This Saturday we will celebrate a special Recovery Eucharist at Faith@Five, which we have done for the past 4 years at the end of January around the feast day of Sam Shoemaker Sam Shoemaker is the Episcopal priest whose spirituality was foundational in the creation of Alcoholics Anonymous and the 12-steps of recovery alongside Bill Wilson .

As Bishop Chilton Knudsen describes: “The Recovery Eucharist affirms the many avenues people travel for healing, regardless of the forms of addiction which we experience: 12 Step programs, other support groups, counseling, spiritual practices, medical treatment. The Recovery Eucharist celebrates the gift of recovery, invites us to strengthen our recovery practices, and commends to God’s care those in need of healing, who haven’t yet found their way into recovery.”

Our senior warden, Mary DeKuyper, will offer a reflection for the homily, and our prayers of the people will weave together the 12-steps of recovery and the Beatitudes from the Gospel of Matthew.

Whether or not you are in recovery or care for someone in recovery, this Saturday afternoon offers an opportunity to experience a sense of peace, liberation and healing in the context of a loving, supportive, prayerful community. Wherever you are on your journey of faith — seeking, walking, stumbling, falling, or getting up again — you are welcome.

Won’t you join us?


Dear Folks,

One day in a class on the sacraments, a woman from the West Indies said, “My people ask me to be baptized again and again.  I know the tradition tells us that once is enough, but that doesn’t fit what I hear on the street.  An old man looking back on a relationship he betrayed… a middle-aged mother eager for a new start… a banker who fell off the wagon… a college student packing his trunk… a 28-year-old back in the neighborhood after prison… All of them are starting over in some way or another, and they ask the church to help them begin and to hold them accountable to their promises.  What do we have to offer that resonates today with folks who want to make good choices, but who have no illusions about how hard that will be?”

Baptism is a strange ritual if you think about it.  It has Jesus and us go down into the watery depths to find ourselves, to embrace the dark in order to see the light clearly, to die so that we might rise.  It says that pain and broken promises are not aberrations, but common to all of us.  It embraces the fact that the dark night’s struggle of loss or fury is not the bad luck of some, but the experience of a humanity that longs for its best self, but only intermittently achieves it.  No wonder my friend heard her neighbors asking for a recurring way to find their way home: most of us get lost more than once.

Jesus understood that.  He was “a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief,” (Isaiah) and yet has anyone’s light ever shone brighter?  His wisdom was to embrace his pain as the cost of consciousness, as his access to courageous loving, as the way to being compassionate.  He taught us that the truest model of human life is cruciform, which is to say that our access to God comes through reaching out to others and digging deeply into our selves… experiencing spiritual height is somehow the consequence of going into the depth of our individual and common pain.  And to bury our struggle or to ignore someone else’s is to choose not to grow from it or through it or with it.  Each of us has work to do.

The world needs a good baptism right now, and the United States along with it.  Our leaders need to take a moral inventory of themselves and their actions, and inspire us to do the same.  When any of us condemns the other because of perceived differences instead of seeking ways to stand on common ground, we belie the interior, spiritual work that we have not yet done.   However, when we lift up those who have been cast down and draw to the center those who have been relegated to the margins, we have begun the work of mutual accountability, and we have embodied the Spirit that made each of us equal and sets all of us free.



A month ago my E-Redeemer reflection was focused on the need to bring the topic of mental health into conversation within our parish. I had just completed training offered by the Mental Health Association of Maryland to be an instructor for Mental Health First Aid. I ended the article saying “I choose to be an active voice for this topic. If you are interested in being a part of a group to raise awareness of mental health issues, I invite you to email me. Let’s explore productive ways to educate and inform. It’s time. The response to that invitation from a number of people was very heartwarming and powerful.  The subject clearly is resonating with many, demonstrating a need to which we as a congregation can and will respond.

Next steps include the following:

*Sunday, January 21 our Adult Forum (11:30-12:15) will be a general discussion on ways Redeemer might become a resource both for individuals as well as groups.

* I will be teaching a pilot class for Mental Health First Aid in the next couple of weeks to a small group and then will open that opportunity to the parish on an ongoing basis.

* Establish a Mental Health Advocacy Committee for the parish. Email me if you would like to serve on that group!

This morning I read an article from Huffington Post ( entitled “The Symptom of Depression We Don’t Talk About.”  That symptom is loneliness. The article concludes: “Depression is a disease of loneliness, and connection with other people makes all the difference in recovery.” That insight alone makes a compelling argument that our parish family can provide valuable support to those in need.

These are first steps as we together address the multiple aspects of mental health awareness. I encourage and welcome your participation. It’s time!


Dear Folks,

On this snowy, 11th day of Christmas, I offer you the poem I wrote for the 4:00 service on Christmas Eve. Here’s to the promise of a new year, for peace and good will, for brighter days in 2018 for our city and all people, everywhere.  Love, David

‘Twas the night before Christmas
throughout the Charm City,
where wreaths had been hung
and the houses made pretty

from Fells Point to Guilford,
from east side to west,
the children were scrubbed
and looking their best

to welcome St. Nick
and his sack full of toys,
to Govans and Hampden
where he’ll find girls and boys.

They’re at Paul’s Place in Pigtown
and Homeland, right here.
We’ll leave cookies and milk
or a Natty Boh beer.

Think of every good gift
In this place near Old Bay:
Visionary Arts, Parks and People,
Living Classrooms, BMA

There’s Goucher, Loyola
John Waters I’ve seen,
Johns Hopkins, Under Armour,
And Mary our Queen.

The stockings are hung
by the chimneys with care,
with hopes that the Ravens
can answer our prayer.

And go to the play-offs
and make us Bird-proud,
with Flacco in charge
of the M & T crowd.

And speaking of Birds
here’s the Oriole’s line-up:
Machado’s not traded,
and Aquino has signed-up.

Now that’s enough sports
on this most holy night,
when Jesus is found
‘neath a star shining bright.

To say to the nations
A savior is born
And spread the good news
Of the first Christmas morn.

The angels, they tell it
to the mountains they sing
of a stable lamp lighted.
Glad tidings they bring.

On dark streets is shining
a light that won’t dim
when folks near and far
tell the story of him,

who was born to a girl,
who had nothing at all,
so that all could be saved,
the least and the small.

And each could lend strength
to the ones who are weak.
So the rich serve the poor,
and the voiceless can speak.

Our call is to love
and to heal and to raise,
to make straight crooked paths,
to do justice, give praise

to the one who brings peace,
and goodness, and light.
Merry Christmas to all,
and to all a good night!