We don't meet a stranger!
Ever visited a church and wondered if anyone even noticed you were there? That won't happen at St. Cuthbert's!
We are a small, intimate community. We worship in a circle, so we can see each other. We notice when someone is absent, and when someone is new. We greet newcomers enthusiastically, and as one parishioner recently said in describing our attitude toward visitors, "If you're here, you're part of us!"
(Above) Recent comment left on a St. Cuthbert's visitor card
St Cuthbert's Episcopal Church
Sunday, November 5
7932 Mountain Boulevard
Oakland, CA 95606
This coming Sunday, November 5, is the Sunday closest to the traditional "Day of the Dead" (November 2) so St. Cuthbert's Church (7900 Mountain Blvd., Oakland, CA-- corner of Keller and Mountain Blvd.) will have its annual Day of the Dead observance. The important thing is that you come, and bring your memories. The decorated ofrenda (altar) is prepared and waiting for you. Most Americans do not know about the Day of the Dead, so more information is below:
Burying yards grew up around churches, and it was assumed that somebody at the church would maintain the cemetery. As cemeteries grew larger, the maintenance issues became greater. The U.S. has MANY abandoned cemeteries-- even in our Bay Area! One had been overgrown by weeds and vines, and was "re-discovered" between San Leandro and Hayward in a business district about 40 years ago. Nobody owned it, and nobody maintained it.
In Latin countries, a solution to the maintenance problem was found. One day a year, the whole community would gather to clean and maintain the cemetery--- All Saints (the Day of the Dead). Traditionally it is a work day, a memory day, a family day... and a party.
We think of death only as loss. That attitude causes us to lose the delight of the good done by, and what we have learned from, deceased relatives. Most people would like to keep death out of sight and out of mind.
In Latino countries on the Day of the Dead the whole community goes to the cemetery for a community-wide celebration. Most of the graves are marked not by an ordinary gravestone, but by a house, about the size of an American dog house and painted in bright colors. Families decorate the graves with flowers and offerings, and share a picnic for themselves and others. They spend the day honoring their loved ones.
The Day of the Dead is a time for honest memories and multiple lessons. Sometimes we have good memories, other times they are bad; still, we learn from both the good and the bad. So, bring memories of the dead and the lessons you have learned.
Bring a mixture of feelings and thoughts. Remember the serious; laugh at the humorous. Bring those things which were frightening, or dangerous, or foolish, and bring the ability to see those events in a new light. Bring a willingness to heal.... and be healed. Bring forgiveness. Bring hope that bad chains are broken, and good chains are continued. Bring reflections on who you are... and why you have become who you are. Reflect on the role of various dead people in your becoming who you are.
The ofrenda (altar) is a place to bring symbols which represent the person(s) you want to remember. Symbols? They might be:
* a photograph
* a memento
* a symbol of how they died (perhaps a toy car for one who died in a crash)
* something of their gifts (sheet music, a drawing, a cooking pot, etc.)
* evidence of their struggles (a liquor bottle, pills, a deck of cards, etc.)
What you bring might be a toy representation of something larger. Above all, bring things which honestly and realistically represent the person(s)-- the good and the bad.
For more upcoming events, see the News & Events page.