Archive for the ‘religion’ Category

Fix Our Eyes On Jesus

November 14, 2018

Fix Our Eyes Upon Jesus

Hebrews 12:1-2 Common English Bible (CEB)

Let’s also run the race

12 So then let’s also run the race that is laid out in front of us, since we have such a great cloud of witnesses surrounding us. Let’s throw off any extra baggage, get rid of the sin that trips us up, and fix our eyes on Jesus, faith’s pioneer and perfecter. He endured the cross, ignoring the shame, for the sake of the joy that was laid out in front of him, and sat down at the right side of God’s throne.

I have been ill the past four days with a cold, and have stayed in until today.  In many ways it was the best, for during this time I addressed my 1200 plus Christmas cards and sent them out today. As I addressed them there are people who have donated generously through the years, some who have stopped, but I remember them fondly, some probably dislike me, but all are a part of that Great Cloud of Witnesses who have journeyed with me through these years.
And they were with me as I went out to Marin Headlands this morning to have a committal service for seventeen year old Juan who was found dead several months ago and took me this long to obtain his ashes. Juan was an  undocumented immigrant. He came to the US when he was fifteen to earn money to support his family and found doing sex work was the only thing he could do to make a lot of money.  He and I have journeyed together these past years through his being raped, beaten, and living on the streets. He sent money home every week to his family who live in a small village in Mexico. When I was in the hospital he would come and sleep in a chair near me, and we told the staff he was my family, and they said not a word. He did not speak English very well, and when I  would hear his confession, I would laugh because I understood not one word, as I pronounced absolution. Two of his  friends went with me, and I read the Office of the Dead, and committed him to God as I threw his ashes into  the Pacific Ocean.
I received a face book message from my friend Chris, who lives in Portland. I met him when I did a presentation in a church there, and he was fourteen, we became close friends. He is grown  now, and I remember through the years as he grew, he lashed out at me, gave me a black eye  one time, and said things to me in anger that are not repeatable, and as he grew he matured, and now he is a banker and just had his second child Ephraim. Walking with him was painful as hell, and yet there was much joy in it, much joy.  He remains my close friend, and one who is an awesome guy.
Both of these events has lead me to center myself more in Christ and reminds me that I have struggled all of my life, and it is in that struggling that I meet Jesus, and find satisfaction in my work. Success for me is simply walking with people, hanging out, taking the good with the bad, and remaining faithful. The following sums up how I see struggling:
“A New Way of Struggling” by Susan W.N. Rusch
To  struggle used to be
To grab with both hands
and shake
and twist
and turn
and push
and shove and not give in
But wrest an answer from it all
As Jacob did a blessing.
But there is another way
To struggle with an issue, a question-
Simply to jump
into the abyss
and find ourselves
being led
slowly and gently
but surely
to the answers God has for us–
to watch the answers unfold
before our eyes and still
to be a part of the unfolding
But, oh! the trust
necessary for this new way!
Not to be always reaching out
for the old hand-holds.
As I let go of Juan’s ashes, it was if I was letting go of myself into the hands of God, and in so doing finding peace, and that is what works for me, and I believe it works for all of us if we just let it. We let go, and God leads us where we are supposed to go. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!
Fr. River Damien Sims, D.Min., D.S.T.
P.O. Box 642656
San Francisco, CA 94164 (pay pal is on site)

Giving of Ourselves

November 11, 2018

Thirty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time

Reading 1 1 Kgs 17:10-16

In those days, Elijah the prophet went to Zarephath.
As he arrived at the entrance of the city,
a widow was gathering sticks there; he called out to her,
“Please bring me a small cupful of water to drink.”
She left to get it, and he called out after her,
“Please bring along a bit of bread.”
She answered, “As the LORD, your God, lives,
I have nothing baked; there is only a handful of flour in my jar
and a little oil in my jug.
Just now I was collecting a couple of sticks,
to go in and prepare something for myself and my son;
when we have eaten it, we shall die.”
Elijah said to her, “Do not be afraid.
Go and do as you propose.
But first make me a little cake and bring it to me.
Then you can prepare something for yourself and your son.
For the LORD, the God of Israel, says,
‘The jar of flour shall not go empty,
nor the jug of oil run dry,
until the day when the LORD sends rain upon the earth.'”
She left and did as Elijah had said.
She was able to eat for a year, and he and her son as well;
the jar of flour did not go empty,
nor the jug of oil run dry,
as the LORD had foretold through Elijah.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 146:7, 8-9, 9-10

