March 19, 2020  Spiritual Farewell


In the tradition of the Church, we have what is called “spiritual communion.” That means that if we sincerely pray for and deeply desire to receive the sacrament, but are unable to consume the consecrated bread and wine, God blesses us with God’s grace as if we have received it. I’ve only ever in my ministry spoken of spiritual communion when someone was near death, and wished to receive but was not physically able to. In our current, unprecedented situation, most of us will be having spiritual communion for quite some time, as we worship virtually. It is a kind of fast, and also an opportunity. We are learning new ways to be a church and school (some of which will serve us well in the future).


I find myself thinking about spiritual communion when I think about our farewell. None of my farewell is going according to plan. I was going to have several wonderful celebrations with our day school and church this week, teaching classes and leading the Kindergarten St. Patrick’s Day parade, preaching school chapel and at all the weekday and weekend services, and finishing with a big party Sunday afternoon. We’ve had to cancel all of that for understandable health reasons (although I will celebrate the Eucharist and preach “virtually” on Sunday). Even though I will still start my new position on April 1, my consecration as Bishop of Oklahoma has been delayed to May 30th and scaled down from thousands to just a handful of people. I’ll be honest: it stinks. But I know many of you have had much more disruption than I have had in your lives this past week. 


Nothing, for any of us, is going according to plan. And yet, God gives us, if not what we want, then at least what we need. There are moments of blessing, even in a pandemic. I was blessed to be able to celebrate the Eucharist at 9 and 11am last Sunday with those who felt they could be there. I’m not one to show a lot of emotion, but I was a blubbering mess! It meant so very much to worship with you one last time in person, to hear our choristers, senior choir, and organists, and to serve alongside my clergy colleagues, vergers and acolytes. I was able to say goodbye to some of you on Sunday. But for the rest, it will have to be a “spiritual farewell,” with the prayer and desire to do so, without actually being together.


I want to share with you that these past 10 and half years with you as your Rector have been a blessing to me and to my family that I cannot fully describe. You’ve invited me into some of the holiest moments in your lives (pastoral conversations, confessions, funerals, baptisms, weddings, your triumphs and tragedies). We’ve worked hard to make All Saints’ church and school stronger, healthier, and better able to fulfill the mission God has given us. I’m proud of what we have accomplished together, some of which we captured in the annual report this year. You’ve seen me grow as a priest (in ministry, waistline, and bald spot!) and my boys grow from babies into young men. You’ve embraced Megan’s musical gifts. 


And you’ve been far more interested than I expected in my weekly column of Rector’s Reflections, which I’ve written nearly every week for just about the whole time I’ve been here (taking inspiration from our first Rector, Father Urbano). I’ve enjoyed sharing my musings with you, what I called my “provisional wisdom,” and hearing your responses. I always felt like my column was, in a small way, one of the things that held us together in this big and diverse community. Now we come to the last one. I’ve got so much to say to you, but I think it all comes down to this: I love you. I really do. Believe me, that’s not always the case with churches and rectors!


And I have every confidence that All Saints’ will meet the challenges of this pandemic with faith, hope, and love. I’ve been amazed, even just this week, to see our church and school using technology in new ways, and reaching out to those most affected by the virus and its medical, social, and economic impact. God is calling us, even as we withdraw physically for a while, to engage more closely than ever with our prayer practices, and with the most vulnerable. You can do this, and you will. Be the Church!


Even as I’m excited to begin my new ministry in Oklahoma, my family and I will miss you terribly. But we have so many happy memories to take with us, starting with the very first one: when we rolled into the All Saints’ parking lot in August 2009, having driven from Denver. It was something like 108 degrees. We made our way over to Manning Hall, one year old David in our arms, and found the church staff and day school faculty there, having a training (it was just before the start of school). You welcomed these sweaty, weary travelers with open arms. And now, we say farewell, and thank you, with glad and thankful hearts.




March 12, 2020  

Dear All Saints’ Family,


We have all been trying to keep up with the rapidly changing information and decisions being made about the coronavirus pandemic. Our Presiding Bishop, Michael Curry, has given diocesan bishops his support in taking actions they deem necessary for the health of wellbeing of their dioceses. As we have additional information from Bishop Reddall about our Diocese of Arizona, we will share it.


For now, we are making the follow decisions related to All Saints’, out of an abundance of caution and following the lead of what our governmental, civic, and medical leaders are suggesting. 


  • Our Thursday evening Lenten series gathering tonight is cancelled. Stay tuned about the coming weeks of the series. Evening Prayer will take place tonight as usual, and we will pray for all those affected by the coronavirus. We must not forget to pray at times such as these. Indeed, it is the most important thing we, as Christians, can do.
  • We are cancelling many, though not all, of our non-essential gatherings for the time being. Check in with your meeting or group leader or with the main church number to see if a meeting is happening. The potluck to honor me on Sunday morning, March 22nd, will no longer happen. We are not yet sure about the scheduled event for me the afternoon of March 22.
  • As of now, our worship this weekend will continue as usual but there will be no coffee hour or Christian education. I will be in the St. Barbara room at 10:10am on Sunday for conversation with anyone who wishes to talk. Our worship options shared last week remain in effect (passing the peace without touching, optional receiving the bread alone, discouraging intinction with the wine etc.) and we are likely to add additional safety protocols, such as leaving the offertory plate in place in the narthex rather than passing it.
  • It is critically important that we look after one another. Many hospitals and senior living centers are temporarily banning visitors, even clergy coming for pastoral visits. And so we will need to offer pastoral care, for the time being, mostly through phone calls and emails. Please let the clergy know if there is someone in need of pastoral care, and let’s all check in with one another for safety and encouragement (especially the home bound).
  • Please make the best decisions for you and your family about attending church on Sunday, especially if you or someone around you is vulnerable.


In the midst of all of this, I am finding many reasons to give thanks. I am thankful for all of our governmental, civic, business, and medical leaders in our state, nation, and around the world who are making difficult decisions and doing their best. I am thankful for all those who are treating the sick. I am thankful that the disease is not more widespread at this moment. And above all, I am thankful for our savior, Jesus Christ, who is with us always, urging us not to fear, but to love one another.




March 5, 2020  The Coronavirus and Church


I know that many of us have been following the news about the spread of the coronavirus. At times like these, with so much information available to us (some of it reliable, and some not), it can be difficult to determine the difference between prudent caution and overreaction. For now, let me share some common sense and widely available advice, knowing that our church and governmental leaders (both locally and nationally) will continue to monitor the situation as it unfolds. For the latest, most unbiased information about the coronavirus or any outbreak, always check first with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ( 


As churchgoers, please keep in mind the following health tips, which are true at any time:

  • If you are sick, stay home! Even if you are scheduled to serve during worship or sing a solo. In allergy season, it can sometimes be difficult to tell if you are actually sick, but if you believe you may be sick, please err on the side of caution and stay home until you are well.
  • Wash your hands (properly!) before you leave home for worship, and when you return. Keeping hand sanitizer in the car is always a good idea.
  • Cover your mouth with a tissue when you cough, or if a tissue is not available, cough into the inside of your elbow.
  • At the passing of the Peace, it is just fine to smile, nod, bow, wave, touch elbows etc. without touching hands with others. The clergy always use hand sanitizer after exchanging the Peace, before preparing the Altar for Communion. Similarly, as you exit church, feel free to greet the clergy without shaking hands if that makes you more comfortable.
  • At Communion, feel free to receive only the consecrated bread if you wish, which contains the full sacramental Presence. After receiving the consecrated bread, you can cross your arms to indicate that you do not wish to receive the chalice, or simply return to your pew.
  • Although intincting (dipping the bread into the wine) is a very common practice at All Saints’, it is actually more sanitary to take a small sip from the chalice. The common cup has never been shown to be a source of risk. Nevertheless, if it makes you uncomfortable, do feel free to receive the bread alone.


If you have further questions or concerns, you are welcome to share them with the clergy or members of the Vestry. With Christians worldwide, we are keeping in prayer all those affected by this disease.



  • The Episcopal Church has lots of interesting traditions, and some of those are around the election and consecration of bishops. My election was in December, but a bishop’s consecration is not officially scheduled until a majority of the bishops and Standing Committees in the Episcopal Church give consent. The bishops’ consents come in quickly, but some of the Standing Committees only meet every few months. And so, this week, we finally heard back from the majority of Standing Committees with approval for my consecration. Therefore, it is now officially scheduled for Saturday, April 18 at 11am at the gymnasium at Oklahoma City University (it will also be live streamed). I am so touched that some of our members are attending (no tickets are required) and I know that others will watch the live stream. These last weeks here at All Saints’ have been such a holy and special time for me. I will miss you and this place dearly.




February 27, 2020 Coming in Lent: Rite One at 11am


Transitions are good times to try some things, without straying from essential values and practices. Once I depart on March 22, All Saints’ will enter into a time of intentional transition that will likely involve some tweaks and experiments, without changing those ministry priorities that are core to who we are, have been, and will be. Even just prior to my departure, there are some things we can try, in order to begin to gather information about where the Holy Spirit may be leading All Saints’ in the future.


Rite One (the more traditional language in our Prayer Book) and its use at All Saints’ has always been an interesting topic to me. When I arrived in August 2009, there was a small Rite One service in the chapel on Sundays at noon, but Rite One was not a large part of our liturgical rotation. I know there are some folks at All Saints’ who love Rite One (as do I) but I’ve been reluctant to use it too often since it’s not been a large part of our practice here. But we have used it periodically: monthly for choral Evensong (actually the even older 1662 rite), and for the last several years at our major feast days with incense at 11am. I’ve noticed that every time we use Rite One, several people comment how much they liked it.


