Matter of Life or Death

From Jeremy, priest in charge

You will have seen the devastating news of the murders at the Masjid Al Noor in Christchurch and Linwood mosque in New Zealand. Here is a response from the local Anglican church:
“This statement is being issued by Bishop Peter Carrell on behalf of the leaders of churches in Christchurch city and Canterbury province –
Church leaders are absolutely devastated at the unprecedented situation in Christchurch this afternoon and our hearts and prayers go to all involved. No religious organisation or group deserves to be the target of someone’s hate – regardless of beliefs. We stand for an Aotearoa New Zealand which will never condone such violence. So across the churches of Christchurch and Canterbury, we are praying for our Muslim brothers and sisters, for those injured and those who have lost loved ones, for the police, ambulance and other emergency services, and for all in the city of Christchurch who are feeling distress and fear due to this event.  We are upholding you all in our prayers. We pray too for the shooter and their supporters, because for any person to do this, they must have such hatred in their hearts, such misalignment of the value of human life, that they too, need our prayer. We thank many others from around our nation and the world who are praying for peace in Christchurch.” *

Right-wing populist anti-immigrant rhetoric is a dangerous and deadly lie.
Racism is a source of dangerous and deadly lies.

A comment by Islamic writer quoting the Anti-Defamation League:
“Every single American murdered by extremists in 2018 was murdered by a white supremacist or far right extremist.    Every Single One.    100%
It isn’t too soon to talk about the toxic role of white supremacy in the New Zealand mosque attack.
It’s too late.”

Moratorium of the Death Penalty
It now seems weirdly apt that our Governor’s action to halt the execution of people in California was announced this week. This is, I believe, a glimmer of the value of life amidst death. I think it also reflects the penultimate sentence in Bishop Carrell’s response above.
For an excellent reflection on the matter, please see Jan Adams’ article here.

With fervent prayers for More Love
Jeremy

If you have thoughts about any of this let me know.

* I have a practice of waiting until those close to an issue have made a statement or response and then sharing that. I do not need to add to the words and, more importantly, colonize the response.

This Week at St. John’s

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Slime and the mystery of Christmas


Emmanuel (God with us) in the Greek text of Matthew 1:23.

I’ve never witnessed this much slime and nauseating stench in our national life. An admitted p%&#y-grabbing president endorsing an alleged pedophile for the Senate; a tax bill throwing 13 million people off healthcare, enriching the one-percent while driving many into poverty; a dismantling of environmental protections while hurricanes savage Puerto Rico and wildfires destroy the homes of loved ones in southern California; an all-out persecution of immigrants fleeing here for their lives; an extolling of misogyny, racism, and homophobia as though these were our all-American values; the specter of all-out nuclear war.

All of which makes this year’s celebration of the mystery of Christmas even more, well, mysterious.

Why would the Creator want to pitch her tent in such a slimy, degenerate mess? Could we blame her if she instead reached for the Tylenol, put a warm washcloth over her eyes, put on some soft music, and lay down in a desperate hope of quelling the relentless throbbing migraine; take a long hot shower to soothe her crawling gooseflesh; book the next flight out of town and flee in infinite disgust, rage, and tears?

Why would anyone deliberately choose to enter such a world as ours, become Emmanuel, God-with-us? It’s the Advent question of the week.

On the Mystery of the Incarnation 
It’s when we face for a moment
the worst our kind can do, and shudder to know
the taint in our own selves, that awe
cracks the mind’s shell and enters the heart:
not to a flower, not to a dolphin,
to no innocent form
but to this creature vainly sure
it and no other is god-like, God
(out of compassion for our ugly
failure to evolve) entrusts,
as guest, as brother,
the Word.
— Denise Levertov (1923–1997)

See you in the church on Julian Avenue.

Peace,
Richard

This Advent: Alms for Cristosal

Advent is now underway, and again this year we take up a second collection each Sunday 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.

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.

You’ll hear more in the days ahead.

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!


