Skip to comments.Pro-Choice Liturgy
Posted on 04/16/2004 10:02:13 PM PDT by Land of the Irish
On the evening of November 25, an interfaith Thanksgiving service was held at Holy Angels Church (370 Campus Drive, Arcadia). The Blessed Sacrament had been removed from the tabernacle in anticipation of non-Christian prayer, and the sanctuary was piled high with fruits of the harvest (pumpkins and so forth).
The organ prelude was "Good Christian Men Rejoice." Monsignor Norman Priebe, pastor of Holy Angels, mounted the pulpit and welcomed us as people of faith. He then left for the rear of the building. "To You O God, All Creatures Sing" was the processional hymn. Monsignor Priebe led the column of variously clothed clerics of both sexes who would participate in the service. Once these were ensconced in the sanctuary, the Rev. Tom Shriver of the Emmanuel Assembly of God, clad in his police chaplain's uniform, mounted the pulpit in his turn. He welcomed the distinguished guests, among whom were a number of policemen and a city councilman who was representing the mayor. The councilman, in turn, spoke of his own ecumenical roots ("my father was Catholic, my mother was Protestant, I married a Jew, and my daughter is dating a Muslim") and apologized for the mayor's absence.
He was replaced with the auburn-haired Rev. Adriana Sybenga, of Arcadia Welfare and Thrift, a local charity. She intoned a call to prayer, which asked the congregation, among other things, to declare that, "we give thanks for God's steadfast love! God quenches the thirsty, fills the hungry, and leads us from the desert land to a harvest home."
Her husband, the Rev. Sid Sybenga, a slight, blond gentleman who is pastor of Hope Community Church, then took his wife's place on the pulpit and announced that the evening would consist of five themes. The first would be, "we give thanks for the abundance of our land." In this sequence, Rabbi Micah Caplan, of Congregation Shaarei Torah, read Deuteronomy 8:7-14, and then wished us a happy Thanksgiving. Miss Sharin Fares then read the Bahai prayer for America.
Theme II: "We celebrate the diversity and unity of our community," featured Mr. Fawaz Elmasri of the local Muslim community, reading from the Koran, 49:13. I was unable, alas, to understand him. Then Dr. Karen Williams, a chic lady in pink, intoned the Bahai Prayer for Humanity. After this, we all sang "God Bless America."
The third theme, "we are thankful for families and children," offered, first, Mormon Bishop Walter Steimle, reading from the Gospel of St. Mark, 10:13-16. The voice of the bearded, suited gentleman broke with emotion as he read. In contrast with him was the jolly Mrs. Roberta Rahmanian, who read the Bahai prayer for children. The two combined choirs -- adults in choir robes, children in red cassocks and surplices -- then trooped in front of the sanctuary to sing the 1934 anthem, "This is My Song." Music concluded, they returned to their places.
"We celebrate our freedom and democracy" constituted the Fourth Theme and showcased Ms. Joan Whitenack of the Foothill Unity Center, another local charity, reading Ted Loder's poem, "My Words Can't Carry All the Praise." This bit of verse meditates on our inability to thank God properly for all His blessings. Another Muslim community member, Mr. Hassan Zenni, read a follow-up quotation from the Koran.
At last, Theme V: "we pray for peace," arrived. The Rev. Ellen Jennrich, pastoress of the Lutheran Church of the Cross, mounted the pulpit. A benevolent looking lady in a white bouffant, white cassock, and white stole, she offered a few words of St. Francis, "a 'Christian' who lived in the early 13th century," and then recited with the congregation his peace prayer. Father James Kelly, another priest at Holy Angels, then read from the Koran (2:208), followed by Mrs. Cathy Klose, RN, from Methodist Hospital, who read Isaiah 32:15-18. The entire congregation then sang that favorite from the late '50s, "Let there be Peace on Earth."
Rev. Gene Wallace, rector of the Episcopal Church of the Transfiguration, then mounted the pulpit in his cassock, surplice, and black stole to preach the homily. In a patrician upstate New York accent, he recited a prayer by William Temple, archbishop of Canterbury during the Second World War: "Almighty and Eternal God, so draw our hearts to you, so guide our minds, so fill our imaginations, so control our wills, that we may be wholly yours, utterly dedicated to you, and then use us, we pray, as you will, and always to your glory and the welfare of your people. Amen."
Rev. Wallace went on to point out that Temple had not asked for guidance or results, just that we might be available to do God's will. "So it should be in the present world crisis," he told us. He added that we must ask ourselves if we are first citizens of the United States or of the Kingdom of God. He told us that we people of faith must be people of hope and of peace, and he challenged us to live our own faith tradition, whatever it might be, asking what kind of person that would make us.
The offering was called for by Rev. Jolene Cadenbach of Arcadia Congregational Church. Albed and stoled, she had frizzy red hair and a sprightly disposition, which latter was well exhibited as she called on us to give money which would go to Arcadia Welfare and Thrift and Foothill Unity Center. As the money was taken up, the choirs sang "The Last Words of David" by E.C. Schirmer.
A "Prayer of Dedication" was then offered by the Rev. Dr. Phil Wood of Our Savior Methodist Church. Closing his eyes and throwing his head back and forth, he declaimed in stentorian tones that we prayed that we might serve God in the faith traditions of our choice. The closing hymn was "America the Beautiful," sung by the congregation. The Rev. Terry Keenan, pastor of the Santa Anita Church, a "positive thinking" establishment, counseled us in the benediction to think of power, among other things, and give peace to all, starting with ourselves. Then followed the organ postlude as the sanctuary party left.
An enormous spread was then served in the parish hall, including many cakes and cookies.
Not really. It's called an analogy: pro-choice=smorgasbord, ecumenical, feel good, denial of truth relativism.