Reminders for this week

Holy Week at The Episcopal Church of St. John the Baptist:

“The Garden of Gethsemane Watch” starts on Thursday, April 17 at 9:00 p.m. until Friday, April 18 at 7:00 a.m.  Please sign up for an hour of prayer.

Sunday, April 13     Palm & Passion Sunday
8  a.m.                                     Palm Procession & Passion Reading
10:30  a.m.                           Palm Procession & Passion Reading

Thursday, April 17 Maundy Thursday
7:30  p.m.                              The Last Night Told in Four Ritual Acts
8 p.m. to 7 a.m.                   Garden of Gethsemane Watch

Friday, April 18      Good Friday
12 Noon                                 Passion & Prayers
5:30 p.m.                              The Holy Week Story for Children

Saturday, April 19  The Great  Easter Vigil*
7:30   p.m.                        Scripture & Song, Fire & Water, Bread & Wine
Festive  Party Follows
*St. Anne’s Episcopal Church in Stockton and St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Lodi will be joining us.

Sunday, April 20     Easter Sunday
8  a.m.                                     Festival Eucharist & Reception
10:30  a.m.                           Festival Eucharist & Children’s Egg Hunt

May God Bless!    Mother Elaine

Coming Events for the Week

  • Congregational Vigil Singing Rehearsal, April 13, 12:00 noon, Church
  • Youth Group, April 13 & 27, 5:30 p.m., Hospitality Room
  • St. John’s Ringers Practice, April 13, & 27, 7:00 p.m., Church
  • Yoga, April 15 & 27,  9:30 a.m., Nursery
  • Evening Prayer, April 16, 23 & 30, 5:00 p.m., Chapel
  • Choristers, April 16, 23 & 30, 4:00 p.m., Church
  • Choir Practice, April 16, 23 & 30, 7:00 p.m., Church
  • Soul Kitchen, April 25, 5:30 p.m., Church
  • Family Meeting with Mother Elaine, April 27, 12:00 noon, Church

Sermon from 4/6

The Rev. Elaine Breckenridge
Lent 5A            April 6, 2014
Listen to this…  Sermon 2014.04.06 EHB

“There once was a wandering Chinese man named Cheng-wa, living in Lime House and a girl name Shirley.” So began a story by Dennis, a character played by Robert Redford in the movie Out of Africa.  The context was an evening dinner party and the hostess, Karen Blixon, play by Meryl Streep had agreed to tell a story based on any sentence her guests would provide. It was a fantastic story that Karen Blixon told based on the one sentence provided by Dennis.

With this morning’s Gospel, how can we not think about the power of story? We are immediately drawn into the narrative. We feel the pain of Mary and Martha’s loss. We see Jesus finally arriving at the tomb and marvel at the depth of his grief. We can only wonder what the family and friends of Lazarus expected of Jesus at that moment. Perhaps he would give a eulogy, offer some words of comfort to the mourners. Martha certainly had no immediate expectations. Remember her words, “Lord, if only you had been here, my brother would not have died.” On the one hand, she is caught up in the regret of the past. On the other hand, she did have faith in the promise of the resurrection in some distant future. But in that moment she was caught between the reality of death and the hope of resurrection.
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Sermon From 3/23

The Rev. Elaine Breckenridge
Lent 3A 2014
March 23,  2014
Listen to this…Sermon 2014.03.23 EHB              

         “Give us water to drink”cried the Israelites. “Give me a drink”, said Jesus. These readings always make me feel thirsty and I do not like being thirsty. As I was sipping from a tall, cold glass of water on Friday thinking about this sermon,  I decided to explore my thirst. And then I remembered.

                It was a warm spring day in Lent. I was in high school driving my father’s car and I was thirsty. Lucky for me, I spotted a water bottle on the floor of my father’s car.  And so at the next red light, I grabbed the bottle and took a drink. But the light changed before I could get the cap on and holding a open water bottle while at the same operating a gear stick was a recipe for disaster. I dropped the bottle and got water everywhere, all over the car.  So I pulled the car off the road to pick up the bottle, and since there was a little bit of water left in the bottle, I resolved to finish it off. And then I saw the label.  To my horror, the hand written label read, “Jordan River Water for Easter Vigil Baptisms.” Oh yeah, I was horrified as I realized that not only had I baptized my father’s VW bug with Jordan River water, I had nearly drunk what precious drops of it remained, nearly depriving the church’s newest converts from their chance to be baptized in the same water that had baptized Jesus!
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Sermon from 3/16

The Second Sunday of LentMarch 16, 2014
The Rev. Elaine Breckenridge
Listen to this…Sermon 2014.03.16 EHB

Sermon from 3/9

The First Sunday of Lent
March 9, 2014
The Rev. Elaine H. Breckenridge
Listen to this…Sermon 2014.03.09 EHB


Sermon from 2/23

The Rt. Rev. David RiceSunday, February 23, 2014
Leviticus 19:1-2,9-18;  Psalm 119:33-40;   1 Corinthians 3:10-11,16-23;  Matthew 5:38-48

Listen to this… Sermon 2014.02.23 BDR

Homily from 2/15 – Chris Wied’s Memorial

A Homily in Thanksgiving for the Life of Christine Wied
by The Rev. Elaine Breckenridge, February 15, 2014
Episcopal Church of St. John the Baptist, Lodi

Listen to this…Chris Wied’s Memorial EHB

From the Book of Proverbs, “Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.”

