Religion

Anne Lamott – Hallelujah Anyway in Oakland

 (bryan farley)

Last week Anne Lamott discussed her new book Hallelujah Anyway at Montclair Presbyterian Church in Oakland, California. A Great Good Place hosted the event; I took some pictures (that you can see here).

 (bryan farley)

I was excited to see Anne. In 2014 I was on the other side of the country when she visited Oakland. I wrote a meandering blog post that referenced a few of her books and avoided any mention of my impending divorce.  Last week, I had already started reading her new book about “rediscovering mercy” when I noticed that I was one of the only men in the audience. It was shocking.

Anne Lamott discusses her new book "Hallelujah Anyway" at Montclair Presbyterian Church in Oakland, California. Local bookstore A Great Good Place for Books hosted the event Tuesday May 2, 2017. (bryan farley)

I am often one of the only men… or one of the only white people or one of the only people with a disability. I often seek activities where I will be an outsider, but I feel like a visitor. The Lamont event was different.… Read the rest


Oakland Pride Parade and Labor Day

This recent Labor Day weekend, I took my kids and my camera to the Oakland Pride Parade. We walked with our Episcopal Church and several other religious groups. Many mayoral candidates, including Mayor Jean Quan, attended the parade. I took pictures. (HERE is my photo gallery!) While I was walking around before the parade, somebody asked my affiliation. Perhaps the person wanted to know if I worked for a publication or politician. I interpreted their question differently, “How did I become a member of a church group at a pride parade?”

Here is the oversimplified version:

I joined a political campaign, because a politician offended me by something she said in a church.

I joined a church because of something my candidate said while campaigning for Congress.

  (bryan farley)

Yesterday was Labor Day. Besides being an official holiday, Labor Day Weekend is the unofficial last weekend of Summer. When I was a kid, Labor Day was the last day before school.… Read the rest


Beatitudes Society Fellows in Berkeley California

Ten days ago I photographed the 2013-14 class of Beatitudes Society’s Fellows during their retreat in Berkeley, California. The Beatitudes Society is a national Progressive Christian organization that selects emerging faith leaders who have demonstrated an ability to lead.  (You can view my photos at this link.)

 (bryan farley)

Originally, I had wanted to photograph the new class a day earlier so that I could photograph a country artist known for his song about worlds crashing down at a red light on a Sunday; however, when Anna Woofenden, the new Fellowship Program Associate, requested that I visit on October 16th, I realized that I had a bigger choice.

 (bryan farley)

I could spend the 45th Anniversary of Tommie Smith’s Gold Medal victory with fellow travelers or I could continue chasing red lights.

I chose to be with Anna, Rev. Anne Howard and the new class of The Beatitude Society Fellows. I chose correctly.… Read the rest


Writing Block Interview Project

I am not a writer. I might write well sometimes, but I often struggle to write a simple coherent email. Three years ago, I was struggling more than usual, so I decided to ask other people how they navigated “writers’ block.”  I began interviewing writers about their process and posting their responses on my previous blog during the entire month of March 2010. I loved the project and learned a great deal from generous people. I have been extremely grateful to everyone who contributed in 2010 and 2011.

Even though I have stopped interviewing writers, the project still lives. In 2012, my daughter visited some of the contributors, including one of my favorite preachers, the Reverend Anne Howard. (Anne’s three responses were posted on March 13, 2010.) The photograph above was taken November 7, 2012 in Berkeley, California. A photo from the shoot accompanies Anne’s recent article on the Beatitudes Society website that is one of my all-time favorites.… Read the rest


The Reeducation of Martha Tessmer – Distracted Teen Driving

In my last post, I wrote about Rev. Anne Howard, a national leader who is educating young preachers to grow faith communities. Today, I am featuring Martha Tessmer, an inspirational leader who uses her faith to educate young people. Both people inspire me to be stronger and kinder, especially during moments of uncertainty. I have learned to trust something greater than myself… which is pretty easy to do.

I am not that big of a deal, but not so small that I should do nothing.

 

For the last four summers, I have photographed the support group Mother of an Angel Friendship Network. Martha founded the group after her teenage Donovan died in a distracted driving accident. This year, I photographed Martha outside a Fresno, California movie theater. Since Donovan’s death, Martha has lead an extraordinary life. She has spoken across the country. She has appeared on national television.… Read the rest


Beatitudes Society Fellows and Rev Anne Howard

When I first met Anne Howard, I lived in Santa Barbara, California and attended Trinity Episcopal Church. She served as the Associate Rector and I sat in the back of the church.  I would watch the Trinity families imagining the easy Sunday mornings when I could bring my future family to church. I left Santa Barbara before meeting my wife. I miss Trinity. Sometimes, I miss those easy Sunday mornings when children magically arrived at church and happily greeted their parents.

Last week, my daughter finally met Anne Howard in Berkeley, California outside Pacific School of Religion.

 

http://www.bryanfarley.com/gallery/Reverend-Anne-Howard-The-Beatitudes-Society/G0000CiHaAXQbXPE

As the Executive Director of The Beatitudes Society, Anne mentors emerging church leaders across the country. This role seems a natural fit. Whenever I am near Anne, I realize that I am in a constant state of emerging. She is one of the few people who can mentor me, just by staring at me a certain way.… Read the rest


Epiphany for The Beatitudes Society

In some cultures, January 6 is Epiphany. As with personal epiphanies, the holiday is a little more complicated. The holiday can last several days or it can start on different dates. Epiphanies rarely start when expected, even when placed on the calendar.

Last Fall, I photographed Rev. Anne Howard and The Beatitudes Society’s leadership team while they were “rebirthing” the organization. The team visited from many different parts of the country to guide the organization into its next period of growth.

The Beatitudes Society's leadership team studied the future of the organization at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California on October 26, 2012. Executive Director Rev. Anne Howard trains emerging Progressive Christian leaders across the country. (bryan farley)

When the organization has been redesigned, the changes will appear seamless. New members will experience epiphanies, but if we are not careful, the emerging leaders will miss an essential part of the epiphany process. Epiphanies are not simply revealed. They are often created with intentional, dedicated focus.… Read the rest