Connect to God 
The Gospel text for this Sunday includes two of my favorite parables:
Jesus says, "The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which someone found and hid; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls; on finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it." (Matthew 13:44-45) In these parables, I see one of the deepest truths of the Christian faith: that it is only in giving ourselves fully to God that we find who we are truly meant to be.

Each day, I struggle and fail to give over my little plots and plans, my sense of what should be, my idea of what I want and need. But in those rare moments when I do, I find a pearl of great value.

From time to time in this space, we will share the experiences and stories of St. John's members who are engaged in service with the poor in our community. In each of their stories, I hear Jesus' parables repeated: these volunteers give up their time, disrupt their schedules, alter their patterns of living to join with those who are left out and left behind. And in giving, they find their deepest joy.

Today, parishioner Linda Gridley writes about her experience serving at Gilead House: 
"Showing up for a few hours on a Monday night is such a small thing in itself. But there is something so meaningful that happens when you enter through door into the soothing setting they have created at Giliead House and find the kids hanging around talking with each other, or waiting to find out what activity might be planned to share with you.
I was so "verklempt" as I left my first night and drove home recalling the experience. The kids ranged in age from 5 to 15, and at first the older kids were more quiet, "cool," and trying to sneak a peek at their phones. But that ended as we all hung around coloring and chatting at the big table all together - laughing at times and just feeling a sense of calm community. And the older kids were so sweet with the younger ones including them in games. I can't say who benefits more from the experience, the kids or me, but I can say if feels like a gift to be there."

Find out more about how to join her and other St. John's volunteers at Gilead in the "Connect to Service" section below.

Yours in Christ,
The Rev. Ginger Strickland, Associate Priest
email Rev. Ginger 
Connect to Community 
Parish Weekend Sign-Up Hiking trails, pool, tree swing, simple but well-appointed rooms, lots of car-free space for kids to roam, campfire and amazing food! Join us at The Bishop's Ranch in the Sonoma wine country for St. John's Parish Weekend. This year we'll gather from Friday, 9/8 to Sunday, 9/10 for two days and two nights of fellowship, fun, rest, and spiritual development. Friday evening begins with a pot luck picnic on the on the lawn and the weekend closes with a worship service Sunday morning. The staff and clergy of St John's provide activities and program for all ages: some of which are age-specific, and some inter-generational. There's also plenty of free time. For more information, contact Virginia Kosydar, Church Administrator via email or at 415.456.1102, x102. To sign-up online, click HERE.

Dad's Group
Some fathers in the parish have expressed interest in meeting monthly or quarterly for conversation and a drink in a local spot on weeknights after the kids are in bed. Interested? Email Rev. Ginger and group leaders will be in touch.

Mom's Group There has also been interest in a small group for moms. Format and timing would be decided by those who are interested. To learn more, please email Rev. Ginger.
Women of Wisdom All women are welcome to join us today Thursday for coffee, tea, and spiritual discussion from 10-11:15am in the Fireside Room. We'll be discussing an interview with religion scholar Reza Aslan, who grew up as a secular Muslim, converted to Christianity, and then returned to his original faith. 
Connect to Service
Read a book, do an art project, have a conversation  with a child. Gilead House is a transitional housing facility for families in need, where 100% of the children in residence are behind grade level and in need of extra care and attention. Think you might be interested in serving on Monday evenings from 6:30-7:30 at least once per month? Contact Rev. Ginger via  email or at 415.456.1102, x104. 
Serve hot meals and share conversation  with those in need of food and community at the St. Vincent de Paul Dining Room. St. John's serves every second Saturday of the month and the last Saturday of the month from 10:30am-1pm. Volunteers are particularly needed on for this Saturday, 7/29. To volunteer, contact Becky Hlebasko via  email  or phone, 415.846.1589.  
Connect to Children & Youth
Adventure Camp Begins this Monday! It's still not too late to bring any 3-11 year olds in your life to join us from 9am-12pm from Monday, July 31- Friday, August 4 for week of fun, faith, and friendship. Volunteers are also very welcome. Please online register HERE or email Rev. Ginger if you'd like to volunteer.
We also need your help with set up and decoration for Adventure Camp for an hour or so after the 10am service this Sunday. Look for Rev. Ginger and Director of Children's Ministry Sandra Pathik in the Parish Hall and we'll put you to work!
YoothGroop Corner:  Click here  for our YoothGroop weekend info . If you are new, please see our clergy for free latte cards, or come by our coffee corner for a free latte. Have a great weekend! If you have any youth questions please  email  Tom Fregoso, Youth Minister.  
Connect to Music
Musical Opportunities for Children & Youth . . .
Children's Choir Our singing and musical playtime for younger children (through early grades) is led by Sara Frondoni, our choir soprano section leader. Participants have fun as they learn the basics about music and then sing during selected church services throughout the year. The children meet for about 45 minutes weekly for this enjoyable and educational experience. Parents, please email David Montgomery, Director of Music for more information. We will start this program after Labor Day.

Royal School of Church Music St. John's RSCM program for advanced grade-schoolers and youth will commence directly after Labor Day. In the coming days David Montgomery, Director of Music will be contacting those parents who already have expressed an interest in the RSCM to establish instruction and rehearsal times, clarify achievement levels for the participants, and explain fees for the program. Interested parents who may still wish to hear more about the RSCM, please email David. It's not too late to take advantage of this extraordinary learning experience. 

Last Chance to Sing in Our Summer Choir
During the summer, our choir has been offering a series of "summer" anthems prepared on Sunday mornings at 9AM (no Thursday night rehearsals.) Anyone who would like to sing with us on this informal basis is welcome- no prior notice necessary. This Sunday is the last session for the summer choir before our regular Chancel Choir resumes. For more information, please contact David Montgomery, Director of Music, via email or at 202.836.0313

This Sunday's Music: Click HERE to learn what St. John's Music Director David Montgomery has to say regarding the music selected for this Sunday's 10am service.   
8a: Eucharist in the Church
9a: Family Eucharist in the Parish Hall
10a: Eucharist in the Church
7.15a: Meditation in the Chapel
2nd Thursdays of the Month
Noon: Eucharist in the Chapel   
St. John's Episcopal Church 
PO Box 217 
14 Lagunitas Road 
Ross, CA 94957