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November Newsletter
Rector's Letter
Mo. Rita

Dear Friends in Christ,
 
As was announced yesterday in our worship, Robert and Nancy Ludwig will be retiring at the end of this program year.  A number of circumstances have converged this fall to give them confidence that this is the right time for them to move full time to their beloved home in Rangeley and to begin their well deserved retirement.  They have loved being at St. John's and we have all loved being with them.  I know you join me in feeling deep gratitude for their ministry and service, for their leadership in our liturgy and in our community.  They will be with us at St. John's until June 15 (their last Sunday is June 10), and I hope together we will use this precious time to express our thanks and love for them.  We will miss them very much, but may we also be very happy for them as they enter into this new phase of life. 
 
Robert and Nancy have also given us a generous amount of time to search for our next music leader, for which the Vestry and I are grateful.  A task force of the Vestry, led by our Sr. Warden, will work between now and Annual Meeting to refine a job description and compensation package for our search.
The job description and compensation of course will be dependent on our 2018 budget and stewardship pledges. (If you've not yet made a pledge for 2018, I would ask that you please let the Sr. Warden or Office Manager know of your intention and help us with our work of planning.)   Once the budget is finalized and presented at Annual Meeting (January 28, 2018), then we'll be able to advertise the position.  Robert has kindly agreed to advise the task force on position responsibilities and compensation (using the American Guild of Organists' guidelines), and to help us advertise and spread the word through formal and informal networks of musicians.  Then the task force will work with me to begin a search and hiring process that hopefully will bring many names to us in Lent, a short-list of candidates in Eastertide, and a new choirmaster hired by June and ready to join us by September 2018.  In this of course we entrust ourselves to God and seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit.  Please keep St. John's and our Vestry in your prayers as we enter into a time of transition and change.
 
A season of change is announced and reflected for us in our physical life as well.  This past Sunday you may also have noted the boards and tape upon our tower to hold any loose stones through the winter and to prevent them from falling and injuring anyone.  Our tower now reveals vulnerability that has been hidden from neighbors and from ourselves.  To address our issues we will need partners from within and beyond our community.  I am so grateful to the parishioners who have made generous offerings to begin addressing our tower's needs, and to the Maine Preservation society that has just recommended us to the Maine Steeple Fund for an initial grant to make a thorough assessment of our needs (please see our Junior Warden's letter in this newsletter).  You may also have noted that change is all around us as the street has been torn up to lay new water pipes all along French Street.  We know that our ministry context is changing, that society around us is changing - and the street is just a friendly sign or symbol, and one that we need to keep in mind.  This was highlighted again by the announcement last week that our neighbor and tenant, John Bapst High School, will be building a new gym on French Street, hoping to bring further vitality to the School, to the neighborhood, and to Bangor.  Clearly change is upon us and we know nothing stays the same, except God's eternal and unchanging love.  Our time seems to demand that we pay careful attention and listen for the changes that God seeks to make in us, his Body, so that we can faithfully respond to the world around us and make his love known anew.
 
The Vestry heard through our cottage meetings the desire within our community to reach out more to the community around us, to become more connected and involved with our neighborhood and our city.  This desire seems resonant with God's desire for us in this time of change.  Meaningful change will be the work of our whole community.  The Vestry however voted at its meeting last week to initiate two changes in how we see ourselves and communicate ourselves to the world around us.  The first initiative was to change how we refer to our Parish House (and its eventual signage).  We want to think of it as, and call it, "St. John's Community Center and Parish House."  This reflects what is already true - groups from around the community meet daily during the week - and underscores the direction in which we wish to grow.  The second initiative was a decision to emphasize a different section of our mission statement in all our communication.  Instead of using the excerpt "To the Glory of God and for the Common Good" on our letterhead and bulletins, we will begin using the excerpt, "Make God's Love Known".  Hopefully this will be a clearer imperative to our community for our times, and also a clearer description of our community to those who encounter us.  It is also a phrase that connects directly to the incarnational theology of Anglicanism, and to the theological emphasis of the fourth Gospel, St. John's Gospel, attributed to our patron saint.  Again, it describes the truth of who we already are, and also of whom we aspire to become.
 
In the immediate days ahead we will have many opportunities to make God's love known, especially in our worship and fellowship.  Thanksgiving is a major feast in our church and we'll have an evening service of song and giving thanks on Wednesday, November 22, at 7:00 pm, with full choir and reflections offered by parishioners, Scott Burgess and Susan Johnson.  There will also be a Eucharist on Thanksgiving morning at 9:00 am in our chapel.  And the Advent season ahead abounds with these opportunities (from the Home for the Holidays House Tour and Advent Lessons and Carols followed by the Advent Tea to Grinch Night and the Advent Quiet Evening).  I hope to see you in the season ahead (both the season of Advent and the season of change) and I count on your prayers.
 
Yours faithfully and with gratitude,
Mo. Rita+
 
The Rev. Marguerite A.H. Steadman
Rector 
Thanksgiving Eve Service

Wednesday, November 22nd at 7 pm.
Child care provided.

