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

The Good News of St. John’s

  1. July 1, 2022

    Be Cool! Summer Worship Is Here

    Many remember that, prior to the pandemic, we worshipped in the air-conditioned Parish Hall during the summer months of July and August. This pattern of worship allows for all of us to feel cool and to worship in a space where it’s easier to hear one another. This Sunday, it’s time to return to the Parish Hall. We will have plenty of room for everyone, including space set aside for families. After worship, things magically transform (with some help) into coffee hour. In addition to the air-conditioning, we will have air purifiers, but please be sure to wear your masks to help us all keep healthy.

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    Tomorrow! Rally for reproductive rights

    Join with the people of Kingston and as we rally in support of reproductive rights. Let’s pray with our feet.
    When: Saturday, July 2 at 11:00 am
    Where: Academy Green Park (corner of Clinton and Albany Aves)
    Learn more about the rally here: WE WON’T GO BACK | Women’s March (wewontgoback.com)

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    The Right to an Abortion

    Sometimes, I feel like the word “abortion” is one of those words that should be whispered, like some people whisper the word “cancer.” It’s a difficult subject to talk about because there are a lot of strong feelings associated with the procedure. As there should be. It’s not anything to be cavalier about. But a lack of discussion only ends up keeping the truth in shadows. And, as Christians, our hope is that Christ’s light will shine in all the shadows of our lives as we seek reconciliation with God and with one another.

    I understand and appreciate that many people feel strongly about the sacred nature of life as it expresses itself in pregnancy. Indeed, children are precious and in need of our love and protection. This is instinctual in all forms of life. Even though I’ve never been pregnant myself, I also have this instinct to protect innocence.

    And it’s precisely because life is so precious that the question of abortion is not a simple good/bad discussion. For all women, the choice to terminate a pregnancy is a personal and very often an incredibly painful one because the woman is making a choice about her own health, if not her own life. I think in our joy about the idea of creating a baby, we forget just how dangerous being pregnant and giving birth can be for all women. The recent studies on maternal mortality in the US demonstrate a rise at the same time that these rates are declining across the world. Of course, these numbers have to do with disparities in overall healthcare which means that when state governments place an all-out ban an integral piece of women’s healthcare, they are undermining an already-broken system. And, in these places, women are not seen as full citizens with the right to autonomous decisions about their own bodies.

    And here’s why this is important for us, as Christians: The removal of the right for a woman to choose is a spiritual one. First, to make the judgment that a woman is incapable of making this decision without God, that she has no capacity to pray and discern, is to say that she is lesser in the eyes of God. Second, to force a woman to carry a child when it puts her own life at risk is a form of bondage because it defines her worth as only being a vehicle for childbirth.

    God has given us these bodies and in them we celebrate and experience joy. We taste, touch, hear, see, smell because of them. We are an integral part of the whole Incarnation and we know, because of Jesus, that God understands what it means to be incarnate. God knows how vulnerable we are and how strong we are. And we are commanded by our Savior love God by caring for one another’s bodies because we are all vulnerable. Pregnancy and childbirth is, therefore, a decision that belongs with the person who lives in that body and our job is to trust that God is there with her in her decision.

    Remember our scripture tells us that when the angel Gabriel came to Mary and explained to her what would happen, Mary’s response was, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” (Luke 1:38) In other words, Mary prayed and was visited by an angel and discerned for herself before she said yes. Mary had a choice. So should we all.

    In God’s love and mine,
    Rev. Michelle

    __________________________________________

    Announcements for the Fourth Sunday of Pentecost
    July 3, 2022

    Feeding people is our jam! St. John’s Harvest is back!
    Join us in the kitchen to clean, chop, stir, and make cool stuff on the last Saturday of the month from 10-5. Last year, we canned jams, chutney, and conserves; made Sara’s soap, hand sanitizer, and Jocelyn’s amazing Beeswax wraps! No experience necessary. Hands of all ages welcome. Show up for shifts of 2, 4, or 6 hours, and let’s have fun while we raise money for St. John’s!
    Mark your calendar: July 30August 27thSept. 24th, and Oct. 29th

    St. John’s Walkers: Let’s get moving! We do one walk a week, alternating morning and evening times, so pick the times that work for you and let’s get moving! We meet at the location. If you need a ride, contact Ana Hernandez at ana@anahernandez.org or 914-357-0365 and she will arrange a ride. We need people to lead walks and come up with ideas for walks, keeping in mind that we have people of all abilities.

    Summer Walking Schedule

    Thurs, July 7, 7pm (Kingston Point Rail Trail – parking lot at sports park across from Kingston Beach)
    Tues, July 12, 9am
    Thurs, July 21, 7pm
    Tues, July 26, 9am
    Thurs, August 4, 7pm
    Tues, August 9, 9am
    Thurs, August 18, 7pm
    Tues, August 23, 9am
    Thurs, August 30, 7pm
    Tues, Sept. 6, 9am

    Benefit Concert for Ukraine: Sunday, September 11 at 4pm. The Kingston Interfaith Council is hosting the event here at St. John’s. Please save the date! We’ll need many hands on deck to help that  afternoon.

    Flower Ministry: Every week, members of St. John’s offer a memorial of thanksgiving or honor a loved one who has gone before by supporting the Flower Ministry at St. John’s with a monetary donation. You’ll see this memorial listed in the bulletin each week. This ministry ensures we have lovely fresh flowers every week on our altar. Please consider signing up for a Sunday. Contact Elaine Lawrence at eslawrenc@aol.com

    Calling all bakers! Do you like to make things in the kitchen? Our Communion Bread recipe is easy and quick. You bake one batch, deliver the bread to the church, and we keep it in the freezer until we use it. Sign up to bake for a month (or two) this year. The sign-up sheet is on the bulletin board in the Vestibule.

    Welcome Lydia Picknell! We welcome a new person to our St. John’s Staff: Lydia Picknell. Lydia is taking over in the role of Kitchen/Office Administrator and her main job will be to reach out and find renters for our spaces here at St. John’s. She will be in the office Tues, Weds, and Thurs afternoons so stop by and welcome her.

    Page Turners Book Club: The Page Turners are returning to meeting in person on July 19th.  Claudette Ford has offered to host this meeting, at 7 p.m. (Thanks Claudette!) The book to be discussed is ‘Cold Millions’ by Jess Walters. We will skip August and meet in September. Details for that meeting will be announced as soon as possible. New members are always welcome. Please speak to Claudette, or Barbara Johnston for more information about the July meeting or about the book club in general.

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

  2. June 16, 2022

    St. John’s Walkers: Let’s Get Moving!

    Walking together is a great church activity for the summer – a way to get to know each other and get out there and move at the same time. The St John’s Walkers is a new group who do one walk a week, alternating morning and evening times so that you can pick the times that work for you. The Walkers will meet at the designated location so if you need a ride, contact Ana Hernandez at ana@anahernandez.org or 914-357-0365 and she will make sure you get there.

    Ana needs others to lead walks (choosing accessible locations and being the point person) so contact her to help! 

    Summer Walking Schedule

    Thurs, June 23, 7pm – Poet’s Walk at 776 River Rd in Red Hook: A beautifully scenic location overlooking the Hudson and the Catskills, with walks on even ground, just in time for the sunset.
    Tues, June 28, 9am
    Thurs, July 7, 7pm
    Tues, July 12, 9am
    Thurs, July 21, 7pm
    Tues, July 26, 9am
    Thurs, August 4, 7pm
    Tues, August 9, 9am
    Thurs, August 18, 7pm
    Tues, August 23, 9am
    Thurs, August 30, 7pm
    Tues, Sept. 6, 9am

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    The Church IS Cracking Open

    Over the last couple of months, it seems that I keep reading stories about different and exciting things happening in the Episcopal Church. Dioceses are working together, developing partnerships of different kinds. A few years ago, 2 dioceses began a merger – the Diocese of Western New York and Northwestern PA. On the congregational level, this is also happening. Congregations are also looking at deeper partnerships, and most of those are considering the idea of merging with another congregation. Just this past year, 2 separate congregations in Ossining decided to become one – Grace Church Ossining. And this isn’t just happening in the Episcopal Church.

