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

The Good News of St. John’s

  1. April 13, 2022

    Holy Week and Easter Notes

    Easter Outreach Donations
    Each year, the Outreach Committee determines a recipient for donations given at Easter time. And this year, we have all been so deeply distressed by the plight of the Ukrainian people as they face unfathomable horrors in the face of the Russian invasion. We ask you to give generously this year. Monies collected in the plate during all the services will go towards the Episcopal Relief and Development’s Ukraine Emergency Fund. You can learn more here about this fund.

    Paschal (Easter) Triduum
    This 3-day liturgy begins with Maundy Thursday (Apr 14 at 6:00 pm), continues with Good Friday (Apr 15 at 1:00 pm), and ends with the Great Vigil of Easter (Apr 16 at 8:00 pm). Join us for any or all of these deeply enriching and powerful services and dive into the deeper meaning of these holy days. And be prepared for a special addition to our Great Vigil Eucharist!

    Stations of the Cross
    On Friday, April 15 at 7:00 pm, come for a seated and prayerful Stations of the Cross where we will use our beloved images that adorn our walls in the St. John’s Sanctuary as a lens through which we see the pain and suffering of the world today.

    The Rite of Reconciliation
    This rite is sometimes referred to as the Episcopal Church version of individual confession can be an incredibly healing experience and is available during Holy Week. You can still schedule an appointment by contacting Rev. Michelle at michelle.stjohnskingston@gmail.com. If you’d like to learn more about this rite, you can find it on page 447 in the Book of Common Prayer.

    Easter Community Brunch
    Liz Moeller and Don Hughes have done the heavy lifting to make sure we have an incredible Easter Day Community Brunch. Please know that your additions to brunch are welcomed and needed! Specifically – drinks and desserts. Or bring a favorite dish and we’ll make sure it gets on the table. Thank you, Don and Liz!

    Easter Egg Hunt
    Leah Siuta has been hard at work preparing for this year’s Easter Egg Hunt and thank you to Adam and Rebekah Hendricks for hiding them all! Bring a basket, if you’d like, but we’ll have bags for all the young people to use for collecting eggs. After worship has finished, gather in the Parish Hall with Leah and she will give instructions for the egg hunt. Thank you, Leah!

    Thank you!
    And thank you to all those who came for our workday this past Saturday to prepare for Holy Week: Lynn Dennison, Wes Dangler, Laura Ricci, Paula Wisneski, Don Hughes, Liz Moeller, Jeannette Baggot, and Ana Hernández.

    _____________________________________________________________________

    Trusting in One Another and Trusting in God


    Every year on Holy Tuesday, the clergy of the diocese are invited to renew our ordination vows in a special service at St. John the Divine Cathedral in New York City. It’s one of my favorite services of the year. Bishop Andy is quite a preacher and this year, his was a particularly meaningful sermon.

    But even more than, his words to us as we were coming together for Eucharist, were deeply powerful. He said something like this: “To be with one another, to touch one another, to breathe the same air with each other… that has never been safe. We have only given it new language over the past 2 years. We have to trust one another and trust in God.”

    I remember, in those first days of isolation and fear of March 2020, I felt so bereft about not being able to be with you all in person. And I remember saying: “We will be back at the Table to celebrate together. And what a celebration that will be!”

    I had no idea then, what we would go through and how long it would be before that would come to fruition. And, of course, we have been back together at our Table many times since. Beginning on the Feast of Pentecost in May 2021, we started continuous in-person worship, interrupted only by a surge of the virus over the winter.

    Yet, for whatever reason, this Easter feels like a truly special celebration of Easter. It feels like this is the moment that I was talking about over 2 years ago when I said: “What a celebration that will be!” We will return to gluten-free bread for Eucharist, flowers will again adorn the altar, and the choir is back to lead us in our praise of God.

    But it is not the same as it was. We have been changed. We are not the same people we were and we are not the same congregation. God has worked in us and through us during these 2 years through our own grief, anxiety, and hope. And the pandemic has not gone away. The difference is, we understand so much more about how to manage it now.

    So, I do think this is quite a special Easter celebration this year. Not everything is “good” but we have learned the deeper meaning of trust – trusting one another and trusting in God.

    And what a celebration we now have!

    In God’s love and mine,
    Rev. Michelle

     

    ___________________________________________________________

    Announcements for
    Easter Sunday: April 17, 2022

    Return to the Common Cup:  In March, our bishop Andy Dietsche announced that he has allowed us to return to the Common Cup so that we are once again able to share Eucharist in two kinds – the bread and the wine. Please drink directly from the chalice. Do not intinct (dip your wafer into the wine) as this transfers germs from your hand into the cup. You may also receive only the bread. If you have any questions or concerns, please speak directly to Rev. Michelle.

    Social Hour Hosting: You are invited to sign up on the bulletin board in the Vestibule to be a social hour host! Talk with our Hospitality Coordinator, Barbara Johnston for more information.

    New “club” starting! – St. John’s Walking Club
    Well, we don’t know the actual name yet, but we’re working on it. Come and walk with us! Talk to Ana Hernández for more information.

    Page Turners Book Club: The next books are: May 3rd: The Murmur of Bees, by Sofia Segovia, June 7th: The Book of Hope, by Jane Goodall, July 5th (date might be changed): The Cold Millions, by Jess Walter. Currently the book club is considering the idea of meeting in person again but, as no decision has been reached, the May meeting will be on Zoom. Please contact Lynn Dennison for more information if you’d like to join!

    Welcome Suzanne Campise!
    We welcome Suzanne Campise to St. John’s as our Acting Rental Manager. Suzanne has an extensive background in church work and is doing her final preparation to become an ordained Presbyterian minister. She has agreed to work for us temporarily (until her first baby is born in June) to help us to expand our rental program and get the word out about our space here at St. John’s. Please be sure to introduce yourself to her when you see her here on campus!

    St. John’s Upcoming Schedule
    May 19-21: Contemplative Retreat – Sofia: Thomas Merton and the Wisdom of God, co-led by the Rev. Matthew Wright and the Rev. Michelle Meech. More information forthcoming!