This Friday, 12/15, 6pm: Mission Nightwalk and Hannukah

Our last Nightwalk of 2017 begins with a lighting of the menorah to commemorate Hannukah and the victory of light over darkness. Once again we’ll carry our simple, clear message: We care! Stop the violence!.

When: Friday, December 15, 6:00-7:15pm 
Where: Starting from Grace Fellowship, 3265 16th Street near Dolores

More info about Mission Nightwalks


12/15: An invitation from our friends at CARECEN

In our accompaniment of two of our refugees, Isrrael and Mirza, St. John’s is privileged to partner with CARECEN (Central American Resource Center). Here’s an invitation to their festive holiday party for the families and individuals they serve, including Isrrael and Mirza .


This Sunday, 12/17: Compline with Endersnight

When: Sunday, December 17, 8:30pm
Where: St. John’s


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 meeting

Join us for a festive brunch, a chance to review our year, look at the year ahead, and elect new members to the Bishop’s Committee.

When: Sunday, Jan 294, 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 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.


Judge Denies Floricel’s Bond

(Note: In last Sunday’s sermon I mentioned Floricel, a young mother of three who has been detained, and away from her kids, for several months now. The faith communities in Faith in Action, many of them Episcopalian, have stood by Floricel throughout her ordeal. Unfortunately, we recently received some bad news about her case. The following from the Faith in Action newsletter tells more of her story.)

Community Continues to Fight for Her Release 
The community continues to cry out, “Liberen a Floricel!”

On Thursday, we received word that Judge Burch denied Floricel’s release on bond. (Click here for a summary of Floricel’s final bond hearing.) We are heartbroken over this decision and the continued separation of Floricel and her three children–Jennifer, 17, Michael, 13, and Daisy, 11.

In her written decision, Judge Burch relied on a police report from Floricel’s DUI arrest to conclude that Floricel presented a danger to the public. The judge was not moved by Floricel’s successful completion of her rehabilitation program and her continued commitment to sobriety. In her rehabilitation course, Floricel gained valuable insight into the various factors that drove her to drink, such as the pressures of working 17 hours a day at two jobs to support her three children, and she learned tools to help her address these immense pressures ina sober way. At her bond hearing, Floricel spoke multiple times about her longing for and devotion to her children and how, if she were released, she would not jeopardize her ability to be close to them by drinking.

The judge also cited Floricel’s inability to satisfactorily answer her question about whether she would turn herself in for deportation in her conclusion that Floricel presented a flight risk. At the bond hearing, Floricel, an asylum seeker who experienced horrific violence in Mexico, responded honestly to the judge’s question in this way: “In Mexico, there is an order for me to be killed. I would use every legal means to stay in this country.” Floricel had found herself in a double bind: the only way to satisfy the judge’s question and be reunited with her children would be to respond that, yes, she would turn herself in to be deported, that is, to be again separated from her children and to put her life indanger.

Floricel’s supporters, which includes the faith community, her legal team, community advocates, and various high school and student groups in San Francisco and the East Bay, will continue to strategize and fight for her release.

We will keep you posted. Please stay tuned.

Read Floricel’s op-ed in the San Francisco Chronicle here.


This Thursday, 12/14: March for Mission Street

Longtime residents of the Mission will march to City Hall to protect the working-class family corridor of Mission Street! United to Save the Mission, Our Mission NO Eviction, Cultural Action Network, and Calle 24 Latino Cultural District are hosting this march to say NO to luxury development, NO to high-end restaurants, and NO to red lanes.

When: Thursday, December 14, 3PM-5PM
Where: Mission Street @ 20th Street


Rest in Peace, Mayor Ed Lee

Mayor Ed Lee died suddenly this week at the age of 65 after 40 years of public service. Our prayers are with his family and colleagues at this time of mourning. May he rest in peace and rise in glory.

The Mayor’s political and moral legacy is deeply flawed in many ways. Still, I’m grateful for what he did do. I’m grateful, for example, that when the president attacked Sanctuary cities like ours, Ed Lee stood firm. “Being a sanctuary city is in our DNA,” he tweeted. “San Francisco will never be anything other than a sanctuary city.”