R. (1b) Praise the Lord, my soul!
R. Alleluia.
The LORD keeps faith forever,
secures justice for the oppressed,
gives food to the hungry.
The LORD sets captives free.
R. Praise the Lord, my soul!
R. Alleluia.
The LORD gives sight to the blind;
the LORD raises up those who were bowed down.
The LORD loves the just;
the LORD protects strangers.
R. Praise the Lord, my soul!
R. Alleluia.
The fatherless and the widow he sustains,
but the way of the wicked he thwarts.
The LORD shall reign forever;
your God, O Zion, through all generations. Alleluia.
R. Praise the Lord, my soul!
R. Alleluia.

Reading 2 Heb 9:24-28

Christ did not enter into a sanctuary made by hands,
a copy of the true one, but heaven itself,
that he might now appear before God on our behalf.
Not that he might offer himself repeatedly,
as the high priest enters each year into the sanctuary
with blood that is not his own;
if that were so, he would have had to suffer repeatedly
from the foundation of the world.
But now once for all he has appeared at the end of the ages
to take away sin by his sacrifice.
Just as it is appointed that human beings die once,
and after this the judgment, so also Christ,
offered once to take away the sins of many,
will appear a second time, not to take away sin
but to bring salvation to those who eagerly await him.

Alleluia Mt 5:3

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mk 12:38-44

In the course of his teaching Jesus said to the crowds,
“Beware of the scribes, who like to go around in long robes
and accept greetings in the marketplaces,
seats of honor in synagogues,
and places of honor at banquets.
They devour the houses of widows and, as a pretext
recite lengthy prayers.
They will receive a very severe condemnation.”

He sat down opposite the treasury
and observed how the crowd put money into the treasury.
Many rich people put in large sums.
A poor widow also came and put in two small coins worth a few cents.
Calling his disciples to himself, he said to them,
“Amen, I say to you, this poor widow put in more
than all the other contributors to the treasury.
For they have all contributed from their surplus wealth,
but she, from her poverty, has contributed all she had,
her whole livelihood.”

or Mk 12:41-44

Jesus sat down opposite the treasury
and observed how the crowd put money into the treasury.
Many rich people put in large sums.
A poor widow also came and put in two small coins worth a few cents.
Calling his disciples to himself, he said to them,
“Amen, I say to you, this poor widow put in more
than all the other contributors to the treasury.
For they have all contributed from their surplus wealth,
but she, from her poverty, has contributed all she had,
her whole livelihood.”

– – – Th

The story of the widow is not a condemnation or even criticism of the wealthy in the story.   It is a description of one who gave her all, in faith and trust that she would be provided for. She put others before herself.  But from her hopeless poverty she has given everything she had (v. 44).

She put her complete trust in God to provide for her basic needs.  And that is where her success is found–in placing the trust in God, who continued to provide for her. The wealthy in the story gave their tithe,  and that is great, but not the totality of their lives for fear of not having anything, and in doing so kept their distance from their  identification with people on the streets, living in poverty, and suffering in other ways.

We are surrounded by wild fires, by thousands of homeless individuals at our feet, people are suffering tremendously, and we turn our eyes away, and trust in the government, and outside forces, the church, in its infancy was known for taking care of the poor, the diseased, the oppressed, but now turns her eyes away  for the most part.

The widow calls us to give everything that we have freely–our time, money, and more importantly ourselves in serving people. Her call is to place others before our own needs. None of us are secure, as we are seeing on our streets, in our towns, and our homes. There is no such thing as security. And so in sharing, in working with others one on one, we take care of ourselves as well, for in providing for all, we provide for ourselves.

I have been asked repeatedly lately, to “please give one success story.”  My answer to be faithful to each person who comes into our lives.  To love them, even when they are difficult, to love them when they hate us, to love them when they try to kill us, and when they hate us. My definition of success is to be faithful to Christ, who in giving himself for us, calls us to do the same. To give ourselves for others. Redemption begins here, not in the ever after.