  2. April 7, 2022

    Parish Work Day:
    Outside Work Postponed… Inside Work Continues

    As you may be aware, we are scheduled to get plenty of rain through Friday and Saturday this week so we have postponed the outdoor portion of our Parish Work Day, otherwise known as the Lay Weeders. We’ll schedule another day later in the spring so stay tuned!

    However, there is still much to do inside to prepare for Holy Week. As announced last week, the Sacristans will be coming together at 9:00 am to pray and meet to plan the week’s work. Then, at 10:00 am we begin the list of indoor work to prepare for Holy Week. We have polishing, cleaning, clearing… lots of work to do. Your help is needed and appreciated to make sure everything is ready for our most sacred liturgies. Come at 9:00 if you’d like to pray with the Sacristans but be sure to come at 10:00 to assist with the preparation.

    Easter Outreach and Memorials
    Due Wednesday, April 13

    If you would like to have a memorial listed in this year’s Easter Sunday bulletin, please get this information to Rev. Michelle by Wednesday, April 13. You can either email her directly with the information and add your offering later, or fill out an offering envelope this Sunday!

    This year our Easter Outreach donation and plate monies will be going to Episcopal Relief and Development specifically to support relief for Ukraine. Look for more efforts from the Social Concerns Committee regarding support for Ukraine.

    Holy Week Schedule

    Click here for information about Holy Week or review the schedule below.

    __________________________________________________________

    Grief, Anger, Lament, and the Gift of Holy Week


    I think it’s a powerful witness that our siblings of Jewish faith have High Holy Days every fall and that they also call the Days of Awe or the Days of Repentance. These holidays Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur, give people the space for bringing everything to God – the grief, the anger, and the lament – so that these may be released and atoned for. This enabled people to begin the Jewish new year with clear minds and unburdened hearts.

    It is the same for us, as Christians. We have Holy Week as our space to bring everything to God – our grief, anger, and lament. Everything. In the acts of walking with Jesus from the false triumph of conceit on Palm Sunday, into the commitment to and the betrayal of community on Maundy Thursday, through death and the decent into despair and pain on Good Friday, and, finally, into a new and risen life on Easter… in these acts, we are not simply re-telling the story of Jesus. We are asked to bring ourselves into them so that we may walk with Christ in a risen life. Renewed in and for the world with clear minds and unburdened hearts. 

    This is a particularly poignant Holy Week for us, as the community of St. John’s. We haven’t been able to share this Holy Week space together in our Sanctuary in 3 years. The last time we had Easter services as a community in our sanctuary was 2019. These are, indeed, days of awe for us.

    Come worship during Holy Week. Allow the rhythm of these liturgies to carry you – all you are, all you have, and all you are carrying. And let us join Christ in the risen life to which we are called.

    In God’s love and mine,
    Rev. Michelle

     

     

    ______________________________________________________

    Announcements for
    April 10, 2022

    Easter Outreach and Memorials: This year our Easter Outreach donation and plate monies will be going to Episcopal Relief and Development specifically to support relief for Ukraine.
    If you would like to donate a memorial gift… to the Easter Outreach and/or to support the cost of altar flowers this year, please fill out the form in the bulletin with your payment and either place it in the plate or get it to Rev. Michelle by Wednesday, April 13. All memorials will be printed in the Easter Sunday bulletin.

    Return to the Common Cup:  In March, our bishop Andy Dietsche announced that he has allowed us to return to the Common Cup so that we are once again able to share Eucharist in two kinds – the bread and the wine. Please drink directly from the chalice. Do not intinct (dip your wafer into the wine) as this transfers germs from your hand into the cup. You may also receive only the bread. If you have any questions or concerns, please speak directly to Rev. Michelle.

    Listen for St. John’s on Radio Kingston! Radio Kingston is our local community radio station and they have begun a wonderful new program – underwriting. We donate to their Community Fund (which helps people in need pay their utility and rent bills) and they mention St. John’s name as an underwriter of their programs. We get our name out there and (more importantly) the Community Fund receives a nice donation so that people get help with basic needs. A win-win-win for the Kingston community! Tune in and listen for a mention over this week.

    Social Hour Hosting: You are invited to sign up on the bulletin board in the Vestibule to be a social hour host! Talk with our Hospitality Coordinator, Barbara Johnston for more information.

    Page Turners Book Club: The book for May 3 is The Murmur of Bees, by Sofia Segova. Speak with Lynn Dennison for more information.

    Welcome Suzanne Campise!
    We welcome Suzanne Campise to St. John’s as our Acting Rental Manager. Suzanne has an extensive background in church work and is doing her final preparation to become an ordained Presbyterian minister. She has agreed to work for us temporarily (until her first baby is born in June) to help us to expand our rental program and get the word out about our space here at St. John’s. Please be sure to introduce yourself to her when you see her here on campus!

    St. John’s Upcoming Schedule
    Apr 10-17: Holy Week – Please see schedule above
    May 19-21: Contemplative Retreat – Sofia: Thomas Merton and the Wisdom of God, co-led by the Rev. Matthew Wright and the Rev. Michelle Meech. More information forthcoming!

  3. April 1, 2022

    Parish Work Day: Saturday, April 9
    10:00 – 12:30

    Coming together to take care of the buildings and grounds is a wonderful way to share fellowship and offer ourselves to the ministry of stewardship. This year, we want to gather before Holy Week and do some work inside and outside to prepare for this most sacred time in our Christian calendar.

    Inside: The Sacristans will gather early at 9:00 am to pray and put together a plan for Holy Week, if you’d like to join the Sacristans in this work, you’re welcome to come early for prayer or anytime afterwards. There is plenty to do!

    Outside: Beginning at 10:00 am, we need a crew (that we will be calling the “Lay Weeders”… get it?) to help clear some spaces and get ready for the season. So, bring your tools – gloves, rakes, etc.

    Come join us for a fun morning of fellowship and stewardship so we are all ready for Holy Week.

     

    Click here for information about Holy Week or review the schedule below.

    _________________________________________________________

    The Changing Church

    For those of us who love being a part of a church community, there are some troubling statistics out there that point to decline. All Christians have all witnessed this decline in church attendance over the last 2-3 decades and the pandemic has made it more pronounced. The reasons for this decline are myriad – you get a different reason depending on who you ask. And it’s happening all across the Episcopal Church and in all denominations of Christianity.

