Connect to God  
Dear Friends in Christ:
 
It is said that preachers should preach with the bible in one hand and the newspaper in the other. In that spirit I'd like to offer some thoughts on a Christian response to the refugee ban, immigrants and the referencing of one religion over another for entry into the country.
 
Part of what I love about St. John's is we honor our relationships with each other beyond any political differences we have. Good people can disagree on complex policy issues. But what unites us in Christ is stronger than what divides us politically. We are not a very diverse congregation, but we are much more diverse politically than many of you may think. I love that people with vastly different political views can stand side by side and receive communion together.
 
Wherever you stand politically on the challenges of immigration and refugees, our faith and the bible are very clear on these issues. Jesus was a refugee. We worship a refugee. The holy family fled to Egypt to escape  Herod who sought to kill the child. The Holy Family were refugees from political and religious violence. 
 
The bible is very clear about how foreigners are to be treated:  "When a foreigner resides among you in your land, do not mistreat them. The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt." (Leviticus 19:33-34)
 
In Matthew, Jesus says, "For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'" (Matthew 25:25-36). At the core of our faith is seeking and serving Christ in those who are most vulnerable. 
 
Our leaders must always take appropriate measures to protect the country (and we can respectfully disagree about how best to do that), but any effort to reject refugees outright or reject foreigners of a different religion is contrary to the teachings of the Christian faith.
 
Let us pray for our leaders as they discern the best way to serve the country and those who are vulnerable and in need. Let us pray for all refugees, especially those fleeing persecution and violence who desire nothing more than the freedom and liberty we enjoy.

The Rev. Chris Rankin-Williams, Rector
email Rev. Chris

P.S. It is worth noting the bishops across the Episcopal Church and leaders in many other Christian denominations have issues statements saying the refugee ban and giving preference to Christians or Jews over Muslims is against our faith as Christians. I particularly liked this statement from Jesuit priest Fr. James Martin, S.J.

Pastoral Announcement: Gerard Sample, who attended the 8am Sunday service died this week. A celebration of his life will be held Sunday, 2/19 at 2pm in the Terrace Lounge at the Mill Valley Swim Center, 180 Camino Alto. All are welcome. 
Connect to Community 
YoothGroop is cancelled for this Sunday, 2/5. Youth Minister Tom Fregoso looks forward to seeing everyone next Sunday, 2/12.

Men's Group February Meeting
is next Saturday, 2/11, when we will welcome our new Youth Minister Tom Fregosa. We'll have a chance to learn more about his career path and his ministry at St. John's. We meet at 7am in the Church for Eucharist, followed by a hot breakfast and discussion with Tom in the Fireside room. The Rev. Chris Rankin-Williams will lead Eucharist. Hope you will join us in welcoming Tom.
RSVP's welcome but not required. 

Help us to create a booklet of Lenten Meditations! Sign up to participate and you will be assigned one of the Gospel readings for the weekdays of Lent (Lent is 40 days not including Sundays). You then submit a written reflection, photograph, poem, drawing or painting that will serve as a meditation on the reading. Clergy are here to talk through thoughts and ideas if needed. Email Rev. Ginger to sign up.

Interested in Baptism for yourself or a child? Participation in a baptism class is required for those desiring to be baptized and for the parents of children preparing for baptism, and is also open to those who are just curious about the meaning of the sacrament. The class will focus on the meaning of baptism and on how to integrate faith into your life and the life of your child. We'll also talk through the logistics of the baptismal service. A short (approximately 1 hr.) online course follows this session. The next class is in the Fireside Room next Sunday, 2/12, 11:30am-1pm. Another class will be offered in May. Please RSVP to Rev. Ginger. Nursery care will be available upon request.

Women's Group Save the Dates: February's meeting is Wednesday, 2/22 in the evening. March's is Thursday, 3/16 in the morning. Details forthcoming. 

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 course will meet on March 15, 22, and 29 from 6:30-8pm. There will also be a course on Christ and Culture Sundays during Lent from 11:30am to 12:30 pm with the St. John's clergy.   
 
Sunday School and Nursery Care every Sunday @10am! We encourage parents to send their children to Sunday School where they learn about God through Bible stories, songs and fun-filled activities. Don't miss this opportunity where your child can grow in faith. If you have any questions, contact Sandra Pathik, Director of Children's Ministry via email or at 415.456.1102, x115.
 
St. John's Children's Choir is open to all children kindergarten through 4th grade. Rehearsals are Wednesdays from 4:45-5:15pm in the Fireside Room of the Parish Hall. Generally, the children will sing on the second Sunday of each month through May. Our Children's Choir is led by Sara Frondoni, who also serves as a section leader in our adult choir. Please contact the church office via email or at 415.456.1102, x102 with any questions.

DioBytes You can get news from the Bishop's Office and around the Diocese of California by subscribing to DioBytes, a weekly email newsletter.  
Connect to Service
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

Join us at coffee hour to feed the hungry. This Sunday, 2/5, at coffee hour after the 10am service we'll put together brown bag meals for the homeless. There will be tasks for all ages. The meals will go to SVdP Dining Room, where they serve a hot breakfast and lunch and hand out brown bag meals for dinner. Please RSVP to Susan Aley.

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. A group from St. John's is gathering to join this program run by a retired school principle. 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.   
Connect to Tradition
The season of Lent begins soon - Ash Wednesday, the first day of lent, is March 1. Lent, the forty days before Easter, has traditionally been the season in which Christians focus on the call to ongoing repentance and change. Lent is also a call to humility as we remember our mortality and our need for God. 
 
At times, we have made this season into an occasion for guilt and self-deprivation. However, Lent is not intended to make us feel terrible about ourselves. Rather, we are called to a season of focus on prayer, self-examination, and repentance in order to clear space for God to work in our lives.
 
Some find that giving something up - a favorite food, a bad habit - helps to open that space for God and serves as a constant reminder of God's presence. Others find it more helpful to take on something new - ten minutes of prayer, a daily walk, or some other spiritual practice.
However you chose to mark this Lent, we pray for a season of growing closeness with God.

We hope you'll start off Lent with us at our Mardi Gras party - an evening of celebration before the beginning of Lent. Great food and drink, good conversation, and good company, plus a special program for kids. Tuesday, 2/28 from 6-8pm in the St. John's Parish Hall. Early bird tickets are $10 (ages 15+) and $5 (ages 5-14) and can be purchased online 
here through 2/23 . The office is available to assist with online ticket sales.  
 
Ash Wednesday services at St. John's will take place on Wednesday, 3/1 at 7am, noon, and 6pm. Please join us as we begin our Lenten season of self-examination together. 

The Rev. Ginger Strickland, Associate Priest
email Rev. Ginger 
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