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

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Anointed for the work of justice


This afternoon at 4:30, I will join hundreds of other Episcopalians here at Convention as well as other religious leaders from the area in supporting the Prayer Vigil and March organized by the group "Disney Be Faithful," representing 2150 employees of the three Disneyland Hotels: Paradise Pier, Grand Californian and Disneyland Hotel.

These workers clean the rooms, cook and serve the food, wash the dishes, and carry the luggage.

Disney wants to take away from its employees union family health insurance. They also want to take away full-time jobs, forcing many into positions with no health insurance at all, no vacation and less than full rights.

Disney's net income in the first half of the Fiscal Year 2009 was nearly $1.46 billion. In Fiscal Year 2008, Disney CEO Robert Iger made $30.6 million.

When I signed up to march last Monday, I was approached by one of the organizers with a request I agreed to but I'm still processing.

"Mother," he said (as I winced), "would you stay with us at the end of the march? We're asking some of the clergy to anoint the workers, and it would be wonderful to have you with us."

I was initially taken aback. 'Anoint' he said. What did he mean, really? Did he mean anoint with holy oils or just extend a hand in blessing?

I wanted to make certain I had a correct translation from his Hispanic, Roman Catholic culture to my progressive Western European, Anglo-Catholic understanding.

So, I asked.

"While we are marching," he said softly, "some of the people from Disney will be standing along the sidelines, filming us as we pass by. They will use that film as evidence to get us fired or to have our positions eliminated or downsized."

"You may not be aware, Mother," he said politely, "that for the workers, this Prayer Vigil and March is a big risk. We need to be anointed for the work of justice, after this event, so that we will find the strength to go back to our jobs. Just a little sign from God that He will continue to be with us after the support of this event."

"We know you have probably not brought your oils with you to this place, so we will have some for you. Will you help us? It would mean so much to some of us for a woman to anoint us for the work of justice."

"Anointed for justice."

I continue to find myself deeply moved by that request. There is something that strikes a cord of authenticity with the core values of what the church professes to be, but often is not.

I ask you, wherever you are, to pray with me and for me, that I may be a worthy vehicle of an anointing of God's healing and enabling power upon these workers.

Pray that we may catch a glimmer of God's justice promised of the Realm of God for these workers and their families.

14 comments:

Elaine C. said...

praying

Grandmère Mimi said...

Elizabeth, how lovely of you to say "yes" to the Disney Be Faithful group for the anointing for justice. I will stand in prayer with you and the workers during the Prayer Vigil and March.

May God bless and protect you all in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

David said...

Elizabeth
may today's initiative be a sign of us moving into what dear Gene called ' the Church God is calling us to be.' D025 behind us, Mission ahead!

that a Prayer Vigil could be consiered a personal risk is a reflection of just how bad the Disney experience could be for many inside the Magic Kingdom.

that priests of our Church will be there on the line with them, and responding to their request for anointing is..... so powerful.

i'll be sitting in prayer, in solidarity with you, here in Montreal

David@Montreal

David |Dah • veed| said...

Forgive me Reverenda Lizabet. I did not know that you were uncomfortable with the title Mother/Madre. It is such an engrained part of our culture to say Father/Padre, that it is easy for we Anglicans to also say Mother, and it seems also Romans, for the deep respect we feel for someone called to and anointed with the priesthood by God.

Dios Todopoderoso protect you and guide you today as you bless these people in their struggle for justice for themselves and their families and and for their co-workers, especially those afraid to stand for themselves.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

No apology necessary, Dah-veed. What I am called changes from the places I serve. I was called "Mother" when I served an inner city parish where there was a very large immigrant population from South America. I am called "Revered Elizabeth" by the children of the parish I now serve, and occasionally, "Dr. Kaeton" by their parents.

I love being called "Madre" by you. It is a very high compliment. Thanks you, my darling. Gracias.

whiteycat4104 said...

Elizabeth, consider me there with you in spirit. Prayers go with you!

I am glad that you agreed to do this. That Holy Spirit ... She is quite a woman!

Karen said...

I am moved to tears by the truth I hear in this posting...there is more of the essence of the Gospel contained in this request and your response than I have heard in the church in quite a long time.

Prayers ascending for you all, now & in all the days to come.

Muthah+ said...

Madre, Mi'ja
Vaya con la gracia de justicia del Senor por la gente de Disneylandia.

Walk beyond BO33/D024! Be there with the folks. Walt would roll over in his icy grave!

memcats said...

What a wonderful experience that will be and how humbling to think that people are willing to stand up and be counted when their very jobs are on the line. Hopefully this march will receive enough positive feedback so that Disney will not use it against those brave souls! Please give us a full report on how it goes!

JayV said...

I'll be praying, too.

I found this link/info about the Disney Be Faithful action today:

http://www.disneyisunfaithful.org/

joie said...

You are there now and I am holding you and especially the workers in prayer. I also pray that the many families who enjoy Disneyland throughout the year will come to know of the corporations treatment of its employees and hold Disney accountable.

Bill said...

Why is anybody surprised by anything Disney does. They have a reputation that goes back decades. They have always treated their contributing artists like dirt. Back in the 60's Peggy Lee had to take them to court over the rights to the title song from Lady and the Tramp. This has been repeated over and over through the years. Their legal staff is always in the courts trying to screw someone. The fact that they are taking advantage of a largely minority working staff is not new.

Paul said...

Elizabeth, I read this during a slow moment at work today and was moved. I told my coworkers about it and got all soppy in the telling. My prayers were with you all today.

Having been blessed to minister among Latino communities I can imagine the courage, passion for justice, and deep faith that would allow them to do this AND ask for anointing for the work of justice.

We need more oil in our ministries, people, we really do!

Göran Koch-Swahne said...

The Way to go!