Thursday, November 12, 2020
In this time of personal and national anxiety:
Prayer for the Human Family
O God, you made us in your own image
and redeemed us through Jesus your Son:
Look with compassion on the whole human family;
take away the arrogance and hatred which infect our hearts;
break down the walls that separate us; unite us in bonds of love;
and work through our struggle and confusion to accomplish your purposes on earth; that, in your good time, all nations and races
may serve you in harmony around your heavenly throne;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Prayer of St. Francis
Lord, make us instruments of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let us sow love;
where there is injury, pardon; where there is discord, union;
where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy. Grant that we may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen.
2020 Stewardship Campaign
Like good stewards of the manifold grace of God,
serve one another with whatever gift each of you has received.- 1 Peter 4:10
The theme for our Stewardship Campaign is Time, Talent, Treasure. While St. John's needs your monetary pledge, we hope that you will also participate in parish activities using your time and talents, your own spiritual gifts. Our stewardship campaign this year is focused on all the gifts that God has given us and our call to serve one another.
Each week of the campaign, we will have the opportunity to hear from members of the parish about their own gifts that they have been given by God and how they choose to share those gifts with St. John's and the broader community.
God has given each of us one or more spiritual gifts. If you would like to discern your spiritual gifts using the Spiritual Gifts Tool, please contact Diane Gustafson (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Stewardship is not only about treasure; it is also our time and talent. Yes, we do need your generous contributions to operate the parish, but we also need your time and talent to bring forth the mission of the Church - serving one another in love.
Pledge Cards have been mailed out. If you did not get one, please reply to this E-News with your address and Maria will add you to the list.
How to pledge:
1. Mail your pledge card back to the parish office
2. Bring your pledge card to church and place in the offertory plate
3. Give electronically through our website www.saint-johns.org, using our "Give Now" button; scroll down to the "Pledge" option.
You will notice that the Pledge Card has an opportunity for you to indicate ways that you can offer your gift of time and talent. If you are pledging electronically through our "Give Now" button, you may reply to this E-News to offer your time and talent in the ministries listed below.
Stewardship Results Update
Number of pledges
Treasure amount pledged
Time and Talent responses
Stewardship is an important aspect of my commitment to be a member of St. John's church. When I joined the church several years back, I thought of what I could contribute to the church community. I found that my talents are limited to caregiver, giving, mercy and hospitality.
This year hospitality has been limited but giving with love is easily done.
I am a budgeting person, so the first item on my list is the church. I am grateful that I learned as a child to give offerings to my church. I encourage others to give whether small or large gifts. The reward is to know that I am participating in the mission of the church and in our Lord's teachings to serve one another.
Good morning, my name is Tom Brzeczek - it's easier
said than spelled, I know. If you don't know me personally by now, you know of me through my husband Mark Higginbotham. He brought me to the St. John's family just over 2 years ago. From the moment I stepped on this campus - it felt like I'd been a member my whole life.
A little history - I'm the youngest child of Polish Catholic parents, my sister and brother being 8 and 7 years my senior, all of us born in Chicago. I forgot to include them in the birthday prayers last week, sorry Sis, sorry Bro, love you!
I attended a Catholic day school up to and including 3rd grade before we moved to California. The previous winter was brutal even for Chicago and Dad finally said "we're outta here".
After moving to an LA suburb I continued to go to church with my parents every Sunday but it was more of a social event for me than a glorification of God - I thought. We had no other family living close, so I collected a lot of surrogate grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. I reminisce about that now and realize I WAS glorifying God by sharing his love with these people.
I continued with the Catholic church through my late teens. After high school, my best friend Kelly and I took a road trip up the coast to San Francisco. I fell in love with the city and moved there. I attended church a few times while I was up there but it didn't take long to understand the lifestyle I was beginning to be drawn to wasn't in alignment with the teachings of the Catholic Church, not to mention most of this great country. It got to be uncomfortable attending mass because I felt like a hypocrite.
After visiting another friend down here in San Diego one summer, I knew this is where I was really meant to live my life. Still afraid of what being gay meant - probably losing connection with family & friends, not being able to raise MY OWN family even, I chose to push my true self into the shadows. This was the early 80's and acceptance wasn't even close to the norm.
I met a great woman at work and we dated, fell in love and started a family. We decided we wanted our children to have a spiritual home and learn about God's love. We joined a Lutheran church that also had a day school and all 3 of the kids attended. The congregation was friendly and we participated in the service and other Church events. I started reading at Sunday service.
I was a pretty shy guy in general but God gave me the strength to speak in front of 100+ people and not vomit! When our youngest moved on to high school, we eventually stopped attending services altogether but I missed going on Sundays.
