In This Issue
○  March 28th
    St. John's Book Group 
  April 29th
   Spring Rummage Sale
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To the Glory of God and for the Common Good, we make God's love known now and for generations to come through worship and service to all.
March Newsletter
Rector's Letter
Mother Rita

Dear Friends in Christ,

Our liturgies in Holy Week are ancient in their sources.  They follow services that began in Jerusalem as more and more people began to come there as pilgrims in the weeks before Easter.  St. Cyril of Jerusalem, Bishop of the 4th century, is particularly responsible for developing rites to help pilgrims enter more deeply into the mystery of Jesus' death and resurrection.  One pilgrim, by name Egeria, recorded all that she saw and did as a pilgrim.  In it she gives wonderful descriptions of services and their meaning.

Egeria's travels come not so long after the Emperor Constantine and his mother, St. Helena, had ordered excavations outside Jerusalem that then led to the discovery of what has been considered the true cross of Jesus.  Constantine was the first Emperor to have converted to Christianity and he then made Christianity legal.  Worship could be public and so quickly veneration of the cross became an important part of pilgrimage and worship, especially in Holy Week.  Venerating is a way of honoring, loving, giving thanks.  Pilgrims would make their act of pilgrimage a way of venerating.  It would culminate in their approach to the cross where they would kneel or bow or kiss the cross. 
Our own service of Good Friday still has at its center the Veneration of the Cross.  Good Friday is the one day of the year when by Church cannon we are forbidden from celebrating the Eucharist.  We abstain from celebrating the Resurrection to remember more slowly Jesus' sacrifice upon the cross.  Instead we gather for veneration as our means of remembering and giving thanks, the two primary acts of worship in a Eucharist.  At St. John's we venerate by sitting before the cross, kneeling and singing, listening to the choir sing.  All the while are invited to come up to the large wooden cross that stands in the center of the crossing.  Some will bow, others kneel; some will kiss the cross.  It's personal - and a personal decision.  We also have incorporated cards to offer at the foot of the cross.  We can write down upon the card our own offerings of love or a naming of the sins or habits we wish to leave at the cross, as part of our own thanksgiving for Jesus' saving work.  Whatever we wish to offer, we are all invited to place cards at the foot of the cross as an act of veneration, but none must.  The cards are later burned, and remain known only to God.  We continue then with singing, giving thanks again for Jesus' sacrifice for each and all of us.
People sometimes avoid Good Friday services.  Is it because we fear it will be too sad?  With veneration at its center, our service never feels sad.  It is profound and it can be emotional, but not exactly sad.  In some ways it feels the way people look when they walk into a surprise party for their birthday or retirement or some other important occasion.  They are overwhelmed to find a room filled with people they love all gathered from different places, and waiting patiently to yell "surprise" and express their love. It comes with a loud shout and it can shock as well as overwhelm.  It is humbling and awesome.  (We have a friend who after a surprise party was so upset she made her husband promise never to even have a party for her as long as they were married.)  Feeling humbled and awed may not be comfortable, but it isn't sad.  The love of God given to us in Jesus Christ is made known upon the cross.  It is humbling and awesome, and central to Easter's joy.
I hope this year you will join us for worship on Good Friday, especially if you have not done so before.  We will observe Jesus' hours upon the cross from noon to 3 pm with our Stations of the Cross, walked around the church, with the stunning and profound organ meditations, " Le Chemin de la Croix" by Marcel Dupre offered by our Organist-Choirmasters, Robert and Nancy Ludwig.  We will also have interactive Stations of the Cross for children and families in the church at 5 pm.  Then, finally, at 7 pm we will have our proper liturgy of Good Friday with full choir leading our veneration.  At that service we also hear the Gospel of John and this year we are especially blessed to have as our guest preacher, the Rev. Howard LaRue, who served faithfully in the Diocese of Virginia before retiring to Maine, where he has been worshiping at St. John's for over 15 years.  Come and be blessed, and let God prepare you even more for Easter's joy.
Join Good Friday's song, "We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you. Because by your holy Cross you have redeemed the world."

