(rock music concluding) good morning. on behalf of reverend ron swisher and myself, we have a special treat. we have two women pastors and a woman rabbi to water this day. at st. mark's lutheran church in the city. maggie henderson from first baptist and we will be joined by rabbi beth singer later in the program. ladies, it is is a joy to have you here, what you want to talk
about here? >> we want to talk about women in ministry here in the city. what our colleagues to and how great they participate in the life of the city in the synagogues and other institutions. >> host: where is st. marks? >> st. marks is in the civic center area above capital hall. we call it the keith ruled rural area. we've been in the neighborhood over 100 years. it is vital, active and vibrant parish in san francisco. >> host: you've been there 17 years? >> a long time, yes>>are atold presbyterian? >> stilactive prostant churche california. they have been
there a good long time and i have been the pastor eight years. the first woman full-time pastor. i like the people that i like being there. >> host: where are you from? >> i'm from piedmont. i've been in the southern u.s. for most of my history but i love being here. i love being taken off of the mission field where there is no humidity. >> host: elizabeth, where are you from? >> i grew up in the bay area and menlo park. i have served other parishes but it's great to be home. i love san francisco. we live here and work here and we are committed to being in the city. >> host: and you do things together, talk about that some. >> we like each other and we feel that collaboration amongst ecumenical institutions. we can do more together.
one thing that pastor henderson started was an interfaith food pantry that she holds at her parish. my church and other congregations, and serve and give out food on saturdays every saturday of the year. >> it is four different congregations and every saturday there is someone there . we give food bags to up to 250 people per saturday. my church could not do it on its own or you could not do it with just your people, but we do it together and i think it is a stunning witness. three quarters of the churches have women pastors, actually. >> that is one of the gifts that women in ministry bring is that we want to collaborate with each other. we don't want to remain in just our parishes were synagogues and we want to partner together. that is one of the gifts we bring to the city. >> but it is the norm in many
mainline faiths. >> host: tell us more about what you are doing. rrisonillor d the companion. i want to break that. st. marks churches welcome and open and inclusive as well as old first is. it represents the best of the city. we are at the crossroads of the city, beyond cathedral hill where a millionaire will be were she were to be next to a homeless person. we have a strong lbd -- lgbtq community. we roll up our hands to serve and that is one of the things we are excited to serve with our food pantry. it is of vital and interesting place and i don't get bored at
this church which is a lovely things to say. my congregation is diverse. i have different ethnic backgrounds and different economic. i have an interesting lgbtq combination. you don't get to sick with a variety of people anymore. you sit with those that you like or that you think you will like but at a church you get a variety of folks and i think that is a gift. >> host: that is something viewers may not recognize. in a congregation, it is a diverse group of people working to gather. tell us about working together and how you to approach it. >> well, first of all, we are friends and we respect each other as colleagues. maggie chairs the council and st. marks is a founding member of the council.
from there, we host the winter homeless shelter at st. mark's and other sites. and different congregations come in and serve food to 60 homeless men that stay on our site for three weeks. we totally stock our ministries at st. mark's to the men who will be staying there three weeks. we also commemorate world aids day at st. mark's. pastor matthew has been active in leading the service at that. and we also engage a interfaith group working on affordable housing because we know how important it is. in impacts the city and also the parishes and we see first-hand the need for affordable housing and we are working on that. >> we are the first group to
recognize essential housing or what we call middle income housing. without help from my church, i could not afford to live in san francisco. we have the high income and affordable lower income. how can we do that? the interfaith council is doing that and i'm not sure anybody would be doing that. >> host: who is in the interfaith council? >> everyone. >> it truly is everyone. we have christian, buddhist, salvation army, muslim. everyone is there and it is stunning. i have colleagues and friends in places i would not have had if it wasn't for the city. because the city is small and rich, that is as far as diversity, i need to know the interfaith the communities. >> that is the gift of working
in san francisco. at st. mark's we have first unitarian to the mark north and st. mary's to the west end episcopal to the southwest. we have to work together to make a impact in the city and that's what the interfaith council helps us to do. >> host: maggie henderson, thank you. maggie will be back but rabbi singer will join us in the next segment. stay with us.
be here. >> host: tell us about your congregation. >> is one of the older congregations in the country and it was founded in 1850. i was previously at a congregation that is soon to be 60 years old. this is a tremendous privilege. i'm here with my husband to be co-senior rabbis with this historic and vibrant congregation in the city. >> host: where are you located? >> we are in a beautiful historic building that i hope people come by and visit. you almost have to go to spain to find something like it. >> host: something about yourself. >> i grew up in southern california where there were no women rabbis. when i had my bat mitzvah, i thought i would want to be a rabbi.
