Mission and Justice


1st Tuesday of the Month, 6 p.m., Campbell Room

The mandate and mission of the Mission and Justice Commission is to:

  1. Oversee development of our congregation’s mission & justice programs, concepts and outreach under the guidance of the Holy Spirit and the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
  2. Coordinate our work with the work of other churches.
  3. Allocate and administer the mission and justice budget.
  4. Raise St. John’s profile in mission & justice issues.

Contact: Fred Goff or Glenda Pawsey at sjoffice@stjohnsberkeley.org or call (510) 845-6830

Ongoing and Past Projects:

If you are interested in learning more about any of the project please contact any on the people below.

  • Working together to support the work of social justice in Berkeley, St. John’s has partnered with two organizations: BOCA (Berkeley Organizing Congregations for Action) a faith-based community organization, comprised of 18 member congregations representing over 8,000 Berkeley families, that focuses on health care, immigration, education, and housing; and EBSC (East Bay Sanctuary Covenant), which provides sanctuary– support, protection, and advocacy – to low income and indigent refugees and immigrants. Members representing St. John’s serve on governing boards of both of these vital organizations and we sponsor annual events for both at our church.
  • Along with the EBSC, Sun Lakes Methodist Church in Arizona, and Beacon Presbyterian Fellowship, St. John’s supports a medical clinic and related health program in Xecaguic.  Xecaguic is a village that was decimated in the early 1980’s in the US-backed war against indigenous communities in the Quiche highlands of Guatemala. St. John’s Mission & Justice Commission is currently working on a multi-pronged effort to help the local clinic committee find and hire a nurse. If you have any connections in this are please let us know.
  • St. John’s has also covenanted with refugee families from Guatemala. A big thanks to Fred Goff for all his accompaniment through the immigration legal process and thanks to Marilyn Chilcote and Bob McKenzie for their passion. To learn more about this issue you can go online to NBC Bay Area and click on “investigative” to view Steven Stock’s series of investigative journalism reports which feature local Presbyterian churches, including St. John’s and  Pastor Max. For more information visit: http://www.nbcbayarea.com/investigations/Sanctuary-for-Immigrants-Comes-Back-to-the-Bay-Area-283736051.html
  • Marietta Harvey’s work on Single Payer Health Care and gathering of signatures for the Death Penalty Initiative to end the death penalty
  • David McPhail  and Don Rising’s participation in the Greater Richmond Interfaith Program (GRIP) Harmony Walk to End Hunger (raising $2,220, 90% of that from St. John’s members).
  • Bob McKenzie’s work in conjunction with Pastors for Peace to secure and paint (with 26 St. John’s members assisting) a bus for transporting over 1,000 books to the Presbyterian seminary in Matanzas, Cuba. Bob helped raise  $1,800 for this project ($1,000 from House Church, $400 from St. John’s Central America Relief Fund and Peacemaking Fund, and $400 from friends).
  • Don Worth and David McPhail’s leadership in organizing St. John’s participation in making and serving dinners at GRIP.
  • The commissioning of David McPhail for his  witness at the White House against the School of the Americas —  part of a special Minute for Mission during which four Tum brothers talked about how their father and uncles had been killed during military operations led by graduates of the SOA.
  • Robyn Dean’s leadership in “Watershed Discipleship” getting the congregation familiar with the creeks in our neighborhoods, after attending, with Bob McKenzie, a Christian Education & Leadership Training by Ched Meyers in Ojai (with a $319 scholarship from Christian Ed. Commission). And Karma Dewitt’s guiding two hikes along creeks in our watershed.
  • Gail Peterson and Greg Rising’s organizing St. John’s participation in CROP Walk in Berkeley, raising over $1,100 for Church World Service’s work to alleviate hunger.
  • David McPhail’s work in bringing the exhibition of Joining Hands’ Youth Photo Contest on “Poverty, Pollution, and Solutions” to the narthex and organizing of St. John’s participation in the monthly vigils at the Richmond Detention Center and engagement with the East Bay Interfaith Immigration Coalition (EBIIC).
  • Phoebe McKinney’s efforts helping war-affected children in Northern Uganda to build a new life.
  • Zira Bungsut’s campaign to collect and send books to the Presbyterian Mission Training Center in his homeland of Mizoram, India.
  • David and Irene McPhail’s hosting of a house party for the Corporate Accountability Project.
  • Glenda Pawsey’s organizing of a $750 donation in memory of Mary Alice Rarick and Jackie Melchior to buy furnishings for the Guatemala clinic and convert one of the rooms to a dormitory for the nurse.
  • Following up on St. John’s commitment to be a “More Light” church, guiding our congregation’s participation in Presbytery and national church efforts to open ordained office to qualified gay, lesbian, and transgender candidates. After over 30 years of working on this issue the Presbyterian Church USA ruled in favor and is in the process of implementing the decision.
  • Sponsoring congregation-wide collections of items for the Women’s Daytime Drop-in Center (through an Advent  Sock Collection), augmented by donations from Linda Bostjanick’s neighborhood friends;
  • Coordination of monthly “Chocolate Sunday” sales of Equal Exchange coffee, tea and chocolate, bringing in over $4,556 to benefit small farmers in developing countries
  • Sale of  Palestinian olive oil and crafts at Christmastime, collecting  $1,190 to benefit West Bank olive farmers as well as schools and community projects in the Gaza Strip.
  • Organizing St. John’s participation in larger events such as: the annual Berkeley Shoreline Cleanup and BOCA’s Interfaith Thanksgiving service at St. John’s and the local Occupy Movement.

Please join us in this important work!

St John's Israel Pilgrimage Day One 20140223_047





St. John’s in Israel and Palestine.






Berkeley Churches March - Black Lives Matter 700




St. John’s participating in the Berkeley Churches March: Black Lives Matter organized by Berkeley Organizing Congregations for Action.