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Congregational Guide for Easter 7 May 24, 2020)

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The Newsletter is now available on the Newsletter page. Click anywhere to see.

Diocese of San

Joaquin

The Episcopal Church

Episcopal Shield

  

Click to read Friday Relections

The Friday Reflection Title

 

It’s Not About the Bag

Holy Family has become a sanctuary for numerous homeless persons who spend the night in what they perceive to be a safe place.

Click To See More

The Friday Reflection Title

1-23-2015

March 6, 2015

A Story of a Bag

From Marilee Muncey

St. Nicholas, Atwater

After Bishop David’s Episcopal Visit with St. Nicholas I was thinking of the bag in my car still waiting for a joyful sendoff. Well, on my way home I had what might be (respectfully) described as “A Christ-encounter of the bag kind”. The number of individuals at off-ramps and intersections has decreased since the city passed an ordinance making it illegal to panhandle at major intersections; however, this time as I came down the off-ramp of the freeway I could see someone standing at the corner. With a smile I reached down for the bag. The intersection lights were blinking red which would give me time to stop. Often times a green light and a one-way street have prevented an encounter, so I was doubly glad of the mandatory stop and that there were no cars behind me! The man seemed a little surprised that I stopped, put down the window and handed him a bright yellow bag. The sign he was holding said “anything will help”. As I smiled and handed him the bag I asked his name. Dennis, he said as he asked me for mine. With names exchanged and mutual blessings given I went on my way literally rejoicing (and needing another bag)!

 

I called this a “Christ-encounter” because in our Baptism we are called to seek and serve Christ in all people. For me, on this particular day, his name was Raymond.

 


“Travel Light, leaving baggage behind.”

                                                                             Luke 10:1-12

From Bishop David…

Note from Bishop David:

When I met Phoenix last Sunday, I was enamored by the manner in which she has responded to the Holy Spirit as she told me her story. Yes, I said it, the Holy Spirit. I believe that whenever we are able to make changes in our lives, at whatever age or place, the Holy Spirit is somehow involved. We may not be aware of the Holy Spirit nor the activities of the Third Person in the Trinity, but I believe God’s Spirit is very much there. I asked Phoenix to write this story not because I believe all Episcopalians or all humans, for that matter, should be vegans. I asked her to share this part of her narrative because her life has changed, and changed dramatically, and as I have suggested, I believe God is all-in-that! So again, I’m not advocating that we give up meat for Lent or any other time in our lives. I am advocating that we become aware of the ways in which God is calling us to change, regardless of our age, regardless of where we live, regardless…

 

   Why I Became a Vegan

by

Phoenix Hocking

St. John Episcopal Church, Tulare, CA

I spoke with Bishop David Rice recently about how and why I adopted a plant-based diet. He asked me to write this piece for Friday Reflections.

I have recently become a vegan.  I’m sixty-six years old, and for pretty much my whole life I’ve turned a blind eye to the realities that produced the piece of meat, poultry, fish, or dairy on my plate or in my cup.  I loved a good juicy hamburger, and my Ben and Jerry’s Phish Phood ice cream in front of the television at night. You bet I did.

But, I think I knew, somewhere in the back of my mind, that the conditions in which the animals were kept were bad. Quite frankly, though, I didn’t want to know. It took stumbling upon a video of a piglet being castrated without anesthesia, then being tossed, screaming, onto a pile of similar piglets that finally broke through the curtain of my denial. I still hear that scream in my dreams.

 

The packages that appear on your supermarket shelves look so neat and tidy, don’t they?  So innocent. It’s just chicken, just steak, just pork chops. They rarely bear much, if any, resemblance to the living, breathing creature it came from, and even if it does, we don’t think much about the life it lived before it came to the store.  We don’t want to know that it suffered before it died.  But 99% of the time, it did. We don’t want to acknowledge that that innocent piece of flesh was once a living, breathing, conscious, sentient animal that had a face, a mother, a bowel movement.

 

Many of us have pets in our homes. We have dogs and cats, hamsters, birds maybe. We know they have feelings and emotions. We know they are capable of feeling pain and pleasure, have concern for others, and care for their young. Why is it such a stretch to understand that the animals we raise for food have the same capacity for feelings and emotions that our household pets do?

 

The realities are harsh.  Virtually ninety-nine percent of the meat, poultry, fish and dairy products that Americans consume come from factory farms, where conditions are more reminiscent of Dante’s Inferno than Old MacDonald’s Farm.

 

Chickens are bred so they produce more white meat, but this means that many are so deformed they can’t even stand up.  They are crowded with others in crates so small they can’t flap their wings or turn around.  “Free range” birds are kept in huge warehouses with barely enough room to move. They are denied the God-given natural behaviors of their species: perching, raising their young, social order, dust bathing.

