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From the Rector

Last night I was supposed to drive to Old Greenwich for a meeting at a parish with which I am working on behalf of the Bishops. The meeting was cancelled at the last minute. And I was irrationally happy! And then it hit me, again, that when I am happy that things are getting cancelled, I am trying to do too much. And when I do too much, I fail to spend enough time still, calm, dwelling in the peace of our Lord, listening for God’s voice, discerning what God is calling me to do and going where God wants me to go.

After the work of Creation, Genesis tells us that God RESTED on the seventh day. The Sabbath is an ancient idea and practice. And it is an idea and practice which we too often neglect. We get caught up in doing, running, working, catching up, getting ahead, planning, and managing the busy-ness of daily life. And all of this is fine to a point, as long as we are intentional about taking time aside the busy-ness of life. Sabbath time is time to BE rather than to DO. Summer is such a time, when many of us take time away to focus on our family and friends, on the relationships that feed our souls, on the connections we cherish. May this summer hold many Sabbath times and occasions for you and yours. And while you are resting, refreshing, and renewing, may you pick up your head and listen and see the goodness of God and all the ways that Jesus is right there with you, offering peace and grace, filling that God- sized empty place in our lives with love and mercy and a holy purpose. May you travel and be safe and know in deep and creative ways the joy and peace that God intends for each one of us this summer.


Blessings, Virginia

Special Notice

The following 2019 Sundays will be 9:00 am UNITED WORSHIP at St. John’s:
May 26th, June 30th, July 7th, September 1st, December 29th, 
& Baptismal Sundays as identified & announced throughout the year.

Following an especially joyous and poignant baptism on Advent 4 in 2018, the Vestry decided that all Baptisms should happen at United Worship at 9 am, so that ALL of us, 8 o’clockers and 10 o’clockers, could be together in welcoming the newly baptized and standing with the family in pledging our faithful support in walking with them and the child as they seek to raise the child to know Jesus and to see that God is always with them, showing up for them, and inspiring and encouraging them as they journey in life.  In a Christian community, what could be more important than this commitment to be a loving family of faith for the youngest among us? Therefore, there will be occasional Sundays, not related to holidays and holy days, when we have United Worship at 9 am. These special Sundays will be announced by e-mail, in church, at the front door bulletin board, and in the weekly announcements, always left printed on the table in the Narthex. It is not the Vestry’s intention to mess with people’s routines. It is their intention to come together as the Body of Christ here at St. John’s, Vernon to welcome and embrace each new member of the church and disciple of our Lord Jesus Christ!


I am taking a three month sabbatical this summer to which I am adding two weeks of vacation. I will be around for clergy conference May 20-21, do a summer Epistle and various office chores with Margaret on May 22-23, and conduct a parish wedding on Memorial Day weekend. I will be the Celebrant and Preacher on Memorial Day Sunday with ONE UNITED service at 9 am. After that weekend, I will be gone pretty much the rest of the summer, returning for treatment as usual every 4 weeks.  I will also be here on June 15th to host a Safe Church Training day for ECCT Clergy at which 120 people are expected. Thanks entirely to your generosity last June, Tom and I will be traveling in July. We are going to Nova Scotia with my sister Amy and her husband Dave. And we are taking a Civil Rights tour of the South, visiting Monticello in Charlottesville, VA, Montgomery and Selma AL, and Memphis, TN. For most of the rest of the time we will be in Rhode Island where I hope/intend to read, knit and walk LOTS and to spend time with our family. I will be back on September 8th.  Tom and I will host the All Parish Open House on September 29th.  We are completely blessed to have the Rev. Dr. Ben Brockman covering for the duration of the summer. He will be the celebrant and preacher on Sundays and handle any pastoral needs that arise. Ben’s contact information is in the parish directory; you may contact him by phone at 860-512-0428 (home) or on his mobile phone, 203-260-2583. If you don’t get Ben on the first try, please leave a message, and he will get back to you as soon as possible. His email address is .  Ben and I will be in regular contact and he will keep me apprised of any emergent or urgent matters. We are also blessed with an excellent Vestry and, as usual, they will capably manage the parish’s business throughout the summer months. I will miss you and look forward to rejoining my faith family in September.      Virginia

Environmental Ministry – We will be planting the tomato and pepper plants in June.  Anyone who would like to donate any seedlings or plants, please see Letty Naigles or Sarah Gerrity, as soon as possible so that we know what to order.  Thank you!
Please tell us how you are being creation/climate-friendly! The Environmental Ministry is asking SJV parishioners to tell us about your Creation/climate friendly habits, purchases, and activities, so we can benchmark all that our church is doing and provide inspiration for doing more.  So if you do ANY of the following (or any others we have forgotten but you know are important!):