Yours in Christ,
Mo. Rita+

2017 Lenten Groups

**New Groups Added!**  Please review the Lent insert for the many exciting programs that we have planned for the coming months.
Holy Week & Easter Schedule of Events
April 9 - April 16, 2017

Palm Sunday, April 9th

8 am - Liturgy of the Palms & a Dramatic Reading of the Gospel.
10 am - Liturgy of the Palms & a Sung Eucharist. Music by Bruckner, Ireland, and Buxtehude.
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday in Holy Week
Special morning Eucharist's in the chapel. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of Holy Week in the Bethlehem Chapel at 7:30 am. These services and the readings appointed provide time for reflection and pause. Services conclude by 8 am.
Children's Maundy Thursday, April 13th
5:30 pm in the Undercroft: Hear the story of the Last Supper, wash feet, eat a simple meal and create the Garden of Repose in the Chapel.
Maundy Thursday, April 13th
"Love one Another" Maundy Thursday Service with foot washing and the stripping of the Altar at 7 pm. Music by Duruflé, Elgar and Messiaen. The name Maundy Thursday is derived from the Latin mandatum, which means "commandment," a command of our Lord after he washes his disciples' feet "to love one another as I have loved you." Remembering Christ's arrest and the disciples' fleeing, the altar is stripped following communion while the choir sings Ps. 22. All leave in darkness.
Vigil Watch, April 13th
At the conclusion of Maundy Thursday the Sacrament is removed to Bethlehem Chapel to the Garden of Repose where "those who would but watch one hour" may gather in prayer for the Vigil. The Garden is created by our children and the Chapel will be open until 10 pm.
Good Friday, April 14th
Noon -3 pm: Stations of the Cross. Be with us at St. John's for all or part of this three-hour meditation on the Passion of Jesus Christ. The ancient service traces the route that Jesus took to the cross, in prayers, and scripture readings. We will be using, the meditations of Paul Claudel (former French Ambassador to the U.S.), silence, and the fourteen movement epic organ work, The Way of the Cross by Marcel Dupré. Feel free to stay for all three hours, to sit or to walk the Stations hanging in our church, or to come and go as your schedule allows.
Children's Good Friday, April 14th
5:00 pm: Good Friday Interactive Stations of the Cross: Children can come for an interactive Stations of the cross held in the Sanctuary.
The Good Friday Liturgy, April 14th
7 pm in the Church: The Veneration of the Cross and Holy Communion from the Reserve Sacrament. We gather Good Friday to mourn the death of Jesus, to confess our love and contrition, and to pray before his holy cross, and to receive the grace he offers. Blue cards of prayer or intention are found in this bulletin and may be prepared in advance and placed at the foot of the cross as an offering. Music by King John of Portugal.
Holy Saturday, April 15th
Please join us for Prayers & Meditation in the Chapel at 9 am. Holy Saturday is a service of Sabbath rest when we remember Jesus in the tomb with a brief liturgy of the word and prayer.
Easter Eve, April 15th
Please join us for The Great Vigil of Easter & The First Eucharist of Easter at 7 pm, We gather in darkness of the night on which Jesus rose from the dead. This service, one of the oldest of all liturgies, is unlike any other service in the year. It is the Christian Passover feast in which we celebrate the Passover of Jesus from death into life and our own Passover from death to life in Holy Baptism.  Music by Noyon and Willan. A reception will follow.
Easter Day, April 16th
8 am & 10 am - Music by Scheidt, Stanford, and Widor
Following the 10 am service there will be an Egg Hunt and a visit from the Easter Bunny

If you wish to print off your own copy please click here.
Cottage Meetings

This February marked the 99th anniversary of the consecration of our present church building.   We have begun our 100th year of worship!   This summer emergency repairs had to be made to our stone and mortar to prevent pieces of our structure falling on passerby's and causing accidental injury.   Our worship space is badly in need of refurbishment, from the finish worn away on the floors to the cracks and paint on the walls.   We learned over 10 years ago that some of the glass is in danger of falling out in our beautiful stained-glass windows.   While we couldn't attend to them at our last capital campaign, we promised ourselves we would take care of them soon and before it was too late.   There are many reasons to consider a capital campaign, but before engaging in one, it's vitally important to ask ourselves what is the ministry and mission that God calls us to now.   What makes this building crucial to our life? And how is it crucial to God's mission in our world and neighborhood?   And are there ways that our buildings should be used   or modified to enhance that mission (such as in a past  campaign that made a ramp entrance and an elevator a central feature of future ministry - and that continues to support our ministry and fellowship today)?   These questions of ministry and our desired future are part of a discernment process of whether to engage in a capital campaign and what would be its scope and purpose.   Please come to a presentation at coffee hour on March 12 to learn more about the process from our Episcopal Church Foundation consultant, Leslie Pendleton.   Please also make a commitment during Lent to attend one of the cottage meetings (groups of 10-15 meeting in homes or in the church with a parish facilitator).   Meetings are confirmed for March 26 and April 2 at 9 am in the Undercroft and additional times and dates are on the back of this form.  Please complete and place in the donation plate to sign up or place in the basket in the Undercroft. 

