Volume 6, Issue 5
January 29, 2021
THIS SUNDAY: January 31, 2021
Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany

Scripture Readings

Joe Adorno (EM)*
John Hanaoka (U)
Dee Grigsby (AG)
Mark Cain (DM)

David Crocker (EM)
Linda Crocker (U)
Mary Margaret Smith (LR)
Faith Shiramizu (AG)
Nelson Secretario, Vikki Secretario
Jan Hashizume, Carolyn Morinishi (DM)

Live Stream
9:00AM on our home page, YouTube, or Facebook accounts

* EM - Eucharistic Minister; U - Usher; LR - Lay Reader; AG - Altar Guild; HP - Healing Prayers; DM - Digital Ministry

8:00AM and 9:30AM

Aloha Hour
Every Sunday 
10:45AM - 12:00PM

Friday/Monday Crew
Every Friday/Monday
Church Office

Daughters of the King
Thursday, February 11th
7:00 - 8:00PM
Zoom meeting
Those who are interested in the Daughters of the King Meeting may contact Jan at janhco@hotmail.com for login information.

Ash Wednesday
Wednesday, February 17th
8:00AM and 6:00PM

For the aged and infirm, for the widowed and orphans, and for the sick and the suffering, especially Glen, Suzanne, AJ, Rosalind, and those we name silently or aloud, let us pray to the Lord. ​Lord, have mercy. 

For all who have died, especially Linda and those affected by the COVID-19 virus, and those we name silently or aloud, in the hope of the resurrection, and for all the departed, let us pray to the Lord. ​Lord, have mercy. Amen.
On Sunday, January 24th, All Saints' held its Annual Parish Meeting. We had on site attendees as well as parishioners attending by Zoom. Carolyn Morinishi and Cami Baldovino ran the Zoom meeting which enabled those attending at home to vote in the elections.

To see a brief slideshow of the Annual Meeting, please click on the video link above.

Despite the difficulties imposed by the pandemic, All Saints' had a year with highlights in attendance and giving. To view the archived livestream recording of the entire Annual Meeting, click here: Annual Meeting. To read the reports presented, click here: Annual Meeting Report part 1, Annual Meeting Report part 2.

Attendance: The in-person 8am congregation has held steady, with an average number of 23. The in-person 9:30AM congregation average had been at 66 prior to the mid-March lockdown and arrival of the Pandemic; post-Pandemic the average is 40. However, the online Livestream audience at 9:30 and other online services during the Pandemic has averaged 160 – this is due to increased viewership via all social media platforms plus our Mainland `Ohana’s participation as well members of other churches here in this state, in the rest of the country, and even from other parts of the world. (-Kahu Kawika)

Giving: The total for pledges and offerings was $229,516, $25,029 higher than 2019. Our pledges for 2021 are $192,143, well over our goal of $175,000. The All Saints' `Ohana continues to bless others as they have been blessed. (-Jan Hashizume)

Please Welcome Our New Vestry Members

Election Held During Annual Meeting
Sunday, January 24th, 2020
Wayne Doliente
Wayne Doliente
Brent Mizutani
Please join us in welcoming Wayne Doliente and Brent Mizutani to the All Saints' Vestry. Joe Adorno stepped down after faithfully serving his 3 year vestry position. Wayne was elected to fill that vacancy. Linda Crocker resigned her vestry position to become Senior Warden last year. Brent was elected to serve the remaining two years of her vacant position. All of our vestry members are always willing to talk with you about All Saints'.
Synopsis of 2020 Income and Expenses
Reflections from Kahu Kawika
Taken, Blessed, Broken, Given

Epiphany 3B
Mark 1:14-20
All Saints’ Kapa’a
24 January 2021

Have you ever thought of yourself as God’s gift to the world? Now you might say “Who, me?” But if you think that sounds arrogant and egotistical, I really do believe that each of us is God’s gift to the world. We are each one-of-a-kind Masterpieces made, formed, and being forged and crafted by our Creator.
Henri Nouwen, the Canadian Roman Catholic priest, theologian, social activist, and advocate for those with mental and physical disabilities, writes in his book The Life of the Beloved about the four words that he believes are central to the spiritual lives of Christians. His four words are Taken, Blessed, Broken and Given. You probably recognize those words as we hear them every time we celebrate the Eucharist: “Our Lord Jesus Christ took bread; and when he had given thanks to you, he broke it, and gave it to his disciples.”