Some years later after coming out, I just expected I couldn't be a part of a church community because I was gay. I'm sure there were more progressive congregations but I've always preferred a traditional service and I just wasn't feeling the love from the few churches I did try out.
Then I met Mark. Need I say more? Here was a proud gay man living life like anyone else AND filled with the Holy Spirit. He had just left St. Johns before I met him and I could tell it had been a difficult decision. After a couple of years of being together, he decided one day that we should give St. Johns a try and that really meant HE should give St. Johns another try. He was extremely nervous about going, there was some back and forth happening before finally making the commitment to come to 10:00 service.
When we arrived, David & Linda Dennehy, Rev. Cathey, Father Jack among many, many, many others had smiles ear to ear and open arms for him. Overjoyed he was back - even if for just that Sunday. I was embraced with the same love and acceptance.
That first service for us was also Father Tom's. When he stood in front of the primarily straight congregation and thanked everyone for calling an openly gay married man as their temporary priest in charge, we both just about screamed "Alleluia! Praise Jesus" from our pew. We both knew God brought us here at that exact moment for a reason. HE put us here. My heart almost blew out my chest, I felt at home immediately. Mark was over-the-top happy as well but was hesitant to step back into mix, there was just too much past to let go of, right off the bat. It didn't take God very long though to smack Mark upside the head and open his eyes fully to his love. The rest of Mark's story is in the history books now... but here comes the sequel.
After Mark passed, I knew I wanted to continue to be part of this community and at some point IN THE FUTURE do more to help grow this church in God's love. I shared this with Roger, David, Karen and many others in my life.
Recently David sent me a brief text message sharing the incredible news about Roger officially becoming our Rector and also mentioning the vestry's agreement to not want to wait to fill Marks position. I took that as a veiled suggestion and of course, God unveiled it to me. After reading that text a couple times while in my home office, I turned around and looked at the picture of Mark on the wall behind me. He was looking right back at me with that big smile - the future is now.
I share my treasure, I'm a reader, a choir member, part of The Men of St. Johns and now proudly, a member of the vestry.
What's written above the doors to our sanctuary is exact in its meaning:
QUOTE Wherever you are in your Spiritual Journey - You ARE welcome here. UNQUOTE
Let's ALL share that OUTSIDE the doors too!
Prayer for Stewardship
Generous and loving God, we come to you in thanksgiving,
knowing that all we are and all that we have is a gift from you.
In faith and love, help us to do your will. We are listening.
Speak your words into the depth of our souls,
that we may hear you clearly.
We offer to you this day all the facets of our lives,
whether it be at home, at work, or at school.
We seek to be patient, to be merciful, to be generous, to be holy.
Give us the wisdom and insight to understand your will for us
and the fervor to carry out our good intentions.
We offer our gifts of time, talent and possessions to you
as a true act of faith, to reflect our love for you and our neighbors.
Help us to reach out to others as you have reached out to us.
We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Meet Rev. Roger's Husband, Cliff
If not for the pandemic, we would all have gotten
to know Roger's husband at the St. Patrick's Day Dinner, Pentecost Potluck, Italian Night Dinner, and Steak Dinner. So for now, let's meet Cliff via the newsletter.
Cliff Berkowitz spent most of his early years in Newark, CA. He attended UC Berkeley, majoring in computer science, and then transferred to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo to get his degree in mechanical engineering. He has spent much of his career working in the aerospace industry. When your flight has been delayed because of mechanical problems, a team like the one Cliff managed would have done the repairs. Seven years ago he became a consultant to that industry in order to leave time for his second career as a realtor.
Cliff and Roger were friends for a long time before becoming a couple, and they were married on August 11, 2018 at the Cathedral with Rev. Laura Sheridan-Campbell and Rev. Canon Allisyn Thomas officiating. It was a large wedding, 175 in attendance.
Today they live in the Talmadge neighborhood of San Diego in a house with a pool. Their home is shared with two poodle-mix dogs named Stanley and Oliver (as in Laurel and Hardy). Stanley is a five-year old Maltipoo and Oliver a three-year old Bichpoo.
Cliff's hobbies include photography and playing the piano on an electric Baby Grand. And, of course, video editing. St. John's has benefitted from his expertise in enabling us to "attend" services virtually.
We know how Roger and Cliff spend their Sundays, but when asked about a perfect Saturday, Cliff replied that they enjoy outdoor activities such as taking Stanley and Oliver to the beach. Cliff likes to rollerblade around the Bay and has even outfitted Roger with rollerblades, but Roger prefers to paddleboard. They both enjoy going to restaurants but, like most of us, that has been limited this year. So they cook together most nights.
