Padre Mickey’s got the hagiography up, and it’s a good story. Go and read it if you’re not familiar with this saint.
This hits me in several places where I live, because this last week I’ve taken on a co-chair of St. Thatguy the Dude’s 90th Birthday Yearlong Celebration. And we’re kicking it off on Feb. 13th, 2009 with a big ol’ feast for St. Absalom Jones. CRAP! I HAVE ONE YEAR TO PLAN!
I hesitate a lot to talk about St. Thatguy the Dude here because anyone with half a brain and a malicious bone in their body could figure it out… small, predominantly and historically black church in
McWhiteville Portland, Oregon.
Okay, I’m exagerrating the ethnic makeup of Portland. SLIGHTLY.
But part of my co-chair is something that gives me great joy: unfettered access to the parish archives. I did the Researcher Dance of Joy in the office when I came across a stack of typewritten pages, someone in the early 80s had combed 70 years of the Oregon Churchman newspaper and typed up citations and in most cases the complete article.
But the first part of my parish’s story is echoed in St. Absalom’s– St. Thatguy the Dude started when, in the words of one of the Elders of our congregation, “There was a mutual agreement with [other parish] and the immigrants from the West Indes that the immigrants would find a new place to worship.”
St. Absalom faced that situation in 1787. The fathers and mothers of St. Thatguy the Dude Episcopal Church faced that situation in 1919.
How can I end this post? Here’s the collect.
Set us free, heavenly Father, from every bond of prejudice and fear; that, honoring the steadfast courage of your servant Absalom Jones, we may show forth in our lives the reconciling love and true freedom of the children of God, which you have given us in your Son our Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.