Nouwen said to be taken, to be blessed, to be broken, and to be given, is a summary of the life of Jesus who was chosen by God, blessed to do his ministry on earth, broken by the trials of life and especially on the Cross, and given to the world. It is also a summary of our lives, because like Jesus, we are chosen and blessed by God, we are broken in our sojourn on this earth, and have been given as gifts to the world.

Today in our church calendar also happens to be the feast day of Florence Li Tim-Oi, born in Hong Kong in 1907 and eventually the first woman priest ordained in the worldwide Anglican Communion in 1944. When we take a look at her profound life and ministry, we can also clearly see her own story playing out these four verbs: Taken, Blessed, Broken, and Given.
Let’s take a closer look at these four words in light of Florence and our Lord to see how we can be better disciples of Jesus as we, too, move through these four words in our own lives.

Taken: In our Gospel reading from two weeks ago, we find Jesus getting baptized by his cousin John the Baptist in the Jordan River. This event takes place right before our Gospel story today, of Jesus finding and calling his first disciples from the Sea of Galilee. At the end of his ministry and right before his suffering and death, Christ instituted the Lord’s Supper. He took the bread and offered it to his friends as his own body. 

Similarly, we are taken by God, also as Christ’s living breathing body on earth. That means we are chosen and are precious in God’s eyes – chosen by God and selected for a unique role to play in God’s Realm on earth. And when we recognize that we have been chosen, we also humbly recognize that all people are chosen by God and have unique parts to play.
Florence Li Tim-Oi also realized that God had taken her and called her at a young age, despite a church not yet ready for women, and especially for women leaders of color. On her own initiative, she enrolled at Canton Union Theological College (now Guangdong Union Theological Seminary, outside of Hong Kong and Macao) to receive her theological education before returning to Hong Kong in 1938 at the age of 31. Bishop Ronald Hall ordained her first as a deaconess in 1941 to help with refugees in Macau. Florence knew that God had taken ahold of her and that her life had purpose.

That’s sometimes hard for us to believe, that we have been chosen when we feel not wanted, not relevant, or not loved. Sometimes it’s hard to believe that God loves us, and even thinks highly enough of us to want to take us and make use of us. But Jesus says, “You did not choose me, but it was I who chose you, to go forth and bear fruit – fruit that neither withers nor dies when asked in my Name.” (John 15:16) God takes us to magnify the presence of God’s love in this world.

Blessed: Jesus took the bread and blessed it. We are also blessed by God – God equips us and makes us ready to be useful to God’s purposes. I often use these words in the blessing I say at the end of our services: “Be blessed, so that you may be a blessing.” God wants us to “pay it forward” -- we are to pass on our blessings to those around us. We are called to claim our own blessing and to bless others as we live each day. Christ knew the blessing of God Above. At Jesus’ baptism in the Jordan River, God said “You are my Child, whom I love; with you I am well pleased!” (Mark 1:11) Who doesn’t long to hear those words?

As Florence Li Tim-Oi stepped into her calling and knew God had taken ahold of her life, she realized God’s blessing of equipping her to a higher level of service. As the Second World War took hold of China, it became impossible for Macau to have any Anglican priests who could celebrate Holy Communion. In a courageous move, Bishop Hall gave permission to Florence to preside over Holy Communion. Later, Hall and Florence traveled to Shaoqing (north of modern Vietnam) and he ordained her as an Anglican priest in 1944. The Archbishop of Canterbury of the time, William Temple, opposed the move, and it would be almost another 30 years before any Anglican church allowed for the priestly ordination of women. Florence knew God’s blessing, and utilized that blessing to be a blessing to countless others.

We all want God’s blessing as well as for others to speak well of us. We all need to know that we are good, to know that we belong, to know we are loved. When we receive blessing, we know we are loved. When we are not in touch with our blessedness, then we cannot bless or speak well of other people. It is more than complimenting someone’s hair or their success at work. A true blessing acknowledges that they too were chosen and created in God’s image. God wants us to know that we matter, and because of that we are useful for God’s purposes.

Broken: Jesus took the bread, blessed and broke it. God also took Jesus, blessed him for his ministry, and allowed him to be broken on our behalf. Jesus willingly obeyed God by leaving Heaven to become one of us on Earth, living with us and serving the needs of people around him. By doing so, he became “someone people despised and rejected, a person of sorrows and acquainted with grief.” (Isaiah 53:3) Ultimately, he was tried, convicted, and sentenced to capital punishment on a Roman Cross.

