Ash Wednesday inaugurates Lent, a 40 day season of reflection and turning away from what does not promote the good. (Yes, that's what "repentance" means.)
Today the clergy and people of the my little church St John the Evangelist Episcopal/El Buen Samaritano joined the San Francisco Organizing Project in a clergy press conference meant to point out that not only individuals (who could probably use a little turning back), but also the grand institutions of our society could use some turning away from the social evils they embrace and engender.
On the streets of San Francisco's financial district, in front of corporate headquarters, the Rev. Gloria del Castillo, Vicar of El Buen Samaritano Episcopal congregation, explained how the mortgage she took out with Wells Fargo has been caught up in the real estate crash and foreclosure crisis with the result that she is likely to lose her home of eight years. The crisis of the poor and middle class is not some distant disease of the less fortunate; it is her life too.
The Rev. Dr. Richard Smith, Priest Associate at St. John the Evangelist, read the letter that the assembled interfaith clergy intended to take to Wells Fargo bank's chairman.
The Rev. Bertie Pearson, Priest-in-Charge at St. John the Evangelist, displays a check withdrawing parish funds from Wells Fargo Bank, flanked by Senior Warden Rebecca Gordon on behalf of the Vestry. Fr. Richard Smith explained the parish's decision to the small crowd. The clergy urged other churches to "move the money" out of big banks that have failed the community by squeezing the poor while accepting taxpayer bailouts in the financial meltdown.
The local ABC news affiliate ran a surprisingly sympathetic report.