Immanuelites Alma Lorenzo, Richard Prince, Amber & Ted Richane, Jesenia Salguero and others worked with Project Mercy to build an entire house in El Florido, Mexico, on Saturday, May 22. Photos and captions courtesy of Amber Richane. Click on an image for a larger view.
Congratulations and welcome to new officers installed on Sunday, January 17. New deacons are Alba Martinez, Alain Pacheco, Maria Rivas and Imelda Tecum. New elders are William Baxa (returning), Lucy Cortez and Ted Richane. Thanks to all of you for your willingness to serve in these demanding roles. We’ll keep you in our prayers.
One of the privileges of being pastor at Immanuel is that I get to meet with members of the Immanuel community to talk about their lives. I recently had a powerful twenty four hour period in which I had contact with three members around their vocations. I want to share what three Immanuel folks contribute to the world so that you too can have a sense of the true impact of this amazing congregation.
More than Kleenex and a Glass of Wine
First, I went to lunch with Ted and finally figured out what he does. And I was so inspired. Remember Al Gore’s movie, An Inconvenient Truth? At the end of the movie, there were some specific suggestions about how the viewers could put what they learned into practice. Al Gore and company really wanted to get people to act, because they believed that the globe was truly in danger. Ted works for the woman who designed that. Don’t you love that? She went on to start her own company to help other film makers create the impact they want. Because they don’t want someone to cry at the end of the movie, go home and have a glass of wine, and wake up the next morning and forget the whole experience. So they hire Ted or one of his co-workers to design a strategy that makes sure their movie will really have the impact they want it to. I’m so inspired and proud to know Ted and to have him as part of the Immanuel community.
Sitting Down to Stand Up for Healthcare
The next morning I attended a sit-in outside the offices of Blue Cross Insurance Company. The sit-in was organized by Sam, who has been attending Immanuel much of this year. Sam works for a non profit organization called “Center for the Working Poor” and organized the Los Angeles expression of a nationwide “Patients not Profits” sit in under the Mobilization for Health Care for All. After marching at the entrance to the building and hearing testimonies of people whose loved ones had been hurt by the policies of Blue Cross (including Sam himself, whose mother held a similar sit in years ago before she died from cancer, in part because of unhealthy practices of Blue Cross), a group staged an illegal sit-in and were arrested for civil disobedience. Sam spent the entire weekend in jail, because he refused to give his personal information until Blue Cross relented of its practices. He was finally released, contrary to his desires, as a way to avoid further attention being brought to the matter. Sam was interviewed Tuesday morning by Amy Goodman on Democracy Now.
Bridging Ancient and Modern Ways of Healing
I went from the sit in to have lunch with Chris. We meet quarterly to talk about our respective spiritual journeys. Chris has been on a path of becoming a healer for several years. Chris founded an organization in Los Angeles that offers poetry workshop in juvenile detention facilities as a means of transforming lives rather than simply warehousing alleged criminals. Over the years, they have expanded what they do to work with young people before and after they are incarcerated as well. Chris began to witness spiritual darkness in some of the youth he worked with. He began to access ways to address the darkness. Along the way he connected to some primitive paths of healing whose origins are in Latin America and Africa. As he has learned more about these primitive paths, he has grown in his own intuitive abilities to bring healing to people. He is currently being asked to dialogue with neurologists about ways to heal trauma that affects people’s brains.
What are you doing in the world to inspire and transform? What stories are you hearing about what others in our community are doing? I invite you to share those stories on this blog. Who knows what new connections might be made to bring deeper healing to us all?