Saturday, November 15, 2014

Missing Jana


welcome back Alex

Anxiously awaiting Jana’s appearance in my office. She came to church last Sunday while I was out. It’s been almost a year since I’ve heard from her and almost 2 years since I’ve seen her.( It’s been over a ten year friendship with visits in Germany and New York. She goes back to the old days when the Berlin Fellowship of Reconciliation groups which she led stayed at West-Park every year. She’s appeared at some significant times…like when we did our first service on the steps. Or when I needed someone to nurse me after my back surgery. During the Woodshed days. (

It begins to dawn on me that something’s wrong. I check my AOL account and there are two missed messages. She was expecting a confirmation and I didn’t confirm and she thought I wasn’t responding. Damn AOL. I’ve almost given it up. It’s overwhelmed by spam and demands for money from the Democrats. Stuff gets buried and lost. I frantically try and contact her and then  realize she’s probably got a travel phone and not accessible to email. Nevertheless, I still frantically send emails to her. 

I hear from her late in the day. Try to set up a connection but it’s too late. And somehow this all seriously depresses me. It’s cold and dark outside and starting to rain. Finally it’s time to head to Riverside for this week’s Palestine film. A double feature: Strawberry Fields ( the one that broke down at West-Park last week, the Village under the Forest. (


Rev. Kadisha from a Francophone African church is in to see about renting space for afternoon worship for his congregation. They are officially a fellowship of Presbytery, not yet an official congregation. He’s got two issues: the skulls that Pat K brought in for Halloween are still in the  office. We are African,... he begins. And goes on a long discussion of ancestor worship and witches and Christians avoiding such things. As I try to explain Halloween, Leila has already put the skulls in the closet.

And that rainbow flag, we are Africans…I just look at him. We do not believe…
And I continue to just look, not saying anything. Before either of us speaks, Leila says, You can just flip it over, no big deal. And I leave it at that. I’m not sure where cultural differences become something else. I’m angry over the way American Christians have influenced oppressive policies against LGBTQ people throughout Africa trying to win there what they are losing here. There are differences. And there are things that are just wrong.

Olivia arrives. She has a new music chamber trio. Ralph and  ETHEL are their mentor. She wants to do a concert, so I give her the whole tour. She decides on the gym. She wants to explore the intersection between social justice and classical music. One of their members is a participant in the Venezuelan El Sistema program. ( So we’re clearly connecting. I invite her to be part of our upcoming Sunday morning Awakenings program and she agrees. My list is now complete. When I took her up to see the gym, ETHEL was rocking on a string quartet setting of Led Zeppelin’s Kashmir. 

San is all excited about his upcoming Cymbeljam, wanting to do some performance pieces inspired by his recent production of Cymbeline then a Shakespeare open mic. This is a very cool idea. (!jam/cupu)

Jeremy and Priska are in, just back after a long stay in Europe. They found their room unlocked and some things oddly different. I fear David S may have left it open after working on her radiator. And perhaps some less than usually scrupulous communists wandered in. It’s all conjecture.

But I have to run up to Advent to meet with Elise and Marc on our December benefit for the Interfaith Assembly on Housing and Homelessness.

When I get back, I try to quickly get Jeremy up to date. Good to have him back.

I check my email, and see I’ve missed Jana’s last attempt to connect before returning to Berlin. I throw up my hands. Some kind of fate didn’t want this to happen. But a feeling of depression abides. 

I look to Open Mic with relief. Kieran
starts us off, as always. Dion is back with another stand up set as only he does.
David L, stalwart who’ll jump in in sound or work on the facebook or whatever’s needed is next.
David L
And his friend Rachel performs for the first time a set of standards.
Joel and Steve B on another collaboration.
Joel Gold and Steve B
Pat O into anti-war songs tonight.
Pat O
Mandola Joe solid as always.
Mandola Joe
Jeremy R plays harmonica like a young Dylan.
Jeremy R
David S with another set including Beatles.
David S
I do my Lonely Hearts followed by New Mexico song then bring Pat O up to join me on Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain, which I wanted to play because it was on when I was having coffee with Arik Acherman of Rabbis for Human Rights at Starbucks late  in the day. That’s what I was feeling.

Alex is back fresh from recording her ep in Kansas City. I’m happy to learn she and her roommate went to college in Pittsburgh.
After RL has closed us out with Stay Awhile, Joe takes Alex and her friend into the sanctuary and she is excited to discover our Beckstein.
Alex at the Beckstein

Yes, these moments keep us going. At least me.

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