St. John’s Episcopal Church
207 Albany Avenue, Kingston, NY 12401

The Good News of St. John’s

  1. July 8, 2021

    What’s Going On in the Memorial Garden

    When’s the last time you checked out the St. Francis Memorial Garden?  If you haven’t done so in a while, make sure to walk through and stay a while because our beloved Director of Music, Terry Earles, has been hard at work gardening and beautifying the space around the pergola.  For several years, the pergola space has been left untended and it became overgrown.  Now, however, thanks to Terry’s efforts, the pergola is filled with bright color, soothing sounds, and beautiful smells.  He’s even gathered donations from his neighbors to help cover the cost.  Please be sure to offer Terry thanks for his ministry.  He’s given a wonderful gift to us all.

    Thank you, Terry, for your hard work, your dedication, and your love.

    The following people have donated to beautify the Memorial Garden and Terry has asked that we keep them in our prayers.

    Mr. and Mrs. J. T. Pinna in memory of Lucille
    Samir Hrachi in memory of Frank Simpson
    Wesley Dangler in memory of Lawrence and Grace
    Beth Petramale in memory of Suzi Filak
    Terry Earles in memory of Rev. Dr. F. P. Reynolds & family
    Steven Savona in memory of William Madden
    William Bozzetto in memory of Anna Mac Graw
    Lauren Stein in memory of Patricia Massa

     

    _________________________________________________________________

    A Theology of Gardening

    I’m a recent convert to gardening.  I always felt overwhelmed by the idea of tending to outdoor space.  I suppose I thought it was too much work to fight with the plant life that so clearly has more of an understanding about how to grow than I do about how to control its growth.  For many years I focused on indoor plants as they were easier to get my mind around and, therefore, easier to control.

    But Youtube is a wealth of information and watching Monty Don on the UK show Gardener’s World has become a weekly Friday night event in the Rectory.  I’ve found that working outside in the garden these past years has taught me so much more about how life functions – and I don’t just mean the life of the plants, but my life too.  We are so connected to this soil we call home because the nutrients you find in the soil are the same nutrients you find in our bodies.  And God created all of it, all of us, from this rich loam that sustains all of life.

    One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned so far is that the cultivation of a shared space where plant life, animal life, and human life can all thrive together is necessary for us all to learn just how interdependent we are.  Beginning in the mid-20th century, I think we humans lost that lesson:  Agri-business took over the food chain, fossil fuels became the dominant energy source, plastics became a cheap alternative to just about everything, and computer technology replaced actual experiences with virtual ones.  We’ve separated ourselves more and more from the earth over the past 70 years.  And now, the younger generations are teaching us that we’ve done this to our peril.

    How do we return?  How do we understand this as a part of how we are called to be reconciled with God?

    So, I’ve come to rejoice in the simple tasks these days – planting seeds, tending to a growing plant, picking a ripe tomato, creating a welcoming space for the birds and bees so they will stick around to pollinate the garden.  And learning about abundance from God’s ready-made bounty.

    In God’s love and mine, Rev. Michelle

    _____________________________________________________________________

     

    Announcements for
    July 11, 2021

    Join the Blue Fridge Team: Interested in helping out with food security issues here in Kingston?  Join us as we gather to support the Blue Fridge, a community refrigerator on the grounds of Clinton Avenue Methodist Church in Midtown.  St. John’s is working with Congregation Emanuel to field a team of people who will volunteer and support this effort.  Interested?  Email Rev. Michelle directly at michelle.stjohnskingston@gmail.com.  We’ll meet after she’s back from vacation.

    Annual Backpack Drive: We are delighted to be asked again by People’s Place again to assist with the distribution of school supplies.  Bring your donations of backpacks to church and drop them off in the basket near the altar. If you’d like to give money to the effort, please place your donation in an envelope marked “School Supplies” or write “School Supplies” on your check. As we get closer to the start of school, look for more information on when you can volunteer to help out with the distribution.

    Social Hour Is Back!  So please sign-up to bring refreshments for after Sunday worship – cool drinks and snacks.  We’ll meet outside in the tent this summer for Sunday fellowship time.  See the bulletin board in the vestibule to sign-up to be a Sunday host.

    Voices Heard: A series of panel discussions sponsored by the Reparations Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of New York.  This series of panel discussions organized by the Reparations Committee for the Diocese of New York intends to broaden awareness and deepen our understanding of the pressing topics of an intractable nature of systemic racism on education, health, economics, gender, policing and the criminal justice system, the church and more that negatively impact people of African heritage. Bringing experts, community organizers, civic leaders, clergy and laity into dialogue will help to inform us.  All panels will take place from 7:00–8:30 p.m. on Zoom.  Registration in advance is required for each individual Discussion.

    • Tuesday, July 20 – Rectors of Color: Examining the Missed Opportunities of Deployment

    For more information or to register:   Webinar ~ Voices Heard: A Diocese Explores Pathways Toward Reparations – “Educational Opportunity Denied: The Legacy of Segregated Housing” (dioceseny.org)

    Have an announcement?
    Please send by Wednesday at noon to
    stjohnskingston@aol.com.

  2. July 1, 2021

    Summer Worship and Ministry at St. John’s

    Summer here in the Hudson Valley is a time of family vacations and rest from the normal pace of our lives.  Especially this year, so many people are visiting family and doing vacations after a year of travel restrictions and quarantine.  When you’re home in Kingston, here are some ways for you to plug-in to what’s happening at St. John’s this summer.

    Worship and Fellowship
    Every Sunday morning in July we’ll gather in the sanctuary at 10:00 am for Eucharist.  In August, we will worship outdoors under the tent in our side yard.  More information will be announced later in July about how to participate in outdoor worship.  We will not be offering Zoom Sunday worship for the rest of the summer.  But we will continue to use Zoom for Tuesday Compline and Wednesday Centering Prayer.

    And this Sunday after worship, we’ll return to having fellowship time (coffee hour), moving it outside under the tent.  Please sign up to host on a Sunday: bring cold drinks and snacks and put them out on a table with paper cups, plates, and napkins.  The paper goods, we’ll have on hand for you to use.  The sign-up sheet is on the bulletin in the Vestibule (the ramp door entrance area).

    Ministry
    There are two main ministry projects we’ll be working on over the summer:  1) Collecting donations for the Annual People’s Place Backpack and School Supply drive; and 2) Creating a St. John’s Blue Fridge Team that will work with our neighbors at Congregation Emanuel to assist with food security in Midtown Kingston.

    • Backpack and School Supplies Drive:  We are delighted to be asked to help out People’s Place again this year.  Beginning this Sunday, July 4, we will have a basket near the altar where you can offer donations of backpacks, which will distributed to children at People’s Place the week before school starts.  Of course you can shop online but a really great place to shop for kids backpacks locally is Five Below.  If you’d like to give money to the effort, please place your donation in an envelope marked “School Supplies” or write “School Supplies” on your check.  And, of course, we hope to have a team of people helping with distribution of school supplies at People’s Place.  It’s a really fun way to serve.  As we get closer to the start of school, look for more information.
    • Blue Fridge Team:  This past Sunday, Rev. Michelle spoke about God’s Economy – where a need arises and abundance responds.  You can read the sermon here.  And she spoke specifically about the Blue Fridge, located on the property of Clinton Avenue Methodist Church in Midtown.  It’s open throughout the day for people to drop off items from their abundance to meet the needs of people who live in Midtown.  This summer, Rabbi Yael at Congregation Emanuel of the Hudson Valley is putting together a team to support this effort and Rev. Michelle is doing the same here at St. John’s.  We hope these teams can work together as one.  If you’d like to be a part of this team, contact Rev. Michelle directly via email at michelle.stjohnskingston@gmail.com.  If you’d like to learn more about the Blue Fridge, click here.

