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Screen Shot 2017-01-25 at 19.13.45The time since Thanksgiving has flown past and as I sit in front of a warm fire in the Rectory, I am marveling at all that has happened and all the ways in which Jesus has been present with us again and again, in worship, in fellowship, in our relationships and in our faith put into action.

The Bazaar weekend started with a very helpful and fruitful meeting of the Officers of the two St. John’s and Bishop Laura. The merging of our two beloved communities continues and is moving forward a pace. I see so much evidence of the Holy Spirit in the way that we are all committed to figuring this out together.  I am grateful for Mark Santucci’s collegiality and sturdy ways.

The Bazaar was fun and raised mission money and helped us get into the spirit of the season.  I regard the Bazaar as an annual miracle, and this year was no exception.  It is amazing what we can do when we work together and are generous with our time and talent and energy.  Jesus was with us and Santa showed up too.

The Tree of Light evening was lovely.  The newest member of the Borovicka tribe decided to arrive that morning, but the evening was never in doubt. As we gathered in prayer around the small and perfect live Fraser fir, adorned with over 300 names of loved and honored ones, with many of our new brothers and sisters from East Hartford present, the light pierced the cold and darkness and Jesus was there. The soups were warm and fabulous and the sing-along with Markus and the choir was another boost to our holy days cheer and hope.

The weekend of fourth Advent gave us a Saturday snow day, but we had a “just in time” Christmas Pageant rehearsal on Sunday morning between the services, and the Pageant was perfect.  The Christmas story was told with humor, the little ones were both adorable and shy, and we sang and laughed.   Thank you Debbie Halpryn, youth group members and all the families and small people who helped make everything work and GO that morning! And, all the gift bags to the parish homebound got delivered, despite the snow.  Special thanks to Tom, who drove me around Friday afternoon, and to Jake Fenner, who spent the better part of one of his first vacation days from college driving to visit several people, thereby finishing the delivery of the gift bags. I should have known! Jesus always delivers.

On Wednesday, the 21st of December, many of us traveled to Trinity Church, Brooklyn for Jane Hale’s ordination. What an amazing and moving evening we shared with Jane and northeastern CT. The Jesus who calls us and gives us peace, passion and purpose was there that holy night. And the Holy Spirit moved with strength and grace among us. What a privilege it has been for us to have walked paths of discernment and formation with Jane. By generously sharing our faith, ourselves, and our community life, we delved ever more deeply into the extraordinary possibilities of God’s love and God’s will, and we were grown and stretched and blessed.

The very next day, the Altar Guild got busy and transformed our sanctuary into a Christmas delight (this is another annual miracle). And that preparation by our Altar Guild set us up for a beautiful Christmas. The music was terrific at each of the services. Many thanks to Markus, the Palmer Family, the Senior Choir, Kimmie Farrell, Amelia Halpryn, and Lisa Williamson. Jesus came again, to our hearts and homes, in the candlelight and communion of lessons, carols, and the Great Thanksgiving.

On New Year’s Day I confess I expected a small congregation, but I was way wrong.  Mark and I were delighted to be present with ninety people gathered to praise God and give thanks for all the blessings of the sacred season.  So as the TWO St. John’s commenced joint worship, Jesus’ holy name was honored and celebrated.

Our joint Annual Meetings on January 8th were informative, upbeat and a time of great fellowship and good food (thank you Vestry!). God is good indeed and we manage every nickel.   The result was another year in the black! Your steady generosity, strong resolve, and unfailing commitment of putting your faith into action and sustaining the community we share reflects your faith and the light of Christ. Jesus’ hands and feet were visible at the Annual Meeting.

And then there was this past Sunday. Thank you for being my faith family and for all the support and love you have offered Tom and me in the past year as we celebrated the birth of our granddaughter.  You have no idea how thrilled we were to share the joy of Virginia’s baptism with all of you. And honoring Stacey Shorts, as she prepares for the International Special Olympics in Austria in March, completed the joy. The incorporation of infants into the Body of Christ, the deep happiness we experience in our beloved children’s accomplishments and opportunities, the love we share with family and friends……this is the tangible stuff of incarnation. The Word made flesh is God with us and in us and for us and among us. Every day. In unexpected ways. In every situation and circumstance.  In joy and in sorrow.  In celebration and in adversity. In life and in death. God is WITH us!!

My prayer is that all the places and spaces, people and relationships of our lives in community may be points of Epiphany for each of us. As our Lord reveals God’s self to us anew and again, each day, may we move forward in faith and out into the world, to share the gifts and blessings that God has graciously bestowed. May we continue to strive to be the people God calls us to be in the world.  May we walk with our Lord on paths of peace and justice, with devotion to the “Jesus way” and compassion for all the neighbors God has given us? It is my great privilege and joy to journey with you.  Thank you for who you are and all you do and share.

May God bless you and yours in this New Year?