For what are you thankful?  In your life?  In the year past?  For whom are you thankful? 

Come express your gratitude on the Eve of Thanksgiving with others in your community.

St. John's Episcopal Church is sponsoring an opportunity to pause and be thankful with an inclusive multi-faith, multi-generational service and a reception to follow.

Ecumenical Worship.  All are Welcome.
"Come, Ye Thankful People, Come"
Music News
Robert Ludwig

Thanksgiving for St. John's Episcopal Church - As we announce our retirement and approach Thanksgiving Day, we are especially thankful for the joy we have experienced at St. John's over the past five and a half years. There have been so many wonderful aspects to our ministry here, and you have given us memories that we will treasure always: annual Requiems remembering loved ones (and especially one offered in the midst of 12" of snow!), glorious Choral Evensongs - a special treasure of the Anglican choral tradition; choristers always willing to tackle new music - sometimes well outside of their comfort zone; children learning about Christian faith and life through their ministry of singing in church services; a congregation that embraces the traditional and familiar as well as the new and challenging; and clergy and staff willing to explore new approaches and supportive of our efforts. It has been a special and cherished time of our lives, and we hope you will rejoice with us as we move into the next stage as we retire in Rangeley. We know that St. John's has a bright and exciting future, and we look forward to hearing of the great things to come. In the words of Hymn 629 -
We limit not the truth of God to our poor reach of mind,
To notions of our day and place, crude, partial, and confined;
No, let a new and better hope within our hearts be stirred;
The Lord has yet more light and truth to break forth from his word.
-Text by George Rawson

Robert and Nancy Ludwig, Organists and Choirmasters, St. John's Episcopal Church

Advent Lessons and Carols - Please join us on December 3 at 4:00 pm for this greatly lovedpreparation for Christmas. Organized around the great prophesies of the coming Birth of Christ, the service includes much beautiful and meaningful music. Familiar music includes settings of Lo, How a Rose E'er Blooming, Adam lay ybounden, and E'en so, Lord Jesus, Quickly Come, as well as the Matin Responsory of Palestrina and Come, Thou, Redeemer of the Earth as arranged by Sir David Willcocks. Newer, less familiar gems include Finnish composer Jussi Chydenius' setting of Alfred, Lord Tennyson's poem, Voices in the Mist and American Gerald Near's version of the old English text There is no Rose. The service is followed by the Festive Advent Tea in the Undercroft.

Bangor Area Children's Choir Winter Concert - A Song for Every Voice
BACC will present its Winter Concert on Friday, December 8 at 7:00 pm at St. John's Episcopal Church. The Treble Choir and Youth Chorale will sing music ranging from Musica Dei Donum Optimi [ Music is God's Greatest Gift] by 16th Century Netherlandish composer Rolande de Lassus to One Voice by The Wailin' Jennys. Other selections include an African/American spiritual, a piece that combines a 10th century Gregorian chant with a Zulu South African Freedom Song, and a spectacular arrangement of The Twelve Days of Christmas by Bob Chilcott.

Children's Choir for Christmas Eve - Boys and girls in grades 2-6 are invited to join with the St. Nicholas Choir to sing for the Christmas Eve 4:00 pm family service. We have a special schedule of rehearsals to prepare for the beautiful, candlelit service -

            Wednesdays, 12/6, 12/13, and 12/20 - 4:45-6:00

We'll then meet on Christmas Eve at 3:00 pm for a warmup before the great Christmas carols begin at 3:45 pm. Email Choirmaster@stjohnsbangor.org for more information or to let us know that you'll be joining us on December 6 for the first rehearsal.
Tower Update From the Junior Warden
Tim Pearson

On November 8th Chris Closs from the Maine Preservation Society conducted a pre-assessment of our church with a primary focus on the tower. Chris has approved us to move forward with the assessment, which will be conducted by Ames and Associates. We will be applying for a grant to help defray a portion of the assessment cost. During the inspection, Chris noted that the cracks in the church were all vertical which indicates damage from water.  Ben Cawley of G. Drake Masonry worked on one of the tower pilasters on November 13th, creating temporary safety supports / restraints to hold the pilaster in place and prevent anything from falling and hurting someone. Ben also installed new flashing to the top of the tower where the old flashing had failed. We will keep you up to date on the tower as we proceed. 
United Thank Offering
Deacon Ann McAlhany

Our next Ingathering will be on Christ the King, Sunday, 26 November.
 
The United THANK offering of the Episcopal Church is a personal spiritual discipline of thanksgiving that supports God's mission throughout the world.
 
The Blue Box was created as a receptacle for coins to remind the user to give thanks daily and for all things. The box is designed for use in the home or anywhere it can serve as a visual reminder to offer blessings large and small. It represents the heart of the United Thank Offering ministry and is a pathway between our prayers and the mission of The Episcopal Church. It is a symbol that allows us, during the week, to be linked to our Christian tradition of praying, recognizing that blessings come from God (and in this case making a thank offering when we encounter those blessings) and being present to Christ in the world by helping others in need.
 
