Volume 6, Number 45 | August 26, 2019
August Newsletter
OUR UPCOMING EVENTS!
Soup Kitchen
Extra help is needed for our monthly serving at the soup kitchen.  We are scheduled to serve the fourth Tuesday of the month at the Salvation Army, from 10 am to 1:30 pm. Our next scheduled date is Tuesday, August 27th. For more information, please see Nancy Henry or Phil Ulrich or call the office at 947-0156.
Choir BBQ
Do you love to sing? Please consider being a part of our children’s or adult choirs this coming year. Returning and prospective members are invited to attend an opening BBQ on Wednesday, September 4th at 5:30 pm . It's a great chance to meet our friendly choristers, to learn about the program (rehearsals Wednesdays) and to meet with our Director of Music, Dr. Webb Parker. The BBQ begins at Mo. Rita's home at 21 Grove Street for dinner and concludes at Dr. Parker's home across the street for dessert and singing around the piano. Please bring your favorite BBQ side dish or dessert to share. We ask that you please RSVP to the office, 947-0156 or by email at office@stjohnsbangor.org so that we know how many people to plan for.
Feast of the Holy Cross
Please join us on September 14 th at 9 am for the Feast of the Holy Cross to honor Christ’s victory upon the cross. 
Second Saturday
Extra help is needed for our monthly serving at Second Saturday, hosted here in the Undercroft.  We are scheduled to serve next on September 14th from 11:30 am - 1:30 pm.  No need to sign up in advance, or even commit to coming monthly. Just stop in to help out when you can. For more information, please see Nancy Henry or Phil Ulrich or call the office at 947-0156.
Parish Picnic
Mark your calendar for the Parish Picnic on September 15th, following the 10 am service here at the church. Please bring a dessert or salad to share at the picnic and lots of nonperishable goods to help us meet the "Red Truck Challenge" by filling Jim Blanchette's truck with food for the Food Cupboard of the Bangor Area Homeless Shelter. RSVP to the church at 947-0156 or to office@stjohnsbangor.org .
Newcomers Brunch
Save the Date! Newcomers Brunch is on Sunday September 29th following the 10 am service. No matter how long you’ve been coming, if you feel new, we’d love for you to attend and to meet some parishioners, vestry, and clergy over delicious food, please come to the Newcomers Brunch. RSVP to the office.
Rummage Sale
Saturday October 19 - As you transition from summer to fall, please save items for our fall sale. Clothing changes, kids outgrowing outfits, left over nice items from your own yard sales, downsizing/weeding out, books you've finished reading, jewelry you never wear, toys/games you don't need anymore etc. More info. will follow next month. Thanks.
Rector's Letter
It wasn’t August 6th, the feast of the Transfiguration. It was August 9th. Still, I found myself on a mountaintop. It was my first time on Mt. Katahdin, hiking with family and friends, and just below Tablelands vast plateau, I paused with my hiking partner to look out at the view below: the mountains in the distance, the ponds and lakes below, the green of the trees spreading out in every direction - it was breathtaking. As I rested and looked, I was amazed by the clarity and the perspective that the mountain afforded me. 

Perhaps that was how Jesus’ disciples also felt on the mountain of transfiguration. They were dazzled by the light that surrounded Jesus, and drawn into it. There they “saw” Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus. They didn’t know what to say, but they could listen. Together they heard the voice of God say, “This is my son, my beloved. Listen to him.” And then they had to come down - for that’s what Jesus told them to do, even if they wanted to stay. 

But for those brief moments, even though they were blinded by light and saw impossible sights, I wonder if they felt like finally they had clarity and perspective. If that was uncreated light - the light of God from before creation- and if they saw time in an eternal moment where the living and dead are alive in God, then while everything looked different and strange, they might have felt like they saw with a new clarity and perspective. Isn’t it the light of eternity that gives us clarity and perspective about this life, helping us to see what matters and what lasts? Without it, the easier it is to believe that this life is all that there is and “misperceive” the value and meaning of people, events and things.

Coming down the mountain on August 9th, ready to come back to Bangor and to St. John’s, I hoped to bring some summer perspective and clarity with me. Along the way, I tripped and fell. Thankfully nothing broke, but I did twist my ankle badly and then had to walk out slowly for over three miles on a bad foot. If you’ve seen me since my return, you’ve seen the crutches (but hopefully I’ll be walking without them within the week). Full recovery is estimated to be 4-6 weeks and, until then, I will be moving slowly.
Moving slowly though may be exactly what I need to gain the perspective I longed for back on the mountain. We live in anxious times - in our world, in our country, and of course (currently) in our church family as the building around us demands repair. When anxious, there is often internal and external pressure to do something, to take action, to stay busy - even just to quell the anxiety. Doing more or going faster, or even just doing something, doesn’t necessarily help address our fears or the situation at hand, but it can make us feel less helpless because we’re acting.

