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

The Good News of St. John’s

  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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

  6. September 10, 2021

    Parish Read: The Church Cracked Open by Stephanie Spellers

    “This book will make a profound difference for the church in this moment of history.” – The Most Reverend Michael Curry, Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church

    In the introduction to her book, the Rev. Stephanie Spellers offers her readers a beautiful metaphor from scripture – the woman with the alabaster jar.  Here’s the story from Mark’s Gospel:

    3While he was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at the table, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very costly ointment of nard, and she

    broke open the jar and poured the ointment on his head. 4But some were there who said to one another in anger, ‘Why was the ointment wasted in this way? 5For this ointment could have been sold for more than three hundred denarii, and the money given to the poor.’ And they scolded her. 6But Jesus said, ‘Let her alone; why do you trouble her? She has performed a good service for me. 7For you always have the poor with you, and you can show kindness to them whenever you wish; but you will not always have me. 8She has done what she could; she has anointed my body beforehand for its burial. 9Truly I tell you, wherever the good news is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in remembrance of her.’  (Mark 14:3-9)

    Spellers sees this woman as bold and daring – someone who would challenge convention and be willing to break open the precious jar so that the abundance of what’s inside will be used freely.  And she sees a parallel with what’s happening in our church: Can we love our church in a way that doesn’t mean we only desire to protect it and maintain it?  Can we love our church enough to let it crack apart and see who we are and what God is calling us to become?

    The Christian church is going through an identity crisis.  Most churches are experiencing a decline in attendance and a shift to how people want to be connected to church.  Who is the church in the 21st century and what do we mean to people? What is God calling us to become?  Spellers asks us to take a look at what has formed us as a church.  As she travels through the history of our larger Church and the social/economic factors in which the Church “grew-up”, Spellers provides a sharp and concise picture of just how deeply connected the Episcopal Church is to systems of racism and privilege.  She also tells the amazing stories of those who pushed against these systems for the sake of the gospel.  But she doesn’t stop at story telling.  She offers us hope for how to move forward from this reality to a new day, a new creation.

    The Rev. Canon Stephanie Spellers serves as the Presiding Bishop’s Canon for Evangelism, Reconciliation, and Creation.

    Please join us in this fall’s Parish Read.  There are copies of the book available at church and we will be starting the conversation this coming Sunday (September 12) after worship in the Parish Hall.  Even if you haven’t read it yet, please come to the conversation.

    _______________________________________________________________

    Vestry Notes: Here’s what the St. John’s Vestry Discussed in August

    • The Vestry meeting began with a reflection on Mark 14:3-9, a passage featured in our parish read, The Church Cracked Open.
    • Episcopal Futures: A new program of the Diocese of New York in which 5 people from St. John’s will meet with a coach and others from the diocese to learn more about developing programs and missional work.  The Vestry voted to apply to this program that will begin in February 2022.
    • Lightning Strike Repairs: We still need to replace our bell controller and our sound system, both of which were damaged in the lightning strike.  The Vestry voted to replace both, noting that the new sound system will include the ability to plug the sound directly into a computer for online broadcasts.  We will seek reimbursement from our insurance company.
    • The Vestry also discussed: an inspection of our furnaces, the pledge campaign, our new Kitchen Rental program, and the parish read, The Church Cracked Open.

    _______________________________________________________________

    Zoom Bible Study – Not your grandma’s Bible study

    I find that one of the most fascinating aspects of any faith is the holy texts around which that faith has developed.  I marvel at how these texts are translated and interpreted across cultures and through time.  Because, just like any text, our interpretation provides insight into who we are as people.  We see ourselves reflected in them.  I find this hopeful because it means that God’s Holy Spirit hasn’t finished speaking to us.  The interpretation of scripture is not a closed book, no pun intended.

    Our scriptures are living texts that invite us to the task of interpretation so that we may learn more about who we are and our relationship with God.  In them, we can find support, wisdom, and hope for ourselves and for all of creation.  So studying scripture is central to ongoing Christian formation.

    I invite you to Zoom Bible Study this fall.  No preparation is needed.  We will gather online every week to look more deeply at scripture – ask the hard questions and bring our full selves to these texts. This isn’t your grandmother’s Bible Study.  I’ll use all kinds of scholarly resources to help us learn more about the language that’s used and the time in which they were written and the larger context of scripture itself.

