ACPE's weekly digest to keep you connected, better informed, and well-resourced for the week ahead.
August 14, 2017
Trace Informal
ACPE's Monday Briefing is a weekly digest from ACPE Executive Director Trace Haythorn
Each week you will receive related articles and updates on ACPE transitions. Also included are helpful links to keep you connected, better informed, and well-resourced for the week ahead.
Sometimes our words need to be spoken with a kind of clarity that no one can question our meaning: the White nationalist movement and its many manifestations is more than prejudice, bigotry or intolerance. It is a form of evil that has the power to destroy not simply our nation but our nature as human beings. The ACPE's core values are as follows:
  • Diversity and inclusion - demonstrated through cultural humility, attentiveness and collegiality.
  • Integrity - demonstrated through trust, respect and excellence.
  • Curiosity - demonstrated through listening, experiential models, innovation and creativity.
  • Process - demonstrated through action/reflection, listening, experiential and relational models.
  • Service - demonstrated through compassion, authenticity and growth.
To advance these values, we must also deconstruct white privilege and its toxic manifestations in our local programs as well as our national policies and practices, regardless of who occupies the White House or represents us in Congress or our faith communities. This work belongs to every one of us. 
Thank you for your patience!
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A Poem for Reflection
I've heard from several friends lately as they have made their way home from summer vacations. My church's choir just finished a tour of Scotland as a part of the celebration of the 500 year anniversary of the Protestant Reformation (no, I didn't go, but my Facebook feed was very active!). I was reminded of this lovely poem by Elizabeth Bishop:
"Questions of Travel" by Elizabeth Bishop
There are too many waterfalls here; the crowded streams 
hurry too rapidly down to the sea, 
and the pressure of so many clouds on the mountaintops 
makes them spill over the sides in soft slow-motion, 
turning to waterfalls under our very eyes. 
- For if those streaks, those mile-long, shiny, tear stains, 
aren't waterfalls yet, 
in a quick age or so, as ages go here, 
they probably will be. 
But if the streams and clouds keep travelling, travelling, 
the mountains look like the hulls of capsized ships, 
slime-hung and barnacled. 
Think of the long trip home. 
Should we have stayed at home and thought of here? 
Where should we be today? 
Is it right to be watching strangers in a play 
in this strangest of theatres? 
What childishness is it that while there's a breath of life 
in our bodies, we are determined to rush 
to see the sun the other way around? 
The tiniest green hummingbird in the world? 
To stare at some inexplicable old stonework, 
inexplicable and impenetrable, 
at any view, 
instantly seen and always, always delightful? 
Oh, must we dream our dreams 
and have them, too? 
And have we room 
for one more folded sunset, still quite warm? 
But surely it would have been a pity 
not to have seen the trees along this road, 
really exaggerated in their beauty, 
not to have seen them gesturing 
like noble pantomimists, robed in pink. 
- Not to have had to stop for gas and heard 
the sad, two-noted, wooden tune 
of disparate wooden clogs 
carelessly clacking over 
a grease-stained filling-station floor. 
(In another country the clogs would all be tested. 
Each pair there would have identical pitch.) 
- A pity not to have heard 
the other, less primitive music of the fat brown bird 
who sings above the broken gasoline pump 
in a bamboo church of Jesuit baroque: 
three towers, five silver crosses. 
- Yes, a pity not to have pondered, 
blurr'dly and inconclusively, 
on what connection can exist for centuries 
between the crudest wooden footwear 
and, careful and finicky, 
the whittled fantasies of wooden cages 
- Never to have studied history in 
the weak calligraphy of songbirds' cages. 
- And never to have had to listen to rain 
so much like politicians' speeches: 
two hours of unrelenting oratory 
and then a sudden golden silence 
in which the traveler takes a notebook, writes: 
'Is it lack of imagination that makes us come 
to imagined places, not just stay at home? 
Or could Pascal have been not entirely right 
about just sitting quietly in one's room? 
Continent, city, country, society: 
the choice is never wide and never free. 
And here, or there... No. Should we have stayed at home, 
wherever that may be?
Something Extra
Next week, I will be at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary teaching a course in death, dying and grief as a part of their D.Min. program. Amidst all of the research, this story popped up in my inbox from Upworthy. I love Audra McDonald's voice - now I deeply admire her courage: Before she became a Broadway great, Audra McDonald survived a suicide attempt.
This Week on the Calendar
 Tuesday, August 15

*Assumption of the Virgin Mary - Christianity [Catholic churches]
According to the Catholic Church, this day commemorates how, at the end of her life, Jesus' mother Mary was assumed-body and soul-into heaven, where she intercedes for all believers.

*Dormition of the Theotokos or Most Holy Mother of God - Christianity [Orthodox churches]
According to the Orthodox Church, this day marks Mary's death and resurrection by God, as a sign to all believers of their ultimate destiny.

*Sri Krishna Jayanti or Krishna Janmashtami - Hinduism
A festival celebrating the birth of Krishna, the eighth incarnation of the god Vishnu, whose purpose was to destroy the demon Kansa who was responsible for evil's increase in the world.

Friday, August 18

*Nowruz - Zoroastrianism
The start of the New Year for Zoroastrians who follow the Shenshai calendar, beginning the year 1387 AY [After Yazdegird III, the last of the Persian Zoroastrian monarchs].

Saturday, August 19

*Asmā' - Bahá'í
The beginning of the ninth month of the Bahá'í year, meaning "names."

*Paryushana-parva begins [until Saturday, August 26] - Jainism
The holiest period of the year for the ascetic Shvetambara sect, this festival celebrates Jain ideals through fasting, worship, and reading the life-story of Lord Mahavira from the Kalpasutra. Believers impose restraints on their daily activities by fasting, meditation, and prayer. The last day of Paryushana is called Samvatsari (Saturday, August 26) and is a solemn occasion for examining one's thoughts and feelings, and for asking forgiveness for offenses committed against others through deeds, words, or thoughts.
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