Episcopal News Update

A weekly newsletter serving the Diocese of Los Angeles
March 7, 2021
‘The world needs deacons,’ says new Archdeacon Laura Siriani

By Pat McCaughan

Whether feeding and offering showers to Tustin-area homeless persons or supporting refugees and asylees, the Rev. Laura Siriani’s approach is: “We’re all in this together. It’s all about relationship and knowing someone’s story. Once you know their story it becomes real and you recognize we’re the same people, just different circumstances.”

Siriani brings that conviction to her new role as archdeacon of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles. Her first order of business “will be to get to know the deacons of the diocese better, to learn about their work and to talk to some parishes about the diaconate. I want other people in the diocese to know what amazing work they do. The world needs deacons,” she told the Episcopal News recently.

“Those who know Laura best talk about clarity,” said Bishop Diocesan John Harvey Taylor, in announcing Siriani’s appointment. “When she felt called to ordained ministry, it was immediately clear to her that God meant the diaconate. She is clear about the Christian’s obligation to those most at risk. She is clear, gracious, and loving in her teaching, preaching, and pastorship.

“Finally, she and I are clear about one thing above all: that the historic diaconate is an indispensable element of the future of an abundant Episcopal Church. Deacons are among our leading prophets to a secularizing time of the good news of Christ’s love, justice, and peace. I look forward to our ministry together as we pastor together to all our amazing deacons.”

Read more here.
Emergency Appeal grants awarded to aid ministries in Pomona, San Pedro, Hollywood

The Corporation of the Diocese on Feb. 27 awarded three new grants from the diocesan One Body and One Spirit Emergency Appeal which to date has funded 21 grants from more than $260,000 raised to bring practical support to congregations and individuals most in need amid the COVID-19 crisis.

Latest grant recipients are St. Paul’s Church in Pomona, $7,500 to offset losses from lack of rental revenue; St. Peter’s, San Pedro, $5,000 to help cover losses from lack of in-person events; and St. Stephen’s, Hollywood, $7,023 to upgrade technological equipment used to provide online services and ministries.

Two additional grant applications have been reviewed and are pending finalization with the Corporation which soon will announce the next grant application cycle. Information about the application process, including the Emergency Appeal Grant Request Guide, is here.

Contributions to the Emergency Appeal are welcome and may be made online here. Checks made payable to Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles may be sent by postal mail to the attention of Bishop John Harvey Taylor c/o Canon Gail Urquidi, Finance Office, St. Paul's Commons, 840 Echo Park Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90026.
Virtual service March 13 will honor late Bishop Barbara Harris

The Rt. Rev. Barbara Clementine Harris – first woman ordained and consecrated as a bishop in the Anglican Communion, former bishop suffragan of the Diocese of Massachusetts, and passionate advocate for social justice, died March 13, 2020. To mark the anniversary of her passing, the Diocese of Los Angeles will join with dioceses and congregations around the church offering liturgical remembrances with a celebration of her life and ministry at 5 p.m. on Saturday, March 13. Bishop John H. Taylor will preside at the service of Lessons and Spirituals, which will include readings, reflections, and music. The service will be livestreamed and available for later viewing on the Los Angeles diocese's Facebook page and YouTube channel.
Singers invited to join virtual choir for Easter Vigil service

Singers from throughout the diocese are invited to be part of a virtual choir for a celebration of the Great Vigil of Easter, to be held online on Saturday, April 3, at 8 p.m., and to which the entire diocesan community is invited. Singers in all parts (SATB) are invited to perform the hymn, "He is Risen."

To participate, click here and fill in and submit the registration form. Sheet music, a video guide track, and an upload link will be sent (beginning Friday, March 5) to all who register. Video submission deadline is Friday, March 12 at 6 p.m.

