Monday, April 30, 2012

Fourth Sunday in Easter: Good Shepherd Sunday 2012

At the copy shop, my freind tells me that he’s not been open these last two Sundays because his father died and he had to go back to Bangladesh. I tell him I’m sorry for his loss, and happy to see him again.
We open the service with The King of Love my Shepherd is, an Irish setting of the 23rd Psalm. Amy is still stuck in the middle of the 59th Street Bridge so it’s a capella. Marsha reads Acts 4: 5-12 for us and Amy arrives just in time to lead us in the response to Psalm 23, which we recite people’s mic style, in the King James Version. Never really sounds right any other way. And we do so in Spanish as well. Teddy reads the Epistle from 1 John 3: 16-24. And I do the Gospel, John 10:  11-18.
Every fourth Sunday in Easter is Good Shepherd Sunday. At the center is probably the most beloved Bible passage, Psalm 23. We talk about our memories, our feelings about this passage. For  most it brings comfort, a sense of peace and calm in the midst of trouble, a word that casts out fear. I’ve never done a funeral without it. Leila says in the movies, it’s what a condemned prisoner recites before execution.
I ask who has been shepherds for us? Although some say both parents, almost every one else named is a woman, a mother or aunt.  We’re urban people. We don’t see many sheep, except at street fair petting zoos, sawdust in dirty wool. I mention that even in  Jesus' time the image conjured a nostalgiac memory. In his own time, shepherds lived beyond the walls, somewhat suspect. 
For my kids, their shepherd was Kenny the porter for our apartment building who watched them safely to the bus in the morning and greeted them when the returned in the afternoon. The tricky part in the Bible is the part about laying down one’s life for the sheep. As Jesus says, I offer it up, no one takes it from me. 
It’s the week of the Tribeca Film Festival, often a home for edgy, cinema verite type films. One of my favorite films this year is Booker’s Place. A film about an African-American man, Booker Wright, in Greenwood, Mississippi at the peak of the Civil Rights era. He was a much beloved waiter at the city’s most popular restaurant, Lusco’s. When NBC came to do a documentary, they captured Booker in his song song incantation of the restaurant’s menu, never on paper. But then he went on to talk about his experience of disrespect, and demeaning treatment. He went so far as to mimic and mock those who insulted him, while he continued to smile. NBC wondered whether to run it or not. He insisted that they run it. And that led to the torching  of his restaurant, the loss of his job and ultimately his life. He insisted that he do it so that his children would not have ot go through what he lived through. No one took his life from him. He laid it down on his own. And thereby robbed the forces of evil of their power.
I don’t like to criticize other denominations. God knows we Presbyterians.....But I am astounded that in this day the Vatican would seek to silence its nuns. Seems that they devote too much time to the poor and not enough to important issues like opposing same sex marriage. These women have a median age of 70! They offer up their lives daily for the poor and oppressed. Who are the true shepherds here? I'm thankful for the movement We are all nuns whuch has collected over 150,000 signatures so far. 
Maybe that's why this Sunday comes at the peak of the Easter season every year. Because this is the essence of resurrection living, to be a shepherd. To offer up one’s life for others....
We conclude our service with On Christ the Solid Rock I Stand.... and join hands for our Amen.
Imtiaz, Nadia and Alayna
Nadia, Alayna, Bob, Hope
After the service, Nadia and her husband. Imtiaz  bring their new baby daughter  Alayna for a visit. Nadia studied West-Park as part of her dissertation. And became our friend. Brought the NYU Muslim Student Organization to West-Park for a  service day, working side by side with us. She’s brought my dissertation back to me. Defends her own this week. It’s a joy to hold Alayna. 
The Session meets to seek a strategy to deal with the avalanche of issues legal, financial and ecclesiastical now swirling around us. Need to stay clear headed, focused. 


