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

The Good News of St. John’s

  1. January 21, 2022

    St. John’s Annual Meeting Is Online January 30

    The St. John’s Annual Meeting is a time for us to come together and have a larger conversation about what St. John’s has done in the past year and what we’re looking forward to in the coming year. You may recall that we held the Annual Meeting online last year, combining it with our Sunday worship. This year, we’ve decided to do the same thing. As the rector, I don’t believe that we could effectively have the kind of interaction we need to have while keeping each other safe during this rise in COVID rates.

    So, please plan for the following:
    We will meet online only for a combined worship service and annual meeting on Sunday, January 30 at 10:00 am. For those who cannot meet online via Zoom at home, we will have some minimal accommodation in the St. John’s Parish Hall, where we have a large screen. Please be in touch directly with Rev. Michelle if you need assistance in coming to the Annual Meeting.

    Regarding the blue Ministry forms that you were given on January 16, please do fill them out and bring them to church with you either this coming Sunday, Jan 23 or the following Sunday, Feb 6. We will have some time set aside during the Annual Meeting to discuss ministry for the coming year.

    Thank you, once again, for your flexibility as we continue to live through this pandemic together.

    ________________________________________________________________________

    Seeds of Hope

    One of my Christmas gifts from Ana this year was a gift certificate to Hudson Valley Seed Company. I savored the idea of choosing which seeds to grow this coming year and, when I had some time, I sat down and went through their website and made my choices. Then, later that week, we stopped by their store in Accord to pick them up. And it’s so exciting!

    We have honeynut squash, zucchini, tri-color beans, purple tomatillos, rainbow carrots, several kinds of tomatoes – including one that is good for drying and processing… and lots more. Then I also ordered some flowers – sunflowers, zinnia, marigold, sweetpeas… I sigh with joy whenever I think about it this year’s garden. Soon it will be time to begin sowing some of these seeds inside.

    And it reminds me of something I read a few weeks ago – I plant seeds because I live in hope.

    Hope is one of those tricky concepts, I think. We often equate “hope” with wishing, limiting our hope to only what our imagination can fathom. But real hope is so much bigger and also a little harder. Hope is a belief in life itself – without attachment and expectation. Every time I plant a seed, I suppose there is the hope of a fruitful harvest, if I’m honest. But really, I also love the process of watching things grow and transform and become who or what they were meant to be.

    So, even though I’ve never grown carrots before and so many people say that they have trouble growing carrots, and even though I dream that we have some amazing carrots to eat… I have to remember that’s just one part of all of this. Because, really, what God is asking of me, is to be present with these seeds and the seedlings they become and the process of nurturing them into plants. And then… seeing what they are going to do.

    May we all plant seeds of hope that bring us joy.

    In God’s love and mine,
    Rev. Michelle

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    Announcements for
    January 23, 2022

    Altar Flower Slots for 2022: The following Sundays are open for those who wish to make a dedication in the name of their loved ones with altar flowers. April 24, June 12, June 26, October 30. Please contact Elaine Lawrence via email to discuss: eslawrenc@aol.com

    Standing for Election to Vestry on January 30
    Every year we vote for people to be on the Vestry. Each vestryperson serves a term of 3 years and each warden serves a term of 2 years. Here is the 2022 slate: Claudette Ford, running for a second term as warden; Paula Wisneski, running for a second term as vestryperson (having completed Jeanne Ruddy’s term); Sara Hutton, running for a first full term as vestryperson (having completed a one-year term).
    Questions? Ask one of our wardens, Lynn Dennison or Claudette Ford or Rev. Michelle

    Announcing a new program at St. John’s!
    Click here for more info!

    Page Turners Book Club: The books for the next several months have been announced: February 1- Oh, William, by Elizabeth Strout; March 1-The Rules of Magic, by Alice Hoffman; April 5- Cloud Cuckoo Land, by Anthony Doerr; May 3- The Murmur of Bees, by Sofia Segova. Speak with Lynn Dennison for more information.

    Have an announcement?
    Please send by Wednesday at noon to
    stjohnskingston@aol.com.

    St. John’s Upcoming Schedule
    Jan 30: St. John’s Annual Meeting – ONLINE
    Feb 6: St. Brigid’s Feast Day, transferred
    Feb 13: Guest Preacher: The Rev. Richard Witt, Rural and Migrant Ministries
    Feb 27: All Ages: Building the Lent Ark, St. John’s 2-4 pm
    Mar 1: Shrove Tuesday
    Mar 2: Ash Wednesday
    Mar 5: Vestry Retreat at Huntington House
    Apr 10: Palm Sunday
    Apr 14: Maundy Thursday
    Apr 15: Good Friday
    Apr 16: Holy Saturday and Easter Vigil
    Apr 17: Easter Sunday

  2. January 13, 2022

    All Ages Christian Formation

    A New Formation Program at St. John’s
    Have you ever been reading one of our Biblical stories and wondered, “What if… ?” Or “Why?” All of us are invited to join in wondering together as we inhabit one of our most treasured Bible stories – Noah’s Ark. The Rev. Suzanne Guthrie (Amma Suzanne) will be joining us for an afternoon of all-ages fun in a program called Building the Lent Ark on Sunday, February 27 from 2-4 pm. We begin by exploring the story of Noah’s Ark together. Then, the adults and the younger people will have time apart to reflect and pray. Finally, we will come back together for singing and a snack.

    All are invited – people at St. John’s, people from other churches, people who don’t go to church at all. All, we ask is that you register so we know how many are planning to come. It’s easy to do, just fill out the form here: Building the Lent Ark – Registration

    There are more events like this coming throughout the year so be on the lookout and register for them too!

    Christian Formation at Home
    During the pandemic, we have also been sending kits home so that families can engage in Christian formation. For Epiphany, a season in which we are invited to bring the light of Christ with us so that it may be shared with others, our take-home kit is the Epiphanytide Home Blessing Kit. Each kit contains a set of prayers plus a small jar of Holy Water and some chalk, elements used in the blessing of a home. Plus, there are directions for Making Prayer Stars which can be shared with others or can be used as reminders throughout the year of the call to carry Christ’s light through our intentions and prayers.

    We will bless the kits this Sunday when we bless the water in the font together so that everyone may take them home. We’ll have the kits on hand throughout the Season After the Epiphany, which ends on March 2, Shrove Tuesday.

    Look for more take-home Christian Formation activities for all ages! Later this month, we will hand out kits to make St. Brigid’s Crosses at home at the beginning of February.

