August 31, 2023

If any of you are suffering, they should pray. If any of you are happy, they should sing. If any of you are sick, they should call for the elders of the church, and the elders should pray over them, anointing them with oil in the name of the Lord. Prayer that comes from faith will heal the sick, for the Lord will restore them to health. And if they have sinned, they will be forgiven.

James 5:13-15, Common English Bible

This is a familiar passage to most of us, and it comes near the end of the Book of James. The Oxford Annotated Bible points out that the letter attributed to James, the brother of Jesus, is probably a written sermon. If that’s the case, here’s how that sermon starts: Count it all joy, my siblings, when you face trials of any kind

I don’t know about you, but trials and joy are not usually things that go hand-in-hand in my mind. The tough parts of life rarely seem joyful, and I don’t think that’s just my experience. Facing an uncertain diagnosis or managing the weight of pain or sickness is not joyful. Watching someone you love slowly fade because of problems with physical, mental, or psychological illness is not joyful. Experiencing strain and tension in personal relationships that cause hurt and distance is not joyful. That begs the question: What could the writer of James have possibly meant?

Remembering that the Book of James is structured like a sermon might give us one clue, and the theme of most of the book is something we’ve talked about a lot at All Saints’ lately: community. James contains several pieces of advice and wisdom for living in community, so I think it’s no coincidence that trials and tribulations serve as the starting and concluding points for this community-centric epistle. After all, when things get tough, where do we go? To the people we know who will support us and uphold us in their faith through prayer and action.

Here is the thing about the tough parts of life: When we are at our lowest moments, those are opportunities for people to surround us with love and support. When I’ve been at my lowest, cards and notes and phone calls–and yes, the simple reminder that I was in someone’s prayers that day–have carried me through the toughest times. So maybe it’s not that there is joy in suffering after all, but the realization that we experience the love of community most acutely in those moments when we face the trials of life.

With that being in mind, we are going to be re-establishing an important practice here at All Saints’. Starting on Wednesday, September 6 at 12PM, we will have a short midday service where we will offer prayers of support and healing for all who seek them before sharing a Holy Meal around Christ’s Table. Afterward, we will share another kind of meal with a brownbag lunch. Everything will be wrapped up by 1PM so that those who need to go back to work are able to do so.

Please consider joining us if and when you are able. In the meantime, the Peace of Christ be with you.


August 2, 2023

Mixing Things Up, Part 2

As I mentioned in my reflection last week, we’re going to venture into a season of trying new things here at All Saints’. One of the most visible signs of this adventure will be the slimmed-down bulletins. I referenced this change specifically last week, and I thought it might be fun to follow that announcement up with some context, presented here in the form of questions and answers:


1. What is the Book of Common Prayer?

The Book of Common Prayer (BCP for short) is the foundational document of Anglicanism. The first BCP, drafted by Thomas Cranmer and colleagues and authorized for use in 1549, was a revolutionary document. It combined parts of the missal (the book used by the priest during Mass) and monastery breviaries (the orders for Daily Offices said by monks and nuns) and was published in English. The goal was a simplified prayer book that could be used by all the members of the Church.


2. How will this affect me?

The truth is that this will not be a radical departure from what we are used to on any given weekend. We’ve already been using the BCP for the creeds, the prayers of the people, and the confession every week. We’ve always used hymnals. If you worship Sunday at 10, we will continue to print the service music (Gloria, presentation hymn, and Sanctus) in the bulletin so that you don’t have to try to juggle two books at once.


3. Won’t this make it harder for visitors? Will people stop trying All Saints’?

Not necessarily. The Lewis Center for Church Leadership published a list of reasons why people don’t return to church after an initial visit, and books v. bulletins v. video screen projections didn’t make the list. Instead, people tend to avoid churches where people seem unfriendly or clique-ish, churches where no one greets them, and churches where they don’t like or don’t understand what’s going on in the service.

In other words, the biggest reason someone chooses to come back to All Saints’ might be you. So greet people when they walk in. Introduce yourself at the Peace. Help someone who’s struggling to find their place in the BCP. Episcopalians have a bad reputation in some circles when it comes to friendliness. I don’t think that’s true at all–I think we are very friendly, but we’re also content to let others make the first move. It’s time for us to be proactive.


4. Why are we doing this now?

Well, there are lots of reasons. One of the biggest is that this will allow us to be better stewards of our resources. We have BCPs in every pew in the church, and most weeks, they sit unused. We’ll be using resources we already have and greatly reducing our paper consumption every week. In other words, we’ll be using both our natural and financial resources more effectively. And you can help us improve our environmental impact even more by making sure to recycle our bulletins every week.


5. I really like the services we’ve been using this summer – what about Enriching our Worship?

I’m glad you enjoyed it. The truth is that I like a lot of it too! The EOW post-Communion prayer is one of my favorite prayers in any prayer book. We will continue to use EOW from time to time when it’s appropriate to do so. And if there’s a part that really spoke to you, you can gently incorporate it into your daily prayers or our worship together.


July 27, 2023  

Mixing Things Up, Part 1

If you attended my ordination service a couple of years ago, you got to hear from my friend and first priestly mentor, Mac Collins. Over the course of our journey together, Fr. Mac shared a piece of advice with me that has contributed much to the way I continue to look at the experiences of worship and formation within the church. “Perry,” he said, “you should treat the church like a laboratory. Experiment. Try new things. Mix it up.” 

