Sex sells. Well, let’s hope it does.

Flowers are what contain the reproductive organs for a plant. Their bright colors and scents draw birds and bees to them to suck their sweet nectar. In going from blossom to blossom, they spread the pollen to fertilize other flowers. I named this piece “Sex” in honor of the time honored tradition of speaking of the birds and the bees; also in hopes that, true to form, it would sell.

The overall dimensions are 24″ x 24″. It will be printed on canvas with a handcrafted frame in the colors shown, for $600. FOB TKJ. This is a limited edition. A maximum of ten will be made. All sales help keep the ministry among the homeless alive.

sex



My Wildest Dreams

I started to put together a wish list before Christmas, but everything takes so much longer for me these days. Plus, it just didn’t feel right, you know, my mother’s voice in my head is a powerful thing. We were taught never to ask for what we wanted for Christmas or birthdays, but to be surprised and grateful for whatever we received. Of course, in my eyes, my mom was the best gift giver ever! She was so in tune with what I liked. Only one time did she buy me something I did not like. It turns out, she did not like it either, but she did it because of my joining an ultra-conservative Baptist church. It was a perfectly hideous, dark blue, sharkskin suit. She was so happy when I wanted to exchange it.

At any rate, this is for the ministry. At this point, we need everything if we are going to continue. Next month will mark the completion of our 26th year in ministry. There was a time about 18 years ago, we had a couple of men who had been involved in military logistics and procurement. They had peculiar gifts for locating and bargaining for whatever one needed and wanted to donate their skills to TKJ. I put the word out to some of the ministries in the city and told them to give us their wish lists including their wildest and craziest desires. Rev. Ora Love giggled and asked, “Really? Can I get an electric golf cart?” Within a week, we delivered an electric golf cart to her office in Richard Allen Homes for her to cart around her books for the GED and literacy classes. So now, I am going to share with you all of my wild and crazy wish list. I will further preface this by saying that, if you know how we have lived for the last 30 years, you will know that our house is a staging area for the ministry. Bags and boxes of clothes or cups or stacks of blankets may be found in our living room or kitchen at any given time. Our barn is filled with furniture waiting to go to people moving off the street. The office for the ministry is in what would be the dining room.

So here goes:

  • $1,450/month more in monthly pledges. We currently have $550/month. The smallest is $5. The largest is $120. Whatever is comfortable for you: Paypal, recurring debit from credit union or bank, check by mail. This would allow us to be secure in ministry, and expand services.
  • IMMEDIATE NEED: Four months mortgage payments & late fees to avoid foreclosure, so The King’s Jubilee doesn’t lose it’s base of operations. $6,000
  • Work crews to finish the barn; as well as some of the building materials. Our barn was to be our office and storage area for the pantry, as well as the prep kitchen for Thursday nights. We have a lot done. Then I got hospitalized with infections, then strokes and migraines and the infection ate into my spine, etc., leaving me disabled. This would help multiply the ministry both in Philadelphia and in the Bucks-Mont area.
  • Nissan Taxi. The TKJ mobile is 10-1/2 years old. It still works well. We find that we are cramped most of the time. The Nissan Taxi or that sized Nissan van with five passengers and luggage behind would be ideal for our hauling needs for the nights we serve and for helping set up new households, when people move off the street. We don’t know the price or even if Nissan is able to sell us one. ;) I have stopped in to talk to them, because the proper time to shop for a new car is always when one can’t even afford to fill the gas tank.
  • IMMEDIATE NEED: Money to inspect the TKJ-mobile, which probably means new tires. It is out of inspection now. So we are counting on the police not noticing. The last two weeks meals were paid for partly by what little bit of credit we have left on a Visa card.
  • Drivers. I can’t drive at night, due to damage done from strokes. We have a few. At times, they are all busy with work, or ill, and I have to scramble. It helps if you are a somewhat aggressive driver and are comfortable with city driving, have an eclectic taste in music and a good sense of humor.
  • Friends. One would think this would not need explaining. Alas, it does. Jesus said, “There is a friend that sticks closer than a brother.” You don’t find one by just sitting next to one at church. Paul clarified in Ephesians 4 that we grow together when we go out into the world and do actual works of service together.

PedroThank you for whatever you can do to help fulfill my wildest dreams. They are all to serve the poor and homeless in Jesus’ Name, which means according to his will, with dignity and respect.

