This Week at St. John’s

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Pavarotti, Rudolph, and holiday pzazz!

Many spiritual writers warn against the culture’s distortions of the Christmas season–the commercialization, the rat race, the stress of channeling Martha Stewart, the final exhaustion with little energy left for family and friends. These writers are right to criticize much–but not all–of our culture’s Christmas ways.

Keeping our focus on the Child who is Love doesn’t mean we can’t relish all the other ways our culture marks this winter season–the tastes, smells, sounds, colors, stories, gift-giving, songs, and other traditions. These rich, sensuous things can lift us out of ordinary time, and provide a needed break for imagining, if only for a moment, how things could be different–more whole and beautiful, more peaceful and joyful and loving.

Perhaps this year more than most, our beleaguered imaginations could use just the extra nudge the season offers.

So go for it! Play Pavarotti, savor the cinnamony-buttery-nutmeggy treats, let yourself be dazzled by the lights and ornaments, the loving exchange of gifts and cards, the cards and high-fives, Jingle Bells, Frosty the Snowman, mistletoe, the Nutcracker Suite.

And, of course, Rudolph. The beloved reindeer, laughed at and ostracized for his embarrassingly shiny red nose, is precisely the one chosen to guide the sleigh, bringing the Loving Presence to earth.

See this how this works?

  • Women were once ridiculed for being too “emotional”, “irrational”, and tied to their bodies. Then someone realized that the disembodied heads that have been running the world have caused far too much pain and destroyed far too many lives. Women, we’re finally coming to realize, are essential to healing the world–not in spite of, but precisely because of, their uniquely “feminine” abilities to feel and intuit and celebrate their bodies.
  • Gay men have long been reproached for “overdoing it” when it comes to sex until someone noticed that a gay man’s delight in sex may be just the antidote to a Puritanical culture’s loss of a rich and fully human sensuality.
  • Racial and ethnic minorities, long despised for their ranges of emotion, their religions, art, dance, and food, are all-too-slowly becoming valued for awakening us to those amazing parts of life we would otherwise miss.
  • Perhaps especially in these days, immigrants and refugees, feared and mischaracterized by our president as criminals, terrorists, and rapists, are precisely the ones who harvest the crops, care for our children and elders, and contribute to our economy in countless ways.

It’s a few days out from Christmas, and I wonder about the other unappreciated Rudolphs whose presently despised features our world so desperately needs.

Enjoy the waning days of Advent and the approach of the One who loves you dearly.

See you in the church on Julian Avenue.


Last Sunday of Advent: Alms for Cristosal

This Sunday morning, Advent draws to a close. Again we take up a second collection for Cristosal, one of the foremost organizations seeking justice for the people of Central America.

You don’t hear much in the news these days about Central America. If you did, your heart would break. As our friend, Kathy Veit, writes:

It is a crisis of violence and forced displacement on a scale seen otherwise only in official war zones. If you are unfamiliar with this crisis (it hasn’t made our front pages since 2015), this recent article provides good background: Trump Administration Suddenly Cancels Refugee Program That Saved Lives of Central American Children. This brief film also brings the story to life.
(See more of what Kathy writes about Cristosal’s work in Central America.)

Cristosal is also leading the prosecution of one of the first war crimes trials following El Salvador’s bloody civil war–the case of the 1981 El Mozote Massacre, one of the greatest atrocities in modern times in the Western Hemisphere. The Salvadoran army brutally killed at least 1,000 civilians, 60% of them children.

The remains of victims of the El Mozote massacre, prior to their burial in the town of Jocoatique, in El Salvador Reuters

Our parish has been honored to quietly accompany three young Central Americans–Allan, Mirza, and Isrrael–who fled Honduras and Guatemala for their lives. Each is here on their own, their families and loved ones far away. Allan, recently baptized, is now one of us. Mirza and Isrrael we see less often; their lives are jammed with school, more than one part-time job, soccer, and a little time to just be teenagers. But, in each case, we help as best we can: Safeway cards when the food starts to run out at the end of the month, an occasional hug, maybe a job lead.

But we also need to look at the root of the problem. What drove Allan and Mirza and Isrrael to flee for their lives in the first place? Their stories are part of a much larger one of the violence and oppression that afflicts their countries. It is this reality Cristosal robustly challenges.

When we pass the hat a second time each Sunday of Advent, please give from your heart.

Wednesdays in Advent: Evening prayer at St. John’s

A candle-lit, quiet, prayerful way to end your workday, deepen your Advent prayer, settle into the evening, and prepare for Christmas.

When: Each Wednesday of Advent, beginning December 6th, 6pm
Where: St. John’s, in the nave

Join us!

1/27: The Gubbio Project!

We are excited to have been at St. John the Evangelist for two years and to celebrate we are hosting a brunch for you and the guests!

Details: There will be 50 seats for supporters and 50 for guests.
Tickets are $40 and will buy you and a homeless guest a ticket.
Date: January 27 at 11 AM

Click here to request ticket information

1/28: Annual St. John’s meeting

A festive brunch, a review of our year, a look at the year ahead, and the election new members to the Bishop’s Committee.

When: Sunday, Jan 28, following the Liturgy
Where: the nave, St. John’s

Just in time for Christmas!

Your very own St. John’s MORE LOVE tee shirt! And maybe a couple of extras for friends and fam!

See our official tee shirt sales rep Timm Dobbins!

Needed: Baseball gear for Nicaraguan kids

Timm Dobbins and Susan Hansen and have been scouring thrift stores for baseballs/softballs, mitts, bats (aluminum and wooden) and soccer balls to take to Nicaragua in February.

Last year we were able to outfit a whole baseball league.

You can bring the items to church on the next several Sundays.

Thank you for supporting the work of El Porvenir.

Last Sunday

Ben played the trumpet!

Ricky officially became a member!

Photo by Susan Hansen

Audrey, Elena, and their parents lit the candles of the Advent wreath.

Photo by Susan Hansen

Tuesday, December 19
5:45am – 1:00pm Sacred Rest
7:00pm – 9:00pm Mission Dharma (Nave)
Wednesday, December 20
5:45am – 1:00pm Sacred Rest
1:00pm – 3:30pm Custodial Service, Entire Building
6:00p – Evening Prayer
Thursday, December 21
9am – Morning prayer with the Gubbio Project
Friday, December 22
5:45am – 1:00pm Sacred Rest
5-9pm – Danzantes Xitlali (Nave)
Saturday, December 23
5-11am Julian Pantry (food distribution at 10am)
10:00am – 1:00pm Custodial Service Entire Building
Sunday, December 24
10:15am Choral Eucharist
12:30-6pm Indivisible
Monday, December 25
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 Richard Smith, Ph.D., preaching and presiding

The fourth-quarter rota is here.


St. John the Evangelist Episcopal Church
1661 – 15th Street, San Francisco, CA 94103
Phone: (415) 861-1436
Office Hours: Mon, Tues, Wed from 1:30pm-4:30 pm

Sunday Worship
Choral Eucharist, 10:15 am

Christmas Liturgies
Christmas Eve: 10pm – Carols; 10:30pm – The Liturgy of the Nativity of Our Lord
Christmas Day: 10:15am , simple Liturgy with Carols and Eucharist

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