This Week at St. John’s

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Friends in high places

In honor of this week’s feasts of All Souls and All Saints, this poem by John Shea:

We liked them,
up there,
as they shone in stained-glass glory

a candle of a nun with flame dancing on her head, a young man with steeple fingers holding a lily,
a knight ramming a lance down a dragon’s throat,
a queen doling out bread to a beggar,
a monk with a pen poised like a dagger

with the sun, having no other choice,
pouring through their technicolor mosaic bodies
into the dark, Gothic silence of God.

They lived between us and God
and had certain, shall we say, discretionary powers:

Saint Anne could get you a man
Saint Anthony could find your car keys
Saint Joseph, buried upside down, could sell your house.

More importantly,
they pleaded our shaky cases
before the bench of Christ
and whispered favorable words in his ears
until his cold eyes wept
and the perfect scales of justice
were tipped in our favor.
We had friends in high places.

When did we notice–

the feet of the candle-like nun danced on the earth while the flame danced on her head,
there was a vein bulging in the neck of the young man and his steeple fingers choked the stem of the lily,
the fear-bitten lip of the knight who realized the dragon was devouring his lance,
the queen was as angry to give as the beggar was to receive,
the monk’s eyes were wide with wonder and the pen trembled in his hand?

When did their faces,
too long made pretty by piety,
begin to wrinkle and twitch?
When did their voices,
too long psalm-toned,
begin to laugh and rant?

When did we know
they were brothers to our burdens
and sisters to our strivings
and could no longer parade
as patrons of our fears,
intercessors for our interests?

When did they climb down from their stained-glass glory,
scramble through the pews,
lift the processional cross from its stand,
and make for the door–
pausing only long enough
to smile
and wave at us
to join them?

See you in the church on Julian Avenue.

Peace,
Richard

Remembering our dead

This Sunday, 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.

St. John’s at the Diocesan Convention

At this year’s diocesan convention, Birgit and Sarah represented St. John’s with gusto.

Sarah helped author two prophetic resolutions, one making ours a Sanctuary Diocese that welcomes and protects immigrants, the other encouraging the next General Convention to declare the entire Episcopal Church a Sanctuary. Proud of Sarah’s amazing work on these critical resolutions.

Tuesday, October 31
5:45am – 1:00pm Sacred Rest
7:00pm – 9:00pm Mission Dharma (Nave)
Wednesday, November 1
5:45am – 1:00pm Sacred Rest
1:00pm – 3:30pm Custodial Service, Entire Building
4:00pm – 11:59pm Danzantes Xitali Annual Event
Thursday, November 2
12am-8am – Danzantes Xitali Annual Event
6pm-8pm – Bishop’s Committee
Friday, November 3
5:45am – 1:00pm Sacred Rest
2:00pm – 3:00pm Daniel Gonzalez/Organ
Saturday, November 4
5-11am Julian Pantry (food distribution at 10am)
10:00am – 1:00pm Custodial Service Entire Building
4:30pm – 10:00pm Loriel Starr Soundbath Meditation
Sunday, November 5
10:15am Choral Eucharist
12:30-6pm Indivisible
Monday, November 6
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 Deacon Jackie Cherry, preaching
The Rev’d Richard Smith, Ph.D., presiding

The fourth-quarter rota is here.

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