St. John's Episcopal Church

Welcome to the E-Notes!

December 27, 2017 

Complete your 2017 pledge by Dec. 31 (this Sunday) for your tax deduction:
We would like to encourage all who pledged in 2017 to complete their pledge by  December 31. In order to receive a tax deduction for 2017, your contribution must be received in the church office by  Sunday, December 31, 2017, or postmarked in the mail by  December 30.  If you need to know your remaining pledge balance for 2017, please send an email to the bookkeeper, Juliette Faulding, at her church email address: 
YOUR 2018 pledge will make a difference!
     We are getting close to funding our entire budget for 2018 but we are still hoping those last few pledges will come in and put us "over the top". Please consider pledging for the furthering of God's kingdom at St. John's, if you have not already done so. 
2018 Pledge update
To date, we have received $190,508 in pledges for 2018, which is about $23,000 more than last year. Great news! Many parishioners increased their pledges this year, giving us this increase. We have received 45 pledges this year, compared with 45 last year. Many thanks to those who have pledged for the continuing work of St. John's.
Why do we have fruit above the front door?
As St. John's is the only church where I have seen this tradition of having an apple board above the door, I asked Marcia Evans, Director of the Altar Guild, about this. It seems that "fruit fans" were popular in colonial times and were put above the door as a symbol of hospitality and welcome. Although other fruits can also be used in the fruit fans, we use apples that represent hospitality, pineapple that represents welcome, and green that represents the evergreens of the season. So that's why we have the apple board above the door - to welcome all who come our way.
Vestry Candidates Needed
The Vestry is the governing board of the parish and makes financial, outreach, building and other decisions on behalf of the congregation. Vestry members are elected at our Annual Meeting which will be held on Sunday, February 11. Two of our Vestry members, Penny Parker and Val Tucker, are finishing their three year term and will be rotating off. We need confirmed members in good standing to run for the Vestry to fill up to five vacancies. (We can have 12 on the Vestry and we currently have 9.) The Vestry meets on the third Sunday of the month at 12:00 noon. Vestry meeting are open to parish members to attend. You are invited to attend a meeting and see what goes on. If you would like to know more, talk with a Vestry member. 
Sunday counters needed
We are looking for a few new counters to add to our roster. On a rotating schedule, two counters count the weekly offering and take the deposit to the bank. If you want to learn more, please contact Marie McDermott at  
Interested in Traveling to the Holy Land?
Trip:  January 29 - February 7, 2019  - 'Footsteps of Jesus' Program through St. George's
Have you ever thought about visiting the holy sites in Israel?  We have found a cost effective, educational, and affordable way to make it happen!  The program we are using is through St. George's College, Jerusalem.  Parishioners from St. John's here in Centreville as well as Emmanuel in Delaplane, VA will be traveling together.  The trip is filling up fast! If you want to go, talk to Andrew Wade soon.
Church Safety Workshop
 Implemented in 2015, Worship Watch is a program similar to Neighborhood Watch, but catered towards houses of worship and keeping them safe. The seminars open a line of communication between congregants and officers, and attendees receive crime prevention tips and training specific to protecting their places of worship.
The seminar is on Wednesday, January 3 at our new Public Safety Headquarters in Fairfax from 6 to 9 p.m. Due to space limitations, registration is required. See below for exact address and a registration link.
Public Safety Headquarters (Note our NEW address!)
Wednesday, January 3, 2018 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
12099 Government Center Parkway
Fairfax, VA 22035
St. John's Recycling Fundraiser
***Did you get a new cell phone for Christmas? Consider donating the old phone to St. John's! 
We're conducting a fundraiser that helps protect the environment and helps you clean out those used electronic items that clutter closets & drawers!
Nothing to buy! Nothing to sell! Just bring in the used electronic items that you have replaced or that have broken. We will package the items and send them to Eco-Phones for recycling. Eco-Phones pays us for these items - working or not. Below is a list of what we are collecting:
cell phones
ipads & tablets
inkjet cartridges
Eco-Phones will not accept desktop computers and is no longer accepting laptops.
Bring your items to the church and place them in the "Eco-Phones" box in the breezeway. If you have any questions contact Penny Parker at 703-791-3482 or 

as LEM, Crucifer, Lector, Usher, Verger, Torch Bearer at a Sunday Service.

click here:
You will receive an automatic reminder a few days in advance. ( If you would like to become an altar server, please see the Rev. Carol Hancock.)

for coffee hour after the Sunday Service in the Breezeway.

 click here: 
You will receive an automatic reminder a few days in advance. Coffee hour is an important part of fellowship - staying connected with each other and welcoming newcomers.

for a Sunday service throughout 2017.

click here:
You may sign up here to donate the flowers to be used on the altar for each of the Sundays in 2017. Click to read additional info before signing up.