Florence Li Tim-Oi knew God’s calling and equipping to be a priest in God’s church, but it came with a price of brokenness. After World War 2, the Communist Chinese government closed down all houses of worship from 1958-1974, and made Florence work on a farm and then in a factory. She was also forced to undergo political re-education because the government considered her counter-revolutionary. She had to pray alone apart from other Christians so as not to get caught. She even was forced to cut up her own church garments with scissors. She nearly gave up on her life during those long years of persecution.
We are all broken people in different ways. A lot of our brokenness has to do with our relationships, especially among those with whom we are closest, with members of our own household, with our spouse or partner, with our mother or father or siblings, with our children or friends. Wherever there is love, there is also pain. Wherever there are people who really care for us, there is also the pain of sometimes not being understood or cared for enough.
We might feel like our brokenness is a sign that we are cursed, but as Henri Nouwen says, when we listen to the voice that calls us “beloved,” it becomes possible to see our brokenness as an opportunity to grow, to learn, and to deepen the blessing that God has given us. In other words, as we begin to allow the blessing to touch our brokenness, we realize that what was once intolerable is now a challenge, what was once rejection becomes a way to deeper communion, and what seemed like punishment becomes a pruning to greater blessing and to bear a bumper crop of fruit.

Last week, I preached on “What Is Our Nazareth?”, in the sense that if we have eyes to see, God can use the unlovely areas of our past and our current lives to produce something beautiful, useful, and with purpose. What are our areas of brokenness? Although we live in a culture that prizes convenience and ease – shown in much of the advertising we see and hear that is geared toward maximizing our own sense of convenience and comfort – let’s not shy away from considering the broken areas of our lives, offering them instead back to God and growing from them to give our lives the depth necessary to be of good use in this world.

Given: Christ took bread, blessed it, broke it and gave it to his disciples. After Jesus’ brokenness of living as a human, suffering innocently, and dying on our behalf, God gave him back to us through his resurrection victory over sin and death. Jesus is alive, and gives us life here and now and the promise of life eternal.

Arising from her own brokenness, Florence was finally recognized as an Anglican priest in 1971, three years before the American Episcopal church recognized women’s ordination to the priesthood in 1974, and nearly 30 years after Florence’s priestly ordination. Twenty years after her death in 1983, the Episcopal Church assigned January 24th as Florence’s feast day, which later became a permanent date in 2018. As a trailblazer for women’s ordination, Florence exemplified a lifestyle of unselfish service, often in especially difficult circumstances, and as such became the forerunner and model for future female priests in the US and in other Anglican churches worldwide.

Like Florence and Jesus, we are in a process of being given by God to be of use to the world. If we truly know and live our lives as people who are chosen by God, blessed, and broken, then we can freely give of ourselves. Remember, Jesus said, “I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit.” (John 15:16) When we bear God’s fruit, we are helping others bear fruit. Each of our lives is a gift to those close to us: family, friends, those we serve, as well as to people we will never know. 

God has given us—each one of us—as a sacred gift to the world: The giving of our presence, dropping everything and sitting with an ill or grieving friend, listening when someone just needs to talk or a lending shoulder to cry on, writing a note to someone who needs a kind word, delivering a meal or even better breaking bread together, many ways we can serve at church and in our community, or simply offering a smile.

As God’s beloved, you have been chosen, blessed, broken, and given as gifts to the world. Just like the bread that Jesus shared with his friends, you are God’s gift to the world. 
I am reminded of Teresa of Avila’s 16th century prayer:
“Christ has no body but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
With compassion on this world,
Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good,
Yours are the hands, with which he blesses all the world.”
Consider carefully our roles in God’s enlistment of us – being taken, blessed, broken, and given. I close with the Collect Prayer in honor of Florence Li Tim-Oi:

Gracious God, we thank you for calling Florence Li Tim-Oi, much-beloved daughter, to be the first woman to exercise the office of a priest in our Communion: By the grace of your Spirit, inspire us to follow her example, serving your people with patience and happiness all our days, and witnessing in every circumstance to our Savior Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the same Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.
Labyrinth Walkway Makes Progress

