St. John's at the Crossroads
May 12, 2017
Rite 13
Welcoming Our New Teens
By Nancy Derr, Church School Director

All five of the thirteen year olds who will stand in front of the 9 am service on May 21 at the Rite 13 ceremony are in the seventh grade, and they all steadily attend the church school class taught by Walter and Cassie Carr.  I've gathered a few facts about them so that you'll know them better when you welcome them on their journey to adulthood. 

Queen Balina takes advantage of what Cabin John Middle School has to offer.  She especially likes the biology unit of her science class, and she's always enjoyed English.  She's active in student government and in Model UN, representing Rwanda.  Queen works in the library, too, and she was the emcee for the talent show.  Queen likes to bake, and she's a big reader, recommending the Marie Lu legend series.  Queen is the youngest of four children and feels independent, as the only girl.  Her advice is to establish a goal and to organize yourself by working toward it.  Queen herself plans on becoming a pediatrician.

William Coffey enjoys his history class at North Bethesda Middle School, and he likes reading historical fiction, especially about World War II.   William is playing Sebastian in the drama club's "Little Mermaid'; he's also a faithful singer in St. John's Alleluia Choir.  On Friday nights you can find him with a bowl of ice cream in front of "The Simpsons."  William likes having steady company as the middle child of three, plus the two new kittens in the household; he also enjoys getting away with his dad to Rock Bottom Restaurant.  William would remind people younger than he that challenges ramp up in middle school: enjoy that time of being carefree.

Zahra Kehus attends Earl B. Wood Middle School in Rockville, where her favorite class is algebra.  She likes soccer, but her favorite two pastimes are creating art projects with her friends and cooking.  Zahra's a fan of the TV show "Supernatural," which is not for the faint-hearted.  She is the youngest of three, plus the Kehus family has a cat, Gregory, and a dog, Simon.  Zahra says she looks up to her two brothers, and that they often help her.  She has traveled to Ireland twice to visit a friend. Zahra can understand Portuguese from her time in Mozambique, and she grasps a lot of Dutch as well.  Zahra's advice is: "go big."  She means, she explained, be unique, don't stop dreaming, believe in yourself.

Ashley Sosa-Rodriquez likes her science class at Pyle Middle School - they're studying catastrophic events - and also acting in her drama class.  Ashley practices karate, sings in the Alleluia Choir, likes to bake, and to draw, and to hang out with her friends.  She's working through the Harry Potter books, and her favorite TV show is "Grey's Anatomy."  And she makes time to take Bella Tikka, her dog, to the park.  Ashley and her family traveled to Korea, and she found the food there amazing.  She sees the advantage of the undivided attention from being an only child, but points out that there's also no place to hide.  Ashley advises young people to try as many things as possible, to join activities and to follow your curiosity to find what appeals to you.

Mark Vicente represents the fifth middle school, since he attends Westland.  He also likes both English and science - they are focused on fossils and geology - as well as robotics.  On Saturdays Mark goes rock-climbing, and he enjoyed all the hiking his family did when they visited the western canyons.  Mark, the older of two brothers, likes walking Cricket, a beagle-coonhound.  Mark makes new Lego creations from old sets, dreaming up adventures in which they are the props, and he reads about adventure too, enjoying the Rick Riordan series and several others.  "The Future is Wild" is his choice of TV show, and his favorite restaurant is Himalayan Heritage.  Mark's advice is to advocate for yourself; keep your eyes open for opportunities that meet your needs.

Once again, I had a great time interviewing these five young people, a terrific part of my job. They are funny and good-natured.  I'm delighted that church school at St. John's is the place that they can get to know each other, since otherwise they would be on separate paths.  Often people don't realize how many great activities we have at church for teens, until they reach that age.  Ahead of them lie both the intense service weeks at Camp Joy, if they participate in Youth Group, as well as the unique experience of the Journey to Adulthood pilgrimage, if they embark on the two-year class preceding it.  These five young people will take their J2A journey four years from now, in 2021, but every summer of their teenage years, through high school, they are eligible to join with other St. John's youth to help people around Berkeley Springs who need home repairs.  In all of these ways, they build community with one another.  These ties may not be obvious to those who do not often see the teens, but they are a significant way, nevertheless, that we enhance each other's lives by acts of kindness.

