St. John's at the Crossroads
March 27, 2020 
Parish News
Rector's Corner: A Time for Perspective RectorsCorner
A Time for Perspective

Table of Contents
Please click on any of the following event or article headlines to be taken to that section of the newsletter.
Parish News (Continued) ParishNew
Shabbat: A Sacred Time for Rest EcoActionArticle
by Jay Mallin, Eco-Action Team Member

A friend who's a lifetime resident tells me that my neighborhood in Silver Spring was founded at least in part as a place where Jews could buy homes in the Washington suburbs. It was a time - the 1950's - when the racial covenants that kept Jews, African Americans, and others from home ownership in many of these suburbs had been ruled unconstitutional, but the restrictions were still enforced by many homeowners, realtors, and homeowners' associations. Another long-time resident likes to tell the story of how he was fetched to a neighbor's house early one Saturday morning to turn off a burner on their stove. "They were observing Shabbat and couldn't do it themselves," says Al, who is not Jewish and so could operate a stove on the sabbath.

The neighborhood demographics have shifted since then, but our listserv was still talking about Shabbat this week as a viral (pun intended) poem about coronavirus was making the rounds. Forgive me if you've already seen it. Entitled "Pandemic" and written by Lynn Ungar, a California woman who is both Jewish and a Unitarian minister, the poem asks readers whose daily lives are restricted due to the coronavirus to consider: "What if you thought of it / as the Jews consider the Sabbath - / the most sacred of times?"

Of course the virus threat and response that we are all living under now - fear, illness, threat of death, economic shocks that will most affect those least able to weather them - are anything but sacred. But for those of us safe and healthy but confined to home, this enforced time of quiet has many intersections with the practice of Shabbat.

As Jesus taught, the sabbath was made to benefit people, not the other way around.  By mandating a work week limited to six days, it lifted the Israelites (and any foreigners around) from the level of slaves. In the Hebrew Bible there's also a mandate to observe a Sabbath year of rest every seven years, intended to regenerate the land (plowing and cultivation of crops were forbidden), aid the poor and even wild animals (what did grow belonged to anyone who cared to pluck it), and prevent the formation of a permanent underclass (all debts were to be forgiven).

To be honest, a modern-day version of Shabbat also underlies many of the pledges proposed this Lent by the Eco-Task Force. In presenting them to the congregation, we talked about their practicality - save money, save time, save the planet. But many of them can be understood as spiritual disciplines, and this is in fact how many of us really experience them, from saving energy to making compost.  Just consider riding mass transit, in healthier times. A single trip can include such old-fashioned "Christian" virtues as patience ("My app says the bus is still six minutes away"), humility ("I don't get to drive this thing or choose the route"), and love of neighbor ("That young man's taste in music and choice of vocabulary are very different from mine, but he does have a lovely singing voice").

For those who haven't seen it and with hopes that everyone stays healthy so that this time can serve as something more than a Netflix binge or dread house arrest for all of us, here is Lynn Unger's poem in full:

What if you thought of it
as the Jews consider the Sabbath-
the most sacred of times?
Cease from travel.
Cease from buying and selling.
Give up, just for now,
on trying to make the world
different than it is.
Sing. Pray. Touch only those
to whom you commit your life.
Center down.
And when your body has become still,
reach out with your heart.
Know that we are connected
in ways that are terrifying and beautiful.
(You could hardly deny it now.)
Know that our lives
are in one another's hands.
(Surely, that has come clear.)
Do not reach out your hands.
Reach out your heart.
Reach out your words.
Reach out all the tendrils
of compassion that move, invisibly,
where we cannot touch.
Promise this world your love-
for better or for worse,
in sickness and in health,
so long as we all shall live.

