Cow Hollow Church News
The Episcopal Church of Saint Mary the Virgin
The Jesus Way of Life
The Rev. David Lyle Erickson, Rector
“I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” John 10:10
In the winter of 2004, my life radically changed while I was attending a youth ministry conference. At that time I was a volunteer youth minister at All Saints Episcopal Church in Beverly Hills, working at a restaurant to pay my bills, and pursuing my lifelong (at the ripe age of 27) dream of being an actor. A priest at the church saw the potential in me for ministry, and invited me to go to the conference.
The keynote speaker’s main talk was an unpacking of Jesus’ story of the prodigal son and how it related to following Jesus today. How the son, realizing his life in the distant land was an absolute mess, made the choice to return to his father and become his father’s slave. The speaker knew that many of us saw a life of ministry, while meaningful, as a life of drudgery, routine, boredom, of slavery. What the son discovers is that upon returning to his father, he is not accepted as a slave, rather he is celebrated as a child, a full partner and participant in the Kingdom of God. The speaker wanted us to understand that the Jesus way of life, while challenging, was not a life of drudgery, but a life of absolute possibility, of adventure and discovery. It is the life that leads to the fullness of life, for us, and for the world. It was in that room, among thousands of people, that my eyes were opened to the wonderful adventure that is the Jesus way of life, and I made the decision to pursue God’s invitation into ministry.
Unfortunately, many people believe, and the church has at times incorrectly proclaimed, that following Jesus, while altruistic, is boring and dull. My friends, that has not been my experience at all, and it will not be our experience either. Over the upcoming weeks, months, and years, we will be exploring the depth and nature of the Kingdom of God, and what it means to live into the fullness of our potential as partners and participants in that Kingdom, as God’s children and Christ’s disciples.
Now let me be clear, while this is the good life, the best life, it is not the easy life, and there will be sacrifice. But remember, the root of the word sacrifice simply means “to make holy.” In discovering who we are, we will need to let go of who we are not and be open to receiving God’s purpose for us in making all things new.
I am excited to be joining with you on this journey into Jesus’ abundant life, the life he promises us, always. Indeed, this is a journey, there will be twists and turns, pit stops and mountain tops, and we will become our best selves, individually and collectively, so that the world may know Christ’s love and grace and be transformed. Let’s begin!
News of Note from the Sr. Warden Roulhac Austin
The excitement around the courtyard has been palpable, growing exponentially since June 18th when we saw Fr. David Erickson on video accepting our call to be the new rector of our beloved Episcopal Church of St. Mary the Virgin. Then, on August 20th, we welcomed him, Heather, Gabriella and Jonathan into our parish family!
Between these dates, a flurry of volunteer activities paved the way to successfully welcome the Ericksons and help them settle in. This raises in me a profound sense of gratitude for our coming together as a community to welcome our new leader and his family.
Readying the rectory: (above) Donna Davidson and Allan Jergesen; (below) Tony Imhof
First order of business was the letter of agreement between the parish and David. Jeff Landry and Ron Clark were very helpful in the negotiations. Attorney and vestry member extraordinaire Allan Jergesen was instrumental in finalizing the contract.
We hosted two visits, one by David and one by Heather and Gabriella, to sort out schools: first grade for Gabriella and pre‐Kindergarten for Jonathan. Ron Clark offered encouragement to David as a fellow young father with school choice looming. Many thanks to Creighton Reed and family for hosting Heather and Gabriella for their two‐day trip to interview at several schools for Gabriella, and to visit the rectory, their new home.
It took a small, devoted, enthusiastic army to get the rectory ready after being vacant for two years. Steven Currier started the project with extensive work on the landscaping in the rear; Jim Griffith volunteered to help, and he claims Steve did it all himself! Thank them both, please. The house’s Page 2
major issue: a rotting back staircase that goes from the third floor to the ground. It’s a problem that falls under the vestry’s Buildings and Grounds responsibilities, a purview led by Rick Darwin. Parishioner Tony Imhof, a former head of Buildings and Grounds, and spouse of Assistant Treasurer Ellen McLean, agreed to be in charge of the situation. He enrolled parishioner and structural engineer Russell Fudge to inspect and recommend work. The details are gory: Did we need permits? Did we have to replace the entire staircase? In the end, we used a general contractor who completed the job on time and under budget ‐‐ and then went on to correctly configure the rectory’s laundry room – with John Addeo’s magnificent help. Rick organized a couple of deep cleaning parties. By no means in order of contribution, but these folks did the dirty work: Donna Davidson, Riley Haggin, Ellen McLean, Rick Darwin, Tony Imhof, David Sullivan, Rob Vanneman, Mike Stafford, and Allan Jergeson. Ellen deserves special kudos for extra vacuum trips and paint touch‐up. We also had the house power‐washed outside and the windows cleaned inside. For the detail oriented: two parishioners tested every light, the HVAC, and all appliances to assure everything was running smoothly. Debbie Veatch worked with Ron Clark to have some staples in the kitchen and IT’S‐IT ice cream in the freezer.
An enhanced courtyard coffee hour welcomed our new rector thanks to delicious edibles from Georgene Keeler, Debbie Veatch and many others.
We gave a lovely farewell to our Interim Rector Don Brown (see page 23). Thanks to Georgene Keeler who arranged for the gift and to all who contributed delicious refreshments. Sandra Gary, Nancy Clark, Pam Sauer, and Anne Williams contributed their talents to the occasion.
The Episcopal Church of St. Mary the Virgin
Sunday School News 0B
Nancy Clark, Sunday School Co‐Director As we look forward to the start of another Sunday School year, let us first look back to June of this year with St. Mary’s 2017 Confirmation Class as our guide. The students shown below, many of whom attended our Sunday School classes all through their elementary school years, were presented to the bishop for confirmation at Grace Cathedral by their teacher Phil Woodworth. Meanwhile, in these waning days of summer vacation we are organizing classrooms and materials and preparing to welcome pre‐school through confirmation‐aged children to Sunday School, which will start with registration and classes on September 10. No worries if your family can’t be there on opening day; registration is on‐
going, and class activities are light touch and always welcoming to newcomers. Our aim from Sunday to Sunday, all through the year, and in varying ways as children move through the grade levels is to bring our Sunday School children to full participation in the community life of St. Mary’s. Feeling at ease in the Sunday School classrooms, meeting children from other schools, learning a new prayer or two, hearing Bible stories, learning about saints and heroes, figuring out what we do in church and why we do those things, those are components of our Sunday School “curriculum.” In the weeks to come we will post the schedule for the first semester. As always, short descriptions of each Sunday’s lessons and activities will appear in the worship bulletin. As a preview, know that rousing Old Testament stories and lessons about daily life in Bible times will lead the way to the Bible Times Market, a favorite activity, coming to the Great Room on a Sunday in early November.
St. Mary’s sponsored 18 for confirmation at Grace Cathedral on June 3. The Very Rev. Lin Knight, back row left and confirmation class teacher Phil Woodworth, front row, right, led the group. Confirmands alphabetically: Ivy Armstrong, Christopher Bachmann, Gabrielle Baenen, Adeline Blaxter, Ben Boyden, Robert Darwin, Madeline Drda, Charlotte Glen, Caroline Hendrickson, Andrew Lehman, Georgina Maisto, Martin Matson, Spencer Robinson, Robert Tuller III, Mark Urdan, Margaret Veatch, Thomas Wells, Philip Woodworth. Photographer: the Rev. Paula Nesbitt. Cow Hollow Church News
Youth Mission Trip to Arkansas
revision to his ‘West Coast only’ future.” Significant highlights included touring Elvis Presley’s Graceland estate and enjoying festive Beale Street, complete with live music at B.B. King’s Blues Club.