I’m also grateful for his support of the Navigation Centers, including one a block from our church, that have given some respite to at least some of the many residents left homeless by of his own gentrification-friendly policies.

One day the Mayor stopped by our church to visit the staff and guests of The Gubbio Project. Here he is with Gubbio’s Laura Slattery, the City’s Sam Dodge, our own Jean Baker with beloved pooch Tarzan, and a Gubbio guest.

Tuesday, December 12
5:45am – 1:00pm Sacred Rest
7:00pm – 9:00pm Mission Dharma (Nave)
Wednesday, December 13
5:45am – 1:00pm Sacred Rest
1:00pm – 3:30pm Custodial Service, Entire Building
6:00p – Evening Prayer
Thursday, December 14
9am – Morning prayer with the Gubbio Project
5:00pm – 9:00pm Police reform meeting
Friday, December 15
5:45am – 1:00pm Sacred Rest
5-9pm – Danzantes Xitlali (Nave)
Saturday, December 16
5-11am Julian Pantry (food distribution at 10am)
10:00am – 1:00pm Custodial Service Entire Building
Sunday, December 17
10:15am Choral Eucharist
12:30-6pm Indivisible
Monday, December 18
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., presiding

The fourth-quarter rota is here.

This Week at St. John’s

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Badly in need of ecstasy

It’s a problem, especially in cold, gray, winter days. The “life” in your life can vanish. You can lose your purpose and passion. You go through the motions, fulfilling all your duties, but something is wrong.

So you wait, badly in need of ecstasy to pull you out of your flatlined status quo, awaken you, and restore the missing zest.

Welcome to Advent. Here’s a poem to help your journey.

The Advent Prayer
What will come
when all the days
have run upon the nights
and all men climb the tree of Zaccheus
and stretch necks beyond giraffes
to be the first to be blazed
by a star?

We are badly in need of ecstasy.
We freeze in the sun and fever in the shadows.
We die
amid the flowers of the mind.

Someone
must come to us from the future
prodigally
with rings and robes and kisses
and fall upon our self-reproach
with the tears of welcome.

The star-child is turning
in the womb of the virgin.
We dwell in readiness.
Override the babble of our words
with the raw cries of new life.

Be born, stubborn child.
We wait.
— John Shea

See you in the church on Julian Avenue.

Peace,
Richard

This Advent: Alms for Cristosal

Advent is now underway, and again this year we’ll take up a second collection each Sunday for Cristosal.

Cristosal is 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.)

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.

You’ll hear more in the days ahead.

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 (unless otherwise specified)
Join us!


December 12: Celebrate Our Lady of Guadalupe

From our friends at the Latinx Episcopal community of Our Lady of Guadalupe (now located at Holy Innocents on Fair Oaks):


12/15: An invitation from our friends at CARECEN

In our accompaniment of two of our refugees, Isrrael and Mirza, St. John’s is privileged to partner with CARECEN (Central American Resource Center). Here’s an invitation to their festive holiday party for the families and individuals they serve, including Isrrael and Mirza .


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


You don’t have to be a bishop…

…to have your very own St. John’s MORE LOVE tee shirt!

Last Sunday, Senior Warden Diana McDonnell presented Bishop Gene Robinson with one of our stylish St. John’s tees–one he is sure to love not only because of its timely message but also because it’s purple, the color code for a bishop.

But bishops aren’t the only ones who look great in these shirts!

And you can now have your very own! See our tee shirt sales rep Timm Dobbins!

A visit from Bishop Gene Robinson

This last weekend, Bishop Gene Robinson joined us for the Liturgy in which he delivered a powerful sermon, then, afterward, led a forum covering many topics, including his current work at the Chautauqua Institution, the ways we can fight for ours and others rights in the current political darkeness, and how he survived the many death threats at the time of his installation as bishop. He’s the real McCoy!

Read the story in this week’s Bay Area Reporter.

And here are a few photos, thanks to Susan Hansen, Kathy Veit, and Sarah Lawton.