And so, for all these reasons, this Lent seems like a good time to experiment with Rite One (with no incense) at the 11am service (all our other services will use Rite Two, Eucharistic Prayer C, as has been our usual Lenten custom). The congregational service music will be the sublime setting by Healey Willan. Let the clergy know how you feel about the more traditional language: do you find it moving and transcendent, or awkward and distancing, or are you neutral? May all our Lenten practices, both collectively and individually, draw us ever closer to God and our neighbor as we prepare for the Easter feast.



  • Senior Warden Dave English and I recently represented All Saints’ at the annual conference for the Consortium of Endowed Episcopal Parishes (CEEP). This is a network of the largest and most active Episcopal churches in the country. Now that All Saints’ has grown our endowment and invested funds to $1,000,000 we were eligible to join CEEP (we’re only the second church in Arizona to do so). It was a useful and inspiring experience, with excellent speakers and workshops, and fruitful connections with other leaders. One of the takeaways for me is that All Saints’ is a truly remarkable church and school, even by the lofty standards of CEEP. There is strong national awareness of the good work God is doing through us here, and that awareness is only growing. 
  • We have a wonderful lineup of Lenten options at All Saints' this year. Do participate as much as you are able, and bring friends.
  • I really enjoyed teaching my four week class on discipleship that concluded last Sunday. There is no more important mission for a church than to form Christian disciples: those who seek to follow Jesus in their lives every day. The more number of mature Christian disciples there are in a church, the more people are Praying, Learning, Serving, and Connecting, the more a faith community is grounded in those things that matter most. The real question for any church is not just how many people are in the pews on Sundays, but how many people are having their lives transformed into the image of Christ, which leads us to reach out to others.



February 20, 2020  Preparing For Lent: Are you Ready?


The start of Lent is less than a week away. I hope that everyone will take on at least one simple spiritual practice as a way to prepare our hearts for Holy Week and Easter. But what? It’s up to you. The Church down the centuries has taught that the three core Lenten practices are prayer, fasting, and almsgiving (helping the poor). It’s hard to go wrong with any or all of those, and they can be adapted. Remember that Sunday is typically a day off from any Lenten fasting.


There are many ways to pray more: you could attend an extra worship service per week of Lent (Wednesday Eucharist, Evening Prayer, Centering Prayer, or the Rosary) or pray the Daily Office on your own with the Forward Movement app or website, or simply add 15 minutes of quiet to your day. You could fast from meat, or dessert, or other rich foods (avoiding meat on Fridays is a classic practice) or fast from something else, for example by limiting social media or another thing you may do at times in excess. You can help the poor through one of our many opportunities to do so through All Saints’. Choose a Lenten pattern that is sustainable for you. Ask a friend or partner to join you.


I hope you will also consider joining us for some of our many Lenten activities at church. Come for our Lenten Evenings with potluck supper and sessions by Lucian Taylor, ending with Compline. Join the adult confirmation class. Schedule a confession with a priest. Refresh your spirit with the Abendmusik concert on March 1, and Saint John’s Bible Sunday on March 8 (my friend Father Bob Rossi will be giving a talk and sharing his own art at 2:30pm, before Evensong). And you might want to start your Lenten pilgrimage by walking the labyrinth on Sunday morning, March 1. It’s going to be a blessed season. Somehow, Lent always comes around when we need it most.



One of my great joys in Phoenix has been serving as the theology faculty for our diocesan deacon training program. This week was my last gathering with that group (I’ve got a lot of “lasts” these days). I’m proud of the deacons raised up in our diocese (there are about 50 active deacons now), and of our two wonderful deacons who have begun their ministry at All Saints’ during the past decade and still serve here: Jim and Patrice. The ministry of deacon is one of the oldest in the Church, going back to the Book of Acts. And it is also an essential part of the Church of the present and the future, connecting the community of faith with the needs of the world.




February 13, 2020  Saint Valentine


We don’t know much about Saint Valentine. We believe that he lived in Rome in the late 3rd century, and was martyred by the Roman Emperor Claudius the Second. Legend tells us that Valentine, a Christian priest or perhaps a bishop, secretly performed weddings for young couples when weddings were outlawed by the Emperor (who wanted the young men to go instead to fight a war with his army). And so, Valentine became the patron saint of love, and the day of his martyrdom, February 14th, became Valentine’s Day. 


There is some evidence that Valentine’s Day didn’t really catch on for about a thousand years. One of the first references to it comes in a poem by Chaucer in 1375, in which he wrote: “For this was sent on Saint Valentine’s Day/ When every fowl comes there to choose his mate.” Chaucer is describing a legend that animals and humans could find their true love by meeting on Valentine’s Day (this became the fairy tale of Cupid’s arrows).


I will confess to some ambivalence about what has become the modern American Valentine’s Day mega-industry. Americans will spend approximately $20 billion on Valentine’s Day gifts and activities this year. $20 billion! Most Valentine’s Day traditions are fairly harmless, even sweet. But I worry some about the pressures associated with the day, and about those who find Valentine’s Day painful, because they feel lonely, or are in a toxic relationship, or are widowed. To be honest, Megan and I usually agree to have a date night anytime but Valentine’s Day, to avoid the restaurant crowds. Most of our Valentine energy goes into being sure our kids have Valentine’s cards for their classmates at school (so they can get Valentines in return).


What I will say, though, is that one thing I will miss about not being in parish ministry is officiating at weddings. As a bishop, you celebrate weddings rarely - usually only for clergy or clergy family members. Sure, there have been the occasional “bridezillas” or “groomzillas” or difficult family of the bride or groom, but I’ve genuinely enjoyed getting to know most of the couples I’ve prepared for marriage at All Saints'. Some of the married couples I see regularly at church, and others I see at Christmas and Easter (especially young couples who live out of state) or at their babies’ baptisms. Amazingly, I still get Christmas cards from some of the couples I married in Denver. I love that the connection of couple to priest remains, all these years later. 


The marriage ceremony in our Book of Common Prayer is a beautiful and rather intimidating sacramental rite. It asks big, lifelong promises of the couple. There’s something awe-inspiring about two people deciding to make a marriage commitment in the Church, which requires quite a bit of preparation and solemn vows before God. It’s no wonder the ceremony begins by saying that marriage is not to be entered into “unadvisedly or lightly.” Sometimes, marriages come apart after a while, for good reasons or not. When that happens, even if it’s the best thing, there’s sadness and often a tragic element. As a priest, when couples I’ve married divorce (which hasn’t happened very often), I feel more grief that you (or I) might expect.


May we, as Christians, aspire in all of our relationships, romantic and otherwise, to the lofty ideals articulated by Saint Paul: “Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7). Wise words to live by not only this week, but all the time.




  • Lent is right around the corner, beginning with Ash Wednesday on February 26. It’s not too early to begin thinking about taking on some spiritual practice or removing something. But let’s remember that the point is drawing closer to God and our neighbor, not some vague sense of self improvement or vanity. All Saints’ will have a number of excellent Lenten offerings to choose from as part of our collective Lenten observance.
  • Some folks have been asking about my last day at All Saints’. My last day will be Sunday, March 22nd. I will be at all the services that weekend, and we will have a potluck gathering for all ages during the education time from 10:10 - 10:50am that morning.



February 6, 2020 Err On the Side of Love


The clergy were at our annual clergy conference for the Episcopal Diocese of Arizona recently at Chapel Rock in Prescott, and the guest speakers were the Very Reverend Tracey Lind and her spouse, Emily Ingalls. You may recall that Tracey and Emily were at All Saints’ two years ago to speak about their experiences of Tracey’s early onset dementia. As with their time at All Saints’, it was powerful to hear from them about Tracey’s reflections on dementia from the inside out, and Emily’s about how challenging it is to be a care partner (they prefer that term to “caregiver”). It was great to see them both (I’ve known Tracey for almost a decade) and especially to see how well they are doing. They have been all over The Episcopal Church sharing their stories, and advocating for those with dementia in our congregations.


As I was listening to them, I was reminded of a beloved parishioner whose funeral I officiated at recently. He, too, suffered from dementia, and was, for the last couple of years of his life, living in a memory unit for his own safety. But for some years before, when his dementia was milder, he used to come to church every Sunday. I remembered (and shared in my funeral homily for him) how much he loved being here, among his friends, even when he didn’t remember all of their names. He would often stay for a second service, not (I think) because he forgot he’d just attended one, but because he so enjoyed being at All Saints’: not only for the friendships, but for the worship and music that were so beautiful and so familiar. He blessed us with his warm presence as much as we blessed him.


I know of a number of All Saints’ parishioners who have varying degrees of dementia, with different causes, and as many folks at least who are loving care partners. I’m sure there are many more of both of whom I am not aware. What I hope is that All Saints’ can always be a place where we love one another with the patience and kindness of Jesus, especially those who may need a little help and a little understanding. Can we graciously offer to assist the person in front of us who is struggling to find the right book? Can we urge our children to pause a moment at the coffee hour line to let someone slower make their choice of snack? Can we not become irritated if someone asks us the same question several weeks in a row? Every one of us is precious in God’s sight, and we all have our challenges, known and unknown. Let’s always err with one another on the side of love.




This Sunday at Evensong (led by our choristers and schola) we remember our Legacy Circle, though the Evensong is open to everyone. The Legacy Circle is made up of those who have remembered All Saints’ in their wills. My hope is that every pledging member of our church will eventually join our Legacy Circle, leaving bequests that will help sustain and grow our ministries in the future. Contact Gary Quamme in the office if you have questions about how to do so.




