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

The Good News of St. John’s

  1. February 25, 2021

    Vaccine Town Hall and Updates

    Those who have been following the news about the COVID-19 vaccine, know that a big issue has been one of supply.  There hasn’t been enough to meet the demand. The good news is that vaccine production has increased and the newest one, developed by Johnson & Johnson, is a one-dose version.  Many of you are aware that St. John’s has been trying to get a Vaccine Clinic to take place at our church for the past several weeks. Rev. Michelle is working with an independent pharmacist who reached out to various houses of faith in Ulster County.  We hope to announce a scheduled clinic sometime in March so pay attention to your emails.

    In the meantime, please offer prayers for those who are in need of the vaccine but, because of lack of access to the internet or the skill to use a computer, are unable to obtain an appointment.  As with so many things in our society, the distribution of the vaccine is occurring in an inequitable way, the most vulnerable being communities of color.

    You’re encouraged to participate in a “town hall” meeting with the people of WMCHealth. In partnership with the Kingston Interfaith Council, WMCHealth is offering a COVID-19 Vaccine Community Conversation on Wednesday, March 3 from 7:30-8:30 pm via Zoom to increase awareness and answer questions from the community. Speakers include Jane Ulrich, Senior Director of Nursing, HealthAlliance Hospitals, Marc Tack, MD, Director of Infectious Diseases, Health Alliance Hospitals, and Mecca Mitchell, Senior Vice President Diversity, Inclusion & Community Engagement, WMCHealth.

    Click this link to join the Zoom Community Conversation on Wed, March 3 at 7:30 pm.

    _______________________________________________________________________________

    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.

    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.

    ________________________________________________________________________

    Sowing Hope

    Dear Ones:  I know that so many of you followed along when I posted photo updates about our garden on Facebook and Instagram last year.  I often started with the phrase “Today in the Rectory Garden…”  I found it to be such a joyful practice to share these updates with everyone.

    The garden became a true haven and space of daily retreat for me last year when the pandemic kept us all locked in place over the spring and summer.  I began to realize how a garden can be such a radical act of hope in the midst of a despairing and difficult situation.  Because to sow a seed, to take the time and effort to put soil in a pot, place a seed in its nurturing womb, and  then water it and keep it in the light… all of this is to expect that something will arise.  Sowing a seed is an endeavor that reveals our hope.  An act that anticipates gratitude and beauty and awe.

    Ana and I sowed snapdragon seeds this past week.  And next week, we’re starting on tomatoes and peppers.  Every week, a new set of seeds.  A new act of hope.

    The prospect of planting seeds can be intimidating to some.  It was to me last year.  But I invite you to consider joining me this year.  There is still plenty of time to get seeds started and not all have to be sown indoors in our climate.  Regardless of what kind of plant it is, the bursting forth of a sprout from a seed is a profound expression of God’s abundant love for us.  So, to be the one to plant that seed is to offer evidence of one’s belief that the God of Life’s promise continues, even in difficult times.

    In God’s love and mine, Rev. Michelle

    _______________________________________________________________________________

    Announcements for February 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.

    COVID 19 Vaccine Town Hall – Join in an online community conversation with experts from the Westchester Medical Center to learn more about the COVID-19 vaccine.  Wednesday, March 3 at 7:30 pm.  Sponsored by the Kingston Interfaith Council.  Click here to join: https://zoom.us/j/92916164426?pwd=Nm13UTJPbSt2T0FvVEJhcGZYZ1pMdz09 (Password: Sxx12Y) or call in: 646-558-8656 (Meeting ID: 929 1616 4426)

    Lenten Fun and Games: Lent Madness
    This year, we need a little levity and silliness.  So all the members of St. John’s are invited to participate in Lent Madness.  Each day during Lent, two saints are pitted against one another in a contest for YOUR vote.  The winning saint goes on to the next round of competition until one saint emerges at the end of the season wearing the Golden Halo.  To vote, go to: Lent Madness.  You can sign up to receive daily emails or go visit the website each day.  Join in and have some fun with thousands of other Episcopalians across the country.