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    Ministry and Recommitment

    Our Pledge Campaign last year focused on 3 themes – Recommitment, Renewal, and Reconciliation. When we developed these 3 themes, the Stewardship Team wanted to use them to frame our entire year of 2022 – in liturgy, in formation, in stewardship, in prayer… in everything. For the Season After the Epiphany (January and February) we will focus on the theme of Recommitment. In Lent and Easter (March 2-June 4), we will focus on Renewal. And during the Season After Pentecost (June 5- Nov 20), we will focus on Reconciliation.

    It’s not unusual that the theme of Recommitment comes in January, at the beginning of the year. It’s a traditional time of recommitment – we make plans, we make resolutions, we go on diets, so on and so on. But the question out there is, what are we recommitting ourselves to? For that matter, WHO are we recommitting ourselves to?

    Believing that the God we worship is the God of Life who is Love is an important place to begin, I think. Because everything else can flow from that belief. If God is Love, and I am committing myself to Love and to truly living into that, then what does that mean for me?

    If we start with Love, what flows from us becomes ministry, regardless of where that takes place. When we come from Love, we are using our gifts to co-create God’s Reign on earth because we desire to make love, in all its forms, a reality. For ministry isn’t something that only feeds others, it feeds us too. The more we offer love, the more we experience love. This is a truth that’s hard to believe until we begin to experience it for ourselves.

    And… we are not a bottomless source of anything. We need to take stock of what we are able to offer – in time, talent, and treasure. I hope that, this year, you will spend some time during this month of January, to consider your ministry at St. John’s… and beyond. What are you committing to in this coming year? Are you ready to learn something new? Do you want to do more of what you already love to do? Are you willing to help out in other ways to support the larger community of St. John’s?

    We’re handing out a blue Ministry Survey during worship over the next several weeks. Please take it home with you and pray about the ministries listed on the sheet. See what God says in your prayer time. At the end of the month, on Jan 30 at our Annual Meeting, I’ll collect them from you and make sure that ministry team leaders are aware of your commitments for the coming year. And if you’d like to talk it through me with, please reach out to me. I’d love to help you discern.

    In God’s love and mine,
    Rev. Michelle

    ______________________________________________________________

    Announcements for
    January 16, 2022

    Page Turners Book Club: The books for the next several months have been announced: February 1- Oh, William, by Elizabeth Strout; March 1-The Rules of Magic, by Alice Hoffman; April 5- Cloud Cuckoo Land, by Anthony Doerr; May 3- The Murmur of Bees, by Sofia Segova. Speak with Lynn Dennison for more information.

    Standing for Election to Vestry on January 30
    Every year we vote for people to be on the Vestry. Each vestryperson serves a term of 3 years and each warden serves a term of 2 years. Here is the 2022 slate: Claudette Ford, running for a second term as warden; Paula Wisneski, running for a second term as vestryperson (having completed Jeanne Ruddy’s term); Sara Hutton, running for a first full term as vestryperson (having completed a one-year term).
    Questions? Ask one of our wardens, Lynn Dennison or Claudette Ford or Rev. Michelle

    Announcing a new program at St. John’s!
    Click here for more info!

    Have an announcement?
    Please send by Wednesday at noon to
    stjohnskingston@aol.com.

    St. John’s Upcoming Schedule
    Jan 30: St. John’s Annual Meeting and Ministry Fair
    Feb 27: Building the Lent Ark, from 2-4 pm at St. John’s
    Mar 1: Shrove Tuesday
    Mar 2: Ash Wednesday
    Mar 5: Vestry Retreat at Huntington House
    Apr 10: Palm Sunday
    Apr 14: Maundy Thursday
    Apr 15: Good Friday
    Apr 16: Holy Saturday and Easter Vigil
    Apr 17: Easter Sunday

  3. January 7, 2022

    Expanding a Program at St. John’s: Facility Rental

    Hopefully, it’s no secret that the St. John’s building is available for use by a wide variety of programs and organizations. We have and continue to rent our space to 12-step groups and exercise groups and prayer groups… just to name a few. These organizations are a part of the larger St. John’s Community. What we are creating with the people who share our space is much more than an agreement or a contract. It’s a relationship, a covenant – to share and build community together.

    For the new year, the Vestry wants to expand our missional focus of sharing our space and resources. They have voted to expand our rental program to include a focused effort on renting our commercial kitchen. Not only will this expand our reach into the community, it will also enable new entrepreneurs who are a part of the evolving Kingston “foodie” scene, to have a place to develop their craft and their business.

    Because we will increase the income we receive from this part of our budget, we are hiring two new part time employees to support the rental program – a Sexton and a Rental Manager. These two positions will directly support the rental program. The Sexton will ensure that the facility is clean and well-maintained (this includes the Rectory and the grounds) and the Rental Manager will ensure that people know about our facility and will manage communications and contracts with all of our renters.

    We need your help! You can find these job descriptions on our website at Employment Opportunities – St. John’s Kingston. Will you please share these job descriptions with people you know? You may know someone looking for a job like this or you may know someone who can get the word out to a wider group of people. You can download them from the website and email them as attachments or just email the link to this page of the website.

    And stay tuned for more information! Soon, we will have a page on our website devoted to our expanded rental program and other ways to pass along information to those who want to become a part of our extended St. John’s Community.

    __________________________________________________________________

    Rectory Heating Update!

    The Vestry met for an emergency Zoom session on Thursday, January 6 and voted to install a new gas furnace in the Rectory. The furnace is an upgrade to a 95% efficient Ruud model and will be installed this coming Tuesday (January 11) by HWS here in Kingston. Matt from HWS has been great to work with so far and the Vestry is pleased with the choice, especially that he can schedule the installation on such short notice.

    The Buildings and Grounds Committee worked hard over the Christmas season to do some good, solid research on options – including those that explored the possibility of getting the Rectory off of fossil fuels. There were several options to choose from and they also consulted with the architect who is consulting on our larger project of roof repair and accessibility concerns in the church building. In the end, because the Rectory is an historic structure with stone walls, the choice was clear and the Vestry voted unanimously to accept the recommendation by the Buildings and Grounds Committee.

    Rev. Michelle is deeply thankful for the ministry of both groups and the effort they made to expand their knowledge and ask the right questions. Well done!

    ____________________________________________________________

    The Endless Season of Uncertainty

    I love to make plans. You can ask my wife Ana… I spend so much time and effort creating my own planner each year out of a dot journal, including pages for planning my garden, my wish list for books to read, and my plans for liturgy and formation at St. John’s. This year, Ana and I also spent a few days doing some vision boards together so that we could become more intentional about our life together.

