Monday, October 3, 2011

World communion and a tag sale

It’s World Communion Sunday. I am excited to discover that for the first time in over a month I can climb up and unlock the door. I feel like something has been returmed to me.  I go out to the steps and pick up papers  and butts and other detritus  for the first time in weeks.  I’m not yet up to moving furniture around, however. Ana is first to arrive and I ask her to watch things while I go and pick up the bulletins.
I also pick up some grape juice and then go to Barney Greengrass for bread. No round challas left,  only a round pumpernickel. As I’m checking out, Gary says to me, Reverend, if you need anything,we’ll be open tomorrow. And even if you don’t need anything, we’ll still be open anyways. 
Back inside, our guest for today, Ryan Smith of the Presbyterian United Nations ministry  has arrived and under Ana’s direction is moving the table to the front. Candles are placed. We have to send out for mathces. John has arrived. I try not to get anxious as people slowly are gathering.  And there are guests. I’m glad that Andre and Amy are both here.
As we are gathering Hope brings word that yesterday, one of the Saigon Grill protestors was attacked by someone inside. We’re going to need to get a group to visit the precinct. And it seemsthat somehow police helped provoke the situation on the Brooklyn Bridge with the Occupy Wall Street protestors that led to the arrest of over 700 people, including press. Again, the Times is virtually silent while the Post splashes it all over the front cover with the headline The S*#t hits the Span with a full picture. 
We finish the reading of scriptures,  incuding the Exodus version of  the Ten Commandments and Jesus' strange parable of the ungrateful (to say the least) tenants. Definitley not one of the kingdom of heaven is like this parables.  Then I introuduce Ryan who talks of his work in promoting global discipleship through peacemaking. His job is interpreting and advocating for international policy as articulated by the PC(USA) General Assembly.( I find it  ironic that there is a PCUSA General Assembly, A UN General Assembly and the Wall Street Occupiers call their daily discenmnet and decision making meeting the General Assembly.)
Ryan works with Ecumenical Women and Israel-Palestine issues and recently anti-human trafficking. He also speaks of the slavery footprint website that has started to raise conscuousnees as to how things we use get produced.  We share with him our work with the coalition seeking to build a sweatshop free Upper Westside. Of the coalition between the Chinese and Mexican workers. (Take the  slavery survey at )

Ryan and Bob
During the offertory, Andre singing, He’s Got the WholeWorld in His Hands, people bring their breads to the table. There is  Puerto Rican, Cuban, Italian and best of all, Marsha’s homemade Texas cornbread muffins.  As we prepare to share communion, I talk about my week, the song smiths of P & G’s, the actors of Woodshed, the communities of mutual respect and apprecaition they created, the encouragement of each other to risk more, to grow, with your freinds beside and behind you. And I asked what it would take for our church to feel like that. That’s a big part of what sharing communion with each other is all about. As Zwingli said, it is not bread and wine that is transformed into  the Body of Chirst, but we oursleves, together. We become the body of the  Risen One. 

We sing our amens, make our greetings. P____ is still concerned about me, but also anxious to talk to Ryan. 
The  congregation meets with Sarah who has brought Ben Valentine, one of the artists of the upcoming Telling the Truth gallery installation scheduled for McAlpin Hall.  He wants to work with us, have an ongoing dialogue, not just install a show, have a party and leave.  

Sarah, Ben and Marsha 

The Session meets to work on our boiler strategy and other parish concerns. Sarah and Danielle want to come to clarity about what exactly do we want Woodshed to leave. Already, they are going room to room, marking and pricing things, preparing for the tag sale. I look to see what’s mine/ours. Then head to the Firehouse to watch part of the Steeler game with Andrea. 
We come back at 3 and join Katheirne for a walk through the building. She has been surprised to find things of hers she hadn’t seen in years which had become part of the set. Like the Buddhist meditation chair her mother had given her and a raised ceramic Eucharistic bread plate. They eye some deco furniture, and  a floor lamp tucked away in a corner. 
Some actors have come to claim part of their apartments. Jocelyn has brought her leg braces to sell, which go pretty quickly. Bought by teenage boys. I’m not going think about that for very long. Andrea says it’s overwhelming seeing the level of delapidation as the building begins to return to itself. It’s a bit painful seeing the Parisian apartment building that existed just last night beginning to disapper. People are walking around eying, buying, various   intriguing items. Actors wander around, look for awhile, perhaps share a hug, a see you soon, then one by one go off. Katherine has left her items with Teddy for John H to pick up tomorrow. Andrea has left.
I take today’s communion cups, one made by John H with the church on the outside and people on the inside, and one by Andrea’s mother Pat, downstairs to wash and clean before I leave.  

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