AUGUST NEWSLETTER
To the Glory of God and for the Common Good, we make God’s love known now and for generations to come through worship and service to all.
-- Mission Statement
adopted June, 2010
Letter from our Senior Warden
By: Andy Hamilton
What an interesting time we are living in, Zoom has become our window to the world. It’s how we see our distant family members, our work colleagues and even how we worship.   We hope that you’ve been able to worship with us this summer either on Zoom or at our Sunday Evening Prayer Service on the lawn. 

During our time of social distancing, we’ve had amazing groups of volunteers working hard at St. John’s. We continue our outreach with serving community meals at the Salvation Army once a month, as well as at our Second Saturday meal, which is now an outdoor BBQ.  In early summer we had the Big Red Truck food drive, which brought in a much-needed influx of food to the Bangor Area Homeless Shelter. On August 22nd, the Big Red Truck will be back for a “laundry drive” collecting new underwear, socks and toiletries for the Shelter. A huge thank you to all the volunteers who have worked so hard to reach out to the community. 

Our Interim Rector Search Committee worked with Canon Ambler and the Senior Warden to create the job description which will help us to find the right candidate to serve as Transition Priest for St. John’s for the coming years. Our Vestry voted to bring on board a three-year, three quarter time Transition Priest to help us to discern our needs and how to move forward together.  The listing for the position is expected to be posted within days and we hope that the Vestry can vote on a candidate at the end of September. We hope that the Interim Rector will join us beginning in November.

Another strong group of volunteers are the St. John’s Building Work Group (the “BWG”), who have studied our tower’s structural issues and have come up with a plan that our Vestry has approved. Sometime after Labor Day, our Belfry and Portico (the beige entry of the church) will be removed. It was determined by several engineers that the top of the tower is not stable and should not be left standing to face another Maine winter. The group came to the wise decision that once the Belfry is removed, a permanent roof will be put in its place. Now that’s not saying we will never replace the Belfry, but what it does is make the top of the tower waterproof for an extended time as we work to find the right replacement as well as funding. The new roof will be built in a manner that allows something to be placed on top of it, if and when the parish decides to do so in the future.

A huge thank you to the many volunteers who have worked so hard to make Morning Prayer and our Sunday Prayer services stream since the beginning of COVID both by doing the readings and working on the technical side and Deacon Ann’s tea group that has continued the social aspects of our longstanding coffee hour and has started to brainstorm volunteerism in the new era.  We know that Zoom church isn’t the same, but we thank you all for providing this meaningful worship and connecting experiences during this stressful time when they are needed more than ever.

And finally, a huge thank you to our Vestry, who have been meeting more often in these past months than normally and tackling countless urgent matters. I know the many individual contributions of the Vestry and could not have gotten through this mighty transition without your positive spirit and efforts. A big thank you to so many others in the Parish who have contributed efforts. Thank you.

Please keep an eye on your email for “This Week at St. John’s” and our Facebook page for updates as well as for opportunities to use your talents to volunteer in a group or to take part in a class.  St. John’s is stronger together as the Parish volunteer efforts get under way and the efforts will make the difference, both on Zoom and again in person as circumstances allow.
Interim Rector Description
St. John’s Episcopal Church in Bangor, Maine, is seeking a Priest-in-Charge for a three-year term following the planned departure of their Rector in October 2020. This will be either a three- quarters-time position or a full-time position. During the final six months of the Priest-in-Charge’s call, the congregation will actively search for its next Rector. In order to enable the congregation and the Priest-in-Charge to do most effectively the work of the interim, the Priest- in-Charge will not be a candidate for Rector.

