Thursday, September 16, 2021

Dr. Becky Wright Joins Us at 9 a.m. Starting This Sunday!

"Everything You Always Wanted to Know About the Old Testament But Were Afraid to Ask"

Sept. 19, 26, and Oct. 3 (Sundays)

9-10 a.m., Zoom

By Mother Tracy

Beginning this Sunday (Sept. 19) and continuing for two more weeks (Sept. 26 and Oct. 3), the Rev. Dr. Rebecca (Becky) Abts Wright, C. K. Benedict Professor of Old Testament and Biblical Hebrew at the School of Theology at Sewanee: The University of the South (where Mother Tracy went to seminary) will be with us to present an overview to the Old Testament and answer our questions (as generated at the Adult Formation hour on Sunday, Sept. 12).

Join us, even if you weren't part of formulating the questions, for what will be an intellectually-stimulating and faith-strengthening experience!

Choir and Hand Chimes Rehearsing Again

by Andrew Carter, Director of Music Ministries

Our music ensembles are starting up again in person. Everyone is always welcome to join  either ensemble. We are always happy to make room.   

The Choir is meeting outside on the back deck on Wednesday afternoons from 12:30 - 2 p.m. 

The Hand Chime Choir will be meeting on Friday mornings starting on Friday, Sept 24 from 10:30 a.m. - 12 p.m.  The chime choir will be meeting indoors. The exact location is TBA. 

Hope you can join us.  

What Are Your Spiritual Gifts & Skill Sets?

by Debra Spencer, Vestry Internal Ministry Support Team

St. Paul writes, “As it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be?” (1 Corinthians 12.18-19).

It is our variety of gifts and skills that make us, as the body of Christ, able to serve our neighbors and each other. 

The Internal Ministries Support Team, on behalf of the Vestry, plan to create a spiritual gifts and skills sets database for use by the rector, the vestry, and other parish staff to connect parishioners with ministry opportunities that would be most fulfilling to them. To do this, we plan to ask all parishioners to list their top three spiritual gifts (for example, art, discernment, healing, teaching, etc.), and any other skills they possess (for example, knitting, woodworking, organizing, visiting, etc.).

For the spiritual gifts, we'll be using the Spiritual Gifts Inventory from the Faith Leader curriculum, which we used in the 2018-19 parish-wide discernment process. (Click here for a definition of spiritual gifts as defined in that curriculum. Some were taken directly from scripture and others were added by the authors of that curriculum.)

Click here to download a PDF of the spiritual gifts inventory, which includes a scoring guide. Please print it out and take it in order to discern your three top spiritual gifts.

For the skill sets, our parish database, Realm, has a list of possible skills, to which we have added some additional ones as well. 

Click here to download a PDF of the skills list. Please check off the skills you have, and feel free to add one of your own if it’s not on the list. Make sure to identify the ones you’d like to use for our community.

Once you have discerned your spiritual gifts and skills sets, email them to We will see that your data are made accessible to the clergy, staff, and volunteer leaders at St. John’s.

Contributing to the database is of course entirely voluntary, and no one but the parish personnel named above would ever have access to it. But we hope all will contribute, so that we may function more effectively as the body of Christ in the world.

Lunch at the beach with the ECW!

Monday Sept 20 @ noon

All are welcome to join ECW for lunch at Seacliff Beach at noon September 20th. Please bring individually wrapped items to share. Janet Duncan has a pass, so if you would like to ride down with her be at the church by 11:25 am.

We don't have a reserved spot so if you join us later start looking at the table nearest to the bridge. Or call Janet or Alliee and ask them where they are.

Lay Eucharistic Visitor Training

Sept. 22, 1-2:30 p.m.

by Rev. Mary Lou McKenney, Assisting Priest

There will be a meeting of the Lay Eucharistic Visitor Training group on Wednesday, Sept. 22 at St. John's.
  • If the weather is good, we'll meet outside. Otherwise indoors with masks.
  • Bring personal food or drink if you like.

