Last Words

Final homily by Sherman Hesselgrave, Trinity Sunday, June 7, 2020

Readings: Deuteronomy 34:1-4     Psalm 8      2 Corinthians 13:11-13     Matthew 28:16-20

At the other end of my ministry, when I was a curate at a parish in Portland, Oregon, I preached a sermon entitled, “Famous Last Words.” I don’t remember what the scriptural text was that day, but it might well have been Jesus telling his flock that he was leaving, but not to worry, because the Holy Spirit would be sent to accompany them on their journey ahead and lead them into all truth. What I do remember is a parishioner telling me afterwards that she would always remember her 18-year-old son’s last words to her as he headed out for a Friday evening with his friends: “See you later, Mom!” That night, he was killed in a motorcycle accident. 

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#MMIW #Black Lives Matter #IdleNoMore

I am writing as a member of Holy Trinity. Though I am a member of the vestry executive, we have not yet met this month to discuss a formal response–these words are my own.

We are a small, urban community that cares deeply about justice and about the lives of those who are marginalized by the broader society. In recent years we have been most visible in the struggle for housing and an end to homelessness. But our members been active in LGBTQ+, indigenous rights, disability rights and many other places as well.

We are not always very good at communicating. We are often, collectively or as individuals, up to our necks in actions and and activity related to justice issues of many kinds to greater or lesser degrees. But that sometimes means we don’t speak collectively and clearly into spaces we should very much be speaking into. We are often right there, but organizationally we sometimes forget that we have a responsibility not just to show up, but to speak publicly in formal ways. We are here and we are listening and acting.

Nothing I can say will make the dreadfulness of these losses better. We are very upset by the recent deaths of Chantel Moore and Regis Korchinski-Paquet and so many before them here and around the world. We are painfully aware that there is systemic anti-black and anti-indigenous racism in this country and these incidents bring it to light. It is high time that we seriously tackle these problems.

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ON/side our Walls

design by Aleksander Hardashnakov

In the midst of a global pandemic we have, among other things, found ourselves without a venue for anything except relief efforts for the most vulnerable. We are known for our long-standing interest in justice, but we also care deeply about art, music and beauty.

Our Community Director Zachary Grant proposed an outdoor exhibit on our walls where they can bee seen by passersby and also be shared online. He and Oliver Roberts of Loon Gallery together curated this small show of three pieces. We welcome your comments and look forward to exhibiting more work through the summer, including inside if that becomes possible.

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Sending Onward

This morning marked the last Sunday of Sherman’s ministry here at Holy Trinity. He has been our incumbent here through 12 years of significant change. We typically have what we call a “Spider Blessing” to send members out to new work and places, but we have had to modify how we do things in these times. Here is a composite image of our Zoom Spider Blessing sending Sherman on his way to his new home on the west coast. Bon Voyage and thank you Sherman.

loving justice in the heart of our city