Peniel–Newsletter of Temenos Catholic Worker–May




“Where Jacob Wrestled with God”

May, 2016

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

Telephone: 415-305-2124


Fr. River Damien Sims, Director/Pastor, D.S.T., Candidate for D.Min.




 JOHN 6:16-21

The photo is of a display in front of City Hall entitled “Intrude”.  In Australia the rabbits intruded on the land so much  they almost destroyed the lives of the settlers.   As we view this display we look around and see the construction,of new buildings,  see people sleeping on the street, people hungry,  and we think of how in the same way our own fears of not having enough, of wanting more has intruded on the quality of human life and of the destruction of the environment.  We are afraid.

We are afraid of our cities being attacked, we are afraid of being robbed, and of not having enough money.  Our fears have intruded on our lives, have shut us off from the One who says “Do not be afraid!”    Courage is not the absence of fear, but fear overcome by faith.

Fear is over come by forgiveness and prayer.  We have to forgive ourselves for the harm we do in our selfishness to our brothers and sisters, and that we are doing to the environment,  and in turning to God have faith that we will be provided for, thus freeing ourselves of those fears. 

In that faith we share with our brothers and sisters.  In faith we preserve our environment. Living the Gospel without compromise means to walk in faith that Jesus will lift us out of the storm.  Living the Gospel without compromise means to share equally with our brothers and sisters.  Living the Gospel without compromise means to see that what we are doing to the environment is resulting from our  selfishness, and move  to protect it.  Like the rabbits we are intruding upon God’s creation and destroying it.  Having faith that Jesus will hold us gives us balance. 

The presidential election is full of our fear, to achieve balance we need to look within ourselves, and move from that inner heart into the world in faith that the Risen One is with us, and thus change the world through sharing and preservation. Revolution and change come from within, and faith can move mountains. 

Our fears are formed from  our biases that have been ingrained in us through years of listening to others and our culture.  Through our years of being a pastor we have learned to view all things through our relationships as a pastor, and from this view we have come to a new understanding of medical marijuana and so we present our experience:


The pastoral relationship trumps all relationships in ministry.  Being a pastor is entering into people’s lives in their most fragile moments and walking with them in the name of Christ.  Being a pastor means to be willing to lay down one’s life for the people one serves. So the issue around marijuana has been for us both personal and pastoral.

Sixteen years ago our doctor became concerned with our liver enzymes because of the antidepressants we were taking. In fact we felt the drugs did nothing but cause us to gain weight.   He suggested that we go off the anti-depressants and begin taking a certain amount of marijuana. And so for the next thirteen years each night we smoked pot.  And we noticed our mood changed, our health improved, and we felt better. 

Through the years we have seen many, many,  people with attention deficit disorder, PTSD, depression, and great pain from cancer treatment improve and function using marijuana. 

When people start hurling the negatives about the use of  420 we  simply pick up our  blood pressure medication which points out that there is a risk of liver damage and a risk of death, and for which I have tests each year to see to it that our liver is not damaged.  Like all drugs, all issues, there are negatives, but we have seen over and over again the positive.  St. Ignatius believed that in “all things” God can be found.

We are not going to argue pro or con about the use of marijuana for medical purposes,  for we have seen in walking with people the benefits of medical marijuana.  We have experienced the benefits. For us when we hold someone’s hand suffering from depression, PTSD, and pain from a fatal disease and see their suffering relieved, all we can say is:

Praise God, from Whom All Blessings Flow

Praise God, from Whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him, all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

Deo Gratias!  Thanks be to God!



By the Rev. Ken Howard

My name is Ken Howard. I’m an extrapreneurial faith leader, congregational pastor, church futurist, author, an avid reader of Fr. River Sims blog posts, and grateful for the opportunity to write an article for his newsletter about my latest endeavor, The FaithX Project, and the Kickstarter campaign associated with it.

The “X” in “FaithX” stands for “eXperimental.” In a nutshell, the FaithX Project is about providing faith leaders with the tools they need to transform the organizations they lead from unsustainable religious institutions into experimental faith communities capable of surviving and thriving in the face of the singularity of uncertainty and change that is the 21st century.

In 2010, in a book called Paradoxy, I speculated that a massive religious realignment was underway that would change the face of the Christianity as we have come to know it. Five years of demographic trend analysis has transformed that speculation into fact. Denominations and local faith communities worldwide are currently splintering at more than twice the rate of growth of the worldwide population of Christians, creating a singularity of uncertainty and change. And this same phenomenon may be beginning to affect other religions as well.

The choice is clear: adapt or die. Rigid, institutionalized religion is incapable of adapting. But faith-based communities and organizations that are willing to become more lean, creative, and experimental will not only survive but thrive.

The FaithX Project is about providing faith leaders with the tools they need to navigate the singularity: research-based principles and practices that produce communities and organizations that can confront uncertainty and change with courage and agility.

We plan to disseminate these principle and practices widely through three channels: 

  • A Research-Based Book with practical, real-world examples, designed to equip new, experienced or aspiring leaders to prepare faith-based communities and organizations to survive and thrive amid escalating uncertainty and change.
  • A Global, Online Community of practice, in which leaders on the front lines of faith-community development can come together to share lessons learned from successes and failures, develop best practices, explore new applications and seek advice and support from other practitioners.
  • A Supported Consultancy to provide local faith-based communities and organizations with needed coaching and training at a cost they can afford.

Each of these three parts requires adequate resources of time and funding to do well. Which is why we are doing a Kickstarter campaign to fund it and why we hope you will prayerfully consider becoming a

Faith X    Project Backer

I’m excited about this project. I’m excited about the potential it holds for the future of faith-based communities and organizations. I’m especially excited about the possibilities inherent in bringing together experience and insights from practitioner across multiple disciplines, and in creating resources with the active input of those we hope will benefit from them. I hope you share my excitement. And I hope you will help me bring it to fruition, not just as backers, but also as partners, practitioners, and fellow explorers of the undiscovered future that lies before us all.  Our website:



We are beggars, pure and simple.  We place our hope for support in your hands, and at the kindness of your heart.  We have been asked why we do not send out “fundraising” letters during the holidays, and through out the year.  The reason is simple,  we believe that our work is valuable and that people will be give from their hearts. 

Summer is coming, money is short, and we are giving out ten thousand pairs of socks a month, feeding 2000 people, providing pastoral care to three hundred.  So please open your hearts to the those who have so little. 

We are a non-profit 501. c3 organization so please make your checks to:

Temenos Catholic Worker

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164


Fr. River Damien Sims

or give at pay on at

Thank you.



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