can see that Rev. Lauren and Dianne are encouraging you to share information about your work in Haiti. It is very important to cooperate in that survey, because while Port au Prince and Leogane areas are more directly affected by the damage, many victims are returning to their home towns to breath a little bit, find food to eat and a safe place to sleep. However, the movement of people from Port au Prince to the countryside is overwhelming our ability to provide for them, and no relief agencies are yet providing supplies to the countryside.

ERD is working together with the bishop and a Haitian emergency commission of 15 people where The Canon Oge Beauvoir is the coordinator. Please continue to support ERD with your emergency support. Do not forget your partners in Haiti. You can still send money to your partners by check via lynx and your wire via Citibank. For two days all of the banks have been open in other towns in Haiti, and today they opened in Port au Prince. Remember when you send support to your partners; please copy me and also the diocesan accountant Mr Frantz Antilus in order to facilitate the process. You already know what to do when you want to send your emergency to ERD who are helping us a lot now.

School will not open in the West department , but schools and universities will open soon in the other 9 departments and will welcome children and students from other departments.

Thank you for your attention to my note, do not hesitate to ask questions: Ask for the state of your projects. Ask for your beloved friends if they are safe or hurt.

I continue to serve as the partnership coordinator and the DJ'O(Diocesan Jubile officer) and Rev. Frantz COLE serves as the development officer for the Episcopal diocese of Haiti. The Rev. Roger Bowen is still cooperating with me for the National Association Episcopal School. And Rev. Lauren Stanley who assists in the Partnership and Development program will coordinate with ERD in USA.

Thanks you all, may God continue to bless you.

The Rev. Kesner Ajax
Executive Director, Bishop Tharp Institute (BTI)

See here for worthy charities for your support.

Here's a video showing the frightening destruction of the Cathedral.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Eucharistic Ministers and Cathedral Visitors

John 14:12 “Truly, truly I say to you, he who believes in me will also do the works that I do…..”

I never feel so close to Jesus as when I am living out this message as part of the Pastoral Care ministry we call Eucharistic Ministers and Cathedral Visitors. These ‘works’ which carry Jesus’ love to those who are hospitalized, bed ridden or just unable to leave their homes, are at the heart of our Cathedral family. When the EMs take Holy Communion to a shut-in, Jesus acts through them. When a Cathedral Visitor befriends a shut-in, providing the hospitality and friendship of a fellow member of the St. Paul family, Jesus acts through them.

It is my honor to help organize this Ministry and we have wonderful dedicated volunteers. They find that their own faith expanded and nurtured by what they do. It is my hope that in the coming months you will hear from them on this Blog.

As you read these words, do you feel called by God to explore the possibility that you might become a Eucharistic Minister or Cathedral Visitor? Or have you been a part of this ministry, taken some time off and now feel you are ready to resume your commitment? If either is the case, let Canon Brooks Mason or The Rev. Anne Chisham know. When I return from Melanesia, on Feb. 19th, we will plan a get-together to talk about this vital part of who we are as a congregation.

Matthew 25:40 “And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.’ “

Rev. Dorothy Curry is a Canon for Pastoral Care

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Meet our new canons!

On Sunday, January 24, 2010, the Cathedral will install two new canons. (A “canon” is an honorary title, associated with a cathedral and is conferred upon clergy or lay persons, who have demonstrated certain skills and ministries.)

The Rev Anne B Chisham
I am a native San Diegan and a cradle Episcopalian baptized, confirmed and married at All Saints, Hillcrest.

My husband and I moved to Northern California. When my children were young we returned to San Diego and settled in Point Loma. We joined All Souls’ parish in 1976 and I have a long history there as a lay leader and a Deacon.

In 1980 I cashed in on my lifelong passion for Anglican Church history and tradition and my years as a Travel Agent by forming my own tour company. The tours are designed to introduce interested Episcopalians throughout the US. to our remarkable Anglican heritage by visiting the great cathedrals, abbeys and holy places of England. Out of this experience my call to the diaconate was realized. I attended Episcopal School of Theology at Claremont (Bloy House) and was ordained in December 1992.

I spent my first year as the Deacon at St. Timothy’s, Penasquitos and then returned to All Souls’ in 1994. For the next 13 years I managed and trained the lay liturgy teams, taught classes in Anglican history, served on the Pastoral Care commission and served otherwise where needed. During my years there I also mentored four different EFM groups and served on Diocesan Council.

