St. John the Evangelist, San Francisco, installs new vicar and renews ministry

On Saturday, January 18, the Rt. Rev. Marc Handley Andrus formally installed the Rev. Richard Smith as Vicar of St. John the Evangelist, San Francisco, at a nearly standing room only service. Smith preached on John 21.19b-24 and challenged the people of St. John’s to continue serving the Mission District while always reclining into Jesus for their care, just like John their patron.

Throughout the service Smith was presented with symbols of his ministry as vicar to be shared with members of the congregation and organizations in the community of which St. John’s is a part.

Before the lessons from Scripture, representatives from Mission Graduates charged Smith to, “Speak to use of God by proclaiming with us and our families [the] word of encouragement and hope.” After acknowledging the realities of the United States’ immigration laws, violence, and imprisonment of young people from the Mission, and the lack of affordable housing for seniors in San Francisco, representatives from the San Francisco Organizing Project challenged Smith to, “Speak to us of God by working to make San Francisco a city for all.” Representatives of a weekly peace vigil of which Smith is a part asked that he “Speak to us of God by working for peace.”

Other items presented to Smith were water used for a baptismal remembrance and offered as a sign of working with the people of Nicaragua to obtain clean water there. Not only was this service an installation of a new vicar, but a renewal of the ministry of St. John’s. In a retrospective on the service, the Rev. Richard Smith said, “Still, the central moment happened at the font where we once again ‘took the plunge’ into the waters of baptism, saying ‘Yes’ once more to the way of Jesus, and vowing to support and strengthen each other in this amazing adventure.”

The Eucharistic bread and wine were offered by members of the Julian Food Panty along with other food indicating the work done there and the invitation for Smith to, “Join us in extending our Eucharistic celebrations by sharing food with our neighbors.” The final symbol offered to Smith was a copy of the Book of Common Prayer in Spanish, a sign of the relationship between St. John the Evangelist and the Latino/a community in the Mission as well as their relationship with El Buen Samaritano, San Francisco.

A reception with live music, and plenty of food, wine, and soda followed the service, and a joyful spirit of thanksgiving for the vicar’s installation.

An ecumenical gathering of clergy vested and processed for the installation

The Rev. Richard Smith preached the sermon for the installation

Water was presented to Smith for the renewal of Baptismal Vows and as a sign of working for clean water in Nicaragua

To mark the baptismal renewal, the Rt. Rev. Marc Handley Andrus, bishop of California, and the Rev. Smith asperged the assembly

The people of St. John’s presented Bishop Marc with a photo of their worship space

Representatives of the Julian Food Pantry presented the bread and wine for Eucharist, as well as other symbols of the pantry

“May the Eucharist empower  us to nourish our brothers and sisters in both body and soul through the work of the Julian Pantry”

The members of the assembly are censed as icons of God, in whose image they have been created

Members of El Buen Samaritano present the Rev. Smith with a copy of the Book of Common Prayer in Spanish

The Rt. Rev. Marc Handley Andrus presided throughout the service