St. John's Episcopal Church - Centreville, VA
Parish News - July 29, 2020
Dear St. John's Parishioners and Friends:

It is always good to get away for some time of rest and relaxation but it is always good to come back home. Although I spent much of my vacation at home, doing various projects around the house, I was able to get away for a few days at the beach. Going to the beach helps me get a new perspective on things, mainly the majesty and glory of God who created such a beautiful world for us to live in. As I watch the waves roll in, one after another, I sense the calming presence of God.

In this time of pandemic and national unrest, it is good for us to take a step back and look at the bigger picture, to see the joy and beauty in God's creation, to set our hearts and minds on the love that God has for each one of us.
Even if you can't get away physically, take some time away from the TV and computer, with the constant updates of COVID deaths and dire predictions of how long this will last, and take some time to focus on this beautiful creation that God has given us. Take comfort and peace in knowing that God holds each one of us in the palm of God's almighty hands and God will never, ever let us go.

The Rev. Carol Hancock
Rector
Education for Ministry - For you?
EfM is a four year program of study and theological reflection. The class meets once a week for 2.5 hours for 9 months, starting in September . The four years cover the Old Testament, the New Testament, Church history and theology. The cost is $375 per year, and you commit for one year at a time. We need to have two more people join us in order to have an EfM group this year. In addition to the readings for each week, we do a theological reflection, which can help show us where God is in the midst of ordinary events, and how God may be calling us to minister to others in God's name. Questions? Contact Carol or other members of EfM (Craig Staresinich, Walt Cooner, Patricia McPherson, Bob Faithful). We'd love to have you join us!
St. John's is here to help you!
If you or someone you know has a need that the church can help with during this pandemic (going to the grocery store, picking up prescriptions, etc), please do not hesitate to call the church (703-803-7500). Many of us are ready and willing to help, should the need arise. The church is here to help in any way we can.

What else can St. John's be doing to fill your spiritual needs during this difficult time? If you have ideas or suggestions, please let Carol know.
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:
A few announcements:

  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. If you did not receive a pledge statement recently, please call the church office.

The manufacturer, Brick Makers, is going to be discontinuing the color of the bricks that we use on our "Walkway of the Saints". If you are thinking about getting a brick in memory of or in thanksgiving for someone, please let Carol know as soon as possible. We need at least 5 brick applications to send an order into Brick Makers. We can continue having engraved bricks installed in our walkway, but they will be a different color. The cost of an engraved brick is $75.

Save the Children
St. John's supports two children through Save the Children, and has done so for many years. Their pictures are posted in the breezeway. We pay $20 per child per month to support these children. ($40 per month). We are in need of donors to help us to continue to provide financial support for these children. If you can help, please make a check out to St. John's, and put "Save the Children" in the memo line.

Sunday readers - If you would like to be a Sunday reader and have the technology to record the readings and send them digitally to David Weir, please let Carol know. We would love to have you.
OUTREACH
TO OUR COMMUNITY

Western Fairfax Christian Ministries
We have recently received word that Western Fairfax Christian Ministries is again accepting personal donations of food and toiletries. This is what they need most:
Current Pantry Needs
Food & Beverages
Canned Tuna or Other Meat
Canned Fruit
Canned Vegetables (no Green beans, corn or Peas needed)
Canned Pasta (ravioli)
Rice (small bags or boxes)
Mashed Potatoes
100% Fruit Juice
Pancake Mix/Syrup
Flour/Sugar/Vegetable Oil
Toiletries
Deodorant
Toilet Paper
Diapers Size 5, 6

St. John's would like to help people in need of food and other items. We now have a bin outside the door to the breezeway for people who would like to drop off donations and we will get it to WFCM. If you would like a member of the Vestry to come and pick up your donation at your house, please email Angela Hadfield at angela1117@gmail.com. She will contact a member of the Vestry to call you about a date and time to pick up your donation. If you would like to take your donation directly to WFCM, their address is 4511 Daly Dr., Suite J,Chantilly, V A 20151

Donations: 8-10 AM Monday/Friday and
2-4 on Tuesdays/Thursdays.
Here is the link that takes you directly to WFCM's 'wish list' on Amazon:

PARISH NEWS
This Sunday, August 2, join us for the service at 9:00 AM, 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.

Book Study - "White Fragility - Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism" by Robin Diangelo. Seven people have signed up for this book study that will start in September and meet for about 6 weeks on Zoom. If you are interested, please let Carol know. You can order the book on Amazon, or it might be in the Fairfax library.
St. John's History Video
                    by David Weir  
          
The St. John’s IT committee is putting together a video tribute marking this year’s  170 th anniversary of St. John's consecration. 

