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Three members of St. Anselm’s Episcopal Church, Lafayette CA, write about our experiences with our electric cars.   Our purchases were all motivated by the cars’ potentials for emissions-free performance.    While our driving needs are dramatically different, our driving experiences have been uniformly positive.   Please consider an electric car when it comes time to replace your current car.

Father John Sutton

My Purchase DecisionI have owned my Volt for almost two years now.  I was considering both the Chevy Bolt and the Chevy Volt when I made my purchase.  Based on my driving patterns, the Volt was definitely the right choice.  I needed the gas option after my electric charge runs out.

The Bolt boasts a 238 mile range on batteries, by far the most of any all-electric vehicle out there not named Tesla.  But it would not get me up to Tahoe without having to stop for a charge.  Where charging technology is right now, that would take a long time.  I don’t go up to Tahoe that often, but I don’t want to wait for hours while my vehicle charges on a drive to Tahoe.  In the Volt, when I run out of electric power, it automatically, while I am driving, switches to gas power.  It is seamless.  If I need to drive cross country, I can, filling up an eight gallon gas tank every 370 miles.

Fortunately, when I was deciding on whether to buy a Volt or a Bolt, the Chevrolet website had a place to input the beginning and end of destinations.  My Tahoe destination is less than the advertised range of the Bolt, but because of the climb, the website told me the car would not make it on one charge.  Then my decision to buy the Volt was easy.  Thank you Chevrolet!

Charging.  My roundtrip mileage to the church, depending on the route I take, ranges from 32 to 42 miles.  This is well within the approximate 60 mile electric range that I get with my Volt.  Chevy advertises an estimated 53 mile range, but based on my driving pattern I get better than that.  I can go to John Muir Hospital or other locations nearby and still not use the gas-powered engine.  As a result, I am driving 93% of my miles on electric power.  (There is a cool Chevy app that tells you all this information.)

Installing a Type 2 charger made sense for me.  A Type 1 charger, running on 110 volts fully charges the Volt in about 14 hours.  A Type 2 charger does so in about 4.5 hours on a 220-volt circuit.  As a result, I am using less electricity with the Type 2 charger.  Also, if I had a Type 1 charger, even though most of my charging is done at night, I would be going out frequently without fully recharging as there are occasions when I go to the church and elsewhere early and late.

The Type 2 charger, with installation cost me about $1,000.  I had a 220 circuit put in when I put in my solar panels anticipating getting an electric vehicle.  Some may have to pay an additional fee for this. (PG&E, at the time I installed it, offered a rebate for installing a Type 2 charger.)

Doug Merrill

In April Carolyn and I bought a Chevrolet Volt, a plug-in hybrid.  Our decision was influenced by John Sutton’s positive report about his Volt.  The availability of $9,500 worth of rebates and tax credits was also important.  They provided a high-value car for a moderate (mid-$20,000) price.    We feel empowered and exhilarated by our decision.  With this step we feel we’ve made the biggest contribution we can make towards combating climate change.   To achieve our goal, we operate our car to minimize gasoline usage.  So far (500 miles) we have used none.

The car has exceeded our expectations.  It’s a handsome vehicle with a smooth ride, tight cornering, and quick acceleration.  Its dashboard tells us everything we want to know about its performance.

While we purchased the same model car as John Sutton’s, our driving and charging schedules are quite different than John’s.  Our daily mileage (about 15 miles on average) is much less than John’s, so we don’t need to charge the battery completely every day.   An 8-hour charge every other day from a standard 110-volt household outlet restores 27 miles to the battery  Because we’re generally not starting from a depleted battery, the Volt’s full electric range (about 60 miles) is usually available to us post charge.   By charging from a standard outlet we’ve avoided the cost of a 220-volt charger and its associated wiring, which can run into the thousands of dollars.

To get the cheapest electricity (12.5 cents per kilowatt-hour) we program the car to charge on PGE’s EV-A schedule during off-peak hours (11PM to 7AM).   Our per-mile electricity cost is 70 to 75 % below the per-mile gasoline cost of a conventionally powered car that gets 30 miles per gallon, assuming gasoline costs $3.50 per gallon.

