Weekly News from the Episcopal Diocese of California
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Weekly News from the Episcopal Diocese of California
December 20, 2016

A Christmas message

The Gospel lesson for the Fourth Sunday in Advent tells us about the courage of Joseph and the protection he gave to a pregnant young woman and the child she would soon bring into the world: Jesus, the Messiah. In other Gospel lessons that relate the birth of the Messiah we learn more about Mary, also a person of great coura­ge and compassion, who cared for the plight of her people under Roman domination.

What the police won’t tell you about the Amilcar Lopez killing

[48hills | December 19] San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon says he’s about to announce his long-awaited decision about whether to charge the officers who killed Amilcar Perez Lopez with murder. Since Amilcar’s death in February 2015, hundreds in the Bay Area have insisted the DA give us–Amilcar’s family, the community, and the officers themselves–our day in court where evidence can be openly evaluated, witnesses can be publicly examined and cross-examined, and his family can get the information they have a right to. 

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photo: 48hills

Banner: The DioCal Episcopal Service Corps interns wish you a Merry Christmas and happy holidays! Photo: Susi Franco.

Bishop and archdeacon treated to bento lunches and mochi dessert


On Sunday, December 18, Bishop Marc Andrus and Archdeacon David Stickley made their official visitation to Christ Church Sei Ko Kai, San Francisco. They, along with Dr. Sheila Andrus, were given a tour of the facilities by the priest-in-charge, the Rev. Debra Low-Skinner. The church takes up the first floor of a stately, historic, three-story Victorian building in Pacific Heights. The second floor is leased to a counseling center, while the lower floor is leased to a preschool.

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Exhibits inside soaring cathedral, stark bunkers

[SF Chronicle | December 14] Two temporary, site-specific art exhibitions are currently on view in stunning environments in San Francisco. Admission is free, and each is a worthwhile special trip, but you had better move quickly if you want to catch them both. The grand Grace Cathedral has incorporated the contemporary into its art offerings for many years. Beginning in 2012, an artist-in-residence program has commissioned artists to work at the church and with its community for extended periods.

New alcohol policy from DioCal

In 2015 the General Convention of the Episcopal Church adopted a resolution advising congregations and dioceses to revisit their alcohol and substance use policies. This resolution also offered guidelines and starting places for alcohol use policies. In the intervening 18 months the Diocese of California — with the bishop’s approval — has updated its alcohol and substance use policy. The newly rewritten policy is available here. Of particular note are, “evaluating whether a temporary liquor license is necessary to serve alcoholic beverages,” “If hard liquor is served, a California Responsible Beverage Service (RBS) certified server is expected, and encouraged for beer and wine service,” and “The serving of alcoholic beverages at church events should be publicized as an attraction of the event on a very limited basis… Diocesan publications will not advertise alcohol as an event’s attraction — with limited exception.” Be sure to read the whole policy, make it available to all groups, and perhaps have print outs around your congregation.


No DioBytes December 27 and DioHouse office holiday closure

In keeping with past years’ practice, DioBytes will not be published the week of New Year’s Eve. The first DioBytes of 2017 will be on Wednesday, January 4. The submission deadline for that entry will be Monday, January 2, 5 p.m. The submission guidelines are available here.

DioHouse (office of the bishop and his staff) will be closed on Friday, December 23 and Monday, December 26 in observance of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. It will reopen on Tuesday, December 27. It will be closed the first Monday of January in observance of New Year’s Day.

‘Cultivating spiritual sustainability: California, Paris, Marrakech, and you’ — Epiphany reflection day with Bishop Marc at The Bishop’s Ranch

In this day-long retreat Bishop Marc Andrus will lead participants in exploring the concept of spiritual sustainability — the intrapersonal dimensions of climate change. The shape and quality of actions is based entirely on spiritual values. In this retreat participants will look at the spiritual values explored at the last two years of the UN Climate Change Conference (Paris and Marrakech) and create their own prayer cards after considering the question: How does this value support the sustainability of my life, my relationships, my commitments, and my content of life? The hope upon returning home is participants will be better able to make conscious choices and continue to reflect on how these spiritual values influence their lives. Download event flyer here.

When: Saturday, January 7,  9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Where: The Bishop’s Ranch, 5297 Westside Road, Healdsburg
Link: DioCalendar event
Cost: $90, includes lunch
Deadline: Register by Tuesday, December 27

Register for 2017 Equipping the Beloved Community: Vestry and Bishop’s Committee training

Grace Cathedral will be the host for this learning-rich vestry and bishop’s committee training event. Gather your lay and clergy team and register for a day of learning and fellowship on Saturday, February 11. Nancy Frausto will lead the keynote address, featuring her experience and passion for the ministry of ‘scrappy churches.’ Nancy is the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles’ first Latina leader to have grown up in a Spanish speaking Episcopal church who has gone on to pursue ordination. She will be leading a workshop on shared leadership with bilingual congregations. The day will also feature workshops for vestry and bishop’s committee leaders, parish administrators, treasurers, Eucharistic Ministers and Visitors, and more. Empower new congregational leaders with the knowledge and skills to play their roles with confidence while enjoying worship, fellowship, and lunch with peers throughout the diocese.

