Archive for October, 2016

Rally In Sacramento–Final Events

October 30, 2016

 

 

Death Penalty Ad

RALLY AT THE STATE CAPITOL IN SUPPORT OF

YES ON 62

Sacramento, CA

MONDAY, OCTOBER 31, 2016

12 NOON

COME JOIN  US! PASS OUT FLYERS! JOIN IN PRAYER!

For More Information contact:

Fr. River Damien Sims

415-305-2124

franciscansagainstdeathpenalty@gmail.com

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Wednesday, November 2–there will Be No Vigil At Earl Warren Office Building

Fast/ Pray/ Vigil/ Email/ Phone November 7 and 8

On Monday November 7 beginning at 8:00 a.m.  we will begin  fasting, (drinking only water/juice) until 7:00 P.M. on election day, November 8, and we invite you to join us.

On both November 7 and 8 we will vigil at Earl Warren Supreme Court Building from Noon-1:00 p.m.

Urge Your friends to vote Yes on 62Phone/EMAIL/SOCIAL MEDIA

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There have  been intense  expressions on both sides in this debate over Yes on 62.  I am reminded of a story in the Gita of Arjuna, the Prince. He fights one of the Lords’  of Darkness, and when the fight is over they both  say to each other (my words), “Well done! We enjoyed the fight! Until the next time!”  Let us do the same with this struggle. For in each encounter we come to understand the issue more fully, and  and we develop a greater awareness. Let us show mutual respect, and look at all sides. In so doing we  grow and mature. Paul tells us that “Christ died for us while we were yet sinners!” We are still sinners, but we grow in the love of Christ. Let us love one another, win or lose.

FOR OTHER AVENUES OF FIGHTING FOR YES ON 62:

CONTACT:

www.deathpenaltyfocus.org

californiapeopleoffaith.org

justiceforall.com

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PLEASE FORWARD THIS THROUGH YOUR EMAIL LIST/ FACE BOOK  AND ALL SOCIAL MEDIA. GET PEOPLE OUT IN SACRAMENTO AND ON ELECTION DAY..
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Peniel–November 2016

October 28, 2016

Rainbow Cross
PENIEL–NEWSLETTER OF TEMENOS CATHOLIC WORKER
“Where Jacob Walked With God And Survived”

P.O. Box 642656
San Francisco, CA 94164
http://www.temenos.org-pay pal is on this website
415-305-2124
Fr. River Damien Sims, sfw, D.S.T., D.Min. Candidate, Director

NOVEMBER, 2016
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Jesus the Homeless
Journal of An Alien Street Priest:  Memories and Traditions

As we enter November we are preparing for Thanksgiving, and for the holidays.  It is a time of memories, of regrets, of joy, of pain, all a mixture.  My fondest memories go back to my grandmother’s and mother’s Thanksgiving meals.  We gathered around the table at 3:00 p.m.,  usually on snowy days, and ate a gorgeous meal of turkey and dressing and all the trimmings; in the churches I served we had great feasts, and those memories linger with me at this time of year; and the traditions and memories of the past twenty two years serving food on Polk Street  and Haight Street, are always with me, they tug, and nurture my heart. I see the faces of those who have died, the faces of those who have remained on the streets for twenty two years, and the new faces. In each one is the face of Jesus.  Each meal prepared is done so in reverence and love.

Food is a powerful symbol, it pulls us together. I think of meals at Red Lobster as a young student pastor in St. Louis with  my church members. Red Lobster had just opened, for the first time we had fresh sea food, and through the years Red Lobster has carried those memories; I think of the meals I once had with my friend Mary Lou at Joe’s Crab Shack. I treasure those memories. I walk past and  I smile with so much fondness, I shed tears thinking of her.  I see her smile.

Through the years I have learned that traditions change, they change as a result of our simply growing up, of changes in our environment and society.  Traditions change when they become harmful to ourselves and others, they change when we need more relevant ways of doing things. Personally it has been with much sadness that I no longer eat at Red Lobster or Joe’s Crab Shack. But there is much joy in finding new places, new traditions in order that life might flourish. I eat a vegan/vegetarian diet in order that our ecological system might flourish; I eat a vegan/vegetarian diet out of respect for all of animal life; and I eat a vegan/vegetarian diet for better health.