Success is best described in the words of Elizabeth Gilbert: “You can measure your worth by the dedication to your path, not by your successes or failures.”  The path of every great spirituality is “to love our neighbor as ourselves,” which is a dreadful and harsh goal, but one that leads us to find meaning in our lives. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

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

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164


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November 6, 2018


Twice this week I have been asked to share a “success” story. Elisabeth Gilbert describes  success:

“You can measure your worth by your dedication to your path, not by your successes or failures.”

John Wesley said: “The world is my parish,” and my path is to be a pastor in the midst of a broken  world. Being a pastor is walking with people where they are, being a sacramental presence to them in the moment, with out judgment or expectation. My path is being faithful to Jesus of Nazareth following  him on the path of the works of mercy and non-violence. Success is walking that path in sickness and in health, with money or without money, being praised or hated. It is putting welfare of others above my own.

I have walked this path these many years now, being called names that are unrepeatable, being stabbed, shot at, getting malaria, misunderstood, ignored, hated, ridiculed, and slandered. As I was told by a friend a long time ago, “Walking your path ain’t for sissies.”

This is the way I view success, because none of us can determine the success of others, they have to make that determination, to try to to so sets ourselves up for judging others on our own terms, and thus push them away when they fail to follow  our theory of success. When we name success, we limit people, and we put a wall around our walking with them.  Success is journeying with others on the Way, as they find success on their terms.

And I experience so much joy, so much fulfillment, even the in the worst of times. Joy always comes in the morning, and there is always a morning!

My only tangible measure of success is to hear the words when I enter into the Kingdom: “Well done my good and faithful servant, enter into my Kingdom.” Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

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

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164



Service of Remembrance

November 4, 2018

Remembering the Dead Service With Jews and Mennonnites in Particular those Who Have Died in Pennsyvania and Kentucky

7:30 p.m., Friday, November 9, 2018

290 Dolores St San Francisco, CA 94103

(415) 861-6932


All Faith Communities Welcome!


Rabbi Mychal Copeland, Rabbi

The Battle Is Over

November 4, 2018

The Battle Is Over!

“Which commandment is the most important of all? “And Jesus replied, “The most important one is: “Listen! Our God is the one Lord, and you must love the Lord your God with all of your heart and your mind, and your soul and your strength, and the second is you will love your neighbor as yourself. No other commandment is greater than these.” Mk. 12:28-29

People asked: “How can you believe in a God who let’s people hurt, suffer, die, and be surrounded by evil.”  “How can you believe in acting in love when what works is force?” “How can you believe in a Church that does nothing and allow all sorts of abuse?

The reality is God gave us freedom of will when we were created, we make our choices–for good, for evil, to love or to hate–our choices. The question I ask people is: “Who would want to be controlled by any one?” We make our choices.

I have been reading the Apocrypha and one is struck with the evil, the pain, that human beings cause one another, the only difference in their time and ours is that we have bigger and more powerful weapons, and have social media tools that allows us to hurt people without looking them in the eye.

The culmination of the Bible is found in Jesus of Nazareth who summed up theology in one word: “Love”, and he died in the name of “Love”. But that love still flows through him eating away at evil.

What I know is my own experience, and that is the experience of love that Jesus, has shown me in  my life, beginning with my parents, but more so in the love of those who have walked with me in the good and the bad times. I have never received love from an  “institution” but from the people who are the “body of Christ”, individuals who love, whether they know it or not in the  name of Jesus. Institutions are rotten to their very core.

When Jesus said that the gates of hell would not prevail against us he was saying that the gates of hell will not prevail because he would send us people like Francis, Damien of Molokai, Dorothy Day, Mother Teresa, River Phoenix, Dana Corsello, Louie Vitalie, Ruth Burton, Cale King, Brandon and Aaron Olaya, Vicki Yeley, Kevin Frederick, Mary Monihan,Dina and Bill Tiege, bringing God close to me,  and  the  millions of others, who in their special way bring the Lord close to us, until the end of the age. Thus hope still lives. Love still lives. That is important to remember, especially now. 