    As a member of the Committee to Elect a Bishop, I spent much of March reading through survey responses and taking part in Zoom meetings where people from across the Episcopal Diocese of New York offered their thoughts and heartfelt concerns about the diocese so that we can discern what we need in a bishop. And I can tell you that this issue, the concern over church decline, is front and center in nearly everyone’s minds.

    Please believe me, I realize that this reality can feel depressing and disappointing. What is the answer? I honestly don’t know exactly what THE answer is. But I do know that it’s not as simple as having an event or saying the right thing in a sermon. And I also know that God is not done with the Church. Why?

    Because I believe in Christ. I believe in the Good News which tells us that death is never the final word. We are a Resurrection people and this is not the end of the Church. But it may be the end of the Church-as-we-know-it.

    The question we are facing is how are we able to change to meet this new reality? What is God asking of us? What are we called to offer? What is our mission? And how are we being asked to do things differently to be the Resurrected Church?

    This is not a matter of being “relevant” and having some kind of gimicky worship service. This is about rethinking what it means to be the church. It’s the difference between a technical fix and an adaptive challenge. For example: When we see someone in a river who is drowning, we don’t stop to ask too many questions, we just find a way to get them out. Right? That’s a technical fix. And that works for one, individual circumstance.

    But if we notice that it keeps happening again and again and again, we have to be willing to adjust, to begin asking the questions about change. Perhaps we need to teach everyone to swim. Perhaps we need to put up new rules and regulations about water access. Perhaps we need to find out who the bully is who is throwing people in the water. Who knows? But we don’t know the answer until we do the work. This is an adaptive challenge. And an adaptive challenge is exactly what the Church is facing.

    A few weeks ago, on March 19, the clergy and wardens of all the Episcopal congregations in Ulster County met together here at St. John’s to discuss our common ministry. Three members of Bishop Andy’s staff joined us – Victor Conrado, Canon for Congregational Vitality, Nora Smith, Canon for Transitional Ministry, and John Perris, Canon to the Ordinary.  We spent most of our time together discussing our lives as individual congregations: What do we have? What do we need? Where do we need support? This event was just the beginning of an ongoing conversation around sharing resources and ministry. It’s a long conversation, during which, we look forward to learning more about one another and about all the possibilities for sharing beyond the silos of our individual congregations.

    So we will be talking more about this as the community of St. John’s. Again, I don’t know what this is all going to look like and I don’t know what we will learn. But I am confident that, as we move forward, we are following God’s call to us and therefore it will be a conversation of hope and of love because Love is always God’s final word.

    In God’s love and mine,
    Rev. Michelle

    ________________________________________________________________

    Announcements for
    April 3, 2022

    Parish Work Day! Saturday April 9 from 10-12:30
    Lay Weeders: Welcome to a new name for an “old” ministry – cleaning up around the St. John’s grounds. Now that spring is here both Alex Serrano (our Sexton) and Terry Earles (our Memorial Garden-er) will need help with activities like weeding (of course!), planting, clearing, raking, sweeping, etc. Our first 2022 Lay Weeders Work Day is Saturday, April 9. Come and help out from 10-12:30 and bring whatever tools you have. We’ll also have a Sacristan Work Day the same morning (starting at 9am!) in order to get everything ready for Holy Week. So, if you don’t want to work outside, there is plenty of work to do with the Sacristans inside.

    Easter Outreach and Memorials: This year our Easter Outreach donation and plate monies will be going to Episcopal Relief and Development specifically to support relief for Ukraine.
    If you would like to donate a memorial gift… to the Easter Outreach and/or to support the cost of altar flowers this year, please fill out the form in the bulletin with your payment and either place it in the plate or get it to Rev. Michelle by Wednesday, April 13. All memorials will be printed in the Easter Sunday bulletin.

    Return to the Common Cup:  In March, our bishop Andy Dietsche announced that he is allowing us to return to the Common Cup effective immediately so that we are again able to share Eucharist in two kinds – the bread and the wine. Please drink directly from the chalice; do not instinct (dip your wafer into the wine) as this transfers germs from your hand into the cup. You may also receive only the bread. If you have any questions or concerns, please speak directly to Rev. Michelle.

    Listen for St. John’s on Radio Kingston! Radio Kingston is our local community radio station and they have begun a wonderful new program – underwriting. We donate to their Community Fund (which helps people pay their bills) and they mention St. John’s name as an underwriter of their programs. We get our name out there and (more importantly) the Community Fund receives a nice donation. A win-win for the Kingston community! Tune in and listen for a mention over the next 2 weeks.

    Social Hour Hosting: You are invited to sign up on the bulletin board in the Vestibule to be a social hour host! Talk with our Hospitality Coordinator, Barbara Johnston for more information.

    Page Turners Book Club: The books for the next several months have been announced: April 5- Cloud Cuckoo Land, by Anthony Doerr; May 3- The Murmur of Bees, by Sofia Segova. Speak with Lynn Dennison for more information.

    Welcome Suzanne Campise!
    We welcome Suzanne Campise to St. John’s as our Acting Rental Manager. Suzanne has an extensive background in church work and is doing her final preparation to become an ordained Presbyterian minister. She has agreed to work for us temporarily (until her first baby is born in June) to help us to expand our rental program and get the word out about our space here at St. John’s. Please be sure to introduce yourself to her when you see her here on campus!

    St. John’s Upcoming Schedule
    Apr 9: Parish Work Day – Help prepare for Holy Week from 10-12:30
    Apr 10-17: Holy Week – Please see schedule above
    May 19-21: Contemplative Retreat – Sofia: Thomas Merton and the Wisdom of God, co-led by the Rev. Matthew Wright and the Rev. Michelle Meech. More information forthcoming!