Rector's Corner
2017 Vestry Retreat: Getting Right-sized
By Sari Ateek, Rector

This past weekend, the vestry held its annual retreat at the Episcopal retreat center in Rehoboth, MD.  In addition to getting to know one another as a new team and enjoying each other's company, the vestry engaged in very intentional strategic conversation around how to best support St. John's in its transition from a medium to a large-size congregation.  The guiding text for our work was the book "Inside the Large Congregation" by church consultant Susan Beaumont.  Having attended a workshop led by Beaumont last Fall, the vestry continued its work in exploring the key elements necessary for a church of our size to thrive.
Beaumont identifies four categories of large churches based on Sunday attendance and annual budget:

Category Weekly Attendance Annual Budget
The Multi-Celled Church
$400K - $1M
The Professional Church
400-800 $1M - $2M
The Strategic Church
800-1,200 $2M - $4M
The Matrix Church
1,200-1,800 over $4M

Each of these size categories, according to Beaumont, requires a different type of leadership system - from clergy roles, staff team design, and vestry function, to new member acculturation and how strategy is formed and executed. 
With close to 500 worshippers each Sunday and a budget of $1.2 million, St. John's falls clearly within the "Professional Church" category.  The name is derived from the observation that once a church reaches this size, "most of its behavior," as Beaumont describes, "is driven by the need to professionalize operations." Being on the cusp of this shift in size - from "Multi-Cell" to "Professional" - it is crucial, as Beaumont explains, that a church like St. John's intentionally and strategically adapts its leadership system to support the dynamics of its size. 
This weekend the vestry spent time identifying those areas of our church's leadership system that are still operating within a smaller church framework and are beginning to cause some stress on our institution.  One clear area that was identified as necessary to accommodate our larger size parish is increasing the number of staff we have. 
The discussions at the retreat were fruitful and strategic.  The vestry looks forward to continuing the conversation at our next vestry meeting, which will be held on Tuesday, May 23 at 8pm in the lounge.  As always, this is an open meeting for anyone who would like to attend.
Grace and Peace,

Music Notes
Visiting Choir Director, Gordon Appleton
By Anne Timpane,  Director of Music Ministries

This coming weekend, our choirs and congregation will have a special treat when Gordon Appleton, recently retired staff member of the Royal School of Church Music (RSCM) in the UK, comes to work with our choirs. 

Gordon was the regional Music Advisor for the North of England, a role which provided encouragement, support, and education for those involved in music in worship, particularly in parishes.  He was also the Director of the RSCM choir "Voices North" which sings cathedral evensongs throughout the north of England. Though retired, he continues to direct choral festivals around the world, and began his "retirement" by spending six weeks making music in South Africa. 

We are delighted that he will be sharing his knowledge and expertise with our Children's Choir, Alleluia Choir and St. John's Choir, so I hope you'll take a moment on Sunday morning to welcome Gordon to St. John's.

Thank You
Providing Breakfast for Bethesda Cares
Many thanks to St. John's volunteers for their faithful ministry of providing breakfast to Bethesda Cares. Through the coordinating efforts of the Outreach Committee and Marijane Hines, St. John's parishioners have stepped up to regularly cover every day of the month, for which Bethesda Cares is grateful.

If you are interested in becoming involved in this effort or any of St. John's outreach ministries, contact Anne Derse at: aderse[A] .

Introduction to Breeze - May 14th
On Sunday, May 14th, c ome and hear about Breeze -- St. John's new information management system -- and how it works for you!

An email invitation has been sent to all St. John's members who have an email address on file. The invitation includes a link to create an account.

At Sunday's Adult Forum, we will walk you through how to create your account, access the directory from any device, change your personal information, have secure access to your financial data, and make safe online payments. 

Don't miss this informative session!

Upcoming May Forums:

May 21st:  Judaism 101 - Rabbi Greg Harris of Congregation Beth El Synagogue will provide a discussion on what it means to be Jewish, the holy books and texts, and important Jewish holy days.  

May 28th: Q&A with the Rector - Sari invites you to join him for the adult forum on May 28 for an informal Q & A.  This forum is devoted to conversation, inquiry, and exploration of faith and life generated by topics of your own interest.  Want to engage a theological topic? Want to discuss an aspect of St. John's or the broader Church?  Want to explore a life question?  Or maybe you want to learn a little more about the rector?  Bring your thoughts and questions and lets talk about them together.

