Vol. 80 Issue 1 | Week of January 3-9, 2022
Happy New Year, St. John's!
To Infinity and Beyond - Well, At Least To Centennial and Beyond
by Dennis W. Foust, Senior Minister
One of my favorite characters in animation film is Buzz Lightyear of Toy Story tales. Buzz’ phrase, ‘To Infinity and Beyond’ has been diagnosed by philosophers, bloggers, and scientists. Is it possible to go beyond infinity? Through armchair research skills on the internet, I have learned there is a difference between potential infinity and actual infinity. What I have gleaned from these perspectives is this: Buzz is calling us to imagine beyond the limits we usually allow to constrain us. This sounds a little bit like faithful imagination based upon hope. The birth of Jesus and the epiphany of God’s Good News call us to faithful imagination based upon hope. Because of Jesus Christ, we can imagine beyond the limits that usually constrain us.
This pandemic has caused us to live within smaller limitations. For example, although we may hear about the 5,500,00 global deaths, we pay more attention to the 860,000 deaths in the United States, the 20,000 deaths in North Carolina and the 1,300 deaths in Mecklenburg County. Our visions have been shrinking for two years now. We have cancelled travel plans and stayed home most of the time. Even our weekly escapes to gather with other church members seem like risky adventures, although almost every person over the age of five is vaccinated with most having receive their booster.
Beloved, as we enter 2022, I ask you to push your way forward like a butterfly emerging from a chrysalis. Pushing forward must begin within us and must exert pressure upon the confining structures around us. Our pushing is an inner compelling; an activated desire within us which is initiative against the confining and shaping boundaries that form us. Like butterflies, we use controlled energy to push toward new freedom. Pushing too fast or too slow can be detrimental.  
So, here are a few resolutions I implore you to consider as we begin 2022:

  1. Gather regularly in the sanctuary on Sundays and in your growth groups. (If it is impossible or unsafe for you to be with us in the gathered community, tune in through Livestream at 10:30 Sunday mornings.)
  2. Let others know you are missing them when they are not gathered with us on Sundays.
  3. Pray daily for your church, church leaders, senior minister, ministry staff, and church staff.
  4. Place on your calendars the special dates that are planned for our centennial year celebration.
  5. Determine how you are helping (or can help) the ministries of St. John’s become healthier as we focus on Community Impact, Congregational Care, Engagement/Outreach/Messaging, Spiritual Growth and Young Adults and Families with Children & Youth.
  6. Support the ministries of St. John’s financially. (Thank you to those 150 who have already made commitments to the 2022 Financial Ministry Plan Budget. We are still receiving commitments.)
  7. Help one another with the heaviness of anxiety. These are truly anxious times. We all need one another.
  8. Encourage one another. Some of our households are going through some tremendous challenges. Pray for one another. Love one another. Serve one another. Forgive one another. Grace one another.
Friends, I am excited about our future! I am ready to serve alongside you as we move into our second century. Let us imagine beyond the limits we usually allow to constrain us. Let us explore new depths of faithful imagination based upon hope. Now that we have celebrated the birth of Jesus and the epiphany of God’s Good News, let us rely on Jesus Christ to help us push against these pandemic constraints. Let us activate our desires to push toward new freedom as we live into God’s mission continuing the ministry of Jesus to our centennial and beyond! I love you very much!
An Epiphany Sermon Series
Isn't That Just Like a Woman?
Some Women Who Helped Jesus Reveal the Mission of God

Too often, stories of women in the life and ministry of Jesus are minimized. From this Sunday, January 9 – February 6, Dr. Foust will offer five messages retelling stories of women who helped Jesus reveal God’s light to humanity. The season of Epiphany always begins twelve days after Christmas on January 6. The story of Jesus begins with an announcement to a young woman and emerges as a victory through the first witness of the resurrection, a woman.

  • January 9: The Day Jesus Was Re-Baptized by a Canaanite Woman (Matthew 15:21-28)
  • January 16: The Day Jesus Couldn’t Control His Mother (John 2:1-12)
  • January 23: The Day Jesus Almost Got Killed Over a Phoenician Woman (Luke 4:14-30)
  • January 30: The Day Jesus Transformed a Community through a Trusted Woman (John 4:1-42)
  • February 6: The Day Jesus Silenced a Mob on Behalf of a Victimized Woman (John 8:2-11)
SNL Returns Sunday, January 9!

All youth (6th-12th graders) are invited to the first SNL of the year this Sunday, January 9 from 5-7PM in the lounge.

Join us for pizza as we make plans for the spring and put together care packages for college students.
Youth Sunday on February 13

Every year, we celebrate the young people of our church on Youth Sunday. This year, we will have Youth Sunday on February 13 during morning worship. Their commitments and dreams inspire us as they reveal their commitments to God’s vision for the world. 
Adventures in Learning
Shepherd's Center of Charlotte

The Shepherd’s Center of Charlotte is located right here in the St. John’s facilities. They are a non-profit providing a network of support for seniors to increase social connection, expand access to critical resources and combat the negative effects of isolation and offer a network of fellowship and support for active senior adults.