Set your thermostat to a relatively low temperature (60 degrees?  55 degrees??)
Have or use solar panels
Drive an electric vehicle
Drive a hybrid gas/electric vehicle
Purchase fruit and/or vegetables from a Community Supported Agriculture farm (CSA)
Grow some of your own food—vegetables, fruit, chickens, goats all count!
Use organic lawn care products and procedures
Use a push lawn mower
Use an electric lawn mower
Compost your food waste
Consistently put out a bigger mass of recycling than garbage for pickup
Carry your own water bottle
Carry your own straw
Carry and reuse your own shopping bags
Carry your own reusable lunch container
Store your leftovers in non-plastic containers

Please email Terri Sessions ( with what you do!  Please also let her know if you want us to keep your identity confidential (we won’t tell anyone) or if it’s OK to share your name with parishioners who might want to learn how you do what you do!  Thanks for all that you do.  The Environmental Ministry at St. John’s Vernon.


By mid-June, the pace of parish life at St. John’s slows quite a bit.  Worship continues at 8 and 10 except for May 26th, June 30th, July 7th, and September 1st, when there will be ONE service at 9 am.  This summer we will take vacations; travel and see family and friends; seek Sabbath time, rest and relaxation; tend our gardens at home and at the church; read more; play more; and hopefully pray unceasingly, wherever we find ourselves. Remember that wheresoever we go, Our Lord art always there.

Screen Shot 2018-06-29 at 15.41.58We started a tradition a few summers ago involving a simply drawn picture of Jesus that each family can take home and include in all sorts of photos you take during the summer.  Color “Flat Jesus” in an imaginative and fun way and then insert “Flat Jesus” into pictures silly and serious – you are limited only by your imagination.  Look at the photo board in the undercroft and Lower Parish Hall for inspiration!  Take Flat Jesus with you on your journeys and bring back pictures and stories of connection, joy, and peace. There will be a fresh stack of Flat Jesus outlines in the Narthex.

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.

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!

The Book Group is looking for new readers!  We meet monthly and discuss a mutually chosen book. About once a quarter we share the discussion over a pot luck supper. We read fiction and non-fiction, historical fiction and biography, new books and old books, provocative books and inspiring books. If you have any questions, see Elaine Anderson or Gretchen Shea. The schedule for the summer is as follows:
June 24 at 5:30 at the Rectory, reading Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate; July 23 at 5:30 at Melissa Fenner’s home, reading A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles; August 20 at 5:30 at Elaine Anderson’s home, reading Katherine by Anya Seton.

We are already working on the organic vegetable and fruit gardens. Good things are growing and more remains to be planted. We are looking for planters, weeders, harvesters, mulchers, waterers to keep the garden growing and thriving through the spring, into the summer and early fall months.  If you would like to focus on a particular vegetable or fruit, that is also a way to help.  The garden is a key element of how we put our faith into action and engage in the mission of God at St. John’s and in the town of Vernon; it takes a village to make it go and grow. We are in especially critical need of people able and willing to deliver the produce to the Cornerstone!!!! Please see Letty or Sarah if you are able to help in ANY way this coming season.

Screen Shot 2019-03-30 at 14.42.14Sunday, June 9th is Pentecost and will be the last day of Church School.  Please wear RED!! There will be a an all-parish cookout/luncheon in the Lower Parish Hall and on the Lawn right after the 10 am worship service. Andy Halpryn is organizing the side dishes and beverages and Dwight Feenstra will be manning the grill.

And, speaking of fellowship, now is a perfect time to start sending us your photos of parish life —  the gardens, various activities, fellowship time, worship, faith in action, Relay for Life, 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 2019 (including prom pics and graduation photos of our youth) to:

Sunday School: Andy Halpryn, Erica Feenstra and Virginia would be deeply grateful for 3-4 adult volunteers to help with our Nursery and Sunday School program. We are blessed to have many 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 urgently 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. If four more people volunteered, you would be on only once every 4-6 weeks. Please remember, a parish with children running around is a parish with LIFE!! And that joyous life needs to be fed, nurtured, supported, and grown. Please pray about whether this is a ministry to which God may be calling YOU!

