Saturday, December 10, 2011

Gospel According To Pop

Pastor Megan's Christmas present to the Community of Traveler community is a series of videosongs that narrate the life of Jesus using contemporary pop songs.

Check out this project: The Gospel According to Pop

Megan hopes to finish the project by January of 2012. Leave your comments below if you have ideas about what songs you think would help narrate the Jesus story in a way that will cause others to think or hear the gospel differently.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Occupy St Aidan's by Pastor Megan Rohrer

As protests brew across the world, yesterday they raged in 900 cities, I've wondered if I should join the protests. You'd think it would be an easy choice, since I work with the chronically homeless and have dedicated my ministry to working with those living in poverty.

I love the idea of the people who have always been the majority taking back their voice and holding those in political power accountable.

I've done a lot of studying of nonviolence theory, so I'm proud when people find nonviolent ways to bring attention to important issues.

But, something about the protests have been unsettling to me. While I cheer on those street retreating and creating mass conversations in the streets, I can't help but remember that my mother is a banker and has been all her life.

In fact, she worked at the same bank since she was 18 and just retired a few months ago. As a working mother, she struggled to keep daily bread on our table. She managed the tellers at several branches of a South Dakota bank that went national. The reality is that our family was not the 1%.

As I see the images of the protests in front of banks I remember that my mothers desk and those on the lowest rungs of the banks payrolls are the ones sitting in earshot of the protests.

I also remember that the effectiveness of the civil rights protests and sit-ins came from their ability to dramaticize the injustices that existed, to force private terror to be publicly scrutinized or to clog the wheels of unjust laws by filling the jails so no one else could get arrested.

I wonder if the protests are dramatizing a solution? I also notice that we are in a precocious time when the world is listening to the protectors, but no individual voices have emerged as the leaders of a more benevolent future.

So I suggest, that we call for a shift in the countries moral compass. When we bring a mass of people to a location we give it power. But is Wall Street where we want our change to come from?

I call us to put our butts where our mouths are. Let's fill the spaces we want the world to see as the moral compass of our communities. And in those spaces, let's demand that those leaders speak for us and get voice in the halls of congress and at the CEO meetings where the 1% can actually be found.

What if the churches, Temples, zen centers and other places we wanted our ethical center to come from were as full as the streets?

This is our moment. Let us give to Wall Street what is Wall Street's. Keep your upside down wealth systems. Let us be people bringing a new understanding of love, hope and prosperity to the world.

So join me in occupying St Aidan's. Lets fill the pews and the offering plates and reset our compasses. Whose with me?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Finding God in a Bar Around a Piano after Katrina

by The Rev Tommy Dillon

Two weeks after Hurricane Katrina hit, I drove from Baton Rouge to New Orleans to experience firsthand the devastation of a place that I love dearly. I thought I had prepared myself for what I would see, but, indeed, I had not.

Approaching the city, I saw coffins that had floated out of the large above ground cement mausoleums and found a new resting place alongside the interstate. I wept. Not only had the living been affected by the flood waters, but also the dead.

Going further, I witnessed the large gaping hole in the roof of the Superdome and instantly returned to the images of the thousands who took refuge in this shelter of last resort-turned prison. Large blue tarps covered many homes and served as temporary roofs, a thin blue layer between fragile people and the wild nature that had so recently turned against them.

I parked my car in the normally bustling French Quarter, though this time, it was a ghost town. Peeking into Pat O’Brien’s famous bar, which usually hosts raucous dueling pianos, I was struck this time by the emptiness and hollow silence in its stead. The windy breezes stirred up alternating wisps of rotting food and mold. Fresh graffiti screamed anger towards President Bush, FEMA, and Governor Blanco. When I encountered people in the streets (which was rare), they were lifeless and listless: walking zombies who had their life sucked out of them.

There seemed to be so much despair, sadness, and loss of hope. Where was the light that shines in the darkness? Where was God in all of this mess?

In the many years before Katrina, I travelled to New Orleans on Sunday afternoons to gather with friends at the corner of St. Ann and Bourbon Street for what is known in the gay community as “Sunday Tea Dance”. This was sacred ground for me, a ground zero of sorts from which I “came out” as a gay man. Through the years, I had danced many nights away at the Tea Dance, laughing, singing, sharing stories, meeting new people, sometimes drinking too much and having a little too much fun. But the Tea Dance was where people knew to gather on Sunday afternoon.