    Click on this link to let me know all the times you are available.  If enough people sign up, I may offer two sessions each week – that’s how important I think this is.  If you’ve never tried Bible study before or even if you have, I believe this will be a meaningful experience for you.

    I look forward to learning with you.

    In God’s love and mine, Rev. Michelle

    ______________________________________________________________________

    Announcements for September 12, 2021

    THIS SUNDAY!  Fall Parish-wide Book Read Discussion.  Even if you haven’t yet read the book, please join us as we begin our discussion on The Church Cracked Open by Stephanie Spellers.  Pick up your book at church or purchase one online.  We will discuss in the parish hall (with masks) on the following Sundays so please read ahead!
    September 12: Intro and chapters 1, 2  |  September 26: chapters 3, 4, 5  |  October 24: chapters 6, 7, 8

    Zoom Bible Study is back!  Join Rev. Michelle for online Bible study every week.  To discern the best time for as many people as possible, please go to the St. John’s website and fill out the form on or before September 15: Grow > Fall 2021 Online Bible Study or click here: Fall 2021 Online Bible Study  The day/time will be announced so we can begin later in September.

    St. John’s Kitchen Harvest: “Feeding people is our jam!”
    We’re starting up a new fundraiser for St. John’s and we can use lots of help.  Do you have a favorite canning recipe?  Do you like to chop things up into little pieces?  Do you love to stir hot pots of sweet things?  This is your chance!  Join the new Harvest Team as they have fun and cook up recipes in the St. John’s Kitchen.  We’ll sell everything we make during the month of December.  The first cook-in: Saturday, October 9.  Talk to Ana Hernandez or Sara Hutton for details.

    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.

    St. John’s Prayer Chain – The St. John’s Prayer Chain is a small group of parishioners dedicated to ongoing prayer for the world and for the needs and concerns of people in our community.  If you need prayers or if someone you love is in need, please email stjohnsprayerchain9@gmail.com Leave as much information as you feel comfortable with, and you or your loved one will be prayed for.

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

    Fall Schedule at St. John’s
    More items are being scheduled… stay tuned!

    Sept 12: Parish Read: Church Cracked Open, parish hall after worship
    Sept 19: Pastoral Care Team Meeting, parish hall after worship
    Sept 26: Parish Read: Church Cracked Open, parish hall after worship
    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

     

  7. September 4, 2021

    Does Lightning Strike Twice?  Let’s Hope Not!

    It was a dark and stormy night… which, so many of our nights have been this summer here in Kingston.  But July 17 was particularly eventful.  In the early evening that Saturday, St. John’s sustained a surge due to a lightning strike – either the building was hit or something nearby was. 

    Immediately, the bell started peeling endlessly and, because the crack was so loud, a nearby neighbor called the fire department.  Rev. Michelle was out of town so her wife Ana ran though the pouring rain to meet the fire trucks at the church building.  The fire fighters shut off one of the breakers to stop the bells and, along with Ana, confirmed that there was no immediate danger in the building.

    Thankfully, the building itself is just fine.  We have a lightning rod so, if the building had been hit, the current was grounded rather than create a lot of damage.  But the surge that went through the cables and wires in our building created quite a mess.

    When Rev. Michelle returned from vacation in late July, we discovered just how messy this was.  Here’s what was affected: the bell controller (that automatically rings the bell at certain times) needs to be replaced, the fire alarm controller was repaired, the sound system has shorts all through it and is currently not usable, both internet modems – the sanctuary and the office – had to be replaced, and one of the computers in the office also had to be replaced.  Whew!

    It’s taken a few weeks but we have most things working again, except a few that are expensive and need to be discussed by the vestry (the bell controller and the sound system).  Thanks to George Mine for the help with the bell!  We’ve begun an insurance claim to (hopefully!) get some help covering the costs of getting everything back in order.

    The responsibilities of managing a building require quite a bit of expertise and time.  Of course monetary resources are an important part of the equation too.  As a result, it’s easy to get distracted and think that the building is the only thing that’s important.  But the truth is, when lightning strikes, it often does become a priority on everyone’s list.  So, let’s hope that the adage “lightning never strikes twice in the same place” is true.