By the way, if we get the taxi, it will be painted orange with The King’s Jubilee stickers on it and no taxi sign.



Stained Glass

eyesonfireI just finished another art design. This one evolved as I worked on it. It is my most complex design to date. The meaning became more clear as I continued to work on it. It consists of only one daylily blossom, shaped and spun, then repeated over and over again.

They are arranged in rows and in circles, almost resembling crosses. I added stripes of translucent colors forming a plaid to accentuate a sense of regimentation, and further enforcing the image of uniformity, which is so contrary to the nature of daylilies and to disciples of Jesus. The circles frame the daylilies dancing (or doing drills in formation), giving an appearance of life. Life is not this uniform and regimented. Life is variegated and tends to be messy. I placed these in a Gothic church window frame.

The end result is a bright, beautiful window to communicate some dark truth. It is said that the most segregated hours of the week are Sunday morning. Churches tend to organize by race, ethnicity, social class, political leanings, even music preference. It only gets worse once the denominational and the so-called non-denominational teaching starts. Which “movement” are you in? Evangelical, Mainline, Reformed, Emergent, Post-Christian, Charismatic, etc., ad nauseum. So each group enforces their niche as being either the place where the Spirit is moving now, or the One True Church, and the flowers start to spin and get to looking more and more alike. Some open up and enjoy this. Some close up and just conform the best they can.

There’s activity. There’s God-talk. There are plenty of happy like-minded people to reinforce the truth one’s itching ears want to hear. There is beauty. What could be wrong? Religion has been reduced to a consumer product. Only adherents are quite a bit more zealous than drinkers of Coke or Pepsi, and have a lot more at stake. Both Jesus and Paul demonstrated and taught diversity of gifts and ministries. It is seen all through nature. Our churches have squelched this in favor of neat, corporate, top down structures to keep people in line, not cause trouble, and don’t interfere with the revenue stream.This is not how the church turned the world upside down in the first century.

Help us turn the world upside down. We are not interested in playing church, but if you want to DO church with the unique talents which you have, we can have such fun! We are talking liberation, revolution, equality, the universal brotherhood of humanity; the high places made low, and the valleys exalted! The stained glass window for that is truly wild and beautiful! I will make that one of my summer projects.

This will be available as a 30″ tall window. Pricing and additional specs upon request.



Another 28 Hours

The statistic is that every 28 hours a young black man is killed by police in this country. This has been going on for years. Now thanks to Twitter bringing Michael Brown’s execution in Ferguson to national attention, we have been hearing and seeing the others in rapid succession. But know this, this is not anything new! This has been going on for decades, perhaps for centuries. This is why black people give you a funny look whenever a white person says something stupid like: “Racism is over.” or “We don’t need the Voting Rights Act any more.” or “Aren’t you glad for the work of MLK and you don’t have to worry about discrimination anymore?” etc.

martinWell, it’s Christmas Eve. I should be posting a fine Christmas story of hope and joy. I’m sorry. I’m sitting here with tears down my cheeks, feeling like a foreigner in my native country. When does this stop? Christmas Eve’s victim is Antonio Martin of Berkeley, MO.

Antonio Martin has been shot and killed in Berkeley, MO, a black teen by a white cop, who had a body cam, but wasn’t wearing it. He left it in the car. He had a cruiser cam, but turned it off. They claim this video shows him raising a gun. I defy you to pick out a gun from this video. The cops maced the woman taking the video, so it seems they didn’t want it documented. They felt a need to hide what they were doing. There are cameras on the store, closer to the incident. The police aren’t releasing those. It took 30 minutes for Antonio to bleed out and die. In that time, lots of police came to the scene, but not one ambulance! He could have been saved. The police would not even let his mother comfort him, but forced him to die alone.

White privilege says, if only they would behave themselves, they wouldn’t get themselves killed. The cops were called because a couple of black kids robbed the station. Is robbing a station a capital offense? Do we know these were the kids who did it? Where is due process? Where is the jury of one’s peers? Where is the judge? Is it up to the cop to just show up and start shooting black kids, and that satisfies justice? I notice there is no mention of stolen money recovered.

