Connect to God  
This past weekend, with our daughter home for spring break, we took a short family vacation to Joshua Tree National Park. I have always wanted to visit Joshua Tree since my rock climbing days in high school. Its beauty and variation is beyond what I had imagined. The sound track for the visit was, of course, U2's amazing album The Joshua Tree - everyone but me was tired of it after the first day. We stayed in a funky little house on a dirt road that led into a part of the park not traveled by most tourists and which ended at the longest and most remote hiking trail in the park. My wife and I hiked into a vast and remote valley, a reminder of the absolute smallness of my life. For eons before me that valley has been shaped by forces beyond humans. The harsh but beautiful life of the desert continues regardless of my presence or existence.

The solitude of the desert strips you to your core, evaporating pretense and ego. Perhaps this is why Jesus fasted for 40 days in the barren land. The 40 days of Lent are a way we relive Jesus' experience. Nothing connects you to God and reminds you of what is truly important in life than being in a landscape where you do not matter. The temptation to despair tickles at you like sweat on your brow, but if you listen to the vast silence what you hear is love. The fruit of the desert is gratitude.

On our final day in the park, after trying to follow my son as he leapt impossibly long distances between huge boulders, we stopped at a gift shop outside a main entrance to the park. I bought a small kit for planting Joshua Tree seeds. The Joshua Trees which dot the landscape were named by Mormon settlers. The shape of the tree reminded them of the biblical account of Joshua reaching his hands to the sky in prayer. I joked with the store clerk about the likelihood of the tree growing in the Bay Area. She looked at me and said, "You've got to have faith."

God's Peace,
The Rev. Chris Rankin-Williams, Rector
email Rev. Chris
 
Connect to Community 
Women of Wisdom Join us for a new opportunity for women to gather for spiritual discussion. We'll meet once a month for conversation, study, and mutual support. Our next meeting is next Thursday, 3/23 from 10-11:15am in the Fireside Room. We'll be discussing this interview, which can be read here.  

Bike Church
Meet on Saturday, 4/1 at the church at 7:30am for a 7:45am roll-out. Mountain bike ride to Lake Lagunitas for morning prayers with coffee and food provided by St. John's Men's Group. All welcome (access to the lake available via car and road bike). Helmet mandatory for riders. Email Rev. Chris with any questions.

Easter Egg Hunt:
St. John's is hosting an Easter Egg Hunt on Saturday, 4/15 from 11-12p.m on the front lawn. This will be a potluck and picnic (weather permitting) here at the church. Volunteers needed to hide eggs.  If you are interested in joining us, please RSVP to Tom Fregoso, Youth Minister  
 
Men's Group Meeting for March This Saturday, 3/18 the Men's Group welcomes the Rev. Nadim Nassar as guest speaker. Rev. Nadim will be visiting St. Johns from the U.K. to update us on his work in support of youth in Syria. Email the Men's Group for more info or to rsvp. Please join us at 7am in the chapel for Eucharist followed by breakfast in the Fireside Room.

Adventure Camp 2017 Looking for a meaningful activity for your child this summer? Join us at St John's Adventure Camp on July 31- Aug. 4. Registration and more information will be announced soon. We are also encouraging parents to volunteer at least a day to see their children have fun. Save the date! Email
Sandra Pathik, Director of Children's Ministry for more information.

Marin Cursillo Weekends A Marin Cursillo weekend is an opportunity to explore the Christian life though meditations, worship, song, meals and discussions in the context of a Christian community. Cursillo weekends begin on a Thursday evening and end late Sunday afternoon.
Men: March 23-26; Women: March 30 - April 2; Cost: $100
Info & RSVP: email John Guilick

Upcoming Forum: The Awareness Foundation Sunday after next , 3/26, the Rev. Nadim Nassar, Director of the Awareness Foundation and his sister, Huda Nassar, Director for the Middle East and of the Awareness Forum (Awareness Foundation) are facilitating a forum discussion at St. John's after the 10am service in the Fireside Room. The mission of the Awareness Foundation ". . . is to equip Christians everywhere to form an effective counter force to the intolerance and mistrust that now prevail in so many communities, and to build understanding between the faiths." All are invited to attend.
Connect to Service
Easter Baskets Help a family in need this season. We are putting together Easter Baskets of household goods and Easter meal ingredients for homeless families through Gilead House and housebound seniors through West Marin Senior Services. You can help by adopting a family and purchasing materials, making a financial donation, assembling baskets, or making deliveries. Please email Connie Granger to sign up. Basket Day will be Saturday, 4/8 from 10am-12pm in the Parish Hall. Join us then to drop off your basket, help assemble and decorate a basket, or pick up a basket to deliver.  
 
Homework Club at Gilead House 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 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 from 10:30am-1pm. To volunteer or learn more, contact Becky Hlebasko via email or phone, 415.846.1589.
Connect to Lent & Holy Week
Lenten Reflection Booklets A booklet of meditations written by St. John's parishioners, one for each day of Lent is now available online. There is also a special booklet for families with children with weekly readings and activities as well as suggestions for ways to journey through Lent as a family. Paper copies are available in the church as well.
 
Christ and Culture At a time when the world around us seems to be going crazy, how are Christians called to respond? Do we practice acceptance? Withdraw and take care of ourselves? Resist and oppose? Join us for a discussion on the following Sundays: Sunday 3/19, 3/26 (with Rev. Nadim Nassar), 4/2, and 4/9 in the Fireside Room from 11:30-12:30am. Each class is designed to stand alone, so no need to attend every meeting in order to participate.

Demons in the Desert: A contemplative Lenten Sojourn Join us for this three-week Lenten Series, taught by the Rev. Dr. Vincent Pizzuto, Professor of New Testament at the University of San Francisco, Vicar of St. Columba's Inverness and Vicar at New Skellig Celtic Christian Community. The next two sessions are March 22, and 29 from 6:30-8pm in the Youth Room.

Holy Week & Easter at John's
April 9: Palm Sunday
April 13: Maundy Thursday w/Agape Meal & Altar Watch
April 14: Good Friday Service
April 15: Holy Saturday & The Great Vigil of Easter
April 16: Easter Sunday 
Worship:
Sundays
8a: Eucharist in the Church
9a: Family Eucharist in the Parish Hall
10a: Eucharist in the Church
Mondays
Tuesdays
7.15a: Meditation in the Chapel
6pm: Dinner Church in the Parish Hall
2nd Thursdays of the Month
Noon: Eucharist in the Chapel   
Contact 
St. John's Episcopal Church 
PO Box 217 
14 Lagunitas Road 
Ross, CA 94957

415.456.1102