Friday, October 28, 2011

And today it's Howard Thurman

Howard Thurman

I need to be on my way to Stony Point for a retreat. But I stop in to see Danielle, just to check.Try to work out with Marc what level of sound equipment is appropriate ffor Sanctuary.  Martin is here again. Today, it’s Howard Thurman. We seem to be travellig through the Civil Fights era. Martin is finding those who were mentors to Dr. King. Thurman, prototype of the American mystic activist. Another FOR pioneer. And a strong believer in community, what is most sacred to me. cannot feed for long on itself; it can only flourish where always the boundaries are giving way to the coming of others from beyond them -- unknown and undiscovered brothers.... From The Search For Common Ground; An Inquiry Into The Basis Of Man's Experience Of Community, page 104. The model of the holistic raidcal we need today. Who understands the intersection of spirit and revolution at the deepest level. 
We talk more about Thurman. Then I tell Martin I’ve got to get up to Stony Point to meet for the Intefaith Assembly Board retreat. Which means I’ve got to tell him both about the Assembly ... only place in the city to work for both the transformation  of the individual and society...and Stony Point. When I talk about  Stony Point, their interfaith model of arts and culture,social justice activism and spirtuality with living communities of Muslims, Jews and Christians really excites him. Before we’re donem he’s taking about doing a set of concerts, one at West-Park, the other in Stony Point. Perfect, I say, just what we’re here for...
I'm sorry he's leaving. I can't wait to see who or what tomorrow might have brought. 
Now to Stony Point. 

A clown, a flamencero, an activist

Bayard Rustin

Hope and Nan have come to meet wth Jane and Tia to work out the details of Jane’s coming to live with us  and Sanctuary coming to worship. Nan makes the financial issues relatively easy to work through. There is a bit of anxiety, however, as Jane needs to fly back to California immediately for a family situation. We wrap up the business pretty quickly.  
Mim has come for a conversatoion with Danielle and Martin about the possilbity of his bringing Noche Flamenco here. While we’re talking, Brian comes in looking for me. It’s been a long time since he was here last December and even longer since he was a regular part of the congregation. Brian, the church, and I have all had a number of lives since he was Winky the Clown, Santa Claus and Spider Man. 
We go to the Starbucks office annex for coffee. He’s had success in his career with industrial shows and also challenges, like all of us. I’m  very blunt about where we are. What the three years at SPSA cost us. How the congregation is not what it was back in his days. And that I need him, his help.  And it feels like something  in him needs this opportunity to start with something at the ground floor again, too. 

When we walk back from Starbucks, we part at the corner. He’s off to a museum before flying back to LA. And me back to the church. Mim has gone. Martin is still there. He’s using West-PArk to prepare for his upcoming European tour. Today he’s intrigued by, fascinated by reading about Bayard Rustin. That quietly heroic Quaker, pacifist, unionist, internationalist, socialist, activist, strategist...steadfast gay black man. He refused to move from his bus seat years before Rosa Parks. Was advisor to Martin Luther King, Jr. Uncle to CORE and SNCC. Advocate for Indian independence.  He said that the major factors in his life were: 1) nonviolent tactics; 2) constitutional means; 3) democratic procedures; 4) respect for human personality; 5) a belief that all people are one. In 1986 he wrote that gays were the new niggers, the barometers of society. 

Martin has all the excitement of someone  learning about something, someone, for the first time. Today as Occupy Wallstreet continues to capture our attention, it’s important to remember those from the Civil Rights era who saw the liited nature of identity poircs and the need for a critical class analysis. Rustin was one of those who got there early, along with AJ Muste, pacifist and founder of the Fellowship of Reconciliation. (My friends’ Uli and Virignia’s organization.) I’m excited to see his excitement, to beinited into conversation. 
It’s time for me to go to the original office for a beer with Jim. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Forgiveness (III)

