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

The Good News of St. John’s

  1. February 23rd

    The Good News from St. John’s Kingston

    LENTEN ISSUE

    This Sunday: Lent II and Children’s Activity Available

    Join us for worship for the Second Sunday in Lent when our lessons will be about Abraham’s covenant with God and Jesus’ rebuke of Peter – “Get behind me Satan!”. You can read this Sunday’s lessons ahead of time here.  And for the younger members, we will have a children’s activity available in the Godly Play Room led by Michelle Hoffman and Sara Hutton.

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    Bad Weather? Good Question!

    Are we having worship?
    Anytime we think there may be a travel concern due to weather – either snow or ice – pay close attention to all of our communications channels: Instagram, Facebook, and email. Rev. Michelle will put an announcement out on Saturday sometime before 8:00 pm ONLY IF worship is either canceled OR we move the worship to Zoom. If there is no announcement, we will worship in the sanctuary as normal.

    Who takes care of the parking lot and sidewalks?
    We have a plowing company who comes anytime there is a snowfall of at least 3 inches. They clear the parking lot, driveway, ramp, and sidewalks. If the snow continues, however, they will wait until the snowfall has finished so they don’t have to charge us twice for more than one visit.

    However, if it’s a small snowfall or just ice, it’s up to us as a church community to make sure our entrances and exits are as safe as we can make them. There are shovels and ice melt stored in the vestibule outside the kitchen. If you’re here on one of those sorta-snowy days or if you have an half an hour to come over and make sure the ramp is clear, please do. Call or text Rev. Michelle and she can make sure you get into the building.

    ________________________________________________________________________________________

    A Lenten Space

    Each week during Lent, Rev. Michelle will post here about resources for spiritual practice and reflection – books, podcasts, websites, etc. While Lent is a specific time of our liturgical year set aside for reflection, most of these resources are not only meant for Lent. Spiritual reflection and practice are things that we are invited to at any time and any place, as we are always called to deepen our relationship with God.

    The Season of Lent is a call to reflection and to consider the systemic brokenness we encounter in the world. One of the most troublesome issues we have here in the Hudson Valley is the housing crisis. We have more people than we have the ability to house and the rental prices have risen sharply since the start of the pandemic.

    In his online Lenten course, Inhabiting the Scriptures: Finding Home in a World of Displacement, Dr. Brian Walsh asks: “What happens if we read the whole biblical witness as a story of home, homelessness, and homecoming?”  Learn more about this course here.

    This is for anyone who seeks a deeper understanding of the Bible and its relation to contemporary life. All are welcome, regardless of denominational or religious affiliation. No prior knowledge of the Bible is necessary. Each class will run on Zoom for two hours with a 5 minute break half-way through. Although the bulk of the class will consist of Brian teaching, participants will also be able to post questions and points for discussion in the chat which Brian will monitor and answer.

    Recordings of each week’s class are available to all who register. The course fee is on a sliding scale. Speak with Rev. Michelle if you would like to receive scholarship monies for this.

    List of Lenten Resources

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    What Is Our Offering?


    Dear Ones,

    As most of you know, I’ve become a gardener. For the past several years, Ana and I have spent January planning the garden and then we begin to sow seeds in February. And this year we are not doing any of that. We’re taking the year off from planting flowers and tending a vegetable garden.

    The reasons are simple – Ana is having a major surgery and will not be able to assist with gardening chores and I am planning to be on a sabbatical during the months of June, July, and August so I won’t be around to tend to and harvest what we plant. It’s just a good year to be free of this responsibility.

    I have to admit to feeling a small sense of relief. But I also have to say that I am already missing the garden. I mean, it’s kind of like skipping Christmas. There is no planning, no anticipation. And, the gifts will be different. We have so many perennial flowers and plants so we won’t be in need of things to tend to and nurture and watch unfurl. But I feel like I’m not offering anything to this unfurling myself. So I am missing something.

    As I reflect on this, I am reminded that our sense of belonging is deeply tied to our offering, our personal participation. We get tripped up sometimes by believing that we do not belong. Yet, we can easily forget that the invitation to participate is always there waiting for us to pick it up and respond because we DO belong. In God’s economy, God’s house, we ALWAYS belong.

    Each Sunday before Eucharist, I say: “Let us walk in love as Christ loved us, and offer of ourselves a sacrifice to God.” This isn’t just about putting your pledge into the plate. This offering is your participation in the Eucharist. It’s you saying yes to God’s open invitation to the Banquet of Love. It’s an Amen. A joining-in. The offering of our presence is an acceptance of our own belovedness.

    The question is, then: What is our response? What is our offering?

    In God’s love and mine,
    Rev. Michelle

  2. February 16th

    LENTEN ISSUE

    Lent has begun: Ash Wednesday and Lent I

    This week we marked the beginning of Lent with Ash Wednesday. In addition to two worship services, Rev. Michelle, along with several members of St. John’s Sacristan and Healing Teams, offered Ashes-to-go to about 100 people in front of the church building during commute times in the morning and afternoon. Most of the people who come for Ashes-to-go have distanced themselves from church life for one reason or another so this yearly community outreach is very meaningful as it provides a connection to their faith even if they cannot find their way to church right now.

    This coming Sunday, as we celebrate the First Sunday of Lent, we will begin our worship with the Great Litany – a moment to specifically name all the ways we move away from God’s Love through systemic sin and lament humanity’s choices. The first Sunday of Lent is the only time during the year we pray the Great Litany, as it provides a framework for the examination of our participation in societal transgressions.

    St. John’s Upcoming Schedule

    You can always find the most updated calendar at: http://www.stjohnskingston.org/welcome/event-calendar/ 

    Feb 18          Healing Sunday, Choir Rehearsal after worship
    Feb 25          Children’s Formation available
    Mar 2            Ulster Deanery Meeting, 9-2, Holy Cross/Santa Cruz, Kingston
    Mar 3            All Ages Worship, Angel Food East Fundraiser: Mac-n-Cheese Bakeoff at Keegan Ales, 2-5 pm.
    Mar 10          Godly Play for kids
    Mar 17          Healing Sunday, Choir Rehearsal after worship
    Mar 25          Palm Sunday, Children’s Formation available
    Mar 28          Maundy Thursday Dinner and Worship at 6:00 pm
    Mar 29          Good Friday Prayer Service at 1:00 pm
    Mar 30          Holy Saturday, Easter Vigil at 8:00 pm
    Mar 31          Easter Sunday
    April 20         Vestry Retreat

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    The Installation and Investiture of the Rt. Rev. Matt Heyd as the 17th Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of New York

    On Saturday, February 10th hundreds of people gathered in the Cathedral of St. John the Divine on Amsterdam Ave in New York City to celebrate the installation and investiture of Bishop Matt Heyd as our new Bishop Diocesan. The diocese elected Matt in December of 2022, and he was consecrated as a bishop last May. This past year Bp. Matt has spent his time getting to know more about the people of the diocese and developing a plan for transitioning the diocese. This celebration marks his full investiture as Diocesan Bishop. Several people from St. John’s made their way to this celebration to participate in the life of our diocese. Enjoy the photos!


    ________________________________________________________________________________________

    Bad Weather? Good Question!

    Are we having worship?
    Tis the season for challenging weather conditions. Anytime we think there may be a travel concern due to weather, pay close attention to all of our communications channels: Instagram, Facebook, and email. Rev. Michelle will put an announcement out on Saturday sometime before 8:00 pm ONLY IF worship is either canceled OR we move the worship to Zoom. If there is no announcement, we will worship in the sanctuary as normal.

    Who takes care of the parking lot and sidewalks?
    We have a plowing company who comes anytime there is a snowfall of at least 3 inches. They clear the parking lot, driveway, ramp, and sidewalks. If the snow continues, however, they will wait until the snowfall is done so they don’t have to charge us twice for more than one visit.