January 30, 2020  Remembering Kobe


I don’t have any meaningful connection to Kobe Bryant, the basketball superstar who died, tragically, along with his daughter and seven others in a helicopter crash last Sunday. I’m a basketball fan, and marveled at his astonishing talent (I even saw him play once in person). And I knew a bit about his life off the court: he was an interesting person, having grown up for some years in Europe, where his father was playing professionally. Despite some controversial moments and mistakes in his life, he was carving out a successful post-basketball career as an entrepreneur. And yet, despite not following him that closely, or being a Lakers fan, I was moved by his untimely death and that of the others on that helicopter. This is a common occurrence in our celebrity-driven culture: we feel connected to people we have watched in sports or entertainment. Part of our emotional experience when a death like this happens, unexpectedly, is that we are reminded of our own mortality. We hug our loved ones a little bit tighter.


It’s not a bad thing to be reminded that our time on this earth is uncertain. That’s one of the reasons why we celebrate Ash Wednesday each year: to recall that we are dust, and to dust we will return. Some deaths are tragic and too soon; others can be sad, but also blessings, especially after long illness or a full life, knowing that this mortal existence is not all that there is, but is a prelude to the resurrection life to come. This Sunday, we get to celebrate the Feast of the Presentation, 40 days after Christmas, remembering the story from Luke in which the Christ child is presented in the Temple according to the Jewish tradition. As this happens, the aged Simeon sees the child, and the prophecy is fulfilled: that he would not see death until he saw the Savior. His poignant words live on as the Nunc Dimittis, the Song of Simeon (“Lord, now let your servant depart in peace, according to your word”). Simeon’s was a good and holy death.


Thank you, Kobe, for an inspiring life on and off the court. We marvel at your achievements, and mourn your too early passing, and that of your daughter and the others who perished. And thank you, Jesus, for comforting us in grief with the blessed hope of everlasting life. 




It is not a coincidence that the Feast of the Presentation and Groundhog Day are on the same day, February 2nd. The Presentation, 40 days after Christmas, sometimes called Candlemas, had many ancient traditions associated with predicting how much of winter remained.  Some of those traditions came with European immigrants to Pennsylvania, and were adapted to that region, and its local groundhogs. And so, the Feast of the Presentation came long before Groundhog Day, even though the latter is now more widely known.  Notice, too, all the 40 day markers in our Church year. 40 days from Christmas to the Presentation. 40 days of Lent. 40 days from Easter until the Ascension. What a meaningful and beautiful symbolic order there is to our seasons, drawing us ever more deeply into the mysteries of our faith.




January 23, 2020   What’s an Annual Meeting For, Anyway?


This Sunday between the 9 and 11am Eucharists is our Annual Meeting. Not surprisingly, Annual Meetings are a popular conversation topic among parish rectors at this time of year, with two main schools of thought predictably emerging. Some clergy regard the Annual Meeting as an unfortunate canonical requirement to be fulfilled with as little effort and attention as possible. Others want to dress up the Annual Meeting, and try to make it exciting. I tend to be slightly more in the former camp. I do think Annual Meetings have a purpose, to elect lay leaders and sum up some aspects of the year that has passed. But, let’s face it, there’s not a lot you can do to make an Annual Meeting exciting (Fireworks! Prizes!). Not everything needs to be exciting; some things are just functional, and that’s okay.


But I do think there are a few aspects of Annual Meeting weekend that are particularly beneficial to the life and mission of a congregation, as we look back and look forward. At the meeting itself, to me the highlights are these:

  • The election of Vestry and delegates to Diocesan Convention. Even with our current practice of usually having a balanced slate of candidates identified by the Governance Committee and elected by acclamation, there is benefit to recognizing publicly those who have been chosen and who have agreed to serve in these roles. Vestry service especially is a great responsibility that comes not only with time demands, but with occasionally difficult deliberations and challenging discernments on complex matters. It is right to thank these persons who are being called to this important ministry of spiritual leadership.
  • The Vestry commendations. The purpose of these commendations is clear: they go to volunteers, still living, who have served in ministry with exceptional dedication. Sometimes, these are volunteers of prominence in our church (Senior Wardens, Chancellors and the like). But often, they are volunteers who have contributed faithfully but behind the scenes. It is good to honor those lay people who are the heart and soul of All Saints’.


Outside of the actual Annual Meeting itself this weekend are two of the most critical pieces: the Annual Report and the Rector’s State of the Parish address. The Annual Report, the product of many hours of work by Nanette, summarizes the ministry activity of the last year. In a place as active as All Saints’, it is impossible for any one person (even among the clergy and staff) to know all that happens. Seeing the sheer volume of ministry carried out for the good of our members, the wider community, and the world is awe inspiring. In this year’s Annual Report, I will take the opportunity in my portion to reflect not only on the last year, but on the past decade of my ministry here. My State of the Parish this weekend will also be a bit different. I will suggest some ways to think about the opportunities and challenges ahead for All Saints’, knowing that my own direct influence ends on March 22nd, my last day.


So, if you are able, do come to the Annual Meeting. I can’t promise it will be exciting, but it will be good to be together. And whether or not you are able to, please peruse the Annual Report and listen to (in person and/or on video) my last State of the Parish. I think you’ll be glad you did.



  • I am delighted with the continuing partnership between All Saints’ and the Arizona Bach Festival. The Festival arose out of All Saints’ under Scott Youngs’ leadership, and even in its independence as its own organization it maintains many ties with our congregation. The lineup of concerts is remarkable again this year, including the opening organ recital on Sunday at All Saints’.
  • Speaking of Vestry commendations at the Annual Meeting, I thought I’d share who has received the commendations over the years I have been here (I started in 2009, but after the Annual Meeting). It’s a wonderful list of faithful and good souls, our friends living and dead, from a range of ministries in our common life. I smiled to see these names:


2010 Bill Verdini and Sue Kapp

2011 Evie Smith and George Mitchell

2012  Hal Hall and Marnie Kleindienst

2013  Tim Hyland

2014  Jill Eden

2015  Larry and Sara Soller

2016  Erin Oney, Lowell Adkins, Travys Harvey

2017  Anne Kleindienst

2018  Mary Alice Preston

2019  Tim Haskins and Sue Frome


See you Sunday.




January 16, 2020  Leaving a Legacy


As I head into my last two months as Rector of All Saints’, with March 22 as my last day before leaving for Oklahoma, I’m finding myself thinking back over the past decade here. One of the things I’m most proud of is the hard work we have done together as Vestry, Finance Committee, Treasurers, Rector and staff, to strengthen our church’s financial health. From large deficits, almost no reserves and no real endowment in those early days to 8 years of small surpluses and an endowment (and other invested funds and reserves) over $1,000,000, All Saints’ Church is financially strong. As an aside, All Saints’ Episcopal Day School operates with a very different financial model, charging tuition, and is also very financially strong, due to wise leadership and record enrollment.


Money does matter in a church, because money is one of the resources needed to offer life changing ministries for the benefit of our members and the wider community. As I think about the church’s finances, there are short, medium, and long term considerations. Short term, we have cash flow sufficient to get us through the annual lean times of the summer months without a line of credit. That’s excellent. Medium term, we are in a multi-year pattern of balanced budgets, with generous pledging and careful management of our expenses. Also excellent.


For the long term financial health of All Saints’ Church, the most important factor is the growth of our endowment and invested funds. Those are dependent almost entirely on our faithful members leaving bequests to the church. Our endowment and other invested funds, which are housed at the Arizona Community Foundation, grow with the stock market, but we also withdraw modestly from them to help fund our ministries. And so the most significant increase in those funds comes when All Saints’ is remembered in the wills of our members. Bequests large and small since we started our ACF endowment about 9 years ago have brought us to this good point, but we will need a much larger endowment to ensure the long term vitality of this church that we love.


All Saints’ got a late start with our endowment, but we are getting where we need to be. My request to all who cherish our church is this: if you have not remembered All Saints’ in your will, please do so (if you don’t have a will, and need help to create one, talk to Gary Quamme in our office and he can offer some suggestions). Let Gary know once you’ve included All Saints’ in your planning, and you will be eligible to join our Legacy Circle. You can be proud, like the other members of the Legacy Circle, knowing that your gift to All Saints’ after your death will go into the endowment (or invested funds for music, the Saint John’s Bible, or the Close) and create, in effect, a perpetual pledge to keep our church active for the years and generations to come.



  • As we prepare to elect a new Vestry class at the Annual Meeting, I am so grateful to our Vestry leaders: those joining the Vestry, those continuing, and those who are rotating off this month. As we enter into a year of rector transition, we can be confident in our excellent lay leaders to guide us faithfully and wisely into the future.




January 9, 2020 Be a Light to the World


This Sunday afternoon at 3:30pm, the pre-evensong organ recital by Dr. Kimberly Marshall of ASU will take as its theme “Celebrating Notre Dame.” Dr. Marshall is internationally renowned as an organist, and her program will be marvelous. It is also timely, because Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris has been in the news lately.


This Christmas was the first since the French Revolution without worship at Notre Dame, because of the devastating fire that happened there last April. Recently, their Rector stated that the damage is so severe that there is only a 50% chance the structure can be saved. The stated goal of French President Macron to rebuild Notre Dame within 5 years now seems at risk.


Which brings us to the season after the Epiphany. This is a season about the revealing of the light of Christ to the whole earth, beginning with that visit of the three wise men from the East to the Christ child, and extending (as Jesus himself commanded at the close of Matthew’s gospel) to the ends of the world. And so we remember that our church buildings are important symbols of our beautiful, steadfast, holy and



ancient faith. But the most important dwelling place of faith is within each of us, the baptized, as we take that light of Christ into a dark world to illumine with it and to share that light with others.


