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The Bridge
November 18, 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.
Holiday Safety Guidelines from Austin Public Health

Please click this button to read the latest suggested guidelines to stay safe and healthy during the holidays:
From Our Interim Rector

Monday night, November 16, we had a very productive vestry meeting! As steps are going forward with the, so to speak, “changing of the guard” with me stepping out and Minerva coming onboard as your new Rector, believe me, our transition is so much smoother than others right now!

There are three umbrella questions that we have explored and continued to revisit not just as a vestry, but, also as a church community over these past 19 months. Who are we? Who are our neighbors? What is God calling us to do? I believe we reviewed all three of those bases Monday night through a mini Mutual Ministry Study and a series of questions. We talked about expectations, disappointments, surprise benefits, new ministries, letting go of some old ministries, highlights of being on vestry, all basically under the umbrella of our study this year, Cultivating the Missional Church: New Soil for Growing Vestries and Leaders by Randolph Ferebee.

I would like to share some of the highlights of the meeting with all of you. First, the motion passed to bring on board the architects that have already looked at the decaying parts of the exterior of the parish hall. This delayed maintenance needs attention and cannot be put off much longer. We have been blessed and graced with members, specifically Bill Cox and Marvin Rasmussen, whose technical expertise has brought us into the virtual world of worship, enabling us to stay in touch by worshipping on a regular basis through livestream and recorded services. Also developed this year, has been the weekly newsletter, “The Bridge-El Puente”. I thank Fay Jones for her dedication and weekly commitment to this instrument that keeps us in touch with one another. We have blossomed as a church as we have given more and more energy towards Becoming Beloved Community (BBC) right along with our national church and Presiding Bishop. This has translated into hours of work through Stepping Onto Sacred Ground and our two dialogue circles that have met bi-weekly since September. This was launched during our August four weeks of work towards the Episcopal visit of Bp. Ryan and during worship that day when she accepted the reaffirmation of baptismal vows by the whole congregation. I am grateful to Fay for her work in spearheading those classes, and to Deacon Victoria for her unending energy towards the Stepping Onto Sacred Ground program. This work has opened the doors to more collaborative work with other Episcopal churches in the Austin area. Reaching out also was demonstrated by St. John’s becoming a member of the Black Episcopal Union (UBE). There are 150 new plants in the flower bed on the back side of the parish hall that is looking great. Special thanks to all who come on Wednesdays to help keep the grounds looking loved and lived in!

The vestry is also exploring their thoughts, beliefs and ‘call to action’ in this time where each step is into new, unexplored territory with COVID, the election, economy, unrest and what God is calling the community of St. John’s to do… While the vestry is saying good-bye to the three outgoing members: Frank Rukovena, Will Neer, and John Williams, three new members will be joining the vestry officially after the January annual meeting of the parish (Maria Caballero, Alfonso Hernandez, and Sandra Ward). After Thanksgiving, I will be conducting a workshop for our new members to help them with this upcoming leadership responsibility. I challenged the vestry with this question: after a sub-committee in the church did beautiful work in September 2019 with a Parish Profile; what would you add to that now? I ask each of you, the members of St. John’s, to consider the question, and if you have some thoughts you would like to share—call a vestry person and let them know!

My thanks particularly go to Bill Cox, Fay Jones, Philip Riley, Alfonso Hernandez, Steve Kriechbaum, and John Williams who by their talents and commitments have made Sunday morning services possible! Thank you dearly! Worship formats are still flexing and being sensitive to our COVID restrictions. December is going to bring a new church year, a church celebration of 60 years, and by the time the New Year ball drops you will have a new Rector! John Williams is being charged with coordinating a transition team to help welcome Minerva and all her family to St. John’s! On a personal note, today is the first anniversary of the death of my mother. I am most grateful to all of you for the funeral service you offered, your support and understanding. Thanks to all of you!

Relief of Emergency Needs for Tenants (RENT) Assistance Program

"The Relief of Emergency Needs for Tenants (RENT) Assistance Program provides up to six months of full rent payment for income-eligible Austin renters who have experienced a COVID-19-related income loss. Applications are open.

Random selection of eligible applications for rent assistance will occur weekly on Fridays at 12pm through the end of December 2020, or until program funds are expended. All applications, regardless of when they are submitted, will be given equal chance in the selection process.

More eviction information, help with paying utilities and related housing services are available on the Housing Resources webpage."
Building Bridges and Healing Brokenness

Abundance Challenge

As I was searching for an appropriate image for this week's Thanksgiving message, I found that most images are of "groaning boards" - tables laden with food and drink. Of course, all those tables were also surrounded by friends and family tucked in close to each other.

None of those images seem to fit this year. Many many families will be unable to get together for this celebration of abundance and love and fellowship. Schools and colleges are adjusting class schedules in order to limit the amount of exposure of students, teachers, and families during the holiday season. People who are living and working far from "home" will be unwilling to visit their elderly parents for fear of taking the virus to them.

We will be unable to have our traditional Thanksgiving Dinner at St. John's.

Yes, there is much to be unhappy about this holiday season. But, let's try to look at Thanksgiving from a different perspective. Rather than being sad to miss the abundance of turkey dinner with all the trimmings, let's look with gladness at the abundance we still have in our lives. The true abundance given to those who rest in the arms of God. Your list will be different from mine, but continued good health is top on my list! Friendships and family relationships are there, as well as the ability to stay fit with regular exercise and dance. Having an Interim Rector who is doing her best to ensure we have regular worship, along with a small group of dedicated people who provide technical and musical expertise to make that worship beautiful and available to everyone in the congregation.