Our Blue Boxes will again be collected and blessed at an Ingathering on Sunday, 26 November. The size of the box is a reminder that all blessings, big or small, are gifts from God and that all offerings, big or small, are used for the glory of God and the building of God's Kingdom. When everyone participates, many coins make great sums when joined together. This is the "United" in the Thank Offering. It is a ministry that expands the community of The Episcopal Church, as the collected sums then are given as grants for mission throughout the Anglican Communion.
Christmas Baskets
Cassy Palmer

St. John's has a special Christmas project.  We provide toys and food to needy families that are serviced by Penquis Cap. The project is funded entirely by donations from St. John's parishioners.  There are two ways that you can help:
  1. Buy a $20 gift for a child - On November 26 we will have the names and ages of about 25 kids from Penquis Cap. You can pick one child or several and buy a gift for them that costs around $20.  Please wrap, label, and return the gifts to the church office by December 17.  You can also choose to meet the family and give it to them in person.
  2. Donate money to help pay for the cost of the food - St. John's gives a turkey and enough food to make a Christmas dinner to these Penquis Cap families.  We will deliver the food and presents to them at the Venture Way Child Care Center on December 17th.  It costs about $85 for each basket of food.  If we help 15 families this year that will cost $1,275.
You can donate now to help pay for the Christmas Baskets.  Please write a check and put Christmas Basket Project in the memo line.  For further information contact Cassy Palmer, 223-4122.
NATURE'S REALM
Inez Toothaker

Nature welcomes to its realm
Whatever comes its way.
The fallen branch and fallen beast
Are there but for a day.

O'er signs of strife it spreads a quilt
Of tranquil forest green
Until new cycles turn about
Life's never-ending scheme.
Announcements & Looking Ahead
Upcoming
Thanksgiving Eve Service - Wednesday, November 22nd at 7 pm. St. John's Episcopal Church is sponsoring an opportunity to pause and be thankful with an inclusive multi-faith, multi-generational service.

Advent Wreath Making for all ages will be early this year at coffee hour on November 26th .  We hope you can join us for this fun holiday activity.

Win or Lose, " God Be Praised!  Ecumenical and informal worship at the end of the day for everyone and especially for those travelling in the morning (for sports or this month, for Thanksgiving).  Join us on November 26th at 5 pm in the Bethlehem Chapel.

Extra help is needed for our monthly serving at the soup kitchen.  We are scheduled to serve the fourth Tuesday of the month at the Salvation Army, from 10 am - 1:30 pm.  Our next scheduled date is Tuesday, November 28th.   For more information, please see Nancy Henry or Deacon Ann.

Women's Book Group: Time change . To accommodate readers who cannot drive at night and/or prefer to be home in the evening, the November meeting will be in the afternoon. New members are most welcome.  St. John's Book Group will meet Tuesday, November 28th, 2 pm, at the home of Cass Wright, and will be discussing My Neighbor's Faith: Stories of interreligious Encounter, Growth, and Transformation. The book was edited by Jennifer Howe Peace. Please call Cass if you would like to attend.

"Being Mortal" WorkshopSt. Joseph Healthcare, in conjunction with St. John Episcopal Church, is airing the documentary "Being Mortal" on Thursday, November 30th at 6 p.m. based on the best-selling book by the same title.  This film opens a discussion about end-of-life planning and will give you an opportunity to ask questions if any.  The event will be held in the St. John's Parish House and Sunday School located at 234 French Street in Bangor.  This event is free and open to the public.  Light refreshments will be served. Please RSVP to   Andrew.files@sjhhealth.com  or call 207-907-1798.

HOMES FOR THE HOLIDAYS 2017 -  Saturday, December 2nd, from 12 - 4 pm.  Once again St. John's Episcopal Church is sponsoring the Homes for the Holidays Christmas house tour. This year the tour will include five historic homes located throughout the city of Bangor. A pamphlet will describe the historic and architecturally significant details of each house. Seasonal refreshments will be available at each site. The Bangor Area Children's Choir and the St. John's Episcopal Church choir will visit each home to sing seasonal carols. $25  Ticket Purchase:  Chapel Hill Floral,  Rebecca's,  Sprague's Nursery,  St. John's Episcopal Church Office, e ach home on the day of the tour.  FMI: Call St. John's Episcopal Church: 947-0156

Advent Lessons and Carols  - Sunday, December 3rd, 4 pm .  This popular annual service in preparation for Christmas will feature familiar carols such as Lo, How a Rose E'er Blooming and Adam Lay Ybounden as well as new gems such as Voices in the Mist. The service is followed by our festive Advent Tea. Child care provided.
Please sign up to bake coo kies for our Advent Tea on December 3rd.  A sign up sheet is located in the Undercroft.

The next Adult Ed Series will begin on December 3rd, for three weeks, on Dicken's "Christmas Carol" and the Advent themes present in the story.  Consider reading the book now for discussion or simply come and enjoy watching a movie adaptation together.
St. John's Episcopal Church | office@stjohnsbangor.org | http://www.stjohnsbangor.org  | 207.947.0156