I suspect that Notre Dame will be rebuilt somehow: either refurbished or remade from scratch. I certainly hope and pray so. I can’t imagine Paris, or the world without it. Our recital on Sunday will remind us of its past (and hopefully future) glory. And in the meanwhile, we will recall our Epiphany duty, as light bearers, to shine hope wherever we may be.



This Sunday, the Sunday after the Epiphany, celebrates the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan. As such, it is one of the days recommended for baptism in our Prayer Book. I am delighted that we will baptize 6 children at the 9am service. We welcome them with joy into the Christian family.





January 2, 2020 This New Year, Go Outside


Over the Christmas holiday, we had family from out of town staying with us, and for part of our time together we spent a couple of days in Sedona. It rained and snowed much of the time, and everyplace was packed with tourists like us, but we still had a wonderful experience. We did some hiking every day with the kids, which we all loved. Surely one of the reasons why Sedona is so popular is that there are “postcard perfect” views all over the place. In just a few minutes of hiking, we could see stunning red rock formations, coated with snow, in almost every direction. How blessed we are to live in this magnificent part of God’s creation. Megan, the boys and I are soaking in every one of our favorite Arizona experiences while we can.


I am not particularly good with making or keeping New Year’s resolutions (I do much better with Lenten disciplines - maybe because of the religious aspect). But if I were making a New Year’s resolution, one of the things I would consider is resolving to be outside more often. Sedona is unique, but being outdoors anywhere, for any length of time, has spiritual, mental, and physical benefits. Multiple studies have shown a connection between happiness and being outside (ideally in nature, but even taking a walk around the block). It’s not difficult to add in just a few additional minutes of outdoor time every day, and more occasionally. Especially at this, our most beautiful season of the year.


If you try a New Year’s resolution, my advice is to make it something manageable. If you can’t work it into your routine consistently, it isn’t likely to happen. Habit is everything.


I wish you a blessed last few days of our Christmas season, and a happy and healthy New Year.



  • Come enjoy wonderful classes by our music department on January 5 and January 12 by our deacon, Patrice, for our adult Christian education.
  • If you are new or relatively new to us, consider yourself invited to the January 12 newcomer coffee. You’ll meet some nice folks, and learn more about connecting at All Saints’.




December 26, 2019  Christmas Has Begun!


One of the great ironies of this time of year is that in the wider culture Christmas is ending precisely when in the Church it is beginning. In the culture, the “Christmas season” begins at the end of dinner on Thanksgiving (if not before) and ends at midnight on Christmas Day. In the Church, the 12 days of Christmas begin on Christmas Day and conclude with the feast of the Epiphany on January 6.


As Christians, let us enjoy that we now have Christmas all to ourselves. Even as the stores begin to stock Valentine’s Day items, we have these precious 12 days to savor. After all, the miracle of Christmas (God becoming a human being in Jesus) is so astonishing, so profound, that it deserves every one of these 12 days to ponder and be grateful for it. At All Saints’, one of our Christmas traditions is that we sing congregational Lessons and Carols at 9 and 11am the Sunday after Christmas, while the choir has a much deserved break. We sing all of our favorite carols with gusto, reveling in the continued joy of Christmas. It’s great fun.


Merry Christmas to everyone! All the way until January 6!



  • I want to extend my heartfelt thanks to all those who made our Christmas Eve and Christmas Day services so special. We couldn’t do it without the dedication of our amazing staff and volunteers. With so many visitors and guests, we never know who may need the love of God in a particular way at this season. With our hospitality, worship, and music, we help God reach out to those who long for God’s presence, whether they know it or not.
  • The giving of gifts to the Angel Tree ministry (the children of the incarcerated), Maryland Gardens seniors, and San Pablo families was amazing this year. Thank you! And well done, Emilie and volunteers, for all the organizing.
  • Many thanks as well to all who have made a pledge to support our ministries in the new year, and those who have made year end donations. With a generous Christmas and end of year offering, we may achieve an 8th straight year with a small surplus (which is remarkable). It’s not too late to help us with a pledge, and/or offering. Thank you!



December 19, 2019  The Already/Not Yet


This season of Advent asks us to hold in our hearts and minds several themes at once: we are preparing for our annual celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ at Christmas, while also anticipating that at some point Jesus will return to judge the living and the dead (as we say in the creeds). Theologians refer to the “already/not yet” quality of the Kingdom of God: Jesus began the Kingdom of God in a decisive and new way in his life, death, resurrection, and ascension. The Kingdom of God is present now through the power of the Holy Spirit. And God’s Kingdom will be completed when Christ comes again. 


I will not compare my election on December 14th as bishop coadjutor of the Episcopal Diocese of Oklahoma to the Kingdom of God, needless to say!! But in the months to come, before I leave in late March in anticipation of my first day in Oklahoma on April 1, you and I (and my family) will be in a kind of “already/not yet” time. I am committed to working hard through my last day here to leave things at All Saints’ in as good a shape as possible. I want to run through the finish line, and to celebrate well our time together. And at the same time, the Vestry will begin to plan the rector transition process with the help of Bishop Reddall’s staff, and we will all start to anticipate my farewell.


This “in-between” time these next three months can be fruitful. Finishing a chapter with a leader, a church and school well and with intention takes some care. Our emotions will be varied, and we will need to love one another. Not everything will be wrapped up perfectly. But how we live and serve together in this “already/not yet” can be a blessing for all of us. As I said on Sunday, my family and I have such strong mixed feelings right now, because we are excited for the opportunity ahead of us in Oklahoma, which is a healthy and vibrant diocese with wonderful people. And we will also miss All Saints’, because this has been our home for more than 10 years and we love you deeply. It’s complicated. May God bless all of us as we navigate this holy and complicated time together with love.


This Sunday for our education time in St. Barbara, I will have an informal “coffee and conversation” with me. This is a chance to ask questions about my election and related topics, while sharing some refreshments together.



  • I’ve had a lot of people asking if they can attend my ordination and consecration as bishop. Yes! Once all the required consents are received from the bishops and Standing Committees of the dioceses of the Episcopal Church, the service will be finalized. But you can save the date for Saturday, April 18th. It will be at Oklahoma City University, so there will be plenty of room for anyone who wishes to make the road trip to Oklahoma City.
  • What is a bishop coadjutor? It is a bishop who begins while the current diocesan bishop is still serving. When I am ordained bishop, I will serve under Bishop Ed Konieczny until I become the diocesan bishop on January 1, 2021 with his retirement. I look forward to the time of “overlap” as a wonderful way for me to learn the ropes of being the Bishop of Oklahoma.
  • For those who missed the announcement of my election and the message from our Senior Warden, they can be found here:




December 12, 2019 My First Handel’s “Messiah” 


My first real experience of Handel’s “Messiah” came when I was in high school. I’m sure I’d heard parts of it before (certainly the Hallelujah Chorus), but in high school I had the opportunity to sing the whole work for the first time. It was 1988, and I was singing with my mother in the Richmond Symphony Chorus. We performed “Messiah” with the Richmond Symphony, conducted by George Manahan (who incidentally just returned this December as a guest conductor to Richmond to conduct - what else - Handel’s “Messiah”). 


My first performance of “Messiah” was memorable to me for several reasons. Of course, the piece is glorious, and I was swept away by its beautiful momentum, though not so much that I didn’t pay attention to the conductor! I was a high school kid surrounded by adults, and didn’t want to mess up. But I also remember it because the performance (or maybe it was the dress rehearsal?) ended up being scheduled the same Saturday that I was supposed to take the SAT’s. Because of the spiritual nature of the piece, I applied for and was granted a religious exemption to take the SAT’s on a different day (a bit of a stretch!). All was well: I performed “Messiah,” took the SAT’s another day, and did just fine with both.


I am thrilled that “Messiah” has become a tradition at All Saints’, now in its second year, thanks to the inspired leadership of our Director of Music, Joseph Ripka. I hope many of us (and friends) will be there on Sunday afternoon for what I know will be a splendid performance in our church’s marvelous acoustic, and a rare opportunity to hear the whole piece. Some may wonder, with a number of “Messiah’s” performed each year in most cities: what is the best venue for “Messiah?" Its first performances, in Dublin and London, were in concert halls (Handel was mostly an opera composer, not a church musician). Many symphony orchestras across the country, including ours in Phoenix, perform the piece as part of their programming each year. 


But I must admit, I have a special place in my heart for “Messiah” performances in churches. Saint Thomas Church in New York offers an acclaimed “Messiah” every year, as does Trinity Wall Street. So does Saint John’s Cathedral in Denver, where I served before coming to All Saints’. And now, we are offering it at our church, performed by our own wonderful musicians and friends, for the enjoyment of the wider community. “Messiah” may have operatic flourishes. It may appeal to the secular “holiday music” crowd with its buoyant and accessible style. But at its core, it remains a sacred work, created (as Handel himself said) for God’s glory and not his own. This winsome composition draws people closer to God, whether they know it or not.




December 5, 2019 Prepare the Way


This second Sunday in Advent, we hear the startling words of John the Baptist, the prophet who was preparing the way for the coming messiah. How are you preparing the way in your life for the celebration of Christmas? Advent is such a fast season, at such a hectic time, that it passes quickly by without some kind of spiritual intention to slow us down. There are any number of ways to do so, from helping those in need, to a prayer practice, to making time to attend some of our seasonal offerings at All Saints’. 


A number of us are reading on our own a chapter a day in the Gospel according to Luke (it’s not too late to start!). What I am enjoying about this practice is the continuous, daily unfolding of the Gospel. Most of us are used to experiencing the Gospels in pieces, on Sundays. Sometimes our lectionary gives us sections in sequence over several Sundays. But often, the Gospel readings jump around. For example, now that we are in Year A, we are hearing Matthew’s Gospel on Sundays, but on these Advent Sundays, we are moving around quite a bit within Matthew’s Gospel. 


