"Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." Paul to the persecuted at Philippi (2:5-11)

07 November 2011

Ancestor Worship and the Episcopal Church

No tricks, but treats, prayer, music as Episcopalians honor the departed in weekend of celebrations

By Pat McCaughan, October 28, 2011


[Episcopal News Service] "Trunks or treats," ghoulishly gripping music, eek-o friendly organic pumpkin giveaways, and commemorative ancestor altars — both real and virtual — are just some of the ways Episcopal churches are planning to observe the tricky triduum of Halloween, All Saints Day and All Souls Day.

All three holidays — Halloween or All Hallow's Eve on Oct. 31, All Saints Day on Nov. 1 and the Nov. 2 All Souls Day celebration, also known as the Commemoration of All Faithful Departed — are meant for prayers and remembrance of those who have died. In Latin American culture, Dia de los Muertos is observed Nov. 1-2, and is also a day to remember the beloved departed….

Grace Episcopal Church in Oak Park, Illinois in the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago participated in an Oct. 15 communitywide "Green Halloween," according to the Rev. Shawn Schreiner, rector.

Billed as "the healthy, eek-o friendly and fun revolution," Green Halloween is a four-year-old program that began in Seattle and has spread to more than 70 U.S. cities this year, according to the organization's website. It aims to create child and earth-friendly holiday traditions, beginning with Halloween.

Schreiner said Grace served as the registration site, handing out little organic pumpkins to trick or treaters and other visitors to local businesses. "We had a D.J. playing music as well and offered organic apple cider and passed out organic popcorn to folks as they were coming in and sending them forth."

The event "was a new opportunity to step it up a level to begin to have some conversations and sermons around carbon footprint and what it means to make it a healthy environment for those of us here today and for those who will inherit what we have done or have not done," said Schreiner….

…On Oct. 27 Lupe Garcia, 35, spent several hours creating a three-tiered altar for the annual Dia de Los Muertos observance at Immanuel Episcopal Church, El Monte in the Diocese of Los Angeles…..

…Because her grandmother loved honey, Garcia placed a jar of the gooey goodie on the altar, along with pan de muerto, bread of the dead -- white sweetbread shaped in the form of a cross and sugar-coated.

She also placed mementoes in honor of about eight others of her extended family, and two of her children, Emanuel and Lupita, who were stillborn, on the altar. Along with photos are edible pumpkin, coffee and even a beer bottle for a relative who enjoyed a cerveza now and then.

Despite its skeletons and sugar skulls, the Day of the Dead is not another version of Halloween ghosts and goblins, but a day of remembrance for loved ones who have died, said the Rev. Gary Bradley, Immanuel's rector.

According to Latin and Central American tradition, spirits of loved ones return on Dia de los Muertos — Nov. 1 or All Saints for children and All Souls on Nov. 2 for adults — and need refreshments, so favorite foods and beverages are placed on the altars for them.

Sugar skulls bearing the names of those commemorated are also placed on the altar, along with flores de muerto, flowers of the dead, cempasuchil or gold marigolds, and candles. The marigolds are sometimes strewn along the way, to help the beloved departed find their way to the altars, he said.

The rest can be found here.

Yes, brothers and sisters… “Eek-o-friendly” indeed.  Sermons on the carbon footprint, ancestor worship, Latin Paganism… these are a few of TEC’s favorite things, apparently.  Good lord deliver us. 

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