    However, if it’s a small snowfall or ice, it’s up to us as a church community to make sure our entrances and exits are as safe as we can make them. There are shovels and ice melt stored in the vestibule outside the kitchen. If you’re here on one of those sorta snowy days or if you have an half an hour to come over and make sure the ramp is clear, please do. Call or text Rev. Michelle and she can make sure you get into the building.

    ________________________________________________________________________________________

    A Lenten Space

    Each week during Lent, Rev. Michelle will post here about resources for spiritual practice and reflection – books, podcasts, websites, etc. While Lent is a specific time of our liturgical year set aside for reflection, most of these resources are not only meant for Lent. Spiritual reflection and practice are things that we are invited to at any time and any place, as we are always called to deepen our relationship with God.

    The season of Lent arose out of the ancient Christian devotional practice of making a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Most religions have a practice of pilgrimage, of course, and this particular practice for Christians was one that paid homage to Jesus and come understand why his death is central to the Christian religion – to walk where he walked, to stay where he stayed, to weep as he wept and as his disciples wept in those days immediately before his crucifixion. We continue this practice in our observance of Holy Week every year.

    To prepare for this pilgrimage, the season of Lent became a time set aside for study, mediation, fasting, confession, and prayer. And this continues to this day. We have created other events around this – like Shrove Tuesday or Mardi Gras – a last hurrah to indulge in and “finish off” of all the things that tempt us – and Ash Wednesday – a practice originally designed for those who were close to death, ashes were sprinkled on their bodies.

    But the season of Lent itself is, perhaps, mostly thought of as a 40 day investment Christians make in our relationship with God. We take this time to consider what gets in the way of our relationship with God and we practice doing something differently. Sometimes this means adding something to our lives.

    To get us started this Lenten season, here are three resources for your consideration:

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    An Invitation to a Holy Lent

     

     

    A reprise of my homily from Ash Wednesday.

    Dear Ones,

    In her poem called “The Summer Day,” Mary Oliver begins by asking… even demanding… our attention to the sacred. She says:
    Who made the world?
    Who made the swan, and the black bear?
    Who made the grasshopper?

    The awe Oliver expresses here are words of praise. And she continues, leading us into a more devotional prayer – noticing the beauty of this individual bein. She says:
    This grasshopper, I mean —
    the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
    the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
    who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down —
    who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
    Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
    Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.

    Oliver brings us with her to this moment where she falls in love with this little being. And then beckons us deeper, into the truth of what it means to be beloved of God, saying:
    I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
    I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
    into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
    how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
    which is what I have been doing all day.
    Tell me, what else should I have done?
    Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
    Tell me, what is it you plan to do
    with your one wild and precious life?

    Oliver’s question is an Ash Wednesday question: Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?

    This past Wednesday, I did what I always do on Ash Wednesday. I placed my thumb into the slurry of chrism oil and ashes made from the burned palms of last year’s Palm Sunday. And I “imposed” ashes on the foreheads of all those who came to me as I said the words, “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” Or, as Oliver says, “Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?”

    I reminded people of their death. And in these words, as you are reading them now, I am reminding you of your death. And I call this act of imposing ashes, this moment of reminding you of your death… a blessing.
    Yet, not too many people I know of would say that being reminded of one’s death, or of death itself, is a blessing. But it is.

    Not because we hope for heaven, a more peaceful existence than what we currently experience. But this is a blessing because most of the time we take life for granted and live in denial of the very certain, very real fact that everything/everyone does die at last. This is knowledge that we all have. But truly accepting this, is another thing. Because it’s there, in the deep acceptance, that we are invited into to truth. We are beckoned into the mystery that gives life meaning. And we come closer to God. A reminder of death is always a reminder of life. One always points toward the other.

    I don’t believe that the season of Lent is a time for us to think of all the mistakes we have made, chewing on them until our mind becomes shrouded in fog and our heart slows its beat. That is a death, for sure. But that death is not one that leads to resurrection. And we are a resurrection people. I do not believe that God wants our groveling and our painful confessions… unless they lead to new life.

    God just wants us closer. God just wants us to be reconciled to Them. So, I believe that Lent is a season of renewal. A time and space in which we remind ourselves of the truth: That we are dust. That we will return to dust. Because in this truth lies our nourishment, even our refreshment. In this truth lies our possibility. In this truth lies our very life.

    Our death is intimately tied to our life. In this, perhaps we can see that we are as fleeting as the grasshopper Oliver so tenderly holds in her attention on a summer day. And, if a grasshopper can be so loved, so are we loved. So are we beautiful. So are we beloved and whole. So are we precious and wild.

    And so, what is there to do but love? If our lives belong to God, if all of life belongs to God, then what else is there to do, but pray in this way that Oliver describes: To pay attention; to fall down into the grass; to be idle, and be blessed; to stroll through the fields of our lives; to live our one precious and wild life and find the way we are called to be opened up by God so that we don’t miss the beauty of the grasshopper. Or, more importantly, so we don’t miss the exquisite beauty of ourselves.

    To be opened up to our potential – becoming more and more reconciled to ourselves and, in so doing,  more and more reconciled to God. So that we may come to know that prayer and love are the same thing: An expression of curiosity and awe and devotion and gratitude.

    Today you are invited to a Holy Lent: a time of self-examination, is what our prayer book says; a time of repentance. Because we are called, not to death, but to life, to live this one wild and precious life and be fully immersed in its beauty.

    So if it is repentance, then let us repent of the practices and ways of being that deaden us. And if it is self-examination, then let us examine what it means to live and breathe and hope and pray and love.

    For what else is there to do? What else is there to do, my beloveds?

    In God’s love and mine,
    Rev. Michelle

  3. February 8th

    The Good News from St. John’s Kingston

    Coming Up at St. John’s

    THIS SUNDAY: Godly Play

    Join us this Sunday, February 11. Guest priest Rev. Heidi Newmark will preside and Leah Siuta will have a Godly Play story upstairs for our younger members. Stay afterwards for our traditional social hour.

    Bring Your Palms!

    Last year you received palms on Palm Sunday. Every year, we burn those Palm Sunday palms and turn them into ashes for Ash Wednesday. This way we are reminded of God’s abundant love for us revealed in the renewing cycle of creation. Please bring your palms to church on or before Shrove Tuesday, February 13. And join us that evening as we gather round the fire to pray and create ashes together.

     

    NEXT WEEK: Ash Wednesday is February 14

    The season of Lent begins with Ash Wednesday. We have 2 Ash Wednesday services for the people of St. John’s and all others who wish to attend: 12:00 noon and 7:00 pm. Every year on Ash Wednesday we also reach out to the larger Kingston community. Those who have been trained as Eucharistic and/or Healing Ministers assist Rev. Michelle with the distribution of ashes to the public. Ashes-to-go during the heavy commute times of 7:30-9:30 am and 4:00-5:30 pm.

    Burning the Palms: Every year we use last year’s palms from Palm Sunday to make ashes for Ash Wednesday. Please join Rev. Michelle at 7:00 pm on Tuesday, February 13 immediately next to the entrance ramp to the building for a short ceremony.

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    The Installation of the 17th Bishop of New York


    Saturday, February 10th at 11:00am
     (please arrive by 10:30)
    Join us at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine (1047 Amsterdam Avenue) for the installation of the Rt. Rev. Matthew Heyd as our 17th Bishop. The service will celebrate the life of the Diocese of New York and the church’s mission to heal the world. Everyone is welcome and encouraged to attend. A reception will follow the service. You can indicate that you plan to attend here: https://dioceseny.org/ednyevent/bishop-installation-2024/

    Don’t want to drive or park in Manhattan? SPOTS ARE STILL OPEN! Free bus transportation is provided for those attending the Installation arriving at the Cathedral by 10 am. The closest bus to Kingston is will be leaving that morning from Poughkeepsie. If you’d like to ride on the bus, click here to sign up. There, you will receive more information about details.

    _______________________________________

    Bad Weather? Good Question!

