Cow Hollow Church News
The Episcopal Church of Saint Mary the Virgin
Joining an Amazing Congregation
The Very Rev. Dr. Donald Brown, Interim Rector
Thank you, St. Mary’s community, for so graciously welcoming the Rev. Dr. Deborah White, the Rev. Edward E. “Ted” Thompson, and me into your amazing congregation. Please know that your graciousness means a great deal to each of us.
The three of us had only crossed paths slightly before being called to share interim responsibilities as your vestry and search committee work toward calling a new rector. Some people have asked: how can the parish afford to pay for three more clergy salaries? The answer is that we are splitting what would have been the salary of one full‐ time interim. Why three clergy?
The Church Pension Fund limits the amount of money I can earn as a retired priest so we decided to do a “call share.” As interim rector, I am working half time and as interim pastors, Ted and Deb are a quarter time each. Already it is clear that the various gifts each of us brings to ministry will be beneficial to St. Mary’s during this crucial time of transition.
In February, all three of us were present at most of the Sunday services so you could begin to get to know us: but from March onward, Ted and Deb will be present on about two Sundays a month, and I’ll be with you most Sundays. We will all be sharing some of the priestly duties of services and pastoral care weekly.
Since the end of November, your associate rector has pretty much carried the priestly and administrative responsibilities for St. Mary’s on her own. As you know, Claire has done so with grace, courage, and aplomb that is nothing short of amazing for a newly ordained priest. With three of us joining her in shepherding this very active parish, Claire will have the opportunity to actually take days off again and enjoy her young family in ways that have not been possible for several months.
In this year, the 125th anniversary of St. Mary’s founding, much will be happening, enabling us to celebrate the noble and sometimes tumultuous history of St. Mary’s. You’ll find more information about some of the events that are coming our way in this edition of the Cow Hollow Church News (see page 18).
There is a hymn in the 1982 Hymnal of the Episcopal Church that declares, “God is working his purpose out as year proceeds to year.” In our 125 years of seeking to know God and live God’s saving grace in the world around us, we will gain insights into the march of the Spirit here at Steiner and Union Streets in San Francisco. It’s going to be a year of learning and spiritual growth in which we will surely be surprised by joy, and we will delight in the life we share at St. Mary’s.
News of Note from the Sr. Warden Jim Griffith
Transition at St. Mary the Virgin When Scott Richardson departed as rector on December 31, 2015, the Episcopal Church of St. Mary the Virgin experienced a change in leadership and entered a period of transition. “Change is the outward and visible event that happens. Transition is the inward emotional, psychological, mental, and spiritual response to change,” according to Transition: A Time of Discernment and Calling, a set of guidelines prepared by the Diocese of California. “Congregations are always in transition since their members move, die, leave, and (we hope) new members arrive.” When a rector leaves a congregation, ministry is not put “on hold” until the new priest is called. As our Book of Common Prayer tells us, “The ministers of the Church are lay persons, bishops, priests and deacons.” Ministry continues while the process of calling a new rector unfolds. The time that elapses between the departure of one rector
and the arrival of another can vary greatly. Transition can continue for up to a year after a new rector arrives. It begins with calling an interim rector and establishing a search committee. The average length of a traditional search process is 20 months. It is the goal of your vestry to shorten this time period. We have called the Very Rev. Dr. Donald Brown to be our interim rector; assisted by interim pastors the Rev. Dr. Deborah White and the Rev. Edward “Ted” Thompson (see profiles on pages 12 to 16). We expect to have a search committee for the new rector in place by March 1. Here are some facts about clergy transitions in the Episcopal Church, according to our diocese: Who is in charge of a parish during a transition? The canons give oversight to the bishop; in addition, the canons give the wardens and vestry enhanced responsibilities during clergy leadership transitions. In particular, the wardens may take on many of the management responsibilities held by the rector. Once the interim rector is in place, sacramental, liturgical, and pastoral care are the duties of the interim.
The first meeting of the 2016 vestry convened in the Study following the Annual Meeting on January 31. Liz Paxton was elected Junior Warden and Creighton Reed was appointed vestry member to serve on the Parish Profile and Search Committee. Back row L‐R: Creighton Reed, Rick Darwin, Jeff Landry, Ronald Clark, Junior Warden Liz Paxton, and Senior Warden Jim Griffith. Front row, L‐R: Rob Vanneman, Donna Davidson, Martha Daetwyler, The Rev. Claire Dietrich Ranna, Jane Cook, Ruth Tatum, and Roulhac Austin. Page 2
The Episcopal Church of St. Mary the Virgin
What is the role of the interim? The particular responsibility includes staff supervision, oversight of the worship and ministries of the parish, preaching, celebrating the Eucharist and other sacraments, and other agreed‐ upon duties. The interim is not involved with the search process for a new rector, although she or he may appropriately provide consultation and advice about parish discernment leading to a parish profile. The interim reports to the vestry and to the bishop. May the interim be a candidate for rector? No interim is allowed to be a candidate for rector. What should happen during the interim’s tenure? Interims in the Diocese of California have received special training that prepares them to provide the unique clergy leadership for a successful transition. Although each interim will approach this ministry differently, the interim is expected to help congregations in clarifying their goals, their purpose, and direction. Interims are trained “diagnosticians” – they help the parish to analyze what is working well and how it can be strengthened; and what is not working well and what should be done about it. They are, in other words, congregational development consultants. What are other responsibilities of the vestry during the transition? The vestry has some particular responsibilities unique to the transition. The vestry is the legal agent for the parish in all matters concerning its corporate property and its relationship with the interim rector. The vestry will see that the interim rector is properly supported: personally, organizationally, and financially. The most important responsibility of the vestry is to elect a new rector for the parish. This important privilege and responsibility is begun through the appointment of a search committee. The committee is responsible for conducting a parish discernment process and the initial identification of candidates for rector. Cow Hollow Church News
How is the search committee selected? The vestry appoints the search committee. It is expected that the committee will comprise between nine and twelve parishioners. Collectively, the people appointed must be able to oversee an excellent and thorough parish self‐study, and conduct the first phases of a search for the new rector. Once the vestry appoints the committee, the vestry is no longer involved until the finalists are presented. Frequent reports will be given to the vestry by the co‐chairs. What is the purpose of the search committee? An abbreviated outline of the work of the committee is: to pray and work toward discerning where God is calling the parish and its leadership to conduct an accurate and engaging congregational self‐study to evaluate and screen clergy candidates to recommend final candidates to the vestry Throughout the months of this work, the committee will consider much information that will need to be held in confidence; confidentiality is an essential aspect of the ministry of the committee. What is a congregational self‐study and profile? One of the greatest opportunities for discernment and growth is in the congregational self‐study. In reality, this study is more than just a collection of the parish’s history, its present, and its desires for the future. The best self‐study will be outwardly‐ directed: how is the parish serving its communities, its area, and the world? What are our strengths for ministry and mission? What are our weaknesses? Where is God calling us? What is the evaluation process for rector? The parish profile is the basis for evaluating applicants. Evaluations will be done after each stage of the discernment process: 1) written applications, 2) telephone or Skype interview, 3) in‐person interviews, and 4) reference checks. Spring 2016
Sunday School News
somewhere at home are reminders to say at least one prayer a day using the words of spiritual Nancy Clark, Sunday School Co‐Director author Anne Lamott’s three essential prayers: “Wow, Help, Thanks.” A mini‐collection of In the Sunday School section of the last Cow Hollow prayers accompanies each rock, though Church News we did a virtual “Back to School spontaneous home‐grown prayers are always Night‐Meet the Teachers” introduction to this encouraged. year’s team of Sunday School teachers. You will recall that it was a very impressive group of clever, The Heifer materials are designed to heighten engaged, energetic volunteers, fully committed to awareness of the plight of struggling families all the hours they devote each week guiding our over the world. With a focus on children in their spiritual combating poverty and hunger by formation. They are great, no providing food and income‐ question, but here’s the important producing animals to message to parents: it is YOU, impoverished families around the without doubt, who are in the world, the work and goals of starring role as teachers in the lives Heifer International are of your children. You know that, comprehensible even to very of course, though in the press of young children. The idea that a juggling schedules, driving relatively small amount of money carpools, grocery shopping, can buy a flock of chickens, a trio cooking, making lunches ‐‐ and on and on — it is easy to forget that you Lives are changed forever by the of rabbits, or a goat — and thereby are teachers, all the time, in all that provide both hope and income to a gift of a Heifer sheep. you do. It’s true that we never know struggling family — is appealing exactly when children are observing, interpreting, and inspiring to children. Parents, we hope you and learning; nor when they are listening, or what will use the Heifer calendar — upbeat, child‐ friendly, positive — to guide your children to a they are taking in, or choosing to model. We hope deeper appreciation of the gifts and comforts of they will remember and recall our best selves, our best words and actions. their own lives. At the same time, they make small donations, “gifts of concern,” for other children and Parents, you are bringing your children to church other families. and Sunday School, an important step in showing a commitment to spirituality, faith‐based living, and Bottom line: parents, in this season of Lent, be teachers. Guide your children on a path of concern for the well being of others. spirituality, empathy, and generosity. What can you do at home? Because a child’s spirituality is to a large extent Youth Group Mission Trip held in family relationships and interactions, what you do at home matters enormously. In this season Mike Stafford, Director of Youth Programs of Lent, we offer Sunday School activities to promote spirituality, generosity, and empathy. The This year’s Youth Mission Trip will be to the children themselves become conduits, coming Nambale Magnet School in Western Kenya, from home from Sunday School with a Prayer Rock, a June 15 to 30. The Youth Mission Trip is an annual collection of prayers, a Heifer calendar, and an ‘ark’ service trip taken by St. Mary’s teens. Trips like this collection box. The Prayer Rocks, individually truly help our teens better understand their role as decorated and wrapped, and then put on display Christians in a world in need of light and love.