John Powers

At the end of April, we too decided we’d bought enough dinosaur juice, and leased an all-electric Chevy Bolt.  We went for a lease because we thought the market for electric vehicles (or EVs) was changing so quickly that new and even better choices would be available soon.  We had looked at (and driven) a Bolt back in December, and really liked it, but did not pull the trigger because of all the “other factors” in buying an electric car: What kind of charger should we get? What electrician should install the charger? What PG&E rate should we be on? And so on…

Through my connections with energy entrepreneurs, I came in contact with a startup that wants to simplify the EV buying process, and I decided to try again.  I became the first (!) paying customer of EV Complete, an Oakland-based startup that handles everything about buying an EV – they deal with the dealer, deliver the car to your house (including delivering one just for a test drive if you want), let you sign papers at home, help select a charger for your garage or driveway, find a good electrician to install it, manage the PG&E rebate (yes, we got $500 from PG&E for our decision), help decide on the correct PG&E electric rate, and so on.  (See if you’re interested.)  The whole process was quite painless – if you decide to go this route, tell them John sent you!

And — we’re loving the Bolt.  We wanted an EV that we could drive at least to Sacramento and back on a single charge, so that narrowed the selection down to a Bolt or a Tesla Model 3 – and as I told everyone, we wanted a car, not a picture of a car!  (The Model 3 is still back-ordered for an unknown-but-large number of months…).  Marian and I have each driven it to Sacramento in the last couple of weeks, with no “range anxiety” whatsoever – when we got home, we each had at least 60 more miles in the battery pack.  So now, the Bolt belongs to whichever one of us has to drive further each day.  Yes, we still have a gas-powered car for long trips – but it’s spending most days resting in the garage while the Bolt does all the work.

I concur with Doug – the car handles great, accelerates quickly, and is really fun to drive.  We have a 220- volt charger that can fill the capacious battery in a few hours (no, we don’t need to charge it up every night – we decide that based on our plans for the next day), and we enjoy passing gas stations without stopping… We’ll have more info on gas (and money) savings after the first couple of PG&E bills.

End Note

Unless there is legislation to extend it, the current  $7,500 federal tax credit will be gradually phased out.   The phase-out begins the second quarter after a car manufacturer sells 200,000 electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles.   Tesla (183,000) and General Motors (180,000) may pass 200,000 soon.  For details, click here.  Note:  The credit is $7,500 for most models, but not all.  Click here for tax credit information about specific models.








Every year religious organizations in Contra Costa County band together to provide shelter and warm meals to homeless families and senior citizens. They are our guests. This year St. Anselm’s is partnering with the 7th Day Adventist Church, Antioch; the Christian Science Church, Pleasant Hill; the Neighborhood Church, Walnut Creek; and the Walnut Creek United Methodist Church.  Our guests live at St. Anselm’s for two weeks in October.  St. Anselm’s provides meals the first week and our partners  provide meals the second week.

Eva Woo set up St. Anselm’s portion of this year’s program, just as she has in past years. She coordinated with Winter Nights central staff, recruited and instructed St. Anselm’s volunteers, and set the schedule of activities.  She also cooked some of the meals. 

Anne Brown monitored day-to-day activities to ensure things ran smoothly as possible and figured out what to do when they didn’t.   Anne also wrote e-mails to St Anselm’s participants, telling them about the events that took place.   The e-mails tell the human story of this remarkable endeavor with grace, warmth, and hope.  In fact, I’ve been so taken with them that I’ve saved them so you can see them below, unedited.  They make me proud of the parishioners who served our Winter Nights guests this year and the many years that have gone before.

Day 1 – Winter Nights Launch
Hi All,

You already know from Eva that we’ve started with two families, single moms with 1 son each. This afternoon we’re expecting 4 more families, bringing the count to 15! Both moms are very nice. The older boy is 4 and already has his favorite toy – a fire engine with a siren. Luckily the siren has an on/off switch! He was loving it, but we adults weren’t. The younger one is just a year old, very bright and friendly, good at blowing kisses, and already knows some words.

One of the moms is 2nd generation Winter Nights. Her mom and 4 siblings were with us 2 years ago. She wasn’t with us, because she was out on her own, working. Since then, she has fallen on hard times and was glad when her mom suggested Winter Nights.