He was encouraging me to do something–then and there–in our local community at St. Mark’s in San Diego, but   as a licensed lay preacher taking an exploratory class in seminary, I was initially intimidated. Despite my initial hesitation, his advice has stuck with me. It was an honest admission that there are often no right or wrong ways to order our common life or offer our worship; it has been the permission I’ve needed to try something new.

We’ve already tried some new things in the four months I’ve been your Rector. Joyful July, which winds down this weekend, was one of those things. And I can’t speak for everyone, but I think it’s been fun. This week, we will bless everyone (along with their backpacks!) who’s starting a new school year during our 9AM service: students, teachers, administrators, staff, etc. Then we’ll reconvene in the St. Barbara rooms after church to prepare backpacks and words of encouragement for the kids we support through our Prison Ministry.

Next week, we’re going to implement some more changes when we go back to our regularly-scheduled programming. The most obvious change you will see relates to the way we use the bulletin and the Book of Common Prayer. For a long time, we have relied on a hybrid format where some things are printed in the bulletin and others are printed in the Book of Common Prayer. Starting on August 5 & 6, we are going to see what would happen if we rely much more on the Prayer Book as our primary text for worship.

There are lots of reasons for this change, and in next week’s reflection, I will provide some more detail for these points. Here is a quick rundown of the two biggest reasons:


1. We’re trying to be better stewards of our finances and our resources. We can use the books we already have, reduce the amount of paper we consume, and save money.


2.    It’s countercultural, but in a good way. The Book of Common Prayer has been at the heart of Anglican worship for almost 500 years and we are connected to that tradition.

There are also some reasons why this is a big change that will have ripple effects across All Saints’. As someone who did not grow up in the Episcopal Church, I struggled for the first several months to make my way through a service juggling the Prayer Book and the hymnal. After you’ve done it for a while, you get used to it, but it’s the getting used to it that makes it a challenge. And if you look around, you’ll notice that we have people visiting All Saints’ every week. Some of them are from other Episcopal churches and some are Roman Catholic; in other words, they are from churches where they are used to prayer books and missals. But many of them are from Evangelical churches where the words and music are broadcast on screens and the idea of worshiping with a book in your hand seems strange.  

So this is the part of this change that’s going to take all of us working together to make sure we can do this. If you see someone new in church, particularly if it seems like they’re struggling to find their place in the hymnal or the BCP, help them out. Say hello. Make a friend. Walking into a new church is hard, but what people will remember (and what will keep them coming back) is not whether we worship from a book, a bulletin, or a screen–it’s whether they felt seen and accepted by the members of the congregation. And I know that we are up to that task.

July 20, 2023

A few weeks ago, a dear friend of mine handed me a treasure: A cookbook published by the members of All Saints’ Episcopal Church and Day School. The cookbook, “Desert Potluck Cookbook: All Recipes Kitchen Tested,” was published in 1998 as a fundraiser for youth ministry and school tuition assistance. The forward, written by Fr. Carl Carlozzi, begins thusly: “A veritable cornucopia of tasty delights is herein joyfully offered to you in this culinary masterpiece prepared by the ladies of All Saints’ Episcopal Church and Day School.”

This Sunday, we will the next chapter into the long-standing tradition of shared meals here at All Saints’ when we bring our own “tasty delights” to welcome Chaplain Erin to our community with a potluck feast. And as we do, we will join with our forebears, both at All Saints’ and across hundreds of generations, who have shared community meals as a part of their community’s worship. In case you missed that, I did just call a church potluck an act of worship. If you’re intrigued (or confused) by that, read on…

When we discussed our various theologies for Holy Communion in seminary, almost everyone pointed to what we call the “words of institution” that appear in Matthew, Mark, and Luke – that part of the Last Supper when Jesus takes the bread and the wine and tells his disciples “this is my body and blood.” But we also read something that challenged us to think more broadly about Jesus’s ministry of table fellowship as another symbol of the grace we receive when we gather together for Communion. That really stuck with me, and that’s part of the reason why I intentionally invite us all to take our place at Christ’s Table before we gather for Holy Communion each week. It was at the table that people were invited into fellowship (Luke 6:29 - 32), restored to dignity (Luke 7:36-50), and given a new purpose in life (Luke 19:1-10).

As powerful as those accounts are, those are not the only references to sharing meals that occur in the New Testament. When Paul wrote to the Corinthians, he addressed some pretty big challenges that had caused division within the community. One of those was their practice of sharing meals. 1 Corinthians 11 is a familiar passage to most of us, and in the church I was raised in, our Pastor would read Paul’s appeal to self-examination (v. 28) before our monthly Communion service as a call to personal holiness. Without the context of the first part of the chapter, that interpretation makes sense. But when you read the whole passage, you discover that the call to self examination probably has more to do with the treatment of our siblings in Christ than personal piety. When the Corinthians would gather for a meal, those who had plenty would feast and drink while those who had little would sit and watch. And although they claimed to be following the example of Jesus, the results were not the same: Rather than feeling empowered and included, people left feeling humiliated and defeated.

So when we gather this Sunday for our potluck, we will remember the reason we are there: To celebrate this community, to build one another up, and to show our appreciation for our newest clergy person! It is indeed an occasion for gratitude and fellowship, and even though we will be sharing potato salad and assorted casseroles rather than bread and wine, the Spirit will still be there among us.