    I find this to be an extremely life-giving practice every year because it offers an opportunity for reflection about what’s important in my life and my ministry. In other words, it’s a form of prayer – listening to God’s Holy Spirit inform my choices so, when I’m tired or become upset about something, I can refocus myself instead of just waiting for the next thing… which is more like a default setting for me. It’s an opportunity to recommit myself, just as prayer always is.

    It was during this process over the past couple of weeks, that I realized the exact source of why this Christmas has been so difficult for so many of us – uncertainty. Last Christmas was challenging but this Christmas, we were hit with a new surge just when we thought we might have figured a few things out. This pandemic has most definitely created a great deal of fear and anxiety in our lives. So much life has been lost. And, underlying all of this, is this endless season of uncertainty. So much for all my planning, right?

    When the pandemic started, we thought if we marshalled our efforts, we could “get back to normal.” Soon, of course, we realized that wasn’t going to work because, as we’ve observed, vaccines are a big help but they aren’t eradicating anything. And I don’t know one person who isn’t tired of masks and Zoom. The deeper issue is that we are wholly uncertain, and we don’t know when our uncertainty is going to end.

    In our liturgical life of the church, we are given seasons of uncertainty to dwell in the experience of not-knowing – Advent and Holy Week come to mind. Even still, neither of those quite hold the space for what we are going through, mostly because we know those seasons end in our two most joyous festivals and… they are short. The reality is, we don’t know what’s at “the end” and we don’t know when that end will be.

    What I do know, is that God is in this with us. I believe that with everything I am. But I also know that it helps to acknowledge just how helpless and vulnerable and, perhaps, angry, all this uncertainty makes us feel. To give it a name gives us the power to lift ourselves and reach out a hand to help lift others. In so doing, we usually find that God is right there doing all the lifting for us.

    So, in the midst of this season of uncertainty, what is it that we can make plans for? How do we recommit ourselves to our deepest values and our own heart’s desire?

    I offer a quote from Madeleine L’Engle who lived nearby in Litchfield, CT and wrote A Wrinkle in Time – a beautiful mix of Christian faith and science. This quote isn’t from that book, but from her larger work.
    Epiphany:
    Unclench your fists
    Hold out your hands.
    Take mine.
    Let us hold each other.
    Thus is God’s Glory
    Manifest.

    As we begin this new year, having knelt at the manger of Love’s birth among us, may we recommit ourselves to this path and to one another as we follow Christ’s light in the way of truth and love.

    In God’s love and mine,
    Rev. Michelle

    _______________________________________________________________

    Announcements for
    January 9, 2022

    Page Turners Book Club: The books for the next several months have been announced: February 1- Oh, William, by Elizabeth Strout; March 1-The Rules of Magic, by Alice Hoffman; April 5- Cloud Cuckoo Land, by Anthony Doerr; May 3- The Murmur of Bees, by Sofia Segova. Speak with Lynn Dennison for more information.

    EfM- Education for Ministry: Participants in the Episcopal Church program, EfM, spend a year studying each of these 4 topics: Hebrew Bible, New Testament, church history, and theology/ethics and commit to one year at a time. While the course materials provide academic content, the focus of the program is on understanding the call to ministry in our daily lives. EfM provides Christians with a life skill which creates a foundation for Christian ministry — theological reflection. A new group is forming soon in our area! If you are interested, please contact Deacon Teri Jones, group mentor, at terijones@optonlinline.net or 845-453-0422.

    Announcing a new program at St. John’s!
    Click here for more info!

    Have an announcement?
    Please send by Wednesday at noon to
    stjohnskingston@aol.com.

    St. John’s Upcoming Schedule
    Jan 30: St. John’s Annual Meeting and Ministry Fair
    Feb 27: Building the Lent Ark, from 2-4 pm at St. John’s
    Mar 1: Shrove Tuesday
    Mar 2: Ash Wednesday
    Mar 5: Vestry Retreat at Huntington House
    Apr 10: Palm Sunday
    Apr 14: Maundy Thursday
    Apr 15: Good Friday
    Apr 16: Holy Saturday and Easter Vigil
    Apr 17: Easter Sunday

  4. December 23, 2021

    Christmas Services: Changes… Please read!

    We are responding to the increasing need to keep everyone safe this holiday season by making a few changes to our Christmas worship plans.  Please read below for details.

    All Ages Christmas Eve Service  NOW ONLINE
    Friday, December 24 at 5:00 pm 

    We will now be broadcasting our All Ages worship online.  Tune in for a singing angel choir and puppets who will help us tell our most sacred story – the birth of Christ.
    Join us online by clicking here: Online Streaming Worship

    Candlelit Festive Eucharist   NOW ONLINE AND IN PERSON
    Friday, December 24 at 8:00 pm

    Our traditional festive Christmas Eve service with singing and candlelight.  Caroling starts at 7:30 pm.  Join us in person in the St. John’s Sanctuary OR online by clicking here: Online Streaming Worship

    Christmas Day Morning Prayer  ONLINE ONLY
    Saturday, December 25 at 9:00 am

    A brief service of Morning Prayer to offer song and praise for the coming of light and love into the world.  Click here to join: Online Streaming Worship

    Christmas I – The First Sunday of Christmas   IN PERSON ONLY
    Sunday, December 26 at 10:00 am

    Come for Sunday Eucharistic worship to continue celebrating the birth of Love Incarnate.  In person in our sanctuary.

     

    ________________________________________________

    The Housing Crisis and Our Christmas Story


    Today a group of us from the Kingston Interfaith Council met with NY State Senator Michelle Hinchey. We requested the meeting because we can see the state of true emergency coming in our housing crisis once the moratorium on evictions lifts in mid-January. There are many efforts working on the long-term solution to our housing crisis but, come January, we are going to see a huge number of people without housing in the middle of winter. The good news is that Sen. Hinchey has promised to work alongside us in pushing for an immediate solution as we begin working with county officials to make a plan and put it into action. I’ll continue to be a part of this effort.

    Housing is one of our major concerns as Christians. Our most sacred story – the birth of Christ – utilizes homelessness and itinerancy as one of its themes to demonstrate the miracle of God’s work among us. In the midst of our worldly attachments and our self-centered ways, when we would rather say “Not in my backyard” or “There is no room in the inn,” we are brought to our knees because this is where we will always find God – when we open our hearts to the most vulnerable among us. So, to do whatever we can to make sure there is a safe space for everyone, is at the heart of our faith.