When: Saturday, February 11, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Where: Grace Cathedral, 1100 California Street, San Francisco
Cost: $10 (vestry/BC members), $25 (general admission), free to Grace Cathedral members
Contact: Caren Miles,

Save the date: Planning for wellness — May 1 through May 5

Learn how to secure your financial future and take steps toward a healthier lifestyle at this informative conference for active clergy and lay employees, hosted by the Church Pension Group (CPG). Spouses and partners are invited. The conferences for active clergy will be May 1–2 and May 3–4 at The Bishop’s Ranch. The conference for active lay employees will be May 5 at CDSP. Look for more information coming soon! Click here for the promotional flier.

When: Monday, May 1 to Tuesday, May 2 (clergy); Wednesday, May 3 to Thursday, May 4 (clergy); Friday, May 5 (lay)
Where: The Bishop’s Ranch, 5297 West Side Road, Healdsburg (clergy);
Church Divinity School of the Pacific, 2451 Ridge Road, Berkeley (lay)
Link: Promotional flier

From the DioCal Intern Blog

Growth within me, growth over me, let all around me be growth

It’s hymn #791 in Wonder, love, and praise, but with the word “growth”. If you’re confused, that’s okay, I’m just a cradle Episcopalian trying to make a joke. And, confusing, or maybe wondrous, are words I would use to describe the growth in me in the first four months, or about half, of the DioCal Episcopal Service Corps intern program year. Before coming out to California, friends and mentors of mine back home were so excited for me and how I would be a “completely different person” at the end of the service year.

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Annual interfaith memorial for the homeless dead, San Francisco

The San Francisco Night Ministry, the San Francisco Interfaith Council, and other community organizations and partners are co-sponsoring the annual interfaith memorial for the homeless dead on Wednesday, December 21 at 5:30 p.m. The memorial will take place on the Polk Street side of Civic Center Plaza. Participants are encouraged to bring their own candles to remember those who died unhoused.

When: Wednesday, December 21, 5:30 p.m.
Where: Civic Center Plaza, San Francisco (Polk Street side)

A Blue Christmas service at Holy Innocents, San Francisco

Holy Innocents, San Francisco, invites you to join them for a service of remembrance and hope. For many, the Christmas season is a dark time, made all the worse by the pressure of the joy all around. This Blue Christmas service will acknowledge the memories of losses and griefs, and hopes to bring some comfort and healing.

When: Wednesday, December 21, 7 p.m.
Where: Holy Innocents, 455 Fair Oaks Street, San Francisco
Contact: the Rev. Jane McDougle,

Sing you a Merry Christmas at Grace Cathedral, San Francisco

Sing along with your favorite holiday carols as the toys of St. Nicholas’s workshop lead you on an extraordinary journey, filling children — young and old — with the joys of the season. This program is particularly well-suited for young children.

When: Friday, December 23; 4 p.m.
Where: Grace Cathedral, 1100 California Street, San Francisco
Cost: $5–$25

Other upcoming events at Grace Cathedral

The Bishop’s Christmas pageant for children
Saturday, December 24, 11 a.m.; free

Christmas Lessons and Carols
Saturday, December 24, 4 p.m.; free

San Francisco Kwanzaa 2016 with the Village Project

Join members of St Cyprian’s, San Francisco; the Village Project; and the Fillmore and Bayview Communities in the 11th Annual San Francisco Kwanzaa from Monday, December 26 through Sunday, January 1. This week-long festival and its events celebrate Nguzo Saba, the Seven Principals of Kwanzaa: Unity, Self-Determination, Collective Work, Co-operative Economics, Purpose, Creativity, and Faith. Events include orations, children’s activities, art exhibits, and food. Musical guests include West Coast Blues Society, Alabama Mike, and the Prescott Circus. Venues are located throughout San Francisco including the Museum of the African American Diaspora, Glide Memorial Church, Bayview Opera House, and St Cyprian’s. San Francisco Kwanzaa is organized and designed by Ms. Adrian Williams, member of St. Cyprian’s and founder of the Village Project — an after school enrichment program for children of the Western Addition.

When: Monday, December 26 through Sunday, January
Where: throughout San Francisco, with final celebration at St Cyprian’s, 2097 Turk Street, San Francisco
Cost: Free
Contact: Ms Adrian Williams,

Go to full Diocesan Calendar
New Call — DioCal

The Rev. Vincent Pizzuto :: Vicar :: St. Columba’s :: Inverness

The Rev. Susan Geissler O'Neil :: Interim Associate Rector and Chaplain :: St. Timothy’s :: Danville

Lay positions — DioCal

Faith Formation Working Group Head :: Diocese of California :: San Francisco (lay and ordained)

All postings are available on the diocesan website:
Go to Lay Employment
Go to Clergy Employment
Please address all inquiries and applications to Transition Minister Denise Obando,, unless otherwise noted.
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