May 2012 Archives

Spirit Dojo Karate News: Part III

By The Rev. Allen Breckenridge

In the manner of the old Victorian serial short stories by Charles Dickens & more recent writers like Tom Wolfe & Eric Kraft

Two weeks ago you read the story of Liz Durham's "interesting shopping encounter" and I posed some questions for you:

What do you think was going on? How would you have dealt with this dilemma? What was the turning point in the story? And where did faith play a role in this incident?


Here are my thoughts and possible learnings to take away. Please note that students address one another and the instructors with last names and Sir/Ma'am out of respect.

Mrs. Durham's very interesting encounter illustrated how some self-defense training and mental/physical conditioning can enable one to engage situations that might call for a choice: Do I get involved and help despite the potential threat? How do I engage someone without escalating the situation? Do I feel confident to be tested in this moment?

While we don't know the details of the persons' strange and seemingly threatening behavior, we do know what did happen. Elizabeth rose to the moment and made an ethical choice. She paid attention to her intuition which kept everyone, including herself, safe. Without offending anyone involved, she acted as an engaged witness and removed the element of surprise by addressing the stiuation directly. She gained personal insight and made a difference in several peoples lives by trying to do the right thing as guided by her conscience, courage and faith. And Elizabeth has been a witness by reflecting faithfully on her experience and sharing a bit of her story with others. No doubt, prayer and the abiding presence of Jesus supported her throughout this experience.

Needless to say, I advanced Elizabeth to first stripe on her beginner's white belt as she left class...for now! We bid Elizabeth farewell for a while, thank her for sharing a bit of her story, and look forward to her return in the winter. God-speed and safe travels, Mrs. Durham!

If you'd like to learn more about these classes, our philosophy and system of training, and possible ways this program might benefit you, a member of your family or friends, please join us and check out the Spirit Dojo's offerings, Monday and Wednesdays, from 5:30 - 6:30 p.m. in the Parish Hall. Call me at 808-4073 or email at TheSpiritDojo@msn.com.

Volunteer Spotlight: Nan Hannan, May 20, 2012

nan-hannan.jpgHow long have you been a member of Grace St. Paul's?
Six years. I remember that our first service was on Ash Wednesday.

Which service do you attend regularly?
The 10:00 am Sunday service.

Why do you attend GSP?
We really connect with GSP's active social ministry. When we first arrived at GSP we were already active with the St. Andrew's Clinic in Nogales and wanted to find a church that reflected the same interest in outreach.

What GSP ministries are you involved with?
I work with the vision department at St. Andrew's the first Thursday of every month. I'm a member of the prayer shawl ministry, and Chuck and I are co-chairs of the Altar Guild. I'm in the 3rd year of the four year EfM program, and I used to be an usher.

How long have you been volunteering with the Altar Guild?
Two years.

What does volunteering for the Altar Guild involve?
The time commitment is minimal: every 3 weeks one hour on Saturday morning and then maybe an hour on Sunday. We prepare the altar, the chalices, and bread and wine for services. We also make the church ready for weddings and funeral services. We make sure the linens are clean, we fill the candles with oil, prepare holy water, and we clean the brass plates used for the offeratory. And, of course, we clean up after the service - washing items and returning them so they're ready for the following week.

Why do you volunteer?
I like to give back. I was brought up that way; my parents both did a lot for their community. My mother is 100 years old and she is still actively involved with organizations she cares about. I want to help the church in a tangible way. I enjoy working with the different folks who volunteer with me.

What prompted you to begin volunteering?
I was asked! Pat Greenman asked me to join her. What's really nice about working with the Altar Guild is that we work as teams so we have a chance to get to know each other. We have two men who volunteer so it's not just a gaggle of women!

What was your professional job?
I worked in mortgage lending. I retired in 1994 long before the mortgage crisis hit. I'm grateful I left before the crisis hit; it would have really upset me to work with so many people whose homes were being foreclosed upon.

Can you tell us something about yourself that people would be surprised to know?
I spent my junior year in high school at a Benedictine boarding school. The high school I attended my first two years had lots of cliques and I didn't enjoy the experience. When the diocese opened the boarding school I jumped at the chance. I decided to leave after one year, though, because it wasn't yet accredited and I wanted to graduate from an accredited high school to better my chances for college admissions.
Chuck and I were married by the bishop of Wisconsin.