Diagonal Thoughts
By: Deacon Ann
As many of you have heard, Tea Time with Phoebe (the Holy Guinea Pig) continues at 1700 (5pm) on Sunday evenings. The inspiration for the title of this gathering is a black-and-white stuffed critter that was given to me when I was in the Deacon Formation program, now over 10 years hence. My Deacon Formation Director was newly appointed to the position, so at the end of the year, gave one of these stuffed animals to me as well as to my companion in the program, saying that we were her “Holy Guinea Pigs.”Given that in these times of the COVID-19 pandemic it feels like someone volunteered us to take part in a big experiment, to have a Phoebe the Holy Guinea Pig as our companion seemed appropriate. What started as an experiment, way back on 22 March, has continued to evolve. Some people have come only once or twice, some return almost weekly. We still welcome others – feel free to drop in when you can, and leave when you need. We have learned to navigate ZOOM, and take turns talking. Some say it is like coffee hour, but with fewer distractions. Instead of eating, we more often talk about ways to feed others. What is church? That is a question which we bump up against frequently in one way or the other in our conversations. [And we have not solved that riddle yet – so we still welcome other voices!] But we do know that church is a lot more than the building. And one way we are church, God’s gathered people, present in the world, is expressed in several activities of feeding our neighbors, such as the Big Red Truck Food Drive. Thanks to everyone who helped to make that a successful event by filling up the truck with non-perishables for the Bangor Area Homeless Shelter, as well as collecting about $300 that also went to the BAHS food pantry. Now we look forward to the next appearance of Big Red on 22 August for the Laundry Basket Drive.

​At tea time we are DONE WITH SOCIAL DISTANCING – because at our last Tea Time, we realized that while we were physically distant, we are very much socially connected. While I do really ache to “return to normal” the pandemic has pushed us to experiment, to be Holy Guinea Pigs, and to practice ways to be church outside a building. God’s mission has a church, and that is us. Go in peace, to love and serve the Lord.

To Join Tea Time with Phoebe at 5 pm on Sundays, CLICK HERE
Why are the alleluias still in the living room?
By: Anne-Marie Miller
That was a question I got the other day from my spouse. Fair enough to ask-- Easter is long over. I've taken back most of the program items I had brought home during the shutdown. But the alleluias are still sitting right there. Occasionally the dog pushes the gold chest somewhere, using his nose (he has a big nose). But mostly they just sit right next to the desk, right next to where I knit and read in the evenings.

We took our family vacation a few weeks ago, driving thirty miles to the coast. Outside, walking by the ocean, I found my mind drifting to the program for the fall. I imagined obstacle and obstacle, blocking what I had imagined we'd be doing. Obstacles blocking our programs, obstacles blocking my own life in the church, obstacles in the way of my family's dreams for this year. Like many parents I've talked to, the COVID epidemic has really tested me. I often feel like I am just not doing enough, or the right things, and that I’m failing my kids. On a normal day, I think we've done just fine (well, even!) but these haven't been normal days. One thing I often feel I’ve failed at for myself, as well as for my kids-- is the practice of hope.

Adult Education: 2020-2021
By: Patricia Sprague
The Adult Formation & Education program at St John’s is about to begin! As usual, there will be book discussions, Quiet Days, and other small group activities. We will, however, be shifting from an in-person format to primarily meeting online, via Zoom or in closed Facebook groups. While there are negatives to not being physically together, operating primarily online opens up a range of possibilities for enhanced learning and formation as part of a small group or as individuals. Much of this will be supported by our parish website.

More details will be forthcoming, but for now here is a brief preview of the 2020-21 program year.

Laundry Drive
August 22, Teatime with Phoebe ( a St. John's small group) and the St. John's Episcopal Youth Group will be holding a "Big Red Laundry Hamper" drive at St. John's from 9-11 AM. We are looking for donations of new, unopened underwear and socks for both men and women and hygiene items, especially deodorant. We are going to be donating everything we receive to the Bangor Homeless Shelter. We will also be doing porch pickup and online donation. Email youth@stjohnsbangor.org for porch pickup, donate on our website, or come in person with your donations.
St. John's Episcopal Church
"To the Glory of God and for the Common Good, we make God's love known
now and for generations to come through worship and service to all..."
234 French Street
Bangor, Maine 04401