Apply for a Norwood Parish Fund Grant: Due March 31NPF 
From March 13th through March 31st, the Norwood Parish Fund (NPF) Board will accept grant applications for Spring 2020.
Grants are available to organizations or parishioners for:
  • St. John's capital needs,
  • Outreach ministries,
  • Seed money for new ministries and special one-time projects, and
  • Other highly meritorious purposes that are similar to, but do not precisely fit, the three categories above and that fulfill St. John's mission to develop its ministries or may be a catalyst for projects that are beyond what it is possible to fund through annual operating funds.
Dozens of grants have been funded since the creation of the NPF in 2002. In the past, NPF funds have contributed to significant initiatives in the life of the parish, including establishing the Journey to Adulthood (J2A) program and the Come As You Are 5:00 pm service. NPF funds have likewise funded: major outreach and property projects, refurbishing the kneelers, updating the St. John's web site, and most recently, our new lawn sign on Wisconsin Avenue.  
How do I apply?
Complete the online application here: NPF Spring 2020 Grant Application
Completed grant applications must be submitted via the google form. If you have trouble using the Google form application, please contact the NPF chair at .
What happens next?
Grant money is available for distribution through a competitive review by the NPF Board, with final award approval made by the Vestry. Applications submitted after March 31, 2020 will not be considered for this round of funding. The next opportunity will be in the fall of 2020.
Please contact the NPF Chair via email: .
Members of the NPF Board: Johnna Story, Chair; Earle O'Donnell, Co-Chair for Planned Giving; Alice Consolvo; Susan Hebert; Wan Kim; John Stewart, Senior Warden; and Sari Ateek, Rector.

Vestry Highlights Vestry
by Pat Cascio, Secretary for Rector and Wardens

At its March 17, 2020, meeting, the Vestry:
  • Heard from Senior Warden John Stewart that he had met productively with the mayor of the Town of Chevy Chase to discuss the Town Council's action adopting new street parking limitations near the church.
  • Heard from Rector Sari Ateek that the April pilgrimage to the Holy Land had been cancelled due to travel restrictions in response to the current coronavirus.
  • Approved drawing $4,500 from Property Reserves to repair damaged paver stones at the Wisconsin Avenue entrance.
  • Discussed a report from Julie Grohovsky and Maura Lynch on their findings relating to increased security and emergency preparedness for the church: what steps have been taken and what future actions might be considered.
  • Discussed St. John's response to the coronavirus, including closing the church to meetings, promoting online meetings, offering online services on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and offering some financial assistance for those in need in the parish.
The meeting took place, pursuant to Diocesan guidance, via a live online videoconference .
The next Vestry meeting will be on Tuesday, April 21, 2020, online.
To see prior Vestry minutes, go to:  Past Vestry Minutes

How to Give to St. John's During Closure GivingInfo
The COVID-19 crisis has created a lot of economic uncertainty, creating hardships for many individuals and businesses in our community. Recognizing these realities, St. John's is deeply grateful for your continued financial support during these unpredictable times. If you are still in a financial position to support our ministry, below are are a few different ways to make your contribution:
  1. Donate online through Breeze. You can use the drop-down menu to select any fund you would like to give to, including your pledge.
  2. Text (301) 685-7608. If this is your first time making a text donation, you will be directed to an online form to set up text donation information in Breeze. You can use keyword "pledge" to give towards your pledge.
  3. Mail us a check. Our mailing address is 6701 Wisconsin Avenue, Chevy Chase, MD 20815. At this time, our Accounts Manager, Teresa Gill, is going into the office once a week to manage mail and checks. If this becomes infeasible at any time, we will let you know.
If St. John's is your home church and you are in need of financial assistance, please contact Sari directly at

Thank You ThankYou
Shepherd's Table ShepherdsTable
The Shepherd's Table group meets monthly on Outreach Sundays to prepare meals for the Shepherd's Table and the Dorothy Day Center. Last Sunday was no exception, though they did take some extra measures to observe social distancing! We'd like to thank Julia Andrews, Melanie Folstad, Rick McUmber, Scott McNulty, Charlotte McNulty, Brooke Lindsay, Robert Burchell, and Lee Gillespie-White for being dedicated volunteers of Shepherd's Table and for serving our community through thick and thin.

Worship Worship
Worship and Prayer Services WorshipPrayer
Sunday, March 29, 10:00 am Worship & Agape Feast Worship Service Leaflet
Tuesday, March 31, 10:00 am Morning Prayer Morning Prayer Leaflet
Thursday, April 2, 7:00 pm Evening Prayer Evening Prayer Leaflet

We've simplified the process for accessing worship and prayer services and you can now use the same link and meeting ID to access all three! You can join by:
  1. Web browser:
  2. Zoom Cloud Meetings App (Android Play Store | Apple Store): Meeting ID 301-654-7767
  3. Call 1-301-715-8592: Meeting ID 301-654-7767# (then # again after prompt)
  4. YouTube live stream 
A leaflet for each service is available for download above for those that would like to follow along.