A team of firefighters wearing wounded warrior  t shirts come through for a fire safety inspection. Note our progress, what remains to be done...Later in the day, I find posters advertising the FDNY firefighters beefcake calendar attached to the poles under the scaffolding.
Teddy and Steve meet with us to plan various projects required for insurance  and also to talk about progress in finding arrangements for occupiers who will be very difficult to place. In the sanctuary, Karen, a woman Teddy met on the corner, is playing the piano and singing her original songs. 
Marc and Jeremy are on a search for Jeremy’s missing mike stand and discussing plans for the music room. These discussions are never easy. Marc is checking out the Hammond to see if we can figure out the model, its possible value.
Outside, Steve and Raven are working on selling some of the last Occupy t-shirts. One of our deacons, Pat, who lives in the neighborhood, walks by with her daughter-in-law, Maya, who I haven’t seen since her wedding. She too, is a singer-songwriter. I want them to see the t-shirts and I want Maya to see our performance spaces. I’ve been following her and her performances  on facebook.
Pat buys a t-shirt.  
I’m standing on the steps with Teddy when a piece of paper flutters down and lands in his hand. Scrawled on a scrap of lined music staff paper is a series of Bible references and quotes with unique misspellings. We look around to see where it came from. No sign anywhere. Teddy looks at me, at the paper. Too weird, bro, I’m holdin’ on to this. 

Prophecy: Last line is LUKE 6+48 SOliD ROCK

We walk to the B. Cafe to wait for Tracy. Later over mussels, we’ll talk organizing and tactics and Obama. Was he as Tracy says, a trick? I don’t think so. The hope raised was real. The base built was real. The possibiity was real. And then, well, futile attempts at accomadation while political space narrow to non-existent. 
We walk up Amsterdam together to join the pickets in front of Saigon Grill.

Friday, April 27, 2012

This change is hard, bro...


Just a brief moment before heading downtown for another legal issue. My neighbor Ric would have come down to be with me but had to be out of town. It's getting frustrating. Get back to the church and Danielle has more bad news. It's begining to feel overwhelming. She looks at me...sometimes I feel like someone's out there just looking for things to do to it's organized... 

That's how a lot of our church members feel, I say. Sometimes it feels like God must be angry at us. (Not my theological position, just an occasional emotional experience.) It will take everyone, everyone, to get through this. 

Coming back late at night after extended conversations with RL and David S about necessary repair work. And Steve about where this is headed. 

I get asked about my 1927 Washington Redbirds hat (my hometown's years as a Cardinal farm club) and my Homestead Grays jacket. (Thank you, Jim...) I tell the stories.

It's been a long day.


An older woman, dainty, somewhat patrician, wearing a large sun hat, like from ’20’s England or Gatsby Long Island, a surgical mask lowered like a scarf, is visiting with Danielle. She’s been here before.
On the street, Dave and Donna are on their way to do laundry.  It's a beautiful day.
I see Marty and stop to talk. He tells me his father used to work out his sermons as he waked about. Me too, I say. Says his father didn’t like Billy Graham so much but favored Bishp Fulton J. Sheen. And I remembered his radio show. He asks me about the insurance situation, goes on to remembering the visigothic architcture of CCNY rise. Well, maybe just gothic, he says. He says it was made of hewn stone, not so easy to construct.
He tells me about his five credit seminar. You must have been a scholar, I say. A scholar, yes. In China, they would have called me a schorar. That’s a joke...Speaking of jokes...and he tells me his old joke about the spirit in which it was given...I first told you that 22 years ago, he says.( see ) Ah but I failed....absenteeism...
It is a wide ranging conversation. Oil and gas in Wyoming. Just think what might be there in Yellowstone....I get these brochures about investing...I ask if he has invsted. He tells me his money is in Iraqi dinars. He’s been holding them for three years...waiting. But not from Saddam Hussein’s time. He did 9-11, you know...
Well, not exactly, I say. Wasn’t he part of the Arab triumvirate? he asks. Uh, what’s that? Ah well, maybe not...
I tell him it’s been a good conversation. Yes, he says, a good conversation. A lengthy conversation. Just right. And another beautiful day.
Indeed, I say.

KT is back from New Orleans, walking down the street after a rehearsal with RL in the chapel. Anxious to hear her road stories.
A columbarium salesman comes in to visit. He’s got a wry sense of humor. Was here several years ago. He’s looking for the right wall. We could maybe do 70 niches. Presale. No risk.
Meet with Rev.Mary and Steve. Lots to talk about. Getting impatient with internal politics in different parts of OWS life. But so it is in the church as well. So unnecessary. 
Several of our coop members have emotional issues to begin with. Here at West-Park they have found a place of safety, security, stability. And now it must end. Signs of heightened anxiety everywhere. In such situations, it’s easier to believe there’s a secret plan or bad guy(s) rather just the vagaries of life. Small conflicts get blown out of proportion. We have to find a way to lift up what has been good here. 
As Teddy said, For me, for many of us, this coop became our Occupy, this effort to build a community. It was worth it. The t-shirt work, that was good. Got some people working instead of spanging (spare changing in OWS lingo). This change is hard, bro...