    Are we having worship?
    Tis the season for challenging weather conditions. Anytime we think there may be a travel concern due to weather, pay close attention to all of our communications channels: Instagram, Facebook, and email. Rev. Michelle will put an announcement out on Saturday sometime before 8:00 pm ONLY IF worship is either canceled OR we move the worship to Zoom. If there is no announcement, we will worship in the sanctuary as normal.

    Who takes care of the parking lot and sidewalks?
    We have a plowing company who comes anytime there is a snowfall of at least 3 inches. They clear the parking lot, driveway, ramp, and sidewalks. If the snow continues, however, they will wait until the snowfall is done so they don’t have to charge us twice for more than one visit.

    However, if it’s a small snowfall or ice, it’s up to us as a church community to make sure our entrances and exits are as safe as we can make them. There are shovels and ice melt stored in the vestibule outside the kitchen. If you’re here on one of those sorta snowy days or if you have an half an hour to come over and make sure the ramp is clear, please do. Call or text Rev. Michelle and she can make sure you get into the building.

  4. January 27th

    The Good News from St. John’s Kingston

    Coming Up at St. John’s

    THIS SUNDAY: St. John’s Annual Meeting

    One of the most important Sundays every year is our St. John’s Annual Meeting. This year, on Sunday, January 28 at 10:00 am. What happens at the Annual Meeting? We’re glad you asked!

    • Meet in the Parish Hall
    • Eucharistic service
    • Reflection on the ministry of 2023 offered by Rev. Michelle
    • Brunch – bring something to share!
    • Voting in new Vestry Members
    • Thank you to outgoing Vestry Members
    • Conversation about the coming year of St. John’s ministry, including finances
    • Childcare for all children so parents can fully join in the meeting
    • Good fellowship

    We’re looking forward to this year’s Annual Meeting and we hope you’ll be there to celebrate!

    St. John’s Upcoming Schedule

    As we begin the new year, please make note of important dates coming up at St. John’s. You can always find the most updated calendar at: http://www.stjohnskingston.org/welcome/event-calendar/

    Jan 28          St. John’s Annual Meeting; Children’s Formation available
    Feb 4            All Ages Worship
    Feb 10          Installation of the Rt. Rev. Matt Heyd as Bishop of New York, Cathedral of St. John the Divine, NYC. Thinking about attending? SEE DETAILS BELOW!
    Feb 11          Godly Play for kids
    Feb 13          Shrove Tuesday Mardi Gras Pancake Supper
    Feb 14          Ash Wednesday, Worship at 12:00 pm and 7:00 pm; Ashes-to-go 7-9 am and 4-6 pm
    Feb 18          Healing Sunday, Choir Rehearsal after worship
    Feb 25          Children’s Formation available
    Mar 2            Ulster Deanery Meeting, 9-2, Holy Cross/Santa Cruz, Kingston
    Mar 3            All Ages Worship, Angel Food East Fundraiser – Mac-n-Cheese Bakeoff at Keegan Ales, 2-5 pm.
    Mar 10          Godly Play for kids
    Mar 17          Healing Sunday, Choir Rehearsal after worship
    Mar 25          Palm Sunday, Children’s Formation available
    Mar 28          Maundy Thursday Dinner and Worship at 6:00 pm
    Mar 29          Good Friday Prayer Service at 1:00 pm
    Mar 30          Holy Saturday, Easter Vigil at 8:00 pm
    Mar 31          Easter Sunday

    ________________________________________________________________________________________

    The Installation of the 17th Bishop of New York


    Saturday, February 10th at 11:00am
     (please arrive by 10:30)
    Join us at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine (1047 Amsterdam Avenue) for the installation of the Rt. Rev. Matthew Heyd as our 17th Bishop. The service will celebrate the life of the Diocese of New York and the church’s mission to heal the world. Everyone is welcome and encouraged to attend. A reception will follow the service. You can indicate that you plan to attend here: https://dioceseny.org/ednyevent/bishop-installation-2024/

    Don’t want to drive or park in Manhattan? Free bus transportation is provided for those attending the Installation arriving at the Cathedral by 10 am. The closest bus to Kingston is will be leaving that morning from Poughkeepsie. If you’d like to ride on the bus, click here to sign up. There, you will receive more information about details.

    ________________________________________________________________________________________

    Bad Weather? Good Question!

    Are we having worship?
    Tis the season for challenging weather conditions. Anytime we think there may be a travel concern due to weather, pay close attention to all of our communications channels: Instagram, Facebook, and email. Rev. Michelle will put an announcement out on Saturday sometime before 8:00 pm ONLY IF worship is either canceled OR we move the worship to Zoom. If there is no announcement, we will worship in the sanctuary as normal.

    Who takes care of the parking lot and sidewalks?
    We have a plowing company who comes anytime there is a snowfall of at least 3 inches. They clear the parking lot, driveway, ramp, and sidewalks. If the snow continues, however, they will wait until the snowfall is done so they don’t have to charge us twice for more than one visit.

    However, if it’s a small snowfall or ice, it’s up to us as a church community to make sure our entrances and exits are as safe as we can make them. There are shovels and ice melt stored in the vestibule outside the kitchen. If you’re here on one of those sorta snowy days or if you have an half an hour to come over and make sure the ramp is clear, please do. Call or text Rev. Michelle and she can make sure you get into the building.

    ________________________________________________________________________________________

    2024 Vestry Nominees

    Every year at our Annual Meeting, we elect new people to our Vestry and offer thanks for those who have served and whose terms have been completed. Each term on Vestry is 3 years. We also elect a new Warden every year, because the Warden’s term is 2 years. You can learn more about the responsibilities of Vestry on our website at: http://www.stjohnskingston.org/welcome/church-leadership/

    Please be sure to come to our Annual Meeting on January 28. We will combine worship with the business of the congregation so we begin at 10:00 am. There will be a children’s activity that day so that parents can easily join us.

    Warden ElectionThis year, we have no one to stand for the Warden election. So, Claudette Ford has graciously agreed to serve for a few months as a Warden emeritus to support our ongoing Warden, Leah Siuta. Thank you to both of our Wardens for your continued leadership!

    Vestry Member Election: This year we have 3 slots to fill and 3 people have discerned they would like to stand for election. Please offer your thanks to all 3 for offering to serve our church community in this way. They are:

    • Keith Ferber – Keith already serves as Treasurer and, because we had an open slot after last year’s ballot, the Vestry voted to appoint him to that slot in May of last year. Because this slot was open last year, we are electing Keith to finish that 3-year term, completing it in 2026.
    • Michelle Hoffman – Michelle has been coming to St. John’s for a number of years now and brings her 3 young children – Mira, Xavier, and Isla. She’s an active part of the childrens/families ministry. This 3 year-year term will end in 2027.
    • Bruce Dodge – Bruce is a new member of St. John’s and was just received into the Episcopal Church on December 10 by Bishop Mary. He’s an active member of the choir. This 3 year-year term will end in 2027.

    And thank you to our ongoing Vestry members: Sara HuttonPaula Wisneski, and Kathy Burdick.

    ________________________________________________________________________________________

    The Sacred and the Profane


    Dear Ones,

    I love to listen to this podcast called Smartless. It’s mostly about actors and the film/TV industry, but on an episode I recently heard, singing/songwriter Paul Simon was being interviewed by the hosts. And he talked about his new album called Seven Psalms.

    Ana and I listened to this album as we drove back from PA this past week and I was reminded of Simon’s exquisite lyrical skill as I found myself pondering the beauty of life and of our relationships with those we love. I felt as though I was praying… listening to a song by a popular singer, driving down the road in my car – something that has happened to me many times before.

    So I find myself musing: what is sacred and what is profane? The word “profane” is so often used to describe anything that is not specifically defined as sacred. I usually wonder if it isn’t our insistence on defining things so narrowly, that is the real problem. Such arrogance leads us down some very problematic paths.

