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The Bridge
 June 24, 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

The last twelve Sundays we have celebrated Morning Prayer in the St. John’s Chapel which is in the Parish Hall. The building, the chapel area, are all the “original origins” of St. John’s. We have been live-streaming from the Chapel with the aspirations that when we return to in-person worship we will do so in the church! That being said, for those of us who have been part of the live streaming there is a beloved element in the Chapel; the dear stained glass of John. As often happens at churches, there is more than one John. The John in the stained glass is John the Baptist. The namesake of the church is the apostle, John. Both are honorable and essential in our church history and liturgy!

Wednesday, June 24, is considered on the church calendar a high feast day, with the dominant color being white. This is the celebration of John! The John in the stained glass! The Nativity of Saint John the Baptist figures very prominently this year in our summer worship and preparations, as we move towards an August series of classes – “Becoming Beloved Community” – joining our baptismal promises with the responsibilities that come with such promises: be it towards our neighbor, our community, our God, our leaders, our human race.

Bp. Kai Ryan is scheduled to be with us on Sunday, August 30, for an official Episcopal visit. I discussed with her the possibility of a community reaffirmation of our baptismal vows. Reaffirmation is one of the rites often offered when a bishop is visiting. However, this would be a bit different. The bishop would be reaffirming the whole congregation that day, at both services. The four weeks before, we will have offered classes and discussions leading up to the actual reaffirmation. Baptism is a big deal! Check out page 299 in the Book of Common Prayer!

I would like to share part of the collect for the celebration of St. John the Baptist: Almighty God, by whose providence your servant John the Baptist was wonderfully born, and sent to prepare the way of your Son our Savior … Make us so to follow his teaching and holy life … and following his example, constantly speak the truth, boldly rebuke vice, and patiently suffer for the truth’s sake; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord.

John the Baptist was sent to lead the way for Jesus. Jesus led the way for us. Who are we being called to lead?

Building Bridges and Healing Brokenness

“Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.” Matthew 25:40
By Mark Hartwell

I came to St. John’s after what I felt was a religious experience in 1996. I had left church behind 23 years before. I did not know where to start so I came to my father’s church. I felt tears welling up when I heard the hymns and liturgy of my youth and remembered again the attention I had given to sermons.   I was home but even though I had grown up son and grandson of Episcopal priests, I lacked some direction as to what this might mean to me. I read a lot and I knew that the “social gospel” was what resonated with me.

It was not long before my dear departed friend and mentor, Bill Beare, found me and through his example and his constant lessons to me in “Christian formation”, I found a calling for our Nursing Home Ministry. I went with him twice and the location we attended was shut down by the state. He tasked me with finding another and heading it up. OakCrest Manor Nursing Home was my choice. It was not a place for the elderly as the name implies. It was a place where persons with no money other than that provided through social services such as Medicaid and Social Security, who had mental and/or physical impairment came. Honestly, it was a dreadful place with poor treatment of the residents, a foul smell, and a sense of despair and grief throughout. After a few years, the physician in charge there bought the place and transformed it into a much more caring, clean, and amicable place. It was wonderful to see that transition.

I have now been with this ministry some 23 years. In the first many years, our ministry was mostly me, Bill Beare, Judy Ingram, and Jane Powell with the Williams family members coming from time to time and playing wonderful music for the residents. Philip Riley always made the Christmas caroling party successful and still does. Noraa Jackson joined longer ago than I can remember, then Scott McFarland, our priests, and most recently John Williams, Paul Villareal and Claudie Cantu. Ever since I met my, now wife, Souzan Arashvand, she has never missed. And many others come occasionally and together we all share one thing – this time not just with these folks but for these folks. That distinction was part of my journey in becoming a Christian again.