The Episcopal Church of St. Mary the Virgin
Ashes To Go Natalie Hala and the Rev. Tim Smith
Both the barista and the manager of the Coffee Roastery requested and received ashes. A GenXer On Ash Wednesday, Verger Natalie Hala handed asked Tim to pose with him for a selfie to send to out leaflets about Lent and St. Mary’s, while his mother to show her he received ashes. Several Associate Rector Claire Ranna and Deacon Tim mothers with babies or children stopped and asked Smith distributed ashes to about 50 people in the for ashes for themselves and their babies. The course of an hour on the corner of Fillmore and “Ashes to Go” (www.ashestogo.org) movement is Union Streets. That’s spreading one person a minute. nationwide. Joining The first ever St. with other churches Mary’s Ash on the first day of Wednesday outreach Lent, St. Mary’s was a joyous, provided a enriching experience contemporary for all concerned. The moment of grace in driver of a Muni bus the midst of the stopped and got out bustle of daily life. to receive ashes. Leading a joyous and enriching experience: left to right, Verger Natalie Hala, Associate Rector Claire Ranna, and Deacon Tim Smith
Tim responding to request for ashes
Claire giving ashes to a Muni Bus driver
Cow Hollow Church News
Annual Meeting 2016
number of pledges at this time of year but also the highest pledge amount ever! She thanked her Co‐ Chair Jory Sandusky and announced that he would chair Stewardship in 2016.
Anne Kieve, Former Senior Warden On January 31, Senior Warden Jim Griffith called the Annual Meeting to order, welcoming Bishop Planned Giving and Major Gifts Marc Andrus and the Very Rev. Donald Brown Jane Cook, Chair of Planned and Major Gifts, who will serve as interim rector. Associate Rector reported that there were three major gifts this year. Claire led us in prayer and we sang “O God Our Stressing the importance of these gifts to St. Mary’s Help in Ages Past.” In keeping with tradition, because they are often used for major capital Claire, with improvements, Deacons she cited that Nancy one such gift Bryan and helped finance Tim Smith, the solar panel read the 150 project. Later names of the in the meeting, faithful Treasurer Betty departed. Hood‐Gibson said this After project was on establishing target to save there was a $10,000 yearly quorum, Jim in electric proposed bills. Leading the Annual Meeting, left to right: Junior Warden Belle McBride, Bishop Marc the slates of Andrus, Senior Warden Jim Griffith, and Associate Rector Claire Dietrich Ranna Planned incoming giving will vestry nominees and diocesan and deanery be a focus of the 125th anniversary celebration. delegates. Roulhac Austin, Ron Clark, Martha Finance Reports Daetwyler, and Ruth Tatum were elected to serve Betty Hood‐Gibson, Treasurer, gave the financial on the vestry, class of 2019. The seven seats of report for Stephen Koch, Finance Chair. The diocesan and deanery delegates were filled by operating expenses in 2015 totaled $1,094,523, Alisa Quint, Gretchen Lintner, David Crosson, ending the Steven Currier, Fred Martin, Carl Zachrisson, year with a and Roulhac Austin. For both elections the vote surplus of was unanimous and there were no nominations $1960. The from the floor. budget was balanced Stewardship even though Stewardship Co‐Chair, Roulhac Austin, gave a the heartfelt thank you to the parish saying, “You investment are the most awesome, generous and transfer committed people I have ever been privileged from the to be associated with.” As of January 31, 271 endowment pledges had been received for a total of $900,700 marking not only the greatest Page 6
Treasurer Betty Hood‐Gibson reporting on finance The Episcopal Church of St. Mary the Virgin
right means being socially just and meeting physical needs. Doing right means treating people with kindness and compassion in everyday life and attending to their spiritual needs.” He said this will be the mantra as we move forward. The three want to be available to us. Because they will all be working part time and have different hours, Carla will have their schedules, and appointments can be made through her. He did make one request: “Please wear your nametags.” Senior Warden’s Report Giving the Senior Warden’s Report, Jim thanked the outgoing vestry members, Annie Morse and Stephen Koch, and Junior Warden Belle McBride for their service. He mentioned that there are many others to thank. “A proper thank you,” he said, “would take all afternoon.” He did single out Nancy Clothier, who stepped down as Recording Secretary for the vestry, a post she filled with dedication and discretion for 14 years. She, too, got a well‐deserved standing ovation. Bishop Andrus then introduced the interim team who, he said, “will support Jim spoke of St. Mary’s as Nancy Clothier was honored for 14 years and work with your fantastic Associate a source of personal as the vestry’s Recording Secretary. Rector.” This immediately prompted a inspiration. standing ovation for Claire. He “Incorporated May 9th, 1891, this little church on continued that he has tremendous trust in these the corner of Union and Steiner has played an three people. Each will be part‐time and each will important part in San Francisco history. It has been bring different skills and experiences to the job. The the place of worship for some of the most esteemed interim rector is the Very Rev. Donald Brown, citizens in San Francisco. But most importantly, it is assisted by the Rev. Edward “Ted” Thompson and a place where families gather, priests congregate, the Rev. Dr. Deborah White. (See page 12 for and groups pray.” He thanked the “amazing group profiles of the team.) of clergy and tireless volunteers” before announcing that he will serve another year as Interim Rector Don Brown spoke for the team Senior Warden because of the transition. A seat saying it is an honor for all three to be called to this became available in the class of 2017 when Kristin position, even though the circumstances are not Glunt moved away in June, and it remained what anyone would have wished for. Quoting from unfilled. He is looking forward to the 125th a recent reading, “In the Future Church, being right anniversary celebrations. will be less important than doing right. Sure, being was below the customary 5 percent because stewardship pledges were up $21,000 over 2014. Looking ahead, the 2016 budget will be $1,174,958, an increase of 7 percent, covered partly by stewardship, but also requiring the endowment draw to go up. Some notable increasing expenses are under Worship and Ministry. Of that $31,000 increase, $23,000 will cover the expense of the new rector search. The remainder will cover the diocesan recommended cost of living salary increases and rising health insurance costs. The cost of the interim clergy is about the same as the rector’s single salary. Under Outreach Ministry, the Diocesan Assessment will increase by 8.2 percent (this assessment is based on a percentage of overall income). “St. Mary’s always does an excellent job of keeping expenses low and under control,” said Betty, and she added, “We have no debt!” Interim Progress Report Jim Griffith was happy to announce that a team of three will be serving St. Mary’s during this interim. “Why three? Because we are very special!” he said.