Jeremy is in the sanctuary practicing. Moody, wandering music. Good for an afternoon. Too many things pressing. A court appearance tomorrow about a law suit, an unpaid law firm, a bankrupt insurance company. I don’t want to go. Fund raising for the boiler. Too many things coming up this week are things not to look forward to.
RL and Piano Dan come in. Piano Dan has had his piano tuning instruments stolen. We need to find a way to replace them. There’s ongoing piano work to be done here. We’ll figure it out.  
Back to the church after a busy morning. Court...well, it’s adjourned until mid-December.  Then a long meeting with clergy colleagues on ecclesiastical law and marriage equality. West-Park’s long history makes my situation simple...we don't dance around holy unions  or any other equivocal language, we perform marriages between two people. 
Danielle is having  a conversation with Martin Santangelo, from Spain, but living across the street in the Belnord. Medium long graying hair, one might say strikingly handsome. He’s a flamencero, the director of Noche Flamenco.  He’s looking for a home for his company. But more than that, now that his family is here, he would like to be part of  a community. I explain to him what the Center is all about.  He smiles. This is what he’d love to be doing, intentional collaboation with other  artists, children, people willing to explore wonder and the human spirit as Katherine says. We immediately feel this would be a good addition to our community.
Jane breezes by as we are talking. Her office is being put together. A home is being made.
Tonight is our third night of Forgiveness. Again, the sanctuary has that warm, intimate, evening glow to it. Even though it’s getting colder. And tonight’s circle is almost double last week’s. We’ve been joinedby two students, two older women, a life long peace activist and (fistbump) John from Sunday mornings and others. 
Eleanor leads us in a reflection and then we divide up into pairs.  A lot of intereesting questions come up. Is forgiveness necessary? What is the difference between forgiveness and acceptance of what we cannot change? The role of anger in moving towards forgiveness? How do you forgive when the hurting behavior continues? (I once heard it said that the true sign that you are forgiven is that you don't do it anymore.) At least two people say that sometimes, it’s not even a process. Sometimes it just happens.
We revisit the tragic murder of the Amish children. There is a question as to what price that forgiveness cost the peole in their personal and communal  emotional health. But I recall our clergy group discussion where we thought that maybe hanging on to this central core of their culture was the only way they could get through such unspeakable tragedy. . And we ponder cultural differences in the experience of dealing with evil. 
And we talk about evil itself. How it seems to have an existence, a reality of it's own, but that it is lived out by human beings, just like us. That if you can demonize a person, a people, then anything can  happen.  Dehumanization needed in every war: Huns, Japs, gooks, diaperheads....
Our activist says that sooner or later, discussion of evil has to come around to the Holocaust. A psychologist raises the issue of God as the first perpetrator of geoncide, in the flood.And I raise the theme of conquest in the Jonah conquest of the Promised Land. No land without a people for a people without a land. Not then. Not ever. Someone’s always there when you get there. And then that weird parable of Jesus in Matthew:
The king throws a party. No one comes. He sends out his servants. Who get killed . So the king lays waste to the city and those who killed his srvants. In the midst of the still smoking rubble, he invites whoever’s left.  Who not surprisingly, come. And then the poor guy without a proper wedding garment
is thrown out into the outer darkness where there is wailing and gnashing of teeth .
And then the whole forgiveness without limits thing. Jesus 70 x 7. Is it  487, 488, 489, 490....ok, now you're gonna get it, here I come?
The psychologist wants to share a paper she wrote on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict that got her ostracized. I’ll be happy to read it.

So much to say. Glad we’ll be back next week. And yes, there has been the feeling of holy space around this. 