A small book given to me by my Aunt Donna many years ago has a section called Taking Time to Live. I won't quote the whole section (even though it is short), but I would like to share a few lines:
  • "Time for nature; time for flower gardens, trees, birds and sunsets.
  • Time to love and be loved, for love is the greatest thing in the world.
  • Time for solitude; time to be quiet and alone and to look within.
  • Time for worship; time for opening our lives to God's infinite springs of vitality, that we may live more abundantly."
The New Book of the Art of Living, Wilferd A Peterson; p 29.

In no way am I saying that holidays away from family will be fun or easy. I am in the same place! However, by focusing on the abundance we have, rather than the scarcity of what we don't have, our lives can become more filled with gratitude for the gifts which God continues to pour on us.

in a moment of peace
i give thanks to the source of all peace

as i set forth
into the day
the birds sing
with new voices
and i listen
with new ears
and give thanks.
Earth Prayers, Elizabeth Roberts & Elias Amidon, eds; p 234

In peace and gratitude, Fay Jones
Labyrinth Community Garden Fundraiser

Our Labyrinth Community Garden is participating in the #SeedMoneyChallenge, a 30-day fundraising challenge and we could really use your support TODAY! In addition to keeping the funds we raise from individuals like you, we have a chance to win a challenge grant of up to $600 from SeedMoney based on how much we raise over the course of the 30-day period running from Nov 15 to Dec 15.

As an extra incentive, SeedMoney is offering 40 $100 bonus grants to the 40 garden projects that have raised the most after the first week. Your support TODAY can put us into the running for one of those bonus grants. You can find our donation page here:
St. John's is turning 60!
Here is the answer to this week's trivia question:

This week’s question asked about one of our Seminarians from the 1980’s. The Reverend Pete Jones did his Seminary field work at St. John’s in 1982 and 1983. Pete was the husband of our own Fay Jones! Sadly Pete passed away in 2007.
Check the St. John's Facebook page on Monday for next week's question!
And remember to write a short (500 words or less) story about your time - an event or special memory - at St. John's. Please send text and photos to for publication in our 2020 Memory Book. The deadline is November 20!
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 two ways for you to participate in our Sunday services:
  • Go to Facebook Live. No login is required to attend the service, but you must log into your Facebook account to comment or to view other comments. Click this button to attend the service using Facebook:
  • Call 1-888-958-7272 and, when prompted, enter an access code to listen to the service on your telephone. For the English language service, the access code is  836298458#. 

In both 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 (
Holy Eucharist on the Porch

Limited in-person worship will continue this Sunday, with an outdoor ​Holy Communion Service at 1:15 PM. This week's service is in Spanish. The service will be held on the lawn in front of the Annex.

Remember: Please bring a chair - chairs are not provided!
Pre-registration is required; please click the button to register. Please register for only one Sunday service at a time so others will have an opportunity to attend.

If you need to cancel your reservation, please return to the registration site or text Fay Jones at 512-626-1771.

In case of inclement weather, this service will be cancelled.
Sunday Morning Prayer services at 10:00 AM in English and noon in Spanish will continue to be live streamed on Facebook. ​ ​No login is required to attend the service. ​
Virtual Coffee and Fellowship:
Provide your own beverage and treat of choice

Join us for our Virtual Coffee and Fellowship on Sunday beginning at 11 am! 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:
To protect the meeting participants from any possible "trolls" who might try to interrupt our fellowship, the Waiting Room is enabled for this event. The meeting facilitator will admit you to the meeting as quickly as possible.
There are several ways you can continue to give towards the mission and ministry of St. John's:

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 learn more about online giving: Click here

Use this button to go directly to our online giving portal:
To those who have returned your giving intention for 2021 -
Thank You!

If you have not already done so, please return your giving intention (pledge) card for 2021 to the church as soon as possible.
El Buen Samaritano Hands for Hope

"El Buen Samaritano is once again gearing up for its annual Hands for Hope meal distribution event—this year aiming to provide holiday meals to 1,750 families."
"Through Hands for Hope this year, El Buen will provide families who have been hit hardest by COVID with all they need to make a holiday meal together at home. Our goal is to provide 1,750 Austin families with meal kits including a frozen turkey or ham, stuffing, rolls, fresh vegetables, and of course, pie. Recipients will also receive information about other services through El Buen and nonprofit partners that can provide COVID-19 relief. This year, to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and ensure the health and safety of clients, staff, and volunteers, meal kits will be distributed at the El Buen campus via a drive-through process over three days in November and December."
"To take part in this initiative, please consider making a contribution to the Hands for Hope campaign or volunteering at our November 21 distribution day." (Use these links to access the Hands for Hope website.)
Thank you for thinking of your neighbors during the holidays!
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?

If you find that your situation is causing financial, spiritual, or emotional difficulties, or if you are in need of food, 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 and outside for the in-person Holy Communion services as we 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.
Fay Jones, Editor (
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)

In-Person Holy Communion
1:15 pm Sundays
On the lawn in front of the Annex
Alternating weeks: English and Spanish
For more information about events at St. John’s, please visit our website at