Pancakes and Parades!

We’ve got some exciting things coming up.

SOCIAL

Shrove Tuesday!

Feb 12 6pm

Join us at the church for jazz, jambalaya and Jesters.  A Shrove Tuesday / Mardi Gras Festival for the whole church!

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Chine New Year Parade

Feb 16 12pm

Join us in heading down to China town to have some street food and watch the parade.  Parade is at 1pm.

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HomeGirl Cafe

Feb 23 11am

We’re getting together for brunch at HomeGirl Cafe downtown.  Join us!

SPIRITUAL

Book Group

Feb 26 8pm

We’re reading the first four chapters of The Meaning of Jesus Two Visions.  By Marcus J Borg and NT Wright.

Join us for an engaging conversation about the book and issues of today.

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SERVICE

Monday Meals

We’re still going strong with the Monday Meal.  Join a bunch of us as we serve the less fortunate in our midst.

Every Monday at 1:30pm

Gay and Lesbian Center

We partnering with the center to provide outreach opportunities for our group.

There’s clothes sorting this week, 5:30-9:00 the 11th, 12th, and 13th

We are also setting up a monthly birthday party event like we used to do at MFP.

Stay tuned for more details.

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Reverse Black Friday

From my friend Joel, leader of the 20s30s at Hollywood Presbyterian Church.  We partner with their 20s30s group on lots of activities and this is one that we are especially excited about. Check out his message to group about reverse black friday and a screening of What Would Jesus Buy?

As we approach Thanksgiving this week, and by extension the Advent and Christmas season, we will be confronted by a cultural phenomenon that has come to be known as “Black Friday.” We all know what Black Friday is: that day after Thanksgiving when all of the stores advertise huge sales and open their doors at the crack of dawn to massive crowds who will fight (in some cases physically) their way through the stores looking for the best deals.

 

Black Friday has been the biggest shopping day of the year for the past 10 years, except 2004, when it was topped only by the Saturday before Christmas. The amount of money people spend on Black Friday is unbelievable. In 2009, 2010, and 2011, despite the worst recession since the Great Depression, record-high unemployment, and record-high household debt, both the number of shoppers and the average each of them spent increased. In 2011, approximately 226 million people spent an average of $398.62 EACH, for a grand total of $52.5 billion spent! That means that the day after we’re supposed to give thanks for all that we have, over 2/3 of the people in this country made the statement that they didn’t have enough.

 

What sort of effect is this having on us as Christians and as a culture? And why even bring this up?

 

I would like to extend my Reverse Black Friday challenge to all of you.

 

I’m sure that most of you have heard of Buy Nothing Day, a response to Black Friday calling on people to not shop on that day. But the problem with Buy Nothing Day is that it focuses only on consumer behavior (which is indeed out of control) and doesn’t offer any chance for spiritual growth and reflection; ultimately it is a call to inaction.

 

Reverse Black Friday takes that idea and makes it a call to action. Not only does it involve not shopping on Black Friday, it involves getting rid of things by giving them away. Instead of going out on Black Friday and buying more stuff, use your day off to stay at home and clean out all of your stuff. End the day by donating everything you need to get rid of to Goodwill, Salvation Army, or some other charity, church, or non-profit. Use the time to reflect on all of the blessings that God has given you over the past year, and to be thankful.

 

The first reading for November 23 from the GROW Journal that we’ve been doing as a church is Galatians 5:13-26, which seems especially apropos for Black Friday. Here are the first few verses of that from The Message:

 

“It is absolutely clear that God has called you to a free life. Just make sure that you don’t use this freedom as an excuse to do whatever you want to do and destroy your freedom. Rather, use your freedom to serve one another in love; that’s how freedom grows. For everything we know about God’s Word is summed up in a single sentence: Love others as you love yourself. That’s an act of true freedom. If you bite and ravage each other, watch out—in no time at all you will be annihilating each other, and where will your precious freedom be then?