World Wildlife Federation and the Zoological Society of London have released a new report that tell us that the global wildlife populations have fallen an average of 67 percent from the 1970 levels.  Deforestation, pollution, over fishing, and illegal wildlife trade, together with climate change “are pushing species populations to the edge. We face  a global mass extinction of wildlife.. . .The assessment predicts that by 2020, populations of vertebrate species–a group that includes mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and fish–could have fallen by 67 per cent from 1970 levels unless actions are taken to reverse the damaging impact of human activity. . .Human behavior continues to drive the decline of wild life populations globally.  . .”

We serve vegan meals every week, and for Thanksgiving we will have a three course, vegan/vegetarian meal; we serve them as a sign of respect for life, all of life, we serve them to protect our ecological systems.

So this Thanksgiving I prayerfully ask you to  to look at your traditions, and look at them in the context of how they respect humanity, all creatures, and our ecological system.  There is no judgment in any of my comments, just an offering of reflection on our memories and traditions and asking all of us to meditate on how we can live our lives in more life giving ways.  God is the Wild God, always growing and changing.  Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!
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RALLY AT THE STATE CAPITOL IN SUPPORT OF

YES ON 62

Sacramento, CA

MONDAY, OCTOBER 31, 2016

12 NOON

COME JOIN  US! PASS OUT FLYERS! JOIN IN PRAYER!

For More Information contact:

Fr. River Damien Sims

415-305-2124

franciscansagainstdeathpenalty@gmail.com

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If you can not join us On Monday, than join us on Wednesday at 12 Noon at the Earl Warren Supreme Court Building

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FOR OTHER AVENUES OF FIGHTING FOR YES ON 62:

CONTACT:

www.deathpenaltyfocus.org

californiapeopleoffaith.org

justiceforall.com

One suggestion is to email all your friends and urge them to say Yes on 62.

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WE ARE BEGGARS

We are beggars. Like St. Francis we depend on the love and care of others.  We do not accept grants, but live on the graciousness and love of others to provide for our support in serving food to 2000 a month, giving out ten thousand pairs of socks, providing pastoral care to 300.  Thanksgiving we will be preparing a three course meal as well. We open our hearts to you.  You may send support to:

Temenos Catholic Worker

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

http://www.temenos.org–pay pal is on this website.

415-305-2124

Fr. River Damien Sims

All donations are tax deductible.

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Rally Against the Death Penalty at State Capitol–October 31, 2016

October 28, 2016

RALLY AT THE STATE CAPITOL IN SUPPORT OF

YES ON 62

Sacramento, CA

MONDAY, OCTOBER 31, 2016

12 NOON

COME JOIN  US! PASS OUT FLYERS! JOIN IN PRAYER!

For More Information contact:

Fr. River Damien Sims

415-305-2124

franciscansagainstdeathpenalty@gmail.com

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If you can not join us On Monday, than join us on Wednesday at 12 Noon at the Earl Warren Supreme Court Building

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FOR OTHER AVENUES OF FIGHTING FOR YES ON 62:

CONTACT:

http://www.deathpenaltyfocus.org

californiapeopleoffaith.org

justiceforall.com

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A New Kind of Love

October 25, 2016

A NEW KIND OF LOVE

Ephesians 5:21-33; Luke 13:18-21

Sadako Sasaki

Sadako was two years old on August 6, 1945, when an American atomic bomb named Little Boy was dropped on her city of Hiroshima.  Years later she would remember that day: “There was a flash, like a million suns, then a heat that felt like pricking needles.” And the black rain began to fall.  She was hospitalized in 1955 with acute leukemia from the exposure to radiation.  Her project she dedicated her life to was to make a thousand cranes from paper. She did. They symbolized peace, In making them she cried out: “This is our cry. This is our prayer. Peace in the world.

