The St. John’s Prayer Chain
Being a member of a Prayer Chain is a sacred and life-giving ministry. As Christians, we are all called to pray for one another and members of a Prayer Chain are those who keep prayers going when so many of us get distracted. They keep us all connected to one another through a belief in prayer as that connection. Intercessory prayer is an active response to the life of the community and is a reminder to us that God is the ground of our being.
Different people use different bodily positions for prayer—always using what helps them to feel centered, whether that be kneeling or sitting, standing or walking. Some light a candle or handle beads or wear a prayer shawl. Because we’re often so distracted, some people find it helpful to focus their concentration before they begin to pray – perhaps closing their eyes or taking long, slow, deep breaths.
But always, the most important thing about prayer is to begin with an orientation of gratitude. Because it is to God we pray, our creator and the ground of our being, an orientation of gratitude brings us into a deeper awareness of the gift of life itself and, therefore, just how precious and mysterious we all are.
So if you’d like to join the St. John’s Prayer Chain, please contact the Prayer Chain Moderator, Cathe Decker. She will add you to the list of people who receive Prayer Chain requests. You can email her at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tending Our Light
Our weekly offering of goodness to help keep our spirits buoyed and our mental health on track through the darker months of winter.
This is a repeat of the note from last week because, even though the vaccine is becoming more widely available, there is still a great deal of anxiety and “not knowing” as we start to look at the end of this time of confinement and restriction and fear. Trusting our public spaces again is going to be challenging and we’re all still going through so much from the economic fallout personal losses.
Support groups bring together individuals who are facing similar issues, whether that be an illness, relationship problem, or major life changes. Members of support groups often share their experiences and advice. It can be helpful just getting to talk with other people who are in the same situation.
The Mental Health Association of Ulster County offers a variety of free support groups. These groups are free and open to everyone in the community. Currently we have a variety of open drop-in groups as well as Anger Management Classes, and Eating Disorder Support Groups.
That’s not all! The MHA has many other resources to support all of us including recovery and wellness services. Please visit their site to learn more about all the programs the MHA has to offer. Click here to learn more.
Dear Ones: A post came across my Facebook feed from 5 years ago. It was a picture of the front of the monthly St. John’s newsletter we used to have in which I wrote a short note to you all as I was packing up my things in Michigan so I could come and be your priest here at St. John’s. In it, I spoke of the need for rest during transition. When I read it I thought, “I’m wiser than I remember being!” What a gift it’s been to read this again.
First, just let me say that it’s hard to believe that it’s already been 5 years! Thank you for calling me to be among you and lead us as a congregation. I have learned so much from you all and look forward to finding out what God has in store for us in the coming years.
Second, I’ve decided to follow my own advice and take some rest – a full week of downtime, a retreat of sorts. The past two years have been an emotional rollercoaster for me – getting married to one of the most amazing people on the planet in October of 2018 and then my brother Marc dying of suicide just a few months later in February 2019. The following summer Ana and I helped my mother move from her home of 30 years, I endured a truly spectacular case of poison ivy (I now know EXACTLY what that plant looks like!), and I had my gall bladder removed. Then, as we all know, the pandemic hit us a year ago in March 2020 causing us to figure out new ways of being together and maintaining a sense of community. And, now, my sweet dog Bella is in gradual decline and caring for her has become very physical. In all of this, I’ve been aware of your care of and love for me – through prayers and notes and other small gifts of affection. Thank you!
The experience of being your priest has been one of gratitude and joy. But leading a congregation is a lot of responsibility and has many emotional ups and downs as I celebrate and grieve with each of you. I’ve been fortunate to have excellent people in leadership to assist in these years – Wardens, Vestry, Staff. Really, I’m so grateful for you all.
So, in all the things that I’ve needed to attend to, I’ve never actually afforded myself the time and space to grieve Marc’s death. Now, I would be foolish to think that grief is something you can simply “take care of” in a week’s time. Everyone’s grief has its own path and its own schedule. But next week, I will devote my time and resources to the part of myself that just misses my brother – to give myself the space to reflect on who he was and who he continues to be in my heart, and to allow myself to really think about how his death has had an impact on my family. And to find a way to begin to bring some closure, if possible, to all the feelings that arise when someone you love has died of suicide.
So, I will be out of touch next week – from Monday, March 8 returning to work on Tuesday, March 16. Aside from Wednesday Open Prayer and Friday Morning Bible Study, the full schedule of prayer and worship services will continue. And if you need anything, please reach out to Deacon Sue, or one of our wardens – Lynn Dennison or Claudette Ford.
I will appreciate your prayers this coming week, if you would. But please do not email or text me with them. I know God will be with me as I do this work.
In God’s love and mine, Rev. Michelle
Announcements for March 7, 2021
THIS SUNDAY! Pastoral Care Meeting Join us after communion at 12:30. All are welcome. Click here to join: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/768878535
Do you have “candle cups?” You know, the white plastic cups that hold our candles at Christmas Eve? They were a part of the Advent Worship Boxes this year. We’d love to make sure they make it back to the Altar Guild’s closet. So, if you have one (or more!) bring them by the Rectory and leave them in the mailbox by the door. Or, bring them with you when you pick up your Holy Week Bags later in March.
The Clothing Shed is open again! Yes, the clothing shed in our parking lot is open again. Please let everyone know that they can drop off clothing and housewares (textiles only!). Everything needs to be in a sealed bag and every bit helps to raise money for St. John’s.
The Page Turners Book Club: For April 6th we are reading “Apeirogon,” by Colum McCann. We meet at 7 pm, by Zoom, for about an hour. Contact Lynn Dennison for more information at: email@example.com
Holy Week Bags! Yes, we’ve already begun to plan Holy Week. If you would like to have a bag of worship items to help you celebrate Holy Week at home (including printed bulletins!), please use this link to fill out the form ASAP. Be sure to sign up before Wednesday, March 24. Holy Week Bags Sign-up – St. John’s Kingston
Lenten Fun and Games: Lent Madness
What?! But Lent is supposed to be solemn and serious! Well this year, we need a little levity and silliness. So all the members of St. John’s are invited to participate in Lent Madness. We start on Thursday, February 18 so sign up now and get ready: Lent Madness
Have an announcement for the bulletin?
Please send by Wednesday at noon to firstname.lastname@example.org.