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The Bridge
February 19, 2021

The Mission of St. John’s is to be a community of God’s people who heal brokenness, build bridges, and exemplify borderless kindness.
From Our Rector

I grew up Roman Catholic and, for me, Lent meant giving up something. I decided to give up sweets. I probably gave up sweets for Lent until my early 20’s. I ate no candy, chocolate, or sodas for forty days, more if you add Sundays, only to consume in the first week of Easter what I had given up. Later I changed what I gave up, but the idea was the same: give something up.  
For a time, I stopped giving up things because I thought that I was not really learning anything from that experience. As soon as Lent was over, I would go back to living as I had before. Several years ago, I participated in a Lenten group at St. David’s that read the book A Place at the Table: 40 Days of Solidarity with the Poor. The book invites people to eat as the poor for 40 days. It can be done at any time of the year, but is especially meaningful to do it during Lent. I found this Lenten practice one of the most transformative.   
I learned about people's experiences throughout the world and how difficult it was for them to feed their family and acquire potable water. As I ate simpler and smaller meals I became aware of my abundance. Even though I was eating less, I was never hungry. I could have less so others could have enough. This experience made me more connected to people in severe poverty. Having grown up poor, I thought I knew, but my Lenten practice opened up another level of understanding. I was able to hear the teachings of Jesus about feeding the poor in a clearer, more urgent way.
Although I believe that giving up something is but only one Lenten practice, it can be meaningful if it teaches us new ways to love God and love our neighbor as ourselves. 

Minerva Camarena Skeith+
Rite of Reconciliation of a Penitent

If anyone would like to schedule a time for the sacramental Rite of Reconciliation of a Penitent, they can contact Mthr. Minerva to schedule a time. or 512-912-7913.

"The Rite of Reconciliation of a Penitent is available for all who desire it. It is not restricted to times of sickness. Confessions may be heard anytime and anywhere." (BCP p. 446)
Observing Lent

I’ve never been very good with fasting during Lent. I would decide to give up something and then just plain give up after a week or so. Sometimes, I came up with an idea, but never got around to actually following through. This pattern continued even when I decided to choose to adopt a new behavior rather than fast, like journaling every day.

There was one time that I did follow a discipline through all of Lent. My father was being treated for kidney cancer. This was a couple years after he was diagnosed and had a kidney removed. I decided to use my Lenten discipline as a form of prayer for healing for my father. I only ate soup for lunch during the entire Lenten season. I would offer a prayer for my father and for his treatments with every meal of soup.

This period of devotion became a profoundly spiritual experience. I felt a connection with God and my father that was unique. Looking back, I can see that I had opened myself to the Holy Spirit and allowed God to enter my heart. I’m very thankful for that devotional exercise.

This year I am using the Way of Love Lenten Calendar* to organize my devotions. This involves pondering the question of the day and reading a couple of Scripture verses. Each question and companion verse promises to help me to invigorate my walk with Christ. Please consider joining me in this Lenten discipline.

*The Lenten calendar for the Way of Love was published in the February 12th issue of The Bridge and also in this issue. You can open a downloadable file to print or save when you click on the image of the calendar.

Dcn. Victoria Mason
Invitation to a Holy Lent

In the Ash Wednesday liturgy, we hear these words:
“Dear People of God: … it became the custom of the Church to prepare for [our Lord’s passion and resurrection] by a season of penitence and fasting … the whole congregation was put in mind of the message of pardon and absolution set forth in the Gospel of our Savior ..." (BCP pp 264-5)

Since Lent is to be observed by “the whole congregation”, and since we cannot be together in person this Lent, Mother Minerva and I thought it would be good to invite the congregation to share stories in The Bridge / El Puente. The goal is 300-500 words about your own experiences of Lent:
  • Where do you see grace in Lent? Is the practice of Lent a blessing or a burden?
  • How have you grown deeper in your faith practicing Lent?
  • How did you experience Lent as a child? A young adult? Compared to now?
  • Some things you have given up and why and result?
  • Some things you have taken on and why and result?
  • An interesting/moving story about an experience in Lent.
  • How many days until Easter? (just kidding)

This does not need to be great literature! Stream of consciousness, or poetry, or a letter, or whatever your favorite method of writing – just tell your story in your words. It can even be a “one-liner” which I will toss into the mix!