Cow Hollow Church News
Associate Rector’s Report The Parish Retreat, which took 70 people to the Bishop’s Ranch. A joyful time of prayer “A year ago this morning marked my return from and relaxation. I’ll never forget sitting maternity leave” began Claire. “And what a year it around the campfire with people in their has been,” she declared, eliciting a big laugh. 80s and children running around singing songs and eating s’mores. Referring to the many plans being made for the The Pentecost Picnic that was led by Mike 125th anniversary celebrations, Claire stressed the Stafford and the Youth Group. importance of reflecting upon the past as integral to a celebration. She cautioned, “We risk We said goodbye to the evening service. impoverishing ourselves if we do not also reflect on We also said goodbye to Rev. Hannah who we are and how we came to this moment so Cornthwaite, our transitional deacon who that we can have a joyful celebration of who we went off to serve at a church in Beijing, are.” Then she shared her reflections of 2015, a list China where she is thriving. of impressive accomplishments of the parish, Summer calling it, “a snapshot of what I’ve noticed over this Over the summer we welcomed Tim Smith past year including some significant hellos and home. He was goodbyes.” sponsored by St. Mary’s Winter/Spring and is now back as Deacon Tim. Welcoming me back Twenty two people were meant saying goodbye to confirmed. Kathleen Bean who had The energized Summer‐ served as Pastoral in‐the‐City Adult Associate. She continued formation program as chair of Adult averaged over 50 people Formation through the each week. spring. We are thrilled We tried alternative that she has just been summer liturgies at our approved to postulancy ten o’clock service. in the Episcopal Church. Interim Rector Don Brown spoke for Significant improvements A very festive Mardi Gras the interim clergy team. were made to our campus. dinner hosted by our LGBT group. I just want to mention the things that happened Russell Fudge, stepped down as coordinator of the Lay Eucharistic Ministry along the way that hardly ever get noticed: and our intrepid Verger Natalie Hala All the wonderful people and things stepped up to fill his shoes. that go into our Sunday morning A delicious Maundy Thursday dinner liturgies. The Cow Hollow Church News put prepared by our Young Adult Group, together by Sandra Gary. which now is almost 80 in number. The incredible Candlelight Concerts The incredible performance of St. John’s The ballooning of our outreach. Passion put on by Chip and our choir and volunteer choir that moved us through our efforts, in programs, hours, and campus. boots on the ground participation. Easter: an incredible morning. Thirty five baptisms; four weddings; nine people laid to rest. Page 8
The Episcopal Church of St. Mary the Virgin
soul. I said then, that I am/was certain, that as St. Mary’s heads into its 125th year, it will be bigger, healthier, stronger, and even more vibrant than it is today. Over the past few weeks, I have felt certain that is the direction we are headed.
We had a glorious homecoming Sunday. Hosting 150‐plus young people, our Sunday School is definitely the largest in the city and in our diocese. We launched Small Groups which 28 people How do we get there? We sing “O God Our Help in signed up for. Ages Past” at the Annual Meeting every year. We We welcomed Christie Flemming, our also sing it throughout the year whenever it is seminarian. appropriate. Interestingly, I remember the last time We dedicated the solar panels. we sang this hymn was November 15, Scott’s last We said goodbye to the Associate Director Sunday here — although we did not know that of Music, Steve Repasky. then. We had a joyful celebration of Thanksgiving. We’ll sing this again in January Soon thereafter, we found 2017, and there will have been out that Scott would be more hellos and more goodbyes. leaving us. I’ll say more We will be different then, as we are about that in a moment, but every year. We’re not going to rush first: the grieving or the healing, but I We commissioned a am absolutely confident that there wonderful group of will be much to celebrate in all that volunteers for a new is to come, and God will be our ministry with the San help in this and every age. It has Francisco Food Bank. been my tremendous honor and We had a beautiful and big privilege to serve you. Christmas celebration. Bishop Marc Andrus joined We had the most successful Bishop Marc Andrus our Annual Meeting. Outreach Grant Fundraising The Bishop began his remarks by program in history. referring to the recent Primates Meeting in We had the most successful pledge Canterbury, England. The Bishop noted, “We are a campaign in history. different church, the Episcopal Church, than most I know that I missed some things, so please forgive of the communion which are our brothers and me. This is just a glimpse into the life of the church. sisters. We are more and more with the country in
And now, as we come into our 125th anniversary year, I promise there are going to be a plethora of options and ways we are going to be celebrating this year (see story on page 18). Pretty soon there will be signs all around making it clear this is sure to be a busy year. We welcome our Interim Rector and Interim Pastors. We will soon welcome our new Associate Director of Music. I shared in my sermon on January 3rd, just before Epiphany, that I felt a tremendous stirring in my Cow Hollow Church News
which we are imbedded...We elect our bishops, we call all our clergy, and we have a democratic process of lay people that help people discern.”
“Along with this come ideas about how we handle all kinds of conflict and misconduct. We’ve learned as a church from sad examples in other churches and within our own, how to do a better job of caring for individuals and congregations and communities when there has been pain and suffering and misconduct. That goes within the structure of what it means to be a more evolved and democratic Church.” Spring 2016
Acknowledging that Title IV remains a very complicated set of canons, Bishop Andrus said that nevertheless it is an improvement. ”We are a better church, a safer church because of the processes of Title IV.”
His presence at the Annual Meeting was not to answer questions, but to clarify those Title IV processes as they applied to Scott Richardson’s departure (see story on page 20). ”I want to assure you of a few things,” he said. “Primarily I want to assure you that deep pastoral care was taken with everyone involved: the complainants and Scott and Mary. There were hundreds of hours spent with them, and I mean Scott as well.”
“I want to promise you, and assure you that in everything you know I have done, Scott was consulted and agreed to,” he said. “That includes the letter I sent to you and the final accord. He accepted and agreed to it. Nothing was imposed on him, and there were options that were different than deposition. But, in the end, that was the path not only that I chose, but that Scott chose.”
He noted that the Title IV process has, “a certain opacity about it” and some facts will not be revealed for the protection of all individuals involved. “No one wants to increase the victimhood of people who have been hurt,” he said.
He named and thanked other important participants and contributors to the process at the diocesan level, and thanked our vestry, saying, “You have an incredible group of lay leaders. We have [all] worked very, very hard to serve you and the complainants and Scott and Mary, as well. I think we have done a good job.”
2015 Annual Report For those who did not attend the Annual Meeting, copies of the 2015 Annual Report are available in the narthex of the church and on the homepage of our website, www.smvsf.org.
“We will move forward,” he continued. “You are already moving forward, but moving forward doesn’t mean forgetting. I think we can all acknowledge the many fine things Scott did in ministry in a brief time here. He has helped St. Mary the Virgin, and I am not going to take back my gratitude for that service. So, he goes with my blessing, my prayers, and Mary as well. And you have my continued blessing and prayers as we move forward.” The bishop does not expect this interim to be long. In closing, he stressed that the diocese is a family, and our family of member churches love us, and are praying for us. Jim Griffith again warmly thanked Junior Warden Belle McBride, presenting her with roses. Then he closed Annual Meeting 2016. A question and answer session was not on the agenda and did not occur. Following the hymn, “Be thou my Vision,” Bishop Andrus led us in the closing prayer, and the meeting was adjourned to a wonderful brunch served in the Great Room.
