A Note from Fr. Humphrey 

Friday, 10 July 2015


Dear People, Neighbors, and Friends of St. John's,                                        


On Sunday we will observe the 140th anniversary 

of the first service of this congregation, on July 11, 1875, in the Third Street rooms of Peter and Harriet Quire. We call this observance "Peter Quire Day," though it might just as well be known as Peter & Harriet Quire Day. Mrs. Quire, however, did not live long enough to see the acorn she and her husband planted grow to become a young oak tree. Hers was the first funeral held in what is now our Guild Hall, which served as our first church building. Peter Quire, however, lived on to nurture the young sapling, and worshipped in this oak tree of a church from its consecration in 1894 until his death in 1899.


Imagine what it must have been like for Peter Quire to see a congregation grow over the course of two decades from a house church to this church. It's a great story, and it makes me wonder whether we can be inspired by our history to make history again. Many things have changed since Peter Quire's day, some for the better, some for the worse. Peter Quire had the good fortune to be born free, but in a nation in which most African-Americans were then slaves. He worked with white Quakers in Philadelphia on the Underground Railroad before moving to the Point, which (perhaps not coincidentally) had been settled by Quakers in the colonial era. Somehow or other, Peter Quire and his wife joined Trinity Church, and invited the rector and a group of young men interested in mission work to use lodgings they had on Third Street for worship. Thus began the racially and economically integrated congregation that has continued to this day.


In honor of our founder, we will have special music this Sunday, with guest musicians Rachel Long on trumpet and Johanna Geremia singing soprano. Both were trained by our current organist Peter Berton when he was at All Saints Church, Worcester, MA. Rachel has studied trumpet for seven years and is pursuing a degree in trumpet performance beginning this fall at Rhode Island College. Her extensive performing experience in churches, New England Preparatory School, music festivals and her high school has encompassed a wide variety of ensembles and styles from classical to jazz. Johanna is a rising high school junior who plans a double major in vocal performance and music education. One of twelve high school students in the Vocal Arts Program of Boston's Handel and Haydn Society, she is studying voice this summer at Westminster Choir College and at Oberlin Conservatory, and was recently appointed Head Chorister of the All Saints Choir.


I hope you will join us this Sunday in praising God for the life and witness of Peter Quire and all those who helped him build and sustain the community of St. John's. One never knows what one's impact on a neighborhood will be; simply by opening his doors in hospitality, he changed the character of the Point for the better. May we, too, be inspired to do the same in our own time. 


Yours in Christ's service,

N.J.A. Humphrey+


Stewardship Update

The results of the 2014 Parochial Report are in, and it's amazing! We ended last year with a $35,000 surplus of income over expenses! That surplus has been used in the first half of 2015 to fund much-needed operations, programs, and capital improvements. We could not have ended the year on such a strong footing without the generosity of our members, friends, and neighbors. Thank you for caring so much about St. John's, and for giving to ensure our ongoing vitality in mission and ministry. 

We still have many funding priorities to attend to in 2015, some of which are unanticipated or unusual and therefore not in the 2015 budget. The largest of these is $40,000 for new fire safety equipment for the church mandated by the fire marshal under the stricter laws passed in response to the Station Night Club disaster. We are looking to identify funding for this project through grants, but we know that it must be completed by December 31st. That gives us just under six months. 

You can help us build up our cash reserves to cover any shortfalls that such one-time or emergency expenses entail by adding an additional amount to your weekly or monthly pledge, increasing your plate giving, or simply sending a one-time donation to the church office. You can earmark it for capital improvements (including fire safety), the choir school, or operational support (which includes staff salaries and benefits). You'd be surprised what giving $5/week on top of your pledge can do!

Thank you for your support of St. John's. Without you, we would not be in the healthy financial position we find ourselves in today. To God be the glory!


There will be a Summer Fair meeting next Sunday, July 19 at 9:15 a.m. in the Guild Hall. All are welcome to attend. Please see John Garagliano for more information. 

Music on the Lawn returns to St. John's on Thursday, July 23 from 6-8 p.m. Featuring Mike Warner and The Ubiquitones, playing Johnny Cash to The Clash, George Jones to The Ramones. Come enjoy the cool, funky, low down blues and rock and roll. Donations are greatly appreciated. Appetizer plates, wine and ale available for purchase. Some seating and tables will be provided so get there early, otherwise bring your blankets. 

Mark your calendars now! Saint Stephen's will be joining us in Newport for the feast of the Transfiguration on Thursday, August 6th at 6:30 p.m. We will be joining Saint Stephen's in Providence the next week for the feast of the Assumption on Saturday, August 15th at 11:00 a.m.

Bach and Friends at Quarter Till returns June 13 through September 6: Saturdays at 11:45 am and 2:45 pm; Sundays at 2:45 pm, 5:45 pm, and 8:45 pm. Fifteen-minute concerts/mini-demonstrations with organ music of J. S. Bach and another composer at each program. Admission 25 cents (put a quarter in the "Quarter Till"), or any amount you wish. With new video technology made possible by a grant received from the New York City American Guild of Organists Centennial Millennium Fund. Last summer, 110 of these mini-concerts raised over $11,000 to begin restoration of our historic 1894 Hook and Hastings instrument.

Do you have a freer schedule this summer? Consider joining us for Morning Prayer (8:30) or Evening Prayer (5:30) during the week. These brief services are a wonderful way to start and/or end the day.

Want to get more involved at St. John's? There's plenty to do outside and inside St. John's. If you'd like to become more active than you already are, please reach out to Fr. Humphrey at vicar@saintjohns-newport.org.
Need a visit? Please be in touch with Deacon Close at deacon@saintjohns-newport.org and he or Fr. Humphrey will be in touch.