Fundraising for Damaged Churches

Fundraising for Damaged Churches

In the past weeks and  months we have seen too many tragic incidents of destruction of or damage to places of worship around the world. From the destruction of churches and mosques to the recent fire at Notre Dame and the arson of several churches in Louisiana.

A Go Fund Me campaign was initiated to show support for church families and the communities affected by the fires in Louisiana. The host of this campaign is the Seventh District Baptist Association, a 149 year old non-profit religious organization.  They are working with the Governor of Louisiana, local leaders, elected officials, the impacted churches and their pastors, other faith organizations and the community to ensure 100% of all funds raised will be evenly distributed to the three churches affected.

They  are unequivocally committed to aiding our Sister Churches.  The donations received are earmarked specifically for the Seventh District's member churches - St. Mary Baptist Church, Greater Union Baptist Church and Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church.  All donations will be disbursed equally among all three churches for rebuilding their sanctuaries and all necessities lost in the fires, including pews, sound system, musical instruments, etc.

Click here to support these efforts.

Spotlight On: Sharlene Cochrane

Spotlight: Parishioners Living Out Their Faith

When I was invited to write a piece for our newsletter, I happily said, “Yes, I could do that.”  And then I faced a huge question:  how do I introduce myself and my experience of faith and social justice in a short piece—when that topic is part of what has guided, challenged, and sustained me over most of my life!   


So first, the introductory numbers:

Four years ago I retired from 28 years teaching at Lesley University.  Since 2001 I have been a Courage and Renewal facilitator, a program of retreats that invite reflection about the relationship between who we are and the work we do.  My husband Will and I have four children, now between the ages of 31-51, and four grandchildren, and have lived in our JP home for 41 years.


Will and I returned to St. John’s after several years away, about the time the church raised the Black Lives Matter banner.  We walked up the hill to St. John’s in gratitude for his recovery from a rare brain infection, and found a warm welcome from both old friends and new.  We knew we were in the right place.


St. John’s has a long history of concern for social and cultural justice--We even had a Sunday School Ecology Club when our kids were young (1990!) The current Social Justice Working Group builds on this long-held commitment and promises to support and deepen the actions we take.


Acting for social justice means being a learner, open to new understanding about the diverse experiences and strengths of those different from myself.  It means developing deep connection with others.  Such efforts take courage and a willingness to risk my mostly safe and secure every-day life. I have been fortunate to have family, friends, and colleagues who support and challenge my efforts.  My faith helps me realize when I get in my own way, and don’t always have the courage it takes to get beyond my comfort zone.  Creating socially just and equitable communities is Holy work and needs to be constantly grounded in prayer and humility.  I imagine this process as holding space for the Holy Spirit to work through me and through each of us.  I’m grateful to be part of that movement at St. John’s.


Social Justice and Spirituality Library Launch

The Social Justice Working Group and Spiritual Life Committee have created a Social Justice and Spirituality Lending Library, located in the book shelf at the back of the sanctuary.  Folks are invited to borrow books on racism and white privilege, income equality and poverty, equity and climate change, faith and spirituality.

You can view our full Online Book Catalog with just a click but to highlight a sample of the stimulating books available:

Between the World and MeA memoir and Pulitzer Prize finalist, by Ta-Nehisi Coates, who is described by the New York Observer as “the single best writer on the subject of race in the United States.”

In the Company of the Poor:  Conversations with Dr Paul Farmer and Fr Gustavo Gutierrez.  Dr. Farmer is award-winning Harvard professor of Global Health and Social Medicine, author of many books on high-quality health care in resource-poor settings in the U.S. and other countries.  Rev Gutierrez is a philosopher, theologian, and Dominican priest, professor of Theology at University of Notre Dame, and one of the founders of liberation theology.

Speaking of Faith:  Why Religion Matters—and How to Talk About it, by journalist and winner of the National Humanities Medal Krista Tippett, creator and host of the public radio program On Being.


To borrow a book:

  1. Fill out an orange card with the book title, your name, and date borrowed.

  2. Slip the orange card in the shelf where the book was located. 

  3. When returning a book, return it to its location on the shelf, remove the orange card, and write the date returned.

  4. Return the orange card to the box of cards.

To donate a book, see Ann Collins or Sharlene Cochrane or anyone on the Social Justice Committee.

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Faith @ Home - Spiritual Practice in the Midst of Life

Are you in the present moment? Right now, this is where God calls you to be.

We live busy lives full with things we ought to do, want to do and might do, if there is time.  Our actions reflect what is important to us. Family, friends, work/school, put demands on us – and bring us much joy.  How can we nurture our faith in the midst of busy lives? First, we need to realize that faith practice does not take us outside of our lives but brings us more deeply into our living.  We pray in the midst of our chaos. We live out our faith through actual practices because we seek a way of life that touches and changes us and those around us.

