for Bridge Newsletter header
The Bridge
 July 8, 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

On Monday, July 6, we commemorated a 15th century prophetic witness and martyr John Hus (1372-1415). When given the choice to recant his beliefs or die; he chose death. As he approached the stake on July 6, 1415, his final words were: “The principle intention of my preaching and of all my other acts or writings was solely that I might turn men from Sin. And in that truth of the gospel that I wrote, taught, and preached in accordance with the sayings and expositions of the holy doctors, I am willing gladly to die today.”

As preacher at Bethlehem Chapel in Prague, he talked to the people in their native language. Hundreds gathered everyday to hear his call for personal and institutional reform. Clerics he offended had him exiled from Prague. A Czech priest who became the leader of the Czech reform movement which called for a return to scripture and living out the world of God in one’s life; Hus hoped he could clear his name of heresy at the Council of Constance in 1414. This was a period in time when there was great rivalry between three popes, a resolution of the Great Western Schism was the the prime objective of the Council. The Council tried for a speedy recant from Hus who refused and instead chose death versus compromising his beliefs. He maintained the charges against him as false.

His death did not end the movement; the Czech reformation continued on after Hus’ death. His rousing belief, “Truth will Conquer!” is the motto of the Czech Republic today.

In July 2018, I had the opportunity to visit Prague, an exquisite city filled with classic examples of architecture, beauty, music and history. As always, it is hard to believe that locations of such beauty covering centuries includes such painful times in history. St. Vitrus Cathedral (Roman Catholic) is the largest and most important temple in Prague; construction began in 1344. Religious services, coronations of kings and queens, burials of patron saints, sovereigns, noblemen and archbishops have all taken place at this basilica with three naves and two steeples. A marvel in religious construction; obviously a work of centuries.

When we have opportunities to visit such sites in our history of humanity, we realize how young the United States and our history really is in comparison to other parts of the world. Almost like the difference between an eight-year-old giving their resume as contrasted to an eighty-year-old! What bridges those gaps? Experience—listening, sharing, and realizing that those things we all look for in life are really the same: food, shelter, clothing, safety, education, family, friends, worship and community.

All that Hus was basically trying to do was turn men (and women) away from sin. Was that not also the same map from Jesus? May this week be an opportunity to think about our directions and what we are doing with our time in a period of history besieged by a pandemic. Try and be a bit more patient this week; that does wonders for helping us pace ourselves.

Ann+
Voting Information

If you or someone you know is eligible to vote, here is some important information about voting. Please note that early voting ends on this Friday, July 10. Regular voting is on Tuesday, July 14.

Voting locations are open from 7:00 AM – 7:00 PM. You may vote at any Vote Center in Travis County where you see a “Vote Here/Aqui” sign.

Here is a message from:
Union of Black Episcopalians, Myra McDaniel Chapter
Voting in the Primary Runoff Election
What you Need to Know 
(from public Zoom call with Travis County Clerk Office)

  • Early voting Monday, June 29-Friday, July 10. Polls are open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Election day is July 14.
  • If you can vote early or vote by mail, do so
  • Wear your own mask
  • Distancing will be implemented; voters without masks will be directed to machines in remote location
  • Signs for curbside voting will be posted at the polling location for voters with COVID/COVID symptoms. 
  • No polls at grocery stores; for list of Travis County polling locations: https://countyclerk.traviscountytx.gov/polling-locations.html
  • Hand sanitizer will be available and plentiful
  • Plexiglass at tables to protect workers
  • Finger covers and popsicle sticks provided for “touchless” voting 
Bring the following items:
  • Voter identification (see county clerk website for approved ID if you are bringing an ID other than driver license.)
  • Mask
  • Your own pen to sign in
  • An umbrella (in case you have to stand in the sun or rain)

Information for voters outside of Travis County can be found at:
(800)252-VOTE
Building Bridges and Healing Brokenness

Adult Christian Education
by Henry Welles

While I look forward to every tomorrow, there is one day each week that I eagerly anticipate: Wednesday. That is the day I join my St. John’s family in Adult Christian Education.

We are adults, at least in chronological age. We profess to be Christians of one sort or another. What I find are our most attractive qualities are our desires to share in the spiritual self-improvement of ourselves and of each other. I do not want to impose my beliefs or ideas on members of the group, and I believe the group’s other members think this way. However, using the Episcopal three-legged stool of reason, tradition, and scripture aids each of us to learn and grow as best we may.

My parents were my first teachers. I am a cradle Episcopalian, whose father’s family has been long active in the church and whose mother’s Christianity derived from dissenters not accepting the Episcopal tradition. 

I had my own life to live. Decades passed, which included college, marriage, employment, parenting and moving. Sandy and I looked for a church home that would be a good fit. We found it at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Austin.

Church membership is a two-way street. You get and you give. I was open to helping St. John’s if the help did not require numbers and an Excel spreadsheet. I had had enough of both working for the state before retirement.

A part-time job I had offered the potential for experience and continuance. I have been teaching economics and other subjects for Park University, a non-profit institution founded in 1875, since 1989.

When I worked full-time and part-time, it was exhilarating to move from numbers to people and ideas. When we came to St. John’s, I thought I might at least participate in adult Christian education.

The church had other needs. Opportunities came to sing in the choir and to work on buildings and grounds. But the urges to teach and learn never went away. Adult Christian education returned to St. John’s. Now I could learn and interact with other people who had similar interests.

The pre-Socratic philosopher Heraclitus taught that you cannot step into the same river twice. Circumstances, like rivers, are always changing. Remembering Heraclitus helps me look at adult Christian education topics with a fresh eye.

When I am scheduled to lead a lectionary discussion, for example, I read all the selected readings a few days ahead of time and let them marinate in my mind. I am thinking of connections between the readings and connections between the readings and outside sources. The outside sources can come from disparate places such as movies, Moby Dick, or The New York Times. My favorite time as a discussion leader is when the other participants take over the discussion.

Attending, and sometimes leading adult Christian education classes, helps me to live up to the best that is within me. Thank you, St. John’s. 
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.
Fear Not: Living Grace, Truth, and Diversity in a Divided and Frightened World

The Kaleidoscope Summer Institute provides tools for facilitating conversation, cultural sensitivity, and other ways to work towards better communication and understanding among our church members, our communities, and our families. You are invited to explore the 2020 Summer Institute by clicking on the button below. You are also invited to join several St. John's clergy and members by participating in some or all of the workshops. The fees are "suggested" ... please make a graceful gift if possible.
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 www.austinstjohns.org 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 ( www.austinstjohns.org) .
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!
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 RevAnn@austinstjohns.org 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 www.austinstjohns.org