As we bring judgment on those in our institutions let us remember the words of Henry Nouwen:

There is a tendency to think about poverty, suffering, and pain as realities that happen primarily or even exclusively at the bottom of our Church. We seldom think of our leaders as poor. Still, there is great poverty, deep loneliness, painful isolation, real depression, and much emotional suffering at the top of our Church.
We need the courage to acknowledge the suffering of the leaders of our Church – its ministers, priests, bishops, and popes – and include them in this fellowship of the weak. When we are not distracted by the power, wealth, and success of those who offer leadership, we will soon discover their powerlessness, poverty, and failures and feel free to reach out to them with the same compassion we want to give to those at the bottom. In God’s eyes there is no distance between bottom and top. There shouldn’t be in our eyes either.
Henri Nouwen

We all are human being who in the end will bleed, suffer, and die–in showing mercy, love, and compassion we can bring healing.  God meets us in justice, and shows mercy, and his justice and mercy are surrounded by the Great Commandment of Jesus, let us deo  so in our thoughts, attitudes, judgments, words, and deeds! Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

Fr. River Damien Sims, D.Min.

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164 (donations may be made on pay pal on this website)


All Souls Day

November 2, 2018

All Soul’s Day–Living in the Thinness of Both Worlds

Wis 3:1-9

The souls of the just are in the hand of God,
and no torment shall touch them.
They seemed, in the view of the foolish, to be dead;
and their passing away was thought an affliction
and their going forth from us, utter destruction.
But they are in peace.
For if before men, indeed, they be punished,
yet is their hope full of immortality;
chastised a little, they shall be greatly blessed,
because God tried them
and found them worthy of himself.
As gold in the furnace, he proved them,
and as sacrificial offerings he took them to himself.
In the time of their visitation they shall shine,
and shall dart about as sparks through stubble;
they shall judge nations and rule over peoples,
and the LORD shall be their King forever.
Those who trust in him shall understand truth,
and the faithful shall abide with him in love:
because grace and mercy are with his holy ones,
and his care is with his elect.
Charles Barquet tells us:

“There’s something real about the communication between this world and the world to come, a kind of communion between saints and souls and sinners that spans the gulf of time. It is not just we who are praying, but we are being prayed for by a great cloud of heroic wit­nesses, some of whom, I believe, are attracted to us, who have our name and have our number and who remember us. It’s a wonderful thing to be remembered. I think we are.”

This afternoon I will stand in Golden Gate Park celebrating the Eucharist   remembering the young men and women who have gone before us this past year, some eighty of them. There will be tears, pain,and anger among those standing around. There is a veil between this life and the next that is very thin on this day.  And I feel their prayers, and their love, as they surround us. I feel the pain, and the joy.

Around me on my desk and walls are photos of young men for the most part, and women, and many of whom I was with  at the time of their deaths or soon thereafter. And their  dying was not pretty–it bloody, they were alone, and without family. My son’s photo is on my wall, and I see Zach’s smile, and my love for him, and remember his death at the hand of a drug dealer, he is very present today.  I see the faces of the thousands I have walked with through these years. I see their pain, I see their blood, their bodies destroyed by disease, drugs, and violence. There are times I am haunted by those faces of pain. I am drawn into deep depression, and fear.  I have been threatened, hurt by them, and by those who do not want to look them in the face.  I am hurt by those who do not want to hear me talk of them or ask me of “a success story,” for each one is and was successful in just living day to day.

During this past year as I have struggled with recovery, physical pain, loneliness, and just surviving financially, their voices speak to me, calling me onward, reminding me that in touching their lives I reminded them of Christ’s love for them, and their job now is to remind me of that love, reminding me my work is not done, and that they walk with me in fear, doubt.  And that my task is to remind others that Christ is with them, and so are  all  the saints who were -dirty, bloody, angry, and now are washed pure  in the blood of the Lamb  and  brings  them into glory. And they remind me that as I so often struggle and see the Angel of Death fluttering around me that the day will come when she will carry me into their midst, and pain will be no more. But my task is not done yet.

Each of them remind us of the sign a young man carries in a photo  I took of him, which  reads: “I am sorry for passing judgment instead of extending love.”

Ultimately all that matters is loving one another without judgment, that is what gives us and all creation life.

