During evening prayers on Friday 3/17/17 at St. John’s in Aptos, CA — hear about another dynamic duo: St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross.
John of the Cross was asked by Teresa of Avila to follow her — which he did. Both Teresa and John were 16th century Catholic mystics living in Spain.
St. Teresa of Avila was a writer, reformer and mystic who started the Carmelite order.
St. John of the Cross, famous for Spiritual Canticle, wrote Dark Night of the Soul while he was locked in a 6′ by 10′ cell. Both of these were written in Spanish. At that time, the Bible was only available in Latin.
At age 43, Teresa of Avila started her first convent and later several other convents for women. She created a rule for how the women were to live, committed to a simple life of poverty based on love.
“The important thing is not to think much but to love much and so do that which best stirs you to love. Love is not great delight but desire to please God in everything.” (1)
John of the Cross created a similar way of life in living together for men. John of the Cross served as Teresa’s spiritual director and confessor.
Hear more about this dynamic duo during evening prayer 5:30 – 6:00 pm, Friday, March 17, 2017 . Come to St. John the Baptist Episcopal Church, Aptos, CA. Come for healing prayer and pray for others.
St. John’s is located near the entrance to Seacliff Beach in Aptos, CA. All are welcome.
During March 2017 different dynamic duos — Christian saints linked in ministry — will be remembered and discussed at St. John’s in Aptos, CA during the Friday 5:30- 6:00 evening prayer service.
Methodist preachers John and Charles Wesley are linked together in ministry.
Charles Wesley wrote over 6,000 hymns including Hark the Harold Angel Sing.
Charles Wesley is remembered March 2 in the Calendar of Saints for Evangelical Lutherans, March 3 in the Episcopal Calendar of Saints and March 29 in the Order of Saint Luke calendar.
For many years, the women of the church via the ECW and then the Helpful Shop’s Board have operated the Helpful Shop as their outreach to the Santa Cruz County community.
For the last ten years, the Helpful Shop has operated under its bylaws and has elected officers each year. Six of the seven current members of the Helpful Shop Board are listed in St. John’s church directory.
Andy Pudan is the current president of the Helpful Shop Board. Other Board members are: Floyd Bishop; Margy Cottle; Eileen Fernald; Esther Meister; Joanne Peterson and Nancy Shepard.
One effect: there’s no more specific participation by community members in decisions as to the distribution of monies. The Helpful Shop’s bylaws require two (2) community members. A current community member is the former secretary of the church who resigned without warning during 2016.
Each year, the Helpful Shop Board distributes substantial money to many local charities: $19,400 was distributed in 2016. In 2015, $28,000. was distributed. In 2014 $32,000. was distributed. Decisions are made by a Grant Committee.
History: Many years ago, the Episcopal Church Women (ECW) decided at a High Tea held that December that all money that could be distributed would be decided by the members present for High Tea that day. Women present that day suggested various charities and a vote taken. It was an amicable and memorable High Tea. Delicious food and everyone got along.
Subsequently, a more formal Helpful Shop Board evolved and a more formal process put in place how to choose charities. A couple years later the first manager of the Helpful Shop was hired.
There are numerous scenarios as to what’s currently going on. Wanting control of the money — which organizations receive how much — may be an issue underlying the decision to disband the Helpful Shop Board.
The Helpful Shop Board and its cadre of faithful volunteers are largely women.
This probably is one of the last major acts Rev. Merritt Greenwood will do.
At the Feb. 2017 vestry meeting, the Rev. Merritt Greenwood in conjunction with Bill Kell (Sr Warden), Andrea Seitz (Jr. Warden) Jon Showalter and others voted to take all legal authority to operate from the Helpful Shop Board.
Information: In an episcopal church such as this, the Junior Warden is the ‘voice for the People’; the Senior Warden typically assists and promotes the Rector’s agenda. Each vestry member has one vote.
Disagreeing with the majority, one-third of the Vestry voted “no” to killing the Board.
