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Epistle — Summer 2018

Posted By David Clarke On June 29, 2018 @ 19:44 In Epistle

From the Rector

July is just days away.  Most of us have travel and vacation plans in place. The weather has warmed, the trees have leafed, the grass needs weekly cutting, and our parish gardens are flourishing.  SUMMERtime has finally arrived. And hopefully with summertime comes a very organic slowing of the frenetic pace of our lives, a more intentional living into each God given moment, purposeful time for rest, refreshment, renewal, and reflection. In other words, time that looks more like SABBATH time than our usual schedules and routines.

So what, exactly is Sabbath time?  Besides being the Fourth Commandment? I think it is a time when we very deliberately turn aside from the idols and distractions of the world and let ourselves rest in God’s arms. A time when we turn off the digital devices, the noise, the constant push to succeed, all the ways we work too hard and get caught up and wrung out by the daily churn of the world around us.  It is a time when we remember and live into the truth that we are cherished children of God, and that our worth lies not in our accomplishments, busyness, or work, but in our identity as God’s own beloved children and community. There will never be enough time to get all the work done.  So, is there enough time for us to savor the sweet moments that make life worth living and make space for unrushed time with God and our closest loved ones? Can we make space for the divine gift of peace and quiet in the midst of the turmoil and tumult all around us? Can we live for a day or a week or season as if the only “ought to, must do, have to” is to glorify God and live out of gratitude for all the gifts God has so freely bestowed?

The world is filled with detours, distractions, insistent demands, loud and rude voices, so many unholy ways to live and idols and things to worship.  It is easy for us to lose our way, to lose the key truth of our faith, to forget God’s story of resurrection love and redemption for all God’s people. Sabbath time calls us back to our essential nature, our true identity.  We belong to God first, alone, and always. Only God can fill us and save us from ourselves. When we feel unsure about what that means or how we should act in or respond to the secular world, we need to watch Jesus.  We need to go back to the Gospels and read about and remind ourselves of what Jesus did and said. We need to remember how Jesus encountered all the others he met on his journey, how he dealt with the provocations of those who would undermine his work and his mission, how he taught us to live in this world, and how he treated all the people God put in his path. The only way for resurrection life to happen is for us to return to God, again and again, and to strive to be more and more like Jesus as we negotiate and navigate the world in which we live.  The world is fierce and hard and possesses both great beauty and deep ugliness, both gracious truths and naked lies. In the midst of these dichotomies and chaos we need to live and walk as Jesus did, always in FAITH and LOVE.

This summer I wish for each of you Sabbath times of peace and prayer, rest and resurrection as you walk in faith and love in the world we share with all God’s people. Notice all God is doing all around us. Give thanks and practice gratitude. Be well and know that you are God’s own beloved and cherished child.

Blessings, Virginia

Parish Pearls – Summer 2018

We rejoice in the installation of the new playscape. The playscape equipment is a gift from St. John’s, East Hartford, to celebrate our unity as ONE St. John’s, and as a sign of our hope for the future embodied in the joy, energy and wonder of our children.  All the preparation work of the ground — including the leveling and the spreading of soft mulch — was managed by our devoted and skilled friend, Jimmy Fecko, who gave his time and labor as a gift to us.  Finally, enormous thanks go to Alfreda Barber who oversaw the entire project on behalf of the Vestry, including researching and choosing the right playscape, the correct mulch, and making sure that all the work was done in a way to ensure the safety of the children. We are truly blessed, by the children, and by the generosity of SJEH, Jimmy and Alfreda! Thanks be to GOD!

Markus will be off six Sundays this summer.  We are deeply grateful for the musical leadership and gifts of Kimmie Farrell and Brett Palmer in Markus’ absence.  And we are equally grateful to Ben Brockman’s coverage for Virginia’s vacation time.

Screen Shot 2018-06-29 at 15.39.12THANKS, THANKS, THANKS to all the gentlemen of the parish who are mowing the grass, trimming the edges, taking down dead tree branches and trees, doing extra work in the Memorial Garden, and generally keeping our place looking ship-shape. This is hot, sweaty work and we are deeply grateful for the commitment of time and labor that is shared so generously!