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Lost between the first and twenty first centuries


National Nurses Union Scrubs

Sunday leftovers....yesterday was Arcadia’s birthday...Jennifer, the young woman from West Virginia with a dream of musical theatre was back...Marieve, a violinist from Quebec was town for a concert. We talk about Le Domain Forget,  90 miles north of Quebec on the St. Lawrence River where my son Micah went several years for a summer music festival... And roadside artery clogging poutin stands...
The retired FDNY man who works for our broker has come in for an inspection. Teddy had taken him around for the whole tour, sharing stories of an FDNY uncle. Our inspector has a good spirit. Feels like he’s on our side. What we need to do is doable, Teddy’s ready to help. We meet with Steve to figure out our plan, who can do what. When I step outside, I see Anna with Puppy. She eyes me, conspirationally. You have an inspector in there, she says. I eye her back, I know. 
Rafael takes me aside for a conversation. Tells me why he’ll be moving out. Makes me sad. He’s been a big help. Part of our congregation. Saved me more than once. I hope he’ll be back.
The social workers, Rev.Mary, Suzy and Jessica have all come to meet with me to talk about plans for our coop. Making individual plans for every member. Sadly, they won’t be able to stay together. Makes me really sad. And we need to find a way to lift up, celebrate what has happened here over these months. Time is uncertain, but running short.
Leo and Paula, old friends from the 29th Street Rep are in with an idea for a benefit performance for a friend of Paula’s. They’ve got a good idea for a two part  evening. I always loved the edgy quality of 29th Street productions. Paula a brave actor, Leo an incisive director. It will be good to have them here, even for a night. 
Anna has said that some of our night visitors gather an smoke crack. I know her witness is often, well,  creative. But Teddy takes me to the steps, reaches up on a ledge and shows me stem stuffers, used to compact the rock. Damn. 
RL comes by just to say that Harvey’s upcoming birthday party will be postponed. He wants to wait until Luba, the one in that Dvorak family, will be back. 
The National Nurses Union medical staff drops by. They’ve got scrubs for us. With their own agenda clearly printed. The have been great. I feel honored. 

The NNU agenda

Tonight begins the Bible Study Sekou and I will lead on the Gospel according to Mark. We start out asking people what their relationship to the Bible is. Answers vary from the very personal to the intellectual. But there is this sense of wanting comfort, to feel connectd beyond oneself and a desire to live better.

Then we ask about relationship to Occupy. For us, any scripture has a particularity, comes from a particular time and place. With particular socio-econmic-political context informing the text. The question will be what was that context. The point being to help us better connect with our context, our particularity. 
Sekou is going for an anti-imperial reading with Mark’s author subverting Roman Empire literary conventions, from Gospel to Son of God. John H reads those same texts as pro-Roman. They’ve got good back and forth around those concerns, based in the same literature. Sunday morning John pulls us back to the present. 
John H has done almost as much Biblical research as he has Shakepseare. And has serious concerns about the anti-Jewish polemic use of these texts and the genocidal effect of that propaganda throughout history. Sekou takes the traditional Markan primacy position, John H argues for Matthew.  And Sekou witnesses to the authority that comes from lived faith, from his grandparents. Their prayers, sermons, songs. The three level content of those songs, telling the Biblical story, critiquing the slave society and giving secret messages about escape. 
It’s a good night. We keep having to come back to so what. We go later than I expected, lost somewhere between the first and twentyfirst centuries. 


