My scrapbook from Thursday evening’s gala friends dinner at St. John’s Cathedral in Los Angeles hosted by The Guibord Center – Religion Inside Out, an interfaith organization founded by the late Rev. Dr. Gwynne Guibord and now captained by her partner in life and ministry, Dr. Lo Sprague.
As always, Lo made 200 of us feel like we were in her living room. The Guibord Center’s work is rooted in relationship as an antidote to misapprehension and doctrinal certitude as well as a catalyst for unleashing a transformative and unifying spirituality.
We tucked into our delicious vegan meal feeling well blessed indeed. A Jew and Muslim, Andrea Hodos and Aziza Hasan, longtime friends and colleagues, their arms entwined, shared a timely prayer. Sam BearPaw, a White Mountain Apache, and Larry Horse, a Lakota Sioux, chanted and drummed a blessing of the four directions. The Rev. Lester V. Mackenzie drummed for our coming together. The St. John’s interim dean and priest in charge, the Very Rev. Anne Sawyer, offered a welcome blessing.
I was along to read a land acknowledgement composed by the Rev. Canon Mary Crist of the Blackfeet Nation, which said that we were meeting on unceded land of the Tongva people. I appended a few topical words about land as a source of blessing and a cause of accursedness, a repository of love and an accelerator of hate, depending. “Our stewardship of land can become toxic,” I said, “when it isn’t twinned with a deep and abiding empathy for those whose entry our borders and fences bar.”
Speaking of the the healing power of real estate, it was great to see Mayor Karen Bass’s housing czar, Mercedes Márquez, who pledged continued support for our plans to build affordable housing on 25% of our Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles church campuses.