One of the reasons why I like to keep the Daily Office of Morning and Evening Prayer is that its lectionary usually presents its readings in sequence. The Gospels, for example, are read basically from beginning to end. This Advent reading of Luke has a similar feel, as the Gospel builds on itself. Themes and connections reveal themselves more readily. 


There are only two Church holy days that are so important that they feature a whole season of preparation: Christmas (Advent) and Easter (Lent). In whatever ways work for us, may each of us, by God’s grace, make the most of this season to prepare our hearts for the great mystery of Jesus’ birth.



  • It warms my heart to see the many ways that All Saints’, church and school, is helping others this holiday season. Our annual food drive at the day school just provided 58,000 meals to Saint Mary’s Food Bank. Our Thanksgiving Day meal at church was amazing again this year, thanks to our volunteers and staff. And our efforts to support the children of the incarcerated through the Angel Tree, and Maryland Gardens residents through the Giving Tree, are well underway. Thank you, All Saints’!
  • We have three different services of Lessons and Carols this season. This Sunday, the Advent Procession with Lessons and Carols is a service of darkness to light, with a gentle, almost contemplative feel. Christmas Lessons and Carols on the 4th Sunday of Advent, and at 6pm Christmas Eve is a jubilant, celebratory service with lots of familiar music. All will be wonderful.
  • Last Sunday, Lucian Taylor offered a marvelous class on the theme of relationships. He continues with part two this Sunday. Lucian has a deep background in theology and counseling, having at one point studied for the ordained ministry, before moving in a different direction. He is also newly married to our deacon, Patrice. We are blessed to have Lucian among us.




November 21, 2019  The Gospel of Luke Advent Calendar


It’s been interesting, over the years, to notice the proliferation of Advent calendars. When I was a child, they were simple: usually cardboard or wood, with a small image or Bible verse for each day of December until Christmas. Some had a piece of chocolate behind each door, sorely tempting you to jump ahead! Today, you can buy Advent calendars containing almost every toy and treat you can imagine: Legos, action figures, candy of all sorts, and (for adults) skin creams, beef jerky, hot sauces, small batch bourbons, and bottles of wine. To say that most of this misses the point of Advent, to prepare prayerfully for and await with joyful expectation the birth of our Savior, is obvious. Sill, one of our best qualities as Episcopalians is a certain lightness of spirit and sense of humor, so I have a hard time objecting. If it draws attention to Advent, however indirectly, that’s a good thing. Perhaps children across the country will see their parents’ hot sauce or bourbon Advent calendar and ask, “mommy, what’s Advent”?


As Christians though, let’s not neglect to add some kind of spiritual devotion to our Advent season, amidst all the pre-Christmas fun. This year, I have a specific suggestion, that I hope will become an annual tradition in the homes of our All Saints’ parishioners. This isn’t an original idea: I’ve heard about it for a while, and have decided to try it myself this year. I hope you will too. Here it is: every day of December until Christmas, read one chapter of the Gospel according to Luke. You can do this alone, or with friends or family (I’m imagining families with children reading a chapter out loud each night after dinner or before bed). Why Luke? Two reasons. Luke exclusively has many of the Christmas stories that we hold dear. And Luke has 24 chapters, a perfect fit for every December day until Christmas.


I like to think of this as a Gospel of Luke Advent calendar: each day, we open one chapter. And when Christmas comes, we will have heard the whole story of Jesus’ life, from the foretelling of his birth, all the way to his resurrection and ascension into heaven. We will be able to appreciate the true meaning of Christmas just a bit better, by remembering who our Savior was, what he taught, and what he did for us. Over the next week, I hope you’ll talk with friends and family about keeping this practice this Advent. You don’t need to use the same translation.  And it’s easy to remember where you are supposed to be: if it’s December 7, you are at Luke 7. If you try it, let me know how it goes. And have a blessed Advent. It’s one of the shortest, but most poignant seasons in the Church.



  • This Sunday is the end of the liturgical year, the last Sunday after Pentecost, often known as the feast of Christ the King. It’s always a great Sunday for emphasizing the majestic, all-powerful and yet humble nature of Jesus.
  • Education is for all ages as we do some Advent preparation together, making items to take home to  remind ourselves of the holiness of the season.
  • Would you help us spread the word about our concert of Handel’s “Messiah”? It’s just the music, with no worship, so it’s perfect for those friends who love music and holiday traditions, but might not be ready yet for worship. We were almost sold out last year, so get your tickets early! It will be glorious.




November 13, 2019  Samuel Seabury’s Loyalty


This Sunday at 9 and 11am is our annual Seabury Sunday celebration, with our friends from the Mesa Caledonian Pipe Band, and the blessing of the tartans (don’t forget to wear a tartan if you have one!). We celebrate things Scottish to remember Samuel Seabury (whose feast day is November 14), the first American Episcopal bishop, who had to be consecrated in Scotland, because he could not take an oath of loyalty to the British crown in those contentious years just after the Revolutionary War.


Loyalty is an interesting topic as it relates to Seabury. In the tense period just before the Revolutionary War, he was a loyalist, arguing against the need for revolution. He continued to hold these royal sympathies during the war, serving as a chaplain to loyalist forces. He was imprisoned for that stance. But after the war, he didn’t flee his country for England, but stayed. His loyalties shifted to this new nation. He seems not to have lost the respect of his peers, for at a gathering of clergy in Connecticut in 1783, Seabury was the second choice to be consecrated the first bishop (and took the place of the first choice, who stepped aside). One of the interesting side stories of Seabury’s consecration in Scotland is that he pledged loyalty to the Scottish Eucharistic Prayers over the English, an influence that continues to this day in our current prayer book.


We might say of Seabury that his loyalties to country were flexible (he preferred to stay a colony, but seems to have accepted independence). But his loyalty to God and to the Church were unwavering. He showed remarkable determination in waiting over a year, trying to solve the issues around his consecration. By all accounts, he was an effective bishop, well respected by the clergy in his diocese. In many ways, the celebration of the life of Samuel Seabury is a worthy prelude to November 24th, Christ the King Sunday. For that Sunday asks us: whom do we serve? Do we serve Christ, our King, above all, or are our loyalties divided? How does our loyalty to Jesus compare to our other loyalties, to nation, family, and friends? Is Jesus near the bottom, or near the top? Something to think about.



  • Parishioner Roberto Paredes will be offering chair massages this Sunday, in return for donations to Episcopal Relief and Development. Thank you, Roberto!
  • Come hear from parishioner Sue Kapp at the adult Christian education class this Sunday, as she shares the remarkable story of her international quest to see the last of 36 publicly accessible Vermeer paintings.
  • And have you seen parishioner Anne Kleindienst’s amazing photos of sacred spaces in Ireland in our Saint Barbara Gallery?




November 7, 2019  Ready. Set. Go!


Last Saturday, we hosted our annual pet adoption event with our friends from PACC 911. It was a great event, with approximately 500 people who walked through over the course of the day, 52 pet adoptions, and many blessings of animals (adopted and not) by the clergy. But, a skeptic might ask, why put so much time and energy into this activity? Will it lead to any new church members? Any new pledges?


It’s hard to know if it will result in any new church members or pledges, but it’s an important thing to do nonetheless. Why? When we go out into the world in faith (even as far as our parking lot!), praying for God to use us, God will do just that. God is in the seed planting and growing business, and we never know what seeds may be planted when we interact positively with someone as the Church. Perhaps the person who was hurt by another denomination years ago will realize that The Episcopal Church is a safe and compassionate place to heal. Perhaps nagging questions of faith will inspire someone to come, one Sunday, to All Saints’, because they had a warm encounter with us. You never know. If we shine with the light of Jesus, that light will draw people to him, through us, in unexpected ways.


The old days of “attractional” and “if you build it, they will come” Christianity are over. In some respects, that’s a good thing. Jesus didn’t teach his disciples to build a beautiful church, with great programs, and wait for people to come join it. He taught them to “go and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19). That “go” applies to us individually, as we leave our worship at the dismissal to live as Christ-centered disciples wherever we find ourselves Monday through Saturday. The “go” also includes our collective, strategic efforts to share the Good News. One of the most critical efforts underway at All Saints’ right now is our Mission Strategy Task Force. This group is exploring our neighborhood, trying to discern prayerfully where the Holy Spirit is moving, and how we might go and join in.


As one early stage of our Mission Strategy work, we will be asking everyone worshipping this weekend to fill out a simple questionnaire. Some of us have done this already, but we need to gather the perspectives of many more of us. There are other ways that you can help our Mission Strategy efforts. If you live in our neighborhood, let Emilie know if you have ideas about how All Saints’ might be more present to our neighbors. And if you don’t live close by, please pray that God will make clear to us how, to whom, and where we are to go.




  • We continue to pray for Bishop Reddall’s son, Nathan. He is improving from the effects of his brain bleed, and is getting used to a wheelchair, as he works on walking, sitting, and bathing.
  • Please come on Sunday afternoon to choral Evensong, featuring our choristers and the schola cantorum. The organ recital at 3:30pm will be offered by one of our own Joe Setzer’s friends, William Douglas from All Saints’ Episcopal Cathedral in Albany (one of the finest Episcopal music ministries in the country). We are delighted to have William with us.
  • As we always do on the Sunday before Veterans Day, we will pray at all our Eucharists for all veterans. We give heartfelt thanks for their service to our country. 