The service will be centered at Church of Our Saviour, San Gabriel. Staff musicians Christopher Gravis and Zach Neufield of St. John's Cathedral, Los Angeles, are preparing the music and recording the accompaniment for this project. The virtual choir team looks forward to hearing from all interested singers.
Voices of Justice
Voices of Justice: Attorney Jane Stoever supports and empowers abuse survivors ‘when home is not a safe place’

By Pat McCaughan

Jane Stoever views her service as director of the domestic violence clinic at the University of California at Irvine as holistic and transformative – supporting and empowering abuse survivors, teaching the law students who seek justice for those clients in court, and advocating for protective policies and legislative changes to a system that can victimize rather than restore.

The clinic’s work, says Stoever, a parishioner at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Irvine, has become even more critical since incidences of domestic violence and technology-enabled abuse have spiked during the pandemic. “Gender-based violence was already at pandemic levels before Covid-19,” said Stoever. “It’s a basic human rights issue … key to all the ways in the world we think about justice – can I be safe in my home?”

While during the pandemic “the message of ‘stay at home’ has been so important broadly for public health, we also have to recognize that home is not a safe place for some.”

Technology-enabled abuse involves ways in which technology can be leveraged to exert power over another person, she said. “It can be stalking someone through technology or tracking their movements or constantly checking on them, keeping tabs. It might be that your partner has your passwords and has been impersonating you or posting information that is embarrassing.”

Stoever is featured as part of The Episcopal News’ ongoing “Voices of Justice,” series highlighting the vocations of Episcopalians who are effecting positive community change.

Read more here.
Jeanette Repp, new dean of Deanery 8, plans to foster strong ties among clergy, churches

By Janet Kawamoto

The Rev. Jeanette Repp, rector of St. Peter's Church, San Pedro since 2010, has inspired her parishioners and others to engage in imaginative and effective projects serving their community. She now will bring that cooperative spirit and zeal for service to her new role as dean of Deanery 8, which comprises 16 congregations in the Long Beach and the South Bay area.

“Thirty years a priest, devoted to social justice, a gifted fundraiser and loving pastor, Jeanette will be a magnificent servant leader for the deanery we call the Great Eight," said Bishop John Harvey Taylor in announcing Repp's appointment. "Bishop [Diane M. Jardine] Bruce, Canon [Melissa] McCarthy, and I are already benefiting from her wise counsel.”

"I feel very honored," Repp told The Episcopal News. "To have the bishop's call was quite a surprise, and I'm very excited. It feels nice to take something like that on."

She succeeds the Rev. Paula Vukmanic, who recently retired as dean and as rector of St. Francis' Church, Palos Verdes Estates.

Repp says her first task will be to connect with clergy and make sure they feel that their deanery and diocese have their backs. "This COVID time has been really, really hard on clergy," she said. "I know we all love what we do, but it's been a lot. So my first thing is just to connect and support everybody. Then we'll go back to regular meetings. I think for most clergy, it's just really valuable to have other clergy to talk to."

Read more here.
Servants of the Spirit: Gifts for Ministry
Ministry, financial workshops to be held online throughout the year

The diocese's new series of online ministry workshops, titled "Servants of the Spirit: Gifts for Ministry," will continue throughout 2021.

Two workshops will be held each month; one on a ministry topic (usually the first Wednesday of each month, in the evening) and one on a financial topic (second Saturday mornings.) No workshops will be held in July or August.

Upcoming workshops:

SATURDAY, MARCH 13, 9 - 10 a.m.
Training for Treasurers, Part 1
Register here.
Learn valuable tools and best practices and procedures to help you serve as treasurer for your congregation. Presenter: The Rev. Michele Racusin, CFO of the Diocese of California, former CFO of the Diocese of Los Angeles

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 7, 7 - 8 p.m.
My Work To Do
Register here
This workshop is an introduction to My Work To Do: an online affinity group designed to help white people build stamina for discussing racism, systemic injustice, racial healing, reconciliation, and justice in their everyday lives. We invite those feeling lost or overwhelmed into the conversation, especially white people who might not have a local anti-racism program or accessible discussion happening in their life. Presenter: Canon Suzanne Edwards-Acton

SATURDAY, APRIL 10, 9 - 10 a.m.
Training for Treasurers, Part 2
Register here
Learn valuable tools and best practices and procedures to help you serve as treasurer for your congregation. Presenter: The Rev. Michele Racusin, CFO of the Diocese of California, former CFO of the Diocese of Los Angeles

Additional information about the workshop series is here. All workshops are livestreamed and recorded, and will be made available for on-demand viewing here.
Events & Announcements
March 10 ‘Social Café’ to explore use of Twitter in digital discipleship

"Tweet Tweet: Using Twitter in Digital Discipleship" will be the topic of the online Social Café set for Wednesday, March 10, at 7 p.m., led by Dr. Rose Hayden-Smith (pictured at left), digital engagement strategist and member of the diocesan Program Group on Communications.

