The Friday Reflection – February 9, 2018

From The Rev. Elaine Breckenridge

“Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like the master of a household who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old.” (Matthew 13:52)

The Episcopal Church of St. John the Baptist in Lodi is a treasure chest of things both new and old. Our old programs continue our outreach to the community. We offer regular hospitality to organizations like The Stockton Chorale, and the Arts at St. John’s for concerts and recitals. Our Community Garden and its partnership with Delta Community College continues to thrive. Our Soul Kitchen dinner program feeds over fifty people from the community once a month.

A new treasure we have unearthed is our interest in Interfaith work. A study of World Religions last fall was just the beginning of our partnership with the Rev. Thomas C. Bonnaci, the Executive Director of the Interfaith Peace Project. We intend to make “Sacred Visits” so that we may meet our neighbors of other faith traditions. Fr. Tom will lead us through the IntraFaith Peace Project, helping us to explore the authentic essentials in Interfaith spirituality.

The old historic Chapel is currently being rejuvenated both inside and out so that it can function as a new vital center for ministry and mission. Carpeting has been removed and the hardwood floors are currently being brought to life again. Flexible seating will be installed so that the building can function in multiple ways.

We see the new chapel as a space for sacred living, functioning as a sanctuary for silence and spiritual renewal and education. We see it as place for healing, offering space for support groups, yoga and expressive arts. Responding to Presiding Bishop Curry’s call, we see it as center for evangelism, equipping ourselves to be witnesses of the Gospel and the many treasures that the Episcopal Church has to offer the world.

Last but not least, we see it as a center for all people. We envision that the new chapel will function as a place for Interfaith dialog and serve as a safe house for programs in reconciliation and peace making.

There is a new sense of vitality in our congregation. As the Holy Spirit continues to nudge us, we are eager to discover more ways to bring forth treasures that are both old and new.

—The Rev. Elaine Breckenridge

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