Outreach at St. John’s
In most years, the month of December is filled with opportunities for serving others in our communities – like toy drives at work or carol-singing in nursing homes. As Christians, these opportunities can be ways for us to prepare ourselves for Christ’s coming among us – the expansion of our hearts with compassion for self and others.
This season, there are a number of ways to participate in Outreach projects:
- We have a couple more days for our People’s Place Project Santa Sock Drive (all socks and money must be brought to the Rectory by Dec. 6).
- We continue collecting new books for the kids who are living in Family of Woodstock shelters. You can bring these to the Rectory too.
- We have begun collecting for this year’s Christmas Outreach Memorials. All monies will go to Angel Food East this year. Simply fill out the form at the bottom of your Sunday bulletin and send it in or drop it by the Rectory on or before December 20.
- You can become involved with the work of the Outreach Committee as they design service projects and determine the best use of designated Outreach funds from the St. John’s budget. The next meeting is on Sunday, December 13 at 12:30 via Zoom. See next week’s announcements for the link.
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.
The practice of interrupting our day for prayer is an ancient one that pre-dates Christianity and has remained a constant in every faith tradition. Regular prayer is not so much an issue of obedience as it is an invitation to remind us to reconnect.
We can get so lost in our daily lives – the to-do list as well as the stresses and the joys of everyday life. Taking time for prayer throughout the day reminds us of our reliance upon God and gives us the opportunity to ground ourselves in gratitude to keep our spirits up and stay connected to Love.
When the pandemic started in March, St. John’s opened up several opportunities for communal prayer and connection throughout the week. These have all continued and, for those who attend, are helpful ways of staying connected to our community and being reminded of God’s abundant love for us.
Take a moment to stop during your day for prayer. Here are 2 ways you can jump right in:
- Set your clock and join us for one of the times we engage in communal prayer. You can find the list here: Online Streaming Worship – St. John’s Kingston.
- You can also use this simple Daily Office application that will give you both the prayers and scripture readings for Morning Prayer, Noonday Prayer, Evening Prayer, and Compline.
What do windows have to do with Bible study?
Dear Ones: I’ve had several conversations lately about stained glass windows. Perhaps it’s because, when people come into St. John’s, their reaction to our windows is twofold: First, they love them – they are beautiful windows. Second, they don’t depict characters in the Bible (for the most part).
Why do so many churches have windows with characters/stories from the Bible? There is some history to look at here. The tradition started long before the birth of the Episcopal Church as a way of helping people read the Bible. Yes – windows used to be a way to read the Bible.
When did this begin to change? Back in the 16th century, Christians throughout Europe protested the leadership of the Church because the leadership had become corrupt, as has happened in institutions throughout time. In addition, the invention of the printing press made it easier for people to obtain reading materials so literacy rates were rising fast. The same people who were concerned about the corruption also wanted to translate the Bible so that everyone could read it for themselves. Up until that point, it was only the Church’s leadership who read and interpreted scripture.
These people who protested against the Church came to be known as Protestants. The Episcopal Church is connected to the Protestant Reformation that occurred in Europe because reformers in the Church of England framed their own English Reformation along the same lines.
Arguably, the most consequential outcome of these sibling reformations is the translation and printing of the Bible into many languages. This means that a significant part of our faith, as Episcopalians, is the value we place on reading scripture. We do this every week during worship, of course, through four readings from different sections of our Bible. As an ancient source of wisdom, there is much depth and beauty, inspiration and instruction to be found in the words of Holy Scripture, along with some troubling texts with which we are invited to contend. The study of scripture can be exciting and deeply moving when we come to it with an earnest curiosity – not looking for easy answers, but challenging the text so that we can hear Holy Spirit speaking to us. As we take the time to investigate the biblical texts, we can find new meanings that will inform and deepen our faith and our relationships with one another and with God.
Recently, we’ve started coming together every Friday morning at 9:00 am to take a deeper look into scripture over Zoom. I love teaching about scripture because I always learn something new so Friday Morning Bible Study is a real joy for me to lead. And I think you’ll enjoy it too, so join us. And, if this is something you’d like to do but the Friday morning time doesn’t work, please let me know. We’ll figure something out.
You can find the link where you find all the other links for worship and formation at St. John’s, on the St. John’s website under Celebrate & Pray > Online Streaming Worship. Or just click here. And we’ll see you on Friday mornings at 9:00 am!
In God’s love and mine, Rev. Michelle
Announcements for December 6, 2020
THIS SUNDAY! Pastoral Care Meeting. We meet on Zoom at 12:30. Please click to join the meeting: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/768878535
A special announcement! The Vestry of St. John’s offers profound thanks for the ministry of Jenny Allred over these past years, as the bookkeeper of St. John’s. She has faithfully paid our bills and kept the records to assist our Treasurer and keep the Vestry apprised of our budget and balances. Jenny completes her ministry this month as we welcome a new bookkeeper to St. John’s. Thank you so much, Jenny, for your stewardship of our resources and your faithful ministry!
Next Week: Outreach Committee Meeting is Sun, December 13 at 12:30 on Zoom.
Car Donation Needed: Do you have a car you’d like to donate? A farmworker affiliated with Rural and Migrant Ministries is in need because his car was totaled. Please contact the Rev. Richard Witt at email@example.com
Continue to send your pledges in! Drop off your leaves and pledge form at the Rectory or mail them in and we’ll continue putting them on the tree. Using the theme of Faith the Size of a Mustard Seed, we’re focusing on how all of our giving – time, talent, treasure – is the seed that grows our St. John’s community. If you did not receive a letter, please contact Lynn Dennison from the Stewardship Committee.
Education for Ministry (EFM): What is EFM? Every baptized person is called to ministry. EFM is a program designed to support the ministry of everyone. Participants gather in small, mentored groups where they learn more deeply about the Christian faith and how it shapes our lives. A Tuesday evening Zoom group is being shaped among the Episcopal congregations in Ulster County that will start in January. Space is limited so contact Teri Jones ASAP for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A Service of Light and Remembrance: Monday, December 21 at 7:00 pm. For many of us, especially this year, the holiday season is not all joyous. Feelings of grief and painful memories come along with the joy of Love’s birth among us. It really helps to give space to these parts of our experience and to allow light into those places we would rather keep in the dark. Come for a hopeful service on the longest night of the year designed to support every part of us. Led by the Companions of Mary the Apostle (Shane Phelan and Elizabeth Broyles who have been guest priests at St. John’s) and Ana Hernandez. Email email@example.com to receive the link for this service.
SUNDAY! THE FINAL DAY FOR OUR SOCK DRIVE to support People’s Place Project Santa What did one new sock say to the other? “Great things are afoot!” It’s Project Santa time again and we’ve been asked by our friends at People’s Place to host a sock drive. All sizes and shapes of new socks will be needed. Plain socks, character socks, slipper socks, heavy winter socks, crew socks and knee socks are needed for infants all the way up to 14 year-old boys and girls. Your donations of new, quality socks will warm the toes and hearts of our young neighbors. Please be generous. You can drop off the socks in the box by the rectory or make a donation and we will shop for you. All donations must be dropped off no later than Sunday, December 6th. Thank you from Elaine Lawrence and Deacon Sue on behalf of the Outreach Committee.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.