As I began to mature in my return to the church, I began to embrace something I had overlooked or missed in my youth. I found not just Jesus as my guide and Christ, but the love of God. His love, offered and now accepted, deep within me. Things began to change for me. I realized that “as Christ loved others” so was the love given to each of us. By seeing Christ in others and trying to find the Christ within, I was filled. Not as a concept or as knowledge, but each time – through the practice and experience. Which, after a blissfully innocent period, I quickly learned that it had to be remembered, revisited, redone, constantly, daily. The challenge of being a Christian, for me, was not found in belief as much as in the practice. My interactions with coworkers, clients, friends, family all had to change. Our Nursing Home Ministry provided a unique microcosm of that challenge, of that experience.

When I see the eyes of some of the residents there that I have come to know, looking back at me with a smile because they, like I, feel the love being shared, I know that I feel our Christ in that room, in that experience. It may take some time with some and never be fully realized with all or at each visit, but every visit has come to fill me with more love than I carry in, more love than I knew that I had. These dear folks have become a part of my life and I depend on them. We all need love. And giving to those who so openly and honestly, without many of the complications of our common, daily social constraints, need our love, is a gift that this Nursing Home Ministry has given to me and I pray to all those who find the compassion of Christ in those same eyes.

Now with the Corona virus, we are not able to attend in love to these people in person. The staff is unable to report the condition or health of any of the residents there. This has left me longing for them and praying for their wellbeing until we can meet again. I look forward to our return and in the meantime, I will hold in gratitude all of the memories and friends that I have made. Thanks be to God.
Dreamers and the American Dream

Much has been said about the American Dream ... millions of people have come to our shores escaping unimaginable horrors in their native countries in order to pursue the American Dream. There was never any question that they could remain in the United States and raise their families without fear of being deported after years of working to achieve that American Dream for their children.

Today, we have a generation of Dreamers - children of immigrants from all over the world, especially our Latin American neighbors - who have lived almost their entire lives in the United States. They have gone to school here, their parents have worked and paid taxes here, they have learned to speak the language of their adopted country ... and now they are in danger of being deported to places they do not remember, where they possibly do not speak the language, where their prospects for healthy, productive lives are much less than here.

This excellent article published by the Episcopal News Service, explains what the recent Supreme Court decision means to Dreamers and their families. But this is not a final answer. The Administration has promised to take the information provided them by the Court and file a new lawsuit to remove Dreamers from their homes, their schools, their jobs, their futures.

"Episcopal leaders on June 18 welcomed the  U.S. Supreme Court’s surprise decision  preserving protections for about 700,000 immigrants who were brought to the United States illegally as children. Even so, The Episcopal Church remains focused on advocating for legislation that will offer them permanent protection from deportation and, eventually, U.S. citizenship ..."

Please read this article, and join The Episcopal Church, and St. John's, in the effort to provide permanent protection for the young people currently covered by DACA* ... some of whom are members of our own church.

* Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals

Please click on the purple button to access the Episcopal News Service article in its entirety:
Sunday Services at St. John's
We are finding different ways to worship.
All Sunday services are being live streamed from our Chapel:

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

You can participate in our live streamed services by clicking this button:
The button will take you to the "Live" tab on our Facebook page. When the red LIVE box appears, St. John's is live and on the air!
The live stream for each service will be available approximately 5 minutes before the start of the service.
If the red box is not visible and we are not currently live, the page will show you our archive of previously streamed services.
Recorded video from all services will be posted on YouTube later in the day. Links to the YouTube videos will be posted on our website ( .
Hot off the press from Bill Cox

For the past three months, we have live streamed our Sunday services using Facebook Live. We have also recorded the services for later publication on our YouTube channel and on our web site. While this has worked well, one disadvantage has been that you need a Facebook account to view the live service.
We are happy to report that, starting June 28, our services will also be streamed live directly to our web site! No Facebook login required! This is still somewhat experimental, and we cannot guarantee that there will not be any hiccups. However, the tests that we have run thus far have been very successful. There is one significant limitation: you cannot comment on the service if you are using the web site viewer.
We will continue to use Facebook Live for streaming, but if you would like to try out the new streaming option, click this button
or click on the LIVE button in the web site navigation bar. As usual, the live feed will begin about five minutes before the service itself starts.  
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
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