Update from John

Hi all-

As Kit wrote, I will be helping to lead a new adult formation class this fall which I hope will continue in the provocative, educational, and refreshing vein that she faithfully fostered for so many of us for so long!

Communication regarding the class will primarily be through the St Andrews Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/St-Andrews-Episcopal-Church-Maryville-TN-141222412594465/)  If you are not on Facebook, we may need to think of other ways to communicate, so let me know at johndidiego@gmail.com.

Class starts Sunday Sept. 10th at 9:15.   We’ll be changing venues as well, and meeting in the upstairs Gathering Room, also known as the handbell room.

So check the FB link above for details – hope to see you there!


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Take this heart

Dear ones,

Our ReFocus class has come to a close.

John has made plans with the parish to organize an adult Sunday school offering at St. Andrew’s that transitions in a new direction. He shared his plans and ideas with me last night, and I trust that any direction he goes will be mission-focused and full of grace. He may start a blog, so be on the lookout for a new virtual space from him and look for a new class from him this fall.

It’s been a great 11 years, and I’m so grateful to have shared Sunday mornings with you. From our early, bleary-eyed grappling with parenting topics to the anxious pushing and pulling of healthcare and politics (and then healthcare redux!), from wondering what counts as resurrection to practicing forgiveness, from navigating Thanksgiving table conversations to following a star, our class has covered some ground. We have also found our way into hearts and insecurities and troubling questions and doubt.

We came together in community each week, with different participants and with varying dynamics, and made our way through topics and towards each other.

I’ll always be proud of that truth.

I will be looking for new places and spaces and ways to grow. Hold this blog space if you want to keep up with the new ground I explore.



p.s. my prayer, today and most days:

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Family Promise Starts on Sunday

Hi all-

Just reminding you that our family promise guests will be arriving on Sunday for the week.

Three things needed:
1) help setting up this Sunday after 10:30 service and take down Sunday 9th starting at 7 am
2) buying food and drinks for lunches and breakfast
3) a happy volunteer to join me Sunday evening to meet the families and ask about their breakfast and lunch needs.

I will also need someone to oversee the take down on Sunday 9th as I will not be available.
More information to come.

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Eco-Justice and hunger

Hi all-


Follow this link to learn about a fast for tomorrow.

The focus of the fast is on protecting programs for the hungry.

We have recently talked about our own needs to reinvigorate our commitment to the Food Connection. Will a fast help you with your resolution? How might you spread the word that the Food Connection and our neighbors need our support? What other ways might you be called to advocate for this aspect of eco-justice?

See you in the morning-


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Love your (other) Mother

Looking back over our classes from Mother’s Days past, it is clear that this is a holiday that many of us have struggled with.  That is to say, the typical Hallmark card doesn’t capture all of what this day dredges up.  Motherhood is complicated and fraught with danger, misunderstanding and suffering – we are not going there again this year!!

So, in keeping with our last few weeks’ topic, let’s send the mothers in our lives the very best wishes we can muster, then delve into our other mother…Mother Nature, Mother Earth, source of our material sustenance and needs for life.  Think about it, when you trace every one of your necessities back to their origins, you will find dear old mother earth at the end of the chain.  We take, we expect, we demand.  We’ve earned it!  We can afford it!  We need it for our convenience!  our security!  our lifestyle!  Our image!

If we are the children of the earth, and we are sometimes difficult offspring at best, what is the card we should send our Mother?  What do you think she needs to hear? What do we need to say?  What, in the end, does she want from us?  What, as Christians charged with stewardship of the earth, do we owe her?

Come ready to share where you find wonder in the natural world – that should be a start for how we can show real appreciation for Mother Earth.

See you tomorrow!


PS  Here’s a version of Shel Silverstein’s, The Giving Tree, read aloud.  I think this fits.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A5y-ZQv1JaY



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Assignment – you asked for it!