 

Once hatched, male chicks, because they are useless to the egg industry, are put through a meat grinder, alive, or suffocated in plastic bags.  Egg laying chickens are kept in tiny cages where they can’t move, and often become entangled in the wires.  As babies, their beaks are burned off, with no anesthesia. This keeps them from pecking each other to death from sheer terror, or boredom.

 

To produce one single egg requires 3.25 pounds of grain and 51 gallons of water. To produce one pound of poultry requires 13 pounds of grain, and a whopping 520 gallons of water. When you extrapolate those figures out to the billions of chickens in the egg laying and meat industry, the numbers are staggering. In nature, a chicken can live to be eight years old. On a factory farm, she may last a year.

 

Bacon.  Ah, we all just love bacon, don’t we?  More!  Give me more bacon!  Really?  Female pigs are kept in gestation crates that are so small they can’t turn around.  At birth, their tails are cut off, and male pigs are castrated, all without anesthesia.  When a female pig gives birth, she is put into what is called a farrowing crate which is no bigger than a gestation crate.  Baby pigs are often crushed in their mother’s efforts to at least turn over to find a more comfortable position on a cold concrete floor.  At slaughter, many pigs are not stunned first, or the stunning is incomplete, and go through the process of gutting still conscious and struggling.

Pigs are highly social and loving animals, more intelligent than dogs (but don’t tell my Beagle that), and the factory farming system denies them their natural behaviors of foraging for food, caring for their young, social structure and mud baths that cool their skin. In nature, a pig can live to be twelve years old; the lifespan of a pig on a factory farm is six months.

To produce one pound of pork requires 7 pounds of grain and 718 gallons of water. Approximately one hundred MILLION pigs are raised on factory farms and slaughtered every year in America.

 

Milk.  Does it do a body good?  Nope, sorry.  Of all the atrocities in the industry, the dairy cow has one of the worst lives.  A cow will only give milk if she is pregnant or after giving birth.  Therefore, they are impregnated once a year.  The calves are taken from the mother within twenty-four to forty-eight hours after birth, and the mothers will often cry for them for weeks.

If the calf is female she is fed a diet of milk replacer until she is old enough to endure the horror of what the industry itself calls the “rape rack,” in which the cow is bred, sometimes by use of a bull (or many bulls), and sometimes by artificial insemination.

 

If the calf is male, he will probably be sold for veal.  A veal calf is locked into a tiny crate, not big enough for him to turn around. He is fed a substandard diet, which keeps the flesh milky and tender, and will be slaughtered at a few days to about a month old.

 

A friend once told me that the dairy processing center at which she works processes eight MILLION pounds of milk a day.  How many cows does it take to make eight million pounds of milk daily, just at one small processing plant in California?  How many, then, throughout the country?  They’re not all living on Old MacDonald’s farm.  How many calves, then, were stolen from their mothers so Americans can have milk on their breakfast cereal?  Dairy cows are milked sometimes as much as four times a day, creating a painful condition known as mastitis.  They are forced to stand on a cold, concrete floor for hours, hooked up to machines that suck them dry, so Americans can have extra cheese on their pizza.

It occurs to me that so many people are lactose intolerant because humans are not meant to drink the breast milk of another species. Cow’s milk is great, for calves, but not for humans.

 

You may have driven past many dairy farms in the Valley and seen the cows standing in an enclosure. Have you considered what they are standing on? Excrement and urine, their own and others’. They’re not out in a pasture, grazing peacefully, or caring for their calves, as God intended. In nature, a cow may live to be twenty years old. A beef cow on a factory farm is killed at eighteen months; a dairy cow is no longer profitable at four years and is sent to slaughter.

 

To produce one pound of beef requires 16 pounds of grain and 1848 gallons of water. To produce one gallon of milk requires 3 pounds of grain and 1078 gallons of water.

 

But, the factory farming industry is so big, so powerful, and I’m just one person. How can I possibly make any kind of difference?

 

For me, the shortest answer is to just stop consuming the flesh or dairy products that come from such inhumane and cruel conditions. And making a difference means I cannot, and will not, keep silent.

 

I became, literally overnight, a vegan.  Or at least, as much of a vegan as I can be.  I have shoes that I’ve worn for years that are leather, and a car I just bought (before I became a vegan) with leather seats.  Not much I can do about that.  But I no longer purchase or consume anything that used to be, or was produced by, a living creature.

