Sacred Friendship | The Rev. Dr. Anna S. Pearson, Rector

01.12.24 | Celebration, Community, International, Pulpit Posts, World

Today is the day in our church calendar when we commemorate the life and ministry of Aelred, Abbot of Rievaulx. At first glance, Aelred seems to be another in a long line of medieval monks, raised in tumultuous times, who grow into faithful leadership and died a “good death.” Such lives are certainly worth highlighting in the narrative arc of Christian history, and Aelred’s life included all that plus one very specific theological focus: friendship.

For twenty years, from 1147 to 1167, Aelred served as leader of the Abbey Rievaulx. Toward the end of his life, even as he was dying from kidney disease, the abbey had over 600 monks serving under his care. During his last years, Aelred wrote the work for which he is best known: Spiritual Friendship. His premise is that friendship is both a gift from God and a creation of human effort. Love is universal and divinely given; friendship is the manifestation of that love in real time, with real people.

Aelred writes, “There are four qualities which characterize a friend: Loyalty, right intention, discretion and patience. Right intention seeks for nothing other than God and natural good. Discretion brings understanding of what is done on a friend’s behalf, and ability to know when to correct faults. Patience enables one to be justly rebuked, or to bear adversity on another’s behalf. Loyalty guards and protects friendship, in good or bitter times.”

In other words, friends are people who want the best for one another, always. Friends care enough to tell (and hear) the truth in love—and to stick around as the ripple effect of that truth telling works its way through the relationship. This kind of authenticity is rare and precious. It should never be taken for granted. If we have someone like that in our life—a true friend—Aelred’s life and work reminds us to take some time to reach out and let that person know how much we cherish them.

Blessings,

Church of the Holy Apostles

We are an open, inclusive Christian Church celebrating in the Episcopal tradition.

Sunday Service is held 11AM (on site and via livestream). Weekday services are held on Zoom.

LEARN MORE

For Newcomers

Learn about our faith community and explore ways to connect with our work and worship.

Sermons

Reflections on Holy Scripture from our Clergy.

History

Founded in 1844, with a focus on social activism and the desire for social justice.

Clergy, Staff & Vestry

The Vestry is the governing body of the Church of the Holy Apostles.

MUSIC

Music commands a strong presence at the Church of the Holy Apostles.

Space Rental

Host your next meeting or event in our landmark building.

Soup Kitchen & Pantry

Nourishing hungry New Yorkers since 1982 in an atmosphere of respect and hospitality.

LEARN MORE
Daily meal service

Serving a free, nutritious meal every weekday from 10:30 am to 12:30 pm.

Meal outreach

Distributing bagged breakfasts and lunches throughout Chelsea and Hell’s Kitchen.

About the soup kitchen

Learn more about our mission, our history, our performance, who we are, and what we do.

Pantry Program

Providing fresh and nutritious groceries to food-insecure New Yorkers.

Sunday Supper

Bridging generations and building community over a monthly family style meal.

Give Layers of Love this Winter

Help Keep Our Guests Warm this Winter.

Social Support

Meeting basic needs, stabilizing lives, and supporting individuals and families to achieve their goals.

LEARN MORE
SOCIAL SERVICES

Addressing the needs of the whole person through basic needs, counseling, and referrals.

Classes

Offering learning and skill-building opportunities.

Community Partnership

Partnering with others to expand the services offered to our guests.

Get Involved

Holy Apostles is a great place to channel your time, talents and generosity for good.

LEARN MORE
Volunteer

Make a difference in the lives of New Yorkers experiencing homelessness and hunger.

Partner

Join our efforts to serve others and provide for people who are vulnerable.

Donate

Your gift provides food, community, and hope to New Yorkers in need.

The Latest

Stay up-to-date on all happenings at Holy Apostles.

VIEW ALL
Food For The Soul

The official blog of Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen.

Voices of Our Community

Guest stories, poetry, and more.

EVENTS

See our calendar of events.

Church Pulpit Posts

Read weekly meditations written by our clergy.

Newsroom

Holy Apostles in the news.

Rev. Dr. Anna S. Pearson

Rev. Dr. Anna S. Pearson

THE LATEST

Stay current on activity at the Soup Kitchen, guest stories, thoughts from Clergy, news and events.

Subscribe to receive the latest news, events, volunteer opportunities, and more — right to your inbox.