A Note from Fr. Humphrey 

Friday, 24 July 2015


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


You might notice that my salutation every week is tripartite. This is because in my mind you, my audience, fit into one or more of these three categories, and I try to shape my message accordingly.


My first audience is the "People" of St. John's. I generally prefer this term to "Members," because a church, while being a voluntary association, isn't a club. We are not for "Members Only." Rather, the people of St. John's are those who have chosen St. John's as their spiritual home. Some have felt an explicitly divine call to be here. (On my best days, I do!) Others were born into this family of faith. Still others just found themselves here by some twist or turn in their lives: they walked through the open doors and stayed. They got married here and stayed. They found us on the web, checked us out, and stayed. I am grateful to the people of St. John's and hope that our "tribe" will increase!


My second audience is the "Neighbors" of St. John's. I think specifically of all those who live on the surrounding streets in the Point neighborhood, and beyond that, in Newport. Some of you are with us seasonally, others year-round. It is my hope that St. John's will always be a good neighbor, as we depend upon the neighborliness of those around us. What can St. John's do for you? Your goodwill and participation in what we do is important to us, whether it is taking a class in the Guild Hall (exercise, dance, and massage have all been recent offerings), hanging out at Music on the Lawn (the next one is September 4th-bring the kids and grandkids!), or coming to the Summer Fair (you haven't missed it-it's Saturday, September 19th; for the record, the first day of Fall is September 23rd). I am grateful to the neighbors of St. John's and hope that I will get to know more and more of you in the weeks ahead!


And then there are the "Friends," those of you who tend to live farther afield who may once have been members of the congregation or lived in the neighborhood-or whose mobility prevents you from being physically present as often as you'd like, but who nonetheless are interested in what we're up to and want to keep abreast of events. Our friends support us by forwarding these emails to other friends and supporting us both spiritually and materially. We are grateful for your prayers and always pleasantly surprised when you show your love and support in tangible ways. For example, one friend in Pennsylvania last week sent us a check for the Peter Quire Challenge when she read about it in the email. We have friends who pledge to the church whom I've never met, and others who make it a special point to come by for a visit whenever they're in the area, whether that means simply praying in the quiet church on a weekday afternoon or participating in a special service or event. I am grateful for our many friends, especially those far away, who make an effort to stay connected and to keep in touch-I hope I can connect with more of you and deepen our friendship!


Whether you are among the people, the neighbors, or the friends of St. John's-or all three, I am grateful for you. And I am especially grateful when you choose to be with us on a Sunday morning or other service, regardless of your "membership status." Will you be here this Sunday? I can't wait to see who shows up!


With the Peter Quire Challenge, I'm encouraging all of us, people, neighbors, and friends alike, to be intentional about spreading the word that St. John's is a place to call home. For our neighbors and friends: you may not be "churchy" or even Christian, but perhaps you know someone who is looking for a community of faith. Why not recommend us? We may not be everyone's "cup of tea" (who is?), but I know more than one Methodist or Baptist or Roman Catholic who came on their own or with a friend to St. John's and were surprised to find that the "tea" we serve was as invigorating as the best "coffee" they may have savored in their own tradition. And because we have special services (such as Transfiguration on Thursday, August 6th at 6:30 p.m.), those who are (commendably) committed to their own churches on Sunday mornings can come from near and far for a "cuppa Ango-Catholicism." It's delicious, and it smells great, too!


Whether we are your drink of choice or not, I ask your help in reaching out to the spiritually thirsty around us by keeping St. John's in mind. We are all thirsty for meaning and purpose, after all, and some of us are even starving for a sense of the transcendent, often without even knowing it.


And if the cup of tea at 8 or 10 isn't quite to your or your friends' taste, there's always coffee hour to look forward to after each service! I hope to see you at one soon.