Here are some resources to look up – pick 1-3 of these that speak to you and really take some time to read into the website.  Come ready to report next week, including some answer to the following:

  1. What surprised me about this organization/website/initiative.
  2. To what extent is my practice of environmentally friendly behaviors connected to my understanding of my calling as a Christian?
  3. What does reading this call me to do next??

Feel free to email or comment this week so we can all learn from your explorations!  John

I.     Interfaith Power & Light


The mission of Interfaith Power & Light is to be faithful stewards of Creation by responding to global warming through the promotion of energy conservation, energy efficiency, and renewable energy.  This is a clearinghouse for other initiatives, like Cool Congregations, The Regeneration Project, and others (See below)

II.   Cool Congregations


III.  Tennessee Interfaith Power and Light


Mission Statement: The mission of the Tennessee Interfaith Power & Light is to spiritually respond to the challenges of the climate crisis through upholding the sacredness of all life, protecting vulnerable communities, and caring for the Earth. We manifest our spiritual values by reducing our carbon footprint within our daily lives, releasing the spiritual power of our faith communities, and advocating for transformative climate protection and justice policies

IV.  Eco-Justice Ministries -“The well-being of all humankind on a thriving Earth”

Make sure to look over their theological affirmations under the ‘About Us’ tab.  Can you also affirm this?


V.  Environmental Protection Agency – Environmental Justice


We may need Kit’s help navigating to the section with the mapper she described.  I had a hard time finding anything like that.

VI.  Green Faith


GreenFaith’s mission is to inspire, educate and mobilize people of diverse religious backgrounds for environmental leadership.  Our work is based on beliefs shared by the world’s great religions – we believe that protecting the earth is a religious value, and that environmental stewardship is a moral responsibility.

There are three core values that guide the work that we do, and define us as an organization: Spirit, Stewardship, Justice

VII.  Environmental Justice/Environmental Racism


VIII.  ECO – Presbyterian




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Dig in! to Eco-justice…

We believe that caring for creation must undergird, and be entwined with, all other dimensions of our churches’ ministries. We are convinced that it is no longer acceptable to claim to be ‘church’ while continuing to perpetuate, or even permit, the abuse of Earth as God’s creation.”
— God’s Earth is Sacred: an open letter to church and society, National Council of Churches, 2005

Last week, Kit led us into the world of the national Episcopal Church’s Jesus Movement, which has three pillars, outlined on their web page – see table.

The third pillar, Creation Care, calls us to encounter and honor the face of God in creation.  Below that, there are 4 bullets

  • Develop creation care resources
  • Grow local eco-ministries
  • Pursue eco-justice at church-wide and local levels
  • Convene conversations around climate and faith

I think just in bringing this up last week, we began a conversation around climate (or at least the environment) and faith.  Now we delve further.

I hesitate to create resources when they may already have been created, so I began looking.  No surprise, there are a lot out there already.  Our assignment next week will be to look up some of these national and state level resources to learn the field and see what part of this we’d like to take on.

But here’s a succinct definition of eco-justice – “the well-being of all humankind on a thriving Earth”

And here’s a short video to further explain environmental justice in terms of race and socio-economic status.

Finally, a passage from Eco-Justice Ethics, by Dieter T. Hessell:

Norms of Eco-Justice Ethics
The basic norms of eco-justice ethics can be summarized as follows:

  • solidarity with other people and creatures – companions, victims, and allies – in earth community, reflecting deep respect for diverse creation;
  • ecological sustainability – environmentally fitting habits of living and working that enable life to flourish, and utilize ecologically and socially appropriate technology;
  • sufficiency as a standard of organized sharing, which requires basic floors and definite ceilings for equitable or “fair” consumption;
  • socially just participation in decisions about how to obtain sustenance and to manage community life for the good in common and the good of the commons.

So here are our questions to ponder this week based on these norms.

What does solidarity with other people and creatures look like?  How would we know we’re there?

What are indicators that life is flourishing in our communities?

What do you think about sufficiency as a standard to help us understand ‘fair’ consumption?

Lots to chew on here.  Can’t wait to see you tomorrow!







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