 

So why here?  Why now?  Because silence kills.  I understand.  Really, I do.  I didn’t want to know all these things about where my food came from.  But once I knew, once I realized, I couldn’t just keep my mouth shut.  The animals cannot speak, but I can hear their cries, so I speak for them.  I hear their terror-filled voices on the way to slaughter.  I see the fear on their faces as they are prodded and hit and punched when they are being herded into cattle cars and tractor trailers on their way to slaughter. And I still hear that piglet screaming in my dreams.

Speaking truth to power does not make one a popular person. But what else can I do? I cannot be quiet.  I will continue to share what I know, because I can’t do anything else.

 

I read somewhere that for every year I remain a vegan, I will have saved the lives of one hundred animals. In the face of the billions of animals that are killed every year for food, one hundred may not sound like much, but to the animals I won’t be consuming, it means everything.

I encourage you to educate yourself to the realities of the food industry.  Watch the videos, read the literature.  Educate yourself.  Then join me as I speak for those who have no voice. Join me as I add my drop to the bucket that says, “No more.  Enough is enough.” That drop in the bucket matters.  I can make a difference.  You can make a difference.   Together, we can make a difference.

 

Resources:

“Earthlings” A video

“Food Inc.” A video

“Vegucated” A video

Farm Animal Rights Movement – http://www.farmusa.org/

Compassion Over Killing – http://www.cok.net/

Carnism – Why we love dogs, eat pigs, and wear cows – http://www.carnism.org/

Farm Sanctuary – Rescuing animals every day – http://farmsanctuary.org/

The Gentle Barn – Rescuing animals every day – http://gentlebarn.org/

Stewardship University…

  

 

 STEWARDSHIP UNIVERSITY

   

(Psst! Stewardship University has no tuition. It’s FREE!)

Lunch will be provided.
Click here  for registration form.
 
Registration forms are due by March 22

 

This exciting program is coming to San Joaquin on Saturday, March 28th, at Holy Family in Fresno. The Rev. Canon Timothy M. Dombeck will lead this workshop. The workshop begins at 10:30am and will continue to 3:30pm, lunch will be provided. Everyone is invited and it is important that at least one person from each of our congregations attends.
 
Why a “Stewardship University”?
Stewardship University is a one-day series of educational workshops for congregational leaders designed to assist churches in becoming more grateful, generous, sustainable, welcoming and hospitable communities of Christ-centered life transformation, outreach and worship.
 
How does Stewardship University work?
By the use of an engaging, workshop approach, Stew U (as it is affectionately called) educates and trains people in practical matters related to many aspects of hospitality, communication, story-telling, gratitude, and the concept of stewardship as it relates to people exercising their baptismal ministry through involvement in active ministry, including one’s life as a steward and giving of one’s time and abilities, as well as financial resources.
 
What topics get covered at a Stew U?
A typical Stewardship University event covers the broad topics of:

  • Understanding Giving
  • Practical Steps to Increase Giving
  • Planned Giving: Giving from the Heart and Soul
  • Year-round Stewardship That You Can Do, With or Without The Annual Pledge Drive
  • Enhancing Generous Hospitality: What We Can Learn from Starbucks and Why

Other requested topics presented at other meetings include:

  • Understanding Your Money in Your Life
  • How To Talk About Money: In the Culture, In the Church
  • Three Shifts in Stewardship

Additionally, you can request a particular topic that you would like addressed. Just have a talk with Timothy about what you want to achieve.
 

STEWARDSHIP UNIVERSITY™ is the creation of the Reverend Canon Timothy M. Dombek, Canon for Stewardship and Planned Giving in the Episcopal Diocese of Arizona. Prior to entering seminary in the late 1980’s, Canon Dombek was a Certified Financial Planner based in South Bend, Indiana. Serving the needs of individuals and small business owners, Timothy worked with clients in Indiana, Ohio, and Illinois.

From Our Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts-Schori…


ECF Fellows are lay and ordained scholars and ministry leaders who are making a significant impact on our Church.
 
The application deadline is March 13 for the 2015 Fellowship.
 

Read below for 4 things we ask all applicants to bear in mind & click here for the application.

 

4 things we ask all applicants to bear in mind:
  • ECF is committed to strengthening the leadership of lay and ordained members of the Episcopal Church.  All applicants to the academic and ministry tracks are asked to describe how they plan on developing the next generation of lay and ordained leaders for the Episcopal Church, whether this is in the context of academia, a local congregation, through a church-wide initiative, or in another setting.
  • ECF is a lay-led organization of the Episcopal Church. ECF is especially looking for scholars and ministry leaders who incorporate lay leadership development into their work. All members of the Church, whether lay or ordained, are invited to apply.
  • An ECF Fellowship provides both financial support and networking opportunities.ECF has typically awarded three to four Fellowships per year. New awards range up to $15,000 for the first year and are renewable for an additional two years. In addition to this financial support, new Fellows join a wide network of past Fellows and ECF partners with them so that they may share their knowledge, experience, and best practices with the wider Church.
  • The application requires a significant commitment of time and effort and is due onMarch 13, 2015. The selection process for an ECF Fellowship is highly competitive and a strong application requires a significant investment of time and effort. We encourage all applicants to begin this process early. ECF will announce the 2015 Fellows in late May.

