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The Bridge
 July 29, 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 talked about an old song from Johnny Cash in my sermon this past Sunday, “flesh and blood needs flesh and blood”. People need people. We need family, friends, neighbors, colleagues—we need people. This is a rare and beloved commodity for many in these times of isolation; and for others, this “closeness” might be incredibly stressful and taking a toll on relationships and mental health. I want to explore a relationship of siblings and probably their best friend.

Today, in “Holy Women Holy Men”, we commemorate Mary, Martha, and Lazarus of Bethany. These sisters and brother were probably Jesus’ best friends. Jesus honored them, and they cherished him. Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. There is the story of their hospitality which made Mary a symbol of the contemplative and Martha of the active life. We hear about Mary anointing Jesus’ feet with fragrant oils using her hair. Here, on so many levels, are examples of human friendship and love at its best. Their hospitality and kindness remind us all of the value of our siblings, our friends, our neighbors. Mary, Martha and Lazarus are very unique and different in their particular talents and offerings; just as any siblings are today!

Whatever time period, whatever circumstances; people need people. Let’s do our best to treat siblings (family) as friends, friends as neighbors, and neighbors as family. Yes, due to social distancing and efforts to stay apart, a phone call, a note, an email just might be the nicest gift someone has received in a long time. The collect for today offers, “Open our hearts to love you, our ears to hear you, and our hands to welcome and serve you in others through Jesus Christ.”

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 (
Generosity Changes Everything

Even during the stress and difficulty of a pandemic, our members continue to respond with love to God’s call “to do good, to be rich in good deeds, to be generous givers, sharing with others.” (1 Timothy 6:17-21). Thanks to this generosity, St. John’s has been and will continue to shine as a lighthouse for our members and our surrounding community.   

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

Doing God's Will - Sometimes Kicking and Screaming
by Elaine Jackson

Fay emailed me last week and requested an article from me about “my ministry and experiences during the pandemic.” Once I had agreed and had time to think, all I could come up with was to realize that I was again being dragged, kicking and screaming, into what I suppose must be God’s will for me.

Seven or so years ago, I decided that repeatedly asking for a regular weekly Bible Study class at St. John’s for 10 years or so was not going to have any more success than it had so far. I was widowed, so living alone, my part time-keep-my-brain-awake job had disappeared, and I had heard other women also talk about study. So, like the little red hen, I figured I would have to do it myself. I asked Fr. Al what gospel would be the best to start with if I started a class, and put an announcement in the newsletter that anyone interested should come and decide how to proceed.

The rest is history. For seven years an ever changing group, largely women, mostly retired, has met on Thursday mornings in the parish hall to learn about the Bible and God’s work in the world, and to share our own understandings, problems, and blessings. Because I am in no way a Bible expert we have used various books as the basis of study, and I consider myself a facilitator (or cat-herder). There are no wrong answers and no dumb questions.

For me, the immense reward is the fact that the group is a safe place where we can share our lives and learn together. Last year we studied “The Social Justice Bible Challenge” which is a new topic in the Forward Movement series we have been using for our study. The topic led a number of the husbands of class regulars to join the class, and I feel now as if the book also helped prepare us for the times we are in today.

When we finished the last book, the pandemic hit. We had invited Fr. David to present a four week series of classes for us on Celtic Saints (his favorite topic) during Lent. There were two classes in the parish hall and then we were quarantined. Some church members were able to use their expertise to get most everything online - here came the kicking and screaming again.

I do not love Zoom. I had to order a camera and mic for my computer, and nothing was easy. I could not imagine being able to facilitate our Bible Study classes as we were used to them. So Fr. David gave us three more classes via Zoom, then Rev. Ann and Deacon Victoria taught the classes they had used for the lenten suppers.

At that moment, the world got even weirder. Demonstrations and marches and riot police were all we could find in the news, and the epidemic took a back seat for a moment to civil rights and wrongs. So we have spent our Thursday mornings talking about these issues. Sort of continuing our last book, too. Funny how those things work. These topics have led to our reading and sharing books, articles, and outrage, largely through email and Facebook. And the entire church is working on becoming more “The Beloved Community,” led by the Presiding Bishop.

I have become willing to go back to our regular study system, using Zoom, and on August 6 we will begin the “Journey with Luke.” Please contact me ( in order to get a copy of the book in advance of beginning the study. I am grateful for everyone who will zoom with us, but continue to be concerned for those who are unable or unwilling to join us via computer.

I can see ahead the necessity to reconnect with those we are only able to connect with by phone, who are feeling the separation most acutely these days, but I do believe our ministries will survive and grow, perhaps in different forms, but always as God wills.
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.
  • Call 1-888-958-7272 and, when prompted, enter an access code to listen to the service on your telephone. For the English service on August 2, the access code is 631191703#

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:
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