My favorite stop at the Tea Dance was the Good Friend’s Bar, where a gentleman named Tom played an old piano on the second floor of the bar that sounded as if it came from a old western movie saloon. Tom was in his late sixties and gathered an eclectic group of people--gay, straight, men, women--around that old, out of key piano for a weekly sing along. We enjoyed singing show tunes, but sometimes when I would arrive, Tom would play a Gospel Set of well known Southern hymns and ballads. People would sing loudly. Many of them loved the church, but they no longer attended because they had either been either kicked out or left due to its stand on their “gay lifestyle”.

As I walked around a desolated New Orleans that fall afternoon, I wondered if any of my kindred were gathering at that sacred corner where we had spent so many Sundays at the Tea Dance. I turned onto Bourbon Street and glanced down at the section of the French Quarter where my father used to warn me, “Do not go down there son, it is where the homosexuals gather.” To my joy and delight, I saw life! In the distance, I heard the thumps of the deejay as I made out the gay anthem “We are Family” in my head. A few steps closer. Over 100 people were standing around the Bourbon Pub/Parade Disco, which reopened that day, peace and happiness swept over me. The community indeed knew where to gather that afternoon, even in the midst of desolation and despair.

A giant blue tarp covered the roof of the Good Friend’s Bar...surely, the second floor was flooded in the deluge, I supposed. But then, in the distance, I noticed the faint sound of singing. Could it be? Was Tom there? Were the faithful gathered around the piano? Drawing closer and closer to Good Friend’s, the singing was louder and louder. I walked into group of 30 people who were indeed standing around the piano, having picked it up and carried it downstairs so that they could sing.

Tom looked up, saw me, and yelled, “PADRE, YOU ARE HERE” and he began to play Gospel music and people assembled sang out from their hearts! First was “I Come to the Garden Alone”, and then a stirring rendition of “His Eye is on the Sparrow”. The voices grew louder and heartier. People raised the rafters in joy and celebration as tears filled our eyes. For the wayward souls assembled that day, even in the midst of destruction and despair, this was Church! We were not in a building consecrated by a bishop. The space was not filled with stained glass and statues. Instead, we were a church formed from the presence of the people and our piano became our altar, a place of sacrifice where we could offer to God our tears, our joys, our prayers, and our hopes. The piano became a sign and symbol of God’s redemption and love in our midst.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Pentecost with Gaga Mass

Tonight, at Community of Travelers, was a double win - we played a version of the game Chubby Bunny and we sang portions of the Gaga Mass. How in the world did such a fun service come to be? I'm glad you asked, dear reader.

Today is the holy day of Pentecost, which is when the holy spirit descends onto the disciples of Jesus. As you might imagine, people gathered from far and wide to celebrate. The miracle that happened that day is everyone could actually understand each other- even though they all spoke in a different language. Pastor Megan pointed out that, had the miracle been in what was being said, they would have written in down (they didn't). So, the miracle was in the listening and the unifying spirit that was with them.

Tonight, to symbolize that, we split up into pairs and put as many marshmallows in our mouth as we could and talked to our partner about God. If you didn't play it as a kid, this is really similar to the children's game Chubby Bunny- although the original version doesn't have God in it. The idea in today's service was that the marshmallows symbolized tongues, and so we could speak a language for each marshmallow in our mouth. I admit, the most marshmallows I could fit was 3 (they were the big kind). Really, though, if you've ever played Chubby Bunny you know that speaking with your mouth full of marshmallows doesn't really enable clear enunciation. But I tell you- the laughter in the church today filled the hall. We were all still communicating, just with gestures and facial expressions. We had a ton of fun! By the end, I believe we felt unified and celebratory- just a taste of what the folks back then would have been feeling.

The Gaga Mass music helped with that as well. Although we still need to practice a bit, we had an absolute ball with Telephone and Bad Romance. By the end of the service, we were just rocking out, laughing, and hugging.

Monday, May 16, 2011

"Housing = Safety"

By Connie Thomas

Tonight at Community of Travelers, we heard about a protest Pastor Megan helped organize around homeless LGBT youth. While it was pouring rain and bitter cold on Saturday night, a group of dedicated homeless teens and their allies hung out in Harvey Milk Plaza in the Castro and then slept on the sidewalks.

