May 29, 2020
Dear Friends,
Since COVID-19 came to call, the catchphrase “going viral" imports sobering shades of meaning into common parlance. This week’s video-gone-viral bears witness to George Floyd's final moments, as he was killed by a white police officer in Minnesota. Networks around the country have covered the tragic murder and its tumultuous aftermath. Such news, alas, is anything but novel in America. The deadly realities of racism and white supremacy persist, more ominous than even Coronavirus.

Floyd’s voice lingers in our collective ears. His words haunt, like the lyrics of a devastating lament. With his dying breath Floyd cried for us (for anyone) to honor his human dignity. America, why can’t you stop killing us? a friend of mine posted on Facebook this week. I could summon neither emojis nor words to answer. George. Or my friend. Or Trayvon. Or Eric. Or Breonna. Or any of the far too many who have been killed thusly. Words ring hollow. Better to get on with dismantling racism already. And that's a lot more complicated than selecting any words, prayers, or emoticons in this moment.

Our Christian practice of confessing what we’ve “done and left undone” is a humbling one. Some sins provoke us to salutary compunction. Sins "done on our behalf" (as the Prayer Book calls them) are more difficult to confess. We bog down in ignorance, blinding or blissful. Our good intentions become immobilized by fear and shame. Still, God is waiting. The dehumanization of black and brown bodies must cease. We may say their names but God's answer, "Do justice!" echoes back. How we dare reply, amid this pandemic, will differ for each of us. Lament. Learn. Listen. Lean. Love. A life shaped by divine priorities will begin with such essential actions, however we each choose to pursue them.

I’m reminded of a Jewish text, Pirkei Avot , that insists, “You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to desist from it.” My Facebook friend simply put a finer point on it. And she is right: we must stop killing people of color ! This Judeo-Christian faith of my forebears pushes me past inertia, to tackle the legacy of racial injustice in this nation, even on days when I struggle and fail to wield apt words and take meaningful action. But Jesus' brown body, hanging upon a cross the ultimate symbol gone viral confronts me as it indicts systems of injustice, racism, and hard-heartedness that nailed him there in the first place. And Jesus is all over the socials these days, daring us to act for the sake of love.

As we begin a slower season in our programmatic year at All Saints’, we can make time to reflect on our baptismal promises to "strive for justice and peace" and to "respect the dignity of every human being," especially those who still wait to be properly dignified by this society in which we live. The present moment in our nation is breath-taking, if I may be so bold as to summon this wince-worthy turn of phrase.

But before we turn away and exit virtual space, back to whatever else we have the privilege of doing today, let's read this article , about how to be anti-racist , shared recently on social media by one of the young adults in our All Saints' community. And let's also pray about how we each might take one faithful next step this week, as we continue on this journey of transformation around issues of race in America.

Whether we are looking for safe space to lament or want to read, listen , and learn from skillful guides in the conversation, we do not pursue this work alone. If dialogue partners in our wider city embolden us to tackle the work together, we might consider tapping into the Equitable Dinner project in our area. The next communal conversation takes place on June 14. Maybe we'll spend summertime connecting with compatriots in this spiritual journey we share in Midtown. Join our Slack channel or log in to the All Saints' online directory to connect with church friends during this extended time "off the block."

God's mission already has gone viral, summoning every ounce of patience, creativity, and courage that we can cultivate. So let's lean on one another for accountability, strength, and support, as we walk with Jesus on the way, seeking justice, truth, and love together.
For Jesus' sake,
The Rev. Sarah Stewart
Associate Rector for Young Adults and Innovation
Update: Reaching Out
All Saints' Cares: Emmaus House
Our Young Adults’ Service Team is writing to thank each of you for your collaboration in raising $100 for Emmaus House during the last two weeks, as our collective focus partner in the All Saints' Cares initiative.

Thank you for your generosity! If you wanted to participate but have not yet donated, there still is time! Email Alexsis at aleskeen@gmailcom with details of any additional contributions toward this project. We are grateful for all the love you put into action in our city!

Among the many ways you can help Emmaus House continue serving the Peoplestown community, especially at-risk youth, their families, and the elderly, please consider:

  • Online monetary donations to fund weekly groceries for families (only $10 needed for a family of 4), for rent and utilities, provide prescription assistance, etc. 


