Come in! Come in!

"If you are a dreamer, come in. If you are a dreamer, a wisher, a liar, a Hope-er, a Pray-er, a Magic Bean buyer; if you're a pretender, come sit by my fire. For we have some flax-golden tales to spin. Come in! Come in!" -- Shel Silverstein

Saturday, May 30, 2009

What a time, Lord, what a time!

Dateline: All Saints' Episcopal Church, Hoboken, NJ

Well, we started with a procession up Washington Street, singing, "Will the Circle be Unbroken?" accompanied by bagpipes.

When we got into the church, the organ picked up the tune and the sound of glorious harmony filled the sanctuary.

The retired bishop of Newark, the Rt. Rev'd John Shelby Spong, was the preacher and I've never heard him in better form. We all sat, spellbound, listening to him tell the story of the beginning of The Oasis ministry.

There was laughter and there were tears. It has been quite a time, thanks be to Jesus.

I've reprinted the service below because I want you to get a flavor of what we experienced.

Happy Anniversary to the Diocese of Newark and to The Oasis!

The 20th Anniversary Service of The Oasis

The congregation will gather and the procession will march down Washington Street to the church

The Gathering In Please stand as you are able

Processional Hymn: “Will the Circle Be Unbroken”

1. There are loved ones in the glory,
Whose dear forms you often miss;
When you close your earthly story,
Will you join them in their bliss?


Will the circle be unbroken,
By and by, Lord, by and by?
In a better home awaiting
In the sky, Lord, in the sky?

2. In the joyous days of childhood,
Oft they told of wondrous love,
Pointed to the dying Savior
Now they dwell with Him above.

Repeat Refrain

3. You remember songs of heaven
Which you sang with childish voice,
Do you love the hymns they taught you,
Or are songs of earth your choice

Repeat Refrain

4. You can picture happy gatherings
Round the fireside long ago,
And you think of tearful partings,
When they left you here below:

Repeat Refrain

5. One by one their seats were emptied
One by one they went away;
Here the circle has been broken
Will it be complete one day?

Repeat Refrain

Words of Welcome and Greeting
The Rt. Rev. Mark Beckwith, Tenth Bishop of Newark

Call to Worship

One: Imagine a circle where we are all equal, where each person’s face can be seen, each person’s voice heard and valued; where each person is valued no matter their size, shape, age, color, sexual orientation, gender, race or creed.

Many: Where we are all equal; where each person’s face can be seen, each person’s voice can be heard and valued. Possibility and hope are at the center of the circle.

One: The sacred circle, thousands of years old, speaks to the ears of all people. Step inside the sacred circle. Listen and you will hear the voices of those past, present and yet to come.

Many: Circles create sacred space where the truth is spoken, leadership is shared, decisions are made by consensus, and Spirit moves and shapes our being beyond our expectations.

One: Come into the circle of past, present and future. Come into the circle of prayer and worship. Come into the circle of hope and love, mercy and justice.

Many: Amen!
The Word of God

Hebrew Scripture: Deuteronomy 6:1-9

One: These are the commandments, statues and laws which the Lord your God commanded me to teach you to observe in the land into which you are passing to occupy it, a land overflowing with milk and honey, so that you may fear the Lord your God and keep all God’s statues and commandments which I am giving you, both you, your children and your descendants all your lives; and so that you may live long.

If you listen, O Israel, and are careful to observe them, you will prosper and increase greatly as the Lord the God of your ancestors promised you. Hear, O Israel, the Lord is our God, one Lord, and you must love the Lord with all your heart and soul and strength.

These commandments which I give you this day are to be kept in your heart; you shall repeat them to your children, and speak of them indoors and out of doors, when you lie down and when you rise. Bind them as a sign on the hand and wear them as a phylactery on the forehead; write them up on the doorposts of your houses and on your gates.

Hear what the spirit is saying to God’s people.

Many: Thanks be to God.
Psalm 36:5-10

One: Your love, Adonai, reaches to the heavens, and your faithfulness to the clouds

Many: Your righteousness is the strong mountain,
your justice like the great deep; you save both human and beast.

One: How priceless is your love, O God!
Your people take refuge under the shadow of your wings.

Many: They feast upon the abundance of your house;
you give them drink fro the river of your delights.

One: For with you is the well of light, and in your light, we see light.

Many: Continue your loving kindness to those who know you,
and your favor to those who are true of heart.

