Peniel–September Newsletter of Temenos Catholic Worker

Peneil “Where Jacob wrestled with God.”

Temenos Catholic Worker

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

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

Love That Goes Deeper and Wider

“Owe nothing to anyone accept for your obligation to love one another.” Romans 13:8 NLT

     We are coming into the fall of the year, we can feel it  in the air and see in  the colors of sunlight a different hue , and our bones feel the changes.

    We hear the condemnation of religion as a rule of laws and see the violence towards others who are different than ourselves–but the reality is religion is not about law keeping. It is about unselfish, loving relationships–with God,our human brothers and sisters, and all of creation. 

    Keeping the letter of the law will not satisfy the hunger that plagues our world due to climate change and unjust economic systems. Keeping the letter of the law will not prevent a billion tons of food from being lost or wasted each year, while at the same time millions suffer from hunger and starvation. Only love that goes deeper than the law will transform our world to be a place in which satisfying the hunger of all is a priority.

    Our ministry for nearly twenty six years has been centered on practicing the words of Paul: “Owe nothing to anyone accept for your obligation to love one another.” Kathleen Norris further expands our work:

“We are, all of us, engaged in priestly work, the work of

Transformation. But it may be work that is deemed useless

by the standards of the world.” Kathleen Norris

    Our work is not measurable in goals we can see, it is messy, painful, lives and breathes in the gray areas of life.

    Today it is difficult to tell someone you “love” them–it is always seen as having to do with sex, as it is portrayed in the media. We can hardly hug anyone for fear of being misread.

    We have many people who love us, who provide money for our ministry, and support us in so many ways. Two of our best friends, Dr. Cindy Gepphart and Dr. Karen Cardon have paid our health insurance the past four years, which has truly saved our life, and provided ministry to many, and the list goes on and on.

    Several nights ago our friend Matt phoned and wanted to have dinner at North gate Mall, personally we did not want to go, we were exhausted, our lungs scorched from working up north in the fires, in pain, but as always we met Matt at B.J’s.

    This friendship with Matthew goes back seven years, when he volunteered  serving a meal, and at twenty one is still here. Matthew never went away, even when he was pushed. He gave us a necklace and a ring symbolizing ‘courage” that we wear as a reminder of being loved without judgment.

    Fred “Mister” Rogers sums up our journey together, and our  journey on the street: “Love isn’t a state of perfect caring,” he said. “Love is an active noun like “struggle”. To love someone is to strive to accept that person exactly the way he or she is, right here and now.”

   Nearly three years ago, we had shoulder surgery, the bureaucracy of Kaiser screwed up on getting us a home care  nurse, and we found ourselves the first three weeks after surgery terrified, scared to death, and we are very seldom afraid. We were totally alone, unable to take care of our-self.

    And along comes eighteen year old Matthew who for three weeks, bathed, changed bandages, and fed us. He skipped work, school, and had his friends, who are now our friends as well, help him. The next three months in recovery we hung at his house.

    The other night he looked in our eyes with intense and so much sincerity and  spoke:

“This summer every time I have seen you, you are worn out, visibly tired, and now you look like hell. Your job is dangerous, and you give your life away to others, and I worry that if your donors stop giving or if you really get hurt or sick you will have no where else to go. I want to be clear you always can live with me or my mom you always have a place.”

    Remembering that moment brings  tears, for very seldom does non-judgmental love come our way. Matthew has demonstrated to us the quote:

“On the storm tossed sea of life all we have is our fierce loyalty to one another.

    Life is never easy, as we see now–death, loss, and fear, is all around, very visible. We can not escape the reality of loss, suffering, and death.

    Matthew has  shown and reminded us what love is all about, in him we see Christ who continues our call of loving with our expectation, of not judging.

    I believe this is the love Jesus calls us to, and has demonstrated by his ministry and resurrection, a love of non-judgment nor expectations of one another.

    The word of Father Henri Nouwen speak so clearly in these moments:

‘Am I afraid to die? I am every time I let myself be seduced by the noisy voices of my world telling me that my “little life” is all I have and advising me to cling to it with all my might. But when I let these voices move to the background of my life and listen to that small soft voice calling me the Beloved, I know that there is nothing to fear and that dying is the greatest act of love, the act that leads to the eternal embrace of my God whose love is everlasting.”

    Let us die to ourselves, and in being embraced by the Beloved, embrace all of our sisters and brothers without judgment or expectation.


Meals on the Street

    We continue to give packaged food on the street, but on Thanksgiving Day will serve our traditional Thanksgiving meal of Turkey and Dressing. After that we will serve a hot meal every two weeks.


    We are not using volunteers, for safety reasons. This virus is dangerous. So we ask for prayers and financial support.

We Are Beggars

    We are in need of money for socks which you may order  from and have them  sent to:

St. Luke’s Episcopal Church

%Temenos Catholic Worker

1755 Clay Street

San Francisco, CA 94109

or you give money at:

Temenos Catholic Worker

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

or Pay pal found on

Thank you to all who have been faithful in these months.


“Faith is rarely where your head is at. Nor is it where your heart is at. Faith is where your ass is at!” Daniel Berrigan

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