Seeking Meaning and Belonging Will Long, Lenten Series Co‐Chair, with Ray Hahn and the Rev. Claire Dietrich Ranna Continuing on Mondays March 7 and 14 Simple soup supper at 6:00; program at 6:30 p.m. In the Great Room On February 15th, 35 people gathered for the first meeting of a five‐week Lenten Series on seeking meaning and belonging. It was a congenial and lively introduction to a serious topic that encouraged open dialogue leading to new connections. We hope this first meeting sent participants off looking forward to returning every Monday evening through March 14th. The series is designed for all parishioners who are looking to build a close community and renewed belonging to The Episcopal Church of St. Mary the Virgin
St. Mary’s. It explores the costs and promises of belonging, what holds us back in our search for deeper connections, and how to find meaning in our lives.
to the seasons of the church calendar, including Advent, Epiphany, and Lent.
We chose the topic of belonging, to explore: what does it mean to belong? In looking at belongings,
Lenten Series participants seeking meaning and belonging with Will Long (far left) and Ray Hahn (far right)
Led by the Rev. Claire Dietrich Ranna, Ray Hahn and myself, Will Long, the series uses a format of facilitated discussion moving through topics progressively, rather than lectures. Since each class builds on the last, attendance at all sessions is encouraged, but you can join at any time. We start out expressing our own experiences and examine our responses to issues and concerns. With authenticity and curiosity, we share our spiritual journeys and consider how our stories are reflected in the Christian story. We explore the ways in which we seek and sometimes fail to connect to ourselves and others.
Ray and I joined St. Mary’s in 2014, bringing an experiential approach to adult formation from our former parish in Washington, DC, where we were involved with Christian education since 1996. Together with the Rev. Claire, we have planned this class using methodology developed by the Rev. Charles Penniman of the St. Louis Christian Education Center. He takes an approach based on our ability to learn about ourselves and deepen our connections to others and to God through exploring a series of stages that roughly correspond
Cow Hollow Church News
we can consider two types: belongings that come with birth, such as family, culture, and orientation; and belongings that are chosen later in life, such as friends, clubs, teams, and church. We explore some of the issues we face when the attempts that we make to live authentically come under challenge.
Using the Penniman approach, we’ll explore our behavioral values (the values we act upon; the way we function every day in the real world) as distinct from our ideal values (the values we intend to have, or believe we hold). We’ll do this mainly through small and large group discussions, with some role playing and other ways of communicating.
The primary goal of this series is to foster a sense of belonging and commitment to St. Mary’s. We’ve found that through sharing our own experiences and deepest concerns, empathy and intimacy are likely to grow as class members engage in small group and plenary discussions. We hope to encourage an atmosphere that allows for levity as well as serious expression; to be able to talk freely about faith, questioning as well as embracing it; and exploring what really matters. We hope to see you all there! Spring 2016
Meet the “Trinterim” Sandra Gary, Editor of the Cow Hollow Church News
At our Annual Meeting, Bishop Marc Andrus introduced the three‐person clergy team who will be leading St. Mary’s through our transition. The Very Rev. Dr. Donald G. Brown, retired Dean of Trinity Cathedral in Sacramento, will be the interim rector, offering, Bishop Marc said, “a practical, wise pastor with a sense of humor.” He is joined by two interim pastors. The Rev. Edward E. “Ted” Thompson offers skills in process, “helping parishes move forward when rectors have left under difficult and confusing circumstances,” said Bishop Marc. The Rev. Dr. Deborah White brings a
cooking. Over 800 house guests have stayed a single night, or as long as three months. They have opened their home to more than 200 events benefiting non‐profit organizations.
Captivated by bicycling, Don spends three days a week training on his white Specialized Roubaix road bike with black lettering. This coming June will mark his seventh year participating in the San Francisco AIDS Foundation Life Cycle fundraising ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles. “At my age, I have to train a lot to be able to ride 545 miles,” he says. Don’s considerable energies have allowed time for him to also take on leadership positions with various non‐ profit groups throughout his career in ministry. In wealth of experience in Longview, Washington, he Our interim clergy team: (left to right) Interim Pastor clinical psychology. “She served as Chair of the Ted Thompson, Interim Rector Don Brown, and has been very recently Community Action Interim Pastor Deb White ordained,” said Bishop Program, a government Marc, “but has been active in lay leadership for effort to generate jobs. In Sacramento, he was a many years and served on the executive council of board member of Planned Parenthood when it the diocese.” Don Brown, applying his quick wit, became the largest chapter in the country. “I felt invented the term “trinterim” to characterize the good about the work we were doing,” he says, team, which is an innovation in interim ministry in “because Planned Parenthood is a huge resource to the diocese. mostly poor women for women’s health. That’s an important thing.” Currently Don serves on the The Very Rev. Dr. Donald G. Brown board of Willamette University in Salem, Oregon Since his retirement in 2005 after 18 years as the from which he graduated in the class of 1968. “I Dean of Trinity Cathedral in Sacramento, Don have a soft spot for it,” Don says of his alma mater. Brown has developed considerable skill in gourmet “It’s the place that really launched my life.” cooking, a love for road biking, and has accomplished a major project. With his wife Carol Carol Anne Smullin Brown has established her Anne Don has restored a historic 1928 Julia Morgan own career in the non‐profit world, serving for 20 house in Berkeley that has proved to be a perfect years as Executive Director of the Smullin place to cook and to entertain. He confects his Foundation, her family’s fund. It makes grants in favorite peach dessert, enjoys cooking California northern California and southern Oregon for cuisine, makes fabulous vegetarian entrees, and higher education, health education, and the “Father Brown’s Heavenly Flank Steak,” says Carol Episcopal Church. Daughter Meredith and son Anne. As many as 34 guests, often clergy, enjoy his Kevin are directors. Page 12
The Episcopal Church of St. Mary the Virgin
Meredith and Kevin are, “two kids of whom I’m very proud,” says Don. Both were undergraduates at Stanford and then earned advanced degrees. Son Kevin has a Master’s degree in philosophy and Arabic studies and a PhD from the University of London and now works in Berlin, Germany. Meredith earned a PhD from the Courtauld Institute of Art in London. She now works as a research associate at the Metropolitan Museum in New York. She met her husband at an Epiphany party. That her husband has just been ordained an Episcopal priest is a source of family pride and delight. On January 29, Meredith gave birth to the Browns’ first grandchild, Martha Anne. “One of my excitements in life right now is having a grandchild,” he effuses.
to declare, “The cathedral became the conscience of the community.” Pleased, Don says, “I took that to be a really high compliment not only to me but to the whole congregation. That was a good run.”
So why is he coming out of an active retirement to take on the job of interim at St. Mary’s? “I knew that this was a place in need and I liked the people I met here,” he says. After five months of consulting at Grace Cathedral, he was well known to the staff there. “The bishop really wanted me to do this and so I said yes,” Don explains. “I thought, well maybe I have another gig left in me.”