Why take such action at this time? There was no immediate crises and a new Rector will be coming soon.
One wonders whether this action involves gender issues? Several men were instrumental implementing this decision to dismantle this outreach activity, long the principal outreach of women in the church.
Over the last year, there have been allegations of disturbed/ distressed volunteer work relationships related to the rector’s and/ or partner’s volunteer activities. One would think these issues would resolve naturally with the coming of a new Rector.
The Helpful Shop board puts on various events during the year and reaches out seeking volunteers.
Through outreach by the Board, numerous persons have chosen to help out at the Helpful Shop.
Who will do the substantial work which Board members have done? Who will find the volunteers? Who will put on the events?
The church vestry dismantled i.e. killed the Helpful Shop Board. So, let the St. John’s vestry do the work necessary to find volunteers and put on events?
Rev. Merritt Greenwood — who has been at St. John’s somewhat over a year as temporary Rector — will leave St. John’s with the coming of a new Rector.
From the newsletter of St. John’s:
“The shop has not been without controversy over the years. The level of autonomy of the advisory board has become an issue from time to time in its history. Most recently this has caused division and conflict within the parish, which the Vestry recognized as impeding the church’s mission and presenting a major difficulty for our new Rector …” written by A. Seitz
Checking out what St. John’s mission is:
“Our mission statement goal is to equip all of our members for life and service to others.”
Monterey Bay Forum: My, my. What to do when there’s conflict in a church?
Does the vestry think it can dismantle the Board that has run the Helpful Shop and expect those who have done it for years to just keep on chugging along?
Is this the way a pastor ‘tends his sheep’?
There was no crises which required immediate action.
The issue of management of the Helpful Shop should have been left to the incoming Rector — coming soon — to address and seek healing for all.
Why hurt fellow church members?
Church boards, one hopes, will reach out to heal — not hurt.
There are resources which can help heal. Use them!
Are you …. hurried, undisciplined and disorganized in life?
Also in your prayer life?
Written in 1993 by Laurence Wagley and published in The Christian Century these words about prayer — and life — are timeless and worth reading. Wagley writes:
“Much recent literature on prayer and spiritual formation has taken the “pumping iron” approach. The central theme is “try harder.” [This article was written in 1993.]
This is the dominant form of evangelism in our culture. No matter what the sin (dirt, ugliness, being fat), salvation is a human endeavor.
God’s act of salvation in Jesus Christ has changed the direction of prayer. An anxious striving for God has been changed to a thankful acceptance of God. Special days and holy places are to remind us that in Christ, God is present “at all times and in all places.”
I believe that God meets us in this life—the life of noise, hurry and crowds—with a grace that is transforming both for us and our culture. The dichotomy of noise and spirituality is a false one.
Prayer is not a rare thing to be searched for. It is the activity of life, the moving atmosphere that sustains life even when we are unaware of it. An increasing awareness of God’s presence is to be sought, but not primarily in our effort. It will be found in the revelation of God—a glory present everywhere, a song that is a constant melody of life.
The whole human response to God’s initiative, according to Augustine, is not ascetic exercises but humbly following Christ. Spiritual formation in an Augustinian mode is less the soul’s ascent to God than a holy longing, submitting to be remade by God.
We pray to a God who takes the initiative. Prayer is a form of grace. It is an expression of the ultimate gift—the gift of God’s self to us.
As Johnson says, “We do not flee the world in order to practice prayer; rather we pray in order to engage the world.” What would the practice of this kind of prayer look like?
For Elijah, God s presence was not in wind, earthquake or fire, but in the “sound of sheer silence.” Prayer as remembering: There is a close and dynamic relationship between prayer and remembering. The central act of the holiest prayer—the eucharistic prayer—is remembering.
Remembering creates identity, and remembering helps us to know who we are and what our most important relationships are.
