Friday, March 25, 2011
Leaving Lincoln heights
Preaching, cooking, housework, food pantry, and running, going to meetings: it’s been a full month in Los Angeles.
The greatest part has been working in the kitchen. I almost never get to work in the kitchen on a daily basis anymore. Simon taught me how to “supreme” an orange. The weekly food delivery from the food pantry the brothers run (and live off of) brought out all my creative impulses. What to do with grits, 20 pounds of them? Beans, beans, beans…
Every afternoon I sat on the verandah to drink a cup of tea. After a few days I recognized the neighbors, and they me. Now we greet each other with a nod or a smile. One tot who goes by with her Grandma every day waves enthusiastically. I sure wish I spoke Spanish; add that to the bucket list.
The Church of the Epiphany has long been a community anchor. Although attendance has declined in the past 10 years or so, it has an amazing past. And with the SSF brothers here, I wager it has a brilliant future. Throughout the Sixties through the Eighties, the Church was “the storied Lincoln heights church that hosted United Farm Workers organizer and former Archbishop of Canterbury Robert Runcie and was a center of Chicano civil rights activism” according to The Episcopal News, the diocese of Los Angeles magazine.
Last Tuesday Br. Tom Carey and I went to a book signing for “Blowout!: Sal Castro and the Chicano Struggle for Educational Justice” by Mario T. Garcia and Sal Castro. It was mesmerizing to listen to Sal tell his stories of how he helped students organize perhaps the largest student demonstration in history, and to hear about how the folks from Epiphany church helped and shared their lives and parish facilities for dances, speeches, teach-ins. I kept thinking about the stories of the Chicano students and their desire for education, for opportunity and respect here in America sound so much like the students in Tripoli, Sana, Cairo and the other cities where we see students speaking out against oppression, fighting for opportunity.
There is still so much to do here in this neighborhood and around the world.
Tonight I fly to New Zealand to spend some time with the brothers there.