From the Diocesan Office…


For Clergy and Lay:
Missional Bags
Please contact the Diocesan Office if you are in need of more bags to fill and pass out to those in need. St. Paul’s Preschool, Modesto has asked for bags on the next order for the children. Please think of this if you have a youth group or a preschool that can be part of our “missional” outreach.
UPDATE: Bags have been ordered and will be distributed. If you have not made your request please email me at the Diocesan Office with your needs.
For Clergy and Treasurers:

Clergy….IMPORTANT: Please be sure to get your directories, contact forms, and other forms in packet into the diocesan office quickly! Many thanks go to Holy Trinity, St. Raphael’s and St. Matthew’s and  St. Andrew’sSt. John the Baptist, and St. Paul’s, Visalia for having all documents turned in!
All forms were due March 1, 2015.
 

ALL MAIL
for the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin, Bishop, Canon, and Administrator is to be mailed to 1528 Oakdale Road, Modesto, CA 95355.

Thank you,

Ellen Meyer,

Administrator

For Northern Deanery…

Northern Deanery Meeting
 

The next Northern Deanery Meeting is Saturday, June 20, 2015. 10 a.m. to 12 noon,

St. Francis, Turlock.

For  Central Deanery…

Central Deanery Meeting
 

The next Central Deanery Meeting is Sunday, May 17, 2015,  2:00 p.m.,

St. Raphael’s, Oakhurst.

 

For Southern Deanery…

Southern Deanery Meeting
 
The next Southern Deanery meeting is scheduled for Saturday, March 14, 2015,11:00 a.m., St. Michael’s, Ridgecrest.
 

Whats going on…

What’s Happening in the DIO  
 
Joint Deputation Meeting, Saturday, March 7, 2015, 9:00 a.m., St. Bart’s, Livermore
 
Northern Deanery Clericus, Tuesday March 10, 2015, 11:00a.m., St. Paul’s, Modesto
Spring House of Bishops March 10-22, 2015, Kanuga, North  Carolina
 
Standing Committee Adobe Meeting, March 24, 2015, 7:15 p.m.
 
Diocesan Council Adobe Meeting, March 26, 2015, 7:00 p.m.
 
Stewardship University, March 28, 2015, 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Holy Family, Fresno
 
Chrism Mass, March 31, 2015, 11:00 a.m., Church of the Saviour, Hanford
 
Annual Convention, October 23-24, 2015, St. Paul’s, Modesto

   Click on the link below to see more upcoming events and meetings around the diocese.
 

From our Parishes and Missions..

SAINT MATTHEW’S CHURCH
            414 Oak Street  +  San Andreas
        INVITES YOU TO JOIN US at 6 pm      each FRIDAY THROUGH LENT
                                                            

      for our

Parish Lenten Devotions

 Stations of the Cross
and
Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament


St. Pat’s at St. Matt’s

5 p.m. till 7 p.m.

CORNED BEEF & CABBAGE

MARCH 21st

Saint Matthew’s Church

414 Oak Street

San Andreas

Church of the Saviour,

Lenten Fish Fry

 

The Church of the Saviour is once again hosting its Lenten Fish Fry on Friday, 13 March. Serving will begin at 5:00 p.m., and the meal will include fish, fries, cole slaw and rolls. Beer and wine will be available for sale, as will be delicious baked goods. Tickets can be obtained by calling the church office, 559-584-7706 559-584-7706 or at the door on the day.

 

All are welcome.

Church of the Saviour

519 N. Douty Street, Hanford, CA

Diocesan Website and Facebook…
 Have you checked it out?
Keep up to date on news and events with our
Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin website 
www.diosanjoaquin.org  

 

Facebook  
Check out postings from Bishop David and Canon Kate at 
Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin

The Episcopal Church Website
Episcopal News Service

For the Bishop and  Canon’s Calendar…

Bishop David’s Calendar –Click Here
 
Canon Kate’s Calendar- Click Here

 

For our Diocesan Prayer Calendar….click here

Episcopal ShieldDio seal

 The Friday Reflection Title

3-28-2014

Dear Friends,
 
On March 5, 2011 I was elected and then Seated as the Bishop Provisional of the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin.  On Saturday, March 29, 2014, I will cease to be the Bishop of this Diocese with the election of the next Bishop. I most sincerely thank you all, lay and clergy of the Diocese, for your love and support and for the privilege of engaging in ministry with all of you.
 
