The Episcopal Church of St John the Baptist in Aptos, CA serving Santa Cruz County

 


Welcome to St. John’s

We invite you to get to know us and discover your place here among us. We are a  community that looks to the life and ministry of Jesus to better understand and enter into the heart of God. Jesus spoke out against injustice and poverty, Jesus healed friend and foe, Jesus broke bread with the rich and poor, Jesus points to the wideness of God’s compassion.  Our membership and leadership is comprised of the young and the old, the old-timer and the newcomer, married, partnered and single, gay and straight, rich and poor.   We celebrate the wonderful diversity of human kind and we seek to do that in faithfulness to the baptismal command to respect the dignity of every human being.   We strive to include a place for everyone around God’s table and believe there should be no outcasts in the Episcopal Church

 


The Season of Lent & Easter

Ash Wednesday marks the first day, or the start of the Lenten Season, which begins 40 days prior to Easter (Sundays are not included in the count). Lent is a time when many Christians prepare for Easter by observing a period of fasting, repentance, moderation and spiritual discipline. Our Presiding Bishop, Katharine Jefferts Schori, has suggested; “So as you enter Lent, consider how you will live in solidarity with those who are hungry, or broken, or ill in one way or another.”.

At St. John’s we prepare for the Lenten Season by having a pancake supper on Shrove Tuesday, 4 March at 6:00 pm. A talent show has been added to this years event. Shrove Tuesday is also called Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday, a celebration before Lent.

On Ash Wednesday St. John’s will have two services, 6:30 am and 12:10 pm. At these services, the minister will lightly rub the sign of the cross with ashes onto the foreheads of worshipers. We make the ashes for Ash Wednesday from the palm crosses from the prior year’s Palm Sunday. 7:00 pm service is at Resurrection Church, with Lutheran, Roman Catholic, La Selva Community Church, Episcopal, Presbyterian & Methodist congregations.

Beginning Wednesday, 12 March St. John’s will have its annual Lenten Soup Supper and Study Series. These will run every Wednesday through 9 April. Supper is at 6:00 pm. Discussion starts at 6:45 pm. This year’s discussion will be around Bishop Mary’s book, “Unearthing My Religion”. She will come and participate on 9 April. Please join us! There will be a table for our Youth (ages 11 to 14) to have their own discussion and childcare is available for our little ones!

On Palm Sunday Christians celebrate the triumphal entry of Jesus Christ into Jerusalem, the week before his death and resurrection. . The Bible reveals that when Jesus entered Jerusalem, the crowds greeted him by waving palm branches and covering his path with them. which we commemorate by waving palm branches of our own. On that day, 13 April, St John’s will have three services; 7:30, 9:00 and 11:00 am. Each service will have the Palm Sunday Procession & Reading of the Passion Gospel with Eucharist. Palm Sunday, often referred to as “Passion Sunday,” marks the beginning of Holy Week, which concludes on Easter Sunday.

Maundy Thursday commemorates Jesus Christ’s institution of the Eucharist during the Last Supper, which is described in the Christian Bible. On 17 April, St. John’s will have Maundy Thursday service at 7:00 pm. Eucharist and the washing of feet are part of the service.

The day is also known as Holy Thursday, Passion Thursday, Paschal Thursday or Sheer (or Shere) Thursday. It is the Christian feast or holy day falling on the Thursday before Easter that commemorates the Last Supper of Jesus Christ with the Apostles as described in the Canonical gospels. It is the fifth day of Holy Week.

The Watch. Following the service members of the congregation will take turns praying, reading, journaling, and watching with Jesus in a space set aside as “the garden” throughout the night.

Good Friday commemorates the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and his death at Calvary. The holiday is observed on the sixth day of Holy Week. St. John’s will have two services on Friday, 18 April. From 12:00 to 3:00 P.M. we have lay members witnessing to the Seven Last Words of Christ as they have experienced in their lives.  At 7:00 pm there is a brief contemplative service. The day is also known as Holy Friday, Great Friday or Black Friday.

Easter Sunday – 20 April

St. John’s holds The Great Vigil of Easter at 6:00 am. The Easter Vigil begins in the darkness of the early morning. A new fire is kindled outside and from it the great Paschal Candle and then individual candles are lit. We await our Master’s return with our lamps full and burning (Luke 12:35ff). We go into the church with our candles.  The great and ancient hymn The Exsultet is sung, the sweeping story of salvation history is recounted, while the sun rises. Then the Resurrection of Jesus is proclaimed (loudly!) with the ringing of bells. The service then follows with the year’s principal rites of Baptism and Eucharist.

Our annual Easter breakfast will be served after the Great Vigil of Easter and before both the 9:00 & 11:00 am services.

Easter Choral Services are at 9:00 and 11:00 am. The festive Easter Service celebrating the Resurrection of Jesus Christ in liturgy and music. Our annual parish children’s Easter Egg Hunt follows the 9:00 am service.

 


 

  • Rector’s Reflections December 2013

    Thinking about beginning a new Christian year, with Advent, is bittersweet. We just had a quiet day with Bishop Mary which I found quite wonderful. Her invitation to think of the nourishment we receive, Jesus’ body and blood in the Holy Eucharist, as gestational, as Mary nurtured him in the womb, was quite moving. First I thought of being nurtured, but quickly turned to imagine, as our hymns suggest, that Jesus was to be born in me. It was a blessing to me to think about how often I feel that happening, the life of God stirring in me with . . . → Read More: Rector’s Reflections December 2013