    __________________________________________________________________

    Sundays This Fall (and some Saturdays)

    We like to be together.  For 111 years we have been worshipping and learning and serving the community – together as the congregation of St. John’s.  And it continues to be important to us, as community, to see one another and share space with one another and to praise God with one voice.  I look forward to seeing each one of you at worship and I love teaching and serving Christ in our community with you all.

    I’ve been seeing these kinds of memes on Facebook recently – something that depicts how our hope to make some exciting fall plans is met with the reality and disappointment of yet another year of trying to figure out how to deal with the pandemic.  This is certainly not to make light of the danger that this new variant of the coronavirus brings, but it functions more as a reminder that we are all in this together and, for everyone’s safety, we have to remain vigilant and flexible with the plans we do make.

    With that in mind, I think it’s important to make plans for this fall – to have things we can look forward to doing together.  On this list below, I hope you’ll see your invitation to many things: a parish book read, a new fundraiser (see this week’s announcements), a workshop on healing, and, on October 31, our bishop Andy Dietsche is coming to visit which will be followed by a fun event in our parking lot – Trunk-n-Treat!  Plus, I’ll be re-starting Online Bible Study – check out this week’s announcements for more information.

    Please put these items on your calendar and join your community of St. John’s as we celebrate life in Christ together.

    Fall Schedule at St. John’s
    More items are being scheduled… stay tuned!
    September 12: Parish Read: Church Cracked Open, parish hall after worship
    September 19: Pastoral Care Team Meeting, parish hall after worship
    September 23: Choir Dinner – more information coming soon!
    September 26: Parish Read: Church Cracked Open, parish hall after worship
    October 3: Blessing of the Animals, Memorial Garden after worship
    October 9 (Sat): Harvest Team Cooking Day, begins at 10:00 am
    October 16 (Sat): Christian Healing Workshop, parish hall, 10-12:30
    October 24: Parish Read: Church Cracked Open, parish hall after worship
    October 31: The Rt. Rev. Andy Dietsche receives new members into the Episcopal Church AND Trunk-or-Treat with prizes for costumes and car decorations!
    November 7: Celebration of All Saints’ Day and Commitment Sunday
    November 28: Advent begins

    In God’s love and mine, Rev. Michelle

    _________________________________________________________________

    Announcements for
    September 5, 2021

    Fall Parish-wide Book Read!  Books are now available! This summer, the St. John’s Vestry has been reading The Church Cracked Open by Stephanie Spellers in preparation for our Fall Parish-wide Book Read.  Pick up your book at church or purchase one online.  We will discuss in the parish hall (with masks) on the following Sundays so please read ahead!
    September 12: Intro and chapters 1, 2  |  September 26: chapters 3, 4, 5  |  October 24: chapters 6, 7, 8

    Zoom Bible Study is back!  Join Rev. Michelle for online Bible study every week.  To discern the best time for as many people as possible, please go to the St. John’s website and fill out the online form on or before September 15.  Click here: Fall 2021 Online Bible Study  The day/time will be announced so we can begin later in September.

    St. John’s Kitchen Harvest: “Feeding people is our jam!”  We’re starting up a new fundraiser for St. John’s and we can use lots of help.  Do you have a favorite canning recipe?  Do you like to chop things up into little pieces?  Do you love to stir hot pots of sweet things?  This is your chance!  Join the new Harvest Team as they have fun and cook up recipes in the St. John’s Kitchen.  We’ll sell everything we make during the month of December.  First cooking day: Saturday, October 9.  Talk to Ana Hernandez or Sara Hutton for details.

    The Page Turners book club will meet on September 7th to discuss ‘Outlawed’ by Anna North. It has been described as a feminist western, and a fun read.  This discussion will be on Zoom.  For October 5th, 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.

    St. John’s Prayer Chain – The St. John’s Prayer Chain is a small group of parishioners dedicated to ongoing prayer for the world and for the needs and concerns of people in our community.  If you need prayers or if someone you love is in need, please email stjohnsprayerchain9@gmail.com Leave as much information as you feel comfortable with, and you or your loved one will be prayed for.

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

  8. July 8, 2021

    What’s Going On in the Memorial Garden

    When’s the last time you checked out the St. Francis Memorial Garden?  If you haven’t done so in a while, make sure to walk through and stay a while because our beloved Director of Music, Terry Earles, has been hard at work gardening and beautifying the space around the pergola.  For several years, the pergola space has been left untended and it became overgrown.  Now, however, thanks to Terry’s efforts, the pergola is filled with bright color, soothing sounds, and beautiful smells.  He’s even gathered donations from his neighbors to help cover the cost.  Please be sure to offer Terry thanks for his ministry.  He’s given a wonderful gift to us all.