Engraved Paver Installation Begins
The engraved pavers have begun to line the sidewalk from the church lanai to the labyrinth. All tiles have been either purchased or reserved, so we are closed to new orders. Many thanks to Ron and Carolyn Morinishi, and Wayne Doliente for continuing their tireless work on the labyrinth project.
Laundry Love to Resume Serving the Community
Modifications in Place to Comply with COVID Restrictions
Geoff Shields and David Crocker have finalized plans for kickstarting a modified Laundry Love program next Wednesday, 2/3/2021. They will set up a single table with a plexiglass barrier outside the Kapa`a Laundromat at 4:30PM. They will distribute bags with a single roll of quarters, detergent tabs & dryer sheets. Patrons will be on their own to use the resources at their convenience. A new pattern of behaviors & expectations is expected settle in after a few sessions. All Saints' will continue to offer laundry assistance with modifications to those in need. Geoff sees this as a positive first step in getting back in the game. 
Sign Up for 2021 Altar Flower Donations Now
Donation Forms Available Online or at Church 
Ever wonder where all our beautiful altar flowers come from each Sunday? 

Our flowers are lovingly arranged by Mrs.Tanaka or by JC Flowers. These flowers were all donated by members of the congregation. To participate with a donation in 2021 and for more information, click here: Altar flowers, or sign up on the form outside Memorial Hall before or after services.
Province VIII logo
Young Adult and Campus Ministry
January 2021 Newsletter
The Province VIII Young Adult and Campus Ministry has published a new newsletter with opportunities for Quiet Days, Leadership Conferences and more. Click here to read more: Young Adult and Campus Ministry.
Beyond the Horizon: The Rev. Cn. Sam Van Culin
Fr. David Stout shared the following article by Kevin Eckstrom, about the Rev. Cn. Sam Van Culin, who has deep ties to Hawai`i.

Bishop Robert Fitzpatrick shared fondly, "A few (actually very few) still remember him as the last Vicar of the 'Hawaiian Congregation' (the merger with the Cathedral Congregation happened in 1958 -- the year he left Hawaiʻi). To some, he is remembered as Tom’s famous brother (and to fewer still, Andrew’s uncle). Sam is another link in our Punahou School connection. He is a gracious individual. He is truly a citizen of the world."

Enjoy this article from the Washington National Cathedral's Fall 2020 publication HERE.
Watch the Consecreation of Bishop-elect Diana Akiyama Online this Saturday

Former priest of St. Augustine and now Bishop-elect Diana Akiyama, will be consecrated as the 11th Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Oregon on Saturday, January 30, 2021, at 2:00 PM (PST) or 12:00 noon (HST). The service will be livestreamed on the Trinity Cathedral Facebook page HERE or their YouTube page HERE. For more information, or if you would like to make a donation toward a gift, click HERE.
Lenten Resources 2021

With Lent approaching, we share resources for Lent 2021 which begins on February 17: (More coming soon)

The Way of Love in Lent (Videos and resources)

ERD Lent Meditations (printable or receive daily emails)

Forward Movement (A variety of offerings both online and printed)

The Feast of the Presentation
Epiphany 4

January 31, 2021
Each year on February 2, the church celebrates the Feast of the Presentation of Jesus at the Temple, also known as the Feast of the Purification, and Candlemas. This feast commemorates the 40th day after Jesus’ birth, when he was presented in the Jerusalem Temple and Mary was purified in accordance with Jewish Law.

The Book of Leviticus mandates that, after childbirth, a woman must go to the temple to offer “two turtle- doves or two pigeons, one for a burnt-offering and the other for a sin-offering; and the priest shall make atonement on her behalf, and she shall be clean” (Leviticus 12:8).

The Presentation of Jesus at the Temple is chronicled in the Gospel of Luke, when St. Simeon the Righteous saw Jesus in the temple and “took him in his arms and praised God,” saying, “My eyes have seen your salvation” (Luke 2:30).

This blessing by Simeon is the basis for the canticle Nunc dimittis or “The Song of Simeon”: 

Lord, you now have set your servant free
to go in peace as you have promised;
For these eyes of mine have seen the Savior,
whom you have prepared for all the world to see:
A Light to enlighten the nations,
and the glory of your people Israel.
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen (Luke 2:29-32; Book of Common Prayer, p. 120).

An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, edited by Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, explains that when the celebration of the Presentation was first introduced in Rome in the seventh century, it included a procession with candles and the singing of the Nunc dimittis, which is why this feast also became known as “Candlemas.”

