An All Saints Day to Remember
May 1, 2016
by Susan Russell
On Sunday, May 1st All Saints Church gathered 2000 strong to celebrate the 21 year tenure of Ed Bacon as its rector with a blow out “four alarm glory attack” service in the street marked by joy, energy and diversity. It was both a fitting conclusion to the energetic rectorship of Ed Bacon and a foretaste of the future as we move into the next chapter of our work and witness together.
After an opening procession led by the John Muir Alumni Drummers, the service began with a moving interfaith call to worship by Mark Salzman and Ben Yousef — truly an iconic moment of the interreligious DNA that has been part of the mission of All Saints Church for decades and was a hallmark of Ed Bacon’s rectorate.
The theme of interconnectedness — as members of the All Saints community, the interfaith community and the wider human family — was not only woven throughout the service but exemplified in the stunning floral arrangements by the amazing Gary Leonard. He created arrangements that were icons of Pando … the stand of aspens in southern Utah Ed has preached about as the largest living organism on Earth. Prominent on the outdoor chancel they were powerful reminders that just as those aspen trees are linked together as one organism so we human beings are linked together as one human family.
The service included poetry, scripture, brilliant music by the All Saints youth and adult choirs and a powerful sermon — Ed’s last as rector of All Saints Church — entitled “The Journey of Love-Alignment.”
We have come to celebrate, appreciate, and agitate all in the name of the energy pulsing throughout the cosmos which is love and which many traditions call God. For God is love.
It was a classic Bacon sermon … framing the call to live lives aligned with God’s love, justice and compassion in order to be agents of change in the world. (It you missed it, you’ll want to watch it on our YouTube Channel.) And expressing both hope and confidence that the mission of All Saints will continue into the future as he and Hope become members of the “All Saints Diaspora.”
Presentations included testimonials from the Bishop of Los Angeles (represented by Canon Joanna Satorius); Congresswoman Judy Chu; State Senator Carol Liu; Assemblymember Chris Holden and Pasadena Mayor Terry Tornek. And, in a surprise tribute from the Wardens and Vestry, outgoing and incoming Senior Wardens Cathy Keig and Jason Lyon invited Ed Bacon to join George Regas in the ranks of our Rectors Emeriti.
Following communion, the service concluded with what we have come to call “The Big Blessing” — led by Zelda Kennedy, who will serve as Priest in Charge while we wait for the call and arrival of the next Rector of All Saints Church.
And then … of course … cake and jazz on the lawn: the perfect finish to an extraordinary celebration of twenty one years of the work and witness of Ed Bacon and the ongoing adventure that is All Saints Church.
One of the best parts of a great story is the happy ending. And it’s even better when you know that as you close the book at the end of the last chapter there’s another book in the series just waiting for you to pick it up and find out what happens next.
That’s where we find ourselves at All Saints church on Monday, May 2nd. Still feeling the joy and energy of the bittersweet celebration of saying goodbye to a beloved rector and … ready to pick up the next chapter of the story we will write together as we continue the work of making God’s love tangible 24/7.
Susan Russell is our Senior Associate for Communication. Pictures by Samatha Harris, Susan Russell and Cam Sanders. For more photos visit #celebrateedbacon on Instagram or the album on the ASC flickr feed.