Final Book Discussion of "Having Nothing, Possessing Everything" on Sept. 22

By Mother Tracy

The Genesis II Team has had several great discussion sessions about the book Having Nothing, Possessing Everything: Finding Abundant Communities in Unexpected Places, by Michael Mather, with staff and parishioners at large over the last several weeks. Don't miss the final opportunity to discuss it with others!

Wendesday, Sept. 22
7-8:30 p.m.
Meeting ID: 814 6157 6615
Passcode: 002235

Please come even if you haven't read the book! These are important conversations with implications about how we approach our ministry as a church. The book encourages us make a significant "mental shift." Instead of asking, "How can we involve our neighbors in what we're doing?" we're invited to ask instead, "How can we be involved with our neighbors in what they're already doing?"

If you'd like to get a copy of the book, it's available from pretty much any online vendor, and your preferred local bookstore should be able to get it for you as well.

Here are a few links for your convenience:
Order directly from the publisher
Order from Better World Books 

Help Needed for Newcomers Luncheon

by Brian Raney

On September 26th we're having a newcomers luncheon to welcome people who've come to St John's in the last year or two. This luncheon will be held at Brian and Barbara Raney's house but we need volunteers to make food and serve people. Please contact Brian at if you'd like to volunteer.

Many Thanks!

St. John's to Host AFC Shelter All October

By Mother Tracy

The Association of Faith Communities (AFC)'s rotating shelter program for unhoused people, which we used to host every Tuesday night at St. John's before the pandemic and which was able to "shelter in place" at Resurrection Church 24/7 for the first 15 months of the pandemic and then at the VFW in Santa Cruz for the last 4 months, will be returning to a daily rotation model in November. 

Because of the positive impact having a stable place to stay (and not having to sleep in a different building every night) had on the shelter residents, the AFC had wanted to shift to a monthly model when they began rotating again, where the shelter guests would stay at each church or institution for a month at a time. St. John's had agreed to host for a month at a time, but unfortunately, the AFC was not able to recruit enough other churches to make that model work, so they are having to return to a daily rotation model after all.

Because we had been willing to host for a month at a time, the AFC asked if we'd still be willing to do that, just once, to give the shelter residents a "grace period" and less abrupt transition from having one place they can stay all day every day for many months at a time to having to sleep in a different geographical location every night of the week and leave that location each morning.

We agreed, and in October, St. John's will host the AFC rotating shelter for the entire month.

Although the shelter residents will be at St. John's every night, they will not stay on campus during the day. They will have to clean up their bedding and pack up all their belongings before leaving the church in the morning. This will help them get back into the routine of a daily rotation and ensure that the buildings are still available for the parish's use during the day if desired, but at least the residents will have the continuity and consistency of coming back to the same place every night for one more month.

Stay tuned for further information about how hosting the shelter during the month of October will impact our day-to-day operations at St. John's, but for now, please pray for the shelter residents as they prepare for a significant transition in just a few weeks.

Worship Theme for October:
Saints & Healing

By Mother Tracy, Rector

In previous years we've chosen themes to help ground and center our worship during the seasons of Advent and Lent. This year, we're playing around with the concept of doing this at other times of the year as well. A subset of the Worship Committee consisting of me, Andrew Carter, Alliee DeArmond, and Susan VonSchmacht, have crafted a thematic journey for our worship for the month of October. Stay tuned for more information about ways we'll be inviting you to engage with these themes each week in a more interactive way.

October 3rd - Healing Creation

Celebration of the Feast Day of St. Francis of Assisi

This Sunday will feature a focus on St. Francis's concern for the environment and all of creation. (The Blessing of the Animals will be "to go" (short brief blessings one-on-one) at Seacliff State Beach later in the afternoon.)

October 10th - Healing Poverty / AFC Sunday

(continuation of focus on St. Francis)

This Sunday will feature participants and volunteers in the Association of Faith Communities (AFC) sheltering ministry, which St. John's will be hosting for the entire month of October.