    And when it does happen, it is recognized as a very good thing. It is celebrated as new life. We believe in the Resurrection, after all.

    Unfortunately, it’s easy to interpret merger as “failure.” For those who are in the midst of these difficult conversations, it can even feel like something to be ashamed of. But it’s exactly the opposite. These are brave decisions that come as a result of deeply faithful discernment. Holy Wisdom speaks to us, however, only when we are ready to hear her, that is, when we are making decisions as the Body of Christ, instead of decisions based only on our own needs.

    And there is nothing to be alarmed about because, if we think about it, change is nothing new in the life of the larger church. For example, did you know that none of the churches that were founded at the time of the Acts of the Apostles are still in existence? The members of those churches either closed the churches, in which case the members most surely became members of another congregation, OR they merged with the members of other churches to become a new larger congregation. Does this mean that those congregations were failures? Absolutely not!

    Closures, mergers, changes… This has been going on in the church for, literally, centuries and is a mark of the lasting presence of Christ among us. That is why churches exist, after all, to spread the Good News of God in Christ through loving service in the world.

    I hope that reading Stephanie Spellers’ book last year, called The Church Cracked Open, sparked some helpful reflection for us all. Because, just as the woman our Gospelers wrote about… the woman with the perfume who decided to crack open that expensive alabaster jar so that she could wash the feet of Jesus with wild, unbounded, love… we at St. John’s are in the same place as our siblings across the church.

    We are all witnessing a significant shift in the context around us and, in response to that shift, we are being asked by God to look closely at what we believe to be so precious, and recognize that God’s mission is the reason for the church. The question is now, as it as always been: How are we called to be the Body of Christ in this place with these resources at this time?

    The congregations in the Ulster Deanery are doing some deep discernment right now. We are exploring how we will move out of our silos of doing church-as-usual in our own buildings with our own people and move into a new incarnation, one in which we share life together. I spoke about this in my sermon this past Sunday so if you weren’t in church, I recommend you read it or listen to it. You can do so by clicking here.

    If you have questions about this, please reach out to me. And as we move forward down this path of sharing our lives, I will be sure to tell you about what is happening, new movements, new ministries, new ways of being… all the things we can celebrate, together.

    In God’s love and mine,
    Rev. Michelle

    _____________________________________________________________________

    Announcements for the Second Sunday of Pentecost
    June 19, 2022

    Welcome Lydia Picknell! We welcome a new person to our St. John’s Staff: Lydia Picknell. Lydia is taking over in the role of Kitchen/Office Administrator and her main job will be to reach out and find renters for our spaces here at St. John’s. She will be in the office Tues, Weds, and Thurs afternoons so stop by and welcome her.
    Our previous Kitchen/Office Administrator, Suzanne Campise, has completed her job with us, which was to get the rental program up and running. Now, she and her spouse Gregory are awaiting the birth of their first child, so please keep them both in your prayers.

    Calling all bakers! Do you like to make things in the kitchen? Our Communion Bread recipe is easy and quick. You bake one batch, deliver the bread to the church, and we keep it in the freezer until we use it. Sign up to bake for a month (or two) this year. The sign-up sheet is on the bulletin board in the Vestibule.

    Flower Ministry: Every week, members of St. John’s offer a memorial of thanksgiving or honor a loved one who has gone before by supporting the Flower Ministry at St. John’s with a monetary donation. You’ll see this memorial listed in the bulletin each week. This ministry ensures we have lovely fresh flowers every week on our altar. Please consider signing up for a Sunday. Contact Elaine Lawrence at eslawrenc@aol.com

    Page Turners Book Club: The next books are: July 5th (date might be changed): The Cold Millions, by Jess Walter. Currently the book club is considering the idea of meeting in person again but no decision has been reached. Please contact Lynn Dennison for more information if you’d like to join!

    Collection Counters: As most of you know, each week, we collect pledges and donations during our Sunday service, along with other monies that come in during the week for rentals, etc. We need volunteers to count the monies immediately after the Sunday service and then make the deposit. You will be paired with one other person, scheduled once/month and will receive full training. Talk to Wes Dangler, Treasurer; Lynn Dennison or Claudette Ford, Wardens; or Rev. Michelle.

    Benefit Concert for Ukraine: Sunday, September 11 at 4:00 pm – mark your calendars!

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

  3. May 26, 2022

    UPCOMING: The Feast of Pentecost
    Sunday, June 5

    This time of year is filled with so many opportunities – graduations, picnics, good weather, gardening, travel, etc. But don’t miss out on this year’s celebration of the Feast of Pentecost on June 5!

    What is Pentecost?
    Good Question!
    The Feast of Pentecost is named for the Greek word that means 50 because it is 50 days after Easter. On this day, we celebrate the coming of God’s Holy Spirit in the Acts of the Apostles, chapter 2 where it says,
    “1When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. 2And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. 3Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. 4All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.”  
    In other words, we celebrate the gift of God’s Holy Spirit who comes down to inspire us and make Christ known in the world. As Episcopalians, we look to our Baptismal Vows for concrete ways to do just that.

    Baptism!
    This year, as we renew our Baptismal Vows, we will be baptizing Frances (Frankie) Flanagan into the Body of Christ and her parents, Angela and Christy are excited to be among us for this sacred act.

    Holy Spirit Doves – Help decorate the Sanctuary
    We started passing out paper doves last Sunday (which you can download here). Please decorate these doves however you’d like – color them, paint them, write prayers on them… whatever works for you. Then cut them out and bring them to St. John’s. It is ideal for you to bring them this coming Sunday (May 29) so we have time to get them up before June 5. But you can also drop them by the Rectory on or before Friday, June 3 (put them in the mailbox next to our door). Or you can just bring them on June 5, in which case, we’ll give you some tape so you can put your doves up in the Sanctuary yourself.

    Wear Red
    If you have a red St. John’s t-shirt, wear it! Or… wear anything that’s red because red is the color of the Holy Spirit and we’re hoping to be blessed with a lot of it that day.

    A Story Sermon and Special Kids Packets
    All the kids will be given special Pentecost packets put together especially for our celebration and, instead of a typical sermon, Rev. Michelle will be telling a story to help engage younger listeners.

    Come and celebrate on June 5 and help us baptize Frankie!

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    God, help us!


    At Centering Prayer last night, we were discussing our deep grief and anger over gun violence. And my wife Ana reminded us of a piece by Mendelssohn called Elijah. In Part 1, the entire chorus is, basically, screaming as loudly as they can while still holding some kind of musical pitch: “Help, Lord! Wilt Thou quite destroy us?”

    Indeed, “Help, Lord!”
    That is my plea. That is my prayer. That is what my whole being is shouting with a sound that is too loud for any ears.

    Ever since the massacre in Columbine High School in 1999, when we were all shocked, we’ve been witnessing this violence over and over again, increasing in frequency, for more than 20 years. And yet, here we are. Still. And political leaders are appearing at the NRA convention in Houston, TX this weekend… as you read this… prepared to do whatever is necessary to hang on to their power through the influence and the money of the gun lobby. I’m sickened by this knowledge.

    I want to find some way to return to hope. But maybe I’m getting ahead of myself. Maybe my grief and my anger are exactly what I need right now. Not in order to take on a self-righteous stance and throw stones at others whom I find to be “unenlightened,” for that, in itself, is a violent response. But to channel my emotion into a strength so that I can find ways of acting.

    The St. John’s Social Concerns Committee will be meeting next week on Wednesday, June 1 at 3:15 over Zoom. We will pray together and then we will discuss what action we can take as a congregation to bring about the necessary policy change toward ending gun violence. All are invited to this meeting.

    Here is the Zoom link for the meeting that you can copy and paste into your browser: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/198694790
    I’ll also be sending it out via email early next week.