One every 28 hours. It can happen with no provocation. It can happen  when one just opens the door. It can happen in the middle of the night in a home invasion. What effect do you think that has had on black men growing up in the US? Could this be why I hear so many white men complain about their “attitude”? Think about this. What if you were in a situation where you needed help from a policeman, but you were afraid if you approached him, he was more likely to frisk and arrest you than to help you? What if you grew up in a neighborhood where half of the men were convicted of a felony, had done or were doing hard time in prison and had permanently lost their right to vote by the time they were 30?

It’s time to wake up.

Here’s the video the police did not want to show you, where the truth is revealed, which was also testified to by multiple witnesses. He had a cell phone in his hand, not a gun. Also, he was at the station with his girlfriend. Who holds up a station with a guy partner with his girlfriend along?



Turkey Royale

On Thursday, December 18, I was moving pretty slowly. I was so tired from Wednesday. I don’t know if it’s the medications, the pain, the CPTSD, or the kidney disease that makes me so tired and sleepy, but most days it is hard to stay awake for more than two hours in a row. So I planned a fairly simple soup this week; simple to make, that is. It had very interesting and complex flavor notes. We served all of it, yet added very little hot sauce or salt and pepper to it for our customers. Here’s the recipe.

Start by baking an 18 pound turkey in a covered roasting pan with about 3 inches of water in it with about a tablespoon of ground ginger in it. I use an oven with a probe, so I set that to 170º and let it go past it to about 174°.

Once that is halfway done, get your food processor, canner, 22 quart stock pot, old hand towel, and the rest of your ingredients out:

  • 2 quarts homemade Turkey Broth
  • 1-3/4 cups Royal Purple Rice aka Black Rice aka Havasta
  • Olive Oil
  • ~ 4 sticks of Celery
  • 1 pound Carrots
  • 2 Red Onions
  • 2 Yellow Onions
  • 2 Fennel
  • 3 inches Fresh Turmeric
  • 2 inches Fresh Ginger
  • 1 pound Radishes w/o greens
  • 1 oz. fresh Parsley
  • Mixed Peppercorn grinder
  • 1 Tablespoon Ground Coriander
  • 1 Tablespoon Ground Turmeric
  • 1 Tablespoon Ground Star Anise

When the turkey is about halfway done, place the homemade turkey broth in the 22 quart stock pot and begin to heat it up. Mine was frozen. That’s why I said, place. Start the rice. I use a simple rice cooker. Pour in some olive oil. Add the black rice, then a Tablespoon of turmeric, then the appropriate amount of water. It takes a little more water than brown rice.

Throw the Fresh Ginger and Fresh Turmeric into the blender and pulverize it, until they are as fine as you can get them. Cut the carrots into 3 inch lengths and throw them into the blender or Ninja chopper bowl with the ginger and Turmeric. Hit Pulse a few times, until the carrots are all bite size or smaller, but not pureed. Dump into stock pot. It may take a few loads to get all the carrots. Then do the same for the onions, including the parsley with one of the loads. Similarly chop the celery, the fennel, including the feathery tops, and, finally the radishes. Rinse out the blender or Ninja bowl with hot water and ad that to the stock pot. You should be stirring this every time you add something.

When the turkey is done, drain all the liquid into the stock pot and leave the turkey on the counter to cool until you are able to tear it up to put it into the soup. Add the Coriander and the Star Anise and ~ 1 Tablespoon fine ground, mixed Peppercorns. Stir. Get your canner and place your old hand towel, folded in half, in the bottom of it. Put about 2-1/2″ hot tap water into it. Place the stock pot into the canner and move it onto the burner. Now you have a giant double boiler, so as long as there is water in the canner, it is impossible for you to burn the soup. Take a teapot or measuring cup and fill the canner to about 2″ shy of the top for maximum heat transference without it bubbling over. Keep the cover on the stock pot as much as possible.

