EVENTS THIS WEEK:
Blessing of the Animals and St. John’s Harvest Team Cook-In
First, it’s wonderful to offer the Blessing of the Animals on Sunday, October 3 again after missing it last year. Our animals are an important part of our lives and are such a blessing to us that it’s truly a joyous thing for us to bless their presence among us. Bring your pet, your stuffed animal, mementos of pets that have passed on… we’ll bless all of them! Worship begins at 10:00 am and then we’ll move outside to the St. Francis Garden for blessings. Please join us this in celebration of our furry and feathered friends this Sunday!
Second, we’re also coming together for a day of cooking for our first St. John’s Harvest Team Cook-in, Saturday, October 9 beginning at 10:00 am. We have two goals: a fundraiser for St. John’s where we sell delicious jams and sauces and delightful soaps in December. We’re using our beloved St. John’s Kitchen and the fruits of this year’s harvest to prepare them. It’s all hands on deck! We need people to chop things and stir things and taste things and smell things. So, even if you don’t cook, come and have a fun day with all of us in the kitchen and parish hall. We’ll have plenty of jobs for everyone.
A Reflection on Masks and Vaccination
We all want our worship to be an expression of joy and comfort and we want our place of worship to be one of welcome and inclusivity. We worship God who is Love and who, therefore, loves all. And, our primary concern as Christians, is the health and safety of everyone. As our savior taught us: Love God. Love your neighbor as yourself.
Since the pandemic began, one of the things clergy discuss when we get together, whether in person or on Zoom, is how we’re doing with all the changes. We’ve noted that we’re all experiencing something called “change fatigue” – just when we figure out what’s happening and how to respond, it seems things change. I suppose this is the nature of a pandemic – it’s a lot like “non-pandemic life” except with exponentially more anxiety, more questions, and, therefore, more change at a faster rate. It’s exhausting.
Of course, the worship decisions we make right now are done so under the guidance of our Bishop, Andy Dietsche and are considered with reference to the current infection rate and CDC guidelines. Even within that, each congregation has a slightly different way of conducting worship, which is something you would expect in Episcopal Churches anyway. Flexibility, good sense, and Christian care – all informed by science – need to remain our guiding principles. I use this past summer as an example: Because it was so humid, the windows and doors were wide open, and we had a small enough group of worshippers who were spread out, I invited people to remove their masks if they felt comfortable to. I stopped making the invitation when the weather became cooler because breathing is much easier with lower humidity.
Now, because we are still facing high infection rates across the country, we cannot cease to be vigilant. And, as the autumn season continues, we have cooler days and will not have the luxury of open windows and doors for much longer. Therefore, I ask that, out of consideration for your fellow worshippers, you keep your mask on at all times while you are inside the St. John’s building. We’ve made some exceptions for those who help to lead worship and we do what we can to ensure these leaders maintain their distance while they are unmasked. If you forget your mask, we have them available at the door, just ask an usher.
Finally, a few words on the divisive issues of vaccinations. We will never ask for vaccination status because all are invited to God’s Table. Period. Still, I do urge you to get vaccinated if you have not. For me, this is not “political” or even ideological. I can honestly say that it’s because I care about each of you and your loved ones. Having been sick with COVID myself and going through my wife’s hospitalization due to COVID at the same time, I hope you trust me when I say that it’s nothing you want to go through. I also know there are medical conditions that prevent people from being vaccinated so I hope you don’t read my words as shaming. I also ask that you not involve yourself in vaccine shaming – one way or another. That, honestly, never does anything but make ourselves feel superior. There are plenty of trustworthy sources of information available.
Please, I invite you to bring any questions or concerns to me. I always want to listen to the concerns on your heart. If, for whatever reason, you are not comfortable coming to me, please reach out to one of our Wardens – Lynn Dennison and Claudette Ford.
In God’s love and mine, Rev. Michelle
October 3, 2021
THIS SATURDAY! Harvest Team Cook-in. Come one, come all – have some fun together in our parish hall and kitchen as we prepare jams and butters and soaps for our upcoming fundraiser – St. John’s Kitchen Harvest: “Feeding people is our jam!” We need people to chop things and stir things and taste things and smell thing. We start at 10:00 on Saturday, October 9. Come have some fun and help us raise money for St. John’s. Talk to Ana Hernandez or Sara Hutton for details.
THIS SUNDAY! Sunday, October 3: After worship we will offer a Blessing of the Animals. Bring all your animals – stuffed or live – and we will offer a blessing as we celebrate the Feast of St. Francis. You’re also welcome to bring mementos of pets who have passed on.
Fall Parish-wide Book Read Discussion. We continue our parish read, The Church Cracked Open by Stephanie Spellers. Pick up your book at church or purchase one online. We will finish our discussion on Sunday, October 24: chapters 6, 7, 8
Fellowship Hour Sign up! – The Hospitality Committee invites you to sign up for St John’s Social Hour. A sign-up sheet is posted on the bulletin board in the Vestibule. All are welcome to offer their generosity to others & share some good conversation as well. Questions? See Barbara Johnston.
Ushers are needed! Being an usher at St. John’s is a wonderful way to serve your community and be a welcoming presence for those who come through our doors. There is a sign-up on the bulletin board in the Vestibule for you to choose the days you would like to serve. Our Usher Chair, Joe Siuta will put together a rota. Be a part of this important ministry at St. John’s.
The Page Turners book club will meet on October 5th and the selection is ‘The Book of Longings’ by Sue Monk Kidd. All are welcome. Speak to Claudette Ford or Barbara Johnston in church, or contact Lynn Dennison at email@example.com, for more information.
Have an announcement?
Please send by Wednesday at noon to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fall Schedule at St. John’s
Oct 1 (Fri): Choir Dinner, parish hall at 6:30 pm
Oct 3: Blessing of the Animals, Memorial Garden after worship
Oct 9 (Sat): Harvest Team Cook-In, begins at 10:00 am
Oct 16 (Sat): Christian Healing Workshop, parish hall, 10-12:30
Oct 24: Guest Preacher! Dr. Modele Clarke, Lead Pastor of New Progressive
Baptist Church, Kingston AND Parish Read: Church Cracked Open, parish hall after worship
Oct 31: The Rt. Rev. Andy Dietsche preaches and receives our new
members into the Episcopal Church AND Trunk-or-Treat! Prizes for costumes and car decorations!
Nov 7: Celebration of All Saints’ Day and Commitment Sunday
Nov 28: Advent begins