Contemporary Lesson

An excerpt from a sermon by The Rev. David Norgard, preached after the LGBT March on Washington, October 11, 1987

One: “Even as Anglicans, we can no longer continue the way we have been going. Our sacred tradition calls us to love mercy and do justice, and walk humbly with our God. So to the degree we truly believe that justice is not ancillary to the Christian life but central to it, we can no longer stand back or keep quiet.

Rather we must “put away all malice and all guile and insincerity and envy and slander.” We must put them away because we are all needed to declare the wonderful Good News that God has called the whole world out of darkness into (God’s) marvelous light. We must put them away because we need the witness of every lesbian woman and gay man,( every bisexual and transgender person), and every straight soul having the courage to call us friend.

The time has come, my friends, to remind our brothers and sister in the faith that in (God’s) house there are many dwelling places but one people under God. The time has come when we must lead the way to that place where every life is respected because these days, my friends, “killing time is killing people.” The time has come when we must live by the truth that we are all of one blood – before any more blood is shed. The time has come. Thank God, the time has come.

Hear what the spirit is saying to God’s people.

Many: Thanks be to God.

The Gradual Hymn: Come Down O Love Divine

Please stand as you are able

The Gospel: Mark 12: 28 – 31
Deacon: The Holy Gospel of our Savior Jesus Christ according to Mark

Many: Glory to you, Lord Christ.

Deacon: And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the first of all?” Jesus answered, “The first is, ‘Hear O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your understanding, and with all your strength.’ The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these. “

The Gospel of the Lord

Many: Praise to you, Lord Christ
The Sermon

The Rt. Rev. John Shelby Spong, Eighth Bishop of Newark (Retired)

New Zealand Creedal Statement
Please stand as able

Many: You, O God, are supreme and holy. You created our world and give us life.
Your purpose overarches everything that we do.
You have always been with us. You are God.

You, O God, are infinitely generous, good beyond all measure.
You came to us before we came to you.
You have revealed and proved your love for us in Jesus Christ,
who lived and died and rose again.
You are with us now. You are God.

You, O God, are Holy Spirit. You empower us to be your gospel in all the world.
You reconcile and heal; you overcome death.
You are our God. We worship you.

The Prayers of the People: A Litany for the Healing of Homophobia
Copyright © 2009 by the Rev. Joseph A. Harmon

Presider: Sometimes it is too easy for us to forget the oppression that we create when we fail to recognize those who may be different from us as our sisters and brothers. Today, let us pray that each of us individually, our church, our community and our world, may be healed of homophobia's oppression so that Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender people may live with dignity and respect, in safety and wholeness. May we remember and not forget God's call to reconciliation.

One: O God, when we pray, help us to remember. Help us to remember those we would rather not remember, those we would rather not see, those we would rather not love, and those we would rather not accept.

Many: Help us to remember, O God.

One: That you created us in your image and that all that you created is good.

Many: Help us to remember, O God.

One: That you call us to be sisters and brothers of Christ and of one another.

Many: Help us to remember, O God.

One: That we have not readily welcomed all our sisters and brothers, especially those who are Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender.

Many: Help us to remember, O God.

One: When we hear our Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender sisters and brothers called foul names that we should speak up to stop such abuse.

Many: Help us to remember, O God.

One: When we hear of people brutalized and murdered because others perceive them to be Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual or Transgender that they are children of God, worthy of dignity and respect.

Many: Help us to remember, O God.

One: That there are still countries around the globe where Gay and Lesbian people receive the death penalty just for being Gay and Lesbian.

Many: Help us to remember, O God.

One: That millions of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender people are still closeted within faith communities that do not treat them with value, respect and acceptance.

Many: Help us to remember, O God.

One: That every year, Lesbian and Gay-friendly churches are still targets of vandalism and hate crimes based on homophobia.

Many: Help us to remember, O God.

One: That homophobia contributes to higher rates of suicide in Lesbian and Gay teens, higher rates of Lesbian and Gay homelessness, lower wages for Lesbians, and employment and housing difficulties for Lesbian and Gay people.

Many: Help us to remember, O God.

One: That homophobia distorts the spiritual message of God's love for all people.

Many: Help us to remember, O God.

One: That we can do something to end homophobia by opening our hearts and minds to see Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender people as our sisters and brothers.

Many: Help us to remember, O God.

