A Note from Fr. Humphrey 

Friday, 2 October 2015

Dear People, Neighbors, and Friends of St. John's,
As many (if not most) of you know, the only reason I was able to come to St. John's as the full-time priest a little over two years ago was because the Episcopal Diocese of Rhode Island's Congregational Development Commission (CDC) awarded this church a three-year grant totaling $68,000 for the purpose of rebuilding St. John's. The grant was structured so that the amount is reduced each year until it "sunsets" on August 1, 2016.
So, you might wonder, will I be out of a job next August?
Well, if this year's stewardship campaign is anything like last year's, the answer will be a resounding (and reassuring) "No!" And I am confident this will be the answer, thanks to all of you who have so faithfully supported St. John's in the past and will continue to do so, as well as all of you who have not yet considered giving materially to St. John's, but who might be moved to do so for any number of reasons, some of which I'll enumerate below.
But first, consider again our recent past: For 2013, before the CDC grant, the people of St. John's pledged $49,454. The year the CDC grant was made, leading up to my arrival, the people and friends of St. John's pledged $83,142 for 2014. For 2015, the people, neighbors, and friends of St. John's pledged $120,066. This unprecedented amount was a forty-four percent increase over the prior year and a one hundred and forty-three percent increase over 2013!
What accounts for these astounding increases? Two things: St. John's has been blessed with a few incredibly generous donors, and just as importantly, each year the circle of supporters has widened. No longer are our supporters exclusively those who attend services. They increasingly include friends who are too far away to be here regularly and neighbors of all sorts and conditions who value some particular aspect of who St. John's is and what St. John's does in the community, whether that be the Choir School, organ recitals, Music on the Lawn, Summer Fair, Samaritans ministry, and so forth.
In short, St. John's is experiencing a renaissance, thanks to this ever-widening circle of support. At its center, St. John's remains rooted in its identity as an Anglo-catholic congregation within the Episcopal Church, worshipping God in the beauty of holiness and rejoicing in the "goodly heritage" that has been ours since our foundation by Peter Quire and his companions in 1875. We are who we are, and we find joy in who we are. It is from this place of joyful rootedness that we are able to open up more and more, with God's help, to the world around us. St. John's does this in three ways: as a church, as a choir school, and as a community center. As a church, those who share our faith are welcomed to journey with us ever more deeply into the heart of God, and those who are seeking faith will find sympathetic companions on the road. As a choir school, we are forming lives of character and service, not to mention providing a musical education of the highest standard. And as a community center, all people are welcome without exception into this exceptional place.

I'm hoping that supporting St. John's is a no-brainer. But just in case your brain wants more, what exactly might motivate you to support St. John's in 2016? Well, here's what comes to mind off the top of my head: By giving to the church, you keep the doors of the church open, literally, seven days a week, three hundred and sixty-five days a year. You support a full-time priest and world-class full-time organist-choirmaster, who live on campus with their fantastically talented wives and beautiful and intelligent (and mischievous) children. You make possible the full round of Sunday and Feast Day worship in the Anglo-catholic tradition that has been at the heart of our identity since 1875. (Even if that's not your particular cup of tea, you can take pride in preserving this tradition for those for whom it is!) You provide a spiritual home for all who seek a deeper relationship with God and each other in Jesus Christ. You provide a beacon of hope to the poor and the hungry of our community through the Samaritans ministry and other pastoral care initiatives. You enable the church to be the primary sponsor of the Choir School of Newport County. You make it possible for Music on the Lawn, the Summer Fair, and other community events on campus and in the Guild Hall to remain a vibrant part of life on the Point. You are helping in the painstaking process of renewing the fabric of our historic buildings and beautiful grounds. You are making a difference in the lives of people you may never meet, but who without you would not be able to pay their bills.
In this and so many other ways, you make the difference.
The easiest way to make a pledge for 2016 is to go to http://saintjohns-newport.org/online-pledge-card/ and fill out the electronic equivalent of a paper pledge card. Doing so does not enroll you in online giving. There is a way to give online through something called Realm, but that's for an announcement below. And of course, if you come to church this Sunday, as I hope you will, you will find that familiar paper pledge card in your bulletin. For now, I will simply end by thanking you for your support, and I look forward to an amazing 2016 with you as we continue to enjoy this renaissance.
Yours in Christ's service,
N.J.A. Humphrey+
Peter Quire Challenge Update
Over $11,300 has been received thus far for the Peter Quire Challenge, pushing us ever closer to our $18,000 fundraising goal, which thanks to the challenge grant will be worth $36,000 if we meet this goal by December 1st. Good News! You can now make a secure contribution online by clicking here. If you haven't made a commitment or donation now, please do so.  Pledges toward this challenge may also 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!