Our teams yesterday were very efficient. Mike Hollinger, Greg Rodolari, Doug Merrill, Al Swimmer (who came to do something else and got roped in to help), Eva, Fr.John, and I helped to unload the truck, which brought all the supplies in the morning.

Then in the afternoon, our set-up team arrived – the two Rinkenberger-Zhang boys, Dale and Allen, along with members of their Scout troop, their Scout master, and their dad, J.P.. They washed off the high chairs that had been in storage all summer, set up 6 tents, in what seemed no time flat, put pillow cases on pillows, set out bedding, moved tables and chairs around, and did all that needed to be done. In the midst of all that, they had time to connect with the two little guests. The 1-year old blew kisses as they left.

On top of all that, they weren’t even able to stay for dinner. Eva had gotten pizzas, mouth-watering chicken pot pies, and a huge salad. One of the Zhang boys had an important homework project, so they went home, their only reward being the blown kisses and the knowledge that they had taken a chunk of their day to help fellow human beings in need. The rest of us feasted, after Fr. John gave thanks to God for all of us, for WN, and for the food. I think we all felt blessed.

John McGraw was scheduled to spend the night, but wasn’t able to be there. His heartbeat is still not completely steadied, and he had doctor’s appointments in the next couple of days. He is hoping to be here by Weds. Please keep holding him in your prayers.

At 6 am, our breakfast team went into action – Mike Hollinger and Sally Roberts, Barb Thornton, and I. I say “6 am”, because that’s when we’re scheduled to be there. However, Mike and Sally always manage to get there first, no matter how hard I try to beat them. They’ve already got bagels and muffins and cereal and milk and orange juice, and waffles all set out – the incredible cornucopia of breakfast treats that Eva buys every year. Besides breakfast goodies, Eva buys snacks to welcome the guests back in the afternoon, and a variety of lunch meats for making their bag lunches.

Thank you so much, all who volunteered on this first day, who did set-up and gave a warm welcome. The guests arrive, not knowing what to expect and, I imagine, often feeling some trepidation. I’m so glad to be part of such a welcoming, open community. I can see our guests relax and soon feel at ease.

Much love,


Day 2 – From Chaos to Community
Hi All,

Wow! We went from 2 families, 4 people, on Monday to 6 families, 16 beings, in our Jackson Hall yesterday. Sally Fischer came early to greet, along with me. Then, suddenly, it seemed like everyone else arrived all at once – the new families, our dinner crew, WN staff. One family was too large to fit into any of the tents, so Bill Shaw, the WN manager, started taking one of the tents down to put up a bigger one. That meant taking down and moving another tent. Bill, along with the two guys who came to tutor and to help with job applications, pitched in, and also 3 of the mothers (Wonder Women all!). Sally and I moved around trying to meet the new families and to greet Monday’s two.

Then, all the pitching and moving and set-up ended and calm prevailed. The kids found games and toys and each other. Sally was great, helping with games, holding babies while the moms were busy, greeting folk.

Dinner was provided by Tamra Brown, a friend of Eva’s, who works at a women’s law firm that specializes in family law. Two of the attorneys were there, Cristelle Conanan and Alice Cheng, along with another executive, Gina Mickas. Three of their children came also. The dinner was delicious – Chinese-style pulled pork on buns, roast chicken, mac and cheese, salad and cole slaw, with snickerdoodles and cupcakes to top it off. I can tell you right now, if ever I need a family law attorney, I’ll be heading right over to their firm! They clearly have competence in many areas.

The three daughters, one a sophomore in high school, one in 8th grade, and the other in 5th, were reluctant at first to leave the kitchen and go to meet the guests. By the end of dinner, Kara, the sophomore, was playing with the middle and grade school boys. She had to leave before the others, in order to do her homework. We could hear the boys saying, “Will you be here tomorrow?”

The other two girls, Natalie and Rachael, took over from there and were let go with reluctance when it was their turn to leave. I am so impressed with all these young people, including the Zhang boys yesterday. Stepping out of your comfort zone and engaging with “the other” takes courage. Postponing homework involves sacrifice of time, possibly sleep, possibly tv or texting or phone time with friends. Thank you all of you. I’m sure you made this difficult time of transition from homelessness to shelter easier for those WN children.