As soon as the turkey is barely cool enough to handle, rip it up and add it to the soup, stirring it in frequently. On the first dip under, the meat will appear green. After a few more dips, it will appear brown or purple. It is not a pretty soup. It is ideal for serving in the dark. So right around the winter solstice, outdoors, is ideal. It is very tasty! And nutritious. The wild purple royal rice has a lightly sweet flavor. It actually has been known to lower blood sugar in some people. It is so named because it was reserved for royalty in China. The earthy turmeric actually draws out this flavor and is a powerful anti-inflammatory, which improves liver function, can replace Lipitor, fight arthritis, diabetes, and 40 other ailments. Ginger is also a powerful anti-inflammatory with some of the same effects and an added benefit of preventing migraines. Anise and fennel are good for the digestion and the teeth and gums. Coriander is especially good for the kidneys and the bladder. The rice, also known as black rice, has more flavonoids  ounce for ounce than blueberries, so it is great for fighting or preventing cancer. These are all great things for people who have limited access to regular healthcare.

billTedWe realize that one meal in the week is not a solution. We publish these recipes in the hope that we can raise the bar for others serving and, perhaps set the pace. I would hope as we have learned more about diet and health, we have improved our own diets and the way we cook for ourselves. This just comes under the Golden Rule: to do for others as we would have done unto us. Or as Bill and Ted said it: “Be excellent to each other! And party on, Dudes!”

And it was a party. Bethann & I are on the verge of being foreclosed on again. When we went down there, we had nothing in our or TKJ’s bank accounts. The only money in my wallet was committed to help someone else with their rent. We gave away hundreds of sandwiches, 21 quarts of soup that was really stew, a cabbage potato side, spaghetti, loads of hard boiled eggs, oranges, bananas, Girl Scout made cupcakes, ice tea, peanuts in the shell, goodies, underwear, coats, socks, and blankets. We received word from a grinning Grigory that his son was back from the Ukraine alive! He doesn’t have to go back until March. We were rejoicing with tears of joy together. (There are worse places to be than homeless on the streets of Philadelphia.) Rashawn reminded me to buy him a cake for his birthday next week. I told him, No, I will build him one!

I am so thankful for the families that faithfully make sandwiches every week, or once a month. I am so thankful for the people who donate regularly to make what we do possible each week. I am so thankful for all the people who bailed us out this year when we were going to lose our house. I am so grateful for the people who have not given up on me, or at least, have decided not to punish the homeless on my account.

The last two Thursdays, I had people lined up who were coming, who I was pretty much counting on to drive. They clean forgot. I understand that. I have done that with fairly important appointments. These days, I miss an average of one doctor’s appt. per month. I’ve had six strokes and I never used calendars before. Both weeks, we had a driver show up, so, no problem. On Thursday morning, I felt like I didn’t want to go. I was just that tired. I had to finish making a Christmas gift to bring along to deliver, as well. I got kind of a late start to the day. Then the pace picked up, and it was so worth it! For me, it is unthinkable to miss a week going down if I can at all make it. It’s what I was made for! I understand if this is not your cup of tea, yet you are willing to fill in here and there. Not everyone can be crazy like me. I am too stupid to be afraid in just about any situation. I am comfortable around all kinds of people, in all kinds of mental states. But I don’t have the patience to faithfully make loaves of sandwiches for people I don’t even see week after week after week. That is a real gift of hospitality! I don’t have a means of earning the money to support this ministry or the work I do for it. But I enjoy giving your alms away for you.

I’ve rambled long enough. Thank you for supporting the ministry to those of you who do. We need much more if we are to continue to serve with the quality we have grown accustomed to.

Please consider a year end gift and a monthly automatic donation.

Peace.



Tindley Temple UMC Soup Kitchen Christmas Party on a Wing and a Prayer

I guess the headline should really read “on Chase Visa” since we put most of the socks and underwear on our personal credit card since we didn’t have enough cash to buy them in time for the party.  Money had been given but it takes several days for it to process from Paypal into TKJ’s checking account. Tuesday, Bethann & I went to our least favorite discount store and cleaned them out of men’s tube socks and severely depleted their shelf supply of tighty whities. Sorry guys, boxers are just too expensive for us and to offer the choice too complicated. Then we got a pack each of 4 different sizes of women’s panties and four packs of socks. This came to $329.

Anthony McNeal
Anthony McNeal

The people of St. Michael the Archangel Orthodox Church gathered several dozen sets of underwear and socks and some T-shirts. Early Wednesday, 6:30am, I drove down to Tindley Temple in south Philly, picking up Anthony McNeal on the way. Anthony began to help cook. I began to sort and bag the socks and underwear. A few of the students from the neighborhood school, who were there to serve the meal, sorted and bagged the women’s socks and underwear. Liz, a volunteer from the church, helped me bag more of the men’s. We got done and set up just before the people started arriving for their lunch of fried chicken and all the trimmings.  Attendance was kind of low there this year, so we had lots of underwear and socks to give out on Thursday night. I left there about 2pm. It was hard work, but great fun with the old ladies who keep that place running. The men and women really appreciated the socks and underwear. There were also just the right number of pairs of gloves that people requested. They were so happy!

