Faith and Fish

I gave my first sermon in the spring of 2003. The gospel was the feeding of the 5,000 from the gospel of John. (John 6:1-15)

Andrew, the first disciple called by Jesus and the brother of Simon (who was called Peter), brings to Jesus the five loaves and two fish that a small boy brought to him. This is one of my favorite gospel stories; I love the pure faith of the boy who brings Andrew the fish, and the faith of Andrew who brings the gift to Jesus, knowing that if anyone can do something with the gift it’s Jesus. 

I spent more time on that sermon than any other since; it took two months of research, writing, revising and rewriting, until I got it exactly as I wanted it. 

I opened the sermon by talking about Bert and Ernie going on a fishing trip. 
Bert has his fishing pole and tackle box, and he is casting, reeling in and casting again, with no luck. Meanwhile, Ernie is just sitting there with his hands in his lap. When Bert finally notices that Ernie has no pole or tackle box, he says, “ERNIE! How do you expect to catch any fish without a fishing pole?” Ernie replies, simply but confidently, “Oh, that’s easy Bert. I’m going to call them.” 

Ernie then proceeds to lean over the side of the boat, puts his hands to either side of his mouth, and calls out, “Here fishy, fishy, fishy, FISH-EE!” Bert is nonplussed, as he so often is when it comes to Ernie’s antics. Ernie yells several times to no effect; Bert says what he’s doing is ridiculous, and is only scaring away the fish. But then, a fish jumps into the boat…and then another, and another, and soon fish are flinging themselves into the boat from both sides, some of them flying clear over the boat and back into the water. Before long that boat is full of fish, and the fish and Ernie both laugh at Bert for his lack of understanding and incredulity.

It’s been just over 20 years since I gave that sermon, and I’ve given hundreds since then (not thousands, I did the math). There are a few I’ve researched more, but I’ve never spent more time physically writing a sermon. My process has changed significantly since then, and I’ve grown by leaps and bounds as both a preacher and a Christian, and I hope to continue to grow.

I still work to have the faith of the boy who brought Andrew the fish, of Andrew who brought them to Jesus, and of Ernie, who believed that yelling for fish would be enough to get them in the boat. Someday, it might even be the size of a mustard seed…but that’s a different gospel, and a different sermon.

Rector, St. Francis Episcopal Church
Rev. Jason's Week in Review...

March 1: My birthday! Answered several emails in the morning; went to San Diego to be with Jennifer’s family for my birthday; watched the Padres handily beat the Rangers in spring training; ate chicken tacos.  

March 2: Traveled back to Palos Verdes Estates; came to work after lunch, caught up on emails; Diocesan zoom meeting, where we learned about the work of the liturgy and music committee; phone call with the Rev. Jane Gould; worked on vestry retreat; wonderful dinner and better conversation with parishioners. 

March 3: Couch was delivered to our house; Frontier finally resolved our internet; worked on getting the house settled; sermon prep.

March 4: Sabbath time; brought three more boxes of books from the house to my office; met parishioners at Point Vicente Interpretive Center, and watched as our kids ran all over God’s creation; sermon prep. 

March 5: The Second Sunday of Lent; despite the rain, we had a good number of people in church.  

March 6: Calendar prep; caught up on email; two pastoral appointments; worked on Lenten program; one more pastoral appointment. 

March 7: Worked on Lenten program; a great lunch with David Knight; pastoral appointment; met with Senior Warden; pastoral home visit. 

March 8: Worked on Lenten program; staff meeting; pastoral outreach; Lenten program - we had nearly 60 people or more! (and there’s plenty of room for more - see below for details)

It's easy to schedule a meeting with Rev. Jason!
Click on this link to schedule either an individual or group meeting with Jason+.
Meet Your Episcopal Neighbors at Stations of The South Bay 
Tonight at St. Francis
Episcopalians from across the South Bay are joining together for the Stations of the Cross, which is a long-standing tradition in the wider church. Please come to others if you can, to meet your Episcopal neighbors, share our spiritual lives, and be in communion with one another.