    If you would like to be more involved in this effort, please reach out to me. I will keep you informed as this process unfolds.

    In the meantime, if you would like to support two stellar organizations in our community who are working on the issue of homelessness and housing, I recommend: 1) Catholic Charities who runs the homeless shelter, designed to be a stop-gap solution with no capacity for the enormity of the emergency that’s coming and 2) Kingston City Land Bank who works to transform vacant/distressed properties and keep them at a low cost for Kingston residents as a way of providing social and economic development. Our own parishioner Bob Dennison is on the board of the KCLB so please talk with him more about this wonderful organization.

    One last, much more personal note: Last week, the furnace in the Rectory was deemed unusable. The Vestry is currently doing a lot of good research and discernment about a heating system that will replace the gas furnace. Please keep them all in your prayers as this is a sudden and significant decision.  Ana and I are fine and are keeping as warm as is possible with a series of space heaters in the house so that we don’t have to winterize the property and we can stay in our home. Along with our amazing wardens, Claudette Ford and Lynn Dennison, I will keep you informed as this situation progresses.

    This Christmas season, my dream for you is that you find hope in the truth of Emanuel, which means, God is with us. May you experience that hope so that you may become that hope for others.  And may you remain healthy, safe, and warm.

    In God’s love and mine,
    Rev. Michelle

    _________________________________________________________________

    Announcements for
    December 23, 2021

     

     

    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.

    St. John’s Pledge Campaign continues!  If you haven’t made a financial pledge for 2022 yet, the Stewardship Committee is still receiving pledges.

    The Ulster Immigrant Defense Network (UIDN) will soon be in need of volunteer tutors, to work with motivated students to improve their reading skills. If interested, please let Jeanette Baggot know. An initial prerequisite is completing a Volunteer form located on the Kingston City School District website. More details will soon be on the way!

    Page Turners Book Club: For January 4th the book is, ‘The Lincoln Highway,’ by Amor Towles. The books for the next several months have also been announced: February 1- Oh, William, by Elizabeth Strout; March 1-The Rules of Magic, by Alice Hoffman; April 5- Cloud Cuckoo Land, by Anthony Doerr; May 3- The Murmur of Bees, by Sofia Segova. Speak with Lynn Dennison for more information.

    Have an announcement?
    Please send by Wednesday at noon to
    stjohnskingston@aol.com.

    St. John’s Upcoming Schedule
    Jan 2: The Feast of the Epiphany, transferred
    Jan 9: The Baptism of Christ
    Jan 30: St. John’s Annual Meeting and Ministry Fair
    Feb 27: Storytelling with God – More information to come soon!
    Mar 1: Shrove Tuesday
    Mar 2: Ash Wednesday
    Mar 5: Vestry Retreat at Huntington House
    Apr 10: Palm Sunday
    Apr 14: Maundy Thursday
    Apr 15: Good Friday
    Apr 16: Holy Saturday and Easter Vigil
    Apr 17: Easter Sunday

  5. December 9, 2021

    End of Year Planning

    There are several items to take note of as we close 2021 and look toward 2022.

    Pledging: Please be sure to get your pledges in.  We need both your pledge form for 2022 and your final pledge payments for 2021.  If you have any questions, please speak with Warden Lynn Dennison or Treasurer Wes Dangler.

    Outreach Meeting: The Outreach Team will meet on Sunday, December 12 at 1:00 pm via Zoom.  We will be allocating the rest of our 2021 outreach funds at this meeting.  You can join the meeting by clicking here.

    Project Santa: Please be sure your gifts are at St. John’s by this Sunday, December 12.  We’ve been asked to buy games and puzzles.  If you’d rather not go shopping, you can donate to the effort.  Be sure to notate it’s for Project Santa.

    Christmas Poinsettia Memorials and Thanksgivings: Fill out the envelope enclosed in the bulletins over the next 2 weeks with your money inside and place it in the collection plate or drop it by the Rectory. All memorials and thanksgivings need to be to Rev. Michelle before Wednesday, December 22 so they can be listed in the Christmas Eve bulletin.

    __________________________________________________________________________

    Seasonal Worship Schedule

    Longest Night Healing Service
    Monday, December 20 at 7:00 pm

    A time of mediation, quiet, and prayer set aside on the darkest night of the year to offer space for the heaviness of our lives.  Healing Ministers will be available.  This will be broadcast online: Online Streaming Worship – St. John’s Kingston

    Christmas Eve Family Service
    Friday, December 24 at 5:30 pm

    Join us as we tell our most sacred story together.  Singing and costumes and fun.

    Candlelight Christmas Eve Service
    Friday, December 24 at 8:00 pm

    Our yearly festive Eucharistic service with singing and candlelight.  Caroling starts at 7:30 pm.

    Christmas Day Morning Prayer
    Saturday, December 25 at 9:00 am

    A brief service of Morning Prayer to offer song and praise for the coming of light and love into the world.

    ___________________________________________________________________

    On Grief and Healing at Christmas

    We have all been through so much in the past couple of years as the pandemic has dominated our lives.  So many people have died. So many people have struggled economically and have had their lives disrupted.  So many people have felt utterly overwhelmed in trying to balance everything, missing their families and friends and just feeling safe in public.  I think, even if we aren’t aware of it, we are all carrying some level of grief.  If for no other reason, than to have come to the realization that the pandemic is not ending anytime soon.

    I have not been shy about sharing with you all the personal difficulties in my life that have needed time and space for reflection and healing. As you may recall, I took 3 weeks in the middle of this past summer to get some rest and spend time in retreat for reflection. I know I returned feeling energized to do my work and much more grounded to continue my healing journey.

    And I say “continue” because healing isn’t a one-stop kind of thing.  Most of us have been through enough in our lives to realize the grief that comes from trauma and loss is something that never completely “goes away.” But we can come to a place in which we have healed enough that we stop functioning from our wounded place and begin to live again. We allow hope back into our lives.  We allow ourselves to experience Love in all its fullness.

    This year, more than ever before, Christmas may be a very heavy time.  As we continue to deal with the pandemic and recognize the loss it has created in our lives. As we recall memories of people we miss.  And as we face the darkest time of the year.