    We look forward to seeing you this summer!

    _____________________________________________________________________

    Trying Again – Rest

    For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel: In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.  – Isaiah 30:15

    As we continue to take steps out of the pandemic, I hope you are finding time for rest and reflection.  As the prophet Isaiah reminds us in the above verse, this is key to our healing and, therefore, our salvation.  To continually function from a mind and a heart that have been anxious and/or grieving, means that we also struggle to experience God’s presence and Love in our lives.

    Back in March, I wrote to you all that I would be taking some downtime to honor my need for rest and reflection.  Since my brother’s death in 2019, I haven’t been able to take the necessary time to reflect on what this means for me and for my family because something else always comes crashing in – gall bladder illness and surgery, moving my mother in PA, and tending to St. John’s during the pandemic.  And then something else came crashing in – right before I was scheduled to go away in March, Ana and I both became very ill with COVID and it’s been a long, slow recovery.

    Needless to say, this degree of illness is also an experience that deserves time for reflection and rest.  Yet the spring was full of events to plan and carry out: Resuming in-person worship, celebrating the ministry of Deacon Sue, and overseeing the Radio Kingston Solar Field access.  Plus, Ana needed to have surgery.  And coming up this fall, we have some new projects to begin which means my window for sabbath time is now.

    So, at the urging of many people: our Wardens Claudette and Lynn, Bishop Mary Glasspool, my spiritual director, and my beloved wife Ana, I will take 3 consecutive weeks off this summer.  You will be well served during this time by 3 gifted colleagues and friends who made time in their schedules and are looking forward to being with you: The Rev. Alison Quin on July 11, the Rev. Elizabeth Broyles on July 18, and the Rev. Shane Phelan on July 25.  Additionally, Alison Quin will be handling pastoral emergencies while I’m gone.  I will return to work on July 28 in time to prepare for outdoor worship in August.

    I also want to thank the leadership of St. John’s who are making this time possible.  Our Vestry Clerk Corrina Malamas is assisting with bulletins. Our Vestryperson and Altar Guild member Paula Wisneski will be making sure the worship space is prepared.  Our bookkeeper Pat Allan will be tending to the St. John’s phone and email messages.  And, of course, Terry Earles and the team of cantors will be helping to lead worship.  Please offer your assistance to these people and to our guest priests over the next few weeks.

    I will be sending an email to the St. John’s community next week to give more information about who to contact while I’m away.  And I will continue to keep you all in my prayers that you may also find time for your own rest this summer.

    In God’s love and mine, Rev. Michelle

    _______________________________________________________________

    Announcements for
    July 4, 2021

    Join the Blue Fridge Team: Interested in helping out with food security issues here in Kingston?  Join us as we gather to support the Blue Fridge, a community refrigerator on the grounds of Clinton Avenue Methodist Church in Midtown.  St. John’s is working with Congregation Emanuel to field a team of people who will volunteer and support this effort.  Interested?  Email Rev. Michelle directly at michelle.stjohnskingston@gmail.com.

    Annual Backpack Drive: We are delighted to be asked again by People’s Place again to assist with the distribution of school supplies.  Beginning this Sunday, July 4, bring your donations of backpacks to church and drop them off in the basket near the altar. If you’d like to give money to the effort, please place your donation in an envelope marked “School Supplies” or write “School Supplies” on your check. As we get closer to the start of school, look for more information on when you can volunteer to help out with the distribution.

    Coffee Hour Is Back!  So please sign-up to bring refreshments for after Sunday worship – cool drinks and snacks.  We’ll meet outside in the tent this summer for Sunday fellowship time.  See the bulletin board in the vestibule to sign-up to be a Sunday host.

    The Page Turners is St. John’s book club who meet every first Tuesday evening of the month for good discussion and good company.  Right now the group is meeting on Zoom and all are welcome to attend.  The selection for July 13 is ‘Humankind, A Hopeful History,” by Rutger Bregman.  There is no meeting in August and the group will resume on September 7.  Email or call Lynn Dennison for more information.

    Angel Food East is in need of volunteers on Thursdays: drivers and kitchen helpers are both needed.  Join a fun crew to help feed home bound people in our community.  Speak to Rev. Michelle or Lynn Dennison if you’re interested.

    Voices Heard: A series of panel discussions sponsored by the Reparations Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of New York.  This series of panel discussions organized by the Reparations Committee for the Diocese of New York intends to broaden awareness and deepen our understanding of the pressing topics of an intractable nature of systemic racism on education, health, economics, gender, policing and the criminal justice system, the church and more that negatively impact people of African heritage. Bringing experts, community organizers, civic leaders, clergy and laity into dialogue will help to inform us.  All panels will take place from 7:00–8:30 p.m. on Zoom.  Registration in advance is required for each individual Discussion.

    • Tuesday, July 6 – The Awakening of Unwoke People: Church, Religion and State
    • Tuesday, July 20 – Rectors of Color: Examining the Missed Opportunities of Deployment

    For more information or to register:   Webinar ~ Voices Heard: A Diocese Explores Pathways Toward Reparations – “Educational Opportunity Denied: The Legacy of Segregated Housing” (dioceseny.org)

    Have an announcement?
    Please send by Wednesday at noon to
    stjohnskingston@aol.com.

  3. June 25, 2021

    A Few Words About Masks from Rev. Michelle

    With the rates of vaccination so high in our region, we have been seeing a slow decline in the use of masks in public places.  This is a good thing!  And what a relief!  Yet, it can make us blind to the fact that there are many who, for various reasons, have not been able to be fully vaccinated.  And these people still need to protect themselves with masks.

    I’ve polled many of my friends who lead congregations from various states across the church and the majority of them are still requiring masks for indoor worship.  Some are not.  There is certainly no consensus.  Our own bishop, Andy Dietsche, has asked each congregation to decide how to move forward.  Of course, the issue is that the rules are different whether you are vaccinated or unvaccinated and this is not something to be overlooked.

    How we invite people to worship matters are great deal if we want to make sure everyone truly feels welcome at God’s Table.  Just like a few stairsteps can prevent people from coming into a building because they need a ramp, if we do not do what we can to welcome those who still need to wear masks, we may unwittingly create two classes of people.  To follow Christ means that we concern ourselves with whomever comes to the Table in our midst.  No one should feel estranged for any reason.

    This past Sunday, because of a few factors (it was exceedingly hot, the number of people worshipping was small enough, and everyone was spaced out), I invited people who were comfortable to do so to take off their masks.  Many people in the congregation did remove their masks, and several people decided to keep them on.  I didn’t ask why anyone made the decision they did but it’s clear to me that, as a congregation, we are not ready to be without masks completely.

    For the time being, I’m asking that everyone please continue to wear a mask to Sunday worship at 10:00 am.  For the next few Sundays, we will wait until the community is gathered before we discern whether it’s wise to invite people to remove masks.  I realize that it would be easier to say either “mask” or “no mask” but it’s just not that simple right now.

    My friends, the steps we are making as we gradually move out of this pandemic are heartening.  I’m extremely thankful that we are worshipping in-person and now I am glad, yet cautious, as we take this next step.  If you have any questions about this or would like to talk with me, please reach out to me.

    And thank you in advance for helping me to continue to ensure everyone is welcome at St. John’s.