    The Page Turners Book Club:  For March 2nd, the Page Turners are reading “Hamnet,” by Maggie O’Farrell. 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

    The St. John’s Prayer Chain is a group of St. John’s members who are committed to intercessory prayer as a spiritual practice.  While we, as a community, often pray publicly for one another in our worship services, the Prayer Chain prays for those who wish to remain confidential.  Should you desire prayer – in times of stress or times of celebration, send a note to the St. John’s Prayer Chain and this group will pray earnestly for you.  Cathe Decker is the current Prayer Chain Moderator.  To join the Prayer Chain or to ask for prayers, contact Cathe at: stjohnsprayerchain9@gmail.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

    Forward Day by Day:  If you would like a Forward Day by Day – scripture and reflection for the months of February, March, and April – please contact Rev. Michelle either by phone or email and we’ll get one out to you!

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

  2. February 18, 2021

    Lent Madness!

    Because this past year has been one of great challenge and difficulty, we are individually and collectively carrying quite a bit of anxiety, worry, guilt, and grief.  So, our Lenten practices this year will be focused less on fasting or personal development and more on the invitation to lighten our load.

    And one of the best ways to do that – having fun together.

    Today was the first day of Lent Madness – a game sponsored by Forward Movement in which the saints of the Christian Church are pitted against one another – one pair a day – with the winner moving forward to the next round in a single-elimination tournament until one saint is crowned with the Golden Halo at the end of Lent.

    Yesterday, for example, we saw Camillus de Lellis go up against Matthias.  Camillus ended up trouncing Matthias for some reason:
    Camillus de Lellis lived in the late 1550’s and spent the first part of his life as a “scoundrel” until a leg wound caused him to begin rethinking his life and he started on a spiritual path and spent the better part of the rest of his life in service to others.
    Matthias, on the other hand, is someone we don’t know too much about.  As the story goes, he was chosen to be one of the disciples after the death of Judas so that the number of disciples could remain 12.  This is detailed in Acts 1:26.

    So, who would you choose in today’s match-up between between Miguel Pro and Constantine?  Or next Wednesday’s between Joan of Arc and Catherine Booth?

    Sign up for emails here so you don’t miss a vote and stay tuned for fun Lent Madness update videos on our Facebook Page!

    _______________________________________________________________________________

    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.

    Having trouble sleeping?  Trouble calming your mind?  Reducing anxiety?  Here’s a wonderful tool for you and, appropriately enough, it’s called: Calm.

    Calm is a website or, if you have a smartphone you can download the ‘app.’  And it’s available in both a free format or as a membership.  You can listen to calming stories or meditative music or sounds.  Or you can read helpful blogposts.  Or engage with a guided meditation. Even the message when you open it is an invitation to relax: Take a deep breath.

    Click here to explore this tool.

    ________________________________________________

    _______________________________

    Everyday Sabbath

    Dear Ones:  Today is another reflection on the book Sacred Rest by Saundra Dalton-Smith.   She says, “Healing occurs when we allows ourselves the time, space, and grace to be in the presence of God in the middle of our busy lives.” (pg. 28)

    I think this is the heart of this book and, really, the intention of Sabbath. To remove ourselves from the work of the day as well as from the typical patterns of thought and emotional traps and ground ourselves in God’s presence – which is already there waiting for our return.  This Sabbath time gives us the space to free ourselves from our own addictions and indulgences to re-mind ourselves of the truth of who we are – Beloved Children of God.

    It’s a very difficult thing, I find.  I used to think that priests must lead a very God-centered life but what I have found is that God can so easily become a concept or a task because “church” is not the same thing as God.  When it’s at its best, our lives in the church become a place for us in which it is safe to make mistakes, where we can be forgiven and try again because the Gospel actually means something to the members of our community.  But, unfortunately, church can become such a place of busyness that we actually lose Sabbath.  For me, that’s a balance I’m always needing to remind myself of.  God is not my business/busyness.  God is the ground of my being.

    This passage from Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians is similar: “Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing.” (1 Thes 5:16).  Paul’s instruction is not about uttering prayers all the time, another way for us to keep busy.  Rather, it’s encouragement to steadily move more deeply into a spiritual practice of re-centering ourselves in God over and over and over again – to pray without ceasing.  To constantly seek the space of Sabbath throughout the busyness of the day.

