2016 Pastoral Letter

Dear St. John’s partners,

As 2016 comes to an end, the leadership and pastors at St. John’s want to express our gratitude for the commitment and care you have shared with this faith community. This year, you have continued to nurture the children at St. John’s and fulfill your commitment to support the children and families who were baptized. You have given of your time and talents at St. John’s as well as at your work, your home, and your community.

This year, St. John’s experimented with partnership versus membership. Through partnership, we wanted to honor the many ways you live faithfully both within St. John’s and in the community. The leadership at St. John’s have been working hard in finding ways to strengthen partnerships not only with those who attend St. John’s but with the local and global community as well.

Here are just some of the few things that you all made possible:
The care team sent care packages filled with San Francisco goodies to our college students away from home. They personally checked in with partners at St. John’s for any concerns or prayers to share. On January 29, they will host a technology workshop, where you can learn the basics of social media or ask any tech questions you need answered.

The community team launched the kindness project, where once a month they did one act of kindness suggested by the community of St. John’s. In August, we thanked Karen Carle Irwin, our music director, for the wonderful music leadership she provides. In September, we sent $75 to help fund Isis Castillo’s dream of attending a speech and drama college in the UK. In October, we thanked Jackie Autry, who leads our weekly Harvest Food Pantry as well as the volunteers by providing them with coffee and goodies. In November, we heard stories of rain from Mary Mullen, and Tarryn and Marcell Puzsar, then gave thanks for the rain in the midst of drought by playing in a “rainstorm” of blue balloons in worship. In December, we will recognize Rev. John Anderson for his 25 years at St. John’s.

The compassion team has focused on connecting St. John’s mission with the passion and concerns of its partners. This year, we have joined the efforts of Interfaith Welcome: Supporting Refugees in the Bay Area by collecting household items for Welcome Kits and the Teddy Bear Lift that provides teddy bears to refugee children. This year, $46,000 will be donated from St. John’s to the following organizations:

  • $5000 to Hamilton House that serves homeless mothers and children. This donation will go towards matching funds up to $10 million dollars from a member at Congregation Emanu-El who has offered to match dollar for dollar for every donation received towards the Heading Home Campaign focused on finding permanent housing for at least 800 families with children in the San Francisco Unified School District.
  • $5000 to Kate Taber, mission co-worker serving in Palestine.
  • $2500 to San Francisco Safe House that serves women who are homeless and in prostitution escape life on the street.
  • $$5000 to Sarah Henken, mission co-worker serving Latin and South America.
  • $2500 Teddy Bear Lift project through Interfaith Welcome Bay Area Refugee Support
  • $2500 towards matching funds with the Presbytery of San Francisco to assist resettlement of refugees.
  • $15,000 to Harvest Food Pantry supply supplemental groceries to 200 clients each week as well as St. Anne’s Home. Volunteers come from not only St. John’s community, but 12 local schools as well. Most weeks, 400 lbs of potatoes, 300 lbs of onions, and 200 lbs of carrots are distributed.

Thank you all for your good and faithful work,

Rev. Theresa Cho and Rev. John Anderson

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