    Sometimes, it’s social norms and expectations that cause us to label things without thinking. Other times, I believe, it’s our own fear and shame that cause us to point to others outside ourselves, hoping that Satan will be found somewhere else or in someone else. None of us are immune to these tendencies, even if we think we are enlightened in some way. Perhaps, especially then.

    For me, for today, I’ll be listening to Paul Simon as I work. Or maybe another episode of Smartless. And I wonder what will happen.

    In God’s love and mine,
    Rev. Michelle

  5. January 19th

    The Good News from St. John’s Kingston

    Coming Up at St. John’s

    St. John’s Annual Meeting: January 28

    One of the most important Sundays every year is our St. John’s Annual Meeting. This year, on Sunday, January 28 at 10:00 am. What happens at the Annual Meeting? We’re glad you asked!

    • Meet in the Parish Hall
    • Eucharist, praying, singing of hymns
    • Reflection on the ministry of 2023 offered by Rev. Michelle
    • Brunch – bring something to share!
    • Voting in new Vestry Members
    • Thank you to outgoing Vestry Members
    • Conversation about the coming year of St. John’s ministry, including finances
    • Childcare for all children so parents can fully join in the meeting
    • Good fellowship

    We’re looking forward to this year’s Annual Meeting and we hope you’ll be there to celebrate!

    St. John’s Upcoming Schedule

    As we begin the new year, please make note of important dates coming up at St. John’s. You can always find the most updated calendar at: http://www.stjohnskingston.org/welcome/event-calendar/

    Jan 21          Healing Sunday; Choir Rehearsal after worship
    Jan 28          St. John’s Annual Meeting; Children’s Formation available
    Feb 4            All Ages Worship
    Feb 10          Installation of the Rt. Rev. Matt Heyd as Bishop of New York, Cathedral of St. John the Divine, NYC
    Feb 11          Godly Play for kids
    Feb 13          Shrove Tuesday Mardi Gras Pancake Supper
    Feb 14          Ash Wednesday, Worship at 12:00 pm and 7:00 pm; Ashes-to-go 7-9 am and 4-6 pm
    Feb 18          Healing Sunday, Choir Rehearsal after worship
    Feb 25          Children’s Formation available
    Mar 2            Ulster Deanery Meeting, 9-2, Holy Cross/Santa Cruz, Kingston
    Mar 3            All Ages Worship, Angel Food East Fundraiser – Mac-n-Cheese Bakeoff at Keegan Ales, 2-5 pm.
    Mar 10          Godly Play for kids
    Mar 17          Healing Sunday, Choir Rehearsal after worship
    Mar 25          Palm Sunday, Children’s Formation available
    Mar 28          Maundy Thursday Dinner and Worship at 6:00 pm
    Mar 29          Good Friday Prayer Service at 1:00 pm
    Mar 30          Holy Saturday, Easter Vigil at 8:00 pm
    Mar 31          Easter Sunday

    ________________________________________________________________________________________

    Christmas Outreach to Episcopal Relief and Development

    Thank you to all who made an offering to our Christmas Outreach Fundraiser. Through both the memorials and the plate collection at both Christmas Eve services, we gathered a total of $747 that will go to support Episcopal Relief and Development. ERD does important work as the outreach arm of the Episcopal Church and has several priority projects, in addition to offering immediate relief in areas hit by war and disaster. Learn more about the good work of ERD here. And thank you to our Outreach Committee for all your work in organizing the outreach ministry of St. John’s.

    St. John’s Bible Study Update

    There is no longer Bible Study on Sunday mornings. And Wednesday online Bible Study will now begin at 12:15 pm. Go to: stjohnskingston.org/celebrate-pray/online to join. Questions? Speak with Rev. Michelle

    Bad Weather? Good Question!

    Are we having worship?
    Tis the season for challenging weather conditions. Anytime we think there may be a travel concern due to weather, pay close attention to all of our communications channels: Instagram, Facebook, and email. Rev. Michelle will put an announcement out on Saturday sometime before 8:00 pm ONLY IF worship is either canceled OR we move the worship to Zoom. If there is no announcement, we will worship in the sanctuary as normal.

    Who takes care of the parking lot and sidewalks?
    We have a plowing company who comes anytime there is a snowfall of at least 3 inches. They clear the parking lot, driveway, ramp, and sidewalks. If the snow continues, however, they will wait until the snowfall is done so they don’t have to charge us twice for more than one visit.

    However, if it’s a small snowfall or ice, it’s up to us as a church community to make sure our entrances and exits are as safe as we can make them. There are shovels and ice melt stored in the vestibule outside the kitchen. If you’re here on one of those sorta snowy days or if you have an half an hour to come over and make sure the ramp is clear, please do. Call or text Rev. Michelle and she can make sure you get into the building.

    ________________________________________________________________________________________

    2024 Vestry Nominees

    Every year at our Annual Meeting, we elect new people to our Vestry and offer thanks for those who have served and whose terms have been completed. Each term on Vestry is 3 years. We also elect a new Warden every year, because the Warden’s term is 2 years. You can learn more about the responsibilities of Vestry on our website at: http://www.stjohnskingston.org/welcome/church-leadership/

    Please be sure to come to our Annual Meeting on January 28. We will combine worship with the business of the congregation so we begin at 10:00 am. There will be a children’s activity that day so that parents can easily join us.

    Warden ElectionThis year, we have no one to stand for the Warden election. So, Claudette Ford has graciously agreed to serve for a few months as a Warden emeritus to support our ongoing Warden, Leah Siuta. Thank you to both of our Wardens for your continued leadership!

    Vestry Member Election: This year we have 3 slots to fill and 3 people have discerned they would like to stand for election. Please offer your thanks to all 3 for offering to serve our church community in this way. They are:

    • Keith Ferber – Keith already serves as Treasurer and, because we had an open slot after last year’s ballot, the Vestry voted to appoint him to that slot in May of last year. Because this slot was open last year, we are electing Keith to finish that 3-year term, completing it in 2026.
    • Michelle Hoffman – Michelle has been coming to St. John’s for a number of years now and brings her 3 young children – Mira, Xavier, and Isla. She’s an active part of the childrens/families ministry. This 3 year-year term will end in 2027.
    • Bruce Dodge – Bruce is a new member of St. John’s and was just received into the Episcopal Church on December 10 by Bishop Mary. He’s an active member of the choir. This 3 year-year term will end in 2027.

    And thank you to our ongoing Vestry members: Sara HuttonPaula Wisneski, and Kathy Burdick.

    ________________________________________________________________________________________

    Family


    Dear Ones,

    I want to let you all know that over the next few weeks, I’ll be taking some time to attend to some family health concerns that have arisen.

    First, as many of you know, my mother, Judie, has dementia and has been living with me and Ana for the past 15 months. Her disease has progressed to the point that she needs to move into assisted living. In looking at all the options, we have decided to move her next week into a lovely facility run by the United Methodist Church in her hometown of Meadville. She already feels better about moving “home.” We will be gone during the week but I will be here for the Annual Meeting on Sunday.

    Thank you, all, for the welcome she has received when she attends worship with us. She wasn’t raised in church so she’s unfamiliar with how gracious a church family can be. Please don’t worry if she isn’t in church this week, of course it will depend on how she’s feeling that morning.

    Second, my father, David, was very ill a few weeks ago and is going through a long recovery. It’s been quite a while since I’ve been able to spend time with him, so I will be traveling to Florida for a week to visit him and my step-mother, Linda, and to support his recovery, leaving the day after the annual meeting on January 29.

    Finally, a few years ago Ana discovered that her carotid arteries are clogged. At that time, she only needed to have one cleaned out. Now, however, we have learned that the other is in need of cleaning. So, Ana will be undergoing surgery on Monday, February 5 (carotid endarterectomy). Because of all the pre-surgery testing, unfortunately, she will be unable to travel to Florida with me the week before. Good news: Squeaky clean carotids from this point forward!