 

My counsel is this: Live freely, animated and motivated by God’s Spirit. Then you won’t feed the compulsions of selfishness. For there is a root of sinful self-interest in us that is at odds with a free spirit, just as the free spirit is incompatible with selfishness. These two ways of life are antithetical, so that you cannot live at times one way and at times another way according to how you feel on any given day. Why don’t you choose to be led by the Spirit and so escape the erratic compulsions of a law-dominated existence?”

 

Having done Reverse Black Friday both last year and this year (I had to do it this past weekend, as I’m out of town on Black Friday proper), it’s hard. It’s hard to overcome those “compulsions of selfishness” that Paul talks about, hard get up the motivation to do the cleaning, and hard to avoid the deals that will be offered to us on Black Friday. It’s amazing and baffling to me that I try to convince myself that I still need some trinket-god (to steal my favorite term that The Message uses a little later in that same passage) that I haven’t used or even seen in years. If ever there were a clear sign that we are too greedy and beholden to our stuff, it’s that.

 

But it’s been great both times, and I would encourage every one of you to do it this year. It’s a very freeing experience to be rid of things that you don’t need, and it’s a good and necessary spiritual exercise to put us in the right frame of mind as we approach the Christmas and Advent season. As any of you who have been here for the past 2 Christmases know, Pastor Dan constantly talks about taking back that season from the greed and over-commercialization that have come to characterize it, and helping us focus first on waiting for, and then celebrating the birth of our Savior. I can’t think of a better way to do that than to get rid of all of our excess stuff (and avoid accumulating more), freeing us, as Paul suggests, and allowing us to choose to be “led by the Spirit.”

 

In the spirit of Reverse Black Friday and in preparation for Advent, I would also like to invite you all to join us this Sunday, November 25 to watch the movie What Would Jesus Buy?

 

The movie is a documentary that follows Reverend Billy and the Church of Stop Shopping Gospel Choir as they travel across the US in the weeks leading up to Christmas. Admittedly, it is a little silly at times, but it is a great way to put some of this in perspective and help us think about what this season means, and what our place is in the culture as Christians, not consumers. Here’s a link to the trailer for the movie: http://youtu.be/sGi21YQFjMM

 

We will be meeting in The Cellar on Sunday at 5pm to watch the movie. We’ll have coffee and hot chocolate, so feel free to bring some snacks along. Afterwards, we can all go get something to eat together as we discuss the movie.

 

Hope to see you all there, and Happy Thanksgiving!

You Too Can Help with Monday Homeless Lunch. (Even if you can’t be there on Mondays)

As you know our church serves lunch to the homeless every Monday.  Each week we open our doors and serve around 150 guests a good meal.  It’s a very powerful time.  I have been involved with the program for two years now.  If you are available on Mondays I highly recommend it to you as a service opportunity and a great opportunity to get know fellow community service oriented members at our church.

Our volunteer crew is a good mix of retirees, actors and artists you have a more flexible schedule, 20s30s with a flexible schedule and teens who have the summer off.

If you can’t make it on Monday, you can still be involved!  Here are some ways.

Books/Magazines: We give out reading material to our guests.  Being poor, one has a lot of time but not a lot of money to spend on luxury items like magazines. Reading keeps them sharp and out of trouble. It also helps them feel connected to society. So bring in your old magazines and old books and donate them.

Hygiene Products: We also provide hygiene products to our guests. If you have left over supplies (or if you travel and want to take hotel soaps home with you to give to the less fortunate),  bring them in!

 

 

Veggie Pick up: A large portion of our food supply is donated by farmers at our local Beverly Hills Farmer’s Market. Each week someone from All Saints makes the rounds and picks up donations from our generous farmers.  Why not volunteer? It’s a great way to meet the farmers and experience the market. You can do it with a friend.