Contemplative Prayer ContemplativePrayer
by Toni Hartman, Spiritual Practices Coordinator

While our practice of joining together in contemplative prayer has been temporarily interrupted, it has not been ended. Those of us who have been gathering in St. Mary's Chapel have committed to praying collectively from our own homes each Wednesday at 7:00 pm until we can join each other again in person at St. John's. We will hold each other in awareness as we pray individually together and invite you to do the same.

To join our contemplative prayer practice, visit the Shalem Institute page and click on the "Shalem Timer" video (located just below the header image and above the "Resources" heading). You will hear a bell to call you to prayer for twenty minutes with a video of gentle rain falling and then another bell to end prayer time. May this time be sacred to you and fill you with peace and hope.

Grow Grow
Adult Forum: March 29, 11:00 am AdultForum
by Tim Dobbyn, Parishioner

St. John's is excited to restart our adult forum series online this coming Sunday! This forum  will feature a presentation by parishioner Tim Dobbyn on Mervyn Bishop, Australia's first indigenous news photographer. 

Bishop's journey from an outback town to the staff of the Sydney Morning Herald is a tale of race, justice, faith, and blind generosity. Born in 1945, Bishop gained a traineeship at the newspaper  in 1963. That was just a year after Aborigines gained the right to vote in federal elections, and four years before a national referendum began dismantling the rest of Australia's version of apartheid.

Bishop won the Nikon-Walkley Australian Press Photographer of the Year award in 1971 and four years later took a photograph of Prime Minister Gough Whitlam that has become an iconic image of the late progressive politician pouring a fistful of soil into the hands of Aboriginal elder Vincent Lingiari. His work has been the subject of dozens of exhibitions in the last three decades and his life story has featured in a festival at the Sydney Opera House.

Tim, a former journalist with Australian Associated Press and Reuters, is working on a biography of Bishop.

To join Sunday's Adult Forum, go to If you are using the Zoom app or calling by telephone (301-715-8592), use meeting ID 971-144-722. You can also watch the forum on our YouTube livestream.

Make a DifferenceMakeADifference
Support Bethesda Cares BethesdaCares
Our most vulnerable populations will be the most impacted by the ongoing pandemic. In the face of this challenge, Bethesda Cares is committed to continuing its great work serving those experiencing homelessness in a compassionate and responsible manner.

At this time, the best way to assist Bethesda Cares in their work is through monetary donations. These donations are going towards purchasing specialty items to do virtual home visits with clients in their housing program and purchasing food in bulk. You can make a donation through the Bethesda Cares website.

If you would like to donate items, the biggest need is for non-perishable food items. Bethesda Cares has requested that these items be shipped to their office (7728 Woodmont Ave, Bethesda, MD 20814) by a grocery delivery service. 

You can read more about how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting the homeless and homeless services, including Bethesda Cares in this  Washington Post article.

If you have any questions, please contact

Thank you for helping us care for our community!

St. John's Coronavirus Community Survey COVID19
Do you need assistance getting needed supplies or transportation to appointments during the social distancing measures? Could you use some help with the technology aspects of quarantined life? Or, are you are available to help those in need? If so, please fill out this survey.

St. John's staff and volunteers are actively working to connect our parishioners and make sure everyone is cared for during the novel coronavirus crisis and will reach out to respondents soon.

Resources for the Coronavirus Crisis Resources
St. John's is a member of the Faith Advisory Council of Montgomery Council. This group is working hard to make sure that our community has all the information it needs to make a faithful response to the COVID-19 crisis. They have gathered resources for food and emergency assistance, healthcare, life at home, worship and spiritual practices technological assistance, volunteering and donating, and more. You can find their resource page here.

St. John's has also launched a new resources page on our website. At the top, you'll find resources specific to the coronavirus crisis, including a list of grocery stores with special hours for vulnerable populations and information for uninsured Marylanders about signing up for Maryland Health Connections during this special enrollment period (ends April 15). 

Further below on that same page, you'll find more general resources that we have found useful in assisting community members. Many of the organizations listed here are also offering special forms of assistance during the crisis.

