Evening Prayer: St. Teresa of Avila & St. John of the Cross

Christ of st john of the cross DaliDuring 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.

crucificion sketch by st john of the crossSt. John of the Cross made a drawing of Christ from above was  later was the basis of Dali’s famous painting.

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.

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Dynamic Duos: Christian Saints Charles & John Wesley

hymns of faithChristian saints John and Charles Wesley are remembered and discussed today,  Friday, March 3,  5:30 pm at St. John’s in Aptos during evening prayers.

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.


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St. John’s in Aptos CA kills Board of Helpful Shop

helpful-shop-buildingNo more Helpful Shop Board.

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!   

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prayer … for those of us who are … hurried, undisciplined and disorganized


prayer for the hurried, undisciplined and disorganized

prayer for the hurried, undisciplined and disorganized

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.]

 “But trying has a short shelf life, and I suspect recidivism is greatest not among dieters or smokers but among those who commit themselves to prayer.
“People in trouble, reaching out in prayer, are desperately aware of their own weakness, instability and sin.
” Initially prayer is often a frantic garble with little faith in any answering help. As faith grows, confidence in our ability in spiritual matters is likely to decrease even more because of the discovery that good things come from God and not from human enterprise.
   be-still-and-know” The saints who have long histories of prayer and faithful living are the ones most likely to give witness to their own weakness and to attribute all their faithfulness to God.
” I’m no longer surprised that generally students’ first response to the topic of prayer is to confess how little they pray.
They know they ought to. They say they have a guilty conscience from neglecting prayer. They should be more committed, more disciplined and better organized in their prayer life. They ought to try harder. It took me a while to pick up the “shoulds” and “oughts” in these confessions. I didn’t recognize these at first because they characterized my own confessions. In other connections I call such a concentration of compulsive prescription a form of moralism—maybe even an indication of works-righteousness.
“We have been taught to emphasize human endeavor in our prayer and spiritual formation. Discipline and rule are presented as the norm. We should select certain times and places for prayer.
In the literature of spiritual formation  Prayer is not a rare thing to be searched for. It is the activity of life, the atmosphere that sustains life.
 God meets us in the noise, the hurry and the crowds —  while some  are preoccupied with discipline, with steps and procedures.
The picture  conveyed [in much of prayer literature]  is of a disciplined super-hero who climbs an endless flight of stairs, scales high mountains, works hard.
 Have you ever had acquaintances who insisted on forming a friendship with you? They pushed until you felt smothered by their attention, and you finally reached the conclusion that they wanted the relationship for the own reasons rather than for any real appreciation of you.
 I have a similar problem with many of the prayer manuals. Confidence in human endeavor is joined with promises of success. Titles such as The Power of Holy Habits, Liberation of Life, Secret of a Happy Life and Power Through Prayer contain a subtle combination of these themes. Interview the football star about his sport or his prayer and he is likely to say, “I had a really good day, but I can do better. I’m going to really practice hard this week and I think you’ll see a really super performance next Sunday.” This approach sounds right. Capitalize on the enthusiasm of the new convert. Encourage the commitment of the person who has just had a religious experience.
Home from a prayer retreat, the novice in spiritual formation makes resolutions. The problem with resolutions is that they look in the wrong direction for what is resolute. Listen to the practitioner who has been praying an hour every day for two weeks. “It’s wonderful! It has brought new meaning to my life. There is nothing like it. You ought to try it!” It sounds like Amway or Mary Kay. There is a Laurence A. Wagley is professor of preaching and worship at Saint Paul School of Theology (United Methodist) in Kansas City, Missouri. 323 CHRISTIAN CENTURY March24-31,1993 passing enthusiasm, and a need to sell the product to others as a confirmation of one’s good judgment.

This is the dominant form of evangelism in our culture. No matter what the sin (dirt, ugliness, being fat), salvation is a human endeavor.

SEVERAL PRAYER manuals follow a model that places those who pray on a scale of maturity. Then the aim is to prove that I have more spiritual or psychological maturity than you do. Many authors in the fields of education, pastoral care and spiritual formation have drawn on the work of Piaget, Erikson, Kohlberg and Fowler and made major contributions to an understanding of how people learn, cope and mature.
But prayer tailored to developmental stages can become mechanistic. An excellent book on prayer by the faculty of Luther Northwestern Theological Seminary ends with a chapter on “Learning and Teaching Prayer.” The author of that chapter is concerned primarily with “the learners’ cognitive and affective developmental readiness,” so that the “appropriate methods” may be selected. I’m afraid he will divide the prayer meeting into classes with names on the doors like: “Undifferentiated Faith,” “Intuitive-Projective Faith,” “Mythic-Literal Faith” or “Synthetic-Conventional.”
 Other manuals use psychological testing such as the Myers-Briggs Personality Type Indicator so that prayer may be attuned to areas where you can make your own best effort. 
Prayer is primarily the initiative of God coming to form a caring relationship with us. When prayer is thought of as a human accomplishment it turns toward concern for goals and values that are attainable by hard work and which have as their reward personal gratification.

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.”

 This is a gift to celebrate in the midst of life rather than a discipline to be learned in a special academy. This theological approach to prayer emphasizes healing of eyes and ears so we may see and hear and know God’s presence in the world.
Richard Foster in Celebration of Discipline begins his chapter on “The Discipline of Meditation” this way: “In contemporary society our Adversary majors in three things: noise, hurry and crowds.” Like many other writers on the topic, Foster tries to create an alternative world in which we may practice certain disciplines and so achieve a spiritual quality of life.