While Bill was holding an information meeting to acquaint our guests with the rules and expectations and benefits, Doug Merrill arrived to check the air conditioning and to ask them all if they liked the temperature. I didn’t. It felt cold. However, our guests were happy with it. I was grateful to Doug for showing up to check it out with people – more of the “you matter” message.

By the end of the evening various parents and kids were interacting with each other and a sense of community prevailed.

This am – our breakfast team went into action once again. I got there at 6, which is our scheduled time. As usual, already there were Michael Hollinger, Sally Roberts, and Barb Thornton. Luckily so. All the families were up and ready to eat. My early teammates had already put a lot of the food out. We decided, with such a big group, we’d better all be there by 5:45. Are you impressed? Don’t we early risers all deserve a bit of applause and gratitude? Someone who definitely deserves applause is Barb, who brought homemade banana bread. One of the guests said, “This is my favorite! Please make it again!!” I echo that. It was delicious.

John McGraw, who has been our faithful overnighter for the past several years, has been having health problems. He was hoping still to come, but was postponing until after his doctor’s appointments, scheduled for today. Last night he phoned to say that all the residents from the Yountville Veteran’s Home, where he lives, were being evacuated because of the fires. He still hopes to come, but will have to wait until it’s safe to drive, of course.

A big thanks to all of yesterday’s volunteers and also our ongoing team,


Day 3
Hi All,

Another red-letter food team day! Peggy Matson was there with her Girl Scout troop, a bevy of future beauties, CEO’s, professionals, and smart/loving moms. The girls had decorated the tables with sunflowers and pumpkins. They drew on some of the pumpkins, inspiring some of our kids to do so also. They put a sign on every table, saying “What is your favorite animal?”, along with a couple of other comments and questions. On the wall they hung a sign, saying “Happy Halloween”. I loved that they had those creative ideas about connecting with the kids there and messaging, “You are important enough for us to decorate for you!”

Dinner was awesome – barbecued ribs, baked potatoes, Caesar salad, and ice cream sundaes. The mom who had begged Barb Thornton to bring her homemade banana bread again, jumped for joy when I said we were having ice cream sundaes. Easy for her to rejoice – she’s beautiful, young, and skinny! When Peggy heard that I wouldn’t be there for dinner, because I had a meeting to go to, she offered to save me some. She must have detected the longing and gloom in my voice, so I got to feast on the ribs later.

Unfortunately, I created some stress for Peggy and the team, because I hadn’t been clear about the dinner time. They had planned for 5:30, with the girls leaving to go home at 6:30. Until Tuesday, I had thought dinner was at 6, but was told 6:30, so the kids have time to do homework and meet with tutors. Anyway, I failed to pass the word along, so they had to delay on the ribs and potatoes. We did manage to change the time till 6 for last night, but it meant the girls had to leave right after dinner, which was too bad. So – future dinner teams, the meal is to be served at 6:30.

Marian Mulkey was the greeter last night. Watching her, as well as Sally on Tuesday, I felt great admiration. Being a greeter isn’t as easy as it sounds. The families come back, most of them all at once in the van. They come in, want to go to their tents or the bathroom. They are talking to each other. The kids run over to the snacks and the toys. It’s not easy to connect. It requires a period of standing around with nothing to do. Marian, like Sally, managed to reach out, to hold babies, to connect with the kids, and to create an atmosphere of warmth and welcome.

John McGraw arrived last night from Yountville, escaping the fire area. We, on the breakfast team, were very glad to see him, glad he is safe, glad he is well enough to be here, and to be part of our team. Welcome to you, John!

With love and gratitude,


Day 4

HI All,

As the week progresses, so do the comfort levels of the families.   They are talking and connecting across family lines, especially the moms of the two toddlers in high chairs having meals together and connecting.    A couple of them have also have gotten comfortable enough to tease me about forgetting or mispronouncing names.   They’ll see me and say, “What’s my name?”

The largest family,, the one with a mom and 4 kids is back after being absent a couple of nights.   The mom has a job in Tracy, which is a long commute.   Her kids are the oldest, boys 12, 9, and 6, as well as a girl 3.   The mom said she is really looking forward just to relaxing for the weekend.