October 17th - Healing Body, Mind and Spirit

Celebration of the Feast Day of St. Luke

This Sunday will be a Healing Service, featuring time for healing prayer with laying on of hands and anointing with oil. We'll also hear short talks from parishioners about different healing ministries or professions to which they are called.

October 24th - Healing Community 

This Sunday will focus on ways we can promote reconciliation and healing in our relationships within the St. John's community.

October 31st - All Hallow's Eve / All Saints Day

Healing of Unfinished Business With the Departed

As we remember all our faithful departed on the day before All Saints' Day, we'll include a ritual whereby you can offer up any regrets or unfinished business you have with those who have died and ask for healing. 

Latest version of St. John's prayer list

by Sherrie DeWitt

Download the Prayer List (pdf) here.
The prayer list was updated on September 2, 2021.  The Prayer list is available on Realm as a resource in the "Prayer" group. If you have a Realm login, you can click the link to the right and download the file. Contact Sherrie DeWitt if you don't use Realm, have questions, or you need her to send you a copy.

Feel free to email prayer requests to, a mailing list of over 40 parishioners committed to praying for the requests that are sent to them.

Upcoming 2021 ECW Schedule

Meeting monthly on the 3rd Monday @ noon. 
  • Sept 20     Picnic out
  • Oct 18       Playful Prayer
  • Nov 15      Vets for vets program
  • Dec 13       Lunch out

Open Studios is again happening this October across Santa Cruz County

by Ann Thiermann, Organist (and Visual Artist!)
Ann's Website 

My studio will be open to the public on October 2-3 and 16-17 from 11 am - 5 pm.

Location: 662 Cathedral Dr.

As a preview, I want to invite "church friends" over on Sunday, September 26, from 1-4 pm.

My studio tour is unique, with groupings of 50 + paintings  in four different viewing areas, clustered in themes, like "Down to the river",  "Fall Harvest",  "Cultivar to Wild",  "Ship Ahoy",  "Into the forest"...

It's a chance for me to get to know folks at St. John's and vice versa, while being socially distanced, with masks, and wander through my garden to the different viewing areas both interior and exterior in a garden setting.
  • Participate in my "Garden Gate"  silent auction for 2nd Harvest Food Bank.
  • Come enjoy my catalogue Pathways through Our Parks, 3rd printing,  plus favorite prints, magnets and a variety of new works of various sizes.
(1.2 mi above the Aptos Village. just about six minute drive form St. John's. I suggest carpooling from the parking lot at New Leaf market at the corner of Trout Gulch & Cathedral. There is parking on site at 662 Cathedral Drive available, but restricted.)

Questions? Contact Ann
Studio: 831-685-0744 | Cell: 831 234-7351 

Fall Book Circles on Healing Racism from the Resource Center for Nonviolence in Santa Cruz

By Muna AlSheikh, Muslim Solidary Group of Santa Cruz

Good morning Community,

For those who might be interested, Antiracism Book Circles are offered again this Fall by the Resource Center for Nonviolence in Santa Cruz as an act of radical education and healing. Separate and mixed racial groups are offered. 

The goal is to create a space in which participants may collectively and individually gain understanding that will result in healing, understanding, inclusion and empowerment. More importantly, they provide a way to maintain energetic human connections through virtual meeting spaces. Past circles have included participants from around the world to create transformative and educational learning spaces. 

Due to the sensitive racial nature of the books offered, the RCNV’s racial equity policy offers separate affinity groups to respect the process of participants and to provide more safety and depth in the circle. Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC), especially, may benefit from a unified healing experience within a safe container to grieve and process. Here is for more information :

Call for Nominations to Diocesan Leadership Roles

Nominations are being accepted for elected and appointed leadership roles that will help guide the Diocese of El Camino Real into the future, serving our communities. This is a great opportunity to share your leadership skills, gifts, and experience for a variety of diocesan positions -- Standing Committee, Board of Trustees, or Commission on Ministry -- which will be decided at our annual convention on November 6.