It might sound naive, but I never really think about homeless kids by themselves. I usually imagine homeless families that could rely on each other for safety and support, or homeless adults by themselves. If I did think about homeless kids, I'd assume their parents kicked them out for doing very bad things. Unfortunately, that's not necessarily the case. Sometimes kids are just kicked out of their homes because they're gay. Sometimes they run away from abuse. Regardless of how it happens, it means we have innocent kids out on the streets of San Francisco that have precious few options in their life.

I was lucky enough to meet some of those kids, and I tell you- it breaks your heart to hear a 16 year old talk about finding food on the street and eating it, because that's all he's got. It's also incredibly inspiring to hear these same kids who don't have a guaranteed place to sleep at night laugh and sing and dance with each other. Most striking of all, though, was that I would never have guessed that they were homeless. They laugh and dress and talk just like every other kid I've met. They were just as clean/fashionably dirty as most teens I see, too. Honestly, though, you just never know what a person's life is like until you walk a mile in their shoes.

Tonight's gospel was about Jesus as a Gate. Usually, we talk about Jesus as the shepherd, telling us where to go. In the gospel we read tonight, though, Jesus calls himself The Gate. It changes the dynamic. Sheep don't have a choice- they have to follow the shepherd. We do have a choice. We can choose to open that gate and walk through it to the other side. And, most likely, we will have to choose over and over again throughout our lives whether or not we want to go through the gate. We can choose to put Jesus's teachings into practice, by turning the other cheek, by giving a rowdy and dirty kid the benefit of the doubt. The good news is, though, the gate will always open for us if we turn the knob.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Field Trip to Safeway

"What? This is a joke, right?" But, Pastor Megan was not joking. Tonight, at Community of Travelers, we were going to walk to the Safeway across the street and hand out palm leaves for Palm Sunday. Safeway. A place where I regularly shop for groceries. A place where non-church people were.

The concept was this: we would explore what it may have been like for Jesus as he rode into Jerusalem (which was today's gospel). To be honest, I always pictured his ride on Palm Sunday to be one of triumph. I thought he was welcomed by huge crowds, cheering, singing, and waving. I also thought his followers proudly stood by his side (except at the crucifixion, when they backed away). I didn't really consider these folks to have the same human fears and concerns that I have.

So, we headed out into the cold San Francisco fog with a collection of palm leaves and a cross, and we walked across the street to the Safeway. The big turning point was when we got to the entrance. I assumed that we would stand near the door and offer a palm leaf to anybody that approached. Instead, we walked through the entryway and wondered throughout the store. A place where, I expected, we wouldn't be very welcomed.

In that same way, Jesus rode into town through a gold entryway reserved for royalty. I'm sure there were folks who were upset he had the gall to do that. Although he had followers that greeted him, there were a bunch of people who didn't like him, and they wouldn't have been very happy to see him show up. There were also probably a bunch of people on the streets of Jerusalem who were going about their normal routine- shopping, working, etc- who were interrupted when this guy rode through the street.

With that in mind, it's likely that he encountered some of the same stuff we did. Some people looked at us and wondered what we were doing. Some people frowned at us- we were bothering their normal Sunday shopping routine, or maybe they didn't like us flaunting our beliefs. Some people thought it was neat and gladly accepted palm leaves. Some just ignored us or stayed away.

As a follower in the group, I had a mix of emotions. What if the manager (an authority figure) came over and was angry? Who would stand up to him or soothe him? I hoped that Pastor Megan had a plan and had thought long and hard about what we were doing. What if people around us got upset? Who would calm the crowd?

It makes me wonder about the followers of Jesus. Surely my concern about the authority figures isn't unique, except the punishment back then would have probably been physical harm rather than just being asked to leave a store. Did that stop people from following Jesus? Or did they believe so strongly that they overcame their fear? There were a few in our group who didn't want to be seen by somebody they knew. Jesus's followers were human, too- I bet there were a few who worried about being judged by their peers if they were seen. Some in the group were excited to be sharing Palm Sunday with folks at the store. Something tells me there were a bunch in Jesus's group that fell into this category.

