Archive for August, 2018

Peniel August

August 22, 2018

Cale and Anthony


“Where Jacob Wrestled With God”
Newsletter of Temenos Catholic Worker
P.O. Box 642656
San Francisco, CA 94164
Fr. River Damien Sims, D.Min., D.S.T.
Journal of An Alien Street Street
Jesus told his disciples that he was the bread of life, and that in order to be one with him they must eat this bread, and in doing so their lives would be transformed and they would become as he is: “The words I have spoken to you are Spirit and life”(John 6:63).
The people who first heard  them spoken  were not concerned with an encounter with God, they were hoping for  more of the bread that Jesus had served them the day before when they were hungry.
When Jesus spoke these words he was teaching them to “gnaw” their way through his example to the same divine Spirit that gave him life, to take it and make it their own.
We who follow Jesus are   called to conform our lives to Christ. Like those first crowds it is easy to pursue Jesus for reasons that have nothing to do with divine love–power, greed, status, knowledge, and a sense of righteousness. None of these are true bread. Instead we are called to be like the one who places himself each day as a simple piece of bread into the hands of countless others.
There is a quote by Marian Wright Edelman, where she reminds us that”So often we think we have got to make a difference and be a big dog. Let us just try to be little flees biting. Enough flees biting strategically can make a big dog very uncomfortable.” That is what it means to be a piece of bread in the Spirit of Jesus, to be one of the “little flees” which makes the dog of injustice uncomfortable.
Cale and Anthony in our photo above are “little flees” who are feeding individuals in Golden Gate Park, who struggle each day for food. They are giving them physical food, but also the spiritual food of their presence and care. The encounter between them is God’s Spirit showing love and care.
We are the “little flees” who each day give out food, socks, clean needles, and condoms. but we are also the “little flees” who are providing a listening ear, prayer, and the Sacraments.
Each of us can be “little flees”, we can write letters to our government officials, we can protest, and call our government officials to open their eyes to the needs of people who have no housing or food; we can each day feed a person we meet on the street, and spend time talking to them, we can volunteer for agencies that work with undocumented immigrants, we can join vigils against the death penalty, to name one of the many ways we can be “little flees”, who are conforming their lives to Jesus.
Let each of us each day become a simple piece of bread which feeds countless others who come our way. Dio Gratius, Thanks be to God!
Vigil Against the Death Penalty
On Wednesday, September 5, at Noon, we will begin our weekly Vigil Against the Death Penalty on the street outside of the Earl Warren Supreme Court Building.
Pope Francis tells us that “Capitol punishment is cruel, inhumane, and an offense to the dignity of life. There is no crime in the world that deserves the death penalty.” In a world where life is cheap, money is king, to oppose and eliminate the death penalty sends a message that we value life, and that each life is worth saving, and each person is worth being given a chance to find redemption and forgiveness. Come join us in our witness for life!
We Are Beggars!
Our injury, and the subsequent long recovery period have been difficult. Our finances are very low, and we need money for socks, food, and the costs of running a program. Two percent of our budget goes to overhead costs, the other 98% go for direct service to people on the streets.
So please open your hearts as we beg, and we are begging, please reach into your pockets and become a “little flee”:
Write a check and send to:
Temenos Catholic Worker
P.O. Box 642656
San Francisco, CA 94164
 or to pay pal on


Love Your Neighbor

August 21, 2018

Most of us are most drawn to people most like us. But the Scriptures give us quite a different and higher vision.

The Hebrew Bible in one verse commands, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” but in no fewer than 36 places commands us to “love the stranger.”, last Friday night a car with three young men of Mexican back ground were stopped at a Jack in the Box, for appearing to be “different”. Those boys were searched, check out, and heard racial comments.  This is not an isolated event, across the Bay area this happens countless times every day. Each day homeless people of color find themselves put in second place at meals, and always the first one’s on the street to be questioned.Racism is heavily present. We all need to look at ourselves and see our own racism, for it is there, it is ever present.

