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

The Good News of St. John’s

May 18, 2023

This Week at St. John’s

The Feast of the Ascension

While most people know about two of the major feasts of the Christian calendar (Christmas and Easter), many forget that there are others. And the Feast of the Ascension is one that is often overlooked. Always celebrated on a Thursday, 39 days after the Resurrection of Easter, the Day of Ascension marks Jesus’ final ascent from the finite, earthly realm 39 days after the Resurrection at Easter. We will be celebrating the Ascension this coming Sunday and talking about what it means for Christ to ascend above all in our own hearts and minds. How do we offer ourselves over to Christ?

Godly Play!

Bring your young people to our upstairs Godly Play room so they can join Leah Siuta for this Montessori-based curriculum. Everyone sits in a circle as Leah tells a story from our Godly Play shelves and are invited to wonder with God to bring the story closer to their own hearts and minds. Then, the group comes down to join us for Eucharist.

Inquirer’s Class – What We Do: Ministry and the Baptismal Covenant

Our Final Inquirer’s Class from 1:00-3:30 in the Rectory  
As Christians, we believe in an incarnate God – the Christ – who came to teach us that all the law and the prophets point to Love. And that this love isn’t something we feel, it’s something we do. Jesus’ two commandments of: Love God and love your neighbor as yourself aren’t about warm fuzzies and “thoughts and prayers.” These commandments must guide our participation in this incarnate reality. As we deepen our journey with Christ and our faith matures, we learn how to become ministers in the world. Our Baptismal Covenant is the place we return to in order to remind ourselves of God’s dream for all of us.

Bible Study Survey – please turn them in!

As Episcopalians, scripture has a central place in our worship and is foundational to our Christian faith. As such, we are called to take the reading of scripture seriously, to open it up and explore its meaning. A Weekly Bible Study is an opportunity to interrogate scripture alongside others while developing relationships and community. What can we learn from scripture for our lives today?

If you are interested, please take this survey to let Rev. Michelle know when you are able to attend. Fill out this electronic form OR use the paper form found in your Sunday worship bulletin. Make sure they are turned in by Sunday, May 21.


The Consecration of Matthew Foster Heyd

This Saturday, May 20 the Diocese of New York consecrates Matthew Foster Heyd as Bishop Coadjutor at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City. If you are not coming to be in person, you can still join the celebration online through the cathedral’s youtube page.The procession begins at 10:15 am on

Paula Wisneski and Roger Bonsteel will process with the St. John’s banner. Paula and Roger will then sit with other members from St. John’s – Sue Bonsteel, Kathy Burdick, Claudette Ford, Rebekah Hendricks, Ana Hernandez, Don Hughes, Liz Moeller, and Nilsa Rodriguez-Jaca. Finally, Rev. Michelle will be processing and sitting with the Committee to Elect a Bishop.

Afterwards, there is a reception outside on the Cathedral Green where Liz will host an activities tent for the kids.

We’ll take plenty of pictures and share them on Instagram and Facebook and here in next week’s Good News from St. John’s.

Let’s all keep Matt and his family in our prayers as they make this transition into his new ministry.

You can learn more here and also watch a video of Matt talking to Presiding Bishop Michael Curry.



Dear Ones,
I hope you recognize the title of this comes from David Bowie’s iconic song, “Changes”.

As the Vestry and I have been communicating to you all, there are changes to the Rector’s salary and schedule occurring this year. In April, the Vestry voted to reduce the hours of the Rector to 60% beginning June 1. This comes in response to the need to move into more sustainable financial practices, a situation that is facing all denominations across the country. We are not alone. And I want to be very clear that this decision is one that I have supported at every step. I agree with the decision of the Vestry.

There are 2 changes I am announcing here – my schedule and a shift in our worship. In addition to more lay leadership of events, committees, and other ministries, these will be the most significant changes for us to move through as a congregation as we live into this new arrangement.

Rev. Michelle’s Schedule as of June 1
Sundays: I will be with you for every Sunday service, except for the Sundays that I am off. I have been given more Sundays off with this change.
Mondays: I am unavailable, except for our monthly Vestry meetings.
Tuesdays: I am unavailable.
Wednesdays: I am unavailable, except to lead our online Centering Prayer.
Thursdays: I am available all day and will have office hours for part of the day in the church building, should you wish to stop by or need to access the office. More details coming.
Fridays: I am available all day.
Saturdays: I am available but will spend the better part of the day writing the sermon and preparing for Sunday.