Marian was our greeter again last night, keeping her antenna up, helping, connecting, greeting when and where needed.

Last night’s dinner was scrumptious.   It was sort of jazzed-up comfort food.   Joni Pearce brought a casserole of cut-up chicken, potatoes, onions, baked in a delicious sauce with cheese on top.    Abby Pearce brought a cauliflower casserole.   I don’t ordinarily think of cauliflower as comfort food, but this was delicious – sour cream, white cheese, bacon bits.   Dharmini brought a salad, that at first glance was ordinary – lettuce, tomatoes, and cucumber.   Dig a little deeper, though, and there were small tomatoes and dried cranberries.   Vula brought a huge tray of cookies – chocolate chip, white chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin.   I helped myself to the white chocolate chip, which looked to be the biggest.   After eating it, I headed back to get another, and almost all the cookies were gone!   Remembering who was the guest here, I restrained myself.

Both Joni and Abby had had unexpected things come up, so they couldn’t stay for dinner.   Dharmini and Vula did.  I was at the same table with them and one of the moms.   Vula drew her out about her job which starts on Tuesday, and her family, Vula sharing that she is the youngest of 8, when the mom said she was the youngest.   Dharmini and I chimed in.   This is what I love so much about St. Anselm’s, how friendly and caring we are.

Our breakfast crew was at it again at 5:45 this morning.   For the first time in living memory I got there first – pulling into the parking lot 30 sec. before Michael and Sally – not that we’re all competitive or anything!   Barbara arrived with another banana bread she’d baked.   There was joy and delight from many of our guests.   I unlocked the door to Classroom 2, put John’s gift quilt where he couldn’t miss it, and we sent him in to get it.   He was a bit overwhelmed, as it began to dawn on him what it is.

I’ll be gone tomorrow and a lot of Sunday, so you won’t be getting updates until probably Monday.

Much love and gratitude,


The Remaining Days

Dear All,

First of all, let me apologize to those of you who were on the Saturday dinner and Sunday teams a week ago. I am so sorry that it’s taken me more than a week to thank and acknowledge you!! Usually the second week that our guests are with us means a lighter load for St. Anselm’s, because another church takes over. However, St. Matthew’s Lutheran, who has done it for several years, decided to house the families in their parish hall in March. We had 4 different churches, who hadn’t done it before, doing dinner, but not breakfast. We were still doing breakfast and also needing to be available at dinner time in case they had questions.

Our guests moved out today, so I can pick up with you where I left off. Where I left off was with the Sat. night dinner, Chinese food prepared by Eva and her family. It’s always one of the highlights of the week, yummy for the guests and fun for parish folk who are given the opportunity to learn to make wontons. Sad to say, I had something else on and couldn’t be there, but heard from the families that it was delicious. Besides Eva’s family, her mom, sister and sister’s family, and a couple of friends, John McGraw, Michael Hollinger, and Sally Roberts showed up to help with dinner. Apparently, Eva’s mother took John under her wing and gave him a private wonton-making lesson. By the end, he was quite skilled and was dubbed John Wonton McGraw – or Wonton John.

On Sunday Ina Merrill brought sandwiches for the families at lunchtime, a generous act, given that she had to juggle that and church. A couple of the moms mentioned to me that they had really appreciated having those sandwiches prepared for them.

Sara and Al Swimmer, Sara and Al’s niece, and Sara Nelson provided dinner. Sara and Al’s niece brought the main course, 2 huge pans filled with meat loaf. She also made the dessert, pumpkin cheesecake. She came with her husband and their 23 month-old, who then got to play with the WN children. The Swimmers had talked to their niece about Winter Nights, and she wanted to contribute. She was so impressed with the families and the program that she wants to bring it to Marin. Unfortunately, she doesn’t have a church, so it won’t be so easy.

I had another dinner engagement, so arrived to say “hi” after dinner. I got to take some meat loaf and cheesecake home and can vouch for both being delicious. However, I missed a lot of the fun and other food. Sara N. brought a baguette and two kinds of salad, one fruit and the other mixed greens, which, according to Sara S., were flavor-enhanced with all kinds of goodies. Sara and Al brought mashed potatoes and peas, perfect with meatloaf.

