Connecting on Campus

Connecting on Campus

college campus ministry three smiling women stand on the steps of a house with signs describing it as an Episcopal ministry house
Canterbury House Episcopal Campus Ministry at Oregon State University

Are you a college student, or do you know one? There are campus-based Episcopal fellowships in a number of locations around Oregon:

Portland metro area: connect with chaplain the Rev. Deacon Matthew David Morris using the following survey: http://bit.ly/pdxstudents

Oregon State University: connect with chaplain Ruth Krueger through the Canterbury House Facebook group: Canterbury House ~ Oregon State University

University of Oregon: connect with chaplain the Rev. Doug Hale at uochaplain@comcast.net

Western Oregon University: connect with this group by calling 503-838-6087

Learn more about Diocese of Oregon College Campus Ministry

Congregation Close-up: St. Michael & All Angels, Portland

In the Hollywood neighborhood of northeast Portland, St. Michael & All Angels Episcopal Church is well known within the diocese for their long-standing Misa service. As the church prepares to celebrate 25 years of worshipping in Spanish, the Rev. Chris Craun smiles, reflecting on how the service started and continues to grow and develop as the congregation faithfully goes into the places of challenge and discomfort created by being a bilingual and multicultural community.

Beginning as a small group gathered around the altar with the Rev. John Scannell and the Rev. Deacon Marla McGarry-Lawrence, the Spanish-speaking community transformed over the years from an outreach ministry to an integrated part of the church’s life. During a 2017-2018 parish visioning process, a significant amount of time was given to listening to and learning the stories of church members. One exercise involved building a map with photos of parishioners, their houses, and answers to the question, “Where else is home?” For many in the Latino community, St. Michael’s was that other home: a place to be known, and safe, and seen.

Celebrating Dia de los Niños

Chris credits this sharing of stories and experiences with strengthening the congregation’s willingness and ability to embrace resilience, which the vision process identified as a core value. Resilience is a necessary characteristic for a congregation that continues learning how to engage its bilingual and multicultural makeup.

During Lent this year, the church offered introductory Spanish lessons, creating an opportunity for English-speakers to take steps in vulnerability and courage. In her commitment to be the rector of the entire church body, Chris has spent significant time developing her Spanish skills and learning about Latino culture, determined to overcome her own discomfort and fear of looking foolish while modeling humility and a willingness to engage in spite of the mistakes that inevitably happen in cross-cultural relationships.

Building Beloved Community is a long process that The Episcopal Church symbolizes with a labyrinth, and St. Michael’s experience bears out the reality of this metaphor. Throughout many twists and turns, coming to this 25th Celebration of the Misa is a recognition that the English- and Spanish-language speakers of St. Michael’s are deeply committed to God and to each other.

Visit the St. Michael & All Angels website.

Becoming Beloved Community: From Reflection to Action

As we approach the end of Lent, our Labyrinth journey has given us truth to recognize and a dream to proclaim. Now, Becoming Beloved Community moves from discernment and reflection into concrete action.

As always, this framework highlights the local discernment of individuals and communities. As you look for Practicing the Way of Love and Repairing the Breach, consider the following concrete actions:

  1. Within the leadership of your individual congregation or group, set some time during your meeting to look at a particular goal or project, and ask yourself how you might approach it differently if you are being intentional around the issues of inclusion and justice. Is there a perspective missing? Can it be more inclusive? Can you identify a particular area where your congregation or group might be called into reparative justice or other concrete action?
  2. Connect with other organizations active in this kind of work, such as Oregon Humanities, the Rural Organizing Project, or the Interfaith Movement for Immigrant Justice. Find ways to participate in a specific activity, presentation or project. How is the work from within your own congregation or group enriched by partnering with another group? Are there gifts and resources that your church can offer?

Blessings in the journey,
The Rev. Patricia Steagall
Diocesan Coordinator for Diverse Church

Becoming Beloved Community Week 4: Repairing the Breach

(March 11- March 17)

PRAYER:
Almighty God, who created us in your own image: Grant us grace fearlessly to contend against evil and to make no peace with oppression; and, that we may reverently use our freedom, help us to employ it in the maintenance of justice in our communities and among the nations, to the glory of your holy Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

– The Book of Common Prayer

REFLECTION AND LEARNING:

  1. Read the detailed description of Becoming Beloved Community, focusing on Repairing the Breach (pages 21 – 23)

ACTION:
After focusing on our internal dynamics, it may be time to extend our work into the world. One way to do this is to partner with other individuals, agencies, ministries and groups that share our commitment to his work.