    I hope you’ll find the time to join us. And if you cannot come to the meeting and still wish to be involved, contact me via email.

    In God’s love and mine,
    Rev. Michelle

    _________________________________________________________________________

    Announcements for the
    The Feast of Ascension, transferred: May 29, 2022

    NEXT SUNDAY: Feast of Pentecost Be sure to come and worship on Sunday, June 5 to celebrate the Feast of Pentecost, when we’ll all be renewing our Baptismal Vows as we baptize Frances (Frankie) Flanagan into the Body of Christ. Don’t forget to wear your red St. John’s t-shirts (if ya got ‘em) or any other red clothing. And bring your doves to decorate the sanctuary!

    Social Concerns Zoom Meeting In response to the mass shootings that have taken place in Ulvade TX and Buffalo NY, the Social Concerns Committee is meeting over Zoom on Wednesday, June 1 at 3:15 to discuss our response of support and activism. See the parish email or the newsletter for the Zoom link to join. All are welcome!

    Pastoral Care Team Meeting scheduled for June 12 immediately after worship. All are welcome to attend.

    Calling all bakers! Do you like to make things in the kitchen? Our Communion Bread recipe is easy and quick. You bake one batch, deliver the bread to the church, and we keep it in the freezer until we use it. Sign up to bake for a month (or two) this year. The sign-up sheet is on the bulletin board in the Vestibule.

    Deanery-wide Book Discussion: Are you ready to crack open the church?  What might that mean?  Come to a five week Zoom discussion group about Stephanie Spellers’ book, The Church Cracked Open.  She reveals the connection of the Episcopal Church in domination and empire building, and shows ways for us to unravel those connections, enliven our faith, and serve our communities.  Five Tuesdays, 10:30-11:30, June 14, 21, 28, July 5, and July 12 on Zoom. Please RSVP to Allison Moore, standrewsrev@gmail.com, by Monday, June 13 (questions welcome ahead of time too).  It would be best if most of us could make most of the sessions, but it is summer!

    Flower Ministry: Every week, members of St. John’s honor their loved ones who have gone before or offer a memorial, listed in our bulletin, by supporting the Flower Ministry at St. John’s with a monetary donation. This ministry ensure we have lovely fresh flowers every week on our altar. Please consider signing up for a Sunday. Contact Elaine Lawrence at eslawrenc@aol.com

    Page Turners Book Club: The next books are: June 7th: The Book of Hope, by Jane Goodall, July 5th (date might be changed): The Cold Millions, by Jess Walter. Currently the book club is considering the idea of meeting in person again but, as no decision has been reached. Please contact Lynn Dennison for more information if you’d like to join!

    Collection Counters: As most of you know, each week, we collect pledges and donations during our Sunday service, along with other monies that come in during the week for rentals, etc. We need volunteers to count the monies immediately after the Sunday service and then make the deposit. You will be paired with one other person, scheduled once/month and will receive full training. Talk to Wes Dangler, Treasurer; Lynn Dennison or Claudette Ford, Wardens; or Rev. Michelle.

    Benefit Concert for Ukraine: All are welcome to participate in the planning, just contact Rev. Michelle. The next planning meeting is via Zoom on Thursday, June 2 at 2pm. The Kingston Interfaith Council is hosting the concert at St. John’s on a date to be announced.

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

  4. May 21, 2022

    Ongoing Housing Crisis in Kingston:
    Be the change you wish to see in the world

    St. John’s Mission Statement

    We are called to know all our neighbors and be a bridge of God’s Love; connecting, inviting, sharing, and serving each other and the diverse community of Kingston. We will do this by: 1) Sharing our physical space and resources; 2) Being stewards of the arts; 3) Advocating for social justice; 4) Participating in inclusive and intergenerational worship; and 5) Affirming everyone has a place at God’s Table.

    One of our bullet points, to “advocate for social justice” means that, through our faith, we are working to be Christ in and for the world so we must pay attention to the opportunities where we can step up and advocate for needed change. By doing so, we are recognizing that our Savior Jesus Christ is the one who always stands for those who are oppressed by the greed of the few and, as the Body of Christ, we demonstrate our love by doing the same.

    Many of us are aware of the fact that, prior to the pandemic, Kingston was in a housing crisis – not enough housing stock (houses, apartments, duplexes, etc) to ensure that people have a place to live. And most of you are also aware that the pandemic drove people to the Kingston area in large numbers. At one point, we sustained the second highest influx of newcomers in the entire country. This, of course, has driven prices/rents up even further and it has also significantly decreased the number of housing units available. Click here for a good synopsis of the issue.

    What can we do in the face of such greed? There are several organizations working on the housing issue – RUPCO, Habitat for Humanity, the Ulster County Housing Justice Collaborative, and the Kingston City Land Bank (by the way, our own Bob Dennison is on the board of the KCLB!). There is no one solution because the issue is complicated and has multiple facets. And while immediate relief is needed, sustained and long-term change also must be addressed.

    On this front, there is good news! The City of Kingston has been working on a new zoning code that would remove barriers for some much-needed housing development. And the Director of Housing Initiatives for the City of Kingston (Bartek Starodaj) needs us (yes… you and me) to support this effort. He says that the people who usually show up to hearings on proposed code changes are those who want to argue against it. So those of us who want to see change, must take this opportunity to advocate for social justice and show up to this incredibly important conversation.

    You can read more about the new zoning draft code by clicking here. You will also find the schedule of hearings/meetings in the month of June. Please choose 1-2 and show up! The members of the Kingston Interfaith Council have made a commitment to do just that so you will probably see some of Kingston’s clergy leadership.

    Be the change you wish to see in the world.

    ____________________________________________________________________

    The Flower Ministry: A Note from the Sacristan Team

    One of the things the Sacristans take care of are the weekly flowers in church. After 2 years of not being able to have flowers, it’s great that we’re able to restart this tradition. It is all of you who help us maintain this practice, by remembering or honoring someone important to you with a memorial or thanksgiving intention and a financial donation.

    Elaine Lawrence maintains our flower list and when you choose a Sunday or 2 throughout the year that you would like to give the flowers you can tell Elaine. Then, a few weeks before that day, she will send you a reminder. She will make sure that your name and the name of the person, or persons, you are remembering gets into the Sunday bulletin. What makes this all even more special is that following the Sunday service the flowers are given to someone who either can’t be in church for any pastoral reason, or they are given to someone in church who we want to remember in this special way.

    For many years, Ron Smith, of the Orchid Shoppe, supplied our flowers. He was great to work with and seemed to know what we needed before we even had to ask. Ron has recently retired, and we are beginning a new relationship with Blooming Boutique Florist, on Albany Ave. Of course, as with most things these days, the cost of fresh flowers has gone up. One change we’ve made with our current configuration for worship, using one vase, seems to work well.

    Historically we have asked for a donation of $30 for Sunday flowers and while we will continue to welcome donations of any amount, the cost of flowers has risen to $50. As a consequence, it is my hope that we will have more Sundays where 2 people are offering a memorial for flowers, which would help us continue this tradition, a tradition which both enhances our worship and remembers someone who is unable to be with us in church. What is important is that everyone’s participation is welcome. Choose a Sunday and give what you can.

    Speak to Lynn Dennison (lynnsdennison@gmail.com) or Elaine Lawrence (eslawrenc@aol.com ) if you have any questions.

    ________________________________________________________

    Are you exhausted too?


    Have you watched the movie Encanto yet? It’s a beautiful movie and I highly recommend it. The reason I bring it up is because of the character Luisa. When Ana and I were watching it, she turned to me and said, “You’re Luisa!”

    I sheepishly agreed, unhappy in the truth of it, if I’m honest. Luisa is the character who sings: “I’m the strong one. I’m not nervous. I’m as tough as the crust of the earth is… I don’t ask how hard the work is.” But under the surface, she’s wondering how long she can keep this up.

    I’m sure I’m not alone. There are many “Luisas” and “Louies” out there. Perhaps you can identify with this yourself.