And one final parting comment from your Rector…There is a beatitude in Matthew 5 that most modern translations omit for some reason: “Blessed are those who stay and help clean up afterward, for they relieve the tired church staff.” I am kidding of course about the biblical reference, but not about the need for a few folks who are willing to stay and load the dishwashers and wipe down tables. If you feel so called, please consider signing up here and joining us.

June 29, 2023

Taking some time away.

Michelle and I are doing something this week that we rarely do. For only the second time in the last 13 years, we are taking a vacation (i.e., more than a long weekend) together. My passport’s been sitting in a drawer since 2015, the year that I co-led a three-week study abroad program with the School of Communication at San Diego State. Even though it was definitely a working trip for me–managing 42 college students trekking through Eastern Europe was as stressful as you might imagine–Michelle was able to join me for the last week of our trip. She left the kids with my parents and met me in Krakow and Budapest. I had to check in with the students and teach class every morning, but every afternoon and evening, we were able to explore the cities and experience the culture…and the food. It was wonderful, and I think the students ended up liking Michelle more than me.

I was talking to a friend last week about the discipline of taking time away, the practice of intentionally disconnecting and taking time to rest and recharge. It doesn’t come naturally to most of us. We worry about what will happen while we’re away. Those of us who are working might find it difficult to step away from our commitments. We miss our friends and families while we are gone. There are uncertainties about travel arrangements and accommodations and a lot of other things. But in the end, we all believe that rest is good and helpful.

So, even if it’s hard for you, and even if you can’t physically get away because of timing or restrictions, my encouragement for you this summer is to find some time to rest. Go on a trip, even if it’s just a day trip to Sedona or Prescott. Unplug and read a book, just for fun. Try something new that seems relaxing: knitting, yoga, meditation, gardening. It really doesn’t matter what you do, just that you find some time to be still, to disconnect from the busyness of the world, and to feel refreshed. A concerned parishioner asked me once if it is bad that they fall asleep when they try to unplug and spend some time in quiet meditation. I told them not at all: Rest is holy, and if your body tells you that what it needs is sleep, there is no problem with that at all.

This is a short trip for us and–barring significant travel delays–we will be back with you all this weekend. We’re looking forward to the BBQ this Sunday and to continue being with you all and building relationships with our family at All Saints’. In the meantime, here’s a picture of us from our vacation.

Looking forward to being with you again soon!


June 22, 2023

When I was a professor at San Diego State, my favorite class to teach was Nonverbal Communication. Near the end of the semester, we had a unit on the successful use of nonverbal communication tactics in business negotiations, and for the first couple semesters I taught that class, I felt like my lesson was really boring. So I decided to mix things up along the way by doing my own in-class version of a classic social experiment. I divided the class into small groups and asked the groups to scour their backpacks to find something of almost no value: a torn folder, a single marker or pen, a few sheets of paper…you get the idea. Then I sent them out onto campus and gave them half an hour to barter with strangers. The goal was to use their powers of persuasion to “trade up” every time and to use their smartphones to document their successful trades photographically. In two or three years of doing this activity, the most successful group started out with a heavily used pencil and came back with a boxed lunch from one of the food vendors on campus. We’re talking about grilled chicken, rice, bread, and vegetables–a full meal, something that probably cost at least $10 or $15–that they acquired through five successful trades from a mostly-used pencil.

It’s hard to believe that particular lesson happened eight years ago, but it’s true. And sometimes I wonder if they think about that class: if they learned anything that’s helped them in life, if they’ve ever told that story at a party or a job interview or on a date, if any of that experience stuck with them.

The reason I share this story with you is because I believe that there is value in lived experience. Experience is a great teacher, and when we’ve been through something, we have a story to tell people on the other side of it. And even though we sometimes have similar experiences, the stories we tell are different. One person’s story that begins with “you’ll never believe what my crazy professor did in class today” is no less valid than another person's story that begins with “So I learned I’m really good at talking people into giving me things today.”

We share stories because that’s the fundamental thing that makes us human according to the late narrative scholar Walter Fisher. More than tools or opposable thumbs, stories are what give us the ability to form communities and create societies, to thrive as human beings in a hostile world. That’s because stories give us insight into someone else’s perspective while also conveying information that could be useful one day. That’s the reason we show our kids our [literal and sometimes emotional] scars: So that they can understand the pain of what we’ve been through, and so that they can hopefully avoid repeating our mistakes.

So next month, July 9 - 12, I will be attending the Episcopal Church’s It’s All About Love conference in Baltimore. On Tuesday of that week (July 11), I will be leading a workshop on narrative preaching, encouraging other preachers to tap into the power of storytelling to connect with their congregations as they proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ. Because here’s the thing: I believe we all have gospel (i.e., good news) stories that can be told about events and encounters that have changed our perspective – and sometimes our lives. And if I can do anything for the Church, it would be to help people find their voice and have confidence in their own storytelling, proclaiming their encounters of God’s love with clarity and passion. So let’s start here: share your stories of God’s love and goodness with me or with each other. Let’s make space in our community for our own stories of faith. And I also ask for your prayers while we’re in Baltimore.