Prayer when you can’t think about anything else: This kind of prayer is at the opposite pole from disciplined and organized prayer. It is the prayer of crisis, of panic and trouble. When we face an emergency, it is difficult to think about anything else. Prayers during this time are often very subjective, even naive. “O God, get me out of this!” Children pray, “God, don’t let it happen,” or “Don’t let it have happened.”
Prayer to go to sleep by: This prayer would not be marked by altered posture or even by disciplined practice. It would be characterized by a quiet sense of well-being. The emphasis would be upon presence, not content. It is the kind of prayer that enables the person to deliver everything into the hands of God—to relinquish control, responsibility, the need to worry. This is prayer as trust. The person prays his or her way into peaceful sleep.
Prayer during wasted time or during underutilized time:
Prayer while driving, vacuuming, mowing the lawn, waiting—this is a natural turning to God in which we discover that God has been close all the time.
This prayer does not require isolation or undivided attention. It occurs in the midst of life as one is partially occupied with something else. People who commute to work report that this can be a meaningful time for prayer. Far from interfering with the other activity, prayer may actually enhance it.
Instead of the rule of an hour a day for prayer, this approach makes much of the day available for prayer.
Nondiscursive prayer: Protestants have trouble thinking of prayer as nonrational and nonoral. Early Christians went into the desert and found nondiscursive prayer, prayer more connected with being than with doing.
Practicing the presence of God without words can be a helpful way to pray for those who have an overload of words, concepts, speech. Instead of emphasizing discipline and rule, this form of prayer is an emptying, a being with, an integration.
Prayer as a gift is grace to the hurried, the undisciplined and the disorganized as well as to the people who live by a rule. In fact, such graced prayer is the best reminder of what prayer is and of the nature of the God to whom it is addressed. •
Written in 1993 by Laurence Wagley and published in The Christian Century
Obama may be ok with Muslim prayer but not much other kind of prayer.
Regarding the Jan. 2016 Ft Lauderdale type carnage committed by an ISIS jehadist shouting about Allah — prayer is insufficient says Obama.
Oh – so since you Obama have no faith in prayer, at least not the Christian sort, Americans should stop praying?
Remember that Obama abolished the national day of prayer Truman established in 1952?
Very recently –on January 5, 2017 — Obama wrote in the Harvard Law Review:
But as I’ve said many times: “ Our thoughts and prayers are not enough.”
They [prayers] alone won’t “capture the heartache and grief and anger we should feel,” and they do “nothing to prevent this carnage from being inflicted someplace else in America.” We have a responsibility to act.
In 1952 President Truman established one day a year as a “National Day of Prayer.”
In 1988 President Reagan designated the First Thursday in May of each year as the National Day of Prayer.
In June 2007 (then) Presidential Candidate Barack Obama declared that the USA “Was no longer a Christian nation.”
This year President Obama canceled the 21st annual National Day of Prayer ceremony at the White House under the ruse of “not wanting to offend anyone”
As for viability of Muslim prayer? On September 25, 2009 from 4 AM until 7 PM, a National Day of Prayer for the Muslim religion was Held on Capitol Hill Beside the White House.
So Muslim pray is OK –but all other prayer suspect?
Well — let’s keep President Obama in our prayers. Amen.
A clash of cultures, religions, and centuries of modern change goes on in our midst. Two recent events show stark differences:
An ISIS dude at Fort Lauderdale Jan. 9 answered ‘Who do you say I am?’ with bullets, bloodshed and shouting the words of the Shahada, ‘There is no god but God and Muhammad is …”
Twenty other dudes met Jan. 11 at St. John’s church in Aptos, CA Jan.11 to peacefully consider ‘Who do you say I am?’ while reading out loud together the Gospel of St. John which starts with:
1″ In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 1:2 The same was in the beginning with God. 1:3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. 1:4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men. 1:5 And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.”
The presenter Alliee DeArmond told a story about participating in a Billy Graham Crusade held in Santa Cruz back in the early 1980s. As part of the training she was questioned, ‘What will you say to people…?’
John 1:12: But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.