In September 2007 I joined the staff at the cathedral where I am actively involved in the Pastoral Care committee and offer the occasional forum. As a resident of St. Paul’s Manor I assist the chaplain in the weekly Eucharist services, memorial services, Bible studies and offer pastoral care as directed.

The Rev. Michael Kaehr
Michael was born in 1942 in Decatur, Indiana. He started his “Music Ministry” at age 11 when he started playing organ for his home Evangelical and Reformed Church. He taught Sunday school, and sang in both the youth and senior choirs, as well as being “pres” of the youth group.

After graduating from Heidelberg College with a music major, he began teaching music in high school. He then continued with a master’s degree in music from the University of Wisconsin specializing in voice with secondary interests in organ and piano. He continued teaching in Wisconsin primarily at the Junior and Senior High School levels although he taught in every level from kindergarten through college. He primarily taught classical music voice and choir.

While teaching he was asked as “Mr. Music” to recommend an organist for Easter for a small Episcopal Church. Others were busy so he volunteered. He continued as organist and invited his students to sing. Soon the church had grown to a choir of 40 and the parents joined the church increasing the size from 16 to 100. As part of a life long interest in building, Michael instigated the men and together they built the first restrooms for the 1910 church and a parish hail, and reassembled an 18 rank pipe organ for the church. As time continued he began to feel the call for ministry and when he asked his priest, he was told “The congregation and I were wondering when you would figure it out. We have known for a long time.” Michael says that he kept running from the call but eventually God caught him.

Michael attended Seminary at Nashotah House in Wisconsin and graduated in 1983. He then worked for two years as Assistant to the Dean and was made a Residentiary Canon. In 1985 he became Assistant to the Rector at St. James By The Sea. Then in 1987 he became Rector of St. John’s, Chula Vista: the church and the school. In 199-, the church was arsoned and burned completely. Michael’s experience in building enabled him to work with parishioners in building a temporary church in 40 days. That building later became offices for church and school. Michael’s architectural vision is very present in the building of the neo-gothic church for the parish with an emphasis on beauty, liturgical function, and acoustics. As the new church was being dedicated he had a heart attack that led to his retirement.

Michael served on various diocesan committees, including the diocesan council. Cursillo occupied him for many weekends where he particularly enjoyed being kitchen priest. He also gave a few choral workshops.

In 1997 he married Nancy Olmsted, retired and moved to La Jolla. He was an honorary assistant at St. James By the Sea, La Jolla moving to St. Paul’s cathedral in 2008. In retirement, he has been very active with The Mankind Project attending numerous weekend as a staff member as well as National and International gatherings. Many MKP events also occur at his house. In addition, he keeps quite busy singing in the La Jolla Symphony chorus. Finally, for just fun, he gives a number of weekly voice lessons

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Helping Haiti

We have several updates for you. First, The Wall Street Journal has a video showing the efforts of the Episcopal Bishop and his priests in running a refugee camp.

The Episopcal Cafe also points us at an article in the Wall Street Journal about religious groups' contributions.

The Episcopal Cafe also has additional updated information on Haiti. First, the President of ER-D comments on the 3-Rs of disaster response: Rescue, Relief and Recovery. Second, facts about Haiti and the Episcopal Diocese there in the aftermath of the quake, which provides a good overview of who is where and what was damaged or lost.

The gang at Friends of Jake recommends some charities to help out:

"These programs are on the ground already. All of these are highly rated with low overhead, putting nearly all their donations directly into their services.

Shelterbox is a cool organization that puts tents and equipment into the field after disasters. The contents of each box can shelter a large family, with tents, tools, and utensils, blankets can be used as tarps or water catching devices.... Click the picture for a closer view of the box and its contents.

International Relief Teams. This small organization fields volunteer medical teams; their first team of ER professionals is already on the ground. (SPC note: This is a San Diego operation.)

Episcopal Relief and Development. Since Haiti is the largest Episcopal Diocese there is significant presence and partnership on the ground. This is going to be essential not just now but for the longer term recovery when everyone's attention turns elsewhere

If you want to go with the bigger organizations, the Red Cross, and Doctors without Borders, are good choices. Watch out for "new" charities which are often scams."

If you have further updates, including specific information on people or places, or other suggested charities, please add comments to this post.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Blogger, Facebook and Twitter: a field guide to social networking

In Sunday's forum, the team behind what we might call "The Digital Cathedral" introduced St Paul's on-line outreach. There were some questions about blogs, twitter, and facebook, so here's an introduction to these different ways of connecting on-line.