One: That we can participate in healing our homes, our neighborhoods, our communities and churches of homophobia by creating a space where Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender people may find safety, respect and acceptance.

Many: Help us to remember, O God.

One: And now, aloud or silently in our hearts, let us name our own needs and concerns and those needs and concerns, those individuals and groups, who have asked our prayers

The congregation is encouraged to speak their prayers and intentions at this time

Presider: Gracious and loving God, who hates nothing that you create and desires that all should come to know your love: help us to remember the things that we have heard this day, the things that your Holy Spirit teaches us, and those things that we know to be right and just. Make us ambassadors of your reconciling goodness as we work to heal the oppression of homophobia and the scars it has inflicted upon so many individuals and families, institutions and communities. Empower us to reach out in love to all people, including our sisters and brothers that are Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender people. We ask this through Jesus the Christ, who himself was despised and rejected and by whose wounds we are healed.

Many: AMEN.


Welcome: The Rev. Geoffrey B. Curtiss, Rector of All Saints’, Hoboken
Please be seated


Today’s offering will be given to The Oasis endowment fund.

Presentation of the EGG (Excellence, Generosity and Gratitude) Awards

The Holy Eucharist

Offertory Prayer:

Bishop: God, give us grace to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed, courage to change the things that should be changed, and the wisdom to distinguish one from the other.

Many: Amen

Bishop: Let us present with joy our offerings of commitment and support for the work of Christ’s church.

Many: Let us prepare Christ’s table with the offerings of our life and labor

Offertory Anthem

All Saints Choir “Too Often, God, Your Name is Used”
Thomas Troeger K. Lee Scott

Commissioned by All Saints Episcopal Parish, Hoboken, New Jersey in celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Rev. Geoffrey B. Curtiss as Rector (March 5, 2005)

Too often, God, your name is used to sanction hate and fear
so love and justice are refused to people you hold dear.

O never let us use your name to harm or hurt or kill
or consecrate a vicious aim as your almighty will.

But move through us in deeds that spell your name as Love and Light,
for faithful actions far excel beliefs that we recite.

Let naming you through how we live become our public creed:
the clearest witness we can give is meeting human need.

And keep us ready to receive the good those others do
that helps expand what we believe and why we trust in you.

For where deep love and justice meet we see anew
your face and for a moment glimpse complete the world transformed by grace.

That vision opens wide the church to look beyond its walls,
to honor all who ask and search for where your Spirit calls.

Their questions and their wondering help us more fully claim
our mission as an offering that glorifies your name.

Presentation Hymn: "All Are Welcome"
Verses 1, 3 and 5

The Eucharistic Prayer
Please stand as able

Bishop: The Spirit of God be with you

Many: And also with you

Bishop: Lift your hearts to heaven

Many: Where Christ in glory reigns

Bishop: Let us give thanks to God

Many: It is right to offer thanks and praise

Bishop: It is right indeed to give you thanks most loving God, through Jesus our Christ and our Redeemer,

Many: With us always, one of us, yet from the heart of God.

Bishop: For with your whole created universe, we praise you for your unfailing gift of life.

Many: God’s love is shown to us: while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

Bishop: In that love, dear God, righteous and strong to save, you came among us in Jesus our Christ, our crucified and living Lord.

Many: You make all things new.

Bishop: You pour out your Spirit on all. You empower us to know your truth and fearlessly to proclaim your gospel among the nations. Your love fires our hearts; and in your Spirit we hunger and thirst for justice in the world.

Many: Now is the acceptable time, now is the day of salvation.

Bishop: Therefore with saints and martyrs, apostles and prophets, With all the redeemed, joyfully we praise you and say,

Many: Holy, holy, holy! God of mercy, giver of life; earth and sea and sky and all that lives declare your presence and glory. Hosanna in the highest! Blessed† is the One who comes in the Name of our God! Hosanna in the highest!

Bishop: Accept our praises, living God, for Jesus our Christ, the one perfect offering for the world, who in the night that he had supper with his friends, took bread, gave thanks, broke it, gave it to his disciples and said:

Many: Take, eat, this is my body which is given for you; do this to remember me.

Bishop: After supper he took the cup; and when he had given thanks, He gave it to them and said:

Many: Drink this, all of you. This is my blood of the new covenant which is shed for you, and for many, to forgive sin; do this to remember me.

Bishop: Empower our celebration with your Holy Spirit, breathe on these bodily gifts that they may be for us the Body and Blood of Jesus, our Christ.