    It’s why Muslims pray 5 times a day.  They aren’t the only ones, of course.  We know from our own Book of Common Prayer that we have a schedule of daily prayers that offer us the “time, space, and grace” to rest in God’s presence – Morning Prayer, Noonday Prayer, Evening Prayer, and Compline.  Daily prayer, like any spiritual practice, can be a path that gives us this Sabbath.

    May we all find practices that support a Sabbath for us this Lent.  If you’d like some direction with that, please reach out to me and we’ll explore some possibilities together.

    In God’s love and mine, Rev. Michelle

    _______________________________________________________________________________

    Announcements for February 21, 2021

    Lenten Fun and Games: Lent Madness

    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!  What is Lent Madness? (yes, like March Madness) Lent Madness has a straightforward format: 32 saints are placed into a tournament-like single elimination bracket. Each pairing remains open for a set period of time and people vote for their favorite saint. 16 saints make it to the Round of the Saintly Sixteen; eight advance to the Round of the Elate Eight; four make it to the Faithful Four; two to the Championship; and the winner is awarded the coveted Golden Halo. The first round consists of basic biographical information about each of the 32 saints. Things get a bit more interesting in the subsequent rounds as we offer quotes and quirks. How do I play? Sign up to receive a daily email or follow the Lent Madness page on Facebook.  Each day you’ll be encouraged to vote in a match-up of one saint versus another.  Rev. Michelle will be following the Lent Madness posts, tracking on a poster-sized scorecard, and offering regular commentary via Facebook Live.  Here’s where you can learn more and sign up to participate: Lent Madness

    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 March 2nd, the Page Turners are reading “Hamnet,” by Maggie O’Farrell. 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

    The St. John’s Prayer Chain is a group of St. John’s members who are committed to intercessory prayer as a spiritual practice.  While we, as a community, often pray publicly for one another in our worship services, the Prayer Chain prays for those who wish to remain confidential.  Should you desire prayer – in times of stress or times of celebration, send a note to the St. John’s Prayer Chain and this group will pray earnestly for you.  Cathe Decker is the current Prayer Chain Moderator.  To join the Prayer Chain or to ask for prayers, contact Cathe at: stjohnsprayerchain9@gmail.com.

    Friday Bible Study  We’ve moved from our study of the creation story in Genesis to a study of Jesus’ miracles.  Come on Friday mornings at 9:00 am, bring your coffee, and join a group committed to delving deep into scripture.  We ask the hard questions as we uncover how scripture speaks to our lives today.  Every Friday morning at 9:00 am via Zoom.  Email Rev. Michelle for more information or just join us via the Zoom link found here: Online Streaming Worship – St. John’s Kingston

    Forward Day by Day:  If you would like a Forward Day by Day – scripture and reflection for the months of February, March, and April – please contact Rev. Michelle either by phone or email and we’ll get one out to you!

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

  3. February 11, 2021

    The Season of Lent: Lenten Practices at St. John’s

    “Come, come whoever you are. Wanderer, worshipper, lover of leaving. It doesn’t matter. Ours is not a caravan of despair. Come, even if you have broken your vows a thousand times. Come, yet again, come.    – Jalaluddin Rumi (13th century Persian mystic and poet)

    The season of Lent is our time, as Christians, to return; to practice and reflect on the ways in which we have strayed a bit from living fully into God’s Love.  We begin with Ash Wednesday as we are invited to the observance of a holy Lent and to rend our hearts, beginning the spiritual work of unburdening ourselves from the concerns we carry and that keep us from love.  Lent begins on Wednesday, February 17 and ends with our celebration of Easter in early April. 

    Because this past year has been one of great challenge and difficulty, we are individually and collectively carrying quite a bit of anxiety, worry, guilt, and grief.  This reminds us that it’s not always personal mistakes or “sin” that get in the way of God’s Love, but sometimes it’s simply the pain of being in the world during very difficult times or in very difficult situations.  So, our Lenten practices this year will be focused less on fasting or personal development and more on the invitation to lighten our load.

    Ash Wednesday Services:  We will have our Ash Wednesday prayer services over Zoom at 12:15 pm and 7:00 pm.  Due to the pandemic, there will be no imposition or distribution of ashes so that we can focus on the intent of this holy day which is the invitation to a holy Lent by bringing all that is on our hearts to God.  Click here for the bulletin and the link.