Sara S. had the moms help her redo the table flower arrangements that were starting to look droopy. They added water and some greenery from the garden. According Sara, they seemed to enjoy themselves, saying at the end, “Wow, that was easy!” I’m so sorry to have missed that !! By the time I got there, all that was left to do was clean-up.

Monday morning would ordinarily have been the last morning for the breakfast team, Michael Hollinger and Sally Roberts, Barbara Thornton, John McGraw and me. However, as I said, the second week churches didn’t take over breakfast duties, so we soldiered on. Michael forbade Sally to continue, because she had to go to work every day and was tired. Barb needed to be caring for her husband, so it was John, Michael, and me.

We were due there at 5:45 every weekday morning to make the coffee, set out the cereal, milk, orange juice, frozen waffles, bagels, etc, unload the dishwasher, and greet the families. No matter how much on time or a few minutes early John and I were, Michael (and Sally the first week) was already there, with most of the work done. I’m very competitive, so it pissed me off. (I’m an Aries, so I can’t help myself.) Finally, on Friday, I asked Michael when exactly he was getting there. How was he able to beat me there every morning? It turns out that he was purposely getting there at 5:30, not 5:45!

Wait – there’s more. Michael and Sally left for a well-deserved vacation in Oregon on Sunday. John McGraw had to leave early to go back to Yountville, so Eva offered to arise early and help. On purpose, I told her to get there 15 min. later than I. I arrived, all smug, at Michael’s usual time, 5:30, only to find Eva already there. Not only already there, but also busily and cheerfully (you know Eva) cooking breakfast sandwiches of eggs and cheese and heating up some home-made quiche in the oven. Grrr! The families were delighted, of course. Me too, once I had helped myself to a yummy piece of quiche. I am wondering if God is trying to teach me something. I can’t imagine what, though.

Silliness aside, I want to give a special acknowledgement and thanks to our 2nd week breakfast team – Michael Hollinger, John McGraw, and me. We not only showed up for the first week, but continued on in the second week, all of us feeling quite tired by the end of it. Some of you may be saying, “What’s the big deal? People get up early for work 52 weeks a year, not 2!” True – however, Michael is retired, and as I think I may have mentioned, was arriving at 5:30 am, and therefore, doing most of the work. John had heart surgery only about 10 days ago, was tiring very easily, and was also showing up every night for the dinner shift. I am a quite elderly Aries, needing my sleep, and also doing double shifts. During all this, Michael and John were very kind and supportive, so thank you and – – Yay, Team!!

Yay, indeed, to all our teams!


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Every day of my life, I feel proud of my church community and grateful to be a member of St. Anselm’s.  I feel blessed by God to have been “led” here, quite by chance.  October has produced a lot for us to be proud of.  At the Harvest Festival we raised a record amount of money for the homeless program at Trinity Center.  Then came Winter Nights, our annual housing of homeless families in Jackson Hall for two weeks. Both are also opportunities to feel gratitude that we have the means to help.

We started with three families, adding another one by the end of the first week, then two more the second week. By then we were full.  We had eight adults and nine kids, ranging in age from 15 years down to 15 months.  Most of them fell in the age range of nine to four. Happily, they got along most of the time.  They played games together. They had fun with the toddler, who was very outgoing and energetic.  They loved pushing her around in the baby cart, lent to us by the preschool. Every evening, when the tutors came, they did their homework, read books.  The adults also got along. It wasn’t Nirvana. There were bumps to be worked out, which happened with the help of the skilled Winter Nights staff.

I hope you got to see the thank-you card that they all signed and left for us in Jackson Hall.  In it they expressed the gratitude that I was hearing every day – and the vulnerability.  When they talked, it was often of the fear they had felt for their children as the housing options gradually disappeared.  A couple of the families, who didn’t have cars, were sleeping in the park.

They spoke of how welcome we all made them feel. Our volunteers (as well as those from St. Matthews, those from other organizations, like the Scouts, the Boys’ Team Charity, and Eva’s friends and family) treated them as equals, as important guests, not just with the quality of the meals we served, but with joining them at those meals.

