Friday, June 29, 2012

The Hours That Point Beyond The Hours: Our Chronos and Kairos News

The Welcome Table missional community, and A Third Place Community Foundation

5920 N. Owasso Ave. and 6005 N. Johnstown Ave., Turley in North Tulsa OK 74126

Hi all,

Here is a link to a TV news clip that ran Wednesday on us and our food justice partnerships and our mobile food van giveaway days to the hungry here. It became part of a broader Food For Kids program by Channel 6. We keep adding people to our pantry program as more and more people find out about us, and our shelves are getting emptier quicker during the month. It is easy for you and others to help us; because of our buying arrangement we can make $20 turn into 100 pounds of meat, for example, or the equivalency in other food; for $100 that becomes 500 pounds of meat. As the money to the food bank has been slashed, we are no longer getting the free food from the USDA through the bank that we used to get and which used to be our staple; now it is what we can raise to buy, and what we grow and giveaway through our community kitchengardenpark and orchard (and we continue to harvest each week for our food pantry even in the tremendous heat of this month). We encourage people to think about sending us the equivalency of one meal out a week or month; you can do so at or sending a check to A Third Place Community Foundation at the Owasso Ave. address above. We are back to putting it all into mission and ending at zero, at best, each month, so we appreciate all the support and the sharing.

Our next Food Van Day is going to be Thursday, Aug. 2 here at Cherokee School, 6001 N. Peoria Ave. across from our community center, with volunteers needed from 10 am to noon; because of the heat we provide water and refreshments but the more volunteers we have we can rotate people in and out of the sun as we load up 60 pounds of food for each household. People in the 74126 74130 74073 zipcodes who need vouchers for the event to receive food need to come to our Pantry open Tuesdays and Fridays mornings from 9:30 am to noon and sign up for them while they last.

Also look for an upcoming Tulsa World article on us that should run soon. I will facebook it and put it on our blogs as soon as it is published.

This week because of the heat emergency in our area we have opened up especially as a cooling station during hours beyond our pantry and clothing room days and hours; it has been good to meet and serve new neighbors moving into the area this summer and be a present when people need a place to come and be cool, and when it can help them save on their electric bills at home so they can save their energy for when it is needed, and their money for their health. Of course, re: above paragraph, mission costs as we turn our building into what it was meant for, a service to others. If you can do a plate offering at your church, or have a small group adopt us as we adopt others in need around us, much appreciated.

This Saturday at 9:30 am, one of our neighborhood partners, Sarah's Residential Living Center, a revolutionary new project in providing intimate and supportive housing for seniors in need of small family setting, is having a clean up day. They are located near McLain High School here at 1370 E. 53rd St. N. I can't think of a better community service project. It is our pleasure to connect people there and elsewhere in our two mile service area (our parish). Prayers also for Elaine McDondle of Sarah's on the mourning for the death of her sister.

This Sunday, come help us welcome the Green Team from All Souls Unitarian Church as they work with us indoors and some outdoors from 2-5 pm, on projects for the gardenpark and orchard and for the community center. We will meet at the Center 5920 N. Owasso Ave. and go from there with those who can do quick jobs at the park itself.

Earlier on Sunday, at 9:30 am we will have centering prayer and morning prayer and study on Mark 5: 21-43 from the lectionary, as we look at God, Freedom, and Healing Community, in light of both the July 4th holiday and the recent Supreme Court ruling upholding the Affordable Health Care Act. Followed by communion, always free and open and inclusive for any who choose to participate in the radical meal of Jesus, and followed by common meal. During the rest of the Sunday mornings in July we will be exploring the practice of "Praying the Hours in ordinary life" based on the book by Lauralee Farrer and Clayton Schmit (two connected with Fuller Theological Seminary by the way; shows how the evangelical, contemplative, catholic, and liberal traditions can find common ground in ancient practice; for more see the commentary below). Our worship and communion will use various sources of chants, silence, and singing. If you would like to participate in planning these, let me know. There is something ecologically apt about this worship focus during summertime here when Nature seems to be saying slow down, slow way down, pay attention. In this vein our missional monastic movie of the month will be Sunday, July 15 at 1 pm. Either Into Great Silence or another similar since some of us have seen Into Great Silence (perhaps Therese, since we saw one on Hildegaard of Bingen this month, or The Island, about a Russian Orthodox monk in simple service seeking forgiveness and healing others, or maybe Merton: A Film Biography; drop me a line if you have recommendations).

