BACH for the holidays …. and beyond

Volunteer Wanda Brown helps get ready for the Breakfast at Cathedral of Hope on Chirstmas Eve

I have been out of the office, on vacation, since Dec. 22, and when I got back to work today and started wading through the thousands of emails in my inbox, I found one from Hank Henley, asking if we could include some information in Dallas Voice about BACH, the weekly Breakfast At Cathedral of Hope program in which church volunteers prepare and serve breakfast to the homeless.

So I am including Hank’s write-up about BACH’s Christmas Eve event here on Instant Tea, just as he sent it to me:

Use the words “Bach” and “cathedral” in a sentence this time of year, and most people will picture the “Christmas Cantata” or “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring.” But at a certain church in Dallas, BACH stands for “Breakfast at the Cathedral of Hope,” a program that just celebrated its four-year anniversary in November. On Christmas Eve morning, while most of Dallas was nestled all snug in their beds, a small army of volunteers was in the kitchen at the Cathedral of Hope whipping up a hot and hearty breakfast for the homeless and needy that would be coming through their doors by 7:30 a.m. Under the direction of Rev. William Baldridge, Associate Pastor for Community Outreach, this weekly breakfast has grown from serving just 11 guests at the first meal to an average of 200 guests each Saturday morning.

And guests they are: receiving a hot meal served on china plates and with silverware and glasses. The guests may also receive a haircut after they eat, if they so chose.

This week, in addition to the usual food and drink, each guest received a bag with a blanket, hat, gloves, toiletries, water and food coupons. The gift bags were the result of the generous work of Jan Okerlund and Leslie Frye.

Leslie Frye, one of the volunteer coordinators, when asked how the volunteers feel about the work they do, said, “The real blessing is in the cooking for and serving those less fortunate, not only during this Season, but all year long.”

This Saturday’s volunteers included members of the church community of the Cathedral of Hope, members of the Turtle Creek Chorale and a group of 14 students from “I-CERV,” the “Ismaili Community Engaged in Responsible Volunteering.” They are here once a month, all year long. Kenneth Campbell, the Interfaith Services Director Volunteer Coordinator of the Memnosyne Foundation, brought these energetic and focused youth.

The Memnosyne Foundation is a wonderful organization whose mission is “to help a diverse people of the world consciously encourage an evolution of themselves and for future generations by providing the means to encourage positive, peaceful global collaboration.” The diverse crowd of leaders, volunteers and guests were certainly doing that on this morning.

And one guest, who guest shared his story quietly and privately with tears streaming down his face, personifies the spirit of sharing and giving. This time last year, he was on the street, living under a bridge and depending on the generosity of others to survive. He told me he could always count on a hot meal and being treated with respect when he came to BACH. This year, he is able to draw social security and is donating $25 a month to BACH. “They always fed me and helped me get through. Now I want to give back whatever I can. God blessed me and it’s what I want to do.”

Across the room, his hands deep in a bucket of soapy water, volunteer Jamie Rawson, spent the morning scraping plates and glasses, getting them ready for the dishwashers.

“There a few things a person can do which so clearly put Christmastime in perspective as doing something to help others. It is has been said so often as to become a cliché — but it is no less true for being a cliché. It is heart-warming to see so many people gathered to help provide for those in need. It is especially affirming to see so many young people from such a diversity of backgrounds. This has been the most fitting and rewarding way to truly start my Christmas.”

When the guests were finished with breakfast, finished visiting with friends and volunteers, finished with their haircut, and picked up their bag of supplies for warmth and comfort, they left the cathedral and headed back into the rain and the street.

As they left, Richard Boule greeted each of them and wished them a Merry Christmas.

“As I watched those people leaving the Cathedral after breakfast this morning, I could not help wondering where they were going and what each one of them had to look forward to this Christmas time. But I had the feeling that they were grateful for the humanity they were shown, so many left with a smile. May they be blessed.”

If you would like to help with BACH, please call Rev. Baldridge at the Cathedral of Hope at 214-351-1901.

You can see more photos from the Christmas Eve Breakfast at Cathedral of Hope after the jump.

—  admin

Holiday heroes


A HELPING HAND  |  Members of Cathedral of Hope distribute more than 400 food bags to low-income families and individuals for Thanksgiving. Volunteers participating in the effort on Sunday, Nov. 20, included, from left, Rusty Baldridge, Marty Cramer, Mark Wright and Alex DaSilva. (David Taffet/Dallas Voice).

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition November 25, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

Pelosi hands Boehner the gavel; Robert Gibbs packs his bags

Get a load of this fantasy headline from the LA Times. Even if Boehner means what he says, as outgoing Speaker Nancy Pelosi hands him the gavel, his Tea Party peeps are going to be on his posterior from day one:

John Boehner elected as House speaker, promises new GOP-controlled chamber will be ‘honest, accountable and more responsive’

Boehner, a 20-year congressman from southern Ohio, will pledge to make the House “honest, accountable, and more responsive” to the needs of the American people.

“Our aim will be to give government back to the people,” Boehner is expected to say, according to excerpts of his address released early Wednesday. “In seeking this goal, we will part with some of the rituals that have come to characterize this institution under majorities Republican and Democratic alike. We will dispense with the conventional wisdom that bigger bills are always better; that fast legislating is good legislating; that allowing additional amendments and open debate makes the legislative process “less efficient” than our forefathers intended. These misconceptions have been the basis for the rituals of modern Washington. The American people have not been well served by them.”