The ‘who do you say I am?’ discussion included time for personal reflection and general sharing. Sharing included drawings and discussion of other books participants were reading.
Meeting #2 for Who do you say I am? will be in a week, same day and time: Wed., Jan 18, 2016, at 7 pm – 8:30.
On a rainy day in Aptos CA 1/10/2016, nine attended the Ladies Bible Study First Baptist Church, Aptos, CA.
Nine attend Bible study First Baptist Church, Aptos, CA
The bible study is based on Entrusted, by Beth Moore, Study of the book of 2 Timothy.
Questions? Please connect:
* Tuesdays, 1/10/17 – 2/14/17
* 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Books are available through the church for $12.
First Baptist Church of Aptos
Coming soon at First Baptist Church in Aptos, CA:
February 5, 2017
Bible Study at 9:45 a.m.
Worship at 11:00 a.m.
Lunch at 12:00 p.m.
A six-week encounter with Jesus in the Gospel of John will begin Wednesday, January 11, 7:00 pm at St. John the Baptist Episcopal Church in Aptos. Address: 125 Cantebury Drive
Join Joanne Peterson, Doug and Hannah Crocker, Alliee and Michael DeArmond, and Andrea Seitz in exploring the scripture.
Each evening will be led by different people and will focus on a particular chapter in John.
Participants should bring a Bible and some kind of notebook / journal.
The hour and a half evenings will include reading the chapter, a short introduction, time for personal reflection and discussion.
Dinner won’t be included, but there might be snacks.
For more information, email Alliee: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please SHARE this info with your friends and acquaintances. Thanks.
The ‘insiders’ did not follow the rules for upcoming vestry elections of St. John’s, an episcopal church in Aptos, CA.
Pay to pray — if you want to be on the Vestry says one episcopal church having just a few days ago accepted proposed revisions to their Bylaws. [St. John the Baptist Episcopal Church, Aptos, CA]
Looks like another instance of the’insiders’ doing what they want — and not following the ‘rules’ laid out for others.
These Bylaws still have to be approved as legal by the Chancellor for the Diocese of El Camino Real.
The Chancellor for the diocese is Nancy Mahomey Cohen.
Will the Chancellor for the diocese agree that these proposed revisions to the Bylaws for St. John the Baptist Episcopal Church in Aptos are indeed “legal”?
Will legal advise from the diocese agree that it’s OK to require that potential Vestry members must make a Pledge of identifiable money during the preceding 6 months to the Corporation to be on the Vestry?
Her email: email@example.com
Here’s what happened:
At an episcopal church level it’s possible to self-nominate or nominate someone else to sit on the church board.
The rules to follow sent by email on Sept. 29, 2016.
One long time member followed the rules and submitted a petition to place another member on the list for nominees. The applicant ‘an outsider’ strictly in the sense that the applicant was not nominated by the ‘insiders’ on the Nomination Committee.
The Clerk appropriately followed the rules, kept the name secret, and on the correct date turned over the name of the applicant to the Nominating Committee.
Here’s where the ‘insiders’ did not follow the rules. The applicant only had to meet two requirements: be over the age of 14 and be listed on the Parish Registrar. The applicant met both conditions.
After receiving the name, the Nominating Committee should have put that name ‘in the basket’. That’s it. Job done. Instead, the Nominating Committee (no Chair) decided to turn it over to the interim priest and senior warden.
At the most recent Vestry meeting the interim priest said that he was asked by the Nominating Committee to ask the applicant two questions …..
The Nominating Commitee — the Vestry — stopped doing its job and turned it over to the interim priest and one warden. Opps! The insiders did not follow the rules laid on in the Sept. 29 email
Per review of the Bylaws, the Vestry shall nominate a Chair of the Nominating Committee. When asked, Junior Warden Andy Pudan stated that there was no Chair. Andy P. stated that he, Diane Scofield and Vicky Wilson were on the Nominating Committee. That meets the Bylaw rules that 3 members from the Vestry be on the Nominating Committee. [The Bylaws also allow 2 other menbers.] Another Vestry member Jon Showwalter (not on the Nominating Committee) said to the Clerk that Charles Greenleaf was an ‘adviser’ to the Committee.
