This Sunday: March 12
How We Pray: Worship in the Episcopal Church
Parish Hall from 1:00-3:30
Have you ever wondered why we do the things we do during worship? Where did all of these practices come from? What do all the symbols mean – the colors, the white robes, the gestures? What is in the Prayer Book? What is the liturgical year? What is the deeper meaning behind the services of Holy Week? And what is “prayer” anyway? Phew… lots to talk about here. Bring all your questions!
All are welcome to join in our Inquirer’s Class. Come to the whole series or come to the topics that interest you the most. Learn more or register, here.
What is “Inquirer’s Class?
Whether you are new to the Episcopal Church or you have been here for years and want to learn more, this class is for you! We take a deeper dive into our Christian faith and how that is expressed as Episcopalians through 6 class sessions. Come to all of them or just come to the sessions where the topics interest you the most.
This class also serves as preparation for adult baptism, confirmation, or reception into the Episcopal Church. Speak with Rev. Michelle to learn more.
During the Week at St. John’s
Did you know?: St. John’s actively seeks ways to rent out our space. Of course this helps with our finances but, more importantly, this helps us to build relationships and community. We have recently been blessed with 2 people who are offering classes for kids. Let’s help our new Community Partners have successful ventures by signing up or passing along the information to friends, co-workers, and family members.
Mac N’ Cheese Bakeoff: We had a great time!
Thank you to everyone who came out to support Angel Food East at the return of the Mac n’ Cheese Bakeoff! It was a fun afternoon and we successfully raised a bunch of money for Angel Food East.
Special congratulations to St. John’s parishioner Steve Axelson who won in the category of “Traditional” on behalf of an agency. Steve is the chef at People’s Place Community Cafe. Well done, Steve!
Here are all the winners! Please thank them by supporting their establishments. They gave of their skill, time, and pantry shelves to support Angel Food East so let’s keep the goodwill flowing!
- Professional Traditional DIETZ DINER
- Professional Exotic URBAN FORK – Crack n Mac
- Amateur Traditional FIONA MCELROY
- Amateur Exotic CRYSTAL AGUAYO – Pastelon
- Agency Traditional PEOPLE’S PLACE
- Agency Exotic BLACKBOARD BISTRO – Pulled Pork Mac n Cheese
- Kid’s Choice Award – Hole in the Wall Donuts – Cherry Donut Mac n Cheese
- People’s Choice Award – Patty Manfrates – Traditional
What We Have Left Undone
Soon after my arrival in the Diocese of New York about 7 years ago, I began to hear about a group called the Reparations Committee, which eventually became the Reparations Commission. What is this work?
Those who are engaged in reparations work have made the moral decision to examine and explore our collective historical involvement in the enslavement of Black people and, subsequently, our ongoing involvement in systems that continue to oppress and marginalize Black people.
It’s often not an easy conversation. There are people who still argue that slavery is a “Southern thing” despite the knowledge that, not only did people own slaves in the north (we have our own Sojourner Truth here in Ulster County) but that much of the wealth that built New York City were profits from the slave trade itself. There are also people who say, “this happened before I was born and I never did anything wrong.” Yet, all white people, no matter what socioeconomic class, have benefitted directly from systems of privilege (including wealth) that were designed to prevent access to Black people.
My beloveds, these are not opinions. These are facts. And the continued denial of these facts has raised a heinous demon in the soul of our society. You all know me well enough to know that I don’t use that word every day but that is exactly what it is – a demon that conflates rhetoric, opinion, and truth in the attempt to justify the continued oppression of others as “the cost of doing business” or “collateral damage” or, worse.
Meanwhile, the entire trajectory of the Hebrew Scriptures speaks in outright opposition to this evil. Which leads us to Jesus.
Last week, in the Gospel, we read about Jesus talking to Nicodemus. And Jesus says to him: “Very truly, I tell you, we speak of what we know and testify to what we have seen; yet you do not receive our testimony.” Who are we, then, if we are not willing to receive the testimony of our own siblings who tell us of their oppression? We must be willing to look past the line we have drawn in the sand and see where Christ is pointing.
So, let us begin by acknowledging that slavery is and was a sin. In so doing, it is proper to look at our Confession: Most merciful God, we confess that we have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done, and by what we have left undone.
By what we have done… and by what we have left undone. Dear Ones, this is the key phrase.
We have left so much undone. We may not have been alive when slavery was the law but, we have to take seriously the continued effort to “undo” this sin because it still infects our systems and our institutions and, therefore, it still infects us.