 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.

 Augustine made this discovery. As a Neoplatonist he sought a ladder—a sequence of meritorious acts that would elevate the soul to God. He soon lost confidence in this approach, however, and came more and more to emphasize the frailty of humanity.
 For Augustine, prayer came to be marked not by disciplined endeavor but by the grace of God—a grace one cannot earn but only beg. 

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.

He must have discovered it in Paul: “The Spirit helps us in our weakness, for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words.”
 Why should prayer be such hard work? A loving relationship would seem to express itself joyously and spontaneously. A theology of prayer that puts the emphasis on work and discipline is bad theology.

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.

The problem is not just in making unrealisjtic demands on human beings. In Faith’s Freedom Luke Johnson critiques much of the literature on prayer as having “little grounding in . . . theology” and “rarely touching on the problems of real life.”
“Christian spirituality,” he says, “needs an intellectual recasting that takes seriously the life of ordinary people in a world shaped by modernity rather than the monastery.” I T IS POSSIBLE to take the monastery and early Christian monastic practice as a model, but there must be some care used in doing so. Roberta C. Bondi in To Pray and to Love places the emphasis on the motivation of love rather than on particular practice. Alan Jones in Soul Making enters a world of tears, hurt, pain and abandonment. From the desert he learned that awakening is followed by falling apart and learning to let go. He believes “it is fatal to interpret Christianity as a program for self-improvement or self-fulfillment.” On the other hand, Margaret R. Miles in Practicing Christianity looks to the early monastic tradition for “regimes involving diet, management of sex, physical exercise, and meditation or prayer [in order to] heighten a sense of agency and responsibility, a new ‘relation of oneself to oneself.'”
One of the extensive reviews of historic forms of spirituality is found in The Study of Spirituality. Near the end of this book is a short but seminal essay by Mark Gibbard in which he recommends “a discriminating use of the spiritual classics.” He warns against their tendency to be world-fleeing and against the Manichean escape from the Prayer in the midst of life— while waiting, vacuuming, mowing the lawn, driving—is a natural turning to God. Prayer does not necessarily require one’s undivided attention. CHRISTIAN CENTURY March24-31,1993 324 material and a slighting of the needs of the body.

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?

    listening-imageListening as prayer: Listening to music, to the wind in the trees, to the noise of the city may be a form of prayer. Listening is itself a prayerful activity. Listening may lead to a sense of the presence of God. Listening may lead to insight. “Be still and know that I am God.” “I did not know that you were in this place.” 

   eligah-and-elishaFor 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.

 The remembering of the Lord s Supper passes from recalling to reliving, so that all that was done in the past is available and effective in the present. 

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.”

We all pray such prayers, though we seldom admit doing so. If we prayed them aloud we would clean them up theologically and make them more presentable socially. But in their original form these prayers express our humanity. God shares our suffering and gradually a relationship matures. It doesn’t take erudition to pray. 

   sleepPrayer 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:

   driving-aaPrayer 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.


presence of God without words

presence of God without words

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.

 There are ordered and disciplined forms of prayer that are very helpful. They are more helpful to some people than to others. Meaningful as they are, they must not be allowed to define prayer exclusively.

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 

Monerey Bay Forum

127 Jewell Street
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
United States (US)
Phone: 831 688 6002
Fax: 831 688 7717
Email: jaj48@aol.com
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Pray? Obama prays we not pray as prayer does not work says Obama


Obama prays that Americans not pray as prayer does not work

Obama prays that Americans not pray as prayer does not work

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.


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hey, dude, who do you say I am? Muhammad? Jesus? Dali Lama?

jesus-blueSo who is God or speaks for God? Muhammad? Jesus? Dali Lama?

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.

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Beth Moore based Bible Study, First Baptist Church Aptos,CA

entrusted-bookOn 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:

Friend Day
February 5, 2017
Bible Study at 9:45 a.m.
Worship at 11:00 a.m.
Lunch at 12:00 p.m.

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Jesus: “Who do you say I am?” Come Wed. Jan 11 Aptos St. John’s


    jesus-blueA 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: adbooks@aol.com

Please SHARE this info with your friends and acquaintances. Thanks.

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insiders too often make – but not follow – the rules?

trump-an-outsiderTired of ‘insiders’ running America? Lots of  voters chose  Trump because he was an ‘outsider’ who might shake things up.

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:  ncohen@family.stanford.edu

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.

take-awayTakeAway from the November, 2016  Vestry meeting:  A Pledge to the church is a requirement if you want to be on the church board.

Maybe someone will review these Bylaws and say No!


written by Cameron Jackson   drcameronJackson@gmail.com







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stack the deck? ‘Members’ pay? St. John’s, Aptos


Deck stacked who is a member & who can serve on church board?

Deck stacked who is a church  member & who can serve on the  church board?

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’.  


   wafer-aaDid you know?   Under the new, revised Bylaws to be a ‘member’  you must take communion 3 times ….  Who will count the wafers eaten?

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.   

good-housekeepingIf the Vestry makes these changes then   — after the fact —  the church gives itself a Good Housekeeping stamp of approval for current nominations and proposed changes to the Bylaws.

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


Any questions about the above?  Happy to chat!  

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Santa Cruz, CA 95060
United States (US)
Phone: 831 688 6002
Fax: 831 688 7717
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