Blogging: What is it? Blogs are specialized websites that allow frequent posts of writing, including video or pictures. They also have a commenting feature that allows threaded discussion with no size limits.

What's it good for? A great way to describe events or experiences, discuss issues, and delve into ideas with some depth. Good for regular updates, or consolidating information. Think of it like an on-line coffee shop or restaurant, where you can sit at the table and have a conversation with a bunch of friends. If you have things to say longer than 1-2 sentences, this is where to do it. Also being a web page, it is (relatively) permanent.

What's it not? Not good for private networking (it's not private), or for immediate breaking news, or for status updates.

Basics/The Cathedral Blog: There are three ways to participate:
  1. Read the blog: you're doing it!
  2. Comment. Our blog allows anyone to comment -- you just go to the Comments link at the foot of the blog post. This opens a window where you can type a comment of any length. Our blog authors will be delighted even if you just drop in to say you liked the post! Just sign your name, or a nickname. You then type a word verification (prevents computer spam). You can sign in with an on-line ID if you have one, or just choose anonymous, and press the PUBLISH button. (THis sounds much more complicated than it is, so be sure to try out comments at the foot of this post.)
  3. Submit a post! Write up a review, commentary, story, etc, and just send it to . It can be short or long, serious or humorous. The main thing is that should be in your voice. We ask that you send a picture of yourself. We can also post video and other photos. Posts are put in a queue and posted every few days.

Facebook: What is it? A social networking site that allows you to connect with friends and community

What's it good for? Good way to find old friends, stay in touch with brief messages, share pictures, and highlight blog posts or other things you've read. If you have college-age kids, this is an essential way to stay in touch with them! Pictures and profiles are relatively stable; comments are more ephemeral.

What's it not? Not good for long posts or detailed conversations. More casual; if a blog is a sit-down conversation in the restaurant, facebook is running into someone at the supermarket deli counter, where you can have a brief chat.

Basics Go to and set up a profile with as much information as you choose. The system will use that info to help you find friends; for example, people who went to the same college.

The heart of facebook is a page called the user's wall which lists the user's status updates and posts. You can update your own status on your wall; for example, "Username is going to the St Paul's forum this Sunday." Friends may reply ("Great! I'll see you there.") or post something on their own wall. In either case, all these status updates aggregate to your news feed, where you can see them in reverse chronological order (newest first). Thus, in one place, you can see what everyone is up to, whether they have suggested any web links they like, or whether they are playing Facebook games. While these updates are public (all your friends can see them), you can also use facebook for private messaging if you choose.

In addition to friending someone on facebook, you can also join Facebook groups, which are often based around issues or causes, or you can become a fan of an organization.

The Cathedral on Facebook: The Cathedral has a fan page on Facebook, where upcoming events are often posted, as well as short exchanges. Once you become a fan, you can write on the Cathedral's wall or reply to someone else's post. Important: You can see the Cathedral's page without having your own facebook account; you just can't write on it.

Twitter: What is it? Twitter is a cross between a text message and a blog, and was originally called a "microblog". Messages are limited to 140 characters and may be sent on line or through phone texts.

What's it good for? Quick status updates, breaking news. Very immediate

What's it not? Not good for a conversation, not good for seeing all your friends in one place. Transient.

Basics Like Facebook, you go to and set up an account. You can then tweet at will from your computer or your phone. If you use your computer, you might want to use free software that organizes tweets for you in a nice interface; I like Tweetdeck.

There are two ways to see other people's tweets. One is to follow a person directly, by finding their username (these are sometimes preceded by an @ sign, as in @username) and registering to follow them. This means anything they tweet will be sent to your account.

The other way is to follow tweets that are based on a topic. Topics are marked by so-called hashtags which people include in their tweets, in the format #topic. During the political unrest in Iran, for example, the demonstrators used the hashtag #IranElection to keep each other informed. People at last summer's TEC general convention tweeted the votes from the hall with the hashtag #ecgc (that's still being used for general church discussions); the current Prop8 trial is being tweeted from the courtroom with #prop8, which gives a live public transcription of the proceedings. There's no rule to topic hashtags; as events happen, people eventually coalesce around one and use it repeatedly. Twitter is particularly useful for breaking news because it's immediate and unfiltered.

If you see a tweet that you like, and want to share it with YOUR followers, you can retweet it (RT). This spreads tweets further than their original distribution.