But not a full time gig. “Because I have a busy life and I do all this cycling,” he reveals, “I said I can only do this for 20 hours a week.” So Bishop Marc’s staff secured two other During his 45‐year career in priests, Ted and Deb, to form ministry, Don has held a three‐person team. leadership positions at every “Because of their particular level of the Episcopal Church skills, Ted’s in process and and the Anglican Deb’s in her therapeutic Communion. One of his most background, it seems like an important involvements was ideal team,” says Don. St. acting as Chair of the Council Mary’s vestry and the bishop of Advice to the Anglican wanted to be sure that it was Observer at the United clear that he was the one in Nations during the late 1990s charge, even if he wasn’t and early 2000s, a position here all the time. “I’m not the overseen by the Archbishop kind of guy who shies away of Canterbury. Perks from being in charge, so I can Captivated by cycling, Don Brown with his included trips to London. “I Specialized Roubaix bicycle do that even if I’m here 20 got to explore Lambeth hours a week,” he says. “Of Palace and chat with the course, the truth is any clergy person who’s Archbishop and others as we oversaw the work of working in a thriving congregation never works the Anglican Communion at the U.N.,” he says. just 40 hours a week. So I anticipate and already am doing far more than 20 hours a week.” Parish work for Don has been “really fun.” An evangelist at heart, he says, “One of the highlights Known for his wisdom, kindness, and practical of ministry for me, is that every place I’ve been, the intelligence, Don makes friends wherever he goes. congregation has grown dramatically.” In 18 years One family of St. Mary’s parishioners, Maureen, in Sacramento, average Sunday attendance at Michael, and Seda Josephine Perry, have known Trinity Cathedral grew from 250 to close to 700. He the Browns “for a thousand years” through is also proud that the cathedral was deeply Michael’s father. They predict that, “his gifts of involved in all kinds of activities working for social pastoral care and community building will be a change in the community. This led one parishioner Cow Hollow Church News
great presence and encouragement for us.” And also that, “Carol Anne’s presence will help to balance out his bad puns and jokes.”
memory came back when she was in discernment, and writing a spiritual autobiography. “I was standing behind the altar in the childrenʹs chapel in the basement of St. Johnʹs church with my hands up. I realized thatʹs what I was supposed to be doing,” she says, recognizing a genuine call to ministry. The spirit of her father, who had wanted to be a priest and died when she was nine, stayed very present with her, she relates, throughout her discernment and ordination this past December.
What would Don like parishioners to get from the presence of the “trinterim” of Don, Deb, and Ted? “When it’s all said and done,” he says, “what I hope will happen during the interim period is that people will heal from their woundedness, those who are wounded, move beyond their Before she came to that moment bewilderment, and of realization, Deb lived out her faith and depended on it begin focusing on the consistently. She served as head mission of this church. Sacristan as an undergraduate at And we can do that in a Trinity College (Episcopal) in way that everybody Deb White enjoying family time with daughter Katie, Hartford, Connecticut where feels valued and son Nicholas, husband Gary Spenik, and dog Riptide she graduated in the class of respected, and 1987. Each of the seven times she moved to a new especially early on, they’ll come to understand that, in fact, in good Anglican style, the way this breach city with her Coast Guard husband, she of trust and boundaries was handled, was handled assiduously sought the comfort of the red, white, and blue sign proclaiming, “The Episcopal Church as well as could be handled under the Welcomes You.” In her parishes, she took on circumstances, so that nobody was further responsible lay positions, such as a member of a victimized. Once we’ve moved beyond this, I hope profile and search committee and vestryperson. we’re going to have a great 125th year celebration; we’ll find our involvement in ministry both in the As she crisscrossed the country, she pursued a parish and in the larger community reinvigorated; career in journalism as a DJ, news reporter, news and people will be ready to go and be what this director, and talk show host before trading in church has been for much of its life – a place of reporting about people in distress for helping to hope and change.” make their lives better. “I was finding people who The Rev. Dr. Deborah White had tragedies in their lives and sticking a microphone in their faces and trying to get them to When Deb White was in fourth grade, she fully experienced what it means to be a cradle talk,” she says, when she realized, “what I should Episcopalian. Her father, a Lay Eucharistic have been doing was trying to figure out how I Minister, taught her Sunday School class at St. could help them.” So she became a social worker Johnʹs church in Stamford Connecticut. One day, at (with an MSW from the University of Maryland), the childrenʹs altar, she wanted to play the role of and helped homeless people in Baltimore. Then she the priest. At first her father said she couldnʹt earned a PhD from Alliant University in clinical because she was a girl. After she begged that she psychology and helped make life better for inmates would do a better job than any of the boys in her at the federal prison in Dublin and in the California class, he relented and let her play the role. The (Correctional) Medical Facility in Vacaville. Page 14
The Episcopal Church of St. Mary the Virgin
She also found time to raise two children, daughter Katie, 16, and son Nicholas, 14, with Gary Spenik, her husband of 27 years.
“A lay person whoʹs been in the Church for 30 years may know a lot more about some parts of leading a church than a new green priest,” she says of her situation as a new green priest. “I get that it’s kind of weird that this church which has had such eminent clergy now has as one of its “trinterim,” a brand‐spanking‐new priest,ʺ she says. “But we do talk about how lay people are valued and just as important as clergy, and I hope that people see my lay experience as valuable.” She is the only one of the interim team to have received formal training to serve as interim clergy. In addition to her work at St. Mary’s, she will continue to serve part‐time at St. Clementʹs in Berkeley.
How did the concept of a three‐person interim team strike her? At first it was, “Wild,” she says. “Sort of nutty. I think we had the same reaction as many people in the parish. It took a while to get our heads around what the bishop was thinking.” Then it began to make sense. Part of the concern was that Claire not burn out, she explains. “Everybody here who loves her would hate to see her burn out. I could tell by the way people stood up for Claire in the annual meeting.”
As part of her contribution to the parish, Deb would like the people of St. Maryʹs to feel hopeful. “St. Maryʹs is a resilient, loving community,” she observes. “There are generations of amazing people who have been a part of St. Maryʹs.” As she experienced the standing ovation for Claire, she was drawn in. ʺRight there my heart went out to these people,” she says “They do what youʹre supposed to do in church — they say, ‘you walked in the door, you’re our family now, and weʹre going to take care of you.’ People here clearly take care of one another. I want people to know that I want to be a part of taking care of one another.”
The Rev. Edward E. “Ted” Thompson Raised in Maryland in a non‐religious home, Ted Thompson grew up a religious skeptic. In high school he played sports and began an avocation in the performing arts. He started with singing and theater, then later added ballet, modern, and even a bit of West African dance at Williams College (class of 1985). There, he majored in English and grounded himself broadly in the physical sciences, aiming to apply to medical school. He also began to explore spirituality and says he found himself, “awakened to faith in God and Christ.” He was eventually baptized and joined the local American Baptist church.
Ted was admitted to medical school, but wrestled with that Part of the reasoning for a team was direction. The son of a doctor, he practical: there werenʹt enough realized he was not called to qualified interim priests to fill the practice medicine. He also found need in the diocese. Seventeen of the himself “drawn to an East Asian 84 congregations of the diocese are religious aesthetic.” So after currently in transition. “None of us college he spent nearly two years Mediation expert Ted Thompson was begging for work,” says Deb. in rural Japan teaching for an “The bishop thought very American Baptist school and college. There, he deliberately about what he perceived the need to be began to wonder if the American Baptist tradition at St. Maryʹs. He wanted people with the capacity was right for him. It was not. Back in the U.S., after to listen and hopefully to help with healing,” she exposure to Anglicanism during some months in says. “Because we were coming here not after England, he discovered his spiritual home in the someone left to answer another call, but after what Episcopal Church. He found a fit with Episcopal can be viewed as a betrayal of some magnitude.” theology as well as a resonance with his love and
Cow Hollow Church News
training in classical music and choral singing. “I got a sense of openness to question,” he relates. “Openness to the questions that we have as human beings about God and about faith, rather than just being given fairly simple answers.”
been punctuated with one‐month assignments in Egypt and China. She held a longer posting at national headquarters while Ted was pursuing his studies at George Mason, as a Fellow of the Episcopal Church Foundation.