    As I write this, I’m aware that the exhaustion I feel is less about the actual doing, although that’s a part of it and the pressure “to do” can be enormous. Rather, the exhaustion I feel is one that is born out of grief and anger and sadness. Life always brings so much for us to navigate. And the emotional content of all of the changes and chances of this life seem to have been amplified in the last 2 years because of the pandemic, on top of the last 6 years of political and social turmoil. And, I’m aware that my tendency is to take on more, as if I could carry the world on my shoulders. But, ultimately, I have nothing left to give.

    So, I’m working to turn down the volume of several voices in my head:

    • The voice that tells me to pay attention to so many things. I’m turning it down so I can focus in on the things that truly matter to me and my family and to the vows I have made as a priest.
    • The voice that tells me I need to do everything that everyone expects of me. I’m turning that one down which means I have to be willing to disappoint people sometimes in order to keep the commitments that truly matter.
    • The voice that tells me I have no time for self-care. I’m turning that one down so I can rest and have enough to give to others which means I need to be better about scheduling time off and holding myself to it.

    I wonder… what are the voices you have where you need to turn down the volume? Maybe you’re exhausted by the same things I am. But maybe you’re exhausted by other things.

    We can bring this to the Eucharistic Table as we come for nourishment. We can offer these voices to God and be renewed in our commitment to Love every week. In this, we can come to know more intimately the truth of Christ – that we are whole and we are beloved children of God.

    I’ll see you at the Table this Sunday where we can all refresh ourselves in God’s Love.

    In God’s love and mine,
    Rev. Michelle

    ____________________________________________________

    Announcements for the
    Sixth Sunday of Easter: May 22, 2022

    RESCHEDULED! Pastoral Care Team Meeting has been rescheduled to June 12. All are welcome to attend.

    Calling all bakers! Do you like to make things in the kitchen? Our Communion Bread recipe is easy and quick. You bake one batch, deliver the bread to the church, and we keep it in the freezer until we use it. Sign up to bake for a month (or two) this year. The sign-up sheet is on the bulletin board in the Vestibule.

    Deanery-wide Book Discussion: Are you ready to crack open the church?  What might that mean?  Come to a five week Zoom discussion group about Stephanie Spellers’ book, The Church Cracked Open.  She reveals the connection of the Episcopal Church in domination and empire building, and shows ways for us to unravel those connections, enliven our faith, and serve our communities.  Five Tuesdays, 10:30-11:30, June 14, 21, 28, July 5, and July 12 on Zoom. Please RSVP to Allison Moore, standrewsrev@gmail.com, by Monday, June 13 (questions welcome ahead of time too).  It would be best if most of us could make most of the sessions, but it is summer!

    Social Hour Hosting: You are invited to sign up on the bulletin board in the Vestibule to be a social hour host! Talk with our Hospitality Coordinator, Barbara Johnston for more information.

    Flower Ministry: Honoring Loved Ones – Every week, members of St. John’s honor their loved ones who have gone before by supporting the Flower Ministry at St. John’s with a monetary donation. This ministry ensure we have lovely fresh flowers every week on our altar. Please consider signing up for a Sunday. Contact Elaine Lawrence at eslawrenc@aol.com

    Page Turners Book Club: The next books are: June 7th: The Book of Hope, by Jane Goodall, July 5th (date might be changed): The Cold Millions, by Jess Walter. Currently the book club is considering the idea of meeting in person again but, as no decision has been reached. Please contact Lynn Dennison for more information if you’d like to join!

    Benefit Concert for Ukraine: All are welcome to participate in the planning, just contact Rev. Michelle. The Kingston Interfaith Council is hosting the concert at St. John’s on a date to be announced.

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

  5. May 12, 2022

    Parish Work Day:
    Calling all Lay “Weeders!”

    Come one, come all!

    Saturday, May 14 from 9:00 – 12:00

    Bring your rakes and your gardening gloves and wear your hats and your old jeans. We’ll be spending the morning outside around the St. John’s property to get some tasks done and get us ready for summer. Raking, planting, cleaning, weeding.

    Be sure to dress appropriately for a warm day as it looks like it will be in the 70’s on Saturday morning. Much of the work we have to do is in the shade but there is plenty to do out in the sun too. We’ll have plenty of water on hand.

    Masks are not required for working outside. We will have some small indoor tasks for those who cannot work outside.

    Come and join in community and get to know the other folks at St. John’s. These Parish Work Days are always a lot of fun as we all work together for a common goal.

    See you Saturday morning!

     

     

     

    ________________________________________________________

     

    UPDATE: Committee to Elect a Bishop


    As you may recall, I was elected to serve on the Committee to Elect a Bishop. This is a group of 9 clergy and lay ministers from across the Diocese of New York who are tasked with finding a slate of candidates so the larger diocese can elect our new Bishop Diocesan on December 3 of this year. We have priests from every corner of the diocese as well as lay people who have been doing church work for a long time and others who are young and/or relatively new to church work.

    We spent a few meetings getting our heads around the work and organizing ourselves into subcommittees. Then the work really began. During the month of March, there were 3 weeks of Zoom sessions that anyone in the diocese could attend and offer thoughts about what we need in a bishop. We also received hundreds of surveys from people across the diocese. All of this information helped the Committee decide what we needed to be in our public profile, which was on display for 4 weeks, and also what kinds of questions we need to be asking our applicants.

    Now that the applications have all been received, we are excited and delighted to begin reading through their wise and thoughtful responses to our initial set of questions. Then, the Committee will meet in person next week to discern which applicants will move forward to the first round of interviews.

    I have to say, this is quite a process! The Diocese of New York has, within its boundaries, the wealthiest congregations in the entire world as well as one of poorest areas in the nation, both extremely urban and relatively rural contexts. Geographically, we extend from Staten Island all the way up to Saugerties and linguistically, we have congregations that speak Creole, Spanish, English, Chinese, and ASL. This is just a bit of how complex this diocese is, so finding a bishop who can be a pastor, administrator, and liturgical leader for this entire tapestry… well, it’s a bit daunting.

    All this to say, if you’re looking for a way to pray for the wider church… the members of the Committee to Elect a Bishop appreciate your prayers very much. We have lots of work to do before the electing convention on December 3 and we know that it’s prayers that can help to keep us connected more to Holy Spirit as we do this work together.

    Stay tuned throughout the year for occasional updates on this work.

    In God’s love and mine,
    Rev. Michelle

     

    __________________________________________________

    Announcements for the
    Fifth Sunday of Easter: May 15, 2022

    Next Sunday! May 22 from 9:00-12:00 Pastoral Care Team Meeting immediately after worship. All are welcome to attend.

    Social Hour Hosting: You are invited to sign up on the bulletin board in the Vestibule to be a social hour host! Talk with our Hospitality Coordinator, Barbara Johnston for more information.

    New “club” starting! – St. John’s Walking Club
    Well, we don’t know the actual name yet, but we’re working on it. Come and walk with us! Talk to Ana Hernández for more information.

    Exploring Sophia Centering Prayer Retreat This has been postponed. Please look for more information on rescheduling!

    Page Turners Book Club: The next books are: June 7th: The Book of Hope, by Jane Goodall, July 5th (date might be changed): The Cold Millions, by Jess Walter. Currently the book club is considering the idea of meeting in person again but, as no decision has been reached, the May meeting will be on Zoom. Please contact Lynn Dennison for more information if you’d like to join!

    Benefit Concert for Ukraine: All are welcome to participate in the planning, just contact Rev. Michelle. The Kingston Interfaith Council is hosting the concert at St. John’s on Sunday, June 26 at 2:00 pm.

  6. April 22, 2022

    Alleluia! Christ is risen!

    If you have pictures of this year’s Holy Week and Easter services, we’d love to have them. Send them to Rev. Michelle at michelle.stjohnskingston@gmail.com. In the meantime, here are some we’ve already received.

     

    ______________________________________________________________________

    St. Hildegard’s Viriditas


    Alleluia! Christ is risen!