The Cathedral on Twitter: You can follow the Cathedral under the username StPaulCathedral . There are lots of Episcopal hashtags of interest; check out #episcopalianbecause , which you can see here . Important You don't have to have a twitter account to see tweets; you only need an account if you want to post your own tweets.

This should be enough information to get you started. You will find there is cross-talk between Cathedral entries on Facebook and twitter, and there are frequent links to the blog from both. Why not post a comment here to let us know what you think? Or, if you have any questions, post them and we'll try to help! Just remember, in Chris Harris's words, these digital aids are meant to be doors into the community, and to foster connections and friendships IRL (in real life): a tool, rather than an end to themselves. Happy tweeting/FB/blogging, and we'll see you at church!

Update 6/13/2014
Blogs on Blogger and Wordpress are still going strong, Facebook and Twitter are still going strong.  There are now numerous other forms of social media including Tumblr mini-blogs, image sharing sites like Instagram and Snapchat, and bulletin boards like Pinterist.  Our Dean encourages us to tweet the "takeaway" from sermons, and on 6/29/14 the Episcopal Church will celebrate Social Media Sunday with the tags #SMSunday and #Epsicopal.  Call it digital evangelism.  What are your preferred forms of social media today?

Susan Forsburg is the blogmaster

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Where is God in the Haitian Earthquake?

Fr. Frank Logue, Vicar of King of Peace Episcopal Church in Kingsland, Georgia, shares this video reflection in response to the question "Where is God in the earthquake?"

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Jerusalem the Golden, and the Sisters in Haiti

What has our beloved hymn “Jerusalem the Golden”, #624, got to do with the earthquake in Haiti? The words were translated from a 12th century text by Bernard of Cluny by an invalid Church of England priest, John Mason Neale, in the mid 1800s whose other passion was caring for the poor elderly and children. To help him, he founded a religious order for women in 1855 known as the Sisters of St. Margaret.

Since 1927 the Episcopal Sisters of St. Margaret have had a convent and ministry in Haiti. They are best known for their work at the school in Port-au-Prince they founded and another they began for handicapped children. In the 1970s they started the only Haitian youth symphony orchestra which was later brought to the famous Tanglewood summer music camp through friends at the Boston Symphony and funds the sisters raised. Their Order came to the United States from England in 1873 to run Children’s Hospital, Boston less than twenty years after it was founded. The mother house of the order is in Boston and if any remember the classic children’s book, “Make Way for Ducklings,” the nuns in the story and illustrations are our Sisters of St. Margaret.

Sadly, today, the convent of St. Margaret in Haiti is destroyed as are the schools for the handicapped and other students. The Sisters were found safe as refugees with hundreds of others in the football field of St. Pierre College. Danger is nothing new to these nuns. I remember other Sisters telling us stories of dodging bullets during revolutions in previous decades since the convent and schools are near the Presidential Palace in Port-au-Prince. Sister Marjorie Raphael said once, “We would have to crawl beneath the windows to avoid the gunfire.” These are brave and courageous women who have a long term commitment of faithful service to the needs of the children and elderly of our church in Haiti.

There is now an urgent appeal for funds for their work to continue. You can contribute via their website. They also recommend donations to Episcopal Relief and Development or Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)

I’ve known about the work of the Sisters of St. Margaret for many years. As a life professed monk for fifty years I’ve come to know many members of our religious Orders. From 1982 until 1988 I was President of the Conference of Anglican Religious Orders in the Americas. Canon Barnabas Hunt and I always attended the annual meetings and other gatherings of the conference. The late Sister Ann Marie, SSM was Secretary of the Conference during one of my terms and we worked closely together on a number of projects. I’ve known Marjorie Raphael since the 70s. I gave the Sisters of St. Margaret their long retreat in 1988 at their place in Duxbury, Mass. There may be many communities, but really only one religious life in the Episcopal Church. We are an extended family.

Rev. Andrew Rank is a Canon of the Cathedral

Pictures from the website showing the convent before the earthquake, and Sr. Marie Margaret, Sr. Marjorie Raphael and Sr. Kethia.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Presiding Bishop video on Haiti crisis

Episcopal Relief and Development is already on the ground in Haiti. Donate to their efforts at .

More info on church eforts from from Episcopal LIfe Online.

The Episcopal Cafe asks, where is God in the Earthquake?

Lauren Stanley, Episcopal Missionary to Haiti, was in the US at the time of the earthquake. Her blog, Go Into the World, is an excellent source of information.