I have come to know this as a Diocese of courageous and committed people who are dedicated to serving Christ as members of the Episcopal Church.
 
April and I will return permanently to Southern California and to “retirement” on March 29.
 
The Diocese of San Joaquin, its life and ministry, clergy and people, will always now be in our thoughts and prayers.
 
With gratitude, and appreciation, and thanksgiving I am,
 
Faithfully yours,
 
+Chet Talton
 

“Participating in God’s Reconciling Love”

Friday Reflection is taking a break next week.
The next edition will be April 11, 2014

Call to Special Convention…

TOMORROW!

 

Dio seal

The Recognition and Seating

of the

 Provisional Bishop

The Rt. Rev. David Rice

 

March 29, 2014

St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Bakersfield

 

2216 17th Street

Bakersfield, CA 93301

Click here for Special Convention Schedule 

Check here for Special Convention Registration Form

 

Invitation to Sing at Special Convention...

The Choir of St. Paul’s Church in Bakersfield and director, Christopher Borges, would like to invite members of the Diocese to participate with them in singing at the service for the Seating of Bishop David Rice on Saturday, March 29.  There will be a rehearsal that Saturday morning at 11am in the Choir Room.
Please contact Fr. Vern at
vwhill44@hotmail.com for an email advance copy of the music.

For Northern Deanery

CONVENTION BUS INFORMATION

The Northern Deanery bus to the Special Convention in Bakersfield will depart the Modesto Vintage Faire Mall Park and Ride promptly at 5:30 AM on Saturday.  The Park and Ride can be reached from southbound 99 by exiting on Pelendale.  Turn south on Sisk Road.  The Park and Ride will be on the left connected to the mall parking area near Penny’s.  The Park and Ride can be reached from northbound 99 by exiting at Standiford and then north on Sisk Road.  The Park and Ride will be on the right.  For the return trip the bus will depart St. Paul’s Bakersfield no later than one half hour after the close of the last Convention activity.  On the 29th the following numbers can be used as contacts for the bus:(209) 765-392(209) 765-3928 or 765-3246.

                 

For Clergy…

Attention Clergy! 
The liturgical color for the Celebration and Seating of Bishop Rice  following the Special Meeting of Convention on March 29  is red.
AND
This week you should have been contacted by regular mail by the Church Pension Group. Church Pension is sending you a NEW CONTACT NUMBER.
This new number will enable you to log on to www.cpg.org and see all of your benefit information on one page. This means that you will be able to see your own individual Pension, Medical, Disability and Life Insurance information that you currently have through Church Pension all on one integrated page.

 

Please pay attention to your mail from Church Pension and do try to log-on to see how the new system operates. If you need help, or have not received a new number, please contact Canon Cullinane at   209-222-7124  or kcullinane@diosanjoaquin.org

For Lent…

 

               

Walk through Lent with beautiful daily devotions,

The Lent App (for iPhone)


Illustrated with art by the inimitable Roger Hutchison, author of The Painting Table, and inspirational daily reflections by beloved author and Spiritual Director Mary C. Earle provide food for the journey. A built in journal function lets you record your own thoughts, and you can share Scripture, the daily image, or your own thoughts via email or social media.

 Learn More
 
GOOD FRIDAY OFFERING
 

Since 1922, Episcopalians have supported the ministries of the Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East through the Good Friday Offering. Through the work of the Episcopal dioceses in the Middle East, Christians maintain a peacemaking and stabilizingpresence in the region, serving their neighbors regardless of faith background.

 

To make a donation  to  the Good Friday Offering, please write a check  payable to the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society, write “Good Friday Offering” in the memo line, and mail to:

 
DFMS – Protestant Episcopal Church US
P.O. Box 958983
St. Louis, MO 63195-8983
 
Click here for Good Friday Offering Resources
 

From the Office of Public Affairs…

 

Justice and Advocacy Fellowships

applications accepted 

for poverty alleviation and environmental stewardship

 
[March 18, 2014] Applications are now accepted for one-year and two-year Justice and Advocacy Fellowships for social justice and advocacy work for The Episcopal Church.
 

The Justice and Advocacy Fellowships for Domestic Poverty and Environmental Stewardship, new initiatives of The Episcopal Church, will provide financial support for service, professional development and education to those who are engaged in poverty alleviation and environmental stewardship. Hands-on experience, professional training and leadership development are intrinsic in the Fellowships.

 

Focusing on the Anglican Marks of Mission Mark 4 and Mark 5, the 2014 Justice and Advocacy Fellowships are sponsored by the Episcopal Church Office of Justice and Advocacy Ministries.