In Case You Missed It:

Watch last week's forum -- Dr. Tarek Elgawhary of the Islamic Community Center of Potomac, on 'Islam 101' -- here.
Become a Stephen Minister

For more information contact Stephen Leaders  
Toni Hartman ( tonihartman[A];   John Mertens ( John_mertens[A] );  Penny Winder ( winderph[A] )

Build Community
An Invitation from St. Barnabas
At the request of The Rev. Jay Croft, 
of [now called] St. Barnabas' Deaf Church

Sunday, May 21 at the 11:15 am service

Join us for the celebration of 40 years of St. Barnabas' Deaf Church worshiping in our St. Mary's Chapel on Sundays, and with St. John's congregations at occasional services throughout the years. The preacher will be St. Barnabas' own The Rev. Jay Croft. The service will include both sign language and speaking interpreters, so that all can experience the word of God in joyful worship.

A reception will follow in the Parish Hall.

Youth Appreciation Dinner - May 21st

Exploring a New Koinonia Group - Midlife Singles!
Our 2017 Koinonia groups are up and running, and we wish everyone a great fellowship experience!  

We have also heard that there is possible interest in a new group for midlife singles.  If you would be interested in joining, please let Community Life Coordinator Anne Derse know at  aderse[A]  or 301-401-5717. 

We'd be happy to help establish a new midlife singles Koinonia group and opportunity for fellowship at St. John's! 
Make a Difference
Outreach United Thank Offering on Mother's Day, May 14th
Sunday, May 14th will be an Outreach Sunday for the United Thank Offering (UTO), a ministry of The Episcopal Church for the mission of the whole church. 

Through UTO, men, women, and children nurture the habit of giving daily thanks to God and discover that thankfulness leads to generosity. UTO is entrusted to promote thank offerings, to receive the offerings, and to distribute the monies to support mission and ministry throughout The Episcopal Church and Provinces of the Anglican Communion. 

Recent grants have supported an after-school homework center at an Episcopal Church serving Spanish-speaking families in Richmond, California and a center in Rome that provides psychological and social support for refugees from the Middle East and Africa.  

More information and videos about the individuals and organizations UTO assists is available at:
- The Outreach Committee

Diocesan News
Highlights from the Diocesan Council Meeting
As your regional representatives to Diocesan Council, we are pleased to update you on the May meeting of Council, which took place last week. 

Highlights from Diocesan Council Meeting for May
Congregational Growth Grants.  The joint Council/Staff committee on Congregational Growth Grants reported that 11 grant requests, seeking a total of $167,490 of funding, had been submitted for the Spring 2017 grant round.  Council approved the recommendation of the committee for the issuance of 6 grants for a total of $92,490 as follows-
  • Ascension, Gaithersburg - $20,000 renewal grant to continue a Latino ministry outreach project that received initial funding last year.
  • St. Mark's, Capitol Hill & Calvary Church - $8,440 to support collaborative community activity programs.
  • St. George's, DC - $13,600 to support the development and execution of fresh expressions of worship to respond to the needs of members and potential members a rapidly changing neighborhood.
  • St. Michael & All Angels & Church of Our Saviour, Hillandale - $10,450 for collaborative vacation bible school.
  • St. Nicholas & St. John's, Olney - $20,000 for an innovative model in support of a youth and family chaplain in the North Montgomery County Region.
  • St. Peter's, Poolesville - $20,000 of supplemental seed funding to launch a nursery school program in an underserved area of Montgomery County where there are no nursery schools.
Council's 2017 Goals.  Council adopted a detailed 12-month schedule for oversight of its goals for the upcoming year. The goals are categorized into the following major categories: Mission Priorities, Budget Development, Bishop Walker School, Bishop Mariann's Evaluation, Regional Assemblies/Diocesan Convention and Other Goals. 