Bob Lutzick
Bob Lutzick

I headed further south to Bob Lutzick’s house near 3rd & Snyder to pick up coats and blankets and a microwave which he had gathered for TKJ, He gave me a tour of his icons and we had a cup of tea. Bob is such an encouraging, generous, and humble guy. And he has a whack sense of humor, too. One would almost think he was from MN. From there, I stopped by Tindley again, to see if I could give Anthony a ride home. He was not done cleaning up. They had to be especially thorough, since the kitchen was going to be closed for a couple of weeks. He didn’t get out of there until after 5. So I continued on home.

Traffic on Broad St. and on 309 North was ridiculous. It took forever. Bethann got worried, since it got dark, and I was out driving. I don’t see so well with headlights in my eyes. They make my eyes hurt and unable to see the darker areas close to the car. I compensate for this  by wearing my funky sunglasses at night. I arrived home after 5pm, exhausted, but happy.

Thank you for your support and your prayers.



Christmas Events 2014

socksChristmas would hardly be Christmas without new socks and underwear! It’s a guy thing. Dads expect it. What  else is there to buy them? After all, most men just buy whatever they need or want whenever they want to. Well, middle class and up men, that is. For the last few years, we have had the privilege of bringing the joy of new socks and underwear to about 200 homeless men and women at Tindley Temple United Methodist Church’s Soup Kitchen’s Christmas Party. This year it is on Wednesday, December 17, at noon. That is only 9 days away. We need to raise about $500 to make this happen. We prefer money, so we can go shopping and get all the proper range of sizes to meet the need, in an orderly fashion. Then we will help serve the meal and give away these gifts along with some toiletries from the ladies auxiliary from the church.

christmas-cookiesThe following week is Christmas. Since Christmas and New Year’s Day both fall on Thursday and Friday is under-served, we are going to serve on Friday both of those weeks. On Friday, Dec. 26, we hope to bring lots of home made cookies along to give away, as a special treat, and a touch of home. So, if you bake, please make an extra plate or two for us and get it to our house by 6:30 pm,that Friday, or call me to see who else may be able to bring them down.

This is a great opportunity for younger children to come down, since it will not be a school night. We will be serving hot chocolate those nights to add to the festive atmosphere. Come join the fun! Make it a family outing!



O, me of little faith!

On Wednesday, I published a blog article in which I stated that this was going to be the first time in 16 years that we would not be able to give out dollar coins in honor of St. Nicholas for St. Nicholas’ Day. A family who read that, took it to heart and did what they could to address the situation. Thursday afternoon, $100 in rolls of dollar coins were dropped by our kitchen while I was preparing soup. I was a little nervous with just $100. The last couple of years we have distributed far more than that. I figured, we would just have to see how it goes and if it meant not giving each person $3, well we would have to adjust.

Brian, Tony and I arrived in the TKJ-mobile and unloaded the iced tea, 4 dozen hard boiled eggs, 71 PB&J sandwiches from a LaSalle High School Hockey alum, 6 loaves of ham sandwiches from Serge & Alex, 22 quarts of turkey, rice, cabbage, etc. stew from me, and bread pumpkin pudding from Miss April (All the servers raved over the smell as soon as I opened the lid. They were hoping for leftovers, but no such luck) and added them to the line on the park benches. Presvy. Joanna and Russ and Sophie were already there with peanuts, oranges, bananas, goodies and a table for the iced tea. As we got ourselves organized, Sean and Zakiyya McKelven arrived with a crew  with their ministry from Philadelphia Community Church with packs of toiletries and socks & underwear. They set up at the end of our line. McGraws arrived with more sandwiches and spaghetti. We were set to start!