    Poet Wendel Berry says, “The earth is what we all have in common.” I try in vain to articulate this idea in my sermons sometimes, but it takes a true poet to be so clear and concise and I am way to wordy to be a good poet. Indeed, the earth is what we share, it is the repository of all the elements from which we were molded by God. So, here, on earth, we live. Here we breathe.

    As we continue to move through a pandemic that has been so distinctly marked by shared breath, I hope it gives us pause to look at this relationship between humanity and the earth in which we live and breathe together.

    I’m writing this on Earth Day – just 5 days after our glorious Easter celebration. Of course, we know that the timing of Easter comes out of the ancient spring holiday, Ostera, and remains so connected to this holiday that it, along with the phases of the moon, dictate the actual date of Easter each year. In case you didn’t know, or had forgotten, the date for Easter is the first Sunday after the first full moon after the Spring Equinox (Ostera).

    Our two most significant Christian feasts, Easter and Christmas, are shaped by the fact of the incarnation – birth and rebirth in this physical space, this flesh and blood and air, these elements in and of the earth, and God’s intimate connection with all of that in the physical presence of Christ. The incarnation matters, no pun intended.

    I spied on Facebook today, a post about St. Hildegard of Bingen and her theology of ‘viriditas’ that speaks to this. “Viriditas” (in Latin, literally, “greenness”), for St. Hildegard, refers to the “living power of light” which she equates to that which flows through all of creation, giving these earthly elements more than just life, but spiritual and physical health. She adds that when viriditas is blocked, we become barren and arid, unable to flourish and care for the flourishing of other life.

    I think St. Hildegard is saying that the incarnation matters – what we do, the choices we make, the help we offer, the love and justice we stand for… all of this contributes to the presence of viriditas, this greenness that is Christ’s light, alive in us as a generative force. I think that this is the Love Jesus was talking about when he said, “Love your neighbor as yourself because this is just like loving God.” (That’s a paraphrase, of course)

    And I can recognize this in my own life as I work in the garden Ana and I have created together. Sowing seeds, digging in the earth, caring for seedlings, and witnessing the life cycle. I receive nourishment from this, not just because we have vegetables to eat and flowers to adore and smell, but because it’s a generative process. I give of myself and, inherently, I receive so much more back.

    But a backyard garden is just the beginning, really. There is so much more to talk about regarding our relationship with this earth. I hope you’ll join me.

    In God’s love and mine,
    Rev. Michelle

    _______________________________________________________________________

    Announcements for the
    Second Sunday of Easter: April 24, 2022

    Social Hour Hosting: You are invited to sign up on the bulletin board in the Vestibule to be a social hour host! Talk with our Hospitality Coordinator, Barbara Johnston for more information. And thank you to all who have hosted and signed up to host in the coming weeks!

    New “club” starting! – St. John’s Walking Club Well, we don’t know the actual name yet, but we’re working on it. Come and walk with us! Talk to Ana Hernández for more information.

    Is there someone you know who is in need of prayer? Our Prayer Chain is a group of St. John’s members dedicated to intercessory prayer on behalf of others. The request is kept confidential amongst the members of this small group. Simply email the Prayer Chain Monitor, Cathe Decker, at stjohnsprayerchain9@gmail.com.

    Yom HaShoah Holocaust Remembrance: Sunday May 1 at 11:30 am. Join CEHV (Congregation Emanuel of the Hudson Valley) for their annual Holocaust remembrance. Readers will be reciting the words of those who endured the Holocaust as a way of honoring the collective memory of the Jewish people. Christian witness is important, so Rev. Michelle invites you to join her at this event, 3 doors down from St. John’s.

    Page Turners Book Club: The next books are: May 3rd: The Murmur of Bees, by Sofia Segovia, June 7th: The Book of Hope, by Jane Goodall, July 5th (date might be changed): The Cold Millions, by Jess Walter. Currently the book club is considering the idea of meeting in person again but, as no decision has been reached, the May meeting will be on Zoom. Please contact Lynn Dennison for more information if you’d like to join!

    A Concert for Ukraine: If you would like to be involved in helping to organize a benefit concert for Ukraine here at St. John’s, please contact Rev. Michelle as soon as possible. Our first organizational meeting will be at 11:00 am on Tuesday, May 3.

    Community Gun Buy and Gun Safe Giveaway: The Ulster County Sherriff’s office is sponsoring this event to increase gun safety. Sat. April 30 from 10-2 at the Andy Murphy Midtown Neighborhood Center, 467 Broadway in Kingston. For more information contact the Sherriff’s Department at avert@co.ulster.ny.us or call 845-802-7960.

    CEHV Collecting Medical Supplies for Ukraine: The Ukrainian people are in desperate need for humanitarian and medical supplies. Our neighbors, Congregation Emanuel of the Hudson Valley, are collecting medical supplies to be shipped directly to Ukraine. They have 2 collection boxes. Please read below and give as generously as you can:

    1. Collection Box 1: OTC Pain Relievers (Aspirin, Ibuprofin, Advil, etc.) and Benadryl, Everything Packaged and Unopened.  Locale and Hours: M-F, 10am – 2pm, box inside Administrator’s office OR Friday before services; give supply bag to the Greeters; OR Saturday 10am-noon, drop-off at the greeters’ table.
    2. Collection Box2: First-Aid Kits, Hydrocortisone Cream (1%), Triple Antibiotic Ointment, Antibacterial Ointment, Adhesive and Ace Bandages of all Sizes, Safety Pins, Immodium, and Pepto Bismol Pills, Everything Packaged and Unopened. No Pain Relivers or Benadryl.  Locale and Hours:  Ukranian Medical Supplies box outside CEHV, available 24/7.

    St. John’s Upcoming Schedule
    May 1: Join Rev. Michelle and attend Yom HaShoah Holocaust Remembrance at our neighbors, Congregation Emanuel of the Hudson Valley. Begins at 11:30.
    May 14: Calling all Lay Weeders! Outdoor Parish Work Day from 9-12.
    May 19-21: Contemplative Retreat – Sofia: Thomas Merton and the Wisdom of God, co-led by the Rev. Matthew Wright and the Rev. Michelle Meech. More information forthcoming!
    May 22: Pastoral Care Meeting immediately after worship

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

  7. April 13, 2022

    Holy Week and Easter Notes

    Easter Outreach Donations
    Each year, the Outreach Committee determines a recipient for donations given at Easter time. And this year, we have all been so deeply distressed by the plight of the Ukrainian people as they face unfathomable horrors in the face of the Russian invasion. We ask you to give generously this year. Monies collected in the plate during all the services will go towards the Episcopal Relief and Development’s Ukraine Emergency Fund. You can learn more here about this fund.

    Paschal (Easter) Triduum
    This 3-day liturgy begins with Maundy Thursday (Apr 14 at 6:00 pm), continues with Good Friday (Apr 15 at 1:00 pm), and ends with the Great Vigil of Easter (Apr 16 at 8:00 pm). Join us for any or all of these deeply enriching and powerful services and dive into the deeper meaning of these holy days. And be prepared for a special addition to our Great Vigil Eucharist!

    Stations of the Cross
    On Friday, April 15 at 7:00 pm, come for a seated and prayerful Stations of the Cross where we will use our beloved images that adorn our walls in the St. John’s Sanctuary as a lens through which we see the pain and suffering of the world today.

    The Rite of Reconciliation
    This rite is sometimes referred to as the Episcopal Church version of individual confession can be an incredibly healing experience and is available during Holy Week. You can still schedule an appointment by contacting Rev. Michelle at michelle.stjohnskingston@gmail.com. If you’d like to learn more about this rite, you can find it on page 447 in the Book of Common Prayer.

    Easter Community Brunch
    Liz Moeller and Don Hughes have done the heavy lifting to make sure we have an incredible Easter Day Community Brunch. Please know that your additions to brunch are welcomed and needed! Specifically – drinks and desserts. Or bring a favorite dish and we’ll make sure it gets on the table. Thank you, Don and Liz!

