St. John's Episcopal Church - Centreville, VA
Parish News - November 11, 2020
Dear St. John's Parishioners and Friends:

What a week it has been! A contentious election is over and people voted in astounding numbers, making their voices heard. Some are overjoyed with the results and others are not. The new administration will hopefully seek ways to heal the divisions in our country and pull us together, to help us work together for the betterment of all.
We heard good news of promising results regarding the testing of a vaccine for COVID which might be approved before the end of the year. Although the general population may not have access to the vaccine before spring, there is hope in sight for the end of this deadly pandemic. However, in the meantime, we will still need to wear our masks and maintain social distancing.
This prayer was posted on Facebook and written by The Rev. Richard Bott, Moderator in the Presbyterian Church of Canada.

"A Prayer for Putting on a Face Mask"
"Creator God, as I prepare to go into the world, help me to see the sacramental nature of wearing this cloth. Let it be a tangible and visible way of living love for my neighbors, as I love myself.
Christ Jesus, since my lips will be covered, uncover my heart, that people would see my smiles in the crinkles around my eyes. Since my voice may be muffled, help me to speak clearly, not only with my words, but with my actions.
Holy Spirit, as the elastic touches my ears, remind me to listen carefully and caringly to all those I meet. May this simple piece of cloth be shield and banner, and may each breath that it holds, be filled with your love. In your Name and in that love, I pray. Amen"

The Rev. Carol Hancock
Rector

The Rev. Carol Hancock
Rector



PARISH NEWS
Many thanks go to all who donated funds for Western Fairfax Christian Ministries to purchase food for Thanksgiving baskets for those in need. We collected $1020 in donations! Many, many thanks for your generosity. Many people will have a happier Thanksgiving because of you!
Our Annual Diocesan Convention will be held virtually this Saturday, November 14. Walt Cooner, our lay delegate, and Carol will be attending. If you would like to take a look at the resolutions that will be presented, or the budget, please go to the diocesan website at www.thediocese.net and click on the large tab for the diocesan convention. Because the convention is online this year and voting is necessary, only clergy and delegates will be able to attend online. However, a full report about convention will be posted on the diocesan website afterwards. The worship service is always a highlight of the convention. Since we will not be able to do that in person, we will have a joint diocesan worship service online on Sunday, November 15. The link to that service will be sent out on Saturday.

Looking ahead... When we have our Annual Parish Meeting in February, three of our Vestry members will be completing their terms and rotating off the Vestry. We will be looking for people to run for the Vestry for three year terms and we can have up to 12 people on the Vestry. The Vestry currently meets online at 7:00 PM on the third Sunday of the month. If you are interested in serving on the Vestry, or have questions about what it entails, please contact Carol or Susie Pike, Senior Warden. Please prayerfully consider serving on the Vestry with your time and talent.
Three baptisms at St. John's!!!
Even a pandemic cannot stop families who want their children baptized. Although private baptisms are discouraged, as they should be done with their community of faith present, we are living in unprecedented times. I received permission from the Bishop's office to officiate at baptisms as long as they are outside with less than 10 people, all wearing masks and social distancing.

On October 3, I officiated at the baptism of Hannah Hadfield, infant daughter of Angela and Russ Hadfield, at their home, with one set of grandparents present and many other people watching online. On November 7, I officiated at the baptism of Liv Johanna Slovney, daughter of Sini and Sean Slovney, newcomers to St. John's. On November 8, I officiated at the baptism of Jeremiah Ethan Taylor, son of Dnemah Quenah and Hugh Taylor, and grandson of Beverly Taylor. In spite of the pandemic, St. John's continues to grow and flourish! Welcome to the newest members of the Body of Christ! "You are sealed by the Holy Spirit in baptism and marked as Christ's own forever."
Liv Slovney & Family
Jeremiah Taylor & Family
Hannah Hadfield & Family
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.
Our Neighbor's Child Giving Tree has (virtually) arrived!
Each year, St. John's parishioners may select a paper ornament from the little tree in the breezeway, with a child's age, gender, and gift suggestion, but this year necessitates a different way of proceeding! This year, please select an Ornament Number from the list below of the gift you wish to purchase, and donate this gift to ONC, a local group which links thousands of gifts to local children who are in need. Once you select your number, send it in an email to Catherine Packard sjeccentreville@aol.com to let her know of your selection. In case of duplication, if you wish to select a second choice, I'll mark that down. First come, first served! You will be sent an email acknowledging your selection. The gifts will need to be dropped off to the church office by Wednesday, December 2. If ordering from Amazon, etc., please make sure the gift will arrive in that time-frame.
If you have not already watched it, I highly recommend that you watch "Holding Onto Hope:A National Service of Healing and Wholeness" that was broadcast live on Sunday, November 1. The sermon by Presiding Bishop Michael Curry is excellent, as is the reflection of Valerie Kaur on the grieving that we have all experienced in the past few months - for our loss of human touch, of community, of jobs, of safety. Prayers are offered from people of all races and ages from around the country. It is a moving service of confession, grief, lament and hope, hosted by the National Cathedral. It can be found at

Another opportunity to donate food
In the London Towne Elementary School, over 400 children get free or reduced price lunches. Due to COVID, there are more families who may "fall through the cracks" and not be able to get assistance for a Thanksgiving dinner. People are being asked to donate a bag of food (with specific food items) to feed a family of 4-6 for Thanksgiving. For more information and to sign up, please click on the following link: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/70a0949aaad2d6-thanksgiving
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:
November 11, 2020
Juliette Faulding, Bookkeeper
St. John's bookkeeper, Juliette Faulding, has decided it is time for her to retire. She has served St. John's well for 10 years and she will be greatly missed. Due to COVID, we are not able at this time to have a large celebration to honor her and her ministry. If you would like to send her a note, you can send it to her sister's address, where she is currently staying. That address is Lynette Johnson Williams, 12007 Wallace Lane, Upper Marlboro, MD 20772. Prayers continue for Juliette's full recovery.