Many: Feed us with your life, fire us with your love, confront us with your justice, and make us one in the body of Christ with all who share your gifts of love.

Bishop: Therefore, God of all creation, in the suffering and death of Jesus, our redeemer, we meet you in glory.

Many: Amen! Come, Lord Jesus.

Bishop: Here and now, with this bread and cup, we celebrate your great acts of liberation, ever present and living in Jesus Christ, crucified and risen, who was and is and is to come.

Many: Amen! Come, Lord Jesus.

Bishop: Through Christ, in the power of the Holy Spirit, with all who stand before you in earth and heaven we worship you, Creator God, now and forever

Many: Amen! Come, Lord Jesus.
The Lord’s Prayer

Bishop: In the spirit of the teaching of Jesus, we are bold to say

Many: Abba, Our Mother, Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy dominion come, thy will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For dominion, power and glory be unto you, now and forever. Amen.
The Fraction

Bishop: The bread we break and the cup we take is a sharing in the body and blood of Christ

Many: May we who share these gifts be found in Christ and Christ in us.

An Invitation to Communion

Bishop: May you love God so much that you love nothing else too much;
May you fear God enough that you need fear nothing else at all.
Come, all you who hunger and thirst for the living God.
Come to the table to eat and drink.

Please note that in the spirit of full inclusion we offer wine in the silver chalices and juice in the pottery chalices.

Communion Hymns

“Just As I Am”

“Taste and See”

“One Bread, One Body”

Closing Prayer
Please stand as able

Many: God of Abundance, you have fed us with the bread of life and cup of salvation; You have united us with Christ and one another; and you have made us one with all your people in heaven and on earth.

Now send us forth in the power of your Spirit that we may proclaim your redeeming love to the world and continue for ever in the risen life of Christ our Savior. Amen

Bishop's blessing


Procession into the World


Leadership in the Service

Presider: The Rt. Rev. Mark Beckwith, Tenth Bishop of Newark
Preacher: The Rt. Rev. John Shelby Spong, Eighth Bishop of Newark (Retired)
Rector: The Rev. Geoffrey B. Curtiss
Organist: Mr. Joshua Mauldin, Music Director – All Saints, Hoboken

Lectors: Hebrew Scripture: Mr. Peter Madison
Psalm: Mr. Christian Paolino
Contemporary Lesson: Dr. Tim Mundy
Prayers of The People: The Rev. Karen Rezach & Dr. Louie Crew

Deacon: The Rev. Deacon Erik Soldwedel

Thurifer:Mr. John Simonelli
Crucifer: Ms. Stephanie Battaglino

Bishop’s Chaplains: Arianna Matos and John Laubach
Acolytes: Members of All Saints, Hoboken
Ushers: Jessica Seaton and Linda Swartz

Planning Committee:
Ms. Lyn Headley-Deavours
The Rev. Dr. Elizabeth Kaeton
Mr. Christian Paolino
Mr. Peter Madison
Mr. John Simonelli

Presenters of EGG Awards: Mr. John Simonelli, Ms. Lyn Headley-Deavours, The Rev. Dr. Elizabeth Kaeton

Reception: Bella Luna Caterers

The Oasis Commission

The Rev. Karen Rezach
Mr. Peter Madison
Dr. Thomas (Tim) Mundy
Mr. Christian Paolino
Ms. Stephanie Battaglino
Mr. John Simonelli, Chair

Special Thanks

The Oasis wishes to thank The Rev. Geoff Curtiss and the people of All Saints’, Hoboken, for providing us with a safe harbor and welcoming home in 1989.

We also wish to thank those members of the original Oasis board:

• (now) The Rev. Dr. Cynthia Black
• The Rev. Norman Mol
• (now) The Rev. Dr. Jill McNish
• Mr. Ulysses Grant Dietz
• (now) The Rt. Rev. Jack McKelvey
• Ms. Marge Christie
• The Rev. F. Sanford Cutler
• (now) The Rev. Susan Butler
• (now) Ms. Lyn Headley-Deavours
• Mr. William H. Lorentz
• (now) The Rev. Dr. Katherine Hancock Ragsdale
• Mr. Rudy Knolker
• The Rev. Elizabeth Maxwell

We wish to recognize all those who have served in leadership positions over the past 20 years:

