by Fr. Kevin Warner
As I was getting ready for my trip to Michigan for a week of Continuing Education and some vacation, I received an unwelcome reminder: NEWSLETTER ARTICLES ARE DUE! I am sure many of you know the challenges that go with getting ready for an extended trip, made doubly difficult when one must make sure both home and work are covered. I doubt seriously I will be ready to leave when Saturday rolls around so please keep me, my family, and the staff at SJD in your prayers.
For some reason the deadline for writing this coincided with my finding a rejection letter from a church that I was sure I would be the next rector of, one that, in hindsight, I am glad turned me down since it meant I ended up here. The head of the Search Committee knew that I was the right person for the job, but they had employed a consultant who thought otherwise. That reminded me of the memo below; a fanciful “what if” Jesus had employed a consultant. All that said, I almost always have a consultant lead my vestry retreats, but every now and them they get one or two things wrong – as you will see in the following.
TO: Jesus, Son of Joseph. Woodcrafters shop. Nazareth.
FROM: Jordan Management Consultants. Jerusalem.
SUBJECT: Staff Aptitude Test.
DATE: May 22, 30 A.D.
Thank you for submitting the resumes of the 12 men you picked for management positions in your new organization. All of them have now taken our battery of tests, and we have not only run the results through our computer but also have arranged personal interviews for each of them with our psychologist and vocational consultant.
It is the staff opinion that most of your nominees are lacking in background, education, and vocational aptitude for the type of enterprise you are undertaking. They do not have the team concept. We would recommend that you continue your search for persons of experience in managerial ability and proven capability.
Simon Peter is emotionally unstable and given to fits of temper. Andrew has absolutely no qualities of leadership. The two brothers, James and John, the sons of Zebedee, place personal interest above company loyalty. Thomas demonstrates a questioning attitude that would tend to undermine morale. We feel that it is our duty to tell you that Matthew has been blacklisted by the Greater Jerusalem Better Business Bureau. James, the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddeus definitely have radical leanings, and they both registered a high score on the manic-depressive scale.
One of the candidates, however, shows great potential. He is a man of ability and resourcefulness, meets people well, has a keen business mind and has contact in high places. He is highly motivated, ambitious, and innovative. We recommend Judas Iscariot as your controller and right-hand man. All other profiles are self-explanatory.
We wish you every success in your new venture.
Simeon Jones, President
Jordan Management Consultants
II Timothy 1:11
From the Associate Rector
I was pleased to hear, some time back, that Father Kevin would be offering a trip to the Holy Land. I was disappointed, however, when I saw the brochure and noticed the trip did not include Egypt.
What a joy it was when I saw the current brochure and the addition of the trip to Egypt and the pyramids. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of the Egypt extension. While visiting one of “the seven wonders of the world” should be enough to include the addition, visiting Egypt can help to more completely understand our Christian heritage.
Consider the early scripture stories of Abraham, King Jeroboam, and the prophet Jeremiah. Then, there is the story of Moses and the Exodus, and the drama of Joseph in Egypt is one of the most fascinating in the Bible.
We read, too, of Mary and Joseph’s escape to Egypt to save Jesus from the massacre of innocent children.
Including Egypt in the trip gives a more complete picture of our Christian heritage. If you are able to make this pilgrimage, please consider the extension.
And PLEASE take a lot of pictures (with movies, if possible) to share with us upon your return. I’m sharing a few of mine with you including one taken on my day off, when I rented a little boat to float on the Nile.
Join us September 11th after the 9:15 AM service (11 AM - 2 PM) for fun, games, and food! We will have Water Slides, Dunk Tank, Burgers, Hot Dogs, and More as we welcome you all back to Church!
Holy Land Trip Changed to Include Pyramids
Our trip to the Holy Land has been modified to include Cairo and the Route of the Exodus. This means we will visit the Step Pyramid, the Great Pyramids and the Sphinx. Please pick up a brochure at the welcome desk or HERE! and sign up for this once-in-a-lifetime adventure! The trip is open to all interested people, whether or not they are members of SJD. Sign up and bring a friend!
A Lighted Path
Brenda and I live on two acres of land in Sundance, about five miles south of St. John Divine Church. The lot is long and quite narrow, shaped very much like two football fields placed end-to-end. We had our house built in the middle of the first “football field” and left the rest of the lot as natural Florida (pine trees and palmettos).