Many of you reading this have been part of St. John’s history and may wish to make a contribution to the video. The contribution can take the form of a short video of your St. John's memories. Or if you have videos, photographs, or other objects that you think may of interest to the parish community just let me know. Request any interested party contact me no later than 1 August. I can be reached via email at Signalsdw@aol.com
What is "Messy Church"?
Messy Church is an intergenerational program of Christian Formation for all ages. Looking for something to do with your children or grandchildren? Check out the fun activities that are offered and learn more about Messy Church by clicking on this link.
The Prayer list - If you would like to add someone to the prayer list, please email Carol and Catherine (catherinepackard@earthlink.net). The readers who do the readings as well as the Prayers of the People, do their recordings from their homes toward the beginning of the week. If you send a name after the recording has been made, the name might not be on the prayer list until the following Wednesday or Sunday. Also, please note that the prayers of the sick, and those who have died, are read during the services we are posting on YouTube. So they are now "virtual". If you put a name on the prayer list, please contact the church office to have their name taken off the list when they have sufficiently recovered.

Preparing for Phase II Regathering in Our Church Buildings 

Here's the link:
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 Ninth Sunday
after Pentecost -
August 2, 2020

The First Reading:
Genesis 32:22-31

The Psalm: 17:1-7, 16
pg. 600, BCP

The Second Reading:
Romans 9:1-5

The Gospel:
Matthew 14:13-21





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 contribution button may be used 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 donation button may be used 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. If designating gift for a special purpose (i.e.Organ Fund, Cemetery, etc.) please send an email after donating to sjeccentreville@aol.com.
One of our Ministry Partners, the Spanish Seventh Day Adventist Church of Centreville, is continuing its ministry during this Corona Virus pandemic  Although our Ministry Partners, as well as our congregation, cannot occupy the building they continue with outdoor services at the Gilead Green … masked and socially separated, with no singing. Additionally, they have a food bank providing groceries to their congregation and families in need in the Centreville community.   They portion fresh vegetables, bread, bagels,
frozen pizzas and much more into grocery bags stuffed to the top. This is done usually on the sidewalk outside our Parish Hall resembling a Farmers’ Market. Recipients drive by and are handed the groceries. This occurs each Friday afternoon. If you know of a family in need let them know about this generous example of Christian giving. Reverend Williams Ovalle, Yuly Barrios, and several other members of their congregation are showing the principles and values encouraged at St. John’s.
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.
Habits of Grace, July 27, 2020:
An invitation for you, from Presiding Bishop Michael Curry
As we learn how to adjust our lives given the reality of the coronavirus and the request to do our part to slow its spread by practicing social distancing, I invite you to join me each week to take a moment to cultivate a ‘habit of grace.’ A new meditation will be posted each week. These meditations can be watched at any time by clicking here.
This week: July 27, 2020: Prayer into action
Prayers for Justice, Reconciliation and Peace
The Deacons of the diocese put together a booklet of prayers for justice, reconciliation and peace. Click on the link to access the prayers.
In Memoriam
The Hon. John Robert Lewis

The Diocese of Virginia honors the legacy of this brave and faithful American. We ask your prayers for the repose of his soul and for comfort of his family. We pray that the Holy Spirit will animate us with the passion and conviction that Mr. Lewis brought to the struggle for justice and healing. May his memory continue to inspire us with boldness, courage, and confidence that in loving our neighbor – all our neighbors – as ourselves, we may bring this country and this world into ever-closer alignment with God’s dream of peace and joy among all people.
“One Voice, One Family, One Sacred Humanity: A Local Virtual Interfaith Service to End Racial Bias"

Faith leaders in Fairfax County have put together an interfaith service to address racial bias. It features faith leaders from 20 religious communities in and around Fairfax County, as well as Fairfax County Police Chief Edwin C. Roessler, Jr. in prayers, meditations and songs for unity and hope to end racial bias and hate. Faith communities represented include Christian (Methodist, Baptist, Presbyterian, Unity, Mormon, United Christian, Non-Denominational), Jewish (Reform, Conservative), Muslim, Unitarian-Universalist, Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh, Meher Baba, Bahá'í , as well as the Mosaic Harmony Choir of Fairfax. Service length 1 hr.

