St. John's Episcopal Church - Centreville, VA
Parish News - November 18, 2020
Dear St. John's Parishioners and Friends:
It is hard to believe that Advent is almost upon us! Starting Sunday, November 29, the season of Advent is the four weeks before Christmas, giving us time to prepare ourselves in heart and mind to welcome the Christ child. Unfortunately, most of us spend the four weeks before Christmas rushing from store to store, trying to find the perfect gift for everyone on our list.
However, this year will probably be different. With COVID, there will be more ordering online than rushing from store to store. Maybe we will have some extra time to focus on the most important gift of all - Jesus Christ who comes to us as a baby and becomes the Savior of the world by this death and resurrection. Take time to sit in silence and meditate of God's gift to us; join us for the book study on Bishop Michael Curry's new book, "Love is the Way - Holding Onto Hope in Troubling Times" (see below); do something each day as suggested in the Advent Calendar to remind us of the season we are in (see Advent Resources below); meditate on a favorite scripture verse. Slow down. Take a breath. Enjoy life as it is.
Advent and Christmas will be different this year. There will be things we cannot do. But we can have new ways of living into the Advent season and new ways of celebrating Christmas. And they might be better than our old ways. For with God, nothing is impossible.

The Rev. Carol Hancock
Rector

The Rev. Carol Hancock
Rector



Our Neighbor's Child Gift Collection happening now!
Don't delay if shopping online!
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 UNWRAPPED 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. You may have the gift sent directly to St. John's - 5649 Mt. Gilead Rd. Centreville, VA 20120
PARISH NEWS
The Annual Diocesan Convention was held online last Saturday and St. John's was represented by Walt Cooner and Carol Hancock. Due to COVID, we could not meet in person so this convention was much different. The bishops and diocesan staff did an amazing job connecting all the parts of convention. We heard stories from the diocese, elected 4 members to the Standing Committee, decided not to approve the budget, and heard from our 3 bishops. A summary of the convention can be found at https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/?tab=wm#search/diocese+of+virginia/FMfcgxwKjTQrjlsCMfWFJVmndHQtzwpk

Looking ahead... When we have our Annual Parish Meeting in February, we will need to elect several people to serve on the Vestry. We are now 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.
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.

Another opportunity to donate for Thanksgiving
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. Fortunately, enough people have signed up to provide bags of non-perishable food. But they still need about 60 more gift cards in the amount of $20 from Wegmans, Walmart or Giant so people can buy a turkey. If you can provide a gift card, please sign up here and scroll all the way to the end. You can drop the gift cards off on Saturday, November 21 between 10 am - 2 pm in the parking lot of the Virginia Run Community Center,15355 Wetherburn Court in Centreville.
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 18, 2020
Juliette Faulding Retires
St. John's bookkeeper, Juliette Faulding, has decided it is time for her to retire. An accountant with extensive experience at large corporations, and an outgoing, welcoming personality, she has served St. John's well for 10 years and she will be greatly missed. In addition to her bookkeeping duties, she was often the smiling person who greeted people at the door, or the friendly voice who answered the phone. She and her son, David, are long-time residents of the Centreville community. 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.
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 34 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.

Advent Book Study
During Advent, we will embark on a new book study. For those who are interested, we will read and discuss Bishop Michael Curry's new book, "Love is the Way: Holding onto Hope in Troubling Times". This will be an online book study on Zoom, tentatively scheduled for Monday evenings from 7:00 - 8:00 PM, starting on Monday, November 30 and continuing for 4-6 weeks. Bishop Curry's book can be purchased on Amazon. Please let me know as soon as possible if you would like to participate so I can send you the Zoom link. If you want to join but Monday is not good for you, please let me know.

Advent Resources
The season of Advent, which is the four weeks before Christmas, begins on Sunday, November 29. Below are some resources to prepare ourselves in heart and mind for the birth of the Christ child.


