Alison Faison

Celebrating Asian, Asian-American & Pacific Islander Heritages

People living in San Francisco, China, Korea, Vietnam, Japan, Mongolia, and all over the world celebrate Lunar New Year. The holiday begins on Sunday, January 22 and continues for a week. 2023 is the year of the Rabbit. I love the traditional images of the rabbit and the moon in stories, ceramics, print, and textiles. San Francisco activities kicked off with the Flower Fair on January 14 and will last through the annual Grand Parade on February 4. For many years I lived near Chinatown, so I would buy branches of quince blossoms on Grant or Stockton streets.

During Sunday Studio on Lunar New Year, we will encourage children to read a broad range of children’s books featuring stories of Asian, Asian-American, and Pacific Islander (AAPI) families, as well as do activities related to Lunar New Year. It is important that AAPI children see themselves represented in children’s books, history, as well as in dolls and toys. We celebrate AAPI heritage every day, not just during Lunar New Year. I am thankful that SF Unified School District children and youth have a day off to celebrate and commemorate. In a recent SF Chronicle article Mayor London Breed touts that AAPI hate crimes have lowered in 2023. She acknowledges that people still need to look out for one another. The Presbyterian Church USA has written statements against AAPI hate. Here is a statement entitled ‘We see you among us’ from the Stated Clerk of the General Assembly on March 25, 2021.

To our Asian siblings, we see you among us, and our spirits and our prayers are with you. Our expression of the Body of Christ is richer for your presence.

Just as the PC(USA) stands against every other form of hate and stands for God’s love and justice shown to us by Jesus Christ, we also stand against hatred toward those of Asian descent. It is antithetical to the vision of God’s beloved kin-dom. It is antithetical to the PC(USA) foundations of diversity and inclusion, in which all children of God are beloved and welcomed to belong to God and to one another.

This anti-Asian sentiment, although on the rise in the past year or so, is not new.[1] Therefore, all Presbyterians are urged to not tire or grow weary in standing against hate and violence, and to keep standing for Christ’s love and justice.

Stop AAPI Hate creates a space and provides resources for Bay Area people to act if they see a hate crime. We can educate our children and families to act “if they see something to say something.” They can also watch their thoughts, words, and actions to eliminate micro-aggressions or overt racism. Hate crimes are preventable with proper reporting and education. We want to share family stories that connect us. We want to promote positive narratives and encourage children and families to feel free and safe.

 

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How interfaith collaboration helps us grow

Calvary Presbyterian Church welcomes families of all faiths. At Calvary, many families have one parent who practices Christianity and another parent who practices another faith or is agnostic or atheist. We can create opportunities to welcome each other and hear each other's faith perspectives. Many children and youth have friends of different faiths at school. It can be difficult to share experiences about Christian faith as many folks don’t want to be associated with negative examples of Christian extremism played out in the world right now. We want to encourage children and youth to normalize sharing their faith in safe spaces, so that they can see the commonalities of age-old Golden Rule values that prioritize people over profits, and advocate for the wellbeing of neighbors. Calvary is a Matthew 25 church, as well as a Sanctuary church, so our values speak from Jesus’ words about radical welcome.

From generation to generation: ancestors, us, and our kids

This morning I drank coffee, ate breakfast, and lit candles: twelve connected in a circle, the 4th candle on the menorah, and the four Advent candles on the angel chimes. It is Winter Solstice, also known as the Longest Night. Tonight we will celebrate a long night transition which generations of our ancestors have experienced. We share the Advent theme of “From Generation to Generation” with A Sanctified Art and countless churches across the United States. How do we remember the good that our ancestors fostered while doing good now, and encouraging a sustainable future for our children? This afternoon we will make lunches for over a thousand people to receive on Christmas Eve. Then we will sing together by candlelight in the chapel. How do these spiritual practices relate to sustainability, stewardship, and Seven Generation Thinking?

100 things every child should know before confirmation

The next time you are at childcare or Sunday Studio, please pick up a free copy of Rebecca Kirkpatrick’s book 100 Things Every Child Should Know Before Confirmation. This book focuses on the practice of planting the seed of faith, feeding the soil of each child’s soul, and watching children and youth grow. We want them to know the oral tradition roots that originate with the Israelite People, the Gospels that tell the life of Jesus, the acts of Jesus’ followers, and the liturgical seasons of the church starting with Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Easter, and Pentecost.