This was Pastor Tommy's last CoT service before his sabbatical. We'll miss you, Tommy!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Easter Vigil April 23 at 7:30 pm

The Community of Travelers will celebrate Easter with the Great Easter Vigil on April 23 at 7:30 pm at St Aidan's- There will be NO service the afternoon of April 24.

Monday, April 11, 2011

"Unloose Him"

By Connie Thomas

Tonight's Community of Travelers service focused on the prayer of St. Francis of Assisi. We sang the Sarah Mclachlan version:

If you're unfamiliar (like I most certainly was), here are the words:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love.

Where there is injury, pardon.

Where there is doubt, faith.

Where there is despair, hope.

Where there is darkness, light.

Where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much
seek to be consoled, as to console;

to be understood, as to understand;

to be loved, as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive.

It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,

and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.


What a simple, yet perfect and beautiful prayer. We were each given the opportunity to write this prayer, or the most meaningful parts of this prayer for us, on a strip of cloth. It may look short, but let me tell you- when you're trying to write this with a pen on cloth, it takes way longer than you think it will. I went into the activity thinking that every word was precious, so of course I would write every word. But, by the end, I had written a shorthand version of the prayer that an outsider may think is just a stream of unrelated words after each other.

The coolest part was we then tied the cloth to a part of ourselves, and had others in the community untie them. The idea is that, in tonight's gospel, Jesus says "unloose him" when he asks his followers to untie a man Jesus had just risen from the dead. Yeah, you heard that right- risen from the dead. It was a crazy story. Anyways, my favorite part was that, apparently, the verb "unloose" in Greek is the same for having your sins forgiven. So, we were given the opportunity to be "unloosed" by our fellow church family members. Or, we could choose to untie ourselves. I preferred the symbolism of asking somebody else for help. Now that the activity is over, I kind of wish I had written the prayer in a prettier way so I could hang it up in my apartment...

It's also worth mentioning that Beamer was back with us again tonight. We missed you, Beamer!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Can You Do That In Church?

By Connie Thomas

Tonight at Community of Travelers, we had a new voice- Pastor Gary led the service. He is a retired Episcopal minister who has been working to further deepen his faith since his retirement.

The gospel tonight was about the man that was blind and Jesus gave sight. We explored the gospel in a brand new way, though- we read the passage 3 times from 3 different translations. Between each reading, we discussed what we each picked up from the passage and what we thought about it. It was pretty neat- the idea is for us to personally explore the gospel, rather than have somebody tell us what to think about it. What I loved most about it was, for the most part, each person naturally focused on a different aspect of the story. It helped me open my mind to the perspective of others in the room.

What totally threw me off tonight was when Pastor Gary offered up a Buddhist prayer during the service.

*record screech*

What? Isn't that, like, against the rules? I was taken aback until I remembered that the whole point of Community of Travelers is to not have rules. Of course, there are basic traditions we must follow, otherwise it's not really a church service. Aside from that, though, anything goes- we welcome different viewpoints and ways to think about things. So, Pastor Gary took his experience of exploring his faith, and brought it into our hearts. It was both intense and wonderful. It was a good reminder of the gifts that being open to new experiences can bring.

Sunday, March 27, 2011


By Connie Thomas

Tonight at Community of Travelers, we learned that what you take from a story or book in The Bible depends very heavily in how you read it. We read the story of the Samaritan woman who meets Jesus at the well. Pretty straightforward tale- Jesus asks her for a drink of water, we find out she had 5 husbands, and he tells her about "living water." With living water, you never thirst again because God quenches your soul.

What makes CoT incredible is that we get to learn little tidbits about The Bible that you never hear in Sunday school. For example- that woman at the well? She would only have been at the well at that time of the day because she was shunned by her village. And the 5 husbands thing? Forgive me for being naive- especially in a world where people have as many as 8 marriages- but that just meant she "knew" a lot of guys (in the biblical sense). Also, men never went to the well; that was the woman's job in the house. So, that begs the question- what in the world was Jesus doing at a well at the time when only shunned, loose women would be there?

That's where interpretation comes into play. If you want to believe that Jesus was there to be sleazy, well, that's your choice. The story says he was tired from his travels; you could believe that he just needed water and was there by accident. I'd like to believe, though, that he chose to be there at that time in order to meet the people who were outcast by society. Not only did Jesus give the Samaritan woman the word of God, he started the conversation by asking her for help. Can you imagine walking up to that guy at work that everyone avoids and asking him for help? It's an act of vulnerability, an act that Jesus chose.