In an invitation to the Social Café, Hayden-Smith writes:

"If you're intrigued by Twitter, you're not alone. Many Episcopal congregations are using Twitter to join conversations and engage in social listening. Whether you're already on the platform or want to be, this Social Cafe is for you. We'll explore a range of topics, including:
  • Platform basics and 'how-tos'
  • Optimizing your profile
  • Using hashtags to find information and communities
  • Video and photos on Twitter (including Fleets)
  • Twitter threads
  • Best practices to make the most of your time on the platform
  • Basic analytics
  • Incorporating Twitter into your larger digital strategy
  • What's coming: new features
  • We'll be using both desktop and mobile versions of Twitter to demonstrate features, so please feel free to play on your cell phone during this Social Cafe!"

The Social Café will provide a regular opportunity for informal, drop-in conversations and questions about the effective use of social media and communications in congregations and their ministries.

To register, email with participant name, email address, and congregation, and a Zoom invitation will be forwarded by return email. Inquiries about the Social Café and digital media resources may be emailed to the same address.

Each Social Café will last one hour and open with a 5-15 minute “tutorial” of a tool or feature on commonly used social platforms, or a brief showcase of an individual or institution in our diocese that is using digital communications in innovative and effective ways. The remainder of the time will be devoted to sharing, crowdsourcing information, discussion and Q&A.

A parishioner and senior warden of St. Paul’s Church in Ventura, Hayden-Smith brings her experience as part of the parish’s digital media team and as owner of her own firm, Shine Communications.
Volunteers needed for upcoming Seeds of Hope food distribution events

Seeds of Hope is seeking volunteers to help out at several upcoming food distribution events in and near Los Angeles. "Without the dedication and support of volunteers, there's no way we could do the work we do," says the Seeds of Hope staff in a Facebook post. "From sorting and boxing produce, unloading trucks to passing out food, volunteers are essential to helping us feed hungry folks!"

Upcoming dates are:

Thursday, March 25, 12 - 4 p.m.
George Washington Carver Park
1400 E. 118th Street, Los Angeles 90059

Friday, March 26, 12 - 4 p.m.
Ted Watkins Memorial Park
1335 E. 103rd Street, Los Angeles 90002

Wednesday, March 31, 12 - 4 p.m.
Mona Park
2291 E. 121st Street, Compton 90222

Thursday, April 1, 12 - 4 p.m.
Salazar Park
3864 Whittier Blvd., Los Angeles 90023

To volunteer, contact Erica Nieves at
One in the Spirit launches series of Lenten reflections

The Rev. Canon Susan Russell, canon for Engagement Across Difference and leader of the Diocese of Los Angeles' One in the Spirit initiative, has launched a series of Lenten reflections on its blog. The most recent entry, posted on March 1, titled "All Unto Me," includes a musical reflection; an anthem by Los Angeles composer Bruce Babcock inspired by the ministry of Archbishop Desmond Tutu. To read the blog, click here. To receive the reflections by email as they are posted, scroll to the bottom of the page, enter an email address, and click "subscribe."
Prison ministry group to screen, discuss documentary on illegal sterilizations in a California women's prison

Episcopal Prison Ministry Community will present a free screening and discussion of Belly of the Beast, a 2018 documentary film directed by Erika Cohn on Saturday, March 20 at 12 p.m. The film will be available for viewing March 18 - 20; the discussion will feature attorney Cynthia Chandler, founder of Justice Now, who led the investigation.