She is symbolic of what we fail to see in our own midst.  In our  City, which is  small in geographic size, thousands of kids are on the street.

Like her they suffer physically and psychologically. Within a week of being on the street studies show they have PTSD. The streets change them.Ta-Nehsi Coates wrote “The streets transform every ordinary day into a series of trick questions and ever incorrect answer risks a beat down, shooting, or a pregnancy.  None survive unscathed.”

Each day I see the psychological damage which comes forth in violence, and anger.  Each day I see in their eyes their anger at people and a society that cares only for itself. Most are walked away from by organizations and churches because they can not be “fixed”, they can not fit into the square hole, when they need a round one.

When I talk about each one, write about each one, I portray them as sweet, and for me they are all sweet, they are all adorable because they are children of God, and I see and experience their pain, but each day I have someone spit on me, threaten me, cuss me–one’s I have sometimes never met until that moment and I know it is the trauma that they suffer each day in their lives.  I do not take it personally. And the majority of the time once we get to know each other each one becomes tender and caring, we become buddies.  All they want is to be accepted,  treated equally, and to be listened to.

The dissertation I am writing–at times it seems to be an endless endeavor–calls people to walk with these young men and women on their level, letting go of their preconceptions and simply walking with these young men and women as the broken body of Christ, and see in them ourselves, and in that experience healing comes for we see each other as the broken body of Christ. When we talk about housing, we need to talk about trauma, we need to see the totality of lives, we need to walk with people where they are.

Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

Fr. River Damien Sims, sfw, D.S.T., D.Min. candidate

P.O. Bx 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

http://www.temenos.org

415-305-2124

Suffering Is Suffering

October 24, 2016

SUFFERING IS SUFFERING

“We can argue that animals are largely unconscious, decreeing that because animals seem to lack the complex language that allows them to formulate thoughts in words as we do, their experience of suffering must therefore be less significant or intense for them. This same thinking, however, could be used to justify harming human infants and senile elderly people. If anything, beings who lack the ability to analyze their circumstances may suffer at our hands more intensely than we would because they are unable to put the distance of internal dialogue between themselves and their suffering.”

Dr. Will Tuttle

Cardinal Bernadine talked of the “seamless thread of life.”  Life runs throughout existence, and all of life is sacred.  We justify killing animals, we justify executing people, but the reality all of life is sacred. We should not kill. I am a vegan because I have come to see all of life as being God given, and that it is sacred. Animals suffer like we do.

For me personally one way I show respect for life is not holding judgment on those who disagree with me.  If a person disagrees on the death penalty, I respect that, and seek to live out the example of the seamless thread of life. For respecting life is respecting the freedom of people as well. Respecting the opinions, and beliefs of others is giving respect to the seamless thread of life.

Today we remember Senator Tom Hayden who lived out the seamless thread of life.  As we remember him we invite you to join us on Wednesday, October 26 at The Earl Warren Supreme Court Building at Noon–to Vigil Against the Death Penalty.

Tom Hayden will be remembered as one of the giants of the movement for peace and social justice in our lifetime. Through all the major struggles of the past decades – for civil rights, peace, a safe environment and labor rights- his was a consistent voice on behalf of a wider humanity.

Throughout his adult life, Tom never shied away from controversy and his ideas about strategy were never predictable. What could be counted upon was his thoughtfulness – his willingness to look at problems in a complex way and to be open to different perspectives.

Always a person of courage and energy, he remained an inspiration to new generations of activists.

WALK IN MEMORY OF TOM HAYDEN IN VIGIL AGAINST THE DEATH PENALTY

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 26, 2016

12 NOON

EARL WARREN SUPREME COURT BUILDING

350 MCALLISTER STREET

SAN FRANCISCO,CA.

FRANCISCANS AGAINST THE DEATH PENALTY

415-305-2124

Bad Boy

October 24, 2016

BAD BOY

There was a movie out years ago entitled “Bad Boy”, it was a silly movie, but the context was that within each one of us there is a “bad boy”, one who moves beyond the boundaries and sees life in its gray areas.