    Come to the Longest Night Healing Service on Monday, December 20 at 7:00 pm. All are welcome. The Healing Ministry team has designed a very quiet, meditative service with readings, contemplative music, prayer and silence. Come and sit for a while and give yourself space for whatever you’re feeling.  The sanctuary will open at 6:30 pm for those who just want space to sit, and the service begins at 7:00 pm.  We will broadcast the service on our Youtube channel: St. John’s Episcopal Church Kingston NY – YouTube
    You can also find the link on our website at: Online Streaming Worship – St. John’s Kingston

    In God’s love and mine,
    Rev. Michelle

    _____________________________________________________________________

    Announcements for
    December 12, 2021

     

     

    THIS SUNDAY: Pastoral Care Meeting after worship in the Parish Hall. Outreach Meeting beginning at 1:00 pm on Zoom. Plus, fundraiser items are still available for sale in the Parish Hall.

    NEXT SUNDAY: Stay after the worship service to help us “green” the church.  We need lots of helpers to make sure the sanctuary is ready for Christmas.

    Christmas Poinsettia Memorials  By purchasing a poinsettia, you’re not only helping to decorate the sanctuary for Christmas, but also offering a special memorial or thanksgiving at Christmas time.  All poinsettias will be given out by the Pastoral Care team.  Fill out the envelope enclosed in the bulletin with your money inside, and place it in the collection plate.  Or bring it back next week.  All memorials and thanksgivings will be listed in the Christmas Eve bulletin.

    Longest Night Healing Service is a time of quiet and prayer set aside on the darkest night of the year to offer space for the difficulties we face during the holidays – memories, grief, loneliness.  Monday, December 20 at 7:00 pm.

    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.

    St. John’s Pledge Campaign continues!  If you haven’t made a financial pledge for 2022 yet, the Stewardship Committee is still receiving pledges.  Send your form in with a selfie or, if you’re new to pledging, you’ll find blank forms on the bookcase near the lectern.

    Page Turners Book Club: For January 4th the book is, ‘The Lincoln Highway,’ by Amor Towles.  Speak with Lynn Dennison for more information.

    Have an announcement?
    Please send by Wednesday at noon to
    stjohnskingston@aol.com.

    St. John’s Upcoming Schedule
    Dec. 12: Pastoral Care meeting in person after worship
    Outreach meeting at 1:00 pm over Zoom
    Dec. 19: Decorating the Sanctuary after worship
    Dec. 20 (Mon): Longest Night Healing Service, 7:00 pm
    Dec. 24 (Fri): Christmas Eve Family Service, 5:30 pm
    Candlelit Christmas Eve Service, 8:00 pm,
    caroling begins at 7:30 pm
    Dec. 25 (Sat): Christmas Day Morning Prayer (online), 9:00 am

  6. November 20, 2021

    Advent Wreaths

    November 28 marks the beginning of our liturgical year in the Episcopal Church and it’s the beginning of the season of Advent, a time of preparation for the coming of Christ at Christmas.  We shift our Sunday liturgy to include more silence and we intentionally slow down in the midst of the busyness of life.

    One of the most beautiful traditions that many Christians engage in during the season of Advent is the Advent Wreath.  We have this as a part of our Sunday Eucharistic service at St. John’s.  The Advent Wreath serves as one way of preparing for the Light of Christ at Christmas.  During the darkest time of the year in the Northern Hemisphere, as the days get shorter, we purposefully create more light as an act of Hope and a demonstration of our faith in God. Each week on Sunday. as the sun goes down, we light another candle on our Advent Wreath until all 4 are lighted.  We burn the candles down and await the lighting of the Christ candle on Christmas.  The Christ candle stays lit for the 12 days of Christmas.

    There are many ways to create an Advent Wreath at home.  Most people use greenery of some kind to form the “wreath’ itself.  But many people also use a round plate or mirror, or even set aside an area of a table.  For the four weekly candles, you can use whatever color you’d like.  Since it’s a season of preparation, it’s most common to use blue or purple, which are colors that anticipate the coming of royalty.  It’s also very common to use 3 purple and 1 pink (the pink is for “Mary’s Sunday,” which is the third Sunday of Advent).  These candles form a circle around the white Christ Candle. Decorate with whatever you’d like – more greenery, glass baubles, etc.

    Lighting the Advent Wreath is a prayerful activity.  Here’s a liturgy from the Rev. Matthew Kozlowski that is simple and lovely.  Advent-Wreath-Liturgy

    ________________________________________________________

    A Prayer from the St. John’s Pastoral Care Team

    May we, this Thanksgiving as we sit down at our table, remember to be thankful for our food, the farmers who grew it, and all who brought it to our table. May we also think of those who have no feast with family, and try to find a way to assist those in need, so they will have something to be thankful for also. May we be thankful for our family and friends, all those whom we love and care about, and all those who love and care about us. May we be thankful to God for his Love and for all the blessings of this Life. May we be thankful to each of you in our Community of St John’s for being our spiritual inspiration and foundation.

    ___________________________________________________________

    Announcements for
    November 20, 2021

    People’s Place Project Santa!  Every year we are asked by People’s Place to help collect items for their Project Santa.  Once again, we’ve been asked to collect games and puzzles.  Please bring them to church and place them in the basket near the font.  Or write a check, making sure to put “Project Santa” in the note and we’ll do the shopping for you.  Everything must be collected by Sunday, December 12!  So, let’s do what we can to help our neighbors in need have a wonderful holiday.

    UPCOMING HOLIDAY SALES
    St. John’s Harvest Sale!  “Feeding people is our jam!” AND
    Organ Fundraiser Sale! “Child support for Terry’s Baby”

    The St. John’s Harvest Team has been hard at work creating things for you to give as gifts or to enjoy yourselves.  Jams, soups, chutneys, soaps, apple butter… and more!  Meanwhile, a team of parishioners have been working on crafts and artistic works to help raise funds in support of organ repair.
    The members of St. John’s are invited to a special pre-sale on Sunday, December 5 after worship.
    Bring your checkbook, credit card, or cash and come to social hour. All proceeds from the Harvest Team go to fund the general operating expenses for St. John’s.  And all the proceeds from the craft sale go to support the organ repair fund.
    The official public sale will be Saturday, December 11 from 10 – 2, in front of the church.  So, tell your friends!  After that, if we have anything left, we’ll bring it on Sunday, December 12 to sell at social hour.

    Longest Night Healing Service is a time of quiet and prayer set aside on the darkest night of the year to offer space for the difficulties we face during the holidays – memories, grief, loneliness.  Monday, December 20 at 7:00 pm.

    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.

    St. John’s Pledge Campaign continues!  If you haven’t made a financial pledge for 2022 yet, the Stewardship Committee is still receiving pledges.  Send your form in with a selfie or, if you’re new to pledging, you’ll find blank forms on the bookcase near the lectern.