Collect for the Presentation

Almighty and everliving God, we humbly pray that, as your only-begotten Son was this day presented in the temple, so we may be presented to you with pure and clean hearts by Jesus Christ our Lord; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Published by the Office of Communication of The Episcopal Church, 815 Second Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10017
© 2021 The Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America. All rights reserved.
Executive Council Eyes Plan for Pandemic Aid to Dioceses, Commits Church to ‘Deradicalization’

January 25, 2021

David Paulsen
The Governance and Operations Committee meets on Zoom on Jan. 24 during the four-day gathering of The Episcopal Church’s Executive Council. Photo: David Paulsen/Episcopal News Service

[Episcopal News Service] The Episcopal Church’s Executive Council pledged to assist cash-strapped dioceses during the pandemic, committed the church to “deradicalization” efforts after the U.S. Capitol riot and received an update on a racial audit of church leadership, during a four-day meeting at which current events influenced much of the agenda.

Executive Council, the church’s governing body between meetings of General Convention, wrapped up its online meeting on Jan. 25 with a series of votes, including passage of a resolution responding to the pandemic’s economic toll. That measure did not yet endorse a specific package of financial aid, but Executive Council assured dioceses it will develop a plan and provide such relief “as soon as feasible.”

“Executive Council sees the financial strain of the pandemic on dioceses,” the resolution said. “Across the church, life and finances are hard and faithful work is exhausting. The future, financial and otherwise, is uncertain and uncharted. We witness the determined and costly efforts across our church to continue in the Way of Love.”

Churchwide leaders will meet in the coming weeks and months to finalize details of the financial relief to all dioceses. Such aid was promised partly in response to a letter this month to Executive Council from bishops of the 20 Southeast dioceses of The Episcopal Church’s Province IV.

“The current pandemic is a natural disaster of proportions never before experienced in our lifetime,” the bishops wrote in their letter. “Faithful people, congregations, and dioceses are showing great commitment and resiliency in finding ways to support local outreach and parish ministry when new obstacles arise in the communities we serve.”

Council members’ push for a separate resolution on deradicalization was fueled by the deadly Jan. 6 mob attack on the U.S. Capitol. The resolution reaffirms the church’s rejection of white supremacy, acknowledges the church’s past complicity with racist systems and expresses alarm at the recent rise in violence by hate groups driven by distortions of Christianity.

The Rev. Gay Clark Jennings, president of the House of Deputies, amplified that alarm in her opening remarks on Jan. 22. Executive Council responded on Jan. 25 by voting to ask the church’s Office of Government Relations and Office for Ecumenical and Inter-religious Relations “to develop a plan for The Episcopal Church’s holistic response to Christian nationalism and violent white supremacy.”

Executive Council also received and discussed a lengthy report produced by a task force assigned to research the relationship between The Episcopal Church and Church Pension Fund, or CPF, the separately incorporated administrator assigned by General Convention to manage clergy and lay pensions and other church-related benefits.

The church and CPF have “a common responsibility” but “distinct and separate roles,” said Ohio Bishop Mark Hollingsworth, a task force member. In presenting the report to Executive Council on Jan. 23, he affirmed that General Convention has some authority over CPF, but “our canons are not extensively clear or specific about how that is to work.”

The persistent threat of COVID-19 continues to shape much of the church’s work, including Executive Council meetings, which have been held on Zoom rather than in person since the pandemic began in March 2020. Although the 80th General Convention in Baltimore, Maryland, has been postponed a year to July 2022, Executive Council still voted at this meeting as scheduled to approve a 145-page “blue book” for General Convention that summarizes the work of various task forces, committees and other interim bodies.

“It may seem odd” to submit reports so far in advance, the Rev. Michael Barlowe, secretary of General Convention, said during Executive Council’s Jan. 24 session, but maintaining a normal submission schedule will “keep the momentum going and will effectively prepare us for a productive meeting in Baltimore.” General Convention’s legislative committees can begin reviewing those reports after the church’s presiding officers appoint committee members later this year, Barlowe said.

And Executive Council approved a resolution supporting methods of capturing and storing greenhouse gases from the atmosphere to help reduce climate change. Another approved resolution calls for formation of an ad hoc committee to study and propose a translation and interpretation policy for the church.

