The Friday Reflection
August 7, 2020
Toni Alvarez, Postulant from St. James Cathedral

My second year at Seminary of the Southwest begins on Monday August 31st. I will begin my Field Education assignment at Proyecto Santiago a Spanish-speaking mission at Saint James Episcopal Church in Austin. One could say that leadership is on my mind as I continue my formation for Holy Orders; one of the many things that I have learned is that as Christians and as Episcopalians we turn first to the Scriptures and to the example of our ancestors in the faith.
This coming Sunday’s lessons are a feast when we attend to them carefully, though what they teach us about leadership takes a bit of digging. This Sunday’s Gospel is the well-known story of Christ walking on water, and bidding Peter to join him found in Matthew chapter 14. We generally focus on Peter and the disciples in this story, but if we focus on Jesus here, we can learn a little about Jesus as a teacher and a leader.
Jesus sends his disciples on ahead of him, and he seeks solitude on a mountain. Here is the first lesson and probably the hardest for us, it definitely is for me: Christian leadership flows from prayer and contemplation. A specifically Christian leadership begins with our communion with the Triune God: Jesus will teach us the way if we listen to his Spirit.
Jesus then joins the disciples he sent ahead of him on the stormy sea. Jesus goes to where he is needed and provides the lesson that his disciples need. After contemplation comes right action; the Spirit of Christ sends us out to do the work that we are called to do, but only after we invite it to. As Saint Peter shows us. We often focus on Peter’s failure, but he is the first of the disciples to follow in Jesus’ steps. He calls on Jesus, and he steps out onto the waves; yes, he falters, and sinks but he cries out again, and again Jesus is true to his word and Peter is saved. Peter is starting to learn from his teacher and ours. Haltingly, by steps and with setbacks on the stormy sea he follows his teacher who is there to teach and to save.

A Pastoral Letter from Bishop David
Sisters and Brothers of EDSJ,
I am aware that pastoral letters from my hand and heart reached you in March (two separate), April (again, two), May and June.  The last correspondence came to you on June 2nd.  Immediately following the issuing of that pastoral letter, a diocesan working group, as you know, put together recommendations for diocesan guidelines and protocols in our response to the pandemic. Subsequently, those recommendations were discussed and endorsed by Diocesan Council and Standing Committee and then made available to you.
Since June’s pastoral letter, much has occurred. We spent the month of July in the largest social platform gathering in EDSJ’s history.  Over one hundred gathered for five consecutive Wednesdays exploring and discussing realities of white supremacy, entitlement and privilege. We discussed the prevalence of institutional racism in our midst and explored how we might move from complicity to holy action. I know you join with me in thanking Constance and Dain Perry for facilitating this important work with us.
Continue reading the letter HERE.

“Those who live south of our border and who seek a better life in ‘the beautiful north’, those who patrol that same border, and those detained at the border are not stock players in a political drama. They aren’t one-dimensional characters in a newsreel, and while stereotyping and typecasting them may make it more comfortable or manageable for us to deal with the ‘problem’ as a whole, it distances us from their humanity, and consequently, I would argue, from our own.” – The Rev. Luis Rodriguez

The collection of artwork comes from the Tornillo Children’s Detention Camp where close to 3,000 unaccompanied minors from Central and South America were held. Art was a way to express their faith, the love of their family and friends, and pride in their homeland.
To learn more about the artwork, read this article from the New York Times

EDSJ Virtual Bible Study
No Longer Strangers: Exploring Immigration Issues
The study is scheduled for consecutive Tuesdays in August (11th, 18th, 25th) and Tuesday, September 1st from 6-7 pm via Zoom. No Longer Strangers was developed by Forward Movement in conultation with staff from Episcopal Migrations Ministries and the Office of Government Relations of The Episcopal Church. It examines the complex issue of immigration and offers a chance for discussion of this topic from a Biblical perspective.
Please share the flyer with your congregation and invite them to participate in a Bible-based study about this important and timely issue. Each meeting will be co-facilitated by an EDSJ clergy person.

Eat Less Plastic
Plastic, it is a major part of our lives. Our food is wrapped in it, toys are mad from it, it is found in devices we use everyday. But what you may not know is we are not only using plastics we are also ingesting them.
When you eat a bite of food or even take a sip of water you may be taking in tiny plastic particles along with it. Some researches believe the average person consumes about 5gm of plastic every 7 days. That’s like eating a credit card every week.
Humans have produced more than eight billion metric tons of plastic mostly since the 1950’s, and less than 10% of it has ever been recycled. There is so much plastic all around that we likely breath in tens of thousands of tiny plastic fragments or fibers every year.
Why is there so much plastic in our food, water, and the air around us? Plastics are very durable materials. Things made out of plastic can last quite a long time. However, they are not perfectly durable. Which means plastics can degrade through normal wear and tear. Just think about all the ways in which plastics are used. Everything from food containers to cell phone cases. The wear and tear from repetitive use can produce tiny microscopic fragments, which are called micro-plastics. Over time, these micro-plastics make their way into the environment. Like our lakes and rivers, the soil, and even into our oceans. These materials ultimately end up contaminating our food and water supply.
We don’t completely know for sure what effect ingesting all the micro-plastics might have on us. More research is needed to determine at what levels exposure becomes particularly dangerous. Experts recommend a precautionary approach.
Here are six tips you can do to reduce your exposure to micro plastics.
  1. Drink water from your tap. Drinking water is one of the biggest contributors to micro plastic ingestion. Bottled water has double the level of micro plastic level of tap water. So unless you know your tap water is unsafe, it is best to drink tap water instead of anything from a plastic bottle.
  2. Don’t heat food in plastic. Heated plastics have been known to leach chemicals into food. So, if you are warming up food use a pan in the oven or on the stove, or if you are microwaving use a glass container. You should also avoid putting plastics into your dishwasher.
  3. Avoid certain plastic food containers with known issues. The American Academy of Pediatrics has noted that plastic food containers with recycling codes 3, 6, and 7 may indicated the presence of some potentially harmful chemicals. You may want to avoid using containers that have those codes unless they are labeled bio-based or greenware.
  4. Eat fresh food. Fresh foods are less likely to expose you to concerning chemicals. Especially when compared to anything wrapped in plastic. Also, many food cans are lined with concerning chemicals.
  5. Minimize household dust. Dust in your house can contain chemicals that are found in plastic. So you should vacuum regularly.
  6. Thing big picture. Plastic production is expected to more than quadruple between 2015 and 2050, which means the amount of plastic contamination in the environment will rise along with it. Consumers should opt for products packaged in glass instead of plastic and use reusable non-plastic containers whenever possible.
If you follow these tips you can remove the amount of plastic in your life and in your body.