Monday, October 24, 2011

Welcome Sanctuary, welcome Jane

Two empty vodka minis and a giant pan of kugel. Must be someone’s idea of tzedaka.
Jeremy is getting everything set for the video projection and music for Sanctuary’s service. Marc calls to make sure that I’m all set for sound. Another one of the Sweatshop Free..campaign workers has come to worship today. Rachel is finally back, just recently turned 90. And Brian Taylor, who has been Winky the Clown and Santa Claus here, is also back. 
I tell the congregation that  last Friday night...and somehow I missed it...Occupy Wall Street became Occupy Columbus Circle . The march started at Symphony Space, went all the way to Columbus Circle. Right down Broadway. Pete Seeger on canes. Arlo. Toshi Regan. Passing right by. And I missed it!  
But, that was not the only street event this week. The night before, West End Avenue was shut down. It was Erev Simchat Torah, that is Joy in the Torah. For anyone who’s ever thought Jews were  burdened by law, this night disproves that. A bandstand at 86th Street. Dancing and singing Jews filling the streets.  I have to ask, what would it take to get us, Presbyterians,  dancing in the  streets? 
(I remember one year at church camp, the song leader tried to get us to sing: Slap, bang, here we go again, jolly presbyterinas..uh, no...)
What is this holiday? This is the end of the fall Jewish high holy days. On this night, they read the passage we read today, Deuteronomy 34: 1-12, the last chapter of the Torah, then imediately a new scroll is opened and they  go back to Genesis 1,  the very  beginning again....It’s to show that God’s living word never has an end..
It is the poignant story of the death of Moses...He’s been allowerd to see, but doesn’t get to go to the Promised Land. It is this passage that inspired Martin Luther King, Jr’s Mountaintop speech the day bepfe he was assassinated. doesn't matter with me now. Because I've been to the mountaintop. And I don't mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I'm not concerned about that now. I just want to do God's will. And [God's] allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I've looked over. And I've seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land. And I'm happy tonight. I'm not worried about anything. I'm not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord. —Martin Luther King Jr.
Sometimes I fear this may be the reality  of my ministry, I have been allowed to,  I can see it, but...maybe I’ll never live to go there. 
It’s that way with the national Presbyterian  church
With New York City Presbytery
yes, and West-Park....
There are times I see that’s what’s happening here is  exactly what is supposed to be happening...but it’s so far...
So in the meantime,that’a where we live,  in the meantime...what do we do?
Well, there’s Jesus and the people who are out to trick him again...they ask him which is the greatest commandment and he says, 
’You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment.
And then he says, a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”(Matthew 22: 34-46)
Like unto means they are directly connected...there is no love of God unless there is love of neighor.
(Shortly before Jesus, Rabbi Hillel was asked if he could recite the whole Torah while standing on one foot. Hillel responded, What is hateful to you, do not do to others, the rest is commentary.) 
Paul, in 1Thessalonians 2:8 has this to say:
So deeply do we care for you that we are determined to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you have become very dear to us.
Their own selves, their lives are the living Gospel. Who we are, what we do, becomes our proclamation. As St. Francis of Assissi (was reported to have) said:
Preach the Gospel always, and if necessary, use words.
It’s no surprise that an interfaith working group of Christians, Muslims, Jews and Hindus agreed on this statement of support for Occupy Wall Street that we read together last Sunday in worship:
We, the people of faith communities throughout New York and the United States, see in the spirit of Occupy Wall Street a promise of democracy renewed.
Our spiritual traditions are clear: the impoverishment of the many for the benefit of the few destroys us all. The cries of our people are clear: the American dream is compromised; the middle is slipping away; and in our politics, fairness is dissipating. The Soul of our Nation is threatened by many false idols.
So together we affirm the golden rule: do to others as you would have them do unto you. We commit ourselves to the restoration of justice for all in our economy, and compassion in our politics, that together we might behold a revolution of values for all our people. We ask all Americans to join us in this prayer, that once again our country might be the fulfillment of hopes and dreams for all who reach its shores.
As I said last week, it comes down to matter...what we do in the meantime is to seek to be living Gospels, to care for each other and to expect, no, demand the same from those who govern us. That and nothing less
Andre sings Lord I want to be a Christian, we all sing Lord make us more holy and we make our closing circle. 
The Session meets to talk about the coming of Jane’s Sanctuary group. And our boiler plan. And the possible coming of the Cordoba inititiative  and Grace church. It’s a lot. But the boiler comes first. A committee is formed to talk with Jane. And Marsha will meet with me tomorrow with Harris our attorney to discuss ongoing legal concerns. 

Welcoming Jane and Sanctuary

Jane’s folks are starting to come. And come. And come, Her brother Paul has come with his five year old daughter. They call Jane’s mom in Portland for prayer. Probably over 100 have come. Jeremy and the gospel choir get things up and moving.
I’m in a state of wonder about all this. I know my struggles to grow, to atttact a crowd. The rapid growth of more conservative Christian groups and both Orthodox and Renewal Jewish groups. What’s the draw here?
There’s spirit. It’s upbeat. The music is good.. Jane is an amazing performer. Good with a mike, seemingly intimate and yet not exhibitionistic. Good with a story, and a sermon as well. She invites me up to welcome them there and I do.As i come forard,jeremy plays For he’s a jolly good fellow...Much to b ethankful for. (The floors in the lobby and basement havenpow been painted as well.) Remind them that it’s not my church but God’s church tha welcomes them. Jane sees something of destiny in all this.  
Jeremy and Bryan Christie do their music and video installation meditation piece. There are other meditations and offerings from the four corners. 
All the joy makes me anxious. I never trust it. Is that my curse? Is there something irredeemably dour and calvinist about my being? Is joy what people really need and I can’t get there?  I’m left pondering all this....I’m at heart a Christian existentialist, one who sees the holy in the human in all its manifestations, what Alves called life in all its paradox, perplexity but most of all, profound beauty....What can I do with that?  How can I build?