  4. March 16, 2022

    Announcement from Bishop Andy Dietsche:
    Return of the Common Cup

    My Brothers and Sisters,

    Sunday, March 15, 2020 was the last day before we suspended public worship in the Diocese of New York as a response to the Covid pandemic.  Over the two years which have followed, we have seen coronavirus infections rise and fall, with seasons of surge and seasons of relief.  During that time churches have relaxed many or most of the restrictions on public worship which we had introduced earlier, but the single requirement which has continued across our diocese has been the restriction against administering communion wine in the Common Cup.  We have for all this time received the sacrament “in one kind,” and we have found that we have been able to continue to be a sacramental people, and we have adjusted to that new reality.  

    However, with the waning of the omicron surge, and the dramatic fall in the rate of infections in all parts of our diocese, I have a new message: I am happy to authorize, effective immediately, the return to Communion in Both Kinds, and to permit, and encourage, the restoration of the Common Cup in the worship of our churches.

    It seems to me that as we approach Holy Week, Palm Sunday would be an opportune time to re-introduce the Common Cup, but no one needs to wait.  This permission is immediately effective.  Recognizing that people have varying levels of comfort during a continuing pandemic, I want to be clear that no one is required to drink from the chalice. No is any parish required to do this until they are ready. But the prohibition is lifted.

    For churches which practice Intinction, I do want to make an additional instruction.  The last two years have raised for all of us again the question of hygiene and communion.  Two thousand years of experience have taught us that wine can be safely communicated when people drink from the Common Cup, if the eucharistic minister properly wipes the cup between communicants.  The practice, however, of people dipping the host into the chalice with their own fingers carries a high likelihood of fingers touching or plunging into the wine itself.  Every eucharistic minister has seen this, and it is a certainty that this is an unclean and unsafe practice.  Intinction is an acceptable practice in administering communion, but it is correctly done by the priest or eucharistic minister, with clean washed hands, dipping the host into the wine and placing it on the tongue of the communicant.  The practice of people dipping the host themselves is not permitted.

    The restoration of the Common Cup should not be interpreted to mean that Covid is over.  Rather, it signifies that we have come to a time when all of our customs in life must adapt to the reality that Covid is with us indefinitely or long-term, and we must learn how to live with it with the highest degree of safety possible.  Future variants or surges may come, and if they do, I call on all of our churches to return as necessary to the safe and reasonable restrictions that will ensure that our churches are safe places for everyone.

    I have long felt that the passing of the communion cup from person to person is one of the most powerful symbols we have in the Christian church of our mutual vulnerability, depth of community, and open self-offering one to another.  As a very frequent celebrant at our altars, I have often felt uncomfortable and even lonely when I have drunk from the cup alone. So I have longed for this day, and the full return of our customary and ancient practice of holy communion.  May this add to the joy of our Easter celebration and the lifting of our collective heart!

    With every good wish, I remain yours, Bishop Andy

    ________________________________________________________________________
    Committee to Elect a Bishop Listening Sessions

    Below is a list of times when members of the Committee to Elect a Bishop will be present to listen to everyone in the Diocese of New York – that’s you! Click on the link to register and you will receive an email with the Zoom link. Region-specific sessions will focus on the regions listed, but you are welcome to attend any session.

    Wednesday, March 23 at 7 p.m. – Hudson Valley
    (Includes Spanish Interpretation)
    https://dioceseny.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZYsdemorzMiHNzcaMEZsTJ9v-8aXCSd3gf7

    Thursday, March 24 at 7 p.m. – Staten Island
    https://dioceseny.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZYocuusqjkpEtDn6FfmHBeJ4pKzuG1ww6LA

    Saturday, March 26 at 4 p.m.
    (Includes Spanish Interpretation)
    https://dioceseny.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZAlcuiurTgsHdeu0mz2vS4HgZ-35dZBOmCo

    _____________________________________________________________

    A Reflection on Prayer

    I sometimes think I take prayer for granted. I spend time in prayer each day, often with many of you on my mind and in my heart, knowing what so many of you carry. And I spend time in silent prayer, which is helpful for my own renewal. And, of course, I lead prayer every week on Sunday morning (and sometimes more). Perhaps it’s because prayer is a significant part of my life, that I tend to take it for granted.

    But when I really stop to think about it, prayer is such a gift. It gives us a sense of connection with one another as well as a sense of agency in a crazy world. And prayer is an invitation to us to remember our true identity – God’s beloved children. When we pray, every time we pray, we are affirming who we are and whose we are. In other words, we pray because we believe that we belong to God.

    So, prayer isn’t just a set of words that we recite. It’s not just a time to be “prayerful” or to call to mind those about whom we care. Prayer forms us. It forms our imaginations and realigns us with our true identity and, therefore, prayer informs our actions in the world.

    What does prayer mean to you?

    In God’s love and mine,
    Rev. Michelle

    ___________________________________________________________

    Announcements for
    March 20, 2022

    Choir Rehearsal begins today after worship! Please contact our Director of Music, Terry Earles, if you are interested in being a part of the choir. All members must be fully vaccinated and will wear masks designed for singing.

    Worship Update! Returning to the Common Cup
    This past week, our bishop Andy Dietsche announced that he is allowing us to return to the Common Cup effective immediately so that we are again able to share Eucharist in two kinds – the bread and the wine. Please drink directly from the chalice. Do not instinct (dip your wafer into the wine) as this transfers germs from your hand into the cup. You may also receive only the bread. If you have any questions or concerns, please speak directly to Rev. Michelle.

    Centering Prayer: Join us online for Centering Prayer every Wednesday beginning at 5:30 pm. A practice of readings, silent prayer, and reflection to support your deepening walk with Christ. Go to the St. John’s website for to connect and access the readings: stjohnskingston.org

    St. John’s is hiring: We are looking for a Rental Manager – someone with commercial kitchen experience who also has communication/promotional skills to promote our space. The position is posted on our website so please help to promote this opening by letting people know!

    Compline Prayer Service is offered every week on Tuesday nights at 9:00 pm through Zoom. Compline is a beautiful service of grace and peace that helps us to lay down our burdens at the end of the day. Go to the St. John’s website for the bulletin and connection link: stjohnskingston.org

    Social Hour: Now that the pandemic numbers have decreased, we have resumed our social hour. Please join us after worship for coffee and snacks. And sign up on the bulletin board in the Vestibule to be a host! Talk with our Hospitality Coordinator, Barbara Johnston for more information.