Belly of the Beast is a New York Times Critics Pick documentary that shows how an unlikely duo discover a pattern of illegal sterilizations in a California women’s prison. Filmed over seven years with extraordinary access and intimate accounts from currently and formerly incarcerated people, Belly of the Beast exposes modern-day eugenics and reproductive injustice in California prisons. The NY Times describes the film as "timely and bracing"; the Los Angeles Times calls it a "thrilling legal drama."

To register and receive the links for the screening and discussion, email to
Joey Schewee will explore the Enneagram in Stillpoint virtual retreat

Stillpoint: The Center for Christian Spirituality will offer a one-day online retreat titled "Enneagram: Through the Lens of Stances," led by Joey Schewee, on Saturday, March 20, 9 a.m. - 2 p.m.

"The Enneagram is an ancient personality typing system that identifies nine personality types expressed individually and in relationship to others. The Enneagram acts as a unique tool for understanding and explaining human behavior, the underlying motivations that drive behavior, and the gifts we all have for the transformation of non-productive encounters with others," says the release from Stillpoint.

"Whether you're new to the Enneagram or not, this retreat will provide the basic tenets of the Enneagram system and how knowing ones-self can allow us to lead more whole
lives, while also going deeper into stance work. Enneagram wisdom shows our unique imbalance in the three centers of intelligence: thinking, feeling and doing. Learning to balance these three centers frees up enormous amounts of physical, emotional, and spiritual energy."

Joey Schewee (pictured above left) has been a student of the Enneagram for more than 20 years. As an Enneagram mentor, she completed an intensive three-year apprenticeship with her mother, Suzanne Stabile, in 2006, and has taught in tandem with the Enneagram master for more than a decade.

The retreat will be held virtually by Zoom. Cost is $60 per person (students $25). Ten scholarships are available. For information and to register in advance, click here.
Guibord Center program to focus on nonviolence in a divided world

Nonviolent resistance was a philosophy at the heart of the U.S. civil rights movement in the 1950s and 60s. The Guibord Center will host Vedanta Society leader Swami Sarvapriyananda speaking on "Satyagraha: The Heart of Nonviolence" on Wednesday, March 24, 4 - 5 p.m. via Zoom.

"As people of faith and goodwill seek justice, they often choose a path of nonviolent action without being aware of its underlying spiritual practice and principles," says the event announcement. "Mahatma Gandhi developed the concept of satyagraha and used it in India's struggle for rights and independence." In the 1950s, the Rev. James Lawson, colleague of Dr. Martin Luther King and U.S. Representative John R. Lewis, studied satyagraha in India and brought it to the U.S., where it became a guiding principle of the U.S. civil rights movement.

Swami Sarvapriyananda, spiritual leader of the Vedanta Society of New York, has been a monk in the Ramakrishna order for over 25 years. In his words, "Mahatma Gandhi's principled teaching and practice of nonviolence is a light of hope and inspiration in our troubled and divided world. Nonviolence is a natural expression of our innermost spirituality, and the oneness of, not only all humanity, but all existence."

To participate in the event, register in advance here.

The Guibord Center works to increase understanding among Los Angeles' diverse religious communities. It was founded by the late Rev. Gwynne Guibord, a priest of the Diocese of Los Angeles.
'By Your Side' programs this spring will train end-of-life companions

Episcopal Communities and Services has announced new training sessions for By Your Side Vigil Companions, a program that trains volunteers to be a compassionate presence for those nearing the end of life.

"This year has brought all of us to an acute awareness of life’s fragility, and of the immense value of being companioned," says the course announcement. "The mission of By Your Side, which has always been to be supportive of people in palliative care and to be at the bedside at the end of their lives as needed, has had to adapt to the realities of COVID. We‘ve needed to ask: 'How can we practice presence without proximity?' We have also grappled with the need many of us feel to talk about what we are living through, perhaps to grieve. Together we are exploring being together, in the hospitals, in our communities, over technology or the phone, in whatever ways we can."

