Thursday, October 24, 2013


I need to preface what I'm about to write by noting that I am a minister in a faith tradition that practices believer baptism.  My own theology of baptism reflects this tradition.  I have my reasons for believing this way, but this is not the time to share it.

I was born and raised in the Episcopal Church, a faith tradition that practices infant baptism.  I was later the recipient of confirmation by the bishop of Eastern Oregon.  Still later I was immersed while at a high school camp (I was at that time part of a Foursquare Church).  But back to my baptism in the Episcopal Church.

I was baptized sometime after my birth at St. Luke's of the Mountains Episcopal Church of La Crescenta, California.  The priest was Father Sadler.  I don't have the exact date, but it was prior to our move to San Francisco nine months after my birth at Queen of Angels Hospital in Los Angeles (now the Dream Center, a ministry of Angelus Temple, the mother church of the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel).  Yesterday I paid a visit to St. Luke's.  It was my first visit since our move north at age nine months (and I don't remember the church back then -- obviously).  I made this visit as part of my own spiritual pilgrimage.  This church is one of the few existing symbols of my earliest days (the house of my earliest days was removed to make way for the Foothill Freeway).  So I made my visit.

I've added a few photographs to this post, including a picture of a font.  It's not the font used at my baptism.  This font is a more recent addition, but it will have to suffice.  As you can see this is a rather simple structure -- but also a very beautiful one.  The outside walls are made of stone.  Inside there are exposed beams and off white walls.  It is simple and yet it speaks of the presence of the Spirit.  It is a sacred space that nourishes relationships with God and inspires love of neighbor.  St. Luke's is a congregation that you might say experienced death and resurrection.  The congregation left the Episcopal Church for an Anglican off shoot, but the diocese managed to get the property back and plant a new congregation.  I am fortunate that this congregation's ministry continues on so that I could make my pilgrimage.                

I entitled this post "beginnings."  I did so because this little church is symbolic of my own
beginnings.  By making this trek I have been able to touch base with a moment in my life that I was too young to comprehend.  But as I took in this place of gathering for God's people, I found myself reconnected to the starting place of my journey.  Although I don't practice infant baptism in my own ministry, I sensed that something important occurred in that moment in time that has sustained my journey.

Perhaps you have a point of beginnings like this one.  As you contemplate the words and the pictures, perhaps they will stir a sense of your own starting place.  We can't live in the past, but our present and future is linked to these founding moments.  May God bless our moments of reflection.

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