We strive to engage and develop leaders from across the diocese: we encourage diversity of cultures and ages, and we’re committed to include historically underrepresented voices. Please prayerfully discern where you can best serve.

Nomination forms are available in English and in Spanish and need to be returned to Kirstin Nielsen by September 30, 2021.

Election for these positions will take place at our upcoming convention. Position descriptions can be found on this more detailed document.

For more information, please contact the Chair of the Nominating Committee, Mr. Steve Pearson at

The Mercy Center Centering Prayer Program presents:


The Divine Feminine and the Transformation of Consciousness


October 15-17, 2021 

Starts 10 am Friday and ends 12 pm Sunday (lunch provided afterwards)

$300 Online / $350 on site (Mercy Center in Burlingame)  

In the practice of Centering Prayer we open ourselves to God in the unknown places of ourselves, to the unloading of the unconscious mind, each time we give our consent to the presence and action of the Holy Spirit.  This willingness to say "yes" to the darkness, "the cloud of unknowing", prepares us to receive self-knowledge, to see reality more clearly for ourselves and for others in the light of awakening to truth. 

In our Christian heritage we venerate Mary, the God bearer, who enters the unknown to bring forth life giving fruit for the world. She sometimes appears as swarthy or coal black as an invitation to welcome our shadow so that we too may bring forth our gifts for the benefit of the cosmos and realize our wholeness – that we are both darkness and light. Embracing the dark feminine in ourselves roots us in our true nature and generates wellbeing for ourselves and our planet.  

Retreat Leaders:
Rev. Amber Sturgess is an Episcopal Priest, spiritual director, and a seeker on the contemplative path. She enjoys teaching contemplative practices that deepen our spiritual awareness.  Amber currently serves as Rector of All Saints’ Episcopal Church in Carmel.

Catherine Regan, Ph.D. is a spiritual director, retired psychologist, and adjunct staff member at Mercy Center, primarily serving on the Centering Prayer team. She has a special interest in participating in the reclamation of the Christian Wisdom tradition and fostering the contemplative practices so urgently needed at this time in our world.

Joy Andrews Hayter, Ph.D. is a spiritual director, and Centering Prayer coordinator at Mercy Center. Joy is dedicated to fostering contemplative practices such as Centering Prayer and others within the Christian Wisdom tradition that help us become aware of God's ever-present love. As a scientist she sees in the physical world an expression of that love.

Please register at or telephone 650-340-7474

Next Beach Cleanup Postponed to October

Saturday, October 16, 9–11 a.m.

By Bart Coddington        

Our last cleanup day for 2021 won't be until the middle of October. Notices will be sent out before that new date. 

As part of adopting Seacliff State Beach, we need to do 3 cleanups each year. Join us, it's fun!

Recordings Now Available of "Mean Old Testament God vs. Nice New Testament God?" Series with Dr. Emily Filler

If you missed the two-week adult formation series with Dr. Emily Filler that was held during the adult formation hour on Sunday, Aug. 22 and Sunday, Aug. 29, you can view the recordings of those sessions here:

Part 1: August 22

Part 2: August 29

Franciscan Festival at St. Francis Retreat

Sunday, October 3, 2-8 p.m.

  • 2  p,m. Welcome
  • 2:30 p,m. Franciscan Justice Circles
  • 4:30 p,m. Prayer with Creation
  • 5  p,m. Reception
  • 6  p,m. Dinner
  • 7  p,m. Transitus
A re-gathering for the Franciscan Family, Introducing Franciscan Justice Circles.

This event will gather the Franciscan Family from Northern California and the Central Coast for prayer, discernment, and celebration in the spirit of St. Francis.

The event is free, but the dinner is $25 & registration. Click here to register.

St Francis Retreat, 
549 Mission Vineyard Rd,
San Juan Bautista, CA 95045, USA
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