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.
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.

Pledge Cards
If you have not already done so, please return your completed pledge cards as soon as possible. So far we have received 33 pledge cards. Last year we received a total of 45 pledge cards. If you have already made your pledge for 2021, thank you for your support of St. John's and its ministries.

Prayer list - If you would like to add someone's name to the prayer list, please send the name to Carol or Catherine Packard by Monday in order to have that name on our prayer list for the following Sunday. We need to get the prayer list to our readers by Tuesday so they can record the Prayers of the People and get it to David Weir by Thursday. Please let Carol know when we can take someone's name off the prayer list.
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.
St. John’s Grounds Cleanup ‘Morning’: Saturday, November 14th, 2020, 8:00 a.m. till Noon

Every fall and spring, volunteers typically gather to clean up our 4.5 acre campus. This will be a safe event, as everyone can spread out, and/or work in small family teams. 

We are coordinating with our landscape company and grounds committee (Monti Z.) about the work that needs to be done. A few items are:
·        Freshening up the mulch beds
·        Straightening the battlefield fence
·        Raking/blowing leaves
·      Filling potholes in gravel parking lot
·        Sweeping all four entrances.

There is mostly very light work that needs to be done.  We accept people of any age and skill set😊

Feel free to bring your own rake & work gloves.   Also, please bring your own coffee! We will have water/Gatorade and donuts. St. John’s parishioners as well as members of our Ministry partners are invited. If you can make it during any part of the morning, please RSVP to andrewdwade@gmail.com. This way, we can plan for the right amount of projects to tackle and have the right amount of snacks/drinks.
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 Twenty-fourth Sunday
after Pentecost
November 15, 2020

The First Reading:
Judges 4:1-7
The book of Judges recounts the cycles of human behavior that result from insincere repentance. The Israelites fall out of faithfulness into oppression, and when they realize their sin, repent and a savior is sent.

 The Psalm: 123
pg. 780 BCP

The Second Reading:
1 Thessalonians 5:1-11
The Thessalonians, and we ourselves, are called to live according to God’s perspective of creation rather than the temptation to the sleepiness of this world.

The Gospel:
Matthew 25:14-30
Jesus tells the parable of the talents, of those whom much has been given, much will be expected.
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 Twenty- third Week after Pentecost

No Future Without Forgiveness
 
With the announcement that Joe Biden has enough electoral votes to be the President-Elect, some are joyous, and some are dejected. Some are laughing and some are weeping. All the emotions and reactions we feel are to be honored. Here's the thing: our work as followers of Jesus hasn't changed. Remember the promises in our Baptismal Covenant?
 
Will you proclaim by word and example the Good News of God in Christ?
 
Will you seek and serve Christ in all persons loving your neighbor as yourself?
 
Yes, the configuration of our government matters because it has enormous ramifications. However, when we are baptized, we gain agency. We become Christ bearers and our task is to align ourselves with God so that we are available to be God's instruments to bring God's realm of justice, peace, and mercy near. I realized that since Election Day, I have not been present to the actual world around me. My focus is on what might happen instead of what actually is happening.
 
In Walden, Thoreau writes, "I have never met [a person] who was fully alive. How could I look [that person] in the face?" My hope is that I and all faithful people will wake from our preoccupation and distraction of the election and attend to the hopes, and joys, and hurts of the world right around us. "Today is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it." In other words, this is the only day we have, so let us be fully incarnated here and now and do the work God gives us to do wherever we are.
 
If we are to "seek and serve Christ in all persons," then we must let go of our preoccupation with what happened or didn't happen and embrace the world around us. A spiritual teacher when listening to one of his/her students go on and on about mystical theology would finally ask the person, "Yes, but where are your feet?" In other words, "Are you grounded in the here and now?" It's not enough to be wise about the universe if you are unkind or simply a jerk to your neighbors.
 
Perhaps it's time for us to attend to the events and people in front of us. Perhaps it's time to focus on this moment which is the only moment we have instead of what people should have done in the past or ought to do in the future. The present moment is the only place reconciliation happens.
 
There's a reason Desmond Tutu entitled his book about the struggle over South Africa's apartheid No Future Without Forgiveness. Until we find a way to reconcile, we will simply transfer the current division and acrimony to another subject. The doorway to forgiveness is to let go of a desired future and stop defining others by one act or one aspect of their lives.
 
Some time ago, I read an account of the 50th Anniversary of Gettysburg in 1913. The surviving soldiers from both sides dressed in their uniforms for a re-enactment of Pickett's Charge. The Union soldiers took their places on Seminary Ridge, and the Confederate soldiers stood on the farmland below. Instead of rifles and bayonets, they had canes and crutches. When the two armies approached one another, the Confederate army let out a rebel yell. However, instead of shooting or stabbing, they embraced. They put the past to rest -- they forgave -- and they stepped into new life.
 
Let us not wait fifty years or fifty days for the healing to start. Reconciliation is our calling; it's what we promised in baptism and it's time for us to embrace our calling.

The Rt. Rev. Porter Taylor
Assurance
We live in very shaky times. In virtually every venue of life in our world, there is now instability. The psalmist assures us: God is our rock, our stronghold, our refuge, so that we shall not be greatly shaken… Amidst so many things that are dismantling, falling apart, washing away, what is the bedrock of truth that you know from God that can keep you stable?
-Br. Curtis Almquist
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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