    Thank you, Terry, for your hard work, your dedication, and your love.

    The following people have donated to beautify the Memorial Garden and Terry has asked that we keep them in our prayers.

    Mr. and Mrs. J. T. Pinna in memory of Lucille
    Samir Hrachi in memory of Frank Simpson
    Wesley Dangler in memory of Lawrence and Grace
    Beth Petramale in memory of Suzi Filak
    Terry Earles in memory of Rev. Dr. F. P. Reynolds & family
    Steven Savona in memory of William Madden
    William Bozzetto in memory of Anna Mac Graw
    Lauren Stein in memory of Patricia Massa

     

    _________________________________________________________________

    A Theology of Gardening

    I’m a recent convert to gardening.  I always felt overwhelmed by the idea of tending to outdoor space.  I suppose I thought it was too much work to fight with the plant life that so clearly has more of an understanding about how to grow than I do about how to control its growth.  For many years I focused on indoor plants as they were easier to get my mind around and, therefore, easier to control.

    But Youtube is a wealth of information and watching Monty Don on the UK show Gardener’s World has become a weekly Friday night event in the Rectory.  I’ve found that working outside in the garden these past years has taught me so much more about how life functions – and I don’t just mean the life of the plants, but my life too.  We are so connected to this soil we call home because the nutrients you find in the soil are the same nutrients you find in our bodies.  And God created all of it, all of us, from this rich loam that sustains all of life.

    One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned so far is that the cultivation of a shared space where plant life, animal life, and human life can all thrive together is necessary for us all to learn just how interdependent we are.  Beginning in the mid-20th century, I think we humans lost that lesson:  Agri-business took over the food chain, fossil fuels became the dominant energy source, plastics became a cheap alternative to just about everything, and computer technology replaced actual experiences with virtual ones.  We’ve separated ourselves more and more from the earth over the past 70 years.  And now, the younger generations are teaching us that we’ve done this to our peril.

    How do we return?  How do we understand this as a part of how we are called to be reconciled with God?

    So, I’ve come to rejoice in the simple tasks these days – planting seeds, tending to a growing plant, picking a ripe tomato, creating a welcoming space for the birds and bees so they will stick around to pollinate the garden.  And learning about abundance from God’s ready-made bounty.

    In God’s love and mine, Rev. Michelle

    _____________________________________________________________________

     

    Announcements for
    July 11, 2021

    Join the Blue Fridge Team: Interested in helping out with food security issues here in Kingston?  Join us as we gather to support the Blue Fridge, a community refrigerator on the grounds of Clinton Avenue Methodist Church in Midtown.  St. John’s is working with Congregation Emanuel to field a team of people who will volunteer and support this effort.  Interested?  Email Rev. Michelle directly at michelle.stjohnskingston@gmail.com.  We’ll meet after she’s back from vacation.

    Annual Backpack Drive: We are delighted to be asked again by People’s Place again to assist with the distribution of school supplies.  Bring your donations of backpacks to church and drop them off in the basket near the altar. If you’d like to give money to the effort, please place your donation in an envelope marked “School Supplies” or write “School Supplies” on your check. As we get closer to the start of school, look for more information on when you can volunteer to help out with the distribution.

    Social Hour Is Back!  So please sign-up to bring refreshments for after Sunday worship – cool drinks and snacks.  We’ll meet outside in the tent this summer for Sunday fellowship time.  See the bulletin board in the vestibule to sign-up to be a Sunday host.

    Voices Heard: A series of panel discussions sponsored by the Reparations Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of New York.  This series of panel discussions organized by the Reparations Committee for the Diocese of New York intends to broaden awareness and deepen our understanding of the pressing topics of an intractable nature of systemic racism on education, health, economics, gender, policing and the criminal justice system, the church and more that negatively impact people of African heritage. Bringing experts, community organizers, civic leaders, clergy and laity into dialogue will help to inform us.  All panels will take place from 7:00–8:30 p.m. on Zoom.  Registration in advance is required for each individual Discussion.

