Deacons Jerre Birdsong and Nancy Belcher talk about their role as “disaster deacons” and connecting the needs of the community to resources, disaster preparedness, the Episcopal Asset Map, and this ministry of standing with the vulnerable to which we are called. This episode’s host is Deacon Harry Leip.
Deborah Nelson-Linck is this episode’s guest. She’s the founder of the Hands On Black History Museum, a recently retired educator, and a member of Christ Church Cathedral in St. Louis. Debbie created an exhibit of photographs of African Americans from late 1800s through the 1950s comprised of church members’ relatives and other curated images titled “As If We Weren’t There.”. The exhibit spawned much conversation in the church family, and several smaller projects, that are still discussed today. Shug Goodlow hosts.
Shug Goodlow is in the guest chair today. She’s the head verger at Christ Church Cathedral in St. Louis and also one of the hosts of this podcast. She’s interviewed by Barbi Click. The conversation began about Shug’s memories as a black child traveling with her family across the Mason Dixon line, the planning gatherings beforehand, mapping out safe places to stop and eat, the shoebox her grandmother prepared of food to take. The conversation continued to sharing memories of racism and how faith weaves in and out of those painful narratives.
One year of help, an apartment fully furnished, help with food and finances, one person at a time–a small group of parishioners at Christ Church Cathedral work to help those without a home get off the streets. Joanne Kelly, cathedral member, talks with host Deborah Nelson-Linck about the partnership.
This diocese has a companion relationship with an Anglican diocese in South Sudan, in the rural farming area of Lui. The two plus years of civil war have left most of the village burned and occupied. Lui residents live in diaspora in the bush, in refugee camps in Juba, Kenya, and many have escaped to the Kiryandongo Refugee Camp in Uganda. A visit to that camp by the bishops of Missouri and Lui amplified a horrible problem–sand fleas called jiggers that live in the ground. They burrow into anything in contact with the ground, like bare feet, lay eggs which hatch creating ulcers that then need to be cut out. Without antibiotic or anesthetic. A very simple solution is wearing closed toe shoes and washing with soap. Simple unless you live in a refugee camp with the resources you escaped with on your back.
Today’s guest is Deb Goldfeder, chair of the companion diocese committee in Missouri, who organized a diocese-wide effort to collect shoes and money for shoes that has just been sent to Kiryandongo. Today’s host is Dan Handschy, rector of Advent Church in Crestwood, and who has also made trips to Lui, South Sudan.
Jeanne Lucas King talks with Barbi Click about being raised on gratitude, praying with gratitude, and her work with the United Thank Offering, a way that Episcopalians around the church offer their gratitude and small change to fund grants that change the world.
United Thank Offering
We are doing our annual celebration to honor Absalom Jones, who was the first African American Episcopal priest. He and his friend Richard Allen were at a church where they had gathered a number of African American members of a congregation. At first they were welcomed but I think people started to get uncomfortable with the number of people. One Sunday morning as they were praying, the ushers told them they had to leave, and so they walked out and they became members of the Free African Society in Philadelphia, and out of that an Episcopal church was organized. Richard Allen went on to start the African Methodist Episcopal Church. It was some years later that Absalom Jones was able to be ordained as a priest, and many years after that, that his congregation was accepted into the diocese.
In February of each year, we have a celebration to honor him, and that is an occasion for educating the people of the diocese about matters that have to do with race in general, and in the church. This year, our theme is Seeking Christ in All People Through the Arts, and what we’re looking at is how is God presented to people? How are the saints and the leaders of the church presented to people? Does everybody have the opportunity to seek somebody like themselves?
If God is portrayed as somebody that doesn’t look like you, this does have an impact on people. We would like to highlight portrayals of God, and of Jesus, and of the saints, the angels and holy beings, and leaders of the church, as people of color that everybody who might not be white could identify with. We’re going to have several workshops, one of them will be singing of spirituals, one would be the liturgical dance, one would be drumming, and the fourth one is visual arts.
When you walk into a church, what is the first thing that you notice? What is the first thing you hear? What is the first thing you see? This is the biggest influence on a person going to church. We’re trying to challenge our perspective on art in our religion, and on our image of God, to better represent what not only a congregation is, but what our community of faith is.
We’re going to give people an opportunity to experience the arts in several workshops, and to try to understand how art from other cultures might be presented, and might be used in worship.
This episode’s guest is the Rev. Dan Handschy and our host is the Rev. Harry Leip.
When I arrived at Church of the Advent, I came into a situation in which the previous rector had been dismissed for sexual misconduct, and so I found a congregation in disarray and kind of hurting. We had to reconsider what it meant to be church, which gave us a real opportunity to do things in new ways.