Riley Haggin, Mission Trip Co‐leader
In June, a small but mighty group from St. Mary’s traveled to the South for our annual Youth Mission Trip. The focus of our trip was to serve the
We visited the National Civil Rights Museum at the site of the Lorraine Motel where Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. That night as we debriefed, we spoke of Dr. King’s sacrifice and what it means for us as Americans and as Christians. Dr. King wrote he would like someone to say of his life, “that Martin Luther King Jr. tried to give his life serving others...that I did try to feed the hungry...that I tried to love and serve humanity...I just want to leave a committed life behind.” We discussed how mission trips are one way for us to learn what a committed life looks like for each of us.
Mission trip group soaking up Southern culture and cuisine: left to right, Riley Haggin, Lizzy Hayashi, Mike Stafford, Mack Woodworth, and Ryan Darwin. Not pictured: Elsa Dierkhising.
community of Marvell, Arkansas, and experience a different side of American culture. During our ten‐ day trip we made many new friends, played countless games of cards, ate several pounds of fried food, listened to hours of Elvis and Delta Blues, consumed an embarrassing number of gummy bears and brought heartfelt joy to the people we encountered. Along the way, the four teens and two adults deepened our relationships with our group, our neighbors, and God.
We were fortunate to be able to start the trip with four days visiting Memphis as a small group before meeting up with the larger group from YouthWorks in Marvell. We also got to watch the thunderstorms from Tropical Storm Cindy from our condo balcony‐‐a rare experience for us Californians. Mission tripper Ryan Darwin noted that Memphis was making him consider “a Page 4
After attending Sunday services at Calvary Episcopal Church, we said goodbye to one of the teens on the trip who was mourning the death of a friend, and dove into the service portion of our trip. Now a group of three missioners and two adults, we traveled to Marvell to meet the YouthWorks staff, stopping at the Waffle House along the way. YouthWorks is a nationwide organization that brings together young people from different Christian communities through service projects. We met the other two churches we would be serving with for the week: a Lutheran group from Wisconsin and a Methodist group from Tennessee. Over the ensuing week, youth from all three churches bonded over evening worship, afternoon card games, and spontaneous dance parties, as well as work together.
Elsa embracing the lore of Graceland The Episcopal Church of St. Mary the Virgin
YouthWorks structured our days. Each morning began with devotionals, proceeded to service projects, and ended with an evening activity, large group worship, and individual church group reflection.
Mike, Ryan, and Lizzie spent most of their service working with local youth. In the morning they helped out at C3, a program that provides a safe space for kids to hang‐out, play, and get help on homework. The youth from St. Mary’s and Marvell connected over games of Four Square and basketball. Ryan even got a minor make‐over, getting his nails painted and his hair braided. In the
Ryan getting a minor makeover at C3
afternoons, they walked a few blocks to the local sports field to play football, basketball, and ultimate Frisbee. Mike proudly earned the nickname “Old School” for his contributions to the team. The common love of sports showed the similarities among the youth, but there were also key differences. Ryan got to know a young boy named Tudda who wants to be a corn farmer when he grows up, definitely not an ambition you’d hear from many kids in San Francisco.
had worked in transportation for the Marvell School District for several decades before going on disability. He grows a few cotton plants in an area that also produces feed corn and soybeans. Once cotton production became more profitable in China, Marvell’s population dramatically decreased. The graduating high school class has dropped from about 120 students to 18. Mr. Lee spoke nostalgically about Marvell’s once‐thriving Main Street. It was pretty shocking to realize the town now has only a gas station and two dollar stores.
Throughout our service, the people of Marvell welcomed us with warm hospitality: dinners at local churches, warm interactions over sweet tea, and a community kick‐ball game. We wondered what the future looks like for Marvell and the many communities like it across the United States. This was a service trip in the US, but aspects of life in Marvell seemed almost foreign when compared to life in San Francisco. All of us agreed our experience in Marvell was life altering. Perhaps Mack said it best, “I feel like I have changed more in the last four days than in the past 14 years of my life.”
We are so grateful for the prayers and financial support from the people of St. Mary’s that allowed us to have this experience. Lizzy summed up the trip this way: “I have never met such motivated, energetic, and kind kids like the ones at Marvell. They each have so much to give to this world, Riley and Mack spent their mornings at the and have strong heads on Humane Society, providing much needed love their shoulders. These kids and care to abandoned dogs and cats. The donʹt care about the situation Humane Society’s three full‐time staff members they are in, but rather see a serve over 150 dogs and cats, so the pets get bright future, and that is walked and played with only when Mack elevating painting to a new level truly inspirational. As YouthWorks volunteers show up in the we head back to San summer. We spent afternoons painting Francisco, I know that I return a very different houses. Mr. Lee, a beneficiary of a house painting, person. I hope Iʹll have the opportunity to go back enjoyed sharing the history of Marvell. The to Marvell one day.” descendant of many generations in town, Mr. Lee Cow Hollow Church News
Alternative Liturgy 3B
Natalie Hala, St. Mary’s parish verger and liturgist
You Have to Learn the Rules to Break Them
Picasso said about creating art, “break the rules” to experience new voices that speak to us. This is the basic intent of adding alternative and special liturgies during the year. Summer liturgies, Creation Care, Pride Sunday, Independence Day, or other special services are intended to awaken your senses and deepen your participation in communal worship and hopefully, your personal spiritual life beyond Sunday morning.
Feminist theologian Mary E. Hunt describes liturgy as the act of designating the ordinary as a sacrament. She says, “to sacramentalize is to pay attention. It is what a community does when it names and claims What criteria are used to ordinary human select alternative liturgies for experience as holy, our summer months? It must connecting them with have a structure of service history and propelling from those faiths we are in them into the future.” communion with that align Here at St. Mary’s, we are Pride liturgy planning team members (above) left to with our theology, use committed to right: Steven Currier, Ray Hahn, and Gretchen descriptive language and Lintner; and (below) the Very Rev. Lin Knight. experiencing the breadth powerful imagery that is and depth of The Book of Additional planners: Will Long, Rob Noeller, the reflective of the culture, Rev. Dr. Paula Nesbitt, and Natalie Hala. Common Prayer tradition and contemporary life of its origin throughout the year, as well as exploring and of its people. The prayers must not be too alternative liturgies during the summer narrow in scope or aspirations and must months. In past years we have used a contain certain key structural elements that liturgy from the New Zealand prayer book comprise strong liturgy, commonly referred and the Evangelical Lutheran Worship, to to as A.C.T.S., e.g. Adoration ‐‐ our name two. This year we have explored the expression of praise for all that God is in Scottish Episcopal Church liturgy, including holiness, majesty, love and greatness; Eco‐Congregation: Scotland liturgical Confession ‐‐ our admission of unworthiness, resources that were used to develop our a communal sharing of the sin of humankind August 6 Creation Care Sunday liturgy. and a request for forgiveness that God has Alternative liturgies allow us to break free promised; Thanksgiving ‐‐ thanking God for from rote recitation. They allow us to the beauty of the world around us and our emancipate our image of and relationship to conviction that God is here on earth working God in ways we may not have thought within the cycles of life; and Supplication and possible. To many of us, the lyrical Silence ‐‐ asking for the needs of the moment language used in the The Book of Common and recognizing that we might be part of the Prayer is as comfortable as a favorite pair of answer to our prayers, and time in quiet to allow us threadbare jeans. There is something to be said for to digest all that has been sung and said through that. However, we cannot claim that we live in that prayer. language conceived for a people of a different time. Jazz legend Charlie Parker stressed the importance A challenge in alternative liturgy is to know its of bringing your own experience, thoughts and foundation, understand its role, and then, as wisdom to the making of music. He is quoted as Page 6
The Episcopal Church of St. Mary the Virgin
saying, “If you don’t live it, it won’t come out of your horn.” Liturgy is very much the same. So “Blow, Gabriel, Blow” in order that “the trumpets may sound” and continue to resonate in our heads and hearts throughout the liturgical year.
Pride: A Personal Reflection Rod Dugliss, Former Senior Warden and parishioner since 1979
What is this?