I cut a path to the back of the property and cleared an area near the middle of the second “football field.” This clearing is a peaceful place – a place to rest and commune with God and His creation. If I go back to this natural sanctuary during daylight it is an easy walk, but if I go at early dawn or late dusk, the path rudely reminds me how uneven the ground is, and I often trip and stumble. This very much reminds me of the journey of life in this world.
Holy Scripture reveals this: “Your Word is a lamp for my feet and a light on my path.” (Psalm 119:105, NIV). I’m going to suggest something radical to you – read your Bible. For decades the only Bible I read was the scraps that were printed in the Sunday bulletin, and maybe the occasional verse that was quoted at the top of a daily devotional. Then one Ash Wednesday I decided to read an entire chapter of the Bible every day as a Lenten discipline. That happened about half a lifetime ago.
The difference reading the Word of God daily has made in my life is enormous. Moses asked God, “...teach me Your ways so I may know You and continue to find favor with You.” (Exodus 33:13). I found, as I continued to read daily, that I was beginning to learn the ways of God. Knowing His ways has made a significant difference. The other thing I discovered is this is soooo easy. God made it easy to learn His ways. All you need to do is read.
People often tell me they are amazed with my knowledge of Scripture. There’s nothing amazing about it. I just read it every day. I would know it better if I had not wasted the first several decades of my life before I got started.
One Sunday service a week is not enough to learn the ways of God so that we can navigate this world’s pitfalls with the assurance that we have found favor with our Redeemer. We, as Episcopalians, have a major advantage over many of the other denominations. With our widespread use of the Book of Common Prayer, being Episcopalian requires literacy. That eliminates your excuse for not reading your Bible every day. Now you, too can learn the ways of God.
I love you, in Jesus’ name,
From the Jr Warden
Some of you know already know that St John Divine Episcopal Church is getting new windows. We have all seen the fogging and discoloring of the current windows so they are getting upgraded to Miami Dade Hurricane Standards. This will not only make our church safer but save us on our AC and Heating bills. The work will begin on July 25, 2022 starting at the back of the church (behind the altar) and will continue around to the front. The whole process will take approximately two weeks and will be done keeping in mind our worship service times and hopefully with little or no disruption of other programs. This is being funded through an insurance claim from November 2020, and yes, it has taken this long to get it moving. (Thank you Covid-19)
Other happenings around the grounds is that mowing will be taking place every Friday instead of whenever and it will keep our church looking good for Sunday Services.
We have been working diligently to get the church in good order as far as the grounds and repairs that have had to be made.
If you see something that needs attention please fill the proper form and drop in in my mailbox in the banner building and we will do our best to get it fixed, cleaned or replaced.
Many of you have asked about the building in the back of the Church. It is the new Healing Center and has been delayed by (you guessed it, Covid-19) along with numerous delays caused by the County and delay for inspection. Once this is done (very soon) it will be landscaped and provide a place for healing for not only our church members but our entire community. This will be a great asset to St John Divine and at no cost to the church. Prayers heal and we all are anxiously awaiting this new ministry.
Until next time
Steve Van Loan
Do you know of someone who would like prayer
Would you like to be a part of our Prayer Team?
Aston Gardens (SJD West)
On July 3rd, residents of Aston Gardens and members of Saint John the Divine gathered at Aston Gardens to celebrate the 4th of July weekend. The event started at around 4:30 p.m. in the afternoon with a barbeque. However, just as things were taking shape, torrential rains and lighting strikes forced operations to retire indoors. This did not dampen the love and levity shared by all gathered. There were lots of jokes, singing of favorite songs and entertainment on the piano. At the conclusion of the merriment and food, at around 5:45 p.m. everyone made their way to the recreation center for the usual church service at 6:00 p.m. The transition from all things fun to the seriousness of a church service was not lost. The 6:00 p.m. service at Aston Gardens has become a staple in the community after a year of existence. This group got started during the COVID pandemic. Initially, it was not truly open to the public as it was the intent not to have an overflow of attendance and just limit attendance to residents. Now, restrictions have been lifted and a warm invitation is extended to all regardless of their denomination.