Can you tell us something about which you're really proud?
I'm really proud of my children. My oldest son graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis in 1991. Watching him graduate was a really proud moment! He met Hillary Clinton last week! He's currently a Senior Fellow at Atlanta Counsel.
Our other son, Andrew, is working on his Masters degree at San Jose State in library sciences. Our daughter, Julie, is starting a pharmacy tech program at Pima Medical Institute.

What other interests do you enjoy?
Knitting is #1. I also love to bike and read. We bike in our neighborhood and because it's hilly we get a good workout. I like history and travel subject, as well as mysteries.

Sermon - Fr. Keplinger - May 20, 2012

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Revised Common Lectionary for Seventh Sunday in Easter (Year B)

Sermon - Rev. Debbie Royals - May 13, 2012

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Revised Common Lectionary for Sixth Sunday of Easter (Year B)

All You Need is Love (YouTube)

Sermon - Fr. Keplinger - May 6, 2012

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Revised Common Lectionary for Fifth Sunday in Easter (Year B)

UCC Ejector Seat Commercial (YouTube)

Sermon - Rev. Anne Sawyer - April 29, 2012

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Revised Common Lectionary for Fourth Sunday in Easter (Year B)

phoebe-goodwin.jpgHow long have you been a member of Grace St. Paul's?
I think since 2003. I visited one Sunday and saw someone I had been trying to connect with since moving to Tucson from Boston. When I saw her I thought, "Hey! This must be a great congregation since she is here." I didn't realize then that it was her first visit to GSP, too.

Which service do you attend regularly?
The 10:00 am Sunday service.

Why do you attend GSP?
I'm a cradle Episcopalian. When I came to Tucson I shopped around and discovered that I want the liturgy to be traditional enough so that I feet at home but progressive enough so it isn't stuffy.

What GSP ministries are you involved with?
I'm an usher and co-chair of the hospitality ministry.

How long have you been volunteering as an usher?
2 or 3 years. Time flies when you're having fun and I've lost track!

What does volunteering as an usher involve?
I volunteer about every six weeks and we work in teams of four people. We greet people as they enter the church. I really like this part of the work because I get to know people better. We hand them bulletins and pay attention to the order of the service (because we present the offerings and the bread and the wine). The best part is that we get to ring the bell at the start and end of each service!

Why do you volunteer?
Because it's fun! And it's a great way to be connected with the community at GSP. We're all in this together; we all need to give as much as we receive.

What prompted you to begin volunteering as an usher?
Kathy and Michael Allen were determinedly persuasive. I'm glad they were because it's been a wonderful thing. That's how I get involved with most of what I'm involved with... Kathy and Michael Allen. So far each experience has been a good one....

What is your professional job?
I teach chemistry and math at San Miguel High School. I have the best job in the world! I get to listen and talk to students every day. I love that it's totally unpredictable; it's not remotely boring. I also appreciate that there's a re-set button at the beginning of each year.

Can you tell us something about yourself that people would be surprised to know?
I became a teacher while learning to speak Wolof! I served for almost 3 years as a Peace Corps Volunteer in West Africa in The Gambia. I went there to work as an agriculture and forestry volunteer but also got involved with teaching 6th grade science. I fell in love with that job and it's why I became a teacher.
My original plan was to work in a lab to try to cure cancer. After teaching, though, I realized teaching would allow me to encourage many more people to go out and do great things. Every day I'm grateful I made the decision to teach instead of do research.
In 1998 I rode my bicycle down the west coast with a friend. We started in Seattle, then went up and around the Olympic Peninsula and down the coasts of Washington, Oregon, and California to San Francisco. It took all of April and most of May.

Can you tell us something about which you're particularly proud?
I'm proud of being a good teacher. I work really hard and I'm proud of how that pays off in the classroom.

What other interests do you enjoy?
I'm a serious reader of non-fiction and I'm a devoted library girl.

If you are interested in learning more about serving as an usher please contact Marilyn Abraham through the Parish Office.

