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;

written by Cameron Jackson, Ph.D., J.D.


Any questions about the above?  Happy to chat!  

Monerey Bay Forum

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

There's a Live Chat function on this site. Happy to chat!

What’s a church? People who contribute? Did Jesus ask for money?

money-on-a-handDid Jesus  ever ask for money?  No.

What is a church? A church is not a building.

A church is the

And a church consists of  people who contribute in a multitude of ways.  The plumber who fixes a  broken pipe. The lay minister who takes communion to the sick. In a multitude of ways, individuals contribute.

Opps! Some people who hold the keys to the church building sometimes forget that the church consists of individuals who contribute variously.  One church  in particular egregiously forgets!

It looks  like  church — some leaders overseeing the church building —   forgets that Jesus never asks for money. It appears that this church may stack the deck regarding upcoming elections.

There’s no merit in cash  — no proof that you gave to the church said the interim priest at St. John’s Episcopal, Aptos, CA to one applicant.  And, since you —  can’t show that you contributed money during the last six months of  2016  you can’t  run for church board.

My, my ….

Interim priest  sees no merit in CASH donations? What’s wrong with cash?

B. Kell participates variously at St. John’s.  Currently, he serves as Senior Warden and assists the Rector of the church. B. Kell assisted the priest in determining whether someone was a Member of the church who could stand for elections.




Back to basics:  Jesus never asked for money.  And it’s people who are the church and who contribute variously.

So how do you participate — contribute —  in your church?  Are you   the plumber who comes early to the church building  to fix for free a broken pipe.   Or the lawyer who gives freely of his or her legal skills?  Or the person who comes weekly to answer the phones?

It’s individuals who contribute to make Jesus present in the world.

By the way —  there is CHAT on this website and we’re happy to ‘chat’ about  this.  Interested?

written by Cameron Jackson

Monerey Bay Forum

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

Happy to 'chat' !



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.

written by Monterey Bay Forum,     831 688-6002


TakeAway: You drove miles to hear this preached? Yikes! And the church spends money to put this on a website?

TakeAway:  And you drove miles  to a church to hear this  preached?  preached

Yikes! And that  church spends   money to  put this on  a website?  

What to do to improve?  

 Issue:  A man leaves his wife for another woman after having cared for his wife for  the last several years.  His wife has  Alzheimer’s.  

A man leaves his wife who has Alzheimer’s

 What do you say about this?  Has the man betrayed his vows?  Or is he meeting his needs?  

 Based on 1 Corinthians 1: 18-25,  the sermon at St. Andrew Presbyterian Church in Aptos  August 21, 2016  is   about the Greek  world view versus the Hebrew world view. And how these two world  views — Greek and Hebrew — collide today, both  personally and politically.

 The Greek  world  view:  The Rev.  Anne Mcanelly quotes from a book by Elizabeth Gilbert titled Committed: A Love Story p. 250 (on Amazon for $16.09 or Kindle for $11.99)

that  “the Greeks gave us all our notions about democracy, equality, personal liberty, individualism ….   and what we might call multiculturalism…”

The Hebrew world view:  “And then there is the world view of the Hebrews … including the ancient world view that is all about tribalism, faith, obedience and respect.  This way of thinking is clannish,   patriarchal, authoritarian, moralistic, ritualistic and suspicious of outsiders….   The collective is always more important than the individual, morality is more important than happiness and vows are inviolable”  (pg. 251 Unbreakable)

The preacher then asks, Which are you — are you finding yourself more in the Greek camp,

which are you
Which are you?  More in the Greek god camp …

or  are you more attuned to the Hebrew way of thinking?

Hebrew God
or  more in the Hebrew God camp?

To cover all bases she says, “Of course there is no right or wrong preference and when we understand how we see the world and maybe how our close  relatives do as well, we might discover some insight how to get along better….”

The Rev.  goes on to say, “A friend of mine told me about a family crises.  Her father-in-law is leaving his wife for another woman….  the twist in the story is that the wife has Alzheimer and the man cared for his wife for severeal years but now has started dating someone else.

My friend felt betrayed… I reminded her that its his very Greek way of thinking he is simply looking out for himself. He is placing personal needs ahead of loyalty and faithfulness and that is not sitting very well with my friend.  Now most of us would expect the husband to be loyal, but what is at issue is the world view more than moral fiber.”

“This Greek/ Hebrew dichotomy can also played  out in the political realm, where  some see every decision only in the way it would affect them — a very Greek way of thinking.  While others see a more holistic , community and ask what might be be better for all concerned, thereby favoring the Hebrew way….”


Aptos Psychologist:  Many sermons — including this one — just don’t ‘work’.    As many sermons do, this sermon sets up a false  this or that dichotomy (Greek versus Hebrew world view ).  In reality, many people  in the pews know that they are both …  and more.  Ho, hum. Snooze time……

Maybe what some  Christian churches — for sure this one —  needs is a FeedBack form for pew sitters.  Let people comment right then and there as to what they heard and how helpful/ useful it is.