    In God’s love and mine, Rev. Michelle

    ____________________________________________________________________________

    Thank you from Deacon Sue

    Thank you to all who participated in and attended my last Sunday as deacon at St. John’s on June 13th. I greatly appreciate your efforts in making it a day to remember. Thanks also to all who contributed to the Community Fund which will enable St. John’s to continue its social concerns ministry in new and broader ways. And finally, a big thank you to Michelle for her support and encouragement over the past 5 years. She continues to be a gift to us all as our priest, teacher, spiritual guide, pastor, and friend.

    With a grateful heart for my time spent with you, I send love and prayers for a safe and happy summer.

    Deacon Sue Bonsteel

     

    _______________________________________________________________________

    Announcements for
    June 27, 2021

    The Page Turners is the St. John’s book club who meet every first Tuesday evening of the month for good discussion and good company.  All are welcome to attend.  The selection for July 13 is ‘Humankind, A Hopeful History,” by Rutger Bregman. Email or call Lynn Dennison for more information.

    Finance Meeting: This Tuesday, June 29 at 6:30 pm the Finance Team begins the process of developing next year’s budget.  Interested in attending and learning more about church finance?  Email Rev. Michelle for the Zoom link.

    Angel Food East is in need of volunteers on Thursdays: drivers and kitchen helpers are both needed.  Join a fun crew to help feed home bound people in our community.  Speak to Rev. Michelle or Lynn Dennison if you’re interested.

    Voices Heard: A series of panel discussions sponsored by the Reparations Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of New York.  The legacy of the transatlantic slave trade is deeply entrenched in the structural systems and legislative actions that govern communities today. This series of panel discussions organized by the Reparations Committee for the Diocese of New York intends to broaden awareness and deepen our understanding of the pressing topics of an intractable nature of systemic racism on education, health, economics, gender, policing and the criminal justice system, the church and more that negatively impact people of African heritage. Bringing experts, community organizers, civic leaders, clergy and laity into dialogue will help to inform us and make commitments for engagement in our own communities as we prepare our cause for action in making recommendations for the task brought forth through Resolution regarding the Reparations Fund.  All panels will take place from 7:00–8:30 p.m. on Zoom.  Registration in advance is required for each individual Discussion.

    • Tuesday, July 6 – The Awakening of Unwoke People: Church, Religion and State
    • Tuesday, July 20 – Rectors of Color: Examining the Missed Opportunities of Deployment

    For more information or to register:   Webinar ~ Voices Heard: A Diocese Explores Pathways Toward Reparations – “Educational Opportunity Denied: The Legacy of Segregated Housing” (dioceseny.org)

  4. June 10, 2021

    In-person AND Online: Celebrating Deacon Sue’s Ministry This Sunday

    This coming Sunday, June 13, please join us in honoring Deacon Sue by attending worship so we may celebrate her ministry among us.  Bishop Mary Glasspool, the Assistant Bishop of the Diocese of New York, will be with us as Deacon Sue serves on her final Sunday at St. John’s. Afterwards, we will have a party on the lawn with refreshments to continue the celebration.

    You may attend the celebration in one of 3 ways: in-person, via Zoom, and through Facebook Live.

    1. Attending in-person? We have with limited seating capacity due to the pandemic but please don’t let that sway you from coming.  Click here: We ask that everyone RSVP by using this form to let us know that you will be coming to worship on June 13.  We want to be sure we have the sanctuary space to accommodate all who are planning to come.
    2. Attending via Zoom?  Please click here to go to the St. John’s website where you will find the link for the Zoom room as well as the bulletin for the service.  The room will open approximately 15 minutes before we begin.
    3. Attending through Facebook Live?  If you’d like to view the worship service through Facebook, please click here to go to the St. John’s Kingston Facebook page where you can view the video.  The video will begin approximately 15 minutes before we begin.

     

    And please don’t forget to donate to the Deacon Bonsteel Community Advocacy Fund. This fund will support St. John’s ongoing mission of advocating for social justice by assisting individuals with the costs of training and travel in the ministry of social justice activism and advocacy. With this fund, St. John’s is intentionally carrying forth Sue’s diaconal ministry and ensuring that it will continue.  To help us honor Deacon Sue, we hope that you will give generously to this fund.  You can send a check to the church or bring it with you to worship on June 13.  Everything that goes into our collection plate that day will go into this fund.  You may also use Paypal by clicking here.  Be sure to note: Deacon Bonsteel Community Advocacy Fund.

    See you on Sunday!

    ______________________________________________________________________

    Please Excuse the Hopeful Dust!

    Dear Ones:  It’s been a busy week here on the campus of St. John’s.  Two major projects have been started and completed and a third has just begun.

    First, the Rectory garage needed some repair.  Water had been draining off of the roof rather than flowing into the gutters, damaging the wood at the bottom of the walls.  Bob Dennison found a great contractor to work with to do the repair work and realign the gutters so the problem doesn’t return.  It was quite loud outside the Rectory for a few mornings but it’s all worth it to have this maintenance work completed.  Well done!

    Second, as we announced on Sunday last week, Radio Kingston asked us to work with Central Hudson to help get energy into the grid from their solar farm that sits behind the Rectory.  Central Hudson needed to lay cables underground in the sidelawn of the church (see the announcement below for a fuller description).  And, although their work was delayed by rain a few times as well as an issue with the gas line, Central Hudson has worked with us and Angel Food East to ensure that we have 100% access when we really need it.  The yard will look a bit un-yard-like for a while until the grass seed takes hold, but this project is an important one for the community of Kingston and we’ve been blessed by being a part of it.

    Finally, as we have been discussing for quite a while, the crumbling in some places along the interior walls of our sanctuary has pointed to an issue with some places around the roof.  The roof itself is just fine, but where the roof connects to various places in the building we’re seeing water leak in.  So, we’ve hired architect Marilyn Kaplan of Preservation Architecture, who has worked with Episcopal churches throughout the area to correct issues with their buildings.  Marilyn has started her work, taking measurements and pictures of the building so she can create a set of architectural drawings, and will be returning throughout the summer to continue this work.  The Vestry is excited to have begun this project after a few years of conversation.  Look for more information coming soon about this project!

    So please excuse the dust as we do some important and hopeful work, using our resources to maintain our beautiful building and offer our space to assist the larger community of Kingston at the same time.  These are hopeful actions on the part of the parish because it means that we believe in the future of St. John’s and the mission we have in this place.  Thank you!

    In God’s love and mine, Rev. Michelle

     

    ____________________________________________________________________

    Announcements for
    June 13, 2021

     

    What’s going on with the sidelawn? Earlier this year, we were contacted by Radio Kingston to help with a project.  As many of you know, the radio tower behind the Rectory belongs to Radio Kingston as St. John’s sold them the land many years ago.  When the pandemic began last year, Radio Kingston started up a Community Fund to help people with needs – like utility bills and rent.  St. John’s contributed to that fund last year.  What they discovered is that most of the requests they received for help were to pay for Central Hudson bills.  By thinking outside the box, they realized that there was a more economical way to use their resources – build a solar farm on the land around the radio tower.  And so they did.  Go and check it out behind the Rectory sometime!  With this solar farm, Radio Kingston will receive credits for adding energy into the grid and then use those credits to help people in need to pay their electric bill.  What a great idea, right?  Here’s where we come in:  In order to connect the right kinds of cables, they needed to put them underground.  So, St. John’s granted an easement to Central Hudson to dig up our sidelawn and bury the cables.  It will take a few months for the grass to grow back but what a wonderful way (and easy) to share our space and resources with the larger Kingston community!  A blessing offered and a blessing received.

    The Page Turners is the St. John’s book club who meet every first Tuesday evening of the month for good discussion and good company.  All are welcome to attend.  For June 8, the book is, ‘The Midnight Library’, by Matthew Haig and the selection for July 13 is ‘Humankind, A Hopeful History,” by Rutger Bregman. Email or call Lynn Dennison for more information.

