Chief of Staff
I am so pleased you are checking out St. John’s website. We are a vibrant, healthy congregation blessed by God, cleansed by the grace of Christ, and empowered by the Spirit to love and work for peace and justice in the world. I joined St. John’s as their Pastor in 2003 and have enjoyed the opportunity to serve in Berkeley, a unique and exciting place on the edge of the Pacific.
I was born in Claremont California, way back in 63. I was four when Martin Luther King Jr. was shot and it came on the news. I had never seen my mother cry at the TV, but she did that day. My father told me that King was a Christian Preacher, and they played a clip from King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. I was inspired as never before. Later, I went to a Lutheran High school and spent a good deal of time harassing the religion class instructors. After High School, I went to San Diego State with a scholarship for Pole Vaulting on the track team.
It was in San Diego that I fell in love with surfing and was inspired by a couple of professors to join the Peace Corps. I was assigned to be a Community Health Volunteer down on the Rio Dulce in Guatemala, where I taught Health and Hygiene and helped put in a few wells and latrines. While working at an orphanage, I fell in love with Feliciana, a fellow employee who had a captivating smile and a deeply warm spirit.
Feliciana and I were married and then we moved to San Anselmo so that I could attend San Francicso Theological Seminary. After our first son, Nicholas, was born (’93), and after receiving my MDiv in 1994, I took a job as Pastor at a bilingual, multicultural church in Houston, San Pablo Trinity. There I learned how to preach in both English and Spanish at the same time. I spent some time serving on the Racial Ethnic Committee for New Covenant Presbytery. Kevin, our second son, was born in ’95.
In 1998, I took a job as Associate Pastor for Christian Ed and Contemporary Worship at Northminster Presbyterian Church in Salinas, California. We had a great time raising our little boys there in the Church and in and around the gorgeous Salinas Valley and Monterey Bay.
Then in 2002 it was a joy to unite with St. John’s which has such a rich tradition of social Justice and just a gorgeous sanctuary in which to worship God. As of 2015, I have completed my Doctor of Ministry program in Pastoral Counseling with San Francisco Theological Seminary. My dissertation was titled: Pastoral Care for the Family System Surrounding Death and Memorial Service: A Pilot Project in the Use of the Genogram. The dissertation focused on Family Systems Theory in Psychology and Process Theology in support of pastors giving pastoral care for families in grief.
I hope you come join us at St. John’s, to discern and experience the Spirit move through your life and let us become a part of your biography.
May God bless and Keep you,
Pastor Max Lynn
From the Lenten sermon “Fasting from Negativity”
The body can do amazing things. The mind can use reason, intuition and imagination to reach heights the body cannot. The body can do flips and dance, write and sing; the genius of reason cures disease and flies to the moon. But it is love that gives purpose and direction to our body and mind; love finds a way out of no way, love raises life from death. The geniuses of love are less likely to get recognized than geniuses of business and science and art. In fact, the greatest genius of love was crucified. Jesus, the Einstein of love, the one so connected to the God of love that they are one. Love is a simple thing, and it is everywhere, yet we hunger and thirst for it. And so we join together in unity, in harmony around this most simple and complex, abundant and scarce commodity we call love. We take the time to slow down and refocus, to check and correct our direction, to envision the future with the compass of love, which is Christ. How amazing and beautiful and powerful is this simple man, so united with God. I give thanks that I am able to join together with you and give thanks and praise to God.
– Pastor Max Lynn