I asked Sean to say the blessing. He did and we were off! It was the first week of the month and the folks who were serving at the Love Park were giving away some nice stuff, so we had a much smaller crowd than usual. I waited until everyone had gone through the line once and we had put out the clothes and blankets. I then  quietly worked my way around through the remaining people and gave each person three $1 coins telling them it was in honor of St. Nicholas’ name day on Dec. 6. It was mainly our core group who stuck around, along with with a couple of alumni, old timers who showed up for the occasion. A couple of the people even got doubles. I had $5 in dollar coins in my pocket in my personal change so that covered the last two requests, with the 100th dollar from the rolls. God provided.stnick

After I had given all the coins away and gotten all the clothes and blankets out, I saw Grigory, the Russian man. He came up to me very concerned. We have been praying for his son who is in the Russian Army, fighting in the Ukraine. He tries to call him every day. He told me he hasn’t gotten any word from him in four weeks! He fears that he is dead. He told me that Putin has reneged on paying for service members’ burials. Grigory is just beside himself. Grigory is feeling blessed to be homeless in the US rather than being betrayed in Russia. It’s just hard to know where to go with that, but I can relate on quite a personal level just now.

Mark showed up with bananas about the time Gloria asked for a blessing. She embraced me weeping. I blessed her. She  said, “My name is Gloria, rev! Now I need a real blessing. I’m in need!” So she hugged me tighter, and I hugged her and I dug deeper and I prayed and I sought a proper blessing for a drug addicted, high, street walker, who wanted to turn a new page in her life. When we were done, we were both crying. She was a bit confused, but she was thankful and happy. I told her that the only way to hold onto her blessing was to continue to make right choices, even if they are the harder ones to make. Matthew 6:33 “But seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you as well.”  A minute or two later she was asking for tokens to get home. I told her that I didn’t have any, and I didn’t have any money to buy any because I had already given it all away earlier. She asked if I knew if anyone else who had any. I said everyone in the gathering had a few dollar coins, because I had just given them to them. Well, the first person she happened to ask was Mark, who was very willing to help, but he also recognized her condition. She wasn’t making consistent sense. Mark was going to be leaving from there to go to the airport to pick up his wife, so he offered to drive her home; a much better solution.

The team had finished packing up the TKJ-mobile, etc. We headed for home, dropping off Tony & Greg at their place on the way. Brian & I got back to my place on fumes. Then Brian continued home in his car. Another successful outing. Our mortgage still isn’t paid. I still cry 24/7 for the unjust killings in the streets, but for a few hours on a Thursday night, there was no race, no gender, no us and them, no rich and poor, no suburb and city, no saved and lost, no religions, no non-religions, just people muddling through together with love and a little respect and brutal honesty. I believe that is approaching what is meant by “in Jesus’ Name.”



Writer’s Block / Depression

It’s been over a month since our 25th anniversary banquet. I have been trying to write a post about that and have made several attempts. I get to the fifth line and get stuck. It was a great evening. Rev. Bec Cranford-Smith did a great job delivering the keynote message. I know I forgot several things, which is probably a good thing, since I droned on long enough. We forgot to put out the leftover boxes for people to take extras home with them. There were plenty! I was disappointed by those who could not make it, but that did not detract at all from the joy of the company of those who did. For me personally, it was great to finally meet, in person, Bec Cranford- Smith. We had different stories of how we found each other on the web. It was obviously meant to be. We have been encouragement to each other in ministry. We have more than a name in common. We share the same zeal to serve the poor and disenfranchised; to go outside the camp to meet Jesus.

banquet1 banquet2 banquet3 banquet4 banquet5 banquet6 banquet8 banquet9 banquet10 banquet11 banquet12 banquet13 banquet15 banquet16 banquet17 banquet18 banquet19 banquet20 banquet21 banquet22 banquet23 banquet24 banquet25 banquet26 banquet27 banquet28 banquet29 banquet30 banquet31 banquet32 banquet33 banquet34 banquet35 banquet 7The last post on this blog was a nearly impossible quiz taken from the last 25 years of The King’s Jubilee. Some of the questions are light-hearted; others, not so much. I was the only one there who knew the answers to all of them. That fact is unsettling to me. Through the years, I have been on a quest, looking for the Church that Jesus established, that had authority and understood accountability. Through the years, churches kept ordaining me. I never asked for it. Let’s be real. The Episcopalian bishop ordained me to the priesthood at my infant baptism! I was ordained in absentia by proxy in a Pentecostal Holiness church I had never attended! So as I was making this journey, volunteers, friends and supporters would fall away and new ones would take their places in each different denomination. To further hinder things on the friendship and support side, I have spent most of my time and energy with inmates, ex-offenders, poor, and homeless people. So many times when I see a familiar face, I’m not sure if I met them in one of the many churches I have been to, or in one of the many prisons I have served in. If I’m looking puzzled at you, please help me out. I’ve had six or more strokes, so there are gaps in the memory. So, back on track. It is unsettling to me, because so many Christians are willing to drop you like a dead fish, if you are no longer in their denomination or parish or jurisdiction. It doesn’t matter that I have kept doing the same thing in the same way for over 25 years. It doesn’t seem to matter that we could do so much more for the poor and homeless if we had more people involved and supporting. What matters is, I left their church. They will sooner do nothing or give to secular agencies or people they don’t know at all. They will sooner give to agencies that spend a lot of money on literature and marketing and administration and overhead, because it looks like something substantial. Jesus didn’t look like anything substantial. He had “nowhere to lay his head.”