A reflection from Tom McDermott
"Getting the gift right"

It is that special time of the year, where people seem especially nice to be around. There is distinctive "Christmas music" playing in the background; music that seems out of place at any other time of the year. There's hustle and bustle going on that seems to go with the Christmas music and the Christmas shopper's song is heard sung at all the malls: Angels we have heard on high, tell us please, just what to buy. Maybe that's not the exact words to the original song, but the advertisements and TV commercials seem to imply that's what is important, is to get the right gift.
Getting the gift right may not be such a bad idea. Maybe the marketers are right! The right gift must bring joy to the receiver, must fit right and looks great when worn or displayed. The right gift shows the sender's true feeling, it doesn't break right out of the box, it is treasured as a keepsake and is placed in a place of honor. The right gift enhances the receiver and does not distract from ones true self. The right gift is openly shared as a true treasure. A truly right gift if given to two people does not become an item of envy, but becomes a sharing of the personal story of how the gift was given to each uniquely.

 The gift we all received on Christmas morning was Jesus, a bouncing bundle of joy.  While happiness and sadness are just reactions to daily events in our lives, Joy fills the heart, it causes ones heart to skip a beat and is everlasting. Jesus brought Joy to Mary on the day of his birth and joy to the world ever since. 

John 3.16: For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that
whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 
A gift of everlasting life; that seems like a gift that lasts a long time. I sometimes wonder though, about the methodology God used for such a special gift. Why an ordinary birth as a baby? Why, other than having 3 kings show up, was this gift delivered so uneventfully?  Left up to me, I probably would have had Jesus do God like things right from the start; like right after birth, have Jesus hold a conversation?  Hello mother, you look nice today.  Hello father, great job on the homemade crib. I know you want the answer to life's most troubling question: what was I thinking when I created the mosquito?

If Jesus did omnipotent feats from birth there would be no world doubt. So why did he choose this lonely path to announce his coming? As a baby, He had to learn that the oven was hot, that the sky is blue, and all the things we take for learning. Why go through all that? I believe it is answered in John 3:16. God does not force us to accept his gift; we have been given the freedom of choice. With freedom of choice, we are free to return the gift of Jesus if we don't like the present, but for those that this is the right gift, there is a promise that you'll look marvelous in it.

The beginning of Christianity consists in this, that Christ's birth upon the earth was heavenly and not earthly, for he was conceived by the Holy Spirit, and therefore his power is made manifest to us. It is this belief that enhances our natural beauty and allows us to share the gift as the true treasure.  May you receive and freely share the right gift this Christmas.

Merry Christmas
Tom McDermott  
We can prepare our hearts and minds by
reading ahead for the Sunday Service lessons.  
       The First Sunday after Christmas Day
 December 31, 2017
9:30 AM  
The First Reading:
Isaiah 61:10-62:3 
God provides for and delivers his people, his greatness given in witness to all generations.  
The Psalm:   147
 The Epistle: 
Galatians 3:23-25; 4:4-7
Though we deserve punishment for our sins, we are given the gift of grace through Jesus Christ our lord.  
The Gospel:
John 1:1-18 
The Gospel of John opens with a declaration which mirrors that of Genesis, establishing the magnitude of the event of Jesus's coming to earth, and God's redemption of the world. 

FROM 10:50 - 11:50 am 

(Rm. 205) 
During the Service
   Joint Sunday School
  Each week, St. John's children join
 with three of our Ministry Partners: 
Fairfax Chinese Christian Church, 
Wellspring United Church  of Christ
& Grace Baptist Church 
 for Sunday School 10:30  - 11:30 A M .  
We  offer 3 classes:
PreK: Rm. 205;  
K - 6th grade: Rm. 207/208;
 7th - 12th grade: Rm 206
   The Grotto of the Nativity - traditionally, the very spot where Jesus was born. The truth is that Mary was a young poor girl; pregnant, but not by her husband, terrified, and forced to give birth in a cave. This picture humbles Christmas. It is a reminder of the nature of Jesus' birth and life. These candles show respect to those humble origins.  
Sometimes we forget, under the layers of so many traditions, just how miraculous things were in the very way they happened. Jesus, the Word made flesh and Savior of all humankind, was born on a cold night, in a dark cave, in the company of livestock.  
Every Wednesday evening, we have a service of Holy Eucharist and healing at 6:00 PM. The service is about 30 minutes. It is a perfect alternative for those who cannot come to church on Sunday mornings, as well as a good spiritual boost in the middle of the week. Come join us!
Meet Jesus Again
As we gather to remember and adore Jesus, the Messiah, so many things remain unchanged since last Christmas, and the Christmas before, and for that matter, 2,000 years ago. Many of the problems and challenges of our world are tragic, enduring problems, and in some ways worse than ever before. The only thing that is new, or that has the potential to be new in our meeting up again with Jesus on this Christmas celebration is the response of our own hearts: the gift of a new heart. 

My email address is,
and the office number is 703-803-7500.  
May our ministry together spread God's love to all whom we encounter.

       - Carol
       The Rev. Carol Hancock

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