A Note from Fr. Humphrey 

Friday, 7 August 2015


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


My family and I love Newport, and we love the Point. One of the things we love most about this neighborhood is being able to walk to the Gulls games at Cardines Field. We don't get to go often enough, but when we do, we always enjoy it.


Last Friday was a special game day for us because my wife led the choristers of the Choir School, including our daughter, in singing the national anthem. As they stood there on the pitcher's mound, I was so proud of how well they sang, and so happy that the Choir School and St. John's could contribute to the community in this small but nonetheless public way.


It's a little silly, perhaps, but one of the things I love about the location of Cardines Field is that the tower of St. John's is visible from many of the stands, particularly the higher-up ones. It is also clearly visible looking across the field when in line for the concessions stand. I often find myself wondering, once I've decided what to order, about how St. John's can better reach out to the same people who attend Gulls games. What more can we do to connect with just these people, our friends and neighbors, both as a church and as a place for community gatherings? How can we better get the word out about our Music on the Lawn Family Night on Friday, September 4th, or our Summer Fair on September 19th, or our Choir School, or our Sunday services? This is not so much a question of reaching a demographic ("Gulls fans") as it is of building on existing relationships (friends and neighbors whom we might also run into at a Gulls game).


Of course, what St. John's has to offer is vastly different from what a baseball game offers-and of more potentially eternal value-but there are a few surface similarities between what you will find inside the doors of St. John's and what you will find inside the gates of Cardines Field.


The first similarity that comes to mind, in fact, is a complaint: baseball games and church services are too long! One Gulls game this season went fifteen innings! At least at St. John's, it's pretty predictable that Low Mass will take 45-55 minutes and High Mass will take about 75 minutes-90 minutes if there's a procession or special music.


Whatever the length, another similarity is that both baseball games and church services reward careful attention. The more you pay attention to the action of the game, the more you learn from and enjoy it. The same is true of our fancy liturgy: it is designed to reward careful attention. The readings, the music, the sermon, the vestments, the ritual-these things point upward and inward, (occasionally downward), and ultimately outward.


But even if one's attention wanders from the main action, there is plenty to be gained by what distracts us. At Cardines, if Gully's antics arrest our attention, that's fine-he's there to entertain. At St. John's, if we get distracted by a stained glass window or even by another parishioner, that's fine, too. The building and the people in it all are part of a greater whole, a community whose very existence forms us as human beings and as Christians.


But to my mind, the best reason for being at both Cardines Field and St. John's is simply to gather. As far as I know, people rarely regret that they've come. Even if the team loses or the sermon wasn't particularly good, the time spent with friends and neighbors is not wasted time. And in church, no time spent with God or in seeking God is wasted time. And even if it is, I'd argue it's a better waste of time than many others available to us nowadays, and thus it is indeed time well spent.


So I look forward, I hope, to spending more time with you, whether at Cardines or at St. John's-but especially at St. John's!


Yours in Christ's service,

N.J.A. Humphrey+



Peter Quire Challenge Update

To date, we have received pledges and donations in excess of $2000 toward the $36,000 Peter Quire Challenge, designated for capital improvement projects, 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. 


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 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

Summer Fair News

There will be a Summer Fair meeting this Sunday, August 9th  in the Guild Hall at 9:15. If anyone that is in charge of a booth, etc. cannot make it, please contact John Garagliano at john.garagliano@cox.net. 


The Summer Fair is coming! Mark your calendars for September 19th! To volunteer, please contact John Garagliano at john.garagliano@cox.net. 

White Elephant & Good Used Clothes

It's time to start thinking of donations to our annual White Elephant & Good Used Clothes sale. We will start accepting "stuff" on the 12th of September in the Guild Hall-but not before then!


Examples of things we love to receive: Fine Collectibles, candles, nice working lamps, antique items, children's (gently used) toys and games, gardening tools and items, sets of glassware & plates, accessories & jewelry, lawn furniture, small appliances in working order, furniture in good shape. For larger items, it's a good idea to contact Tony at 849-3369 before bringing them to St. John's.


Things we will not accept:  Dirty items, major appliances, air conditioners, used coffee makers or mugs, outdated electronics, TVs, stereos, exercise machines & equipment, food items, broken items or JUNK of any sort.


And remember:

1.)     If you think it's trash, it mostly likely IS trash. Throw it away, please do          not dump it at St. John's!

2.)     We do not have a truck or other vehicle to pick things up, so                          everything must be dropped off..

Soda & Water

We are accepting donations of soda and water for the Men's Club food booth. Please drop off in the Guild Hall parlor starting the week of Sept 12th-but not before then!

Summer Fair Bake Table

Trish Dresser is asking for help stocking our always popular table with homemade cookies, muffins, cakes, pies and breads. Please label your donations and include any ingredients that people might be allergic to (nuts or peanut butter). Any and all contributions would be greatly appreciated.

Any questions, feel free to call Trish at 846-3247.   


Used Book Sale

Everyone has books just hanging around taking much needed space! Well, now is the opportunity to make the most use out of them...If you're not going to read them again, but they're good books, donate them to the St. John's Summer Fair book booth.

Contact Mary Lou Chase at 683-0588 or email: mcldiet@cox.net

Silent Auction

The Summer Fair Silent Auction is welcoming donations of new goods and services. Do you frequent a store or restaurant that you can asks for a donation? Or know a merchant to approach? Or offer to provide something yourself, for example "a ride to/from the airport?" or "a few hours of gardening or snow shoveling?" Or offer to fill a theme basket? Please contact Amy Acampora at a2_newyork@hotmail.com.

The Guild Hall will be rented out over the next three months for Sunday evening services to a Hispanic congregation not affiliated with the Episcopal Church, called the New Life Church. Their service will begin at 6:30 p.m. Please give our ecumenical friends a warm welcome when you see them on campus.
The feast of the Assumption will be celebrated at Saint Stephen's in Providence this coming Saturday, August 15th at 11:00 a.m. Fr. Humphrey will be the preacher.

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

Summer Coffee Hour Hosts 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.


We have four openings for this month:

16 August - 10AM 

23 August - 8 and 10AM 

30 August - 10 AM

Please either sign the sheet posted in the Guild Hall or contact Teddi Shaw or Deacon Close if you aren't going to be in the Guild Hall soon. 


Also please consider hosting a coffee hour on a regular schedule. As of today we have the following regular hosts:

1st Sunday of the month: 8 and 10 -Teddi and Buck

2nd Sunday: 8 - Cheryl and Karen; 10 - Phyllis and David

3rd Sunday: 8 - Chases; 10 - VACANCY

4th or 5th Sunday:  8 - Dottie and Trish (they will take every last Sunday in the month. In months with 5 Sundays, they will always take the 5th, in other months, the 4th.)  10 -  VACANCY


Hosting coffee hour is not difficult and it can be fun. The more we share this ministry of hospitality, the better we get at it. Hospitality is one of the most vital attributes of healthy Christian community. Please consider hosting a coffee hour. 


Hospitably yours, 

Deacon Close

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.