I thought I had found the church founded by Jesus Christ in the Orthodox Church. It was great under the former metropolitan and the former priest in our parish. It seemed like there was accountability and obedience and give and take in the assemblies. Then Fr. Noah came and the first thing he said to me is to put me down, even before he knew me. He felt it was his duty to humiliate parishioners. But Paul told Timothy to build up not to tear down. Then came the intentional, hurtful lies, where he lied about what Fr. Boniface supposedly said something hurtful about me to him. Fr. Boniface is my best friend in the world and he would never do that. I knew that, so this was very hurtful, in that I knew that this was cold and calculating from Fr. Noah. Then came the irrational outbursts in church over stupid little stuff. I went to the bishop. Fr. Boniface was supposed to oversee a reconciliation. It amounted to I was the one who had to suck it up. Meanwhile Fr. Noah continued to lie, continued to torment, never confessed or admitted that lying was even wrong. He said, “I can’t believe you would be upset over such a little lie.” I replied, “What upset me was just that, that you went to so much trouble to go out of your way to lie about such a little thing!” In Myron’s funeral message, he boasted that he lied to Myron to get him to the hospital when he was having a stroke. Now, instead of one of all the experiences that he could have shared that would have highlighted Myron’s good works, he chose to share this in front of our grandchildren! They came away confused. The priest just said it is OK to lie. We are Orthodox! We do not have a Jesuit ethic! If you are a true pastor, you have enough spiritual authority with your people you have no need to lie!

So Bethann wrote to Fr. Noah & Bishop Thomas. No response, except Fr. Noah quit speaking to or meeting eyes with Bethann. I emailed and called Bishop Thomas.  He did not call or email back. Instead I received a call from an archdeacon and we played phone tag for a week. Then he stopped calling back. The only thing he has said to me is, “This is not a good time to talk. Can you call me back tomorrow?” I let it sit for weeks, then I called him back again, since he never called me back. This is how the bishop handles us! I get ahold of him. He thinks he talked to me already. Nope.  He asked me what was it about, so I told him. He said he would have to check his notes when he got home, but he thought he had talked with me. I said the only thing he had said was, “This isn’t a good time. Can you call back tomorrow?” He never called back. I called Bishop Thomas and told him how his archdeacon apparently cared about as much about me and him as he cared about me. He said he wasn’t his archdeacon. I asked him one simple question: “Did you tell Fr. Noah he was not to speak to me?”

Bishop Thomas was speaking while I was asking the question, then hung up on me. This is what passes for oversight and pastoral care in the Orthodox Church.

Once again, I and my family are expendable. We don’t deserve respect or answers or to be treated civilly. We get abused and thrown under the bus. But I am not supposed to publish this. I am supposed to sit quietly by. Even though I have been told by a couple of archpriests to speak up and expose the bullies. Everything about the anti-bully  and anti-sociopath movement says to speak up and expose them. Prophet Nathan said publicly to King David, “Thou art the man!” When I came to Orthodoxy, I felt confident that I was not joining an independent Baptist church with a egomaniac, tin horn dictator for a pastor who is accountable to no one. Effectively, that is what I have found. Like anywhere in America these days, you get what you pay for in US Dollars.

What a sham! What a shame!