Each of the three training programs will be conducted in 2-hour sessions over five weeks via ZOOM. Session dates and times are:

  • Wednesday afternoons, March 17 - April 14, 2:30 - 4:30 p.m.
  • Thursday evenings, April 15 - May 13, 6:30 - 8:30 p.m.
  • Tuesday afternoons, May 25 - June 22, 2:30 - 4:30 p.m.

There is no obligation to volunteer at the completion of the training. A fee of $70 ( which includes all materials) is due by the second class. Scholarships are available. CE credit (12 hours) for nurses is available for an additional $30.

For more information or to register, contact Susan Brown, By Your Side administrator, at or 818.822.6044. Enrollment is limited to 30 people.
Two online diocesan services planned for Eastertide

Bishop John Harvey Taylor invites the diocesan community to two online services in Eastertide.

The first will be The Great Vigil of Easter on Saturday, April 3 at 8 p.m., coordinated by the Rev. Canon Susan Russell with participation by Taylor, Bishop Suffragan Diane M. Jardine Bruce and Canon to the Ordinary Melissa McCarthy and people from all over the diocese.

The second service, on the second Sunday of Easter, April 11, will be a simple celebration of Holy Eucharist conducted by Taylor and Canon Kathy O'Connor.

Both services will be livestreamed and available for viewing on demand on the diocese's Facebook page and YouTube channel.
Lenten study program to focus on Presiding Bishop Curry's Love Is the Way

The diocesan One in the Spirit team has created a five-week program Lenten study of Presiding Bishop Michael Curry’s newest book, Love Is the Way.

In Love Is the Way Bishop Curry offers an inspirational road map for living the way of love through the prism of his faith, ancestry, and personal journey. In the words of reviewer Jon Meacham, “Michael Curry draws on his own remarkable life to show us the way we might make our own lives, and the lives of nations, warmer, better and nobler.”

Designed for online book groups, the curriculum includes bilingual English/Spanish study guides with video presentations from the Rev. Canon Melissa McCarthy, the Rev. Antonio Gallardo, the Very Rev. Canon Gary Hall, Missioner for Youth Ministries Gabriel Vasquez-Reyes and Bishop John H. Taylor. The resources now are available on the One in the Spirit webpage.

For more information contact the Rev. Canon Susan Russell at
In the congregations
Churches continue blood drives in March, April and beyond

Blood supplies are critically low in California, and congregations in the Diocese of Los Angeles have stepped up to help replenish them by hosting blood drives. Currently scheduled events are listed below.

Additional helpful resources from the American Red Cross:

Donors may save up to 15 minutes by completing pre-donation reading and answering health history questions here, rather than filling out forms on the day of donation.

All donors and staff will be screened before entering the facilities.

TUESDAY, MARCH 9, 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.
St. James Episcopal Church (The Great Hall)
3209 Via Lido, Newport Beach 92663
Register here or call 1.800.RED.CROSS (1.800.733.2767)
Sponsor code: stjamesnewport
Reservations may also be made at the church website here or by calling the church office at 949.675.0210. St. James' Church has also scheduled a blood drive on Wednesday, May 26.

THURSDAY, MARCH 18, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Holy Trinity Episcopal Church
100 N. Third Avenue, Covina 91723
Information: 626.967.3939
Red Cross reservations here or call 1.800.RED.CROSS (1.800.733.2767)
Sponsor code: HTEC
Holy Trinity will offer a blood drive each month. Upcoming dates are: Thursday, March 18; Thursday, April 15; Thursday, May 6. Reservations through the Red Cross are required.

TUESDAY, MARCH 23, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
All Saints Church
132 N. Euclid Avenue, Pasadena 91101.
Reservations here or call 1.800.RED.CROSS (1.800.733.2767)
Sponsor code: ASEC
Donations will be by appointment only, scheduled through Upcoming dates at this location are April 20, June 22 and Aug. 17.

TUESDAY, MARCH 23, 10:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
St. Alban’s Episcopal Church
12692 Fifth Street, Yucaipa 92399
Register here or call 1.800.RED.CROSS (1.800.733.2767)
Sponsor code: ST ALBANS

Will your church host blood drives in 2021? Send the information to The Episcopal News ( for inclusion in the calendar.
From the wider Episcopal Church
Fencing around St. John’s Church in DC removed

[Episcopal News Service] The security fencing around St. John’s Church in Washington, D.C., across from the White House, that was erected last summer after repeated acts of vandalism, has been removed.

