The Friday Reflection
May 15, 2020
Dean Ryan Newman

Do you remember Enid Strict?
She was the “Church Lady” played by Dana Carvey on Saturday Night Live. Enid was tough on her guests, especially when it came to their sins-many ripped from the headlines of the day. Christianity and culture have had a complicated relationship. Still, people like Enid remind the Church that we can be our own worst enemy, especially when we exist in ivory towers secluded from the realities of society.
This past weekend Saturday Night Live again portrayed the Church. This time, SNL did a hilarious sketch about the “Zoom Church Experience.” It was funny because it was true-almost too real for those of us organizing and leading digital worship and meetings on Zoom. The pastor of Mount Methuselah Baptist Church struggles to preach over the “noise” of his congregants’ everyday lives zooming along in the digital world. Eventually, the pastor, so tired of the outside noise, says to his congregation, “The Lord wants everybody to click on that little microphone with the red line through it and where it says ‘mute’ hit ‘yes.’ Amen?!”
Zoom Church - SNL
Zoom Church – SNL
Hitting “mute” on the world is probably one of the gravest sins the Church can do, especially during this pandemic. However, we see it happen every day. Parts of our country and some of our most visible leaders are eagerly pushing for a “return to normal life.” A hurried return could and would mean more people become ill, and some will die as a direct result of the frantic pace to resume “normal life.”
It is one thing to see politicians and business leaders pushing for a speedy return. However, it is another thing to see “so-called” Christian leaders recklessly risking others’ lives by holding public services through the pandemic under the ruse of religious freedom. They might be a minority in the Christian narrative, but some faith leaders are demanding for their churches to be open, many who are denying the science behind the virus and its transmission. Throughout the country, there are churches even suing their state for the right to reopen their churches.
“God is commanding us not to give up the habit of meeting together,” said one pastor. He and I must be hearing different Gods! When we press “mute” on God’s call to love and care for others, people suffer, people die, and God’s heart breaks for all of humanity.
In the coming weeks, we expect to begin seeing an easing of gathering restrictions. States, including California, will allow churches to resume services in their sanctuaries under specific guidelines. Our natural reaction might be to rush over to the Church and jump head-first into the baptismal font (metaphorically, of course). We run the risk of saying: Let the people stampede into the pews, allow the choir to sing out an hour-long anthem, and most certainly feed us communion because we are starving for the bread of life. However, a hurried return will endanger lives, young and old, and could even lead to the death of the Church.
A rush back “into the normal” would require the Church to press mute on the world beyond our sanctuary walls. It would be a brazen and careless homecoming and a grave sin committed by the Church. I know under these circumstances that Ms. Enid Strict would not agree with an expedited return to the confines of the Church.
In our upcoming homecoming, whenever it may be, we are called to be thoughtful, meticulous, and ever mindful to care for those among us, especially those who are most vulnerable. Like the processional Cross entering the sanctuary, we are called to enter our houses of worship with steady, slow, and reverent steps. Like the most beautiful anthem at Christmas, our first note is not the crescendo; instead, we are called to be a community that gradually grows into the new normal following the pandemic.
We will return, we will sing, and we will be fed. We will be the community that once again gathers together for worship. Right now, the Church, more than ever, needs to suspend the urge to rely on Chronos (our timetable) and to entrust our future to Kairos (God’s timetable).


Deanery day’s will look a little different this spring. Instead of meeting in person, the Bishop and Canon will host all deanery meetings on a single day via Zoom.
Please note a slight change in who is required and who is advised to attend: Clergy and convention delegates are required to attend. Wardens and treasurers are highly advised to attend. Other leaders are welcome to join as well!
Southern Deanery | 9-11 AM
Central Deanery | 12-2 PM
Northern Deanery | 3-5 PM
Join Zoom Meeting Here

Meeting ID: 890 6175 3234
Password: 4147

One tap mobile
+14086380968,,89061753234# US (San Jose)
If you are unfamiliar with Zoom, and would like to test it out beforehand, please contact Dcn. Angela (

Traditionally church audits are due June 30th.
HOWEVER, due to COVID-19 and physical distancing requirements, Bishop David has approved audits to be due September 30th.
If you are doing an internal audit, there is a requirement of 2 people to do the audit.
If you are doing an external audit, you may want to be in touch with the diocesan approved auditors to begin doing some of the work from a distance.
Deacon Terrance, Deacon Teri, & Rev. Linda Huggard are approved auditors.