    Voices Heard: A series of panel discussions sponsored by the Reparations Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of New York.  The legacy of the transatlantic slave trade is deeply entrenched in the structural systems and legislative actions that govern communities today. This series of panel discussions organized by the Reparations Committee for the Diocese of New York intends to broaden awareness and deepen our understanding of the pressing topics of an intractable nature of systemic racism on education, health, economics, gender, policing and the criminal justice system, the church and more that negatively impact people of African heritage. Bringing experts, community organizers, civic leaders, clergy and laity into dialogue will help to inform us and make commitments for engagement in our own communities as we prepare our cause for action in making recommendations for the task brought forth through Resolution regarding the Reparations Fund.  All panels will take place from 7:00–8:30 p.m. on Zoom.  Registration in advance is required for each individual Discussion.

    • Tuesday, June 22 – Reaching For a Better Tomorrow: The Work and Mission of Hudson Link Working For Higher Education in Prison
    • Tuesday, July 6 – The Awakening of Unwoke People: Church, Religion and State
    • Tuesday, July 20 – Rectors of Color: Examining the Missed Opportunities of Deployment

    For more information or to register:   dioceseny.org/organizer/reparations-committee

    Have an announcement?
    Please send by Wednesday at noon to
    stjohnskingston@aol.com.

  5. May 20, 2021

    Reminders for In-person Worship at St. John’s: From Rev. Michelle

    The recent announcement from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has muddied the waters in many ways and created a problematic situation for houses of worship, especially those of us who wish to be inclusive and ensure everyone feels welcome at God’s Table.  For now we will observe all previously announced safety protocols at St. John’s.  The leadership will assess the need to continue utilizing them as we move forward and as the pandemic’s grip on us continues to lessen. 

    Sundays at 10:00 am
    Thank you in advance for observing the following guidelines for in-person worship:

    • Enter and exit through the front door if you are able to.  The ramp entrance is reserved only for those who need to use it.
    • Everyone must wear a mask over nose and mouth while in the building.
    • A 6 ft. distance must be kept by people at all times.  The sanctuary has been marked off to assist with this.
    • We will continue to have a cantor lead our singing and the congregation may sing but not at full voice.  We are not yet ready to have the choir sing together.
    • We will have Eucharist in bread only and the bread will only be handled by Rev. Michelle, including before service begins.
    • Everyone will be encouraged to leave the building immediately after worship.  People may gather outside to have conversations.  We will not have coffee hour until further notice.  NOTE: We will have food outside under tents on June 13th when we celebrate Deacon Sue’s ministry.
    • No one may enter the kitchen or the parish hall until further notice so we can reduce the traffic and continue to keep the volunteers of Angel Food East as safe as possible.
    Here is the current schedule for Worship and Programming at St. John’s:
    • Sundays at 10:00 am will be in-person only.
    • For the time being, we will hold a Sunday morning Zoom service at 8:00 am.  We will assess the need to continue later this summer.
    • Tuesday Compline at 9:00 pm and Wednesday Centering Prayer at 5:45 pm will continue as online services.
    • NEW: We are canceling Friday Morning Prayer.

    If you have questions or concerns about changes to the worship pattern, please contact Rev. Michelle.

     

    ____________________________________________________________________________

    The Incredible Ministry of the Vestry

    Dear Ones:  The Vestry of St. John’s is a deeply faithful group of people who meet most months throughout the year in order to discern how to best utilize our temporal assets to support our mission.  I’m always impressed by the wisdom and care demonstrated by these individuals and how they work together as a ministry team.

    We realize we need to communicate more with everyone at St. John’s about the Vestry’s work.  To that end, our newly installed Clerk of the Vestry, Corrina Malamas, will be providing recaps after each Vestry meeting that summarize the discussions and decisions made in the monthly meeting so please look for these in future newsletters and be sure to contact one of the Vestry members if you have any questions.  And don’t forget to thank them for their ministry!

    In God’s love and mine, Rev. Michelle

    For the month of May, here is the Vestry Meeting Recap:

    • In April, the Vestry voted to hire Preservation Architecture to do a full building assessment for our upcoming building project.  At the May meeting, the Vestry began putting together a team to begin planning for the capital campaign portion of this project. This also includes researching for potential grant money from the Diocese.
    • Another team was created to fully develop a rental plan for the building, and the kitchen, in particular. The goal is to begin renting the kitchen sometime this fall and develop a stream of income.
    • The vestry voted on two items. The first item was the approval of a contract with KCBL Carpentry to repair the sill plates in the rectory garage. The work is required due to deterioration along the base of the garage. The second vote was to re-join the Mid-Hudson Fuel Buying Co-Op, a group which allows us to negotiate the best possible fuel prices for the winter.
    • Finally, the Vestry is beginning the work of creating a contact tree to direct questions to designated individuals. This will include asking parishioners to volunteer, so if there’s an area you would like to cover for the contact tree, please contact Rev. Michelle at michelle.stjohnskingston@gmail.com

    _______________________________________________________________________

    Announcements for
    May 23, 2021

     

    Save the Date:  Celebrating the Ministry of Deacon Sue Bonsteel as she retires from active diaconal ministry.  Sunday, June 13 – worship at 10:00 am in the Sanctuary and afterwards, we will have a party on the lawn in her honor.  Look for an email invitation with more details this coming week!

    Summer Yardwork and Gardening Team: If you’re interested in helping keep the parish grounds looking great all summer, now’s your chance.  We’re putting together a rota of people to help with mowing, trimming, garden tending, and miscellaneous jobs.  Contact Rev. Michelle and let her know what job(s) you prefer and if you have vacation scheduled between June 1 and October 1.

    George Floyd Memorial Liturgy: May 25 marks the one-year anniversary of the murder of George Floyd, which ignited a worldwide racial reckoning. You are invited to join Episcopalians in an online liturgy of prayerful commemoration at 8:00 pm EST.  Bishops from six dioceses will lead the liturgy, including a reflection by Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, a Prayer of Lament from George Floyd Square in Minneapolis, an “Act of Remembrance” from Ferguson, Missouri, and prayers from Washington, DC.  You are invited to participate virtually with prayers and postings on social media in conjunction with the service.
    For more information: Commemoration of George Floyd – Episcopal News Service

    Organ Recitals Featuring Terry Earles: Old Dutch Church in uptown Kingston has refurbished their organ and has asked our Director of Music to help celebrate by offering his ministry of musicianship.  On May 30 at 3:00 pm, Terry will perform in honor of Mary Mine.  And on June 5 at 12:00 noon Terry will perform as a part of the Old Dutch Fine Arts Program.

    Forward Day by Day The new devotional books are here to support your daily prayer and reflection for the months of May, June, and July.  Available in both pocket-sized and large print.  You can pick them up in the sanctuary next to the bulletins or email Rev. Michelle at michelle.stjohnskingston@gmail.com to receive one.

    Flower Memorial Dates Available!  The dates are April 25th, July 18th, September 6th and October 31.  If you’d like to have a date to honor someone, you can contact Elaine Lawrence at 845-532-6585 or by email at eslawrenc@aol.com.

    The Page Turners is the St. John’s book club who meet every first Tuesday evening of the month for good discussion and good company.  All are welcome to attend.  For June 8, the book is, ‘The Midnight Library’, by Matthew Haig and the selection for July 13 is ‘Humankind, A Hopeful History,” by Rutger Bregman. Email or call Lynn Dennison for more information.