Rainbow flags festooned all along the Union Street fence! Rainbow napkins, rainbow clergy stoles, even rainbow cupcakes! Words from Episcopal lesbian theologian Carter Hayward and former Associate Rector Bill Barcus read as lessons for our edification and celebration. Superbly crafted Prayers of the People with our response in the words of Harvey Milk, “Hope will not be silent.”
Hope will not be silent, but it can be muted.
At St. Mary’s some have always known that a few among us were gay. We handled this as we would in polite society; by not talking about it. In 1978, Bill Barcus was impolite enough to break the silence by coming out in the pulpit of St. Mary’s (also noted by the San Francisco Chronicle). People were shocked, angry, embarrassed; some left. Nothing to be proud of.
Soon the AIDS crisis was upon us, adding a whole new dimension not to talk about. I remember well standing with the rector and acolytes waiting to enter the church for a service. One young man said to another, “my mom said don’t drink out of the communion cup; you could get AIDS.” I responded in a St. Mary’s way: I said nothing. Not a moment I Cow Hollow Church News
am proud of. But then Daryl Ryan and Bud Seidenstricker found St. Mary’s, and Daryl said out loud that he was HIV positive. He found a ministry in speaking in the public schools about what was real and not real about AIDS. So we had to do something. Daryl and a physician in the congregation, Gifford Boyce‐Smith, did an hour presentation in the old parish hall. It was tense. Giff was both clinical and immensely pastoral. And the evening ended. And that was it. AIDS dealt with.
In 1998, as St. Mary’s began to search for a new rector to follow Richard Fowler, I was serving as Senior Warden at the time and asked if we were willing to consider an openly gay person. The answer was, “well maybe, as long as he didn’t bring the gay agenda.” So, don’t talk about it.
The election, consent to, and ordination of V. Gene Robinson as the Bishop of New Hampshire—the first openly gay bishop in The Episcopal Church, indeed in the Anglican Communion—in 2004 broke much of the silence in the wider church. Rector Jason Parkin was hearing a lot from all sides, and so he finally called for an open parish meeting, and asked me to lead it. Lots of people came. It was a very intense session. The parents of two young girls in the Sunday School came and were clearly much distressed. The Episcopal Church had failed them. It had come to a head when the oldest child (maybe 11) said offhandedly that someday she might marry her best (girl) friend. For every attempt to explain or be reassuring the father would pull an article from the inches‐thick pile of papers he had brought to refute any and everything said. The evening came to an awkward and inconclusive end. That family, and others, left St. Mary’s. Done talking about it.
There has been a same‐sex wedding celebrated at St. Mary’s and recently, an LGBTQ+ group has formed. So things do change.
Year by year, the last Sunday in June has come and gone unremarked as the marking of Pride Sunday has moved from protest, to acceptance, to celebration.
Reflections from Deacon Tim The Rev. Tim Smith
Next Door Shelter
So perhaps I can be forgiven for being a bit enthusiastic about the first lavish celebration of Pride at St. Mary the Virgin this year. We embraced it colorfully, joyfully, seriously. For the first time in decades the words of Bill Barcus were heard, not with awkwardness but with pride. Inclusion became more than a word in a slogan. Something we can be proud of.
Was this just one of those things that an interim rector initiates to help a congregation be more open to a new future with a new leader, or is it a coming open for us all in which we can all be proud? Time will tell.
“Do Something” Ministries Fair
Deacons Nancy Bryan and Tim Smith and Fr. Lin Knight have been partnering with other diocesan clergy in offering a worship service every Thursday afternoon at Next Door, a City residential shelter on Polk and Geary operated by Episcopal Community Services. Next Door has 334 beds with separate sections for men and women. In addition to short‐term shelter, it provides food, laundry facilities, and access to healthcare and various social services. It strives to create a safe, healthy, and nurturing sanctuary for individuals who have nowhere else to live and to help them to find long‐ term, affordable housing elsewhere.
Two Sundays: September 17 and 24
Come to the courtyard after and between the services to learn about the many ministries of St. Mary’s, and how you can become involved. To get a head start, review our Annual Report, available in paper in the narthex and online with this link: http://smvsf.org/wp‐ content/uploads/2017/01/2016‐17annualreport.pdf.
Invitation to Celebrate New Ministries Saturday, September 16 at 4:00 p.m. The Rev. Claire Dietrich Ranna, our former Associate Rector, will be installed as Rector of Christ Church, Los Altos. All are welcome to attend. Saturday, October 21 at 11:00 a.m. The Rev. Dr. Deb White, our former Interim Co‐ Rector, will be installed as Rector of Grace Church, Martinez. Everyone is invited. Page 8
Deacon Tim and the Rev. Jane McDougle of Holy Innocents conduct a service at the Next Door shelter.
Life in any shelter, including Next Door, can be stressful, depressing, demoralizing, lonely, and noisy. Our worship services on Thursday afternoon provide residents with an opportunity to be in a caring and compassionate community, to pray together, and to find God’s peace in a safe and secure space. The number of residents who typically attend our worship services ranges from 10 to 15. Residents regularly express their gratitude to the clergy who preside at the services and indicate their keen disappointment whenever clergy are not available to conduct the weekly service!
The Episcopal Church of St. Mary the Virgin
The clergy who participate in this ministry with Next Door residents have many stories to share. One of my favorite stories: after one of our worship services, a shelter resident asked me about my role as a parish deacon and the nature of my calling. I told her about what I felt was God’s call to me to minister with others in the community and mentioned our ministry at St. Mary’s to deliver food on a weekly basis to those who did not have enough food to sustain themselves. She looked at me with very wide eyes and asked whether we needed more volunteers to deliver food. When I answered in the affirmative, she asked me why I hadn’t invited her and other residents attending the service to help as volunteers.
and outside in our surrounding community. Particularly enriching for all present was to have each person share with the gathered group what he or she found special at St. Mary’s.
Newcomers gathered and shared at Tim and Ilia Smith’s house.
I was stunned and couldn’t answer the question! I had wrongly assumed that the residents’ own challenges had turned them inward when in fact this woman and some of the others who were attending our worship service had also heard God’s call to minister with others who were struggling just as they were!
These and other stories about our worship service at Next Door have created an enriching experience for those of us serving there. We’ve already had two St. Mary’s parishioners serve in our shelter worship services and invite more to join us. If you are interested, please contact me at Tim@smvsf.org. Newcomers Reception and Welcome Liturgy HTU
On Sunday afternoon, June 11, Deacon Tim Smith and his wife Ilia hosted a newcomers’ reception at their house near the church. A total of 18 newcomers including three children attended and were joined by eight long‐time parishioners and four clergy.
The setting was very intimate and casual and enabled the formation of meaningful, Spirit‐filled community among all those who attended. The reception offered an opportunity for newcomers, parishioners, and clergy to become better acquainted with each other and to learn more about the parish and its ministries both inside the church Cow Hollow Church News
Interim Rector Don Brown (left) and Deacon Tim (right) introduced a new ceremony on July 9 to officially welcome committed new members into St. Mary’s parish family.
Larkin Street Honors St. Mary’s Anne Kieve, Volunteer Leader at Edward II
The Larkin Street Youth Services Annual Board Dinner celebrates the successes, challenges, and new dimensions of Larkin Street’s services and acknowledges significant contributions of board members, committee chairs, and the greater community of supporters. At this year’s dinner in June, St. Mary’s Edward II volunteer team was awarded the Jay Cuetara Volunteer of the Year Award. This award is presented yearly in recognition of a volunteer or group of volunteers
Angie Miot‐Nudel and Veronica Escobar also spoke and thanked St. Mary’s volunteers for their ongoing support. Marta Johnson, who spearheaded St. Mary’s efforts to support Edward II and chairs the Edward II Volunteer team, was out of the country and not able to attend and accept the award on behalf of the team. All those on her team know this award truly honors her dedication to Larkin Street programs.
who go above and beyond the norm in their exceptional support of Larkin Street.