October 31, 2019  Run the Race


“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely. And let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us.” (Hebrews 12:1)


One of my favorite running stories involves one of our All Saints’ day school students a few years ago, running in the league championship race. He was a soccer player who had never entered an official meet before, but did so for fun (with maybe a little urging from a coach who had a hunch about him). Giving it his all (I’ll spare you the gory details!), he won the race, and discovered a God-given talent in the process. Today he runs cross country in college.


I was never much of a runner, but I ran some cross country and track in high school. One of my strongest memories from the experience was that exhilarating feeling of being cheered on when my legs and lungs felt like they had nothing left. When I think of the quote from the Letter to the Hebrews that we associate with All Saints’ Day, in my mind I imagine that great cloud of witnesses cheering us on as we run the demanding race of faith. 


In our Episcopal theology, we see the saints as more than just good and wholesome examples of sacrificial, Christ-like living to be emulated. We believe that we are with them in one communion and fellowship, the living and the dead, joined in the mystical body of Jesus Christ. And so, there is a presentness to the saints, both in the sense of saints who live in our own day and age (as the hymn says “they lived not only in ages past; there are hundreds of thousands still”), and in the belief that the saints who have died remain near to us, somehow, through baptism, especially when we worship God.


My favorite time to be in our church building is twilight: a “thin place” and a “thin time” between our earthly perception and the eternal reality of God. As the last light drains from the stained glass windows, and the early dark encroaches, sometimes I feel as if all the saints, for whom our church and school are named, are momentarily close by. They lean in, whispering encouragement and hope: “run the race to the end, and Christ will give you his strength.”



  • Speaking of twilight, please consider attending our All Souls’ requiem this Sunday afternoon. In addition to the stunning musical setting by Faure, the service will feature the reading of the names of the departed that we love, and will conclude with prayers by candlelight in our Close.
  • Many thanks to those who made a pledge commitment last weekend, to support the mission and ministries of All Saints'. If you haven’t yet, we ask you to do so in the next week or two. Every pledge makes a difference!
  • Welcome to the Reverend Tim Yanni, whose first day was, fittingly, All Saints’ Day (November 1)!




October 24, 2019  Do I Get a Travel Mug?


This past week, as I was driving around, I heard on the radio the fall fundraising drive for NPR (between now and the end of the year is the prime time for fundraising for nonprofits). It got me thinking about the similarities and differences between most charitable giving and our church pledge drive. As I hope most of us know, this weekend, at all of our worship services, we will make our pledges, our estimates of giving to All Saints’ Church for 2020. 


Certainly there are similarities between our pledge commitments to our church and our giving to other nonprofits. We support both because we believe in their missions. We know that they do important work, and that they depend on our generosity to operate. Both our church and other nonprofits count on giving (or in our church’s case, an estimate of giving) to make an accurate budget. But there are some big differences, and two in particular.


We are urged to give to our church not our financial leftovers, but our first fruits. Most charitable giving comes from what is left, after we meet our other expenses. After I pay my bills, I expect to have a certain amount remaining, and from that I will give a portion to the radio station, or symphony, or my alma mater, or the food bank. But going back to Biblical times, the faith practice has been to give proportionally first to God. This is called a “first fruits” gift, dating back to the period when it was literally an agricultural offering, usually of grain. The Biblical way of giving is proportional, in other words a percentage of our income. The traditional percentage adopted by virtual all Christian denominations (including The Episcopal Church) is 10%, the tithe. Many people begin with a smaller percentage, and then increase over time. 


The key is to know what that percentage is, and to be intentional about it. As someone who has tithed at least 10% of my salary back to the Church (or church and school, in the case of All Saints’) for the past 15 years, I can tell you that this amount is just right for spiritual growth: difficult, but not impossible. I’ve been asked a lot of specific “how to” questions about this over the years, and I’m not too strict about it. So it doesn’t matter to me if we consider “net or gross income” or if we lump giving to nonprofits that help the poor (like ICM) in with our 10%. The point is to pray about how much God has blessed us in our lives, and especially at and through All Saints’, and to identify a percentage that reflects our gratitude to God (without putting us at financial risk).


We give not to get gifts, but because we have already received them. If I give a certain amount to NPR this week, I will get a nice travel mug. It’s stainless steel, even! But I will make my pledge commitment to God through All Saints’ not to get anything (although our brunch to honor Andy and Abel will be delicious), but because God has already given me so much. I have my health, a place to live, plenty of food and clean water, a loving and healthy family and good friends, a church and school that help give my life meaning, and best of all, a God who has saved me from my sins and given me new life through God’s son, Jesus Christ. Whatever my family and I give to support the life changing ministries and mission of All Saints’ is almost nothing compared to our many blessings from a generous and loving God.


Before the weekend, please give some time in prayer and conversation with loved ones to consider how you wish to respond to God’s blessings in your life. And then join us as we give back to God a portion of what we have in thanksgiving for what God has graciously given us. Be as generous as you can (knowing you can always adjust a pledge as needed). Make a stretch pledge. See what a difference it makes in your faith.



  • Many thanks to the numerous All Saints’ volunteers who joined the clergy at Diocesan Convention last weekend. All Saints’ was well represented not only by our delegates, but by those who helped at the Convention Eucharist as vergers, ushers, altar servers, and in other roles. It was interesting to think back to the Convention a year ago, at All Saints’, when Bishop Reddall was elected. What a year it has been in our Episcopal Diocese of Arizona!
  • We are keeping the people of Haiti, and especially our partner church and school of Saint Paul’s,  in our prayers this week with particular emphasis. The news has been covering continued unrest, increased violence, and rolling humanitarian crises throughout Haiti, due to political disputes and allegations of corruption.




October 17, 2019  Church, School and the Spiritual Center of Gravity


Because of our connection with the Saint John’s illuminated Bible project, I’ve been blessed to visit twice Saint John’s Abbey in Collegeville, Minnesota, which commissioned the original Saint John’s Bible. Saint John’s is a large and lively campus, with a university and a prep school. But the undeniable anchor, the center of spiritual gravity is the beautiful Abbey church, where the Benedictine monks keep the age-old pattern of daily prayer (with students and guests joining them).


I thought of Saint John’s this week as we were preparing for our annual Day School Sunday celebration this Sunday at 11am. Many episcopal schools are diocesan schools, not attached to particular churches. At All Saints’, our church and day school, though somewhat distinct in our operations and governance, are one body legally and, more important, spiritually. The strong connection of our church and school, animated by the Holy Spirit, and lived out through our Episcopal tradition, is a mutual blessing. The life of the day school is grounded in the Episcopal spirituality of our church, as seen in its warm and inclusive welcome of all, the teaching of religion by our clergy and other faculty, the chorister program, and regular acts of compassion by students in every grade towards those in need, both locally and abroad. 


But nowhere is our Episcopal identity more experienced than when our students, teachers, and administrators enter our church for chapel every Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. A few years ago, our leadership had a powerful realization about what size was the ideal for our school: not larger than the number who could fit in our church building (including the narthex). We would never want to be so large that we couldn’t all gather in the church for all-school chapel. We’re almost at that capacity now, with 524 students - our largest enrollment ever. The church building is the center of spiritual gravity for our school, and it is fitting that the last moments of each 8th grader’s final year, at graduation, take place in that same sacred space, culminating in a final benediction from the Bishop or Rector.


Likewise, for All Saints’ church, our day school is an essential extension of our mission. As the largest and one of our oldest ministries, our day school “educates children in the light of God.” Whether or not our students are Episcopalians (and the large majority are not), they leave our school having been formed not only academically and socially, but spiritually and morally, better prepared to “lead fruitful lives and serve a world in need.” We can be proud of the fine young women and men who graduate from our school, then go out to make a difference in the lives of others.


And so, this Sunday reminds us that our church and school have distinct but intertwined missions. We are two, and we are one. Our current relationship is as trusting and supportive as perhaps it has ever been, thanks to a lot of hard work over the past decade by many, including most recently our wonderful new Head of School, Dr. Whitman. May we continue to be strengthened by one another, inspired by all the saints, and blessed by God.



  • This is the time of year when we have many special Sundays in our common life. Please be sure to be with us next week for pledge commitment Sunday and our celebration of Andy and Abel. And then the weekend after that (November 2nd and 3rd) is our feast of title, All Saints’ Sunday, with our All Souls’ Requiem (which is a Eucharist) in the evening.
  • November 1st will be the first day for our new associate priest, the Rev. Tim Yanni. We can’t wait to welcome Tim officially to All Saints’. His wife, Brandy, will follow him to Phoenix soon, once she is able to work out some logistics related to transferring her employment.





October 10, 2019  Growing Evensong


Over the last few years, attendance at choral Evensong in England has been rising. With so much secularization there, and overall worship attendance declining in the Church of England, this bump in the positive direction has sparked some attention. A number of articles have been written attempting to explain the trend. I wonder: could a similar growth in interest in Evensong happen in the United States at churches, like All Saints’, that offer it?


Certainly, there are major cultural differences between England and the U.S. that come into play with Evensong. There, Evensong is still wrapped up in a warm blanket of establishment nostalgia. Here, these days, Evensong is rarely sung and largely unknown (All Saints’ is the only Episcopal Church in the Phoenix area that offers it monthly, though some others offer it occasionally). But Evensong does have some qualities that make it conducive to growth. Here are just a few of them:

  • Evensong is short, and not in the morning. While a typical Eucharist lasts around an hour, Evensong is around 40 minutes or so (with an optional 30 minute organ recital before). And it fits in a different place in the day, which may be better for some, and worse for others. Those who attend worship at another church in the morning could attend Evensong.
  • Evensong is less demanding, especially for introverts or the spiritually wounded. The Eucharist requires a certain level of engagement: with other people (as at the peace) and with the Sacrament (coming forward to receive Holy Communion). One could attend Evensong in near total isolation, if one wanted to, quietly taking in the prayers and music. Don’t get me wrong: being a disciple of Jesus is demanding. And that’s good. But there were crowds around Jesus, who were curious, but not yet ready to follow him. Evensong could appeal to some of those in the “crowd."
  • Evensong is contemplative and beautiful, not didactic. There is usually no sermon (other than a brief reflection at times during the announcements). The experience is peaceful, mystical, and remarkably beautiful (most of the service is sung to exquisite settings by some of the most gifted composers in history). 