I’m grateful for my bum leg right now, for having to move slowly. I feel more helpless than ever as I ask for assistance to eat and dress, and go to appointments. Rather than rush to do something, this leg is helping me remember that my help, our help, is in God - who tells us again and again to wait patiently upon him, to listen to him and follow him, to trust in him. Moving slowly helps me rely not on myself but on God - and relying on God is the only way to move through anxious times without becoming anxious

On the mountain, before my fall, I also remember stopping to rest at multiple points and seeing among the rocks small white flowers growing. Often as I hiked I didn’t notice them or I only noticed them in passing, but I didn’t really see them until I slowed down, until I paused. Learning to see God’s hand at work and becoming aware of his Spirit’s presence and leading is like seeing those flowers. It’s much easier to see and appreciate when I move slowly, when I pause. Our awareness of the Spirit’s presence is what makes it possible to trust. It is the antidote to our anxiety.
Perhaps it is more than coincidence (perhaps it more like ironic tragedy) that anxiety can make us speed up and do more, and that we may have a temporary relief from the sense that we’re doing something - that we are taking action, taking control, but that that response cuts us off even more from the slow awareness of God’s presence that actually and truly addresses our anxiety and quells it. 

I wish us all beautiful slow last days of summer. And as the fall comes quickly, and the pace of life speeds up, may we find slow moments together and apart when God’s Spirit awakens our hearts and minds to his presence. May we help each other to move a little slower. Together may we grow in our trust in God - in all that lies before us.

Yours faithfully,
Mo. Rita +
ASPIRE 2025
ASPIRE 2025 , St. John’s 5-year capital campaign to repair the church, reinvigorate our church programming and expand our community ministry is underway. During the past two months, Claudia Dymond, in consultation with Mo. Rita, the Vestry and the Vision Committee, has been inviting the St. John’s community to volunteer for the four campaign committees, identifying potential grants and foundations and drafting campaign materials, such as a brochure and press kit, for everyone’s use during our external outreach.

Furthermore, the Vision Committee and Vestry are reviewing the submitted bids from masonry companies for the repair work and plan to make their decision by the end of September. Therefore, Phase I—which will correct the critical problems - will begin in Spring 2020.

Of the project’s overall $2.25M cost, Phase I is approximately $1.4M. This is why your participation in ASPIRE 2025 is crucial . Each of the four committees—Grants and Foundations, Extended Family, Major Gifts and Community Connections—seeks additional volunteers. However, if you’re not able to join a committee at this time , you can still assist us with suggestions for grant research or outreach to potential donors.

For example, we’re creating a list of former members of St. John’s (people who live in the area but no longer attend or people who have moved away) to inform them of the campaign and ask for a donation. We’re also seeking donations from residents and businesses in the Greater Bangor community.

Who do you know who could make a donation to ASPIRE 2025?

Refer your contact to us by completing the attached form and sending the form to Claudia at campaign@stjohnsbangor.org .

Thank you for your devotion to St. John’s.
Haitian Youth Choir and Chamber Ensemble Concert
  The Haitian Youth Choir "Les Petits Chanteurs" of Holy Trinity Music School in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, will begin a 24-city U.S. concert tour with eight stops in Maine, beginning in Newcastle on August 24 th and ending in Bangor on Labor Day, before heading to other states. This highly regarded 30-voice choir of girls and boys, together with the school's eight-piece Chamber Ensemble, will perform on Monday, September 2 nd at 7 pm in the Nave of St. John's Episcopal Church, with a reception to follow. Their program will showcase Haiti's rich musical traditions and feature choral and instrumental arrangements of Haitian folk and sacred music.
 
The concert will be a benefit to support the Holy Trinity Music School. There is no admission charge but free-will donations will be gratefully accepted. The Music School is a part of the Episcopal Diocese of Haiti's Holy Trinity Cathedral complex, which was destroyed in the earthquake that struck Haiti in January 2010. Since the collapse of their school buildings and concert hall, they do not have a permanent space in which to practice, give instruction, or perform. This tour serves to increase awareness that high-level musical instruction continues in Haiti even as the rebuilding effort is ongoing. In the words of school director Fr. David Cesar, "The concert tour of Les Petits Chanteurs and the Chamber Ensemble is vital to our music program. ... To have Les Petits Chanteurs tour the United States on our behalf, telling our story, provides hope for all of us – our orchestra members, teachers, students, administrators, parents and supporters. The music will never stop."
 
Parishioners of St. John's, with help from other area congregations, will host the musicians while they are in Bangor. Space for a pre-concert meal has been generously offered by St. Mary's Catholic Church of St. Paul the Apostle Parish. Other activities for our guests are being arranged. Please note that additional help is still needed in various capacities, including overnight hosting, on the day of the concert.

