April 25, 2015

My sisters and brothers in Christ:

We worship as usual this weekend: Tonight’s convenient community Holy Eucharist service at 5 p.m. and tomorrow (Sunday, April 26) at 8 and 10 a.m. Roman Catholics and many Episcopalians call the Fourth Sunday of Easter Good Shepherd Sunday. We’ll hear Jesus Christ’s promise in John 10 that ultimately there will be “one flock, one shepherd.”

If for people of faith that outcome can seem unattainable or even undesirable, unity in politics and international relations is even more elusive. But the U.S. and Cuba, at least, are on the verge of a dramatic relaxation of over a half-century of sometimes dangerous tension. A few weeks after President Obama’s Dec. 17 announcement about normalizing relations, our own Lisa Sparks of Chapman University led a delegation of colleagues and students to Cuba. This Sunday, April 26 at 9 a.m. in the Bishop’s Room, she’ll offer an exclusive glimpse behind the western hemisphere’s iron curtain in a program entitled “A New Birth: Personal Glimpses of Cuba in the Wake of Rapprochement.” Please join us.

Our LORD talks about himself as the Good Shepherd only in the Gospel of John, one of many unique dimensions of what one scholar calls the “maverick gospel.”It’s the only one of the four that starts with creation (“In the beginning was the Word”), it contains the most famous verse in the New Testament (John 3:16), and it excludes what many consider the most important words in our Holy Eucharist service (Christ saying, “This is my body”). Beginning this Tuesday, April 28 at 7 p.m., the St. John’s Bible Fellowship will take up the Gospel of John. Linda Allport and I will offer an overview of the book and a study of the first five verses.

If you’ve been wanting a little mid-week fellowship and learning in your church life, this would be the week to try the Bible Fellowship, a great group of men and women looking at scripture in depth and in joy. There is no homework and no requirement to attend every week. We meet Tuesdays at 7 p.m. in the Bishop’s Room and adjourn promptly at 8. On behalf of the Good Shepherd, Linda and I say that it would be great to have you as part of it. See you there!

The Good Shepherd’s representatives at UC Irvine are the good people of Canterbury Irvine, The Episcopal Church’s on-campus ministry. All the people of St. John’s are invited to the Canterbury Irvine Garden Party on Saturday, May 9 from 3-5 p.m. at Trinity Episcopal Church, 2400 N. Canal St., Orange. This afternoon of music, food, drink, fellowship, and silent auction bidding is free and will feature remarks by Bishop Mary Douglas Glasspool. Bishop Diane Jardine Bruce will attend as well. If you’d like to join the bishops and me and your other St. John’s friends, please just let me know by replying to this e-mail by this Monday, April 27.

We are surely one flock united in the desire to eradicate cancer. With Relay for Life just a week away, the St. John’s Church and School team has raised $6,150, well on the way to our $10,000 goal. On behalf of Relay good shepherds Deb Griffith and Andrea Patton, thanks to all who have stepped up so far and all who will do so by visiting the link below. They’ll be at church this weekend to answer your questions, help you buy luminarias, and encourage your support of Relay in other ways. It kicks off next Saturday morning, May 2, at 9 a.m. at Central Park in Rancho Santa Margarita. See you there! Here’s our team page:


Yours in the name of the Good Shepherd,

Fr. John

P.S.: All St. John’s sheep will be Angels fans on Saturday, June 27 at 4:15 p.m., or at least the elements of the flock who have signed up for the game. The St. John’s men’s ministry has secured a primo sheepfold on the Club Loge level, which guarantees shade. Tickets are $16; transportation is on your own. If you have signed up, please secure your seat as soon as possible by making your check payable to St. John’s Church, with “baseball” in the memo line, and bringing it to church on Sunday or to the church office. We need it by June 1, please.

P.P.S.: And don’t forget the St. John’s Mom’s Club this Wednesday, April 29 from 8-10 a.m. in the Bishop’s Room, when Lisa Naulls of the St. John’s Choir will present a program on the importance of music in children’s lives…And our Laundry Love information and organizational meeting this Wednesday at 7 p.m. in the Bishop’s Room, where Steve Bruce and Christian and Shannon Kassoff, who launched this amazing fellowship and service ministry in Huntington Beach, will tell us everything we need to know about starting our own Laundry Love. Write Mo. Martha at mjohns@stjohns-es.org for more information.

P.P.P.S.: For those reading Michel Faber’s The Book of Strange New Things for my May class, we’ve decided to begin our three-week conversation on Sunday, May 10 (at 9 a.m. in the Bishop’s Room) to give folks an extra week to get started with this highly readable, 500-page novel. It’s about Peter, a progressive evangelical pastor in London, who has a chance to go to another planet to turn its inhabitants to Christ, leaving his wife, Beatrice, behind to deal with deteriorating political and economic conditions. Please try to read the first third or so of the book by May 10. We have a few hard copies for sale in the church office. You can order it for your Kindle at the link below. It’s also on iBooks. (There is some content suitable only for adults.)