Evensong is not for everyone. Not everyone appreciates the active listening of having a choir sing on our behalf, or the old-fashioned language. But what if we could spread the word, with your help, to grow a larger Evensong congregation made up of the following:

  • Some of our own church members, who love our choral music and this uniquely Anglican style of worship, who would come back in the afternoon, having worshipped already in the morning.
  • Some members of other churches, including clergy and musicians, who are happy with their spiritual homes, but would appreciate attending a beautiful Evensong once a month.
  • Anglophiles who are drawn to Downton Abbey and the like.
  • Spiritual seekers or those wounded by other churches, attracted to this more tranquil and contemplative, less participatory style of worship.
  • Traditional music lovers, interested not so much in the religion (at first) as in the quality of the music.


If you know people who fit into any of those categories, would you share with them that we have choral Evensong the second Sunday of every month (and fourth Fridays with just our choristers)? Evensong this Sunday at 4pm will be glorious, with our own Joe Setzer playing the organ recital before at 3:30pm. Our current Evensong congregation contains people from many of these categories, but there’s plenty of room for more. Help us share this incredible gift of God’s love, expressed through worship and music, with those who need it.



  • This Sunday at 11am, we will commission and celebrate the newest class of the Community of Hope. A joint group from All Saints’ and Christ Church of the Ascension trained all summer, and are now beginning service as lay pastoral caregivers. Congratulations to our new COH members!
  • Please mark your calendars for Pledge Commitment weekend, October 26 and 27. We will make our estimates of giving for the coming year in thanksgiving for God’s many blessings, enjoy food and fellowship together, and honor two long-time members of our staff for 30 years of service: Andy Andersen (Director of Plant and Property) and Abel Maldonado of our maintenance crew.





September 26, 2019   Welcoming our New Priest: the Rev. Tim Yanni


I am very pleased to announce the call of the Reverend Tim Yanni as our new associate rector. Tim received his Master of Divinity degree from Church Divinity School of the Pacific in 2016, and has served as the Spiritual Care Manager at Ogden Regional Hospital in Ogden, Utah since 2017. Tim is a caring pastor, an effective supervisor and creative leader, with oversight over the Pastoral Care Department there. He also has a passion for liturgy, having been the head Sacristan at CDSP (planning and organizing worship), and serving at a variety of Episcopal churches in Utah on Sundays. In his spare time, he enjoys college football, playing the guitar, and travel.


Throughout the interview process, Tim impressed me, our staff, members of the Vestry, other lay leaders, as well as the Bishop and her staff, with his warmth, pastoral presence, authenticity, and strong faith. He is eager to move into parish ministry, with all its variety, and All Saints’ (both church and day school) is a great place in which to serve and learn. Tim comes to All Saints’ with his wife, Brandy, who works in the hotel industry. He will begin on November 1st, a perfect day to start, since it is All Saints’ Day.


When Tim arrives, we are likely to shift some areas of ministry oversight, to best match the needs of our parish with the gifts that Tim, Emilie, and I (and our two deacons) have. We are excited as a clergy team of priests and deacons to welcome Tim, and to discern how best to serve others and honor God together. I also want to take a moment to thank the Rev. Emilie Finn who has joined with me to shoulder extra liturgical, pastoral, and day school responsibilities during this period of having only two priests. No one is happier about this appointment than the two of us!


I know you will enjoy getting to know Tim and Brandy starting in November, as we give them a warm and enthusiastic All Saints’ welcome.



  • Many thanks to those who participated in the fantastic potluck brunch last Sunday. It was delicious, and great intergenerational fun.
  • This Sunday at 11am will be our next feast day choral mass with incense, this time to celebrate the feast of Saint Michael and All Angels. There will be no incense at 9am.




September 19, 2019  Potluck Heaven


This Sunday at our education time from 10:10 to 10:50am, we will enjoy an all ages potluck breakfast (this takes the place of our education offerings this Sunday). If you are coming to the 9am service, just drop off your food in St. Barbara before church. If you are coming to 11am, you are invited to come to brunch first, then pick up any dishes from St. Barbara after the 11am service. And if you’re not able to bring anything, come anyway!


In some respects, potlucks have become more challenging in our day and age, since so many people have dietary allergies or preferences, and fewer people cook regularly. But I’m glad we are having one this Sunday, and I hope our various ministry groups will have them regularly, as well. Why? Potlucks are fun and delicious. And they give us time simply to be together for nourishment of body and spirit, with no programmed format or planned discussion. This is “slow food,”over conversation, the opposite of our usual rushed and on the go “fast food.” 


But there’s another reason why I like potluck meals at church. They are a symbol of the kingdom of God. The Scriptures often describe God’s kingdom, both in the present and future, as a meal with plenty of food for everyone. Isaiah, for example, speaks of a “feast of rich food.”  Jesus often depicts God’s kingdom as being like a festive wedding banquet. At a church potluck, there is always more than enough food to go around. And, like Saint Paul’s image of the Body of Christ, in our potlucks we all have something different to contribute, however small.


Come on Sunday and enjoy our potluck breakfast together. It will be tasty, will build friendships across generations, and will remind us of the abundant generosity of our loving God, in this life and the next.



  • Have you got a name tag? In a church as large and constantly changing as All Saints’, it is difficult to know each other’s names. If you have a name tag, please remember to take it off the magnetic board at church and wear it every Sunday, leaving it on the board when you go. And if you don’t have one, please fill out one of the name tag request forms in the narthex, and we’ll be glad to get you one. The magnetic design doesn’t poke a hole in your clothes! Thank you for helping us connect with each other.
  • Have you noticed a lot of guests recently? This is one of the main times of year for people to try out a church. If you see someone you don’t know, especially if they are standing alone after worship, please introduce yourself. The standard “I don’t know if we’ve met” prevents you from being embarrassed if they’ve actually been attending for 20 years and have served on the Vestry! The warmth of our welcome to guests is a major factor in whether or not they return.




September 12, 2019 Is Rite One Like Cilantro?


One of the most vigorous liturgical debates in the Roman Catholic Church involves the proponents of the pre-Vatican Two Latin mass against those who prefer the vernacular (with sub-debates about how best to translate Latin into the language of the people: more or less formal, word for word translations of the Latin or more conceptual, etc). Those who love the Latin mass are drawn to its timeless, transcendent beauty, while those who love the vernacular are drawn to its clarity and accessibility. There are faithful, committed Christians on both sides. We have a similar, though not identical, debate in The Episcopal Church about Rite One and Rite Two. Some love the more traditional Rite One language for its poetic beauty and closer kinship to our Anglican heritage, while others prefer the more contemporary Rite Two (or the even more contemporary "Enriching Our Worship," which is authorized but not in our Book of Common Prayer).


At All Saints’, we are blessed to have enough liturgies every week that we get to draw from a variety of resources in our prayer book. We use mostly Rite Two for Evening Prayer, and for the Eucharist, rotating many prayers seasonally (over the course of the year, for example, we use Eucharistic Prayers A,B,C, and D). At 9am on Sundays we sometimes add in some “Enriching Our Worship.” And at Choral Evensong, we use the old 1662 rite. As we did last year, from time to time at 11am on Sundays, we will celebrate special feast days of the Church calendar with choral mass settings, incense, and more sung parts by the congregation (as we used to do several years ago on Fourth Sundays). Our first of these this fall is this Sunday at 11am, when we will celebrate the Feast of the Holy Cross. We will use Rite One at this service as a way to honor that rich heritage.


One thing I’ve learned over the course of my ministry is that, on some things, no one is neutral. They’re like cilantro: you’re either strongly for, or strongly against! Incense is one of those things: some love it, and some hate it. Not many are neutral. Rite One is another. And usually, though not always, those who like incense like Rite One (I’m not sure if they also like cilantro). So if you like the more traditional, mystical, more sung liturgy with incense, come this Sunday at 11am. And if you don’t, come to one of our other three Eucharists this weekend. Our amazing choristers and schola will be singing at 9am (no incense and Rite Two).


I’ll modify something I said earlier: I actually like Rite One and Rite Two. I am moved by the older language at the Eucharist and Evensong. It is often beautiful. At the same time, for regular use (my own praying of the Daily Office, our public Evening Prayer, our weekly Eucharists), I actually prefer Rite Two. It is less ornate, but still appealing, and gets right to the heart of things. Similarly, I like incense, but wouldn’t want it at every service. And yes, if you’re wondering, I like cilantro.



  • Many thanks to all the many volunteers and staff who made Kickoff Sunday last week such a splendid day! 
  • I’m thrilled to report that 21 people are in the JustFaith group that just started. That is the largest group we have ever had. They will have an amazing experience exploring issues of faith and justice together.
  • I’m also delighted that our joint Community of Hope pastoral training group with Christ Church of the Ascension is nearing completion. They’ve been training all summer, and are almost ready to be sent out to care for those in pastoral need.




