Archive for June, 2022

Peniel–Temenos Catholic Worker

June 27, 2022

Temenos Catholic Worker

Peniel, July 2022

“Where Jacob Walked With God!”

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

http://www.temenos.org

415-305-2124

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

PRIDE, 2022

Journal of an Alien Street Priest:

San Francisco Pride, yesterday, was full of protest over the recent Supreme Court decision and full of joy, and pride over the freedom the LGBTQ community enjoys today.

For over twenty years Temenos has been in charge of the Accessibility area, where seniors and people with disabilities sit.

We had youth working, as you can see from our photos:

From different backgrounds, one homeless youth, and three others worked for us on this Pride Sunday.

Looking back through the years, seeing the countless youth we have worked with at Pride and all the youth they represent, witnessing their pain, confusion, fears, and desperation, we cry, we smile, and we give thanks to God for allowing us )and I mean all of us) the honor.

People often wrestle with what we do, and looking at the faces of these young people–they are what we do. Listening, simply listening moment to moment, giving them of our time, the two greatest gifts of all.

A number of years ago an outreach worker from another agency walked with me on the street. And as we always do we listened, gave food, and socks, and moved on. Sometimes we listened for an hour. In the end, this young worker, commented, “We have to carry a clipboard and check off how many people we see, required to talk with a certain number, and only certain ages, you simply spend time with everyone, and for as long as needed. How awesome that is.”

Our ministry is that of a pastor, who listens, and shepherds his flock. We hurt, we cry, and suffer along with these guys.

Sitting at the base of a statue yesterday waiting for two of our workers, a young man, dressed in a skimpy leather outfit was crying. Someone had taken a picture of him and sent it to his dad. He said his dad would beat him because he was gay. He was afraid to go home. I gave him a card and told him to call me if that happened. I hear stories similar to his day in and day out. Homophobia is well and alive! San Francisco is different than most parts of the country and California itself. Homophobia is WELL AND ALIVE. It is deadly!

Today’s lesson from Matthew 8:18-22  where Jesus calls all of us to follow him with radical discipleship. He understands the way discipleship can be challenging, which is how we get to the non sequitur: “Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head.’

We might read that line, wonder at the meaning, and simply move on, but it has meaning for us today. If we say that we will follow Jesus wherever he leads, do we understand that it will not be easy, that we too may find ourselves with nowhere to rest our heads?

We don’t get salvation without sacrifice, without embracing the radical–letting the safety nets drop away and trusting that God is the only security measure we need.  Jesus calls us to embrace the radical! 

To go out and feed the hungry, clothe the naked, sit with the dead and dying, to walk and listen, and protest until our government leaders listen! Following Jesus is radical! 

Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

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This month we will continue our basic schedule of outreach five days and nights a week; talking to people on snap chat and phone.

Thank you for your support during this first half of the year and hope you will remember us during July, money is short, and expenses for supplies continue to be needed.

When I  use “we” I simply mean those who have supported us financially, and with prayer are walking on the street as well, symbolically.

Again we are beggars and we thank you for your support!

P.O. Box 642656

Paypal and website: http://www.temenos.org

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Pride, 2022

June 24, 2022

LGBTQ+ Pride Month!

On June 25 and 26 we will have our Pride Celebration. A million people will descend upon San Francisco, the flags flying, beautiful people around. A celebration of LGTBQ+ equality.

Our open and affirming churches will celebrate with the rainbow flag on their doors, and there will be sermons preached on equality.

 Yet in this celebration, we all  fail to remember the individuals who have been persecuted, and psychologically damaged; and fail to remember the ones who are struggling.

We think that it is better to ignore the past and look to the future, and yet the past will continue to haunt us until we embrace it and are reborn into a new life and understanding.  

Personally, I am just beginning to begin putting the pieces together through the homophobia and hate experienced in the Church. I think of her as both my mother and a whore, as Dorothy Day commented.

Through my growing up years, and seminary  I encountered ministers, who struggled with being gay, suffered from homophobia. One whom I will call Charlie, never married, suffered greatly, and being called to ministry Charlie believed he needed to stay in the closet. He ended his life at 40. He is one of the thousands.