The most recent Vestry meeting was called to discuss and accept proposed changes to the Bylaws. Charles Greenleaf, who was present as Guest for the preceding two Vestry meetings, was not present at the November 2016 meeting.
Maybe someone will review these Bylaws and say No!
written by Cameron Jackson drcameronJackson@gmail.com
What’s in the national news? Power.
Winners and losers.
The reality of power. Will the powerful have their own way? What agenda will be followed?
And there’s similiar news at St. John’s Episcopal church in Aptos, CA.
Power. Winners and losers. Will the powerful have their own way? What agenda will be followed?
Read below and you decide.
To discuss and accept revisions to the church Bylaws and nominations for the board, the church Vestry held a meeting Nov. 22, 2016 at 6:45.
Very short ‘notice’ of the November Vestry meeting: An email was sent the afternoon of 11/22 which stated that a Vestry meeting was happening at 6:45 pm that day. No prior notice of the Nov. Vestry meeting put on the church website or in the 11/20/2016 church bulletin.
At the beginning of the meeting C. Jackson asked that two handouts be given and discussed. One is a Letter from a member which states that she regularly sees the monies given weekly by an applicant for Vestry. The other is a Statement by C. Jackson detailing reasons why an applicant meets criteria for nomination ‘from the floor’.
Both handouts were passed out to all of the Vestry members present at the beginning of the meeting. [The Treasurer came later — and did not hear what C. Jackson said nor did she receive the two handouts.]
Early on in the meeting the Vestry discussed the criteria persons who self-nominate must meet to run for election to the corporate board of the Parish.
The current Bylaws rules state that any contributing member who gets X number of persons to support them can stand for elections from the floor.
The existing Bylaws are ambiguous. They do not define a ‘Member’ as someone who has donated money via a specified manner , i.e., via a Pledge or putting in the collection basket an envelope containing money with one’s name on it.
C. Jackson was given the opportunity to speak and stated that overall communications need to improve. In the past, there have been allegations of possible spiritual abuse and not taking care of staff and volunteers. No discussion of these allegations or how they were being addressed had been discussed at the last 2 Vestry meetings stated Jackson.
One way to improve communication during church meetings was suggested by Jackson: Simple changes in communication: Use a format of
“I feel [ ] when [ | ] happens” reduces finger pointing and encourages individuals to take responsibility for their feelings.
Notice and Agendas: C. Jackson noted that providing better Notice of meetings, and providing Agendas ahead of time will improve communication.
C. Jackson asked: Does this church want to tell the world that you gotta pay money via a Pledge to be considered a Member and ‘be one of us’?
Stacking the deck: Controlling who can stand for election is one way to ‘stack the deck’. At the national level many people are aware that the Democrat National Party ‘stacked the deck’ in favor of Hilary. The system is rigged claimed Bernie Sanders.
Will the current Vestry successfully stack the deck — shape in advance — the church elections on Dec. 4, 2016? Who can stand for election and who cannot is one way to ‘stack the deck’.
Of course proof of Communion will be on the honor system. What about proof of giving/ donating also on the honor system?
See pg. 20 of the Dec. 20, 2016 church bulletin: No Notice is in the bulletin concerning upcoming Vestry meeting in two days. The next Vestry meeting is listed as Dec. 14, 2016.
To summarize: Very short notice was given to the congregation that who is a church “Member” becomes …. You have to Pay to Pray as a ‘Member’ of the Corporation.
National politics: Remember how Donna Brazile during one of the debates fed questions ahead of time to Hilary? Donna later got fired.
During the election cycle, the Democrat operatives –called journalists — shaped what the general public got in the way of news. Similarly, their are ‘church operatives’ which shape the “news” that the church attendees get.