 

The Domestic Poverty Fellowships are one-year each and call for addressing domestic poverty in communities. The Environmental Stewardship Fellowship are two-years each and will provide leadership on key environmental issues in affected domestic communities.

 
Fellowships range from $24,000 over one year to $48,000 over two years.
 
Details, requirements, special data and instructions on applying are located herehttp://www.episcopalchurch.org/form/justice-and-advocacy-fellowships
 

“The Justice and Advocacy Fellowships for Domestic Poverty and Environmental Stewardship are ideal opportunities to focus on a myriad of possibilities, such as engaging in work with the poor, prisons, poverty, healthcare, climate change, water conservation, and other important issues of our society,” explained The Rev. Canon E. Mark Stevenson, Domestic Poverty Missioner. “The Justice and Advocacy Fellowships are available to candidates from any ethnic background or geographical location.”

 
Deadline for applications is May 9.
 

For more information contact Stevenson at Mstevenson@episcopalchurch.org or Jayce Hafner, Episcopal Church Domestic Policy Analyst, at jhafner@episcopalchurch.org.

 
The Episcopal Church: www.episcopalchurch.org
Facebook: www.facebook.com/episcopalian
Twitter: www.twitter.com/iamepiscopalian
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/EpiscopalChurchYT
 
On the web:
Justice and Advocacy Fellowships applications accepted for poverty alleviation and environmental stewardship
http://www.episcopalchurch.org/notice/justice-and-advocacy-fellowships-applications-accepted-poverty-alleviation-and-environmental-
 

Women’s Retreat…


Dying and Living into Resurrection…Now.

 
As we celebrate Easter, we can find ourselves wondering – “What are we doing?”  Are we celebrating a past or historical event – the resurrection of Jesus?  Or are we praying into a future hope for ourselves?  Either way, is there anything the resurrection can say to us right now?  Is resurrection a “present moment” event?  This year the Diocesan Women’s Retreat will focus around these questions.  We will gather in the beautiful surroundings of ECCO, and through scripture, addresses, music, silence and meditation seek to encounter resurrection not as a past event or a future promise, but a present reality.  Once again this year, the Rev’d Luis Rodriguez will be our retreat leader.  Fr Luis is the rector of the Episcopal Church of the Saviour in Hanford and has a background in theology,counseling and spiritual direction.
 

Women’s Retreat

May 2-4, 2014

ECCO

Be on the look out for Registration Form  

in an upcoming email. 

From the Diocesan Office…

Since you have asked….

Bishop David now has an email and it is: bishopdavid@diosanjoaquin.org

ALL MAIL.

for the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin, Bishop, Canon, and Administrator is to go to the current address: 1528 Oakdale Road, Modesto, CA 95355

Time sensitive material can be emailed to emeyer@diosanjoaquin.org.

Whats going on…

Want to know what is happening in the Diocese of San Joaquin?
Special Convention, Saturday, 11:00 a.m. March 29, 2014, St. Paul’s, Bakersfield
Registration starting at 9:30 a.m.
 
Chrism Mass, Tuesday, April 15, 2014, 11.00 a.m. Church of the Saviour, Hanford
 
Annual Convention, October 24-25, 2014, St. Paul’s, Modesto
    Click on the link below to see upcoming events and meetings around the diocese.

From Our Parishes and Missions…

EVERY FRIDAY IN LENT

PARISH LENTEN DEVOTIONS

6 pm  STATIONS OF THE CROSS
and

BENEDICTION OF THE BLESSED SACRAMENT

(followed in the Parish Hall with a Soup Supper)

St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church

414 Oak Street,

San Andreas, CA

April 4, 2014

LENTEN FISH FRY

 

The Episcopal Church of the Saviour, Hanford

 

In keeping with the Church’s ancient Lenten tradition, the Episcopal Church of the Saviour in Hanford (519 N. Douty St.) will be hosting its annual Fish Fry on Friday, 4 April 2014, from 5:00pm-7:30pm.  Come along for a wonderful fish supper and fellowship, or take your meal “to go”.  Tickets are $15.00 and can be purchased at the church office or at the door the night of the event.  Please contact the Church of the Saviour with any questions at ecosoffice@gmail.com. We look forward to seeing you there.

 

May 3, 2014

THE SPRING TEA

Christ The King will host their annual Spring Tea on Saturday, May 3 beginning at 11:00 am. Reservations and tickets are available by calling the church office or from a church member. Click here for for flyer for details and to post in your church.