For the past two weeks I have been recovering from pneumonia. I am still feeling lousy, and I am getting responses by email and every source on the internet to things I have written months ago. I laugh because essentially what I am called is a “bad boy.” I laugh because I am not exactly sure what stirs people up about what I write.

Me and a young friend were joking with each other this week about being “bad boys”. For friends of his considers us in that category. Personally at my age I like being considered a “boy”, as I walk around Polk street I am well reminded the years are piling up.

I have been working on Christmas cards to donors, hundreds of them, and as I address them, and begin writing them I am thankful because each one knows I am a “bad boy”, they know where I stand, they hear me speak out, and they have supported me through the years.

For example I am pro-life–I fought for my son to be born when I was fifteen–and even though he had a rough life, he also experienced much goodness and love, and will greet me when I enter the Great Cloud of Witnesses–but I will fight tooth and nail to let people make their own decisions–so I am pro-choice. I will sit with them through the abortion and journey with them afterward or I will baptize their baby and rejoice. I have never done drugs–but I will not tell any one they are evil or wrong to do them–I will not judge, and so on. I remember a  young man who came to my door late one night with a high fever, he had no where to go. He was one who had called me “faggot”, “homo”, “mother fu. .ker”, had repeatedly been abusive towards me, and I brought him in and let him stay for four days as he recovered, and he commented to me, “I was counting on you, I knew you would not let me down.”  Stupid–or is it letting oneself be second and laugh at the absurdity of life and see God’s presence in each element.

What I know is I follow Christ as I have experienced him, and experience him, and he calls me to “Love the Lord our God with all our strength, mind, every inch of our being, and love our neighbor as yourself.”  That is all I need to hear,  and I do the best that I can.

Bad boy–Hell yea, I am a bad boy, will be when I am a hundred. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

Fr. River Damien Sims,

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA  94164

http://www.temenos.org

The Long Loneliness

October 23, 2016

THE LONE LONELINESS IN BALTIMORE

STORIES ALONG THE WAY

Text by Brendan Walsh

Artwork by Willa Bickham

Brendan Walsh and his wife Willa are long time Catholic Workers who have lived and worked in Baltimore, Maryland, since 1968, on the same corner.  Their book is a book for every person–for it echoes loud and clear the neglect of the poorest of the poor  in a city near Washington D.C. It shouts from the house tops that the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. It describes the poverty of inner City Baltimore as the city gentrifies. 

One of our presidential candidates told the Mayor of Oakland that the poverty in the inner city was a “local” problem.  Poverty, and drug addiction are not “local” problems, they are the problems of every person.

Recently there were a group of our “newer”  citizens pitching  tents at City Hall to protest homelessness, and I, in my concern,  took them some food, and their response–“It is people like you who cause this problem.”

It is greed, self centered greed that causes the problems of homelessness, and extreme poverty. Our need to have more and more. Rather than looking outside of ourselves to solve the problem of homelessness, we should look within ourselves.  This is where it begins with each one of us. Brendan and Willa have done this since 1968. They live with less so that others might have. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

Temenos Catholic Worker

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

http://www.temenos.org

Fr. River Damien Sims

Buy their book, it is a beautiful testament to lives well lived!

The Power of God

October 19, 2016

THE POWER OF GOD

Luke 12:39-48

When one stands at the entrance of Golden Gate Park at Stanyan and Haight one sees a pond that is flowing, beautiful trees, a terrain of a mixture of people, sitting and talking. It is a bucolic scene.

And than there is the  other side–the darkness and the evil that lurks along the edges. Through the years parents have come seeking their young sons who went to the edge of the Park and were never heard from again. They just disappeared.  Some were taken into child trafficking.

We do not hear about males being in child trafficking frankly it is because of the belief of the Alpha male, males can resist, they can not be forced to have sex, males can fight. That is frankly bull shit.

It is estimated that 3 per cent of victims of child trafficking are males.