I see Boxer Mike in the back in white sweats. With is Dalmatian. Hey, how come I didn't know about this?
I’d really love to stay and hear Jane’s sermon. Stay for potluck and planning. But I’m off to my friend Takako’s long awaited ordination and need to bring an exrra white robe for a Japanese minister friend of hers. Across the park at the tawny Brick church. In the meantime, welcome Sanctuary, welcome Jane. 

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The activity, the excitement,the expectation

Andrea is in front of the church on Amsterdam talking to Esther, an old friend, about what has happened with our kids since soccer days. Ellen has just arrived ready to go biking with Andrea. I am with my houseguests and new friends from Serbia, Zeljko and Tamara. Ellen and Zeljko quickly discover that they are both documentary filmmakers,though Ellen has a little trouble explaining the term transgender drag queen. We all  go inside. The place is buzzing, popping with activity. 
Jane has a whole crew cleaning, sweeping, polishing getting ready for her initial service at West-Park tomorrow. She’s also cleaning out and preparing the two rooms she will use as an office. This was our administrator’s office and associate pastor’s office back in the day. And more recently the concierge’s office and apartment in the Tenant.
Sarah, Danielle  and a friend are hard at work preparing new outdoor signage for the church.  Cool, clear, clean, consistent. 
Andrea and Ellen head out to bike and I give Zeljko and Tamara the tour. They are impressed by the space, Zeljko sees comparisons with similar places ravaged by war or just time back in Serbia. And they’re impressed by the number of young adults all over the place. We talk about doing something with him here when he comes back in March. (God willing, if we’re still here...)He’s in the US looking for support for his current project, a film about the meeting betwen the Serbian soldier who shot down an American F117 Stealth fighter jet during the Balkan War (the only one anywhere ever to do so) and the American pilot who was shot down. 
Jeremy’s preparing for tomorrow. So last night we both missed Pete Seeger on his canes and his family and Arlo Guthrie as they marched right down Broadway a block from here on their way to Occupy Columbus  Circle. 
Sarah wants to interview me.Get me to give her 5 or 6 did you know’s. EG, the largest demonstration (up until the Iraq war) in American history was planned right here, the first church in New york City  to welcome openly gay folks at every level of leadership was right here, God's love we deliver started right here; in the 1960‘s, we welcomed immigrant refugees from Cuba, including Cuban Chinese, right here; etc. 
While we’re talking, a man comes in, wanting to see me. He’s got a long story about his journey from Cuba, medical problems, harassment on the steps of SPSA, can’t buy his medicine. My $15 is todo que yo tengo, tengo nada mas a dar se. He has seen people sleeping on our steps, including morenos y latinos. Wants to know if its seguro. I tell him he’s got to go somewhere where they can really help like Goddard and Project Reachout.  
I leave to see Zeljko and Tamara off to their return to Serbia. Then come back to work on tomorrow’s service. Jane has ordered up Chirping Chicken for everyone. It’s been a long day. But I love to see the activity, the excitement, the expectation. 