Jesus makes loving our neighbor the supreme goal of  following him. Loving our neighbor does not mean liking a person, but of seeing each person as a human being who must be cared for..Dorothy Day said that “love is a harsh and dreadful thing,” for loving others means to move out of our own tribes and seeing people not with labels, of homeless, black, red, white, but as simply as a human being on the journey and to walk with them on an equal basis sharing of what we have.

Change comes from our own individual acts.  Let us follow the One who called us to love one another, to give up for one another, so that all may know love and care. Deo Gratius! Thanks be to God!

Dr. River Damien Sims, sfw

Cooking with the Forgotten Ones

August 19, 2018

Cooking With the Fallen One’s

“Wisdom built her house;

she has slaughtered her animals,

mixed her wine,

and set her table.

She sends out her female servants;

she issues an invitation

from the top of the city heights:

“Whoever is naive turn aside here,

she says to those who lack sense.

“Come eat my food,

and drink the wine I have mixed.

Abandon your simplistic ways and live;

walk in the way of understanding.” Proverbs 9:1-6

“Jesus said to the crowds: I am the living bread that came down from heaven; who ever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I give is my flesh for the life of the world.”


There was a movie about a young boy who was deformed in a way that he learned to walk upside down.  He found the world to be unique, fun, and its creatures wonderful beyond compare. Finally his physicians were able to fix his handicap and he walked as every one else. The world became dirty, people became mean, and filled with people doing what was expected of them.

Our Scriptures today call  us to see the world from an upside down position and to live a life of being upside down,  lives of radical simplicity, love, and appreciation for life.

Our  dissertation  written last year, Cooking With the Forgotten One’s, presents our view seeing  ministry  as not a “job”, but as way of life, lived twenty four hours a day, on the same level of all people. This comes from our experience on the street, but it began with the ministers and priests who have shaped our life. We are hearing a lot about the “rotten apples” in the ministry these days, but we hear so little about the majority who are hard working men and women, who give and have given  their lives to the service of God.

We now  remember a few of those ministers who have turned our life “upside down” , who have shaped our ministry into one that is “Cooking with the Forgotten One’s,” and who through their witness have taught us that life is a journey, one that is tough, but one that is fun. 

Our three childhood and adolescent ministers, Rev. David Richardson, Rev. Claude Stone, Rev. Bill Shamberger, all three from different theological perspectives, but  were the same in being a pastor, walking with us as an equal, sharing our pain, and working with us in moving toward ministry; we have  the Fathers’ Philip and Daniel Berrigan,  Fr. Louie Vitalie, Bishop Oscar Romero, Presbyterian Rev. Ed Loring,  whose lives reflect “living outside the box” in their ministries of social justice; Rev. Frank Tucker, Dr. John Doggett, and Rev. Jack Montgomery, Jr. our three District Superintendents,  who saw us as a “rebel” and worked with us through our ordination process; Rev. Dana Corsello, the priest who believed in our ministry and supported us in working out of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, and has been  our pastor these past eight by years, and who wrote in her parting gift of a Bible to us a summation of ministry and life:

“Life is short.

We do not have too much time to gladden the hearts

of those who travel the way with us.

So be swift to love.

Make haste to be kind.

And the peace of God–Father, Son, and Holy Spirit–will bless you and be with you always. Amen.”

Dana’s words are a reflection of those of  Dr. E.W. Bartley , our first District Superintendent, written last year on his hundredth birthday, a few days before his passing:

“Life is not to be neat, tidy, well put together,

but an adventure to be lived wildly,

so that when  we slide into home base we are 

saying, “What a ride, what a ride!

Dorthy Day once said that “Institutions are dirty and rotten,” and the institutional Church, (all of its denominations and varieties) are  “dirty and rotten”, because they are made up of  broken human creatures,  but through her comes those who show the light, the love, and the care of the living God. There are far many more of these  than we acknowledge and give credit for. Let us walk upside down, and see more of the positive in life than the negative.