Other topics taken up by Executive Council included potential revisions to the church’s budgeting process. A task force recommended streamlining the process by expanding Executive Council’s role in drafting and finalizing the triennial budget proposal that is presented to General Convention for review and approval. Such a change would make it unnecessary for General Convention to maintain its Joint Standing Committee on Program, Budget and Finance.

To read the full article, please click HERE.
Presiding Bishop Joins Call for Christians to Counter Christian Nationalism During Webinar

January 28, 2021

Egan Millard
[Episcopal News Service] Presiding Bishop Michael Curry joined the Rev. Elizabeth Eaton, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, for a webinar on Christian nationalism hosted by the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty (BJC) on Jan. 27. The webinar provided an overview of what Christian nationalism is, how it is showing up in America and how Christians can address it.
The webinar was part of BJC’s Christians Against Christian Nationalism initiative, which started in 2019 with a statement signed by an ecumenical coalition of faith leaders, including Curry, rejecting the ideology as a “persistent threat to both our religious communities and our democracy.”

The topic of Christian nationalism has been widely discussed in the wake of the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, during which right-wing rioters invoked Christian language and imagery.

The webinar also featured Andrew Whitehead, associate professor of sociology at Indiana University Purdue University-Indianapolis, who helped explain Christian nationalism, which “seeks to merge Christian and American identities, distorting both the Christian faith and America’s constitutional democracy.”

It manifests itself in various forms, such as a drive to privilege Christianity above other faiths, a belief that the U.S. is favored by God over other nations, and the false assertion that the founding fathers created the U.S. to be a Christian nation, Whitehead said. It is also correlated with white supremacy, he added, citing his own research, which indicates that white Americans who espouse Christian nationalist principles are far less likely to believe that African Americans face significant discrimination and police brutality than those who do not.
“[Christian nationalism] is absolutely a threat to a pluralistic, democratic society, and something that needs to be wrestled with in order to move forward and not repeat the events of Jan. 6,” he concluded.

To read the full article, please click HERE.
Salisbury Cathedral Opens as Vaccination Site — With a Soundtrack of Organ Music

By Marie Thomas

Posted Jan 21, 2021
People receive COVID-19 vaccines inside Salisbury Cathedral in January 2021. Photo: Salisbury Cathedral

[Salisbury Cathedral] On Jan. 16, Salisbury Cathedral in England opened its doors for the first time as a venue for the Sarum South Primary Care Network COVID-19 Local Vaccination Service.

Scores of over senior citizens came along to have their first COVID-19 shot – and all done to the sound of music. The cathedral’s organists, director of music David Halls and assistant director of music John Challenger, played soothing sounds to those waiting for, or recovering from, their shots and clocked up around 10 hours on the keyboards (with a few essential breaks).

Attention, Amazement, and Devotion

January 28, 2021

Leslie Scoopmire
“They were all amazed, and they kept on asking one another, ‘What is this? A new teaching—with authority!”—Mark 1:27

Even though it is annual meeting season, and like many of us, I am busier than a moth in a mitten, I also realized at the end of December that I was absolutely worn out by the stresses and strains of the COVID pandemic. I needed some little thing for me. 

So I promised myself that I would read for pleasure every day for at least 20 minutes. There were plenty of books piled around the house, but many of them were more for my vocation than just for fun or for savoring. So I decided to start reading a book of essays by the poet Mary Oliver entitled Upstream, because I have started writing poetry again—haltingly. Her insights into the creative process are delightful. But within the first thirty pages, I was stopped in my tracks by this sentence:

Attention is the beginning of devotion.

I’ve been turning that small sentence over and over in my head the way your turn a smooth river rock over and over in your hand or in your pocket, tucked away. The more I thought about it, the more the words rang true.

When we were children, the thing we yearned for most was attention from those we admired: our parents, or older cousins or neighbors. When we became the big kids, we noticed little kids wanting the same from us. Hopefully we kindly obliged as much as we had been obliged when we ourselves were small.

Likewise, when we were small, many of us fastened upon often the most ordinary things that completely fascinated us. Chin propped on hands, watching the orderly dotted line of ants moving in and out of an anthill. Searching through the day for a four-leaf clover, and along the way noticing the variations in the edges, tones, and patterns on all the rejected clover-leafs. Watching the industrious uncoiling of the tongues of sulphurs, Monarchs, or blues as they competed with the bees for the clover or drank from the fallen, exploded sandplums under the trees. Learning how to tamp down your natural reaction when a bee landed on you until you could allow one to crawl across your hand with no fear because you know how not to startle it. 