As  part of the church bulletin on the back page put:   Comments?  On a scale of 1 to 5 with 1 = Low and 5 = High   And 3 = ???    What did I TakeAway from this sermon that I will/ can use? Encourage people to tear off the Comments? and put them in the basket along with their money.

As for Aptos Psychologist,  for this sermon I would rate it a 3  — ????  Not horrible. But not useful.

Gilbert’s description of the Hebrew God as “clannish, suspicious, patriarchal…”  (quoted in the sermon)  seems similar to that as portrayed in  A God Who Hates: The Courageous Woman who Inflamed  the Muslim World Speaks Out …  by  Wafa Sultan   That book IS worth reading.

St. Andrew Presbyterian Church in Aptos, CA lists a contact number 831 688-4211 and an email   to reach the Office.

Located at 9850 Monroe Avenue, Aptos, CA 95003

Sundays:  9:00 AM for adult education and 10:30 for worship.

Christ Crucified Is God’s Power and Wisdom

18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
19 For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.”
20 Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?
21 For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe.
22 Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom,
23 but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles,
24 but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.
25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.

Follow the money: $126 K for HR boss, low pay for Psychologist SARC

Follow the money
Follow the money

Follow the money.

Money matters. Pay your   staff  the going rate  and you’re   more likely to retain staff.

And if you want to  encourage turnover?  Then pay your  staff  less than the going rate.


Looks like Golden Gate Regional Center and San Andreas Regional Center   want to retain their Human Resource (HR)  Directors.

Both regional centers  (Golden Gate and San Andreas)  pay $126 K for their Human Resource  Directors.  The Human Resource top  job requires a Master’s degree.  The   job does not require a license.

The San Andreas Human Resource  Director has had the job for five years.  That HR Director is well paid.

$126 K for Human Resource Directors
$126 K for Human Resource Director  & only $72 K for Psychologist at San Andreas Regional Center


In contrast, it  looks like   San Andreas  Regional Center does not want to retain Psychologists.  And —  Golden Gate wants to retain their Psychologists.

Top pay for a Psychologist is only  $72 K at  San Andreas Regional Center.   In contrast,  top pay at Golden Gate is  $93K – a difference of  $21 K.  That’s nothing to sneeze at.

What is the going pay  rate for Psychologists?    It varies. The County of Santa Cruz pays $93 K for their Psychologists.  Kaiser Permanente in San Jose pays $133 K.


Currently, San  Andreas Regional Center has 2 jobs available for Psychologists.  One Psychologist  position  for San Andreas Regional Center has been advertised more than a year.  Perhaps there are no takers  because San Andreas pays low and does not want to retain Psychologists?

At San Andreas Regional Center, where can a Psychologist go up from Psychologist?  San Andreas Regional Center hires an  Autistic Spectrum Disorder Clinical Coordinator for   $110 K.  That position is filled  and the  person filling the job has been around many years.   $110K for the  highest paid Psychologist at San Andreas   is  within the range between  $93 K for a County  government job   and $133 K paid by the private sector (Kaiser).


Recently in 2015  the overall chain of command structure at San Andreas Regional Center  structure changed substantially.   The #3 top management job went to  someone closely associated with the current top executive Javier Zaldivar.    This person used to be  a district manager for a branch office.   This  person may  a Master’s degree.  After the top executive and the second in command (both men), currently  two women hold top management positions #3 and #4.  All those top management positions (#1, #2, #3 and #4) are highly paid  positions which do not require a license or a Ph.D.

San Andreas Regional Center  describes itself as a community oriented,  private non-profit corporation.  NOTE:  Non-profit does not mean that management is paid lowly wages. Far from it.   San  Andreas Regional Center top management are quite well paid.     And it looks like $126 K for a  Human Resource Director is the going rate.

Why does San Andreas Regional  Center  choose to pay so low for Psychologists?  Does the agency deliberately encourage turn over? Comparing the numbers of Golden Gate Regional Center with those for San Andreas Regional Center  — the answer is YES.

The current head of  the California Department of Developmental Services (DDS)  is Santi Rodgers.  For more than 15 years Santi Rodgers was the top executive for San Andreas Regional  Center.  Mr. Rodgers moved to Sacramento and was replaced by  Mr. Javier Zaldivar.

Mr. Javier Zaldivar  continues the policy of  very low pay for licensed Ph.D.  Psychologists.  The very low pay policy  was the policy of  predecessor  Santi Rodgers,  now  the top executive for  California Department of Developmental Services (DDS).

Follow the money.  There are reasons for very low pay for Psychologists hired by San Andreas  Regional Center. YES  — always follow the money.  written by Cameron Jackson

Poor Hilary [money paid for speeches]


poor Hilary
poor Hilary

Poor Hilary

The Guardian

America’s glaring income inequality is certain to be a central bone of contention in the 2016 presidential election. But with her huge personal wealth, how could Clinton possibly hope to be credible on this issue when people see her as part of the problem, not its solution?

“But they don’t see me as part of the problem,” she protests, “because we pay ordinary income tax, unlike a lot of people who are truly well off, not to name names; and we’ve done it through dint of hard work.”


Firenze Sage:  What a horribly hard job it is for  Hilary to bloviate for 45 minutes at almost 18k per minute.