The Eucharist this morning honored Hiram Hisanori Kano, a Japanese-American modern saint. As is traditional in Japan, the call to worship was done by the Kenshin Taiko Drummers.
What a welcome to worship!!
The Bishop of Utah, Rt Rev Scott Hayashi was our celebrant with Rev Rebecca Stephens as the preacher. Two weeks ago, I was attending the Daughters of the King Triennial on the mountain top in Midway, UT and Rev. Stephens had addressed us there so I knew we were in for a treat!
The Gospel lesson was on the lost sheep. She shared her story of having been sexually abused by a trusted adult after the loss of her father at a young age. She has turned these painful experiences into ministry for other lost sheep–women who have been “pushed out of the herd by overwhelming issues of injustice in this world.”
She shared the power of healing by love that Magdalene House has had on human trafficking victims in their two-year program. She also shared how The Episcopal Church has taken the lead in housing first to get women off the streets.
Another aspect of her ministry is Thistle Farms that gives these women skills to make their own way and wages. They invest in geranium farms in Africa that gives the women in African villages a way out of poverty after the ravages of war have destroyed their villages and their lives. The products they sell are made with the geranium oils and tea these women grow. She reminded us that “love is the most powerful force of change in our world.” We are called to effect change. Another charge we were given was “heal women, heal a village and leave no one behind.”
We continued our service with the passing of the peace and the consecration of the elements.
Members of the National Altar Guild are responsible daily for setting the altar, providing the loaves of fresh bread and wine for thousands. I have tried to count the baskets of bread and pitchers of wine that are blessed but it is almost impossible – the altar is quite large and is totally covered with all of these. An army of Eucharistic ministers and priests systematically take their designated items from the alter after the consecration to go to the multiple stations around the worship hall. For every basket of bread, there are two chalice bearers and there are 2-3 teams serving a minimum of six stations. Our own Sandy Shockley and Brent Walker have been Eucharistic servers. It is a well-orchestrated event that is quite impressive.
As we concluded our service our postlude was again the Taiko Drums reminding me to listen to the rhythm of the Holy Spirit in my life and do what I can to bring the lost sheep back into the fold.
Lord of the ages, hear my prayer.
Presider – The Rt. Rev. Scott Hayashi, Bishop of Utah
Preacher – The Reverend Becca Stevens, Thistle Farms
Deacon – The Ven. Betsy Bennett
Lector OT – Kevin Smallwood, Episcopal Service Corps
Lector NT – Bernadette Ellorin (Tagalog)
Master of Ceremonies – Margaret McLarty
Thistle farms on Twitter:
@ThistleStopCafe , @SharedTrade, @RevBeccaStevens.