If you have any questions or helpful suggestions to add to our resource page, please email Alex Duncan at

2020 Census Census
by Carolyn Peirce, Faith in Action Member

Sometime during these past few days you should have received your 2020 Census form. Census information is used to determine political representation and drive the distribution of over $675 billion in federal funding. Amazingly, it's estimated that every Marylander not counted in the 2020 Census will cost the state $18,250 in funding over the course of ten years. These resources are essential to the well-being of all of our neighbors, supporting schools, hospitals, fire departments, and more. Responses to the 2020 Census are safe, secure, and protected by federal law. They cannot be used against respondents in any way.

If you haven't already done so, please go online, use the Census ID that has been sent to you. It's easy and only takes about 5 minutes. The information on how to reply is clearly written on the form. The deadline is April 1st, so the time to do it is now!

If you have any question please contact Anne Derse ( or Carolyn Peirce (

Join the Lenten Eco-Action Pledge JoinPledge

St. John's is embarking on a Lenten journey of spiritual growth through our Eco-Pledge Program. There are many different ways that you can join this pledge and commit to creation care by making specific changes in food, transportation, home energy use and consumption. You can learn more or join the Lenten Eco-Pledge here.

Stephen Ministers: Christ Caring for People Through PeopleStephenMinisters
That's the motto of Stephen Ministry. The Stephen Minister's role is to bring God's love into the lives of people who are going through a difficult time or experiencing a crisis. 

What do Stephen Ministers do? They listen, care, support, encourage, and pray with and for a person who is hurting. And in the midst of this confidential, one-to-one, caring relationship, God's healing love comes pouring through.

If someone you know is facing a crisis-large or small-and could benefit from the caring presence of a Stephen Minister, talk to one of our Stephen Leaders:  Penny Winder, John Mertens, Rob Hartmann, or Toni Hartman ( Stephen Ministers are ready to care for you!

Build Community BuildCommunity
Social Distancing Doesn't Mean Social Isolation Neighbor
by the Neighbor-2-Neighbor Team 

As we follow CDC guidelines and rules from the governor, hunkering down to prevent community spread of COVID-19, we run the risk of becoming socially isolated without our usual work routines, volunteer activities, clubs, gym visits, and church services. 

Fortunately, at St. John's we have the benefit of our electronic directory, Breeze, and Neighbor-2-Neighbor to ward off feelings of isolation! Rev. Sari suggested that to feel connected and to feel that we are caring for one another, we can call people we are thinking about, those "God puts on our hearts." In addition to the printed parish directory, we would like to explain these parish resources.

With a few clicks in the Breeze database, you can find parishioners, some possibly within walking distance of your home. Your St. John's neighbors might be interested in a walk through the neighborhood or a telephone chat. Offers to visit the grocery store or to share a favorite book may be welcome, too. A friendly wave from the sidewalk could result in smiles and appreciation from those living alone or managing a house full of family.

How do you use Breeze to find your friends or neighbors? First or last name in the search bar will help you locate a fellow parishioner. Also, our parish community is aggregated into neighborhoods, so you can easily find members of St. John's family who are your near neighbors. Choose "Tags," then "Fence Breakers (Neighborhood groups)." The names of neighborhoods will appear. Clicking on a neighborhood will produce a list of parishioners in that area. 

The Neighbor-2-Neighbor team used Google maps to name the groups and identify parish families by neighborhood. Feel free to look around at other neighborhoods or choose a ministry in which you participate to find someone you know.

Don't have a Breeze account? Contact to get one set up . If you lack a neighborhood tag, we can help with that too. Contact Barbara Ordway ( ) or Barbara Pace ( ).

Don't worry if you haven't introduced yourself to a neighbor before since our parish family is connected through the loving ministries of St. John's. Are you missing the collegiality of shared face-to-face worship? Breeze can help! Click into Breeze to look at photos of your fellow parishioners to offer the person who usually sits in the pew in front of you a telephone or email sign of peace. Add your photo, if you have not done so yet, under "My profile."