September 5, 2019  Two Requests for Kickoff Sunday


There’s no such thing in our Prayer Book as “Kickoff Sunday,” but this weekend marks the annual beginning of what we sometimes call the program year: the return of our fall worship schedule, our many choirs, Christian education for all ages, and an abundance of ministry opportunities. Given how hot it is in Phoenix in the summer, it’s good, I think, that we slow down a bit in June, July, and August. But now, as the double digit temperatures get closer, with schools well underway, and as our “snow birds” begin to return, we focus our attention on the many joys of our Christian community of All Saints’ in its fullness. I’m looking forward to preaching at all of our worship services this weekend, with some words of encouragement and challenge as we enter my second decade as your Rector (my family and I arrived in August 2009). 


Something about this time of year, even if we are not in school, always feels like a new chapter, and a good time to re-engage. And so, I offer for your consideration two requests, beginning this Kickoff Sunday weekend. 


First, make weekend worship a priority this year. There is no more important Christian practice than to worship God weekly with our fellow Christians, following Christ’s command to “do this, in remembrance of me.” Among the early Christians, Sunday, the day of resurrection (beginning Saturday night) became the day for worship, in effect the Christian sabbath. I know how difficult it can be sometimes to get to church. A child gets sick, a work trip takes you out of town, a birthday party gets scheduled for Sunday morning, guests come to visit, the Cardinals play an early game. Sometimes, getting to worship just isn’t possible. But most of the time, it is possible, if we make it a priority. Remember that we have four Eucharists each weekend to choose from, and monthly Evensong (starting this Sunday). 


If you’re out of town, most places have an Episcopal church (and if not, there is certain to be a church from another denomination). I’m going to be blunt: I fear that, as Episcopalians, some of us have gradually come to believe that we are to worship only when it is convenient. Convenience is not a concept that we find in the teachings of Jesus (except in the negative)! There are many ways to encounter God, and many ways to pray, but nothing like worshipping with our fellow Christians on the Lord’s Day. If you know in advance that weekend worship is going to be absolutely impossible, consider coming to one of our weekly Wednesday Eucharists (7am or 12:10pm). And then watch the Sunday sermon online during the next week. Worship, every week, and see what a difference God makes in your life.


Second, be aware of opportunities to invite someone to All Saints’. As I’ve preached and taught about many times, we Episcopalians find evangelism scary. We fear overstepping into someone’s personal beliefs, and we fear rejection. We’ll talk enthusiastically about our favorite restaurant or a great new movie, but hesitate to mention our church. This new program year will offer numerous opportunities to invite friends to All Saints’. Special worship, like Blessing of the Animals, Day School Sunday, Seabury Sunday, the All Souls’ Requiem, Christmas Lessons and Carols, and choral Evensong. Non-worship events like our Pipescreams Halloween event, PACC 911 Pet Adoption, the music dinner, Living Room Conversations, the prison ministry, and Carols and Cocoa, or groups like the writing group, SAGES lunch, Just Faith, men’s and women’s breakfasts and so on. Share about our marvelous chorister program and music school for children and youth, and about our wonderful day school. 


Something like 75% of people who come as newcomers to a church, do so because someone invited them. So the growth of All Saints’ depends on our personal invitation and sharing about what God is doing here. We cannot depend on new people finding us simply by driving by, or browsing our website. Growing churches have passionate members who live their faith as disciples of Jesus in daily life, and look for opportunities to share their faith experiences (appropriately, of course) with others.



  • This Sunday morning will feature some special commissionings. At 9am, we will commission our Sunday school teachers, and offer a special blessing to new Head of School, Dr. Emma Whitman. At 11am, we will commission our incredible and dedicated choirs.
  • This Sunday afternoon features not only Evensong offered by our young choristers and adult schola, but also an organ recital for the 30 minutes before Evensong by our own Joseph Ripka, Director of Music. Did you know that Joseph, in addition to his remarkable work with our choirs, is a world renowned organist? He has given recitals in some of the world’s great churches, cathedrals, and concert halls. Don’t miss this opportunity to hear him play right here, and invite your friends. A reception will follow.
  • Last but not least, this Sunday we have Christian education for all ages at 10:10am. For adults, I begin a 6 week class on the Bible: its major stories, and how we, as Episcopalians, can read it more often and apply it to our lives. I hope you’ll join me, and follow along in the book “The Path."




August 29, 2019  Teach Them Something for a Lifetime


In our family, this is the time of year for ruthlessly eliminating activities that involve our children. The summer has its curses and blessings in scheduling children’s lives: on the downside, in summer we lose that wonderful, big block of school, but on the upside, there is more flexibility for everything else. But now that school has resumed, the annual reckoning has come: we have too many activities that involve our boys (and their parents!) and too little time. And so we are winnowing the after school and weekend commitments as much as we can, though not as much as we’d like. As we do so, a couple of our guiding principles are these: do the things that we value most as a family, and do the things that our children can continue to do for a lifetime. 


In our family, we most value: faith-related activities, music, and life-long sports. And we try to build in at least some time for just goofing off with unstructured play. Since our children are on the younger side, we consider their opinions in all of this, but as parents, we get more votes than they do (no, an online Fortnite tournament does not count as a sport!). As they get older, they’ll have (somewhat) more say in things.


Unfortunately, cutting out activities that you cannot usually do for a lifetime leaves some wonderful experiences behind. Football? Indoor rock climbing? Sorry - you didn’t make the cut this year. What made the cut for our kids? Things they can do forever, that are healthy for body, mind, and spirit, like church choir, piano, chess, and swimming. And a few other things they really love, like baseball. I feel a little guilty sometimes making so many choices for our children. What if one of them could have been the best indoor rock climber in the world? Or the Fortnite World Cup winner? But I think family values matter. There are some things (like attending worship) that are so important that they aren’t optional. True, my kids are the ones sometimes reading or playing with Legos in the back pews this summer, but they’re there (and often listening more than they seem to).


The very best, of course, is when our children actually love doing something that their parents value and that’s really good for them. It’s like discovering that your child really loves eating broccoli. That’s what the chorister program has been like for us. Our two oldest boys love singing (at church and school) for Mr. Ripka, and their parents love that they are having a positive experience of music and faith, learning a skill they can use their whole lives. Singing in choir has all kinds of physical, mental, and spiritual benefits that have been studied and verified.


For the parents of young children and youth out there: you are doing a heroic job navigating the complex obstacles of raising young people. You are appreciated and loved at All Saints’. We are all in this together, and perfection is not the goal. How do you decide how your children spend their time outside of school? How can we support you through our church community? (These are real, not just rhetorical questions - let me know!) And for those who have not yet made a donation to support our All Saints’ children, youth, and family ministries: please do so by the end of August. These ministries are teaching our children something important that will last a lifetime, for their own good, and for the good of a world in need.




August 22, 2019  Do Adults Need Sunday School?


This Sunday at 9am in Saint Barbara, I’ll be sharing some thoughts about our adult Christian education at All Saints’ this year. I hope you’ll join me. But what if we begin by stepping back, and asking ourselves: do adults need Sunday school?


I would answer that it depends on what we mean by Sunday School. I believe what adults most need is not more information, but training in discipleship: how to pattern our daily lives (as individuals, spouses, friends, employees, citizens etc.) after Jesus Christ. That requires (at least) two parts: knowing what a Jesus-shaped life is, and having support to live it. Here’s what I mean. 


What is a Jesus-shaped life?


It’s not obvious, even to a long time Christian, what it looks like to live as Jesus would have us live. There was only one Jesus, and we will all fall well short of his example, but we promise in our baptisms to try, and God gives us grace to do so. The simplest way to understand what a Jesus-shaped life looks like is to read and meditate on our Baptismal Covenant (Book of Common Prayer p. 304). But beyond that, we learn to be like Jesus by spending time with him and gradually learning from him. We do that through regular reading of the Bible (my suggestion: the Daily Office of Morning and Evening Prayer does this for us automatically through the robust Daily Office Lectionary which reads most of the Bible in two years). We learn to be like Jesus through regular prayer. And we do so through classes with experienced teachers. I will be sharing on Sunday a two year outline of how we will be learning the basics of our faith, with an emphasis on spiritual practices (like how to pray, and how to read the Bible). Interspersed within this schedule of the basics will be a variety of other fun and interesting topics and teachers. Our goal will be to be sure that everyone (who wishes to) understands with some detail what it means to live the Christian life in our Episcopal tradition, including our core practices of Pray, Learn, Serve, and Connect.


Support for Living


It is not enough to understand how to live a Jesus-shaped life. We all need support for doing so, because it isn’t easy. This summer, I preached a sermon on the importance of having a “soul friend,” a Christian friend to encourage us (and vice versa) as we walk with Jesus. Ideally, we would all find a place in a small group of fellow disciples that would meet regularly for mutual support (our “soul friend” would usually be in that group). The hardest part about Christian living isn’t knowing what to do; it’s finding the will to do it. That takes spiritual friends for solace, sharing, and sometimes correction. A big part of our new Deacon Patrice’s ministry among us will be to help nurture these connections among us. I recently saw an ad for a megachurch in the Valley that I found interesting. It said something like: Christians are formed not in rows, but in circles. I’d edit that slightly to say: Christians are formed not only in rows, but in circles, because our worship together (in rows) is essential. But we need both.


As we look forward to Kick-Off Sunday on September 8 and the start of a new program year, let’s recommit to following Jesus by Praying, Serving, Connecting, and yes, by Learning, whatever our age may be.



  • Do you know a child who loves to sing? Our chorister rehearsals for young people from Kindergarten through High School are underway. This year, our choristers will be offering a simple Evensong on 4th Fridays at 5:30pm in the Chapel, lasting not more than 30 minutes. Come join us! It’s a great addition for those who pray Evening Prayer Monday through Thursday, or for those who’d like to support our young singers, while starting the weekend with prayer.