The Friday Reflection
August 21, 2020
The Rev. Carolyn Woodall, Deacon

Leadership can take many forms, sometimes depending on the organization or group, the personality of the one leading, the circumstances, some combination of these factors and, I’m sure, some I didn’t think about.
I retired from the Navy and there, authority was strictly hierarchical. At Officer Candidate School we were taught that leadership meant exercising that authority fairly, impartially, and from afar – or from on high, if you prefer, although “on high” meant at least a couple of levels higher than you, and most often referred to the commanding officer. Orders were given and failure to obey them would have consequences. The primary concern was the mission. The welfare of the troops and morale were important, but always subordinate to the mission.
Many companies have a similar structure, except the bottom line is, all too often, the primary consideration and the lower echelon workers are expendable – there are always people looking for work, after all.
Sounds like a good model for the church – yes? Well, no – at least it should not be, although I’ve seen it from time to time, as I’m sure is the case for most of us. My own experience with this kind of leadership is that it is goal oriented, whether it be a military mission or maximizing profits. The people in the organization are a resource for obtaining a goal. In many churches there is still a goal. Butts in the pews and maximizing giving. Hmm, goals are nice, but those are the wrong goals.
When I think of good church leadership my mind immediately goes to the Gospel according to John, Chapter 13. That’s where we find the story of Jesus washing his disciples’ feet. Before the Feast of the Passover, during supper, Jesus got up, took off his outer robe, wrapped a towel around his waist and washed his disciples’ feet. The disciples were quite uncomfortable, and Peter expressed his discomfort at Jesus washing his feet. We all know how they felt. On Maundy Thursday we enact this act of Jesus. We are likely all uncomfortable with someone, often the clergy and lay leaders, washing our feet.
But Jesus had a lesson to teach. “After he had washed their feet, had put on his robe, and had returned to the table, he said to them, ‘Do you know what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord-and you are right, for that is what I am. So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you.”
Jesus performed a simple act of service to his disciples, teaching them the importance of service to others. That’s our lesson for leadership – that we are all simply human and, as I’ve preached before, we are all valuable and important to God. And so it should be with us. Servant leadership has a goal, but it isn’t butts in the pews or maximizing giving. Our goal is to build up and support each other. We should lead with a towel around our waist, giving to those we lead that which they need to grow closer to God and to each other. Leadership should not consist of saying, “I want you to do this,” but to say, “How can I help?”
Deacon Carolyn Woodall

Observe the Season of Creation at your congregation!
The Season of Creation is celebrated every year by Christians around the world from September 1st, the Day of Prayer for Creation, and runs through October 4th, St. Francis Day. This year’s theme has been chosen to be Jubilee for the Earth: New Rhythms, New Hope. This is fitting given the major challenges of this Spring and Summer. Our hope is that every community in the diocese will celebrate the Season of Creation. More information including liturgical and formation resources as well as ways to register your events can be found here:
The Season of Creation is a time to renew our relationship with our Creator and all creation through repenting, repairing, and rejoicing together. During the Season of Creation, we join our siblings in the ecumenical family in prayer and action for our common home.
This year, amid crises that have shaken our world, we’re awakened to the urgent need to heal our relationships with creation and each other. During the season this year, we enter a time of restoration and hope, a jubilee for our Earth, that requires radically new ways of living with creation.
The Season of Creation unites the world’s 2.2 billion Christians around one shared purpose. With so much injustice all around us, now is the time for Christians everywhere to come together and show the world how to love each other and creation.
The Episcopal church has also developed some good resources. There are resources on both the Season of Creation and St. Francis day, and their hope is that Episcopalians will take these and plan worship services, and other ways to celebrate the Season. Find these resources here:
Any questions about the Season of Creation or any of the available resources, please reach out to The Rev. Terrance Goodpasture at [email protected].

Spend Time Outside This Week

Take some time to appreciate the outdoors this week. Go for a walk, play with your kids, play sports, or go to the park. Find ways to enjoy challenging weather such as snow, rain, and heat. Enjoy God’s beautiful creation.

“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

 Friday Reflection
All articles and special news can be submitted to the Diocesan Office at: [email protected]
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Events Warranting Your
Participation and Prayers

   Diocesan Events
Deacon’s Gathering with Bishop David
August 22 | 10 AM
Diocesan/Cathedral Worship
SJRAISE – Virtual Bible Study

August 25 | 6:00 PM
DC/SC Joint Meeting
August 29 | 10 AM
Diocesan/Cathedral Worship

Annual Diocesan Convention 2020

 the Church in all seasons
Call to Convention
Find all the annual convention information on our website!
Key Dates:
Resolutions | September 14, 2020
Nominations for Elected Offices | September 28, 2020
Reports to Convention | October 1, 2020
Audit Reports | October 1, 2020
Convention Registration | October 16, 2020

Event Information

A Day of Discernment Coming:
Saturday, September 5, 2020
The Commission on Ministry for the Diocese of San Joaquin invites you to a Day of Discernment on Saturday, September 5 from 9:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. via Zoom. The day is designed to examine the four types of ministries in the Episcopal Church, to see how these
groups work together, and to find out where we are “Called to be…” in response to our baptismal vows. The day will include a Bible Study based on the Kaleidoscope Method, an exploration of how we are called to use our gifts and talents to further God’s kingdom, and a question and answer period about the ordination process, whether it is for the diaconate or the priesthood.
There is no cost for this event. There will be an opportunity for further study if you desire to learn more about ordination.
For more information, please contact Rev. Angela Lerena, Diocesan Administrator: [email protected].

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.
Teacher recruitment period is now! If you feel called to the ministry of the spiritual formation of children, please send an email to [email protected]. 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.
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.
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.
  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
(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.

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