Every day I hear the stories of young men and women in their struggles and have been alienated from family, and friends. Four out of ten queer youth will commit suicide. 

I see parents while expressing their openness are happy, very happy when their child dates the opposite sex. Homophobia is engrained a little in all of us.

Our lectionary text today is from Ezekiel 34: 15-16 calls us to be “shepherds”, to care for those who are “lost”:

“I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep. I myself will make sure they get plenty of rest. I will go after the lost, I will collect the strays, I will doctor the injured. I will build up the weak ones and oversee the strong ones so they are not exploited.”

Each one of us is called to be “shepherds” to those who are broken and coming out; we are called to feed and care for our brothers and sisters on the streets. Deo Gratias! Thanks be To God!

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

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

www.temenos.org

(We are in charge of the Accessibility Booth at Pride in which provides the ministry of presence in welcoming individuals.

One hundred million wanderers

Line the streets the sand the oceans

Line borders marked with barbed wire

Or impenetrable walls

Seeking

Hope

Karen Melander-Magoon, D.Min.

Book Review: The Art of Marketing Jesus

June 23, 2022

The Art of Marketing Jesus

Unleashing the

POWER OF THE GOSPEL

through the Lives of Every day People

by Robert Wachter

The author describes Jesus as the “most attractive person in human history”.  The Art of Marketing Jesus is an easy-to-understand spiritual growth process that has helped many believers internalize the life-giving promises of the new covenant and produces an abundance of love, joy, and peace in their lives–which is precisely the attitudes and characteristics required to attract people to Jesus.

If you want to live free and attract more people to Jesus, perhaps it’s time to become a new wineskin. It is time to say goodbye to old thoughts that keep us in bondage and place your light on the lampstand of spiritual freedom.

What he is saying is very simply said by Jesus, “You shall love the Lord your God, with all of your heart, mind, and soul, and your neighbor as yourself.” To care for people without expecting them to be what we want them to be, but simply as the broken children of God as we are. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

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

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

http://www.temenos.org

415-305-2124

June 21, 2022

A Reflection On

Inflamed

Deep Medicine and the Anatomy of

Injustice!

By

Rupa Marya and Raj Patel

“Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults-unless of course you want the same treatment. .” Matthew 7:1-5

Marya and Patel open with these words:

Deep medicine is the birthing of resistance to the oppression of those forces that keep us from being our true selves. .and engaging in deep medicine means understanding how every human’s internal state synchronizes with the environment around them and helping them that DIALOGUE THAT SPEAK IN AS MANY LANGUAGES AS POSSIBLE.”

By “speaking in as many languages as possible,” we come together listening and coming towards understanding each other and supporting and caring for our fellow human beings and our environment.

Presently we are not listening to the language of others Rupa predicts, as a native of India, by looking away and not seeing,the disparities of India were not the past of a backward nation, they were the future of places like the United States.”

My “dark night of the soul” came to me in seeing people on every corner sleeping in doorways, without blankets; mental ill and substance abusers walking around naked, witnessing the death of a youth on snap chat, and holding the hands of others dying from being stabbed, shot, and a number dying from the coronavirus. Housing, food, gas, and medical care are only available to those with money. We are becoming a country with a rich-poor divide. It literally tears my heart apart. I am nauseous and wonder what has happened to us as human beings.

Patel tells us: “We can be healthy only when the entire community is also healthy meaning all beings: plants, animals, water, people, soil, and air, the ancestors, and those not yet born. And this is achievable only through social, economic, political, ecological, and cosmological spheres working in an integrated fashion for the benefit of all, not just for a privileged few.. ”   .

During Pride month I remember queer youth are 4 times as likely to commit suicide than their straight peers. All over social media, the news, and where politicians speak we hear the hateful thoughts and words,  churches and other institutions ignore queer youth.

Violence results from the way Blacks and minorities are treated in actions and words.

