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The Bridge
 July 15, 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.
From Our Interim Rector

I think it would be fair to define our lives right now as “uncommon times”! I have a prayer book that I turn to often, “Women’s Uncommon Prayers”. There are all kinds of prayers in this book, and there are many that are just as appropriate for men, too!

I would like to share one this week entitled, Prayer for My Heart , written by Mrs. Phoebe W. Griswold, the wife of our former Presiding Bishop, The Most Rev. Frank Griswold:

“Dearest One, Increase the capacity of my heart. Take its edges and stretch them out to include all in me that I do not love, all in my family that I judge, all in my Church that I fear, and all in the world that doesn’t fit.”

Phoebe continues “This prayer is one that I use as I am flying off to a new experience with new people in new places. I want to be open to what lies ahead and let God speak to me about what I should do. I pray that my heart can join with God in loving all creation into God’s Kingdom.”

Phoebe talks about preparing our hearts for all the expanses and unknowns that come in our lives (for her, traveling the Anglican Communion; for us, being a ‘passenger’ in a worldwide dilemma.) “Increasing the capacity of our hearts” right now is a stretch as we continue to spend one more day, one more week, one more month in this most unusual holding pattern. The challenge of her prayer is “to include all in me that I do not love”. How human is this cry, and how so accessible out of our frustrations, incarcerations, and a life, in so many ways, put on hold.

Who do we need to work on including in our hearts?

Generosity Changes Everything

Thanks to the hard work of many St. John’s volunteers, and our members’ continued support of the church’s mission with pledges and other financial contributions, St. John’s remains a resource to its members and the community even in the challenging time of a pandemic. We continue to financially support our hard working, irreplaceable interim rector and paid staff, so that they continue to lead the worship, Christian education, and pastoral care ministries that hold us in Christ’s love. We have successfully transferred to a virtual presence in our church community through the expertise of our volunteer technology gurus. 

We support members who are in financial peril due to the economic damage wrought by the virus. We continue to support the Austin food bank, so that members of our community will not go hungry. We still make our property available for the beautiful and vibrant Labyrinth Community Garden, which feeds our members’ and neighbors’ spirit, while it also helps feed our community through donations of the garden’s produce. Our volunteers continue to tend to a seemingly endless stream of yard work and maintenance chores to keep up the church grounds as we roll through the heat of the summer. And these are just some examples.

St. John’s remains a beacon of light to our members and our community due simply to multiple acts of Christian generosity. God bless every one of you who answer God’s call to give of yourself, to help your family, your church and your community!

St. John’s Stewardship Team  
Building Bridges and Healing Brokenness

Church Music in a Pandemic
By Philip Riley

I know we all will remember Thursday, March 12 of this year when our world changed, and we realized we were in uncharted territory because of the COVID-19 virus. Everything was different, including the way we experience church music.

As you know, St. John’s relocated to our Chapel to offer virtual worship. Reverend Ann guided us with an experienced hand, Bill Cox and Marvin Rasmussen gave technical support, and Catherine Turner and Sandy Welles continue to make the new setting beautiful. John Williams, Steve Kriechbaum, and Fay Jones are our wonderful cantors and soloists, offering praise to God. Alfonso Hernandez and John Williams continue to sing and play joyfully at the Spanish Service.

We learned that singing in groups is a dangerous practice in light of this virus. The Diocese of Texas offered guidance to not engage in congregational singing, but to use soloists or cantors, along with instrumental music. Soloists need extra “social distance” space between them and other worshipers. This guidance is implemented in our Chapel services and will apply when we start public services again. Despite any challenges, we will continue to offer our best to God.

We moved our wonderful piano to the chapel and it serves well for online services. John plays his guitar and Steve shares his harmonica, both amazing. I select familiar tunes and texts that I hope speak to the people watching from home, and even encourage them to sing along.  I do miss playing the organ for weekly services. We will enjoy that when we return to public worship. (Don’t worry! I’ve been checking on the organ and playing it some. We won’t have to call Triple A to get it started again.)

I miss the wonderful fellowship of the choir, as well as the congregation. We gather for a choir Zoom meeting every few weeks to catch up, share jokes, stories, and songs. Kay and Wayne Harry even shared a quick number featuring a harmonica and their singing puppy. Top that! We have faith that we will gather again and sing as a group, although we are not sure when. 

It is truly a privilege to work with music and serve at St. John’s!
Family ElderCare Summer Fan Drive

For the past few years, the Daughters Of The King have asked you to donate to the annual fan drive for Family Eldercare, and you have been very generious.

In March, COVID-19 blew in and altered our lives in unimaginable ways. However, this horrible pandemic has not changed the fact that we continue to experience extremely high temperatures during a Texas summer. Our rapidly growing elderly community continues to suffer from the inability to cool their homes.

St. John's has been a great support to the Family Eldercare Fan Drive in past years. Let’s not allow COVID-19 to deter us from our heartfelt ‘causes’. And for $15 a fan, we can’t be stopped.

Starting today through August 15, please send your donations to St. John's, either through the mail or pay on line. Please mark your donation “Family Eldercare Fan Drive”.

  • Mail a check directly to St. John’s Episcopal Church, P.O. Box 81493 Austin, TX 78708-1493
  • Ask your bank to send a check to St. John’s Episcopal Church, P.O. Box 81493 Austin, TX 78708-1493
  • Use this link to pay online through our website:
After you enter the online giving portal, please list your fan drive donation in the “Fund Raising” category and list “Fan Drive” in the description box.

Thank you for continuing to be a supportive and loving congregation, fulfilling our promises to be a “Beloved Community”.
Sandra E. Ward
A Loss

It is with great sadness that we inform you that Lisa Shirah-Hiers' mother passed away on Sunday, July 12, 2020. Her name is Elizabeth, and we ask that you include her and Lisa's family in your prayers.
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 ( .
Virtual Coffee and Fellowship:
Bring your own beverage and treat of choice

Join us for our first Virtual Coffee and Fellowship on Sunday, July 19, after the 10am service! This 30 minute opportunity to visit with friends you haven't seen in a while will be a separate Zoom meeting so you will need to use this link to join:
Note that the Waiting Room is enabled for this meeting, so somebody logged into the St. John’s account must be present to admit people into the meeting. This is to protect the meeting participants from any possible "trolls" who might try to interrupt our fellowship. The meeting facilitator will admit you to the meeting as quickly as possible.
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:
Our Baptismal Covenant and Reaffirmation of Faith

Although we do not yet know when we will begin re-gathering, or if Bishop Ryan will be able to actually visit St. John's on August 30, we are planning 4 Wednesday evening sessions based on the Baptismal Covenant and Becoming Beloved Community : August 5, 12, 19, 26. Each week, we will study one of the promises (BCP 304-305) and look at how these promises are lived out in our daily life.

We will continue to utilize Zoom for these meetings.

At this time, we do not anticipate having baptism or confirmation, but if you have any questions, please feel free to contact Fay Jones by email (
Can you help?

Thanks to those of you who have generously provided wipes for the church! Although we don't know when we will be able to resume in-person worship, we will be prepared! We will need lots of these when we go back to worship services in the church.

We will continue to appreciate your providing 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!
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 and website)
Mediodía en español (Facebook y sitio web)
For more information about events at St. John’s,
please visit our website at