All Saints Church
Beverly Hills, CA
I had an excellent experience as an intern at All Saints’ Church in Beverly Hills, a parish of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles where I have been a member for five years. The internship was a great opportunity to work on diverse projects, each of which enabled me to apply my research and writing skills to new challenges. My first project was assessing historical materials the Parish had been collecting since its founding in 1925 that were being stored in a basement. I created a proposal to recommend how the church could best preserve, catalogue, and make use of these materials in creating an archive of the Church’s history. I gave a presentation about this project to the Church Vestry so that they could make an informed decision about allocating funds to the implementation of my plan.
Another major area of my internship work was in the liturgical life of the church through three specific projects: writing a customary, creating a list of prayer topics for use throughout the year, and writing new intercessory prayers for the Sunday Eucharist service. The customary involved collaborating with an associate priest to create an account of the specific ways in which the Parish celebrates Holy Days, as well as to describe the Parish’s unique ceremonies, such as the Blessing of the Backpacks in September. The list of prayer topics was an exciting opportunity for me to consider all of the concerns that the Church should address in relation to the Church calendar, as well as the secular calendar. This list allowed me to focus on topics that are important to our Parish’s progressive beliefs, and I placed a particular emphasis on social justice, the wise use of environmental resources, and the role of the Virgin Mary and women saints. And finally, I wrote three Intercessory Prayers. The first was developed around aspects of Jesus’ humanity in the Incarnation, and was used during September. The next was a prayer for our season of Stewardship that was implemented in October. For the final prayer, I drew on medieval saint Julian of Norwich’s Showings and her theological emphasis on the goodness of God and on Jesus as Mother. These liturgical projects allowed me to apply my research and writing skills to new genres, and to think carefully about the relationship between liturgical forms and their ongoing relevance in the twenty-first century, which I found employed similar skills as those I use when articulating the significance of my research on late-Victorian women novelists.
Finally, I had the amazing opportunity to design and lead a small group on the topic of Fiction, Imagination, and the Role of Faith. This was an exciting chance to discuss authors who are usually outside my research, including Dorothy Sayers, Flannery O’Connor, and Evelyn Waugh. There was an overwhelming interest in the group, and it was very rewarding to gather with adults who wanted to participate in literary discussions for enjoyment.