Saturday, October 22, 2011

A deacon, not a porter

Anthony wants to talk to me alone. It’s been awhile since I’ve really talked with him. He often sits on the steps with his partner, Gary. I’ve seen him in the back of worship services more than once, like last Sunday. White hair. Piercing blue eyes with a sense of sadness. A sense of pain.
Tells me that when he arrived here yesterday, the top bolt locks on the big wooden doors were not locked, only the horizontal ones. Someone was pulling  on it trying to force it pen.  He shooed the guy away. Sat there with Gary  for three hours.  Called the police, just in case. But he wanted me to know this.  
We talk about the situation with the homeless people  on our steps. Sometines Anthony seems like he could be one of them. . What I didn’t know was that he was once a seminarian. Preparing for the priesthood. Went to to Cali, Columbia. Came back to New York when his mother got sick. His father all but disowned him, If you wan tto work with niggers  and spics, you don’t need to leave home, just look around you...Well with his father, and then being gay, he left those priesthood dreams behind. 
More and  more people on the steps. Even a matress there today. How do you keep order? I talk about Goddard and Reachout. The various folks. He tells me the story of a woman who died on the steps during the yeras  we were gone. Denied a home by her own sister after her husband pushed her out. Father O”Connor had to go out to Potter's  Field to do a service. (I never knew.) And someone defecated on the  86th Street steps last week. Who cleaned it up? I asked. Your porter, says Anthony, he does good work. Ah,he means Deacon James. And he refers to Danielle as my daughter
He tells me where every free meal is. Every day. What each church offers. And offers to share all that with Danielel. Yes, we need that.I heard your sermon last week. You had these young people.  I like those protestors down at Wall Street, he says, but there has to be unity. Have to get on the same page. It seems like women, like gays. Hell, I'm gay. We got to be of one voice...I  look at his blue eyes looking somewhere in the distance. I thank him.
There’s an older white guy on the steps with an open bottle. I tell him that’s not going to work. 
Hope is in early to sit in the gallery. The Telling the Truth exhibit. We’re reviewing  all our rental requests.  As we’re talking, Deacon James comes in. We joke about him being  the porter. Then he goes off not feeling well. I ask if he's ok. I will be, he says. I ask him to call if anything's  wrong.
Jane comes to talk through her coming to start worship and set up an office this weekend. She's brought a friend from her bard and her assistant, Tia. She’s really moving in. This is exciting and who knows what could come of this? 
Whie we’re tlking, Ji Young and her daughter  Miranda are back. As usual, lots of issues. How could single motherhood in this city be otherwise? 
We're  finishing our conversation wih Jane. Feel like we’re close to ready. Hope is surprised that Jane met Jeremy by coming back for her purse and finding  him playing gospel on the piano. That it all happened here. 
RL has come in with his own new creative idea to move things  forward. 
There is this sense of something about to happen.

Friday, October 21, 2011

A guru, a prophet

Cold, wet, rainy day. I feel it in my back. The kind of day a harbinger of the coming winter.  A day for staying inside. (Danielle git us a space heater.)  Catching up on office work. I’m wondering about the people down at Zucottie Park.
As cold and miserable as yesterday was, today is a mild, sunny, nearly perfect autumn day.  I see Jim Wadsworth on the street, on his way to Bella Luna for lunch.  He offers to buy me lunch. Just don’t have the time right now. I think of the letters we took up on Sunday to our Senators and Congress people about supporting the Circle of Protection legislation both domesticaly and through foreign aid. We dedicated the offering  in  memory of Carol, his wife, who did this every year. And I think of his relatives in New Hampshire, helping us to fund the boiler. And I think of his writing, for years in our men’s group. 
Lining up our Circle of Friends for our benefit in December.  In the middle of a frustrating phone call, trying to stay pleasant as someone explains how it wouldn’t be appropriate.  Not preferring one church over another. (Well, there was that landmarking process...) And I see RL. I ask him how he’s doing. Bored, he says. I saw the bathrooms. You’ll have to do them all over. Then he winks and laughs. No they’re great. I’ll come back when I've got something meaningful to say. He laughs. Tips his cowboy hat. And he’s off. 
On my way to see my old friend, my life mentor Jack, I see Marty. Its a beautiful day, he says. Four out of the last five have been beautiful. Everyday but yesterday.  It’s a great night for Simchat Torah. Oh it rained hard Rosh Ha Shanah. People leaving their shuls in the rain. Go back inside for twenty minutes, I told them. The rain will stop.  Sure enough, it stoped. I’m a guru, a prophet. 
Heading back up Amsterdam, after seeing Jack, I stop at the stationary store to buy a card for Rachel.   It’s her 90th birthday. I find her  in Bodrum, a Mediterranean restaurant, with her daughter and two friends. Give her the card and a birthday hug.Her recovery from her broken femur, her cardiac incident going amazingly well. Like Jack, she keeps going with whatever she has. Doesn't give up or in.  I look forward to our next late afernoon drink. 
Walking home in the dark, feeling good. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Alive with possibility

