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The Bridge
 July 22, 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 just finished my second ZOOM meeting with members of St. John's. At 5:30 pm we had a Finance Committee meeting and at 7:00 pm we had our monthly Vestry meeting. This church, this congregation, should be so proud, grateful, thankful, and joyful for those who make up the church known as St. John's Episcopal Church in Austin.

If it were not for all the efforts of so many, this church could very easily be sitting locked up and waiting, waiting for things to change ...

Instead of taking a "woe is me" attitude, leadership has been learning about, developing strategies and putting into practice "Appreciative Inquiry". This is a way of looking at what we have and not what we don't have. It is a time to focus on gifts that among us, and not worry about what we don't have and another church might have.

With this letter is an illustration of examples of a traditional approach vs. an appreciative approach. Instead of two that are vibrant and alive, there are really five: Low energy vs high energy! Age doesn't matter! What sounds more healthy? Fixing the past or creating the future? Focus on what's wrong or on what works?

"Appreciative Inquiry is the study and exploration of what gives life to human systems when they function at their best." Cultivating the Missional Church, New Soil for Growing Vestries and Leaders , Randolph C. Ferebee. This is the book that the vestry has been studying for the year, and it has been engaging and enlightening. The lessons, though, are not just for the vestry; the lessons are for all the people of the church!

Let's see how we can plug into positive with the power of the people of St. John's! Sign up for a Zoom class; join Sunday worship and then Zoom coffee and fellowship; during August, join the Wednesday evening classes for four weeks and see why and how we can renew our baptismal vows and put our gifts into gear.

Our Bible study tonight at the vestry meeting was Mark 4:21-25; here is a call to pay attention to what you have. The way we actually "hear" a Gospel reading each time determines how we will hear it the next time. If we hear the Gospel as a fresh, enriched message, then "for to those who have, more will be given". Let those old favorite readings have a new coat of paint. Listen with new lenses for hearing. Is a lamp brought in to be put under a bushel basket?

Generosity Changes Everything

In these trying times, anxiety can make us fearful and fear brings on a sense of scarcity. Your continuing gifts put our faith into action on a daily basis. St John's is blessed with a very active lay ministry dedicated to supporting meaningful worship and carrying out St John's stated mission. Our stewardship is transformational and every gift helps our congregation bring people together and allows St. John's to reach out and take a stand for justice, love, and peace.

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

Love in a time of pandemic
by Scott Morizot

I first attended St. John's on Reverend Ann's first Sunday as our interim rector. By one measure, that was a little over a year ago. But in a country gripped by twin pandemics, a novel coronavirus running rampant on the one hand and the violence of systemic racism and white supremacy rooted more than 400 years in our past on the other, it can feel like time has little meaning. What is today's date? March 137th? Each day feels unmoored, disconnected from the rhythms we had come to expect.

I was both honored and more than a little bemused when I was asked first to help with the readings and then to join the team planning our weekly adult Christian education classes. After all, I'm new at the church. I have no formal training. As I remember telling Fay when she first asked, I'm not even Episcopalian. But I'm reminded of bell hooks words in her book, all about love : "We find ourselves in the right place at the right time, ready and able to receive blessings without knowing just how we got there." I have no idea how I got here, but that embrace has been a blessing for me.

I was 51 years old when I learned I was autistic, but the diagnosis simply gave me language and a framework for my differences. It let me know I wasn't alone in the world, that other people like me existed. Children and adults alike always made my strangeness abundantly clear to me when I was young. I eventually trained myself to better recognize and conceal those differences from others, but it was a slow and often painful journey. And my camouflage has always been imperfect at best.

I was exposed to many religions growing up. Christianity, Hinduism, and various New Age practices were most common. Within Christianity, I can remember attending many different denominations at various points and even attended both Episcopal and Catholic schools for part of my education. I have both rejected and embraced Christianity as an adult. For me, its central image of a triune God dancing in a perfect communion of love into which all humanity is invited kept pulling me back.

I turn again to bell hooks, "Spiritual life is first and foremost about commitment to a way of thinking and behaving that honors principles of inter-being and interconnectedness. ... All awakening to love is spiritual awakening." I have a deep interest in history and I bring that knowledge along with illustrations from Christian tradition into each adult Christian education study I lead. Sometimes I'll share concepts from other religious traditions as well if they seem relevant. I always hope a spirit of love infuses everything I offer.

In our twin pandemics, the way of love is challenging. Containing the virus requires most of us to do less. The principle of wu wei or “action through non-action” has rarely been more evident. To the extent possible, we must limit contact with others. Stay home. And when we must be out, wear a mask. Inaction is hard. We want to do, not be.

Our struggles against the systemic forces of racism on which our society is built are no less challenging. As Resmaa Menakem says, all of us need to address our "white body supremacy trauma". A central point by Prof. Ibram X. Kendi states that the opposite of racist isn't "not racist". The true opposite of racist is antiracist. It is ideas, policies, and actions that are either racist or antiracist, not people. Racism is not some quality of our being. It isn't somehow "in our bones". Racism lies in our thoughts, our actions, our reactions, and in the things we choose to accept through inaction. Love that flows from our interconnectedness and shared communion with others and with God must always be antiracist.

I find the principle of Christian stillness helps me restrain my desire to "do anything" where non-action is required and act from a place of groundedness instead of trauma when action is needed. "Do not resent. Do not react. Keep inner stillness." (Bp. Kallistos of Xelon) As part of my meditations each day, I seek stillness in the Jesus Prayer. "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner." 

Grace and peace to you all in these trying times.
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 generous.

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
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

There are now three ways for you to participate in our Sunday services:
  • Go to Facebook Live, where you can participate in the service by typing into the comments box. You must be logged into Facebook to use this option. Click this button to participate in the service using Facebook:
  • Go to the St. John's web site,, where you can view the service without any login requirements. You may comment during the service using the form at the bottom of the page, but we will not see any comments you make until after the service. Click this button to view the service on the web site. A Facebook login is not required.
  • Call 1-888-958-7272 and, when prompted, enter an access code to listen to the service on your telephone. For July 26, the access code is 375262783#

In all cases, the live stream for each service will begin approximately 5 minutes before the start of the service.
Recorded video from both services will be posted on the
St. John's YouTube channel later in the day so that you can replay a service at your convenience. Links to the YouTube recordings will be posted on our website ( .
Virtual Coffee and Fellowship:
Bring your own beverage and treat of choice

Join us for our Virtual Coffee and Fellowship on Sunday after the 10 am 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

In preparation for Bishop Ryan’s visit to St. John's on August 30, please join us on August 5, 12, 19, 26 at 7 pm. Each week, we will study one of the Baptismal Promises and look at how these promises are lived out in our daily life. The class will also include a special discussion of how these promises can help us confront racism.

We will continue to utilize Zoom for these meetings. The link will be sent out with the regular Tuesday Christian Formation emails, and can be found on our website.

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! 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