I was told recently that I was as tough as nails (LOL), I hear more words of hate and threatened violence than pleasant words. I suffer a lot from those words, I cry a lot, and suffer my own sense of failure.

Our words and actions are where we start in saving our environment and we can in little ways.

Today watching seated at a restaurant, people passing by, and their interactions with a homeless man sitting on the street. Out of one hundred and fifty, not one spoke to him, it was as if he did not exist. We can by speaking to our brothers and sisters on the street, give them a sense of being cared for, and will lead us to work in ways to provide for them. We need to be human beings to others.t

We can begin by seeing our responsibility for the violence in our society, through the ways in which we treat minorities in words and our actions.

In summary, the most important action we can do is to simply listen and “become humble once more in the face of life’s greater intelligence. It is to create a community of care that can heal what has been broken, in which we can call take part with fire in our hearts, to cool our veins, our minds, our communities, and our planet, with recognition of our dependent we are on water,wind, earth, fire and the entire web of life. It is to become human again.””

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

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

http://www.temenos.org

The Dazzling Darkness

June 18, 2022

The Dazzling Darkness!

II Kings: 11:-4;9-18,20

Matthew 6:19-20

One of the most compelling images of our lives comes from St. John of the Cross: the dark night of the soul when the Holy Spirit leads us to the “darkness” of our own limited knowledge and awareness, it is to lead us into a hidden love that cannot be put into words or understood in a kind of logical sense.

The nineteenth-century poet Coventry Patmore, offers this insight: “In the Higher Communion, the night of thought is the light of perception.” Folk singer Arlo Guthrie puts it in more easy words: You can’t have the light without a dark to stick it in. His point of darkness whether symbolically or in reality is not always wrong. Our bodies need darkness for a good sleep. So darkness and light are not always the symbols of good and evil.

For a long time now, I too have been experiencing this dark night of the soul, a darkness that is dazzling through over two years of the pandemic holding the hands of those dying of the coronavirus, witnessing a suicide, seeing young guys stabbed and brutalized, my own body beaten and broken, struggling to regain the ability to walk over the past year, and finally hearing very little positive.

Yet it is in this darkness there is an invitation into the cloud of unknowing: that sacred place where we meet God not by the radiance of our minds, but in a dazzling love that cannot be put into words or metaphor.

The two things I am learning in this darkness are found in the words of T.S. Elliot: “Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.” Risk is the key to growth and change.

Secondly one of the greatest human spiritual tasks is to embrace all of humanity, to allow our hearts to be a marketplace of humanity, to allow our interior lives to enter into and reflect the pains and joys of people who live everywhere, and have lived before us and will live after us. To embrace and walk with every person around us. Our own lives are a part of the journey of humanity We are simply a fragment of humanity.

It is that dazzling love that enables us to not be afraid to touch the lives of each person, see ourselves in them, and most importantly seeing the broken body of the Cosmic Christ. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

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

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

http://www.temenos.org

415-305-2124

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We Are Beggars! Please give as you can, for as we enter the summer, our offerings are down!

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In the Mists of Time!

June 10, 2022

In the Mists of Time!

Matthew 25:31-46

John 21: 15-19

Last week I was attending a conference in Las Vegas, and as I sat in my nice hotel room I remembered the day before walking to the post office, a young woman, butt naked, simply out of her mind wandering around; as I returned home there was a young kid, with black paint around his eyes, wearing filthy shorts, and dirty legs, and could not even focus when I spoke to him; in the doorway was another lying in her excrement; the night before I took another young man to the hospital, sick with the coronavirus. found him lying on the street in chills.

The words of Jesus echo in my ears as I see the suffering, I struggle with my privilege and hear these words:

“When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon, son of John  do you love me?” He said to him: ‘Yes Lord you know that I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Tend my sheep…Jesus said to him the third time, Simon son of John do you love me?’ Peter was grieved because he had asked him a third time, ‘Do you love me?’.  .’Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go.”

June 4, is the anniversary of my ordination back in the mists of time, I was 21, and through the years to come I was confronted with a church that rejected me as a result of being queer, and that denominations being torn apart with the same issue; I found myself in that struggle being a hooker, and finally coming back to a new queer denomination.

