By Ken Fuller
All men aged 18 and over are invited to St. John’s 20th (or thereabouts) Annual Men’s Holiday Dinner on December 12. Please consider joining in for catching up and conversation, dinner, prayers, and fun. Social time will start at 5:45pm and dinner around 6:45pm.
Start thinking now about how you will contribute to the event: what dish will you bring to share (the main course will be supplied)? Willing to show up early (5:15pm) to set-up chairs and tables? Might you also bring some "greens" to decorate the tables? We will exchange gag/repurposed gifts valued at no more than $20, so be on the lookout. If you have questions or aren’t on the men's email list, please email me.
Ashley Henderson, LCSW
If we stay open in meditation, we can’t help but come into contact with our fragile places. This may be why we are intimidated by silent retreat. We intuitively know the inevitability of this contact when we are not distracted.
Allowing ourselves to not only touch into our most tender places but to sit and stay with them is powerfully healing. We give ourselves permission to feel, to surrender to the shame, the grief, the anger, the panic, and we simply stay, witnessing, experiencing what has patiently been waiting for our attention. And when we stay and feel and witness, a love arises on its own to hold us there. We can feel a loving presence that reassures us, that says yes, yes, here. And then at the center, at the heart of the pain, we discover our power, our joy, our freedom that was trapped there. A return to deep knowing, unconditional love, an anything is possible heart opening. This is our power. This is the reconnection to self that always calls you back to you.
By Nancy Kho
In the immediate wake of the heinous Hamas attack on Israel on Saturday, October 7, many of us struggled with how to respond in a meaningful way. Our Jewish and Israeli neighbors were traumatized, and it was also clear that innocent people in the Gaza strip would be harmed by an Israeli counterattack. In the week that followed, with division and hatred highlighted on social media and in the streets, the challenge was to find a response that showed compassion, faith, and a recognition of complexity and shared humanity of the situation.
A few members of St. John’s found a step to take that was simple but felt profoundly meaningful. Earlier in the week, Senior Rabbi Jackie Mates-Muchin had issued an invitation to the greater Oakland interfaith community:
By Kathy Araujo
Mark your calendars for the biggest, bestest Parish Retreat ever! Scheduled for Mother’s Day weekend, May 10-12, 2024, your retreat planners are moving into high gear to plan games, talks, walks, meditations, massages, and gatherings so there will be something for everyone.
Additionally, the Rev. Dr. Fran Toy and two of her biographers are enthusiastic about having a forum to discuss the book about Fran’s exceptional life and career.
We have reserved the whole Ranch, with places for rambunctious families, sedate quiet seekers, and everyone in between. If you haven’t been to a Parish Retreat for a while, we hope you will plan to come.
By Sylvia Ahern
If you’re dreaming of a mall-free Christmas, the Vision Holiday Bazaar on December 10 may be your answer.
Calling all cooks and makers: we are seeking stocking-stuffer items, decorations, and kitchen gifts—your famous spiced nuts? Fudge to make folks swoon? Pickled okra? (wait, no...) Lime marmalade? (that's better)—to add to the inventory. New this year, we have two other ways you can contribute:
By Ken Fuller
We have a hit! Armchair Travelers has met twice this fall to great response. In September the Felders presented their travels in Alsace, France, and in October Nancy Kho shared about hiking New Zealand’s South Island. We’ll meet again November 15 when Judi Marr will share photos and information about the British Virgin Islands. Mark your calendars for the second Wednesday of each month, noon to 1pm. Bring a lunch if you’d like and meet us in the sacristy. John Seals will present in January and we’re still looking for someone to share in December. Please contact Ken Fuller, for more information or to volunteer to present December 13.
By Laurie Bennett
St. John’s “Come Together” party on Saturday, August 26 was highlighted by the “Stump the Rector” live auction items. Ultimately, Lilah Greene won Rev. Scott’s sermon. The “Stump the Associate Rector” item was even more competitive and finally won by Tim Hart who will take great delight in testing Rev. Kathleen’s talents.
As a result of all the activities (raffle, silent and live auctions, and party proceeds), more than $25,000 was raised for the church. This will be split between the 2023 and 2024 operating budgets.
As I write this message, I have not yet started at St. John’s, though I have made the big move to Oakland. However, by the time you read this, I will have started with you and we will be on our new journey serving together.
And so, in writing this message, I am time traveling! I know, I know — stay with me. I’ve been thinking a lot about time in these weeks of transition. I’ve been living in the Pacific time zone and working Eastern time zone hours. I’ve been watching the calendar as my November 1 start date seems both a long way off, and suddenly very close.
Time seems a little more fluid, a little less straightforward. It can feel disorienting and even frustrating as my body often can’t even guess if it’s 8 or 11am without looking at a clock.
It’s dark in the mornings when I wake up now. Nights and days are cooler, falling leaves blanket the driveway. And I’m heading into the final three months of my surprise term as your senior warden. What an adventure I never expected to have in my life! You know that annoying commercial about “young people becoming their parents”? It does happen. Both my mother and stepmother were “church ladies.” Stepmother Gloria was the first female senior warden at her church in Kansas City.
I want to take this opportunity to share my experience of vestry service. Why? Two reasons:
1. I believe the reputation of the Vestry deserves an upgrade. When we began recruiting new members last year, several of us discovered that serving on the Vestry had a somewhat ominous reputation. Some individuals rolled their eyes when we mentioned it, while others politely changed the subject or suddenly felt called to visit the restroom.
2. This fall we are actively recruiting at least four new members for three-year terms on the Vestry. We are seeking people of all ages, backgrounds, and diverse experiences who want to share their time and talent with our community.