• The Rev. Robert Williams (deceased) – Missioner
• The Rev. David Norgard – Missioner
• (now) The Rev. Eric Nefstead – Acting Executive Director
• The Rev. Brian Harker McHugh – Missioner
• Ms. Susan Robinson – Administrative Interim
• (now) The Rev. Dr. Elizabeth Kaeton – Canon Missioner
• The Rev. Rose Hassan – Interim Missioner
• Canon Carter Echols – Administrative Interim
• Ms. Lyn Headley-Deavours – Justice Missioner
• Mr. John Simonelli – Commission Chair

Sponsoring Congregations
We wish to thank our sponsoring congregations:

• Christ Church, Belleville
• St. Mary's, Belvidere
• Christ Church, Bloomfield/Glen Ridge
• St. John's, Boonton
• St. Paul's, Chatham
• Church of the Messiah, Chester
• St. Peter's, Clifton
• Church of The Saviour, Denville
• St. Paul's, Englewood
• Church of the Good Shepherd, Fort Lee
• All Saints, Glen Rock
• Christ Church, Hackensack
• St. James', Hackettstown
• St. Andrew's, Harrington Park
• St. John the Divine, Hasbrouck Heights
• St. Luke's, Haworth
• St. Clement's, Hawthorne
• All Saints, Hoboken
• Grace Church Van Vorst, Jersey City
• St. Paul's, Jersey City
• Trinity, Kearny
• St. David's, Kinnelon
• All Saints, Leonia
• St. Andrew's, Lincoln Park
• Grace Church, Madison
• St. George's, Maplewood
• St. Mark's, Mendham
• St. Stephen's, Millburn
• St. John's, Montclair
• St. Luke's, Montclair
• St. Paul's, Montvale
• St. Paul's, Morris Plains
• Church of the Redeemer, Morristown
• St. Peter's, Morristown
• St. Peter's, Mt. Arlington
• Trinity and St. Philip's Cathedral, Newark
• Grace Church, Newark
• Church of the Holy Communion, Norwood
• Grace Church, Nutley
• St. Alban's Church, Oakland
• St. Gregory's, Parsippany
• St. John's, Passaic
• St. Paul's, Paterson
• Christ Church, Pompton Lakes
• St. John's, Ramsey
• Christ Church, Ridgewood
• St. Mary's, Sparta
• Calvary Church, Summit
• St. Mark's, Teaneck
• Church of the Atonement, Tenafly
• Church of the Transfiguration, Towaco
• St. John's, Union City
• St. James's, Upper Montclair
• Holy Spirit, Verona
• Church of the Good Shepherd, Wantage

And lastly, we wish to thank the present members of the Oasis Commission, and to thank the many men and women – both lay and ordained – who have served on the Board and Commission from 1989 to the present. Without your dedication and wise counsel the Oasis ministry would not have been possible.


FranIAm said...

Wow - amazing and beautiful and magnificent and very filled with the Spirit of Pentecost. Thanks for sharing this Very Reverend Dr. Elizabeth!!!

David |Dah • veed| said...

¡WOW! These holy words fill me with thanksgiving and my eyes with so many tears it is impossible to read!

I hold Bishop Spong in such fond affection. I sat at his feet during a summer class at VST in the epicenter of Anglican blessings for same sex relationships, Dio New Westminster, when Bishop Michael Ingham was the Dean of the Cathedral. I also heard Bishop Spong debate English conservative, John Stott that summer in the Cathedral. Love unmercifully shredded hate that evening!

+Spong made Christianity relevant for me again.

Grandmère Mimi said...

Elizabeth, it sounds lovely. I'm late to the justice party for LGTB folks, but better late than never.

One day, we shall be able to say of all our brothers and sisters:

"Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"

it's margaret said...

Elizabeth, I copied this. Do I need permission to morph/use it? Whom do I ask?


Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Hi, Margaret. The liturgy was put together by John Simonelli, Chair of The Oasis, and me.

All good liturgy is pilfered. ;~)

The Opening Words are from an old calendar I had in my files that was once produced by The Women's Desk at 815. We liked them so much - and they fit with the theme "Will the circle be unbroken" - that we put them into a litany.

So use, morph, pilfer away, my love.

Bill said...

I was there and can't begin to tell you how hypnotized I was by the sermon delivered by Bishop Spong. I’m told it was a fairly long speech but I never noticed the time go by. I only hope that someone has a transcript and you can get to read his words. It won’t be the same as hearing him speak in person, but worthwhile none the less.