When in the neighborhood on any given Sunday afternoon, do drop by. You will be warmly welcomed to an informal and warm service that lasts about an hour.
Hope to see you there!
Aubrey V. Thompson
August 2022 Collective Grief
Mass murders and other tragedies involving numerous innocent people continue. It is something that affects us all and we need to deal with it.
Here are some thoughts written by David Kessler, a grief specialist:
Collective grief is powerful but it’s not new. We grieve together as a society when tragedy strikes, or natural disasters hit, when someone who made an impact on our lives dies, and when innocent lives are taken. Ask anyone over 55 where they were when John F. Kennedy or Martin Luther King died. So many of us can't see a clear blue September morning without thinking of 9/11 and imagining the smoke of the towers. In times like these, we grieve for the victims and for their families.
We also grieve for the way we wish things were. We want to live in a world where people can safely go to the grocery store, send their children to school, and feel safe in our communities. The heaviness in the news can often compound our own feelings of grief for the personal losses with which are dealing.
Those of us who have experienced grief know its long shadow. People ask us how we can support each other as we grieve collectively. I would like to share these tips and I hope that you will find them helpful.
Express your grief and listen to those around you as they express theirs. Remember, we all grieve differently. Not everyone experiences collective grief with the same intensity. Engage with others, even if only online. The antidote to isolation is community. Think local. The communities that are affected directly have resources nearby in the short term. What can you do in your home, neighborhood, and town? Think small. Call a friend. Self-care. How are you taking care of yourself? Take media breaks. The news can be overwhelming.
The Grief Support Group at Saint John Divine offers more than just discussions for those who have lost someone. Grief is a natural process. It isn't a disorder or an illness. You may be grieving about anything you've lost, whether it's a loved one or a job or something that had meaning for you.
We meet every month on the 2nd and 4th Mondays at 10:00 AM in the Dons Room in the Banner building. When you feel the need, we can be there for you.
Fall brings gorgeous lush colors. Cooler weather, pumpkin spice and football – but best of all it brings the St John Divine Fall Festival, formerly known as the Christmas Bazaar.
The Fall Festival Team at St John Divine is getting ready to celebrate the re-opening of the Fall Festival. We will have both indoor and outdoor booths for you to browse as you think about Christmas presents or just something for you to enjoy.
We are inviting vendors to join us again this year to get you in the festive spirit. The Fall Festival featuring regular favorites where shoppers will be able to enjoy a range of professional designer/makers.
Homemade baked goods, which have been a hit with our customers, will be on hand to provide sweet treats.
The event is run by a team of volunteers of all ages from the church. This will be a special event and entry is free.
Please join us Saturday, November 19th from 10:00 – 3:00. Look forward to seeing you there.
Fall Festival Team Leader
Triple T Ministry
Being a Eucharistic Minister is a privilege and those who serve as Eucharistic Ministers feel that serving on God’s altar is a huge honor. The central and focal points of our church services all occur on the small raised area where worship is central and where the sacraments rest awaiting the moment when the bread and wine become the body and blood of Christ. Previously those who assisted at the altar were referred to as Lay Eucharistic Ministers or an LEM. More recently in our Diocese, it was determined that those serving are to be referred to simply as Eucharistic Ministers.
Chiefly, the main responsibility of serving on the altar is to serve the Lord and those He has ordained. At St. John there is training for persons who feel the call or have been invited and are shown the various duties. As directed by the Priest, duties may include carrying the cross or the torches and on certain occasions carrying the Bible for the Priest to read the gospel. The Sanctus bells that date back to the fifteenth century are rung by one of the Eucharistic Ministers as the Priest offers the sacraments. At each service one of the Eucharistic Ministers will assist the Priest as the sacraments are prepared and then may be asked to assist and offer the cup during communion.
St John is in need of additional Eucharistic Ministers. If you feel that this ministry might be something of interest to you, contact Aubrey Thompson, our Verger. He will give you information and welcome your questions. I love to tell the story of serving one Sunday and while sitting behind the altar I saw a beautiful child, an angel, playing and praising on the altar. She threw back her head and laughed. She filled me with such joy. Perhaps if you serve, she will visit you as well.