For a schedule of the upcoming meetings please click here.
Music News
Robert Ludwig
Kids' Rehearsals - Palm Sunday is a Youth Sunday when our children and youth will participate in the service in various ways, including singing and reading the lessons. We will be working on some special music this year, and hope that the Sunday School students will all join us after the 10 am service by the piano in the church each Sunday, beginning on March 19, for brief rehearsals. The rehearsals will also help prepare students for more full participation in the Easter Day services. 
Special Opportunity for Kids St. Nicholas Choir Singers for Palm Sunday and Easter - Boys and girls in grades 2-6 are invited to join with the St. Nicholas Choir to sing for the 10 am Palm Sunday and Easter Day services .  On Palm  Sunday, April 9 , the singers will meet at  9:15 am  to prepare for the service, and on Easter Day we gather in the Undercroft at  9 am for a festive breakfast before the warm-up  and festive Easter service. Email Robert  for more information. 
The One Who Sings, Prays Twice - This group is led by Robert Ludwig and will meet in the church and join members of our choir to learn the music and texts of Holy Week and Easter at St. John's. The first meeting will be Wednesday, March 15. The hour-long rehearsals will include a brief Lenten meditation on one of the great hymns of Holy Week. All participants of the group will be invited to join with the St. John's Choir to sing for any or all of our special Holy Week services between Palm Sunday and Easter Day. Email Robert for more information. 
Annunciation Choral Evensong - Sunday, March 26 at 4 pm. Music includes the Second Evening Service by William Byrd, one of the finest English composers of the Renaissance. The anthem, Totus Tuus, is a powerful meditation on the Blessed Virgin Mary. It was composed by Henryk Górecki (1933-2010), a profound and highly successful composer of classical music in Poland.

Formation News
Patricia Sprague

Adult Christian Education and Formation:

EfM Collect: February, 2017

O God, You are our keeper and not our jailer.
Grant us the wisdom to allow others freedom
And individuality to lead their own lives,
So that we can breathe Christ's Spirit.

March is Spiritual Classics Month in the Library

Spiritual Classics: Look on the Christian Formation table for books deemed to be spiritual classics.  You'll find titles like The Practice of the Presence of God (Brother Lawrence), The Cloud of Unknowing (??), The Imitation of Christ (Thomas a Kempis), Mysticism (Evelyn Underhill), and others.  Although many of us have already chosen to join one of the Lenten book groups, we believe that you will not regret adding one of these to your reading list.
You'll also find on the table a few additional Lenten resources.  For those of you who have experience (or would like to have experience) with Ignatian meditation, each week during Lent you'll find a meditation on the week's Scripture portion.  AND, for those who enjoy coloring as a form of meditation or relaxation, a black and white image is included to fill in as the Scripture passage opens you to the leading of the Holy Spirit. Other resources will be available, as well.  In particular, look for brochures and printouts relating to the various spiritual disciplines being offered on Saturday mornings. 

Our Rite 1 Liturgy Series Continues :

April 2: Cn Michael Ambler, The Prayer of Humble Access

May 14: Ann Mallonee, liturgical revisions
Continuing for Lent: March & April

SSJE's 5 Marks of Love: Living Life Marked as Christ's Own.  A discipleship offering inspired by the Anglican Marks of Mission.  Join the brothers of SSJE in this six-week series to examine and reflect on the ways in which God's Life and God's Mission express themselves in and through us.  Sundays, 11:30 in the chapel.

Book discussion:  Being Disciples, by Rowan Williams.  "Discipleship," say Williams, "is about how we live - not just the decisions we make, not just the things we believe, but a state of being."  In this follow-up to his book Being Christian (read last year in Lent), the former Archbishop of Canterbury outlines what is required for us to continue following Christ and to grow in faith.  Sundays in Lent, beginning March 5th, at 1 PM in the oratory.

Book discussion:  We Preach Christ Crucified, by Kenneth Leech.  Through hymns, poems, and lens of personal experience, this book presents a thoughtful, in-depth look at the Cross as a focal point for theology, spirituality, Christian symbolism, and discipleship.  Two sessions: Wednesdays (March 8 - April 12) at 1 PM in the oratory, and Sundays (March 5 - April 9) between services in the Undercroft.

