March 30, 2021 Rector Letter - The Rev Regan Schutz
During my discernment process last year, I spent hours poring over every inch of Christ Church’s online presence. As I prayed and listened for God’s direction, I wanted to know everything I could about Christ Church and all of you. The call—which eventually became deafening in the best possible way—gonged loud and clear when I found this passage on the About Us webpage:
“At 4:00 p.m. on September 19, 1894, the cornerstone of the building was laid, and the Gothic-style building was begun. The spring of 1896 saw the completion of the building with the exception of the organ and stained glass windows. During the building process Captain Hinde and his wife decided to give the building to the parish as a memorial to their beloved only child Camilla, who had died at a very young age. The loan to the Church was canceled and a bronze tablet memorializing little Camilla was ordered.”
Here was a church literally given for the glory of God to honor a child: I knew I was home. Webpage after webpage, I could see this story being told through the ages: the almost 60-year-old day school, the long-standing emphasis on deep enriching programming for children and youth, the advent of Camp Create, Camp Stevens connections . . . it was all right there. From its very foundation, an important part of Christ Church’s identity has been to honor children.
Carrying forward this integral piece of Christ Church’s character, my last two parish asks have centered on serving children. My Christmas offering was a request for financial aid for the day school to serve the children who spend five days a week on our Christ Church campus. My Installation Ingathering ask was for books by and about people of color for Coronado’s Little Free Library system to support our day school’s fundraiser and to serve the children in our island community. My Easter offering request moves us out of Coronado to focus on our Diocesan children and their neighborhood friends.
About three weeks ago I popped over to St. Luke’s North Park to visit their campus and to meet the incredible people carrying forward Christ’s mission of love and healing in that area of our Diocese. The campus was busy and full—people coming, people going, people planning, people working, people serving, people being served. While Mtr. Laurel built special Holy Week to-go kits with the makings for an East African donut called zalabia, Fr. Colin took me on a tour. All the people doing all the things, he explained, were St. Luke’s folks and community partners making around-the-clock use of St. Luke’s fabulous facility—which they continue to growth and remodel—and its ideal location.
Just as we were finishing our tour, we stepped into St. Luke’s sanctuary. Spread throughout this sacred space were about twenty children lounging comfortably on the floor and across pews . . . all of them staring into laptops. Indeed, it was a sacred scene! For here, St. Luke’s had transformed the most beautiful and opulent space on their campus into a place for distance-learning children to come together to be supervised, loved on, and served snacks and lunch during school Zoom hours. It was a Learning Pod.
When distance-learning continued on much longer than anyone first thought, St. Luke’s realized that working parents with essential jobs could not simply “work from home.” Instead, they were having to leave their children at home alone for upwards of 12-14 hours at time. During those hours, children were not only caring for themselves—but the school district expected them to log themselves into Zoom to “attend” school and to get their homework done, too. This is simply too much to ask of any child.
So St. Luke’s acted. They created a Learning Pod: a place for children to gather safely to attend online school with snack circles and lunch and a big, beautiful garden for percussion classes during non-Zoom times. As I left, the children were headed into garden, beckoned by a man with the drum, his own toddler dancing away next to him. I will be honest—it took my breath away. What an outstanding example of seeing a need and showing up with the love of Jesus in a whole new way. What an outstanding example of honoring children.
“The love of Jesus in a whole new way” is what Easter is all about—and it is a love that grows. What started out as just a gathering of St. Luke’s children has now become a neighborhood affair serving people beyond their congregation. And RefugeeNet is working quickly to set up another Learning Pod based on St. Luke’s successful model.
Honoring children is part of who we are as Christ Church. This Easter, I invite you to honor our Diocesan children by making a gift for to pass on to our siblings in Christ at St. Luke’s North Park. It is my great hope that our funding will help St. Luke’s continue to respond quickly to emerging needs. May this season of Action in Easter be all about “the love of Jesus in a whole new way!”
Mother Regan Schutz