But the challenges of governing and holding a perhaps fractious GOP caucus together may clash with Boehner’s stated goals of a more open and inclusive process. Already Democrats are slamming next week’s expected vote in the House to repeal the healthcare overhaul legislation because Republicans are not going to allow the repeal bill to be debated and amended.

“Republicans have now broken at least three of the pledges they made in the election,” Democratic National Committee spokesman Brad Woodhouse said Wednesday. Beyond the healthcare repeal, Woodhouse cited the House GOP’s move to exempt the proposed repeal from a requirement that legislation that increases the federal budget deficit be offset by spending cuts elsewhere. (Proponents of the healthcare law say it will reduce the deficit over the next 20 years.)The GOP may also be backing away from a pledge to slice 0 billion from the budget for the current fiscal year because a quarter of the year has almost passed.

***

Changing gears, Robert Gibbs announced today that he was stepping down as White Press Secretary. His departure comes as there are several shifts under way at the White House as the President and his team gear up for the 2012 re-election bid.

Mr. Gibbs said that he intended to leave in early February. His successor has not yet been decided, he said, but will likely be announced within the next two weeks.

President Obama, who is in the middle of making final decisions on the first major reorganization of his administration, said in a brief telephone interview on Wednesday that Mr. Gibbs would remain a close adviser and “will continue to shape the dialogue politically for many years to come.”

The departure of Mr. Gibbs is part of a series of moves inside the West Wing as the president prepares for a new phase of his administration. The internal shuffling also could bring a new White House chief of staff, a decision the president is expected to make by week’s end, with an announcement as early as next week.

Gibbs did his job, conveying basic information with as little detail as possible, particularly on DADT. One could sum up his answers to questions from The Advocate’s Kerry Eleveld and ABC’s Jake Tapper, among others as 1) fibbing assclownery or 2) making him appear to be an empty vessel that is never briefed by high level WH officials.

I’m sure his replacement will bring the same level of candor to the podium

Of course here at the Blend we’ve been telling you that unless the President and Congress act on LGBT legislation in the first two years, the focus will turn away from progress to getting Barack Obama re-elected and members of Congress focusing on their seats. Of course this is now exacerbated by the turnover of the House to the GOP, making it a certainty ENDA (or any other items in the queue on the Hill) will not go anywhere. DADT squeaked by, thank goodness, but that’s still not fully repealed.
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  admin

Avoiding Target When I Need New Hangers And Vacuum Cleaner Bags

I’m pretty much a clothes horse. I spend a decent amount of money on colorful clothing that expresses my moods — Hey, I’m a colorful person.

Thumbnail Link: Mission Valley Mall in San Diego, CaliforniaRight now, I’m finding I need more hangers with little shoulder notches because I don’t have enough of these hangers for my tees and tank tops to hang upon in my closet.

And too, my vacuum cleaner bag is getting full, and I need to buy some more bags pretty soon.

Normally, I’d just head off to the local Target at the Mission Valley Mall and grab some hangers and vacuum cleaner bags. Not now though. I’ve had one of those “stop and think” moments about where I spend my pink dollars.

Image: Stoplight, Flashing RedTarget and Best Buy have now joined McDonalds and Denny’s as businesses I choose to avoid, when possible. This is because the parent company of Target and Best Buy donated 0,000.00 to a political PAC that is working anti-LGBT gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer (Republican, Minnesota) elected. (Target/Best Buy made that donation to MN Forward.)

Quoting The Daily Beast‘s Target’s Political Agenda?:

Is the you spend on a shirt at Target going toward anti-gay groups? Target gave 0,000 to MN Forward, a political group that has endorsed and pays for ads for Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer, a fervent opponent of gay marriage. Target CEO Gregg Steinhafel denied any political agenda in an email to staffers, and insisted the Target’s support for the GLBT community is “unwavering.” Despite Target’s defense, a Facebook group called “Boycott Target Until They Cease Funding Anti-Gay Politics” already has 5,000 members. Best Buy also defended its 0,00 contribution to MN Forward, and said the corporation supported the group because it makes “jobs and economic issues a top priority in this election.” Corporations only recently became allowed to donate money to campaign advertising following the Supreme Court’s January ruling reversing campaign finance laws that had prevented their involvement.

Some “unwavering support” by Target, eh? Donating to a candidate who has not exactly been a friend to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community. To quote Abe Sauer at The AWL:

Emmer says marriage “is the union between one man and one woman” and he supports the constitutional marriage amendment defining marriage as such.

The AWL has given us even more information on Emmer’s position on LGBT civil rights (as well as a take on the choice Target has made in choosing a “pro-business” candidate over LGBT community members and allies)  in their piece Real America: Target CEO Chooses “Business” over Gay Rights:

Some of the details about Emmer’s anti-gay positions are only now getting more attention. For example, while his position against gay marriage was well known, his direct support for a group that advocates the execution of homosexuals overseas is just now receiving wider exposure (even though his possible finance violation associated with this group was known back in May).

There’s more in that articles from The AWL about how anti-progressive Tom Emmer is that you may want to read up on, but this gem from the first The AWL piece I linked to kinda sums up where this guy Emmer is coming from:

Emmer is popular with the Tea Party and has its “official” support, as much as anything is official in the party’s terrorism-cell-like structure. Not surprisingly, he also has the support of Sarah Palin. She endorsed him as a “hockey dad.”

Target’s CEO sent out an internal memo to their staff that’s included below the fold:
From the internal memorandum from Target CEO Gregg Steinhafel, as reported by The AWL:
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  John Wright