He decided to pursue his love of Japanese language and literature during two years of graduate work in Asian Studies at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. There, Ted also entered discernment with the parish of St. Andrew’s about whether to go to seminary – not necessarily to be ordained, but to work out his questions. Seminary at Church Divinity School of the Pacific (CDSP) was the next step. After CDSP, Ted served at Holy Trinity, Menlo Park for two years. Upon ordination to the priesthood in 1997, he was then called to serve as vicar of Christ Church, Sei Ko Kai in San Francisco. Subsequently, from 2002 to 2009, he served first as a long‐term interim, then rector of Christ Church, Alameda.
At George Mason, Ted received broad education and training in conflict analysis and resolution and focused his work on religious communities. “How can we be effective partners in peacemaking with Muslims?” he asks. “How can we be effective with our Jewish brothers and sisters? How do we as The Episcopal Church work effectively with non‐ religious entities?” He is only a dissertation away from his PhD from George Mason. Ted says that his studies have been, “the professionalization and globalization of the sense of walking up to the street corner with my son.”
While serving at Christ Church, he felt a different call – to ask a young FBI agent named Mary to marry him. They tied the knot in 2004, on the same day as Mary’s parents’ anniversary. In 2007 they adopted son William.
In 2009, he made a hard decision to leave parish ministry and pursue full time graduate studies at George Mason University’s School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution in Arlington, Virginia. One impetus came from becoming a father. As Ted and Mary raised their now 10‐year‐old son, Ted says, “I found that suddenly I cared about the next generation in a different way – the way I felt on guard for my two‐year‐old toddler to cross the street.” And that feeling galvanized Ted to seriously ponder how to make a safer world for the next generation. For him the question became “How can we, as Church, partner with others so our children don’t have to fight a religious war?”
The decision to pursue conflict resolution studies was in sync with his wife’s career as an FBI agent. She is now in management at divisional headquarters in San Francisco, but her career has Page 16
For now, Ted is putting to use his training in conflict mediation by serving our diocese in process development. What does that involve? “I work with congregations that are struggling with issues, difficult questions, or sometimes out‐and‐ out conflict issues related to structures and people,” he explains. “I will go in and try to help them figure out what’s going on and then develop a process of reconciliation and/or discernment to figure out what needs to happen next.”
What does he hope to give to St. Mary’s? “I’m a priest before being a specialist in difficult conversations,” he says. “For St. Mary’s I want to be, first, a trustworthy pastoral presence in all the ways priests hope to serve, and then someone who can help with those public conversations that have sensitive or difficult aspects.”
The Thompsons live in Alameda and relax by attending Little League games where William is an ace player, as well as professional baseball games. Each roots for a different team: William for his local Oakland A’s, Mary for the Giants of her native San Francisco, and Ted for his childhood home team, the Washington, DC Nationals. Well‐mediated debates ensue. The Episcopal Church of St. Mary the Virgin
Lenten Journey to Santa Barbara Kathleen Bean, Co‐Leader, with the Rev. Claire Ranna
For four days in February, a small group of St. Mary’s parishioners joined the Rev. Claire Dietrich Ranna and Kathleen Bean in Santa Barbara to share
When we weren’t in the chapel learning to chant the Psalms, we explored together the themes of darkness, brokenness, forgiveness, freedom, and faith. Who is Jesus, we asked, and how do we understand his death on the cross? We talked about the liberating power of forgiveness, and the challenges of both offering and receiving that gift. After wrestling with these and other great questions, we spent free time in the afternoon walking, exploring Santa Barbara, and soaking up the southern California sunshine (and a little welcome rain). It was a time of sharing our stories, heartaches, questions, and joys, making new friends, and drawing nearer to the Holy. It was a blessed way to begin the Lenten season. Join us next year!
On retreat in Santa Barbara: back row (l to r) Peter Hopkinson, Claire Johnston, the Rev. Claire Ranna, Nancy Clark, Anna Sylvester, Alisa Quint Fisher, and Barbara Addeo. Front row (l to r) Ann McBride Norton, Stephanie Lehman, Natasha Hopkinson, and Kathleen Bean. Photographer: Claire Johnston.
part of their Lenten journey in the welcoming company of the monks of Mount Calvary Monastery. Set in the hills above the ocean, their historic guest house and lovely gardens offer a peaceful setting for reflection and rest.
Our time together was gently governed by the rhythm of prayer and silence that characterizes monastic life. We were invited to join the monks in prayer at 6:00 a.m., 7:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m. (for Eucharist), 5:00 p.m., and 7:00 p.m., after which we entered the Great Silence, which extended through breakfast the next morning. Thus, the first words that we spoke when morning came were words of prayer. And because it was Lent, dinners with the monks were silent too! Far from feeling awkward, everyone appreciated the ease that came with not needing to fill every pause with words.
The Episcopal monks of Mt. Calvary are members of the Order of the Holy Cross and follow the rule of St. Benedict, so their ministry consists primarily of prayer and hospitality. They welcome visitors year round; for more information visit www.mount‐calvary.org.
Welcome Eric Choate St. Mary’s music staff is delighted to welcome Mr. Eric Choate as our new Associate Director of Music. A musician of many talents, he composes works for piano, chamber ensemble, symphonic works, voice, and choral music. He is the Collegiate Faculty and Conservatory Chorus Director at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, as well as the Assistant Conductor of the Berkeley Community Chorus and Orchestra. He also teaches Ear Training and Music Theory for the San Francisco Girls Chorus. And he sings baritone in the San Francisco Symphony Chorus and plays the “baritone” horn, a brass instrument also known as the Eric Choate is our new euphonium.
Associate Director of Music.
Cow Hollow Church News
From the Associate Rector The Rev. Claire Dietrich Ranna
Seeds of St. Mary’s Future
Founded in 1379, New College, Oxford is among the older Oxford colleges. Like the others, it has a massive and inviting dining hall with large oak beams – up to two square feet around and 45 feet long – running across the ceiling. Though I have never been there, the pictures I’ve seen bring to mind an only slightly less magical setting than the great hall in the Harry Potter movies, filmed in the banquet hall of Christ Church College, Oxford.
down through generations of foresters, always with the admonition: “You don’t cut them oaks. Them’s for the College Hall.” The foresight of the founders was providential, and new beams were produced from the trees destined for that purpose centuries ago.
This delightful story, popularized by Oxford anthropologist and philosopher Gregory Bateson, is a poignant reminder of our constant indebtedness to the generosity and foresight of those who came before us. It is, at the same time, a reminder of our obligations to those who are yet to come.
As we here at St. Mary’s begin celebrating our 125th anniversary, I’m daily At some point in the early reminded of how much of 20th century, the beams what we share at the corner were found to have been of Union and Steiner Streets overtaken by beetles. is a gift of those who came Apparently this is a very before us: the land on which common problem with oak the church stands, the beams in the U.K. This buildings designed and paid unfortunate discovery was for by former parishioners, reported to those charged the gardens, the art — the list with maintaining the goes on and on. Moreover, buildings and grounds though we each participate in with some dismay. Beams building community here as grand as those originally Grand beams top the banquet hall at Christ Church and we contribute to the life put in place almost 600 College, Oxford. of the parish, the spirit of St. years earlier were very Mary’s is also a legacy handed down to us. For hard to come by. Eventually, the College Forester example, we are a Church born out of a pre‐school, was brought in and asked if there might be any and our ongoing commitment to the spiritual oaks on the property that could be felled to enrichment and nourishment of youth and young produce new beams. Legend has it that the forester people continues to this day to be one of the took off his humble hat and said, “well, we were primary charisms – or spiritual gifts – of this wondering when you’d be asking about them.” parish. And our tradition of strong lay leadership The forester explained that when the college was has already served St. Mary’s well in our current founded, those who built it had anticipated the clergy transition. beams would eventually fail, and had planted a All of which raises the important, hopeful, and large grove of oaks to replace them when that exciting question: as we worship and serve moment came. This knowledge had been passed Page 18
The Episcopal Church of St. Mary the Virgin
together, walking in the way of our living and loving God, what legacy are we leaving to those who will come after us? When the “beams fail,” will they have something – a grove of trees, a depth of prayer, a financial gift, a sustaining spirit – to see them through?