i am grateful to be living in a time when women can be called to be rabbis and leaders of the jewish community. it's a great time and on this mother's day, the reverend and i are both mothers and pastors and that's an exciting place to be at this moment in time. >> we spend time with our children and our daughters cs in ministry. your daughter is following in your footsteps of mine is only 12. >> it is fulfilling work, isn't it? >> absolutely. it is meaningful to share god's grace in a broken world. to try to reach out to the world to serve and to listen and to be engaged in our communities. that is what the communities are trying to
do together. >> for example, you and your congregants come to st. mark's during the homeless shelter to feed. >> right. this has been going on a long time before we really arrived on the scene. we are rooted in the teachings of the bible, the jewish bible and the christian bible to take care of the most vulnerable in our societies. whenever i get to a town, my first congregation was in westchester, new york and in 18 years in seattle and now here in san francisco. we always look for interfaith roots because we do work for the homeless and work for people who are hungry and for sexual minorities. we find if we can team up that we will be more effective in the work we are doing. >> absolutely. we have a 120
unit apartment complex which is affordable housing for seniors. that has been a mission of st. mark since the 1960s. it is interfaith and not just lutherans. it is an interfaith community that is protecting and providing a home for vulnerable seniors in the city. this affordable housing theme is on the mind of each of us. >> we are working together on that with the interfaith council . we have places for teachers and firefighters and others to live in our community. as reverend henderson said earlier , i don't think i could live in this community without the support of my synagogue. >> say a word about the gun reduction violence piece we worked on together. >> there is a rabbi in my
denomination who had a difficult personal experience. his father was murdered by gun violence. he had dedicated his life, at this point to the reduction of gun violence. we do respect the second amendment, but we do feel there could be a reduction in gun violence. it is awful to read what we ever read every day in the papers. he reached out to us and asked us to contact the mayor in san francisco to sign a thoughtful proposal to have the mayors agree that when the city purchases all the guns they have to purchase for law- abiding reasons that they hold the gun manufacturers accountable for some very simple ways that reduce gun violence. the two of us send a letter with a group of rabbis and clergy to mayors lee and he stepped up and signed onto it.
it is very exciting and he said at a breakfast that we had, i really appreciate when the churches and synagogues work together and that we all work together. that was exciting and we will need to figure out what we will do next. >> and figure out what st. mark's and temple emanuel can do next. >> you host the homeless people day in and day out and we come in and serve some meals. what else could we be doing? >> well, temple emmanuelle is a big institution and you do so much in the city. >> right. we work closely with a food pantry and we have in a story relationship with the baptist church and reverend brown. we have a tutoring and literacy program there. we are
currently rethinking our whole structure to enable as many congregants as possible to engage in social action with the synagogue and also with the churches. >> we do have fun, though, too. >> st. mark's has a wonderful oktoberfest every year and we have a lovely service where we bless animals and pets to commemorate san francis of assisi. if there is serious work to be done, there is also a time to rejoice and to celebrate together. we celebrate what we have in common and we do that primarily through worship. >> we have parties and we try to make our worship musical. we haven't gotten to animals, but we have a baby blessing at the beginning of the year that ties into portion of torah and people show up with their babies. it is so exciting to see all of these people holding the future.
we are a tiny people, the jewish people. our purpose is to move the wonderful teachings of our religion forward to the next generation and the one after that. >> host: we will take a break. and elizabeth ekdale, thank you so much. you can see why these congregations are so excited about their pastors and rabbis. stay with us.
after a service. >> that was one of our first charges, to make the food better . it does impact more people and we should talk about that. we should also talk about this angel that has an historic connection to the mosiac show. a member of the congregation and a leader in all things san francisco. when i first arrived, i met rita and she said, we want as many clergy as we can from around the city. we just didn't know them yet. she made sure that you are all invited and we had a wonderful variety of clergy at our installation service. >> i'm a better pastor when i know who is out there. rita is a fabulous woman. i am the chair of the interface counsel which rita has done before. i don't have to be rita, i can
be pastor maggie doing this work and it is really good. and we are friends. we go to a movie and dinner and it's a rich thing and i am lucky in that way. >> i am lucky in that way. >> we are. for people who don't know rita, i think she is 93 years old. i think she is proud of it and i will apologize to her later if that was not to go public. we talk about how tired when working around the clock and when we are doing a funeral or something like that, when i get tired, i think about rita. she is such an inspiration and really believes we can make this city that we love so much a better place for everybody. >> she has a love for san
francisco and what we could be and also for what we have been. we need a city that moves. i may be the oldest protestant church, but people are moving through my pews. churches and house of worship root us and if we are lucky, they are true full memories of where we could become more and expect the lot from this congregation in this church. >> host: where you wish you had more time >> more time for everything, right? >> i would like to be on the streets more. recently events have been difficult with young african- american males and i think we are interested in doing more connection with african- american churches and the church leaders and understanding what our role can be. it's just finding the time to build these relationships. i
know you have done a tremendous job through the interfaith council. >> there's never enough time. i would want more time with people and also time to read and be contemplative. how can you be contemplative when you are taking out the garbage and all of those glamorous things of being ordained. >> i wish we had more time to read. we were talking about an interfaith book that i'm reading . and also to get into the city to do the fun things. >> host: talk about those weird things. >> i love silent movies. i'm in the dark by myself and -- >> host: what captivates you about the silent films? >> the visuals are fabulous in every silent film has a score
of silent music. how do you do i message. i just get out there and do something lovely and they're not asking, when is that going to be printed, or you have something for me? it is exhausting to be a pastor here with the knee that we cannot answer. >> host: what about you? >> i love reading novels. i reading a novel, all the light we cannot see. >> fabulous. >> the other thing i love, especially since we are relatively new is to walk around san francisco. all of the place we use the uber to, i like to walk to see what the city really is. that's what i would love to do.
>> i am a tour guide and i can take you. >> i would look forward to that, that would be great. i like three tours. >> host: there, you see. this building used to be the nabisco factory. >> host: even connections here. >> host: why should people take time to be part of a congregation? >> we are a secular culture that we live in is fairly materialistic and it's about obtaining wealth and security which is good things, but were not against that. you can attain all of those things but you need to feed your spirit. coming to a congregation and it doesn't have to be mine or yours , but any congregation you feel comfortable in, you will be part of a community that if ythinghaens li you go to the hospital, you have a
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