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.
Want to know how — not why — to become a Member of St. John’s Episcopal church in Aptos, CA?
There’s 4 “must do” requirements to become a Member of the body of Christ located at St. John’s.
Perhaps you need help meeting those requirements? If so, we ‘ll help you meet those requirements.
[Please note: This was written tongue-in-cheek to point to some important, underlying issues. One issue: Is 100% of St. John’s church vestry — the people that make the legal decisions for the church — are they listed as Communicants on the church books? Yes or No? If the answer is No, then are the decisions made by St. John’s vestry legal and binding? Ask a lawyer!
Another issue: People serve in many leadership capacities at St. John’s. How many of these ‘ministers’ — that’s ‘all of us’ per the back cover of the weekly service bulletin — listed as Communicants? If not, then who is entitled to vote in the upcoming election in Dec. 2017?
The NEW Bylaws state that you have to be a Member for six months in order to vote. Per the new rules, only persons listed as Communicants can vote in the next election in Dec. 2017. Oh dear! What to do?
It is easy to find out who is a Communicant at St. John’s. Look in the Index of the (green) book for Communicants. It’s kept in the church office.
You can readily check the Index of the book for Communicants and see whether you are listed. The church is very supportive behind the scene to assist all people to update their church records.]
So — What are those “must do” requirements for basic Membership at St. John’s?
#1: Baptism. You must be baptized. Were you baptized — but you don’t have a copy of the record? We’ll help you track down your baptismal record. Where ever it happened and when ever.
2). There must be a record of your baptism listed in St. John’s church records. Perhaps you know that you were baptized but never submitted the record to St. John’s Episcopal church in Aptos, CA? . We will help you. We will submit the record of your baptism to the church authorities — and we will take a photo/ video of the page so that you know that it’s been accurately recorded in the church records.
3). You must take communion (wafer and wine) 3 times during the current year. Unless physically indisposed. Discretely, we will photograph/ video you receiving communion 3 times. By recording it, no one, i.e., such as the Executive Committee of St. John’s, can kill your membership application by inuendo — questioning whether you actually received communion 3 times this last year. Yes, it sounds odd but you never know who believes what about whom these days. To be on the safe side, we suggest that you wear different clothes when you are photographed during communion.
4). Participate in life of parish. There are a multitude of ways that you can participate. What’s important is that there is an actual record of how you participated. A record that you can submit to the church when you apply for Membership.
Perhaps you open the church doors for services ? Perhaps you have carpentry skills? Or perhaps you do child care and can help out in the nursery? Maybe you work in a school cafeteria and can make cookies for a bake sale?
However you contribute, we will photograph/ video your contributions to the life of the parish. And we will submit those records to St. John’s as part of your application to be a Member at St. John’s Episcopal in Aptos, CA.
Cost of this service? Absolutely free. Send requests for assistance to DrCameronJackson@gmail.com
To become a Member of St. John’s episcopal church you must meet the above listed 4 requirements.
There are other levels of Membership which you can achieve.
To become a Voting Member you must meed 6 additional requirements including the laying on of hands by Bishop Mary.
And, should you want to run for the church board (Vestry) you must meet one more requirement — a donation of money to either the Building Fund or the Undesignated fund. And that donation of money must be recorded in the financial books of the church.
Summary: Are you thinking of serving on the church board? This is what you must do: Meet the 4 requirements (to be a Member) + 6 additional requirements including the laying on of hands by Bishop Mary (to be a Voting Member) + 1 Financial Requirement of money to one of two funds (to serve on the Church board).
If you want help with the first 4 steps — so you are a Member of the Body of Christ at St. John’s Episcopal in Aptos — help is available.
P.S. for those who have read this far — this was initially written tongue-in-cheek. Not intended as a joke nor to be funny but to underscore important issues.
Parishioners at All Saints episcopal will no longer pray by name for the president over fears that the name “Donald Trump” might cause trauma for those in the congregation who disagree with Trump’s views.
“If you come to All Saints this Sunday, you’ll notice that we have removed the proper names from our prayers for those in authority. Whereas before we prayed for ‘Barack, our president,’ we are now praying for “our president, our president-elect, and all others in authority.”
“This practice — not praying for President Trump — will continue for at least the near future,” Rector Kinman wrote.
Rector Kinman went on to say the safety of the congregation could be jeopardized by the mere nation of the president-elect’s name.
Kinman stated that — should issues arise — that they have a priest trained as a therapist who specializes in trauma. The Rector then added that he believes the church should be a “safe space.”
“We are in a unique situation in my lifetime where we have a president elect whose name is literally a trauma trigger to some people – particularly women and people who, because of his words and actions, he represents an active danger to health and safety,” he wrote.
“As I have said before, for some it could be as if we demanded a battered woman pray for her abuser by name. It’s not that the abuser doesn’t need prayer – certainly the opposite – but prayer should never be a trauma-causing act,” he wrote.
Firenze Sage: “but prayer should never be a trauma-causing act…”
Imagine all the martyrs who would never have prayed in this church.
Try Muslim countries for prayer and trauma. Never stand up for your faith.
Elections have consequences — nationally and locally in Aptos, CA. Likewise, changing the laws have consequences.
And some un-intended consequences from changing the laws should be carefully considered.
Is freedom of assembly useful to redress grievances? Yes.
At the national level, President-Elect Trump plans for the Pentagon to have much greater say in how to manage combat against Islamic jehad terrorism. No longer will the battle field be managed, as it was before, per President Obama’s direct decisions. (WSJ, Sat. Dec. 10, 2016 Pentagon to Show Trump Tougher Options).