Sharon Van Loan
The St John Divine Altar Guild is looking for new members to join us. For those of you who may be interested but want to know more, here is a little background. Understand that Altar Guilds vary from church to church because they function under the direction of the priest of the church
Altar Guilds today are groups of men and women who are called to serve God by preparing and tending the places where Episcopalians worship. It is an offering of time and many talents. Altar Guild is a ministry of love undertaken in the name of Christ that goes on quietly behind the scenes.
Unlike in most other parish business or organizations, an Altar Guild is not intended to be involved in parish business or social matters; it has a special role as the priest’s liturgical partner in making the worship life of the parish go smoothly. Talent and know-how are always useful attributes for Altar Guild members, but loyalty and commitment are indispensable if the priest is to lead the parish in worship with equanimity,
Altar Guild work is truly a vocation: workers are “called” to it. Their response indicates a willingness, as Bishop Appleton Lawrence said years ago, “to give more of their time and of themselves than is usually asked by the Church.”
Altar Guild members are the quiet strength of a church, the strong support that enables the people of God to worship in beauty and holiness.
Interested? Contact information below. We’d love to hear from you.
Reference “The New Altar Guild Book”
Peace and Blessings,
THE BIGGEST, BEST,
MOST AMAZING BAKE SALE EVER!
FALL FESTIVAL COMING NOV. 19th
Cher and her team have already started making plans for the return of The Fall Festival.
Deb Wigmore with the help of Barbara Gentry is going to handle the Baked Goods Table.
We would LOVE every Church household to donate something. This is LOTS MORE than baked goods. Over the years folks have brought wonderful homemade jams, jellies, spaghetti sauces, etc.
So please start thinking about what you plan to contribute.
If your item has nuts, please put a note with it.
Please deliver it in a “give-away” pan, tray, jar, etc.
If you’d like to include a recipe, that would be great, and we can run them off in case buyers would like to have them.
In coming months, we will give you details on when to deliver your items.
For now JUST MARK YOUR CALENDAR.
Pete Noone - 8/1
Nancy MacDonald - 8/1
Cory-Jean Cox, Jr. - 8/3
Cheryl Clary - 8/3
Barbara Gentry - 8/4
Kathleen Bolduc - 8/5
Bea MacDonald - 8/6
Joanna Boley-Lee - 8/7
Connie Spillan - 8/7
Bob Mills - 8/10
William Schwolow - 8/10
Carol Collins - 8/10
Don Houck - 8/11
Joe Bradley - 8/12
Sue Arp - 8/13
Dorothy Rich - 8/14
Tobias Ayers - 8/14
Mary Whitman - 8/15
Sally Sutton - 8/16
Robert Cox, Jr. - 8/18
Ronald Davis - 8/21
Maureen Hill - 8/22
Janice Robinson - 8/22
Mike Gaudet - 8/24
Jamia Gordon - 8/27
John Hood - 8/28
Gene & Frances Doyle - 8/8
Kevin & Sue Warner - 8/9
Berne & Cheryl Clary - 8/10
Elmer & Meredith Joerg - 8/14
George & Diane Wiggins - 8/15
Joe & Jarrath Bradley - 8/19
Robert & Cory-Jean Cox, Jr. - 8/23
Lew & Mary Merrill - 8/24
Isabel & John DeTringo - 8/28
Howard Roshaven -- Sr. Warden, Steve Van Loan -- Jr. Warden, Val Bryant -- Clerk
Debbie Carlisle, Greg Diehl, Linda Duhn,
Don Fisher, Linda Floyd, Mary Lane Kullmann,
Ralph Powell, Doug Roderick, Clare Thompson, Jackie Winder
Clergy and Staff
The Rt. Rev. Dabney T. Smith
Bishop of the Diocese of Southwest Florida
The Rev. Kevin Warner - Rector
The Rev. Lee Miller - Associate Rector
Scott Gardner - Praise Leader, Valerie Southwell - Music Director
Tristan Warner - Media & Tech Specialist, Tommy Blair - A/V Assistant
Connie Minnoe - Accounting Administrator, Cheryl Savini - Receptionist
Denise Smalls, Angel Fujiwara - Nursery Attendants
Thomas Kreidler - Director of Christian Education
St. John Divine Episcopal Church
1015 E. Del Webb Blvd. Sun City Center, FL 33573