52 Churches: San Antonio de Pala Astencia

It’s been a long time since I stuck my nose inside of a church, mosque or temple to continue my chronicle of church tourism started on this blog a decade ago.  A recent visit to an old California mission (the first I’ve visited) with my good friend and guide, Jim Forbes, inspired this entry.

In the late 18th and early 19th centuries, the Spanish mission and estancia system stretched along the Californian coast as far north as Sonoma north of San Francisco. Spaced about a day’s journey apart, they were the first western/European centers of power along that wild coast, connected by a road known as El Camino Real. The first of the Alta California missions was founded in 1769 in San Diego.  The mission I visited, San Antonio de Pala Astencia, or “the Pala Mission” was founded by Franciscan friars in 1816 as an astencia or sub-mission of the Mission San Luis Rey de Francia closer to the coast downstream on the San Luis Rey River. The Pala Indian Reservation is home to the Pala  Band of Mission Indians, descendants of the Cupeno and Luiseno tribe native to the area.

One gets to Pala off of Route 15 after passing the Lawrence Welk Trailer Park and hillside avocado orchards and citrus groves. The landscape is rugged, rocky, and arid with lots of boulders and volatile brush that makes the Pala/Escondido area a very dangerous place to live when the brush fires light up the skies and 200 foot tall walls of flame appear over the ridges. Pala is a reservation for the descendants of the Indian tribes who were displaced by Spanish and American colonists from their traditional dwellings closer to the Pacific Ocean. As one arrives in Pala the first sight is a large, modern casino with an immense sign touting the upcoming visit of some musical act. But off the main road, in a neighborhood of modest homes, is the Mission of San Antonio de Pala.

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We got out of the car and walked through the Mission cemetery, our arrival noted by a pair of little boys who were surprised two gringos would walk through the hallowed burial ground checking out the tombstones. They clambered over the stairs leading up to the freestanding belfry, marked with a sign asking visitors to please not ring the bell as that was reserved for the call to worship and to mark the passing of a parishioner.

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Since it was a Sunday a service was underway in the long, single story chapel, and with an overflow crowd standing in the doorway, we didn’t enter, but listened for a minute as the priest read a series of community announcements.

We lingered in the shade in front of the church for a bit, then moved on in search of a farmstand where I bought some dried chilis.

 

 

 

Memorial Day in Mosswood Cemetary

On a thousand small town New England greens,
the old white churches hold their air
of sparse, sincere rebellion; frayed flags
quilt the graveyards of the Grand Army of the Republic.
The stone statues of the abstract Union Soldier
grow slimmer and younger each year—
wasp-waisted, they doze over muskets
and muse through their sideburns . . .

For the Union Dead, Robert Lowell

On Boston Common, following a decade-long Memorial Day tradition, volunteers from the Massachusetts Military Heroes Fund have set out more than 37,000 flags to mark the memory of all the Commonwealth’s soldiers who have died in battle defending the country since the Revolution.

Jim Gould, local historian and essayist, emailed me on Saturday the news that a flag had been placed on the grave in Cotuit’s Mosswood Cemetary of my great-great-grandfather, Capt. Thomas Chatfield, to honor his service in the Union Navy during the Civil War.

Capt. Thomas Chatfield, USN

Chatfield survived the Civil War unscathed. Across the street from where I sit, in the park in the village center, sit two hulking granite boulders with bronze plaques affixed to their faces. There are enscribed the names of Cotuit’s veterans of the two world wars.

I did not serve in the military but a few men in the family have. From my fifth great grandfather Job Handy serving in the Continental Army in the American Revolution to the present with my son serving in the U.S. Army, there’s somewhat of a military tradition to honor. My father was in the Army in the early 1950s, stationed in post-war Germany. My brother Tom served in the Army’s special forces for nearly 15 years. My nephew is presently a Navy Seal. My son is a private in the 25th Infantry.

Thomas Churbuck in Kurdistan c. 1991
Following the first Gulf War, Thomas Churbuck was assigned to a Kurdish refugee camp near the Iraq-Turkey border.
Pvt. Fisher M. Churbuck, graduating from basic training, Fort Benning 2018

I missed the draft for the Vietnam war by a few months in 1976, then came close to enlisting in the Navy after graduating from college four years later (a missed opportunity I’ve regretted ever since). I should have served but didn’t.

Here’s to those who did serve or are serving now:

Here’s to Jim Forbes who served in the USMC at Khesanh. To Rick Larcom the Green Beret who lost his leg in Vietnam. To Sam Berry who flew an Air Force tanker. To Ben Field who is a sonarman aboard a USN submarine. Here’s to all who serve in distant wars today, who have served in the past, and who one day will have their graves marked on some future Memorial Day by a flag they earned through their service.

Excellent analysis on GDPR’s impact on Adtech

via Doc Searls Weblog · GDPR will pop the adtech bubble

Searls writes down what I’ve been thinking and predicting for the past couple of years: the mounting backlash by consumers and regulators against tracking technology is going to blow up the existing Adtech market and cause a whole lot of pain for tracking-based advertising models.

“Adtech is built to undermine the brand value of all the media it uses, because it cares about eyeballs more than media, and it causes negative associations with brands. Consider this: perhaps a $trillion or more has been spent on adtech, and not one brand known to the world has been made by it. (Bob Hoffman, aka the Ad Contrarian, is required reading on this.)”

Career change update: Joining Sitrick And Company

On May 6th, I joined the firm of Sitrick And Company as a Member of the Firm (e.g. “partner”) and the first Head of its new Boston office at One Post Office Square. I’m going to build a global tech practice for the firm as well as advise its clients in New England and the Boston area.