The responsory in the Office of the Dead reads:

“In you, Lord, is our hope. We shall never hope in vain.
In you, Lord, is our hope. We shall never hope in vain.

We shall dance and rejoice  in your mercy.

We shall never hope in vain.

Glory to the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit,

In you, Lord, is our hope. We shall never hope in vain.”

So on this day all of us may all of us remember  those who have gone before us and  let us ask ourselves the question what are they calling us to do in our lives. What are our tasks now? Personally I am willing to bet everything that I have, my soul, my life, that it is to “Extend Love”.

Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

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

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164



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The Hate We Give Transformed Into Love

October 31, 2018

Holy Communion and the Streets

The Hate We Give–Transformed Into The Love We Give

All Souls and All Saints

Revelation 7:9-17 Common English Bible (CEB)

The great crowd and seventh seal

After this I looked, and there was a great crowd that no one could number. They were from every nation, tribe, people, and language. They were standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They wore white robes and held palm branches in their hands. 10 They cried out with a loud voice:

“Victory belongs to our God
        who sits on the throne,
            and to the Lamb.”

11 All the angels stood in a circle around the throne, and around the elders and the four living creatures. They fell facedown before the throne and worshipped God, 12 saying,

“Amen! Blessing and glory
        and wisdom and thanksgiving
        and honor and power and might
            be to our God forever and always. Amen.”

13 Then one of the elders said to me, “Who are these people wearing white robes, and where did they come from?”

14 I said to him, “Sir, you know.”

Then he said to me, “These people have come out of great hardship. They have washed their robes and made them white in the Lamb’s blood. 15 This is the reason they are before God’s throne. They worship him day and night in his temple, and the one seated on the throne will shelter them. 16 They won’t hunger or thirst anymore. No sun or scorching heat will beat down on them, 17 because the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them. He will lead them to the springs of life-giving water,[a] and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”


On All Saints and All Soul’s-November 1 and 2, we remember the saints, and all who have fought the good fight on earth and now surround us in that Great Cloud of Witnesses. They are a reminder that we too will enter into that number, where there will be no more tears. It is also a reminder that those who have fought the good fight of justice and faith on earth surround us, and  envelop us as we continue the fight, cheering us onward.

They also remind us that the hate that we give, that is within us, can be transformed into a love that endures, and transforms our daily lives and that of others.

 Last week a young guy full of anger struck me in the side, which remains painful, and I grabbed him, and held him as tight as I could in the middle of Haight Street. He started sobbing, and he expressed his fear, his anger, and his hopelessness of life on the streets, and of the way people treat him.  I had never met him, he struck a stranger, and we ended up friends sharing with each other.

In the last couple of weeks I have had lunch with two sets of friends who are well off, and live in upper middle class neighborhoods.  Neither fully grasp homeliness , or poverty in the real sense.  I have struggled in the past not getting angry because of their lack of understanding, and have gradually realized they are not exposed to the reality of homelessness and violence. It was my bad to even feel anger.  One of their sons is going to law school and hung out with me and worked with me in the City the years of when he was 14, 15, 16, 17, and 18, and wrote me when he entered law school that one of the reasons he wants to practice social justice law is because he experienced the pain of the streets with me. His eyes were opened in walking the under belly of San Francisco.   I would never have experienced poverty and violence if I had not been on the streets. We are separated by the color of our skin, our economic situation, and our fear of entering into the worlds of other people. From that separation we develop a hate and fear of each other.

What I am learning is that the hatred we see and express in our daily news, in our streets, and in our lives, can only be transformed into love, acceptance, when we go deep into ourselves, and face our own pain, our own fears, and look into the face of the God of love as seen in each person we meet,  who calls us to care, and to love each other. We can move out in loving the individuals around us–and change will take place, ever so slowly, like the mustard seed. In each person that is fed, in each person who volunteers with us, in each person I sit with in joy, sickness, and death, I personally experience a transformation from hate to love. I am the biggest screw up in the world, but I try, and that is all we can do is to TRY. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

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

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164


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Stop and Listen!

October 26, 2018

Cale and Anthony

Stop and Listen!