Cliff was raised in the Jewish tradition, but he hasn't practiced the faith since childhood. He's fascinated by religion and enjoys learning more about the Episcopal Church. What he likes best about being the spouse of an Episcopal priest is being able to learn about the faith while being able to create his own role instead of fulfilling the expectations that parishioners of some churches impose.
Church services during the pandemic have challenged us all. Roger, with Cliff's help, has been able to offer services as close as possible to what we would have had meeting in the Sanctuary all these months.
Cliff, we at St. John's are so happy that you are here! Thank you for all you have done for us. We look forward to the future when we can sit down with you in person.
In-Person Worship Services
With the uncertainty of weather, and because of the rising number of coronavirus cases placing us in the Purple (worst) zone, we can not gather in the church for in-person worship.
We will gather virtually for for our livestream service of Morning Prayer.
The parish of St. John's had been given permission by Bishop Susan to gather outdoors for our in-person worship.
In accordance with the health guidelines established by the governor and bishop, we will follow our Re-gathering Action Plan.
As we gather:
- we will perform temperature checks and symptom assessment,
- we will all wear a face mask
- we will use hand sanitizer
- we will maintain 6 feet social distance
- we will greet one another verbally, regretfully no physical touch.
- our music will be done as solos, (except for those of you at home who can sing as loud as you would like).
- we will distribute Holy Communion, the Body of Christ under the form of bread.
For those of you who are not able to attend because of the guidelines or do not feel comfortable, both of the above worship services will be streamed live on our website at www.saint-johns.org
and our Facebook page: Saint John's Episcopal Church
We will try to make shaded seating available, but it is recommended to wear a hat and sunscreen. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, we must manage the size of the gathering to ensure the health and safety of all who gather.
If you plan to attend on Sunday, please contact Maria Love at the the Parish Office (619-422-4141) or by email (email@example.com) with your name and the number of people in your party that will be attending.
Scripture Readings For the Week
Readings for Sunday, November 15, 2020
This year, in lieu of our usual "Blessings in a Bag," we are
asking you to make monetary donations or donations of grocery store gift cards, which we will deliver to South Bay Community Services.
If you send a check, please make your check out to "St. John's Episcopal Church" and put "SBCS Thanksgiving" in the memo line.
You may also use the "Give Now" button on our website (www.saint-johns.org); choose the South Bay Community Services-Thanksgiving Drive option.
Thank you for your generosity!
All donations must be received in the office by Wednesday, Nov. 18.
Advent is a liturgical season which marks the
beginning of a new church year.
During the Advent season, the church celebrates the coming of Jesus at Christmas and prepares for the return of Christ at the Second Coming. As such, Advent is a time of expectant waiting and preparation.
During Advent, God's people seek the courage and spiritual strength to remember that the holy breaks into our daily lives. In tiny ways, we open our broken hearts to the healing grace of God, who opens the way to peace.
Advent is not a season of passive waiting and watching. It is a season of opening our lives and souls with active anticipation and renewed hope.
This Advent season we will have a three-part forum series following our worship service on Zoom. The forums will include information and discussion about the personal preparation for our own eventual death.
First Sunday of Advent, November 29th:
The theology and scriptural basis for anticipatory preparation and being prepared.
Second Sunday of Advent, December 6th:
Personal and legal preparation - Advance Directives, Wills
and Planned Giving
Third Sunday of Advent, December 13th:
Preparation for our liturgical Celebration of Life
Fourth Sunday of Advent, December 20th:
Preparation and decoration of the church for Christmas
(those who feel comfortable, following the health guidelines will gather at the church)
Wednesday Morning Prayer
Join us for Wednesday Morning Prayer and Bible Study
on Wednesdays at 9:30 am as a Zoom meeting.
Please contact Rev. Cathey (firstname.lastname@example.org)
to be included in the Zoom meeting, or to update your info, if she does not have your current email.
The Morning Prayer guide can be found here:
Birthday and Anniversary Prayers
We would like to acknowledge and pray for anyone celebrating a birthday and/or anniversary in the coming week. Please let us know by Thursday of the prior week so that we can get it in the Sunday liturgy. If you have a picture of you that we could post for your birthday and/or a wedding photo or current photo for those celebrating an anniversary, please email it to us - it would be great to allow everyone to see you.
We Are Available in Your Time of Need
If you have a pastoral emergency when the parish offices are closed,
Today and every day include some time for prayer, for yourself,
for your church family, and for those in need.