This year saw St. John’s take care with some extra safety measures.  We now have an intercom so that the Sunday School can communicate with the ushers. We also have an AED (Automatic External Defibrillator) device in the Narthex. Steve Filipek is checking its readiness monthly and has arranged with his friends at Tolland Fire Department for a class for CPR training and certification to be offered at St. John’s on Thursday, September 19th in the evening. The certification is AHA Heartsaver CPR/AED for adult, child and infant, and it is good for 2 years. Participants will write their check to St. John’s when they do the training.  The exact amount of the fee for the class will be known when we see how many are committed to taking the class, but the cost is approx. $50 per participant. If you have any questions, or wish to sign up, please see Steve and/or email him at .

All of our usual activities, ministries, mission, and fellowships will resume September 8th.

Relay is coming!!  Relay is coming!!
Screen Shot 2019-06-02 at 15.42.29The South Windsor/Vernon 2019 Relay for Life – How you can support the 2019 Relay for Life June 7 starting at 3:00 pm – June 8th ending at noon:

1.  Luminaria $10/ torch $50 in honor or memory of a loved one – to be used at the very moving Friday evening  Ceremony.
2.  Silent Auction to hire Bill Byers for spring plantings or fall clean-up.  Bids start at $50.
3.  Angel Wing ornaments by our very own Mary Wilson – $10 recommended donation.
4.  Raffle tickets for $5 each or 5/$20

– Cheryl Abbott quilts (choose from 3!!)
– Giant Crabtree and Evelyn gift basket

5.  Come on Friday/Saturday and help sell items and raffles, experience the luminaria ceremony, motivate the  walkers, or walk a lap yourself at any point from official kick-off 6:00 pm.
6.  Annual Relay Pottery at the event from artist Susi Byers.
7.  Donate gift cards to our gift card “tree” raffle.
Thank you again for your prayers and support for our 9th annual Relay!!  Melissa Fenner, Alfreda Barber, Diane Dalo, Erica Feenstra

Home Away From Home ministry:  This ministry involves putting together & mailing a care package once a semester for one of our college students or persons in the military to remind them that their St. John’s family is thinking about them.  My contact information is 860-645-6660 or via email at  If anyone is interested in learning more about this ministry and/or joining the team of Volunteers who have the pleasure of making someone’s day a little brighter with a personal care package of goodies, I’d be happy to speak with you as well. Thank you to everyone involved in this ministry, and I look forward to the continuing future of Home Away From Home.  Jackie Petrizzo

Our Joining Jesus Team is up and running. This is a program being run by the ECCT in which St. John’s has opted to engage. It is a third generation iteration of the Partnership for the Missional Church program we did with St, Mary’s, Manchester, Bishop Ahrens and Anne Watkins from 2009-2012. We believe it will be as life-giving now as it was then. The basic intentional is teach the spiritual practices of the Way of Love with a special emphasis on discernment. This translates into learning to be WITH all God’s people in deeper and more meaningful spiritual ways, rather than only doing things FOR them. Your Joining Jesus Team is led by Melissa Fenner and Jim Hutton, along with Gretchen Shea, Kelli Peters, Betsy Sartori, Shirley Finney, Shirley McGarry, and John Horan. And in a wonderful development, Jane Hale will be coaching us! I will work with the team in May and June, and then Ben will step in for July and August. Look for more JJ news from the team.


I am absolutely DELIGHTED that St. John’s has a newly minted Parish Nurse, Maria Evans, RN. This is a faith based health ministry and below is an outline from Maria Evans about how she can help and what she is not allowed to do. Maria was commissioned at the 8 am worship on May 12. Her contact is at the bottom of her informational sheet. I hope you will see and use Maria as the excellent resource, compassionate person and faith based professional she is.



  1. Personal visits with the nurse:
    • By appointment except for emergent need or situation. Just call me at (860) 818-2141 to set up a time for a visit. I am very flexible with day and evening appointments.
    • Your confidentiality is imperative to my practice. Your information cannot be shared without your written consent.
    • I will be utilizing the end corner of the counting room in the Undercroft of the Church. It is private, accessible and in God’s House.
    • Any disabled (either permanent disability or new injury) member or someone without transport can be seen at home by appointment.
  2. I will be on-call to Rev. Virginia or Rev. Ben 24/7.
  3. I can be reached via email at with questions you would like answered or researched, ideas for programs, concerns and comments.
    Rev. Virginia has asked me to focus this summer on the homebound of St. John’s. There are approximately 24 members that I will contact, ask for consent to visit and then make monthly home visits.
  4. I hope to schedule monthly blood pressure screenings one Sunday a month after each service and then add blood glucose monitoring every three months or more often.
  5. Growing the St. John’s Health Ministry. I will have an informational meeting for professional and lay members that would like to contribute to the formation of and practice of such a ministry at St. John’s this September.  If you see me at service or anywhere this summer, feel free to introduce yourself to me so I can get to know some of you who are interested and how you would like to be involved.
  6. I have access to a multitude of local and state resources, medical resources and research. Please just ask. Local happenings on Health & Wellness will be posted in the Narthex.