In the same way we close our eyes and say “the death penalty has not be used in years, so no worries.” we hide in our world of pretend. On the ballot we have preposition 66 that will speed up the death penalty.Our long can we hide if this is passed?

We can be the “super heroes” and eliminate the death penalty, we can stand up. Today we invite you to join us:

Vigil at Noon

Earl Warren Supreme Court Building

350 McAllister Street

Come, Join us!

Franciscans Against the Death Penalty

franciscansagainstdeathpenalty@gmail.com

415-305-2124

Loving Our Neighbors Even When It Hurts

October 18, 2016

LOVING OUR NEIGHBOR EVEN WHEN IT HURTS

Throughout the Bible there are six hundred and thirteen laws, and than we have the thousands of laws that we fellow believers have derived from those 613 laws. All judgmental I might add.  But Jesus who summarized the whole law has only two:

“Love the Lord Your God With all of your mind, soul, and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself.”

We mouth those words but it is hard as hell to live them, we prefer giving our judgments and punishments. It makes us feel good. When people criticize, condemn, and smear me I want to reach out with anger and hate;  I struggle sometimes with loving the people who have physically injured me; But Jesus tells us that to truly be free we must love God and our neighbor.

To be truly free in our state we must eliminate the death penalty. To be truly free we must let our desire for revenge go.  On Election Day, or  on your Absentee Ballot VOTE YES ON 62 NO ON 66 than  come join us on, Wednesday, October 19,2016 to Vigil Against the Death Penalty:

VIGIL AGAINST THE DEATH PENALTY

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 19, 2016

NOON-1:00 P.M.

EARL WARREN SUPREME COURT BUILDING

350 MCALLISTER STREET

FRANCISCANS AGAINST THE DEATH PENALTY

FR. RIVER DAMIEN SIMS SFW

FRANCISCANSAGAINSTDEATHPENALTY@GMAIL.COM

 

Persistence

October 16, 2016

The Grace of Persistence

Luke 18:1-8

We are presented today with a woman who wants something desperately and she stomps into a law office pleading for justice. She pleads for so long the judge finally gives in.

Last night at midnight I received a phone call, pleading with me to come to the Haight. My fever had just broken, and I tell James “No”, not very nicely; he calls again, and again, and I give in and go, and I am weak, sick, and grumpy.  James had an infection in the groin, he was embarrassed to tell me on the phone, that was turning gang green, and he possibly would have had fatal consequences if I had not taken him to the hospital. His persistence saved his life.

Persistence is the way I live my life. Last Wednesday I went to the Doctor with a high fever and she told me I had walking pneumonia, which can be fatal for me. As the fever raged the next three days, I looked at my life.  I have learned I hear very little positive feedback from people, one out of a hundred. My comments on Facebook lately have been  everything from calling me a “false priest,” to “sick faggot”, and as I laid here with a fever, comments like that torment me. Usually I laugh them off, but they haunt me when I am ill. Words hurt, and are the most destructive weapon we have, gossip is  destructive, and death giving. But in looking back the one word that went through my mind mind was persistence. Persistence to get my undergrad degree, even with a severe learning disability in regard to math and science; persistence for ordination in the face of being “too young”‘; persistence in surviving on the streets after being kicked out because I was queer; persistence in coming back to the priesthood, when I was told it was impossible; persistence in a ministry on the streets for the past twenty two years with more people telling me I did not stand a chance. What I have learned is that we can plead for an end, and yet we receive the strength to endure, plead for stability, and receive the grace to change. We ask for more time and receive the gift of eternal life.

Ultimately as the Angel of Death fluttered around me, and as my fever broke, I thought of these verses:

“The Word did not become a philosophy, a theory, or a concept to be discussed, debated, or pondered. But the Word became a person to be followed, enjoyed, and loved!” Anonymous

John  tells us that “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. . .” It is that Word that holds all things together in my life, and in the lives of the saints–all followers, both past and present.  That is all we have is the Word, and that is enough. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

Fr.River Damien Sims, sfw

www. temenos.org