If anyone is interested in being a part of this fun, dedicated group or wants to know more, please contact Marta at firstname.lastname@example.org. We would love to have more volunteers. The next cooking dates are September 10, October 15, and our Thanksgiving dinner, Nov. 23. We also hope to have a Halloween party. Come join us. Some of our volunteers for Edward II: from left, John Walsham, Anne Kieve, Jeanne Lacy, Elaine Larkin, Pat McGuire, Rebecca Jergesen, Ellen McLean, Marta Johnson, Ruth Tatum, Gretchen Lintner, Georgene Keeler, and Loren Kieve.
Among those at the St. Mary’s table were the Rev. Lin Knight, Stephen Koch, honorary board member and his wife Kathy Nyrop, Anne Kieve, Marilyn and Bill Campbell, Angie Miot‐Nudel, Director of Quality Client Care at Edward II, and Veronica Escobar, Assistant Manager and our liaison at Edward II (permanent supportive housing for formerly homeless youth in San Francisco, ages 18 to 24).
In presenting the award, Sherilyn Adams, the Executive Director of Larkin Street, said, “We are very grateful for the members of St. Mary the Virgin who’ve given The award holiday support, created a small library and started Second Sunday Suppers at Edward II when it opened in 2014. The Sunday Supper team is a dedicated group of volunteers whose caring friendship and tasty suppers have built a growing trust among the young people who come down to eat, and sometimes stay and talk.”
The Gift of Selwyn College Choir Eric Choate, Interim Director of Music
Episcopal Church musicians regard Cambridge, UK in the same way that most Christians view Jerusalem: It is at the center of our tradition. The likes of Orlando Gibbons, Herbert Howells, David Willcocks, Harold Darke, Stephen Layton, and Charles Villers Stanford, have all passed through Cambridge. King’s College (founded by Henry VI) has been a formative place for Anglican Church music. Apart from the regular Evensong since its founding, King’s made popular our service of Lessons and Carols, and has contributed significantly to our body of Evensong repertoire. The musical and liturgical tradition at the University of Cambridge is astonishing; every college has its own chapel choir that does Evensong several times a week with monastic regularity.
This vast and rich liturgical tradition inspired me to visit Cambridge last October. I spoke to as many of the college chapel music directors as I could reach during my stay. One in particular was Sarah MacDonald, Music Director at Selwyn College. Of all of the music directors I met, she was by far the most hospitable and eager to speak with me, even going so far as to provide accommodations for me overlooking the charming Old Court. She The Episcopal Church of St. Mary the Virgin
mentioned that she was planning to bring the Chapel Choir to California. When she asked if St. Mary’s would be interested in hosting them for a week, I initially hesitated. We were going through a difficult transition. Our music program felt very unstable at the time. Would this engage people at St. Maryʹs? Do we have the energy to pull this off? I was leaning toward “no.”
parishioners to pray, accompanied by this renowned choir. A thunderous applause broke out when I introduced Sarah MacDonald and the choir.
The real gift happened on that Sunday afternoon, when our own Parish Choir collaborated with our guests for an Evensong. Collectively, we had 50 singers crammed into our choir stalls. When we joined together, I watched the faces of our Parish Choir members light up. Sarah, an exceptionally fine conductor and brilliant musician, brought new energy and perspective, and Shanna, the organ scholar, played with precision and expressivity. The choirs blended together perfectly and sang at an extremely high level. All of the components of the service were carefully and prayerfully executed. The pacing felt perfectly beautiful ‐‐ it helps when a choir who has been doing Evensong regularly for 120 years takes the helm. A highlight for me was conducting the combined choirs for Herbert Howells’ Collegium Regale Evening Service. The organ roared and the sopranos soared. Throughout the performance of this glorious and awe‐ inspiring music, the choir sang together so naturally and comfortably. It was unbelievably thrilling.
But then I walked into the chapel and was bewitched. I sat and listened to the choir rehearse with the organ, marveling at the sound and the space. The brick interior and wooden choir stalls were illuminated by the evening light passing through the stained glass and the burning candles on each choir desk; the altar party was carefully and prayerfully setting up for Mass, all while the choir and organ were filling the space with euphoric sounds. It was magical. In that very moment of transformation, I decided that we needed to bring the Choir of Selwyn College with its potential for transformational magic to St. Mary’s. Throughout the next several months, I focused my energy into building up enthusiasm around this visiting choir. Sarah MacDonald and I identified a handful of willing hosts Following the Evensong, we hosted a wine Eric Choate who would take on collectively 32 and cheese reception when we shared toasts guests. Their responsibilities for the for the choirs and experienced a fellowship that did week were to provide meals and rides, and some not want to end. Truly the Choir of Selwyn College went so far as to show our guests around the City brought us joy and enthusiasm, and shared their and surrounding area. Many hosts remarked that it talent generously. was a wonderful opportunity.
On Sunday July 16th, the Choir of Selwyn College sang a Choral Mass at our 10:00 a.m. service, while our Parish Choir worshipped from the pews. It was a treat for our Cow Hollow Church News
St. Mary’s Parish Choir and the Chapel Choir of Selwyn College: making glorious music Fall 2017
“We’ve begun.” With that simple assertion at the Peace on Sunday, August 20, 2017, the Rev. David Erickson launched his ministry as rector of the Episcopal Church of St. Mary the Virgin in San Francisco. “This journey began before us,” he continued. “It began 125 years ago here at St. Mary’s. It began 2,000 years ago with Jesus, it began 4,000 years ago with Abraham and Sarah, and it began, at the beginning, with God. And we will continue forward to be his blessing in the world and continually ask the Holy Spirit, what do you have next for us?”
Senior Warden Roulhac Austin said she was, “incredibly thrilled,” to experience the “collective effervescence” surrounding David’s arrival. Warm applause sprang from the congregation to welcome David and his wife Heather and their children Gabriella and Jonathan. Junior Warden Ron Clark elicited some pastoral David and son Jonathan coaching from David who (above); meeting explained (to general parishioners (right). laughter) that the best way to Page 12
hold a microphone is like a carrot rather than an ice cream cone. Roulhac read a letter of welcome from Bishop Marc Andrus. Ron marked the beginning of our “joyous journey” with Father David and invited everyone to come meet our new rector at one of several gatherings scheduled for the fall (see page 17 for times and places). The events offer opportunities to accomplish more than a how‐de‐do. “We’re going to begin a conversation of who we are and where we feel the Holy Spirit is calling us next,” said David. “I encourage you greatly to join us in those conversations so we can discern together where God is leading us.” The Episcopal Church of St. Mary the Virgin
Our New Rector The Rev. David Lyle Erickson
Sandra Gary, Editor of the Cow Hollow Church News We first met him through his engaging, enthusiastic video. Then we caught his energy on his first day at church on August 20. By then our new Rector David Lyle Erickson had already joined in with one group of parishioners who deliver food for the Food Bank on Thursdays and with another group participating in an interfaith peace vigil. As we look forward to journeying together, here are some facts about him and some observations from him, so we can become better acquainted.
David Erickson was born in Decorah, Iowa, a town of 8,000 people in the northeast corner of this Midwestern plains state. His parents moved to Des Moines when he was four and then, during his formative years, relocated to San Antonio, Texas.
His first religious path followed his parents’ practice as a member of a mega‐Methodist church where 3,000 people worshipped. His Episcopal path began when he was 14‐years‐old and his father, then working as a computer consultant to the Episcopal Diocese of West Texas, spied a notice for summer camp, and signed up his son. “If my Dad hadn’t done that, my life would be on a completely different path,” says David. Camper years turned into volunteer junior counselor years, and then when he was 20, into a summer counselor job. The job came along with his confirmation as an Episcopalian. This splendid event took place as the first evening activity for the whole camp during the last week of a session. The whole staff stood in as sponsors, his parents were in attendance, and a big dance followed. “It was fantastic,” effuses David.
