My scrapbook from today’s celebration of new ministry for the Rev. Guy Leemhuis, vicar of St. Luke’s of the Mountains Episcopal Church/ San Lucas de las Montañas, a joyous 100-minute service featuring an eight-piece, four-vocalist ecclesiastical show band, a bilingual liturgy, and a worthy complement of Guy’s bishop, deacon, and priest colleagues — plus Guy’s delightful mom, Paige, a retired teacher, whom we just happened to catch between her series of international adventures with friends.
I was along to preach and celebrate and preside as the Holy Spirit did her work of centering Guy in this reconciliation-fixated community for the next season of his ministry. Folks worshiping here two decades ago left, and tried to take this beautiful stone church with them, as The Episcopal Church began to make its position clear that the image of God included all faces, notwithstanding orientation or identification. After the diocese got the church back, a justice-driven cohort came along, too, and soon welcomed Spanish-speaking siblings when a neighboring church closed. Priests-in-charge Antonio Gallardo, Bryan Jones, Jorge Pallares, and Kirby Smith all lent their innovative, reconciling hearts to that work.
A bilingual former community organizer and civil rights activist, an attorney who serves as president of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles Standing Committee, and a leading light in the national and local H. Belfield Hannibal Union of Black Episcopalians, Guy has a bracing vision of unity in diversity. Plus he likes liturgy that rocks the pretty stone church. People walking or driving by of a Sunday hear a big beat for Jesus — and Guy says it’s making St. Luke’s new friends. Alleluia!
Deacons Dominique Nicolette Piper and Margaret Hudley McCauley pitched in to help me with episcopal accoutrement. A festive lunch followed the service, but I had to make my rounds and leave early. Kathy and I were getting set to head to London so I can fulfill my duties as a juror for this year’s Michael Ramsey Prize, to be awarded by Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby Thursday afternoon at Lambeth Palace. I’ll also have the blessing of offering a homily Wednesday evening during Evensong at St. Matthew’s Westminster.
Knowing some of this, my fellow pilgrim Margaret took me aside and offered travel blessings. We’re at the airport now. More anon about our Advent adventure in London. We’re hoping to see Bob and all the assorted little Cratchits. Peace be with you!