    • Tuesday, July 20 – Rectors of Color: Examining the Missed Opportunities of Deployment

    For more information or to register:   Webinar ~ Voices Heard: A Diocese Explores Pathways Toward Reparations – “Educational Opportunity Denied: The Legacy of Segregated Housing” (dioceseny.org)

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

  9. July 1, 2021

    Summer Worship and Ministry at St. John’s

    Summer here in the Hudson Valley is a time of family vacations and rest from the normal pace of our lives.  Especially this year, so many people are visiting family and doing vacations after a year of travel restrictions and quarantine.  When you’re home in Kingston, here are some ways for you to plug-in to what’s happening at St. John’s this summer.

    Worship and Fellowship
    Every Sunday morning in July we’ll gather in the sanctuary at 10:00 am for Eucharist.  In August, we will worship outdoors under the tent in our side yard.  More information will be announced later in July about how to participate in outdoor worship.  We will not be offering Zoom Sunday worship for the rest of the summer.  But we will continue to use Zoom for Tuesday Compline and Wednesday Centering Prayer.

    And this Sunday after worship, we’ll return to having fellowship time (coffee hour), moving it outside under the tent.  Please sign up to host on a Sunday: bring cold drinks and snacks and put them out on a table with paper cups, plates, and napkins.  The paper goods, we’ll have on hand for you to use.  The sign-up sheet is on the bulletin in the Vestibule (the ramp door entrance area).

    Ministry
    There are two main ministry projects we’ll be working on over the summer:  1) Collecting donations for the Annual People’s Place Backpack and School Supply drive; and 2) Creating a St. John’s Blue Fridge Team that will work with our neighbors at Congregation Emanuel to assist with food security in Midtown Kingston.

    • Backpack and School Supplies Drive:  We are delighted to be asked to help out People’s Place again this year.  Beginning this Sunday, July 4, we will have a basket near the altar where you can offer donations of backpacks, which will distributed to children at People’s Place the week before school starts.  Of course you can shop online but a really great place to shop for kids backpacks locally is Five Below.  If you’d like to give money to the effort, please place your donation in an envelope marked “School Supplies” or write “School Supplies” on your check.  And, of course, we hope to have a team of people helping with distribution of school supplies at People’s Place.  It’s a really fun way to serve.  As we get closer to the start of school, look for more information.
    • Blue Fridge Team:  This past Sunday, Rev. Michelle spoke about God’s Economy – where a need arises and abundance responds.  You can read the sermon here.  And she spoke specifically about the Blue Fridge, located on the property of Clinton Avenue Methodist Church in Midtown.  It’s open throughout the day for people to drop off items from their abundance to meet the needs of people who live in Midtown.  This summer, Rabbi Yael at Congregation Emanuel of the Hudson Valley is putting together a team to support this effort and Rev. Michelle is doing the same here at St. John’s.  We hope these teams can work together as one.  If you’d like to be a part of this team, contact Rev. Michelle directly via email at michelle.stjohnskingston@gmail.com.  If you’d like to learn more about the Blue Fridge, click here.

    We look forward to seeing you this summer!

    _____________________________________________________________________

    Trying Again – Rest

    For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel: In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.  – Isaiah 30:15

    As we continue to take steps out of the pandemic, I hope you are finding time for rest and reflection.  As the prophet Isaiah reminds us in the above verse, this is key to our healing and, therefore, our salvation.  To continually function from a mind and a heart that have been anxious and/or grieving, means that we also struggle to experience God’s presence and Love in our lives.

    Back in March, I wrote to you all that I would be taking some downtime to honor my need for rest and reflection.  Since my brother’s death in 2019, I haven’t been able to take the necessary time to reflect on what this means for me and for my family because something else always comes crashing in – gall bladder illness and surgery, moving my mother in PA, and tending to St. John’s during the pandemic.  And then something else came crashing in – right before I was scheduled to go away in March, Ana and I both became very ill with COVID and it’s been a long, slow recovery.

    Needless to say, this degree of illness is also an experience that deserves time for reflection and rest.  Yet the spring was full of events to plan and carry out: Resuming in-person worship, celebrating the ministry of Deacon Sue, and overseeing the Radio Kingston Solar Field access.  Plus, Ana needed to have surgery.  And coming up this fall, we have some new projects to begin which means my window for sabbath time is now.

