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
What about that supernatural stuff? Did Jesus Christ –crucified, tortured and hung from a cross — really rise from the dead?
Or is Easter just about sharing eggs and going to the beach? Sharing time with people? Beer and bongo drums?
What’s politically correct for Aptos CA churches to talk about?
Here’s what persons heard from the pulpit attending Resurrection Catholic Community 3/31/18 and Christ Lutheran Church 4/1/18 in Aptos, CA:
A 3/31/2018 8 PM Catholic service in Aptos, CA: Two people were “first time visitors” at the Easter service at the church. The large church of 400-600 was three quarters filled. The service was a familiar one. Candles lit by a fire with procession. The Word spoken including a homily by the priest.
The priest told his Easter story of a resurrection moment. As a young priest ( he had been two years a priest) in order to meet families in the Diocese he walked about 2 hours across the Philippine Islands in 100 degree humidity. He was sent out ‘two by two’ without taking food, clothing or provisions. That was back in 2004.
It was very hot and the priest was quite tired from the two hour journey when he arrived. When he arrived he was graciously welcomed to a small home by a husband and wife in their late 70’s.
The woman welcoming him — with a hug which is rarely done in the Philippine culture (they shake hands) — and she said it was the most important moment in her life; this was the first time a priest had entered her home.
This was was a ‘resurrection’ moment for the priest. The woman’s words inspired him. He was no longer tired and exhausted. He experienced God’s love through other people. Walking two hours home afterwards he was not tired.
Take away from the sermon at Resurrection Catholic Community: When you get discouraged or depressed, think of ‘resurrection’ moments in your own life said the priest. Think of moments of great joy, peace and love that come through the connections and experiences you share with other people. You have your stories of resurrection to share.
What people heard at Christ Lutheran Church April 1, 2018 could be titled The Power of Assumptions.
You can hear the sermon via YouTube. When it’s available a link will be included to it here.
Can people make changes from the bottom up instead of top down? The sermon mentioned Rosa Parks ( 1960s black civil rights) and the Florida students ( 17 students killed by a former student) as examples of people who make change from the bottom up….
Refugee Resettlement is front and center in the Easter bulletin for Christ Lutheran April 1, 2018:
Per the bulletin, this year’s Easter offering at Christ Lutheran Church in Aptos CA goes to the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS) which “has helped over 500,000 refugees”.
By the year 300 or so roughly a quarter of the Roman Empire became Christian.
As portrayed in the gospels, Jesus Christ was raised from the dead. No one saw ‘this private act’ done by God the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit.
Later, Jesus appeared to multiple people in many situations yet those people initially did not recognize Christ. Mary Magdalene did not recognize him until he called her by name. Christ told her not to touch him as he was not yet raised. Doors and windows were locked and Christ showed up.
So what is the Easter Resurrection? Simple but not simple.
Read the gospels for yourself. Read those stories and let God speak to you directly. The Wall Street Journal article mentioned above [The Easter Effect…] is a good start for thinking about the Christian faith.
In a memo sent by the University of Minnesota earlier this month, staff was told that Santa and Christmas tree decorations were “not appropriate” for campus buildings.
In general, the following are not appropriate for gatherings and displays at this time of year since they typically represent specific religious iconography: Santa Claus, Angels, Christmas trees, Star of Bethlehem, Dreidels, Nativity scene, bows/wrapped gifts. Menorah, Bells, Doves, Red and Green or Blue and White/Silver decoration themes (red and green are representative of the Christian tradition as blue and white/silver are for Jewish Hanukkah that is also celebrated at this time of year).
The memo asked university staffers to consider using “neutral-themed” decorations when decking out their campus space.
In a comment to Campus Reform, the University of Minnesota claims that the memo was merely advisory rather than an enforced policy…
“Melanie Larson is developing a project to provide new children’s books for prisoners and their
families at Soledad Prison. She is working with prison officials and a local high school teacher
who has been meeting with prisoners for the past four years.
“Here’s what one prisoner wrote recently:
When reading The Grapes of Wrath two years ago at Soledad Prison, one of the inmates,
referring to the Joad’s plight from the dustbowl, said, “You know, when I killed that man, I put
his entire family in an emotional desert for the rest of their lives. I can’t make up for it, but let
me at least try to make my life meaningful to others.”
“This is why we go inside the prison. Deep connection and possibility.
“Using children’s books expands this effort to include the families of prisoners.
If you’d like todonate a book or two please bring it/them to the church office and leave in the box on the
desk. Or, give Melanie a call.
“I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was
in prison and you visited me.” (Matthew 25:36)
Comment: Resurrection Catholic Community, the Catholic church in Aptos, sends a bus or two down to Soledad Prison each years so that children can visit their parents. Maybe some children’s books could also be on that bus? Sharing a book is a great way for a family to relate. Licensed Psychologist Cameron Jackson PSY14762
October 14, 2017 Live Music 9:45 am to 11:45 am — pot luck sharing.
