A Note from Fr. Humphrey 

Friday, 23 October 2015

Dear People, Neighbors, and Friends of St. John's,
 
While you will find a stewardship update with facts and figures elsewhere in this edition of the Evangelist, this letter, thankfully, is not primarily about money. It's about people, and I hope, about you.

Over the past two years that I've been at St. John's, two things have become abundantly clear: in this world, one cannot accomplish much without money--though a lack of it is never an excuse for inaction--and one cannot accomplish much without people willing to step up and do something--though even with a few people, we can indeed do great things, with God's help. When I arrived, we had very little money and very few people. Thankfully, this year we are on track to having enough money to be sustainable for the foreseeable future, and we have enough people right now to keep on keeping on. But the simple fact of the matter is: We need more people.

As God is my witness, I am telling you the truth: If you came to me and said, "Padre, I can either give you $12,000 this year, or guarantee to bring at least one person with me every time I come to St. John's, but not both," I'd say, "Bring the body. Keep the cash." Even if I knew that the person you were bringing would never give one red cent to the church, I would want that person in the pews, or involved with the choir school, or at our events. After all, we don't exist to collect revenue streams--lovely as they are. No, we exist to make a difference in people's lives, and we can't do that without you.

Likewise, if you told me you could either volunteer your time for two hours a week or pledge, but not both, I'd take your time (and talent) over your pledge--though I'd hope you'd do both! I would rather see you taking a role at church or helping out with an event than have your money. I would rather have a new chorister in the choir school than a new pledge.

After all, the times I've been most discouraged over the past two years here have not been when our financial picture has looked bleak, but when I've looked out into the nave and seen too many empty pews, or when an event seemed taxing on those who were putting it on and not attracting the desired demographic, or when only a couple of people have shown up for a Lenten program. Thankfully, that feeling of discouragement happens less and less every week, but we are far from being at peak capacity in terms of the number of people the church can accommodate or the number of choir families or neighbors we can serve!
 
When it comes down to it, I would rather have a full but poor church like Peter Quire had than a financially successful but mostly empty church like many richly-endowed parishes today. Again, I wouldn't mind a church that was both full and well-endowed, and perhaps someday that will happen, but for now I have two goals: to see St. John's maintain its current state of financial sustainability, and to grow in the number of people joining our church, attending worship, participating in the choir school, and coming to--and volunteering to help with--an increasing number of events, both for fellowship and community service. If I can see us become more vibrant and engaged in 2016, I will be a happy priest, and I'm pretty sure we will be a happy community.
 
Or perhaps "happy" isn't exactly the right word, because I've observed over the years of my ministry that as a community grows, so does its sorrows. There's an awful lot of suffering in the world, both near and far, after all. I can think of interactions just this past week where I have been with people in their sorrow. But a growing community builds capacity for bearing each other's sorrows, and in that capacity, there is a profound joy, because we find that we are being human together in the way that Christ from the Cross calls us to be. So my goals are linked not just to a desire to thrive in a happy-go-lucky way, but to become a vibrant community of people who find meaning in being together and worshipping God in the beauty of holiness, making music and serving our neighbors of all sorts and conditions, both near and far, regardless of their faith or absence thereof.
 
Maybe you know of someone who is looking for just this sort of community. Admittedly, it is an aspirational community, and may always be so. But we will never find out how close we can get to these aspirations if we do not strive, with God's help, to get there. In addition to investing your money, I hope you will invest your efforts in growing this little church by bringing people into relationship with us. By this I do not mean that all should become Anglo-catholics (though again, I would not mind that outcome). Rather, I need your help in spreading the word that St. John's is being intentional about opening up many entryways into community. Choir families, for instance, don't have to be members of St. John's. Their children sing only occasionally here on Sunday mornings, so choir families are free to maintain their primary faith commitments elsewhere, or simply to do whatever it is that people who aren't religious do on Sundays. (I hear it often includes sleeping in, newspapers, and brunch. Sounds terrible.) Neighbors and friends who attend our concerts and events or community gatherings are welcomed with open arms at St. John's as we function as a community center, and as our outreach to the neighborhood, city, and world increases, I hope those of you who are our neighbors and friends will feel more and more drawn to partner with us in the good work we are striving to do.
 
