Dean’s Letter: Resolving to Serve

Hello St. Paul’s,

Happy New Year! Have you made any new year’s resolutions? If not, I invite you to think about serving others in some way: it’s well known that helping other people takes our minds off our own troubles, and service to others is an important part of our lives as followers of the Jesus Movement. And of course Serve Others is one of the three prongs of our mission statement. Our bishop has designated this year as a diocesan year of service, and she writes about the theology of service in this week’s diocesan email. Here’s a link to her essay:

I want to share some ideas with you for service ministries:

Our Showers of Blessings ministry offers showers, a hot breakfast, and free clothes and toiletries to our unsheltered neighbors on the second Saturday of each month. It starts early – by 7:00 am – and is over by 10. The next Showers Saturday is January 14. Contact Claudia Dixon if you’d like more information at (

Episcopal Community Services ( participates in the county’s snapshot census of unsheltered people on one night in January each year. This year it takes place on Friday, January 26. It takes a LOT of people to do this count across the county. Parishioner Angel Ibarra works for ECS and can give you information on the upcoming count and other volunteer opportunities, at (

International Relief Teams ( sends teams of volunteers to rebuild homes destroyed by the 2018 Camp Fire in Paradise, CA. These trips are a week long and happen approximately every other month. Contact Marilyn at ( for more information.

Vida Joven de México ( is a foster home and orphanage in Tijuana that gives a home and a future to children and teens who have been abandoned by their parents. St. Paul’s has a long history of supporting Vida Joven, and we hope to schedule some awareness events in 2023. They offer come-and-see day trips on the last Saturday of the month, carpooling from Chula Vista. Contact Beth Beall at (

Closer to home, St. Paul’s has a ministry of visitation to our homebound and infirm parishioners. Cathedral Visitors visit someone once a month for informal conversation. Eucharistic Visitors are trained to take Communion to someone at home or in a facility, and are sent out directly from Sunday worship. Contact Vicki Hoppenrath at (

There are many other possibilities for service and social justice projects. For example, I have a long-held dream of starting a community loan fund for bail bonds and jail fees: other cathedrals have done this, and the repayment rate is so high that after an initial injection of funds they find that the fund is self-sustaining. You may know that once someone is in jail they start to incur debt as court fees mount: a loan fund can help someone get out of this vicious cycle. If this is something that interests you, I can put you in touch with another cathedral that already does this so that you can learn more about what is involved.

Our Outreach Committee is made up of parishioners who are involved in various organizations; the committee meets monthly, and you can contact Jen Jow at ( for information about the next meeting. If you have an idea for a social justice or service ministry, bring it to our Outreach Committee to brainstorm how to get it going.

Good luck with those resolutions!

Your sister in Christ,

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