The Rev. Robert Fisher, rector, announced the news in a parish email on March 1. The parish had accepted the city’s offer to put up fencing around the property in June after the historic church was tagged with graffiti and damaged by fire during the protests in response to the police killing of George Floyd.

“While the fencing did provide a measure of security, I have never grown used to seeing a fence around St. John’s,” Fisher wrote, adding that the church is working with an architectural firm to “enhance safety while also making the physical presence of St. John’s reflect a spirit of welcome and service.”

Read more here
Continuing events
SUNDAYS, 6 p.m.
LACMA Sundays LIVE! Chamber Music concerts
St. James in-the-City Church, Los Angeles
Live-streamed and on demand here

MONDAYS, 5 -6:30 p.m. AND 7 - 8:30 p.m.
Becoming More Human: A Spiritual Exploration
Center for Spirituality in Ontario
Information here
A series of interactive online meetings using Matthew Fox’s book Original Blessing as the springboard for exploration and reflection. The series, which began Oct. 12, is for persons of any age or walk of life, who share an interest in processing their inner journeys. Participants may join at any point, though regular participation is presumed. Sessions are led by the Rev. Gianluigi Gugliermetto, director of the Center for Spirituality. Suggested donation is $7 per session.
Central Europe: Oberammergau Passion Play
September 2022
Join Bishop Guy Erwin of the ELCA and Canon Jim Newman of the Episcopal Church for a 13-day journey across central Europe to Oberammergau, Germany. The day-long Oberammergau Passion Play is produced every decade and is a four-century “thank you” to God for saving the people of this picturesque Bavarian Alpine village. Experience this spiritual event and look at the culture and religion of Poland (Warsaw, Krakow, Auschwitz and Czestochowa), Hungary (Budapest), Czech Republic (Bratislava), Austria (Vienna & the Salzkammergut) and Germany (Oberammergau & Munich). Cost is $4,899 from Los Angeles including $450 taxes/airline surcharges.) Information: Jim Newman, 3590 Grand View Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90066; 310.391.5522 or 888.802.6722; A full itinerary is here.

ALTADENA: Church Office Administrator, St. Mark's Episcopal Church. Part-time (20-25 hours/week, Monday - Friday). Responsible for church communications, maintenance of office a records, assisting with financial operations, administrative support for the rector and other staff. A full job description is here. Salary is commensurate with experience. Contact: The Rev. Carrie Patterson Grindon, rector, at

CLAREMONT: Spirituality center executive director. The Center for Spirituality & Practice (CS&P), a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing resources for those seeking wisdom and spiritual practices for their daily lives, seeks a committed spiritual practitioner and high-capacity nonprofit leader to be its first executive director. A respected name in the spiritual enrichment landscape, the Center runs the multifaith/interspiritual website which offers a vast array of resources for the spiritually hungry. The new executive director will collaborate with founders Mary Ann and Frederic Brussat to advance their legacy and develop the organization into its next phase. A detailed position profile can be found here.

HOLLYWOOD-LOS ANGELES: Seeds of Hope Food Distribution Associate. Bilingual (English-Spanish). This position will be an essential part of the Seeds of Hope team getting healthy, nutritious food to more families in need in Los Angeles and surrounding counties. Job duties include picking up, sorting, organizing and delivering produce; providing great customer service; documenting quantities and submitting data for reports. Work hours are full time, but variable. Valid Class C driver's license, experience with driving 16-ft or larger truck required. Full job description is here.

SANTA ANA: Office Manager, Church of the Messiah. Part-time. The Office Manager will serve as the focal point for parish business operations, and is responsible for a broad range of administrative, specific operational and oversight functions. Bilingual proficiency (English/Spanish) required. More information is here.

Additional job listings are here. Listings are free: send information to Applications for jobs must be sent to the contact included in the listing.