On a cold and rainy Tuesday, Steve, Chris, Teddy organizing tasks to get our place ready. A day of hard work. The St. Agnes work crew joins in.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Third Sunday in Easter: It's in the living, in the loving

Chris is there to greet me as I arrive. After  full house last night, there’s not a sign that anyone was there. Thankyou OWS West Park coop! It’s always frustrating when  visitors are arriving and our people aren’t there yet. One threesome got anxious and left. So at 11, I start regardless. 
I asked who knew what day it was, and of course someone responded Earth Day. Not a bad day for the Easter season with its emphasis on new life, beginning again, the renewal of the earth. But I find it pretty hard to connect any of today’s scriptures with Earth Day. 
I ask if anyone knows where these scriptures come from and Hope knows about the lectionary, but that’s about it. I explain that it is a common lectionary, used by Presbyterians, Roman Catholics, Episcopalians, Lutherans, Methodists, UCC...just about all the historic churches except for those from the free church tradition. And that a committee chooses them, sometimes with a clear theme, sometimes not, some times with a consecutive run through a scripture and sometimes not. And that’s why it’s so good to get together with my colleagues every Wednesday and hear the Catholic, Lutheran and personal  understandings of the texts.  You can go anywhere around the world today and hear these same texts read. 
But sometimes, like today, the passages leave my colleagues and me  scratching our collective heads. Like take the Acts’s Peter addressing you Israelites...and what exactly was he? Then essentially accusing the Jews of murdering Christ (you killed the Author of Life..) while whitewashing Pilate. In fact, that Author of Life title has this Johannine cosmic Christ thing happening. Like they killed GOD. And letting a murderer go free. This from someone who betrayed Jesus three times after his accent gave him away. All this towards the end of some kind of violent sacrificial compensatory scheme that had to be carried out. So if it’s all a predetermined plan, what’s with the anger? The guilt?
Fact is, passages like this can be, were, used to create a theology of contempt. A theology that wound up taking countless innocent lives. What do we do with that?
First, every part of the Bible comes from a particular socio-cultural-political context. This passage clearly comes from after the Roman defeat of the Jewish revolt. After the Empire had triumphed. It shows signs of trying to placate the empire. ( A practice the church continues to this day...) The books chosen to be in the Bible got in through, like the lectionary, a committee process, voted in or out. With a clear ideo/theological agenda in mind. 
So is the Bible as we have it the word of God? I can go there. As James Cone says, it is not infallible, but it is reliable. This is the book God wants us to have. But the other ones, the ones that didn’t get in, they keep popping up out of the desert too. And I believe that God wants us to see them in dialectical conversation with the canon.
So what’s the point of a passage like Acts 3: 12-19? Maybe to show  what can happen when you sell out to the Empire. Look, the Bible is filled with contradictions. Like the two differing genealogies in Matthew and Luke. So what do we do? We seek to read the scripture through the eyes of Jesus,and that is our truth. And that alone should lead us away from lethal contempt. 
But how do we know Jesus? Well today’s Gospel takes us back to the wounds again. I’m not going there again. But there is this additional piece. A hungry Jesus who eats a piece of broiled fish, see, this resurrected me is just like you. And all that prophetic Nostradamus/Criswell predicts! or Jean Dixon prophecies for a people who didn’t see the world that way. Creating an ex post facto Biblical future  telling scheme. No that’s not how we know Jesus. 
There’s only one way we know him...we know him by knowing him...we see him..the two way mirror...we see him in the faces of others...we should be called children of God(I John 3:1)....and we seek to show the face of Christ to those we encounter. Doing that together makes it real. We need each other to do that....and that can keep us on the life giving, new life giving side of’s in the living, in the loving....
We gather in our circle. Greet and introduce our visitors. Say our Alleluia! Amen! and sing Amen. Easter continues. 
The session meets. Reviews yesterday’s meeting. The OWS situation. The insurance situation. The legal situation. All the situations. We’ve only made it here so far by the grace of God. Not the best business plan. But for now, it will have to do. 

                                                                # # # #

Read the New York Times review of the Unsound Festival.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

We don't inherit, we borrow from our children

We have coffee. We have copies. We’re ready. Meeting with representatives of Presbytery’s Committee for Nurture of Congregations subcommitee of the Council  on Ministry and Nurture. We’ve prepared a status report. I’ve brought the coffee, Marsha the bagels.  
We go over all our current realitites. We are doing everything about our insurance  situation we can be doing, quotes should be ready soon. We need help on our legal issues. real ministry is being done every day. We do go places others don’t, have realtionships that bring insight, have a plan if we can get a bridge  to it, provide a space for the unexpected intersections of unlikely people. We can be a gift to the church. Yes, it does feel like we’re on a tightrope with no net. 
And yes, there’s a reason why our ministry has to be here to be  this ministry. This is a community based ministry. Our context is a calling not a circumstance. We are at the geographic center of the  upper westside. Our neighbors are the wealthy in doorman buildings and  the poor in projects and the unique cast of characters who make up the residents of Capital Hall. In a day when the poor and marginalized are more and more invivisble, they are present with us, in communty with us. We can be, we are a link, to the church, to the borader community. If we were somewhere else, it would be  a different ministry. It is transformational, wholistic, organic. We feel like we have been heard. 