    Easter Egg Hunt
    Leah Siuta has been hard at work preparing for this year’s Easter Egg Hunt and thank you to Adam and Rebekah Hendricks for hiding them all! Bring a basket, if you’d like, but we’ll have bags for all the young people to use for collecting eggs. After worship has finished, gather in the Parish Hall with Leah and she will give instructions for the egg hunt. Thank you, Leah!

    Thank you!
    And thank you to all those who came for our workday this past Saturday to prepare for Holy Week: Lynn Dennison, Wes Dangler, Laura Ricci, Paula Wisneski, Don Hughes, Liz Moeller, Jeannette Baggot, and Ana Hernández.

    _____________________________________________________________________

    Trusting in One Another and Trusting in God


    Every year on Holy Tuesday, the clergy of the diocese are invited to renew our ordination vows in a special service at St. John the Divine Cathedral in New York City. It’s one of my favorite services of the year. Bishop Andy is quite a preacher and this year, his was a particularly meaningful sermon.

    But even more than, his words to us as we were coming together for Eucharist, were deeply powerful. He said something like this: “To be with one another, to touch one another, to breathe the same air with each other… that has never been safe. We have only given it new language over the past 2 years. We have to trust one another and trust in God.”

    I remember, in those first days of isolation and fear of March 2020, I felt so bereft about not being able to be with you all in person. And I remember saying: “We will be back at the Table to celebrate together. And what a celebration that will be!”

    I had no idea then, what we would go through and how long it would be before that would come to fruition. And, of course, we have been back together at our Table many times since. Beginning on the Feast of Pentecost in May 2021, we started continuous in-person worship, interrupted only by a surge of the virus over the winter.

    Yet, for whatever reason, this Easter feels like a truly special celebration of Easter. It feels like this is the moment that I was talking about over 2 years ago when I said: “What a celebration that will be!” We will return to gluten-free bread for Eucharist, flowers will again adorn the altar, and the choir is back to lead us in our praise of God.

    But it is not the same as it was. We have been changed. We are not the same people we were and we are not the same congregation. God has worked in us and through us during these 2 years through our own grief, anxiety, and hope. And the pandemic has not gone away. The difference is, we understand so much more about how to manage it now.

    So, I do think this is quite a special Easter celebration this year. Not everything is “good” but we have learned the deeper meaning of trust – trusting one another and trusting in God.

    And what a celebration we now have!

    In God’s love and mine,
    Rev. Michelle

     

    ___________________________________________________________

    Announcements for
    Easter Sunday: April 17, 2022

    Return to the Common Cup:  In March, our bishop Andy Dietsche announced that he has allowed us to return to the Common Cup so that we are once again able to share Eucharist in two kinds – the bread and the wine. Please drink directly from the chalice. Do not intinct (dip your wafer into the wine) as this transfers germs from your hand into the cup. You may also receive only the bread. If you have any questions or concerns, please speak directly to Rev. Michelle.

    Social Hour Hosting: You are invited to sign up on the bulletin board in the Vestibule to be a social hour host! Talk with our Hospitality Coordinator, Barbara Johnston for more information.

    New “club” starting! – St. John’s Walking Club
    Well, we don’t know the actual name yet, but we’re working on it. Come and walk with us! Talk to Ana Hernández for more information.

    Page Turners Book Club: The next books are: May 3rd: The Murmur of Bees, by Sofia Segovia, June 7th: The Book of Hope, by Jane Goodall, July 5th (date might be changed): The Cold Millions, by Jess Walter. Currently the book club is considering the idea of meeting in person again but, as no decision has been reached, the May meeting will be on Zoom. Please contact Lynn Dennison for more information if you’d like to join!

    Welcome Suzanne Campise!
    We welcome Suzanne Campise to St. John’s as our Acting Rental Manager. Suzanne has an extensive background in church work and is doing her final preparation to become an ordained Presbyterian minister. She has agreed to work for us temporarily (until her first baby is born in June) to help us to expand our rental program and get the word out about our space here at St. John’s. Please be sure to introduce yourself to her when you see her here on campus!

    St. John’s Upcoming Schedule
    May 19-21: Contemplative Retreat – Sofia: Thomas Merton and the Wisdom of God, co-led by the Rev. Matthew Wright and the Rev. Michelle Meech. More information forthcoming!

  8. April 7, 2022

    Parish Work Day:
    Outside Work Postponed… Inside Work Continues

    As you may be aware, we are scheduled to get plenty of rain through Friday and Saturday this week so we have postponed the outdoor portion of our Parish Work Day, otherwise known as the Lay Weeders. We’ll schedule another day later in the spring so stay tuned!

    However, there is still much to do inside to prepare for Holy Week. As announced last week, the Sacristans will be coming together at 9:00 am to pray and meet to plan the week’s work. Then, at 10:00 am we begin the list of indoor work to prepare for Holy Week. We have polishing, cleaning, clearing… lots of work to do. Your help is needed and appreciated to make sure everything is ready for our most sacred liturgies. Come at 9:00 if you’d like to pray with the Sacristans but be sure to come at 10:00 to assist with the preparation.

    Easter Outreach and Memorials
    Due Wednesday, April 13

    If you would like to have a memorial listed in this year’s Easter Sunday bulletin, please get this information to Rev. Michelle by Wednesday, April 13. You can either email her directly with the information and add your offering later, or fill out an offering envelope this Sunday!

    This year our Easter Outreach donation and plate monies will be going to Episcopal Relief and Development specifically to support relief for Ukraine. Look for more efforts from the Social Concerns Committee regarding support for Ukraine.

    Holy Week Schedule

    Click here for information about Holy Week or review the schedule below.

    __________________________________________________________

    Grief, Anger, Lament, and the Gift of Holy Week


    I think it’s a powerful witness that our siblings of Jewish faith have High Holy Days every fall and that they also call the Days of Awe or the Days of Repentance. These holidays Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur, give people the space for bringing everything to God – the grief, the anger, and the lament – so that these may be released and atoned for. This enabled people to begin the Jewish new year with clear minds and unburdened hearts.

    It is the same for us, as Christians. We have Holy Week as our space to bring everything to God – our grief, anger, and lament. Everything. In the acts of walking with Jesus from the false triumph of conceit on Palm Sunday, into the commitment to and the betrayal of community on Maundy Thursday, through death and the decent into despair and pain on Good Friday, and, finally, into a new and risen life on Easter… in these acts, we are not simply re-telling the story of Jesus. We are asked to bring ourselves into them so that we may walk with Christ in a risen life. Renewed in and for the world with clear minds and unburdened hearts. 

    This is a particularly poignant Holy Week for us, as the community of St. John’s. We haven’t been able to share this Holy Week space together in our Sanctuary in 3 years. The last time we had Easter services as a community in our sanctuary was 2019. These are, indeed, days of awe for us.

    Come worship during Holy Week. Allow the rhythm of these liturgies to carry you – all you are, all you have, and all you are carrying. And let us join Christ in the risen life to which we are called.

    In God’s love and mine,
    Rev. Michelle

     

     

    ______________________________________________________

    Announcements for
    April 10, 2022

    Easter Outreach and Memorials: This year our Easter Outreach donation and plate monies will be going to Episcopal Relief and Development specifically to support relief for Ukraine.
    If you would like to donate a memorial gift… to the Easter Outreach and/or to support the cost of altar flowers this year, please fill out the form in the bulletin with your payment and either place it in the plate or get it to Rev. Michelle by Wednesday, April 13. All memorials will be printed in the Easter Sunday bulletin.

    Return to the Common Cup:  In March, our bishop Andy Dietsche announced that he has allowed us to return to the Common Cup so that we are once again able to share Eucharist in two kinds – the bread and the wine. Please drink directly from the chalice. Do not intinct (dip your wafer into the wine) as this transfers germs from your hand into the cup. You may also receive only the bread. If you have any questions or concerns, please speak directly to Rev. Michelle.