 May 16-17, 2014
Friday and Saturday
St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Bakersfield
Join Bishop David Rice
for a Weekend with an Internationally Known Visionary,
Author, Lecturer, & Entrepreneur
Fr. Eric Law, Episcopal Priest
 

Friday, March 16
Check-in 4pm Breakfast 8-9am
Dinner 5pm Session I 9-11:30am
Program 6-8pm
 

Saturday, May 17th, 2014
Check-in 4pm Breakfast 8-9am
Dinner 5pm Session I 9-11:30am
Program 6-8pm Lunch 11:30-12:30
Session II 12:30-2:30
Break 2:30-2:45
Session III 3-5pm
Dinner 5-6pm
Session IV 6-7:30pm

 

Registration form online at www.stpaulsepiscopalbakersfield.org

 
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For our Diocesan Prayer Calendar….click here

Bishop’s and Canon’s Visitations Calendars… 

Bishop Talton’s Calendar
 
March 29                         Special Convention, St. Paul’s, Bakersfield
 
Bishop Rice’s Calendar
 
March 29                           Special Convention, St. Paul’s, Bakersfield
 
March 30                           St. Paul’s, Bakersfield
 
April 6                                St. Paul’s, Modesto
 
April 13                              St. Andrew’s, Taft
 
April 19                              St. Francis, Turlock
 
April 30                              Church of the Saviour, Hanford
 
 
Canon Cullinane’s Calendar
 
 
March 29                           Special Convention, St. Paul’s, Bakersfield
 
March 30                           St. Andrew’s, Taft
 
April 13                              St. Raphael’s, Oackhurst
 
April 20th                           Holy Trinity, Madera
 
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Adapt or Die

By Ken Howard, part of the Vestry Papers issue on Vestries: Listen to God’s Call (January 2014)

At a recent conference I was asked to speculate about what our parishes would look like a decade from now. My answer was brief: “One thing I can say with certainty is this: The only way our churches will look like they do now is if they have been stuffed and mounted and displayed in a museum of natural church history.”

The context in which our congregations exist is shifting so dramatically that mere tweaking of method and message can no longer return us to health, let alone vitality. We are facing radical change – radical as in going to the root – requiring of us both radical recognition and radical response.

As congregational leaders, we must confront the fact that our churches are dying. While we may wish they were timeless and eternal, at the core our churches are living human organisms, and dying is what all living organisms eventually do. But first they are born, live, adapt, create new life, and pass on their DNA to the next generation. We cannot insulate our churches from death without isolating them from the very process that would empower the next generation, not just to survive but also to thrive.

To guide our churches into a vital future, vestries and other church leaders must help our congregations to embrace their organic nature – to see death not as the ultimate failure but as the door to greater life. We need to help our congregations learn how to die in a way that plants the seeds of their resurrection. But how? How can we as congregational leaders learn this radical response and walk this counterintuitive, paradoxical path? How do we help our congregations live into a more incarnational Christianity that values organism over organization?

Changing the Paradigm

If we as leaders are to help our congregations change their ways of doing Church, we first have to recognize that our old and familiar paradigm of Church is fading away, and that a new and unfamiliar paradigm of Church is emerging. And because the new paradigm is not yet fully present, we have to help our congregations learn to explore its pathways and boundaries.

Leading congregations in a time of paradigm shift is no easy task. Be wary of any who call themselves experts in times like these; when a paradigm shifts, everyone goes to zero. There are no experts, only fellow learners. While I do not claim to be an expert in the emerging paradigm of Church, I do have some experience in helping my own congregation – as well as a few other congregations and dioceses – to explore it. And I am willing to share some of what my congregation and I have learned since it was born in 1995.

My congregation began its journey into the emerging paradigm with an exploration of the Apostle Paul’s image of the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12):

There are many members, yet one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” On the contrary, the members of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and those members of the body that we think less honorable we clothe with greater honor, and our less respectable members are treated with greater respect; whereas our more respectable members do not need this. But God has so arranged the body, giving the greater honor to the inferior member, that there may be no dissension within the body, but the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together with it; if one member is honored, all rejoice together with it. Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. (NRSV)

We began to ask ourselves what our congregation would be like if we took this passage seriously. If in this passage Paul is expressing his deeply organic understanding of the nature of Christian community, then how is God calling our own Christian community to live? As we engaged this question with imagination and prayer, our image of Church began to shift. We began to think of Christian community less as an organizational structure in which people occupy various fixed and static roles, and more as a living organism that grows, adapts to its environment, reproduces, thinks, and moves – one which has a vision and a calling implanted in its DNA by the Spirit of God.

As our paradigm of Church began to shift, our behaviors as leaders and as a congregation began to shift as well. We began asking ourselves additional “so what” questions. If we were to answer the call to become an organic, incarnational Christian community, how would we need to change:

  • The way we think of congregational unity?
  • The way we develop and articulate our congregational vision?
  • The way we think about the lifecycle of our congregation?
  • The way we organize to get things done?
  • The way we develop our leaders, followers, and various working groups.