    What does all this mean? First, I’d love your prayers for me and my family as we move through these next weeks. Also, I will essentially be on vacation from January 29 – February 12. Our friends Janet Vincent and Heidi Newmark will be your priests on Feb 4 and 11. They are both excited about being with you. Janet is especially excited to be with you for All Ages Worship!

    I will attend the Installation of Bishop Matthew Heyd on February 10 to represent St. John’s and will be back with you for our Shrove Tuesday pancake supper and, of course, Ash Wednesday.

    Thank you, in advance, for holding us all in prayer. And thank you for your continued faithfulness and ministry.

    In God’s love and mine,
    Rev. Michelle

  6. January 11th

    The Good News from St. John’s Kingston

    Coming Up at St. John’s

    THIS WEEK:
    Godly Play for Kids and
    King Cake, and Jambalaya After Worship

    This coming Sunday, January 14, we hope that all our kids will be able to come for Godly Play. Then, after worship, we will celebrate the Season after the Epiphany with a King Cake and jambalaya, provided by Bruce Dodge. Be sure to join us!

    St. John’s Upcoming Schedule

    As we begin the new year, please make note of important dates coming up at St. John’s. You can always find the most updated calendar at: http://www.stjohnskingston.org/welcome/event-calendar/

    Jan 14          Godly Play for kids; After worship: King Cake and jambalaya!
    Jan 21          Healing Sunday; Choir Rehearsal after worship
    Jan 28          St. John’s Annual Meeting; Children’s Formation available
    Feb 4            All Ages Worship
    Feb 10          Installation of the Rt. Rev. Matt Heyd as Bishop of New York, Cathedral of St. John the Divine, NYC
    Feb 11          Godly Play for kids
    Feb 13          Shrove Tuesday Mardi Gras Pancake Supper
    Feb 14          Ash Wednesday, Worship at 12:00 pm and 7:00 pm; Ashes-to-go 7-9 am and 4-6 pm
    Feb 18          Healing Sunday, Choir Rehearsal after worship
    Feb 25          Children’s Formation available
    Mar 2            Ulster Deanery Meeting, 9-2, Holy Cross/Santa Cruz, Kingston
    Mar 3            All Ages Worship, Angel Food East Fundraiser – Mac-n-Cheese Bakeoff at Keegan Ales, 2-5 pm.
    Mar 10          Godly Play for kids; Mac-n-Cheese Bakeoff at Keegan Ales from 2-5 pm (fundraiser for Angel Food East)
    Mar 17          Healing Sunday, Choir Rehearsal after worship
    Mar 25          Palm Sunday, Children’s Formation available
    Mar 28          Maundy Thursday Dinner and Worship at 6:00 pm
    Mar 29          Good Friday Prayer Service at 1:00 pm
    Mar 30          Holy Saturday, Easter Vigil at 8:00 pm
    Mar 31          Easter Sunday

    ________________________________________________________________________________________

    Continue bringing your 2024 pledge cards!


    The Pledge Campaign maybe over but we continue to receive pledge cards. Blank pledge cards are available beside the bulletins as you walk in. Just fill it out and place it into the plate during the Offertory.
    If you are unable to come on Sunday, simply contact our Stewardship Chair Kathy Burdick at burdickka8889@gmail.com to report your pledge for 2024. Thank you for your pledge to the mission of St. John’s!

    Bad Weather? Good Question!

    Tis the season for challenging weather conditions. Anytime we think there may be a travel concern due to weather, pay close attention to all of our communications channels: Instagram, Facebook, and email. Rev. Michelle will put an announcement out on Saturday sometime before 8:00 pm ONLY IF worship is either canceled OR we move the worship to Zoom. If there is no announcement, we will worship in the sanctuary as normal.

    2024 Vestry Nominees

    Every year at our Annual Meeting, we elect new people to our Vestry and offer thanks for those who have served and whose terms have been completed. Each term on Vestry is 3 years. We also elect a new Warden every year, because the Warden’s term is 2 years. You can learn more about the responsibilities of Vestry on our website at: http://www.stjohnskingston.org/welcome/church-leadership/

    Please be sure to come to our Annual Meeting on January 28. We will combine worship with the business of the congregation so we begin at 10:00 am. There will be a children’s activity that day so that parents can easily join us.

    Warden ElectionThis year, we have no one to stand for the Warden election. So, Claudette Ford has graciously agreed to serve for a few months as a Warden emeritus to support our ongoing Warden, Leah Siuta. Thank you to both of our Wardens for your continued leadership!

    Vestry Member Election: This year we have 3 slots to fill and 3 people have discerned they would like to stand for election. Please offer your thanks to all 3 for offering to serve our church community in this way. They are:

    • Keith Ferber – Keith already serves as Treasurer and, because we had an open slot after last year’s ballot, the Vestry voted to appoint him to that slot in May of last year. Because this slot was open last year, we are electing Keith to finish that 3-year term, completing it in 2026.
    • Michelle Hoffman – Michelle has been coming to St. John’s for a number of years now and brings her 3 young children – Mira, Xavier, and Isla. She’s an active part of the childrens/families ministry. This 3 year-year term will end in 2027.
    • Bruce Dodge – Bruce is a new member of St. John’s and was just received into the Episcopal Church on December 10 by Bishop Mary. He’s an active member of the choir. This 3 year-year term will end in 2027.

    And thank you to our ongoing Vestry members: Sara HuttonPaula Wisneski, and Kathy Burdick.

    Turning On A Light


    Dear Ones,

    Today, I offer you a short piece that reflects one of my favorite movie quotes: “Sometimes it’s easy to forget that we spend most of our time stumbling around in the dark. Suddenly, a light gets turned on… ”
    (Marty Baron from the movie Spotlight)

    Our spiritual journey isn’t necessarily always going to be one that includes turning on a light and seeing the shadows in our lives. The season of Epiphany is the time in our liturgical year that compels us to do this. I think sometimes we believe that, if we don’t look at something that is nagging at us, we can just continue on… through perseverance and strength. But I have come to believe that the magi’s trip to the manger tells us a different story.

    For it’s not a bare light bulb that gets turned on as if we’re being questioned by someone who just wants to judge us or punish us. The light that gets turned on, is the Light of Christ – A compassionate light that helps us to develop the same love and compassion that Jesus demonstrated in his life. And this light helps us to see all of creation as wholly Beloved. In this light, we are not judged. But we do develop the capacity to hold ourselves accountable to the gift of Life we have been given and that we share with all.

    In God’s love and mine,
    Rev. Michelle

    ________________________________________________________________________________________

    Announcements for January 14
    The Second Sunday After the Epiphany

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

    • THIS SUNDAY: Godly Play and King Cake after worship.
    • 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: Feb 8: The Covenant of Water, by Abraham Verghese; Mar 7: The Heaven and Earth Grocery Store, by James McBride. Speak to Lynn Dennison, Barbara Johnston, or Claudette Ford for more info.
    • St. John’s Annual Meeting: January 28 Mark your calendars and be sure to attend the St. John’s Annual Meeting this year. We combine our worship with the business of the parish for an informative, reflective, and spiritually sustaining morning. Brunch will be served.
    • Online Morning Prayer: Join hundreds of others from across the Episcopal Diocese of New York every weekday morning at 8:00 am. Start your day with prayer, connection, and peace. Go to dioceseny.org/online-morning-prayer to join.
    • Choir Rehearsal takes place on the third Sunday every month. Please speak with Terry Earles.
    • Children’s Formation Schedule Younger people are always welcome to worship. There is a family space set aside with right-sized tables/chairs and toys. We also offer the following schedule of children’s formation: First Sunday-All Ages Worship; Second Sunday-Godly Play Story; Fourth Sunday-Children’s Activity.
    • Social Hour Sign-up! If you enjoy staying after worship for snacks and socializing, please sign up to host. The sign-up sheet is on the bulletin board in the vestibule. Talk to Barbara Johnston if you have questions.
  7. January 4th

    The Good News from St. John’s Kingston

    This Week at St. John’s

    All Ages Worship, King Cake, and Jambalaya

    This coming Sunday is All Ages Worship and, because we’re coming to the end of the Christmas season, we’ll be telling the Epiphany story, where the three magi have followed the star to witness God’s Reign of Love breaking into the world. Afterwards, we will celebrate the Epiphany with a King Cake and jambalaya, provided by Bruce Dodge. Be sure to join us!