Did you see the article in Newport This Week on the legacy of Peter Quire? Click here for the online version of the story. (For the record, Fr. Humphrey's use of the word "Godless" in describing the neighborhood of the 1870s is a quote from a 1925 sermon marking the church's 50th anniversary and should be understood as such!)

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, October 18 at 4 p.m. Choral Evensong for Treble Voices at St. John's, sung by the Professional Choristers of The Choir School of Newport county joined by the choristers from the Calvary Music School, Calvary Episcopal Church, Stonington, CT. 





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


Christian Formation Opportunities 
for Adults
Bible Study
Stephanie Shoemaker has offered to lead a Bible Study on a book of the group's choosing, perhaps beginning with St. Paul's epistle to the Ephesians. The day and time that the group will meet will be determined by the schedules of the participants, and Stephanie is open to either mornings or evenings. If you are interested in forming a Bible Study, please email Stephanie at  revshoe@aol.com.
Group Spiritual Direction
Parishioner Melissa Bostrom is a certified lay Spiritual Director and Fr. Humphrey has served in this capacity for numerous individuals over the past several years. We are now considering offering Group Spiritual Direction, in two sections: one for men, led by Fr. Humphrey, and one for women, led by Melissa Bostrom. The two groups might also choose to meet together occasionally to discuss a common reading or for mutual prayer.
The term "Group Spiritual Direction" is not self-explanatory. Rose Mary Dougherty of the Shalem Institute defines it as "a process in which people gather together on a regular basis to assist one another in an ongoing awareness of God in all of life." It is not therapy or counseling, nor is it merely a support group, since the goal is to assist each other in discerning God's will for us and then praying for God's grace as we strive, with God's help, to put our discernment into action in our lives and in the world around us. Spiritual Direction helps us answer the question, "How, then, shall we live?" When undertaken as a group process, Spiritual Direction strengthens the bonds of the gathered community and focuses us individually and corporately as disciples of Jesus.
If you are interested in being a part of either the women's or the men's group, please email Fr. Humphrey at  vicar@saintjohns-newpor.org, and we will schedule an introductory meeting that will delve deeper into the group process.
Mark Your Calendars Now!
A Blessing of the Animals in commemoration of the feast of St. Francis will be held on the steps of the church immediately following the 10 o'clock High Mass on Sunday morning, October 4th. Humans and their animal companions are welcome at the service itself, as well. 
We are very pleased that this year a representative from the Potter League will be with us for the blessing and at Coffee Hour afterwards to provide information on the wonderful work they do caring for God's animals.
Join us at St. John's on Sunday, October 11th at 4 p.m. for  Hereford Variations, a 40-minute organ meditation composed by Peter Berton based on stained glass windows and poetry, along with a brief prelude of works by Edward Elgar. A suggested donation of $5 would be graciously accepted. 

The following feasts will be kept as Low Masses in October, all at 5:45 p.m., immediately following Evening Prayer at 5:30 p.m.

Thursday, October 15th - Translation of the Image of Our Lady of Walsingham

Monday, October 19th - St. Luke 

Friday, October 23rd - St. James of Jerusalem

Wednesday, October 28th - Sts. Simon & Jude

Please plan on joining us in the Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament on these holy days.
Saturday, October 24 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. PipeScreams on the  Point!  The Phantom of the Opera with live organ accompaniment improvised by the spooktacular silent film specialist Peter Krasinski. $5 suggested do nation benefits Episcopal Charities, supporter of the Newport's MLK Jr.   Community Center.  More wacky pre-Halloween fun for all ages, costumes are welcome! This year's highlight is a screening of the orginal 1925 silent horror film.
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. 

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.

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.
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

Sunday, 4 October 2015
The Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost
Commemoration of St. Francis & the Blessing of the Beasts

Genesis 2:18-24
Psalm 8
 Hebrews 1:1-4, 2:5-12
Mark 10:2-16