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955: Jim Jepson: My road to Emmaus: A series of encounters with other members of our community.

Day 955: Thursday, October 27, 2022

My road to Emmaus is a series of encounters with other members of our community.

My Road to Emmaus

Jim Jepson

October 2022

My road to Emmaus is a series of encounters with other members of our community. This will look more like a litany of the names of those community members. Forgive me if I don’t remember everyone; I thought I should write this before my fading memory slips any further away.

My road runs from San Francisco to San Jose, then to L.A., Sonoma, El Salvador, Santa Rosa, and Kenwood. While living in San Francisco, I traveled to San Jose to attend a Call To Action West Coast Regional Conference. There I met Ellen Turner, who with her husband, Ray, had organized the conference for the Northern California Chapter of Call To Action. Ellen would later provide guidance as we formed the Redwood Empire CTA Chapter.

Then on to L.A., where CTA was holding one of three 2001 National Conferences. There I met Joan Panaro, who told me they were forming a new CTA chapter in Sonoma County. We started meeting in homes – Toni Bastoni, Ann McGee and others. I consider Toni and Ann the “founding mothers” of the CTA Redwood Empire Chapter. Ann then arranged for us to meet in the Catholic Charities building while we were organizing the new chapter.

Among the other early chapter members were Phyllis Bazzano, Kay Lambert, Enid Macken (who opened her home to our community on many occasions), Cathy &Peter Schneider, Joe & Rosemary Silva (who chauffeured me to & from Emmaus as my night vision faded), Bill Boorman, Cindy & Dan Vrooman, David Carlson, Jo Ann Consiglieri, Jim McFadden, Bill & Tess Hagemann (we will always remember their mutual devotion as their time to leave this earth approached), Kay Lambert, Nancy McFarland, John Poole, Theresa Udall (may she rest in peace) and Victoria McDonald. Forgive me if I missed anyone. Dan, Cindy and I often rode to the CTA chapter meetings in Santa Rosa together from Sonoma.

In the meantime, at St. Leo’s I got to know Jim McFadden, who led the St. Leo’s choir; and Jo Ann, David, Cindy & Dan in the Social Justice Committee. And Patti England, who was very active in the parish.

In 2005, Beth Jordan joined us in the CTA chapter. In 2007 she invited Victoria MacDonald to give a workshop following a retreat by Mary Rammerman, a woman priest at Spiritus Christi church in Rochester, to talk to us about forming an Intentional Eucharistic Community. Thus, after Victoria facilitated three other workshops, with the enthusiastic support of other progressive Catholics, Emmaus was born in the summer of 2008. And the CTA chapter members melded into Emmaus.

In the ensuing years, Marcie Dahlen became active in the CTA chapter and Emmaus.

Others forming and joining the new Emmaus community were Jacqueline Hayes, Nick Kuhn (I still miss him - we would have great discussions about religion, grandchildren, etc. driving to and from Emmaus), Luis & Jenny Janssen, Jim & Dorothy Keck, Dan Lambert, Steve Lyman, Bob McFarland, Sandy McKeith, Alice Waco, and David’s sister, Linda Wildman.

Among my memorable encounters with community members was the Seeds of Learning trip to El Salvador by the St. Leo’s group led by David and supported by Tom and Irene Bachelder (who we also miss very much), and for which I was very encouraged from hearing about Jim McFadden’s prior experience there. David was also particularly generous in providing equipment for the Celebration of Life for our daughter, Karen, and the whole community showed great kindness for our family after our tragedy. Dan Lambert and I shared our experiences, both losing a brother at a fairly young age. Cindy Vrooman was tireless in leading demonstrations at the diocesan center. Peter and Cathy continued to find new areas for Emmaus members to pursue our social justice goals…

Thus, I find my whole being entwined with the lives of Emmaus community members. We are irrevocably connected, wherever we may be living. With Emmaus I am at home. I am now living just a few miles from where Beth Jordan and Victoria McDonald served the parish in Carmel for many years - yet another connection. I look forward to seeing the other members of the beloved community on Zoom as they settle in their new home at Knox church. “May the circle be unbroken.”

Please note: This is the first of what we hope will be many members and friends sharing their faith stories. Please -- share your story!

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