Powerful sermon

Blessing the new banner made by Timm Dobbins

Giving communion to Audrey and Elena

Leading a forum after the Liturgy


And in case you missed it…

Here’s a closeup of the beadwork on the new banner Timm Dobbins made and gave to us this last weekend. A labor of love to honor our 160-year anniversary.


Tuesday, December 5
5:45am – 1:00pm Sacred Rest
7:00pm – 9:00pm Mission Dharma (Nave)
Wednesday, December 6
5:45am – 1:00pm Sacred Rest
1:00pm – 3:30pm Custodial Service, Entire Building
6:00p – Evening Prayer
Thursday, December 7
9am – Morning prayer with the Gubbio Project
6pm – Bishop’s Committee
Friday, December 8
5:45am – 1:00pm Sacred Rest
noon-11p – Volxkuche
Saturday, December 9
5-11am Julian Pantry (food distribution at 10am)
10:00am – 1:00pm Custodial Service Entire Building
Sunday, December 10
10:15am Choral Eucharist
12:30-6pm Indivisible
Monday, December 11
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.

This Week at St. John’s

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The neutral zone

Last Sunday, the Church year ended, and Christmas won’t be here for over a month, so now what?

Now it’s that in-between time, an awkward neutral zone of hope and fear. Old familiar ways have ended, and a new world is coming to birth. But that new world is not at all clear. Will it be kind and beautiful, or brutal and grotesque? We can’t say for sure; times like this are full of both possibility and peril, of chaos and new creation. It’s possible to get shipwrecked.

And yet, as writer William Bridges puts it, “The neutral zone provides access to an angle of vision on life that one can get nowhere else. And it is a succession of such views over a lifetime that produces wisdom.” (Transitions: Making Sense Of Life’s Changes (p. 142). Da Capo Press. Kindle Edition.)

Our scriptures offer many stories of risky and wonderful times like this: Abraham and Sarah leave their homeland not knowing where they will end up; Mary lets go of her identity as a solitary individual to embrace the risks and uncertainties of marriage and parenting; Jesus withdraws to the neutral zone of the desert only to discover a whole new sense of himself as God’s beloved child and prophet.

Perhaps their stories are like ours in this moment of transition for our parish, and of my own transition into retirement.

It’s an awkward time, this neutral zone, one we’d like to get over quickly. William Bridges continues:

People often ask whether there isn’t some way to speed up transition, to get it over sooner; when they do, they are usually thinking of the time in the neutral zone when very little seems to be happening. As does any unfolding natural process, the neutral zone takes its own sweet time. “Speeding things up,” hitting the fast-forward button, is a tempting idea, but that only stirs things up in ways that disrupt the natural formative processes that are going on. Far from bringing you out of the neutral zone sooner, such tactics usually set you back and force you to start over again. Frustrating though it is, the best advice is to opt for the turtle and forget the hare.

So welcome to this risky and wonderful season, these dark and murky days of Advent. Embrace them. Jan Richardson’s blessing might help.

Blessing the Door
First let us say
a blessing
upon all who have
entered here before us.

You can see the sign
of their passage
by the worn place
where their hand rested
on the doorframe
as they walked through,
the smooth sill
of the threshold
where they crossed.

Press your ear
to the door
for a moment before
you enter

and you will hear
their voices murmuring
words you cannot
quite make out
but know are full of welcome.

On the other side
these ones who wait—
for you,
if you do not
know by now—
understand what
a blessing can do
how it appears like
nothing you expected

how it arrives as
visitor,
outrageous invitation,
child;

how it takes the form
of angel
or dream;

how it comes
in words like
How can this be?
and
lifted up the lowly;
how it sounds like
in the wilderness
prepare the way
.

Those who wait
for you know
how the mark of
a true blessing
is that it will take you
where you did not
think to go.

Once through this door
there will be more:
more doors
more blessings
more who watch and
wait for you

but here
at this door of
beginning
the blessing cannot
be said without you.