June 8, 2023

A lot of people have had artificial intelligence (AI) on their mind recently, and I’ve had several interesting conversations with people in the parish about AI recently. Most people have asked me if I’ve heard stories about colleagues using artificial intelligence to write their sermons. It’s not so far-fetched: just this week, I read a story in the New York Times about a lawyer who filed a brief in court that he had created with AI. The problem is that all of the legal precedents cited in the brief were bogus; AI had invented them, whole cloth, from thin air.

When folks have asked me about AI sermons, I usually tell a humorous anecdote I heard on one of my favorite radio programs, Science Friday, about six months ago. On this particular Friday, they had a panel of scientists, philosophers, and theologians on the program to discuss the ethical implications of AI. As you might know, Science Friday is a call-in show, and one of the callers asked the clergy on the panel if they had ever used AI to write a sermon. A rabbi spoke up and said he’d tried it, once, by asking AI to comment on what scripture has to say about the violence in our world today. The AI bot responded, “Because the Bible was written by a primitive iron-age people thousands of years ago, it has no relevance to modern society.”

This is a humorously insulting conclusion for those of us who take the practice of learning, marking, and inwardly digesting scripture seriously. The truth is, the stories in the Bible are part of our story today, and when we look at scripture as a mirror, we can see aspects of ourselves in the ancient people described in the Bible. We might see ourselves in the doubts of Abraham. The cunning of Jacob. The arrogance of Joseph. The insecurities of Moses. And we also see how God used each of them, despite their apparent flaws, to accomplish something truly remarkable in the world.

During this long season after Pentecost, we will visit these stories of the faith each week. When the Revised Common Lectionary was being formed, the authors of that ecumenical reading plan devised two tracks for this season of Ordinary Time. Track 2, the track we have historically used at All Saints’, attempts to pair Old Testament lessons with the message of the Gospel reading for the week. Track 1, the track we will follow this summer, tells the stories of the Hebrew Bible in (almost) continuous order, starting with the story of Abram this week. We don’t have enough time to get all the way through the Hebrew Bible in one summer, but we’ll make a good dent in the first few books of the Torah.

And even though we will be looking backward at these stories, we are also looking ahead. The great Jesuit theologian and brilliant paleontologist Pierre Teilhard de Chardin argued that the consciousness of humanity and all of the technologies we develop–including AI–is slowly moving us, generation by generation, to being more like God’s vision for the Kingdom “on earth as it is in heaven.” When we look around at current events, it can be hard to agree with his conclusion. But here’s the thing: The stories from Hebrew scripture remind us that it was often in the bleakest moments, with deeply flawed actors, that God intervened to change the course of humanity. As we hear their stories this summer, may we have the faith to follow where they have led the way.

June 1, 2023   

I had coffee with a friend last week and he was excited to introduce me to a place I’d never tried before: Provision on Missouri at 7th Street. As it turns out, he knows the owners and has been connected to them and their business as it’s unfolded over the last decade. He was genuinely invested in their story and the relationship that they’ve developed over several years and it was apparent. On that particular Tuesday morning, there was lots of joy: Joy in a newly developing friendship, joy in a good cup of coffee, and the joy of sharing that particular place and that experience.

It reminded of when I had a place like that. There’s a coffee shop (and at night, a pizzeria) in the North Park neighborhood in San Diego called Caffe Calabria that I love. When we lived in San Diego, I scheduled almost all my off-campus meetings there, and I took all my friends there for coffee or dinner. I got to know the staff and the owners. And even though we left San Diego almost seven years ago, we still buy our coffee from their roastery and have it shipped to our house.

The enthusiasm that we all have over sharing our favorite things with people is just a part of what makes us human. We want the people we care about to share in our excitement over the things we love. Is it too far-fetched to think about a cup of coffee in those terms? That depends on how much you like coffee. Personally,

I love coffee. I drink 4-5 cups of coffee a day, sometimes more. So when a friend invites me to a new coffee place, I register that as good news. I look forward to the experience of sitting at the table to share good coffee and good conversation.

I used the phrase good news on purpose because of its significance in our identity as the Body of Christ. The word in Greek that is translated as good news (or gospel in other places) is evangelion, the basis of our modern word evangelism. Evangelism can be a bad word in the Episcopal Church because we associate it with street-corner preachers and others who focus primarily on conversion rather than conversation. But that’s not what Jesus did. In fact, Jesus rarely preaches in the Gospels, preferring instead to spend time sharing meals with outcasts and sinners, healing the sick, and answering questions with stories (and sometimes, more questions!). Jesus’s ministry was about dialogue and relationship first and foremost – the change of heart and amendment of life just flowed from that.

In a world that is full of bad news, sharing the things we love with others and giving our loved ones a moment of rest from the doom and gloom is indeed good news.

So this summer, before you invite a friend to church, invite them to coffee. Start a spontaneous book club with some friends and gather to discuss that novel you’ve been wanting to read. Plan a day trip to get out

of the heat. Host a movie night at your house. Share the things that give you joy with the people who give you joy. And then…let your graciousness and hospitality be the sign of a life that has been transformed by the radical love of God.

When the Bishop visited our parish a few weeks ago,

she said something that’s stuck with me: One of the most evangelistic things a suburban parish like ours can do is serve people a good cup of coffee with a smile. So that’s going to be one of our projects here at All Saints’. Michelle and I bought 15 pounds of extra coffee on our latest order from Caffe Calabria and we are excited to share it with all of you. It should be enough to get us through the summer. So, try a cup of coffee at church and let me know what you think. And who knows – maybe you can invite a friend to meet you for coffee here on a Sunday?