    Voices Heard: A series of panel discussions sponsored by the Reparations Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of New York.  The legacy of the transatlantic slave trade is deeply entrenched in the structural systems and legislative actions that govern communities today. This series of panel discussions organized by the Reparations Committee for the Diocese of New York intends to broaden awareness and deepen our understanding of the pressing topics of an intractable nature of systemic racism on education, health, economics, gender, policing and the criminal justice system, the church and more that negatively impact people of African heritage. Bringing experts, community organizers, civic leaders, clergy and laity into dialogue will help to inform us and make commitments for engagement in our own communities as we prepare our cause for action in making recommendations for the task brought forth through Resolution regarding the Reparations Fund.  All panels will take place from 7:00–8:30 p.m. on Zoom.  Registration in advance is required for each individual Discussion.

    • Tuesday, May 25 – Educational Opportunity Denied: The Legacy of Segregated Housing
    • Tuesday, June 8 – Medical Apartheid and Systemic Racism
    • Tuesday, June 22 – Reaching For a Better Tomorrow: The Work and Mission of Hudson Link Working For Higher Education in Prison
    • Tuesday, July 6 – The Awakening of Unwoke People: Church, Religion and State
    • Tuesday, July 20 – Rectors of Color: Examining the Missed Opportunities of Deployment

    For more information or to register:   Webinar ~ Voices Heard: A Diocese Explores Pathways Toward Reparations – “Educational Opportunity Denied: The Legacy of Segregated Housing” (dioceseny.org)

  6. May 14, 2021

    New Worship Pattern Announced – We’re back in the building on Sundays!

    For 14 months, we have waited for the day when it was deemed safe to return to in-person worship.  St. John’s is excited to announce that on May 23, when we celebrate the Feast of Pentecost, the following change to our worship pattern will take place.  Please read below for all the details.

    • Sundays at 10:00 will be in-person only.
    • A Sunday Zoom-only worship service will be scheduled for those who need to remain on Zoom.  The exact time of this service will be announced by Friday, May 21.
    • All weekday services will continue online-only for now – Tuesday Compline, Wednesday Centering Prayer, and Friday Morning Prayer.

    Sundays at 10:00 am
    This will be a full Eucharistic in-person worship service in the St. John’s Sanctuary, observing all safety protocols.  We will NOT be broadcasting this service online in any way.  You may wish to review the Space Use Guidelines for St. John’s: COVID-19 Response – St. John’s Kingston (stjohnskingston.org).  Following are some important bullet points:

      • Please enter and exit through the front door if you are able to.  The ramp entrance is reserved only for those who need to use it.
      • Everyone must wear a mask over nose and mouth while in the building.
      • A 6 ft. distance must be kept by people at all times.  The sanctuary has been marked off to assist with this.
      • We will continue to have a cantor lead our singing and the congregation may sing but not at full voice.  We are not yet ready to have the choir sing together.
      • We will have Eucharist in bread only and the bread will only be handled by Rev. Michelle, including before service begins.
      • Everyone will be encouraged to leave the building immediately after worship.  People may gather outside to have conversations.  We will not have coffee hour until further notice.  NOTE: We will have food outside under tents on June 13th when we celebrate Deacon Sue’s ministry.
      • No one may enter the kitchen or the parish hall until further notice so we can reduce the traffic and continue to keep the volunteers of Angel Food East as safe as possible.

    Sundays Zoom-only
    Zoom worship will be offered for those who still need to worship online for whatever reason.  We are still deciding the exact time.  This second service will be provided until the end of the summer at which time we will reassess the need for its continuance.  NOTE: The one caveat to this is on June 13th when there will be one worship service at 10:00 am to celebrate Deacon Sue’s ministry and her final Sunday as the deacon of St. John’s.  We will broadcast this service via Zoom for those who cannot attend in person.  If you intend to worship via Zoom, please use this link to help us decide if this service should be held at 8:00 am or 11:30 am: 2021 Summer Zoom Worship – Vote here – St. John’s Kingston (stjohnskingston.org)

    Weekday Services
    Throughout the pandemic, the weekday services have been an important way to help members of our community stay connected.  We added Compline on Tuesday nights at 9:00 pm and Morning Prayer on Fridays at 8:15 am.  For now, these will continue.

    We’ve had a group meet for Centering Prayer since 2018 and when the pandemic hit, we moved this service online.  Throughout these 14 months, the community that has been formed by this service is a dispersed group – Arizona, Maryland, different parts of New York, and sometimes Ohio.  So, we will continue Centering Prayer as an online-only service.

    If you have questions or concerns about changes to the worship pattern, please contact Rev. Michelle.

    _______________________________________________________________________________

    Returning to the Building: Re-membering the Body of Christ

    Dear Ones:  It was the first week of March 2020 when we began to understand the full impact of what was coming as covid-19 spread with alarming speed across our country and as our region became a center of the outbreak.  Within a week, our bishop Andy Dietsche ordered us to cease in-person worship and we, along with so many other congregations all over the world, began to worship in new ways.

    First, allow me to say that I’m so grateful and deeply moved by how our community of St. John’s adapted to worshipping on Zoom, especially as we experienced “technical difficulties” along the way.  Really, thank you for making the journey.  I’m also aware that, for many of us, “zoom worship” was not a viable option for many different reasons.  And I completely understand.  For me, personally, Zoom has been an extremely helpful and necessary support in a deep time of need, but it cannot ever really replace in-person worship.

    So, as I announced in my sermon this past Sunday, it is time to come back.  It’s time to renew our community by re-membering ourselves as the Body of Christ.  It’s been 14 months now, and I’m really looking forward to being with you in person!  We will be in-person for Eucharist every Sunday at 10:00 in the St. John’s sanctuary.  Please read the notes on safety protocols above.  And, because we know that some people will feel a need to stay on Zoom, we will offer a second Sunday service (time TBA) through the summer.

    Why not a hybrid service?  When the leadership of St. John’s discussed this change, we also discussed the possibility of a hybrid service (broadcasting the in-person worship via Zoom/Facebook).  Here’s why we decided that, for our community, hybrid worship is not a viable option:  We tried it in the fall for several weeks and it never worked well.  And, as so many other congregations are learning, in order to offer a good experience of hybrid worship, we would need more financial, technical, and human resources than St. John’s feels called to allocate for this undertaking.  Instead, we believe we are called to focus our resources on the repairs we need to make to our building, the changes we are called to bring about as we make our space more accessible, and on actively reaching out to the large number of people who moved to Kingston during the pandemic.

    I know the thought of being in-person brings with it some sense of uncertainty and anxiety, even if you are looking forward to it.  It’s perfectly natural to feel this way and please know that I’m feeling it too.  If you’d like to talk about this, please contact me.  My door is open.

    For this week, let us give thanks for this amazing tool called Zoom that has given us a way to be together while we are apart, and to all those who have made worshipping over Zoom possible and sometimes even enjoyable.

    In God’s love and mine, Rev. Michelle

    _______________________________________________________________________________

    Announcements for May 16, 2021

    THIS SUNDAY: The Pastoral Care Team meets after worship at 12:00 noon via Zoom.  See the bulletin for the link to join.

    NEXT WEEK: Beginning on May 23 at 10:00 am, the Feast of Pentecost, we will be in-person only.  Join us in the sanctuary for worship as our 10:00 worship will not be broadcast on Zoom or Facebook any longer.  If you need to continue worshipping online, look for an announcement this coming week for a separate Sunday morning Zoom service, exact time TBA.  Questions?  Contact Rev. Michelle.

    Save the Date:  Celebrating the Ministry of Deacon Sue Bonsteel as she retires from active diaconal ministry.  Sunday, June 13 – worship at 10:00 am in the Sanctuary and afterwards, we will have a party on the lawn in her honor.  Look for an email invitation with more details this coming week!

