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All Are Greeted With Warmth and a Smile At Saint John's Episcopal Church

By Pamela Sosnowski

At Saint John's Episcopal Church, everyone is welcome no matter where they happen to be along their spiritual journey. Whether someone is attending the church for the first time, or has not been to mass for quite some time, the parish makes an effort to make everyone feel like they belong. And for those that may feel wronged or seek emotional support, the church holds a special monthly healing mass on the first Sunday of each month.

"We are a center of healing for Chula Vista," says Reverend David Marshall. "Once a month we have a healing service where people from around our community come in to find peace and healing. Saint John's has a unique ministry?we are a place where people who have been harmed by other religious institutions find release and comfort."

Services are held each Sunday at 8 AM and 10 AM, with the monthly healing masses taking place at noon. After each service Saint John's offers coffee, refreshments, and the chance to socialize with other attendees.

As a Christian ministry, the church strongly believes in making a difference in the surrounding communities. Parishioners of all ages are involved with Habitat for Humanity, South Bay Community Services (a local food bank) and the Alpha Project in San Diego, which assists the homeless community.

"Saint John's has a vibrant outreach ministry to the most in need in our community," says Marshall. "Our school makes lunches for the Alpha project in downtown San Diego. Our students in preschool through second grade decorate the lunch bags and the third through eighth graders create an assembly line to make sandwiches and put the rest of the goodies in the bag. The homeless like the food but the appreciate the original artwork. They feel as if someone is thinking about them and that someone cares."

The church prides itself on its Saint John's Episcopal Parish Day School, whose mission is to educate children in a loving Christian environment, through academic and faith development. Class sizes are small so that students receive enough one-on-one focus from each highly skilled teacher. "We educate the whole child, mind, body and spirit," explains Marshall.

From preschool on up we teach critical thinking, leadership skills, and self-esteem. We can't guarantee that each student will be able to attend the High School of their choice, but we do guarantee two things -- your child will be known, your child will be in a loving supportive environment."

Perhaps most notable about the inside of the church buildings are the flower arrangements, which are made on a regular basis by Saint John's flower guild for weddings, funerals, and Sunday services.

"Originally started by widows who found it helpful to be with other women who have suffered loss, work in a quiet atmosphere and learn to create something for the beauty of God, the guild now has women of all ages," says Marshall. "Yet, what has not changed is the spiritual space in which each arrangement is made."

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