For individuals and groups:

Identity other groups doing this work, and consider one of the following:

  1. Attend a presentation or event organized by another group.
  2. Invite a speaker from another group to make a presentation sharing their work.
  3. Contribute and participate in a particular initiative or project sponsored by another group.
  4. Consider expanding the base of community work with specific steps towards developing and focusing ecumenical, interfaith and community partnerships.

Click here for a (growing) list of groups focusing on justice and inclusion work in the state of Oregon. (coming soon)

Becoming Beloved Community: Lostness

From the Rev. Marianne Allison, chaplain at William Temple House and associate priest at St. Gabriel the Archangel, Portland.

“My colonial credentials are impeccable.”

I heard myself saying that often as I was first getting to know members of an Indigenous Theological Studies cohort I had joined at Portland Seminary. The program was run by Native Americans and First Nations Canadians. We came together to learn about decolonizing the church, and decolonizing ourselves–colonized and colonizer both. As one of a white minority in the cohort, my awkward remark telegraphed my self-consciousness about Mayflower ancestors on one side of my family, and slaveholders on the other. Not to mention, my coming from a church of empire.

My new friends passed over the remark. So what?, they were saying, implicitly. We’re here together now, and we all come from somewhere that will inform our experience. Let’s just start where we are, and walk together.

In this first act of hospitality, I was being shown the way of love, and I recognized it as the way of Jesus. And so, I stepped into this community that became for me, beloved.

It was an experience of scales falling from my eyes—a way of appreciating difference in others I had never known. I remember feeling a vague irritation in class one day that we we weren’t allowed to watch an assigned movie in our own time. Yet watching it together, I learned more from someone’s laughter, or tears, or wisecrack, or story shared that the movie brought to mind, than I possibly could have by focusing on my own reaction. And the humor! How much vulnerability, humility, and story – how much of Christ – was revealed in it.

In time too, we came to share what we were working out, each of us on our own. There was no forced march—just a quiet expectancy, a trust bestowed on each other to do it, for the sake of the community. I came to see why my proffer of ancestral baggage had been met with respectful silence. It was a disconnected fact. It had no context in the rest of my story, in who I would be to them, and who we would be to each other. I felt seen. I felt forgiven. I felt saved.

My friends love Jesus, although they’re not big fans of “Churchianity.” And they revealed Jesus to me as healer of broken Shalom, as the shepherd come to bring his lost sheep to himself. “Lostness,” to them, is purely relational. It is being lost to each other, to Jesus, to the whole community of creation. We are all lost—the colonizer and the colonized. And so we come together, each broken in our own way. We observe and absorb our differences, and we begin to make sense of them together, by practicing the way of love.

A mentor in this community once said this about the essential task of mission: “Joy comes from the community being together with Jesus. It is bringing in each lost person to share in the joy, to add their piece to the tapestry, or to bring it back.” This is beloved community, as it was shown unto me. I am humbled, and grateful for it. How can I not want it for others?

Becoming Beloved Community Week 3: Practicing the Way of Love

(March 4 – March 10)

PRAYER:

Almighty God, You bring to light things hidden in darkness and know the shadows of our hearts. Cleanse and renew us by Your Spirit, that we may walk in the light and sanctify Your name through Jesus the Messiah, the Light of the world. Amen.
– The Kenyan Book of Common Prayer

REFLECTION AND LEARNING:

  1. Read the detailed description of Becoming Beloved Community, focusing on Practicing the Way of Love (pages 16-20)

ACTION:

The focus of our activities this week is to look at the way our communities are organized in their internal leadership and action, and start examining our common work through the lens of Becoming Beloved Community.

For individuals:

  • Make a thoughtful self-examination on your personal experiences and social location around the questions of inclusion/exclusion, privilege/oppression. Prayerfully consider how your personal experiences and background influence your perspective and voice as a member and leader within your communities.

For congregations and groups:
Of necessity, the action for this week needs to be discerned by each individual and group participating. Here are some possibilities:

  1. At your next meeting, set time aside to reflect on how one of your agenda items might be approached or engaged with differently if special attention is being given to the dynamics of inclusion and exclusion.
  2. Invite an outside speaker or diocesan consultant to work with your group on a topic related to justice and inclusion issues.
  3. Research and implement an exercise that will allow your group to become your conscious of its own dynamics or inclusion/privilege, or exclusion/oppression.