    Listen for St. John’s on Radio Kingston! Radio Kingston is our local community radio station and they have begun a wonderful new program – underwriting. We donate to their Community Fund (which helps people in need pay their utility and rent bills) and they mention St. John’s name as an underwriter of their programs. We get our name out there and (more importantly) the Community Fund receives a nice donation so that people get help with basic needs. A win-win-win for the Kingston community! Tune in and listen for a mention over this week.

    Social Hour Hosting: You are invited to sign up on the bulletin board in the Vestibule to be a social hour host! Talk with our Hospitality Coordinator, Barbara Johnston for more information.

    Page Turners Book Club: The book for May 3 is The Murmur of Bees, by Sofia Segova. Speak with Lynn Dennison for more information.

    Welcome Suzanne Campise!
    We welcome Suzanne Campise to St. John’s as our Acting Rental Manager. Suzanne has an extensive background in church work and is doing her final preparation to become an ordained Presbyterian minister. She has agreed to work for us temporarily (until her first baby is born in June) to help us to expand our rental program and get the word out about our space here at St. John’s. Please be sure to introduce yourself to her when you see her here on campus!

    St. John’s Upcoming Schedule
    Apr 10-17: Holy Week – Please see schedule above
    May 19-21: Contemplative Retreat – Sofia: Thomas Merton and the Wisdom of God, co-led by the Rev. Matthew Wright and the Rev. Michelle Meech. More information forthcoming!

  9. April 1, 2022

    Parish Work Day: Saturday, April 9
    10:00 – 12:30

    Coming together to take care of the buildings and grounds is a wonderful way to share fellowship and offer ourselves to the ministry of stewardship. This year, we want to gather before Holy Week and do some work inside and outside to prepare for this most sacred time in our Christian calendar.

    Inside: The Sacristans will gather early at 9:00 am to pray and put together a plan for Holy Week, if you’d like to join the Sacristans in this work, you’re welcome to come early for prayer or anytime afterwards. There is plenty to do!

    Outside: Beginning at 10:00 am, we need a crew (that we will be calling the “Lay Weeders”… get it?) to help clear some spaces and get ready for the season. So, bring your tools – gloves, rakes, etc.

    Come join us for a fun morning of fellowship and stewardship so we are all ready for Holy Week.

     

    Click here for information about Holy Week or review the schedule below.

    _________________________________________________________

    The Changing Church

    For those of us who love being a part of a church community, there are some troubling statistics out there that point to decline. All Christians have all witnessed this decline in church attendance over the last 2-3 decades and the pandemic has made it more pronounced. The reasons for this decline are myriad – you get a different reason depending on who you ask. And it’s happening all across the Episcopal Church and in all denominations of Christianity.

    As a member of the Committee to Elect a Bishop, I spent much of March reading through survey responses and taking part in Zoom meetings where people from across the Episcopal Diocese of New York offered their thoughts and heartfelt concerns about the diocese so that we can discern what we need in a bishop. And I can tell you that this issue, the concern over church decline, is front and center in nearly everyone’s minds.

    Please believe me, I realize that this reality can feel depressing and disappointing. What is the answer? I honestly don’t know exactly what THE answer is. But I do know that it’s not as simple as having an event or saying the right thing in a sermon. And I also know that God is not done with the Church. Why?

    Because I believe in Christ. I believe in the Good News which tells us that death is never the final word. We are a Resurrection people and this is not the end of the Church. But it may be the end of the Church-as-we-know-it.

    The question we are facing is how are we able to change to meet this new reality? What is God asking of us? What are we called to offer? What is our mission? And how are we being asked to do things differently to be the Resurrected Church?

    This is not a matter of being “relevant” and having some kind of gimicky worship service. This is about rethinking what it means to be the church. It’s the difference between a technical fix and an adaptive challenge. For example: When we see someone in a river who is drowning, we don’t stop to ask too many questions, we just find a way to get them out. Right? That’s a technical fix. And that works for one, individual circumstance.

    But if we notice that it keeps happening again and again and again, we have to be willing to adjust, to begin asking the questions about change. Perhaps we need to teach everyone to swim. Perhaps we need to put up new rules and regulations about water access. Perhaps we need to find out who the bully is who is throwing people in the water. Who knows? But we don’t know the answer until we do the work. This is an adaptive challenge. And an adaptive challenge is exactly what the Church is facing.

    A few weeks ago, on March 19, the clergy and wardens of all the Episcopal congregations in Ulster County met together here at St. John’s to discuss our common ministry. Three members of Bishop Andy’s staff joined us – Victor Conrado, Canon for Congregational Vitality, Nora Smith, Canon for Transitional Ministry, and John Perris, Canon to the Ordinary.  We spent most of our time together discussing our lives as individual congregations: What do we have? What do we need? Where do we need support? This event was just the beginning of an ongoing conversation around sharing resources and ministry. It’s a long conversation, during which, we look forward to learning more about one another and about all the possibilities for sharing beyond the silos of our individual congregations.

    So we will be talking more about this as the community of St. John’s. Again, I don’t know what this is all going to look like and I don’t know what we will learn. But I am confident that, as we move forward, we are following God’s call to us and therefore it will be a conversation of hope and of love because Love is always God’s final word.

    In God’s love and mine,
    Rev. Michelle

    ________________________________________________________________

    Announcements for
    April 3, 2022

    Parish Work Day! Saturday April 9 from 10-12:30
    Lay Weeders: Welcome to a new name for an “old” ministry – cleaning up around the St. John’s grounds. Now that spring is here both Alex Serrano (our Sexton) and Terry Earles (our Memorial Garden-er) will need help with activities like weeding (of course!), planting, clearing, raking, sweeping, etc. Our first 2022 Lay Weeders Work Day is Saturday, April 9. Come and help out from 10-12:30 and bring whatever tools you have. We’ll also have a Sacristan Work Day the same morning (starting at 9am!) in order to get everything ready for Holy Week. So, if you don’t want to work outside, there is plenty of work to do with the Sacristans inside.

    Easter Outreach and Memorials: This year our Easter Outreach donation and plate monies will be going to Episcopal Relief and Development specifically to support relief for Ukraine.
    If you would like to donate a memorial gift… to the Easter Outreach and/or to support the cost of altar flowers this year, please fill out the form in the bulletin with your payment and either place it in the plate or get it to Rev. Michelle by Wednesday, April 13. All memorials will be printed in the Easter Sunday bulletin.

    Return to the Common Cup:  In March, our bishop Andy Dietsche announced that he is allowing us to return to the Common Cup effective immediately so that we are again able to share Eucharist in two kinds – the bread and the wine. Please drink directly from the chalice; do not instinct (dip your wafer into the wine) as this transfers germs from your hand into the cup. You may also receive only the bread. If you have any questions or concerns, please speak directly to Rev. Michelle.

    Listen for St. John’s on Radio Kingston! Radio Kingston is our local community radio station and they have begun a wonderful new program – underwriting. We donate to their Community Fund (which helps people pay their bills) and they mention St. John’s name as an underwriter of their programs. We get our name out there and (more importantly) the Community Fund receives a nice donation. A win-win for the Kingston community! Tune in and listen for a mention over the next 2 weeks.

    Social Hour Hosting: You are invited to sign up on the bulletin board in the Vestibule to be a social hour host! Talk with our Hospitality Coordinator, Barbara Johnston for more information.

    Page Turners Book Club: The books for the next several months have been announced: April 5- Cloud Cuckoo Land, by Anthony Doerr; May 3- The Murmur of Bees, by Sofia Segova. Speak with Lynn Dennison for more information.

    Welcome Suzanne Campise!
    We welcome Suzanne Campise to St. John’s as our Acting Rental Manager. Suzanne has an extensive background in church work and is doing her final preparation to become an ordained Presbyterian minister. She has agreed to work for us temporarily (until her first baby is born in June) to help us to expand our rental program and get the word out about our space here at St. John’s. Please be sure to introduce yourself to her when you see her here on campus!