    The Ulster Immigrant Defense Network (UIDN) will soon be in need of volunteer tutors, to work with motivated students to improve their reading skills. If interested, please let Jeanette Baggot know. An initial prerequisite is completing a Volunteer form located on the Kingston City School District website. More details will soon be on the way!

    Page Turners Book Club: For December 7th the book is ‘The Searcher’, by Tana French.  For January 4th the book is, ‘The Lincoln Highway,’ by Amor Towles.  Speak with Lynn Dennison for more information.

    Have an announcement?
    Please send by Wednesday at noon to
    stjohnskingston@aol.com.

    St. John’s Upcoming Schedule
    Nov 28: Advent begins
    Dec. 5: St. John’s Holiday Sales: Harvest Team and Organ Fundraiser
    St. John’s Pre-sale, parish hall after worship
    Dec. 11 (Sat): St. John’s Holiday Sales Tent (public sale)
    Harvest Team and Organ Fundraiser, 10-2 in front of church
    Dec. 20 (Mon): Longest Night Healing Service, 7:00 pm
    Dec. 24 (Fri): Christmas Eve Family Service, 5:30 pm AND Candlelit Christmas Eve Service, 8:00 pm, caroling begins at 7:30 pm
    Dec. 25 (Sat): Christmas Day Morning Prayer (online), 9:00 am

  7. November 12, 2021

    PARISH UPDATES: Mailboxes, Diocesan Convention, St. John’s Bible Study

    Sometimes we just need to communicate things to the wider community of St. John’s that aren’t necessarily connected to one another.  This is one of those times.

    Ministry Mailboxes Available
    You may have noticed that we’ve re-instituted mailboxes for different teams/ministries at St. John’s.  They are in the Vestibule next to the kitchen.  Please make use of them to communicate with others.  And those of you who are responsible for them, please check them every week.  Thank you!

    • Rector (Rev. Michelle): notes/mail for her.
    • Vestry Clerk (Corrina Malamas): Anything that needs to go to the Vestry.
    • Treasurer/Bookkeeper: (Wes Dangler/Pat Allen): Bills, donations, reimbursement requests, etc.
    • Wardens (Lynn Dennison and Claudette Ford): notes/mail directly for either of them, not the Vestry.
    • Flowers (Elaine Lawrence): monies for flowers, requests, etc.
    • Sacristans (Lynn Dennison and Leah Siuta): mailings, notes, etc. regarding preparation for worship.
    • Director of Music (Terry Earles): any mail/notes regarding our music program.
    • Pastoral Care Team (Laura Ricci): directory updates and pastoral care concerns/mail.
    • Columbarium Board (Lynn Dennison, George Mine, Sarah Corrigan): mail/payments pertaining to the Columbarium.
    • Angel Food East (Members of the AFE Board): notes/mail for AFE.

    Diocesan Convention This Saturday
    Every year, the Diocese of New York meets to discuss budgets, vote on resolutions that affect our common life, and elect officers for various diocesan-wide ministries.  Normally, this means hundreds of people meet in one place – delegates from each congregation, venders, representatives from ministries, etc.  However, in order to keep us safer, only the delegates have been invited to the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City.  Claudette Ford, one of our Wardens, will be the lay delegate.  And Rev. Michelle will be our only clergy delegate.

    Claudette and Rev. Michelle will travel to NYC early on Saturday morning Nov 13 (along with Ana who has been asked to be a musician for Convention Eucharist) to participate.  Please pray for them and for the work of convention this year.

    And, if you’d like to check out the work of convention, click here: 245th Diocesan Convention – Episcopal Diocese of New York (dioceseny.org).  You’ll be able to view roll out meetings, resolutions, the diocesan budget, and (on Saturday) view the livestream of the convention proceedings.

    Zoom Bible Study on Hiatus Until January
    This fall we’ve had wonderful conversations about scripture every Thursday night.  Now, that we’re turning toward the season of Advent, we’re taking this opportunity to slow down and rest as we prepare for God’s birth among and within us.  So Zoom Bible Study is taking a hiatus until January.

    In January, Rev. Michelle will poll the congregation to see what time of the week will work best for Zoom Bible Study for the winter months.  So be on the lookout for her email and join us for a great investigation into scripture.

    ________________________________________________________________

    Holidays and Family

    This time of year, most Americans think about family.  Whether it’s remembering holidays from years past or preparing for the holidays this year, family seems to be a part of our experience.

    For some of us, the idea of being with family fills us with warmth and excitement.   For others of us, family was never a joyful or safe place or we miss someone who has died.  And still, for others of us, family was spread out so there were always hard choices to make. Whatever our experience, the holidays are usually a “mixed bag” of emotions.

    And this is challenging because our culture promotes a particularly blissful narrative of the holidays (that’s how we are encouraged to buy things) and, if our experience is anything but blissful, we can feel a sense of shame or loneliness, and even depression and despair.  It’s deeply important to realize that we are not alone in this.  So many people experience the same thing.  And God is with us.  Always.

    So, I’d like to draw your attention to a new event on our parish calendar – the Longest Night Healing Service on Monday, December 20 at 7:00 pm.  The desire to offer this arose as a part of our conversation during the Christian Healing Workshop in October.  Please put this on your calendar now and look for more information coming in early December.

    Over the past 2 years, of course, the pandemic has affected our holiday gatherings tremendously.  I know that many families have come to use various forms of internet video to stay connected and it seems that new items are coming out on the market every day.  While I realize this isn’t ideal, I have to say that I find this to be a very hopeful way in which the “market” is responding to a deep need for connection.  Plus, it reduces the carbon footprint of travel and increases safety in many ways.

    For myself and Ana, we have deeply missed our families in Florida during the pandemic.  Ana’s parents, sister, and brother-in-law live south of Tampa and my dad and step-mother live north of Tampa.  So this Thanksgiving, we will make the journey to visit them, seeing them for the first time in 2 years.  We leave on Wednesday, Nov 17 and I will be back in the office on Friday, Dec 3.  In the meantime, you will be well-cared for by one another and be led by the Revs. Suzanne Guthrie on Nov. 21 and Alison Quin on Nov. 28 as Advent begins.

    My dear ones, whatever your experience of family is, I hope that you find some peace and beauty this season. These days of autumn are among the most stunning in the Hudson Valley and I pray that you may find God’s glory in the turning of the seasons.  And know this to be true: God is with you, loves you with a wild and extravagant love, and has never left you.

    In God’s love and mine, Rev. Michelle

    _______________________________________________________________

    Announcements for November 14, 2021

    THIS SUNDAY We finish our parish read, The Church Cracked Open by Stephanie Spellers discussing chapters 6, 7, 8.