‘Don’t publicize this stuff’ a few people said to C. Jackson. ‘It makes the church look bad’ they said. Oh? My response: Then read and re-read the Book of Acts. The apostle Paul had a lot to say about the early Saint/ Sinners and their antics: including dishonesty, laziness and mis-guided actions.
So — who will be the winners and losers at St. John’s Episcopal church in Aptos, CA?
**** The Vestry decides at the Tuesday, Nov. 22 meeting at 6:45 pm (in the Cafe) whether to change the rules — or stay with the existing rules. Come if you are able. What do you think? Here’s the names to contact:
Billl Kell – Senior Warden (appointed by Merritt)
Andy Pudan – Junior Warden (elected by Vestry)
Jane Dawson – Adult Education
Diane Scofield – Outreach
Suzanne Krakover-Nickel – Stewardship
Jon Showalter – Building & Grounds
Vicky Wilson – Hospitality
Andrea Seitz – Newcomers
Debra Spencer – Worship
Anne Baker – Treasurer
Eileen Fernald – Finance
Peter Goodman – Children & Youth
Nancy Shephard – Clerk
Back to basics: Who is a ‘member’ of an Episcopalian church?
To become an Episcopalian — what does a person have to do? The following is from Forward Movement which is a general resource for Episcopalians.
“How Can I become a Member of the Episcopal Church? How can you become a member? First of all, we would love to have you join Grace and Holy Trinity Church! Please contact the Rev. Bo Millner or Carolyn Chilton and they will be happy to help you.
“Here is some general information about membership in the Church. Baptism makes us members of the Church. And, we can then live into the meaning of our baptism within specific congregations and Christian denominations. The five sections below will spell this out more fully.
1. “Most importantly, the sacrament of Holy Baptism, makes you a member of the Universal Christian Church. The Episcopal Church recognizes as Christian all persons who have been baptized with water and in the name of the Holy Trinity (Father, Son, Holy Spirit).
2. “If you were baptized into the Universal Church in an Episcopal congregation then, in addition to becoming a member of the Universal Church, you were enrolled as a member of that particular congregation and also became an “Episcopalian.” You are member at the church where you were baptized until death or until you transfer to another congregation. So, if you were baptized at Grace and Holy Trinity Church, you are a baptized member here. If you have asked that the record of your baptism be transferred here, then you are a member here as well.
3. “If you were baptized with water and in the name of the Trinity in another Christian communion or denomination, you can become a member of Grace and Holy Trinity Church by asking that your letter of baptism be transferred so that you can be enrolled on the books of this parish. This makes you a baptized member of the Episcopal Church in general and a member of Grace and Holy Trinity Church specifically.
4. “All baptized members are encouraged to receive the sacrament of confirmation, either when they reach maturity or in connection with baptism if they are baptized as adults. In confirmation ‘we express a mature commitment to Christ and receive strength from the Holy Spirit through prayer and the laying on of hands by a bishop.’ After confirmation, a person is a confirmed member.
5. “If you were baptized and confirmed in another church you may be received (rather than reconfirmed) by a bishop of The Episcopal Church. This makes you a confirmed member of The Episcopal Church.
Adult (16 years of age and older), confirmed, communicants in good standing (you have been faithful in attending corporate worship and in praying, working, and giving for the spread of the Kingdom of God) may vote for Vestry (the ruling body of the congregation), run for the Vestry and represent the congregation in the diocese.
“We hope this answers some of your questions. And we encourage you to be in touch. You are most welcome at Grace and Holy Trinity Church! (Much of the information above was taken from the Forward Movement brochure on “Membership in the Episcopal Church”. Forward Movement is an official, non-profit agency of The Episcopal Church and is sustained through sales of tracts and through tax-free contributions. They can be reached at 300 West Fourth Street, Cinicinnati, OH 45202-2666, 800-543-1813; www.forwardmovement.org)
written by Cameron Jackson, Ph.D., J.D. DrCameronJackson@gmail.com
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