* * * 
I don’t know what to make of this. The UNSOUND festival from Krakow, Poland has brought the largest crowd I have ever seen in this place. The downstairs sanctuary is full. The  balcony seats are full. There is standing room only.
The openng act is Jacaszek from Poland on computer accomonpanied by a harpsichord and someone on clarinet, bass clarinet and saxophone. And a video projectionist. It’s not electronica, not ambient, though those are signposts to where this music is. 
At intermission, I text Leila tell her that lots of people are looking at their paintings, some taking pictures. And that the place is packed. 

The second half is a commissioned piece, Trinity, a collaboration between Los Angeles’ Lustmord and Norway’s Biosphere exploring the first nuclear tests in the New Mexico desert. Two men. Two computers. Video. 
Their music accompanies black and white video of the desert site, at the base captured ambient sounds from the desert. Occasional snippets of interviews, news fillms. In dialogue with the music until the black and white film bursts orange, high pitched siren like wailings then the aftermath. The last snippet of sound was a female voice, We don’t inherit. We borrow from our children. And this is what we leave them.... I found myself profoundly moved. 

When the light comes on, I see the two musicians are wearing short sleeved white shirts, thin ties and black plastic glasses. They could be computer nerds. Or atomic scientists on the Trinity project. 
Danielle was around most of the night, trying to capture with a photo the feel of this phenomenal night. Chris and Requiem in their Occupy NY shirts did a great job on security. Runi was by me for the dramatic conclusion as I explained history, that it was about something.  (Runi had pointed out that the harpsichord, clarinet and computers covered several centuries of music...) Outside, I see Leila. She had to come and see what was going on. (Although Berik thought it was drug addict music.)

I have to ponder what it means that two of our largest drawing events have been these music from the edge concerts. And I’m thinking that there’s a place where new (classical) music, eletronica/digital/ambient and free jazz are all headed like converging lines from different directions. 
I also have noted that the Williamsburg/West Park pipeline is still in operation.

Trinity Test Site

Saturday, April 21, 2012

A meeting I don't want to have

I’ve been working for an hour and a half with Jamie to prepare a presentation  for another meeting with the Presbytery committee on Nurture of Congregations tomorrow. Jamie’s helped me get a good outline together. I head across the street to share these thoughts with Marsha and Hope. Jamie comes across and joins us and soon we have a strategy we can all work with. It will require me to write a status report and get copies at Kinko’s with plastic covers and all.  Teddy offers to help me with that, but I think I’ve got it covered.
There’s a meeting I don’t want to have. The fact is the insurance broker has told Danielle that if the Occupiers are still living wth us when the insurance company comes for an inspection, there’s no way we’ll get insurance.  We’ve got to move the exit date up, even when the t-shirt work has just begun to come together.
There’s a quick visit with Pete who still maintains he can get a cover for our baptismal font created for us. I want to believe him. That would make such a great story. But it’s been months. Hard to believe until I see it. 
Talk with Raven about his bird, actually a crow, who said raven. And we talk about Edgar Alan Poe who lived down the street a couple of blocks when this was the country. When he  moved up here from Greenwich Village for the  air. And lived across the street from Park Presbyterian. 
No more avoiding it, we’ve got to talk. Explain that this is all about insurance and nothing else. Some still want to believe that someone with a personal agenda is doing this. That’s easier to believe, I guess than just random forces in the universe. 
Clearly the coop is not going to continue and that’s a hard reality to grasp. Rose suggests moving into a squat together, but even Requiem wants no part of that. This has been sanctuary. This has been safe. This has been home. I’ve got to get our social wokers in here, both for logisitcs and for the emotional impact of this change. 
Hell, it’s hard on me too.  Logistically, a core of these guys are my support team, my building maintenance and security staff. Emotionally, I feel connected to them. They’re living in my house. They’re part of my life. Where’s my social worker?
My first commitment is to make sure that everyone’s taken care of. Runi wants to know if there’s another Presbyterian church they can move to. Answer, no. And no other kind of church either.Don't you guys work together? she asks. Well..... We’re sort of the last sole survivor on that line. I ‘m wondering if I can get Marc Greenburg of the Interfaith Assemby or Project Reachout or Laura  and the Westside Fedration to help. 
But I also want to see what’s possible. What we can do to keep the most important  relationships intact. I need that.