Mark 10:46-52 Common English Bible (CEB)

Healing of blind Bartimaeus

46 Jesus and his followers came into Jericho. As Jesus was leaving Jericho, together with his disciples and a sizable crowd, a blind beggar named Bartimaeus, Timaeus’ son, was sitting beside the road. 47 When he heard that Jesus of Nazareth was there, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, show me mercy!” 48 Many scolded him, telling him to be quiet, but he shouted even louder, “Son of David, show me mercy!”

49 Jesus stopped and said, “Call him forward.”

They called the blind man, “Be encouraged! Get up! He’s calling you.”

50 Throwing his coat to the side, he jumped up and came to Jesus.

51 Jesus asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?”

The blind man said, “Teacher, I want to see.”

52 Jesus said, “Go, your faith has healed you.” At once he was able to see, and he began to follow Jesus on the way.


Theologian Michel de Verteuil has a wonderful prayer in connection with this story: “Lord, there are many people sitting at the side of the road, shouting to us to have pity on them, but they often shout in strange ways: by behaving badly in the classroom; by taking drugs and alcohol; by sulking, remaining silent or locked up up in their rooms; sometimes by insisting that they are happy to be at the side of the road while others pass by.  Lord like Jesus, we need to stop all that we are doing so that we can hear them express their deep longing to have their sight restored.”

Jesus called the blind beggar forward and asked “What do you want me to do for you?” He did not say, “You have to get a job, you have to get off the street, you have to take a bath, you have to stop doing drugs,  he asked “What can I do for you?” Rather than telling someone what to do, maybe we should just stop and sit and listen, and let them talk, and in talking find their way, through our love and compassion.

Henri Nouwen once said:

“The Church often wounds us deeply. People with religious authority often wound us by their words, attitudes, and demands. Precisely because our religion brings us in touch with the questions of life and death, our religious sensibilities can get hurt most easily. Ministers and priests seldom fully realize how a critical remark, a gesture of rejection, or an act of impatience can be remembered for life by those to whom it is directed.

There is such an enormous hunger for meaning in life, for comfort and consolation, for forgiveness and reconciliation, for restoration and healing, that anyone who has any authority in the Church should constantly be reminded that the best word to characterize religious authority is compassion. Let’s keep looking at Jesus whose authority was expressed in compassion.” Henri Nouwen

Personally I am not very bright, I really do not make good decisions about a lot of things, I am very immature, doubt and question myself, get depressed a lot, scared for the future, so what do I have to offer, that is the question what do I have to offer?  The only thing is  I can sit and listen, put myself second to that person, and in staying out of their way  he or she finds healing , and the healing for myself that results in simply being present to another in those moments.

So as we sit and listen we hear the words of Jesus, “Go your faith has healed you.” Healing comes in letting each other express our needs, and walking with each other in finding our way, not in being the source of authority. For the only authority that Jesus had was compassion–loving us for who we are, caring for us in the moment, and walking with us into the future.

Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

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

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164


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October 22, 2018

Peniel “Where Jacob Wrestled With God and Survived”

Newsletter of Temenos Catholic Worker

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

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

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Journal of An Alien Street Priest:

The first Thanksgiving was a time in which Native Americans and settlers from Europe came together in unity. Dr. Karen Oliveto, in her book: Together at the Table: Diversity without Division in the United Methodist Church, points out that “unity does not erase differences and disagreements. It requires a willingness to live with ambiguity as we come together for a greater purpose than our individual agendas.”

On Sunday, October 21, we had our annual celebration of the anniversary of Temenos at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church.  As people greeted me after the service   I felt felt loved, appreciated, and more than anything else respected.  Our differences are more than our similarities but for the past eight years we have worked together in unity, and in that working together we have shared a ministry and a deepening friendship.  St. Luke’s is the one place I find home, and will be buried within her walls.

One of my sixteen year old friends worked with me and this was the first time he had seen me in a clerical collar. For a long time Sean has experienced me as his friend, the one he hung out with, argued with, and shared his life with.  He is not a Christian, and really does not know what the Church is about. And Sean never thinks of me in the role of a priest. What we both bring to each other is our loyalty, and our appreciation for each other in our sharing. Again in age, ethnic, and economic back grounds we are far different, yet we are close friends in loyalty, in caring , and in being there for one another.  We have fun together.