Memorial Table for those harmed in recent fires.
7600 Soquel Drive, Aptos, CA
Resurrection Catholic Community
Experience healing through prayer, song, laughter, sharing and listening.
All are Welcome!
Coming from out of town? Plan to stay in Aptos for the day. Enjoy a bit of Aptos enviorns. The entrance to Seacliff State Beach is 1/2 mile away.
SATURDAY, Oct. 14, 2017 —
9:45 am — 11:45 am: Live Music (Secular & Sacred) in the Community Hall. Lulu Manus on guitar!
Like to participate? bring a favorite book on healing — or some reading that helps you heal. Bring an object that matters to you (a ring, bracelet, picture). Bring some food that you like to eat and some to share.
There may be discussion of some several of the healings Jesus did with women: Peter’s mother-in-law; a woman who had bled for many years; a young girl who had recently died.
Come and enjoy the music! Share food with others! Listen! Laugh! Bring a friend!
Bring your (supervised) children & grandchildren. Mini-cup cakes, warm cider & tea at 9:30 am.
Can’t come for all of it? Then come for part! Prefer to read the newspaper? Fine! Need to do your work? Then bring your laptop or smart phone as you listen to great music played by Resurrection musician Lulu Manus.
One place to go is the Aptos Farmers’ Market. Ashes to go? How about Wafers and Prayers & Jam Tarts to go at the Aptos Farmer’s Market?
How about home made cookies from St. John’s Episcopal, Resurrection Catholic , Christ Lutheran and First Baptist — made with love & sealed with a church sticker?
Why sell baked goods only at Christmas time? People want cookies all year long! People love home made pasta sauces. How about Tomato Preserves? And Church cook books? Many Aptos churches have Women’s Guilds and those organizations can talk to each other and work together.
And, how about a Prayer Station — next to the jam jars — where people can ask for prayers for someone they love and miss now serving in the military?
Why not? Don’t wait for people to come to you. Go to them. People need healing.
It’s time to go out to the people rather than hope that they — somehow — will come to your “campus’ aka “community”.
Research shows: churches that say they have a strong sense of identity and mission have a higher level of vitality.
So what’s the mission of your church? What’s the sense of identify that makes your church distinctive?
It’s time to ‘invest” connecting with people outside the church premises. Go where people actually congregate. Engage people on their turf. Where are they? At Farmers’ Markets. At the Garlic Festival and the Santa Cruz Fair.
Did you know that hospitals are doing exactly that? Because hospital In-Patient services have become so expensive, hospitals are offering all sorts of services on an Out-Patient basis.
Hospitals are investing outside their walls. They are following the patient.
See article in The Wall Street Journal, Tuesday, September 26, 2017: Hospitals Invest in Outside Clinics. Per that article, Peggy Seasborn, vice president of strategic growth for Dignity Health [owner of Dominican Hospital in Santa Cruz, CA] said joint replacement seemed impossible a decade ago. Now Dignity Health is able to replace hips and knees outside the hospital in a limited number of cases. People are bypassing the Hospital. Since 1994 the has been an 80 percent increase in outpatient admissions whereas Inpatient admissions to Hospitals has remained flat or decreasing.
It’s time that local Aptos CA churches ‘invested’ outside their walls. Go out with a sense of Mission and Sense of Identity and engage with people. On their turf.
One near to Aptos,CA church that does ‘go out and find the patient’ is Santa Cruz Hope Church located in Soquel, CA and Scotts Valley.
If Hospitals can think ‘outside the box’ — so can Aptos churches with a strong sense of Mission and Identity.
How do people experience healing? Numerous ways: prayer, music, singing, laughter, listening, and sharing are some ways. In what new ways can your church share the Healing Love of Christ? And reach out ….
It’s time to leave those church buildings ….
written by licensed Psychologist PSY 14762 Cameron Jackson DrCameronJackson@gmail.com
Episcopalian “white privledge” — alive and well at St. John’s in Aptos? Are there ways to address it? Yes to both!
An important issue to think about: how does the structure of the church — intentionally or unintentionally — leave out voices that are not part of the governing structure? Voices of color for example. And what can the church do about it?
One issue is wealth.
Similar to the city of Santa Cruz CA, St. John’s Episcopal in Aptos is all white and — rich.
That ALL ARE WELCOME — certainly said often at many churches including St. John’s — is visibly more apparent at some nearby Catholic churches. Just look at the makeup of who is in the pews and that’s obvious.
Per the new rules passed by St. John’s episcopal board of directors, there’s numerous steps (i.e.. 11) to meet in order to be eligible to serve on the board of directors (vestry).
All of the persons currently serving on St. John’s vestry are white.