            It is not very often that I turn to the biblical Book of Proverbs for inspiration or guidance, but then it is not very often that I am called upon to offer words for a final blessing on someone like Chris Wied.

            So many of the verses in that last chapter of Proverbs give us an image  of a wife, a mother, and a woman— which are absolutely impossible to live up to. And yet as I have come to learn more about Chris and understand the kind of impact she had on all of you and so many others, I can say that she was the embodiment of all that is true and honorable, pure and indeed excellent.

            “Give her a share in the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the city gates”,  says Proverbs. What an accomplished woman she was! Colleagues and co-workers at the time of her retirement from the City of Ventura certainly sang her praises in the form of written tributes.  Those city gates praised her as “a strong professional woman, a wise mentor, smart and well organized.”

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Sermon From 2/9

The Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany,
February 9,  2014
The Rev. Elaine H. Breckenridge
Listen to this…Sermon 2014.02.09 EHB

Sugar or salt? Savory or sweet? What is your preference when it comes to enjoying special foods? For me it would be salt. That being the case, of course, I was attracted, even compelled to unpack the metaphor of salt that Jesus uses in this morning’s Gospel passage.

I love salty foods. And I am so sorry that salt has been linked to high blood pressure, heart problems, water retention and gosh knows what else. Because of such health concerns, I do not use as much salt in cooking as I might. My husband will vouch for me. A comment often made at my table is this–pass the salt, please. And I always use some myself. It is hard to imagine a diet without salt.

            In fact, it is hard to imagine life with salt. Salt has both cleansing and healing properties. For sore throats, gargling with salt water is more soothing than the many other shelf remedies that are available. Soaking cuts and infections in warm salt water brings almost instant relief.
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Sermon from 2/2

The Rev. Elaine H. Breckenridge
The Feast of the Presentation
February 2, 2014
Listen to this…Sermon 2014.02.02 EHB

As I have gone about my day to day life lately, in shops and in businesses, I have been asked, “So are you ready for the big game?” I try to bat my eyelashes and sound naive as I say, “What game?”

What game? Of course I know that some people call this day Super Bowl Sunday. I know it is a feast day when friends will gather to eat and to drink as well as to watch  football.  But there are other calendars which also mark today as a special feast day.

They include Groundhog Day, Candlemas,  The Feast of the Purification and The Feast of the Presentation.  So let’s take a quick tour.
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Sermon from 1/26

Epiphany 3, Year A
St. John’s 2014
The Rev. Elaine H. Breckenridge
Listen to this…Sermon 2014.01.26

Jesus walks by the Sea of Galilee, calls Peter and Andrew, and immediately they follow him.  And going on a little farther, he sees James and John, the Sons of Zebedee.  He calls them and immediately they follow him too.  Imagine that, Jesus demands no interviews, no formal process of  discernment. There are no background or reference checks.  There are no contracts or letters of agreement to sign, no terms of their discipleship to be negotiated.  Unlike other sages and rabbis of his time and culture, he does not require his new disciples to enter into a period of testing and trial to gauge whether or not they have an aptitude for discipleship.  He doesn’t even go to the temple or a synagogue to find his ministry recruits.  No, instead he meets the men not in a religious sphere but in their everyday lives–in their place of work. Jesus meets them where they are and without qualification invites them to be a part of the kingdom.

The disciples are asked to follow him and they do so, immediately.  For their part, they do not ask for time to think about their decisions, nor even ask for time to pray on it.  There are no consultations, no interviews with other teachers, no listing of the pros and cons of following Jesus. Tossing their nets aside, without delay, they head for Capernaum.

Well, eureka, I have struck gold!  What a great Gospel to have in front of us this morning as we prepare to hold our annual meeting in just forty-five minutes!  Sure part of the business of the annual meeting is to look back at the preceding year, but it is also a wonderful opportunity for a priest- in-charge to inspire and motivate the congregation to become missionaries like those first disciples.  Here is a golden opportunity for me to look at the behavior of the earliest disciples and say, ‘Come on folks this could be us.  Jesus is calling, lay aside the mending of those nets, drop what you are doing and follow Christ’.  Follow Christ: code words for saying, ‘Support the ministries and the mission of the Episcopal Church of St. John the Baptist’.
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