Thursday, September 11, 2008

Interfaith Ramadan Iftar

If I was going to do something in honor/remembrance of September 11, this would be it. (Unfortunately, we're having car issues at the moment.)

Thursday, September 11, 6:00 - 9:00 pm: Interfaith Ramadan Iftar at the Noor mosque. Join the Muslim community for a public lecture on "The struggle of Abraham & the challenges of his children today" and break the Ramadan fast together followed by a community meal. Open to the public.

If anyone who reads this manages to attend, I'd love to hear about it.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Overheard at the gym

First, a disclaimer...I would very much prefer not to overhear other people's conversations at the gym. I try to go at least twice a week, three times if I'm lucky, and what I want to do is get in the pool and move. I'm not much of a swimmer, but I used to take water aerobics classes, and now I just go to the pool when I have the opportunity and do "freestyle water aerobics for one". I don't ask for much--I just want my own little spot near a wall where I can just do my thing and tune everybody else out. If conditions are right, that's where I can do some of my best creative thinking. But if people within earshot are having a conversation, then conditions are most definitely not right, and I can't seem tune them out no matter how hard I try.

I was actually in the shower, not the pool, so I couldn't see who was talking, but I had passed some older women on the way to the shower. Several of them--I'm guessing at least three--were having a conversation that I kept catching bits and pieces of...

"I stayed up way too late last night watching the returns."
"So, what do you think?"
"I don't knooow!"
"Well, our governor has endorsed Clinton."
"I'm not ready for a woman president."
"Me neither."
At this point, I *really* wanted to be able to tune out, because I was afraid I might hear something that would annoy me enough that I'd feel compelled to butt into their discussion. But the water wasn't loud enough to drown them out, so as I finished up my shower, I heard the conversation turn to the subject of women priests, and how one of the women had a friend who is one, but, "something about that is just not right." Also, apparently the women's movement is to blame for "the mess we're in today". Whatever that is.

But I wouldn't be sharing this story with you now, if it didn't have a positive twist. Here it comes. One of the women said (paraphrased)

"I used to think like that. Then my husband left me when I was 40, and I was totally unprepared to support myself. I vowed that I would never again let myself end up in that situation. ... Sometimes your situation changes, and then you change."
I didn't hear what the other women said in response, but inside I was saying "Right on, sister!" Because every day, in small ways we have opportunities to speak up and give the other side of the story. And an alternative perspective, when shared by "someone like you" has a better chance of taking root and possibly, as time goes on, softening (or even changing) some of the judgments people make.

Friday, January 11, 2008

St. Matthew's in Westerville

The following message was sent via e-mail by our bishop...

Brothers and Sisters in Christ

As you all know, the members of St. Matthew's Episcopal Church have been worshipping at Otterbein chapel while we work to regain the property of the congregation. Many of you have asked how you can be of help.

Your prayers and the prayers of your congregations are needed, so please keep the congregation in your prayers and in the prayers of the people in your churches.

In addition, St. Matthew's will be worshipping at the Westerville Firefighters Civic Center at 393 E. College Ave. in Westerville, beginning on January 20. Worship will be at 10 a.m. We ask congregations in the Columbus area to send 8-10 people to worship with the people of St. Matthew's and to help as they establish programs. We would like congregations to sign up to send people a month at a time, beginning in February and, as much as possible, to encourage these "pilgrims" to commit to being with St. Matthew's for the entire month. Of course, if congregations from outside the Columbus area would like to send people either for a month or just to show support, they will be gratefully welcomed.

At the moment, the most pressing needs of St. Matthew's are help with children's programming and music leadership.

Thank you for your prayers and support as the people of St. Matthew's continue their witness in the community of Westerville. Please contact Canon Walt Mycoff for more information and to let him know when your congregation will be able to help.

Thank you for faithfulness.

Yours in Christ,

+Tom Breidenthal

Bishop Thomas E. Breidenthal
Episcopal Diocese of Southern Ohio