Let us live our lives in such away that when we slide  into the  home base of the  Great Communion of Saints,  we can say “What a ride, what a ride!” Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

Fr. River Damien Sims, D.Min.

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164



August 13, 2018

I have hanging  a beautiful piece of art painted by a lady who admires our work. It is of a painting of a bleeding heart, with the words “counselor” and the phrase, “Love endures,” written across.

I am reminded it now, as many of us weather a season of loss, life transitions, and letting go. This season is difficult, painful, and one in which we wonder if there is any hope and if we can make it. Life is changing, and it is scary. The print reminds me of the communion of saints, in which we all share the timeless mystery of God’s love for each of us.

These are times which call us to go deeply into that communion of energy in prayer, loving servce, and a contemplation.

St. Tikhon of Zadonsk in the seventeenth century said:

“No longer should our brothers and sisters be seen wandering the roads and in the squares, starving and trembling with the cold, under the icy north wind, naked members of the Body of Christ. .There ought to be beggars and destitute persons no longer. All should be equal.”

Change and care come from a one on one approach to personally caring for others, and moves out like ripples in water to a larger ocean. We are joined together in the Mystery of Love and Life.

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

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164



August 11, 2018

As the sun leaves, rippling layers of fog

along the ridge, begin to join us, will come
right down to the blanket’s edge, there
throughout the night, watching us breathe.
Settled, then suggests no need
to authenticate by reference to anything
other than itself—the poem, its words.
Summer leaves
carry present
Take note of the pause
holding the courtyard, and the chill
that drafts the window, rounds bared feet
and ankles, draws attention to bamboo leaves’
gentle affirmation.


Meditations from the slow lane

Stereotyping and Bullying

August 4, 2018


Stereotypes and Bullying

“F-E-A-R has two meanings:

Forget everything And Run


Face Everything and Rise

The choice is yours”

There is a story of a man in Northern Missouri who bullied people in a small town for many years. He could be charming, and when a person would not give him what he wanted he would use stereotypes such as calling him “old” “lazy”,  “faggot”,  “nigra”, and so on, and run the person down until he gave in, and than walk away ashamed, he shamed him through stereotypes and used stereotypes as a means of separating himself from the person and not see the person   as a human being.

He would hit people or threaten them.He would cut them off  half-way in a conversation when the person disagreed with him and ultimately reject the person.

One  day in broad daylight, in the middle of the street, he was murdered, and to this day no one has ever been arrested.

One young United Methodist minister, new to the town was the only clergy who would have his funeral and  minister to the family, the rest were afraid. From that experience that young minister learned two things.

First to withhold judgment, to treat every one equally, for it is God’s place to judge, and to serve the living;

Secondly to never tolerate bullies.

“F-E-A-R has two meanings:

Forget everything And Run


Face Everything and Rise

The choice is yours”

Bullying comes in many forms. Withdrawing support when one  does not get one’s way; being unwilling to listen, simply to shut the person down, unless one gets one’s  way;  negative gossip; stereotyping: labeling a person old, a faggot, a nigra, a dim wit, a dumb ass, and so on. It comes in always  having to have  the last word, regardless of whether we are right or wrong, in controlling relationships, and the living habits of people, it come in not letting people be who they are.

We  deal with that person, and the bullying  by facing our own fears, our  own need for their approval, our own loneliness and neediness, and rising and simply saying “No”, and then walk away saying good bye. If a person continues to come than we fight, and we fight hard,win or lose.  If they threaten to walk away–we say “goodbye”. We never tolerate being put down, or threatened again. Loneliness ends when we learn to love ourselves, and loving one’s self starts by standing up for one’s self, and than move into loving others.

We can love the person with all of our heart,but when they hurt us, knowing they hurt us, it is time to let go, and say good bye,  and when through the grace of Jesus Christ they change, we can talk and enter into a new relationship, but we also must know that the chances are few and far between for those changes to occur , so we move on, kicking the dust off our feet, into a new life.

Dr. River Damien Sims

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164