This Week at St. John’s

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Flying trapeze! Whitewater rafting!

With last Sunday’s announcement of my departure, our new adventure begins. Like most transitions, this one is likely to involve:

  • An ending–a letting go, a farewell to what these last five years have given us;
  • A new beginning with new goals and challenges, surprises and delights;
  • And, if we are like other mortals, a breath-taking in-between when we are like the trapeze artist who has just let go of one rope but has not yet fully grabbed the second.

This adventure requires more than marking out the next action steps. This one requires soul work.

As with the beginning of any transition, we simply can’t know exactly where this path will lead. But this much is clear: We begin from where we are, and this includes honoring the complex and conflicting emotions we may feel: fear, denial, anger, sadness, gratitude, disorientation, relief, frustration, uncertainty, a sense of loss. Can we, both individually and collectively, honor these and our many other feelings? We can’t short-circuit these many feelings if we are to fully embrace the new future God is inviting us to.

Foundational to the entire transition are gratitude and trust.

  • Gratitude for all the ways God has been present in our crazy and wonderful history, not only in these past five years but throughout our parish history–from it’s founding through the destructive 1906 earthquake; from exciting new ventures–the founding of St. Luke’s Hospital and Mission Graduates–to the sheltering of gay men with AIDS, of immigrants and refugees and unhoused people.
  • And trust that Someone has stretched out a net beneath this high-wire act of ours. The same God who has accompanied us on each step of our journey will continue to carry us forward.

For me as I look to a retirement that is far from clear, Isaiah’s words mean a lot:

But now thus says the LORD,
he who created you, O Jacob,
he who formed you, O Israel:
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name, you are mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
and the flame shall not consume you.
For I am the LORD your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
I give Egypt as your ransom,
Cush and Seba in exchange for you.
Because you are precious in my eyes,
and honored, and I love you. (Isaiah 43:1-28)

As mentioned last week, this coming Sunday we’ll have a chance after Mass to sit together, sort through some of our feelings, and share what we know about next steps and the resources available to us. This will be an important time. I hope you can join us.

Meanwhile, we keep each other and our beloved community close to our hearts. Please pray for me, too.

See you in the church on Julian Avenue.


As the Bishop’s Committee plans the budget for 2018, thanks for prayerfully considering your financial contribution to St. John’s. Your pledge enables us to maintain our sacred space; pay our Musician, Administrator and Vicar; and continue the many ministries God has asked us to do.

You can pledge your contribution either by placing a hard copy in the collection basket or online.

To fill out your pledge form online, click here.

Remembering our dead on All Souls Day

This year on All Souls’ Day, as we remember all our loved ones who have died, we’ll be joined by our friends in Danzantes Xitlali, an indigenous Aztec faith community that meets regularly at St. John’s. They will arrive fresh from their own celebration of El Dia de Los Muertos and will offer a prayer dance to remember all our loved ones who have died.

If you would like the names of loved ones read aloud at our liturgy, please fill out this form.

Sign up for St. John’s retreat at the Bishop’s Ranch!

There’s still room! Sign up now! First come, first served.

The Bishop’s Ranch has offered St John’s a weekend respite in the beautiful Sonoma countryside. This is a great opportunity to refresh ourselves individually and as an active, involved congregation.  We’ve been invited to stay at the Kay Qvale Ranch House – which provides beds for 30 and a big meeting room with fireplace, and will be gifted delicious nourishing meals, a chapel, art room, and great hiking trails.

A small committee has developed a plan of optional activities that will be offered. The general theme is Gratitude. (You can see where that comes from.) We’ll have a movie, a chance to write a poem with our poet laureate, Ann Cromey and join a sense-activating walk with Lauren Chavez, plus Morning Prayer, Evening Prayer, Compline and the Eucharist on Sunday morning.

Timeframe: Friday, November 10 by dinner at 6pm to Sunday November 12 after lunch at 12:30. We’re welcome to arrive Friday afternoon anytime to take a hike. We will try to arrange carpools for those who’d like a ride. Click here to RSVP if you have not already done so.

This gift has a lot to do with St John’s ongoing warm relationship with the Ranch and its director, Sean Swift, and the magic of Liz Specht! To show our commitment to receiving this gift, The Ranch has asked us to give a token amount toward the expense of our visit, sliding scale $30-$60 each. (No one will be turned away for lack of funds.) We have also offered to help with some manual labor while we are there.

Take a look at the Bishop’s Ranch website to learn more about the Ranch.

Reserve and secure your spot(s):

  1. By filling out the registration form
  2. By making a $30-60 donation to the Rector’s Discretionary Fund with memo designation: Bishop’s Ranch Retreat. (No one turned away for lack of money.)

Monday, 11/6: St. John’s book club reads Steinbeck’s Travels with Charley

The book is reputed to be very funny.  Please join us!

Our next meeting will be on Monday, November 6, at 7:30 at Leah and Cecil’s home.

Save the date: 12/3/17, Bishop Gene Robinson visits St. John’s

On Sunday, December 3, Bishop Robinson helps us begin the Advent season. He will preach at our usual 10:15am Liturgy. His sermon topic: “Jesus Doesn’t Need Any More Admirers!”

After the Liturgy, he’ll lead us in an “Everything you’ve wanted to ask Bishop Robinson but never had the chance” forum.

Spread the word. Bring your friends.

Save the date: 2/11/18, St. John’s celebrates 160 years!

A truly festive evening with each other and our extended family to mark an amazing 160-year journey! Put it on your calendar. Spread the word!