So lay your palm
against the frame
that those before you
touched

place your feet
where others paused
in this entryway.

Say the thing that
you most need
and the door will
open wide.

And by this word
the door is blessed
and by this word
the blessing is begun
from which
door by door
all the rest
will come.

(Richardson, Jan. Through the Advent Door: Entering a Contemplative Christmas. Wanton Gospeller Press. Kindle Edition.)

See you in the church on Julian Avenue.

Peace,
Richard

THIS SATURDAY! Advent Cleaning Party 

Sr. Warden Diana McDonnell and Timm Dobbins invite you to come spruce up the sanctuary in preparation for Advent and the visit of Bishop Robinson. We need people to dust the window sills, polish the altar/lectern/pulpit, sweep down cobwebs, and other small chores inside.

We hope to be done by noon, so come for an hour or the whole morning!

When: Saturday, December 2, 9:00 a.m
Where: St. John’s


THIS SATURDAY! Sara Warfield to become a priest!

[Click the invitation to enlarge it.]

THIS SUNDAY! 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.


This Advent: Alms for Cristosal

Advent begins this Sunday, December 3rd and, again this year, each week of Advent we’ll take up a second collection for Cristosal.

Cristosal is 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.)

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.

You’ll hear more in the days ahead.

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 work day, settle into the evening, and prepare for Christmas.

When: Each Wednesday of Advent, beginning December 6th, 6pm
Where: St. John’s, in the nave (unless otherwise specified)
Join us!


12/4: St. John’s Book Club to read Anne Lamott’s Help, Thanks, Wow: The Three Essential Prayers


At our next meeting, we will discuss Anne Lamott’s Help, Thanks, Wow:  the Three Essential Prayers, a book which promises to “get us through tough times, everyday struggles, and the hard work of ordinary life.”

When: December 4, 7:30pm
Where: Leah and Cecil’s


12/15: An invitation from our friends at CARECEN

In our accompaniment of two of our refugees, Isrrael and Mirza, St. John’s is privileged to partner with CARECEN (Central American Resource Center). Here’s an invitation to their festive holiday party for the families and individuals they serve, including Isrrael and Mirza .


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 informaiton


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 celebration with each other and our extended family to mark an amazing 160-year journey! Spread the word!

Tuesday, November 28
5:45am – 1:00pm Sacred Rest
7:00pm – 9:00pm Mission Dharma (Nave)
Wednesday, November 29
5:45am – 1:00pm Sacred Rest
1:00pm – 3:30pm Custodial Service, Entire Building
Thursday, November 30
9am – Morning prayer with the Gubbio Project
Friday, December 1
5:45am – 1:00pm Sacred Rest
Saturday, December 2
5-11am Julian Pantry (food distribution at 10am)
10:00am – 1:00pm Custodial Service Entire Building
3pm – Sara Warfield’s ordination to priesthood, Grace Cathedral
Sunday, December 3
10:15am Choral Eucharist
12:30-6pm Indivisible
Monday, December 4
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 Right Rev’d Gene Robinson, preaching
The Rev’d Richard Smith, Ph.D., presiding

The fourth-quarter rota is here.

This Week at St. John’s: Sheer gifts

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Sheer gifts

Gratitude is in the air these days, from our recent parish retreat to this week’s national holiday. All those people and things you love? Sheer gifts. In your saner moments you remember this, and all you can say is Thanks.

But it’s not always as easy as it looks.

There are, shall we say, those funkier days with bitterly cold rains, some trauma or other, a friend’s hurtful remark, a rapidly depleting checking account, physical pain, another hateful orange nightmare on the political front. In such moments, gratitude can be the last thing on your mind, can even seem phony. “Thanks for what?” you hear yourself say angrily.

Time to grab gratitude by the tail. Do this by consciously grabbing ahold of some small gift, the simplest of things: you opened your eyes this morning and–voila!–you could see! Not everyone can do this, no law requires it, but there you are with those eyeballs scanning the world around you as you–miracle of miracles!–climb out of the sack, stand on your feet, and stumble around for your slippers. Each simple movement of yours a gift, a miracle not to be taken for granted.