    So, at the urging of many people: our Wardens Claudette and Lynn, Bishop Mary Glasspool, my spiritual director, and my beloved wife Ana, I will take 3 consecutive weeks off this summer.  You will be well served during this time by 3 gifted colleagues and friends who made time in their schedules and are looking forward to being with you: The Rev. Alison Quin on July 11, the Rev. Elizabeth Broyles on July 18, and the Rev. Shane Phelan on July 25.  Additionally, Alison Quin will be handling pastoral emergencies while I’m gone.  I will return to work on July 28 in time to prepare for outdoor worship in August.

    I also want to thank the leadership of St. John’s who are making this time possible.  Our Vestry Clerk Corrina Malamas is assisting with bulletins. Our Vestryperson and Altar Guild member Paula Wisneski will be making sure the worship space is prepared.  Our bookkeeper Pat Allan will be tending to the St. John’s phone and email messages.  And, of course, Terry Earles and the team of cantors will be helping to lead worship.  Please offer your assistance to these people and to our guest priests over the next few weeks.

    I will be sending an email to the St. John’s community next week to give more information about who to contact while I’m away.  And I will continue to keep you all in my prayers that you may also find time for your own rest this summer.

    In God’s love and mine, Rev. Michelle

    _______________________________________________________________

    Announcements for
    July 4, 2021

    Join the Blue Fridge Team: Interested in helping out with food security issues here in Kingston?  Join us as we gather to support the Blue Fridge, a community refrigerator on the grounds of Clinton Avenue Methodist Church in Midtown.  St. John’s is working with Congregation Emanuel to field a team of people who will volunteer and support this effort.  Interested?  Email Rev. Michelle directly at michelle.stjohnskingston@gmail.com.

    Annual Backpack Drive: We are delighted to be asked again by People’s Place again to assist with the distribution of school supplies.  Beginning this Sunday, July 4, bring your donations of backpacks to church and drop them off in the basket near the altar. If you’d like to give money to the effort, please place your donation in an envelope marked “School Supplies” or write “School Supplies” on your check. As we get closer to the start of school, look for more information on when you can volunteer to help out with the distribution.

    Coffee Hour Is Back!  So please sign-up to bring refreshments for after Sunday worship – cool drinks and snacks.  We’ll meet outside in the tent this summer for Sunday fellowship time.  See the bulletin board in the vestibule to sign-up to be a Sunday host.

    The Page Turners is St. John’s book club who meet every first Tuesday evening of the month for good discussion and good company.  Right now the group is meeting on Zoom and all are welcome to attend.  The selection for July 13 is ‘Humankind, A Hopeful History,” by Rutger Bregman.  There is no meeting in August and the group will resume on September 7.  Email or call Lynn Dennison for more information.

    Angel Food East is in need of volunteers on Thursdays: drivers and kitchen helpers are both needed.  Join a fun crew to help feed home bound people in our community.  Speak to Rev. Michelle or Lynn Dennison if you’re interested.

    Voices Heard: A series of panel discussions sponsored by the Reparations Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of New York.  This series of panel discussions organized by the Reparations Committee for the Diocese of New York intends to broaden awareness and deepen our understanding of the pressing topics of an intractable nature of systemic racism on education, health, economics, gender, policing and the criminal justice system, the church and more that negatively impact people of African heritage. Bringing experts, community organizers, civic leaders, clergy and laity into dialogue will help to inform us.  All panels will take place from 7:00–8:30 p.m. on Zoom.  Registration in advance is required for each individual Discussion.

    • Tuesday, July 6 – The Awakening of Unwoke People: Church, Religion and State
    • Tuesday, July 20 – Rectors of Color: Examining the Missed Opportunities of Deployment

    For more information or to register:   Webinar ~ Voices Heard: A Diocese Explores Pathways Toward Reparations – “Educational Opportunity Denied: The Legacy of Segregated Housing” (dioceseny.org)

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

  10. June 25, 2021

    A Few Words About Masks from Rev. Michelle

    With the rates of vaccination so high in our region, we have been seeing a slow decline in the use of masks in public places.  This is a good thing!  And what a relief!  Yet, it can make us blind to the fact that there are many who, for various reasons, have not been able to be fully vaccinated.  And these people still need to protect themselves with masks.

