The Episcopal Church of St John the Baptist in Aptos, CA serving Santa Cruz County



Welcome to St. John’s

We invite you to get to know us and discover your place here among us. We are a  community that looks to the life and ministry of Jesus to better understand and enter into the heart of God. Jesus spoke out against injustice and poverty, Jesus healed friend and foe, Jesus broke bread with the rich and poor, Jesus points to the wideness of God’s compassion.  Our membership and leadership is comprised of the young and the old, the old-timer and the newcomer, married, partnered and single, gay and straight, rich and poor.   We celebrate the wonderful diversity of human kind and we seek to do that in faithfulness to the baptismal command to respect the dignity of every human being.   We strive to include a place for everyone around God’s table and believe there should be no outcasts in the Episcopal Church


Lenten/Easter Season

Ash Wednesday marks the first day, or the start of the Lenten Season, which begins 40 days prior to Easter (Sundays are not included in the count). Lent is a time when many Christians prepare for Easter by observing a period of fasting, repentance, moderation and spiritual discipline. Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori said in her 2015 Lent Message, “That cross that comes on our foreheads on Ash Wednesday is a reminder of the cross that’s put there at Baptism.” The Presiding Bishop also noted Lent is “a journey that is about enlightenment if we’re willing to think about it that way.”

On Ash Wednesday (18 February) St. John’s will have two services, 7:30 am and 12:10 pm. At these services, the minister will lightly rub the sign of the cross with ashes onto the foreheads of worshipers. We make the ashes for Ash Wednesday from the palm crosses from the prior year’s Palm Sunday. 7:00 pm is at Resurrection Church, with Lutheran, Roman Catholic, La Selva Community Church, Episcopal, Presbyterian & Methodist congregations.

Beginning Wednesday, 25 February St. John’s will have its annual Lenten Soup Supper and Study Series. These will run every Wednesday through 25 March. Supper is at 6:00 pm. Discussion starts at 6:45 pm. This year’s discussion will be “Songs of Faith and What They Mean to Me/Us”, led by Rev. Steve Ellis.

On Palm Sunday Christians celebrate the triumphal entry of Jesus Christ into Jerusalem, the week before his death and resurrection. . The Bible reveals that when Jesus entered Jerusalem, the crowds greeted him by waving palm branches and covering his path with them. which we commemorate by waving palm branches of our own. On that day, 29 March, St John’s will have three services; 7:30, 9:00 and 11:00 am. Each service will have the Palm Sunday Procession & Reading of the Passion Gospel with Eucharist. Palm Sunday, often referred to as “Passion Sunday,” marks the beginning of Holy Week, which concludes on Easter Sunday.

Maundy Thursday commemorates Jesus Christ’s institution of the Eucharist during the Last Supper, which is described in the Christian Bible. On 2 April, St. John’s will have Maundy Thursday service at 7:00 pm. Eucharist and the washing of feet are part of the service.

The day is also known as Holy Thursday, Passion Thursday, Paschal Thursday or Sheer (or Shere) Thursday. It is the Christian feast or holy day falling on the Thursday before Easter that commemorates the Last Supper of Jesus Christ with the Apostles as described in the Canonical gospels. It is the fifth day of Holy Week.

The Watch. Following the service members of the congregation will take turns praying, reading, journaling, and watching with Jesus in a space set aside as “the garden” throughout the night.

Good Friday commemorates the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and his death at Calvary. The holiday is observed on the sixth day of Holy Week. On Friday, 3 April, from 12:00 to 3:00 pm, we have lay members witnessing to the Seven Last Words of Christ as they have experienced in their lives. The day is also known as Holy Friday, Great Friday or Black Friday.

Easter Eve – 4 April

St. John’s holds The Great Vigil of Easter at 9:00 pm. A new fire is kindled outside and from it the great Paschal Candle and then individual candles are lit. We await our Master’s return with our lamps full and burning (Luke 12:35ff). We go into the church with our candles. The great and ancient hymn The Exsultet is sung, the sweeping story of salvation history is recounted. Then the Resurrection of Jesus is proclaimed (loudly!) with the ringing of bells. The service then follows with the year’s principal rites of Baptism and Eucharist.

Easter Sunday – 5 April

Easter Choral Services are at 9:00 and 11:00 am. The festive Easter Service celebrating the Resurrection of Jesus Christ in liturgy and music. Our diocesan bishop, the Rt Rev Mary Grey-Reeves, will join us Easter morning.

Our annual Easter breakfast will be served between the 9:00 & 11:00 am services. Our annual parish children’s Easter Egg Hunt follows the 9:00 am service.

Epiphany closes the season of Christmas (the Twelve Days of Christmas), celebrating the incredible gift of the incarnation (God among us) and invites us to explore the Epiphany. Contemplate what this story says to the people in Matthew’s time and what it says to us today (Matthew 2: 1-12). Epiphany is also celebrated in the hymn “We Three Kings” (Hymnal 1982 # 128)



  • Rector’s Reflections February 2015

    Lent and Holy Week and Easter are the crux of the matter. They take us right to the biggest questions: What it means to be human. What it means to be in bondage.  What it means to be free.  What it means, for that matter, to be Divine.  And to work on our questions we watch Jesus.  We learn from his behavior.  So counter-intuitive.  He doesn’t act like we are inclined to act.  He is free in a way that both repels and attracts.  He is an aquired taste.  And does he do what he does because we are so . . . → Read More: Rector’s Reflections February 2015