OUTREACH: OUR COMMUNITY & THE WORLD
Heidi McLaughlin and Steve Griffiths at an immigration rights rally in San Francisco’s Civic Center.
“Will you proclaim by word and example the Good News of God in Christ? . . .
Will you seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving your neighbor as yourself? . . .
Will you strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every
human being?” - The Baptismal Covenant
In living out our Baptismal Covenant, we are called to action in the world. St. John’s has a long history of service to the local community, beginning with its role in helping to found St. Luke’s Hospital (1871) and later St. John’s Educational Thresholds Center (now Mission Graduates), continuing through the darkest days of the AIDS crisis, to more recent efforts like the Warm Spot community dinners. Many of us also take to the streets from time to time to witness for justice and peace in the world. In addition, St. John’s has nurtured the ministries of parishioners in San Francisco, Central America, and other parts of the world.
Currently, St. John’s serves the local neighborhood through the weekly Julian Pantry. We are also joining with several other Episcopal congregations and organizations South of Market (El Buen Samaritano, St. Aidan's, Holy Innocents,St. Gregory of Nyssa, Sojourn Chaplaincy, and the Brothers and Sisters of the Community of St. Francis) through the SOMA Episcopal Area Ministry collaboration to explore further service to our neighbors.
The Julian Pantry
The Julian Pantry is an area ministry of Holy Innocents, El Buen Samaritano, and Saint John the Evangelist Episcopal churches and the Community of St. Francis. We have come together in faith and in action to learn from one another, share resources, build new friendships, and better serve the needs of our community. In collaborating with each other and our shared community, we strive to celebrate God's all-inclusive love by respecting our neighbors and our earth through the humble sharing of healthy, local food. We open our hearts, our arms and our doors not to offer charity but to enrich and empower our neighbors and clients that they may, in turn, join us in creating a self-sustaining neighborhood pantry.
The Pantry provides groceries (both staples and fresh fruit and vegetables) to 200 individuals each Saturday morning from 10:00 am to noon. All are welcome to receive food, as the Pantry has no residency or ID requirements. Volunteers are always needed and welcome, and volunteers are also welcome to receive groceries. Volunteer hours are 8 am-12:30 pm, and volunteers may serve for all or any part of that time. If you wish to volunteer or make a fiancial contribution, please contact the parish office.
The Mustard Seed
Ten percent of St. John's resources are dedicated to outreach. Thus far, we have decided to tithe (or make a financial contribution) to the following organizations:
Anglican Church in El Salvador
St. John’s recently joined several neighboring Episcopal parishes (St. Aidan’s, St. Gregory’s, and Holy Innocents) in beginning a relationship of support and solidarity with the Anglican Diocese of El Salvador. We made an initial five-year commitment, beginning in 2007. Our particular focus will be on helping to grow Centro Pastoral Anglicano del Este, a relatively new mission effort in Eastern El Salvador, where the Anglican Church is just beginning to put down roots. Our relationship will include annual exchange and work trips, as well as fundraising to support the Diocese. A group of us visited El Salvador in fall 2006 and spring 2008. We helped to host a visit of the Most Rev. Martín Barahona, Anglican Bishop of El Salvador and Primate of Central America, in May 2007.
Photos: A group of St. John’s members with Bishop Barahona at his home; Fr. Daniel Simons of St. Gregory’s preaching at the women’s prison in San Miguel, where the Anglican Church does outreach; visiting an elemetary school in San Miguel.
El Porvenir is a non-profit incorporated in California whose mission is to improve the standard of living of poor people in Nicaragua through sustainable self-help water, sanitation, and reforestation projects. El Porvenir supports more than 40 community-initiated projects a year in three regions of the country. These projects utilize simple technology and locally available materials, and can be repaired and maintained by the community. Projects include hand-dug wells, community wash stations, household latrines, and spring captures. Long-time St. John's member Liz Specht was one of the founders of El Porvenir, which was born in the 1980s during the United Nations International Drinking Water Decade. Many St. John's members have participated in work trips sponsored by El Porvenir.
Episcopal Relief and Development
Episcopal Relief and Development provides support for those among the 2 billion people worldwide who live on less than $2 per day. This year, we are focusing on ERD's Food Program, which secures livestock to provide sustainable nutritional and economic resources for rural communities in the developing world.
Episcopal Jail Ministry
The Jail Ministry is a lay ministry of presence, hospitality and respectfulness to the inmates of the San Francisco County Jail system. Volunteers offer fellowship and a prayerful presence to men and women inmates. The very popular "Stories from Mom/Dad Program" serves inmates who are parents and helps them maintain a link to their children during their incarceration. Volunteers bring children¹s books and tape recorders to incarcerated parents. The parent chooses a book and the volunteers record her or his voice as they read to their child. The book and tape are then sent to the children. Funds are needed to pay for books, tapes, and shipping.
The Family Link
The Family Link is a guest house on Castro Street in San Francisco that serves people with AIDS and other life-threatening illnesses by offering hospitality to their visiting family members and loved ones.The Family Link provides affordable accommodation in a safe and supportive environment, a "home away from home" where guests, staff and volunteers together create an atmosphere of friendship and trust. Recent guests (left) have come from as far afield as New Orleans, Mexico, Ethiopia, and the border regions of Pakistan. The Family Link was co-founded by St. John's member Sister Ruth Hall, CSF.
Mission Graduates (formerly St. John’s Educational Thresholds Center or St. John's ETC) is a non-sectarian non-profit that supports the educational and personal development of San Francisco youth. Mission Graduates was founded as St. John's ETC by St. John's parishioners and other community members in 1972. Originally housed at St. John’s, Mission Graduates is now located around the corner from the church on 16th Street. In addition to financial support, many St. John’s members have served and continue to serve as Mission Graduaates volunteers and board members.
In addition to parish-sponsored outreach, most members of St. John’s are committed, either professionally and/or as volunteers, to service to their local communities, focusing on issues ranging from education to addiction recovery to social justice and human rights, as well as around the world. Organizations where St. John's members work, have played a role in founding, or volunteer include And Castro for All, El Porvenir, Claiming the Blessing, Martin de Porres House of Hospitality, San Francisco General Hospital, SHARE Foundation, Sierra Club, St. Luke's Hospital, and Tiempo de Guerras/War Times.
Photos: B. Pethoud; K. Veit; T. Dillon; K. Veit; M. Smith.