    UPCOMING HOLIDAY SALES
    St. John’s Harvest Sale!  “Feeding people is our jam!” AND
    Organ Fundraiser Sale! “Child support for Terry’s Baby”

    The St. John’s Harvest Team has been hard at work creating things for you to give as gifts or to enjoy yourselves.  Jams, soups, chutneys, soaps, apple butter… and more!  Meanwhile, a team of parishioners have been working on crafts and artistic works to help raise funds in support of organ repair.
    The members of St. John’s are invited to a special pre-sale on Sunday, December 5 after worship.
    Bring your checkbook, credit card, or cash and come to social hour. All proceeds from the Harvest Team go to fund the general operating expenses for St. John’s.  And all the proceeds from the craft sale go to support the organ repair fund.
    The official public sale will be Saturday, December 11 from 10 – 2, in front of the church.  So, tell your friends!  After that, if we have anything left, we’ll bring it on Sunday, December 12 to sell at social hour.

    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.

    St. John’s Pledge Campaign continues!  If you haven’t made a financial pledge for 2022 yet, the Stewardship Committee is still receiving pledges.  Send your form in with a selfie or, if you’re new to pledging, you’ll find blank forms on the bookcase near the lectern.

    The Ulster Immigrant Defense Network (UIDN) will soon be in need of volunteer tutors, to work with motivated students to improve their reading skills. If interested, please let Jeanette Baggot know. An initial prerequisite is completing a Volunteer form located on the Kingston City School District website. More details will soon be on the way!

    Page Turners Book Club: For December 7th the book is ‘The Searcher’, by Tana French.  For January 4th the book is, ‘The Lincoln Highway,’ by Amor Towles.  Speak with Lynn Dennison for more information.

    Have an announcement?
    Please send by Wednesday at noon to
    stjohnskingston@aol.com.

    St. John’s Upcoming Schedule
    Nov. 21: Fruit Baskets delivered by members of the Sacristan and Pastoral Care Teams
    Nov 28: Advent begins
    Dec. 5: St. John’s Holiday Sales: Harvest Team and Organ Fundraiser
    St. John’s Pre-sale, parish hall after worship
    Dec. 11 (Sat): St. John’s Holiday Sales Tent (public sale)
    Harvest Team and Organ Fundraiser, 10-2 in front of church
    Dec. 20 (Mon): Longest Night Healing Service, 7:00 pm
    Dec. 24 (Fri): Candlelit Christmas Eve Service, 8:00 pm, caroling begins at 7:30 pm
    Dec. 25 (Sat): Christmas Day Morning Prayer (online), 9:00 am

  8. November 5, 2021

    THIS SUNDAY: All Saints’ Day and Commitment Sunday

    Normally, we renew our Baptismal Vows on All Saints’ Day, one of the four Sundays set aside each year to baptize people into the priesthood of all believers.  However, with Bishop Andy’s visitation this past Sunday, we have been able to extend our celebration and give thanks for the baptism of Richard into the Body of Christ, and reception of Kajuan, Corrina, Nilsa, Joe, and Paula into the Episcopal Church.  What a glorious day in the life of our congregation!

    We continue the festivities this coming Sunday as we celebrate All Saints’ Day, a time set aside in our calendar to mark the shifting of time and recognize those who have gone before us, giving thanks for their lives and witness, and acknowledging ourselves as a part of the endless chain of life.  In this, we confess the truth of eternal life in Christ – the incarnate Love of God.  Appropriately, All Saints’ Day comes during the time of year when we experience the descent of frost and the lengthening of shadows.  In the northern hemisphere, the earth beckons us to a time of rest and reflection as we prepare for a new cycle of life – in all the different parts of our lives.  

    As you know, St. John’s pledge campaign is in full swing and this coming Sunday, the Stewardship Team asks you to bring your pledge form with you (if you forget, we will have extras).  Our theme this year is Recommitment, Renewal, and Reconciliation.  During worship this week we will begin our Recommitment to our congregational life by gathering pledge forms from everyone.  So, please be sure to bring your pledge form with you on Sunday!  Afterwards, to celebrate, the Vestry will host an outdoor fireside brunch (weather permitting, of course).

    See you Sunday!

    And don’t forget to change your clocks!

     

    ____________________________________________________________________

    History and Connection

    A few weeks ago, I was contacted by a man named Jack whose great-grandfather was a master wood and stone carver named Edward Maene.  Edward immigrated to the US from Belgium and came to live in Philadelphia, PA until his death in 1931. During his life, he and his workers created an amazing array of beautifully carved items, mostly for Episcopal churches.  And, it seems, our pulpit is one of his works, having been commissioned for St. John’s after it’s move from Wall St. in 1926/7.  What a wonderful way for our congregation to be blessed by the work of an immigrant.

    Jack and his wife Julie came to visit St. John’s and were so excited to see this work of his great-grandfather.  It’s not the first time they had seen his work but it was clear that Jack was on a quest to connect to those who had come before and laid the groundwork for his own life as a missionary and Baptist minister.  He was proud and curious and awed by the stories surrounding Edward’s life and work and it was a delight to talk with him and Julie and learn more about the connection St. John’s has to so many other Episcopal Churches in the Mid-Atlantic.

    You can learn more about Edward Maene and his work here: Edward Maene – Wikipedia

    In God’s love and mine, Rev. Michelle

    _______________________________________________________________________

    Announcements for November 7, 2021

    THIS SUNDAY  Stay for an outdoor fireside brunch hosted by the Vestry in honor of Commitment Sunday, when we collect pledges and begin calculating our 2022 Budget.  Celebrate with us today!

    NEXT WEEK: Fall Parish-wide Book Read Discussion.  We finish our parish read, The Church Cracked Open by Stephanie Spellers discussing chapters 6, 7, 8.

    St. John’s Harvest Sale!  “Feeding people is our jam!” The St. John’s Harvest Team has been hard at work creating things for you to give as gifts or to enjoy yourselves. Jams, soups, chutneys, soaps, apple butter… and more! The members of St. John’s are invited to a special pre-sale on Sunday, December 5 after worship. Bring your checkbook or credit card, and come to social hour. We take cash too!  All proceeds go to fund the general operating expenses for St. John’s. The official public sale will be Saturday, December 11 from 10 – 2, in front of the church.  So, tell your friends!  After that, if we have anything left, we’ll bring it on Sunday, December 12 to sell at social hour.

    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.