Becoming Beloved Community Week 2: Proclaiming the Dream

The Rev. Dcn. Maureen Hagen reads a portion of “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” in the chapel at the diocesan office during the Eucharist.

Proclaiming the dream is a hope-filled reminder that our work around inclusion and justice is grounded in our understanding of God’s vision for God’s creation. Biblical images of the Peaceable Kingdom, Beloved Community, the Kingdom of Heaven… all these come together in a common vision for the world as it should be. As followers of Jesus, we are called to participate in the embodiment of this dream.

This week on our diocesan Lenten series I’m please to share yet another excelent resource on practicing and becoming Beloved Community, “Becoming Beloved Community Where You Are: A Resource for Individuals, Congregations and Communities.” Just as our diocesan program speaks of this as a framework around which to understand and engage on justice, inclusion and reconciliation as a way of life, this resource offers a plethora of ideas to be adapted as suitable in our various local environments.

Given last week’s snow and ice in the metro area, our Eucharist focused on Dr. Martin Luther King’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” was rescheduled and held yesterday (click here to watch video of this Eucharist and discussion). Many thanks to those who participated, as well as congregations and individuals who read the letter and participated in discussion groups throughout the diocese. What did you learn? What surprised you?  What does this letter invite you to do, be or change?

Blessings in the journey,
The Rev. Patricia Steagall
Diocesan Coordinator for Diverse Church

Becoming Beloved Community: Inclusion and justice as a way of life

As we begin our Lenten journey, many of us will choose Becoming Beloved Community as our Lenten discipline, opening our hearts and minds to a theology and practice that offers a way of living into justice and reconciliation as a way of life.

This week, our emphasis is on the first step, which is “telling the truth.” As individuals, Lent challenges us to deepen our understanding of the truth in our lives as examined by the values and light of the Gospel of Christ. This same question needs to be asked at the level of community, and each one of us may choose to highlight the telling of truth within the communities of which we form a part.

At the level of the wider church, telling the truth is associated with church-wide surveys on how, and what, we are doing in terms of inclusion and justice.  Here in the Diocese of Oregon, our communal telling the truth, this year, is a generous invitation for as many of our leaders and voices as possible to participate in Diverse Church I.

So, let’s be generous in doing this work!

Click here to read the introduction and first theme of becoming Beloved Community.
Click here to “sign up” and commit to Becoming Beloved Community as your Lenten journey.
Click here for this year’s Diverse Church workshops in the Diocese of Oregon.

Blessings in Christ,
The Rev. Patricia Steagall
Diocesan Coordinator for Diverse Church

Becoming Beloved Community Week 1: Telling the Truth

(Ash Wednesday through Feb. 24)

PRAYER:

Q:          Will you persevere in resisting evil, and whenever you fall into sin, repent and return to the Lord?
A:          We will, with God’s help.

O God, you made us in your own image and redeemed us through Jesus your Son: Look with compassion on the whole human family; take away the arrogance and hatred which infect our hearts; break down the walls that separate us; unite us in bonds of love; and work through our struggle and confusion to accomplish your purposes on earth; that, in your good time, all nations and races may serve you in harmony around your heavenly throne; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

– Prayer for the Human Family (Book of Common Prayer, p. 815)

REFLECTION AND LEARNING:

  1. Read the detailed description of Becoming Beloved Community, focusing on Telling the Truth (pages 9-12)
  2. Read the Pastoral Letter written by the House of Bishops in 1994 on confronting the sin of racism.

ACTION:

For individuals:

  1. Anti-racism training is a requirement for all leaders in the Episcopal Church. In the Diocese of Oregon, the expectation is that this training (Diverse Church I) be taken at least once every ten years.
  2. If you haven’t taken the training recently, make the commitment now to take one of the workshops that will be offered throughout the rest of the year. (Click here for dates and registration.)

For congregations and groups:

  • Commit to surveying your leadership structure and see who might need to take this training – Ex: Vestry and BAC members, clergy and staff, church leaders and teachers, boards, convention delegates, and those in your congregation or group who serve at the diocesan level. Encourage those who need to take the training to commit and sign up for workshops that will be offered throughout the rest of the year. (Click here for dates and registration.)