College in Chicago and Boulder He attended DePaul University in Chicago, completing two years of an acting conservatory program in 1997. Then he took a year off, spending it with his family in Indiana, waiting tables to raise money, and “re‐centering.” Deciding to pursue more of a liberal arts education, he transferred to Cow Hollow Church News
the University of Colorado at Boulder where he graduated in 2001 with a BFA in Theater Performance.
His faith was tested in Boulder when he attended an Episcopal church rocked by division when a lesbian youth director came out of the closet and was fired by the rector. Several staff members quit and many parishioners departed, including David. “I felt like my church had betrayed me,” David says, recalling his disillusionment at what he considered outdated conservatism. “I stopped going to church for two years until I got out to California.”
Acting, Youth Groups, and Faith He moved to Los Angeles from Boulder in 2001 to pursue an acting career, transferring his work as a server and certified trainer for restaurant chain The Cheesecake Factory from Boulder to LA. The move cemented his identity as a big city lover. His parents and twin brother currently live kitty corner from one another in Columbus, Indiana. “My Mom and Dad and brother prefer smaller town living,” says David, “whereas I became a big city kid.”
And he loved acting. “What I loved about theater ‐‐ in school, high school, college, and in Community Theater ‐‐ was that I could fulfill and grow in my need for purpose, creativity, and community,” he says. “You do theater because you’re trying to transform the world with a message.” He loved working collaboratively with people in an artistic way that produced a whole greater than its parts. It was exhilarating to find creativity and community in a group effort for the greater good of the world.
But in Los Angeles another aspect of acting revealed itself. “I realized that the business of acting is about very different things,” he says. “After a year of laying the foundation of an acting career, waiting tables to pay the bills, I began to get disillusioned with giving my life to the business of acting.”
In 2008 David and Heather enrolled together in Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria, VA. Three years later both became ordained Episcopal priests. David started as Associate Rector at St. Cross, Hermosa Beach in 2011. At first he was responsible for formation and education, and then for overseeing liturgy and pastoral care. He also led a very successful stewardship campaign.
Stewardship and Advocacy in Florida St. John’s Cathedral in Jacksonville Florida called him in 2015 to serve as Canon for Congregational Development. He honed his stewardship skills, working on the annual fund campaign, developing major gifts, and initiating a legacy society. In March of this year, he completed a Certificate in Fundraising Management from Indiana University’s Lily Family School of Philanthropy. He was also involved in creating adult formation programs and he oversaw all clergy staff and operations while the dean was on sabbatical.
Heather and David Erickson with daughter Gabriella and son Jonathan at the fishpond.
And his faith began to take center stage in his life, offering a better way to make the world a better place, and offering a compelling message of transformation. He attended All Saints Episcopal Church, Beverly Hills and volunteered for their youth program. He met his wife Heather there. At the time she was teaching yoga but then got a job at All Saints as an executive assistant/volunteer coordinator. They were married in 2006.
Good actors learn how to become good listeners, a skill crucial to being a good pastor. David was hired to be Youth Director at All Saints, Pasadena and from 2004 to 2008 led and directed programs for both junior high and senior high kids, developing curricula, hiring staff, managing 65 volunteers, and running a budget. Read about David’s call to become a priest in an upcoming issue of the Cow Hollow Church News. Page 14
At St. John’s, advocacy for the LGBTQ+ community became a pastoral cause for David. He changed an implicit welcome into an explicit one by encouraging and supporting the cathedral’s first LGBTQ+ group – and this in a diocese that is one of the few that does not offer marriage equality. He also advocated publicly for passage of Jacksonville’s human rights ordinance which passed in February of this year. “Jacksonville is the last major city to pass a human rights ordinance. I was able to participate in that and be a voice,” David says with pride. Then he puts his advocacy in perspective. “I once had somebody accuse me of LGBTQ issues being my agenda in Jacksonville,” he says. “I said no, my agenda is the kingdom of God manifest here on earth, and the good news of Jesus Christ being proclaimed. It just so happens that this is one avenue here that needs some attention.”
The move to Jacksonville for David and Heather was partly a test to see if they would prefer a more suburban‐style pace, slower than what they experienced in Los Angeles. “I loved the energy, the creativity, the critical mass of people in Los The Episcopal Church of St. Mary the Virgin
Angeles. I loved the geography,” says David. “Sure there was traffic and things were expensive, but life was always delightful.” Jacksonville turned out not to be a good fit. “We are very fond of people we got to know, but our heart is in California,” he says. Heather, eager to return to work where moms of young children commonly hold jobs, is looking for a spot in our diocese where she can put her ordination as a priest to meaningful use. “As we discovered in Florida,” David relates, “Heather considers herself a better mom when sheʹs actually engaged in her vocation.”
In his spare time, David loves to be involved with Heather and their kids, Gabriella, six, and Jonathan, who turned three on August 24. He also likes to read and to move. “I exercise not only for sanity, but also because it’s something I enjoy” he says, adding that he’s tried, “a dozen different iterations,” including running, David racing a “tough mudder” swimming, or “whatever’s available.” He and Heather have both participated in “tough mudder” races, which are ten to twelve‐mile obstacle courses. Enthusiastically drawn to people, David also loves spending time with friends, explaining, “I really am a relational person.”
Relating to the People of St. Mary’s David resonates with St. Mary’s, “It has a vibrancy of people and energy. It has a breadth from young children to seniors, people who’ve lived their life and have that witness and wisdom to share,” says David. “There are also opportunities for what I’ll call social engagement. There are opportunities for fellowship and a deeper knowledge of one another.”
Cow Hollow Church News
Our Parish Profile struck a chord. “I remember seeing it online and saying, Heather; you’ve got to check this church out. We were hoping to come back to a vibrant, creative, urban environment. Look, we’re Californians and the fact that it was in California – and then to read the Parish Profile and to see the depth and commitment, the core values of our Episcopal worship ‐‐ the dedication to making a difference outside of church walls. That claim of social engagement is a primary component of being transformed and in transforming others. So I almost couldn’t believe that it all came together. Honestly, I was like, I don’t know what’ll happen but I gotta put my name in the search.”
“I was particularly struck that this was a place that understood that they were part of something larger,” David says. “I meet Episcopal churches that want to be (for lack of a better phrase) spoon fed something, versus engaged and transformed through the living God.”
As he explains, “I grew up in Texas where it was okay to be an Episcopalian, love the liturgy, and, honestly, to have a couple beers on a Friday night, and love Jesus. And that’s not something I’ve discovered around the rest of the country. There is something that I cherish about the face of God as known in the life and death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. So I am a bit of a Jesus guy. But that is a dynamic, intelligent and all‐encompassing understanding ‐‐ it’s an Episcopal understanding of Jesus, not a reduced understanding of Jesus.”
To be called to St Mary’s, he says, “Is a dream come true and a blessing,”
Being a Rector for the First Time “I love it and I can’t wait for it. I’m looking for a collegial atmosphere, not a dictatorial atmosphere. The pace, the depth and the direction of any institution but particularly a church is guided by and set by the rector. So I am looking forward to being in that place where some of the creative control for the entire is part of what I get to do…. I feel ready certainly… I am excited about it because
great, we’ve got a new rector, let’s move forward. But the truth is that we Music in Worship must work to allow “Growing up the Holy Spirit to Methodist, I was a lead us, versus us member of a mega‐ getting ahead of the church where you have Holy Spirit – which 3,000 people on a is why I love Jesus Sunday and a gigantic using so many choir,” says David. But growing metaphors, that kind of theater is because while not what attracts him. there’s work for us “Music is an aspect of to do in growing, creativity that allows us God ultimately does to enter into a the growing and it’s Food Bank volunteers welcomed David (fourth from transformative state of on God’s time,” says left) during his first Thursday as our rector. worship. Music David, noting that he transforms. I am excited needs to slow down as well. “If we do that, I think to be a part of a place that has the capacity to do there’s some real transformation ahead for us as that at a caliber that is specific as an intention. I’m individuals, us as a community, and for the delighted to be coming to a congregation that community around St. Mary’s.” recognizes the unique opportunity that music can Supporting David’s Arrival and Ministry offer in transforming people’s lives for the sake of Jesus Christ.” “Begin praying about what God is going to reveal to us together,” asks David, “as individuals and Our Future Together also the community of St. Mary’s. And begin to “We as a think ‐‐ what are the community need hopes for what we to take the time to want to become? allow the Holy What are the things Spirit to show us that might get in the what we need to way of that? Pray do next. I move and talk to each very fast. I get other and talk about very excited. what you feel is From the energy being revealed to us and enthusiasm I through the Holy feel from St, Spirit, but also what Mary’s, especially your hopes are in having been in this new era that we turmoil for the will be creating last year and a together at St. half, there’s this Mary’s.” During his first week, David (center back row) joined with St. Mary’s sense of okay, I feel that’s what God has been ultimately preparing me for.”
parishioners at an interfaith peace vigil.