    Organ Recitals Featuring Terry Earles: Old Dutch Church in uptown Kingston has refurbished their organ and has asked our Director of Music to help celebrate by offering his ministry of musicianship.  On May 30 at 3:00 pm, Terry will perform in honor of Mary Mine.  And on June 5 at 12:00 noon Terry will perform as a part of the Old Dutch Fine Arts Program.

    Forward Day by Day The new devotional books are here to support your daily prayer and reflection for the months of May, June, and July.  Available in both pocket-sized and large print.  Email Rev. Michelle to claim a copy at michelle.stjohnskingston@gmail.com

    Flower Memorial Dates Available!  The dates are April 25th, July 18th, September 6th and October 31.  If you’d like to have a date to honor someone, you can contact Elaine Lawrence at 845-532-6585 or by email at eslawrenc@aol.com.

    The Page Turners is the St. John’s book club who meet every first Tuesday evening of the month for good discussion and good company.  All are welcome to attend.  For June 8, the book is, ‘The Midnight Library’, by Matthew Haig.  Email or call Lynn Dennison for more information.

    Have an announcement for the bulletin?
    Please send by Wednesday at noon to
    stjohnskingston@aol.com.

  7. May 6, 2021

    Reflecting on 2 Decades (and then some!) of Ordained Ministry:
    A Note from Deacon Sue

    When Michelle asked if I would write a few paragraphs about my upcoming retirement on June 13, I felt my heart skip a beat. What could I possibly say after 23 years of active ministry? Except for a period of time when I served first at St. Paul’s, Poughkeepsie and then Christ the King, Stone Ridge, I have have been blessed to be “your” deacon for 19 years.

    I say this because, historically, this has not always been the case in other dioceses where deacons are assigned to other parishes every few years. But when I was ordained in 1998, the practice in the Diocese of New York allowed for a deacon to remain in their home congregation. So I have indeed been blessed to be among you for such a long time.

    While I look forward to retirement, I know that the transition from active ministry will be a challenge. Service has been my life’s work and I will miss so many aspects of church ministry. I would never have believed that I would one day be actively involved in establishing Angel Food East or a death row ministry or an active Episcopal Peace Fellowship chapter. Together we marched in Albany with our friends in the Rural & Migrant Ministry, participated as members of New Yorkers Against the Death Penalty, supported Everytown for Gun Safety/Moms Demand Action, tolled our bell whenever there was an execution to bring attention to capital punishment, and worked on civil rights issues. We collected hundreds of notebooks and pens for jail inmates, donated backpacks, Christmas toys and food for Peoples Place, and supplied toys and clothing for the Darmstadt Shelter. We formed inter-generational teams that joined the annual CROP Hunger Walk and the  Relay for Life at Dietz Stadium to support the fight against cancer. And of course the parish came together for fundraisers and community events like the Summer Fair and BBQ, the Harvest Ham Dinner, and mid-winter soup sales. So many happy memories of fellowship and outreach to the community!

    So what comes next for me? First, rest and then some travel. It will be good to have time to see distant relatives and friends after the long period of covid restrictions. As for church, several of you have asked if I will be able to attend St. John’s after my retirement. No, I will be worshipping elsewhere for the next year. It will be an opportunity to visit my deacon colleagues and other congregations in the area. Roger however can remain active at St. John’s. And the good news is, when I return to St. John’s in the future, you will find me sitting right next to you in the pews.

    Finally, I am incredibly grateful to have served alongside so many wonderful lay people and members of the clergy over the years. You have supported and encouraged me and even brought me to task when I needed it. We have laughed and cried together. You have invited me into your lives and homes and that in itself is a special blessing that I have never taken for granted. Thank you, dear friends.

    Deacon Sue

    _______________________________________________________________________________

    Celebrating Deacon Sue’s Ministry

    Dear Ones:  It’s been such a blessing to be leading you all in ministry alongside Deacon Sue.  She has such a generous heart and is a clear-minded colleague who offers a depth of wisdom to every conversation she’s a part of.  I will miss her regular presence more than you can imagine.  And now it’s time to celebrate her diaconal ministry of 23 years.

    On Sunday, June 13th Deacon Sue will serve as “our” deacon for the last time at St. John’s.  An official email invitation will go out to everyone on the St. John’s mailing list next week so please look for it in your email.

    Bishop Mary Glasspool will be with us on June 13 to preach and preside over worship.  Afterwards, we will have food and beverages in our tent on the lawn.  And plans are being made to create a fund in Deacon Sue’s name so that we may continue her diaconal ministry here at St. John’s.  I so look forward to when she can rejoin us after her time away and witnessing how her baptismal ministry will unfold.

    I sincerely hope everyone in the parish will make it a point to be there.  Deacon Sue has given so much of herself to St. John’s in service to Christ and I believe we all want to let her know just how much she has meant and will continue to mean to all of us.  So let us offer a blessing upon her, as she has been a blessing for us as individuals and for the entire community of St. John’s.

    In God’s love and mine, Rev. Michelle

    _______________________________________________________________________________

    Announcements for May 9, 2021

    NEXT WEEK: The Pastoral Care Team meets after worship at 12:00 noon via Zoom.

    Shifting Worship Patterns: Look for an announcement this coming week from Rev. Michelle that will detail a shift in our worship pattern beginning on the Feast of Pentecost – May 23.

    Organ Recitals Featuring Terry Earles: Old Dutch Church in uptown Kingston has refurbished their organ and has asked our Director of Music to help celebrate by offering his ministry of musicianship.  On May 30 at 3:00 pm, Terry will perform in honor of Mary Mine.  And on June 5 at 12:00 noon Terry will perform as a part of the Old Dutch Fine Arts Program.

    Forward Day by Day The new devotional books are here to support your daily prayer and reflection for the months of May, June, and July.  Available in both pocket-sized and large print.  Email Rev. Michelle to claim a copy at michelle.stjohnskingston@gmail.com

    Flower Memorial Dates Available!  The dates are April 25th, July 18th, September 6th and October 31.  If you’d like to have a date to honor someone, you can contact Elaine Lawrence at 845-532-6585 or by email at eslawrenc@aol.com.

    The Page Turners is the St. John’s book club who meet every first Tuesday evening of the month for good discussion and good company.  All are welcome to attend.  For June 8, the book is, ‘The Midnight Library’, by Matthew Haig.  Email or call Lynn Dennison for more information.

    Have an announcement for the bulletin?
    Please send by Wednesday at noon to
    stjohnskingston@aol.com.

  8. April 22, 2021

    Parish Clean-up Day!

    We’ve brought winter to a close and are looking forward as spring opens us up to being outdoors once again.  It’s particularly poignant this spring after this past year of pandemic distancing.  So, it’s the perfect time to gather outside and help clean things up around the parish grounds.  This means YOU!

    Please join us this Saturday between 9 am and 12:00 noon for Parish Clean-up Day.  The weather looks to be perfect for outdoors work – a little cool and partly sunny.  If you need a ride, contact Rev. Michelle and we’ll make arrangements to get you here and get you home.

    We will be raking leaves, clearing pine cones, cleaning up the Memorial Garden, sweeping the parking lot, and more.  Jobs for everyone, including a few indoors!  Whatever time you can give is greatly appreciated.  Bring work gloves, a rake, and water. And please remember to wear a mask.

    See you Saturday morning!

    _______________________________________________________________________________

    On Hope and Justice

    Dear Ones: The entire country has been glued to the trial in which a Minneapolis police officer was charged with murder in the death of George Floyd.  As I write this, of course, the verdict has already come back – guilty on all counts.