As a start, here is a memory of Lenten observance from my own childhood:

I grew up in the time when all Roman Catholics, and some Episcopalians, fasted from meat on Fridays. As Mother was Episcopalian and Daddy was a converted Methodist, we had a somewhat hybrid fast – we all loved seafood, so Mother would prepare fancy dishes on Friday so Daddy wouldn’t complain too much. I am talking fried catfish, boiled shrimp, oysters Rockefeller, broiled redfish, etc. As a result, I never took fasting too seriously until I became an adult, and I still don’t do it very well!

You see, this is easy! I know you each have stories you can share. This will make our congregational observance of Lent richer, and we may even learn something about each other which will strengthen our community of faith.

We need at least 5 stories! No need to ask, just send them in to me at or as soon as you can. (Do it today before you forget!) I will get them translated and into The Bridge / El Puente. My hope is to have more than one story every week!

Blessings, Fay Jones
Where To Find Water In Austin:
Breweries Are Giving Out Water For Free – Just Bring A Container

"When KUT learns the location of any city or county-run water distribution locations, we'll let you know here. For now, here's a list of breweries and private businesses providing water to the community."
This is a map of where the water lines have leaks and where they are in the repair schedule:
Information from Austin Energy

Austin Energy also has a Facebook page with updates:

And an outage map: Austin Energy Outage Map
Winter Storm Shelter Information

The Austin Disaster Relief Network (ADRN) is working the City of Austin/Travis County to open Church Shelters throughout the Greater Austin area to provide close-in-proximity shelters for families and individuals in need. We understand that families have no electricity and/or experienced water pipes busting, creating a wet environment. We have asked Churches to provide: safe, clean, warm shelter space. 
NOTE: Please bring a change of clothes, toiletries, pillows, blankets, bed mats, extra dry food, water, etc… if you plan to stay at a Church Shelter.

The Austin Disaster Relief Network is in need of volunteers so they can open more shelters. Volunteers will assist in greeting/checking in people who arrive. AISD is willing to open more facilities but they don’t have the people-power. The volunteers do not need to be previously trained. Please call ADRN at 512-825-8211 to volunteer.  
Black History Month

February is Black History Month and the Episcopal Church at all levels is providing links to stories, articles, websites and events to help us all learn more about Black History. There’s also a wealth of information out there in the world wide web.

Together Episcopal - The Episcopal Diocese of Texas:

PART 2: Black Lives Matter: Moving from Ally to Accomplice
Wednesday, February 24 / 12:30 p.m. – 2 p.m.
(Part 1 will be rescheduled)

This Part 2 session will be devoted to understanding the difference between allyship and being an accomplice. The intention of this session is to think about deeper ways to engage with social justice, how to maintain your commitment to social justice, and making sure that you are centering marginalized communities. This session will include discussion, dialogue, and developing specific commitments to social justice.

Seminary of the Southwest:

Black History Month Celebration of the Holy Eucharist
Thursday, February 25 / 5:30 p.m.
Guest preacher: The Rev. Yolanda Norton
The Crump Visiting Professor and Black Religious Scholars Group Scholar-in-Residence
Virtual - This event is free and open to the public.

Creative Action and George Washington Carver Museum, Cultural and Genealogy Center:
Saturday, February 27 / 11:00 a.m.
Black History Month Kids' Day + HBCU Day (Historically Black Colleges & Universities.)
The Black Family: Representation, Identity and Diversity.
FREE Online Public Event
Register at The Black Family

Union of Black Episcopalians:
  • One Human Race Mini-Workshop: What Caused the Racial Wealth Gap?
Saturday, February 27 / 4:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.
This free workshop explains how national housing policy created the racial wealth gap. We'll watch a condensed version of Episode 3, The House We Live In, from Race: The Power of an Illusion and examine our own thoughts and feelings by sharing in small groups. Reserve your spot by registering at

  • One Human Race Workshop
Saturday, March 20 / 11:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.
This free workshop examines the foundations of racism in the U.S. We'll watch a condensed version of Race: The Power of an Illusion and examine our own thoughts and feelings by sharing in small groups. Reserve your spot by registering at

The National Museum of African American History and Culture: The museums website offers stories and events. Link to the museum: The National Museum of African American History and Culture. Link to Black History Month offerings: Celebrate Black History Month at the Museum
Caregiver Support