We’re going to try something else new this summer: During the month of July, we are going to have TWO weekend services, Saturday at 5PM and Sunday at 9AM. We’ll have the coffee ready before the 9AM service, and after church at about 10AM, we are planning a series of all-ages activities to give us the chance to spend some time together and build relationships with one another. After all, we are a community of faith at All Saints’.



May 25, 2023   

I had planned to write something different this week, but the news out of Douglas this afternoon changed my plans. In her weekly E-pistle, Bishop Reddall confirmed what many of us had suspected or feared: The fires that destroyed St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church and heavily damaged First Presbyterian Church on Monday morning appear to have been intentional. St. Stephen’s was a total loss by Monday afternoon. According to our local ABC 15 News, the fire at First Presbyterian was contained Monday morning before the fire unexpectedly reignited in the middle of the night early Tuesday morning. The investigation is ongoing and someone has already been arrested in connection with the fires.

Over the last 3+ years serving congregations in our diocese, I’ve been at churches that have been vandalized and robbed. Since coming here to All Saints’, I’ve learned about similar incidents that have happened right here at our parish. When we hear about these kinds of events, the reaction is always the same. At first we feel sick to our stomach, then we ask the inevitable question: Who would do something like this to a church? To our church? 

And that’s the thing – for most of us, All Saints’ is our home away from home. My kids are here with me, day after day, roaming the grounds, spending time in the office, going to after school activities, being with friends. They feel completely safe here because they know that they are surrounded by a community of people who are all watching out for them, who are invested in them, and who will do whatever they can to keep them safe. I love that this is a place of safety and comfort–a home in the truest sense of the word–and I know I am not alone in that feeling.

To my All Saints’ family, I know it is not hard for us to understand what the people of St. Stephen’s and First Presbyterian are experiencing right now: They have lost their home and they are devastated. And as I write this, I am reminded of our Gospel from this past Sunday when Jesus prayed for all his disciples: Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one.

So let’s do what we can to be the kind of community for our siblings in Christ that Jesus prayed we would be. Let’s remember St. Stephen’s and First Presbyterian in our prayers. If you’re able to join me in giving to support St. Stephen’s financially, the Bishop has already set up a fund and you can online via our eblast or the link below* (make sure “St. Stephen’s, Douglas” is the designated fund). And we will consider what we can do to continue to support them in love and prayer, with our finances (fundraiser anyone?), and in shared mission and ministry in the weeks and months to come.




*You can copy and paste this link into your browser:


May 18, 2023

This Tuesday, we were running late yet again. For those of you who have spent time around preteen kids–like my two–you’ll understand what I mean. Statements like “we need to leave the house at 7:30” are often interpreted as “you should walk into the kitchen at 7:32, barefoot, without socks or shoes even in hand, with a vague intention of getting to school at some point today.” So by the time we got to school (eight minutes later than our target), I parked in a different spot than I normally would (I am an Episcopalian, after all, and definitely have “my spot” in the parking lot) to try to help them get all their stuff into school. I hurried into the church and put my vestments on and somehow, despite the chaos, we were all in our places when school chapel started at 8:05.

By the time I got out of chapel and back to my office at about 9:20, I was surprised to see that a crew of tree trimmers was here, trimming our last three date palms on the property. Those palms are pretty tall, probably 30 or 40 feet high, and as the trimmers cut the palm fronds they threw them down to the parking lot below…right on the spot where my Jeep would have been had we been here on time.

In that moment, I paused, took a deep breath, smiled, and shook my head. I was frustrated and pretty upset Tuesday morning. I definitely let my emotions get the better of me, and I’m pretty sure my kids got a stern dad lecture on the way to school that morning. The daily grind that we all experience, in a variety of situations, can wear us down. And in the grand scheme of things, running a few minutes late for a school chapel is nothing compared to the daily realities that so many people here at All Saints’ and in our neighborhood face each and every day. Grief, frustration, anxiety, and anger can become near constant companions that affect the way we perceive and interact with the world around us.


Today, on this Ascension Day, the words of Mark 16 mean a little more to me. Mark’s account of the Ascension is very short, just a single verse, and it occurs right after Jesus appears to all the disciples to scold them. His rebuke is telling. The disciples have been through a lot: watching their friend and teacher suffer and die, fearing for their own arrest, trying to figure out what comes next. But Jesus does not rebuke them for any of these emotional experiences; he doesn’t tell them their grief or worries are invalid. Rather, he tells them that their emotions have gotten the better of them and affected their faith. He reminds them that he will always be there, working in them and through them, and the evidence of Jesus’s love and faithfulness will be their lives and their ministry to the world. Evil will lose its power, the sick will be healed, and nothing will defeat them.

I think Jesus’s message to us this Ascension Day would be the same as it was in Mark 16: Don’t lose heart. Keep the faith. Even when you’re struggling, remember that you are loved and called by God. There is goodness in the world, and we all, by virtue of our Baptismal Vows, have a part to play in making the world a kinder and better place. I know we all carry a variety of things in our hearts, and whatever those things are for you, know that you can work through them AND STILL be loved by God and used to see God’s Kingdom on earth as it is in heaven.