One  verse in our lectionary reading for today, Luke 12:15 says:   “After all one’s life isn’t determined by one’s possessions, even when someone is very wealthy,”

telling  us that all of us are wealthy in one way or another–our ethnic back grounds, our religious backgrounds, and the ways in which we excel: sports, academic, cooking, and political differences. We are all wealthy  maybe not in material possessions, but in other ways.   And   those differences should bring us together in unity to share with everyone and in so doing we each are richer for it, and we can use those differences to create a way of living that is equal for all of us.

So this Thanksgiving let’s bring people who are different from us, whom we really don’t like or choose to be with –the Republican, the Democrat, the homeless person, the person of color, the white person, the person without material wealth, and people of other religious beliefs, to our table, and in breaking bread together , see our unity and oneness, and that we are all simply children of the loving and caring God, whom we will all join  with  one day as brothers and sisters in  the Communion of Saints.

May the grace of Almighty God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, bless, preserve, and keep you today, and all the days of your life. Amen.

Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God! Happy Thanksgiving!



Thanksgiving Activities:

We will be hosting a brunch on Thanksgiving Day, November 22,  at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church at 2:00 P.M., 1755 Clay Street, San Francisco, CA, for parishioners, and any one who is alone or has no place to go. Our menu will be Turkey and dressing, with the trimmings, vegetarian turkey and trimmings, green bean casserole, salad, and any other side dish you would wish to bring, and pie.

At 6:00 p.m. we will take food to Polk Street and the Haight.

Come join us! We would love for you to let us know at or 415-305-2124.


We Are Beggars!

We are truly begging this year. Our finances are really down, and our needs have increased.  So know that our hands are open with our begging basket and hope you will give, to provide food to the hungry, socks to the bare footed, and pastoral care to the one’s who are suffering spiritually and emotionally.

Please send to P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

or give through pay pal on


“Evolution implies not only change but transformation. In world mythology, when heroes refuse the call to leave home to take the evolutionary journey, they become sick. For us as a culture it is the same.”

Dr. Will Tuttle

What Matters? Faith Working Through Love!

October 16, 2018

What Matters? “Faith Working Through Love!”

“Being circumcised (being rich or poor, white, red, brown or black; being Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Christian) or uncircumcised doesn’t matter, but faith working through love. Galatians 5:6”

Spirit Day
Thursday, October 18, 2018
Support LGTBQ Youth, Straight Youth, and Adults
by Speaking out Against Bullying
Do So by wearing Purple, putting Avatars on Social Media, and get involved in other Activities
More Info:
The ability of so many people to live comfortably with the idea of homelessness, and bullying  is perhaps a clue to how so many Europeans were able to live with the idea of the Holocaust: Once you turn your eyes away from the streets, from the alleys, from your neighbors, and once you turn yourself so inward  that what is so  important is only yourself, you are  halfway there.  We have an empathy deficit in our society.  Homelessness is a number, and we hold on to what we have, and turn our eyes away and our eyes become blind to the humanity of people.
Faith unites us in love. All of the great religions tell us to love one another, and Jesus lived out that love in his life to the point of going to the cross.
Faith unites us in love of our fellow human beings. Dr. Will Tuttle tells us that “Evolution implies not only change but transformation. In world mythology, when heroes refuse the call to leave home to take the evolutionary journey, they become sick. For us as a culture it is the same.”  
We are in need of a “Kindness Movement” an “Our Too Movement”, where we come together in empathy for all and in doing so  changing our attitude from numbers to people, from fear to courage, from ourselves to others,  and in so doing we would see the ripples of caring and love flow into a mighty river.
Thursday, October 18 is “Spirit Day” designated during National Bullying Prevention month (October)  as a day to show support for LGTBQ youth and to speak out against bullying. I see this as a day for us to show support for all youth, and as a day to speak out against bullying in all areas of our society.
Let our faith work through love to bring us out of our “empathy deficit”, and see the pain, the fear, and the need on our door steps, our alleys, and let us not walk by with blinders on our eyes, but with love in our actions and mouth. Let us become the hands, the voice, and the feet of Christ moving in service. Let us become Christ on the streets, in our schools, our homes, churches, and places we work. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!
Fr. River Damien Sims, D.Min.
P.O. Box 642656
San Francisco, CA 94164