“Breaking the Ice: A Hospice Conversation for Caregivers” Caregiver Seminar on February 20th:

AGE of Central Texas will host this free virtual caregiver support seminar on Saturday, February 20th, from 11:00 to 11:30 a.m. Baylor Scott & White Hospice Care Consultant Chiquita Watkins, MHA, MBA, will explore the basics of hospice care and how it can provide comfort, support, and peace of mind for both patients and caregivers. She has a Master’s in Health Administration, and a Master’s in Business Administration from the University of Phoenix and has been in the medical health care field for 10 years. Registration for the conference is free, but space is limited. Participants can register by calling (512) 600-9275, or online by clicking here: AGE Support Seminar.
"GPS Navigation for Caregivers" February 22 - 26, 2021
AGE of Central Texas and Riverbend Church are hosting a week of workshops designed just for the caregiver of a loved one. Discover local caregiver resources, learn new skills, and connect with local experts on aging. Each day during the week there will be one 90-minute webinar from 10:00 - 11:30 a.m.

Click this link to see a list of the daily workshops on AGE's website at:  AGE of Central Texas - Caregivers Workshops
Registration for any or all of the conference sessions is free and allows participation in live Q&A. Register by calling (512) 600-9275, or online by clicking here: AGE Caregivers Workshop Registration
COVID Safety Guidelines from Austin Public Health

Please click this button to read the latest suggested guidelines to stay safe and healthy during the pandemic:
We understand how frustrating it has been to get registered for and actually obtain the COVID-19 vaccine. We hope this information about websites for local and contiguous counties will be helpful. It is often easier to find availability if you don't mind driving a bit.
Currently groups 1A and 1B are authorized to receive the vaccine in Texas.
There have been technical issues that further complicate matters due to the sheer volume of people attempting to access the websites. Please try to be kind, patient, and persistent. Check these websites often. Be flexible about when and where you can go, if possible. Ask questions about accessibility if necessary. The people who are working to get us all vaccinated are doing the best they can, and deserve our understanding.
It is suggested that you check one or more of these websites every day because once they get the vaccine they will open the registration and it is on a first come first serve basis. Follow these links to look for COVID-19 vaccine availability locally and in contiguous counties:
Starting February 8th in Texas, pharmacies set to begin receiving COVID vaccines; here are their appointment registration links:
UTHealth has three categories of signups:
1. Current students, faculty and staff
2. UT retirees and other UT-related categories
3. Public signup for 1A (health workers) and 1B (those over 65 or with specific conditions).
The UTHealth protocols are evidently quite different from Austin Public Health, but UTHealth IS a state-designated mega site just as is APH, so UTHealth gets a large allotment of vaccine.
Are you a veteran?
Stay informed about getting a COVID-19 vaccine.
This website has a lot of information about getting vaccinated through the Veterans Administration!

"Sign up for an easy way to stay informed about getting a COVID-19 vaccine at VA. When you sign up, we’ll also ask about your vaccine plans. Your local VA health facility may use this information to determine when to contact you once your risk group becomes eligible."

"Note: The VA will contact every eligible Veteran in each risk group. You don’t need to sign up to get a vaccine."
Sunday Worship at St. John's

We will celebrate Morning Prayer via Zoom.

  • 10:00 a.m. Morning Prayer in English
  • 12:00 noon Morning Prayer in Spanish

  • To participate in our Sunday services, you do not need to have a Zoom account or download Zoom. Simply click this button to attend the service:
You may also join the service by telephone -
dial (346) 248-7799 and enter the meeting ID when prompted.
Meeting ID: 879 9502 6837
To protect those participating in the service from any possible "trolls" who might try to interrupt our worship, the Waiting Room is enabled for this event. The Verger will admit you to the service as quickly as possible.
Please note: Everyone except those people who have an active role in the service will be muted. This is to minimize background noise. At the Prayers of the People, you will be invited to put any prayer requests into the "Chat" and Deacon Victoria will read these at the appropriate time.
The services will be recorded and video from both services will be posted on the St. John's Facebook page, YouTube, and the St. John's website later in the day so that you can replay a service at your convenience. Links to the recordings will be posted on our website (
Virtual Coffee and Fellowship:
Provide your own beverage and treat of choice

Join friends for a virtual coffee "hour" every Sunday! This will begin shortly after the 10am service (about 10:45am), so just stay on Zoom when the service ends. If you don't attend the service, you can click on this button to join the fun:
Knitting Us Together

All knitters, crocheters, cross-stitchers, etc., are invited to bring a project to Sunday's Zoom coffee hour! If you have questions, call 512-423-9935 to speak to Lisa Shirah-Hiers.
Lenten Series

Practices for Jesus-Centered Life

When: Wednesday evenings during Lent at 7:00 pm, beginning February 24

What is the Way of Love?