Join us late on Wednesday July 4th at dusk at The Welcome Table KitchenGardenPark and Orchard as we watch the fireworks from our vantage point on a hill overlooking North Tulsa and downtown toward the river.

Thursday, July 5 at 3:30 pm, our Grow Turley, future of Turley leadership and planning meeting, here at the Center as we set dates and invitations for the disaster response network leaders in our area, even as we are coming up on the one year anniversary of the wildfires that prompted us to put this on our agenda as a main focus.

Looking ahead, Saturday July 14 second Saturday of the month community pancake breakfast at the Odd Fellows Lodge from 8 to 10 am, and our Third Saturday community dinner from 4-7 pm at the Odd Fellows Lodge; both events help raise funds for community projects. In August we will be raising funds at the dinner for our particular projects.

And join me and a few hundred others at the Southwest UU Summer Institute near Tulsa at Western Hills Lodge from July 22-27; come for as much of it as you can; we will have wonderful theme morning talks on the spiritual life by the Rev. Thomas Schade of First Unitarian Church Worcester, and the sunset talks will be by the Rev. Tony Lorenzen of the Fort Worth area on Spiritual Direction and Missional Living; Bonnie Ashing will be doing a workshop on environmental gardening and the spirit, and there will be many other wonderful workshops and worship services during the day, social events and more at night; one not to miss. Go see more at Oh yes, and Tulsa artist and potter Linda Coward who was recently featured on the cover of the Urban Tulsa Weekly will be the Artist in Residence during the week. I am honored to be the adult program director this year. It will be my 31st or 32nd time at the camp and has been instrumental in my own spiritual journey and meeting friends for life.

The Hours That Point Beyond The Hours:

All of the above are in some ways part of the "chronos" of our lives, the chronology, the to-do list, as important as it is, it can, as Greek mythology reminds us, become a monster that eats us up and eats up our family and those around us. One of the reasons why we follow the liturgical church year, and why we pause to refresh at our weekly or more often gatherings of the spiritual community is to open ourselves up not to chronus, but to the sacred time, the kairos, the God time that can even remind us of how sacred we can experience the chronos moments. Beyond the celebration of the counter-cultural calendar and different time zone of the Spirit that fills us up in ways that the consumer culture's calendar can not despite its promises, each day the "Praying of the Hours" is a way to bring sanity into our lives, silence into our lives, community into our lives even in the midst of the chronological events and movements.

As important as all of the above are to building relationships and renewing community here in the abandoned place of Empire, so too are the ways that the days and the hours can re-orient us beyond our ever-present needs and wants and roots us in the Life that upholds life. This summer we will be moving gradually into more presence of The Hours both in our face to face, in our personal times away from one another and others, and even in the online world; at our site look for liturgies and prayers that will be posted for each of the times we mark off for going inward and outward and upward and around us all at the same time: Vespers for the 6 pm hour, Compline for the 9 pm hour, Vigils for the midnight hour, Lauds for the 3 am hour (and I know many of you find yourself awake during those times, or your lives of work require you to be too), Prime at 6 am, Terce at 9 am, Sext at noontime, and None at 3 pm, that hour the story tells us that Jesus died, both ending and beginning rolled into one god-awful-awe-full time. By adding these to our website that can be accessed anytime during the day, you can be with us wherever you are, or if you are here with us you can join with us for these brief but soul satisfying times. We will create a mirror for the website on Facebook for those who find it easier to go there as well. Pausing during the day or perhaps during the night as circumstances allow or you find yourself, in times of comfort or stress, and connecting through us to many others both here and around the world who participate in doing the same thing is a way that we can create, with God and with others, that alternative society of real freedom, love, union, community, and mission for which we have been given these precious hours in the first place.

As we look closely at the pieces of the day, we are able to take in the pieces of our broken places here all around us, and as we found peace in the pieces so we will better able to share this peace with others sorely in need. As Rainer Marie Rilke writes in The Book of Hours, " from God comes rushing through dark alleys into your heart."

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