    St. John’s Upcoming Schedule
    Apr 9: Parish Work Day – Help prepare for Holy Week from 10-12:30
    Apr 10-17: Holy Week – Please see schedule above
    May 19-21: Contemplative Retreat – Sofia: Thomas Merton and the Wisdom of God, co-led by the Rev. Matthew Wright and the Rev. Michelle Meech. More information forthcoming!

  10. March 16, 2022

    Announcement from Bishop Andy Dietsche:
    Return of the Common Cup

    My Brothers and Sisters,

    Sunday, March 15, 2020 was the last day before we suspended public worship in the Diocese of New York as a response to the Covid pandemic.  Over the two years which have followed, we have seen coronavirus infections rise and fall, with seasons of surge and seasons of relief.  During that time churches have relaxed many or most of the restrictions on public worship which we had introduced earlier, but the single requirement which has continued across our diocese has been the restriction against administering communion wine in the Common Cup.  We have for all this time received the sacrament “in one kind,” and we have found that we have been able to continue to be a sacramental people, and we have adjusted to that new reality.  

    However, with the waning of the omicron surge, and the dramatic fall in the rate of infections in all parts of our diocese, I have a new message: I am happy to authorize, effective immediately, the return to Communion in Both Kinds, and to permit, and encourage, the restoration of the Common Cup in the worship of our churches.

    It seems to me that as we approach Holy Week, Palm Sunday would be an opportune time to re-introduce the Common Cup, but no one needs to wait.  This permission is immediately effective.  Recognizing that people have varying levels of comfort during a continuing pandemic, I want to be clear that no one is required to drink from the chalice. No is any parish required to do this until they are ready. But the prohibition is lifted.

    For churches which practice Intinction, I do want to make an additional instruction.  The last two years have raised for all of us again the question of hygiene and communion.  Two thousand years of experience have taught us that wine can be safely communicated when people drink from the Common Cup, if the eucharistic minister properly wipes the cup between communicants.  The practice, however, of people dipping the host into the chalice with their own fingers carries a high likelihood of fingers touching or plunging into the wine itself.  Every eucharistic minister has seen this, and it is a certainty that this is an unclean and unsafe practice.  Intinction is an acceptable practice in administering communion, but it is correctly done by the priest or eucharistic minister, with clean washed hands, dipping the host into the wine and placing it on the tongue of the communicant.  The practice of people dipping the host themselves is not permitted.

    The restoration of the Common Cup should not be interpreted to mean that Covid is over.  Rather, it signifies that we have come to a time when all of our customs in life must adapt to the reality that Covid is with us indefinitely or long-term, and we must learn how to live with it with the highest degree of safety possible.  Future variants or surges may come, and if they do, I call on all of our churches to return as necessary to the safe and reasonable restrictions that will ensure that our churches are safe places for everyone.

    I have long felt that the passing of the communion cup from person to person is one of the most powerful symbols we have in the Christian church of our mutual vulnerability, depth of community, and open self-offering one to another.  As a very frequent celebrant at our altars, I have often felt uncomfortable and even lonely when I have drunk from the cup alone. So I have longed for this day, and the full return of our customary and ancient practice of holy communion.  May this add to the joy of our Easter celebration and the lifting of our collective heart!

    With every good wish, I remain yours, Bishop Andy

    ________________________________________________________________________
    Committee to Elect a Bishop Listening Sessions

    Below is a list of times when members of the Committee to Elect a Bishop will be present to listen to everyone in the Diocese of New York – that’s you! Click on the link to register and you will receive an email with the Zoom link. Region-specific sessions will focus on the regions listed, but you are welcome to attend any session.

    Wednesday, March 23 at 7 p.m. – Hudson Valley
    (Includes Spanish Interpretation)
    https://dioceseny.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZYsdemorzMiHNzcaMEZsTJ9v-8aXCSd3gf7

    Thursday, March 24 at 7 p.m. – Staten Island
    https://dioceseny.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZYocuusqjkpEtDn6FfmHBeJ4pKzuG1ww6LA

    Saturday, March 26 at 4 p.m.
    (Includes Spanish Interpretation)
    https://dioceseny.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZAlcuiurTgsHdeu0mz2vS4HgZ-35dZBOmCo

    _____________________________________________________________

    A Reflection on Prayer

    I sometimes think I take prayer for granted. I spend time in prayer each day, often with many of you on my mind and in my heart, knowing what so many of you carry. And I spend time in silent prayer, which is helpful for my own renewal. And, of course, I lead prayer every week on Sunday morning (and sometimes more). Perhaps it’s because prayer is a significant part of my life, that I tend to take it for granted.

    But when I really stop to think about it, prayer is such a gift. It gives us a sense of connection with one another as well as a sense of agency in a crazy world. And prayer is an invitation to us to remember our true identity – God’s beloved children. When we pray, every time we pray, we are affirming who we are and whose we are. In other words, we pray because we believe that we belong to God.

    So, prayer isn’t just a set of words that we recite. It’s not just a time to be “prayerful” or to call to mind those about whom we care. Prayer forms us. It forms our imaginations and realigns us with our true identity and, therefore, prayer informs our actions in the world.

    What does prayer mean to you?

    In God’s love and mine,
    Rev. Michelle

    ___________________________________________________________

    Announcements for
    March 20, 2022

    Choir Rehearsal begins today after worship! Please contact our Director of Music, Terry Earles, if you are interested in being a part of the choir. All members must be fully vaccinated and will wear masks designed for singing.

    Worship Update! Returning to the Common Cup
    This past week, our bishop Andy Dietsche announced that he is allowing us to return to the Common Cup effective immediately so that we are again able to share Eucharist in two kinds – the bread and the wine. Please drink directly from the chalice. Do not instinct (dip your wafer into the wine) as this transfers germs from your hand into the cup. You may also receive only the bread. If you have any questions or concerns, please speak directly to Rev. Michelle.

    Centering Prayer: Join us online for Centering Prayer every Wednesday beginning at 5:30 pm. A practice of readings, silent prayer, and reflection to support your deepening walk with Christ. Go to the St. John’s website for to connect and access the readings: stjohnskingston.org

    St. John’s is hiring: We are looking for a Rental Manager – someone with commercial kitchen experience who also has communication/promotional skills to promote our space. The position is posted on our website so please help to promote this opening by letting people know!

    Compline Prayer Service is offered every week on Tuesday nights at 9:00 pm through Zoom. Compline is a beautiful service of grace and peace that helps us to lay down our burdens at the end of the day. Go to the St. John’s website for the bulletin and connection link: stjohnskingston.org

    Social Hour: Now that the pandemic numbers have decreased, we have resumed our social hour. Please join us after worship for coffee and snacks. And sign up on the bulletin board in the Vestibule to be a host! Talk with our Hospitality Coordinator, Barbara Johnston for more information.

    Page Turners Book Club: The books for the next several months have been announced: April 5- Cloud Cuckoo Land, by Anthony Doerr; May 3- The Murmur of Bees, by Sofia Segova. Speak with Lynn Dennison for more information.

    Welcome Alex Serrano!
    Our new Church Sexton, Alex, grew up in this area and also works for Holy Cross/Santa Cruz as their Sexton. For us he will assist in taking care of the buildings and grounds and lead our Parish Clean-up Days. When you see him around, please welcome him and introduce yourself!

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

    St. John’s Upcoming Schedule
    Mar 20: Choir rehearsal begins after worship
    Mar 27: Guest Preacher: The Rev. Dcn. Gene Bourquin, Pastoral Minister for Deaf and Disability Ministry – stay after worship for a conversation with Deacon Gene.
    Apr 4: Lenten Healing Service, 7:30 pm
    Apr 10: Palm Sunday
    Apr 14: Maundy Thursday
    Apr 15: Good Friday
    Apr 16: Holy Saturday and Easter Vigil
    Apr 17: Easter Sunday and egg hunt!
    May 19-21: Contemplative Retreat – Sofia: Thomas Merton and the Wisdom of God, co-led by the Rev. Matthew Wright and the Rev. Michelle Meech. More information forthcoming!