More news from Haiti, and what you can do

Bart Smoot forwards this from Maison de Naissance
Dear Friends:

We continue to hear devastating news from Haiti. You have reached out to us by sharing your concern, asking how to help, and seeking updates on MN and our cherished family and friends. Thank you for keeping MN and Haiti in the forefront of your thoughts. Please share this message with others who want to help during this unparalleled tragedy.

Our Haiti staff report that our facility, staff, and those we serve are still safe. However, they are bracing for the awesome challenges that lie ahead.

We need your financial support to maintain our daily operations. Medications, fuel, supplies and food - already difficult to obtain in Haiti - are becoming scarce. Prices for these essentials will skyrocket in the coming days, and they will become increasingly difficult to obtain. We must attempt to stay stocked and prepared, so we may continue to care for the mothers and babies who need our programs and services. Contributions to MN may be made on our web site at or mailed to our office (Maison de Naissance Foundation | 6247 Brookside Blvd, Suite 224 | Kansas City | MO | 64113).

There is also a significant need for financial support of emergency relief efforts in Haiti: food, water, shelter and medical services provided by trained volunteers and professionals. We suggest supporting organizations that are on the ground and poised to assist with these immediate relief efforts in and around Port au Prince:

American Red Cross:
Episcopal Relief and Development:
Partners in Health:

In response to your requests for updates, we offer the following blog We ask everyone to use the 'comment' feature to post their updates, questions, thoughts, and concerns. Maintaining this dialogue in a centralized location will allow easy and efficient access to multiple sources and ease e-mailbox congestion. MN will continue to add meaningful posts as we have more concrete updates to share.

Haiti needs you. MN needs you. There are countless ways to help, and we thank you for considering the options we have shared above. Thank you for your thoughts, prayers, and contributions, and for sharing this message. Let us be guided by Haiti's motto: L'union fait la force - unity is strength.
Staying Strong,
Your Friends at Maison de Naissance

Thursday, January 14, 2010

A prayer for Haiti

Dear Friends,

I share with you the sense of loss and sadness at the devastation in Haiti. As the pictures and stories from that region continue to come in, the need for all people of faith to come together to offer aid, assistance, and prayers becomes increasingly clear. Many of us in the St. Paul's community feel a particularly personal connection to the people of Haiti though our missionary work led by Dr. Bart Smoot.
Sunday, January 13 at 5pm, there will be a special Evensong with Bishop Mathes preaching, dedicated to all those affected by the earthquake in Haiti and how we can respond. Our local representatives from Episcopal Relief and Development (ERD) will be on hand.

You can support Haiti financially through our partnership with ERD. There is no organization in Haiti better situated than ERD to provide direct aid on the ground. (Simply write "Haiti Response" in the memo line of your check, or go to the ERD website here for more information and to send your support online).

Finally, it is important to remember that even in the midst of devastation, God is very much present. Please join me in prayer for those affected by the Earthquake in Haiti...

God of the present moment,
God who in Jesus stills the storm
and soothes the frantic heart;
bring hope and courage to all those affected by the earthquake in Haiti
as they wait in uncertainty.
Bring hope that you will make them the equal
of whatever lies ahead.
Bring them courage to endure what cannot be avoided,
for your will is health and wholeness;
you are God and we need you,
and thank-you for your enduring faithfulness.

God's peace,

(The Very Reverend) Scott E. Richardson, Dean

The Episcopal Church in Haiti, Our Largest Diocese

With between 100,000-150,000 baptized members and 168 congregations, The Episcopal Church in Haiti is the larger than any in North America (and part of the reason why ERD is so well positioned to head up relief efforts).

Read more about The Episcopal Church of Haiti here and here. View a video message from the Presiding Bishop and President of Episcopal Relief & Development.

Here is an update from the Sisters of St. Margaret (thanks to Canon Rank)
January 13, 2010
My Sisters and Brothers:

Following yesterday’s devastating earthquake in Haiti, I want to share with you what we know of the situation, particularly as people connected to our diocesan community are affected.

Early reports indicate terrible damage, with Holy Trinity Cathedral in Port au Prince and Bishop Jean Zache Duracin’s home there destroyed. The convent of the Sisters of St. Margaret also is gone. We do know that Bishop Duracin and his wife are safe, and the Sisters of St. Margaret here in Boston have heard through a reliable secondhand source that their three sisters, Sister Marie Margaret, Sister Marjorie Raphael and Sister Marie Therese, are alive. We have an unconfirmed report that Jude Harmon, a postulant from our diocese who is serving in-country as a Young Adult Service Corps volunteer, is OK; we are waiting for verification from the Episcopal Church’s mission personnel office.

