A whole new world – Jubilee 2019

I have been crying off and on all day, since Amy’s baptism this morning – for joy over how lucky we are to have Amy and for how absolutely pitch-perfect Howard is through all of this. He looks really happy, like he is having the time of his life. He was made for this moment.

What’s his face…

Tonight at Jubilee – Amy’s ordination

Pancho and I approach Jubilee at 6:45. Everybody is outside. Daniel is beating the djimbe and people are clapping and dancing. The energy is all very high. Pancho says, “Can’t deal with all of this – let’s go see what’s happening at Early Girl.” I decide that, if I’m going to expect her to deal with all of this, maybe she needs a little extra de-stressing first. We go around the block, and when we get back at 7:05, everybody is processing back into the building – led by bagpipes.

Paula kicks the evening off by singing – with her gorgeous voice – the beautiful “A whole new world” from Disney’s Aladdin (YouTube it – it’s so perfect for what is going on at Jubilee right now, starting afresh with Amy). I cry.

Me and Panchita aka Pancho, photo by Susie Davis – on her front porch

I look across the room and see Elizabeth Likis singing along with Paula – looking so happy. I cry.

Elizabeth Likis on right with her wonderful hair.

There’s so much energy and excitement in the air that little Pancho – sitting in my lap – looks deep in my eyes and sends the message
“What the heck is going on here? It doesn’t usually feel this electric at the 11:15 celebration. Is everything OK? Am I safe?”
I look back at those gorgeous, big brown eyes and whisper to her,
“It’s all OK, baby. You’re safe – nothing is going wrong. In fact, so much is going right! The energy you feel in this room is something new being born.”

Barbara Brady – one of the new crop of Jubilee ministers – delivers an unbelievably hysterical stand-up comedy routine, coaching Amy how to be the minister Jubilee needs right now. (“Please – listen, this is important – please make sure your socks match.”) Barbara shows the poise of an absolute pro, of some comic you see on TV. She is definitely ready for prime time. We look at each other and ask “Did you know she had this in her?” Apparently she does.

Barbara Brady (on left) and friend

Cathryn Zommer Davis, in her rich sonorous voice, introduces herself as the new Jubilee Minister of Movement. But wait – I remember the Sunday, just a few months ago it seems, when I first saw her dance at Jubilee. Lauren has been running the service and now Cathryn goes to the center of the room to deliver the “meditation”. I really need to pee, and am slowly moving backwards towards the bathroom. (“So what? I miss maybe the first minute of her talk – no big.”) And, before I even make it to the hallway, she starts to dance! Unbelievable! She is totally, totally mesmerizing. I didn’t make it to the bathroom until the service was over.

If I remember correctly, she at some point in that service, tells us that this is the first time she has danced for people in public. And now she’s our Minister of Movement! I have never seen anybody move better – she’s perfect. Another Jubilee miracle.

Cathryn Zommer Davis

Jacquelyn toasts Jubilee as a community – always her shtick, thank God for her!

Jacquelyn – Jackie – Dobrinska, Jubilee Minister of Community, on right

(Oh man – I am absolutely running out of gas at this point, after such an intense, exciting day. I can’t keep trying to do a play-by-play.)

Daniel and Jessica Chilton perform a totally improv celebration of Amy’s spiritual path – her unfoldment. Daniel is spontaneously making up the story and Jessica – the queen of Playback Theater – acts and dances it all out, absolutely nothing rehearsed.

Daniel Barber

Pancho can absolutely not take her eyes off Jessica – she is mesmerized by her, she watches every moment of it. When Jessica and Daniel wrap up, she finally turns away from the center of the circle and asks me “Did you see that?! What was that?!”

Jessica Chilton

Alba Onofrio: In a beautiful, impassioned, angry, perfect way says “God has been stolen from us! We need to take God back!…We are not here to save our souls – we are here to save this beautiful, endangered world of ours!” She uses the s-word once – perfectly, impeccably. “Amy, we have said ‘yes’ to you – I’m so glad you have said ‘yes’ to us.”
I cried then and am crying now, writing this and remembering that moment.

Alba Onofrio

The bagpipes play and Pancho’s big chihuahua ears go crazy – rotating quickly in all directions. I think she has probably never heard anything like this. But she makes no move to go towards the door, which she is totally capable of doing. She knows when she has had it with someplace. As some of this definitely seems to be weirding her out, she apparently still likes it.

Then the actual ordination begins and everyone reads the blessing together. Suddenly voices are coming from all directions at once – and Pancho looks at me and says, “Jubilee – it’s amazing!”

Amy and Yona

Amy is sitting in the center of the circle. Howard invites us all to come up and lay hands on her. I think “Too crowded – Pancho can’t deal with this.” Then the crowd around Amy thins and I think, “That’s it – Amy needs a blessing from Pancho and me.” I carry Pancho up, so she doesn’t have to feel threatened by all these long legs. Amy has never met either of us, but recognizes us both from the Book of Face. She gives us a big, happy smile. My smile is equally big and happy. I look her deep in the eyes and – joining in again with the song we have all been singing – belt out “I want to be a sanctuary for you.”

The ritual is breaking up. The band is rocking “You ain’t seen nuthin’ yet!” (So amazingly courageous and surrendered of Howard that he wants us to sing this particular song at this particular moment.) Howard looks so happy. Like the wonderful parent that he is, he is happy and proud of what he has provided all of us – and also wants more for us than he knows how to provide.

Pancho is pulling on her leash. “This case is closed – let’s go pee on some places where other dogs have peed.” We almost make it to the door, when she gets a waft of cookies from the Hospitality Room. We go in there – where people continue to be in a high mood – and each have a cookie. OK, she has a cookie (no chocolate) and I have three.

We go out through those broad doors that have welcomed us so many times in the last 15 years.

What will happen next?

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These days all of my identities are converging: whether I am offering a blessing in the grocery store checkout line, offering a prayer in a poem or experiencing the kinship with all life while walking my or a client's dog - it's all the same. It's all Life.

4 thoughts on “A whole new world – Jubilee 2019”

  1. Oh Majo! Through your words and beautiful photos, I was there! 🙏🏾 thank you. Thanks to Pancho for being brave and sharing with remote Jubilants .
    Love ❤️ to all !


    1. Theresa – did they time-stamp your comment correctly? Did you really write it at 3 a.m.? What are you doing up at 3 a.m.?

      I’m up now only because I worked the overnight shift at Earth Fare – until 2:30 a.m. – uh…and then stopped at an all night diner for my usual five eggs and sausages and toast. In a little bit now, I will go for my usual 15-mile run, and…and I usually start my line of BS sounding almost kind of normal, unless you ask yourself, “Earth Fare is a grocery story, not a factory – do they really have an overnight shift?” and “He’s a cashier – what would a cashier do there in the middle of the night?”

      “A whole new world” is obviously very close to my heart. I feel very excited about Amy and about the rebirth Jubilee is experiencing.

      I can’t take personal credit for any of those photos. Susie Davis took the one of me and Pancho. And I’m pretty sure that literally every other one of them I lifted from Facebook.


  2. Thank you so much Mado for this wonderful description. I witnessed the baptism but sadly missed the ordination. Now I feel all caught up, excited and a little bit nervous.


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