    Ash Wednesday Prayer Fire:  This year, for our community outreach, instead of Ashes-to-Go, we will offer a Prayer Fire on the front lawn of St. John’s from 4:00 – 6:30 pm.  Those who desire, may stop for a few moments and offer up to God the burdens they are carrying on their heart.  Rev. Michelle will be present to hold the space of prayer and tend to the fire.  All are welcome.

    Lenten Worship: Our Lenten worship is always marked by a sense of solemnity as we remove “Alleluias” from our worship and the addition of silence to allow for reflection and contemplation.  It’s challenging sometimes to allow for silence, especially over Zoom, but you’ll notice a significant effort to support silent prayer and reflection with more space between each element of our worship.

    Lenten Questions:  To support the practice of silence, we will shift our focus after worship and offer a quieter space. For the season of Lent, instead of “virtual coffee hour,” we will have a light-hearted Lenten Reflection Question each week to practice listening deeply and giving space for all to participate.

    Lenten Fun and Games: We have always enjoyed coming together for St. John’s Game Night during the winter.  In lieu of this, we’re inviting everyone to join in a season-long game called Lent Madness.  Each day during Lent, two saints of the church “face off” in a competition for our vote.  We learn the stories of these saints and cast our vote, along with others across the country, until one saint wins the “Golden Halo.”  Each week, Rev. Michelle will offer a video recap with special guest commentators.  In order to receive emails and be able to vote, visit the Lent Madness website here.

    Questions?  Please contact Rev. Michelle at michelle.stjohnskingston@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.

    One way of tending to our own light is to spend time listening to how young people are learning to tend to their own light.

    Grace Year is a program supported and developed by Grace Episcopal Church in Millbrook, NY in which students at Vassar are invited to spend a year away from their studies to learn while living in intentional community with other young people and serving in various social or justice programs in the region.  One of our regular supply priests, the Rev. Alison Quin, works with these young people as their program director.  And, this year, we have a Grace Year fellow named Dardan Ukaj doing his service work with Angel Food East while he also develops a communications plan for St. John’s.

    All of the fellows are doing a fundraiser for Grace Year this coming Sunday – a Valentine’s Day Concert.  And you’re invited!  Of course, we cannot be in the same physical space so this concert will be held over Zoom.  Join us on Sunday, February 14 from 7:00-8:00 for this concert to benefit this wonderful program.  Click here for tickets.

    _______________________________________________________________________________

    Vacations, Retreats, and Rest

    Dear Ones:  A few weeks ago, I wrote to you that I was reading a new book called Sacred Rest.  I’ve been reading through the first couple of chapters and Dr. Dalton-Smith has a list of rest solutions that do not work.  I was surprised to see that “vacations” are on the list of things that do not provide the rest we think they do.

    But when I think about it, I realize the truth of this.  Often times, vacations require a lot from us – making arrangements, getting from one place to another, packing, unpacking, being in an unfamiliar space.  This is especially true when we’re visiting family.

    Still, there is something to be said for being away from our day-to-day lives and removing the typical responsibilities we carry.  We know from scripture that Jesus would spend time away from the disciples to be in prayer, for example.  While being on retreat is not the same thing as being on vacation, what is true is that being “away” enables us to gain some perspective.  It quiets the noise of our lives and provides some sense of rest from what can bring us anxiety in our daily lives, helping us to approach our lives with more gratitude and focus.

    But in the midst of this pandemic, especially during the winter months, this is extremely challenging.  Sometimes, I realize that I’m so focused on what life will be like “when this is all over,” imagining where I’ll be able to go that I cannot go now, that I’m not paying attention to what’s happening right in front of me.  But I also have to acknowledge just how difficult all this is.  We have coping mechanisms for a reason, because there are times (like these) in which we find ourselves using them, even despite our best efforts not too.

    So, perhaps the most important thing I’m coming to, as I reflect on rest, is an invitation to rest from self-judgment.  Not always easy.  But let us begin our journey into Lent with as much compassion for ourselves as we can.  Only then can we truly offer compassion to others.

