The Friday Reflection Title


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


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.



“Earthlings” A video

“Food Inc.” A video

“Vegucated” A video

Farm Animal Rights Movement –

Compassion Over Killing –

Carnism – Why we love dogs, eat pigs, and wear cows –

Farm Sanctuary – Rescuing animals every day –

The Gentle Barn – Rescuing animals every day –

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.

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,


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..

            414 Oak Street  +  San Andreas

      for our

Parish Lenten Devotions

 Stations of the Cross
Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament

St. Pat’s at St. Matt’s

5 p.m. till 7 p.m.


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  


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

Comments closed.