NOTE: Out of an abundance of caution re: COVID-19, we ask that you wear a mask to this weekend’s Saturday and Sunday worship services. Thank you.
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by the Rev. Christopher Potter, Vicar
Did you know…
The word “vicar” shares the same meaning as “vicarious?” They both mean ‘substitute,’ because those things which are vicar or vicarious substitute for the real thing! For whom, you might ask, does a vicar in the church substitute?
If you are the pope, you are the “Vicar of Christ;” meaning you stand in as the visible and real presence of Christ in the church. In the Roman Catholic tradition, a diocesan Vicar stands in for the bishop and is given (almost full) authority when he Bishop is unavailable. If you are the Vicar of St. John’s, you stand in place of the rector of the community, the pastor – the Bishop! This doesn’t mean that the Vicar has the same authority of the Bishop, but rather implements and exercises the Bishop’s authority as it pertains to this particular parish. I cannot ordain or confirm someone in the name of the Bishop, but I certainly must pastor the souls of St. John’s in accordance with the wishes of the Bishop.
When the Bishop gives a direction to the parishes of the Diocese, the Vicars must comply – unless there is mutiny in the air! The Vicar does not so much as make and disseminate directives to the parish, as much as follows the directives of the Bishop as instructed.
Those are official definitions of ‘Vicar.’ However, the Canons of the Episcopal Church state the duties of the Vicar are assumed with and contained in the definition of Rector. Hence, in collaboration with the Bishop, the Vicar’s responsibilities include:
· Worship and Spiritual Life
· Selection and oversight of all assisting clergy
· Use and control of all building and furnishings
· Education of all ages in the scriptures; the doctrine, discipline, and worship of the Church; and in the exercise of ministry as baptized persons
· Stewardship education for all ages
· Preparation for baptisms, confirmation, reception and reaffirmation
· Announcing the bishop’s visit with the warden and Bishop’s Committee and providing the bishop with information about the congregations spiritual and temporal state
· Applying contributions not otherwise designated from one Sunday per month to charitable uses (We do not do this here at St. John’s and I’m gonna find out why!)
· Reading communications for the House of Bishops at worship
· Recording all baptisms, marriages, confirmations, and burials in the congregation register
This is a long list, perhaps unmanageable by one person alone. However, since these – and more – are essential to the nature of an Episcopal community, I find wisdom in electing to exercise the role of Vicar in a collaborative, shared ministry environment. This means that I share these responsibilities with trustworthy members of the congregation who are willing to take on these roles while I retain full responsibility for their exercise. It is my contention that the primary role of the vicar/pastor – and is first in the list above – is the worship and spiritual life of the community. I also believe this task deserves the largest share of my time. When another one of the tasks on this list can be handled effectively by a willing member of the congregation (especially that of an administrative sort), I will share in that ministry together with the volunteer. This works best with regular communication, prayer, and support for each other in carrying out these sacred tasks.
Take note that the list recited above is not exhaustive. It does not, for example, include such things as consoling the dying, or preaching the Gospel of Christ, or witnessing to the love of God in community; all of which are essential for a vicar. This line of thought leads me to my personal understanding of the fundamental role of what a priest/vicar is. I was ordained to be a “Midwife of Hope.” A priest is called to give birth to hope in a world that is desperate for it; in a world where division seems to doom our future; where selfishness and self-centeredness appear to be winning; where restraint has given way to indulgence; and where death looks like the final victor.
In preaching, teaching, praying, worship, and in all aspects of ministry, my joy is to provide for the suffering and for the comfortable, a pathway of hope, the path of Jesus. His is a way of healing and reconciling and raising up. He is a path of resurrection for the world, for us as a community, for us as individuals. Priests carry that Good News to all, in every season of life, in all circumstances – because we must.
So, for Vicars, our authority for governance comes in representing the Bishop to the parish, being in concert with the Bishop’s teaching, and in frequent dialogue with the Bishop. Our authority to preach, teach, and heal comes from our priesthood in response to the Gospel of Jesus.
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Out of an abundance of caution re: COVID-19, we ask that you wear a mask to this weekend’s Saturday and Sunday worship services. Thank you.
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The Rt. Rev. Diane Jardine Bruce joins us for worship and the BBQ. Please sign up here and let us know what you’ll bring, and whether you can lend a hand for set up and take down.
Feel free to sign up to bring more than one item — show off your cooking/baking/design talents!
In addition to burgers and hot dogs we’re also having tri-tip! We’ll see you at St. John’s!
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Here’s What Else is Happening at St. John’s:
For Full Details Click Here to Access the NEWS.
Here’s the at-a-glance look at what’s coming soon:
+ Saturday evening In-person worship is at 5 p.m. today. Join us!
+ Godly Play, Sunday School, and the Nursery are open to receive your children! Check out the Children’s Ministry opportunities available below.
+ Pacific Chorale’s “The Wayfaring Project” is available online Monday, August 23 and features members of the Pacific Chorale, members of the Pacific Symphony, and soloists performing the music of J.S. Bach, Samuel Barber, Thomas A. Dorsey, Tarik O’Regan, Dolly Parton, and Moira Smiley. Members of the Pacific Chorale include our own Diana Farrell and former tenor section leader Jason Francisco. Details in the News.
+ Dates to Save:
• September 12 for the St. John’s BBQ (now with tri-tip!) and Bishop’ Bruce’s visit — here’s the sign up link.
• Saturday, November 6 our annual fellowship event and fundraiser. Details for all the events in the News.
+ You can drop food donations for RSM Cares Food Pantry at church on Sundays. Items needed include soup, chili, beans; pasta, pasta sauce; peanut butter, jelly, and also grocery store gift cards.
+ The next Book It On Mondays! meets August 30. The book is Lynne Martin’s Home Sweet Anywhere. More info available from Christy Morinello.
+ Join the Altar Guild! Learn more, by contacting Christy Morinello.
+ Altar Flowers: remember loved ones with altar flowers! More than one donation can be submitted per week. Send your commemoration along with your name and mail it to the Church Office or drop off on Sundays while at church. Sixty dollars is the suggested flower donation.
+ Youth Group is back from Summer break Wednesday, September 1. Get more YG info from Patti Peebles, our Youth Pastor and School Chaplain.
+ Women’s Hybrid Bible Study is on hiatus for August. Look for it to resume in September on Wednesday mornings, 10:15 – 11:30 a.m. at DJ Gomer’s home. Hybrid = in-person and on ZOOM.
+ Join us for coffee 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!
+ Women’s Ministry: Meet Saturday, September 18, Kathy O’Connor’s home in Pasadena (aka The Bishop’s residence) for lunch and a presentation by author Lian Dolan discussing her book, The Sweeney Sisters. See the NEWS for details.
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In-Person Worship Schedule:
• Evening Prayer or Compline ZOOM services continue to be held Tuesdays and Thursdays at 8 p.m. Rev. Christopher sends the links in his Saturday email; if you’d like the links and to receive St. John’s news, let us know!
• Sunday morning worship will be held in-person at church and on ZOOM at 9 a.m.
• Saturday in-person worship in the church at 5 p.m. with live music.
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