    In God’s love and mine, Rev. Michelle

    _______________________________________________________________________________

    Announcements for February 14, 2021

    Lenten Fun and Games: Lent Madness
    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!  What is Lent Madness? (yes, like March Madness) Lent Madness has a straightforward format: 32 saints are placed into a tournament-like single elimination bracket. Each pairing remains open for a set period of time and people vote for their favorite saint. 16 saints make it to the Round of the Saintly Sixteen; eight advance to the Round of the Elate Eight; four make it to the Faithful Four; two to the Championship; and the winner is awarded the coveted Golden Halo. The first round consists of basic biographical information about each of the 32 saints. Things get a bit more interesting in the subsequent rounds as we offer quotes and quirks. How do I play? Sign up to receive a daily email or follow the Lent Madness page on Facebook.  Each day you’ll be encouraged to vote in a match-up of one saint versus another.  Rev. Michelle will be following the Lent Madness posts, tracking on a poster-sized scorecard, and offering regular commentary via Facebook Live.  Here’s where you can learn more and sign up to participate: Lent Madness

    Ash Wednesday: February 17
    Ash Wednesday Services via Zoom at 12:15 pm and 7:00 pm.  Look for link and bulletin here: Online Streaming Worship – St. John’s Kingston.  There will be no imposition or distribution of ashes due to the pandemic.

    Prayer Fire: Rend your heart – 4:00-6:30 pm
    As we begin our Lenten season, come to our Prayer Fire and rend your heart.  All are invited to come and stay for a few moments at our Prayer Fire and offer to God the burdens lying on your heart.  Park along the street or in the driveway near the front lawn.  Please wear a mask and keep your 6 ft. distance from others.  Rev. Michelle will be present between 4:00-6:30 pm tending the fire and praying along with all those who come.

     

    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.

    Friday Bible Study  We’ve moved from our study of the creation story in Genesis to a study of Jesus’ miracles.  Come on Friday mornings at 9:00 am, bring your coffee, and join a group committed to delving deep into scripture.  We ask the hard questions as we uncover how scripture speaks to our lives today.  Every Friday morning at 9:00 am via Zoom.  Email Rev. Michelle for more information or just join us via the Zoom link found here: Online Streaming Worship – St. John’s Kingston

    The Page Turners meets on the first Tuesday of every month.  The book for March 2 is “Hamnet,” by Maggie O’Farrell.  Speak to Lynn Dennison for more information.  All are welcome!

    Forward Day by Day:  If you would like a Forward Day by Day – scripture and reflection for the months of February, March, and April – please contact Rev. Michelle either by phone or email and we’ll get one out to you!

     

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

  4. February 4, 2021

    Wednesday Mornings with Terry

    Each Wednesday morning, you’ll find our Director of Music Terry Earles in the St. John’s sanctuary, readying himself for Wednesday Mornings with Terry.  A program brought on by the desire to help the St. John’s community connected during the pandemic, Wednesday Mornings with Terry is a delightful 30-minute program of music and commentary beginning at 10:00 am.

    Terry brings our 100+ year-old Estey organ to life with hymns, sacred works, and other pieces of music all the while offering us knowledge about how music is used for church practice and insight into how this music prepares us spiritually for worship.  And to honor those who may need additional prayers, Terry will dedicate his programs in their name.

    He’s always looking for requests too!  So please send him an email at terryearles@aol.com to offer suggestions, ask questions, or make requests.  And then join us for a lovely mid-week interlude at 10:00 am on Wednesdays.  Just go to Online Streaming Worship – St. John’s Kingston and click on the appropriate link to join us in the Zoom room.

    _______________________________________________________________________________

    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.

    As we look forward to learning more about the lives of Christian saints through Lent Madness this year, perhaps this is a good time to turn to one of them for an uplifting gift – cookies.

    And not just any cookies, but “Cookies of Joy.”  This recipe comes to us from St. Hildegard of Bingen, a mystic, composer, philosopher, healer, and poet from 12th century Germany.  You can learn more about her here.  And listen to some of her music here.

    Hildegard wrote this recipe over 900 years ago and instructed people to take them “at regular intervals to increase joy and positivity.”  How can you go wrong with that?

    Click here for the recipe of these spice cookies.

    _______________________________________________________________________________

    Increasing Light

    Dear Ones:  This week marks several things on our calendars – the Christian feast of St. Brigid on February 1, and the confluence of Candlemas, the Feast of the Presentation, and Groundhog Day (of course!) on February 2.  All of these tell us there is a shift in our earthly movement – the halfway point between Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox.  The light is increasing.