The Episcopal Church of St. Mary the Virgin
Meet, Greet and Discern With David
Save These Dates Please meet and greet the Rev. David Erickson our new rector and join him in discerning what the Holy Spirit is calling us to create together at St. Mary’s. Several parishioners have graciously agreed to host gatherings at their homes. A revival of our annual parish picnic is another great opportunity to begin our journey with our new rector. Thursday, September 7, from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. at Jim and Kim Griffith’s home in St. Francis Wood Friday, September 18, from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. at Kim Regan and Dan Hoth’s home in Cow Hollow/Pacific Heights Monday, September 25, from 10:00 to 11:00 a.m. at the Heritage in the Marina Thursday, September 28, from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. at Sheri Barden’s home on Nob Hill Saturday, October 7, from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. at David Gibson and Betty Hood‐Gibson’s home in the Richmond district Sunday, October 15, Parish Picnic after church at lunch time, at Mountain Lake Park. Parishioners of all ages are welcome to attend. Plan to bring food and drink. Meet, Greet and Discern gatherings for the East Bay and Marin are being planned. Thanks go to Nancy Clark and Stephanie Lehman who kindly hosted gatherings in August. Look for details for upcoming events in the Sunday bulletins and Highlights. Please send an RSVP to Parish Administrator Carla Ocfemia by email to Carla@smvsf.org. Cow Hollow Church News
Serving on the Altar Guild 3
Deborah Franklin with Pam Bledsoe The St. Mary’s Altar Guild is a lay ministry of warmth, hospitality and teamwork. We work behind the scenes and under the guidance of the clergy each week to make sure the sacred linens, chalices, candles and pews are ready to welcome parishioners who have come to celebrate the Eucharist, baptisms, weddings, holidays and other celebrations and memorials that help knit us all together as a church family. The typical time commitment – on just one weekend each month ‐‐ is only about 90 minutes on Saturday mornings, and an hour or so on Sunday (30 minutes before and after the service you attend). Joining the Altar Guild is a wonderful, low‐key way for newcomers to become more rooted in the St. Mary’s community, and build relationships across generations and across the various Sunday services. We’d love to expand our ranks to include more men and couples, as well as women, and would also welcome members who would prefer to complete their Altar Guild Prep on a weeknight after work, instead of Saturday morning. If you can only help out on Sundays, we’d love to hear from you, too. To learn more about this ministry, please contact Deborah Franklin, at Deborah_franklin@nasw.org, or any of the clergy, or an Altar Guild member. We recently asked current members of the guild to tell us why they cherish this particular way of serving the St. Mary’s community. You can find all of their reflections online at http://smvsf.org/liturgical‐ministries/. Here’s the first one: “It is satisfying to contribute to the ambiance of our beautiful church. I love working with our flower team ‐‐ meeting and learning from others in the church, sharing fellowship, and the quiet spiritual time we share in the sacristy while arranging flowers.” Barbara Addeo Fall 2017
Summer in the City 2017
US Constitution. Freedom to compete created the world’s first commercial marketplace of religions. This year, our Summer in the City annual adult forum Jesus, the carpenter’s son, became the face of that series explored the theme of “Who Are We.” competition in the nation of the “common man.” Spearheaded by Parish Verger and Liturgist Natalie Hala, talks by nine gifted presenters explored a wide The 1859 publication of Charles’ Darwin’s Origin of range of topics. The Rev. Davidson Bidwell‐Waite, Species directly challenged biblical authority. Diocesan Minister to Haiti, spoke on Hope and Interestingly, the strongest immediate response Sustainability in Haiti; Lin Knight and environmental was not conservative, but liberal. The Social Gospel advocate Rob Davis spoke about bee pollinator movement further removed Jesus from scripture to environments and renewable energy; Dr. Patrick preach the goodness of humanity and the Arbore, an expert on aging, discussed ministering with inevitability of progress through good works. It the elderly; Bill Campbell and Nancy Levine of the wasn’t until the second decade of the twentieth Interfaith Welcome Initiative told about supporting century that conservative Christianity responded in refugees; and St. Mary’s outreach and community an organized way. ministry head Margaret Stafford led a panel discussion on faith‐based action. Four additional presenters have From 1910 to 1915, the Bible Institute of Los contributed written versions of their talks, below. Angeles published a series of ninety essays that argued the deity of Christ, the primacy and literal Audio recordings of these inspiring talks can be interpretation of scripture, the wrathful judgment found on the Spiritual Formation page of our of a righteous God, and personal salvation through website: http://smvsf.org/adult‐formation/. Christ alone. Collectively published in twelve volumes titled The Fundamentals: A Testimony to American Jesus Truth, they revolutionized American Christianity. The Jesus Christ of fundamentalism was essentially David Crosson a modern Christian response to a modern secular world. How the Son of God Became an American Icon In 1925, Madison Avenue advertising executive Stephen Prothero, chair of the department of Bruce Barton’s best‐selling book, The Man Nobody religion at Boston University, argues that America Knows, presented Jesus as a savvy chief executive is a Jesus nation, if not a Christian one. Is that true? who molded twelve men from the bottom If so, how did it happen, and what does ranks of business into the world’s first it mean? successful conglomerate. This very American Jesus served the nation well in Thomas Jefferson was one of the first our Cold War struggles with godless people to imagine Jesus outside of world communism. historical Christianity. By clipping and pasting the Gospels to remove all In 1977, the Haight‐Ashbury coffee house, references to the supernatural, Jefferson The Living Room, followed by The House made Jesus into an Enlightenment sage of Acts commune, gave birth to the Jesus who offered “the most sublime and Movement. Popular culture responded benevolent code of morals which has with Jesus Christ Superstar, Godspell, and ever been offered.” Jefferson then the hippy dippy Living Bible, which actually authored the first act in history to separate David Crosson outsold The Joy of Sex for two years running. church and state, which eventually was incorporated as the first amendment to the HTU
The Episcopal Church of St. Mary the Virgin
The Jesus Movement sired progeny that it wouldn’t recognize. “Seeker‐sensitive churches” dropped all pretense of denomination to adapt Jesus worship to contemporary culture. These new “mega‐churches” have succeeded in part by adapting the forms of contemporary music in praise of Jesus. Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) is now the most dependable and profitable market in the recording industry. Today, Jews, Buddhists, Hare Krishnas, Taoists, and even the San Francisco Vedanta Society all have found ways to express Jesus in their terms. Thus, all religions, Christian or not, have adopted Jesus as a way of successfully competing in the spiritual marketplace that Jefferson unwittingly created. Today, Jesus is as American as . . . the Fourth of July.
