November 6, 2016 – January 19, 2017 Epistle
From the Rector
Soon after you receive this Epistle, the election will finally be over. And while many of us will be happy to have all the rhetoric, vitriol, advertising, and noise behind us, it is clear the anxiety, anger, fear, suspicion, and distrust currently informing our national life and public discourse is not likely to diminish anytime soon. No matter who is elected, there will be a significant minority of voters who will be afraid of and alarmed by the President-elect. This will be true in our parish and in our families.
It seems to me that those faithful people who understand the difference between the Kingdom of God and the kingdom of man need to be very intentional in walking paths of peace, in listening more than talking, in building common cause and finding common ground with people whose views and perspective are different from our own. It is imperative that we practice prayer, patience and hope in the face of the deep wounds and ugly words inflicted by this political season across our nation.
This means us. This means recommitting to following Jesus and emulating him in all our encounters and endeavors. This means working as disciples of Christ at the absolutely essential tasks of reconciliation and justice, trying harder to sincerely pray for those we perceive as enemies, putting our faith into action by caring about people at the margins of our national life, and embracing the “other”, whoever that other is.
For many of us, Thanksgiving, Advent, and Christmas are holy and sacred times of the year. We may appreciate the closeness of family and friends, all the lights and beauty, the tantalizing and comforting fragrances, the sacred and secular music of our hearts, the simple story which is the “greatest story ever told,” and all gifts and sharing inherent in the holy days. We may be able to see our lives through a lens shaped by the coming and tender gift of an infant Messiah, Emmanuel, God With Us, rather than a world shaped by the news cycle and the cynicism which abounds.
I believe this is the invitation to all of us, regardless of whom we vote for or who wins or loses the election. We must move forward in ways that are healing and that build community. We must conduct ourselves by the holy and high standard of Jesus’ love and mercy. We must recommit our lives and love to the ways that Jesus showed us by his words and deeds and unwavering courage and truth in the face of all manner of human meanness and waywardness. Living out of the deep well of God’s grace and abundance, remembering that national and secular kingdoms are NOT the same as God’s Kingdom, the eternal Kingdom of Heaven, is both the challenge of faith and the hope of faith.
And I pray that each of us may be a light shining in the darkness, a Kingdom builder, a prayerful witness, a peacemaker, a justice seeker, a compassionate neighbor, a devoted disciple, and a faithful teller of the Good News of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
Blessings to you and yours, Virginia
Cheryl Abbott has made a(nother) beautiful quilt which she wishes to raffle off in support and celebration of St. John’s own Stacey Shorts’ upcoming Special Olympics trip to Austria in March 2017. Cheryl will display the quilt starting on Sunday, November 6th. Tickets will be sold on Sundays and at the Bazaar, and the winning ticket will be pulled on Sunday, December 4th at the 10 AM worship service. Tickets are $1 a piece, 6 tickets for $5, and 12 tickets for $10. Thank YOU Cheryl, and Congratulations to Stacey and Wes and Linda!
Cookie baking night for the Christmas Bazaar is November 29 at 5:30 pm (a light supper will be served) and the Bazaar is December 3. Preparation for the Bazaar and the Bazaar itself is a sign of Christmas for our parish, a wonderful time of fellowship and connection, and soooo essential to our mission! Please jump in and see how you can help!
We are coming into that time of the year when colds and flu are common. Please use the disinfectant hand wash which is placed around the church and parish house, especially before coming to Communion and at the time of the Peace. And keep covering your coughs. It is good to share…just not every single little thing!! ☺
Christmas Eve, December 24th 5:00 pm, Family Lessons and Carols (led by the children and young people of our parish) and Eucharist, Rite II.
Christmas Eve, December 24th 10:45 pm, special music presented by the Senior Choir, 11:00 pm Lessons and Carols and Eucharist, Rite II.
Christmas Day 9:00 am, Holy Eucharist Rite I with Carols.
January 1st (the First Sunday after Christmas), Unified Worship at 9:0 0am, Holy Eucharist Rite II.
