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The Bridge
 July 1, 2020

The Mission of St. John’s is to be a community of God’s people who heal brokenness, build bridges, and exemplify borderless kindness.
Emergency Message from Austin/Travis County

Coronavirus is spreading rapidly in Austin-Travis County. Stay home. Avoid non-household gatherings. Keep 6 feet apart from others. Wear a face covering. Wash your hands frequently. Information on how to celebrate the 4th of July safely:
From Our Interim Rector

Before we started the live recording of Sunday services a couple of weeks ago, I came across a leather bookmark in my Spanish BCP that was a souvenir of our godson’s 1996 First Communion in Mexico. Robbie’s parents were good friends of ours in Mexico; the mother / wife is Roman Catholic and dad, a Methodist. The children were being raised in the Catholic Church. Robbie had asked my husband, Charles, and me to be their son’s First Communion godparents. One day, after attending classes for the parents and godparents, Robbie, his mother and I were walking to the car. In Spanish, he asked his mother if “Uncle Charles and Aunt Ann (as we were called) were Catholic?” The courtyard went silent. The question that no one wanted to ask, had just been asked. (This was way before I was ordained). After all, how could this couple, both blond and with blue eyes, possibly be Catholics?

Racism comes in all different scenarios around the world. I learned that after living in Mexico for 22 years. Robbie’s mother answered his question, very wisely, in their car. She explained about different denominations, and how in the case of our two families, the love and commitment to one another over rode denominational membership differences. Robert Henry Schmitz Rodriguez is now grown, married and has two sweet little girls. They have already benefited from this childhood lesson of their father! That is how we bring racism to light: one relationship at a time.

Today, in Holy Women Holy Men we commemorate Harriet Beecher Stowe. Born in 1811, she died in 1896. The daughter of two great humanitarians, she was an outspoken critic of slavery and how it was theologically incompatible with her Calvinist upbringing. Author of many books, she is best remembered for Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1852), which was a timeline of a slave family in the South. The book was a hard read and a truthful revealing of the tragic consequences of slave families. She named and exposed slavery as one of the worst of all human evils. With this bestselling book of the 19th century, she left her mark in America and England. Her book inspired anti-slavery movements in the North and provoked widespread anger in the South. When Abraham Lincoln met her, he said, “So this is the little lady who started this great war!” Her book and anti-slavery work were the primary force for bringing the evils of slavery to light in America, Britain, Europe, and Russia. She was bold enough to expose the harsh realities of slavery to the public.

We can take the easy route: behind the scenes, or, we can expose the harsh realities that still exist some 167 years later! What does racism look like in your world? God is calling. What step can you take towards listening to someone else? One person at a time.

Building Bridges and Healing Brokenness

"...and Justice for ALL!"
by Sandra Ward

If you asked me how I became interested in racial reconciliation, you would only have to look at my family history to find the answer.

My uncles marched with Martin Luther King. I have close relatives who were certified, card carrying, members of the infamous group The Black Panthers; and they have the stories and scars to prove it.

My mother was a bit of a rebel. In the early 1960's, she literally risked her life by sitting at the lunch counter of an "all white" restaurant establishment; daring anyone who may have felt the need to rebuke her. During her entire life, Mom, the rebel, was involved in multiple equal rights organizations that pledged to help and support the poor, the homeless and women, of all ethnic backgrounds. "Black Women in Government", the "Hispanic Coalition", "The Esquire's" black men's group and "The Royalettes" black women's group represent only a few affiliations that my mother worked with, strategizing ways to improve race relations throughout Austin and the surrounding areas. I was often right by her side during the discussions about and with these prominent groups.

My lineage and upbringing predestined me to inevitably become a fighter for freedom. I'm a member of the Union of Black Episcopalians (UBE). I am active in causes that support all people of color, women, the disabled, the poor and the LGBTQ community. I recently became more politically active, by serving as a State Delegate for the 2020 Texas Democratic Convention. This role enabled me to speak up and remain steadfast on crucial areas of improvement within the aforementioned support groups. I had the ability to elect adequate representatives to be the 'voice' for our causes.

St. John's has formed a "Racial Justice" team. We are currently working on a 4 week curriculum to educate our congregation on systemic racism and how it is extremely evident and prevalent in today's society. Knowing that 4 weeks is not enough time to grasp a better understanding about our societies conflicts with race relations, we will explore God's expectations of us and how these expectations relate to our Baptismal Vows.

"Will you strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being? I will, with God's help." (BCP, p305)

Our constitutional human rights "for all" are being trampled upon. Are we emulating the actions of Jesus when we discriminate against others who we deem as unworthy of having fair and equal human rights? We must do better.