    What if it snows?

    We are predicted to get our first significant snow-fall this year on Saturday night. However, by Sunday morning the streets will likely be cleared. For now, we’re planning to have worship in the sanctuary as normal.

    If we cancel: Not just this weekend, but anytime there is a question about weather conditions, pay close attention to all of our communications channels: Instagram, Facebook, and email. Rev. Michelle will put an announcement out on Saturday night around 8:00 pm ONLY IF worship is canceled or we move the worship to Zoom. There, you will receive clear instructions about how to connect via Zoom.

    If there is no announcement, we will worship in the sanctuary as normal.

    ________________________________________________________________________________________

    Continue bringing your pledge cards!


    The Pledge Campaign maybe over but we continue to receive pledge cards. Blank pledge cards are available beside the bulletins as you walk in. Just fill it out and place it into the plate during the Offertory.
    If you are unable to come on Sunday, simply contact our Stewardship Chair Kathy Burdick at burdikka8889@gmail.com to report your pledge for 2024. Thank you for your pledge to the mission of St. John’s!

    ________________________________________________________________________________________

    Always, We Begin Again


    Dear Ones,

    At the beginning of every new year, I spend the month of January reading through a small book by John McQuiston called Always We Begin Again The Benedictine Way of Living. It may surprise you that McQuiston is not a monk and was not a “well-churched” person for much of his life. However, he came to learn about the Rule of St. Benedict and wrote this small little book as a way of opening up the wisdom given to us about St. Benedict so that we could hear it more easily through our modern ears.

    I highly recommend this book. The readings are short and direct, easy to make it into a daily or every-other-daily practice for this month. For there is no better time than the beginning of the calendar year to remind us that always, we begin again.

    Here’s one day’s reading – a quote that is deeply meaningful to me today:

    At the beginning of each day
    after we open our eyes
    to receive the light
    of that day,

    As we listen to the voices
    and the sounds
    that surround us,

    We must resolve to treat each hour
    as the rarest of gifts,
    and be grateful
    for the consciousness
    that allows us to experience it,
    recalling in thanks
    that our awareness is a present
    from we know not where,
    or how, or why.

    When we rise from sleep let us rise for the joy
    of the true Work that we will be about this day,
    and considerately cheer one another on.

    Life will always provide matters for concern,
    yet each day brings with it reason for joy.

    Each day carries the potential
    to bring the experience of heaven;
    have the courage to expect good from it.

    Be gentle with this life,
    and use the light of life
    to live fully in your time.

    Happy New Year, everyone.

    In God’s love and mine,
    Rev. Michelle

  8. December 22nd

    The Good News from St. John’s Kingston

    This Week at St. John’s

    Christmas Memorials – There is still time!

    Each year, we honor those who have died and we offer thanks for the blessings of our lives through our Christmas Memorials, which are listed in our Christmas Eve bulletin. You can give to support our Christmas poinsettia fund or to our outreach offering to Episcopal Relief and Development… or both!
    If you have not been able to fill out a card, simply email Rev. Michelle by noon on Friday, December 22 so your memorial can get into the Christmas Eve bulletin.

    December 24: Advent IV and Christmas Eve
    3 worship services, one day

    10:00 am Our final worship service of Advent is a spoken Eucharist. Come for a quiet, prayerful morning before the festivities begin.

    4:00 pm Christmas Eve All Ages Worship is a sing-along and story-telling service designed for younger ears. Bring along friends and family and help us all tell the story together.

    8:00 pm  Christmas Eve Festive Choral Worship is when we pull out all the stops – a hymn-filled joyful celebration of Christ’s birth, including Silent Night by candlelight. This year, followed by a dessert reception! Carol singing and music recital begins at 7:30 pm.

    Rectory Christmas Eve Reception – Return to A Tradition
    Immediately after the 8:00 pm Christmas Eve Worship

    Before the pandemic, the St. John’s Community would gather every year in the Rectory for a dessert/snack reception after the evening service on Christmas Eve. This year, Rev. Michelle and Ana are delighted to resume this tradition. All are invited to this festive event! 
    If you’d like to bring something to share, please do – desserts, snacks, beverages. Or just bring yourself. If you do bring something to share, either leave it in your car during worship or bring it into the church and leave it in the parish hall.

     

    ________________________________________________________________________________________

    Continue bringing your pledge cards!


    The Pledge Campaign maybe over but we continue to receive pledge cards. Blank pledge cards are available beside the bulletins as you walk in. Just fill it out and place it into the plate during the Offertory.
    If you are unable to come on Sunday, simply contact our Stewardship Chair Kathy Burdick at burdikka8889@gmail.com to report your pledge for 2024. Thank you for your pledge to the mission of St. John’s!

    ________________________________________________________________________________________

    Thank you!


    Dear Ones,

    As I hope we understand, church is not a one-person show. I may be the one talking a lot… and I do really go on sometimes. But there are so many people who step up – especially during this time of year – to do a little more (or a lot more!) to make our Christmas celebration a truly festive occasion.First, I offer my thanks to Terry Earles our Director of Music and the entire choir who lead us in song. Terry loves his work and I am grateful for his dedication. They will be resting their “pipes” this Sunday morning, as we have a spoken Eucharistic service without hymns, so their voices will be nice and refreshed for Christmas Eve.

    Next, I offer thanks to all who helped to spruce up our worship space and who stayed after worship on Dec 17 to decorate our Sanctuary – especially the Sacristan team led by Lynn Dennison. It makes a huge difference to us every year that the Sanctuary is decorated so beautifully.

    I also offer thanks to our Pastoral Care team who also stayed after worship to write Christmas cards to people who are new or who may be in need of a reminder about just how much God loves them. Laura Ricci leads this effort every year and Cathe Decker makes the beautiful cards herself.

    And I offer my deep thanks to the members of the Vestry – Claudette Ford and Leah Siuta as Wardens, and members Paula Wisneski, Sara Hutton, Nilsa Rodriguez-Jaca, Kathy Burdick, and Keith Ferber. They do so much of the “heavy lifting” behind the scenes, making sure that the building functions, and our financial assets are looked after.

    And also our staff! Brian Silver has been doing amazing things in tending to our rental clients and being the point person for maintenance of the building. And Pat Allen makes sure that all our bills are paid. They are both terrific at their jobs.

    Of course, I give unending thanks for my wife Ana. Ana has her own responsibilities as the music director at Santa Cruz, plus her own work as a retreat leader, composer, and musician… but this time of year, she always makes sure that I have what I need and she gives of herself to this community of St. John’s as much as she is able.

    Finally, I thank all of you for coming to worship with your community at St. John’s. It means something to me every time I see your face in the pews and I know for sure that it means so much to everyone else who worships alongside you.

    Oh… and thank you, God, for all of this.

    May our final days of Advent be blessed with the hope we need in our hearts and may our Christmas be festive and joyous!

    In God’s love and mine,
    Rev. Michelle

  9. December 16th

    The Good News from St. John’s Kingston

    This Week at St. John’s

    Greening the Sanctuary
    Sunday, December 17 after worship


    It’s all hands on deck on December 17. Stay after worship as we decorate with greenery and place our candles around our worship space to prepare for Christmas. We’ll have some warm chili ready to go that morning to keep up the energy for our work.