    Page Turners Book Club: The books for the next several months have been announced: April 5- Cloud Cuckoo Land, by Anthony Doerr; May 3- The Murmur of Bees, by Sofia Segova. Speak with Lynn Dennison for more information.

    Welcome Alex Serrano!
    Our new Church Sexton, Alex, grew up in this area and also works for Holy Cross/Santa Cruz as their Sexton. For us he will assist in taking care of the buildings and grounds and lead our Parish Clean-up Days. When you see him around, please welcome him and introduce yourself!

    Have an announcement for the bulletin?
    Please send by Wednesday at noon to
    stjohnskingston@aol.comAnchor.

    St. John’s Upcoming Schedule
    Mar 20: Choir rehearsal begins after worship
    Mar 27: Guest Preacher: The Rev. Dcn. Gene Bourquin, Pastoral Minister for Deaf and Disability Ministry – stay after worship for a conversation with Deacon Gene.
    Apr 4: Lenten Healing Service, 7:30 pm
    Apr 10: Palm Sunday
    Apr 14: Maundy Thursday
    Apr 15: Good Friday
    Apr 16: Holy Saturday and Easter Vigil
    Apr 17: Easter Sunday and egg hunt!
    May 19-21: Contemplative Retreat – Sofia: Thomas Merton and the Wisdom of God, co-led by the Rev. Matthew Wright and the Rev. Michelle Meech. More information forthcoming!

  5. March 4

    This Sunday March 6: Social Hour Returns with a Special Conversation

    As has been announced, now that the covid numbers are dropping again, we are coming back together for Social Hour after worship. Yay! This week, Barbara Johnston (our Hospitality coordinator) will host Social Hour but we need others to host too. So you are invited to sign up on the bulletin board in the vestibule.
    No host, no Social Hour that day. And we do want Social Hour!

    And this Sunday, our Social Hour time will feature a special conversation about the search for a new Bishop for the Diocese of New York. In last week’s newsletter, Rev. Michelle wrote about the search for the new Bishop. And, as members of this diocese, it is extremely important to make sure our voices are heard. So, let’s have a conversation about the responsibilities of a bishop, the current context of the church, and what kind of support we need in the Hudson Valley.

    The Committee to Elect a Bishop has launched a survey to get your thoughts, which closes on Monday, March 14 and can be found here: Episcopal Diocese of New York Bishop Search – A Website of the Episcopal Diocese of New York (dioceseny.org)

    Rev. Michelle will have 2 computers at the ready on Sunday so that you can easily fill out the survey before you leave church. So, please be sure to stay for this special and important conversation!

    In addition, you will find a schedule of listening sessions below. These are times when members of the Committee to Elect a Bishop will be present to listen to everyone in the Diocese of New York – that’s you! There is a link to register for each one. Each of these sessions will:

    • include a short introduction to some of our committee members;
    • provide an opportunity for you to share your thoughts, opinions, and ideas;
    • include an introduction to the Committee’s process and next steps; and
    • be held via Zoom.

    Region-specific sessions will focus on the regions listed, but you are welcome to attend any session.

    Please note that registration is required: click on the Zoom links below to register.

    Listening Sessions Schedule

    Saturday, March 12 at 4 p.m.
    (Includes Spanish Interpretation)
    https://dioceseny.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZ0rf-CuqjwiH9x8pYJjjGRAiD3KQBSGRUe6

    Monday, March 14 at 7 p.m. – Westchester
    (Includes Spanish Interpretation)
    https://dioceseny.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZ0lfu-uqjwuH9Mp-9g482hGfL166L46d_9r

    Thursday, March 17 at 7 p.m. – Bronx
    https://dioceseny.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZMucumhrTIiE9EcFxI1upPB5wVgkUpDMN1s

    Saturday, March 19 at 4 p.m. – Manhattan
    (Includes ASL Interpretation)
    https://dioceseny.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZYtf-urqTIuG9XsnAJdpx44Yly2JI23NHU5

    Wednesday, March 23 at 7 p.m. – Hudson Valley
    (Includes Spanish Interpretation)
    https://dioceseny.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZYsdemorzMiHNzcaMEZsTJ9v-8aXCSd3gf7

    Thursday, March 24 at 7 p.m. – Staten Island
    https://dioceseny.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZYocuusqjkpEtDn6FfmHBeJ4pKzuG1ww6LA

    Saturday, March 26 at 4 p.m.
    (Includes Spanish Interpretation)
    https://dioceseny.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZAlcuiurTgsHdeu0mz2vS4HgZ-35dZBOmCo

    ____________________________________________________________________________

    The 80th General Convention of the Episcopal Church: Hearings and Committee Deliberation Continue

    Every 3 years, a rather large group of Episcopalians meet to make decisions about the ministry and mission of the Episcopal Church. This group, called the General Convention, was due to meet for the 80th time in 2021. But, because of the pandemic, the officers of the General Convention decided to postpone the meeting until this year. This coming July, the General Convention will meet in Baltimore, MD.

    Along with this postponement, comes something new – the meetings are beginning several months earlier and they are taking place over Zoom. This means the work of General Convention more available to people across the Church. You can join a Zoom meeting to watch the hearings and even sign up to testify in support of or to argue against any resolution begin considered by the 80th General Convention.

    Resolutions are assigned to different Legislative Committees for reflection. Then the Legislative Committees will decide how to move each resolution forward for voting in July when General Convention meets.

    How do I participate?

    1. Begin by going to the General Convention’s “virtual binder” where you can find all the information you need about what resolutions are being considered and when the hearings are taking place. Click this link to go to the virtual binder: General Convention Virtual Binder (vbinder.net)
    2. Once you’re on the website, go to “Legislative Committee Meetings” to view the schedule and the docket for that Committee. If you’d like to review the Resolutions themselves, click on “Resolutions” instead. It will tell you which Legislative Committee has been assigned to it.
    3. Decide which meetings you would like to attend and/or offer testimony in.
    4. Send a request to attend by clicking here: Legislative Committee Meetings — The General Convention of The Episcopal Church.  Note: You must register at least 2 days before the committee is set to meet.