Anglican Communion at the Crossroads 3B
The Rev. Dr. Paula Nesbitt, Interim Priest The worldwide Anglican Communion is made up of 39 Anglican or Episcopal member Churches (plus six other Churches) across the globe. The Anglican Communion emerged out of a series of historical crossroads, and the current challenges and tensions in the Communion need to be understood in relation to the various crossroads it has faced in the past. The Anglican Communion was born at the crossroads of the Church of England’s presence in the American colonies and the American Revolution. Since the Church of England was headed by the Crown, a separate American church had to be set up and bishops ordained to oversee it. In 1784, the Rev. Samuel Seabury was ordained by the Scottish Episcopal Church, which was independent of ties to the English monarch. This was the first act linking two separate Anglican Churches. The next crossroads became one of culture. How far could Anglicanism be adapted to the culture of those it served worldwide and still be Anglican? A crisis in 1867 arose in Cape Town, South Africa, between two bishops with very different views of how the Church should be Cow Hollow Church News
lived out. The Archbishop of Canterbury, head of the Church of England, called for all Anglican bishops to gather and informally discuss the matter. This became the first gathering of what would come to be known as the Anglican Communion. The conference (held at Lambeth Palace in London) would become a regular occurrence. This would lead to another crossroads: identity. Who are we as Anglicans? The first statement of Anglican identity, the Chicago‐Lambeth Quadrilateral, was approved at the 1888 Lambeth Conference of Bishops, setting forth four elements key to Anglican identity and faith: Holy Scriptures (Old and New Testaments), Apostles and Nicene Creeds, the sacraments of Baptism and Eucharist, The Rev. Dr. Paula Nesbitt and the historic episcopate. The growing Communion needed structure. This crossroads led to forming a separate Anglican Communion Office (1968) and an Anglican Consultative Council (1969) where lay, clergy, and bishop representatives from member Churches would meet every three years. A meeting of Primates – heads of each of the Churches — was added (1978). The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Lambeth Conference of Bishops, the Anglican Consultative Council, and the Primates Meetings became the four Instruments of Communion that, at the end of the twentieth century, formed the structural foundation of the Anglican Communion. Unity is the crossroads facing the Anglican Communion today. Given the Communion’s global reach—85 million members in 165 countries—the key question is whether we can have unity through respecting diversity of cultures, beliefs, and practices. The forum discussion focused on conflict over scriptural interpretation, Fall 2017
especially when scripture becomes a political means to enforce conformity to a single understanding. Although some in the Communion want a tighter structure with more uniformity and accountability, others believe the way forward with a globally diverse membership needs to remain based on the delicate balance of autonomy and mutual respect. The question is, “Can the future Communion have it both ways?”
For more information on the Anglican Communion, go to: http://www.anglicancommunion.org.
Charting the Future of The Episcopal Church The Rev. Dr. Paula Nesbitt
A Look at the Path Ahead
The future of The Episcopal Church in view of the changing American religious landscape catalyzed a lively discussion. Following my brief presentation of some broad trends in American religion, the Rev. Eric Metoyer and lay leader Sarah Lawton reflected on how the church can respond to help secure its future.
The percentage of Protestant Americans has declined sharply over the past 25 years, while those who claim no religious affiliation has risen. The Episcopal Church has remained steady at about three percent of all Protestants. Yet it too has lost members as part of the overall Protestant attrition: the Church lost about 15 The Rev. Eric Metoyer and percent of its Sarah Lawton membership during the past eight years, according to Episcopal Domestic Fast Fact Trends (http://www.episcopalchurch.org). Average Sunday church attendance has similarly declined, but slightly less so. About one out of four congregations continues to grow (by ten percent or more), but this is overshadowed by four out of ten congregations losing membership by ten percent or more. Decline is strongest Page 20
in the Midwest, as population shifts away from rural and small towns. The strongest growth is in the West, followed by the South. In all, the data offer some hope amid larger concerns over wider American societal trends.
The Rev. Eric Metoyer, serving on the bishop’s staff and as a diocesan deputy to the 2018 General Convention, pointed out that the State of the Church Committee (on which he and Sarah Lawton serve) is gathering information on how our churches affect our communities. “If the church were to go away, would the community notice?” Reaching into the wider community through service and action is an important way to be present to the community, and to draw those who want to act on their faith. He also discussed those who don’t identify with a religion, yet are interested in spirituality. “Nones” are coming into the Church; but to draw in more, the Church will need to shift some of its practices.
Sarah Lawton, currently president of the San Francisco Deanery and co‐chair of the California deputation for the 2018 General Convention, spoke about both Gen X and Millennial generations being unfamiliar with Church, yet wanting to feel The Rev. Dr. Paula Nesbitt and interconnected. They also The Very Rev. Dr. Don Brown value the importance of liturgy. “We have an ancient liturgy which can be remarkably attractive to young people,” she said. The key question is how to create the space (or format) in church that will work for them. For the future, the Church must involve good worship yet also engage people where they are. She concluded that, as congregations, if we work together rather than alone, we will have vitality.
The discussion focused on a question from the audience, rooted in uncertainty over what to say to a young high‐ tech man reading the Bible and seeking a deeper sense of purpose or fulfillment. Responses ranged from living out the (Episcopal) Jesus Movement with faith and love in our hearts to specific examples of providing a place where young adults can discuss spiritual matters. Discussion also affirmed the desire for in‐depth adult formation where questions of faith and spirituality could The Episcopal Church of St. Mary the Virgin
be openly raised, and for practice in explaining one’s own faith in a way that might connect with outsiders. Interim Rector Don Brown, who moderated the session, also emphasized that the Church needs to help people explore their faith and offer ways they can act on it. Members also actively need to invite others to church since many people today don’t think that church is a public institution and are unlikely to enter on their own.
Faithful, Joyful, Grateful Giving 3B
Generous Individuals Throughout St. Mary’s History
Through more than 125 years since the establishment of St. Mary’s, the generosity and faith of individuals have sustained St. Mary’s as the parish faced repeated challenges and uncertainties, emerging stronger each time. Our lore and ephemera, concentrated in our meticulously organized and preserved print archives, reveal many such examples.
St. Mary’s is a church that, for most of its existence, has never had smooth sailing for very long. The challenges of the physical plant, staffing, finances, and membership, particularly during our first five decades, are chronicled in The Cow Hollow Church –‐ more commonly called the “Blue Book.” Written by the Rev. Keppel Hill (rector from 1948 to 1966), The Cow Hollow Church relates our early history as a succession of rectors and vicars, struggling to build a spiritual community in a perennially difficult neighborhood. Those travails are detailed by the business records and correspondence contained in our archives. Taken day‐to‐day this material gives us a look into the regular functioning of a church household; as a whole it describes our community continually defining and re‐defining who we are.
While we remember our property at Union and Steiner as the gift of Frank and Amelia Pixley, the presence of several natural seeps has caused a century of vestries to wonder at the Pixley’s generosity. The original wood frame church has Cow Hollow Church News
been the subject of almost continual repair and preservation efforts, from as early as the 1920s. Even today, our storied fountain, the expression of one of the original seeps, is prone to flood the courtyard after a sustained rainfall – typically about 10:00 a.m. on a Sunday morning. Nonetheless, we would never think of St. Mary’s being anywhere else. Our history of dealing with the ground beneath us has itself become our own allegory of faith and endurance.
Even as St. Mary’s was coming to terms with the hydrology of Cow Hollow, we were grappling with the terms of our original deed of gift. These stipulated that St. Mary’s would maintain ‘high’ Anglican liturgical practices, and would conduct daily masses. Failure to comply would be cause for forfeiture of the property to the heirs of Frank and Amelia Pixley. In the early 1900s however (remember the “Progressive Era”?), these practices were generally seen on the West Coast as regressive and alien. Together with the Diocese of California and individual supporters, St. Mary’s was finally able to negotiate a mortgage and purchase the Sandy Stadtfeld property outright from the Pixley heirs.
Paying off the mortgage became our continuing challenge through the mid‐1900s. Indispensable support certainly came from individual donors whose generosity helped defray that debt. However, there are also regular messages of thanks to the Ladies Auxiliary, who held frequent bazaars and bake sales until at last the mortgage was retired. Clearly, the twenty‐dollar doughnut is a deep‐rooted tradition at St. Mary’s.