    Each year, I look forward to this mid-way point because it signifies that spring is on its way.  And this year, Ana and I will begin our second year of sowing seeds as we prepare for spring’s thaw.  We’ve got quite a list!  But first up is snapdragons, perhaps the tiniest seeds we have. We tried to sow them last year but they didn’t do very well and we ended up with only a couple of plants.  This year, we’re starting a little earlier and using better lighting.  And we’ll see how it goes this time.

    And I believe that’s what the increasing light reminds me of – the human capacity to keep trying, to keep hoping.  Spring is always going to come, another chance to try again.  Another possibility for snapdragons.

    Let’s see what happens.

    In God’s love and mine, Rev. Michelle

    _______________________________________________________________________________

    Announcements for February 7, 2021

    Ash Wednesday: February 17
    St. John’s will hold Ash Wednesday Services via Zoom at 12:15 pm and 7:00 pm.  Look for links here: Online Streaming Worship – St. John’s Kingston.  There will be no imposition or distribution of ashes due to the pandemic.  In place of our Ashes to Go service, this year we will be offering a Prayer Fire on the front lawn of St. John’s from 4:00-6:30 pm for the members of St. John’s, as well as the larger community.  People will be invited to write down the prayers, which are laying on their own hearts, on a paper heart.  And then offer it to the fire as an invitation to begin a Lenten practice of letting go.  More information is coming so stay tuned.

    Epiphany House Blessings!  Each year Rev. Michelle makes the rounds to offer a blessing upon your home and will gladly do so this year, although she cannot stay for a visit.  You can sign up for a House Blessing visit from Rev. Michelle or download simple instructions on how to bless your own home.  Epiphanytide House Blessings – St. John’s Kingston

    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.

    Friday Bible Study  We’ve moved from our study of the creation story in Genesis to a study of Jesus’ miracles.  Come on Friday mornings at 9:00 am, bring your coffee, and join a group committed to delving deep into scripture.  We ask the hard questions as we uncover how scripture speaks to our lives today.  Every Friday morning at 9:00 am via Zoom.  Email Rev. Michelle for more information or just join us via the Zoom link found here: Online Streaming Worship – St. John’s Kingston

    The Page Turners meets on the first Tuesday of every month.  The book for March 2 is “Hamnet,” by Maggie O’Farrell.  Speak to Lynn Dennison for more information.  All are welcome!

    Forward Day by Day:  If you would like a Forward Day by Day – scripture and reflection for the months of February, March, and April – please contact Rev. Michelle either by phone or email and we’ll get one out to you!

    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!  What is Lent Madness? (yes, like March Madness) In seeking a fun, engaging way for people to learn about the men and women comprising the Church’s Calendar of Saints, the Rev. Tim Schenck came up with this unique Lenten devotion. Now put together by two church-geeky guys (Tim and his friend Scott Gunn), Lent Madness has a straightforward format: 32 saints are placed into a tournament-like single elimination bracket. Each pairing remains open for a set period of time and people vote for their favorite saint. 16 saints make it to the Round of the Saintly Sixteen; eight advance to the Round of the Elate Eight; four make it to the Faithful Four; two to the Championship; and the winner is awarded the coveted Golden Halo. The first round consists of basic biographical information about each of the 32 saints. Things get a bit more interesting in the subsequent rounds as we offer quotes and quirks, explore legends, and even move into the area of saintly kitsch.  How do I play?  Sign up to receive a daily email or follow the Lent Madness page on Facebook.  Each day you’ll be encouraged to vote in a match-up of one saint versus another.  Rev. Michelle will be following the Lent Madness posts, tracking on a poster-sized scorecard, and offering regular commentary via Facebook Live.  Here’s where you can learn more and sign up to participate: Lent Madness

    Ministry Opportunities

    Children’s New Book Drive: Family of Woodstock is in need of books for children who are in or are leaving shelters.  If you are coming to in-person church, please consider bringing a new children’s book (all ages).  Or send a donation to the church (207 Albany Ave) and we will do the shopping.  Questions? Contact Outreach Coordinator Elaine (845-532-6585) or Deacon Sue (845-331-5575).

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