Legacy Society Campaign
Look for the letter asking you to become a member of St. Mary’s’ Legacy Society. The Legacy Society Campaign is a central component of St. Maryʹs 125th Anniversary. Help us assure that your legacy lives on at St. Mary’s for the next 125 years.
A committee of thoughtful and talented members of St. Mary’s was convened months ago to help us reflect on our first 125 years, celebrate the community we enjoy today, and look with hope toward all that is to come. The 125th Anniversary Planning Committee includes Jane Cook, Sandra Gary, David Gibson, Betty Hood‐Gibson, Chip Grant, Jim Griffith, Colin Hogan, Marta Johnson, Mary Morganti, Carla Ocfemia, Jory Sandusky, and myself. Together, we have organized events and opportunities to explore in the coming year, and we welcome your feedback and suggestions.
I encourage you to participate fully in all that is ahead of us. May we each plant seeds for St. Mary’s future, even as we give thanks for and enjoy the fruits planted by those who came before.
April, 1891 St. Mary’s comes into union with Diocesan Convention as the 9th parish in San Francisco
April, 2016: Worshiping, Celebrating, and Learning Sunday, April 17 at 11:00 a.m. — Festive liturgy Saturday, April 23 – Parish‐wide celebration at the church, including a presentation about our courtyard mural May 9, 1891 Articles of Incorporation of St. Mary’s approved May, 2016: Springing Up Friday through Sunday, May 13 to 15 – Parish Retreat at the Bishop’s Ranch Sunday, May 22 – Candlelight Concert and events related to our freshwater spring
January and February, 2016: Launching Legacy campaign launches; signs and historical presentations produced March 3, 1891 The Episcopal Church of St. Mary the Virgin is approved as a parish by the Standing Committee of the Diocese of California
August, 2016: Feasting August 14 – The Feast of St. Mary the Virgin, with celebration of our gardens
September, 2016: Homecoming
March, 2016: Reflecting March 25 ‐ Good Friday Concert at 7:00 p.m., The Crucifixion (1888) March 27 ‐ Easter Sunday and Union Street Easter Fair
October 4, 1891 First services of worship held in Church
Cow Hollow Church News
June and July, 2016: Storytelling June 15 to 30 – Youth Mission trip to Western Kenya June 25 – Pink Saturday Service commemorating The Rev. Bill Barcus Sundays – Summer in the City explores our legacy in San Francisco
October through December, 2016: Rededicating and Giving Thanks Spring 2016
Parish Gathering About Scott Richardson’s Departure Sandra Gary with Maureen Perry and Debbie Veatch The vestry pledged transparency regarding the circumstances of Scott Richardson’s departure as our rector. And transparency was clearly delivered at a two‐and‐a‐half hour gathering of nearly 90 people in the Great Hall on February 21. The greatest impact came from a narrative by our Associate Rector Claire Dietrich Ranna of her personal experiences with Scott.
when Scott’s departure was first known, vestry members communicated frequently. The priority of the vestry at all times, during many, many phone conferences and meetings, was to be as clear and transparent as possible throughout the situation. They thought diocesan guidance was essential, as well as hiring an interim clergy team to lead, organize and facilitate this meeting. With intervening holidays, February 21 was the first sensible opportunity.
Liz talked about her personal struggle about just moving on as she had appreciated Scott’s gifts, reflecting sentiments of many Parishioners came parishioners. She knowing that Scott found Scott to be a had ended his gifted spiritual priesthood, leader and thought‐ agreeing to provoking preacher. deposition, the He was a highest level of compassionate and Discussing Scott Richardson’s departure: left to right, Junior censure a priest can helpful pastoral Warden Liz Paxton, Senior Warden Jim Griffith, the Very Rev. receive in the counselor for her on Donald Brown, the Rev. Edward “Ted” Thompson, and the Rev. Episcopal Church. Claire Dietrich Ranna. several occasions as The agreement she navigated some between Scott and Bishop Marc Andrus concluded of life’s challenges. She related that the meeting a Title IV investigation on three grounds. The three was designed for people to express a full range of Title IV canons that Bishop Marc Andrus cited in concerns, and offered some inspiring words. “We his letter to clergy which the vestry forwarded to will continue to hold up and celebrate all of St. parishioners, specify misconduct under several Mary’s many accomplishments and grow stronger categories, including “sexual misconduct,” as a parish family as a result of all this – painful as “misrepresentation,” and “any conduct it is,” she said. unbecoming a member of the clergy.” Then Senior Warden Jim Griffith told us it was Newly elevated Junior Warden Liz Paxton spoke difficult for the vestry to hold so much of the first, relating that no one signs up to be warden developments of the past few months in expecting a course of events like those the parish confidence. He praised last year’s Junior Warden, has experienced around Scott’s departure. She told Belle McBride, as a “rock star” for her part in us that the vestry heard parishioners’ concerns tirelessly navigating developments. He gave a about needing to have a public forum about what timeline for the communications we received. “We was going on, and struggled with when and how to know it’s hard to be on the receiving end of a arrange a gathering. Beginning in early December Page 20
The Episcopal Church of St. Mary the Virgin
changing line of communications,” Jim said. “We tried to get things out as soon as possible.” Jim also addressed a decision made when Scott was called to St. Mary’s three years ago. At the 13th hour in that process, he revealed, a few members of the Search Committee and the vestry learned of a Title IV complaint charged to Scott in San Diego. The individuals went to Bishop Marc. He confirmed that there had been a complaint but that after a thorough investigation, the complaint had been found to be meritless. Given this information, the small group did not pass this information on to other members of the Search Committee or vestry.
Then Claire spoke, disclosing that, last fall, after some troubling interactions with Scott, she filed the first of the Title IV complaints against him. Unable to disclose anything about the complaint or investigation until it was resolved, she continued to act as our priest while seeking outside support to process these events. “You lost your rector. I didn’t want you to lose your associate, too,” she said. She closed by explaining that she offered her story in the hope that, knowing more, we could all move on to wholeness and greater health, “led by God’s constant and abiding spirit.” It was a powerful moment. Interim Rector Don Brown spoke next about Title IV. He said that the canons, having been revised repeatedly, never seem to get everything just right. They are “intentionally not transparent,” he told us, deliberately putting together a process where opacity protects complainants.