Spirit Dojo Karate News: Part II

By The Rev. Allen Breckenridge

In the manner of the old Victorian serial short stories by Charles Dickens & more recent writers like Tom Wolfe & Eric Kraft

Last week in the GSP news we heard a bit of a testimonial from one of our karate students, Mrs. Elizabeth Durham, who's dedication to class and inspiring spirit are much missed around these parts since she returned to home base in Canada for a while. We promised you a bit of a story this week of a dilema she recently found herself facing in a situation that was challenging, somewhat threatening, and which called forth a balanced approach in her reactions.

Last week Liz Durham started her story and left us with the following statement..."I have also found myself being more assertive than in the past. I find myself less often saying "I should have..." or, "I wish I had..." or "I wanted to say..." Now the rest of the story!

I was doing a lengthy round of errands on March 7th, and I made my last stop at 7:15 p.m. at a small Middle Eastern grocery. As I entered the store a young woman held the door for me. Once inside, she started acting strangely, walking aimlessley throughout the store and talking on her cell phone. She asked the clerk the store's address and then gave it to the person on the other end of the phone. As I paid for my items, she stood at the counter asking odd questions and generally acting as if she were delaying her departure. When I left, she followed me.

As I exited I saw a pickup truck in the alley which had been there the whole time. The woman opened the truck door and spoke to the driver. I thought this all seemed fishy, so I sat in my car and pretended to adjust my radio. I decided to go back into the store and act as if I had forgotten something. Once inside I warned the two clerks. We all wondered why she had given the store's address to the person on the phone when the truck had been parked outside the entire time. I suggested they close the store, as it was just ten minutes to closing time.

As I turned to leave, a young man entered the store. He wore a grey hoodie and appeared to be poking something in his front pocket. I told him, "They're closed." He said, "All I want is a napkin." I said ,"They don't sell that kind of thing in here; it's not that kind of store." He responded, "Wouldn't they even have a spare napkin?" "No they wouldn't," I told him, half laughing. He left the store and returned to the other side of the street where he joined another fellow. They both just stood there.

I told the clerks, "You'd better lock up right now!" and told them about the two men. The clerks pulled the big barred front door shut. I called the police as soon as I got home, and reported what I'd seen.


What do you think was going on? How would you have dealt with this dilema? What was the turning point in the story? And where did faith play a role in this incident?

Liz kept her cool and didn't overreact, panic, or abandon an apparent call to caring action. I think there are several things to learn from this situation (which could happen to anyone). Next week, we'll reflect on the situation, Liz's actions, and how her weekly mind/body/spirit training with friends at church and the dojo may have equipped her to deal so well with this situation.

Stay tuned!

Master Taisen Deshimaru, in The Zen Way to the Martial Arts says, "Both Zazen/practice and the martial arts can lead us toward the spirit of the way, because any conflict, whether it takes place within the body and mind or outside them, is always a battle against the self."

chuck-hannan.jpgHow long have you been a member of Grace St. Paul's?
Six years.

Which service do you attend regularly?
The 10:00 am Sunday service.

Why do you attend GSP?
We live within 10 minutes of another Episcopal church, but drive past it to attend GSP. I think GSP resonates with me so much because of its outreach. GSP thinks beyond its own campus. I call it "thinking outside the walls." My Franciscan values lead me to work with those who are marginalized in our society and GSP does exactly that.

What GSP ministries are you involved with?
I'm a member of the new Social Service Ministry, Community of Hope, and the Pastoral Care team. I'm a Lay Eucharistic Minister and a sub-deacon. I also co-chair the Altar Guild, and on Healing Sundays I participate with the laying on of hands.

How long have you been volunteering with the social service ministry?
Since November of 2011.

What does volunteering for the social service ministry involve?
It's about being a listener and an advocate for folks who are in crisis and need help. We serve as a source of information about resources in the wider community and help our clients navigate them. Much of our assistance has to do with helping folks avoid evictions and utility cut-offs. I recently helped a woman who was in an abusive relationship find emergency shelter and medical care.
I think of myself as being a voice for those whose voices go unheard.