    It’s hard to call this a celebratory moment.  There is nothing to celebrate in someone’s death and the conviction of another.  But I think there is something in this moment that we can point to as hopeful.

    Hope is found in the shift that this conviction points to, the larger movement called Black Lives Matter.  People all across this nation have been working hard to push for change and call attention to the evil perpetrated on People of Color in the name of “justice.”  This shift is monumental and this conviction is not the end.  It’s a marker, a signpost, that tells us all that systemic change is possible.

    With every cell of my being, I believe that Christ lives in the Black Lives Matter movement and that, if we stay true to this course, actual and real justice will “roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream” (Amos 5:24).  For justice is not about revenge and punishment.  Rather, “justice is what love looks like in public.” (Cornel West, theologian).

    Let us pray that God continues to give us the strength and the wisdom to continue this work and the courage to move even more deeply into the call for God’s justice.

    In God’s love and mine, Rev. Michelle

    _______________________________________________________________________________

    Announcements for April 25, 2021

    Forward Day by Day The new devotional books are here to support your daily prayer and reflection for the months of May, June, and July.  Available in both pocket-sized and large print.  Email Rev. Michelle to claim a copy at michelle.stjohnskingston@gmail.com

    Flower Memorial Dates Available!  The dates are April 25th, July 18th, September 6th and October 31.  If you’d like to have a date to honor someone, you can contact Elaine Lawrence at 845-532-6585 or by email at eslawrenc@aol.com.

    The Page Turners is the St. John’s book club who meet every first Tuesday evening of the month for good discussion and good company.  All are welcome to attend.  For May 4, we are reading ‘American Dirt’, by Jeanine Cummins.  For June 8, the book is, ‘The Midnight Library’, by Matthew Haig.  Email or call Lynn Dennison for more information.

    Have an announcement for the bulletin?
    Please send by Wednesday at noon to
    stjohnskingston@aol.com.

  9. March 27, 2021

    Holy Week at St. John’s

    As Christians, the story of Holy Week is of primary importance in understanding our relationship with God and one another because it prepares us for Easter and the Feast of the Resurrection.  The only other celebration to receive such emphasis in our tradition is Christmas.

    The balance of both narratives is vital to our Christian faith:  Christmas, or the Feast of the Incarnation, re-minds us of our deeply holy nature, knit together to be God’s own creation in the world.  While the Resurrection re-members us as a body, calling us into deeper relationship with one another, to share the Love that is Christ with the entire world, as the Body of Christ.

    The Paschal (Easter) Triduum is one continuous liturgy held over the course of 3 days whose purpose is to help us experience this deeply moving story of our faith in ways that inspire our hearts to continue to open to its truth – that violence is never the last word.  Love is.  God’s Love is always and forever the Christ who tramples death and raises us from our worldly graves and tombs of fear and hatred.

    Especially this year, after this time of great stress in our society and the devastation and grief caused by a global pandemic, our participation in this 3-day liturgy will be particularly meaningful.  As a community, we engage in a movement that begins with the theme of love and service, leads us through desolation and fear, until we finally arrive in the hope of God’s salvation.  This movement is so important for us to recall because it’s so easy to get lost in fear and anxiety.  This 3-part liturgy is designed to deepen our faith and strengthen us for our path.

    Maundy Thursday: April 1 at 6:00 pm.  We honor the last supper by focusing on the themes of service and love, ending with the Stripping of the Altar.

    The Watch in the Garden of Gethsemane is long-standing tradition at St. John’s where people are invited to keep vigil in the Garden along with Jesus in his last hours.  You can log on at any time after the end of the Maundy Thursday service up until 12:00 midnight to sit in contemplation.  Meditations are available where you find the Zoom links.

    Good Friday: April 2 at 1:00 pm.  We reflect on the devastation wrought in this world through human sin.

    The Great Vigil of Easter: April 3 at 8:00 pm.  We listen to the great stories of God’s salvation from scripture and awaken to the love that is Christ present in the world.

    Easter Sunday Festival Worship: April 4 at 10:00 am.  This year’s presider and preacher is the Rt. Rev. Mary Glasspool.

    All services will be held over Zoom and broadcast onto Facebook.
    Go to: stjohnskingston.org/online-streaming-worship for the Zoom links.
    Rooms will open 20 minutes prior to worship.

    A note regarding bulletins:
    Those who signed-up for Holy Week Bags will have received a booklet for the Pascal Triduum, but will need to download the Sunday bulletins for both Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday.
    For those who did NOT sign up for Holy Week Bags, separate bulletins will be available for download for each Triduum service on the website.

    _______________________________________________________________________________

    Returning and Gratitude

    Dear Ones:  I’m so humbled and grateful for your prayers, love, and support over the past few weeks while Ana and I “encountered” this death-dealing virus called covid.  Thank you.  Thank you.  Thank you.  Beautiful cards coming in the mail.  Food dropped off at our door.  Flowers and “get well” balloons arriving.  And all the prayers flooding us – both Ana and I could feel we were being prayed for.  Thank you, my beloved friends, from both of us.

    Ana has been home now a couple of days.  She was in the hospital a total of 10 days so her rehabilitation will be long as she gets used to using her muscles and joints again and rebuilds her endurance.  But we’re getting everything straightened out and, although it’s hard for her to see it sometimes, she really is getting better every day.

    I am getting better too, although my doctor yelled at me for doing laundry last week because she thought it was too strenuous.  Turns out she was right.  I get tired very easily… and that’s NOT an easy thing for me to admit to.  So, I’ve reduced my hours and my workload as I tend to both Ana and myself in our recovery.

    Thankfully, the Rev. Canon Jeanne Person, from the diocesan staff has agreed to be with us for Holy Week.  She will be preaching and presiding this Sunday for our Palm Sunday celebration.  As many of you know, I was on a diocesan staff before coming to St. John’s and it was always very meaningful when I could walk through Holy Week with one congregation.  So, I’m pleased to welcome Canon Jeanne to St. John’s to help us celebrate.  I know it means as much to her as it does to us that she is with us.

    I will be joining you all again in worship beginning on Maundy Thursday and will share preaching and presiding responsibilities with Canon Jeanne for the Pascal Triduum (Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and the Great Vigil).  And then we will have Bp. Mary Glasspool with us (via Zoom) for Easter Sunday.  What a gift!  And such loving support from our diocese as I recover from this horrible virus.

    Finally, I cannot thank our leadership enough for making sure things kept moving – Lynn Dennison and Claudette Ford, our Wardens… for everything.  Cathe Decker and Cathy Whittaker, who have been leading our weekday services.  The Rev. Alison Quin for preaching and presiding last week.  Terry Earles for being flexible and pastoral in his service to you all.  Laura Ricci, Cathe Decker and our Vestry members for leading in various ways. And, as always, Deacon Sue who jumped in the deep end to keep everyone connected and has pulled together a group of people to produce some truly beautiful Holy Week Bags!

    We will be getting back to “normal” (whatever that means in a pandemic) during the Easter Season as I slowly resume my duties.

    Again, thank you all so much for your prayers, your support, and your love.  Hope remains and Love is always the last word.

    In God’s love and mine, Rev. Michelle

    _______________________________________________________________________________

    Announcements for March 28, 2021

    The Clothing Shed is open again!  Yes, the clothing shed in our parking lot is open again.  Please let everyone know that they can drop off clothing and housewares (textiles only!).  Everything needs to be in a sealed bag and every bit helps to raise money for St. John’s.