Because Scott signed the accord, the Title IV process was shorter than it would otherwise have been. In a Church, removing a priest from ministry is the most serious action a bishop could possibly take. Don told us that if a priest violates Title IV canons, he violates his vows and the trust that every congregant puts in his priest – a very serious thing. “No matter what circumstances, the priest in a congregation always holds the power; and when that power is misused it has to be dealt with,” he said. “To sweep this under the rug is to invite a similar thing to happen again.” Cow Hollow Church News
A question and answer session followed, expertly moderated by Ted and Deb. Concerns revolved around timelines, knowledge of events, culpability, liability, and how this experience of betrayal will affect procedures that our upcoming search committee will use in questioning and choosing a new rector. Most notable was an outpouring of loving comments and concern for Claire. In thanking all for their kind support, Claire said, “The only reason that I am still here is that I love being your priest and want to continue. That’s the greatest gift you can give me.” Claire lauded the support of Canon Stefani Schatz and Bishop Marc Andrus. “I have felt very supported by them and that has meant a lot to me,” she said. Importantly, Claire told us that because she was our only priest for two months, she heard from a lot of people about how they were processing Scott’s departure. “If you said something to me that now, knowing I’m a complainant, you feel badly about – please don’t,” she said, gracefully. “I’m not angry or upset with you. I heard what you said as your priest, not as a complainant.” Then she added, “To that point, if you continue to want pastoral support surrounding Scott, there’s a very high likelihood that I will refer you to one of the other priests.” Later on, one participant spoke for many when she said, “I keep giving thanks that Claire had the strength and support to make the decisions she made. “ Several people praised the actions of the vestry in calling the meeting. Said one: “I’m really, really satisfied by Claire’s speech and the wardens and all of you. In a few minutes you’ve done a great job of taking a tremendous load off everybody’s mind.” A concern was raised about having a follow‐up annual meeting to allow questions and answers to discuss parish business unrelated to Scott’s departure, since we did not have that opportunity at the Annual Meeting (see story on page 6). The response of Jim and Don was positive; a forum
about parish finances and other business will be scheduled. Christopher Hayes, the diocesan Chancellor (lawyer), then spoke, addressing matters related to the processes of Title IV and other legal questions. Our clergy are professionals, like doctors and lawyers, except that those professions are licensed by the state while the clergy is licensed by the Church. Thus the Church is responsible for overseeing that clergy perform the moral and ethical duties for people they care for. Title IV governs what happens if they cross boundaries. Christopher described the response to Claire’s complaint. “When we received Claire’s complaint,” he said. “We dropped everything.” The diocese took proper procedures under Title IV, as well as under civil law, including removing Scott from St. Mary’s premises. A second formal complaint of similar nature came in within 24 hours of Claire’s. He told us that no report was made to secular authorities because the complaints and investigations did not disclose a public offense. The accord ending Title IV proceedings that Scott made was between himself and the Bishop. Scott made his own decision to announce his retirement before the accord was reached. Reaching an accord meant that a public hearing, which is one possible path of a Title IV process, would not take place. Scott received pastoral care while he was in San Francisco and says he now has a pastoral community to support him in Lompoc, his new home. He keeps his pension by law, and he retains a medical plan. The core of Title IV is not discipline; it is primarily about helping people who have been hurt, helping people get the pastoral care they need. “So if anyone else has a complaint, the Bishop’s office needs to hear it,” said Christopher. Discussion ensued regarding guidelines for our Search Committee in choosing a new rector. “I can tell you your Bishop’s office will be very involved Page 22
in your next search,” said Christopher. The law gives Churches the ability to ask potential clergy tough questions; all of our churches are required to use a background check. He told us that some years ago people at the diocese decided, “We vet everybody.” Liz Paxton, speaking as a member of the Search Committee that found Scott, told us that the committee did as much due diligence as they knew how to do. Liz thinks we will have no difficulty attracting a good rector. “This is an amazing Church,” she said. “We are 125 years strong and we do amazing things. We’ll get fabulous candidates.” Don Brown made concluding comments. “We called this meeting to get the truth out,” he said, “to share with you the circumstances that led to Scottʹs being deposed from the ordained ministry. Congregations that have the courage to do what St. Maryʹs has done in hearing and facing the truth, as hard as this has been on so many people here, are far less likely to have a recurrence of clergy misconduct in the future.” This parish gathering stands as an important moment in the life of St. Mary’s. Further conversations about the seriousness of the events and their far‐reaching ramifications will happen. Our interim clergy are ready and willing to assist us with any individual matters we may have regarding any aspect of Scott’s departure. Deb invited people to get to know the interims. You can reach Don at email@example.com, Ted at firstname.lastname@example.org, and Deb at email@example.com. Later, Kathleen Bean, who served as pastor for the Search Committee that called Scott, reflected on the meeting. “I truly believe God will help us move through this period with grace and come out stronger and deeper in our walk of faith as a community,” she said. “But boy, I wish we could have an easier time.”
The Episcopal Church of St. Mary the Virgin
HOLY WEEK & EASTER SUNDAY SCHEDULE Palm Sunday Holy Week begins with the blessing of the palms and Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem. Date: Sunday, March 20 Time: 8:00 a.m., 9:00 a.m., & 11:00 a.m.
Maundy Thursday A shared meal in the Great Room, followed by a service of foot washing and Eucharist in the church. Date: Thursday, March 24 Time: 6:00 p.m.
Good Friday Enter into somber contemplation of Jesus’ crucifixion and laying in the tomb. Date: Friday, March 25 Time: 12:00 p.m. Good Friday Service Church open for prayer until 3:00 p.m. Time: 7:00 p.m. The Crucifixion, by John Stainer
Great Vigil of Easter Come celebrate the dawning joy of Easter with a reimagined Vigil, including familiar elements like the new fire, and fresh ones such as a blessing of Easter baskets, and a children’s homily. Date: Saturday, March 26 Time: 5:00 p.m.
Easter Sunday Festive Eucharistic celebration with choral music and brass at the morning services. Be sure to arrive early to get your seat. Date: Sunday, March 27 Time: 8:00 a.m., 9:30 a.m., & 11:15 a.m.
Cow Hollow Church News
First Class Mail
2325 Union Street San Francisco, CA 94123‐3905 (415) 921‐3665 • www.smvsf.org
INSIDE… From the Interim Rector ... Cover Story Sr. Warden’s Letter............................ 2 Sunday School & Youth .................... 4 Ashes to Go ....................................... 5 Annual Meeting 2016 ......................... 6 Seeking Meaning & Belonging ....... 10 Meet the “Trinterim” ....................... 12 Lenten Journey to Santa Barbara . 17 Welcome Eric Choate ..................... 17 From the Associate Rector ............ 18 Parish Gathering About Scott Richardson’s Departure.......... 20 Schedule of Holy Week & Easter Sunday Services.......... 23
HIGHLIGHTS—SPRING - 2016 SUMMER SCHEDULE
Summer Schedule for Sunday Worship begins May 29 – Service times are 8:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m.
Also visit www.smvsf.org MEETINGS & MISCELLANY
Easter Flower Donations – deadline Tuesday, March 22 Deadline for the Summer 2016 Cow Hollow Church News – May 1. Please email articles to Inkyword@aol.com
SPIRITUALITY & PASTORAL CARE
Sunday morning services – at 8:00, 9:00 and 11:00 a.m. Holy Eucharist, Rite II – Wednesdays, in the chapel, at 7:00 a.m. Nursing Home Ministry – every 4th Sunday, Golden Gate Healthcare Center, 2707 Pine Street, at 1:30 p.m. Presidio Gate Ministry –2nd & 4th Mondays, 2770 Lombard Street, at 11:00 a.m. Pastoral Emergencies – A priest is always on call. To reach a member of the clergy, go to www.smvsf.org/pastoral-care
SAVE THESE DATES
Raphael House Ministry – First Monday of each month. Contact Alisa Quint Fisher at firstname.lastname@example.org Larkin Street Dinners at Edward II – 2nd and 4th Sundays each month. Contact Marta Johnson at email@example.com SF- Marin Food Bank – Every Thursday morning deliveries from church. Contact the Rev. Tim Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org
Lenten Series – Mondays continuing March 7 and 14, in the Great Room, at 6:00 p.m. Inquirer’s Day at the School for Deacons – Saturday, March 12, in Berkeley. Details and RSVP to Mary Hintz 510.204.0753; or see the school website www.sfd.edu Open Cathedral – Sunday, March 13, at Civic Center Plaza at Leavenworth and McAllister streets at 2:00 p.m. For information, contact the Rev. Nancy Bryan at 415.608.8777. Rebuilding Together – Saturday, April 30, all day. For details on volunteering or to sign up, contact David Sullivan at email@example.com Annual Parish Retreat at the Bishop’s Ranch – Friday – Sunday, May 13 – 15. For details, contact the Rev. Claire Ranna at firstname.lastname@example.org Candlelight Concert – Le Lai de la Fontaine sung by a women’s chamber ensemble – Sunday, May 22, in the church, at 5:00 p.m.