I'm dressed to go to the 175th anniversary symposia at Union. But there's a lot of writing, a lot of typing to get done. 

They made good shirts

Long conversation with Rafael. He tells me his story. And we have a word of prayer. And I am glad that he has come to trust me enough for a conversation like this.
Kimberly is a Union Student interviewing for a possible field work placement in the fall. I give her the whole tour, bottom to top and back again. Hear her story, someone whose been living a life already, not just a student fresh out of college. She’s a Unitarian Universalist. Lots of experience in the arts. Even though she sings in the choir with Mim,  I’m still  anxious for her to talk with Mim about the Center and what we’re trying to do.  She’s dressed in black for this afternoon’s worship service at Union which will feature my friend Jim Forbes and an aerialist. This could work. The internship, that is. 

There are three young women hanging out in the sanctuary. Praying, they say.
Outside, our occupiers have set up a table and are selling the t-shirts they were up all nuight making. It’s good work. They make about $100 for the afternoon.

Jason and the shirts

Teddy and the shirts

the shirts

It’s time for me to head to Union to meet Mim for the 175th anniversary gala for the Seminary.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Just exactly what is for sale here?

John H has arrived early for our meetig with Whittier  Hamers, Church Interiors. Whittier is coming to assess the value of our Tiffany sanctuary window. He will check it out for above, below, behind. What we learn is that on the one hand, earlier Tiffany’s are more valuable.  Ours should be ten years earlier.  On the other, since it's an interior window, it’s still  in near perfect shape. We’ve got the original contract with Tiffany, for $7700 in 1929, proving authenticity. And in the lower right panel, there’s the autograph of Louis Tiffany himself. On the other,figurative religous art is much harder to market. In short, hard to say.
The very idea of selling it makes me sick. But our back is against the wall. It is historic. But then in the ‘90’s, at the peak of the Enlace de gracia multicultural service, as our church grew in its diversity, the central image of a romantic white Jesus became probelematic. It is not who we are. A barrier to Jews and Muslims as well. But then, there's it’s rededication to Steven Festa. Hisoartner's lovigh memory that Stephen always sw himslef as the child in Jeusus' arms. It's an icon of the trauma of the AIDS era. We will see. Before he goes, I show Whittier the baptismal font, wiht its missing lid. What would a repacement cost? And he wants to know might this, too, be for sale? All 800 pounds of bronze? What exactly is for sale around here?

While we’re finishing with Whittier, detectives Mendez and Telleur show up to do follow up on last Saturday’s wallet theft.  We call Rafael in on this discussion. Certain indications are that this is the  work of a well dressed man who’s been hitting a lot of churches.  Before they leave, Rafael shares what he knows about the baptismal font cover theft. They're impressed with Rafael’s detetive work. 
Detective Mendez wants a bit more of a tour. Loves churches. Was once an altar boy who dreamed of being a priest. 
Danielle and the St. Agnes boys 
Through all of this, our voluteer work group ftrom St. Agnes has been sweeping down both 86th and Amsterdam and other clening throughout the church as part of their  community service requirement. Danielle is their supervisor It’s good to have these young people in their school jacket and ties involved.
UPS shows up with six boxes of t-shirts for the coop’s silk screen business. Steve and Chris are excited to have the raw materialsand are ready to go to work. 
Melisa is in for another visit.  
Hard at work
The silk screen crew
Late at night, I stop back through. The t-shirt business is in full swing. Funny how a project like this leads peopleto set aside the petty dfferences that have been buildig up these last few weeks. There’s a feeling of community, of camaraderie, of sharing . It feels good to see.

Outside, Wesley and Antonia have returned, despite their promise not to. They could well succeed at what no o eelse has efer been able to do...cause us to offcially and legally close our steps.