Immigrant Day of Action 2020
will take place *digitally* on
Monday, May 11.
For years, Immigrant Day of Action has been a space to learn, advocate & build community with partners and friends from across the state united in our fight for immigrant rights.
As the  #COVID19  pandemic evolves, our work continues & we remain committed to fighting for a CA where we can all thrive. Join us!

Read a Book Concerning Creation Care

  • 50 Ways to Help Save the Earth: How You and Your Congregation Can Make a Difference by Rev. Rebecca Barnes of Presbyterian Church (USA).
  • Creation as Sacrament: Reflections on Ecology and Spirituality by Fr. John Chryssavgis of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America
  • Rooted and Rising: Voices of Courage in a Time of Climate Crisis by Rev. Dr. Margaret Bullitt-Jonas of the Episcopal Church and Rev. Dr. Leah Schade of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
  • Climate Church, Climate World: How People of Faith Must Work for Change by Rev. Jim Antal of the United Church of Christ

 Friday Reflection
All articles and special news can be submitted to the Diocesan Office at:
All submissions are due MONDAY for the following Friday Reflection.
Submission requirements:
pictures -JPEG format
articles- word document
document to link- PDF
Please edit pictures for best brightness, contrast, and lighting before sending.

Events Warranting Your
Participation and Prayers

   Diocesan Events
Deanery Meetings
May 16
Deacon Fresh Start
May 18 | 6:30 PM
May 19 | 6:30 PM
Clergy COVID Conference
May 21 | 12:30 PM
Diocesan Council Meeting
May 21 | 6:30 PM
School for Deacons
May 23
Standing Committee Meeting
May 26 | 6:30 PM
Spanish Immersion Week
July 12-19
Learn More HERE

Upcoming Event Information

Spanish Immersion at ECCO
Come join us for a week of Spanish learning!
Join us for a week of learning to speak Spanish! You will have time to learn, bring home materials to keep learning, and enjoy many activities among colleagues and friends.
Prices include take home materials, week long materials, lodging, all meals, and activities!
Registration is due by June 10th. We need 25 people minimum to join us! Register below.
If the program is canceled due to lack of participant registrations, all costs will be refunded.
However, if a participant cancels after the registration cut off date, costs cannot be refunded.
Registrations are due – June 10th
Register HERE

Resources to Share

A Word from United Thank Offering
During this time of COVID-19, United Thank Offering (UTO) is asking that individuals and families consider that which they are thankful for, writing down one thing a day for the month, and at the end of the month, sharing the stories of what it meant to you to express gratitude during a difficult time.
Similarly, UTO is asking that you share your photos of sewing masks, the dust collecting on your car, the snacks you’ve put out for delivery persons or your window decorations for neighborhood children…in other words, how are you living, with gratitude, during COVID-19.
You can share your stories and photos on social media: #UTOgratitudechallenge
Finally, all money sent to UTO is used to support grants across The Episcopal Church, and our diocese has been the recipient of several of these grants.
We know that many among us are already feeling the financial effects of this pandemic and we want to remind you that UTO is first and foremost a gratitude practice. Therefore, if you (or people in your community) feel anxious about giving money, please encourage them to still give thanks. Write a small note and put it in your Blue Box, and then whenever you are able, give a thank offering after reflecting on these notes. Be sure to see the ways we continue to be blessed even when times are very hard.
Second, there are many ways to give to UTO that do not involve gathering at church. Everyone is encouraged to send their Spring Ingathering using one of the following methods:
* Text to give: To give via your phone, simply text INGATHER to 41444.
* Give online here:
* Mail your check directly to the bank. Simply make the check out to UTO with Ingathering Diocese
of (name) in the memo line and mail it to: The United Thank Offering – DFMS – Protestant Episcopal
Church PO Box 958983 St. Louis MO 63195-8983
If you have questions about UTO, please contact Canon Anna (
The Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin, 4147 E Dakota AVE, Fresno, CA 93726
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