 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.
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Events Warranting Your
Participation and Prayers

   Diocesan Events
Diocesan/Cathedral Worship
SJRAISE – Virtual Bible Study

August 11 | 6:00 PM
ZOOM
Mary Meditation
August 12 | 6:30 PM
Bishop and Canon Visitation
August 12 | 7:00 PM
Taft – ZOOM
COVID Clergy Conversations
August 13 | 12:30 PM
ZOOM
Diocesan/Cathedral Worship
SJRAISE – Virtual Bible Study

August 18 | 6:00 PM
ZOOM
Creation Care Commission Animators/Advocates Gathering
August 18 | 7:00 PM
ZOOM
Bishop and Canon Visitation
August 19 | 7:00 PM
Ridgecrest – ZOOM
COVID Clergy Conversations
August 20 | 12:30 PM
ZOOM
Deacon’s Gathering with Bishop David
August 22 | 10 AM
ZOOM
Diocesan/Cathedral Worship
SJRAISE – Virtual Bible Study

August 25 | 6:00 PM
ZOOM
Bishop and Canon Visitation
August 26 | 7:00 PM
St. John’s, Stockton – ZOOM
COVID Clergy Conversations
August 27 | 12:30 PM
ZOOM
DC/SC Joint Meeting
August 29 | 10 AM
ZOOM
Diocesan/Cathedral Worship

Mary model of Christian life and believer in the promise of the Eternal Life
Join us on Facebook live for our monthly bilingual gathering on the study of Mary.
August 12 at 6:30 PM on Facebook live!

REGISTER NOW!
St. James Sunday School launches digitally on Sunday, September 13th. During the digital church period, St. James Sunday School is open to all school-aged children in the Diocese. Registration is required to participate! The kick-off session will begin with student check-in at 9:00AM and the lesson will begin at 9:15AM. The first day of Sunday School is designed for the whole family to join-in. The morning will include the blessing of the teachers and the students. We invite you to check out the St. James Children’s Ministry web page for more about our ministry with children and our curriculum Weaving God’s Promises.
SUNDAY SCHOOL TEACHERS ARE NEEDED
Teacher recruitment period is now! If you feel called to the ministry of the spiritual formation of children, please send an email to teach@stjamesfresno.org. Teachers can be members of any Episcopal congregation in the Diocese.
Prior to the first session, Dean Ryan and the Sunday School Committee will host via ZOOM an Orientation and Training session for all interested teachers. No prior teaching or Sunday School experience is required-all that is required is a willing and committed heart to educating the next generation of the Church. In addition to the Orientation and Training session, teachers will be required to take an online training module called Safeguarding God’s Children–an in-depth educational and training program for preventing and responding to child sexual abuse in everyday life and in ministry.
BASIC INFORMATION
Classes are Sundays at 9:15AM on ZOOM. Registration for Sunday School opens August 1st. Please visit St. James website for link to registration. The first session is Sunday, September 13th and the whole family is invited to participate.
CURRICULUM
Weaving God’s Promises is a comprehensive, three-year Christian education curriculum for children developed and written exclusively for the Episcopal Church. Weaving God’s Promises’ 30-minute lesson plans are accessed online. There will be a “take-home” paper, Threads, that will be emailed to every family after each lesson. Threads allows families to continue the conversation and theme throughout the week.
BASIC SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON FORMAT
  1. Gathering and Greeting
  2. Sunday School Prayer
  3. Sunday School Song
  4. About the Scripture Story
  5. Telling the Story
  6. Activity Related to the Story
  7. Weaving Our Faith: Conversation about the story
  8. Closing Prayer
TEACHER COVENANT OF COMMITMENT
(Developed by Sunday School Committee)
With God’s Help I Covenant 
To practice the spiritual disciplines of scripture reading and prayer.
  • Worship on Sundays and be an active member of the St. James community or other church in the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin.
  • Be prepared: Read the curriculum and plan my lessons.
  • Grow in my faith and understanding of my work through educational opportunities as offered.
  • Practice inclusive hospitality as Jesus teaches us the love of God is the love of neighbor.

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The Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin, 4147 E Dakota AVE, Fresno, CA 93726
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