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Mike Sitrick, the founder of the firm, has been the leading crisis communications specialist in the country for more than 30 years and advises a blue ribbon of corporate and celebrity clients out of the firm’s headquarters in Los Angeles. The firm also has offices in San Francisco, Denver, Washington, DC and New York City.

Sitrick is home to a roster of former national and local business reporters with the likes of Forbes, the Wall Street Journal, New York Times and Bloomberg on their resumes. One of them, my former Forbes colleague Seth Lubove, recommended me as the guy to build up the firm’s tech practice. So thanks to Seth,  here I am.

Crisis communications is a fascinating and often misunderstood specialty in the public relations world and Sitrick is the acknowledged black belt at it. In January his second book — The Fixer — was published by Regenery, and in it he lays out a simple ten rule framework for how to weather those adrenaline-filled moments of sheer panic hat come to every organization on occasion. Most telling is his contrarian approach to working with the media. Where many PR firms and internal PR teams take an adversarial stance in their relations with the press, Sitrick prides itself on working closely with the media to get its clients’ version of a controversy out there rather than hide behind the stonewall of “no comment.”

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I can look back at several key points in my career when I felt the most energized and empowered,  and nearly all of them were associated with some form of crisis or breaking news.  Working a crime scene or fire as a cub reporter at the Lawrence Eagle-Tribune. Saving a colleague choking on a roast beef sub in the Tribune’s newsroom with a Heimlich. The Shattered Glass scoop my team at Forbes.com broke open in 1998.
Calming down pissed-off  customers flooding the Better Business Bureau and social media with complaints over delayed computer shipments at Lenovo.

2017 was enlivened by some challenging crisis work at my former job – running PR at Acquia — and I quickly realized my attention and productivity both soar when things go wrong and hit the proverbial fan. So as I parted ways with Acquia, the one thing I wanted to do was more crisis work — either at my own agency (codenamed “Dumpsterfire”) or with an established one where I could learn.

The chance to work with and learn from Mike Sitrick sold me and so here I am.

A press release went out this morning. Here’s a link to it.

Sitrick And Company Opens Boston Office

David Churbuck, Founder and Editor of Forbes.com, former Chief Content Officer of McKinsey and VP of Digital Marketing for Lenovo, Named Head of Boston Office and Member of the Firm


NEWS PROVIDED BY

Sitrick And Company, Inc. 

09:00 ET


LOS ANGELESMay 11, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Sitrick And Company, internationally recognized as one of the top strategic and crisis communications firms in the nation, today announced that it has opened a Boston office.  The firm now has offices in Los AngelesNew YorkSan FranciscoDenver and Washington, DC.

Simultaneously, the firm announced it has named David Churbuck, founder and former Editor of Forbes.com and former Chief Content Officer of McKinsey & Company’s TomorrowLab, as Head of the Boston Office and a Member of the Firm.

Mr. Churbuck, an award-winning tech journalist and digital marketing communications executive, brings 20 years of journalism experience and 10 years of corporate experience to the position.

In addition to founding and serving as Editor in Chief of Forbes.com, Mr. Churbuck served as Senior Technology Editor and New England Bureau Chief at Forbes.  While he led Forbes.com, the site exposed the New Republic scandal chronicled in the 2003 film Shattered Glass.  While Senior Technology Editor at Forbes, the magazine won awards for his cover story about digital forgery, and his early coverage of the Internet.

Mr. Churbuck served as Vice-President of Global Digital Marketing at Lenovo from 2005 through 2010, where he won awards for Lenovo’s pioneering athlete blogging campaign – Voice of the Summer Games — during the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics.  He also served as a founding partner of Eastman Advisors, a digital strategy firm in New York City, advising clients in the entertainment, art and luxury goods sectors on their ecommerce, social media and digital marketing strategies.

Prior to joining Sitrick and Company, Mr. Churbuck was VP of Corporate Marketing at Acquia, a Boston-based SaaS provider of open source content management solutions to Global 2000 clients.

A native Cape Codder, Mr. Churbuck holds a bachelor’s degree in American History from Yale University.

Mr. Churbuck joins a roster of reporters and editors from such publications as The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Bloomberg News, NBC and CBS Television.

Michael Sitrick, the firm’s founder, Chairman and CEO said that he has long eyed Boston as a market that could benefit from the firm’s unique set of skills, but had not found the right person to run that office.

“David fills that need,” he said.

“I speak for everyone at the firm when I say we are very thrilled to have David join our team,” Mr. Sitrick said. “His knowledge and expertise in the media, financial, and technology sectors, as well as in digital and social media will further enhance our ability to serve our clients.  It takes a certain combination of judgment and skill to succeed in this business and I am confident David has both.”

Mr. Churbuck added, “It’s an honor to join a firm with a reputation as outstanding as Sitrick And Company’s. The opportunity to work with Mike Sitrick and his team is compelling.  Their reputation for achieving results for clients is well known.  Mike and I share the opinion that there is significant opportunity to bring a new level of value to clients in the technology sector, not only in Boston but worldwide.  I am very excited to join the firm and look forward to helping our clients achieve their goals.”

Sitrick And Company is internationally recognized as one of the top strategic communications firms in the country. Based in Los Angeles with offices in New YorkSan FranciscoDenver and Washington, D.C., Sitrick And Company was founded nearly 30 years ago and is recognized as one of the nation’s top strategic public relations firms. Best known for its work advising clients during crises and other sensitive matters, the firm has a successful business in corporate, financial and transactional communications, as well.  It has advised well over 1,000 public and private companies, organizations and individuals on myriad issues.  It was acquired as a wholly-owned subsidiary by Resources Connection, Inc. (NASDAQ: RECN) in November 2009.

SOURCE Sitrick And Company, Inc.

Related Links

http://www.sitrick.com