So what’s “church” all about at St. John’s episcopal church in Aptos, CA? It’s changing. What we do know: ‘transform lives’ bit the dust and won’t be included in the new Mission Statement.
Soon — or very soon — this small episcopal church of typically 75-100 persons attending an average Sunday 10:30 AM service — will collectively agree on a new Mission Statement.
Assuming that Mission Statement words become connected to new church behaviors — there will be a host of new objectives and goals monitored by the church vestry/ board.
Initially proposed as the new Mission Statement: ‘Love like Jesus, respect the dignity of all people and and transform lives.’ This was proposed by the new Rector, Mother Tracy.
One member wrote in, ‘What does it mean to respect the dignity of all people?’ That it appears was a hard one to define. At a general meeting concerning ‘transform lives’ as part of the Mission Statement one member strongly objected, “I don’t like it” without saying why. That thought prevailed.
So, where is St. John the Baptist Episcopal Church going concerning finalizing a new Mission Statement?
What’s most recently proposed: ‘to love God and love our neighbors by doing justice, loving mercy and walking humbly with God – together.’
Anyone out there recognize the biblical basis for the above? The Great Commandment has been squished together with the old testament question, ‘What doth God require of thee, O man?’
Anyone willing and able to write a basic Mission Statement for a small Christian church? Here’s one try:
‘We, as part of the Body of Christ, love God & neighbor, seek to forgive others and also ourselves, pray as He teaches us to pray, and do such acts as Jesus’s life, teachings, death and resurrection suggest.’
Go for it — suggest a basic Mission Statement for a small, episcopal church.
Highly likely. Mother Tracy brings her perspective and changes are happening. This inference is based on reading the lengthy email sent out by the Mother Tracy (aka Mother T) concerning the proposed Mission Statement.
What we do know:
One: Mother T chose the well known social justice verse from the old testament — what doth god requires of thee? written by the prophet Micah.
New International Version
“He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”
Mother T quotes Micah as “Do justice” not “do justly…” There are numerous translations. Few translations use the words “do justice”. Most translations say “do justly”. There’s a large difference between “justice” and “do justly”.
We do know that Mother T — who has numerous, excellent skills — has not parented her own small children. Children often say or demonstrate ‘that’s not fair’ concerning sibling antics and parents step in on a daily basis to deal justly with them. As most parents who have raised small children know, handing out justice is a far cry from dealing justly with their children.
The prophet Micah is better translated as ‘do justly’ or ‘act justly’ rather than ‘do justice’.
Courts of law, judges and juries “do justice”. As individuals we can choose to ‘act justly’ and ‘do justly’.
Two: the words of the proposed Mission Statement for St. John’s are vague — sufficiently so that most anything can be plugged in as a Goal / Objective tied to an underlying ‘do justice’ theme (Micah 6:8).
The guts of the proposed Mission Statement:
Love like Jesus. Respect all persons. Transform lives.
All three prongs — love, respect and transform — easily morph into social justice goals which focus on equality — which for many includes providing free needles for persons addicted to heroin / opiates and provide free living space for all homeless persons residing in Santa Cruz county.
Here’s a suggestion for a far more simple Mission Statement for St. John’s which is based on the core words Love, Respect and Transform. The word Alert. Be alert. Stay alert.
And ALERT means stay off heroin/ opiates. Stop using needles. Stop pushing free needles for addicts. Support free detox via methadone tablets and mobile detox facilities. There’s a truck that provides free showers which goes to St. John’s episcopal and other Aptos area churches. Let’s have a truck that goes to those addicted and supports persons who choose to get free of drugs and be ALERT!
And, no more nodding off while alive. The apostle St. Paul told people to stay alert.
The word ALERT readily connects to the core words of Love, Respect and Transform which form the basis of St. John’s proposed mission statement.Just add a couple vowels to L R T — add a and e — and ah,ha — the word ALERT.
Yes – stay alert! That a decent, basic, solid stance towards life — to Love, Respect and Transform.
And for non-believers and non-Christians and atheists — of whom there are quite a few at St. John’s — the word ALERT contains no mention of Jesus Christ, of Him as the Son of God, of Logos or of anything explicitly Christian. There’s little liklihood of offending anyone with a logo of ALERT.
Note however that in the above image for ALERT that there is a triangle. The triangle could symbolize Father, Son and Holy Spirit for those who do believe Jesus Christ lives yesterday, today and forever.
Back to the beginning ….
Social Justice is largely all about equality – and not about freedom. Social justice advocates seek equality at the expense of freedom.
Like a say in the direction St. John’s takes? Then come on Sundays at 9:15 – 10:15 for the next couple week or so. Come, listen and participate. Stay ALERT!