Help Allan find a job

Allan, front left, and fellow parishioners

Our beloved Allan Manzanares hails from Honduras and is applying for political asylum. He is very smart and a hard worker with a work permit and a wide range of experience and credentials including advanced degrees in Business Management.

Know anyone who needs a good worker like Allan?

Here is Allan’s resume.

And here are some of Allan’s own words:

Most of my experience has been in management / administrative positions as you will see, in real estate and the representation of companies that had operations in Honduras as a freelance consultant; social media marketing and value-added services for Honduran mobile phone companies. I have experience teaching, from elementary school kids to college students, as well as simultaneous interpretation and translation of documents in English – Spanish and vice-versa.

I’m open to all possibilities, not looking for anything in particular, as long as I have the opportunity to grow I can start anywhere. I offer hard work, discipline, work ethics and absolute loyalty and honesty in return.

.Any leads? See either Allan or The Beloved Vicar.

Update on Marie Fowler

Last Saturday evening, while crossing the street on her way home from the grocery store, Marie’s wheelchair got caught in a sewer grid. She fell out of the chair and landed in the street, the chair crashing on top of her and breaking her ankle. Now, after a few days in SF General, she hopes to return home as she continues physical therapy. She’s grateful for St. John’s and for our prayers for her healing.

News from Cristosal

As we accompany and offer Sanctuary to refugees from Central America, we’re honored to partner with this amazing organization working for justice in that troubled corner of the world.

Kathy Veit, a former member of St. John’s and now a Cristosal board member writes:

Dear friends,
I have a couple updates from Cristosal, as well an announcement of the Global School trip that my diocesan Partnership Commission is organizing. We welcome Cristosal friends from DioCal as well. I hope you will consider joining us!
Kathy Veit

Protecting a Vulnerable Family: Groundbreaking Decision in Amparo (Protection) Case
Cristosal is accompanying a family in need of protection by filing a suit against several government agencies that have failed to respond to the family’s need. This past Friday, a court made a critical ruling to protect the family that may lead to a national precedent:
An extended family with about 30 members began to receive attacks from the Barrio 18 gang in April 2017. Various family members endured injuries, rape, murder, and displacement from their homes. They knocked on the doors of several state institutions, but didn’t receive help from any of them until last Friday. Read the full article here.

The Future of Salvadoran Justice Depends on El Mozote
This article conveys the importance of the El Mozote Massacre trial in which Cristosal attorney David Morales is taking the lead along with attorneys from the Roman Catholic organization Tutela Legal. “What is at stake here is the kind of justice that will be handed down in the country. It would be excellent to have judges who are not afraid, because here there are judges who have no morals.”

Global School Trip
The Cristosal Model: Applying a human rights approach to social justice
Dates: April 22-29, 2018
Cost: $995*
Registration deadline: Jan. 2018
Sponsor: Partnership Commission of the Episcopal Diocese of El Camino Real
Questions or for more info on how to sign up: Kathy Veit

Description: Cristosal has evolved tremendously since its inception in the early 2000s, from a small ministry of the Anglican Church in El Salvador to a human rights organization on the cutting edge of innovative programming spanning three countries. Throughout this transition, we have been committed to a faithful vision to accompany and learn with the Salvadoran people. Study Cristosal’s history and work as examples of ways to use human rights principles in a variety of contexts, developing tools to support human rights in El Salvador and worldwide. (The first offering of this seminar will take place during Cristosal’s February board meeting. The second is designed specifically for Christian groups.
What to expect:

  • Engage directly with Cristosal’s work in Central America
  • Deepen our understanding of how structures rooted in discrimination perpetuate injustice
  • Apply a human rights approach to promoting social justice in our local context
  • Develop tools to help empower vulnerable populations and build capacities of state actors
  • Learn to advocate for human rights locally and globally
  • Visit some Salvadoran communities and sights of historic and spiritual importance (e.g., those associated with Monseñor Romero)

A more detailed itinerary will be available soon. All seminars include pre-seminar information and communication to prepare participants for the best possible learning experience while in El Salvador. Interpretation is provided in all seminars, ensuring both English and Spanish speakers may participate. The course will include North Americans as well as Salvadorans.
*Tuition does not include air fare. Tuition does include: lodging, transportation during the seminar, three meals a day, coordination and logistics, interpretation and trip guide, workshop leaders and speakers, activities in communities, and a contribution to the Salvadoran participant scholarship fund.


Tuesday, October 17
5:45am – 1:00pm Sacred Rest
7:00pm – 9:00pm Mission Dharma (Nave)
Wednesday, October 18
5:45am – 1:00pm Sacred Rest
1:00pm – 3:30pm Custodial Service, Entire Building
5:30pm – 9:30pm Faith in Action board meeting
Thursday, October 19
5:45am – 1:00pm Sacred Rest
9-9:30am Meditation and prayer with guests of the Gubbio Project
Friday, October 20
5:45am – 1:00pm Sacred Rest
2:00pm – 3:00pm Daniel Gonzalez/Organ
Saturday, October 21
5-11am Julian Pantry (food distribution at 10am)
10:00am – 1:00pm Custodial Service Entire Building
Sunday, October 22
10:15am Choral Eucharist
12:30-6pm Indivisible
6:30pm – 10:00pm Compline with Endersnight
Monday, October 23
5:45am – 1:00pm Sacred Rest
6:00pm – 9:00pm Danzantes Xitlali (Nave)
7:00pm – 9:30pm Lone Rangers meeting (Library)See our entire calendar here.
Readings for next Sunday (Reading them in advance can make the Liturgy more powerful for you!)The Rev’d Canon David Forbes, preaching
The Rev’d Richard Smith, Ph.D., presidingThe fourth-quarter rota is here.

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