Screen Shot 2018-06-29 at 15.41.58Remember to take Flat Jesus with you as you travel and share Sabbath time this summer with family and friends.  You may post your photos on the Lower Parish Hall bulletin board or send them digitally to David Clarke at davec1066@icloud.com.  (Full sized Flat Jesus after Dates to Remember …)

And now is a perfect time to start sending us your photos of parish life, the gardens, various activities, fellowship time, worship, faith in action, and parishioners. Once again, Andy Halpryn will put them together in a digital presentation for our Annual Meeting.  Send any and all photos taken in 2018 (including prom pics and graduation photos of our youth) to: stjohnsvernonphotos@gmail.com.

PATRICK BAKER & SONS CHURCH INCENTIVE PROGRAM – Patrick Baker and Sons is a local religious gift supply distributor that the Altar Guild has worked with for years.  We purchase hosts, candle oil, linens, and our pew torches from them.  Their retail store is located at 1650 West Street, Southington, Ct., and they offer high quality religious gift items, cards, books, statuary, Christmas decorations, and much more.  Bakers will credit the St. John’s church account 10% of the cost of every purchase you make from the retail store.  Here is how it works:  Option 1:  Visit www.churchgoods.com/products.    Under the Retail Tab select the products you would like to purchase and add them to your cart.  Proceed to checkout and remember to enter the Code # 3670 or select St. John’s from the list of churches.  That’s it!  You will receive your items in the mail.    Option 2:  Visit the retail store and mention the church code (3670).  Option 3:  Call and place an order on the phone at 1-800-243-6385 and mention the church code.    If you have not been to the store we think you will be impressed and your purchases will help defray our costs.  Happy Shopping!  Sue Douglass and Lois Valliere

Screen Shot 2018-06-29 at 15.50.18While Margaret is on vacation, we are redoing her office. To that end, we would be grateful for any and all help that could be offered to do the heavy lifting of emptying the office into the hall on Sunday, July 15.  We will need help again on either Sunday July 29 or August 5th, to put everything back after the office has been painted and new carpet squares have been laid. Paul and Bill will communicate about the putting things back date closer to the time.

Andy Halpryn and Virginia would be deeply grateful for 2-3 adult volunteers to help with our Nursery and Sunday School program. We are blessed to have quite a few happy and energetic children present on Sunday mornings. We are also blessed to have several devoted adults and youth already helping.  But more help is needed! This is a good challenge for us to have!! Andy will work out a rotating schedule so that you know in advance when you are “on” duty.

Dates to Remember

July 1   9 am UNIFIED Worship with Music and Nursery Care
July 2   7-9 pm Knitting fellowship in the Undercroft
July 8   am UNIFIED Worship with Music, Nursery Care, and Coffee Hour
July 9    7-9 pm Knitting Fellowship in the Undercroft
July 10  7 pm Women’s Spiritual Growth Group in the Undercroft
July 11  7:30 pm The Brotherhood of St. Andrew Meeting in the Undercroft
July 14  Whale Watch Trip and ❤️ Lexi’s and Garret’s Wedding! ❤️
July 15  8 am Rite I and 10 am Rite II with Music, Nursery Care, and Coffee Hour
July 16  5:30 pm at the Rectory, Book Group reading, The Day The World Came to Town. New members ALWAYS welcome!!
July 16  7-9 pm Knitting Fellowship in the Undercroft
July 18  6 pm Brotherhood of St. Andrew Cookout at the Rectory, with spouses
July 22  8 am Rite I and 10 am Rite II with Music, Nursery Care, and Coffee Hour
July 23  7-9 pm Knitting Fellowship in the Undercroft
July 29  8 am Rite I and 10 am Rite II with Baptism of Oliver Richmond Barry,  Music, Nursery Care, and Coffee Hour
July 30  7-9 pm Knitting Fellowship in the Undercroft
August 5  8 am Rite I and 10 am Rite II with Music, Nursery Care, and Coffee Hour
August 6  7-9 pm Knitting Fellowship in the Undercroft
August 12   Rite I and 10 am Rite II with Music, Nursery Care, and Coffee Hour
August 13  7-9 pm Knitting Fellowship in the Undercroft
August 14  7 pm Women’s Spiritual Growth Group in the Undercroft
August 19   Rite I and 10 am Rite II with Music, Nursery Care, and Coffee Hour
August 20  7-9 pm Knitting Fellowship in the Undercroft
August 22  5:30 at the Rectory, Book Group discussing, Less, by Andrew Sean Greer
August 26  Rite I and 10 am Rite II with Music, Nursery Care, and Coffee Hour
August 27  7-9 pm Knitting Fellowship in the Undercroft
September 2 Unified Worship at 9 am with Music and Nursery Care