For more information, or to volunteer to host or help, please contact the St. John's Office (947-0156) or email Sarah Danser at srwarden@stjohnsbangor.org . And please come on September 2 nd to hear and support this wonderful group of young musicians.

Sunday School & Youth News
Children, Youth, and Families

Our summer began with a wonderful youth mission trip to Cambridge. Our kids served in feeding ministries, preparing meals, cleaning up and having some great interactions with guests and with other volunteers. As always, I was proud to be with our group—they worked hard and were respectful and kind. It was truly a pleasure for David, Scott and I to spend time serving with them (and also having some fun walking around Cambridge and visiting the Science Museum, as well as eating in the North End.) Most of our group then went to Portland for the consecration of Bishop Thomas. Rachel and Adam both attended, and our other members watched it on Livestream while playing a rousing game of Bishop Bingo (Sophia won!). A number of kids and leaders from the diocese joined us at St. David’s and we had a night of games centered around the Way of Love, and a lot of tasty meals. In the morning, we went to hear the Presiding Bishop, and got the pleasure of meeting him briefly and then assisted with the service. Our group was surprised and thrilled to be seated front and center—and what a joy it was to hear Bishop Curry speak. It was a really wonderful experience for all of us.
Our other news of the summer has been preparing our nursery to have water damage repaired. The youth have assisted with moving furniture, ripping carpet, and priming walls and the renovations are underway right now. We are all looking forward to moving back into a beautiful new nursery in just a few weeks.

Our programs begin with Youth Sunday and Youth Sundaes on September 8. We’ll worship together at 10 am, then enjoy an ice cream social and the bouncy house on the parish lawn. Registration forms for all programs will be available, and teachers will be available for questions. Our children’s chapel (Elementary kids) and Wigglers (3-6) programs begin September 15. Elementary-aged children worship with their families, depart for an age-appropriate Liturgy of the Word, and rejoin families at the Peace. Our youngest children gather at 10 am and can either rejoin families at the Peace or go to the nursery. Alisa Wing, Faith Erhardt, and Jenny Haluska will be teaching in our older group, and Anne-Marie Miller and Cheryl Beitzel will be teaching the Wigglers. Basic art materials and legos will be available at coffee hour for children to continue responding to the story, and on the second and fourth Sundays, there will be special crafts, games or activities planned for coffee hour, related to our learning. This fall we will begin with Abraham and Sarah, Joseph and the Coat of Many Colors, the Passover and the Ten Best Ways to Live. As always, our children’s program focuses on love, respect, and community as we strive to live like Jesus and love like Jesus. Please let Anne-Marie know if you have any questions or concerns.

Families of young children (6 and under) have a few special opportunities this fall, beginning with a park playdate on Saturday, September 21, at Fairmount Park at 4 pm. We are also planning a Parent’s Night Out in October. We hope you will join us!

Junior YES will be meeting on first Saturday evenings (530-730) and third Sunday afternoons. We’ll be eating pizza, playing games, watching movies, and focusing on the Way of Love throughout the year. David Ulrich and Cassy Palmer will be our leaders again, and we are looking forward to trying a new way of meeting in hopes we can accommodate our teen’s busy schedules. BRING A FRIEND! Friends are always welcome at youth group activities. Kick-off is September 7 at 5:30 pm.

Senior YES continues confirmation prep with Scott Burgess and Anne-Marie Miller, meeting first and third Sundays of the month. We will continue our service to the community through Second Saturday and other activities. A few fundraisers for our Taize trip are also being planned.
Education & Formation

Adult Education & Formation, 2019-2020:

The Adult Education & Formation program year is about to start, once again bringing a variety of opportunities to grow closer to God through individual and group study, discussion, and prayer. A brochure listing book discussions, seminars, and other offerings will soon be available. 

2 nd Annual 50-Day Bible Challenge: The Gospel of Matthew . Our first adventure together will again be a communal reading of scripture. Matthew is the gospel for Year A of the Revised Common Lectionary, which begins the first Sunday of Advent. Studying Matthew prior to Advent will enhance our understanding and appreciation of the weekly lectionary throughout the coming Church year.  A Journey with Matthew (edited by Marek Zabriskie) provides meditations and prayers to accompany the daily readings. There will be two evening discussions (with a supper of soup and bread) on October 3 rd and 24 th from 6 - 7:30 pm in the Bangor Room, and a wrap-up meeting at coffee hour on November 10 th in the Undercroft. A table will also be reserved at coffee hour each Sunday for anyone wishing to discuss the prior week’s readings and reflections. More details and support materials will be available as we get closer to the September 22 nd starting date. If anyone would like parish staff to order for them A Journey with Matthew , contact the office (947-0156). We will be searching for “new” and “like new” copies on the internet, which we will then offer for the average price. This should result in substantial savings over the list price, but we will need to know how many to buy, so please let us know if you’re interested.
St. John's Episcopal Church | 207-947-0156 | stjohnsbangor.org