    Christmas Memorials
    Due today! Or email Rev. Michelle this coming week…

    Each year, we honor those who have died and we offer thanks for the blessings of our lives through our Christmas Memorials, which are listed in our Christmas Eve bulletin. You can give to support our Christmas poinsettia fund or to our outreach offering to Episcopal Relief and Development… or both!
    Fill out the card in this week’s bulletin or email Rev. Michelle by noon on Friday, December 22.

    Longest Night: A service of reflection, healing, and hope
    Wednesday, December 21, 6:30 pm in person and online


    On Wednesday, December 20 at 6:30 pm, we will offer a Longest Night Service, both live at St. John’s and online via Facebook Live and Zoom. A service of prayer, reflection, and healing for those dealing with loss of all kinds.

    We traditionally think of the holiday season as a time of joy and abundance, but for some the pressure to celebrate can be overwhelming. Life situations and loss can heighten feelings of worry and grief. This is a service of light in the midst of darkness and the interplay of both, scheduled on the Winter Solstice, the longest night of the year.

    Through music, silent meditation, scripture, and healing prayer, we reach out to acknowledge sadness with comfort and quiet remembrance, to reflect on the losses we have experienced and to remember together the real reason for the season: The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. God is with us.

    Whether you are having a difficult time this holiday season or just want a moment of quiet, please come. If you know someone who is sad, struggling, or alone, invite them to attend. Everyone is welcome.

    Our guest musician will be composer and musician Ana Hernández.

    ________________________________________________________________________________________

    Continue bringing your pledge cards!


    The Pledge Campaign maybe over but we continue to receive pledge cards. Blank pledge cards are available beside the bulletins as you walk in. Just fill it out and place it into the plate during the Offertory.
    If you are unable to come on Sunday, simply contact our Stewardship Chair Kathy Burdick at burdikka8889@gmail.com to report your pledge for 2024. Thank you for your pledge to the mission of St. John’s!

    Advent Learning Series: Becoming Beloved Community

    Holy Cross/Santa Cruz and St. John’s Episcopal Churches
    4 Evenings: Nov 30, Dec 7, Dec 14, Dec 21


    Join members of both Episcopal congregations in Kingston for the season of Advent as we gather on Thursday nights to reflect on scripture, pray, and learn more about what it means to Become the Beloved Community.We begin with a potluck dinner at St. John’s at 6:00 pm on November 30 and continue each week through the season. A wonderful learning opportunity to learn and a beautiful way to deepen the community amongst both congregations.For those who do not drive at night, email Rev. Michelle at michelle.stjohnskingston@gmail.com to access the Zoom session each Thursday.November 30 at 6:00 pm, St. John’s – potluck dinner kick-off!
    December 7 at 6:00 pm, Holy Cross Santa/Cruz
    December 14 at 6:00 pm, St. John’s
    December 21 at 6:00 pm, Holy Cross/Santa Cruz

    December 24: Advent IV and Christmas Eve
    3 worship services, one day


    10:00 am Our final worship service of Advent
     is a spoken Eucharist. Come for a quiet, prayerful morning before the festivities begin.

    4:00 pm Christmas Eve All Ages Worship is a sing-along and story-telling service designed for younger ears. Bring along friends and family and help us all tell the story together.

    8:00 pm  Christmas Eve Festive Choral Worship is when we pull out all the stops – a hymn-filled joyful celebration of Christ’s birth, including Silent Night by candlelight. This year, followed by a dessert reception! Carol singing and music recital begins at 7:30 pm.

    ________________________________________________________________________________________

    The Divine Light


    Dear Ones,

    Our online Centering Prayer group meets every Wednesday evening and this past Wednesday, we had a lovely reading from Thomas Keating that referred to the first chapter of John’s Gospel. I found this to be such a compelling reminder of what we’re really talking about when we celebrate Christmas. Here are both readings (John and Thomas Keating) for your reflection:
    In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him.     (John 1: 1-10)

    “Each liturgical season has a period of preparation that readies us for the celebration of the climactic feast. The feast of Christmas is the first burst of light in the unfolding of the Christmas-Epiphany Mystery. Theologically, Christmas is the revelation of the Eternal Word made flesh. But it takes time to celebrate and penetrate all that this event actually contains and involves. The most we can do on Christmas night is gasp in wonderment and rejoice with the angels and the shepherds who first experienced it. The various aspects of the Mystery of divine light are examined one by one in the days following Christmas. The liturgy carefully unpacks the marvelous treasures that are contained in the initial burst of light. Actually, we do not grasp the full import of the Mystery until we move through the other two cycles (Easter-Ascension and Pentecost). As the divine light grows brighter, it reveals what it contains, that is, divine life; and divine life reveals that the Ultimate Reality is Love.”   – Thomas Keating 

    All I can offer to that is a humble but profound, Amen.

    In God’s love and mine,
    Rev. Michelle

    ________________________________________________________________________________________

    Announcements for December 17
    The Third Sunday of Advent

    St. John’s Office Hours
    Wednesdays 10:00-12:00 noon
    Thursdays 1:00-4:00 pm
    Phone: 845-331-2252
    Email: stjohnskingston@aol.comTHIS SUNDAYGreening the Sanctuary  Stay after worship to help decorate the Sanctuary in preparation for our Christmas celebration. We’ll have a bowl of chili for you to keep up your energy. Choir rehearsal after worship.NEXT WEDNESDAYDecember 20: Longest Night Service 6:30 pm.
    A space for grief, sorrow, and hope. Join us in person or online for a service of quiet prayer, readings, music, and healing on the longest night of the year. Come and be in the space at St. John’s or join online at: stjohnskingston.org/celebrate-pray/onlineAdvent Learning Series: Becoming Beloved Community A joint offering by St. John’s and Holy Cross/Santa Cruz to reflect on scripture, pray, and learn more about what it means to Become the Beloved Community. Thursdays at 6:00 pm (Dec 21 at HCSC). For those who do not drive at night, email Rev. Michelle to register beforehand for Zoom access.

    Christmas Memorials All memorials and thanksgivings will be listed in the Christmas Eve bulletin. Fill out the slip and place in the envelope enclosed in the bulletin with your check or cash inside.
    Place it in the collection plate this Sunday! You can also use paypal at:  stjohnskingston.org/grow/stewardship-and-giving (Just be sure to make a note about why you’re giving), then email Rev. Michelle by noon on Friday, December 22 with the memorial or thanksgiving.
    You can choose how you’d like to give:
    1) Poinsettias Donations help to decorate the sanctuary for Christmas through the purchase of poinsettias. After our Christmas Eve celebration, they will be given out to people by the Pastoral Care Team.
    2) Outreach Your Outreach memorial donations will go to Episcopal Relief and Development. You can learn more about the work of ERD at episcopalrelief.org.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: Jan 11: The Soul of an Octopus, by Sy Montgomery. Feb 8: The Covenant of Water, by Abraham Verghese (Long book, start early!); Mar 7: The Heaven and Earth Grocery Store, by James McBride. Speak to Lynn Dennison, Barbara Johnston, or Claudette Ford for more info.

    Online Morning Prayer: Join hundreds of others from across the Episcopal Diocese of New York every weekday morning at 8:00 am. Start your day with prayer, connection, and peace. Go to dioceseny.org/online-morning-prayer to register and receive the Zoom link.

  10. December 8th

    The Good News from St. John’s Kingston

    This Sunday at St. John’s
    December 10, 2023

     

    Bishop Mary Glasspool: Baptisms and Receptions
    And Cookie Exchange!

    Join in the special celebration of new membership on December 10 as we welcome the Right Reverend Mary Glasspool, Assisting Bishop of the Diocese of New York. Bishop Mary will preach and preside over a special service during which we will baptize 2 people and she will receive 3 people into the Episcopal Church.


    Also, on December 10 we will have our Second Annual Cookie Exchange! Make 2 dozen (more or less) of your favorite Christmas cookies and bring them to church on December 10. Then, during coffee hour, choose your favorite cookies from the abundance so you have a beautiful selection of cookies for this year. More info to come!