Looking Ahead

September 9Homecoming Sunday, Worship at 8 and 10, with resumption of Sunday School and Choir, followed by Open House/Luncheon at the Rectory
September 16 4 pm St. John’s Concert featuring the Prometheus Duo (piano and sax)
September 29 Brotherhood Steak and Chicken Dinner
September 30 Clean and Green Sunday with a visit by the Horizon Wings Raptor Rehab group of Willington
October 13 9 am – 1 pm Hospitality Workshop for all Greeters & Ushers with Ann Watkins.


Flat Jesus


June 6, 2018

My Dear Friends,

Sunday was astonishing, amazing, and one of the most heartfelt, happy, and poignant days of my life. I am still processing and pondering all that you did to make such a special occasion possible. The worship service was so uplifting, from having Bishop Laura present, to the fabulous musical gifts shared, to my beloved colleague and friend Jane’s sermon, to the sharing the Word, the Vows, the Prayers and the Sacrament, surrounded by esteemed and loved clergy colleagues, family, friends, and parishioners, it was an inspiring and deeply moving service.
The reception was absolutely astounding. It was yummy, lively, and lovely! With every imaginable detail attended to and capably managed by a cheerful team of parishioners. Everybody was clearly enjoying themselves, the company, the food, and the Spirit of the party.
And you have been incredibly generous to me and Tom.  We are totally thrilled with and completely surprised by the PURPLE Adirondack chairs (the ECW and the Parish), the brand new Weber Grill for the Rectory (the Brotherhood), the queen sized Cheryl Abbott original quilt (the Vestry), the beautiful vase and bouquet arranged by Alfreda, the purple prayer painting by Clarissa, the chocolate cake top, the wonderful boulder for the Tree of Life, all the personal cards and notes and mementos, and the hugely generous monetary gift which you gathered. I am overwhelmed and deeply touched by the abundance and kindness of your expressions of care and gifts of love.
The truth is that I have had three wonderful jobs in my ministry career. Happily, I learned  and stretched in each setting, struggling sometimes and thriving at other times. And……St. John’s has been my favorite role, the ministry that has felt most like spiritual home, the place where I have been given the day in and day out, steady and sturdy gift of faithful community. You have seen me through some very hard times, including serious illness and the death of my beloved Father. You have prayed with and for me and shown up in countless loving and life giving ways.  We have celebrated and dreamed and listened and discussed and healed and grown and worked and laughed and cried together, side by side, following our gracious Lord Jesus out into the world, living by the light of our merciful God’s love, being guided by the strength and wisdom of the Holy Spirit in our common life.  Being your Rector has been one of the greatest privileges of my life. I believe God brought us together, proof that God is good indeed.
Thank you all for sharing this journey with me and celebrating, in such grand and generous ways, a milestone moment in my life and ministry. Thank you for all your hard work and planning to make Sunday happen. I love and appreciate each and every one of you and look forward to continuing our life in Christ together. I feel re-invigorated, re-committed, and appreciated and I am truly and eternally grateful to all of you!

Blessings, Virginia


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