This Week at St. John’s

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Row for your life

By now, if you haven’t given up on reading these weekly emails, you know I’m a Mary Oliver addict. Just when I think I’ve run the gamut of all she has to offer, another one of her poems grabs me by the crown of my head and carries me away like an eagle.

So here’s this one about–of course!–love. But for me it’s about the shape love takes in a person’s life, in what we sometimes call a vocation.

West Wind #2
You are young. So you know everything. You leap
into the boat and begin rowing. But listen to me.
Without fanfare, without embarrassment, without
any doubt, I talk directly to your soul. Listen to me.
Lift the oars from the water, let your arms rest, and
your heart, and heart’s little intelligence, and listen to
me. There is life without love. It is not worth a bent
penny, or a scuffed shoe. It is not worth the body of a
dead dog nine days unburied. When you hear, a mile
away and still out of sight, the churn of the water
as it begins to swirl and roil, fretting around the
sharp rocks – when you hear that unmistakable
pounding – when you feel the mist on your mouth
and sense ahead the embattlement, the long falls
plunging and steaming – then row, row for your life
toward it.
~ Mary Oliver ~

Much of the time we bumble along, worrying about things that will never happen or over which we have no control. Which distracts us from “that unmistakable pounding – when you feel the mist on your mouth and sense ahead the embattlement, the long falls plunging and steaming.” Like a powerful waterfall, the kind of love we call a vocation can be overwhelming and frightening. But also fascinating. You want to run away, but it somehow lures you in, almost irresistibly.

Have you ever experienced love, or your own calling, in this way? Do you agree with the strategy she recommends in the poem’s last lines?


See you in the church on Julian Avenue.


This Thursday, 11/16, 5pm: Special Mission Nightwalk with Jobs with Justice

We are honored that Jobs with Justice, representing over 30 labor unions and community organizations, will join this week’s Mission Nightwalk. Wonderful to join our voices (and feet!) as people of faith with this great organization in delivering our simple, clear message: We care! Stop the violence!.

When: Thursday, November 16, 5:00-6:15pm (Note the change from our usual weekday and time!)
Where: Starting from St. John’s, 110 Julian Avenue at 15th Street

Walking in style with our new Mission Nightwalk jackets!
Our friends at HOMEY-SF and Native Graphix have just finished our new Mission Nightwalk jackets, and they look amazing!

The jackets are nylon with a soft cotton lining, perfect for our walks the whole year around! You can either borrow one for a a particular Nightwalk, or have your very own for $15.

This Sunday, 11/19/17: Guest preacher Imam Abu Qadir Al-Amin

This Sunday we welcome the leader of the San Francisco Muslim Center, Imam Abu Qadir Al-Amin.

Imam Al-Amin received his first appointment as Imam in 1981, from the extraordinary leader of the Muslim American community, Imam W. Deen Mohammed, who was later referred to as America’s Imam after his passing. Imam Abu Qadir Al-Amin, studied extensively as a student of Imam W. Deen Mohammed for 33 years. In the tradition of Islamic teaching, the learned bestowed the authorization to teach on others who show promise in their Akhlaq (Character), their knowledge (Ilm), of the Qur’an and the life of Prophet Mohammed.

Imam Al-Amin has served as Muslim Chaplain, Convener of Western Regional Imams’ (1995/2010). He has officiated approximately 300 weddings. In addition, he worked as Program Director & Associate Director of the Center on Juvenile & Criminal Justice from 1992/2013. Imam Al-Amin is apart of the SF Interfaith Council and is actively involved with faith based community organizing.He currently serves as Resident Imam of the SF Muslim Community Center in the Excelsior District of San Francisco and considers it a honor and a privilege to humbly serve the San Francisco Community.

Imam Al-Amin is married to D. Hafsah Al-Amin they have four offspring, Qadir, Saidah, Bilal and Darisah, they have 5 grand children.

This Sunday, 11/19/17: Planning our El Porvenir work trip to Nicaragua

From expedition organizer Timm Dobbins:

We are only three months out from our work trip to Nicaragua!  For those going, we will have a meeting after church on November 19 to talk about logistics, forms, plane tickets, etc. If you have been thinking about joining the group, this would be a good time to meet with us, and make your decision. A $100 deposit needs to get to the El Porvenir offices before the end of November to secure your space in our brigade February 17-25, 2018.

CANCELED: This Sunday’s Compline

This Sunday, our amazing Daniel Pickens-Jones heads to his sister’s wedding, and his Endersnight colleagues take a well-deserved break before the holiday season. Our monthly Compline resumes next month.

12/3/17: St. John’s to host openly gay Bishop Gene Robinson

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.

RESCHEDULING: St. John’s celebrates 160 years!

Our 160th Anniversary Celebration will be rescheduled to coincide with the Grand Opening of our new garden, sometime this Spring, date TBD.

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!

Thankful reminiscences of an amazing retreat

This past weekend, many of us headed north to the Bishop’s Ranch for an unforgettable retreat filled with laughter, hiking through some of California’s most beautiful trails, great food, poetry writing, movie watching, art work, powerful conversation, lots of free time, naps, and, of course, much prayer.

Setting the pace for the rest of us mortals

We weren’t the only ones praying out there!


Rob Tan photo

The Ranch has many treasures this time of year.

Rob Tan photo

Tuesday, November 14
5:45am – 1:00pm Sacred Rest
7:00pm – 9:00pm Mission Dharma (Nave)
Wednesday, November 15
5:45am – 1:00pm Sacred Rest
1:00pm – 3:30pm Custodial Service, Entire Building
Thursday, November 16
3:00pm – 10:00pm Jobs with Justice Gala
5pm – Mission Nightwalk from St. John’s
Friday, November 17
5:45am – 1:00pm Sacred Rest
2:00pm – 3:00pm Daniel Gonzalez/Organ
Saturday, November 18
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 19
10:15am Choral Eucharist
12:30-6pm Indivisible
Monday, November 20
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!)

Imam Abu Qadir Al-Amin preaching
The Rev’d Richard Smith, Ph.D., presiding

The fourth-quarter rota is here.

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