ABOUT THE “S” WORD… A word about activities and worship at St. John’s during the winter. I am sitting at my desk writing the Epistle and it is snowing (on 10/27)! Which reminds me that I need to remind all of us that in the winter, I DO NOT ever cancel worship because I live next door to the sanctuary. However, I never want any of you to undertake an unsafe trip to church for worship, or fellowship, or activities or service of any sort. I trust you to use your best judgement and decide accordingly. And that includes even the days when you may be “ON” to usher or be a LEM, or to help out in some specific way. We are always able to Glorify God with the people and the gifts we have in the moment…..even snowy ones. So please don’t worry about driving in snow if you don’t want to and remember that you won’t see our parish’s name scrolling across the bottom of any TV stations.
DATES TO REMEMBER
November 5 6:30 pm Blessed Bingo and Dessert Night in the Lower Parish Hall
Nov. 6 FALL BACK TIME. CHANGE YOUR CLOCKS
8:00 am Rite I and Rite II at 10:00 am with Music, Church School, Nursery Care, Coffee Hour, and Rite 13 Class
Nov. 6 Noon Leaf Clean-up joined by the Cub Scouts
Nov. 7 7:00 pm Knitting Fellowship in the Undercroft
Nov. 8. Remember to VOTE!
Nov. 9. 5:00 pm Good Grief Group at the Rectory with light supper
Nov. 9 7:00 pm Holy Eucharist and Healing Prayers, followed by Faith Study
Nov. 9 7:30 pm Brotherhood of St. Andrew in the Undercroft
Nov. 10 10:00 am Pastoral CareGivers at Fox Hill
Nov. 10 7:30 am Choir Rehearsal
Nov. 13 8:00 am Rite I and Rite II at 10:00 am with Music, Church School, Nursery Care, Coffee Hour. NO Rite 13 Class
Nov. 13 11:20 pm Youth Group to attend IREJN (Inter Religious Eco Justice Network) Climate Summit at CCSC, specifically and specially geared towards young adults
Nov. 13 4:00 pm EYE (Episcopal Youth Event) meeting with Bishop Ahrens for CT Clergy
Nov. 13 Noon Leaf Clean-up
Nov. 14 7:00 pm Knitting Fellowship in the Undercroft
Nov. 15 PM St. John’s to host ECCT Budget presentation to the NE CT Regional Mission Network. Dinner will be served. Register online at the ECCT website.
Nov. 16 NO evening Eucharist or Faith Study
Nov. 17 5:30 pm Nut Night. Dinner will be served. Bring your scales and scissors.
Nov. 17 7:30 pm Choir Rehearsal
Nov. 19 ECCT Convention
Nov. 20 ONE SERVICE at 8 am, Rite I. Bus to Convention leaving at 9:15 am. Live Stream of the Celebration Convention Eucharist at 10:30 pm in the Lower Parish Hall. NO Church School, Nursery Care or Rite 13 Class
Nov. 21 7:00 pm Vestry Meeting in the Undercroft
Nov. 22 7:00 pm Good Grief Group in the Upper Parish Hall
Nov. 27 Advent I: 8:00 am Rite I and Rite II at 10:00 am with Music, Church School, Nursery Care, Coffee Hour and Rite 13 Class
Nov. 28 7:00 pm Knitting Fellowship in the Undercroft
Nov. 29 5:30 pm Cookie Night in the Lower Parish Hall. Dinner will be served. Bring your electric mixers!
Nov. 30 5:30 pm Book Group at the Rectory reading and discussing, A Rule Against Murder, by Louise Penny
Nov. 30 6:00 pm Bazaar Set UP
Nov. 30 7:00 pm Holy Eucharist and healing Prayers in the Children’s Chapel, followed by Faith Study in the Upper Parish Hall
December 1 5:30 pm Bazaar Set Up
Dec. 1 7:30 pm Choir Rehearsal
Dec. 2 Afternoon and evening Bazaar Set UP
Dec. 3 9:00 am to 2:00 pm St. Nicholas Christmas Bazaar
Dec. 4 Advent II: 8:00 am Rite I and Rite II at 10:00 am with Music, Church School, Nursery Care, Coffee Hour and Rite 13 Class. Bazaar Sales after each service.