So there you have it. If it comes down to "your money or your life," as the robber's saying goes, unlike that robber, as greedy as I am for your money, I would rather have your life.
 
Yours in Christ's service,
N.J.A. Humphrey+
Vicar
Tonight & Tomorrow!
The Feast of St. James of Jerusalem will be kept as a Low Mass on  October 23rd at 5:45 p.m.  immediately following Evening Prayer at 5:30 p.m.  Please plan on joining us in the Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament on this holy day. 
Saturday, October 24 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. PipeScreams on the  Point!  This year's highlight is a screening of the original 1925 silent horror film,  The Phantom of the Opera with live organ accompaniment improvised by the spooktacular silent film specialist Peter Krasinski.  $5.00 suggested donation benefits Episcopal Charities, supporter of Newport's MLK Jr.   Community Center.  More wacky pre-Halloween fun for all ages, costumes are welcome! 
Of Special Note This Sunday!
Pell Bridge Run If you cross the Pell Bridge to get to St. John's, you should be aware that the Pell Bridge Run is this Sunday starting at 7:15 a.m. According to   http://www.pellbridgerun.com/about/ " Rhode Island State Police will now escort traffic over the Pell Bridge during the race in the East bound high speed lanes while runners/walkers will only have the right hand lane on the bridge to run/walk." So it will be possible to cross by car, but you will need to plan accordingly.


Fr. Andrew MeadRector Emeritus of Saint Thomas Church, Fifth Avenue in New York City will preach at the 10 o'clock service on Sunday. In retirement, Fr. Mead lives in Rhode Island; his wife, Nancy grew up in Narragansett. Fr. Mead has been a great friend and mentor to Fr. Humphrey.



This Sunday will see the premiere of the long-awaited Second Edition of the Mass Booklet, which can be told apart from the first edition by its new cover design, featuring both a new graphic and a new title. Rather than the somewhat pretentious old title "The Order of the Mass," it is now entitled simply "Mass Booklet," which is how it is referred to in the order of service. The new Mass Booklet incorporates many of the suggestions made over the past few months as we have tested out the new format. Your ongoing feedback is welcome. In short order you should see the final version with a green card stock cover. An Advent booklet will be forthcoming at the end of November.
Halloween Help Wanted
As a part of our recruitment efforts for the Choir School, business card-sized ads will be available at the entrances to the church. We ask that you take as many as you like and tape them to your Halloween candy, giving one card per Trick-or-Treater, whether child or adult. This way, you will help spread not just something sweet, but something good for the soul: the gift of music. If you have access to a color printer, you can make your own by downloading the attached PDF hereBlack & White will also work, of course, and anything you can do to help is greatly appreciated. After Halloween, these cards are perfect for passing on to prospective choir families and others--keep a couple in your wallet or purse! And thank you for your support.

The Choir School News

The Choir School is back in full swing with rehearsals at St. John's on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Mark your calendars now for these upcoming events!

 


Sunday, November 1 at 4 p.m. Choral Evensong for All Saints' Day, at Trinity Church , Newport, combining the Trinity and St. John's choirs and the Professional Choristers of The Choir School of Newport County. 


 


 


 

 

 

Sunday, November 15 
at 4 p.m. Choral Evensong for the Feast of Dedication of the Church of St. John the Evangelist (our 122nd birthday!). Sung by the St. John's adult choir and the Professional Choristers of The Choir School of Newport County.

 

 


 

 

The Choir School of Newport County is recruiting new choristers. Do you know a boy or girl who likes to sing? The choir school offers a first rate musical education right here in Newport. To arrange an informal audition, email the director, Peter Stoltzfus Berton, at director@thechoirschoolri.org. More information on the choir school may be found atwww.thechoirschoolri.org

 

Peter Quire Challenge Update
You did it! Through the Peter Quire Challenge, you have contributed $18,581.50, qualifying us for the full matching grant of $18,000, for a grand total of $36,581.60! Peter Quire became our first benefactor by leaving $419 to St. John's in his will. Many thanks to the thirty-one donors who have honored his memory by following the example of his generosity. 

