St. John's Episcopal Church - Centreville, VA
Parish News - February 3, 2021
Dear St. John's Parishioners and Friends:
Dear St. John's Parishioners and Friends:

Many of us are now on "the list" to receive the COVID vaccine, now that it is open to more groups, both professional and age related groups. We don't know when we will get the call that our name has come to the top of the list. It could be weeks or months, but at least we feel we have taken a step forward by registering for the vaccine.
Our bishops in the Diocese of Virginia recently sent out a video about the body being a temple of the Holy Spirit, and doing all we can to take care of that temple. Getting the vaccine is one way to do that. And when we get the vaccine, we are not only protecting ourselves but we are protecting others from COVID as well. It will take 85% of the population to get the vaccine in order to rid ourselves of this pandemic.
As Christians, we are called to take care of our neighbors. Getting the vaccine is one way we can do that. I encourage everyone who is eligible to get the vaccine as soon as they can. Your life and the lives of others depend on it.
The bishops sent the following prayer in their latest address and I commend it to you:

A Prayer for Receiving the COVID Vaccine
By Rabbi Naomi Levy
 
I have been praying for this day and now it is here!
With great excitement, a touch of trepidation
and with deep gratitude
I give thanks for all the scientists who toiled day and night
so that I might receive this tiny vaccination.
That will protect me and all souls around this world.
With the pandemic still raging
I am blessed to do my part of defeat it.
Let this be the beginning of a new day,
a new time of hope, of joy, of freedom
And most of all, of health.
I thank you, God for blessing me with life
For sustaining my life
And for enabling me to reach this awe-filled moment.
Amen

The Rev. Carol Hancock
Rector


The Rev. Carol Hancock
Rector
PARISH NEWS
St. John's Food Drive - The Outreach Committee will host a "Show Your Love" Drive-by Food Collection on Sunday, February 14 from 1 - 3 PM in the front parking lot. All donations will go to Western Fairfax Christian Ministries. They are especially in need of baby wipes, canned fruit, canned vegetables and canned meat (chicken and tuna). Donations of other food will be gratefully accepted.

Lenten Book Study - This year, Ash Wednesday, which marks the beginning of Lent, is February 17. For our Lenten book study, we will discuss Presiding Bishop Michael Curry's most recent book, "Love is the Way: Holding on to Hope in Troubling Times." If you are interested in joining this book discussion, which will be held on Zoom, please let Carol know. You will need to order the book ahead of time. We will probably meet on Monday evenings at 7:00 PM, starting on Monday, February 22.

Ash Wednesday - We will have a pre-recorded service recorded in the church for you to watch at home. Our bishop has said that each family or individual can use ashes from their fire place or fire pit, or they can burn some leaves into ashes. Another option is to pick up a small bag of ashes from the church sometime before the service. Families can apply ashes to the foreheads of other family members with the words "You are dust and to dust you shall return." Those who live alone can apply the ashes to their own forehead. More details about this service will be available closer to February 17.

The Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper - We will have the Pancake Supper on Tuesday, February 16, only this year it will be virtual. We will send out a Zoom link ahead of time and anyone who wants to join in can click on the link. We can all eat our pancakes and discuss who has the best or most creative pancakes! We will enjoy being together virtually.

Sunday readers - We are in need of people to sign up to be readers for our Sunday services for February and March. Below is the link to sign up for the date(s) when you would like to read. You can sign up to read the three scripture readings, or the psalm and the Prayers of the People, or both. You can do the recordings at home and send them electronically to David Weir by the preceding Thursday.

Be a Sunday service reader, from anywhere!
During this time of covid, St. John's holds a Sunday morning prayer service which is "aired" on Sunday mornings at 9 AM. The readings are
...pre-recorded, and several parishioners have been doing a great job doing them, from different venues - no matter where they are! We welcome, need, and value your help! If you would like more information on how to do this, click here for the info page on SignUp Genius. Please sign up a week before the Sunday you would like to read, so we can get the readings to you and you can get your recording to David Weir by Thursday.
Every Wednesday, St. John's has a Service of Evening Prayer at 6 PM. It is a peaceful way to end the day, and it's now being held virtually. Here is the link to this evening's service:
February 3, 2021
COVID Vaccines - The Governor of Virginia has announced that those who are 65 and older can now register with the Fairfax County Health Department for a vaccine. You are encouraged to register now, although it might be several weeks or months before they assign you an appointment date and time to get the vaccine. As more vaccines are produced and become available, pharmacies and doctors offices will also have access to the vaccine and be able to administer them. The health department also lists other targeted groups that are eligible to register for the vaccine. You can register at

Please tell your friends and neighbors over 65 that they can register now.
ANNOUNCEMENTS
The link to the Sunday service is sent out each Saturday as usual. Then join us for the coffee hour from 10:00 - 10:30 and the Adult Lectionary Class at 10:30 AM on Zoom. The links will be sent out in Saturday's email to all.

Forward Day by Day is a daily devotional booklet that is published every three months. Different writers contribute for a month at a time and reflect on the daily readings. Those daily devotions are now online. Go to www.forwarddaybyday.org to see the daily devotion. Because we are not having in-person worship, we have stopped our subscription of the printed booklets. If you would like the printed booklets, you can order a personal copy on their website that can be mailed to your home.
Free COVID Testing
COVID Testing is done at the Centreville Regional Library for those who have symptoms or who have been in contact with someone who has COVID. For more information, call 703-267-3511 for hours and other restrictions.
Fight hunger in Fairfax County! Help us fill the shelves of food pantries to support our neighbors who have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Stuff the Bus will be collecting donations Saturday, Jan 30 and Saturday, Feb 6 at 21 locations throughout the county.