For our Military
Matt, Drew, Cody, Cameron, Chariti,
Mark, Sean, Jonathan, TK, Christopher,
Timothy, Jeremy, David, Jonathan, Nick,
Jamal, Matt, Daniel, Jocelyn, Devon, Taylor,
Jorge, Katherine, Sebastian, Richie and Roberto.
For Strength in Time of Need
Scott, Betty, Dean, Steve, Ann, the Cook family,
Marge, Brian, Edward, and Anne Marie
and for all first responders, medical professionals,
essential workers and their families.
For Churches in Transition in our Diocese
St. Paul, Palm Springs
All Saints', Vista
Prayer Quilt Ministry
The leaders of the Prayer Quilt Ministry
would like to remind
you that there are many quilts available for anyone in need of prayer and support. This important ministry
brings comfort and healing to many people who are suffering with illness. Please contact Diane Gustafson directly (email@example.com
) or through the office (firstname.lastname@example.org
|A Prayer for Putting on a Mask
as I prepare to go into the world,
help me to see the sacrament
in the wearing of this cloth -
let it be "an outward sign
of an inward grace" -
a tangible and visible way
of living love for my neighbours,
as I love myself.
since my lips will be covered,
uncover my heart,
that people would see my smile
in the crinkles around my eyes.
Since my voice may be muffled,
help me to speak clearly,
not only with my words,
but with my actions.
as the elastic touches my ears,
remind me to listen carefully -
and full of care -
to all those I meet.
May this simple piece of cloth
be shield and banner,
and each breath that it holds,
be filled with your love.
In your Name
and in that love,
May it be so.
May it be so.
The Right Reverend Richard Bott is the current Moderator of the United Church of Canada. He composed this beautiful prayer for when we put our masks on, and has given permission for it to be shared (asking only that we attribute it to him).
Upcoming Events at St. John's
Thanksgiving Donations for SBCS Due
Thanksgiving Eve Service
(details to follow)
Episcopal Relief and Development
What Would Love Do: 1000 Days of Love
Love calls us to care for our neighbors and for our enemies. Love calls us to attend to those in prison, to those who are homeless, to those in poverty, to children, immigrants and refugees.
What would love do? To you, who so generously support the transformative work of Episcopal Relief & Development, love calls you to continue to sow seeds of lasting change
Visit Episcopal Relief and Development: One Thousand Days of Love to see how you can help.
Current office hours are 9:00 am to 3:00 pm, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.
If you need assistance, please email Maria Love:
Rev. Roger's Office Hours
Rev. Roger will be in the office Monday, Tuesday and Thursday afternoons, and all day Wednesday and Friday. He will be available by appointment. Please call the office (619-422-4141) to schedule an appointment.
In case of a pastoral emergency, Rev. Roger may be reached on his cell phone at 619-301-0724.
EDSD Statement of Commitment
As part of the Jesus Movement and the Episcopal Diocese of San Diego, we pledge to love our neighbors and protect the most vulnerable among us, remembering our baptismal vows to "strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being." We live these pledges out by actively engaging in dismantling racism. For many of us, this will mean learning more about our racial identity, listening to those who have experienced racial prejudice, speaking out against racism, and showing up alongside those in our community working to change unjust systems in our society. We also live out this pledge at worship during this pandemic, by wearing face-coverings, respecting distancing guidelines, foregoing the common cup and refraining from congregational singing.
David Dennehy, Senior Warden
Terry Farrelly, Treasurer
Diane Gustafson, Clerk
To our Saint John's Family:
Here is your weekly newsletter highlighting important events at St. John's Episcopal Church. You can also find news about St. John's at www.saint-johns.org
We welcome your feedback, photos, and news items. Contact Maria Love at 619-422-4141 or email@example.com.
Please submit your announcements by Tuesday of each week for inclusion in the Enews and Sunday bulletin.
As part of our ongoing commitment to creating a safe haven for everyone, our diocese trains people in the prevention of misconduct and encourages all to report misconduct. All reported incidences are taken seriously and investigated thoroughly and confidentially. If you believe you have experienced misconduct of any kind, please contact Mr. John Seitman, (firstname.lastname@example.org), 858-793-4555 or Ms. Equilla Luke, (email@example.com), 760-583-0485.
Safeguarding God's People
May the Lord bless you and keep you.
May God's face shine upon you and be gracious unto you.
May God give you the grace never to sell yourself short;
Grace to risk something big for something good;
Grace to remember that the world is too dangerous for anything but truth
And too small for anything but love.
So, may God take your minds and think through them;
May God take your lips and speak through them;
May God take your hearts and set them on fire.
-William Sloane Coffin
pastoral care: 619/301-0724