This morning, we were running behind again (it happens a lot at our house, please don’t judge us). This time, after I dropped the kids off just on time–7:59 is not late–I did park in my usual spot and noticed a baby bird on the ground who had fallen out of the nest. With Nanette’s help, we got a ladder and put the little baby back in the tree. It was a small act of kindness on a morning that I was again frustrated, and it is my hope and prayer that I will continue to see the good that ought to be done and do it, despite my emotions and state of mind.

Peace to you all on this Ascension Day.



May 11, 2023

I had the opportunity to worship with some members of our All Saints’ community who make their home at the Terraces this past Tuesday. As is the custom at most churches, we look to the Episcopal Church’s calendar(s) of observances for our texts for midweek services. It just so happened that Tuesday was the observance of St. Gregory of Nazianzus (according to the website I consulted, you pronounce it nah-zee-AHN-zuus). He is perhaps the least known of the Cappadocian Fathers, probably because of the difficulty of pronouncing his hometown, BUT…among his peers from Cappadocia, he might have exerted the greatest influence on our inherited faith tradition even though there are numerous churches named after St. Gregory of Nyssa and St. Basil had “the Great” appended to his name.

In addition to affirming the full divinity of Christ, Gregory of Nazianzus worked to develop a comprehensible Trinitarian theology. People used to flock to the church he started in his living room to hear his sermons on the Trinity. Because of his passion and eloquence, he moved through the ranks quickly and became the Bishop of Constantinople. That is significant to us today because, in the year 381, while Gregory was still Bishop, a second church council was convened in Constantinople to resolve what the previous church council at Nicea had been unable to do: decisively affirm the full divinity of Christ and the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit in the lives of believers. These were both doctrinal points that Gregory fully endorsed–and the subject of those legendary sermons–and he was able to settle these debates once and for all as the seated bishop at the Council of Constantinople.

Most of this tale of struggle has been lost to history even though we say the “Nicene Creed” every weekend when we gather for Holy Eucharist. I had a professor at seminary who often referred to the “Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed,” and his repeated references to the later church council generated curious and confused looks more than anything else.

I think there is something really significant about the fact that we generally don’t  acknowledge or even remember that second church council, though. Because we’re drawn to sensational stories, we love the drama of the Great Showdown at Nicea, but we forget about the people like Gregory–solid, faithful, grounded, and very UNdramatic–who continued to toil away quietly in the background. It is their commitment to their faith and their legacy of faithfulness that shaped our ideas about the nature of God perhaps even more than the fiery debates and public spectacles.

That willingness to work behind the scenes is something that I think many of us at All Saints’ can relate to. We do our work quietly, behind the scenes, hoping most of all that our work will make a difference in the world. We don’t do what we do in the world for the recognition, and as good Episcopalians, we consciously do our best to avoid drama and spectacle. But here’s what I’ve learned in two months as your rector: There are truly remarkable things happening throughout this community, and I believe it is time for us to enter into a period of gratitude, thanksgiving, and celebration.

If you were in the 10AM service two weeks ago, you were there to participate in our first public blessing of cards sent to women incarcerated in Maricopa County prisons. The Prison Ministry is a great example of the attitude and work ethic I’m describing: They work year-round largely behind the scenes writing literally thousands  of cards to people in prison each year. They might ask for help from the broader community at All Saints’ a couple times a year for toy drives to help the families of those incarcerated, but those toy drives are not all they do. They are there week after week, month after month, solid, faithful, grounded.

And here’s the amazing thing I’ve learned: they are a good example, but they are not the only ones. Since I’ve been here, I’ve also met with the Altar Guild, the Choir, our Sunday School team, (most of) our Young Adults, and our Vestry. They too are here week in and week out, working hard, mostly behind the scenes. More meetings with ministry teams are already scheduled, and more are on the way. For the next several months, I want to hear from you–all of you–about the good work you are doing and learn what we can do together to accomplish even more.

I mentioned this briefly in my sermon this past Sunday, but I want you to know that this is a project I have been working on with the Vestry for several weeks now (also behind the scenes). Over the next several months, we are going to be connecting with as many people and ministry teams as possible to hear your stories and learn more about your life and ministry. At the end of this process, we’re going to compile something that will point us in the direction we’re headed for our future together.

As a way to kick this off, a word of thanks. Thank you for all you do. This community is indeed solid, faithful, and grounded, and I look forward to sharing the good news of the ministry happening at All Saints’. 

April 20, 2023  

I will let you know up front that this is going to be a long post this week. There is a lot going on here at All Saints’ and it’s all exciting, so please bear with me…(TL;DR: Holy Week was amazing and we are going to clean up the church database this Sunday).

I want to begin by offering a sincere thank you to everyone who participated in Holy Week and made it such a great experience. Between April 1 and April 9 (Palm Sunday - Easter Sunday), we had 13 services at All Saints’. That would not have been possible without the hard work and dedication of so many people. From the clergy to the staff, the Altar Guild to the ushers, the choir and those who serve around the altar, and to those who were here worshiping day after day, the only thing I can say to all of you is this: thank you. My first Holy Week as your rector was truly unforgettable, and it’s only because so many people gave so much of themselves to make it possible.