We also are in the process of contacting parishes in our diocese with known mission relationships in Haiti to extend our concern and gather more information.

The best help we can give right now is to direct our donations to either the Sisters of St. Margaret here in Boston or through Episcopal Relief and Development. Their Web sites and address information appear at the end of this message.

Please know how much our prayers are needed. An unfathomable catastrophe like this in a place that has already known so much hardship really does have us questioning God at the deepest levels of our faith. Yet we must know that God is more present to suffering than any of us could ever possibly be, and that as we are willing to take on the suffering of others, whether through our prayer, our donations or our service, we join God in God’s compassionate presence.

FOR MORE INFO: The Society of St. Margaret, 17 Highland Park Street, Boston, MA 02119. For updates and more information about the sisters’ work in Haiti, go to and click on the “Haiti” page link.

Episcopal Relief and Development: Donate online at or call 800-334-7626, ext. 5129. Donations can be mailed to Episcopal Relief and Development, PO Box 7058, Merrifield, VA 22116-7058. (Please put “Haiti Fund” in the memo line of all checks.) Also, Episcopal Relief and Development is producing a bulletin insert that will be available online.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

A Time to Pay Forward

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
As night falls upon Port au Prince on the second night of suffering, we continue to pray for those most affected. Across the nation and around the world, caring people are moving to help in a host of different ways.

The people of the Diocese of San Diego remember well the gifts that we received after the 2007 Wildfires. It is now time for us to pay forward that gift. I would encourage you to pray and give. You can make a gift to Episcopal Relief and Development to support recovery in Haiti by going to this site: Episcopal Relief & Development - Home

Many of you have contacted our office today asking about Suzi Holding’s daughter, Mallory. We have not yet heard from Mallory or received any news. Your prayers are cherished at this moment.

Finally, our Cathedral will be holding an Evensong with special prayers for the people of Haiti on Sunday, January 17th at 5 p.m.

The Rt. Rev. James R. Mathes
Bishop of San Diego

St. Paul's to offer Evensong in Support of Haiti

This Sunday at 5pm, January 17th St. Paul's opens it's doors to the community for a special Evensong for Haiti. Bishop Mathes will join us for this prayer service dedicated to all those affected by the earthquake in Haiti and how we can respond. Our local representatives from Episcopal Relief and Development (ERD) will be on hand.

Photo from the CBC

Maison de Naissance Update

This was forwarded by Dr. Bart Smoot from Maison de Naissance, the birthing center in Haiti supported by members St. Paul's...

Dear Friends of Maison de Naissance,

Late this afternoon, a 7.0 + earthquake struck Haiti approximately 10 miles west of the capital city Port au Prince.

We write to reassure you that we have made contact with our staff at Maison de Naissance in Larnage, which is approximately 100 miles west of Port au Prince. Our staff and facility are safe!

To our current knowledge, the effects of the earthquake were minor in our area of service compared to the damage sustained in Port au Prince. There was shaking and creaking, but we are not aware of life threatening injuries or severe damage.

While we are grateful that our birthing home and staff are safe at this time, please remember that our staff has many family members and friends - and we have many friends - in the affected area. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.

Please feel free to share this information with others who have their hearts and minds with Maison de Naissance.

Again, we want to reassure you that our facility and staff are safe.

If you would like to follow further earthquake news and developments, we encourage you to visit and search Haiti Earthquake or refer to a news source of your choice.


Your Friends at the Maison de Naissance Foundation

The Maison de Naissance Foundation
Delivering Healthy Mothers and Healthy Babies in Haiti

Earthquake in Haiti; update

Information about the devastating earthquake can be found at The Lead at Episcopal Cafe, here. This is being regularly updated and is an excellent source.

Resource and relief information is also at the LA Times.

Episcopal Relief and Development is routing financial support through its Haiti fund to help with rescue and relief efforts. The Diocese of Haiti is the largest (by population) in the Episcopal church. Hold the people of Haiti in your prayers.

Picture from LA Times

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Simpler living ministry:welcome!


My name is Grace van Thillo and I’m a member of St. Paul’s Simpler Living Ministry, assisting the committee by gathering creation care and eco-justice resources that we can put into prayer and practice across our St. Paul’s community, home and city. Our group met initially in response to last year’s study of Michael Schut’s book, Simpler Living, Compassionate Life. We’re striving to follow Christ’s call to live more simply, and to deal with environmental degradation and rampant consumerism through the daily choices we make.