    _______________________________________________________________

    Renewal: An Invitation to a Holy Lent


    Our guest preacher at our noonday service on Ash Wednesday, the Rev. Canon Victor Conrado, asked us, “What will you do with your one wild and precious life?” It’s a quote from a Mary Oliver poem, of course, but in the context of Ash Wednesday, we are reminded of the immediacy of this question because we are also reminded of our own mortality.

    And so we look to Lent this year as a time of renewal. To reconnect to our wild and precious self and rediscover the deep desire of our heart, this gift from God that brings us to our truest calling and our most profound ministry.

    This week, we begin our season of Lent, a journey of renewal. Traditionally, Lent is a time is set aside for self-examination and repentance. But, as Canon Victor said in his sermon, what if Lent were less about what has happened in the past and more about becoming into the future? What if we spend time examining our wild selves? What if we take this time to repent from practices that deaden us? And then, Lent becomes a time to remove from our lives those things that close us down and keep us bound to past mistakes so that we can open up to the renewal God has waiting for us.

    You are invited to the observance of a Holy Lent. A time of Renewal.

    In God’s love and mine,
    Rev. Michelle

    ____________________________________________________________

    Announcements for
    March 6, 2022

    Social Hour returns this Sunday! Now that the pandemic numbers have decreased, we are set to resume our social hour. Please join us after worship for coffee and snacks. And sign up on the bulletin board in the Vestibule to be a host! Talk with our Hospitality Coordinator, Barbara Johnston for more information.

    Page Turners Book Club: The books for the next several months have been announced: April 5- Cloud Cuckoo Land, by Anthony Doerr; May 3- The Murmur of Bees, by Sofia Segova. Speak with Lynn Dennison for more information.

    Choir Rehearsal! Begins March 20 after worship. Please contact our Director of Music, Terry Earles, if you are interested in being a part of the choir. All members must be fully vaccinated and will wear masks designed for singing.

    St. John’s is hiring! We are looking for a Rental Manager – someone with commercial kitchen experience who also has communication/promotional skills to promote our space. The position is posted on our website: Employment Opportunities – St. John’s Kingston (stjohnskingston.org)

    And we have hired our new Sexton: Welcome Alex Serrano!
    Alex grew up in this area and also works for Holy Cross/Santa Cruz as their Sexton. He will do both of these part time jobs alongside owning his own landscaping business. When you see him around, please welcome him and introduce yourself!

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

    Have an announcement for the bulletin?
    Please send by Wednesday at noon to
    stjohnskingston@aol.comAnchor.

    St. John’s Upcoming Schedule
    Mar 6: Social Hour Resumes with a Conversation about the Bishop Search
    Mar 20: Choir Rehearsal returns after worship
    Mar 27: Guest Preacher: The Rev. Dcn. Gene Bourquin, Pastoral Minister for Deaf and Disability Ministry – stay after worship for a conversation with Deacon Gene.
    Apr 4: Lenten Healing Service, 7:30 pm
    Apr 10: Palm Sunday
    Apr 14: Maundy Thursday
    Apr 15: Good Friday
    Apr 16: Holy Saturday and Easter Vigil
    Apr 17: Easter Sunday and Egg Hunt!

  6. February 26, 2022

    So Many Things!

    There is so much happening and soon-to-be happening! Here’s a list of announcements.

    Welcome Alex Serrano, our new Sexton!
    As we’ve previously announced, the Vestry decided to hire a Sexton to take care of maintenance on our church properties as well as cleaning in the church building. We’re pleased to welcome Alex Serrano to the staff of St. John’s! Alex grew up in the area and is already the Sexton at Holy Cross/Santa Cruz, across town. He also owns a landscaping company so he’s an expert at outdoor work. If you see him around the church property, please say “Hi! Welcome to St. John’s!” and introduce yourself. Alex will be heading up our Parish clean-up days so everyone who comes to volunteer will get a chance to meet him then.

    Shrove Tuesday Sunset Prayer Fire and Burning of the Palms
    This coming Tuesday, March 1 is Shrove Tuesday, our last day before we begin the season of Lent on Ash Wednesday. As we know, fire is an element of transformation in which one thing becomes another. Come at sunset on Shrove Tuesday, March 1 between 5:30-6:30 pm to the front yard of St. John’s where we will be burning the palms from last year’s Palm Sunday and offering a prayer fire. Write your prayers down and bring them to be offered to God in the fire and be sure to bring your palms so they can become our ashes for Ash Wednesday. And, if you want to sit for a while, bring a chair!

    Ash Wednesday: Ashes-to-go and Ash Wednesday Services
    This coming Ash Wednesday we will host our yearly outreach to the Kingston community with Ashes-to-go. Between 7:00 – 9:00 am and 4:00 – 6:00 pm, several ministers of St. John’s will be out front along Albany Ave to greet people and, to those who ask, pray with and offer the imposition of ashes. If you would like to be involved in this ministry, reach out to Rev. Michelle.
    While Ashes-to-go is an outreach to the larger community of Kingston, the members of St. John’s should make the time to attend one of 2 Ash Wednesday services: 12:00 noon or 7:00 pm. At 12:00 noon, we’ll have a guest preacher – Canon Victor Conrado, who leads the Congregational Development ministry on the Diocesan Staff.

    CANCELLATION: Building the Lent Art
    Our event on Sunday, February 27 from 2-4 called Building the Lent Ark has been cancelled. Look for more opportunities for all ages formation in the coming months.

    Continuation of Masking Policy at St. John’s
    While we recognize there are some relaxation of masking policies across the state of NY, St. John’s is maintaining our masking policy for the time being. Whenever you are in the building, please remain masked. The exception to this is that when people are leading worship, they may remove their mask.

    Social Hour Returns on March 6
    Now that the winter covid surge has passed, we feel comfortable once again to engage in Social Hour after worship. There is a new sign-up on the bulletin board in the vestibule so take a look and sign up to host today! Speak with Barbara Johnston if you have questions.

    The St. John’s Choir Returns in April
    Choir rehearsal will begin in late March in anticipation of our choir returning to lead worship on Easter Sunday. If you’re interested in joining choir, speak with Terry Earles. All members must be vaccinated and will wear special masks for singing. Choir members can look for more information in your email about rehearsal dates.

