The Friday Reflection
May 22, 2020
The Rev. Deacon Angela Lerena

What does it mean to be leaders in a pandemic?
I’m sure many of you have been hearing and seeing conversations, blogs, and sermons about what it means to be leaders in the midst of a pandemic. Over and over again we hear that being a leader in the midst of a pandemic means being non-anxious. Being a leader in the midst of a pandemic means being present. Being a leader in the midst of a pandemic means practicing self-care. Being a leader in the midst of a pandemic means finding creative ways to connect with others. Being a leader in the midst of a pandemic means taking more walks. And the list goes on and on.
I would argue, however, this is not actually any different than the very things we have always been called to be as leaders. We have always been called to be non-anxious, to be present, to practice self-care, to find creative ways to connect with others, and to take more walks. This work isn’t actually new. This is the ongoing work that leaders are, in fact, called to be and practice. So why has a world pandemic called all of this into the spotlight? Why do we have so many webinars suddenly reminding us to do each of these things? What if it is because we’re actually just really bad at doing all of those things all the time, and we can no longer fake it when our tightly controlled world is falling apart?
I’ve been spending a lot more time contemplating what it means to “return to normal.” As the quote at the beginning suggests, I actually wonder: What are the things we want to rush back to? Of course we want to foster relationships and community that many of us hold so dear. Of course we want to rush back to being able to embrace those that we love without fear of harming them. But what if we stop to think about all the things we maybe don’t need to rush back to.
Mother Earth has had a much needed break from some of the toxins we put into the air every day. We’ve had less flying, less driving, less consuming. We’ve walked a lot more, and cooked a lot more. We’ve taken naps in the middle of the day (at least I have!), and the world hasn’t collapsed. We’ve planted more gardens and veggies than years past (did you hear that seed companies are running out of seeds because home growers ordered more than any other year?). We’ve engaged our faith communities in completely new ways with online Bible studies, worship, and bingo nights, finding people who haven’t stepped foot into a church in years.
So what are the things you are itching to rush back to, that you might be called to leave in the past? What are the newly adopted, yet always called to be, things you will continue to do past these COVID days? How will you continue to be the leader that God calls each of us to be as we move forward? How will you live into being non-anxious, being present, practicing self-care, finding creative ways to connect with others? And what glorious naps will you take, and where might you find new places to walk?

       Latin@ Ministry Working Group
The Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin is looking for people interested in joining the Latin@ Ministry Working Group.
This group will work alongside the Latino Missioner to imagine and explore how Latino Ministry might happen throughout EDSJ. They will also support the ministries that the Latino Missioner has recently implemented, such as Devotionals about Virgin Mary in the Anglican/Episcopal tradition on the 12th of each month, and newly planned Latino presence for social media.
You do NOT need to speak Spanish in order to participate.
Please sign-up HERE and Deacon Nelson will be in touch shortly. Applications are due by the end of day June 3rd.

      COVID Update Letter from Bishop David
Sisters and Brothers of EDSJ,
I hope my words find you safe and well.  As I have communicated in my previous pastoral letters during these pandemic times of COVID-19, we have seen illnesses and deaths in an unprecedented manner.  At the time of writing this correspondence, close to 5 million cases worldwide have been reported and over 1.5 million cases in the US.  And we are approaching 325,000 deaths globally and shy of 92,000 deaths in our country.  I realize we see the very same statistical information each day through our various news streams.  My concern is that we may not pause enough during this informational storm and truly consider those who suffer from a debilitating and life threatening virus.  Equally, I’m afraid we may not reflect enough upon the people who are no longer with us and those who grieve them.  Please Church, do not get lost in the continuous numerical totals or the constant partisan politicizing or the ceaseless self-serving positioning.  This is a time, as it is in all times, when and where we remember who we are and to Whom we belong.  This is a time, as it is in all times, for us to be the Church.
In my last issued pastoral letter, I identified that we would continue to suspend public worship and public gatherings through May 24.  Again, after considerable thought and prayer and consulting with diocesan leadership, I am extending that date until such time when we can confidently resume our gatherings in a safe and healthy manner.  I realize in my two previous pastoral letters, I provided forecasted dates for potential reopening.  In this instance, I am electing to refrain from predicting a prospective date as I do not want to raise expectations unnecessarily regarding a resumption of public worship and gatherings.  I will say, we continue to rely upon science and the health-related data provided.  Moreover, we continue to rely upon our belief that we are guided by our commitment to public health and our faith-informed responsibility for one another.
Continue reading the letter HERE.

