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Sacramental Whine

Feb 13, 2019

In this episode, I had the honor of interviewing River Sims where he discusses his ministry to the homeless and marginalized. 

River Sims was born and raised in Southeast Missouri, in a very conservative area, where even today to be queer is dangerous. He was called to ministry when he was 12 in the United Methodist Church and took a student pastorate when he was 18.  He received degrees from Southeast Missouri State University, and Eden Theological Seminary and was ordained an Elder in the United Methodist Church.

River’s struggle with his sexuality was at the heart of his life, and he talked to his District Superintendent about it, and instead of understanding, he was removed from ministry. He became a sex worker in LA, sued the church, received another Master's, and God would not let him go of him. He moved to San Francisco in 1994 to start Temenos Catholic Worker and encountered the Evangelical Anglican Church, where he was received into the priesthood in October 1995. In 2007 he was consecrated a Bishop and formed the Society of Franciscan Workers.

River’s ministry is to street youth, and it is a ministry of presence. It is one of harm reduction in which needles are exchanged and condoms provided. He provides food and pastoral care. His ministry is inclusive, in the words of St. Francis, "Preach the Gospel, using as few as words as possible."

River formed Franciscans Against the Death Penalty and visits campuses and protests the death penalty.

In this episode we discuss:

  • His elevator speech.
  • How he defines, “ministry of presence?”
  • His acceptance from the Hollywood Punk kids and how he identified with the punk scene. And how he views his current ministry as an extension of that punk scene?
  • He talks about embracing new wine and new wineskins?
  • His challenges and blessings within the Independent Sacramental Movement.

Temenos Catholic Worker

Episode Sponsor:  Community of Saint George (Young Rite)