When the Student is Ready, the Teacher Appears. That’s a Promise.

Lori Guarisco—Graceful and Brilliant Head Elf

Hidden in a set of rooms behind a nondescript door on the lower floor of the Tate Building, are actual ELVES!!  Yes, All Saints’ has elves—the adorable, cheerful, helpful kind, a  gazillion of them!

Their leader is Lori Guarisco, such a fascinating woman. Here’s Lori:

“I’ve been a dancer all my life. My grandmother was a dancer and a clown!  I started off with eastern dancing. Belly dancing for instance is a way that women teach each other about their bodies. Over the years, I’ve had hundreds of students.

In recent years I’ve also become a stone mason and working in stone is now a big part of who I am. I think building with stones is a Christian thing. I am  building an amphitheater in my backyard—long term project, of course.

Dancing and working with stone – believe it or not – they are really the same thing.

The thing I’ve learned about working with stone is the power of patience. You have to have a lot of patience. And I very rarely in my life lose patience. A gift from years of dancing, of living and loving.

I have also learned as a student and a teacher that ‘when the student is ready, the teacher appears.’ I have been aware this past year that it is time learn some new ‘body vocabulary’.”

So Lori is actually in Spain right now, in Seville, where there is a biennial flamenco festival, because a wondrous flamenco teacher recently appeared in Lori’s life and invited her to join the dance! Lori says her inner student is ready.

The Grace of Baile Flamenco!!

Isn’t that such a good thing to remember?  When we are ready to learn a beautiful and deep new thing, a teacher will appear.  I call that the Grace of Christ.   That kind of grace happens to me all the time around All Saints’.  That’s what we do around this block—teach each other dances of grace and strength, compassion and courage, and yes, patience. We really do.

Two of our 3000 All Saints’ teachers, Pat Kiley and Lori.

Back to the elves behind the nondescript door in Tate Hall: their passion is Threads,  a parish ministry driven by the desire to provide children from birth through fifth grade with clean, durable clothing and footwear.  Every year about 30,000 items of clothing as well as 10,000 pairs of socks and underwear are elf-organized and made available to Threads shoppers who come to us through neighborhood agencies serving the poor. The elves help families experience SHOPPING WITH  CHOICES. Sometimes, children of affluence have too many choices which certainly  has its own struggles.  But to give a child without financial resources the chance to pick what s/he really wants to wear, why that is holy!! Threads serves a eucharistic feast in a way!

Excellent Elves, Bob Tick and Cappa Woodward, in a Threads feast organizational moment with Lori!


This Sunday, August 28, the place to be in all of Atlanta  is THREADS TWELFTH BIRTHDAY PARTY!!

Don’t you want to bring a present?? No wrapping necessary!

The elves will be out in force. Don’t miss it!

And then next day, Monday, August 29,  check back here on the Around This Block blog for the anniversary of an eleven year old Elf Back Story—about losing your life and finding it again.

Where was this elf eleven years ago?  (Hint: a lot of water was on the way.)

Happy Birthday, Threads! Happy Dancing, Lori!

Martha +

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