My sisters and brothers in Christ:

We worship as usual this weekend: Our convenient community Holy Eucharist service today (Saturday, Feb. 13) at 5 p.m. and on the First Sunday in Lent at 8 and 10 a.m., when we’ll hear Luke’s account of our LORD’s 40 days in the wilderness. The finest Bible scholar who ever lived, Jesus matches each of Satan’s temptations with a citation from Torah. His practice was to live into the words of Holy Scripture even as he came to embody them as the Word of God himself.

practicingcompassioncoverThis Lent, let’s live into God’s invitation to deepen our innate capacity for compassion — as we hear the words of scripture during our services and also during the 9 a.m. Christian formation hour on Sundays in the Bishop’s Room, when we’ll read and discuss Practicing Compassion by Claremont seminary professor Frank Rogers, Jr.

“Compassion is the heartbeat that restores life,” Dr. Rogers writes. “Compassion is the bond of genuine connection. Truth be told, however, compassion is difficult.” His “compassion practice” invites us, in each situation, to catch our breath, take our own pulse, take the other’s pulse, and then decide what to do. If you’re intrigued, join us this Sunday (Feb. 13). We’ll have free copies of the book for those who want to participate in this Lenten course. Also, mark your calendars for dinner with Dr. Rogers at St. John’s on Wednesday, March 16.

edmondsNext Sunday afternoon, Feb. 21, we’ll have the opportunity to practice compassion for those who have served their country in Iraq and Afghanistan. As a guest of St. John’s, its new Higher Calling Council of Saddleback Valley, and our partner Strength in Support, Col. Bill Russell Edmonds (shown here) will discuss his 2015 book God Is Not Here: A Soldier’s Struggle With Torture, Trauma, and the Moral Injuries of War. The event is at 2 p.m. in the Bell Tower Regional Community Center in Rancho Santa Margarita. He’ll be introduced by our own Col. Stewart Navarre, former Camp Pendleton chief of staff.

Bill served as an Army intelligence officer during the height of the insurgency in Mosul, Iraq in 2005. Bill will discuss his experiences, take your questions, and sign copies of his book, which will be available for sale. A free will offering will also be taken. All proceeds will benefit Strength in Support, a non-profit organization that provides mental health services to veterans and their families. Please join us — and tell a friend, especially a vet! Read more about Bill and his book here:

Midweek at St. John’s, please remember:
Tuesday Tuneups on Feb. 16: Lectio divina at 6 p.m., fellowship at Starbucks around 6:15 p.m., and our Bible Fellowship (continuing our study of John’s gospel) at 7 p.m.
Senior living adviser Barbara Chiono, who helps families and individuals find residential care solutions for older people, will be guest speaker at the monthly meeting of our caregivers support group on Wednesday, Feb. 17 at 7 p.m. in the Bishop’s Room.
— Jesus and Roger Bradshaw (; Roger will also accept your e-mails for Jesus) need you on Thursday, Feb. 18 anytime between noon and 5 p.m. at the Rancho Santa Margarita food pantry, 30162 Tomas Ave. They can put you to work for a half-hour or all five. Also, this is the weekend to bring your food gifts to church. Thank you for your generosity to our neighbors is need.

Yours in Christ’s love,
Fr. John