Find a location near you: http://bit.ly/FfxStufftheBus
***FIREWOOD FUNDRAISER A GREAT SUCCESS***
The firewood sale has raised $1,640 !! Wow! Many thanks to all who felled the trees, chopped the wood, stacked it out back, bundled it, stacked it out front to sell, and purchased the bundles.

A note from a grateful customer: "Thank you for having this wood where old people can access it and at a reasonable price."
SUNDAY WORSHIP & EDUCATION
The Adult Lectionary Forum
Now being held virtually via Zoom. All are invited to join in, following the virtual Sunday service. The links to the Forum and the service are sent out in a separate email on Saturdays.
We can prepare our hearts & minds by reading ahead
for the Sunday Service lesson

The Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany
February 7, 2020

The First Reading:
Isaiah 40:21-31
There is no god like Yahweh. He is just with those who are selfish, and generous with those who are downtrodden.

The Psalm: 147:1-12, 21c
p. 804, BCP

The Second Reading:
1 Corinthians 9:16-23
 Paul explains how it is an honor to proclaim and share the Good News of salvation in Jesus Christ.

The Gospel:
Mark 1:29-39
Jesus came to heal the sick, to bind the brokenhearted, and to tell people of God’s love for them. He himself seeks the solace, presence, and strength of God the Father and of the Holy Spirit.

Online Contributions
 to St. John's
St. John's now offers three buttons for online donations via Tithe.ly. You may use the buttons below to go directly to Tithe.ly, or you may download the Tithe.ly app on your phone or tablet.
The Pledge payment button may be used only to make your pledge payment (after signing up to be a pledger, which may be done at any time in the year. See Carol or Vestry)
The Facility Campaign button may be used only for any contribution for the facility's buildings and grounds, or special facility campaigns.
The Donation button may be used for any other type of donation to St. John's. To designate a special purpose (i.e. Organ Fund, Ministry Partner payments, etc.) please send a note to sjeccentreville@aol.com.
Sermons from the Bishop's Online Chapel
Each week, one of our bishops or a member of the diocesan staff prepares and posts a sermon based on the Sunday's readings that can be used for online services. Here is the sermon posted for this past Sunday.
 A Meditation for the Fourth Week after the Epiphany

The Mercy That Adds Us To One Another
 
I have been pondering where we are as a country with the pandemic and the consequent deaths and anxiety as well as the continuing political divisions and our nation's imbedded racial injustice. There's also the scarcity of the vaccine and the uneven adherence to wearing masks and keeping social distance. There's the ache and frustration we feel over not being able to worship together. Then there's the image of D.C. on January 6 that haunts us: men and women attempting to take over the Capitol of the United States.
 
As I not only thought about all this but also felt an ache in my heart and a bewilderment in my brain, I remembered reading a prose poem decades ago (I think the author is John Ciardi). Yet despite the time gap, those words come back to me -- especially in these times. Here's a section of the piece:
 
"Caught as we are in these and our other conditions.
 
Which include a distaste for the littleness of our motives, and, therefore, some wish to live toward some reality. Terrified by realities. Addicted to evasions. Daring, perhaps once, to look into the mirror and see and not look away.
 
Beginning again, then, with those who share with us and with whom we share the sorrows of the common failure. Fumbling at last to the language of a sympathy that can describe, and that will be, we are persuaded, sufficiently joy when we find in one another its idioms.
 
Caught as we are in these defining conditions --
 
I wish us the one fact of ourselves that is inexhaustible and which, therefore, we need not horde nor begrudge.
 
Let mercy be its name till its name be found. And wish that to the mercy that is possible because it takes nothing from us and may, therefore, be given indifferently, there be joined the mercy that adds us to one another."
 
"Mercy" in the scripture is "Hesed" which is a fierce love -- a love that holds on regardless of political divisions and the consequences of a pandemic. Hesed is the love of the shepherd who goes after the lost sheep -- regardless of their political party. It's the love that moved Jesus to bring Lazarus back from death. It's the love that moved the woman on the street to go inside the Pharisee's house to wash Jesus' feet with her hair. It's the love that pushed the friends of a crippled man to cut a hole in the roof of the house where Jesus was so he could be healed.
 
This love -- this Hesed -- is the cure for our "defining conditions." It's the way God's mercy adds us to one another. We are called to follow Jesus. Therefore, we must remember and imitate his love, which means repairing the divisions between us.
 
May we as followers of the Christ remember that Jesus always comes after us wherever we are. I have a sticker from London that says, "Mind the Gap," but I am throwing the sticker away. I don't want to mind the gap; I want to cross it because that's what the Lord has done for me and commands me and all his followers to do for others.
Like the poet, I wish for our diocese the one fact of ourselves that is inexhaustible; that is mercy.
 
-- Bishop Porter Taylor 
 
Counterculture
Living as Christians in the world is counter-cultural. We need frequently to be reminded of that, instructed in that, and encouraged in that. When we realize that God invites us to embrace and embody a different set of principles and values than the world promotes, then we understand how much we need the support of others as we make this difficult and sometimes perilous journey upstream.
-Br. David Vryhof
My email address is stjohnscvpriest@gmail.com,
and the office number is 703-803-7500. 

May our ministry together spread God's love to all whom we encounter.

      - Carol

      The Rev. Carol Hancock, Rector
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