We were the largest family at St. Philip’s, involved in everything, at every service. Happy to be there! Arrived early, left late, because we wanted to be there. Then Fr. Put-Down came with his legalism and guilt trips and his lies and his duties and burdens and demands for honor and his manipulation. No grace. Not an inkling of understanding of the Gospel of Grace. Always speaking, never listening. Fits of rage. None of us is happy to be there any more. I can’t be near Noah without risking another stroke, literally.

We love the people. The people are gifted, kind and generous. This is what I said in the last post where I wrote about this, as well. They are being mislead.

People will give me grief about this posting. Again, I will ask you: have I stopped serving the homeless? Have I lessened the quality of the food we give away? Ask the men and women we serve! Our food is nutritionally superior to anything else they are served during the week. I wish that were not the case. Ask Brownie about how we stood by him and his friends when they were on the street, when they were in prison, when they moved off the street, when they suffered loss. We serve for you in Jesus’ Name. That is, if you support us.

If you don’t want us to continue. If you want me to shrink away and die, because of some lying priest and cowardly bishop, well so be it! I have Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from this mistreatment from clergy here and prior. I have kidney disease and damaged spine (with continual pain) from complications from an infection picked up from the street. This, with the stress of the attacks from Noah and Mayor Nutter (with no moral support from the church) set off complex migraines, which caused several strokes, which have left me with photophobia, occasional word salad, and a continual risk of more strokes and further damage. This all caused my business to fail. So we have no regular income. Of what we do get, almost all goes to the homeless. I’m still waiting for my hearing for SSDI. Bethann graduated top of her class from business school for medical administration and is looking for work.

Sorry this isn’t your sunshiny, hopeful, give $10 a month and you can save the world kind of post. I had to get this out of me before I could go on. People are hurting. Racism is real. There are many people who have no bootstraps by which to pull themselves up. Genocide in Gaza is real. It is brutal. It is paid for by US tax dollars. My eyes cry involuntarily 24/7. My therapist and I have talked about this. I told her I would like it to stop. We talked on a few occasions about this. She finally said to me that my crying was not irrational like most of her clients. I cry for the homeless, for genocide in Gaza, for the millions killed by US corporations polluting overseas, for the black men who police kill every 28 hours in this country, for the homeless, for the LGBT youth whose parents evict them, for the addicts who can’t get treatment, for the children forced into sex-slavery or soldiery, for the poor soldiers on all sides who are fighting for the interests of rich men, for battered women, for veterans’ wives and families trying to cope, for the lost boys of the Sudan, for Myanmar, for Iraq & Syria. Oh, to live in a world without news!

I care. I cry. I guess my tears are my unworthy form of intercession. I am not giving up! Our house is three months behind on mortgage again. I had to find a credit card we had paid off to pay to get the phones and internet back on yesterday. This Thursday will be the first time in 16 years that we will not give away dollar coins in honor of St. Nicholas on the first week of December, but we will be there with a hearty meal, God willing, to serve between 150 to 200 people, with panache!

If you want to be part of this, use the donate button or mail a check or give a call or email and see how you can get involved. If you don’t, I will move on and find a new set of friends.



TKJ 25th Anniversary Quiz

At the celebration, we are going to have a quiz during the appetizers and ice-breaker time. I’m publishing it now to give those who pay attention a running head start. It doesn’t seem fair, does it? That is one of life’s hard lessons: life just isn’t fair. Get used to it. I am pretty sure that all of the answers to these questions can be found on this blog. Some may take some calculating. Here goes.

  1. Who was the first person to donate to The King’s Jubilee?
  2. What does the official TKJ tour to Philadelphia sound like?
  3. What does TKJ MEBI stand for?
  4. What is a Victory Party?
  5. Who is Rosie the redhead?
  6. How many TKJ volunteers’ weddings did Cranford perform?
  7. What is the highest number of cities and towns TKJ had ministries operating in at any given time?
  8. What is a Power Pack?
  9. Who is Lois Erickson?
  10. What is the chief duty of the person riding shotgun in the TKJ-mobile?
  11. Who is Alex the Albanian?
  12. What is the most important piece of equipment to the person riding shotgun in the TKJ-mobile (especially if Cranford is driving)?
  13. What is the “minor peanut butter miracle”?
  14. Where is the Kingdom of God?

So, if you get to work on this ahead of the banquet, great! It’s really not intended so much as a competition as a learning experience. Have fun!



serving the homeless, promoting justice, in Jesus' Name

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