And — per a casual inspection of the church registrar — all potential vestry persons who could be eligible to serve — are also white.
Persons who attend services have a “voice” and may “speak”. But, all decisions at St. John’s concerning the management of the corporate body of the church are made by white folk.
There are many ways that St. John’s can make ‘All are Welcome’ more of a reality. Here’s just a few easy to implement ways:
1) Connect on a daily basis with the numerous youth who come every afternoon to play basketball and skateboard on the St. John campus. How? Cabrillo College is very close. Hire a Black basketball player connected with Cabrillo — a young man age 18 – 22 who wants to spread the Good News of God’s love. Have him out there 2 hours a day Monday through Friday in the afternoons. A nice part time job for a up and coming black athlete at Cabrillo. Hire someone who can be a role model for youth. And, encourage movement from playing basketball to participating in youth group activities available through the church. And connect that program with the youth program at nearby Resurrection Catholic Community.
2) Advertise the ‘basket ball’ program with a large sign next to the Services on Sunday sign. Put up something in bright colors that says PIZZA & Basketball from 4 to 5 PM!. That will draw more youth.
3) Put a new picnic table over near the basket ball hoop. A table where a family member could sit and share a bite to eat as they watch the youth play. That makes it easy for parents to watch their children. This will be an easy way for St. John people to connect and say ‘hello’. Welcome! Come back on Sunday and other days …
4) Take down the scary blue handicapped parking signs that say $250 fine if you park in a handicapped spot. Replace with more friendly Reserved for Persons with Limited Mobility signs. The mere possibility of a $250 fine is not a friendly act.
5) Directly in front of the ENTRANCE area, put up a 8 foot metal bench. Put the bench by the back entrance to the Cafe. Sitting on it one can look out towards the park and the ocean. A lovely spot for a bench. People with mobility issues can sit and wait for a ride. There are lots of older people who might need to sit there. People needing to drop off supplies can put supplies on the bench. There are no benches around St. John’s. Take a look around nearby churches (Coastlands, Resurrection, Christ Lutheran). They all have benches. Benches are one more way to be more welcoming to the Stranger and to the Newcomer.
6) Schedule various outside music groups to sing during the Coffee hour time. The Threshold Singers for example. They sing in small groups of three for persons needing healing or at their bedsides. Deliberately bring in outside singing groups right at the end of Sunday services. Welcome the Singing Community of Santa Cruz county.
7) Make the music sung at the beginning more welcoming. For example,
A song to paste in the back of the hymnal at St. John’s — and sing — is ALL ARE WELCOME by MartyHaugen:
“Let us build a house where hands will reach beyond the wood and stone, to heal and strengthen, serve and teach, and live the Word they’ve known.
“Let us build a house where all are named, their songs and visions heard and loved and treasured, taught and claimed as word within the Word.
“Built of tears and cries and laughter, prayers of faith and songs of grace, let this house proclaim from floor to rafter. All are welcome, all are welcome, all are welcome in this place.”
And — perhaps in the front of the hymnal at St. John’s — paste another good song to sing:
THE GOD OF SECOND CHANGES
“Come now, O God of second chances; open our lives to heal. Remove our hate, and melt our rage. Save us from ourselves.
“Come now, O God of second chances; may we forgive ourselves, may we become your living sign: Children of God’s love.” [wrjitten by David Haas]
Yes — there are lots of ways for churches such as St. John’s to be deliberately more welcoming to all people. Above are just a few ways.
Akin to throwing pebbles into still waters and seeing the those ripples go out — small changes in how a church welcomes the Stranger and Newcomer may over time change the composition of the Membership and the Board of Directors.
All are Welcome! Come & Participate! On Saturday — only — a $30 donation (breakfast & lunch included) is suggested. Donate as you are able.
Friday, Oct. 13: 4 p.m. Hospitality & Registration in the Community Hall: Rest & Relax time; bring & enjoy Food to Share; Soaking Prayer background music. Dinner with other attendees — if you want — at Severino’s restaurant next door. Warm foods available to share in Community Hall. Rev. Hugh Bromiley speaks on Inner Healing in the church — roughly around 7 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 14: — 8:00 – 9:30 a.m. Pancake & Sausage breakfast hosted by Boy Scouts #609 in Hall. Soaking Prayer background music in the church. Some community singing groups may participate either Friday or Saturday — which groups may participate is still in process.
Saturday 12:00 Lunch Break: pre-made lunches (3 choices) available in Community Hall, or bring your own or enjoy food from near by eateries. Background music. Enjoy getting acquainted with others!
Rev. Hugh Bromily speaks on Inner Healing — Sat. around 9:30 a.m & around 1:30 p.m Program closes at 4:00 pm.
The Rev. Hugh Bromiley, North American Director of Order of St. Luke