Coming Up at St. John’s
Next Sunday: Stewardship Sunday!
Rooted in Abundance
Look for a mailing and more information in our e-newsletter soon!
Bible Study Resumes
This Sunday morning, October 15, Bible Study resumes at 8:30 am as we continue reading the Gospel of Matthew. Please bring your Bible and your coffee/tea!
Wednesday Bible Study via Zoom will resume on October 25. Email Rev. Michelle for the Zoom link.
Please note: We finish our study of Matthew as our liturgical year comes to a close, at the end of November. Because the season of Advent (beginning on Dec 3) starts a new year, the Gospel focus changes. Our study of the Gospel of Mark begins on December 3.
Praying for Liberation, Praying for Peace
from Rev. Michelle
As I’m sure you know by now, the government of Palestine launched a strike at civilian sites in Israel on October 7 and launched a war. The history of Israel and Palestine is not all that long but, in another way, it’s also quite extensive. There are many trusted sources where you can learn more. Here are 4 options to get you started: Reuters, BBC, Wikipedia, Episcopal News Service
Despite what many people say, wars are never about religion. But religion is often used by power-seekers as a way to galvanize people around a common hatred of the other. We have to look no further than our own former president and so many others in our own country right now to see how that happens. Let me be very clear: Neither the Jewish faith, nor the Muslim faith are warring religions. So when you read about this conflict, please pay attention to the sources you use for your information.
All that said, two things are important for us as Christians: Prayer and support. Whatever the governments are doing, the innocent citizens are the ones paying the price. We pray and then we act.
Let us Pray:
Loving and liberating Creator, send your healing Spirit upon all involved in the current conflict and violence in the Middle East. Comfort those who mourn or who have been harmed by brutality. Stand with those who are fearful. Protect and provide for the powerless and the vulnerable. Inspire a spirit of forbearance and understanding within all and uphold those who even now work for a just and durable peace. In the name of Christ. Amen.
And now, let us Act:
A simple but powerful way to act is to send a note to Congregation Emanuel of the Hudson Valley. So many of their members have family in Israel. You don’t have to be eloquent or lengthy, just send a short note to Rabbi Yael and the good people who are our neighbors, telling them that you are from St. John’s and are praying for them and their families. It will really mean a great deal. As you send your notes, I will be sending a note on behalf of St. John’s to CEHV and a personal note to Rabbi Yael.
Let’s be there to support our neighbors and what they are going through. Remember that anytime something like this happens, our Jewish neighbors become the target of hate crimes. And they have already been dealing with heightened tension for a number of years.
Thank you for praying. Thank you for acting.
Baptism and Reception Into the Episcopal Church
I’m back at work this week and diving right back in: meetings, catching up on emails, planning pastoral care visits, and of course getting ready for Sunday. My time away was good and revitalizing and, from the reports I received from Revs. Joe and Joann Campo, you all enjoyed your Sundays with them. But I’m glad to be back with you all as we move more deeply into our fall season.
Speaking of this, we have several important dates coming up on which we will offer Baptisms and Receptions into the Episcopal Church. These aren’t the only dates for these events but these are the ones we are getting ready for. These will be of particular interest for those of you who have been at St. John’s 2 years or less.
November 5 (All Saints’ Day)
December 10 (Bishop Mary Glasspool visits)
January 7 (Celebration of the Baptism of our Lord)
Baptism is something with which many people are familiar even though it’s usually associated with baptizing babies. But infant baptism is no longer a widespread a practice. For example, I was baptized when I was 21. And as a priest, I have baptized adults, young children, babies, teens… I even baptized an elderly person in their final days.
So, if baptism is not a ritual for babies, what is it? Simply put, Baptism is a way for us to formally say “yes” to God’s love. We consider it to be a Sacrament in the Episcopal Church which means that it’s an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace. In other words, we are making known with a formal declaration what we believe to be already present and alive in us. We do this in a public service with members of our faith community because it is amongst and through these people, who are all committed to God in the same way we are choosing to be, that we will come to know God more deeply. We say “yes” to God’s love in community and our community makes a promise to uphold this spiritual journey in us.
So, it might seem odd that we even think it’s a good idea to baptize a young child. But when we do baptize children, we are making a promise, as a community, to that child that we will uphold them on their spiritual journey. We do so at the request of the child’s parents. When someone is an adult, of course we make this promise to them at their request.