A message from the Latino Missioner, The Rev. Nelson Serrano Poveda, and SJRAISE.
Migrant friends in the Central Valley of California,
Because of the many organizations that we work with, we have received information on how you can apply to DRAI (Disaster Relief Assistance for Immigrants) funds. Remember that these resources are intended for UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANTS, who meet the requirements. PLEASE apply for this aid. Your information will only be taken into account for this purpose by the Non-Profit Organization, and at no time will it be forwarded to immigration institutions.
  1. In the counties of Alpine and Calaveras, you may contact the California Human Development Corporation at (707) 228-1338; More information on the website: www.californiahumandevelopment.org/
  2. In Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, Merced, Tulare and Mono counties, may contact the United Farm Workers Foundation (UFWF) at (877) 527-6660; more information on the website: www.ufwfoundation.org
  3. In Mariposa, Sacramento, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Sutter and Tuolumne counties, you may contact the California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation (CRLAF) at (877) 557-0521, For more information you can enter the website: www.crlaf.org/drai
  4. In Inyo County, you can contact TODEC Legal Center Perris, at (888) 863-3291, or access the website: www.TODEC.org
To continue reading, download the full article HERE, also in Spanish.

Use Green Transportation
How do you get from place to place?  Make a plan for how you can reduce your footprint. Does your city/town have public transportation? Are there places where you can walk or bike instead of drive? Are there places you can carpool? School, work, church, and small group meetings are great places to carpool. Make a commitment and plan to improve your carbon footprint.

 Friday Reflection
All articles and special news can be submitted to the Diocesan Office at: dioadmin@diosanjoaquin.org
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
Standing Committee Meeting
May 26 | 6:30 PM
ZOOM
Clergy COVID Conference
May 28 | 12:30 PM
ZOOM
Clergy COVID Conference
June 4 | 12:30 PM
ZOOM
Commission on Ministry – Discernment Conference
June 6 | 9:00 AM
ZOOM
Deacon Fresh Start
June 15 | 6:30 PM
ZOOM
SJRAISE
June 16 | 6:30 PM
ZOOM
Clergy COVID Conference
June 18 | 12:30 PM
ZOOM
Clergy COVID Conference
June 25 | 12:30 PM
ZOOM
DC/SC Joint Meeting
June 27
ZOOM

Upcoming Event Information

We need your help for Pentecost!
The Diocese is looking ahead to Pentecost and would love your participation in our May 31st service. This year for Pentecost, as we did in Holy Week, we are asking for picture submissions from the community. You have either participated in the past, or been recommended by Diocesan and Cathedral leadership!
What we’re looking for:
1. A picture of you and anyone in your home wearing red. Heat permitting it would be nice to see this picture taken outside but should definitely be taken in a well lit area.
2. Incorporating fire (i.e. a candle) is welcome but not necessary. Pets dressed in red are also welcome as they are part of our families.
This should be a fun activity and not stressful.
Because we would like plenty of time to gather the pictures and put the service together please have them uploaded to the link below by the end of day Tuesday, May 26th.

CANCELLED – RESCHEDULED 2021
Spanish Immersion at ECCO
If you have registered already, please look for an email from Deacon Angela in the next week about your refund.

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: https://unitedthankoffering.com/give/
* 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 (canonanna@diosanjoaquin.org).
The Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin, 4147 E Dakota AVE, Fresno, CA 93726
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