St. John's Episcopal Church - Centreville, VA
Parish News - January 6, 2021
Dear St. John's Parishioners and Friends:
Today, January 6, is the Feast of the Epiphany. The word "epiphany", derived from the Greek word, means manifestation or appearing. It is the day that we remember the arrival of the wise men in Bethlehem to worship the Christ child, bringing gifts fit for a king - gold, frankencense and myrrh. They had followed the star that had brought them to the birth place of Jesus. The Feast of the Epiphany marks the end of the Christmas season, the twelve days of Christmas. We now begin the season of Epiphany when Jesus spread the gospel not just to the Jews, but to all people. The love of God was meant for everyone, something that is as true today as it was 2000 years ago.

The Rev. Carol Hancock
Rector


The Rev. Carol Hancock
Rector
PARISH NEWS
A Celebration of Life for Jo Chandler - The family of Jo Chandler is planning a celebration of Jo's life to be held on Zoom this coming Tuesday, January 12 at 6:00 PM. Several family members from around the country will be participating in this celebration and Carol has been asked to offer prayers. The link for this celebration is


Meeting ID: 838 0661 7703
Passcode: 231235803

Annual Parish Meeting - Our Annual Parish Meeting will be held on Sunday, February 7 at 10:00 AM on Zoom. There will be a way to sign in so we know we have a quorum and a way to do voting, should we need to do that. More details will be forthcoming closer to that date. (The Diocese of Virginia held their Annual Diocesan Convention online in November and they have given us suggestions of how to run a meeting with voting online.)

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 what day and time works best for you. You will need to order the book ahead of time.

Sunday readers - We are in need of people to sign up to be readers for our Sunday services for the rest of January and February. 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:
January 6, 2021
Jo Chandler, longtime parishioner of St. John’s, died on Christmas Day after a short stay in the hospital. Jo moved from Centreville to Burke about a year ago and was attending Good Shepherd Episcopal Church.
 
Jo was an active member at St. John’s for many years. She was a member of the choir, the Altar Guild, and Daughters of the King, as well as assistant treasurer and counter. She was an avid knitter and crocheter and made lots of hats, scarves, mittens and sweaters to sell at Centreville Day, and to donate to cancer patients. She owned her own loom and would spin her own wool. Jo would bring that to Centreville Day to the delight of those who watched her.
As someone said, Jo was the “salt of the earth”. Her faith was strong and she lived her faith by participating in many outreach programs. Jo will be greatly missed. A celebration of her life will be held on Tuesday, January 12 at 6:00 PM on Zoom. (See the first article for the link.) May her soul and the souls of all the departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.
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.

Many thanks go to all who have made a pledge to St. John's for 2021. We have received $211,140 from 44 pledging units. If you have not yet returned your pledge card, please do so as soon as possible.

We encourage you to please stay current with your pledge and contributions to St. John's. Our bills continue to come in and need to be paid. You can mail your contributions to St. John's at 5649 Mt. Gilead Road, Centreville, VA 20120. If you would rather give online, please use the Tithe.ly button below.

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.


If you or someone you know is in need of a male caregiver with excellent references, please contact Carol for more details.
If no one is around to receive your money for the firewood, you may put it into the secure black mailbox adjacent to the firewood stack.
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 First Sunday after the Epiphany
January 10, 2020

The First Reading:
Genesis 1:1-5
By his Word, God creates the light and separates it from the darkness.

The Psalm: 96
The Second Reading:
Acts 19:1-7
Paul meets some disciples in Ephesus and tells them about the Holy Spirit. They are baptized and the Holy Spirit comes on them.

The Gospel:
Mark 1:4-11
Jesus is baptized by John, as is foretold in the Scriptures. This marks the beginning of Jesus’s public ministry.
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 Sixth of January 
 
Big doings this week. An important election; drama in the certification of the national election; rumors of outbreaks of violence. Bits of 2020 sloshing over into this nice new year. What was once surprising has become rather predictable, if nevertheless continually alarming.
 
Actually, two predictable things happen on January 6 -- the congressional certification of the votes of the Electoral College, and the Feast of the Epiphany of Our Lord Jesus Christ, a Principal Feast of the Church.
 
Epiphany is one of my very favorites. It is very often lost in the liturgical sweep of the year, because the first Sunday after Epiphany (when you'd be paying attention to it, at least at worship) coincides with the Feast of the Baptism of Our Lord, which is one of the appointed Sundays for the celebration of Holy Baptism -- the first one since early November. Not to mention that the priest, the choir, and the Altar Guild are all still recovering from Advent and Christmas. Lots of serious business all happening at once.
 
