Today at Trinity Collinsville we had a guest sermon by our bishop suffragan, the Rt. Rev. Laura Ahrens [the audio file of the sermon should be up in a few days). She started the sermon by talking about the tragic Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire in 1911, the worst industrial disaster in U.S. history up that that point. Being a smarty-pants women’s historian I thought, okay where is she going with this? Well, Prof. Smarty Pants didn’t know that Frances Perkins (pictured at left), witnessed the fire and as a good Episcopilian, was called to find a way to prevent this from happening again. So, Perkins became active in the U.S. labor movement, fighting for the rights of workers in New York State, and later as Secretary of Labor under Presidents Roosevelt and Truman.
Since today is Palm Sunday, the bishop made a link between the horrors witnessed by Perkins, and the horrors of the Passion, asking us what we will do to prevent things like this from happening again. Good question — I guess this is what this week is for, to mediate on such things.