    ____________________________________________________________________________

    The 80th General Convention of the Episcopal Church:
    Hearings and Committee Deliberation Continue

    Every 3 years, a rather large group of Episcopalians meet to make decisions about the ministry and mission of the Episcopal Church. This group, called the General Convention, was due to meet for the 80th time in 2021. But, because of the pandemic, the officers of the General Convention decided to postpone the meeting until this year. This coming July, the General Convention will meet in Baltimore, MD.

    Along with this postponement, comes something new – the meetings are beginning several months earlier and they are taking place over Zoom. This means the work of General Convention more available to people across the Church. You can join a Zoom meeting to watch the hearings and even sign up to testify in support of or to argue against any resolution begin considered by the 80th General Convention.

    Resolutions are assigned to different Legislative Committees for reflection. Then the Legislative Committees will decide how to move each resolution forward for voting in July when General Convention meets.

    How do I participate?

    1. Begin by going to the General Convention’s “virtual binder” where you can find all the information you need about what resolutions are being considered and when the hearings are taking place. Click this link to go to the virtual binder: General Convention Virtual Binder (vbinder.net)
    2. Once you’re on the website, go to “Legislative Committee Meetings” to view the schedule and the docket for that Committee. If you’d like to review the Resolutions themselves, click on “Resolutions” instead. It will tell you which Legislative Committee has been assigned to it.
    3. Decide which meetings you would like to attend and/or offer testimony in.
    4. Send a request to attend by clicking here: Legislative Committee Meetings — The General Convention of The Episcopal Church.  Note: You must register at least 2 days before the committee is set to meet.

    __________________________________________________________________________

    Discerning the Qualities of a New Bishop: Your Voice Is Needed!


    Last fall, I made a few announcements to let you know that our Bishop Diocesan, Andy Dietsche is retiring. As you may recall, Bishop Andy’s last visit with us was on October 31 when he received 5 of our members into the Episcopal Church and baptized Richard Smith.

    Just like there are several kinds of positions a priest can have, depending upon the size and needs of the congregation, there are several positions a bishop can have, based on the size and needs of the diocese. But most of our dioceses have a Bishop Diocesan. This person is the chief officer of a diocese and is also the person who, along with others, sets the missional direction of the diocese. The bishop is responsible for management as well as vision.

    In my announcements, I also told you that I was elected to the Committee to Elect a Bishop, also known as the CEB. This committee has 8 other members plus a consultant to help direct our efforts. We meet once a month and, in between, various subcommittees do the work of the larger group.

    Over the coming weeks, I’ll be talking more about the work of a bishop because the first responsibility we have as the CEB is to listen to the members of the diocese to learn more about what we are seeking in a bishop. This means the voice of everyone is important – including YOU!

    To begin, ALL the members of the diocese have been asked to fill out a simple survey. Ask yourself these questions as you begin to discern what kind of qualities we need in a new bishop:

    • The congregation of St. John’s serves in Kingston – a significant part of the Hudson Valley and of Ulster County. What is happening here? What are powers/systems at work? Who are the people in need? How can we continue to build-up the church here, so that it is attentive to its mission to be Christ in and for the world?
    • What unique voice does the Episcopal Church bring to this place and to the larger culture?
    • What is happening in American society and how is the church affected by that?
    • How is the church called to respond to the larger culture in this place at this time?
    • Then, ask yourself, what kind of qualities do we need in a bishop to help us with all of this?

    Once you have done this reflection, please take the time to fill out this survey:
    Episcopal Diocese of New York Bishop Search – A Website of the Episcopal Diocese of New York (dioceseny.org)

    This is NOT the only opportunity you will have to share your thoughts. Please be looking for opportunities to join online Zoom conversations with the members of the Committee to Elect a Bishop in the month of March.

    Once these listening sessions have been completed, the CEB will write up a profile that will be published in April to the larger church in order to seek applicants for this position. I will be sure to pass that along to you.

    This is an important time in the life of our diocese and of our own congregation of St. John’s. I look forward to hope-filled conversations with you as our discernment begins.

    In God’s love and mine,
    Rev. Michelle

    ______________________________________________________________

    Announcements for
    February 27, 2022

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

    Sunset Prayer Fire and Burning of Ashes: As we know, fire is an element of transformation in which one thing becomes another. Come at sunset on Shrove Tuesday, March 1 between 5:30-6:30 pm to the front yard of St. John’s where we will be burning the palms from last year’s Palm Sunday and offering a prayer fire. Write your prayers down and bring them to be offered to God in the fire and be sure to bring your palms so they can become our ashes for Ash Wednesday. And, if you want to sit for a while, bring a chair!

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

    Have an announcement for the bulletin?
    Please send by Wednesday at noon to
    stjohnskingston@aol.comAnchor.

    St. John’s Upcoming Schedule
    Mar 1: Sunset Outdoor Prayer Fire and Burning of Palms from 5:30-6:30 pm
    Mar 2: Ash Wednesday
        7:30 – 9:00 am Ashes-to-go
        12:00 noon Ash Wednesday service, Guest Preacher: The Rev. Canon Victor Conrado
        4:00 – 6:00 pm Ashes-to-go
        7:00 pm Ash Wednesday service
    Mar 5: Vestry Retreat at Huntington House from 10-4
    Mar 27: Guest Preacher: The Rev. Dcn. Gene Bourquin, Pastoral Minister for Deaf and Disability Ministry – stay after worship for a conversation with Deacon Gene.
    Apr 10: Palm Sunday
    Apr 14: Maundy Thursday
    Apr 15: Good Friday
    Apr 16: Holy Saturday and Easter Vigil
    Apr 17: Easter Sunday and Egg Hunt!

  7. February 12, 2022

    2021 Pledge Statements and 2022 Ministry Surveys

    Pledge Statements
    Pledge statements for 2021 are now printed and available. You can pick them up at church beginning this coming Sunday (February 13). So, please check with our Treasurer Wes Dangler and pick up your statement.

    If you have any issues with your statement, please gather those details and get them to Rev. Michelle as soon as you’re able. She will work with our bookkeeper Pat Allen to clear up any concerns.