This year, as every year, I am struck by how “normal” these families are. They aren’t the “other”.  I am reminded of our common humanity and vulnerability.  I may not be in danger of being homeless, but I am vulnerable – to disease, to the results of aging, to the death of those I love.  My grandson, currently unemployed, his girlfriend, and their toddler are living with me while he looks for work in his field of expertise – high-end tuning. He is fortunate to have family able to help in his time of need.

This campaign season has been full of rhetoric about “the other”, whether immigrants, Muslims, or “deplorables”.  (In Christ’s day they were tax collectors and prostitutes.)  Our first night, a Muslim woman, none of us knew, showed up with a salad.  She had seen an e-mail that Eva had written, asking for meal volunteers. One morning Michael Hollinger arrived for breakfast team, wearing an “I Am A Deplorable” button. Winter Nights is a reminder to us all, every year, of our humanity, vulnerability, and vast good fortune. We are, none of us, the “other”. I feel so blessed and grateful to be part of a community that sees the common humanity in us all.

Anne Brown


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Every once in a while someone in our church makes a dish that’s  so scrumptious that we want to know how to make it ourselves.  Here are recipes that for dishes that grabbed our attention.

Joan Yao’s Special Wonton Soup

Art Clarke’s Outrageous Brownies

Sara Swimmer’s Mexican Soup


St. Anselm’s Senior Ministry is a small group who try to keep an eye on the members of our congregation who may need help with rides to church, doctor appointments, etc.  Currently we have some church members in Assisted Living and Board & Care in Walnut Creek and they would really appreciate visitors, but our small group needs some assistance in filling such needs.   Maybe you’ve noticed that someone you used to see most weeks in church is no longer able to be a regular attendee and these are the folk who would love to see a friendly face from St. Anselm’s — if you can give, say, 15 or 30 minutes from time to time, we would be grateful for your help in this Ministry.

Please contact  Sheila Gorsuch at or see her during coffee hour to say you can be a visiting angel.


Michael Lane Preschool has openings for their 4 one-week summer sessions.  Each session runs 4 days during the weeks of June 11th, June 18th, June 25th and July 9th from 9:00 a.m. to noon each day.  St. Anselm’s parish members and their family members will receive a $25 discount per session off the normal tuition of $185.  For details, please contact Kim Olson at:


  • Outreach Sunday, September 9
  • Harvest Festival, October 6
  • Bishop’s Visit, November 11


As you enter the church, there is now a table with a basket on it with names of folks for whom prayers have been requested. These names are on the St. Anselm’s Prayer Chain which many people in our church get regularly by email. There are copies of the entire Prayer Chain on the table as well. You may add names into the basket of folks you would like someone to pray for.  You are also welcome to take a name, or names of folks and pray for them too.


If you want to add someone to the Prayer Chain, please let Vicki Pappas or Father John know. If you would like to receive the Prayer Chain by email, please notify Vicki Pappas (



The St. Anselm’s Cancer Support Group welcomes new members to join us. We are a caring, supportive group of cancer survivors that meet monthly, usually on the first Sunday of the month at 11:30 am. If you or a loved one are affected by cancer, you are welcome to join us. We also invite people affected by cancer from outside of St. Anselm’s to join us for the meeting. If you or someone you know might be interested in joining us, please contact Julie Rinkenberger at for more information.


The 2018 Altar Flower donation chart is now available.  Each week the Altar Guild provides beautiful flowers for our church.  By making a donation you can have these flowers dedicated to the memory of a loved one, in honor of a family member or simply to the glory of God.  The signup chart and donation cards are located near the side door of the church (toward the garden).


 Did you know that weekly Yoga classes are held in Jackson Hall every Wednesday morning starting at 9:30 a.m.  Classes last an hour and cost $10/session. Please feel free to contact Anne Brown ( if you have any questions.

Join in the fun and get a great start to your day!