While we were recovering from early handicaps, St. Mary’s was a mission church – essentially a ward of the diocese – until the early 1940s. A turning point in St. Mary’s history came with the hiring of Fall 2017
the Rev. Bayard Jones as vicar in 1936. Given his correspondence with the vestry prior to assuming the position, and his subsequent messages to the congregation, the Rev. Jones could be described as something of a bitter pill. At least from the records though, it seems that none of his predecessors could articulate the need for financial support from the whole congregation. The Rev. Jones was emphatic that St. Mary’s could no longer afford stewardship to be an embarrassing subject. Excerpts from one of the Rev. Jones’ early letters illustrated both his pragmatic understanding and his pointed language to the congregation.
More recent decades have all posed their challenges to every aspect of the life of St. Mary’s. While there have been notable supporters throughout our history, there have also been many examples of quiet generosity and faith that benefit us to this day. Examples of parishioners who truly believed in this community and left us lasting benefits include Vallejo Gantner, Tyrell Marcus Reading, and Poh Gek Low.
While at any time we may face formidable difficulties, our history makes it clear that we’ve been here before, and that we are all in this together. That is truly who we are.
The Sacred and the Silly 3B
The Rt. Rev. William E. Swing, Bishop of the Diocese of California from 1980 to 2006, has written a new book. The Sacred and the Silly: A Bishop’s Playful and Eventful Life comes out on September 1. “There is a hilarious seriousness here to teach about the things that really matter,” says Alan Jones, Dean Emeritus of Grace Cathedral. Parishioner and editor Sandra Gary served as book shepherd.
Looking to Fall Stewardship 3B
St. Mary’s is an institution of God that lives in this world. It is a world that depends upon material assets to address material needs, recognizing that everything that we possess comes from God and ultimately returns to God. St. Mary’s returns its gifts in numerous ways, through ministries to our children and youth, a vibrant music program, opportunities for the spiritual growth of adults, outreach to the outside community, and inspiring liturgical worship. These things are made possible through an active stewardship ministry that asks parishioners to provide material support to the church according to their means. It is manifested in a campaign conducted each fall to obtain pledges from parishioners of financial support that will allow for creation of a budget and activities for the next year.
With this in mind, the St. Mary’s Stewardship Ministry Team has worked through the summer to plan for our fall stewardship activities. Parishioners should expect to receive letters in late September introducing the campaign and asking them to complete pledge cards indicating their intentions with regard to financial support in 2018. We will continue to update parishioners regarding our progress, culminating with “In‐Gathering Sunday” just before Thanksgiving. At that time, pledges will be received and blessed at the Sunday services.
The Stewardship Ministry Team is in the process of creating a theme for this year’s campaign, working in concert with our new Rector. We are thinking in terms of the fresh beginnings that his arrival signals, remembering that “God makes all things new,” both at St. Mary’s and in our lives. We hope that it will resound with parishioners, signaling a renewal of the St. Mary’s ideal of generous living. Our Team presently consists of John Addeo, Susan Crown, The Rev. David Erickson, Allan Jergesen, Michael Perry, Joanne Squire, and Rob Vanneman. We welcome input from parishioners as we pursue our work and as we seek to expand our membership to include others who might wish to participate in this most important ministry. The Episcopal Church of St. Mary the Virgin
Hats Off to Don Sandra Gary, Editor of the Cow Hollow Church News Interim Rector Don Brown received a lighthearted yet heartfelt tribute for 18 months of service to St. Mary’s from Junior Warden Ron Clark on July 20. “Don, during the last year and a half you and Carol Anne have given your all to St. Mary’s,” said Ron. “There are so many things that we’ll miss about you. In particular, I will miss your starting off sermons with a joke – at least in concept. As you all know, some of the jokes – well, we’ll work on that.” Also to be missed are Don’s sharp sense of style and the many hats he has worn on our behalf, especially the cap that reads “Make St. Mary’s Great Again.” Ron thanked Don for his deep engagement with us and deep care for us through actions big and small, notably in championing stewardship, in supporting existing and new ministries especially Faith in Action, Georgene Keeler and Ron Clark present a farewell gift in getting more plentiful refreshments for coffee hour from St. Mary’s to Interim Rector Don Brown to enhance our fellowship, and in initiating a newcomer welcome ceremony into our liturgy. “I think it will become an important tradition for years to come,” said Ron. “All these things demonstrate the thoughtfulness with which Don has approached St. Mary’s in everything that he’s done here.” Vestry member Rob Vanneman presaged Ron’s remarks the previous week, marking Don’s birthday, when he said, “We are most thankful for Donʹs firm and evenhanded guidance during this difficult time in our parish history. We especially appreciate Donʹs loyalty and willingness to stay with us until this time of transition was complete. I must say, however, that some parishioners have commented that Don arrived with a full head of hair!? I donʹt recall that but it may be true!”
In the courtyard on Don’s farewell day, vestry member Georgene Keeler presented
Don with a gift certificate for a custom made hat from a local hat maker along with a hat in the form of a papier‐mâché church steeple – right next to a “Hat’s off to Don” poster of photographs showing him actually wearing many different hats. “Thanks to everybody,” said Don. “It’s been an experience. But most of it has been really good, and I’m really appreciative of how much the people here at St. Mary’s work together and make good things happen in the parish and in the community and I think with Father Erickson’s help, you’ve got no place to go but to good places. Thank you all very much.” Later, Don remarked, as only he could pun it, “The ‘hat’s off’ celebration ‘capped off’ my time at St. Mary’s.” Don tips his hat to St. Mary’s Cow Hollow Church News
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INSIDE… From the Rector ................ Cover Story Sr. Warden’s Letter............................ 2 Sunday School................................... 3 Youth Mission Trip ............................ 4 Alternative Liturgy ............................. 6 Pride: A Personal Reflection ............ 7 Reflections from Deacon Tim .......... 8 Larkin Street Honors St. Mary’s ....... 9 The Gift of Selwyn College Choir ... 10 “We’ve Begun”................................. 12 Our New Rector David Erickson..... 13 Serving on the Altar Guild .............. 17 Summer in the City 2017 ................. 18 Fall Stewardship .............................. 22 Hats Off to Don ................................ 23
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SUNDAY WORSHIP SCHEDULE
MEETINGS & MISCELLANY U
Sunday Morning Services – Regular worship schedule starts again on September 10, with services at 8:00 a.m., 9:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m.
Deadline for the Winter Cow Hollow Church News – November 1. Please email articles to Inkyword@aol.com Sign Up for DioBytes – and connect with the Diocese of California; go to: diocal.org/connect HU
SPIRITUALITY & PASTORAL CARE
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, call 415-921-3665 or go to www.smvsf.org/pastoral-care HTU
SAVE THESE DATES U
Raphael House Ministry – First Monday of each month. Contact Alisa Quint Fisher at Talisaquint@mac.com.T Larkin Street Dinners at Edward II –Second Sunday each month, at 4:00 p.m. Contact Marta Johnson at email@example.com SF-Marin Food Bank – Every Thursday morning deliveries from church. Contact the Rev. Tim Smith at HTUtim@smvsf.orgUT H
Meet, Greet and Discern with the Rev. David Erickson – see page 17 for dates and times Evensong – Sunday, September 24, 4:15 p/m/. in the church Ministries Fair, two Sundays, September 17 and 24, between services, in the courtyard Open Cathedral – Sunday, September 17, at Civic Center Plaza, contact the Rev. Nancy Bryan at 415-608-8777 Candlelight Concert with Brian Thorsett, tenor, featuring music of Eric Choate – Saturday, October 7, 7:00 p.m., in the church Parish Picnic – Sunday, October 15, after church, Mountain Lake Park All Souls Requiem (Duruflé) – Sunday, November 2, 7:00 p.m., in the church Thanksgiving Day Service – Thursday, November 23, at 10:00 a.m.