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The Bridge
September 9, 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.
Notice

Please note: the St. John's campus and all buildings are closed until further notice due to the continuing pandemic guidelines. The exception is those who work outside the buildings to maintain the grounds, and those who provide essential services, such as mail, deposits, preparing for Sunday services.
From Our Interim Rector

Eyes.

Your eyes focus on 50 different objects every second. The only organ more complex than the eye is the brain. Your eyes can distinguish approximately 10 million different colors. It is impossible to sneeze with your eyes open. Ommatophobia is a fear of the eyes. 80 percent of all learning comes through the eyes. The average person blinks 12 times a minute. Heterochromia is the medical term for having two different colored eyes.

We are really working our eyes in this time of pandemic! With masks over our mouths and noses any human contact is now read eyes to eyes. Our eyes are tired of watching so many Zoom gatherings. Our eyes are weary of looking at our computer screens and smart phones. Our eyes are having to do extra “chores”: we can’t see smiles, so our eyes have to try and smile. We can’t see the boredom of a yawn, nor the list of other human signals that we read about one another. When I am at a check-out counter, I really try and look the cashier in the eyes as we make light conversation. The masked pharmacist that gave me a flu shot the other day – I concentrated on really looking him in the “eyes” as the rest of his face was covered. And in the midst of all of my thoughts, observations, and conclusions about eyes, I have come to a whole new level of appreciation, awe and wonder for our church family members who are blind. Their “eyes” might be their service dog, their fingertips, their ears, their touch; but, how has the pandemic limited their contact? My mother was legally blind and she was so clever the way she worked with this challenge.

The Bible talks about an eye for an eye, in the twinkling of an eye, their eyes were opened, and with the eyes of your heart enlightened, you may know what is the hope to which he has called you. ‘We are coming out of the darkened understanding’, is Paul’s explanation to the Ephesians about this “hope”. God has called ALL of us and it is through the eyes of our hearts that not only are we enlightened, but so is our whole being. God is calling not only the eyes of our hearts; but he is calling us to service in a field where maybe we have never walked; or at least, walked in a long time.

Doors are shutting right now so that windows can open and new ministries can be revealed to each of us, as God calls us to serve. Look in your mirror tonight at your eyes, or delicately feel your eyes and all around that part of your face. Do you see Jesus? Do you feel the bones that are around the eyes of Jesus? Are your eyes brown, blue, green, black, or grey? When you pull your mask on, think about Jesus looking out through your eyes. Now…what would Jesus do?

Faithfully,

Ann+
Generosity Changes Everything
Kay Harry speaks to St. John's about blessings and our Christian call to give back to the Lord ...
Building Bridges and Healing Brokenness

Communications during a Pandemic
by Fay Jones

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed my life significantly. Personally, I have spent far more time at home, reading and watching tv, even phone games. I walk 3-5 miles daily! My cats think I should be available at all times for a snuggle. After more than three months of virtual lessons I have returned to the dance studio, but with significant changes, such as dancing while wearing a mask. I reached a point called "burn-out" in my volunteer work with CASA of Travis County and I have taken a leave of absence from that beloved service to abused and neglected children.

As important as those other aspects of my life are, my service to the St. John's community has become primarily ensuring that you know what is going on within our parish and in the wider Church and community. Communications is always difficult! Sometimes it feels like we can't say something often enough or in enough different ways for everyone to hear the message. Rev. Ann has a favorite story about advertising a parish retreat at Disney World for several months, and after it was over an active member of the parish said "I wish I had known about this - I would have gone!" There are no words.
Every Wednesday, I send out this "newsletter" via email to keep the parish informed about what's happening in and around our church. I include personal interest stories written by parishioners and others. Every Tuesday, I send out a reminder with Zoom links regarding the Christian Formation and Education offerings. Every Saturday, I send out a reminder with Zoom links about the upcoming Sunday services. (I send out the same messages in Spanish every week.) In addition, I am a Zoom facilitator for a variety of meetings each week, as well as a participant in other meetings.

I am sad to say, we have only about 50% readership, at best. There are, in my experience, always going to be those who choose not to participate in various offerings, or even not to be aware of happenings within the church. But it is important to me for you to know that communicating with you is my primary "job" right now. It is my hope that my efforts are satisfactory. If you would like to share your thoughts with me, please email me at fay@austinstjohns.org.
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 on September 13, the access code is 845298742# 

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 (www.austinstjohns.org).
Stepping onto Sacred Ground
Becoming Beloved Community

You are invited to participate in a series of conversations titled Stepping Onto Sacred Ground.

Dates: The conversation sessions will begin on Tuesday, September 22 and meet every two weeks until Tuesday, November 17.

Time of Day: There will be two groups, one in the daytime and the other in the evening.

Why: To "strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being" (BCP, p.305) requires us to explore who we are in society. We will explore the historical roots of racism and the current realities that continue the injustices of systemic racism. Participants will study assigned readings and videos prior to each session to enhance the learning experience.

As our guiding principle, we will honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s vision of the redemptive power of love to create the "Beloved Community." The Episcopal Church embraces this ideal as a way to "restore all people to unity with God and each other in Christ." (BCP, Outline of Faith, p.855).

The Sacred Ground series will create a safe, respectful, and holy space in which we can begin a journey of discernment. There will be time for listening and for speaking. All opinions will be respected without judgment.

For more information, please contact John Williams (jfwilliams29@yahoo.com, 512-924-0591), Ann McLemore (Revann@austinstjohns.org, 769-257-2377), or Victoria Mason (DeaconVic@austinstjohns.org, 512-297-5953).

The Mission of St. John's Episcopal Church is to be a community of God's people who heal brokenness, build bridges, and exemplify borderless kindness.
Do Your Kiddos Need Breakfast or Lunch?

Austin ISD, which has been providing meals for all children and their parents and caregivers this summer, will transition to providing both free and reduced and regular-priced meals for students who are enrolled for the 2020-2021 school year.

Please use this link to find out about schools which are offering curbside breakfast and lunch when school starts on September 8:
Virtual Coffee and Fellowship:
Bring 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:
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 learn more about online giving: Click here

Use this button to go directly to our online giving portal:
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?

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 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 (fay@austinstjohns.org)
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