Your spiritual practices may vary depending on what stage of life you are in.  Young families can make “sacred” the ordinary activities of their lives: preparing meals, playing with the kids, changing diapers, giving baths, reading books at story-time.  Are you in the present moment? Right now, this is where God calls you to be. How can you find God in the experiences of home life? Families with school age children who spend significant parts of the day chauffeuring the kids to activities can do so in a “mindful” way.  Night time can be times to connect and share about the day. Where were you kind, loving, patient as God is with us?

One of my favorite, simple prayers that can easily be said anytime throughout a day is “Be still and know that I am God”.  I need to be reminded to slow down and just be. This prayer can be said very slowly… and drop off different words as you say the prayer slowly.  “Be still and know that I am… Be still and know… Be still… Be.” Just be with your God, with your life, with yourself.

What a wonderful gift we can give ourselves is to live simply and just be grateful.

Each month, there will be this column of reflection on how we can nurture our faith.  In the future, we will look at concrete ways that will help us grow in our relationship with God that honors the busy lives we all lead.

Spotlight On: Libby Gatti

Spotlight: Parishioners Living Out Their Faith

Hello I am Libby Gatti and I am entering my fifth year of working on the pastoral care team with the MANNA Community and my second year in a Master's in Divinity program at Boston University. MANNA stands for "Many Angels Needed Now and Always," and is a ministry of and with the homeless community of Downtown Boston. We are a ministry of the Cathedral Church of St. Paul. Through MANNA, we seek not only to welcome folks across differences of class, wealth, culture, race and mental/physical ability, but also to empower all people to claim their place as essential members of the community. Often folks out on the street are considered for what they lack, and often there is much lacking: housing, healthcare, money, stability, the list goes on. We at MANNA try to consider not only what we each may lack, but what gifts we have to offer. Someone may be a great writer, and contribute to our quarterly magazine The Pilgrim. Someone may love to sing, and thus join our choir. Someone might be particularly patient, and so sit with a person who is having a rough day during our weekly meal. One of the many blessings of being a community mostly of homeless people is that it is hard to forget the depths of our need for each other - and for Jesus most of all!

This is one of the deep learnings I have received from the community and something foundational to my understanding of social justice: it can be tempting to believe (and try to make manifest in my life!) the idea that I am self-sufficient, that I am “put together,” or that, though I may appreciate company, I do not need anyone. Our community reminds me that, in fact, each one of us is essential to the body of Christ. We are not, any one of us, simply placed into categories of the “helpers” and the “helped," but rather: we all have gifts to give and to receive. We need each other. And this is why we gather each week to serve, to pray, and to create together. I hope you will consider joining us sometime!

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New Zealand Cathedral's broken rose window a giant jigsaw puzzle

The shattered rose window of the Christ Church Cathedral is like a giant jigsaw puzzle for stonemason Mark Whyte.

Whyte is carefully sorting through the rubble from the collapsed western end of the cathedral in preparation for the building's eventual restoration.

Workers are being lowered in a bucket suspended from a crane to recover the rubble, which has been lying on the roof of the portico since the rose window collapsed in the June 2011 earthquake…

Read more about the efforts at Christ Church Cathedral in New Zealand!

Stonemason Mark Whyte from Goldfield Stone has sorted through about 300 pieces of rubble from the front of the Christ Church Cathedral.  Compliments of

Stonemason Mark Whyte from Goldfield Stone has sorted through about 300 pieces of rubble from the front of the Christ Church Cathedral. Compliments of

Tis So Sweet...

’Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just to take Him at His word;
Just to rest upon His promise;
Just to know, Thus saith the Lord. Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him,
How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er,
Jesus, Jesus, Precious Jesus!
  O for grace to trust Him more.

O how sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just to trust His cleansing blood;
Just in simple faith to plunge me,
’Neath the healing, cleansing flood.
Yes, ’tis sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just from sin and self to cease;
Just from Jesus simply taking
Life, and rest, and joy, and peace.
I’m so glad I learned to trust Thee,
Precious Jesus, Savior, Friend;
And I know that Thou art with me,
Wilt be with me to the end.

A Message from our Bishop

We are committed to the principle of full and equal access to, and inclusion in, the sacraments for all of the baptized children of God, including our LGBTQ siblings. For as St. Paul reminds us in Galatians 3, “in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith. As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.”

Presiding Bishop Michael B. Curry

Read the full statement from Presiding Bishop Curry on Bishop William Love’s November 10 Pastoral Letter and Directive here.

The Episcopal Public Policy Network

You can follow The Episcopal Public Policy Network on Facebook for loads of great advocacy information.

But what about the separation of church and state?

This is a different concept than what we do with advocacy. The separation of church and state is about the government not prohibiting a particular religion or requiring participation in one. 
What we're doing as a Church & what we're encouraging folks to do is to use their constitutional right to petition the government.

In fact, the Episcopal Church advocates to protect the separation of church and state, just like in our work with Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty on preserving the Johnson Amendment. #EpiscopalAdvocacy

While you’re on Facebook, do you follow us? Like our page and stay connected with us on social media!