Jesus's act of reaching out to this woman changed her life- she became the first evangelist, and told everyone about her experience. Kinda makes you wonder about what little acts of kindness can do for the outcasts in your life.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

People in Progress

by Connie Thomas

Tonight in Community of Travelers, we talked about the concepts of Heaven and Baptism. How do you really explain these things? I mean, nobody really knows what heaven will be like, or what baptism does for you. Does baptism wash away original sin? If so, why wouldn't it be a tradition for adults? I mean, we've all built up some sorts of sins throughout our life. I think it would be awesome if you could choose when to start brand new. Maybe sometime in your 30s...

In the gospel tonight, Jesus tried to explain these concepts but was actually kind of confusing. So, we got to try our hand at explaining these concepts through some sort of creative activity (poem, skit, picture, song- whatever we wanted). We split into 2 groups- the heaven group and the baptism group.

I was part of the baptism group, and I'll be honest, I was nervous. We only had 15 minutes to put something together, and I was concerned it wasn't enough time to create something that would awe the other group. Pastor Megan reminded everyone, though, that perfection wasn't the goal. Even Jesus didn't explain these things in a crystal clear way. How could we expect to do any better?

In the end, the skits were exactly what they needed to be. The baptism group invited everyone to wash their hands in a bowl as a reminder that the simple act of washing ones hands can be a symbol of cleansing your soul. The Heaven group gave out Girl Scout Cookies (talk about heaven!), sang a song, and spoke about what heaven meant to them.

On another note- the title of tonight's post, People in Progress, wasn't the theme of the gospel. But, at the beginning of the service, Pastor Megan used this phrase to describe the Community of Travelers and it really struck me. We really are all in progress, and it's the basic theme of every service at CoT. Each week is a little different. Sometimes things go awry. Sometimes the service is funny and sometimes it's touching. Sometimes we all know the words and sing along, and sometimes we don't know any of the words but sing along anyway. But that's the thing- we're all imperfect and we're all learning.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Praying for Peace in our Neighborhood

On Monday, February 28, Parrish Broughton was shot in the neighborhood of Diamond Heights and later died at the San Francisco General Hospital. The shooting took place near the intersection of Diamond Heights Boulevard and Gold Mine Drive. This was San Francisco's 16th homicide of 2011.

Members of our community, including District 8 Supervisor Scott Wiener, will gather at St. Aidan's Episcopal Church (101 Gold Mine Drive) this Sunday, March 20 at 1:30 p.m. for a time of remembrance and music led by members of Sacred Harp Singers. The group will then process to the site of the shooting, where they will offer interfaith prayers for an end to violence, and ask for healing and renewal in the neighborhood.

"Symbolism is important, and what is unique about Sunday's event is that we will have people united in one purpose, and that is to see the end of violence in our community through prayers and a call to action to work towards the end of violence on our streets,” says Fr. Tommy Dillon, Rector of St. Aidan's Church.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Please don't ask what I'm giving up for Lent

by Connie Thomas

Ah, the season of Lent- that time of year when everybody knows, no matter what their religious beliefs, that "good little Christians give up something they love for 40 days." I'll be honest- I used to be one of those people who never went to church but gave up something for lent each year. You know, just because it was a thing to do and I thought it made up for all the church I never went to.

At Community of Travelers tonight, we talked about this concept of giving something up for Lent, and what it all means. The short story is this- it's not about giving something up that you love, it's about getting to a place in your mind and heart where you can open up and listen to God. It's not just about cutting caffeine out of your diet and being cranky to anybody that will listen. It's about removing those things from your life that you use in order to fill that God sized hole in your heart.

One thing Pastor Tommy said tonight that really struck home for me is that, instead of giving something up, he focuses on adding something to his life. If the goal is to get closer to God, instead of giving up chocolate, add a morning prayer to your routine. Instead of giving up reading Cosmo magazine for Lent, read more books about God. Or, join a bible discussion group, volunteer to help people- do good in this world. It can be pretty darn easy to give up something superficial since you can always replace it with something else equally superficial. It can be much more meaningful to make small changes to your life that bring you closer to God.