  • Online monetary donations for the Carver Market’s Bags of Hope program 


  • Mask donations 

Give directly to Emmaus House using the links to the online giving pages provided above.

We appreciate all who have joined us in this endeavor, or who may yet be planning to do so, through this or any other opportunity through All Saints' Cares Initiative that speaks to your heart.

With gratitude for this community of faith, hope, and love,
The All Saints' Young Adults' Service Team
Young Adults' Community Corner
Dear Saints,

It has been a joy to share our stories, reflections, and testimonies here!

While we take this summer sabbath from our newsletter, please know we'll be back in August, seeking to lift up our voices and celebrate God's empowering Spirit, leading us into all truth as we help pave the way for God's justice and peace to take root in our world.

Stay safe and healthy this summer! Connect with one another through Slack, as well as on Facebook Live (Worship @ 10am on Sundays) and Zoom (Compline @ 8pm on Thursdays)!

May God bless our resting, playing, and growing in the meanwhile!
Sink Your Teeth Into This:
The Communion of Saints
We enjoyed our final gathering of the program year this week and our guest speaker, Lynda Smith. She was gracious in sharing her notes from her talk (including the three extra saints she did not talk about on Wednesday night!). Please know that Lynda would love to get to know you better. So feel free to ask her about life as a verger at All Saints' or simply ask her to go for a walk.

Greetings, Young Adult Saints!

My name is Lynda Smith. I have been at All Saints’ ever since I was a student at Georgia Tech as a member of the Canterbury group.  
One of the things that is so great about All Saints’ is that there are so many ways to serve. I currently have the pleasure of serving as a verger, lay reader, Altar Guild, and Eucharistic Minister. In the past, I’ve also been a member of the Young Adult Group, Youth Advisor, an EFM graduate, a Sunday School Teacher, and even taught my daughter’s Confirmation Class back when they were confirmed in the 7th Grade and I could use trips to the Varsity as total bribery to get them to learn things!  

I helped with most activities my daughter was involved in which included Children’s & Youth Choirs, Handbell Choir, Acolytes, and the Junior Altar Guild and Junior Flower Guild. One of the hardest jobs was organizing a Diocese-wide Acolyte Festival.

I am so grateful for the opportunity to speak with you this evening. My focus tonight is on Lessons from some Saints I have met during my time at All Saints’. My people are not really found in the “History of All Saints’” book. They are “everyday” saints that have taught me an important life lesson.

Since there are 7 sacraments, I thought I would fun to share 7 lessons I learned from 7 Saints that I have met during my 40 years (1980-2020) at All Saints’:

Tom Murray – The first is Tom Murray. You could guess that Tom was in sales when you first met him. He was a big guy with an affable personality and usually a big smile. He was a fun lector to listen to. One day, he made a huge mistake while reading and said something incorrectly that came out…pretty untoward! He stopped and laughed and looked at the congregation and said, “we’re going to try that one again” – and he finished the reading just fine. From Tom, I learned how important it is to recognize your mistakes and, when possible, laugh about them and, more importantly, let the mistake go – don’t dwell on it!  

An important quick second lesson from Tom is that, as a sales person, Tom knew a lot of people and was willing to use his contacts to help young adults. Tom helped my friend Teresa (more about her later) get her first job where she met her future husband and helped her get car insurance! Helping others in small ways can overcome the inertia needed to make a big difference in the long run!

Anna Gurley – My second saint was Anna Gurley. Ms. Gurley’s passion was tracking Sunday school attendance. Woe be it unto you if you didn’t sent attendance to Ms. Gurley in a timely fashion – and it was a bit of a death wish if you totally missed sending the numbers in for a class! From Ms. Gurley, I learned the importance of finding a way to Serve and make it my own - hopefully in a slightly less terrifying way 😆

Charlie Gearing – Charlie Gearing is my third saint. As Dean of the College of Management, it was unusual to be adopted by someone with such prestige on the Georgia Tech campus. Charlie provided the Canterbury group with guidance during the year when we were between priests. I have wracked my brain and sincerely do not remember anything specific that he did, but his quiet presence provided supportive strength to Canterbury. I learned you can make a big difference just by showing up.

Frank Player – My fourth saint is Frank Player. You may remember Malinda Snow talk about Frank and her time at Canterbury. As the 11:15 usher captain, he made it a point to greet people. He asked your name and remembered to greet you after that. He really seemed to focus on younger saints. He made you really fell seen which was a wonderful way to start a church day!  