    The Page Turners Book Club:  For April 6th we are reading “Apeirogon,” by Colum McCann. We meet at 7 pm, by Zoom, for about an hour. Contact Lynn Dennison for more information at: radennison@aol.com

    Holy Week Schedule of Services

    • Palm Sunday: March 28 at 10:00 am.  The Rev. Canon Jeanne Person preaching and presiding.
    • The Pascal Triduum – The Rev. Michelle Meech and the Rev. Canon Jeanne Person will share preaching and presiding duties for this 3-day liturgy.
      • Maundy Thursday: April 1 at 6:00 pm
                  “Vigil in Gethsemane” held online until 12:00 midnight
      • Good Friday: April 2 at 1:00 pm
      • The Great Vigil of Easter at 8:00 pm
    • Easter Sunday: April 4 at 10:00 am.  The Rt. Rev. Mary Glasspool preaching and presiding.  Rev. Michelle will be in attendance.

     

    Have an announcement for the bulletin?
    Please send by Wednesday at noon to
    stjohnskingston@aol.com.

  10. March 5, 2021

    The St. John’s Prayer Chain

    Being a member of a Prayer Chain is a sacred and life-giving ministry.  As Christians, we are all called to pray for one another and members of a Prayer Chain are those who keep prayers going when so many of us get distracted.  They keep us all connected to one another through a belief in prayer as that connection.  Intercessory prayer is an active response to the life of the community and is a reminder to us that God is the ground of our being.

    Different people use different bodily positions for prayer—always using what helps them to feel centered, whether that be kneeling or sitting, standing or walking.  Some light a candle or handle beads or wear a prayer shawl.  Because we’re often so distracted, some people find it helpful to focus their concentration before they begin to pray – perhaps closing their eyes or taking long, slow, deep breaths.

    But always, the most important thing about prayer is to begin with an orientation of gratitude.  Because it is to God we pray, our creator and the ground of our being, an orientation of gratitude brings us into a deeper awareness of the gift of life itself and, therefore, just how precious and mysterious we all are.

    So if you’d like to join the St. John’s Prayer Chain, please contact the Prayer Chain Moderator, Cathe Decker.  She will add you to the list of people who receive Prayer Chain requests.  You can email her at: stjohnsprayerchain9@gmail.com.

    _______________________________________________________________________________

    Tending Our Light

    Our weekly offering of goodness to help keep our spirits buoyed and our mental health on track through the darker months of winter.

    This is a repeat of the note from last week because, even though the vaccine is becoming more widely available, there is still a great deal of anxiety and “not knowing” as we start to look at the end of this time of confinement and restriction and fear.  Trusting our public spaces again is going to be challenging and we’re all still going through so much from the economic fallout personal losses.

    Support groups bring together individuals who are facing similar issues, whether that be an illness, relationship problem, or major life changes. Members of support groups often share their experiences and advice. It can be helpful just getting to talk with other people who are in the same situation.

    The Mental Health Association of Ulster County offers a variety of free support groups. These groups are free and open to everyone in the community. Currently we have a variety of open drop-in groups as well as Anger Management Classes, and Eating Disorder Support Groups.

    That’s not all!  The MHA has many other resources to support all of us including recovery and wellness services.  Please visit their site to learn more about all the programs the MHA has to offer.  Click here to learn more.

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    Downtime

    Dear Ones:  A post came across my Facebook feed from 5 years ago.  It was a picture of the front of the monthly St. John’s newsletter we used to have in which I wrote a short note to you all as I was packing up my things in Michigan so I could come and be your priest here at St. John’s.  In it, I spoke of the need for rest during transition.  When I read it I thought, “I’m wiser than I remember being!”  What a gift it’s been to read this again.

    First, just let me say that it’s hard to believe that it’s already been 5 years!  Thank you for calling me to be among you and lead us as a congregation.  I have learned so much from you all and look forward to finding out what God has in store for us in the coming years.

    Second, I’ve decided to follow my own advice and take some rest – a full week of downtime, a retreat of sorts.  The past two years have been an emotional rollercoaster for me – getting married to one of the most amazing people on the planet in October of 2018 and then my brother Marc dying of suicide just a few months later in February 2019.  The following summer Ana and I helped my mother move from her home of 30 years, I endured a truly spectacular case of poison ivy (I now know EXACTLY what that plant looks like!), and I had my gall bladder removed.  Then, as we all know, the pandemic hit us a year ago in March 2020 causing us to figure out new ways of being together and maintaining a sense of community.  And, now, my sweet dog Bella is in gradual decline and caring for her has become very physical.  In all of this, I’ve been aware of your care of and love for me – through prayers and notes and other small gifts of affection.  Thank you!

    The experience of being your priest has been one of gratitude and joy.  But leading a congregation is a lot of responsibility and has many emotional ups and downs as I celebrate and grieve with each of you.  I’ve been fortunate to have excellent people in leadership to assist in these years – Wardens, Vestry, Staff.   Really, I’m so grateful for you all.

    So, in all the things that I’ve needed to attend to, I’ve never actually afforded myself the time and space to grieve Marc’s death.  Now, I would be foolish to think that grief is something you can simply “take care of” in a week’s time.  Everyone’s grief has its own path and its own schedule.  But next week, I will devote my time and resources to the part of myself that just misses my brother – to give myself the space to reflect on who he was and who he continues to be in my heart, and to allow myself to really think about how his death has had an impact on my family.  And to find a way to begin to bring some closure, if possible, to all the feelings that arise when someone you love has died of suicide.

    So, I will be out of touch next week – from Monday, March 8 returning to work on Tuesday, March 16.  Aside from Wednesday Open Prayer and Friday Morning Bible Study, the full schedule of prayer and worship services will continue.  And if you need anything, please reach out to Deacon Sue, or one of our wardens – Lynn Dennison or Claudette Ford.

    I will appreciate your prayers this coming week, if you would.  But please do not email or text me with them.  I know God will be with me as I do this work.

    In God’s love and mine, Rev. Michelle

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    Announcements for March 7, 2021

    THIS SUNDAY!  Pastoral Care Meeting  Join us after communion at 12:30.  All are welcome.  Click here to join: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/768878535

    Do you have “candle cups?”  You know, the white plastic cups that hold our candles at Christmas Eve?  They were a part of the Advent Worship Boxes this year.  We’d love to make sure they make it back to the Altar Guild’s closet.  So, if you have one (or more!) bring them by the Rectory and leave them in the mailbox by the door.  Or, bring them with you when you pick up your Holy Week Bags later in March.

    The Clothing Shed is open again!  Yes, the clothing shed in our parking lot is open again.  Please let everyone know that they can drop off clothing and housewares (textiles only!).  Everything needs to be in a sealed bag and every bit helps to raise money for St. John’s.

    The Page Turners Book Club:  For April 6th we are reading “Apeirogon,” by Colum McCann. We meet at 7 pm, by Zoom, for about an hour. Contact Lynn Dennison for more information at: radennison@aol.com

    Holy Week Bags!  Yes, we’ve already begun to plan Holy Week.  If you would like to have a bag of worship items to help you celebrate Holy Week at home (including printed bulletins!), please use this link to fill out the form ASAP.  Be sure to sign up before Wednesday, March 24.  Holy Week Bags Sign-up – St. John’s Kingston

    Lenten Fun and Games: Lent Madness
    What?!  But Lent is supposed to be solemn and serious!  Well this year, we need a little levity and silliness.  So all the members of St. John’s are invited to participate in Lent Madness.  We start on Thursday, February 18 so sign up now and get ready: Lent Madness

    Have an announcement for the bulletin?
    Please send by Wednesday at noon to
    stjohnskingston@aol.com.