We can keep our sense of community and feel that we are caring for one another, as Sari encouraged us to do.
Prayer ListPassages
We join in prayer this week for:

All those whose health, finances, and well-being are impacted by the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Those newly in need of prayer**: Matthew Ayerdi-Hilton*, Ed Bauman*, Anne & Aurelia Buckingham, Charlie Corrado, Louise Dibenedetto, Kathleen Eichler, Claire Julian, Pat & Andy McGrath, Sooz Mitchell*, Judy Woods-Curran, Monica Zoll*

Those in continuing special need of prayer: Owen Baynard, Mo Bland, Brian Briggs, Jim Campbell*, C.T. Clark, Andy Connolly, David Dantzler, Herman Dillard, Arthur Gardiner, Rene Griffith*, Betsy Hendrickson, Jane Hendrickson*, David Horton, Nancy Hurd, Patricia & Steve Kennedy, Susan Little*, David Maginnes*, Sue Mitchell, Jessie Nienhouse, Geoffrey Patton, Ted Pewett*, Vickie Risse, John Ross*, Margaret & Greg Russell, Betty & Susie Schmitt, Meg Smith, Susan Symons*, Caroline Tapley, Elisabeth Tapley, Gary Tavener, Thomas Welch Gross, Theolyn Wilson*, Ann Wild*, Timmy Wright, Carole & Hugh Stephen Ministers and their care receivers, the people of St. Luke's Hospital, Nablus, West Bank

Parishioners at home, unable to attend services: Sally Cassidy, Mark Estes, Connie Houghton, Anne Hynes, Birney Saunders, Ann & Bill Stahr, Nancy Wiecking, David Wilson

Parishioners celebrating a birthday this past week or today: Lindsey Kane, Abby Brier, Melanie Folstad, Ryan Curto, Bob DuPont, Sarah Williams, Nancy Erickson, Alice Consolvo, Kathleen Snyder, Poppy Cotter, Barbara Ordway, Carol Keyes, Kay Jansky, John Gallivan, Tom St. Clair, Katie Story, Isabella Zoll, Mark Luker, Jane Higgins, Graham Webber

Those serving in the military, including: Col. Robert Hunter, USMC (son of Martha Jones); Jonathan Hackett and Dr. Anthony Hackett (nephews of Liz & Jim Mullikin); all our Wounded Warriors; all our POW/MIA soldiers

Those who have died: Bill (cousin of Lon Anderson & Claudia Tidwell), David Maginnes*

Those in the Anglican Communion: Season of Prayer and Repentance: Pray for repentance and rededication of the Church
Those in the Diocese: Christ Church Accokeek (St. John's Parish) and St. John's Chapel; Christ Church, Georgetown
Christ Church, Chaptico; Pray in thanksgiving for the life and witness of Martin Luther King, Jr. (April 4)

Those in Companion Dioceses: Diocese of the Province of Southern Africa; Diocese of Honduras, Central America

Please share prayer requests - including transitions and thanksgivings - by emailing the Church Office at

*Denotes St. John's parishioner. Bolded names under those newly in need of prayer are names added this week.
**Unless the Office is asked to remove or move them to the "continuing" prayer list, all "new" names will be listed for four weeks.

Upcoming EventsUpcomingEvents
Click on the bolded blue text below to be linked to the article in this newsletter or relevant website for that event.
March 29, 2020

Adult Forum at 11:00 am

March 31, 2020

Norwood Parish Fund grant applications are due

April 1, 2020

April 2, 2020

April 5, 2020

Weekly Schedule WeeklySchedule
All services and meetings will be held remotely through May 16, 2020. If you have questions about how to access these events, email

Sunday, March 29
The Fifth Sunday in Lent 
Deadline for newsletter submissions
10:00 - 11:00 am
Worship Service
11:00 - 12:00 pm Adult Forum

Tuesday, March 31
10:00 - 10:30 am Morning Prayer

Wednesday, April 1
6:30 - 9:30 pm EfM
7:00 - 7:30 pm Contemplative Prayer

Thursday, April 2
8:00 - 9:30 am Eco-Action Team Meeting
7:00 - 7:30 pm Evening Prayer

Sunday, April 5
Palm Sunday
Deadline for newsletter submissions
10:00 - 11:00 am
Worship Service
Submitting Articles to This Newsletter
  • When: Articles are due the Sunday prior to the Friday publication date. 
  • How: Insert the text of the article into the body of an email, and send to publicity[AT]
The church staff reserves the right to determine the content of this newsletter and edit for grammar or length requirements.