by the Rev. Christopher Potter, Vicar

“Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” He woke up and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” Then the wind ceased, and there was a dead calm.”
Mark 4:38-39

This portion of Sunday’s Gospel seems made for this weekend – as it is the weekend we may return to worship in freedom, without masks and social distancing, with greetings and hugs (as mutually determined), and singing and choir! Some may prefer to continue mask-wearing, and that is a most viable, life-giving option. The grace and abundance of God has brought a calming of the pandemic chaos, and now we continue to sail on the quieting seas.

There may be individuals who are not yet ready to shake hands or embrace. If you are one of these beloved people, may we encourage you to put your hands together in a “prayer” position in front of your chest and greet others in that manner. For those of us who may be swooping in for a hug, that will be the signal so that we may greet you with respect and love.

If you did not receive it, here is the letter from Bishop Taylor sent to the Diocesan community on Monday, in advance of the lowering of restrictions in the State of California. The new directions follow closely those promulgated by the CDC. Please note: Bishop Taylor asks that if you have concerns over these new guidelines, please make direct contact with him at his Diocesan email address.

These are the salient points for us at St. John’s:
• If you are vaccinated, you may worship without masks and without social distancing. We will not be the vaccine cops and ask to check your status. We trust that the Bishop’s suggested protocols will be honored.
• If you are not vaccinated, the Bishop asks that you take the precaution (for yourself and others) of continuing the discipline of both mask and distancing.
• We may sing as a congregation and as a choir without restrictions (provided, as noted above, you are fully vaccinated).
• The Bishop encourages all Episcopalians to be vaccinated, as a way to protect the vulnerable among us.
• With certain restrictions, we will restart our programs for children, both in the nursery and in Godly Play. (St. John’s will provide a well-ventilated space and work to limit personal contact between the children.)
• Communion will continue to be under the single form of sacred bread. The protocols for sharing a cup have not been formulated.
• After this Sunday (because of the VBS sets), we will return to our practice of kneeling at the altar rails for communion. If you prefer to stand for communion, feel free, as always.
• Streaming the 9 a.m. Sunday service will continue.
• When sufficient members are comfortable and return for in-person worship, we will return to 8 and 10 a.m. Sunday services.

Remember that we are restarting our Saturday evening Eucharist today at 5 p.m. There will be contemporary music, with encouragement to raise your voices as well as your hands in praise of God for the stilling of the waters. We will gather in the chapel area to accommodate the VBS set.

This newfound freedom will allow for some exciting events in our near future, including a fellowship event with food and fundraising! Watch these emails for more information.

I end with the affirming words of Bishop John:

“My fellow pilgrims, during these 15 months, you have been magnificent, giving up what you most love about church, sacrificing for the glory of God and the sake of family, friend, and stranger, making every day an Easter Day by helping keep tombs empty. I give thanks for you and for the vaccine, which is enabling our return from exile sooner than many at first expected.”

With Bishop Taylor, I give thanks to God for you, the people of St. John’s as we return from our long exile.

+ + +

Help St. John’s be Eco-Friendly . . . 
Either print the bulletin at home and bring it to church with you Sunday morning, or bring your smart device to the service so you can pull up the bulletin.

+ + +

Throughout COVID the announcements of upcoming events and classes have been at the back end of the Sunday worship bulletin. Many of you didn’t know the info was there and we’ve heard your comments! You can now find all the details on all upcoming events in our weekly e-blast. Check it out! 

Here’s a quick glance at activities on deck:
+ Saturday evening In-person worship starts today at 5 p.m. Join us!
+ Coffee Hour is Back! Join us after the Sunday service on the lower courtyard (Learning Commons Courtyard) which is the perfect spot to hold coffee hour where tables, comfortable seating, and shade abound. We even have an elevator you can use to get there! Thank you, Gary and Dena Graves, for hosting this week.
+ VBS starts Monday. Please keep in prayer our little ones and volunteer staff.
+ Red Cross Blood Drive Sunday, June 27 in the Cardinal Gym
8 a.m. — 2 p.m. Sign-up now.
+  Book It On Mondays! starts meeting in-person June 28 on the patio of Christy Morinello’s home. The book: American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins.
+ Youth and Adult confirmations are coming up with Bishop John.
+ Become an Acolyte Family! There’s an easy training, and no age limit (but need to be able to carry a cross, gospel book, or candle)

+  + +

We’re back on campus:
Clergy and staff are back in the Church Office. Schedule a time to come to the church office and meet face-to-face. Contact Rev. Christopher or 949.888.4568, or Rev. Karen or 949.888.4595, x239.

In-Person Worship Schedule:
• Evening Prayer or Compline ZOOM services continue to be held Tuesdays and Thursdays at 8 p.m.
• Sunday morning worship will be held in-person at church and on ZOOM at 9 a.m.
• Saturday in-person worship at 5 p.m. inside the church.

We’ll see you at St. John’s!