I remember thinking how amazing it was that this bee would have visited this flower, and I would never have known it were I not here to see and notice it right at that moment—and that all around the world, there were millions of bees contemplating millions of clover flower that I would never get to see. I became aware of how many hundreds of bees would visit this patch of clover in my backyard every day, whether I was there to observe them or not, and then later I was given a piece of wild honeycomb by my dad’s mother, who we called One Granny, and saw the bees’ destination as they flew away from me was, and marveled at how they could help create such sweetness from flowers that weren’t particularly pretty or sweet. I learned that bees made honey, but butterflies did not, nor did they make butter.

I learned to start paying attention. And certainly that started me on the path of devotion to creation in to the majority of all its quadrillions of living creatures (not so fond of cockroaches or grubs or water snakes, all of which gave me the heebie-jeebies, to be honest).  But I learned something else: the path to devotion ran straight through a way-station called amazement. I was young, and therefore brave enough to be openly amazed and filled with wonder. I didn’t care if that amazement could be mocked by others as being naïve—I was lucky enough not to even know that some people sought to be above amazement, thinking it made them look knowledgeable and worldly. 

And as I listened to Bible stories read to me by my mother, I began to notice when in the Bible it stated that a character was amazed, such as this Sunday, when we hear still in chapter one of Mark’s gospel how Jesus’s teaching and healing amazed those in the synagogue who witnessed them. 

I like to think of the joy they felt—Mark’s gospel doesn’t have Jesus’s hometown crew them turning on him with a “Just who do you have the nerve to think you are” fury. Instead, the crowds seem genuinely open to the possibility of something new coming from the most unlikely of people. I imagine them going back to their homes and telling the story over and over again to their family, and watching their kindred’s eyes fill with wonder as they themselves open to the possibility of seeing something new. Something they might not have noticed was new had they not been paying attention. 

That attention is the beginning of all Epiphany stories, in fact, and it is steeped in the willingness to surrender to wonder and amazement, no matter how foolish it might seem to indulge in hope in a society that seeks to crush our imaginations and dull our senses. And I imagine that was why some were willing to abandon their shovels and their lathes and their nets, and follow Jesus out into a world that needed to be shaken to attention. To be brought back to amazement. And led to devotion.
The Rev. Leslie Scoopmire is a writer, musician, and a priest in the Diocese of Missouri. She is rector of St. Martin’s Episcopal Church in Ellisville, MO. She posts daily prayers, meditations, and sermons at her blog Abiding In Hope, and collects spiritual writings and images at Poems, Psalms, and Prayers.
IN BRIEF . . .

These news briefs were featured in previous issues of "The Epistle"

Please submit your story ideas to the Epistle Staff at news@allsaintskauai.org.
There is an on-going need for travel sized toiletries and canned goods so these items will be accepted every week. As always, monetary donations are gratefully accepted. Leave them in the red wagon outside the sanctuary.

ZONTA OF KAUAI FOUNDATION CHRISTMAS FUND is accepting donations for Christmas 2020. To donate, click here: Zonta Christmas Donation.

Any of our All Saints' kupuna who need assistance with grocery shopping can contact Carolyn Morinishi at church@allsaintskauai.org to set up a delivery.

If any ministry has an unmet need, reach out to put it in the All Saints' Virtual Swap Meet and it will be published in the Epistle. Contact Bill Caldwell at news@allsaintskauai.org.

Whenever you have a need for support, please call (650) 691-8104 and leave a voice mail. The system will immediately forward the information to the Pastoral Care Committee who will respond to each request. If you prefer, you may send an electronic pastoral care request via email to pastoralcare@allsaintskauai.org.

Individuals who want to participate in the Prayer Chain Ministry must re-enroll to continue receiving the email communications. To re-enroll, please visit the newly established Pastoral Care web page or contact the Church Office at (808) 822-4267.

Prayer requests will now be submitted online or by contacting the Church Office at (808) 822-4267.

Names can be added to the Prayers of the People petitions by using the Prayer Chain Request form or by contacting the Church Office at (808) 822-4267. Names will remain in the Prayers of the People for a maximum of four Sundays before a name must be resubmitted.