What’s “church” all about at St. John the Baptist Episcopal in Aptos, CA ? It’changing …


‘Transform lives’ —  bit  the dust as part of  a proposed Mission Statement for St. John’s episcopal in Aptos, CA

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.

written by Cameron Jackson






Want to know how — not why — to become a Member of St. John’s Episcopal, Aptos, CA?

       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.

religion for the faint hearted only apply here – an Episcopal church in CA

prayers-of-the-people-bbbTrump’s name will not be mentioned in The Prayers of the People at All Saints episcopal church in Pasadena, CA.

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.”

Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2017/01/16/california-church-refuses-to-pray-for-trump-by-name/#ixzz4WFh3dePE

“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 & changing laws have consequences nationally & Aptos,CA


Changing the Bylaws has consequences - some un-intentional.
Changing the Bylaws have consequences – some un-intentional.

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).

One un-intended consequence of  President Obama’s military  policies was his decision to trade five (5)   jehad Islamic terrorists (Taliban)  for  one (1)  American soldier who was  subsequently court marshalled.

At the local level in Aptos, CA,  an episcopal church — St John the Baptist Episcopal in Aptos, CA —  recently changed its  church Bylaws  as to  A) who is a Member and  B) who can be elected to the board of directors.

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.

take-awayElections 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?

Must  members of the Body of Christ have to pay to pray?


Written by Cameron Jackson    DrCameronJackson@gmail.com

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







Obama pays USA debt to Iran with CASH, church rejects CASH as contribution

cash-in-a-handPresident 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?

widows-miteThe 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.

St. John’s Episcopal Church in Aptos, CA operates under  the auspices of   Diocese of El Camino Real in Salinas, CA.    http://www.realepiscopal.org/contact/

written by Monterey Bay Forum, DrCameronJackson@gmail.com     831 688-6002