Spiritual Practices - Spiritual Practices: Taste & See.  Explore a different spiritual discipline on Saturday mornings (9:30) in Lent. 

Anglican Prayer Beads, March 18, led by Scott Burgess & Pat Sprague

Examen Prayer (Ignatius), March 24, led by Scott Burgess

Chanting the Psalms, April 1, led by Cindy Lufkin

All sessions will be held Saturday mornings at 9:30 in either the oratory or the Bangor Room in the parish office building.   Donuts & coffee will be served.

Conversations on Scripture : Looking at the Gospel of Matthew.  Led by Mo. Rita and Mo. Jane White-Hassler, Thursday evenings, March 2-April 6, 6:30-7:30 in the oratory.

Lenten Quiet Evening : Join fellow parishioners in an evening of quiet reflection, led by the Rev Cn Michael Ambler.  Sunday, April 9th, 4-6 pm.  A light meal will be shared in the undercroft.

Youth Programs: Upcoming
  • Both Youth groups (JRs & SRs) continue through May to hold class on the second Sunday of the month (11:30) and to serve at the Humane Society or Homeless Shelter on the fourth Sunday.
  • St Patrick's Day dinner, March 19 at 11:30 - Taize fundraiser - SRs & JRs serve and clean up
  • Teens Encounter Christ (TEC), March 24-26, at St Luke's Cathedral in Portland. 
  • Palm Sunday, April 9 - Youth Sunday - parents provide coffee hour refreshments
  • Maundy Thursday, April 13 - all SRs attend evening service & participate in foot washing
  • Easter Vigil, April 15 - all SRs attend
  • Pre-Confirmation Retreat aboard the Maine Seacoast Mission's Sunbeam, April 18-21
  • Confirmation - the sacrament of confirmation will take place on Sunday, May 7th, at St Luke's Cathedral in Portland.Vestry Presentation of proposed service project, June 20
  • Mission trip to Boston, June 21-26
A Lovely Winters Day
Cheryl Beitzell

Angels we have on our lawn
'cause some kids came out to play.
Who, with flailing legs, and arms
reveled in a winter's day.

CH- Snow-o-o-o-o-o, snow-o-o-o-o,
snow-o-o-o-o, and sun. What a lovely day-o.
Snow-o-o-o-o-o, snow-o-o-o-o, snow-o-o
o-o. and sun. What a lovely day-ay-o.

Then there came a gust of wind
spreading snow dust all around.
In the sun it sparkled so,
it seemed the stars had fallen down.


Sunlight faded from the sky.
Warm within, as one, we smile.
Though we still have earthly cares
heaven came to us a while.

Announcements & Looking Ahead
Sheila Stratton has a Holey Sock Ministry. If your socks have holes worn in heels and toes I will darn them for you.  942-0057

Our next of the  St. John's Book Group  meeting will be Tuesday March 28, 7 pm at the home of Fran Clukey, 112 Franklin, Apt. D-6, Bangor, 947-1255.  We will be reading  Accidental Saints, by Nadia Boltz Weber. Library copies, Amazon including Kindle.  We have chosen the following books for subsequent months:
  • Deep River: Reflections on the Religious Insight of Certain of the Negro Spirituals, Howard Thurman (Leader: Group) Library copies, Amazon paperback
  • Jesus and Buddha: The Parallel Sayings, edited by Marcus Borg  (Leader: Marisue Pickering) Library copies, Amazon paperback, hard cover, and Kindle
  • A Year of Biblical Womanhood, Rachael Held Evans. One library copy in Maine Cat, Amazon paperback, Kindle, Audio
  • The Beautiful Mystery, Louise Penny. Many library copies and Amazon options.
Spring Rummage Sale - The Spring sale will be held Saturday, April 29th so in the coming weeks when you are sorting clothing and other items from winter to spring please save things for our sale.  Popular items are curtains/bedding/towels, clothes, books, yarn, music/videos, toys, and small household items. Donations can be brought to the church the last week of April.  Any questions, see Nancy Henry or Claudia Blanchette.
 Have you taken any photos of the church (interior or exterior), or at a church event that you think exemplifies what it means to be a part of St. John's or shows the true beauty that our church holds? If so, please send it in to  OR post it on the PHOTO CONTEST BOARD that will be available in the Undercroft during coffee hour.  Words and descriptions of the church can only go so far. YOUR photograph could help attract people to our church and in turn introduce them to a community where they may grow closer to God.
Submissions will be accepted from now until the end of Lent, Sunday, April 16th.

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