Today, the Altar Guild has what I call “the Frank Player rule” to wipe down the offering plates between services because they get fingerprints at the nine and he wanted shiny offering plates for “his” service. Who knows what amazing long-term impacts you might have by warmly greeting someone or by making small suggestions on behalf of others!

Lynnelle Benson – The fab 5th saint is Lynnelle Benson. Lynnelle was an artist who brought meditation to All Saints in the early 1980s. She was in my EFM group and did meditation for every…single… time that she lead the worship portion of our gathering. From Lynnelle, I learned that I am terrible at meditation and (mostly) hate it passionately, but I also learned to let others have their passions and allow them not to share mine - no matter how much I like them and wish they would play with me!

Sheila Ragsdale – My 6th saint is Sheila Ragsdale. As our EFM Leader, Sheila provided a wonderful example of creating a space and culture to share ideas and beliefs and not judge them.  
The most memorable exercise we did during my 4 years of EFM was the night we took the Lord’s prayer and yellow highlighters to highlight the words or phrases we really believed, underlined the words that we sort of believed, and left alone the words that we were uncertain about or thought “uhmmmm….no….I don’t think so!” This group of 10 everyday All Saints’ parishioners responded to this exercise with everything from almost all highlighted to underlined Amen. 

That is when my love for All Saints’ reached a new level. My lesson was to really understand how different everyone is in their walk down the road of their faith and how that road can be steep and rocky, but just keep showing up with the hope that the path will smooth out!  
I truly love our current invitation to Eucharist that recognizes “whoever you are, wherever you are on your journey, you are welcome at this table”.

Teresa Morris – Last, but not least, please allow me to introduce a person I met at my very first Canterbury meeting. Teresa Morris greeted me and was quick to ask me to be involved – maybe leading up to be a lot more involved than I wanted or expected – which is how I astonishingly became chair of the Canterbury group after only being a member for 4 months and…oops….before I was actually confirmed in the Episcopal Church! After growing up Methodist with a splash of Baptist, I couldn’t figure out how to join without the “come on down” part of the service.

But from Teresa, I learned to be willing to ask others to play a role. Wonderfully, Teresa is still a dear friend and loves to confuse other people by telling them that I am her godmother - and I am - because she asked me to be when we were at Georgia Tech.  
Teresa is also a godmother to my daughter and I’m godmother to her boys – are ya confused yet? Even after 40 years, Teresa remains a special friend of my heart.  

So who knows what amazing journeys you might undertake if you ask - or - if you say Yes! when you are asked!  

I appreciated our discussion about the lessons you have learned from your everyday Saints and look forward to talking with you again soon!


Blessings,
Lynda Smith
June and July
Saints UnTapped Virtual Happy Hour (ON VIDEO PAUSE)
**Will return in August 2020**
Other opportunities for fellowship will be posted via Slack
Weekly Virtual Service of Compline (Evening Prayer, ongoing)
  • VIRTUAL PRAYER via Zoom
  • Every Thursday at 8:00 p.m.
Please join us for our weekly peer-led prayer group, as we lift up the needs of our world and all whom we love.

Contact Justin Averette at justin.averette@gmail.com to obtain access details.

All are welcome! We appreciate your cooperation in fostering "safe church" on the inter-webs and look forward to seeing you in the "Zoom Room" each Thursday, thanks to peer leadership this summer, starting June 4, 2020!
Resources for Personal Prayer in Daily Life
  • CONNECT WITH PRAYING PEERS via Young Adults @ All Saints' Slack Channel: youngadultsallsaints.slack.com # prayers
Online BCP:

Daily Prayer in Contemporary Language (for various times of day):

Other Daily Prayer with Scripture :
https://dailyofficeexpress.org (The Daily Office Readings)
http://anglicanprayerbook.nz (Online New Zealand Prayer Book)

Meditative Prayer Resources (music and guided meditation):
https://pray-as-you-go.org (Pray As You Go - Ignatian Prayer)
https://player.fm/podcasts/Contemplative-Prayer (Daily Disconnect Podcast - Carmelite Prayer)

Taize’ Nightly Livestream prayers with the Brothers in France @ 9:30pm ET:

Compline by Candlelight from Trinity Wall Street:
For more information contact The Rev. Sarah Stewart