Receptions into the Episcopal Church
December 10 when Bishop Mary Glasspool visits
When we have been baptized in another Christian tradition, but we have chosen to make the Episcopal Church our spiritual home, it’s a good idea for us to consider a formal “Reception” into the Episcopal Church. There is a theological reason and a practical reason.
The practical reason isn’t really that interesting: Some positions of lay leadership require us to be a formal member of the Episcopal Church.
But the theological reason is profound: The choice we make to join a particular Church is an important commitment, both to ourselves and to the members of our faith community. We know that not all churches are the same. You are coming to St. John’s because you have found something here that is important to you. By extension then, the Episcopal Church, and our particular expression of Christianity as one that understands God as Love and earnestly works to embody that Love in the world – this is important to you. Your choice to worship here says something about what you value and how you envision God. By asking to be formally received into the Episcopal Church, you are claiming this for yourself, owning your conviction.
The Episcopal Church doesn’t consider “Reception” to be a sacrament, but we take it seriously because we know it’s an important decision. So seriously, that only a bishop can formally receive new members into the Episcopal Church, which is why we only do this when a bishop visits us.
Please do reach out to me sooner rather than later if you think you might be ready for Baptism or Reception into the Episcopal Church – even if you’re not 100% sure. Let see what God’s Holy Spirit is up to in you!
In God’s love and mine,
Announcements for October 15
The Twentieth Sunday After Pentecost
Wednesdays 10:00-12:00 noon
Thursdays 1:00-4:00 pm
Email: firstname.lastname@example.orgHave an announcement for the bulletin?
Please send by Wednesday at noon to email@example.com.NEXT WEEK! 2023 Stewardship Campaign: “Rooted in Abundance” Begins October 22 Our generosity is informed by the simple theological truth that God has blessed us infinitely with all of the gifts of Creation. Join us for this year’s Stewardship Campaign as we take stock and realize that our lives and our response to God’s generosity are Rooted in Abundance. Look for a mailing and more information in our e-newsletter soon!Choir Recognition Sunday: Join us for a special Morning Prayer celebration on October 29 as we recognize the ministry of the choir and honor their gifts and commitment.Page Turners Book Club meets the first Thursday of the month, at 2 pm, in the parish hall. New members are always welcome! Upcoming selections: Nov. 2: The Trackers, by Charles Frazier, Dec. 7: Black Cake, by Charmaine Wilkerson. Speak to Lynn Dennison, Barbara Johnston, or Claudette Ford for more info.St. John’s Outreach Committee November 5 after worship. All are welcome to join the conversation about allocating resources towards Outreach efforts.
New (or new-ish) to the Episcopal Church? If you or your child has not been baptized, we have 3 opportunities for baptism coming up. And, if you have been baptized before but would like to be formally received into the church from another tradition, Bishop Mary Glasspool will be here on December 10 to do just that. Please speak with Rev. Michelle about either baptisms or receptions as soon as possible!
St. John’s Upcoming Schedule
Check back, more events/dates being added!
Oct 15 Healing Sunday; Choir Rehearsal after worship
Oct 22 Stewardship Sunday AND Sunday School Activity Day
Oct 29 Morning Prayer: Choir Recognition Sunday
Nov 2 Page Turners Book Club, 2:00 in Parish Hall
Nov 4 Vestry Reflection Day
Nov 5 Feast of All Saints’: All Ages Worship, Outreach meeting after worship
Nov 11 247th Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of New York
Nov 12 Godly Play for kids during worship
Nov 19 Healing Sunday; Choir Rehearsal after worship
Nov 26 Sunday School Activity Day for kids during worship
Dec 3 All Ages Worship: Season of Advent begins
Dec 4 Advent Quiet Day, Christ the King in Stone Ridge, 10-4
Dec 7 Page Turners Book Club, 2:00 in Parish Hall
Dec 10 Visitation from Bishop Mary Glasspool, Godly Play for kids during worship
Dec 17 Healing Sunday; Choir Rehearsal after worship
Dec 20 Longest Night Service at 6:00 pm
Dec 24 Advent IV worship at 10:00am
Christmas Eve Worship:
– Family Service 3:00 pm
– Choral Eucharist 8:00 pm
Dec 31 Morning Prayer