Homeless in Santa Cruz CA — Why? Largely just economic, a slip on a banana peel? Or are people homeless due to lots of inter-related issues with use of illegal drugs interwoven? Your experience?
From government statistics: Roughly 40% surveyed report at least one or more serious health conditions: drugs/alcohol; psychotic/emotional; post traumatic stress disorder, physically disabled and chronic health conditions. Such are the statistics.
It’s one thing to report and another thing as to what the real problems are. Surveys are simply what people choose to report.
Per government survey, roughly the same percentage of homeless persons look for work (43%) compared with those who report they are unable to work (43%). These figures are from Santa Cruz County data.
A different viewpoint expressed recently by homeless advocate Jon Showalter: He said in a talk that 60% of local homeless are “economic refugees”who “slipped on a banana peel” and lost their social network. We need to know them human to human Showalter emphasized.
It’s 60% economic to 40% other (mental illness/ drug and alcohol) states homeless advocate Jon Showalter who spoke to 50+ women in Aptos,CA at Resurrection Catholic Community 3/18/19.
Following Showalter’s presentation, Pat Lorenzo of Resurrection Catholic Community updated attendees concerning other programs currently in place through mid-county churches which assist homeless persons with meals, shelter, showers, socks and other services. The collect Socks program will continue says Pat Lorenzo who applied for ,and received, three or four thousand pairs of socks in December, 2018. Those socks have been dispersed throughout Santa Cruz County Lorenzo said.
New long term sheltering program: Showalter states that a new sheltering program starts 3/18/19 at St. John’s Episcopal in Aptos, CA. Occupants of 3 cars will shelter long term in the parking lot of the church. One car/person has been doing so for several months. Persons in the new sheltering program will be vetted through the Association of Faith Communities states Showalter.
Not in my backyard issues:
Whether or how the nearby housing project — located adjacent on two sides to St. John’s Episcopal church in Aptos, CA — was contacted concerning the long term sheltering program was not discussed by Showalter at the Guild meeting nor in recent email sent by the Rector, Mtr Tracy, to St. John’s Episcopal congregation. At the Guild meeting an attendee discussed how a successful Catholic church sheltering program — located next to a school — managed the “not in my backyard issues”. Ongoing communication, sharing meals with the parish and a 6 am leave the premises each day were central rules she said.
Comment by Aptos Psychologist:
Are people homeless in Santa Cruz mainly due to “a slip on a banana peel”? Mostly an economic issue and only somewhat a mental health/ drug issue? Nope. Why the multitude of needles on the beaches? Why the feces and urine smells in downtown Santa Cruz? Why the encampment of 100+ unauthorized tents at the entrance to Santa Cruz, CA. Why do young mothers not take small children to Santa Cruz parks?
Reality: It’s probably the reverse — 80+ percent drug/ alcohol/ mental illness and 20 percent economic.
What do statistics say?
Take Away : The numbers show an overall decrease in homeless persons comparing numbers first collected (2005) to the latest numbers (2017). There were about 3,400 homeless in 2005 — and 12 years later — about 2,200 in 2017.
For communities to receive federal grant money for homeless issues those communities must count homeless persons every two years. Communities use the Point in Time method of counting.
Statistics collected by Applied Survey Research show that in 2005 there were 3,371 homeless and 8 years later in 2013 — the high point — there were 3,536. In 2015 the number was 1,964 and in 2017 it was 2,249.The statistics listed above can be found via United Way and from Santa Cruz County.
One size shoe does not fit all:
There’s a fairly new federal law that cities cannot displace homeless unless they provide a bed/ place for them. New York City shelters almost all of their homeless. California provides services to 1/3 of all the homeless in the U.S. — must be the weather and beaches? — and roughly 70% of the homeless are not sheltered. Thus we see encampments of homeless tents at the entrance to Santa Cruz, CA.
What say you? The government — and religious faith organizations — should provide long term house / housing space for all?
Many churches: How & why “church” with St. John’s Episcopal & others in Aptos, CA?
Come & participate re future of St. John’s on Sundays at 9:15.
Let’s have fun ….
Some reasons to “church”” 1) so women do not wear hajib — which according to the Muslim “bible” prevents rape & sexual assault. Well, you probably can wear hajib at St. John’s and other churches. What think? DrCameronjackson@gmail.com
Scoundrel Sen. Diane Feinstein in Dr. Ford v Judge Kavanaugh drama? Yes.
CA Sen. Feinstein – had she really believed Dr. Ford — could & should have informed both the FBI and her Judicial Committee colleagues. Instead, Sen. Feinstein did nothing for 6 weeks until after the hearing closed.