What I Cannot Do

  1. Make a medical diagnosis. I may have a good idea, but you will be referred directly to your Primary Care doctor or appropriate Healthcare Facility.
  2. Direct medical care except in the case of emergency.
  3. Share any information without your written consent unless in the case of any emergency where I would provide basic health information as appropriate to EMS personnel and for your care in that situation. This assumes you cannot speak for yourself and I am present.
  4. Make medical decisions for you. I can inform and guide you through those decisions.
  5. Private Care or Homecare nursing. I can make sure that the homecare provided is adequate and advocate for change in your care as appropriate with your consent.

Have a great and safe summer! Shalom!  Maria Evans RN, FCN


Dates to Remember

June 1  7:30  pm Vernon Chorale Concert at St. John’s
June 2  8 am Rite I and 10 am Rite II with Music, Sunday School, and Nursery Care, followed by Coffee Hour
June 4  11:45 am Lunch Bunch/Sr. Luncheon – Lower Parish Hall
June  7 6:00 pm – June 8 noon Relay for Life at Rockville High School’s track
June  9  PENTECOST (wear red!) 8 am Rite I and 10 am Rite II with Music, Sunday School, and Nursery Care, followed by All Parish Picnic in the LPH
June 10  5:30 Joining Jesus Team in the Undercroft
June 10  7 pm Vestry Meeting in the Undercroft
June 11  6 pm ECW Potluck and Annual Meeting in the LPH
June 12  7 pm Brotherhood of St. Andrew Meeting in the Undercroft
June 15  8-4 St. John’s hosts Safe Church Training for ECCT Clergy in the LPH
June 16 8 am Rite I and 10 am Rite II with Music and Nursery Care, followed by Coffee Hour
June 18  7:15 pm Women’s Spiritual Growth Group in the Undercroft
June 23  8 am Rite I and 10 am Rite II with Music and Nursery Care, followed by Coffee Hour
June 24  5:30 pm Book Group at the Rectory reading, Before We Were Yours, by Lisa Wingate
June 30 United Worship at 9 am with Music and Nursery Care

July 7  United Worship at 9 am with Music and Nursery Care
July 10  7 pm Brotherhood of St. Andrew Meeting in the Undercroft
July 14  Rite I and 10 am Rite II with Music and Nursery Care, followed by Coffee Hour
July 21  Rite I and 10 am Rite II with Music and Nursery Care, followed by Coffee Hour
July 23  5:30 Book Group at Melissa Fenner’s reading, A Gentleman in Moscow, by Amor Towles

August 4  Rite I and 10 am Rite II with Music and Nursery Care, followed by Coffee Hour
August 11  Rite I and 10 am Rite II with Music and Nursery Care, followed by Coffee Hour
August 14  7 pm Brotherhood of St. Andrew Meeting in the Undercroft
August 18  Rite I and 10 am Rite II with Music and Nursery Care, followed by Coffee Hour
August 20  5:30 Book Group at Elaine Anderson’s reading, Katherine, by Anya Seton
August 25  Rite I and 10 am Rite II with Music and Nursery Care, followed by Coffee Hour

September 1  United Worship at 9 am with Music and Nursery Care
September 8  Bill Winterton Homecoming Sunday Rite I and 10 am Rite II with Music, Sunday School, and Nursery Care, followed by Coffee Hour, with ECW Meeting in the Side Classroom
September 9  7 pm Vestry in the Undercroft
September 10  11:45 am The Lunch Bunch in the LPH
September 11  10:30  am Pastoral CareGivers at Riverside
September 11  7 pm Brotherhood of St. Andrew Meeting in the Undercroft
September 12  10:30 Pastoral CareGivers at Fox Hill
September 15  Rite I and 10 am Rite II with Music, Sunday School, and Nursery Care, followed by
Coffee Hour

Down the Road
September 29  All Parish Open House at the Rectory after worship
October 6  Blessing of the Animals at the 10 o’clock service
December 7 St. John’s Christmas Bazaar

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