    The Ulster Immigrant Defense Network (UIDN) will soon be in need of volunteer tutors, to work with motivated students to improve their reading skills. If interested, please let Jeanette Baggot know. An initial prerequisite is completing a Volunteer form located on the Kingston City School District website. More details will soon be on the way!

    Page Turners Book Club: For December 7th the book is ‘The Searcher’, by Tana French.  For January 4th the book is, ‘The Lincoln Highway,’ by Amor Towles.  Speak with Lynn Dennison for more information.

    Have an announcement?
    Please send by Wednesday at noon to
    stjohnskingston@aol.com.

  9. October 22, 2021

    EVENTS UPDATE: Please read for updates to our Fall Events Calendar!

    Here are the changes and updates to what’s happening at St. John’s in the next several weeks.

    Oct 24: Guest Preacher! Dr. Modele Clarke, Lead Pastor of New Progressive Baptist Church, Kingston. Please join us afterwards for a reception in the parish hall.
    Oct 31: The Rt. Rev. Andy Dietsche is visiting. He will preach, baptize one of our newest members, and receive several people into the Episcopal Church. Be sure to join us for a reception afterwards to celebrate our newest members!
    Oct 31: Trunk-or-Treat has been cancelled.  After a short poll of the St. John’s Community, there aren’t enough people committed to coming for this event. Sorry to those who were looking forward to this.
    Nov. 6 (Sat): Harvest Team Cook-In Part II: Join us for another fun day of cooking together in the St. John’s Kitchen. Plus, learn how to make soap! We begin at 10:00 am. Everything we make will be sold at an event in December to raise funds for St. John’s. Questions? Talk to Ana Hernandez or Sara Hutton.
    Nov 7: Celebration of All Saints’ Day and Commitment Sunday. We’ll celebrate our Stewardship Campaign with an outdoor fireside brunch. Bring lawn chairs and/or food to share.
    Nov. 13 (Sat): The 245th Convention of the Diocese of New York at St. John the Divine in NYC.  Our delegates to convention this year are the Rev. Michelle Meech and Claudette Ford, Warden.
    Nov. 14: Parish Read: Church Cracked Open, parish hall after worship. We finish up our parish read with a discussion on chapters 6, 7, 8.
    Nov 28: Advent begins

    ________________________________________________________________

    Stewardship Is Hope

    Every fall, every church I know conducts a Pledge Campaign – a time when the we reflect on our commitments to St. John’s – commitments of time, talent, and treasure.  We tend to think of Stewardship only in regards to finances but the truth is that Stewardship is about all the ways we commit ourselves to this Body of Christ.  And, in that commitment, we express our hope for ourselves, for one another, and for the larger community.

    We have so much to be thankful for this year.  For we have come this far through the pandemic with very few people getting sick in our community, which is no small thing.  This is a death-dealing virus that we are battling and I’m thankful for everyone’s mindfulness, support, compassion, and love in keeping one another safe.  We are not through it yet, but we are gaining ground.

    And, by resting in this gratitude, we are able to look forward to who St. John’s is becoming.  As we continue being “church” together, we grow in God’s Spirit in a variety of ways, some of us called to new ministries or to renewing our commitment to those things we love to do – this of course is stewardship of both time and talent. If you haven’t participated in ministries at St. John’s before, consider how you’d like to serve.

    Hopefully, we will be able to keep worshipping on Sundays in person through this winter but the leadership will be keeping our eye on the infection rate in Ulster County to assess if a change is necessary to keep everyone safe. I’m also putting together some plans for Christian formation in the coming year, so please stay tuned to announcements for ways to deepen your faith – stewardship of time.

    We have a couple of significant new ventures on the horizon.  First, the Vestry is making plans to begin renting out our kitchen space, expanding the community of St. John’s to a whole new group of people and creating a source of income to support the church’s mission.  Once we have the details worked out, we’ll make a bigger announcement.

    Second, we have been working with our architect, Marilyn Kaplan this year as she makes drawings and assessments of our building.  With this information, we will be able to permanently fix the decades-long water leaks in the walls of our sanctuary and we will be looking at some major accessibility concerns.  Of course, we will be having some parish-wide conversations about this in the months to come and be announcing a capital campaign as well. This will take commitment in many forms – the stewardship of time, talent, and treasure.

    In short, we are certainly not finished with 2021, but we can already look forward to 2022 being quite a year for the community of St. John’s.  So let us hope together as we commit ourselves to one another and to our Savior Christ for the coming year.

    In God’s love and mine, Rev. Michelle

    ____________________________________________________

    Announcements for
    October 24, 2021

     

     

    2022 Stewardship Campaign – This week we kick off our 2022 Stewardship Campaign.  Pick up your pledge form THIS SUNDAY during social hour and begin considering what you’re called to offer as your pledge to St. John’s in the coming year.  Commitment Sunday is November 7 when we celebrate All Saints’ Sunday and wrap-up the Stewardship Campaign with an outdoor fireside brunch.

    NEXT WEEK: Our Bishop Andy Dietsche will be here on October 31 to preach and baptize and receive our new members into the Episcopal Church.  Please be sure to join us as we celebrate our new members and greet the Bishop.

    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.

    Fall Parish-wide Book Read Discussion.  On November 14 we finish our parish read, The Church Cracked Open by Stephanie Spellers discussing chapters 6, 7, 8.

    The Ulster Immigrant Defense Network (UIDN) will soon be in need of volunteer tutors, to work with motivated students to improve their reading skills. If interested, please let Jeanette Baggot know. An initial prerequisite is completing a Volunteer form located on the Kingston City School District website. More details will soon be on the way!

    Page Turners Book Club: The book club will meet on Zoom on November 2 to discuss, ‘The Boys in the Boat,’ by Daniel James Brown. For December 7th the book is ‘The Searcher’, by Tana French.  For January 4th the book is, ‘The Lincoln Highway,’ by Amor Towles.  Speak with Lynn Dennison for more information.

    All Souls on All Saints’ Day: Each year, before we celebrate All Saints’ Day on the first Sunday of November, we list those who have died and offer prayers for them.  Please be sure to list those you would like to have printed in the bulletin on November 7.  The list is on the bulletin board in the Vestibule.

    Have an announcement?
    Please send by Wednesday at noon to
    stjohnskingston@aol.com.

  10. September 20, 2021

    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

    ___________________________________________________________________

    Announcements for
    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 lynnsdennison@gmail.com, for more information.

    Have an announcement?
    Please send by Wednesday at noon to
    stjohnskingston@aol.com.

    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