    I’ve polled many of my friends who lead congregations from various states across the church and the majority of them are still requiring masks for indoor worship.  Some are not.  There is certainly no consensus.  Our own bishop, Andy Dietsche, has asked each congregation to decide how to move forward.  Of course, the issue is that the rules are different whether you are vaccinated or unvaccinated and this is not something to be overlooked.

    How we invite people to worship matters are great deal if we want to make sure everyone truly feels welcome at God’s Table.  Just like a few stairsteps can prevent people from coming into a building because they need a ramp, if we do not do what we can to welcome those who still need to wear masks, we may unwittingly create two classes of people.  To follow Christ means that we concern ourselves with whomever comes to the Table in our midst.  No one should feel estranged for any reason.

    This past Sunday, because of a few factors (it was exceedingly hot, the number of people worshipping was small enough, and everyone was spaced out), I invited people who were comfortable to do so to take off their masks.  Many people in the congregation did remove their masks, and several people decided to keep them on.  I didn’t ask why anyone made the decision they did but it’s clear to me that, as a congregation, we are not ready to be without masks completely.

    For the time being, I’m asking that everyone please continue to wear a mask to Sunday worship at 10:00 am.  For the next few Sundays, we will wait until the community is gathered before we discern whether it’s wise to invite people to remove masks.  I realize that it would be easier to say either “mask” or “no mask” but it’s just not that simple right now.

    My friends, the steps we are making as we gradually move out of this pandemic are heartening.  I’m extremely thankful that we are worshipping in-person and now I am glad, yet cautious, as we take this next step.  If you have any questions about this or would like to talk with me, please reach out to me.

    And thank you in advance for helping me to continue to ensure everyone is welcome at St. John’s.

    In God’s love and mine, Rev. Michelle

    ____________________________________________________________________________

    Thank you from Deacon Sue

    Thank you to all who participated in and attended my last Sunday as deacon at St. John’s on June 13th. I greatly appreciate your efforts in making it a day to remember. Thanks also to all who contributed to the Community Fund which will enable St. John’s to continue its social concerns ministry in new and broader ways. And finally, a big thank you to Michelle for her support and encouragement over the past 5 years. She continues to be a gift to us all as our priest, teacher, spiritual guide, pastor, and friend.

    With a grateful heart for my time spent with you, I send love and prayers for a safe and happy summer.

    Deacon Sue Bonsteel

     

    _______________________________________________________________________

    Announcements for
    June 27, 2021

    The Page Turners is the St. John’s book club who meet every first Tuesday evening of the month for good discussion and good company.  All are welcome to attend.  The selection for July 13 is ‘Humankind, A Hopeful History,” by Rutger Bregman. Email or call Lynn Dennison for more information.

    Finance Meeting: This Tuesday, June 29 at 6:30 pm the Finance Team begins the process of developing next year’s budget.  Interested in attending and learning more about church finance?  Email Rev. Michelle for the Zoom link.

    Angel Food East is in need of volunteers on Thursdays: drivers and kitchen helpers are both needed.  Join a fun crew to help feed home bound people in our community.  Speak to Rev. Michelle or Lynn Dennison if you’re interested.

    Voices Heard: A series of panel discussions sponsored by the Reparations Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of New York.  The legacy of the transatlantic slave trade is deeply entrenched in the structural systems and legislative actions that govern communities today. This series of panel discussions organized by the Reparations Committee for the Diocese of New York intends to broaden awareness and deepen our understanding of the pressing topics of an intractable nature of systemic racism on education, health, economics, gender, policing and the criminal justice system, the church and more that negatively impact people of African heritage. Bringing experts, community organizers, civic leaders, clergy and laity into dialogue will help to inform us and make commitments for engagement in our own communities as we prepare our cause for action in making recommendations for the task brought forth through Resolution regarding the Reparations Fund.  All panels will take place from 7:00–8:30 p.m. on Zoom.  Registration in advance is required for each individual Discussion.

    • Tuesday, July 6 – The Awakening of Unwoke People: Church, Religion and State
    • Tuesday, July 20 – Rectors of Color: Examining the Missed Opportunities of Deployment

    For more information or to register:   Webinar ~ Voices Heard: A Diocese Explores Pathways Toward Reparations – “Educational Opportunity Denied: The Legacy of Segregated Housing” (dioceseny.org)