Virginia

xxx

Ash Wednesday is March 1st.  There will be Eucharist and the Imposition of Ashes at Noon and at 7:00 pm. Information about Lenten Study and Formation opportunities will be sent out by February 1st.

xxx

MAKING A DIFFERENCE~~ From the Environment Committee

DID YOU KNOW….that using palm oil can be harmful for God’s Creation?  Palm oil is found in nearly 40-50% of household products… such as in baked goods, confectionery, shampoo, cosmetics, cleaning agents, washing detergents, and toothpaste.
Why is palm oil problematic?   According to the World Wildlife Fund, an area the equivalent to the size of 300 football fields of rainforest is cleared each hour to make way for palm oil production.  Animals that live in these rainforests are losing their habitats at rapid rates; the orangutan’s habitat has been cut by 90%. This is called a “conservation emergency”.  Thousands of other species are also affected.
To make a difference:  Many snack food companies, Starbucks, and Pepsi Cola are ignoring the need to cut palm oil from their supply chains. Two things you can do as a consumer

  1. Refuse to buy items made with palm oil.
  2. Voice your concern through signing petitions (which can be found on-line) or by contacting companies directly.

s consumers we have the power to make a difference in what happens to our environment and this world’s animals.     Every little bit helps towards preserving creation!

 

xxx

Relay For Life

I attended the first Relay for Life Meeting last week!!!!  Here is some of the great news happening for Relay:
* If you plan to register to walk 1 lap or more please consider registering this week as there is a promotion happening from today through the 22nd of January.
* The month of January is Cervical Cancer Awareness
*12,000 cases of cervical cancer were detected in 2016
* Did you know that ACS funded the research to make PAP Smears a regular part of women’ health care screenings?  Relay is more than just walking laps in honor or memory of loved ones.  It is money that goes
to the development programs to serve all humans.
* This year the Relay event has a goal of 65 teams and 1100 participants raising $160,000 the event  currently has 50 teams and over $7000 raised.  Please consider joining in the effort!!
*  If you have an questions on how you can support the St. John’s team, I’d be glad to help.  You can go on-line to order tickets to the game but PLEASE register with Spirit Walkers team name and  St. John’s will earn a portion to our event.  I will send a flyer as well.  Feel free to wear purple or any relay swag at the game!!!  Thank you!!  Melissa

DATES TO REMEMBER

image024January 21  11 am   Moving Day for St. John’s, East Hartford.  Meet at St. J’s, EH to pack the truck.
January 21  6 pm Winter Warmer Chili Fellowship Dinner.  Please sign up in the Narthex
January 22  8 am Rite I and 10 am Rite II with Music, Nursery Care and Church School. Rite 13 Class and Coffee Hour immediately following the service
January 23 7 pm Vestry in the Undercroft
January 23 7 pm Knitting Fellowship in the Upper Parish Hall
January 25  7 pm Holy Eucharist and Healing Prayers in the Children’s Chapel, followed by Faith Study
January 26  7:30 pm Senior Choir Rehearsal
January 28  9 am – 3 pm Joint Vestry Retreat with St. John’s, East Hartford and St. John’s, Vernon. In the Undercroft.
January 29  8 am Rite I and 10 am Rite II with Nursery Care, Church School and Music, followed by Rite 13 Class and  Coffee Hour
January 30  7 pm Knitting Fellowship in the Upper Parish Hall
January 31   7 pm Good Grief Group in the Upper Parish Hall

February 1  7 pm Holy Eucharist and Healing Prayers in the Children’s Chapel, followed by Faith Study
February 2  7 pm Senior Choir Rehearsal
February 5  8 am Rite I and 10 am Rite II with Nursery Care, Church School and Music, followed by Rite 13 Class and Coffee Hour Also, Scouts Own Sunday and SOUPer BOWL Sunday
February 5  11:30 ECW Meeting in side classroom of Lower Parish Hall
February 6  7 pm Knitting Fellowship in the Undercroft
February 7  11:45 am Senior Luncheon in the Lower Parish Hall
February 8  7:30 pm Brotherhood of St. Andrew’s Meeting, in the Undercroft
February 9  7:30 pm Senior Choir Rehearsal
February 11  5-9 pm Youth Group supper, games, movies night, and sledding (if there is snow)
February 12  8 am Rite I and 10 am Rite II with Nursery Care, Church School and Music, followed by Rite 13 Class and Coffee Hour
February 12  4 pm St. John’s Concert Series, Oboe Duo Agosto
February 13  7 pm Vestry in the Undercroft
February 15  5:30 pm Book Group at the Rectory reading,  Small Great Things, by Jodi Picoult
February 15  7 pm Holy Eucharist and Healing Prayers in the Children’s Chapel followed by Faith Study
February 16  10 am Pastoral CareGivers at Fox Hill
February 16  7:30 Senior Choir Rehearsal
February 19  8 am Rite I and 10 am Rite II with Nursery Care, Church School and Music, followed by and Coffee Hour. No Rite 13.
February 19  5 pm Enviro Movie with Pot Luck Supper: Before The Flood “The Science is Clear: The Future Isn’t,” directed by Leonardo DiCaprio
February 22 7 pm Holy Eucharist and Healing Prayers in the Children’s Chapel followed by Faith Study
February 23  7 pm Senior Choir rehearsal
February 26  Last Sunday of Epiphany, 8 am Rite I and 10 am Rite II with Nursery Care, Church School and Music,  followed by Rite 13 Class and Coffee Hour
February 26 5 pm Stewardship Supper with Bishop Ahrens
February 27  7 pm Knitting Fellowship in the Undercroft

March 1  Ash Wednesday Eucharist and Imposition of Ashes at noon and 7 pm
March 5  First Sunday of Lent, 8 am Rite I and 10 am Rite II with Nursery Care, Church School and  Music, followed by Rite 13 Class and Coffee Hour
March 5  11:30 am ECW Meeting in the side classroom of the Lower Parish Hall
March 5  4 pm ECCT Community Gardens Network Meeting in Old Saybrook

xxx

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xxx

BeforeTheFlood


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