by Christina Honchell and Mike Kinman
A friend recently sent me a video of Joni Mitchell singing “California” in 1970, and it’s been in my head ever since, and especially as I think of Homecoming. If you know the song, you know it could be our state anthem –- it’s what I always sing to myself on my way back home from anywhere beyond our golden state: “ah, but my heart cried out for you…”
I feel that way every Sunday at All Saints. My heart cries out for this community, for the work and the struggle we engage in, for the wisdom and the stretching we invite, for the relationships, newly formed, and ancient and dear.
This Homecoming we invite all of you into a spiritual homecoming of sorts, through what we are calling One Book One Church. We asked Mike Kinman, our rector-elect, to select a book, so that we can use the time between Homecoming and his arrival as rector on November 1 to read, reflect, gather in small groups and prepare ourselves for this new relationship for all of us, and asked him to tell us why this book makes his heart beat fast:
Find Your Way Home is written by the Rev. Becca Stevens and the women of Magdalene/Thistle Farms -– a transformative community of women who have survived prostitution, violence and abuse. I first visited the Magdalene community nearly 20 years ago, and to this day it remains the closest thing I have experienced to what Dr. King called The Beloved Community and what Jesus called the Realm of God. It is a community of those whom society has most targeted, oppressed and marginalized finding their way to their rightful home in the heart of the God who created them and loves them without bounds.
Through the years, Becca and the women of Magdalene/Thistle Farms have been some of my most important spiritual guides and theologians. Find Your Way Home is both a description of how they strive to live together and their individual stories of that journey.
The book is modeled after the Rule of St. Benedict and is the 24 spiritual principles that guide the community. Each chapter is one principle, with some short sentences about the principle and then first-person brief stories/accounts from the women that fit with the principle. You can read a chapter in a couple of minutes. I suggest you read one a day for 24 days and allow some time after each chapter to invite the Holy Spirit to plant the words in your heart.
It is an embodiment of the Bartimaeus story (Mark 10:46-52) that is one of my guiding scriptures about we as the church bringing those among us who are most on the margins into the center of the community and letting the truth of that part of our community be heard first and loudest in setting the church’s agenda.
Find Your Way Home isn’t “about” the marginalized … it IS the wisdom of the marginalized among us who have found deep love and hope and life in community with one another.
When I think about all the radical reconciliation work that we have to do — particularly around race and class, but really everywhere — the spiritual principles in this book are the community ethic that makes us able to live with integrity, compassion, courage, humor and joy so God can get it done through us.
I’m excited to share this book with you -– and even more excited to hear what the Holy Spirit does with it in this wonderful community.
In Christ’s love,
Sign up for small groups online before they fill up.
May this Homecoming remind you of all the things your heart cries out for, as we pray and party together, and, to paraphrase Joni Mitchell, “see all the folks we dig!”
Christina Honchell is the Parish Administrator of All Saints Church in Pasadena, where Mike Kinman will begin his tenure as our 10th Rector on November 1, 2016.