Beating the Bounds

It did not rain on our parade. Truth to tell, the members of Christ Episcopal Church in Shaker Heights were not parading on Sunday, May 17th, they were Beating the Bounds. In the olden days it was customary to take a formal stroll around the boundaries of the parish, either on Ascension Day or during Rogation week to pray for the new planting season and all who lived in the parish boundaries. This was also a necessary liturgy to assure that such matters as liability and right of burial within the churchyard were not disputed.

A hardy band of approximately 45 parishioners gathered on the church steps and were fitted out with colorful streamers and flags. As rain threatened, many carried an umbrella. Led by our rector, the Rev. Peter Faass, we offered prayers and song from the Christian, Jewish and Islamic faith traditions often to the beat of a drum and tambourine.  Our walking took us through the community gardens at the rear of the church, turned left on Helen Rd. and then another left which took us to Warrensville Center Rd. where a Shaker Heights policeman stopped the traffic so we could cross the busy road. Another left took us through Van Aken Plaza and back to Warrensville where another policeman helped us cross the busy road to keep us safe. Then it was another left turn and we were back at the church, just as the rain came. We do not think any of those left turns have any significant meaning other than direction.

Members of the church were joined by Shaker Heights Mayor Earl Leiken, City Council president Nancy Moore, and Raymond Bobgan, artistic director of Cleveland Public Theater, and his wife Holly. We were indeed an interfaith group. Christ Church is in discussion with the City of Shaker Heights, RMS Development and others to become a performing arts center and the artistic and spiritual heart of the ongoing Warrensville-Van Aken Development project. CPT is one of our potential partners in this exciting new endeavor.

We certainly do have a sense of place at Christ Church as we celebrate this ancient English tradition in a  21st Century iteration, all the while recognizing God’s blessings in our midst.


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