To access this service, click on the link below:

Open to the Spirit
A Meditation on the Eighth Sunday After Pentecost
Our daughter, Marie, lives in Florida. Her mother and I are not too pleased with that. Everyday I follow the chart in the New York Times that shows the states with the highest amount of Covid 19 cases. Florida is always there.
The good news is she came to stay with us for three weeks (I still live in North Carolina because of the limitations of being with people because of Covid 19). Marie is 31 and works remotely, so it doesn’t matter where she is. Her mother and I haven’t had this much prolonged contact with her in a decade. While yes, we did have a few tense moments and yes, I discovered we don’t like to watch the same television programs (every night she asked why we watch the PBS Newshour), but I found that part of me was more relaxed. I knew one of my two children was safe.
Saturday morning – two days ago – she left. “Be careful,” her mother and I said like a mantra. Now as the house is quieter and my wife, Jo, and I are back in our routines, I find I am back in that in-between place – to care and not to care. 
The letting go, the becoming open to what life brings, is not limited to parenthood. It’s the root of discipleship. We all are letting go of the summer we thought we would have. We are letting go of the sense of calm we used to have and in turn are learning to embrace a diligence that, over the long haul, is exhausting. We are letting go of the illusion that as a nation we have dealt with our embedded racism and therefore have to face some hard realities that are difficult to acknowledge, much less to transform. 
This period isn’t going to fade away quickly. Therefore, instead of holding our breath or being perpetually frustrated or distracted, let us remember that regardless of the conditions, “This is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it.” If we are to experience the presence of God, it will only be on the day we are actually alive and not some far away peaceful time.
Because I knew my time with Marie was short and because I was displaced from my old routines of staying preoccupied, for some periods I was able to be fully present and give thanks in the moment. I didn’t hammer my daughter with my usual grilling – “Eating well?” “Saving money?” “Being safe?” I was just glad to see her and embrace her. I was glad for the time I could see her face to face instead of through a screen.
During the Eucharist, we hear the celebrant say, “Do this for the remembrance of me,” but the Holy Communion is not the only vehicle for divine remembering. In Christ we live in a sacramental universe. Yes, the consecrated bread and wine are holy, but God’s grace can’t be limited to those. Let’s remember, one of Thomas Merton’s deepest experiences of the Holy was crossing the street in Louisville, Kentucky on the way to the dentist. If God is God, then the divine presence is everywhere if we will be present for it.
Here’s the thing. I know we miss the Eucharist, but in this meantime, let us be open to God’s grace in our very lives. The truth is we live in a sacramental world. As we read last Sunday in the Genesis passage, Jacob is in the middle of nowhere. “A certain place” is the term given, yet the passage ends with him saying, “this is the gate of heaven.” Because we live in a sacramental universe, the gate of heaven is everywhere.
Let us be careful about Covid 19, and let us engage the racism that continues to infect our country, but let us not believe that God is absent from us because of our country’s condition or because of our need to maintain physical distance from one another or because we don’t have “normal” church services. The Holy Spirit is beyond time and space.
We must not hold our breath, or white knuckle it during this time. Paula D’Arcy, says, “God comes disguised as your own life.” Maybe in the shape of your daughter; maybe on your way to the dentist; maybe as you be still and know that God is God.
This is the only moment we have to be alive and be receptive to the Holy Spirit. Let us be open to those times when we are fully, completely connected to one another, to our true self and to God who is always connecting us.
Perhaps one of the few gifts of Covid 19 is that we have time to remember and to be remembered. May we use that time to be open to God’s grace.
LOSING OURSELVES IN THE SERVICE OF OTHERS

Mahatma Gandhi once said, "the best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others."

This has certainly been true in my own life. Many years ago, when my wife and I first moved to New York, she had a job waiting for her — but I had yet to discover my sense of direction and purpose.

After living with me moping about our apartment for a few months, my wife, wise woman that she is, suggested that I go out and volunteer somewhere. So I began serving food at our church's breakfast feeding program in the mornings and reading to a blind student in the evenings. It wasn't long before I was fully engrossed in the challenges these service opportunities offered me. My mood lifted as each day was imbued with a sense of purpose.

All of us connected to Episcopal Relief & Development are deeply fortunate right now. When it's easy to feel despondent — to think only about the impact the current crisis is having on our own life — we can look beyond ourselves to the many people who need our help. We recognize that our actions to support others can and do make a meaningful difference.

It's an unfortunate fact of life that in times of disaster, those with the least suffer the most. But I also believe that those of us who are more fortunate materially have the greatest opportunity to serve and give of ourselves. When we do, we lose ourselves in caring for others. And we will find ourselves to be strong and resilient as we face the crisis roiling around us.

Thank you, as always, for working with us for lasting change.

Robert W. Radtke
President & CEO
Episcopal Relief and Development
Reflections
 Hope
Our confidence and trust is in God – not in ourselves, or in our government, or in our leaders, or in our investments, or in our accomplishments, or in science or technology, or human ingenuity. Our hope is in GOD, and it is this that gives us strength to carry on, to live and try new things, even in conditions that seem as hopeless as ours do, here and now.
-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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