Epiphany, liturgically, marks the arrival of the Magi -- astronomers and astrologers from Persia, probably -- to pay a visit on the newborn Jesus. "They are late . . . they are always late," the Rev. Dr. Jerome Berryman used to quip. They come bearing peculiar, expensive, and highly symbolic gifts. Israel may have been a global crossroads between Persia and Egypt for centuries, but this visit must still have seemed even stranger than shepherds sent by angels. I mean, we have airports and train stations and paved highways and Google maps -- so how many of you got visits from wealthy foreign scientists or sages a week after your baby was born? How many of them claimed that they saw it all in the stars? How many of them stopped off at the palace to demand to see a newborn monarch, and were redirected by the staff to your hometown? That's what I thought.

When I was serving in a local congregation, I was never able to finish an Epiphany sermon, because every year, a few minutes into a very erudite (if I say so myself) exposition of the manifestation of the Divine to the Gentiles, the west doors would fly open, drums and trumpets would bang and blare, wild Persian music would warble (who knew we had an oboe player???), and in they would march, dance, and twirl.  In would come wiggling miniature belly dancers and vociferous camel drivers, heavy-laden pages and veiled ladies-in-waiting, some carrying elaborate parasols, some carrying loads of gold, some swinging enormous brass censors billowing with fragrant frankincense. In would prance a comical camel or two, and in would come, in stately paces, the magnificent Magi themselves, male and female, robed, jeweled, and crowned. "Where is he, born King of the Jews?" they would intone, "for we have seen his star in the east. Where is he, born King of the Jews? -- for we have come to worship him."  "Fall on your knees! Fall on your knees!"
 
I can preach over a lot of interruptions. But I know when to fold 'em.
 
And I can boil down the message pretty quickly, too. Here's the executive summary: Whatever polysyllabic, Latinate explanations other people have given you (you remember them, right???), the word EPIPHANY comes from the Greek and means, loosely translated, "Dang - didn't see THAT coming in a million years!"  Other preachers will tell you that Epiphany means a "showing" or "revealing," and that's not wrong. The thing is, a "showing" of God is NEVER EVER EVER what we expect. Epiphany means "I make plans; God laughs out loud."  Epiphany means a breakthrough, a rip in the veil, a brief interlude in another dimension of reality.
 
We think we've got it figured out; we think we know how it all works; we think we (or our leaders, or our doctors or priests or heroes or saints) are masters of the universe. Then we get Epiphany, and we are reminded: God is outside of all of our limitations and constraints -- God created the universe. God created order; God makes and keeps promises. But once in a while -- you never know when -- inexplicable, wondrous events reveal the power and love of God. God blesses a migrant family. God throws down a tyrant and leads the people out of bondage and exploitation. God inspires the writing of just and merciful laws even when the people are selfish and thoughtless. God provides a land flowing with milk and honey. God comes into the world with help from a teenage girl and brings redemption and salvation and the beginning of a new creation.
 
Epiphany reminds us that there is always hope. Even if the holidays were not as merry as we wished; even if we are already botching our New Year's resolutions; even if unwelcome aspects of last year are sloshing into this one when we are oh-so-ready to move on. We don't know how the story will end. We don't even know what will happen in the next scene. God can -- God will -- show up when we least expect it (remember Advent's message?) and throw us the kind of plot twist, the kind of interruption to our well-crafted sermons, that turn our path away from our own navel-gazing and back toward the Kingdom.
 
January 6 is a big day. Whatever fussing and fuming may occur in the palaces of power, be on the lookout for camels poking their noses under our tents, for tiny belly-dancers and pages, for wise scientists and sages, for rich, peculiar gifts whose meaning is not yet clear, and for newborn hope in the most unlikely and unexpected places. You just never know -- and we won't see it coming.

An unpredictable and blessed Epiphany to you all.
 
Bishop Jennifer Brooke-Davidson
Dawn
We are marvelously made and fully known. Jesus comes to our dark places, asking us to acknowledge them and let him in to touch them. Try praying in the dark with Jesus, and look for his light dawning there. God sees all, loves all, and seeks to heal all. Where it is most dark, the Light of the World is most powerful.
-Br. Luke Ditewig
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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