What this Means

Wrestling with questions like these have led to profound shifts in how we think, what we do, and how we do it – shifts which are summarized in the following outline.

  1. Unity: Moving from boundary-set unity to centered-set unityWhen we think of church as an organization, unity is achieved by clearly defining boundaries. Leadership asks, “What characteristics (e.g., doctrines, practices, etc.) separate THOSE WHO ARE A PART OF US from THOSE WHO ARE APART FROM US?”When we think of church as an organism, unity is achieved by clearly defining focus. Leadership asks, “WHO is the center of our community?” (The answer was/is “Jesus”) and “HOW do we clarify our focus (on Jesus) and invite others to share with us in it?”The implication of this shift is that we avoid making others into copies of ourselves and instead allow all of us together to be transformed into God’s image.
  2. Vision: Moving from vision-setting to vision-birthingWhen we think of church as an organization, leadership creates and propagates an organizational vision. Leadership asks, “What is God calling this congregation to be and to do?”When we think of church as an organism, leadership facilitates the emergence of a shared vision from the congregation. Leadership asks, “How can we help our congregation discern what God is calling us to be and to do?” Leadership does this by paying attention to the gifts and callings of those participating in the life of the community and those God is calling into it.The implication of this shift is that we remind ourselves to remain attentive to the Spirit’s movement in our congregation and in the world around us.
  3. Moving from organizational permanence to congregational vitality

    When we think of church as an organization, leadership assumes current structures and processes are there for a good reason. Leadership asks, “HOW can we do WHAT we’re already doing more effectively?”When we think of church as an organism, leadership assumes nothing. Leadership first asks, “WHY do we exist?” then, “HOW do we organize and behave to fulfill that calling?“ then, “WHAT specific activities is God calling us to carry out?” Leadership also asks, “What does the congregation do that is so unique and valuable that it would be missed if the congregation ceased to exist?” and, “If our church were to die today, what would the community around us write as our epitaph?” Leadership pays attention to what feeds and energizes the congregation (and the leadership) and finds ways to do those more of those kinds of things, while letting those things that do not promote congregational vitality die.The implication of this shift is that we continuously rediscover and reconnect with our spiritual DNA, and allow ourselves to be watered and pruned by God’s Spirit.
  4. Moving from hierarchical structure to organic networksWhen we think of church as an organization, leadership (and followership) is organized and structured via power, position, and turf. Leadership asks, “What COMMITTEES should a healthy church have?” and “Who can we get to lead and staff them?”When we think of church as an organism, all congregational structures and processes are functional and provisional. Work is accomplished through small-group, co-led teams, which can expand and contract, as needed. Leadership asks, “What needs to be done?” then, “Who is called to be on a TEAM to do it?” then, “Which of its members are called to lead the team?”The implication of this shift is that we assure that our structures and processes are nimble and flexible, capable of growing and adapting to our context.
  5. Moving from individual perfection to interconnected completenessWhen we think of church as an organization, leadership strives to help every individual person and part of the organization become as self-sufficiently effective as possible. Leadership asks, “What does this person/committee need to be the best, most well-rounded person/committee possible?”When we think of church as an organism, leadership strives to help every person and part of the organization become more complete through interconnectedness with others. Leadership asks, “What connections can we forge between persons/teams that make them more complete in their interconnectedness?The implication of this shift is that we allow each person to give their best gifts and strengthen our organic interdependence as the body of Christ.

An Invitation to Exploration

What I have offered above is not intended to be a quick fix or a step-by-step guide. It cannot be that because the new paradigm is still emerging. Think of it rather as an example of the kinds of questions your vestry will have to ask yourselves and your congregations if you commit yourselves to this journey.

One thing I can promise is this: Embracing the organic and incarnational nature of Christian community can both make your congregations more vital in the present and enable them to face the “changes and chances” of the future with adaptability and resilience. And it will make your job as leaders more exciting and creative, and perhaps even fun.

Ken Howard is the author of Paradoxy: Creating Christian Community Beyond Us and Them(Orleans, MA: Paraclete Press, 2010), the founder and director of The Paradoxy Center for Incarnational Christianity at St. Nicholas Church, and the rector of St. Nicholas Episcopal Church in Germantown, Maryland. St. Nicholas Church was the first successful church plant in its diocese in nearly forty years. Growing steadily since its start in 1995, it is in the top third of diocesan congregations in size and the top 5% in per capita giving. Ken’s blog, Paradoxical Thoughts may be found at PracticingParadoxy.com.
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