The Way of Love is a way of life. More than a program or curriculum, it is a return to the ancient pathways and Rules of Life that followers of Jesus have observed for centuries. They knew the power of commitment to a core set of practices – Turn, Learn, Pray, Worship, Bless, Go, Rest – and the power of gathering in a small group where you find love and support for living into these commitments. If we hope to not only worship Jesus but to grow more like him and bear his redeeming love in the world, we can adopt a rule of life like the Way of Love and find a community with which to practice it.

This year’s Lenten series will be offered in both English and Spanish virtually via Zoom. We will begin with a time for bilingual prayer and then split into two classes, English and Spanish. Each week, we will turn, learn, and pray our way through the desert, toward resurrection life with Jesus.
More information about The Way of Love can be found by clicking this link:
In order to download the calendar for printing or saving on your computer, simply hover your pointer over the image and double (left) click to open the image. Then you can save it on your own computer, or print it out for your use.
Living Compass Lenten Meditation Guide

Here is a link to Living Compass Living Well Through Lent 2021. The print copies in English are sold out, but there are several online options, including the opportunity to receive a daily email. If you have any questions, please contact Fay Jones (
There are several ways you can continue to give towards the mission and ministry of St. John's:

Mail your check to the Church: St. John's Episcopal Church, 
P. O. Box 81493, Austin, TX 78708-1493

Go to your bank's website and set up direct payment - the bank will send a check directly to St. John's using this address: 
St. John's Episcopal Church, P. O. Box 81493, Austin, TX 78708-1493

Use this link to learn more about online giving: Click here

Use this button to go directly to our online giving portal:
Caring for Each Other

St. John's is interested in meeting the pastoral needs of our community. If you have prayer requests, please contact Sheri Rasmussen at If you need pastoral care please contact Mother Minerva at or Deacon Victoria at If you would like the Daughters of the King to include you in their prayer list, please contact Sandra Ward at
Need Help?

If you find that your situation is causing financial, spiritual, or emotional difficulties, or if you are in need of food, do not hesitate to call Deacon Victoria (512-297-5953) or contact Mthr. Minerva (

We are a church family; when a family member needs assistance we want to try and help that member.
Central Texas Interfaith

"During this difficult time, we are reminded of the importance of a safe and warm home. We are reminded that at this time, many Texans including our friends, neighbors and parishioners have faced growing financial challenges and struggled to pay rent during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Leaders at Central Texas Interfaith have worked tirelessly to fight for rental assistance. As of February 15th, the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA) is now accepting applications for landlords and tenants to apply for the Texas Rent Relief Assistance Program. 

The Texas Rent Relief Program is a statewide $1.3 billion rental assistance that can help renters with the following costs starting as far back as March 13, 2020 (potentially up to 11 months of past due bills):
  • Past due, current and up to 3 months of expected rent costs
  • Past due, current or up to 3 months of expected utility and home energy expenses
  • After the initial 3 months of forward assistance, you can apply for 3 additional months of assistance if funds are still available

At this time, we have closed the online Texas Rent Relief application while we review and improve the system. Information on the program is still available online.

Customers can still call 833-9TX-RENT (833-989-7368) for questions or to complete an application over the phone. TDHCA will prioritize applications received by Sunday February 28th." 

Only Mthr. Minerva and essential support staff will be in the Church for the streaming of services as we continue to follow the direction of government officials and the guidance of our Bishop.

All in-person meetings and activities at St. John's are temporarily suspended.

Ministry continues. All St. John's meetings will be held virtually (via Zoom).

We will post a notification here, on Facebook, and on our website when this restriction has been lifted.
Fay Jones, Editor (
St. John's Episcopal Church
P. O. Box 81493, Austin, TX 78708-1493

Virtual Sunday Services
10:00 am in English (Zoom)
Mediodía en español (Zoom)

In-Person Holy Communion
Suspended Until Further Notice
For more information about events at St. John’s, please visit our website at