I recommend the following:
AdventWord sends daily emails from people around the world on various Advent themes.
Prophetic Voices is a podcast that discusses the Advent readings through the lens of social justice.
Advent Calendar is based on the 7 areas of the Way of Love: Turn, Learn, Pray, Worship, Bless, Go, and Rest.
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’ last Saturday accomplished mending/straightening the historic wood fence, raking leaves, cleaning the woodwork at the portico entrances, and many other activities. Thank you so much volunteers!
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 Last Sunday after Pentecost
Christ the King
November 22, 2020

The First Reading:
Ezekiel 34:11-16, 20-24
God, through Ezekiel, declares himself shepherd and ruler of his people, gathering them, providing for them, protecting them, guiding them, and judging them. All these things he does for us, his sheep, too.

The Psalm: 95:1-7a
pg. 724 BCP

The Second Reading:
Ephesians 1:15-23
The same power that God used to raise Jesus from the dead he now uses to bring life to each of our lives.

The Gospel:
Matthew 25:31-46
 Jesus professes that there are no ways around the simple difficulty of God’s mission, to save those who recognize their need, and to humble those who are disillusioned to their security.
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- fourth Week after Pentecost

"Since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus . . . Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart." Hebrews 12:1-3
 
This is hard. There's no two ways about it. It's been over eight months now since our lives shifted dramatically, over eight months of distancing and masks and changes in pretty much every habit. We're ready for this to be over. We want to spend Thanksgiving in groups of family and friends. We want to worship on Christmas Eve in packed church buildings. And we can't. Not yet. Because every day the number of new Coronavirus cases increases dramatically as the infection rate surges. More than a quarter of a million people in this country alone have died of COVID-19. Virginia has not been as hard hit as other nearby states, and new restrictions set by the Governor of the Commonwealth went into effect on Monday to keep it that way. We're tired. We want this to be over, knowing full well that we'll be in it for some months longer.
 
Where do we find hope? Where do we get the strength to keep on keeping on in order to protect those we love as well as people we'll never meet, not to mention our very selves? Where is the good news in this time of so much that is distressing?
 
For us as Christians, the good news is always found in Jesus. Our eyes fixed on Jesus, we can see a bigger picture than our own frustration and the inconveniences we've experienced, profound though some of them are. We can see Jesus in the faces of the ill and dying, in the faces of medical professionals and family members who care for those with COVID-19. Our eyes fixed on Jesus, we recognize others as our own siblings and our compassion grows.
 
Our eyes fixed on Jesus, we find the best in the news we read in newspapers or hear on podcasts. Amid distressing projections, we celebrate in hope that we are moving closer than ever to an effective and widely available vaccine. We trust fully that this pandemic will end. It will not last forever.
 
Our eyes fixed on Jesus, we remain faithful in worship and in daily prayer. We trust that prayer is concrete action for the sake of the world and for the sake of our own spiritual, mental and physical health. As we stay close to Jesus in prayer, our fear is overcome by hope, our worry is replaced by trust, and we can breathe again.
 
Our eyes fixed on Jesus, we do not grow weary or lose heart. We've been doing this for eight months now. We can do it for the duration. We are tired, but we are strong. We are frustrated, but we are resilient. We are made in the image of God, and that means we have more capacity for life, for goodness and for hope than we usually remember. We can do this.  
 
So with your eyes fixed on Jesus, keep on keeping on. Continue to be faithful in worship and in daily prayer. Continue to do what you can to support and assist others in need. Continue to let others support and assist you. Continue to look for Jesus in the faces of others and to look for his good news in the news you hear. Don't let down your guard against COVID-19 now. And don't be afraid. Because God who created you is always with you, and loves you fiercely.
The Rt. Rev. Susan Goff
Resurrection
As followers of Jesus, our witness is to his resurrection. For most of us that witness is the witness of baptism, whereby we die daily to our sin and pride, so that we may rise in Christ. For some of us, it will mean giving up our lives to the glory of God. In either case we do so in the confidence of a sure and certain hope of the resurrection to eternal life through our Lord Jesus Christ, as we say in the burial rite.
-Br. James Koester
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.
Resurrection
As followers of Jesus, our witness is to his resurrection. For most of us that witness is the witness of baptism, whereby we die daily to our sin and pride, so that we may rise in Christ. For some of us, it will mean giving up our lives to the glory of God. In either case we do so in the confidence of a sure and certain hope of the resurrection to eternal life through our Lord Jesus Christ, as we say in the burial rite.
-Br. James Koester

      - Carol

      The Rev. Carol Hancock, Rector
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