Jeremy has come with a visua artist/vidographer who has done some intriguing work with the body and images. They are working on an installation with music for Sunday’s first service with Jane.
The Daily News arrives three days late. They will of course miss our people in action but the photographer wants to do portrait shots. We go to the balcony and then the main floor. Lots of shots. 
Mim and Sarah and Danielle and Jane and I are all meeting with Lisa to continue development of our boiler fund raising strategy. I can feel it coming together. I feel also the excitement of the arrival of Jane's community into our space. It feels like a logjam has broken, water beginning to flow freely.
A TV productions guy who has  come to the Tenant wants to get  a closer look at the space and discuss us a sa possible home for a new show, the Failure Club, folks wanting one last chance to make a dream come true, how failure first can lead to making the dream become real. There at least two spaces that look like they could work.  I explain as well, that we are more than raw space, that he just described our raison d’aitre. How I’d said to the Woodshed actors, if you have a dream you want to make come true,this is a place to do that. I take him outside, show him the banner, Dream. Real. Hard. 
Marty is on the steps.
The last two days were like June. 
They were beautiful.
Tell me , Reverend, while you’re walking around, are you working on your sermon?
All the time.
My father always did that. 
What was his name?
Noah. Rabbi Noah Kaplan. He wrote many books. Do you read Hebrew? Anyways he wrote in Yiddish. Famous rabbis wrote forwards in his books. How many baseball caps do you have? I have  a book at home, How to Make Money in the Stock Market Without a Broker. 
So Marty, you’re gonna get into day trading?
No, no, that’s gambling, Reverend. The Bible is against gambling, It’s no good. I found out the hard way. You know what I’m doing here?
Looking for tips?
No. It’s too hot over there, the sun’s too hot. 
Listen, I have to go inside, you take care, ok?
He touches his finger to his forehead, nods. And I go inside. 
Boxer Mike is hard at work, reorganizing the narthex, sweeping. His Ipod shuffle playing Dylan. Danielle is talking with some flamenceros who’d like not hold some classes here. 
Jeremy is practicing. He tells me he told Jane not to use his nose story in a sermon. She tells him to wait before introuducing headbanging to the liturgy. And we talk about the marine from Queens who went one one on one with the police over treatment of protestors. How some people questioned hs legitimacy. And how it turns out he was at Fallujah. 
(There’s no homor in what you are doing, Why are you in riot gear? Masks and shields and clubs? Why? They have no weapons, no guns. They are unarmed. They are citizens. I fought to protect these people. My whole family did. You want hurt people? Go to Afghanistan. Go to Iraq. Join the miitary. )
We talk about how soldiers are in and out, police careerists. Putting on the blue puts a barrier between them and others, a barrier like their steel barricades.  Even though they too are part of the 99%. I tell him of a young man who grew up in the church, now on the NYPD. In repsonse to one of my posts, he replied, Stay safe, pastor.
Someone has come in. That I was expecting more like $20 guy. Tells me he’s just out of the hospital. Tells me about overcoming cocaine. Becoming a Christian. That SPSA threw him out when he told the student pastor he was against same sex marriage. That it was against the Bible. Wrong. (Well, I know it was more complicated than that.) I look in my pocket, I’ve only got $5 which I give. He looks annoyed. He wants a job. It’s hard I tell him that’s why people are occupyign Wall Street. And he says, So that’s it. And I say Yes, that and more. 
Tell him that ifhe really wants to get it together, he can take an Interfaith Assembly employment readiness class. Give him the number. 
Emily from Woodshed has arrived with a four person crew and is ready to get to work. Garbage is being bagged and dragged out. B ottles gathered for recycling. Floors swept.
I feel exhausted, bu tthere’s the equivalent of a work day left before I’m done. I’m off to meet Chloe Breyer of the Interfaith Center. 
Back at the church, there's a  warm glow in the sanctuary. There's a table up front, a group gathered around in soft light deeply engaged in a conversation on Forgiveness facilitated by Eleanor. It's a good table, Jane, a divorce attorney, a psychologist, a strategic advisor to CEO's, some local congregation members and of course filmmaker Helen Whitney. And me. Sarah's up front. It's clear that a safe space had been created. Long standing hurts were beign explored. Given that acknowledgement is so critical, how do you forgive someone who doesn't realize what they've done? How do we forgive someone who has died? How do you let go of the past? What is lost by letting go? Gained? Is all suffering the same?, ie, is the suffering if one who has lost half a million a year from amillion plus income the same as someone who can't find s job? The hurt of the gay person excluded from ministry the same as the person for whom their presence causes pain? Even at the end, people aren't ready to stop. This conversation, in this place, is sacred, holy. This study, this conversation is worship.  It is exactly what we are here for.

What we want the Center  to be, it already is. It's happening. Now about money...
Emily and her crew are still hard at work as I leave. 
Outside, Edward and Paul are sleep on the sidewalk. Alseep while waiting for our doors to close. 
I walk Jane home. it's been a good day. A good night. Alive with the real sense of possibility.