Dec. 4 at Noon Youth Group Skating (roller or ice TBA)
Dec. 4 3:00 pm Markus’ students’ recital in the Sanctuary
Dec. 5 7:00 pm Knitting Fellowship in the Undercroft
Dec. 6 11:45 am Senior Luncheon in the Lower Parish Hall
Dec. 7 7:00 pm Holy Eucharist and Healing Prayers in the Children’s Chapel, followed by Faith Study
Dec. 8 7:30 pm Choir Rehearsal
Dec. 10 The Vernon Chorale will be using our Sanctuary for their Christmas Concert
Dec. 11 Advent III: 8:00 am Rite I and Rite II at 10:00 am with Music, Church School, Nursery Care, Coffee Hour and Rite 13 Class.
Dec. 11 5:00 pm Tree of Light lighting, soup supper, and carol sing with Markus in the Lower Parish Hall
Dec. 12 7:00 pm Knitting Fellowship in the Undercroft
Dec. 14 7:30 pm Brotherhood of St. Andrew in the Undercroft
Dec. 15 5:30 PM Book Group reading and discussing, Ordinary Grace, by William Kent Krueger, followed by Pot Luck Supper
Dec. 15 7:30 pm Choir Rehearsal
Dec. 17 9:00-11:00 am Christmas Pageant Rehearsal
Dec. 17 11:00 am – 2:00 pm Youth Group delivering Christmas Gift Bags to our homebound members
Dec. 18 Advent IV: 8:00 am Rite I and Rite II at 10:00am with Christmas Pageant (no Church School or Nursery), Music and Coffee Hour
Dec. 19 7:00 pm Vestry Meeting in the Undercroft
Dec. 20 7:00 pm Good Grief Group in the Upper Parish Hall
Dec. 21 7:00 pm Holy Eucharist and Healing Prayers in the Children’s Chapel, followed by Faith Study
Dec. 22 7:30 pm Choir Rehearsal
Dec. 24 Christmas Eve 5:00 pm Family Lessons and Carols and Holy Eucharist, Rite II Christmas Eve 10:45 pm Special Music by Choir, 11:00 pm Lesson and Carols and Holy Eucharist, Rite II
Dec. 25 9:00 am Christmas Day Holy Eucharist, Rite I, with Carols
Dec. 30 ANNUAL REPORTS DUE IN THE OFFICE
January 1, 2017 9:00 am New Year’s Day Holy Eucharist, Rite II
Jan. 3 11:45 am Senior Luncheon
Jan. 3 7:00 pm ECW Meeting and Christmas Party in the Undercroft
Jan. 4 7:00 pm Holy Eucharist and Healing Prayers in the Children’s Chapel, followed by Faith Study
Jan. 5 7:00 pm Choir Rehearsal
Jan. 8 Epiphany I One Service at 9:00 am, followed by Brunch (served by the Vestry) and the Annual Meeting
Jan. 9 7:00 pm Knitting Fellowship in the Undercroft
Jan. 11 NO evening Eucharist
Jan. 11 7:30 pm Brotherhood of St. Andrew in the Undercroft
Jan. 12 7:00 pm Choir Rehearsal
Jan. 15 8:00 am Rite I and Rite II at 10:00 am with Music, Church School, Nursery, and Coffee Hour
Jan. 18 5:30 pm Book Group reading and discussing, The Underground Railroad, by Coulson Whitehead at the Rectory
Jan. 18 7:00 pm Holy Eucharist and Healing Prayers in the Children’s Chapel, followed by Faith Study
Jan. 19 NEW Epistle Sent out
Looking Ahead on the Calendar/SAVE the Date
Jan. 21 6:00 pm Chilli Cook-off and Dance
Feb. 26 5:00 pm Stewardship Kick–Off Dinner
March 1 Ash Wednesday