Yours in Christ's service,

N.J.A. Humphrey+


Peter Quire Challenge Update

To date, we have received pledges and donations in excess of $1300 toward the $36,000 Peter Quire Challenge, designated for capital improvement projets, which has been made possible by an anonymous challenge grant of up to $18,000. We need to average $900/week in pledges or donations between now and December 1st in order to meet this challenge, so if you haven't made a commitment or donation now, please do so. Pledges toward this challenge may be emailed to the office at parishoffice@saintjohns-newport.org, and checks with "Peter Quire Challenge" in the memo line may be mailed to the church at 61 Poplar Street Newport, RI 02840 or placed in the collection plate on Sunday. Small weekly donations in addition to your regular pledge are gratefully received, since these will make all the difference in meeting this challenge!


The Choir School News

The mid-to-late Summer is packed with special chorister events intended to raise our profile in Newport, Rhode Island, and New England. All of these events are potential recruitment opportunities. We hope you will mark your calendars and come to as many as possible.


Wednesday, July 29 from 4-5 p.m. The choristers will give a BridgeFest performance at the Onne van der Wal Gallery, 1 Bannister's Wharf, 2nd floor. 



Friday, July 31 at 6:35 p.m. The choristers will be singing the National Anthem at the Newport Gulls Game at Cardines Field! The game starts at 6:35, but show up early to support our choristers.




Tuesday, August 18 at 12:30 p.m. If you are a member of the Newport Rotary Club, you're in luck! The choristers are coming to sing for their lunch at the Atlantic Beach Club!





Friday, September 4 from 6-8 p.m. Music on the Lawn: Special "Back to School" Kids' Night with The Toe Jam Puppet Band and Choir School singers!




Saturday, September 12 from 7-9 p.m. WaterFire in Providence will have a stage on Steeple Street sponsored by the Ep iscopal Diocese of Rhode Island to celebrate the diocese's 225th anniversary. The Choir School of Newport County is a headliner in the performances, so plan to come to Providence for this fantastic public event.




Sunday, September 20 at 4 p.m. The choristers will be the guest choir at Calvary Episcopal Church in Stonington, Connecticut for a special Evensong. If you are near Stonington that day or want to make a special trip to our Nutmeg State neighbor, please join us.



The clergy and people of Mt. Zion A.M.E. Church, 31 Van Zandt Ave., invite you to an Interfaith Prayer and Commitment Service this coming Sunday, July 26th at 4 p.m. This service is dedicated to the shooting victims of Emanuel A.M.E. in Charleston, SC, and "to recommit ourselves to loving our neighbors as ourselves." All are welcome. 

The Few, the Humble, the Brave: The Acolyte Corps


Fr. Humphrey is looking for fresh recruits for the Acolyte Corps at St. John's. Acolytes assist the clergy at the altar-at High Mass on Sundays, and especially during Holy Week and on feast days. Acolytes set up the chancel before Mass and make sure all is in good order after Mass. During Mass they carry out various duties, including subdeacon, thurifer, master of ceremonies, crucifer, server, and torchbearer.


The corps is healthiest when it is comprised of young children, teenagers, and adults. The oldest serving acolyte is well over sixty-five. 


Acolytes can sign up on a regular, seasonal, or special event basis, so participation need not be an every week commitment. We have acolytes who only serve in Holy Week or at Christmas, or when they are home from school.


If you have children or grandchildren who need something useful to do on a Sunday morning to keep out of trouble, especially in the summer, now is a wonderful time to join. 


Interested in exploring what it means to be an acolyte? Whether you are an adult or a young person, please speak with the Vicar today--or have your child or grandchild email him this week! He is always available at vicar@saintjohns-newport.org

Coffee Hour Help Needed! Please sign up on the bulletin board in the Guild Hall to help host Coffee Hour. If you haven't done it before, an easy guide to hosting is available from Deacon Close at deacon@saintjohns-newport.org. You can also email him to add your name to a regular rotation, or to volunteer to help stock our pantry and refrigerator with supplementary goodies such as cookies and cheese plates that can be stored at St. John's for a couple of weeks or more and set out when the need arises. If you have ideas for spicing up (or sweetening) our hospitality after the 8 and/or 10 o'clock Masses, please be in touch with Deacon Close.

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.