For me personally that means looking at time, talent and money differently; and realizing that social justice is completely intertwined with economic and ecological justice. During the 35 years I worked with children, families and educators, we connected many ecology activities with social science and moral/ethical development; and now thanks to finding God’s goodness with St. Paul’s community, I try to listen with my heart and as the CA Diocese Environment Commission suggests: “The way each person looks at the world and makes daily choices determines how we as a whole affect the earth.”

Although we drive a distance to reach St. Paul’s and our family, the other days of the week we drive very little. Every two weeks my neighbor and I share a Community Sustainable Agriculture (CSA) basket of organic fruits and vegetables grown nearby. We’re eating less meat and only buy the eggs of organically-raised free-range hens. The eggs cost more; so we eat fewer of them! We’re also saving water and energy at home, and praying for our global leaders’ wisdom at the present Copenhagen Summit on Climate Change.

At last summer’s General Convention, The Episcopal Church affirmed a resolution to become a signatory of the Genesis Covenant, “an expression of the unity of the world's religious communities facing a shared crisis.” The church is making a public commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from every facility it maintains by a minimum of 50% within ten years.

I hope you will join us in this effort. Our Simpler Living Ministry welcomes you, and you can check out the ministry. We hope to see or hear from you soon!

Sincerely, Grace

TIme for a new year's resolution? Look for the Simpler Living table after Sunday services!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Epiphany Cake

Epiphany babies are twice blessed. They don’t get quite the attention as kids born on Christmas, nor do they get as lost in the intensity of Christmas celebrations. Epiphany kids grow up knowing the wise men bring gifts to the baby Jesus and that is part of the Gospel around the feast of the Epiphany, so it is hard to miss an Epiphany birthday.

Canon Barnabas Hunt is an Epiphany baby and we always try to be at the noon Mass on Epiphany. This year was no exception. Others were there, too. The noon Eucharist at the cathedral is something special. It breaks the hectic pace of life at midday with the breaking of bread and blessing of wine in the quiet presence of our beautiful cathedral. It is as if each day the Gospel comes to life at noon and Jesus says 'Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.'" Mark 6:30-31 (NIV).

On Epiphany this year about twenty of us gathered for a special Eucharist marking Epiphany. Canon Alden Franklin celebrated. Our Sub-Dean Allisyn Thomas assisted. The ever present Canon Verger, Brooks Mason was chief acolyte and Canon Chris Harris was Thurifer, so the chapel was filled with sweet incense. It was a holy time. Noonday Masses don’t last long. From the time the bell rings in the narthex summoning the faithful until the dismissal is about a half hour.

Epiphany is about showing Christ to the gentiles. As we left the chapel and walked passed the transept, saying goodbye to the celebrant, we were greeted by one of our long time cathedral members, who was also at the communion service, and so began the second breaking of bread, near the pulpit. Today would have been her late husband’s birthday, too. She came to Mass to remember him and celebrate their many years together. A few of us remained to join her as she took out some fruit cake and shortbread, paper plates and plastic forks on a temporary table that was left from another event. We all knew her and him. We knew where they sat every Sunday and the faithful ministry they did as members of the parish family. He loved baking epiphany cake that contain three little crowns symbolic of the three Kings. She showed us one of the last pictures of her beloved as we shared stories together while the pale light of the afternoon January sun filtered through the stained glass windows.

Those who stayed had other places to go and other things to do, but it was a day of giving gifts and showing Christ to each other and in that precious moment that’s what we did.

Rev. Andrew Rank is a Canon of the Cathedral.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Christian Condescension or Christian Appreciation? FOX News, Tiger Woods & Dean Richardson this past Sunday.

This past Sunday saw two very striking contrasts regarding how Christians view other religions and religious traditions. Brit Hume on FOX News Sunday, in the context of advising Tiger Woods no less, made it clear what he thought about Tiger's (alleged) Buddhist beliefs as they relate to Brit Hume's version of Christianity. In short: You need to trade up!

Here's the exchange:

Brit was later dressed down by MSNBC's Keith Olbermann on Countdown...