So, to answer your question, I'm not giving anything up this year for Lent. I'm putting my energy into adding things- like morning prayer, reading a book about the bible, and attending more church activities (St. Aidan's offers all sorts of good stuff, like a discussion group on Wednesday nights, if you're looking for something).

On a separate note, I went to a more "traditional" service for Ash Wednesday down on the peninsula. Oh man, did I miss Community of Travelers. The whole thing seemed to be about "repent!" and "you're a sinner!" How refreshing to come to service tonight and see a dog running around and hear Tommy talk about hope, life, and love!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Gaga Mass

Tonight at Community of Travelers, we actually had a Gaga Mass. What's that? I'm glad you asked, dear reader. Pastor Megan rewrote the words to some of Lady Gaga's hit songs, such as "Paparazzi" and "Telephone". Not only were the words rewritten, the songs were made acoustic and performed with just a guitar, a piano, and some passionate singing. My favorite song was "Bad Romance", mainly because this is the one the congregation sang the best.

I think if we had more practice at the other ones, we would have rocked them hard too :)

This week's discussion was on strength and vulnerability. I had no idea, but apparently God didn't tell Jesus that Jesus is God's son until long after he told everybody else (Pastor Megan talks about it starting at 0:31). I'm sure we've all been there, where everybody knows something and you're the only one who hasn't heard it from the horse's mouth, but what an intense thing to have to hear second hand!

Back to the discussion- Pastor Megan pointed out that this was a moment of both incredible strength and vulnerability for Jesus, since he had this incredible interaction with God in front of others. Pastor Megan likened it to meeting a birth father for the first time.... in front of a bunch of your followers. Talk about vulnerable! One member of the congregation pointed out (and it really resonated with me) that Lady Gaga herself is both strong and vulnerable. She puts herself out there for the world to see, regardless of what others will think of her. Some make fun of her and try to tear her down, some idolize her and put her on a pedestal. But the thing is, she's true to herself. And that can be really hard to do in a world where everybody can watch your every move via Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

If you need more Gaga, here's Pastor Megan's YouTube site.

Ash Wednesday March 9

Come to St Aidan's on Ash Wed for a "Community of Travelers" Liturgy at 7 p.m. or get your ashes at the Harvey Milk MUNI Station from 5-6:30 p.m.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Gaga Mass

Join us at Community of Travelers for Transfiguration Sunday, March 6. 5pm St. Aidan's Episcopal Church, San Francisco . Can you think of any better way to celebrate transfiguration?

Monday, February 21, 2011

Bob Dylan Folk Mass

This vespers service was arranged by Pastor Megan Rohrer for the Community of Travelers (an emerging service that meets at 5pm at St. Aidan's Episcopal Church in San Francisco) on 2/20/2010. Since this was the first time the mass was attempted, I'll be making some changes to the service for it's use the next time. Namely I wanted to include the traditional words of the Lord's Prayer into the Eucharist. What you see below was what happened at the on 2/20/2010. Feel free to use the service in other places with attribution. And let me know, I love when the Spirit is infectious!

Don't matter how much money you got, there's only two kinds of people: there's saved people and there's lost people. – Bob Dylan

Gathering Song
To The Tune of: Times They Are A-Changin': Capo 2

G Em C G
G Am C D
G Em C G
G Am D
D D7 G D

Come gather 'round people wherever you roam
And admit all the trials and troubles you’ve sown
we gather together, but still feel alone
our hearts and our minds are ragin’
we were all dust, till God put breath in our bones
so our lives, they are a chang - in'

Come prophets and skeptics and all who dream dreams
the last will be first and the bound shall be free
through bread, wine and water, what’s promised shall be
We all equally need savin’
Christ died on the cross for you and for me
so our lives, they are a-changin'

Come listen to the Gospel please heed the call
It’s promise is truth and pardon for all
We must take that message outside of these walls
To counter all the hatin’
Let’s sing so loud, they hear us in the hall
Because our lives, they are a-changin'

Prayer of the Day

Gospel Acclamation
To the tune of Blowin’ in the Wind: Capo 2

C D G Em
Ha lle halle halle lujah
Halle halle lujah

Praise the creator of all that is
Earth, sea, sky and sand
Praise be to Christ who came to earth
In the form of a man
Praise be to Spirit who is like the wind
Blowing over the land

C D G Em
Ha lle halle halle lujah
Halle halle lujah

The Gospel is Read

Reflections Are Offered by Those Gathered

Prayers of the People
To the tune of To Make You Feel My Love: Capo 2

Cm G
A7 D7 (the last time G)

When the rain is blowing in your face
And the whole world is on your case
All you need is a little grace
To help you feel God’s love.

