Called to be…The Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin
St. John the Evangelist Episcopal Church is located in Stockton, California. It is located in the Northern Deanery of the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin, which spans the Central Valley of California. The diocese includes 19 worshiping communities, the Cathedral, and the Episcopal Conference Center at Oakhurst (ECCO). We are a diocese of resurrection having spent the last decade involved in litigation, and celebrated our renewal with the Presiding Bishop’s Revival in November 2017, when our Bishop, David Rice, was also installed as our Diocesan Bishop. We are a diocese that finds itself exploring the spaces between the ellipses in our visioning statement “Called to be…”
St. John’s: Who God is calling us to be…
Through a process of discernment and deep listening, we identified our strengths and weaknesses. We believe that God is calling us to be a welcoming, supportive and safe presence in our downtown community. We are one of two Episcopal Churches in Stockton and we are looking for ways to combine/partner with our sister parish, St. Anne’s. As an Episcopal community, we welcome everyone across the spectrum of diversity. As one parishioner stated, “Being Called to Be is for me about making a daily decision to serve and love, using Jesus’ life and teachings as the ultimate template and gold standard. For me the ‘Golden Rule’ is always a great ‘space’ to strive for each day. A beginning, a “modus operandi”. We don’t have to do it perfectly, but we just do the best we can on any given day, uplifted in the sure knowledge that we are walking on His path, in His will, living His ways, and always, All-Ways, with God’s help.”
The areas we feel God is calling us to pay attention to are:
- We are hopeful our Priest-in-Charge will support and guide us in continuing our ongoing mission projects (HUB, Cooling Center), but also challenge us to serve more—whether that’s a soup kitchen, a thrift store, or a warming center.
- We are hopeful our new Priest-in-Charge will help us identify our gifts and skills, and invite others from the Stockton community and St. Anne’s into mission and ministry
- We are hopeful our new Priest-in-Charge will help us further our prayer life through a variety of opportunities: adult groups, guest speakers, and formation. We feel these opportunities are a way for us to deepen our faith and welcome others to community prayer life.
- We are hopeful our new Priest-in-Charge will assist us in determining ways to best utilize our beautiful, historic church and buildings.
- We are hopeful our new Priest-in-Charge will help us grow into a leader of the Northern Deanery. As our community grows in cohesion and leadership, we can expand our community presence.
St. John’s…A Calling, a Vision
Bishop Rice and the Diocesan Council believe in the potential of St. John’s as a Mission Center in Stockton and the Northern Deanery. As previously noted, St. Anne’s is the other Episcopal community in Stockton. St. Anne’s is a thriving worshiping community, but because of location, does not have the same visibility in the community as St. John’s. It is our dream to have the Priest share liturgical and pastoral responsibility between the two congregations when the clergy person retires from St. Anne’s (2020), and encourage and develop mission and ministry opportunities for St. Anne’s and St. John’s to partner in, using the St. John’s facility. Since St. John’s is a “Mission Center,” the Council has agreed to offer financial support to the congregation for a one-year period, in order to fund a full-time Priest-in-Charge. St. John’s will contribute a portion of the stipend for a cleric, while the diocese will support the other portion, as well as medical/dental insurance for one, and pension. After the retirement of the clergy person at St. Anne’s, the two congregations will share the financial responsibilities of the clergy person.
It is the hope of the Bishop and Diocesan Council that under the guidance of the new Priest-in-Charge, the two congregations will be partners in all aspects of Christian life.
Who we hope is “Called to be” with us…
Because this call is for an experiment with a developing Mission Center, we’re hoping that our new Priest-in-Charge will be:
- Entrepreneurial: have big dreams and big ideas for how we can develop into a Mission Center in the heart of downtown Stockton, a priest who is inspiring, creative, energetic and enthusiastic, as well as having financial management experience
- Bilingual: the Central Valley of California has a large Latino/Hispanic population and we need to be able to communicate with our brothers and sisters
- Collaborative: willing and able to work with our partners like Faith in the Valley, Puentes, St. Anne’s and others
- A person of deep and abiding faith: this clergy person will need to be able to navigate the complexities of partnership and change while being rooted in their call from God, and they need to be able to share that faith and love with others
- Loving: someone who respects diversity at all levels be it race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, ability, age, and socio-economic status
For more about the history of St. John the Evangelist Episcopal Church, and Stockton, and information about St. John’s worship, preaching, staff, and demographic, read this PDF.