Keep going: the morning shower, your coffee the way you like it, your love for your kid, the food you like, the artfully sculpted clouds outside the window. Don’t stop: the wisdom and good friends the years have brought you; your top three favorite books; your magical, crazy cat. Keep it rolling: your old friend’s sick but hilarious joke, a thought-provoking article in the morning paper, the Muni train arriving on time.

And so on.

Now: Notice the change that rises in your heart, the new lightness in your step, the fresh new sense of being yourself. Even on the grayest day you are blessed beyond words–yep, even when you’re pretty sure God is rudely ignoring you. (“I thank God that He hasn’t given me all the things I’ve prayed for,” C.S. Lewis once wrote, “because as I look back now I realize it would have been disastrous to have received some of them.”) The bleaker moments also have their gems. How many can you spot?

There’s much, much more. If you don’t short-circuit the process, if you keep the magic going, you may before long stumble across the Creator of Heaven and Earth, the One who formed your inmost being, who is crazy about you, “loves you as a mother”, and who is with you every step of the way. That gratitude you initially grabbed by the tail is starting to overwhelm. It is time to pray.

So here’s a prayer of thanks for the flawed, spotty, and dotted beauty that surrounds us every day. (It’s more fun to read it out loud for its outrageous rhythm and images and sounds.)

Pied Beauty
BY GERARD MANLEY HOPKINS

Glory be to God for dappled things –
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced – fold, fallow, and plough;
And áll trádes, their gear and tackle and trim.

All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:
Praise him.

See you in the church on Julian Avenue.

Peace,
Richard

This coming Advent and Cristosal

Advent begins December 3rd, when, once again, our hearts turn to Central America. And again this year, each week of Advent we’ll take up a second collection for Cristosal.

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.)

Our parish has been honored to quietly accompany three young people–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.

You’ll hear more in the days ahead.

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


12/2: Advent Cleaning Party

Sr. Warden Diana McDonnell and Timm Dobbins invite you to come spruce up the sanctuary in preparation for Advent and the visit of Bishop Robinson. We need people to dust the window sills, polish the altar/lectern/pulpit, sweep down cobwebs, and other small chores inside.

We hope to be done by noon, so come for an hour or the whole morning!

When: Saturday, December 2, 9:00 a.m
Where: St. John’s


12/2: Sara Warfield to become a priest!

[Click the invitation to enlarge it.]

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.


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

A candle-lit, quiet, prayerful way to end your work day, settle into the evening, and prepare for Christmas.

When: Each Wednesday of Advent, beginning December 6th, 6pm
Where: St. John’s, in the nave (unless otherwise specified)
Join us!


12/4: St. John’s Book Club to read Anne Lamott’s Help, Thanks, Wow: The Three Essential Prayers


At our next meeting, we will discuss Anne Lamott’s Help, Thanks, Wow:  the Three Essential Prayers, a book which promises to “get us through tough times, everyday struggles, and the hard work of ordinary life.”

When: December 4, 7:30pm
Where: Leah and Cecil’s


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 informaiton


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 celebration with each other and our extended family to mark an amazing 160-year journey! Spread the word!

Tuesday, November 21
5:45am – 1:00pm Sacred Rest
7:00pm – 9:00pm Mission Dharma (Nave)
Wednesday, November 22
5:45am – 1:00pm Sacred Rest
1:00pm – 3:30pm Custodial Service, Entire Building
Thursday, November 23
9am – Morning prayer with the Gubbio Project
Friday, November 24
5:45am – 1:00pm Sacred Rest
2:00pm – 3:00pm Daniel Gonzalez/Organ
Saturday, November 25
5-11am Julian Pantry (food distribution at 10am)
10:00am – 1:00pm Custodial Service Entire Building
Sunday, November 26
10:15am Choral Eucharist
12:30-6pm Indivisible
Monday, November 27
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 Dr. Jack Eastwood, preaching and presiding

The fourth-quarter rota is here.