For all the hungry, and the black and blue
All who live on sidewalks and avenues
When it feels like there is nothing we can do
May you feel God’s love.

When death and illness turns life to gray
and there’s nothing left to do but pray
We’ll come together and always say
May you feel God’s love

When you think no there’s no love left for me
B7 C G
Or you can only think of life’s regret
The winds of change are blowing wild and free.
A7 D7
There’s even more forgiveness for you yet

When the rain is blowing in your face
And the whole world is on your case
All you need is a little grace
To help you feel God’s love.

The Offering is Collected

The Meal
“Being noticed can be a burden. Jesus got himself crucified because he got himself noticed. So I disappear a lot.” – Bob Dylan

To the tune of The House of the Rising Sun: No Capo

Am C Dm F
Am C Em
Am C Dm F
Am Em Am

The peace of Christ be with you all
And also with you
Lift your hearts, breathe the breath of life
O God, we sing to you

It’s right, and good and we know we should
Give thanks and praise to God
Who made the earth, the sea and stars
And declares that we are good

This song we sing, is an echoing
From our ancestors of faith
Holy, holy holy are you
And Blessed be your name

On the night in which he was betrayed
Jesus took the bread
gave thanks and gave it to all to eat
a taste of the feast to come

After supper, he took the cup
A new covenant in blood (he said)
Each time you drink, remember me,
And pray as I was taught:

God in heaven, we raise your name
And work towards your kingdom now
May we follow you, with hearts that are true
Protect us all our days

These are the gifts of God for all
God, put your Spirit here
And on all who’ve gathered for this in this space
May we eat and drink our fill

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Bob Dylan Church Service- Yep, You Read That Right

Bob Dylan Church Service. If somebody said this combination of words in a normal conversation you'd probably assume they were confused, but that is exactly what we had at Community of Travelers tonight. Pastor Megan rewrote the words to some of Dylan's best songs, such as "Times They Are a-Changing" and invited us to sing along. I'm a sucker for good music, so I really got a kick out of this service. I've posted a video of one of the songs below for your viewing pleasure.

At CoT, we don't have a sermon. Instead, we have an activity or discussion where we talk about the gospel and we get to ask any questions we want. Tonight, we had a discussion on the sort of life God wants us to live. The gospel says he wants us to be perfect, but Pastor Megan brought up some interesting points of what perfection actually means (perfection part starts at 3:23).

It was uplifting- the short version is that God wants us to be the best we can be, which is different from the strict "you should do everything God says in the Bible" message you expect to hear on a Sunday (along with a wagging finger from the pastor, of course). I don't know about you, but I have a habit of setting unrealistic expectations on myself. The takeaway from tonight was that you don't have to be perfect. In fact, nobody's perfect. All you can do is your best, whatever that means for you. Whatever happens, whatever mistakes occur along the way, it's part of the journey. You're doing a-ok with whatever you've got going on.

If you want to read more, here's Pastor Megan's post about the service.

Monday, February 14, 2011

"Bicycle Bride" film Screening and Q&A with Director Hassan Zee at St. Aidan's, S.F. this Sunday, February 20 at 6:30 p.m.

While working at a burn unit in his native Pakistan, Dr. Hassan Zee was saddened by the women he saw who burned themselves because they were in bad marriages.Worse yet were the women burned by in-laws because they didn't produce children or didn't live up to their new family's standards. Now a filmmaker in San Francisco, he does what he can to promote women's empowerment in his movies. His latest film, "Bicycle Bride", centers on a rebellious young Indian-American woman who resists her mother's attempts to set up an arranged marriage and will be shown this Sunday at St. Aidan's after the Community of Travelers at 6:30 p.m.

Where: St. Aidan's Episcopal Church, 101 Gold Mine Drive, San Francisco
When: Sunday, February 20 6:30 p.m.
Cost: Free

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Celebration of St Valentine at COT Feb 13 at 5 p.m.