Stewardship Update
As of yesterday morning, we had 28 pledges totaling $142,638 for 2016. But the important number is the smaller one: 28. Last year, we had 44 pledges as of Annual Meeting, so we still need to hear back from about half of those who pledged last year (accounting for the fact that we have a couple of new pledges amongst those 28). Many thanks to everyone who has demonstrated your support for St. John's thus far; we are well on our way to having the most successful pledge campaign on record.
Mark Your Calendars Now!
The Feast of Sts. Simon and Jude  will be kept as a Low Mass on  October 28th at 5:45 p.m.  immediately following Evening Prayer at 5:30 p.m.  Please plan on joining us in the Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament on this holy day. 


Monday, November 2 at 6:30 p.m. Solemn Requiem for All Souls Day with the St. John's Adult Choir and special guest instrumentalists, in a candlelit service of remembrance with Fauré's  Requiem. 

Please email the names of your departed loved ones to the parish office no later than October 31 to be included in the All Souls' Day Necrology. 

Saturday, November 21 at 7 p.m. in the Guild Hall  of St. John the Evangelist, a special acoustic guitar and vocal concert by the phenomenal band Aztec Two-Step. $25 admission benefits ministries of St. John the Evangelist. Limited ticketed seating with refreshments available...sure to sell out! For more information, please contact Scott Nicholson at gramer890@gmail.com.

Christian Formation Opportunities 
for Adults
Bible Study
Join Stephanie Shoemaker and friends on Wednesdays at noon in the Guild Hall Lounge for a lively Bible Study. For more information, email her at   revshoe@aol.com
Group Spiritual Direction
The first meeting of the Group Spiritual Direction for Men will meet in the Vicar's study on Sunday, November 22nd from 12-1 p.m. To join this group, you must email the Vicar at   vicar@saintjohns-newport.org .
Announcements
Is the Samaritan Ministry for you? Are you called to be a friend to someone who needs one? Do you like to do things that make you feel good after you've done them? If the answer you gave to those two questions was "yes," then we would like you to consider becoming a member or associate of the Samaritan Ministry of St. John's. Our mission is to be a neighbor to those in need, either within the parish or without. So we want to be ready to respond to need whenever it arises, be it material need (a hot meal, a ride, etc.)  or simply the need for companionship during a difficult time. We are especially interested in exploring ministry to nursing homes and assisted living facilities in our immediate area. As we develop our ministry, we will need more people on the team. We meet on the first Tuesday of each month at 6 p.m. If you'd prefer not to attend meetings but want to be called on to help when needed, you can simply join us as an associate. Please ask yourself those questions above and see where it leads you. You may contact any of those named below for more information or to join us in our important and rewarding work.
 
Trish Dresser
Mary Jane Rodman
Letty Champion
Melissa Bostrom
Deacon Buck Close
Teddi Shaw


Realm is the name of the new cloud-based database program St. John's uses to keep track of people. The more people who register, the more useful it becomes. Since we are now in stewardship season, the best introduction to it is to register for an account by going to   https://onrealm.org/StJohnEvangelis/Register. 
  Once you have registered for an account, you can sign in via 

Realm allows you to view and edit the information we have in our database and to set up online giving, either one-time or recurring. It also allows you to make a pledge that is entered directly into our system, skipping the "middle man" of the pledge card process. To find out more about these features, click on the links below to watch a brief video about how it works.


You can also access Realm via our website at  http://saintjohns-newport.org/support/.

Register today!

Have you visited www.saintjohns-newport.org lately? We have launched a redesigned website with new content. Over the next several weeks more bells and whistles will be added, so check back frequently! For instance, did you miss last week's sermon? Find the manuscript online here

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.

Please join the Point Association for the annual Fall Point 
Clean-up, which will take place on Saturday, October 24th, at 9:00 a.m.  We will gather at Storer and Battery Parks. In addition to these two parks we will be cleaning up Hunter Park and the driftways. Please bring a rake, broom and/or shovel. All are welcome. The more the merrier!
Need a visit? Please be in touch with Deacon Close at deacon@saintjohns-newport.org and he or Fr. Humphrey will be in touch.
Readings for this Sunday

("Bartimeo" Mexican Icon from the Galeria de Obras de Coleccion)

Sunday, 25 October 2015
The Twenty-Second Sunday after Pentecost

Jeremiah 31:7-9
Psalm 126
 Hebrews 7:23-28
Mark 10:46-52