St. Anselm’s Episcopal Church has an active Stephen Ministry group. The Stephen Ministers at St. Anselm’s are: Gene Bozorth, Naomi Chamberlain-Harris, Judy Peak, Gerry Starr, and Sara Swimmer. Vicki Pappas is the Stephen Ministry Leader. Stephen Ministers have received 50 hours of specialized training so that they can provide one-to-one Christian care to people who are experiencing grief, loneliness, divorce, hospitalization, job loss, and many other life difficulties. All care-giving relationships are absolutely confidential. We listen, care, encourage and pray for our Care Receivers. We walk alongside those who are going through a difficult time. We hope that you will consider asking for a Stephen Minister when you or someone you know has a need. It is not necessary for the person to be a member of St. Anselm’s. We also have a relationship with a consortium of churches so we have people from other churches who can act as Stephen Minsters for our church members. We are a small church, so some of you may be more comfortable with someone you don’t know. We also hope that you will consider becoming a Stephen Minister. For more information please speak with Father John or Vicki Pappas.




The Altar Guild would like you to know:

  • Opportunities to donate altar flowers in 2017 are still available!  Each week the Altar Guild provides beautiful flowers for our church.  By making a donation you can have these flowers dedicated to the memory of a loved one, in honor of a family member or simply to the glory of God.  Sign up chart and donation cards are located near the side door of the church (toward the garden.)
  • There is an opportunity for you to be more involved in the worship service without having to stand up in front of the whole congregation! Try the Altar Guild! Once per month you and your teammates meet on Saturday morning to  prepare the Sanctuary for Sundays’ services. On Sunday, you clean up after the service.  There is always an experienced member on hand to help out. All are welcome; parents who want their children to know more about the Episcopal service can create a family team. Altar Guild meets monthly, on the first Sunday of the month (except July and August) between services.  Contact Sally Morrison: 925-482-0267 or click here for more information.
We are trying something new in the Canterbury Tales. On a monthly basis we will publish what we are calling the “Recipe of the Month”.  Where do the recipes come from?  Anyone in the Parish is welcome and encouraged to submit as many recipes as they desire. Here are some guide lines:  Recipes must be easy to prepare for anyone with basic cooking skills, must not take too long to prepare (say 20 minutes or less), be aimed at the diner meal, be such that left overs for 1-2 nights will be available, and of course  must be nutritious and good tasting. Thanks in advance for your participation.  Please submit your recipes to Dick Orear by clicking here or by mail to Dick at 237 Overhill Road, Orinda, CA 94563.


Established in 1976, the Contra Costa Child Care Council is a nonprofit organization that is the only child care resource and referral agency serving all of Contra Costa.   Our mission is to provide leadership to promote and advance quality care and early education. Innovative programs, free or low cost services and child development expertise help parents work and children grow, learn and fulfill their potential.  Contact us for assistance and/or support our work for children and families (925)676-5442;

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Celebrate your Harvest                                                                                                                                                                  October 8th

  Harvest Festival Graphic, 2016                                     Join the Festival



After last year’s blockbuster fundraiser with close to $30,000 raised for Trinity Center, it’s time to get going for 2016. The Annual Harvest Festival will be held on October 8th starting at 5 PM. Marty Fischer and his team are putting together an amazing list of silent and live auction items combined with games and activities to raise as much money as possible and to have a fun evening for all.

All proceeds go to Trinity Center to provide support for those in our community that have no roof over their heads. Every dollar spent at the Harvest Festival goes to help the homeless in Contra Costa. This year we will have an expanded outreach to add even more dollars to help Trinity Center and its mission. Here’s how you can help in addition to attending the dinner:

 Live & Silent Auction: You can offer up wines, antiques, collectibles, condos and timeshares, meals, gift baskets, services and other items for our congregation silent and live auctions. If you have such an offering, please contact John Powers.

Sponsorships:  We are helping Trinity Center build a loyal base of  “Friends” and Sponsors. You or your organization can become a sponsor when you make a tax-deductible contribution of $500 or more. If you wish to explore this please see or call Marty Fischer.

Matching Money: Make a pledge or cash donation now to be matched by others the evening of the event. This will help us to double your contribution and it’s all tax deductible! If you are interested see either Father John, Marty Fischer or John Powers!

Volunteer:  Trinity Center is always in need of help with services at the center, seeking gifts and supporters and enlisting the support of the local community. If you are interested, please see John Powers or Marty Fischer.

Last year we raised close to $30,000….let’s beat that by a bunch in 2016! More on how you can help will follow in the weeks and months ahead.