The Diocese of New York is collectively doing this work of undoing. And the Reparations Commission is leading all of us in this effort. You can learn more here.
On Saturday, March 26 Bishop Andy Dietsche will be joined by Bishops Mary Glasspool, Allen Shin, and Bishop Coadjutor Elect Matt Heyd in a special service of apology. I am going as a vested member of the clergy. Ana is going as one of the musicians. And I ask you to consider going. Please do. And let us fill the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, the largest Gothic cathedral in the world, with a prayer of apology that resounds far and wide, shakes the very ground under our feet, and opens our hearts to God’s deeper truth and grace that will lead us in our undoing.
And then, let this be for us at St. John’s what carries us forward into an exploration of our own complicity in the evil of slavery.
I’d like to end by saying this, and it’s something I have said before when it comes to our collective anti-racism work: We do not do this work to feel superior to those who do not do it. It’s much too important for it to be an ego trip. I will not tolerate anyone demeaning others or gossiping about others. Afterall, Nicodemus came to Jesus in earnest. Confrontation is one thing, and it is necessary. But we must always endeavor to speak the truth in love.
In God’s love and mine,
Announcements for March 12
The Third Sunday in Lent
THIS SUNDAY: St. John’s Inquirer’s Class Begins! Join us in the Parish Hall from 1:00-3:30 for “How We Pray: Worship in the Episcopal Church.” Have you ever wondered why we do the things we do during worship? Where did all of these practices come from? What do all the symbols mean – the colors, the white robes, the gestures? What is in the Prayer Book? What is the liturgical year? What is the deeper meaning behind the services of Holy Week? And what is “prayer” anyway? Phew… lots to talk about here. Bring all your questions! All are welcome.
Don’t forget: Godly Play on March 19! Parents: Come a little early and help your young people upstairs for Godly Play. Everyone will be back to join us in time for Eucharist.
Purple Sunday: Understanding Alzheimer’s and Dementia The Alzheimer’s Association is coming on Sunday, March 26 to talk about the impact of these diseases along with risk factors, stages, research, and treatments. Please wear purple to church to show your support of the work of the Alzheimer’s Association.
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.
Lenten Activity Book for Families with Kids: You can pick up a copy of “This Is My Body” from Illustrated Ministry next to the bulletins. Designed to help children understand how important it is to take care of the gift of our body, a wonderful Lenten practice.
Page Turners Book Club Meetings are on the first Thursday of the month at 2 p.m., in the parish hall. Here’s what we selected for the next few months: April 6 – Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus; May 4 – If on A Winter’s Night A Traveler by Italo Calvino. All are welcome! Interested? Talk with Lynn Dennison.
St. John’s Office Hours
Mondays from 12:00-4:00 pm and Thursdays from 1:00-3:00 pm
Please note: Rev. Michelle’s Sabbath Day is Friday.
Have an announcement for the bulletin?
Please send by Wednesday at noon to firstname.lastname@example.org.
2023 Seasons of Lent and Easter at St. John’s
Mar 19: Godly Play for kids, Healing Sunday
Mar 26: Purple Sunday! For our Rector’s Forum this month, the Alzheimer’s Association will make a presentation about Alzheimer’s and dementia. After Worship.
Who We Are: History / Structure of the Episcopal Church. Inquirer’s Class is held from 1:00-3:30 pm.
Apr 2: Palm Sunday All Ages Worship
What We Believe: The Creeds of the Church. Inquirer’s Class is held from 1:00-3:30 pm.
Apr 6: Maundy Thursday – soup supper, Eucharist, foot-washing, cleaning of the Altar. Begins at 6:00 pm
Apr7: Good Friday – Prayer service at 12:00 pm with the reading of the Passion. Stations of the Cross at 7:00 pm.
Apr 8: Holy Saturday – Reflection and prayers followed by Work Party at 9:00 am. Easter Vigil begins at 8:00 pm
Apr 9: Easter Sunday: Festive Choral Eucharist followed by Community Brunch and Egg Hunt for the kids
Apr 16: Godly Play for kids, Healing Sunday
Apr 23: How We Read Scripture I: The Hebrew Scriptures. Inquirer’s Class is held from 1:00-3:30 pm.
Apr 30: Rector’s Forum – Life at the Time of Jesus
May 7: All Ages Worship
How We Read Scripture II: The Greek Scriptures. Inquirer’s Class is held from 1:00-3:30 pm.
May 21: What We Do: Ministry and the Baptismal Covenant. Inquirer’s Class is held from 1:00-3:30 pm.
May 28: The Feast of Pentecost