And — probably — there will be some un-intended consequences at the church level because of the 2016 Showalter Bylaw revisions:
* a reduction in the number of members on the church rolls;
* an increase in unilateral power exercised by the priest;
* less overall participation/ connection by those who attend.
The revised Bylaws take effect Jan 1 2017. The Bylaws affected who was nominated in the Dec. 4, 2016 elections.
Per the “old” 2014 Bylaws: The simple, basic standard used to be that any baptized adult is a member of the Parish. There are 4 categories. You only have to meet one category to be a Member. If you are in category A or B or C or D then you are a member of the Parish. No if’s or buts about it!
How the changes in Bylaws came to be: The interim priest thought revisions were in order and he created a committee of three (3) including himself (aka Showalter 2016 Bylaw revisions).
An aside: It appears that the Showalter 2016 Bylaw revisions break a rule of thumb: don’t set a difficult to meet, new standard. The Showalter 2016 revisions are difficult to meet because — more than likely — some current Vestry members don’t or cannot meet the new standard and many long time pew sitters cannot. Seriously, when was the last time that the Vestry was polled — and the records provided — to determine whether each Vestry member is listed on the Parish Registrar? That’s probably never happened.
Another major dificulty: Imagine the sheer dificulty of rustling through folks’ giving records to figure out who is giving what to where over what period of time.
Per the 2016 Showalter Bylaw revisions, to be a member one must be “registered on the Parish Registrar as a baptized Communicant of the Parish …” and …. and. …. and…. and…
Meet all the “ands” in the Showalter 2016 revisons and then you’re a Member. That is a substantive change. Supposedly, no substantive changes were to be part of the 2106 Revisions.
That’s not cool! Don’t say no substantive changes in the revisons and then make them. But, per the Nov. 2016 Vestry meeting, the church agreed to substantive changes.
What to do about all this? Try the following: Why not walk up to someone on the church Vestry and inquire:
Do you know whether you actually are on the Parish Registrar?
Have you opened the Parish Registrar and checked?
Do you support a Parish church law that all voting Members must be on the Parish Registrar?
And what do you think about the following scenario: Next year at election time, we shall we all stand in line ( just like national elections) and “someone” will determine whether we meet the “standard” so that we can vote? To vote in a national election you go to a place, you say who you are, someone looks up your address and you sign on the line that you are you.
So — before voting in 2017 the St. John the Baptist Episcopal church election committee will check to ensure:
A) that the name is on Parish Register?
B) that name is on Treasurers books as contributed to the un-designated general fund for the last six months?
C) that the person is known to have taken Communion 3 times this past year? Only the Priest can verify this, right? More power will wielded by the priest with this requirement.
D) that this person is baptized and over the age 18? Maybe best for potential voting Members to bring a picture ID?
So. what can you do? The usual: Petition your government!
Freedom of assembly is a right Americans have to petition their government. To petition a church government there needs to be a determination of how many members there are and therefore what constitutes a quorum. Thus, changing the meaning of Member has significant consequences.
So who is a “member”? There’s about 227 families listed on the church directory. How many of those 227 families are listed on the Parish Registrar? That informaton should be publicly available. How many give to the Building Fund but do not give to the Un-designatged Fund? Many people put Cash in the Plate as their way of giving.
Just discussing the above issues suggests why it’s best to simply keep the 2014 “old” Bylaws which have four (4) categories whereby persons from all those categories are all Members. The “old” 2014 Bylaws per Member is an inclusive standard which has worked. Why ‘fix’ what’s not broke.
Elections have consequences. And, changing the church Bylaws have consequences — and some not so good, un-intended consequences.
Basic questions to answer: Who is a member of the Body of Christ?
Tired 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: 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.
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.
TakeAway 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
President Obama sent planes loaded with only CASH ($1.3 BILLION) to Iran.
It was OK for the USA to pay its debts with cash.
In contrast, an episcopal church in Aptos, CA recently said in 2016 that its not acceptable proof to run for church board for a member to give CASH as a means of donating to the corporate body.
So Obama can pay USA debts with cash but cash given to a church does not signify an acceptable ‘donation’.
The Junior Warden of the church stated [one of three Vestry persons on the Nomination Committee] that it was the interim priest and the senior warden who made the decision. The interim priest and senior warden have not been contacted.
The Bylaws clearly state that it is the decision of the Nomination Committee as to who is on the list.
So, what’s wrong with CASH? If good enough for Obama to pay USA bills isn’t CASH good enough as a donation to a church?
See Section 2.A. of the Bylaws which state that the Vestry may establish a requisite minimum level of contribution to the Parish (no less than six (6) months prior to elections.
***** Per the Bylaws that were operating when the applicant applied, the Vestry of this church had not established any level of contribution.
Back to Obama and his CASH. So who counts Obama’s BILLIONS in CASH given to Iran? Nobody of course.
Back to the applicant for episcopal church board in 2016. Why not believe what other church members who say (and put in writing) i.e., that the applicant in question regularly contributes cash? Does it matter how much or to what fund?
The widow’s mite? If an applicant gives a penny, dime or a quarter every time they come — that’s a regular contribution.
What did Trump say to millions? Trump said again and again that the system is rigged.
One way to ‘rig’ the system is to tell potential Episcopal church board applicants that CASH does not count — and therefore you cannot stand for election from the floor. The Bylaws sent by email to the Parish do not say that identifiable money must be paid in order to run for Vestry.
In the past, there have been a number of issues that relate to communication. Why cash given to a church does not count is one of them.