Gifts and Talents
Our church would not survive without our dedicated parishioners using their gifts and talents –and time – to volunteer for the ministries that keep San Jose Episcopal running. As the apostle Peter tells us: “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.”
Sharing your time and talent not only benefits other members of the church, it is the ideal way to get to know others at San Jose and to become a true part of the place where you worship. Plus, that is what God calls us to do! Whether you are new to the church or have been here a while, we recommend making sure you belong to at least one or two, or more, of the following ministries:
Worship Ministries – Providing Service during Worship
Altar Guild – Our Altar Guild cares for the altar, vestments, vessels, and altar linens of the parish. They prepare the sanctuary for all services and clean up afterwards. This quiet, behind-the-scenes ministry is a vital part of setting the stage for worship.
There is also an Altar Guild for our Day School, whose members set up and clean up on at the weekly Wednesday Eucharist and other special school services.
Acolytes – We have a fantastic group of acolytes, grades 5th through high school, who take turns serving at the 10:30 Eucharist services and special services. They acolyte approximately once a month, helping carry the cross, torches, and Gospel book, distributing the offertory plates, and assisting the priest as first server.
Lay Readers/Chalice Bearers – Our committed team of lay readers and chalice bearers serve in pairs approximately once a month at either the 8 a.m. or 10:30 a.m. services. They either read the Old and New Testament lessons or the Prayers of the People, and assist the priests by serving the wine during the Eucharist.
Ushers/Greeters – Thank you to the dedicated Greeters and Ushers that served in 2016. Although our Greeters and Ushers have rather simple responsibilities, they are critical parts of each worship service. Greeters greet worshippers as they enter the church and man the newcomer’s book. Ushers pass out bulletins as worshippers enter, provide a head count to the clergy for communion, bring the Eucharistic Gifts (bread and wine) to the altar, and pass the offertory plates.
Flower Guild – The gorgeous flower arrangements on the altar each Sunday are the result of our talented flower guild. They go to the wholesale market each Saturday, select flowers, and then create stunning altar arrangements. This ministry also enables our pastoral Flower Ministry, which makes and distributes bouquets made from the altar flowers to those celebrating birthdays and anniversaries that week, in addition to delivering bouquets to sick and shut-in parishioners.
Pastoral Care Ministries – Providing Service to Each Other
Stephen Ministry – We are not currently training new Stephen Ministers, but we still have a dedicated group of Stephen Ministers who are available to visit parishioners who are going through a crisis or a difficult time. Stephen Ministers visit one-on-one approximately once a week, and the visits are completely confidential. If you or someone you know could use a listening ear and someone to provide spiritual comfort, let the church office know.
Sonshine Ministry – Our Sonshine Ministry is a team of volunteers who care for all our parishioners by taking turns sending cards and notes of acknowledgement for birthdays, anniversaries, deaths, and other special occasions.
Prayer Shawl Ministry – The San Jose Prayer Shawl ministry is made up of a group of parishioners who knit or crochet shawls and pocket squares to be given by our priests to those in need of our Lord's love, healing, comfort and peace. When these items are completed, they are blessed by our priests at the altar and then distributed as the clergy deem appropriate. A card is enclosed with each item conveying our mission to each recipient. Providing these prayer shawls and prayer pocket squares is a special way to touch the lives of others in need and to show the love of our Lord and Savior Jesus.
Comfort Foods Ministry – There is nothing more welcome after an illness, surgery, or death in the family than the helpfulness and loving comfort of a home-cooked meal. Our Comfort Foods Ministry provides dinners to parishioners in need.
College Connection – College Connection was launched September 2016. This ministry sends handwritten notes, cards, and special little gifts to our young church members that are away at college. The goal of this ministry is to "touch" these young people to let them know San Jose Episcopal is thinking about them, and praying for them, and misses them (for many this is their first time away from home). We want these college-aged kids to know we would love to see them at church when they are in town. The future goal is to retain these young people as church members. Feedback so far is wonderful. In the words of one college-age parishioner, “Getting these special things from San Jose made me love the church and appreciate it even more than I already do!”
Hospitality – Providing a Welcoming and Fun Environment
Breakfast Crew – If you haven’t ever tried breakfast at San Jose on a Sunday morning, you are missing a long-standing tradition that is decades old. At just $3 for adults and $2 for children, it is one of the best kept secrets in the city. For that price, you can afford to eat out every Sunday! We have five volunteer crews of men and their families who serve one Sunday a month, with each crew leader keeping everyone rounded up and informed. We are always looking for new members to add to our crews.
Each crew offers a slight variation on a good staple breakfast, and they each have a specialty. These crews not only create a delicious breakfast, they also enhance our morning fellowship and give love and joy to all of us as we prepare for our Christian education and Sunday school. Is your favorite specialty the sausage gravy, the omelets, the apple bake, or the grits? Maybe it is the potatoes or perhaps the perfectly-crisp bacon? The only way to find out is to come and see for yourself.
Tower Time – Tower Time is our well-attended after-church fellowship time, formerly known as Coffee Hour. Each week, Tower Time volunteers set up coffee and cookies before the service and clean up afterwards. It is an easy ministry, and most Tower Time volunteers are only assigned quarterly, four times a year. It has been rewarding to see families take ownership of the ministry, with many kids involved helping their families and people bringing special goodies or table decorations when it is their turn.
Wednesday Night Dinners – We don’t know about you, but Wednesday night dinners are a great excuse not to have to cook mid-week. In between our Wednesday night Healing Service and Christian Education, Chef Scott Bennett serves up delicious fare for just $5 per person. Come join us for an evening of sustenance and spirituality.
Garden Keepers – Did you know that San Jose Episcopal has Garden Angels? This team quietly and consistently maintains and upkeeps our front courtyard garden, an invaluable part of the beautiful aesthetic of our church and day school.
Fellowship Ministries – Providing Fellowship for Parishioners
Softball – There is no better way to create fellowship than getting a group of fellows on a softball field – slugging, running, and catching in the name of SJEC. The San Jose Towers men’s softball team plays on Tuesdays during the softball season.
Women's Bible Study – Our Women's Bible Study Group has been meeting on Mondays at 9:00 a.m. in the church lounge since September 2012. It was established by Mother Karen Booth and is now led by Bette Loyd. We have been working our way through Bible Women – All Their Words and Why They Matter by the Rev. Lindsay Hardin Freeman, since last year. Some other choices have been N. T. Wright's Matthew for Everyone, In the Land of Invisible Women: A Female Doctor’s Journey in the Saudi Kingdom by Qanta Ahmed, and a Lenten meditation by Father Gee.
We are a prayer group, as well as a book study group. Some of our members recently offered their thoughts: "a great support system," "a whole group of sisters to rely on," "no pressure if I have not had time to do my reading or if I have to miss," "welcoming and loving study," "I can hardly wait till Monday morning to share my good or bad news.”
We meet from September through May, following the school calendar, with a catch-up lunch during the summer. We welcome new members at any time, to enjoy coffee and snacks and just dive in to whatever we are currently reading.
ECW (Episcopal Church Women) – Our chapter of ECW meets once a month on Saturday morning for fellowship and fun. They also work hard throughout the year raising money for our outreach ministries, particularly our annual outreach party.
Daughters of the King – The St. Mary Chapter of Daughters of the King meets regularly for worship, fellowship, to pray for the congregation and community needs, and to complete service projects. They recently helped with such ministries as "Blessing Bags" for Hubbard House and a "Reverse Advent Calendar" to help fill the shelves of the Mandarin Food Bank. Any women that would like to join our Order are welcome to attend a meeting and see what we are about.