by the Rev. Christopher Potter, Vicar
Though belated (it was October 11), I did not wish to let this occasion pass by this year without saying to everyone, “I love you.”
As a community who follows the way of Jesus, this day certainly holds importance for us, as Jesus was all about liberation. To encounter a person stuck in a middle-space of being neither here nor there – afraid perhaps of rejection because of who they are, requires from us a decisive active response. As Episcopalians, we have accepted the call to a life of compassion, welcome, and acceptance for all. We choose also to embrace all God’s creatures. We owe our blood, sweat, and tears in the efforts to liberate any who are oppressed. Importantly, this includes people who are LGBTQ+.
I have feelings about this event beyond the ones around liberation. I am conflicted about the day itself. I wonder why are we celebrating it at all? I mean, when do we get to a place and time where ‘coming out’ is as natural for human beings as our entry, say, into adolescence, adulthood, or as when we chose a career? I’m sure it took me a few days (or years) to recognize that I had transitioned from adolescence to adulthood, but I sure didn’t have to ‘come out’ about it – it happens to the best of us! Further, I never had to justify myself as an adult to anyone. Similarly, I never had to ‘come out’ as a heterosexual cisgender person either. Yes, more humans are generally (though not monolithically) heterosexual, but I’ve never had to announce my sexual identity to the world, as if I needed approval, consent, or permission. Too quickly, I forget that some members of my human family have had to do all this; to justify, to explain, even seek permission to exist as God made them.
Then, I recall how the religion I practice has itself been used as a weapon against people who love in ways differently than I do. In the name of Jesus – the one who IS love – LGBTQ+ people have been ostracized, beaten, marginalized, and even killed. My soul still hurts when I remember Matthew Shepherd. Which is why I feel a bit disturbed on this National Coming Out Day. When finally we accept you, our LGBTQ+ family and friends without hesitation or fear, we will be more faithful to our call to live into the Reign of God – the Reign of love, of welcome, of DIS-marginalization, where love is love is love
I pray that all LGBTQ+ people find some safety in National Coming Out Day, but I also pray that this holiday will be short-lived on our calendars. I pray that you do not lose heart as you wait for us to live more faithfully as the people God has called us to be.
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We’ll see you at St. John’s this weekend:
• Saturday worship at 5 p.m. in the Chapel; potluck following on the Learning Commons courtyard
• Sunday Holy Eucharist and worship at 8 a.m. (in-person only); and at 10 a.m., in-person and on ZOOM
• Nursery care beginning at 8 a.m.
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Our Red Cross Blood Drive is set for Sunday, October 23, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sign up at 1.800.733.2767, OR here — use sponsor code St. John (no ‘s’)
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Trunk or Treat is Sunday, October 30, 4 – 6 p.m. Time to Invite Your Friends to this Great Event! Remember to bring a food item for the RSM Cares Food Pantry!
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Our Thanksgiving Food Drive Is On!
The shopping list is on the Narthex counter, or you can print / view your own copy here. Bring your donations when you come to Church Saturday evenings or Sunday mornings. Last day to collect is Sunday, November 13. If you can help out with preparing and loading bags at St. John’s Saturday, November 12 from 2-5 p.m. and/or Sunday, November 13 after church until we are done or help out with food distribution at Shepherd of the Hills United Methodist Church, Wednesday, November 16, contact Roger Bradshaw or at 949.505.4663.
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The Worship Bulletin for Sunday, October 16, 2022
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ZOOM Worship Link – Sunday, 10 a.m.
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Sunday’s 9 a.m. Adult Forum is Back! This Sunday we continue our look at “The Sacred Art of Listening” in the Learning Commons
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We’ll see you at St. John’s!