    Rock Academy Holiday Concert
    Sunday, December 10, 2:00 pm

     


    Join in the fun as Rock Academy brings their performance to St. John’s this coming Sunday. The show is free – they only ask that you bring items for the Holy Cross/Santa Cruz Soap Closet – hats, gloves, mittens, socks are all on the list. Or travel-sized personal hygiene items like deodorant, shampoo, soap, tampons/pads, band-aids, Neosporin, etc.

    Learn more at rockacademy.com

     

    Film Screening: The Philadelphia 11
    Sunday, December 10, 4:00 pm at St. James, Hyde Park

     


    St. James’ Hyde Park will host a screening of a new full-length documentary about the Philadelphia Eleven on Sunday afternoon, December 10th. The film depicts the story of 11 women who were ordained to the priesthood of the Episcopal Church when it wasn’t within the laws of the church to do so. It’s a story of courage, faith, justice, controversy, and love.

    You can learn about the film and watch the trailer here: https://www.philadelphiaelevenfilm.com/

    The event will open with a brief potluck reception at 4 pm, followed by the 90-minute screening and closing with a service of evening prayer at about 6 pm. Talk to Rev. Michelle if you’d like to carpool.

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    Continue bringing your pledge cards!


    The Pledge Campaign maybe over but we continue to receive pledge cards. Blank pledge cards are available beside the bulletins as you walk in. Just fill it out and place it into the plate during the Offertory.
    If you are unable to come on Sunday, simply contact our Stewardship Chair Kathy Burdick at burdikka8889@gmail.com to report your pledge for 2024. Thank you for your pledge to the mission of St. John’s!

    Advent Learning Series: Becoming Beloved Community

    Holy Cross/Santa Cruz and St. John’s Episcopal Churches
    4 Evenings: Nov 30, Dec 7, Dec 14, Dec 21


    Join members of both Episcopal congregations in Kingston for the season of Advent as we gather on Thursday nights to reflect on scripture, pray, and learn more about what it means to Become the Beloved Community.

    We begin with a potluck dinner at St. John’s at 6:00 pm on November 30 and continue each week through the season. A wonderful learning opportunity to learn and a beautiful way to deepen the community amongst both congregations.

    For those who do not drive at night, email Rev. Michelle at michelle.stjohnskingston@gmail.com to access the Zoom session each Thursday.

    November 30 at 6:00 pm, St. John’s – potluck dinner kick-off!
    December 7 at 6:00 pm, Holy Cross Santa/Cruz
    December 14 at 6:00 pm, St. John’s
    December 21 at 6:00 pm, Holy Cross/Santa Cruz

    Greening the Sanctuary
    Sunday, December 17 after worship


    It’s all hands on deck on December 17. Stay after worship as we decorate with greenery and place our candles around our worship space to prepare for Christmas. We’ll have some warm chili ready to go that morning to keep up the energy for our work.

    Longest Night: A service of reflection, healing, and hope
    Wednesday, December 21, 6:30 pm in person and online


    On Wednesday, December 20 at 6:30 pm, we will offer a Longest Night Service, both live at St. John’s and online via Facebook Live and Zoom. A service of prayer, reflection, and healing for those dealing with loss of all kinds.

    We traditionally think of the holiday season as a time of joy and abundance, but for some the pressure to celebrate can be overwhelming. Life situations and loss can heighten feelings of worry and grief. This is a service of light in the midst of darkness and the interplay of both, scheduled on the Winter Solstice, the longest night of the year.

    Through music, silent meditation, scripture, and healing prayer, we reach out to acknowledge sadness with comfort and quiet remembrance, to reflect on the losses we have experienced and to remember together the real reason for the season: The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. God is with us.

    Our guest musician will be composer and musician Ana HernándezWhether you are having a difficult time this holiday season or just want a moment of quiet, please come. If you know someone who is sad, struggling, or alone, invite them to attend. Everyone is welcome.

    December 24: Advent IV and Christmas Eve
    3 worship services, one day


    10:00 am Our final worship service of Advent
     is a spoken Eucharist. Come for a quiet, prayerful morning before the festivities begin.

    4:00 pm Christmas Eve Family Worship is a sing-along and story-telling service designed for younger ears. Bring along friends and family and help us all tell the story together.

    8:00 pm  Christmas Eve Festive Choral Worship is when we pull out all the stops – a hymn-filled joyful celebration of Christ’s birth, including Silent Night by candlelight. This year, followed by a dessert reception! Carol singing and music recital begins at 7:30 pm.

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    The Season of Advent


    Dear Ones,

    The Season of Advent is upon us. We have entered into a time of quiet, spaciousness, preparation, and hope. I spent time tonight with the group who gathered from both the Kingston congregations – Holy Cross/Santa Cruz and St. John’s – for our Advent study and we reflected on the meaning of this season.

    As I listened to people reflecting on their memories of their childhood Advent experiences, I heard stories of anticipation and delight, participation and wonder. What a beautiful way to summarize the meaning of this season.

    My family didn’t participate in any Advent rituals that I can recall. So, it wasn’t until I was an adult that I discovered for myself this beautiful season and it remains my favorite season of the church year. Even when it’s a busy time, there is a sense of underlying stillness – like a deep pool of water – ready to receive whatever is coming next.

    What are you discovering about Advent this year? How is your faith deepening?

    In God’s love and mine,
    Rev. Michelle

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    Announcements for December 10
    The Second Sunday of Advent

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

    THIS SUNDAY! Final day to bring blankets for People’s Place Project Santa.

    CONTINUING THIS THURSDAY at St. John’s: Advent Learning Series: Becoming Beloved Community A joint offering by St. John’s and Holy Cross/Santa Cruz to reflect on scripture, pray, and learn more about what it means to Become the Beloved Community. Thursdays at 6:00 pm (Dec 14 at StJ, Dec 21 at HCSC). For those who do not drive at night, email Rev. Michelle to register beforehand for Zoom access.

    NEXT WEEKGreening the Sanctuary  Stay after worship to help decorate the Sanctuary in preparation for our Christmas celebration. We’ll have a bowl of chili for you to keep up your energy. Choir rehearsal after worship.

    WednesdayDecember 20: Longest Night Service 6:30 pm.
    A space for grief, sorrow, and hope. Join us in person or online for a service of quiet prayer, readings, music, and healing on the longest night of the year. Come and be in the space at St. John’s or join online at: stjohnskingston.org/celebrate-pray/online

    Christmas Memorials All memorials and thanksgivings will be listed in the Christmas Eve bulletin. Fill out the slip and place in the envelope enclosed in the bulletin with your check or cash inside. Place it in the collection plate today or bring it back next Sunday, Dec 17. You can also use paypal by going to stjohnskingston.org/grow/stewardship-and-giving (Just be sure to make a note about why you’re giving), then email Rev. Michelle by noon on Friday, December 22 with the memorial or thanksgiving.
    You can choose how you’d like to give:
    1) Poinsettias Donations help to decorate the sanctuary for Christmas through the purchase of poinsettias. After our Christmas Eve celebration, they will be given out to people by the Pastoral Care Team.
    2) Outreach Your Outreach memorial donations will go to Episcopal Relief and Development. You can learn more about the work of ERD at episcopalrelief.org.

    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: Jan 11: The Soul of an Octopus, by Sy Montgomery. Feb 8: The Covenant of Water, by Abraham Verghese (Long book, start early!); Mar 7: The Heaven and Earth Grocery Store, by James McBride. Speak to Lynn Dennison, Barbara Johnston, or Claudette Ford for more info.

    Online Morning Prayer: Join hundreds of others from across the Episcopal Diocese of New York every weekday morning at 8:00 am. Start your day with prayer, connection, and peace. Go to dioceseny.org/online-morning-prayer to register and receive the Zoom link.