After those 13 Holy Week and Easter services wrapped, I was a little tired and took some time away from All Saints’. And believe it or not, the thing that re-energized me during my down time was cleaning. You read that right…good old-fashioned spring cleaning. I spent Easter Monday in the yard at home, clearing out some long-neglected weeds and (re)planting some succulents. I came into the office one day to hang some pictures and reorganize some furniture. 


I was working out in the yard when I started thinking about the spiritual discipline of spring cleaning. The thing is, nothing can go without maintenance forever. The metaphor of a yard that needs to be weeded or a car that needs to be serviced can be applied to virtually every aspect of our lives. Right after a clean up (or a tune up), things will go along fine for a little while and we won’t even notice little things that are amiss. But after a season of neglect, the pain becomes obvious: the weeds start getting as high as your knees and the noises from the car get so loud that the radio won’t drown them out.


Nothing can go without maintenance forever, and that includes the big things in our lives: our relationships, our careers, and the physical and emotional health that we rely on to make everything else work. All of those things require work and effort to function well. I think that is true of us spiritually as well. I know Lent is the time when many of us do our annual spiritual maintenance – we take stock of our lives, we return to the disciplines of prayer and study, and we might even try new spiritual practices for a season. Once we’re into Eastertide, it can be tempting to catch our breath and take a break and let these new habits go, the same way that we might neglect new weeds that sprout just days after we’ve weeded the yard. So here’s the thing I would like you to do: If you (re)adopted a new spiritual practice over Lent, let me know about it. What did you do? How did it go? Are you finding time to keep it up? Send me a note ( and let’s begin a conversation.


Now that we’ve talked about the spiritual side of things, here’s my practical appeal. Nothing around the church can exist without maintenance either. We had a team of youth, young adults, and even some vestry members here on April 1 cleaning up the campus right before the Holy Week marathon started. They did a wonderful job and I’m grateful for all that they did to make All Saints’ look great for Easter! Facilities maintenance is important, but behind the scenes, a bigger problem lurks…the church database. We use a cloud-based software called Realm to keep track of everyone here at All Saints’. I’m guessing you have not given much thought to our church database, but I have. I’ve tried to call people whose phone numbers have changed, we’ve sent mail that’s been returned, you get the idea. Our database is in desperate need of some spring cleaning of its own because it’s not a very useful tool after a period of neglect.


So this Sunday, April 23, is Spring Cleaning Sunday for our church database. There are THREE opportunities for you to help us get the most complete and up-to-date information in our database so that it is a useful tool once again:


On Sunday after the 10AM service, we will have a team of volunteers available in the Barbara rooms with laptops in hand to help you update your database profile and make sure your information is current.


        1.   If you won’t be here Sunday at 10 or you don’t want to mess with the computer, that’s OK – we would still like your information to be current! We will have paper forms available this weekend or you can download one HERE and fill it out before church.


      2.     If you are tech savvy at all it is relatively straightforward to update your database record yourself. I just updated mine last week, and even though I couldn’t remember my password, I was still able to do it in a matter of minutes.


    3.    On your computer, just go to On a tablet or smartphone, visit your appropriate app store and look for “Realm Connect.” 


You can choose whether your information is available to the whole community or not (and that’s fine either way), but our database is the tool that clergy and staff use to communicate with parishioners every day: pastoral phone calls, cards / notes / emails, giving statements, all of that starts with the Realm Database.


And here’s a special appeal from me. If you add a picture to your profile (which you will see I did), it would be very helpful for me as I am trying to learn names. It’s nice to look through the directory and see the smiling faces of our parishioners when I need to give someone a call or write them a note.


Thank you all and God bless you as you do the hard work of maintenance every day! 


April 6, 2023


The Great Vigil of Easter is my favorite service of the year. I will admit that at least part of that special place it holds in my heart stems from the fact that both of our kids were baptized at Easter Vigils over the years. But even without that association, the service itself is still beautiful and moving. We gather in darkness–the same darkness we experience starting on Maundy Thursday–to hear the stories of salvation history. The only light comes from the Paschal candle, the light of Christ, and the individual candles we carry with us. It’s a beautiful reminder of the way that we carry the light of Christ within each of us, and although our individual candles might not be very bright on their own, together they shine like stars against the dark.


If the services of the Three Days (The Triduum) are not part of your Holy Week observance, consider adding one (or all) of them this year. The changes in our liturgical texture are striking. We begin with what appears to be a very normal service on Thursday that ends in darkness and silence. On Friday (at 7PM), we will experience one of the most unique services of the year – there is almost nothing in our Good Friday observance that has a parallel in other liturgies throughout the year. And on Holy Saturday, you can feel the anticipation of the resurrection building as the service moves from darkness to light, from hope to reality.


Peace and blessings to each of you on these final days of our Holy Week journey. I look forward to seeing you at church as we remember together the reason we are all here at All Saints’ week after week: love so strong that it could not be destroyed, even by suffering and death.


March 30, 2023

This week, Chesirae stopped by my office to show me the project she had been working on, a beautiful set of images she drew for the Holy Week Passport. They will be available this Sunday at church for our children and youth to have on hand for the journey through Holy Week. We’ll also have stamps available for the services of the Triduum (Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Saturday’s Great Vigil of Easter) and Easter Sunday so everyone can get their passports stamped when they check in. Bring them to church, color the pictures, and reflect on the questions in the Holy Week Passport. And even if you’re not in the children/youth demographic, I would still encourage you to check the Passports out – they are beautiful and meant to be a source of joy and meditation for people of all ages.