    Ministry Surveys
    Please be sure to get your blue Ministry Surveys back to Rev. Michelle either this week or next. You can place them into the collection plate or in her mailbox in the Vestibule.

    ____________________________________________________________________________

    The 80th General Convention of the Episcopal Church: Hearings begin this week!

    Every 3 years, a group of Episcopalians meet to make decisions about the ministry and mission of the Episcopal Church. This group is called the General Convention. In 2021, the General Convention was due to meet for the 80th time. But, because of the pandemic, the officers of the General Convention decided to postpone the meeting until this year. So in July, the General Convention will meet in Baltimore, MD.

    Along with this postponement, comes something new – the meetings are beginning several months earlier and they are taking place over Zoom. This has never happened before. But the good part is that it makes the work of General Convention more available to all of us.

    Rather than making a trip to the location where General Convention meets “in session,” you can join a Zoom meeting to watch the hearings and even sign up to testify in support of or to argue against any resolution begin considered by the 80th General Convention.

    Resolutions are assigned to different Legislative Committees for reflection. Then the Legislative Committees will decide how to move each resolution forward for voting in July when General Convention meets.

    How do I participate?

    1. Begin by going to the General Convention’s “virtual binder” where you can find all the information you need about what resolutions are being considered and when the hearings are taking place. Click this link to go to the virtual binder: General Convention Virtual Binder (vbinder.net)
    2. Once you’re on the website, go to “Legislative Committee Meetings” to view the schedule and the docket for that Committee. If you’d like to review the Resolutions themselves, click on “Resolutions” instead. It will tell you which Legislative Committee has been assigned to it.
    3. Decide which meetings you would like to attend and/or offer testimony in.
    4. Send a request to attend by clicking here: Legislative Committee Meetings — The General Convention of The Episcopal Church.  Note: You must register at least 2 days before the committee is set to meet.

    As you may recall, Rev. Michelle has been elected to be a deputy to General Convention from the Diocese of New York. She has been assigned to Legislative Committee 15 – Ministry. This committee is responsible for any resolutions that have to do with the training, education, and accountability of both lay and ordained ministers as well as the structures that support ministry. Her Legislative Committee is hosting a hearing on Wednesday, February 23 at 7:30 pm. If you want to join that meeting, click the link above under #4 and send a request.

    __________________________________________________________

    The Beauty of Ash Wednesday


    “Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return.”

    This is the phrase I utter when I impose ashes on someone’s forehead. It’s an honor to speak these words, offering them to another human being as a reminder of how invaluable and precious their life is. How exquisite and dear all life is. We come from this earth, this dust. And it is to this earth we shall return.

    It’s humbling. It’s empowering. And it’s beautiful.

    Each year since I’ve been at St. John’s, one of the most significant ways we have reached out to the wider Kingston community is through offering Ashes-to-go. So many people have left the church behind for so many different reasons. And, over these 7 years, I’ve found that Ashes-to-go not only reminds people about who we are, but it reminds them about who they are – beloved and precious children of God. If this is the only message that people ever hear from St. John’s, then I will have considered our ministry to be a true success.

    I ask you to join me in offering this message to our neighbors. We will be out on Albany Ave during commute times – in the morning and the afternoon. We usually see between 150-200 people that day. We will have sign-ups at church starting on February 20 for those who want to help.

    And, of course, our full in-person Ash Wednesday services will be at 12:00 noon and 7:00 pm. Please make it a priority to be at one of those 2 services.

    In God’s love and mine,
    Rev. Michelle

    ____________________________________________________

    Announcements for
    February 13, 2022

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

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

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

    Undoing Racism Online Workshop ENJAN (End the New Jim Crow Action Network) has been working in the Kingston-Poughkeepsie area for over 10 years to end racism and mass incarceration. The roots of racial oppression are so deeply embedded in our social worlds and our personal lives that they narrow our minds and harden our hearts in ways we don’t even see. It takes intensive training and a supportive community to bring this to light.  Undoing Racism Workshops have been offered by the Peoples’ Institute for Survival and Beyond to provide this training and create this community nationally and internationally for over 40 years. These powerful and inspiring workshops combine education on racism as a social and historical system with personal reflection on how this affects each of us. They provide a first glimpse of what it’s like to build an anti-racist culture and community. Racism will not end on its own!
    The online workshop is scheduled for Friday-Sunday, February 25-27, 10am – 4pm each day.  If you would like to register, there is a link on the St. John’s website: stjohnskingston.org/grow/racial-justice-and-reconciliation

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

    St. John’s Upcoming Schedule

    Feb 27: All Ages: Building the Lent Ark, St. John’s 2-4 pm
    Mar 1: Shrove Tuesday
    Mar 2: Ash Wednesday
    Mar 5: Vestry Retreat at Huntington House
    Mar 27: Guest Preacher: The Rev. Dcn. Gene Bourquin, Pastoral Minister for Deaf and Disability Ministry – stay after worship for a conversation with Deacon Gene.
    Apr 10: Palm Sunday
    Apr 14: Maundy Thursday
    Apr 15: Good Friday
    Apr 16: Holy Saturday and Easter Vigil
    Apr 17: Easter Sunday

  8. January 21, 2022

    St. John’s Annual Meeting Is Online January 30

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

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

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

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

    ________________________________________________________________________

    Seeds of Hope

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

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

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

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

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

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

    In God’s love and mine,
    Rev. Michelle

    __________________________________________________________

    Announcements for
    January 23, 2022

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

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

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

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

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

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

  9. January 13, 2022

    All Ages Christian Formation

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

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

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

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

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

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

    ______________________________________________________

    Ministry and Recommitment

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

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

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

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

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

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

    In God’s love and mine,
    Rev. Michelle

    ______________________________________________________________

    Announcements for
    January 16, 2022

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

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

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

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

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

  10. January 7, 2022

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

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

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

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

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

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

    __________________________________________________________________

    Rectory Heating Update!

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

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

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

    ____________________________________________________________

    The Endless Season of Uncertainty

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    In God’s love and mine,
    Rev. Michelle

    _______________________________________________________________

    Announcements for
    January 9, 2022

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

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

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

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

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