The call to ministry continues to burn like a fiery flame within me, in season and out of season. And the years have passed, my youth is gone, and am struggling with walking, the side effects of the coronavirus.

The Church is a human institution, and as Dorthy Day once said, “The Church is both a whore and also our Mother.”  Looking through the years she has always been my Mother.

And as I struggle with walking from an injury, and the side effects of the coronavirus, I find myself still answering the question: “Yes Lord I love you,” even though like Peter I have failed so many many times.

And on this anniversary I renew my vows of ordination, “To preach the Word, and Administer the Sacraments,” and continue to “wait tables,”

My thanks to all of you who have supported me through these years!

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This is Pride month. The Pride celebration will be on June 25 and 26. We will be in charge of the accessibility section, and if anyone would like to volunteer please call.

In San Francisco, it is easy to think that all is well with LGBTQ rights, but throughout the country, those rights are being challenged, and people are suffering.

In the past year there has been one suicide and several young people attempted to commit suicide we have worked with, and so there are many others in the closet and struggling. Forty percent of the homeless population is LGBTQ.

So come to Pride, rejoice in our freedom in San Francisco, and protest the discrimination elsewhere in our state, and throughout the country.

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

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

http://www.temenos.org

415-305-2124

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We are Beggars! So please consider a tax-deductible gift.

Walking Towards Joy!

June 2, 2022

Walking Towards Joy!

Acts 22: 30-23:11

“. . .That was fuel on the fire. The quarrel flamed up and became violent. . .”

Joy and Resentment Cannot Coexist
“Of one thing I am sure. Complaining is self-perpetuating and counterproductive. Whenever I express my complaints in the hope of evoking pity and receiving the satisfaction I so much desire, the result is always the opposite of what I tried to get. A complainer is hard to live with, and very few people know how to respond to the complaints made by a self-rejecting person. The tragedy is that, often, the complaint, once expressed, leads to that which is most feared: further rejection. . . . Joy and resentment cannot coexist.” Fr. Henri Nouwen————-     The Center for Disease Control estimates  1,002, 422 deaths and a 104, 00 getting ill daily from the Coronavirus. As of the end of last week, the Bay Area reported between 4,000 and 4500 new coronavirus cases a day–roughly double the daily reports from the start of the month.    In talking to people I hear of the numbers, and of how lucky we are with the vaccine for people who get less sick; how “blessed” they have been for living in a place where the disease is not near; and so on.    I hear of “quarrels flaming up”, over the non-vaccinated, and resentment towards them.    We read the numbers, yet we fail to see the suffering..    Let me take a few minutes and share with you examples of the suffering:    Joe: 45 years old, began feeling nauseated, and within a week was in the ICU, hooked to all of the needed medical devices. He gasped for breath, his whole body in pain, and he died in so much fear.
Shannon, 20, a young street kid, began to have chills and fever, and went to the emergency room and was placed in isolation; he died in pain, and alone except for the priest holding his hand.
Myself: I have had, five vaccines, from a study at Standford, yet, one morning I awoke feeling sick, nauseated, and with fever. Testing positive for the coronavirus I stayed in for three weeks, with few symptoms. Yet the lingering side effects, light as well, tiredness, complete exhaustion after being up for four hours and failing to remember names, and dates, still continue. I am more easily susceptible to other viruses. as well.
    I can list for hours the ones who have died on the streets, and those who have side effects far worse, much, much worse than mine.    My best friend is an antivirus person, we joke, and he reminds me it is a matter of principle in his eyes, but I will never, never judge or stay away from his presence.
    To find more joy in our lives we need to let go of our resentment, and our anger, towrds others, for who they are; to find joy we all need to see the human toll in the suffering and pain this disease has caused.
    People are suffering, let us walk towards joy in seeing their suffering, and ministering to each one like our friends and neighbors.
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Fr. River Damien Sims, sfw, D.Min., D.S.T.
P.O. Box 642656
San Francisco, CA 94164
http://www.temenos.org
415-305-2124