Join Pastors Megan and Tommy at the Community of Travelers where we'll be celebrating St. Valentine (Sunday night at 5pm at St. Aidan's Episcopal Church, San Francisco)
Michelle Jordan will provide uplifting music and we will have a festive happy hour after the service!
Invite a friend to join you!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Matthew and the Drag Queen

Sermon : St. Aidan's Episcopal Church by the Rev Megan Rohrer February 6 10 a.m. Mass
Annual Parish Meeting

Scripture : Matthew 5:13-20

How I learned to love the Gospel of Matthew. Click here to listen

Monday, January 17, 2011

Baptism History, Pastoral Answers and Video

We're excited to that last week, two of the members of the Community of Travelers service were baptized during St. Aidan's celebration of the baptism of Jesus.

Below you'll find some videos about baptism and the footage of the baptisms of Mitch and Kazu.

Baptism 101 - Tommy Answers Questions about Baptism:

Baptism 201 - Pastor Megan Rohrer Explains the History and Liturgical Symbolism of Baptism:

The Baptism of Mitch and Kazu - The Full Ritual:

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Lessons from behind the scenes by Megan Rohrer

The words and the life of Martin Luther King Jr have inspired millions. I imagine that tales, sounds and video of his life and ministry will be passed from generation to generation for centuries to come.

However, sometimes when we tell the stories of great leaders, prophets and priests, we remember all the qualities that are rare or vitally needed in contemporary society, but we forget all the bits that make that individual truly human.

In the days following the assassination attempt in Tucson, in our 10th year at war in Afghanistan, with racial disparity, racism and violence still an issue, King’s work to bring an end to the Vietnam war, his impassioned cries for racial justice and his example of how to live life to the fullest knowing that death is around the corner, are certainly things worth remembering today.

Yet, it is a little known story of King’s humanity that may have the most to say to our beloved ELCA.

When most people think of King, they think of nonviolence. Yet in his early days, armed guards protected him.

He, like all of us, had to learn the principles of nonviolence.

One of his teachers was a man named Bayard Rustin. Rustin organized the logistics of many of King’s most remembered marches and bus boycotts.

While he was planning the logistics for the famed March on Washington, where his “I Have a Dream” speech would capture the heart of the nation, King asked Rustin to step down from his position after he learned that the press was going to “out” Rustin as a gay man.

While King had long known that Rustin was gay, it was believed the papers would use the information in order to discredit King and the civil rights movement.

In this human moment, King, a man known for teaching tolerance to so many others, was unable to follow the strength of his own convictions.

Later, when it was clear that the march could not happen without Rustin, King invited him back.

Someone needed to schedule the buses so they would arrive on time. Someone needed to make sure there would be sandwiches and water for the individuals who were so excited to be there that they no doubt would forget to bring food.

Someone had to clean up the litter after the crowds dispersed. Though he was humiliated by his exile, Rustin came back and the buses came as scheduled, everyone had food and the litter was picked up at the end of the rally.

Rustin, like so many minorities before and after him, was tolerated because of his usefulness.

Rustin’s work did not go unnoticed, for it was Rustin and A.J. Muste (one of the other leaders who taught nonviolence to King) not King, who were featured on the cover of Time magazine after the march.

This Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, I pray that we continue to pursue the dream that was inspired by Jesus’ trip to the mountaintop.

In the same way that King had to learn nonviolence, we (a mostly White church) need to unlearn racism, reject privilege that keeps others down, listen to diverse voices, support struggling inner-city Black congregations, address the inequality in wages for minority pastors and follow through with our promises to become a more diverse church.

Also, if only for this holiday, let’s remember the names and faces long forgotten who did the behind the scenes logistics work so that King could inspire the nation.

We remember Rustin and the women in the front of the March on Washington who told King that he should tell the crowd about his dream, after he pulled out a different speech.

And while we’re at it, let’s give thanks for the people who work behind the scenes in our congregations, like the faithful people who make coffee, clean toilets and set up the altar.

I hope you’ll also remember that King was a human, he made mistakes and he learned from them.

His humanity is important to remember, because it means that we, too, despite our failures, missteps and contradictions, can share the gospel, inspire others, cause change beyond our lifetime and find hope in the darkest of times.