Why do you volunteer?
I think that scripture commissions us to help others. I'm a member of the Third Order of The Society of St. Francis which is a Franciscan religious order within the Anglican Communion. Part of my Rule of Life includes being compassionate, and recognizing that everyone is a child of God. I put that into practice by working with the poor, with the sick, and with the homeless. Those are the vows that I took when I was Life Professed in October of 2011. The formation period for that was 3 ½ years.

What prompted you to begin volunteering?
I felt called to it. I think I approached The Rev. Nancy Meister and told her of my desire to work in Social Services Ministry, and asked if she had a place for me on her team.

What was your professional job?
I was a Certified Financial Planner (CFP). Two partners and I had a practice in Evansville, IN for 10 years. Before that I was a sales manager for the Dial Corporation for almost 20 years.

Can you tell us something about yourself that people would be surprised to know?
I'm a private pilot. I owned my own single engine plane until last year. It was a Cessna 172 4-seater. I also love to cook and bake; my signature dish is my chicken braized in Tuscan white wine sauce. I make my own noodles so I love fettucini with mushrooms.

Can you tell us something about which you're particularly proud?
Taking flight lessons in my 60s and becoming a pilot. I didn't begin that adventure until I retired.

What other interests do you enjoy?
I love canoeing and hiking. In the spring and fall I love desert hiking but, having been born in Wisconsin, I particularly like walking among pine trees for a full day when Nan and I are at our cabin up in Show Low.

If you are interested in learning more about volunteering with the social service ministry, please contact Nancy Meister through the Parish Office.

Spirit Dojo Karate News

"The Spirit Dojo" is an officially registered UFAF karate school. The owner, The Rev. Allen Breckenridge, is a 3rd degree black belt, and teaches in the Korean style of Chun Kuk Do. Classes are every Monday and Wednesday, 5:30 pm-6:15 pm in the parish hall at GSP. The cost is $30 per month for the first family member; additional family members cost $10 each. Parents are invited to participate or watch.

The Spirit Dojo Karate School continues to journey forth in faith and fatigues (Ghis) at Grace St. Paul's. We have a diverse and energetic cast of students, both children and adults, who meet twice a week. Training includes energetic warmups and conditioning exercises, karate and self-defense skills, group teamwork, some meditation & prayer, and often times a simple, quick "Guerilla method of theological reflection" upon our experience and faith, loosely based on the EfM method.

This last week we said goodbye, for a while, to a fine student who has been an inspiration to us all, Mrs. Elizabeth Durham. She is now back in her native Canada where she spends her summers. Mrs. Durham has been very faithful in attendance, practice, and spirit-building for our team of students and me. She shares her story below about the benefits she's received from participating in the Spirit Dojo. Mrs. Durham credits the Spirit Dojo with helping her consciously shape her attitude and gain confidence. She's also a member of the "Healing Touch" ministry team at GSP, and I think it shows in all she does inside and outside of class.

In the manner of the old Victorian serial short stories by Charles Dickens and more recent writers like Tom Wolfe and Eric Kraft, here is installment #1 of 3 that will appear over the next three weeks.

The beginning journey of Elizabeth Durham's story with Karate, as told in her own words:

"I have been learning Karate at the Spirit Dojo at Grace St. Paul's since February. Father Allen Breckenridge is a good and patient teacher. He has shown me the same moves over and over, as I have issues with right and left, and find it hard to make my hands and feet do what I want. We are all ages and sizes in the class, and are all able to learn at our own pace. The class and practice is helping me, at 67, deal with some lifelong coordination problems. I have also found myself being more assertive than in the past. I find myself less often saying "I should have..." or, "I wish I had..." or "I wanted to say..." For example, I was doing a lengthy round of errands on the afternoon and evening of March 7 and ..."


Well, you'll have to wait until next week to learn more about a recent experience of Mrs. Durham's where her karate learnings possibly assisted her. Just suffice it to say she had an encounter that she never dreamed might happen, got in a bit of a dilemma, and rose to the occassion. But I've already said too much. Tune in next week to find out more. Until then, "stand by for more!"

The Spirit Dojo Creed:

I intend to develop myself in a positive manner by learning and growing!

Question: What are we learning? Loyalty, honesty, discipline and respect - Sir!

Question: What are we growing? Mind, body, spirit - Sir!

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from May 2012 listed from newest to oldest.

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Grace St. Paul's Episcopal Church