This winter they are offering a 6 week series of classes on Mondays from January 24 to February 28 in Broach Hall. COVID Vaccinations and Booster are required to attend.

The cost is $55 and this includes 3 classes per Monday with the following options:

  • 10:00 – 10:50 am: “A Survey of the 100 Years War” OR “Bridge” (Fun Card play for all levels)
  • 11:00 – 11:50 am: “The Development of Human Consciousness” OR “Are you Ready?” (Estate Planning)
  • 12:00 – 12:50 pm: “Figures of the Italian Renaissance” OR “Current Events”

You may also sign up for bagged lunches. An attachment with more details and a registration form is included with this Family News (click the button below). An extra hard copy of the attachment will also be put in Sunday School Classes.

Please sign up by January 19. 

Thank you for your commitments to the
2022 Financial Ministry Plan!

If you have not pledged yet, you can do so by turning in your pledge card to Jacquelyn in the office or by pledging online through Realm or by clicking below.

As of January 6, we have received 150 commitments for a total of $862,885.

If you have questions, please contact Jacquelyn in the church office.

Thank you!
Welcoming Rev. Jonathan Lee Walton, PhD
February 20 During Worship

Throughout our history, St. John’s has enjoyed a close relationship with Wake Forest University. We are a founding church for Wake Forest University School of Divinity and are privileged to welcome the Dean of the School of Divinity, Rev. Jonathan Lee Walton, PhD, into the St. John’s Pulpit on Sunday, February 20.

Walton is a social ethicist whose scholarship focuses on evangelical Christianity and its
relationship to mass media and political culture. Dean Walton's work and insights have been featured in several national and international news outlets including the New York Times, CNN, and the BBC.

We look forward to welcoming Dean Walton to St. John's on February 20! 
Family Dedication in Worship This Sunday

This Sunday, January 9, during worship, we will share moments of dedication with Blinn and Anna Cushman as they present Alexandra and Julien for us to walk alongside them in the journey of nurturing the faith of these young twins in the way of Jesus Christ. 
New Member Welcome!
We are excited to welcome Clinton Dietz, son of Tami and Alan Dietz and brother to Hampton, as our newest member of St. John's by profession of faith on December 26, 2021! Clinton is a sixth-grader at Harris Road Middle School.

We look forward to celebrating his baptism in this new year!
Prayer Concerns, Thanks, Sympathy

Shirley Ballard, Katherine Barr, John Bragg, Tamara Edwards, Betty Fuller, Caroline Godsey, Paul Lloyd, Tish Philemon, Brad Sifford, Carole Ann Simpson, Don Swofford, Elma Thomas, Dee Turner

On December 30, Barbara Ledford passed on ahead of us. We extend our sympathies to her husband, Buster, and family. We will gather in the sanctuary on Tuesday, January 11, at 1PM to celebrate Barbara's ministry in daily life. The service will live stream here on our YouTube channel. A reception will follow in Lasater Hall.

St. John's expresses our sympathy to the family of Polly Hull in her passing on January 1, 2022. Polly was a member of St. John's for many years. We will celebrate her life on Sunday, January 9, at 1:30PM in the Chapel at St. John's. A reception will follow in Lasater Hall.

Sympathy to Beth Jones in the passing of her father, John Dean, of Virginia Beach, VA at the age of 88.

Sympathy to Linda Finger in the passing of her brother, Paul Tew, in Tucson, AZ on December 27.
Please email info@sjcharlotte.org to share a prayer request, thank you, or celebration.
Financial Ministry Plan Report
Week of December 24-31: $43,802.72
Income through December 31: $1,073,973
Annual 2021 Ministry Plan Budget Goal: $1,175,000
You can make contributions, view your giving history and pledge status, as well as update your pledge and giving information anytime by accessing your personal Realm profile online or via the Connect App.

Basketball Schedule
Saturday, January 8

6u Co-Ed – 1:45 pm @ St. John’s
8u Girls – 12:30 pm @ St. John’s
8u Boys 1 – 10:00 am @ St. John’s
8u Boys 2 – 11:15 am @ St. John’s
10u Boys – 11:30 am @ Mulberry Baptist
15u Girls – 12:45 pm @ Mulberry Baptist
18u Girls – 9:45 am @ Mt. Harmony Baptist
18u Boys – 12:15 pm @ Mt. Harmony Baptist

Ministers On-Call Schedule

January 3-9: Kevin Gray
January 10-16: Allison Benfield
January 17-23: Lee Gray
Staff Contact Information

Dennis Foust, Senior Minister - 704-359-7234 (cell); 704-333-5428, ext. 12
Lee Gray, Minister for Congregational Care - 704-451-1309 (cell); 704-333-5428, ext. 15
Allison Benfield, Minister for Spiritual Growth - 828-448-8412 (cell); 704-333-5428, ext. 18
Kevin Gray, Minister for Music and Worship - 803-524-0287 (cell); 704-333-5428, ext. 14
Jacquelyn McAbee, Church Administrator - 434-579-1177 (cell); 704-333-5428, ext. 20
Mallory Brown- 704-477-3349 (cell)