Bishop's Report. 
  • Communications - Bishop Mariann announced the appointment of Mitchell Sams, formerly Communications & Events Manager, to the position of Acting Communications Director.  Previously the communications director role has been carried out on an interim basis by Canticle Communications, acting through Jim Naughton (formerly, EDOW's Director of Communications and Canon for Evangelism) and Rebecca Wilson.  Bishop Mariann expressed her gratitude for the excellent communications work provided by Canticle, across a broad array of communications functions, since 2011.
  • Strategic Financial Resources Commission.  The Commission is actively moving forward under the leadership of co-chairs Kenn Allen (St. Mark's, Capitol Hill) and Rosie Sweeney (St. Dunstan's).  We hope to fill the part-time staff position to support the work of the Commission in the near future.
  • Missioner for Evangelism & Community Engagement. Interviews are being scheduled for candidates for the position of Missioner for Evangelism & Community Engagement, and we expect to fill this position in early June. 
  • Wardens/Clergy dinners.  Bishop Mariann noted that diocesan staff are in the process of scheduling dinners for wardens and clergy in each of the regions, with the hope of holding as many of these as possible before the end of June.


  • Budget revisions.  The Council adopted recommendations for a total of $30,000 in expense reductions in the diocesan operating budget for 2017. These adjustments will balance budgeted expenditures to the actual level of congregational giving commitments and other anticipated revenue for the year.
  • Bishop Walker School.  Council received an update on current operations for the Bishop Walker School, its transition to THEARC in January 2018 and efforts to define a two-year financial operating plan.
We welcome any questions you might have and are always available to talk about the work of Council.

- Kurt Ellison  and  Penny Winder

"Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer." Romans 12:12   

Please join us in prayers of condolence for the family of those who have died:

- Virginia "Gini" Clifton (friend of Debbie Berggren)

Please contact the Office if you have a prayer request or thanksgiving to share with the Parish.   Send us an email request
Upcoming Events
May 13, 2017
Confirmation Service   10:00 am at the National Cathedral.

Confirmation Reception  11:30 am, St. John's Parish Hall & Blacktop.

May 21, 2017
Rite 13 Celebration   at the   9:00 am service in the Nave.

St. Barnabas 40-Year Celebration  at the 11:15 am service in the Nave, followed by a reception in the Parish Hall.

Youth Appreciation Dinner  5:45 pm in the Parish Hall.

June 10, 2017
Pride Parade  St. John's will be participating.  You can sign up by clicking here  or contact Kurt Ellison for more information.

This Week 
Sunday, May 14, 2017
Mother's Day/Outreach Sunday - United Thank Offering
8:00 am
Holy Eucharist with sermon - St. Mary's Chapel
9 am-1 pm Parish Library Open
9:00 am Holy Eucharist and Sermon
9-9:30 am Children's Chapel - Hines Hall
10-11:00 am Adult Forum 
10-11:00 am Church School - Classrooms
11:15 am Holy Eucharist and Sermon 
4:45-6:30 pm
Parish Library Open
5:00-6:00 pm
'Come As You Are' Holy Eucharist
5:30-7:30 pm Youth Group - Youth Room

Monday, May 15, 2017
Church Office Hours: M-F, 9am-4pm

Tuesday, May 16, 2017
4-4:45 pm Primary Choir Rehearsal - Choir Room
5-5:45 pm Children's Choir Rehearsal - Choir Room
7-8:00 pm Alleluia Choir Rehearsal - Choir Room

Wednesday, May 17, 2017
12-1:00 pm Holy Eucharist and Healing - St. Mary's Chapel
1-4:00 pm Parish Library Open
6-10:00 pm EfM Class - Lounge

Thursday, May 18, 2017
6-7:15 pm Norwood Ringers Rehearsal - Choir Room
7:30-9 pm St. John's Choir Rehearsal - Choir Room

Saturday, May 20, 2017
9-10:30 am Rite 13 Brunch & Rehearsal

Sunday, May 21, 2017
Rite 13 at 9 am /St. Barnabas Celebration at 11:15 am
8:00 am
Holy Eucharist with sermon - St. Mary's Chapel
9 am-1 pm Parish Library Open
9:00 am Holy Eucharist and Sermon
9-9:30 am Children's Chapel - Hines Hall
10-11:00 am Adult Forum: Rabbi Greg Harris
10-11:00 am Church School - Classrooms
11:15 am Holy Eucharist and sermon with St. Barnabas' Deaf Church
12:15 pm Reception with St. Barnabas' Deaf Church - Parish Hall
4:45-6:30 pm
Parish Library Open
5:00-6:00 pm
'Come As You Are' Holy Eucharist
5:45-7:30 pm Youth Appreciation Dinner - Parish Hall
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