One of the criticisms brought up on MSNBC is, "where are the moderate Christians at times like this?" To them I say, look no further than our very own Dean Scott Richardson, who at the very same moment, was offering a completely different view about Christian Appreciation for other Religious Traditions. If you missed the 9am Forum - catch it here (give it a minute to load):

Do you have friends that are hunrgry for spiritual connection but skeptical of Christianity thanks to constant exposure to the he so-called "Christian right" in the media? Have faith and forward this link under the heading - There really ARE thoughtful, open-minded, Christians out there! And then invite them to join you this Sunday at St. Paul's! :)

Chris Harris is Canon for Congregational Development at St. Paul's Episcopal Cathedral. You can reach him at

What is an Episcopalian? Jeff's story

Last year I decided to attend the "What is an Episcopalian" class at Saint Paul's Cathedral. It was a major commitment as the class runs about 6 weeks and I travel A LOT for my job. Still, I felt confident I could arrange my schedule so I could attend every Wednesday night from late January through early April. The class is designed to prepare interested persons for Baptisms that occur over the Easter Holiday weekend.

Backing up a little, 1-1/2 years earlier I had met my partner, who was attending St. Mark's Episcopal in Seattle. Having been raised a Catholic and then spending a few years in a fundamentalist church, I was ready for something different that would satisfy my spiritual needs but also be tolerant of many diverse lifestyles. When we moved to San Diego, I knew St. Paul's would be the place to be. I thought the class might be a place for lots of answers; you know, like what doctrines I should believe, what is right and wrong. Instead, I found the class provoked more questions than it answered, but I didn't mind!

We went through the history of the Anglican Communion. We talked about early Christians and the creeds and where they came from. We talked about the history of the Episcopal church in America. We talked about the role of Scripture, Tradition, and Reason in the Episcopal faith. We even prepared and delivered our own Eucharist by all participating in the service in differing capacities. Talk about having a new respect for something that happens every Sunday, seemingly effortlessly! I finally learned the being an Episcopalian was about people with somewhat diverse beliefs coming together because we share a common form of worship, a common Book of Prayer, and a common desire to help others in the community as Christ would do if he were here in the flesh today.

So, though many of my "questions" went unanswered, I felt satisfied that I learned what I needed to. The class is starting up again this January. If you're even remotely thinking about doing it, jump in, you'll really enjoy the experience. And you'll meet a lot of people who have some of the same questions you do!

Jeff Bates

What is an Episcopalian? begins Weds, Jan 13. This fellowship and shared learning experience also serves as preparation for those interested in Baptism, Confirmation, Reception or for those who want to Reaffirm their commitment to ministry in Christ. All are always welcome. Register with the Rev. Canon Allisyn Thomas (619) 298-7261 x333 or

Sunday, January 3, 2010

What is an Episcopalian? Samantha's story

Although I wasn’t baptized until I was 6 (my parents lived in an area with only a Catholic and a Presbyterian church), I am basically a “cradle Episcopalian.” From the age of 6 to about19, I attended church, was an acolyte, confirmed at the age of 11, and served at the Christmas Midnight Mass every year. Over time, I fell away from the church, as I got busy at University, questioned my beliefs, etc. I spent 20 years away thinking about God, where I fit in the universe, man’s inhumanity to man, while never losing the basic ethical code instilled from childhood.

An interesting thing happened about 2 years ago – I started thinking about going back to church at the same time that my adopted brother (met in college, loved by me and my entire family) was having a deep spiritual experience that eventually led him to the Episcopal church. One day we were talking and it came up that he was interested in attending services; he had done some research to find an appropriate parish and we wound up at St Paul’s. We eventually both signed up for the “What is an Episcopalian?” class. For him it provided the background and history of the church, but for me it provided the opportunity to come back with the open eyes of an adult. Throughout my youth, church had been something to be done - go, serve, no thought required. Coming to the church as an adult is a very different experience and the class was a good refresher, and a great way to meet people at St Paul’s. I had thought it would be mostly people who are new to both St Paul’s and the church, but found quite a few people who had been here for quite awhile before attending class, and a couple who were also cradle Episcopalians.

I learned about St Paul’s at the class – that it was okay to not believe exactly as stated, that everyone has some differences of faith. Taking this journey with my brother has made it very special to me, and watching him be baptized was a deeply moving experience.

Samantha Tweeten

What is an Episcopalian? begins Weds, Jan 13. This fellowship and shared learning experience also serves as preparation for those interested in Baptism, Confirmation, Reception or for those who want to Reaffirm their commitment to ministry in Christ. All are always welcome. Register with the Rev. Canon Allisyn Thomas (619) 298-7261 x333 or