The point of that conversation with Chesirae was not about the Passports themselves but the ordering of the events in the Passport: On which dates should we place these various scenes from the last week of Christ? It’s a fair question – every year, we read John’s account of Holy Week during our evening Eucharists. The Gospel of John in its entirety is 21 chapters, but the events of Holy Week are the heart and soul of the text. Those events begin in chapter 12 with a dinner at the home of Mary and Martha and conclude with the story of the resurrection in the first half of chapter 20. Think about that: assuming Jesus lived here among us for 30 or so years as most people believe, John devotes 11 chapters to all of Jesus’s life leading up to Holy Week and 8 ½ chapters to that one week.


For me, that is a good reminder not to rush through the events of this week. It’s an invitation to slow down, to be immersed in the richness of the Holy Week narrative, to walk with Jesus during his final days and to anticipate what is to come. The joy of a dinner party, the hurt of betrayal, the agony of saying goodbye, the torture and humiliation of crucifixion. These are human experiences steeped in human emotion, and that is the richness of the Holy Week encounter year after year.


This year, steep yourself in this story with us. Come and hear the stories as we reflect on Jesus’s final days Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday at 6 pm in the Chapel of the Holy Innocents. Join us on Maundy Thursday at 7 pm where we will gather around the Table of our Lord. Walk the journey to Golgotha on Good Friday for Stations of the Cross and our choral devotional (Haydn’s Seven Last Words) at noon. Sit and meditate during the Veneration of the Cross at 7 pm on Good Friday. And then…we get to experience the hope of resurrection with fresh eyes.


And don’t forget to bring your Holy Week Passport with you for the journey.

March 16, 2023

Thank You . . .  and an Invitation


It has been an eventful week to say the least, but I am grateful for the opportunity to have met with so many people over my first few days here at All Saints’. Day 1 started at 8AM with the all school chapel service and continued with meetings and conversations throughout the rest of the day. I even met our mail carrier and shared a bagel with her! Since then, I’ve met with the staff, the vestry, the pastoral care team, our members at The Beatitudes, our Young Adults, our liturgy planning team, and more (it’s only Wednesday as I write this)! It’s been a wonderful week and my heart is so full – thanks to all of you who have brought cards, sent emails, brought bagels by the office, and just taken the time to introduce yourself and say hello. Our welcome has been warm and wonderful.


If I haven’t had the chance to meet with you yet, don’t worry . . . there’s a committee of dedicated volunteers who are putting together events that we’ll be starting after Holy Week and Easter. And that’s where the invitation part of this comes in. I really want to get to know you, to learn from you, and to hear what gives you hope, what keeps you coming back to All Saints’, and what you’re excited about for this season of our common life. So say hello, introduce yourself, and make plans to come to one (or more) of the meet-and-greet events as they’re announced. During this season of introductions, please be patient with me . . . I try very hard to learn and remember names and faces, but there are a lot of you and only one of me. And know that my family would love to meet you too: my wife Michelle, son Elias, and daughter Alayna (Aly is fine too) are all excited to be part of this community.


It’s been an eventful first week, and we are so excited about what’s happening at All Saints’. Thank you for entrusting me with the opportunity to serve as your Rector, and know that we are looking forward to great days ahead.







February 16, 2023 A Note from Our New Rector

To All of God’s Beloved at All Saints’:

I wanted to pass along my greetings and let you know how excited I am to journey with you as your Rector starting next month. When Michelle and I began exploring what a future in the Episcopal Church might look like, All Saints’ was the first church we visited. To be called back to All Saints’ these many years later as your Rector begins a new chapter in our faith journey that I never could have imagined.

I look forward to spending time with you, getting (re)acquainted with you, learning what gives you hope, and hearing about your dreams for the future of All Saints’. This community has a rich heritage rooted in its 70-year history and there is much in the past for us to honor and celebrate. But All Saints’ doesn’t just live in the past—our dreams for this place are vibrant and there is newness all around. New ministries are cropping up all over the parish. New people are visiting the church and discovering what All Saints’ is all about. New communities are forming within the broader community. And new opportunities are still out there waiting to be discovered.

And the newness isn’t just limited to the church. Our Day School campus is almost completely brand new, and when the extensive renovations are finished in the very near future, they will only reinforce its position as one of the finest schools in our community. And our dreams for the school are not just new facilities. I am excited to partner with Dr. Whitman and the faculty as they build creative and collaborative models of classroom instruction, explore new ways to integrate design and technology throughout the curriculum, and work to build a safe and supportive environment to nurture God’s littlest children.

Friends, when I think about All Saints’, when I think about those pioneering members who founded a church in a date barn 70 years ago, when I think about their hopes and dreams for what this community could be, I think we are that dream. And I think the way we honor their legacy is by continuing to dream about what this parish and school community will be 70 years from now. Together, we will work the soil that they planted, preparing for a harvest that we might never see, because that is the work of God’s Kingdom that we are called to do.

There is much for us to do, and I am so excited about the future of All Saints’. It is an honor to be called as your Rector and to discern this next phase of our journey together. With the Holy Spirit’s help, we will continue to build something rooted in the dreams of those who have gone before us that points to our future.