With the rest of my time, I will be doing some work for the Diocese of New York as well as leading more retreats to supplement my income. Of course, I will be with you all for regular liturgical events regardless of when they fall during the week – Ash Wednesday, Holy Week, Christmas, etc. And should there be a pastoral emergency, I will be there.

The officers and I will review this schedule in September.

Shift in Worship
One of the ways in which we are looking to reduce costs is to be strategic about how much we spend on supply priests on the Sundays when I am not with you. Because the Episcopal Church requires that sacraments be presided over by ordained priests or bishops, we need to re-think our worship pattern, if we want to spend less on supply priests.

About 50 years ago, Eucharist was not offered every Sunday in the Episcopal Church. Instead, we worshipped together in a service called Morning Prayer. Morning Prayer can be led by anyone in the church – ordained leaders or lay leaders. And we have several lay leaders at St. John’s who are offering to expand their ministry: Leah Siuta, Wes Dangler, and Lynn Dennison.

This summer, St. John’s will begin a practice of having Morning Prayer on the “5th Sundays.” By that, I mean that in any month where there are 5 Sundays, we will have Morning Prayer instead of Eucharist on that last Sunday. Even if I’m here, I will officiate over Morning Prayer on the 5th Sundays.

We hope to incorporate the beauty of this liturgical form into our common worship life so that, when Leah, Wes, or Lynn are called upon to lead Morning Prayer, everyone at St. John’s feel more comfortable with and prepared for worshipping through this form.

Before we begin this new worship pattern, I will offer a forum and other forms of teaching to help us all with the shift. For those of you with a Book of Common Prayer, you can get started by taking a look at the form beginning on page 75.

Finally, I ask for your grace and understanding as we all move into this new arrangement of congregational life. Having said that, I can understand if you feel angry or upset about this. These are common emotions when it comes to changes. So please do reach out to me with any questions or concerns. I am here and my door is open.

In God’s love and mine,
Rev. Michelle


Announcements for May 21
The Feast of the Ascension

St. John’s Office Hours
Wednesdays 10:00-12:00 noon, Thursdays 1:00-4:00 pm
Phone: 845-331-2252    Email:

Have an announcement for the bulletin?
Please send by Wednesday at noon to

Join the thousands of Episcopalians who are committing themselves and their households to sustainable living. Go to:

Gun Violence Awareness Day Event: On Friday, June 2 at 5:30. Join members of St. John’s and Congregation Emanuel of the Hudson Valley for an event in support of the National Gun Violence Awareness Day, sponsored Everytown for Gun Safety, Sandy Hook Promise, and others.

Summer Book Read: Join us for the St. John’s Summer Book Read. We will meet over Zoom so you don’t have to worry about missing a meeting due to travel! The book is No Act of Love Is Ever Wasted by Thibault and Morgan. It’s a non-fiction read that, while it focuses on caring for people with dementia, is also a good reflection for all who provide pastoral care or are caretakers of friends or family. Dates announced soon, in the meantime, go ahead and buy the book. Want to learn more? Talk to Lynn Dennison, Sue Bonsteel, or Rev. Michelle.

Summer Grief Support Group: Hudson Valley Hospice comes to St. John’s for the summer to offer a Family Summer Grief Support Group, Monday afternoons 2x a month, June 5 through Sept 25. Prior registration is required – call 845-240-7579 for more information and to register.

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 June 1,  These Precious Days by Anne Patchett. Our next meeting after that will be September 7 when we will discuss Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver. No meetings in July or August. All are welcome! Interested? Talk with Lynn Dennison.

St. John’s Outreach Project – People’s Place: When you go to the store, pick up a few extra non-perishable food items for People’s Place food pantry (tuna, soup, pasta, sauce, etc.). We are also taking donations of birthday napkins/plates, candles, and gift bags in various sizes. Bring them to church and place them in the appropriate baskets near the font.

St. John’s Upcoming Schedule
May 28:     Feast of Pentecost and Renewal of Baptismal Vows
June 2:       Gun Violence Awareness Event at 5:30
June 4:       All Ages Worship – The Creation Story
June 11:     Guest Preacher – The Rev. Richard Witt of Rural and Migrant Ministries, Special Forum after worship about Rural and Migrant Ministries
June 17:     Ulster Deanery Meeting
June 18:     Godly Play for kids, Healing Sunday, Pastoral Care meeting, after worship
June 25:     Rector’s Forum: Celtic Christianity, after worship
July 2:        Summer Worship begins in the Parish Hall