"...and justice for all", with GOD'S help.
Presiding Bishop Michael Curry's Message for June 2020

During this month of June, we find ourselves in the midst of great titanic struggles, hardships, and difficulties. When important things are at stake, when the lives of God's children, and the life of the world in many respects is at stake. Even as I speak, protestors march through our streets, protesting the way we have been. Protesting for the way we could be. Black Lives Matter, protesting in our city streets that we might learn to live the ways of justice, and mercy that reflects the heart of God's love. And even as I speak, this month of June is Pride Month when our LGBTQ siblings remember and recall, and continue their struggle for equality and mutual respect, and human dignity in our society, in our church and throughout the world.

And even as I speak, the COVID-19 pandemic continues in strange and unanticipated ways, but it continues. This is the month of June. These are some hard times. Hard times for all, but really hard times for so many. Sometimes it's helpful to go back and look how others navigated hard times. I went and picked up a small book. There's a book of sermons by Harry Emerson Fosdick. It was published in the mid 1940s, in 1944 I believe. It was a  collection of sermons that he preached  as the pastor of Riverside Church in New York City, during the Second World War when the entire world was in an apocalyptic struggle between good and evil. One of the sermons he titled, “In such a time as this, no dry-as-dust religion will do."

He pleaded with people of God to draw closer to God for strength and energy. To live lives of love, of faith, of hope. In that same period of time, he composed the hymn that's found in many of our hymnals, and I would offer it for us this week in this month of June.

"God of grace and God of glory, on thy people pour thy power;
crown thy ancient churches' story, bring her bud to glorious flower. Grant us wisdom, grant us courage for the facing of this hour.

Save us from weak resignation to the evils we deplore; let the gift of thy salvation be our glory evermore. Grant us wisdom, grant us courage, serving thee whom we adore."
(Harry Emerson Fosdick, 1930)

God love you. God bless you. May God hold us all in those Almighty hands of love.

Reference: “No Dry as Dust Religion Will Do,”  A Great Time to Be Alive: Sermons on Christianity in War Time , Harpers & Brothers, 1944
Inquiring Minds Want to Know!

If you know someone who doesn't have email, please share the news transmitted weekly in The Bridge with them. And let those who do have email, but don't read The Bridge, know that this is an important way to keep up with what's happening at St. John's Episcopal Church.
Sunday Services at St. John's
We are finding different ways to worship.
Our Sunday services are being live streamed from our Chapel:

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

Our services are streamed to both Facebook Live, where you can participate in the service by typing into the comments box, and to the web site where you can view the service without any login requirements.

Click this button to participate in the service using Facebook:
Click this button to view the service on the web site.
A Facebook login is not required, but you will not be able to comment during the service.
In either case, the live stream for each service will begin approximately 5 minutes before the start of the service.
Recorded video from all services will be posted on YouTube later in the day so that you can replay a service at your convenience. Links to the YouTube videos will be posted on our website ( .
Giving at St. John's

People have asked how to continue their giving as the ministry of the Church continues.

There are several ways you can continue to give:

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 pay online through our website: Click here to donate online

Use this button to go directly to our online giving site:
Can you help?

As many of you probably know, sanitizing wipes are very hard to come by. We will need lots of these when we go back to in-person worship services in the church.

It will be very much appreciated if you can help provide sanitizing wipes for the church - when you find them, please consider buying one for you and one for the church!

Just let us know by phone or email, and we will arrange to get them picked up or delivered.

Thank you!
Public Safety Announcement from FDA

The FDA identified 9 products in its warning about hand sanitizers and noted that 2 brands contained methanol. The FDA is recommending consumers stop using these products and dispose of them immediately in appropriate hazardous waste containers, without flushing them or pouring them down the drain. 

Click the button below to get more detailed information.
Caring for Each Other

If you, or someone you know, need prayer or would like to be contacted by the church, please contact the Reverend Ann McLemore at 769-257-2377 or to add names to the Prayer List.
Need Help?

Please, if you find that you need help financially, with food, spiritually, emotionally, do not hesitate to call Deacon Victoria (512-297-5953) or Rev. Ann (769-257-2377).

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

Only Rev. Ann and essential support staff will be in the Chapel for the streaming of services as w e continue to follow the direction of government officials and the guidance of our Bishop.

All 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.
St. John's Episcopal Church
P. O. Box 81493, Austin, TX 78708-1493
Virtual Sunday Services
10:00 am in English (Facebook)
Mediodía en español (Facebook)
For more information about events at St. John’s,
please visit our website at