This Friday - Mar 10th, 6pm - St Francis, Palos Verdes
Mar 17th, 6pm - St Andrews, Torrance
Mar 24th, 6pm - Christ Church, Redondo Beach
Mar 31st, 6pm - St Cross, Hermosa Beach

Spring Forward
Remember to set your clock one hour forward before you go to bed on Saturday night for Daylight Savings Time.
Picture of someone eating at a Lenten supper
Lenten Supper series Three Sessions Remain
Star Wars and The Gospel!
Wednesdays March 8, 15, 22, and 29, Parish Hall. 
Supper 5:30pm, program 6:15pm, finish with Compline at 7pm.
Rev. Jason will be leading our Lenten Series this year!
Join us for a delicious home-made supper prepared by our Friars (mens’ group). Each week a different chef from the group takes the lead!
Suggested donation for the supper is $10 for individuals, $15 for couples, and $20 for families. It would help with planning if you can rsvp in advance to Claire in the office (please say how many will be in your group for each date).
Free childcare will be available from 6pm to the end of the evening.
The sessions are livestreamed on our Facebook page. You can see yesterday's session here. (apologies for the sound quality - we are trying to improve it for next week).
The Easter Bunny Needs You!!!
The Easter Bunny is back! All children are welcome to join us on Easter Sunday after the 10am service for an Easter Egg Hunt! Bring your camera so you can get photos with the Easter Bunny. And, bring your favorite Easter Basket to collect your eggs - we will also have bags available.

Easter Eggs wanted! Please help us prepare for our children's Easter Egg Hunt by donating candy filled, plastic eggs for the event. Please do not include any candy containing nuts. Eggs may be donated in the church office and we are asking if you can please turn them in by Sunday, April 10th. Thank you for helping us bring this fun event back to St. Francis!
Lenten Devotional
It's not too late to read or pick up a print copy of our much-loved Parish Lenten Devotional! Entirely written by members of our church community, there is a devotional for each day in Lent, based on the lectionary scriptures of the day. Click here to download your copy.

Sundays - Holy Communion
8:00 a.m. - Rite I in-person worship in the Chapel, with hymns. This service is not live-streamed.

10:00 a.m. - Rite II in-person worship in the main church with music. Live-streamed on Facebook and YouTube, and available for watching later.

Please contact Kristina Pelá to arrange for a Lay Eucharistic Minister to safely bring you communion.

Yoga with Jill!
IMPORTANT NOTE —Please pray for Jill who is recovering from surgery. There will be NO classes for the next 3 weeks, but she is planning to resume the week of March 27.

A spiritual mind and body practice!
  • Mondays 11:15am - 1:00pm - Level 1/2 Hatha Yoga
  • Wednesdays 9:00-10:30am Level 1 Gentle Yoga
Parish Hall. No set fees - classes are free-will offering. Questions? Jill Fenske

Thursdays from 9:30-10:30am in our church sanctuary; masks optional. Please join us for meditation, followed by a time of conversation.
Contact - Susie Zimmerman
Coffee Hour Ministry
It's quick and easy to sign up - just pick a day. More than one person or household can sign up on the same day, so you don't have to be on your own.
  • We'll show you what to do.
  • We reimburse expenses.
Sunday School

Bring your children to Sunday School for our wonderful Montessori-based, Godly Play curriculum.
Godly Play makes meaning through story, wonder, and play. Nurturing spiritual lives by honoring the centrality, competency, and capacity of children. You and your children will be blessed by these teachings.
Remember - the Parish Directory is Online
Need someone's email, or even map directions to their home?
The password is Romans12:4-5
Bookmark the link on your phone or computer and let your browser save the password and you will always be up to date with information!
In a later email we will tell you how to access the Member Portal so you can edit details of your own listing.
Need Help of Any Kind?
Physical, Spiritual, Psychological, or Material?

We are here to do our best to help you with whatever you may need. We know circumstances can be difficult at any time. For help of any kind, or just a phone call, please email or call Jason+.

Enews Submission Deadline: 3:00 pm Wednesdays
Enews is sent weekly on Thursday afternoons: email Susan with your requests.
Staff Directory
Office main line - 310 375 4617
The Rev. Jason Shelby 310-594-7984 - Rector
Mark Bennett 310-594-7416 - Director of Music
Claire Erbeznik 310-375-4617 - Office Administrator & Receptionist
Susan Marshall 310-594-8427 - Communications Specialist
Elaine Mistele 310-594-8268 - Business Manager

You are not interrupting our work - you ARE our work!