Veggie Prep: Sunday at 1:30, when all the vegetables come in, we need to sort and chop them.  I did this for a year it was a great way to learn a lot about vegetables and how to prep them for cooking.  If you think you want a cooking class, why not just come to this?  It’s perfect timing to go out to lunch after church then come back and volunteer at 1:30

Eat Pizza: One day the owner of Villa Blanca, a restaurant 3 blocks south on Camden, came by wanting to know what all the homeless were doing outside on the corner.  We invited him in and showed him our humble operation.  He left ( we were expecting an angry letter) instead he returned with 15 pizzas.  He’s been donating pizzas every week ever since.  Why not give him your fine dining business as a thank you?

Bring in Clothes: Our guests make requests for clothes and we try to accommodate that.  If you can donate clothes, that’d be great! If we have more than enough we’ll just pay it forward to another charitable organization.

 

 

Buy Notecards: One of our volunteers, Lisa who does the clothes, is an artist.  She used her time, between helping guests get clothes, to draw them.  First, this was amazing. To the marginalized and forgotten members of our society who are so often ignored and overlooked, to receive this level attention is really transformative, dignifying.  We held an art show of these drawings.  The money going the ministry, and yes the subjects weren’t invited to the showing as well.  One of guests, Oscar, saw we were selling the drawing of him for $200 and wanted the money for himself.  Christian explained to him that the money went to the ministry–to pay for lunch for everyone.  Oscar asked “so I bought lunch for everyone today?”  beaming with pride.  He couldn’t have been happier if you had given him the money cash in hand.  Now these drawing are available to purchase reproduced as notecards. Buy them in the parish bookstore and feel Oscar’s pride.

For more information on any of these services we provide, ask Josh!

Thanks guys!

Josh

My Friends Place Next Week

A week from today is the next Pizza Party at My Friends Place.

Come out of your shell and help put on a birthday party for the teens and young adults who regular the hollywood drop in center.

It’s a great way to get exposed to the needs of our city and to develop relationships with fellow church goers at All Saints.

Hope to see you there!

Friday April 27th  12:30-2:30

Cook Breakfast for PATH Families

Hello, hello! Instead of doing our typical brunch this season (we are now doing Sunday brunches every few months), we are going to cook breakfast for homeless families.  Who’s with me???  I’m so glad…I’m a terrible cook 🙂 We are doing breakfast on February 26th, so y…ou can still watch the Oscar Awards that night and still go to church in the late morning.   Jonathan Roberts and Nate Hicks are getting the food/menu together and all we have to do is show up with smiling face, help set up, feed some lovely people we otherwise would probably not meet, and share a bit of love and lots of compassion. The meal will cost approximately $200, so we not only need volunteers, we need to contribute $10 from each person.  If you want to contribute but can’t volunteer, that is totally cool. If you can’t contribute and would love to volunteer, we are happy to have you. Who’s game?  Please RSVP.  More details to come!
-Jocelyn

PATH Dinner

Last year, Jessica Wishan from PATH came to talk a little about the service opportunities at their organization.  One of their programs that looked particularly exciting was PathCooks!   It’s a program where one group takes over one meal for the day.  We would cook and serve at one of the PATH locations.

We’re trying to set one up for February and will keep you posted.

-Jocelyn

Pizza Party for Homeless Kids

Last night’s pizza party at My Friend’s Place was a great success!

Thanks to Mike and Joey for once again doing the brunt of the work during the week, collecting, prepping and hauling all the equipment that makes this event possible.

Also Thanks to our great volunteers: regulars Claire and Brenda and our newbies Alla and Katie.

What did we do?

Each month All Saints donates money to buy pizza, cake, ice cream, and candy to host a birthday party for the homeless teens at My Friends Place

The 20s/30s group has been invited to be a part of this great ministry.  It’s a fun night of service and connecting not only with the teens we serve, but the staff and volunteers are all also 20s/30s.  After, we all go out for Thai next door at Thai Palm.

Hope to see you there next time!

-Josh